Sunday, November 13, 2011


Sophomore year so far has been a world of difference compared to freshman year. I thought I knew my University and was involved, etc, but ohhhhh boy, no I wasn't. Last year I was having the appetizer, this year I'm having the all you can eat buffet. And I love it. Granted, yes, every day is packed full, but it's packed full of wonderful. This year has made me realize the value being involved has. This year, I've gotten involved in things that I wasn't in last year, taken advantage of opportunities offered by the university, and am even helping establish a new club on campus. All this had made apparent to me the value of taking ownership of your campus. I feel like I have a claim to stuff here, now. I'm not just an observer, I'm a participator, an initiator.

Aside from all this though, I want to focus on the one thing that God has pressed this year as the most valuable thing: the thing  I need most desperately in my life right now. Community. And what incredible community it is. My church has started a life group (like a Sunday school class....but not on Sundays) on campus. Talk about incredible. Not only do I get to hang out and talk about the word with kids I go to school with, but guess who leads it?! One of my friends who works in the church office and the teaching pastor! How valuable is that? We actually get to talk about the sermon with the guy who gave the sermon. If there's anybody you want to discuss scripture with, it's him. There's a reason he's the teaching pastor: he has such wisdom. Such wonderful wisdom. It's the coolest thing, to hear the sermon, dwell on it for a few days then get to commune with peers and discuss it, while getting input from the guy who preached the sermon itself. It's like discussing a John Piper book, with your best friends....and John Piper.

On top of that, the campus ministry I attend encourages upperclassmen (non-freshmen) to get involved in a Depth Group. In this case, it's a small group of 4 or so (in my case) girls who meet weekly with a woman who is a member of the church with which the ministry is affiliated. Now the thing  I really love about this is that when we sign up to be in a Depth Group, we are committing to it for the rest of our college career. AKA, I'll be studying the word and spending time with these girls every week for the next 2 1/2 years. Talk about valuable! It's so much more intensive and ensuring to know that we're in it for the long haul, together. I had a great Bible study for 6 years back home, but it wasn't one like this, where we each as individuals were committing to sticking with it for x amount of years. Knowing that the four of us are committed to making our time together a priority for the next 2 1/2 years really changes the dynamic. You're no longer opening your heart to people who might be here then gone, but to people who care about you and who want to walk with you for a decent chunk of time. It's great. It's just great.

All of this to say, I can't deny the obviousness of the value of community. People are what make your life: not accomplishments, not degrees, but people.

Getting an A on a paper a couple days ago didn't make my week.
Getting invited over to have coffee and cinnamon rolls and fellowship on a Saturday morning did.

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Farewell Summer

This summer, I worked at a Christian camp in Texas and LOVED every stinkin' minute of it, but boy was it hot. I'm almost certain there wasn't a single day that we didn't hit 100 degrees, and we often rose above it. I remember one day being told that the temperature was a balmy 113 degrees. As you can bet, Texas heat is one of the things that drove me north(ish) for college. I wanted a place with seasons: where the leaves turned when they were supposed to and there was actual snow in the winter. It suffices to say, I'm getting what  I asked for. Fall is really setting in here in Carolina. Today the high was 58 degrees and when I walked out to the car to go to church this morning it was in the 40s. THE 40S. Granted, it's going to warm up a bit (low 70s) for the next couple of weeks, but even still, it is SO nice. I actually turned on the heat in my car tonight as  I was driving around. And on top of that I wished I had a pair of gloves. I know, I know, Bonnie, what are you thinking, it's only October 2nd. But if you can walk around in 50 degree weather and not have your fingers get all numb, then I will try it too. I also had my first cup of apple cider today (yay!). Point being, I couldn't be happier right now. This wonderful changing of seasons makes up for the massive amount of work I have been assigned for the next two weeks. If I'm going to spend all day, every day working and studying, at least I can do it on a campus who's leaves are starting to turn and who's air has the crisp snap of fall.

In short, I just want to say: Autumn, this Texan is welcoming you with open arms.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Pizza Pizza

So, praise the Lord, I am living in an apartment this year! It's on campus, so it's still relatively close to everything, but has all the perks of apartment-style living. I've found I have WAY more storage space here than I did in my dorm, and can actually live practically, instead of tip toeing around drawers of sweaters and sitting at my desk with my knees up to my chin. It's lovely. Alsooo, I have the blessing of a living room, couch, chairs, kitchen table and all! It's just nice to have more than one room, like the dorm living was. Something else we have that I realize I really used to take advantage of is windows! Last year we had one measly little window, and it looked out onto a steeply rising slope of ivy to the barely-visible sidewalk above (it's sufficient to say, not exactly a spectacular view). But this year, we have 7, count 'em SEVEN, windows, three of which are in my bedroom alone! It's SO wonderful, I can see everything and I love it!

Now, getting to the point of this post, we also have a full kitchen (refrigerator, microwave, stove, oven, sink, cabinets, etc). So, naturally, I'm all over making new foods. I've been following one food blog in particular: How Sweet It Is. This girl has sooo many good recipes and stories to go with them too! Sadly, I have to practice a whole lot of self restraint, otherwise we'd always have two batches of cookies and a cake in the apartment. However, recently she posted a recipe for her Greek pizza and it sounded soooooo good. Like mouthwatering-ly good. So, I decided to try it, but i tweaked some (several) things. (However, let it stand that her post was the inspiration for me to make pizza at all!) So...I bought a ball of pizza dough from the local grocery store, sadly, I don't have the time of the resources to go about making my own dough like that lucky lady. And in the end, I resolved to top my pizza with marinara, fetta, garlic (chunks) and green onions.

MAN was it good. Even when it was in the oven the whole apartment smelled like heaven, drenched in joy, sprinkled with delight, with a hunk of happiness on top. No exaggeration. I even re-heated some of the leftovers for dinner tonight and it was still just as good. (ok, well the crust wasn't crunchy anymore, but what the hey?!) Needless to say, this has sparked an addiction. I am now scouring her blog for new recipes to tweak and try. So, yes, this blog might become a bit of a foodie blog, but that's just part of my life. 

One more thing I wanted to mention. My dad always jokes that it's my mom who should help me move into my dorm, my first apartment, my first house, etc because we need to nest. And as stupid as it sounds and as much as I want to deny it, it's 100% true. Mom did help me move in and she did help me nest, but for some reason, this past week has brought on a whole other week of nesting. Out of the blue. I bough some flowers for the kitchen table and just loved the way they looked, so I went out and bought some more for the kitchen. Then I passed by the Yankee Candle Co. section in Bed, Bath, and Beyond (let's all admit it right now, those candles are ADDICTING) and snatched up a couple with two simple little glass votives. Those are now next to the sink and just seeing them makes me happy. Sadly though, all these things are just temporary. (I know, why such a debbie-downer?) BUT I read a quote the other day by C.S. Lewis that said (in a very loose paraphrase) "When I have desires that this world cannot fulfill, I can come to no other conclusion than that we were not made for this world." So it's a bit of a happy pondering: no matter how much I nest, or how many times, or how much I get torn between college-home and home-home, none of this is my true home. Our home is waiting for us, in a perfect place, and it will have all the candles and flowers we can dream of. 

Saturday, August 6, 2011

it is no longer i who live

So this summer I've been working at a Christian summer camp in Texas as a wrangler (as in, with horses). And let me just say, it has been a challenge. I had little to no previous experience with horses aside from the fact that I was afraid of them. But, thankfully, the Lord helped me overcome the fear and that really hasn't been a worry since day 1. Something that's been a huge challenge though is the amount of work we do and allowing myself to get weighed down by exhaustion. To be quite honest, I've never worked this hard in my life (I'm talking 4:30 a.m.s all week, 17 hour days of working working working on7 hours of sleep, for 6 weeks straight). Legitimately, have never worked this hard in my life. But oh heavens has it been an incredible experience! God's been bringing to my thoughts a lot about how easy it is to slip back into being selfish when you're tired and hurting and irritable. I've been trying to pin down exactly how to describe this lesson that He's been teaching me, but nothing quite gets it right. So I've been at a loss for words on the matter for the past 5 weeks until the other morning at a staff Bible study when one of our leaders read from Galatians 2. It said simply this:

"I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me."

It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. I'm not living my life anymore, I'm living for Him. My purpose is to glorify him and enjoy him forever. I no longer live. This concept is one of those things that, for me, when I heard it, it just blew my mind. It was spot on with what I had been learning and trying to grasp. All that I'm doing, all that I work for, all that I sweat for day in and day out is for Him. Because He lives in me. I am merely a vessel for him to carry out his will, his good, pleasing and perfect will.

It's lessons like this that really make me love camp.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

18 going on 7

Now, I don't know about y'all, but even as an "adult" there are still many childish things that I enjoy. Personally, I feel that there are certain things you are never too old to do. One of those great things is coloring books. I mean, really, are you ever too old to whip out your 64 pack of crayons and pass the time with a good old coloring book? Another thing I think we never grow out of is any form of make-believe or imagination. Have you ever sat down with a 4 year old and played with them? They have the most incredible imagination and I think holding onto a bit of that as you get older is AWESOME. It makes life so much more fun! And on that same wavelength, us girls are never too old for Disney movies or any of those sappy romantic comedies. Cause really, what's better than a fairy tale? And on top of all this, I think one of the most enjoyable activities to carry over from childhood to adulthood is amusement parks. Cause really, you're never too old to spend the day at a water park, an amusement park, or a state fair.
Anyway, I hope this encourages y'all to resurrect a couple fun childhood indulgences and make your life a little sweeter!

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Catechism Numero Uno

"To glorify Him and enjoy Him forever"

The simplest of phrases that has had a phenomenal effect on me as of late. It is one of those basic mantras that many of us bible-belters learned in our elementary Sunday school classes, but it's beauty and significance has recently been brought to light for me. This is our chief end, our main purpose, our sole motive for life. I've been dwelling on this phrase daily and particularly appreciate calling it into thought first thing in the morning. There are few things that can give you better perspective for life than reminding yourself daily of your purpose for living. All other things fade away and fall limp with unimportance when you remember that the reason we are all alive today is "to glorify Him and enjoy Him forever."

Really lends some much needed perspective, doesn't it?

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

All that His Love Is

Quite simply, I heard this song today and wanted to share it. I'm sure some of you have heard it before, but if you haven't (or even if you have) I implore you to take a minute and listen to it. It's called "Your Love Is Strong" by Jon Foreman.

"Heavenly Father, you always amaze me.
Let your kingdom come in my world and in my life.
Give me the food I need to live through today
and forgive me as I forgive the people that wrong me.
Lead me far from temptation.
Deliver me from the evil one.

I look out the window, the birds are composing.
Not a note is out of tune or out of place.
I walk to the meadow and stare at the flowers
better dressed than any girl on her wedding day.

So why do I worry? Why do I freak out?
God knows what I need. You know what I need.

Your love is
Your love is 
Your love is strong
Your love is
Your love is 
Your love is strong
Your love is
Your love is 
Your love is strong

The kingdom of the heavens is now advancing.
Invade my heart, invade this broken town.
The kingdom of the heavens is buried treasure.
Would you sell yourself to buy the one you've found?

Two things you told me: that you are strong,
and you love me. Yes, you love me.

Your love is
Your love is 
Your love is strong
Your love is
Your love is 
Your love is strong
Your love is
Your love is 
Your love is strong

Our God in heaven
Hallowed be thy name
Above all names
Your kingdom come
Your will be done
On earth as it is in heaven
Give us today our daily bread
Forgive us weary sinners
Keep us far away from our vices
And deliver us from these prisons."

Tonight, I also heard this: "I don't have to be afraid, because I know that you love me, and your love never fails." His love never fails to astound me in all of its abilities, its strength, its endurance, and its magnitude. 

In all of its perfection.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

175 Years Young

For those of you who aren't infatuated with all things Texas, I'd like to let you know that today is our beloved state's 175th birthday! That's right, 175 years ago on March 2, 1836, Texas became a republic.

Texas pride, baby. Nothing sweeter.

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Taken by the Hand

Today, I came to realize just how much I love being led.

The opportunity to have someone else be in charge, to guide your steps, it's blissful.
When you are led, you are allowed to not know. You are allowed to be blissfully unaware of what is happening, where you're going and what needs to be done. You don't have to do anything, you just have to follow.
When you are led, you are not held responsible for what happens. You don't have the burden of worry and you have no reason for concerns.
When you are led, you are not the one who has to plan out your future, it is planned for you. You don't have to be preoccupied over whether or not you're doing the right thing for you or for those around you. Because when you are led, the one you are following knows what you need.

Considering all of these thouroughly enticing qualities of the state of being led, why is it that it is so hard for us to allow God to lead us? I know, speaking for myself, there have been many times when I wished I could just let go of whatever matter I was clenching with white knuckles and give it up to God, and allow Him to lead me, but I just can't. At times I have a compulsive desire for control, a desire to be the one who leads. But (for lack of better phrasing) that's just so stupid! I know a shockingly small amount of what is good for me, what I need, what path I'm supposed to be on, and what my future will be like, and yet I still feel that I have the qualifications to be the one at the steering wheel.

I want to merely recline, and go through life as God directs. I want to let Him take me where I need to go. I want Him to bear the burden of my future, because He can handle it so much more gracefully than I ever could. During those few times when I give up my compulsive desire for control, when I let Him take me by the hand and lead me, I feel all the peace and freedom of being led. And I want it more often.

Friday, February 11, 2011

America's Pride and Joy

Now, I know this is a bit behind the times, but in my personal opinion, the Super Bowl is never out of date. Sooo...

Could there be anything more American? An entire day devoted to football. I love it! Love it love it love it. Now, I don't know about ya'll but neither the Packers or the Steelers are my team. I support the Cowboys through and through. True, their year was less than decent, but they're still my team. To endure a season wreaked by an injured quarter back, and a fired coach, they still managed to hold their own at times. Props for that. Point being, that even though the illustrious Cowboys did not make it to the Super Bowl this year, I still felt obligated to watch it. Didn't you? I mean, honestly, the Super Bowl is a momentous occasion, a football game of epic proportions, and that is simply something that is too big to miss!Aaaaand, you have those wonderfully unique and flat out funny commercials. It seems that this is the one time a year that advertisers really do put their best foot forward.

And speaking of epic proportions, can I draw your attention to the mega-stadium that the team of yours truly felt the need to construct? True, everything is bigger in Texas, but this threatens to claim that everything is excessive in  Texas. Sadly, I have never had the honor of seeing this glorious feat of architecture, but boy, I would give my left arm to do so. Of course, I'm sure you've heard of the larger than life, 60 yard long mega-screen. On top of that, there's the mongo retractable roof, the giant glass panes that rotate to open up the ends of the stadium, the (less than tasteful) dancer areas amongst the seats, and the 80,000 seating capacity in addition to the 110,000 standing room capacity. This is one for the history books.

Anyway, being in North Carolina, where basketball reigns and football is a pathetic joke, there are few things that assuage my homesickness more than a good game of football. Thankfully, my roommate (from Miami) is an avid NFL follower as well, which makes the fact that one of us always have a game on tv thoroughly enjoyable.  And I will say, fortunately for the sake of our safety, I was out of town during the Miami v Dallas game.

Being away from dear old Texas, it makes me smile and giggle like a little girl inside any time somebody mentions southern football, because it is always accompanied by the statement "cause football really is like religion down there." It's so true, and I wouldn't have it any other way. I'll be sitting on the sidelines and yelling at the referee until my dying day.

Friday, January 14, 2011

What Happened to Loving Books for Being Books?

So, I'm sure you've all heard plenty about the Nook and the Kindle and all this e-reader hooplah. And, as I'm sure all of you do, I've got an opinion about it. I'm one of those girls who takes four or five books on my long trips, and yes, I will admit, it's inconvenient. For that reason, I think these e-readers are absolutely wonderful!

But, I cannot deny the obvious deficiency of the classic element of books. One of the reasons I love books so much is because they are.....well, BOOKS! I love their smell, I love the feel of the pages, the feel of the binding. I love the way a well loved book becomes so flexible and malleable. It's wonderful! and obviously, that element is missing with this new wave of technology.

However, the biggest qualm I have with this new fad is that I want to build a library. When I'm 80 and old and can't even walk down the stairs, I want to have a library that can take me anywhere. And if I purchase books on an e-reader, I won't have a permanent physical book to add to my library. Now, being my innovative self, I've come up with a solution. I'm just waiting for Barnes and Noble or Amazon to realize my genius and snatch up the idea. ; ) But honestly, I would love it if these e-readers had a feature where you could, say, scan the barcode on a book that I already own, and it would automatically upload to the e-reader. This makes the best of both worlds!

But, of course, this doesn't exist right now. So, for now, I'm satisfied lugging around all my books and reading and smelling them to my hearts content. This is one book-lover that has not been converted to the fad.