Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Tuesday: Ridiculously Random Yet Strangely Endearing

Char...this one's for you...

Monday's Fabulous Moment of the Day...

Since Emily's Monday's Fabulous Moment of the Day didn't happen on Monday, I decided mine shouldn't either.

And so instead we have Monday's (Friday's) Fabulous Moment of the Day. While I fully intend to write a full blog about my amazing weekend at home, complete with pictures, this particular post will be dedicated to a moment which would be more accurately titled, "Monday's (Friday's) Fabulous Moment of My Life."

Friday morning I got up all kinds of early to catch a 7 am flight back home to St. Louis. *Special thanks to Char for taking me to the airport at the insane 5:00 hour.

The morning was pretty standard...

...wait for it...

AHAHAHA. Yeah right...nothing in my life is ever pretty standard.

So I got to the airport at about 5:45 am and was totally half asleep. As I was going through security the girl in front of me gets stopped and they tell her they need to search her purse. Upon carefully gloved searching, they pulled out a butter knife. Let me reiterate...the girl in front of me tried to take a knife onto an airplane. Well, I was half asleep right up until they busted out that puppy at which point, I woke up. She of course starts apologizing profusely and begging for grace. And while I'm wondering what kind of insane consequences she's going to have to suffer for that little slip-up they say, "Ma'am...ma'am...it's okay. You can actually take this with you, we just had to take it out and examine it."

Excuse me, what?

Again, let me say that she had A KNIFE in case any of you were still confused.

She and I both looked at each other wondering if this was a joke, but in fact the security person repeated herself and told her that she could take it with her to which the woman responded, "Actually I would feel better if you just threw it away."

Yeah...me too. I'm still wondering why she had a butter knife in her purse in the first place but whatevs.

Moving on in my day, I boarded the plane and was seated next to a fabulous, large black woman who up until Friday had not been on an airplane in 25 years. Suffice it to say I adored her and I had a really entertaining time sitting next to her. If I could convey the conversation that we had without all of the cursing that came from her being terrified of the plane, I would. But as much as I hate to say it, it just wouldn't be as funny. I will leave that hilariousness to your imagination.

Now to the good stuff...

So I finally made it to St. Louis after a pitstop in Minnesota and I headed downstairs to get my luggage. As I was walking toward the baggage area I smelled an extremely familiar perfume that immediately made Kathy Troccoli pop into my brain.


For those of you who don't know, Kathy Troccoli is pretty much my favorite singer of all time, not necessarily because of her singing. Her music has been incredibly important to me since I was about 11 years old and it's the kind of music that always comes along at the right time in life. Not only that, but I read a book of hers at just the right time of life. I went to a conference and heard her speak at just the right time of life. God has used her gifts to speak to me on many occasions so when her music or writing comes up, I know to listen. I have all of her CDs on my iPod and it's what I turn on when I need some encouragement or when I'm seeking God's presence. That being said, I went to one of her conferences about a year and a half ago at my church in Illinois and had the pleasure of meeting her. I could write out that very long story here, but I won't seeing as how this post is already insanely long.

But the point is that on Friday I smelled the same perfume I had smelled a year and a half ago when I met her at the conference. In my own defense, smell is very closely associated with memory and because that's the only memory I have associated with that smell, that's what popped into my brain.

So as I walked by, my brain said, "Kathy Troccoli." I turned around and she was sitting right there next to the baggage claim with her piano player. I freaked out and just stood there trying to figure out what to do. I would have loved to tell her how God had used her in my life but I knew that would simply take too long. In the meantime my grandma calls and says, "I'm waiting outside for you." I said, "Grandma, my favorite singer of all time is sitting here in the airport and I think I'm going to talk to her but I haven't figured out what to say yet." To which she said, "Well I can't sit here forever or they're going to kick me out. What am I supposed to do?" To which I said, "I don't know. You'll figure it out," and promptly hung up the phone. Luckily, she's very forgiving. As I was standing there I could hear Kathy behind me singing a little under her breath. The longer I stood there the more nervous I got but I finally realized that I could not walk away without saying something. Not to her. To anyone else yes. But not to her.

I took a deep breath and turned around and said, "I don't mean to be rude, but I really just want to tell you how much I love your music. It's very important to me." Her piano player smiled really big and said, "Well there's nothing rude about that." Kathy stood up and introduced herself and asked me what my name was. I told her and had the conversation stopped there all would have been fine, but I went into a little babbling spell where I accidentally said that I had recognized her perfume from one of her conferences last year. Awkward moment #1. Then she asked me if I was in town for her conference to which I had to say, "Um...no." Awkward moment #2. She told me she was actually just working on some new song lyrics for the album she has coming up and just as my brain was racing madly toward Awkward moment #3 in which I would have told her that I had been listening to her sing for the past 5 minutes, I pulled myself together, told her I was looking forward to it and thanked her for letting me interrupt.

And then I walked away to pick up my bags. For a fraction of a second I let myself play the "Oh I should have said this and I definitely should NOT have said that" game but then I realized how bizarre it was that while I've met a lot of famous people, I've never met them outside of the context of what they do. I've never stumbled upon someone famous in an airport before or run into them at a restaurant. And the first time I do, it's Kathy Troccoli, of all people. The person whose music, writing and speaking God has used consistently throughout my life to make His presence known.

I don't really know what all that means or entails and although it seems like I should end this with some great revelation I didn't have one. But it definitely made me think and absolutely had to be Monday's (Friday's) Fabulous Moment of the Day.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Only David Crowder

So awhile back, Emily posted this little golden youtube gem. Probably one of the funniest things of my life. Soon after, I discovered that it had spread to all of the youth ministry blogs I read and really the larger blogging realm in general.

You can imagine how magical it felt to discover that David Crowder in all of his amazingness decided to remix "Jesus is my Friend."

For your enjoyment...

Tuesday's New Series:

Ridiculously Random Yet Strangely Endearing...

Monday, September 22, 2008

Monday's Fabulous Moment of the Day:

Okay so kind of like how Emily has "Flashback Friday," I've decided that especially on Mondays it is important that we seek out fabulousness and so begins my new series "Monday's Fabulous Moment of the Day." Truth be told, it was the moment that found me and I just needed to find a reason to blog about it.

Let me start by saying that for a brown headed, green eyed, pasty white girl, people ask me about my heritage quite frequently. People have wondered if I'm Asian, Mexican, Italian and who knows what else. My first assumption is always that it's because my hair is so dark, but without fail, people always tell me that it's because of my eyes. I don't know why...maybe because they get really squinty when I smile too big. I truly have no idea.

But, being questioned about where the heck my people come from is not new to me and rarely am I surprised by the conversations.

It should also be stated for the record, if any of you don't know this, that I am the only white person at my workplace and I LOVE it. We have so much fun and anyone who knows me knows how much I love bustin' out my white girl ghetto, frequently to the dismay of my very gracious co-workers.

Okay, now that we have all that out of the way I shall relay Monday's Fabulous Moment of the Day:

Monday morning conversation between my boss and me:

Her: "So you met my mom this weekend while she was here!"
Me: "Yeah, she's really nice!"
Her: "GIRL...let me just tell you what she said about you."
Me: "Um..."
Her: "No, it's not bad or anything. She told me you were super sweet!"
Me: "Oh well that's good to know."
Her: "And then she asked me if you were totally white and I said 'Mama you saw her skin, you know she's white.' And then she said, 'Are you sure? Cuz it looks like maybe she has a tint.'"

...awkward pause while I stare at her wondering if this is a joke...

And then we roll on the floor laughing.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Friday, September 19, 2008

Something strange...

is going on in Austin.

I don't know what it is but I know I feel it and I know others feel the same thing. God is stirring people up and I don't know what His plans for it are, but if we're all paying attention and we all move when He tells us to move something big is going to happen. There's not a doubt in my mind that that's what we're being prepared for because everyone knows it. It's been talked about, blogged about and prayed over. It's a constant topic of discussion and a constant on people's hearts.

I don't know what it means for me personally yet. That's something I'm still listening for, but I know I'm surrounded by a bunch of people who all came to this place by God's calling and none of us really know why yet. But we all have the same stirring, the same working on our hearts that is far greater than anything I have ever experienced.

I will continue posting about it as things sort themselves out and God begins revealing His plan for all this. I'll lay my heart on the internet here for a second and say that my greatest fear, the thing that would be really heartbreaking in all of this, is that 5 years down the road I'll look back at this post and realize that those of us who were brought here walked right past what God was calling us to. It's easy to be moved by God in our own lives, for me to come to the theatre everyday and try my best to do God's work here in this building, but it's something far different for thousands of people to come together and do God's work in this city. And we could all probably convince ourselves that we just made this feeling up, that we fed off of each other and the Sunday morning sermons and just needed something to hold on to. But deep down, we'd know we were wrong. The greatest prayer of my heart is that we do something now, while we have the opportunity. Because if we wait, we're going to miss it.

Luckily, I have the utmost trust in the faith of the people around me. I see that they're all on fire and ready to go and I'm hoping that when the day comes I'll be able to keep up.

"Seek the welfare of the city where I have sent you into exile, and pray to the Lord on its behalf; for in its welfare you will have welfare."
~Jeremiah 29:7

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Uhland, TX...I'll see you soon.

The end of an era has come...

My time of living in Uhland, TX is over and while I considered staying just for the stories, I knew in my heart it was time to move on. Uhland was a great blessing to me for a time and I have no intention of being a stranger. There are still great adventures to be had. But for now, it was best that I move up to Austin.

On Sunday evening, I packed up my room in Uhland and on Monday morning Kelley and I loaded up her dad's truck and my car and bounced up I35 at about 40 miles an hour, getting honked at the entire way.

And friends, I'm really glad my camera was really close by because if I hadn't had the opportunity to document me looking exhausted, filthy and utterly scrappy as we made this move, I would have been really sad.

And so I present to you the twenty-something single girl version of The Beverly Hillbillies:
Me with the ghetto truck and all of my junk bungee corded down. The truck looks surprisingly clean, but don't be fooled. Oh and the house in the background is not in Uhland. It's where my stuff is chilling out in Austin for a while.
The inside of the truck where I threw all of the extra junk that I didn't know what to do with. I plopped something down on the seat and a large cloud of dust puffed up and settled on my face.

Kelley and I in the AMAZING hats we found in the truck. As much as I would love to say that we wore these bad boys all day long, we didn't. I can only handle looking that redneck for a moment. I am SO glad Kel was around to help me move. It was a lot more fun that way.

AHAHA...oh my gracious...I can't believe I'm putting these pictures up...whatevs...over and out.

First thing Monday morning before we even started loading up the vehicles, I walked out to my car in my flip flops to get my Chacos out of my car. I put the Chacos down on the ground and stepped out of my flip flops. Just as I was putting on my Chacos, Daisy, one of the inbred dogs from next door, comes running up to me and is doing everything in her power to get me to pet her. I said, "Daisy, friend, I don't have time for this right now. I have to get packed." And as she continued to rub her nose all over my leg I said, "No Daisy, go home." I leaned back into my car to get something and when I turned around, she was totally gone. I didn't even hear her feet running across the gravel. I looked down to pick up my flip flops and where there had been two laying beside me, there was now one. I looked all over thinking maybe I kicked it under the car or threw it in the back seat on accident but it was nowhere to be found.

I suppose that's what I get for telling Daisy I didn't have time for her. Or maybe she just knew I was leaving and hoped it would cause me to stay. But, I just smiled and walked in the house knowing that there couldn't be a more perfect end to my time in Uhland, Texas...well, unless an armadillo had waddled up. It was one of the flip flops the podiatrist had been yelling at me for wearing anyway. And now, just as I hold a special place in my heart for Uhland, I guess now Uhland will also forever hold a very special piece of me.

In all seriousness though, God has continued to amaze me with the people He's put into my life and the opportunities He has provided me to just keep moving forward one step at a time. And while it's sometimes hard to accept all that others are more than willing to offer, I am learning to. So I'm now basically a resident of Austin, Texas. My awesome friend Ruth offered to house all of my stuff and my amazing girls Charlotte and Liz offered to house me until I was able to move into my own place. It's a crazy feeling to literally be living out of a cardboard box and still be so at home and at peace, especially when I'm so far away from my home and family. While I normally feel like I can express myself better through writing, even that can't begin to convey my gratitude to God and the friends and family that I've found here.

And now, let the Adventures in Austin begin...

Sunday, September 14, 2008

It's been way too long since I last wrote an actual post. And there's a reason for that.

I've been busy.

Probably too busy. See, it's been the kind of busy where I feel like I'm barely keeping in step with life. Where if I slow down, even for a second, I'm going to fall behind. The kind of busy that makes me feel like I'm struggling just to keep my head above water. The kind of busy that makes me run around all day like a chicken with my head cut off but look back on it at the end of the day and can't seem to figure out what got accomplished.

...The kind of busy that causes me to only open my Bible on Sunday mornings because I was able to fit going to church into my schedule. The kind of busy that leaves me waiting to find time to pray. The kind of busy that unintentionally pushes God away and says, "I can do this on my own."

The kind of busy I'm not particularly proud of.

It's interesting because through all of this I do believe I've been doing what God was calling me to do, I've just frequently been doing it without Him and today I received an incredibly grace-filled and gentle reminder that there's just no need for that. A reminder that as my life speeds up, I should be seeking Him more, not less.

One of the things that has kept me busy, although admittedly it was only my own inability to focus that caused it to keep me busy, was a project I needed to complete for the student ministry for this morning. I spent the better part of the week fretting about it, stressing about the fact that it wasn't what the leadership was looking for, that my small group co-leader wouldn't like it and most of all that my girls wouldn't respond to it. I had prayed in a moment of panic that God would provide me with an idea for what it should look like and within minutes He provided not only the idea but many of the resources. And right then is when all of my anxiety should have subsided, but I kept right on worrying, even after it was long finished and just waiting to be used.

This morning as I was getting the lighting ready for the student worship service an amazing new friend Chloe, whose maturity far surpasses being the senior in high school that she is, came to say hi. We chatted for a bit and I jokingly shared my concern that the display I had put together wasn't good enough and wasn't what they were hoping for. I told her I hadn't found enough time to make it look the way I wanted it to and that I was still a little stressed about it.

And I was incredibly blessed by her response...

She said the typical, "Oh I'm sure it's fine! Don't worry about it." And then said..."And no matter what it looks like, God will make it amazing in the eyes of those who need to see it."

And she then continued on with her normal encouragement but I don't know what she said because my head was spinning from this gentle reminder from God that all this time I've been running around trying to serve Him by giving all of myself when the fact of the matter is that all of me is not enough for anyone. Others don't need me, they need Him and I can run myself all the way down offering all that I have to those that I love, but it's just never going to be enough. I was reminded that God is made great in my weakness but I have to let myself be weak in order for Him to be great.

And you know the thing that still amazes me, after all these years of believing is that when I tried to take on life on my own this week, God could have just let me fall on my face. I certainly deserved to. But He didn't. He stayed right behind me the whole time and when I slowed down long enough to listen, He said, "I'm still here."

I have a lot of big changes coming up. Exciting and fun changes, but change nonetheless. It's my prayer that I won't get too far ahead of myself this time around. That I'll dust myself off and start over, this time walking beside, not in front someone far greater than myself.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Oh child, precious one
Let your life shine like the sun
But you say "How long 'til I can come home
'Til I can rest in your arms again"
And I say "Not long but don't miss this life and I'll be
Waiting 'til then"

Live with the wonder of a child
Pray with your arms thrown open wide
Love with a love that has no end
Until I see you again

Oh child, precious one
With each breath know you are loved
But you say "How long 'til I can come home
'Til I can rest in your arms again"
And I say "Not long but don't miss this life and I'll be
Waiting 'til then"

~Mark Schultz

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Saturday, September 6, 2008

laughing so hard i'm crying

Mom, watch this...you'll love it.

My day just keeps gettin' better.

A real post will come soon, but until then...

Oh, and P.S., the nun beauty pageant got cancelled. Seems a lot of people thought it was sacriligeous or something. Whatevs.

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Ah highschool...

AHAHAHA. Awesome.

This is what show choir used to look like kids...

(Whoever can find me gets a free hug.)
*Hint: I look exactly the same, minus 7 years and 20 pounds.