Tuesday, October 29, 2013

October is Over....

i have managed to write only one other blog post in the month of october. & of course, it was about christmas, because the tree is up. i have been enjoying having the tree up, as have many of my friends. but some people think i am absolutely crazy. & to that i say, i have been called worse things than crazy so...

anyhow, if i tried to write about everything that has happened between my last blog post and this one, we would all get bored. i would get tired of writing & eventually you would stop reading.

here is something kind of random & fun. i am starting an article for my school newspaper called "Cooking On Campus." it will just have some recipes that i have made that are simple for college students to make. it will be something different & hopefully give them a little break from sodexo ;)

i changed my major this semester, which has already proven to be awesome. while i am going to be at school for a time longer, i know that i am doing the right thing. many people think i am crazy switching my major in my senior year, but oh well. like i said, i have been called worse things than crazy. & i am super excited about being here on campus & i am even more excited about this incredible peace that i have had since making my decision, crazy or not.

this past sunday was our fall festival at church. what a fun time! lots of little kids in cute little costumes, candy, hanging out with friends, and even having a friend show up in a teletubbie costume. ha. i don't think i need to remind you that i have awesome friends. there are past blog posts to read about that, but really. i have great friends.

one thing that i think i am going to struggle with the most with this whole changing of the major is the fact that come next may, my closest group of friends will be graduating. & that makes me a little sad. but i know that there will be people that i can become closer friends with that will be there for me!

anyhow, that is a bit of an update. i can't wait for thanksgiving & i can't wait to see my family, but i can wait to do all the homework that comes in between now & then.

until next time my blog readers, until next time.

Monday, October 7, 2013

oh tannenbaum

well, it's october & if you know me, you know that means that the christmas decorations are up! & let me say, my tree looks awesome. last year around christmas time i decided that since i was in college there was a need for me to buy my own christmas tree for my dorm, just three or four feet high. so i did what any college student would do & i went to the nearest goodwill. at the second goodwill we went to, just when i was about to give up, i found a box....a big box. a box that had a seven and one half foot christmas tree in it. for fifteen dollars. are you kidding me? i bought it. there were no questions asked. even if my friends were going to let me put it up in our room, there was no way i was letting a seven and one half foot christmas tree for fifteen dollars get away from me. artificial trees cost way too much these days for that nonsense. anyhow, i didn't have to beg very hard for them to let me put the tree up, they thought it was just as awesome as i did.

so now here i am. it is october seventh. i am sitting in my living room, the roommate is doing homework, and we are contemplating going to bed, even if it is ridiculously early. & my christmas tree is there. all seven and one half feet of it. & it is glorious. i have been listening to christmas music nonstop for the past few days & the weather even cooled off for the weekend so that it seemed a little more normal.

most people will probably wonder why in the world i would choose to put up my christmas tree in october. well, i am so glad that you asked! yesterday, october sixth, was my dad's birthday. it's been a tradition for a long time to put up our christmas tree towards the beginning of the month of october & it always happened right around his birthday. since he loved christmas so much, it only seemed logical. just because he is gone now doesn't mean that tradition changes, & just because i am not at home with my family to put up our family tree doesn't mean that i can't start making my own traditions here. my roommate & i made homemade cookie dough the night before. i made dinner for my friends that came to help & we ate way too many cookies.

but oh well. my christmas tree is up. yes, it's only october, & yes i celebrate the holidays in between.

if you ever need something to brighten your day, stop on by. the tree is sparkling & my favorite "christmasy" scentsy scent is burning.

i love christmas.

Saturday, September 21, 2013

& 5 months later....

warning: this blog post is real random:

it's awhile since i have blogged about anything. to try to catch you up on all that has happened since april, would be ridiculous & it would take me forever. if you really want to know about my summer & the crazy things that came with it, i would love sit down & chat with you. it was really life changing.

lately, life has been crazy. the ups & downs have seemed to be so intense. God has definitely been working in my life & i am trying really hard to trust that God knows what is best for me, but sometimes that is not the easiest thing. 

today is a big day for the church that i attend. we are meeting someone that could potentially be the new worship pastor for our church. i am more than excited to meet him & to hear his story. at the same time, it's nerve-wracking. i have been helping out with music for the past few weeks so it's something that i have grown "attached" too, something that i want to keep safe & i know that if it is in my hands, that i can protect it, if that makes any sense at all. but now it's time to loosen my grip & pray for the person that God has brought to this position. we get to meet him tonight at seven, & i can't wait. 

as i have been working through those feelings, i also changed my major. it's my senior year. i know. crazy. but i feel so sure that this is right decision. i am trusting that God will take care of me and continue to guide. i am going into english education. i want to teach english over seas. and so far, even though i wasn't too worries about what "everyone else thought," everyone has been very supportive & thinks that it is a great idea. i am so very thankful for their support. 

i am looking forward to all that God has in store for me & to see what the future holds. but for now, i know that God has things under control, in all areas of my life, even when i can't see the why.

Monday, April 8, 2013

oh to be like howard.

this title may seem a little odd, but hello, im odd.

there should be at least one person in your life that you look at & think, "i want people to see in me what i see in them."

when i see dr. c (howard), that is exactly what comes to my mind.

last night was the first district assembly service. (district assembly is big gathering of nazarenes that happens once a year. there are meetings & worship services & what not.) there were a lot of people. & as i stood at the back of the sanctuary, dr. c was called up the front of the stage. there he was, just standing there smiling as usual. dr. toler was giving him this big introduction and talking about the great missionary service that he had done & his work at southern nazarene university. he is retiring this year.

let's not talk about it. i will cry.

nevertheless, dr. c deserved every clap & shout that echoed in that building last night, even though he did none of those things for the claps & shouts & attention.

when i see dr. c, i see his heart. i swear it is bigger than the size of texas. he has a great concern for everyone. he wants everyone to do well. he cares about you outside of the classroom as much as he does inside the classroom.

when i see dr. c, i see his compassion. he has told story after story in class about ways that he & barbara (his wife) have reached out to others. he spent some years in florence, italy (rough life, ha!). he spent some years in haiti. & each produce stories of the greatness of God & the work that God is doing in each of those places. each story that he tells (& sometimes retells) reflects on the person that he is. he has so much compassion for others & love for others.

when i see dr. c, i see Jesus. no, i do not think that dr. c is Jesus, but i do see Jesus shining through him. in everything that he does. wherever he goes, whomever he speaks to, it is with the intention of letting them know that he loves Jesus. & it's obvious.

i am not the only person who loves this man. everyone is sad to know that dr. c won't be around next year. ( i have tried to talk him into staying just one more year for my senior year...but he won't.)

i have had the privilege of getting to spend some time with dr.c by working as his student assistant. i have my little cubby right outside his office. not only do i work for him, but i also get to sit in class with him & he is also my academic advisor because i have been called to follow in his footsteps. & to be honest, i am a little afraid of that. they are some big shoes to fill. he has worked hard his entire life to glorify God to the utmost.

i certainly haven't known him for as long as some have, but in the short time that i have known him, i know exactly what he is about. there is no getting around it.

oh my friends. if there were more howard culbertson's in the world, the world would be a much different place. the world would be on fire for God & there would be nothing to hold anyone back from sharing it with every person that we come in contact with.

dr. c, thank you, from the bottom of my heart for all that you have done & for the example that you have given us. you will never know the amount of respect that i have for you & you will never know how greatly that you will be missed around this place.

we love you.

the end is nigh!

what a horrible blogger i am. i haven't blogged for an entire month! shame on me. a lot of life can happen in a month & surely a lot has happened. i have had two breaks from school, & glorious they were...well, minus the separation from my wonderful friends.

it's near the end of the school year & anytime you ask anyone how they are, the response will inevitably be "tired." there are roughly five weeks of school left. they are the crucial weeks. it's time to "hunker down." as the end of this school year comes though, i get a lot of mixed feelings. yes, i am more than ready for a break from the homework & deep thinking. but i am not ready for a break from learning. i have grown a ton in this past year. more than i could imagine. i have learned more than i honestly expected to. my relationships with people have grown deeper, with people that i didn't really expect them to. & because of that, the end of the school year is bittersweet.

with that being sad i am seriously looking forward to my summer. i have the opportunity to spend a whole month in italy serving with the local church. i'm beyond stoked. & i know that i am going to have a great time & that i am going to learn so much about the life that God has led me to. but with that comes the scary reality that i am soon going to be in the real world. in one short school year my life as a career missionary is going to be staring at me in the face.

here is my reality. i am scared. i am scared to go far away. i am scared to be away from my family. i am scared to be away from my church. i am scared to be away from my friends & from the people who have invested so much in my life. i am scared to leave "my comfort zone." i am afraid of not being the best missionary that i can be or failing to do the job at hand.

but i am more afraid of backing down from the task that God has asked of me. i am more afraid of not pleasing the Lord with all that i do. i know that God has placed this call on my life, a call that i have chosen to accept.

so as i try to wrap my mind around my call, i am more than grateful that i still have next year. as ready as i am to be done with this semester, knowing that i have one more year before i go into the big kid world is a great peace of mind.

i am excited to see how my life is going to unfold, but for now i am going to relish in these last five weeks of the semester & i am going to be present in the lives of the people that i love.

ever overwhelmed by the plan that God has for your life? don't worry, you aren't the only one.

Thursday, March 7, 2013

"the struggle is real"

i stole that title from a friend. & even though it is usually meant to be a joke, oh so true it is. & most of the time, we don't like to admit it.

wednesday night. church night. always has been, more than likely always will be. but tonight was different. there was three, then there was two, then back to three, & then back to two. & despite the fact that for the majority of the time there was only two of us, "church" still happened. i will still able to glean from it. i was able to learn a few things about myself. things that perhaps i already knew deep down inside, but when they are verbalized by someone else, they make more sense. & that was me tonight.

i'm going to be honest. i'm struggling. things that i don't necessarily want to share on here, mainly because i am not ready to be THAT vulnerable. but nevertheless, "the struggle is real."

i like to be in control. i like for things to happen a certain way. i don't like to be unprepared. i don't like to make a fool of myself, especially in front of people. i like for things to go smoothly. i want everyone to gain from whatever is going on. & sometimes it's overwhelming. i try to balance so many different things because, as i have stated before, i love to help people & help fix people.

i was told last night that i try to do too much on my own. anyone who knows me knows that i have a big heart & love to be around people. i can't say no. i want to help out in as many ways as possible. but sometimes that can mean being spread to thin. & i can't give one-hundred percent to things because i have so many things that need my attention. but, having a big heart isn't a good enough excuse to just say yes to everything, especially when i don't let God in to help me. & that means i am not trusting God enough. i am not trusting that God can keep things under control without me. i think that i can do things on my own. ha.

real life: i can't. & i know that & i tell other people to "just trust God." it might be time to take my own advice.

it's not easy to have someone else point out your weaknesses. but it sure does grab your attention & make you think.

& yesterday, the struggle was real. today, the struggle is still real. but today i am choosing to trust the Lord.

is the struggle real? don't worry. you aren't the only one.

Thursday, February 28, 2013

as for me & my house...

i post a butt ton about my friends. but lesbihonest (haha) they are pretty much the most amazing friends anyone could ask for. so, why not blog about them.

last night was so great. the Lord was among us at our service last night. & it is not because of anything special that was planned. as a matter of fact, it was the opposite. this week has been a bit crazy & other things have been occupying my time. i am not trying to make up an excuse for not being prepared for this weekly task, because there is no excuse. i just didn't do it. of course last minute i am trying to throw some songs together for worship & here i am thinking that if i don't pick the most perfect songs for tonight, then no one will get anything out of it. so we (we being myself and zach, the guy who leads worship with me) try to throw some songs together. we finally come to three songs. we print the chords & the lyrics & off to the church we go to practice. then we get there & one of the songs wasn't going to work so we had to throw it out & pick a new song. but we weren't going to have lyrics for it because we had no way of getting the lyrics. (hang in there with me, this gets better.) so, last minute we are scrambling to come up with another song. we pick a fast (& pretty old school & cheesy) song. we get through the first song & then boom! slow song. haha. it might have been a little awkward at the start. but when we started to sing those words. everyone slowed down. everyone seemed to get into it. & even though we were still practicing with two minutes left before church started, it was actually coming together. of course, we know that it is not because of anything that we did. heck, we weren't even in the right mind set when we started the service.

but anyways. we keep singing this song. the song is basically saying that we want to be better. we want  the Lord to give us a clean heart & we are telling the Lord that we are turning from our sin & running to Him. pretty powerful stuff. it may seem like pretty basic Bible, but sense when did things need to be complicated? so, we are all singing, zach prays, we sing, zach prays. then out of no where (not really, but seemingly out of no where) came our worship pastor & boom! we have the piano. & we end up having the epic night of worship & you could just feel the presence of the Lord wrapped around you like a big blanket. (i think it would have been a lot like elizabeth's heated blanket!) we sang some more songs, we held hands, we cried, we prayed, & people shared what was on their hearts.

but something that stuck with me the most was this. "it doesn't matter what frame of mind that we come to church in, God is going to use us." (this is a bit paraphrased, but you get the picture.)  you see, i might not have been prepared for church last night, but the Lord was. the Lord showed up without every note being just right or everything being super smooth. the Lord doesn't need me to have church. the Lord doesn't need for me to be perfect. (amen!) the Lord just needs me to be willing (even when i don't feel like it), to have an open heart & to allow Him to guide me.

you see, worship isn't a feeling, it's a lifestyle. & everyday we have a choice to make. we have a choice to worship when the sun is shining down on us or when the road is marked with suffering. the Lord tells us that things aren't going to be easy. but the Lord promises us that if we choose Him, He will guide & lead us & carry us through.

today is new day. what will you choose?

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

two wise guys..

i know that all my blogs are serious. & to be honest, this one will be no different. in fact i will cry typing it...haha

this blog is more of a shout out to two very special people to me. they are both men that i look up to & trust & feel that the Lord has placed in my life for a very specific purpose. they both let me talk about life experience & let me be completely me. they let me laugh & cry. they teach & guide me. they are true inspirations.

ever since the passing of my dad, there has been what i would call a "lack of male guidance." there have been times where i would want to pick up the phone & call my dad to tell him something exciting but i can't. there are lots of things that cross my mind that won't happen with my dad that the majority of my friends aren't going to understand, not that i would ever want them to. (i do want to say that my friends do a fantastic job of listening to me rant though!)

& i have been praying. it is not easy to let someone in & perhaps "fill the void." but, i have been praying that God would place a male figure in my life that i could look up to & trust & go to when i need some "fatherly" advice.

& boy has God come through. God didn't just give me one, God gave me two. one who understands where i am coming from because he has been through the same thing. & i want these two people to know that i love them very much & i appreciate them both more than they will ever know. i get teary eyed (i know, shocker) just typing this.

these two men have become that "father" figure to me. & i love them.

jason mcwilliams & tim crutcher, you are deeply loved. know that i am grateful for each of you & that God is using you, even when you don't know it!

Monday, February 18, 2013

'tis the sweet life..

sleeping in.
weekends that are productive yet relaxing.
hearing THE best news & *almost* crying. (almost is very key, people)
singing les mis songs before church starts.
my adopted family <3.
practically perfect weather.
laughing til we don't remember why we are laughing.
getting your bangs trimmed.
talking to my mother on the phone.
falling asleep watching roman holiday with audrey hepburn & thinking, "i'm going there!"
great emails that inform you that class is canceled today & next week.
looking forward to celebrating a friend's engagement.

oh yes, all of this with the world's best group of friends. boom. 'tis the sweet life...

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

love is a many-splendored thing

if you know anything about me, you know that i stress. a lot. i stress about things that won't ever effect me...ever. & even though stressing out might not be how everyone else deals with their life problems (or other people's life problems), it's how i deal with "it" (whatever the "it" might be for the time).

i have come to the realization that i stress out about other people's problems more than my own. i've also come to the realization that it might be in avoidance of my own life stressers. if i focus on other people, my problems don't seem as big. if i can fix other people then i will find this sense of self-worth (i know, it sounds crazy. tell me something i don't know). this week i have asked my self why? why is a big question. but why? why do i allow myself to stress out about other people & the things that they are going through? why do i care about the choices they make & the choices that are made by others that will effect them? why do i care about what they do, why they do it, & how can i help & be involved in their lives? how can i "fix" them?

yes. i know. i can't fix people. but i can help people. but why do i have this intense passion to help people?

then. it hit me like a ton of bricks. (well, not really but i like to use that statement. it more or less happened over a period of time) but, it's because i love deeply. i love all my friends with such an intense passion. & i fall fast. the people that i stress out about the most are the people that i love. i take my relationships more than serious. the people that i spend the majority of my time with are the people that i spend the majority of my time thinking about. i want to be with them all the time. i want them to do well in school. i want them to be the best that they can be. i want them to love me. i want them to love life. i want them to love Jesus. i want them to not have to worry about tomorrow. i want them to not worry about the stresses of their home life or money. & if they can't do those things, i want to "fix" it. & when i can't, i worry about them. because i am concerned for them. because i care about their well being. because i love them with every ounce of my being. & when they laugh, i laugh. when they rejoice, i rejoice. when they struggle, i struggle. when they hurt, i hurt. when they cry, i cry (& sometimes i cry even when they don't).

i understand that i can't use this as an excuse & i also know that there are times when my stressing out is at its maximum level & it is too much. & i know that stressing out can cause serious problems (been there done that).  but i hope that those that i love the most & those that truly know me understand that when i stress, it's because i love.

& when i love, i don't hold back.

"there is nothing i would not do for those who are really my friends. i have no notion of loving people by halves, it is not my nature." - jane austen, northanger abbey

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

when words aren't enough

there is that saying, "actions speak louder than words." let's just say, i hope it's true. things happen in life that we can't explain & that we can't even begin to understand. & things happen to those that we care about & love & sometimes there is nothing to say. sometimes we just have to listen. sometimes we just have to sit there. & that is rough. it's rough to watch people struggle. i just want to give them a big hug & say, "it's all going to be just fine" or "everything will be okay." i don't believe in "just fine," people. i don't. when you say it's going to be just fine, you are making a promise, one that you really don't have any right making. it's an empty promise. you are taking a 50/50 guess at it. not a chance i am willing to take. i am willing to walk along side & be a comfort. i am willing to sit through the pain, but i refuse to make empty promises. i promise that they will get through. i promise that no matter what happens, God is in control. no matter how you feel, God can handle it. you think God can't handle your anger? guess again people.

i'm not real sure where i wanted this blog to go. & honestly i don't feel like it went anywhere. i just needed a late night vent & i am sure my friends are sick of hearing it. but just know that in the hard times, we have a God that we can turn to & trust. even when you don't feel like it, God is there. it's a step-by-step process & a daily choice that we have to make.

ever feel overwhelmed by life? yeah...you aren't the only one.

Friday, January 25, 2013

laughter is the best medicine :)

this will be short.. i think. today started off horribly...shocker, shocker. did you read yesterday's blog? anyhow. school is over; work is over. now i am sitting in my room with my roommate, jenna & my suitemates, ronna & elizabeth.

let me just say: i love my friends.

for the past thirty minutes we have been laughing to the point of not breathing anymore. we have been acting like crazies, but ya know what? after a long week of blah & grossness, laughing til we almost pee our pants is definitely the way to end the week.

(currently ronna & elizabeth are acting out parts of the movie heidi with shirley temple...almost crying because it is so heartbreaking)

anyhow, we are having a fun night in just the four of us. & it is a reminder to me. just because i am having a rough day, week, or month, it doesn't mean that my joy is gone. my friends remind me that really i am joyful, it just sometimes gets covered up by the "ickies" of life. i am not going to say that life is automatically all better, but i am starting to see that glimmer of hope.

i love friday nights in with my cup of joe & the world's best friends

Thursday, January 24, 2013

when it rains it pours...

do you ever feel like life is just going on & nothing bad is really happening & you are kind of in a happy-go-lucky mode? yeah. that was my life just last week. then, saturday comes & BOOM! bad stuff happens all at once! i have struggled with life & why God would allow for certain things to happen to people that we care about so much. this struggle isn't new to me. when i lost my dad 3 1/2 years ago, i asked God why multiple times on any given day. of course, knowing why would never be good enough, but because i am a human, i feel like i have to answers for everything, like i am entitled to them. tough love, people. we aren't entitled to anything. but still, even knowing that i am not entitled to any answers, this week, i am struggling with why.

i can't go into intimate detail of all that this week entails. but i have gotten two bad phone calls & a double ear infection. why couldn't these things be spread out? why do i have to get sick two weeks into school getting back into full swing? why do people have to get sick? why does my grandpa have to be in the hospital? why can't they figure out what the heck happened to him? why do bad things happen to me, just when i feel like my life is finally turning around? why, why, why? (in the back of my brain, all i can hear is my grandma saying, "the Lord rains on the just and unjust, shelby ann, & that includes you")

this week my mind is being pulled in 101 different directions, i am not even sure that this blog post makes sense. but i am a problem solver. i like to help people & make other people feel better. it's what i want to do with my life. if i could take on everyone's burden i would, just so they could be better & wouldn't have to go through the struggle. (i know that is a little unhealthy) but this week, i feel a little hopeless. i feel like whatever i do or say, it isn't going to help or make a difference. i know that is just the enemy trying to take root & steal my newfound joy, but i still feel this way, i still feel crushed.

i have picked up my bible to find verses to help me this week & the Lord always has a way of showing up. God has a way of showing me exactly what i need, even when i didn't realize that i needed it. but God also shows up in the form of my friends. the people that God has placed in my life were planned out so carefully for me, because God knew what i would need. i am so thankful for a group of friends who can talk about God & life & let me cry like a big baby all the time. i am thankful for a group who is led my some of the most godly, loving people that i know. i am thankful for a group who is sensitive to God & where God is leading & growing each of us. i am thankful for a group that lets me ask all those whys & is by my side through those times of struggle.

even those this week has been a tough one, i know that God is right here in the midst of it with me. & when i look back & see that one set of footprints, i know that God carried me through & that i am wrapped in His arms. God has the answers to all my questions & i will cling to Him.

Psalm 34:18 - "The Lord is near to the brokenhearted and saves the crushed in spirit."