Thursday, December 11, 2008

first snow and ramblings.

It snowed tonight. On December 11th, in good ole Tennessee. Wow oh wow. :]

Here's 14 completely random things about me and my life right now:

1. I know I've said this 647 times, but Amos Lee is so incredible.

2. I always get struck with inspiration late at night or at inopportune moments during the day...

3. ...hence why I almost always have a sketchbook on me or near me.

4. I am currently craving a London Fog.

5. It snowed today.

6. I really want to watch Chicago.

7. One of my goals for winter break: make stir fry for at least 5 people.

8. I like Ebay. A lot.

9. When I see the Malawian Nativity scene on the coffee table, I smile.

10. Michael W. Smith's newest album, A New Hallelujah, is absolutely beautiful.

11. A purchase of flannel socks may be in my very near future. My feet stay cold in the winter.

12. I spend half of my school day, literally, in the art room...

13. ...usually with the other Studio kids, listening to music and talking (and occasionally working on a project). We are family.

14. If I could be anywhere in the world right now:

Mission-wise: Sitting with Aefe on the field watching the boys play soccer, feeling the wind blow, Daddy's presence, and practicing our letters.

Just because-wise: in a hammock with a book on the beach somewhere where it's 83 degrees and sunny.
Africa Girl's Nights (the girls that went on the team) are always lots of fun. Especially Christmas Extravaganza ones. Complete with a PJ pants swap and cookie-making. :]

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

I Need Africa

So my friends at Mocha Club have started a new project called, "I Need Africa More Than Africa Needs Me." I learned about it from BooMama, and thought, "Oh, why not. It sounds cool, and I do love me some Mocha Club..." So here we go.

Why I need Africa more than Africa needs me:

So, here I lay in my nice, warm bed in one of the most affluent counties in the nation: Williamson County in Middle Tennessee. I am typing this on the eve of Thanksgiving, possibly one of the most underrated holidays in our nation. Thanksgiving is looked over until you've been to a third-world country. Talk about a reality check. I ventured to Lilongwe, Malawi this past summer, and learned enough about thankfulness and blessing to last me a good long while.

I haven't always been crazy about Africa. When I was younger (like, oh say, 12...) the idea of missionaries in Africa freaked me out. There were elephants, and rhinos, and native people with spears in Africa. No thank you, Lord. I'm just fine doing missions in my nice, comfortable American Kid Bubble.

And then, my freshman year of high school, that was all turned on its head. I began to learn about the uprising of the LRA in Northern Uganda, and participated in a Global Night Commute with Invisible Children. From that night on, I'm positive that I've had an Africa-shaped hole in my heart.

Last spring, an opportunity to go to Africa arose. My youth group was traveling over to help build a house, teach school, and lead a Vacation Bible School with a village just outside of Lilongwe, Malawi. Now, Malawi is this teeny tiny sliver of a country sandwiched between Mozambique and Zambia. Malawi is where some of my best friends live.

I need Africa more than Africa needs me because I left my heart there. I met children that cannot comprehend going to school with a bookbag full of notebooks and pencils and textbooks. I met teenage girls that rather than spending their afternoons with girlfriends, they spend their afternoons caring for their baby brothers and sisters. I met men who provide for families on under one American dollar.

Just becase I lay my head down every night on a nice soft pillow in a nice warm bed, doesn't mean that some of my best friends do too. Some of my best friends dig old magazines out of trashcans to take their science notes on. Some of my best friends don't know what it's like to go to school and sit in a desk.

I need Africa because Africa taught me to dream on a whole new level. Africa taught me to laugh, and love, and learn. Africa taught me to be thankful, and to trust that the Lord will provide. Africa taught me to wave at strangers, and that a smile can make a world of difference.

I need Africa because the people are incredible, and they taught me so much while I was there. I went to Lilongwe, Malawi for two weeks the summer before my senior year expecting to serve the people there, but in return, I was blessed beyond words. The people of Africa are truly amazing, and blessed me in more ways than I can put into words. I need Africa.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

hello there, blog.

i take pictures when i drive:
It's been awhile. Igot this idea from (totally worth checking out.).

eight things i'm obsessed with:

01. Football. We are in the 4th round semifinals. Woohoo! Celebrated a HUGE win over our rival on Friday. Praise the Lord!

02. London Fogs: The best drink ever at Starbucks. Perfect for overcast days. Or days with lots of studying.

03. Dave Barnes: Oh, beautiful. Beautiful voice. He's pretty beautiful himself. :]

04. Union University: I'm going! I've been accepted, and I'm currently waiting on a letter telling me how much money they'll award me. I'm super excited, and cannot wait for college.

05. Africa: Well, no shocker here. Invisible Children stuff (book drive) is going well. It's so cool watching how the Lord provides! We had our first Mission Meeting today. It was soley an interest meeting, but I can't wait to be back in Malawi. I miss my home.

06. Girlfriendies: Girl's Nights are the best. They're good for the soul. We laugh our heads off. They're pretty grand. No matter what The Man Clan says, Girl's Nights are WAY better than Man Nights.

07. Art: Also, no surprise. A few new projects coming up...getting excited!

08. Cold Weather Clothes: From scarves to gloves, I love them all. Way way way too much fun to play around with.

eight things i say:

01. blast

02. holey moley

03. bee-een. (pronounced B-eeen.)

04. theeeeeater.

05. geeze louise.

06. hilarous.

07. fantastic.

08. fab.

eight things i want:

01. 4 stretched canvases, ranging in size.

02. a london fog.

03. grey shrug boots.

04. pangea necklace

05. anthropologie dress.

06. nikon d60.

07. a mac book.

08. grey's anatomy season 4 on dvd.

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

fall = love.

How I absolutely adore fall. It's got me dancing and wondering and adventure-ing, and dreaming. I think it's the way the air feels and smells.

Ray LaMontagne and Amos Lee are the names of the game today. And open windows and a sketchbook. Oh, sweet bliss. This is what Heaven will be like.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

i think my heart may explode.

A girl's heart can only take so much excitement.

We (the seniors at school) have already started a count-down to senior year. 136 days, my friend. Woo hoo. But also oh time is running out.

Since seeing the Go! Movie, all I have been able to think about is how BLESSED I am, and how much NEED there is in the world. Specifically, Northern Uganda. I mean, having my heart located there really doesn't have anything to do with it.... :] kidding, of course. So I am currently marvelously entangled in the web of organizing the BIGGEST community wide book drive ever. All for the sake of students in Northern Uganda that have been affected by the longest running genocide in human history. Man, I'm excited.

PLUS....senior year is rockin. I've applied to one college, and am going to work on another application this weekend. (Can you tell that there's no football?) Speaking of football...WE ARE UNDEFEATED. Yessss. We play one of our biggest rivals in a week, and I'm honestly sitting on pins and needles. It will be a great game!

And then, the leaves are changing, and it feels FABULOUS outside. I would be out there blogging this and listening to Matchbox Twenty/John Mayer/Justin Nozuka. Yay Pandora, but boo wireless internet that only reaches so far.

And! Oh, and. GREYS ANATOMY TONIGHT. YEAHHHH. The long awaited season. Hooray, I have made it! I had my doubts. I'm ridiculously addicted to Grey's. It's quite sad. But, oh well. :]

I just can't wait for:
-the book drive to officially be kicked off.
-the leaves start changing colors.
-fall picnics
-outside sketchbook days.
-more football.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

because i miss it.

Brooklyn, one of the Middle School pastors at TPC is in Malawi right now. I think the day she left was the hardest day since being back. What I wouldn't give to have been on that plane with her.

There's no dout about it, my heart is in Africa. I didn't believe that for a few days on and off since I've been home. But now, more than ever...I know my heart is there.

3 months later. After blood, sweat, and tears of 15 American teenagers and 5 adults went into that house, it still stands and is being lived in. I walked that land, I layed those bricks. I prayed over that house countless times...there, and here. I think about the family that lives in that house everyday. I'll never forget spending hours in the bathroom with Court, or sweeping with my hands with Kelso and Will. I'll never forget the picture of love that the Lord showed us on that last day. This is The House That Love Built.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

some of my new favorite things.

Courtney and I ventured** to Nashvegas this past weekend to see the GO! premier of the new Invisible Children movie. Oh man, how God has put this organization on my heart. The showing was so cool, it was at Take 121 Arts...which was totally cute and totally me. Very artsy, very comfortable, and very down-home feeling. There were alot of Belmont kids there-which was exciting.

**[ I say ventured because we MapQuested directions, and they led us through the ghetto of downtown Nashville. Two blondes+maps+ghetto... not the best mix.]

The movie itself was SO awesome. It brought back many memories- it's about a team of students from all across America that raised the most money out of all the schools that competed in Schools for Schools. As their adventure unfolded on the movie, I couldn't help but remember my journey to Africa. Of course, their's was vastly different, but at the same time, so similar to mine. After the movie, the IC Roadies introduced us to 5 of the team members that went. I was so psyched, and I'm now friends with 2 of them on Facebook.

So. A list. 'Cause I like those...and I'm good at them.

My NEW Favorite Things:
-Kairos on Tuesday nights.
-Schools 4 Schools
-Nalgene jars...just don't let them get over heated.
-Senior Student Council
Oh, how fun senior boys are.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

the rollercoaster of senior year.

So. Senior year has been the easiest, hardest, most boring, most fun, and craziest year of my life thus far. I've been happy, sad, frustrated beyond belief, excited, apathetic, hopeful, creative.....basically all over the board this year. It's exhausting, but interesting at the same time.

I haven't blogged in so long, and I don't even know where to start. I miss summer. I miss being able to wake up at noon and eating lunch for breakfast. I miss Africa. Kelso had pictures last night at Fusion, and I cried for the first time looking at pictures in a month. I cried today reading back through my journal entries from the trip. I'm so ready to go back.

We WON our football game last Saturday! The game was on a Saturday because it was the traditional Clinic Bowl at Vanderbuilt. We played Hillsboro High. The Tennesseean predicted us to lose. Ha. Funny guys. We beat Hillsboro 34-28. It was a spectacular game, in which we had the ball the majority of the time and were smashing face the first 3 quarters. The fourth quarter, Hillsboro remembered they had a "star" on the team, and decided to give the ball to him. Our boys still held on though. What a great game. We play Mcallie tomorrow night. I'm loving not being in band. The student section is absolutely rockin.

I filled out my first college application last week. It was so exciting and so scary. As much as I love it here, I am ready to move on. High school was fun the first 3 I know I'm so close to the next step in my life, and I cannot wait to get there!

Monday, August 11, 2008

...and i'm officially a senior.

So yesterday was pretty spectacular. Day One of ABS. Or Area Bible Groups. Either/or. The SENIORS (woo!) and assorted underclassmen met at "The Mansion on the Hill" as I have so lovingly and admiringly dubbed it. The picture above is a portion of the Senior Girls. Because yes, we get capitalized. :]
Today was Day One of senior year. Yikes. I don't know what to think about it. I like being the oldest, and being in a position of leadership. I don't like the feeling of being the oldest. (Alright, that made no sense.) It feels so strange, for this to be my last year of high school. But honestly? Praise the Lord. I've made it this far...179 more days to go!

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

these are a few of my favorite things.

So, I'm officially in love with:
Breaking Dawn. [except I fell in love with the series back in sophomore year.]
Pieces of Flair on Facebook.
Christmas in August.
Girl's Night.
the hammock chair.
the recliner in the "window corner" downstairs.
chocolate oatmeal no bake cookies.

Sunday, August 3, 2008

To Do, Or Not To Do, That Is The Question.

So, as I come upon my last week of summer/freedom, this is what I'm having to deal with. I have my list of legitamate "To-Do" things:

-Read the rest of my summer reading for English. (4 books)
-Art AP Sketchbook
-Art AP Portfolio Piece 1
Ideas: Embroidery floss portrait, finish the two pieces I've already started
-Burn Africa CDS
-Catch up on Ragamuffin
-Buy a new organizer

Here's my list of "Want To-Do's":
-Sit on Facebook for hours
-Get a pedicure
-Shop for Back To School Clothes
-Go to the fair
-Go to the pool
- Sit in the new hammock (!) and read Breaking Dawn. Which is not on my summer reading list.
-GIRLS NIGHT. (It's happening.)
-Leadership Summit

It's a very hard decision, this one. I shouldn't have procrastinated on all that "Summer Enrichment" crap that the school makes us do. It's not enriching me at all. It's just giving me early practice at procrastinating, and prolonging my Senioritis. Because I can call it that now. :]

Saturday, July 26, 2008

And now back to our regularly scheduled programming.

So, Malawi.

I'm feeling a picture's post, because I'm a fan of pictures. :]
Lunch break for the kids in the Adziwa school.

The Malawian men show the Americans how it's done.

The children loved Magic Markers.

Leike carries his brother's school books.

One thing that I've learned about myself in these past few weeks since Africa, youth camp, and being a teen leader at kid's camp is that I'm much more laid back than I was at the beginning of the summer. I've always been laid back, but now more so than ever. I'm very "Hakuna matta," these days. And I quite enjoy it.

Last night, my mom and I were spending some quality time together at Wal Mart. Typical girls. :] We jumped on the notebooks for 5 cents, and loaded up with them to send over with the next Malawi team. While we were checking out, the lady in line behind us was getting quite huffy. I really wanted to turn around and say, "Excuse me, but these 40 notebooks are for children in Africa. What are YOU doing with your life?"

But I didn't. That wouldn't have been very Chrisitan-ly.

We (the fam) are leaving tomorrow for a cruise to Mexico! We are porting in Cozymel and Calica. I'm quite excited. Especially about snorkeling and parasailing.

Hasta luego!

Thursday, July 10, 2008

An Update

---We inturrupt this Malawian Program for an update of life stateside!---

So these past few weeks have been busy busy busy. After I got home from Africa, I was home a week. Then I went to youth camp at Horn's Creek, where we got to do fun things like....
...get really gross in "New Orleans-Smelling Mud." And....
...get blobbed, and....
'8os Night it up! Camp was pretty much a blast, of course. The Junior Girls also had a running scoreboard of how many flies were killed in our cabin. We were up and over 120. It was disgusting but so entertaining at the same time. Girls. :]

My dearest friend/sister/and blogger Neens is in K. right now. I miss her SO much, not being able to talk to her/text everyday is not cool. But I know that the Lord is doing BIG BIG BIG things through her and to her, and I'm SO proud of that young lady. I cannot wait until she comes back!

A portion of the Junior Boys made breakfast for a few of the girls last week. Yes. They made breakfast. It was very entertaining to watch. And delicious to eat, don't get me wrong.

Here, the boys are cracking the eggs for french toast. They did a fantastic job!

So I leave town again on Sunday for KIDS CAMP. I am pumped beyond belief, this is always a highlight of my summer. A week with the grade schoolers, I couldn't be more excited. Expect many pictures and lots of funny stories.

Justin Nozuka = absolutelypositivelyamazing. Check him out.

Saturday, July 5, 2008

VBS, Malawian Style- Day 1

So after school, we were walked back to the offices by about 500 kids. No joke. We quickly learned that the English way of holding hands (one child per hand) didn't apply here. In Malawi, we were rockstars. We were rock stars with one child per FINGER. Which made for a very interesting step-shuffle-giggle-shuffle routine. The kids loved having an "adzungu" hand to hold, of course. :]

We got back to the Adziwa offices, and chowed down on a lunch of sandwiches (or "sundwiches" as the Malawians called them). Each day the team had a choice of peanut butter or jelly, but not peanut butter AND jelly. The boys caught on quickly, and peeled their sandwiches apart then smacked them back together with a buddy, so they made two PB&J sandwiches. Way to go, boys! The peanut butter in Malawi was HEAVENLY and made from scratch. We were so spoiled.

After lunch, we then prepared for our first Vacation Bible School. Thandi prepared her lesson, which was out of Luke, and the girls worked on theirs. Emily, Heather, and I were doing our lesson first. Heather told the story of the woman touching Jesus's cloak, I told the story of Zacchaeus, and Emily told about Jesus loving the little children. The overarching theme for our lesson was that Jesus loves everyone. Thandi translated, and the kids followed us very well! We played Simon Says, and learned that there is a smiliar game in Malawi! The kids responded and interacted at a surprising level, they were almost hungry for English words. After our lesson and game, we dove into making picture frames. We were armed with popsicle sticks, foam stickers, and lots and lots of glue (in the stick form, we weren't crazy! Liquid glue = nightmare.). Emily was in charge of taking Polaroids of the kids. She taught them how to shake their picture to make it turn up. Once they realized that the picture revealed their faces, the kids lit up like a Christmas tree. They would then show if off to all their friends, and then reluctantly let me glue it into a frame. But once they saw it in a frame, their smiles got even bigger. If that's possible.

Some of the boys finished early, they were sitting next to me and got a lot of help on their projects. We went outside to play football (soccer). We had 10 balls stored away for moments like these, that we would give them at the end of our two weeks. The boys had SO much fun with the soccer balls, and quickly split off into teams without any help from the authority figures. It was incredible. I would have played, but Aefe, a young girl that had been close at our heels all day, pulled me aside and we practiced our English letters and numbers. She was absolutely precious, and pretty soon, we had a crowd in our pseudo school lesson. I was totally in my element, and could have spent all day drawing in the dirt with these precious children.

Eventually, we walked back to the offices to clean up. The Adziwa kids all hung outside while we finished cleaning. They would dig through the trash that we had piled up to find the empty Polariod boxes. I saw one girl with her frame in her box, to keep it safe. My heart broke, once again. I am so blessed.

We finished cleaning up, and decided to go out and bond with these precious children. We taught them the Macarena with English numbers, the Chicken Dance, the Conga Line, and the sprinkler. We had a ball- and I think they did too. Tionke, a 10 year old boy, could bustamove. His favorite was the Macarena, and he added his own moves. All the kids loved the "Heeeeey, Macarena!" part. I tear up just thinking about it. If the children needed to get our attention, they would start humming the Chicken Dance until we all turned around. I miss those moments.

As we were leaving, Taylor pointed out the absolutely GORGEOUS first sunset. We all stood there in wonder. We had never seen anything like it. Yay Daddy! What an artist You are!

We said our goodbyes, blew kisses, and gave out hugs. As we went back to Kumbali, we all laughed about the day. How great God is!

Once we got back to Kumbali, the Shower Extravaganza began. Since the girls were all wary of showering in the African darkness alone, we all donned our swimsuits and jumped into the showers in pairs. Our showers weren't really showers... just scoop-n-dumps. We filled our big blue buckets up with as much hot water as we wanted, then drug them over to the cold water spout. We then buddied up, and carried them to the shower stalls, which were made out of straw. They had slits in the bottom of them, which were rock. We had rock shelves that our lanterns and shampoo sat on, and no roofs. I miss having roof-less showers, the stars were breathtaking.

Showering in the dark with long hair was quite difficult. So frequently, we needed to solicit the help of our shower buddy. The joys of friendship are limitless. Sing-a-long showers haven't been born yet... that's day 7. You just wait. :]

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Day 1.

It's quite fitting that I'm blogging about day one in the schools on the one month anniversary of this very day. I miss Adziwa and Kauma village with every fiber of my being. I'm so ready to go back.

We all woke up to an extremely cold morning. Who knew that Africa was cold? We all had sweats on for breakfast. We were that cold. The boys woke up for early showers (hey, at least they are showering!) and then we all met for breakfast. We had toast, porridge, and baked beans. Yes, baked beans. For breakfast. It turned out that we had to wait about 30 minutes for breakfast to be finished, which we totally didn't mind. We were used to "Africa Time," which basically means that it will get here when it gets here. Be patient. No worries. I am still on Africa Time, and it drives those around me nuts. But I find a specific serenity in it.

As we enjoyed our breakfast, and talked about the night sounds we heard, including the bird outside of Hut One's window, Kyle came around the tables saying, "Okay guys, funny story!" And we all knew that this story was not going to be funny. Kyle then launched in to telling us about how in Malawi, they don't observe a time switch like the surrounding countries do. So instead of the time being 8 hours behind American time, the correct time was 7 hours behind American time. So the little man that gets our shower water warm? We woke him up. And he was apologizing for not having our water ready. No wonder the breakfast guys weren't ready, we were wrong! Looking back on it, the story is quite funny. But we all were thinking about that extra hour of sleep we could have had. Oh well. :]

After breakfast, we gathered up our materials that we would need for the day, and headed out. I was on school duty all day, including Vacation Bible School that afternoon. I could NOT be more excited. We drove through the villages again, and people of all shapes, ages, and sizes would come running out of nowhere, just to wave at a passing bus of Americans. Many asked for money, but the younger kids all yelled happily and waved their little arms off. We felt like rockstars.

We arrived in Adziwa, were shown around, and began working. The construction team split off to go begin working and meet all the men that worked on the house. We started our walk up to the schools, being led by Thandi. She was possibly the most patient and loving woman that I have ever met. We first went to the elementary school, and looked around a bit there. The children, of course, went crazy. Many of them had never seen a white person, and they all wanted to shake our hands. It was precious. We were TOTALLY a distraction, but I could tell that the kids were eating it up.

On our way to the "middle school" (grades are different, the team called it the middle school), we noticed many of the children that were fleeing from something. Connee, one of the leaders that went with us, quickly asked if we were in danger. Thandi and the headmaster from the school system told us that we should not have fear, they would take care of us if something came up. Then they explained that the Chichewa tribe was having a funeral procession- the chief's son had died. The Chichewa tribe is a native tribe, so therefore they do not practice Christian-based funerals. The tribe had beasts that would run around town, and capture people. We had nothing to fear though, because it was a time of mourning, and the young men would not capture anyone. The children, however were terrified. The men running around would wear masks and carry machetes, which were menacing to the little guys. If captured, a prisioner would have to return to the graveyard with the "beasts" and be initiated. It was quite alarming, but really interesting to see. We were not allowed to make eye contact, wave, or take pictures of the Chichewa people for our safety. The Lord totally had His hand upon us!

We then ventured to the middle and high schools, and I was shown just how much I am so blessed. The Lord has given me a desk, a notebook, and textbooks. He has given my teachers erasers, and my friends school materials also. How blessed I am!

After we saw each school, Thandi instructed us to split into pairs, one pair per school. Emily and I went to the elementary school, and were able to teach a class of 3 and 4 year olds. They were absolutely precious.

When it was time for lunch, the teacher that Emily and I were helping instructed us to come outside and sit on a bench she had pulled out for us. She then told us that she was going to get us some lunch-the same lunch that the students in the school were eating. As she walked away, Emily and I looked at each other with tears in our eyes. Here was this precious lady offering up all she had to her visitors. What a beautiful picture. She then came back and with a distressed look on her face, told us that they were out of porridge. Emily and I tried our best to explain that we had our own lunch back in Adziwa. The woman was obviously relieved, and then invited us inside to hear the children sing. I was so humbled and amazed at the hospitality of this woman who had nothing. How cool is Daddy!

The children singing. It brought tears to my eyes, WHAT a picture of Heaven!

I'm going to stop there, this is the longest post ever. I'll pick up tomorrow with the rest of day one!

Saturday, June 21, 2008

And It Begins.

'Mulibwanje' = How are you?
Thanks to John, he corrected me! There are multiple ways to say hello and how are you. This is one of them. :]

So after we settled into our huts, we explored. Behind our huts lies the bathroom and shower.

The bathroom is on the left, and the corner of the shower is on the right. The bathroom was a hole in the ground with a toilet seat over it. The shower was just a little room. But we had so much fun with them both. More on shower sing-a-longs later. :]

So we continued to explore, and came across a group of children near our source of hot water. We learned that these kids were the children of the women that worked at the lodge, doing laundry and cooking. They were so shy, but curious about who we were. Connee brought individually wrapped Lifesaveres to hand out, of course. These kids were her first customers, and they were very excited.

Eventually, one of the men that worked in the village shop took us around behind the dining area. He said, "You want to see more children? Come with me!" And led us around the dining area to a clearing in the trees to about 20 kids practicing dance. It was incredible, and I will admit, brought me to tears. Each one of them was BEAMING.

Everytime I look at these pictures, I can hear their voices. I feel like that guy in Amazing Grace. These children have SUCH a special place in my heart. They were already special before I met them all, but now that I can call each of them by name, it is so much more real. I can recall a voice, and instantly know whose it is.

After watching the children practice dancing, we left so they could go home for dinner. We wandered our way back to the huts, where two men were playing Baul, a game like mancala. Andrew and I instantly got excited, we knew how to play mancala! But Baul was nothing like mancala, which we quickly learned. The men gladly taught us, Nathan caught on the fastest. I was left somewhere in the first couple minutes of explaining...all the jet lag had caught up with me!

Dinner rolled around, and we had goat stew with rice, green beans, and tomato relish. For dessert we had fruit salad. Everything was so good, but I will admit that I didn't try the goat stew. I heard it was delicious. A band played while we ate, in candlelight, I might add. I could totally get used to that.

Friday, June 20, 2008

Mozabanji, Malawi!

Mozabanji = Hello in Chichewa
(I think that's spelled right.)

So we bumped and jiggled our way to Kumbali Village, where we would be living for the next two weeks. The roads were surprisingly pretty smooth, until we turned off the road the president lived on. (We literally were NEXT DOOR NEIGHBORS!) Once we hit the dirt roads, things got interesting. You hear people talk about the roads in Africa, and things jiggling that you didn't know could jiggle... it's all true! My cheeks jiggled, my arms jiggled, my lips jiggled. But the ride was so fun.
As we grew closer to Kumbali and farther away from Lilongwe, we began to drive through villages with many huts that looked like this. The way these people live began to take shape and form in our minds. Driving through these villages was extremely real- I've seen this up close and personally, not only on TV. What a privelage. What a life-changing moment.

Kumbali was beautiful. We didn't know what we were getting ourselves into, but we were so excited to be there! We met Eunice and Frank as SOON as we got off the bus. They were the most welcoming people! We met Guy Pickering (the boys on the team ADORED him) and Scott Grey (who apparently has a CD out?) after we met Eunice and Frank. Everyone in Kumbali was so excited to see us and meet us and greet us. We were already totally at home.

The huts were just huts in name. Yes, they were made of mud and straw, but where "4-star huts," as Kyle called them. Very very true.

Note the mosquito nets...the bane of my existence. Those, and propane-fueled lanterns. :]

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Maybe this round I'll acutally get to Africa.

After London, we ventured to Nairobi. It was a flight of approximately 18 days. Well, not really. More like 7 hours. It just felt like 18 days. The best part was journaling, the really cute guy in the row infront of me, (Nina, sass comments to yourself, my friend!) and waking up to a KILLER sunrise in the air, and the boys singing the opening number from Lion King. (The BAAAAAAI-YA BI- YAIIII one.) That was hysterical.

Oh, I was also FINALLY given my letter from Nina. This letter was under 3 layers of packing tape. The kind with the reinforcing yarn thing strung through it. And about 7 paper clips, and 2 envelopes. It took me 45 minutes to open and 2 minutes to read. :] Technically, I opened it while in the air over Africa. Not while I was standing on African soil. Oops.

The airport in Nairobi itself was not fun. We were all so dehydrated that I don't think any of us remember it. I do, however remember a really nice shop guy, and really mean security guys. That made me down a bottle of water in 5 minutes. Because I have a b-o-m-b in my bottle of water. Yes, that's right. But we got out of that airport, and onto a tiny tiny plane that took us to a city in Zambia and then onto Lilongwe in Malawi. I don't remember any of this flight, I was dead asleep for the entire thing. I learned my lesson about water and flights and jet lag.

We got off the plane in Lilongwe and rode a bus to the airport. There were no gates for the plane to pull up to. That was an experience! We were able to breathe Malawian air for the first time, and look around. We were amazed to see how beautiful it all was! We made it to the airport, and through passport security, and then collected our bags, and walked out to the bus (The Wheels of Champions, excuse me. Not the bus.) And we were greeted by ladies from the village.

They were all singing, and dancing. They wrapped each of the girls in a Malawian wrap. I cried. They sang. I couldn't help but think that that's what heaven will be like- nationalities fall by the wayside, and old and young alike abandon all things and worship. In the most beautiful place ever. Even more beautiful than Malawi. How cool.
Ramble Alert!
The new(ish) Jack Johnson CD is the best. Especially for the beginning of summer. :]

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Africa Re-cap Now That I'm Not Jet-Lagged.

Disclaimer: I will probably not be able to get through this blog without crying. I miss Africa so bad it literally hurts.

I just cracked open my journal. Here goes the Africa Recap. It will probably be about 50 posts long. I haven't blogged in awhile, and I need to. So here goes!

London- (On the way to Malawi):
Hillsong London was stinkin' SWEET. They meet in a theater that's been tricked out to look like a rock show. There were about 50 people in the worship band onstage. One of the girls singing was pregnant, in heels, jumping around, and STILL MANAGED TO SING. The youth group (called Wildfire, I think...) was AMAZING. The first song started, and the congregation started jumping. And they didn't stop.

Now, I am a white, Southern Baptist born and raised, blonde chick. So that equals absolutely NO rhythm. The Lord did not bless me with that spiritual gift. So anyways. These guys are all jumping, and dancing, and singing, and praising their very well dressed rear ends off. The Africa Team just stood there in awe. It was like summer camp on 'ROIDS. Even the senior pastor from my church was amazed. Our youth group gets down, but that Sunday morning service made us look like WIMPS. It was so so cool. The Lord is GIGANTICALLY MOVING through that congregation. Very very exciting.

I totally live in a bubble called Nashville, Tennessee.
A) It's in the Bible Belt. Almost everyone goes to church. It's easy being a Christian here.
B) Everyone is wealthy compared to the world's standards.
C) I literally have the world at my fingertips.

To see the Lord moving so drastically in a nation that isn't America really opened my eyes. I've always known that there were other countries over the big ocean, but I haven't actually considered that there are people over there. People that know the Lord, people that are as on fire for Him as I am. The service at Hillsong (and the whole Africa trip, for that matter) gave the song "He's Got the Whole World In His Hands,"a totally new meaning. Yay God moments!

Friday, June 13, 2008

Stranded In London.

Well chaps. Stranded probably isn't the proper word to use, because we are all giddy that we are here. (Speaking British was Emily's idea...)

So Africa is on pause. It's not over-- I'm going back. I've decided. I left a LARGE part of my heart there, and I know that's where the Lord wants me. It excites me to NO END.
On Sunday night at Zion Youth Center, we did the Everything Skit. We had SUCH a great response. It was super exciting! Kelso shared her testimony, and Kyle spoke. It was great- the TPC kids fit right in! OF course, we have all friend requested each other on Facebook. :]
Tuesday I touched a chameleon. We named him Francias. (Pronounced: Franz-wah.) He had freaky eyes that rolled back in his head. It was a very nice break from cleaning out the Adziwa house we were working on!
Wednesday I went to the high school in Adziwa and TAUGHT. I was scared out of my pants at first, but as I went on, I grew more and more comfortable with it. By the end of the lesson on plans and roots, I could have gone all day long. What a God thing!
We also FINISHED and dedicated the house on Wednesday! What a miracle. The family was absolutely precious, and I was able to meet the kids of the family a few days early. The girls were precious. During the dedication ceremony, I was told that a white dove flew down out of the sky, and straight down the middle of the house, then lifted back into the clouds again. I didn't see this dove, I was a little preoccupied with the squirmy 4 year old on my lap. But still, hearing about it blew me away. Joseph, the foreman of the house we were working on said that doves only come around when it's the Holy Spirit. Talk about God bumps!
Currently, I am listening to the hustle and bustle of London again. It's really funny to think that we were so hopeful in thinking that we would one day come back to London to see the guards (they weren't out the last time we were here) and get to go to Hillsong again. Next time in London we THOUGHT: Oh, about 5 years from now. ACTUAL next time in London: 2 weeks. Now I'm sitting in a 5 star hotel on someone else's dollar. Yay God! :]

I will have a TON of pictures, and even more stories once I get back home... this keyboard is a little quirky. :]

Neens- I MISS YOU!!!!!!!!!!!!!
John- Hope you enjoyed Morocco!

Friday, June 6, 2008

Africa Update!

Wow. That's literally all I can say! This trip so far has been absolutely amazing. Currently, I am sitting in the Zion Youth Center here in Lilongwe, waiting on my fried chicken and a milkshake. I am so excited. :]
Emily and I taught the first VBS of the trip, and it went SPECTACULAR. We had about 50 kids, and we took Polaroids of them. They took them home, and then were showing them off the next day at school. The children's director said that it's always a good day when the kids don't want to leave VBS- and THEY DIDN'T. It was SO encouraging!
The numbers at VBS have only gone up, and today we tickled 100. Two boys came to Christ! God is SO moving through us, in us, and around us.
Each day it grows increasingly harder to leave the kids at 5:30 (which is like, the middle of the night in Franklin). We have learned "See you tomorrow" in Chichewa, and the kids have learned it in English. Today, the kids were all saying "See you tomorrow," and we had to tell them that we would see them Monday. As soon as the bus drove away, all the kids (all 100+ of them) were chasing our bus. I cried. (Neens, yes. I did. So sue me. ;]) It's going to be SO hard having to leave for good. Or at least until next summer!
So I'm paying for this internet time. We will be here Sunday night too, I'll hopefully blog then!

Tapita! (Goodbye in Chichewa)

Friday, May 30, 2008

Check It!!

I will meet these children in a matter of HOURS. :]
So, 60+ days, 5 shots, a WHOLE LOT of sponsor letters, some new clothes, lots of prayers, lots of growing, and 3 days of shopping later.... AFRICA IS HERE. Well, not technically,but I leave in 15 hours. 15 HOURS! Praise the Lord!
And of course, everyone of my posts has to have a pointless rambling part. So here goes:

1) The new Tenth Avenue North CD will absolutely blow your socks off. I've been a fan since 8th grade, but this CD is SPECTACULAR. (Is that spelled right?) You WILL love it. And if you don't... well, your loss.
2.) The new Hillsong CD is also SPECTACULAR. It makes me want to dance around. All their stuff makes me want to dance around. But this CD is even more so. :]
3.) I am SO PROUD of Neens. Girls State has stolen her away, but she is absolutely flourishing. I adore that girl. And I will miss her so while I'm gone. (I know she will read this at some point. Probably on Saturday afternoon. I know that she is itching to blog after being gone all week.) I also think it's quite cute/funny/amazing how she wrote us letters. Us = Africa team. She put mine in 3 envelopes and apparently like a whole role of tape. Because we aren't supposed to open them until we actually GET to Africa. She knows me well. :]

4.) Michael Buble is my future husband, I don't care what anyone says. Well, that last part sounded really mean. But I've offically decided that I'm going to marry him. And he can sing to me at all hours of the day. [Nina is scoffing at this, by the way. She's probably thinking some sassbucket remark...]

5.) Stuff Christians Like (new link on right side of page) is HEE-LARIOUS. I was up at obscene hours of the morning last night reading it. My brother thought I was going crazy. But it's hysterical. Jon Acuff is the type of guy that I would want as a best friend.
See you on the other side of the pond. :]

Monday, May 26, 2008

ramblings. (i tend to have many...)

Today is Memorial Day. The family and I went to beautiful Coffee county. We ventured to some state park. It was an experience, let me tell you.

5 days! It's soooo odd to say that. It still feels like I'm dreaming the whole trip up. Like a bunch of teenagers are sitting around going, "Wow, how fun would it be to go to AFRICA this summer?" But it's real. Hooray! It seems like just yesterday that I was saying "Africa is 60 days away!!" And to think it's 5 DAYS AWAY. Wow. That's.....(I'm counting on my fingers...) 120 hours. WOW. Less than that now. More like, 96. Holy guacamole.


- I love practical jokes. I'm currently in a Practical Joke War with a friend. I stuffed his car with blown up balloons this morning. I got home from "Beautiful Coffee County" and the balloons were stuffed under my car. I then strung the balloons together, hoping to string them through his front-yard shrubbery. Nope. I T.P.ed his room with another friend. :]
-I frequently pretend like I'm on American Idol and sing my heart out in the car. I'm not a shower singer. I prefer the car. Yes, I'm the one that's at the red light next to you dancing and singing, not caring that she looks like an idiot.
-I love when the Man Clan gets together. The Man Clan is a group of about 5 junior (now SENIOR!) guys that get together for hangout time. They frequently sleep over at one of their houses and make lip syncing videos to Paramore songs. Hysterical. But these boys make my world go round.
- Chick flicks are fun.
- The season finale of Grey's Anatomy that just aired last Thursday was THE BEST EPISODE EVER. Especially for hopeless romantics like myself. :]

Friday, May 23, 2008

hello sweet summer.

hello summer and all it brings:
-SWEET TEA. and lots of it. :]
-the BEACH.
-the pool.
-the sun.
-my moon roof.
-warm nights.
-beautiful sunsets
-kono bonding time. :]
-youth camp
-kids camp

So I survived! I survived my first year of AP classes, and a killer band season [insert band geek jokes here...], and Junior year altogether. It was not easy, let me tell you. God is still in the business of miracles, I got out of 11th grade in one piece! Now I can call what I have "Senioritis."

AFRICA IS IN 8 DAYS. As each day grows closer, I grow more and more excited. Which I didn't think was possible, because I was pretty stoked about a month ago. Emily and I are teaching on God Loving All People. We are very excited- think "Red, and yellow, black and white... They are precious in His sight." Totally both of our hearts!
Now, I'm not going to lie. This is my first trip out of the country. I do love flying, but it makes me nervous. The whole "let's go up in the air in a metal BIRD. THAT'S HEAVIER THAN AIR" thing does not fly too well with me. (No pun intended.) But my Daddy is bigger than anything. So there will be alot of praying going on. Here in TN, and up in the air somewhere over that big ocean.

1. Travel mercies- both in the trip over to Malawi and travel in and around the village.
2. Safety on site- building+teenagers (espeically klutzy ones like me...) could be dangerous.
3. PATIENCE. - 28ish hours of plane rides, and 2 weeks in close quarters with different personalities... yes. Patience would be good.
4. Open eyes, and and open heart- this trip is going to be SO out of my comfort zone. I know the Lord likes to work in me when I'm uncomfortable. Pray that my eyes will be opened to what He has in store. (This goes for the rest of the team having open eyes too!!)
5. Love- I will be the first to sign up for Grumpy Sleep Deprived Citizens Annoymous. Yet another possible foothold for the Devil and buttons to be pressed. Please pray for our team, and that our love for each other is EVIDENT. We are known by the love we have for each other.
6. Awareness- So I'm from little ole' Tennessee, and I've never stepped foot outside the good ole' US of A. I'm not fully prepared to be hit with the different smells, tastes, sights, and sounds of other cultures. Please pray that I (and the team!) will be aware of how we dress/interact/portray ourselves. [And yes, I am fully aware that I said 'ole' twice in one sentence. Yikes.]

So that is kinda a hefty list. But it's what's on my heart. Expect about 8 more "____ DAYS LEFT! AHHH!" posts. :]

Ps--- Pray for Katie W. and Brittney H., they are leaving tomorrow morning for the Ukraine! How exciting!

Monday, May 19, 2008

heart meanderings.

I am a senior in a day and a half. Praise the Lord. But also guide me, Lord. Big decisions on the horizon!

I just watched a clip of the documentary Jesus Camp. It absolutely broke my heart. One little girl on it was talking about "godless churches" and "God not wanting to come to those who are quiet." So many emotions were going through my head.

Heather told us about the video of the softball player being carried around the bases. It's worth checking out. Here's the synopsis: Sarah T. hit her first home run of her softball career (she was a college ball player) and was running around the bases. In hre excitement, she realized that she forgot to actually touch first. She ran back, and tore a ligament in her knee. She collapsed, crawled to first, tagged it, but could not move on. The umps and coaches declared that if her teammates touched her, Sarah would be ruled out. If a pinch runner was put in, the homer would have been counted as a single. So two girls from the OPPOSITE team stepped forward and asked if they could carry her around the bases. They carried Sarah around the bases, to complete her home run. The opposing team wound up losing the game, and their spot in the playoffs. I watched the video and cried. It's so amazing.

AFRICA IS IN 12 DAYS. 12. 12. I can't sit still. God is SO good!!

Friday, May 9, 2008

franklin in the spring.

Prom 2008- On the steps of Belle Meade Plantation

These are a few of my favorite things:

1) Franklin in the spring. And fall. And right before Christmas at night. Pretty much year round. But today, I went to the Mercantile for the first time. It was delicious. I will frequent there often. After lunch, we walked to Pinkerton, but got sidetracked at Landmark Booksellers. (FYI: Landmark Booksellers is this super cool bookstore with new books. And books from like, the dark ages.) I picked up a copy of The Wizard of Oz Babies (I think...) today that was originally copyrighted in 1899. It was insane. Kory found a book that he had been looking for that was around the same age. I ventured upstairs, found the art section, complete with a Billie Holliday CD, and an overstuffed leather chair. I was in heaven.

2) John Mayer. He has an incredible voice, and is easy on the eyes to top it off. His new single "Say" is worth checking out.

3) NO MORE AP US HISTORY! I took the test today, and survived. Praise the Lord!

4) Cheap dresses and sandals. Went mall hopping today too. Boys are fun to shop with. I found a 20 dollar dress and 7 dollar sandals. Wooo Hoo. New outfit!

Africa: 22 DAYS. Only 22!!

Thursday, April 24, 2008

insane ramblings.

so. here's a snippet of this past week...


I have/had strep this week. Mind you, I was at school yesterday and today, because if you miss even a MINUTE of Junior year, you're basically up a creek without a paddle. (I missed half of Monday and all of Tuesday. I thought something had died inside my head.) So now, I'm on this VERY pleasant medicine. (not.) I'm pretty sure that sand is one of the ingredients. Yes, sand. Like, the grainy stuff you find on the beach. And in your EVERYTHING upon your return home...


Wow, God is so so so COOL. My dad sent out an email to a lot of his buisness buddies for support... and within 30 minutes I had a donation of 100 dollars! On top of another donation of that much. What a cool dude. PLUS, I got a surprise e-mail from Hannah (the daughter of the author of Red Letters) today. Hooooo-ray! 37 DAYS!!!!

IS ON SATURDAY! Going to get my nails done tomorrow. What a treat. I love pedicures. Pictures will be posted...we have a PROFESSIONAL PHOTOGRAPHER coming in. FOR FREE. I will deff post her link in here so pictures will be available soon after they are taken!

I ADORE Phil Wickham. Go to Youtube and type "Phil Wickham- Hallelujah" you will not be let down. [Thanks Neens for sending me this!!!]

I love getting friend requests on Facebook. It's like a little present. You never know who it will be. Unless, of course, you were just at a youth retreat. And followed every goodbye with "I'm on Facebook!" Then it's different.

AP classes kinda freak me out.

Wii Fit looks extremely exciting. I may have to ask for it for my birthday...

I'm stoked about my next oil painting. All I can say is that it came from the Uganda blogging trip pictures.

I'm nervous about wearing heels. I've been wearing them around the house. My brother got a kick out of heels + pajamas.

Guitar Hero makes me feel beastly.

Sunday, April 20, 2008

a little glimpse of heaven.

So I teach kindergarteners. And we were practicing our songs tonight. We issued a "challenge" and split the room up into two parts, and told the kids that whoever sings the loudest gets to sit down at the snack table first. (Yes, I firmly believe in the art of bribery. It works wonders.)

I have never in my life heard them sing that loud. And nail all the motions. While these six year olds surrounded me with their shouts of praise to the Lord, I couldn't help but think that THAT is what heaven is going to be like. I almost cried.

Then, after choir, God did something totally cool. Again. Yeah, I never ever grow tired of it. Ronny and Fernando, two of the boys I babysit, and I have taught them both in choir, walk up to me with their parents. Their mom says, "Okay boys, tell Ms. Amberly what you did!" And the boys said: "Miss Amberly, we sold our Jeep drive car, and some more of our toys. To raise money for your trip."

Now. These two boys are seven and five. And they SOLD some of their toys for me and my trip to Africa. I am SO stinkin' proud of them. I even teared up a little. Maybe I should put a picture of them in my wallet, and whip it out when I tell this story.

God is so cool.

-I love Oprah's Big Give
-I love Neens and her funny Nina Stories.
-I love taking pictures.

Prom- 6 DAYS!
Senior Year- like 2o something school days.
MALAWI: 41!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Monday, April 14, 2008

My God Is A Great Big God

So this morning I was journaling about my trip. I was praying that if this trip is the Lord's will, that it's the Lord's bill. This afternoon, I was on the phone with a friend, and my mom comes upstairs. She hands me an envelope from my grandparents. I open it, and find a check for 500 dollars inside. I then spent about ten minutes yelling into the phone and dancing around the room. God is SO cool. :]

So SHOT DAY was today. It wasn't nearly as bad as I thought it would be. The Lord blessed me with the two SWEETEST ladies to give me my shots. We talked about my trip, and college, and art, and boys. All my favorite subjects. :] Sadly, my left arm is super sore. Oh, I'll deal. It's going to be totally worth it!

Amberly Moment: When I was asked where I was going on my mission trip, I replied with "Malaria."

For those of us keeping score at home, I'm going to Malawi, not malaria.
In my defense, this was AFTER 5 shots and 2 lectures about not drinking tap water.
(Plus a particulary difficult day at school.)

Found out today (THANK YOU FACEBOOK!) that Brooklyn and Abbey are going to Uganda. I am SO excited for them, but I wish I could tag along! I for sure have my sights set on a Projekt Hero shirt. :]

Senior Year: 18 class days!

Monday, March 31, 2008

T-Minus 2 Months!

Disney Picture # 1- The Magic Kingdom Group.

Had Team Meeting No. 2 yesterday. We found out that we are now traveling with a different airline, and have about 3 layovers. Considering that these layovers are in: Chicago, LONDON, and Nairobi, I am not sad about 3 layovers. I will be able to spent a DAY in LONDON. Yes, LONDON. I'm not happy at all. :] Just kidding. Em and I are STOKED.
This time in 2 months (1000 something hours, according to me and Em's calculations) I will be on my way to London, England. Then to MALAWI. Oh, God is so good. :]

My dad and I went to see RENT on Saturday. It was absolutely INCREDIBLE. I think, if he keeps taking me to TPAC, he may create a monster. There is just something about it that I LOVE.
RENT was so so so so so good. The cast was ridiculously talented, and the play was very very well acted. I am currently Myspacing/Itunesing (is that a word?) all the actors in the play...Many of them have record deals! Heinz Winckler is worth a checkin' out... he was my fave. :]

Living in Nashville:
Is officially the best. It has been the best for awhile, but there is nothing like going out and seeing famous people. Plus, the atmosphere here is supacool. It seems on every street corner there are musicians with open cases playing out their souls on their respective instruments. Street performers I love. The famous people are neat too. We always enjoy showing out-of-towners the homes of the "stars" we know. (ie: Alan Jackson, Michael W. Smith, Faith Hill and Tim McGraw, assorted Titans players.) By "know" I mean know where they live. We don't get invited to these peoples birthday bashes for their pet goldfish or anything. :] I do, however know a few other stars. But I don't want to name-drop.

Countdown: 26 DAYS! Hooooray!

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Spring at LAST!

Disney was a blast. Lots and lots of pictures. :]

I was pressured into riding:
Everest: Totally worth it, and not that scary after all. Unless shadows of "Yetis" scare you. The best part: riding the whole track BACKWARDS.
Tower of Terror: Also totally totally totally worth it. Kelsey and I were upset we didn't get dropped the whole 13 stories. Helped me overcome my fear of falling. Flew out of my seat, thank goodness for strong boys sitting next to me and seat belts.
Splash Mountain: Very cute. Not nearly as scary as I remembered it, but still really cool. Especially when riding it at night during the fireworks show.
Expedition Mars: G-Forces are SWEET. Maybe I'll be an astronaut when I grow up.
Soarin: MY FAVORITE. Especially the Smell-o-vision and playing Wii in line.

The marching band [I play the piccolo.] marched in a parade on Main Street in Magic Kingdom. I say A parade because there were about fifty thousand. Which makes getting around the park especially difficult.
We got to see "Backstage Disney." Which was totally cool, except for the whole "No taking pictures! No cell phones!" Thing. I will probably get reprimanded for talking about it on my blog. That whole keeping up apperances thing and all. It was cool though, seeing all the characters. Plus-- who knew you could stargaze in DisneyWorld?!

Welcome back, spring! I have missed you tons. Especially because I've spent the last 5 days in sunny Florida. Let's go jump in a swimmin' pool! The temperature is above 50 degrees! (52 to be exact....maybe I should go back to Orlando. It's still a little chilly to swim.

Thursday, March 6, 2008

And The Countdown Begins!

So I got the "official word" last night that I was on the Malawi Africa team! Praise the Lord! I am so excited, and think about it every second of everyday. :]

Spring Break is in 8 days. I'm going to see Mickey. And Minnie, Donald, and Goofy. I'm such a little kid.

Current Obsessions:
-swing dancing. I'm currently buying a load of swing music to put on my Ipod. hoooooooo-ray. :]
-Sister Act 2. It has the best soundtrack. I will admit, I was dancing around while the kids on the movie were singing "Oh Happy Day."
-PLANET EARTH. [nerd alert!] Watched it today in chemistry. What Planet Earth has to do with chemistry, I do not know. But it amazes me that humans can catch all these different, diverse animals up close and personal. And that ONE God created them all. I like to think I'm somewhat creative...but His creativity outweighs mine by about... a whole whole lot.

Disney pictures WILL be posted. :] I highly anticipate chasing around the characters, just like I did 7 years ago when I was ten. But I'll have an excuse- I'm in Disney World, where everyone turns into a kid as soon as they walk through those magical gates. I can't wait. :]

Countdown: 86 days!

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

confessions of a teenage blog addict.

I think I should go to Blog Addicts Anonymous. And Facebook Wallstalkers Anonymous.

Had my interview for the Malawi, Africa Trip yesterday. It went well, I will keep posting updates on the process! =]

So Neens texted me this morning saying that Boo Mama was hysterical. I do have to agree, her blog posts have kept me howling all morning.

I made my way into her Africa blogs, from the Compassion Blogging Trip that got back about a week ago. Alot of her posts, along with the other bloggers that went, are about the children in Uganda. I eat it up. Boo Mama mentioned that many of these children have never seen their faces before. I've never thought about that. I take mirrors for granted. Something that I use everyday, and don't think twice about. I see my face in my mirror in the morning, in the multiple mirrors in my car, in store windows (okay, sign me up for I Check Myself Out In Any Reflective Surface Anonymous too please.), and in pretty much every reflective surface. In my defense, I am not vain. Just a teenage girl.

But still. That little thought, that many children living in poverished nations have never seen their own faces. Their own beautiful smiles, and the eyes that make me tear up, even when I just see the pictures. I'm going to be a basketcase when I actually get to see these faces up close and for real. And put names with them. Names that I will never forget.

I cannot wait.

It also occured to me last night that in about 90 days I will:
-be a SENIOR.
-be getting on a plane to go out of the country for the first time. To a country that I've only read about on the internet.

Oh my lanta, I cannot wait.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

things that make me tick.

In a burst of creativeness, I decided I would do a "random" blog post. =] Here goes.

Three Things That Make me Happy:
1. sunshine, windows down, sunroof back.
2. candid kindergartener comments.
[favorite to date: but ms. amberly, how did you get your car in a shopping bag if you bought it yourself?]
3. friends =]
Three Things That I Look Forward To:
1. Missions
2. College
Three People That I Admire:
1. My mom
2. Neens
3. Heather

Three Pet Peeves:
1. Not knowing the time
2. AP classes
3. Wearing shoes

Songs That Will Change Your Life:
1. Say It: Britt Nicole
2. My Lovely: Joel and Luke
3. Human: Jon McLaughlin

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Please Put Me On A Plane.

I think I'm developing this awful habit of sitting infront of the computer for hours looking at blogs. Its not so much the blogs that are the awful habit, it's the procrastination that i'm doing that's the awful habit. Oh well.

My applications for the Malawi trip in June are turned in. My passport is applied for, my sponsor letter is in the oven. I cannot wait.

So the past hour and a half has been dedicated not to Union kids this time (although yesterday and the day before that, it was. =]), but to the group that is currently in Uganda with Compassion. I blog hopped all afternoon. Its safe to say that I'm addicted.

Pictures and video always get to me. The dreams of these kids in Uganda that are living in poverty make me smile. A young boy wants to be an engineer. A mother hopes her son will be a doctor, so he can help the people in his village. Many parents want their children to get a strong, formal education so they can break out of the cycle of poverty of their villages. With the help of Compassion, these children are being sponsored by families in the United States. Families of these children are visited monthly by a Compassion "networking" friend, who keeps folders on each child in the village, along with charts of growth, pictures, and goals for the family and for the child.

The hope that fill the eyes of the Ugandan children is incredible. The smiles are captivating. I cannot wait for the Malawi trip. I know God will do BIG things. Because He's my God, and my God does big things.

I, I am small but You,

You are big enough

I, I am weak butYou,

You are strong enough to

Take my dreams

Come and give them wings

Lord with You

Nothing I can not do

Nothing I cannot do

I wanna feed the hungry children

And reach across the farthest land

And tell the broken there is healing

And mercy in the Father's hands

-Set The World On Fire: Britt Nicole

Thursday, February 7, 2008

The Spirit of Union U

Union University has quickly become a school that is being talked about across the nation. On Feb. 5, 2008 a tornado cut through the campus just outside of Jackson, TN.

I have spent the last 2 1/2 hours looking through pictures, news stories, and Facebook posts from students. It's incredible.

God was TOTALLY on that campus, protecting each and every one of the students.

Three months ago, I went to Union for a preview day and totally fell in love. After seeing the countless pictures of the campus now, I am still in love with Union.

The people are what caught my attention. They genuinely care about each other, and that's something special.

I am more sure now than ever, that I want to go to Union University in a year and a half.

The Lord is totally and completely there. Ain't no doubt about it.

Union's in our prayers! Love you guys!

Thursday, January 17, 2008


Then I heard the voice of the Lord saying, “Whom shall I send? And who will go for Us?” And I said, “Here am I. Send me!” –Isaiah 6:8 NIV

Last night at Fusion, mission trip flyers were passed out. At exactly the right time, too. God has such a way of having the perfect timing. =]

Throughout the past 3 weeks, I have been reading Journey of Hope by Lurline McDaniel, and Red Letters by Tom Davis. Both of these books are rooted in the stories and situations of the African people. The people that have my heart. The people that I have never met, but already hold a special place in my heart.

So as the informational meeting, application process, passports, and shots are all approaching, Isaiah 6:8 will be my prayer. Maybe the Lord doesn't want me to go to Africa this summer, maybe He wants me to wait. But I know he wants me to go somewhere. And that makes me smile. I can't wait to see what He's got in store!

We leave for Winter Retreat tomorrow. After months and months of prayer, it is finally here. I could not be more excited. From prayer meetings in hallways, to Elevate weekend, to playing hide and seek with the Oates girls, God has moved huge mountains. Man, the power of prayer. I never grow tired of the Lord being so breathtaking. We are finally a family. We are standing up after months of being on the ground. We aren't standing up on our own. We've got a family now. A family with a Heavenly Father that loves us, and has plans for our lives. Plans that start tomorrow.

I can't wait. =]

Tuesday, January 1, 2008

A New Leaf and Ants in My Pants

Hello 2008!

Five favorite memories from 2007:
-CPP '07
-Mud fights
-Football season

Five hopes for 2008:
-NYC/Italy with Neens
-Be used as a catalyst for change
-Direction for the future
-Joy in the small things

Winter Retreat is in 17 days. I cannot wait. I can't wait because of the Lifehouse skit, the memories that will be made, and the walls that will tumble. I'm so pumped.