Wednesday, December 23, 2009
But I've loved almost every minute of it.
I've especially loved the minutes that I remember that I have a Heavenly Father who cares enough about me to provide for my every need. My need to be loved, my need to be encouraged, my need to be held and whispered to....all of them! And man, does this move me to tears.
Because honestly, I'm really not a good Christian. I have a tendency to wander and wonder. I wander away from the God that I so dearly love and I know so dearly loves me. I wander into the arms of earthly things or people, looking to them to fulfill my every need. But they cannot- they are earthly beings, fallen children just like I am.
I wonder at what God is up to. There are many moments that I get frustrated because I can't see the big picture. There are moments that I just want to hurry up and graduate college and start teaching and get married and live in Africa and have a family and live happily ever after. And there are moments that I wonder on a more short term basis....I am not patient, and when I see that God is taking His sweet time unfolding something for me, I like to hurry it along. But usually that winds up in something going wrong.
So I'm learning. I'm learning to trust, and allow Dad to love on me and take me into the desert place and speak tenderly to me, like Scripture says in Hosea. It's hard sometimes because God isn't always tangible. I am really affectionate. That's my receiving love language. I love hugs and kisses and hand holding and snuggling. But since the Lord isn't here physically, I can't always feel Him hugging me or holding my hand or dancing with me through fields of wildflowers.
But I know He is.
When the sun shines on my face, or the wind blows my hair, I can't help but think, "I bet Dad's thinking how beautiful I am right now. Look at how my hair sparkles in the sunshine, or how it dances in the wind. He is so enthralled by my beauty!" And this makes me so excited.
Then there are those moments where I am enthralled by HIS beauty. The fog lifting from the mountains in Chattanooga, or the stars here in Franklin the other night, or those precious little chocolate-colored faces that swim into my night time dreams and my day time dreams quite frequently...they all captivate me because they are such a perfect picture of God's love and His beauty.
A very important person has recently stepped out of my life, and I've been really having to rely on Dad to carry me lately. There are moments when I feel physical pain due to this loss. There are moments when I can't help but to break down and cry. There are moments when I ask God "Why?" and there are moments when I want to undo everything that happened. But I was reading on Katie Davis' blog the other day about how when someone steps out of our life, and we feel that pain and heartache, that MUST be how Christ feels when we lose sight of Him. It says in Scripture that when the Shepherd loses just one sheep out of 100, He goes looking for it. Sometimes I am that sheep. Most of the time, I'm embarrassed at the place He finds me in. Not literally, but heart-wise. Sometimes other things have taken over His throne, and I am ashamed. But He lifts my head with His hand, looks into my eyes, picks me up, and carries me Home.
I am the Prodigal Daughter. I am the Lost Sheep. But most importantly, I am a Daughter, a Warrior, an Heir, and a Princess. I am His, and He is mine.
Monday, November 9, 2009
...I was a high school student.
But now. Now I'm not a high school student. No longer do I have a principal, a locker combination to remember, or my own bedroom. Now I answer to college professors, enjoy sharing a 9' by 14' room with one of my best friends, and have about 48 different numbers, passwords, and usernames to remember.
But boy howdy, DO I LOVE IT.
I'm at Lee University. I get along with this place like peanut butter and jelly get along. It's beautiful. It's nestled right in the middle of las montanas (or "the mountains" for all you non-Spanish extraordinares out there), the people here are INCREDIBLY God- breathed, and the Lord thrives on this campus.
College is a little weird, though. No longer am I surrounded by the people that helped me be "me." I know that first and foremost Christ, and my relationship with Him, defines who I am. But in a sense, you can't help but to cash in on what others say about you, think about you, and act toward you. At home in Franklin, I was Amberly, the Africa-loving, sweet pea, art freak. Now I'm Amberly the....
It's a clean slate, is what it is. It's completely exciting but insanely disturbing at the same time. I get this EXACT feeling staring at a literal blank canvas before a painting. There are so many different directions that I can go. But I feel that tug toward the "known," toward my past, toward my roots. I know that I'll remain faithful to my roots for the rest of my life, to one extent or another. I'll always love kids and have a really, really, really, really big heart for other countries, most specifically the continent of Africa. I'll always feel absolutely perfect with a brush in my hand and Ray LaMontagne on my radio.
But now, now I'm in a new culture. Gone are the cowboy boots and cowboy hats. Gone is the Pancake Pantry. Gone are the TPC Youth Kids. Gone are my parents (well, not literally GONE, but out of my everyday life). Gone is the Nashvillian Culture. (Isn't it funny that you don't realize how INSANELY AWESOME a place is until you leave it?) Gone is my bedroom. Gone is my house with all its little creaks and groans in the night. Gone is my favorite bookstore, with my favorite overstuffed sofa. Gone are my backroads that provided therapy for so many frustrating days. Gone are my carpool buddies that would accompany me in a lively (and very off key) rendition of "Gone" by NSYNC.
And in their place are beautiful trees. New people. New family that lives within 30 steps of me (and shares the same bathroom that I do). An insanely amazing boyfriend. Fantastic opportunities to positively impact the world around me for the glory of the Father. Beautiful parks. An "adoptive" mom and dad that live 20 minutes from here. Freedom out the wazoo. Cleveland Culture...which isn't as awesome or inspiring as that of Nashville, but still offers some interesting opportunities. Free food. And lots of it.
So in short, I miss home. But I love it here, and I know that the Lord has me here for a reason. I love love love Lee. There are definitely tough days, but I'm gonna have those anywhere. But here, the fantastic days far outweigh the tough days.
Top 10 Memories So Far:
1. Meeting my boyfriend in the ID line.
2. Party in the USA music video making.
3. Girl's Nights
4. Spending more time (and money) at Wal Mart than ever before.
5. Seeing yellow butterflies EVERYWHERE.
6. The sunsets here.
7. Meeting more people than I could ever imagine in the span of about 49 minutes.
8. Having professors tell you their testimonies.
9. Having professors remind you that they're praying for you.
10. Learning that you really DO change freshman year.
Top 10 Things I'm Looking Forward T0
1. THANKSGIVING BREAK!! (Dalton, Mississippi, extended-family meeting, food-consuming...)
2. Christmas Break! (Franklin, Gatlinburg, hot-tubbing, cookie making, girls nighting...)
3. Small Groups the rest of the year
4. My art classes next semester
5. Tutoring elementary schoolers next semester
6. Spring Break
7. Urban Outreach Weekend 1 and 2.
8. Skype dates with Neens and Em.
9. Continuing to teach my kindergarten Sunday School class.
10. Even MORE baking parties.
So here's to you, College Adventure. I love you so far!
Ps--- This is my shameless plug for Em, my seestar. She's going to North Africa this Spring. CHECK IT OUT: http://emifaye.blogspot.com/
Tuesday, July 21, 2009
After Dulles, we arrived(after a 7 hour red-eye flight) in London. We didn't get to go out into London this year, due to being delayed in Nashville. But we had fun in the Yotel again...
After the Heaven of the Heathrow airport, we left with heavy, down-trodden hearts. The pits of Hell awaited us, in the form of the Nairobi airport. No air conditioning, LOTS of people, not very much English, and nothing really to do. The airport is about a football field's length long, and I could about stand in the middle of it, and touch the sides. It's pretty narrrow. I start feeling sick just thinking about it. We had a delay here too. Of about 3 hours.
And finally, after another flight of 2 hours and sitting on the tarmac in some strange city in Zambia for 45 minutes, WE MADE IT TO MALAWI!We retrieved our bags, and came out into the parking lot (that brought back a FLOOD of memories from last year) to find the youth from Capital City Baptist Church (CCBC) waiting for us! They helped us load up our luggage, and we were on our way to Kumbali.
Thursday, June 18, 2009
Friday, May 15, 2009
I'm done with high school.
Goodbye FHS, I'll miss you.
Hello, dear sweet summer!
Man. I'm done. It's sooooooo weird.
I cleaned out my locker, and my art cubbies, and all my random possessions in the art room...it was like moving out of a house.
We signed yearbooks today, we ate our last meal on FHS grounds.
I heard my last dismissal bell, I walked out to my parking spot for the last time. I drove away for the last time. I looked back, and remembered.
-Freshman year, and my first day of high school.
-the band bus.
-Mrs. Vaden. (aka: Darth Vader, and her transporter to the Underworld.)
-singing Queen at the top of our lungs under Mrs. Vaden's desk.
-dissecting the fetal pig sophomore year.
-moving into the new building.
-being one of the first students in the new building.
-accidentally walking into the boys bathroom.
-getting moved in Spanish because John and I "talked too much."
-Art 1, and washing our brushes in a water cooler.
-getting my arms covered in spray glue at Float Bulding.
-Relient K in concert.
-the phone scavenger hunt.
-teaching Liane how to drive a stick shift.
-the smell of the band room.
-going commando in our (new) band uniforms in California.
-"I feel like a burrito!"
-"The sun raped my face!"
-gutting those houses.
-Little Sally Walker.
-permagrins and THE BUNGALOW.
-"McDonalds" at 2am.
-piling in Kevin's car.
-the student section.
-painting my fingers to the bone.
-dance parties in Ms. Saylor's room.
-camping out in Ms. Saylor's room.
-decorating our parking spots with sidewalk chalk.
-the class of 2009.
-blasting NSYNC in my car with the girls.
-getting advice from the boys.
-STUDIO ART AP.
-sisters from another mister.
Man, what a ride. I'm so thankful for the past 4 years, and I can't wait to see what the Father has in store for the next chapter of my life!
Thursday, May 7, 2009
I AM DONE WITH MY ART PORTFOLIO! :]
A little taste of what's in it (more soon!) :
<"Goldfish in a Bowl" -abstract, happend on accident. Cleaning off my palatte from another piece, I decided to use the extra paint on this sucker. Turned out to be a beaut!
So, now that I'm officially done with my art portfolio, and I took my English 4 AP exam today...I'm practically done with high school. I have 4---COUNT THEM, 4!!!!!---days left of my high school career. This is kinda freakin' me out, and making me so stinkin' excited at the same time. Yuuuuuus.
Africa is soon! it's like 42 days. Man oh man, this is going to be so great. I can't wait to get back!
Grad parties have already started. The yearbook came in yesterday. It's beautiful! I'm done with Studio Art. No more hanging in Ms. Saylor's room at all hours of the school day. Lunches on the lawn are drawing to a close...man, sad day!
But in other news, our cruise to Mexico got cancelled, due to "Swine Flu."
-----Swine Flu is a HOAX. All it is is the media of the US blowing it up into this HUGE deal. More people have died from the regular flu since the beginning of the year than Swine Flu.
Where is the media coverage about the 15 MILLION children that die EVERY YEAR of hunger? Where is the media coverage about the 2 MILLION people that die EVERY YEAR of AIDS? Swine Flu isn't a pandemic. AIDS and world hunger are pandemics.
World hunger is completely preventable. The average American family spends $800 on Christmas. This could give 7 children in developing nations 1 meal per day for a year.
Okay, hopping down off my soapbox...
So, our cruise was cancelled. I was excited, honestly. I loved the cruise, but am much more of a beach bum, hang out by the pool type o' gal. So we are now looking at our favorite beach house in Seaside, FL. Or possibly flying down to Cozymel (which stole our hearts last summer) and staying in an all-inclusive. I'm purty pumped. :]
Here are some Prom 09 pictures! We had a blast.
Karl and I at the Angles. >
Half the gang, at Picture Station #1. >
So now I'm off to work on Senior Slideshows for my grad party (WOO!) and the Senior Recognition for the class of 2009 (aka Kono) at church next week. Could you pass the Kleenex box, please?
Friday, April 24, 2009
During the summer of 2008, I was presented with an opportunity to venture overseas to Lilongwe, Malawi to teach in schools and build a home for a family that adopted an AIDS orphan. I had no clue where Malawi was, and what it was like. I spent many an hour on Google researching the place that would soon steal my heart.
Google told me about the beautiful Lake Malawi, the kind Malawian people, and the wonderful scenery in this country. What Google didn’t tell me about was the absolute poverty that has stricken the country of Malawi. Like so many sub-Saharan African countries, Malawi is plagued with disease and famine. But these life altering circumstances don’t stop the Malawian people. They are a people of hope and of joy. (Google didn’t inform me of this either.) Even in the face of death, starvation, and drought, the Malawians shook me out of my comfortable American kid bubble, and into reality.
My first day in Malawi, I taught the African equivalent to an American kindergarten class. I was lead to a small brick room and 28 smiling, breath-takingly beautiful faces. The teacher I was temporarily replacing instructed that I was to teach these little ones the Alphabet, body parts, colors, and numbers. I was a valuable asset because I’m from America, and therefore have an accent (albeit a very Southern one). As I looked around the small room with one window, I thought to myself, “Man, I have more in my book bag alone than these children will ever see. I have textbooks, notebooks, and pencils. These children have nothing.” I was accustomed to having materials to teach with, like a blackboard or flashcards. But none of these awaited my use here in this brick room. So, my imagination kicked in, and we embarked on a journey that included lots of laughter, some language barriers, and even some learning- on both my part as the teacher, and their part as my students. These Malawian children are some of the lucky few that are able to receive an education. Most children in third-world nations don’t ever get to hold a pencil, or see a textbook. There are children in our world that don’t know how to add two and two, or what a verb is. Every child, from sea to shining sea, deserves to know what it’s like going to class and holding a pencil, or raising their hand to answer a question. And this can be done, if those that hold prominent positions in our world step up, step out, and let their voices be heard.
With the education of children around the world, new ideas and styles of thinking will be brought to life. Creative minds, all around the glob, working together for a common cause can truly change our world. Even children in third-world countries have dreams, just like 8 year old Ishmael told me, “I would love to become a doctor when I grow up. To help my people not be sick anymore would be so….cool.” He then burst out with an uninhibited smile, which brought tears to my eyes. Because I know the future of this small boy, along with his hopes and dreams, rests on our shoulders as a country where providence flows.
I’m not a politician; I’m not a world leader. But I am a world changer, and with the help of all those around me, including those that are prominent in the American society, WE can change the world. WE can have a positive influence on those that can’t see the light at the end of the tunnel. WE can be hope carriers to those who have lost all hope. WE can change the world, starting with educating those small minds that are part of our global community.
Sunday, April 12, 2009
This week was spring break. And boy howdy, was it needed! Here's some snippets of what I did...
< Raced shopping carts in parking lots...
Had Fake Fusion with the youth group, where we had great roomie boding time... ^
(Where we were stalked by an employee that kept giving us looks. We were just killing time before our movie!)
In other news, high school consists of getting ready (and pumped!) for Prom '09, sending in final transcripts to our choice colleges, and eating lunch outside. :]
Monday, March 2, 2009
I'm watching Little People Big World, on TLC. This show is growing on me. I think it's cute. So anyways. Molly, the daughter on the show, graduated from 8th grade on the episode I just watched. Now, I've been there. And it wasn't really that big of a deal. But it's what Molly and her friends did after the ceremony that got me.
They ran to each other and hugged each other's necks really tightly. And it hit me a little bit: I'M GRADUATING IN JUST OVER 80 DAYS. I will be a high school graduate. I will be going to college. When August rolls around, and everyone's buying school supplies and new clothes, I'll be going to Cleveland, TN for college at Lee. That is SO weird. That's uncharted waters, is what that is.
I'm counting down the minutes until the finale of The Bachelor. My mom and I watch the show every Monday, while we eat ice cream. It's our own little tradition...one that I will greatly miss next year. But I'm excited for the show. I know it's all hokey and television, but I still think Jason is totally cute. :]
I'M GOING BACK TO MALAWI. I will be in Malawi in a little over 3 months. Weird weird weird. We had our second team meeting yesterday...and I am so excited but also a jumble of other feelings. The idea that some of the girls and guys that went last year won't be there this year is weird to me. But it's exciting that there will be new faces and friends on this team. It's also weird to think that I'm going back. I'll be crawling in the dirt again. I'll have 6 little hands wrapped around my fingers, while we waddle back to the Adziwa village for lunch. I'll teach little guys how to play Frisbee, and play the "dancing game" with the girls. I'll be laughed at by the native workers that we work alongside with on the house. I'll be going home.
Prayer points for Malawi 09:
-peace in the journey before the journey
-protection for traveling mercies
-guidance in what to teach and how to teach it
-trust that the Lord will provide!
-blessings from the Lord in monetary and spiritual ways that only the Father can do!
Man, it's just so weird. But boy howdy...AM I STINKIN' EXCITED!!!
Graduation- 82 days until graduation. (includes weekends and Spring Break)
38 SCHOOL days until graduation.
Malawi- 109 days!
Thursday, February 19, 2009
2. The Senior Class of 2009:
I am 54ish school days away from being a graduate. This makes me excited beyond words. But that's not why I love the senior class. I love the senior class because we are FAMILY. Just like it says in Nehemiah, when one of us is missing from the group, there is a tangible hole. Each one of us brings something different to the table. (I'm sorta stealing this from Will...bare with me.)
We each have our own strengths and our own weaknesses. But we complete each other so perfectly, it can only happen through the Lord. In the class of 2009, or Kono, we have: leaders of all shapes and sizes, artists, lovers, dreamers, scholars, musicians, comedians, dancers, prayer warriors, risk takers, photographers, directors, actors, filmakers, teachers, missionaries, justice-seekers, optimists, and planners. We are by no stretch of the imagination perfect, but we love each other unconditionally nonetheless. We are clay in the Father's hands, going anyway He leads. How incredibly blessed I am to be in such a diverse and loving family.
3. Oil Paint:
Dear oil painting, how I love you. Actually, dear any type of painting, I love you. As soon as I have a brush in my hand, everything fades away (yes, I proudly stole this from The Notebook). But it really is true. I get in my own little world when I paint...just me and the canvas. Sometimes, I get stuck. I hit a "painter's block." But usually, with some thoughtful sketching and some great music, I can bust on through that dumb painter's block. I especially love the way oil paints smell. They just permeate my memory, and I know that whenever I smell that particular scent, it will bring me back to my adventure with my canvas. Some people say that they take their cars on adventures. Or their cameras. Or even their friends. But with a canvas, I can do anything.
Oh my lanta, I never knew photo editing could be so fun. Hello a new form of procrastination. But hey, it's creative!
5. Driving with my windows down:
Oh, the wind in my hair, the clouds in the sky... just kidding. But I really do like that. There's just such a feeling of freedom while driving with the windows down. Especially to good music.
6. Del Rio:
Not "of the river" in Spanish. Well, it is. But that's not what I mean. Del Rio is this really great narrow road that winds through the fields and "countryside" here in Franklin. I especially like it while driving with my windows down. There's not much traffic on it, so it's almost like the movie Elizabethtown, when Orlando Bloom is just crusin' along listening to some really great music. Yeah, I like it. :] Both Del Rio and the movie Elizabethtown.
I'M GOING BACK THIS SUMMER! Praise the Almighty Father, I've been called to return back home. I've still got dirt from Malawi in my shoes, and not a day passes that I don't think about those precious children. Hopefully I can brush up on my soccer skills before I return...
A Random List of Things I Love, But I'm Not Going To Elaborate On Because I Want To Watch Grey's:
-Preds games. (Nashville's hockey team)
-the Art Girls. (I see them every morning. Without them, I wouldn't have anyone to share my embarassing stories with at 7:30 a.m.)
-my car's sunroof.
-sisters from other misters. (Not literally. But I've got some great gals that surround me. And I'm pretty sure the Lord didn't put some of us in the same family because...well, I don't think there's a set of parents out there that could handle some of us in the same family. We're a bit goofy.)
-senior boys that have Lumberjack day.
Tuesday, January 27, 2009
1. Photo outings! Do you know how hard it is to take pictures in sub-40 degree temperature? Exactly. Frozen fingers!
2. Sundresses. Boy, do I miss my sundresses and skirts. Jeans get kinda old after awhile...
3. Going barefoot! I hate wearing shoes. I hate cold, it makes me wear shoes. I hate shoes. Wait. I love shoes, I am a girl. I love buying them, I love looking at them in store windows and drooling over the ones I can't afford. I hate WEARING shoes. Yeah, that's it. I hate the act of wearing them. I love shoes themselves.
4. Farmer's Market. So I've actually not been to the Farmer's Market in awhile. But I miss the colors, and the people. And now that I have Marty the Cannon Rebel, it will be more of an adventure.
5. The beach. So I was born in southern Alabama. On the Gulf. And I basically love the beach, and would totally live on the beach if I could. But because it's cold, I can't go to the beach. Warm weather, please come!
6. Driving with my windows down. So I do this now, but it's not nearly as fun. Because it gets really cold when you have all that wintery wind blowing into your car...
7. Days at the park. Man, I miss Pinkerton. I miss just going to camp out for the day and play Frisbee and eat snacks and swing.
8. River hopping. A branch of the Harpeth River is right behind my house. I live with a very adventurous dad and brother. We usually wind up in the river at least twice during the summer, doing all sorts of things from fishing to skipping stones to swimming. The dog usually gets roped into our adventures too. Great fun.
9. Fireworks. We do fireworks in the winter, but it's not quite the same. There's just something about sitting around on a hot July night eating watermelon and watching the fireworks. Or watching them after a baseball game.
10. Various Summer Activities. I miss Vacation Bible School (speaking of, isn't it about time to announce the theme?). I miss kid's camp, and playing in the pool with the 3rd grade girls. I miss youth camp and crawling through mud that smells like New Orleans, and eating Nutella and M&Ms on the back porch of our cabin.
It's a safe thing to say that I am not really a fan of the cold. It's almost like the cold makes me become a hermit. All I want to do is curl up with a warm blanket and a good book. And some hot chocolate.
So, dear summer, HURRY!
(And Mr. Groundhog, please don't see your shadow next week!)