Sunday, July 31, 2011

Q&A DAY (Part Two)

Today is part two of the Q&A day on my alphabet blogging challenge.  Because I have the best readers ever who asked lots and lots of questions, I decided to split Q&A day into two days to make the huge blocks of information less overwhelming.  Again, thanks so much for all of your questions.  It means a lot to me that you took the time to ask them.  I answered every question I received before July 29, so if your question wasn't answered here, it should be answered in Q&A Day (Part ONE).

DSC04285.jpg16.) What's the craziest thing you could ever do for God?
- I think once I would have said that the craziest thing I could do for Him would be to die as a martyr, but I don't think so anymore.  Of course that is something I would be willing to do, but it isn't the craziest.  I think the craziest thing I would be willing to do is to give my entire life to Him.  Not just give my life, but give the moments I'm alive as well.

I want to be willing to make sacrifices that seem insane to everybody else.  I want to be able to abandon everything for Him, spend hours with Him, and become more like Him.  John the Baptist, Moses, Paul, Francis of Assisi... all of those guys seemed a little crazy, right?  I want to be able to be crazy for God like that.  To give everything I have to be who He wants me to be.

17.) I was wondering, how do you get so many people to read your blog? I mean, obviously you don't know everybody who reads your blog (like me) but how do you get them to start reading it?
- I'll admit it's been surprising how many people have read my blog.  I first started out thinking that nobody would care to read what I have to say, but in the last fourteen months, I've gotten more than  420,000 views.  I'm so thankful I have this blog as an outlet to share my heart, my thoughts, and my writing.  I want to blog for the rest of my life now.

I'm not exactly sure how I've gotten so many people to read my blog.  It's really up to whether people like what you have to say, I suppose.  Write about things that you would want to read if you were a visitor to your blog.  Always be honest.  Use proper spelling and grammar whenever possible.  Use paragraphs.  Write frequently (like every day or at least three times a week).  If you want to advertise your blog on Facebook and Twitter, go ahead.  I haven't done much advertising.  I should probably advertise more than I do, in fact.  If you write something that others like, then they'll share your blog with their friends and they'll be sure to come back and read more.

I think one very important thing is whether or not you write for the views.  I don't write for the views.  Although I love it when people read and comment on what I have to say, that isn't why I write.  I think if I started advertising on here all the time and sounding desperate for views and followers, it would start to become annoying and even affect the quality of what I have to say.  I started out with two or three views a day... sometimes no views at all.  At times, I've gotten up to 6,000 views a day.  Lately I've been getting about 300 or so views a day.  But how much do views really matter?

Just write from your heart.  It might take a while, but people will want to read what you have to say as you continue to mature in your writing and slowly gain some regular readers.

18.) What do you think will be the hardest thing about leaving home for college?
- The hardest thing about leaving home for college will definitely be leaving my family and friends.  I spend a lot of time with my family.  My mom and I go shopping together, eat lunch together, and watch movies (and Lost) together almost every single day, so it's going to be strange not to spend a lot of time with her.  My grandparents and I are also very close, so it's going to be hard only seeing them once every month or two.

P1010983.JPGI know teens hang out with friends a lot, but my friend situation is different than most.  Because Ali has been living at my home and the homes of two other friends throughout the year, our three families have kind of turned into one big family.  For holidays and birthdays, our three families usually get together.  It's been so special to grow even closer to my best friends.  We've all become family to each other.  I literally spend time with my friends every single day, whether it's at family functions or just hanging out.

I'm sure every new college student has to face the stress of making a brand new group of friends and living on their own. I expect that it will be very hard for me to have to start over after making such close friends as I have right now.  I don't know anyone who has a better group of friends than I do.  We are so close knit that we literally call each other family.  It's so special.  So that's what will be hardest for me.  Leaving the ones I love.  After all, I'll be moving ten hours away.  Thankfully, one of my best friends will be going to A&M with me, so we'll be able to spend some time with each other throughout the year.  Praise God!

19.) How are you dealing with the drought?  What kinds of rules/laws are put in place because of it, and how are you adapting?
- The drought has been very difficult on my family since our well is going dry.  We're having to use water bottles and jugs of water for everything.  The water that we have left is a sandy-brown color and unusable.  It's also been difficult because of the fire warnings.  Several houses have burned down in my city this summer because of fires.  It's a scary thought to know that one spark could wipe out our entire area.

The biggest law right now is that no fireworks are allowed anywhere near our county.  This was so sad since 4th of July is my favorite holiday.  However, fireworks are a luxury, so while I was disappointed that we didn't get our annual display out at my house, it wasn't that big of a deal.  Our city is considering setting up a water ration.  This would mean that each home would no longer be able to water their lawns and could only use a certain amount of water a day.  This actually would not affect my family whatsoever because my family doesn't use city water.  We have our own pitiful well.

20.) If you could have lunch with any person, dead or alive, who would you eat with?
- This is easy.  Elvis Presley!  I have a bit of a crush on him and I would love to eat a meal with him.  If I was lucky, we'd fall in love and get married the next day. ;)  Actually, I'd love to ask him some questions about his faith and his music.  If not Elvis, my second choice would be Michael Jackson.  After him would be Ted Dekker, my favorite author.

21.) Who inspires you?
- People who outshine their disabilities inspire me so much.  If I ever decide to have kids and make a family, I would seriously consider adopting a child with a physical disability (like an amputee).  I don't know why, but whenever I hear stories about amputees who are so positive and so inspirational and determined, tears come to my eyes.  I believe God puts every one of us here for a reason, disabled or not.

People who have joy despite terrible circumstances also inspire me.  Seeing the children in Kenya who loved life and who loved Jesus even though they had nothing changed my life forever.  It was amazing to me that joy could be found in such a desolate place.  Pure joy is such a rare and special thing.  I believe I found it many times in the hearts of those living in Africa.

22.) What is your favorite verse?
- I talk about my favorite verse a lot on this blog.  It's Psalm 77:19, which says, "Your path led through the sea, Your way through the mighty waters, though Your footprints were not seen."  It means so much to me because it got me through a particularly difficult time when I felt like I was drowning in a sea of pain.  I couldn't find God's presence anywhere, but His footprints was still there.  He was still working in my life, even when I couldn't find Him.

23.) What has been the best piece of advice you have ever heard?
- I really like this question.  During a tough time in my life, a sweet lady named Tanya Gordon befriended me and mentored me for several months.  She helped me and encouraged me in so many ways.  In fact, I'm not sure where I would be in my faith right now if it wasn't for her friendship.  It was also her idea to put my story of overcoming cutting and depression onto paper to inspire others.  Anyways, one of the best pieces of advice she gave me during this time was that the depth of my valleys indicated the height of the mountains in my life later on.  Perhaps I was struggling because I was being tested for greater things.  I'd never heard that before and it touched me so much.  In fact, I've said that same thing to several others who are struggling because I believe it's true.  So thanks, Tanya.  Your advice meant more to me than you will ever know.

24.) What are you most nervous about with regards to leaving for college?
- I almost blended this with #18 above, but the questions are a bit different, so I decided to answer them separately.  While the hardest thing for me will be leaving my friends and family, I don't know if that is what makes me the most nervous.  I think I'm the most nervous about becoming an adult and living on my own.  I'm not independent yet.

My car was hit today by someone pulling into a parking spot while I was inside eating lunch.  Even though it wasn't that big of a deal and I couldn't have done anything about it, I felt panicky and unsure of myself until my mom took over and told me what to do.  I may be eighteen, but I still feel like a child in a lot of ways.  Moving ten hours away from my parents and living on my own scares me quite a bit.  However, I know it's time for me to grow up.  This is something that needs to happen.

25.) Is there any way for you to make your website be able to be followed?
- I am not a computer person.  I'm a writer, yes, but I don't know a whole lot about computers and the internet.  I'm pretty sure that if you click the button at the bottom of this page that says, "Subscribe to this blog's feed," you'll get an email every time I post something, but honestly, I've never tried it for myself.  I use an awesome website called to follow my favorite blogs.  Blog Lovin' is my internet addiction.  Simply type in the address of all the blogs you follow and it'll keep their latest posts all on one page.  This is the easiest way I've seen to check if someone has updated their blog.  You just have to look in one place.  Blog Lovin' is amazing.

26.) How did you overcome self-harm?
- This is a big question to answer in a small space like this.  Overcoming self-harm wasn't easy and sometimes I'm still tempted to start back.  It is a very tough thing to overcome, but it's so worth it.  One of the biggest things that made me stop was wanting to stop.  I could tell myself over and over, "I'm going to stop.  This will be my last time.  No more," but until I was determined to end the addiction and treat my body the right way, I didn't have the will power to stop cutting.  You have to want to stop.

100_4755.JPGFinding positive outlets for negative emotions is also vitally important.  You have to decide, "Next time I get upset or have a bad day, instead of self-injury, I'm going to ________."  Your outlet could be writing down all of your anger into a journal and then crumpling up the paper.  It could be playing an instrument.  It could be going on a five mile run.  Whatever it is, it needs to be healthy and a way to vent your pain and frustration.

Find accountability.  If you're feeling tempted to self-harm, call up a friend.  Don't let yourself be in a room by yourself.  I know it can be a horrible feeling to tell a friend you self-harm, but if you're struggling to overcome that addiction, you need to let somebody know that you haven't cut in ____ days.  Keep track of how long you've been without cutting.  You'll want to be able to reward yourself with each special date that goes by.

The first day, the first week, the first month, the first year.  Every day you go without hurting yourself is reason for celebration.  The longer you go, the easier it will become.  Also, if you keep track of how long you've gone without cutting, you reallllllly won't want to break that by relapsing.

You'll need to learn to love yourself again.  If you're constantly telling yourself, "You're stupid.  You're ugly.  You're worthless.  You deserve to die.  I hate you," then it will be hard to see why you shouldn't self-harm.  Deliberately look in the mirror and point out your attractive features.  Make lists of things you like about yourself.  When you mentally (or audibly) say something negative about yourself, correct it immediately.  Deuteronomy 14:1-2 says, "You are the children of the Lord your God.  Do not cut yourselves... Out of all the peoples on the face of the earth, the Lord has chosen you to be his treasured possession."  You are treasured.  Keep reminding yourself how special you are, even when you don't feel that way.

Most importantly, you need to start to repair your relationship with God.  He will give you the power to overcome any addiction.  All you have to do is ask.  When you're feeling tempted, spend time in prayer.  Read the Bible.  Learn more about God's promises for you.  He will help you overcome self-harm, just like He helped me.

27.) What is your favorite film?
- "The Truman Show" is probably my favorite movie of all times.  A close second would be "Pirates of the Caribbean" and then "August Rush."

28.) What do you believe about God using people?
- I wish I had more context surrounding this question so I could know more of what you mean.  Do I believe that God uses people?  Definitely.  I think He used Moses to free the Israelites from slavery.  I believe He used Deborah and Esther to save Israel.  I believe He can use anyone for His glory, even someone who doesn't believe in Him.  Think about how the Lord used Pharaoh in the Bible, even though Pharaoh rebelled so cold.JPGstrongly against Him.  God can use anyone.  I pray every day that God will use me to further His kingdom.  If I knew more of what you were asking, I think I would be able to answer this question better.

29.) Are you ever going to post more songs on YouTube?
- For those of you who don't know, I have a music channel on YouTube called EmilythePerson.  I haven't posted a song in a few months.  I know it's been a while, and yes, I do want to post more songs on YouTube eventually.  What I've actually been doing lately is recording an album.  It isn't professional quality (I'm using a microphone and some basic software), but it will be a gift for some family members who enjoy listening to my songs and will miss my voice while I'm at college.  After I finish recording that album, I'll definitely start posting more songs on YouTube and hopefully some before then as well.

In the meantime, I have another YouTube channel that I use more regularly.  It's a vlog called TheLifeofEmily.  I post all sorts of things like adventures with friends, clips of my puppy, and behind the scenes of Ali's and my "Facing Prejudice" social experiment.  On average, I post something new about two to three times a week.

30.) I don't think I would be comfortable enough to just let anyone online know my secrets. Do you think not being that open with others is a bad thing?  (Someone actually commented and asked me this question on Q&A Day part one, but I felt like it was a big enough question to include in this post.  It deals with a somewhat controversial topic about how transparent Christians should be.)
- I feel like one difference between the person asking this question and me is that although I choose to keep some things private for now, I don't feel like they're secrets.  At this point, I don't think certain things in my life need to be shared online and I don't share everything I'm going through, but if I was asked directly about those things or if the Lord asked me to share them, I would do so without hesitation because I don't feel like they're secrets.

I do believe that we as Christians should attempt to be transparent with our lives.  We are a city on a hill.  People are watching us to see how we live our lives and whether or not we own up to our faults. I believe we need to allow our issues to be used by the Lord, but I don't think this means you have to voluntarily share everything with everyone all at one time. If you are struggling with a private trial, then I don't think you have to step up and share that struggle with the entire world to ensure you are transparent. Share what you feel the Lord is asking you to share, and don't try to cover something up if you're confronted about the issue.  Keeping secrets is a risky business.  You can be open and honest without voluntarily sharing everything in your heart.

On my blog, I tend to share more of my past trials that I've been able to overcome through Christ than the things I'm struggling with right now (although I'll make an exception if I feel the Lord is asking me to share while I'm in the midst of my trial).  The main reason I share as much about my emotions and trials as I have is because I feel like I've messed up a whole lot, but God is able to use the story of my struggles to encourage others. If that's the case, I'm willing to swallow some of my shame and embarrassment to follow what I believe God is asking me to do.

So I don't think we have to share everything with everyone, but I do believe we need to keep our lives open enough to be willing to share something when God asks us to share it. After all, according to Matthew 10, "...nothing is covered that will not be revealed, or hidden that will not be known. What I tell you in the dark, say in the light, and what you hear whispered, proclaim from the housetops..." Eventually all that is hidden will be revealed, so don't desperately rely on the privacy of your secrets. Always keep your mistakes, struggles, and victories open for the Lord to use. :)

Thanks so much for the questions.  :)

Saturday, July 30, 2011

Q&A Day (Part One)

Today is Q&A day.  Thanks so much for all of your questions.  It means so much to me that you took the time to write your comments and ask me questions.  In fact, I got so many questions from you guys that this post was becoming way too long.  When I scrolled through the page, even I was overwhelmed by how much information was stuffed into one post.  So I separated Q&A day into two days.

Tomorrow's post will also be part two.  I answered every question I received, so if you asked me something before yesterday, then your answer should be in one of the two Q&A sessions.

1.) What kind of roommate do you hope you get/don't get in college?  Or are you going to have your own dorm?
- Well, I'll have my own room.  I am an insomniac, so I have a lot of sleeping issues.  I've tried to share a room with someone in the last year and it just didn't work out.  However, I WILL be having suitemates, who will share the kitchen/living room area with me.  There will be four of us sharing this area in total, so I will still have to learn to live with other girls.
I'm hoping that these girls will be Christians, but since I'll be going to a secular university, I don't have any guarantees.  My family and I have been praying for God to place the right girls in my dorm, so I trust that everything will turn out okay.  My biggest issues would be someone who steals (obviously), someone who brings in a boyfriend at inappropriate times (like to sleep over), or a major partier.

2.) At what age do you want to get married?
- I don't have a specific age.  I don't want to feel like, "Oh no, I'm twenty-three.  I need to get married by the end of this year!"  I want to be older than I am now when I get married.  It'd be nice to graduate college first, but I won't limit myself.  If it's a God-thing, I'll get married before then.  It all depends on when I falIMG_8924_2.JPGl in love. :)

3.) Do you want any kids?
- At this point, I can't see myself being a mom.  However, it will ultimately depend on what God wants for my life, so I don't want to give an absolute no.  But if I do have kids, I would like it to be later on in life.

4.) What's your favorite movie and why?
- I love The Truman Show.  It seems like a very strange movie to be my favorite, but for some reason, the idea of a man being documented for his entire life and everyone around him being actors fascinates me.  I've probably watched that movie fifteen times.

5.) Do you have any things you are always describing people as? Ex: you're such a beast, but in an endearing way. :)
- Haha, this question made me laugh. :)  I don't think I've ever been asked this before.  Well, I couldn't think of anything at first, but then I remembered.  My best friend Ali and I have this thing where we call each other "nerd" and "weirdo" when we first see each other and when we're saying goodbye.  It's very friendly, like, "Hey, nerd."  "Hey, weirdo."  But that's something we've done for probably two or three years.

6.) How are you comfortable sharing so much about yourself online?
- Hmm, it depends on what you mean.  I try to avoid sharing too many tangible details about myself, like where I live and pictures of my house and etc.  When it comes to details and information, I try to limit myself to what you might see on an author bio, since I'd love to be an author one day.  It'll often state: "First and Last Name has these family members, lives in this state, and went to this university.  Here are some hobbies."  I probably wouldn't even share the name of my university if it wasn't one of the biggest universities in the United States.  My parents and grandparents also all read my blog.  If they were ever to become uncomfortable with the level of personal information I was sharing about myself online, they'd let me know and I would most definitely take it down.  Oh, another security measure I take: when I go out of town, I almost always share the traveling journal on my blog AFTER I already get back so that I won't let the entire world know that my house is currently empty. :)
If you're talking about how I can bring myself to share personal thoughts and feelings about myself online (which is the version that most people ask), I suppose it's because I used to be such a secretive person.  There were so many doubts and secrets and sins that I was hiding in my life that I finally became sick of it.  I want to be a city on a hill, willing to share my flaws and my struggles and my triumphs through Christ because I believe that we can learn from each other's trials and victories.
Also, I can vent my emotions much more easily through my writings than I can through vocalizing my words.  That's just how my mind work.  So while it may take my friends and family quite a while to get me to spill what I'm feeling, I might easily be able to sit down and write everything out.  And I'll admit: sharing emotions online isn't as scary as going out and giving a speech to a thousand people because I can't SEE you.  All I see is a screen.

Occasionally I will struggle with whether or not I want a certain issue to be shared with everyone, but if it's particularly difficult, then I'll pray about it and wait.  There's no need to make impulsive decisions on a blog.  In many ways, I see this blog as a ministry.  I've been able to have many beautiful conversations with some of my readers.  I believe that God has been able to use some of my words to inspire and encourage others.  And I hope He'll continue to do that.

7.) What was LASIK surgery like? I'm thinking about getting laser surgery for my eyes... but a bit hesitant...
- It was TOTALLY worth it.  I'm serious.  It didn't hurt.  I didn't have any problems with the surgery.  I could see almost perfectly after about two days and even the first day, I could see enough to watch TV and DESTROY one of my best friends on the Wii.  And now I never have to mess with contacts or glasses again... or at least not for a very, very long time.  I'm terrified of the eye doctor.  It's one of my worst fears.  But it was all worth it because now I can see. :)  And it honestly wasn't a big deal at all.  Here's my journal from that day, in case you're interested.

8.) What are your views on modesty, and what are the limits?
- This is tough because I have trouble saying, "Such and such is immodest and such and such is modest."  I think certain things are definitely immodest, like showing a lot of cleavage or wearing a skin-tight dress, but other things depend on the person and the siuation, like wearing leggings.  Leggings can either be modest or immodest, depending on how you wear them.
A big deal for me is why you're wearing an outfit.  My dad once told me that a guy could consider nearly anything to be tempting, depending on how a girl wears it.  If your intent is to impress guys and look sexy, then you could be immodest, but if your heart is in the right place, it will show in the way you dress and even in the way you walk.

I don't believe in wearing bikinis around guys.  I equate them as about the same as wearing a bra and underwear.  I don't believe in showing excess skin (like short shorts and skirts, belly shirts, and even most spaghetti strap shirts).  I don't like too tight or see-through clothes either.  But like I said before, I don't have specific guidelines.  It depends on the outfit and on the way you're wearing it.

9.) If you could play any sport, what would it be?
- I'm not a very athletic person.  I never have been.  I do wish I had more of a love for working out than I do.  The sport I'd probably want to play is track or cross country.  I wish I loved to run.  People who run a lot are usually very healthy and fit.  It'd be nice to love doing that.  Biking would be another sport I wish I could enjoy.

1 britt nicole 2.JPG10.) Who are your favorite bands/singers?
- Elvis Presley, Colbie Caillat, Group 1 Crew, B. Reith, Britt Nicole, Lecrae, Tedashii, Shane & Shane...  Those are a few of my favorites.  Check them all out!

11.) What is your preferred method of death?  How would you like to die?
- This... disturbed me a little.  Honestly, back when I was depressed and suicidal, I thought about death all the time.  I remember walking through a room and looking for things that could end my life.  Nowadays, I don't really think about it much at all.  I know of ways that I definitely wouldn't want to die, like by burning to death or through suffocation.  But how I'd like to die... I don't know.  Something hopefully painless.  I wouldn't mind dying for Christ.

12.) What would you name the autobiography of your life?
- What a great question!  I've never thought about that before.  I'm about to start reading "A Stolen Life" by Jaycee Lee Dugard, which should be a very captivating memoir.  I'm not even sure what I'd write about in my own autobiography.  I haven't done anything amazing yet.  I can't answer this question yet.  I might write a blog post about it later, but I truly cannot think of a good title.  Good question though.  Very interesting.

13.) What are your greatest strengths and weaknesses?
- My greatest weakness would be my fear.  I tend to be a very hesitant and fearful person.  It's why I'm shy, it's why I'm not as adventurous as I probably should be, and it's what holds me back a lot in life.  I don't like to drive, I don't sleep much, and I'm still afraid to talk to people I don't know well.
My greatest strengths would be my loyalty and my writing.  It takes a lot to lose my friendship.  I stand up for those I love through everything.

14.) What is your favorite childhood injury?
- My FAVORITE childhood injury?  Well... I don't think I have a favorite!  I'm not a big fan of getting hurt.  One of my most memorable childhood injuries was being bitten by a spider.  We think it was a brown recluse.  It was very painful and the bite got pretty bad at one point.  It was on the front of my left leg.  I still have a scar there.  People always ask me how I have a little hole in my leg.
That's probably why I am so scared of spiders.  They terrify me.  The spider can be the size of a flea and if I see one, I usually scream and/or run out of the room.  Spiders scare me to death.

15.) If you were a crayon, what color would you be, and why?
- I think I would like to be cerulean, because that was always my favorite crayon color as a kid.  It's probably my favorite shade of blue, which is one of my favorite colors.  I also like the name.  Cerulean.  Ceruuuuulean.

If not cerulean, I'd like to be the color black.  I know that sounds so strange, but I really do love the color black.  My room colors are black and white, both at home and in my future dorm room.  I think I just love how black and white contrast with each other, how they look next to each other.  It's funny because I don't tend to see things in black and white like most of my friends do.  I most issues in many shades of gray.

Friday, July 29, 2011

O Sleeper

P: Poem
O Sleeper
Sleeper, wake; O Sleeper, rise.
Open up your weary eyes.
Apathy is reigning true.
Act or sleep- it's yours to choose.

Sleeper, wake; O Sleeper, rise.
Stand up strong and join the fight
For freedom, truth, and all good things,
The battle for the Mighty King.

Sleeper, wake; O Sleeper rise.
Scream His Name unto the skies.
Spread His Word throughout the numbers.
O Sleeper, break out of your slumber.

Emily Whelchel

This is an old poem.  I based it off of Ephesians 5:14, which says: "Wake up, O sleeper, rise from the dead, and Christ will shine on you."

Apathy is such a huge problem in the church today.  So many Christians aren't crazy for Christ.  They seem like normal people who happen to be Christians.  I say this very bluntly because I tend to become the same way.

We should seem insane to the world, and yet most of us are merely a part of the world.  We sacrifice a close relationship with God for music that has a really, really good beat... or a movie that looks very exciting... or a romantic relationship that simply isn't meant to be.  We sacrifice our witness to avoid weird looks and fit in with the crowd.  And I say "we" because if I'm not careful, I will do the same thing.

We're in the world, but let's not be of the world.
It's time to wake up.

Note: This is the last day to ask any questions for the Q&A day tomorrow, so if you have any more questions, feel free to ask them below or email me at :)

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Cute Old People

O: Old People
I'm honestly afraid of getting old.  I grew up visiting a lot of nursing homes and I've seen what a terrible thing it is when you no longer have your mind and your body.  But before that REALLY old point in life, there will hopefully be an adorable time period.

P1030120.JPGThink about it.  Some old people are just cute.

I used to work at a frozen yogurt shop.  Occasionally a little old lady or man would come in, hobbling on canes and looking around the small shop with wonder.  One lady even told me, "I've never heard of these new-fangled places before."  I loved to wait on them and help them decide on their flavors and toppings.  Elderly men were always the best tippers.  Elderly women were always very complimentary about my necklace and my eyes and my smile (and even my speaking voice).

My Nawnie is starting to become one of those little old ladies who is incredibly friendly to everyone.  If you're in the same room as my grandma, you're her new best friend.  She teases and compliments and starts conversations with EVERYONE.  Sometimes it's a little embarrassing, like the time Nawnie walked across the fancy dining room while we were on the cruise and began to massage a strange woman's shoulders, saying, "How was your day today?"  But most times it's endearing and even admirable.  We rarely leave a building without someone telling us how sweet Nawnie is.  And she is.
I visited my friend's church about a year ago.  There is a little old lady who has attended that church for as long as my friend can remember.  As soon as I began to find my seat, she hobbled over to me, held out a little basket of wrapped candies, and said, "I'm so glad you came today, honey.  Would you like a piece of candy?"  What a sweet, welcoming woman.  And she didn't just approach kids and teens.  She even offered my dad a piece of candy.

Basically, after all of these short stories, I'd like to describe the kind of old person I'd like to be.  I want to be sociable and friendly.  Old people don't seem to care about embarrassing themselves or getting weird look.  It's like they're past that point.  I want to have that fearless, friendly nature.  I want to offer people candy at church and make them feel welcome.  I want to coo at strangers' babies.  I want to hobble around with my cute old husband and have people look at us and say to each other, "What an ADORABLE old couple.  I want to be like that someday."

I don't ever want to be in that painfully old stage where there is nothing left of me except for an aging shell of a body.  I never want that.  But I've finally realized that I don't think I'll mind AGING.  I think white hair IS a crown of beauty, just like the Bible says, even if the world might say otherwise.

Of course, I'll definitely enjoy being young while I still have my youth. ;)

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Two-Headed Baby!

N: Nothing (Random)
I may have been the one to make up this blogging challenge, but unfortunately for myself, when I was trying to think of good topics for each letter of the alphabet, I wasn't thinking about what I would write for them.  This means that I don't even have the slightest idea of what to write for today.  Nothing?  Really?
After much contemplation, I finally decided to leave you with three photographs.  I won't give backstory for any of these three pictures and I'll leave it to you to figure them out.  Sound good?  Good. :)
1 Dazed.1.jpg
Saturday is Q&A day.  Do you have any questions you'd like me to answer?  If so, leave them in the comments below. :)

Reviewing: Colbie Caillat's "All of You"

M: Music
For music, I thought I'd go old school and make an artist review like I used to do all the time.  Today I'll be reviewing Colbie Caillat's latest album, "All of You."  I'll try not to be biased, since I'm a fan of Colbie Caillat's music.  I love the tone of her voice and the peaceful feel to all of her songs.  I was excited when my dad mentioned she just came out with a new album.  Since she is a secular artist and her songs tend to be very clean, I was eager to see if this album would be the same way.

A huge smile came over my face when "Brighter than the Sun" first came on.  I love the cheerful rhythm.  It's such a happy song, which I love.  However, I was disappointed after I heard the d-word in the second verse.  "Brighter than the Sun" is about a girl who is surprised that she is fallen so quickly in love with a guy.  "Oh, this is how is starts, lightning strikes the heart.  It goes off like a gun, brighter than the sun.  Oh, we could be the stars, falling from the sky, shining how we want, brighter than the sun."  While I love the cheery feel to the song, I didn't like the use of the d-word, so I'll have to give this particular song a thumbs down.

I love "I Do," a song about a girl who finally finds a guy who makes her want to say "I do."  "It's always been about me, myself, and I.  I thought relationships were nothing but a waste of time.  I never wanted to be anybody's other half... That was the only way I knew 'til I met you.  You make me want to say, 'I do. I do...'"  This single was released a while back, but it still cheers me up.  What I love the most about this song is that it's about a long-lasting love relationship that includes marriage.  So many secular love songs don't seem to include that part.  "Me, a family, a house, a family.  Ooh, can we be a family? And when I'm eighty years old and sitting next to you..."  

"Before I Let You Go" is about a girl whose significant other can't stop thinking about his ex, and the girl is ready to let him go.  "'Cause you'er still so stuck in that life and I refuse to stay on this ride.  'Cause we're going 'round in circles.  Aren't you tired of never having peace?"  This wasn't my favorite song on the album because I didn't like the topic as much as the cheerier songs.

"What If" is a cute love song about a girl who has fallen in love and is imagining all of the wonderful things she hopes will come.  Marriage is also mentioned in this song, which I like.  "Picturing all our plans, I close my eyes and I can see you, and you ask, 'Will you marry me?'"  

"Shadow" Is a more serious song on the album, written from the perspective of a girl who is about to leave her significant other.  "If you want to leave, then just go, 'cause I can't get no sun in your shadow.  If you ain't gonna love me and find me, then I'm gonna turn the other cheek and go."

"Think Good Thoughts" would have to be my absolute favorite song on this album.  You can probably see why from the title itself.  It's a song all about positivity and happiness.  "Think Good Thoughts" starts out with a girl who is unhappy and finally becomes sick of her negativity.  "I'm tired of the angry hanging out in me, so I'll quiet down the devil.  I'm gonna knock him with a shovel, and I'll bury all my troubles underneath the rubble.  When I'm alone in my dark, dark room, I'll have to think good thoughts, think good thoughts.  Imagine what the world would be if we would just think good thoughts."  I love the bridge, when Colbie sings, "I just think rain on a summer night, stars filling up the sky, sun shining on my face, making a secret wish, finding my happiness.  This always makes me hold my head up high."  If you're having an awful day, "Think Good Thoughts" is a happy song that will bring a smile to your face.

"Like Yesterday" is a song about a girl who once thought she could live without love and then found someone who she couldn't live without.  It's a typical love song with pretty words.  "In the starlight after dark, kissing in the pouring rain."  Every girl's dream, right?  I can't help but think of Spiderman. ;)

"All of You" made me think of the stereotypical persistant girlfriend.  See if you can get why.  "Tell me everything.  Tell me every little thing and I won't run away.  I want to hear your heart, every single beating part: the good and the bad.  I swear I won't be mad.  It's you I want.  Just all of you."  This isn't my favorite song on the album.  Although I couldn't find any inappropriate lyrics, it still seemed a little shallow.

"Dream Life Life" is another laid back and cheerful song.  It's about a girl who wants to sit back and enjoy life with her friends and loved ones.  "All I want is a dream life life with the ones I love, playing all day long, laying back by the water slide with nowhere to go and the music on... Dear summer, will you find your way back home?  I miss your golden kiss, how you warm my skin.  Where did you go?  Take all of my worries and burn them up."

I wasn't a huge fan of "What Means the Most."  It's about a girl who, when asked if she was living her dream, wasn't sure until she realized that her true love is what means the most in her life, so she is living her dream.  "What means the most to me is waking up to you, feel the morning breeze.  You're my favorite thing.  In love, coming home to your arms, when you kiss me hello.  It's these simple things that mean the most to me."  Obviously, from a Christian perspective, the Lord should always be what means the most.  As a love song, "What Means the Most" is pretty and sweet, but it wasn't my favorite out of the album.

"Make It Rain" is a song about a girl who is in love and doesn't care what anybody else thinks.  I love the rain, so its first verse brought a smile to my face.  "I have seen when we run we make it rain.  Let's keep going for miles, playing under darkened stormy skies."  However, I don't like what she sings next.  "Push me to the wall.  Let them see, baby.  I don't care at all.  I'm not letting this go.  Like a flower breaking through, we've grown together now."  Of course, our lives shouldn't revolve around what others think, but I'm not a big fan of the whole "Who cares?" attitude and the lyrics I mentioned above seem to indicate a sexual relationship.

"Stereo" is a typical love song, but I think it's so pretty.  "I want to hear you say you love me in both ears, just like guitars on the radio.  So baby, baby, love me, love me in stereo... Let's take all the good times and put'em in a song.  No matter where we are, we can both sing along."  

I literally started laughing when I first heard "Favorite Song."  It's featuring an artist called Common, who I've never heard of.  I'm not sure what to think of the song, since it's so not Colbie Caillat, but it was definitely catchy.  The song is about a girl who wants to be a guy's "favorite song," so she'll be stuck in his head all the time.  "I want to be your melody, flowing through your head when you think of me. I want to be your favorite song."  Probably the most bizarre part of this song is when Common starts to rap.  I never thought I'd see the day when someone starts to rap during a Colbie Caillat song.
Overall, I like this album a lot and will be adding several of these songs to my playlist, including "Think Good Thoguhts," "Stereo," "I Do," and "Dream Life Life."  However, I'll be keeping away from some songs like "Brighter than the Sun" and "Make It Rain."

I personally believe it is fine for a Christian to listen to secular music, so long as the lyrics do not take glory away from God.  We need to remind ourselves constantly of Philippians 4:8, which says, "Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable--if anything is excellent or praiseworthy--think about such things."  And while I think it's just fine to listen to most of the songs on Colbie's album, remember to balance out listening to love songs and silly, fun songs with listening to worship songs as well.

Monday, July 25, 2011

Things I Look for in a Guy

L: Love

Some of my friends have INTENSE lists of things they require in a future husband.  Seriously.  "I want him to have this type of build, this color hair, this texture of hair, this long of eyelashes, this shade of skin, play this and this sport..."  And I truly, truly hope that they get everything they hope for.  I don't have much of a "type."  Sure, I'm attracted to some guys more than I am others, but there isn't a certain color of hair or eyes that really attracts me more.

What I'm most concerned about while I'm looking for a future husband is his relationship with the Lord.  If he isn't faithful to God, then how will he ever be faithful to me?  If he isn't mature in his walk, then how will he be able to help me grow in mine?  If he puts himself or a material possession over the Lord, won't he do the same for his family?  His relationship with Jesus is so important.

Today I wrote my list of things I'd like in a guy.

1.) My future husband must be a follower of the Lord.  This point will never be changed, which is why it is number one on my list.  My FH needs to be a man of God.  I want him to always put his relationship with the Lord ahead of his relationship with me.

2.) My FH needs to be loyal.  Divorce should never be an option.  Even when we struggle and fight, which I'm sure we will, he cannot be willing to give up.

3.) He needs to be nice to his mom.  This might sound silly, but this is so important to me.  A guy who is disrespectful to his mom will surely treat me that way one day.  He must be respectful and protective of his mother.

4.) While I would love for my FH to lead me spiritually in some areas, he also must be able to view me as his partner, as his equal.  If we disagree on something I firmly believe in, he cannot try to push what he believes on me, simply because he is the man.  He needs to respect me for who I am.

5.) He must have a passion for ministry.  He doesn't have to be a full time missionary, but he must love to serve others in some way.  It'd be extra special if we could go on mission trips together.

6.) I want to feel safe around my FH.  I want to be with someone who protects me and makes me feel loved and secure.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Brown Water.

I'd appreciate any prayers for my family's water supply right now.  Because of the severe drought where we live, our well is running dry.  What's left of our water is a nasty sandy-brown shade.
See for yourself.
Jesus, PLEASE bring rain.

Saturday, July 23, 2011

My Bucket List

K: Kicking the Bucket (Bucket List)
I have never actually made a bucket list before, so today I went ahead and wrote out twenty things I want to do before I die.  The list is apt to change here and there as I grow older, but these are all things I would love to experience.  This list took me forever to make, so enjoy.

Visit every continent (other than Antarctica). - I've got three down so far.  I still have many places I'd like to go.

DSC05170-1.JPGLearn Swahili. - I have Rosetta Stone.  Now I just need the time and diligence.

Publish a book. - Not self publish.  PUBLISH.  This may be the most difficult thing on my list to complete.

Move to a foreign country for at least a year.

Reach one million views on my blog. - Almost halfway there!

Share my faith in a country where Christianity is forbidden.

Fall in love. - Getting married would go along with this idea too.

Purchase a month's wardrobe entirely from thriftstores. - This would just be FUN.

Walk where Jesus walked while He carried His cross.

Vlog every day for a year. - I'll have to have a lot of perserverence for this one.  And a more interesting life.

Learn sign language. - Guess what foreign language I'll be taking in college? :)

Give away a hundred Bibles.

Take a picture of myself every day for a year and see how I change. - I've always wanted to do something like this.  Too bad I won't grow.

P1000516.JPGWrite a poem every day for a year.

Cut my hair and give it to Locks of Love.

Learn how to speed read. - I have ALWAYS wanted to learn this skill.

Watch every animated Disney film in existence.

Overcome a fear. - This will be another tough one.

Memorize at least five books in the New Testament. - I've got 1 and 2 John down, but I'd really like to work on Romans,James, and a gospel.

Visit everywhere that Elvis lived. - :)

What are some things on YOUR bucket list?  If you write a blog post about this topic, be sure to send me the link in the comments.  That way, everyone who reads this post (and I) can read what you have to say as well!

I need some more questions for my Q&A day, as part of this blogging challenge.  I'll answer anything you have to ask (unless it's dirty or plain mean).  Ask in the comments below or at

Friday, July 22, 2011

Prank War: Bible Test

J: Jokes
Jokes aren't really my thing.  I'm not good at coming up with hilarious jokes and riddles off the top of my head like some people are.  One of my favorite riddles lately is:
Who was the only person in the Bible who never had ANY parents, other than Adam and Eve?
I'll share the answer to the riddle at the bottom of this entry.
I'm much better at pulling practical jokes.  I love sitting down with Rebekah and planning ways to turn Muber's life upside down.  We've saran-wrapped cars, filled cars with shredded paper, and sneakily placed funny bumper stickers on the backs of cars.  We've toilet-papered, had shaving cream wars, and even put chopped tuna on front porches.
One prank I thought of recently from our end-of-school-year prank war, I don't think I've shared on this blog.  I wasn't a part of it because I was out of town those days, but Rebekah was genius and the prank was a huge success.
Rebekah and Muber were in the same Bible class.  Our Bible teacher was also out of town that day, so Rebekah's hilarious mother was filling in.  Rebekah's mom proceeded to pass out papers with instructions for a difficult assignment, presumably from our Bible teacher.  Muber's paper said something like:
You have fifteen minutes to memorize Ephesians 1.  During the last fifteen minutes of class, everyone will stand up and recite the chapter.  This will count as two test grades.
Everyone else's papers said something like:
This is a prank on Caleb.  Pretend like you are studying Ephesians 1 to have it "memorized" by the end of the class, but don't act upset.  Act like it's no big deal to memorize an entire chapter of the Bible in half an hour.  Don't let Caleb find out!
Of course, Muber was in a panic.  He knew there was no way he could memorize Ephesians 1 in fifteen minutes, but everyone else played their roles perfectly.  They shrugged the assignment off, saying, "It's no big deal.  I think I already have most of it down."
After fifteen minutes, Rebekah's mom called Muber up to recite the chapter first.  He tried to beg her to let him go last.  "Everybody else already has it memorized.  Please don't make me go yet!"  However, she wouldn't back down.  Muber slowly walked towards the front of the classroom, horrified and embarrassed.  He began to stumble through what little he'd memorized of the chapter.  By this time, the entire class was laughing hysterically, but instead of realizing the joke, Muber thought they were laughing at his inability to memorize Ephesians 1 in fifteen minutes.
A couple of minutes of struggle passed and Rebekah's mom finally let him off the hook, explaining the prank.  A great success!  Everyone had a good laugh.
Oh!  I thought of another silly joke I pulled on a friend named Joel a couple of years ago.  This was back in the days of MSN messenger.  The conversation occurred a little something like this:
Me: Something terrible just happened.  Someone broke into my house and stole EVERYTHING.
Joel: Oh no! I'm so sorry!
Me: And you know what's creepy?  They replaced everything with exact replicas.
Joel: Oh my gosh! That's horrible! :(
Me: I know.  Even the documents on my computer and all of our family photos are EXACTLY the same.
Joel: You know what's scary?  That means they already had to know everything that was in your house!  I'm so sorry, Emily!  That's terrible!
Well, I thought that surely he'd get the joke in a day or two, so I changed the subject and soon forgot about how gullible my friend had been.  His mom encountered my dad later on.  While they were talking, my dad mentioned the prank I'd pulled and how funny it was that Joel had believed what I said.  When Joel's mom mentioned it to him later, it turned out that he STILL thought someone had broken into my house, taken everything, and replaced it all with exact replicas.
I love gullible people.
Oh, and by the way, the picture to your right is from the time when I tried to teach Muber how to spy on people with a hand mirror.  He's got the creepy part down, but not how to spy SECRETLY.
Anyways, I'll go ahead and share the answer to the riddle above.  Have you guessed it yet?
It is...
Joshua, son of Nun
What are some of your favorite riddles, jokes, and pranks?
If you'd like to start taking the alphabet blogging challenge on YOUR blog, please let me know in the comments so I can read along.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Interesting Facts About Me

I: Interesting facts about you
Honestly, I've shared SO much about myself on my blog that it was difficult to think of anything interesting about myself to write.  So I thought I'd share five facts.  I hope they're somewhat interesting.

1.) I'm absolutely stoked to be a member of the Fighting Texas Aggie class of 2015.  AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA!!!

2.) I'll be taking sign language as my foreign language in college.  I'm very excited.  I've always wanted to learn sign language since I got the chance to minister to a deaf little boy at an inner city ministry where I live.  His mom had never bothered to teach him sign language and his elementary school didn't have the tools to communicate with him.  Despite his struggles to communicate, he was very smart and very sweet.

3.) I have been to twelve countries outside of the United States: England, France, Italy, Germany, Austria, Switzerland, Holland, Canada, Mexico, Kenya, Jamaica, and Haiti.  I've also been to Grand Cayman, but I don't think it's considered to be its own country.

4.)  I'm almost always cold.  At work, I'm constantly wearing a jacket and jeans, even when it's over a hundred degrees outside.  In my room, I'm always curled up in a thick quilt, even if my thermostat says it's 77 degrees in here.  When I take my temperature, my average body temp is about 96 or 97 degrees, which apparently is possible.

5.) On May 5, I had LASIK surgery.  It was one of the best things that ever happened to me.  For the first time in almost fifteen years, I can see without assistance.  I can drive without help.  I can swim without my contacts bothering me.  I don't have to try to remember to take out my contacts each night before bed.  I don't have to worry about contact allergies all the time.  I feel like my eye surgery was a miracle from God.  I can see!

What are five interesting things about you?
(I'm doing a Q&A for one of the days of this challenge.  If you have any questions you'd like me to answer on Q&A day, please ask them below or send me an email at

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Bangs, How I Despise You

H: Hairstyles
I was born towards the end of the feathered bangs area.  All growing up, I had bangs.  Bangs can be cute now, but mine weren't.  Even though I've always been to hairdressers (Mom has always been afraid to cut my hair), they often would make my bangs crooked... and they weren't the long type of bangs either.  Other than my early childhood years, when they rested in an awkward curl on my forehead, they were cropped short at about half an inch above my eyebrows.  Awkward.

So I'll go ahead and take you through a hair tour of my life.  My hair looked absolutely awful until I was almost fifteen.

As a toddler, I actually had blonde ringlets.  My hair was pretty cute back then, minus the nineties-style bows I ALWAYS wore until I became old enough to strongly protest.  I'm not sure how old I was here.  Somewhere in between one and two, I believe.
Here is an example of my feathered bangs stage.
This isn't a style I wore often, but I saw it, laughed hysterically, and had to share.  See, my mom (like myself) does not have a big passion for fixing hair.  She always had trouble putting my hair into the "cute" pigtails and ponytails that all my friends had.  She would try her best, she really would, but these hairdos never seemed to turn out right.  I was about eight here.
And then, of course, there was the period of time where I thought it was SO cool to add tiny braids all over my hair.  Supa cute, right?  I was ten here.
Pictures of the rats 095.jpg
I grew out my hair when I was in sixth grade.  Unfortunately, I was at the point where I still didn't really care what I looked like.  My hair was constantly tangled and NOT looking good.
i have the tendency to giggle at nothing.jpg
Mom finally convinced me to get my hair cut a few inches above my shoulders.  This was in eighth grade or so.  Some teens look good with short hair, but this just wasn't my best cut.
Towards the end of eighth grade, I was persuaded to grow out my bangs.  For some reason, I was terrified of this idea.  I don't like change, so the thought of transforming my entire look made me nervous.  I had very low self esteem at the time, so I was positive I would look ugly with long bangs.  Sadly, I didn't know much about hair fashion, so when I decided to go ahead and grow them out, I didn't know how to make them look nice.  No side-parts or swooping to the side.  I just kind of let them... grow.
When it came time for another haircut, my awkwardly-growing bangs reached my chin and the rest of my hair reached my shoulders.  I knew my hair didn't look good, but I didn't understand why at the time so I told the lady who cut my hair to do whatever she wanted.  She layered my hair and showed me how to part my bangs on the side.  For a couple of years after this, I kept my hair very layered and fairly short.  I loved this style.

As you can probably imagine, I got SO many more compliments on my hair than I ever had in my life.  For the first time in a long time, I actually felt pretty.  I firmly believe that a good haircut is so important for your self esteem.  It can change your look so much.  I got this haircut towards the end of the eighth grade, and I think this was a big reason why I finally started caring how I looked.  I started wearing makeup for the first time the summer before my freshman year of high school, I started TRYING to dress in cute clothes, and I finally started holding myself with confidence.
100_1103.JPGMy hair has a natural wave to it, so I'll occasionally wear it scrunched, like this.
And finally, this is pretty much my haircut now.  I don't have very many layers since I need to be able to pull my hair up for work.  My hair is a little longer than it is in this photograph, but it's close.  (I actually need a haircut, but I'm trying to wait until sooner before I leave for college.)  I don't know if it's incredibly stylish, but it works for me.
me and my long jpg

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Not Alone

This summer, I've been able to see the Lord work in the lives of my friends.  I'd like to share a story with you that has inspired me SO much.  If you know me in real life, please realize that all names have been changed because of the personal nature of this particular story.

A close friend of mined named Alice decided to attend our church's high school camp last minute.  Neither one of us is a big part of our youth group, especially now that we've already graduated, but another friend convinced her to go literally a few days before the camp.  She told me she wasn't really looking forward to it, but she wanted to be open to whatever the Lord had in store for her.

So Emo Dude.JPGWill, a guy whose parents forced him to go to church camp every summer, was also attending the camp.  He was very outspoken about how he did NOT believe in God, how he did NOT want to be there, and how he did NOT want to talk to anyone.  He dressed in gothic clothing, with huge black pants covered in chains, a long black trench coat, fishnet sleeves, spiked jewelry, and massive combat boots.  His long, black bangs fell over his face.  Will stood off in the back of the room during worship service.  He ate alone during meals.  While a few people would occasionally venture over to him and ask if he wanted to join them for lunch or an activity, he always refused and he was eventually left alone.

When Alice told me this story, she explained how that from the very beginning, while everyone kept far away from Will, she felt this strange urge to love him.  As Christians, yes, we're supposed to love everyone.  It's easy to say, "I love everyone," but in the case of a mean, angry person who dresses drastically from everyone else, while we might "love" them deep inside, it can be very difficult to express that love.  Alice explained to me that while Will was placed on her heart and she prayed for him frequently, she was hesitant to approach him.  After all, he looked... scary.

As the camp continued and Will acted out with harsh words and then pulled away, everyone began to avoid him more and more.

Every night after a worship service, everyone would break out into prayer groups before joining back into a large group of people.  All the teens began to pile out of the sanctuary, gathering with their cliques of friends.  That's what feels natural and more comfortable for prayer, after all.  Alice lingered behind, fighting an inside battle.

Like always, Will was dragging his feet, waiting until everybody left so that he could wander off by himself or sit alone during prayer time.  Alice could feel the Lord telling her to ask Will to join her prayer group, but she dreaded approaching him.  She dreaded the angry response that was sure to come.  In all honesty, she was a little afraid of Will.

Alice told me that her spiritual struggle lasted throughout the entire walk through the sanctuary.  I don't want to talk to him.  Please don't make me. I'll pray for him, but why do I have to pray WITH him?  There's no way he'll agree.  Finally she reached the back of the room where Will still stood.  Taking a deep breath, she crept towards him and said, "Hi, Will. Would you like to be in my prayer group?"
Much to Alice's surprise, Will agreed and followed her outside.

Alice was horrified to realize that she had taken too long and everyone had already broken out into prayer groups.  She finally managed to find two other stragglers who Alice didn't know very well.  Everyone went around the circle and prayed.  Alice suddenly felt an urge to pray aloud for Will.  Fear gripped her heart.  Will had made it very clear that he didn't want anything to do with prayer and God.

  What would he do if he found out Converse!!!!!!!!!!!!.JPGshe had been praying for him all week?

When it was Alice's turn to pray, she finally swallowed her fear and began to say something like: "Jesus, I want to thank you so much for Will.  You have placed him on my heart so much lately.  Please give him strength and help him through whatever he's dealing with right now.  Please show him that You want to be in his life."

After Alice prayed, Will's turn came around.  Tension hung in the air.  Everyone knew that Will had refused to pray all week.  But for the first time, he started to pray.  His sentences were short and a little uncomfortable, but they actually seemed... sincere.

After a few minutes, the other two stragglers excused themselves and left, but Will and Alice continued to sit together, a little awkwardly at first.  And then Will spoke without any sort of prodding on Alice's part, commenting on how the worship service had actually touched him and that his prayer during their small group was the first thing he'd prayed in years.

All of a sudden, Alice started talking to Will about faith and trust and all sorts of things.  She told me later that she hardly remembers anything she said, that it all seemed to come from the Spirit and that she could hardly believe what she was saying.  Alice and Will talked for two hours, long after all of the other groups had finished their prayer time.  Nobody dared approach them because for the first time all week, it seemed like Will was having a spiritual breakthrough.  Something big was happening.

Alice ended up leading Will to the Lord that night.  By the end of their prayer session, they were both weeping, their shirts soaked with tears.

Even after WIll excused himself to go back to his cabin and compose himself, Alice said that she couldn't stop crying.  She was an emotional wreck all night, but not in an embarrassing or shameful way.  She felt like God was so close and so present in that situation.  She was amazed by how He had used her.

Later that night, Will stood up in front of the entire camp and shared what had happened.  It was an emotional night for everyone.

After camp was finished, Alice told me the entire story.  We talked about it for a long time and by the end of our conversation, I felt so encouraged.  Alice said the experience changed her life.  I can see why.  Even though I wasn't there, it changed my perspective as well.  I'm inspired by Alice's story.  I'm so encouraged that she listened to God and He used her.  Not only was Will's life changed forever, but Alice's was too.

I stil get chills when I think about it.

Monday, July 18, 2011

I was a strange child.

G: Growing Up
I couldn't think of any specific stories off the top of my head, so I thought I'd just share a few based off of the archive of photos of photos I have on my computer.
This would be my mom when she was newly pregnant with me... trying to show off her "bump."  She does not look twenty-five, does she?  I'm pretty sure this is the first photograph taken when I was in existence.
This picture is of me at four years old.  I was living in Waco, Texas.  We had a swing in our driveway.  At this time, my family lived in a small rental house without much of a yard while my dad was finishing up residency, so the swing and a plastic slide was all I had by way of outside entertainment.  I spent hours on this thing.
It's going to sound totally bizarre, but most of the time I was playing on the swing, I pretended like I was a piglet.  My parents would always try to sit me on my bottom and convince me to swing normally, but I didn't want to do that.  I would get on my stomach with my little arms dangling in the air, and then I would slowly creep back until I was on my very tip toes.  When I let go, I would fly through the air for a few short moments.  During this time, I would proceed to wriggle my arms and legs and make a high-pitched squealing noise, pretending like I was a piggie running from a wolf or a butcher.
I know, I know I was a strange child who played strange games.  Ali was just teasing me a week or two ago after we watched Beauty and the Beast for the millionth time.  She said she always used to pretend she was Belle after seeing the movie.  Well, I used to pretend I was the wolves who attacked Beast and Belle's dad.  As a kid, I always thought they were way cool.
So basically, the reason why I'm on my stomach on this swing is because I was pretending I was a pig running from a killer.  And I was four.
I cannot BELIEVE I'm about to post this, but I'm covered up in all the right places with bubbles, so I figure it doesn't matter.  This is me at approximately six or seven years old taking a bubble bath in my parents' bathtub.  You might notice the long line of "little people," as my family always called them.  These were my favorite toys.  Most kids act out their dolls and action figures, right?  I never really did that.
I've always been a writer.  Writing is a passion I believe God has always given me.  I would get my little people, put them in lines, and then make up stories about them, not even bothering to act them out.  I just made up stories.  Before I could actually write, I would whisper them or speak them out loud, narrating the stories and everything.  "Flash walked through the forest, crying.  He was the loneliest giraffe ever.  But then Molly came and gave him a huge hug!"  Once I learned to write, around the age I am in this picture, I would line up my toys and then spend hours scribbling out stories about them in thick, college-ruled notebooks.
Here I met my childhood hero, Miss Texas.  I have an autographed poster from her, which I got at first from one of my dad's patients.  After I met her at a charity run, as you can see in this photograph, she sent me a hand-written card with the sweetest note inside.  I still have that card.  It meant so much to me.  Later, she sent me an invitation to a banquet right before she became Miss Texas.  I even made it on the news that night, which excited me to no end.  I still admire Miss Texas for reaching out like she did to a little girl who thought Morgan Matlock was the prettiest and most amazing lady ever.
This would be me at age four.  I was pretending like I was driving a car with my infant sister, who was ten months old.  What makes me laugh about this picture is how all of us managed to fit into this tiny laundry basket.  Who knows how many stuffed animals I squashed in that thing?  I sure loved my dalmatians.
And finally, this would be me as a homeschooled eight year old.  That night, I informed my parents that one of my many teddy bears and I were going to have a birthday party (because it was his birthday, of COURSE).  I wanted Mom to buy me party hats, but her answer was no.  So I spent the LONGEST time making these hats.  I was very excited about them.  I thought they looked better than any silly hats you could ever find at a store.  So my bear and I had a birthday party that night, right before bedtime.
What are some of your favorite childhood memories?
If you'd like to start this challenge on your blog, please give me the link in the comments below.  I would LOVE to see your answers for each topic. :)

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Weird Analogies

F: Faith
Summer is usually a time of spiritual growth and revelation for me.  I was able to rededicate my life to Christ the summer before I started high school.  One summer I went to Africa.  One summer I worked as an intern at an inner city ministry and was able to minister to poverty-stricken and hurting kids in my city every single day.

This summer hasn't gone the way I hoped it would.  I've been working a lot of hours each week at a frozen yogurt shop.  I know I should use every opportunity to be a witness for Christ, but this is the first summer where I haven't been in an actual ministry position.  I couldn't attend Angel Tree Camp (a camp that is a ministry towards kids who have incarcerated family members) this year because I was out of town with my family.  I work all day during the week, so I can't volunteer at my two favorite ministries.  Basically, for the first time in my life, I've been out in the "real world" and not in full time mission work.  And that's been a difficult adjustment.

I think this struggle has been good for me, honestly.  I know that the Lord works everything for the good and He has.  At this point, I don't plan to be a full time missionary as a career.  Other than hopefully frequent service projects, I know I won't be able to volunteer every single day while I'm in college.  I need to learn how to be a light for Christ during my normal day-to-day routine.  I'll be attending a secular university.  I won't be living in a highly Christian environment 24/7.  So while this summer has been difficult at times, it's been good for me.

This summer, I've been forced to trust God, even when it hurts.  I've learned that He is ALWAYS there for me, even when I can't see Him.  I've been able to slowly start to grow in areas I didn't even realize I needed to improve.

It kind of reminds me of working out.  At first, you get sore and grow stronger in your main muscles, like your abs and thighs and biceps.  The more you work out and start to change up your routine, the more you work out muscles you didn't even know you could work out.  At first, you're stiff and sore.  It's painful and you want to stop.  But if you perservere, you become even stronger.  (Weird analogy?)
I know I'll be faced with a lot of brand new struggles and doubts when I move ten hours away to a secular university in five weeks.  Perhaps this summer was to strengthen my faith that God WILL be there for me.

While this summer has been more difficult than I originally expected, I can still feel God.  He has worked in my life and forgiven me for every doubt I've had recently.  I'm so blessed to be His.

Friday, July 15, 2011

We Are

Yes, I'm still doing the alphabet blogging challenge.  But occasionally I'll take a break.  Today is one of those days.  I was looking through the old Facebook notes I wrote and came across this poem.  I forgot I had ever written it.
We Are.
We are cool, we are calm, we are lifeless.
Candles covered in shadows so dim.
When we sleep, when we're not affected,
We're not telling the world about Him.

We live on, we live life like an empty shell,
Our eyes on right now, on our pasts.
Our purposes, our passions won't be unveiled
Until our sight is on things that will last.

And they walk, and they scream into nothing,
A world of broken, lost hearts.
We say ours are on the verge of erupting,
But they haven't, and they have yet to start.

The earth still has darkness and anger.
Each soul harbors sorrow and shame.
While we let our apathy linger,
This cold world still stays the same.
And who are the ones to blame?

Emily Whelchel

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Embarrassing Moment

E: Embarrassing Moment

Okay, I have a lot of these.  Probably more than the average person.  I'm clumsy, shy, and I tend to have a strange sense of humor.  However, I've decided to share one particularly embarrassing moment from about three or four years ago.

I was eating lunch at a deli with some of my friends.  One of these friends was Whitney.  On that day, she happened to be wearing a bright yellow t-shirt.  Yellow is a bright color anyways, but this shirt was NEON.  It was so bright that it was rare.  Surely nobody else in the vicinity would have a shirt the same color.

After going through the line and ordering my food, I started to get my drink out of the fountain.  Out of the corner of my eye, I saw a neon yellow shirt approach me and begin pouring a drink out of the same fountain.  She stepped pretty close to me AND she was wearing a bright shirt, so it would be natural to think that she was Whitney, right?

Spinning around, I balled up my fists and said in a low, growly voice, "What do you think you're doing, little girl?"  Something I'd typically say as a joke to a friend.

Well, it wasn't Whitney.

A forty-something-year-old woman in a neon yellow t-shirt stared at me with a mixture of horror and confusion on her face.

And then, instead of acting cool, instead of laughing it off, instead of apologizing and explaining how I'd mixed her up with a friend, I backed slowly away before rushing back to my table and burying my head in my arms.  My face was probably red for the next two days.

I was so embarrassed.

What's one of your embarrassing moments?
If you're taking the alphabet blogging challenge on your blog, please let us know in the comments!

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

A Day in the Life of Me

D: Day in the Life of Me
Of course not every day in my life is the same.  My week days are similar since I work from ten to five EVERY SINGLE DAY, but weekends vary.  I thought I'd go ahead and share a typical Wednesday.
8:50 - I force myself awake after pressing snooze once.  I read an entry out of "Jesus Calling" and then force myself out of bed.  I curl up in my quilt and sit in front of my computer to check my Facebook and blog comments.
9:05 - Finally alert, I get dressed, pull back my hair into a ponytail, and put on some makeup. (Isn't this an exciting life?)
9:20 - I eat a big bowl of Frosted Mini Wheats for breakfast!
9:45 - I leave for work.
10:00 - I arrive at work.
5:00 - I'm FINALLY done with work!  Time to party!
5:20 - I arrive at home.  I usually relax for about thirty minutes or so, either watching an episode of "Lost" or checking Facebook.
6:30 - Time for dinner!
7:00 - I begin to write for this blog, for a story, a song, anything.  It's been all day since I've written.  My fingers are twitching.  I literally ACHE to write.  All day long at work I've thought about what I would write.  Lines are floating through my head, spilling over until I can't think about anything else.  I write and write and write.
9:00 - Rebekah comes over.  We hug and talk a thousand miles a minute.  We go on a walk.  We swing in the park.  We lay down on the street and soak in the warmth of the asphalt.  We dance.  We listen to Disney music.  We have movie marathons. Eventually, we watch a few episodes of "Lost" on Netflix until we're scared half to death.  We're addicted to that show.
Around 2:00 - Rebekah goes home.  We hug and sing a few lines of "I Miss You" by Shane and Shane.  Walking Rebekah out to her car usually ends up with us talking for a while longer, curled up on the cement of my driveway or sitting almost upside down in her car, talking about anything and everything.
2:30 or 3:00 - I take a shower, brush my teeth, and then curl up in bed.
Yeah, my week days aren't all that interesting.  Pretty pitiful, right?  The weekends are usually much more exciting, but today isn't a Saturday.  It's Wednesday.
Are your Wednesdays much more interesting?

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

My Geek Squad Car

C: Cars
Ask a little girl what type of car she wants and the answer is usually a brightly-colored slug bug, right?  I always wanted a slug bug growing up, although I wanted a black and white one to look like a Converse shoe.  People would always smile at me when I said I wanted a Voltzwagen Beetle, sure that I would change my mind as I got older.
I never did.
When I was fifteen, I ordered my first car off of eBay (seriously!).  It was a former Geek Squad car.  You know, those black and white beetles from Best Buy?  They'd already painted the doors black, which was sad, but I didn't care.  I absolutely LOVED my new car.
For my birthday, a friend of mine gave me a pair of baby Converse shoes to hang from the mirror and I purchased a pretty pink flower to stick in the vase next to the steering wheel.
I felt like I had the best first car in the entire world.
After a while, I began to have some trouble with my bug.  While I loved the way it looked, I was NOT a fan of how it held up.  It broke down all the time, and since it was a foreign car, each repair cost quite a bit of money.  Oil changes cost more than seventy dollars.  The gas mileage was okay, but even that wasn't AMAZING.  The only great aspects of my car were its appearance and the fact that I could park anywhere.
In the fall of 2010, a service light came on.  Much to my dismay, something small in the engine needed to be replaced, which would cost nearly $1,500.  My parents decided the repair wasn't worth it.  My car had more than 80,000 miles on it.  Plus, it was so small, it would be difficult to ever be able to transport my stuff to college.  They decided to invest in a better car for me.
The car I have now I love even more than my adorable beetle.  It's a silver Toyota Corolla S.  I don't have a picture of it right now, but you can see the same model here.  This car had less than a third of the mileage of my beetle and better gas mileage.  It's a little bigger, but not too big, and it's still cute since it's a sport package.  In the last six months, it hasn't broken down once.
Moving on from the cars I've owned, let me skip back a few years to my sixteenth birthday.  DSC03138.JPGI got my driver's license on my birthday, right after school.  Although I never liked driving much, I was ecstatic.
Eight days after I got my driver's license, I was in a car accident.  It was my fault.  I misunderstood a traffic law and hit another car.  The huge suburban's back tire was slightly damaged... and my car was nearly totaled.  Thankfully, I had insurance that covered the cost of repairs and aside from a few bumps and bruises on my end, both me and my car were okay.
But after the accident, I could hardly bring myself to drive.  I was terrified.
For days, every time I tried to fall asleep, I would jerk back to consciousness, images of the collision occurring again and again in my mind.  What if I messed up again the next time I drove?  What if someone died?  My mom would try to coaxe me behind the wheel, but my hands would begin to shake and I could hardly concentrate.  For a couple of months, I wouldn't drive unless I had a parent in the seat next to me.
To this day, I still have some driving anxiety.  Of course I can drive much easier now than I could when I was sixteen.  I drive just about wherever I go, but if I have an opportunity to bum a ride from a friend (cough, Ali), I'll take it in a heartbeat.  Driving causes my heart to pound and my mind to race.  My shoulders tense up.  I can't drive for more than an hour or so without feeling exhausted and stressed.
While I still dread every ten hour road trip to and from College Station, I have a peace about it.  I think I'll always have some minor driving anxiety--I'm just not someone who likes to drive--but I am not TERRIFIED like I once was.  I usually say a quick prayer before I even start my car.  "Please guide me as I drive.  Please keep me safe."  I know the Lord will protect me.
Do you have driving anxiety?  Any tips?