Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Hidden Away in Possum Kingdom : Spring Break 2012

Look at me blogging away two days in a row! Normally this wouldn't be a big deal, but in the midst of college this is such a bigger deal than I'm writing it like. I'm actually doing a small happy dance. Inside that is :D 

Today is another Blogtember prompt [which I have been AWFUL about keeping up with] and it's incredibly simple: a memory you would love to relive

This took me no time at all to think about, and it's pretty much my go to answer for this question. Friends, I introduce you to Spring Break 2012: Possum Kingdom Version

December 2011, I was getting ready to head home for Christmas break from Impact 360. Right before we jumped onto planes and into vans Colton, my fellow Texan, mentioned how fantastic it would be if we spent Spring Break roadtripping down to Texas for the week and then back up to Georgia. We mostly laughed, until London [Texan #2] mentioned that he just happened to have a lake house down on Possum Kingdom Lake. The laughter quieted down a little bit as people stopped imagining and started glancing at each other, and 4 months later March ended, April dawned, and 24ish Impacters were loading up 3 cars and Dallas bound. 

We spent a couple of days in Dallas, and then headed out to the lake. The drive was beautiful and nothing but backroad interstate...and finally we ended up HERE

We stayed at London's.....just enough space to be cozy & seperate all at the same time. Mornings dawned late and nights ended later. We spent hours lounging in the hot tub, before finally spreading and settling down for the night. We went cliff jumping and jet skiing and even went on a late afternoon sunset adventure hike, and I got to know my friends on a deeper level than ever before.

This was our fuzzy caterpillar. Me & the best friend found this little guy one afternoon when he was using the pool and I was sleeping on the side. We took about a billion pictures, and named him Wilbur....and then the best friend creeped pictures of me curled up in the sun. 

The sunsets were beautiful, the conversations were priceless, and of all the moments that hold my heart this week contained most. One last memory (and a few more pictures) and you're free to escape ;) 

Our second day there, the morning started w/ rain. The wind whistled across the porch and brought with it the last chilly morning of spring. Best friend and I curled up on the porch outside, pulled out the old school Nintendo 64, wrapped blankets around our shoulders, tucked freezing toes under warmer legs, and played James Bond until the rain stopped. I say "played"....he played, I embarrassed myself, then died alot, then lost :D We played until the rain stopped, slid down the stair case, laughed at how wet we got landing in the grass, and tucked up in the garage in the golf cart to talk. And then we talked for hours.  

Rainclouds broke into a beautiful sunset, and I laid on the grass to snap a picture of the sun rising out of the earth. We trotted to the gazebo in the background, me giggling because I couldn't find words for how content I was. He danced me around, made fun of me, and laid out exactly how he would use this gazebo in a scene from a movie - IF he could shoot one ;) 
I smiled on the outside. Inside was all happy dance. 

While the rest of the world rolled by [and we forgot it existed] the sun slipped into the lake, no ripples, all reflection. 
We walked back to the house, watched the world fall asleep, sat on the couch, and talked till the sun came up. 
He remembered stories and I laughed at the good parts and when the bad came around I cried for someone else for the first time. 
It was the perfect week. 

And there ladies and gentlemen, you have the description of my perfect day & my most treasured memory :) 
All rolled into one! 

Monday, September 16, 2013

Why I Started.

Someone asked me why I started blogging the other day....just a curious, casual, hey this seems important to you and I want to get to know you question. And I realized that even though the answer can be condensed to a simple little "I kinda like to write!" there's actually a lot more too it than that :) So here's my slightly more thought out, took the time to reminisce answer to that question. Here we go.

I started blogging at Impact 360, a 9 month gap year program that went for my head and ended at my heart. I started blogging because I never in a million years thought anyone would read it, but I needed to know that my thoughts, doubts and questions weren't staying in my head. I started blogging because the one of the greatest joys I've ever experienced is looking back through a computer screen to a little Texas girl sitting in a Pine Mountain dorm room, and knowing that I don't have to tell her to be careful because we make it. I started blogging because memories deserve recording and people need encouraging and I've been blessed with some of the best friends in the entire world. 

I started blogging because somewhere between living the trials and actually writing it down, ink bleeds out onto paper in lines that start connecting, and somewhere in the midst of a fallen, crazy, grasping, reaching life you start to see the Gospel thread of Christ. 

The blogging community is something that's kind of taken off in the last few years....women write posts about common, everyday life and thousands upon thousands of people read it and comment and all of a sudden they start to go places. And I think for a while I was jealous of that, because who doesn't want someone to look at their writing and wonderings and say "HEY, that's FANTASTIC!" But I think, in a crazy way, I'm glad that's not me :) 

Because somewhere along the way, I started blogging because I wanted a little corner of the world that I could invite people into. I wanted somewhere to share my story, share my thoughts, that didn't require me being spread 100 different places at once. I wanted somewhere Christ could work in my words....because when I start typing, things actually start making sense :) 

Here's to random late night musings. Sophomore year, I'mma come at chu. 

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Little Nuggets of Wisdom.

Day 3: Pass on some useful advice or information you learned and always remembered. 

Welcome back for Day 3! Here I am. I made it back.

I think the single most incredible piece of advice I've ever been given came from my big "sister":

"just remember bethany that any kind of comparison is an indication of pride" 

If you're talking about something I've never been able to forget OR get out of my head, that's it. BUT it also requires so much more explanation and unpacking than I'm doing in Blogtember....plus, I already kind of blogged about it here ;) So feel free to hop on over! 

Otherwise, I'm gonna claim the one below, because it's definitely one of my favorites! And it calls me to look for the deeper good within days that on the surface seem pretty meh :) 

Welcome to the Blogtember Family! 

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Trekking Through the South.

Well, true to form even though I was RIDICULOUSLY excited, I managed to somehow miss the first day of Blogtember. As the roommate and her boyfriend say, I blame pop culture. So we're gonna call it even, and just take a flying leap off the ledge of day two!

Day 2: If you could take 3 months off from your current life and do anything in the world, what would you do? 

If you don't know who this man is, his name is Charles Martin. I think most of the world would call him a writer, but this man has the ability to weave the story of the Gospel in such a way that people in the everyday world start looking less like normal people, and more like the image of the God they were created by. I've loved his writings and his books ever since my best friend showed him to me a year ago :) 

St. John's River in Florida

Martin's novels are written through a handful of sleepy towns scattered through the United States south of the Mason-Dixon line, and if I had 3 months and an unlimited supply of money (and probably gasoline) I'd jump in a car, grab a favorite or two, and visit every single one of them :) Just to see the quiet, dreamy places that jump to life inside the pages of his books. It's kind of a dream of mine! 

Hop on over to Story of My Life for the rest of the Blogtember prompts and to jump in the linkup! It'll be fun, I promise! 

Monday, September 2, 2013

Move-In Eve: Two Years Later.

‘The new Impact 360 class is moving in tomorrow.’

I had to stand in the middle of my room, letting the thought scroll through my head. Pause long enough to stand still and really think about it. It was so hard to wrap my mind around that I decided to say it out loud, hoping maybe hearing the words would help them make a little bit more sense.

“The new Impact 360 class is moving in tomorrow.”

I cocked my head to the side and rolled the words around in my mouth, the taste strange and a little bit foreign. Maybe a tad slower?

“The new Impact 360 class is moving in. To Impact. tomorrow.”

The words echoed and seemed to grow in volume as they bounced around the very undecorated walls of a stereo-typical, cookie cutter, white walled college dorm room. I sighed and sat down in the roommates chair, head in my hands. None of this was helping. I could hear laughter out in the hall, and out the window two people walked by, hand in hand silhouettes. Life carried on and the minutes ticked by and no one else seemed to realize that I was in the middle of an emotional, mental, spiritual crisis.


One year this same thing had happened…a handful of strangers had walked into the doorway of my Eden, and crushed our memories into the foundational gravel they needed to make their own. They’d stepped hesitatingly into the great unknown, completely unaware that we had already walked there and left our marks on benches and our initials carved into the dark corners of trees that boasted whispered secrets you’d had to crouch to hear. They’d moved through rooms and not noticed the smiles, moments and memories, hands held in secrets that the walls had soaked in and held quiet. They’d put head to pillows, night after night, blissfully ignorant of the year worth of tears that same soft lump had soaked up mere months ago.

And I hadn’t remembered until I saw the Instagram of their first hall meeting late that night.

Call it crazy, call it selfish, because when strangers move into your home shouldn’t you realize it? But I didn’t. I’d kept moving because it was hard enough putting one foot in front of another in this new path in South Carolina, without thinking about the fact that I COULDN’T go back. I’d focused on the promise that the sun would rise in the morning and set at night, and when I got through that day I put my head on the pillow and prayed the same thing would happen the next. By the time I had a whole slew of days behind me, having a new little family to partly call mine seemed almost natural…the fact that they had taken home & made it theirs seemed like something to celebrate, not mourn! Visiting meant open arms and curious smiles, new friends to be made, new stories to hear, new lives to be explored.

But this year it’s a little bit different, and as my head leaned on roommate’s desk I was unable to escape the fact that I’d finally come face to face with the difference. My eyes scanned a college dorm room that was not mine no matter how hard I tried to make it so or how many times I tried to pretend that it was, and at the same time my heart cried deep in my chest that this wasn’t home, and could we please, please go back to what was?

Because after a year and a half of walking through life, I’m tired of not belonging. I’m tired of stretching so far from sanctuary. I’m tired of life continuing with no way for me to slow it down or make it stop, and I’m tired of relationships that stretch to their breaking point only to snap back just in time to make you smile and cry all at the same time. I’m tired of my heart being broken into different pieces and never feeling like they’ll all be in the same place again.

I’m sad that I walked out of Eden, and was too stubborn to even turn around to watch the gates shut behind me.

But how do you explain that to a bouncing, bubbling class of freshmen that have their whole lives ahead of them?

“Um, excuse me, but what you don’t know is this is mine?” “You’ll never be able to appreciate this quite as much as I did?” “Life is moving slowly and things aren’t working out like I planned, so please take your happiness and make memories elsewhere because I’m going to try and crawl my way back to the last time I fully felt at home?”

You can’t.

You can’t tell the littles to hug their families hard, because no matter how many times you refuse to admit it, in about a month Momma’s smile and Daddy’s arms are going to feel like the oasis in the desert you’re too far away from. You can’t tell them not to rush into pretending that they love their roommates when they’re really not sure, because pretending doesn’t help anything and walking through the fire with someone you don’t trust only means more walls when you need less. You can’t tell them not to rush to May, because running means you fall easier and once you cross the finish line there’s no way to take back all the nights you should have walked away from or relive the days you should have been a little more open minded about. You can’t tell them to put down the telephone and pick up the Bible, and no sweetie I know he seems like the best thing but I promise Jesus is better.

And somewhere in the midst of all this crazy heart knot, I find half of me wanting to help them and half of me wanting to be them.

I didn’t want to be the last class….I wanted to run away from memories and pain and hurt and futures that said not right now and whispered maybe not ever. And now in the midst of white walls and open roads, I’m beginning to realize that the future is a lot scarier than I ever thought it would be, and who did I think I was kidding when I said coming back didn’t scare me?

I want to relive it…and I’ve never understood the people who said they would relive it differently. I could stand up and preach change and pretend regret, but the truth is if I went back in one way or another I’d make the same mistakes all over again. Because no matter how much I try to keep it at an arms length, my heart wants community the same way it did 2 years ago. It wants a smiling face and flannel clad arms and late nights when the rest of the world faded and for the first time in my life I belonged to someone and something I could come home to. It wants rest and peace and the quiet of an untouched garden, because no matter how much the garden is temporary, staying is security and leaving is NOT.

And coming boldly before an all gracious yet all powerful Savior is something I have yet to learn how to do.

And I think the balance here is somehow realizing how to set contentment in the God who created Eden, not the people who reflected Him within it. But I haven’t learned how to do that yet, and it’s something He’s teaching that my heart doesn’t want to learn all the time. Because no matter how excited I get thinking about new depths and new heights, I’ve trod the old ones and know all the potholes. I know the stumbling blocks to avoid and the places where the path walks easy. I know when the rocks rip through tender, bare souled feet, and where the grass soothes in a cool breeze. I know the path. I’m comfortable because I know it well enough not to need somebody to walk alongside me and tell me when to duck, when to step over the puddles, and which berries are poisonous and which taste like summer.

And somewhere in the midst of comfort is a God that calls me out of it in His infinite goodness and I’m not ready for that and He knows it. And I think in a lot of ways He laughs just a little bit, because the thought of me realizing I need Him is delightful, and the thought of His growing girl grabbing His hand because she’s still scared of thunder storms is exciting, and the idea of a “big” girl realizing she really DOES always need her Daddy is something He’s been waiting for me to realize for a very, very, very long time.