Saturday, January 31, 2009

my kind of fairy tale...

the kind of fairy tale my heart is after is a lot like most others, a prince charming who will sweep me off my feet & and living happily ever after...but there's one more element. three other princesses. in my perfect fairy tale the four of us each get married to our own prince charming within a year of each other.

we each enjoy a few years of lovely wedded bliss. but instead of living in separate places we share a big house together. not only do we get the perks of married life, but we still get to enjoy living so close to each other and sharing our lives. then once we start to grow up more we all get our own houses on a charming little street where the only traffic is the other people who live there. there are huge trees that look like they've been there for ages. large yards where we plant gardens, our husbands build benches, and ponds, and set up hammocks, & we grow our own vegetables and share them with each other. we often go over to each others houses for dinner and grill outs. on cool summer nights we gather and play corn hole, while on crisp fall evenings we huddle around a warm fire.

then when we start having children we do it around the same time. we complain about morning sickness and how crappy we feel. then we gather around and discuss baby names together and feel each others bellies for the kick of our children. then when our children start to grow they become inseparable. the husband put their skills together and build a fort, swing sets and tree house for the kids to play in together. they take turns camping in each of our backyards and selling lemonade to the elderly couples out for walks.

the four of us will sip tea and watch the children run around while telling stories of all the funny/crazy things the kids do. we watch them grow up before our eyes, we see them get their hearts broken, or have a fight with a friend, get moody over not being able to use the car that night, and graduate high school. all the while just loving & loving some more. and just giving to each other, and caring for each other. always being there whenever the other needs us, through good and bad but always with love.

Friday, January 30, 2009

investing in people

i've decided that i don't invest in people nearly enough, esp at work or in class. so today at work i felt a tug to start! i was working a station and there was an international student working with me that i had never talked to before--so i went for it. normally i'm a timid person and don't just start talking to someone, but i wasn't today. i mean who wouldn't want someone to show a genuine interest in who they are? so i got to know her, where she's from, how long she's going to be in the US, etc and just kept asking questions. it was really great to start to get to know her! this is def something i hope to work on in the future.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

the hiding place

i just finished reading The Hiding Place by Corrie ten Boom. what an amazing story of God's faithfulness! i just keep processing it all in my head. it's the story of her and her family [mostly her sister Bestie] during WWII. they had such a love of people so when he there were Jews in need a shelter, love, food, and protect they risked their own well being for those in need. never stopping even when they knew they should to protect their own skin, it didn't matter. only sharing God's love mattered. they trusted in God with everything they had, he would protect them! this is a quote from her sister Bestie in the book which really showcases their devotion.

"Don't say it, Corrie! There are no 'if's' in God's world. And no places that are safer than other places. The center of His will is our only safety--O Corrie, let us pray that we may always know it!"

Bestie till the very end could only think of others and thanked God in ALL circumstances. She thanked him for fleas in their barracks even! the sisters had somehow managed to keep in their possession a bible, it was their life line. they may have had a hiding place in their home for Jews and extra food ration cards but Jesus and the word was their hiding place. they would hold worship and bible readings in secret for anyone they could get close enough. they bible was alive and breathing to them, they could see it's miracles in the concentration camp they were held in. and they were both over 50 years old! Bestie would pray for the germans who inflicted all this hurt and pain on them, while she was so weak and dying because of what they were doing for them. all she wanted to do was love on them, show them how to love. to her it was a blessing to be there, to be able to witness to all these people.

would i have seen it that way? would i have risked my life, my comfort to help those being persecuted? i hope my faith is strong enough. i strive to have a trust in God that can be enough. a faith that can move mountains, with a love that washes away any dislike i may have of someone. to go through such hardships and still be so joyful in the Lord. what a glorious place the world would be if we all had a faith like that!

this book gave me a thirst for God, to know Him deeper and to study his word closer. to be in love with Him like the ten Booms. what a gift that would be! i recommend it for sure!!

a sweater shaver changed my life

today i pulled out my pink cashmere sweater to wear, it looked very nice except for all the fuzzy balls on it. i've had it for a few years but i had yet to groom it, so i decided to break out my sweater shaver that my grandma bought for me when i went to college, it was still in the package. so i found some AA batteries and used it. AMAZING! like the coolest thing ever, my sweater looks awesome now! so i decided to make a list of other random things that have changed in life, maybe they can be useful to someone else one day.

things that changed my life:

  1. a sweater shaver, it's not expensive[mine was 5 bucks at bed bath and beyond], and easy [not to mentions fun!] to use
  2. an angled eye liner brush. every women needs this! you just use eye shadow and brush it on from the inside of your eye to the outside, works perfect.
  3. onion goggles. make fun, but it works! i love to cook and i love onions but they effect my eyes really bad, so i use my goggles from chemistry lab.
  4. over the door coat rack and over the door shoe rack. trust me you need these!
  5. tart warmer. instead of having to buy a big yankee candle i got a tart warmer about 5 bucks at bed bath and beyond [i think they have cheap ones at walmart too] and yankee candle tarts which are about $2, then you can buy a HUGE bag of tea lights to use with the tart warmer. the tarts last a very long time, smell great and are a good way to save money.
  6. mason jars! i got a box of these from my mom's basement to put a spice tea mix in for christmas presents and it changed my life! i use them all the time for storage in the kitchen, they look really neat. i keep dried beans, rice, etc in them. they are also very cute for gift presentation if you make something fromt he kitchen! they can also we used for cut glasses or a deceration [for candles, flowers]. they use them in the movie mama mia for wedding decor and it's beautiful!
  7. whole wheat flour. my bible study leader uses whole wheat flour in her chocolate chip cookies and it's fantastic! all the fiber makes them more filling as well! i used some the other day to make chocolate chip cookies and i throw some crasins in there as well. [i'd add a little all purpose flour, half or less of total flour, and i soaked the craisns in warm water first to plump them up a little]
  8. whirley pop. i started making all my popcorn on the stove top [it's so easy and you can make all short of fun flavors and styles, you also have control over how much oil, butter, and salt] i always just used a pot but for christmas my stepdad got me a whirley pop popcorn popper and it's so useful!
  9. mug/cup hooks. i found these i guess at walmart in the hardware i think and i use them for necklaces! i screwed them in a [horrible looking] row on my wall and use them to hang my necklaces from. it was pretty easy, and cheap. they make them in differe styles, mine are just brass looking.
  10. mesh paper tray. i use this for my earrings! [i found it at target] i set it on it's side so it stand up and it's a lot bigger than any earring holder i've seen and it's less expenstive. you have plenty of room to put all your jewlery!
alright well there's a top ten list...i'm sure there's more maybe another time!!


Wednesday, January 28, 2009

snowy days

when i was in public school we had lots of snow days. lucky for us there were lots of country roads in our district which were always in bad shape. but once you get to college that all changes, you don't get snow days for anything. it has to be really bad, as in ice. and esp at the grand school that is the univeristy of kentucky [which most of the time likes to think it's better than it is] you don't get off. the first two years of college we didn't get any sort of days off, not even a delay or an early closing. in my third year we got something that rarely ever happens...we had a two hour delay one morning. and THIS was a big deal...though it was highly disappointing since it didn't effect any of my classes, still it was a big deal. then another time they canceled evening classes because of an ice storm, again a BIG deal although it didn't effect me. it was still fun because we got to feel like we were snowed in and bake spinach and artichoke dip for dinner! yum!

well a few nights ago we were preparing ourselves. there was a big winter storm coming. katie's dad was convinced it was to be the biggest storm of the decade and told her to go get bread and milk from the store. she doesn't even keep milk in the house on a sunny day. we could feel it, we were gonna get off. when my alarm that next morning went off i had a text message from earlier that morning saying that UK would be closed until 11. well that was hardly far enough, i only got out of one 50 min class...when i still had 6 more hours of class that day. i wouldn't give up. i checked my email to find out my 11 o'clock class was canceled and so was my 2 o'clock. i refused to give up hope! only two other classes taught by the same teacher. my first thought was just not to go since it was suppose to start freezing rain and i didn't wanna get out in that. but alas i had a quiz in my 12:30. i was holding out. i refused to shower or get ready to leave until 11:45 when i needed to leave at noon.

noon came and still no word on canceling class, i couldn't miss a quiz. i decided i'd go to that class and skip my 3:30. i bundled up and head to campus. what an adventure. i don't like ice very much, i don't like ice skate or anything related. i don't like the feeling of not being in control it gives me. the side walk all the way down my road was just ice, i wanted to give up before i got half way down it. people around me walking were sliding and what not, they at least seemed to be enjoying the snow and ice. me on the other hand wanted to cry. i made it to class, late, but i didn't fall even once. i was extremely careful. i was in in disbelief that they were still trying to have classes, hardly anyone was on campus and the sidewalks were clear of snow but solid ice. after my quiz i walked home and got pj's on as soon as i could and snuggled down again. only to get a message from uk saying they were closing early. i'm sure it was completely necessary to be open for 4 hours.

we stayed in and hung out and baked. there's something about being snowed in that gets me in a cooking mood. i made cookies, bread, and i even made whit and i a peanut sauce, chicken, veggies, and rice noodle stir fry thing for dinner. i stayed up late, didn't work on any school work and counted my eggs before they hatched. sometime in the middle of the night i just heard rain, and thought to myself "crap, it's not icing or snowing, just rain i'm gonna have to go to campus!" then at about 6:30 i check my phone. SNOW DAY!! first full snow day since i've been at uk. amazing. i so happy to be able to turn my alarm off, roll over and sleep in that i almost couldn't get back to sleep.

morning came and the first thing i did was look out my window. i was beautiful! it was snowing, everything was covered in ice and then snow, and the best part was i get to stay inside all day and not have to try and go anywhere! we eventually made out way outside to take a look at the beauty and capture it with our cameras. now it's time to relax. there's nothing like having your full first week of classes and only having half of your classes!

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

letter from a birmingham jail

for the english class i'm in this semester i had to read a letter that Martin Luther King Jr. wrote while in jail in response to a letter written by the alabama clergy. it's kind of long [11 pages! think about hand writing that!] but it's so interesting, it really makes me want to read more by and about MLK. he is such an important historical figure in america esp with the black civil rights movement and "i have a dream!" for me it's easy to forget that he was a pastor as well and it's so clear in this letter. of course it is written to people of the church so maybe there is a little more faith in it given the audience but i also haven't read anything else of his to compare. i love how his faith is weaved in and out of this letter. you can see his undivided heart. he didn't have his christian side of his life and his other side of his life. it was all one. and that's the kind of life i strive for, that God will be involved in every aspect not just where church is involved. i so want to invite God into all areas, in doing dishes, in doing homework, in doing laundry, in relationships with friends and family, and in EVERYTHING basically. i really enjoyed this section about being an extremist and King used a lot of examples to make his point and i think it's a fantastic point!! here it is...from a letter from a birmingham jail by Martin Luther King Jr.....

But though I was initially disapointed at being categorized as an extremist, as I continued to think about the matter I gradually gained a measure of satisfaction from the label. Was not Jesus an extremist for love: “Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you.” Was not Amos an extremist for justice: “Let justice roll down like waters and righteousness like an ever-flowing stream.” Was no Paul an extremist for the Christian gospel: “I bear in my body the marks of the Lord Jesus.” Was not Martin Luther an extremist: “Here I stand; I cannot do otherwise, so help me God.” And John Bunyan: “I will stay in jail to the end of my days before I make a butchery of my conscience.” And Abrahman Lincoln: “This nation cannot survice half slave and half free.” And Thomas Jefferson: “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that an men are created equal...” so the question is not whether we will be extremists, but what kind of extremists we will be. Will we be extremists for hate or for love? Will we be extremist for the preservation of injustice or for the extension of justice? In that dramatic scene on Calvary's hill three men were crucified. We must never forget that all three were crucified for the same crime—the crime of extremism. Two were extremists for immorality, and thus fell below their environment. The other, Jesus Christ, was an extremist for love, truth, and goodness, and thereby rose above his environment. Perhaps the South, the nation and the world are in dire need of creative extremists.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

my bucket list

these are in no real order, and of course it's open to revisions as i see fit...after all it's my life.

  1. Stay a night in Cinderlla's castle in Disney World
  2. Ride an elephant in India
  3. See the great pyramids [and if I'm really lucky discover an undiscovered mummy]
  4. Get married
  5. Give birth
  6. Adopt a child [or children] that others overlook
  7. Visit an African country that's hurting
  8. Give free hugs
  9. Read the whole Bible
  10. Backpack in Europe
  11. Visit platform 9 3/4 at King Cross Station
  12. Write a book
  13. Go to Australia
  14. Go to New Zealand [and see where they filmed Lord of the Rings]
  15. Go to Macy's Thanksgiving Day parade
  16. Learn play the guitar and relearn how to play the piano
  17. Swim with dolphins
  18. Become fluent in another language
  19. Visit where I lived in Holland
  20. Visit the Great Wall
  21. Go on a safari
  22. Make ripples
  23. Read as many books as possible
  24. Go to Hawaii
  25. Have my own cooking show
  26. Go to Disney Land
  27. Plant a new church / start a new ministry
  28. Become a skilled in sewing
  29. Have a library room where the walls are covered with books and there's a ladder(s) that roll around the shelving
  30. Make a real quilt

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

the melting pot

today is kellie's 22nd birthday! yay, happy birthday kel!!

well we went for dessert to The Melting Pot which is a place we all have really wanted to check out but unfortunately it's very expensive for our college budgets. [i.e. we typically go to appleebees happy hour and get half price appetizers if we're in the mood for a celebration] but it was her birthday and we figure we could dress nice and spring for dessert at least. it turned out to just be jordan and kel, katie and erickson, and whit and i. so we were coupled up [i hope when whitney and i find boys we do at the same time, then atleast neither of us with have to be an extra wheel!].

we got two regular sized desserts, and there were so many to pick from! i was impressed, i didn't think there would be that many choices. kel picked out chocolates. one was plain dark chocolate and the other was s'mores [it was chocolate, marshmallow, gramcracker crumbs and then they set it on fire!] then we had four plates with more than enough things to dip! there was a piece of cheesecake, gramcracker covered marshmallows, oreo covered marshmallows, brownie, rice crispie treats, sponge cake, bannas, and strawbarries! i felt like all if it needed to be eaten but we just couldn't do it!

whitney and i both decided that we wanted to go and have the full meal sometime but we can't afford it. maybe if we win some money or something. also we said we'd know a guy really loved us if he took us there. it seems like a great place for either a romantic dinner [very secluded and dark atmosphere], or a big group [when we're older and real people with real jobs], and you could take a very long time and really get a good experience from it. i think it would make the perfect "luper" [lunch and super] since you'd eat so much you'd be full for long time. they also had these really neat paintings of wine on the wall that i LOVED if was a big glass of wine and it was like wine was splashing in the glass and at one end of the splash it turned from wine into a women, very cool. i tried to google and find a picture like it but i can't.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Sarah! Sarah Evans!

When one of my best friends called me over winter break to tell me her uncle had six free tickets to the Liberty Bowl in Memphis, in which UK was playing in, I assumed I would have a good time. I would get to take a break from doing nothing but hanging out with my family for weeks and see my friends for a few days at the least. I’m not a big sports person but I can enjoy them, sometimes, as long as I get to have fun socially as well. What I had not counted on was that it would not only be my favorite part of break but also something I’d really remember in years to come.

Before I get into the most important five minutes of the football game let me warn you, these five minutes have nothing to do with football. Ours seats were fantastic to say the least. We were in the front row right on one of the in zones! These were the best seats any of us had ever had to a game. Well, besides maybe our high school team, but that doesn’t even count. This was college football, not some pimply 16 year olds pretending they can throw pigskin around. There was a drawback though; we were on the wrong side. In a sea of purple East Carolina Pirates there were six college students decked out in blue cheering on our Wildcats. I should warn you again, this doesn't have anything to do with the Pirates or Wildcats either.

We were in blue and they were in white. I believe the only team they ever cheered on though may have been themselves. Who were these dressed in white? Well they looked like brides getting ready to walk down the aisle, the only problem was there was no wedding. These were America’s homecoming queens. Don't worry we had never heard of them either. They each wore a white dress, a tiara, and a white sash with the name of their state on it. There were multiple from the same states yet not every state was represented. My friend, who had read up on all things Liberty Bowl, informed us who they were. She also told us how they could just do this if they wanted to really but they had to pay their own way. I also suppose they had to win homecoming queen as their high school. These young ladies came all the way here for the lovely honor of standing on the field during pregame and half time. How fantastic. Although, I don’t remember the announcer ever giving them the credit they surely deserved for such a great task.

The game clock was ticking away in the second quarter and it was nearing half time. It was time for the homecoming queens to start getting ready for their big standing on the field. Where our seats were was on a wall with the football field below. We were in the first row but technically we were in row nine since the seating right there didn’t go down to the field like they did around the 50 yard line. Right below us is where all the homecoming queens started to gather and wait for halftime. Soon our section became pretty crowded as mothers and other family members came to take pictures of the young ladies. You would hear “Nicole!” and “Brittney!” as mothers tried to get their daughters attention so they could snap a picture.

At this point it was impossible to pay any attention to the game with so much going on all around us. It was then that it happened. A young girl who must have been around 12 came to the edge of our row. She was a little chubby, had valor pants on, and badly need to brush her hair. “Sarah!” she yelled one, and again, “Sarah!” She must be yelling for her sister I thought. “Sar-rah! Sar-rah!” I was really hoping her sister would look up at her soon because this girl was trying really hard.

“Sarah Evans!” I froze. “Sarah Evans!” If I had heard this merely a week before I could continue to believe that she was yelling for her sister but thanks to my well informed friend I was now wiser. Sarah Evans just happens to be a country music star who was receiving the Liberty Bowl Lifetime Music Achievement Award. An award which Elvis once received, it’s sad to see that their standards have gone downhill.

This girl is really yelling for Sarah Evans? I thought to myself. I leaned over to one of my friends, “that girl is yelling for Sarah Evans, the halftime show!” I leaned over the edge of the wall watching all the people below me scatter around. It sounded as if this girl had given up hope as I watched her beloved Sarah Evans get her lipstick applied by someone else, it is a tough task. “Erica,” my friend said to me and I sat up because Sarah's biggest fan was about to plow me over to get a closer view. I set her through as we started laughing to ourselves. No one even knows who this singer is besides this little girl.

It didn't take very long for the people seated around us to take noticed in the Sarah Evans fan. “Who is this Sarah person?” an older black women asked us. We told her it was Sarah Evans, the halftime show. “Who's Sarah Evans?” she asked. We shrugged and told her it was a country singer. Our Sarah fan seemed to have disappeared, I guess she didn't have much luck in getting Sarah's attention. After that a random guy in his late 20's started yelling for Sarah and the section responded in chuckles all around. Once the older black women realized Sarah Evans was where she could see she wanted to come up and get a lot. She figured why not? If this girl was making such a big deal might as well take a look.

“Sar-rah! Sarah Evans” She was back. Only this time she was over by where the homecoming queens has been sitting. By those seats happened to be a stairwell leading to the field where field pass holders could get on and off the field. It also happened to have security guards. The Sarah fan did not give up she kept yelling and yelling for Sarah Evans. It started to get the attention of everyone standing below on the field. Sarah even noticed and gave her a wave. Then the happiest moment of this young girls life happened. The same lady who applied lipstick to Sarah waved for the girl to come down and see Sarah.

Sarah's number one fan burst down the stairwell and greeted Sarah. Photographers below took their picture together and then Sarah give her a hug. What a hug this was, you could see tears rolling down this girls face. Our little section of observers started breaking out in loud claps for this happy ending. “I should get that girls email,” one of my friends said, “so I can send her a picture of her and Sarah that I took.” We never got the email address and we'll never see this girl again but we now know dreams can come true, if you try really hard.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

where i've been

Let me start by saying this is REALLY long...but to me [and maybe others idk] it's very important. This is where I've been, roughly, in my Christian walk. Mostly just the lows are in detail but God has reached into my heart and gotten me through everything listed. I've learned from everything I've gone through and it's only made my bond and relationship with Christ stronger. I don't have all the answers and i'm not a perfect person, hardly. Nor am I a perfrect christian. Only God is perfect and I may be able to strive to be like Jesus and get closer and closer to holiness but I'm still a sinner, but i'm working on it. If you stumble upon this don't feel like you have to read it. This is mostly for myself, but maybe theres something others can learn from my life, who knows.

I grew up in church all my life but I never really understood it. I was baptized when I was still to little to sit up on my own, which is something I will NEVER do for my children. In 6th grade I even went through a confirmation class at my families church. I mean that's what you did when you were that age and there were about 5 of us around the same age--enough for a class. I have no idea what we learned about, I don't remember a thing. One thing I do remember was that we had to write a "paper" about what we believed about Jesus, God, and the Holy Spirit. Who knows what I said. Kind of wish I had a copy now, I'm sure it would be entertaining. Even though I never really got it I never doubted there was a God, yet I never knew Him.

When I was a Jr in high school I went to a Younglife weekend camp. I had gone to church camps my whole life so this wasn't anything that strange to me. The speaker talked about stuff all weekend and nothing really freaked me out or anything, i was use to hearing about God my whole life. But also nothing really rang a bell, it didn't click yet. Then I remember he talked about filling your life with things other than Jesus. He had a glove and tried to fill it by putting in beer, a condom, friends [a Friends DVD], and other things but none of them fit. Lastly he put in God, which was his hand. And what do you know! It fit! It's kind of corny when I think back on it now but I remember it and it started to make wheels turn. The speaker then asked for everyone to split up in three groups. One group was for people who already knew Jesus and had relationship with him, another for people who weren't ready for that or didn't want that, and the last was for people to let Him take the drivers seat. I sat there thinking about which group I belonged in. The whole believing in God was not an issue but I didn't live my life like I believed there was a God. I didn't live my life for Him, I lived it my ME.

CLICK! It was then that I decided to go and be a part of the group that was going to live their lives for Christ! At the time I barely knew what I was getting myself into, I didn't really understand it all but I knew. I just knew! Now I know it was God pulling on my heart, like "come on Erica!" This was the right thing to do! This was what i was suppose to do. I remember I was shaking a while lot and fighting back tears. I didn't even know why, I thought I was being silly. I remember having my Younglife leader Witni by my side, I hardly even knew her.I wasn't sure what to do with myself. I remember a friend of mine who had come with us giving me the biggest hug afterwards when they let the "already in relationship with Jesus" group back in. I didn't understand why she wanted to give me a hug or why she was so so happy, but once I knew Him more I understood.

So I started to learn about Jesus, I started to read His word[I had to hunt down a bible in the house but asked for one for Christmas which was in a few weeks] and talk with him. I was part of a discipleship group that year and I grew fast in my faith. I even began dating a great chrisitian guy that spring. That was great for a while but now looking back I see that I was still too young in my faith for a relationship. We didn't set up boundaries right, nor keep many and we didn't keep our focus on God. Sure I would go to his church on Sunday nights, and he would go to Younglife things with me but we never really talked about our faith, nor the sins we committed like we should have. To the world we looked like the perfect christian couple, but our relationship lacked God. We had everyone fooled, even ourselves. I also thought I was gong to marry him one day, that fact that I was going to UK and he was going to EKU didn't bother me. I figured we loved each other enough to make it. What I didn't realize was that God is what is needed to hold a relationship together.

Fast forward to freshmen year of college, a very exciting time!! The day my mom and dad moved me into my dorm my mom told me their divorce was official[what great timing] after about a 4 month separations and 20 years of marriage. But I wasn't about to let that put a damper on my spirits, I'd already cried enough over that. My parents were gonna take me to the store and get stuff like food and Tide but they bailed. My dad handed me some cash and told me to get my stuff with it. When they left I was all alone in my room. I was too scared to even leave my room because I feared I would NEVER find it again! It didn't take to long to figure some things out, like remembering what Donovan looked like so I could find my way back. I was having so much fun that first week [I had a very intresting first weekend maybe if you ask I'll tell you about it]. I ran into a friend of mine from high school one of the first evenings. She was a year older and we did Younlife together and she was such an important person to me in my first year as a christian. She told me about CSF and got me to start going and I loved it! It was everything I was looking for. I even found a home church, something I lacked back home and I loved it as well.

Then everything hit the fan. Two weeks into college my boyfriend and I broke up. it's the kind of thing they warn youa bout when coming to college but you think, "that'll never happen to me." He told me it was a "break" because he wasn't sure if I was the girl he was suppose to marry and we'd get to experience college more and see where we were in about two months. A month later he was dating someone else. I was hurt and so so broken, words can't express it. I didn't know what to do with myself. I hardly ate, which led to me losing a bunch of weight fast and then I ate a lot which lead to be getting that weight back and then some. But i clung to God like i've never clung to anything in my life.

From that day we broke up for about 4 month I prayed every single day [spiritual disaplines aren't my strong point]! I didn't want to go out and make friends, I really just wanted to nap all the time. Yet at the same time I was frustrated because I wasn't making any real friends, and it didn't help that I knew HE was and I was madly jealous. At first life in the dorms felt like summer camp but unlike summer camp you don't make best friends within the first two days. I felt dead. The only time I felt alive was when I was a Synergy or at 608. I felt like I was living someone else's life. There were times when I'd wake up in the morning and want to yell "what the hell has happened to my life!!" and I didn't even use that kind of language. It was one of the lowest points in my life but one of the times i'm most thankful for. To top it off my roommate wasn't happy either. She went home every weekend and was already talking about going back home and to NKU for next semeste. Even though it had nothing to do with me it still made me feel like crap.[though I am happy to say everything got better and she's my best friend, still at UK, and we still live together!] I so very very depressed. I probability should have gone to a doctor but I was too prideful and I didn't want other people to know how truely hurt I really was. I would fight back tears during class and cry myself to sleep most nights, hoping my roommate wouldn't notice.

I didn't give up though! God wouldn't let me quit that easy! I kept going to CSF and I kept trying to get involved and slowly but surely I began to make friends. real friends. God put fantastic girls in my life [and now they can't get rid of me!! :)]that even thought they didn't realize it they were lifing me up and putting me back together because He was doing that for me and he was and is in them. He put them as a blessing in my life. My whole focus freshmen year was on making bonds with sisters in Christ and centering my life on Him and not myself.

Fast forward to the end of my sophomore year. I was tired. I was sick of school and I was even sick of being in Lexingotn, and i was also spiritually dry. I was looking forward to getting away from everything and everyone for the summer and being with my family in NKY. Over that summer I began to wonder if it was all even worth it but something inside of me wouldn't let myself fully believe that lie. I wanted to want God but I just wasn't. I was slipping away piece by piece. I remember backing mystuff back up after summer and I found my bible stashed away somewhere, I don't think I had opened it after the first week of summer.

Sometimes I have problems with transitioning between Lexington and northern Kentucky. I love both and every time it comes to leaving one I don't want to. I don't wanna go home when I've been in Lexington for a while and when I've been home for a while I don't' wanna go back to Lexington. There's been many times when I come back to Lexington from being home for a while and I just wanna sit in my room and cray and all I can think about is wanting to go home. Don't get me wrong I love Lexington, i love my house, my friends--who most the time are more like family, CSF, and Southland. If it wasn't for my christian family here I don't know what else would really keep me here. UK is fun, I love it but in the end it's really my brothers and sister in Christ that hold on to me here. They're just so fantastic I can't even stress that enough! I can just see Christ through them all and they encourage me when they don't even know they are, I just hope that I can encourage them as much. They teach me things when they don't even realize it, just by living their lives. They're there for me when I need them and I'm here for them if they have a bad date or need some prayer and encouragement! but I guess that the most important part of my community is being able to grow in my relationship with Jesus because that's something that's such a struggle for me at home.

I don't have community in NKY like I do in Lex. I find myself not even thinking to open my bible or pray. It's also hard being with my family as much as I love them, it's just really hard sometimes. My family memebers are "Christians" if you know what I mean. they don't understand why i do what I do. It's so hard for me to talk about my faith in general but it's 300% harder when it comes to them. Sometimes I just want to explode in a sort of bullhorn guy fashion, but I know that's not the right road to travel. I just wish I could show them what's really in my heart, what Jesus is really like, but I feel like I fail. One of the hardest things is they don't believe me, ever. They hardly know me. They have a stereotype of how i am! My own family! They stereotype me as the typical college student. They don't' believe me when I say I don't go out and get drunk or that I don't get frisky with boys. It's frustrating. They don't get it. They didn't get why I got baptized and that was hard. I wanted to be able to share that with them but I couldn't. My dad even asked me "wasn't once enough?"

Then I came back to Lexington [to start my jr year] ready but not as the same time. I kept praying that I would get out of this rut and desire Jesus with all my heart. Then it happened. The Holy Spirit set me on fire once more. I was in awe of the King! I was sharing my life with my sisters again and I was growing spiritually again! It was good!! Itwas real good! I felt like I could start to see what God was doing all around me and that is truly spectacular. I was putting myself out there spiritually, emotionally and as odd as this may be socially. I was praying for more of a servants heart and to serve the Lord with the right intentions. Also to even be OK with out getting any credit for my servents work. Things that I was praying about, meditating about, and reading about were lining up everywhere I looked. I was getting the same message in different directions. I was working on being OK with being single and being contend with Jesus and breaking my alabaster jar at His feet. I felt so in tune and I know it's not always like that but it was for that season. What a fantastic place to be!

When I went to 608 on November 11th 2007 I had no idea what would happen. Most of the service I was slightly bored. Bored might not really be the right word but I wasn't on the edge of my seat. Honestly I kind of zoned out for part of it so I clearly didn't have any idea of what was about to happen. The man speaking during the service was done and now it was ending worship. I watched a couple people get baptized and all I could think about the whole time was how I hadn't been since I became a christian. I remember having talked about it with my Younglife leader in high school. She had asked me about doing it and I wanted to but I couldn't in NKY. I couldn't do it at the churches on either parents side. I know it's funny to say getting baptized in a church wasn't right, but it wasn't. I couldn't bring myself to get baptized in a church I've known all my life but wasn't able to find Jesus in. She talked about how I should just do it but she understood too. I wanted it to be a the right place and that sounds totally stupid in a way because it really doesn't matter, but that wasn't completely it. I just felt it wasn't right. When we were getting ready to sing the last or second to last song at 608 Brad got on stage and asked us to turn to the person next to us and tell them what God was putting on our hearts right then. For once it took no thought at all. I KNEW what God was putting on my heart but I was also scared to say it. It was like He was slapping me on the side of my head and saying "Erica what has took you so long! I gave you the community you so wanted two years ago!" I hadn't stopped thinking about getting baptized but I wasn't thinking of doing it then or maybe not even at Southland, after all CSF was really where it was all at for me anyhow. So i turned to Katie and like a classic person not really wanting to blurt something out that clearly needed to be said I asked her what was on her heart first. As soon as she was done I knew I had to say it, I was trying to swallow it down. I was all nerves! I didn't even look her in the eyes at first, I simply said "I think I need to be baptized, I haven't been I since I became a Christian." She soon became completely energetic, "right now?? You should do it right now!"

And just like that Katie grabbed my hand and she basically flew us back to where they did the baptizims. Jon Weece was still in the water and she practically yelled at him"she's gonna go!!" Katie was great, and also very comical. She kept finding out what I was suppose to do. She barked demands as to where we were suppose to go and what not. We found the changing room and she was throwing clothes at me to put on. I asked her to come with me and I've never seen anyone undress so fast! I was shaking and hurried and it was nearly impossible to change. Then we found ourselves there, at last it seemed. When we got to the baptismal the rest of 608 was praying so we just stood there hugging each other and waiting to get wet. Then down we walked into the water and there was Jon waiting. And the rest is history my friends! Everything besides Jon, Katie and the water was out of my mind. I don't remember hearing the band[although Kellie was playing that night and claims she played extra joyful for me], the cheers, the claps, the lights, the people. As soon as I got out all sopping wet I was so happy to be greeted by a few of my brothers in Christ wanting a hug, not even caring that I was dripping wet. But as soon as
I could I went to put some dry clothes on, and that was an adventure in itself.

I was still completely a shaky mess, in fact it took hours to get over that. So putting my dry clothes back on took three times as long as it should have. I was only about half way done when all of a sudden my curtain is ripped aside--and mind you at this point the changing room was getting pretty busy--and there was Katie totally unaware of my current lack of clothing. "OH MY GOSH! YOU JUST GOT BAPTIZED BY JONE WEECE!!" I'll never forget that moment either, all I could bring myself to do was to try and cover myself up and yell at her. She got the picture after that. It was a really special night. The band was all out of music so they just kept replaying songs because people just kept getting baptized, I think about 20 people that night proclaimed that Jesus is the Christ.

The rest of the semester ended well, I was being extra social like I had been all semester and just enjoying myself. Finals week was awful and to top it off I was very sick. I went home for break hardly wanting to leave my friends, but something changed over break. I'm not sure what brought it on, but it came. When it came time to return to school I didn't want to at all--more than usual. I felt so weighted down. When I came back to Lexington I just sat in my room and cried. I even tried to figure out how many weekends i could go home without it being obvious I was so unhappy. I would sit in my room and watch a lot of Jane Austen movies and be mopey. I went home every other weekend at least til about spring break. I didn't want to hang out with people like I had been doing all last semester to the fullest. I felt anxious and sad everyday for no reason, and I didn't pay attention to my studies like I should have.

Spring break came, and I went to do inner city work in Chicago with CSF. It was overall a great experience. I loved the city and meeting some people from other places. I started to focus on what I can do for others instead of myself. I became a little happier and wasn't going home as much at least. When it came time to go home for summer and to my lovely warehouse job at Toyota I was excited but not ready to leave Lexington. I stayed around for a few days after my last final and hung out with friends and it was a great way to leave things.

Then it was back to NKY, I tried to find a home church but I gave up. I spent my days sweating at Toyota, I got to know the workers well and we had a lot of fun. One of the girls I worked with the summer before came back and we became inseparable. It was great to have someone to talk to about everything and this was the one person in my life over the summer who I could share my faith with. She even decided to get baptized at a lake by her dad. It was just her family [and the family who's lake house it was] and she wanted to me to come. It was a really great experience and I loved getting to share that with her. Over the summer though i didn't kept up with my bible like I wanted [better than the last though], although I did a lot of reading most of it was secular.

I came back to UK for the start of my forth year and I was so much better than I had been a semester ago. I was enjoying my classes more and doing well in them. I reconnected with my christian community and was getting on the right path again. I was starting to stretch myself and learn about theology and even did a study on Isaiah with a group of amazing girls. I was tired of how my relationship with God was and devoted more and more time to really knowing who He is. I read a lot about really just going after a life devoted to him completely and really became inspired by the words of Leslie Ludy. I even started reading My Utmost for His Highest and journaling my prayers pretty much everyday, which is good for me. Now *every* day would be great but like I said I lack discipline. [although I kind of made an uncommitted new years resalution to read My Utmost every day this year, so far I haven't missed a day!]

At times I still have my doubts that creep in but I'm really learning a lot right now! I've started to really LEARN and REMEMBER when I'm reading my bible, I have a whole system I'm working through that I made up. I'm starting to really make sure my devotion to secular activities and pop culture is less than my time devoted to God. I gave up gossip magazines, which I wasn't addicted to but would buy every now and then when I was at the store. I decided I shouldn't really care about the world of pop culture and it was a waste of a few bucks anyhow. I'm working on removing the clutter from my life, in my surroundings and inside myself. Over winter break I read my bible more and prayed more than I had over any other school break so far, and that is a great step in a great direction. My goal right now is to really learn and remember what I'm reading about in the bible and really APPLY it to my life. I also want to learn about great Christians in the past and see what I can learn about how they lived their life. Also I want to give up more of my time in service. One thing I really prayed for over break was the chance to kind of disciple a younger girl, kind of like what my Younglife leader did for me. I prayed for this a lot over break, I didn't know how it would work out but I just felt this semester it could work. I don't even really know anyone younger but I figured God would find a way and God has! He answered that pray with a new thing they're set up at CSF for underclassmen girls to sign up to be in an accountability group and then they are grouped with an upper upperclassman girl. When I got the message asking me to do this I wanted to scream YES! THANK YOU GOD! YOU'RE AMAZING! I was even happy and ready to come back to school after break. A good sign. God is working in me right now, a lot! Extreme make-over style!
Through all the bad...I've been so blessed and He's never left me in the cold.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

explict lyrics

At church we've been on this series for two weeks going through Song of Solomon and using it as a background for boy/girl relationships; so far it's been awesome, and we still have four more sunday's on it. It was good timing since lately something I've been pondering is what a Christian, God centered relationship should look like. [some of the books i've read are Lady in Waiting, When God Writes Your Love Story, and When Dreams Come True.] In the past I've never had a God centered relationship and it's something that I think is VERY important for the future. I'm so thankful that I'm getting so much time with no distractions to really figure it out [although I didn't always count it as a blessing].
I think it's so great that they're doing this series because I feel it's something the church doesn't talk about enough, yet it's one of the most influential things in your life. I once heard someone say that no one shapes your life like your spouse, that's reason enough to not take dating lightly! One thing I don't understand is how people can date just to date, not with marriage in mind. Even if you save yourself physically for marriage [which you should!!] it's still a waste of time and emotions. Shouldn't there be a part of you emotionally that you save as well? I'm not sure what that looks like, and I highly doubt there's a formula that can be used for everyone but there has to be something better than the dating they sell on MTV.
I'm really enjoying this series and the things I'm learning from it which I'm fitting together with the things God has already been showing me in this area. It's so awesome that Southland is devoting six whole weekends to this message and I feel God can do great things in our community through it and totally change the way we think about dating, marriage, and sex. It's so much better to be able to talk about this in a christian environment instead of the hallways of high school.
The most important thing is that the person you're dating/thinking about dating/engaged/married to should make your relationship with Jesus flourish and you can grow in Christ even more together than apart. [Not to say that you can't have an outstanding relationship in Christ without someone else! Don't let the fact that you haven't found that special someone make you satisfied with a mediocre faith. Don't wait for your wedding day to start growing in Christ. I know for me as a single women even the idea of my future husband helps me in my desire to know Christ on a deeper level. And I don't even know him yet, so just think about how much more we'll be able to encourage each others spiritual lives once we find each other!]
Here's a link to the audio/video of the series, it's also available as an iTunes podcast...
Explict Lyrics

Friday, January 16, 2009

my life's pupose statement

To love my God above all others and all things. To know Him and His word. To be fond [with a God like love] of everyone in this world and every person I come in contact with. To live out the Gospel in my daily life. Be a light in this world full of darkness. To be dead to this world but alive in Christ. To be a servant of the Lord, and serve others. Share the truth with the world and invest in people. And just love.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

kitchen make-over

with the last few hours of my winter's stay in nky i'm starting to think about getting back to lexington and getting everything in order. let's just say i'm getting VERY anxious to get back! i am ready to get all squared away and i've already been mentally preparing what i need from the store when i get back to start the semester off right! [not to mention getting into a healthy eating pattern so i won't be in too bad of shape when i go to the beach with a group of senior girls in may *cross fingers*] so i decided to go take a look at whole foods website and look at whatever i may find. well i found a link to this article about getting your kitchen in order and having the basics you need. what you keep and what's just taking up room. a lot of it is about how to toss out premade things and do it yourself, and i am ALL about do it yourself in the kitchen! The Lastest Must-Haves for the Pantry!

Thursday, January 8, 2009

boring first entry

I finally made this blog look just the way i want it and now the only thing that is left are entries...kind of the important part! Lets start with why i wanted to blog. Well good question! I use to blog when i was in high school on kiwibox, i normally ranted on and on about the guys i had a crush on and struck up friendships with random people who i had no idea who they were. I did it just about every day, but no one in my life ever knew about these and it was safe and i could say whatever i wanted without any embarrassment. but honestly it was pretty shallow and mindless. I've always had urges to blog again and i've tried a little here and there but nothing stuck. But now i'm ready to be real and vulnerable. i want to write about my life yes, but more so about things that matter and i'm gonna try really hard to be honest and open and lay it all out there but i also wanna talk about things that are meaningful and not shallow. i can promise you now that i will not rant on about the cute guy i saw while pumping gas, instead i may talk about the importance of having a God centered romantic relationship. so in a nutshell i want this to be a look inside my life but even more i want it to show God in my life. so for one of my new year resolutions [which are still in the rough draft stage even a week into the new year!] is to write in here and maybe even share a few tears or laughs.