Something I stumbled upon

Look at you. You’re young. And you’re scared. Why are you so scared? Stop being paralyzed. Stop swallowing your words. Stop caring what other people think. Wear what you want. Say what you want. Listen to the music you want to listen to. Play it loud as you want and dance to it. Go out for a drive at midnight and forget that you have school the next day. Stop waiting for Friday. Live now. Do it now. Take risks. Tell secrets. This life is yours. When are you going to realize that you can do whatever you want?


Selfless Surrender

I can't do it.  This is what I realized tonight as I sat in the pew with many of my fellow brothers and sisters in Christ surrounding me.  Everyone was crying as they realized once again the power of Good Friday, maybe it was the amount of disgusting sin they had commited over the last year, maybe it was the fact that Jesus died a brutal death so that they could drive thier luxury vehicle and live in thier $500,000 house, or maybe they finally realized that it was time to fully surrender and they were in the midst of doing just that.  But as I sat there with tears rolling softly down my cheeks, I realized that I couldn't and can't surrender everything, not all of it.  I'm fine giving Christ parts of my life, but there are still things that I know I'm not ready to give up.  Because giving them up means losing control of them, of everything.  It means that I will no longer be able to hide behind them.  It means that all of the stupid, disgusting, embarrassing things that I've done will be out on the table.  As quickly as the realization came to me, so did the nausea.  I wanted to bolt out of that church into the cool fresh air...or maybe the bathroom.  Either way, I did not want to get sick in front of everyone.  I don't know exactly what it was that made me sick, but I didn't like it.  It could have been the fact that I have been living my life half-heartedly.  It could have been the fact that I had no idea what to do after realizing that I haven't completely surrendered.  I could have been the fact that I don't know how to completely surrender.  Or perhaps it's the fact that even though I say that someday I want to fully surrender, there is that thought in the back of my head that says I won't.  Or maybe it's the fact that I'm afraid that I never will truly, fully surrender.  I don't know, but I felt so sick.  And as I was sitting there, wanting to be anywhere, but in that church, I realized that surrender doesn't happen once.  It happens every morning when I wake up.  It happens every time I want to do something I know is wrong, but instead I say no.  It happens every single minute of my life.  I will always be continually surrendering.  Even then, I know that I haven't surrendered everything.  I might be surrendering constantly, but I'm not surrendering all.  Maybe one day, I will.  And I am sure that will be a beautiful day.

Some song lyrics on my mind:
"I wanna yearn for You."
"Lead me to the cross, bring me to my knees, Lord I lay me down.  Rid my of myself I belong to You." 



Fears are a funny thing.  They can be classified into so many different categories.  I found myself thinking about them last night when I was walking back to the dorm late at night.  I kept looking back over my shoulder, because I was fearful that someone was following me.  And that's when I realized how many fears I truly have.  I am terrified of the dark, and one of my biggest fears is that the power will go out.  I am afraid of the future and not knowing what is to come.  I am afraid of geting raped.  I am afraid that one day I will run away and not have the strength to come back.  I am afraid that I will say the wrong thing.  I am afraid that I will find a dead body.  I am afraid that I will be touched on the back of my knees.  :)

But my biggest fear is that I will never be good enough.  I wake up every morning, with the fear that I will go through the day and disappoint everyone.  I am so careful as to what I say and how I act, because I don't want to be rejected, and I am so fearful that the slightest wrong word or action wil send me in a downward spiral and I will be hated.  Every night that I go to bed, I lay there and think of all of the stuff that I did wrong or said wrong, and how maybe if I had just kept my mouth shut, that people would like me more.  Francis Chan, the author of Crazy Love writes about how being fearful is not trusting that God has everything in control.  And maybe the core problem is that I don't know how to trust, to trust friends, to trust family, to trust God.  I pray that this fear of not being good enough isn't a problem that I have to deal with everyday, but at this point in time it still is.  Maybe one day I will be able to wake up and not feel bonded by my fears, but I will be able to go through my day, not being so conscious about everything that I am doing. Maybe one day I will no longer feel these chains around my wrists.  Maybe, one day.


Looking Back

Today ended up being a cold, dreary day.  A day that I looked back instead of forward.  A day where everything that I have been running from finally caught up with me.  My momma would always say that no matter what happens in our lives, God is going to use us, and through our pain, we will be able to help other people.  And, I've always known that to be true, and I've even put it into practice.  But for some reason the fact that I finally opened up to someone at college about some of the stuff that I have struggled with has made this day really difficult.  I am so thankful that I was able to talk with someone here about that stuff, because I have recently been longing for that intimacy and closeness with a friend, and for someone who understands.  However, after opening up to her, I have dwelled on the past all day long.  I have dwelled on how completely awful it was, on how much I wanted to die, on how much I hated myself, my family, everything.  I am nothing.  I am hated.  I am ugly.  I am fat.  Nobody likes me.  I am unworthy of being loved.  Everything would be better for everyone if I was dead.  Those were the lies that I listened to everyday.  The lies that made me suicidal and anorexic.  The lies that so many girls struggle with.  But the truth is that I am fearfully and wonderfully made.  That there is not one imperfection in the way that I was created.  I was made exactly the way that I was supposed to be.  And I am loved every single day by the God of the universe.  I know that none of this battle is over, and that I will continually fight it every single day for the rest of my life.  I will have to make the decision every morning to serve God, instead of serving the lies that say I am not good enough.



  There are so many different quotes about art, one of my favorites is:
     "The Earth without "Art"     is just  "Eh.""
  As many of you know, I am trying to figure out what I am supposed to do with my life.  It's something that every college kid struggles with.  I have found that even the people most confident about their majors question it at one point or another.  I have really been thinking about not doing art, and that kind of saddens me.  I have always thought I would do something with art, but as I look at it realistically, it just doesn't seem like the right thing for me to be doing.  And as I thought about this more, I realized that art is part of who I am.  Whether I major in it, minor in it, or don't do anything with it in college, art is always something that I will do in my free time.  Besides writing it is one of the best ways for me to express myself.  Without art, I don't know who I would be.  And I'm not saying that it is the only thing that defines me, but besides my faith it is probably the biggest thing that does define me.  Whenever I'm supposed to describe myself or tell people something about me, I always say "I'm an artist" or "I love to paint" or "I love to take pictures." It is part of who I am.  One of the biggest compliments someone can give me is not on how good of a grade I got on this test or how they like my outfit, but that they like my art. 
  However on the other hand, one of my biggest pet peeves is when someone says that they can't paint, or that they are bad at art.  That is the beauty of art! You can't be bad at it! Every artist and every observer have different tastes in art.  Some people like realism:

others(like myself) like impressionism:

 and still others like abstract:

 It all matters on the point of view you have.  And so to those people that say they can't do art, this is what I say:


Here Comes the Storm

This is something that I wrote my sophomore year of high school and I thought it was appropriate for tonight, since a thunderstorm is rolling in:

The rain pattering against the kitchen window reminds me of the Todd Agnew song “Grace Like Rain.” The lyrics pull me into an imaginary world, where I am on my hands and knees in the middle of a wheat field with a slight breeze blowing through my hair. The air is so fresh and warm, with the smell of dirt and wheat being carried by the wind. I hear nothing, but the rustling of the breeze through the light brown wheat. The sky is so clear, almost like a puddle of water on the sidewalk just after it rains. I am on my face fervently crying out to my Savior for compassion and forgiveness, like an infant crying for a bottle of milk. The tears stream down my dirty face like rain streams down the glass of a window. I know I am unworthy to be crying out to such a holy Redeemer.

Then, out of nowhere, a cool rain begins to pour down from the sky as if God is pouring out His grace on me. The vivid sun is still shining, so I begin to see a vibrant rainbow, as if God is reminding me that He promised to forgive and to forget. Like the Hilary Duff song, “Come Clean,” I begin to feel myself “coming clean.” I am drenched from rain and tears, but that does not matter to me, because I know my sins have been washed away.

After the rain, I feel the warm sun shining on my face; I experience the warmth of God as though I am curled up in a blanket by a fireplace in wintertime. I feel Him smiling on me as I kneel there thanking Him for His unfailing mercy. I stand up and my knees feel weak as though something is telling me that I am unworthy to stand before such a faultless God. I do not listen to the voice, but instead I begin singing. I sing as loud as I can, and feel as though the wind is carrying my voice up to God. I sing songs of praise, telling Him how grateful I am for his unconditional gentleness and how much I am in love with Him. Unexpectedly, I am pulled back into the real world by a piercing crack of thunder, but even there that I realize that God is still beside me and with me, pouring out His grace upon me


So Friday was a really hard day for me.  It was one of those days where everybody was hanging out with someone, but we had someone staying with us, so I had to clean and wash the sheets.  It was one of those lonely days, where I just hated everything about it.  There were actually a lot of times throughout the day where I was thinking about what life would have been like if I had gone to a different college, one where my friends from high school had gone, a college where I had actually known people before getting there.  It was a really difficult day.  And looking back on it now, it was just because I wasn't around people.  I figured this out, because as the day went on, it got better.  A bunch of us ended up getting together and having a bonfire, and it was an absolute blast!  This was my first bonfire that I have gone to, and I'm told it's not a southern thing, but I really feel like it is, and if it isn't, then it must be a small town thing.  Anyway it was so much fun!  We all just hung out and talked, and just grew in strength as a community.  I made a few new friends and got to know the older ones better.  All around, it was just a fantastic end to an awful day.  All the cares and worries of that day seemed to burn away in the orange glow of the fire.  It made me realize how blessed I am to have such wonderful friends. 


It's Jesus Y'all

Last night I had the opportunity to watch Godspell.  My friend, Randall Nored, played Jesus and he did such an amazing job. I felt like I was his mom, watching him up on stage.  I was so proud!  And speaking of his mom, I was able to meet his family, mom, Linda Nored and brother, Ronald Nored.  I don't think I have ever met such an incredible family.  They have gone through so much and are all still so joyful!  I honestly could not stop smiling when I was around them.  There was something about them being so joyful that just made me forget about everything else that was going on.  It got me to thinking about how contagious joy really is.  There is something about joy that all of us want.  I began thinking about it even more and where joy comes from, and the answer was obvious.  It comes solely from God.  There are so many times when I find myself complaining about having to do this or go to that, when I should be thankful that I even woke up this morning, when I should be thankful that I am alive.  I think thankfulness is the first step toward being truly happy.  After I got out of the hospital after my surgery, I couldn't help but smile.  Now there was nothing about my surgery or my tumor that even whispered death, but just laying in that hospital bed for a week made me think about a lot of things, and about who I am and where I am going in life.  It made me realize how blessed I truly am to be alive, and that the only thing wrong with me is a kidney tumor and not something that was fatal.  I realized in that hospital bed that I need to be more thankful.  More thankful for my family, for my friends, for the roof over my head, for clean water, for food, for indoor plumbing, for love, for forgiveness, for grace, but it wasn't until last night that I realized how much joy and thankfulness go hand in hand.  Everyday for the rest of the year, I am going to try to post something that I'm thankful for and how it brings me joy.  Today, I am thankful for Randall Nored, and how great of a friend he is. 


One Day

Broken Heart

"How beautiful on the mountains are the feet of those who bring good news, who proclaim peace, who bring good tidings, who proclaim salvation, who say to Zion, “Your God reigns!”" Isaiah 52:7

So today is the day.  It is TOMS anual no shoes day.  People all over the world are taking off their shoes and walking in someone else's shoes, or lack thereof, today.  Millions of children have to walk miles barefoot to just get water.  Many schools won't even let kids go to school if they dont have shoes.  This is the third year that I have done this, and I must say it is the toughest.  The last two years, I would just walk around the hallway at school and then get in my car and go home.  However, this year I have to walk across campus, and I must say it is rough, literally.  My feet hurt so bad.  I wish that the pain that I feel on my feet today, I would feel everyday in my heart.  It is my prayer that Christ would break my heart for what breaks His.  I pray that the callouses would be on my feet, not my heart.  I pray that I might fully understand the pain that people in this world go through, the hunger, the thirst, the heartache, that I might be able to better serve them the way that Christ truly called us to.  I pray that I might not sit back and watch from afar, but that I would roll up my sleeves and get down in the dirt.  I pray that God will send me.  I pray that I will have the courage to go.  


Go confidently in the direction of your dreams! Live the life you've imagined.

Henry David Thoreau


Taking Chances

I never really took a ton of chances in high school.  I took one big risk and it ended up going smoothly, but that was it.  One big chance in four years.  In the one year I have been here, I have found out that taking chances is so exciting.  Chances that if you fail, you will feel terrible, but if you succeed, then you are so excited that you can't help but smile.  I have taken countless chances here, and I have found that you fail many more times than you succeed, but that makes the success seem so much better.  Earlier this semester we had a portfolio review in the art department, where we had to submit 10 different works of art, and the professors reviewed them and told you what you needed to work on.  Needless to say, I didn't do very well.  That was a rough day.  I suppose that was the day that I really started to question if I was even supposed to be doing art.  It has always been something that I have enjoyed doing, and it's such a great way for me to express myself, but I really question if it was what God really wants me to do with my life.  So, contrary to what I really wanted to do, I submitted 6 photos into the student art gallery and 3 of them were accepted!  I cannot stop smiling!  I still have no idea what to do with my life, and what God's will is for me, but taking this risk of being yet again rejected and coming up accepted makes me realize that is something that I am supposed to be doing.  Wether I major in it, minor in it, or just do it for fun, I know that I am meant to be an artist.  And no, it isn't just because some of my art was accepted, that is just more of a confirmation.  Anyway, here are the three photos that were accepted.  

So all that is to say, that you NEED to take chances and risks.  It's scary knowing that you can and will be rejected.  But it is so rewarding when you are accepted.  And always know that someone out there will always hate what you do, even when everybody else loves it.  And when everybody hates what you do, know that there is always someone that loves it.  



So this morning my two friends, Olivia and Kristen, and I woke up at 5:30am, got dressed, and headed to Knoxville to cheer on our friend Nick as he ran a half-marathon.  We got there while it was still a bit dark and we realized that the race didn't start for another 30 minutes.  So we just walked around an empty shopping center, and needless to say we had a few laughing spells.  Then other supporters showed up and we decided to line up on the street next to them.   It didn't take us long to realize that we should have made a poster, because everyone and their mom was holding a poster for someone.  We then proceeded to stand there and wait for Nick to run by us.  There was only one problem, we didn't actually know for sure if he was running it or not.  He has been having foot problems and he had said something about not knowing if he was going to actually run the half-marathon.  And none of us had texted him.  So we stood on the side of the road praying that he would actually be in Knoxville running the race and not back in his dorm room sleeping like the rest of our campus.  Sure enough, after about 30 more minutes of waiting he ran passed us.  At first he didn't realize that it was us, and then as he got up to us, he realized who we were, and a big grin spread across his face.  We then ran back to the car and drove to Neyland Stadium where the finish line was.  Once again we were nervous.  This time it was because we were afraid that maybe he wouldn't be able to finish because of his foot, or maybe he got hit by a car, or maybe something else happened.  We stood on the bleachers by the finish line waiting in anticipation, the butterflies in our stomach growing stronger with each passing minute.  Every single time that a new person ran through the tunnel, we held our breath hoping it was Nick, but it never was, at least for a little while anyway.  And then all of our fears of him being hurt were washed away with the first sight of him.  We cheered as he smiled, waved, and kept on running all the way through the finish line.  It was such a cool moment and I honestly felt like his mom, I was so proud of him.  We went and talked with him, took some pictures, and had lunch with him.  Needless to say, he inspired me and Lord willing, this time next year, I will too be running across that finish line.  
Things to do in preparation for the next race:
1.Make a poster
2.Bring orange slices
3.Wear pants
4.Bring capri suns 
Fantastic song, incredible dancers.  


You are __________ enough.

You are good enough, you are beautiful enough, you are strong enough, you are smart enough.  
You are enough. 

To Do Lists

I have found through my experiences and through my friends experiences, that to do lists are the best things ever.  It is so much easier to get things done when you have it all laid out in front of you.  It also feels great when you can cross something off of your list.  Another thing that I have found in college is that I rarely ever start something and finish it.  I generally start something, get halfway through it, and then decided to finish it later.  However, when you make a to do list, you finish stuff that you start, because you find yourself wanting to cross it off.  I never have completed a to do list before though, but this is because I am constantly adding stuf to the end of the list.  I have found that to be okay, as long as every once in a while, you take the old scratched list and rewrite it into a new clean list.  



"I wouldn't mind our yellow teeth, if it meant we drank coffee together every night, laughing and crying until the sun came up each morning."

Hands and Feet

People are dying
There mothers just sitting there crying.
And back home, my favorite team is losing.
While I’m sitting so much on my butt that its bruising
But what happens if I get up?
What happens if I take up the cup?
But it’s so degrading, 
If I get up and start fading
What will the world think?
But maybe, just maybe I am that missing link
Maybe it’s me that needs to go, 
To not wait for the end of the show
But to get up now and never look back
To pick up my cross and carry my pack
Maybe it’s me that could bring the healing
That could restore the feeling
I felt it before, I know where they’re at
I know where they sit, It’s right where I sat.
But to leave everything behind?
People would think I’m losing my mind.
To leave my friends and my family?
To get down in the dirt, to take a knee?
Well thats just unheard of
No one cares for love
It’s all about hate and war
And who of the money can make more
But I’m so sick and tired of all this crap
So sick of everyone just laying around talking a nap
Why do I idly sit and wait?
What are I waiting for? The destruction of hate?
It’s not going anywhere until I love
Not going anywhere until I mimic the One sent from above
This is a problem, when I am so covered in sin
It’s a problem when I don’t look like Him
A problem I can’t fix
A problem that at my brain so ever licks
I want to be your hands and feet
But at this place I need You and me to meet
I can’t go forward without You
Your will can’t do too
Make me, mold me
Shape me into one of the few. 
The few that leaves everything
For Your will and Your praises to sing
The few that really care 
The few that are so rare
The ones that will get down in the mud
And pull out the kids from under the crud
The ones that will go down to Hell make me
Someone who will fight not flee
Make me Yours and Yours alone
That I might rescue those that moan
That I might really show them your grace
That I might be a picture of your face
I’m so tired of making up an excuse
as the rope tightens and makes a noose
It’s killing me, you know
To sit here a reap what I sow
To be lazy and full of hate
A Christian you ask? Well I’m just second rate
I don’t actually care for the ones my God did
I sit around and say I’m just a kid
But what does that matter
When the world around me is one big tatter?
I’m just a kid?  That’s no exception
That’s not a reason for others to feel rejection.
What about Peter? What about Paul?
What would’ve happened if they just leaned against the wall?
What if I go and I’m not second rate?
What If I go and I’m not very great?
What if I go and they don’t remember my name?
What if I don’t find fortune and fame?
What am I saying? That’s not the point at all.
The point is for me to help save others from the fall
To be Christ and show His compassion
Even if it doesn’t fit in with the worldly fashion
To be His hands and feet
To see people where they’re at and their needs to meet.