Wednesday, September 28, 2011

A Content Heart...

I missed the second two weeks of blogging about OBU, but hopefully I'll get those posts in later! I have really missed writing. It's not that I feel especially good at it, but it is an outlet for me, I think. I've missed it, so I am going to try hard to make time to keep my blog going!

I've been struggling with a content heart in some areas lately. First I need to list some of the many blessings God has put into my life lately - I am SO amazed when I try to count them...they are too overwhelming.

-I have a job...even when it is tough and challenging (every day) I have one.
-God sent a close friend here this year and we were able to be roommates and share an apartment. It is so nice to have someone to talk to, even if we don't get to see each other 100% of the time. My roommate is a Christian, and inspires me every day to strengthen my walk with Christ.
-I have family close by...even though my parents just moved to Germany for three years. It is so hard to have them far away, but my grandparents, aunt and uncle, and siblings all live within one-two hours driving distance, so what a blessing that is!
-I get to work with kids every day...even when it's challenging. God has given me a heart for kiddos.
-My parents have an American phone number...I can call them, even when they are across the world.
-I have a group of friends at work now. We are hanging out and planning fun things to do together regularly...and that alone can make the challenging days much better.
-I have the opportunity to go to school again...and to pay as I go instead of taking out more loans. (At least this semester...still praying about Spring - I'm taking one class now, but would like to take two then.)
-I've been leading music at my home church - it is such a joy to be there and be loved by the people I grew up with...but it is hard not to have my parents while I'm there.
-I've been getting lots more rest...I live in the community where I teach again instead of commuting 45 minutes each way every day. It feels like I have all the time in the world!
-I have a Creator who made me in His image, a Savior who loves me unconditionally, and a promise of hope, peace beyond understanding, and eternal life with Him!

So how then can I be discontent? I often lose sight of these daily things God has given me and focus on what others have. I put my selfish desires in front of myself instead of trusting in God's plan for me and His purpose for where I am now. It is hard to see friends getting married, and those who have been married for a few years now having children of their own. I sometimes wonder when God is going to introduce me to the man He has for me to spend my life with. I am enjoying this time in my life where I am single and have only myself to think of - lots of opportunities to travel and have fun, but I also long for that time when I will have a husband and a family of my own. I question whether someone will ever see me in that way. I cover my eyes and fill my mind with thoughts that I must have something wrong with me or maybe I'm in the wrong place, or any million other things I can think of...and while I know it's not true, that doesn't make it easy.

I'm being honest. So my prayer today is that God would fill my heart full again. I want to be full and overwhelmed by HIS love. I want to dance and rejoice in HIS promises. I want to be content in HIM and to know THAT is enough. It won't always be easy. It will take work. And it will take commitment and desire. But I desperately long to fall into His arms and experience true contentment and joy that can only come from the One who knows me better than I will ever know myself. I think it's only when I am fully content in HIS love that He will allow me to experience the earthly love and union of someone else.

"Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for He who promised is faithful." -Hebrews 10:23

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

My Last Name Starts With 'W'...and I'm So Thankful!

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To say I had one favorite professor or staff member would be far from correct, and I'm sure many other Ouachita grads from over the years each face the same dilemma in trying to decide! When I saw the topic for today, though, a name came to mind right away. 

Ms. Diane Orsburn in the Financial Aid office. Diane is one of the first people I remember meeting at OBU. She handles student financial aid and loans....and assists families with last names starting with K-Z. During my first visit, I knew in my heart Ouachita was where I was going to go to college. What was I thinking, though?! It was a whole state away, and I had never even lived away from home in the same state for more than a week or two. And while it was a small, private, Christian university, that also came with a lot of dollar signs! 

From the moment Diane invited my parents and me into her office, she assured us if OBU was where God brought me, there would be a way for me to get there and stay!  Over the next five years she fulfilled her role in helping with financial aid, but she also provided so much more. All the smiles, encouraging words, genuine hugs, and concern were more than I could have ever asked for or expected from someone in an office at a university. I think that was one of the greatest things about OBU - we were more than just numbers and faces - so many people wholeheartedly cared about us as individuals. Diane knew my family, and she knew that once in awhile, I just needed a "mama's hug." She also knew my parents needed that assurance that their "baby" was going to be ok a whole state

So, I have to say, I've never been so thankful to have a last name starting with letter "W." God knew all of the many people who would teach, influence, encourage, and shape me throughout my five years there, and Diane was one of many! Thank you to Diane, all of my wonderful professors, and to the staff! You were and are still a blessing to me! :)

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

How Do I Choose the Best of All?...

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This month, my college is hosting a "BlogAbout" each Tuesday where alumni and students can reconnect and share about our alma mater. Today the topic is our favorite memory from OBU. Favorite. Memory. Singular...? I don't think that's possible! So...I think I'll highlight lots of favorite memories - quotes/words of others, events, and places. To some readers they'll mean nothing. To others, they'll bring a smile or a laugh. But to all of us blessed to spend a piece of our lives at Ouachita Baptist University, they'll help recreate that "common bond in an uncommon place" the admissions staff shared about with me during my first visit to campus. 

*"You come to Ouachita and be my girl..." - I still remember the words Mom Chu the very first time I visited campus. It was a Saturday morning, and the percussion teacher was giving me an "informal" tour of campus. As we knocked on her door and she invited us in with those words, I knew in my heart I really was going to be one of her girls!

*Tiger Blast - I was in the first Tiger Blast group in 2003 - drumline! And it really was just that...a blast! Seeing how far the group has come from then is so fun...I'm proud to be part of the first group!

*The Great Flood - during which the river covered the gazebo, and some of the guys decided to go floating on the practice fields with air mattresses...until Safety came and interrupted the 

*Freaking people out with my "twin" picture in McClellan - If you know what I look like, you should take a field trip to the hallway of pictures between Mabee and McClellan...and see my twin named Alice. She is in a big frame with two smaller pictures - one of a man and one of her. I really should get a scholarship for being related or something! 

*Serenades - and the time the Betas decided to jump over the wall between Flippen and Perrin with balloons stuffed in their shirts to look like ladies. However, they quickly realized it is harder to jump over walls with extra "baggage" so they took the balloons out, threw them over the wall first, then jumped over and put them back in! It's not that easy for real ladies, boys! lol

*Festival of Christmas rehearsals - Better known as a lot of "FOCin" fun (and maybe a little torture!) ha

*My very first international mission trip (and first international trip at all) - Senegal West Africa with the Campus Ministries group - Laura-Mo was our leader, and a group of us traveled there May 20-June 10, 2006. My life will never be the same. And a piece of my heart is still there. Through that trip, I realized God has placed a calling in my heart for mission work!

*Singing a Mozart Requiem with the 100+ voice Concert Choir - A.MA.ZING!

*The Wellness swim test - a requirement to graduate...I passed...barely...enough said! 

*First Baptist Arkadelphia - my family for the five years I spent there

*Picnics by the river

*Snow - the first and only one of two snows during my five years there! (Nothing like the snow surprise this past winter!) It was Valentine's Day 2004 - a Saturday morning, and though it didn't stick much and there wasn't more than an inch, you better bet we were out playing in it, throwing it and sliding down the hill on "borrowed" cafeteria trays! (Ok I didn't participate in the sledding part, but I do remember it! haha) The second snow was during my last semester there - and I think it came in March. Just enough for my student teaching school to have a snow day....and everyone else at OBU to have class. It was a fun day off! :)

*The "Most Exciting Band in Tiger Land!" - I was in the drumline four of my five years there, and there will never be anything again quite like the rush of coming out on that field ready to get the crowd's attention! And nothing quite like all the sweaty practices either...

*Being the only girl snare drummer - My freshman year...another memory from band, but a big one - as the only girl snare drummer, I was the reason the boys couldn't have practices in their dorm...yes, they had to come all the way across campus to the music building because of "that dumb girl..." ha - oh well, it was good for them! 

*Education classes - so many memories of great classmates, making notebooks, challenging professors, and lots of learning...and of course, who could forget the "Five C's" and "The Block?!" I was in the group of student teachers to experience the last "Block" (three weeks of 8-5 intensive study and classes before going out to student teach) at OBU. 

*Homecoming 2007 - I got to be one of the representatives, and it was just exciting to be a part of it all

*TWIRP 2007 - After four years at OBU, I FINALLY got brave enough to ask a friend to go...we went to the "Play Date" evening with kids' games and activities. I also got invited to the Chiote Date Night that semester too...another fun memory.

*Trips to Lake Degray, Hot Springs, and Little Rock

*Chick-Fil-A and Starbucks- and all the random conversations, laughs, and sometimes even cries I had there with friends 

*Mass Junk Mail days - Hey it was just nice to have something in the mailbox, you know? We always knew coming down the steps of the student center it was one of those days because of the brightly colored stream of papers decorating the inside of the closest garbage cans...ha

*Watching the guys "slack-line" between the trees in front of Cone Bottoms - or whatever that fancy rope walking thing is when I saw other guys doing it my fifth year there, I wanted to say, "Hey - you aren't first...there were cooler guys who did that first here, you know?!" 

*Tiger Jam - the basketball pep band...and our many "creative" cheers and uh, "distractions" to the other teams...the best memory ever is of a coach from the opposing team who was not being very "polite" with his words and actions. He had on a very 1980s sweater vest, and one of the guys in our crowd (who I admit was also not very polite) shouted, "Hey Coach! Mr. Belvedeer called and he wants his sweater vest back!" Oh man, we could have all rolled laughing! 

*The Gum Tree - by the old bridge that went to Daniel. I'm still sad to see it all gone, though the new developments are pretty and fancy...I remember seeing it on move in day when my room mate who had been there before pointed it out as she stuck her gum on it when we crossed the bridge

*Open Dorm Night - yes, when I was there it only happened once a semester for 3 hours on a Saturday night, and it rotated - girls dorms/guys dorms. By the time I graduated I think it was any night all week for either gender with check-in at the desk and doors left open, of course. 

*Accidentally driving to Gurdon - during the New Student Retreat the month before I moved there. My room mate for the retreat borrowed a friend's car, and we were headed to Mc Donalds late at night...or so we thought - until we wound up in Gurdon at the creepy Industrial Park where we had to turn around and drive back to Arkadelphia. We finally did make it to Mc Donalds by the way! :)

*The #1 Taco Salad in Bismarck! (It's still there - go check it out! haha)

*COPE (Community Outreach Program through English) -  with Mrs. Cosh, Mrs. Jones, and several other wonderful staff and students...we spent a few hours together each Tuesday night teaching ESL and building relationships with internationals from our campus, HSU, and the community. What a blessing that was to me... I miss it so much!

*Meeting friends, family, and professors who impacted me for a lifetime with memories, learning, and growth that has changed me forever! 

I couldn't possibly list every memory here...and I'm sure there are many I have forgotten, but you've probably been reading awhile! I am thankful for the memories I do have...for the way that God led me to that little university at the end of my senior year of high school and how he provided every step of the way for me to be there. I love what Ouachita means to me and the place it will always have in my life and my heart! Thanks for reading...I'm looking forward to blogging again next week and to reading everyone else's memories too!

Monday, September 5, 2011

A Mirror

Well, the good news is - my computer is finally up and running. The past few weeks have been a whirlwind as I've finished one of the best summers I have ever had, started a new year of teaching, begun my own pursuit to further my education, and sought to dig deeper into spending more time with God and learn just what it is He has in store for me now. His purpose. His will. His perfect plans He promises to reveal to me as I walk with Him.

So, as I sit here typing, and enjoying the beautiful sunshine and breeze blowing across the tall grass and trees outside my window, the chance to have a day off and relax - it is exciting for me to be able to write again. To think about the verse that first inspired me to name this blog.

"So all of us who have had that veil removed can see and reflect the glory of the Lord. And the Lord - who is the Spirit - makes us more and more like Him as we are changed into His glorious image." -2 Corinthians 3:18

I don't know about you, but that verse challenges me. The very One who created all of the Earth wants me to be His child. To rest in Him. To BE LIKE Him. And then I think about all of the people I see and influence each day. Whether through words, actions, a smile, a wave, teaching, or some other way - big or small. I think, if I am to reflect His truly be like Jesus, I need to know more about how He looks. I need to spend time reading His word in the Bible and reflecting on how He wants to use my life to reveal Himself to others. I want to see how His hand has been ever-present in my life so far, and how it is reaching out to lead me in my future.


And my heart so breaks right now for children all around the world who are in need of His love. Who don't know there is someone waiting to comfort them and wrap them in His arms and love them in a way no one else ever could. My heart still longs to go, to share, to open eyes to that love. Then God opens my eyes and shows me - you are here. And I have given you 560 children to love and teach and show my joy and reflection every day in school where you are at. I have given you the responsibility to lead a children's group at church and share a heart for the world with them so that they might one day also grow a passion for sharing the truth here and around the world. God please use me to be the reflection all of these children and other people I encounter here need to get just a glimpse of who you are. Make me a joyful living example of your love. A genuine servant and follower.

So...I have a lot of catching up to do in writing about my summer and all the many ways God has blessed me and helped me to grow. I have a wedding to share about, an amazing summer job, new friends, visits with old friends, precious children, and lots of traveling. And I will do my best to keep writing about those things and sharing pictures soon, because what wonderful experiences and memories they are to share! But for now, I challenge you to take a minute and think on the many ways God is working in you and through you. And to be a reflection of who He is no matter where you are.

It's good to be back!