Tuesday, July 31, 2012

St. George Island

Y'all, this week has been ridiculous. I want to tell you ALL about it, but there is a lot up in the air and I think it's best to save the stories for when things are more finalized.

I will continue my God choices series as soon as my life calms down enough to write a post of substance (HA!). Until then, here are pictures from my most recent vacation on St. George Island in Florida. Yes, we took a crazy amount of pictures of the sunset, but come on! Just look at the beauty of God's creation. Even with a cheap camera it is awe-inspiring! :)

Okay, we were at the beach. I did not bother with a hair dryer, straightener, or makeup.  :)

another all natural shot! 

cool lighting in this one

With my hubby, my sis-in-law, and my father-in-law

All of us with my MIL. And yes, my husband was wearing some pretty sweet green  shorts! :)

See? We really were at the beach! I realize all the other pictures are on the bay. But the beach was real!! :)
 Hope all your summers are going well. Can't wait to give you all the updates on the house situation. And hopefully I'll be continuing to brag on God with my choices series soon!


Friday, July 27, 2012

God Choices: SOAR Leader

{God Choices: GSU}

Hello, friends! To catch up those who are just joining in, I’m writing a series of personal stories about decisions that I believe were from God because they came out of nowhere and I felt so certain about them. And, not coincidentally, they have been the best decisions of my life! Today I’m talking about my decision to be a SOAR leader!

When I checked in at SOAR (GSU’s orientation), I was vaguely aware of the students (SOAR Leaders) handing me my nametag and ushering me into the Russell Union Ballroom. I did not know who they were, how they attained this role, or really anything at all about them. As I sat in the audience, the group of SOAR leaders took the stage and performed a super cheesy dance, complete with dubbed in equally cheesy lyrics, welcoming us to GSU. All the cool kids around me snickered and whispered insults about the group and their overly perky smiles and off-rhythm dance moves. I was so enthralled that I hardly noticed. My heart pounded, my fingertips tingled, and my foot shook back and forth, the way it does whenever I have too much nervous or excited energy to sit completely still. I turned to my dad, pointed to the stage, and whispered, “I’m going to do that.” He laughed at me, thinking I must be joking. I was not. I had no idea what being a SOAR leader was even about, but I knew I would be one. The following year, I saw a flyer advertising the leadership role and asking for applications. I immediately applied and told my roommate that I would need to stay in Statesboro for the summer because I was going to be a SOAR leader. I found out rather quickly that the position is very competitive. It is the ultimate student leadership role, and those who are accepted are highly marketable within the campus community. But I still had no doubts. And yes, I was accepted. The experience changed my life. I gained cultural competencies I didn’t even know I lacked. I met amazing people, and my self-esteem and confidence began to soar (excuse the pun!). I had always been extremely shy, so this coming-out was truly revolutionary for me.

I had no idea at the time how pivotal this experience would be for my future. After SOAR ended, I transitioned to a job in the Office of Admissions. At the time I just needed a job, and my SOAR experience helped me attain it. The longer I worked in Higher Ed, the more I fell in love with it. Everything about it. Working with college students, assisting with University-wide goals and missions, and getting that satisfied feeling every time I made a student’s experience at Georgia Southern better. When I graduated and started the Masters in Teaching (M.A.T) program, I stayed on in the Office of Admissions as a Graduate Assistant. When I had to quit to complete my student teaching, I cried. How could this be the end of working for Georgia Southern? How could this be the end of all the experiences from the past four years?

Once I determined that teaching was not my thing, I had to decide where to take my life next. It didn’t take long for me to focus on Student Services in Higher Education. And now I’m working on a Master’s in Counseling in Student Services in Higher Ed. Who knew that being a SOAR leader would be the start of my entire future career? Who knew it would spark a passion in me that I didn’t even fully realize until years later? Who knew that it would be a vital part of my resume and help me attain internships and, hopefully, my first full-time job after graduation? God knew. That’s why he put it on my heart that first day of orientation to be a SOAR Leader. It is not something I ever would have done on my own! Being so shy, the idea of dancing in front of all those people, mingling with parents, and leading small groups with incoming students would have terrified the socks off me! But I did it with all my heart and walked away a different person. I am so thankful that God intervened in my life to redirect it, even if it took me stubbornly pursuing my own plans of teaching before I could fully accept it. And I can say with certainty that God’s plan is always better than your own. It was way better than mine anyway.

We kicked it off with a weekend camping trip to bond as a team <3

Me and some fellow leaders at the Southern Regional Orientation Workshop (SROW)

On the bus at SROW

We got to hold this giant snake at our training session at the GSU Wildlife Center
The post card all the incoming students received :)

Doing the cheesy skit for the parents. I was the mom who called EVERY day (which was a no-no lesson for the parents!)

Fellow leaders at a SOAR Reunion in 2007

Thursday, July 26, 2012

God Choices: Georgia Southern University

Some people may think I make decisions very carefully, weighing all the options, considering the pros and cons, and doing what is most logical or wise. But that is not my process. At all. I follow my heart and convictions. I jump into scary situations because I feel, deep inside my heart, that it’s the right thing to do. I won’t say all my decisions have been good ones, especially when I was much younger. I let my emotions reign in my life, and that is not always a good thing. But this works out really well when God is speaking to me. Because I feel it. And despite what may or may not appear logical, I go with it because I just know it’s what I should do. This used to look like random ideas that popped into my head or circumstances that were suddenly presented to me with no previous warning. And people would say things like, I had no idea you felt that way. Well, neither did I until those moments. Now that I am more spiritually mature, I can better understand the difference between running on emotions and being led by the Spirit. But I have no doubt many of my decisions, even prior to my salvation, were Spirit-led.

The best decisions I’ve ever made were like this. They were life changing decisions, and I threw myself into them without knowing what they would hold for me. And they’ve made all the difference. I want to take a few posts to share these stories with you. My hope is that this will be a sort of series that will lead into the story of our house purchase. Because that is a decision just like these, and I want to share with you how they came about and how they felt. Thanks for listening!

Once I realized college was the thing to do after high school, I decided upon the University of Georgia. Why? Because I lived in Georgia and it was the only one I knew about. Then it was the one that most of the kids in my school wanted to go to. Then it was the most exciting one. Then it was because they had the best football. Not that I even care about that. But everyone commended my choice in schools because it is a great school and it seemed like the logical choice.

Not until my best friend Hayley invited me to go with her to an Open House at Georgia Southern University did my plans begin to change. It was the end of my junior year, and I decided to go just to keep her company. I had no real interest in the school. But when we pulled into campus, something stirred inside me. I looked around and could see myself there. I imagined what it would be like to buy food at the Chickfila between classes, walk down the Pedestrium with friends, lay on Sweetheart Circle with a blanket and a good book. By the time the 4-hour Open House was over, my heart had completely changed. I would go to Georgia Southern. 

I did not even apply to UGA. People scoffed at my choice, calling it an inferior school, a party school, and a wasteful choice for such a bright mind. My Christian friends feared for my virtue. My AP teachers feared for my future career. And everyone wondered whether I was just making the decision because my best friend (and later also my boyfriend) were planning to go there. Sure, that helped, but it wasn’t that. I just knew it was where I belonged. And I was right. I can’t imagine life anywhere else. I’ve had such wonderful experiences here, have discovered my true passions in life, and have met many of my close friends, including my husband!
I’ve been attending/working at Georgia Southern University for the past 8 years. I will complete my Masters in December and hopefully attain a full-time position in a student services office. Walking through campus, memories pour out of my heart. I remember the heartache of breaking up with my boyfriend, time and again, and sitting on a bench with tears streaming down my face and a hollow ache in my chest as he told me that he had cheated on me.  I remember the excitement of walking around with Hayley, trying to figure out where all our classes were, but still being late to my first class because whoever designed the Math/Physics building is a madman! I remember the many walks with friends, chatting about classes, parties, and boyfriends. I remember bike rides, eating parfaits by Lakeside, and giving campus tours to countless prospective students. I remember when I met my husband and I spent hours walking around campus with headphones in my ears, listening to Jason Mraz and Better than Ezra because it reminded me of him. I remember accidentally slamming into an ROTC student, in full uniform, while riding my bike in the rain. I literally face planted into his chest! I remember the excitement of making new friends and walking around at night with Chris and Reg and Hayley, eating popsicles before they melted, while walking back and forth between our dorms. I remember being late for graduation, running around between all the lines of incoming graduates, trying to find my college. When I finally stopped and asked the Dean of Students about the College of Liberal Arts and Social Sciences, he tsk tsked and told me they had already taken their seats on the field! Enter Christy, frantically running between rows of seated graduates looking for her friends who (thankfully!) had saved her a seat. I remember tearing up when Freedom (our eagle mascot) flew above us at the end of graduation, and I was so thankful that I didn’t have to leave yet. 

With besties Hayley and Kaitlin 

With sis-in-law Erin, her husband Joe, and my hubby Scott

Engagement picture by one of the GSU entrances

Engagement Picture...GSU bushes

Engagement picture on Sweetheart Circle

And now here I am. Still living and loving Georgia Southern. Buying a house in Statesboro; planting roots for the long haul. What if I hadn’t listened to that little stirring in my heart, telling me to give up my plans for UGA and come to Southern? I can’t even begin to imagine what my life would look like. But I do know I wouldn’t trade out this one for anything in the world!

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Trying to make a come-back!

So...I haven't posted in over 2 months. Yikes.

I always have this lovely vision of summer in my head right as spring semester starts wrapping up. I think about all the time I will spend reading by the pool, the freedom of having afternoons off, the glorious, carefree lifestyle I will lead, and how much time I will have to devote to blogging.

And yet. I haven't posted since the beginning of May. Not once have I posted since spring semester ended. And I'm sorry. I really am. But that vision of summer is not even close to accurate. The only thing different about summer for me is that it is deathly hot! And my life has been beyond crazy. I wish I could tell you all about it, but it would take way too long for one post. And you would get bored. So I'll just give you the highlights.

I had family issues. Big time. And I was consumed with worry to the point of developing various health issues.

And the health issues continued all summer, ranging from infections, allergic reactions, and crazy skin conditions. At the moment I'm on two months of antibiotics for some random dermatitis on my face.

We vacationed! Twice! We went on a Bahamas cruise for our 3-year anniversary and we spent just last week on St. George Island in the Gulf at a beach house with Scott's family. It was WONDERFUL, and just the get-away that I needed from this crazy summer! I don't have any of our St George pictures uploaded yet, but I will now inundate you with pictures from the cruise! :) Gotta have pictures in every post, right??!?

Me and the first towel animal! :)

Touring the aquariums of Atlantis...it was a *little* hot!

Sunset on our last night

Gorgeous water at Nassau. I was so bummed that we couldn't even get in it! See those tiny black specks? Those are jelly fish...ick!


Dinner on our anniversary. 3 years! Whoop!

I took summer classes. I don't know why I always think summer classes will be a breeze. They are anything but. Even so, I pulled a 4.0 so I'm not complaining!

We're buying a house! And boy, has that been a ride! We were supposed to close today, but it has been pushed back another week. Hopefully by this time next week we'll be calling ourselves homeowners! This story I want to tell in more detail in another post. It has been such a stressful thing, but I think it's a great testament to God's work in our lives. And I'm looking forward to documenting it more fully.

My internship for the fall fell through. Yesterday. I was freaking out because the deadline to secure a site was April! Fortunately the internship coordinator had mercy on me and is allowing me to change sites. Thankfully I have already secured a new internship in Career Services at Georgia Southern. I'm super pumped! Thank you, Jesus! :)

We sold our motorcycle and one of our cars! Selling the car was amazingly easy. Within two days of posting it online, we found someone who really needed it, who happened to be a Christian, and who was willing to pay and complete the sale at first sight! Selling the motorcycle was a logistical nightmare because it was technically in Scott's dad's name. But we managed to get it worked out, finally! Now we have the funds for the down payment on our house and the down payment on a new car. Hooray!

And of course, we're in the process of trying to move. Packing, packing, packing!

Well, friends, I hope this is a sufficient update for the time being. As I said, I want to expand on some of these things, but not all in one post. But I did want you to know that I'm alive, and I've been sort of keeping up with your blogs. I may go a few weeks without reading, but I try to go back and catch up when I can. I'm so excited about all the engagements and pregnancies I'm reading about! Even though I may not have personal relationships with you all, I'm SUPER excited and happy for you! :)

Until next time...which hopefully won't be too far off!
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