Saturday, December 31, 2011

top 11 memories of 2011.

My lovely sister-in-law Ashley posted a recap of the wonderful happenings of 2011 in her life, which inspired me to do the same. So here, in random order, are some of my favorite memories from this year. Sorry for the overload on the pictures and the length of the post.

1. Jordan and Ashley's wedding. I loved the planning, the showers, the events leading up to it, and most of all, that day. It was so amazing and we had so much fun. Every time I look at the pictures I get so happy remembering how great it was. Plus, I got another sister which was awesome.


2. China. This was amazing. And I miss it so much. I don't even know what to say about it. Josh and Danielle, Harvey, our American neighbors, the food, the people, etc. etc. I loved it so much and am dying to go back.

3. Harvey. Although he has much to do with China and was really the only reason I went, he deserved a "top memory" of his own. He is so sweet and I miss him so much. I absolutely cannot wait to see him again, and am so thankful for him.


4. Mountain Top. I usually spend at least 4 weeks at camp every summer, but since I was in China most of this summer I only spent one week there. But it just may have been my favorite week of camp ever. After all, Ashley Shelley and Tyler Fagan were there. This was my first time with Ashley at camp, and my first time that I actually got to know Tyler. These are only 2 of the amazing people that were there, and I loved (almost) every minute of it.


5. Missions trip to Arizona. This was only 36 hours after I returned from China, so I was quite exhausted. But through the exhaustion, I loved it and many memories were made...going through the wash during a rain storm, and crapping my pants, just to name a few.


6. The Justin Bieber movie came out. I've seen it seven times. Enough said.



7. Beach trip. This was amazing not only because I finally got tan, but also because we were all together. All of us. Mom, Dad, Josh, Danielle, Jordan, Ashley, Joseph, Harvey, and myself. Usually during family gatherings I'm looking around for someone, or noticing that it's just not quite the same because so-and-so isn't there. But we were all together. And it just felt complete. There was nothing missing.


8. I finished the Bible. My goal was to read it in a year, but it took me about a year and a month. But hey, I read it, and that's all that matters. And I'm attempting once again to read it in a year. We'll see how it goes this time.

9. Rise-Up conference. This was such an amazing week and I miss it already. There were so many good speakers (my favorite of which were probably John Lennox and Scott Degroff). I learned so much. It was so much fun and I'm so glad I was able to go!

10. Playing basketball for the first time. I love it so much and I love my team. We're not fantastic, but it's so much fun!!



11. The GNOM boys. These boys came to Greensboro this fall and were here for approximately 2 and a half months. They're incredible people and have been such an encouragement to me. They've had more impact on my life than they'll ever know and I'm so thankful for them. The Murph and I spent tons of time with them in their classes, doing ministry, and just chillin. But, they deserve a post of their own, so that will be coming soon.





As you can very clearly see, this has been an amazing year full of growth and fun/amazing memories. Praise God for such wonderful times. This is quite possibly the most unforgettable year of my life.

Here's to all who made it special, the most important one being our Lord and Savior.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

love. joy. peace. chaos. Christmastime.





The Christmas chaos has begun. People everywhere, last minute shopping, and Salvation Army bell-ringers are all in full swing. The only Christmas-time shenanigan that isn't in full swing is the cold weather. Where in the world are these warm temperatures coming from? Last year it snowed on Christmas. This year, the high is 54 degrees and there is a 40% chance of rain. Yay. For some reason the words "I'm dreaming of a wet Christmas" just don't sound right.

Jordan, Ashley, and Joseph are all here. The gifts are under the tree. The wrapping paper has been put away. Cakes have been made. Lots of food has been eaten. The Grinch has been watched. The gingerbread house has been created. We are ready. Tomorrow it begins. The Smith family is coming over for breakfast. Granma, Grandaddy, and Uncle Kirby are coming over for lunch. Then we're going out to eat for dinner, going Christmas-light-looking, and then heading to Krispy Kreme. Saturday we're having our immediate family Christmas (since Jordan and Ashley will be leaving Saturday night). We're going to Granma and Grandaddy's house for the Shelley family Christmas for lunch. Sunday we're going to church, chilling at home, church again, and then party at Uncle Mitchell and Aunt Heather's house.

I'm not quite mentally prepared for Christmas to be here, but nevertheless, I am excited!

Even though there's somewhere around 317 presents under our tree, and even though we're going to be doing stuff all weekend, and even though people hardly ever use the word "Christmas" anymore, and even though part of me is sad because Josh, Danielle, and Harvey aren't with us this year, and even though it's not going to snow on Christmas, there's still something that calms us down, quiets our hearts, and brings us joy and peace.

"And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth...grace and truth came through Jesus Christ." John 1:14,17

"Therefore the Lord Himself will give you a sign; Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a Son, and shall call His name Immanuel [God with us]." Isaiah 7:14

"Then the angel said to her...'you will conceive in your womb and bring forth a Son, and shall call His name Jesus. He will be great, and will be called the Son of the Highest; and the Lord God will give Him the throne of His father David. And He will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and of His kingdom there will be no end.'" Luke 1:30-33

"Then the angel said to them, 'Do not be afraid, for behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy which will be to all people. For there is born to you this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord.'" Luke 2: 10-11


Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Christmas gifts. I just don't get it.


Christmas gifts. Such a weird thing. I've always wondered about Christmas gifts. Why do people give each other gifts at Christmas? Why do you always have to give someone a Christmas gift if they give you one? Isn't the point of giving the gift because you want to give it, not because you're gonna get something in return?

I love Christmas gifts, don't get me wrong. I just don't really understand it. I wish I didn't feel pressure to get some people gifts, or pressure to make sure that I spend the exact same amount of money on each person. I don't even get why we give gifts at all...Christmas is about Jesus, right? So why do we give each other stuff? It doesn't make sense. The wise men gave Jesus gifts. But uh...He was the one born. And he was Jesus, after all. Am I the only person confused by this?

But I love it, and I'm doing it, and I probably always will. But this year, I don't want to worry about it. If I get a gift from someone, I don't want to worry about having to go get them something. If they're really giving me a gift for the right reasons, they won't expect a gift in return.

I also hate the whole idea of "If I give this person a gift, I'll have to get all these other people a gift, because they'll be offended if I dont..." and so on and so forth. It's ridiculous, really.
I have found myself in a conversation with a few people this year that goes something like the following:
Person: "I'm gonna get you something for Christmas."
Me: "Oh, really?"
Person: "Yep."
Me: "Oh no...does this mean I have to get you something?"

Of course it doesn't! And if it does, then that "person" really has no clue what the word giving really means. If you go to dictionary.com and search the word "giving," the first definition that comes up is, "to present voluntarily and without expecting compensation."

There it is, people. Voluntarily. No one makes you give...you give because you want to (not because someone else gave something to you which makes you feel pressured). Without expecting compensation. If you're gonna give me something this year, be careful...don't expect compensation. Because you might not get it. I'm sorry if you feel offended by this, but I'm not going to go around giving out gifts, and spending my money because I feel badly.

And if I give you a gift, no pressure to get me something. I'm not expecting it.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

right now.

Life is insane. Good, but insane.

Right now I probably should be taking one of my 4 quizzes due on Sunday. We have these ridiculous Student Learning Outcome quizzes that we have to take for math class and if we get less than a 70 on any of them, we automatically fail the class. This shouldn't be a problem, because I can take them as many times as I want until I get the desired grade and it's easy stuff that I learned early in the year. But that's just it...I learned it early in the year. And now I have forgotten it. I started to take the first one tonight and realized I had absolutely no idea what to do.

Right now I should probably be studying for my government final that is on Friday.

Right now I should probably be doing my devotions.

Right now I should probably be at the gym practicing my shot. Last night we played a varsity team. The girls were big, the girls were mean, the refs were awful. And we played horribly. We lost by a lot of points; I'd rather not say how many points. Let's just leave it at....I need practice. No worries...I'm not being one of those people who always blames the loss on the refs. They could have been better, but we would have lost regardless.

Right now I should be sleeping. I'm way behind on my sleep and haven't really gotten a good night's rest in a long time.

Right now I should be telling my journal all about life's issues and life's happenings so that in the future I can read it and laugh at myself.

But instead I'm here. Writing a blog post about nothing. This is the post that I will read 2 years from now after having not gotten into UNC and say, "Yeah....definitely should've studied harder for that history final and started earlier on those Student Learning Outcome quizzes."

I would say that life goes on. But that would mean I would have to end a sentence with a preposition.

Boy, Christmas break is coming soon and I am so happy. I feel like I can hardly enjoy Christmas because I'm so focused on all of this other stuff I'm doing. I love every minute of it, but I'll be glad to have a break.

And just for good measure, a couple of pins. (No worries...through all of the busyness, I still somehow manage to find time for Pinterest.)
An adorable baby.


Pretty much an extremely quick outline of the Bible.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

thankful.

As if you haven't already seen enough Thanksgiving decorations, made enough gravy, driven enough miles to your great aunt's house, and read enough blog posts about Thanksgiving....I thought I'd let you hear about it one more time.

A couple of nights ago we had our annual Thanksgiving-eve service. Of course it was wonderful, as always. One of the speakers, who happens to be a fantastic youth leader of mine, was talking (obviously) about Thanksgiving. He began to talk about what it really means to be thankful. Not just an "I'm thankful for you" kind of deal. But what will happen if you're truly thankful. If you're thankful for your family, you won't talk badly about them behind their backs. If you're truly thankful for your job, you won't complain about it. If you're truly thankful for your salvation, you'll share it with the world, and live in a way that shows you have salvation. And so on and so forth.

This was killing me because I know I complain so often for things I should really be thankful for. And I know I take so many things for granted, and overlook them day by day. I seem to thank God for things, but I don't show my thankfulness for them in the way I live. So he was encouraging us to not only think about how thankful we are for different blessings, but to show it and live it out.

And then he also talked about some different things that he was thankful for, the biggest one being his salvation. He read Romans 5:8 because it's one of his very favorite verses. You know how people always say that no matter how many times you've read a passage of scripture you can still get something new out of it every time? Well, I don't know about you, but I've read this verse a hundred times, quoted it for all sorts of things, and thought on it a lot.

And tonight was one of those nights that I got something new out of it, after having read it over and over and over throughout my lifetime.

For those of you who may not know this verse, it says, "But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us." (NASB)
First of all, He demonstrates His own love to us. He didn't just say, "I love you." He sent Christ to the cross, and I'd say that's quite the demonstration. This goes with what was said about how we often say that we're thankful for this, or thankful for that, but don't really demonstrate it. Well, I'm here to tell you that God displayed the most incredible demonstration of love that could ever be shown.

And secondly, He loved us and died for us while we were sinners. I've thought about this many, many times. But tonight something hit me that I've never thought of before. Think about someone you love. If you're married, your spouse. If I were to ask my mom, "Why do you love Dad?" she could give me a long list of reasons. If you were to ask me why I love Katelyn Murphy, I would tell you it is because she is one of the most loyal people I know, she encourages me, gives me advice, is a servant to others, loves the Lord with her whole heart, sacrifices herself for myself and everyone around her, and the list continues.

And then you ask the Lord, "Why do you love me?" and what do you think He is going to say?Because you pray? Because you read the Bible? Because you go to church? Well, that couldn't be it...just think about the thousands of times we fail Him each day that are so much bigger than the good things we do.

What about before you did any of these things? Why did He love you when you didn't even care about Him?

What about before you were born? Why did He love you then, when He knew you would sin against Him and reject Him?

While I have a huge list of reasons why I should love my best friends, He has no absolutely no reason to love us. We have done nothing to deserve it.

Why has He ever loved you and why has He ever loved me?

I don't know. The only thing I can come up with, is that it is because God is love. "He that loveth not knoweth not God; for God is love." 1 John 4:8 (KJV).

I don't get it. It's so far beyond my comprehension. It's just one of those things for which I am thankful.

Monday, November 14, 2011

a weekend in chapel hill.

This weekend I went to Chapel Hill to visit my brother Joe. Needless to say, it was awesome. UNC never lets me down.

He wrote on my wall on Facebook and told me that his friend's sister was coming to visit and is also my age, and also wants to go to UNC. And he thought we should be bffs. So, I came. And it was so great.

Friday night we all watched the Carolina basketball game. Which was fantastic. Not because it was on an aircraft carrier. Not because Barack and Michelle Obama were there. And not just because they won. But because it means basketball season has arrived, and I couldn't be more excited about it.

Then we went back to Jordan's room at about 1 to go sleep, but then talked till 3 about things like homeschooling, and the ridiculousness of curse words. And Chelsea, Jordan's roommate, gave me her iPod. Yeah...crazy, I know. I was telling them about how some kid had recently stolen my iPod and this girl that I had known for no more than an hour gave me her iPod. Boy, she's so sweet.

Saturday we slept till 11 (except Lauren...who, uh, woke up at 8...she doesn't like to sleep during the day) then went to McAlister's for lunch. So delicious. After that, the first round game of the NCAA women's soccer tournament. For those who don't know: Joseph Shelley is in love with the women's soccer team. And he knows all their names. And calls them all by their first names.

Then we went to student stores, the old well, Yopo for frozen yogurt, the dining hall for dinner (which was surprisingly good for cafeteria food), the Achordants a capella concert (which was horrible...nothing compared to Psalm 100), Yopo again, and back to the boys' super suite.

Sunday I went to church with Joe at Western Wake which was really good, and then to lunch at Qdoba.

And that was our weekend. I'm sure no one cares about anything that I have said in the previous paragraphs. But I want to be able to remember it.

Unfortunately, the only pictures we took the whole weekend were a few pictures at the old well. But here they are:

This is Lauren. Future roommates? Maybe. We are dying to go to UNC. She wants to do special ed. I want to do either elementary or special ed. Oh and we've both dropped our phones in the toilet (more on that later).

My fantastic brother, Joseph.

Joe and Jordan.

Lauren and Jordan. So cute!



Also...about the phone. I dropped it in the toilet at school Thursday. After I used the toilet. And before I had flushed the toilet. Disgusting, I know. I put it in rice for 3 and a half days and when I took it out it worked! No worries...I sanitized it.

So thanks to Joseph, Jordan, and Lauren for amazing weekend in Chapel Hill. It was unforgettable. And I'll be back soon!

Saturday, November 5, 2011

my wedding...planned out. almost.

Lately, while looking at Pinterest, I've realized that my wedding is pretty much planned out. I mean...I have like three hundred good ideas on Pinterest that I want to incorporate into my wedding. Now I just have to narrow them down. But other than that, it seems like I've got things ready to go. But uh...by the time I get around to getting married, I'll probably have changed my mind on a lot of stuff.

Bridesmaids?
Katelyn Murphy. Rachel Langston. Hope Shelley. Grace Shelley. Meredith Andrews. Sarah Bertrand. Ashley Shelley. Danielle Shelley.

Flower Girls?
Arabella Shelley. Kennedy Shelley. Savannah Shelley. Caitlin Shelley.

Ring Bearer?
Harvey Shelley. (my nephew, not my grandfather.)

Colors?
Quite possibly yellow.

Hair?
Down.

Photo Booth?
Yes.

Caterers?
Chickfila? :)

Keeping with traditions?
Definitely no seeing each other before the wedding, but I'm a fan of the on-opposite-sides-of-the-door idea.
And who cares which side you sit on...it just always ends up confusing the ushers.

Cake?
I'm in love with this cake that has the wedding vows written around the entire thing.
And also, this one with the cool flowers.

Tables?
No assigned seating....that just seems ridiculous to me.

Save the dates?
For sure doing save the dates. I've seen so many cool ones. Check out my pinterest board...I've pinned like 15 different ones.

Flowers?
I know nothing about flowers. I really don't care. Something pretty...and fairly cheap. But real. I can't do fake flowers.

Place?
Well, I'd like it at church but uh...the carpet has got to go. I refuse to get married in a room with carpet of that color. But definitely indoor. The whole let's-plan-for-outdoor-and-hope-it-doesn't-rain deal just seems too stressful.


Now I realize this isn't all of the details of a wedding. Just thought I'd clarify that so Ashley wouldn't have to comment telling me to go read all of her wedding advice posts. But I've got a start. Oh and one more thing...

The groom?
I'm still working on that one.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

more pins. i'm lamee.

So this blog is pretty much going way down hill. It has been going down hill ever since I came back to America. Cause uh...let's face it..America isn't all that great.

No, it really is. It's just not as interesting as China. or Harvey.

So yeah. I pretty much have nothing to blog about anymore. My week really isn't all that exciting. I love it, but uh...let's be honest. No one else cares what play we learned in basketball practice. Or that tonight in one of my students' piano lessons, I taught her how to know left from right (I pretty much feel like a hero).

So since I have nothing to talk about I'll show you some more of my favorite pins.



Every anniversary, take a picture of you holding a picture of the anniversary before. Once you get to like...10...it'd look sooo cool.

such.a.gorgeous.picture

This needs no words.

Literally, a bucket list. Why have I not thought of this?

Dudeee.

Good words to live by.

So cute.

Such a cool tattoo. I will never get a tattoo. But this is cool.

This is such a genius idea.

Ok that's all. I hope you enjoyed my pins. And if you didn't...well..sorry. Feel free to stop reading now.