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 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 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.