Sunday, June 29, 2008

The Waiting Game...

I'm finally in Tampa for the CoSIDA Convention after a short flight from Birmingham. The pilot said that the flight would be an hour and ten minutes but it sure didn't feel like it. Kyle and Tony were nice enough to pick me up from the airport so I wouldn't have to pay 22 bucks for cab to my hotel (Marriot of ultimate sweetness down the street from the cruise dock. I might just jump the boat). I'm not really sure how that would have turned out and I don't even want to try to imagine it.

So, now, I'm sitting in the hotel lobby because I'm not supposed to check in until 4 p.m. and it's now just 1:30 p.m. I checked to see if I could check in early but no rooms were available yet. The nice South Korean lady at the desk told me that she would call me on my cell when a room came available. Hopefully, that's sooner rather than later.

In the meantime, I'm just chillin' in the lobby. I'm pretty hungry but who wants to eat by one's self? My friends have gone to their respective meetings, my divisional meeting had already started when I got here so that was a no-go, and the rest of my party (Joey and Zac) won't get here until 6:30 p.m. Kyle and Tony are supposed to be done with meetings around 3 so, I'm just waiting.

I'd walk down the street but I'm not really sure how safe (and comfortable) that would be toting around a laptop, especially when I don't know the city.

I'm pretty excited about the week though. I've been told this is a pretty chill convention and most people just come to hang out. Go to one or two seminars a day, especially the one just before lunch and then go have fun for the rest of the day. My plans -- to spend some quality time at the pool. I'm going to see the Red Sox play the Devil Rays Tuesday night with Mandi and Kyle said that a trip to Busch Gardens might be on the horizon for one day.

I've already seen a few people that I wasn't so excited to see, but I've also seen a few people I'd like to hang out with as well. Fun times.

Hopefully, I'll have lots of pictures to share from my four days here as well as the four days in Ft. Walton with the fam.

Until then...

Thursday, June 26, 2008


"He giveth more grace when the burdens grow greater
He sendeth more strength when the labors increase
To added affliction, he addeth his mercy
To multiplied trials, His multiplied peace
When we have exhausted our store of endurance
When our strength has failed and the day's half done,
When we reach the end of our hoarded resources
Our Father's own giving has only begun
His love has no limit
His grace has no measure
His power has no boundaries known unto men
For out of His infinite riches in Jesus
He giveth and giveth and giveth again.
-Annie Johnston Flynt

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Wednesday Randomness

I'm sitting at work bored again. I ran out of things to do. So I thought I'd blog about excitement in my life.

This weekend I move into a new house. It's Kel, my roommate's. She thought since she's 30 now, she should actually be a homeowner. She offered for me to live with her and pay a very reasonable rent (much, much, much lower than any apartment I had found), so I didn't dare argue. It's a cute little house. Definitely built in the 60's/70's era and not so much updated since. Still cute though - 2 bedrooms, 1 bath, huge kitchen and eating area, living room and den, fenced-in backyard with deck (yay!), dishwasher (double yay!) and the only bad thing is not so much closet space (boo!). We are pretty pumped. Kel's a little scared. It'll be fine. Her dad is coming to re-do the whole bathroom and put drywall up in the kitchen over the hideous, splintery wood panelling. I'm starting the move tomorrow night. The "rents" are coming up, hauling a fridge (since we have to leave ours in the Samford house), a cheffarobe (I hope I spelled that right, it's a big dresser with a mini-closet in it), and a big trunk that belonged to my Papaw. I'll finish moving Friday after work and Saturday and then send the parents back home and then I'm off to...

Tampa! I'm flying down on Sunday for my first CoSIDA (College Sports Informations Directors of America) conference. I'm excited because I get to see my sweet friends Kyle, Tony and Kevin who will all be there for the same reason and I can't wait to hang out with my boys. Plus, it's freaking Tampa! Mandi also lives there and I can't wait to hang with her. It's been a long time. We are going to the Devil Rays/Red Sox game on Tuesday night. Can't wait for that! One step closer to fulfilling my life-long dream of seeing the Red Sox play at Fenway. It's not Fenway but it's definitely the Red Sox.

I fly out Wednesday and get back to The 'Ham around 1:30ish in the afternoon and then go to the new house re-pack and get ready to go meet the fam at Ft. Walton Beach the next day! I'm so pumped! We didn't get to do the family vacay to the beach last year because the sister was big-time preggers and I went to Honduras. I'm so glad to be going back this year and to be spending the Fourth of July with the family on the beach. It's William's first beach trip, and let me tell you, the kid is prepared. He has an outfit for everyday, cool new toys and a swimsuit with matching hat and glasses to last him for a few trips out to the shore a day for five days. Mom is especially excited because we will get to take the classic family beach portrait where everyone wears white. She even made me go buy a white shirt because I have shirt that is white, except for t-shirts.

I'll, of course, have to cut the trip short and go back on Sunday while the family stays until Wednesday but such is the life of a full-time gal now. I will be officially full-time at Samford being July 1 and so, at the end of July, I'll get my first BIG check. It may not be big to most normal people but to this girl who suffered through two years of an internship that was pretty much a full-time job, it's going to be BIG.

Hopefully, I'll have lots of fun pictures to share and maybe I'll even get to update while I'm in the Sunshine State. I'm so excited! I hope everyone has a great Fourth!

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Drive-Ins and Star Light

Last night I experienced something I've never experienced before. I went to a drive in movie. Turns out, there are several of these around Birmingham, all no closer than 30 or 45 minutes away.

Thanks to my roommate Kelly's brother's family coming to visit, I was able to have my first drive-in experience. Kelly and her family piled in one vehicle and Dan and Raymond and I pile into another.

The experience was definitely not like what you see in movies. The "date-like" experience. Several people brought up that when they hear the term drive-in, they think of the movie Grease. So did i...until the movie Twister came out. Now my the only vision of drive-ins I have is the scene in Twister where the tornado comes through the movie screen.

Either way, my experience was definitely fun, except for the train coming in right behind us at a crucial point in the movie. I can't wait to go back. We saw Kung-Fu Panda. Cute movie.

However, while we were sitting there on our fun little canvas chairs, coolers and blankets, I couldn't keep my eyes off the sky. See, when we got to the lot, it was a little overcast. Around 7:30, the clouds started to turn purple and pink and blue along with the sunset and it was such a cool thing to look at. I kept thinking, "God made this just for me."

However, the darker it got, the clearer the sky got, and the more my eyes were stuck on what was above me. All of the stars. I love looking at stars. I don't get to do it very much anymore because you can't really see them from my house because of all the trees and the massive Samford parking garage that sits in our backyard. But when I was little, I loved to go outside and look at the stars. Even if the stars were fake, like at the planetarium, I loved it. It's just neat. There's no other word to describe it. Neat. God made that. And then he turned around and made me to enjoy it. He made it for me, to remind me of who he is and how amazing his glory is.

Another thing ran through my mind as I was looking at those stars, though. I have a friend, Amanda, who is in Tokyo for six months. I think she's been there for a month now. She is with a group of people teaching a little English and just ministering to college students there who desperately need to know the love of Christ. I get emails from her once every week or two, it just depends on when she can get to a computer and let us know what is going on. She, like I, is a star-gazer. She loves the stars. I want to share one of the last emails that she sent:

"Walking down the streets of Shibuya tonight I saw stars for the first time since I have been here. That is one entire month without looking at the stars! Back in the States I stop and look at the stars every night. I absolutely love looking at stars. I can't believe I have missed them here! And in my defense, I'm going to blame it on the buildings. The city here is intense and filled with buildings and people. It is definitely not a Mississippi town and not even the Nashville city lights compare. It can be an overwhelming feeling to look up and only see the tops of buildings and miss out on the night sky. Well, tonight I did not miss out and I am pretty sure it was God showing me those two lonely stars. Just like the night sky, this city is filled with darkness. The Japanese people's eyes are void of hope, if they even stop long enough to look you in they eye. They put all of their time and energy in what the world views as success and what feels good. The city has replaced starlight with 60 watt bulbs and in the same way have replaced God with goals, self-reliance, lust, greed, and idols…replaced Truth for lies. As ironic as it sounds the city filled with the brightest lights is the darkest. This city, these people, this world needs Truth...shining stars! So I urge you to pray for the few shining stars in this nation that they may shine bright and not be drowned out by the bright lights of the city and to also be encouraged to shine bright wherever you may be

Phil. 2:15-16"...shine like stars in the universe as you hold out the word of life..."

A few days later, I received another email entitled "3 Stars Are Born." Three people that her team had been praying for accepted Jesus Christ as their personal Lord and Savior on Sunday. How great are God's ways?!?! It's funny how he reveals himself and his creation to us and then turns around and proves his faithfulness to answer the prayers of those who love him and constantly call on his name.

I don't know about you, I'm even more encouraged to be a star for God in a darkened world. My community and city may not be as dark, spiritually, as Tokyo, Japan, but I'm sure I come in contact with people everyday who are in a dark place and just need someone to love them like only God can. By His grace, I can be his hands and feet when he can't physically be that to them and I commit to letting him use me as he wants to. I pray every day that my ears and heart will be open to His call to love on whomever he calls me to love on, that I will be sensitive to those calls.

Let us all be bright shining stars for God, clear and bright for all to see. Don't the the clouds of life cover you. And if they do, don't let it dim your light. Shine bright through the overcast. Let everyone see God's faithfulness through you

"When I look at the stars,
when I look at the stars,
when I look at the stars I feel like myself
When I look at the stars,
the stars I see someone..."
Stars, Switchfoot

"If we've only got one life
If time was never on our side
Then before I die
I want to burn out bright.
Burn Out Bright, Switchfoot

Thursday, June 12, 2008

What do I do now?

Ok. It's June. June 12th, to be exact. And I have absolutely nothing to do at work. Yesterday, I did about 15 minutes of work and then surfed the internet and played games all day long. I even watched the first part of the Southern Baptist Convention online since my mom's church choir was doing a concert during the evening session. I know you people are like, "There's got to be something you can be doing." Nope. Not at all. See, although I'm ADD a good amount of the time, I've found that I actually get a lot accomplished when I have stuff to do. Considering that the past two weeks have been like this, well, I've exhausted all of my resources. Plus, the things that I could be doing are pending because I have to wait on other people to give me information.

I keep telling myself that I need to enjoy these days, because once August gets here, I'm going to be longing for one. I just looked at my fall schedule for volleyball and football and realized (again) that I don't have one weekend off until the middle of November. Yep, that's right. I'm either in Birmingham working a volleyball match or a football game or on the road with my volleyball team. And the bad thing about that is, beginning at the end of September, volleyball will play Saturday/Sunday matches instead of Friday/Saturday like we are used to. This means I really don't get a day off. I used to be able to enjoy my Sunday -- you know, go to church, have a good lunch, take a nap, watch a little football, whatever -- not anymore.

Anyway, I thought that I'd used this time of boredom to get a few trivial things off my chest. You know, just lame things that are apparent in this world, that have just really been getting under my skin. I shall list and number for easy reading:

1. Television Dating Shows (i.e., The Bachelor(ette), Flavor of Love, Rock of Love, One Shot With Tila Tequila, I Love New York). Ok, really? The Bachelor and Bachelorette are ok. They actually get the Katie Seal of Approval because it appears to be legit. I don't watch either show. Never have. I don't know why. Just not my thing. However, I'm going to submit my best friend Bethany for the next Bachelorette because she needs a good man and I think with my help and the help of the producers of this ABC show, we can "git 'er done".

Anyway, the latter of the above-mentioned list is really what gets to me. I do admit that I have watched Flavor (the one with Peaches and New York) and New York (the one with Juan "Pretty" McCullam). However, this was more for entertainment and laugh-factor rather than sheer, genuine interest. It's just laughable to watch people go on national television and complete fools of themselves and really see nothing wrong with it. (Although, I did somewhat enjoy watching VP McCullam get called out on national television about his sexual preferences, by his sister.)

Anyway, not only does this genre of entertainment make people look insane, it sends a horrible message to the world about dating. The world today views dating and marriage as a "trial and error" situation. Dating (and get serious) with one person, for however long, and then when it doesn't work out, throw them out and find a new one. It's sad to watch people put so much emphasis on the physical aspect of dating, rather than actually getting to know the person and building an actual relationship (i.e. friendship) first, above anyhting else. And then to make matters worse, Shot At Love, throws in the option of picking a girl or a guy. Like that is a decision to even be made.

Ok, I'm going to move on to the next thing before I get myself in trouble.

2. More people vote for American Idol that in the Presidential election. I have heard this statement made numerous times since the conclusion of the last American Idol installment. Hello, duh? Of course there are going to be more votes because: a) there is no age restriction on the voters of American Idol so at least half of the voting party is under the age of 18, and b) there is no restriction on how many votes a single voter can cast. There were people who votes 30 or 40 times for a contestant after the Season 7 finale. Of course, that is going to make a big difference and inflate some statistics. What I believe the people who are making this statement need to do is alter their words a little bit and emphasize the enthusiasm of the voters. If we, as a nation, could be as excited about electing a new president as we are about selecting the newest American Idol, I think we wouldn't have as many issues in with politics as we do today. The problem is, is that politics, basically, have become corrupt and most people just don't care anymore.

3. Does it have to rain in Alabama everyday in the summertime? To put it bluntly, I have no idea how we were in a drought last summer because it rained at least three times a week last summer usually starting at noon and lasting until about 5 p.m. It was usually stop-and-go but it would rain. That put a damper on my work last summer because I was teaching swim lessons the whole summer. If every one of my lessons had been privately set up by me, that would have been a big loss of a lot of money for me. But considering they were scheduled through the YMCA and paid for up front, I had no problems if something did get rained out. Anyway, this summer, the intensity seems to have been bumped up a little and instead of having a couple of showers here and there, God's just decided to prevent drought season by opening up the sky in the late afternoon hours and just pour bucket of rain down on the earth. The monsoon that came through yesterday afternoon was insane. It thundered and lightning-ed for about two full hours but no one raindrop fell, until, luckily, I had made my way back to my house from Target and was safely inside before the bottom dropped out around 6:45 p.m. The thunder was insanely loud and the lightning was crazy close to my house. I really believe that one bolt struck right outside my house in the street because it was so bright. Anyway, it's been forecasted to rain again today and then yet again tomorrow. I guess I just prepare myself everyday until September hits.

That is all for today. I hope to soon recap on my weekend with Bethany. We went to the Birmingham Zoo Saturday. I have to get pictures first. Fun times.

Friday, June 6, 2008

Happy Birthday!

Today is the day of birth of my very best friend in the whole wide world -- my sister. Anna is the best big sister in the world and I really never figured that out until she moved out of the house ( really...just kidding). She recently became a mommy and I'm so proud of the mommy that she has become. She's incredible!
My family has been through a number of interesting and stressful circumstances over the past year, really more in the past four months. I've realized that she really is the first I call for anything. And even if she's not the first one I call, she is the only one I call who will tell me what I NEED to hear, and not what I want to hear.

She, like our mother, is an amazing reflection of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, in her friendship, motherhood, sisterhood and professional life. I'm so blessed to have been put in the same family as her and I only wish we lived much closer.

I love you sister!

Also, Tuesday would have been my sweet "Dearmom's" 90th birthday. We miss you much Dearmom but we know you are having a blast in Heaven with Boppie, praising the Lord 24/7.