Monday, August 10, 2009

JPs Java- Round 2

So here I am once again at JPs Java in Austin, Tx... the birth place of my blog. About fifteen months ago I set up camp in a cozy corner of this coffee palace establishing an outlet for my camp experience. Although I have a mere 14 posts (laaaame), this blog has subtly stirred my passion for writing once again. So please accompany me as I attempt to express my thoughts of the day.

First of all, I think you should know that I am eating a cookie right now. Not a weak, flat, should-have-bought-the-better-brand-chocolate-chips cookie, but a hefty sized, packed with dough, only goliath could fit the whole thing in his mouth at once cookie. It is fantastic.

Second of all, I just dropped off Otha at the airport (could possibly contribute to the cookie consumption). Not an easy task. I apologize to anyone present at the Austin airport this morning and having to witness "that couple". Yep- the couple that has eyes locked on each other, sappy smiles, hand holding as if superglue exploded all over their fingers. Usually I am ultra conscious to not be that couple, however this morning was so worth not caring... maybe I should have just worn a shirt saying: sorry everyone- he's leaving for 10 months. TEN MONTHS. I could have a baby in that amount of time- long time. Although I have been aware of this inevitable occurance all summer, it's still difficult to wrap my mind around such a long period of time being away from each other. No phone calls, random texts through out the day, hiking together, hangin out with him and the roommates... nothin. I am so thankful that we have email and skype these days. Aaaand I am pretending that he is simply studying abroad. twice.

Despite the hardship of being apart, there's a whole slew of things that excited me about this upcoming season! I mean come on, Otha gets to experience the rich culture of Morocco! Through teaching and living in the community, he will gain a deeper understanding of a Muslim lifestyle, concoction of linguistic influence, and new aspects of God's character. It's exciting to think of how much he will grow over the next year! In the land of College Station I will also be able to truly focus on my community without spending all my time with a cool kid named Otha. This will allow sweet, sweet time with my roommates and friends. Also, being involved with IJM, Comchurch, work, and what was that other one? oh yea-school, will soak up my time like a sponge... naturally not leaving much left to spend with a boyfriend. So there are definite blessings to us being apart and not having a distraction, yet still be able to pour into each other in creative, God glorifying ways.

Third of all, it's beautiful to think back a year ago and how much God has done in my life. I am so thankful for the people in my community- their honesty, compassion, and consistency. Last fall a woman who I respect immensely sat me down and talked through a thick list of things that I needed to surrender/work on. Although overwhelming at the time, God has changed so many of those things in my life. I have learned to rest, slow down, spend time with my roommates, not feel like I need to be close to every person I meet, not find my affirmation in guys, not thinking I am the best version of Jesus, not mandating myself to constantly be productive, the list goes on and on! I still have a long way to go, but it's encouraging to see how much more I appreciate the little things in life. Surprisingly enough, life a mile a minute has taken it's toll on me. It's great to stroll for awhile and take in my surroundings instead of sprinting to my next destination, then the next, then the next... ugh exhausting just typing about it.

Reflecting on the past gives me so much hope for the future. If God refined that much last year, how much more can he refine me in the years to come! I hope to continue finding a balance between involvement and rest, take further steps towards my desire to open a cosmetology school, and love people thoroughly this next semester. It's gonna be a solid senior year ladies and gentlemen.

Well my cookie has now been defeated. My energy- emotionally & physically- has also been defeated... so I am going to take a glorious nap.

Oh & I should mention I am soooo excited to see Peggy, Tina, & Ellen TOMORROW.... whoop for tennesse, kentucky, & michigan. Work at a camp. Make cool friends.

Until the next cookie... goodnight.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Lingering Questions

Once again I find myself facing the question of time lingering before me.

How much time does he have? Do you think she will make it for three more days? What if I leave in the next 24 hours? I was planning on coming home next week, will that be to late?

This is round two ladies and gentlemen. On my toes, dancing around the ring, fists up... fighting death that slowly disintegrates my family. What if death punches first, can I jab back in time to delay the next attack? Last round with my lovely grandma her soul left without a last goodbye, knowing she would not even know my presence. Instead tear drops fell upon my porch and journal in College Station as I reflected on her crazy/beautiful life and said goodbye in my own intimate way. Several days later I made my way home to celebrate Betty Wilson with my family and her close friends.

Here I am once again in College Station, attempting to impossibly predict the timing of death. My Gramps is getting tired. He has fought a hard and long fight, holding off defeat with the hope of sweet victory- seeing his grandchildren return from Egypt in 5 days. F i v e d a y s. Can he make it? Does he have it in him to fight death for 120 more hours?

I sit here questioning whether I should drop everything now and run to the side of the ring to cheer him on. Or can I leave in 2 days? Should I leave tomorrow? Will I regret waiting 2 days when he only had 1 day left in him?

Ugh. My eyes sting from tears and my body screams for sleep. A time to live, a time to die... not originally intended by our creator; my mind struggles to comprehend the pain yet inevitability of death. What is the balance? How do we grieve well? Is it possible to cry for the loss of an individual and feel a wave of negative emotions all the while knowing he/she was old and physically could not make it any longer?

Despite all of these questions swirling through my mind, I know I have a God who is bigger than all of this. Who is all-powerful and loving beyond comprehension. His being exists outside the human concept of time and death. What a HUGE and BEAUTIFUL King I serve! I have seen His peace in my parents as they have tackled an emotionally trying season of life losing their own parents both physically and mentally. While I am a waterfall of tears, my mom gently reminds me that God is in control. All the time. My parents' trust in the Lord is steadfast and challenges me to search my heart for lack of faith, letting go of my desire to control. The spirit consumes their being as they embrace each season of life with hope, trust, and surrender... displaying for all to see their decision to follow something bigger than themselves. If anything, this time of loss has cultivated a deeper appreciation for Bob and Beth Wilson. They not only stand out as extraordinary parents, but as strong man and woman of faith who are truly striving to die to their flesh daily. I love them both beyond words. Because of that love, I want to love their parents deeply and therefore bring me back to the question at hand that ripple effect into the million other questions in my head.

How do I love the dying well?

"So this is my prayer: that your love will flourish and that you will not only love much but well. Learn to love appropriately. You need to use your head and test your feelings so that your love is sincere and intelligent, not sentimental gush. Live a lover's life, circumspect and exemplary, a life Jesus will be proud of: bountiful in fruits from the soul, making Jesus Christ attractive to all, getting everyone involved in the glory and praise of God." Phil 1:9-12

I want to strive for this. It won't be pretty- I will trip and fall on my knees, have dirt on my face, and holes in my clothes. But at the end of the journey I want to have given it my all. Loved much. Loved well.

What this looks like in regards to my grandparents, I don't know. Absorbing wisdom, support, and love from those around me gives me confidence that I can take one step at a time in figuring this thing out. All I know is I need prayer grace as I attempt to live fully and abundantly in Christ all the while praising His name during times of death.

"Lord you have been our dwelling place throughout all generations. Before the mountains were born or you brought forth the earth and the world, from everlasting to everlasting you are God." Psalm 90"1-2

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Let's Talk Fashion

Mmk... the order those three words fall in would typically never come out of my mouth. Fashion + Becca = rare combination. However, I observed and experienced multiple interpretations of fashion while traveling over Christmas break.

Let's begin with the airport. Seeing as we left my house at 6:30 AM to catch our flight I simply threw on extremely comfortable clothes for the journey. "Comfortable clothes" in Becca's world means being a great candidate on the show What Not To Wear. I was a black and gray cotton blob slugging through the terminals. Old school sweats with pockets... gray t-shirt... gray fleece... black and gray hiking boots... black backpack... even a black hair thing; let's be honest- if anyone gave me a double-glance it was out of horror.

I'll admit it... Greek women outdid my fashion just a tad. As my parents and I ascended up the stairs to the streets of Athens we officially entered the world of boots. Gorgeous boots. Whether a female the age of 5 or 60 or anywhere in between she would be rockin the boot scene, usually worn with some sassy attitude and confidence based on apparel. Not once did I observe a woman in sweats or a t-shirt. The typical getup consisted of hair down or in a creative updo, short dress, tights leading down to beautiful boots with heels, also topped off with matching jewelry, makeup, and of course: the ever-classy cigarette.

So we go from high class sexy clothing trends to modestville headquarters. Egyptian women have an elegance and grace about their long, draping clothing from head to toe. If I were Matt Nathanson making his music video for Come On Get Higher I would have incorporated Egyptian fashion- what? Let me explain. There is a line that includes the words "swing of your hips" which is precisely how the clothing flows about the women in this African country. It's a beautiful swaying back and forth of fabric down to their ankles as they move about life- Sheek is apparently the word they prefer to describe their fashion (according to my lovely sister). Even though only 4 words of the song apply to their garb the lyrics danced in my head the entire time we were there.

Also most Egyptian women do not have to fret about the status of their hair when in public because their heads are covered in scarves of all colors and designs. So as I am debating whether to rock the messybun look or curl my hair in the morning, women on the other side of the world are selecting which piece of fabric to cover their hair with to complete the outfit. Some even cover their faces with only openings for their eyes. It's a unique experience to only be able to see someone's eyes and the rest of the body being a mystery... what does their smile look like? what's the complexion of their skin like? are their ears pierced? In one sense I feel like I am missing the opportunity to experience that individual in their entirety, but on the otherhand the eyes of a person tell so much more than any other part of the body could ever do justice. Like they say- eyes are the window to a person's soul.

It intrigues me that a girl can wake up in the morning, put on her most trendy outfit, and be completely out of fashion somewhere else in the world. Even wearing my cutest clothes that I had packed in both Greece and Egypt I felt completely out of the fashion loop... and in different ways for each country. Heck, I feel out of fashion in my own country. Who decides what is trendy anyway? Once upon a time my old school sweat pants were hip and cool- now they are a clothing tragedy. Point being I think people should wear whatever they want without the pressure of fitting in or keeping up with the latest magazine. If that means sportin the sweats and t-shirt... wear them proudly. Dress and heels... feel confident. Cowgirl boots and jeans... strut your stuff. The possibilities are endless, along with your attitude so choose to feel beautiful now matter what you wear. Afterall, the people who matter are only looking at your eyes.

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Omelets VS Yogurt

I will never forget when my parents gave me "My First Cookbook"... yep, there were even little cartoon chefs holding kitchen utensils surrounding the title of the book. My feelings fell nothing short of ecstatic. Each page pleasing to a my eyes with pictures and simple directions; I felt independent, capable, and eager to improve my cooking skills.

Of all the delightful options to partake in making, omelets held the gold medal in my world. There were even a few occasions where I made my entire family omelets for dinner- allowing each member a specialized order. Whipping around the eggs in a bowl and hearing the sizzle as each drop hits the skillet... sprinkling toppings at just the right time... delicately folding the fluff without breaking the masterpiece... I seriously felt more powerful every time I slid the finished product onto a plate to serve. Despite any messes I made, I never doubted my skill in the kitchen and thoroughly enjoyed every minute of it.

Let's fast forward about 12 years. Omelet?? Cooking?? Turning on the stove?? No time for such a thing. Yogurt- that's where it's at. Quick. Healthy. Portable. The only thing to clean afterwards is a spoon... stick it in the dishwasher and vwa la! Done! I can confidently say that I ate yogurt an average of at least every other day this past semester.

Recipies stare me down now screaming of time consumption and a messy kitchen. 45 minutes of preparation for 10 minutes to actually eat it. And my lack of practice has legitimately affected my ability to accomplish anything worthy in the food preparation department. One of my roommates always finds it amusing when I attempt to bake or make anything... "It's always so funny when you cook"... "I never know what to expect when you make something"... "uh, oh becca's in the kitchen"... it's an expectation that when I prepare real food something is bound to go wrong.

The time between my first cookbook and present-day I have slowly convinced myself that I just don't cook. And since I don't cook and am not home to do so that I am void of the hospitality gift. It's self-fulfilling prophecy really.

Over dinner this break my parents and I were joking about my dad making the dressing and me boiling eggs and how both tasks have an unpredictable outcome with us in charge. This soon evolved into my dad and I in charge of all the side dishes for Christmas dinner. And it was a success. I enjoyed being in the kitchen, nothing went wrong, and I thoroughly enjoyed being a hostess. It's a pleasure to serve people in my home.

So I realized that I had talked myself into an extreme way of life- not a surprise. Because my main gifts don't directly point to hospitality or domestic skills I had strayed completely clear of those things wanting to venture outside of the home. But I can cook. I can host. I can be domestic. Am I going to cook consistently now? Or stay home a ton? Not likely. I still live a crazy, fun, and fast college life consisting of yogurt on the go and grabbing a tortilla out the door. But will I be more confident in surviving a more domestic lifestyle post-college? Will I seek a more well-rounded life? Definitely.
I might even whip up an omelet in the meantime.

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Restless? Not so much...

As I've allowed the past four months to slide by blog-less, my life lessons have continually evolved to contradict my blog title. I have been learning to rest. To slow down. To take a break. To STAY in one place with a joyful heart. Interesting how life comes full circle, each experience carving more intricate detail in our individual sculptures. Just as the Lord finished a glaze glistening over the part of my heart emphasizing my desire for change, he began chiseling on the opposite side of my heart.
Often I cop-out of a challenge to slow down my life pace, simply brushing it off with the excuse: that's just how I function. Yes, it's my natural tendency to fill up every minute with purpose. Meetings, coffee dates, phone calls, emails... If I have a spare hour it means I am forgetting someone I need to talk to or something that needs to be done. Although I thrive in a go-go-go world, neglecting to rest has been a pride issue; pride always comes before the fall. And I fell. Even in my attempt to embrace a more restful lifestyle I fell. I wanted to be intentional with it, scheduling in "relax" time throughout my planner determined to excel in the obstacle placed in front of me. But that's just not how it's done.
I am slowly learning to be ok with saying no to time fillers, extra half hours here and there to just relax, leaving my phone at home...
In the grand scheme of life I have made minimal progress. But I have to be ok with taking one step at a time instead of sprinting to the finish line to check off the lesson on my to-do list.
I am so thankful for people in my life who are waaaay more gifted in this area and have been extremely patient with me. Next semester will hopefully be more of a balanced lifestyle as the Lord continues to chip away, making more of a masterpiece than I could ever imagine.

Saturday, August 16, 2008

it's been sooo long

so here's the deal- i am the worst blogger EVER and have not kept up with this at all!
I don't even know if i want to attempt to capture life since the last entry...
day camp with 5th grade girls- crazy, challenging
residential camp with 9th grade girls- absolutely amazing and had the opportunity to pour a ton of life experience into them, they are incredible girls!!!
adventure camp with 10th graders (& JIF)!!!- more challenging than the last one, but great bonding with Julia, and the YD staff
day camp with 1st grade girls- so fun, all they wanted to do was hold my hand and tell me whatever they were thinking
office aid- sooo much fun! amazing conversations/ learned so much about the Lord/ bonding with new people... more on that week later
adventure camp again- beautiful, peaceful, so much fun

Other occurrences...
*there are like 10 people left... everyone went home and that has been incredibly difficult
*Julia and I raced to see who could eat peanut butter the fastest out of Rusty's armpits
*sisterhood of the traveling pants 2 with the girls
*hiking at Mt. Si- sooo beautiful
*every night is a sleepover
*God has been answering prayer like there is no tomorrow!
*God spoke to Al and I through a 12 year old... i will eventually write an entire blog about it
*i officially have a chaco tan- ugh

So I don't know how I feel about returning home. Part of me is SO excited to see everyone and catch up on the real world and what's been going on. However, the other part of me feels sick whenever I think about leaving. This summer has been beautiful and amazing! God has shown up over and over and over again and I hate the thought of being separated from the other people who experienced that with me. It's been such an incredible community of believers who are willing to grow and be molded by the Lord! well that's all I feel like typing about right now...

Friday, July 4, 2008

Can it get any better?

So this past week was absolutely incredible!! I really haven't done yet what I've been hired to do, but it's been awesome!!
Two other SAMBICA staff members and myself went with 10 high school sophomores to the mountains of Washington for Adventure Camp.
Rock Climbing... for two days.
White Water Rafting.
Inflatable kayaking down a river.
Backpacking hike beginning at 11pm, gave the campers a compass and a map and arrived at a "camp site" at 2am.
Challenge Courses.
And beautiful beautiful time with Jesus!!!!
Seriously one of the best weeks of my entire life- and that is saying a lot.