Monday, June 30, 2008

Don't Talk to Strangers

My parents raised me to have a crazy fear of strangers. I'm sure most of you can relate. One of the main reasons that I was terrified of going to public school (I was homeschooled until 6th grade) was because I was scared that the stories my mom told me would become true.

I was afraid that one day, a man would walk up to me after school and tell me that my mom had arranged for him to pick me up that day. He would grab my arm and drag me out to his van, and I would never see daylight again.

My mom literally told me about children who had similar things happen to them.

When she was in first grade, she was playing at the park of a local school ground one day. She was walking through an outdoor hallway and suddenly noticed a man standing against a brick wall in front of her. The man had his pants unzipped and was exposing himself.

"Hey little girl, come here," he said, but my mom bolted in the other direction and got home as quickly as possible. She told my Nana what had happened (those of you who know Nana - can you imagine??) and Nana put her in the car and they drove around trying to find the man. I don't think they found him.

I had never met any "strangers", but I knew what to look for: a shady sort of guy, maybe missing a few teeth, with a window-less van parked close by. He might claim to know my parents and would offer candy or stuffed animals to me, but he wouldn't ever give me these promised goods. If I accepted his offer, I would be shoved into his beat up van and be escorted to his secret shack, where I would be locked up for forever.

I learned never to trust a stranger.

Once, when I was about four, I was hanging out on the driveway of my Nana's house in McAllen (near the Mexican border) after dinner with Carolyn, who was probably 2. Nana was there, and so were my parents. This Hispanic man walked up to us and started talking to the adults for a few minutes. When he noticed Carolyn, he made a few remarks about how cute she was, and then tried to coax her to walk towards him. At this point, I freaked out. I started screaming and crying, "Don't do it, Carolyn!!! He'll take you away!!!" and one of my parents had to take me inside and calm me down. They had to explain that he was Nana's gardener and that she knew him and trusted him, and that it was okay to talk to "strangers" if your parents are talking to them, too.

Another time, my mom left my sisters and me in the car after our homeschooling enrichment classes. These classes were held at a church building and were taught by other homeschooling parents. My mom had to go inside for a few minutes so we sat out in the minivan with the door open. A woman carrying a bunch of stuff approached the car and poked her head inside for a few minutes. She told us that she knew my mom (red warning light number one) and then offered us "leftover" candy from a basket she was holding (red warning light number two). Of course my sisters wanted some, but I politely declined for all of us, since it was probably poisonous. I'm sure I started praying for God to keep us safe from the stranger lady and for my mom to get back soon. My mom finally emerged from the church, and recognizing the stranger lady as a homeschooling friend, she talked for a few minutes. I began to wish she would offer us candy again.

In addition to our regular stranger education, my mom made my sisters and me read a book called My Body is Private. I had no idea what the concepts in the book had to do with anything, and thought it was a dumb and boring book. Apparently, if someone was touching me and I felt uncomfortable, I was supposed to say "Stop: my body is private!" and the person was supposed to obey me. It wasn't until years later that I understood what the book was actually talking about.

I am thankful that my parents made me afraid of strangers, even if it caused unnecessary panicking. I'm sure that my parents' teachings saved me from some pretty horrible situations.

Sunday, June 29, 2008

Philippians 3:7-11

Carolyn got back this morning - her team actually missed a connecting flight and had to stay in Houston overnight. It is so great to have her home! She is still trying to recover from jet lag, so it may be a while until she is "normal" again. She is taking over Kellie's room and enjoying the space. It's been a long time since we've had our own rooms at home (even though these rooms really aren't ours)!

She shared many stories about her trip with the family. I got a kick out of the text messages that were sent to people on her team from some of the North Africans they met. They sounded like inspirational quotes or things from greeting cards, yet these people were completely serious! Here are some they got:

"Friendship is like a war: easy to start, difficult to end, impossible to forget. So I'm starting a war with you. I hope you don't want peace."

"I must have been born under a lucky star to find a friend as nice as you are. I will follow the rainbow to the end if you promise to remain my friend." (Sent to a guy from a guy...!)

"The day you came to the world it was raining. But actually it wasn't raining. It was the angels' tears because they had lost one of them...!" (Carolyn got send this one!)

I laughed. The North Africans sound so sweet and amazing. They have the gift of hospitality to a degree that is completely foreign to us. Families would invite Carolyn and her team over to their houses, allowing them to stay all day and encouraging them to take naps (on their beds!) in the middle of the day. Some of the mothers would even make the girls try on their wedding dresses, and take pictures of them wearing them. Can you believe that?? They would feed the kids and care for them, even though these families had very little. It impresses me that there are people like this in the world, when in the United States, everything is so private and personal. We have so much and share so little. We don't trust our neighbors and normally would not even think of allowing strangers in our houses. Let them take a nap?? On our beds?? That's absurd!

I really want to learn hospitality more. I hope to become better at this as I get older. I want to extend hospitality in my own home in a way that is not normally seen in this country. I'm not very good at things like this, but the Bible instructs us to! And without grumbling! (Romans 12:13, 1 Peter 4:9)

Carolyn and her team shared the good news about Jesus Christ with 115 people during the six weeks they were there. Persecution of Christians is insane there. One girl accepted Christ as her Savior and was slapped by her father when she told him. She knew what she would face by accepting Christ. This was no surprise to her. She still decided to be born again. By becoming a Christian, she completely forfeited everything - a life of comfort, acceptance, marriage etc. This girl will face hardship, ridicule and persecution for the rest of her life because she is no longer Muslim. Can you imagine? Yet she saw that everything - her whole life - was rubbish compared to the surpassing greatness of knowing Christ (Philippians 3:8). Pray for this girl. Pray that a discipler would be provided for her. There are only 350 Christians in the country Carolyn went to. There are tens of millions of people. It is going to be a tough road for this faithful young woman.

Did you know that there are 99 names for Allah, but not one of them is "Love"?? These people fear Allah. They are distant from him. One girl was asked by a team member what her greatest fear was. Her answer was, "God". To me, this seems crazy. I can have a close, personal relationship with my God - the Creator of the Universe who loves me unconditionally and accepts me where I am. I am not scared of Him. I am loved by Him! But this is not something experienced by these North Africans. They live on a points system: the more points you get, the better chance you have of getting into Heaven. No wonder they are scared of their God! They have no way of knowing whether or not he is going to accept or reject them! Constantly striving to live a good life leaves you tired, upset, frustrated and let down. You will never reach the level of "goodness" you want to reach. It is so hard for me to imagine a lifetime of guilt and shame. I would beat myself up after ever evil act, trying so hard to make it up with "good" deeds. I would feel like a failure until the day I died.

Please pray for these North African people. I wish I knew more about the way they live and what they believe, but my knowledge is limited. I'm sure Carolyn could tell you much more.

I am going to bed now. I love you all.

Friday, June 27, 2008

Are We Halfway Through the Summer Yet?

I walked through Nordstrom's shoe department the other day and secretly wished that I could buy some of those pairs of shoes. They are just so cute and fun! I admit that I felt a little self-conscious of my $10 Old Navy jellies, even though I think they are pretty adorable. I have never been a shoe person, simply because I don't have a lot of money. And if I had a lot of money, I wouldn't spend it on shoes unless they were ones that I would wear every day and were very comfortable (translation: teacher shoes!). I normally wear $5 flip flops and I love them. If they break, it's not a big deal.

My sister Carolyn gets back tomorrow from North Africa. I am so excited! I can't wait to hang out with her every day and go on random adventures with her. Last summer was so much fun. We got to live together and since we share a car, we did everything together. People called her my "other half" and would be shocked if either of us went somewhere without the other. We are so different and yet we get along so well. She knows how to encourage me and make me feel special, and will tell me straight up if I'm being selfish or stupid. I hope that the rest of this summer is a time of great growth for us.

Can I just say how much I miss HEB? I wish they had them in the Dallas area. That is the best supermarket in the world. Kroger and Wal-Mart don't even get close!

Well, I know this post is short but there's not a lot to write about. Hopefully I'll have more news soon!


Tuesday, June 24, 2008

A Little Getaway

Sometimes days just go by too fast.

I spent the weekend in Leona/College Station visiting Austin and my Nana. It was fun, relaxing and like a mini-vacation. I got to eat at this wonderful steak place with Austin, where our waitress gave him advice on how to treat me on our "date". She must have thought it was our first date or something, because she kept giving him tips on what to do. It was hilarious.

We took a trip to a state park that was down the road and had a picnic there. The lake was beautiful and we listened to Tree63 on Austin's fun speakers as we ate. We had to murder a couple spiders and ants during lunch, but it was a wonderful afternoon.

We also walked around at the farm and discovered a garden spider who had made his home on a deer blind. Austin caught a couple grasshoppers and threw them into the web, and we watched Ziggy (I named him) run over to his lunch, wrap it up, and return to his original resting place in just a few seconds. On the same walk, we saw a snake by the creek, which we could not identify. He was greyish-yellow on the top and light yellow on the bottom, and he wasn't a particularly long snake. Any ideas??

For the first time in months, we took advantage of $4.00 tickets and went to see a movie - Get Smart. Has anyone else seen this? It was funny, but not one of the best movies I've seen in a while. I really wish movies weren't so expensive. The $9.50 you'll pay in some towns is just ridiculous.

One of the highlights was seeing Austin play the drums at a church in Madisonville on Sunday. Good grief! I really can't believe that boy taught himself how to play the drums, starting a mere six months ago. Well, actually, I can believe it, because Austin can pretty much do anything (especially if it relates to music)!

I had really great Italian food with Nana and Austin on Sunday. I wish I could eat food like that more often! I'm so excited that I get to go back to College Station next week before 4th of July in Houston. Hopefully I'll get to catch up with Nana some more.

All in all, the weekend was great. It made me realize how much I miss College Station! I think the new Super Target is open, and although I have about 3 different Super Targets near me (that I can think of), I am still a little sad that I no longer live there.

Oh I gotta go - time to eat!

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

See America By Accident

Kellie is probably on a plane right now, about to fly to England. My mom took her to the airport and Christina (my youngest sister) and I had to stay home. We couldn't fit in the car with all of Kellie's luggage.

Since we had the day to ourselves, Christina and I decided to take a trip to the closest "It's a Grind" coffee shop. We wanted something different than Starbucks yet still familiar. We drove all the way to Frisco and ordered some cookies and frozen coffee. The shopping area didn't have anything interesting to offer so we headed home. On the way home, we decided to take some detours.

I live in this tiny town called Oak Point. It's on the lake and yet I really know nothing about the area. Chrissie and I were in a driving sort-of mood (which I guess is bad considering gas prices), so we decided we would play a little game that my friend (and babysitter when I was little) Sarah made up:

See America By Accident.

It's where you drive around and discover new parts of the country you live in. You turn on any road that you want and just admire the scenery. If you stumble upon anything interesting, you get out and look around.

So that's what we did.

First of all, we drove through an old neighborhood next to our subdivision. It's at least 40 years old and has a smattering of all sorts of old houses. None of them are particularly attractive, since most of the houses were built as lakehouses or getaway homes back then. Christina knew where the Oak Point Lake Club (or something like that) was, so she led me there. I was actually blown away by how beautiful it was.

I sat down on a rock and was able to look at a huge portion of Lake Lewisville. The lake was smooth and clear and I was amazed at how big it was.

We saw a cool-looking house across a small part of the lake and decided to go find out where it was. The lake surrounding it look so gorgeous and we wanted to know how to get there.

So we drove some more.

We discovered the Dallas Corinthian Yacht Club and wished that we were members so that we could walk around inside the property.

We noticed "Wooded Lots" advertised on a side street and drove around inside. The area was relatively creepy but nicely wooded. I guess the sign wasn't lying.

Chrissie and I also drove around inside a subdivision that we almost lived in when I was younger. There is a house just inside with a ZEBRA in the front yard. A real zebra!!!! We freaked out a little bit and decided to Google "zebras for sale" when we got home to find out how much they cost.

We're going to buy a zebra and name him "Stripey". (Chrissie's idea, not mine.)

We found a cool park that we're going to return to. There were some crazy awesome nature trails that looked fun. The park was right on the lake and a sign there said "residents or invited guests only", but who will know? We won't disturb anyone.

Christina and I discovered that Oak Point was much bigger than we originally thought. I know now why it is called Oak Point and will be making trips down to the lake more often, I hope.

Am I the only one who plays this game? Does anyone else drive around and discover new places? I used to drive around College Station, too. I once drove to the end of Anderson and found out that CS has a so-called arboretum. Who knew??

It's kind of amazing how much you can discover by driving somewhere new. Just for fun. And it's nice to have someone with you, too.

Maybe when gas prices go down a little I'll do this more often!


Monday, June 16, 2008

Not Much Up There Right Now

Writing without any sort of inspiration or motivation is like trying to scrape the last bit of peanut butter from the jar. It doesn't amount to much and it doesn't satisfy.

I have a lot of thoughts, but nothing that seems good enough to put into a post. Maybe I'll feel more like writing after dinner.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Part 2 - Don't Read if You Don't Like Romance Stories!

Today, Austin posted on his blog and wrote his version of how we met. He actually continued the story beyond where I left off a few days ago.I thought that maybe I should write more about what happened after I didn't think he was creepy anymore. Parts of the story have begun to get fuzzy to me, but I'll try my best. Here I go.

The night that Austin invited my sister and I to the barbeque party was the night that I realized he wasn't actually a weird stalker who was just interested in dating one of us. Carolyn and I began to hang out more with his buddies and we would meet up almost very single day at Coffee Station to study.

Austin met my family long before we ever started dating. My family would come down to College Station for the weekend and my mom would cook dinner at Nana's house. One weekend, we invited him to have dinner with us and he agreed to come. I think that time Carolyn and I tried to cook for everyone and it ended up not being as good as I wanted it to be. I'm thankful that it didn't scare Austin away!

Although I began to warm up a lot to Austin, things really changed the weekend that he invited us to the "farm". His family owns some land in Leona (where he is right now) and there is a little house on it. He invited us to go hang out, shoot guns, fish, build a campfire etc. with some of his friends. Carolyn and I went, and we had a blast. I became a real Texan that weekend! Carolyn and I decided to stay for two nights, and Austin's friends left for the second night. It freaked us out a little bit, but I reassured Carolyn that it would be okay.

That second night ended up being so much fun! Carolyn, Austin and I talked in the living room for hours before going to sleep. Carolyn actually got too tired and ended up going to bed, but Austin and I talked for a little while longer. I remember talking about past relationships, the job I had the previous summer, what we were passionate about and probably some more things. It was at that point that I began having feelings for Austin. I could tell that he genuinely loved people and cared deeply for everyone that he met. He was thoughtful and friendly and loved Christ with everything he was.

I denied that I liked him for a while, but every time I would hang out with him, he just got cooler. I prayed about our friendship a lot and realized that if God wanted our relationship to progress, then I would have to surrender. I left everything up to God and Austin, pretty much. I decided to let him pursue me if he wanted to. For me, this meant not telling Austin when I would be at Coffee Station and not initiating meetings with him (unless we were having a party or something at Nana's house).

I started going to Coffee Station on Sunday nights after church, where I would see Austin. It became a little tradition, and we would meet and talk about all sorts of things - from jobs to spiritual warfare, predesination, the Baptist church and Tongues. Austin had so much wisdom and knowledge and it blew me away. Even now I can still listen to Austin talk for hours and never get tired.

I got to meet Austin's sister Kristin when he invited me to go to the Hall with them one night. I had never been before, and I didn't know how to two-step, but they taught me beforehand at his house. I had so much fun! I even learned how to play pool. Kristin was so much fun and I had a blast hanging out with them. I loved that they were so close and had such a strong relationship. It reminded me of my relationship with Carolyn.

I remember the night that Austin asked me to lunch the next day. I wanted to scream and jump up and down - I was so excited! He ended up taking me on a surprise picnic in Academic Plaza. He did everything. He made the sandwiches (EXACTLY my favorite) and put special care into the drink he chose for me. It was by far the sweetest date I've ever been on. We ate underneath my favorite tree in Academic Plaza. I had actually written a little bit about it in my blog, but I didn't specify which tree it was or show a picture. He found it on his own by going to Academic Plaza and simply guessing. I was extremely impressed. Anyways, that was our first date. I wanted to climb the tree, but since I didn't know that we were going there, I hadn't dressed appropriately.We ended up just talking for about four hours instead, and it was great.

Every time I would hang out with Austin, Carolyn would ask me if he had said anything about dating yet. We never shared our feelings with each other and he had never openly stated his intentions. It drove Carolyn crazy, but I had an extreme peace about everything. I wasn't anxious to get into a relationship and was sincerely enjoying our friendship.

About a month after going to the farm, Austin sent me an email asking if I would go to Houston with him to celebrate his birthday with his family. He told me that if I wanted to bring Carolyn, then she could come, but he would prefer it if it was just me. I was so naive and I had no idea that he really liked me. I guess I thought, "Well, it means that he has more of an interest in me..." I really didn't have a clue.

Surrendering the relationship to God was so wonderful because I was no longer concerned about what was going to happen. I think that sometimes, being a girl is difficult because you are waiting a lot. Waiting for the guy to act or initiate or pursue you. It takes a lot of patience! God gave me so much patience, though, that I was never anxious about the relationship.

We had an absolute BLAST in Houston. I met his family and basically fell in love. Everyone was so friendly and hospitable! We ate at this great seafood restaurant at Kemah and walked along the boardwalk and ate Dippin Dots. Thinking back to that night, it's funny to think that I wasn't actually dating Austin at the time. Austin took me on a date the next day and we went to Rice Village for the afternoon. It ended up raining like crazy, so we spent most of the afternoon in Half Price Books looking at all sorts of things. Still, nothing was said about dating.

A few days after getting back to College Station, Austin asked me if I wanted to have another picnic and actually climb the tree this time. We went on a second picnic and again, Austin prepared everything. We talked for about five hours and Austin expressed his feelings. We climbed the tree and he grabbed my hand - I was seriously freaked out. Not only was I holding this guy's hand for the first time, but we were way up high on this tree branch! We talked for a little while longer about dating and then Austin prayed for our relationship before we went back to the car. That evening, we watched Singin' in the Rain and ate Totino's pizza. The whole day was simply grand.

...And that's how it started. I am trying to remember all the details, and that's the best that I can do.

I know this story might be kind of boring to most of you, but to be honest I primarily wrote it for myself. I needed a written out account of the story somewhere!

Alright. My fingers need a little rest! :)

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Yeah, Something's Wrong Here...

I'm sure that many of my female readers (and perhaps some of my male readers) have seen the show on TLC called Jon and Kate Plus 8. It's pretty entertaining and can make you exhausted just by watching that family for half an hour. For those of you who have never seen the show, it is about a family with two sets of multiples: two 6-year-olds and six 2-year-olds. (Actually, I think the twins are 7 now and the sextuplets are 3.) They have five girls and three boys. Good grief.

I don't watch the show very much, but I catch it every now and then. The kids are adorable! Most people I know make fun of me, but I like to watch parenting shows such as Supernanny and watch the different techniques used to train the children. I just watched a 1-hour special tonight where the entire family went on a vacation to Disneyland. It was entertaining but I have trouble watching the show without getting frustrated.

When I watch shows where whole families are shown, I pay special attention to the parents. Have you ever seen Wife Swap? I cringe when I see the way that some of these women treat their "new husbands" and vice versa. It makes me sick to see the lack of respect shown and the women given complete control over the household.

On shows such as Wife Swap or Supernanny, the marriages are often the root of the problem. Of course, Supernanny wouldn't say that, but there is a strong correlation between the strength and quality of the marriage and the way the kids behave. You can look at almost any family and see that. I'm getting a little off-track here, but it is so clear to me that the marriage must be strong in order for the children to be disciplined the right way. A lot of times these children are being disciplined one way by their dad and a completely different way by their mom. Definitely not the way it should be!

Anyways, I was talking about Jon and Kate Plus 8. I often get frustrated when watching the show because I don't like the way that Kate treats her husband, Jon. She will boss him around, tell him what to do and I see her treating him like a child in some of the interviews. There is much disagreement between them and I see different parenting styles displayed. I see hurtful words thrown at each other and it makes me so sad. It is very clear that Kate runs the show in the house (it has even been said in interviews) and Jon is there to get yelled at and obey any requests that Kate has.

I'll tell you what, I don't see submission from Kate and I don't see Jon being the leader of the family. Watching a lot of these TV shows, you definitely see the woman being the leader a lot. Can you imagine what a wonderful witness it would be to be on TV and model a marriage that glorifies God and is aligned with the roles a husband and wife that Scripture gives? Well guess what?! You don't have to be on TV to do that! I know most of the people who read this aren't married, but some of us will be soon.

If you proclaim to be a Christian (and Jon and Kate do), you have the wonderfully difficult job of being a witness to the world. Marriage is supposed to be a beautiful symbol and picture of Christ's relationship with the Church, and we get to be a part of this picture when we are married! I'm so excited! It's a tough and humbling thing to do, but we are all called to show Christ's love in that way.

I really hate to see women wanting (and having) complete control over the family. I don't like seeing these women making all the rules and decisions and then ordering her husband around. Ladies, if any of you see me doing this when I am married, please hit me with a baseball bat! This was never God's intent for marriage. God calls men to be the leaders of the family, and the wife gets to stand beside him and love him and support him in his decisions (most of which are made with her help!). How fun!! Personally, I am very excited to have someone be decisive and make decisions. I am horrible when it comes to that. I know that a lot of girls think of submission as something negative, but it is supposed to be a beautiful thing when the husband and wife are both looking to the Lord for direction.

Girls: if you can't respect your boyfriend or fiance now, what makes you think that you'll be able to do that in marriage? You don't just change overnight. And your boyfriend/fiance doesn't just become an automatic leader after you say "I do". People don't change when you marry them! Problems and issues become magnified after marriage, not reduced! I believe it is so important to be thinking about these things before you date someone and especially before you marry someone.
Are they relying completely on Christ as the ultimate leader of the relationship?
Are they encouraging you to draw closer to God and rely on Him instead of your boyfriend? Most importantly - do they love God more than they love you?
I had so many problems in my last relationship because of these things. And things would have only gotten worse if we had continued in our relationship.

It's late and I sincerely hope that everything I wrote down agrees with what the Bible says about relationships. Please correct me if something is not quite right. My writing tends to be messy at night and I am a little scatterbrained right now. I didn't even mean to write all of that -it just started flowing. Anyways, it's time for me to sleep.


Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Male Readers Beware

I wish there was a cure for PMS. I really do. And I can say that on here because most of my readers are girls and I know they sympathize with me. I wish that I could read a sweet story without getting choked up or watch Monsters, Inc. without tearing at the very end. It gets pretty ridiculous at times. I tell myself, "It's really not that sad or touching," but then end up fighting back eye mist.

I also wish I could stop the dull headache and back pain. Oh, and the knee pain, too. I generally ache all over with PMS. I didn't take any ibuprofen today and I'm feeling the effects of it. Hopefully some sleep will ease my pain a little bit.

I could definitely do without the monthly zit erruptions. I mean, seriously? Why does my face hate me every four weeks? I didn't fight it today. I didn't take a shower this morning and went for over 12 hours without washing my face. I let the acne win.

I typed "PMS" into Wikipedia and the results were pretty hysterical. I personally loved the list of possible symptoms. It explained that "extreme tearfulness" was one of the symptoms, and I guess that explains the inability to watch children's movies during that-time-of-the-month. I never thought that my PMS was that bad until I realized that I experience most of the symptoms listed. And there are 19. I guess my symptoms are much milder than most womens'.

The fact that Wikipedia explains that it's not normal to diagnose PMS with lab tests or physical findings. makes me laugh. Haha. I think normal diagnosis should be a simple yes or no question: Are you a woman? Obviously, an answer of "yes" would immediately diagnose the person as capable of suffering from this wonderful disease.

Wikipedia lists a few treatments for PMS but honest, I think it's best to take ibuprofen if you really need it and just tough it out. I tried taking a little walk this morning to help with the cramping, but it didn't do much.

If this whole post is too much information, then you're really just going to have to deal with it. If you're a girl, you know what I'm talking about. If you're a boy, well, you'll probably be married to a girl one day who will of course suffer from PMS and you'll have to get used to the mood swings, tears, complaining about bloating and [seemily] unexplained depression.

Sorry, but since I have PMS, I don't have a lot of sympathy right now. :)


*Little side note: I really don't have bad PMS. I know girls who have it way worse, and I can't complain.

Sunday, June 08, 2008

A Little Mad

I just changed my background and it deleted ALL of the blogs that I read. I was a little upset because I don't think I can remember them all. If you read my blog and you don't see your blog on the right hand side, could you let me know so that I can add you again? Thanks.

Also, what do you think of the facelift? Ali changed the look of hers and I just LOVED it, especially that fresh green color. So I gave mine some grass! :)

Also #2, what do you guys think of the music? You can tell me if it's annoying and I'll take it off.

Questionnaire Time

Hmmm. I guess that romantic stories are what the masses want. I haven't gotten that many comments on one post since I was a Xanga-er back in high school.

However, I do not have any romance novels for you today.

But while I'm kind of on the topic of romance, Austin is actually visiting me tomorrow so he can get one of the three licenses he needs in order to be a financial advisor. He'll be here for less than 24 hours but I'll take any time I can get!

I have been trying to get a job for the past few weeks, and it's been frustrating. I have an interview tomorrow, so I'll let you know how that goes. If I don't get a job, I won't be able to get a car. And if I don't get a car, I won't be able to get to Frisco each day for student teaching in the Fall. So I need a job.

Chrissie and I are watching Hairspray right now. I love that movie. It was definitely my favorite movie of 2007.

So this questionnaire has been floating around Blog Land and although I haven't been "tagged", I am going to fill it out and tag some of my readers, to make sure they are paying attention. ;-) Some of them probably won't fill it out, but I'm going to tag them anyways. I normally don't fill out these types of things, but I thought it would be fun this time. Here goes.

Here are the rules:

1. The rules of the game get posted at the beginning.
2. Each player answers the questions about themselves.
3. At the end of the post, the player then tags five people and posts their names, then goes to their blogs and leaves them a comment, letting them know they’ve been tagged and asking them to read the player’s blog.
4. Let the person who tagged you know when you’ve posted your answer.

What were you doing 5 years ago?

Let's see, it was 2003 and it was the summer in between my junior and senior year in high school, and I was 17...
1. I was preparing for an extremely tough year of taking only three subjects (Chemistry, Math, English literature) in a great amount of depth.
2. I was spending my time relaxing in England for part of the summer.
3. I went on a trip to Texas to visit Anna with my sisters Carolyn and Kellie.
4. I was writing in Xanga a lot (starting that Fall) and haven't stopped blogging since.
5. I was waiting to get my test results back from my junior year's standardized exams.

What are 5 things on your to-do list today (not in any particular order)?

Most of today is already gone so I'll list things I've done:
1. Go to Bible study on Esther with my mom
2. Go to church
3. Go to Target with Chrissie and Kellie
4. Apply for a job
5. Watch "The Next Food Network Star" (in the process of doing this now)

What are 5 snacks you enjoy?

1. Yogurt covered pretzels
2. Sundried Tomato & Basil flavored Wheat Thins
3. Crackers and red pepper hummus
4. Anything with chocolate
5. Cereal

What 5 things would you do if you were a billionaire?

1. Ask Austin how to invest it and then put most of it into some sort of high-risk account thing (he knows all about that stuff)
2. Buy a car for myself and another car for Kellie since she won't have one yet for college
3. Give a lot of it to Carolyn so she can go live in another country and be a missionary
4. Help a lot of families to adopt children by covering their costs
5. I would want to help people in need such as the homeless or those in poverty, as well as those who are lonely or hurting. I would probably go to a homeless shelter and take them all out to dinner at a really nice restaurant (how fun would that be?!) or hold a fun activities night for nursing home residents - complete with live band, costumes and decorations

What are 5 of your bad habits?

1. Sleeping for too long if I don't have anywhere to be
2. Not finishing things once I start them
3. Interrupting people when they're talking by agreeing with them (and then sharing a short story) - I'm working on this
4. Procrastinating while getting ready in the morning
5. Popping my neck, fingers and sometimes toes

What are 5 places you have lived?

1. Corinth, TX (the house I was born in and lived in until I was 10)
2. Denton, TX (we rented a house for year because we thought we were going to build...)
3. Woodhouse Eaves, Rotherby and South Croxton - all in England (I lived there with my family for 7 1/2 years)
4. College Station, TX (from 2004 until this summer, for college)
5. Oak Point, TX (where I am now and will be for ?? - at least Christmas time)

What are 5 jobs you've had?

1. Babysitter for about 27 billion kids
2. Research and Development Technician for PepsiCo International - basically I helped to make new kinds of chips in small batches for the British version of Frito Lay (called Walker's Crisps)
3. and
4. that's
5. all

What 5 people do you want to tag?
(I'm tagging more than 5!)

1. Ali - We have had almost the exact same classes for the past year, and I get to be [fairly] close to her this next semester. I bet she would have some really great answers, and I want to get to know her better!
2. Ashley - My other whole and old math buddy. She is now a teacher in the Houston area and I miss the heck out of that girl!
3. Austin - The bf. I doubt he'll do it but I'm tagging him anyways.
4. Erica - A precious friend from this past year! I haven't seen her in so long and I want to know her answers!
5. Erin - Austin's roommate's fiancee. I bet she'll do it and I know I'll love reading her answers.
6. Helen - A beautiful friend from high school who loves to do these things. ;-)
7. Lauren - Another education friend that I miss a lot! We love acting the same age as the middle school kids we'll be teaching!!
8. Leda - Erica's sister. She is a new blogger and loves to write!! I know she'll have great responses!

That's all. I hope everyone is enjoying their Sunday evening!

Friday, June 06, 2008

366 Days

Do you remember where you were a year ago?

A year ago today, Carolyn and I were taking summer school at A&M and living at The Crossing Place together. We were practically attached at the hip and we did everything together.

A year ago today, Carolyn and I were driving to Sweet Eugene's to study. Carolyn suggested that we go to Coffee Station since we had never really been there before. Being the summer, no one was really there, which was nice. I was starting to feel sick so I got a drink without caffeine (chai latte) and we sat down on the big blue couch for a while.

We studied for a while but then ended up reading the Bible together, which was a lot of fun. At one point during the afternoon, this guy walked into Coffee Station and sat down across from us. I thought it was odd because there were plenty of places to sit in the store, but instead, he chose to sit at our section. Upon further inspection, I realized that he was a corps boy and immediately put him into the corps boy stereotype that I had formed in my head.

He saw two young girls and came to sit near them. He would probably flirt with us and throw in the "good Christian" card. He studied geology for a while, a class that both Carolyn and I had taken. I think we started talking about it because it was the one thing (at the time) that we all had in common.

I guess he noticed that we were reading our Bibles and told us a little bit about a mission trip to Zimbabwe that he had been on the summer before. "There it is," I thought. "The good Christian card."

I mean, he was a nice, friendly guy, but I was still extremely skeptical. Although we talked for a few hours, we didn't introduce ourselves to each other so I never got his name.

Since I got sick after that day, Carolyn and I didn't return to Coffee Station for a little while. The next time we did go, however, we saw the corps guy there and I finally introduced myself. He added Carolyn and I as his friends on Facebook, and ended up contacting Carolyn a few days later.

I knew it.

Corps guy after the ladies.

He invited us to a movie with his "buddies" (I was convinced they were fake) and then tacked his phone number to the bottom of the message. I told Carolyn, as she was responding to his message, that it was a clever way for him to get her phone number. "Don't give it to him! He's a stalker!!" I told her. She did anyways, and he started calling her after that. We told the guy that we wouldn't go see the movie with his "buddies" since our family was in town, but that if he wanted, he could come see a movie with us and our little sisters.

I thought that would scare him away for sure.

It didn't.

He came anyways.

He came to see a movie with two college girls he didn't know, their two youngest sisters and another college girlfriend. I thought he was insane.

I ended up getting stuck sitting next to him and much to my surprise, we laughed the whole way through the movie because we had no idea what was going on.

A few days later he invited Carolyn and I to a barbeque party with his buddies. I found out that he wasn't lying and that they actually existed. I also found out that his passion for God was real and not something made up that he used to impress cute Christian girls. He had a heart for missions and cared deeply about anyone and everyone's relationship with Christ. It blew me away.

He played songs on the guitar that night that he had written, and he sang. I'm sure my eyes were as big as saucers and my mouth might have been open - I'm not sure - but I do know that he was a talented musician who had a wonderful voice.

He ended up becoming one of our "summer friends" and we hung out a lot during the rest of the summer.

The creepy, friendly, talented corps guy stalker and I started dating about two months later.

Tomorrow will be our 10 month anniversary. (I realize that sounds lame.)

My life was forever changed that June day one year ago. Here's to 366 days of great memories!

I love you Austin!

Wednesday, June 04, 2008

Being Smart

Because of Ali, I have now become addicted to playing Text Twist with my youngest sister Christina. I played it by myself for a while at first, which was fun, but playing with Christina is much more fun because she is so good at it. She can unscramble those letters and come up with words that I would never think of. It impresses me that my thirteen-year-old sister is so smart. She knows way more than I do as far as language arts stuff goes.

I am constantly impressed by how smart and clever my sisters are. As an oldest child, it's easy to think that you are the smartest. It was that way in my family for quite some time, but now that I am in college and my youngest sisters are older, things have changed. I may be smart, but the stuff that I know is related to math and science education.

Carolyn knows a lot as far as biology, physical health and nursing is concerned. She also knows a lot about the Bible and can recite verses very well (I have always had a hard time memorizing verses, especially their addresses). When it comes to a lot of scientific facts, Carolyn probably knows more than me.

Kellie is extremely artistic and knows a lot about photography. Quick plug: she is one of the best artists that I know. The link attached to her name will take you to her online gallery. She takes a lot of senior pictures right now, as well as pictures for fun. She just got a new lense today, too, so be looking for new pictures she took using it (it's amazing!!!).

Claire is sensitive and knows so much about poetry, arts and crafts. She also gave me a quick terminology about horseriding tonight. I had no idea that she knew all that stuff! I was impressed and sat next to her thinking, "Is this really my little baby sister??" I guess being 15 doesn't make you a baby anymore.

Chrissie is the baby and makes almost straight As. (Her one B is in science! Go figure.) I think this is astounding considering the fact that she was diagnosed with severe dyslexia when she was younger. She is great with words and will correct you on any spelling or grammatical error you make. She also has a quick wit and can throw around some real one-liners.

Austin always makes fun of me because I am constantly impressed by what my sisters can do. He tells me that I will be "one of those moms" who frames her child's first "A", or cries over a scribble on a paper, or takes a picture of a block tower. And he's right. I probably will. Sometimes I will tell him stories or show him pictures of what other young children have done, and he just laughs and says, "Isn't that normal for that age?" Haha! I think he was just a super talented child. He can do anything well, in my opinion.

Speaking of Austin, I should probably go call him. He's in a small house all by himself, and will be until the end of the month. I would go crazy, but he can deal with it. I have to be with people or I will go insane, but I think he does better with alone time. I spend my days feeling sorry for him - as if someone put him there for punishment or something. I have to keep telling myself that he chose to be there and do this.

If you don't know what I'm talking about - basically, Austin decided to live in the small house in Leona that his family owns. He is doing missional work there for the month of June and helping out with churches in Leona and Madisonville. I think he will be doing VBS stuff next week. leading worship and helping out with the youth. He has also been talking to random people and meeting them in their homes. Oh, and he's been playing the drums a lot, reading and going on walks and bike rides. :)

That's a little summary. Just to keep you informed. You can be praying for him!!

Ok, time to call and then to go to sleep.

Monday, June 02, 2008

Thought Vomit

I think I have a problem with wanting to write about a million different things all in one blog. These thoughts accumulate during the day and then I want to vomit them into one single post. Should I narrow my posts down to one specific topic? Should I make them shorter? As you can see, I have a lot of issues with blogging. Do people stop reading my posts mid-way because they are too long and boring? I kind of wonder about these things.

Whatever. I'm just gonna write this post my way, in my Katie-like style.

Is it just me, or has anyone else noticed how everyone's relationship status changes over the summer?

Single to relationship.

Relationship to single.

Relationship to engaged.

Engaged to married.

Engaged to single.

The summer seems like the time when feelings either blossom or fade away. I am no exception to the "summer rule" as I am going to call it. I started dating Austin last August. What makes the summer such a strange time? I have theories. Maybe it's due to the free time you spend with a person. You either spend so much time that you fall in love with the person they are, or you are spending more time with a person and realize that the person they are isn't actually all that great. That sounds horrible, but I think you know what I mean.

Every single day, someone on Facebook changes their relationship status. Sometimes I try to make it a game and guess what the status change is. Is that wrong? I don't know. Facebook must know that the summer is a time of relationship change because I have small ads on the left hand side of my profile/updated friends pages etc. of engagement rings galore. It's actually three things that normally pop up: engagement rings (often made of "Palladium" or something like that - whatever that is), shoes, and weight loss techniques. I read a few months ago that Facebook would start having ads targeted to your individual interests based on your profile information. Apparently Facebook knows exactly what my three interests are.

My house is contaminated with spiders. I guess that comes with living in a newly-built house in the country. I kill at least one spider every day. I saw a spider today that was about four inches in diameter and would have made a horrific squishing sound if I would have killed it. But of course I wasn't that brave. I am getting braver, and I know that if it had been in my room, I could have squished it. However, the large arachnid was in the garage, so I felt semi-safe leaving it there. The spider I killed today was a tiny little thing next to the toilet. I smeared it when I used the bathroom earlier. I hope that's not too much information.

At the mall the other day I saw a poster that made me made. It was hanging in the window of a glamor shots-type place. It had two pictures: a before and after. Underneath the pictures were the words "From MOM to WOW!" and they made me mad. In essence, they were saying that all moms were dire looking and in order to be beautiful, needed to get dressed up, put on too much makeup and get their pictures taken. Obviously, "mom" and "wow" are two completely different categories. Don't you think that's sad? These are the sort of messages we are receiving without even thinking much about it. It makes me upset.

I think I am slowly coming to terms with growing up. Knowing that I will not return to A&M makes me sad, but I know that it's time for me to get out in the real world. Student teaching is going to help a lot, especially since I'm student teaching in the Dallas area instead of College Station. I discovered today that The Limited is a perfect place to buy great teacher clothes. It's cheaper than Banana Republic (my favorite) and has some cute things. However, I don't see many of these stores around anymore.

I have a lot of thoughts right now, but for some reason I don't want to write them all down. Maybe because I'm tired - I don't know. I think I'm going to end this and write in it again later.

Goodnight loves.