25 Things about me

I do not generally get involved in these sorts of things, not because I have any negative feeling toward them, but mostly because I do not take the time. They somewhat remind me of those chain emails everyone was obsessed with in high school where you answered all of these questions about yourself and then passed it on to another 10 friends, if you had another 10 friends. This has been circulating on Facebook and since I find that I am not very good at self-reflection, or rather that I rarely "think" about reflecting on myself (I am much more of a "do" or task-oriented person) I think it might be a worthy endeavor. Most people could immediately name 25 things about them, I will have to really think. So, here it goes...

1. I grew up on a farm in South Carolina and worked one summer with my Dad. I was a wheat hauler, tractor waxer, and I drove a 1950's stick shift dump truck with 4 gears.
2. I was such a horrible little kid that my mom would cry imagining me as a teenager. One time I spit a giant wad of purple Bubble Yum on our baby sitter; she quit shortly there after.
3. My senior year of college I lived with 6 other girls in a house we called "The Brothel" (because there was a law in Clemson that more than 4 single females could not share a house together-The Brothel law"). Our landlord's name was Mohammed and he was friends with George Bush...supposedly.
4. I have a thing called "Osgood-Slaters disease" Supposedly it only happens to about .5 percent of people and of those it doesn't go away in about .5 percent of people.....Lucky me. Most people just call it my third knee.
5. I graduated high school with only 45 people in my class.
6. I didn't like coffee or get my ears pierced until my last year of college. I had had my cartilage pierced since 9th grade.
7. I decided to forgo my college graduation ceremony to take a trip to Mississippi with a bunch of people to help out Katrina victims.....it was an amazing trip. I will never forget the things I saw there.
8. I am the first member of my family to have my Masters degree.
9. After college I went to Europe with 3 guys for the month of January. We traveled to nine different countries and it was the coldest I have ever been in my life, but also the most exciting thing I have ever done.
10. I have caught and released two mice from sticky traps in my office with my bare hands....Don't judge me.
11. I performed Achy Breaky Heart by Billy Ray Cyrus with 6 of my friends in the 4th grade in a school talent show. I played a toy electric guitar. We thought we were pretty great.
12. I have an unhealthy obsession with ice cream.
13. I have lived in Texas for 2 1/2 years.
14. I have tried really hard to like museums, but I just don't think I do.
15. My sophmore year of college I had an accident on a mountain bike and I broke my face....my cheekbone really. The front of the bike collapsed, popping the tire off when I hit a jump. It was my first and only ride in an ambulance, but my memory of it is very spotty.
16. I have run a Mother's Day 5K in Central Park. I finished 3 minutes before the leader of the Half Marathon finished 7 miles.....both races started at the same time...Ha.
17. I tried out for a walk on position with the Clemson University Basketball team and my great college friend would wake up with me at 5:00 am to go work out....we would play full-court 21. It was awesome.
18. I have always wanted a Jeep Wrangler, but I have a Jeep Cherokee and that will have to do.
19. I play guitar and the djembe, but I haven't played either in a while.
20. In high school I took a line shot to my eye with a softball and had to have laser eye surgery...."Soft" ball my butt.
21. I have a scar on my neck from where the doctors pulled me out with forceps when I was born. It probably hurt, but I don't remember.
22. My most prized possession is a shoe box filled with things that belonged to my dad and a letter he sent me the December I graduated from college, 6 months before he died. It was about life and what you choose to do with it.
23. I love to read and I am a really motivated student.
24. I have always LOVED dogs and I just got a puppy named Cali. She was abandoned with her litter mates in someone's driveway. She is fantastic.
25. I have worked with an after school program in an inner-city middle school in Fort Worth for 3 years and now I am the supervisor. I have a heart for inner-city kids.



There is one remaining family member on my Dad's side of the family-my Grandmother. She has outlived her husband and both of her sons and though she has been in and out of the hospital in many situations where the doctors were saying, "Call in the family," she has always come out on the other side. On Monday morning I was getting ready for work and I had these thoughts about Nanny, our name for her, out of nowhere. I often think about her, but not like this. I thought....any day my Mom could call me and tell me Nanny has passed. It could be one day it could be 5 years or even 10 years. She is old, alone in a nursing home with very little quality of life-her time could come any day and what would I do? I would have to fly home, find a last minute plane ticket and fly back to my hometown to be there for the funeral of this last powerful link to my Dad's life. Though so many things remind me of him, she is a strong reminder of him, particularily his death. It is hard, if not nearly impossible, to think of her and not think of his passing. So, I am thinking this that morning and then I call my mom after work that night and she tells me that Nanny has had a stroke. She is alive, but immobile on her left side. She can't talk, she can't swallow and her gaze is fixed into the distance. At this point, nobody knows what will happen-will she get better, will she get worse, will she live on like this for another 10 years? I was never very close to this grandmother, eventhough she lived in my hometown, she never really took an interest in getting to know, or pouring into the lives of her grandchildren. I really struggled, especially in my teen and college years, making the effort to be a good granddaughter, and I carry my own shame around for that. But the death of my Dad did something in me towards her. My heart began to ache for this woman for many different reasons. For one, I cannot imagine what it must be like to live like she lives, having lost everyone she cares about, yet living on with so little quality of life. If that were me would I be able to begin the day by claiming, "This is the day the Lord has made!" Would I be able to speak through a voice of peace, "God and all his deeds are good."

So many times I wonder what God is up to. We want to believe that there is an order to things, or at least one that makes sense in our minds. We feel better thinking that all things are black and white, that everything has a formula and that if we can just figure it out and follow it then everything will go well for us. The problem with that is the Bible. We have very few promises in this life about how things will go, in fact, the Bible promises us that if we follow Jesus things will be difficult for us. The one promise we do have, a promise in which there is no gray area, is that the Lord will never leave you or forsake you. His plans do have an order, but not an order as we would understand it. What he asks of us is faith-faith that says, "Thy will be done. Thy Kingdom come."



Post graduation is an interesting time in life. I am done with school yet I am in this sort of holding tank here in Fort Worth until I move onto the "next thing." I have spent a lot of time thinking back over my experience here; what has it taught me, how have I changed, was it worth it, was this what the Lord wanted? This 3 years here was definitely not the easiest time in my life. But if there is one thing that I know for sure, no matter how many times I go over it in my head, is that the Lord gave me the job I have now. I was not looking for a job like mine, in fact, I didn't even know it existed. I just knew I needed a job when I moved here. And one of my first nights there, through a series of weird connections, this guy I only met briefly, knocks on my door and says, "Hey, do you want a job?" I had no idea what I was doing or what it was about and when I look back on that I don't really even remember thinking about it or how I decided I would do it, I just know that I did and it has changed my life. This is my third year working at Morningside Middle School, an inner-city school in one of the roughest areas of town. This job has opened my eyes to the greatest single need in our country today. So many Christians and churches spend so much money going overseas or doing a service project one Saturday a year and calling that missions, and it is missions. But here is a mission field desperate for workers, for hope, for healing and they are right there on our doorstep and we basically all but ignore them. This job has really shown me that if churches want to reach their city, reach the schools. There is no place in any city with greater needs and a greater amount of people spanning different ages, races, geographical areas and socioeconomic status'.
I am feeling more and more, God's calling on my life to work in this type of environment. It is one of those things that has been right under my nose, but I have been ignoring it. I have been blind to it maybe. Sure, it would be fun to work with students in a church, going on mission trips, and lock-outs, etc, but is that what the Lord wants of me? I have loved the job that I have now. I love my kids and my heart aches for their stories and difficulties and I just do not think it would be possible to know there is a need out there so great and ignore it.
I do not know exactly what the Lord wants, because I do not exactly feel called to be a inner city school teacher, but the Lord is brewing something in my heart and I trust that he will open a door for me and show me what He wants. It is in this place, this middle school that I have seen what a difference it can make in the life of one kid, who would have no resources otherwise, have someone come along beside them and believe in them enough to pour into their lives.

Here are some pictures of some of my kids in Drama class. They had props and costumes that they could put on to act out their parts....HILLarious!


Raising a puppy

The life of puppy ownership is teaching me more than I ever imagined it would. It is one of those things that is exhausting and difficult, but in a good way. Tons of people want dogs and most of the idea is romanticized into this thing that will be all sunshine and rainbows and the "work" part is not figured into the equation. The reality of dog ownership is that while puppies are wonderful and they bring us so much joy, they are very much "work." My post-graduation experience has mostly been marked by time, energy and money spent towards raising a puppy. Several things happen when you get a dog, and some of these things would be the same if you got a husband or had children.
First, you realize that you and your wishes are no longer the only factor in play. There is someone else figured into the mix of your everyday life, someone that requires a lot of time and priority. You cannot simply do whatever you want, when you want. You must now figure in this other person or pet. You can't just go away for a weekend, or leave for the whole day (unless the pet is a cat of course....SO much easier than a dog!)
Second, the priority of figuring this other thing into your life requires you to check your selfishness at the door. This is a great thing, but a difficult one. Whether we want to admit it or not, most people are the center of their own universe and life is about them, their wants and needs. Spiritually, this is a great excercise for us. What do we learn in seclusion about ourselves or about others?....very little. I am convinced that having this puppy will make me a much better and more patient mother one day.
Third, the exhaustion of daily laying aside selfishness and dealing with a puppy or a husband or a child, can quickly reveal the underlying ugliness in oneself. Any stored up anger, impatience, selfishness....it all comes rising out. If a puppy, in a moment, can make me want to spit nails what would I be like as a mother? This is definitely helping me practice disciplining not of anger and frustration, and this is not very easy. When that puppy sinks her teeth into the back of calve or pees on the floor, or chews up some furniture, I have to calm the reaction that creeps up inside and discipline of stern leadership and not anger.
At the end of the day, after all the walks and meals and bathroom trips outside, the accidents and the successes, I have this little creature at my side that I am growing more and more fond of and more and more because of. It is a fun adventure and here are some more photos to prove it.

Cali and Henry after their baths

The pups kissing in the cart at Petco while they wait to get their shots

In their favorite chair in the backyard fighting over a toy they took outside

Cali taking over my desk at work. Taking her to work is not a good way to get things done.

Puppies so tired


More puppy

Driving the puppies to work.

Princess sleeping on a pillow

Henry loved sleeping in this plant. Needless to say the plant didn't survive the puppies.

Melanie's grandmother loved Cali and the feeling was returned.