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20 May 2008

A Retreat from Life

My retreat this weekend was to here......Boone. The first picture is the view from the decks on the back of Amy and David's house. The million bells are some that she bought at the farmer's market in Greensboro about a month ago. The other picture is the people I spent the weekend with. (and another important companion -Sadie-that you will see later...)

We began the weekend with a bluegrass competition. It was a lot of fun and definitely not something that you typically find in Greensboro. Saturday was a work day (after a visit to the farmer's market , of course). Amy went for a walk with a friend early in the morning and I opted for a morning with no alarm clock set. Amy and I created flowerbeds where there were no flower beds, planted an herb garden on rail flower pots, and climbed down hillsides in search of pretty flowers. David spent the day with power tools weed eating, tilling a garden area, and blowing leaves. At the end of the day we were all a bit exhausted but it was fun to see all that we had accomplished. The weather was great with the sun shining and the wind blowing (minus the occasional smell of cow manure).
Amy and David at end of day. Me and Sadie having serious conversation!

The ending of the day was one of the best. There is a swing hanging from the top deck on the back of their house. I watch the sun set while lying on the swing. I just layed there for a long time thinking about things. Friends, family, life, my past, my future, etc.... Just lying there listening to the birds singing, the leaves rustling from the wind in the trees, and Sadie eating a plastic Frisbee (which would later come back to haunt her). It was peaceful. For the first time in a long time my surroundings and my heart seemed to contain the same sense of contentment. In those moments it didn't matter where I lived, what my GPA was, who I was dating, where I would work, where I would go to school, or what my future held. It was about right then. Right that second. It was a gift that I appreciated because of the week I had had. It was a rejuvenation that God knew I needed. For a moment there was no one there but me and God. I was warm, I was cared for, I was protected, I was loved, I was cherished, and I was loved for me. Not for anything that I had accomplished just for being me.

I decided (or was persuaded) to stay the night. The next morning was a day that I could have rushed to maybe make it to church or take my time and enjoy the scenery. I decided to take my time and there are some neat pictures and stories as a result. Those are for another entry.
Whatever/Wherever your retreat is....Take it! Take time away. Even if it is a good book, a nice CD, and a hot cup of tea on the porch. (That's mine most of the time) Laurie came to play last night and her first response was "you look look rested/ refreshed." I feel it. It was much needed and I'm beginning to realize it was much deserved. So for me....take a moment out of your day and treat yourself to a few moments of fun or a few moments of peace.

My Walk to Class Today

A Smack from Above....

After a five and a half hour chemistry lecture yesterday my heart was not excited to be walking to my car this morning to begin another day of chemistry. As I passed under a "fruit" (if you can identify it please let me know) tree I heard a noise. There are always birds and squirrels ("limb rats" to some people) eating the fruit and playing in the tree. This tree is my favorite in the neighborhood. The leaf color is beautiful and in the spring it has the most amazing smelling flowers. I open my sliding glass doors to let the fragrance fill my apartment.

So anyway.... I heard a noise and so I looked up. Just as I looked up I watched a innocent "looking" squirrel throw a fruit my way. As I got smacked between the eyes I realized that it was aimed at me. Apparently I was too close to him for comfort.

I laughed. I laughed loud. My neighbor came out and laughed with me after hearing the story. The squirrel just sat there looking annoyed. In my small group we have a saying. "Remember, It's a choice...." Usually we are talking about attitude or perspective. You can be in a bad mood but you can also choose to change it. It is a extremely rare occasion when I am in a bad mood that I cannot get out of with lots of prayer and effort. The question is how often I choose to take that route and how often I choose to stew in my problems for a little while.

So my question to you today is..... How are you today? Could you choose to be better? Could you change your perspective and thus change your day for the better? Often when we work through our struggles and choose to hand it over to the Father we are a positive influence on those around us. What kind of influence do you want to be today?

Remember it's a choice...

18 May 2008

A thought to Ponder...

I will update the blog in the next day or so with info from this weekend. I am waiting because I would like to include pictures and this computer at the library does not allow that option.

This past week has been an interesting one. It was not at all what I expected my break from school to be like. When Amy sent me a text towards the end of the week inviting me for the weekend I was thrilled to be able to accommodate. On Friday afternoon I headed to Boone with an extended absence message on my phone that said "I am hiding from life for a couple of days. If you need me leave a message. I will check my messages periodically." It was nice to not be bound to the phone; to not be responsible for anyone but myself. It was a good weekend/a relaxing weekend with a very interesting ride back. I will update tomorrow or Tuesday. For now enjoy one of the quotes from my current book:

"As for accomplishments, I just did what I had to do as things came along." -Eleanor Roosevelt

-You never know what people will need you to do. You can only take each day as it comes. It may be a blessing to them. Each thing you do is an accomplishment whether big or small. Be sure to cherish the small as well as the large. God made the incredibly beautiful mountains and old oak trees but don't forget that His hands also designed the delicate designs on the wings of the smallest butterfly.

13 May 2008

A Quote to Live By...

" Read, every day, something no one else is reading. Think, every day, something no one else is thinking. Do, every day, something no one else would be silly enough to do. It is bad for the mind to be always part of unanimity." -Christopher Morley US author & journalist(1890-1957)

Once a week my friend Laurie comes to visit. We met years ago in the deep dark recesses of a photography darkroom at UNCG. Last night I convinced her to accompany me to the large library downtown so that I could fulfill the first sentence in this quote. I went in search of books written by Eleanor Roosevelt. There are many and each of them is large. I am starting with three. The first one, which I began at about one this morning, is the first of three compilations of newspaper columns she wrote while first lady.

The second sentence I think I have covered. Although I don't think that's always good. I'm pretty random. Sometimes my brain doesn't think at all and sometimes it thinks of so many things that I can't focus. Mainly I think of who I want to be, the type of person I want to be/become, the people I admire, how I want to be remembered, and what I want to be able to give to the world.

The third sentence I love and I have seen many examples recently. Among my friends silliness and embarrassment are a key ingredient with birthdays. It could be wearing a pageant crown with streamers, a silly hat with tassels, a feather boa, or a sash that says "Aged to Perfection."

This weekend I went home to Wilmington to be with family. We all gathered to celebrate my cousin's graduation from college. It's hard to believe that he is a college graduate. I remember when he was in diapers. I should also mention that he was also married in the last year. His little brother will be graduating from high school in a month. I now understand why my aunts used to say seeing me hit milestones made them feel old:) We attended his graduation at UNCW and then that evening it was barbecue and fun in the backyard at my aunt and uncle's. Amy and I grew up dancing in their living room with the music cranked up. That side of them has once again been unleashed. To watch my family do the electric slide and the mac arena is hilarious. Laughter is certainly present. It's nice to have a crazy family that has fun. (I wish I had some pics to post)

Enjoy life. Live life. Have fun. Be merry.

07 May 2008

Finally Finished

I am finally finished with this semester :) Woohoo! In some ways it's been a great semester and in others it's been rough. Having a part of my brain stop functioning at the end of the semester was not a highlight. But having a class with a fun atmosphere and a professor who truly loves what he does was great. I have now completed my last physics class for which I am not sad. I repeat... I am not sad. However, it was refreshing to be in a class where the prof genuinely cared about his students, the students cared about him, and everyone struggled through the topic with a smile on their faces.

My grades aren't so shabby although they aren't what I aimed for this semester. I now look forward to a two week break (now a week and a half), before it begins again with a summer class of Chemistry II. In seven weeks I hope to achieve an A in a class that normally takes a semester :) I'm glutton for punishment. I know. I know. However it will allow me to have an open space in the fall for a more interesting class.

For now it will be a week of laundry, sleep, planting flowers, and doing other things around the apartment I haven't had time to do. My one big goal for the break is to read a biography or autobiography on Eleanor Roosevelt.

03 May 2008

My Daddy

Yesterday we celebrated--my dad. We (Amy, David, and myself) came in for dinner, dessert, and fellowship. Birthdays are a big deal in our family. A lot of thought is put into the gift. Often we all go in together for one special gift. This year it was a large set of windchimes in the key of (D or A). My dad has been wanting a set for years. It was a joy to watch his face as he was able to hang them on the porch late lastnight and listen to them ring. For as long as I can remember we were able to choose our "birthday meal" and our "birthday dessert." Back in the day my choice was homemade fried chicken, mashed potatoes, and corn. ( I was all about the chicken and carbs.) Whatever we chose my mom would fix and it was our special day. We even have a red plate that reads "You Are Special Today." It's exciting to see the table set with the red plate at your place. These days I am blessed with the joy of being the one to fix the majority of the birthday dinner and dessert. It's nice to be able to do that for my family. (Although I don't fry anything---too accident prone for pots of hot grease :) ) My dad never wants to request anything specific, just something homemade. This year he suprised us by requesting lasagna. I scrambled to find a recipe and it worked out okay. (A recipe I need to jazz up) I chose carrot cake for the dessert because I knew it was one of his favorite desserts. It was fun to fix dinner while he was able to spend time outside doing the things that he enjoyed. And enjoying the beautiful weather.

My dad is a rather amazing man. God has always been first and his family second. We have always had everything that we needed, but with a lot of hard work on his part. He has been in jobs where he was really appreciated and jobs where he was unaccepted. With each position he learned something and persevered. He is a strong, kind, courageous, loving man with a gentle heart. I smile when I think of the fear of my male friends faces when they met my dad. He has a presence about him....once you know him you know he's a teddy bear. But you can't overlook his ability to make you take a step back if he wants you to.

Words cannot express how much my daddy means to me. He fostered my love for music (all kinds even classical) and my love for photography (behind the camera..not in front). He taught me to strive to be the best that I can and to hold myself accountable rather than comparing myself to others. He has shown me what kind of dad I want for my children and the kinds of attributes to look for in a husband. I have his eyes and a bit of his personality. I don't mind the comparison....He's a well loved, well honored child of God.

Amy and David's card to my Dad:

A Few Things We Know About Dads:

  • That ordering pizza is as good as cooking. (for my dad it's scrambled egg sandwiches)
  • That being smart and being quiet are often the same thing.
  • That naps can happen almost anywhere. (a talent I would like to obtain)
  • That respect is something you earn. That money is, too... (long hours)
  • That the most important of all the senses is a sense of humor.
  • That love is a verb.
  • That life is a journey.
  • And no, we're not there yet.

My card to Daddy:

Things To Tell My Dad:

  • He was right. (about pretty much everything.)
  • Money really doesn't grow on trees.
  • I was too listening.
  • Kids don't forget the good stuff.
  • Thanks for the lectures....
  • .....and the love.

Happy Birthday Daddy! You are loved. You are honored. You are respected. and You are cherished. -Christa Jeanette