Tuesday, February 23, 2010

ever the same

It's days like this that make me thankful for the people in my life. A VERY early morning, followed by a work day where I couldn't seem to keep my head on straight was ended with a migraine and more tough news from the family.
I'm learning though that in each of these situations, I'm being pushed to understand more about myself and my purpose. I'm finally understanding that this is a continual process and the hits will continue to come. With that said, I'm using this particular post as an opportunity to thank a few people and groups that have really made an impact and taught me something in the last few months. There are many many more of you than what's below, but this particular group really is like family...

Mom and Herb- It's hard to know where to begin, but I do know this. The two of you have taught me what it means to love without question, to always support and to always have hope. You have seen me through so many difficult times and I have learned more just from watching both of you than you will ever realize.

Merp- My second mom. You are always there to back us up and to give great outside perspective. My childhood would not have been the same without you and Drew and Don has been the icing on the cake. I love you guys.

Fowler, Perry, Davis family- I love every minute I get to spend with all of you. You all are definitely the biggest support system I have and I couldn't be happier to have aunts, uncles and cousins like all of you. I really don't know many people that have the great opportunity to be as close with their family and it's truly a blessing to have all of you because you each contribute something different.

The girls and PK- SDC, Kim, Stacie, Amanda... You have been my piece of mind, sanity and comic relief. All of you mean SO much to me and I hope you know that. You have provided me with everything from a hand in moving to a place to live. I really would be homeless without most of you! You are my Boone family and I love ya'll so so very much.

Alumni ladies- What a dynamic and compassionate group of people! Each one of you brings something completely different to the table which is why that office is by far one of the best on campus. You are definitely a part of my Boone family too and I hope to stay in touch with all of you for many many years to come.

Annie and Doc- You have provided me with the opportunity to come home every day with a true feeling of contentment. What you have done in the last few years has literally inspired and changed the lives of so many people and I am so honored to be a part of it. Doc, your passion for others is contagious and has a great impact on the success of the organization. You also have an incredible family and I'm so excited to get to know them more. Annie... seriously, you are superwoman. I wake up every morning excited to come to work with you. Thank you so much for being patient with me, you are a great teacher. And yes, you're both UNBELIEVABLE!

Mary E.- You're an ocean away and I miss you like crazy. Thanks for being my best friend for TEN years!! I'm so excited about your life in London and I appreciate the fact that you continue to make such an effort to keep in touch. Love you and the Claudster tons.

Cornerstone family- Your thoughts, prayers and encouragement have pushed, challenged and forced me to grow more in one year than I have in my entire life. You have had such an incredible impact on my faith and I want you all to know how much you still mean to me. You are an amazing and inspiring group of people and I am blessed to know each one of you.

Monday, February 15, 2010

walk down this mountain

Alright, I know I've referenced A Million Miles probably one too many times, but I won't apologize, it's incredible. I actually finished the book, but have since gone back through in an attempt to really take note of the parts that had an impact on me. There's on paragraph toward the end of the book that I found to really speak to some of the struggles I witness too much in those close to me.

"I don't ever want to go back to believing life is meaningless. I know there are biochemical causes for some forms of depression, but I wish people who struggle against dark thought would risk their hopes on living a good story - by that I mean finding a team of people doing hard work for a noble cause, and joining them. I think they'd be surprised at how soon their sad thoughts would dissipate, if for no other reason than they didn't have time to think them anymore. There would be too much work to do, too many scenes to write."

Now, I don't struggle with dark thoughts or depression on a daily basis, but I think we all have those moments were it seems the world is against us and we can't seem to reach the surface or break even. I've also experienced how devastating depression can be second-hand by walking through it with others. It is a struggle and a fight every day for those that suffer from it. However, I think setting your mind to do satisfying work really is half the battle. When I think of the people in my life who are sad and unsatisfied a majority of the time, I realize that these people's lives would radically alter if they would focus on something outside of and bigger than themselves. I'm not saying everyone should quit their job or move or end relationships, I am saying that finding something everyday that gives you purpose, reason, happiness is ESSENTIAL. In fact, I'm willing to bet that most people get more gratification out of doing one small act of kindness every day for a complete stranger than they do when they open their paycheck at the end of the month. If you're saying, "No, I like the paycheck," then I strongly encourage you to step back and take a look at what's really important in your life. That said, find that little piece of happiness or gratification in something bigger than you or what's immediately around you, and invest enough of yourself in it so that you have "too many scenes to write."

"If a blistered hand is what you've given, then you've been given all you'll ever need to know..." Bebo Norman

Friday, February 12, 2010

fire and rain

Yesterday was in fact, a great day. Because of our nice little blizzard, I got to sleep in, drink and entire pot of coffee and then go in to a job that I absolutely love more and more every day. I came home for a low key night with my roommate because I've been feeling a little under the weather. I was seriously having one of those moments where I thought, "It doesn't get much better than this."

Granted, it was a simple, normal day, nothing notably different than any other, but I appreciated that about it. I then got a phone call late last night that turned that around a little. I won't go into detail, but I received some very sad and disheartening news, news I had also been expecting for the last few months. Needless to say, I lost a lot of sleep last night, not because I was necessarily upset, but because I was trying to make sense of it all.

Then I remembered a conversation I had with a friend just earlier that day. He asked me why Romans 5:3-5 was one of my favorite passages of scripture. I told him that I found this passage to be a great reminder that no matter how difficult our suffering or pain, we have to trust that God is producing something great out of us. Often times, we won't know what that is until long after the fact, but it is always part of his plan and that in itself is comfort to me. And in case you aren't familiar, may I introduce you to Romans 5:3-5...

"Not only so, but we also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character, and character, hope. And hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out his love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom he has given us."

So, I'll approach today with purpose, knowing that I don't need to make sense of things right now, but trusting that they're happening to produce something within me, and perhaps within the person that they impacted even more than me.

"Ask me now I'll give you the reasons my love with not fade, through the fire and rain..." -Mat Kearney

Friday, February 5, 2010

all i want

There's something I've been thinking about a lot the last few days...Openness. Obviously over the last few weeks I've been really trying to take an in depth look at my approach to life, to people, to relationships and most importantly, to my faith. My faith is something I will never shy away from talking about when approached, and so I find that sometimes that spills over into other aspects of my life, leaving me to ask if I'm too open with others?

I think the people I've learned from the most have been the people who have really given me a chance and let me in. So here's my question- why can't we all just be honest and open with each other? I know many of us often times feel like we have something to hide. Perhaps it's a secret or a past that we're ashamed of, or maybe we're afraid of getting hurt yet again if we let another person into our life. That last one I definitely understand. I think many of us get to a point after suffering loss more times than we can count where we figure there's no point in letting others in and we build a wall.

Here's the thing though, what's the point of living life if you can't share it and enjoy it with others? That's why God gave us friends, family, loved ones, and even our furry friends. So here it is... I'm over building walls. It would be a shame to shut someone out that may end up making an incredible impact on your life.

"Nothing's so cold
As closing the heart when all we need is to free the soul..." Toad the Wet Sprocket