Friday, July 30, 2010

The only thing that stays the same is that everything changes

I asked my mom the other day if I am 23 or 24, because I honestly couldn't remember. I think I've been telling everyone 23. However, my mom informed me that in fact I am 24. Geez. 24 years old. Seems so young right now, but I remember when it seemed so old. And not old as in it was time to head to the nursing home and play with oxygen tanks..but old as in mature and settled with life figured out. If you would've asked me at 14 where I saw myself in 10 years, I would have given you this list:



-high paying job

-living in my hometown

That's honestly probably all I would have known to say. I didn't know there was more to life than raising a family. Although I may not be living out the American Dream I set for myself in 9th grade, I am living out a dream I never even imagined. I have been so blessed to meet new people, travel to new destinations, and embark on new journeys all because I didn't get married and start having kids. Now, one day marriage and kids will be great. Perhaps for some people that is great at 24..or even younger. But for me, it'll be great much later in life.

What got me to really thinking about how old I am was that I was thumbing through old pictures earlier. I saw pictures of my friends from high school and that just seems like eons ago. I was really just a kid then, although you wouldn't have convinced me of that then. But the pictures that really got to me were from college. I thought about the hundreds, literally, of friends I made. Yet at the time I didn't think I had any. And how many places I got to go. Yet at the time all I wanted to do was go home. College was just 2 years ago, but it gets farther away everyday. I started thinking about what life would be like if I went back to UCA now...2 years later. All my friends have graduated. Most are married, many with kids. They have houses and careers. What if we were all taken for a day and put back into college? Would we change the person we hung out with that day? I mean..knowing what we know now..about how each of us have molded ourselves...what would we change?

I love going back to Conway. It's neat to see everyone, sure, but it makes me feel accomplished. I didn't spend many evenings out in Faulkner County. I rushed through homework in order to go home every weekend. I probably didn't enjoy college as much as I could have...but I am sure enjoying where it got me. But if I could go back...for one day...what exactly would I do differently?

I wouldn't take for granted my summer job at Camp War Eagle, working with hundreds of people my age for an entire summer. I would get extra marinara in the Student Center, because I never spent all of my DCB anyway. I'd shoot another music video with my roommates, despite it being our biggest nightmare today. I'd wear just as many t-shirts...cook a little more...stay off of Facebook (ok..maybe not)...laugh with my best friend in the entire world...and have 2 catch phrase nights per week instead of just 1. And I definitely wouldn't love as fast, but I'd love a lot deeper.

Ironically, I got to go to my alma mater this past weekend. And I did spend time with Katie...just laughing and playing. To top that off, we spent time with some other old friends. I got to have my one day back.

Five years ago I was a sophomore in college. I met this young man who just really caught my eye. He was so stinkin' cute...and I couldn't believe he wanted to hang out with me. That lasted for a week or 2, really, that's all. I remember it like it was yesterday, and I'm not so sure why. I was sitting at the new fountain, and I got a text message from him. He said he was going to go back to his ex-girlfriend. I saw him a few days later...and for some reason it just tore my heart out. I suppose because I was young and naive and thought everyone should love me like my momma does. Or maybe I did like him a lot. I couldn't tell you. But it broke my heart.

He hung out with Katie and me last week. Five years makes a world of difference. We're both grown now...with steady jobs, houses, and bright futures. When I was driving home, I started thinking about the irony of that situation...and how 5 years changed both of us dramatically. How it's changed all of us...every single friend I made. Sometimes it is fun to go be carefree again. But at the end of the day I yearn the most to come home to my house so that I can prepare to be a better teacher than I was the day before. Life's about changing, nothing ever stays the true those lyrics are! We have to keep thrusting forward in life...turning the page to see the next chapter unveiled. I'm not too sure what God will write in the next few days, weeks, or years. I suppose that's the exciting part! I never thought in a million years God would put me face to face with someone who hurt me so long ago. And never in a billion years would I have expected to meet that person with such different eyes. But the most overwhelming thing to take in is that never in a trillion years would I have guessed that as much as I've changed, he's been molded even more. And while all of our circumstances and feelings have changed in 5 years, I believe some things never change...

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Life is a Highway

I helped Zach and Leslie pack up their last tidbit of stuff tonight.

I teared up when I got in my 4Runner. I thought about the fun times we had over there...the catch phrase games and dinners cooked. I wish more nights could've been had..just so much going on that it was hard to do so.

Zach and Les are pretty much a power couple. Law school. Med school. Les and I were talking about it tonight. How crazy is it that they met in high school and are now moving to Little Rock to receive extraordinary educations? I'm pumped for them. I can't wait to go see them...which will be next week! And of course, we're hitting up some Hog football when the Pigs play in LR.

Looks my life will now be on a highway. I hate that drive...

Saturday, July 10, 2010

This thing..called love...I just..CAN'T HANDLE IT!!

Give me a minute here. Maybe even give me an hour. Because I'm about to unleash on this notion of marriage and love..and I might hurt someone's feelings. Those feelings may be yours. But you know what? That's okay with me right now. Someone's toes need to be stepped on so that their whole heart doesn't get crumpled in five years when they realize their marriage is hog wash. Yeah, I just said that.

I think every weekend this summer I've been invited to a wedding. It seems to have been my sole purpose of living for the past few years: attend bridal showers, bachelorette parties, weddings. And I'm so over it. Just plain done with it. I guess it'd be one thing if I felt that the couples going into these marriages were so crazy in love with Jesus that they were clinging to Him for survival. However, I just don't see that happening. What I do see happening is the inflation of divorce rate.

Since I was 16 I've been a bridesmaid in at least 6 weddings that I can count off the top of my head. That's not including the grueling tasks of cake server, guest book attendant, etc. eh stinking cetra I've been conned into doing. I've noticed a pattern in these "few" years I've spent slaving away for bridezillas: a wedding apparently isn't good enough anymore. What happened to the days when people got married because they loved each other and wanted a marriage? Apparently those days were thrown out the window and replaced with this attitude of "never having enough showers or parties and the wedding is just icing on the cake for all the fun stuff we get to do before we decide if we like each other or not."

It's come to my attention that couples are having more and more parties and showers to celebrate their marriage. That's ludicrous. I didn't stutter---ludicrous!!! The wedding celebrates the marriage...which celebrates your lives together. You don't need an engagement party to celebrate your marriage. That's what your wedding does. You don't need 15 wedding showers getting gifts from girls you knew your freshman year of college and just reconnected with on Facebook. That's what your wedding does (if you have a big one, of course, like too many people have). And you certainly don't need to have bachelor/bachelorette parties to celebrate your "last night of singleness." Although that's not what your wedding does, ha, you're certainly not single. You have promised your love to your fiance. It's not like you wake up on a Saturday morning (or Thursday if you're Amish) and decide you want to get married. Okay, so some people might do that. But not most. Typically there's an engagement period in which the couple is excited about the too many festivities going on to truly appreciate their time of non-physical commitment. Ha. Enjoy that one.

Let's just face the bitter truth so that I can go to bed. Or at least so I can stay up later and do something more meaningful like texting..oh, I'll have a rant for that one too one late Friday night. People don't know what love is anymore. They know what lust is. And they fall madly into it with some person of let's hope the opposite sex that is close to equally in lust with them back. They get married. Life "starts." (I HATE THAT SAYING.) All of a sudden nothing is holding the two lives together. Perhaps it's different religious views. Or maybe it's different passions. Or..hold that thought..maybe it's the fact that they don't even know that person. That's a novel thought. Get to know someone...really know someone. (And by the way...I hate when someone gets married and all of a sudden doesn't know what to do when they are alone for a miserable one night. Get over it...)

You know what I see happening all around me? I see a bunch of grown up kids trying to be like the other grown up kids they are close to running off and getting married so that they can have cute pictures and a pretty white dress. And I can say that, because I almost did the same thing. Love? Love was everything my fiance did for me. It was having someone to spend time with. And it was about thinking he had the cutest booty in town. Sure, he was a nice guy. Sure, he took decent care of me. But is that what love really is? C'mon on. We both knew we were doing what was expected of us because it was "time to get married." By the grace of God we were both saved from a disastrous marriage. I'm sure we would've stayed married, because that's what was expected of us..and we had plenty of fun together. But there's more to marriage than just having fun. There's having serious too. It's not just about laughing together, it's about crying together too. It's not just about worshiping together, it's about praying together too. It's not just about doing life together, it's about building a life together too.

A marriage partner is not just someone to keep you company. Get a dog. A roommate. A friend. A marriage partner is someone you vow to God that you will never leave nor forsake. Someone you will love and cherish through thick and thin. Those are some mighty big shoes to fill. And you just promised them to a mighty big God! Time to reevaluate that novel idea of yours to walk down the aisle to that man you like but maybe wasn't your dream? Or stand at the other end of the aisle as that girl that doesn't quite meet all you ever wanted but sure is pretty walks with her dad to meet you? Those may be some tough ideas to swallow. But I can rest assured they're easier than that broken glass of divorce that will be shoved down your throat.

In all the weddings I've been to (and they are countless), I can tell you of ONE that was my dream. Not because the guy she was marrying was just darling. But because the guy she was marrying pursued her in such a God-fearing way. He went to God for her. And you know what happened then? She just blossomed into this beautiful young woman who had eyes for her man only, and she respected him above all else. How does that work, you wonder? It's called the image of God...

Maybe you're reading this and you are a little frustrated that you're going to all these weddings and never catching the bouquet or garter. Don't you want the most amazing love story written by the Author of creation? Let Him pen it for you. Maybe you're reading this and you are getting married yourself. Save your friends and family the trouble of a gazillion things focused on you. You yourself focus on the person you're about to commit to spend the rest of your life with. Love him or her first and foremost. And I promise, pinky promise no crosses count, that you won't need all the hoopla. You'll have the hoopla on your wedding night. (And I honestly didn't mean that in the bad connotation it was probably just taken. But if the shoe fits...)

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Oh, the irony...

An update from my last example on my last post. Tonight I went with my friend Grant to Bogg Springs to see our friend Jake and my old youth group I helped lead while back home in Ozark. It was amazing. But you won't believe this. It was raining (same incident started building right there...), and so I was extra-cautious. Naturally. One of the men from my old church spotted me, and he says, "Avery, it's raining. Don't fall!!! hahhaha." Hardy har har..he thinks he's funny. I walk into the tabernacle, and do you know who is playing the worship? THE SAME BAND!!! I wanted to die and go to Heaven right then. It was like a bad omen. Except you know what? I didn't fall this time. I had kids running up and hugging me...but I stood my ground. And I didn't fall! haha. It sure was nice to see their beautiful faces. One of my boys, Jarrett, spotted me first. He didn't say a word to the other boys...just walked off and came and grabbed me. Then the other boys saw who I they ran over and tackled me. I think that might have been when the tears started flowing. Then I was standing inside talking to some of my girls, and someone puts their arms around me and wouldn't let go. I finally knock him off of me to see who it is..and it's of my precious ones!!! Not the one Grant and I went to see..but one of the ones from the youth group. And sweet Ty saved me a seat and wouldn't let me out of his sight until I promised I would sit by him. I miss home. I'm extra close to those boys, because I taught their Sunday school class when I was in high school. After college I was their youth leader, and I had some of them in class last year. So we're tight, to say the least. It was great to be around my family and enjoy an evening of service with them!!!! Although I wanted to question God's reason for taking me away from them, I know without a doubt I'm where He has called me to be for this season of my life. Now I get to enjoy two church families...two great youth groups...two wonderful ministries. I hope we can join with them and do activities together in the near future! Okay. Sleep deprivation. Goodnight.

Monday, July 5, 2010

Why do awkward things always happen to me?!

If you read my blog, and you don't know probably think I'm a bore. I don't give a good perception of my life on here. A lot of that is due to the fact I'm not really sure how to do this blog thing just yet. And the other part of that is because sometimes I myself even get a little embarrassed by the stupid, yes--I just said stupid and meant it, things that happen in my life. Bad thing? I usually provoke it. So I figured I could spend just one post telling you how awkward my life is. Okay, for the first example: a lady I go to church with is just so precious. She doesn't live in our town, so she's just getting to know some of the people in our church. We text sometimes, but I had lost all my numbers a few weeks ago. Well, she sent me her number so I could text her again. Cool. The weekend before Crowning Creation, I sent her a text asking her if she was coming to the banqet. We had a conversation (remember this, a conversation) via texts asking if she was coming. Although her sister was going to be in town, I think she was really considering coming. So Monday I sent her a text asking if she was coming. She never really responded, but I looked for her anyway. She didn't come. A few days later I send her a message telling her I love her and that Mom and I are praying for her. This lady finally tells me I have the wrong number...I mean, really? She had had CONVERSATIONS with me!! Who does that?! hahaha. But this new lady and I shared sweet words to each other...and I hope she was a little encouraged anyway. ?! Second example: I admit. I think Manny Pina is hott. He's the catcher for the Naturals. Now, I LOVE BASEBALL. Baseball has to be my favorite sport of all time. But #9...he's smokin'!! ha. My friend and I decided to hit up another Naturals game the other day. We were told by this couple in front of us that some of the wives usually sit by our seats. Oh, whose wife? I wondered. MANNY'S WIFE!! Not awkward...I just thought he was cute. a Venezuelan, pretty skin kind of cute. His wife sits in front of me with another one of the wives. Now, I had been told they don't speak English. So what do I do? I speak Spanish of course. You must be thinking, "Wow, this chick is bilingual." I'm not. At all. Before I spoke to the Venezuelan girls, I told my friend Spanish was my minor in college. It was. For a year. My freshman year. I must have turned Pentecostal that day...because somehow I really did talk to the chica bonitas. A full-fledged conversation...3 different times! Blow my own mind. They invited to me to a fiesta with the players the next day. Just too bad I already had plans. And for the last that sticks out so bold in my mind that I just have to tell you about it. As the youth leader in my first church, we took our kids to Bogg Springs. I played and praised and all sorts of stuff with the kids. Now, my kids were pretty cool. But they had one issue: they always wanted to hook me up. Ugh! What I get for being single and in youth ministry, right? Just so happened at The Bogg that year, a band of young men led our worship. I admit, the guy was attractive..but I didn't want to go there. At all. My kids insisted I HAD to meet this guy. Well, we all got ready for service that night. Just so happened I brought this little black skirt and some black flip-flops to wear that night. Cute, right? Well, not so cute when I walked in and the guy was just staring me down. I smiled politely. He smiled back. Ughh...don't do this..I kept thinking. I kept walking and looked back. He was still looking at me smiling. So of course I'm not paying attention to where I'm going. And I really wasn't expecting a water puddle to be IN the sanctuary. About the time I turn around and notice the puddle is about the time I was laying in it. I didn't see the guy from the band the rest of the week. Probably because I was avoiding him..but maybe because he was avoiding me too!! haha. Better luck next time. I get to go down to Bogg Springs this week and see my old youth group. I'm ecstatic to see their beautiful faces. I'll watch out for water puddles this time...and I'll be sure to wear something...ANYTHING..besides a skirt! :)