Thursday, September 29, 2011

Lesson #1

Now that I'm not leading Young Life anymore, I have lots of new found time on my hands. Which to many people probably sounds like a great thing. But for me, this has probably been one of the hardest things.

Before this past month, I cannot remember the last time I had TWO free evenings in one week. Free as in, there is absolutely nothing planned when I get off work. One thing I know about myself is that I am very performance oriented. I feel best when I do a good job and am accomplishing something. Having a personality like mine makes it very hard to fully grasp the concept of grace. The idea that my salvation, my relationship with God is not based on what I do, but what God has done. 

I remember when I first understood the amazing truth that Jesus Christ died for my sins so that I could have a relationship with Him. My response: give my life to Him. If He did something so amazing for me, it was the least I could do for Him. I'm not saying this response was wrong. I will be the first to tell you it was the best decision I've ever made. But in that response, there is still the little part of me that can't accept something for nothing. When I look at all God has done for me, I have to give something back. 

And Young Life provided me a great way to do that. Nearly every day of the past 10 years, I could point to something I did, and feel good that I had "done something for God". Now don't get me wrong. I knew that the things I did weren't earning my salvation. But it felt good to feel like I was giving something back. 

I think one thing that complicates this issue is the culture of the church in America today. I've read plenty of statistics about how people who call themselves Christians don't give any more of they money or time away than those who don't claim to be Christians.  We see plenty of people showing up for church on Sunday, only to go about living their lives the other 6 days and 23 hours no different than anyone who doesn't believe. The Bible warns against luke-warm faith, saying in the end they will be spit out. And the absolute last thing I want to be is luke-warm. 

Leading Young Life helped me feel assured that I was not a luke-warm Christian, and that I was living out my faith. And I can't say I didn't see this coming, but stepping away from Young Life took away all that false security that my faith is real, and I am not luke-warm, because I no longer have that safe place where I can live out my faith.

While the Bible does warn against being luke-warm, Jesus also warns against a life of doing good things. 

21 “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. 22 Many will say to me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name and in your name drive out demons and in your name perform many miracles?’ 23 Then I will tell them plainly, ‘I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!’

Prophesying, driving out demons and healing are not enough. There is nothing we can do that is enough. Our salvation and our lives are about what Jesus did for us. Knowing God's will for our lives can only come from having a relationship with Him. I could lead Young Life for the rest of my life, but if I do not have a relationship with Jesus, it makes no difference. And when I was leading, things were getting so busy that my relationship with Him was suffering. 

I am confident that He called us away from the ministry so we could take some time and simply be with Him.  I am confident that there will be opportunities for future ministry that He is preparing us for right now. And so while it is hard to not see the students we love dearly as often as we would like, I am really beginning to believe that God loves me regardless of what I do for Him, and that my worth is not tied to what I am doing.

On a side note, we are currently involved in ministry through the rec program at our church, coaching a soccer team. However, because the time commitment for this is probably less than 3 hours a week, it doesn't quite fill the void left by leading. But, it has brought with it new challenges and lessons, which I  will share about next time. 

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Random Post

There's lots of things I would like to post about right now, but most of them are kinda heavy and I feel like I don't even know where to begin. So, instead, I will have a nice light-hearted post about things on my not-so-important-but-would-be-fun-to-do list.

1. Make chocolate cupcakes with this salted caramel buttercream frosting. I love salted caramel hot chocolate from Starbucks and I love buttercream frosting so this sounds like a win all around.

2. And while I'm at it, I would like to go to Starbucks and drink a salted caramel hot chocolate. I'll ask if they can put it in this cute glass:

3. Go to the pumpkin patch. I want to get cute little pumpkins and gourds to decorate my house with and some mums too.

4. Make little glitter pumpkins like I did a couple of years ago.

5. Use my Living Social to play a lot of Bible mini-golf. Anyone want to join me?

6. Go for a hike at Raven Run Nature Sanctuary once more leaves start changing color.

7. Hang out with my LCA peeps who I am really missing not seeing on a regular basis. This includes road trips to visit college girls and grabbing some fro-yo and catching up with the ones that are still in town. 

8. Sit down and actually write a blog post about all that God has been teaching me this past month. It's crazy that I've only not been a YL leader for a month, because it already feels much longer than that. And when I think about all that God has taught me in just this month, it helps me realize how much this was the right decision as hard as its been. 

Hopefully I'll be back with a good post soon. Until then, share with me what's on your not-so-important-but-would-be-fun-to-do list. I'm always looking for ideas :)

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

South Carolina in 24 hours

Happy Tuesday friends! Hope everyone had a great weekend! We had a super fun weekend that went by real quick, and involved two 6-hour car rides bookending 24 hours spent in Greenville, SC for our friend Shannon's wedding.

There were many fun aspects of this trip, the first being the car ride. We got to spend 6 hours with some of our best friends, catching up and just being together. Then, there was the wedding. To quote my friend Angie, it was"straight out of a pinterest-wish-you-had-this-wedding-board".   The ceremony was in a beautiful church, and the reception at a historic house in Greenville. I of course left my camera at home, after carrying it around in my purse for probably 2 months straight and not using it, and am now kicking myself. But luckily my friend Jenna took lots of pictures, posted them on facebook and is kindly letting me borrow a few.

I told my friend Katie, that I seriously felt like I was in a movie, except it was even better because so many of our close friends were there. It was so fun to road trip down to South Carolina, spend all weekend with friends, and have no agenda, other than to just hang out. We feel so blessed that we were able to go and celebrate with Shannon and Andy.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Lake Nolan

One last little bit of summer I want to document was a little girls weekend to my friend Courtney's lake house at Lake Nolan. We found a weekend where a few girls from Bible study were able to get away for a quick 24 hours. Her lake house is a little over 2 hours away from Lexington, so we loaded up Saturday morning and headed out. We got there around lunch time, ate some food, put on our swim suits and headed out the back with our floats down to the lake to soak up some sun.

Carli took this picture of my feet and I think it's such a cool picture!

So after a day of lounging on the lake, and a little boat riding and cliff jumping (although I just watched the cliff jumping - my suit did not fit incredibly well and there were lots of people around!), we got cleaned up and headed to Mammoth Cave for dinner. We ate at this little country restaurant, where Amish people started showing up by the dozens and surrounding us as we were finishing our dinner. I don't think they drive cars, so we couldn't figure out how they got there, as we didn't see any buggies parked outside. Luckily for us, this little gem of a store was right across the street from dinner.

And that is Carli outside wearing the headdress she bought. Tom's Tee-Pee sold lots of other awesome things like wolf tees, other awesome tees, plaques, confederate flags, Davy Crockett hats and much much more.

After our little adventure at Tom's Tee-Pee, we headed back to the house to have a bon fire and some margaritas. 

There was also a bachelor party going on a few houses up the road that was super loud that we tried to spy on very unsuccessfully, but of course we have no pictures from that because it was dark and a flash would have blown our cover. Here are a few other awesome randoms from the weekend.

There were various other hilarious things that happened, including a 20 minute saga of trying to kill wasps that got in the house, late night drama of being sure that someone was trying to get in the house, and all of the enjoyment that came from being out in the hills of Kentucky and all the interesting people and things you see that go along with that. 

And I think that's it for the last of summer things I haven't posted about but want to remember. I'm definitely sad that summer is over, but things are about to start picking up for us this fall, and hopefully I'll be around a little more on the blog to share about things as they happen and not 2 months later!

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

It's Beginning to Look alot Like....


After a week of rain an absolutely zero sunshine, the sun came out Saturday morning just in time for our first soccer game, {which we won 3-2 by the way} and the rest of the weekend was perfect - comfortable to wear jeans and a t-shirt. Not too hot, not too cold. Windows open. Perfection.

So fall soccer started, NFL started, UK had their first home game, it feels like fall is definitely here. And I think I'm more ready for it than I ever have been. It has been a hot summer. I realized there are a few summer things that I never blogged about that I want to write about before summer is too far gone.

The first is I had my 10 year high school reunion this summer. It was back in July, towards the end of a month of crazy traveling. We stopped in Columbus on our way home from a wedding in Pennsylvania. My best friend from high school, Amy, and her husband and Derek and I all got together for dinner beforehand. Neither of us has done a great job keeping in touch with people from high school besides each other, so we thought it would be fun to get to spend some quality time together before reuniting with folks we hadn't seen in years.

The reunion itself was a lot of fun. I was kind of nervous. Not really sure why, I guess you just never know if you'll end up going and it will be really awkward talking to people you haven't seen in such a long time. But for the most part it seemed like people were genuinely happy to see each other. Of course it was great seeing the people who were my closest friends, but I also loved talking with people that I wasn't really that good of friends with. It was kind of like the experience of going to the same high school gave us a bond, that 10 years later, it was just good to see each other, regardless of how close we were back in the day. It was really good to see everyone, especially since I no longer live in Columbus, and don't ever really run into people from high school.

I'll leave you with a few fun pictures from high school...enjoy!

Sophomore Homecoming

Sophomore Jingle Jam

Cross Country probably junior year

Senior Prom

Senior YL Camp

Disclaimer: I have no explanation or excuses as to what I was wearing or looking like in any of these photos.

Friday, September 9, 2011

On the Bright Side...

After my surgery I got what my periodontist calls a "stint" and I call a "retainer" to protect the roof of my mouth. The roof of my mouth is definitely the most sensitive area, so this "stint" has been a lifesaver. However, if you've talked to me on the phone or in person in the past week, you already know that I now sound like a middle schooler with a retainer. I thpeak with a nithe little lithp, and can't fully make my hard "C" or "K" thoundth. This has been especially awesome at work when I am on the phone and people can't understand what I am saying, and I have to explain why I sound like an awkward middle schooler.

In college, my friends Kari and Seth had this voice that they would use when they talked to each other. It was half lisp, half "I have too much saliva in my mouth". And all week I feel like that is what I sound like all the time.

Also, at YL camp this summer, there was a skit character named "Retainer Boy" who was nerdy, awkward and spoke with an awesome voice that was supposed to mimic that of a kid with a retainer. I sound like him now too.


Tuesday, September 6, 2011


I'm really hoping to get back to blogging more regularly. And now that I'm not leading young life I should have more time to. I already have so many thoughts, emotions, struggles going on in my mind and it's only been a week. When you stop doing something you have done that has taken up a significant amount of your time, energy and self for the last 10 years of your life, it is hard. I feel like I'm going through withdrawal. I almost don't know where to begin, so for right now I will leave it.

I hope everyone had a great long weekend. I got to have gum surgery on Thursday afternoon, so I spent my weekend recovering from that. It was recently brought to my attention that the gums covering my lower canine teeth had receded to the point that they really no longer existed. So it was recommended that I have a gingival graft. Basically they took tissue from the roof of my mouth, removed it and grafted it over my teeth where my gums were missing. I guess somehow the existing tissue will bond to it or something and I will have gums again. The procedure itself wasn't horrible, although it wasn't completely painless either. You have the option of being sedated, but I didn't really want to do that. Luckily they cover your eyes so you can't see what is going on, which I think is really smart, because when I saw the amount of blood that was everywhere after the procedure, I was glad that I didn't know that was going on during it.

Recovery hasn't been too bad either. They gave me a prescription for vicodin, and I took some before the numbness of my mouth wore off and once more before bed, but the next morning, the pain was really pretty minimal so I decided not to take it, and while there was definitely some pain for several days afterward, it wasn't unbearable. The worst part was the bleeding. For some reason in the middle of the night after surgery my mouth bled for a couple of hours. It was fine for a few days and then last night, more bleeding. I'll spare you the details, as it was pretty gross, but that was really the only complication. Overall, the procedure wasn't horrible. So if you every have to do it, don't stress. Just be prepared to eat lots of soft food and know that you're mouth will be a little sore for a few days, and expect a lot of bleeding.

So, that was my fun 4 day weekend. At least the weather wasn't too great, so I didn't feel like I was missing out on anything major. It was 100 degrees Friday and Saturday and then rained all day Sunday and Monday, making the couch not a bad option. I know I told a few of you about it before hand and I appreciate your prayers. This definitely was not as bad as I was afraid it was going to be.
Let me know what fun things you did over the weekend, I would love to hear about something much more fun that gum surgery!