Thursday, April 08, 2010

Happy Easter

No, this is not a note to wish you all a Happy Easter (though I really hope you had one!). It's to tell you about my happy Easter weekend. We left Thursday to visit Andi's family in Mississippi. We flew down to Jackson and got there right before dinner time. Andi's aunt, Carr, and her two boys, Mason and Barrett met us at the airport along with Andi's grandmother, Grammy. We all went out to Japanese for dinner and then played with the boys before helping with bathtime and bedtime. Then we stayed up a bit chatting.
The next day, we met up with Carr's confirmand (a girl she's mentoring as she goes through Confirmation) and had some coffee at a local shop called Cups. Then it was pedicure time!! We had a blast taking over this nail shop and getting our nails did! Then we stopped for lunch at a Panera-esque place before heading by Walmart to buy some bubble supplies (including 2 bubble guns for Andi and I!!!) for the boys for Easter. Then we headed back to the house and Grammy headed to her home. Then Andi and I took over "mommy duty" (picking up the boys, dropping off prescriptions for Barrett and picking up dinner and the prescriptions) while Carr was super-productive at the house, getting it ready for having family over on Sunday.
Saturday, we got all fancied up and went to Vicksburg for Andi's cousin's graduation luncheon at an ante-bellum home called Anchuca. It was such a pretty house and I got some great pictures. Afterwards, we dropped Carr off at Grammy's to take a catnap and Andi and I drove around Vicksburg. We saw the bridge across the Mississippi river and crossed into Louisiana for a hot minute. Afterwards, Carr left and we spent some time with Andi's Grammy and Grampy and one of her uncles (and Grampy's mean Chihuahua, Beegee). Then Grammy took us out to eat for catfish at a place called Rowdy's. It was delicious! We had a relaxing evening, reading some of their Bible trivia book, which was very interesting. Andi woke up early the next day to go to sunrise service with her Grampy while Grammy and I were rank heathens and slept in. But not for too long, we went to a pancake breakfast at their church before Sunday school. Grampy taught their Sunday school class and Andi and I got to sit in and join the discussion. It was good times and I got some great shots of Grampy teaching (he was loving it!). At church, we sang some good ol' hymns which I was loving. Then we headed back to the house to change and get things ready to head to Carr's. Grampy tried to get me to give Beegee his meds while he held, but seeing as how he's protective of Grampy, I didn't think that was a good idea. We headed to pick up Grampy's brother Nunkey and headed over to Carr's. At Carr's, we had lunch with Carr's husband James' family (sister, mother, father and stepmother and their families). Then we played with the kids in their inflatable bouncer and the bubbles. The boys had a ball and were wiped out. Barrett fell asleep not 2 seconds after his bath. The next day, our last day, we packed up everything and then James drove us all to meet Carr for lunch before Carr drove us around to a few local shops to look around. Then we headed to the airport, only to find out that the plane that was supposed to leave from Atlanta to pick us up in Jackson and go back to Atlanta for our connecting flight, ended up having mechanical problems and we needed to be re-routed. Our final itinerary sent us to Dallas/Ft. Worth, then to Greensboro/PTI, they couldn't get us directly into RDU (holidays, you know). In our layover at DFWwe saw a famous actor coming out of the restroom (he probably thought we were a little creepy, but still, awesome!!). It was the guy who played Mahoney on "Prison Break." We were picked up by our friend Jennifer and got home around 1 am Tuesday morning (which made for an interesting first day back).
All in all, I had a terrific time and it felt like a real vacation. I had some great experiences. Thank you to everyone who made it possible, by either driving us to or from the airport, switching days off, watching the house and Ducky for us, and especially for hosting us and treating us well and showing us (well, me. Andi'd been there before) around Vicksburg and Jackson. Thank you!!!

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Spring Break

Yes, I had a "spring break." I know you're thinking, "But Jennifer, you don't go to school." Well, I took time off of work for NCSU's spring break so I could go on a mission trip. It blows my mind that most people spend their entire spring break sleeping late and eat lots of food, or vacationing somewhere warm where they...sleep late and eats lots of food. It seems a little selfish, though I could see how people need to take a mental break after school and whatnot. Anyways, I thought I'd blog about our time there so everyone who couldn't come and everyone who was praying for us would know how it went.
We left late Saturday afternoon, most of us in the church van and those who were coming back early driving separate. We made pretty good time getting down there, despite a failed attempt at stopping for dinner at South of the Border (what place in this day and age doesn't accept credit cards?). At least people got to see this landmark. So, we got there late Saturday night, meeting at Rob and Jacob's house, two guys that are involved with the church down there (Rob is the pastor, Robbie McAlister's son). We found out where we would be staying (well, the girls did, the boys were all staying at Rob and Jacob's) and Miranda, Christine and I headed out to find an open grocery store so we could buy the groceries we would need for the few days we were down there (not an easy task at 10:30 at night). We ended up at walmart and spent easily the most money I've ever spent on groceries (we were buying for 20 people for 3-4 days) which was quite a feeling. Then we dropped the groceries off and went to our respective houses. I didn't get a good look at the house the first night since it was late and I went straight to bed, but let me tell you how gorgeous this house is. Rob and Jacob live on the outskirts of this historic area in Columbia. 2 of the 3 girls houses are in the historic district and are amazing. Our house was white with a beautiful etched glass door that had the palmetto symbol on it ("1!"...inside joke). The family that hosted us were super-nice. The wife is an artist and has a room that's her studio with a lot of her work in it. She homeschools their youngest daughter who was almost 15. Their oldest daughter is a USC alumna and the middle daughter is taking a break from CIU. They had a lot of artwork and pretty things in their house. The room we stayed in had a very comfortable bed and their porch was so pretty I just wanted to sit on it all day. They live on a tree-lined street which is just enthralling. I could totally see myself living in a house like that one day.
Sunday we had breakfast cooked by one of the Riverbend members and then we shared testimonies before heading all the way out to the church plant called River's Edge. They've started the church in a little community center in the gym. They had quite a few people though, and lots of kids. I actually only got to enjoy the first song of the church service because they needed people to help with the nursery. So, Bekah and I went to help them out. I got to go to the 3-6 year olds' class where we watched a video and then had a snack and played with play-doh and then colored. It was a blast! After church we went home to make lunch and then most headed to USC campus to have quiet times and then play ultimate. We got a few guys to join us at ultimate and it was a lot of fun. The other group went to a children's home to help out. Then we headed home and got ready for dinner and homegroup at one of the church family's house. We had awesome worship time led by Rob and Madison and then Robbie gave a talk on spiritual warfare. Then we headed home to rest up for the next day.
Monday, we had breakfast and then learned the rest of the bridge diagram (or all of it, for those who weren't in the outreach class) . Then we headed out to USC campus to do surveys and try to get into conversations with people about God. We saw 2 people saved, one being the very first person Loren shared the bridge with! It was such a God thing, He was leading us to the right people. Then we got back together to share and eat lunch before going out again in the afternoon. My partner was Jimmy and he did a great job acclimating to the survey and initializing with people. It was a strange experience being the "trainer" when I've just been learning the diagram myself this semester. Anyways, then we headed home to make dinner. After dinner, Emily, one of the girls who goes to Riverbend, invited us out dancing! She used to be a professional dancer and actually was in Dancing with Wolves when she went to school at NCSU. A group of us went to this bagel shop that they convert into a dance floor after hours on Mondays. We were a little intimidated at first because they were all doing dance moves most of us had never even seen before (the Lindy Hop and swinging) but they were very patient with us and taught us some new dance steps. One guy was just like Matthew Staples, so we called him Columbia Matthew. His name was actually Nate and he was a great lead and very nice to all of us beginner/novices. After we had danced a while, the SCers got us in a group and taught us the Big Apple, a dance that was started right there in Columbia! It was a lot of fun, we had a blast learning the different moves (it's a "call" circular dance). Then we went home and slept.
Tuesday, my last day, was more of the "same." We ate breakfast and then went out on campus again. Jimmy and I seemed to have less opportunities on Tuesday, but our last conversation was very encouraging. She seemed to understand and said she had already done what we had described. She also told us that she was learning about the tactic we use to get into conversations (surveying and then asking if we could do the diagram as a follow-up) in her psychology class. It's called "foot-in-the-door" tactic. So that was pretty cool. We met again for lunch, after which me and my carload had to head out. I drove Bekah, Anthony, and Peter back. Anthony and Peter slept most of the way back, and Bekah slept a lot of it. So it was peaceful and I could think on the recent events.
Thank you for all who prayed for us!! God surely blessed our trip. Our whole group seemed to really cement, even though most of us had never met or really spend a lot of time together. And the fruit we saw on campus really encouraged not only us who were sharing our faith, but I'm sure the church that is trying to start a campus ministry.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010


I've had a lot of things bouncing around my head as of late and I need to get them out. In light of that February holiday (which I'm generally not a big fan of, and no, it's not just because I'm single), the recent sermons, and what God has been talking to me about, I need to talk about relationships/marriage. I'm a firm believer that we, as Christians are called to be set apart (Romans 12:2, John 17:14-18), sanctified for His purpose. There is no greater opportunity to display this uniqueness than with relationships, both romantic and platonic.
It blows my mind when my friendships blow people's minds. I was having a discussion with some co-workers the other day about how some companies have policies against "fraternization" between employees. Not just dating, but they discourage hanging out outside of work or going to lunch together. One girl was a fan of these policies, citing times when she's had to approach these friend/coworkers and call them out on something they were doing wrong at work. She stated that people eventually use what they find out about you outside of work to stab you in the back in the office. I was legitimately confused as to how this would happen. My obvious reaction was "well, just don't do anything they can use against you." It seemed so easy. I have to constantly remind myself that not everyone's a Christian and even then, not every Christian has their head screwed on right. I just don't get how everyone doesn't have friendships like mine. Brothers who care about me and who see me as a real sister. Sisters who see me as partners, not competition. I've gotten to the point where I think all relationships are going to be that way and I'm really hurt when they are not. Why is it not natural for some people to think "who can I reach out to?" or "who can I have mentor me?" Why don't all Christians see church as a place to serve and see Jesus lifted high, not a meat market where they can scout for spouses and then stop serving? Christianity is NOT just something you put on your resume! Church is not just an "interest" you list on your Facebook. It's commitment, devotion, something you give your life for, not just something you do in your spare time. Too many times I've seen people really excited for Christ, then they get the eye of someone and suddenly Christ is having to share the spotlight. Or worse, Christ goes backstage. I will state here and forever, I am NOT serving Christ to make myself look like a better wife-potential or to draw attention to myself so some guy is attracted to me. I'm NOT doing it because it's just something to do until I get married. I'm in it for the long haul. And even if I never get married, I will not feel my life was spent in vain. And, until God tells me for sure that there is someone he wants me to marry, or shows me that one, I will try my darndest to not give my heart to another guy. I don't care if someone likes me, or even if he thinks God's telling him he should be with me. I personally have to get that conviction before I even like a guy for real. I think of how many times I've talked myself into liking a guy because he liked me or because I liked the attention, or because I was lonely for romance. It's so easy to fabricate, to talk yourself into thinking that's what God wants for you because it would make you happy. Your happiness is not God's will, at least not your immediate happiness. God does not want to share your heart. I'm guilty of this. I must stop giving it away like there's plenty to share and then giving God what's left.
But again, I have to realize that not everyone has my convictions, and I must have patience with all. I'm not saying that if you've been dating someone, you have to break up with them to focus on God. I am saying that if you want God to be first in your life, He also has to be first in your relationship. If it's not true for both, it's not true for either. If you put God first in your life, you should not even contemplate a relationship with someone who does not put God first in their lives. Relationships are not about making your happy or about not being lonely, or about presents and holidays and anniversaries. Relationships, ALL relationships are about showing people Christ. Friendships are to show people Christ. Romantic relationships and marriages are to show people Christ. Friendships are not JUST "practice" for marriage, but they are an integral part of how God prepares us for marriage. Roommates, small group members, brothers, sisters, all do a great part in making us a better person, friend, and (if so destined) spouse. If a person's not willing to let Christians into their lives to do that, do you want to trust that they're prepared for marriage on their own. You would be hard pressed to find a person who is ready for the role of husband or wife without abundant input from older Christians as well as peers. It take a deep commitment to fellowship and accountability to reveal those issues and problems that we hide deep in our hearts and souls. I certainly don't want that to be my job the first few years of marriage, they're hard enough as it is.
Maybe this doesn't make sense to you, or even sound coherent, but there ya go. That's what's been on my mind (well, most of what's been on my mind, a girl's gotta have her secrets), for these past few weeks. Enjoy

Sunday, January 31, 2010


It's been a while since I blogged so I thought I'd catch up. This has been an excellent weekend for it. I had Friday off and then Friday afternoon it started snowing. I'm not sure of the final stats, but it snowed quite a bit, then sleeted so there was a layer of ice, then dusted a little more. It made for a fun day outdoors Saturday. Andi and I went outside playing in the snow. Since I was a little girl, I've always loved going outside and wiping the snow off the cars, and getting the icicles off the cars and rooves. Then, we jumped in the dumpster to find some cardboard and used it to sled down some hills in our neighborhood (actually worked pretty well). We had a blast! Then, I did a lot of cooking and cleaning (made some really good chili, which really hits the spot on cold days). We watched a LOT of movies ("American isn't easy. It is advanced citizenship. You gotta want it bad, cuz it's going to put up a fight." love it). It was relaxing and very much needed.
Then, today we decided that since we live relatively close to campus and can't really get out of our parking lot, let alone our neighborhood, that we would walk to church. 2.5 miles, each way. We left at 9 and made a pit stop at Bojangles to rest and get some breakfast. When we got to campus, we merged with one group near Wolf Village and another at Sullivan. We were actually quite warm and even hot at times. Church was great, it seemed there were a lot of people I didn't know, either because a lot of off-campus folks didn't/couldn't come or because a lot of other churches cancelled and people knew they could walk to Grace (one of the many benefits of meeting on a college campus). We had a lovely lunch with pretty much half the church and then began our trek back home, dropping off people as we went. There were snowballs thrown, I can tell you that! :) One really sad thing though, we found a dead dog on the side of the road that we seemed to have missed on the way to church. It had a collar but no tags (what's the point in that!) and it looked like it was hit by a car in the head, so it probably didn't suffer. It was also intact, which was probably a big reason why it was just running around. Anyways, it was really sad and we didn't know what to do, so we decided the best thing to do was to move it further down the ravine so some kids didn't find it and mess with it. I just hope the DOT gets it taken care of quickly, though I doubt it. It will at least be after the snow melts, I'm sure.
Anyways, now I have the treacherous task of trying to make it to work, but luckily Joseph's going to pick me up in his Cadillac with heated seats! :) Anyways, I hope everyone else enjoyed their snow day(s)!!