Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Picture of the Week - Is that really happening?

So yeah... The whole "I'm going to take pictures everyday! All the time! Then have time to edit them and share with everyone!" thing isn't really happening. I am sorry. I do love photography and I love to share the things that I create, as far as photography goes anyway.  But you start carrying around a point-and-shoot digital camera in a world of smart phones and see just how inconvenient it is, as well as how many strange looks you get. That being said, I do not have a smart phone, or I would just take pictures on that. So instead, what I'm going to do is simply share with you as I get pictures.

Being in college, most of the fun, exciting things that I do happen on the weekends, and at events having a camera out is perfectly fine. That being said, this past weekend I went to my first college football game! Personally, I am not a huge fan of football, I'm more of a soccer fan myself, but it was a fun, interesting experience nonetheless. Not only was this a big game for me, it was also a big game for all of the football fans at NC State. The game on November 2nd was the NC State Homecoming Game, and we were playing our rival UNC. (According to UNC we aren't their rival, Duke is, but Duke could care less. Also, rivalries are typically between public state schools, and Duke is private, so that another thing.)

These are some pictures from the game. The zoom on my camera is somewhat limited, so blowing them up anymore just makes the pixels come out. Of the three here, I think the top one is my favorite. It was taken during a time out, or a break between plays, I don't remember. I like the symmetry of the two teams (NCSU - red, UNC - blue) standing in their huddles on the field.

Anyway, I'm going to start posting a new picture on the "Picture of the Day" tumblr, but they're going to be picture that were not taken day-of. I hope you enjoy!


Sunday, August 18, 2013

Picture of the Week - What is it?

Some of you may have noticed the new tab at the top of my blog titled "Picture of the Day". This, in an effort to keep me taking pictures and essentially practicing photography is a link to a tumblr that I have created on which I will post a picture everyday. The idea is that I will have taken the picture that day, but this past week I have used some of my favorite pictures from the summer.

Instead of clogging up this blog with simple picture posts, they are all viewable if you click the above link. However, every week (probably on Sundays) I am going to go through the pictures that have been posted and try to pick one that I want to share with you all here. If I get enough interest in the blog then I will most likely pick the one with the most notes (which means the most people have liked or shared it.)

Through all of this I hope to improve my photography skills, as well as keep my eyes open to the things that are going on around me.

This week's picture of the week is:

This was taken while my sisters and Gran strolled along a pier in Myrtle Beach, SC.

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Myrtle Beach Adventures

Let me start by saying that I love taking pictures. And some of them even turn out pretty good. One thing that I have learned this summer while keeping up my SOUL blog is that pictures are important. I wouldn't even want to read a blog that didn't have any pictures. So why should I expect you to want to? I shouldn't. My Mom also gave me the idea to take and post a picture everyday, so that may start happening once I get back to school. Anyway, I'm going to start doing a better job of including pictures on my personal blog as well.

I figured that one of the best ways I could introduce that is by telling you all about the trip I took to Myrtle Beach with my sisters and my Gran. (pictures included).

Now, for the story. When we got to my Gran and Papa's house, Gran told us that there were kittens on the back porch. I was expecting them to be cute, but this basically-new-born cuteness is more than I was prepared for.

There are three orange, but the calico in the middle is my favorite.

Then we left, on our drive to the beach. Once we got to Myrtle Beach we checked in at our hotel and lugged all of our stuff up to our room.

Once we had settled in, the first thing we did was walk out on the pier near the hotel. Just to hang out and to see where we were. The sky and the water were gorgeous.

Then it was time for dinner. Instead of searching around for somewhere to go, we just went to a restaurant near the hotel. Now, my usual go-to burger is the mushroom and Swiss, and this place had one. But I decided it was time to mix it up. So instead of my standard, I decided to try their Southeastern burger. It had fried green tomatoes and pimento cheese on it. How amazing does that sound? And it was, believe me.

That completed our first night at the beach.

The next morning we headed straight out to the beach after breakfast. It was a bit cloudy, and the tide was pretty rough, so we weren't able to go out very far. 

My littlest sister, Shelby, loved it. She was in the water the majority of the time. Elizabeth (my little sister) and I spent most of our time on the beach laying on our towels enjoying the sun. I was even able to listen to a few chapters of The Three Musketeers which is the latest audio book I'm working my way through.

That night we had plans to go to a show at the Carolina Opry, so we spent the afternoon walking around the board walk and killing time, eating ice cream, you know.

Then we got there. The show that we got to see was the Carolina Opry's "Good Vibrations", which goes through the 60's, 70's, and 80's. 

I am proud to say that the three of us knew EVERY song. We were jamming out so hard that two of the guitarists, when they came off stage to walk around during a song, made sure to stop next to us and hang out for a second with their guitars. I took some other pictures, but the lighting was part of the show, and my camera doesn't handle that well. That show was definitely everyone's favorite part of the weekend.

Hopefully this post was more interesting, and after I move in to my dorm on Saturday I will begin putting up a photo a day here and on the link above. Until then, I may just share some of my favorite pictures of the summer on the new tumblr.


Tuesday, April 23, 2013

What is that new button!?

Oh fundraising. How I've grown to despise thee.

I believe this has a lot to do with how every other month since kindergarten, schools and athletic teams have been pushing the same fundraisers. Everyone sells cookie dough, or chocolate. I guess you could say, the word fundraising brings a sour taste to my mouth.

However, in the missions field, gathering support (a bit of that being funding) is always necessary. It is necessary that I ask people for their support, not only monetary support, but moral and emotional support as well. Now, I'm going to let you in on something that I don't like to talk about: I can be a rather prideful person. I mean prideful in the sense that I feel like I can do things alone, without anyone's help, and I don't like having to ask for help. Which is probably another reason that fundraising and asking for money is always hard. Because even though I do need it, I don't want you to know that I need it. Which makes it difficult to raise any support.

That is why I am writing this post. To get it out there that I do need help. I need your help if I want to have a successful trip this summer. But! I don't want you to think that I am just asking for your money. If you can donate money towards my mission this summer then please, do. But if you cannot, I am still in need of your support. Like any mission, we need the Lord's guidance, and we need people who believe in our cause. Praying for me and the team that I am on, that is just as important as anything else.

I realize that in order for you to fully understand what exactly you will be supporting, I am going to have to let you in on what I am doing. That is where my new summer blog comes in. There is a link at the top of the page that will take you to where I will primarily be posting about my summer. There is only one post so far, but I am working on another one about this past weekend and our trip to Goldsboro. Not soon after this one goes up there will be a similar post about raising support on it as well.

A button was placed below the "popular posts" on the sidebar on the right where you should be able to send any monetary donations that you wish to an account that I created specifically for this summer. There is also a button at the bottom of this post.

To end off, I just want to say thank you to everyone who reads my blog. I haven't seen a whole lot of comments, but the page views keep going up, so I guess someone is reading. I would love to hear about your lives, or what you think of the things that are going on in mine, so please, feel free to comment.


Donate here for NC SOUL 2013:

Self Discipline

 Let me start off by saying that lately, the most consistent thing that I've been doing is getting 7 to 9 hours of sleep every night. Which is not a bad thing. Sleep is something that I have come to realize is extremely important. This realization had taken me about four years. My initial sleep deprivation started at good 'ole NCSSM that fateful August in 2009. The insane amount of academic pressure at that school (and at college afterwards) makes getting the least amount of sleep possible something to be proud of. Which is shouldn't. Admittedly, the faculty does promote good health and not just exercise but also healthy eating and getting enough sleep. But the "I only got four hours of sleep last night", said with that tone that is meant to sound like a complaint but is more like a brag, conversations continue.

AND, sleep is not what I was planning on writing about in this post. Although is does kind of go along with my topic of self-discipline. As some sort of segway, I'll at least say that if you have the discipline to get your stuff done, then getting enough sleep is not going to be a problem.  That being said, my self-discipline has been severely lacking lately, specifically in the spiritual areas of my life. As you may have read in one of my earlier posts, I was planning on reading a chapter of Acts everyday this month. Just one chapter. Everyday. And I am currently about nine chapters behind. While I know that this is just a goal that I set for myself, and that no, the Word isn't going to change. The fact that I am now so far behind is discouraging me from starting up again and trying to finish. The problem isn't even that I don't enjoy reading the Bible, because I do. Reading the book Acts (the bit that I have) has opened my eyes a lot to what the church is supposed to look like, what the original church looked like. Before it came to be about the building and the denomination. When the people were simply following Christ and not bothered about the more petty things of religion.

Self Discipline is a topic that has come up again and again this year at the weekly Bible study that I go to. And every time it does I feel so convicted. But a feeling of conviction is not what is going to make me change. Only I can do that, with the Lord's help. This is really about my focus, what I am focused on. My focus has been changing, and needs to continue to change in order for me to be the person that I want to be. A model that I go to is the "Proverbs 31 Woman". Starting at verse 10, she is described as hardworking, loving, innovative, and she is constantly looking to improve her relationship with her Lord and Savior. That is the kind of person that I want to be.


Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Following Christ: Before it was Cool

It's so easy to forget that people other than the disciples followed Jesus around too. Like, a LOT of people. We get this image engrained into our minds of him and the apostles, and only the apostles that makes it hard to picture all of the other people who were Christ followers at the time. there were tons of people who heard his teachings and were like, "You know what, I believe this guy." then they just picked up and left. they left their homes, their jobs, a lot of them probably even left their families. All to follow this radical man, who many had deemed a lunatic. Doesn't that change the picture? Try to imagine it this way:
         Everywhere Jesus went a giant crowd followed. When he stopped to rest on the road, tents
         popped up all around. If he stopped in a city, a large party of people stopped too. They filled up
         the inns, they stayed in fellow Christian homes in the city. All of those people had to eat
         something. Where do you think that came from? I don't know.

Can you imagine doing that today?

Even then, the Roman people spread rumors and talked about Christians as a cult, as people who hated humanity. Christ's followers were persecuted, they were used as examples, being thrown in jail*, subjected to torture, and even murdered. On top of that, there were other guys running around claiming that they were the Chosen One, that they were the Messiah, not Jesus. So besides having to live a life of persecution and oppression, how did they know they were following the right guy? What was it that made him so obviously different to these people, that they believed Jesus was the real deal and no one else?

Also, lets keep in mind that the New Covenant had not yet been formed. That Christ hadn't died for the sins of man. These people did not have any proof that the Lord's grace was coming, that He was going to save them from sin. They must have been scared out of their minds at times.  - What faith, that they would follow Jesus anyway.

When I think about what these people had to go through, I am so thankful that we have it so easy today. There is no threat (at least currently in the US) that I will be killed for sticking to my faith. Christians can meet out in the open, we can worship God in front of the whole world. And that, my friends, is an amazing thing.

It makes me sad to see Christ-followers now who don't reach out, who have their church, and their denomination, and they don't care about anything else. WE ARE ONE BODY. It is our job to tell the world about our savior! We don't need to get caught up in petty arguments or create division among our brothers and sisters in Christ. Christians should be out there, searching for the lost, leading them to knowledge and faith in Jesus.

I want to say thank you to the first church, the original church. For taking the steps that they did, for enduring the pain and the suffering that they did, so that we could be where we are today.

All of this came to mind because I'm trying to read through Acts again, to really understand what the first church was like. I want to know what made it so strong, and to apply those things to my own walk with Christ.

If anyone wants to start this study with me, I just finished Chapter 1. I will be reading a chapter a day for the rest of April.  (I prefer the language of the New King James Version, but you can check out others and see if there is a different one you prefer.)

I would definitely be interested in hearing any thought that you have on this subject, or if you want to read through with me we can discuss things as they come up.

*Jail in the Roman empire was not like it is today. If you want to eat, you had to have someone who was willing to make and bring you all of your meals. There were no beds, no opportunities to bathe, no health care. If something happened or you got sick, that was just too bad - deal with it yourself.

Thursday, January 24, 2013

A Love Like That

Earlier this month my family lost two of its most elder members. My great aunt Alma past, then only a few days later, on the day of her funeral, her husband, Tom, also left us.

Alma's health had been on the rocks for a while, so her passing, though still painful for the family, was not unexpected. Tom on the other hand, he was raring to go. The doctors say that he died of a heart attack. I believe it is a bit more poetic, and probably more true to say that he died of a broken heart.

Now, I'm going to preface this by saying that I did not have an intimate relationship with either of them. Seeing them at family reunions, hearing them make comments such as, "Oh, how you've grown!", and, "I remember when you were this big," (while miming rocking a baby in their arms) are about as far as my personal relationship with them goes. That being said, they had some great stories. My family tree is  large and intricate, so I won't even try to begin to clarify or tell who people are. But, his daughters? granddaughters?, either way, they absolutely adored Tom and Alma. At his funeral, three of them got up and gave, not really a speech, but a wonderful telling of some precious memories featuring Tom and Alma. The couple used to own a large chicken farm, and they worked their tails off. They would even get the kids to go gather eggs, singing the whole time.

Tom and Alma worked hard, and they loved hard. Having to spend time away from his family during WWII, Tom wrote countless letters back to Alma. She responded in kind. As they got older, they kept all of the letters in the trunk and would occasionally read them aloud to each other. How sweet is that? As they were going through Tom's things, they even found a short letter in his wallet, it read something like this (not an exact quote):

"Dear Tom,
You are the most handsome guy I know.
I am so glad that you are my husband,

That is as much as I remember, and I don't want to botch it, or not do it justice, so I'll stop there.

As Alma's health was declining, she was put in the hospital. Every day Tom would drive to see her. He would stay there as long as he could, even sleeping in a chair beside her bed at night. In the morning he would get up, go home to shower and eat breakfast, then head back over to the hospital.

If that's not dedication and commitment, I don't know what is.

What I'm getting to with this story, bittersweet as it is, is that love like that exists. God knows what is right for you, and who is right for you. And if you keep waiting, He'll give you something amazing.