Saturday, April 30, 2011

Mon Petite Rêve

Bonjour, amis!
Comment allez-vous ce soir? Très bien, je l'espère. Me? Comment fais-je ce soir? Eh bien, je préfère de jouir des choses de raison et de rationalité, mais, au cours de la dernière heure et quarante minutes, je me suis trouvé coupable d'obsession. Ce soir, un nouveau rêve peu trouvé sa place dans mon cœur. Un rêve qui se réalisera: L'été prochain, je vais à Paris. Que l'obsession de commencer ... et si vous avez besoin de moi au cours de l'été 2012, vous savez où chercher.

Hello, friends!
How are you tonight? Okay, I hope. Me? How am I doing tonight? Well, I usually prefer to enjoy things with reason and rationality, but during the last hour and forty minutes of my life, I have found myself guilty of obsession. Tonight, a new dream found a place in my heart, a dream that will come true: Next summer I am going to Paris. Let the obsession begin ... and if you need me during the summer of 2012, you know where to look.

*Big shout out to Google Translator on this one. #IonlyspeakEnglish.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Panda Pics

I took pictures for my little AOII Panda friends' formal this past Friday! Here are a few that I might have sneaked into instead of taken....



You know what they say, "A panda is a squirrel's best friend."
This pose has quickly become a Girl&Girl #classic.

Robert: Friend-Zone Champ #alwayswinning

#roommies #alwayssweet #neverrude

You're Wrong.

"Now who is there to harm you if you are zealous for what is good? But even if you should suffer for righteousness sake, you will be blessed. Have no fear of them, nor be troubled, but in your hearts honor Christ the Lord as holy, always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and respect, having a good conscience, so that, when you are slandered, those who revile your good behavior in Christ may be put to shame. For it is better to suffer for doing good, if that should be God's will, than for doing evil."
I Peter 3: 13-17

Quickly and quietly Satan whispers me lies. Stealing the lips of the saved, he attempts to steal my hope for healing. He sprinkles lead into their words meant only for passing, so that their passing weighs heavy in my heart. How he loves hearing me lift them over and over and over again through every corner of my mind. How he loves watching me sweat while I carry them through every inch of my being. How he loves feeling my soul struggle as it pumps their weight through my every vein and vessel. How he loves tasting my defeat. How he loves smelling his own cruel victory....

But oh, how much more my Savior loves me. Oh, how much more my Abba loves my heart. Oh, how much more my King loves truth. And oh, how much more my Jesus gave to bring shame's death, to prove every heavy whisper a lie, and to murder all that Satan stands for. To murder him, to murder my old self, and to give me reason to believe that their words are nothing more than lies.

I will not give Satan the delight of winning. I know my Champion... and no matter what weight Satan throws upon Him: He is risen. He is risen indeed.

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Short & Sweet

I feel like writing a novel of a blog post right now; however, it's past 2 am, and I'm waking up early tomorrow.... The novel will have to wait. I'll try to make this short and sweet.

Over the past ten days, my entire outlook on life has endured incredible change. God is doing something big. I don't know what it is, but He's up to something awesome.

I'm craving art and music and words and creativity again... but with an appetite for them that I've never had before. My surity in being an elementary education major is fading, and all I want to do is write (and sing, but that's nothing new). Through the emotional hades of the past ten days of my life, God has been showing me how theraputic doing what He's made me to do is.... He's up to something alright. He's up to something....

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Jesus, I My Cross Have Taken

Jesus, I my cross have taken,
All to leave and follow Thee.
Destitute, despised, forsaken,
Thou from hence my all shall be.
Perish every fond ambition,
All I’ve sought or hoped or known.
Yet how rich is my condition!
God and heaven are still my own.

Let the world despise and leave me,
They have left my Savior, too.
Human hearts and looks deceive me;
Thou art not, like them, untrue.
O while Thou dost smile upon me,
God of wisdom, love, and might,
Foes may hate and friends disown me,
Show Thy face and all is bright.
Man may trouble and distress me,
’Twill but drive me to Thy breast.
Life with trials hard may press me;
Heaven will bring me sweeter rest.
Oh, ’tis not in grief to harm me
While Thy love is left to me;
Oh, ’twere not in joy to charm me,
Were that joy unmixed with Thee.

Go, then, earthly fame and treasure,
Come disaster, scorn and pain
In Thy service, pain is pleasure,
With Thy favor, loss is gain
I have called Thee Abba Father,
I have stayed my heart on Thee
Storms may howl, and clouds may gather;
All must work for good to me.

Soul, then know thy full salvation
Rise o’er sin and fear and care
Joy to find in every station,
Something still to do or bear.
Think what Spirit dwells within thee,
Think what Father’s smiles are thine,
Think that Jesus died to win thee,
Child of heaven, canst thou repine.

Haste thee on from grace to glory,
Armed by faith, and winged by prayer.
Heaven’s eternal days before thee,
God’s own hand shall guide us there.
Soon shall close thy earthly mission,
Soon shall pass thy pilgrim days,
Hope shall change to glad fruition,
Faith to sight, and prayer to praise.

To Caroline:

[Caroline Jager. Fifteen. Sophomore. Sister. Baller. Blogger.
This is my reply to her most recent blogpost. Check it out at her blog called One Day At a Time.]

I liked reading this because I still think you're little. I think back to being 15, and I think, "Wow. My biggest care was being grouded and having a learner's permit?" But when I was 15, that sucked hard core. It was a big deal. It was life. It doesn't feel like it was more than a month ago, but it was 4 years ago. And 4 years passed fast. Really fast.

I liked reading this because it reminded me that someday, instead of you being 15 and me being 19, you will be 19, and I'll be 22. I'll still think you're little, and those 4 years will have past faster than the last 4... As for being stuck grounded, stuck at home, stuck in drama, and stuck in chemisty-- At 19, I'm not stuck anymore, and I understand all that now (minus chemistry). So, just like, at my 19, I'm looking at your 15 and understanding my 15-- at 22, I'll look at your 19, and understand my 19.

I liked reading this because it reminded me that you won't be stuck at 15, and I won't be stuck at 19 forever.

"Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past. See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the dessert and streams in the wasteland." Isaiah 43:18-19

(I don't perceive it, but I'll take His word for it.)

Easter 1998: This was 13 years and 5 days ago, today. Caroline (2), Me (6), Ruthie (4)

This was my SUPER HOTTTTT profile picture when I was 15... don't think I didn't take it of myself, and don't think I won't regret posting it tomorrow, just take it as proof that life happens and things change.

This is my most recent picture taken with Caroline. Not the best, but neither are we today, 19 and 15.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Tracing Rainbows

George Matheson.
Ever heard of him?... Until today, I hadn't either. I'll catch you up though.

It was 1862; George Matheson was twenty-years-old, had a lovely fiance, had already written two books on theology, and was studying for the ministry when he discovered he was going blind. When he broke the news to his fiance, she called the whole thing off-- she simply couldn't go through life with a blind man. Left heart-broken and alone, his sister decided that she would take care of him. However, years past, and she fell in love. The night before her wedding ceremony, Matheson, a blind man with now no one to care for him, sat at home alone while his family went out to celebrate. With all of the wedding festivities happening around him, the question of how he was supposed to survive with no helper reminded him of the girl who, years ago, broke his heart. Matheson's heartache that night produced the hymn below:

O Love That Will Not Let Me GoO Love that will not let me go,
I rest my weary soul in thee;
I give thee back the life I owe,
That in thine ocean depths its flow
May richer, fuller be.
O light that followest all my way,
I yield my flickering torch to thee;
My heart restores its borrowed ray,
That in thy sunshine’s blaze its day
May brighter, fairer be.

O Joy that seekest me through pain,
I cannot close my heart to thee;
I trace the rainbow through the rain,
And feel the promise is not vain,
That morn shall tearless be.

O Cross that liftest up my head,
I dare not ask to fly from thee;
I lay in dust life’s glory dead,
And from the ground there blossoms red
Life that shall endless be.

Um. WHOA. That's someone who's got his heart straight. After going through living hell, in 1882, Matheson was still clinging to the cross and proclaiming its glory. That's astounding. One of the best parts of it all is that now, it's 2011, and for the past 129 years, God has been blessing and encouraging hundreds of thousands of people with Matheson's words. If Matheson were here today, would he say his hardship didn't hurt? Probably not. Would he say his hardship was worth it? Without a doubt. In fact, I bet he'd say he'd do it all again.

So, now that you know who George Matheson is, are you convicted? Encouraged? Dumbfounded?... Yeah, me too.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Thou Wilt Whisper Thy Peace to My Soul

When peace, like a river, attendeth my way,

When sorrows like sea billows roll;
Whatever my lot, Thou has taught me to say,
It is well, it is well, with my soul.

It is well, with my soul,
It is well, it is well, with my soul.

Though Satan should buffet, though trials should come,
Let this blest assurance control,
That Christ has regarded my helpless estate,
And hath shed His own blood for my soul.

My sin, oh, the bliss of this glorious thought!
My sin, not in part but the whole,
Is nailed to the cross, and I bear it no more,
Praise the Lord, praise the Lord, O my soul!

For me, be it Christ, be it Christ hence to live:
If Jordan above me shall roll,
No pang shall be mine, for in death as in life
Thou wilt whisper Thy peace to my soul.

But, Lord, ’tis for Thee, for Thy coming we wait,
The sky, not the grave, is our goal;
Oh, trump of the angel! Oh, voice of the Lord!
Blessed hope, blessed rest of my soul!

And Lord, haste the day when my faith shall be sight,
The clouds be rolled back as a scroll;
The trump shall resound, and the Lord shall descend,
Even so, it is well with my soul.

It Is Well With My Soul

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Hold On To That Feelin'

Do you remember the very first time you heard "Don't Stop Believin'"? I could specify that I'm referring to Journey's smash rock-n-roll hit from the '80's, but I don't think I need to. As soon as I got half-way through the title of this soul-inspiring song, your mind was already playing the air guitar with just as much passion as it did when you were fifteen at that one high school dance.

"Don't Stop Believin'" will forever bring me back to two specific places. The first is a party I went to in the tenth grade after a friday night football game. Standing awkwardly by the side of my first boyfriend, I was feeling pretty cool all night... until someone started blasting this song... and everyone knew the words except me. I may or may not have bought it on iTunes as soon as I got home.... The second place it brings me is beside my best friend, my second boyfriend, and my sisters in the senior parking lot last spring. This time, though, instead of Journey, it was the cast of Glee. Graduation was so close we could taste it. All was well in my tiny high school world, and as I sang every word (because, of course, I knew them all now) no one could have tried to stop me from believin'.

Now, I hate to disappoint you, but my whole point in this post actually has nothing at all to do with Journey's wonder. I was just using it as an example of the marvelous relationship that music seems to have with our memories. I love that. I love that God gave music the mysterious ability to force our minds back into some transcendental state of reminisence, tricking our souls' senses into reliving a certain memory of a moment whether they want to or not.

As my typing makes an unusually loud noise on the silent floor of the library, my earbuds deliver my ears the beautiful folk sounds of Brandi Carlile. Brandi, my friends, will forever be my soul's soundtrack to its freshman year on the plains. Whether ten years from now, twenty years from now, or tomorrow, I know that everytime I hear the steady rhythm of Brandi's banjo, my mind will return to this crazy thing we call being a freshman.

So, today, I wanted to share one of her songs with yall that I keep finding on repeat. Ladies and Gentlemen: Brandi Carlile's Pride and Joy

Time of day I can't recall
The kind of thing that takes its toll
Over years and over time
Over smiles and over wine
All in all it wasn't bad
All in all it wasn't good but I still care

That's the problem with the days
They're never long enough to say
What it is you never said?
All the books you never read
I throw myself into the wind
Hoping somebody might pick me up and carry me again

Where are you now? Do you let me down?
Do you make me grieve for you?
Do I make you proud? Do you get me now?
Am I your pride and joy?

I believe this to be true
There's nothing sacred, nothing new
No one tells you when its time
There are no warnings, only signs
And you know that you're alone
You're not a child anymore but you're still scared

All your mountains turn to rocks
All your oceans turn to drops
They are nothing like you thought
You can't be something you are not
Life is not a looking glass
Don't get tangled in your past like I am learning not to

Where are you now? Do you let me down?
Do you make me grieve for you?
Do I make you proud? Do you get me now?
Am I your pride and joy

BUT BEFORE YOU GO! I also wanted you to enjoy a few words from one of my favorite poets: ee cummings. (And if you know anything about ee, you know that I am not just about to shoot grammar the bird. That was all him.)

along the brittle treacherous bright streets
along the brittle treacherous bright streets

of memory comes my heart singing like
an idiot whispering like drunken man

who(at a certain corner suddenly)meets
the tall policeman of my mind.

being not asleep elsewhere our dreams began
which now are folded:but the year completes
his life as a forgotten prisoner

-"Ici?"-"Ah non mon chéri;il fait trop froid"-
they are gone:along these gardens moves a wind br
rain and leaves filling the air with fear
and sweetness....pauses. (Halfwhispering....half

stirs the always smiling chevaux de bois)

when you were in Paris we met here

it is at moments after i have dreamed
it is at moments after i have dreamed

of the rare entertainment of your eyes,
when (being fool to fancy) i have deemed

with your peculiar mouth my heart made wise;
at moments when the glassy darkness holds

the genuine apparition of your smile
(it was through tears always)and silence moulds
such strangeness as was mine a little while;
moments when my once more illustrious arms
are filled with fascination, when my breast
wears the intolerant brightness of your charms:
one pierced moment whiter than the rest
-turning from the tremendous lie of sleep
i watch the roses of the day grow deep.

Have a goodnight, 'yall. It's biology time now. I've procrastinated enough.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

I Would Like to Call It Beauty

Hey, friends! Nothing too exciting has been going on in my life lately so, I thought I'd just post a few pictures of life's recent happenings. The pictures aren't much, but they represent alot of the little blessings that the Lord has brought me over the past few months.

It's so crazy to think that my freshman year is almost over! In 26 days, I will move back to Birmingham for the summer. Where has the time gone? It seems like only a few weeks ago that I posted "twenty" (a post about how I would move to Auburn in twenty days), but it wasn't. It was months and months ago, and almost nothing about my life is the same as it was then. Wow. I feel like I've been trying to sprint this marathon we call "Freshman Year," and now, even though the finish line is so near and I'm so tired and you're never supposed to try to sprint long distances, it isn't here just yet so, I can't stop sprinting. The "race" (if you will) has been completely different than anything than I ever expected it would be. Some uphills were so much steeper than I ever imagined, but there were also more easy-striding downhills than I'd guessed-- and I can't forget to mention all of the unexpected wildflowers that bloomed here and there to keep me going when the race was hardest.
So, yeah... as cheesy as that was, I mean it all to say that: Yes, freshman year has been harder than I thought it would be when I posted "twenty", but it has been a blessing, and I would have it no other way. God has got some crazy big plans for my life, and before this year, I thought I could guess what they were; however, I've learned that God is a bit bigger than guessing games, and His grand plan is bigger than the biggest grand slam I could ever dream. The uphills have not been in vain--even the ones I'm still slowly trekking up-- they're only bringing me closer and closer to my Savior. Again, I'll say (and I'm sure it's not the last time) that I don't understand at all what God has in store for me, but I would like to call it beauty.

Okay. I'm off my soap box. Here's the promised pictures:

This picture is not at all recent. It's actually from Christmas break. I just think it's hilarious.
"You know what they say: A panda is a squirrel's best friend."

I painted this for Gin for her twelfth birthday the same time I painted Molly and Kathleen's birthday gifts.
It's a Walt Disney quote, "That's the real trouble with the world, too many people grow up. They forget. They don't remember what it's like to be twelve-years-old."

This picture is also not at all recent. I took it on Valentine's Day when my cute little roommate was feeling sick. It's one of my favorite pictures of her, and I think it, too, is hilarious. #LeighAwkwardSmith #iloveyou
This is me and my cute little roommate getting ready for Swampwater (Alpha Gam's spring formal) together in our cute little matching Alpha Gam bath robes! I did her hair. She looked FAB. #hottLeighAwkward

This is me and my Swampwater date, Bradley, on top of the "Auburn University" sign in front of Samford Hall. This was my first time to take a picture here (which is ridiculous considering I've been visiting Auburn for nineteen years). Bradley was a great date, and I'm so glad he got to experience my first Auburn-University-sign-picture-taking-experience with me! #shoutouttoBradleyBurroughspatiencewithmyamateurswingdancingskillz
This is mi familia outside of The Village Tavern in Birmingham where we celebrated my Mom's birthday! It's not a great picture, but I had a great time coming home for that weekend to celebrate my mom's life as well as to watch Ruthdog perform as the super-soprano Princess Tuptim in The King and I.
Ladies and Gentlemen: Team Pups n' Suds 2011.
I have LOVED being one of Team Pups n' Suds team moms this softball season. I am so very proud of each and every child's dedication, talent, and efffort. They deserve every ounce of Capri Sun we team moms have brought them.
This is me and my fellow "Team Mom", Tim, taking a Team Mom picture after Team Pups n' Suds dominated in their most recent game. (Kate Patrick is also a team mom but couldn't make it to this game so she provided the snacks!)

This is my gurly's prom hair do that I did up for her (holla at me if you want me to fix your hair and makeup for your big event)! Caroline and Ruthie both wore BCBG gowns and looked smashing. I loved fixing their hair and taking pictures for them in the springtime!

This is my favey picture of Caroline and her cutey date, Margan.

Everybody needs some Margan-lovin'...

... even Mom.
If there's one thing I've learned in college, it's this: My mom is the freaking best.
Spring is my ABSOLUTE favey season.
Kit, Kathleen, and Amy Anne came to the lake with me! We worked really hard on our MRS Degrees while we were there. #yummy


Enjoy the springtime, yall.