Friday, December 31, 2010

My Spurs

Everyone has 'their team.' That team that you live and die for. The one you never try to miss a game or at least check the scores. That team that no matter if they win or lose you will always stand behind them. That team for me?

The San Antonio Spurs.

Ginobili, Bowen, Parker, Duncan, Oberto
(the Spurs of my high school days)

I have been a Spurs fan for as long as I can remember. I have pictures of me blowing out birthday candles with my #50 David Robinson jersey on, hunting easter eggs in my #50. I loved that thing so much that I even wore it for halloween one year and called myself David Robinson.

I loved going to games growing up. They used to play in the Alamodome which was right next the Tower of the Americas. This tower had a revolving restaurant in the top of it that slowing turned while you ate your food. And one year as a reward for good grades my dad took me to dinner there and then to a Spurs game. I will never forget that. I was the coolest kid for one night.

I have watched that team go through many transitions and have seen many great players. Avery Johnson, Sean Elliot, David Robinson, Malik Rose, Will Purdue, Steve Kerr, Antonio Daniels, Bruce Bowen, Brent Barry, special guest Robert Horry, and Fabricio Oberto. Of course now I watch Manu Ginobili, Tony Parker, Tim Duncan, Gary Neal, Matt Bonner George Hill, and Richard Jefferson rule the court.

I know those names mean nothing to you but to me, they mean alot. The Spurs are the only professional team in San Antonio (if you don't count the Rampage hockey team). In my opinion they are what keep this city alive. Spurs games and fans are crazy. It is never quiet. There is always music playing, announcers shouting, and fans cheering. Through thick and thin attendance is always high. Around playoff time almost everybody has a spurs flag on their ca and Go Spurs Go! signs pop up everywhere around the city. They now play in the AT&T center which is where I have done a majority of my attending. I was really lucking growing up because my dad has the greatest connections in the world and was able to score us box seats most of my high school career. Box seats are the way to go. You eat, you talk, you play with the fancy TV and you watch the game from the best seat in the house. So wonderful.

They have come a long way as a team. Gregg Povovich has done an incredible job. He has coached them to 4 championships since 99. I respect him very much. Tony Parker, you still have some trust to gain back but I still love you. Their logos has also come a long way:


mmmm. the 90's. I actually miss this logo but they had to change it (2002) so that people would take them seriously. Here we are in 2010 and people still don't take them seriously.


ahhh. serious logo. It took me so long to get used to it

I know that nobody who isn't a spurs fan does not care about them. And that is ok. feel free to bash them all you want but anytime I ask people what there favorite thing they've done when they visit San Antonio they pretty much always say it was going to a Spurs game.

They will always be my team. Even when they lose and that will happen someday. They will always be my deep rooted connection to Texas no matter where life may take me.
I guess I like them for sentimental reasons too. My childhood is full of memories involving the spurs. Many games with the entire family and some with just my dad.

I will stop there so that I do not bore you too much with other details. That would just be cruel. But you should know the Mavs suck and so do the Lakers...

GO SPURS GO!!

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Turquoise, Adobe, Mexican Food, and Walking


This Christmas my family packed up the family mini-van and drove to Santa Fe, NM. If you have never been there you should make it a travel destination at some point in your life. It is literally the strangest and neatest place all at the same time. The city has decided that all buildings must be of the adobe style within a certain milage of downtown so it is like the entire town is frozen in time. So much character there.

We stayed in a house that my lovely mother found. This couple has two houses in Santa Fe. One they rent out and one they live in. We ended up staying in the one they live in because they were on vacation. And a funny development as of today, the couple was actually in Boerne, TX today and called my mom to ask her some questions. How random is that?

It was a pretty legit house and is conveniently located within walking distance on downtown. Here is a virtual tour of part of it:

living room/kitchen

back patio. Fire place to the left of the pic

The greatest part about the house was on the outside it didn't look like anything special. Seriously, you had to drive down a dirt alley to get there and it is surrounded by other adobe houses that look very unkempt. You would never guess that you were about to enter a million dollar home. So fantastic. Here is a pic of part of downtown. Literally all of the buildings look like this:



We met up with some great family friends, The Foersters, for the entire trip. Every day consisted of sleeping, some form of shopping, walking alot, people watching in the square downtown, and then stuffing our faces with mexican food every evening. It was wonderful.

New Mexico is just that, a newer Mexico with some Native American traditions mixed in. I used to thank it was the strangest place ever. I still think that but I have also come to appreciate it. Turquoise, tourists, adobe, dirt streets, and mexican food are a wonderful combination.

Christmas Eve we made reservations at 3 different restaurants before finally deciding on a 9:30pm at an Italian restaurant I have already forgotten the name of. Before dinner we walked down a street with about 30,000 other people looking at christmas lights and other things. The restaurant ended up being unbelievably fantastic. We also had free entertainment because and elderly lady who was apparently a regular had enjoyed several glasses of wine and was telling lots of stories with elaborate hand gestures. When she left she apparently wrote a note for her waiter and a waitress read it out to the entire restaurant. It was awesome.

Christmas day consisted of the usual presents and brunch. Then lots of laying around the house. Right before sunset we all hiked up to the spot my parents were engaged at about 14 years ago. They hadn't been there since. A special family moment.



The happy couple

It was so nice to be in a place where we could all walk where ever we wanted. It was also fun to be there with The Foersters. They are some of the funnest/greatest people I know and always bring the good times.

Santa Fe is also the land of turquoise. I have never been a huge fan but I like to look at it and I even walked away with a nice ring. People come from miles around to set up shop on the sidewalk to sell their goods.

The people watching in Santa Fe was my absolute favorite. You could sit in the square for hours and watch children, homeless people, sweet old couples, engaged couples, rowdy teens, japanese tourists, lumberjacks, indian chiefs, and much much more. Some seriously good stuff. I wish I had had a camera to document it all.

Our last night in town we decided to build a fire in the outdoor fireplace and smoke cigars in honor of our last night in crazy New Mexico. We being my dad, my sister Mary, me, and Shelton Foerster. So we did. It was a special moment really. My dad gets a kick out of smoking an occasional cigar with me and I love it too. I'm a sucker for a good cigar. Definitely a great way to end the trip.

I am now back in Boerne, TX eating as much Tex Mex as I can get my hands on and enjoying the 70 degree weather. One thing about coming back is the more you are away the more you appreciate the things you knew you always loved but you didn't know how much you actually liked them.

Here's to family!


(not the best pic ever but you get it..)

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!


Thursday, December 23, 2010

The Nativity Story

I know many of you have probably seen this video by now or heard about it or even posted it on your own blogs but I love it and have watched it far too many times.

It is the Nativity story told by children and was done by a church in New Zealand and it is amazing, adorable, and worth sharing with everybody.



Whether this season be joyful, sad, long, hard, frustrating, or great I hope that you would be able to appreciate it and find moments to just be.

MERRY CHRISTMAS!

Monday, December 20, 2010

Detox

Christmas break finally came. After a semester of what felt like crawling and clawing myself to the finish line. Ok, maybe it wasn't that bad but it certainly felt like it.

Classes ended last Tuesday and I was scheduled to fly out Wednesday. Didn't make it. Weather in Atlanta had me worried so I stayed in Asheville an extra day. Worth it. Finally made it to Texas and have been in a whirlwind of family activities. Today has been the first day I haven't had an agenda. Kind of. At least, the first day I've had a few hours to myself. And I want more of that. Hopefully it will come.

I usually post some pictures right about now. And I would love to but there is a small problem. My camera finally broke. I've had a little boxy Sony camera for like 5 years. It has traveled around the world, been dropped like crazy, slammed around, and moved cross country. It finally decided it was finished working about two weeks ago. This means no Windy Gap pictures, no Boerne, TX pics. No pics of my adorable cousins or of our Christmas trip to Santa Fe. sigh...how depressing.

I should just go out and buy one. But I decided I need a new pair of running shoes instead. So it looks like I will be cameraless for a little while. I kind of feel lost without it. I carried that thing everywhere and documented alot of life with it.

For now, I'm just going to enjoy being. Literally just being. Being still, being around family, being free from school, and being able to rest.

Well, we are off the see the Christmas lights at the River Walk in San Antonio accompanied by a trip to Taco Cabana, of course!



Thursday, December 9, 2010

Christmas Shenanigans


THREE blog posts in one night?? I'm on a role. Or just procrastinating. I'll let you be the judge.

My friend Taylor Wood made this lovely holiday e-card using all of the girl leader's faces on our Asheville High Young Life team. I'm sure you have seen your far share of them but go ahead and take a little looksy

I hope that you are as blessed by this as I was:


Personalize funny videos and birthday eCards at JibJab!


You're Welcome

Windy Gap!!

I know I have written about this wonderful place many times but I wanted to put a special post about Windy Gap. This weekend I have the honor of taking 11 girls from Asheville High to Young Life camp for the weekend. A Young Life camp that is literally out my back door! What a treat! I am so excited and have been looking forward to this weekend all semester! Here is a picture of it taken from a hill that overlooks camp. I took this during the fall, obviously when all of the leaves were still on the trees. But no matter. In my opinion this place is amazing whatever the season.



I can not even begin to explain the awesomeness of living 15 minutes from a Young Life camp. I try to never take it for granted this blessing of a place. It truly is a special place no matter how you slice it.

I am so excited to take my high school friends to camp and to laugh with them and be silly with them and talk with them about Jesus. It is a big honor in, my opinion, that I get to be a part of the Bigger Picture. Especially at Asheville High. What a true gift.

Here is a picture from fall camp last year at Rockbridge:


love these girls!

So I would ask for your prayers this weekend for myself and for the other girls that will be leading with me. Prayers for energy, patience, wisdom, and selflessness. These girls are awesome and I can't wait to see them all tomorrow!!

The Days Are Just Packed

So it's that time of the semester. Finals. Bleh. More like FINALLY. I'm not even going to pretend I don't want this semester to be over. It has not been horrible by any means but I am starting to feel like it is staying past it's welcome and I would very much like for it to run along now.

You might be wondering what the heck the title of this blog post comes from. Good! I'll tell you. It is actually the title to a Calvin & Hobbes comic book. Here is the cover



I LOVED reading Calvin & Hobbes growing up. Don't know why? I really couldn't understand half the stuff they talked about. I think what I like most about it was that Calvin really was a kid. He did dumb things and knew how to take it easy. Right now I'm feeling a bit like Calvin. I can't seem to focus on school to save my life (don't worry Mom & Dad I'm letting it go too far). I just want to be free and sit and do nothing or be free to do everything. Free to think and free to not think. I want to look exactly like Calvin & Hobbes. Stupid comparison I know. But just go with it.

I will make it through finals and it will be fabulous. And then I will empty my head of all school related material and stuff my face with Tex-Mex until I cannot breath, hang out with friends and family, and stay up way too late doing mostly unproductive things. I cannot wait for my days to be packed with nonsense, hopefully some rest, and good time with family.

So here's to you Calvin!




Saturday, December 4, 2010

Because Sometimes You Don't Have Time

Watch this and then tell me that you don't want to go and try and see if it actually works.
Who knows? Maybe I'm just a little behind on the curve but I have NEVER heard of this method.





If you need me, I'll be hard boiling an egg.


Thursday, December 2, 2010

Thanksgiving on The Roof of America

So I should be studying...

But here are a few pics from Thanksgiving in Pagosa Springs, CO.
Don't worry, I won't load all 150 of the one's I have. No, you can go see those on facebook. It loaded all of them and I only wanted to load 40 or so...that's what you get I guess.

Enjoy!


Buffalo Thunder Resort and Casino.
you're welcome.

Classic. All these years we have been going to CO
and this is the first time I remember stopping at a sign.
Yay Stacey Noll!

My Thanksgiving view. Not bad...

Hurt-your-face snow. so beautiful though.

Typical

Anne Noll and her "Sexy Woodcutter" pose

Thanksgiving Day craft time

Decorations courtesy of Anne Noll. Yes that is
one of Columbus' ships sailing to America.

We went sledding. It was epic. Mary was scared

Well isn't that adorable?

Skiing at Wolf Creek Ski. My fav place to ski

THE COUSINS!!!

All in all it was a great Thanksgiving. I ate too much and slept alot. We were all basically in bed by 10pm every night. It was fantastic! My aunt and uncle have a lovely second home and it is so efficiently heated that we had to keep a window or two open at all times in order to keep from sweating. It was hilarious.

On Thanksgiving day I decided to go for a run. And it was 5 degrees outside. But I bundled up anyways in just about everything I brought and headed out. There is seriously nothing like running with a backdrop of snow capped mountains. It gave me a chance to think about the things I am truly thankful for: like heat and sitting under warm blankets with a delicious cup of hot chocolate. Oh and family. But seriously. I realized that I am truly thankful for where I am, who I am with. Things are little out of whack right now but that's alright. They will turn out just the way they are supposed to be. Nothing more, nothing less. That, I am thankful for.

Back to studying...bleh. So close to being done.
Then it's back to Texas I go to stuff my face with Mexican food and Bear Moon Bakery. I can taste it already..



Monday, November 29, 2010

Dispatch 2011



I don't know how many of you have heard of the band Dispatch but they are AMAZING!!
I went to their website today for old time sake and all I found was a gigantic count down clock to 2011. Apparently they won't say what is happening in 2011 but the rumors are flying that they might be getting back together. True or not, I have never been so excited about the new year!

I started listening to them in high school right after they broke up for good. It was tragic to hear I could never see them in concert. Then they did a reunion show in New York in 2007 to support their work in Zimbabwe. The funny thing was I was actually IN Africa when they played that show. sigh..

Anyways... Look them up they are awesome. They sings songs like "The General" "Two Coins" "Open Up" "Lightening" and a whole lot of other awesome stuff. I have everything they have ever released and then repeated versions of it all. I know, I'm obsessed. And I don't care!

maybe one day....

Monday, November 22, 2010

Headed West! ...again





In about 14 hours I will be boarding a plane in Asheville, NC to begin what promises to be a highly eventful journey to Pagosa Springs, Colorado to join my family for Thanksgiving.

But first things first!

The original plan was for Mary, Ryan, and I to fly into Albuquerque, NM where my parents and sister Anne would arrive at the airport in our luxurious mini-van to whisk us away to Santa Fe where we will be spending the night before heading to Pagosa.

That WAS the plan.

Unfortunately (or fortunately) my dad has a business meeting at 10AM in San Antonio so the family will not get on the road from TX until about 12 noon to begin the just about 12 hour drive to Santa Fe. Which means Ryan, Mary, and I will be meeting up at the airport, finding a random shuttle my amazing father booked for us and then get dropped off in the middle of Santa Fe to hang out for about 3-4 hours until my parents and Anne arrive. This could be quite the adventure since none of the three of us have spent any lengthy time in Santa Fe and just found out we were doing this about 5 hours ago. I guess we will converse with each other, the locals, and then go and find some Turquoise we like. Oh, and maybe eat dinner. That too.

It could be a crazy fun adventure. Hopefully.

Wednesday morning we will all rise bright and early from our stay in the Casino Hotel that we will all be staying in (don't be jealous) and drive the 3ish hours to Pagosa Springs to meet up with other family. I am foreseeing lots of hot tubbing, skiing, eating, and relaxing in my future.

As much as this trip will be amazing, it will most likely be seasoned in sadness. Pagosa was one of John's favorite spots and we all have many many memories with him there. And throw in the fact that it is the holiday season AND still November and you have a recipe for a few tears along the way, ok maybe lots. But hopefully we will be able to celebrate his life and laugh at the many stories we have of John Noll.

So I guess now that I'm done blogging and studying I should probably go finish my laundry, pack, and maybe just maybe get a little shut eye

Sunday, November 21, 2010

All Things John


This blog post is basically dedicated to all things John Noll:

Dear John,

Remember when you were little and you hated mash potatoes so much that you would literally throw them up on your plate while eating them?

Remember when you and I would play spies and spaceship all day during those long Texas summer months. And you would dress up with us girls and have tea parties and play library?

You had the most rosy red cheeks I've ever seen on a human being. Santa ain't got nothin' on you.

All those days we used to throw the baseball in the yard and even though it was supposed to be so you could practice I would inevitably make you be catcher while I practiced my pitching skills that I would never use.

Your smile. I don't think our family owns a single picture without you smiling or making some kind of goofy face. Oh, except that one at Mom and Dad's wedding when you were so ticked off at something. Even then, cutest face ever! And your laugh, there is no forgetting that one. I wish I had a sound track of it. You would laugh so hard sometimes no sounds would come out. You even laughed when Dad broke your nose while playing baseball with you. I can't help but laugh at that picture of you in the ER with your nose all taped up just smiling away...

As you grew older you wanted to do EVERYTHING I was doing. You even made me teach you how to dribble and shoot lay ups so you could try out for the 7th grade basketball team. They loved you so much they made you manager.

You hated pillows and even sleeping in your bed...who are you??

You loved practical jokes. Your pocket buzzer was always a big hit at Young Life camps and even after you were gone and we were cleaning out the 10 things you owned in your room you still got me with that stupid shocking pen you bought in Boone, NC.

I miss buying M rated video games for you. I will never forget when I turned 17 and you were so excited and I couldn't figure out why until you made me take you to Wal-Mart so you could buy the computer game versions of all the M rated video games you weren't allowed to buy.

I miss yelling at you because you were such a pyro. I'll never forget one day coming home from school and seeing a flaming coffee can on the driveway and you were bent over it with a can of hairspray. I asked you what you were doing and you said "I'm making a Goblet of Fire!!" I will always love Harry Potter because of that.

Your reading habits and how you have probably read as many books as the Library of Congress has on record. Seriously, I would like to see any kid break your Accelerated Reading points records. Seriously, I don't even think their point system went high enough.

I have a home video of you and Anne dancing to 'Crank That' by Soulja Boy Tell Em that I was secretly saving to show at your wedding. I think I might have to show that one at Thanksgiving. You had no rhythm but would dance anyway and I always loved that. What the heck! enjoy this video...Anne Noll is going to hate me :)

video


Harmonicas always make me think of you. The same with whistling. Remember when I used to get so mad at you for singing my favorite songs? Oh Lord, I was crazy. I hope that you didn't actually get a singing voice in heaven because I seriously miss your off key singing.

We both shared an extreme love for anything Colorado including that stupid Taylor Park t-shirt that we used to fight over all the time..every time I go there I will think about all of the adventures we had and fighting over the top bunk in the trailer and the day I got demoted to the front seat in the excursion so you and Ryan could have 'brother bonding time.' I sure did (do) have a hot head about me and you certainly used to know how to make me the most angry. No joke, I do not know anyone that could make me as angry as you did at times.

All those rainy afternoons that you and I played with your lego sets. My favorite was the Harry Potter set you got. No joke. Especially all those time we would combine the legos, Star Wars figures, and GI-joes together and set up crazy scenes. You were the only one who would do that with me.

As you were well into middle school you had one life goal, to be better than me at EVERYTHING including being taller than me. Well, I think you definitely achieved it. You were better at running than me, better at hunting, better at fishing, and better at showing you loved people than me. And I am glad for it.

I always enjoyed all of the notes you would write me for my birthday. But my favorite was the one you wrote me for graduation. I found it the other day and smiled because I realized how much you actually did look up to me. Makes me pretty darn proud.

All those times were at Young Life camp's together. Those were good times.I'll never forget being at Sharp Top and being 16 and an angry staff kid and you were 13 and basically on work crew in the pits washing dishes everyday. Don't think I need to tell you how dumb I felt that month.

And all of that World War II reenactment you did at the Nimitz Museum in Fredericksburg. Didn't even get paid but you did it anyways. I'll never forget that day you called me to ask me how to send an email so that you could send me a picture of yourself using the only operational flame thrower in the entire state of Texas. I know you weren't ever really in the military but I'll remember you on Veteran's Day anyways.

Even though you are gone, you will live on forever. The people who's lives you touched have too many awesome stories and crazy memories for that. I wanted to say that I truly feel blessed to be your sister and to have shared 16 years with you. Much love to you brother!



Death Is Not The End

As most of you may know Friday, November 19 marked the 1 year anniversary of my brother John passing away. This whole week and month have been unbelievably difficult for me and the rest of my family. Difficult but not impossible (even if it did feel like it at times).
I will warn you this could be a rather long blog post so hang in there!

November 1 sucked. As did each following day in the month. It wasn't all bad but each day was one day closer to a huge and horrible milestone. Then Saturday November 13th hit. This is the day I lost internet in my apartment because we had been using an unsecured network that we figured out was our neighbor's. She had put a password on her internet and rightly so in order that people like me don't use it! haha. So from Saturday to Wednesday night I did not have internet. At first I was angry. Then I realized that it was no accident that this happened to be the week when the internet went out. So I decided to take full advantage of that time. I started spending lots of silent time in my room with Jesus. Weird sounding I know but it was much needed. I also started reading this book on grief my parents had sent me sometime in the last year but had never bothered to pick it up. It's called A Grace Disguised by Jerry Sittser. O my gosh.

I should probably preface all of this with the fact that I have not read many books on grief, which I should have been doing all along. So I started reading this one and couldn't put it down. I was crying my face off. It's not that it is even the best book on grief ever but I just really connected with it. Connected with a lot of normal things associated to grief that I have been either unaware of or just plain refusing to listen to. I started realizing how much grieving was left to do in my life and how as much as my brother dying sucks, it is not the end of life and ultimately that is my decision and no one else's. Lot's of God's truths were echoed to me within the book. And my extreme need to find hope in the world became like a flashing neon sign in my face. For the first time in the past year, I felt like I was engaged in life. I feel like this whole past year I have walked around with my hands in the air shouting "Woe is me!!" everywhere I go. No more.

I also had a good conversation with a friend who has experienced loss of a sibling as well. That was when I saw my first legitimate glimpse of real hope with my own eyes. It was like the seeds of truth and hope and love that others have been tirelessly planting in my life started budding. While they are not full grown flowers, they are there and I am going to tend to these new shoots with everything I have.

In that book was also a chapter titled "Why NOT me?" I was very confused by this title at first and a little confused when I began reading it but as I kept turning the pages I began to realize just how relavent that phrase is.

"No one is safe, because the universe is hardly a safe place.
It is often mean, unpredictable, and unjust.....
Loss deprives us of control. Cancer ravages, violence erupts,
divorce devastates, unemployment frustrates, and death strikes-
often with little warning."

That passage along with the rest of the chapter really started giving me a new perspective. And by new perspective I think I just lost a lot of my childhood innocence as stupid as that sounds. I would have thought that would have been gone a long time ago. I have finally come to understand that death in my life is far from over. But death doesn't always have to be the end. And I don't have to be afraid of the next person dying or getting sick or whatever life may bring. It is going to happen whether I worry about it or not. There is no secret recipe for avoiding it.
Friday my good friend Leslie Sloan was telling about how she was reading "The Essential Henri Nouwen" and there was one section talking about how all good things in life come from the death of something else. So true. Even looking back on my life I can see an unending list of examples. Even within my own family. My mom died when I was five but I was given a new mother and with her, an entire new family of awesomeness! It doesn't make it ok with me that my brother is dead but I think I can look up at what may come of it. Already there has been so much. My family dynamic has changed so so much in the best way possible. We all enjoy each other so much more than we used to. And this probably would have come with time but I genuinely think it would not be to this degree that it is.

All of that being said. When I woke up yesterday, November 20th I felt the biggest feeling of accomplishment I've felt in a very long time. I was literally saying to myself "I did it. I did it." That's not to say this journey is far from over. It will be a life long journey. The sorrow will never go away. I will think about my brother and my sadness that he is gone every single day of my life. But I will also smile because of the Hope I have in Christ and knowing that life is life and somehow we all get to make the best of it.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Facing Your Giants





This past Sunday I woke up feeling no motivation to go to church what so ever (don't worry, this doesn't happen too often). So instead I slept in (I needed that), made breakfast and set about cleaning up my room. While cleaning I listened to a couple of sermons by Max Lucado. Love him. One was titled "Facing Your Giants." He gave that sermon in 2005 and since I used to attend his lovely church in San Antonio, I'm pretty sure I heard it. Heard it but never actually listened to it.

On surface level it is the story about David and Goliath from 1 Samuel. Blah Blah Blah. Puny David, big smelly strong dude named Goliath. David has Jesus so David kills the big smelly strong dude and everybody is happy!
Ok so that is no exactly how I have viewed the story but that is how mundane it can become in my head.

But this time was different. I guess I never bothered to pay attention to the details. That Max Lucado, he is so good about pulling out the details and piercing your heart with them.

There is a part in the story of David and Goliath when Saul is telling David he only a boy and a sheep herder and he can't possibly go and fight a giant man with lots of big weapons. David tells him "The Lord who delivered me from the paw of the lion and the paw of the bear will deliver me from the hand of this Philistine." This is about the time I actually started paying attention. Because all of the sudden it clicked. God has delivered me from a lot of bears and lions in my life why can't he deliver me from this Philistine in my life right now. That Philistine being the death of my 16 year old brother almost a year ago.

As easy as it sounded coming out of my mouth, it is hard to really accept. But there is so much truth to it.

And the story goes on....

Fast forward to when David goes out to meet Goliath with only 5 small stones and his trusty sling shot. AND as Goliath thunders toward him not only does he get ready to fire his little stones, he runs TOWARD Goliath. Not only did he run toward him he apparently ran quickly toward Goliath. If it had been me, I would have found a nice spot to sit and sniper off Goliath as he was looking for me. But no, David stands up tall in the face of adversity and runs to meet the Giant with Jesus and his sling shot. And what do you know?? He kills him!

Then Max proceeds to focus in on the stones. He proceeds to give the stones labels which aren't really found in the Bible but which I found very interesting. He uses a hand and 5 fingers as a reference point so hang with me.

1) Thumb- PAST
-look to the 'bears' and 'lions' in your past that God has brought you through
2) Pointer-PRAYER
-pray like crazy.
3) Middle finger- PRIORITY
-what is taking priority? is it Jesus?
4) Ring finger- PASSIONATE
-be passionate about life. Sad, happy, angry. Whatever. use it to attack the giants
5) Pinkie - PERSISTANCE
-keep pursuing God. Keep standing up, even when it seems impossible to go on. Jesus will be right there

One last thing: He threw out this word 'Paraclete.' It is a greek word translated to "called to one's side." Basically like the Holy Spirit. It was used in the original translation of this passage. I liked it.

This all being said, I realized that I was tired of running and hiding from my giant(s), even the little things. I want to be able to stand up and run towards them knowing that I am not alone. Even when I fall (which WILL happen) and get bumped and scraped along the way, I know that I will be delivered through them. Even if it isn't always the ways through which I want to go.

Tonight as I was preparing a mini-Bible study lesson for some High School girls tomorrow, I came across the notes I'd taken on this sermon. Too good to pass up and exactly what I needed this week.

"The Lord who delivered me from the paw of the lion and
the paw of the bear will deliver me from the hand of this Philistine."
-1 Samuel 17: 37



Time to run towards those giants....

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Mountains or the Beach??


Growing up anytime someone would ask me "mountains or beach?" I would immediately answer, "mountains, duh." Mostly because I was (okay maybe still am) a Colorado junkie. Or maybe because Texas beaches certainly aren't anything to write home about. Also anytime I went to the beach growing up I always had to have something to eat or drink because I hated salt water and sand annoyed the crap out of me. I mean, all that sand, especially getting places you don't want it to be causing many tears.

All this changed this past January of 2010 when my family and I went on a cruise to the Caribbean. I mean just look at this and tell me you don't want to go there right now.








The Dominican Republic, US & Virgin Islands, as well as a private island in the Bahamas. It was literally love at first sight. I decided right then and there that I could become a beach person. The water was unbelievable. All of the sudden the saltiness wasn't so salty and the sand didn't bother me quite as much. I felt right at home.
I literally wanted to drop out of school and move to the British Virgin Islands immediately. Anywhere where the water was sapphire blue and the the wind was warm. Mmmm I feel so warm just thinking about it.

I WILL go back someday. And it will be awesome. There is no doubt in my mind


Monday, October 18, 2010

Glass Shines Brighter When it's Broken





"The more I think about the meaning of living and what acting in the name of Jesus, the more I realize that what I have to offer others is not my intelligence, skill, power, influence, or connections, but my own human brokenness through which the love of God can manifest itself. The celebrant in Leonard Berstein's Mass says: "Glass shines brighter when it's broken....I never noticed that." This to me is what ministry and mission are all about. Ministry is entering with out human brokenness into communion with others and speaking a word of hope. This hope is not based on any power to solve the problems of those with whom we live, but on the love of God, which becomes visible when we let go of our fears of being out of control and enter into His presence in shared confession of weakness."

-Gracias! By Henri J.M. Nouwen


Sunday, October 17, 2010

FALL IS HERE!!!



Fall is full force here in Western North Carolina. I cannot believe that it is already Mid October. That seems literally impossible. But who am I kidding? I say that every year. Doesn't mean it is any less true.

I am a Junior in college this year. Unbelievable. Some days it feels like I just moved out here. But I didn't. It has been so fun to feel like I belong to a place again. A place in which I don't have connections just because my parents lived there (although that is nice too Mom and Dad). Having my own apartment has been amazing as well. In January it will be 1 year since I moved off campus. So worth it!!

School is going well. Taking Portuguese and Spanish at the same time was just about the worst class decision ever. I can't keep them straight but I am surviving. It is a great conversation topic with people. Everyone who is on Twitter and Facebook has heard my griping and complaining. Sorry guys..

Young Life is going well. Asheville High, the school I lead at, has gone through lots of transition Young Life wise. This year I literally have an entirely new team at Asheville High and some how I ended up leading the charge there. It has so far been a great learning experience in which everyday brings new challenges/excitement. I am so excited for what the rest of the year will hold. Here is a picture of our team this year:

L to R: Matt, Deanna, Meredith, Kyle, ME!, Taylor, and Christy
LOVE THEM!

One of the many reasons I love living out here is the fact that I get to enjoy 4 seasons!!! Some of you might be asking "what's that like?" Well, I 'll tell you. It is glorious!! I can look outside in the summer and it looks completely different than that winter! For you Texans I know this might be hard to believe.

Each season is distinct and marks a transition. I don't think I could ever go back to 2 seasons. It makes the year seem so long...

So there is a little update on my life! Things are moving right along. Before I know it I'll be singing Christmas Carols, eating far too many candy canes, and watching White Christmas on repeat.

mmmm...gingerbread men.









Texas Our Texas



This is me majorly procrastinating.

This is also me writing a blog post about the great state of Texas. As you all are very well aware, from the moment I was birthed to the moment I graduated from Boerne High School (go Greyhounds) I resided in Boerne, TX. Growing up in a small Texas town was fantastic. As much as I hate on it I really did like it.

Moving from Texas has been quite the experience. You realize how big headed and obnoxious most Texans are when you leave. You learn a lot about how much people hate Texas and anything/anybody having to do with the state. But yet, there are so many Texas references in your everyday life. Trust me. Texas toast, Willie Nelson, The Cowboys, court cases, stupid people doing stupid things. The list could go on. If you start paying attention to it, it will drive you crazy. At least, that is what is happening to me.

Some days I do genuinely miss Texas. I miss the wide open space, the unbelievable sunsets, the people, the food, the blue bonnets, Texas Football, and yes even the heat. I don't care what people say, no matter how hard you try it is almost impossible to not feel some pride for your home state. I am no different. I am very prideful about certain things about Texas. That being said I am also embarrassed by a lot of things 'Texas.' Just to give you an idea I selected some of the most absurd bumper stickers I could find. It all become clear as to why people hate Texas so much:







Honestly, if I had never been/lived in Texas I would hate us too. Yep, I said us. As much as I am legally a North Carolina resident on paper, my heart will always belong in Texas. There is no way to fight it. That doesn't mean I can't ever love another place just as much, it just means every once in awhile I will stand up and defend that crazy place I called home for so long.

Texas is crazy. I will be first in line to stay that. But I love that about it. It is what makes it so... "special."



Fun Fact: The "Don't Mess With Texas" slogan was actually first used for Texas' big anti-litter campaign in the 80's. It literally meant "don't mess it up." Well, obviously some really cool people decided that they should use it in other ways. Hence why the world hates us.

Not that you care anyways! hahahaha. case in point


Sunday, October 3, 2010

Study Break!



Today has been devoted entirely to studying which is unusual. But I have 3 huge tests to study for so I figured I would get a head start. I am currently taking a 90 second study break. This is what I'm looking at: (click on it!)


http://americanart.si.edu/images/1977/1977.107.1_1a.jpg


It is a painting called 'Among the Sierra Nevada, California" by a guy named Albert Bierstadt. I have always loved this painting and a couple of years ago I actually got to see it in Washington DC by accident. It was just as amazing as I imagined it would be, if not more. He has a couple like this but this particular one is my favorite. The original covers an entire wall. A gigantic wall. You can't help but stand in front of it and not feel like you are there watching the deer come down to the mirror-like water while feeling the finger tips of the sunlight reaching over the mountains. Phenomenal work.

BEEP! BEEP! BEEP! BEEP!!

Back to studying....

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Love Neighbors

I'm devoting this post to promoting some of my favorite people and their band...


My friends Drew and Ellie Holcomb are part of a band called Drew Holcomb & the Neighbors. Their music is awesome and they are doing a fundraising campaign that is phenomenal!

Click on the link below and help support their awesome cause! And while you are at it, check out their music at their website found here

Click on this video and read their description. It is incredible and you won't regret it!




Keep showing them the love!

Thanks!!

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Memories



For some reason today I found myself thinking about my brother John more than usual. Maybe it was the sudden switch to 'fall air' that made me think of him getting ready to go elk hunting in Colorado with my dad or the fact that his cross country season would have been well underway. Whatever the reason, I've been thinking alot about how I miss him but also laughing about things he used to do. While I don't have the time to recap them all, I was able to scrap together some pictures from the last couple of years. Every single one of them made me laugh my face off and cry at the same time while sitting in a coffee shop.


John Noll and my cousin Ben in Savannah, GA. John was never very good with children, hence why Ben has a pointy stick in his had. Just kidding...


Yep. Family vacation to the Biltmore House in Asheville, NC before my Freshman year of college. Long day. John must have asked the Biltmore workers a thousand questions about how the thing was built

For my graduation trip we stayed outside of Boone, NC which is home to Appalachian State University. How could John not pose with Yosef the Mountaineer, App State's mascot?


Yep, the camels came to Boerne, TX every Christmas to be part of a live nativity scene. Literally right next to our house. I think we were having a conversation about camel spit when I took this picture. Who knows why

The infamous Cheerwine picture.
For all of you who don't know, Cheerwine is a delicious cherry flavored soda that is bottled and sold regionally. John had only had it once in his life but like anything 'southern' he was obsessed. I could probably do a whole post on his obsession with Bojangles and BoBerry Biscuits... On my way to St. Simon's Island for Spring Break '09, I stopped at a gas station and purchased a bottle just for him. I thought he was going to kiss me when I gave it to him. He is obviously just a little too excited in this picture.


Thanks for reading and laughing with me. The days are still full of sadness and the pain is always present but the world keeps spinning and taking me with it. I find deep comfort in knowing that I am not walking through this alone and have done my best to keep my eyes fixed on The One who will continue to bring me and my family through this horrible mess. So thank you for your continued prayers. They are still greatly needed and appreciated.



Saturday, September 25, 2010

Ding Dong! Wolf. Bears


Today has been a lazy Saturday. And I definitely needed that. I literally did nothing all day. I rolled out of bed at 10:30AM stumbled to the couch and proceeded watch the first season of Community all day long (thanks Betsy, Sarah, and Leslie!). At some point this afternoon I started thinking about dreams. No idea why. But I started thinking it was funny that the last 4 vivid dreams I've had all included bears and even one polar bear. And although the bears were not doing anything like this in my dreams,


It was still weird to me that I had so many bears appearing over and over in my dreams.

And since I had absolutely nothing to do I decided to take a look at some dream interpretation websites just for fun. Seriously, you should try it. Some of the explanations were unbelievably ridiculous but some were probably right on the money. Some people are very serious about dream interpretations. I guess that is fine. I never really got too serious about the matter just because up until lately, my dreams have been mostly entertaining.


But anyways, This is what I found:


Bear

To see a bear in your dream, symbolizes independence, the cycle of life, death and renewal, and resurrection. You are undergoing a period of introspection and thinking. The dream may also be a pun on "bare". Perhaps you need to bare your soul and let everything out into the open.

To dream that you are being pursued or attacked by a bear, denotes aggression, overwhelming obstacles and competition. You may find yourself in a threatening situation.

To see a polar bear in your dream, signifies a reawakening. Alternatively, the polar bear symbolizes your frigid and cold emotions.

http://www.dreemmoods.com/dreamthemes/animals.htm


Bear that which has two sides: one destructive and the other playful, caressing, and loving (294-87). Other possibilities: 1. grumpy. 2. over protectiveness. 3. failing stock prices ("bear market"). 4. hibernating, retreating.

http://www.edgarcayce.org/are/dreams.aspx?id=2484#B


Bear

Animals · Dream Dictionary

Because they hibernate, bears can symbolize cycles; birth death awakening motif; power or overpowering (the big as bear); your own cyclic activity or abilities. Is it time for your to awaken into activity, or to hibernate and renew your energy? Mythologically, bears represent mothering รข€“ the archetype of the Great Bear.

http://www.dreamota.com/dream-dictionary?letter=B


I'll be honest and say there were a few things in there that could be true. Like hibernating. I guess that is the same thing as resting right? And being introspective. I'll work on that one. Also bears in dreams apparently represent mothering. Is there something I should know? Am I about to pop out some kids I don't know about? Only joking.

Falling stock prices?? Really? I don't even own stock. That's taking it too far. I do love that each explanation gave and either/or scenario. Guess that could cover ALL the meanings.

Like the explanation about polar bears. It could mean a reawakening OR it could mean frozen emotions. Yes....that about covers it.

All of this to say it was interesting what these websites said. The rest is/was GREATLY needed and time to think about things and regroup myself was appreciated.

Here's to Lazy Saturdays and the Internet!

and bears...




Thursday, September 23, 2010

¡Bienvenidos a Atlanta!

Lot's of things have happened in my life since my last post. Namely that this past weekend I celebrated my 21st birthday. Even just typing that is weird. But good.

It was definitely a birthday to remember (and yes, I remember it). Unfortunately I have no pictures to speak of.

But anyways.. My good friend, Leslie Sloan, rounded up Betsy Corry and Sarah Spooner and they kidnapped me for a weekend of birthday festivities. Friday night was spent around a campfire at the Sloan's house. Saturday we ended up in Atlanta where the lovely Megan Hafer resides. First stop, TACO CABANA!!!!!! I know you have read my obnoxious post about this magical fast food Tex-Mex place that only exists in south Texas. That is, except for the one that somehow magically appeared in Atlanta. And I'm pretty convinced that it was just for me. While there are some major differences, it is real enough to make an obsessive person like me feel right at home. I felt like it had only taken us 3 hours to drive to San Antonio, Texas and were all sitting outside at the 'patio cafe' enjoying far to much deliciousness. And that was only the beginning...

Because I didn't turn 21 until midnight Saturday/Sunday we had some time to kill. So we ended up taking a quick trip to Underground Atlanta. Hmmmm.. I wish I had taken a pictures. It is an underground shopping area that used to be very popular and from what I hear, fairly cool. It was something special for sure. It definitely looked like it had seen better days and we were definitely out of place there. But it was still a good time.

The rest of the evening included getting lost alot, eating at a fantastic burger place and then taking 'disco naps' at Megan's place while watching Saturday Night Live reruns. Disco naps were a good call. Then we freshened up and headed out on the town.

A fantastic surprise of the night was that we met Aziz Ansari and I got a picture taken with him. For those of you who don't know this name, he is Tom in Parks and Recreation and also hosted the MTV music awards this year. If that doesn't help just go Google him. Anyways, it was pretty exciting even if we had to wait forever to meet him.

Afterwards we went out on the town for a few hours. My first appearance as a 21 year old in public was epic for sure. And don't worry, I was in good hands.

Sunday, my actual birthday day was spent driving back and using the GPS to look for random roadside attractions which led us to what was apparently Georgia's largest flee market but really it was like 5 of the same stores repeated about 100 times. It was hilarious.

It had been a long time since I laughed as hard as I did this weekend. It was so fantastic to get away and to be celebrated. So here is to you Leslie Sloan, Betsy Corry, Sarah Spooner, and Megan Hafer!

Job well done.