Tuesday, December 24, 2013

My heart is full...

Christmas is no doubt my favorite time of year.   I love the cold crisp air, the time off of school, searching for the perfect gifts for my loved ones, spending time with my family (despite my occasional urge to throw myself off a cliff), and every other thing that comes with season (trust me this whole post would be a list if I went on).





That being said, there are many people who don't share in this joy like I do.  

For some, the holiday season is filled with pain.  It's a reminder of what they don't have.  It may be a relationship, loved one, or just the resources to provide nice things for the people they love at this time of year.  
I was talking with one of my friends who lost his mother after a long battle with cancer 2 years ago around Christmas time and he told me that it's not really so painful as it was, but it is just a constant uncomfortable itch in the back of his mind: something is missing...it will never be the same...you will never be as happy as you were. 
Personally, I do not have experience with any of these feelings at this point in my life, thank goodness, but when he told me that, my heart broke for him. 
It makes me so negatively emotional to think about all the people I know feeling that way, or anything short of joy during this time, or ever really.  
{not that I'm just this muffin basket of joy everyday, but I definitely want that for others}

PLOT TWIST:
While my world was being shattered by the thought that not everyone is as infatuated with Christmas as I am, my friend told me something else.  
Waverly I just want what you have. 
Please elaborate, seƱor.
You're joyful and confident and certain. Your faith is beautiful.  I so want to believe in God and heaven and hell and that there is something more than this, but I just don't.  I want what you have.
Whoa bro. I'm not like fabulously spiritual or anything, I'm definitely still learning.

I still don't know why I was so floored by this, but I was.  And after I pressed him a little more for what he meant, I realized that this is real. He wants this.  I continued to talk to him, just encouraging him to continue searching and that I could answer/find an answer for all of his questions.

All this to say, that it's great and all to be joyful and thankful during this time.  It's great to remember Christ's birth, life, and even death and resurrection during this time, but what are you going to do about all that? Are you going to sit there and say to yourself, Awwww. Jesus has such a great story... ? That is a great temptation in today's Christian culture.  Sit back and relax and bask in the glory that is Christmas.

What I'm Not Saying >> Go out to the mall and bible beat people

What I am saying is that this time of year is a whirlwind of crazy for everyone and people get caught up in it and overlook those people that are hurting. Take time to really notice people.  Ask God to show you people the way he sees them.  Love people.  Go out of your way to serve people and show them that someone noticed them. Sometimes all it takes is a smile and a kind word to turn someone's day around.  You have no idea what their day has been like.
Also, semi side note: If you notice something about someone that is good/awesome/cute/etc. TELL THEM.  I'm from the south and we talk to people we don't know.  Hey girl, your shoes are SO cute. When someone tells me I look nice it makes my heart smile. Ask about your cashier's day and listen when they tell you.  It's a much more enjoyable process for everyone when you do that. Although, some people maybe just don't want to talk and that's fine, just be sweet for goodness sake.

Y'all. As Christians, we have the greatest news ever and at Christmas, we have a great avenue to share! So, what are you going to do about it?

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Productivity is dead...

...or at least it seems like it when you come back from Thanksgiving break with only 10 days until the semester is over and you can sit back and enjoy the holidays.
{that is an unfortunately long sentence}

That's right, folks.  I have 10 days until I go home for Christmas for a whole month practically.  I don't even know.  It might be 6 now.  I'm too tired too count.  From what you ask? I don't even know.  College, y'all.

But anyways, back to the point. (I don't really know if there is a point...maybe I'll get there) 

Feeling artsy after my friend Brooke showed me this app called Rhonna!





















Thanksgiving, otherwise known as the most over-looked and slighted holiday in modern day American culture, has come and gone.  If you did what my family did, then you went around the table at some point and said what you were thankful for which was most likely your family *cue sweet smile complete with a slight head tilt*. Precious.  I'm not saying there is anything wrong with that, because there absolutely isn't and there are certain little ones in my family who have several concepts to grasp about family and love and giving.

So I'm about to go in two different directions with this because I found my point(s).

1.  There are so many things that my family has been striving to teach my three younger siblings since we adopted them from China.  Things like culture and social cues.  Things that most children just internalize from watching their parents as they grow up, but hey, that only happens if you have parents.  Most 8 year old boys would not run into a men's restroom and walk up to a man who is using the bathroom and ask "WHATCHA DOING?", but most 8 year old boys were born into loving families {this by the way is one of those moments where when you hear it at the table from the men's restroom you can't help but laugh and be horrified at the same time}. My point is, when you are an orphan, this is what happens and your (if you're lucky) adoptive family has to be patient and teach you the things you should already know.  So I sat at the table and listened to my parents teaching my siblings about thankfulness and gift giving, watching them being incredibly kind and patient, repeating until they understood (probably still repeating on the whole you-don't-just-get-on-Christmas-you-give-too thing).
     Are we not the same? God has adopted us into his family and patiently teaches us what it means to be a part of his family.  Repeating and repeating.  Constantly teaching us despite our regressions and failures.  It's not wholly about the end product but the journey.  Sanctification is a process.

2. So the list of thankful things at our table (that is the things we are thankful for) consisted of family, food and family (Harrison's the deep one in the family), turkey (Micah Jude is definitely the runner up after Harrison), Jesus, more family, and the art teacher.  Alright.  That's a solid list. I'm definitely not complaining.  But there was something my mom said rather matter-of-factly later on that week that you are going to be like "seriously Waverly, you're going to go there" but yes.  I'm going there because YES SERIOUSLY.  My mother said "hey! Most people don't even have running water, stop complaining about having to share a sink!" At the time I was like "yeah! Deal with my stuff all over your sink!" (internally, of course) but if you really think about the things left unsaid at the dinner table on Thanksgiving, you will realize that your life is probably not really "FML" worthy.  Even if there is a ton of stuff going on in your life, you can still find joy in the things that you do have and the daily gifts God gives to you.  For example, life.  If you're reading this right now, you have that.  There is a definite difference between joy and happiness, you just have to find it.  I encourage you to pray for it. This isn't something you have to do on your own.

So now that I have made a coherent point and adequately acknowledged Thanksgiving, we can move on to CHRISTMASSSSS!!! Which is the best, obviously.   Enjoy this time with your families and be thankful for the holiday season! And for goodness sake, do not let it stress you out.  If Noah were co-writing this with me he would probably say, "If it's stressing you out, you should just stop." This is not really practical advice for things like studying for finals or things that you have to do to succeed in life, but Christmas time should not stress you out.  So don't let it.  You have the power, people.

Speaking of finals, for all those in the midst:




















This is on our fridge now.  Ha.  Surprise, roommates!

So before I end this awkwardly {because I'm drawing a blank on normal ways and this really needs to get posted like yesterday} you should swing on by to my sweet soul sisters, Haley and Brooke's blog! They are so awesome, and also blog newbies like me! For real though I love them and I know you will too!

Peace out, girl scouts!

Sunday, November 17, 2013

That awkward moment when...

...you realize God must have a sense of humor because there is no way your life would have turned out this way if you were in charge...

Don't get me wrong, if I were in charge, it would all be a giant mess.

In my recent and not so recent past, there were 3 types of people that I would make fun of:

1. People who are Alabama fans, students, alumni, etc.
            ha. rednecks


Oh look! It's me and my friend Ali at an Alabama game, because we are students and fans, because Alabama is awesome y'all! Roll Tide. 










2.  People who date guys who are younger than them
      guys younger than me are SO immature...I only date older guys

     


Oh wait.  I'm guilty of that one too. 






3. People who like to hang out with their family.
     ...my family is SO lameee...

 

Y'all, that's just dumb...people who know your weirdness and still love you ARE NOT lame. 

4. Also apparently I told my mother a long time ago that only lesbians wear Dr. Martens. 

     



Let me introduce you to my favorite pair of shoes...






So while you sit here and digest what I have just told you about my old self, I'm going to tell you a story.

When I was in eighth grade, I had this really awesome and slightly scary history teacher.  At the end of the year, he gave our class some of the best advice that I have ever gotten, to this day.  He said it about high school, but I believe that it applies to all stages of life.  
 
Before you get to high school you need to decide who you are going to be and what you are going to stand for, because if you don't, some else will decide for you.  
wow.  At thirteen I didn't really know what to do with that.  For the rest of the week, I was constantly asking myself who I wanted to be and what I stood for.  Finally I realized that up to this point there were two things that I was doing that I didn't want to be doing anymore. The first was that I was people pleasing way too much. I liked the things that I liked and acted the way that I did because I wanted to be liked by the people I was around and I didn't want to do that anymore.  So my number one thing was to stay true to myself whether people liked it or not.  The second thing was that a lot of the time my mind was focused solely on guys and I was finding my worth in their approval.  So my number two thing was that I was going to take a break from guys.  My rule was no dating in high school.

After I decided those two things, I lost like all but two (maybe just one) of my friends, and it was much easier to concentrate on things other than boys.  It was awesome.  I continued throughout high school that way, just enjoying getting to hang out with all of my friends and just be myself.

Fast forward to fall of my senior year.  I have two of the best guy friends (Mike and Noah)
Harrison, me, Mike, and Noah. 
in the entire universe, who'd do anything for me and I'd do anything for them (except for something like making meth or killing people). Homecoming is one weekend away and my family, minus me, is about to go to China to get two of my brothers.  So the weekend before homecoming, Noah asks me to go with him in this embarrassingly elaborate display in my driveway.  So I frantically find a dress that day and we go to the dance and it was so much fun.  The weekend after, Noah invited me to go to church with him because my family wasn't here. I told him that'd be great, but that I would drive because I wanted to still go to my small group at my church. He told me that he would ride with me.  So I pick him up that morning and the conversation goes something like this:

*silence for a really long time because I haven't finished my coffee and he knows better*
Noah: Waves?
Me: yeah.
Noah: I like you.
Me: mmmhmmm. I like you too?
Noah: *facepalm* no...Waverly...that's not what I meant.
Me: oh. OH. OHHH.

I don't really know what happened after that and I don't remember what that sermon was about, but I do know that I told him that I just thought of him as a friend.  He took it with grace.  He told me that I would always be one of his best friends and that he wouldn't let it be awkward and that's exactly how it was for a long time.

Fast forward again to late May.  After a great internal struggle and many conversations with Mike, I had this conversation with Noah on my way home from work.

Noah: Hello?
Me: Hey what's up?
Noah: Nothing much just took a nap.
Me: How was your day?
Noah: Uhhhh. Good I guess.
Me: Alright well it was good talking to y-
Noah: Are you really going to hang up before you tell me that you like me? Come on, Waves.

Seriously Mike?! Way to spill my secrets.  So yeah that happened.  After a couple of weeks of very long phone conversations, my basement getting flooded, and him debating on whether he really wanted to punish me for putting him the friend zone, we were coming home from Mike's championship lacrosse game and we had this conversation.

Noah: Waves, we should go on a date.
Me: ummm...so are you asking, or..?
Noah: Waverly, will you go on a date with me?

So less than a week before graduation we started dating. Fast forward 6 months to...OH WAIT! That's today! Haha.  Long story short, Happy 6 months of putting up with me (his words not mine!).  It's been so much fun and I hope we have many more.  My only prayer is that God's will be done not only in our individual lives, but in our relationship.


Enjoy these pictures and just know this happens every time I try to get a decent picture with him.


 



Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Thoughts about other people's vomit...

So I probably should not do my first ever post this late at night and give it the title that I did, but you know, I'm just going to dive in...

DISCLAIMER: this post is not entirely about other people's vomit. 

So, I'm going to start off with some backstory...

I'm a Social Work major and freshman at the University of Alabama and I have been attending (and loving) Church of the Highlands since I moved from Birmingham to Tuscaloosa.  I am the oldest of five children and our family is wild and crazy and awesome so I love going home to visit them (and also my boyfriend, Noah) whenever I can.  So this Wednesday was Motion night which is basically just a worship night for middle school through college students that they only offer at the Grants Mill (Birmingham) and Auburn campuses.  My good friend Matt and I decided that after classes we would head to Birmingham, visit our parents, pick up Noah and go.  

So that's what we did.  

Matt comes to get into my car and says "hey, I think there is puke on your car." I really wasn't surprised...is that bad? Probably. I just sighed and got on the road to Birmingham and didn't really think much more about it.  

I got to visit with Matt's parents, see my whole family, eat some awesome homemade chili and revel in the hysteria that is evenings at my house. 

 And, y'all. I got lots of hugs.  Fun Fact: your freshman year in college, you don't know people well enough to give legitimate hugs...Just saying.

So anyways, we went to Motion and it was great.  We had an awesome worship time, just having fun bringing due praise to our awesome God and listening to a great message about our view of God and how it shapes our relationship with Him, brought by David Perkins.  

So we leave after a great night to take Noah back to his house and go back to Tuscaloosa and OHMYGOSH gas for $2.99?!?!? No way. So obviously we stopped.  So I start pumping gas and Noah goes inside to get a coke and Matt's chilling in the car, and when Noah comes back out, I remember about the vomit on the side of my car.  So I grab the squeegee *insert sigh* and go to get it off.  

Noah: "what are you doing? That is for your windshield. By the way, you need a carwash."
Me (casually): "Are you offering? I'm getting the vomit off my car."
Noah: (not so casually) "YOU'RE GETTING THE WHAT OFF YOUR CAR?! THAT IS SO GROSS. OH MY GOSH I'VE BEEN TOUCHING THAT ALL NIGHT.  THAT IS JUST RIDICULOUS, I'M GETTING IN ON THE OTHER SIDE" 
Matt: *laughing hysterically in the back seat*

So as we drop Noah off at his house, I was thinking about how nice it is to be in a house instead of a dorm and how painful it was to leave after only being in Birmingham for a couple of hours, pretending to be in my old lifestyle while attempting to escape the new one.  It didn't help that Matt and Noah were both trying convince me to just drive back the next morning.  

When I got back to my dorm, (after getting off the elevator on the wrong floor and walking into 539 instead of 639 {LOCK YOUR DOORS, PEOPLE}) I received a text message from one of my good friends from my high school small group that was just incredibly sweet and thoughtful.  We talked for a while and then she told me she had seen my tweet about the puke incident, and that she was sorry that I had to deal with that and we got to talking, and y'all she brings out my deep dark feelings for some odd reason.  

I started telling her about how this trip home made me wish I could just sprint back into my mom's arms and forget half of the things I've seen and the lifestyles that people live and just go back to my old way of life, but how I don't think I could ever move back home.  You know what she responded with?

Ignorance is bliss. and Growing up is hard.  

TRUTH.  

I used to scoff at people who told me "just wait until you get into the real world" (but really don't tell people that) but I don't think I'm, by definition, even in the "real world" yet.  And this is hard, so...

Growing up is hard.  6 months ago I was practically pulling my hair out just wanting to be out of my house and on my own.  I felt like I was going crazy, and my family probably would testify to my actual lack of sanity at that time.  I don't want to say that I felt like a caged animal, but I did. I wasn't by any means, but that's how I felt.  I sit here and laugh at that girl and long for my trips back to THAT house...that beautiful house.   

So while thinking and reflecting on all these things while talking to my dear friend, I realized something. 

I learned this technique for counseling in my Intro to Social Work class (which I love).  I don't know what it is called, but when you get anxious or overwhelmed, you ground yourself.  You think about yourself right now.  What are you doing? Are you incredibly uncomfortable or in great need at this exact moment? Currently, right now, you have no pressing needs? Well then, you're okay.  Live in that moment and enjoy it.  Slow down and see and notice things.  Take everything one step at a time instead of stressing yourself out about everything you need to do.  

I realized that in each stage of my life that I was unhappy with (or currently struggling with) there is really not anything super wrong.  I'm okay.  I was okay 6 months ago.  

I am discontent, for very small reasons.  

Sure I go to a huge party school as a non-partier and people puke on my car, but I'm at a great school that a lot of people can't afford.  I have a great church family that I'm slowly getting to know and love.  I have a family and others around me that love me no matter what and above all, I am the daughter of the King.  Certified princess. God loves me and he has total control over my life.  

And on top of all of that I open up my computer and one of the blogs I follow had a whole post about the difference between joy and happiness and about how to find joy in every day. 

 It's just been one of those nights.

So yeah, growing up is hard and I wish I didn't have to deal with some of the stuff I do, but you know, I am content and joyful and thankful (all at the same time) for the first time in a while.

And you know what?

I'm going to be just fine.

From the desk of Waverly Jones