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}

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!