A Sense of Wonder

Y’all. What a year this has been. College is a crazy experience, but it’s also an amazing experience.

I’m not really sure if I have the words to sum up this year. It was definitely a roller-coaster, to say the very least. Keeping up in classes, missing my family, and trying to do “adult things” has been stressful, but they don’t even compare to the good times. I’ve met my absolute best friends this year. I should have listened when everyone told me I would make life-long friends in college. I’ve gained so much experience about learning and teaching others at my job at UTC Outdoors. And most importantly, I’ve grown so much in so many ways.

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It’s actually kinda funny.

The other night at the House, my campus ministry, Jason, the preacher, was telling the audience about a lesson he remembered hearing in college. He told us that this girl, who was about to graduate, was giving a single word to sum each of her years in college. He thought this was crazy, to only give an entire year ONE word. It doesn’t feel like it gives the year justice. So many things have happened this year, so many opportunities for growth and self-discovery that it seems impossible to pick only one word. But I guess if I had to pick a word to sum up this year, it would be growth, as cheesy as that sounds.

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My precious friend Abby and I were eating dinner one night before she left for Ethiopia (that’s a whole different story), and we were reminiscing on our first year.

“I don’t really feel like I’ve changed much this year,” I told her. “I still feel like the same ole me that moved here back in August.”

She actually started laughing. “Oh I know that I’ve changed so much. I’m definitely not the same person and I never will be again.”

It really got me thinking, have I changed more than I realize? DuhI can’t imagine anyone moving to a new city for eight months, being introduced to a brand new level of busy, making a new group of friends,  having an unimaginable amount of freedom and not growing.

As I look back and actually think about how things were when I started college, I realize that I’ve grown in ways I never even imagined. It’s funny how life works like that.

Nothing will ever be the way the way that it was before I started college. Nothing will be the same as it will once I finish this year of college. Nothing will ever be just like it is right now. And that’s okay, scary, but okay.

One of my new favorite quotes by Heraclitus is, “No man will ever steps in the same river twice, for its not the same river and he’s not the same man.”

Life is a really cool thing.

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The most current book I read was by Lavinia Spalding, called Writing Away: A Creative Guide to Awakening the Journal-Writing Traveler. Which was AWESOME. I’ve never wanted to travel AND write more than I have while I was reading that book. In it, she talks a lot about why it’s important to keep a journal while you’re traveling, but also why it’s so also important to keep a journal in of your “everyday” life. The last words of the book are:

“How do you intend to enter this chapter of your life? With your eyes wide open, welcoming yourself to each moment, aware that today is a time in your life that will not come again? And what will you pack to bring with you, as you travel to this ‘center of the world’ that you call home? If nothing else, bring a journal, a pen, an open heart, and your sense of wonder.”

It made me realize that whether I’m on a cool adventure, going to classes and studying everyday, or at home with my family that each day is an adventure and it should be treated like one.

I thought this was a pretty neat to thing to read as I’m finishing up my first year of college and getting ready to start a new chapter this summer. I’m excited to see where my sense of wonder takes me and what God has planned for me.

 

The Internship of a Lifetime

I have a deep craving for seeing new places and meeting new faces. I’m the type of the person that can walk into a room full of strangers and walk out with a handful of best friends. I think I realized this about myself the summer before my senior year of high school. I attended Volunteer Girls State and didn’t know a soul when I got placed in my city, but that week I made friendships with some of the most incredible girls from all over the state that two years later, I still keep in touch with. Later that summer I attended an Honors Symposium at Harding University for two weeks. I didn’t know anyone at Honors Symposium, much less anyone in the entire state of Arkansas, but when my parents dropped me off, I smiled. They didn’t stay for the welcoming dinner because they had an eight hour drive back home. I could tell they felt bad, just leaving me, but I convinced them I was fine, and I really was. I immediately began making friends. I grew so much during that time. As I look back, I can’t help but think that summer is what started my desire to branch out on my own and meet people on the same journey as me along the way.

Two summers later, I decided to put my “independence” and “friend-making abilities” to the ultimate test.

This summer is going to be unlike any other summer I’ve ever lived. I recently found out that I’m going to be doing an internship in Bar Harbor, Maine! Walking into this internship, I don’t know a soul. I’m so excited.

Before I go to Maine, I get to go to Utah to do my training, where the company’s headquarters are located. I’m pumped.

While I’m in Maine from the beginning of May until the end of August, I’m going to be working for Cariloha, a company that sells bamboo-based products. I’ll have my housing paid for, a company car to drive, and I’ll also be getting a paycheck. I’ll be living and working with other girls from across the United States that are just as hungry for adventure as me.

If you’re like my parents, you might be thinking why the heck does anyone want to go to Maine? Good question. When I applied for this internship, I had my eye on Cariloha’s Hawaii’s store location. But God said, nope you’re gonna go to Maine. I will admit that I had to look up Maine on the map because I wasn’t 100 % sure where it was. I was almost disappointed I wasn’t gonna get to enjoy the beautiful beaches of Hawaii and wear a coconut bra and eat exotic fruit, but then I thought Hawaii is a great vacation spot; I could easily make a vacation happen there one day. But Maine? When else would you ever have the ability or desire to go there? There was no way in the world I was turning this internship down. I’m headed exactly in the direction I’m supposed to be headed in.

When I applied for this internship, it wasn’t something I was going to get my hopes up for, but as I kept making it farther and farther in the interview process, I began to think I had a solid chance. When I got the phone call that I was in, I felt like I had won the lottery. I WAS SO PUMPED. I think my friends I was with thought I had turned into a mad woman because I had so much adrenaline pumping through my body.

After my great grandpa passed away, I questioned if I made the right choice by leaving the state and my family for three months, but I realized I’ll probably never get another opportunity like this, and my family has been so supportive.

The past few weeks have been pretty hard to stay present. I’m so ready to wrap up the school year and start adventuring, but I’m constantly reminding myself to enjoy the current day that I’m living and that the summer will come and end before I know it.

Mount Desert Island, Maine

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A Place Far Greater Than

Saturday was one of the saddest days I’ve ever lived through. But Saturday was a day that I realized how lucky and how blessed I am.

Saturday was the first visitation and funeral service that I can remember attending for a close family member.

Death is a really weird and awful thing.

Until last Wednesday, my dad still had all four of his grandparents, which is something that blew people’s minds when I told them. I still have all of my grandparents, which is also something I’ve never thought about being rare, until this past week.

The visitation and the funeral were so heartbreaking because the people that I hold so close to my heart were so heartbroken.

After crying for around three solid hours, my sister and I were talking on the way home about how lucky we are to just now be attending a funeral when we’re old enough to understand what is going on. We were lucky that he got to live 87 years and that we got to have relationships with him. We know that having a relationship with any great grandparent at all is something that few people get to have the privilege to do. We realized how much more heartbreaking it would have been if that funeral would have been for someone who was younger. It would have been less than a celebration.

But that’s what it was: a celebration of his precious life that he got to live to the fullest.

My heart was broken for my sweet granny, his bride of nearly 70 years. One of the most selfless people I know, going through something you wouldn’t wish on anyone. We knew that one of the main reasons he held on for so long was because of her and her devotion to him.

During the visitation while I was continuing to choke back tears, Pa’s paster said that he was “in a place far greater than; a place we’re all ultimately trying to get to.” These words are so true, and somehow they seem to make the loss hurt a little less. For all the pain and suffering that we’re enduring down on earth, he’s rejoicing with the Lord right about now.

My sweet Pa is in a place now that he spent his entire life working towards getting to. He believed in Jesus and was more of a devoted Christian than I can ever hope to be, so I know he’s where he needs to be right now, but it doesn’t make us miss him any less.

I bet he’s smiling down at my sweet Granny. I bet he’s eating cornbread and milk. I bet he’s about to build a bike from scratch, then take it for a ride down one of the golden roads. I bet he isn’t in any more pain. I bet he’s waiting for all of us in a place that’s far greater than we can even begin to imagine.

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