oh hey there... summertime?

My internal calender is highly confused. It's been in the high 60's and low 70's all week. I thought it was still winter? But, nevertheless, its been very pleasant. Crazy blue skies, bright fluffy clowds, sweet tea, perfectly ripe strawberries, rolled up jeans, bare feet... It all screams "Summer is here! Enjoy it and do nothing productive!" And then I glance over at my massive pile of school books, see my huge stack of paperwork for Chick-fil-A (I just got a job there!), and remember that I'm taking the SAT next week, and I snap back into reality. Okay, I'll say it: I'm dying for summer. Or at least a break of some kind. The school year sure wears on a person, and when it gets to March, I'm about at my breaking point from all the stress. It's nice to imagine though. To drink some iced tea, take in the rays of sun warming my skin, and pretend I'm not overwhelmed. Maybe it's the procrastinator in me, or maybe it's my child-like love for daydreaming. It's probably both. 

Have y'all been experiencing the same kind of it-sure-feels-like-summer-but-it-really-isn't realization?



take a hike.

Tom: "I'm in the leader."

Life is crazy. There are always so many demands on my time-- so many excuses that prevent me from doing meaningful things like spending time with my family. I often stay behind when they go on hikes or other outings, explaining that I "have too much Physics homework" or "have several tests to study for," or whatever it may be. But sometimes I feel compelled to put away school, stress, and all my excuses, and enjoy God's beautiful creation with the family that He has given me. And you know what? It's so worth it. 

My baby brother, Tom, leads the hike with a tiny hiking stick in his hand and a hat with bear ears on his head. Next, Chloe and Aaron race along the path, climbing, laughing, and pointing out parts of the trail they find interesting-- an ancient truck that must've crashed there decades ago or a collection of rocks formed into a simple fire pit. Benjamin and I are next in line, chatting, making a few jokes, and often just walking in thoughtful silence. Finally, my parents walk behind us. They comment on the beautiful scenery, smile at each other, and laugh along with the rest of us. After hiking for an hour and a half or so, we reach our destination, a large rock cliff, and feast our eyes on the glorious panoramic view of expansive valley below. We can see miles and miles of lakes, trees, and not-so-distant mountains. It's one of our very favorite places to hike. We decided to head back down when the sky began to dim, and reached the bottom just as the last traces of the sun disappeared. 



oh, the weather outside is frightful

This weekend was something of an adventure. On Friday night, we met up some of our closest friends (who live a couple states away) in Greenville, SC for Winter Jam. In a huge coliseum type place, filled with about fifteen thousand other people, we rocked out to some favorite Christian bands until midnight. The next morning, we woke up to a beautiful snowy sky. Sadly, none of the snow landed, but it continued to fall throughout the day. Of course, as the poor snow deprived people that we are, we didn't let the snow's inability to stick stop us from immensely enjoying it. We bundled up and took a long walk, snow covering our coats and hats, and wind relentlessly biting at our hands and faces. Once we couldn't feel our fingers anymore, we figured it was time to come in from the bitter winter weather and devour endless tea and hot chocolate in an attempt to thaw out. That night, it got down to below fifteen degrees- only zero degrees after you factor in the wind. The sky was completely black, branches fell from trees, and the wind made eery noises. So what did we do? Decide to go take another walk, of course. To make a long story short, we ended up running for our lives from the aliens and warewolves that were surely in hot pursuit. Because we're just that amazing. ;) 

Since then, I've mainly been trying to stay warm and get over the cold I seem to have gotten. That, and watching Downton Abbey. Love. Oh, and guess what? Tommorow's class is cancelled because of the snow and ice! Not like I'm excited or anything... 



something to think about

Here's a little story that kind of summarizes my past couple weeks...
The other night, I felt so, incredibly overwhelmed with all of the many demands on my limited time (I could compile a lengthy list for you, but I won't). I was so discouraged, and I had so little hope in my abilities to get it all done- and try not to lose my sanity at the same time. The only thing I felt like doing was completely breaking down into tears, but I couldn't allow myself that luxury. "I can't do it. I can't do it!" I found myself repeating. And that's when it dawned on me: "No, I can't do it of my own abilities. But with God, I can do anything! Anything is possible!" When I looked at it that way, the things that cause me grief seemed so utterly insignificant compared with what God is capable of. And so, I gave it all up to Him. My stress, my weakness, everything. I shared my burden with my heavenly Father. And before I knew it, not only had I tackled a good portion of the schoolwork that was part of the reason for my stress, but I felt such an overwhelming sense of peace. And, even more than that, my faith had sky-rocketed. It was the most wonderful feeling. For my whole attitude and perspective to have reversed in hardly any time at all, I knew that God had immediately answered my prayers.