Wednesday, July 29, 2009

the lost get found

Lately there has been one song that just keeps replaying itself over and over in my head. Most of the time when this happens I get really annoyed and will try anything to get it out. This current song is very different. I feel like whenever I hear it, it's God softly reminding me not to give up. He's reminding me that the world is tough and that I need to roll with the punches and pursue the dreams that He himself has placed in my heart. There are so many things that I want to do for His Kingdom and sometimes I feel like these things will never happen. There are so many people that I want to share His love with, but whenever the time comes I feel like I'm just a baby Christian and don't have the right to do so. Well, whenever I hear this song I get brave. I feel empowered. I feel like God is gently picking me up, brushing me off, and saying "You can do it, Linds."

The song is "The Lost Get Found" by Britt Nicole. Never in my life has a song given me goose bumps and made me cry. I know this sounds kind of crazy, but it's not. It's a God thing. =)

Thursday, July 16, 2009

inspiration never dies

Last Wednesday evening started out like any other. Keith and I had just finished eating dinner and we were trying to figure out if we wanted to play cards or watch television. As it turns out the TV won and the channel surfing began. With the hopes of finding something good I began flipping through channels and I stopped when I saw a beautiful young girl singing in a Cinderella play. Her parents were being interview and were talking about how proud they were of her. I thought I was watching a VH1 Driven kind of show, but I was in fact watching a Primetime Special about the murder of Melanie Goodwin. It took me awhile to understand that Melanie had been murdered. I kept waiting for her to be interviewed about her music career, but that never happened. Once I realized this wasn’t Driven I immediately wanted to change the channel. I did not want to know how the singing Fairy Godmother had been murdered. Keith, however, wanted to know what happened, so we kept watching.

Melanie was on her way to her boyfriend’s house one night after work when she stopped at a gas station to pick up a few snacks. While there, she was approached by a man who needed a ride. She told him that she could not do that, and proceeded to purchase the snacks. Upon leaving the gas station, Melanie was raped and beaten. Her body was then burned so badly that the authorities could not identify it. Numerous surveillance cameras recorded Melanie and her killer at the convenience store. Thankfully the footage, along with DNA found on her body, was enough to send her killer to prison for life. Melanie was 19 years old.
As I watched Melanie’s story unfold I kept asking God questions.
How could this happen? Why did it happen? Why didn’t anyone save her? Why did she have to die?? WHY????
I didn’t understand.
When the program ended I began to cry. I was deeply affected by the murder of Melanie Goodwin. My soft tears turned into gut wrenching sobs after a few seconds. As Keith held me I began asking him the same questions I was asking God. Why…??? Although he didn’t have the words to say, he answered my question the best way he knew how. He went over to my computer and played the song “I Still Believe” by Jeremy Camp. He told me that Jeremy wrote this song after losing his wife to cancer. Some of the lyrics are:
Scattered words and empty thoughts
Seem to pour from my heart
I've never felt so torn before
Seems I don't know where to start

But it's now that I feel Your grace fall like rain
From every fingertip washing away my pain

'Cause I still believe in Your faithfulness
'Cause I still believe in Your truth
'Cause I still believe in Your Holy Word
Even when I don't see, I still believe

I did not know Melanie, but she seemed like an amazing person. You can tell just by looking at photographs of her that she was more than just a pretty face. She was a singer, actress, daughter, sister, friend, student, volunteer, girlfriend, child of God…She was driven. She inspired. The more and more I thought about her death the angrier I became. Melanie didn’t have to die. What if she would have known how to defend herself? What if she would have had a weapon in her car? What if her killer would have been at a different gas station?? There are many what if’s that I can come up with, but the only thing that eases my mind is this:
God grant me the serenity
to accept the things I cannot change
courage to change the things I can
and wisdom to know the difference

This is not the first time a stranger’s death has affected me. I cried for weeks after the Virginia Tech shooting. I cried when Eve Carson was brutally murdered and stayed glued to the news hoping for new developments. My heart broke when I heard about Anne Pressly being viciously attacked in her home, later dying at the hospital. I know that everything happens for a reason and that God has impeccable timing, but sometimes I can’t help but wonder why these things happen. Inconceivable tragedies like these often have an impact on me, and I’ve always felt that there was a reason for this. I think I became aware of this reason last week after watching Melanie’s story.

God is doing amazing things in my heart and is stirring up an idea so big, so wonderful that I could burst. I can’t do anything to bring Melanie, Anne, or Eve back, but maybe I can help prevent this from happening to someone else. The Lord is moving in me with this idea and I am as excited as ever to tackle it head on. Last Sunday Pastor Fred told us that “God plants a dream in our heart with a thought in our head” and boy was he ever right.

Rest in Peace Melanie

[Photo Credit: Theatre Arlington]

**I severely summed up what happened to Melanie on that terrible night. If you want to know more you can read about it here.**

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

back to the bayou

It’s official. I am finally going to be back in Louisiana on November 21st! I’ll spend my time between Mandeville and Lafayette and will be there for a little over a week. =o) I cannot even express how excited I am!

I moved to Charleston at the beginning of the year and had anticipated returning to Louisiana sometime during the summer. Well, that didn’t happen. With work, school, getting engaged/wedding planning, etc. it just wasn’t possible to visit my much-loved home state. Today my requested time off was approved by my office and I am so very grateful/ecstatic/blessed!

I’ve started making a list of all the things I want to do (Go to my old church, bring Matt, Micah and Mags to the lakefront, visit VOA, etc.) and all the things I want to eat (Isabella’s Pizza, boudin, beignets, gumbo, etc.). I know that I probably won’t get to do everything I am hoping to do, but just being able to spend a whole week back home is enough to make me smile like this ----> =) 

To be honest I am somewhat scared. I’m scared of having to say good-bye to all of my loved ones again. (I’ve already begun thinking about the day that I have to leave…) I’m scared of my heart breaking when Micah, once again, begs me to live with him forever and ever. I’m scared that if I go back home and see all of my family and friends that I’ll never want to leave. But here’s the thing: Louisiana isn’t really my home anymore. It’s where I’m from and where I grew up, but my real home is here in South Carolina with Keith. Actually, scratch that. My home is where Keith is. Regardless of our exact location, I have found the one whom my soul loves and I honestly believe that God made each of us for one another. If I can just remember this thought when I am saying my tearful good-byes then I think I will be okay. Maybe.

Okay, back to the happiness! This Southern Girl is headed back to her roots in 129 days! Woop Woop!!
**Here are some of my favorite pictures from Louisiana**

Friday, July 10, 2009

When I say, "I am a Christian" by Carol Wimmer

This poem was sent to me and I wanted to share it with you guys. Enjoy. =)

When I say, "I am a Christian," I'm not shouting, "I've been saved!"
I'm whispering, "I get lost! That's why I chose this way"

When I say, "I am a Christian," I don't speak with human pride

I'm confessing that I stumble-needing God to be my guide

When I say, "I am a Christian," I'm not trying to be strong

I'm professing that I'm weak and pray for strength to carry on

When I say, "I am a Christian," I'm not bragging of success

I'm admitting that I've failed and cannot ever pay the debt

When I say, "I am a Christian," I don't think I know it all
I submit to my confusion asking humbly to be taught

When I say, "I am a Christian," I'm not claiming to be perfect

My flaws are far too visible but God believes I'm worth it

When I say, "I am a Christian," I still feel the sting of pain
I have my share of heartache which is why I seek His name

When I say, "I am a Christian," I do not wish to judge
I have no authority--I only know I'm loved

Carol Wimmer
, Copyright 1988

Monday, July 6, 2009

Summer Sisters

Summer Sisters is a novel by Judy Blume that I've read nearly every year since I was in middle school. There is something so special to me about this story. It completely captivates me. Maybe it’s because I am the borderline clone of Vix. Or maybe it’s because Laney is strikingly similar to someone in my family. Either way, whenever I read this novel I leave reality completely and find myself on The Vineyard with Caitlin and Vix.
I finished reading it again today and even though I knew how it would end, I was sad when it did. Even though I think the ending is actually how it should be, I wanted to know more about these beloved characters. *sigh* I could ramble on an on about how much I love this book, but I won’t. All I can say is that it truly is an amazing story about love, coming of age, friendship and betrayal.

As an aspiring teacher/writer, I admire Judy Blume tremendously. She has done what I someday hope to do. To write a novel that becomes not only a one time read, but stays in the heart of the reader.

Summer Sisters unfolds over almost twenty summers in the lives of two young women - from 1977 when they're twelve to 1995 when they celebrate their thirtieth birthdays. There's a love story at the center, and the story of a friendship more intense and longer lasting than many love affairs.

Thursday, July 2, 2009

what a pain

Since I was 15 years old all four of my wisdom teeth have been present. The top two are "full grown" and do not ever give me any trouble. As for the bottom two, well that's a whole different story. These little guys are halfway in/halfway out of my gums and bother me every so often. Recently the bottom left tooth has been causing me a tremendous amount of pain, so I finally decided to make an appointment to have this one tooth pulled.

I've spent the past few years avoiding having my wisdom teeth taken from me. Every time I went in for a cleaning (or a root canal!) I had to hear "the talk" from a dentist about getting my wisdom teeth pulled soon. Well, the time has come. Yesterday I had both the upper and lower wisdom teeth on the left side of my mouth pulled.

I have to say it was one of the most terrifying experiences I've ever had at the dentist. This was my first time at this office and luckily Dr. Matt and his assistant were very likable and awesome at what they do. I did not technically feel any pain while the procedure was being done, but the noises I heard and the pressure I felt was enough to make me want to vomit. I felt like I was in a horror movie. All I heard were cracking noises and tools hitting my teeth. IT WAS TERRIBLE!!!! At one point I thought my mouth was going to cave in and break into two, but luckily I was wrong.

After the procedure was done I got to say goodbye to my wisdom teeth. They were the most disgusting things I've seen in a while. The roots on my teeth were probably an inch kidding. While I should have been feeling great to have these suckers gone, all I felt was nauseous. Dr. Matt took one look at me and then handed me a trash can. So there I was still sitting in the chair semi-puking into a trash can. Not my most glorious moment, but it was comical to say the least.

I was given prescriptions for an antibiotic and pain killer, but had I known the pain would start before the medicine kicked in I would have demanded drugs before I left Dr. Matt's office. By the time I got home and took my medicine I was in tears and bleeding profusely from the mouth. You'd think that since I've struggled with Endometriosis and Interstitial Cystitis that I could live with a little pain/blood combo in my mouth. Well, FYI...I can't. The pain I felt was so excruciating, and crying only made it worse. I couldn't breathe out of my mouth because there was so much gauze in it, and once my nose became stopped up I could barely breathe at all. I ended up crying myself to sleep and waking up very drugged up.

The first 8 hours after my teeth were pulled were the absolute worse. I am still in pain today, but by no means can today's pain compare to yesterday's. The only advice I'd give to someone getting their wisdom teeth pulled is this: Get the drugs before they pull your teeth!!

Now if only the swelling on my face would go down...

**Get well goodies from my love**
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