Sunday, January 31, 2010

Notes From Warmth In Winter 2010: Going The Distance.

 Half of it, at least. In case you couldn't tell from the last post, I thought I had missed it. My church had officially cancelled the trip for our youth, but that clearly wasn't enough to keep me away. My friend Sara had stayed the night with me, and she said that her dad was plenty willing to drive us to murfreesboro for the convention center. This was a very important piece of the puzzle to the "How Can Emily Get to WIW 2010?" puzzle.

After that, it simply became a matter of setting up the right details. This I am no stranger to. Before I could drive, I would have to find my own ways to get into town every Wednesday night after church. On days where I had to stay in town after school, I would develop ridiculously complicated plans on how to get there and who I was going to stay with and whatnot. These plans failed a grand total of twice. Not too shabby, if I do say so myself. This time was different. It was an overnight stay, there are lots of complicated "Safe Sanctuary" rules to follow (presumably so I don't end up sleeping on the street with new hobo druggie friends), and it's an hour and a half away from my house during the Nashville Snowpocalypse. Plus, my cell phone was completely down. It won't charge. It is right now, but that was by random chance and I haven't moved my elbow in....53 minutes now.  That meant that I had no phone book in which to get in contact with the people who were AT the event.

In the end, I worked out with Mr. Gavin Richardson, youth pastor of HFUMC, and a friend of mine, found me a hotel room with his group, and I was on my way! Armed with a debit card and my suitcase for half of WIW 2010: Going the Distance!

Life is beautiful.

I arrive at the event after being driven a total of 2 hours (not counting the 10 minute stop to get some poor girl out of the grass.) We had arrived. I was in pure bliss. We got settled into our hotel room (which was, um, AMAZING, thanks Gav!) and went to workshops. The first we chose was "Pray With Africa" which showed a video and reminded me TONS of where I am supposed to be and what I'm trying so hard to work for, something that the public educational system has driven me from. The next was one by Gavin, a very spontaneous workshop (remember? Nashville Snowpocalypse), on how our lives online need to be a reflection of our passions. And something about the printing press and how Gavin chopped his thumb off. It reminded me of exactly why I don't have a facebook anymore (I promise I will someday blog that!! I promisee!!). Facebook took me from my passion and sapped me of time. Not good at all. But, yet, I find it easy to waste time on the internet still. For example, I have officially been sitting here with my elbow on my cell phone cord for an hour....61 minutes now. It's so easy for me to waste my time. Time that could ultimately be used doing more productive things. Like learning. Or serving. Or watching all the episodes of House stored on my DVR (kidding). Or praying. Ya know, stuff that might actually mean something someday.

The next thing was an almost 3 hours of free time. Which was pretty much uneventful. Sorry to say. Met some nice people. Re-met some other nice people. (Including the set of quadruplets whose youth group asked me to pick out which four were the quads, and didn't believe me when I guessed them all right. They remembered me!!) In that free time, I came in contact with the group that came to hear me give my testimony at Mt. Olive UMC a few weeks ago. But other than just meeting people, nothing eventful happened.

Sessions were next. I won't lie, I was ridiculously excited. I was pretty much bouncing up and down. Worship here has always been something that I've loved and cherished. But last year, I was in a horrible "low" of my life, and so many things have happened since then that Warmth In Winter became my "control" group. If I could come here, to this event, and feel something like I didn't last year, then I really had changed!! Then it was really worth all of the mental turmoil I went through. I often describe myself in that period I was going through (all eight months of it) as being dead. sleepwalking. comatose. apathetic. And a number of other words synonymous with the above. It was no coincidence, I don't think, that the first song that P.O.R. played was "Alive".

Loudly, I sing
Loudly, I live
Giving You all I have to give,
Until the world knows the Love that's made me so alive
I'm alive, I'm alive! 
That's how I felt. Like I was alive again. B-e-a-utiful. That was all the proof I needed. 
(Side Note: 79 minutes of sitting here with my elbow on my phone charger.)
 I can't remember much else about the service, except that the preacher, Rev. Doc. Brenda Salter-McNeil, was absolutely AMAZZZZZZZING. I loved her and the way she preaches. Kinda loud and in your face, but not insulting at the same time. Plus she had a cool accent. There was one point where she looks at us and says "Come on, that was the PERFECT spot for an Amen!" Just awesome.

Service ended and Sara and I went to bed and before we knew it, it was time for the closing service. One of the coolest things I've ever experienced HAS to be the entire group saying the Lord's prayer all at once. Just amazing. The whole experience is always amazingly connected. Connected to each other. Connected to God. Connected. 
The next song that I heard that really stood out was "At The Cross" 
At the cross,
At the cross,
where there's room for me
at the cross
at the cross
I am finally free.
I can't really explain to you what about that spoke to me. It just did. All in all, a beautiful weekend. :) 
84 minutes total. 62 text messages. Lol 

Saturday, January 30, 2010

I Am Disappoint In You, Nashvile Snowpocalypse

You are pretty much ridiculous. You have ruined my youth retreat. You have made my driveway ice over. And you didn't even cover all of my grass. The worst part is, you're GONE. I hate you, cold weather. I hate you so much. I hate you because you took away my retreat by scaring all the people.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010


YAY for NOT failing tests!!!

I took 2 ridiculously hard tests last week, and got their scores back today. For my english/lit test, I made a 94, and for my anatomy & physiology teset, I made a 96!!! I know this is basically insignificant, but the rest of my class bombed these tests. Seriously. I felt accomplished. On a side note, my art teacher took my outside drawing and loved it enough to post it to the board.

Just a not so important side note:

School is going to murder me. I am absolutely sure of it. Ugh.

Sunday, January 24, 2010


I am constantly in awe of the things that God has me do in life. It leaves me puzzled, bewildered, and ultimately, ecstatic. It reminds me just why I'm not in control.

As I was working on my testimony, I was convinced that this was just for me, so that I could see what God has done in my life, so I could be grateful to Him. I kept asking Him why I needed to give my testimony to all these people. I did it, but I didn't know why, and to be quite frank, I didn't think that it would affect anyone to whom I was speaking. After all, I'd heard many of the testimonies from the people in my church, and there's were so much better than mine. Still, I wrote it like I was supposed to and prayed that, even though *I* didn't think it was important, God could use it somehow.

He did.

I spent the afternoon getting ready to speak, and picked up my friend Keedy (who is my navigator), then ate at the Mexican restaurant. (My waiter asked me how my A&P test went, which shows just how much time I spend there!!) We left early and arrived at the church about 45 minutes before service was supposed to start. I got "suited up" and had a HUGE case of the butterflies!! I was scaredd!! I listened to the band play and read bits and pieces of the testimony I'd written (11 pages 1.5 spacing, 16 pt font, calibri, 3,000 words). I spent a lot of time outside and chatted with the members there. I made it through worship, which I thoroughly enjoyed!! And finally got up to speak!! This was the moment I'd waited for. I'd started with a joke to make me less nervous and got into it.

About 30 minutes later, I closed with "Because God paid a price for me, and I am His." I received a standing ovation (sp?) and went back to my seat as quickly as I could, by this time, I was thirsty, really really hot, and blushing. I did it. I felt like God's hand had been on me the whole time I was up which made me feel so much better!! When I looked at the audience for the last time, I saw a few people crying. I still favor my left side, though, which I really need to work on. The pastor called an altar call (which I found ironic, because there really wasn't any altar at all) and encouraged people to speak with their pastors or youth pastors if they felt God tugging at their heart. I smiled and thanked God for not letting me do it alone!! It was so much better than I could've expected.

Afterward, the band played some more, and I moved to sit with Nancy. I had three big surprise arrivals!! Nancy, whom I hadn't seen in at least a month, possibly two, Valerie, who I really wanted to come but didn't ask, and her husband Stacy. It made me happy to see these guys, that I love dearly.

I had some other supporters too, like Miss Keedy! and Cayla Baughn, and the Willem, and Kevin Carver, my youth pastor @ Lakeside. It was great to know how much these guys love me!! Oh, and my mom and sister came, but that wasn't really a surprise.

People came up to me and told me how I had touched their lives. People that I've been looking up to my entire life were telling me that. It was crazy.

Anyway, now that I've spent the last 30 minutes procrastinating and not working on all of the things I'm supposed to, I suppose I should go. But I might be a little slack on the blogging scene this week because it's just going to be an incredibly busy week! Preaching Wednesday, then leaving for Warmth In Winter on Friday! I will at least post on how WIW goes this year. Should be very interesting.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

I am starting to think nobody reads this. Oh well.

Today was a good day, aside from a slight lack of sleep. I got to school on time, made a 5 (out of 6. Don't ask) on my persuasive essay (and managed to use four important political speeches and one book!!), finally got my the rope in my drawing for art class right, had time to enjoy my friends, and won a contest! Good day, good day indeed.

Not to mention I've found the BEST soda I've ever had. It looks like this:

Doesn't that just SCREAM awesome? Even better than Jones Soda (which I am quite fond of).

Anyway, that's all with my life. I'll keep you posted.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Just a Thought

Why do we have a whole holiday for Martin Luther King Jr., leader of the black rights movement, but not one for someone like Susan B Anthony, leader of the women's rights movement? Makes me wonder. Anyway. I have to continue writing my testimony for the 23rd. Which just MIGHT be the busiest day of my whole life. Just sayin'. Oh, and to start writing a talk (or sermon, which nancy says I have to call it) for the wednesday after the 23rd (the 27th) because I'm speaking that day too. Fannnnnnnnnnntastic. Maybe one day I'll get good at this stuff, eh?

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Whoda Thunk It?

Huh. Who knew?
Apparently, doing homework in my truck happens to be extremely relaxing. A nice peaceful break in my hectic week.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Haircuts & More Snow Day!

I forgot to mention, in my "stuff that's been happening to me lately," that I got a haircut!! :D Some of you are infinitely aware of how big this is. I *never* get haircuts. I hate getting haircuts. I'm indecisive and I very rarely know what to do with my head. I haven't gotten a haircut in about two years. Saturday, I decided to be drastic. So, lo and behold, here is my *new* head. (Never fear, the same genius brain is still in there. Trust me!)

It's about six inches shorter and it's all springy!

Oh, snow day. We got another one! So I'm sitting on my couch watching "Carriers" with my little brother and the Willem, who is also busy texting his girlfriend on my phone.

That's all for now, folks.

Saturday, January 9, 2010

So This Day I Promise....

To try to not be a fail blogger like in the past. This will largely be determined by the number of people that either read/comment on this blog. If you comment, I shall write.

This is mostly for my family and/or friends who were distressed by the fact that I deleted my facebook account, and they are no longer able to stalk me any longer.

Mk. So. Upcoming/Recent events must be started with, I suppose.

Upcoming: (A.K.A. Things to blog about in the future)
Jan. 14: Court. Jury Duty.
Jan. 23rd: Speaking at Mt Olive UMC. (Must figure out where this church is...)
Jan. 29-31: Warmth In Winter!! HECK YES!!!!! Best retreat all year! WOOT!!!

Recent! (Easier to blog about, that's for sure.)
Snow daysss!!!
I LOVE snow days. They are magical surprise breaks from the stressful monotony that is the public edumacation. And we got TWO of them in a row!! How cool is that? Very cool, my friends, very cool. So for my first day, I simply did all of the things that I needed to do to feel adequately prepared for the semester. Boring, but necessary. And by "things" I mostly mean laundry. Lots and lots of laundry...

Day 2, though, was not as boring! I walked to the end of my road (a whole mile. Geesh. It was cold.) and got picked up by the lovely Mrs. Baughn, and had a snow day party! With meh friends, Bryce, Cayla, Spencer, Dylan, Sawyer, Angie, and the Willem.

Here are the pictures:
I don't actually like sledding, so I really just went twice then stayed inside. But does that matter? Nope. Snow days are fantastic. :)

Boring subject, but I suppose it will help the stalkerish among you. (I love you family.)
4 brand spanking new classes!

1st Block: English 11. This class is a say the least. Um. My teacher likes to tell us that we're dumb. But it's okay, because for a grand majority of the class, she's right. ;) But I like her, she lets me color all over my notes with my crayons!

2nd Block: Advanced Art. Very outside my comfort zone. I'm a writer, not an artist. But my art teacher, Mrs. Carter, is not only sarcastic and easily annoyed, but has some cool ideas of how to turn my stories into art of a different form. Should be interesting.

3rd Block: Health Science. Lots of gross cool stuff! A very interesting supplement to my fourth block, plus I get certified in CPR at the end. Cool.

4th Block: Anatomy & Physiology: Gross gross gross. Don't have a fondness for the teacher (or how she teaches), but the content is interesting and the class will be easy to make an A in.

I think that's it for my life right now! I will be trying to add neat features to my blog soon. Check it out!