I know I already described the day of my engagement to all of you guys a little while back, but after Zach’s friend Morgan did such an amazing job filming our special day, I thought it’d only be right to share this with you all. (: Enjoy!
Chatting, sleeping, and belting song after song characterized the ten-hour car drive. The ten of us ladies had finally arrived. There we were, up in the mountains, staring at the Kenyon Cabin once again. This same time last year we had made the trip to the cabin for the first time and we were so excited to be able to come again. Katie Kenyon, a good friend of mine, invited us to a week’s stay at her family’s beautiful cabin in nothing less than beautiful Colorado. And this cabin is not located just anywhere in Colorado, but sits in the mountains right outside of Vail—the cream of the crop. Needless to say, we were ESTATIC.
The trip originated with a group of us that had all met working together at Youthfront a few summers ago, which is a Christian youth camp located near the Kansas City area. Ever since we have continued to stay a part of each other’s lives and the trip was eventually created as a way to all spend time together during our Christmas break. Friends were brought along as well and the week together was spent making new friendships just as much as it was spent deepening old ones. It was such a success that the cabin simply had to be revisited again.
You can imagine the sort of giddiness and slap-happiness that accrued as a result of the endless amounts of estrogen in house. The mornings were very slow in which some slept in, some read by the fire, and others made headway on coffee and breakfast. Once noon rolled around, most everyone was ready to conquer the day outside of the house and we would often venture into town and explore or decide on some sort of outdoor excursion. One afternoon we got some ice skates together and drove to a little frozen lake up in the mountains where we skated for hours in awe of the view. Another afternoon, after dressing up like abominable snowmen, we trekked out in the snow and found the absolute perfect sledding location. We flew down time and time again until some part of us was completely frozen and we retreated inside to thaw by the fire. On evenings when we just wanted to relax we would often play different card or board games or would pop in some kind of movie. One of my favorite days on the trip was spent with three of the other gals, including Kai my roommate who I brought along, in which we spent the day exploring Vail Village while a couple others went skiing on the mountain close by. We found a wonderful coffee shop where we talked for a while, went and looked through various art galleries, and eventually ate at an adorable German restaurant. Another highlight was of course all of us going to see Les Miserables together, in which there were many, many tears shed, and the many times following where we would listen to the soundtrack over and over again. Needless to say, there was quite an obsession.
However, above all else, my favorite part was simply catching up with one another and talking about things that matter to us. There is nothing that quite compares to spending such good quality time with some of the most wonderful ladies who never fail to challenge and impact me whenever we get together. I hope you all enjoy the pictures above and that each of you had an amazing Christmas break as well!
HEY GUYS!!! So this is the last MNU Blog I will post before the end of the semester :(. But hey, its ok!! I’m not quite done yet AND we will all post a few times over break! But as of now I have four finals down and only ONE more to go. Finally I’m almost done! This week has been something else, let me tell you. So first of all, I have had five finals to get through and that has been CRAZY! Studying was definitely NOT my focal point this week and I’m a little more unprepared than I would have liked to be. So in this lesson of mixed priorities, there is a word of advice I have learned that I would like to give to any upcoming freshman: Make the best of your study time, no matter how easy the class is. Trust me!
This next semester is gonna be something else though. I mean I know this will sound weird but I am really beginning to enjoy doing homework! What is wrong with me!?! I have no idea! I guess just the idea that I am preparing for the rest of my life has been enough motivation for me. This isn’t high school anymore, this isn’t just something you have to try to get through, this is what we are doing to train us for the rest of our lives. And this training is brutal! SOOO many distractions and things are always there. This is the time of our lives we are taking to find ourselves and to really see who you are going to be for the rest of your life and that is really important to me. I really do want to be prepared for my future: for my career, my family, and just for anything the world throws my way. I really need to buckle down and focus in if I want to get this done right.
But on that note there’s another piece of advice that I myself am trying to filter through too: Live a little. This doesn’t mean party and go out and get crazy! Just don’t be afraid to make relationships, ya know? When you hear people talking about college what do they say? They don’t talk about how great finals were, or how important the class work was to them. I mean YEAH that’s important but people talk about the fun times the had, the love they shared, the friends they made, and the people that made a difference in their lives. There was a reason that in the beginning God said “It is not good for man to be alone.” We are built to be together, to be in fellowship, and just to love one another. So no matter how important school is, no matter what you’re going though, just don’t forget to love people. Because in the end, the people you shared your life with are going to be the most important things to you. So whether you’re in high school, college, or working full time, don’t hold yourself back from the thing we were designed to surround ourselves with: people. You can’t look back on a life full of love, happiness, and joy and feel regret. God made us to be together. So GO and BE TOGETHER! We need to stop taking each other for granted and cherish our time with one another. That time spent with people really is what makes everything worth it. So study, laugh, have fun, just please don’t forget the one thing that is most important to every human being whether they want to admit it or not: To Love People.
My final in New Testament is gonna be a killer! 8 page study guide, over 200 questions to prepare for, and it’s early on Friday morning. OUCH! But that’s okay, the class was very informative, evaluating Professor Flemming’s clothing choices with a fellow classmate through Twitter everyday was fun, and the jokes of Dr. Dean were very…. humorous. I appreciate the class and the ability it presented to grow in walking with Christ.
Taking a break from that subject, another break taken was at the Procrastination Party. This event was for students to say, “Studying, schmudying!” and say, “HELLO!” to some karaoke. It was a time full of fellowship,fattening, yet delicious goodies, and some glorious singing. We heard everything from the Backstreet Boys to the the Pokemon theme song. It was a great time to end a great semester.
After experiencing, for me and multiple other friends who were in heaven, the glorious adventures of a revolutionary figure in history named Napoleon Dynamite and a few bowls of cereal, it is back to studying (or playing Dead Space 2) and trying to affirm the grades in classes we are sure of or hopefully get through a certain class by the skin of our teeth (which is a saying I have never understood). The New Testament test isn’t ready for Joey and his mad Jesus knowledge!!… Positive thinking, right?
A couple weekends ago I joined the ministry majors and Professor Mark Hays on a trip to Dallas, Texas, for the National Youth Workers Convention. We all got up at the crack of dawn, piled into the MNU van, and made our way to the conference where we would be joining thousands of other college students, youth pastors, and youth volunteers. In going I was hoping for some more insight and wisdom into what it looks like to be a pastor’s wife and what all to expect in being involved in full-time ministry. My fiance is a youth pastor and throughout the past year and a half I have become increasingly involved in his youth ministry, loving the relationships I have been able to establish with the junior and senior high gals. In preparation for the time ahead I want to make sure I am soaking up all I am able to now during this stage in my life so that I may be better equipped for ministry in the future.
Our retreat to Dallas was great in so many ways. I loved being able to simply explore the convention center on my own and go to whichever sessions peaked my interest. There was space for silence and solitude in our schedule, allowing for time to process and be still, and of course there were all kinds of speakers covering a wide range of topics. Some of my favorite speakers included Doug & Cathy Fields, Bob Goff, and Tony Campolo. I loved hearing Doug and Cathy’s take on how they have developed and maintained a healthy marriage in the midst of ministry–something that, in looking at those involved in full-time ministry, is seemingly quite rare. Bob Goff, the author of Love Does, was extremely inspirational, having experienced the most amazing adventures all across the globe. Tony Campolo, who is a speaker, author, pastor, social activist, and professor of sociology, was so intriguing to listen to. His phenomenal, world-reknown book, Red Letter Christians, simply focuses on taking seriously the counter-cultural teachings of Jesus and, more specifically, embracing the lifestyle Jesus describes in the Sermon on the Mount. This man who speaks in countries all throughout the world is coming to MNU this spring and I am so unbelievably stoked to hear him speak again! When Campolo spoke at the conference, it was so neat seeing just how humble this man is in how he speaks of others and himself. His book is extremely challenging to believers and is very intentional in making us re-evaluate our lives and our hearts. However, at the same time, he was completely honest and transparent in that many of those who have studied under him, such as Shane Claiborne, have far outdone him in living the life that Jesus spoke of in the Scriptures. I love how self-aware he was in talking about his own life and how honest and genuine he was so share that with all of us. How quickly people want to follow someone who admits his own failure in following the call God has placed on his heart. It is then that we are able to believe, if only for a moment, that perhaps our imperfections and brokenness could actually be used for God’s glory.
After Campolo spoke and the masses surrounded him for questions, pictures, and signatures I noticed his wife sitting in a row to the side on her own, making small-talk with a couple people as they left. There is something so intriguing to me about leaders’ wives. I often wonder what it looks like to be in these ladies’ shoes, being married to and supporting a husband whom is responsible for leading countless people. So often these women fade into the background despite the prominent role they have in the life of their husband and thus in the people he’s leading. In seeing Campolo‘s wife I had to go talk to her and hear her story. In doing so, I got to sit with this lovely lady, Peggy, for 30 minutes before they had to take off for their flight, and got to hear her journey from accepting Christ in her young adult years all the way to now. It was so neat getting to hear her perspective on her and Tony’s life together in which she was extremely honest and transparent about. I am so thankful for having experienced this moment with her and getting to peek into her life story.
All in all, I loved the opportunity to join the ministry majors in going to this conference and am so thankful for all the insight gained through such amazing people. That’s all folks!
It’s that time of year isn’t it? The moment the weather begins to get colder, the coughing and stuffy noses begin to increase rapidly. Thats right, the sickness is coming back and the cold season is here, as expected. Many of us here at MNU have fallen victim to this evil health factor. I being one of them.
This has been enough of a stressful week already, and now this!? The aches and the pains, the sneezing and the sniffling, the coughing and the hacking, it’s all part of the endless circle of reasons we continually have to struggle to just get by. With finals just around the corner, and winter break immediately after that (WOO), our health is the last thing we need to be worrying about right now. We should be studying, doing homework, and psyching ourselves up for this big tests. HA who am I kidding? We would be procrastinating, hanging out with friends, and just simply being college students. Most of us can’t even focus on anything but winter break! But NOO! No we are stuck in bed, too achey to do anything, too sick to be around people for an extended period of time. These are the times when you say to yourself life sucks sometimes
But amidst all of the illness and all of the sorrow there is hope! There is a light that shines in this tunnel of sore throats and swollen sinus cavities! There is good in every negative and the good is plain to see once you look. Before we were all sick zombies we lived life as aimless procrastinators: Kings and Queens of wasting time and goofing off! We were lazy without cause, did stupid things for no reason, and there was simply no excuse. So remember you’re not alone friends! I am with you, and many others like myself. Just keep your heads up and look at the bright side: at least now you have a legitimate reason not to do your homework!
And this is one of my favorite poems by Shel Silverstein that I added just for fun:
As wonderful as Thanksgiving is, little did I know that this particular Thanksgiving would be above and beyond what I was expecting for the turkey holiday. After finishing all my classes on Tuesday, November 20, I was preparing myself for a friends-giving celebration that my roommate Kai and her twin Marshall had prepared for that day. The night before they had given both my friend Clair and I flowers, a handkerchief, and a beautiful poem they had written explaining that the following day would be a celebration of our friendships in which the whole day would be a surprise (hence the handkerchief). When the time came for our celebration, we got in our best attire and took off, ending up at Cheesecake Factory at the Plaza and then spent some good time walking down by the river after a trip to Latteland. It was beautiful out, the weather being perfect, and it was such a refreshing time getting to simply be with these good, good people. After spending some time in the Word and talking about God’s faithfulness through our community, we took off for the final destination, blindfolds on. However, unbeknownced to me, I was truly the only one without a clue.
The car stopped and Kai came around and helped me out. We began walking, her hands in mine as she led me forward, and she began talking to me about how thankful she is to God for our friendship and all that He has revealed to the both of us through us becoming so close. She then said, “But, the rest of today we are going to celebrate another relationship…”, and this was when I first realized that this day would look far different than what I could have ever hoped. She took off my blindfold and I was standing in front of two of my good friends right outside of my grandparents lovely little church where my parents had gotten married years ago. The setting was absolutely beautiful. We were standing in this beautiful garden area which was decorated with twinkling lights, picutres of Zach and I together, and mason jars with flowers hanging all around. They explained that before me was a timeline of Zach and I’s relationship separated into chapters that represented our growth together as a couple throughout time. Twine took me from chapter to chapter where there were adorable signs and pictures of us during that time dangling down from the twine. Friends and family who shared life with us during that specific chapter stood at the different stops, and upon reaching them, spent some time reminding me of that particular time in our relationship, sharing stories and talking about their experiences of us together. It was so beautiful getting to talk with some of my favorite people and reflect back on our experiences together that had brought us to this point. The twine eventually lead me inside where I found my sister and Kai, and after spending some beautiful moments with them, I followed it on through the sanctuary doors. Even though I thought that I was out of tears by this point, the waterfall came upon seeing him. I walked down the aisle of candles, finally making it to him, and he showed me a video that he had put together for me which included many of our close friends and family. He took me to the final chapter and read to me from Scripture, reminding me of his commitment to choose to love me every day throughout our lives together and that he knows my worth in the Lord. We spent some moments together there and he eventually walked me to a ring of candles, where he said some final words and got down on one knee. The rest was a blur, most likely because I said yes so fast, and before I knew it I had one amazing rock on my finger–SO SURREAL! We ran out the side door where friends and family were gathered and waiting. It so good getting to celebrate with people afterwards and be able to share those moments together.
It was wonderful having Thanksgiving that week and getting to spend good time with family celebrating all of God’s blessings. All in all, I shall never forget the day of November 20 in remembrance of the love God has revealed to me through this man. THE LORD IS GOOD!