Thursday, December 27, 2007

Snow is falling, friends are calling...

Well...Christmas is over. I had a really good Christmas. I received some great presents like a rice cooker and new clothes. Now, I am sitting in the den watching TV wishing it wasn't snowing. Yes, it is snowing...again.

I have decided there must be an evil weather gnome who hates me. It didn't get cold until the day I came home. It has snowed four, maybe five times since I have been home. He must know I despise cold weather and has made it his life goal to make me miserable.

Mom finally made me a brisket. It only took her a month. It was wonderfully delicious and I have eaten way too much of it. My cousin had enough foresight to bring guacamole and tortillas so we could have brisket burritos. I love brisket burritos. In fact, that was the only thing I ate for Christmas dinner. A big, fat brisket burrito with guacamole, cheese and sour cream. You may want to take a minute to wipe the drool off your chin.

Tomorrow is my last day at the portrait studio. I am excited but also nervous. Now I must seriously consider how I am going to get back to Alabama or what I am going to do if I can't. If anyone reading this lives in the Mobile area and knows of a cheap place to live, let me know. I am going to apply for jobs at the hospital in Mobile, but I am still hoping something will open up at the camp.

I would like to take this time to talk about the loss of a brother. One of my dear camp brothers passed away this past weekend. My heart aches for his family who had to have Christmas without him. I have no doubt I will see him again in Heaven, but he will be very missed until then. I wanted to be in Alabama for all the brothers and sisters who are dealing with this loss. A couple have called me, but it is just not the same as actually being there.

Please pray for the family who lost a loved one this weekend. Please pray for all the camp staff who are missing a brother. Please pray God will give me guidance as to whether or not I am meant to go back to Alabama. Please pray I will listen to Him and not try to do it my way. I think that is about all the news I have. I got a voice recorder for Christmas so now I am recording my thoughts as they come to me. That way I don't forget anything...maybe. Thanks for reading.

Monday, December 10, 2007

What!?! I'm still here!?!

So I have been home for a few weeks. I started working at the Sears Portrait Studio here in Amarillo, and I still don’t like it. I haven’t gained back any of the weight I had lost which I thought I would. We like to eat here in Texas.

I still miss Alabama. Actually, I ache for it. It has been cold and windy here.We are supposed to get freezing rain tonight. If there is ice on the roads tomorrow, I am not going to work. I miss the Alabama sunshine and warm weather. I am still trying to figure out how to get back. I would like to do a total move. My grandma has been kind enough to offer some furniture to me. I just have to find a way to get it from New Mexico to Alabama. I also need to find some money with which to move. The Sears here pays $1.10 less than the one in Mobile.

I am very thankful for my friends. Mea calls me and texts me every day or so. She keeps me up to date on everything that is happening in Alabama. Jeremiah calls me almost everyday and keeps me laughing. I enjoy these little visits and they keep me from going crazy. I also enjoy the MySpace chats I have with Jakefus and Jonathan. I just wish I had someone here in Amarillo to hang out with every so often. Roderick called me the other day and we are supposed to hang out sometime before I leave. It is always hard to try to find a time when both of us are available.

I have been keeping myself busy by watching InuYasha. My mom calls it my anime soap opera. I call it my escape. It is a really neat show my cousin in Greenville introduced me to. The only problem is I watched the last one my sister has on DVD today. I have to decide if I want try to watch them on the Internet or wait for the fifth season to come out.

I am still struggling with the feeling that I have turned tail and ran. My doubtful nature keeps telling me that if I had only believed harder or prayed harder, I would have succeeded. Then I think that maybe God knew I couldn’t handle the holidays by myself. He must have a plan for getting me back to Alabama. He took me there once; He can do it again. I just keep praying and waiting.

I do love the fact I have a kitchen I can cook in. The other night, I made oven-fried chicken, buttered squash and kettle roasted corn. It is so nice to be able to cook again. I love creating something people can enjoy. I love feeding people and trying new recipes.

I also struggle with the desire to have a family. I want so much to be a mother and a wife. That is part of the reason I don’t like working at Sears. I see these people come in with their families and get these beautiful portraits done. They now have this wonderful keepsake to remind them of the blessings they have. I want so much to be one of those moms bringing in their precious, although sometimes bratty, children.

Well, keep praying for patience and guidance. Please also pray for my attitude. I am trying to remain postive as I struggle with my job. I only have two more weeks or so before seasonal help is dismissed, but I hate it. Some days I am in tears just thinking about having to go to work. I want so much to go back to Alabama, but more than that, I want to do what God has planned for me. Thanks for reading!

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Home again, home again...

Well, I made it home. The trip was pretty uneventful.

I did have lots of time to think and ponder. I kept being reminded of the movie, Elisabethtown. There were three points of major significance. The first was in Laurel, MS. It was the first place I had to change highways. The change was successful, but as I started down the new highway I realized I really was on my way home. There were people I didn’t get to say goodbye to. Alex, Jake, Jonathan and Kayla are just a few of the many people I was unable to say goodbye to. This realization hit me pretty hard and I started to cry. I didn’t cry long because I was driving and I needed to see the road.

The second major point was when I crossed the Mississippi River. It dawned on me that every life changing moment I have ever had has happened on “the other side of the river.” When I served as a summer missionary in Memphis, TN. When I quit my full-time job to spend ten weeks with my uncle in Greenville, SC. When I served as a missionary and later moved to Citronelle, AL. I could almost hear the book cover slam as it closed on this chapter in my life. Again, I cried.

Not long after this, a friend called me to check on my progress. I was feeling a little down because I was on my way home. He told me to look at the scenery I was driving though. At the time, I was driving through beautiful trees dressed in their fall gowns. It was gorgeous and I was missing it because I was pouting. He also told me I needed to work on my attitude. He was absolutely right.

The third major point was when I crossed the Texas state line. No, I didn’t cry this time. I actually whooped and hollered because I was so happy to be back in my state. I stopped shortly after this to fill up my car. When I got out of the car, I could smell Texas. I don’t know what Texas smells like, but I would recognize it anywhere.

The rest of the trip was uneventful. The only bad thing I can think of is when traffic came to a stand still 50 miles outside of Dallas. This wouldn’t have been a problem usually but my right knee and my left hip were injured last Saturday. Because I had to keep constant pressure on the brake, I was in agony by the time traffic started moving again. When I finally reached my cousin's house, I was barely able to get out of the car because I was so stiff.

I am relieved to finally be home, but it was cold and windy. It actually snowed yesterday. I miss Alabama. My heart aches for the people and the woods. This confuses my Texan heart. Texas should be the only state a Texan heart longs for, but I really do love Alabama.

Thank you to all of you who offered advice and places to live while I was trying to sort out what to do. Many of you offered me couches and bedrooms. I am grateful to know there are still a few who care about me.

Now, I am sitting at Hastings drinking a venti decaf caramel macchiato. They have wireless here so this is where I come to do homework and check my email. It is nice to have a place to get out of the house and get connected. So I am going to end this post so I can go do homework. Thanks for reading.

Friday, November 16, 2007

In the wee hours...

It is late and I cannot sleep. I should be very tired because I went to bed after 2am and got up at 7am. I tried to go to bed but the reality of things to come hit me like a sucker punch to the chest.

I am going home. I am tucking my tail between my legs and going home. If things work out, I will only be gone a month and a half to two months. If things don't work out, there are lots of people I love dearly who I may not see again for a very long time, many of whom don't seem to care.

I couldn't do it. I couldn't get myself established. I have failed. Mom keeps reassuring me I have not failed, but I have trouble believing her. I came here for a specific reason and have failed to fulfill it.

I am relieved I will not have to spend the holidays away from family, but it is a bittersweet relief. I already miss all the Alabama people and I am not leaving for four more days.

I think part of my hurt comes from the fact that only one or two people seem to actually care that I am leaving. One of them actually offered me the double wide her daddy owns, but I am pretty sure I wouldn't be able to afford it.

Tomorrow night is going to be hard. It is the last Friday I will be here and, as of yet, I will be spending it alone. Life just seems to be moving on for everyone else and I am fading into the etheral mists of time. There will be no farewell party or big send off. I will simply slip away into the predawn hours, alone and heartbroken.

My faith in God has waned. It was so strong when I got here. I had so many expectations and aspirations. They are gone now. They have been replaced by tears and frustrations. I have tried so hard to keep up my faith. Oh God, why?

Before I come back, I will need at least two things: a place to live and a better job. I want to believe God will provide these, but the view from here is clouded with doubt.

Well, I have cried for the last hour and vented most of my pain. I will again attempt to slip into dreamland. Thanks for taking the time to read my pity party. I promise the next post will not be this depressing.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Update on Esmerelda

If you are confused by the title, it is because you do not know that my car has a name. Yes, I named my car. Her name is Esmerelda. I call her Ezzie, for short.

I was able to pick up my car this afternoon. When I talked to Eddie, my new mechanic, he knew exactly what I was talking about before I even finished telling him what happened. Apparently on newer cars, if the speedometer quits working, the transmission doesn't know when to shift so it doesn't. So praise the Lord, it wasn't my transmission and I only had to pay $120. If anyone in Saraland needs a good mechanic, I have one I highly recommend.

So my trip home is still on. I will be heading out very early Tuesday morning and driving all the way through. It is a 15 to 18 hour trip. Mom is worried about me driving that far by myself. She has offered to fly down and drive back with me. I like this idea because 1) I miss my mom and 2) it would make the drive much more bearable if I have someone to talk to. The only problem is it would cost about $550. She has the money, but that is alot of money to spend on a plane ticket just to meet up with someone.

Please pray for my health. I am battling a particularly nasty cold. I haven't been able to get proper rest because of work and school so it is only getting worse. Thankfully, I am off tomorrow. I plan on taking it easy, very easy. Thanks for reading.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

My new ride...

I left work Friday night and headed towards home. I was really excited because our 8pm appointment hadn't shown up and we had actually gotten off work on time. I was particularly excited because Alex and the girls were at camp. I was actually going to get to hang out with them before I had to get to bed.

Feeling pretty good and listening to some Relient K, I started merging onto I-65. As I started to speed up, I realized that my car sounded kind of funny. I turned off Relient K. Yeah, it did sound a bit funny. I looked down at the speedometer to see how fast I was going. According to my car, I was going 0 mph.

That wasn't right because...well...I was moving. I decided it was no big deal. I could still get home. I would just make sure at least one other vehicle was going faster than me. By now I was on I-65. So I start speeding up to merge with traffic, but my car felt and sounded weird. it was revving really fast, but I wasn't speeding up. It was then I realized my car wasn't shifting out of first. Not good.

I exited at Dauphin and stopped in a McDonald's parking lot. I sat for a little bit hoping that maybe it would just go away. It didn't. So, of course, I called my mother. I didn't know what else to do. After talking to Mom for a bit, I decided that my best bet was to call Kenneth.

So I called him and he gave me a few tips. He couldn't come help me because he was in Prattville. I decided I would try to get it home. I would just have to go VERY slow. Back onto I-65 I went.

After a little bit, my Check Engine light came on and I started to smell something. I exited the interstate again, this time at Springhill Dr, and stopped at a Shell station. I sat in my car and tried to think of someone else to call. I decided to call my pastor. The part of town I stopped in wasn't the best. It was a bit scary. I was praying very hard at this point.

My pastor and his wife were very kind to come and help get my car towed to a mechanic in Saraland, even though I made him miss his favorite show. They even paid for the tow. But the most extrodinary thing is the fact that his wife let me borrow her car. Below is a picture of the actual vehicle I am driving.

For those of you who are not familiar with cars, that is a candy apple red 2000 Ford Mustang SRS. She let me borrow her 'Stang! It has been a little weird driving this sporty little thing. I have decided I would never want to own one. They attract too much attention. More people, especially guys, have waved at me in the last two days than in the three and half months I have lived here.

My Dodge is still at the mechanic's. They are not going to even look at until Tuesday I think because they are closed on Monday. I am hoping it is something simple like a sensor and they can fix it quickly so I can return the 'Stang.

In other news, I made a plan this morning in the shower. I do some of my best thinking in the shower. Here is my plan: 1) Monday morning I am going to tell my manager that Thursday will be my last day at Sears. 2) I am going to spend the weekend hanging out with all my Alabama friends. 3) I will leave in the wee hours of the morning on the 20th and head to Texas. 4) I will spend the holidays in Texas. 5) I will return to Alabam in January.

I know I am meant to be at this camp but I don't think the camp is ready for me. There have been alot of things happening and I believe God is preparing it for something. I hope I am a part of that something. Until then, I am going home. This is all dependent on whether God intervenes.

So everyone in Amarillo, I will see you in a week or so. Everyone in Alabama, if you want to see me before I go, you have until the 19th to come see me. Thanks for reading.

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Observations of a desperate mind...

Well, it looks like I will be home for Thanksgiving after all. I was just told that I need to have made other living arrangements by next weekend. I cannot afford to move into an apartment because I am only part-time. I do not know anyone who needs a roommate. The support I thought I had when I moved here has evaporated. I am going to bring it up at prayer meeting tonight, but I am not sure what will come of that. If God does not intervene, I will be heading back to Texas on the 19th or 20th.

Speaking of church, I joined a church last Sunday. I am now a member of Shadow Lawn Baptist which may be a moot point in two weeks. I love this little church and hope to be around to see it grow. The pastor is a wonderful friend and advisor. I will be very sad if I have to leave.

My job is going OK. I still don't really like it, but realize it is only temporary. I am beginning to wonder what the point of God giving me this job is.

I am still homesick. I was driving down I-65 yesterday on my way to work when I saw a cattle truck. This made me miss home even more. Isn't it funny how the most random thing can make you think of home? To all my Amarillo readers, seeing a cattle truck is not a big deal. In Alabama, they are a rare sight. In fact, that was the first one I had seen since I have been here.

As I was driving home last night, I made an observation. I have to drive 45 minutes to get home so I have plenty of time to think. Most of the way is on a little two lane highway called 45. 45 runs through rural Alabama and is very dark at night. As I was driving home last night in the dark, it occurred to me I couldn't see anything outside of the range of my headlights, even with my brights on. My life mirrors this illusion. I can only see a few feet in front of me or the part of my life God has chosen to reveal to me. I don't know what is on the fringe of my spiritual "headlights." I just have to trust God will keep revealing the road to me.

Please continue to pray for me. I am ready to go home, but in the same breathe it is the last thing I want to do. Maybe my time here was to be short-lived to teach me a lesson or two to carry back to Texas. Maybe all this is just a test of faith and God is merely allowing me to have this experience to help someone else later down the road. Whatever the case may be, I know I have followed God's voice and He will take care of me, no matter where I am two weeks from now. Thanks for reading.

Monday, October 29, 2007

Groping around in the dark

I know this post is way over due. The last two weeks have been hectic and trying.

I went through a Tres Dias weekend a couple of weekends ago. If you don't know what that is, checkout this website: It is like Walk to Emmaus, if anyone knows what that is. It was amazing. It revitalized my faith and connected me to some great Christians.

During Tres Dias, I came to the realization that God wants me in Citronelle. I firmly believe there is a ministry here for me. I have been praying about moving ever since Kevin told me I was going to have to leave. The answer I keep getting is "Wait." I am not sure what I am waiting for, but that is what I am doing. I decided the other day God is going to have to do something amazing by December 1st or I am going home.

I am now in my third week at the Sears Portrait Studio. It is more sales oriented than I thought and I am a terrible sales person. Although, I did sell a platinum collection today which is the most expensive one we offer. I don't really like it there, but I believe it is simply a means to an end. Again, I don't know what end. I really feel like I am walking around in the dark.

I am still terribly lonely and homesick. I haven't be able to make any new friends since I got here. I don't get to see the few friends I do have because of work and other reasons. Nobody invites me over anymore. I think it is because they are busy, but my doubts about myself sometimes tell me it is because they don't like me anymore.

I met some really nice people at Tres Dias. On November 17, they are having a gathering of all the people who have ever gone through it. I am really looking forward to it. I think something will happen at this gathering. I am hoping for an answer to some prayers. I am doing everything in my power to go to it. Thankfully, it is being held at the camp.

I did have visitors on Saturday night. Once again, Alex fulfilled his role as my social planner. Alex, Kaiti and Mea came over. We had dinner and then played rummy. Alex beat us everytime, but he was the only one who had played so he had an advantage. I think if I could play some more, I could give him a run for his money.

With November just around the corner, Thanksgiving has been weighing heavily on my mind. I do not know what I am going to do. I will not be able to take off enough time to drive home and I cannot afford to fly home. I will probably spend the day all by myself in my sheetrock box. How depressing. This will be a very trying time for me. The urge to start packing gets stonger everyday and the only way I will make though the holiday season is with God. I am going through some major spiritual warfare and it becomes harder everyday. I know God is still here with me. He is taking care of me and this trial is a test. I just hope I have the strength to make it to the end.

I just ask everyone to please keep praying for me. I really want to make this work, but it is getting harder everyday. I have to pray constantly to keep myself going. I don't think God would bring me out here for no reason; I just wish he would share that reason with me. Thanks for reading.

Sunday, October 14, 2007

A conversation and Texas

In a recent post, I mentioned I was thinking about going home. I have been praying about it ever since. God answered that pray in an unusual manner. Let me regale you with the tale.

Friday night, I was sitting in the Island watching a movie. (If you are a regular reader, you may notice: I watch alot of movies.) I was also online but couldn't find anyone to talk to. The movie was almost over when I suddenly became soul-crushingly lonely. This confused me because it was so strong and sudden. I had had a good day because I had seen friends that day and had felt fine all day.

After a few minutes of being confused, I decided as soon as the movie was over I would go outside. The evenings are beautiful here and sometimes I go sit on a bench that is outside my door. I decided this was a good idea because there was a group here and if I didn't talk to any of them, at least I would see other human beings.

When the movie ended, I decided to also take out my trash. I walked outside and was attacked by Whisper, the camp dog. She was going nuts and wanted my attention. While walking back from the Dumpster, a man came out of the office and asked if she was my dog. I told him that she was the camp dog.

To make a long story short, we started a conversation. In the midst of this conversation, he said something totally out of the blue. He was kind of jumping around and I knew he was trying to make a point. Finally he stopped and said, "Ginger, what I am trying to say is don't go home." Those were his exact words. I had not told him about wanting to go home. I feel certain he was sent by God to give me this message.

Now that I know I am not supposed to go home, I would like to take a little time to miss all the things that make me want to go home. I miss brisket made the way my momma makes it. I miss sunsets. I miss the wind, yes, really I do. I miss my dog and my cat. I miss knowing where the closest Sonic is. I miss being able to see more than 10 feet in front of me. I miss 2nd Sundays at Wendy's. I miss real Mexican food. I miss Palo Duro Canyon. I miss Taco Bueno. I miss Wal-Marts that give you an extra 3 cents off gas when you use a gift card. I miss crazy family gatherings. I miss Texas barbeque. I miss having a kitchen and cooking for people. I miss being hugged everyday.

Ok, now it's out of my system. I will always miss Texas and as I tell anyone who will listen, I will be Texan till the day I die. I would also like to let everyone who doesn't already know; I got a job! I begin training at the Sears Portrait Studio tomorrow. Thanks for reading.

Friday, October 12, 2007

Spiderzilla Attacks!!

Let me set the scene:

I was watching a movie last night. I had turned off all the lights and was reclining on the couch. I was deeply engrossed in an intense scene between Van Helsing and Dracula when I saw something crawl out from under the couch. My first thought was it was a mouse because it was about the size of a small rodent. After a few seconds I realized it didn't move like a mouse. At this point, I was really hoping it was a giant cockroach. I can handle giant cockroaches. Turn on the light, they scatter.

Now, I decided I was going to have to turn on the light because I really needed to know what had parked itself in the middle of my floor. I quietly and quickly got off the couch and turned on the light. What I saw froze me to my very core. (Imagine dramatic music here)

In the middle of my floor looking at me with all eight of its black beady eyes was the biggest spider I have ever seen that wasn't behind glass. Now, normally I am a rational person but when it comes to eight-legged creatures, I lose all reason. I had my phone in my hand and decided I needed to call someone to take care of this thing.

I opened my phone book and called the first person on the list who lives in Alabama who happened to be Alex. He didn't answer which was probably a good thing because he is 17 and has a curfew so he probably wouldn't have been able to help me anyway. He told me today that I woke him up which is why he didn't answer. It was only 10:30 and he didn't have school today. What 17 year old with an Xbox 360 Elite and Halo 3 would be in bed on a "Friday" night?

So now I was at the point where I have to find someone to kill this thing because I am really starting to freak. Then I remembered there is a group here this weekend that consists of all men. Surely I could find one of them to come kill the monstrosity.

I went to the kitchen which is next door to my room. Thank the Lord there were some men in there and one of them was kind enough to kill the spider. I learned today from his wife he is scared of spiders and she was surprised he killed it. Apparently, I was more terrified than he was.

After he left, I could feel myself really starting to freak. I called Mom and told her what happened. I was to the point where I couldn't even touch the couch and didn't want to get into my bed because it is immediately behind the couch. I couldn't stand the place any longer so I grabbed my keys and went to sit in my car.

Sitting in my car seemed to help. I was trying to decide what to do because my skin was crawling and there was no way I could go back into that room in the condition I was in. I tried going down to Sara's house to see if I could sleep in her guest bed. There was a light on so I knocked. She didn't answer. I found out later she was sick.

So I decided to go for a drive. Now, Citronelle is a small town and it is in the middle of Podunk. By drive, I mean I made a big circle and went down Main street. The whole drive took me about 7 minutes.

When I got back to camp, I decided I still needed some calming down. I got on the internet to see if anyone was online. Nobody was. I prayed for about 2 minutes when the little box for the MySpace IM popped up to tell me Kayla was on. Kayla is more afraid of spiders than I am so I knew she would sympathize. After talking to her for a while I felt calm enough to sleep.

The problem still remained of where I was going to sleep. I had thought about sleeping on the top bunk of one of the other beds in my room because Mom had assured me that a spider like that would stay on the ground. The ceiling is awfully low and I just couldn't take that risk. I ended up sleeping on the love seat with the lights on. I couldn't make myself turn the lights off because I was afraid another spider would come out if I did.

Needless to say I am rather tired today. I know my fear of spiders is irrational and all in my head but I don't know how to change it. I still get the heebie jeebies when I walk into the Island and I still haven't been able to make myself sit on the couch.
Yes, Mom. I took this picture and this is the actual beast that was in my room. If you notice, there are a couple of legs missing from one side. I found them later in my room. Oh, the horror!! Thanks for reading.

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

Time is ticking....

I have become all too aware of the passage of time. Yesterday, I was walking back to the Island and I looked over at the sun. It looked worn out and sad. It was also lower in the sky like it just didn't have the energy to stay up any longer. It made me realize I was looking at an ancient object. My meer 26 years are nothing compared to the thousands of years the sun has been shining.

I have also noticed all the leaves on the ground. I know it is October, but it does not feel like it. It has been in the high 80s for the past two weeks. I cannot believe fall is already here. I had hoped by this time to have gainful employment and be on my way to my own place. Things just aren't working out like I thought they would.

A huge branch from one of the pecan trees at the camp fell yesterday evening. Thankfully it only fell on a lamp and they were able to straighten it back out. The good thing is the pecans were ready to be picked. There are pecans all over the ground so Sunny and I went and gathered some of them. They are very tasty.

I am thinking about going home. I mentioned that things just haven't worked out the way I thought they would. I had a lot of support from my local friends when I got here, but that seems to have petered out for whatever reason. Every week that passes reminds me I have one week less to find somewhere else to live. I don't even have a job yet. I do have an interview tomorrow to work at the portrait studio at the Sears in the mall.

I am not taking this decision lightly. I know God brought me here for a reason. Maybe I have fulfilled that purpose already. I am prayerfully considering all my alternatives. I am taking part in Tres Dias in a couple of weeks. Tres Dias is a weekend retreat similar to Walk to Emmaus. I feel I will be able to answer some of my questions at this weekend retreat. Please continue to pray for me. Thanks for reading.

Wednesday, October 3, 2007

Home is where the heart is...or at least your furniture.

Well, the director of the camp I live at told me yesterday I need to find somewhere else to live by the beginning of December. At first, I was a little upset. I thought, "That's it. I'm done. I am going to have hang my head and go back to Texas a failure."

After shedding a few tears and feeling sorry for myself for about 20 minutes, I realized this just might be the push I need to get out on my own. I will be getting a little money back on my student loans so I will soon be looking for an apartment. I am going to start looking in Saraland which is a little north of Mobile.

My main concern is I have no furniture. Not a single piece, at least not here in Alabama. The few meager pieces I do have are all in Texas. I have to either find a way to have them brought here or go and get them. I am still working on it.

The camp had its 5K run on Saturday. We had 46 runners and walkers. It was a great success and Sunny hopes to do it again next year. I volunteered and had lots of fun helping. The staff also had another gathering on Saturday. This time it was just us girls. We watched movies and played sardines. We had a great time and I enjoyed seeing all of them. Chelsea and Kaiti stayed the night with me and Chelsea went to church with me the next day. It was fifth Sunday singing so we had a wonderful noon meal. We didn't get to stay for the singing because I had to have Chelsea back at the camp by a certain time so her mom could pick her up.

I ordered my books for my classes that start on October 22nd. I am taking Bible 104 and Theology 104 at Liberty University Online. I had a little trouble getting it rolling because of a mistake on my part, but we got everything settled and I am now ready to start learning. Yea!!!

Again, thank you all for praying for me. I am still in need of your prayers and will probably remain so for a while. It is tough trying to get out on your own. I am only just now realizing exactly how hard. I know God is watching out for me and will take care of me. Thanks for reading.

Thursday, September 27, 2007

So ends the illustrious career of...

Yes, I quit the Marketplace. I was not cut out to work in a meat market. It was cold, wet and particularly nasty. For my own well being and mental health, I had to quit. Plus I wasn't going to be able to go to church for the next two Sundays at least because of my schedule. My time with God is just too important. I know I need the money, but God will take care of me. He always has and always will. I did start the process of becoming a substitute teacher so all is not lost.

Sunday, September 23, 2007

It's all in your state of mind...

After living here for seven weeks, I have come to realize I am no longer in the state of Texas. I know, it took me a while but hey, I'm a Texan. I always thought I was a Southerner but I am learning I am really just a Texan. On more than one occasion conversations with friends have ended, "You can tell you're not a Southerner."

Tea is a big deal here. It has to be sweet, but not like the sweet tea in Texas. Sweet tea in Texas is tea sweetened so it has a hint of sweetness. Sweet tea in Alabama isn't sweet enough unless it has the consistancy of syrup. Some are also picky about how fresh it is. I have a friend who won't drink it unless it was made that day. You will also find it at every restaurant in the state. I got sweet tea at a Wendy's. You can't do that in Texas.

They also pepper everything here. I like pepper, in moderation. Here "in moderation" means if you can't see it, it ain't got enough.

Food is not the only thing that is different. If you read my blog regularly, you already know about some of the critters I have encountered here in the wilds of Alabama. Well, I saw another one today at the post office, of all places. It was a walking stick. It was about five inches long. I thought it was just a twig leaning on the curb until I saw it move and realized it had legs.

Sunny and I had a little excitement yesterday. I was walking back from the coffee shop when I heard someone call my name. I realized it was Sunny. When she saw she had my attention she asked me to go get a broom and to be quick about it. She said this in a kind of voice one uses when a dangerous animal is around and you don't want to make it mad by yelling.

I got the broom and took it to her as quickly as a could. She had been checking the mail when she stumbled on to a snake. She didn't recognize what kind it was and she didn't know if it was poisonous. So she beat it to death with a broom. In Texas, we would have used a shovel.

After it was good and dead, we got out Kevin's snake book and identified it. It was a Southern Hognosed Snake. It was not poisonous and it ate fire ants. We also learned the babies hatch in late September and early October. So that's why it was only 5 inches long and it was the third one we had seen. Well, at least now we know.

The weather is also a different story here. The other day the weathermen were watching a tropical storm out in the gulf. They kept mentioning the high winds of 35 mph. I actually chuckled when I saw that because 35 mph in Amarillo is a normal day. We don't become concerned about the wind until it reaches at least 70 mph.

I still like it here and hope to have better news for you in the coming months. I am not sure what is going to happen with all the changes that are going to be taking place around here. Please keep praying for me. Thanks for reading.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

That's a bug?!?

Before I moved here, I was not skittish about bugs. We have bugs in Texas. You know, the normal kinds: tarantulas, grasshopppers, wasps, ect. Here in Alabama, they have some weird critters who have tested my "bug" nerves to the limit.

The first one I was introduced to is a cow ant which is an appropiate name for the beast. It is actually a wasp and not an ant. A cow ant, or at least the one I saw, is about an inch long and red and black. Not the dark red you normally associate with ants but a neon red that you would find on jewelery that went out of style in the '80s. I am told they are very hard to kill. You can't just step on them. You have to make sure the body is seperated from the head, kind of like an insect version of "Highlander." I am also told their bite is very painful. One friend told me he would have rather had someone burn his thumb off than endure the pain when recounting a childhood incedent.

The second critters are called lovebugs. They are these little black and red bugs who fly around in pairs. Apparently it is mating season for them, hence the name. They are everywhere. They are extremely attracted to the color white which is bad for me because my door is white. I have to fight my way through a cloud of them to get in my door and make sure all cling-ons are dealt with appropriately. I am also told they will take the paint off your car if you don't wash them off quickly. Unfortunately, lovebug season is only beginning.

The third critter is the giant cockroach. They say everything is bigger in Texas but not so with these. The smallest one I have seen was about an inch and half long. These, too, are everywhere. That's all you need to know about them.

The most recent addition to my "The Weirdest Bugs I Have Ever Seen" collection is a flying beetle. I have no idea what they are called. I have had one in my room the past two nights. In fact, I had to go kill one as I was writing this. These are the most disturbing because I don't know where they come from. They make this awful buzzing noise when they fly. They are also very clumsy when they fly so you never know where they are going to land. I could go on and tell you of other creatures, but just writing about them gives me the heebie jeebies. And now on to other news...

I now have a job. It is not a job I would have normally have taken, but I need the money. I have been made aware by God and others around me that I have a problem with pride. I didn't even realize it until now. So here I am about to start working in a meat department at a local grocery store. I don't start work until Sunday and I am not really looking forward to it. I know, I know, I have to start somewhere. I am thankful I will now be able to buy food and gas. I know God has a reason for it and I firmly believe it is to make me aware of a pride issue I need to deal with. But things could be looking up in the near future. I will give you details at a later date.

Other than the creepy crawlies and a new job, there isn't anything else to report. Thanks for reading.

Saturday, September 15, 2007

I'm still pressing on...

I have been busy the last two weeks volunteering at the camp. It is hard work, but I enjoy being able to spend time with friends to do it. Although , I haven’t been able to mud the last couple of days. I hurt my thumb somehow and I can’t hold the bucket that holds the mud. I have taken it easy with it this weekend and hope by Monday it will be alright. The worst part about it is I haven’t been able to play my guitar.

I am still looking for a job. I know God has one out there for me and in His perfect time, I will find it. I hope it is soon, because the last thing I want to do is admit defeat and head back to Texas. I love Alabama and hope to be here for a long time. But don’t get me wrong, I will be Texan until the day I die. Some of you may be saying, "Didn't you say a job might be opening up at the camp?" Well it did and they gave it to someone else. I know the fella who got it and he will do an excellent job. I guess that is just not where God wants me right now.

Here’s some exciting news. I have applied to Liberty University to finish up my Bachelor degree online. They don’t offer one in English so I am going with a Bachelor of Science in Religion. Since I feel I may be in the mission field someday, it is a wise choice. I applied for Federal Aid, but I’m not getting much so I will have to take out some student loans. I’m not worried about it though. I feel this is what God wants me to do so He will take care of me. I will actually be able to start classes on October 22nd. I am so excited. Yea! I get to go to school again. According to my New Student Specialist, I should be able to finish in a year and half or two.

I would also like to thank everyone who has been praying for me. I have had a rough last couple of days. I had it out with God this morning and, of course, He won. I am doing much better now after He revealed some pet sins to me and I have taken steps to resolve them. I still need your prayer though. The director at the camp I live at has resigned to take another job. I am not sure where this leaves me since I am here only because he lets me stay. I have been reassured by a friend that he and his wife have a place for me should it come down to it, but they are about to move and I don’t know if they really could. As I keep having to remind myself, God will take care of me.

Well, I think that is about all the news I have. Unless you are interested in knowing I have lost 7 pounds!! When I actually tried to lose weight I couldn’t. Now that I am not trying, it is coming off fast!

Thursday, September 6, 2007

Finally...another post.

Sorry it has been so long since I posted. My internet access has been somewhat limited. The wireless was turned off, but Kevin has been kind enough to turn it on for me in the evenings. Yeah!!!

I still don’t have a job. I have turned in a couple more applications at some local stores. I am getting to the point where if I can find a job that will feed me and put gas in my car, I will be happy. I’m not starving yet, but I have lost 4.5 pounds and it isn’t from exercising. In fact, the other day I was ready to pack up my car and go back to Texas. I was lonely, discouraged, frustrated and bored. I know God has brought me here. I saw the way the doors just opened up for me to be here. In fact, this is the first time I have been absolutely sure I was in God’s will. I would just like to let in on the reason why.

I am also still on the hunt for a church home. I went to Celeste Road Church this past Sunday. It is an interdenominational church. I didn’t agree with the preacher on some of the points he made in his sermon. It also didn’t help that no one tried to talk to me besides the deacons. I guess they were deacons. I don’t really know if this church had deacons. It was interesting, but I think I am going to try Alex’s church this coming Sunday.

I have started volunteering at the camp. They are building a hotel and it is still in the stage where it is just sheetrock and needs to be mudded. The problem lies in the fact that it has been booked by a group that is going to be here in November. Since they have to rely on volunteer help to build it, the going has been slow. I have started helping them do some mudding. It is hot, sweaty work, but I get to hang out with the staff and see people during the day. I would much rather be sweaty and talk to people than sit in The Island watching movies by myself all day. That gets rather lonely. Believe me, I know.

I went to the river with Sunny and Kenneth on Labor Day. In Amarillo, when someone says they are going to the river, they are going 4-wheeling. Not the case in Alabama. They actually have water in their river bed! Sunny and Kenneth have a speed boat and so we went tubing. I had never been tubing before. Kenneth was impressed I was able to stay as long as I did. In fact when he was finally able to fling me off, I rolled across the water four times before I sank. It would have been cool if someone had been taping it. Sunny assures me it was fun to watch. I was a little put out with myself because I had taken my camera so I could take some pictures to share, but I left it in the Jeep at the boat ramp. It was so much fun. I hope I am able to go with them again sometime soon.

Well, that is it for this post. I will try to post more often so they are not this long. Thanks for taking the time to read it.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Quick Update

Just wanted to let everyone know I have not had any more headaches or mysterious bruises. I did buy a mouth guard and used it for a couple of nights. It seemed to help almost immediately. I am going to keep it on hand for when I am stressed again. I may be able to stave off the headaches with it. Thanks to those of you who were praying.

Sunday, August 26, 2007

Party Time!

Yea, today is my birthday! I am now 26. Of course, I really don't feel older. I haven't felt older since I turned 20.

We had a party yesterday. Alex, Mea, Jonathan, Jake, Chelsea and Kayla came to the camp to see me. We hung out, ate pizza and watched Ken Davis. We had so much fun and I was so happy to get to see everyone. Chelsea stayed at the Island (the name of my room) with me and we talked until late. Thank you, Alex, for planning everything. I can't tell you how much it meant to me.

I didn't get to make my cake. One of the lifeguards couldn't come because of illness in the family. There was a large youth group swimming and even though Alex is an amazing lifeguard, they needed someone else to be a spotter at the lake. I was more than happy to help out. I was up early enough that I could bake my cake and still go help at the lake. So I gathered all my stuff, packed it in a box and headed down to the coffee shop to bake my cake. I got down there only to find the other group was using the coffee shop. I could have used the oven in the kitchen, but it is an industrial convection oven and I was afraid of burning the cake. I was pretty bummed because I had used my birthday money to buy the ingredients. Oh well. I will get to bake someday.

So in summary, it was a good birthday. I got to see my friends and hang out with them. Chelsea gave me the cutest guitar earrings. My first birthday away from Texas was a success!! Yea!!

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

A Slight Scare

Something a little scary happened this past week. I have been having trouble sleeping and I woke up Monday morning with a headache. It felt like my head was full of cement. I thought it might be sinuses so I went and took a hot shower. After my shower, the headache felt a little better but was still there. As I was brushing my hair, I noticed a bruise by my left temple. I know I did not hit my head because the spot where the bruise was did not hurt when I touched it. This has happened before when I was in South Carolina.

I went into the office and asked Sara if she saw a bruise. I wanted to make sure I wasn't just seeing something from bad lighting. She did see the bruise but she was convinced I had sat up in bed and hit my head. I sleep in a bunk bed so it was possible except for the fact I had slept on the couch the night before because I was having trouble sleeping. Alex was convinced it was from the emo ghost he thinks lives in my room. The room does make lots of noises at night, but I am unconvinced there is a ghost.

I was a little concerned because the bruise was on my head and I knew I had not hit it. I began to worry because the headache got worse. So what does any self respecting woman who is trying to make it on her own do? She calls her mother of course. So I did. I told her what had been going on but she didn't really have any ideas.

I went to bed that night with a terrible headache. Of course, I didn't fall alseep until 3AM. I woke up yesterday morning feeling rather well. The bruise was gone and the headache was too.

Mom called me yesterday afternoon. She had gone to a conference and had a revelation. The speaker was talking about change. He said with every change there is loss and a person goes through the grieving process. Now it is not as strong has, say, with the loss of a loved one but you do go through the process. This made sense. I had been going through some emotions that fit the grieving cycle. Mom thinks because of this I have been clenching my jaw at night. I may have been clenching it so hard I busted some blood vessels in my head and that caused the bruise. It would also explain the headache and the sleep trouble. After I thought about it, I realized my jaws had been achy in the mornings like I had been clenching them.

So this afternoon I am going to try to get a mouth guard to wear at night to see if it helps. I'll let you know if it helps.

Friday, August 17, 2007

The adventure begins...

I have been in Alabama almost two weeks now. The room the camp is letting me stay in is very comfortable, but I have no kitchen. I really miss having a kitchen. It is hard to cook a meal for yourself when all you have at your disposal is hot water and a contact grill. I have been told I can use the camp kitchen, but I would have to make sure and clean it well or the camp cook would have my head.

I am still on the hunt for a job. I turned in an application with the local school district yesterday. I applied for two postions. One is for an aide for a special needs student at the local middle school. The other is for a library assistant at a different school. I am really hoping I get the library position. There is also the slight possibility a postiion at the camp will open soon, but more on that later.

My friends have been more than generous to me. They have fed me, driven me and advised me. I am very thankful they are here to help me. I owe them all a great debt. I would never have made it here without them.

I find myself missing the most random things. A friend of mine has planned a get-together for my birthday. I really want to try this new recipe I have recently discovered. It is an inside-out ice cream cake. The problem is I need a 9 inch springform pan to make it. I have a 9 inch springform pan sitting in my closet in Texas because I never thought I would need it yet. I'm sure I can think of something.

Well, that's it for this post. Check back soon for more updates on my new adventure.