So, it's hot. Summer is here in Carolina in full force and the sweltering heat makes it easy to want to stay indoors and drink cold drinks. It's rained a good bit this summer, more than the last couple summers combined, I think, which is wonderful. We've needed the rain badly. Sometimes the rain comes in dreary clouds that turn the sky gray and it drizzles down, soaking the ground gently. Other times it comes roaring in ferociously, putting on impressive shows of light and sound, falling with such intensity it's as if someone were dumping giant buckets of water over the earth. Either way, the rain is a welcome relief from the bright sun and heat. And of course, it's a delight to watch the fireflies come out to play after the sun has gone to rest.
I've been working a bit (though I could use more) and relaxing, preparing for the coming school year that will start in August. I still have many things to do before then, when I will assume more responsibility and leadership in some of my organizations. I do look forward to seeing my friends and sorority sisters again.
My sister and her husband have moved back from Tennessee and have been trying to get work and living arrangements worked out. We also dog-sat for a friend of my parents who moved from halfway across the country. All I have to say is that dog is cute but stubborn, and I'm glad I'm not responsible for him anymore.
My fishies are doing well, though I've had a few casualties. My betta Josiah, who came with me from Texas last summer, passed last month, as did Kate the snail, who also came from Texas. One-eyed Willie is doing great, and I have a new betta who doesn't have a name yet. He's gorgeous though. I feel kind of nerdy talking about my fish in my blogs, but they are my pets and I love them. They're lots of fun and very interactive. Maybe sometime I'll post a link to the video of my mom's fish who allows us to pet him. He's a character.
For the first time in four years, I am not in Texas. By this time in the summer, every summer since 2004 when I first went to Panama with Global Expeditions, I've been in Texas (or otherwise with Teen Mania). In 2005 I was an intern, working in the SAC (Student Activity Center), serving meals to all of the missionaries and campers who came through there. That was my favorite job of all time at Teen Mania, and I loved it.
In 2006 I returned to volunteer and spent the summer mostly on custodial, but occasionally on K-crew. I cleaned lots of toilets, swept lots of floors, and served lots of food. It was great. I went to as many GE sessions as I could manage, saw Skillet in concert, and heard Tim & Will from Travel the Road speak. That was a fantastic summer. I also went to Mexico for two weeks, which was a very stretching experience-more so than even ESOAL, because it lasted for two weeks. Being sick for two weeks before the trip (and trying desperately to get well), then going full speed ahead into GE mode where we were going continuously from early morning to late night and getting an average of five hours of sleep (which brought the cold back in full force) did NOT make that a fun trip. Regardless, the Lord did a lot, taught me a lot, showed me a lot, and I grew to love a lot of people. And the upside is that I couldn't smell anything when we were at the dump! (I still remember the day I sniffed and realized my sinuses had cleared enough for me to smell the stench as we drove past-I was so excited, and told everybody, "Hey, I can smell again!")
Last summer, I went to The Call in Nashville, staying with my sister who lived near there, and a week later went to my old roomie Lisa's wedding. It was beautiful. Then I drove to Texas, expecting four more weeks of toilet-cleaning, floor-sweeping, and food-serving. I did a grand total of one day of toilet cleaning, then was unexpectedly pressed into service as a volunteer counselor. Now that was an adventure. I was a little surprised, because that was the first leadership position I'd been put into at Teen Mania (excepting my experiences as a missionary advisor with GE), and it was, again, totally unexpected. I loved it. Well, most of it... I had a delightful group of volunteer girls and fun hanging out with my fellow volunteer counselors. I didn't have as much time as I'd hoped to spend with old friends from my intern days, but it was okay. I knew before I came that the Lord was bringing me to Texas for a specific purpose, though I'd had no idea what it was, and I think my "take life as it comes" attitude was helpful in making the necessary adjustments. I also saw the wedding of my first brother core CA Brandon (also a beautiful wedding).
Now we are up to summer 2008. It's hot, it's beautiful, and I've no money to go to Texas. I was pretty heartsore when I realized that would be the case, but sometimes things just don't work out the way we'd wish them to. It would have been wonderful to return to my favorite little corner of the world, see a few old friends, make new ones, and eat as many sno-cones as I could hold, but hey-there's always next summer! By then, most of my friends from Teen Mania will be gone, having moved on to the next stage of their lives, and I won't know much of anyone there, but there will be new friends to make.
I'm not really sure why I'm writing all of this, but it's been a very long time since I sat and put my swirling thoughts into order like this (if this can, indeed, be called order), and it needed doing. I still miss Texas and can't wait to return, but the Lord is ordering my steps, even if they don't always lead where I'd wish them to go.
May the Lord bless you and keep you. May He make His face to shine upon you and be gracious to you, and may He give you peace.