I hope you still feel small when you stand beside the ocean

This is an email my mom sent to me, and I thought it was so beautiful. I wanted to share it with you all...

"When I meditated on the word GUIDANCE, I kept seeing "dance" at the end of the word. I remember reading that doing God's will is a lot like dancing. When two people try to lead, nothing feels right. The movement doesn't flow with the music, and everything is quite uncomfortable and jerky. When one person realizes that, and lets the other lead, both bodies begin to flow with the music. One gives gentle cues, perhaps witha nudge to the back or by pressing lightly in one direction or another. It's as if two become one body, moving beautifully. The dance takes surrender, willingness, and attentiveness from one person and gentle guidance and skill from the other. My eyes drew back to the word GUIDANCE. When I saw "G," I thought of God, followed by "u" and "i.""God, "u" and "i" dance." "God, you and I dance." As I lowered my head, I became willing to trust that I would get guidance about my life. Once again, I became willing to let God lead.

My prayer for you today is that God's blessings and mercies be upon you on this day and everyday. May you abide in God as God abides in you. Dance together with God, trusting God to lead and to guide you through each season of your life. If God has done anything for you in your life, please share this message with someone else, for prayer is one of the best gifts we can receive. There is no cost but a lot of rewards; so let's continue to pray for one another.... and...I HOPE YOU DANCE!!!"


May God dance with you this holiday season, and beyond and may you be reminded every day of His neverending love and new mercies.

God bless,


books, books, books

I've been extremely stressed lately, and I've been really aching to relieve my stress with a good book. Mrs. Sylvia gave me a notecard with all of her suggestions :-p but I would love some more! I'm thinking I might do this often...not just with books, but music, things to do, favorite stores, etc... Anywho, today I'm doing books, and I would love to know what you're reading, what you like to read, what you reccommend, and all of that good stuff. Real quick, a few of my favorites:

:: A Northern Light by Jennifer Donnelly (Published as A Gathering Light in the UK)
:: The Other Boleyn Girl by Philippa Gregory
:: The Company by Robert Littell

There are so many others I could suggest, but those are on the top of my head. I'm currently reading The Company very, very slowly. It's 900 pages, and I can only handle about 4 pages a night because it puts so much information into your head. But it's good. It certainly keeps me occupied.

But, please post your suggestions. There's hardly anything I like more than a good book on a stressful day to sit down and curl up with (with a mug of hot chocolate by my side of course :-p). Hope you are all having a good holiday season. Only 9 more days until Christmas! :stresses:

God bless,


joy story

Well, Kristy told me that she had the videotape of this play we did at church 6 or 7 years ago. The Joy Story, written by Nancy (...can't remember her last name) at First Baptist, is a Christmas play about a toy store, with toys that tell the story of Jesus. It's a really sweet script; it genuinely tells the greatest story of all time. :) I was Raggedy Ann, one of the main parts...and I had lots of lines (I have no idea how I ever memorized all of those) and a big solo. I still remember all the songs from it, though. I was singing along while I was watching it. :-p

The song I had to sing was the pivotal part of the play; it's more or less the invitation for salvation - the true message of Christmas. I, of course, haven't watched this since I did it so many years ago, but watching it this morning...I got all teary eyed! I have matured so much in my spirituality since I acted in this play, and as many times as I rehearsed, performed and just randomly sang the song, I don't think I ever actually took it to heart. The lyrics are so beautiful, and true, and they just really spoke to me. I'll share a piece of the song with you - although you won't get the full effect, because seeing a little girl with a Raggedy Ann wig and a heart apron on singing this song is just precious. ^_^

In every heart
There is a longing
God calls to you
A still small voice
In every heart
There is a need to be His child
He's asking you
To make a choice

Long before this moment
God was loving you
Jesus died to show you
That His love was true
If you will receive Him
New life will begin
His heart seeks your answer
Won't you let Him in

"But I've already made so many bad choices!"

He knows everything about you
And loves you just the same
And even now He's whispering
He's whispering your name

In every heart
There is a longing
God calls to you
A still small voice
In every heart
There is a need to be His child
He's asking you
To make a choice
He gave His life
To bring His love
To every heart

The lyrics may be childish, but they're true. I encourage you all to take them to heart. :)

God bless,

P.S. Those pictures that you see, I attempted to literally take them of my television, so that's why they're funny looking. hehe.


if I were

Ah, Alabama was wonderful. It was great to see Mash and her family again. We spent one day out at a farm with friends' of theirs. The family has 5 kids, a bunch of dogs, horses, cows, and four wheelers. We had a lot of fun. :)

I can't think of much to say or talk about today...but I saw this on one of my friend's blogs, so I thought I'd steal it just for fun. Feel free to fill it out and post it as a comment with your own answers! ^_^

  • If I were a month, I'd be: April. The weather's usually fairly decent, then, atleast in Jacksonville, and the colors are bright and cheerful.
  • If I were a day of the week, I'd be: Sunday.
  • If I were a time of the day, I'd be: 1:00. More or less the middle of the day, and the time when I'm usually the most perky.
  • If I were a planet, I'd be: Pluto. Smallest person, smallest planet. Works for me. :-p
  • If I were a sea animal, I'd be: A seahorse. They're interesting.
  • If I were a direction, I'd be: East. Then I'd never miss the sunrise.
  • If I were a sin, I'd be: :eek: That's a wierd question. I wouldn't be a sin at all!
  • If I were a liquid, I'd be: Sweet Tea! :blink:
  • If I were a tree, I'd be: Bonsai. They're so cute!
  • If I were a bird, I'd be: A parrot. They're gorgeous-and they talk a lot. :-p
  • If I were a tool, I'd be: A hammer. Then I could just hit people when they were annoying me. :shrug:
  • If I were a flower/plant, I'd be: A daisy. Innoncence, simpilicity, beauty...
  • If I were a kind of weather, I'd be: Cool enough to wear jeans but warm enough to wear shorts.
  • If I were a mythical creature, I'd be: A unicorn, I suppose.
  • If I were a musical instrument, I'd be: A guitar.
  • If I were an animal, I'd be: A dog. They get to lay around all day and be cuddled at night! What a life!
  • If I were a color, I'd be: Red. It's so bold and vibrant!
  • If I were an emotion, I'd be: Overwhelmingly happy and joyful.
  • If I were a vegetable, I'd be: Green beans.
  • If I were a sound, I'd be: The waves crashing...
  • If I were an element, I'd be: :blink:
  • If I were a car, I'd be: Mini Cooper.
  • If I were a song, I'd be: Freedom.
  • If I were a movie, I'd be: Ever After.
  • If I were a book, I'd be: The Bible!
  • If I were a place, I'd be: Geneva, Switzerland.
  • If I were a material, I'd be: Cotton or cashmere.
  • If I were a taste, I'd be: Sweet.
  • If I were a scent, I'd be: Clinique Simply
  • If I were a word, I'd be: Onomatopoeia
  • If I were an object, I'd be: A camera.
  • If I were a body part, I'd be: Eyes. ^_^
  • If I were a facial expression, I'd be: A cheeky grin.
  • If I were a subject in school, I'd be: English.
  • If I were a shape, I'd be: A Circle.
  • It's neverending. If I were a number, I'd be: 47. Don't ask.

Hope everyone is well and having a great beginning holiday season!

God bless,

The Pitman kids, The Carnes kids, and the Sheally kids (minus Stedmond - he was out hunting).


give thanks . with a grateful heart

Hey all. :)

I just wanted to inform those of you who care that I will be traveling tomorrow to Alabama to my sister. We won't be back until Sunday evening. Feel free to email me or call my cell, though I'm not sure how much time I'll be spending on the computer and phone. I will hopefully be filling up my time with Mash. :-D

In the mean time, I wanted to wish everyone a wonderful Thanksgiving, once again. And for those of you who don't celebrate Thanksgiving (Mellies :-p), you have a wonderful week, and discover all that you have to be thankful for.

Really quick, in honor of the holiday, I wanted to compile a short list of the people who have significantly touched my life that I am eternally thankful for and grateful to (in no specific order) ::

  • My parents :: for their neverending love, and for their discipline, even though I hate it at the moment - I know I will appreciate it in the long run.
  • My older brother, Spencer :: for being an example, and someone to talk to - and for driving me places.
  • And my little brothers, Harrison and Leighton :: for putting up with me as their big sister, and for being the greatest little brothers anyone could ever ask for.
  • My grandparents, Mamaw and Dedad :: for always doing things with a willing heart, and for reminding me to live life to it's absolute fullest.
  • Katie :: for always being there, and always giving me something to laugh about
  • And her evil big sister Austin (Happy 17th birthday, tomorrow!) :: for becoming my friend, despite our previous issues :-p and for going ahead of me and testing the waters - then giving me the results. ;)
  • Lindsay :: for always providing a wonderful laugh and smile, and for being there to talk to when I need it most
  • Tim :: for being a great friend, first and foremost, and for giving me awesome hugs when they're greatly needed
  • Jesus Christ! :: for loving me enough to suffer more pain than any man could have endured, simply so I could have a home in heaven ... for Your unconditional love and ever faithful friendship.
  • Renee Graves :: for your spiritual guidance, and continual example of the Proverbs 31 woman.
  • Catherine and Jennifer :: for your loving acceptance of me and my family
  • Bethany :: for leading me through the murky waters
  • Melanie :: for being a part in my dream-come-true, and for always having a great word (or several words) of advice
  • Eva :: for being a leader, and for reminding me to do things while I have the chance, whilst I regret not having done them
  • Jo :: for being completely random and making me laugh, no matter what the circumstance
  • Amanda :: for showing me by example what it means to be a happy person, and for taking the time to talk with a silly 15 year old about all of her problems. ^_^
  • Amber :: for caring about me, and always having a smile on your face; for showing by the example of your life how the love of our Lord, the love of family and friends, and the love toward others, can overcome all obstacles
  • Megan :: for teaching me about leadership, headship and sacrifice - and for being brutally honest
  • Kristin :: for having problems that seem to coincide with mine so that we can discuss them together :-p and for not letting our friendship dissapear with time.
  • Rachel :: for reminding me of who I am in Jesus Christ, and for being a great person to talk to
  • Amelia :: for always making me smile, for listening to me ramble, and for endulging my Alias obsession and taking a part in it, eventually. :-p
  • Emily :: for making me laugh, even during the worst situation, and for teaching me about Nascar, John Deere, and shot guns.
  • Max (believe it or not :-p) :: for putting me in my place and always being there to listen
  • Phil :: for giving me the opporunity to share my experience of God's love
  • Mrs. Ward :: for all of my sixth grade memories, and those beyond
  • Mrs. Sylvia :: for helping me become the person I want to be, and for making me smile even when it was the last thing I wanted to do -- for having confidence in my ebulliency
  • Grant :: for welcoming me into your family, and making me feel loved
  • Mollie :: for always finding the right words to say, and for being an example to look up to and admire
  • And last but not least...my big sister, Mary Ashley :: for touching my life in millions of ways, for teaching me so much about life, love, and lipstick, and for being the sister I never had.

I love you all more than I can say, and this list is of course incomplete! I could never possibly name every person who has impacted my life - but each and every one of you deserve thanks. All of my friends at school, dance, church, and just random places - my life would not be the same without you. Thanks to all of you for playing a part in my life. :)

God bless,


thinking about our younger years

Sixth grade...Do you remember your sixth grade year? I remember it like it was yesterday. I can still name everyone in my class, although there were only 14 of us. I have so many wonderful memories of that year, and some not so good ones as well; but, the good always outweighs the bad. Because my little brothers go to the school that I went to in sixth grade, I have been able to keep in touch with my teacher. We always love to see each other - each time it's like a reunion all over again.

Today, we didn't have school ... we have the whole week of Thanksgiving off. So, I figured it would be a good time to go in and visit with Mrs. Ward for a whole school day (something I had been wanting to do for some time). Wow. That was exciting. Her face lit up the whole room when I walked in, and despite my surprise and un-announced arrival, she completely went with it and we had a great time.

There were some bittersweet moments. We recalled some special times the first graduating class of Grace Episcopal had shared. And, what was really fun was seeing how many things hadn't changed. BUGS (Behavior that is Ultimately Great and Successful) was still in effect, Chance (If you're in your seat when the bell rings, your name goes in the apple and if you name is drawn, you've won a trip to the Treasure Chest), The Treasure Chest (filled with awesome goodies), "Give Me 5" (In other words, shut up and listen), No Whining (Philippians 2:14), etc, etc, etc... I enjoyed taking part in all of these fond memories once again - and it placed me right back in sixth grade. I even found my desk! -- I had written "This was Leslie's 6th grade desk" on the inside of it. :shrug: Apparently, my little brother always tries to get that one. hehe.

It was interesting though, the contrast of looking back on my sixth grade year, and at the same time, looking forward to my possible career. I have always talked about elementary education as a job; as a child I joked about it, but as a teen, I can truly see myself as a teacher. It was so exciting interacting one-on-one with the students and the teacher. Mrs. Ward actually let me teach the 5th graders their math lesson (She teaches 5th grade math and science). Needless to say, I had a great time with that. A small part of me (A very, very, very small part) even entertained the idea (for a fraction of a second) about homeschooling again, and just coming in every day and teaching with Mrs. Ward! :-p Nah, I love school ... but I really enjoyed spending my day in a classroom filled with rowdy abnoxious 5th and 6th graders. I can honestly see myself doing that every day. ^_^

Well, we're leaving on Wednesday to go and see my "sister", Mashley ... and I'm ecstatic. I honestly cannot wait. Just thinking about seeing her makes me emotional. I saw her for a day or so in January, but it feels like it's been eons. We're staying in Alabama until Sunday, because she's going to speak at her church - and she really wants us there for that. Anyway, if I don't talk you all ...

HAVE A BLESSED THANKSGIVING, and remember the almighty ONE we are to be thankful to, and the Ultimate Reason we have to be thankful. :)

Love you all. God bless,

P.S. Oh! I must brag ... my fabulous boyfriend competed in a dance competition this weekend, and placed First Runner Up. :grins: Just wanted to publicly embarass and congratulate you, Tim. :-p



Today, Amelia and I went and saw The Polar Express. :tear: For me, it was more than just a child's animated movie. I know this sounds silly, but it truly was a childhood memory come to life. It was a lovely film, and I thorougly enjoyed it. I told melia that I was going to make my children watch it every Christmas. :-p It captures the spirit of Christmas just as the book does and will make anyone smile, young and old.

It's funny, because I remember years ago Lindsay and I had a conversation about Santa Clause. We both came to the conclusion that it wasn't Santa himself that was real, but the joy that he brought to children. Jesus is certainly the spirit, and real meaning of Christmas, but Santa, to me, just further displays the giving heart that is so present at Christmas time. This movie not only teaches children (of all ages) that believing lies in the heart, but leading, giving, and learning does as well.

The graphics were wonderfully done, and truly made it feel real. Tom Hanks was awesome, and they did a great job of matching the movie to the book. Obviously, since the book is only 10 pages long, they had to add in some extra stuff, but they nearly matched the pictures in the book perfectly down to every last detail. Just look at the book before and after you see the movie, and you'll see what I mean. :)

After that fabulous, fun and exciting adventure we had with the boy-with-no-name, Josh Groban adds a beautiful finishing touch to the movie,
singing "Believe" for the closing credits.

Polar Express reminded me of the innocence of children, and the simplicity of their faith. Those who doubt must be pushed a bit harder, and may even find themselves dangling on an edge, but believing will save them. As a child, reading Polar Express, it was simply a Christmas story about a boy who met Santa. As a teenager, I can now see that it's so much more than that.

God bless,

P.S. I tried to put up pictures from the website, but they were bitmap and Hello only lets me do JPEG. Anyway, you can visit
the site and see great pictures and other fun stuff. :)


haphazard thoughts

I'm feeling random today, after a not so fabulous morning...so I wanted to share tidbits of my grandmother's latest email with you all.

Things You Must Know
  • Many years ago, in Scotland, a new game was invented. It was ruled "Gentlemen Only...Ladies Forbidden"...and thus the word GOLF entered into the English language.
  • The percentage of Africa that is wilderness: 28% (now get this...) The percentage of North America that is wilderness: 38%
  • Q. If you were to spell out numbers, how far would you have to go until you would find the letter "A"?
    A. One thousand
  • In Shakespeare's time, mattresses were secured on bed frames by ropes. When you pulled on the ropes the mattress tightened, making the bed firmer to sleep on. Hence the phrase, "goodnight, sleep tight."
  • It was the accepted practice in Babylon 4,000 years ago that for a month after the wedding, the bride's father would supply his son-in-law with all the mead he could drink. Mead is a honey beer and because their calendar was lunar based, this period was called the honey month ... which we know today as the honeymoon.

Those are just a few of them, but I found them quite interesting - and arbitrary. Who knows if they're true, but the provide some fascinating facts.

Last night, I had the opportunity to share the truth of Christ with someone who honestly feels that Jesus can't love someone like him. It was hard, but quite an awesome event. Afer our our conversation, I was just in awe at the words I said...God had complete control of everything I said and it was amazing to experience His power like that! It was quite exhausting, but it was well worth it. I didn't change his heart, obviously, since humans can't change each other's hearts. But I do hope and pray that I planted a seed, and spurred something inside him to understand that God loves him no matter what - and that's the most amazing thing about Him!

Hope you're all doing well...and know that Jesus loves you, no matter what you do (Katie, remember our song...? :-p)!

God bless,


moving forward

Saturday, after soccer games and all the normal weekend stress, my parents packed us all in the car and we went to the Bush Rally at the football stadium. Wow. It was packed...and quite interesting, actually. Billy Cerveny and Aaron Tippin sang (2 country artists that I'm not very familiar with, unfortunately) and a variety of important people attended and spoke. Sean Hannady was there - he was a favorite of the crowd's. On our way home, we drove behind him, so we weren't stuck in too much traffic :-p

Bush was wonderful. He spoke longer than we expected him to, which was fine with us. The weather was really nice; there was a soft breeze, so it wasn't too hot. The highlight of the rally though was definitely when Air Force One flew (pretty lowly) over the stadium. It was just...surreal. It's a beautiful plane, as silly as that sounds, and it was really neat to see it right above us. They videoed the President's plane landing, and then as soon as he stepped out of the plane, the whole stadium cheered. It was awesome. Apparently, there were over 50,000 people there, making it the largest political rally in history. It's kind of cool that I was part of that!

Moving America Forward ... Bush Rally at Altell Stadium

Life has been pretty routine lately...our school schedule is kind of wacked up. As Mrs. Dill puts it, "The fun and games are being placed above the academics" which of course, we don't mind one bit! :) Homecoming is coming up, and we're all really excited; it will be Providence's first football homecoming, with lights and the whole nine yards! Katie and Max are the 10th grade reps, so that will be fun seeing them, too. I wonder how long Max will be able to stand still in front of a crowd of people, not to mention, with Katie right next to him. They'll probably pull some sort of a joke :-p haha. Anyway, hope you're all doing well and that you're experiecing God's love each and every day!

God bless,


am I mistaken?

There's a pivotal part in 13 Going on 30, when Jenna is talking to her mom over breakfast (chocolate chip pancakes). She aks her mom about mistakes; if she regrets the mistakes she's made and if she wishes she could go back. Her mom thinks for a moment, then looks at Jenna and tells her genuinely that no, she wouldn't go back or change them, and she didn't regret them, because she wouldn't have learned valuable lessons had it not been for mistakes she had made.

Not that mistakes are a good, fun thing that we should all go out and become acquainted with, but we can also use them to our advantage. When we make mistakes, we have two options. One, we can get upset, get frustrated, get angry and more than likely make that same mistake again. Or, two, we can get up, look around, realize what we've done wrong, decide to change it, and then emerge just a bit wiser than before we made the mistake.

When I gave my life to Christ, He in turn gave me the promise of guiding and directing my life despite the sins and mistakes I make daily. Thank goodness I have a merciful God; otherwise I would be in a lot of trouble. I fail so often. I fall short of the life I am called to by the Lord so many times each day. What a blessing that my God understands that, and loves me despite my faults.

Am I mistaken? I like to believe that I am. I make mistakes and God takes them and makes them a part of His perfect plan. Mistakes + Takes + Makes = Mistaken.

God bless,


here we are; we've just begun, right here in this place where we belong

There's something bittersweet about your baby brother turning 9 years old. I mean, I remember my ninth birthday. He's not allowed to be 9! He's my baby! :( Honestly, I'm finding myself quite sad. Nine just sounds so grown up. When Leighton was born, I cried and asked if the nurses could change it; I really wanted a little sister. I remember that day like it was yesterday. I remember holding him, fast asleep in my arms. I remember trying to learn to spell his name properly. I remember my dad telling me when he was born that when he was 12, I would be in college. I remember when he was about 3, I dressed him up in one of my mom's old dresses and put my Raggedy Ann wig on him and made him play with Katie and me. Gosh. He's still my baby brother. :sniff: Atleast I'll always have those memories. ^_^

Just because I'm having this emotional breakdown about my little, baby brother, I think I should pay him somewhat of a tribute.

Leighton the Mighty Underwear King.

Leighton Alexander Pitman ~ October 14, 1995
6 pounds, 12 ounces

AKA: Leighton the Artist, Lawton, Lay-tay, Tater bug, Bubby (that's my pet name for him hehe)...

Likes to: Fish and hunt with Daddy, draw, paint, color, etc..., play cars, hang out with his big brothers, cuddle with his big sister, play with his best friend Jared, ocean kayak, read, go Porsche "window shopping", collect money and count it, then later spend it on toys he doesn't need, listen to his Spirit soundtrack (that I so often steal from him :-p) do things with his grandparents, do special things with Mom, cuddle with his doggy, and play with Frodo the Hoppit.

Will always be: My cuddle bunny, the little boy who taught me that life isn't about you-it's about the people you share it with, my music buddy, my brother who has a better stradle than me...My baby brother.

I have spent countless moments with Leighton, and each one I will treasure forever. It's hard to see him grow up, yet fascinating to see the changes in his life. I look at the past with a smile and look forward to our future with excitement.

Leighton, you mean the world to me. I am so glad God gave me one more brother to complete our family. Life wouldn't be the same without you. I know as your big sister I mess up sometimes, and I can be bossy and annoying. But I really do love you. One day, when you're all grown up (and you're taller than me, hehe), you'll get to boss me around. :-p I hope you have a wonderful birthday. But, don't forget that you'll always be my baby brother. I love you!
Hugs and kisses x's infinity...plus 1,

Ocean kayaking

Sorry guys. :tear: Hope you're doing well. I love you all!

God bless,

Me with the birthday boy.


'english is easy and fun'

When Mom and I were in Germany, we met up with our old exchange student who is now a mother of the cutest little German boy you'll ever see. Jeanette lived with us for a year when I was 4 or 5, so I didn't remember much about her. We had kept in touch and I had seen a couple of times over the years, but she hadn't seen my 8 year old brother yet, so it had been quite a while since our last visit. Of course, we never visited her. So, it was very exciting for Mom and I to get to see her in her own country. She was thrilled, as well. And, her having a kid made it twice as fun. She speaks English (not very well-she's quite out of practice), but her boyfriend and son do not. However, Ali (and, allow me to clarify - :coughs:Austin:coughs: No they're not Muslim. He's named after his grandmother Alexandra-his name is Ali Alexander.) has been taking English lessons. He hardly knows any-he's only 5-but his favorite phrase happened to be "English is easy and fun!" Whenever I'd ask him a question (in English of course) and he didn't know how to respond, he'd look at me with these gorgeous eyes and say "English is..." Yeah. You get the idea.

Marcus (Jeanette's boyfriend), Ali, Jeanette, Mom and me at the English Gardens.

So, I was thinking about this simple little phrase, but I how much it actually means to me. Not only am I thrilled that I have grown up in an English speaking country where I don't have to take the time to learn the incredibly complicated language, but I love the fact that more than any subject in school, English is the most fun! Easy doesn't exactly cut it, but fun-definitely. I love English. It's so fun! Okay, I apologize. I know, I'm a major nerd. But, you know, I just had to say that, because English is really awesome this year because Mrs. Sylvia is so fabulous. And, we're reading Les Mis. How much better can it get?? :runs from own nerdiness:

Me with Mrs. Sylvia (the greatest English teacher ever!) and Tiffany. :-D

Bah. I'm sorry to bore you with the dirty details of my love for English. I just couldn't help it. I've been looking at my Europe pictures a lot lately; making videos with them and continually begging my dad to take them and get them developed. But, I really want to go back. I don't know why I love it so much, but something about it makes me smile. Perhaps it's that God's glory is so evident when you go somewhere that you can't take for granted, and you see His beauty all around you. Thinking back on my trip though, it feels like a dream. It was dream, actually. A dream come true, anyway. It's amazing to me everything that my family did so I could go on that trip. My dad had to play Mom (with Jennifer's help of course :-p) for a month; it was hard on him. I remember the car ride home after they picked us up at the airport: Leighton: "I only had 4 showers while you guys were gone!" Harrison: "I only had 3!" Dad: "Be quiet!". Haha. As awesome as the trip was, it was the most rewarding to come home to the smiling faces of my little brothers, the teary eyes of my dad, and the "I missed you guys even though I don't want to admit it" look on my big brother's face. It was priceless, but definitely worth leaving them for a month. :-p It's too bad we don't get those faces every time we come home. We'd be one big happy family!

Mom and I were always close; we couldn't have gone on this trip if we hadn't been. But it definitely brought us even closer. We learned things about each other that will be valuable forever. We had to learn to work together, even when we didn't want to. Our first morning in London, Mom woke up with a terrible headache. She laid around for a few hours hoping it would go away, but she was out of her sinus pills and therefore had no medicated way to rid of it. Thank goodness she waited until London where they could actually speak English-that's all I'm going to say. I had to walk downstairs, ask the wonderful concierge (Rajick-made London that much better) where the nearest pharmacy was (to which he said he would call it, because he was friends with the owner and tell him I was coming) and walk there alone to pick up some medicine. Wow. It was actually kind of thrilling-walking in London alone. Even though it nearing the end of our trip, this was more or less a turning point. It was a sort of thing where we had to say "We're going to work together to make this the time of our lives." And, I know my mom would have done the same thing for me had it been the opposite situation.

Every day, I am grateful for the dream that my mom (and the rest of my family-including grandparents) helped turn into reality. A couple of years earlier, I had been talking to Cathy Driscoll, and we started talking about goals and dreams. I told her I hoped to go to Austria by the time I was 18. Being my second mom, she looked me in the eye and said, "Leslie, write it down. It will only be a dream until you make it more." So I went home, wrote it down, and now I'm 15 and have been to Austria, England, Switzerland, France, Germany...But that would not have been possible without my mom. She's such an amazing mom, you guys. You should all be jealous that she's mine. :-p We get frustrated with eachother; we're human. But, as many things as I want to do differently from her, I would love to know that I will make my little girl's dream come true one day too, just as she has done for me. Perhaps I would be better off just having one daughter; otherwise, that would be a lot of little girls to spoil (I'm sure glad God has all of this worked out). ^_^

Thanks, Mom. I love you!

Mom and me at the London train station.

God bless,



Hi everyone.

I know it has been eons since I've even visited here. Because of the hurricanes (For those of you who don't know, Florida had 5 or so hurricanes hit pretty hard. 2 largely affected us in Jacksonvile), I have just been so back tracked. My routine has been knocked all around, and only in the last week or so have I felt like I'm actually getting somewhere with my scheduling. :shrug: Life is crazy. But, that's what makes it exciting. :)

It is comforting to know that it's not only my life that has been crazy. I have had so many friends who are dealing with rough things right now. Death, friendships, stress, life-altering decisions, divorce, their faith...sometimes I look at other people's lives and I'm so thankful how simple mine is. As Rachel and I were saying the other day-not much exciting happens in our lives. :-p Which, we agreed, is not nescessarily a bad thing because it would be better that nothing happens than bad things. However, it does get a bit dull at times. But, that is the joy of being a Christian. God's love brings new joys every morning and gives me something to look forward to each day. I just want to encourage everyone who is going through a rough time, no matter what the circumstance, to look up toward God and know that He understands your pain. And, more than that, He will comfort you through it. He will cover you with His feathers, and under His wings you will find refuge. His faithfulness will be your shield and rampart. Psalm 91:4

Today during dance at school, I started thinking about something. Allow me, if you will, to briefly pontificate.

For our exam, we're required to take these corrections that other people have given us anonymously, and do our best to fix them to the best of our ability and make the dance look as clean as possible. We're being graded on how well we correct the problems addressed. Mrs. Rose, my teacher, said something to the effect of: "I'm going to grade hard, because we've been working on this dance for a while now and I really want it to look good." Something came to my mind; it's a stretch, I know, but I thought about it all the same. When our parents correct us, in love, they expect us to change that which they've corrected. Whether it's to keep our room clean or to bring up our grades, they want us to fix the problem. They don't tell us to clean our room and as a punishment we can't go out that night because they don't want us to go out. They want us to learn to be organized and neat-most likely, unlike themselves. They don't want us to deal with the same mistakes they've made. We see the moment-"I'm so mad at Mom. She won't let me go out tonight just because my room wasn't clean."-where as they see the long term-"I don't want my kid to grow up as unorganized and messy as I am." Just as Mrs. Rose wants the dance to look it's best so she's going to push us hard to get there, our parents are going to work hard to make us be the best we can be. Okay, everyone knows this, right? Right. Moving on. The next parallel I saw was that of God's correction and love toward us. He corrects us for the same reason; because He loves us and wants us to be the greatest example of His glory that we can be. But, He also expects us to change when He corrects us. And if we don't, He will continue to show us that which needs to be changed. Perhaps things in our lives happen over and over again because God is trying to show us something that we aren't responding to. Perhaps He is trying to correct our behavior and we're choosing to deny it or ignore it, with the hopes that the correction will go away. It won't. God loves us so much that He will continue to discipline us until we change our behavior. So, just some food for thought: If you're dealing with something and it doesn't seem to be going away, try asking God what He's trying to tell you. Chances are, there's something He wants to say to you. ^_^

Well, thanks for reading my ramblings. I apologize. :shrug: I just had to say it somewhere; and what better place than here? Hope you all are having an awesome week full of blessings and surprises. :D

God bless,


frustrating changes

It's funny how fast life can change right before your eyes and you don't even notice.

It's been odd for me this year, although it's the beginning (of the school year, anywho) in a lot of different ways. The school year started off strange not being a freshman. It took me a while to figure out what being a sophomore meant and to put it into perspective. And now, at dance, things are even stranger. This is my third year in the highest level, and now, I'm one of the best. I don't mean to sound conceited, but now that all of those super good seniors are gone, I am in the better percentage of the class. And, its frustrating. I feel like I have no one to really look up to, no one to push myself with or to aspire to. Instead, I'm making sure I look my best for the girls just coming up to advanced ballet; and, believe it or not, it takes a lot less work.

When I was at Arts Triumphant full time in 7th grade, Miss Yvonne put me in Pavlova, the highest level. At the beginning, it was awful. I was always behind, I was certainly not as advanced as the rest of the class and I was constantly intimidated by the other students. There were 23 year olds in my class. I didn't know what in the world I was doing there. And then, after three months or so, it clicked. I finally got it. My flexibility came, my brain started processing the combinations, I picked up on things quicker, I was doing the hard stuff like I'd done it all my life. And, it was because I was being pushed. Everyone around me was better, and there was no where I could go but up. All I wanted was to be as good as everyone around me.

But now, I'm one of the people that younger girls look up to. And, as cool as it is, it's frustrating because I feel like I have no where to go. I'm not a good enough dancer to be looked up to, and just because I'm "looked up to" doesn't mean I can't get better. So, I feel as if I'm kind of stuck at this place of not being able to go anywhere. And, this doesn't just apply to dance. It applies to a lot of my life too.

We had P&P again today...ah, I can't even describe how awesome it is. I just love how God is using our generation. Even something as simple as a small worship outside of school one morning a week-it's incredible the power that goes into that. His love is so abounding for us, you guys. I pray that each and everyone of you recognize that. :)

God bless,


labor day--living up to its name

Wow. It has been quite a labor day weekend, complete with quite a bit of work...

It started off before the weekend had actually started, but on Thursday, I got to school at 7 o'clock. My brother had to take an AP Psych test, and I wanted to be there early for this thing I guess they call Praise and Prayer. I could either go super early and make it to P&P, or I could go with my friends later and miss it, but get to sleep in. I opted for the first, because I really thought that God was wanting me to go to this thing. And I'm so glad I did. It was awesome. Just a group of high schoolers gather outside the front of the school on Thursday mornings, Jordan plays the guitar, we sing praise songs, and then pray for each other, or whatever is on our minds. It's so incredible. Jordan is hoping to get it to a "See You At the Pole" type of group, with tons and tons of people, but I think at the moment, a whole lot of people are intimidated by the idea. I will openly admit that I was. Honestly, even though it kills me to say this, I was worried about what others would think of me, and worried that I might turn people away from my life, worried that people would think I was just trying to show that I was a good Christian. But, God took that away. And it's such a relieving feeling. As soon as we started singing, I felt like a burden had been lifted off my shoulders. And now I can't wait until this Thursday! It was a great start to the weekend, and to the rest of the year, and probably to the rest of my life. It's amazing how God can change your heart with just one little action, but I am speaking from first hand experience. It was unfathomable. I can just feel God's joy inside of me, and His love pouring over me. Crazy what a little praise music outside of school on a hot morning can do you for, aye? Imagine my dissapointment when I found out we weren't having chapel that day, but class meetings. It got a sigh out of me, that's for sure.

That evening was very interesting, and quite a contrast after the great morning I had had; my mom had to call the police on me and a friend of mine because we had been gone for an hour and a half - and she panicked. We just went on a walk, and I had forgotten to bring my cell phone, not thinking much of it. We had told my dad we were going on a walk, but my mom wasn't home at the time. Had she been, she would have made sure I had my phone. Anywho, after an hour and a half of not hearing from us, my mom started to get worried...long story short, we got home to some very frustrated, worried parents. Its the third time my mom has called the police when she hasn't been able to find me. :shrug: What can I say? I'm an adventurous little girl...^_^

And now, of course, the hurricane. We have been without phones or electricity since 1:30 Sunday afternoon. Which would make it approximately 46 hours. :eek: Thank goodness my grandmother has electricity. We've been staying here, where there's actually air conditioning! It gets so incredibly hot here without air conditioning. I don't know how the Europeans survive without it!! But, thank goodness electricity is our only problem (and our DSL Cable line is snapped in half). There are trees down everywhere, roofs ripped off of people's homes, boats ruined, flooding in some areas, debri covering the roads...it's pretty bad. It will take quite a while to get all of this stuff cleaned up.

In the meantime, its been a super long labor day weekend - 5 days. Unfortunately, I think we're going to have school tomorrow :shrug: It's going to be hard to make it without electricity. Maybe I can get out of doing my homework...haha.

Well, I hope everyone is doing well. I've had a fascinating, eventful weekend and I wish you all the best!

God bless,


'when I get a little money I buy books; and if any is left, I buy food and clothes'

What better way to spend your Saturday afternoon than surrounded by so many good books you can't possibly choose just one? :sigh: I'm having a love affair with books. I could live in Barnes and Noble; or at the very least, visit everyday and get a book per visit. Saturday, I went in to get the Great Gatsby, and I emerged with it, along with The Guardian (Dee Henderson), Vivian: The "V" Spot (Sherrie Krantz), and a book from the biography section all about Henry VIII and his six wives. I'm so excited! Unfortunately, I must read the Great Gatsby first, but I'm hoping to fly through that so I can get started on my new collection. :)

Books are so amazing. They can bring such inspiration, or they can completely bring you down. I really enjoy reading in school, because its most likely the only time you are going to read the classic books. When there are so many other riveting books from new authors on the "New Release" shelf, why would you go and pick up The Crucible? However, it has really taught me to appreciate the classics and to observe how writing has changed throughout the years. (Allow me to quote Mark Twain: " 'Classic' A book which people praise but don't read." Haha. Couldn't have said it better myself.)

Honestly, literature is not what it used to be. I mean, who's to say that in 100 years people will still be reading the popular books today? Somehow, The DaVinci Code being read in schools doesn't sound right. But, who knows. Wouldn't it be cool if after we died we could observe the world and how it changes? I think that would be quite fascinating.

Anyway...I just had to share about my beloved books...school is going well. The year started off very awkwardly, and I wasn't sure what to make of it except that the year was going to be pretty bad. But, God has a sense of humor and everything I thought of as a bad thing He has showed me how its good. Now I am really looking forward to this year and everything that its going to bring. I don't have a teacher that I really dislike, although, I have a couple of teachers who think the best way of teaching is to stick notes on an overhead and read them as your student copies them. Sorry-not learning much. : blink: Whatever. As long as I pass the class, I could care less. ;)

I start dance classes today. I honestly hate taking a break from them during the summer. It's dreadful! Every year its the same routine. By May, I'm ready for a break. After about two weeks, I'm ready to go back to dance. I usually dance for two weeks during the summer and I'm ready for a break again, and then, by the time classes roll around again, I'm out of shape, out of touch, and thirsty for a ballet class. So, that time has come, and I'm quite excited...except for the way my ick body is going to look in tights and a leotard. Honestly, if I didn't dance, I would be a fat cow. Thank goodness I only stop dancing for two months! :-p

Before I go, I want to thank Melanie for her latest blog entry. It really spoke to me...silly I know, but it did. :hugs: Love you girl. :)

Oh, and, one more note: Due to my love of books, I began writing a story about a girl who...loves books. :sigh: It's a work in progress, but I'm really excited about it. Just wanted to share. ^_^

Love you all!

God bless,

Title quote: Desiderius Erasmus


'lastly, I make this vow, that mine eyes desire thee above all things. farewell'

I have taken an obsessive fascination to Henry VIII, his wives, his reign and all that that implies. It is, of course, with thanks to the book I told you about previously...The Other Boleyn Girl. It's funny, because I had always heard and thought of Henry VIII as this evil King who killed all his wives. But, it is much more complicated than that. Henry, like any king, longed for a legitimate son to take over his kingdom and a happy marraige. The problem was, he wanted them both. His first wife, Catherine (Catarina as some say) of Aragon, the Spanish Princess, was married to him for nearly twenty years and was with child six times. Unfortunately, only two of the children lived to be born, and only one lived past infancy. The prince borne to Henry and Catherine died when he was 53 days old. Princess Mary was their only child to live into adulthood. After years of no sons, Henry was anxious for an heir. He became infatuated with the Boleyns, first Mary who was his mistress and bore him two children (a son and a daughter) and then with her older sister, Anne, who he married after getting his marraige to Catherine anulled. He threw Catherine out of his life, banishing her to the coldest palaces in the country and separating her from her daughter. As a barren woman who had already reached menopause, Catherine was no good to him anymore. He took Anne as his wife, and three years later had her beheaded for adultery with her brother, among other men of his court. Anne Boleyn gave the King one daughter, Elizabeth, she gave birth to a still born son and miscarried two other children. Just as he did with Catherine, he threw Anne out of his life, only much quicker this time and with assurance that she was gone for good. He took Jane Seymour as his next wife, who brought him a son. However, she did not recover from childbirth and died several days after the birth of the Prince Edward. She is said to be the only wife who Henry truly loved, and probably greatly due to her gift of a healthy, living son. The next three wives he took were divorced (Anne of Cleves), beheaded (Kathryn Howard) and then he died shortly after his marraige to his third wife, Katharine Parr. After Edward, the King had no more children. He was fairly content after having a son, but he still longed for the perfect Queen. He died knowing that it was impossible.

I said all that to point out that King Henry VIII was not an evil man. He was merely a king with an empty soul, longing for a son to fill it and a loving wife. Who he really needed was the Lord, but I don't think anyone in that time period really understood that.

Due to my fascination with Henry, I found one of those stupid quizzes to find out which of Henry's wives I was most like...

Congratulations! You are Catarina of Aragon.
I am Catarina of Aragon. Loyal, loving and incurably romantic. I press flowers in romance novels and love unconditionally.
Catarina was Henry's first wife and was probably the only one of his six wives to truly love him. He tired of her, and she spent the last decade of her life in lonely exile. Yet when she was dying, alone and unloved, she wrote: "Lastly, I make this vow, that mine eyes desire thee above all things. Farewell."

I believe that Catherine truly loved the King, and if he had stayed married to her, he would have found the happiness he longed for. Even after he had casted her out of his life and country, she still proclaimed her love for him and found the strength to forgive him. She was a strong woman, and the Queen with the single most character of them all. King Henry did long for a son and a loving wife, and he was a fool to let the latter go.

I have learned a lesson from the story of Catherine of Aragon. When everything went bad for her, after she had given birth to dead children and sometimes not given birth at all, she persevered and tried again until her body wouldn't allow it anymore. She watched her husband flirt and bed the ladies of her court and still she did not waver. She continued to greet him with a smile on her face and be the loving wife that she was. She did not correct him; he was king, he could do as he pleased. For Catherine to ask him to stop his sinful ways would be to ask the king to lower himself to her position, and that could not happen. The point I'm trying to make is that although Catherine had a very unhappy life, she was never bitter and she never wearied. She died alone in a cold, small palace, banished from her home and ripped of her title as Queen. Yet, she was still the Queen in every sense of the word. She may have died with no one at her side, but she had happiness, joy and peace waiting for her in heaven. No other Queen was a queen like Catherine. She had no hidden agenda (i.e. Anne Boleyn). She loved and simply longed to be loved back.

The greatest thing you'll ever learn is just to love, and be loved in return. It's a shame she never learned this lesson...

God bless,


'I was born to be your rival...we're sisters aren't we?'

"I thought for a moment and went straight to the anxiety of my childhood. 'But what if he comes to like you best?'

Anne's smile was as sweet as poison. 'What matter? So long as it is a Boleyn girl?'

'Uncle Howard thinks this? Does he think nothing of me, in childbed, while my sister is set on to flirt with the father of my child?'

Anne nodded. 'Yes, exactly. He thinks nothing of you at all.'

'I didn't want you to come back to court to be my rival,' I said sulkily.

'I was born to be your rival,' she said simply. 'And you mine. We're sisters, aren't we?' "

:shivers: Anne Bolyen was a wicked girl. I'm reading this book by Philippa Gregory (Author of
The Queen's Fool) called The Other Boleyn Girl, and its about Anne Boleyn's (Second wife of Henry VIII) sister Mary and her love affair with the king. It's quite interesting. Gregory has a way of making history very fascinating. She writes historical fiction, of course, so its not entirely true, but it makes me very interested in the different time periods and what the world was like during Henry VIII's reign. It's too bad our history books don't read like Gregory's books. ^_^

Speaking of history, school was quite dreadful today. Little things kept happening, like my binders not fitting in my locker, not having the lunch that all of my friends have, not having my leotard in my dance bag...I felt like crying. Certain times of the month have that affect. :sigh: But, I hope the school year doesn't remain this disheartening. I'm sure it won't. I just have to get used to the new routine, the new teachers and how to manipulate them (:-p), and the new kids (and the new/old kids). I'm ready for it to be the middle of the school year so I can be used to everything. I guess I'll just have to wait it out patiently. Although, I do miss some of my old teachers. Ninth grade was so fun. <_<

I asked my mom if I could go to
Night of Joy and Rock the Universe with the greatest youth group ever. Without hesitation my mom says no. I was crushed. I would pay for it if I had some sort of an income. I have never been, and Casting Crowns will be there-I was not planning on missing it. I wish I hadn't gotten my expectations raised up so high. Now I have no chance of going, and frankly, for a valid reason. I completely understand my parents. But, I want to go so badly with every ache in my body. I can hardly bear the fact that I am going to miss it. I'm not entirely sure why. I have never gone before, so I have no attachment to it. I just really, really, really want to go. Something about a Christian concert at Universal with Casting Crowns singing their amazing praises out to my amazing God sounds like something I couldn't miss. Yet I am going to. Excuse me a moment while I cry a river of tears ... :'(

I feel as if the best way to leave you today is with the most spectacular Casting Crowns song, ever. :)

-- Who Am I --

Who am I, that the Lord of all the earth
Would care to know my name
Would care to feel my hurt
Who am I, that the Bright and Morning Star
Would choose to light the way
For my ever wandering heart

Not because of who I am
But because of what You've done
Not because of what I've done
But because of who You are

I am a flower quickly fading
Here today and gone tomorrow
A wave tossed in the ocean
A vapor in the wind
Still You hear me when I'm calling
Lord, You catch me when I'm falling
And You've told me who I am
I am Yours, I am Yours

Who am I, that the eyes that see my sin
Would look on me with love and watch me rise again
Who am I, that the voice that calmed the sea
Would call out through the rain
And calm the storm in me

Not because of who I am
But because of what You've done
Not because of what I've done
But because of who You are

I am a flower quickly fading
Here today and gone tomorrow
A wave tossed in the ocean
A vapor in the wind
Still You hear me when I'm calling
Lord, You catch me when I'm falling
And You've told me who I am
I am Yours

I am Yours
Whom shall I fear
Whom shall I fear
'Cause I am Yours
I am Yours


God bless,


'we take our bug juice very seriously'

And, boy, they weren't kidding.

I just spent 4 days in
Little St. Simons Island with my good friend Kristin and her parents. It was a wonderful vacation, in which you are completely cut off from the rest of the world. No television, no radio, no computer, no media whatsoever. The only committment you'll have is to sign in and out for activities, and that's just so that they can expect you to be in or out for lunch. It's so laid back, it's crazy. I didn't know a place like that existed. The staff is available whenever you need them, and you never ever go hungry. In fact, you hardly go un-stuffed.

There were endless activities, and we must have done almost all of them. We rode bikes (usually 2 miles to the beach), we walked (2 miles to the beach), we went horseback riding, kayaking, swimming, we played board games and card games, we did our summer reading on a wooden swing...It was paradise. You certainly never go bored, and you don't even realize that there aren't televisions in the rooms.

When we first got there, we went on a sort of indroductory tour that took us around parts of the island and showed us differnet wild life and nature elements of the island. We met this really nice family who had been there nearly a week, but were just going on the Northend Tour for the first time. It was a married couple with
three kids: Lauren was 18 and completely hysterical, Phillip was 15 and although his family lives in Rome, Georgia, he is at school in New York at the New York Military Academy - by choice, and Richard (Who we fondly called Charlie) was 13 and apparently much quieter than he is at home. We hung out with them the whole time, and they proved to be very fascinating people. Their parents were actually both born in Switzerland, and all three of the kids have duel citizenship. They don't think it's such a cool thing, because they fear being drafted in the army and such, but I found it super cool. They lived in Zurich for 9 1/2 years, so they all speak fluent German, although they claim to be out of practice. :rolleyes: Whatever. They're certainly more in practice than I am.

When Phil left, Kristin and I found ourselves at a loss of activities, but it gave us plenty of time to do summer reading. Of course, we ended up talking most of that time, which was so amazing. This girl, Kristin, is just a phenominal person. She never ceases to amaze me with her daily life. And, it was so cool talking to her, because I honestly feel that God has brought us together at the perfect time...we are dealing with some of the exact same issues, and there's nothing more important than having someone to talk to who really understands. Spending four days together really bonded Kristin and me, and it was an awesome experience, and I have a feeling it wasn't the last.

As I embark on my sophomore year of highschool, I am entering it with great anticipation. After a busy traveling summer, I'm ready to be back on my own two feet and in a routine, and I'm even looking forward to the stress of finishing 5 hours of homework. :sigh: I saw one of my school friends today at the uniform store for the first time since the end of school, and it made my day. I am excited about not being the "fresh-man" anymore, and meeting new people, and sticking with old people. School brings such exciting adventures to my door step, and I will gladly greet them with an open heart. So, all I can say to my '04-'05 Sophomore year of high school is Bring It On! :D

God bless,


psalm 149:3 . psalm 30:11

"Let them praise His name with dancing..." ~ "You turned my wailing into dancing..."

Most of us have a way of escape, where we can go or do something to forget about what's on our mind. Some of us escape through music, some of us escape through the beach...My escape is dance.

On Sunday, I was kind of distressed. I couldn't even tell you exactly what it was that was disturbing me, but it was a build up of situations that wasn't putting me in a very good mood. Monday morning, I had a choreography workshop at my school. It is amazing the way dance heals me. Whatever it was that was disturbing me was gone the instant I started warming up. While I'm dancing, I don't have to think about all the crap that's going on in the world, in my life, or in any body else's life. It's a moment that belongs completely to me and to God. No one else. And I was just so happy to be dancing again. The summer is the worst for me, because my dance schedule is very unregular, and I end up hardly dancing at all. Why I can't picture myself ever dancing professionally, I will always dance. To stop would be to take half of my life away. I am just so thankful for the gift of dancing. I cannot imagine my life without it.

On that same note, I'm very thankful that I am dancing this week. My friend Tim, who I am incredibly close to, was away in Kansas City, Missouri for 3 1/2 weeks. He was originally coming home on Sunday and leaving again to go to North Carolina and then Europe on Thursday. But, plans changed, and he left today. Which meant that I only got to spent a sliver of time with him on Monday. I found myself a bit upset, quite surprisingly. I even told him that while he was in KC, I didn't really miss him, per se, but I could already tell that I would be missing him while he was gone this time. I am just so happy that I will be dancing this week, and I will be able to get my mind away from missing him. And hopefully once school starts I will too busy to think about it. But, its just odd the way things happen in life and I the best way out for me is through dance...

My friend Amanda recommended I listen to a song, Broken, by Amy Lee (of Evanescence) and Seether. I did, and I immediately pictured a dance in my head...with Tim, nonetheless (he dances with me at my studio). So, in a lot of ways, dance reminds me of certain things, and takes me places I don't want to go, but it always will be a place where I can go and relax and enjoy the grace of God.

God Bless,


friends are friends forever

Honestly, that song drives me crazy. But, when you really sit down and listen to the words, it's quite a pretty song. It's just overplayed and old. Maybe Michael should update it to a more...21st century sound, aye?

Proverbs 17:17 says "A friend loves at all times and a brother is born for adversity." I don't know how long I have known that verse. My whole life it seems. But, I think in high school, for me atleast, I have really learned to know the true definition of friend. When I was in 6th grade, I learned the hard way that just because you know someone and hang out with them doesn't mean they're your friend. And, I learned at the tender age of 11, that people will turn on you in the blink of an eye, and things will never be the same. Looking back on that situation that I went through, I thank God for it. Because, now, I look at my friendships with great appreciation. It is no matter to me what that person did to me years ago, because the friends I have now are of far more importance to me than she ever would have been. But, last year being my first time in a school with lockers, changing classes and all that that implies, I was a bit insecure to say that least. Thank God that my best friend had come to the school a semester before me, because I could not have survived without her. But, looking back over my freshman year of high school, I think the only thing I will remember are the encounters I had with friends and how easily I dealt with the conflict, no doubt due to the rough experiences I had had early on in my life.

My mom told me once that the friends you make in childhood will most likely not be around in highschool, and the friends you make in highschool not in college. She hardly even talks to the people she went to college with, anymore. And I took that to heart, but with a slight determination to prove her wrong. I don't doubt that I will lose touch with many if not most of my high school friends. But, even so, the friends you make in high school are the ones that are going to be there when you walk down in front of all your piers and receive your diploma. They're the ones who are going to share in your laughter and in your tears when you depart to go across the country to various colleges. And, chances are, in college, you won't be able to talk about those memories with anyone at college, because they didn't share them with you. So, why high school friends maybe just that - fleeing at the first chance of freedom - they are still vital to your health in high school, not to mention your GPA in some cases. For those who got through high school without friends, I applaud you. I cannot imagine it. I cannot imagine the first day of school without my best friend being there, much less 4 years of high school without anyone to rely on.

I said all of that to tell you about my best friend, Katie. I have a couple of best friends, but Katie is the one whom I have known since the age of 1, we have been in school together at the same schools every year except for seventh and eighth grade (during which we lost touch and I was devastated), there are pictures of us in ballet class wearing our tights and leotards and our butts look huge because of our apparently worthless Huggies, we had plans to get our ears pierced together since the time we were about 8 and our mom's told us we had to be 13 before we could have holes in our earlobes (Her mom ended up relenting and surprising her on her 12th birthday and the January before my May birthday, my mom relented as well), we used to take baths together and play with our naked barbies, we lived off of our American Girl Dolls, always "taking them to the mall" or "throwing a surprise birthday party", etc, etc...her older sister was just as much my enemy as she was hers and Katie and I would make evil plots against her, and when she still lived in her old house, Katie used to tell me stories about her neighbors that lived behind her who kidnapped little kids and would torture them until they screamed (I still wonder where she came up with that). There are countless memories between Katie and me. Katie and I wrote a song once (actually, she wrote it. I kind of butted in one afternoon and like to say I helped her write it :-p) and we performed it for our homeschool group. :eek: I can't believe I ever did that! Katie and I have been through a lot together, but after these 14 years of non stop laughter and evil plots and song writing, we have never had a serious conflict. I guess it's what Anne of Green Gables would refer to as "bosom buddies" but I think it may be something even deeper than that. I think having the love of God as the foundation of our friendship makes a difference, but on another note, it could just be the fact that our love for each other is unconditional and unintentional. After all, our parents hooked us up... :shrug:

Katie is my best friend. And once again, I have several best friends, but at the moment I am referring to Katie. She has touched my life in more ways than she knows. She's always smiling and always has something nice to say, even when she's thinking something mean. We have watched each other grow physically, mentally and spiritually and now we are to the point where we can just stay up late in deep conversation, spilling our guts with each other. For instance, night before last. Katie and I hadn't seen each other but one afternoon all summer, because I got home from Europe and she left for camp for a month two days later. I went over and talked to her while she was packing, but that just wasn't good enough. I was aching to see her. She came over and we literally stayed up into the late night chatting about random things, then talking seriously about our spiritual lives, our...boy...issues (Or, mine. Katie, lucky one she is, has not confessed to having boy issues just yet), and what really bothers us that no one else might know. And, talking with her, I couldn't help but realize that she is the defintion of a best friend. Someone you can openly talk to, someone who gives you a shoulder to cry on and that you in turn will gladly give yours back, someone who will always be there for you through thick and thing...and I realized at that moment as I have considered before but I felt a sense of peace and reassurance that Katie and I will always be friends. After high school, after college, after marraige, even if I'm living in China and she in Alaska, we will always be friends. And for our friendship, Michael's song just rings so true to me...

And friends are friends forever
If the Lord's the lord of them
And a friend will not say never
'Cause the welcome will not end
Though it's hard to let you go
In the Father's hands we know
That a lifetime's not too long
To live as friends...

Thank you, Katie. I love you, tater tots! :D

And thank you to all of my friends who have stuck by me and have touched me in more ways that you can imagine. I am truly blessed to have so many wonderful people in my life.

God bless,


a sister like no other

C-Kruis, pronounced, ceh-crraise (roll the R), is an artistic ministry based in South Africa, in which they travel all over the country spreading the word of God to the youth. Mary Ashley, my sister, is currently serving with them. Now, before I go any further, allow me to tell you about Mash.

In August of 2001, when Mash was 16, she came to our home to live with us from Alabama. I was 12 at the time. Mash came here so she could be a part of a dance program, that I was also involved in. It was a Christian program called Arts Triumphant, directed by Yvonne Salcedo Williams. The program was wonderful and amazing, while it lasted. By the time Mash left when she was nearly 18, her heart had been to hell and back along with a lot of the other participants. But for Mash, to think that she left home when she was 16, she had done an amazingly good job. She became the sister that I never had. With three brothers, it was just the thing I needed. Our family got incredibly close to her family (her mom, her dad and her older sister, Anna). We have kept in touch, even three years later and we still manage to see each other as often as possible.

Mash was an incredible blessing to me the year that she was here. I had been through a hard year before, with some friends and learning that not all friends are real friends. I had left the dance studio I had been at for 8 years to be a part of Arts Triumphant, and it was somewhat of a painful departure. Time healed those wounds, however, but that's another story. Anyway, it was hard for me to get established and find a home at AT. For the first few months, I was scared of everyone. They were all better than me, but Yvonne had put me in the highest level. By about 3 months or so, I could have fooled someone into thinking I had been there my whole life. I got close to several of the girls my age (which wasn't without its conflicts), and I got close to the older girls, who became like my family. Dancing 7 days a week, I couldn't have been happier. I was homeschooling, and naturally, dance became my first priority, over school, over family, and even over God. Mash confronted me on things when she knew I needed confrontation. She told me one day that I idolized Yvonne and Arts Triumphant. She recognized that I was putting dance first in my life and it shouldn't be first in my life when I'm only 12/13, still in school, still living at home, and still needing to strengthen my relationship with God. She was right, but it took me a while to realize that.

One of my greatest memories I have with Mash is when we came home one night after a late rehearsal and we sat and talked until late, all the while drawing all over each other's arms and legs. Call us crazy, I know. But, it was at that moment I realized God had truly given me a sister. Not just a sister, a best friend, a confidant, an accountability partner. He had given me the ultimate package. And that's why I was devastated when she announced she would be leaving. It shouldn't have come a shock, the idea had been entertained by her all along. Arts Triumphant was no longer where she needed to be. At first my devastation was heartbreak. I didn't want her to leave. I get a sister, and then she's gone? It didn't make sense. She was the most important person in my life and if she left, she would be taking a part of me with her. Then, the devastation turned to bitter hatred toward my mother when she told me I too would not be attending Arts Triupmhant. She explained it to me by saying that without Mash to drive me, there would be no way for me to get there 7 days a week (the studio was about 30 minutes from my house). But, as I look back on that, I know that my mom and Mash were much wiser than I was and they saw things I could have never seen at my young and tender age. I am so thankful to the both of them for telling me what to do, because if I didn't have them there to point me in the right direction, no matter what phony excuse they gave me, I'm not sure where I would be today. Caught up in a mess I don't want to be caught up in, that's for sure.

So, Mash left. She didn't go home, she went to Missouri for several months and she knew it wasn't where God wanted her. One November day, she called her mom and told her she was going to South Africa. Within two months, she had her Visa, her passport, her plane tickets, etc, etc... And by January first, she was there. She has been there for over a year now. It is not without it's trials, and she will tell you that openly. But she knows it is exactly where God wants her. She has finally found that place that she had been searching for since she was a child. As her younger sister, watching her grow has been profound for me. There are parts of me that say "I want to be just like her." And then I look at everything she's gone through, and how strong she has had to make herself, another part of me says "Not on your life!" I think for now I would rather observe someone do those amazing things than experience them myself. For the moment, anyway. I am only 15. ;-)

I told you all of that about Mary Ashley to explain to you my close connection with C-Kruis. Last night, Mash's mom came here along with 7 of C-Kruis's own members, the 7 who are part of the newly established America branch of C-Kruis. Sad that foreigners are sending missionaries to America now, isn't it? But what they're doing is amazing. C-Kruis ministers to the youth of the world through dance, music, drama, etc. Their goal in America is to travel to churches, schools (public, private, and Christian alike) and spread the Word of God in a way that teens can relate to and remember. The fabulous 7, Daniel, Pieter, Lennie, Burgert, Este, Elzette, and Charnette, came to my church last night and performed 2 dances and then sat and answered all of our many questions. They're staying at our beach condo until Wednesday, so we took them out there and showed them the ropes and ended up spending several hours with them. Wow. These guys are amazing. I mean, after spending 2 hours with them, I felt not only like I had known them forever, but like they were a part of my family. The last time I saw Mash was December 2003, and I have missed her more than I can say. But, seeing these people, meeting the people she has spent the last year of her life with, gave me a sense of peace and made me feel very close to her even though she is thousands of miles away.

Please check out C-Kruis at their
website. It is truly an amazing ministry that needs to be supported financially, spiritually, physically and mentally. And while you're there, see if you can find my sister's Bio. Her picture is beautiful. :)

God bless,


overview of an oxymoron

ox·y·mo·ron : something (as a concept) that is made up of contradictory or incongruous elements.

Welcome to my life. The life of an oxymoron. I guess if you really consider that, I'm calling myself a hypocrite. But I prefer to think of it as being a well rounded person. Not to mention the fact that oxymoron is about the coolest word in Webster's dictionary, after onomatopoeia. The other reason I consider my life that of an oxymoron is because I am a moron. Oxy aside, I will always be a moron, in the truest sense of the word. Webster defines moron as a very stupid person. With straight A's and 4.0 GPA, I can't say I agree entirely with that. But, I think my friends and family would tell you that I am a moron, in some ways more than others. In Leslie's dictionary, moron is defined as someone who becomes a bit crazy when faced with stupid situations. Okay, so, I'm crazy! There's nothing wrong with that. I believe that we are all crazy in one way or another. :blink:

Enough of that. My life is an oxymoron for the simple fact that the world tells me to be one way and I try my absolute hardest to be the exact opposite. In other words, I am a follower of Jesus Christ and I do not conform to the world, but to the Truth of God.

I am a rambler, in case you haven't noticed, and I tend to ramble on the discussion of definitions of words. So, please, never ask me what something means. It will only get you a long complicated answer that you would have found better in Webster's. If you're too lazy to flip through some pages in a colossal book, try
www.miriamwebster.com. It works wonders.

God bless,