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,