Wednesday, December 29, 2010

What a Gloomy Day!

It's about 61* outside and raining.  Gross!

I can't say that I enjoy this weather.  Because, honestly, I hate it.  When the sun doesn't have to get up and work, why do I?  Allright, fine.  I'll stop complaining.  I actually got up super early today to go walking with friends.  And it was good, productive.  Getting up at 6 on vacation?  I might just say we were crazy.  But seeing as it's the only time we could coordinate the three of us today, it worked.

But the frustration that occurred to coordinate such a time - just makes me want to call it quits.  With what, you might ask?  This friendship.

See, when I moved back to H-town in April, I was hurt.  Damaged.  Not myself.  Recently, I've discovered that I really didn't act like myself until just a very few weeks ago.  So for an entire year (almost), I was kind-of in a trance.  I acted differently, said things that normally wouldn't come out of my mouth.  On the outside, I was putting on a show.  But in private, let's just say I was pretty much falling apart.  Literally.  

God provided a friend who understood the hurt and disappointments I was trying to weave myself out of.  And He knew I desperately needed it.  But as I've found healing the last few months, I've discovered how frustrating this friend can be.  If friendships are about give and take, how much am I expected to give before I have nothing else?

Soon after I started to develop a relationship with my friend, she got engaged...and I was so excited for her!  I didn't realize then how hard it is for me to see friends get married.  It's not hard because I also want to be married one day.  That might have been the issue a few years ago.  But I've come to a place of accepting my singleness as a gift.  There's no pressure to "have it all together".  I'm not trying to say that married people have it all together.  But there could be a different expectation of a wife than of a single woman.  So I'll just simply say that I'm grateful for this time in my life to try to figure out how God is supposed to lead me and how to submit to Him well.  That's without the added submission to a husband.  Oh, it seems like I'm digging a hole here.  Sigh.

Moving on...

Engagements.  I've had many friends marry.  And several of them have invited me to stand next to them at the altar to hold them accountable - a true blessing!  But something is different about the way my new friend is acting in her engagement.  It's hard for me to figure out if she is just "like that" or if it's a phase she's passing through.  It's becoming exasperating trying to explain to her that no, he can't come when the three of us girls want to hang out.  It's meant to be girl time.  And no boys allowed!  But to no avail can I get her to understand.

So I guess what I'm trying to say is that - is this normal?!  I'm not sure who reads my blog anymore...so I guess I'm asking an audience who might or might not answer my question.  But, to my married friends, was it especially hard for you to separate yourself from your groom right before you were married?  Or were you able to discern that it was your last little bit of time to be single?  Do you regret anything from your life as an engaged single person?  Anything you would do differently?  Am I being completely unreasonable?

These are things that I've been trying to think through. Thanks for reading and bearing with me.

Monday, December 27, 2010

Christmas is Over

Well, yes, the day is over.  And my sister and her husband left this morning.

And the things I'd planned on doing today?  Haven't happened.

There are a few reasons for my laziness.  First, I wanted to finish the book I had been reading.  So I guess I got that done.

But going swimming?  Going to the grocery store to get supplies for dinner?  Research for my book?  Not done.

After big events, I can't help but dwell on the memories that were created.  And want them to be re-done.  My older sister calls me "sentimental".  I just can't put a logical reason as to why I do these things.  It makes me immensely sad to sit here in my parent's house all alone (except for Molly curled up to my right, sleeping).  I have a really hard time being alone and purposeless these days.

Inevitably, my mind goes to thinking about singleness and how my life would be filled with such joy if I had a significant other to share it with.  My family likes to remind me that this happening would make me happy.

But saying that another person could sustain my happiness is false.  And it's this mindset I've been trying to fight against.  My life is not supposed to be spent waiting for something to happen with a man.  And yes, his presence in my life could create a certain degree of happiness.  But I will not sit around and wait for him.  I have a life - and it's supposed to centered on my Creator.  His presence brings the eternal joy.  Granted, most days I choose not to partake of what Jesus is offering.

The reason I don't grasp onto His grace?  Pride.

Other things have a factor as well, but if I was truly humbled, I would be completely dependent on Him.  I don't want to sit here and be cliche and say it's a new year's resolution.  Because it's more than that.  It's my new life change.  And I'm going to work hard at it.

As for today and my list of not accomplished actions?  I'll start with lunch and go from there...

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Update

Don't worry and fret.  I'm doing just fine...just learning some tough lessons.

And the fact that I have 3 stinking tests tomorrow is just added to bounty of overwhelming-ness.

So, I know that I'm being vague, but I just flat out don't have time to dive into the details.

I could write a book about it.  And I might.  I've been encouraged by more than one person to do so.

But that's a whole other ballgame that I would prefer to just leave at that.  For now.  But I'm working on titles...and I'm excited about it.

Anywho,

Enjoy thanksgiving!  I know I'm looking forward to the Ags B(ing)THO t.u.!!!

Monday, November 22, 2010

Not What I Thought...

...and I think I'm on the verge of a breakdown.

I'm not quite sure how I got to this place.

But prayers would be appreciated.

And then we'll see how life goes.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

I'm back!

I've been gone for a while.  But, I have many new thoughts and several things that I just have to release.  Since school started back in September, I have stepped back from blogging.  I just couldn't keep up with what was going on in other people's lives.  It was really hard for me to try to organize my own life into neat little posts that were concise and to-the-point.

Let's just be honest.  Life is not concise.  And when is it ever to-the-point?

So there was my defeat.  I seriously just avoided blogging because I didn't fit into the "blogging norm".  But blogging has helped me to realize some pretty important points in the past.  I don't want to lose it.  I just couldn't maintain it.

I've finally reached a point where I want to start sharing some of the things that I experience in school, life, amongst my friends (within reason b/c of confidentiality stuff), family, and my new singles group at church.  Oh yes, and my thoughts.

So this is the beginning.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Walls

this weekend has been a little difficult.  not in like the sense that something terrible happened.  or that any horrific news has come my way.  

but just in the sense of my heavy heart.  it all started when i had to make a decision to attend a "'geriatric skate" event with the singles group at my church.  

i seriously couldn't decide what to do.  

so, in trying to figure out why this decision was so hard, i figured out that i have a few things that have been festering.  

the main issue?  my lack of interest in putting myself out there.  to be vulnerable.

i have effectively built walls around myself.  i'm more content to stay home and read a book than to go hang out with a sweet friend that could be very life-giving.  i just can't seem to bring myself to do these things. 

these walls also make me a lame friend.  i never want to do anything.  and i would rather just be at home.  

unfortunately (or fortunately?), now that i've recognized this monstrous glaring problem in my life, i have to continually work on it and through it.  

i was talking with LS about this decision and her response was something along the lines of, "well, if you don't want to do anything, you're going to be alone.  and then in the next stage of life, you're not going to want to do anything again.  so then you'll be alone.  and essentially, you'll be alone forever."

how true is that?  if i don't build up my community in this new phase in life, i have only the few people that i've been able to keep contact with since moving in april.  

and just how many friends have i made since then?  not counting acquaintances and just including the people i regularly see and talk to outside of church is 2. T-W-O.  now i'm upset with myself.

the realization that i've been lame and become a new member and haven't been active and don't really want to be active now is harsh.  

it was my slap of the weekend.  

and let me tell you, it hit hard.

these walls, they're high.  and they aren't keeping me safe like they were supposed to.  i've hurt myself.  and now i'm upset with myself.  i'm still a mess.   

almost 10 months later, i'm an absolute mess.  and all i wanted was to feel safe.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

The College Years

Recently, my younger sister L moved back to CS to resume her position as a college student.

Shortly after she moved back, I realized that this is the first time in FIVE years that I have not had the college student lifestyle.  And it's quite strange.

There are things that I don't miss.  Like having to think about what to make for dinner each week (even though I am asked for input at my parent's house) and having to grocery shop.  I'm super glad it's a joint effort around here.  And having to clean and change my sheets regularly.  I'm quite thankful that my parents invest in a woman who is quite skilled at leaving our home clean and fresh every other week!  I still do my own laundry and ironing, so not much has changed there.

BUT.  There are things that I miss.

Like these faces:


And living with these ladies:


And random moments like this:


And doing silly things like this in foreign places:


And having community with people like this:

And hanging out with her:

And being a part of moments with groups like this:

And crazy nights like these:

Going on roadtrips just to be girls:

Spending Friday nights just cruising around CS for no good reason:

And Having conversations with her:

I've just been thinking lately.  And reminiscing.  And enjoying the time that I've been given with all of these wonderful experiences and people.  Love you!

Friday, August 20, 2010

My Favorite Time of Year

Allright, so today I was rolling through my Google Reader and noticed that several people are talking about the seasons and which ones they love.

At A Country Farmhouse, she mentions how she's loving eating outside during the summer.  Granted, if you live in the right part of the country, I'm sure that would be enjoyable.  But live in Houston...and it's a nightmare.  Mosquitoes, humidity and sweat join you for dinner.  And there's that little (or big!) guest called Mr. Temperature.  He's planning on being over 100 in the next few days.  Although August in Houston is not fun, there are things I enjoy about summer: the smell of freshly cut grass, the smell of tanning oil (it reminds me of the beach!), eating things fresh off the grill (yum!!!), and being able to wear shorts and t-shirts.  Sweating in the heat is not number one...but jumping in a pool is right up there!

At The Cluttered Corner, she talks about fall and how she loves it.  And yes, I can see the appeal: Mr. Temperature decides to take a break, the sweaters get to come out of hiding, and the leaves start to change color (depending on your location!).  Here, in Houston, we kind of skip Fall and go straight into Winter (if that's what you can call it down here).  Things I do love about Fall include the crisp air.  We probably won't get any here until late October, but at least it might be here for a month!  It's also permissible to start listening to Christmas music - which is one of my favorite genres!  My mom refuses to listen to it until after Thanksgiving...which I happen to believe is too little time to enjoy the fullness of all of the great carols and hymns out there.

So far today, I haven't read anyone's post about Winter or Spring...but I'm sure it will come later when it gets closer.  As we start to transition out of summer and into fall (crossing fingers here!), I'm gonna have to say that Summer is my favorite out of the two.  Indeed, it's hot.  And you sweat.  But the days are long and the sun is out for much longer than any time of the year.  To be honest, it's the thing I love the most about Summer.  Or maybe Spring because I feel that Summer is coming...

Anyway.  What season do you enjoy the most?

Friday, August 13, 2010

Literary Update

Maybe I'm trying to get in all the reading-for-fun that I can before school starts again.  I really enjoy reading...and I'm addicted to my Kindle.  The link is actaully for the new generation.  Only a kindle owner for 8 months, and they've moved on to the new generation?  Technology...

While on vacation with my family a week ago, I was trying to finish a book that I had found on Amazon for free. It was possibly the longest book I've ever read.  It took me about 4 months to finish it - and that's reading consistently before bed each night.  But it was written in a different language.  I mean, it was English.  It was just a different form of English.  To Have and To Hold was written by Mary Johnston in 1900.  I've read Jane Austen, and the writing style of Mary is quite different.  Jane can be hard to read if you're not 100% clued into what is happening.  With Mary, you just really have to be willing to follow a language that has long been lost.  Overall, I enjoyed it...I just wish it hadn't taken me so long!  The plot is somewhat long and drawn out.  I think the one aspect I enjoyed the most was that it took place in Colonial America before we had won our Independence from England.  I have become fascinated with this time period!

The next book I started was Charlie St. Cloud by Ben Sherwood.  Now, I only read this book because I discovered that the movie was based off the book.  I was interested - and it was a quick and easy read compared to my previous book.  The next step is to see the movie.  When I find the free time.

Immediately after finishing Charlie, I started A Passion Most Pure, which is set back in the time of WWI.  I'm finding my favorite novels are historical fiction.  This one is also Christian - so it's not like other romance novels out there.  It's very tasteful.  This book is written by Julie Lessman, and is the first in the series of 3 books.  I finished this one this morning...and bought the second one earlier this evening.  The first one was long and involved, but the writing really drew me in and I really didn't want to put it down.  My family will tell you - every evening this week (except for tonight), my nose has been glued to my Kindle.  I just couldn't get enough.  And of course it leads into the second book...so naturally I want to read the next one in line.

Welp, that's the update on my reading adventures.  I also saw Inception twice in one week.  If only that movie was based off a book.  I think I'm getting to the point in my life when I would rather read the books than just watch the stories on the big screen.  The books are seriously always better, but they take more time to enjoy.

Being a Nanny

Ever since I finished my anatomy class back in July, I've been taking care of the G kids.  Their mom is a partner in my mom's firm...and because of several different factors, they asked if I would be willing to entertain said kids for a few hours each day this summer.

Let me just start off and say that this was quite the time commitment.  It takes about 45 minutes to an hour to just get to their house...and then added travel time to the activity and back home...for me to fight rush hour traffic every evening to get back home for dinner.  This opportunity has definitely been a blessing.  Please don't misread what I've said.  Yes, it takes a lot of time (averaging about 6 hours a day) and lots of driving...which means lots of gas and lots of $$ spent on gas.  Sigh.  But, I was able to pay for tickets to Midland in December for one of my best friend's wedding without dipping into my savings.  When you don't have a full-time job after having one, it's difficult to budget for items like that.  It also allows me to purchase the dress for said wedding sans-debt.  Whoop!

Along with the extra cash flow, this job has clarified that I am not supposed to work with children in their pre-teen years.  M is 9, A is 10...enough for me to be quite stern at times.  I'm pretty sure I've never heard them stop talking.  It's absolutely amazing to me how two little girls can talk so much!  And the topics - so random. Today, at lunch, the topic jumped from Miley Cyrus to being put in jail for egging a house.  As you can see, there's no rhyme or reason to the conversation.  I think I need some adult time ASAP!

Good thing I'm going to CS this weekend to see some precious ladies.  I'm excited for this quick trip.

Honesty

What would really happen if the people we thought we knew well were honest?

How would our own walls crumble when we heard of the revealing brokenness of others?

I believe our world would be better for it.

The truth of our ugliness set before others.

The state of my heart at this moment?

It feels black.

And that's about all the honesty I can bear to share right now.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Better Bad Choices

Today marks a new chapter for "Only You Suffice."

And what is this chapter?  

Well, I'm glad you asked.

It's about nutrition.  And making better choices for the foods you eat.  If you visit the Health page, you can see the whole story of what this new beginning is about.  

But now I'm going to tell you why I've decided to start documenting personal choices in food.  Early in the summer, I posted briefly about the swimmers on the team I was coaching and their epic cramping stories.  Poor kids.  Well, I decided their eating habits were not up to par with the kind of exercise they were putting their bodies through.  the fuel they provided the engine did not live up to what the engine needed.  

A few people expressed interest in hearing about my nutrition philosophies.  So, I'm sharing them.  

The key to my decisions?  

MAKE BETTER BAD CHOICES.  

It's seriously that simple.  Like if you are going to snack (i.e., me around 4 yesterday afternoon), don't take the easy way out and stop at Arby's and get some curly fries. ( I was tempted.  Oh, so tempted!)  Eat fruit.  It's something we all need in our diet, and really, your body knows what to do with better than fried potatoes.  Trust me.  Anyway, I opted out of the easy drive-through option...and took the one where a little more effort was involved.  Peaches!  MMM, they were juicy and delicious.  And yes, I ate two.  I was pretty darn hungry!  

Another example?  L and I went to see Inception last night (totalling my 3rd movie for the week since Saturday), and we grabbed ChicFilA for dinner.  I opted out of regular lemonade for diet lemonade.  It was a small choice, but it can make a difference.  

All of these different choices really add up.  I'm going to start posting more and more of these options.  And in the process, I'm hoping for more accountability because of it.  If what I eat goes on the internet, it means I need to be smart about what I put into my body.  

Now, take into consideration that I'm not a nutritionist nor do I plan on becoming one.  I'm just trying to make some healthy life choices and share them to help others.  

What better bad choices did you choose today?

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Just a Quickie

Just a few things I'm really enjoying today:

1. My new turquoise nail polish from Target :)  It makes typing more fun.  Not sure how, but I like it a lot.

2.  The Notebook gets me every time!  Such a sweet story of love and happily ever after.

3. York peppermint patties pieces.  Dangerously addictive dark chocolate with a hint of mint.  Love these!

And it's Tuesday.  So that's fun.

BTW, I'm becoming a dog-sitter extraordinare if anyone needs me to dog/house sit, I'm reasonably priced and I even clean!  Just a shameless plug for my new job :)

Sunday, July 4, 2010

July 3rd

I'm in a house with 4 dogs, 2 turtles, 2 sea frogs and a bearded dragon.

So I'm not really alone.

But I am.

My sister and her husband are visiting this weekend.

But they're in Spring.

So here I sit with all of my "companions".

And my best friend moved to China yesterday.

And I'm all alone.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

The funniest story of the week...

Why hello there.

You thought I fell off the face of the earth, huh?

Nope.  Just living out my crazy life.  And being frustrated.  And angry.

But, today, I don't want to dwell on those things.

Today, like 10 minutes ago, I submitted my application to an ultrasound technician program.  FREEDOM!

It's quite the feeling.

And, for the body of today's post, I want to share with you a situation that happened during our 6 and under practice this morning:

One of the mentors, Cody, was helping me in lane 5.  Jason and Madelyn (both age 6) are swimming in his lane.  I was having them practice starting off of the blocks and swimming the entire length of the pool.  Since this is Madelyn's first year of swimming, she's not quite 100 percent confident about diving.  The girl has no fear, however, about belly flopping every time she jumps in.  A lot of our 6 and unders dive this way.  Let's just say I get quite wet during this practice.

Anyway, I was telling Madelyn that her hands, not her feet, needed to go into the water first.  When I was done telling her this, Jason decided to help her get into the correct position and pushed her bottom into the air.  HA!  Jason has 5 brothers - so he's not really around girls that much.  Later, after Madelyn and Jason swam their lap and walked around the pool, I told Jason that he was not allowed to touch another girl's bottom ever.  His response?  He just grinned.  These kids.  They're so funny!

So after yet another lap of freestyle, I ask Jason if he thinks Madelyn is pretty.  His response was something along the lines of this: "She would be pretty if she wore a tuxedo!"

Oh man.  I was cracking up.  Cody was as well.  Later, after re-telling his mom about our conversation, she laughed with us.  What a funny little kid!

I hope you all enjoy that story as much I had experiencing it.  It makes these last few practices a little more bearable...

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Respect

My heart is pounding in my chest.  If only I could really say what I want to say to you.

I'm hurt. Disappointed.

But most of all, I'm disrespected.

And if that has ever happened to you, time and time again, I'm pretty sure that you start thinking you're not worth anything either.  Your opinion doesn't matter.  Your experience doesn't mean anything.

Nada. Zippo.  Zilch.

Let's just say I'm *this close* to starting a countdown to the end of June.

I'm tired of being told what I think, say and desire doesn't matter.  Because you're wrong.  You can't see it now. But you will.

And by then, I'll be long gone.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Anxiousness

I'm sitting here, doing my anatomy work...watching the clock go by.  

And the closer the time gets to 2:45, which is when I get ready for swim practice...the more anxious I get.  

I should be thinking about napping after only getting 5ish hours of sleep last night.  

But, alas, I'm nervous about practice.  

Well, not practice.  I can coach.  I like that part.

I'm nervous about what could potentially go wrong and be "my fault".  

Or making a decision that someone doesn't necessarily agree with.  

I'm weary of being picked on.  I wish coaching was all I had to handle.  

Maybe then I wouldn't be so nervous.  

Being a leader is hard.  

Especially as a single woman.  The whole situation would be different if I was married and not living at my parent's house.  Maybe if I had a baby...I wouldn't get asked, "Have you ever coached a team before?" It's insulting.  Yes, I'm young.  No, I don't have my own family yet.  But yes, I am qualified to do this job well (14 years of experience on a pool deck isn't enough, eh?!).  

I guess I'm frustrated with the double standard.  

I am an adult.  

I am fully capable of making decisions.  

And teaching kids how to swim well.  

Stop asking if I'm competent.  I wouldn't be there if I wasn't.  

(I just want to say that I'm not saying these things out of arrogance.  I am really struggling with my identity.  And I know that I can do these things.  I just haven't been given the time to prove who I am to the right people.)


Wednesday, May 26, 2010

A Weary Heart

Changes.

They're hard.

Sometimes, really hard.

They represent the unknown.

The uncertain.

Maybe they're good.

Or they could be bad.

They can make life go in different directions.

They cause people to change.

Maybe for the better.

But maybe for the worse.

They can cause wounds.

Physical.

Emotional.

Psychological.

People can be against changes...just because it's different.

It's not worse.  It might be better.

But their eyes are unable to see.

So, here, in this battlefield, change is just change.

And there is opposition.

Which makes "going on" even harder.

It makes one question decisions.

But upon further inspection, there could have been no changes.

Change is change.

And regardless of what people may say, it's not widely accepted.

If my position was held by anyone else, they would encounter the same opposition.

So it's not me.

It's just that I happen to represent change.

And it's hard to keep making myself believe that.

Saturday, May 15, 2010

First Meet

It's hard to put into words the mix of emotions that have transpired over the course of the day.

It started at 5:30 this morning when I got out of bed.  I was nervous.

I arrived home after 2 pm this afternoon with my lunch from Chic-Fil-A in hand.  I was defeated.

In those 8 and a half hours, lots of different things happened.  But mostly, when I arrived home this afternoon, I felt like collapsing, bawling my eyes out, and then sleeping the rest of the day.  As a wrote earlier, I was defeated.

And then I took a 3 hour nap.

To any who has never been a swim coach, it would probably be hard to understand.  I've had that conversation with another swim coach recently.  Until you actually live in my shoes and see the way things work from this side, it's just hard to understand.  Even as a swimmer, I never understood why my coaches did certain things until I became a coach.  And then everything started to be clearer.

Here's to hoping this week at practice is productive and worthwhile.  I just don't know how many more "todays" I can take.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Recently

I know it's been awhile since I last posted.  I owe that to the fact that I was unmotivated and my life is actually boring away from College Station.

My daily schedule (because I know that you want to know):
7:30 am - Alarm goes off.  I snooze until 8
9:30 am - When I actually get out of bed after "snoozing" for 2 hours. [just realized what a funny word snooze is.]
9:30 am to 12 noon - Eat breakfast, maybe shower (the convenience of having an outside job that involves a pool), and contemplate lunch
12 noon to 2:45 pm - Run errands, check email, facebook, my google reader, and perhaps read some
2:45 pm - Alarm goes off to tell me that I should get ready for swim practice
3 pm - The time I actually get ready for practice
3:10ish - Leave for swim practice
3:30ish - Arrive for practice
4 to 7ish - Coach swim practice
7:30 to 8ish pm - Eat dinner
8 to 10 pm - watch tv with parents
10 to midnight - read and go to bed

Exciting, right?  Nope, not really.  That is, until yesterday.

It was a normal day....until around 2:50 pm when my dad called to tell me that my little sister, L, is headed to a general surgeon in CS because Beutel (the health center on campus) can't figure out what's wrong with her.  Her white blood cell (the disease fighters in the body) numbers are huge and she's in a lot of abdominal pain.  We think it could be appendicitis.  I proceed to send out a mass text message to get many of my friends praying for her.  I get ready to go to swim practice.  I remember in the process of getting ready that I have to feed Molly because no one is going to be home until way after dinner time.

Dad was originally going to CS to move L back home.  He had left much earlier than anticipated b/c she was going to the hospital.  We didn't know if they would even be home that night.  Mom had an Aggie Mom's meeting - so she wouldn't be home until after 9.  I had to handle meet entries for Saturday's meet with the assistant coach...so I didn't know when I would be home.

Nonetheless, I fed Molly and took her out to take care of her business, and then she needed to be cleaned up.  Gross.  Butt baths?  Worst part of having a dog.  I leave quite late for swim practice.  I arrive only 10 minutes early and get bombarded with questions and things to do.  Normally, I arrive 30 minutes early so things like that don't happen.  I seriously wanted to just about scream.

The keys to the pool had gone MIA the night before - so people were asking to have the bathrooms unlocked...and I couldn't do it because the keys were missing!  So that was frustrating.  And then I'm told that a form was due the previous day to the Division.  They have to check out our backgrounds...or something.  But I had to get things ready for practice...and I was late.  And my little sister was going to the hospital and I couldn't help but wonder about her and how she's doing.

Practice starts a few minutes late...and I don't hear anything from my dad until the start of the last practice.  It's not appendicitis.  But it might be an ovarian cyst that ruptured.  She was going to have a CAT scan, and depending on the results, might be allowed to go home that night.

Practice ends, and I go to work on the meet entries at a local McDonald's with the assistant.  My dad informs me it was indeed an ovarian cyst that ruptured and they are keeping her overnight for observation because of her internal bleeding.  So...she's going to be alright.  Good.  That was around 7.

Come 10 pm (when McDonald's apparently closes in that part of town), and Will and I are still working on entries.  I leave there around 10:10 and get home at 10:35 pm to finally eat dinner.  Whew.  I was exhausted! Around 11pm, my dad calls to say that he's leaving CS to come home...

I don't go to bed until after he's home...say like 12:30ish?  I don't wake up until 9:30 this morning (after snoozing).

What a crazy day!  I'm glad to say that L is officially now out of the hospital, checked out of her dorm, and moving home as I type.  They should all be home soon.

And that was only Tuesday...

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Purpose

Recently, in the last few days, I've been contemplating a lot about life's purpose.  What to do with one's life.  How to make it meaningful.  What about the impact to other people?

Ever since Friday and finishing my job at TTI, I have my mornings free.  And as a person who was really bad at being jobless last September, I can see why.  When I was in school, the purpose was to study and pass my classes.  That meant I could sleep in and do whatever I deemed important in my free time.  When I sleep in now (let's say 9), I feel guilty.  There's no purpose to what I'm doing.  I've resigned myself to sit around and wait for the time to get ready for practice.  Sure, there are some little things to do, like going to the store and doing laundry.

And tomorrow morning I get to spend some time at the beach with my dad.  Woohoo!  And then Thursday is my best friend's birthday.  So I'll be busy going to see her as she experiences her first taste of 22.  Happy Early Birthday, Leslie! 

Waiting.  That's what I'm doing.  I'm waiting for the Lord to reveal the next thing.  I'm trying to be patient and seek what He has planned.  He didn't have it in His plans for me to go to China.  He did have it in His plans for me to be a swim coach and grow in my leadership skills.  Living back in parent's house wasn't in my plans...and yet, here I am.  And it's been good.  At this point in my life, I feel like I'm more able to spend time with my parents as friends and not necessarily living out the normal parental roles.  It's been surprisingly fun.  And even when we're all tired after working and doing stuff all day, we can stand around and clean the kitchen together after dinner.  It's good.

Waiting.  It's hard...and already, I feel a little restless.  Maybe I should get up and go run those errands now.  Ready, Set, GO!

Thursday, April 29, 2010

"...will you chase me?!"

No, I haven't asked anyone to chase me.  Well, at least not in the last 15-16 years.  Maybe when I was at Northern Hills Elementary School in Oklahoma. 

I love the memories of the recess times.  The girls would chase the boys and then (my favorite part) the boys would chase the girls! 

Oh, the joys of being a child and not having to hide behind formalities. 

Yesterday, after swim practices were done, Mr. President (of the swim team board) was telling me about his youngest child and only girl.  She practices with our 6 & Under age group...so she's young.  And asks the funniest questions.  Every day when we gather to stretch before getting in the pool, she asks me if I'm getting in the pool that day (if I haven't already been in the pool like yesterday).  Then, I reveal that I do indeed have on a swim suit under my clothes and will, in fact, be swimming.  I'm the coach.  I have to swim, right?! 

Anywho...Mr. President told me a story about what happened after yesterday's swim practice.  She went up to Mr. Pres, and asks, "Daddy, do you remember that time you gave me lots of money?"  To which he replied, "Yes, honey."  "Well, will you do that again, because I really liked that..." 

Haha.  Kids say the funniest things some times...

Then she went over to one of our other little (read: tiny) 6 & Under boys and asked him, "Will you chase me?  Because I really like it when you do that..."


How darling is that?!  I laughed about it, and told Mr. President that I understood exactly what she felt.  I did the same thing when I was her age.  And loved doing so. 

The desires of a woman's heart are so transparent at that young age.  She wants to feel desired...and if being chased does that, then by golly, she wants to be chased! 

In the book Captivating, I know the authors talk about this phenomenon.  If my copy of the book wasn't in storage, I would have pulled it out to get the exact text...but since it is in storage and I'm not about to go digging through boxes in my hour of free time a day, the summary will have to do. 

For girls, we want to feel like we are worth fighting for, worth being chased after, and ultimately, being won, or told we are captivating enough to win the battle for.  For boys, they want something to fight for.  Something for which to win the heart, to feel as though they deserve it.  It's awesome how God designed us so well.  It fits together like an innate puzzle.  And it's perfect. 

And I love how Mr. President's daughter already sees her need (I mean, not exactly, but almost)...and it's become my prayer that one day, she will find the one who is ultimately pursuing her heart and has already saved her and won the battle.  That's my prayer.  I want this little girl to know Jesus! 
_____________________________________

Being away from swim team for 2 years has really opened my eyes to way kids work.  It's like everything is new again (because it is!).  But I'm definitely learning a lot about how to talk to them and teach them effectively and seek them where they are at.  I want to be a positive role in their life, someone they can come to and talk to about anything.  I might not be going to China anytime soon, but I'm seeing huge ministry opportunities where God has placed me. 

And for now, I guess that's all I ask.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

It's Wednesday

Or the 3rd day of the week...a very long, exhausting week.

I think the last time I actually had the urge to go to bed around 8 pm was in high school.  When swimming about 5 hours a day, 2-3 miles each practice, I was definitely ready to crash.  Last night?  My mom and I were eating dinner at 8, and I could have seriously skipped it and gone straight to bed.  My stomach would have reminded me this morning as a I rolled out of bed at 5:45 that action would not have not been the best idea...but it maybe would have helped my body to recover from this _____(fill in blank with a creative synonym of exhausting)______ week. 

So, I got only a measly 8 hours of sleep (9:45 to 5:45).  And I still feel like this?!  Crazy.  It either means I'm working/doing too much during the day, or I'm just quite unprepared to deal with the awesome crazy stress that comes with swim team.  I think I vote for both. 

But alas, only 2 more days of traveling...oh, and the trip back to Spring today.  But, okay, I thought I would share some funny/interesting/entertaining moments from swim practice.  I wish I had a better memory at this point...but these few are about all I can remember at this point:

In the 6 & under practice, we have 3 different groups.  One group is seriously just learning how to be comfortable in the water and going all the way under by themselves.  Another group is learning how to blow bubbles and learn how to use their legs correctly during freestyle kick.  And the third group, my group, is trying to learn the technique for freestyle.  Now, yesterday was just about the coldest day we've had so far. The sun was out and shining, yes.  But where was the humidity?!  It has completely disappeared.  Now, that's good for those of you who go outside and actually stay dry.  But for us who have to get wet, it's complete torture to stand outside of the pool with the dry wind causing muscle convulsions with monster goosebumps.  I'm not even joking.  Yesterday was the first day that we implemented our new, longer practice times.  The old ones just didn't allow enough time for us to really get a lot of swimming in with stretching and so forth beforehand.  Okay, so here's a little math for ya: longer practice + little kids with no body fat + dry atmosphere + freezing pool temperatures = torture for everyone involved (including the coaches and mentors!)

So, after finally escaping the depths of the ice cube, I was able to grab my towel and dry off.  Which helped, but my goosebumps never really left.  Man, swimming outside this early in the season is tough!  Anywho, Will, my assistant, told me after the 10 and Under practice (in which he still had to be in the water), that he couldn't feel his fingers.  They. Were. Numb.  Not only am I cold natured, but this stuff is chilly! 

For my 10 and Under practice, I got to finally see what kind of swimmers we were working with for this season.  The best way for me to describe them:  they are a mess!  Add in the fact they don't listen well and it's cold = makes for an interesting practice.  I'm hoping to get some good drill work in today.

Then comes the 11 & ups.  The oldest kids on the team.  The ones I have HUGE expectations of, because, well, they're older.  Up to this point, they haven't even come close to reaching those expectations.  They work hard during the actual swim part of the practices, but getting them in the water is like dental surgery: painful and frustrating!  I'm just sayin' I don't like the dentist and I don't like having to yell repeatedly to get them in the pool.  But sooner or later, when they really get me going, and we do a whole practice in butterfly, they'll figure out I mean business.  They just wouldn't last if I did that to them now.  I know this fact because every day, someone gets a cramp.  And not just a side stitch.  Like yesterday, I had them doing sprints from the block.  So they were out of the pool, and it's cold.  And I'm making them sprint.  Trying to get them in shape...and understanding that going fast is different than going slow.  You'd be surprised that some can't show me the difference in the pool.  Well, one of my high schoolers had a calf cramp so bad that from across the pool, I could physically see his calf in a ball.  OUCH!  He couldn't really walk.  But he also said yesterday (before the cramping incident) that he actually liked practicing now.  Accomplishment!  I've helped him to like swimming again. 

From what I've gathered about the past coaches, they seem like they were lazy and didn't really work on technique a whole lot.  Well, you can't have speed if you're not pulling the water correctly.  So, the next few weeks?  Technique.  The speed will come when they aren't turning over on their backs to breathe for freestyle.  Maybe I just went on a little rant...

Well, funny story of yesterday's 11 and up practice: I've been calling this one girl Rebecca ALL WEEK LONG.  And yesterday, when her older brother questioned it (Who is Rebecca?!?!)...I found out that this girl's name is Danielle.  And Rebecca is her mom's name.  But she's been responding to it ALL WEEK LONG.  I had a pretty good laugh about that one.  It still makes me smile.  Like Alejandro's cramp.  But that would be mean...so not like that at all.  I guess I'm just happy that they work so hard during practice, their muscles can't handle it. 

OR their diets are so horrible that the muscles have no other option but to cramp.  One guy, Chad, who has had a cramp almost every day now, told me yesterday that he ate 4 bags of chips and 2 Pepsis before coming to practice.  WHO DOES THAT?!  No wonder these kids are cramping.  That's like the worst thing ever to eat before a work out.  So, in addition to Swimming 101, I'm going to have to start lecturing about Nutrition 101.  It's a good think I'm educated in biochemistry and have a college degree.  These kids would be lost without me. 

Or that's what I'll keep telling myself. 

And I just had a stroke of genius.  I'll have to write about it tomorrow after I implement it tonight :)  Loving being a coach (even though I'm exhausted and seemingly overwhelmed every single day). 

Friday, April 23, 2010

[My] Life is a Highway...

...at least for another week.  Literally, I feel like I spend the majority of my day on the highways between College Station and Spring.  Maybe that's because I am.  With over 4 hours of time in my car A DAY, and over 200 miles driven EACH DAY, I'm beginning to realize that no, I never want to be a truck driver.  But thanks for the offer!

So, I have a 3-hour commute (total time) to sit at a desk for 4 hours.  Then I have an hour commute (total time, again) to be at swim practice for about 3 hours.  Dude.  I feel as though I've been run over!  It's so exhausting...and I wanted to share with you some things that I've seen/realized/thought about while driving.

While driving, I've seen these things on the road:
  • A car battery hanging out in the middle of my lane (I had to swerve to avoid it!).  I hope the car that it belongs to doesn't need it soon...
  • Lots of farm equipment traveling at unacceptable speeds
  • A mobile home being transported
  • Lots and lots of roadkill
  • Lots of carnival rides heading back to where they came from (on more than one day!)
  • The Historical Site sign in Millican is 5/6 missing.  I'm not joking...something happened to 5/6 of the thing!  It's so weird looking at part of the sign, and not knowing where the other part went!
  • The sun rise through the foggy fields (this made Thursday's drive a little more intriguing)
  • Brooding clouds.  Yes, clouds can brood.  At least they did yesterday...
  • Lots and lots of cops/sherriffs/patrol units.  Don't worry, I haven't met any of them personally. 
While driving, avoid idiots like these:
  • A guy in a green suburban eating lunch who is especially good at "lane drifting".  He's dangerous!
  • The person who speeds up to pass you, gets in front of you, and then slows down...causing you to also have to slam on the brakes.  (GRRRRR!)
  • The person who drives slow (like 15 below the speed limit) because they can.  Seriously, that's not safe!
  • Fast lane-shifting semis.  Scary!!!
I've also done a lot of talking to the other drivers.  It's never really that mean, but come on people, didn't you take a driving test like the rest of us?!  It's absolutely ridiculous the amount of stuff people get away with these days.

So, basically, I'll be super happy when next week is over and my commute will drop a total of 3 hours.  I'm so ready for it!  Cuz really, my iPod can only play so much music to keep me occupied for so long.  I'm just saying.  And, I hit 2 different rush hours: the 6:30 Houston rush hour, and then the 8:00 College Station rush hour.  There's basically no way I make it to work in less than an hour and 30 minutes.  It's just not possible. 

4-hour commute + increased physical activity (increased back pain) + 28 six and unders + emotionally draining move = feels like a truck ran over my body and then backed up...

Here's to a weekend where I get to organize my newly refurbished room in my parent's house!  Yes, I've been living around boxes all week. 

My planned Saturday morning sleep-in can't seem to get here soon enough.  Sigh.

Now it's time to pack up and get on the road to H-town yet once again.  Happy rainy Friday everyone!

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Meet Cynthia*

There's a lot to catch up on when you move around and travel and start new things all in the same week.  This is going to be a hodge-podge of things that have happened/I've been thinking about/I've felt since Monday.

Why Monday?

Well, Monday was my official move-out day.  I had been working on packing up all of my stuff in the Shalom Shack for a few weeks, and really, the time flew by.  For those who might be moving soon, I found that trying to do a box or two a day is much easier than waiting until the day before the move to start packing.  Just a little friendly word of advice :) 

Anywho.  Moving.  I graduated a year ago, and yes, I moved out of the apartment that I had lived in for 2 years.  But I never really experienced the emotional part of moving.  I knew that I would be back that fall.  So moving wasn't that big of a deal. 

This time, however, is way more difficult.  You see, I'm not going to be moving back to College Station.  And after the movers had everything that belonged to me moved out of my bedroom the living room and kitchen, there was a hole gaping in my heart.  The living room looked so empty and forlorn (missing a couch and a table).  I tried not to imagine my roommates coming home from work later that day and finding it so...so...barren. 

When I pulled out of the driveway for the last time (because I no longer own a key), it was almost too much to handle.  I fought tears for the next 20 minutes, all the way to Navasota.  How in the world was I supposed to start swim practice that day when I was a mess like this?!  I had to pull it together. 

But really, I never would have imagined the amount of sadness I experienced.  Never.  I don't know if it's like that for all of the people who leave their college town.  It's the place you grow the most and figure out who are you, who your friends are, and where you want to go with life.  It's hard to leave.

We get to Spring about an hour and a half later, the movers unload the moving truck into my snazzy new storage unit, complete with climate control, and that's it.  We're done by 12:15.  And I'm in a funk.  Practice starts in less than 4 hours.  I'm starving.  I'm feeling torn open (on the inside).  And my assistant coach is gone until Wednesday. 

I was just a tad overwhelmed.  Maybe I'll try to plan these things better next time.  I mean, I've just recently been able to connect with  my emotions again.  And let me tell ya, they're some strong ones these days. 

My dad helps me to unload my car with some of the necessities I needed until the move, I eat lunch, and collapse on my bed while my dad goes to work.  Around 3, I rouse myself to get ready for my first practice as a head coach.  Whoa.  I'm nervous...go away butterflies!

I'm the first one at the pool.  And I don't start freaking out until 17 6&unders show up.  That's about a 1/3 of the size of our team.  17.  I've never dealt with that many small kids at once!  Lord, now's the time for you to show me what patience and creativity look like.  By the time the older kids show up, I'm already emotionally exhausted, and seriously can't really take anymore.  But, thank goodness that the older ones are more self-sufficient. 

All in all, I felt like a failure.  I had assured the board that I would be able to handle this!  If only I knew that this enormous number of 6&unders seriously terrified me.  FAILURE.  awesome.

Tuesday started roughly...at 5:00 am!  That's the time my alarm is set for every day this week and next.  I snooze for 30 minutes, get up, shower, pull together my lunch, and then head out by 6:30 am to head to College Station for 4 hours of work.  By noon, I'm on my way back to Spring. 

Basically, what this amounts to is a lot of time to think about my time as a failure coach.  Positive, yes?  Actually, it gave me alot of time to talk to Father. 

"Okay, Lord, you clearly provided this job.  You were the one to make it evident this is where I'm supposed to be.  How come I don't see you?  I don't see your hand in this situation.  Please show me why you put me as a coach for this team."

When I'm weak, He's strong.  He provided 4 more 6&unders yesterday!  And two more-than-willing helpers.  Okay, so Tuesday was a little better.  And the 11&ups were in pain after their drylands.  Success!  I did my job well. 

My realization from the last two days?  Don't shut down, stay positive, supply encouragement, and seek out help.  I don't have to do this alone.  21 youngsters is a lot. to. handle.  Try it someday - it's not easy.  I definitely have a new-found respect for my Aunt, who teaches kindergarten.  No one could pay me enough to do that day after day, year after year. 

So I've discovered that my gifts do not include interacting with small children.  God definitely uses opportunities to show us how He wants to use us one day, right?  Yes.  I repeat: STRONG YES! 

Today is Wednesday, and I'm sitting at my desk in College Station, sore from practice.  And I'm growing in several areas.  My leadership skills are improving.  I'm finding out it's good to delegate and communicate effectively.  And it's okay to say I'm overwhelmed.  I'll eventually get the hang of it. 

At this point, you might be wondering, "Who's Cynthia?"  She's a junior in high school, attending the school "where the bad kids go".  She's also dedicated and from what I can tell, willing to learn from me.  So, she's the answer to my prayer (Where is your hand, Lord?)...

After talking to her for just a few minutes while waiting for her dad to pick her up, I had an immense peace about the whole situation.  Before that?  Butterflies.  But for some reason, I just know it's all going to work out. 

God gave me this job.  And learning how to lead is difficult to say the least.  I've gotten good at following.  But I'm being pushed and He's growing me.  It's comforting to know that I'm not doing this alone. 

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Moving on...

Today marks my last full day as a resident in College Station, Texas.  Over the last 5 years, there have been quite a few different experiences and memories created.  Here's my collection of pictures to show for it:

Freshman year:
I went to Fish Camp (and Impact).
I was the only one to witness my older sister's ring day.
I went on a few road trips.
I went on a blind date to the BQ Ball.
I turned 19.
I went to the HLSR to see Pat Green.

Sophomore Year:
I was an Impact counselor.
I went to the BQ Ball (not on a blind date).

I turned 20.
I became an Impact Co-Chair.
I went to NYC.

Junior Year:
I went to Impact for the last time.
I was an Upstream leader.
I went to China for the first time.
I got my Aggie Ring.
I found my best friend.
I went to China for the second time.

Senior Year:
I went to midnight yell for the last time as a student.
I stood next to one of my best friends as she married her very best friend.
I turned 22 and got whipped cream smeared on my face.
I went to a dance for my Aggie Ring.
I walked across a stage and claimed my very own really expensive piece of paper!  Thanks mom and dad!


After Graduation:
I went to China for the 3rd time, this time for 6 weeks.
Had some amazing roommates.
I turned 23.
I interviewed and got my first real-deal full-time job.

So there ya have it.  The last 5 years.  The years where I discovered great people. The years where I discovered my passions and desires.  The time when I became a person with a degree that might actually mean something one day.

The days that taught me what life is really about: the Gospel, community, and good coffee.  I'm just saying that this time has made me who I am.  It's a bitter-sweet "See ya later" to College Station. 

{Hello, unknown...}


Friday, April 16, 2010

Part 10: The End (or is it?)

This is the final part of my Germany Chronicles series.  Click the link above to read the first 9 parts.

My heart couldn't be ripped out many more times and still survive intact.

___________________________________________

After Matthias left for Germany, I knew that things were different between us. We had conversed about more waiting, something I wasn't really that willing to participate in. He didn't seem to worry about the massive amount of time it took communicate, albeit, we had decided to start talking more through emails because of my episode in February. And I felt like I had already told him the most important piece of information.

Early in this series, I mentioned in a fleeting comment about how impatient I can be. This situation is the ideal example of how much I didn't want to wait for the Lord to lead us together, if it was His will. I wanted a commitment; I wanted more than what I was offered.
So I started to pursue the option of dating Thomas. By the end of the summer, it was clear that I liked him and he liked me. After school started, things continued. We talked on AIM quite a bit (old school, right?!) and things seemed to be taking off in the relationship direction. But I still hadn't settled the situation with Matthias. I had no idea how he felt about me still. Becuase of his lack of urgency, I couldn't be sure that he felt even close to the admiration I felt for him.

By the end of August in 2004, I was certain of my decision to end it. "It" being a relative term, because we didn't have anything official. In an email, I told Matthias I wanted to send him a letter, so I needed his new stateside address.

I proceeded to write my version of a "Dear John" letter. I told him about Thomas and how I felt like things were going to work out and consequently, felt held back by our relationship. I explained how I had started to experience my feelings change earlier that year when I had been forced to break my own heart.

In my head, it seemed like it would have been easier to make a clean break than to continue this non-relationship-type friendship. Just let me tell you, it's almost impossible for guys and girls to be good friends without one or the other having feelings for the other. That topic will have to be another entirely different blog post in and of itself.

Before he actually received The Letter, he wrote, "To be honest I'm afraid it could be something bad, but I'll see..."

I felt horrible.  He already had a feeling of impending doom...

Nonetheless, I sent the letter several months later and he documented the actual delivery in an email to me. It also gave him a chance to express his feelings about the entire situation.

He wasn't surprised. He actually had been expecting it because we hadn't talked for a couple of months. He felt the same way as I did. Our relationship had lost its validity when we decided to wait. Overall, even though he seemed to accept everything that I had said well, he still seemed hurt. We had a lot of history, and I was still having serious doubts that it could be over. I had given him my heart. And then I took it back.

It was easier for me to move on from him with Thomas in the picture. 8 months later, I would question my decision to finalize the end with Matthias. I've been questioning it ever since.
_______________________________________

It's been almost 7 years since I first met Matthias that fateful summer in Germany. 6 years since we ended it. 5 years since I've emailed with him (just to catch up, randomly). 3 years since I found him on the German facebook site. 2 years since he found the real facebook, and we became "friends" again.

Looking back through all of these memories and diving back into old letters and emails has shown me one thing: a heart can't really forget it's first love. I still wonder what could have happened had I been willing to be patient and wait out the time apart. He had been considering moving to Houston to attend school there in order to be closer to me. We had talked about future plans...and mutually, we had agreed that during the time we communicated, the other person was equally important to be in the other's life.

In the present, would he still feel the same way? Or, because I have been single since high school, am I just trying to hold on to the past and not move forward? If we were to meet randomly, what would we say to each other?

Why can't I let go? Since I started doing this series, I've been asking myself what the point was...beyond writing about my own "Dear John" experience. The point? I'm not finished. I let go some time ago. But I'm not done with the story.

[This part might only make sense to Twilight readers: When I read the Twilight series about a year and a half ago, I could never imagine Robert Pattinson's face as Edward. It didn't fit right for me. I had seen the movie first, so it should have been easy for his face to magically make its way into the action in my head. But not really. Matthias' face was my Edward. It definitely took me a while to figure out why I couldn't see Robert, but once I saw that Matthias just fit, it was no going back. All vampire qualities aside, Matthias is my "Edward" subconsciously.]

When I finished Dear John, I was so mad at the characters. She had moved on, and was happy, yes, but always wondered about what could have happened with John. It frustrates me to know that this will always be my reality, not just a fictional story. I guess I will always wonder what could have happened and what might have been. If given another chance, and knowing what I know now, things might look a whole lot different.

But there's really no reason to think about what might have been or what could have happened. If things had worked out with Matthias, there's a good chance I wouldn't have come to the greatest college of all time.  I wouldn't have had some of the best roommates on the planet.  I wouldn't have met my absolute best friend of all time. I wouldn't have been able to experience my love affair with Chinese people. I wouldn't be who I am, who God planned for me to be. So, no, I don't regret anything.

But I will always love him, whether he knows it or not.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Part 9: Leaving on a Jet Plane

This post is a continuation of my Germany Chronicles series.  Please click the link above to read the first 8 parts.


He was still the blue-eyed blonde I had left last summer. But something was different. We had a history this time. A long, detailed history...

______________________________________________
Over the time that Matthias and his German buddies were in Houston, I was consistently busy trying to balance the time spent with them and my other responsibilities, mainly swimming. Because it was summer, I was doomed to awaken before the sun even rose to endure the torture of the lukewarm 50-meter pool. Swimming in the early mornings while watching the sun rise. It definitely sounds more romantic than the actual reality of the sun glaring into your eyes every time you turn your head to breathe. How annoying!

But during these mundane practices, I was fighting an emotional turmoil. With several hours to ponder the complexities of my "relationship" with Matthias each morning, swimming was generally the last thing on my mind. Swimming is a sport that doesn't quite completely takeover your thoughts, or at least it never took mine. Maybe that's why I never really advanced as far as I should have. I had the potential. I just never took the initiative to acquire those goals. Shame on me.

[What was I talking about? Matthias...yes, I remember now!]

During these few weeks with Matthias in person, there were a couple of opportunities for us to be together. I have to admit that I maybe kind-of skipped a couple of swim practices in order to participate in different service activities.

While their team of people was here, there was a certain organization to the madness. Because of the number of participants who turned out to help on certain days, we were split into several groups. My two other sisters were in a different group than myself.  It was strange how these things were decided. I learned later that because my family was hosting 2 girls, my sisters were paired with them and other host/hostee pairs. I was placed in a group consisting of my past team members with German teenagers that I already knew from the previous summer. Coincidence? I think not.

Regardless of the way we were split, Matthias and I were able to spend some together with other mutual friends. I remember one day in particular.

We had traveled to a nearby apartment community to reach out to the children and minister to them. Matthias ended up playing basketball on the courts, whereas I was playing different games in an area closeby. On this particular afternoon, Matthias twisted his ankle. Good thing I was there to take care of him!

In a matter of a few minutes, I had convinced myself that if I took care of his ankle, he would maybe see how much potential I had. By potential, I seriously mean "wife material". I wanted to prove my capacity for caring for him in a way that no one else possibly could. By this point in their trip, it was pretty obvious to other people that there was "something" going on between the two of us. I didn't try to hide it. I had been trying to "mark my territory" the entire time.

I'm fully aware I'm not a dog, but there were serious threats coming from fellow American girls, girls who were able to be at the different events quite a bit more than me. My thoughts towards these other girls went along the lines of "Did you go to Germany last summer? NO. Did you meet him and then write letters back and forth for a year? NO. Did you receive the best birthday present ever from him? NO. BACK OFF."
Now, I never actually said these things out loud...but let's be honest. I'm quite embarrassed to see how I treated the whole situation in my head. My heart couldn't handle losing him again - let alone to someone who was not as committed as I was already.

All these girls wanted was a "summer fling". Okay, so the accents make you melt, I admit. I will also own up to the appeal of being with a foreign guy. I met him innocently one afternoon with no intention of ever making it as far as we had come. I never intended to fall in love. I never wanted to have to "slow things down" from across an ocean. But it happened. And I wouldn't have changed it for the world.

During his stateside visit, Matthias and I made a point to spend some time alone. We had things to talk about. Through the last year, I had kept asking him what we were considered. His response? "We are just friends for now. Let's get to know each other better before we commit to being more."

Yes, logically, it made sense. My heart didn't want it to be that easy. So, my heart and my head were saying completely different things.

Over the last year, my dad had talked to me on several different occasions about my feelings for this man. During one intense conversation, he wanted me to seriously consider the possibilty of moving to Germany to be with this man. Gulp. Move halfway around the world? Learn a new language? Live there for the rest of my human life?

I was ready to commit.

But it was more complicated. It always is, right?

For starters, I still had another year of high school. And he was about to move to New York in the fall to work with an inner-city ministry there.

When we ever-so-quietly snuck away to have time alone, we discussed the details of what we were. I desperately wanted him to go ahead and commit. I wanted to be his girlfriend. I wanted to start heading in the "official title" direction. You know...girlfriend, fiance, wife.

My deepest fears became a reality: more waiting.

But wasn't it him who had mentioned something his father had once told him? "The three most important things in life are to find God, find a good job, and find someone to spend your life with. You already have the first thing. You already know what the second one is, and now you just have to find that third thing."

The suggestiveness of him saying this wisdom to me was enough to make me believe he was committing to me. In my head, that was him saying that I was the one. Right? I convinced myself that it meant one day, I would be his wife.

How absolutely bold and foolish of me. 

The time came for our German partners to leave. It was a cloudy, dreary day. And the weather could not have matched my mood more perfectly.

Memories of the last few weeks flooded my mind. I couldn't stop picturing the way his face lit up when he stepped off the elevator that first day and saw me. I couldn't get the feeling of holding his hand (interdigitated, might I add) for the first time that fateful afternoon when he twisted his ankle. The afternoon he spent with my family at our neighborhood pool. The trip to New Braunfels and Austin to see the Capital of Texas. And then the discussions that we had which ultimately meant more waiting.

I was an emotional mess. I was in love and having to leave my man for the second time. At this point, we had spent maybe 2.5 total weeks together physically. My heart was acting as if it couldn't find a rhythm. Surely someone had ripped it out in the last days and attempted to put it back in, good as new.

Before we left to take our two hostee girls to the airport, I wrote Matthias a letter. He was instructed to not open it until he got on the plane. I couldn't bear to have him read it in front of me.

Once my family arrived to the airport, I bolted out of the car into the terminal and found him immediately. I handed him my note. They checked into their flight, and left to go find their gate. I watched as he rode up the escalator to pass through security. When he approached the top, he turned around and paused. I waved. And then he disappeared.

My heart was in his hands. [Literally. Remember that note? I wrote to him that I loved him.]

I was so afraid of losing him.
Soon after he disappeared to finish his journey stateside, my face was buried into my dad's chest. Surely true love never really felt like this.
 
My heart couldn't be ripped out many more times and still survive intact.