Back to Reality

Between my summer spent in Ireland and an extremely chaotic return to Charlotte for my final year of graduate school, I unfortunately got out of the habit of writing on this blog. Just as a few quick updates on life lately…

Summer: During my three months in Ireland I was incredibly blessed to get to know lots of wonderful people and to be able to serve alongside passionate and caring families. I have three newsletters prepared which were sent out monthly, however if you did not receive one and would like to, please feel free to let me know in some way. They go into much more detail than I will in this entry.

Internship: I began my placement for the following year as a Counselor with Charlotte Rescue Mission for women in recovery from substance abuse. Words fail me – learning so much, and I love my residents.

Reunion: (Shout-out to my Irish friends) I will be returning for two weeks just before New Years, so please mark your calendars because I would love a reunion in which I smother you with jet-lagged excitement!

Feelings: For a lack of a better category, I am summing up my feelings in one run-on sentence: Apprehension over my pending graduation, excitement over seeing the growth occurring in girls’ nights in the (now TWO!) different neighborhoods I help serve in, uncertainty and slight anxiety as to not knowing where I will be living or working, joy in church, missing friends from not only several cities but also several countries, and, overall, whatever you call it when you think you might actually fall asleep at any given moment but you don’t actually have a diagnosis of narcolepsy.

So yeah, that about sums up my life right now!

“Real” blog post to follow soon this week because this is my last day of class, and I have to celebrate by eating pizza while my only source of socialization coming from watching Sherlock re-runs.

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Announcements (Life Lately)

So…a lot has happened in the last month or two!

Update 1:

I began support raising for my trip overseas this summer, and can’t believe I leave in three weeks! I am flying solo to a small town in Ireland for three months where I will be joining a host team that has planted a church. Many hats will be worn by myself during my time there: helping out with the worship music, engaging in discipleship, leading Bible studies and youth activities, and just generally being the happy American who talks to everyone. I’m almost 100 percent fully funded (just about $200 to go!) and have been extremely blessed during this process. If you are interested in giving or receiving my newsletter, feel free to shoot me a message! I am not sure if I will do blog or email updates yet, but would love to hear from you.

Update 2:

I am finishing up my first year of graduate school, and have my last day of class tomorrow. Next week is my last few days working over at Byers before finals kick in. Next year, I am really excited to begin interning part-time at Dove’s Nest. I will be doing individual and group treatment for women in recovery from substance abuse. This was a placement that I really, really wanted. Definitely looking forward to learning from these women and having the opportunity to serve them the best that I can.

Update 3:

I have admittedly been a bit reluctant to talk about this subject up until this point publicly, just because I am still unsure of exactly what to say about it! Probably just being silly. But, here goes the announcement that isn’t exactly a secret anymore:

I wrote a book! It’s called The Good News Diaries (conveniently the same name as my blog), now available in print and for the Kindle on Amazon.com.

http://www.amazon.com/The-Good-News-Diaries-Encouraging/dp/1495399834/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1398282847&sr=8-1&keywords=the+good+news+diaries

I began writing this in college, and picked it up every now and then for the next few years. About a year ago though, I basically changed everything I already had compiled, and powered through it at the end of 2013. When the book was first released last month, I was mostly excited and grateful, but also felt a little…odd, to say the least! It was literally like I was putting something out in writing for the world to see that made me feel extremely exposed and vulnerable. Even though I have similar conversations to the text and this blog, this felt a lot more official. It was as if the most important thoughts and beliefs in my mind and heart were suddenly made extremely public for critique and evaluation. But, it was definitely something I had been thinking and praying about for a long time, and am thankful that it finally happened! The day it was released, all I could think was “I don’t actually care if five or 500 people read this. Whatever happens will be sufficient!”

 

So, those are three pretty big things going on right now…so excited to see what all is ahead!

44 Reasons Why I Love My Generation.

This is a post that just hit me as I went out for a run. I was out mulling over a lot of thoughts, blasting old Switchfoot songs on my iPod, having a party in my ears and all that good stuff, when I found myself back at my old elementary school. Suddenly though, things just started coming back to me.

I saw the field where I played soccer every day at recess with the boys instead of talking on the swings.

I saw the jungle gym where I first learned about (and briefly became hooked on) the Spice Girls.

For whatever reason as I was looking at a place that had been in my life so long ago, I started thinking about what I thought my life might look like now versus what it actually looks like. It made me think about my generation in general: the most common dreams we all shared, the things we grew up with, the things we were taught were right and wrong, and now the good and bad that has come out of it.

I am/was a child raised in the 90’s. I grew up with Boy Meets World, Barbies, the Disney Princess Obsession, NSYNC (my first concert), Giga Pets, All That and Pokemon cards. And I am perhaps realizing now, more than ever, the stresses that are being put on our generation.

We are expected to save the economy, solve racism, abortion, world hunger and gay rights, discover new technology and yet not let it take over our lives, be politically aware and globally informed, yet not have a superiority complex, and figure out how to balance gender roles in the work force.

Not saying that similar pressures were not put on former generations, but I am just stating what it feels like to be a “millennial” right now- namely, it can be a bit…exhausting.

This is largely because at the same time that we are hearing all of these expectations, and how the Baby Boomer generation has such high hopes for us, we are getting slammed in the face by articles like this:

“The Me Me Me Generation”

“Are Millennials Lazy Entitled Narcissists?”

“Understand the Myths to Retain Millennials”

But really, this issue constantly comes up, and I am not saying there is no truth to it. I certainly see how social media, technology and so forth have affected people’s lives, social skills and relationships. There certainly have been a lot of negatives.

But there are also a great deal of positives that are, while not unique to our generation, at least worth pointing out.

And because I for one just don’t want to read another article about how we are supposedly going to lead to the end of the world with our sense of entitlement, I would just like to take 20 minutes to write some things I really love about this generation in general.

So here we go, finally: 44 things I love about my generation. (All images are from Google. I don’t actually know any of these awesome, featured people.)

P.S. Please don’t get mad if any of these generalizations don’t actually apply to you. You get my general point.

1. We are not actually out to completely do away with the concept of marriage and having kids all together like it may appear:

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2. We will take just about any job just to get into the field we are so passionate about that we spent years studying for:

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3. Improvements in photography have made it possible for us to have adorable pictures like this:

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4. We are alive to experience really incredible movies:

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5. Memes like this one are made for the sole purpose of making someone smile:

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6. While countless movies that make people overall really depressed about the world come out, these little guys overwhelmingly make everyone’s day better:

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7. Regardless of any disputed opinions over the outcome, thousands of youth want to support the mission behind this movement:

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8. We see couples who were together and happy as long as they were and our hearts completely melt:

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9. Women’s rights in society are more significant than ever:

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10. Kids are raised not to discriminate or make judgments:

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11. We put more of an emphasis on being respectful to the planet:

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12. We are in love with celebrities who are this adorable:

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13. Especially when they hold dogs:

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14. Apparently graphics designers think that the best way to represent us is to make us look like the cast from Men in Black:

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15. We are progressing towards greater international agreement and unity in regards to public issues:

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16. We offer loving support and condolences to our parents who put even more emphasis on Facebook games than we do:

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Ok…so maybe not always supportive…

17. The importance of education for all, not just those who can afford it, is being stressed more and more:

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18. Mediocrity is not an option when it comes to motivation:

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19. Quotes like this are constantly used and shared to inspire others:

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20. There is some really good food from every country, and it is becoming both more well known and accessible:

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21. We take lower paying jobs in order to help others, or provide for our families when perhaps no other options are available:

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22. We live out what we value with joy:

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23. We aspire to be the change we wish to see in others:

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24. We dream big:

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25. We take time to stop and enjoy what is around us:

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26. We like to take pictures of us jumping no matter where we are:

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27. In the midst of devastation, we try to spot the helpers, and focus on them:

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28. We give really good advice at necessary times:

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29. We love animals:

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30. We give respect to people who can pull off awesome hats:

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31. We appreciate it when opposites attract:

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32. We have childhood sweethearts who we still can be friends with on Facebook:

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33. We experience moments of pure freedom:

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34. We don’t just use the internet for entertainment, but for philanthropy as well:

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35. We try to stay politically active and informed. (Side-note: I fully admit that I sadly do not fall into this category.):

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36. We love personalizing interior spaces with as much color and personality as we can cram into it:

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37. We travel and experience different cultures as much as possible, preferably for long periods of time:

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38. We love expressing ourselves creatively:

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39. We love getting involved in the community through outreach, and bringing our friends along as well:

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40. We speak out for what we believe in:

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41. We try to keep our work life separate from our personal life:

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42. We are fun loving:

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43. We love finding the others who share our passions:

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44. We love and respect our troops, but at the same time hope for peace:

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I realize once again that these do not apply to everyone, and there certainly are a lot of things that need to be worked on for the future. But for anyone reading this who perceives the millennials as greedy, materialistic, lazy youths who do not value hard work: give us some time, please? We are working on it!