Reflection on a reflection

I have a particular infatuation with the sky (not so much outer space, just the sky… is it illogical to separate the two?).

I love ‘God clouds’, you know the ones where rays of sun stream out from behind.

I love how close the stars seem when I’m in Uganda.

I love sunrises, much more than sunsets even though they paint with a more colorful palette… I think because going from dark to light is fabulously more appealing to me than the reverse.

I love the portentousness (yes, I once took an SAT prep class) of approaching storm clouds and the gray color the sky becomes just before it snows.

But most of all, I love the moon.

For lack of a more eloquent way to phrase it, the concept of the moon is just so cool. It’s like the Cinderella of the sky. If you think about it, what is it really but a large round rock floating around out there? To my knowledge it essentially has very little purpose (my mind is trying to recall something about the ocean tides… maybe some aspiring astronaut or weather forecaster out there can correct me if I’m wrong here). In fact, what it really does is reflect the sun. And it is transformed in doing so. Suddenly the cratered mass of rock and dust becomes an illustrious glowing sphere that literally lights up the night sky. It doesn’t have anything to do with the moon’s adequacy or qualifications. Like I said, it’s just a floating rock and is really kind of ugly and pointless on its own. But then comes the sun. It seeks out the moon and shines on it, allowing it to share in and reflect its glory. It distinguishes the moon from its surroundings. It bestows the moon with incredible beauty. It gives it purpose.

We are the moon, you know.

I’m giving my life to the only One who makes the moon reflect the sun. Every starry night, that was His design. I’m giving my life to the only Son who was and is and yet to come. Let the praises ring, He is everything. -Chris August (listen)

And we, who with unveiled faces all reflect the Lord’s glory, are being  transformed into His likeness with ever-increasing glory, which comes  from the Lord, who is the Spirit. [2 Cor 3:18]

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today i trust you with the confidence of a man who’s never known to fear.

and you said i know that this will hurt. but if i don’t break your heart then things will just get worse. if the burden seems too much to bear, remember the end will justify the pain it took to get us there.

reach out to me. make my heart brand new. when it beats it beats for you.

-let it all out. rk. (no, not r. kelly– though i do plan on writing him the next time he’s in prison. i have a pretty decent track record with that as of late.)

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My love-hate relationship with technology.

Today I literally arranged my schedule around technology. Very unlike me. I hated it.

It was quite comical really.

Lately it has been the saga of the dysfunctional phones in my family. Let me first note that I have been using an old phone for the past couple months because my other phone RIPed in June. So not only was I using my typical free-with-the-plan flip phone… this was the 2006 free-with-the-plan phone. Old school to the max, and it was great. It made calls, had all my contacts stored, and even had this cool texting app. However, it soon began to show signs of its old age and this past week has truly been on its last lifeline, choosing when it did or did not want to work (more often than not, the latter). Our new contract began yesterday so we could finally retire our phones (my sister’s was on its last leg as well), but since we ordered online they couldn’t be delivered until today. Sarah had spent the night with me at my new place in Raleigh, but we intentionally got up this morning and made the drive back home to Holly Springs so we could make sure someone would be there to sign for the package. Well, the FedEx guy must have been Charlie Chaplin or a silent monk in a previous life because neither Sarah or I heard him; needless to say we were less than thrilled to find the “We missed you” note on the door. We had failed miserably in our mission, our very purpose for staying home all day.

So then began the real adventure.

The note said we could pick up the package at the FedEx center after 5. Having already devoted an entire day to the %$#@ phone, (and with my current phone declining by the minute) I was determined to have the new phone in hand and working before nightfall. And so around 4:30 I headed off to the FedEx center in Raleigh. My GPS didn’t know where the heck it was and kept telling me to turn on nonexistent roads. I politely reminded her that I was not in the mood for a scavenger hunt and eventually found my way… arriving only to find that Chris L., the FedEx driver carrying our package, had been detained on his route and wouldn’t be arriving for another hour and a half. Of course.

Determined to do something productive with my day (aside from the canvas I painted– btw, do yourself a favor. if you have even the slightest artistic ability, invest in some acrylics and decent brushes.  your walls will be happy and you’ll never need to purchase an overpriced piece of art again.), I decided to go on a run at a ‘nearby’ park (GPS failed once again here and I had to resort to using my eyes/brain). Upon starting my run I discovered that my iPod was semi-frozen and would not stop playing this one song. So I listened to it on repeat for 50 minutes. Luckily it was a good one (Club Can’t Handle Me from Step Up 3). Yes, I know all the words now.

When it came time to return to FedEx, I, of course, needed to use the GPS to find my way. She was actually working accurately until her battery ran low and she proceeded to shout at me, “TURN RIGHT. TURN RIGHT. GO STRAIGHT. TURN LEFT. BEAR RIGHT. TURN RIGHT. ARRIVE AT DESTINATION.” Literally all in a row like that; and she kept repeating it. Not even her beautiful Australian accent could curb my disdain for her at the time. Meanwhile my dying phone was performing its swan song, buzzing at me with text messages/missed calls that I couldn’t view because the screen had once again gone black. It was at this point that I started writing this blog in my head (I’ve noticed I’ve been doing that lately, and I think it may be a problem) because things were getting a little ridiculous . I came up to a light and realized I was one car behind a FedEx truck. Praying that it was Chris L. (and yes, he’s slated to appear on the next Bachelorette), I followed the truck back to the shipping center. Because life is all about hurrying up just to wait, I waited. But PTL, the guy finally came back to the desk with the package.

Next on the schedule: visiting the Verizon store by my apartment to have my contacts transferred/phone activated. Being the semi-responsible person that I am, prior to leaving home I had checked to make sure the store closed at 8. But if you’ve stuck with me to this point, you should know what’s coming. I arrived at Verizon at 7:15 and apparently someone had decided to close up shop early. At that point I was really starting to feel like Alexander (yes, I realize I’m being slightly dramatic). Resigned that I had lost the battle for the day (but not the war!), I headed back to Cary to meet my dad and sister to hand over the other two phones in the package.

Then came the silver lining to the storm cloud. Oh, the glorious silver lining.

The Verizon store in Cary was still open and we rolled in about 15 minutes to close. They were awesome (props to Cassie) and stayed late to set everything up for us.

And so, I am (not sure if I’m) proud to announce that I have joined the 21st century and now own a ‘smart’ phone. This is a huge step for me. Do I know how to use it? Not in the slightest. But I’m getting some help with that tomorrow (thanks times a million, Dustin). I plan to write another post later with my reviews of the Droid; I figure if a high-tech-hater like me can learn to love it then it must be good.

I would like to close by noting the irony of blogging on my laptop about my hatred for technology while g-chatting with friends, watching a movie, enjoying the AC in my apartment, and listening to the latest Taylor Swift song on my iPod (which is now miraculously working just fine). So it’s a love-hate relationship…

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Today I learned…

Decided to start a ‘mini-series’ on my blog. I call it “Today I learned…”. I like to think that the majority of my readers are relatively intelligent beings and can decipher the theme of this series from that name. Some posts will be serious and others not so much. Planning to keep most short and sweet and to post at least a couple weekly. Without sounding too incredibly cliché, I do believe that you learn something new each day if you just keep your eyes open to the opportunities and your mind ripe for self-reflection.

Today I learned there is NOwhere to park in Wrightsville Beach on a Saturday, and if you decide to create your own parking space you will be greeted by a bright orange parking ticket upon returning to your vehicle.

Today I learned (or rather realized) that though living in the midst of such a broken world can be extremely overwhelming, it becomes much simpler when you just focus on loving the person in front of you. Christ’s life (and death) was defined by his love for others. What a beautiful example for us to seek to emulate.

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peace and blessings. peace and blessings.

One good thing about being sick is that you are essentially forced to take things down a few notches and rest. If you know me at all, you know that is not exactly the easiest thing for me to do. But, it has been really good for me these past couple of days. I’ve noticed that with moving and starting a “new life” with a real paycheck, etc. it can become all too easy to focus on wants and everything I don’t have. I hate it when I feel the ugliness of materialism and selfishness rising up in me. In attempt to combat that, and in light of returning from spending a few weeks living in a rural village in Uganda, I’ve decided to list out some of the many blessings God has so graciously lavished upon me. A testament to His goodness and faithfulness…

A life redeemed and given immense value by His blood.

Good health.

The unconditional love & support of my parents.

Never needing to worry about if I will have a shelter over my head, food on my plate, or clothes on my back.

A fantastic sister whom I love dearly.

A job, and one where I get to do what I love on a daily basis.

Sight and insight.

A quite ridiculous shoe collection.

Cousins that are really like sisters.

A core group of friends who I truly believe would lay down anything to come to my rescue… and better yet, they ‘get’ me.

A more extended group of friends who encourage and inspire and challenge me, who remind me daily of the value of community.

Access to chai tea, chocolate, and frozen yogurt, pretty much whenever I so desire.

Two incredible church families.

A life spared of significant pain and struggle (in comparison to so many).

A college education from a pretty spectacular university.

Clean (and cold!) water.

Being born a Tar Heel.

God’s written Word. In my language. Always at my fingertips.

Opportunities to travel.

The gift of dance which conveys beauty and life so simply yet so intricately.

The ability to make my own choices.

Carolina basketball tickets.

Fond family memories and traditions.

There are countless more, some of which I may add on here later as time permits. If you don’t have a running list of your blessings (and not just mentally; there’s just something about putting pen to paper… or fingers to keyboard), I would highly encourage you to do so. It provides a perspective check that we all need every once in a while.

Praise God from whom all blessings flow.

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The best little postcard I ever did receive

Yes. The rumor is true. I’m abandoning my future nursing career to pursue my lifelong dream of performing with Cirque du Soleil. Oh wait, wrong rumor. The real truth lies in the fact that I received a personal response from Lil Wayne himself to the letter I wrote him about a month ago (see earlier blog post “Corresponding with Mr. Carter”). When I got back to Chapel Hill from Uganda I found an odd looking postcard awaiting me, postmarked from Staten Island and signed by “Wayne”. A couple of my friends are questioning the validity of this response, but personally I don’t think you can get much more legit than this. Anyway, here’s the text from his note:

Amy,

I’d be honored to help out in anyway I could. Just let me know in a response. Thanx for the opportunity. I think it’s wonderful what you’re doing.

Wayne

This is more than slightly exciting and quite unbelievable. I’m still contemplating and crafting the next installment in our correspondence. Will keep you updated.

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Standing on the edge of everything I’ve never been before

If I could choose one picture to capture what my life feels like at the moment, it would be this one.

I honestly feel like I am toeing a cliff’s edge in just about all aspects right now. I want to jump, I think I’m ready to jump, but I’m scared. Not that I want to paint some tough girl persona, but there really are few things that scare me… so this is relatively new territory. In talking with some of my friends these past few days I’ve put it this way: Uganda felt infinitely more familiar than this foreign world of transition to which I’m returning. More on this later, because that’s about the extent to which I’m able to put my current emotions/thoughts into words at present.

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