Thursday, November 30, 2006

Happy Thanksgiving from O'Hare Airport!

So this year my Thanksgiving was a little different from my usual traditions. I actually spent it on a bus from Rockford to O'Hare Airport and then on a plane to Charleston. I have to be honest and say that although it turned out quite nicely, the beginning was a little emotional.

I said goodbye to my dad at the bus station and as the bus pulled away with my family still in Rockford, I teared up a bit. This was going to be my first Thanksgiving not spent at home and I wasn't too thankful. I think the Lord knew that I was already a little homesick because about 2 feet outside of the bus terminal, my brother called from China. We laughed and shared stories for about 30 minutes and for a minute I felt like he was right there with me. As I hung up the phone, I again got emotional and fought back tears. About 3o seconds after he and I hung up, the lady sitting next to me turned and wished me a very cheerful "Happy Thanksgiving". Those two words again made me forget that I was away from home and allowed me to see that although I felt "alone", I was actually surrounded by people who were all "alone" on this special day.

She and I chatted about our families and our traditions for about an hour and I had a wonderful time. I then spent the remainder of the ride watching every single car that passed by the bus creating stories in my head of where I thought they might be going and who they were going to see. Everyone looked so happy with kids playing, some fighting, in the back seat, and it made me appreciate the many car rides I've taken with my family packed into our car heading to my grandparents for the holidays.

Once I got to O'Hare, I can promise you I had the most pleasant flying experience of my life. EVERYONE was smiling. Staff and travelers were cheerful, handing out "Happy Thanksgivings" to each other. There were no lines and nothing to complain about. As I sat down by myself to quietly enjoy my Thanksgiving lunch for 2006 (a Cinnabon Cinnamon Roll) I grabbed a napkin and wrote down a few things that I was thankful for at the airport.

1. Cinnabon Cinnamon Rolls! Those things are a close second to Turkey and mashed potatoes!
2. Strangers wishing me, and others, a "Happy Thanksgiving"
3. No lines!!!
4. One day of the year that people seemed to care where each other were going and what we had planned when we arrived.
5. Dramamine.
6. Watching little children with rolling suitcases. They look so self-sufficient and so proud to be traveling with their own luggage.
7. For a few hours when you fly, everyone has a mission in life. We all know exactly where we are going and how we are getting there!

You see, even though your circumstances might not be what you'd see as ideal, we can always find something to be thankful for, even in O'Hare Airport on Thanksgiving!

Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Weekend Review

Although my weekend was pretty uneventful, I still managed to learn a few things in my 2 days of freedom from my cubicle:

1. I cannot stay up past 2:00am and still feel like a champ the next day. If you're gonna hang with the night owls, you gotta be ready to soar with the eagles the next morning, and I was anything but an eagle Saturday morning!

2. Carving pumpkins with friends is still as much fun at 27 as it was at 10, especially when power tools are involved!

3. Citadel football is actually fun when we win some games! Who knew?

4. Although I crave the Fair, sitting in Fair traffic for an hour is not fun. Period.

5. When I wear a business suit I don't feel any more grown up than I usually do. Instead I just feel like I'm 8 years old and playing dress up.

6. Being told your Beautiful can make your entire weekend!

7. Hayrides are lame when you sit in the front by the tractor. If you want to be scared, sit in the back and let the good times roll.

8. I don't do chainsaws! Chain or no chain, I just do not find them amusing!

9. Haunted houses are an amazing way to spend a night with friends. Nothing can bring two friends together quite like a clown with a knife chasing you through a dark tunnel. If you weren't best friends before you went in, you will be when you leave.

10. Weekends are too short. Entirely too short.

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Want vs. Need

Have you ever looked back in hind sight and realized that what you thought you wanted and just had to have, was nothing that you needed? I've been doing that a lot here recently and it's almost mind-blowing to see the difference between the two. For example:

I want:
A Dodge Ram, extended cab, with tinted windows and a nice chrome tool box.
I need:
A small car as I am a small person. I have a hammer and two screw drivers (and no, I still can't remember which one is the Phillips head) therefore what on earth would I put in a tool box that size?

I want:
A home of my own, with a big yard, lots of flowers, and white rocking chairs on the porch.
I need:
To save money so that I can afford a house of my own, and also so I can pay the nice landscaper to mow the lawn. I hate yard work!

I want:
A job that pays about $70,000 a year, earns 5 weeks of vacation time, and something that doesn't feel like a job to me.
I need:
A job that pays my bills, feeds me, and keeps a roof over my head (which I have by the way and seem to enjoy minus the perks I think I want;)

I want:
A prince to rescue me, sweep me off my feet, hang on my every word, and think that I am the most precious treasure in the world.
I need:
To be okay and content without a prince, or man for that matter. However when I do find one, I need a man who respects me, steps in when I need help and support, listens to my feelings, and helps me differentiate between what I think I want and what I actually need.

As one of my good friends always told while we were growing up "It's good to want things", I am trying to remind myself that it's even better to realize that what you want isn't always what you need, and what you need might be right in front of your face!

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

So Long Mt. Pleasant....

...This girl is heading West of the Ashley!

This weekend I moved out of the house I had been living in for three years. What an emotional roller coaster. As if packing and actually moving the boxes isn't hard enough, I left behind the best roommate I've ever had (aside from you Sicili;). If I could've thrown Karen in a box, wrapped her in newspaper, and marked the package "fragile", I would have 100%.

Karen has been not only my roommate but also one of my best, most treasured friends I've ever had. Most of you know her, some of you don't, but this girl is AWESOME! She's Bob Villa meets Martha Stewart and I'm praying some of her rubbed off on me over the last few years. She can (just to name a few) cook a 5 course authentic Italian dinner, landscape the yard, paint a beautiful picture to hang above the mantel, and even re-tile the kitchen floor all by herself at 27 years old. Aside from all of her "home-maker" abilities she has also been a great listener, a much needed rock, a shoulder to cry on, a wise counsel for relational and spiritual advice, a girl to be silly with, and a sister that I've always wanted.

As she gets married this fall and moves on in her new endeavors and as I move on in my West Ashley endeavors, I hope to go home after work today, find the box in my new garage marked "What I learned from Karen", bring it into the house, unpack it, and put it to good use. I want to be the kind of roommate to Tracy that Karen has been to me. It'll take a lot of work, but I have learned from the best!

Remember, no matter which side of the river I live on now I'm only just a phone call away (and a short drive;) from all of you Mt. P friends. Please don't forget about me over here!!

I'm Baaaaccckkkkk!

Hey all,

Well it only took me about 4 months to figure out my blog password again. Sorry to disappear on ya but apparently I made my password so secure that even I couldn't figure it out!

I promise not to disappear on you again. Thanks for being patient!!!

Friday, April 21, 2006

Not Me

Last night I went with a friend to watch a song-writer out of Nashville perform some of his greatest works. It was such a cool experience to see the brains behind the songs I know and I love by number one hit artists. In a room of only 50 listeners, 1 man and his guitar, I had an "ah-ha" moment. Ah-ha moments are moments of clarity for me. Moments when something, usually something random or uneventful, hits me like a Mack truck and suddenly everything makes sense.

Billy Montana sang a song last night that he co-wrote with Keni Thomas called "Not Me". When he started the song, everything else in the room faded out. I pushed my food aside and sat there with tears in my eyes as I listened and hung on his every word, every chord. The first verse and chorus went as follows:

"No one raised their hand that day
when they asked for volunteers.
He got picked out by default he was the only daddy there.
They said we know what you're thinking
Choose someone else instead
but this league is built on coaches who stood right there and said...

Not Me, not me
no way with this job of mine
I could never find the time
not me, not me
The world becomes a better place when someone stands and leads the way
steps forward when they'd rather say not me"

Those very words, and that very song, explained what I feel in my heart every single day I coach. When I was handed the position by default a few years ago, I was only 22 years old and had just graduated from college. The past coach had walked out on the team when the program went all-cadet. They needed a coach. I needed a job. I drove away from my interview thinking "no way can I do this! How am I going to lead cheerleaders who are my age? How am I going to make travel arrangements for 12 people when I've never made them for myself? I cannot do this, it's too much." That drive home was five years ago and I still have the same thoughts many days as I head home from practice.

Now, in no way am I trying to toot my own horn or stroke my ego by writing this blog, but instead I'm trying to convey the message that although circumstances, projects, missions may seem bigger than we could ever handle, I'm learning it's better to step and say "I'll try. I'm scared and I'd rather say Not me, but I'll try" rather than shrinking back into the crowd and walking away from the need. All we really need is to be is a vessel, and somehow, somewhere, the strength with come and carry us through. I'm so very thankful for the people in my life that have reached past the Not Me stage and have stepped up to the plate inspite of themselves.

For the young, married couple who could easily stay in upper-class Mt. Pleasant and work 9-5 but instead are selling their new home and moving to Costa Rica as missionaries to run a retreat, to my brother who left everything he's ever known to move to China to teach English, to my friend and teammate who served in the Marines and lost his life this past February fighting for and protecting our freedom, to my roommate's boyfriend who is currently deployed and without communication to those he loves and misses everyday, each of these people could have said at any point in their journey "I don't think I can do this, no, Not Me", but they didn't. Lives have been changed by them, lives will be changed by them, and I'm a better person for moments when I doubted my strength, or someone else doubted their own strength, but took a chance anyway.

This song brought me clarity and a sense of determination to look at my fears and inadequacies head on and when the next challenge comes my way and someone asks if I'd rather pass or give the task to someone stronger, I will tuck my fears aside, and I will bravely reply "NO, NOT ME!"


***If you want to find the song, it can be found on Amazon.com. It's on a CD titled "Flags of Our Fathers" and some of the proceeds go towards funding scholarships for the children of the men and women serving in our military.

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

Quest for Contentment

Over the last few weeks I've had the hardest time finding contentment. I've prayed for it, clung to it in scripture, and even searched for it in a 12-week women's bible study I found at Barnes & Noble. Although I find the points in the book to be valid and applicable, I cannot seem to put them into use in my everyday life.

When I look at my life and take a mental inventory of everything I have been blessed with the list is overwhelming. I've never gone without anything that I needed or really wanted for that matter yet there seems to be something missing in my heart. I'm trying to have an "eternal perspective" and keep my eyes focused on the Lord and His timing but my eyes always drift to my own calendar and watch. I feel like I am being disobedient by constantly thinking and over-thinking things but no matter how many times I pray for direction, peace, and guidance, I'm back to over-thinking the minute "Amen" passes my lips.

Something has gotta give because quite frankly I'm getting both emotionally and mentally tired and worn out by all of this thinking. Sorry for the venting session but I had to get this off of my chest and heart. By making this struggle public, maybe it'll be the first step in moving past this rut.

Any advice out there?

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

Nashville?

With almost 9 years under my belt in Charleston, I've started to get the itch to move. Last June I took a trip to Nashville to meet up with some of my good friends from high school and apparently a seed was planted! I've been back there a couple times this year and have loved every second.

Where else can you have a large city feel, but still maintain a sense of charm? In some ways Nashville feels like Charleston with it's history, charm, and smiling southern faces, yet it still has a metropolitan feel that someone in their mid-twenties craves. My love for country music, country accents, and large trucks is met and surpassed in that city. If you are looking to meet good, down to earth people, Nashville is the place.

Although many of my friends think I am crazy and doubt I'd seriously make the move, I've already started sending out resumes and looking at my options in the area. After my trip in February I came back to work that Monday and immediately started researching apartments. I know all of this is crazy and I'd be crazy to leave Charleston, but something in my heart is telling me to go, or at least try to go. Ultimately the Lord is in control and will have the final say, but I've already begun knocking on doors to see which ones He'll open and which ones He'll slam shut.

No one thought I'd move to South Carolina all alone at 18 either, but it turned out to be an okay decision. Not too mention I'd be within driving distance to my family again! That in itself is reason enough for me. That, and of course, the desire to meet my future husband Travis Tritt! Britt Tritt just has such a great ring to it!

P.S...If anyone has any connections there, please let me know. I need all the guidance I can get.
P.S.S...I'm thinking about taking banjo lessons too Grampa, so I might need some lessons and advice the next time I am home. Hey, when in Rome, do as the Romans do, right?!