Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Armed Robbery Outside my Dorm... Oh the [New Orleans] Seminary Life

Today I was reminded of how fragile life is and how no matter where we are, we are never truly "safe". Anything can happen at anytime. This could easily cause us to have a spirit of fear, but it shouldn't. Yes, we live in a fallen world where bad stuff happens.. but we also have a God who is in control of ALL things and all things happen according to His will (ok yes, man is free to make His own choices but that's a topic for a whole other post... maybe after a few more seminary classes I'll tackle that topic on here... but for now let's just go with God being in control, because He is). That doesn't mean everything will always go like we want it to go or think it should go, and allot of times we don't understand why certain things happen. But we do know that all things work together for good for those that love God and are called according to His purpose (Romans 8:28). We may not consider it good in our earthly, human minds, and we may never understand how a certain situation could be "good" until we enter into Heaven. But we do know what God has said in His word and we know that His word never fails.

Last night around 11 o'clock two of my friends were coming in from hanging out with some friends. They were just parking their car across the little street from our dorm hall (on campus) when two men confronted them and forced them out of their car at gunpoint, making them leave behind everything that was in the car (purses, phones, keys etc).

Another girl who happened to be sitting in her car about to go to her dorm had seen these two men jump the fence (this fence is very tall with barbed wire across the top) in order to get on campus. She was already in the process of calling 911 as the armed robbery was taking place.

Police were on the scene quickly but not in time to stop the theft from taking place and since the stolen car had a student ID sticker on it campus police who were guarding the front gate didn't notice anything suspicious as the robbers drove the car right off campus.

While significant material possessions were lost, thankfully no one was seriously injured and the situation could have definitely been a lot worse. Like our dean of students said in a meeting this evening "Multiple handguns were drawn and ready, yet no shots were fired".

So while I was sleeping in my bed last night, two of my friends were having guns pulled and pointed at them only a few yards away, right outside my dorm window. It could have been worse, there could have been deaths, and there's no reason it couldn't have been me out there. Yeah, it's a little unnerving and its a little scary and I'll probably have a little trouble falling asleep tonight. But even in the midst of this I know, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that my God is still in control and that I am in His will, exactly where He wants me right now. I know that doesn't mean I won't get hurt, but it does mean He won't bring me into any situation He's not willing to carry me through and if He chooses to bring me home then I know that's what His will is and He will do whatever brings Him glory... and I'm ok with that.

This has been a nice little reality check for all of us here on campus. I know most of us have considered the seminary to be a pretty safe place and it is one of the safest, most secure facilities in the city. And these girls did nothing wrong. It wasn't even 11 yet last night, they weren't by themselves, and they even had at least one guy go with them out that evening (they had already dropped him off at his dorm when the robbery took place). They were as cautious as possible and yet their lives were threatened. The dean of students met with all the students living in my dorm tonight to go over some safety precautions the seminary is taking to make the campus more secure and I know all of us will be more careful and more aware of our surroundings even on campus... but honestly no matter what we do there will always be loop holes... it's impossible to create a completely and perfectly safe campus... and even if that were possible what would we do then? Never leave campus? Eventually you have to make a trip to walmart, right? Besides, we're commanded to go out into the world and preach the gospel. We can't live in fear of what will happen if we leave our little safe haven (which probably isn't even as safe as you think it is).

So what happened last night is kinda scary, and yes, it's been the main thing on my mind all day. But basically while we need to be cautious and take measures to secure this campus and use our God given smarts to stay safe, at the same time we need to realize that God is in control and the only things that will happen to us are things He allows and if He allows them to happen then we know they have a purpose and that in the end they will help in accomplishing the main goal, to bring glory to God.

wow that was like the longest run-on sentence I think I've ever written. haha

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Compromising Standards in Order to "Grow" Churches

Ok so I know ya'll are probably tired of reading my blogs by now... I realize they're probably pretty depressing and boring and all that but I'm lonely and I've had allot of time on my hands and I basically had nothing else better to do than blog my problems to the world.

BUT this post is not about the self-centered pity parties I've been throwing myself (don't worry though, I'm sure by tomorrow I will have another pity-party post written and published). This post is about something that I heard this morning in orientation that I haven't been able to get off my mind all day.

For one of our courses, Personal Spiritual Disciplines, we have to read this book called "Crazy Love: Overwhelmed by a Relentless God" by Francis Chan. The professor (sorry I can't remember his name) said that Chan spoke at the Southern Baptist Convention one time and his sermon was on how church leaders were compromising their standards in order to "grow" their churches. Let's face it, allot of church's candy coat the Bible and add allot of "fluff" (as my youth pastor calls it) in order to add numbers to their congregation.

In speaking on this Chan said God gave him a powerful revelation regarding this issue within his own church. He said that if there were only three churches in his city-one pastored by him, one by Jesus and the other by Paul-shamefully his (Chan's) would be the largest.

I was like wow. What a powerful revelation. Jesus didn't sugar coat anything. Yes, He loved those He spoke to, but He gave it to them straight. He spoke the truth, as did Paul.

So that's what's been on my mind all day. Just thought I would share it with you. Hope you have a goodnight =)

Day 3.... is it really only day 3?...

Well today was my first day of orientation. My friend, Abbi, came down today (she's commuting so she won't be staying on campus but she is attending Leavell College this semester) and it was so nice to be able to hang out with her. I met her when her family started coming to our church several years ago. We've been on a couple mission trips together and we spent those torturous hours of Drviers ed class together but other than that we really don't hang out all that much. But today when I saw her I immediately felt soo much better. It was so nice to able to spend time with someone I knew today. Abbi is a just a really nice and sweet girl and I enjoyed our time together. I'm hoping we'll be able to take some classes together.

The other awesome part of today was that my parents came down to see me!! I was so happy when I walked down the stairs in Hardin Student center and saw them sitting in the lobby. I really miss them allot.

Today I've been thinking about why this has been so hard for me. I mean I haven't even been here a week... It's not like I've never been gone before... I've gone on many trips and stuff and I've never had a problem with that. Well I decided there are two reasons this is so different for me. The first is that those trips only lasted one to two weeks. Even if I got homesick I always knew that it wouldn't be long before I would be home again. It's not like that here. Sure, I'll be able to go home every weekend but for every Friday evening I go home there will always be a Sunday evening when I have to leave again. For every end of a semester I'm able to go home there will be the beginning of a semester when I have to leave again. For at least four years. Maybe longer.

The second thing that makes this situation different from the others is that when I went on mission trips and stuff it was always with people I knew. And even if they weren't all my closest friends I'd still known them for a while and while I did make new friends I always had girls that I'd known basically all my life with me.... It's not like that here. And that's the worst part of this. I've met several girls and they've all been very nice but I just met them... they can't take the place of the friends I've had my whole life or for at least several years. Those friends can never be replaced. And while I wasn't around my friends constantly when I was home I saw them multiple times a week... And I always knew they were there. Something about just knowing that my dear sisters in Christ were available to me anytime I needed them brought such a sense of security... unfortunately I haven't realized until now just how precious they were to me. Right now as I type this I'm crying like a baby. I miss my home so much. I miss my church, my church family. I miss going somewhere and feeling right at home as soon as I walk in the door. I miss walking into a room of people and knowing most if not everyone around me. I miss my friends. family. I miss home. I miss it very much.

While I was planning on going to go to a retreat this Saturday with the BCM and then going to church this Sunday with some friends I've decided I'd much rather go home. But I'm pretty sure I'm going to cry all during church Sunday, I'm just warning you now.

Ok well I have to stop writing or I'll never stop crying. I'm about to go to a little fair in the HSC and then my parents are taking me out to dinner. I'm really looking forward to spending time with them... and I'm going to try to not have an emotional breakdown. I know this is hard enough for them, seeing me cry over everything won't help.

So I'm off to a lovely evening. I hope yours goes equally well :)

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

part 2 of Day 2

My day has gotten better since this morning when I wrote. I’ve discovered that if you look at someonewhen you pass them and say hey or just smile they will almost always return the gesture and at this point just having someone smile at me puts a bright spot in my day. When I was leaving campus to go to Walgreens a little while ago I passed this really cute guy walking down the side walk. We made eye contact and my first reaction was just to smile at him and guess what? He smiled AND waved at me! After that I decided to try to smile at more people when I passed them. Well before I was even off campus I passed a groundsman (who was about 50 or so) and when I smiled at him he smiled and waved back. I was like wow, this is so cool. So thanks to that first guy I have now become a new, outgoing Hannah. Sure, I’m not knocking on random peoples doors yet but I am making eye contact and smiling at strangers and for me, that’s a big step.

So after my lil public relations revelation I got my mind back on the task at hand-my trip to the Walgreens on the corner. My shopping list included bobby pins, a coaster, cotton balls, a power strip, thumb tacks, and pringles (ok well pringles weren’t actually on the list but they were on sale and I needed a snack). I love going to places like Walgreens and CVS. They have fun stuff to look at and I can waste a good amount of time in one of those places. Being out and about helped lift my spirits even higher.

Work also went well today… actually better than yesterday. I was in a room with twelve 2-6 month olds and was working with two or three other girls. I really enjoyed those babies allot. One of the things that I liked about it was there was always something for me to do. Whether it was changing diapers, giving bottles, comforting a crying baby, there was always something for me to do and it made me feel useful and didn’t leave me standing around awkwardly.

So over all today was a lil bit better than just ok.

College Freshman Score Sheet

DAY 2:
Over all rating of day-a lil better than mediocre
Worst part-being unfamiliar with the campus
Best part-having people smile at me
Friend count-2

Day 2... this could be a long semester.

Well last night went pretty well. I slept pretty good until about 5 this morning when I woke up and couldn't go back to sleep. My dorm is surprisingly cold, a blanket is on the list of things for my parents to bring me when they come up tomorrow. Anyway, well my room is the first room down the hall and right next to the tv room. The walls are pretty thin too, meaning I can hear pretty much everything being said in there, including the blaring tv. I didn't really mind though... Maybe one day I'll be in there being loud with all my friends.

This morning I got up around 7 and showered. Man those showers are little. I had the water turned all the way to hot but it was only lukewarm... and I was the only one showering. I have a feeling there might be some cold showers in my future. Oh well, at least the water pressure was good. After I got dressed I cleaned up the room a lil bit and organized some stuff. When I finally ran out of things to do I came over here to the HSC. I got some coffee and after a trip to the technical support office I finally got connected to the network here.

So yeah, for the past two hours I've just been sitting here playing around on the internet. There's not much else to do. I don't have work till two.

I still miss home and I can't tell you how many times I've teared up this morning. Maybe it's pms or something because I never cry but ever since I've left yesterday that's what I've been doing allot. As I sit here typing this I'm on the verge of an emotional break down right here in the coffee shop. Hopefully this is just a phase. I'm sure it is. Leaving home is hard. Change is hard. But it's all a part of life.

Oh let me tell you about the bright spot in my morning. Remember the really nice assistant director? Well this morning she came into the coffee shop to get some coffee and she just tapped me on the shoulder and smiled and said hey. For me, for someone who doesn't know anyone here, that meant allot. Maybe one day when I've been here a while I'll be able to do the same thing for a freshman.

Ok well I can only drag this post out for so long. I'm sure I'll be posting again soon... I have nothing else better to do.

Day One on Campus

10:00 pm

Ok well here I am, sitting in my dorm, all moved in. My first afternoon on campus went ok. When I first got here I spent 30min lugging 6 totes from my car to my dorm. Thankfully I am on the first floor so it wasn't too bad, but I had definitely broke a sweat by the time I finished making my gazillion trips back and forth. After that I only had a few minutes to get some stuff unpacked before it was time for me to head across the street to the daycare to start my new job.
When I got there I found out the director was out for the day so my fate was left up to their faithful assistant director. Let me say so far, she is my favorite person there. She was very friendly and nice and made me feel very comfortable. Sadly I found out this is her last week. But anyway, she had me fill out abunch of paper work and read through their policies and handbook. After that I was sent to start my training. There were about 11 or 12 eight to twelve month olds and I would be working with two other women. Over all the afternoon went well. There really wasn’t a whole lot for me to do and I felt a little awkward because while I have experience working in a daycare, its always different when you start somewhere new. It was relatively chaotic, as only a room full of young ones can be, but it didn’t take long for me to become somewhat comfortable in this new atmosphere and start playing with the children and caring for them. However I have to admit that I didn’t feel the connection with them like I did with the children at the last daycare I worked at. At my previous job it only took one afternoon with those babies and I immediately fell in love with them. Although the setting was much different there- I was the only caregiver to the children and there were allot fewer children in my class so I’m sure that had allot to do with the instant bonding I felt. And I’m sure that in time I will get just as attached to my new kids as I was my old ones. Anyway, well I really enjoyed working with the two other teachers in my class. They were both very nice and didn’t mind helping me with learning the children’s names and the daycares procedures and how to clean up etc. Over all I have to say I am looking forward to working there throughout the school year and I’m so grateful God provided this job for me. The hours are perfect (2 to 3hrs in the afternoons mon-fri) and just being in a Christian atmosphere helps everything go better.

So after work I went back to my dorm and the first thing I did was call my mom to check in with her and let her know how my day went. After that I went about unpacking some of the totes and trying to organize everything. Around 6 or so I decided to head over to Hardin Student Center (this is where all of Leavell College’s classes are held) and get something to eat at the coffee shop because I was getting hungry and I didn’t have any “real food” in my dorm. By this time it was raining so I got my umbrella out and headed to my car. However, by the time I got to the coffee shop it was closed. That made me sad. So I trekked back through the rain to my car and decided to drive through the Church’s Chicken across the street from NOBTS and just go eat in my dorm room. By the way, Church’s biscuits are the bomb. I love those things. You can get three for like a lil over a dollar. Oh yeah, I have a feeling I’m gonna be hittin up that joint pretty often.

After I ate I finished unpacking and putting away everything. About that time I got a phone call from Housing saying that my new roommate would be moving in tomorrow. Her name’s Katherine, that’s all I know. At first I was kinda bummed that I wouldn’t be getting my own room, but after a while I decided that I definitely needed a roommate. I’ve been on campus one day and I still have a “friend count” of zero. Sure, I met some nice people at the daycare, but none of them even go to school here and they were all older than me. If I have a roommate I’ll have at least one friend. And I’ve had time to get everything unpacked and setup before she came which works out nice since we won’t both be having to move in at the same time. That’d be crazy. Well, it’ll be interesting to see how this whole roommate thing works out. Anyone who knows me knows that I’m the kind of person who needs their space. I haven’t shared a room since I was 7 (that’s over 10yrs ago) so this will be an adjustment for me. Having a roommate is probably what I’ve been most nervous about, mainly because it’s the biggest unknown. But I’ve been praying for my roommate for at least a year so hopefully God will give me someone who will become a good friend of mine. I don’t doubt God will test my patience and self-lessness while I’m here, but I do pray that, however this experience turns out, it will help me grow and strengthen my relationship with Him and give me a chance to serve one of my sister’s in Christ.

Ok well while today has been good for the most part there were also some sad moments. Leaving home has been allot harder than I thought it would be. I’ll admit I cried most of the drive over here. I’m sure the people in the cars around me thought I was crazy. But I know that once I make some friends and get to know some people it will get easier being gone.
Well it’s late so I should head to bed. Goodnight.

College Freshman Score Sheet

DAY 1:
Over all rating of day-mediocre
Worst part-not knowing anyone
Best part-moving into my dorm
Friend count-0

Oh guess what just happened? I made a friend!! Well sort of. I was sitting here finishing this blog up when someone knocked on my door. When I opened it there was this girl standing there. She introduced herself as Angela and said her room was right across from me. Apparently she just wanted to see who was living in my dorm because she wanted to say hey. We talked for a lil bit. She said she’s got a router in her room and can get me internet cheap (yay!! Right now I’m just typing this up on word and will post it later when I go to the Hardin Student Center where there’s free wifi). Anyway, she was very nice and obviously outgoing. I’m glad she knocked on my door. She officially bumps my friend count up to one.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Mama Mia

Well most people who know me know that I don't cook. At all. Mainly because when I do cook no one likes it because I have a very "immature palette" as someone once put it. Basically I like my food very bland. No one else does, therefore when I cook something to fit my taste, I'm the only one who likes it. And it's hard for me to cook something I don't like. There, that's my excuse for not cooking and I'm sticking to it. So usually I either just help mom cook or I much prefer to set the table or clean the kitchen afterwards. But every now and then the cooking of a meal falls into my hands and it is always an adventure.

So tonight is my brothers last night home before he starts college again and because of his football practices, other than his best friends wedding, he won't be home until Thanksgiving. So tonight mom was supposed to cook his two favorite things-homemade pizza and peach cobbler. Well unfortunately my mom became sick with the stomach bug this evening and somehow the fate of tonight's supper was left in my [less than capable] hands. Thankfully my sister came to help... Was she actually helpful? Well the jury's still out on that but she definitely kept me company and made sure the experience was well documented.

From cutting onions and bell peppers for the first time to trying to toss pizza dough the whole thing was a learning experience.

But it was fun and Abigail and I had allot of good laughs.
And in the end we made three really good pizzas and everyone in the family said they tasted amazing!

Sunday, August 2, 2009

I'm Back!! :)

Hello blog world!! Long time no talk! Where do I even begin? Well I guess I could start by saying what an incredible summer I have been having. How I’d love to tell you everything that’s been going on in great detail so that you fully understand exactly what my summer’s been like, but alas, I have not the time nor the patience to write that book and I’m sure you don’t have half the interest in reading it as I imagine.

So back to my original question-where to begin? Well first let me apologize for the long period of silence in this blog. For awhile I just didn’t have the time to write. With dance, school, Bible drills, babysitting, etc. I just didn’t have time to sit down and write. I was also at a loss as to what to write. I wanted to write something worth reading. But then when I finally had time to write and had something I thought was blog-worthy I would be so overwhelmed with all that I wanted to say and how to say it that I’d eventually just give up writing anything at all. I wanted the perfect blog. When I realized I was so far away from that it wasn’t even funny I eventually gave up all together and promptly moved the whole idea of having a blog into my mental recycle bin.

So why am I here? Mainly because I think God’s about to do some pretty awesome stuff in my life and I want to share it with you. I’m facing my fear, defying standards, ignoring expectations, and doing all that other stuff really brave adventuresome people do-I’m going to blog. I’ll give it to you straight-I’m not a writer. Never have been and probably never will be. I am, however, very random. Chasing rabbit trails is a hobby for me. I have a hard time staying on topic…. ADD perhaps? Quite possible. So all I can say is bear with me and don’t expect anything too organized or well written. To wrap this all up let’s just say that if you read through my posts and are still sane, well, you’re a better man than most.

So I guess this will be my intro post to my “new” blog. I don’t know what all is going to be written about on here… I don’t have some creative theme or anything. But like I said, I want a way to be able to communicate all the awesome things I know God is going to be doing in my life. In case you don’t know, I’ll be attending college in New Orleans and will be living on campus so I won’t be home or at church as much as usual so hopefully this will help me stay in touch with everyone.

Well this post is long enough so I’ll go ahead and wrap it up. I’ll be posting again soon though, promise! J