Monday, August 30, 2010

Friday Night Lights

Confession: I still like going to high school football games. I love them actually. I really do. I love that here in the South they’re such a huge tradition, and way of life. Friday nights are set aside to cheer on the boys. Generations come out to support the players; parents, siblings, grandparents, cousins, heck, even people with no relation to the ones on the field come out just to support the community high school, and for some, to live vicariously through the boys. I love that it brings entire towns together. Restaurants and shops hang up newspapers and posters supporting the team. I love the feel of being outside when it starts getting cool. Watching the light fade from sunlight to the glow of the bright stadium lighting. I love the smell of the hot dogs and hamburgers and popcorn. The clashing of helmets and the clicking of cleats on the sidewalk. They are so nostalgic and comforting. High school football games remind me that the world really is still all right. Every Friday night is like taking a step back in time where jobs, homework, deadlines, due dates, politics, and the stress of “real life” just disappears.
Fortunately for me, I have a legit excuse to go to high school football games. In fact, they even let me in for free! I get to hang out with my lovely Hall High School friends at the Halls football games. The Halls community makes the games so fun. They do it just the way I love it. Little businesses shut down, there’s no traffic on the roads come 8 o’clock on Friday nights, everybody puts on their bright red and comes out to support the devils. It’s so fun to hang out in the student section and to cheer and yell with the kids. Halls is so great, but I will always have a special little place in my heart for Bearden football games.

Well after a slight miscommunication and a little arguing, I ended up going back to a Bearden football game Friday night. Two of my three favorite guys (my dad and Sam) convinced me to tag along with them. I was a little nervous about going back to the Home of the Bulldogs for the first time in three years, but I am so glad I did. I don’t mind that I’ll probably be judged for this, but what a wonderful Friday night it was. Kenny Chesney’s new song “The Boys of Fall” was playing in my head and memories were flooding back all night. My best friends out there on the field have been replaced with new kids who were only freshmen when I left. A couple of friend’s little brothers are on the team, but for the most part, all the faces are new ones. And they sure are good. It looks like the class on 2011 might give the class on 2008 a run for our money. And I’d love to see it happen (especially against the Admirals!).
Even with the University of Tennessee right down the road, the orange and white can’t replace the feel of intimacy and intense support for high school games. I am so thankful to grow up in part of the country that slows down and takes time every Friday night to encourage the local high schoolers. It’s such a wonderful feeling being surrounded and supported by an entire community growing up, and not just in football, but also in every area. I’m proud to say I’ll forever support the maroon and gray. Go Dawgs.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

They do!

I love weddings. I love dancing and eating and laughing and taking pictures and cake and throwing rose petals and celebrating all the wonderfulness of l-o-v-e. These past two weekends I've gotten to go to two weddings. I witnessed two of the most precious couples promise to love each other for the rest of their lives. Both men are incredibly lucky fellas. They got themselves some beautiful ladies, both inside and out (as cliche as that is, it's so true). Calli is my roommate, and wonderful friend's, older sister. She is stunning and looked like a million bucks on her wedding day. Brett hit the jackpot. Taylor was my YoungLife leader in high school and played a huge roll in all of our lives. Probably more than she knows. Now that I'm a leader, I cannot imagine having my girls come to my wedding years from now. I hope she knows we never took her for granted. It's crazy exciting that she is no longer Taylor Scott as we've known her for years. We danced the night away celebrating Taylor and Russel. By the time we sent them home for the night, my feet hurt, I was sweaty, my eyes were closing, and I was smiling from ear to ear. Congratulations to all four. Go have long happy lives together.

Speaking of weddings... The most wonderful couple I know celebrated their anniversary today. Twenty-four years together and still so in love. The moment the man laid eyes on the woman, he knew that she was the girl he was supposed to marry and love for his whole life. Three weeks after their first date, he popped the question and she said yes. She was my age, just twenty, when she walked down the isle and her dad gave her away to this man she'd known for such a short amount of time. They were young and clueless, livin' on love and looking to God. Their marriage hasn't always been perfect, but they have never wavered from the commitment they made to God and each other on that August night. They've stood together through good times and bad. Supported each other and filled their house with love. They had four children together who they taught to love God, each other, and all others. They've come a long way and have a long way yet to go. They've shown me what real marriage and real love looks like. They've demonstrated what it looks like to lean on each other and point to God always. I am thankful beyond words for them and all they've done for me. Afterall, I wouldn't be here without 'em! Congrats on twenty-four years Mom and Dad. I love you!

Monday, August 16, 2010

So long Sweet Summertime

My obsession with summertime makes me realize I have most definitely chosen the right profession. I'm clinging to the last few hours of sweet summertime and comforting myself with the fact that I will never have to give up these beloved months of warmth, sun, water, and happiness. Don't get me wrong, I love, love, love the crisp fall air, new school supplies, football games, and new friends that come with each school year, but I am crazy about the three great months I get in between old classes and new ones. My countdown 'till summer tells me that I have negative 101 days until this great break. So what have I done with these past one hundred and one days? Trips to the lake, ice cream outings, tennis matches, and laughter made up most of my days. I was also lucky enough to get to spend a week at Windy Gap, a week in San Diego, California, and a week in upstate New York. All beautiful places and are each included on my list of places I totally wouldn't mind living (but all on the list behind Knoxville, of course).

First summer adventure: Baking at Windy Gap

This is our friend Morgan. She learned that it is impossible to eat a spoonful of cinnamon.

We made LOTS (I mean tons) of food that week. And lots of giggles. And lots of secrets. And lots of memories. Something about spending hours in a burning hot kitchen brings people together. Such a fun week with new friends and old.

Big adventure number two was to the west coast: San Diego
Jamie and I got to pretend to be "Cal-i-for-nia Girls" for a week in beautiful So Cal.

We spent our days drivin' down the 101 and and singing "California here we cooooome" at the top of our lungs. We got to see my teammate Tyler who is living the life right outside of San Diego teaching tennis and surfing lessons. Doesn't get much better than that, huh? Two of our other friends were out there too and they entertained us while Tyler worked. Horse races, surfer dudes, volleyball, LOTS of In 'n Out, The O.C., nose piercings and of course, the famous San Diego Zoo were all experienced.

Jamie and I weren't old enough to bet at the races which probably was a good thing for both of us since I could possibly be the most unlucky person alive. But we had fun watching and cheering for our friend's bets. Most of them even came out on top.
The zoo was B-I-G. There's no other way to describe it.
We had never had In N' Out before and we sure did make up for that. During our five day trip we had it four times. You could say we were fans.

Nothing left to say but "stay classy San Diego!"

Our last trip led us to the Empire state

My friends call us the "Core Four." The four of us loaded up for a 14 hour drive to upstate New York where Taylor is from. The northerns swear by this place call Chipotle, but honestly it ain't got nothin' on Moe's. We spent the week at Taylor's family's cottage on one of the finger lakes.

Both of the guys are awesome wakeboarders so Jamie and I usually just ride in the boad and capture their tricks on Grant's fancy camera. But I did get out of the boat and show Taylor's high school friends a thing or two about tubing. It was so crazy being in New York but not the city. I feel like so often people (including me) kinda forget that there's more to the state of New York than just NYC. It was so beautiful up there. I'd love to go back sometime even though it means being made fun of for my accent constantly :)

There's so much more these past 101 days but too much to share all at once. I'm so thankful for yet another fun, safe summer with great friends. But now I think I hear those school bells ringing... Time to hit the books.

Monday, August 2, 2010

So this is it

Hellooooo blog world. I've been an avid blog reader f.o.r.e.v.e.r. Today is the fateful day that I've decided to take the plunge for myself. I know no better way to start one of these than with an introduction. So, for y'all who are wondering, who am I?

I am: a child of God, a student at The University of Tennessee (Go Vols), clumsy, the oldest of four, a typical oldest child (such characteristics I try to embrace), a Southerner, clueless, a YoungLife leader at Halls High School (Go Red Devils), a daughter, stubborn, a facebooker, bubbly, a reader, giggly, a flirt, protective, a lover of "the least of these," a friend, a nail-biter, a Chaco wearer, a helper, a follower, a leader, a confuse college kid, a picture lover, a UNC fan, a blonde (in both meanings of the term), an O.C. addict, a Daddy's girl, an unorganized roommate, a future teacher...
Basically, I'm just your average girl lovin' Jesus and tryin' to figure out what my place is in this big world. Above all else, I strive to honor Him... In All Things.