Sunday, May 22, 2011

Singing in LA!

Raise Money Online with

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Get Me Through December...

How pale is the sky that brings forth the rain
As the changing of seasons prepares me again
For the long bitter nights and the wild winter's day
My heart has grown cold my love stored away
My heart has grown cold my love stored away

I've been to the mountain left my tracks in the snow
Where souls have been lost and the walking wounded go
I've taken the pain no girl should endure
Faith can move mountains of that I am sure
But faith can move mountains of that I am sure

Just get me through December
A promise I'll remember
Get me through December
So I can start again

No divine purpose brings freedom from sin
And peace is a gift that must come from within
I've looked for the love that will bring me to rest
Feeding this hunger beating strong in my chest
Feeding this hunger beating strong in my chest

Get me through December
A promise I'll remember
Get me through December
So I can start again

This song speaks right to my heart and pretty much sums up where I am right now.

Saturday, July 31, 2010

Dolly Parton and Sweet Tea!

As most of you know, I have spent my entire summer in Pigeon Forge, TN being a leader for a Christian program called Discipleship Focus. DFocus is a program near in dear to my heart. I was a student in the program here in TN in 2005 and a student once again in 2006 in Branson. I've always wanted to come back to TN to do leadership and this summer gave me that sweet opportunity. I'm going to share with you some of my favorite parts of this summer and what God has been doing in my life.

The summer has been excellent. I came away from a school year that was so BUSY. I see now that I was TOO busy and never made time for myself, and ultimately God. This has been a sweet time for me to reconnect with the Lord and just to allow myself to heal from the hardships of this world. Being a leader, I had the choice to work at Dollywood or to not work at all and I chose not to work. I'm so glad I didn't work because it allowed my schedule to be open, flexible and free for the first time in a LONG time.

So what have I been doing? Well, as a leader I am in charge of leading a small group of seven girls and then meeting with each of those girls one-on-one each week. I have absolutely LOVED being a small group leader. It also helps that my group is AWESOME and that I LOVE each of the girls. We have had so much fun together. We laugh, we eat, we share, and then laugh some more! It has been so good for me! I honestly think I came into the summer with no expectations for my own personal growth. I guess I just thought I would guide these girls and encourage them and that's where it would stop. Not so!! I think I have learned more about myself and my relationship with God as I have been leading these girls than I ever thought possible!! My time with Him here has been so good and my desire to be in His Word has been rekindled, which is such a blessing.

Another responsibility I have had this summer has been leading worship. Now, I've been involved with Harvest's worship team for several years but I've never been the leader! There is so much work that goes into it! Choosing music, rehearsing, powerpoints, etc! While challenging, it has also been really cool because I have finally learned how to play djembe and sing at the same time and it has made me want to learn to play guitar better. Which leads me to my next topic of the summer...
My new GUITAR!! I bought a guitar a few weeks ago and I have LOVED it so much! I have practiced almost every day and even have some really good callouses! It was my goal by the end of the summer to put together a song for Talent Night and I did! I sang the song Arlington by the Wailing Jennys with my sister Victoria and a girl in my small group. And I played guitar at the same time! For those of you who know my previous guitar experience, it was very limited! I only knew about 6 chords and could only play Jolene by Dolly Parton. I'm excited about continuing my new found desire to play guitar! Maybe I'll even be a rock star someday...

One of my other favorite parts of this summer was getting to be around the Fullers again! I fell in love with Dennis and Shanna Fuller along with their children when I was down here in 2005. I've always wanted to come back to Tennessee to be around them again. I've loved our great conversations, laughing, and eating great meals together.

One of my other favorite parts of the summer was getting to know my roommates: Ashley Sue Bell and Heather Campbell. I had met Ashley several times and knew of her, but I'd never done the program with her. Heather is a high school teacher from Phoenix, and we actually shared a room. I have loved LAUGHING with these girls!!

For the first time in my Dfocus experience, I had a visitor! Miss Victoria Billington, my sister! She flew in for a week and we had a BLAST! We did some pretty adventurous things: Zip Lining, White Water Rafting, rock hopping in the mountains, and walking through rivers. We went to Dollywood 3 times, saw Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, saw two movies, ate lots of good food, and learned a song for Talent Night! It was a BUSY week but one of my favorites!! It was just so good to share why I love this program so much with someone so dear to me.

Top Ten Things I Will Miss About Tennessee:
10. The mountains! These are my favorite mountains in the whole country because they are so GREEN!

9. Dennis and Shanna Fuller: 13 hours away is just TOO far!

8. The Tin Roof Cafe: This little cafe serves only fresh panini sandwiches and the best fruit tea.

7. The free perks of having a Dollywood ID: This little plastic card gets me free into just about ANYWHERE.

6. Living a more simplified life: Living in an apartment with only a fraction of my belongings has shown me that I don't need so much STUFF in my life and that I don't have to DO so much STUFF. I wish I had a yard back home or a garage so I could have a GARAGE or YARD sale!!

5. Mellow Mushroom Pizza: Oh my!! The best pizza I think I've EVER had!! and they only have them here in the south! :*(

4. Pigeon Forge Library: All summer I have been going to the library and have read so many adolescent fiction books. I wanted to read the books that 5th graders are reading so I can be on top of my game. I've also studied a lot about John Adams and Helen Keller!

3. The expectation of vulnerability that comes with living in such a tight community: Everyone here is so open about the hardships and blessings of life. It has been refreshing!

2. Dolly Parton and Sweet Tea!: Need I say more??
1. The people I have met here this summer: I really hope to stay in touch with so many people from this program. I have been truly blessed to meet them and love that I have been honored to see them grow so much.

This is getting long but I just have to add this as well...

Top Ten Reasons I Am Excited About Going Home:

10. Sleeping in my own bed and having my own shower...
9. The ability to go outside my condo and walk 100 feet to the swimming pool

8. Grilling!! I have missed grilling steaks, chicken, burgers, brats, etc.
7. A more structured time to work out and having the facilities to do so: Walking/running in 100 degree weather is not my favorite. I'm excited to work out on the ellipticals at school and playing tennis with friends.

6. My Harvest community: I have missed my Church!!

5. My small group: I have missed Kate, Allison, Kristen, and Ann Victoria a lot this summer. There is something about having an encouraging group of girls who just know you so well!

4. Simplifying my life: I want to get rid of a lot of the STUFF I was referring to earlier and really think about the motivations for why I do so much...why I'm so BUSY!

3. Starting the school year with a posititive attitude: I really want to go into this year depending on God and try to be an encouragement to those around me.

2. My friends: I have missed many fun moments with them this summer and I can't wait to see them all, catch up, eat good food, and LAUGH.

1. My family! : I have missed 4 family birthdays (including my own!), Father's Day, Madelyn WALKING, 4th of July and SO much more!! I haven't even seen Grant since his wedding day! Crazy! Being away makes me appreciate my family and I can't wait to see their faces!

I know this is long and if you made it to the end, congrats!! I'll be home late on the 8th and will enjoy my last week of vacation before school starts!!

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Catching Up

Hello to those who are reading! I can't believe it is almost the end of February! Where is this school year going??! Crazy!
Well, many of you have been asking how my weight loss challenge has been going. I really appreciate those of you who have asked me, because that is one of the things that has kept me going: the encouragement and accountability of friends.
This Monday I weighed in and lost an additional 2 pounds. I have now lost 12.2 pounds. It doesn't really sound like that much, but it is a big deal for me! I have never stayed with any diet/work out regime for longer than a month and I have now been going strong for 7 weeks. I now have 87.8 pounds to lose! I'll do it one pound at a time if I have to!

As many of you know, it is now my favorite season of the year: Lent. Well, for Lent this year I am giving up two things: School lunches and weighing myself in between Mondays. The first one is a challenge because it means that I have to make time for me to make my lunch each morning. The latter one is a real challenge because I have no idea how I am doing during the week. I think it's been really good for me in the long run. It has made me aware of what I'm eating and makes me aware of how my body feels each day, especially since I can't check my progress on the scale each day.

Thanks for all of you who are sticking with me through this journey. I think it will turn out to be one of the most challenging things I've ever done in my life...yet one of the most rewarding.

Monday, February 8, 2010

Week 5 of Weightloss Challenge

Some of you may have noticed that I didn't write on my blog last week to update the world of my weightloss attempts. The reason I didn't write is because I had a bad week last far as weightloss goes. I didn't lose any weight, in fact I gained back 1.8 pounds.
I was really discouraged when I discovered that I was moving in the wrong direction. And frankly, too embarassed and ashamed to share that I didn't lose anything. I'm learning a lot in this process.

Last week I learned 3 things:

  1. I'm learning that losing this much weight is not going to be an easy process. It is a daily challenge to keep track of everything that goes in my mouth, exercising, and making good food choices.
  2. I have learned that this process can NOT be done without my dependence on the Lord. So many times I try to go about my life on my own strength...and let's just be honest. I don't have the strength to do this alone.
  3. Last but not least, I have learned that if I really want the accountability of my friends and family, I need to be real and honest with them...even if it means me saying that I GAINED weight instead of LOST weight. I had a good chat with my dear friend Emily and she really made me realize that it's okay to have a discouraging week, as long as I don't dwell on it.

That being said, I had a MUCH better week. I worked out at least 4 times and made pretty good food choices. I'm trying to drink lots of water and be aware of when my body is saying it is full. I could have given up last week, but I have decided to embark on this challenge 110% and refuse to give up. I may have bad weeks, but I am NOT going to let it get me down.

This week I lost 4.2 pounds which means I met my first goal of 10 pounds! I have lost a total of 10.6 pounds and have 89.4lbs to lose to meet my 100lb goal.

Thanks for so much encouragement from all of you and your support. I couldn't do it without you. Stayed tuned till next week. I WILL post, whether I lose OR gain. That's a promise.

Monday, January 25, 2010

I do have readers!

Well, it seems that there ARE still people that read my blog. That being said, I thought I would let you know how my Monday weigh-in went today. This is my 3rd weigh-in. I lost 2.2 pounds this week! That brings me to a total of 8.2 pounds which is only 1.8 pounds from my first goal. Only 91.2 pounds to go! I suppose I shouldn't say "only." Ninety-one pounds is A LOT...but it sounds better than saying 100!
Thank you for your encouraging words and for your prayers. I sure need them! I am confident I can get through this but I know it will be through the help and accountablility of my friends. I think if I achieve my goal, it will be the single-most important thing I could ever have done for health, my back, my faith, and my confidence as a woman.
I am going to try to update this blog each least on Mondays to document my progress. Stay tuned! Love to all who are reading this!

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Major Goal of the Year

(Copied from my other blog:

So, I’m not really sure if anyone reads this anymore. Let’s be honest…despite my best efforts and good intentions, I am a HORRIBLE blogger! But I am writing this blog despite the fact that probably no one will ever see it but myself.
This is my year to lost weight. Matter of fact.
I’m not just trying to lose a few pounds.
It is my goal to lose all of this in
one year.
How am I doing this? Simple: Keeping track of my calorie intake using . I am adding more exercise to my life and trying to drink a lot of water and take a daily vitamin. I am not taking any type of dieting pill or other dieting substance. I want to lose weight completely naturally.

I’ve tried to lose weight before, but I usually give up after about 2 weeks. One of the things that is different about this effort, is that I am telling people about it. Trying to lose weight has been something I’ve been embarassed about in the past. I’ve always felt ashamed talking about my weight. Well, you know what? It is this feeling of shame that has kept me from achieving my goals. This year is different. I have told all of my closest friends about my year long goal. I need the accountability because it is so easy for me to quit and give up.
I am losing weight because I want to be healthy. I have constant back pain and my knees hurt on a daily basis. I am not even 27 years old. I want to lose this weight for ME, no one else.
If you are reading this, please pray that I can remain strong. I realize that I will only be able to obtain these goals through Christ, who strengthens me. I need reminders of his love and desire for me to be healthy.

Tomorrow is my Week 3 Weigh In. The first week I lost 4lbs, the second week I lost 2. The goal of the challenge is to lose 10lbs within 4 weeks. We’ll see how I do in the morning!