Saturday, August 31, 2013

Football Season

It's football season in Texas.

If you're not from Texas, you may not understand the weight that sentence carries. Let me try to explain. Football season in Texas is CRAZY. Everyone rallies around their team to cheer them on, even if they know nothing about football. There's so much excitement in the air! You don't miss your team's game. Period. And if you do, you pretend you watched it. It doesn't matter what the weather is like, you WILL be at home games, rain, shine, heat, or ice. Saturdays are consumed with watching football. Rivalries are like none other. I can't fully describe football in Texas, but know that it is an atmosphere like you've never experienced before.

Baylor's first home game is today against Wofford. I know, who's Wofford? (It's some school from North Carolina). But even though this game should be a piece of cake, I will be there in the 100 degree heat, cheering my bears to victory! I am just as excited as everyone else that football season is here, and I can't wait to go to Baylor games this season and see some great competition on the field. We have an awesome coach who believes in his players, a great team that is going to work together toward a common goal of winning, and superb fans who will support the bears through thick and thin. Let the season begin. Sic 'em bears!!

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Exercising Blog

Some of my best blogging times have occurred while I'm at the gym. I don't like watching TV in general, and my mind tends to go crazy if I just listen to music the whole time I'm working out. Therefore, I blog. Obviously, I can't really run and blog well, but I can bike or get on the elliptical and type pretty decently. It's one of my many talents.

So here I am, biking away on the stationary bike. (By the way, have you ever thought how weird it is to bike, jog or stairstep in place? You're not actually moving forward, but your body is moving as if you were. Who came up with this stuff?) Anyway, as I'm exercising, I can't help but notice how out of shape I must seem to people who don't know about my CF. I'm huffing and puffing on such a low level of resistance, I'm trying to cover up my progress so others can't see how I'm doing. Not to mention the fact that I'm a sweaty hot mess. How I yearn to be able to run a mile without stopping to catch my breath! How I wish I could pedal my bike fast enough to actually look like my workout is challenging. But I can't. I can't keep up with a normal 20 year old. I can't climb a flight of stairs without getting a little winded. I can't bike home from class without needing to take it slower than most would. And I certainly can't run the whole bear trail (walk, yes. Run, no). I know I shouldn't be so self-conscious about my physical ability. I have a lung disease for crying out loud. It just gets frustrating because I make a valiant effort to stay in the best shape I can-- I go to the gym at least 5 days a week and do both cardio and weight exercises--yet my lungs are in worse shape than people who forgo exercise all together. If you didn't know, you can't get very far exercising if your lungs are in subpar shape. However, I will not let this minor detail discourage me. Despite the weird looks I get for coughing at the gym,  pedaling slowly on the bike, or lifting a minimal amount of weight, I will continue to make exercise a priority. Who cares what others think? Exercise makes me feel good, keeps my lungs stable, and makes me feel accomplished. Plus, maybe one day I'll be able to run a mile without stopping. Who knows? Only time will tell!

Saturday, August 24, 2013

Junior Goals

I'm halfway through my undergrad. WHAT. When did that happen?? The older I get, the faster time seems to move. I think it's important to take time to reflect on lessons learned in the past as well as think about any future goals because that's how you grow and mature as a person.  I don't want to stay stagnant; I desire to see growth in all areas of my life!  I've typed up a simple list of goals for my junior year and plan to revisit them frequently. It'll be a sort of accountability for me, and I'm excited to see how God uses these goals to glorify Him.

1. Be approachable and available. I come across as being a bit closed off, usually because I'm not the life of the party or super great at small talk. I'm reserved and really don't feel the need to keep conversation constantly flowing. When I talk, it usually has a purpose. However, this can come across as being uninterested or disengaged. I must learn to be an approachable friend so that people know I love them. I want to have meaningful, deep relationships with others. I want people to know that when they talk to me, I'm intently listening and care about what they are saying. I want people to feel like when I'm with them, I am fully present. Not on my phone. Not in a daydream. Not thinking my own thoughts. I care deeply about my friends, their needs, their joys, and their struggles, and I must show them that in the way I talk and act.

2. Confidence is key. I struggle with my confidence level probably as much as any other college student. I question my ability to lead, I wonder why people like (or don't like) me, I think I have to act a certain way to get someone's attention, I overanalyze my God-given skills and talents. Let's just say I could use a boost in the confidence department every now and then. This year, I am going to remind myself continually that my identity comes from being a child of God, not from being a Baylor student, a CF patient, a young adult, a phi lamb member, or any other "hat" I can put on. God loves me, and I don't need any other assurance in life.

3. Keep up the good work in school. Okay, so it wouldn't be a blog on my goals for junior year if I didn't mention school just once. I know school isn't everything, and grades (while important) are not the totality of the world, yet I am incredibly driven to do my best in all my classes. I feel great when I get an "A" on a paper or test I worked hard on, and that pushes me to succeed. I am not a procrastinator, have never pulled an all-nighter, and feel comfortable about where I am in my education thus far. So, I plan on continuing that standard of excellence I have placed on myself.

4. No matter what happens this year, I want to glorify God with my life. I desire to praise Him in all circumstances. Life is weird and chaotic and unexpected, but through it all, I know God is my strength and my stability--He will never leave my side. I want my love for God to become more and more evident in my daily life and interactions with others this year.

5. Stay informed with all things CF. There's so much excitement around CF research currently. The possibility of a cure is within reach; it gives me chills thinking about it. Because there's so much hype around medical research, I must stay correctly informed about the new advancements of research, qualifications for study participants, and the overall mechanics of new drugs. I have GOT to stay in the loop, partially to satisfy my own curiosity and partially so that I can be one of the first to jump in to safe, effective, and potentially curing therapies with both feet. The future of CF is changing before our very eyes, and I don't want to miss a single second of it.

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Over planning

I put pretty much every detail of my life in a calendar--my workout routine, my class assignments, my appointments and medical needs, even my social "hang out" times. Call me crazy, but it makes me excited to organize my life. When my many to-do lists are made and calendars created, I feel like I can breathe easy. Part of this is because of my personality. My mom is an organizer, and I definitely take after her. I'm WAY more productive when I have a plan of action, and I love this efficiency. A little organization never hurt anyone, right?? I also know that I am more organized because of having to balance CF with daily life. I have to manage my time wisely so that I can do breathing treatments, get enough sleep, eat enough calories, exercise, go to school, spend time with friends and family, mature in my spiritual life, get homework done, and maybe (just maybe) have some downtime. Planning has been key to my life thus far.

But here's the problem. 

I am not very good at being spontaneous and following my gut instinct. I think through every single step of every single decision I make. I over plan and over think and over analyze, and frankly, it can be exhausting. Then, when my plans go haywire, my mindset is shaken, and I'm at a loss for my next move. Since coming to college, God has been showing me time after time that I should not be living life holding onto the reigns so tightly. Seriously, when does life ever go exactly as planned? (Hint: the answer is NEVER). When I am controlled by my schedule, I don't make time for people, instead becoming so focused on task-accomplishments that I forget about caring for friends and family and building those relationships.

I will never be the kind of person who will just go with the flow and hang loose. My calendar will still hang in a prominent place in my room, and deadlines and appointments will never really surprise me. There's nothing wrong with staying on top of activities and keeping life somewhat organized.  However, I don't want to be so consumed with keeping to my schedule that I miss the opportunities God has placed in my life to enjoy the presence of other people and shower others with His love. My prayer this year is that God would show me how to let go of my preconceived ideas of my "perfect" schedule and let Him be fully and completely in control. I desire to follow Christ in everything I do, not an earthly schedule or some plan I devised. May God teach me flexibility and trust this upcoming semester!

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Quote day

It's quote day on my blog today! Enjoy the quotes below along with my comments about how the quote touches my life. 
Outward beauty will fade. I don't care if you're Miss America or the highest paid model on the runway. Our physical bodies are wasting away. No exceptions. Sorry to burst your bubble.  Five, ten, even  twenty years from now, will people see beauty pouring from you by the way you live your life and through the confidence you have in your identity in Christ? Or will they simply remember a pretty face? 

The world we live in is constantly changing. When we think we've found some solid footing, an earthquake shakes through our lives, and we fall flat on our faces. I personally NEED the assurance from God that He is my rock and my foundation. With Him, my solid ground will not be shaken; I will not sink. "On Christ the solid rock I stand, all other ground is sinking sand."

Loving God and loving people are what we are called to do. All of our actions should be driven by these two commands. This year, I am working on loving ALL people the way Christ does. I want people to see my Father through the way I love. 

My house will always serve the Lord!!

I love the power of language. It is the way we communicate, the way we persuade, the way we discuss ideas, the way we explain, the way we understand others. Language is no ordinary ability--it truly is remarkable. Don't take advantage of your linguistic abilities. They are more useful than you probably realize.

Life for me is about more than just getting through the day. I want to be challlenged by my friends and family members to live a life of influence. I want to grow in spiritual ad emotional maturity on a consistent basis. I want to dream big dreams for the future, all the while putting my faith in God's timing and will for my life. Yeah, I have cystic fibrosis. And yeah, my life looks different than the average young adult's life. I have to think about making my energy last throughout the day, staying away from germs, taking care of my health needs, doing breathing treatments, and sometimes making difficult decisions I'd rather not be faced with. "But, I have bigger dreams than just breathing." 

Friday, August 16, 2013

Insomnia at its finest

I've slept about 4 hours tonight. 

After giving up any hope of getting good rest, here I am. (Background info: I'm back on a course of steroids to try to help my lungs and, well, let's just say I woke up WIDE awake. I'll be needing a nap later today!) 

In my many hours of laying awake, I started thinking about my life--what else is there to do at 4 am?? I made a mental list of the many blessings in my life and thanked God for each ad every one of them. I love doing this because it causes me to come out of any self pity I have to praise God for all He'a given me. My life's not always a walk in the park, but I still rejoice in the Lord!

Here are a few of the blessings I listed. I'd encourage you to make a list of your own. 

1. My family
2. Baylor friends
3. Austin friends
4. My connection group at church
5. My faith
6. My Austin church and Waco church
7. God's love
8. Baylor University (sic em)
9. My job in the speech pathology clinic
10. Lessons learned this summer
11. All the new therapy options for CF
12. Breathing treatments, pills, and even IVs
13. An awesome home health nurse
14. Wonderful family vacations
15. Memories
16. God's promises 
17. Music
18. Jesus' death on the cross and resurrection
19. The CF community
20. Sigma Phi Lambda
21. The start of junior year
22. Home IVs
23. The ability to draw blood from my port instead of trying to stick my veins
24. Books
25. My intelligence 
26. Football season starting up soon
27. My ability to still run, jump, dance, and enjoy life
28. Every breath I take
29. Every wink of sleep
30. Every opportunity I have to point the world to God and give Him glory

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Active faith

The Lord has been convicting me lately to have a vibrant and active faith. Not just a faith that I can talk about and agree with half-heartedly but a faith I literally can't contain. A faith that will stand strong no matter what life throws at me. A faith that is exemplified in an intentional prayer life. What would it look like if we all prayed believing that God can do ANYTHING? He can move mountains, He can heal illness, He can wash a person clean from all sins. Mark 11:22-24 says,

"Have faith in God. Truly I say to you, whoever says to this mountain, 'Be taken up and thrown into the sea,' and does not doubt in his heart, but believes that what he says will come to pass, it will be done for him. Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours."

If I'm being honest, I struggle praying for big things. I know God is all-powerful and sovereign and relational and good and merciful and gracious, so why does my prayer life not reflect His character? God wants to hear my big requests. He wants to know what's on my heart. He desires to work all things for His glory and my good. I've got the head knowledge covered. However, I am asking God to give me heart knowledge about what faith looks like. When people look at my life, I want the first thing they notice to be my extreme faith in God and trust in His plan. Granted, asking for all things in faith does not mean that all things in my life will happen the way my plan plays out in my head. Heaven knows I do not know what is best for my life or what is best for God's glory. Let's be real here, if I ran the world, life would be pretty chaotic and insane. But that doesn't mean I can't pray with expectation, knowing that God will answer my prayers with "yes," "no," or "wait". How comforting is it that He always hears our prayers!

Whether things are going well for you or you're confused and at a loss about what God is doing in your life, He loves you and cares for you immensely. If you are a believer in Christ, He's not finished with you yet. Philippians 1:6 says, "And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion on the day of Jesus Christ." God is good! Pray with a deep and yearning faith. When people look at your life and mine, may they be drawn closer to God by the way we live in faith and expectation, no matter life's circumstance or situation.

Saturday, August 3, 2013

You Hold Me Now

I was introduced to the song below recently, and my heart was just overjoyed  listening to the powerful lyrics. For followers of Christ, we have an unbelievable home in Heaven to look forward to. This world is not our final destination. While I will always see life as precious and beautiful, I know that eternity with God is beyond my comprehension. Go ahead and prayerfully read the lyrics. I pray God uses this song to speak to you today!

You Hold Me Now by Hillsong United

On the day when I see
All that You have for me
When I see You face to face
There surrounded by Your grace

All my fears swept away
In the light of Your embrace
Where Your love is all I need
and forever I am free

Where the streets are made of gold
In Your presence healed and whole
Let the songs of heaven rise to You alone

No weeping
No hurt or pain
No suffering
You hold me now, You hold me now
No darkness
No sick or lame
No hiding
You hold me now, You hold me now

In this life I would stand
through my joy and my pain
Knowing there’s a greater day
There's a hope that never fades

Where Your name is lifted high
and forever praises rise
For the glory of Your name
I'm believing for the day

Where the wars and violence cease
All creation lives in peace
Let the songs of heaven rise to You alone

For eternity
All my heart will give
All the glory to Your Name