ODP Day 30 – Party

Hello reader,

Today was a day for parties. Dancing in the rain parties, skyping with sister parties, youth Halloween parties, and coffee at midnight parties. Have you ever had a dance in the rain party? It’s super fun, y’all. You should try it sometime. It works especially well if you live in an apartment complex that has horrible drainage, because that causes the biggest puddles. It’s ridiculously cold, but totally worth it.

Also, isn’t my sister the cutest person you’ve ever seen? Totes adorbs. I heart her.

  Ps: I’m making up for yesterday’s lack of pictures by giving you a million today. Enjoy, peeps ūüôā

One of the best parts of working with the youth is that when you’re on their team for corn hole, and you’re super terrible at corn hole and win 0% of the points, they can win all the points and you still get one of the prizes. Shoutout to Alex for being the bomb.com at corn hole. I’ll think of you the next time I’m at Starbucks.
 
The second best thing about working with youth (and youth leaders) is that they make these faces when you tell them to take a selfie with you. #loveit #bestyouthgroupever 

  
    
  

    
 

ODP Day 23 – Puddles

Hello reader,

Remember the rain from yesterday? It didn’t go away. Remember my idea to wear rain boots today? Well I did that, but it turns out my rain boots have lots of holes in them… Oh well, it gave me a reason to dance barefoot in the puddles.    
Also, can I just say that having a vegan friend is so fun. I could never dedicate my life to being vegan, but having a reason to experiment with vegan recipes is quite exciting. Enter: vegan dirty chai cinnamon rolls. So. Good. Definitely will make again.

    
 Today also begins the RSM Fall Retreat. I’m super psyched! Hooray for small group bonding and talking about Jesus ūüôā now if only we could get a teeny respite from the rain…

 

ODP Day 20 – Relax

Hello reader,

It might seem odd that I found today relaxing, given that I had a meeting about graduation requirements, a lab practical, work, and youth group, but I really did. I think it came from finally having answers to my graduation questions, the relief of finishing something I’ve been studying like crazy for, and quality time spent with quality people.    
It also might have to do with the fact that I drank 5 cups of coffee today, because I didn’t have time to be tired. 

 
I was feeling pretty pumped after my practical, so I decided to document the moment. That’s right, y’all – I took a bathroom mirror selfie. #whitegirl

But really, aren’t my scrubs super cute? The lady at the thrift store I got them at said, “you’re in school to help people? Sweetheart, you can have this for $1; we need more people like you.” God bless little old thrift store ladies.

The last time I went to youth group in my lab scrubs, the kids asked me like a hundred times if I was a nurse now, so I’ve decided to stop confusing them and just change before I leave campus. It doesn’t really count as a bonus outfit though, because I wear the same two pairs of scrubs to lab all the time.  
Check out this super cool Halloween castle in the youth neighborhood! It’s made out of styrofoam, and I wish I were as architecturally skilled as the person who built it. It’s wicked fancy.

Also, I know what you’re thinking. “Finally! She’s wearing more than two prints at a time. These lame-o boring two print outfits were getting old.” I completely agree. I’m feeling the thinning of my wardrobe selection as these last 11 days approach, so you’ll probably be seeing more of these three pattern combinations. I like them (mom, it’s ok that you don’t. I still love you).  
 
Ps: Internet, do you remember Lucy? She’s the bomb.com, and you should be her friend. 

ODP Day 19 – Aspirations

Hello reader,

The walls are made of windows in the building where I work, so one of my favorite pastimes when clients aren’t coming in is to people watch as students rush by, hurrying to their next class. This is what I was doing early this morning before we opened. I saw this girl walk by, and I was instantly captivated by her personhood. She had long, blonde/pink hair, a Pinterest perfect fall outfit, a hipster beanie, and a super cute backpack. I turned to my friend Lucy and said, “she is the personification of everything I strive to be.” But the more I think about that statement, the less I believe myself. I know nothing of that girl’s spiritual life, academic achievement, campus and community involvement, dedication to friendship, or anything else that truly matters. There is no denying that whoever she is, the girl has style, but when I evaluate my goals, that is not what I strive to have.  

I strive for spiritual maturity in my walk with Christ. I strive to graduate with a 4.0 gpa and be accepted into a top graduate program. I strive to make a difference in the lives of the students around me. I strive to be a source of unconditional love for my friends and family. 

   
Looking cute is fun, and it might gain me followers on Instagram and WordPress, but allowing God to use me by investing in the lives of the youth in my church will help me grow and mature spiritually. Being the last person in the library parking lot will help me achieve my academic goals. Spending quality time with my friends will deepen and strengthen our relationships. Sometimes I think I need a reminder that my external appearance is one itty bitty fraction of who I am as a person. That’s part of the reason I love the ODP so much; the depth of emotions that comes from wearing the same dress every single day for an entire month  is what brings me back to this project each year. Creatively pairing articles of clothing into outfits I’d never dream of wearing in any other month is exciting, but the yearly mental reset into an attitude of thankfulness and contentment is the real treasure of the ODP. 
 
Dear Pinterest-perfect hipster girl,

You are adorable, and someday I hope to ask you where you got your backpack. I think we could be great friends, and I’m always down for more friends. But you are not everything I strive to be, because I strive to be more like Jesus. 

Love,

The writing consultant who was creeping on you through the window 

Ps: let’s get coffee sometime, because I’m serious about the backpack thing.

The Girl From Texas

I just recently returned from a missions trip to the Dominican Republic, and I miss it terribly. This post is part reminiscence, part testimonial. I could talk about how this country has impacted my life for days, but I will attempt to condense it down into a blog post. This was my fourth year, and each year I learn something new about myself. This year’s theme was identity, and the last night of ministry I had to opportunity to share a little bit of my story with the youth.¬†I thought I would share it with y’all as well. So this is (a small part of) the story of me. (p.s. there’s another one of these coming, because the DR gives me a lot to say)

For the past couple of days we have been talking a lot about identity: how it is formed, what it means, and why it is important to have an identity rooted in Christ. I wanted to share a little bit about how I tried to¬†form my identity in something¬†other than Christ, and the setbacks that came with that. My dad is in the Army, which means I moved around a lot as a kid. By the time I was 19, I had lived in 10 houses and four states. Moving around from place to place meant I constantly had to introduce myself to new people. Trying to make new friends every couple of years meant I had to find something that made me different. I couldn’t risk being lost in the crowd. In attempt to stand out, I tried to root my identity in places. I could be “the girl from Texas.” I could¬†emphasize loving heat, cowboys, and flat plains. I really did like those things, so it was easy to¬†make it my life. Texas was “home” and no where else could live up to home. After all, I was¬†“the girl from Texas.” It would make¬†me cool, different, and someone people would want to be friends with. Or so I thought. Throughout middle and high school, through Georgia, South Carolina, and New York, I was “the girl from Texas,” and that was good enough for me. Maybe it was pride, but I just wanted to be different. But then I graduated high school and went to University. In Texas. I could no longer be “the girl from Texas,” because I was in Texas. Everyone was¬†from Texas. I wasn’t special anymore. I wasn’t different. Everyone liked¬†cowboys. I didn’t want to be “the girl from New York,” where I had just moved from, because I hated New York. For a little while, I tried to be that person anyway, but it wasn’t the same. I couldn’t play that¬†part.¬†My identity had crumbled around me, and I needed to find another one, fast. I poured myself into my studies, and I spent a lot of time praying through the many hardships of freshman year (like being terrified I would not make any friends, forget to take a midterm, and fail all my classes. What can I say, I’m an extremist…). I became very involved in the church I go to. I¬†started volunteering with the youth group, meeting church friends for breakfast, and anxiously awaiting each Sunday morning worship. Don’t get me wrong, I was involved in church before, and I have always loved going to church, but somehow this was different. Church of the Resurrection became my family when I desperately needed one (my parents were still in New York). They were the people who loved me through my doubts and failures. I discovered that in relying on God to get me through a crumbling identity, He had given¬†me a new one. An identity rooted in Christ. Jesus¬†met me in my constant struggle to be different by giving¬†me more compassion for¬†those in need, more passion for¬†youth ministry, more friends who loved me despite my faults, and more joy in seeking His will for my life. An identity rooted in Christ is forming me into the best I can be. I can’t just be¬†“the girl from Texas;” I have¬†to be the girl who loves Jesus.