Monday, February 28, 2011

Happy Birthday, Papa!

Today I woke up and realized that it would've been my Papa's 71st birthday. The memories that flooded my mind are a bit harder to handle than I expected. Papa was pretty much the coolest grandparent anyone could ask for. Yeah, he put a new meaning to discipline at times, but he always knew how to make you laugh until you cried. His humor was like no other.
Papa truly understood the definition of being Jesus' "hands and feet." He was an elder in the church, a Gideon and as a Gideon he used to minister to men in jail. He was a great teacher and would tell you EXACTLY how it is. No and, if, or buts about it ;)

If you never got the chance to meet him, which I wish everyone could have... I'll explain why he is no longer here.

In January of 2000 my Papa started having strange symptoms and his left eye closed up. We had no idea what was wrong with him, so my Nana (or as he would say, his woman) took him to the doctor. They returned with some shocking news. I remember my daddy telling me that Papa was sick. I didn't really think much of it until I heard the word "cancer." My Papa was diagnosed with neuroendocrine carcinoma. It is an extremely rare brain cancer, found on the brain stem. It cannot be directly treated because the patient would go brain dead. Even worse news followed... the doctors didn't see my Papa living any more than 6 months.

By the way, I remember this story as a 9-10 year old, so if any family is reading this and I don't have my facts straight...feel more than welcome to correct me :) Oh and Papa's story has a lot to do with my story as a christian, but this is Papa's day and I'll share my story later. :) Ok, back to the story:

One thing I noticed from the get go is that my Papa never panicked. I never heard him complain, heck I don't think I ever saw him sad. He was always smiling and putting his complete trust in God. He said that he was going to fight this for the Kingdom and God's glory would be shown through the fight against cancer. Gosh, talk about a man of God! So, he shortly started chemotherapy and sixth months later...when I was expecting disaster to strike, my Papa was alive. He was still fighting.

Funny memory time. When Papa was first diagnosed, the doctor made him wear an eye patch over his eye. I'll never forget being at the beach, sitting on the pier waiting to eat breakfast and a kid runs up to Papa- amazed at what he saw! He looks at his mom and points to Papa saying, "Look mom!! A real pirate!!" My papa looks over at the boy and says, "arghh!!" See, me being a pirate just makes sense now :)

The next 3 and a half years are a blur. I remember that Papa eventually started using a cane to walk, then a walker and then a wheel chair. I do remember that he ended up getting one of those nice recliner like power scooters. Those things were so much fun to play on. I remember my Aunt Angie (Papa's daughter) riding up on it through the pasture to get to the family swimming pool. hahaha!

I had a very special moment with my Papa a few months before he died. I remember he was rolling around in his wheel chair throughout his house and he stopped in the kitchen and was having some trouble. I don't remember exactly what he said, but I remember it being negative. This was almost 4 years into his what was supposed to be 6 month battle, and this was the first time I heard him complain. I remember my mom, Nana, Aunt Jeanne (Papa's sister) and me getting on our knees, laying hands on Papa and praying for him in the middle of the kitchen. It is a special memory that I will hold close to my heart forever. It brings tears to my eyes just thinking about that moment and the wonderful example that my family has always set for me.

A few months later, Papa was on complete bed rest. He did not want to die in a hospital room. If he was going to die, it was going to be at home, surrounded by family and close friends. I remember celebrating my brother's birthday in the living room, where my Papa's bed was set up. The living room was connected to the dining room, so we were able to have dinner and celebrate with Papa as he laid in his bed. I remember my brother singing "Who Am I" by Casting Crowns into my Papa's ear that night. It was a special time of worship. My entire family, Nana and Papa's children and their children. It was so special.

The next day I watched one of the hardest things I've ever had to watch in my entire life. My daddy saying bye to his daddy. My daddy had worked by Papa's side since he was 14 years old. They are so much alike, it's crazy. I don't have to look very far if I'm missing Papa... my daddy has so many of his characteristics. There's a picture somewhere of my daddy leaning over my Papa, hugging him and shaking his hand. I remember sitting there in the dining room watching them. What a great example of a good father/son relationship.

The next day... June 17, 2004 12:58 in the afternoon, Papa went to be home with Jesus. Yes, it was a sad event, but I remember being comforted by the fact that the wheel chair was here, not in heaven. My Papa was doing cart wheels, back flips... you name it, he was doing it- no wheel chair. His body is whole now. No pain, no chemo and NO CANCER! My Papa was healed. He did win his fight against cancer. Sometimes God's healing is taking someone home and I am completely okay with that!

A few days before Papa died, there was a dove that stayed in the front yard. I remember sitting in the kitchen watching it... no one knew why it was there.  Before I move on, there's one thing you have to understand about Papa. He was a go big or go home type of guy. There was the wrong way to do things and there was the Wayne's way to do things. He always knew how to go out with a bang. Well, why should his death be any different?...

Our Pastor, Randall Worley, was on his way to the house to visit the family a few hours after Papa passed away. He said that he looked up and saw a dove flying away. Hmm, nice one, Papa. Don't know how you had that one arranged ;) I'm just kidding... but not really.

So, yes, my Papa would have been 71 today. We would be making him a big, chocolate cake and he would probably be eating sardines out of the can...dipped in mustard. Gross! He would also be eating black licorice. He had a strange taste in food and candy, but that's okay. He would also be on the floor, playing with his 2 granddaughters that he never got the chance to meet... but he will one day! He has 10 grandchildren (go big or go home, right?) :D

That's my Papa's story. He was so much more than a cancer patient. He wanted to change people's lives, through Christ living in him. Gosh, if he only knew how many people showed up to the visitation and funeral. We were only supposed to be accepting visitors for two hours... we were there for almost 5 hours!! Countless people coming in and talking about the Legacy that Papa left. What an honor it is to be a part of his family... his legacy. He was an incredible guy.

Now that I've finished writing, I notice there's tears running down my face... but joyful ones. The memories are sweet. I will cherish them forever. :)

Friday, February 25, 2011

Whirlwind of a week!

This week has been insane! When I say insane, I mean insanely awesome! Let me tell you why...

Monday: one class and was only required to do two lifts (meaning that I only had to do two lifting exercises 3 sets of 10). My body was extremely thankful because I have been sore for about 6 days straight. It is in desperate need of recovery!
Tuesday: Got extra credit in a class for going to an aerobics class, almost understood what was going on in Exercise Phys (yeah that's a big deal!), and then got to hang out with the coolest person that I know! I managed to get some studying in. :)
Wednesday: Only 2 lifts again...which my body was once again extremely grateful for! Got a B on my midterm! yeah!! I also found out that I get extra credit for allowing the department to conduct a 48 hour research study on me! I'm required to wear a monitor on my ankle, which kinda looks like I'm on house arrest...but who cares- it'll make me look tough :D... and it's extra credit!!
Thursday: Classes all day- found out I have terrible short term memory (yes, it was an experiment that proved true), but that's ok...I will improve it :) Got to play basketball, got to stand up for my "being lady like" beliefs (I didn't get to say anything, but I proudly raised my hand)and was introduced to The Coffee Shack- this great place where I can get some studying done. woo!
Friday: no classes. yay :)

Everything that I just typed was random and probably very insignificant to any individual choosing to read this blog, but it's my blog and I wrote what was on my mind. :D

This week, God has confirmed that He has all of my concerns under control. I tend to get ahead of myself a lot. Earlier this week, I had a discussion about how the basis of a relationship with God is trust. Actually, it should be the basis of every relationship. Anyway, I've been thinking a lot about how simple that is... but I make it so complicated. God just wants us to trust Him. That's it. I think we, as humans, tend to complicate so many things that do not need to be that way. Simplicity is a beautiful thing, in all aspects of life. :)

One more thing, earlier in this post I said something about being able to stand up for my "lady like" beliefs. It was cool to be able to do that- but sadly I was standing alone. I don't mind standing alone, but why weren't any other girls standing up? The subject was the Sociology of Sport. The professor played a video talking about women being marketed in sports. Except they weren't being marketed for their talent- they were being marketed based on looks. I was almost sick with the pictures that were flashing up on the screen. Well known women athletes, women that many little girls look up to, posing for multiple pictures- half naked, provocative and degrading herself. WHY?! Why are women buying into the lie that they are just useful as objects? What happened to being honorable, modest and classy? It makes me so sad. Have we forgotten what it means to be a lady? Someone who is to be looked up to, carries herself with integrity and needs to be cherished? I get so frustrated sometimes. I've actually had people come up to me and ask why I dress, talk and act the way I do. I've had people tell me that I'm too uptight, need to loosen up. I, personally, don't think I'm too "uptight."Since when is it wrong to be a lady?  Innocence is a good thing, people!!

I should probably step off my soap box before I say something not so nice :)

I like being a lady. It's fun. :)

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Back to the Basics

One of the coolest things about having Jesus as your best friend is the things that He constantly teaching you. I also think it's something that I need to be more thankful for instead of being my stubborn self and either a) take advantage of it or b) get beyond frustrated. Challenge is good. I love any kind of challenge, until it's one of the life changing ones. It's always good in the end, but the process of getting to the end frustrates me sometimes.

A few days ago I was chillin' with God just talking to Him about some different things going on. He reminded me of a lot of things that He had been trying to teach me lately. It first started with the misconceptions of righteousness. It was one of the first messages preached at VCM (campus ministry at ECU) this semester and it spoke to me- I had never really thought about the true meaning of righteousness until then. It's something I had heard about since I was little, but I feel like I'm finally starting to grasp it's true meaning. The big one came a week or two later. A simple phrase that really got me thinking. "Who told you that?" It goes back to Genesis 3 when the serpent tempts Eve. After all that went down, God comes to the garden looking for Adam and Eve and they were hiding because they were naked. When God finds them (does anyone else think it's awesome that God's like "hey guys, where are you?" haha anyway...) He asks them who told them that they were naked...
When going through my daily routine there have been thoughts or opinions that would enter my mind and I've had to ask myself "Who told you that?" What is the real truth? What does the Word have to say about it? Which leads me to this....

Back to the basics.

I don't care if you've been saved 8 days or 8 years. You need to do this book. The Purple Book is a book written about Biblical Foundations. It's a miniature Bible study type thing. It's really neat and straight forward. When you've filled it out it again! I've been through it once but I feel like I need to go through it again. I told God that I wanted to start over. It's time to rebuild my foundation. I'm ready to be taught and try my hardest to keep the stubborness aside. 

In other news...

It's baseball season at ECU! I've never sat through an entire baseball game, studied the rules or been a fan! :D My roommates are quite the baseball fans, so since I drag them to football games, I went to a game with them. Let me tell's fascinating! Especially when you know what's going on! I'm going back again today! It still has NOTHING on football, but it's a sport and it's fun! Plus, if I get bored, football practice fields can be seen from the stands and I can watch spring training :D just kidding, but not really...

This picture is too funny not to post. Yes, this is normal... ;)

Much better! We had a good time. ECU kicked butt :) 

A classmate of mine got approved to do a research study through the university. It's called 7 Days 7 Ways. It's a faith based fitness research study. The study is conducted at a small church about 20 minutes away and I was able to volunteer to help teach aerobics to the research participants. The study is every Saturday morning in February. I got the chance to help teach this morning and had a blast! The participants are mostly in their 50's-60's and we are tracking exercise, simple nutrition and how it impacts weight and body fat percentage. I am excited to see everyone's results next week! I'm thankful that I only had to wear a name tag and not a microphone! :D 

Sunday, February 13, 2011

I Love...

There are many things in life that I randomly find happiness out of! Here are a few:

First off, before I show any pictures, I love to write! I seriously thought about becoming a writer, and I secretly want to write a devotion or something when I get older... :)

I LOVE.....
Beth Moore. She is the real deal! I enjoy reading her devotional and doing her Bible studies. She is an awesome woman of God who really challenges me to grow closer to the Lord!

Ballroom Dancing. It's something that I used to be very passionate about. I hate that I quit dancing! Ballroom is elegant and classy! I believe every lady should know how to socially ballroom dance. :)

Cinderella. She is my favorite Disney character! I loved watching Disney Princess Movies growing up. :)

Sushi. I could eat sushi every day, all day, for the rest of my life! Thank goodness it's a healthy food! :)

NIKE. You know how some people are label snobs when it comes to designer clothing? Well, I'm kinda a label snob when it comes to workout gear. I buy everything NIKE, except shoes to workout in. I do buy their tennis shoes to wear around throughout the day though :) 

Enchanted. I have no idea why I love this movie so much! If you haven't watched it, you definitely need too! 

Jillian Michaels. I used to be hard core Jillian Michaels fitness follower. I definitely do not follow all of her stuff like I used to, but she will always be one of my fitness heroes. She may be tough, but her heart to see obesity dissolve in America is inspiring! :)

TJ Maxx. This is by far my favorite store to shop at! They have incredible deals and super cute clothes and shoes! :)

The Harlem Globetrotters. I saw them on ESPN today and couldn't stop laughing! I remember my parents taking me and my siblings to watch them and it will always be a good memory for me. It's something I will do with my kids. :)

Mizuno. Mizuno running shoes are top notch! I have 3-4 pairs of them and wear them every time I work out! I recommend them to everyone. :)

Free weights. I'm one of those girls that goes to the gym and works hard. I don't like using machines. Free weights give you a better range of motion and provide much better results. I also think they make you stronger, faster. :)

Oh Yeah! Protein Shakes. This is the only protein shake that I've tried that tastes good. Most other brands have way too much sugar or make you want to gag. I don't drink them a lot because a) they're expensive and b) I do not take a lot of protein in (no one likes muscular women BLAHH)!! :)

My daddy's work! Yes, my dad built this house and designed this kitchen! He is such a talented fella! One day, I will buy this house or build one like it! It is absolutely beautiful! This was my dad's first award winning home! :)

Babies. This is baby Stella. She is the eleventh grandchild in the family! She is a sweet heart and is growing up way too fast! Someone needs to step up and keep the tradition of always having a baby around alive! 

Coke Zero. Yes, I'll admit it! My worst dietary flaw is this stuff right here. I've tried quitting. One day I will, but not today...and tomorrow isn't looking good either! ;)

Light Java Chip Frap. The greatest drink to every come out of Starbucks! :)

ECU Football. Growing up I never thought that I would be an ECU fan, but I LOVE it! Even after I graduate, I will continue to come back and watch football here in Greenville! :)

Being a Pirate. I am blessed to be a part of a great school and a great department! I get to work with fitness, health and sports every day! :)

A big family. If my family were Greek, we would top the movie "My Big Fat Greek Wedding!" I love being a part of a large family! There was never a boring moment growing up as a kid! I am incredibly blessed to be a part of my awesome family! :)

The awesome, Godly women that God has put into my life!! In high school, I didn't have many friends. I keep in touch with one person out of my entire school (that's not family). I came to ECU and God brought me such wonderful women to encourage me and to show me the true meaning of friendship! I love them so much!! 

I could go on for days about little things that I think are cool! I think it's the little things in life that are important. God is teaching me to be content in all things! :) 

Thursday, February 10, 2011

The Father's Heart

Lately I have been overwhelmed with God's abundant love. I feel Him with me everywhere. I know relationships should never be based on feeling, but sometimes it's what I need. I truly believe for the first time, I'm starting to truly discover the Father's heart. I don't know, it's not really what I'm going to talk about through the rest of this post, but I just thought I'd share. :)

I was talking to the wisest woman I know this morning (my mom) and was telling her about some pretty exciting things that have entered my life over the last few weeks. Recently I had been feeling a little guilty for getting "out of the swing of things" over the last year or so. Meaning I wasn't as involved in church or with my friends from campus ministry. I tend to seclude myself when something is either not right or change is occurring. Mom really challenged me not to be bitter about the last year. Bitterness is something that I struggle with from time to time and praise God that He is helping me break free of that. She made a really good point to me while I was sitting in my car talking to her, (yes I sit in my car and talk on the phone, whether I'm driving or not), she challenged me to look back on the last year and see how my heart had changed. I've been sitting here for quite a while listing out things about me that are different. I was surprised at how many things are different! I won't share all of them, but there are a few in particular that I will write about.

The biggest one is that a year ago, I thought I knew what I wanted in a spouse. Good gosh, looking back it's almost sickening with how shallow it was. It was based off pretty much looks, strength and career. Of course loving Jesus was on the list, but that was it. "Loving Jesus." There are many people that say they "love Jesus." God has taught me that there are greater things than that. I have gotten to the point (finally!!) where I'm just like, "God, take it." He really does know what He's doing. He has blown my mind these past few weeks with the little reminders of how He does have the perfect plan, and person, for me. I mean honestly, it's great if you're a gym rat and can tell me who won the super bowl 11 years ago, but in the long run who cares?! If I'm going to spend the rest of my life with somebody, the shallow things I wanted shouldn't even be close to the top of my list. Heck, I've pretty much eliminated them. So yes, that was a big one. God kindly showed me His heart during the little bit of struggle that I went through. He wants me to be cherished and challenged. I think a lot of girls feel unworthy of a man who values her heart and challenges her to fall more in love with Christ daily. I did for a while, but now I realize that God's desire is for us to be cherished and challenged in every way, because He cherishes us. :)

I was reminded of a really cool thing about God. He is my friend. :) "For since our friendship with God was restored by the death of his Son while we were still his enemies, we will certainly be saved through the life of his Son." Romans 5:10 (NLT)
I'm starting to realize what it means to be God's friend. Yes, God has authority over our lives and we should obey Him but He is also our friend. He wants to hang out just like somebody would hang out with their best friend. So, recently I've had some pretty humorous conversations with God. It's neat to step out of the box that we have always put God in and see Him for who He really is.

I guess at the beginning when I said the Father's Heart really wasn't what I was going to talk about, I was lying. My bad. That's exactly what I just talked about. :) 

On a completely different note: I finally gave in and paid 50 bucks for a group fitness class at the gym. I'm one of those people that doesn't play around with money. Actually one of my worst faults is being too tight with money. You better believe that I am going to get every dime I possibly can out of this pass. I've had it for three days. Oh. My. Gosh. Just when I had confidence in "being in shape," I got pushed right back down! haha! :) It's been fun! I have learned a few things over the last 3 days of first experiences with group fitness:

1. It is possible to be so sore that you feel like your muscles are going to snap like rubber bands.
2. Step Aerobics is from the devil.
3. 8 minute abs is a walk in the park compared to the size 2 lady with the microphone up front.
4. Moving around vigorously for 50 minutes is a lot harder than it sounds.
5. I am out of shape.

Oh yes, one more thing. PACKERS WON THE SUPER BOWL!!! I called it since the playoffs started! It's all because 2 former Pirates are on the team. Ok, it not really, but I'm still extra proud! :) 
Maybe next year my Panthers will finally win it.... :D