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Monday, June 26, 2017

College bound

June 26th probably isn't a significant date to most people.  Indeed, ordinarily it isn't for me either.  But the older I get, the more I learn that life is anything but ordinary.
Today is a tiny milestone...because it means I am only 2 months away from living the mysterious college student life!

Until today, the only people to know all my near-future/college plans fell into 2 categories:

  1. A family member or close friend that I have seen and told in person.
  2. A pen-pal/friend who got a personal letter that described my plans.
These are my favorite forms of communication about my life, so I don't tend to go beyond these methods.  But if you're outside one of these 2 groups, you may still be wondering what came of the end to my New Year's review post where I suggested the prospect of college ahead.

Although I was uncertain about pursuing college, I still applied to my top 2 options--Corban University and Bob Jones University.  The past several months have been spent gathering advice from family and close friends (most of whom also said I am just "the college type of person."  I'm not really sure what that means...) to help me in this major decision. Every one of them highly encouraged me to pursue college.  And for some reason I felt like God was pushing me in that direction despite my hesitation.

After I decided to just take the leap into college, choosing between the two schools still lay before me; and this decision was agonizing.  Unfortunately, I wasn't one of those people who'd always wanted to be in a certain field at a certain college with the whole future perfectly planned out.  (I envy those people.)  As soon as I was ready to make a final decision on one school, the exact opposite one started to sound superior. I spent weeks and months weighing the positives and negatives of both campuses and most of all praying.   But now here I am--so thankful to have that decision behind me--all signed up to be at Bob Jones University in 2 months.
I took this picture when I visited campus with my sister and parents in 2014!  Back then, my attending here was a "no."

I have received negative comments from many people over my decision.  Numerous friends and acquaintances have said things such as "Why so far away?" "Don't you know how conservative that school is?" "You must be pretty adventurous."  It all ties into this:
There are 2 primary reasons I made the decision that I did.  (And one of them is not because I'm adventurous.  As someone who hates change, despises moving, and does not thrive on crowds, I'm pretty sure I don't qualify for adventurous.)
  1. Regret factor: my brother told me that avoiding college now might lead to regret in the future.  This drove me to go for college in the first place.  Then I went a step further: Attending Bob Jones University was a place that I had visited with my dad and then began to dream about for my own future.  For the past 3 years, the idea of being a BJU student has been somewhere in the back of my mind, and I didn't want the possibility of looking back on life and wondering why I never followed through.  
  2. Standards I appreciate: a lot of people know about the standards on campus and see them as rules and legalism.  But when I saw the standards, I saw a desire to be professional and to glorify God.  I saw a place that was so committed to encouraging a life-style that they believe is honoring to God and helping students establish safety away from home.  That's what I want.  I'm not looking for legalism or unnecessary rules.  I want to put myself in a position that inspires my walk with God, and I believe Bob Jones University will help me grow in the Lord and put Him first 100%.
To those of you who ask if I'm excited, all I have to say is "HAHAHA."  It is far outside my comfort zone, but I am confident that He is "continually with me" in the changes ahead.  With 2 months to go before college begins, I believe that God is taking my right hand and leading me to a place that will prepare me to serve Him more fully.  That is what I'm excited about. 
(I am loving Psalm 73:23 right now.)

"Your ears shall hear a word behind you, saying, 'this is the way, walk in it.'"
Isaiah 30:21

Monday, June 19, 2017

Puppy overload

It's been a couple weeks since I've let you in on puppy life here.  These guys have grown up so much since I last blogged about them.  I can no longer hold them in just one hand.  They're dark blue eyes have opened and they have learned that legs are for walking, not scooting.  Now 3 weeks old, they are just beginning to play with each other and get more active.  We have only a few more weeks left with all these puppies, so they deserve the camera's full attention.
So in case your life is lacking in furry cuteness, here's his blog post.
"Whoever said money can't buy happiness forgot little puppies."
Bat puppy!


Aren't these kids THE CUTEST with the puppies?!  It was so cute to see the kids hold the puppies so carefully.

Saturday, June 17, 2017

June photo challenge (2)

It's that time of the week again!

11. Daily habit: despite the color of my teeth, I do brush my teeth at least once daily.  XD
 12. Sunlight: well, it was cloudy and rainy all week.  I looked around for some sunlight, but I didn't have the camera with me during the few times it appeared through the clouds.  However, I was thinking that sunlight--even behind the clouds--is the only way our days are not complete darkness.  And I love being able to see the clouds sinking between the trees.
 13. Time: this clock is somewhat significant.  We've had a different clock here for years.  But it refused to keep the right time.  No matter what, it always fell approximately 10 minutes behind.  (Yes, we even tried to trick it a couple times.)  And since this clock happened to be our main clock in the house, we left late on many occasions.  I am SO thrilled to have a replacement!
 14. Texture
 15. Infatuation: I don't generally consider myself "infatuated" with very many things.  That word is not really part of my personal vocabulary either.  But I eventually remembered some things that apply (and then later a couple more things that aren't included in this picture).  This book has appeared in at least one other photo challenge before.  Yes, I am definitely infatuated with its contents!  If I've ever said something in conversation about a book I love, there's a 98% chance that I'm talking about Francis Chan's "Crazy Love."  Chocolate covered coffee beans and Reese's are also worth...well, they're just worth a lot of things.
 16. Sleep: these little guys sleep all over each other.  They put the meaning in "doggy pile"!!
 17. First thing in the morning: when I start the day out with uninterrupted time in this Book, life is guaranteed to be better for me.  There really is a difference!

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

No competition: irises

"A flower does not think of competing with the flower next to it.  It just blooms."

And maybe this is why flowers are each so flawlessly beautiful in their own way.  They don't try to be like the next one down, and I think that's what God wants us to learn about life, too.  He made us each unique and wants us to love being the person He created us to be.  I think it is true that lessons can be found in anything.  :)

Saturday, June 10, 2017

June photo challenge (1)

So in May I took over 500 pictures.  Maybe over 1,000 if we include all the deleted ones, too.  I learned a lot more about appropriate shutter speeds and adjustment of lighting.  I studied a lot about long exposure and am excited to put some of that new stuff to use.
And now I've survived the first week of June and the start of a new challenge!

1. Shadows: I wish I knew how to do more cool shadow animals and signs.
2. Skin: this was a few days after I learned that my hand is not an invincible cutting board like I sometimes wish.  I guess it's worth sacrificing an extra dish next time I have to cut lettuce.
3. Before and after: I'm frequently laughed at for the way I do math homework.  If I'm going to waste a piece of paper on math, I'm going to use it thoroughly.  So I use a paper until there isn't a place to write anything more...and then I write over the parts that aren't too dark.  After getting some colored pens, it's been so much easier to keep my place when I'm working an equation.

4. Moonlight
5. Love: I kinda cheated on this one.  I didn't actually take this picture.  But I figured I should be able to get away with it if I adjusted the manual settings.
This amazing friend of mine called us up and asked if she could stop by and hang out for a day.  There was no way I was going to turn that offer down!  And then that afternoon turned into 2 days...I think this was the first time she'd been over without another family member, too.  There are just so many reasons why I love having her in my life.
6. Buttons: we have a ridiculous stash of buttons.  Like one to match everything...except the one you might actually need.
 7. Numbers
8. Parallel
 9. Color explosion: I don't know if this qualifies as an "explosion."  But the white and yellow brightness dotting the fields is a happy summer feeling.
 10. Must have: so I'm not actually exactly obsessed with my car....well, ok.  We all pretend about something.  But one year ago today, this became the first car in history to have my name on the title.  I've always dreamed of being old enough to have my own car--a cool one.  And I'd always planned to have a Toyota Corolla S, but I never thought I'd actually own one.  Then, on June 10th, 2016, I drove this thing home with a significantly emptier bank account.  And I still can't believe I actually own a Toyota Corolla S.
It's not perfect; we've put an insane amount of miles on it, and those summer drives without air conditioning are nothing to brag about.  It's not the manual I searched for.  I get asked about the "I love Dutch Brothers" sticker in the window, and I've never even had Dutch Brothers coffee.  Pine needles stick in the carpet like nobody's business.  Oh, and then there's that blue melted crayon in the back seat because #auntlife.  But this Flaming Flamingo (or Flameingo for short) is still an amazing piece of the family.  :)
In celebration of it's first birthday, I cleaned and vacuumed it out for the first time in weeks.  Then Tirzah and I gave it a bath and wax.  Believe me, it desperately needed the attention.  The last wash was literally months ago.  I still can't believe how shiny Flameingo is now.  I even got asked by my boss if we'd gotten a new car!  It is seriously a different color.
So maybe this is something I "must have"...

Tuesday, June 6, 2017

32 little paws

Just so cute, I'm telling you.  

As promised from my last May photo challenge post, the invasion of some little paws (and faces!) has begun!  Chara, whom we bought almost 2 years ago, semi-surprised us with a litter of 8 puppies a couple weeks ago.  They are all so healthy and growing so rapidly.  Now almost 2 weeks old, they have certainly doubled their size since day 1.  I have no doubt that they will be making frequent appearances here over the summer before they find homes of their own.  Here are the first 12 days of puppy love!
Scrambling around at 3 days old!
The single yellow puppy has proven to also be one of the loudest.  I guess he's determined to be heard even if he is the only different one.  His voice refuses to go unheard!

Since the yellow one sticks out so well, I guess we could give him a name by now.
Theo was the. cutest. with the puppies after he got a little better acquainted.  He quickly found that a pillow we had out in the yard for our Sunday afternoon relaxing was a perfect bed for all 8 of the puppies.  After carefully transporting all of them, Theo kept resting his head against them. So adorable!

This one slept soundly for long time while I practiced piano.
I can't wait to see all their curious, big eyes and have them playing all over....and for the day that I can tell them apart and elect names.  I can foresee way too much puppy fun happening this summer.  (Come on over if you wanna join me!)