Thursday, November 19, 2015

The Refugee Crisis

I have been particularly bothered this week by the recent announcement that Tennessee, along with 25 other states, will refuse to allow Syrian refugees enter. 

For one, I am bothered because many of the students I counsel and teach are refugees and immigrants. By and large, the refugees and immigrants are the well-behaved, driven students that do not cause problems. From an academic perspective, they are the ones who are incredibly motivated and dedicated to learning and creating a better life for themselves. From a counseling perspective, they are the ones who have seen horrific scenes and dealt with losses that I would not wish upon anyone. But these kids are the ones fortunate enough to have made it out, to have been taken in by America. They also happen to be some of my favorites.

While thinking about this situation, this verse from Matthew continually came to my mind. As a believer, I do not feel peace about turning thousands of people away. I realize that safety is an issue, but it seems completely unfair to turn away tens of thousands of endangered people based on the actions of a few. And The Bible does not say that you fed the hungry, when it was convenient for you.  Or cared for the sick, when there was zero risk of you catching the sickness that they had contracted. It simply says that the love shown for the least of these is love shown for Jesus Christ.

I will admit, I have been annoyed by the Facebook rants about this situation. I just do not think Facebook is the appropriate platform for political debates, but I came across this article that was posted by a friend who I respect, who also happens to have spent a great deal of time in the middle east. Having personally seen the atrociousness of the concentration camps after the fact, I cannot imagine that anyone in their right mind would have kept these people there instead of letting them come to the U.S.

 So, not that that anyone who makes decisions will read this, but I want to be able to say that I did everything I could do for the least of these. Don't you?!


Friday, November 13, 2015


My heart is breaking...

For a city that I have grown to adore. 

For a city that took an acquired taste.

For a city full of fond memories.

For a city representing a time that I miss.

For a city that has seen undeserving hate.

For a city that is always known for love...

Pray for Paris.

Monday, October 12, 2015

Costa Rica Dreamin'

Last week, I was zip lining through the rain forest and stopping mid rafting trip to be served fresh fruit on the bottom of a boat.
This week, I am scrambling to throw snacks in my school bag as I rush out the door for work. The times change fast and I am learning to embrace every stage, knowing I will soon be on to the next thing. But its hard not to miss this dreamy Costa Rica life.


Monday, September 28, 2015

A Weekend in The District

The past few days have been a wonderful whirlwind. Like I told a friend last night, "I just do not think feeling rested is in the cards for us right now, so we may as well have fun!" And this weekend was plenty of fun, indeed.

First of all, I love the city of DC. I have visited a good bit in recent years and it never ceases to amaze.

Second of all, having the whole family in one place (despite the fact that I am perpetually 9th wheel these days….) is always a recipe for a great time.

Of course, I cannot leave out the purpose of the whole gathering, which was the wedding of my cousin Carlton and Ian!

The wedding was lovely, but the entire weekend was planned to perfection. This Bloody Mary bar at brunch pretty much sums up how pristine and delicious every meal tasted.

Our best friends in the entire world now live in DC, and any time spent with the Campbell clan is time well spent.

Just a few snaps never sum up the hilarious moments, meaningful conversations, and precious time spent together. Here is a mix of pictures that try to capture little tidbits like my 89 year old grandmother's killer dance moves or last minute DC purchases like Jonny's British socks.

I feel full and rejuvenated after the weekend in DC!

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Fall is Finally Here...

The breezes are finally getting cooler and the leaves are starting to turn every hue of the sunset, but it has strangely felt like Fall for a while. With the kids coming to school at the start of August, it felt like I said goodbye to summer so long ago. So it seems only fitting that it finally feels like fall. The busyness of fall certainly set in a long time ago. I am glad the weather and football has finally made its way into my life.

After work today, my mom and I stumbled upon a cute little apple festival going on at the local farmers market. And this fun photo booth was a part of it.

Another perk of fall that I absolutely adore is wearing flannels. Last night was my (actually it was Rita's…) debut flannel wearing for the season. And this adorable puppy is another thing I adore.

Happy Fall!

Monday, August 31, 2015

Exquisite Alabama

Alabama has been getting bad press lately, but I had the most lovely, refreshing time there these past few days. Smith Lake did not disappoint, nor did the beautiful countryside on the trip down and back.

That picture speaks for itself, and it was just one of many breath taking sights as we glanced out from the cozy porch or delicious meals we were enjoying at The Crane's Nest.

Along with the beauty of the place, I had plenty of fun with two of my best friends, Emily and Bizzell. With the busyness of school in full swing and the stress of a new job, I was wavering on whether or not I needed to be taking a weekend trip. But I cannot express how grateful I was to have spent the weekend relaxing with these friends!

As for laughter and exercise, this activity filled my quota for both.
Just some simple three person paddle boarding…

With a few natural spills off the board...

And one good, old belly flop!

It truly was a luxurious, rejuvenating, Alabama weekend!

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

The Working Life

I hate that I am turning into one of those people that lives for the weekend. Its not that I do not enjoy my job, it is just heavy and busy and taxing. I have fifth graders that cannot read the simplest sentences. I have seventh grade refugees that sit in school for 8 hours a day not understanding a single word. I have ninth graders that cannot spell the word "rape", but they know that they have been victims of it.

  And its not all bad. I walk in every morning to adorable smiling faces. I love seeing the English Language Learners light up when I speak to them in Spanish. I have read incredibly insightful poems written by my freshman this week. 

But all that to say, it does feel like I am just "powering through" the weeks to catch up on sleep, rejuvenate, and squeeze in some social interactions when the weekends roll around. I hope that will ease as time goes on.

Meanwhile, I am clinging to this truth.

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Messy Life

I tend to only blog about the good, fun parts of my life. In all honesty, when I am not blogging, its usually because my life is in shambles or I am doing nothing interesting at all. Currently, the latter is true.

I snapped this picture of my bedside table as I climbed into bed tonight. Embarassingly, this is exactly what it looks like lately. Everything is a mess. I just started a new job. I am exhausted. I wrecked my car. I have not cooked or exercised in days. That list could go on for days, but I won't bore you with all the mishaps of my life lately. So, if you are wondering why I am on a blogging hiatus, it is because my life is too scattered to even clean my room, much less organize a cute blog post.

Hanging in there.

Friday, July 3, 2015

Off the Grid

This week, I am vacationing in the beautiful, quintessential American small town of Harbor Springs, Michigan where my family has a summer cottage. 

As a result of the busyness and feeling the weightiness of sin in this world, I have decided to go "off the grid" during my stay up here. It is relatively easy to do because we do not have wifi at our house. I turned my phone off and left it in the car upon arrival, and bikes and boats are the main means of transportation up here. I will check my e-mail a time or two because of work, but other that that, I will be entirely un-plugged. And do you blame me when I have this view to enjoy? 

See ya on the flip side!

Sunday, June 21, 2015

Father's Day

I know, I know…the cliche Father's Day posts are out of control. And I should appreciate my dad every day of the year. And I really do. I cherish our Sunday afternoon lounges in my bed under the skylight. I love swinging by his office during the week and the clipart pictures he texts me on the reg. But, today, I want to share a little more about what a difference Carlyle has made in the person that I am today.

Pooch is the man who has raised four kids, who were born in a span of five years, and constantly been there to encourage, forgive, coach, and support us along the way. You have shelled out more cash than anyone ever should have spent…but you have taught us to spend money on the good things in life. To not skimp on education and experience, but that "money doesn't grow on trees". And I am grateful for that.

I still remember sitting in my dorm room bed with tears streaming down my face the first time I read this article about Dad's adding life to their daughters' years. And, fortunately, they were tears of gratitude. I was amazed by how my dad had accomplished the vast majority of these items. The tears were filled with sweet memories and thankfulness that I have an earthly father who is a great example of who my heavenly father is. And I am grateful for that.

A father who loves to sit around and talk. He loves to enjoy good meals. He has fostered a sense of adventure in all four of us that has shaped the people we have become today. And I am grateful for that.

He is the dad who loves exercise. Who coached every sports team and still asks me about my (non existent) workouts. And who loves me despite my lack of athletic ability. And I am grateful for that.

A father with an incomparable sense of humor. Although some of his jokes aren't even worthy of a laugh, it is his fun loving personality that draws others in and and keeps the entire family always up to something entertaining. And I am grateful for that.

It is his worth ethic that is inspiring. Whether it is running marathons, "retiring" only to become a CEO, or constantly coming to my house for repairs, Pooch is always passionate about whatever project he is currently working on. And I am grateful for that.

 And his love of traveling. While he has bankrolled more trips than I can count which I truly do appreciate, it is the fact that he will travel any amount of miles to see us that is inspiring. I am thankful to live a quick 10 minute drive from my parents currently, I am confident that I could move across the world and my dad would be there to visit me. And I am grateful for that.

I love the ways we are similar. Your love of costumes, sugary drinks, naps, and meals out have certainly been passed down to me. Your inability to sleep at night and your terribly weak stomach have been inherited too, but I'll forgive you.... And I am still grateful for that.

I almost can't forgive you for the fact that Aunt Bea will always be the favorite child, but since she's cute and wasn't around til y'all were "empty nesters", I guess I can let it slide. And I am still grateful for her.

But it is the intangible qualities that make you an amazing father. It is the qualities that cannot be captured in pictures. The fact that I can call you with any concern at any hour and I know that you will still love me. The compassionate, patient example of loving kindness. The example of asking for forgiveness when you have made mistakes. The example of love that you have set with 34 year of marriage. The love of our heavenly father that you have shared and exemplified. And it is those things that I will be eternally grateful.

Happy Father's Day, Pooch.
I love you. 

Saturday, June 20, 2015

Rolling with The Rolling Stones

On Wednesday afternoon, I was just hanging out with (new nashville resident!) Emily at her parents house in Franklin when someone mentioned The Rolling Stones were playing that night in our GroupMe. I was annoyed because I wanted to go but had not been organized enough to get tickets. As the GroupMe continued to blow up, I was even more annoyed to find out that almost all of our friends were going to the show, so Camille and I briefly tossed the idea around of scalping them. Camille called me to discuss just as I left Emily's a little before 6. The problem was, she had a 6 o'clock hair appointment, and I was 30 minutes from home, in workout clothes, and we were both unshowered. The show was downtown at 8. We debated on the phone, debated when we got home, and I kept saying, "I just feel like we can go down there and get free tickets…" to which Camille responded, "You are the only person in the world that just thinks stuff like that is gonna happen for you!" Well, thinking it pays off, because a few hours later we found ourselves jamming out just a few feet from Mick Jagger and had paid exactly zero dollars to get there!

And let me tell you, at the ripe age of 71, Mick Jagger has still got amazing dance moves.

It really was hilarious the way this night played out, because I was pushing so hard that we go downtown and try, but when we got there Camille stepped up her game and sweet talked an old man into giving us a $397 floor ticket for free. And by sweet talked, I mean saw his OKC hat and used her extremely limited basketball knowledge to act like we were huge OKC fans (#lebronsucks). After we had one, we were on cloud nine and knew we had to get another. We bumped into our friend Jordan, who introduced us to her friend and the friend's mom, who not only gave us a free ticket, but also two bottles of Fireball whiskey!

We were beyond pumped at this point, but in my persuasion of Camille to go downtown, I said that we could just see our friends and eat burgers at Acme if we couldn't get tickets, so we decided to still indulge in those burgers (and skip the opener, Brad Paisley). We also needed time to devise a plan of how we were going to enjoy this show together, since our two seats were very far apart. 

Acme was delicious, as always. We ordered cokes and poured in some Fireball, while passing it around to all of our friends we saw on The Walking Bridge, new friends we met at Acme, etc. As you can imagine, we were high on life and really not in need of any alcoholic beverages. 

Our game plan was to use both tickets to get into the arena, then Camille would go down to the floor and stealth pass the ticket back to me, and then I would go down to the floor too and we'd find an aisle to stand in somewhere. Well, they Xed the ticket when Camille went down. Luckily, the Xed the bottom so we ripped it, passed it back, got the top Xed and we were both in. We sweet talked the bouncers at the next ticket check, made it to our seat, which just so happened to be next to the old man who had gifted us the ticket. And luckily I am so tall (and Camille has been making tall jokes for the entirety of our 15 year friendship…) so we stacked doubly at our seat and could both see and enjoy the wonderful, classic music of The Rolling Stones. 

Cheers to this old man who made it all possible!