On BCM.

Today was not only my last day of class as an undergraduate, but tonight was my last BCM ever.

I don’t get emotional about moving on very often, but when my friends started giving senior speeches and talking about what the last four years have really meant, I couldn’t help but tear up a little bit.

And as mad as I was about there not being a senior video, I have to admit that it might be a good thing. Don’t know if I could’ve handled that.

I chose not to give a formal senior speech for a couple of reasons, but this post will do a better job of saying what BCM has meant to me than any speech would have anyways.

BCM wasn’t the biggest part of my college experience, and it wasn’t even the most important, but I can honestly say that it had a huge impact on the last four years.

Without BCM, I probably wouldn’t have this group of beautiful friends (plus a few other lovelies not in this picture). There have been crazy times in the last few years, but somehow we managed to stick together since the freshman girls bible study that brought us all together in the first place. & I think we’ve come pretty far.

BCM 1Without BCM I probably wouldn’t have ended up with these two crazy roommates for the past couple of years either. I honestly don’t know what I would have done without them, and I don’t know what I’m going to do once we move out of the lovely Harriett Plantation. But BCM brought us together, and I will always be thankful for that.

BCM 2BCM also changed my whole life plan. Whoa. If I hadn’t done Sendmenow Summer missions, I might not have ever even thought about going into occupational therapy, and now I can’t imagine going into anything else.

& speaking of Sendmenow missions, without BCM I would have never started working at Camp Hawkins or Camp Jackie, and I wouldn’t have had the opportunity to fall in love with so many precious kids like these::

BCM 3..or have had the opportunity to work with so many amazing people there. Like these crazy ladies and so many more that aren’t in the picture.

BCM 3Without BCM I wouldn’t have had the opportunity to go on seven different mission trips over the past four years, and I wouldn’t have gotten to spread Jesus and love on precious babies in Ecuador or Haiti.

BCM 4

And most importantly, I wouldn’t be where I am today in my relationship with Jesus. Just having a time to worship and learn with my friends every week made such a huge difference.

I would like to think that I’ve changed a lot in these past four years, and BCM has been a major part of that. Friends, a couple of awesome interns, a great campus minister, and missions opportunities have all helped me grow in more ways than I would have imagined when I signed up for an email list at summer orientation.

I feel like I need to say that, as great as it has been, it hasn’t been all rainbows & butterflies. People in BCM have hurt me and made me cry, and I’ve probably done the same to them. I’ve been offended, felt unappreciated, gotten mad at the way things happened, and even said a few a lot of things that I probably shouldn’t have. I also didn’t find my future husband, so that’s kind of disappointing. You know, whatever. But overall, I’m so, so glad that I didn’t just give up then because it has definitely been worth it.

I wouldn’t trade these past four years at Mercer for anything. I found a community that I loved here at this school, but I found my family at BCM. & while I’m ready to move on and see what’s next, I’m going to miss it so much. You don’t just find a family anywhere. I have been so blessed.

On Down Syndrome.

Today in my ethics class the topic was abortion.  Now I have opinions on whether I think abortion is right or wrong, but that’s not the topic of this post.  While the conversation in class was pretty civil for a topic that people get so passionate about, there were a few things said that made me think.

While discussing questions that arise when considering abortion, the subject of the baby’s quality of life was brought up.  & then the subject of down syndrome was brought up.  & if finding out your baby has down syndrome is a valid reason to abort it.

Nobody in my class spoke up and said they agree with that, but I almost wanted them to because I was waiting for a chance to say this::

I absolutely do not think that finding out a baby has down syndrome is a reason to validate aborting them.

Why? Because I know lots of awesome people with Down Syndrome who have awesome lives.  The have an awesome quality of life, and sometimes I wish my attitude was more like theirs.

& I know lots of people with Down Syndrome who have done amazing things.

In fact, there are several of them who have impacted my life in major ways.  & several of them who have taught me a lot.

Like these guys:

& this guy:

&  this sweet boy:

& this precious girl:

& seriously, the list could go on and on and on.

It’s so important to realize that one extra chromosome doesn’t make somebody’s life worth any less.  These people are some of my favorite people in the whole world.  & they definitely do important and amazing things.  They are hilarious and sweet, and they surprise me all the time.

So don’t underestimate their lives, because if you do, you’re totally missing out.

Orientation Reflections.

This weekend I went to summer missions orientation for sendmenow.  I didn’t really know what to expect, but I have to say that it was pretty awesome.  What’s not to love about a weekend filled with worship, God, and a whole bunch of other summer missionaries? …Sleeping on a hard floor is what, but I can  get over one downside.

My favorite part was getting to meet and get to know six of my coworkers for this summer (although getting flashed by an old man on the way home was a close second.  Yes, that really happened).  I can already tell that they’re all pretty awesome.  I’m already excited about working with them for six weeks.

I also got to learn a few things about Camp Hawkins that I didn’t already know.  All of them are making me even more excited than I already was.

1. We eat about every two hours.  Yep.  Breakfast, then a morning snack, then lunch, then an afternoon snack, then dinner, then a bedtime snack.  That’s a lot of (hopefully yummy) camp food.

2.  One of those meals each week is called “messy meal.”  No utensils allowed, hands are okay, but faces are preferred.  Oh and it’s always macaroni or spaghetti.  Perhaps I will be able to reenact  Lady and the Tramp at some point? (obviously without the romance…)

3.  There’s a dance each week.  Maybe I will appear to be a good dancer at a dance where all my friends aren’t ballroom dancing experts… Yeah, I know, probably not.  Oh well, I’m always willing to embarrass myself for fun anyways.

4.  There’s a girls sleepover every week.  That’s all I have to say about that.  Sleepovers are always fun.

5. There’s a talent show each week, and every camper gets to showcase a talent.  I’m way excited to see what awesome and unique talent everybody comes up with.  I love when kids get to have the spotlight for a few minutes.

6.  We get to perform songs at churches each week with the kids.  This includes learning some sign language.  Awesome in two ways.

I learned about a lot more camp stuff too, but I’m sure I’ll blog about everything once it’s actually happens in a couple of months.  It’ll be much more exciting then anyways.

Besides meeting as a team and learning more about the summer, we also got to go through some “stations.” It sounded kind of horrible to me too, but it wasn’t too bad.  One of the stations was about journaling.  Something I hate do not enjoy very much.

I try. I really do.  In fact, I have five journals in my room right now.  Unfortunately, none of them are more than half full (and only one of them is that full).  It’s just not my thing.

We’ll see if I actually journal this summer.  I may try, or I may cheat and count this blog as a form of journal. We’ll see.

Anyways, this station asked us to answer a few questions as a type of journal entry, so here we go.

1. Why are you doing sendmenow missions?

–One reason I decided to do sendmenow missions is because I didn’t want to waste another summer.  Last year I pretty much stayed at home and did nothing.  That was dumb.  I think that while I have the opportunity to serve over that summer that I should take advantage of it, so I did.  I also just really love serving people, especially kids (see the next question).  God has called me to serve, and I have an awesome opportunity, so I need to take it.

2. Who are you called to?

–Specifically, I feel that God has called me to work with kids.  Like I said in my one day without shoes post, kids have no say in where they live or what kind of life they’re given. The kids I’m going to work with this summer had no say in being born with a disability. They deserve to be loved just as much as any other person, and that doesn’t always happen.  I’m excited to be able to show Jesus’ love to these precious kids more than anything else. (And to be able to show Jesus’ love to some more adorable Haitian kids this summer too!)

3.  If you knew you wouldn’t have a chance to tell anyone back home about your sendmenow summer experience, how would that change the way you serve on the field?

–I don’t really know how to answer this question.  It shouldn’t change the way I serve, because who I’m serving is the same: God and these wonderful kids.  Fortunately though, I will be able to share, and hopefully the stories of what God does this summer can make an impact too.  (Or at least make for some interesting blog posts.)

4.  What do you expect God to do in you? Around you? Are you ready?

–I don’t really know what God is going to do in me this summer.  I know He’s going to make me grow, but besides that I don’t want to have too many expectations.  He’ll blow them out of the water anyways.  Same for what He’s going to do around me: bigger things than what I could expect.  I’m not fully ready yet, even though I’d go to camp today if I could.  But I know I’ll be prepared when it’s time to go; God has been working on that for a long time.

So there it is, a sort of journal entry.  Just don’t expect me to rewrite it in one of those notebooks because it’s not going to happen.  I just hope this post got across just how excited I am.

If it didn’t, this might help you out: A countdown that one of my team members made!

My One Day Without Shoes.

Every year TOMS shoes sponsors a day without shoes.  This year’s just happened to be today.  This is the idea: Go barefoot for one day, so kids don’t have to.  While going barefoot for a day doesn’t actually give kids shoes, it does raise awareness so (hopefully) more people will support TOMS.

I absolutely adore my TOMS.  I’ve actually had my pair since senior year of high school. (I’d like to think that I was cool and had mine before they became too popular, but at the same time, my Dad had TOMS before I did).  They are definitely well loved, but they’re holding up.  I’ve been working up the nerve to spend the $69 to buy a new pair of cordones, but I haven’t done it yet.  Maybe I can convince myself that’s it’s worth spending money that I don’t have to help some precious child.  Or maybe I’ll wait until I make some money this summer.  That’s probably the better option. (Or I’ll take donations.  Just kidding.)

My TOMS

Anyways, I decided to participate in the one day without shoes for the second year in a row.  Last year I went barefoot all day except for when Ms. Carolyn scolded me for trying to sneak into the caf without shoes (something about a health code violation? psh).  So this year I wore my slipper socks to lunch and she didn’t catch me. (I did see a few barefoot friends today though, so maybe she’s accepted it.  I’m not sure).  Other than that, I have been and will be shoe-less all day.

The biggest thing that I realize after going barefoot is how blessed I am to have shoes. While it’s fun for one day, there are a lot of places I wouldn’t dare go (or wouldn’t be allowed to go) without shoes.  After consciously thinking about how many kids go barefoot everyday, I feel pretty selfish when I look under my bed and see this:

Yep.  That’s how many pairs of shoes I have.  41 to be exact (and that’s not even counting the shoes I left at home).  I know it’s ridiculous.  And obnoxious.  And you may think I’m crazy or OCD because I have shoes that match every outfit.  I agree.

Obviously shoes are a necessity as protection from infection and disease, but I also read today that kids in Haiti (and I’m sure other places too) can’t go to school if they don’t have shoes.  Haiti hits close to home.  That kinda makes me feel sick when I think about these faces:

To think that my precious babies from my trip in January may not be able to go to school or get an education because they don’t have shoes while I can pick from 41 pairs everyday is disgusting.

So even though you can say that TOMS are too expensive, that they should give more and be a non-profit organization, or that their shoes aren’t good enough quality, if they help these precious kids, and tons more like them, I’d say it’s worth it.

Kids don’t get to choose where they’re born,  they don’t get to choose if their parents can afford shoes for them, they don’t get to choose if they’re allowed to go to school, and they don’t get to choose if they become infected with a disease that can be prevented.  However, I can choose to help and only hope that I’ll be able to make a difference to a precious child like this one:

I mean, really.  How could you not want to help somebody as cute as that?