Monday, August 31, 2009


I was on the other side of campus yesterday (which at this point seems across the world!) running some errands before a transfer student retreat. I had some time to kill before it started, so I sat down on the steps of the Pyle Center, which is in a busy area, and journaled a bit. I want to share with you what I wrote because I feel like it's a good depiction of how content and good I feel about being here.

"I think I'm really gonna like it here. The different kinds of people are endless. I've seen people who talk to themselves in public. People who think they're too cool. Homeless people. I've seen weed [no worries, ma! Not offered to me.]. I just want to be engulfed and I feel like I am. The world's issues and its hurting people need servitude. Servitude requires exposure. Real exposure. Not the fake crap the suburbs claim. Oh thank God I'm not in the 'burbs!

"I've only been here two days. Not to say I'm fully adjusted or feeling at home yet, but I already feel a sense of purpose. There's a reason I'm here. Heck, there are probably a few. This is what's good and right and despite feeling a bit intimidated still, I feel like I'm supposed to be here. Or at least it's really good that I am.

"Haha. Just now, two guys on crotch rockets were in traffic in front of where I'm sitting. They had full helmets on and [despite being unable to speak] one [guy] waved to me. I waved back so he pointed to the seat behind him [as to invite me for a ride]. It made me laugh, but I declined : ). I love cute and funny moments like that.

"Hmmm. I need depth. I'm so irritated already with people who are obnoxious so they'll get attention. Trying to impress people. Gosh be real! I need something real.

"[On the other hand], I like that most people here just do their own thing. In general, people seem to be committed to who they really are, who that may be..."

... aaaand then I ran out of paper. : )

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Just a small update.

I'm here!! In Madison!! It's been a crazy week of registering, moving in, and going back and forth between here and home for a wake and a funeral. No worries - it was the best that day could be. Lots of stories and laughter and saying good-bye.

I'm at a point of just withstanding the transition. I'm trying not to freak myself out with how overwhelming all of this is. I have books to buy, a bus pass to get, orgs to check out, YWAM to find (this one I'm STOKED about), friends to meet, welcome week events to attend, and a self to take care of. Maybe I shouldn't have rattled all of that off...

I just need time : ) I just need time.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Even the best fall down sometimes...

I think I'm just gonna go ahead and tell the story.

I had a retreat a week and a half ago - a young adult retreat up at the camp I worked at all summer. Upon coming home, I found out that my grandma (dad's mom) was in the hospital after a bad tumble down the stairs. Cue a five hour visitation and a devastated Carrie after seeing her gram screaming in pain.

I was NOT ready for that.

We got home around 11 pm and the next thing on the agenda was a 8:30 am flight to Colorado to visit some close friends. It was an intense struggle that night - my grandmother is dying and I'm leaving. How could I do that? But my mom assured me that since my gram was so sedated and drugged up, any goodbye I could give her (besides the I love yous I'd already given) would be for me more than her.

So I went. Our family is based on tough love but I would frequently tell my gram that I loved her anyway. I was at peace knowing that I've been saying that to her all along.

The decision to go was made more for the sake of just making a decision more than thinking about what would be best. I made up my mind that if things got worse, I would come home. Whenever I go to Colorado, it's to breathe, to R & R, to be cared for and to connect with close friends that are far away.

I checked in every day with my parents. Things were steady and it just seemed to be a matter of time.

Thursday, I called the hospital room to talk to gram. She was out of it and had a breathing mask, so it was more like talking "at" her. It was the hardest phone call of my life, but I'm now so blessed by it. When my dad's one of fifteen, there's not much privacy. A phone call is probably the most private words I could give her at that point. I had to brace myself beforehand ("Dad, I'm not ready yet."). But I got to tell her that I loved her - I said it at least three times - that I admire her, that's she's a great woman. All the things I believed about her.

On Friday, the Schultz family (our CO friends) took us to Rocky Mountain National Park. I can't even put words to how amazing and beautiful it was. A perfect day. We took a wrong turn up a one way when going up the Rockies. But it turned out to be good because we found the perfect picnic spot. A clearing by an ice cold creek in the mountains. Gasp.

This is what I thought of it - WOW!


If you looked at the right angle, you could see through the trees to another mountain. The pines trees just go up and up and up...

Yup... cloud shadows. Where the trees end is the tundra line - above it the altitude is too high up for most vegetation. Here we're standing at about 11,000 feet.

So we went up and up and up and it was gorgeous and I was feeling the glory of God.

Upon coming down the mountains, we went to a glass blowing shop in the cute little town of Estes. I got a call from my dad and stepped outside. As soon as I heard his voice, I knew. She had passed about 40 minutes prior. She was on DNR, so slipped quietly away. She stopped breathing, but her heart kept stopping and starting for 20 minutes after that. Crazy. That shone true to her character - strong, stubborn, and a fighter.

I was surrounded with love. The people I was with definitely took care of me. It was as perfect an afternoon can be after hearing news like that. We walked down the strip, little 9-year-old Jillian holding my hand. We first went to a jewelry store and I found a necklace that made me think of my gram. Whenever I wear it, I will definitely be reminded of her.

I think my favorite memories of my gram would be when I would bring my hermit crabs over to her house when I visited her. I had only a few one-on-one times with her - the house is usually full of people - so those moments were precious. My gram LOVED my hermit crabs and she was so cute with them. We would chat about everything, mostly her. Her love for animals (that sound familiar?). Her childhood. She was such a rascal - she would find snakes and insects and everything the typical woman hates; and would then put it in her mother's or sister's face. Haha - crazy lady!!

How CUTE is she?

Monday, August 10, 2009

Geeze it's been ages!! It's been a busy month or so.

Last week, I had the joy of heading through the Ozark mountains of Arkansas to Booneville, a small town where YouthWorks is present. They are a mission organization that hosts and facilitates high school mission trips. They have 69 locations all over the country, as well as Canada and Puerto Rico. We happened to choose Booneville, AR and I'm glad we did : )

All the churches that came to work were mixed up and made into different crews. Then half the crews did work projects while the other half planned and did kids club. Halfway through the week, we switched. I was on crew 5 with kids from Fridley and from Richfield, Minnesota.

We started at Marjorie's house, scraping and repainting her carport. Marjorie is a severely arthritic old lady - I've actually never seen it so bad. Her hands were so shriveled, but she was still so capable. She was one of those people who are in pain, but you'd never know it because they refuse to complain. It was pretty clear that she decided to not let her pain dictate her life. She was joyful and so happy about life. Gosh, I was so inspired by her. Usually, I offer my help to someone in pain, but Marjorie was so capable of anything that I felt it would insult her abilities. Plus, she asked when she needed help.

The week was full of great things like that and people who inspired us to be better people.

I think I'm coming out with the realization that justice isn't all there is. Life lived for Christ has to be a balance between mercy, justice, and compassion. I think it would've been inappropriate to go to the source of why Marjorie can't paint her own carport, why arthritis exists, and what we can do about it. What she needed at that moment was not questions or inquiries, but people who cared enough to come make her house look better in ways she couldn't. I know arthritis should be studied and stopped from ever plaguing someone else, but not at the expense of some good, quality mercy.

The lovely Marjorie