MINI across the USA

OK, I think that I know every MINI dealership from Arizona to Texas now. I bought my MINI in Scottsdale, stopped for service in El Paso, Texas, and now I am at MINI of Austin for an oil change. I’ve worked with Devin in AZ, and Ashley and Mike in Texas. Gus and I are making lots of friends.

I went to a graduation the other day with some friends. We were really excited about it since there was a dance afterward. We did dances like the Virginia Reel and the Reverse Nelson to hit songs off the charts right now, instead of folk music. It was SO, MUCH, FUN! I did some two-stepping with a couple of flips thrown in while dancing with Chapman and Bennett. I also successfully ripped off about one quarter of the big toenail on my right foot. I didn’t realize it until the end of the dance when I looked down and saw all the blood. Gross. For whatever reason, it didn’t hurt that badly. We all danced for quite a while and then the guys helped with the cleanup and moving the chairs back to where they usually are in the auditorium.

After everything was done, a whole bunch of us piled into our cars and headed off to Sonic for food and then to the theater. We went to the Sonic in Hewitt which is the one I used to go to as a kid when I lived there. My Mom would take my sister and I to get slushies after preschool in the summertime. Within five minutes of being there, Gus was surrounded by the people who had met up from the graduation. He became the favorite car to lean on and talk around. It was fun being popular! I mean, popularity is not all it’s cracked up to be, but it was fun having the “fun car” that people wanted to see. I guess people might think that I’m silly to name my car, but if you had as much fun driving a MINI as I do, you’d understand that they just need a name.

We went and saw Nightmare On Elm Street which was supposed to be a horror movie. It wasn’t that scary as much as it was kind of dumb. The first person to let out a yelp of fear was a guy sitting near the front. It wasn’t intended to be a scary scene, but I guess he was anticipating something and he yelled. The entire theater burst into laughter! I thought it was kind of a funny movie. I mean, parts of it were funny. It was gross, but it wasn’t very scary. I’m not sure I’d recommend it to someone looking for a horror movie. But it was fun to go with everyone and see the one girl who hid behind her hands for most of the time. A guy sitting next to me and I were totally calling the scenes before they happened and we SO had the plot figured out. It was a great experience.

Now, I am writing this from the Austin MINI dealership. I am picking up Mom and Dad today at the airport. I am so excited because I’ll not only be seeing Mom and Dad, but I’ll get my computer back from being repaired, and I’ll get my new phone! Yahoo!!! It’s going to be nice to be connected to family again and also to the rest of the technological world.


beautiful land

I made it home. At least it feels a lot like home. My “family” here in Clifton was glad to see me since I’ve been gone for a while. I surprised all the kids too, which was fun. I didn’t realize how much I missed them and how much I missed the green trees and seeing clouds in the sky.

I haven’t been keeping up with Project 365 lately since my computer went down, and I haven’t been blogging either for the same reason. I am really anxious to get the rest of my photos from Australia done so I can share them with everyone. There are so many stories tied to the photos, it can be hard to remember them all without seeing the photos again. I’ll be posting new stuff as soon as I can.

We had a thunderstorm this afternoon while the younger kids were out doing a 4-H project. I was out in my hammock for a while seeing all of the clouds blow in. Through the canopy of green, grey clouds rushed in a torrent of swirling whites and glimpses of blue. The blue was that kind of sky that is so intense it hurts your eyes to look at it. I always think of how deep, vast stretches of glittering space lie beyond that piercing azure veil. The breeze picked up a little bit and off in the distance the haze of rain cleared a little revealing a window through which you could see magnificent thunderheads. It was like looking at a painting of the storm clouds that you might find in an art museum. So many different shapes and colors. The hammock swayed from side to side, like an extension of the tree branches pushed back and forth by the invisible hand of the wind. Then the wind became aggressive and demanding, threatening to bring a deluge. Eventually the rain came and surprisingly, it fell lightly, as quiet as a whisper.When it stopped, the air hung damp and heavy with the smells of cedar and bark and dirt and grass and rain. The perfume of the rain after it beats on the land is better than any other scent conceivable by human hands. I am convinced that the Lord knew just what would please the senses and soothe the eye when He created clouds and rain.


gus and me in el paso

I finally gave my MINI a name. It took me a while since I wanted to make sure that it was a name that would fit, but I eventually decided on Gus. Gus and I have done a lot of motoring already this year, and on this trip back to Texas, we had to stop in El Paso for service. It turned out that I needed a new drive belt, belt tensioner, and tensioner pulley. I sat at the El Paso dealership for seven hours on Thursday, delaying my arrival time by a whole day.

I stayed with Aunt Annie Maude and her daughters and son-in-law again. They were very kind and let me stay a second night after Gus’s repairs were finished. They are a lot of fun to visit with. We talk about all kinds of stuff. This time I got to meet Aunt Ann’s pet turtles out in the back yard. It’s hilarious! They actually come scrambling out of the bushes when she calls them. It’s really cute.

On Friday, I drove the rest of the way from El Paso to Clifton. I was going to stay with my grandma first, but with the delay, it was going to be hard to meet up with my friends to get to College Station the next day unless I went straight to their house. It was a long 10 hour drive, but it was very beautiful. The Black Eyed Susans and Indian Paintbrushes were in full bloom alongside Indian Blankets and tall green Johnson Grass. It sure felt good to be done with that drive though!


glad to be back

Five-hundred dollars a new logic-board later on Tuesday, I should be back to tacking away on my own keyboard again. It’s amazing how much you take something for granted until it’s gone. Or not available for a while…

At Manly Beach, Sydney, Australia – 2010

So, this year has flown by quite rapidly. Some of the things that have been happening include getting a new car, living with some friends for a few months (and making some fantastic new ones!), and traveling overseas. The Lord has been doing so much and has just provided for me in ways I couldn’t imagine. 

I have come to a place in my life now, where I am wanting to be independent. I have always had that in me, but I have also struggled with fear in going outside of my comfort zone. This year has been all about breaking out of that. I have been a lot more spontaneous and it has served to put a little more fun in my life. I have been one to try to control my situation a lot, and I worry about making decisions because I might not be in control anymore and also because it often leads to the unknown. Fear of the unknown has really bogged me down in worry throughout my growing up and I know I have passed up a lot of good opportunities that could have been great. But, everything happens for a reason. Most of the time things happen to me for a better reason than I could have come up with in the first place.

Seagulls and Pigeons in a park, Sydney, Australia

I have discovered that I don’t really know myself. The journey now begins for me as I wait for the Lord to reveal my path. I am discovering new things, possible directions on my journey, and lots of good encouragement. It is also hard. I’ve realized how empty I’ve let my life become by hiding behind the fears in my life and not letting the Lord do what He does best. He is the ultimate Guide and has a way better map than I do to navigate all of the crazy stuff in life! Giving over control to Him is also not easy, but I know I won’t grow very much if I don’t give him everything. 

I have made some pretty incredible friendships in the past few months. By giving over my fear of sharing my heart, the Lord has blessed me with a sister in Christ who I trust and admire. We share experiences and ideas and sadness, and we relish each others’ happiness, laughter, and triumphs. I am finally able to look into myself and ask myself a question and truly begin to give myself an honest answer. Mostly because I was able to open up to her and answer the hard questions she asked me. A good friend is an immense blessing, and one that helps to keep you accountable is invaluable.

Mom and I talking with Uncle Max, an Aborigine at Circular Quay, Sydney, Australia

Now, my horizons are holding clouds promising more new experiences. I think school is looming large, and there is a chance for more travel as well. I am really feeling called back to school for a lot of reasons. I love learning and am really wanting more experience in the field I am in and how I can use that to impact people. I saw an article about the Surma and Mursi tribes in Ethiopia, and it really piqued my interest in how other cultures perceive beauty. Maybe I am meant to change the way the world looks at beauty with my work. It has been a conviction of mine for a while. I guess I’ll see where the Lord takes it. 

Most of all this year, I feel like I have been waking up from a really deep sleep. My heart is waking up and I am finding what excites me about life. I am finding my life! I feel as though my journey has just begun, even though there is a lot of “journeying” that has gone before this. I am really excited to see where I am in a year and what I am doing. Keep checking back often, you never know what adventure the Lord with have me on next!