Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Profound Thanksgiving Thoughts

Ok...so I may not have anything profound to share but a girl can dream, right? :) As the holidays approach like a charging bull, my plan is to dodge as much chaos as I can.  There's something about the holidays that irritates me and I just can't seem to put my finger on exactly what causes those feelings.  I don't particularly have many heart-warming memories of the holidays but I don't have any traumatic or terrible memories either.  Thanksgiving and Christmas...they are days in the year just like any other, except we've managed to turn them into consumer monsters.  I don't like how people go crazy and stress themselves out in order to impress others.  Or how it is "suddenly" the time to serve and share.  Why can't we think about others all the time?

Don't get me wrong...I like getting together with friends and family, eating a lot, and exchanging gifts but it's so easy to get caught up in the planning, cooking, and buying.  My hope is that this year the focus is not on doing and buying, but on living and loving...every single day! 

So...my Thanksgiving plans have got me really excited! Since I live so far from family now, I get to travel a few hours to spend this holiday with my best friend and her husband in Dallas.  I have not seen her since this summer and we have a lot to catch up on.  In addition, she has informed me that I will be helping cook which means she will be teaching me how to cook.  That will be an interesting adventure!

In other news, I will be picking up a second job for the holidays at least to help me save and get one step closer to an apartment.  I'm going to transfer with Old Navy so I hope my brain remembers how to do that job. 

Finally, if you read my last post I shared the story of Shaniqua the chicken.  Well, the family just got a new all black chicken and named it Bon Qui Qui.  It's the sweetest chicken and has made friends quickly. 

That's my update with all the emotion and randomness of my life.  Take it or leave it. 

Happy Thanksgiving to all! :)

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Work, Dinner Dates, and Chickens

This week has been a blast so far.  I have been working out of my own teller drawer and so far haven't messed up too badly.  I've also had to be the only closing teller for the first time this week...quite frightening if something goes wrong! They seem to have more confidence in me than I do in myself.  I need to work myself into the comfort level that I need to perform my job quickly and confidently.  It's still very new and awkward at times. 

Last Saturday, the high school leaders got together for a meeting.  We got to hang out, eat some Mexican food, and watch a challenging video.  The video incorporated every possible teenage struggle and it broke my heart for teens all over again.  It reminded me why I want to love on as many teens as possible.  From suicide to divorce, pregnancy to church hipocracy...it was all there.  I can't even imagine what each teen in our youth group is struggling with.  All I know is that I want to make a difference in their lives, whether it's now or affects them in the future. 

I have tried to squeeze hang out times into my schedule this week.  I got a chance to chill with another leader on Saturday and it was such a joy.  We had girl talk and dove deep into some difficult issues.  It was tough, but rewarding and heartwarming.  On Sunday evening, I got to eat dinner with the youth minister and his wife.  They are such wonderful people and I am so glad that God brought me here to serve along side of them.  I could not ask for a better/cuter couple to work with. 

Finally...the chickens part of the title! You're probably wondering what that has to do with my life here in Austin, but hold on.  The family I am living with has four chickens.  When they are not home, it is my responsibility to feed them.  I walked into the cage this morning to feed them and who would hold their ground but the black and white speckled chicken, Shaniqua.  I was a little nervous that she would attack, but thankfully she ate the food and allowed me to exit safely.  Chickens are so funny! :)

Not Shaniqua but looks like her! :)

Thursday, November 11, 2010

God's Plan and Timing...WOW!!

For the past couple of weeks, I have felt an urgency to leave the Williams' house and move out into the world.  There were several reasons that I felt this way, but the most pressing was the upcoming surgery on Alan's foot, scheduled for Monday the 7th.  I wanted to give the family the space and freedom to deal with the surgery 100% worry free (outside of the surgery itself, of course).  Unfortunately, I just don't have the income that I need to rent an apartment.  Regardless, Alan got me connected with a buddy that has a garage apartment that he would be willing to rent out to me for a discounted price and a flexible lease schedule.  Although it doesn't have a kitchen, it would work as a temporary home until I am able to rent a better, more permanent place.  I made plans to meet with this guy and talk about renting for Sunday afternoon.  This is where it gets really interesting.

Sunday morning, I woke up after a wonderful slumber party with some high school girls.  We all ended up going to the first service, which is usually not my preference.  I waltzed in not really knowing anyone in the service and I picked a seat.  Right before the service started a lady sat down and we began talking.

"Good morning! My name is Jill.  Its so good to see you here this morning.  Are you new here?"

"Hi! I'm Charissa.  Well I actually moved here about a month and a half ago from Indiana."

"So do you have any family here?"

"No, I'm here by myself."

"Well, I want to give you something."  She pulled out a business card and excitedly began sharing her information. "When my son went off to college, there was a lady that gave him her information and told him to call her anytime he needed anything and she meant it.  No matter the situation, she wanted to help him out and I was so encouraged that a stranger would do that.  It was very encouraging to know that my son would be taken care of by a 'second mom.'  So I want to do the same for you.  Since you are so far away from family, I want you to know that if you need anything at all; hair salon, doctors, a second job, whatever; just give me a call and I will help you out."

"Wow, I don't know what to say.  Thank you, I really appreciate that."

"So darlin...what do you need?" (Jill smiled boldly)

I'm absolutely crazy, because the only thing I could think to ask this generous and kind lady was a reference for a dermatologist in the area.  "I have been struggling the past year with some suspicious moles that I just really need to get taken care of.  With skin cancer in my family history, I shouldn't be taking a chance.  Is there a good dermatologist that you could recommend?"

Jill proceeded to go on and on about her wonderful dermatologist.  She gave me all the information I needed and then church began.  While I was sitting there with my notes during the sermon about "Don't Worry," I began to make a short list to hand Jill afterwards.  Things like a second job, an affordable apartment, and some time to just hang out and get to know her better.  She seemed really awesome and I didn't want to pass up a chance on friendship and wisdom.  At the end of church, I handed her the list and we began talking again.  At that point in time, I really can't remember how the conversation went to where it did, but what I do know is that God was in it. 

"Girl, you need to save your money.  Move in with me!"

"Are you serious?" (I just met this lady an hour ago and I'm seriously considering moving into her home...what is happening here?)

"Yes, very serious! So when are you moving in?  We'll be home today if you're not busy."

"Oh my goodness! This is crazy!" (by this time, I was crying.  I just couldn't believe that at the exact moment I needed a new place, that God would provide in such a crazy way!) 

Several hugs and tears later we were parting ways at the door of the church.  I went home and packed up half of my things and headed to my new home.  It took me two loads to get all of my stuff transported but it was a smooth transition.  I left the Williams family to their family who were arriving that evening.  The surgery went well on Monday, but things are still complicated and I can see how important my move was.  They no longer have to worry about feeding me and keeping up with me.  All they have to deal with is the next steps in the surgery process.  This whole move was an answer to prayer for three parties; the Williams, Jill, and me. 

The funniest part to me was after Jill and I had made the decision about my move, she turned to her husband and introduced me and informed him that I would be moving in that afternoon.  There was no discussion.  It made me smile.  I'm still overwhelmed by the amazingness of the whole situation.  I never could have imagined anything this awesome.  God's timing was perfect and His plan was unique and filled His children with awe!  Who could ask for anything better?  I serve a great God who always provides for the needs of ALL of His children!! He has proven His power and love once again in an inspiring and bewildering way!! I love Him!! :D

The Sunset this evening at my new house! :)