Wednesday, September 7, 2011


Once again, I have fallen off the radar for over a month after I pinky-promised not to, and once again, I have surrendered to my fickle ways and changed my blog name yet again. Yet, I think this one is here to stay. Because I honestly couldn't picture a better way to describe my life. Don't get me wrong- I am your typical imperfect human who makes countless mistakes on a daily basis. I am a college student who really has no clue what I am going to do with the so-called "real world" and future. I am your stereotypical girl who can be overdramatic, worry endlessly, and ride the roller coaster called Emotions. I have days where when it rains, it pours. HOWEVER, at the end of the day, when all of the chaos settles, I could not be more blessed. I have the most wonderful family in the world- still trying to figure out what I did to deserve them. I have the greatest friends I could ask for and who each make life all the more beautiful. Most importantly, I have a God who promises to hold my hand as I walk out onto the waves of life. At the end of the day, that is all that matters, and at the end of the day, I could not ask for more. THAT, my friends, is the abundant life, and oh, how sweet it really is.

So, now an update on my life would be good. School is kicking back in full swing, and over the past month, I have moved back to Oxford, traveled to Tuscaloosa, gave a speech, and helped with Alabama's recruitment, back to Oxford, transformed into a "big girl" with suit and all to attend my first "Meet the Firms," flown for the first time by myself, and biggest shock of all- actually woke up to eat breakfast one morning at the House.

Now back to the core of my post. This past weekend (Labor Day weekend) I flew out to Houston to see the boyfriend, and long story short, I had an absolutely wonderful weekend. Three highlights of the weekend 1) I found SMORES in a restaurant. S-M-O-R-E-S. (If you know me, you understand). 2). I struck a gold-mine of a negotiation with the boyfriend and told him that if he took me to a Forever 21 that I would watch the Arkansas football game that night (if that's not the real "Great Compromise," I'm not sure what is) and...

3).Let's just say I was one happy girl :)

Now after my continuous ramble, let's try once again to get to the point. So Saturday night, we were going to Vic and Anthony's in Houston, and when we pulled into the parking spot, it randomly starts raining. Being the girl, I wanted to wait it out, and being the boy, he just wanted to get out before it "got worse." So, in DRESS AND HEELS (new shoes at that), I start running in the rain towards this very nice restaurant. Right as I am passing the HUGE window display of the restaurant I am about to walk into, I trip and fall flat on my hands and knees, in a dress and heels, in the middle of the streets of Houston, in the middle of a rainstorm. Classic, right? Since this is my everyday life, I have learned to laugh, which is what I did on my hands and knees in the midst of a puddle in this street of Houston as a stranger offered me a helmet (no lie), Andrew grabbed my hand, pulled me to my feet, and we kept running yet again in the rain. To add to the comedy show, as we finally reach the restaurant door, it magically stops raining. Great, great timing. So needless to say with my wet-dog hairstyle and scraped knees and his shirt completely soaked to his body, we were a sight to see walking in for our reservation. (We literally laughed out loud about this at least five different times during the course of the dinner.)

So what's my point? My point is that in life, you need Stormchasers. You need people who are going to "run in the rain" with you and aren't detered by the thunder. You need people who are going to lift you to your feet during the storms of life and hold your hand through it all. You need people who are going to stay with you until the rain magically stops. You need to know that no storm is too large. Most importantly, you need to know that there is a Stormchaser who can calm every storm.
"And He awoke and rebuked the wind and said to the sea, "Peace! Be Still!" And the wind ceased, and there was a great calm." Mark 4:39.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

What Goes Around Comes Around

"Remember this: Whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows generously will also reap generously." 2 Corinthians 9:6

Does this sound like a saucy, spiteful blog title or what? Sorry to get anyone's dramatic hopes up, but I am not trying to be sassy and as Destiny's Child once said "bust ya out on the Internet" because as they also said "my mama (DEFINITELY) taught me better than that." Back to the point- I came across this verse earlier, and I couldn't help but remember an entertaining scenario from a few weeks ago.

A friend and I were just cruising through the Sonic drive-in as I was searching for an open parking spot when out of nowhere the Sonic worker just strolls out into the road. I stopped and waited for him to cross, but he still gave me one of the most venomous looks known to mankind. I was shocked and repulsed. I had politely stopped to let this chap pass, and he not only hesitates in the middle of the road but shoots me a death glare. WELL, if you know me and my quick-to-be-overdramatic-and-throw-a-fit self sometimes, my first instinct was to run the little punk over (ok, so not that crazy) but at least roll down my window and say whatever derogatory statement I found suitable or give him a raunchy look in return. Yet, I gained composure and casually pulled into my parking spot instead. Now to the "what goes around comes around" concept.

Would you like to know who had to come and personally deliver my food to me AFTER he had given me a death glare? OH YES, Mr. Punk himself. As I saw him coming in my rearview mirror, I pondered how I would react to this delivery and the rude boy himself. Yet, after I pushed aside the evil schemes I had rolling around in my head, I- for the first and most likely only time in my life- had a Frieda McKenzie moment and decided to take the "Kill them with Kindness" route. The boy reached my window, and you could tell he was embarrassed that he had just sent me to Purgatory and back with his eyes a few moments before. However, as he handed me my food, I smiled and gave him an extra large tip and wished him a good day. As he walked away looking a tad surprised, I couldn't help but smile. For nothing quite makes the medicine go down like a spoonful of sugar (Mary Poppins reference fully intended), and his medicine was hard to swallow.

Now, you may ask where the "what goes around comes around" concept comes into play because he was rude and still got a tip (miraculous, huh?). Well you see, he was rude then wound up having to come and deliver me my food- which is punishment in itself. He had to come face to face with someone he had mistreated and wait for the verdict. On the other hand, if I had acted out when he first gave me a rude glance, I would have had to feel ashamed when he came to my car window a few minutes later. Therefore be careful of how you treat people in life because what goes around comes around, and people that you encounter at one point in your life may come back around at some point (even less than three minutes later in a food line) when you're the server. Yet, I think that to truly "reap generously" as the verse says, we have to "sow generously" for not only ourselves but for others and others who do not "sow generously" for us in return. We cannot truly harvest life and life in its abundance until we love others fully and forgive those who do not sow for us. Luckily, the "what goes around comes around" concept is not in God's book. He sows generously for us daily when our most generous harvest could never compare to His glory. We received his graceful reap when we had done nothing to deserve it. Therefore, pass on your generous sows even when others don't deserve it.

Because do you want to know who really received the generous reap that day? It wasn't the worker with a few more cents in his pocket. It was me who had the bountiful harvest as I set aside my vengeful plow and purgatory glances and simply forgave.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Celebrations and New Beginnings

So, I do believe a little.....

... is in store. First of all, TODAY is my sweet Maidee Parker's 21st birthday. I would blog about her, but you see, I already have at least three posts about her that define her to her wonderful core, so I will let you read my multiple posts about the wonderful, supportive, beautiful, encouraging, hilarious, challenging, life-long best friend that I love so much! Happy Birthday Maidee Parker

Secondly, last month marked the 1st birthday of my sweet blog. I honestly cannot believe that I have been writing on here for over a year- besides the fact that I have been scarce during the past six months! I promise that is changing soon! I never pictured that this blog would turn into an outlet for me to pour out my ridiculous "Lucy" moments, my everyday thoughts and ramblings, the ups and downs of the past year, and ultimately part of my heart, but it has definitely served as that over the past year. Furthermore, I would like to thank each of you who have taken the time to read this and experiencing the past year with me so-to-speak!

However, I decided to change the blog up a little bit. I have changed the name- trust me, I will still have PLENTY of Lucy Moments for you in the future (including my most recent- calling the lady I babysit for to tell her that her stove wasn't working but I could smell the gas only for her to tell me that was impossible seeing that she had an electric stove... yikes)- but I thought it was time for a little remodeling because not all of my blogs deal with Lucy days. I found my new blog name from an ongoing joke among my boyfriend's family. Being a true Mississippi/Southern girl, they have poked fun of me for my so-called accent and constantly ask if I want "Sweet Tea and Grits." To be quite honest, I am not even that much of a grits fan despite my recent visit to the beach where I had cheese grits that where to die for! Back to the point, I started pondering over these two seemingly basic items and thought they fit well into the realm of my background and blog. Not only do they depict the Southern lifestyle that you will find in my blog, they also can depict the life that we all lead. In life, there is always going to be "grit" and days where things don't go as smoothly as we would wish. HOWEVER, there is always a glass of sweet tea waiting around the corner to help you swallow that grit. That is my goal in life and through this blog. I strive in life to always see the sweet tea around the corner, and through this blog, I hope I can serve you a sweet tea through my idiotic mishaps, life experiences, or any rambling on here that might be meaningful to you! So let's keep the sweet tea coming, shall we?

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

The Road that Led Home

(I just found this in my drafts. I meant to post this months ago, but I guess it never quite made it. So here's an easy blog to compose today :)

"The friends who grew up with you deserve a special respect. The ones who stuck by you, shoulder to shoulder, when nothing was certain, all of life lay ahead, and every road led home."- The Wonder Years

I absolutely love The Wonder Years- always have- and I especially love its quotes. (I even secretly put one into my high school annual my Senior year- oh, the perks of being an editor). Obviously, I love this quote above then, but it also goes along with some wise words I heard this past year during a weekend at home. My Uncle Rick was talking about friends, and he said that in life, you were lucky if you had two true friends. In the back of my mind, I smiled because this was the exact number that had been beside me throughout my childhood. Throughout elementary school, middle school, and especially high school, two friends were there for absolutely everything. We stood "shoulder to shoulder" in the midst of bad hair days, embarrassing days where one of us spit a carrot across a table and nailed the current boyfriend straight in the face or another hit a parked school van during the middle of the first soccer game, days of celebration when one of became Prom Queen and when another was becoming the next Sharapova, days of trials when we experienced death and loss and failure, days where boys broke our hearts and proved they had no heart themselves in the process, days where the sun couldn't shine brighter and days of learning to dance in the rain- basically days where nothing was certain, all of life lay ahead of us, and days when these girls WERE the road that led home. So without further ado, please let me introduce to you Dos and Tres (we will get to that later).
DOS. She is absolutely going to kill me when she sees this picture, but I can't help it. It sums up why I love her so much and what role she played in our friendship. If you can't tell, she is dressed as a tiger (isn't she adorable?), and this is what Maidee Parker has been for me throughout growing up. If you read my blog back in October, you read where I said Maidee Parker puts you in her box and fights for you when you can't fight for yourself. Likewise, Maidee Parker is a tiger for me in the sense that she is fierce in her life, and this strength permeates into the lives of those she surrounds. Maidee Parker has literally been that friend who has been around since Kindergarten, and she has always been a fighter. From pulling me up a THOUSAND times on a mountain in Lake Tahoe, Nevada, forcing me to not give up and learn how to snowboard as a thirteen year-old to literally sitting in the emergency room stretcher with me as a nineteen-year-old with TWO concussions, Maidee Parker has always been the magnet that held everything together. She was the tiger who wouldn't let you roam the "jungles" of life alone, and she made you strong in your moments of weakness. Looking back at all of the hard times in life, Maidee Parker was always there with an outstretched hand and a hand that taught you how to fight.As I also mentioned in the "Some Things Never Change" post, Maidee Parker has always been the one in the middle of Allison and me, shaking her head at all of the idiotic blunders that Al and I found our way into, not knowing if she should check on the clutz who fell flat on her face first or the one whose rolling in a bush screaming from laughing. I think Maidee's role can be perfectly portrayed through one of our favorite pasttimes- tubing- and as Allison and I would be flailing around about to fly off into the murky Reservoir waters, Maidee Parker would be in the center holding one of us down and reaching for the other idiot who was about to drown. On a serious note, Maidee Parker has been and will always be the tiger in my life. She has helped me find strength in times I couldn't imagine to find it and has helped me face life with a fierce passion. She's my fighter, and I am so blessed to have her in my "boxing ring" of life.

TRES. It is said that pictures say 1,000 words. This picture has one- ALLISON. If Maidee Parker helped me face the world and its obstacles with a fierce passion, Allison helped me laugh in the midst of its craziness. I can just look at the picture and hear her either laughing, screaming, singing (probably the infamous Boom Diggy at that), or a mixture of all three. If you have ever heard Allison's laugh, you know what I mean when I say that it is one of her hallmarks and that it could light the darkest room. No matter what kind of day I was having, if Allison started laughing, a smile instantaneously spread across my face. There are not many funny stories that line Memory Lane that do not incorporate Al in some way. In fact, the craziest stories ALL pretty much centralize around her. From dancing to "Pop, Lock, and Drop It" in broad daylight on the beach in front of a rather large condominium to endless calls from Meredith Minschew and L.A. Nails, Allison has always been the "noise/music" in my life. Whether it was her Spanish rendition of the Star Spangled Banner to her beloved Christmas music, Allison is always singing her own little tune. Furthermore, wherever she goes, Allison is definitely heard :), and there's something special about her that makes her song unforgettable. Allison does NOT meet strangers, and if she does, five minutes later they're automatically a "new best friend." Yet again, she spreads her "joyful noise," as she once called it, to someone else. Allison's "joyful noise" is contagious in that she brightens your day and encourages you to brighten others. Her "tune" is one that inspires and one that draws people to it. She has helped me laugh when I thought that was the last thing possible, and she has challenged me multiple times by the "tune" of her life. Although I am no longer able to hear that laugh on a daily basis, when I do, it still brings an automatic smile to my face, and I know that those who get to hear it are blessed by it.

I don't even remember how old we were when we came up with Uno, Dos, and Tres, and I am sure it was a moment of pure idiocy that we had and one of the multiple names we chose to call each other in high school. Yet, it was more than a ridiculous name. It was more than a pose that we did for every picture in high school. It was more than three best friends. It was growing together when "nothing was certain." It was "sticking together shoulder by shoulder." It was facing "all of life that lay ahead." It was "the road that lead home."

I love yall.

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Update from the Waves

I ABSOLUTELY cannot believe that it has been TWO MONTHS since I have blogged. I am in shock. I am sorry to all of you who so kindly read my ramblings and crazy ideas, and I promise I will not neglect you again. Pinky promise, at that! First and foremost, Happy Mother's Day! I would dedicate this post to my mother, but if you scroll down two posts to "Shoulder Dusting Kind of Love" you can read all about the wonderful individual who I am beyond blessed to call my mother/best friend/cheerleader/backbone, (every other word that represents strength, grace, beauty, and kindness). Now, back to the present. SO much has happened since I blogged last. I could write novels about all that has mingled its way into the paths of my life, but I will try to give you all the nutshell version.

If you read my post in January about "Stepping Out of the Boat and Onto the Waves," you know that a few months ago I was dealing with letting go of my stubborn "control" over my life and the front of the boat and then stepping out onto the uncertainty of the waves and letting Him guide me. Well, here is my update from the waves. Letting go of the boat/my "perfect navigation"/stepping out onto the waves was the BEST thing. It's funny how when you try to paint your pretty, ideal picture of your life the way you want it, God laughs and hands you a Mona Lisa compared to what you helplessly and ignorantly tried to create. Since I have been out in the waves, God has truly taught me how to "ride the waves" and appreciate the tides He stretches out to your grasp and even the tides He pulls back in.

The past four months, I have truly seen God's presence in my life. He opened doors-which allowed me to serve and do something I love-that had been closed in the past. He has presented new and exciting opportunities in my life that I would never even imagine and could only dream of (i.e., I was asked to speak to a group of girls because someone actually liked my crazy ramblings on here- that was extremely humbling/a cherished compliment/ one of my ultimate dreams). He has also sent people into my life that have added their own unique hues and shades to the picture that I could have never created on my own and now couldn't imagine the picture of my life without them. All the while, He has blessed me with the irreplaceable family and friends that have stuck to my side from the very beginning. As this school year comes to an end, I look back on the previous year and all of its struggles, and as much as I tell myself I would never want to go through it again, I know that it was part of the journey to where I am today. It was the lesson that taught me to let go of the boat, have courage, and trust that I could ride the waves. It was a season where I became less and He became more. I became less in control and He became more real than I could have ever fathomed.

Therefore, here is my update from the waves.
The waves are amazing.
(I dare you to come out here and join me.)
Life is good.
God is better.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Cul-de-sac Hero

Once again, it has been too long since I have posted. If you correctly guessed that I am blogging to procrastinate, you know me all too well. I am currently taking a study break to get away from accounting and cost methods right now, so Mom please don't be reading this! Anyways, this week I have a true inspiration for my post. Yet, I see him differently than the rest of the world. To me, it's the six-year-old little boy that lived next-door that I played with for hours upon hours when I first moved into my new home in Brandon. I can still see the day he found a mischievous lizard in one of our yards, but then then the lizard conveniently found Kyle's ear and latched on to it despite my complete and utter six-year-old dismay. I can still picture the talking parrot he had in his room that echoed us whenever we spoke to it (which was a lot). I can still remember the sweet smile that permeated his entire face. He was one of my first childhood friends. Yet, a year or two later, Kyle and his family moved, and time marched on. Kyle and I would grow up in two different states. I would never meet his junior high friends. I would never know what sports he played or what he thought of his high school prom. He would always be remembered as my childhood friend.

Yet, to the rest of the world, and to my new perspective, Kyle is a hero. I remember in November on a weekend I was home, my mom told me that Kyle had been injured in Afghanistan. I was shocked. This was my six-year-old friend whose biggest worry was the mischievous lizard and trying to convince our parents to let us watch Jungle Book one more time- not an injured Marine who courageously and selflessly protected others even when pain and harm were the aftermath. After this, I found the group on Facebook that tracked his journey and progress, and I checked it on a regular basis to see how he was doing. I was amazed by the faith and compassion of his family, his friends, and all of those who my sweet childhood friend had impacted in his life since the days of Jungle Book and talking parrots. His story is beyond the realm of inspiration. It's love and hope in it's truest form. I have been blessed by his story already, but here is a glimpse of his homecoming and the heart behind him and his family.

I was so moved by this video, but the kicker for me was the ending. Despite his circumstances, Kyle said he would do it all over again for the people he loved. I couldn't help but think of John 15:13 "Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends." I couldn't help but think that Kyle had beautifully demonstrated the attitude of Christ. For despite His circumstances, Christ looked at us, loved us unconditonally and said, I would do it all again. He laid down his life for his friends. Yet, what does this look like for you and for me and our daily lives? I think this calls us to selflessly serve and to live for others and not ourselves. I think it calls for love and love at its most pure and unconditional form. I think it calls for our lives to be a daily sacrifice for others where we lay aside pride, our selfish desires, our worries, our "five-year-plans," our wishes, our time frames, and lose ourselves in the service of others.

Therefore, to my sweet childhood friend, thank you for your servant heart and for serving our country. Thank you for such an inspirational story and a steadfast example of faith. Thank you for your love for our country and your even bigger love for its people. Ultimately, thank you for laying down part of your life for your friends.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

A Shoulder-Dusting, Pizza-Cutting Love

Last Sunday night, I sat in a booth at Newks, tired, stressed, confused, and not looking forward to the chaotic week ahead. I figured I would eat my sandwich, have a good conversation with my friends, and then be submersed back into the chaos when I got back to my dorm. Yet, God finds you in the most ironic of places, even from across a cafe. I was minding my own business most likely rambling about how I was going to consume by body weight in candy the next day (Valentine's Day) when an older lady caught the corner of my eye. She feebly stood up, got out of her side of the booth, and stood over a person's plate and began to cut their pizza. I was drawn to the woman instantly as she seemed so weak yet continued to serve this person whom I assumed was a small child. When she was finished, she sat back down, and then I saw that this was not a small child but an old man- her husband. My heart instantly melted (if you know anything about me, you know I have an infatuation with old people especially old couples), and I smiled to myself as I returned to my sandwich and friend's conversation. Yet, a few minutes later, one of my friends randomly stood to get up, so naturally I looked up to see what she was looking at. It was the old woman again. She was pulling the man up to his feet, and she began to zip his jacket and brush off his shoulders. By this time, my heart was completely a pile of goo in my chest as I tried not to tear up which I succeeded in then but completely SOBBED later when I retold the story to a friend. God had sent me a beautiful reminder of a true and powerful love and at a perfect timing.

For in the end, that's what we all want in life- a true love. A love that serves. A love that "cuts your pizza" when you can't find the strength. A love that pulls you to your feet and helps you stand. A love that dusts your shoulders off. A love that conquers time. A love of a best friend who zips up your jacket and protects you from the icy winds of the world. As I watched this precious couple interact, I couldn't help but hope that one day I had a best friend that I could cut pizza for when I was sixty-seven years old or a best friend who would help me get out of a booth because God and I both know that I am most likely going to be as clumsy then as I am now. Although I am most certainly not in that part of my life, I couldn't help but smile as I realized I had my own unique Valentine and "shoulder-duster" in my current life.

When God prepared to send me into the world, I fully believe that He knew that I was going to be one of the clumsiest, most common-sense deprived, most stubborn, and most outspoken of His children, so He had to make sure that I had the closest thing to a saint for a mother. He did just that. I was blessed with the most amazing mother in the world (I am sorry to all of the mothers reading this- I am sure you are wonderful as well but you obviously haven't met my mother), and if you have had the honor of meeting my mom at some point in your life, you know that she is unlike any other person you have ever met and that your life is better with her in it. Therefore, this post is dedicated to the woman (whom I swear is an angel in disguise) that has been the pizza-cutting, shoulder-dusting love in my life for almost twenty years now.

First of all, my mother has been the pizza-cutting love in my life more than any other person I have ever encountered. Frieda McKenzie means selfless and service in the truest form. Even in times of weakness (which are rare), my mother is still "cutting pizza" for someone else. She always has a smile on her face and an outstretched, open hand. On another aspect, my mother has an indescribable gift to take a huge pizza and cut it down into smaller pieces. She takes the huge obstacles in your life and breaks them down until you can conquer them. When my mom gets the phone calls from the drama queen on the brink of anxiety attacks and mental melt-downs over a test or meager assignment, she brings me back down to reality and shows me my huge pizza-problem is just a small piece that I can handle. When she gets calls from the arsonist who just wants to blowtorch someone's car, she reminds me that there's a whole pizza beyond the bad, little piece I am dealing with right now. When she gets calls from the dreamer who has her 343434588th crazy idea, she laughs at each one yet reminds me that it's your pizza to design and to chase after the toppings I want.

Besides her servant-heart, the other arena that my mother completely dominates is forgiveness. If there's one phrase that will always resonate with my mother, it is "Kill them with Kindness" to which one of my friends once replied, "I'm trying Mrs. Frieda but they don't ever die." My mother has an incomparable capacity for forgiveness, and when I find myself in a mistake, she is always there to "dust off my shoulders." When I have trouble forgiving others, she is there to show me (and a lot of the time prod me) how to extend grace and dust their shoulders off as well. For you see, my mother doesn't see the dust on the shoulders, she sees the heart. She sees the joy. She sees the rainbow in every storm. She sees the diamond in the rough. She wipes away the dust and helps you shine. She dusts off your shoulders and sends you out into the world as a better person.

I accepted a long time ago that I will never be like my mother. This is the mom who found a way for me to not only meet my childhood idol multiple times but to ride in a car with him. This is the mom who still holds my hand even as an almost twenty-year-old everytime I encounter a needle. This is the mother who drove 180 miles in right under two hours just to watch me while I slept after my concussions. This is the mother who still let me get my drivers license after I turned into incoming traffic at the busiest intersection in Brandon:). I could strive my whole life to be half the woman, the servant, the giver, the heart, the friend, the encourager, the provider, and most importantly the example of Christ that she is, and I would never even get close. Yet, I can smile knowing that I received a blessing that I never ever deserved. I can smile knowing that I am the child of the most amazing woman. I can smile knowing that my life has been molded and guided by such a wonderful and beautiful individual. I can smile knowing that I have impossibly large footprints to fill but that I will chase after full-heartedly for the rest of my life. I can smile knowing that I am related to a woman who "kills with kindness" and has impacted hundreds of lives and continues to do so on a daily basis.

I can smile because I have the unconditional love of someone in my life who cuts every pizza and dusts off every shoulder.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Angels and Contemplation from Country

"Don't forget to show hospitality to strangers, for some who have done this have entertained angels without realizing it." Hebrews 13:2.
This verse is so incredible to me. Like seriously and completely incredible. As a girl and especially as Shelby McKenzie, I have always analyzed situations and people and have always asked the infamous "What ifs?" and "I wonders."For example, in junior high, I would constantly wonder who my prom date would be in high school (funny thing is, my first prom date would be the guy I was currently "dating"- which means who you smiled at and waved to from your locker and who you definitely talked on your HOME phone to or if you were lucky your cell phone- in junior high). So precious right? Then some days after I had probably watched The Notebook or Father of the Bride (I mean her last name becomes MCKENZIE for crying out loud) a few too many times, I would wonder if I knew my husband or had ever seen him before. I am quite sure however he was not roaming the halls of good old BHS, but life could throw that massive curve balls someday. Back to the point, then there's always been the chilling question of what if I have seen an angel before? Although to some people that seems radical and extreme, the verse above suggests it might be possible. I am not sure in what dynamic or experience that verse means or encompasses, but it is neat to think that it is truly possible.
So what do I think of when I think of this verse? Yes, my name is Shelby McKenzie, so my mind goes to country music and a particular song at that. "What if She's An Angel?" You might write it off as a cheesy country song, but have you ever really contemplated the lyrics?
"What if she's an angel sent here from Heaven, and she's making certain that you're doing your best to take the time to help one another, brother are you going to pass that test?"
Once again, the suggestion to show hospitality to all who you encounter on a daily basis. The verse and the song above both always just hit a certain spot in my heart and mind. I just want to know if I have ever "entertained an angel," and if I did, did I "pass that test?" In the hustle and bustle of this crazy world and life, I know there are countless days when if I did encounter a stranger in the middle of my "so important schedule and tasks" I honestly probably wouldn't pass that test. It really does make you stop and think about how you treat the people who weave their way into one day of your life and people that you may never see again. How did you impact them, or did you even take the time to recognize them?
Once again, you are going to read the following and say I am being extremely cheesy or just totally off my rocker, but I can't help but WONDER. This past summer, I was taking classes in Oxford, and one afternoon I went with a friend to Kroger and had to wait in the car with the puppy we had just adopted from the animal shelter (yes we became foster parents to a dog- didn't even know that was possible) as she ran inside. As I was sitting in the car, this old lady came out of the store carrying a TON of grocery bags to the car beside ours. Now, we were parked right outside of the entrance, but this lady looked like she had seen quite a few decades of life and like she was about to literally break in half. The next thing I know, I am opening the car door, getting the dog situated in the seat, and then approaching this elderly lady and asking her if she needed help with her bags. It took her a second to consent- I think she thought she was fully capable of carrying twice her body weight in bags- but she finally handed me the bags as I loaded them into her car. I don't say this to toot my own horn because I was most likely searching for a way to get away from the overly-hyper dog for a few minutes, but I say this because of the woman's reaction. When I put the last bag in her car and shut the door, she smiled at me as she turned her head to the side and said, "Well, you got your brownie points today didn't you?" Something about what she said and the way she said it stuck with me. I am not suggesting that this old lady was an angel and hid her wings underneath her little-old-lady sweaters, but there's always the "What if."
Maybe that's how we should approach people in life and how we should interact with the people we encounter throughout our daily routines. Maybe, just maybe, we should act as if everyone we encounter is an angel. We should prove to everyone that we are capable of taking the time to help others. We should prove that we are capable of putting others before ourselves. We should prove we can set aside our busy schedules, pride, time, resources, etc. etc. and "pass that test."
Because at the end of the day, what if he/she was an angel?
And at the end of the day, can you look back with a smile on your face and a servant heart and say I passed that test?

Friday, January 14, 2011

Letting Go of the Boat and Stepping out on the Waves

So I try to include a Lucy moment in each blog, but I easily think this ranks in top 10 at least. I am actually a little mortified that I am seriously including this in the post, BUT I had no choice. I was basically told I had to share this blog with you (I will get to that later). So yes, unfortunately, that is me in this picture. I am sure if my friends are reading this, especially friends that have never seen this picture, you're laughing at me right now. Jerks. So this was my Sophomore year of high school, and our Homecoming theme that year was movies. My class had Pirates of the Carribean, so obviously our float was a pirate ship- and an amazing, float-winning pirate ship at that. So, one night when we are building the float, someone said we needed someone to be the statue on the front of the ship- like how old pirate ships/ships in general had things carved into the front of the boat. Well, everyone's eyes turned and looked straight at me; I guess they knew I was the retard who would go along with this idiocy. A few days later, my entire body is painted gold, my hair in balls on the side of my head, and I held that pose for a good thirty minutes throughout an entire parade where the entire town could see me. Pretty tragic, I know.

So you might be wondering where in the world I am going with this day of humiliation? Well, let's fast-forward four years. Once again, I am a Sophomore, and once again, I am the statue on the front of the boat (but thankfully only on a figurative level this time.) You see, I am the statue on the front of the boat again because for a while now I have been trying to navigate the ship of my own life. I have been trying to handle every situation on my own, and I have been trying to find all the answers and fight all the battles how I thought I should. Don't get me wrong, I had good intentions and did not waver in my faith, but I was not fully letting go of the wheel. I was scared of the uncertainty of the waves and how the waves might change the direction of my ship. Where did this leave me? It left me not behind the captain's seat but clinging to the front of the ship with all that I had. I was so close to the waves but did not want to let go. I tried to embed myself into the ship and be that statue.
Yet, God does not let you stay in the comfort zone and safehaven of the ship all the time. There are times when He calls out to you from the waves and all of their uncertainties, and He is asking you to trust Him despite the uncertainty. The past few weeks, my ship has not gone in the direction I wanted it to go in, and it was not until this past week that I finally heard a voice calling out from the waves to my heart. It was a voice that was saying, "Are you done yet? I have been here watching you try to navigate alone this whole time, and although the gold paint and ridiculous hair looked awesome a few years ago, why don't you come off the boat for a little while? Join me out here on the water." For the longest time I have said "Nope I am good. I have got everything under control here. I like where my boat is going, and I know this is what I need to be doing. Look at those waves anyways. They're huge. No way I am coming out there. Not happening." Yet. this past week, I finally let go of the front of the boat. I finally let go of my pride. I finally let go of my thinking that I was the perfect navigator. I finally started to say, "Ok, I am surrounded by the uncertainty of these waves, and even though I have no idea what you have in store for me, I am still going to let go of the boat and step out on the waves."
Can I tell you that I had an instant feeling of peace like I had never experienced before- or at least in a while, and that was with only one "boat" in my life! Although I have no idea what direction the waves will take me, I know that there's a God who teaches me how to walk on top of the waves and who leads the way. He provides peace in the midst of uncertainty and promises hope despite the uncertainty.
Now, you might be wondering why I said earlier that I was basically told to use such an embarrassing picture in my post or why in the world I am comparing myself to a statue on the front of a boat and so excited about stepping out into the "waves" of life? I had thought of writing this post a few days ago when I was so excited about my new peace. Yet, over the past few days, the peace had begun to wear away and the uncertainty began to set it, and I was not as enthusiastic. However, today I was listening to the radio in my car, and I switched the station to K-love. I did not know the song that was playing, so I went to change it to another station when a voice in my head told me to wait. So I let the song play through, and then the next song started. Do you want to know what the FIRST lines of that song were?
"Oh what I would do to have the kind of faith it takes to climb out of this boat I'm in onto the crashing waves.To step out of my comfort zone, to the realm of the unknown where Jesus is, and He's holding out His hand."
My heart froze. I had thought of this post a few days before, and now I was pretty much receiving the confirmation that I had to share this. More than that, I was receiving the confirmation that God knew I was scared of the "realm of the unknown." He knew that I had been seeing it as "letting go of the front of my boat." He knew that I was still nervous as I tried to learn how to "walk on the waves." Yet, he sent me a message today saying that peace was real. He sent me a message saying that He had a plan for the realm of the unknown. He sent me a message saying that He was holding out his hand. He sent me a message saying you let go. Now just step out. So that is exactly what I am doing.

Thursday, January 6, 2011


ALOHA. I have been absent from the blogging world for a few weeks now, so I am starting off my new post with a terribly cheesy pun. Just go with me. Aloha- hasn't it been stated before that it is the Hawaiian lingo for hello AND goodbye? Well, if this is true, then ALOHA would be the perfect one-word description for New Years as we say farewell to one year and warmly welcome the clean slate and fresh pavement of a new one. So ALOHA 2010 and ALOHA 2011. Extremely cheesy, but you know you smiled, or you at least had a sympathetic shake of your head for me. So thank you. (SPOILER ALERT: THIS IS LONG.)
As everyone routinely reflects on the previous year when New Years rolls around, I have looked back on the past year and have struggled to find a way to sum it all up. Hence, this is why the post is January 8th not January 1st. Yet, I finally have found the most accurate nutshell for my 2010, and this is what my nutshell would be:
"And now these three remain: faith, hope, and love. But the greatest of these is love." 1 Cor. 13:13.
I say this because when I look back at the past year of my life, my year was full of change and full of growth, but the one factor that never diminished or changed was love and love on so many aspects and levels. 2010 was permeated with love, and this love came in the form of an eye of a storm, a flashlight, and a maid. (I would love to see half of your faces right now because I am sure some of you are completely in bewilderment, but I do have a train of thought here- so at least get on the caboose.)
Love as a an eye of a storm- This love is the description that has encompassed my friends for the past year. Whether it was new friends in May made through the chaos of changing my major and having to take summer classes or the friend since Kindergarten that spent five hours in a hospital with me when I was scared with two concussions in October, my friends' love the past year has been the eye of a storm. No matter what chaos or bad time I was experiencing, they were the peace and the calm wedged in the middle of it. From being a shoulder to cry on to a card that had Nick Lachey and Jessica Simpson's picture pasted in it (weird obsession that no one but a few people would understand) to being locked in a bathroom with a hair straightner as a weapon when I was convinced someone was inside of Tara's condo, my friends have truly made every storm the past year seem like a rain shower and have danced with me in the rain.
Love as a flashlight- This is the love of my family. The past year has been full of changes for me, but they have always been there to shed their guiding light on every situation and have been a source of light in my daily life. My parents supported me in May when I decided to change my major on a whim- even when I had absolutely no idea where that was going to take me. My mom answered the 3934545 phone calls in the spring when I was about to have anxiety meltdowns over chemistry tests. In the fall, when I had a completely broken heart, my mother was there with a listening ear, a shoulder to lean on, and of course boot shopping :). When I had two concussions in a span of two days, my mom drove like a maniac and brightened my day even when I was scared. In November, when I was holding Mr. Miller's hand while he was in the hospital, my sister was on the other side of the bed holding his other hand. No matter what, my family has always and will always be the light in my life.
Love as a maid- Last and certainly not least, the love from a Heavenly Father has been the maid in my life the past year. I have truly learned this past year that no matter how messy you make a situation, He will always clean it up. When the "spaghetti comes rolling down," He'll clean up every lost noodle. When your heart breaks, he reassembles every piece. He takes your trash out so to speak. He makes the ugly beautiful and makes the dirty clean. He washes out every stain. He is the example of a servant heart.
So that is what I have grasped from 2010. Love and its abundance. Heartbreak hurts. Death brings grief. Uncertainty reaps fear. Yet, love conquers all. It is the eye of the storm. It is the light to a darkened path. It is the maid who takes away your mess. IT is the GREATEST of these. I wish you all a happy new year and a 2011 that is full of love.