//its the most wonderful time of the year…//

annnnnnnnnnd I’m not talking Christmas…although, let’s be real, Christmas is awesome.

I’m talking about… FOOTBALL.

the greatest man I know... Joe Davis

the greatest man I know… Joe Davis

I love the smell of the air during football season. It’s like the smell of school supplies. You can’t completely tell someone what it smells like, but you know it’s brand new pencils, notebook paper, and Elmer’s glue and Cheetos all rolled into one. (that sounds awful, but amazing all at once… RIGHT?!). I wish I could say I love football season because of the team and what not. My love for football goes so much deeper than that.

ONES UP

ONES UP

Someone of you know why football season means so much. But for those of you who do not, allow me to tell you. In early 1970s, a guy named Steve Davis was asked if he’d like to be the 8th Quarterback recruit at the University of Oklahoma. For years, he had admired some of the best QBs OU had ever seen and wanted so badly to be where they were… on the field of the iconic Palace on the Prairie in Norman, OK. He would work through frustration after frustration, disappointment after disappointment to then land red-shirted. He worked hard, and wouldn’t you know it, he became the all-time winningest quarterback OU had seen leading the Crimson and Cream to 2 national championships and numerous records. That man was my uncle. My Uncle Steve made a name for himself at OU and his brothers followed him, doing the same. The Davis name isn’t just a name… It’s a recognizable family. I remember the first time I realized my Uncle Steve wasn’t just my uncle… I was young…maybe 5 or 6, and we were watching a game on ABC. The next thing I know, there he was… pearly whites and perfectly coiffed hair on my TV screen! No one believed me when I said my uncle was on TV. I remember being in middle school and hearing “Joe Davis?? Is that you?” and having one of the Owens brothers strike up a conversation. Knowing Joe Washington and how he knew my dad and my uncles Steve and George… These are Sooner legends and it’s unreal I know these awesome men now.

My family, specifically my father, raised me with this love of all things OU. My dad is one of the most passionate people I know. He gets it. He loves life. He loves the high moments. He celebrates everyone. He also celebrates family so well. Everything I know about OU football is because of my dad.

from the beginning...

from the beginning…

I feel as though Gaylord Memorial Stadium  is where I learned a lot. Dad and Mom usually pulling us in close so we didn’t get lost. Dad leaning down to let me know what play just happened and why it’s called a play action instead of just a throw. Dad would let me stand in front of him on the  bleacher and every time OU hit a down or scored or intercepted the ball, he would freak out! And that inevitably meant, his girls followed. That tradition of OU football has carried over into my adulthood. I live for the fall. I live for the moments where my family comes together to watch OU games. It means more now because I live away from my parents and sisters. Coming together over our mutual love of the game is fantastic. We get dressed up in our best game day wear. We ride together. We laugh until we cry listening to the same stories we’ve grown up listening to. We stand in line together waiting to get into the stadium. And then once we’re at the seats… all bets are off. We are crying babies during the OU Chant. We scream and get into conversations with the people around us. We live for game days…

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So, yes, I spent a whole post talking about how much I love OU football and fall. I love family and I love sharing these experiences with people I love and appreciate. I love family and I know the main reason behind this post is the fact we’re approaching the best time of year and I’m feeling emotions because I’m away from my dad, my numero uno football watching partner and also, my uncle is gone. I’m a girl who gets all sentimental when I hear OU Chant. I’m the girl who smells cinnamon sugar and turkey legs and is instantly at the Cotton Bowl during the Texas State Fair, anticipating the OU/Texas game. I guess I’m saying, y’all should get ready. Because if you thought my posts about the NBA were excessive, it’s about to get even wilder… I’m an OU Alum and plan on posting my pride in my team just like last year…

So, get ready friends… Fall is upon us… and that means FOOTBALL.

Boomer Baby.

Linds




//season of unreasonable optimism//

I’ve been challenging myself for the last couple weeks. It all started with a message my pastor and his wife spoke 2 weeks ago. It was about Freedom. As I sat in my seat, my face started burning (that happens with me. When Jesus starts speaking to me, my face gets hot and my ears turn red like they do when I know someone is talking about me… it’s a quirk. Thanks God 😉). It was as though this message was just for me. I have a choice about how I live. Sin keeps me from experiencing my relationship with Jesus to the fullest. I don’t want that at all. Am I perfect? No way. I will never be perfect, but I can strive to be a follower of Christ and by doing so, anything that doesn’t bring Jesus praise is not something I want to be a part of. I realized in that moment, sure, I was living a good life, but nothing about it really screamed “I’m a follower of Jesus”. If I’m being 100% honest with all of you, I’ve always hidden my faith away because I never wanted to offend anyone. Now, I’m an adult. I have every right to have my own opinions and thoughts on things and why wouldn’t I wear my faith like my favorite sweater in winter? I have nothing to hide behind. I have no reason to hide my faith at all. In fact, it’s because of my faith that I am who I am. I am a happy, peaceful, and genuine person. I love people. I love to celebrate people. I love to share my life with whoever I am around. That’s because of Jesus in me. I’m able to love people well because I know he loves me and no matter what I’ve done before, no matter if friends or anyone has considered me an afterthought, he chose me… he chose me first. It was within that message that Chris said “You know, the people who are the most free are the ones who have nothing to hide. They live life in vulnerability…” So, to continue this journey, I’m about to get real vulnerable with a couple thousand of you who read my blog on a regular basis. Here goes…

There is something wrong with me. I am a ridiculously happy person about 6 out of 7 days a week. There’s always 1 day where I wake up extremely late and it puts me in a mood…but we’re all allowed 1 day right?! I love people. I love serving them. I love being with my friends who’ve become extended family. I am a hopeful person…for everyone but myself. *insert cries of “ouch!” and “YIKES” here*

I can pray all day long for my friends and family. I can pray peace for you. I can pray hope for you. I can HOPE WITH YOU FOR WHATEVER IT IS YOU NEED…but when it comes to me, I have a problem. I think I have something wrong with my heart and head because they never match up. I had a friend come up to me a couple weeks ago and he said “I just really need you to pray for me. I know you pray for me already, so will you? I need some help here in this situation…” My response: HECK YES. Of course I will. I’m on it! I’ve often said I’m like my mom. When my mom prays for things, stuff happens. And by stuff, I don’t mean like “oh, this situation just happened the way I needed it to”… I mean “Holy moly, the ONLY WAY this situation could have worked out this way is BECAUSE OF JESUS… Mom has been praying”… I can pray that way for my friends. But when it comes to me… there’s a disconnect. I got some clarity on this yesterday in church. I have a hope problem because my hope isn’t where it needs to be. When we place our hope in anything but Jesus, we are essentially hopeless. We start to get worried, anxious, fearful, and putting ourselves through ridiculous, trivial things that none of us should be going through. Did you know hope is, by definition, the expectation that something good is coming? Seriously. That’s what hope is. That no matter what my situation looks like, or what I’m facing, OR WHETHER OR NOT I’VE SEEN ANYTHING COMING MY WAY,  there is good coming for me. That’s who God is. My problem is placing my hope in myself of course but it’s also because my emotions have decided to run wild and they aren’t in alignment with what I truly believe. If I say I believe that God is my provider, then my emotions that tell me “God won’t have a job for you. You’ll be poor and homeless and back in Tulsa with your parents” can’t have a place in my mind. If I truly were to listen to the people, the nay-sayers if you will, in my life who constantly question my sexual preference because I’m almost 30 and still single, my emotions would constantly be stressed to the max. Yes, I’m single. Yes, I’m almost 30 (THANK GOD FOR NEW BEGINNINGS, AM I RIGHT?!) and Yes, I’m a woman waiting for the man God has set for me. I don’t think there’s a problem with that. I don’t think there is a problem with a woman being so sure in who she is in Christ that she steps out in her calling and makes a move. I’m not perfect, but I know for a fact, beyond a shadow of a doubt that I’m meant to be in Norman and meant to be at OU and meant to be at my church. Imagine if we listened to all the voices who don’t align their voices with God… Can you imagine how much more messed up we would be?? I’d rather listen to Jesus who knows me through and through, the good, the bad, and the ugly, than listen to every slanderous and ridiculous statement that people say. 

So here is me aligning my emotions and thoughts with my Savior:

I am a child of God, saved with a purpose and marked for such a bright and glorious future.
I am surrounded on all sides by a God who loves me and considers me first, even when I fail him and consider him last.
He is my provider. The one who sees all, who knows all, and before I even take a step, he has my path well designed.
He is with me always. I may feel alone, but I’m never alone. I’ve found the one whom my soul loves and cherishes. I’ve found someone who is better than any person on this planet. I’ve found such a love that I cannot even explain. When I feel so confused or hurt or broken, he is right there, walking with me through it all.
He has someone for me. I may not know who he is, or where he is, but that’s not a problem. If the God of the universe cares for me and every detail of my life, then he cares the same for the man he has for me. Why should I worry about that? He knows what my heart needs more than I do and I’m so thankful.
He has my finances. If he is truly my provider, then he knows what job I need. He knows what people I need around me. He knows where I am going to be stationed. He knows. He truly knows and cares about me to do this.
I’m not second choice, third choice, or more. I’m first choice to him. Before I ever chose him, he saw me, named me, formed me and shaped my heart. Gave me all these incredible gifts to use and serve people. He knew every decision I would make and still loves me even if those decisions were wrong. He’s caught every tear I’ve ever cried. He’s treasured every laugh. He’s heard every song I’ve ever sung and every word I’ve ever written on paper. He’s held me when I’ve felt so awkward and alone. He’s led me when no one has been there to lead me. He’s challenged me when I’ve gotten comfortable. He’s allowed the waves to get a bit higher for me, all the while still right next to me, grasping my hand.
He wants me to be so Unreasonably Optimistic that I take him at his word. His word is life to our bones. His word is full of promises that are supposed to set us apart from the world. We are supposed to be so unreasonably optimistic that when issues come up or problems or whatever, that we can look at them, and say “Yeah, I see that, but my God is bigger. He’s greater and I believe what he says about me. I believe that everything I need, he will provide. I believe in the midst of trial, he’s my advocate. I believe I’m covered by his love and favor and anyone who comes against me, comes against God. This isn’t my battle. It’s God’s.” <Can you imagine?? If we all started speaking faith and hope like this in every situation? Man, the world would change…>

I don’t know about you, but that sounds like a God who loves his children so so much that he is absolutely willing to do anything, anything,  for his kids. That’s the God I serve. The God who makes me so unreasonably optimistic that it seems fake to everyone else. I love people, and I love them so well that some, who have never experienced Jesus, probably think I’m a liar or fake or whatever and that’s ok. My job isn’t to convince anyone that I am who I am. My job is just to love people and by doing so, I hope they are able to see Jesus in me.

So from here on out, if there’s a struggle in your mind and heart and there’s conflict, go to God. Find where the conflict is and speak truth to it. Laugh in the face of the lie and speak truth…and get on the path of being so unreasonably optimistic that people are convinced you’re crazy and want to join you on this journey.

 

 

 

//linds the adventurer: part 2//

Step 1: Say yes.

Step 2: Expect the unexpected.

“Is this really happening? Dylan, Donovan… ARE WE REALLY GOING TO FLORIDA? ARE WE REALLY DOING THIS? GOING TO ORLANDO FOR THE WEEKEND?!”

I need you all to understand something: I don’t do spur of the moment. I don’t do last minute. I don’t do anything out of the ordinary, of course, unless my friends call me and need me. But when it comes to my life and how I live, I just don’t do surprise and ‘shock and awe’ well. I don’t know why. I’m pretty sure as a child I was easy going… I tended to follow wherever the wind would blow. But, as I’ve grown into an adult, I’ve gotten away from that. I’ve become straight laced and probably more uptight (Yes, I said it) about my time. So when Dylan, Donovan and I were sitting in my living room, staring at computer screens, trying to get the best deals on flights, cars, and hotels, I was not looking back. I was not about to say no to any of it. I just clicked “confirm” and before I knew it, tickets were bought, a car was on reserve and a hotel for 2 nights booked. ((IS ANYONE ELSE THINKING WHAT ON EARTH WAS SHE THINKING??!?!))

It didn’t seem real until I was sitting on the plane… actually, it didn’t feel real until we walked out of the airport to the rental car/baggage claim.

Now, like I said, I don’t do spur of the moment or surprises well. I don’t. They make me nervous and make me feel like a clown is going to pop out of nowhere and scare the living hell out of me. I used to like clowns until I was flipping channels at the ripe age of 7 and saw that scary clown IT or whatever they call it. It was downhill from there… HAH! Anyway, surprises scare me. I had maybe mentioned this to Dylan and Donovan before, so when we were waiting in line for what I thought was a free rental car and the very nice gentleman said, “that will be $159.75 for 3 days”, my eyes grew wide. My mouth kind of hung open. I looked at Dylan and Donovan and the both of them said “It’s ok, Linds. We can redo our plans to make this fit in our travel budgets. We can do this”. Their encouragement was like a breath of fresh air. I handed over my card and said “give me a pen. I’m signing”. We get our things and go to the car. We start driving. And it gets even more real! We were in Florida.

My #baes...the ultimate Valentine's Dates...

My #baes…the ultimate Valentine’s Dates…

Dylan had a plan. We were going to surprise his precious parents (oh my lord, you guys don’t even know how precious Sharon and Michael are…like I can’t handle the sweetness of this family) in Magic Kingdom. Like I’ve said before, I’m a Disney freak. I’ve been to Disney World 4 times and each time I’ve watched my mom and dad plan out our working plan. I’ve observed how to work the lines and which sides of the parks you want to hit and at what time. I’ve got the Disney App on my phone and every once in awhile, I’ll check it just because I need to know what’s happening at my home away from home. When we got in Magic Kingdom, the smell of sugar and springtime hits you in the face. It’s like sniffing happiness and magic. You are overwhelmed with this thought that anything you wish will come true. My first stop, obviously, was to get my Minnie Mouse ears…because any upper twenty-something in her favorite place needs ears. It’s not official until you get ears. The other favorite about this trip…Donovan had never been to Disney before. Y’all want to know what it’s like to see pure happiness and bliss and excitement and pure appreciation–take a friend who’s never been to Disney to Main Street and make them stand in the middle of Main Street and take in the sight that is Cinderella’s Castle.

WHAT IS HAPPENING...

WHAT IS HAPPENING…

Donovan having his moment on Main Street U.S.A.

Donovan having his moment on Main Street U.S.A.

Never too old...

Never too old…

We found Dylan’s parents in Frontierland and I was the trusty videographer. Of course, I’m pretty sure my height worked against this plan, but I got the jist of the excitement of seeing Sharon and Michael’s face light up upon seeing their son surprise them. Honestly, I have the best friends in the world and to be included in this outing made me cry. There’s always a time to say yes and go on an adventure. When you do, the feelings you experience are very real and priceless. You can’t expect to be a tough guy or girl when in Disney. I blame Walt for that. It’s like he dreamed this world up with the purpose of making the most manly of men and the strongest of women to crumble upon seeing Cinderella’s castle up close. I’m so glad I don’t take myself so seriously that I miss those moments to let my walls down a little.

Now, I could go on and on about this first day. We rode rides. We ate the best food. We laughed. We cried. We went on Splash Mountain when it was dark out and getting cold and got completely soaked. We sat right in front of Cinderella’s castle and cried as the fireworks went off and Tink flew out from the top tower of the castle. But I have to say, my favorite moment… Was meeting Maddox from the @disneybunch instagram account. If you don’t know who that precious boy and his family is, go look him up now. I was just telling my parents the night before about him and then Dylan and Donovan that morning how badly I wanted to meet Maddox. And guess what… Before we left Frontierland for the millionth time, Dylan’s eyes grow wide and I look to where he’s looking and there, in all his pudgy cuteness dressed as John Darling, is Maddox…

Uhhh we're starstruck...

Uhhh we’re starstruck…

Trying to calm down enough to take a picture...

Trying to calm down enough to take a picture…

CRYING BECAUSE IT HAPPENED...

CRYING BECAUSE IT HAPPENED…

This is what Disney does. It makes adults become like kids again. It makes you walk around with no agenda, no worry about what you left at home, no fear that you look like a total idiot crying over a 3 or 4 year old dressed as John Darling. Again… you just have to expect that unexpected surprises are around every corner and if you’re too uptight about making your next FastPass ride, you could miss them.

You know, a lot of things took me by surprise (be looking for Part 3) but this trip taught me that I only get this life, this moment with my friends and family once. ONE SHOT. Looking back at my life, I’ve done wonderful things with my life, but not a lot of adventuring. I want to adventure as much as possible. I want to do spur of the moment. I want to cry because I’m so freaking happy to be with the people I’m with and take that moment in. If you only live this life once, why are you waiting to start living? You should start, because soon, you’ll realize just how old you really are and how much time has been wasted wishing you did these spur of the moment things…

So, take it from me, someone who doesn’t do surprises, or spur of the moment well, and expect the unexpected. Just plan something and go with the flow.

FAMILY TIME...

FAMILY TIME…

//linds the adventurer: part 1//

I am a creature of habit. I live by what my calendar says and by what time the alarm clock goes off in the morning. I live like an adult. It’s how I’m wired, ya know? I’ve never been one to just say yes at the drop of hat to fun things. Going into 2016, one of the things I told the Lord was that I want to do things I normally would say no to. I was tired of being boring. I looked at my life and up until this point, the most daring thing I’ve done is move to Norman. NORMAN. IT’S NOT EVEN A HUGE MOVE! But, that was it. I looked even further back through pictures and was surprised that I didn’t have more photos to commemorate the accomplishments I’ve done. I don’t have photos with my friends, or life group, or even from when my family would come to town. So, I made up my mind, that if the opportunity presented itself and if I had the funds to just get out of town or go to a concert, or change something about myself, I’d do it. I would do it and not think about what I would miss back at home, but I would relish the fact that I did something so far outside my comfort zone. Here’s a simple example: I’ve had my hair the same way for awhile now… So last week, I added bangs. And you know what? I felt a little bit more confident. Amazing what something simple like adding bangs can do for you… 🙂

before the hair change...

before the hair change…

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and after… 🙂

Well, it happened.

If you’ve known me for any length of time, you know I am a freak about all things Disney. I love Disney movies, the songs, every character, EVERYTHING… I love Disney World. I love Disneyland. I want to live in Cinderella’s castle and pretend its my kingdom. Weird? I don’t care. I guess I blame my parents for raising me as a kid with a wild imagination. My parents never hindered the creative process. When they heard me talking to myself while I played with Barbies or my Disney figurines, they never told me to stop. In fact, they’d probably join in with me. My mom never told me any of my stories were unrealistic or silly. She told me to keep drawing and creating! And my favorite childhood memories revolve around going to the movies at the movie theater. My mom and dad took me to see Bambi and Little Mermaid. My dad took me on one of our father/daughter dates to see The Jungle Book and all I remember is getting to ride in the front seat of dad’s Infinity G20, listening to Billy Joel. I remember watching Disney movies with my parents and loving every minute. The first time I walked through the gates at Disney World, I was 10 years old and I still remember wanting to sprint up Main Street U.S.A. and just stare at Cinderella’s Castle. The best part was, my mom planned our trip and got us reservations at Cinderella’s Royal Table. We got to go inside the castle and meet all the characters and eat breakfast with them. I remember the weeks before our Disney trip and Jess and I decorating manila envelopes with “Money for Disney World” on it. All our chore money went toward that trip. I know we probably stressed my parents out more than they would admit, but I remember the feeling of walking into the parks like it was yesterday. I remember the day we left as the saddest day I’d ever witnessed.

That’s the magic of Disney. So, now, being 29, and trying to make myself adventure a little bit more, when one of my best friends, Dylan,  called me and my friend Donovan and explained he found cheap tickets to Orlando for the weekend, my instant response was “YES. Don’t care how much it costs… I’m going!” I think I even surprised myself because I NEVER DO THAT! I never just say “Ok, sure. Let’s spend money and go to Orlando and stay at a cheap hotel and go to the happiest place on earth”. I was surprised and better yet, I felt so peaceful saying yes. It probably sounds crazy that I find this whole weekend kind of spiritual, but I do.

As we drove to Dallas at 4am on Friday, February 12th, I was listening to a song that we’ve been singing for the last couple weeks at church. Part of the song simply says “You have given everything my heart could ever need and all you ask is I believe. So I am resting safe inside your promise to provide and nothing could ever change your love, you love for me”. This trip is symbolic for many reasons (yep, many. That’s why this is part 1). As I was driving, I realized God has always given me everything I’ve ever needed. He always provides. He always has my best in mind and he never asks me to do anything but believe. He just wants me to believe… What I keep realizing is that I have control issues. I have issues believing something so simple when I know it to be true! I have issues with the simple “I believe you Jesus” part. Why is it so tough for me to just say “yes, Jesus. Whatever you have for me, I’m ready. Let’s do this”. You know, when I was less of an adult, the saying yes part wasn’t hard at all. I just jumped at the chance and did it. Mission trip for an extended amount of time? OK! DONE. Sign me up. Packing food boxes for the hungry? Yes please. Want to volunteer for church events, the worship team and youth group? I will rearrange my schedule to do it all. But now that I’m approaching 30, it’s like I’ve lost the simplistic yes. So moral of the story: no matter how old you are, you should be able to say yes to the opportunities Jesus places in front of you. Will it be hard? maybe. Will it make you feel a little different? probably so. But, will Jesus provide for you every step of the way and walk with you through it all even if you have panic/anxiety attacks? You better believe it.

So step 1 of being a better adventurer: just say yes.

me? saying yes to an adventure? DEFINITE MIRACLE.

me? saying yes to an adventure? DEFINITE MIRACLE.

//I’ve found a home//

Well, what a weekend. I have to say that my “OH MY GOODNESS, WHAT AM I DOING IN NORMAN” scaredy-cat moment from Monday night’s drive home was just that: a moment. When I see the OKC skyline as I take my exit toward Norman, my heart smiles. If that were an actual thing, where your heart could smile, mine would make my ribs heart because it gets so big. I know that sounds so weird and it’s highly unlikely anything like that happens, but it feels like it. When I take the exit on to Main Street in Norman, it’s like my breathing returns to normal and ease hits my shoulders and I relax. When I pull into my little, quaint neighborhood, and pull into my driveway, relief hits. “I’m home”. Iconic words for places of special meaning and special places, that if you couldn’t feel at home, you’d be incredibly uncomfortable and displaced.

I used to work in Ministry full time for like 4 years? I don’t know. All the work started to smoosh together, so I don’t entirely remember all the years but I know it felt like a lifetime. When I made the decision to start praying for a way out of my current position it was because I was starting to feel that “wanderlust”, Tinkerbell is dousing me in Pixie Dust kind of feeling… “My time is up here…time to start looking for what’s next.” I didn’t look at other church jobs. I didn’t look at any jobs really. I looked at schools. I had 2 schools open for this Grad School opportunity. One would’ve taken me a couple hundred miles away from my family, and the other just a hop, skip and a jump away. I got accepted to both programs, and ultimately knew I was to move to Norman. (Sorry, Virginia Beach. You and I would’ve been best friends, I know it). Tulsa was my temporary home. It was like Grandma’s house. You always go there to visit during holidays and if you ever drive past you have to stop situations. You love Grandma, but sometimes staying too long just makes you nervous that someone is going to trip over their oxygen tubes and you’ll be the one to handle that situation. But you love to visit. That’s the point. That’s Tulsa for me. I packed all my stuff into a tiny truck and a couple cars and moved to Norman. And again, the relief hit. The breathing became easier. HOME.

I have gone to church all my life. I’ve liked that majority of churches me and my family went to. There was always something special that stuck out to us about each place. My first children’s pastor, Mr. Matt. He, for some reason, liked me and thought I was funny. He was so encouraging and was the first person to ask me to start helping lead kids praise and worship. I was 8. My small group leader Katy Watts (then Olin). Katy was the one who sat in the back row with this crying and pouting 13-year-old whose parents MADE HER get on the youth bus and go to youth group. Katy welcomed me into her leader world and got me seeking others like me out and making friends. Ben Watts (yep, Katy’s husband now) when I was 14 said “Linds, I know you sing! Sing with us! Just show up for practice!” Little did I know, I showed up at the wrong time and had to sit out the first time I was supposed to sing, but Ben had a good laugh and it helped me loosen up and laugh at myself. My bible teacher from Senior year, now the Pastor of Grace, Robb Yandian. Rob and Kelly liked me for some reason and allowed me to babysit for their kids (which, they were my favorite and I was known to cancel plans to play with Alex, Nathan, and Rachel). My senior year of high school was a bit scandalous…lots of rumors about me flying and the only people who knew what was true were my parents, my only friend Vanessa, and my former friends from the last class that graduated. I didn’t drink in high school. I didn’t sleep with anyone on our senior trip. I didn’t lie to get what I wanted. I was probably more of a doormat my senior year, but it was annoying and painful to keep hearing whispers and knowing it’s about you. Robb sat at his desk during our bible class and wrote out 3 pages, front and back, notes about my future and what God is calling me to. He wrote out how I was going to make it out of HS. He gave me a direction and he was right. Then there was my second parents, Pastor Dann and Miss Jalon Lies. Their boys would become my brothers. Daniel (the oldest) and I would on Sundays, take kids to their classes, put their pickup tags on our arms or legs and then go volunteer in the kids ministry somewhere. After church, we had the joint task of keeping Stephen from getting ice cream. Sundays were a dream for me. I loved being with my family and doing pizza night with Pastor Dann and Miss Jalon. These memories don’t just happen. They take place over time. My last church… I poured my heart and soul into that place and when it came time to leave, I took with me the fond moments. The moments I prayed with people, the moments I actually got to use my degree and field and counsel someone. All the things I learned about production because Johnny showed me. All the funny moments I had with the guys in the band. And all the kids I got to spend time with during Midweek. But for whatever reason, I still hadn’t found that here in Norman, until this past Sunday.

I’ve found a church! Antioch Norman, you are exactly what I’ve been dreaming about as far as a church is concerned. The way you worship, the way you minister, the way you live your life… I want to be apart of the movement that is Antioch. Love God. Love people. Change the World. Those are the 3 things I want to do and try to do on a regular basis. I can’t wait for the weekends now. Church is important and one that will make or break you. I can’t wait for my sister to move here and come to church with me. I love this!

Guys, not only do I have a new city, a new house, a new career plan…I have a home church. Antioch Norman.

Go out and find a place to call home if you don’t have one. And don’t listen to the nay-sayers. If someone says “Oh, don’t go there because…” block that out. I mean unless they handle snakes or something. But don’t let someone’s opinion and their experience be yours. I almost let that happen and would’ve missed out on EXACTLY what I was looking for. Be open. Be available. Let God lead and direct you. Chances are, he is, you just aren’t aware of it.

Linds

//TedxOU, Pt. 2//

I would’ve written yesterday, but let’s be honest. If you are in the company of many thinkers and you all have been talking about the talks you’ve just heard and you’re goals and dreams for taking your ideas “off the map”, you would be tired too! I came home and crashed! And yes, that means my study schedule got tossed today…I slept until 11:30 this morning. I don’t even feel bad about that. 🙂

The rest of the day of TED talks were incredible. I heard 2 talks that were about math and your body and robots and evolution and I’m pretty sure I can’t even tell you what that was all about. I really tried to understand what was being said, but I just couldn’t. I was lost at Robots and Evolution.

Do you know what an innovation hub is? You don’t? Well, that’s interesting. Because OU certainly does and is going to leave all you other universities in the dust with it’s innovation. The Innovation Hub is actually going to be a part of the Research Institute here on campus. It will house thousands of square feet for students to bring their ideas to and actually see them come to life. 3D printers, ocular experience, wood cutters, WHATEVER YOU CAN IMAGINE, it will be in that space! It was amazing to see. There was a 900 square foot tent set up outside for us to look around and get an idea of what the Innovation Hub will look like. It’s going to be unreal. Seriously, even though I have ideas that don’t necessarily need a 3D printer to create, it was awesome knowing that that’s available in the event I might need it.

The last session of the day was all about Stories. There was an actor who talked about the importance of community theater. There was an author who TOTALLY KNEW about my parasocial relationships with characters from my favorite movies and TV shows (cough, cough LESLIE KNOPE, HARRY POTTER, THE BRAVERMAN’S, TAYLOR SWIFT…My list goes on…). There was also a beautiful story of making sure we don’t allow our one point of view of someone’s story be the only “story” that someone lives up to. It was amazing. I wouldn’t trade the TEDxOU experience for anything and I highly anticipate being there next year. If you don’t know what TED Talks are, look them up on TED.com or even on Netflix. We have so much to learn from one another…sure, you might not agree with everything, but from listening to someone and their experience, it helps shape who you are and what you believe. If you would’ve told me that the first, opening talk would be about Religious Freedom and the need to protect it, I would’ve laughed at you! OU is a secular university. I was expecting very liberal talks all day long. The Religious Freedom talk wasn’t necessarily all “Christian”, if it was at all. But from listening to that talk, I was made thankful for the religious freedom I’ve experienced all my life. It didn’t change my belief in God, but it made me so thankful that I have the ability to say what I believe. It made me thankful for the discussions I’ve had with people who don’t believe what I do because in other countries, I could be dead for my beliefs and the discussion I had. If you would’ve told me that I would be further pushed to help other people and driven to find a way to help the very broken system that is our Foster Care, I would’ve, again, laughed! I had no idea that specific areas of interest would be on the list to experience at TEDxOU. Man, I thought I was thankful for my undergrad…but I’ve never been so thankful to be a part of a world-class, diversely populated university like the University of Oklahoma. I’m a believer. I’m a Sooner. I’ve bought into the idea that whatever I think, I can accomplish.

THANK YOU OU FOR THE TEDxOU EXPERIENCE. I hope to be involved in some way next year! 🙂

Linds

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//TedxOU// Pt. 1

Do you know what it feels like to be “hand-picked” for a special event? Maybe you know what it’s like to feel “accepted” to a university or program you really wanted. It’s a lot like that. The one thing I absolutely love about OU is the diversity of thought and perspective. There is no such thing as “small ideas” here and I feel fortunate enough to be thought of as a bright and intelligent student at such a university.

When I first got accepted into the University of Oklahoma, I was first scared, then relieved. When I started receiving the school emails about upcoming events, I got excited. TED Talks are by far one of my guilty pleasures. They cause thought and provoke the idea that you can do something to improve the environment you are in. I’ve been inspired and challenged by TED and when I saw that OU was having a TEDx event, I had to do whatever it took to go. First off, you have to apply to get invited to TEDx. I didn’t know that. Nervousness ensued and then I proceeded to talk about why I need to attend. I believe now more than ever, mental healthcare is needed in our nation. How can I provide help to those in need? And so the dreaming began even more.

So far this morning, I’ve heard talks about the importance of Religious Freedom, Human Trafficking and how we can help and the importance of using Laws for the intended purposes for which they were created. All of these are causing me to look beyond my little dream of practicing mental health and dreaming of ways I can go deeper. I can’t wait to hear more. Pictures to come.

🙂

Have I mentioned how much I love my university? I love, love, LOVE OU.

#liveon #OKLAHOMA #university #TEDxOU