Camping @ Fairfield Lake State Park

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Will, Griffin, and I got to experience Easter in a non-traditional way this weekend.  We attempted our first camping trip as a family instead of attending an Easter Sunday service.  But that doesn’t mean that we didn’t celebrate Jesus any less.  We got to celebrate Jesus in the great outdoors — and His presence was stunning.

On Sunday morning, a storm blew through the park.  Will and I were prepared and headed into town so that we didn’t have to hide out in the tent through the rain and wind.  My attitude and feelings towards the rain were…. bitter to say the least.  I thought our weekend was ruined.  Little did I know, God was revealing himself to us through the beauty that followed the storm — just like the story of Jesus’ crucifixion and resurrection.  The day turned out to be gorgeous and we practically got the entire state park to ourselves.

We are blessed that we got to opportunity to share this weekend together.  It was sooo much fun.  We will definitely make it a tradition to camp with our family in the future.

Here are some pictures of our weekend at Fairfield Lake State Park.

Our campsite!  We were surrounded by beautiful trees.

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We did a lot of hiking and exploring!

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We sorta forgot lighter fluid…. but we had fun trying to light our own fire.  Eventually we were successful… after a trip to town! 😉 DSCF1030

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Really, we just wanted Smores!

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We had a great time…

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but Griffin was ready to pack up and leave by the end of the weekend.

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We hope you enjoyed looking at just a few of the pictures we took.  We are thankful that we have a God that created such beauty all around us and even more thankful that He sent his one and only son to die on the cross for our sins!

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Posted in Family, Life, Written by Maisie | Tagged , , , | 1 Comment

Waiting…

During Lent, Will and I’s church in Waco has been teaching on the Psalms of Disorientation.  The Psalms of disorientation are the Psalms that express those emotions we all feel sometimes but don’t always talk about — depression, worry, confusion, abandonment and so much more.  This series has really spoke to me and Will as we are stumbling through what our last post described as the great unknown.

One of the biggest messages to me through this series has been about waiting on God and His perfect plan.  Over the past couple of weeks, we have not received the acceptance letters we have greatly anticipated.  Instead, the opposite has happened.

One of my favorite songs right now is by Francesca Battistelli, called Strangely Dim.  The lyrics of her song speak to what Will and I have been experiencing over the past 3 months or so.  We have been clinging on to a plan.  A plan that we believed was perfect for us.  We were sure that we would be moving out of Texas and into a big city.  As Francesca Battistelli sings, we were waiting and praying for what we were holding on to so tightly.  And when we received rejection letters, we began to experience these disorienting feelings described in Psalms.  We had honestly forgotten to seek God and to seek God’s plan for us because we were too occupied with our own plans.

We are blessed that our God is FULL of second chances as we are struggling through this great unknown.  We are learning about the challenges and the beauty of waiting on God.  I was blessed to wake up to this on my Instagram feed yesterday.

(You might need to click on the picture to read it better.  This is from the book called Jesus Calling by Sarah Young.  I have friends that have spoken very highly of the devotional and recently started following them on Instagram.)

image This is what Will and I are trying our hardest to do.  We are in hopeful anticipation of what God will do in our lives.  We discuss our future plans daily and are easily taken hostage by what we believe is best for us.  It’s disorienting to say the least to feel like God is not there.  To feel like we have been waiting forever with no answer.  But we are thankful for family, friends, and a church that encourages us that if we are still and bask in the presence of God, that there is hope and a greater plan than we can ever imagine.

Posted in College, Life, Waiting, Written by Maisie | 1 Comment

The Big Unknown

Blogging is hard.  Especially when you are preoccupied with school, work, and lets be honest…. things like TV that are mindless.  Blogging is a huge commitment that Will and I have failed miserably at.  BUT — that is why I am here today.

In my attempt to populate our blog with more posts, I wanted to start off today by updating everyone on the big unknown — aka me and Will’s life.

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As of February 8th, I am finished with my degree.  I had one class to take at the beginning of this semester and I was fortunate enough to take a minimester that lasted 4 short weeks.  It was a fantastic class to end my Baylor career on.  I always thought the moment I was done with college would be nothing but glorious.  But there were definitely some sad feelings and I am missing the structure of class more and more.

Since my completion of college, I have been taking it easy.  I have not started job searching yet due to the big unknown in our lives.  While Will is a full time student and working hard at Comfort Suites, I am trying to fill my time with babysitting, tutoring, and working at our church.  This is mainly because we have no idea where we will be living after May graduation.  Will has anxiously applied to 5 schools that he wishes to pursue a master degree at.  These schools include George Washington University (Washington D.C.), Boston College, Virginia Tech, William and Mary (Virginia), and Baylor.  We are trying to wait patiently to hear back from the schools so that we can begin planning the next steps in our life.

I keep telling Will that I am happy with any of these locations or schools… I just want to know now so I can find a job and start searching for a place to live.  We find it incredibly challenging dealing with the unknown.  However, we are comforted by the support of family, friends, and our Heavenly Father.

We ask for your prayers and support as we start receiving letters.  We will need lots of guidance and help making such a big decision.

Posted in College, Family, Life, Written by Maisie | Tagged , , , , , , | 1 Comment

The American Empire

America has a notorious tendency to view itself as elite.  We think that simply because we have “the best” government in the world and the best God in the world that we are entitled to prod other countries to  conforming to our ideals.  I beg the question, “Why do we think this way?”

To answer this question, we must take a step back in time to 1803.

When Thomas Jefferson purchased the Louisiana territory from France, he claimed that he was doing what was “best for the people”.  By tripling the territorial size of the country overnight, Jefferson claimed the land as property of the USA.  While a Utopian dream of prosperity suddenly emerged in the minds of Americans, so did a nightmare of persecution for those that were not white, not American, or simply not a person at all (blacks, which were viewed as property).  By fostering the belief of Manifest Destiny (the idea that westward expansion was a direct result of prosperity and God’s favor on us), the Louisiana Purchase gave American citizens the right and obligation to expand Westward to “achieve their dream of freedom.”  However, a glaring paradox was overlooked by frontier settlers: by achieving their dream of expansion and prosperity, white Americans robbed Native Americans and blacks (slaves they took with them) of the very privilege they themselves felt entitled to: freedom.  The quick reaction to these statements is to say, “Well it wasn’t me that persecuted those people.  Blame my ancestors.”  Such reactions are egregiously negligent of history and oblivious to those that privileged white Americans have trampled on over time.

So the question I ask again, “Why are we like this?”  While the answer is a bit daunting, it can be found in the very rhetoric we use in our culture today.  For example:

  • By having a military presence in the Middle East, we can assure that democracy thrives.

Rhetoric like this statement often conceals the truth.  The truth is that we as a nation want to impose our will on the rest of the world because we think we are the best nation in the world and surely everyone wants to be like us.  However, this line of reasoning removes any inkling of the fact that countries may want to have the right to choose to be like us or not.

We deny other countries (and certain cultural groups) the very entity we sought after so passionately for almost 250 years ago: complete freedom.  Elitism has caused us to be an empire.  My only hope is that we acknowledge this fact before it’s too late.

Posted in Politics, Written by Will | Leave a comment

The Eagle

People often forget that an eagle has two wings: a left wing and a right wing. Even if the eagle’s right wing disproves of the left wing’s behavior or vice versa, they must each cooperate for the eagle to remain in flight.

America has forgotten who it really is. We as a nation embrace ardent patriotism through various depictions of bald eagles draped in American flags. However, we have forgotten what these symbols of patriotism truly mean.

Before George Washington stepped down as the first president of the United States, he feared America would split into two (or more) factions that would ultimately lead to the demise of the nation. With Alexander Hamilton vehemently opposed to Thomas Jefferson and vice versa, America split itself into the Federalists and the Democratic-Republicans; today’s Democrats and Republicans. Such party formation has divided our nation into something of a second civil-war. Even though this Civil War II has been virtually nonviolent thus far, it will eventually culminate into the destruction of the USA.

Nikita Kruschev (probably misspelled), as misguided as he was, stated that “America will never be destroyed by a foreign power…because it will destroy itself from within.” I fear that we are not going to prove him wrong because we as a nation are so stubbornly partial to our particular parties that we have created division within the nation. Washington warned against party formation because he knew that America could not survive such a feud. Or as Lincoln so poignantly stated, “A house divided cannot stand.”

I write this not as a partisan but as a patriot. I love my country but I hate what it has become and what it is manifesting itself into.

Liberals attack Conservatives, claiming that they are trying to oppress the nation while Conservatives attack Liberals, claiming that they are trying to oppress the nation. This banter is droning. Who is right? The answer: neither. Only through moderate approaches to fiscal, social, and foreign policies can the nation ever truly prosper. Washington knew this, which is why he had no party affiliation. How do I know he knew this? because he balanced his presidency between the two; conscious of the fact that he was setting a precedent of equilibrium for the executive office.

My proposal? America should abandon its political parties and we as the people should abide by that simple altruism: Treat others the way you would want to be treated. Stop with the hate, let candidates run based on their own credentials and qualifications, and let the American people decide who is best fit to be president, because having a president tied to a party gives us nothing more than a spineless, partisan puppet. This is why Washington, in my opinion, is the best president we’ve ever had.

The bald eagle that is the United States of America is in a plummeting nosedive, without both wings working together, it will soon die a fatal death.

Posted in Politics, Written by Will | 1 Comment

Trip of a lifetime

I am fully aware of my obnoxious tweets and Facebook posts in the past few weeks.  As I’m sure you know, I am constantly posting for people to vote for my mom.
A few weeks ago, my mom and Brandi came to Waco  and we made a video for a contest sponsored by Travelocity.  It seems crazy but it not only gave us something to do but something to fight for over the past weeks.

We have begged for votes and with only a week left, we are all starting to get discouraged.  My moms video hasn’t made it to the top 7 yet. 😦  I really feel that my parents deserve this trip.  After 30 years of a successful marriage and working in different states, I know this trip would do them some good.  In addition, they are such a fantastic example to Will and I.  That is one reason why I am so passionate about them winning this trip.  They have taught Will and I about unconditional love and that we can make anything work.  And we are so grateful for that.

I can’t make any one vote but I will keep pushing until the last day of voting.  And I will ask everyone one more time.

Will you please go vote for my mom… using every email address you have? And tell your friends.  🙂  Use the link below and it will go straight to her video.  It takes less than 2 minutes to register and vote!

http://gnomenabbed.travelocity.com/?v=e1ffbc5f-b68b-4f3f-8fb1-d4f81bf54660 Image

The gnome is getting depressed and feeling a little under the weather.  Please vote to make him happy again and to give my parents a trip of a lifetime! 🙂

Posted in Family, Written by Maisie | Tagged | 1 Comment

Family Dynamics

“Where do you want to sit tonight?”

This is often a question asked before we sit down for dinner in our small apartment in Waco. Although there aren’t many choices and the distance from the living room to the dining room is non existent, we still have to choose.

Will and I were raised similarly. We were both blessed with amazing parents that raised us with Christian principles and surrounded us with love and support. But differences between our two families definitely exist (in a good way).

Will was raised eating meals mainly at the table. My family, on the other hand, liked to join together around the TV. My point is not to say that one family did it right and another did it wrong. Thats definitely not true.

What is true is that taking two family backgrounds and creating your very own family dynamics can be challenging. (Don’t worry, when I say family I only mean me, Will, and Griffin.) Will and I have noticed through our first year of marriage that we can’t do everything the same way our own families did it. What worked for them doesn’t necessarily work for us. We are constantly trying to figure out what does works for us… and it’s not always easy.

Although it’s not always easy to come to a conclusion and sometimes we have to say “we will worry about that later in life”, we are loving the opportunity to work together to figure it all out. It gives us a sense of unity and independence.

We respect our parents more than anyone and we never want to lose sight of the wonderful ways we were raised. We know that all kinds of big and small aspects of our family dynamics will trickle down into our very own family one day… and they already do. We wouldn’t change that for the world.

But for now, we mix up where we eat dinner on a daily basis. Sometimes we eat in front of the TV and other times we join together at the table. And if I’m being completely honest, more often than not we eat on the go or at various restaurants around Waco. But that’s what works for us (for now anyways).

20121012-224609.jpgHere is a picture to demonstrate the closeness between our living room and dining room.

Posted in Dinner, Family, Marriage, Written by Maisie | 2 Comments