Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Reflecting on My Undergraduate Career 12.16.2014

SO. This is not going to follow my usual blogger format, but if you're reading this you probably won't mind. And if you do mind, stop reading this. Duh.

I just wanted to give you all an inside look at some very specific and essential things that carried me through 2 years at a po-dunk, sleepy (but, certainly effective) community college and

3.5 years at one of the top engineering schools in the country. (Graduating with honors, yo).


(I'm going to brag about it, k?)

This is in no particular order, because it's finals week and I don't have time to think that deeply. I really shouldn't even be writing this. But I'll do anything to avoid studying, writing a research paper, prepping for a presentation or two, doing HW (Right?! Who assigns homework 11th week--evil professors!)

Some of the things on this list only Kettering students will understand and some of these things only GOCC folks will understand. And if you understand both, you're either me or someone just like me and that's weird (but you're probably really awesome, smart, pretty, and cool--so, props!).

ANYWAY--let's get started as I'm sure you are all dying to here the details of my life.

Coffee. Woooo! I was introduced to the world of coffee my second year at community college studying for Anatomy and Physiology (to this day, the most I've EVER studied for a class). I thought coffee was disgusting then.  I drank it with loads of sugar and creamer to make it taste decent and I still hated it. But it kept me awake until 4am studying bones, muscles, systems, ATP, etc. Coolest class ever, too.  Because it just affirmed my belief in the Lord because he created us with staggering detail and whoa. It just totally blew my mind. (Can you tell I've had coffee this morning?)

Chegg.com I discovered Chegg during Calculus 1 and it's gift from the good Lord above. For those of you who are unfamiliar--CHEGG GIVES YOU DETAILED SOLUTIONS OF ALMOST ALL MATH/SCIENCE RELATED BOOKS (ODD AND EVEN NUMBERS). If you are ever considering going to an engineering school, get a chegg account or find someone who has one.  Guess what everyone? I have a chegg account. My own. Using my OWN email address. Yeah, if you didn't know this--it's because I am selfish and I did not want to share all that knowledge with you and you probably used a frat account, anyway.

Running. The one time of the week where I think about nothing else but putting one foot in front of the other. It's beautiful. And also, it helped me avoid gaining 40 pounds in college.

Graphing Calculator. Nobody graphs by hand these days. C'mon, maaaan. Also, I may or may not be one of those people who puts 1+1 into their calculator when doing a long drawn out problem in the event that the world turned on it's side and math changed forever and also in the event that I make the dumbest mistake on 3 page problem and my professor doesn't believe in partial credit (we've all been there!).

The Long Awkward White Couch In The Science Wing At GOCC. So. Many. Naps.

Highlighters. Makes your prof think you're paying attention. I'm actually drawing pictures.

Dry Shampoo. I am not going to disclose how many consecutive days I have gone without washing my hair. But I will tell you that drying and styling your hair everyday is for the freaking birds. When you go to an engineering school or really any school or if you're just a really busy person or if you can't find a place to wash your hair, you learn that while showering may be essential every once in awhile, unless somebody barfed in your hair, washing your hair is not essential. And it takes WAY too much time.

Silent Heroes Letting Us All Know That People Actually Made It Out Of Kettering Alive. ....Alumni.

Financial Aid. Without it, I wouldn't be here OR I would be in a lot more debt than I am now. Woop!

Library. ...occasionally I would actually check out books. During work term, of course.

iMessaging and What'sApp. WHY DOESN'T THE BASEMENT HAVE SERVICE?!

Excel/PowerPoint.  Everyone said that an engineer only needs two skills to succeed...

My Friends. They are amazing. Laughs, food, wine, dancing. I love them all so much. And I feel incredibly blessed to have amazing friends that supported me through this development process.

My Parents/Big Sis. You guys... :)

Work/Study Positions. Supporting my coffee addiction.

Jesus. The only consistent thing in my life. Not in the sense that I have been consistent in my pursuit of a relationship with him (because, let me tell you, my first 3 years of college were so confusing and rough--I was bad kid!!)...but consistent in that JESUS consistently loved me and took me right back after I turned my back on Him!! Amazing. :) Also, spending time in the Word and praying every night allowed for minimal number of freak outs and anxiety attacks. Thanks Jesus!

That's All.... back to studying. ;)

Friday, September 19, 2014

Jesus, Fitness, & NPC 09.19.2014

Well, I'll start by saying that competing in an NPC competition is by far one of the hardest things I have endured physically and mentally. 

I've been an athlete my whole life, but nothing compares to what these people put themselves through.

If you're not familiar with the sport, it requires hours in the gym lifting heavy weights, and running sprints.  That's the fun part (for me).

The not-so-fun-make-you-want-to-scream-and-throw-two-year-old-fits part is the diet.

When I started to see major results people would ask me what I ate.  That's such a loaded, yet simple question.  Well, I ate veggies, meat, egg whites, and rice. Oh and I drink 1.5 gallons of water every day. Simple.  But I eat 6 times a day.  Every three hours.  And skipping meals or cheating is not an option. And no, I can't eat fruit. No, I can't just have one cookie. No, I can't loosen up a little. And yes, I have to go to the bathroom twice an hour.

Seriously, there were nights that sucked.  Nights I wanted to eat.  Nights I did eat (one major brownie and ice cream slip-up).

SO, I did my competition on September 6th.  Placed 9th. Woo hoo! Felt pretty good that I did it.

These last two weeks, I've been in the gym regularly. But my diet....let's just say it's been a little relaxed.

Guess what? I no longer have a perfect six pack. 

Guess what? I'm five pounds heavier and little fluffier than I was on September 6th.

Guess what? I'm the happiest I've been in weeks.

So, here's where the parallel comes in.

So many of us get into this pattern. We read our Bibles every day, we pray every day.  We follow the prescribed "regimen" to be a good little Christian. 

But the problem is sometimes, we do it because "we should" or "we have to" not because the Bible IS THE MOST LIFE GIVING LITERATURE IN THE WHOLE WORLD AND IT CAN BRING JOY AND SATISFACTION TO THE CRAPPIEST OF DAYS AND IT CONNECTS YOU WITH THE MOST POWERFUL DUDE IN THE UNIVERSE (JESUS)!

Maybe all the caps were not necessary.  I think they were.

We are caught in the routine and our relationship with Jesus is not fulfilling sometimes. 

When I was prepping for this competition, I was stuck in a routine. Everyday I ate the same food at the same time every day.  I was going to the gym at the same time every week. 

Who WANTS to do that? Who WANTS to eat the same food every day? Not me! I loved competing, but it's brutal people. I couldn't prep for a competition like that all the time. I don't care if it means sacrificing my six pack and a couple of pounds.

Guys, when we read and pray because it's part of the routine, it's no longer meaningful.  It's no longer WORSHIP.  It's just a routine.  You're "eating" the same thing every day.

It's time to break out of that.  I'm not telling you to stop reading and praying.  But remember the PURPOSE--remember the real reason you're doing this.  The purpose is to bring forth life and be spiritually "healthy", if you will. 

That routine I was in, it got to the point--where it was no longer healthy--at least mentally. I needed some life in me. And I didn't have it! Once, I met my goal--it felt good to break free. (Thanks Berlin for keeping me going in those times I felt crazy)

So these past two weeks, I took a break.  No guilt.  Just a break.  And I allowed myself the freedom to eat a bowl of cereal for breakfast.  Go out for dinner with my husband, have my boss take me out for lunch, and enjoy my best friend's bachelorette party. 

You know what, I'll go back to making healthy choices next week. I'm not going to stress about what time I'm eating or whether or not my food has any sodium in it.  But I'm going to make healthier choices because I feel good when I do, and because it brings me satisfaction and a good healthy lifestyle, and because that's the real PURPOSE.

God wants you to visit with him every day because he gives you life.  It's not meant to be regimented, it's not meant to be "every three hours, say this prayer" or "do this and don't do that" type of deal.  It's a constant relationship.  It's not supposed to be tiring.  It's supposed to be life-giving.  Don't get caught in the routine.  ENJOY your relationship with Jesus.  Let him fill you up every day. 

Monday, March 3, 2014

By Design 03.06.14


I really want to spare you the gory details of my dramatic middle school/high school life. Yeah, I really want to. But this would not be a testimony if I didn't walk you through who I was then.

Woo. Here we go. I'm shaking out my heart muscles. 

I'm...13, 14, 15,16, 17, 18, 19, 20.  I never went a day without thinking of who my next boyfriend would be. I'm sure some of you can relate.

It was clear that there was a hole in my soul. 

So, my emptiness (caused by my insecurity) was filled with boyfriends. Seems harmless, right? 

It wasn't for me.  It was scarring. My identity was found in how many guys liked me and what they thought of me.

I was attending church.  I was somewhat searching for a Christian guy to call mine.  But I found myself compromising so that I didn't feel lonely. Ever told yourself, "Well, he goes to church sometimes..."? I would even go so far as to drag these boys to my church with me, and it was clear they didn't know the first thing about salvation and Jesus Christ.  Some of them didn't even own a Bible. 

Not only did I start compromising my choices in guys, I started compromising my security in Christ.

I remember once I was in the 8th grade and a boy told me that I had a weird nose, that it looked like I had broken it before. I never forgot it. I would sometimes stare in the mirror at my imperfection wondering what I could do about it (nothing). 

I also struggled with severe acne in junior high/middle school.  Back when there was "myspace", people could leave anonymous comments on your profile. I had some pretty nasty anonymous things posted by a guy on my profile about my face. Do you think I ever remembered the nice things that a guy said? I only remembered that one... 

I didn't care that God thought I was beautiful.  That He made me flawless. No mistakes. 

And then after awhile, when my soul was running low on Jesus, I started compromising my purity to try and fill that void.  

I was seeing a guy who asked me to send a provocative photo of myself to him and then he would send one to me. I hate to say this, but I did it. A few months later, the photo was put into the wrong hands and distributed to more people than I knew.  I had never felt so vulnerable and further from God in my life.  I was looking for approval from one guy, and instead I got the opinions of more than I could count.  I was trying to get my fill of temporary happiness with approval from one guy, and in an instant I had never felt so alone and empty.  I walked into school the day after I heard what had happened and ran to our guidance counselor, head in hands, and told her everything. I contemplated suicide more than once and I was sent away to a place to work through my emotion. You heard of rock bottom? Yep, I've been there.  I wish I could tell you this is where I got up and turned my life around, but it's not. It was a slow climb up to where I'm at now. I lost a lot of my friends, I disappointed my family and I found no refuge in my church, either. Talk about emptiness.  I was wounded and dirty.  Thrown to the wolves. I tried to blame others.  But really, it was my choices that led me to that place. 

Side note, girls, please respect yourselves.  Don't be tricked or fooled by society.  You are so beautiful.  But you were made to be appreciated by one man only AFTER he's promised you and God that he'll take care of you for the rest of your life. This sexting stuff is a real problem and it should not be spoken of lightly.

Anyway, 

When you stand before God, even in prayer, you can't access Him if your heart isn't pure. (This is the beauty of Jesus: grace and forgiveness.)  My heart wasn't pure.  It was filled with SO much JUNK. 

I couldn't fully access Christ, because there was always a barrier (all that junk).  And the barrier was usually the current guy I was looking at.  If you want an analogy: You're standing at a doorway, you can see the outside and it looks awesome.  Then someone shuts the door. Now ya can't see nothin'. 

Yeah, guess what?  I suck at analogies. But, the concept is really simple. Except instead of opening the door to see the outside again (be in tune with Jesus) break down that stinkin' door, throw it away, and don't look back (ie., leave those men that are holding you back...and find Jesus). Aren't you enjoying these analogies? If you're reading this and there is a lady/man that is causing you to not experience Christ the way he intended you to...do that junky door thing.  The only person that can really fill the voids in your life? You guessed it.... is Jesus.  

We have to be in line with what God wants for us. I guarantee you that God is preparing a wonderful person for you to spend your life with; however, in turn God asks that you also prepare yourself.  You can't expect your wonderful Christian love to walk into your life if you yourself aren't also walking in the ways of Christ and being filled daily by Him and Him ALONE. 

Also, this is not a gray area. The Bible is really clear about how to do this. If you need some scripture, feel free to email me or message me. 

Anyway,

I read this thought somewhere and it completely blew me away.  It's simple and astounding.

Did you know God created you with a longing?

He created you to have desires so that He himself could be the one you desire and the one to make you feel whole.

This is crazy to me: Everything you are, all the things you feel... are by design.


When God created man, he knew that there would be earthly things like boyfriends/girlfriends/promotions/money/drinking/drugs/retail/etc. He knew that we would have empty spaces in our soul that we would try to fill with earthly stuff.  But he also knew that we would never really feel satisfied until we sought out Jesus. Until we filled our hearts with the love of Christ. 

And when I realized this a lot of things changed for me. I no longer sought approval from one man or the next... I sought to honor God with my life and my relationships. 




Tuesday, February 11, 2014

God Gave Me Two 02.11.14

Divorce.

I'm three. My sister is five. I don't know what divorce is. 

I have some memories of that time...

I had just had a birthday party. I had gotten this small doll from one of my grandparents.  I was sitting on my front porch playing with this doll when the front doors opened and they were moving my mom's bed out of our house. Not very crazy, not very dramatic. Just a small memory. 

I remember when my dad was single and his staple meals for us were beanie weenies (still love them) and Mike's Pizza (and we always ate the elephant ear before the pizza..cool dad points). He would also take us to Corner Cafe before school and I would eat toast and jelly with a sunny side up. 

I remember when my mom got the apartment. One Easter eve night, a bunny came by our sliding glass door and mom said it was the Easter bunny and he was waiting for us to go to sleep.  I remember getting our bunk beds. I remember when McLaine was at school, mom would let me watch the Lion King 800 times a day. And then she got me Lion Kind bedding. 

My first major memories are of when I met my step parents for the first time. David came home from the Army and I thought he was wonderful and funny. And I thought Christina was the most beautiful lady ever.  And then eventually I was in my parent's weddings (2 weddings). I look back on those times and remember how happy I was.  I was 4/5 years old and I was getting my hair and make up done and wearing a beautiful dress...what more could a little girl want? 

But then, I remember the nights where I would cry and cry and cry because I wanted to be with my mom when I was at my dad's (2 homes).  As time went by, I adjusted the best I could.  I don't think you ever fully adjust to the "Wednesdays and every other weekends" deal. 

I felt like I had two of everything:

2 families
2 moms
2 dads
2 sets of maternal and paternal grandparents
2 addresses
2 phone numbers
2 beds
2 churches
2 Christmases

(on top of that I now had 2 brothers and 2 sisters.. instead of just 1 sister)

I used to say my favorite number was 2.  Still do.

All the things that are familiar to a kid, I had them.  I just had two, which made everything unfamiliar. Because they were different. SO different. Each family functioned differently.  We ate different things, used different words, went to bed at different times, did different things for fun, we had different rules... for a toddler/young girl/teenager/young adult--it was all so confusing. 

Why can't I use the shampoo in the bathroom? At my other house we all share the shampoo in the bathroom.

Why can't I go to bed at this time? With my other family it wasn't a big deal...

I couldn't keep up. And as I grew older, I was embarrassed because it seemed like none of my friends could relate.  "I can't come over on Wednesdays because that's my dad's night." "He's my step brother, which means we aren't blood related....?"  

All of this, I realize, shaped me into a pretty independent person.  I learned to do my own hair, dress myself, pour my own cereal, pack my lunch and bags, all while I was pretty young. (Props to my DD for learning to do my hair, because mom was gone in the morning.)  I also learned time management...I somehow managed to do really well in school while dealing with a split (or double) family. 

I don't think this is the way God intended it to be.  I don't think God meant for marriage to have an escape plan. Actually, I know He didn't.  I wouldn't wish dealing with the aftermath of a divorce on my worst enemy. And it's funny, because some people see divorce as an escape plan...   People think that divorcing someone leaves all of the pains and dirtiness of your marriage behind and in the past. I'm here to tell you it doesn't. There is an aftermath people forget to consider, especially if you have children.  They will experience pain from this, too. When divorced parents fight, kids of divorced parents listen.  And if they're anything like me, they will blame themselves.  And when divorced parents talk bad about one another, kids of divorced parents listen.  And if they're anything like me, it will break their hearts.  I wanted to take sides, to please one set of parents. But felt guilty because just like a parent could never pick a favorite child, a child struggles with picking a favorite parent. We love you both, and we want to be loved and accepted by both of you. 

I love my parents. I love them fiercely. 

...AND I never felt unloved as a kid (still don't).  I'm (hashtag) blessed.  There are some kids who go through divorces who often feel unloved. My parents had 50/50 custody. They both wanted us. They both loved us. They didn't go a day without telling us.  We were so fortunate. My parents tried really hard to make sure we didn't deal so harshly with the consequences of their decision to not be married.

To be honest, I can't bring this full circle. I will try by saying, God used all this experience to open my heart up really wide and let a lot of people in. It taught me forgiveness. It taught me how to deal with change REALLY well.  It taught me flexibility. It taught me acceptance.  It taught me a lot about marriage.  Because, God blessed both my parents with beautiful marriages after they divorced each other.  And believe it or not, I have heard both my parents say that they are thankful they were married, if not for any other reason that their marriage gave them my sister and I. 

Divorce did not harden me. Instead, I love really hard. Because God gave me two of everything to love.

Love you all.  






Monday, February 3, 2014

Not Your Average Testimony 02.03.14


I'll start by saying that it has taken me some time to come up with the courage to begin writing this.

There are few people I have ever shared my full testimony with.  

I could give you the short version: My parents divorced when I was 3 years old, I lived a really confused life, and then I met Jesus (I mean, really met him...not just experienced parts of him).  But that's not what I'm writing this blog for.

This is going to be my raw, uncut, unfiltered, extremely vulnerable story.  My struggles, sins, and victories from age 3 to now. From Scarlet To Snow.


It’s terrifying. Honestly, my hands sweat just thinking about making myself so vulnerable. But, I feel like I’m at a place in my life where I’m ready. It will probably be emotional, there are some things in my life I have not combed through in quite a while. However, there absolutely is someone out there that will benefit from hearing about the hurt that I have gone through and the triumph and victory I have experienced through Jesus Christ.

Which brings me to my next point... this is NOT for my own benefit. This is all for His glory. While I believe Jesus brings us through hard stuff for our own edification, he also does this so that we can bless the people around us. "When God's promises to you are fulfilled, the promises of other's will be manifested through you." -Jim Wiegand

I'll warn you, this story is dramatic. It's not for the lighthearted.  Jesus dealt with some really heavy sins (and he's still dealing with them, because I'll never be perfect...). But, it's my favorite love story. 

Jesus settled all my heartache, Jesus settled all that pain and hurt, he settled all of it.  2000 and some years ago he said, "I know Shelby Suzanne. I know her blue/green eyes with the little freckle and I know her passionate heart.  I know what she's going to go through.  I know she's going to hurt bad. She's going to struggle and flounder and cry.  But eventually she will turn to me and love me.  And when she does, I'm going to pick her up and hold her close and say it's ok and forgive her.  So, I'm gonna die for her today."

Yeah, it's pretty cool. He did that for you, too. He thought about you, too. 

So, all this to say...welcome to my story, or rather, His story. I have a lot to cover, but I promise there's a great beginning at the end. 

Love you guys.