Sunday, April 25, 2010

we were merely freshmen

Freshman year at LU I had to write a speech about my testimony and where I wanted to be 5 years from now (then)...

My name is Miranda Canady. I became a Christian when I was 9 but it wasn't until middle school that I realized the big picture of the commitment I had made back then. I entered middle school and surrounded myself with the "in crowd." I was a middle school mean girl. I had convinced myself that me and my group of friends were the only things worth my time. By the time I was in 8th grade, my whole life had made a 180. The people I surrounded myself with, the things I thought were important, everything. It all changed after a revival my youth group went on. I know most people don't agree with the term rededication, but it was truly a time of rededication for me. It was the first time I realized everything about the commitment I had made as a 9 year old and became a true turning point in my life. In high school I feel like my faith took a backseat to field hockey and soccer and all the other activities I participated in. There were times when I felt that God was so close I could touch Him and there were other times He felt so far out of sight that I wasn't sure when I'd see Him again. I went through a lot of ups and downs trying to find myself during those years. By senior year I had fed myself the lie that God didn't care about me. I used to describe the way I had felt as drowning. I felt like I was in the middle of the ocean slowly drowning and no one was there to help me up. I had convinced myself that God only cared about those who had already hit the bottom of the ocean and that I was left alone. I thought that I had to do bad things to get God to pay attention and notice that I was struggling. However, now, I feel like I'm a walking example that no matter how far you run, once you are a child of God, Christ is never going to let you go. I can honestly stand here and tell you today that Jesus Christ is the only thing that has ever changed my life. I wish I could tell you that in 5 years I know what I'd be doing with my life, but I don't. My job choice changes almost on a daily basis...and I mean drastically. One day I will want to be a magazine editor and then Thursday night rolls around, I watch ER, and suddenly I want to be a brain surgeon. There are so many things that I'm passionate about. And I'm sort of a big dreamer so sometimes I get caught up in unrealistic goals. What I do know is that I love working with people, so when I came to Liberty I decided to major in Communications. The media nowadays is so liberal that I feel like I could make a difference just by being that beacon of light in a liberal world. Just to take a stand for Jesus and have a faith that is so contagious. The media is so influential and to be a part of that would be amazing. I've also really learned in the past year that its not about me and what I want for my life, its about Jesus. So I just trust that He will lead me where He needs me to be and use me in that way. Aside from career goals, personally, in 5 years I hope that I am more grounded in my faith. I hope that I know enough scripture to back up everything I believe, and that I am able to give intelligent responses when I'm asked about my faith. I hope that between now and 5 years from now, all of my lost friends come to Christ. I hope I am given an opportunity to mentor girls younger than me so that they can see Jesus' love through me just like I see Jesus through the people who poured into my life. And most importantly, I hope that in 5 years I have become so dependent on God that I won't use people as a crutch. I pray that if all I have is God and nothing else, that I would be content with that.

It's been 5 years. Life makes a little more sense now.

Saturday, April 24, 2010

mir the mason?

I don’t believe in reincarnation, but if I did, I’m pretty sure I would have been a bricklayer in a past life…because I’m at a natural at building walls. Is that the easy way? To just shut people out? Am I really that scared that they will be taken away?

Friday, April 23, 2010

ms. president

Last night when I was in the shower, randomly, my mind wondered to the thought, “what would you do if you were president?” Have you ever done that? Gotten so lost in thought over the most bizarre things? If I were president you know what I would do? Establish a Post-Grad discount. Because I think that sometimes, in fact, MOST times, post-grads could use a discount more than say a student or a senior. I also realize that I am a little biased, but seriously, think about it. What would YOU do?

The role of president is not all that unfamiliar to me. You may or may not know that I served as Senior Class President at Liberty last year, which was sort of a joke/resume builder. Truth be told, I think I liked the campaign better than the actual presidency. Jess (VP) and I had a blast meeting students, finding out what changes everyone wanted to see, baking treats, making posters, and taking pictures with LU celebrities around campus. We even had a campaign team (headed up by none other than the famous Jung Lee), coined our own slogans, and took on the classy Chanel symbol as a personal campaign logo – a perfect fit for our last names Canady/Carniol.

The night of the election we carefully crafted a speech full of jokes, light-hearted facts and figures, and our own personal goals for the future of LU. It was so encouraging and fun to see all of friends come out to support (and most importantly vote) for us – cameras, posters, and blow horns in tow! And, I’ll be honest, it even felt good to beat the competition – 2 government majors who bashed us in their speech and were convinced they had the election in the bag.

After that was over? Well, I think we both preferred eating Wednesday night dinner with our group of friends over sitting in on an SGA meeting that didn’t really go anywhere. Sometimes when I look back, I kind of feel bad that our term as Prez & VP was filled with a lot of empty promises, but hey that’s politics for ya! And between you and me, the SGA (at least at LU) has very little pull on what really goes on. Even the things that got “approved” or “voted through” rarely made it past administration’s desk. At least we tried!

For those of you who didn’t get to make it to our election last year, and for memory’s sake, here is last year’s campaign video…

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

you find out who your friends are

You find out who your friends are
Somebody's gonna drop everything
Run out and crank up their car
Hit the gas get there fast
Never stop to think 'what's in it for me' or 'it's way too far'
They just show on up with their big old heart
You find out who you're friends are

Everybody wants to slap your back
Wants to shake your hand
When you're up on top of that mountain
But let one of those rocks give way then you slide back down look up
And see who's around then

This ain't where the road comes to an end
This ain't where the bandwagon stops
This is just one of those times when
A lot of folks jump off

You find out who your friends are
Somebody's gonna drop everything
Run out and crank up their car
Hit the gas get there fast
Never stop to think 'what's in it for me' or 'it's way too far'
They just show on up with their big old heart
You find out who you're friends are

When the water's high
When the weather's not so fair
When the well runs dry
Who's gonna be there

These lyrics have been heavy on my heart recently, which is rare and even a little bit odd considering I’m not really a huge fan of country music.

I typically try to do a good job of hiding how I really feel, at least when I’m sad. Excitement kind of gets away from me sometimes, but I’d say for the most part, I’m pretty good at playing the “Happy Face” game. So good, in fact, that I even think I had some of my closest friends convinced everything was great.

But are things ok? I mean, really? No. Recently I told them, I let them know how much I had been struggling,…that I needed a friend.

My best friends are scattered across the country right now. That’s hard. I bet if you asked my best friends what was going on in my life right now, they wouldn’t be able to tell you much.

The week before last I went out to coffee with a friend and I was telling her how hurt I had felt, like I was losing my best friends, like they didn’t care. And that is when she helped me to see the huge misconception I had believed about friendship. You see, friendship isn’t about you (or me). The point of a friendship is not to see what I can get out of it, or how I can benefit from it…but rather “what can I do for them?” No wonder I had started to harbor bitterness, I was expecting my friends to check on me, call me, look out for me, pray for me, visit me. It was all about ME.

God knows me so well. I’m amazed every day that he reveals a different part of my heart to me. He knows my tendency to depend on people over Him. Maybe that’s why my best friends are so far away right now. It certainly would be easier to run to them if I was having a bad day than it would be to sit still and listen to God.

For as long as I can remember I’ve been blessed with great friends. At every stage of my life I had one (and often times more) best friend to stand with me through thick and thin. This new phase of life, this new independence, is completely foreign to me. It’s like I don’t even know how to operate without them here. And I know the Lord is using this time for me to grow, but its not easy. I miss their fellowship. I miss all the fun. I miss them.

But I don’t NEED them. Friends are special blessings in life, but if there is one thing I’ve learned through this experience, it is that God is really all I need. He is the only one that will fill those empty spaces in my life. And so from now on I’m going to try and be a little less needy. I’m going to really invest and love on my friends (no matter how far away they are) b/c I value them so much. And truth is, I haven’t been that great of a friend either.

this used to be my life

This past weekend I went to NYC!!!!! I cannot even begin to describe how great it is to simply write a blog post with the label "life in the city." I forgot how much I loved it there. It was sort of a last-minute, random trip that was all made possible b/c of my dentist appointment in Richmond on Monday. Hey - I guess cavities aren't so bad after all (more on that later).

So Friday after work I headed east to Richmond to stay with my aunt and uncle. At midnight my aunt and I boarded a bus and 6 hours later we woke up in NYC!!!!! This time I wasn't dreaming! We got into the city bright and early and took advantage of every second we were there. We dropped off our bags at our hotel and went straight to Alice's Tea Cup on the Upper West Side (I have now officially been to all three locations) and I devoured my pumpkin scone! NYC food is the best. Then, we went and got manicures and headed over to the Plaza Hotel to see the new Eloise room. It was sooooo cute, all girly pink and pretty! Take a look...

After our trip to the Plaza we headed downtown to Rockefeller where I got to try a french macaron from La Maison du Chocolat! Remember my list of "10 Foods from 10 Countries that I want to try in 2010"? Check. I gotta say, I wasn't impressed - $2.50 for a cookie the size of my eyeball?

After we had our sweet fix (we also tried some banana ganache - heavenly!!) we went to Radio City and got a back stage tour. The rest of the day was spent shopping and just "being" in the city. We went to dinner at Stand for shakes and burgers and ended our day at Madison Square Garden where we saw 101 Dalmatians!! It was so cute and they even had real dogs!!

Sunday we got an early start and headed over to Times Square where they had a Spring Street Festival going on. It reminded me of the summer b/c I'm pretty sure I went to a street festival every weekend when I lived there. So fun. We hit up Crumbs while we were there (how could you not?!?) and I got to try a new cupcake - banana crunch! We met Suzanne (who I worked with at Shape, remember?) and her family at Lombardi's for lunch. Great pizza and great company, what could be better? After lunch we walked down to the LES to try Stuffed Cannoli. I have only wanted to go here since before it even opened! And I was definitely not disappointed! I had a birthday cake, peanut butter cup, and dulce de leche cannoli - all so unique and SOOOOO good. The owner was there and he told us that he had 75 flavors and 48 of them have been released. I took a picture with him because he put in a challenge to Bobby Flay and I'm convinced he will win. Now I can say I knew him before he was famous!

After dessert we had to head back to catch our bus for VA. It was so sad to leave - time flew! We were back in VA by 10 p.m. and the next morning I woke up for my dun, dun appointment, which was conveniently in Richmond! Jess' brother Paul took care of me. He filled my "cavities" (I didn't have 4 by the way!) and I didn't need a shot or to have a drill or anything. It was completely painless. He put sealants on all my molars to protect excuse to eat more sweets? Anyways, he was great and I would recommend him to anyone! Paul Miller!!

This weekend was the best.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

the 10 women you will be before you turn 35

Not too long ago, when we got all of that snow and Leslie got snowed in at my apartment, we were up late one night in my room when she noticed my book collection and burst into laughter. Guess I can’t blame her, it IS a little ironic that “Hello Cupcake” is next to “The Flat Belly Diet.” But in my defense TFBD was a perk of working at Shape (author Cynthia Sass regularly contributes to the magazine) and are you really surprised I own a book about ALL things cupcake!?! The rest of them are not that uncharacteristic of me either – the latest issues of Teen Vogue, couple of cookbooks, and my devos! But there is one book in particular that I recently just finished that I must highlight…

The 10 Women You Will Be Before You Turn 35

Brie and I spotted this book around Christmas time at Aerie (of all places!!) as a stocking stuffer. One look through it and I was laughing so hard I was on the verge of embarrassing myself in the store. So when I got home that night I googled it and found it cheaper J It didn’t take me long to finish because all of the chapters are pretty hilarious and somewhat relatable. And if they aren’t relevant in my life just yet, I’m almost certain the will be at some point. Ok, except for maybe ch.12 (read the book and you’ll see what I mean).

Anyways, I think it makes for a perfect a graduation gift b/c the book highlights 10 different personas you will probably morph into or at least identify with at some point in your life – starting with the New Graduate. Yes.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

hot fudge sundae

Hot fudge sundae...a dessert or a breakfast? I think one of the things I love most about pop tarts is that you can get away with eating desserts disguised as breakfast. I mean, it's no secret that pop tarts have little to no nutritional value as is, but somewhere along the way they mistakingly (or cleverly?) got marked as a breakfast food - so I grew up eating about 20 grams of sugar for breakfast every morning. No wonder I have such a bad sweet tooth! Even though the hot fudge sundae poptart is sweet and delish, I would not recommend consuming these things for breakfast...unless of course you wish to be in a sugar coma by lunch ;)

Toasted: As long as I don't burn myself, I've really come to love eating pop tarts toasted - the warm filling just seems to enhance the gooey sweetness.

Frozen: It was so weird, and I don't know why, but when I froze this pop tart it got hard, rock hard, almost broke my teeth hard. Maybe its the filling? Skip freezing them...

As Is: Super sweet and quite tasty. The "crust" is made of chocolate, making it a little more edible (I usually just throw away the crust)

Pop Tart Fact: From Purdue University's Housing & Food Services - "The 161,000 Pop-Tarts eaten last year is almost 13 miles of brown sugar and strawberry fun!"

Monday, April 12, 2010

spring cleaning

It’s Spring and that means SPRING CLEANING! Normally I'm not quick to jump on the "Spring Cleaning" bandwagon, because who really wants to clean when its beautiful outside? I was sort of on a mini mission though...see, I lost my $300 retainer. A month ago. Not good my friends, that is NOT good. And I might have lost my favorite lip gloss too (extra incentive to search) So this year instead of tackling my closet head on, I took baby steps by first emptying my bag. When was the last time you did that? I’m not just talking about grabbing your keys, wallet, and phone and transferring them to a new bag, I mean literally dumping out the entire contents on the floor. You’ll be surprised what you find! I’m not embarrassed to show you this…

And just as a sidenote - I’m almost 100% positive that banana split dum dum is from September.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

i was wrong

I spent a lot of time this Easter weekend really thinking about the sacrifice that Christ made on the cross for us. Maybe it’s because the past few months have been rough and I’ve had to cling to Him more now than ever, maybe its because my own sinful heart has been revealed to me and I’ve been more aware of my NEED for a Savior, or maybe it’s simply because I’m still in complete amazement that someone would take MY place so that I could experience an eternity with God.

And you wanna know what? I was wrong. About so many things. I took time to really just re-evaluate my life. I think the first time I actually sat down to do this was two summers ago at Kanakuk and it was the hardest thing I ever did. The worst part? No one can help you. No one knows. It’s your battle. It’s between you and God. I won’t ever be able to glue together the pieces of a broken life, only God can do that, but I do hope that you’ll find truth and freedom from some of my mistakes.

Here’s where I was wrong

Indian Giver Prayers.
I’m convinced I’m notorious in heaven for my Indian giver prayers. You know how they go – they start out innocently sincere…”God please help me with ___________. Your will, not mine….” Sound familiar? Then a day goes by and nothing is different and my mind selfishly twists to, “Remember what I asked for yesterday? Just forget it, I’ll take care of it myself.” (not always in those words…but those are my thoughts) And just like that I take back my prayer. Let me just tell you, I was wrong. God’s ways are higher and better than anything we can imagine. He is ALWAYS looking out for us and will give us everything we need at exactly the right time.

“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” – Jeremiah 29:11

And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love Him, who have been called according to His purpose.” – Romans 8:28

Building Walls.
I can’t pinpoint the exact moment that I started mixing mortar for my walls, but I do know that it started with an unhealthy fear of God. I was scared of getting close to people because I was afraid God would take them away. I thought it was a punishment for not relying on God enough. And so my motto quickly mirrored the quote, “Sometimes we build up walls – not to keep people out, but to see who cares enough to knock them down.” And thank the Lord that He placed people in my life who were willing to bust though some cement to bless my life. I was so wrong. Truth is, people will always come in and out of our lives. Some stay for a season and sometimes we get to keep them for a lifetime, but either way, they are there for a reason. God wants us to fellowship with other Christians and grow and learn and laugh and cry together. However, He doesn’t want other people to take His rightful place in our lives, which was another balance I really struggled with.

There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens: – Ecclesiastes 3:1

“Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their work. If one falls down, his friend can help him up. But pity the man who falls and has no one to help him up!” – Ecclesiastes 4:9-10

If I could just feel Your touch, would I be free?
If you’re a Christian you are probably familiar with the song lyrics from “You’re Everything” by David Crowder Band. How many times have you thought about the words when you sang them? Every time I hear that verse I get just a little teary eyed because that question runs through my mind so often. How much easier it would be to believe God if we could see Him, touch Him, feel Him? I think the same thing whenever I hear “Held” by Natalie Grant - there is something just so comforting about knowing a Savior holds us. Or that He is holding our hand. There have been many days when I’ve belted out with sincere passion…”Precious Lord, take my hand.” It’s easy to run to people because they are physically here. When I’m in Lynchburg sometimes I can’t even remember the last time I was given a hug. I always squeeze my family extra tight when I leave them because I know that I probably won’t get another hug until I go home. Why is it that people need to be held? Physical touch isn’t even my number one love language, but I often find myself craving God’s physical comfort in my life. God couldn’t possibly be holding my hand and the billions of other’s here on Earth, right? I was wrong.

“…I have carried you since you were born; I have taken care of you from your birth. Even when you are old, I will be the same. Even when your hair has turned gray, I will take care of you. I made you and will take care of you. I will carry you and save you.” – Isaiah 46:3-4

“…Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.” – Hebrews 13:5

Take Your Own Advice.
I go to a Bible study on Tuesday nights that I love. We are studying Beth Moore’s Breaking Free and last week she referenced a passage in Job 4:3-5 where one of Job’s BFFs (Eliphaz) calls Job out by saying, “Think about the many people you have taught and the weak hands you have made strong. Your words have comforted those who fell, and you have strengthened those who could not stand. But now trouble comes to you, and you are discouraged; trouble hits you and you are terrified.” I’m sure its been more than obvious that I’ve had a hard time adjusting to life here in Lynchburg, but throughout the past few months I’ve still been able minister to young girls across the country though Lily Girl’s Magazine and encourage my friends daily. In fact, I take joy in encouraging them. So why can’t I get it together? Why is that when I am going through something hard my whole world falls apart? Why can’t I just take my own advice?

About this time last week I was sitting in a local coffee shop with my friend Leslie, sharing my hurting heart and overall discouragement. Leslie is a great friend because she loves me enough to take the time to listen, but also doesn’t allow me to wallow in self pity. I told her how I attempted to wake up every morning with a new attitude and a mission to make things better, only to be homesick by dinner. Satan had been feeding me lies – hook, line, and sinker. I believed them. I was wrong.

Leslie said that what she had learned most recently was that when Jesus was tempted, He used Scripture – the very sword of the Spirit. She shared 2 Corinthians 10:5 with me and encouraged me to write it down whenever sad thoughts popped in my head. I’m too embarrassed to show the picture of the journal page with Scripture scribbles, but I will admit that it helped.

“We take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.” – 2 Corinthians 10:5

“For the word of God is living and active. Sharper than any double edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.” - Hebrews 4:12

So what does this make me? Wrong? Yes. Broken? Most definitely. But I do know this - God uses broken things to accomplish His purpose. If broken bread could feed 5,000 then surely my broken life will be used for His glory. I know I am in the center of God’s will right where I am because Satan wouldn’t have a reason to twist my mind so much if I wasn’t. I’m also completely certain of Psalm 138:8 – “The Lord will fulfill His purpose for me.”