Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Old Post but Finally Finished

I had started this post and saved it as a draft about a month or so ago. I decided I had time to finish it today, so here I am typing away. I'm leaving tomorrow for a week and a half in Georgia. Actually as soon as my flight touches down tomorrow I'll be driving with my parents to my grandmother's farm in Florida for the weekend. I haven't been there for about a year, and I really am looking forward to the visit. There's nothing like time on the farm! Granted it has changed a lot since my DaddyRay passed away, but life must move on, eh? Anyways, that's where I'll be for the next week and a half, so don't think I'm playing hookie from church or dead in a ditch. :-)

Tonight is the last night of VBS. I've loved working on it and being there each session, but I'm ready for it to be over. Next year I really want to just go ahead an do only decorations and let some other person with a servant's heart head up crafts. It really was too much to take on and stay totally sane. The past few nights I've been wired and didn't get to sleep until the wee hours of the morning bc VBS was so crazy. I would really like to get back on a regular sleep schedule!

This summer I haven't really been motivated to do much. I've cleaned and polished all of my silver jewelry (which is all I wear, so it was a lot!); I've reorganized my cabinets; I've restarted work on my afghan; I've read like none other! Want to hear my summer reading list? Here's what I've read in about a month:
Grace in Thine Eyes by Liz Curtis Higgs
The Devil Wears Prada (for the 4th time--love that book!) by Lauren Weisberger
The Da Vinci Code (had to see what the hype was about) by Dan Brown
Harry Potter and the Sorcer's Stone
Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets
Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban
Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire
Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix
(finishing it now)
all by JK Rowling, and being read for about the 10th time each--no seriously it could be more. These books are my escape. I would love to live in Rowling's made up world! (interesting tidbit: "JK" stands for "Joanne Kathleen" first and middle names are "Joanna Kathleen")
There are more I want to read, and I'm going to finish the HP series, but there's something nice about having time to read again! I love SUMMER!

This brings me to the part of the blog I had been working on before. I'll finish it now I guess. (Since I'm already writing a book for this post!)I spent the last half hour or so reading up on people from college. Lately LaRae and I have been talking about our past relationships with friends. In high school I had a lot of (for lack of a better word) bitches to deal with. Numerous friends were backstabbing, manipulative, self serving, liars. I couldn't trust them, and soon I became much like them. I haven't really kept up with people from high school, and I wouldn't know how to get in touch with them even if I wanted to do so.

Already I've lost touch with many from college. I found a lot of friends in college who were the same as my high school crowd. I had a chance to get in a really good group of people with my freshman year roomie, Em, but I went another path. Granted I met some really great people on my path, and though I haven't kept in touch, I miss them.

Junior year in college was where my life really took a turn. I honestly had at least 3 personalities I showed to certain groups of people: 1. The sweet Christian girl I showed my family 2. The nice GATA girl I showed my club and most friends 3. The girl who was up for anything and could have been called a lot of not so nice words whom I showed to my friends I could cuss and drink around Did I like any of those people I pretended to be? Not really.
Was I truly any of those 3 people? I've decided not. I think I was totally and completely lost in all senses of the word at that moment in my life. How sad is that? Looking back, I'm so grateful that I didn't die because I surely would have been in hell. Junior year was the year of my life that I was furthest from God. Go figure this was also the year I got my Christian fish tattoo with the word "faith" in it! In fact it was the spring before that I got another hole in each of my ears bringing my piercings up to 6. Pausing for a moment now, I never thought I would be one to have a tattoo and 6 piercings! I do want another tattoo once I lose some weight, and I'd like one more piercing in my cartiledge, but which ear is it that says your gay and which one is it that straight people have? I definitely do not want to mess that up! OK, I digress.

If you haven't heard my complete story of how I became who I am today, I can give you the gory details in a heart to heart one day, but it turned out I left school the spring of my Junior year. It wasn't totally my plan to do so either... I ended up at home in Georgia, working in a tax office, hating myself, and unable to forgive myself. How could I have gotten so far off track from my goals for my life and my faith? My parents knew the truth about how horrible I'd been, and we weren't telling the rest of the family (except LaRae and Randy) that I was home to get my life together (I was "just taking a break to work!") or anyone at church the truth. I starting thinking they were ashamed of me and wouldn't forgive me for having to leave school to get back on track. It wasn't until the week or so before I was about to move back to HU to go to summer school that I talked to my mentor from church and told her how off track I had gotten at school that she helped me to see I was forgiven by everyone but me! Isn't it odd how we can forgive others so easily (usually), but we have the hardest time forgiving ourselves? Thankfully I still finished college in 4 years, and I was able to live off campus the last year and just focus on school and my future and not the bad stuff I'd been in before.

I guess all of this remembering came on from me reading old blogs, thinking about my past friends and relationships, and from remembering my last trip back to HU when I got to see only one old friend. It was sort of bittersweet for me. I realized how I'd lost touch with people and had detached myself that last year there. I don't know why I tell you, my readers, all about this except as a means of purging myself, and to say I'm not perfect (not that you thought I was!). Sometimes I really feel lost at VRCC because people don't know my past or where I came from, and they only see who I want to show them. This year I felt like I was splitting myself again, but this time I was "work-Jo" and "church-Joanna." I don't ever want there to be a difference again in who I am with certain people as opposed to others. I want ya'll to always see me, and for there not to be anything or anyone else that I am. Granted I want my secrets, but I miss having friends who know the whole me and know about my past and my present.

To my good friends who are here (in TEXAS) though, I am eternally grateful for you:
LaRae - She's more than a sister; she truly is my best friend (and business partner)! I'm so glad we grew out of trying to kill each other, and can now fight and get over it and still spend so much time together!
Randy - I finally have a brother! Who would have thought he could be so patient with me as I asked unending basketball questions during the NBA finals?
Paul and Jennifer - I once said to them over dinner that I was so glad they "took me in" when I moved here. They were mildly offended I think, and said that didn't sound like friendship! Despite the age difference Paul sometimes re-realizes and exclaims about, they are awesome friends! There's something to be said for people who you know you can always call and who are always up for a trip to the comic book store!
Beri and Andrew - They were really my sister's friends first, but they've always been there to give me some logic, advice, and humor when I needed it. :-) Really where would I be without my sister's friends who accepted me when I came here without any friends to speak of?
Julie - Ever since she told me the secret to CAMT (a week long math conference): "Find any session that sounds humorous or slightly entertaining and go to it above all others!", we've been fast friends. I couldn't have made it through my first year at North without her.
Melissa Gay- We bonded at Bunco over talk of being the youngest sibling, and I thought, cool, a mom away from my own! Turns out (despite her sometimes realizing and exclaiming about me being just a year older than her oldest daughter!) that I found a good friend in her! I think LaRae once said, "My old friends are my best friends," and I can see why! :-) And yes, I've told Melissa that before, and yes, we laugh about it!
Katelyn - Last but not least, I love this kiddo! Since I don't have any kids of my own, she definitely receives a ton more attention and love from me than most nieces must usually receive! There's something to be said for a person who is always (almost always) excited to see me and give me a hug! I can't wait til she's old enough to take shopping and to glitterize her! ;-)

I rarely do shout outs, but there are special people here in my life, and I do appreciate ya'll and wanted to end with an upbeat note! I know I didn't by any means list everyone, but I listed those I was thinking of right now. I feel so loved with my church family and my friends I have gained through it! :-) Hope you're having a great summer! See you when I get back from Georgia!


  1. Joanna,

    You blogged on my site, so I thought I would return the favor. I hope that this will be taken in the spirit offered. It isn't that we didn't or don't really know who you are (although I will admit that there are parts of your life that we aren't privy to), it is that your past is irrevelant to the bonds of our friendships with you. The apostle Paul was no less a servant of Christ because he once persecuted the Church (indeed he was more a servant for it), and George Washington was no less a leader of men because he was a slave holder. I imagine that I speak for a great number of people in saying that my friendship with you is not weakened by knowing that *gasp* you struggle with sin. We all do. All I need to know is that you are compassionate and loving, a smiling face when I need a friend and someone who walks beside me when I am in the shadows, encouraging me to rise above them.

    You are a good friend, Joanna, perhaps one of the best I've ever had, and I consider myself fortunate everyday that God has brought you into our lives. Nothing in the past, yours or mine, will change that fact.

  2. Thanks, Paul. I needed that. I am still amazed at our friendship and am thankful for it daily. I'd never looked at my past in that light before.