Friday, August 30, 2013

American Dream and Good for the Weekend

Friday night (8/23/13), Chi Alpha hosted The American Dream. This is an event directed towards freshmen during the end of move-in week. We put on the same event on the campus of Arkansas Tech University on Wednesday night. Outside of UCA's 'Old Main', we have constructed a pair of glasses large enough for several people to walk through and have decorated inside and out to look like a vintage carnival. Leaders were all over the steps, lobby, and road dressed as vintage carnies. We had ring masters, a man on stilts, World's Strongest Man, ventriloquist, and tons of vintage-looking prettyheads.

 (the following pictures were taken by Elizabeth Sneed)

(Lauren and Blake)

 (Michael)

 (Travis, Katie Ann, Kevin, Dylan) 

(Tim)

I dressed up as a generic carnie and was a 'Monkey Handler'.

Cutest little monkey around, am I right?

As students came up the steps, greeted by myself and other carnies, they were asked to make several decisions based on what was most important to them in different aspects of their futures.

They took the card that represented what was most important to them and went inside. The message Carp revealed was one of great importance to college students and many new adults.

Society has established an American Dream which includes (but is not limited to) 2.3 children; the perfect, attractive spouse; a high paying job; early retirement. Generally, we are all trying to keep up with the Jones' in every way. So much so, that our lives are consumed by having the life we think we are supposed to have. Even little children are burdened with this American Dream when they are asked what they want to be when they grow up.

Life doesn't have to, and isn't meant to be like this! We are among the wealthiest and most powerful people in the world. We have the luxury of time ahead of us. We have nearly unlimited choices. We do not have to be limited by narrowing worldviews.

When you stop and ask God what plans He has for you, you may be surprised to see you have been looking in the wrong direction and striving for a false goal. This isn't to say that all of us are supposed to give up our majors and become missionaries in order for God to love us, but we are supposed to prayerfully seek after God's plan for our lives.

At the end, Carp asked everyone to go back into the lobby on their way out and trade the cards they originally received for a pair of glasses. Symbolically, looking at life through different lenses.

(image by Elizabeth Sneed;  Jenny, Jennifer, Alexis, Rahel)

After the American Dream, we had Pineapple Whip (a delicious dessert) in the center of campus and the next day we jumped right into deepening our relationships with new friends. On Saturday morning, we met for brunch at Pitza 42, a local restaurant which runs on the same concept as Tom's (1 for 1). Every meal you buy also purchases a meal for a child in a developing or impoverished area who would otherwise go hungry. It is a great restaurant that Chi Alpha and our family supports on a weekly basis. Ashton and Austin, the couple who runs and developed the idea for P42 shared their vision and what God had done in their lives with all of us during brunch.
(image from Pitza 42 Facebook page)

That afternoon, lots of leaders and students went to hike Mt. Petit Jean. Go ahead and guess whether or not we hiked...we didn't! It was about 100 degrees and we didn't want Roman to overheat, but we did meet everyone at the top for dinner and worship. It is amazing to look over God's creation and sing to him. If you haven't experienced this beauty, you are missing out!

(Y'all...this is my amazing husband stretching it out. haha! Look at that beautiful view behind him!)
(Photo creds to Lauren Goodwin)

Pierce (Chi Alpha staff member) led worship and shared some of his personal struggles resulting from the death of his older brother earlier in the year. He showed a true example of transparency for many of our newcomers.
(worshiping on the rocks)
(Photo creds to Lauren Goodwin)

Please pray with us for Chi Alpha as new students come pouring into our ministry. May we receive all of them openly, may God service their needs through us, may they all find a home. Dgroups will launch in a few weeks and I can't wait to report what He is doing!

Saturday, August 24, 2013

BLOG LAUNCH

I am so pumped to launch my new blog design to you, and it just wouldn't be right if I didn't brag on the designer! After deciding that I wanted to take the next step with my blog in order to look more professional, because I feel like content is more well-received if it is aesthetically pleasing, I began to hunt around for a good designer. I, myself, do not posses any of the skills needed to design a blog. I write. That's it. I am a regular follower of 3 Ladies & Their Gent and I really liked Amber's layout, so I looked into her designer:
because making pretty things should be fun

What an awesome tagline! It just drew me in right away. The prices are fair. The services she provided were exactly what I needed, and most of all, she listened to exactly what I wanted and provided a great design. I mean look at this. Look. At. This. It's gorgeous. If any of you have blogging needs, contact Aubrey and you will not be let down! You don't have to redo your whole look either. If you just need a few services or tweaks, she does a la cart services as well. Check it out. 

I'll give you a run down of this week with the Alexanders:
I've already told you that Sunday was move in day for Freshmen, so we participated in that and met so many lovelies. I feel really good about some of the friendships that have started forming. Monday and Tuesday were spent relishing in our last days of freedom and going on campus to make friends. 

Wednesday, we decided to take Roman to his daycare for an hour to let him visit and play. It was our chance to observe him with the other babies and to feel more comfortable leaving him. We were able to explore his class, talk to his teachers, and see what a genuine day would look like. We just stopped in without notice, so we knew that was what it would always look like. We were very pleased with the staff, the student/teacher ratio, and the overall environment. 
Roman sat down in the floor and just stared at everything at first. This kid has been around less than a handful of children in his 8 months, so suddenly being around 15 was crazy for his little mind! After a minute, he began to crawl and play with toys. We stood back and let him do his thing. He is currently the oldest in his class and the most mobile, so he might get moved up to the class with more crawlers soon, but for now he will start in the class with the youngest children. A few other girls were crawling and one other was pulling up, but he was by far the quickest. We may have a problem with him touching the other kids too violently. I don't want to say he is hitting, because he doesn't do it to be purposefully cruel, he just wants to explore and doesn't understand that we don't touch people's eyeballs. haha
I did so well and was actually happy to see him playing, but later when I visited a few friends, I just completely lost it out of nowhere and bawled like a baby. We're still praying that all 3 of us have a good first day on Monday.

Thursday was the first day of UCA class. Uneventful for us college pros. (We are Juniors)

Friday, Chi Alpha hosted the American Dream, then we went straight into Good for the Weekend.  I am planning to devote a post to this, so more later.

Thank you for checking out my blog. It means so much to me to have several loyal followers!

Saturday, August 17, 2013

New Life

Sometime soon and very soon, this blog is getting its face lift. The change will be drastic, y'all, so hold onto your hats! Today I just got some lovely head shots done for my bio, and I can't wait to debut it all to you.



On another, entirely unrelated, note: This week is move-in week, welcome week, and all that jazz for UCA where my husband and I are juniors. This year I am on the leadership team (again) with a transdenominational Christian ministry on campus. (And yes, we did make up that term "transdenominational". Instead of being nondenominational, which is without denomination, we seek to encompass all denominations, not discriminating against anyone's Christian practices or preferences as long as they are biblical.)

As a part of the leadership team, I with a partner, will lead a dgroup (discipleship group) that will meet at least once a week. In order to form the group, this week we will start going out onto campus to 'call our disciples', so to speak. We will be on campus all day Sunday for freshman move in, where we won't just talk to students, but we will actually get their stuff out of the car for them and their parents, show them to their room, and help them with whatever they need. Throughout the week we will be on campus to eat in the cafeteria with them, show them the buildings on campus, and remind them that they aren't the only ones missing home or feeling like they don't fit in yet. Hopefully we will hang out with some of them, share parts of our lives, bond, and become friends.

Friendship. That is our goal during welcome week. It isn't to meet a quota for our first Chi Alpha worship or for our first Chi Alpha sponsored event (The American Dream, happening Friday night in Ida Waldron). Our goal is to actually meet students where they are, both literally and spiritually, and live life with them. We want to open our lives up to them and let them see how Christian leaders live everyday lives. Hopefully the people we meet this week will one day be joining us in leadership. (Too many L's in that paragraph! ha)

This week is SO crucial for thousands of students, as they put themselves out there as adults for the first time and as they begin to meet new people. We want the faces they see this week to be godly, genuine, kind-hearted people who want to lead them in the right direction. I know that's what their parents want too! I remember so clearly saying goodbye to my parents that first week and hearing my mother ask me to make good choices. Did I? Yes and no. At first I did not, but when I got plugged in with Chi Alpha, I felt a tug to align my life with God's desires. Please pray for the students who are making these very same decisions.

Each dgroup has a name and a ours is Get Rich!! This is inspired by Colossians 3:16 "Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom, as you sing psalms, hymns and spiritual songs with gratitude in your hearts to God." So basically, we want to emulate Christ in everything we do. We will use scripture and pray for guidance to make sure we are spreading Christ's message, not our own.

Please be praying for us as we lead, for the people we meet, for Chi Alpha staff and interns, and for the other Christian ministries on campus --that we would draw students' attention instead of negative groups or choices. Pray for Dillon and I as well as we take on 16 hours this semester, Dillon works 20 hours per week, and we send our son Roman to daycare.

stay beautiful,
Bethany