Sunday, August 20, 2006

The Last to Arrive

The last in the Ellison family will arrive in Abilene today to move onto campus and begin life as a freshman. It's hard to believe that she's old enough to leave home and join me and Spencer in A-town.

It seems like yesterday she was begging me to play Barbies with her. It feels like just the other day we were baking Christmas cookies with my mom in the kitchen, riding 4-wheelers around the farm or shopping for her first formal. My little sister has left the small town and is about to embark on a new chapter in her life. College.

There's so much she'll learn during her four years in Abilene. I look back on my time in college and think of all the life lessons that I learned, all the fun I had, all the amazing friends I made. I know she'll have the same experience. I'm blessed to be able to witness her first few weeks of school. And before I know it, she'll be graduating. In four years, she'll be the last in my immediate family to walk across the stage in Moody Coliseum. The next four years will fly by just as fast as the past 18 years have. It will be here before we know it.

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Simple Pleasures

I know we've all gotten the random email stating life's simple pleasures like finding money in your winter coat pocket, fresh laundry and all of those other typical "simple pleasures." Well, I decided to make my own list...just a quick list of a few of my simple pleasures. They're in no particular order, just whatever happens to come to mind.

Jen's simple pleasures:
-Starbuck's Tazo Iced Tea
-Getting an email from someone I haven't talked to in awhile
-Flying in an airplane
-Giving fabulous gifts
-Camping with good friends
-Football games
-Etiquette books
-Staying at a hotel
-Cold, crisp sheets
-Fabulous restaurants
-Burberry perfume
-Facebook/MySpace messages or comments
-Movie/tv show marathons
-The Lord Bless You and Keep You with 4,000 people in Moody Coliseum
-Great IM conversations
-Listening to a new favorite song over and over
-Time with my family
-The smell of Johnson & Johnson baby oil
-The harmony of old-school country groups like the Gatlin Bros., Satler Bros., Oakridge Boys., Diamond Rio...
-ACU Friday chapel...Praise Day
-ACU's Opening Ceremony...gets me every year...Battle Hymn of the Republic
-Cymbidium orchids
-Fun text messages
-Playing catch
-Laughing till you cry
-Making costumes
-Looking through old pictures
-Remembering the fun times, anticpating the fun times still to come

Take a minute to think about your simple pleasures. It's comforting.

Friday, August 11, 2006

Was Life Really that Simple?

Bear with me cause this entry has a lot of random details…but there is a point, I promise.

For those of you who know me well, you know that I’m not a huge fan of children. Don’t get me wrong, there are a few in this world that I adore, but in general, children just aren’t my thing. This detail is important for you to know if you’re going to find this entry remotely interesting. It’s because of children I remembered how important the simple things in life are.

In the past few weeks I’ve had two random encounters with children…and when I say children I mean a group of ten or more. The other day, my friend Lindsey and I were running errands on campus and were using my office’s golf cart. We parked the cart outside the Campus Center, went in, did what we came to do and walked back outside. Now, the day we were running errands just happened to be a day when the university was having one of their kid day camps, so the campus was buzzing with kids of all ages. As we walked out of the CC, we noticed a group of first year campers…we’re talking a group of five year olds…little bitty things. And as we walked towards the golf cart, we noticed a little girl sitting in the back seat. As I got closer I said, “Do you want a ride?” She quickly ran away. But, as I started up the cart and began to drive off, she ran up to the cart and said, “I DO want a ride!!!” So, this little bitty girl with blonde hair jumped into the back seat and took about a 30 second ride with me and Lindsey around the mall area. Little did I know I had opened up a can of worms! As I pulled the cart back to the Campus Center to let the little girl off, another little girl came running up to the cart. She was probably one of the cutest kids I had ever seen. She was TINY, with brown pig tails with pink bows in each one, little round glasses, little camouflage capris and a pink shirt. She rushed up to me, pulled on my shirt and said “Can I have a ride?” How could I say no?

Within seconds, we were bombarded with five year old girls climbing onto the seats. One of their troop leaders got on with us, held the little girl with glasses in her lap, and we drove off. I made this ride a little longer…we took a longer route around campus. So, for the next two minutes I heard nothing but five year old voices screaming “yay”, “wow”, “faster”, and “ahhhhhh” at the top of their lungs. When I say screaming, I mean a high pitch squeal that only dogs can hear. It was hilarious! Lindsey and I were laughing so hard! These little girls thought that riding the golf cart for two minutes on the campus sidewalks was the coolest thing ever. So simple. Something I do everyday gave these kids such a thrill. Why can’t everything in life be that simple? Why don’t the little things thrill us anymore? A golf cart ride? So fun.

My second encounter with children came just this week. I was at church Wednesday night standing outside just waiting around and I caught myself watching a group of kids playing some silly game in the grass…running around, carefree, not a thing bothering them. In the 10 minutes that I was standing outside I got a text message, a phone call and a calendar reminder of a meeting I had the next morning. I suddenly became envious of the kids playing outside. They had no cell phone in their hand, no palm pilot attached to their hip. They weren’t worried about an alarm going off to remind them of a meeting. They weren’t concerned about receiving a phone call. They weren’t waiting for a reply from a text message. They were simply engulfed in laughter, the simplicity of a summer Wednesday night after church.

Do you remember those times? Before computers were your gateway to the world. Before cell phones, palm pilots, text messages, MySpace, Facebook, blogs, etc. ruled the majority of your time spent awake. Do you remember when you didn’t have a cell phone? When you couldn’t be reached? When people just couldn’t find you? When you weren’t 100% accessible? I do. I sometimes miss those times.

Don’t get me wrong, I love my cell phone as much as the next person…probably a little bit more. I love the convenience of high speed internet and text messages. I love being able to stalk people on MySpace and Facebook. Maybe not stalk, but “keep in touch with.” But, I sometimes long for the simple way things used to be. Do you think you could go away to a somewhat secluded area for a week without a television, cell phone or computer? Afraid you might miss something? Afraid someone might need you? Afraid you might need someone? Can you believe that people use to not worry about things like that? People actually took trips, drove cars, and went to work without cell phones. It’s definitely a different world. I’m a fan of technology and today’s modern conveniences. I’m just also a fan of simplicity. I’m a fan of the random, simple, fun times like riding around in a golf cart with ten squealing little five year olds…pig tails and all!