Thursday, November 18, 2010

{we remember}

Eleven years ago today I woke up to an unfamiliar voice on the radio. What was meant to serve as an alarm proved on that morning to be just that...alarming. A device delivering me unexpected and terrifying news, I was pretty certain I must have misheard. I shook myself awake and soon realized that nothing but the truth rested in what was said. And in hearing the words, I knew that I (along with thousands of other Aggies) would not rest well for quite some time after.

"The Bonfire stack has fallen. A number of students have been killed in the collapse, and crews are still working to rescue others that are trapped underneath."

Everyone on campus walked around in a daze that morning as emergency vehicles closed in and television crews began lining the campus. I had a class right beside the field where it was all happening. Being in such close proximity to the place where lives were lost mere hours before, and knowing that others were still underneath, ignited a feeling that only the heart could understand. And what happened in the days following the accident ignited a feeling that only those familiar with the heart and the 'Spirit of Aggieland' could ever understand.

Texas A&M. A school already so rich in tradition and bonded in spirit. It was what the Bonfire was all about, really. And it's just so, that the ones working throughout the night to build that Bonfire were some of the most loyal and proud Aggies one could find. And their efforts were a simple reflection of the love they had for their school. They believed in it. They suffered for it. They sacrificed for it.

Just a few weeks ago I revisited that exact spot, the place where the stack had fallen. There were no more sirens, no more television crews. Instead, a beautiful rememberance of the tradition and lives behind Bonfire--including the twelve that were lost that November day. A ring surrounds the site, connecting 12 portals. Each portal facing towards the perished individual's hometown and each portal honoring specific qualities and traits about the individual. It truly reveals the dedication and hearts of the ones involved.

It was my first time back since I graduated almost eight years ago, and I'm not sure I have ever been more proud of my school. I had a friend with me that day who is new to Texas. She didn't know too much about the school or the truth behind the accident. She admitted that she had heard brief news about the event, but had sadly misunderstood. She was quick to assume it was just some crazy kids building something for nothing. She never knew the history, purpose, or truth of what empowered these students to build such a thing. Nor had she realized the legacy and magnitude of impact that all of these students were leaving behind in doing so.

The Spirit of Aggieland "...a spirit that can ne'er be told. From the outside looking in you can't understand it. And from the inside looking out, you can't explain it"...a common saying in Aggieland.

I can't help but draw parallels to these Aggies and to followers of Jesus Christ, ones who know the Spirit of their Father. They do not work in vain, but give themselves fully to the work of the Lord. They believe in it. They suffer for it. They sacrifice for it. It seems that many of the students who died that day were just as dedicated to making the truth of His Spirit known as much as they were the Aggie Spirit. And the words I read about many of them told me they were vocal about it. And I love that. Because His is a Spirit worth knowing, and one that should make us want to build something lasting here on earth which reveals truth to ones who might not know otherwise. Our labor and efforts, a reflection of the love we have for Christ. And yes, I imagine from the outside looking in, it might seem a little crazy and hard to understand. But one thing I promise you...once you know it, you understand...and His is a Spirit inviting you in.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

{my girlies}

I remember being young and my sister and I somehow being merged into one when it came to point of reference. "Where are the girls? Hey girls? Are the girls going?" Somewhere along the way we managed to conjure up our own separate identities, but it took a long while before I even realized that it had happened. Honestly, it may have only hit me after one day catching myself refer to my own little nieces in the same fashion...I guess we had unknowingly passed down the role.

The girls. That's who they are to me. My girlies. And these girls are the most captivating little things you could ever wrap your heart around. They are kind, thoughtful, witty, fun, smart, beautiful, loving....and that's just the beginning. I recently tried to explain to somebody the relationship that exists between an aunt and her siblings' children, and my words fell short. You simply just can't explain it. It's a love like none I have ever known, and it brings me more joy than I could ever deserve.

Those girls are growing fast. And will probably be acquiring their own unique identities and going separately into this world far sooner than I would prefer. But I'm excited for that time, as well. One reason being that they have quite a good role model to look up to. Her name is Lauren and they clearly do look up to can tell with one simple glance at the pictures below. Lauren came to be my niece later in life, but I am thankful for her all the same. She is in her first year of college at Texas A&M and is making all of us very proud. Lauren came home this particular weekend and I couldn't help but want to capture the love between the three of them. And that's just what I did, a pretty easy thing to do.

I have quite possibly been blessed with the greatest nieces and nephews that will ever grace this earth...and you 'aunt' gonna convince me otherwise :) And yes, even they will roll their eyes at that one! But they will follow it up with a giggle and probably a hug. Because that's just the way they are.

the youngest, teaching us elders the Texas line dance...I love how she's even holding on to a make-believe belt buckle. Haha!

...thanks for being my girls. love, aunt emmy!

Monday, November 1, 2010

{happy november}

...and she might just be the cutest little pumpkin in the patch. With that sweet smile and those pretty eyes that light up when you walk in. Her personality developing in ways you can't really explain, only witness. A beautiful combination of her mom and dad. And a love developing between the three of them that certainly can't be explained, but definitely one of the greatest things I will ever get to witness.

Monday, October 25, 2010

{baby brenan}

I had seen the room weeks before. I admired the wall decor and the little carousel that sat on a blue dresser by the window. I later learned that the carousel actually belonged to the soon-to-be father, it decorated his room when he was just a baby. And he was passing it down to his son. That, along with many other things. Physical objects being the least of these.

Many of these things are yet to be discovered. Perhaps you can see a glimpse of his mom or dad in him at times now, but there are other things that can only be found out with time. His personality, his talents, his favorite college (although something tells me this one may already be deeply ingrained). And while his daddy might be an avid LSU fan, something tells me daddy wouldn't trade this new little tiger in for a win...

age: zero months. wear it while you can!

the paper from the day he was born....and one day he WILL fit into his newsboy hat!

...let freedom ring! (in the form of a loud cry, of course)