24 February 2016

Tribe: (n.) a large family

      In recent months and years the idea of having and building a community or to use a word that has been gaining popularity lately, a tribe. This is not a new idea or one that we have not the slightest clue about.The idea is to build up a family-like community the be a constant source of support and encouragement, among other things, during the various ups and downs of life. Finding that tribe of people is not always easy. People come and go, life keeps moving. Having that tribe around you, supporting and encouraging you along the way, life becomes easier to walk through. Not because you have it all figured out but because you know that you have people on your side. I can not tell you how important it is to have a family, a tribe around you.

     Having a tribe can change things on so many levels. I have come to see the importance of having a tribe, a support system over these last few years. Moving to a community in which you know no one and have no connections can be a struggle. It took almost a year before I found myself connected with a group of fantastic people at my church. Over the past few years these people have become my community, my tribe. They have been supporters, encouragers, and so much more through some totally awesome highs and some not so great lows. They have willingly walked through the valleys with me and joyfully celebrated on the mountaintops. They have opened their homes to me more times than I can count.They have welcomed me into their homes, into their families. I could go on and on listing the ways they have been a family to me.

     Over the past few years I have had a handful of opportunities to provide or offer that support to those who so graciously did the same for me. However, the last couple of days I got the chance to come alongside one of the families who has been such a big source of support for me the last few years. Nothing I did was extraordinary or huge. I just helped with some of the basic, every day stuff. I stayed to help in a moment when I could have just as easily walked out the door and left one or two people to handle things in the middle of a ton of stress, confusion, and exhaustion. 

     I was able to turn around and support the people who had been there for me. When I look at the idea of having that tribe of people around I really look at the idea of it being a family structure. We are all coming together to support and encourage each other. We come alongside and absorb the different tasks and responsibilities that need to be taken care of. When someone is struggling we are there to help with whatever we can and to faithfully pray for their needs. We open our arms, we grab a hold of each others' hands, and we keep going. We keep walking through this life knowing that we have people walking with us. We have people to help pick us up off the ground when we fall. We have people loving on us, reminding us that we are important and valued. 

We have a family.
We have a tribe.

     Our tribe is always forming and re-forming as people move on to the next stages in their lives, but the overall structure does not change. The support does not die off and the encouragement never becomes negative. We may struggle, we may get frustrated or annoyed with one another, but we are always there for each other. I could not imagine my life without this tribe, this family of people from various families, walks of life, and different places in the world. They have changed my life for the better. They are truly a blessing and I thank God for them.

Do you have a tribe? A family? Who are those people? How have they helped you to get to where you are and to become the person that you are?

If you do not have those people, that family, that tribe, I encourage to find those people. It really is truly amazing to see how much different your life is when you have those people around you supporting and encouraging you. It is truly wonderful and such a blessing!

TBT + Some Thoughts

04 February 2016

 Here's a throwback to a picture I took last winter. Still one of my favorites!

I know everyone with snow will hate me for saying this, but I am indeed jealous of y'all!! I would love for us to get some snow here in Illinois! It just has not felt like winter around here and I keep flashing back to the last couple of winters when we got a ton of snow. I would take a day or even a weekend full of snow that allowed me to stay inside wrapped up in a blanket with a book and a cup of coffee or cocoa. Y'all, enjoy that snow for me!!

It is crazy to me that it is already February. I'm pretty sure we just celebrated New Years...
Today, actually this evening, is the start of Winter Break for Olivet, so my housemates are heading home. Campus will be clearing out as people head home for this extended weekend. For me it doesn't make a difference to my schedule as I will still be working and going about life as normal. Having a day with no classes just gives me the time to get ahead on some classes.

While I've enjoyed my time at Olivet and in college, I am so ready to be done. I am ready to take some time just working, doing ministry, and living life without the daily time constraint of classes and homework. I think I may look into doing some grad school in the future, but I think I may take a few months to a year off first if possible. Mainly so I can determine what exactly I would like to major in.

Its weird to think that I am currently considering grad school. I'm 23 years old, I'm renting a house, I have a job, and I am considering grad school. What?! Craziness! It's really just been hitting me lately that I really am in adulthood. Or to connect with pop culture, I am really "adulting". Haha it's nothing new to me and yet weird to fully acknowledge. Especially when I look at the fact that I find myself in charge of children ranging in age from newborns to highschoolers on a weekly basis. I'm old enough to be in charge of anyone in these age ranges. It's such a blessing to do so but crazy to think about!!

This comes into play as we are starting to make preparations for the camps that happen in the summer. As of last night I accepted a position at one camp that is different than what I have done in the past and one that will be a bit more time intensive. It is a role that is more geared at my strengths but personality wise and spiritually. While I am a bit nervous to be stepping into this role, I also look forward to fulfilling those role and working alongside some totally awesome people! Camp is only 4 months away and there is so much to prep! Can't wait for it to get here!

Now I should probably get back to paying attention to my professor talk about languages...

Have a good day!!

Sincerely, Shelbi

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