Tuesday, February 24, 2015

With All of Your Heart Preview

Just to keep you excited for With All of Your Heart...here's a short preview of chapter 1!

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“We’re proud to present to you this year’s graduating class!” 
Finally! I thought, I’m finished.
I watched as all of our caps flew into the air and shouts of joy were let out from the people in the crowd along with a few of those graduating.  A smile was plastered on my face as I walked off stage (after a photo opp of course) to greet all those who came to see me.  To greet them as an official high school graduate. 
“My babies are all grown up!”  Mom said, engulfing me in a hug, tears brimming in her eyes.
“They sure are,” Dad agreed as he hugged both of us.
“Congrats,” Nathan, Carly’s boyfriend, said to me as he and Carly walked up to join the family pow-wow. 
“Thanks!”  I responded as Carly placed her arm around my shoulder and we walked off the school property for hopefully the last time ever.  
“Where are we headed for lunch? This better be good,” Dad asked as we searched for our car. 
“Um,” all I could think about was getting that awful graduation robe off. Number one, it’s not fashionable.  Number two, I was sweating like a dog underneath that black curtain.  “I don’t know. First I’ve got to get this robe off before I die of heat stroke.”  
“Better?”  Mom asked laughing as she helped me out of it.
“Much,” I said, adjusting my floral dress and necklace.
“So, where to for lunch?”  Dad asked as he started the car.
“He must be really hungry,” I leaned over and whispered to Carly and she laughed.
“Red Robin maybe?” 
“Why don’t I get a say in this?”  Carly asked.  “I thought this was a double graduation lunch?” 
Carly had just graduated from Gardner-Webb University a few weeks earlier.  She graduated with her degree in education and was trying to find a teaching job at an elementary school in the fall.
“Well, where would you like to go?”  Mom asked.
“I guess Red Robin would be okay,” she said, shrugging her shoulders.
“You’re ridiculous,” I said rolling my eyes as I laughed at her.
“Sounds good,” Mom ignored me as we all loaded into the car. 
“Are you getting excited about Uganda?”  Nathan asked me.
My heart beat faster just thinking about it, “Oh yeah. I can’t wait until next week.”
“Speaking of Uganda,” Mom turned around and looked at us all in the backseat.  “Carter wants to Skype us when we get to the restaurant.”
“I know!” 
“We also need to go shopping this week to get all that stuff you said you needed.”
“Yeah.”  A thought popped in my head just as my phone vibrated in my purse at my feet. The screen read: Meg!
Hey girl.  Hope graduation went well this morning.  Wanted to see what day this week would be good to talk about what I need to get for Uganda.  Just let me know which day will work best for you.  Love ya!
My fingers flew across the keys as I responded.  Would Monday morning work?  We could grab coffee!
Perfect!  See you then.
All right! 
We pulled into the Red Robin parking lot a few minutes later and all piled out of the car. 
“I’m going to go get connected to the wi-fi so we can skype Carter,” I said walking quickly to the door.
“All right,” Dad said with a smile as I pulled open the big swinging door.
I took a seat on the bench inside the entrance, relaxing in the cool air. 
“Got it, Chrissy?”  Carly asked, sitting down beside me.
A few clicks later and everything was set up for me to talk to my brother again.
“Remember this time last year?”  Carly asked.
“Yeah,” I said smiling, picturing our family sitting in this restaurant just a year earlier.  I could only think about how different all of our lives were. 
Carter was home from Uganda for a month.  I had just finished my junior year and was still dating Hunter.  Carly was getting ready to be a senior and had just started dating Nathan. 
We hadn’t gotten in a car wreck.  I hadn’t gone to Uganda.  I hadn’t broken up with Hunter. James wasn’t in my life.  God wasn’t important.  My heart was as hard as stone. 
But then I went to Uganda; I met Ava and James.  God changed my heart.  He guided me in a totally different direction than I would have ever imagined.  He put me on a path that was taking me back to Uganda for the summer.  He brought me an amazing friend who kept me accountable in my newly found relationship with God.  Not to mention, he gave her an opportunity to join me in Uganda for a few weeks. 
This past year had been unbelievable.

And I couldn’t wait to leave in just over a week to return to the country that I had grown to love dearly.

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