Thursday, December 30, 2010

Inaccurate blog title as of late

I just realized how incorrect my blog title is recently. I haven't blogged about Jesus recently. I haven't blogged about following Him either. I wonder if that is indicative of my life right now. It probably is.

I have to be honest (and being honest on the internet is no small feat) and confess that I struggle. I am struggling. I feel like my walk with Christ is one step forward, two steps back. I know that the step forward is only because of HIS work in me and nothing to do with my own strength...but the two steps back is just the opposite. I try to build myself up, work harder, be better by myself and all that happens is I find myself further from God. The point is, a lot of the time I find myself running full force away from God. Or trying to at least

WHAT??? That's  not what a good christian is supposed to say. That's not what a good christian is supposed to do.

I'm not a good christian. I am a sinner.


It is only by the grace of God that I am not allowed to run. No matter how hard I try He reigns me in, turns me to face Him, shows me His love and the sacrifice of Jesus on the cross. It is out of this that anything I do can be considered good - fruit of the Holy Spirit that resides in me.

It's not easy following Jesus. But it's not impossible with Christ. And it's not something I can stop doing. It is my life's work to follow Him but it's also my life's joy to follow Him - for He is the creator of both work and joy.

So what does this mean? I devote myself again and again to His will. I pray for Him to be present in my life. I listen for the Spirit within me. And even when I fail to do all of these things well, He takes heart and shepherds me home anyway.

Back at it...

So after a few weeks of a break...I am back to running. I know what you're thinking...you just started and you already took a break?

*hangs head in shame*

Yes. I stopped running for a while. I skipped a day to study for an exam. Then I bowed out the next day telling myself I wanted to stay on my every other day schedule. But then it all fell to pieces. My "do it tomorrow" lost all chances of happening. I got busy and my motivation went out the window.

This is upsetting because I really do want to get into it.

I dragged my butt through the slump and now I hope I'm seeing the light at the end of the tunnel. I'm afraid my car has logged more miles than my tennis shoes with the amount of driving I'm doing over the break BUT I think I'm going to get my rhythm back soon.

I got a new ipod armband and Nike+ sensor to run with. It's been fun to play with and track my run today. I think it will keep me motivated as I get back into it. Being able to see the stats afterwards is entertaining, for sure! Maybe I'll be able to at a run log on my sidebar. You guys can cheer me on as I sluggishly drag my butt around my neighborhood. Or not. Whichever.

Monday, December 27, 2010

Cats and Christmas presents

I have a cat. Her name is Fluffy. I got her as an 8th birthday present from my parents. She's a fairly ordinary cat who likes to sleep a lot, be let in or out every half an hour, and generally is a nuisance to everyone in the family. I love her.

Since I moved away to school she has had my whole bedroom to herself. Can you picture a cat curled up on a pillow of a full bed? Yep, that's her. When I'm home from school she loves it - I don't think my parents give her much attention - she follows me around the house. But when it comes time to sleep we've got problems! She sleeps in my spot. She may be the queen of my bedroom in my absence but I'm not giving up MY side of the bed for my CAT! I gently nudge her over and lay down. In 0.5 seconds I have a wiggling fur ball laying on my chest. I pet her as I doze off. I usually sleep on my side though so I eventually role over and she grumpilly takes the other side of the bed...usually after batting me in the face a few times first.

Anyway, that's not the point of the story. I had the grand idea of embroidering my mother's Christmas gift. I was sitting on my bed trying to thread the needle without much luck. I see my cat eyeing the bright red thread but I figure she's too lazy to play. I get back to focusing and the next thing I know I have a cat pouncing on my with all claws deployed. OUCH! I shooed her off of the string but she stayed sitting in my lap. Bad idea. Everytime I made a stitch she'd grab the other end. It was a game to her. I got sooo frustrated that I gave up for the night. Problem is, she did it again the next night - Christmas eve. It had to get done that night. I kicked her out of my room and she sat at the door yowling until I finished. She ignored me for a bit but then realized I have hands to pet her with. I'm not sure if that means I'm forgiven but I'll accept it.

I guess thats what happens when you try to mix Christmas presents with ornery cats. I've learned my lesson.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Fighting through dust and cobwebs

Hey everyone (those that have stuck around, that is...)!

I have no clue what I'm going to write about but I'm going to start with an apology. I'm sorry to my readers for leaving you hanging. For a while I was truly busy - wrapping up the semester, studying for and taking finals, and trying to sort out the life that awaits me only a mere semester away. However I can't create excuses. After a while I was in a full blown bloggy slump. How was I supposed to come back after almost a full month of absense with witty words, deep thoughts, and legitimate reasons for temporarily abandoning my blog?

 I treasure the fact that even a handful of people decide to take the time to read the thoughts, feelings, and even the nonsensicle ramblings in my blog. While blogging isn't a priority or "calling" in my life I truly enjoy sharing my two cents and letting the words of my heart enter the big bad world of the internet. So sorry...and thank you to those of you who stuck around!

I'm not going to summarize all that has happened this past month. It's too much of a whirlwind. I'll spare you. However, I will say that there is a small island only a few hundred miles from where I live that has a story to share. There are two countries that share this island, small though it may be. I'll give you a hint, the eastern country is the Dominican Republic. On the west end of the island, though, is a smaller country nestled in the bright aqua blue colors of the Carribbean. A tropical paridise.

Look up and all around and you'll see mountains beyond mountains.You'll see some greens and browns and you'll likely catch a few glimpses of reds and organges as trucks and busses fly by. Unable to take it all in by sight, you breathe in deeply. It smells of salty air, new and delightful spices, and a pinch of sweat. You start to smile and open your ears to listen. You hear a rapidly spoken language, neighbors greeting eachother and mothers calling to their children. You can't understand it but it's beautiful. There are children singing from down the street. You've never heard the tune before but the melody is greeting you like an old friend. You shake hands with an old man with greying hair and sun wrinkled skin. His wise eyes and toughened hands pull you deeper still.

Without language he tells you the story of his country. His eyes have seen pain, suffering, and death. His body shows the wear of hunger and malnutrition. His hands are rough from countless years of working in his garden. The green and brown  mountains are his home, out of which he coaxes what little crops he has to grow. The sea, to him, is not blue and beautiful, it is where he catches tiny fish when he can't harvest his garden. The orange and blue trucks are not blurs of beautify - they are machines that take his money, bang him around, and hopefully drop him off at the market to sell and buy what little he can. In a span of seconds this old man shows you that this is not paradise to him. Rather, paradise is waiting for him in Heaven. He knows God and accepts Jesus as his savior. He has hope to one day be freed from the oppression he has faced in paradise.

That, to me, is greater than any sight, smell, or sound.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

No Title ;)

I have a lot going on. I'm super busy doing lots of stuff. Except blogging. Welcome to the end of the semester, folks. =)

Saturday, November 27, 2010

It smells like "Thankful"

Last Fall my roommate bought a candle called "Thankful". Every time one of us walked in the door we'd say "it smells like thankful in here!" It kinda became an apartment inside joke.

Anyway, this Thanksgiving it may not smell like thankful but I'm definitely full of thankfulness. The RUF thanksgiving dinner is one of my favorite things all year. After we finish filling ourselves with delicious food we pass a microphone and share what we are thankful for and how God is working. It's probably my favorite tradition. I wish we did something like it at home with my family - it's definitely something I want to do when I have a family of my own. I love hearing stories from everyone of how they've been struggling, growing, being encouraged, learning, and how it all points back to God.

I am thankful for how God always guides me and leads me. He is gentle yet He is firm. I may wander, I may be lukewarm, and I may fall to pieces but He always calls me back, lights my fire, and puts me back together. He puts people in my life to talk to me, encourage me, and pray for me. He gives me scripture to read over - letting me know HIM even more.

I'm also thankful for the heart He's given me. That in His love, I am able to love others. It may be an imperfect love this side of Heaven but it's a small taste of His love.

PS: Sorry this is such a delayed Thanksgiving post...I was enjoying family time and didn't want to take the time to write.

PPS: GO GATORS!!! Beat the 'Noles!!!

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Home for the holidays!

yI drove home to my parents house last night. (Note: I'm in the weird transition in life where I call two locations/cities/places "home")

In a last minute decision I ended up packing my bags and was ready to hit the road after the RUF Thanksgiving Dinner. I told myself if we got finished eating and chatting and being thankful before 9pm that I'd hit the road - after that I would wait until the morning. We had a good time (to be discussed in a future post) and were winding down around 8. I was able to help clean up some and finish up conversations with friends by 8:30. PERFECT!

I got on the interstate for my long night of driving. I turned on some music (Joshua Radin, if you were curious) and settled in. I had pre-arranged with a friend to have a phone date while we both drove to our respective houses. She called shortly after I got on the road. C and I chatted for a solid hour - well if you don't count the few times we got disconnected as she drove through the middle of nowhere. It was so good just to chat and laugh and encourage each other. We talked about what we were thankful for, how to love our families well as we return home from the pseudo-independence that is college life, and how we could be praying for each other while we were away.

It was one of those conversations that is so laced with God's work and providence that you cant help but be in awe of how God uses the people in our lives to speak HIS truths to us.

Then C was getting home (she has a shorter drive than I do) so we wrapped up and said farewell. I continued to jam out to Joshua Radin but was getting a smidge sleepy. I called my super good friend and neighbor at my parents house, L, to chat. (As you can see, I like to talk on the phone while I drive. And in case you're wondering I DON'T text and drive...well...except at red lights). We talked for a bit about how we were excited to see each other and hang out. It has been months since we've both been home at the same time.

After hanging up with her, I stopped at a MickeyD's for coffee. I opted for their mocha frappe thing. (Yes, I still drink cold drinks in winter - I live in Florida) I don't know if you have ever had this particular item from their menu. I'm sorry if you have. It was simply disgusting. It had a hint of being a milkshake made from coffee icecream - delicious, right? WRONG! They may have added dirt to it - with fresh worms! Ok, no, it wasn't that bad...but I still couldn't finish it. Blegh!

So I carry on, jammin' out to my tunes. I'm getting closer to home when all of the sudden I'm in stand still traffic. SAY WHAT? It's pretty late by this point and I can't imagine how traffic can get this backed up at night. Turns out they're doing construction or redoing the road and 3 lanes went down to 1. Awesome. It wasn't too terrible though, only stuck for 10 minutes or so.

I carry on, now singing loudly to keep myself alert. At this point I was glad I was the only one in the car - I really do belt it out when I'm singing on my own. =P

Finally I get to my exit and make my way to my house. The neighborhood is quiet and dark. I turn into my street and get all excited - you know, the kind of excited that makes you do a little dance...or maybe that's just me. I'm home for the holidays! Ok, well, just Thanksgiving for now.

My Daddy waited up for me and my parents' dog ran circles around my feet as I drowsily dragged my bags inside. I fell into bed (yes, my bed from childhood) and I was out as soon as my head hit the pillow.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Ten on Tuesday (5)



I know I"m not always consistent in doing this but I really do enjoy joining in on it. Hope you, my readers, don't mind!


1. What are your plans for the holidays? Do you travel at Thanksgiving? If you celebrate Christmas, do you travel then, too?
As of the past handful of years both Thanksgiving and Christmas are celebrated in Florida with some of my dad's extended family (2nd, 3rd, 4th cousins...). When I was a little younger we'd usually do Christmas up north where both of my parents are from. It was fun to be with my grandparents, aunts, uncles, and first cousins for the holidays. Unfortunately, we ALWAYS got sick. We Floridians can't handle their northern germs. So now we visit every summer instead. No snow (which I LOVE) but at least we see family!
2. How do you make the plans for the holiday? If you have a significant other, how do you decide which family to visit?
I figure out when I can escape from school and head to my parent's house for holiday breaks. Simple as that. No hubby to make decisions with, yet.
3. Do you have your Thanksgiving meal at lunch or later in the day?
We usually plan for 3ish but it usually doesn't happen until 5ish.
4. Do you have a favorite Thanksgiving tradition?
Does food count? Haha, actually, RUF has started a great tradition for me. At our pre-thanksgiving thanksgiving dinner we pass a microphone around the room and say what we're thankful for. I know a lot of people do this but a lot of what is said goes beyond material possessions. People share how God has been working, struggles they've overcome, hope that they've found, how they've been loved well. It's just a wonderful time of sharing. I look forward to it every year!
5. After a big meal do you lounge around or get up and take a walk?
Oh gosh, people walk after eating thanksgiving dinner? Are they crazy? I definitely settle into a comfy chair and chat with my family until we all doze off into a food coma.
6. Do you shop on “Black Friday” or do you avoid it?
Not really. My mom occasionally will go out shopping if she sees a super awesome deal on something we need. I've gone with her just a couple times. It's not the wake up at 2am and wait in line before the store opens sort of thing. We're much lazier than that. From the few times that I've gone, its just a quick in and out of a few stores and then head home to spend time with family.
7. When do you usually finish your Christmas shopping?
Hahahahahahaha. I'm in college. I don't even start Christmas shopping until I'm finished with finals for the semester. By that point it's usually the week before Christmas. But it's ok because I mainly get gifts for a handful of close friends and my immediate family. It's not like I'm shopping for a billion people. But I must mention that I did get one special little girl a gift and I shopped super early to put it together. Can you guess why? Operation Christmas Child
8. Do you and your significant other exchange gifts? Is there a budget?
I don't have a husband, yet. When I (hopefully) do, I fully intend to get him something every year.
9. When do you decorate for the holidays?
At my parents house we usually pull out the boxes the day after Thanksgiving. Most of the time it gets done that day but sometimes it doesn't. At school, my roommates and I put up a few things (including our orange and blue gator tree) when we come back from Thanksgiving break.
10. Do you go “all out” with the decor or do you keep it simple?
It's usually pretty simple. Inside we do a real tree, decorations and lights around the mantel of the fireplace, stockings (of course!!) and a few candy dishes. OH and a little wooden manger set. I used to play with it like it was a doll house when I was a kid. =)  Outside we do lights on the house, lights on the fence by the road, and two blow up things (you know what I'm talking about) that were gifted to us by an old neighbor who moved away.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Lie To Me


Lie To Me
Have you guys seen this show? I'm seriously hooked on it! A friend introduced it to me not too long ago and I just can't stop watching it!

It's basically about this guy, Cal Lightman, who is a human lie detector. He studies micro expressions (subconscious facial expressions that last mere milliseconds) to determine whether someone is being truthful or not. The whole concept is fascinating to me.

Sometimes the show focuses more on the drama and theatricality instead of the science and "study" of people's faces. It makes for a good show, but I LOVE seeing the science behind it. I was curious so I did a bit of Googling and found out that it is indeed based on real research, or science if you will. Paul Ekman is the "real life" Cal Lightman - a deception expert. While it isn't as black and white/lie or truth as it is portrayed in the show, it is fairly accurate.

In fact, Dr. Ekman watches every episode and blogs about the detection tactics used. I do love the face value of the show but to go back and read the science behind it is so fun!

So, our faces are the window to the world. What are we telling everyone?

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Sick

Today I have a cold. Yes, a cold.

I've spent the day sitting around my apartment being lazy - watching TV, poking around on the internet, and texting friends. I was thinking about how great it is that its a Saturday and I don't have to worry about dragging my snotty self to class...or anywhere, really. How awesome is it that I have no huge exams to study for and that I can truly rest.

BUT...how is that I can be grateful for these things and not even think about everything else that I'm taking for granted?!? I have a TV, internet, food in the fridge, a comfortable bed, a secure apartment, and cold medicine. I can take a day (or more) to chill comfortably when others can't. There are people in the world who are fighting to survive. There are people out there who have colds (or cholera or tuberculosis, or HIV, or malaria...) yet can't sit at home and chill. They have to fight to find work, earn money, feed themselves, you know, survive.

Basically, I'm selfish. And a weenie. How is this right?

Friday, November 19, 2010

Keep Runnin' Runnin' and Runnin' Runnin'...

So I've begun a new endeavor. It's exciting and yet so very scary.

I'm making myself become a runner!!

If you know me you'll know that I'm relatively active but don't like to run. The thought of running any sort of distance makes me cringe. However, I have some dear sweet friends who recently ran a half marathon and another friend training for her first ever 5K. Maybe I'm a copycat but I'd rather say I've been inspired. Plus I've come to realize that I am not as fit as 1) I used to be and 2) would like to be. My body is supposed to be a temple, right? I need something consistent that I can push myself to do.

If you looked at my recent Google inquiries you'll find silly things like "how to start running" and "how to become a runner." I know NOTHING about running. I know that when I've tried to run in the past I usually get stitches in my side, have trouble breathing, and vow to never run again.

I poked around on the internet and found this (see below) lovely week-by-week guide to running. I'm referring to it lovingly as my "training program" HAHAHA! Basically I don't want to kill my body and turn myself off to running (more than I already am) by pushing it too hard too soon. This guide seems to start out nice and easy.

If any of you out there are runners, could you take a look and let me know what you think. Any revisions you'd make? I'm open to any tips or suggestions (or encouragement)! I'd also love it if you could help keep me accountable - make sure I'm doing it. Thanks!


Here's How:
  1. Get medical clearance from your doctor before you get started.
  2. Getting the right running shoes for your foot typeis crucial for comfort and injury prevention . Visit a running store to get expert advice on buying the right running shoes .
  3. Before you start your workouts, make sure youwarm up properly by walking for 5-10 minutes. You should always end your workout with a cooldown.
  4. Week one: Walk for 6 minutes, then jog at an easy pace for 1 minute. Repeat 3 times. Aim for three sessions with that same sequence for week one.
  5. Week two: Walk for 5 minutes, then jog for 2 minutes. Repeat 3 times. Aim to do three sessions in week two.
  6. Week three: Walk for 3 minutes, then jog for 4 minutes. Repeat 4 times. Aim for four sessions in week three.
  7. Week four: Walk for 2 minutes, then jog for 5 minutes. Repeat 4 times. Shoot for four of those sessions in week four.
  8. Week five: Walk for 2 minutes, then jog for 8 minutes. Repeat 3 times. Do four of those sessions in week five.
  9. Week six: Walk for 2 minutes, then jog for 9 minutes. Repeat 3 times. Try to do four sessions for week six.
  10. Week seven: Walk for 1 minute, then jog for 11 minutes. Repeat 3 times. Do four sessions this week.
  11. Week eight: Congratulations on making it to week eight! For your first run this week, try walking for 5 minutes to begin and end the workout, and run for 20 minutes in between. By the end of the week, try to run for 30 minutes without stopping
  12. Aim to run for 30 minutes four times a week, and you'll notice that your stamina and fitness will continue to improve. Soon you'll be ready to run your first 5K!

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Operation Christmas Child

Have you guys ever heard of Operation Christmas Child? I'm 95% sure you have. I've heard of it again and again, year after year. I've never participated before. I never really thought about poverty, 3rd world countries, or really anything besides myself until I came to college. Then in college I've justified my lack of giving by being a "poor college kid." This year when it was announced in church something stirred in my heart. I knew that I was going to fill a box this year. I realized that while I may be poor by America's standards, I'm still filthy rich in the standards of the world. (And beyond material possessions, I've also been made spiritually rich by the blood of the Lamb who was slain!!!)

So I went shopping. I decided to consider prices as I went but not make them a deciding factor on any particular item/type of item. I work two jobs, I can afford rent, I am able to buy food for myself, I even splurge on items every once and a while. I HAVE ROOM TO GIVE!!!

I decided on putting together a box for a 10-14 year old girl. RoseLaure, my sweet sponsored child, is 14. While I know she won't be getting my box...or possibly any box for that matter...it was easier for me to buy things I knew she liked, needs, and would fit into. Plus, I figured other people like to buy cute baby things and little kid toys. They've got those age ranges covered. I hope.

This is what I bought: A pink skirt, a purple butterfly shirt, three boxes of candies, two toothbrushes, toothpaste, a bar of soap, two wash cloths, cute girly pencils, a pencil sharpener, markers, a pad of drawing paper, and a paddle ball.
I had every intention of going back out and getting some more things - a jump rope, a stuffed animal, and other miscellaneous fun things. Unfortunately, as I packed the things I had bought from my first shopping trip I soon realized the box was out of space. I was really sad I couldn't put more in it but I'm glad I was able to fit what I did already have.
Next, you're supposed to wrap your box. It's not a requirement but it just makes it a little more Christmassy. I, however, don't own wrapping paper. I have a few miscellaneous birthday gift bags but those, clearly, would not do! So I had to be creative.

What college girl doesn't own puffy paint? I decided to puffy paint the lid. I hope the girl who receives this box likes it! Bondye beni ou means God bless you in Creole.

This side says Fete Nwel or Merry Christmas in Creole.
So I turned my box in at the church office and we prayed over them as a congregation this past Sunday. As a church we collected over 230 boxes! They're all going to Haiti! This makes my heart joyous and I hope it makes the kids joyous!!!

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Shutterfly!

Have you guys ever tried Shutterfly? They're the photo company I ordered all of my Haiti prints from to scrapbook. I really super duper wanted one of their pre-made scrapbooks (I'm not super crafty and I don't have a lot of time) but on a college-kid budget, prints were all I could afford. (I'm still not finished with my scrapbook, btw). Considering I was ordering hundreds of prints, they had to be cheap but still professional. I loved getting high quality prints for a low price. I love Shutterfly!

So guess how excited I was when I found out about this wonderful opportunity to get 50 free Christmas cards from Shutterfly just for blogging! "Bloggers get 50 free holiday cards from Shutterfly." Woohoo!!!!!! I can't wait to send these out to my friends and family. =)

Now I just have to pick out my pictures and decide on a card. There are so many to choose from and they're all so cute!

NOTE: I am writing this review with the expectation to be compensated with free cards. I would have written the same things about Shutterfly even without any compensation. Actually, it probably would never cross my mind to write about the company otherwise but hypothetically the content would be the same. Just being honest...

What have I been up to lately?



Despite being on a rollercoaster, I've been doing quite a few things recently.

Like going to the Florida/Georgia game and spending a lovely weekend in Jacksonville with wonderful friends!




And spending the weekend at home with my little brother - going to my old high school's rival football game.


















Playing in the clouds...I mean...co-piloting an airplane. =)


Monday, November 8, 2010

Miscellany Monday

Miscellany Monday @ lowercase letters

1) I did something very exciting yesterday. If you know me, you probably have already heard about it or seen pictures. If you don't personally know me, you'll hear about it in my next post. =D

2) Work#1 today was a bit of a drag. I miss my friend and co-worker A who just moved away. =( I feel like an elementary aged child who has no one to chat with in the lunch room or play with a recess. Obviously I have other friends but it's so sad without him at work.

3) The movie Zombieland cracks me up every time I see it. Without fail. It's just so good!

4) If you have a  BJ's Brewhouse in your area you MUST check out their Pumpkin Ale. It's like pumpkin pie in liquid form. Thank you, A, for introducing it to me!

5) I am thankful for the time to catch up on TV shows. They're nowhere near the top of my priority list but it's still nice to sit down and mindlessly watch, well, crap. I like shows with drama AND plot. I like: Grey's Anatomy, Private Practice, Glee, Castle, and Lie To Me. No, I don't watch them all weekly. I don't have the time for that. But I'll watch them intermittently.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Rollercoaster...



I've been on an emotional rollercoaster of sorts recently. 


It can't really be chalked up to any one thing in particular.


It may, however, have something to do with this phenomenon:


It may also be caused by a couple epic...GATOR GAMES!


It may also be due to these little ones (and their country) tugging at my heart strings.


You know, among other things...

PS: I don't own any of these photos. They were lifted straight from Google Images.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

The BEST video ever.

Ok, maybe not. But it's still a super cute video. I'm pretty sure I've watched it a dozen times already. It's called Marcel The Shell With Shoes On. =)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VF9-sEbqDvU

Today has been humbling...

Today has been humbling. God is working. It's wonderful.

Last night at RUF I was spacey. I had a hard time focusing. I much rather wanted to pass notes with a friend than I wanted to pay attention. I got lost and confused. It didn't help that we were delving into some difficult stuff. (We were going over prayer and spiritual warfare in Daniel 10).

But somehow, God managed to teach me through it. I don't understand it fully and probably never will on this side of Heaven's gates...BUT it has been food for thought all day for me.

In prayer group we were just talking about things we understood and didn't understand about spiritual warfare. Just batting around ideas and hearing wisdom from others was opening my eyes and pointing me to scripture. Then we had some CRU (Campus Crusade) guys sit down with us. They were doing an evangelistic survey on campus and just starting some deep conversations with strangers. They randomly sat down with us at prayer group and it was so wonderful to just hear about their lives and to be able to share about our lives. We were able to discuss some of the ways God is working and teaching us. Even from the perspective of two different college ministries, it was uplifting and wonderful.

Then when I arrived home from school (about 30 minutes ago) I opened my Google Reader and read a wonderful post written by a wonderful woman who loves Haiti. It's about the f word. Now I'm in college so my immediate instinct was to think it meant the naughty f word. It, however, was NOT about that f word. It was about fear. Go read it, please.

I agree entirely with her post. It's so good to be reminded of how fear can downright RULE your life. It is also good to see how much I've overcome some fears and see just how far God has brought me. It gives me hope that my insecurities and fears are not a hindrance for God and that He will indeed work through them with me!

Some of you who know me know that I have a clinically diagnosed anxiety disorder. Yes, I know everyone gets butterflies and people get nervous before public speaking. If you think I'm whining about these things, you're wrong. You must understand that I experience anxious and nerve wracking moments FAR DIFFERENTLY from the average person. I don't want to throw myself a pity party but I do want to tell you that if I can overcome fear (slowly but surely), then God can lead you to overcome it too! It's nothing we can do on our own, we're the ones who let the fear rule our lives - remember, but rather it is what God can do. I am not overcome by (some of) the silly things that used to daunt me 4 years ago. Heck, I'm much better about (some of) the things that used to send me into the throes of a panic attack mere months ago! GOD IS POWERFUL! Know that.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Ten on Tuesday (4)

I'm doing Ten on Tuesday again from this blog.
1. Do you color? If you do, is it with markers, crayons, colored pencils, etc.?
The last time I colored was in spring semester. I colored Ariel from the Little Mermaid. =) I'm pretty sure I used colored pencils. On a more regular basis, however, I use colored pens to color code my notes and draw anatomy structures (comes in handy!).
2. What’s the most organized part (or system) in your house?
My roommates rooms. =)
3. What’s the most unorganized part (or system) in your house?
My room. =(
4. If you had unlimited amounts of time and money, what museum would you want to see and why?
Like Chelsea (the wonderful woman who hosts ToT), this would not be the first thing I do if I had unlimited resources. I'd probably just travel the world, eat lots of food, sit in coffee shops and bakeries. And then eventually (after every country has been visited) I'll settle down in Haiti and pour out my love and unlimited resources to the people there. But if you were really wondering about a museum...yuck...I'd probably go to the Louvre to see Mona Lisa. Or I'd go to a non-museum museum like the air and space center at the Smithsonian. Or the zoo. That's a museum of sorts, right?
5. What is your favorite part of the fall season?
"Cooler" weather. Pumpkin flavored things. Unlimited amounts of candy and food (Halloween and then Thanksgiving). And then the fact that Christmas is right around the corner. Yay!
6. Did you dress up for Halloween?
Negatory. This is the second year in a row that I haven't dressed up. Sad day! But it's ok because I was in Jacksonville with friends for the Florida/Georgia game (GO GATORS!!!).
7. Have you started Christmas shopping?
NO! I'm in college. Christmas shopping doesn't start until after finals. The majority of my shopping gets done the week before Christmas.
8. Do you crack your knuckles?
Yes! Knuckles, wrists, shoulder, neck, back, knees, ankles, toes. I'm crackley.
9. If you had to live in another city for a year (all expenses paid), which city would you choose?
This is a funny question to me because I might just be doing that soon! My friend A and I have been talking about moving somewhere awesome together for our year off before we adventure into grad school (PA school for me). So...we have a list. In the states: San Francisco, Seattle, Chicago, Boston, NYC, or St. Louis. I would also love to spend my year in...drumroll...Haiti! Probably in Port au Prince or Les Cayes.
10. Do you have any reoccurring dreams?
I used to when I was a kid. It involved water somehow. I've blocked the rest from my memory.

Sorry for the lapse in blog posts. I will be returning to my regularly scheduled programing shortly. Actually, when has this blog ever been regularly scheduled? Hmmm... But now that I'm home from Jax and have two more exams under my belt (one yesterday, one earlier this morning) I'll have a bit of time to write more substantial things.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Appearances...what do they say ABOUT you and what do they say TO you?

So I've been thinking a lot lately about appearances. Appearances, whether we consciously make the effort or not, are always saying something about us. A lot of people would agree that you can know, or at least assume, certain things about another person based on their appearance. I, however, would like to flip that upside down and think about how our appearances reflect inwardly. Instead of thinking about how appearances portray us to the world (in --> out), I'd like to discuss how our outward appearances reflect back in on ourselves (out ---> in).

If you're lost, I'm sorry. I tend to be wordy and convoluted in my explanations. Makes for a great blogger, eh? Right, well keep reading. Or don't. That's your choice.

So when I say "appearance" I mean a few different things. It can be as simple as clothing, "style", adornments or it can be less obvious in such things as posture, mannerisms, and movements.

Today I was walking across campus and feeling pretty confident. I was wearing my RUF Fall Conference T-Shirt, my new blue exercise shorts, and my Chacos. I had my CamelBak water bottle swinging from my hand. I had put on a small bit of mascara and lip stain. My backpack wasn't excessively loaded (it normally is...) so I was able to walk easily instead of being all hunched over and uncomfortable. I felt normal and accepted.

Now I'm normally a T-Shirt and jeans type of person (not that this outfit is a far cry from it) and don't put any effort into my "look". I hardly ever wear makeup - mere mascara is a bi-annual event for me and chapstick is usually my only facial adornment. (Note: I know how to look nice and professional - I do so for job interviews, weddings, funerals, etc.. I'm referring to my day-to-day.)

So why did today's outfit spark such confidence and contentment? I do believe it has less to do with what other people think about me than it has to do with what I think other people think about me. I think. I, for once, told myself I was cool, accepted, and normal. I was thinking the following things:

My shorts make me look athletic and college-trendy*. My shirt makes me look unique and reps Jesus. My shoes make me look like an adventurer and a traveler. My makeup makes me look cute and semi-girly. My water bottle makes me look healthy and an environmentalist. My backpack makes me look college-trendy* and smart.

Is that me? Is it? I'm not positive but I'm pretty sure it's not. Maybe parts of it are true...on a good day.

So I was walking into a local restaurant to redeem a coupon for a large soda. I was happy. Free stuff makes me happy. So I'm sipping away at my large Dr. Pepper and head to class. I'm walking and sipping and slowly my confidence is faltering. Am I a fat lazy American because I'm drinking a large soda? I'm ingesting so much sugar and caffeine - who does this? I'm so unhealthy.


So much of what we do is reflecting what we think of ourselves and what we want (or don't want) to portray to others. Most of it revolves around faults and insecurities. I'd argue that most of it is untrue and unjustified. Ideally we need to be confident in Christ. No matter what other people think of us, we know that we are accepted, loved, and wanted through Jesus. But this is in ---> out and I'm talking about out ---> in. I think the way we act, dress, and even speak should be wrought out of our confidence in Christ. We should be consistently telling ourselves and reminding ourselves that we are children of God. We are shining beacons of light to others and flickering reminders to ourselves.

So what does this look like, practically? And no, I don't mean that in the Christianese sense but rather quite literally - what does this look like? I think it's different for everyone. Wear what makes you confident in yourself because you are confident in Christ. Walk with pride and dignity because you have something amazingly great that others fail to even see. (Jesus, grace, and mercy). Don't make the social norms the pinnacle. (Who invents "fashion" anyway?!?) Make your walk with Jesus the pinnacle.

Don't let your appearances tell you who you are.

*By "college-trendy" I mean things that are popular on my, and other, college campuses. I do believe that it is very different from trends in other groups, ages, and people. College kids are a subculture, in a way, that is divided up further into other subcultures. College-trendy is varied and broad yet so highly unique. It's hard to pinpoint, but I think you get my gist.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Seven Quick Takes

So I've been feeling guilty for not updating my blog more frequently. It's hard to come up with solid things to blog about AND find the time to type it all out. So today I'm going to do a Seven Quick Takes - seven random things. I've seen it on a couple other blogs before, though I don't know how common this type of writing is. Sorry if you're sick of seeing it.

1) I went to the lunch class at the Christian Study Center today. I enjoyed it but I did feel that most of the discussion was a bit over my head.

2) It was hot today. I made the mistake of wearing jeans. I'm pretty sure I looked simply nasty for 95% of the day. Sweat just isn't appealing.

3) I have a new found obsession with exercise shorts. Bad thing is I'm still obsessed with my Chacos so I wear them together. Dorky? Not dorky? Who knows...I'm gonna do it anyway!

4) I've recently come back into contact with an old friend. Things have been interesting and I've been sorting through a lot of old, buried emotions. God likes to throw you for a loop every now and again, doesn't He?

5) I'm still trying to wrap my head around what I'm going to do in my year off from school. I have a couple ideas mulling around in my brain. I'm sure I'll blog about them later.

6) I'm having trouble being content with being in school right now. I'm getting burnt out and I'm ready for God to bring me on my next adventure. I know I need to thrive and live where God has me, it's just frustrating.

7) I think I just swallowed a fly. Yuck!

Anyway, I thought I'd open myself up to take prayer requests. I intend to set apart 30 minutes tonight after work to pray for things. If you'd like me to pray for you, your friend, anything just let me know in a comment.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

RoseLaure

Have you, my loving readers, noticed the picture I have placed on my sidebar - M'renmen RoseLaure? If you havent, look to the right side of the screen. Smile. This is RoseLaure (and me). She is the sweet and wonderful girl whom I sponsor through RMI.

I cower from being one of those middle class Americans. So many people see those heartwrenching comercials, send in some money, and think they're justified in ignoring the rest of the poverty and problems.

Anyway, I sponsor RoseLaure. She's my girl. I met her when I was in Baraderes, Haiti in May. She is one of the "orphan" children who lives in the pastor's house. I say orphan in quotes because most Haitian orphans, in my experience, are not actually orphans. Most of them have parents, or at least aunts and uncles. The problem lies in the fact that the parents cannot afford to care for them.

Wow, I feel like I keep typing myself down rabbit holes. Sorry for that.

I met RoseLaure while I was living in the pastor's house for a few days. She is quiet and shy but she has a smile that shines as bright as the sun. I was in love. My first interaction with her, the pastor was trying to get us to guess her age. She's small and petite. I figured she couldn't be over the age of 10. Wrong. She's 14. I couldn't imagine the life she had lived that made her not grow. Every once and a while I'd run into her in the house. We didn't get much of a chance to interact because she was busy doing chores.



RoseLaure talking to one of the missionaries.


We got to meet all of the children who live in the pastor's house.
And they enjoyed a couple hours off from doing chores.


We were able to give these children a little baggie of gifts.
They each got mints, jolly ranchers, pencils, a pencil sharpener, and some small toys.


We saw her in the clinic briefly. Then one afternoon she was hanging out with her friends who live in the pastor's house with her. I was walking by the river and stopped to chat with them. This was one of my favorite parts of the trip.



"Hang out" time by the river. RoseLaure is on the right.


She's so adorable, don't ya think?

This picture makes me laugh. RoseLaure was so excited that her toothpaste made it into the picture.

It was bittersweet to leave Baraderes, especially because it would mean leaving a piece of my heart behind. Oh and yes, that is a barbie dress. At 14. And she doesn't care. That wouldn't happen here in the States.

When I came home from that trip I was moved to do something. I sent in my money (done through church because my church works closely with RMI) and requested RoseLaure. I knew it was unlikely that I actually got her but I could hope and pray. When it came time to pick up our sponsorship packets, I saw her face and I jumped up and down and squealed with joy!

I love being able to support her financially and help her in what small ways I can. I love being able to pray for her. I love being able to tell people about her. I love seeing a picture of her face pop up on my phone's background. I love her. I love her people. I love her country. So much love. I'm so glad that God's love for me is leading me to love so deeply that it overflows to RoseLaure. I'm so thankful for the mere opportunity to know this girl and love her.

Do you sponsor any children? Who do you sponsor them through? Have you met them? Do you love them?

Friday, October 22, 2010

Pray For Haiti!!!

UPDATE: New news article: here

Here it is folks: there has been a large and deadly outbreak of Cholera in central Haiti. There are reports of it spreading to Port-au-Prince. It is likely to get devastating very quickly (some reports are projecting the number of fatalities to be similar to the earthquake). Please pray, pray, pray! Let anyone you may know down there know about hand washing, drinking ONLY treated water, and cleaning fruit and veggies in bleach.

Here is a more thorough blog post by a wonderful woman who works part time as a doc in Haiti.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

What you learn working in a Pediatric office:

UPDATE: In order to cover all of my bases, I must tell you that I am neither a doctor nor a nurse. I am, however, a nurses aid/CNA/health tech/clinical care assistant. I don't want people thinking I'm something that I'm not. More on what I do, what I know, what I would like to do, and what I'd like to know in a later post.

So I don't have a substantial post tonight. Fear not, I have a couple in the works, they're just not ready yet. So here is a list. A list of things. Things I've noticed or learned from working in Peds (Work#2).

In no particular order:
1) You always want hand sanitizer right after you walked past nine million bottles of it mounted on the walls, in patient rooms, and on desks right as you enter the area that only has one bottle, tucked away in some lonely corner collecting dust because you can never remember where exactly it is.
2) You know flu season is starting when you administer quick flu tests to fellow staff.
3) You get kind of excited when a kid is coming in with a busted lip or funny looking bug bites. This is mainly because  it's not another "sore throat/runny nose/cough/fever" kid. Have you ever heard of a cold? (Sorry, had to get my little rant in). It also means you might get to see something cool...like stitches or draining a wound. Fun!
4) You find out that apple seeds are indeed "poisonous." They naturally have trace amounts of cyanide. Gasp! Don't worry, you'd have to eat a bunch of apple seeds to even notice the effects.
5) Babies pee on you. All. The. Time. And sometimes poop gets involved too.
6) You just have to laugh (and cry a little on the inside) when you botch a patients name when calling them back to the room.
7) Sometimes, just sometimes, you still call a she a he and a he a she accidentally even after you just saw them diaper-less.
8) The receptionist staff shrug away awkwardly when you walk up to them holding ________ (i.e. urine samples, sealed lab test swabs, a dirty diaper)
9) You've encountered parents who are much more frustrating than your own. (Love you Mom!)
10) Despite their saliva, snot, pee, and poop you still really do adore children...most of the time.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Fall Festivities!!

Alright, as promised in this post, I'm going to share with you some of the fun Autumn adventures I've had recently!

So much fun is being had this Fall! I truly enjoy this time of year for all it has to offer: cool weather (well, as cool as Florida lets it be), falling leaves, pumpkins, pumpkin-flavored things, sweaters, and wonderful friends. Well, friends are pretty much all year round, but you know what I mean!

On Thursday night my friend hosted a pumpkin carving contest. It was so much fun. There were quite a few people there too! Many people brought treats to munch on as we worked: pumpkin cookies, pumpkin pie, pumpkin chocolate chip bars, apple pie, apple cider, etc. YUMMM!! My friend from class, R, came and we enjoyed carving Casper & his friends.

Team Casper: R and me!


Casper & Friends all lit up!

There were some really good carvings. Like this one, my friend K did.

Here's the lineup of pumpkins at the end of the night:


The sweet glowing blue pumpkin has a flashing multicolored strobe LED inside it instead of a candle. I thought it was pretty sweet. Also, this is probably only about half of the finished pumpkins. I didn't take a picture of all of them lined up so this will have to do.

Also, just for kicks, I'm adding my pumpkin that my roomies and I carved last year. I'm so proud of it:


Then Friday night a bunch of friends and I got together for dinner and hanging out. We then drove out to a neighboring town and went to a corn maze!! It was so much fun and pretty scary! You wander around in the maze (lost, most of the time) and people dressed in ghoulish costumes pop out at you and chase you with chain-less chainsaws. I spent a lot of time clinging onto my friends and cowering in fright. We also went through the haunted house that they had there. It wasn't very scary in my opinion but some of my friend's didn't particularly enjoy the frights they had in store. Alas, what you have all been waiting for: PICTURES!

Wonderful group of friends waiting in line!

Having fun on hay bales (This was outside the kid maze, fyi)

Love these people!

Our "scared" faces, hehe!

We all survived the haunted house!

The group with creepy clown dude...

Oh boys...

In other Fall news, today was the Fall picnic at church. I had every intention of going but uhh...I fell asleep instead. It was a beautiful nap, though, so I wasn't too terribly upset. After church, though, I did grab lunch with a wonderful friend who, sadly, is moving shortly! And then earlier this evening I had a splendid dinner at DRobb's house with his roomies and some other friends. Thanks again!!

PS: As I type, I have the windows open with a slight breeze blowing in. Dontcha just love Fall??

Friday, October 15, 2010

My life be like

So apparently I'm really inconsistent when it comes to blogging. Some days (mostly when I'm avoiding studying...) I post a lot, comment other blogs, and really advertise my blog. Other days (spent at school, work, or, more likely, galavanting around town with friends) I barely have time to even check the stats on my blog. I mean, there's usually no reason to check the stats on my blog - it's fairly consistently at zero hits. Instead of throwing myself a pity party for this blog I can't seem to get off the ground, I'm going to tell you what "my life be like." (Have you guys ever heard that song? It's by GRITS. I am not what one would call a "hip hop person" but this song is catchy.)

Anyway, my life... 
Drumrollllllllll
has been consumed by school, yet again. Not really...but kinda. I had an anatomy exam on Thursday for which I had to memorize all of the bones and their structural characteristics along with the muscles and their origin, insertion, and action. Boy let me tell you, my brain was freaking out by Thursday. As much as it was annoying, it's probably going to be one of the most useful things I've academically learned in college. It has also been entertaining to randomly tap into this knowledge.

Friend: My abs hurt after doing {insert ridiculously crazy exercise class here}.
Me: Ooh, your rectus abdominus? Did you know that originates at your pubic crest and inserts at the xiphoid process of your sternum? Or maybe your internal and external obliques are what's hurting? By the way, how's your iliopsoas?
Friend: *rolls eyes*

Other than that I have a good story to share. On Wednesday I was feeling fairly inadequate. I was down about a recent grade and just doubting my ability to do well in school, get into a good PA school. I was seriously doubting even applying to PA school. I was telling myself I wanted to do missions work - who says I need to be a medical professional to do missions work? I discussed it briefly at prayer group and then got to talk to DRobb about it as we waited for the bus together. He is just so wise and encouraging yet practical. He basically said, why not try and if you don't get in/don't like it/fail out then you just end up at Plan B that you're considering anyway. Lightbulb! Then he also talked about missions and how it's one thing to be a missionary and it's another thing to be a missionary with a skill (i.e. medicine) to offer. Not that the former is bad by any means but it might be that much more useful to be the latter. Lightbulb!

Then later that night I was at Work#2 and we were slammed. We had back to back and double booked patients all night. I was working hard and getting stuff done and at the end of the night our last patient was a small child needing stitches. Having no other patients to work up, I was able to watch/help hold said screaming child. That was cool in itself but even cooler was hanging out with the doctor afterwards/cleaning up. We got to talking about what I wanted to do in life. I gave my little speech about taking a year off, looking at PA school, yadda yadda yadda (you have to give this speech a lot in college - everyone new you meet asks). But for some reason at the end I added "And ultimately, I'd like to do long-term missions work with it." The doctor broke into a huge smile and said "Oh, a girl after my own heart!" Apparently she does a lot of medical missions work in Zambia. She also goes to a great church in town and knows people at the church I go to. This prompted the two residents (one being hindu and the other a non-believer) to ask about our reason for missions. It was a wonderful segue into the joy and peace and longing to serve that comes with following God. The doctor (can you tell I'm avoiding the use of names) was so bold and just opened the conversation up without awkwardness. This is a feat I fail at. After we finished up our closing duties the doc and I walked out to our cars together and we continued chatting. Apparently she works with 6 other Christian doctors at a women own and run peds clinic. She also has a brother who is a surgeon and uses a PA (who is open to being shadowed) and a sister-in-law who is another pediatrician. Basically she opened up herself to be a wonderful resource to me.

So basically in the course of a single day, God used two wonderful and beautiful people to break me of my own self-depreciating mentality and build me up in Him. I was so amazed and on fire that I had to call a friend just to let my exuberance spill over into her life. I'm pretty sure I didn't stop smiling all night - even as I was studying!

<3 KEZ

PS: Wonderful Autumn post coming up soon - including pictures!!

Monday, October 11, 2010

Ten on Tuesday (3)

This week's Ten on Tuesday is going to be interesting considering I don't really "work out" all that much. Hmm...


1. What does your work out schedule look like?
Lazy, that's what it looks like! I mean really, I only "work out" seriously every once in a blue moon. There is no schedule per say. That's not to say I don't get exercise. I ride my bike 3 miles to school and then 3 miles back. I also speed walk around my huge campus going from class to class. 

2. What is your favorite machine to use at the gym?
Gym equipment is not something that I get excited about. I don't want a favorite because I really just want to hate them all. That being said, when I actually go to the gym, I usually use the elliptical because it doesn't hurt my knees like running can. I'll also hop on a stationary bike if I haven't ridden my actual bike in a bit.

3. What is your favorite class to take at the gym?
Stretch Yoga or Zumba!

4. Where do you shop for work out gear and clothing?
Uh...Target? I'm in college and thus I am cheap. However, I've got my eye set on those Nike running shorts everyone wears. If anyone knows where to get them for cheap, let me know!



5. If you can’t go to the gym, do you have a favorite outdoor activity?
Cycling!! I love riding my bike. Or going on a Sunday afternoon walk with friends.

6. What about a favorite work out DVD? If so, please share!
Hahaha! Back in high school my friend L and I used to do an 80's yoga video. Most of the time we just laughed at ourselves and each other. I think I got more of a work out laughing my head off than I did following Mr. Yoga-Man-In-Leggings!

7. Are you more active now or when you were in high school?
I'm active in a different way now than I was back then. I used to be in marching band. It definitely had me toned and in-shape. Marching is hard work, anyone who says otherwise is WRONG! I no longer march but I have picked up cycling and generally do more of a variety of activities.

8. How has your dieting/working out philosophy changed since high school?
Dieting for me has always been the opposite for me than it is to mainstream USA. I usually am the one trying to gain weight, not lose it. While I've accepted that I'm built the way I am, I've become more aware of the health beyond the number. "Working out" just never crossed my mind in high school. While I still don't actively "work out" often, I'm more conscious of staying healthy - taking the stairs instead of the elevator, eating moderately healthy (for a college kid), taking my vitamins, etc. 


9. What do you do while working out– (i.e., day dream, read, listen to music, gab with a friend)?
Day dream, for sure! I usually have my iPod on but it's more just background noise for my wandering mind. 

10. What working out resolution would you like to make for yourself this year?
I guess just to become less anti-gym.