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


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. 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 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


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 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


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. =)

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.