Monday, December 22, 2008

Elf Yourself

The Hathaway's sent one of them to us last year and the Davis' sent one this year. I had forgotten how great this is... enjoy the video!

Traci Rowe

Send your own ElfYourself eCards

Saturday, December 20, 2008

I need a new planner

Its almost 2009 and my current calendar runs out on Jan. 5th. I am kind of freaking out inside because I can't write down anything for after that yet. Its hard to check my email, its hard to think past what I have written down... I hope I get one for Christmas, but I don't know if I can take 5 more days of scheduling ambiguity.

I know, I know, I have issues, but don't we all?

Friday, December 19, 2008

Are you ready for Christmas?

This morning in my aerobics class I got asked 3 different times if I was "ready" for Christmas? I'm not really sure how to answer that question... what is being asked? Do I have all my shopping done? Am I packed for my journey to VA? Am I emotionally ready to be around my family? Have I baked enough food?

Or could it be... am I ready to consider Christ entering into the world? Jason posted this video on his blog this morning too... I'm stealing it from him. It kind of puts into perspective...



This Saturday night Matt and I are going to spend time with my in-laws making christmas gifts instead of exchanging them. I'm excited about that.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Taxing Sugary Drinks

I just read this article from CNN that discusses how the Governor of NY would like to impose a tax on soft drinks and juice drinks with less than 70% juice.

I kind of like the idea because I do agree that childhood obesity is something to have concern about, but I wonder if you can take taxing things like this too far... is there a slippery slope of taxing things that are unhealthy? or is this similar to extra taxes on cigarettes that have lessened the amount of smoking?

I also wonder if this would mean that would tax diet sodas or sweet tea (maybe they don't have sweet tea in NY?)

Thoughts?

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Requesting Advice

I really like to cook, especially for special occasions or when I know others are going to be enjoying my concoctions. Recently I have had several opportunities to do this. On Sunday afternoon I made spiced peanuts for the Smith's Christmas gathering. The process went like this...
  • Roast peanuts on a cookie sheet for 15 minutes
  • Meanwhile boil water, sugar, nutmeg, cinnamon, and cloves.
  • Pour roasted peanuts into spice mixture
  • Spread coated peanuts on wax paper until dry.
This went fairly well, although they stuck together more than I thought they would. The only problem I had was that a few of the peanuts went underneath the eye of the stove when I was pouring them into the spice mixture... this is not good.

Last night, I made dinner for Jason and Diana, I was boiling some water on the same eye and one of the peanuts caught on fire. Flames shortly started to rise up the side of my really nice pot. I had no idea what to do... I called Matt, um... honey, I kinda started a fire... he was able to be patient with me... "What?"...

I asked him what to do, he didn't really have a response except for, how big is the fire?

Thankfully, the flames subsided once the peanut was thoroughly burnt to a crisp. So I didn't have to save our precious house from flames (Secretly I wouldn't mind if our house burnt down).

But, my question is, if the flames didn't go out by themselves, how would you recommend I put the fire out?

Monday, December 15, 2008

Nofo adventures

Today was probably one of the busiest days that I have worked in a long time. It was a little hectic, but over all everyone did a great job. Rigo and Reggie rocked it out in the kitchen. I was so thankful they did such a great job. 

But, that is not what is sticking out in my mind. As the hours were winding down a young man (probably early 30's) came up to the bar and explained that he had eaten there this weekend and exchanged "glances" with a girl who was eating with her friends. They did not speak to each other, but he was wondering if I could get me her name via our credit card receipts... he knew the exact time she would have been eating and which table she sat at... 

I said "No." First of all, that is creepy. I guess if the girl was making eyes at him she would have been flattered that he wanted her digits... but no... it just seemed stalker-ish to me. 

Second, we might have been able to go back through our weekend records, but it would have taken at least 30 minutes and I was tired and not quite even sure how I would do that. 

Anyways, what do you think? Is that sweet or creepy?

Friday, December 12, 2008

Christmas Traditions



Do you have any Christmas Traditions that are meaningful to you?

Last year we started one with my in-laws... a Christmas "hike" through the back woods of Holly Springs. It was a fun adventure. I will miss doing that this year as we are on my side of the family rotation.

My family has quite a few traditions...
  • Opening one present on Christmas Eve, usually just before we go to the Christmas Eve candle light service at church.
  • Wait until everyone is up in the morning to open gifts, stockings are our favorite part.
  • Summer sausage was a staple for breakfast (Dad, can we get that this year?)
A few years ago my parents started doing "Happy Birthday Jesus" presents. They will give to some organization or help support people that we (the recipients) believe advances the Kingdom. I love that! Although, I'm usually not that great at telling them where I want the gift to go. I'm starting to dream about it more this year.

How would you like to wish Jesus a happy birthday?

He knows what we need

As far as the east is from the west, so far has He removed our transgressions from us. Psalm 103:12

At the Y on the check in desk down stairs there is a large jar full of bible verses, free for anyone to take with them. Sometimes I pick them up when I am leaving or just before my work out, and other times I pass by. This morning I said a quick prayer before reaching in...

Lord please speak to me with something!

He did. The verse above is exactly what I need to cling to. Whenever things with my health and plans for my life don't go as I think they should, how I think they would go if God wasn't extremely mad at me for something that I have done in the past I struggle with extreme guilt and feeling like I am being punished.

The truth is, God doesn't work like that. He forgives, he loves, and he is with me now, even when things don't go according to my plan...

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Need Help finding Christmas Gifts?

How do you gift wrap hope? For a young victimized girl trapped in the horrors of the sex slave industry, hope means the possibility of rescue ... hope means safety, security, compassionate care ... hope means family, home, a new life ... hope means life for her precious unborn baby...

Each Freeset bag tells a story of one woman’s journey to freedom. She used to stand with 6,000 other prostitutes in a small but well-known town in North Calcutta. She didn’t choose her profession; it chose her. Poverty does that. It robs people of their dignity and children of their innocence.

She still lives in the same area, but instead of selling her body she sells Freeset Bags. Now she has choices, the choice to work decent hours for decent pay, to reestablish her dignity in her community and to learn to read and write. Now her daughter won’t stand in the street selling her body like her mother used to. Freedom has been passed on to the next generation.


With a TassaTag you support ECPAT (End Child Prostitution, Child Pornography and Trafficking of Children for Sexual Purposes) USA. This is a non-profit children's rights organization whose mission is to protect all children from commercial sexual exploitation. It is the US Chapter of Thailand-based ECPAT International, working at the community, national, and international levels for 15 years.

The Emancipation Network
The Emancipation Network helps survivors of human trafficking and modern slavery by providing sustainable income - we sell beautiful fair trade handicrafts made by survivors at 22 shelters and prevention programs all over the world.

We also offer you a way to become involved in fighting human trafficking, helping survivors, and educating others about this human rights crisis. The Emancipation Network is helping to create a community of modern abolitionists in the US – everyday people who want to help end slavery.

Friday, December 5, 2008

Privileged

I just read one of my friend's blogs and he linked to this website. You can enter your annual income and it will compare you with the rest of the world. It kinda helps to put things in perspective. 

Pampered for a day

I hesitated for a short moment to write this post because I am enjoying something so wonderful when many others are facing hardships and tough times; but, I quickly realized that enjoying my life and sharing the things that I do NOT take for-granted might express my gratitude and bring a smile to your face. 

Matt works for an awesome company that is having their Christmas Party this year at the Grandover Resort in Greensborro, NC. He had to come up early this morning to work for the day, and so that means that I get to play in the Spa. I love my life! 

10AM: Deep tissue massage by Elka. It was fabulous :) So relaxing and invigorating. 
11AM: Cucumber mint pedicure by Stephanie. If you have seen my feet, you know how much I needed this one. 

Then up to my room where I am still sitting in an oversized bathrobe, enjoying a Chicken Salad Croissant and doing a little bit of work. 

A few Side Notes: 
  • Matt and I came about 2 years ago for my birthday and got hot stone massages. I wasn't thrilled with my massage because I like to get a pretty deep one, so this time I made sure to tell her what I wanted. It worked! So, if you ever go to get a massage I greatly suggest voicing your opinions about what you like and don't like. 
  • Every time I eat a croissant I think, "this is delicious", buttery, flaky, light, the texture is just perfect:) 
  • I have this really bad habit of picking at my feet. I'm sorry for any of you have noticed me doing this! I am going to try to stop and hope this pedicure is the first step to curing my bad habit and cracking heels. 
  • It used to be hard for me enjoy days like this... I should be doing something more "productive"... but, I am realizing that enjoying each moment, soaking in the beauty, cherishing the little frills all around me, taking time to pray, read, and rest is a gift from God.
Thank you God for blessing me so immensely today. Help me to cherish these moments with you and to see them for what they are, a gift, nothing to feel guilty about, something to enjoy. Help me to extend these gifts to other people with your spirit of love and humility. Amen

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Musing on the The Shack

Over thanksgiving my grandma handed me the book, The Shack. You may or may not have heard of it before, but I highly recommend it. Before reading it multiple friends had recommended it to me and said that it deeply affected their perspective on the world and on God. I try to stay away from best selling Christian books for the most part... not quite sure why... I think I just don't want to jump on the bandwagon of contemporary Christian thought sometimes...

Anyways, for those of you who haven't heard of this book, it is a book written about a man (real person) and his journey through The Great Sadness towards a healing relationship with God. Its a gut wrencher for the non emotional person.

Some personal take aways:
  • God is fond of each one of us... Question: Do you really believe that? I think I am still in the process of learning this. I want to believe it and over time am uncovering layers of internalizing this. As I dwell on that, my desire for acceptance and need to perform and compete diminishes... so cool how light drowns out darkness!
  • The mysterious idea of the trinity is personified in a way that spoke to my heart. I have always had questions about it, but just accepted that God is bigger than me and there are things that I just won't understand. But, the way this book describes the unity and diversity of God in relationship with herself is compelling. Its like there is no room for oppression, at all, that is how he created us.
  • If you have questions about where God is when bad stuff happens or why there is so much crappyness in our world this books sheds some insight into that as well, I won't spoil it for you.
  • Pursuing freedom from the internal battles of our hearts is worth every difficult feeling that we will face in getting there.
There is so much more... if you have some time over the Holidays it would be a great read. Let me know what you think!

Sunday, November 30, 2008

I love multi tasking :)

This Wednesday evening from 5-8PM you have an opportunity to multi-task in a way that will benefit numerous people... friends, family members, yourself, those who are hungry, and those who are working hard to support themselves...

Stop Hunger Now, an organization that our home group has worked with, is joining with Ten Thousand Villages of Raleigh to provide an incentive to shop and to give. You can read here for the details... 

But, if you are looking for some quality merchandise (jewelry, pottery, soaps, coffee, paintings, scarves, little statue thingys, and more) then Ten Thousand Villages is an excellent place to shop at Cameron Village. 

If you are thinking about doing any Christmas Shopping for these things or at this location, please consider going this Wednesday evening. Stop Hunger Now supports people who are hungry all over the world. 

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

A Gem in Oakwood

Yesterday I had the privilege of having lunch with my friend Julianne. We went to the Side Street Cafe in Historic Oakwood. 

I have been wanting to go there for several months now, but never found a excuse. I think it is going to become Julianne and I's regular lunch spot! 

Let me just tell you a little bit about it....

  • Only takes cash or NC checks
  • White Table Cloths yet very casual, you pay at a cashier. 
  • Lots of eclectic choices, stuff for meet lovers and vegetarians. 
I highly recommend you trying it out! I had the AV-O-CA-DO CRUSH ON YOU... SWEETIE PIE.  All of the sandwich names are unique and creative. 

Let me know if you go and enjoy! 

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

There were 3 in the bed and the little one said...

Our weekend trip to the mountains was filled with so many laughs that periodically I keep breaking out into laughter just remembering our experiences. 

We stayed at a great Bed & Breakfast. They even donated one of the nights to us. However, there was one small snafoo... 

We did not arrive until almost 11PM on Friday night so I talked with June (the inn keeper) ahead of time to figure out what we needed to do. She gave me the code for the house and then said your room is at the top of the stairs on the right, the bathroom is on the left. Great! 

So, we opened the door and walked up to our room... looked inside... one full sized bed... hmmm... what are we to do? We didn't want to bother them because it was so late, so we decided to share. Yep, all 3 of us slept in the same bed (a full). It was a little tight to say the least, but very warm... maybe it was a blessing since it dropped to 9 degrees that night. I give props to Rachel who took the middle spot. 

The next morning we realized there had been a miscommunication and we were given an entire floor the next day, but we had a lot of laughs :) 

Monday, November 24, 2008

Spot Light #1

Here is my first attempt at letting my avid readers in on the things I am passionate about, wait a second... I think most of blog posts allude to these things, but I digress... 

There is an amazing organization in Asheville, NC called On Eagles Wings Ministries. That is working toward providing care for and awareness of sex trafficking. Here is their mission statement...

 On Eagles Wings Ministries was founded to encourage women of all 
backgrounds to lay down the mistakes and pains of their past, renew their strength through God's word, and begin to soar as they experience God's love, forgiveness and a second chance through a life fully devoted to Jesus Christ. 

One of their specific projects is the Hope House which will be the first faith based home for domestic victims of sex trafficking in the US. They will be able to provide holistic care for girls ages 12-18 who have been trafficked into the sex industry. A few of us from Jubilee just went to provide a training for them and it was awesome. I am truly humbled to be able to be a part in this ministry. Wow! It is challenging work, lots of trauma and messy stuff... but, we follow Jesus example, he showed more compassion and servant hood than I can muster. So cool! 

There are likely to many needs that start once the doors open, but for now the main ways that we can help are: 

  • Educating ourselves 
  • Promoting awareness 
  • Confronting lies that we may even believe about sex, women, and the oppressed
  • Donating money (the have funding for the home, but will need to raise their monthly operating expenses as they are taking no assistance from the government. 
  • Praying for the care givers
  • Praying for the girls
Please let me know if you have any questions about this organization or how you can be involved. 

Friday, November 21, 2008

I'm going to try something new

I got an idea this week that I hope I can follow through with. I am going to try to feature a different group, organization, community outreach, etc. each week on my blog. I am planning to do this on Monday mornings.

Each of the posts will include:

  • A link to the organization's web page (if they have one)
  • A blurb about what they do
  • At least one if not several action steps for people reading
Hopefully we can have discussion about the issues in question and also be creative about how to support these groups over time. 

I have a few in mind, but please send me your picks if you have any organizations you would like me to feature. 

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Water

Recently I feel like I have been bombarded with thoughts about water... not sure what to make of it...

#1: The Today show is doing a special on the "Ends of The Earth" that is quite fascinating. I saw Al up in Iceland watching huge glaciers melt away and talk with people in a natural hot tub. I saw Meredith talk with Australian life guards who train since age 6 to help save people from the dangers of the ocean. There are some pretty amazing things going on out there in the world. Has anyone else watched this series?

#2: This morning as I was running I saw a bunch of water all over Whittaker Mill Rd. I don't think I'm mistaken that it didn't rain last night or this morning. I'm not sure where all the water is coming from. I also almost got plummeted with water from someone's sprinkler. Yes, someone was watering their lawn this morning. Can someone help me understand why that is a good idea?

#3: I had an extensive conversation about showering habits with my co-workers and bar customers at NoFo yesterday. Matt and I have a shower timer that lasts for 5 minutes. It has the slogan, "Be water wise, shower in 5". I try to use it as much as possible. Those I was talking with were astonished that I would take less than 5 minute showers. I have to confess that during the winter I usually spin the dial twice because I like the hot water coming down on me. But, 5 minutes is a long time if you are counting. Also, I was talking a to a friend about my brother's rental property and he said they have a 40 gallon water heater and so when 5 guys are taking showers they are bound to run out of hot water, maybe they need to borrow my timer.
How long of showers do you take?

#4: When we were in the Bahamas I saw the most beautiful water ever, clear yet blue.... so amazing.

Thursday, November 13, 2008




Teach us, O God, creator, that nothing is necessary to you. Were anything necessary to you, that thing would be the measure of your imperfection: and how could we worship you if you were imperfect? You are perfect. This is hard for me to understand, but I trust it. If nothing is necessary to you, then none of us are necessary either, not even me, my friends and family. But, you do seek us even though you don't need us. Wow! Thank you for longing to be with us. We seek you because we need you desperately, for in you we live and move and have our being. All things come from you and return to you. Today I worship you. Amen.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Do you have a "trash basket"?

Periodically my mom sends me devotional things that she thinks I might get something out of... This one was written by Gwen Smith... I have cut out some parts to make it shorter, but I hope if you struggle with letting go of any guilt and shame in your life that this offers you similar freeing truths that I needed to embrace, yet again, today!


A four-year-old girl was overheard reciting the Lord's Prayer, "and forgive us our trash baskets, as we forgive those who pass trash against us." When I first heard that story, I smiled. Then I thought of a conversation I recently had with a girlfriend.

She is a Christian friend. But though she has "emptied her trash basket" of sin before the Lord in sincere repentance, she has not emptied the trash basket of self-condemnation. Not completely. She won't allow it. She struggles deeply to let go of mistakes she made in her past. She holds the trash basket lid on tightly. To be free of that waste doesn't seem fair in her mind.

She is haunted by shame. Haunted by sins that are no longer remembered by God. Haunted by sins that have been cast as far as the east is from the west.

"For as high as the heavens are above the earth, so great is his love for those who fear him; as far as the east is from the west, so far has he removed our transgressions from us. As a father has compassion on his children, so the Lord has compassion on those who fear him." (Psalm 103:11-13)

These memories don't live in her past. They live in her now.

Do you see that our holy Lord delights to show us mercy? He does not condemn us as we deserve. Time and time again, Scripture reveals merciful pictures of forgiveness. The woman in John 8 was guilty when she was brought to face Jesus, but as she left His presence, her guilt was forgiven. Her trash basket was empty. When we turn to face Jesus with repentant hearts, our guilt is forgiven as well.

Toss your trash!

My friend carried around a trash basket filled with junk she threw in herself. Sure, it was accompanied by trash from other people too, but the lingering condemnation came from memories of decisions she had made, things she had done, places she had been, and brokenness she has experienced because of her own choices. In her heart, she accepts the forgiveness of Jesus, but she can't bear to forgive herself. So many women won't forgive themselves.

I've been that woman.

I know that woman.

I know that self-loathing. I've lived it. I'm not going to sit here and try to tell you that forgiving yourself is easy. It's hard--and, in a lot of ways, it should be! But I can testify that it wasn't until I prayerfully allowed the stubborn, strong, and unconditional love of Jesus to pry my fingers off the lid of my trash basket and empty the condemning contents, that I experienced true freedom and complete forgiveness.

Is there something for which you have not been able to forgive yourself?

My friend, we need to stop beating ourselves up for sins of our past. We need to stop allowing guilt and shame to chain us to unproductive living. Jesus humbled Himself by becoming human, endured an excruciating death, and then defied the grave in His resurrection so that we could be restored to a place of complete healing. Complete healing.

Second Corinthians 5:21 states that "God made Him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God." If you are in Christ, the Bible says that your guilt was paid for on the cross of Calvary. Jesus carried the sins of the world on His shoulders so that you would not have to carry them on yours.

If you are holding on to unconfessed sin, the time has come for you to release your grip. God's Word promises that, "If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness" (1 John 1:9).

Accept His forgiveness.

None of us is perfect, just perfectly forgiven. Take your hand off the lid and allow the Lord to empty your trash basket of every condemning voice, once and for all. Embrace the freedom that Jesus intends for you to live in.

Let's Pray
Holy Father, Your mercy defies logic in my mind. I don't deserve it, and I just don't understand how You could possibly forgive me for all that I have done. Please take my trash basket and empty it. Forgive me today and help me to forgive myself, and others, so I can live freely in Your amazing grace. In Jesus' Name, Amen.


If you got this far I hope these words brought you comfort today.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Thanks to the Gores



You can kind of make out the non mini van that the 6 of us fit into for our journey. We are very thankful to have friends who would let us borrow their car.

It was quite hilarious watching us get in and out of the car. We were packed in there TIGHT!!!

The best was sharing the back seat with my husband (um, his legs were just a little cramped : ) But, we made it safe and sound and I am so glad that we drove all together.

Fall Days

Yesterday was one of the most beautiful days that I have experienced. Ever since I was a little girl I have loved watching the leaves turn colors in the fall. There was this one bush a couple streets down from our house that would turn a perfect golden color each year. I used to beg my parents to take me to see it.

After coming home from our worship gathering yesterday Matt and I decided to walk to McDonalds to get some ice cream. (about 1PM) Unfortunately, the monopoly game is over, but we still enjoyed our soft serve. Then Matt and I proceeded to walk towards North Hills and took a left into Drewry Hills. We kept going and going...

We are still debating on building a house at some point and love to get ideas. We also like to cut down the houses that we don't like because I think it makes us feel better about not yet having our dream home. Don't get me wrong... I love our house! We just like to dream.

Along the way we passed several old couples, we asked ourselves, are we going to be like them when we are older? Then after passing a few more, we decided...oohhh, we ARE like them NOW! I'm okay with that.

We took turns at each intersection deciding which way to go, we were never getting home... we went in several open houses... then it was about 4PM. What should we do now? Oh, Beer and Football???

We stopped in at The Point to have some Big Boss and watch some games. John Michael and Anne Parker came to join us for a bit. I love hanging out with them ;)

After finally walking home it was 6:30PM... what a long walk! Matt was determined to call it exercise, but I argued that wearing flip flops and stopping for ice cream and beer negated that... whatever it was, it was fun!

Friday, November 7, 2008

The Trinity and Pics from "The Fascination"











This morning I met with my journey group girls for another bit of life sharing and musing about faith and how our pursuit of Jesus orients our lives.

We have recently decided to read the book "The knowledge of the Holy" by A.W. Tozer. In his forward he explains that he is writing for the "common" person, but I would beg to differ. This is a DEEP read.

So, each of us are taking turns leading the discussion and this week Jenny was up. She prefaced her discussion leading by saying that she wasn't sure if she could offer much (and she mentioned how great of a school NC State is). Then, she went on to give the best analogy I have ever heard in attempts to "explain" the trinity.

We decided that the trinity is something that we will never be able to explain, but we still want to understand what believe in to an extent... Until now I had only heard the H2O picture, of water, ice, and vapor... but this one is much better :)

She used me, I am a wife, a daughter and sister. I am all three at once, yet in different situations I am more one or the other. The fact that I am a daughter and a sister impacts the way that I am a wife and the fact that I am a wife impacts the way that I am a sister and daughter. Can you see how this might connect to the way that God is the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit, unique to each of the parts, yet deeply connected together.

Jenny, did I do justice to your example?

Also, enjoy more pictures from the Cruise... more to come ;)

A small success

Back in Feb. I posted about an organization that was asking folks to boycott Craig's list because of their exotic services availability and non accountability.

Well, this morning a friend of mine emailed me this news story that discusses Craig's list new initiative to ask those listing exotic services to provide a phone number and a credit card to help curb illegal business.

I know that this won't stop human trafficking and sexual exploitation of minors completely on this website, but at least its a start.


**One a side note... As I was looking for my previous post I went back through my blog archives and noticed that I have an amazing life. Thanks Jesus! Thanks Friends! Thanks Family!**

Thursday, November 6, 2008

I think I have motion sickness






Its weird, but I feel like my house is still spinning... like the boat when it would rock back and forth. I think we all had at least one night when the rocking got to us, but over all we felt great and had a ton of fun. Enjoy a few more pics.

So much Fun




Back to reality... at home from the Bahamas. We had a ton of fun and many posts will come to explain our adventures. The first one will show the boy's major accomplishment (a 3 high pyramid)... I was the coach :)

Thursday, October 30, 2008

I'm encouraged

A few weeks ago the verse that I was meditating on was, Daniel 9:18... "We do not make requests of you because we are righteous, but because of your great mercy."

I have been thinking about this quite a bit. Its easy for me to get a bit prideful and self-righteous at times and more and more I am humbled by the grace God has given me. God has so much mercy and my righteousness pales in comparison.

I am encouraged to be part of a family that deals with the matters of our hearts. 
I am encouraged to be part of a church that is pursuing the kingdom of God. 
I am encouraged to have a husband who is fun and loving. 
I am encouraged to meet with people who are becoming a part of Visio Dei's community. 
I am encouraged to know that none of this is possible with out the loving creator who allows me to be a part of any of these things. 

Have you been encouraged recently? 

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Hiatus

Sorry to be on a blog hiatus for a few weeks. I have been pretty busy and the inner workings of my soul have been either too deep or not together enough to expose to the vulnerability of the blog world... 

I'm not quite sure what to share... here are a few sound bites from my brain... 

I love all of my loyal readers! 


I have spent almost 5 hours in the last 2 days getting my hair colored and cut and spent less that $40! I will post pictures at some point, but its gonna be a shocker :) 

Jesus is more faithful than I could ask for or imagine and I am privileged and humbled to lead a community that is seeking to follow him. 

The pig races are the best part of the State Fair.

We finally turned our heat on last night! Matt's choice :) We will turn it back off when we leave for our Cruise... Bahamas here we come.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Laugh until your belly hurts

This weekend I had the opportunity on multiple occasions to laugh until literally my abs felt like they were going to bust in two. I attribute this mainly to my husband and his comedic banter with Jeramie Mullis

(by the way, check out the video on Jeramie's blog its hilarious too!)

While I'm giving shout outs... there wouldn't have been the opportunity for laughter if Jenny didn't have us over for gourmet smore's. We had special dark chocolate, cookies and creme chocolate, milk chocolate, ginger crisps and gram crackers, reece's cups, peanut butter, and hazelnut creme to choose from. Seriously, delicious ooey goodness in the mouth once again!

Confession, this also meant that I played Jenga 2 weekends in a row... and I loved it!

Then last night I got to be fully entertained by friends at Open Mic Night. Do you have friends who every day seem to surprise you with yet another amazing talent? I do! 
  • Melinda-- You are amazing!!! 
  • Jason-- how come I'm not surprised?
  • Pat- seriously you are awesome... I think Machine Head was my favorite of the requests, but you couldn't have done it alone... Jon, Zack, & Jon... so awesome! 
I could go on and on, but Wow! What a weekend and its not even over yet. I get to go to the fair tonight and eat some fried oreos that have had my mouth watering for over a week. 

Life is good ;)

Thursday, October 16, 2008

On being a woman

I don't consider myself to be a very big girly girl or anything, although I do like to look nice and consider myself to be beautiful on the inside and out ;) (Confident too!)

But, this morning I looked in the mirror and realized... I don't think I've done anything to my eyebrows in over 2 months... cause for concern... I started plucking, it hurts. I think I may have even made myself bleed... I need to get this professionally done, but time and money keep me from doing this on a regular basis. 

Anyways, I just wanted to vent because what do men "have" to do that is like this?

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Warning: Sappiness in this post!

Yesterday was Matt and I's 3 year anniversary. Its crazy to me that 3 years ago today we were leaving Roanoke to head our mountain cabin. If I remember correctly the weather was about the same (minus the rain storm that pushed the ceremony inside).

Last night we went to Riviera. I highly recommend it. Its fairly new and has a great atmosphere. We were almost the only ones there when we arrived at 7, but several more showed up throughout the night. My favorite dish was their calamari because of the pile of ooey gooey peas, blue cheese and some sort of orzo that they came on top of... delish!

One of my favorite things to do with Matt is going out to eat, splitting a bottle of wine and just talking. We are very blessed to have the love that we do. I don't ever want to take it for granted. We were thinking last night, we have a pretty amazing life. I am very thankful for that!

Matt helps me in so many ways, he is patient (I am growing), he likes to relax (I don't even think that word was in my vocabulary before we met), he supports me (I like to do a lot of crazy things), he is consistent (I can be extreme), he makes me laugh (this really is one of my favorite qualities of his). I could go on and on...

Now its your turn, if you are married, what are you thankful for?

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

God Answers Prayers

This morning I was reading some scripture and thinking to myself, then I posted this. At the end I said that I want to work on listening to God more... 

Then my neighbor came over and we went for a jog/walk around the neighborhood. In our conversation I heard God speak... its funny how he uses other people to speak truths to us that we have a hard time convincing ourselves to hear on our own. 

My quest... continue to listen... then, obey 

Monday, October 6, 2008

My official endorsement

Okay, okay, so I know many people reading my blog have already assumed they knew who I was planning to vote for for President in a few weeks, but I don't think I've ever really come out and said what I think for sure... here goes...

I am going to vote for Obama-Biden, and here is the kicker, I think you probably should too... I say that with the recognition that many people have different major issues than I do, so I totally respect others views and will let you in on how I made my decision...

  • I can't know it all and neither can they
  • No one is perfect in all areas
  • I still want to choose
*Confession: I have voted in 2 presidential elections in my life and both times I felt like I made an emotional decision or one based on the whim at the time. This time its different. I actually will be dissappointed if Obama looses the election

  • I had to ask myself, what can I know about? and what do I care most about?
  • For me the two main areas are education and health care
In both of these areas I believe the policies that Obama outlines are ones that I agree with. If I went into all the details on them this post would get even longer, so I'll spare you. If you are interested click the links above.

  • This morning I went to my first ever political ralley. I felt very empowered and got more information about specific things that would affect North Carolina. This was the kicker for me. (In McCain's defense, this was an Obama event and I haven't been to a McCain one, but I don't think I need to at this point... however, I will go if invited).
  • My only complaint about the event was that the invitaiton said 9AM and the speakers didn't start until almost 9:45AM. I did get to have some interesting conversations and a delicious cinnamon roll, but thought they could've been a little more prompt considering that a lot of people need to be working right now.
  • I learned something new... In NC, agriculture is the biggest industry and McCain and Obama are very different on supporting local farmers. Obama has supported the Farm Bill and our state needs to have local farmers supported to contribute to our economy. I love going to the farmer's market and I want those individuals to continue to thrive.
All in all, I am just loving the process. We have a lot to think about. If anything, I hope that you find the issues that are most important to you and learn about how you and others will be affected by them.

I also believe that government is not the solution to all our problems. As individuals, we need to take responsibility for our actions. As the church, we need to live radically to practically offer ourselves as a beacon of Hope. Being involved in our communities and in the political process is only a part of this.

**Just in case you are wondering... my views in no way are meant to be representative of Visio Dei. The church I am a part of is pretty awesome because we have such politically diverse view points and I hope that we can continue that openness as a community because its important to learn from each other. I certainly do.**

Sunday, October 5, 2008

The saga is over...almost

We did it! This afternoon we purchased a mattress from America's Mattress.

Thank you Scott for working with us. I felt a little sorry for the guy, I can imagine that most people are facing tough times right now and we don't want to take advantage of anyone, but I think we got a good deal.

The verdict: Queen Set Vera Wang by Serta French Twist Plush... free delivery, 2 pillows, 20 year warranty, comfort guarantee, tax included $900...

We get it delivered tomorrow between 2-4PM. I am hopeful that the only follow up I have to this is how much I love the mattress... we shall see :)

Thanks to everyone who gave us advice. Our list items, get the Honda fixed and the big oak tree in the front yard trimmed back....

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Continuing the Saga

Thank you to everyone who gave me advice on the mattress finding hunt.... As you read on you will find out that we have not decided what we are going to do yet... Surprise! Surprise!

Although the only product we have brought home at this point is a case of wine, we have had some great adventures... read on...

  • Prize #1 goes to: The Original Mattress Factory for their super sales techniques.
Have you ever had a salesman ask you to get in bed with him? I have! Here is the conversation...

Larry, "Lie on your back for me."
Traci, "Okay."
Larry (as he falls backwards onto the bed) "Can you feel that?"... "I weight 275 lbs., (again falling back onto the bed) I bet you can't feel a thing." (I am still lying on my back motionless).
Matt is on the other side of the store chuckling inside.

Have you ever had a salesman desuade you from buying something? We have! Here is the conversation...

Salesman Rowe (yes the salesman's name was Rowe)
Rowe, "Are you sure you want that one? You will have to buy new sheets." (we were looking at the most expensive mattress in the store.) 
Matt, "Oh, your last name is Rowe too. Where are you from? I have family in Michigan."
Rowe, "Oh, Wow! Really?"
Matt, "Do you have family from Michigan too?"
Rowe, "No." (thats it.. like we would be idiots to think that he might)
Matt, "Do you ever have people call you Row=e?"
Rowe, no response... 
(I think he wanted us to leave)... 

  • Prize #2 goes to America's Mattress: (I think this is where the Hathaway's got their mattress)
We pulled up to the store and Scott is outside washing all of the painting equipment that he had just finished using.... "Are you still open?" Scott, "yes, come on in, don't mind me, I'm a mess." 

He did a great job leading us to the mattresses that we would like right away. We actually may purchase one from him (a Serta)... but, he said 3 times, "I know I'm sounding like a used car salesman and I'm not one... I'm just trying to get you a good deal."  

He took $500 off the price of the one we liked and included free shipping... we didn't ask to include new pillows yet! 

Just before we left he let us lay on the "perfect sleeper" ones... um... heavenly... but out of our range of possibilities. He said he could get us a deal on one of those too, but not as good as the other...

This decision is sooo difficult!!!

  • Prize #3 goes to my Super Duper Friend Jessica:
Jess is going above and beyond to help us out. Its possible she will be able to get us an awesome mattress for a great price, but we have to trust that the one that the Ritz Carlton uses in its rooms is the one for us... 

Matt wants to hold out until we can go to High Point or Washington D.C. to lay on one. 

I give huge kudos to my friend for helping us out (and letting us sleep on her air mattress while we decide), but if we didn't have this option we would already have a bed... 



Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Fun times with Friends










These are just a few pics from my most recent friend adventures. I love football season! Although I wasn't able to go to the last game... I stayed dry while having delicious food.

I also love reunions with friends from college.

I realized that I am wearing the same shirt in all of these pictures, although its two different nights... gotta love it when you find a shirt that is perfect for you!

Life is consistently full of new adventures and reunions with the past.

God, Our Father

This morning I was sitting there getting ready to have my time with Jesus as usual and wasn't quite sure where I wanted to start... usually that means I pick up my "Grace for the Moment" book because its quick and makes a point that frames my thinking... this is what I did and here is what it said:

[Recently], my daughter Jenna and I spent several days in the old city of Jerusalem... One afternoon, as we were exiting the Jaffa gate, we found ourselves behind an orthodox Jewish family--a father and his three small girls. One of the daughters, perhaps four or five years of age, fell a few steps behind and couldn't see her father. "Abba!" she called to him. He spotted her and immediately extended his hand...

When the signal changed, he led her and her sisters through the intersection. In the middle of the street, he reached down and swung her up into his arms and continued their journey.

Isn't that what we all need? An abba who will hear when we call? Who will take our hand when we are weak? Who will guide us through the hectic intersections of life? Don't we all need an abba who will swing us up into his arms and carry us home? We all need a father.

After I read this, I was thinking... this is so true... but, I have several friends, including myself, who are facing times of uncertainty, trials, pain, and/or fear of what the next steps in life are going to bring...

I started thinking... in these moments I often get caught in the moment between crying out "abba" and God taking my hand. I panic, I wonder, does he still love me? Can he hear me? what if he is busy caring for my sister who is doing something more important? What if I did something wrong and he is mad at me and won't take my hand ever again? What if he is testing me so that I learn never to do this again? How come I walked slower than the rest of my family? Will I ever see them again?

Then I looked back at the story, it says "immediately"... then he led her and her sisters through the intersection... but then it wasn't until the middle that he scooped her up in his arms... again, my mind goes to... DAD! DON'T YOU SEE THE HUGE BUS COMING RIGHT FOR ME?

As I am writing this I am laughing at myself... all of my effort spent on plan B and worrying that God doesn't have it in control... maybe I can start calling out knowing that God is there and is holding my hand...

Monday, September 29, 2008

Slugs




Its been raining a lot recently and we have found some new friends. Can you believe how big these things are? The scariest thing is that we left the house around 6 and took these pictures, but when we came back these slimy creatures were gone...

It seems like we find more and more bugs, ants, mosquitos, roaches, everyday. It can get pretty darn frustrating sometimes. At least most of them stay out side.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Swinging from the Monkey bars

If you know me very well, this may come as a surprise because I love being upside down these days and often got thrown to or stood on top of very high places... but, it wasn't always this way.

(Mom please correct my details if I get the ages wrong)... I think I was turning 5... it was nearing my birthday and I was freaking out. I didn't want to be 5. I was crying hysterically and my mom asked me what was the matter, shouldn't I be excited about my birthday? My response... "I don't want to have to hang upside down from the monkey bars." My mom, "What?" Me, "When you turn 5 you have to hang upside down from the monkey bars and I don't want to." My mom, "You don't have to do anything you don't want to. Who told you that?" Me, "no one, told me, but Corey does it and he is 5."... My comparison with my bro started at an early age... I'll tell the shoe laces story later.

Eventually I was able to hang upside down from the monkey bars all by myself. I did with the patience of parents who stood beside me as I let go one hand at a time... later on I was the one scaring them with my tricks.... so my analogy doesn't work perfectly, but its the picture that came to mind when I read this...


God, "Follow me beyond what you can control, beyond where your own strength or competencies will take you and you will experience me, my power, my love."

This happens when we risk the vulnerability of a child and trust in our father. This doesn’t mean that we abandon our gifts and talents, but God wants us to take us on an adventure.


I sure am glad I turned 5 and hung upside down from the monkey bars.

Seeking Advice

One of the things that we are going to do with our new found car selling fortune is to buy a new mattress. This is a special time for us for a couple reasons.

1) In college I refused to have a bed. I slept on a futon for 2 years and inherited bed parts from "friends" along the way. I have always had a hard time spending money on myself or allowing others (aka my parents) to spend money on me either. In my head, there were folks out there that had no bed, so how could I justify having one?... it would have made sense if I spent the $$ I would have spent on a bed on something noble, but I didn't.

2) The mattress that Matt and I are sleeping on currently was his "crazy quilt" mattress that he purchased in college for less that $300.

3) We are planning on buy a new mattress on Sunday afternoon. We were going to go last night, but decided to watch 90210 instead. Anyways, this is a big deal because it means that we will go to the store and buy a mattress in the same day. Typically when we make large purchases it takes us at least 3 trips and lots of comparison shopping.

So, here comes YOUR part! Tell me what kind of mattress you have, if you like it, how much you think is worth spending on a mattress and where to shop.

Thanks!

Monday, September 22, 2008

We did it!

We just sold the Saturn. Craig's List was a success. The guy who bought out car may even play in our Open Mic Night :)

It is a little weird watching someone else drive off in your car... but, I guess its not my car any more.

I wasn't sad about it until I started cleaning out the glove compartment and remembered all of those speeding tickets I got driving back and forth to Roanoke. I got pulled over once with my wedding dress strewn across the back seat...

Now I'm officially a Honda driver.

Friday, September 19, 2008

Chase what matters

This morning I was watching the Today show and it made me think... seriously, we wonder why we have so many issues?

1) There was a story on the financial woes of our country. Credit Crisis, Mortgage Crisis, Wall Street, Main Street, etc. etc. The commentators were describing how this affects people and how difficult it is to get a loan. Apparently, American Express is cutting their credit limits for 100,000 customers. So, people won't have as much access to credit in these tough financial times.

2) They interviewed an "average American woman" to see how this affected her. One of her quotes made me pause, "I am definitely starting to watch what I am spending. I don't spend money that I don't have now." Really, it is taking a financial CRISIS to make you have a budget?!?

3) Then I saw this commercial (In the break after this story)...



I was having a hard time getting the audio to work on it, but the song goes "I want it all, I want it now!" and he is talking about a big screen TV. His wife at the end says, "It was totally worth it." NOTE: He got a text message that let him know how much he had left on his credit limit. NOTE: The last line of the commercial is "Chase what matters!"

I wonder why we have problems?

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Some Comic Relief

If you haven't seen this yet, you have to check it out! 

Monday, September 15, 2008

Question

If you profess to follow Jesus, has it changed your life? 

Can you give me an example? 

Friday, September 12, 2008

Its hard to believe

Four years ago tomorrow something happened in my family that rocked our worlds. The press release that follow explains the details that we uncovered bit by bit. I am putting this out there for you to look at, not to garner sympathy, but to help build awareness. I never thought things like this actually happened.

How has this changed me?
  • I can no longer watch any Law & Order or CSI or anything like that because it creeps me out and I think about this.
  • It was the year before Matt and I got married and it messed with my head about being able to trust the people that I loved.
  • I wrestle with forgiveness... as a Christ follower I do believe and advocate that individuals can and do change from the inside out, but in this case he didn't... and there were grave consequences... what is the balance between hope and restoration and invisible criminals?
  • I pray for those family members who were directly affected by this.
  • I am thankful for each day.
Florida Press Release – September 13, 2008

Friends and family of Michelle Lynn Jones, who was brutally killed by her uncle, Charlie Brandt, have started “The Invisible Criminals Website” in association with the Michelle Lynn Jones Foundation, . Michelle at 37 was a vibrant woman, an executive with the Golf Channel in Orlando, Florida, and a lifelong resident of Central Florida. She lived life to the fullest, loved her family and friends and was dearly loved in return.

Charlie Brandt fled the Florida Keys with his wife, Teri (Michelle’s aunt), when Hurricane Ivan threatened in 2004. On the night of September 13th, 2004 he brutally murdered both his wife, Teri, and his niece, Michelle, before taking his own life. He quickly became a suspect in at least two other homicides and investigators think he was likely a serial killer. Since that time, he has been convicted of both murders and there have been inquiries into others.

It was during the investigation that Sheriff Don Eslinger discovered in 1971, when Charlie Brandt was 13 years old, he had killed his pregnant mother, shot his father three times and attempted to kill her, while living in Ft Wayne, Indiana.. Charlie spent only one year in a mental facility before being released to his father, who chose to hide his first crime even within the family. The decision to release him the Ft Wayne Grand Jury recommended Charlie be monitored because they felt he was capable of doing it again. Due to Charlie’s Juvenile status he was never charged with a crime and his records were sealed.

One of the goals of the MLJ-Foundation is to advocate the passage of laws that will enter names of those who commit violent crimes, including juveniles, into one data bases accessible to all law enforcement.

The purpose of the MLJ Foundation is to:

Promote Personal Safety By Raising Public Awareness About Invisible Criminals In Our Communities Through:
- Public Education and Advocacy;
- Enhanced Education for health professionals and law enforcement professionals,
- Initiatives to enable law enforcement to conduct more comprehensive criminal investigations, as needed.

Seminole County Sheriff, Don Eslinger, Chief Investigator Rob Hemmert, and investigator Bob Jaynes have been relentless in their investigation since the night of discovering Michelle and Teri’s murders. In doing so, Hemmert has worked with other agencies and the Florida Department of Law Enforcement to shape a database that keeps track of all Violent Criminals, REGARDLESS OF AGE.

After significant efforts, the database is now fully operational through the Florida Department of Law Enforcement in Tallahassee. The State of Florida is divided into seven regions with an agent assigned to each region (Orlando actually has two agents).

Central Florida is fortunate to have the leadership of these law enforcement professionals who are making a positive contribution to promote the safety in their communities and now the State. It is the MLJ-Foundations hope that the Florida database will be such a valuable tool that other states will implement it as well.

The MLJ-Foundation hopes the community will use that the Invisible Criminal Website as a place to promote dialogue and inform people about further efforts to keep our communities safe from potential invisible criminals.

On September 13th at 8:00 am, there will be a Memorial Mass at The Church of the Annunciation on Montgomery Road. There will also be a letter to our Michelle in the Memorial Section of the Orlando Sentinel.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Help us raise awarenss

video

Help Bring this Video to Raleigh by going to this website and checking the second box. It only takes 10 seconds.

Thanks!

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Car for Sale





I getting ready to sell my car. Its the trusty little Saturn that I have driven for the past 4-5 years. I love my car, but we got a new one and the Honda is more practical for us to keep long term.

The Saturn is a 3 door SL 2001, black. It has about 65,000 miles. I have kept it up to date on oil changes and up keeps and recently got it cleaned and waxed. (cleaning was not my strong point, but its clean now).

The only problem that I have with it is that its hard to turn the key to start the car at times (not for me but for others) and the sun roof doesn't open (but I think that is just because we need a new connecting switch for it).

It gets AWESOME gas milage!

I'm going to post it on Craigs List, but wanted to put it out there for now. I'm asking around $4500 for it, but will negotiate.

Marbles






Hurricane Hannah came through the coast last weekend and switched up Matt and I's beach trip. So, the fam came to Raleigh and we got to spend a fun night playing Battle of the Sexes and then hang out on Saturday pre NCSU v. William and Mary.

Matt and I and my parents took Shiloah and Hannah to Marbles kids' museum down town. I had never been there before so it was an experience to say the least. I don't think I have ever seen that many young children running around in the same place.

It was pretty amazing though, they had a post office, a farm, dress ups, a stage, a farm house, a splash pool, a pirate ship. I would have loved the dress up station the best when I was growing up I think.

We were there for less than an hour and I was exhausted... lots to learn for sure.
I'm glad I have nieces to love on.

Monday, September 8, 2008

Consider these ways of being

Today, I came across a list of several instructions that scripture gives us in treating each other... check them out here.

Have you seen these happen in any of your communities? Let's Celebrate!
Do you struggle with any of these? Let's encourage each other!

A quote

Blessed are those who acknowledge that there is only one God and have quit applying for his position. 

This made me laugh... how often do I attempt to apply for God's position? I'm thankful that God has given me responsibilities and gifts to use, but that he is the only one in His position. 

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Our greatest fear?

"Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness, that most frightens us."

Nelson Mandela

Full Circle

I have been part of NC State University for almost 10 years now. First, I was a student, Communication and Spanish, then a grad student, then a PhD student... during that time I got to teach a few courses of my own as well as work with the Service-Learning office as an intern/grad assistant.

So, until today I had been 1) a student 2) a grad student 3) a teacher

But, today I got to go back and be part of college class as the community partner. Jubilee has the opportunity to work with a Communication Class. The student group is going to be helping us with our PR (website, communication efforts, publicity, public awareness campaigns, etc.) I got to go and spend an hour talking with these students about Jubilee is and help make those connections with the university.

This is awesome to me for a couple reasons:

  • I love NCSU and its great to be back on campus
  • I get to be part of incorporating students in the abolitionist movement
  • Have an interconnected life where my worlds combine is important to me
  • I studied this stuff and now am seeing how practically applicable it is to an organization that I care about. 

Sunday, August 31, 2008

Some pictures





























Tonight Matt and I had another long car drive... we realize that we do this a lot :) 

On our way back from Alexis, NC for a wedding I started looking at my iPhotos... Its pretty amazing that we have a record of almost all of our dating relationship to now. We have had a lot of adventures, participated in many weddings, had fun at some great parties, and watched NC State play a lot of sports. 

Enjoy... these are just a few...