Thursday, January 31, 2008

Day 3 NYC

Monday morning started my mother and I's big shopping debut. Each year my mom gets the chance to take me shopping for my birthday. Now that I'm married, my parents don't spoil me as much as they have in the passed... Well, thats probably not true, they still are very generous to Matt and I, but its in a different way from when I was growing up as their youngest daughter. 

We took some advice and visited H&M where I got a new blue sweater and black shirt. After we walked around 5th Ave. for a while we realized we were a bit out of our league for shopping (or at least I was in glaze over mode) and needed some lunch. It was great to meet up with Matt and my dad for a delicious grilled eggplant, tomato, and fresh mozzarella melt. 

*There are tons of little deli type stores around, at these places you can get basically anything you want to eat, from sushi to salad to sandwiches to a full hot buffet, oh yeah, and bubble gum too! 

We frequented these on several occasions. Then my mom and I went down to Century 21. We took the Subway and I loved it. Its like a puzzle for me, figuring out where to go and how to maneuver around the city. For a mountain girl I think I did pretty well... more stories on how this is not quite as true on the next post. 

So, we made it to Century 21. This store is like TJ Max on steroids... 3 levels of discount designer everything. I almost hyperventilated. You must know that I don't even like to go to Bed Bath & Beyond because I get overwhelmed and this was about 10 times that impact. After we found the women's fashions I calmed down a bit and found a couple things that I liked. I realized that there was only one line to try on clothes and so attempted to pull the jeans I found over my existing pair. I got reprimanded by one of the workers at the store... oops! 

So, I decided not to try them on, but that I could sell them on Ebay if necessary. Thankfully they fit perfectly and are my new favorite pair of jeans. 

This post is getting really long, so I'm going to pause, more on Day 3 to come. 

Tuesday, January 29, 2008


For where you have envy and selfish ambition, there you find disorder and every evil practice. 
But the wisdom that comes from heaven is first of all pure; then peace-loving, considerate, submissive, full of mercy and good fruit, impartial and sincere. Peacemakers who sow in peace raise a harvest of righteousness.

James 3:16-18

This is my thought for the day. Where do I have selfishness? Where can I find purity? How can I be considerate and merciful? What will this bring about for those around me?

Monday, January 28, 2008

Taxi to Brooklyn

Does anyone watch Sex and The City? When we were in NY I was reminded of one of the episodes where Miranda decided to move to Brooklyn. This was a traumatic experience for her because she was going to be so far away from all that was familiar to her. Part of the episode showed a taxi driver denying her and Cary a ride to Brooklyn.

On Sunday afternoon my parents and I wanted to go see the Brooklyn Tabernacle Choir because my dad and I used to sing some of their fabulous anthems when we were part of Covenant Presbyterian Church.

In order to get there we hailed a taxi, and asked him to go to Brooklyn. After a few confused looks and exchanges he reluctantly decided to take us. We hopped in and off we were, over the Brooklyn Bridge and to the other side of town. I also had to help navigate (because I know NY so well) using a map that the hotel concierge gave us. Fun adventures!!

We arrived in time to be a part of the afternoon worship service. Everyone was very friendly and we enjoyed ourselves, except that the service lasted a bit longer than I expected it would.

Afterwards we were on a mission to get a cab back to our hotel in Manhattan. I give props to my dad for getting us a driver. Thanks for being resourceful.

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Day 2 Morning in NY

After a late Saturday full of plays and wonderful food, my husband and I decided to walk to the Metropolitan Museum of Art. We had a slight disagreement on how long it was going to take us to get there (not to mention that the news programs reported it was the record cold temps for the day)... I thought for sure it would take 30 minutes, Matt was not so sure...

If any of you know NY, we were staying just south of Times Squre on 40th and the Met is about half way up Central Park (so that is 14 blocks, plus a trek through the park).

Needless to say, Matt was right! It took us 50 minutes to walk up there.

For those of you who know me, a 50 minute walk is nothing too special (thanks Diana, Charlotte, Mandy, Kim, Jenn, and others). However, in the below 20 weather its another story...

I feel like this sounds like a complaint (Its totally not). I am just setting the scene for Matt and I's spats that occurred for the next several hours. One of the things that I love about my husband is how much we can laugh at and with each other. He often extends much needed grace my way.

Once we arrived at the museum we checked our coats (everywhere in NY has a coat check) and then walked around for a few hours.

My favorite is the modern art. Tara Donovan had an installation that used mylar tape to make a natural land scape looking thing.

Matt enjoyed reading the historical background behind the pieces and checking out the mid evil guns, swords, and armor.

After we were finished, we walked back through Central Park. It was beautiful, lots of runners and bundled up people around.

My brother :)

Walking the Plank

I have a thoughtful, insightful, family. Last night we played Battle of the Sexes and the girls won (for the first time)!! My brother has a lot of great things to say, usually pretty deep, but if you are up for it. This past post is really good about MLK.

Pre Trip Reunion

Just before we left for New York my friend Charlotte came in town for a visit. We had a blast.

Last time we saw each other I was getting a much needed refresher from feeling burdened with stress and questioning life directions. This time we were simply catching up and encouraging each other.

Once again, I am thankful for authentic, lasting friendships.

Another thing that Charlotte brings to my life is fun, Dos Toquitos, Doug and Paige, a much overdue hanging out with Ross and Kristen, and zest for adventures.

After our plantains with beef, cheese, and mango salsa we headed to "The Mint", a new fancy restaurant on Fayettville St.

I took a picture because I thought for sure I would find a similar venue in New York City...

The next post will return to our trip :)

Friday, January 25, 2008

Day 1 in NYC

To say the least, we had a full trip! I think I walked over 20 miles in the past few days, but it was well worth it. I am going to break it up in Day long blogs so that its not too consuming.

We arrived at the Laguardia airport around lunch time. Matt and I shared a "snack" of cheese burgers and french fries. I say "snack" because we have different definitions of what constitutes a real meal. Once my parents got there our first mission was to discover Manhattan. The four of us walked all around Time's Square to Central Park and then stopped at Micky Mantle's for a drink before dinner at Patsy's.

It was delicisioso! Although our main courses were good, I was struck by the desserts. We walked in and the cart full of decadent treats was right in front of us. I eyed a creme puff cake from the start and was not disappointed when I sunk my teeth into it at the end.

Then we walked over to the Winter Garden to see Mama Mia. It was a fun show with lots of great hit tunes and dancing. The story line was a bit questionable, but the acting was fabulous. After our wonderful night of entertainment we hit the bed pretty hard so that we could start on our way for a jam packed Day #2.

My first impression was awe... I've never seen so many advertisements or concrete or people in one place.

Thursday, January 24, 2008


Today I was watching the news and can't help the erie feeling that I was in NYC blocks away from where Heath Ledger died. His death is tragic and sad, and I do feel for the family and friends who have people like me commenting on the nature of his death and what this means for society, etc. etc... They probably have enough pain without all of the news. But, I can't help but make a comment on one news clip I saw on Fox news this morning.

There is a church that is picketing his funeral. Besides the fact that they had to fly to New York from Kansas, they are actually telling people that he is in Hell and that God Hates Him. Seriously? This is ludicrous. It makes me mad and I wish people would not be so dumb.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Coming soon

I know all of you are holding your breath to see pictures and hear stories from our trip, but I haven't had a chance to post anything yet. I wanted to get it done today, but no such luck. I actually got to take a much needed nap this afternoon and then go to the NCSU v. GT basketball game, so my highlights will come soon for sure.

A few comments before I hit the bed:

*I have generous and wonderful parents
*Broadway plays are fun
*Shopping in SoHo made my head spin, but turned my wardrobe around
*I've never heard so many different languages
*Walking, Walking, Walking, and more walking
*Delicious food
*Cool Art

Fun times, stories and pictures to come!

Stay tooned

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Anyone have New York Advice?

Matt and I are going to New York City on Saturday.

He has a work thing and I get to go along. My dad also has a work thing and my mom gets to go with him. So, my mom and I get to hang out while our hubbies work.

Saturday night the four of us are going to see Mama Mia and I want to get get on the Today show, but those are our only events for now.

This is where you come in:

We are going to be there until Wednesday morning and I am looking for top picks of things to see and do, places to shop, eat, and places to stay away from.

Also, any ideas for what I should write on my poster to get on the Today show?


Monday, January 14, 2008

No more Sprint

Friday was the last day of our Sprint contract. Matt and I are now officially Verizon customers. Thankfully my number is still the same, but I'm still trying to figure out all of the buttons on my phone.

I'm a bit sad to get rid of my pink phone, but my new one has a camera on it and a rubberized coating. For those of you who know me, its good that I have something built in that prevent breakage :) Especially since we didn't get the insurance.

Who else is in my Network?

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Wisdom teeth

I am going to get my wisdom teeth out on Feb. 5. At this point I am not nervous and am just ready for those third molars to get broken up and taken out, but yesterday I wasn't so confident...

Matt got his teeth out last year and I remember him telling me that there was a chance he would come out deformed, if the doctor cut a certain nerve that runs along the jaw. I was nervous for him, but decided that I would still love and accept him regardless of what his face looked like. Our love does run much deeper than physical appearances. His surgery turned out fine and I forgot about that risk, until yesterday morning.

I was sitting there talking to God and thinking about my day during breakfast (oatmeal for my heart yesterday) and all I could think about was the risk of having a deformity. I was making myself crazy. What would my face look like? Would I be able to look in the mirror? Would people at Visio Dei be able to take me seriously as a leader if I looked like a freak? Would my husband still find me attractive? Would everyone start feeling sorry for me?

I prayed, I thought to myself, God, you might just do something like this to teach me a lesson, I am sure being vain right now... then I got scared that God was going to spite me, so I started making all of these really spiritual responses in my head as if I could trick God into seeing that I wasn't focused on my external appearance... then I started laughing... and took a deep breath...

God does not spite people. I can trust that. I would be okay even if I was deformed. It might be challenging, but being beautiful isn't what life's about. I was still nervous.

At the dr.'s office I had to watch a video about all the bad things that could happen to you if something went wrong.

The video encouraged you to ask questions.

So, I did.

What would my face look like if you cut my nerve?

The dr. kindly alleviated my stress by saying that I wouldn't look any different. Relief...

Obviously I still have a lot growing to do.

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

For those of you in suspense

After my birthday morning trials my day perpetually got better... Thank you to everyone who called, sent cards, gave me presents, spent time with me, sent me emails, and just over all made me feel loved.

I am not the biggest phone talker in the world, but I think I used up all of our cell phone plan minutes yesterday. It was great!

For a run down of the great things that happened:

Stopped by Hope , where I will be working the coffee shop next week. It was great to see people that I hadn't in a while.

Took a toning class at the YMCA. I am trying to get more into weight lifting as my bones get older :)

Had lunch with some special friends at Village Deli: Delicious bbq shrimp wrap with bacon, cheddar cheese, lettuce, and tomato. I even had someone ask me what my sandwich was because it looked so tasty. Julie, Jenny, and I talked for over an hour and then realized that we had lost track of time. I love conversations like that!

Did some work for my new job. I am already learning a lot.

Took a walk with a great friend.

Had a delicious dinner that my husband planned. Thank you Matt (even though you won't read this). Thank you Lavin's for hosting us and making awesome pork tenderloin and a beautiful cookie cake. Thank you Smiths for providing sides. Every time I hang out with Erin I find out that she has more amazing talents. I thought my cake was purchased, but really she decorated it (thanks to high school jobs!).

The only downside of the night was that the girls lost in Cranium... sad times, but I will say, we put up a good fight and it would have been much closer if Shannon hadn't rolled two purple's in a row. I get frustrated when I loose things, but am getting past my competitiveness a bit (I think).

Then we had a late night convo with Matt and Erin. I always enjoy, am challenged, and encouraged by our talks.

When I got home my husband had a sweet and sappy card on my pillow. I am thankful for our relationship too.

Well... thats the run down of a pretty amazing day! Now, its day 2 of year 27 in the life of Traci Rowe... off to set up a wisdom teeth extraction

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

Tough being good

Am I "good" enough? I think people ask this question a lot. Especially when believing that its important to be a good person and try hard to lead a life worthy of God or others.

For a while, when I heard another person say, "I just need to be a good person (in contrast to being a Christian)." I felt personally attacked and had an agenda to convince the other that they weren't good enough and needed God. Like I had the immediate answer to all of their problems...

Yesterday and this morning I started thinking about this a little more. In my life (even after coming to faith) I put pressure on myself to be good. This brings self doubt, worry, anxiety, fear, insecurity, pride...

I realized that part of the message that I hope to embody is freedom from having to live up to our own expectations of what it means to be good and having to do that on our own.

We will always let ourselves down, without help.

A big part of the good news is that when we enter the Christian faith we enter a community of people who are working together to bring about a new way of life that is freeing... this means not having to put so much pressure on ourselves, alone... this means seeking after and asking for supernatural hope and strength when our human desires are no where close to "good"... resting in new possibilities for our lives that seem impossible when we are trying to be "good"...

Aren't birthday's suposed to be perfect?

Today I turn 27. I thought I would wake up refreshed and ready to go. I have a fun day ahead of me, lunch with friends, dinner with friends, walks with friends, cards in the mail with $$$ in them :) But, it was sooo hard to get out of bed. After I made my coffee and poured a cup, I got out my frying pan and there was a bug in it... yuck!!! After cleaning that, I was still a little discombobulated and knocked over the full mug while in the middle of my breakfast routine.

*SIDE NOTE* I make eggs, toast, and drink juice from a champagne glass almost every day.

I then turned off the eye of the stove, the broiler, and soaked up the coffee that is still probably under the microwave and thought... really? its my birthday? Then the phone rang (for the 3rd time before 9AM). I love it that I am loved and people want to wish me a happy birthday, but at this point I was in no mood to answer the phone.

After cleaning the coffee up, I proceeded to make my standard fare and decided not to talk to anyone until after talking to Jesus. This helped a lot! My time with Him was excellent (except that I was craving one more cup of coffee). I have some additional insights to share from that conversation, but that will be in the net post.

My theory on why I'm having a hard time is because whenever I work at NoFo I drink Diet Coke all day. This leaves me a bit dehydrated. I also had cookie crisp cereal and oreos for dinner last night, so my sugar levels are probably recovering as well...

So, maybe the start of my day wasn't perfect, but its getting better already. 27 here I come!!!

Monday, January 7, 2008

Its Official

I have tried five times to start this post and can't come up with something catchy to lead into what I am trying to say... so, for all of my communication training I am just going to be simple:

Starting Jan. 1 I became the newest staff member at Visio Dei. My title is Director of Home Groups and Connections.

So, I'm sitting here at my computer smiling from ear to ear... I feel like its been a long time coming. I am humbled and excited for this opportunity!

Tomorrow I'll be 27... I think this is going to be a great year, full of new possibilities.

Saturday, January 5, 2008


Last Christmas I got an iPod from my husband and I haven't bee too good about downloading new songs, just basically the ones off the radio, but Matt encouraged me to purchase the entire CD (he likes getting deals and apparently you can get more songs for your money this way)...

So, I did with Colbie Caillat and on my run last week I heard the 'bonus' song Older, I couldn't help but think... this is a theme song for a lot of people in my life. Take a moment to read the lyrics and you will understand:

Waited all my life for this day to come
I feel like letting go, life goes on
Wasting no more time
So much to be done
Everything works out
So they say
Over my shoulder, it's tough getting older
Yeah, yeah.......

Seems like nothing is black and white anymore
Shades of grey and I feel a weight over my shoulder
It's tough getting older
I always thought that I knew where I'd want to go
Now I'm here and I find that I'm still getting colder
It's kinda tough getting older

Here before my eyes, many roads ahead
Time for me to choose one way now
If I take a chance
What lies down the road
Feeling so confused, turned round
On and on, on and on
yeah yeah.....

I kept waiting for a conclusion or some insight into what to do, but nope... just going on and on... on and on... yeah, yeah...

At home group on Thursday we talked about our jobs, our performance, and how we define ourselves. I think this song speaks a bit to that. Jon made a point about wanting to have it all figured out and then realizing that that wasn't really a realistic goal and how freeing it is to recognize that we don't have to have all of the answers right now... but, we still have to make choices and move forward...

Has anyone had change in their life over the past several months?
Has anyone thought they might be somewhere else than they are at age ____?
Has anyone questioned career paths?
Has anyone questioned family patterns?
Is anyone surprised at where life has them now?

I have, made a lot of tough decisions, in the recent past. Some of the best decisions that I could have made, but still hard ones. It is tough getting older, but its also exciting, adventurous, new, and full of possibilities!

Thursday, January 3, 2008

Questionable Content

Please let me know if this is inappropriate for an online conversation and I will delete this post, but I had a conversation last night that really got me thinking.

Here I go:

I work at NOFO Cafe sometimes and I love it! Over the holidays I have been working more because people needed shifts covered, so I am just getting to know some of the people working there.

Last night was pretty slow, so a few of us were hanging out in the kitchen. The conversation started out talking about cursing. I said that I don't really curse, and one of the guys asked me, "Are you real religious or something?"

I wasn't quite sure how to respond, "religious" came across as a bad word... I don't really consider myself "religious", but I am I think... I believe in Jesus, try to live like he calls me to, am part of a church community... But, I didn't respond quick enough so another girl said, "Why don't you just ask about anal sex?"

I was thrown off a bit, much like the guy who asked me about religion... "anal sex, what does that have to do with religion?" he asked.

Her response is what has me thinking... "To me, they are about the same thing. You don't need either one, but they make you feel good every once in a while."

I didn't respond to that either. My mind was racing to what I should say...

I'm looking for feedback in a few ways...

Is being "religious" a bad thing?

How might you respond in this situation?

I am pretty sure most of my readers would be considered "religious" by some, but I would also love to hear from people who would not consider themselves religious at all or who agree with my friend's comment...

Wednesday, January 2, 2008

Happy New Year

I have tried several times to come up with some profound words to share for the new year, but they are escaping me.

Instead, I am going to share some pictures of the Birthday Party/ New Years Eve Celebration that we were a part of.

Jeff impressed us all with his decorations.

Purple is one of my favorite colors!

Bobbi Jo's birthday cake was delicious too! I have come to realize that Sam's, Cosco, Food Lion, etc. all have really yummy sheet cakes.

The past week has been full of time with friends. Jessica and Hunt were in town for a few days, Dave and Shannon were in town from LA, and The Elli came to visit.

This is one of the reasons that I love the holidays... people!

But, now we are returning to our "regular" lives... many of us are searching for direction with careers, relationships, families, homes, how to best spend our time...

the New Year is an opportunity for us to put one foot in front of the other and take steps of faith, trusting that with each step there will be ground beneath our feet, and if there isn't we can dust off our knees and get back up and keep going.

But, not on our own... we need friends, we need family, we need Jesus...

Happy New Year!

I'm looking forward to the new possibilities ahead.