Friday, December 28, 2007
In spite of the lack of feeling I have during this time of year, God has used this time of year to show me that the birth of Christ is also an amazing time for the rebirth of people I know. Although I didn't get into the season, I'm so glad the Spirit is part of this season.
In early December 1999, we had a memorial service for my mom at our house. We had just moved into the neighborhood about nine months earlier and hadn't had a significant time to really know our neighbors before mom got sick and eventually passed away. But we invited them and everyone we knew to the service. Dad and I had found every picture we could of Mom in all the photo albums, put them on poster boards, and hung them around the entire house. We wanted to give people a chance to see who Mom was in all of the areas and times of her life. It was really cool and gave people the chance to really see what kind of life she had lived.
We also had lots of food and drink and music playing. For the main part of the service, people were crammed into the living room and dining room and we stood in the foyer and spoke. Dad read a letter he had written as did I. We also had our pastor there to share some words and one of my mom's best friends played the guitar and led the group in a couple of praise and worship songs which was awesome. We also opened up the floor to anyone who wanted to share stories or reflections. It was such a joyous time of sharing life together. The cool thing is that a lot of our neighbors came as well and many of them were not Christians.
Fast forward one year to November 2000. Billy Graham came to Jacksonville for a week long crusade. I sang in the choir and it was a really cool time. A couple weeks later one of our neighbors was moving with his wife and son to the west coast of Florida. I saw the truck and went outside to wish them a safe move. The husband came up to me and started talking to me which was suprising because I had rarely talked to him. He said that he had been wanting to talk with my dad and I for a couple of weeks but never got the chance and since they were leaving that day he wanted to share something personal with me. I was a little unsure of what he was going to say, but I listened as he shared his story with me. He said that both his wife and mother were Christians but that he didn't take his faith very seriously or really think much about what it meant to be a Christian. He wasn't even one I don't think. He said that he and his wife had come to the memorial service the year before and during the service he said that he felt a presence, he felt something and that he had spent the past year looking for what that was. When the Billy Graham crusade came to town, he and his family went and he said that during that Crusade, he went forward and accepted Christ as his Savior. He said that he finally found what he had been looking for during the past year. I was of course blown away and so excited and humbled. I told him that the past year of grief and mourning and challenge was all worth it. And I have believed that my mom may have given/lost her life, but through that another life was saved.
So this year, my dad tells me about running into another neighbor of ours who we hadn't seen in at least six years. He had also become a Christian recently but his wife did not and they have gotten divorced. But he is confident that God will restore their relationship. In talking with my dad about his salvation, he also mentioned that he had felt a presence at the memorial service and that it was part of what started his spiritual awakening and journey. I was so thrilled to hear that. Another life changed and reborn through a life that was lost in death. GOD IS INCREDIBLE!
Then while I was home for Christmas, one of my dad's childhood friends was also saved. He didn't grow up in church but has had a tough life and recently joined AA to get his life back on track. He's 60 and by himself, divorced and just having a tough time. My dad, with help from family in California, was able to get him to a church on Christmas Eve. Turns out our family in CA has some connections with Saddleback Church (Pastor Rick Warren - A Purpose Driven Life) and so my dad's friend went there, heard the salvation message, received Christ and was baptized...all in one day! So cool. The local pastor of a Saddleback church plant is already in touch with him and I'm so thankful for Dad sharing the Lord with this guy over the years. He called my dad because he said he was the only one he knew who knew anything about God and spiritual things. It just goes to show you that we do have an impact in others lives. Not just in the loud and blatant ways we share Christ, but also in the way that we live our out faith and invite others to witness and share in the journey.
The Spirit of Christmas is not just goodwill among men or the birth of a baby - it is the Spirit of God bringing rebirth in the lives of those who are lost.
Here's where all the fun went down at The Twisted Martini!
Monday, December 17, 2007
On Sunday afternoon, I went to the Kennedy Center with my friend Greg for a Christmas sing-a-long with the Master Chorale of Washington. I have another friend who works for them and was able to give us tickets. It was amazing. And I saw a couple more friends at the performance as well since we all know the same girl. It started and ended with the Chorale walking through the concert hall singing acappella with candles in the dark. Absolutely incredible.
The sky was amazing too as a storm was just blowing through. It was wild and wooly weather that gives me such a thrill. I think its my Irish roots waking up.
I met Yao about four years ago when he called me looking for a student club that brought international and American students together. At the time I was president of the International Communication Student Forum in grad school and Yao was studying here for a semester. Although the group was for people in my course of study and not exactly what Yao was looking for, we really hit it off and talked for about 30-45 minutes on the phone that first day. I was really thrown for a loop when he told me his name was Yao, because he was speaking English with a French accent. Of course I found out he had been studying in Paris for a few years although originally he is from China. So we became friends. He moved to New York City later that year and met Monika, an immigrant from Poland. And they have been together ever since.
I really like the two of them and was looking forward to celebrating a very American tradition with them. Monika made her first turkey and they had all the trimmings. A Swiss friend of theirs came over to join us and we had a wonderful meal together. During the weekend, we went to their local bagel joint for breakfast, had excellent dim sum in Flushing, New York. Walked 5th Avenue and drooled and petted the very expensive shoes in Bergdorf-Goodman. Had a delicious lunch at a tiny Korean deli on a side street somewhere in Manhattan. Met up with a Canadian friend of mine from Florida and attended Times Square Church with him and his mom.
We also had coffee in Greenwich Village which is where this picture is taken. Cheers to you Yao and Monika!
For those curious about the details of the dress - it was a little black number with gathering in the front ending on the side with a bow of sorts. I wore high heel peep toe red heels that strapped around the ankle. I will try to post a picture of the entire outfit when I get one. Jewelry consisted of some small very sparkly dangling snowflakes and an heirloom diamond ring I inherited from my mom.
Here is a little pictorial journey of the evening:
Our prom-esque picture.
I tried for a cute picture.
We just couldn't seem to get ourselves serious enough for a good picture. I'll blame the food, drink, and dancing at the party :)
This is Josh big pimpin'. His roommate gave him the ring before we headed out the door. That's one way to make a statement.
We ended our evening at another restaurant celebrating my friend John's big 30. He and I met over two years ago when we were on the same team headed to Ethiopia for a missions trip. Happy Birthday!
Justin, John, Tara, Me, and Josh
Friday, December 14, 2007
Here's what's getting me excited at the moment:
I don't know who I would go with yet or if I would try to organize something myself or pick up with a tour or something, but any and all suggestions from the blogosphere is much appreciated.
Wednesday, December 12, 2007
This week I'm down another 1.2 pounds. Which is good but a little disappointing since I have been working out a bit more. However, I'm still not super consistent, so hopefully next week will be better.
I have also cut out eating the frozen meals. They did contribute to a greater weight loss, but its not realistic for me to spend the rest of my life eating them. I needed to come up with better eating habits with normal food.
I can't believe it has been four months since first starting this. Amazing how quickly time goes by and how slowly the weight comes off. Of course slow and steady is the way to go right :)
October 10 is when I posted my greatest weight loss of 7.4 pounds. With a month off, I gained some back, but I'm close to that again. Here's hoping next week will show my biggest loss yet.
Now for the stats.
Starting Weight: 153.8
Current Weight: 147.0
Total Weight Loss: 6.8
My reward for losing 10 pounds: A one hour (or longer) massage. I can't wait!!!!
Currently I am 76 out of 96 on the consular list. My eligibility expires in October of 2008, and with four more classes being hired, my chances are slim. But I'm persevering and am planning on taking the exam again in March. If I fail, I will have to wait until March of 2009 to take it again so this could be it. We'll see.
I'm still excited about the possibility of being part of the Foreign Service although I am nervous as well about the changes and the challenges that I will face. But I know that I keep coming back to this opportunity over and over again and I continue to be excited and hopeful.
Monday, December 10, 2007
In that same vein of active consumer, I also sent an email to one of my local NPR stations telling them that they have lost at least one listener on Sunday mornings since they moved their Stained Glass Bluegrass show from the regular station to HD radio stations. I don't have an HD radio and don't plan on getting one, so no more awesome Sunday morning music on my way to church. I'm bummed. I also included my age in the email so they know that I'm not a 72 year old lady on a Sunday drive but a member of their key constituency.
This weekend I realized for the millionth time that I have qualities that I'm sure are annoying to others. In fact, these qualities/habits are annoying to me, but I can't seem to figure out how to quit doing them. Like Paul said "I do the things I ought not to do and don't do the things I ought to do" (paraphrase by Lisa Overman). It's frustrating and I'm hopeful and grateful that I have forgiving and ever loving friends.
Chivalry is alive and kicking as evidenced by a friend I spent time with this weekend. I'm so grateful for good mama's and good papa's who instill these wonderful traits in their children. And I'm grateful for children who act on these traits and make others feel special just by doing the small things.
Even though he was just a dog, I still miss Paddington and I'm so thankful that I have friends who are sympathetic to me and were so understanding and caring when it came to that loveable crankpot. That makes me feel good.
Although it seems that I'm a pretty open and honest person, I keep a bajillion things to myself and especially am not prone to sharing heartfelt things in a larger group ie more than three. I was vulnerable in a group of 10 this weekend and am hoping that it wasn't too much or too crazy. I'm grateful that many of them are my friends and know me and love me anyway. Yeah for Christian friends!
I love this soup :)
When my dad mentioned my single status again I got mad and told him "what am I supposed to do? Walk into a store and buy one?" (meaning a husband). I thought it was a pretty smart comeback. I'm sooooo grateful for other incredible 30 something single women living in this city that totally understand and feel the same way that I do - that I do want a family, I do want a partner in crime, in love, in life with kids, but that I don't want to be the desperate 30 something woman with a one track mind.
I still want to go in the State Department. It's scary especially if I'm single - but I figure if I get the chance, I should take advantage of the opportunity.
Love to you all. My dear friends both known and unknown. You are special, you are God's creation, you were created to know God and to make Him known. If you don't know that or don't believe that, let me know. It's true and you deserve to know the truth.
Wednesday, December 05, 2007
Today we started another session and I'm really kicking it into gear again. So here's the stats (in pounds)
Starting Weight: 153.8
Current Weight: 148.2
Total Loss-To-Date: 5.6
My Goal: 15 lbs (138.8)
So that's the update. I'm hoping to be down another 4.4 pounds before going to Florida for Christmas. I think that would be fun! My dad would wonder where I am :)
Love to you all!
Wednesday, November 07, 2007
Monday, October 29, 2007
Check out www.snopes.com.
It was first a book written by a renowned Athiest author who hated C.S. Lewis and the Chronicles of Narnia. It is the first book in a series called "His Dark Materials" The Golden compass was written by Phillip Pullman as a direct affront to the Chronicles. In the movie the children kill God and do as they please. The movie has been dumbed down in the hopes to fool parents so they will buy his trilogy. Phillip Pullman said he wants to " kill God in the minds of children"
Sunday, October 28, 2007
This is my Halloween costume. I love it! I went to a costume party on Saturday and have a work party on Tuesday, so I'm getting a lot of wear out of it :)
Here's a picture of my roommate. She went as a fairy and she made the wings herself. So cool!
Thursday, October 25, 2007
The first was a friend I met 13 years ago when my parents were living in Charlotte, NC. I actually knew his brother and parents from Virginia Beach because I went to high school with his brother and his mom was a substitute teacher. Anyway, I didn't meet T until college and North Carolina. We emailed occasionally over the years but I last say him Christmas of 1994. Last week I went to Charlotte for a work trip and had let Tom know I was coming to town and maybe we could get together. It ended up being so much fun. I went to dinner with him and his parents on Wednesday night to celebrate his dad's birthday. Then the next night I ate pizza, drank beer and watched a German film at his place with a friend. It was such a break from the hotel room and eating out. So great to reconnect.
Then this week, I was able to meet up with another friend I haven't seen in 10 years! D was in Florida getting his Master's and was part of the Bible study group I attended. Once he got his degree, he headed out in the big bad world to make his way and we kept in touch occasionally via email as well. I hadn't been in touch with him for years when we connected on a professional social networking website. I saw that he was in New York City so I sent him a hello from a Florida friend and told him if he was ever in DC to let me know and I would show him the sights. Imagine my surprise when this week he emailed me saying at the last minute he ended up in DC. We were able to meet up for a couple of hours and walked the Mall to the White House catching up. I really enjoyed reconnecting with him as well and now have another connection in New York to show me the sights.
God is so good and I have to say that it is really a trip to be old enough to have those experiences that as a young girl I used to read about in books or hear about on the news - old friends reconnecting. In a way its crazy that I'm that old, but I'm also so grateful for such wonderful people that I can renew my friendship with.
Wednesday, October 24, 2007
So this week, I had gained three pounds. I'm going to blame one pound on the cookies and two pounds on water weight from my impending PMS. Yeah, so I said that in a public place. Oh well.
Stats are as follows:
Gained 3 pounds.
Will lose 3 pounds by next week.
Friday, October 12, 2007
I have been praying that this is not the case, but anyway, I've had some really funny moments this week last at night in my room with the lights turned off and a headlamp on my head looking for bugs anywhere and everywhere. I was laughing at myself and sorry I couldn't see what I looked like. I mean, I'm tearing the bed apart, the metal frame was disconnecting, the mattress was up against the dresser, I'm on my hands and knees in a dress looking in the carpet. I even slept with the headlamp under my pillow so that in the middle of the night when the bugs might be out feeding, I could surprise them with the headlamp. Alas, I have found very little as a result of these efforts.
I'm hoping that whatever has been biting me is gone far, far away and I can put the headlamp back in the bag where it belongs under my bed. I'm ready for the weekend and no bugs.
Wednesday, October 10, 2007
Now for the nitty gritty info:
I lost 3.4 pounds this week bringing my totals up which is exciting.
Starting Weight: 153.8
Current Weight: 146.4
Total Weight Loss: 7.4
Here's to onward and downward!
Wednesday, October 03, 2007
I gained the two pounds I had lost last week.
But I can't look at this as doing bad, or needing to get back on track again. Rather I need to look at this as let's keep going. Make the choices I know are better because in the long run, I will be happier than the immediate fix I get from that extra helping of spring rolls or the fries on the side please with my sandwich.
Of course all of this is making me wonder what my motivation for eating is. I have noticed that since being on Weight Watchers, I have been eating more sweets than I normally do. I think this is because I have figured that I can eat really yummy sweets that are low in points and not deprive myself. But I realize that I need to not substitute the sweet things for the good delicious food because that is what I'm depriving myself of. I like good food. But I have spent too much time focusing on the sweet things so I don't feel deprived that I'm missing out on good food that will satisfy me and not make me feel deprived.
I have also realized that I don't have a weight problem and so in some ways it is hard for me to look back and say "I don't want to get like that again." I need to have the motivation of looking and feeling better in pictures and clothes as my reminder of why I am doing this. In addition, this is all about the discipline.
It has been hard the past couple weeks though for several reasons. I'm trying to be disciplined in my spending as well, so I feel like I'm being strict in many different areas and I guess I'm using the food area as an out. I have been tired a lot lately and that makes it harder for me to keep my guard up. I have been traveling which always gets me out of my routine. So there are reasons, but I'm not beating myself up. Rather, I the next opportunity I have to make a decision, I hope to make the right one. And have a really good weigh in report next week.
Starting Weight: 153.8
Current Weight: 149.8
Total Loss: 4.0
Thursday, September 27, 2007
I can always take the test again and start the process over again. My plan is to wait until early spring of 2008 and see what the Holy Spirit is prompting, see how changes that have been implemented in the process are affecting hiring, see what new things are happening in my personal and professional life before making any more decisions.
It's a little disheartening, but they do say that one of the key factors for becoming a Foreign Service Officer is persistence!
Wednesday, September 26, 2007
This week I lost 1.2 pounds. So that was exciting.
Starting Weight: 153.8
Current Weight: 147.8
Total Weight loss: 6
Goal Weight: 138
I haven't been counting as strictly as I probably should, but I have been doing a couple of things differently. I have almost completely eliminated snacking, but when I have, in my mind it is part of my daily food intake. Like a meal almost, so I don't treat it casually.
I have also been drinking a lot more water and trying to include a lot more vegetables into my diet since they are zero points and don't count against me.
The only other major change that I think has really helped me so far has been eating lots of frozen meals for lunch and dinner. I just haven't had the time to cook and I usually get home around 7:30 or 8:00pm every night. Plus food seems to go bad in my fridge. In addition, I have been trying to save money during the week and not eat lunch out as often. Bringing a frozen meal has been helpful, but I try to balance it out with a fresh side salad with the frozen entree. I'm hoping that once I figure out a more effective working schedule (get to bed earlier, up earlier, to work earlier, leave earlier, cook dinner), I will continue with this track of frozen food.
Anyway, I am excited to be eating smaller portions and regaining some of the control over food that I had lost.
Friday, September 21, 2007
Wednesday, September 19, 2007
Starting Weight: 153.8 lbs
Current Weight: 149.0 lbs
Total Loss: 4.8 lbs
Yeah so I lost 20 oz. I mean, that's like the weight of two toothbrushes. So sad. Here's to next week. I'm aiming for a total loss of 6 pounds!
The picture is of me and some friends from church who all went on the tour as well. It was really cool seeing the actual box that Lincoln sat in (just above our heads with all the drapes) and standing on the stage where John Wilkes Booth jumped and made his escape. Apparently there is a bus tour that will take you from the Ford's theater along his escape route to the farm where he was eventually found.
Tuesday, September 18, 2007
Anyway, as I'm sitting at the table on the deck in the backyard, I hear a buzzing noise to my right. I think it is a giant beetle bug as I look and see an emerald green-gold "bug" about three inches long or so. Just when I begin to wonder what kind of bug it is, it flits to the left and sticks it's face into another flower and then zooms as fast as possible to the end of the yard. I barely have time to react when it hits me, "Oh my gosh! THat was a HUMMINGBIRD!" I'm so excited, I can barely breathe, I get up to run around the house and find something to write it down with so I don't forget. It was the most incredible, unexpected thing I have seen in ages. I couldn't believe it. I had no idea that hummingbirds lived in Maryland. I mean WOW!
The first two thoughts I had after it flew away - so super fast by the way - were 1) we need to plant more flowers that it can feed on so I can see it again and 2) I wonder how they live in winter when there are no flowers.
For those of you who know how obsessed I am with Googling this kind of information - I haven't looked it up yet. But I will now.
I was so thankful for that little bit of magic that God provided to me on Saturday. It was perhaps one of my favorite moments of the weekend.
I didn't take this picture - but it is almost identical to how I saw the bird.
Wednesday, September 12, 2007
Tuesday, September 11, 2007
So this picture is from two years ago when I first moved in. You can't really tell what my room looked like, but you can see the wall color and the brown bookshelf. There is also the picture of my dresser. So really nothing very exciting about any of it. But now...I have a new room. See pictures below.
Thursday, September 06, 2007
When I came back from Montana last month, I was struck by a huge desire to grow up in some areas of my life. The first thing that has been on the top of my list is to have an adult bedroom! That sounds odd, but I have been living like a coed in a dorm for a while now and I figured it was time to get rid of the free furniture and hand me down items and redo my room.
So two weekends ago, I went shopping at IKEA (the grown up college dorm room look), and bought a new dresser, bookshelf/decorative wall unit, floating shelves for the wall, two lamps, new duvet cover. I'm still looking for a bookshelf style headboard. All the pieces match and this week I bought paint and have repainted my room. It looks awesome. I'm not quite done yet, but when I am, I'll post some pictures.
I'm very excited about being more grown up - at least in the room where I live :)
So for those of you keeping track...
Starting Weight: 153.8
Current Weight: 151.2
In addition, I am committing to train for a 10K race on Thanksgiving day, known as the Turkey Trot. Two years ago I ran in the 2 mile fun run with my roommate Anne and friend Christy. This year, we are all gearing up for a big time race. Should be fun!
I have had some interesting thoughts the past couple of weeks as I've been on this WW program. I have had moments of sadness for foods that I probably won't eat much anymore. Not because I can't, but because I shouldn't. As I'm changing my mindset of food and eating to live, not living to eat, I have been struck by the hold food has had in my life. Now granted, I grew up eating lots of wheat bread and whole grain cereals, salad with dinner almost every night, lots of vegetables, juices and water, oodles of olive oil. So I don't have terrible eating habits and for that I'm so thankful to my parents. I like to eat foods that are good for me. Anyway, it was interesting to know that I was grieving certain foods. The only one that comes to mind at the moment is mayonnaise, but I've been cutting that out of my diet for a while now anyway. I'll post more as I think of them.
Tuesday, August 28, 2007
Her comment caused me to think a little deeper about putting such personal goals on a public blog such as this one and opening myself up to criticism and a tarnished reputation if I fail.
However, I thought that in the end this is a place for me to post successes and failures and to allow others to see my mistakes and my triumphs. Yesterday's post on my plan for discipline is one that is stretching me to explore areas of my life where I have been lax. To open up areas of my life to a greater control of the Holy Spirit and to allow Him to work in me and clean me up.
I will fail. I will fall. I will bruise myself. I will end up with bloody knees on this road. But I will continue to set lofty goals, I will continue to challenge myself, and I will continue to let you see me in my weak moments and my strong ones. Perhaps so you can be challenged to do the same thing in your life. And perhaps so that we can know that we are not alone on this journey. That there is indeed nothing new under the sun.
Monday, August 27, 2007
So a season of discipline - to get my mind, heart, will, emotions, spirit under His control.
The first area is physical discipline. To accomplish this I joined Weight Watchers to learn more about taking my physical desires under control and being a good steward of my physical health and body.
The second area is in finances. Some of you know that I have had a significant amount of credit card debt accumulated over the years for a variety of reasons. For several years now I have made it a goal to become credit card debt free but haven't been able to quite manage it. However, in about two months, I will send in a final payment and be done with it. Since I don't want to fall back into that pit, I am going to be taking Crown Financial this fall to learn more about what God has to say about money and finances and become a good steward of the financial gifts He has given me.
The last area of discipline I wanted to focus on was spiritual, but I wasn't really sure how to go about it. I realize that I need and want some accountability in this area simply because I know my weaknesses in really following through. So I thought about joining a small group at church, but I didn't know which one would be the best one (we have over 70 - interest groups, bible studies, speciality groups, etc.). On Friday, one of my pastors approached me and asked me if I would be interested in helping co-lead one of the groups called Holy Spirit Encounter. It is an introductory course into who the Holy Spirit is, why people talk about Him, what roles He plays, what the gifts of the Spirit are and living a Spirit-filled life. Although our church is affiliated with Assemblies of God, we are very non-traditional in the approach we take, so this kind of group is a safe, non-threatening and frankly non-weird way to examine the Holy Spirit. I said yes and am excited to see an opportunity open up for me that "forces" me to be disciplined in study. I cannot be a leader in my own strength, but must continually look heavenward for wisdom and humility.
I'm looking forward to this time of growth and am excited to see how God is going to use me, not because He needs me, but because He chooses me.
Wednesday, August 22, 2007
On the way home, my right foot was hurting and I attributed it to not running in a while. Once the run was done, I was stretching and noticed the bottom of my right shoe was really worn out. I looked on my left one and it looked really new. I couldn't figure out why one shoe was so beat up and the other looked great especially since these were my "new shoes" (ie bought a year ago or more).
I stood up and looked down and realized that I had two different tennis shoes on. The one on my left was my newer shoe and the one on my right was four years old.
No wonder my foot was hurting.
For the record - this was the first time in my life I have ever done this. Let's hear it for the thirties!
Thursday, August 16, 2007
And here's another dancing picture of me. I'm way in the background. This was at my company's 10th anniversary party at Sequoia in Georgetown. Holla!
Wednesday, August 15, 2007
1. Grab the nearest book
2. Turn to page 23.
3. Find the fifth line.
4. Write the next three lines here and post the directions.
5. Grab the nearest book only. Not the coolest book or the most interesting book, but the nearest one.
My book: Eat Wisely
Shop for single-serving portions of snacks, like mini bags of pretzels or chips; Weight Watchers bars, Smoothies and snacks are also ideal. When this is what you have on hand, you won't mindlessly eat more than you expected to. For times when big portions can't be helped, learn to recognize Hunger Signals (page 52).
I signed on for this to re-establish my eating habits, re-learn what a portion size should be and understand exactly how much food I should be eating each day, not how much I want to eat or have been eating. I have felt out of control for a while now when it came to my eating - not particularly the quality of the food I was eating, but primarily the quantity and the splurges.
So I guess you all will have to put up with my "Weight Watchers Ruminations" for a bit here on the blog. However, this is part of my road, my journey and I hope that this sense of control and regaining control over my physical body will have applications to my spiritual body as well. I will post on that in a bit.
For those who want to watch the progress happening :)
Today's weigh in: 153.8 pounds
Let the fun begin!
Wednesday, August 08, 2007
Till then - I've got to catch up on some serious work :)
Thursday, July 19, 2007
Here's a picture of the good times. Such fun hanging with some co-workers and clients and meeting lots of fun new people. Good times.
Friday, June 29, 2007
This is the ship my family and I sailed on across the Atlantic Ocean and through the Mediterranean when I was 11. From Maryland to Greece - the trip of a lifetime.
I must down to the seas again, to the lonely sea and the sky,
And all I ask is a tall ship and a star to steer her by,
And the wheel's kick and the wind's song and the white sail's shaking,
And a grey mist on the sea's face, and a grey dawn breaking.
I must down to the seas again, for the call of the running tide
Is a wild call and a clear call that may not be denied;
And all I ask is a windy day with the white clouds flying,
And the flung spray and the blown spume, and the sea-gulls crying.
I must down to the seas again, to the vagrant gypsy life,
To the gull's way and the whale's way where the wind's like a whetted knife;
And all I ask is a merry yarn from a laughing fellow-rover
And quiet sleep and a sweet dream when the long trick's over.
By John Masefield (1878-1967)
Thursday, June 28, 2007
2. Turn to page 23.
3. Find the fifth line.
4. Write the next three lines here and post the directions.
5. Grab the nearest book only. Not the coolest book or the most interesting book, but the nearest one.
My book: Blackboard for Dummies
This statement is especially true of the quick-start guide in the first half of this chapter. In the second half of this chapter, we describe the most important ways (and Blackboard has a ton of them) that you can customize your course to fit your instructional needs. Believe it or not, putting these two halves together yourself sets you apart from the average instructor!
Wednesday, June 27, 2007
Anyway, all that to say. I'm so excited. Yes, this makes me a geek, but whatever. TRANSFORMERS!!!!
Monday, June 25, 2007
Good times. I'll miss Ben. But at least his super fun roommates are still around so the party won't stop. Hooray. And Bon Voyage Ben.
Wednesday, June 06, 2007
Monday, June 04, 2007
Another one I saw as a kid driving from Virginia Beach to Maryland to visit friends after we moved. We would drive the back roads north and stop at Stuckeys: Mattawoman Beantown Road.
On Friday I went to the Shakespeare in the Park and saw "Love's Labour Lost." This was a work sponsored event with free dinner and great seats. It was set in the 60's with a Beatles influenced trip to a guru in India. It was weird and not that great. I left at intermission.
Sunday I went to see "Hamlet" at the Shakespeare Theater Company. It was their final dress and a friend who works there provided free tickets. It was set in a modern time with some cool twists. It was fresh and I really enjoyed it. I left when it was over.
Ra ra ra for Shakespeare.
Thursday, May 31, 2007
The main point that my pastor has been wanting to get out about this particular chapter is what if we did what the early church did ie pray for ten days and see how God works in a mysterious and amazing way. The other tagline for this series is to ask God to amaze and perplex us as He did for the early Christians in Acts 2. Amaze us and perplex us. Most of us do ask for God to amaze us, but do we really ask us to perplex us. I think this is pretty cool because it means that we don't have God figured out. That He is constantly and consistently doing things that don't make sense to us, that force us in a way to continually rely on Him. Not because He's manipulative but because He is so BIG!
As part of this journey, we have been challenged to have a post Pentecost fast for ten days where we seek after God with a little more intensity than normal, where we are little hungrier than usual, where we listen to His voice calling to us a little more closely, where we open our hearts up to Him a little more vulnerably. And then we see what God will do. This is a time of no expectations other than allowing God the opportunity to amaze and perplex us.
A fast is not only a time to give something up, but it is also a time to add something, to heighten the spiritual quest, to deprive oneself of something usual which will heighten the senses and to add something unusual or out of the ordinary that will satisfy the heightened senses.
As I thought about what I wanted to fast I had lots of ideas: give up my car and walk, fast a meal, fast a type of food, fast television. I had ideas about what to add: focus on praying for something specific like a husband, a job, family or friend relationships. I asked God what I should give up and add. I thought about it. And then I realized what do I really need more than anything. I need to know God. That's it. That's my point, that's my focus.
So I am fasting an extra amount of sleep in the morning and getting up a little earlier than I normally do. I put on my walking clothes and walk around my neighborhood for 30 minutes. I have needed to make time to get to know God so that is my sacrifice. I am being intentional about what I am adding. I'm not praying about a set list of things. Instead, I have told and asked God that I simply want to know who He is. I want to know Him. I am walking with Him and talking with Him and wanting to get to know Him just as I want to walk and talk and get to know a friend or a potential mate.
Since there is so much to know about God, I wanted to make it simple for myself to get started. Otherwise I would never get anywhere. So I found a list of the names/attributes of God. Each day I will meditate, focus, ask God questions, sing about that one name or attribute of God. The list I found has about 700 different names and attributes of God found in the Word.
So instead of just 10 days, I have over two years of "material" to work with. I'm so looking forward to getting my focus back where it should be and knowing God. Everything else is a bonus.
Sunday, May 27, 2007
Three months ago yesterday, I had to put Paddington to sleep. I know, I've written about this before, but since I just downloaded my pictures, I thought I would post his final portraits taken the morning of his last day. I still miss him. I know he was just a dog. But he was my friend and I miss him.
I had my SPF 45, a floppy brim straw hat that Christy said was an old lady hat and Anne said was Coco Chanel at the beach, my iPod, and fancy black bathing suit. The day was gorgeous. We laid around, talked, didn't talk, trolled the boardwalk for lunch, went swimming and had an all around fantastic day. Even with my SPF 45 liberally applied, I managed to get some great color. I'm all about enjoying the sun without sacrificing my future health :)
We left the beach around 5:30pm after taking those really fun crowd-in-a-booth-draw-the-curtain-and-make-funny-faces pictures. They are really funny and as soon as I can scan them in, I'll post them.
We hit the outlet malls on the way out of town and ended up having a yummy dinner at a restaurant near the Kent Narrows bridge. I had a delicious lobster - sooooooo good.
Finally got home around midnight and crashed. Tired but very happy.
This morning I woke up crazy early to teach Sunday school and once I got home from church, I have been sooooo tired. Man, when I was younger, I could go all day to the beach, have a late night, early morning and hit it again. Now I need to get my rest together so that I can party again tomorrow!
Happy Memorial Day!
Wednesday, May 23, 2007
I am frustrated with my job for a myriad of reasons. I am really frustrated with the quickly fading possibility of joining the Foreign Service. The reports coming out of the State Department (as heard through a listserv grapevine that I belong to) are really depressing and my hopes of getting hired sometime next year seem to be vanishing quickly.
I'm really frustrated with an online dating service I belong to. Yes, I have done these off and on for several years but I've decided that I'm over it this time.
I'm frustrated with my weight and my seeming inability to stop eating. Thankfully I'm not super overweight, just 10-15 pounds would get me feeling healthy and sexy, but man, I just can't seem to get motivated enough to increase the exercise and decrease the eating.
I'm frustrated spiritually. Next week we start a ten day Pentecost prayer and fast through church. I'm looking forward to it, but in the meantime, I'm frustrated with where I'm at.
I'm frustrated with my life in general. I've got a good job that pays well, a roof over my head, food to eat, friends to spend time with, more than one set of clothes, a loving family, the ability to travel and hope and plan for the future, the ability to freely worship anytime and anywhere, physical security and physical health and so much more. But I'm feeling stuck and frustrated by that. I'm grateful for the many blessings I do have but I'm still feeling dissatisfied somehow.
So I'm frustrated, but I keep putting one foot in front of the other and I'm not giving up and I'm still going. The road ahead is long and curvy and rough and hard and dark, but I'm not stopping or turning back.
I press onward.
On this road to remember.
I want to live an authentic and useful life. I see so many areas in my life that aren't that way, but that is truly my heart's desire. I know that only way that I can do that is to ask God for His guidance and to do what He tells me to do. To walk in the freedom that He promises when I follow after Him. And not just follow, but actually do what He wants me to do. That means saying no sometimes. That means walking away sometimes. That means saying goodbye sometimes. That means being a good steward of my time, energy, talents, gifts, resources and using them in the right places for the right things at the right time for the right people. What that looks like I have no idea.
But I do know that I want to be focused on living an authentic and useful life.
Thursday, May 10, 2007
Two road bikes, a cruising bike, and me on my tricked out mountain bike. The only thing really tricked out about it is that I have road slicks on it instead of the big knobbly mountain bike tires. Well that and the fact that my bike is red and black, my helmet is red and black and my gloves are red and black.
Because my bike is the smallest of the four, I found myself in the back of the pack pretty much the whole time. But that was fine. I thought of myself as the red caboose. We hit a really great trail near our house and except for the masses of gnats we kept running into, it was a great ride.
Then we came home and undid all of the calorie burning by eating Pollo Rico. It's this amazing Peruvian rotisserie chicken place near our house where the boys think the gringas are cute (even when we come in after an hour long bike ride) and the chicken is amazing. And the fries are amazing. And the dipping sauce is amazing (both green and yellow kinds). And the coleslaw is okay.
Ay yi yi for the Biker Banditas!
This is a picture of the world's largest rodent - the capybara. They are found in South America near rivers. I saw one live and in person when I was 11 at a petting zoo in Washington, DC. My best friend Alana and I wore matching shirts to the event.
Tuesday, May 08, 2007
Here's to more posting in the future!
Friday, April 13, 2007
Here is a picture of the lovely cast terrorizing our director :)
And this is a picture of the entire cast, crew, band, ushers, everyone involved with the show in some way. What's really funny is that you can't see the only people taking the picture were about 8 parents in a completely empty theater. Hilarious.
I'm not sure what's next. But I do know that I loved being on stage :)
Friday, April 06, 2007
78 % Nerd, 30% Geek, 13% Dork
A Nerd is someone who is passionate about learning/being smart/academia.
A Geek is someone who is passionate about some particular area or subject, often an obscure or difficult one.
A Dork is someone who has difficulty with common social expectations/interactions.
You scored better than half in Nerd, earning you the title of: Pure Nerd.
The times, they are a-changing. It used to be that being exceptionally smart led to being unpopular, which would ultimately lead to picking up all of the traits and tendences associated with the "dork." No-longer. Being smart isn't as socially crippling as it once was, and even more so as you get older: eventually being a Pure Nerd will likely be replaced with the following label: Purely Successful.
The Nerd? Geek? or Dork? Test
Tuesday, April 03, 2007
We've had three shows so far and they have been incredible. The audience has been amazing, the cast, band, creative team have all been top notch. We have five more performances this weekend, so come on out.
You can buy tickets at Ebenezer's Coffeehouse (201 F. St. NE, Wash., DC) or online at www.ebenezerscoffeehouse.com.
Monday, March 26, 2007
But today, I wanted to say that I miss my little fur baby. I had him for almost 14 years so he was a big part of my life. I definately recognize that he is missing and my every day life just isn't as full of life with him gone.
So here's to you, my little man. I loved you unconditionally and know that you loved me back the same. I miss you and wish I could still squish your little face and kiss your sweet head. Here's to the years we spent together.
Love your mama.
Thursday, March 22, 2007
Cupcake making last night with my friend Jessica, a cool e-card from my friend Monika all the way in Norway (who I celebrated my 18th b-day with a long time ago), and a Happy B-day IM with my friend Josh. Plus a fun song from my dad. It's shaping up to be another fantastic year!
Tuesday, March 06, 2007
Monday, March 05, 2007
Calmer and more staunchly independent than almost all those around you,
you have a long history of rising above adversity. Recent adversity has led to
questions about your sexual promiscuity and the threat of disease, but you still manage
to attract a number of tourists and admirers. And despite any setbacks, you can
really cook a good meal whenever it's called for. Good enough to make people
Take the Country Quiz
at the Blue Pyramid
Friday, February 23, 2007
Today I went and bought the battery and then with some advice from my dad via cell phone (he lives in Florida), I took out the old battery and installed the new one. So fun and sort of fast. It was also really cold outside, so I had to keep taking breaks inside to thaw out.
First time I've changed a battery. My dad felt bad he couldn't be here to help me. I told him it was good Foreign Service Officer training.
What's the best do-it-yourself car repair story you have?
Thursday, February 22, 2007
After digging to a depth of 100 meters last year, Japanese scientists found traces of copper wire dating back 1000 years, and came to the conclusion that their ancestors already had a telephone network one thousand years ago.
So, not to be outdone, in the weeks that followed, Chinese scientists dug 200 meters and headlines in the Chinese papers read: "Chinese scientists have found traces of 2000 year old optical fibers, and have concluded that their ancestors already had advanced high-tech digital telephone 1000 years earlier than the Japanese."
One week later, the Greek newspapers reported the following: "After digging as deep as 800 meters, Greek scientists have found absolutely nothing."
They have concluded that 3000 years ago, their ancestors were already using wireless technology.
Monday, February 19, 2007
I ended up with 33 countries = 14%. I have a loooong way to go on this one. Foreign Service...help me out!!
I would post the picture but it was too big and pushed my format around. I'm not sophisticated enough to figure out how to change the HTML.
Friday, February 16, 2007
So now we have choreography to two songs. Only 13 more (or something like that) left to go!
Thursday, February 15, 2007
Monday, February 12, 2007
My suitcase was packed for a Godspell cast retreat this weekend. Since rehearsals began in January for the musical, we have not yet had a complete run through of the show. This weekend was a chance to get away in the foothills of the Shenandoah mountains for two days and spend the entire weekend working on the show.
We learned choreography, we rehearsed our songs, we had to be off script completely with our lines, we had to put it all together.
I can't say enough about the hard work of our director, Kacey, producer Heather, choreographer Tiffani, vocal coaches Sarah and Ellen, and artistic director, Genevieve. They have put so much of themselves and sacrificed so much for us that I am truly grateful.
The show is coming along slowly. For the record, I am part of a tourist couple. My "husband" is married to the producer in real life, so I have a good time teasing them about my role in their marriage! I also have two solos and am nervous but excited about these opportunities.
I'll post updates over the next weeks. The show is Easter weekend and the weekend before. If you're in the area, buy a ticket, invite a friend, come ready to laugh, cry, think, be challenged, be changed.
Blessings on each of you today! May you step ever closer to your dreams and destinies, may you realize your potential to an even greater degree, and may you come to know the overwhelming greatness of Christ and His love for you.
Friday, February 09, 2007
I said thank you for letting me know. And I didn't mean it in a cynical or mean way. I really did appreciate the fact that she was pointing out to me that I apparently have been complaining a lot lately. And I really have nothing to complain about.
It's been almost 96 hours since I found out I passed the Oral Exam and I guess it has changed my entire perspective on things. I'm not enjoying so many things nearly as much, I guess because I have this whole new and exciting potential future ahead of me.
But that's exactly what it is...a POTENTIAL future. It's completely in the Lord's hands now. I have done everything I can do (except qualify for language bonus points which I will attempt to work on this summer). Beyond that, it's up to Him.
So I'm frustrated about a lot of things. But I'm also grateful that God is there looking out for me.
Wednesday, February 07, 2007
The Machine is Us/ing Us
Tuesday, February 06, 2007
I still can't believe I passed the test. It was grueling - just the paperwork alone to prepare for the test was insane. But it actually happened. To learn more about the test itself and what a Foreign Service Officer is, go to the State Department website. Basically a Foreign Service Officer is a representative of the State Department overseas in the embassies. It's more complicated than that, but that's the super duper basic definition.
Some of my favorite moments of the day:
1. My suit is about 6 years old and juuuust fits. The pant legs however are a little too short. So I wore knee high black socks so that when I sat down and the pant legs came way up my legs, it wouldn't look too weird. Tee hee. I teased someone later by saying that I was just dressing like the stereotypical government worker.
2. The giant hug I got and gave to C.B. who also passed with me. He is a wonderful guy from New York. We hung out at the Botanical Gardens in DC for a little bit while waiting to find out our scores. We were the only two that passed and neither of us was hopeful. To share that experience with him was and always will be amazing for me.
3. Making the assessors laugh. They are supposed to be stone faced during the entire process, but I was just being myself and made them laugh. I think that's why I passed.
4. Riding the train home afterwards and listening to the song "How Bizarre" on my iPod. One of my favorites and so apropos to how I was feeling about the entire experience.
To put the magnitude of this event into perspective:
Last April I sat for the written portion of the exam. Approximately 35,000 people worldwide also took this test and roughly 20% or so passed it. Of those 20% who passed (let's say six thousand), we have guesstimated that about 20% pass the oral examination. So with lots of guessing and some real numbers from the State Department, I am one of about a thousand or so who have passed both the exams.
But it's not over yet, I still have to have a security clearance/background check which could take months, I have a medical clearance, and then I'm put on a list to sit and wait for a maximum of 18 months to get offered a position. So there's no hurry or worry.
I'm just glad I passed. For now, that's all I wanted!