Thursday, December 31, 2009

A New Decade

It's been too long since my last post. Sorry for the absence. December was a crazy month! Sometimes crazy months are easier to get through, because I don't have time to worry about whether or not I'm wasting time.

Today isn't just the end of a year, it is the end of a decade. 2000-2009 was when I became an adult, and some of my biggest life changes occurred in the past 10 years. New Year's 2000, I was 13 years old in eighth grade at a sleepover, which included Mario Kart and Mario Party on the Nintendo 64.

Since that night I have experienced many different rites of passage:
  • Milestone birthdays - sweet sixteen, rated-R seventeen, legal eighteen, out-of-teens twenty, legal-drinking twenty-one
  • Learning how to drive
  • Multiple firsts: date, kiss, dance, car, real job, drink, traffic ticket, credit card, trip overseas, time flying alone, shooting a gun
  • Graduation from high school and college
  • Went from living with parents, to roommates, to husband

And probably a million more things. The last decade was full of change, adventure, growth and some regrets.

2010 feels fresh and clean, full of possibility. I'm excited to experience life this year. I don't usually do this, but I this year my motto is: bloom where you're planted. Change won't necessarily make me happy, so I'm not going to try to move, but I did move my furniture around. That change does make me happy :)

Happy New Year!







Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Now I'm Free

The other day I had Taylor Swift's "You Belong With Me" stuck in my head. Before I saw the music video, I had a real problem with the song. I thought that we weren't getting the other side of the story, and perhaps this other girl isn't really that bad. Maybe it's the guy.

Here are my alternative lyrics (written by yours truly. I know, they're amazing), which are from the other girl's perspective after Taylor Swift gets her man. They are written based on the information you get in the song, not the music video. You might have to listen to the long to sing along.


"Now He's Through With Me"

You’re on the phone with my boyfriend, you’re upset
Because he said you were fatty once again
I guess you don’t get his humor like you thought you did

You stare in his house like a typical stalker girl
Yes, your kind of music makes me wanna hurl
I hope you get his story like you thought you did

I wear short skirts, can't help I have a great bod’
I’m Cheer Captain, and you couldn’t even make the squad
I'm dreaming about the day when you wake up and find
That he’s not right for you, and you’ve been wasting all your time
If you could see that you’re so desperately needy
Stealing people’s boyfriends, you’re so greedy
You satisfied? He’s through with me, now he's through with me.

You look frumpy in your t-shirt and worn-out jeans
I can’t help thinking that your style's gonna make a change
He always liked my cute clothes, so I don’t expect
That it’ll be easy

And he’s got a smile that could light up this whole town
I know you think that I’m the one who brought him down
Now he’s yours, you know him better than me
Is he smiling? Well, just wait and see.

You’ll wear high heels, he doesn’t like sneakers
I’m Cheer Captain, you can still cheer from the bleachers
I'm dreaming about the day when you wake up and find
That he’s not right for you, and you’ve been wasting all your time
If you could see that you’re so desperately needy
Stealing people's boyfriends, you're so greedy
You satisfied? Now he’s through with me.

Standing by and waiting at his back door
All my time with him is now over
You satisfied? Now he’s through with me, now he's through with me.

Oh I remember he was driving to your house in the middle of the night.
Just thinking about it now only makes me wanna cry
You can keep his favorite songs and fulfill his crazy dreams
Think I know where I belong; think it’s gone, completely free

Can't you could see that you’re so desperately needy
Stealing people’s boyfriends, you’re so greedy
You satisfied? Now he's through with me
Standing by and waiting at his back door
All my time with him is now over
Maybe, I can go be free, I'm finally free

Monday, November 16, 2009

Food Addictions

I don't really love food. I definitely fall in the category of "eat to live, not live to eat." Sometimes, I don't even want to eat, except to stop my tummy from feeling hungry.

However, I have had a few food addictions in my life, and I'd like to share some of them with you:

Honey Bunches of Oats cereal - in middle and high school, I'd eat it three meals a day on the weekends. I still enjoy it today, but not in the addictive way.

S'mores Pop Tarts - as seen in this early 90's commercial. Freshman year of college, I'd eat them at night with a glass of water, though now, I might enjoy them more with milk.

Peanut Butter was it for me Sophomore year. I'd often eat peanut butter in all three meals, plus some as a snack too. This was also the year that I gained a lot of weight.

Honey Roasted Peanuts - when I first got married, I'd eat half the bottle in one sitting. Soooooo gooooood!!

But now, my current food addiction is.....

Lay's Kettle Cooked potato chips, Mesquite BBQ flavor! They are delicious!!! I really have to use the self-control when I start munching on these. Thanks, John and Abby Gjertsen for introducing me to this tasty snack. Yum yum!

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

The Human Heart

There is a general belief among many westerners that humans are inherently good. We don't need a God to tell us about morality, because moral law is deep within our hearts.

The Christian belief is opposite, that we are inherently evil and are only saved through the grace of God. We know what is good from God.

Anyways, I was reading The Resurgence Blog and came across this great entry on the human heart. These questions are great questions to ask when you need to figure out whether or not your heart is inherently good or evil:

  • How do you conjure love when you hate your ex? Or the person who slanders you? Or your self-absorbed friend?
  • How do you make yourself joyful when you are paralyzed by fear and insecurities?
  • How do you summon peace when you are flooded by worries about your past, or present, or future?
  • How do you make yourself patient when your anxiety wakes you up at night or you can feel the anxiety in your body?
  • How do you invoke kindness when there are so many people who act like your enemy?
  • How do you strive for gentleness when you know that the meek are treated like doormats?
  • How do you stir-up goodness when badness erupts so naturally and feels more immediately fulfilling?
  • How do you enact self-control when your desire for quick pleasure is so out of control?

Inherently good, that would be nice, but it's impossible. Some people have more control over these areas of evil than others, which is why there are seemingly good people and seemingly evil people. In reality, we're all just as capable of the worst evil as anyone else.

If we always follow our hearts, we'll rot away in selfishness. Following God's will is the only true way, because God is good. Goodness is God.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Gaming Irony

Confession: I have low respect for video-gamers.

Worse Confession: Zane has gotten me into Zelda on the game cube...the doorway to becoming a gamer!!!!!

Growing up, my parents did not allow us to have video game systems. Our only access to video games was at grandma's house and friends' houses. Granddaddy had an original Nintendo, so we got pretty good at Tetris and Mario Bros. 3. The only friend that gave me enough playing time was my friend Bobbie, with whom I played Mario Kart on Nintendo 64.

My lack of exposure to video games gave me a hard heart toward those who love them. I scorned video games as a waste of time.

*sigh*

A couple weeks ago, Zane graciously let me have my own "account" on Zelda. He kindly instructed me how to use a game cube controller, and verbally led me through the Deku Tree. I killed all the bad guys and found all the treasures on my own.

Last night, I explored Hyrule field, met Zelda, killed some zombies, threw some chickens, and learned some songs for the Ocarina. Today, all I could think about was exploring Death Mountain. I'm afraid I have crossed over!

I'm getting good at using more than 2 buttons and a joystick instead of the 2-dimensional D-pad.

Yes, I think it's true. I'm becoming a gamer. But I will never play Madden.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

The Stressleupagus

The past two weeks we've been living in the House of Kennedy Zoo. A large, unwanted animal has been the main attraction: the stressleupagus. It hypnotizes us and pretends to be more important than other things, but actually it's just a stressleupagus. It divides my attention from Zane and vice versa. It's a menacing creature that's messing up our lives.
This is a rough-drawing. I made it in Paint, and I only have a touch-pad mouse, so it's hard to control lines. We try to ignore the stressleupagus in the room, but lately it's been commanding our attention. There are those times when we break free from its luring charms...

Like last night, when we unexpectedly had a free night due to a cancellation of plans. We ate fast food, watched My Big Fat Greek Wedding, and had fun just being together. I love that quality time!

The stressleupagus left us for an evening, but this creature's got ways of sneaking back into our perfectly happy lives. Be on the look-out and beware.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Recipe: Pumpkin Muffins

Since it's officially fall in Florida (meaning, I have put out my fall decorations), I think it's about time to share a great recipe that I did not invent. A friend shared this recipe with me, and I will now share it with you.


Pumpkin Spice Muffins
Ingredients:
1 box of Duncan Hines Spiced Cake ($1.79 at Publix)
1 15oz can of Libby's canned Pumpkin ($1.59 at Publix)

Mix both ingredients. Bake at 350 degrees Fahrenheit in a cupcake pan for 15-18 minutes. Makes 18-24 muffins.

It's really that easy!

I searched for nutrition facts, and found them here.

Now, I baked mine in this adorable cupcake pan made by Nordic Ware. Baker's Joy cooking spray is a must-have, because it has flour in the spray. Nordic Ware and Baker's Joy helped me create adorable leaf-shaped muffins!

Pricing:
Even though I'm not including the pan cost in the total recipe cost, I'll let you know the pan was $18.00 at Walmart. Most Nordic Ware bakeware is $30-$40. Not bad, Walmart. With the combined cost of Baker's Joy ($2.50 at Publix, but only used half a can), cake mix and pumpkin, the cost per muffin is approximately $.26. That's a deal.

Two ingredients + moist, delicious taste + affordable price + adorable presentation + fairly healthy = perfect holiday treat.

Friday, October 9, 2009

A Locked-Out Remedy

Wednesday morning I left the doctor's office with an authoritative command to lower my stress. I've never considered myself a stressed-out person, but there have been seasons of life that test my anxiety levels. I guess I'm in one now.

Yesterday, I got home from work, threw my stuff down, and walked back outside to water the plants. Since it was a blazin' 97 degrees Fahrenheit, I pulled the door closed, meaning to leave it a crack open, but it closed all the way. This door has a tricksy lock that locks itself all the time, so I immediately knew what I had done. I tried the handle in vain.

Zane had just texted me saying he wouldn't be home for a while. My phone and keys were now inside. No way of contacting anyone. No breeze. 97 degrees. Blazing sun. Work clothes.

In a semi-shaded swing across the street, I sat for a while, thinking and praying about whatever came to mind. Eventually, I realized I had two choices: sit here until Zane gets home, which could be hours away, or walk five miles to my parent's house.

I chose parent's house.

People don't really walk anywhere in Orlando. Especially in the suburbs. We drive. That's it. So, I felt out of place walking alongside the busy state road in my work clothes. Walking through my parent's neighborhood, I sang to myself and chuckled at my situation.

My fingers and feet were swollen, due partly to poor circulation and partly to bad shoes for walking. I sweated and needed the restroom. When I arrived, they gave me food, water, laughter, and free use of the toilet.

This whole situation had potential to be stressful. But it actually forced me to take a break from life and have an adventure, even if a small one. When the doctor told me to lower my stress, she probably didn't mean lock yourself out of the house. However, that 30 minute walk to my parent's house was the most lighthearted I've felt all week.

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Comfort of Familiarity

Here are 3 things that have recently occurred and resulted in that feeling of comfort due to familiarity.

1. A little while ago, football season kicked off. I don't really consider myself a football widow, because my husband is very conscious to keep me feeling more important than football. This usually means he watches only 1 game per weekend. Some wives are shocked right now that that's even possible.

Anyways, one Sunday I woke up from a nap and walked into the living room where the Buck's game was playing. (side note: my former Ohio-ian coworkers refer to the Buckeyes as "the Bucks," but we Floridians know that "The Bucks" are the Buccanneers. Even I know that, and I hate football.) I sat on the couch and felt a wave of happiness come over me. Something about Sunday afternoon football is very warming. I couldn't care less about the game, but just having the game on made me feel peaceful, like this is how fall should be.

2. Recently I got flyers in the mail advertising fall-type decor. I remembered I have fall-type decor, which I purchased last year. I switched out my silk flowers, flipped my turkey kitchen towel over the stove handle, and hung the "Hearty Autumn Welcome" door knob sign.

A different wave of happiness came over me than the football kind. This time I felt familiar because this is my stuff, and this is the second time I'm using it, which makes it a tradition. Zane and I have been married long enough to have a tradition in place. It was that weird feeling that it was already fall again, but I liked it because sometimes time should feel like it went by quickly.

3. Today I knew it was going to be beautiful weather, because Zane told me a cold front was coming. If that wasn't enough, there were also the many facebook statuses which echoed praises of today's beautiful morning. Additionally, my house was 76 degrees when I got up, even though the thermostat was set at 78. Since it's my day off, I decided to spend some of it outside.

I put on my jogging clothes and set out through the neighborhood. (By "set out" I mean briskly walked, because I'm not a runner or jogger). My mind flooded with memories from last fall. The most vivid of those memories was a particular walk that Zane and I took where we dreamed about our future: house, kids, money, the works. Remembering that walk filled me with happiness again.

All this to say, fall has thus far made me quite happy. Tomorrow is October. Though I know that the last 3 months of the year will go by quickly, I plan on making more wonderful memories to connect to this lovely fall season. Maybe someday we'll even live in a place where the leaves change. Until then, I'll enjoy my chilly 76 degree house.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Whistle While You Eat

Zane and I played a fun game at dinner tonight. It was completely spontaneous, which made it super romantic in my opinion.

I made beanie-weenies (I'll blog about my lack of cooking skills later). It was really hot, so while we were sitting in silence waiting for our food to cool, I started blowing on the beans in my spoon. I thought I'd be cute (by cute, I mean funny/annoying) and started whistling as I blew on my food.

The first song that people usually whistle (at least I do) is jingle bells. I whistled the entire song over a few different bites, until Zane said "You can stop now."

I smirked. He said, "Were you waiting for me to tell you to stop?"

I said, "No, just to acknowledge that I was whistling." What kind of answer is that? I don't know.

He replied, "You're whistling."

Then I started it up again. Not to be annoying, but because it really was more fun than blowing on my food. As I put my spoon in my mouth, Zane starts whistling on his spoon.

He whistled one of the themes from Lord of the Rings and smirks back at me.

So I whistled Pirates of the Caribbean.

So he whistled a different Lord the Rings theme.

So I whistled Indiana Jones.

So he whistled Star Wars.

So I whistled a third Lord of the Rings theme.

So he whistled X-Files.

Then I was stumped. I tried to think of the Last of the Mohicans or E.T., but all I could think of was Lord of the Rings and we had already done that movie 3 times.

After I acknowledged his win, neither of us could think of the Last of the Mohicans theme. We looked it up on YouTube. Now I'll be singing it all night and dreaming about running through upstate New York with Daniel Day Lewis.

Just another regular dinner with Zane and Deborah. Next time you eat with us, have some tunes in your head ready to whistle.

The Florida Gardener

Generally speaking, I have had a bad relationship with plants. I forget they exist, which means forgetting to water, which means impending death for those poor plants.

Until I got smart about it. I put my plants near the sprinklers that water the bushes which belong to the condominium. That, plus rain and occasional hand-watering when I notice they're drooping, has kept my plants alive!! This success has given me a new excitement for gardening.

Tonight, Zane and I went to Walmart to get some odds and ends. I hate that store, but going with Zane is the only thing that makes it okay. I always get quality time when I go with Zane because we browse the merchandise and talk about what we like and why. It's like a date, but not quite as good as a real date.

Back to plants, Zane and I parked near the gardening entrance, which meant a peruse around the greenery. I was familiar with many of the plants from reading a Florida gardening book that my coworker let me borrow in preparation for the yard I'll own someday.

Long story short[er], I now own a plumbago. It's a pretty blue shrub that I have seen nearly everywhere since I became aware of its existence. I don't have a photo of it yet, but here's a photo of where it sits among a trio of plants in my little yard:

On the left you'll see my sago palm, which I propagated from my parents' palm. The back-right is a begonia, which is hardy, but not very pretty I think. The front-middle is my favorite: the penta. I love this plant. It's so hardy and has beautiful dark green leaves and bright red flowers.

Resilience is admirable in any organism. I try to be like my pentas: resiliant and beautiful.

I'll update you when I get to know my plumbago. I hear it's also hardy and resilient. If it survives my gardening skills, then I'll plant it in the ground at our new house, wherever that will be.

New house? That's a whole new post!

Writing for the Writer

I'm currently taking a writing class, where I'm supposed to be dishing out assignments every other week.

I also try to keep a daily journal, which really ends up being 3-4 times a week journal.

My job involves writing for the newsletter.

I'm keeping a blog? Poorly.

I will do better! I'm writing another post tonight to prove it to you all!!

Saturday, August 22, 2009

The Black Widow

Yep, this was found in my parent's garage. My dad caught it with tweezers and put it in this small jar. I think it's a baby-food jar. That gives you some perspective.





She's looking at you!!

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Artist's Diary

This summer I was completely flattered when a friend of mine actually requested that I paint her something. She had seen some of my amateur art pieces around my house, expressed her love for them and her desire for one of her own.

As if that wasn't enough flattery, she also insisted on paying me to do it. My first artist job. I have to say, it was pretty fun. Blog-worthy, even.

Thus commences the tale of my journey toward artistic masterpiece for my dear friend, Kim.

Before I began to actually paint:
  • I sent Kim a few verses that could be written half on one canvas and half on the other. She chose Psalm 139:13, one of my favorites.
  • I decided to paint sunflowers because they are happy. I wanted to avoid the 2-dimensional, unidentifiable flower as seen above. I researched what sunflowers look like and took out the paint.



Step 1
(left): Paint a base for depth. My oil paint set came with an amber shade that does the trick quite well. Zane's friend saw it and thought it looked good enough to leave amber. I was flattered.







Step 2
(right): Paint the background. I usually paint the foreground first, fun part. Then I get frustrated and hastily paint a background.





Step 3
(left): Start on the foreground. I enjoyed painting the petals. I told Zane which petal was my favorite, but now I can't remember.




Step 4
(right): Add a center on to the sunflower. It was hard to make that brown color. I kept trying to get the center of the left flower to coordinate with the green on the right flower.




Step 5:
Lastly, I added some dimension to the center of the left flower and adjusted that green on the left to match a little better. I added the words, which was probably the most stressful part.





Once as a senior in high school, I painted a cut-out of cartoon character, Howdy Doody. I painted his name Hodwy Doody, and no one noticed except a freshman. I felt lame. I took my time with the words on this one.

Thanks for joining me as I relived my adventure in painting! I saw major improvement between this painting and the one that compelled Kim to ask me to do this.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

New York, New York!

...as in upstate New York.

For those who aren't aware, I'm a lover of travel. I dream of traveling to far off places and many of my favorite movies involve distant journeys and adventures. Once Zane and I save up some travel money, we'll start checking off the international list. For now, we go stateside.

This summer it was upstate New York. The, uh, Binghamton, Endicott, Newark Valley, Maine, Whitney Point, Vestal area.

I realized there are two different types of travel. The first type involves visiting tourist attractions. Leaning Tower of Pisa, Empire State Building, Largest Ball of Twine, etc.

The second involves nature, escaping your reality to go into a beautifully different climate. Yellowstone, Niagra Falls, Grand Canyon. Sometimes nature attracts tourists, but the focus is God's creation, not man's.

We visited upstate New York primarily to visit family. It was lovely to see them and even meet some relatives for the first time. Plus, the outdoor experience along the way was delightful. We discovered tiger-lilies (top right), hidden pathways (top left), and country cemeteries (right). Small adventures make daily life fun.

Okay, so the "hidden pathway" was actually just a mowed stretch of my aunt's lawn. Still looks pretty mysterious. Could it lead to the secret garden? Or the Quileute camp? Where do you think it leads?

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Humiliation + Free Food = Cow Appreciation Day

Yesterday, Zane and I took advantage of Chick-Fil-A's Cow Appreciation Day promo. For all you non-southerners, this is the day that Chick-Fil-A will give out a free combo to any customer who comes into the store dressed as a cow. If you've eaten a Chick-Fil-A, then you know how awesome their chicken is, and how much it's worth the humiliation.

Here on the left, you see our awesome cow outfits. I actually cannot take credit for that sweet Chick-Fil-A lettering, since this shirt was given to me when I worked at Chick-Fil-A. An artistic coworker of mine, named Claire, painted those letters. I did, however color in the cow spots. What a talented color-inner am I!

And on the above right is the photo of us in the restaurant. This is after we have thoroughly enjoyed our free chicken. I'm a little awkward-looking here, because I'm embarrassed 1) to be dressed in such a manner and 2) to have asked a stranger to take a picture of it.

After dinner, I took off the cow-printed over-shirt, Zane changed clothes, and we went to a movie at the "dollar" theater (usually more than $1). Nothin' like dinner and a movie for $3.50. That's what I call an economical dream date.

Friday, June 26, 2009

The Daily Grind

...when dreams get shattered

Reality. Life is full of reality checks. I have dreams to go places, do things and meet people. In my head, they sound like wonderful fairy tale adventures.

Unfortunately, realism has compromised my dreams:

The dream location: Living in an exotic place. "Exotic" is relative. It's only exotic because I haven't been there yet. The exotic-ness will melt away then I arrive, get a job. I'll have to go to the grocery store and pay bills. I have to do regular life wherever I am. Location does not make regular life adventurous.

The dream house. Every house takes work. It's hard to buy a dream house that doesn't exist, then impossible to build a dream house with small funds. But, what exactly is my dream house? Front porch...but not in Florida or I'll never want to sit on it. I'll have to clean it all the time, because the rain will wash dirt on it...and...wait...when did cleaning enter my dream?

The dream career: writer, actress, producer, whatever. Reality strikes again. Every job has its deadlines and demands. I'll still get worn-out doing what I love. Jobs wear you out, but they're kinda necessary for life. They give you income and daily purpose.

The dream kids. Ha. Kids are not perfect, nor will they make life a wonderful dream. Don't get me wrong, I want them and all. When they come, reality will be more restricting. I won't want to travel to Australia and leave my babies behind. Nor will I want to take them with me.

The dream prince. Being married is fabulous (disclaimer). That magical prince who carries you off is really great. When you see him every day, there's little mystery left behind his crooked smile. You know his flaws; he knows yours. It's a different kind of nice, but it's definitely not the pre-married dream that most girls have. It's a reality that you have to make into your dream life.

Bingo. You have to make reality your dream life.

There's nothing in this world that will make me happy unless I choose to be happy. I'll only be filled with disappointment when Austrailia turns out to be another place where people do regular life too. They just talk differently.

I still want all of the above.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Used to be a Christian?

Yesterday my coworker got a phone call from a donor. I work at a Christian non-profit mission organization. The donor took a while explaining why she was giving to one of our missionaries. She said there were so many people who grew up in Sunday school, who in college decided to leave the faith. She was giving to a missionary to college students.

My question for anyone in the world who will leave a comment-answer is this:

If you ever used to go to church or believe in God or Jesus, and you don't now - why? What were your reasons for quitting your faith?

I'm asking as a non-judgmental, curious Christian. Yes, we exist.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Digression and Progression

Two responses to negative experiences:
Fear vs. Fear
Confusion vs. Confusion
Feel Betrayed vs. Feel Betrayed

Resentment vs. Understanding
Pride vs. Humility
Anger vs. Peace

Pain vs. Comfort
Hatred vs. Love
Divorce vs. Devotion

One leads to a broken relationship. The other leads to a closer, deeper relationship.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

But what will people think?

How many times have you heard yourself or someone else say, "I don't care what people think"?

I'd like to call that person out on a bald-faced lie.

I realized yesterday how much I care what other people think about me. It's a lot. In fact, I'm wondering what my readers are thinking of me right now.

Think about it:
  • I tell a joke, so people think I'm funny
  • I dress clean and nice, so people think I'm pretty.
  • I say clever things, so people think I'm smart.
Many of my emotions are reactions to what people think. Here are a few:
  • I'm offended if they think I'm stupid.
  • I'm super encouraged if someone thinks I'm swell.
  • I feel ugly if it's implied I have no style.
  • When I feel like I can't please people, I don't even like being around them.
Most of the time people don't come out and say what they're thinking about another person. So, much of my reaction-emotion is based on my perception of what people think.

Basically, I like to be liked. I also came to the conclusion that I'm not alone, since I've seen similar emotion-reactions in people around me. Everyone wants others to think they're great.

How do you really, truly let go of what other people think?

I asked myself the question, "What is my purpose?"
To my utter relief, the answer was not, "To make all people like you."
No, my purpose is to worship God.

I have to break the mold and really act in a way that proves I don't care what people think. I have to only care what God thinks, because He's the reason I exist.

I debated a while over whether or not to even post this, since I'm worried about what my readers think. Everyone has opinions on everything, and it's too draining to worry about other people's opinions of me. But, oh, the power of suggestion.

I'll close with the words of a desperate girl, "don't judge me!"

Sunday, June 7, 2009

That Was Fast!

A couple days ago I was reading a couple chapters out of the Bible. Specifically, I was reading John 14-16. I came across this verse where Jesus is talking to his disciples:

"...in fact, a time is coming when anyone who kills you will think he is offering a service to God. They will do such things because they have not known the Father or me." (16:2-3)

I had to do a double-take.

I've been reading a book called "God is Not Great: How Religion Poisons Everything." This was on the recommendation of a seemingly atheist, self-declared agnostic friend. This books has a chapter on religious warfare. It was a great argument for religion equaling poison. Christians killing Jews, Muslims killing Christians, Christians killing Muslims, Muslims killing each other, Buddhists killing each other, Christians killing each other. All in the name of God. It's sick.

At the time I thought to myself, "Wow, this is awful. People are bad. God didn't really tell these people to do any of this stuff. They're using 'religion' for self-advancement."

People are bad, selfish and willing to do anything to advance themselves in this world or the next. Religion is pretty much poisoning the world. However, God IS great. His name is being wrongly used behind some bad stuff. Those people aren't worshipers of God, they're worshipers of self.

The reason for my double-take was that Jesus already said that like 2000 years ago.

Conclusion: Being "religious" doesn't always mean knowing God.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Pandemic

Not the Swine Flu, the board game.

I have always been a fan of games. Board games, party games, pool games...except sporting events. I like games that don't rely on physical strength, agility, flexibility, competition.

"Competition?" You rhetorically ask.
"Yes," I reply "Competition."

Example 1: Let's face it, no one likes playing Sorry with that person who chooses to kick you back to base, when other options were available.

Example 2: If during Phase 10 you find out your opponent needs a certain card to play his hand, choosing to hold it in your hand is kind of mean. You're taking the competition too far.

Example 3: Your opponent is only 2 colored spaces away from the gingerbread house in Candyland and the gumdrop card from the beginning is drawn. If you laugh condescendingly, then you're out-of-control competitive.

All this to say, there is a game that Zane and I have come to enjoy called Pandemic, where the competition is not between players, but against the game. All players work as a team to beat the game. It's amazing!

The game board is a map of the world (like Risk). There are 4 different viruses that infect different cities of the world. Each player has a different role in overtaking the viruses, such as Medic, Researcher, Dispatcher, etc. All players must share information and skills. If you kill all 4 viruses you win, otherwise everyone loses.

It's the game for those people who hate competitive games.

Don't get me wrong. You have to want to win to enjoy some games. You still have to want to win to enjoy Pandemic. Everyone has to win together or die together from pandemic viruses.

In Pandemic, it's all for one and one for all.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Living Vicariously through Rick Steves

Travel excites me.

These are my top 3 dream destinations, not in any particular order.

Greece. Watching the Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants (1 & 2) gets me fired up for a trip to Greece. Today, flights from MCO near $500 per person for a week trip in September.

Australia. Awesome accents, sweet hats, great actors. Australia has a lot to offer. Exotic, adventurous, the location for many exciting films. I've wanted to travel here since I first saw Rescuers Down Under. I even researched exchange programs when I was in college. Alas, the expense deterred me. $1500 flight per person. Yikes.

Ireland. This trip might include the entire UK if I have the time. Ireland seems so romantic, so full of history and adventure. Ireland charms my heart with its stone castles and cottages. It's also the most affordable flight fare: $349 per person.

Since I vow to only post my own photography, here are some photos of what the US has to offer travelers: gorgeous beaches, breath-taking farmlands, and chic cities, to name a few.









New Smyrna Beach, Florida
Somewhere in Wisconsin
Chicago, Illinois

Friday, May 22, 2009

Rainstorms

Every human being on the earth can relate to rain.

From the tribes of Papua New Guinea to the residents of Long Island's Hamptons, all people know rain. It is experience with rain that differs.

This weekend, Zane and I drove back from North Carolina in the rain. Heavy rain. Deluge rain. Scary-to-drive-in rain. The same rainstorm has been hovering over central Florida every day this week. While I sit warm and dry in my living room, I have one thing to say about rain:

It is glorious.

It also brings back some great memories. I'll share some with you.



England, June 2005. This rain was not like Florida rain. It was cold, windy rain. The kind that pops your umbrella inside-out while wisping away your body heat.





Nicaragua, June 2006. So, not the best drainage system, but this rain was essential to life. It kept us cool, day and night, in a country practically on the equator.






Hawaii, June 2007. If it were not for rain, we'd never get to see these amazing prisms.





Three parts of the world. Three great experiences with rain. In my book: summer = rain.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

The Post-Grad Syndrome

I just saw a trailer for a movie called "Post Grad." I see it as a smart idea. I don't know if I'll see the movie, but I do sympathize with my generation in our post grad crisis. Like Alexis Bledel's character, we ask ourselves, "What is next?"

In this 2009 year I have been to 5 weddings. That does not include the 3 more weddings I've been invited to (sorry I couldn't make it) and 1 more wedding this summer in which my husband will be best man.

Graduate, get married, then what?

Start a blog.

Actually, I have been advised to start a blog in the past. What inspired me today was the blog of an old high school chum. That, and many facebook links to blogs. I like to follow my inspirations.

Blog goal 1: site with interesting stories that keep readers coming back.
Blog goal 2: get my name out there. "It's not who you know, but who knows you."
Blog goal 3: be real.

Let the blogging commence.