Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Hodgepodge


1. When were you last facing an ocean? Using just ONE word, describe how you felt as you faced that ocean. 
I had a wonderful weekend last May at my friends Bachelorette weekend- can I go back please?? It's pretty much impossible for me to use just one word to describe my relationship with the ocean. But mostly I felt HAPPY!

2. What are three sounds you hate to hear? 
1) People chewing with their mouth open, 2) people smacking gum, 3) people talking with their mouth full... basically don't chew in my ear, or too loud, or while you talk.

3. When you shop for yourself, do you try everything on in the store before buying or do you buy, try on at home, and then return what you don't like or what doesn't fit? 
I pretty much always have to try it on in the store. I am a tiny person and I don't trust the sizes on the hanger. Except I did just order a few things online because they were so cute and worth the risk.
4. February 26th is National Pistachio Day...are you a fan of the little green nut? Do you use them in cooking and baking or prefer to eat them right out of the shell? 
Love them right out of the shell- so salty and good! But I also love pistachio ice cream.

5. When did you last have to compromise with someone? Were you happy to reach the compromise or slightly irritated it was necessary? 
That's a hard one to answer and I can't think of a personal example at the moment. Living in D.C I hear a lot about compromise and how this side or that side needs to compromise. But to me compromise doesn't mean just one side or one person giving in and putting aside their beliefs or opinions to appease the other side. Compromise involves both parties giving some ground. A lesson I believe a lot of people in this town still need to learn.

6. Have you ever written a letter to an elected official? Did you get a response? 
Hey, I think my mom wrote this question just for me!
I recently wrote 6 letters to said officials (although I didn't elect them specifically). I faxed them off in a huff- a hard sheet of paper is harder to ignore than an email. I sent two to each senator and two to my representative. One to their Washington offices and one to their Maryland offices.  I was fired up about something, won't go into here, and I wanted to make sure someone heard me. And I DID get a letter in response from one of them! I was pleasantly surprised. Although a little generic, I appreciated him acknowledging my letter and addressing some of my concerns.

7. We 'March' into a new month at the end of this week...what's something on your March calendar guaranteed to make you smile? 
I am already looking forward to the end of the month.  Easter and spring! Can you tell by my recent purchases shown in #3 that I am ready for warmer days?

8. Insert your own random thought here.
Basically over the weekend I drove 45 minutes (both ways) to get Sonic....

And that cherry-limeade was worth every mile!

Monday, February 25, 2013

Homesick

For me, "home" has always been a little hard to define. It's layered and complicated, although not compared to some people I know.

Home includes people and places, houses and apartments in New Jersey, Maryland, South Carolina, Tennessee, and England. A piece of my heart resides in all of them. I can travel there and back and both ways I can say I'm going "home."

Family scattered North and South, friends found across the world.

But lately I've been experiencing a weird form of homesickness. And it's been hard for me to put my finger on exactly what place I've been missing.

Then I dug down a little deeper into my soul and remembered that for me home is also airports and immigration officers, the arrivals gate in Heathrow airport, and train stations and suitcases, packed and repacked.

I'm homesick for an adventure.
Someplace still unknown by me.
The chance to meet new people, learn and love a new culture.

Don't worry mom, I'm not going anywhere anytime soon. But I have a major travel bug and I'm feeling restless. And it's my parent's fault really. They dragged me overseas when I didn't want to go. Swore up and down that I would have the time of my life. And they were right, I admit it freely and with thanks.

It's been almost 4 years since my parents moved back to the states, and 4 years since I last walked through immigration, handed them my passport, joked about how young I look in my picture, and heard those sweet words as he stamped the page, "welcome home, miss!" And I was ready to be here in America, I'd been away for so long.

But now my passport is locked in a safe in the back of my closet, and it's collected a little dust. Travel these days means less of an adventure and more of a means to an end.

Some of you might say, "but didn't you just get back from Tennessee"? You might even argue that one really should need a passport to go down there in the first place.

Both are fair statements and the South is its own culture that I eagerly embrace. I don't mean for this post to come off ungrateful because I'm so thankful for my retreat to the mountains, and for every Amtrak ride that ends in New Jersey to see my parents,  or a trip to the Carolinas for girl time. And I'm equally content to stay in my yoga pants and eat popcorn on the couch and not go anywhere.

It's just there's a whole world out there....and I'm homesick for it.
Image sources: 1 | 2 | 3 

Friday, February 22, 2013

Love On Our Walls

I wanted to share a little happy project I put together to help celebrate the season of Lent.

A while back I ordered the adorable Lent calendar from Naptime Diaries and was so excited to get these pretty cards in the mail. I love Jessi's blog and she has just cutest shop full of scripture prints for your home.  I couldn't wait to get them up on my wall!

I used some hemp/twine that I already had and bought small clothes pins to string them up on a boring wall in my dining room.

There are 41 cards- one for each day of lent and an extra one for Easter Sunday.
Pretty verses, some song lyrics and sweet thoughts on this season leading up to Easter. A wall full of inspiration and hope!
I wanted to share this with my mom and sister so I bought calendars for them as well. I measured out some extra twine and 41 clothespins, tied everything up with a pretty springy ribbon, popped everything into gift bags and took them to Tennessee with me last weekend as a special surprise!
See how my mom hung hers over here! Unfortunately Naptime Diaries is not selling these particular cards anymore but they do have a printable version you can order and still enjoy!

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Weekend In Pictures

This weekend I said goodbye to D.C....
and hello to family time in Tennessee!
The closer I get to those mountains the lighter I feel. 
We rented a cabin with fantastic views. This landscape is good for the soul, I tell you!
So is time with my family...
...which always includes a lot of "Mexican Train" Dominoes because we're wild and crazy like that! 
 We did venture out to our favorite piece of mountain water. 
 
Isn't it just begging you to skip rocks across that smooth clear surface? 
Don't you just long for hot summer days so you can take a dip?
 We also headed into the Smoky Mountain National Park. It's sacred to our family.
   We communed with the Creator... and a lot of deer.
 This sunrise, that view and those people that I love so deeply were pretty hard to leave behind on Monday morning. 
Hope you don't mind the picture dump. But I had such a great weekend and the scenery was perfect so I couldn't resist sharing. Hope you all had a beautiful long weekend wherever you were! 

Thursday, February 14, 2013

I Heart Mail

Happy Valentine's Day! 

I decided to make some treats for the ladies I work with.  I found these adorable mini mailboxes in the Target $1 bin and then found some cute treats to fill them with.  
{Godiva Chocolate Truffles | Cupcake Post-It Notes | Pink Purell}

And of course I made some tiny mail to go in the tiny mailboxes with heart stickers and a pink sharpie. I may not love Valentine's day but I love giving and receiving mail!  
A full mailbox + a full heart. 
I don't know about yours... but this pink mailbox looks a lot cuter than my actual mailbox! Also I think I need to empty mine more often... the mailman probably hates us!
Hope your day is filled with love and chocolate and maybe some extra special mail. 

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Fat Tuesday

First of all...thank you sweet girls for those "I'm right there with you" comments on yesterday's post. I seriously felt so encouraged and just plain thankful that I have this outlet called a blog that's opened up this wonderful community of ladies!

Happy Fat Tuesday y'all, and laissez les bon temps rouler!I can't tell you the number of people I've had to explain King Cake to.  Maybe I'll pick one up on my way home for my uniformed roommate to try.  Anywho... for now my Fat Tuesday treat is a chocolate donut.

I have some "bon temps" coming up including a trip down south for the long weekend with the family. Can't wait to see those mountains...
I haven't quite decided what I'll give up this year for Lent, which starts tomorrow but I'm leaning towards soda since I drink it daily and it's on my list of 101 things to do.

I also really want to be more intentional with my quiet time. I'm so much more refreshed every morning that I start in the Word. So I'd also like to give up an extra 15 minutes of sleep. This way I can make sure I'm not rushing to get through a passage or my devotional and then not having the time to really absorb or pray over or journal about what I've read.

Pretty sure the soda would be the harder sacrifice, though.

Sorry this post was about a whole lot of 'nothin, but how exciting can Tuesdays really be, even the "Fat" ones?

Monday, February 11, 2013

Ask Me What I Want

If you ask me what I want most in life I'd tell you that more than anything I want...

to be a wife
to be a mom
to follow Christ with my whole life
and to fall more in love with Him everyday

Where are my unmarried, single-girl bloggers at??
I feel like we're not a hugely represented group in the blogosphere.
Maybe it's just because nearly every blog I follow seems to be written by either a newly engaged/ newlywed/ new mom/ or awesome mom blogger.
My perspective is a little skewed and don't you know that comparison is the thief of joy?

This in-between and sometimes frustrating stage of life involves a lot of waiting. And feeling like your on the brink of all you've ever wanted, but you're just not getting there fast enough.

Trusting in God's timing, while at the same time longing for Him to hurry it up!

I am learning BIG (sometimes hard) lessons these days. But I can so clearly hear God speaking to me everyday. Clearer than ever before.

Be patient, I have plans to prosper you. Trust me! Be HERE with me now, in this moment, in this place where I have brought you. You are exactly where I want you to be and I will not abandon you here. I know the desires of your heart.

I just have this crazy assurance that God is making me stronger, drawing me nearer, covering me in his strength. Strength to not just "get through" this stage, but strength to make much of Him all along the way- even when I'm frustrated or discouraged.  

And I am finding joy and excitement.
For the future, for right now and for everything God has promised.

"Rejoice in the Lord always.
I will say it again: Rejoice!
Let your gentleness be evident to all.
The Lord is near."

Philippians 4: 4-5

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Hodgepodge + Doodle

I am linking up over at my mom's blog today! Click below to share your answers too!
1. Chinese New Year will be celebrated on February 10th, and 2013 is the year of the snake. When did you last see a snake? Are you okay around snakes or do they give you the shivers?
I'm ok with snakes if I know where they are at all times, no surprises please! My closest encounter was in the middle of Covent Garden in London one summer. And I never miss an opportunity to share this picture of me being super brave and little a Britney Spears-ish.
Below is the less shared picture of me eagerly looking for the snake-handler so I can return my very real and very heavy new friend.

2. The color red in Chinese culture usually means good luck. Do you believe in luck?
I think maybe I believe in bad luck but not good luck. It seems that some people get all the bad luck and when it rains it pours. I find myself saying why them, again? Give them a break already! On the other hand, what some might call good luck I think is really just good choices, hard work, a positive/ glass half-full attitude.

3. Sledding-ice skating-building a snowman...if given a choice, which activity would you choose? Which of the three have you done most recently?I love ice skating and that's probably what I've done most recent, although by that I mean a couple years ago. I wish we would get enough snow so I could actually go sledding because I don't think I've had the opportunity to do that since before high school. Gosh I feel 24 right now.

 4. Ralph Waldo Emerson is credited as saying, "The years teach much which the days never knew." Where have you seen this quote played out in your own life?
The first thing that pops into my head is the time my family spent living overseas. How drastically my view of that experience changed- from the first days in a new country to 6 years later and my last day in our house. Both of those days included tears but for very different reasons. (read more)

Monday, February 4, 2013

Post Game Post

Well... that half hour game delay kept me up later than I intended for a Sunday night but what a game! I know I said in my last post that I'm not a crazy Super Bowl fan but that was a fun show last night. 

Since I live in Maryland and I used to live in Raven's territory when I was in elementary/middle school our house decidedly cheered for the Ravens. We hosted a small party at our house and my roommate went crazy making tons of food: pulled pork, cheese straws shaped like field goals, pigs in a blanket.

We stuffed ourselves and pretended to be more into football than we usually are. We were completely grossed out by the godaddy commercial, and we may have (read: definitely) teared up during the Budweiser Clydesdale commercial. But mostly we were seriously entertained by the running twitter commentary....

 And thank goodness for twitter during that weird power outage. Otherwise we would have been stuck listening to the CBS commentators come up with filler: "the lights are slowly coming back on..." 
Beyonce may have been my favorite part of the game. She killed it, sang all my favorite songs and I loved the Destiny's Child reunion! I wish I was as fierce as her. And man, that woman has some crazy strong thighs. I could have done with a little more Beyonce and a little less football after that show. 

I'm glad it wasn't a blow-out game. I always feel bad for the other team when that happens. The last quarter of the game was intense and definitely made it more exciting when the Ravens won. Who else wants to make a confetti snow angel?? And what they do with all the left-over 49ers confetti??

Friday, February 1, 2013

What I Read in January

Happy February everyone.  Admittedly it's not my favorite month. It feels kinda like a cold, gray, speed bump on the way to spring. And I'm not a huge fan of the Super Bowl or Valentine's Day either.  But, all those negatives aside, I did really love that even just yesterday I came out of work and it wasn't pitch dark outside! I can hardly remember what it's like to be able to walk home from the metro after work and still have hours of warm sunny daylight left to enjoy. But those days are coming my friends.

Moving on... I only read two books last month. And by two I mean only one and just half of another.

1. Defending Jacob- William Landay
A free sample came pre-loaded on my Nook and I finally read it and then of course had to download the whole thing. The basic premise is the assistant district attorney's son is accused of murder and he battles to defend him, not just in court. It's suspenseful and kinda creepy. It reminded me of the the book We Need to Talk About Kevin, which still haunts me years after reading it, except it's told from the perspective of the father instead of the mother. It asks really tough questions.  Like, do we really know what our children are capable of? How responsible are we for the very nature of their character? What would you do if this was your child?

2. Roses- Leila Meacham
I'm only half way through this one. It's a long family saga, 600+ pages. I would call it a love story but so far it's not a very happy one. It's tragic, that's the best word.  The characters are deeply flawed-pride I've decided is one of the ugliest human traits- but you desperately want them to finally get what they want but have fought against for their whole lives.

What have you read lately? 

"A good book should leave you slightly exhausted at the end. 
You live several lives while reading it." -William Styron