Versatile Blogger Award!

Apologies to all of you wonderful blogging friends for being MIA this week!  I have been super, super busy with working, volunteering, finally finishing up my med school application, and preparing for a family vacation...aaaaahhhh!  And thanks to said vacation, I will likely be around very little over the next week, but I'll give a full update upon my return :)

Before I check out, I just want to THANK Chloe from Trying to Throw My Arms Around the World! She has one of my favorite blogs to read, and she just gave me this lovely blogging award! :)

So the way this works is:
{1} thank and link back to the giver of the award
[2] share 6 things about yourself
{3}pass this award on to other versatile bloggers you have recently discovered
[4] contact those bloggers to let them know they won


My 6 Facts
I am currently attempting to learn medical spanish.  Ever since my husband starting learning Spanish and becoming awesome at it a couple of years ago, he has been bugging me about learning it.  Well, after our recent trip to Mexico I decided to bite the educational bullet, starting with medical spanish.  I figure I'll be more interested in this AND use it more, so picking up conversational spanish should be easier down the road....I hope.

I LOVE ice cream.  It is a very unhealthy addiction.  In high school, I would daily eat about 1/3 of an ice cream container.  And I felt no remorse.  I've learned a bit more self control as I've aged, but I can still down some dairy like nobody's business if provoked to do so :)

I do not have a favorite color. I used to claim pink because I was/am a rather girly individual, but I can no longer constrain my vast appreciation for colors in general.  I really, really love sherbert orange...I think it is gorgeous.  I am also a big fan of most greats and teals.  Orange and purple have a special place in my heart thanks to my devotion to Clemson University.  I mean, really, I'm just not too picky.

I am a chronic over-analyzer.  This often gets me into trouble when I think WAY too much about some things...like the best way to enter a pool, or the best position to put your steering wheel in when parking, or...there are just too many things.

I cry more in movies when animals get shot than when people do.  I know this is a very controversial allegiance, but it isn't that I care more about animals than human beings.  I just know that the horse did not CHOOSE to ride into battle.  And, therefore, it seems totally unjust for the other team to take the strategy of shooting the horse rather than the rider.  The rider was informed.  Plus, I know he's just an actor.  That horse might really believe it's been shot.

I danced ballet for 10 years, and I miss it like crazy!  My senior year of high school I had to go to physical therapy when my knees started acting up.  After that, I just never really got to dance a lot anymore.  Up until that time, I took about 5-6 classes a week (+rehearsals about half the year).  My ballet teacher was an amazing women who loved God, loved her students, and loved ballet.  She taught us so many valuable lessons, and she gave us the opportunity to make ourselves great...to persevere and work hard...to make something beautiful.  Sigh.  I love ballet.

And now for the really good stuff....
The award goes to...

Anne at Bibelot

Congrats, guys! :)


great quote

I have an irrepressible desire to live till I can be assured that the world is a little better for my having lived in it
-Abraham Lincoln


a test, an anniversary, and a zumba-experiment


In one word or phrase...relieved. and expectant. oops...two words! but both are much needed.
I'm dreaming of you...long hair. You are so elusive. It has been months, and you have still not arrived. At least I'm getting closer and closer to you. Perhaps this long wait will help me to never take you for granted once you've arrived!
Song on repeat...Kingdom Come by Elevation Church. It is such a beautiful song with such wonderful words. Check it out. Check, check, check it out.
Gotta write it down..."Commit your actions to the Lord, and your plans will succeed" -Proverbs 16:3
Lesson learned...no amount of worry or preparation can really prepare you for a big moment. In this week, I got some major test scores back AND celebrated my second wedding anniversary. I thought I was prepared for both. And both still blew me away. The first, with such huge relief. And the second, with such sweetness and with so many great memories. Aaaahhh...thank goodness life isn't always what we plan or prepare for!
Picture to frame
taken by Cameron Leslie, who we ran into while on our anniversary date night!
He was doing a photo shoot downtown and was nice enough to snap a few photos of us as well!

Highlight of the week...watching Last Comic Standing with my amazing husband. There is nothing like laughing your head off with your best friend to make the world seem right.
Weekend to do list...
  1. Go to the BEACH! :) Don't worry, I'll lather on some hearty spf before facing the rays.
  2. Zumbathon on Saturday morning! woohoo! I just started Zumba this week, and I really enjoy it. I can't wait to dance off those calories for a cause!
  3. Group date night. These are probably some of the best nights ever. Can't wait.
  4. Having our missions team take over the main services at church this weekend. We're showing video from our trip to Mexico, performing a really powerful drama, and sharing our experiences and our heart with our whole church! What an awesome opportunity :)



So this morning I woke up to my friend and neighbor Eryc calling to tell me that there was something in our yard Mikey and I might want to see.  Snakes hatching in our hard!!!  Having far more curiosity than Mikey, I jumped out of bed, brushed my teeth, and headed outside...only to find Eryc and our neighbor on the other side staring at a small hole in the ground.
We eventually discovered that what looked like a hatched snake egg was actually an eaten snake egg.  And there were four more healthy eggs in a small hole.  We had to decide whether to let the little baby snakes live or whether to kill them.  Our street has a creek/ditch along our back fences, and we have a lot of cotton mouths...very poisonous and very mean! So we decided it was wisest for Eryc to dispose of the remaining eggs.  I felt so bad.
THEN, after he'd dug them up and whatnot, Eryc found out that cotton mouths give LIVE BIRTH! So we likely killed poor little good snake babies.  There is always the possibility that they could have been dangerous, and with all of the young children on our street, we didn't want to risk it.  But still! I just hate that anything had to die.  At least now we can feel just a little bit safer! I'm not sure how I'd have felt walking out in the yard one morning only to find tiny snakes everywhere...even if they weren't poisonous!


anniversary weekend miscellany

(1) ain't love grand? Thursday through Sunday, Mikey and I celebrated our 2nd anniversary! We went out to dinner, went to the beach, went to a pool party, watched good movies we've been wanting to see, walked around downtown, went to the park, and celebrated father's day with our families! It was such a fun and FULL weekend.  And it was a WONDERFUL way to celebrate two years of being hitched to my best friend, my live-in rockstar, and the man of my dreams.  Happy anniversary, Mikey!!

(2)  taking group jump pictures is tough work.  We tried to take a group shot jumping into the pool when we were swimming and enjoying the summer on Saturday, and it took multiple attempts.  I just realized that the best one where "everyone" is in the air is missing Mikey...he's just a little splash in the pool!

(3) Shutter Island is excellent! It was slightly disturbing, and I couldn't watch some more spooky parts...BUT it was very interesting and had a great twist ending.  I was enthralled the whole time.  Edge-of-the-seat level cinematography :) 

(4) Does anybody know when "How to Train Your Dragon" comes out on DVD???  I have been really, really wanting to see it since it came out.  Now, I'm just waiting on pins and needles for any news.  I am so out of the movie loop apparently.  Has anyone seen it? Is it truly as wonderful as I've heard??

I hope everyone has an excellent week! Head over to Carissa's blog to join in on the miscellaneous fun if you're interested! Just click on the button below :)  And be sure to congratulate her on the newest addition to her family! :)

Miscellany Monday @ lowercase letters



Lately, I've been thinking a whole stinkin lot about the hugeness of my Savior.
And His grace.
And His love.
For me.
And I am blown away.

We were singing this song the other night at church:
Your love is deeper than any ocean
Higher than the heavens reaches
Than all the stars in the sky
Jesus, Your love has no bounds
Jesus, Your love has no bounds
Your love is deep
Your love is wide
Your love is great
Your love is high
Your love is all we ever need!
Your love is all we ever need!

And God, once again, reminded me of the HUGENESS of His love for this world.
Not just for me.
But for you.
And for the people you love.
And for the people you don't even like.

I thought of this world being like a snow globe.
And I realized that I normally think of God's love in this world being like the snow.
It's lovely and beautiful.
It could settle on anything, but it still leaves some parts of the little snow-globe-world empty.
Then I started thinking maybe His love is like the water.
It fills up every empty space, leaves nothing uncovered.
There.  That sounds more right.
And then I started to realize that if God's love is the water, then He just touches the surfaces of the world inside the snow globe...He doesn't permeate every part.
So I realized that it is not where God fits inside the snow globe.
God's love IS the snow globe and everything in it.
His love is everything.
Whatever the tiny homes and people and things are made out of...its God's love.
Whatever is surrounding their little lives...its God's love.
The sky, the water, the grass...God's love.
God's love is everywhere.
It is higher than the heavens.
It is deeper than the oceans.
It is not a sprinkle that touches our world in some places.
It is not a blanket that rests on top of our whole world.
It is IN and AROUND everything.

His love has no bounds.

There is nowhere I can run to escape from it.
There is nothing I can do to remove myself from it.
It permeates my life and this world.
(Romans 8:38-39!)

Now that's a love I can believe in.
And trust in.
And give my life to.


Kindred Spirit--Pet edition!

What pets currently reside at your house?
My dearest and cutest pal, Oliver!
We rescued him from the SPCA only a couple of months after getting married.
Since we know we won't have kids for a while (at least that's the plan),
Oliver has become like a member of the family...my little baby pup.

What is one really strange thing your pet does?
He is a terrier, and he has NOT lost his burrowing ways from hunting...
We will come home and find him burrowed between the pillows on the sofa.
Seriously, you cannot see anything but the tip of his nose!
Once, I found him INSIDE Mikey's pillow case under all the covers on the bed!

Now fess up here: give us your nicknames for your pets (we KNOW you have them- and we KNOW they're good!)
O-dog--along with my parents' dog, Oskar
Ollivark--because of his long tongue that will get you when you are unawares
Oll-Star (pronounced All-Star)
Ollivier (pronounced Olliv-ee-A)

Are your pets spoiled or not? (grin)
Without a doubt
Like I said, he's my baby dog
But I do draw the line somewhere...I know he's not a person
But he's just so stinkin cute that I have to give in sometimes!

Insert pics here :-)
Our first day wth Oliver! :) 
he was still a little rough around the edges..haha
He is definitely a mama's boy!
Last Christmas :)
But how can you resist this??
Or this? :)

If you've got some pets and you want to share your lovin', head over to Windy Poplars to join in!


real beauty

I knew Beth Moore was awesome, but geez louise, she is knocking my socks off with this Esther study! Some of us girls at Genesis (our church's young adult ministry) are going through the book of Esther with good ole Beth over the summer, and I am really enjoying it! She is so real about the struggles of being a woman, but also the JOYS of being a woman! I love it!!

One of the things from the second session that really stuck out to me was when she said (paraphrasing):
When God looks at you and says, "wow! she's beautiful!" He is looking directly at your heart

Now, I'm a good little Christian girl who grew up in a good little Christian home, and I've definitely heard that Christ doesn't look on the outward appearance, but instead, he looks at the heart.  But I've always associated that with when God is trying to look at our heart..when He wants to see what's in there, whether to judge or to rejoice.  But I've NEVER thought about God looking at me and seeing my heart as who i am.

Am I the only one rejoicing here?  I've realized that God looks at me and sees my heart.  
If that's where God is looking, then THAT is who I truly am.   
The world may look at my outside and think they can determine who I am, but they're misled.  I AM MY HEART.  My outward beauty may have its ups and downs, it may fade and disappear with time, but the beauty of ME can last...I am the me that only God can fully know.  And I want who I really am to be beautiful.

"Let the beauty of the Lord our God be upon us" (Psalm 90:17 NKJV)



Miscellany Monday @ lowercase letters

The movie Extraordinary Measures is, well, extraordinary!
Mikey and I rented it last night, and it was such an inspiring story...I don't do too well with sad or scary movies, and although this one definitely had some sad, touching moments, the overall story was so great!  I highly, highly recommend it.  Fo sho.

House alarm commercials are so ridiculous.  Someone always breaks in when the person who lives there is standing right by the door!  I'm fairly certain that isn't normally how it works...but I guess I couldn't really tell you as I've never had a home break-in experience.

When almost all you have eaten is corn tortillas and beans for a week, Zaxby's is an AMAZING treat!!  After enjoying it for lunch today, I have to ask everyone to forgive everything I've ever said about Chic-Fil-A kicking Zaxby's chicken loving tail.  Truly.


I'm Gonna Make a Change

My word! What a trip.

God has completely blown me away on this mission trip to Oaxaca, Mexico.  He has reminded me of His love and His faithfulness.  He has humbled me.  He has ripped my heart to shreds and started piecing it back together for Himself first, then for His people, and for myself last.  He has reminded me that He is the God over this whole world, that people from different nations who speak different languages and who live in different cultures can all worship Him with joy and thanksgiving.  He reminded me that He alone is God.

I left on this mission trip hoping to impact the people of Oaxaca, hoping to play games with and hug on some children, hoping to get to do a little medical missions…hoping for so much.  God was faithful to all my prayers, but He did not let me meet only my own expectations.  He left me hoping for even more…hoping to come back to SC and change the lives of people here, hoping that things really can change in this world…divorce, murder, poverty, sickness.  God is bigger than all of them.

One of the things that truly touched my heart on this trip was the PRAISE of the people in Oaxaca.  It amazed me that their services were so long and so full.  They never tired of singing to God and praying to God.  And more often than not, those prayers were not about their needs or their lives, but about how awesome God is, how faithful He is, how glorious He is, how loving He is.  God is truly worthy of praise.  And yet here at home, surrounded by more wealth and provision than I could ask for, I sometimes forget to praise.  I sometimes get caught up in my struggles, in what I want for my life, in how I want to eat or how I want to serve.  I forget that, no matter what, God is worthy of praise.  I forget how incredibly blessed I am to just know that Jesus Christ has saved me and given me life beyond sin and death! I forget that God is enough.  And He is. Oh, He is!

So now that I’m back in the good ole US of A, I have decided to make some practical changes in my life to remember how much God is worthy of praise.  I have decided to change my priorities and to stick to them.  God first.  People second.  Myself last.  Period.  I want to learn even more to love like God loves, and to not just love people in another country, but to love the people who are in my life day in and day out, to love those in need in my own community…I am going to give my life to God every day, to start my day seeking His face and His will for my day.  I am going to choose to praise my God because He is worthy of praise, not just when things are good or when I feel His presence, but ALWAYS.  He is God.  He deserves it.

I just can’t put it into words how much hope I have for the future…how much hope I have for this world and for my own small life.  God is so faithful, even when we are unfaithful, and I know He has big plans that are going to be carried out. I just want to take part. 

Mikey leading worship alongside the worship leader at Mission Victoria church in Rio.  Mikey sang a song in Spanish, and then the congregation cheered for more.  So Mikey and the band made some impromptu decisions on some songs in English.  We sing a lot of the same songs as the church there, so when the Mexican worship leader was familiar with a song, he came up to sing in Spanish at the same time Mikey sang in English.  It was a truly amazing service!
With some of the children after a craft at a VBS in rio :)
The boys hard at work digging trenches to put in some pipe to get water to the kitchen at the church in Rio.  Other guys were installing fans in the sunday school rooms.
The girls were in charge of painting three Sunday school rooms!  It was so great to get to do these service projects that left a lasting impact on the community!
Some of the kids in Manialtepec enjoying the dramas at a VBS
Praying over some men at a rehab center near Roca Blanca.  This night was amazing.  God was truly at work in the men at the center and in the men in our group!  We all left enthralled with the awesome hope and strength God offers us.
The giant rocks our team climbed on our last day in Roca Blanca.  We had a service, including communion, on top of the rocks.  It was breathtaking.  And an amazing way to end the week!




In one word or phrase...ADVENTURE IS OUT THERE!!! ("Up", anyone?)

I'm dreaming of you...AC...I will meet you only on rare occasions over the next week. But never doubt my commitment to you. This separation will only be temporary.

Song on repeat...Belief by Gavin Degraw!!! It is one of the hubby's favorites, and he put it on a cd he made me a while ago. I've recently become reacquainted, and I definitely can't complain!

Gotta write it down...Faith is putting God in every fill-in-the-blank (Beth Moore...Esther study)

Lesson learned...God is truly faithful. He is working everything out in this world and in me. I need to stop fretting and start just living, trusting that my life is totally in His hands!

Picture to frame

Highlight of the week...our last meeting for our mission trip before heading out. We all had to state why are going and what we expect. Some of the responses were so beautiful, and I am so stoked to get to go somewhere fresh, pour my heart out, and watch others do the same!

Weekend to do list...FLY TO MEXICO! Start sharing some love with the people we meet!


Prayer Warrior Wednesday

Cloe at Tryin to Throw my Arms Around the World started Prayer Warrior Wednesday, and this is my first week joining in. I just love the idea of all of us bloggers banding together to pray for one another and for the people in our other real-life relationships!!! God is so powerful and wonderful, and I am fully convinced that He listens to our prayers and He knows the cries of our hearts...and He wants to respond!

I just got home from a late dinner date with my wonderful husband after an awesome intro session to Beth Moore's Esther study. We are just starting to get into the meat of the study, but she brought up a few awesome things that I wanted to share to hopefully encourage you readers.

For starters, it's tough being a woman. There are struggles that it is difficult for anyone possessing a y-chromosome to understand. Fluctuating hormones is one struggle my husband, no matter how sympathetic he may be, will never understand. But the important thing to remember is that we are BLESSED to be women!! God has made us unique and separate from men to fulfill our own purposes...to do great things in the way only we can do them!

The second major thing that spoke to my heart is that God will NEVER leave or forsake us. We may not be able to feel His presence, but He is always there! There is no sin too great, no distraction too strong! God is always there. For you. And for me. Always. I've been in a season of life for a little while now where I feel like so much of my life is waiting and working...I have had to sacrifice some things I used to enjoy doing in order to concentrate on things that are more important right now. For me, this has caused me to struggle to maintain a sense of purpose. And with my sense of purpose in flux, my perception of God's presence is not always so steady. Which is why it is so wonderful to realize that none of that matters. My perception of God isn't what counts. it is the reality that He's there that really counts. Praise the Lord!!

If any of you have prayer requests, please leave them for me in your comments! I will be keeping you in my prayers throughout this upcoming week...I'd really love to be a warrior for Christ and for you! I truly do consider it a blessing to get to do any small thing to grow or help the body of Christ!!