Thursday, January 28, 2010

another life lost

It was October when I first heard about the disappearance of Morgan Harrington. Morgan was a 20 year old student attending Virginia Tech. One night her and her friends went to a Metallica concert in Charlottesville, VA. I'm not too sure about all of the details, but Morgan went outside the arena by herself and she was never seen again. On Tuesday of this week, nearly 100 days after going missing, police found her skeletal remains. I don't know about you guys, but stories like this really mess me up. As of now, there are no leads as to who murdered this beautiful, innocent girl. I can't stand reading about tragedies like this. I get sick to my stomach thinking about the evil in this world. Why do people steal lives?!?! I have no idea if my reactions are normal, but every time I read stories like this I get really angry. And not just like Oh-poor-thing-that's-awful angry. I get If-I-could-I'd-kick-that-killer's-butt-from-here-to-Timbuktu angry. I know there is a reason for why I get this way, I just haven't fully figured it out yet.

It's girls like Morgan who inspire me to build Serenity Self Defense into a no cost safety/training program. I can't tell you how many times I racked my brain thinking about what happened to Morgan. "What if she would have known how to defend herself??? What if she would of had a weapon???" I know that in every situation self defense may not always help, but I have to believe that it can. Even if it only helps out in one violent situation that makes it more than worth it. In about a month my wedding will have come and gone. I plan on devoting all of my current wedding planning time to building Serenity SD. Anyone who would like to get involved please let me know. I plan on having a brainstorming meeting in April. In the words of PepperEyes, "Don't be the next victim, be their worst nightmare." I'm ready to read stories about THAT!

Rest In Peace Morgan

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

oh how i want to be in that number...


I know that I'm a few days late, but on Sunday the New Orleans Saints defeated the Minnesota Vikings in the NFC Championship and are going to the Superbowl!!!

The freaking SUPERBOWL!!!!!!

I cannot express the joy I had when Hartley kicked that beautiful field goal and WE WON THE GAME! For those of you who don't know much about the Saints, let me fill you in. Growing up, being a Saints fan meant being constantly disappointed and somewhat embarrassed. Year after year I would watch my parents put on their black and gold clothing (sometimes my Dad would even paint his bald head black and gold) and cheer on their team. And year after year, my parents and the majority of folks in Louisiana would refer to this team as the Aints. It was my 8th grade year when I began to notice how bad the Saints were and how poor of a coach the team had. His name was Jim Haslett, and he was terrible. The Saints also had a quarterback named Aaron Brooks. This guy would laugh after throwing interceptions (which he did ALL the time). So, I vowed that I would not be a devoted fan until these two clowns were gone. My wish came true in 2006 when Mr. Sean Payton came to town. Not only did he clean up the team, but he transformed the city.

Since then, I have been a crazy obsessed fan. Living only 40 minutes from downtown New Orleans encouraged my love for this team even more. In 2007 the Saints made their first NFC Championship appearance. I was working in NOLA as an Executive Assistant at the time and the city literally buzzed with excitement. Whether I was in line at the grocery store or in an elevator with complete strangers, everyone was talking about the Saints! Every car had a "Bless You Boys" sign in their window. We were proud of our team. Well, we ended up losing that game to the Chicago Bears. BUT, our time is now! It only took 42 years, but we've finally made it to the Superbowl. Win or lose, I am so very proud of my team. They've worked hard and deserve every bit of happiness. There is a video of fans in New Orleans right after we won the game. At the end of the video a jazz band and tons of fans marched down Bourbon St. singing the Who Dat chant. If you have a second, please watch it. It made my heart smile, and I hope it makes yours do the same. :o)

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

God never wastes anything

Everyday I receive an email from Rick Warren's Purpose Driven Devotional series. Sometimes the topic is relevant to what's going on in my life, sometimes it's not. Then there are those times where I feel like Mr. Warren is stalking me and has written the day's devotional especially for me. Oh how the Lord works in mysterious ways! The one I received today is called "Ministry: Shaped to Serve". Lately I've been feeling very uncertain about my college major and feel like God is planting a seed in me to go in a different direction. Not necessarily a different career entirely, just a different major. After reading today's email I was overjoyed and completely comforted. :o)

Your hands shaped me and made me. Job 10:8 (NIV)

God deliberately shaped and formed you to serve him in a way that makes your ministry unique. He carefully mixed the DNA recipe that created you. David praised God for this incredible personal attention to detail God gave in designing each of us: "You made all the delicate, inner parts of my body and knit me together in my mother's womb. Thank you for making me so wonderfully complex! Your workmanship is marvelous" (Psalm 139:13-14, NLT).

Not only did God shape you before your birth, he planned every day of your life to support his shaping process. David continues, "Every day of my life was recorded in your book. Every moment was laid out before a single day had passed" (Psalm 139:16, NLT). This means nothing that happens in your life is insignificant. God uses all of it to mold you for your ministry to others, and shape you for your service to him.

God never wastes anything. He would not give you abilities, interests, talents, gifts, personality, and life experiences unless he intended to use them for his glory. By identifying and understanding these factors you can discover God's will for your life. The Bible says you are "wonderfully complex." You're a combination of many different factors: "The people I have shaped for myself will broadcast my praises." (Isaiah 43:21, NJB)

Monday, January 18, 2010

but who's counting?


That's the number of calendars I have with a wedding countdown on them. One at work, two at home.

On any given day I can tell you exactly how many days are left until I marry my best friend. As the time dwindles down, I am feeling more at ease than ever. The stress from planning is turning into uncontrollable excitement. I've begun to let go of all of the details that I've been freaking out about and really just enjoying the end of my engagement. (It's about time!) Now that the playlist for the ceremony is finalized I sometimes find myself daydreaming about the moment I'll walk down the aisle and see Keith for the first time...oh how sweet it's going to be!!!

Saturday was my alterations appointment and it was such a surreal experience. As I stood there in my beautiful dress the feelings I felt left me speechless. I kept thinking "Oh my goodness...I am really getting married...oh holy cow!!!!" I feel so lucky to be marrying such an amazing man. I know that I probably sound like a broken record, but I really believe with all of my heart that God made Keith and I for each other. All of our past relationships happened with purpose to teach us things about ourselves and others. My relationship with KC is far from perfect, but it is completely beautiful. We get each other. We support each others dreams. And we love each other. And while our love is young, its the kind that is going to last a lifetime. There is a quote from The Notebook that reminds me so much of me and Keith.

The best love is the kind that awakens the soul and makes us reach for more, that plants a fire in our hearts and brings peace to our minds, and that's what you've given me. That's what I hope to give to you forever.


Wednesday, January 13, 2010

what does it all mean?

Yesterday at sunset an earthquake with a 7.0 magnitude hit the country of Haiti. I found out about this incident around 11:00PM and the first thing I thought about was my customers from work that live near Port au Prince. My next thought was "Oh no...what about the children from Compassion?" The children that I sponsor live in Brazil and Bangladesh so I knew they were safe, but what about the others?

I don't know why, but anytime there is a school shooting, natural disaster, or really just life taken away unexpectedly it always hits me hard. Before I became a Christian these things didn't matter to me. Of course I felt bad when I heard of disasters, but it didn't strike a chord. Nowadays, I am impacted by tons of these stories. When the Virginia Tech shooting happened I literally cried for days. When I found out about the murders of Melanie Goodwin, Eve Carson, and Anne Pressly I was a mess. I believe that God uses these situations to impact me for a reason, but I still haven't figured it out yet. I have a very low tolerance for injustice, but what does it all mean?

When pictures of the earthquake damage began being posted online I should have looked away. They don't put a "Warning: Graphic Photos" label on things for nothing. You would think this warning would have stopped me in my tracks, but it didn't. I began to see people of different ages and race lying lifelessly on the street. My heart stopped when I saw a baby girl being held in her father's arm. He was hysterical, and I can only assume she was dead. It's times like these when I wish I had skills to help. If I knew how to fly a plane I could bring supplies. If I was a doctor then I could go help those who are injured. Well, I can't fly a plane and needles freak me out. I hate feeling helpless. I am definitely praying for these people but I want to do more. For now, I will have to sit tight. But what about in the future?

The song that you hear when you come to my blog is called "Change" by Carrie Underwood. It's one of those songs that encourage me to no end. My favorite part of the song is this:

The world's so big it can break your heart
And you just wanna help
Not sure where to start
So you close your eyes
And send up a prayer into the dark

Oh the smallest thing can all the difference
Love is alive
Don't listen to them when they say
You're just a fool
Just a fool
To believe you can change the world

It's tragedies like the Haiti Earthquake that make me question what I am doing with my life. Pastor Fred just preached a sermon on living like you were dying. Well, I'm ready to start doing that. I want to help more and complain less. I want to stop letting all of the little things bring me down. I have been questioning what I am majoring in lately and feel like God is planting a seed in me to change paths. If you guys could, please pray that I would choose the path that He has meant for me. Also, please pray for those in Haiti. They need more than we could ever imagine.

Friday, January 8, 2010

more than a game

Last night, the Texas Longhorns lost to the Alabama Crimson Tide in the BCS National Championship game. The score was 37 - 21. During the first drive of the game, Senior Quarterback Colt McCoy was injured and would be sidelined for the rest of the game. While it may have been his last game as a college player, it will not be last we see of him. He was interviewed after the game, and in my opinion he said some of the most powerful words I have ever heard from a player.

"Always give God the glory. I never question why things happen the way they do. God is in control of my life and I know that I am standing on the Rock."

I am a Texas fan so obviously I am partial to liking Colt, but put aside the fact that I am a fan, as a Christian I am extremely proud of and inspired by this young man. Being hurt in the first drive of the final game of his college career could have easily torn his world apart, but he clung to his faith instead. As I watched his interview I couldn't help but wonder if I would have responded the same way to an event like this. I would like to think that I would, but to be honest I may have just freaked out.

I was listening to WayFM this morning and Brandt made an excellent point. He was talking about athletes and how critics point out that God is always thanked for a win, but where is our God when a team loses? Why doesn't a player bring up God for a loss? Colt was a great witness for Christ last night. There is a website called I am Second that is filled with actors, athletes, musicians, etc. that share their love for the Lord. This is an amazing site and if you have a free moment I highly recommended checking it out.

God definitely works in mysterious ways, but his timing is impeccable and His ways are not our ways. Praise be to Him.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

the big two four

Today is my 24th birthday. I know it sounds cliche but it really does feel like only yesterday I was 18 years old and graduating high school. That was SIX years ago! Time sure does fly by. I received an email today from an awesome website I am a member of. It was a happy birthday email, but it was one that made me truly think about my life and I wanted to share it with you.

Don't just count your years, make your years count. - Ernest Meyers

What matters most in life is often viewed as peripheral to the things that we usually focus on. Passion takes a backseat to production, wellness to working, and balance to busyness. The old adage that "life is not a dress rehearsal" is so true, and yet we act to the contrary by putting off what is truly important or indulging in things that are not. On your birthday, stop focusing on your age and start meditating on your life at this exact moment. How can you make it better? During the next year, reshuffle your priorities. Spend more time with family and friends, take care of your body and health by eating well and exercising regularly, and offer to help others in need. Discover what matters most to you, and make your daily life into a true reflection of those ideas, beliefs, and attitudes.

I don't know about you guys, but after reading this statement I am so inspired. I have the strongest feeling that 2010 is definitely going to be a year to remember. Thank you to all of my friends and family who are making this day so very special. You guys are amazing and I am truly blessed to have all of you in my life. And Keith, I love you baby. Thank you for making me feel like everyday is my birthday.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

high hopes

When I first started thinking about a title for this blog the Frank Sinatra song "High Hopes" popped into my head. Except it isn't he, it's she. "She's got high in the sky apple piiiiieeeee hopes!" For what you ask? Well, let me explain a bit.

In 2008 I received a random brochure in the mail one day from an organization named Team In Training. TNT is a sports training program that raises money for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society. Basically, they will train you for a marathon, half marathon, or triathlon and all you have to do is raise a certain amount of money for charity. I had no clue how they got my name and address, but I was intrigued. I researched TNT and they seemed like a great organization. So, without hesitation I signed up in October of 2008 for the Disney World marathon held in January of 2009. I figured if I was going to run something, I might as well go big and choose the marathon.

When I began training I couldn't even run a mile. When I finished training I was running 10 miles at a time! Unfortunately, I never made it to the Disney marathon. In November '08 I hurt my iliotibial band in the my left leg. This is a common runner's injury, and in my case was caused by not enough cross training. Alright, so what's the point of this story? The point is that I have never forgotten about Team In Training. In 2008 I raised over $2,000 for TNT and I am ready to tackle this challenge again.

Beginning in May I will rejoin TNT and begin training for the Nike Women's Marathon in San Fransisco, CA on October 17th! I am really excited about this marathon and am certainly not waiting until May to begin training. I've been working out lately for the wedding, but now that I have a goal to run this marathon I will begin running again. :o) I greatly believe in this organization and am looking forward to joining the TEAM again! If anyone would like to join me or wants more information about TNT, please let me know! This is going to be a life changing trip!

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

hair & make-up trial...FAIL!

Since our engagement in May I have known that I wanted to hire someone to do my hair and make-up. After a little bit of searching online I found a hair and make-up artist who was relatively inexpensive and had a great profile. I scheduled my appointment for this past Sunday...and unfortunately things did not go as planned. (I also scheduled our engagement pictures on the same day to try and knock two things out. Bad idea.) I wouldn't say that I had unrealistic expectations, but I did expect to really like the way everything looked. I do not think that I am a picky person, but jeeze this is my wedding day! This is the day where I leave my single life behind and join Keith on this adventure called life. I want to look and feel beautiful.

The first thing that Sarah* (name has been changed to protect her identity) began to work on was my hairstyle. I don't really want to say too much in case KC reads this, but she did a pretty great job curling, straightening, etc. my locks. She did what I asked regarding the style, but it just didn't look like I had imagined it. It was okay, and I didn't complain. Moving on, she started on my make-up. I chose to have the air brush kind because I have heard really great things about it and how it controls oily skin. Now I don't know if it was just my skin or the formula she used, but it looked awful. I had great coverage on my cheeks and forehead, but my nose, chin, and t-zone area were cracking! To make this long story short(er) I scrubbed this off my face, she applied regular make-up, this kind caked my face, and I rescheduled our engagement pictures for another day. The end.

Needless to say I canceled my wedding appointment with her and decided to do my own make-up. However I am still on the hunt for a hair person. Can any of you awesome ladies please recommend someone for me? I don't want anything extravagant done to my hair, I just want it to look pretty. :o)
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