Monthly Archives: November 2010

Fighting Discouragement

I have known about the existence of blogs for maybe 8 years now.  I first heard about them from my brother, who is generally up on all things current, especially when the internet or technology is concerned.  I’m grateful for the cool new stuff he shares with me, and thanks to him, I feel like I’m almost on the cutting edge.  This is actually my third blog.  I started one in high school and then another one when I studied abroad in Berlin for a semester in college.  Unfortunately, both of those died out, and I think they have been lost in cyberspace.  I began this blog shortly before getting married about 3 months ago, and this time I secretly wanted my blog to get big.  I had heard about people like The Pioneer Woman, whose full time job is blogging!  And she makes money off of it somehow (I assume).  And she does give-aways all time.  This, I hoped, could be a solution to all the traveling and all the not knowing what I wanted to do as a job/career.  As I thought more about it and stuck my toes back into the blogging pool, I realized that these hopes were a bit far-fetched and I should just write my blog with the purpose of sharing about my life with family and friends.  This took the pressure off and allowed me to just use one of the standard WordPress blog formats instead of making my own website, which I haven’t least idea about how to do, because if your blog is anything big, it has its own url and web design, not the free WordPress one!

Recently, I’ve been exploring more blogs, and have been surprised and a little intimidated by the immensity and complexity of the blogging community.  I started at the blog of someone I know: Emily. From her blog, I found out that her sister has a blog about nesting, which of course is a new found interest of mine.  So now I check both of their blogs on a semi-regular basis.  And they are always linking to other blogs (which, ironically, I’m doing a lot of in this post), inviting their guests to join twitter parties to get cool prizes, posting beautiful photos, and getting hundreds of comments on each post.

I’m not complaining.  I understand that they put way more work into their blogs and have years of experience and networking contacts.  And I don’t think I’m jealous of their blog success.  I think I’m jealous that they are working on something, creating something, expressing themselves in a difference-making and profit-earning (I’m not entirely sure, but they’re working on books too, so there you go, that’s a slight profit-earning activity) sort of way.  And I am still wondering what that thing is for me.

I get very easily discouraged about this.

I begin to feel that I don’t have any great skills at all.  I panic that I’ll never find a job, never find a place in which to do things I love and shape things for the better.  And then I wonder why I want to do something so badly that so many people wish they didn’t have to do.  I don’t want to rush to find any old job.  I want to instead trust the Lord, that he does have something for me.  That he chose to endow me with all these non-tangible, seemingly directionless, wanting-to-work-with-people skills for some specific purposes.  I want to trust that the Lord has ordained these days I am sitting here trying to figure out what to do and where to go.  I want to trust that the Lord knew what these days would hold, and what my life will hold before I was even born (Psalm 139:16).  So instead of panicking, I will rest.  And instead of getting discouraged, I will be strong and courageous, trusting that the Lord will provide.

Your prayers for this are always appreciated.  I’m definitely not strong enough to do this on my own.

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Happy Thanksgiving!

We are so thankful for how God has blessed us with such wonderful family and friends!  We are also thankful for a smooth move into our awesome new apartment!  We moved in last Friday and it took until Wednesday to unpack, sort, and organize everything.  My family arrived on Wednesday and we cooked up a storm today for Turkey Day!  It was a perfect temperature here today, so we moved our little kitchen table out onto our patio and ate Thanksgiving dinner (which happened mid-afternoon) out there!  It’s been great to hang out with my family and my husband, who has today, tomorrow, and the weekend off from his training program!  Woohoo!

Here are some of the dishes we made!

First, the breakfast foods: Pumpkin Muffins!

Baked Oatmeal

Egg Frittata Muffins (they were kind of like mini omelets)

The Bird

The Buffet

Our table

Chocolate Pecan Pie

 

Hope you all are having a restful, relaxing, and thank-filled Thanksgiving!

 

“Which of you, if his son asks for bread, will give him a stone?  Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a snake?  It you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him!”  (Matthew 6:9-11)

“Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good.  His love endures forever.”  (Psalm 136:1)

“Every good and perfect gift is from above…”  (James 1:17)

 

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Chapel Hill

I absolutely loved my brief visit to Chapel Hill!  It was great to be on campus again, to walk around North Campus and Franklin Street and to sit in the pit.  For 4 hours!  I really enjoyed seeing dear friends, and it was encouraging to hear about their busy college lives.  Thanks to everyone who took the time to come by and see me.  It really lifted my spirits!  And sorry if I left before you could come by!  I’m sorry I missed seeing you guys.

Also, we are moving into our first apartment tomorrow!!!  Just in time for a cozy Thanksgiving!  I’m currently looking up delicious recipes and cute table decorating ideas!  Would love any suggestions you have (including any traditions you love)! So far my biggest source for these is realsimple.com!

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Lions, Tigers, and Bears, OH MY!

Yesterday I went to an animal rehabilitation center called Noah’s Ark.  It’s a non-profit organization that takes injured or unclaimed animals and gives them a home for life.  They have quite a few exotic animals from lions to tigers to bears to monkeys to parrots to llamas to bison!  I was pleasantly surprised by the amount and variety of animals they had!  I asked the woman at the sign-in desk where the animals came from and she gave me a couple of stories of some of the animals.  For example, their zebra, named Evidence, fell off the back of a truck and no one ever claimed him.

Three of their tigers belonged to a man who owned a small circus, and he gave “Charlie’s Angels” to Noah’s Ark when he retired.  Here’s one of them:

The craziest story, though, was how they got their lion, tiger, and bear trio that all live in the same cage: a drug bust in Atlanta.  Police found them in the back of the car/van with the drugs.  They had been neutered and de-clawed as cubs.  The three were so used to living with each other that Noah’s Ark built a habitat for all three to live in together.  They seemed quite happy together.  When I walked by the first time, the tiger and lion were sleeping next to each other (I didn’t see the bear).

The next time I walked by, however, the lion was up near the fence, intently watching the parrot cage, which proved understandable because they were making SO much noise!  They were squaking up a storm.  I would have glared at them too.

I don’t know the stories for the rest of the animals, but there sure were a lot more.  When I first walked in the exhibit area, I was greeted by this huge ostrich!  I think he was feeling threatened, at least he looked like he was trying to be intimidating.  I was happy there was a fence between us.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

There were also peacocks and bison:

As well as a ton of llamas!  The llamas weren’t in a separate cage; they were free to roam around inside the entire caged exhibition area.  It was pretty cool being able to get so close to them.  They were still kind of wary and would just watch you walk by them.

A couple brought their little lap dogs into the exhibition area, which is against the rules, and the llama herd set their eyes on those little dogs and just followed them!  It was really funny to watch, except that I found out later from the lady that runs the place that the llamas would have killed the dogs if they had the chance.

There were even four llamas all the way down at the entrance/exit of the exhibition area that watched the dogs intently and tried to follow them out.  Once the dogs made it safely out of the exhibition area, the llamas took the path back to the rest of the herd.  It was a hilarious sight!

The llamas were funny, but the monkeys were my favorite.  They had several monkey cages with different kinds of primates, and I’m not sure what these were, but they were so agile!  They would swing all over the cage and the gymnastics bars that were hung across their habitat with all four limbs and their tail!  It was incredible to watch them swing and climb so effortlessly and quickly.  They would come and hang on the cage in front of you like this:

In case you can’t tell, the monkey in this bottom picture has his arms crossed to help him hang on and is also using his tail to grip the cage above his head!

One last highlight was the lady that ran the place.  She was 80, but didn’t look it or act it!  She drove around the exhibition area in a zebra striped golf cart with a zebra striped jacket and zebra striped purse!  She told me that she has so much zebra stuff because everyone gives it to her because Noah’s Ark is kind of famous for its zebra.  So when a group donated this golf cart to help her get around the area, she had it painted zebra striped for fun.  I didn’t get a great picture, but here’s the back:

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Waffle House

My opinion of Waffle Houses has been changing over the past month, and it got the final push over to the positive side of the spectrum this morning.  It first started to change when my husband and I met one of his long-time friends at a Waffle House in Athens, GA.  This friend loves Waffle House and the WaHo crowd so much that he worked there for a while.  His love for Waffle House rubbed off on me.  As we sat at Waffle House and talked and laughed, my feelings slowly got pushed from “ewww why would I ever go to Waffle House?” to a warm, cozy place to have a fun time and swap ridiculous stories, even if it was still a little gross.  Then, I saw an article in a local newspaper in Midtown, Atlanta that was about the author’s 24 hour stay at a Waffle House.  Reading about her experiences gave the Waffle House an endearing personality in my mind.

So my resolve to be disgusted by Waffle House was slowly melting, and this morning I decided to camp out at a Waffle House for about 2 hours.  I drank coffee, read USA Today, completed the Sudoku (another victory!  yay!), and read the Bible.  At first I was a little hesitant, on my guard.  After all, Waffle House is a little sketchy.  As the time passed, I overheard waitresses talking with customers (on a first name basis) and my waitress struck up a conversation with me.  She asked me what was in the paper this morning and told me that she liked my book (the Bible).  We then talked about how she became a Christian at a revival in Memphis back in 1985 and is now a minister at a church nearby when she’s not working at Waffle House.  And as more time passed, more employees talked with me and the other customers, and it occurred to me, Waffle House is the kind of place where all the people in the restaurant talk with each other.  Conversations are overheard, and they’re meant to be overheard.  You’re invited to join in.

For example, one man came in and loudly shared how he loves Waffle House, it’s his favorite restaurant.  He drives trucks all across the country, and he always stops at Waffle Houses.  One time he had such a great waitress that he tipped her $5, and he called the corporate Waffle House headquarters to tell them what a great job she had done.  When he went back a couple of months later and requested her to be his waitress, he was surprised to hear that she was no longer working there because she was in jail.  He asked what she was in jail for and they said that one day a customer only tipped her a penny, and she followed him out and shot him!  Everyone laughed and shook their head and said “some people are crazy.”

Waffle Houses may be associated with crime, cheap food, and less than sanitary conditions, but I now have some pretty fond memories and a willingness to dine in them on occasion.

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Dali

A couple of days ago, I went to the Atlanta High Museum of Art to see their special Dali exhibit.  I was honestly not that excited about seeing a whole floor of Dali’s work because I had only ever seen his really wacky surrealism, like the painting of the melting clocks, in my Spanish textbooks.  The exhibit was actually very interesting and slightly less wacky than I was expecting.  It turns out that Dali adopted classicism a little later in his career, though he adopted it only because he felt his surrealistic subconscious was most free in it.  So, his work was still strange but interestingly incorporated Renaissance styles and famous figures, like the Virgin Mary.  His Catholic influence might have also lead to the use of the Virgin Mary in his art.  He was amazingly talented at painting.  I was especially impressed with one exhibit of his exact replica of some famous Renaissance painting I don’t remember then name of!

Dali was famous for his mustache, as many of you may have known.  Here’s a famous picture of him with his ‘stache.

The museum displayed a really fun photo-shoot of his mustache and him in different positions that related to his answers in a mock interview written by his photographer (a close friend) and him.  For example, one of the question and answer sets was something about public opinion of his mustache, and his response was something like “the winds of public opinion are always blowing.”  The corresponding picture was of his long mustache without the grease in it that pointed it up on either side blowing to one side of his mouth.  In another one, Dali’s answer was “Infinite” and his mustache was greased into the shape of the infinity symbol, with one loop above his mouth and one below.  There were about 7 of these Q & A and corresponding pictures, and that might have been my favorite part of the exhibit.

And Dali didn’t restrict himself to painting.  He also designed jewelry (for rich, famous celebs):

So, I guess I still think he’s pretty off the wall, but I have a greater appreciation for his artistic ability and amazing creativity.

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Victory!

I completed a big sudoku today for the first time EVER!  By “big sudoku” I mean one whose numbers go from 1 to 9.  I’ve completed the 1-6 sudoku in the USA Today paper puzzle section almost everyday for two weeks, but I hadn’t had the confidence to try the big one until a couple of days ago.  The first attempts didn’t go so well, but today was my lucky day, because after many minutes and much concentration, I placed all the numbers in their intended boxes!  It was a great feeling, and here’s the victory photo:

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