I am running my first Half Marathon on Sunday morning....THIS ONE to be exact. The Chicago Rock 'n' Roll Half. We will see how it goes....hopefully I will survive...hopefully I won't break, tear or destroy anything. This is something I have always wanted to do....it will be a pretty fun goal to achieve. I have friends that tell me I should get one of those stickers that says "13.1" or "26.2" for when I finish the Full. I always respond by saying I don't really know how I feel about that....bragging about finishing a race on the back of my car for all of the other Snellville drivers to see and be in awe of. Those friends normally say that if they did something like that they think they would have earned the bragging rights. Maybe I will sing a different tune once I have been through the experience.


my brother's birthday

Today is my little brother's birthday. He is 23. I find this very hard to believe. He is a grown man and has had a grown man life for some time now and I still think of him as really young. Happy Birthday buddy!


what happened to the tops?

So, I have this question today that has just been burning a hole through me. Who are all of these people that come into stores and buy bathing suit tops and not the bottoms? Have you ever noticed that? You'll be in a store looking for a bathing suit (maybe least favorite activity of all time anyway) and you see a bottom that you like and the matching top is no where to be found? You may even see several of the same bottoms with no top. I don't understand this. I was racking my brain today thinking about all the possible scenarios of how that might happen. Below is a list of what I came up with. They are not in any particular order...

Scenario A) Someone comes in only looking for a bathing suit top with no intention of buying the bottom...not sure why this would happen, but people are crazy.
Scenario 2) They come in looking for an entire bathing suit but forget to buy the bottom
Scenario D) They find a top they like, but don't like the bottom and decide they could find a "better bottom" elsewhere.
Scenario %) they are vacationing in France
Scenario 24) the dryer ate the first top
Scenario 5) they are on a budget and can only afford one piece.

This is not an exhaustive list of course...there may be many other reasons that my small mind cannot understand so feel free to let me know what you think.

My final question is....
What does the store do with all of those leftover, unmatching bottoms?


The Mosaic House

Almost 4 1/2 years ago now, which is crazy for me to think about, I took a journey overseas with some amazing guys. We graduated from Clemson together in December of 2005 and headed to Europe in January to backpack around. They felt like the Lord was leading them to move there and start a hostel as a ministry and the goal of our trip was to find a place to do that. I don't think they ever would have imagined the doors the Lord would have opened while we were there. Not only did they find the city, they found 2 people who have been integral in this process of getting them started. One guy, Jason, who worked in the first hostel we stayed at in Amsterdam, decided to partner with them in this vision. The second man, Mathias, a German guy who owned and operated 3 of the best hostels in Prague, met with us and is basically the man who helped them build and start the Mosaic House. They started over there about 2 years ago working for him and just recently the Mosaic House has opened for business.
Click here for the website. It is ridiculous how awesome this is.

It is really amazing to think that when they started this was just a dream with no idea if it was possible and now they are living in the reality of it. Really, really neat. If the Lord wants to do it, He will. We will get to be a part of that journey if we walk in faith and believe that He will.
"He who calls you is faithful, and He will do it." 1 Thessalonians 5:24

This is a picture of Daniel and David at the reception desk of Mosaic House!


my dad's birthday

Today is my dad's birthday. He would have been 54 today. This time of year is hard. I think about him the most between May and July. It seems these are the months when all of the "important dates" fall. His death, Father's day, my birthday, his birthday. Each day is hard for some of the same reasons, but also different reasons. This day, I struggle with the age he would have been. Each year that ticks off the calendar I think about how young it is, about how I never would have thought my dad wouldn't ever be 50, 51, 52, etc, about how tragic it is, about how I wish I could send him a funny card. I think about a lot of things or I try not to think. Mostly, it is still hard for me to get my head around the reality. It is the most surreal of things.
Here is a picture....a very old picture of him. I stole it off my sister's blog. I don't have any electronic photos of him.


Running for a cure.

On October 31st I am running the Marine Corp Marathon with the Diabetes Action Team to raise money to prevent, treat and cure this devastating disease. To here my story of why, follow my progress or make a donation, check out my personal page here.


i really, really, really....

...want to go here....


i got a camera.

Back in....well....I can't really remember when...early college maybe?....I got my first digital camera. It was a little Olympus...you know, right when digital cameras started getting popular. It was a good little camera. It served its purpose. It served it's purpose for many...many years...until very recently, in fact....like Christmas recently. I took that little digital camera to Africa in Decemember and after I got home and uploaded my pictures onto my computer I realized, all too late, that my little camera's days were over. My pictures from Africa (which is an amazingly photogenic place on so many levels) were terrible. They were all blurry, poor quality. It was SUPER sad. I was very disappointed. I have wanted, for some time now actually, a nice digital camera. My sister has had one forever and is great at taking stellar pictures. However, I retired my sad camera with no plans to get another one. I therefore, ventured to Jordan in March with no camera, but thank goodness one of the girls there is passionate about photography, so I got good pictures anyway. In June, I decided it was time to break down and buy a camera. So, using my government kick-back (my tax return) I bought a camera....this one....

It takes great pictures like these...

well....most of them are great pictures.....there is only so much a camera can do....


i killed some plants

I killed some plants recently, but then I revived them. We bought all of these plants for the summer women's events we are doing. The theme is "Rooted" so plants were a fitting choice. Somehow, unbeknown to me, I became the plant's caretaker. This is funny for many reasons. I don't own a yard and I have never owned a plant...taking care of plants could not be further off my radar so after a week....the Crepe Myrtle trees were dead looking...brown...wilted....dead. First, I had no idea it was my job to take care of them. Second, it wasn't like I thought about watering them and then thought, "No, that is not my job"....it never even occurred to me that they needed water. Whoops. So without even really knowing it...I killed them. We called the place we bought them from and they said you had to fill the pot up 3 times in a row, everyday and they would eventually come back. So, I have taken up my daily duty of watering the plants, even on my days off. After a week of this, I walked up and noticed something amazing....little green leaves coming through where there had previously been just brown, crumbly ones. I had revived them. For a moment I was proud of myself, until I remembered....I was the one who killed them. I broke them and then I fixed them.

I was reading in the Psalms back in the winter time and I ran across this passage that shook me up pretty good. It was this same idea of breaking and fixing...or I like to call it breaking and bandaging.
Psalm 66:10-12 says, "For You, God, tested us; You refined us as silver is refined. You lured us into a trap; You placed burdens on our backs. You let men ride over our heads; we went through fire and water, but You brought us out to abundance."

The thing that really disturbed me about this passage is that it doesn't say that other sources did all these horrible things to us, but it is okay because God brought us out to abundance. It says that the Lord did those things. "You lured. You placed. You let"...and then "You brought." I do not want to think that this is God doing these first things, but this concept is all over Scripture.

"You caused me to experience many troubles and misfortunes, but You will revive me again, even from the depths of the earth." Psalm 71:20

“on the day that the Lord bandages His people’s injuries and heals the wounds He inflicted.” Isaiah 30:26c

"Behold, the days are coming, declares the LORD, when I will sow the house of Israel and the house of Judah with the seed of man and the seed of beast. And it shall come to pass that as I have watched over them to pluck up and break down, to overthrow, destroy, and bring harm, so I will watch over them to build and to plant, declares the LORD." Jeremiah 31:27-28

When you come across passages like these and life situations that dictate the same it would be easy to turn a hard heart towards God. We really have to believe and plant our hearts in verses like Romans 8:28, in words like the ones that Joseph spoke in Genesis 50...
“You planned evil against me; God planned it for good to bring about the present result-the survival of many people.”

God orchestrates and allows, but there is a "but." Maybe, sometimes, this is the only way He can bring us to abundance. This is an idea that I wrestle with heavily. I am much better at accepting this idea when I am not in a "breaking and bandaging" time period. It is easier to agree with Romans 8:28 when things are going well.

So I killed the plants on accident....not for any good reason, which means I have no ability to claim excitement over my reviving them. When God breaks something and then revives it, thank goodness it is for a purpose.


my birthday present

This year I got myself a birthday present. I normally just get money from family for my birthday and I NEVER spend it on anything. I just stick it in savings thinking that one day I'll get something with it and rarely do. For some reason, I never can think of anything I want when the day comes around, and I am blessed with a lot, so there is really nothing I need. This year was different. I had something I wanted (I would say needed, but I don't like using that term for anything....so I will just say that this tool will be extremely helpful while training). I am training for a half and a full marathon. This is a Garmin Forerunner. It is an athletic training watch that has satellite GPS.
When you start running distances longer than 3 or so miles it becomes harder and harder to track how far you have really gone. Most parks don't go above 1.5 mile loops and who wants to do that 10 times? This watch tracks exactly how far you have gone, the exact pace you are going, time, calories burned, heart rate....etc. It's pretty amazing. I had a 10 mile run this morning and used it for the first time. It is a pretty sweet little tool. I am super excited about it.

it's my birfday.

Yesterday was my 27th birthday. That is right....I've officially completed 27 years of living. Birthdays, for me, for a long time have been sort of a strange thing. I cannot tell you the last time I spent a birthday around my family. If I wasn't working at camp, which was 7 years of my life, I was in high school and attending one. This means that most of my birthdays past childhood have been spent around people who were either a week before or a month before, total strangers. In some ways this has made birthdays for me not that big of a deal. Melanie, my roommate in Texas, says that this is unacceptable and fully believes that birthdays should be celebrated in grand fashion, that you have a birthday month, not just a birth"day" and that your birthday is "coming up" when it is at least 4 months away. She is very good at celebrating birthdays and always makes sure it doesn't pass with "no big deal."

This year, for some reason still unbeknown to me, I felt apprehensive about this day. I kind of just wanted it to pass by. It had nothing to do with the number 27 or with getting older...I don't really care about that...I just felt strange about it. This might have more to do with where I am in life in general right now....not sure....but I just didn't really care to celebrate or be celebrated all that much.

But I am lucky....there are people in my life who wouldn't stand for that no matter how I felt about it and the day came.....and there was celebration....and I felt loved. The celebration actually started on July 9th and 10th when my amazing sister, Lauren and amazing friend, Amy, took me on a surprise weekend trip to the mountains. We slid down rocks into freezing water, got kicked out of a national park area, hung out in Ashville, explored more waterfalls and slid down more rocks...ate yummy things, etc. It was amazing! They did way too much for me and went above and beyond. The celebrating continued on the actual day with a little birthday kayaking with the sister at Broad River Outpost, which is in the middle of nowhere near Athens. We did a 6 mile "white water" ride. It was super fun. The rapids were not plentiful, but it was fun. The best part was when we realized me missed a better rapid, so we got of the kayaks, dragged them back up the river, lugged them up a huge rock and put them back in the water to go down the better rapid.

After this, Lauren had planned a surprise dinner at Uncle Julio's (a tex-mex place from Fort Worth that happens to be in Atlanta and is SUPER yummy!!!!). She invited a bunch of amazing people and then we headed across the street to Cafe Intermezzo. I had been wanting to go there for dessert for a while. It was quite yummy also.

Like I said, I haven't been around my family on my birthday in a long time, but it was a blessing to be close to my sister this year. She did an amazing job making me feel loved yesterday...as did all the people who came. Thanks sister! You are truly wonderful!


things my dog has eaten.

Dogs eat things. They eat things that are gross. They eat things that they aren't supposed to. They eat things that belong to your roommates. My dog is no exception. In the house I live in there is a little landing halfway up the stairs...this is where she takes her "spoils" to destroy them. I often come home and find things shredded there. Here is a short list of some of the things she has eaten since I moved here....the list is not exhaustive, I am sure.
  • a paint roller....not the metal part...just the fluffy roller part
  • half a bag of York Peppermint Patties
  • a dangly feather cat toy thing
  • a bee...she really likes bees
  • cat poop....whenever this can be found
  • an Ipod cord....shredded into a million tiny bits
  • a camera cord....also shredded into a million tiny bits
  • cat food.....lots of cat food
  • 2 foam flip flops...unfortunately they were 2 different foam flip flops belonging to 2 different roommates
  • my turkey sandwich
  • a letter in a stamped envelope my roommate wrote to her brother
  • a granola bar I left in my car
  • a couple of pens
  • several tubes of my chapstick
  • a cookie out of my hand


hiking in Yosemite.

One of my favorite activities is hiking in beautiful places. If there was a profession in this I would gladly do it.....unfortunately, I am not sure anyone would pay me to hike. Amy and I both really love to hike. Our first day in Yosemite we didn't think we had enough time to do a long hike so we chose one that went to a point a little less than halfway up the Yosemite falls trail. It supposedly took 6-9 hours to hike the whole trail up to the top of the falls. We hiked for a while and got the "point" we were going to stop at and it was sort of a lame little overlook into the valley. We asked several people how much further it was to the top...I might have gotten a big smile on my face and a crazy look in my eye and that was it....we weren't stopping...we were going to try and hike the whole thing. Well...we did it....over 9000 feet in several hours less than they said it would take. Some would contribute it to gravity. Here is a picture of Yosemite Falls. We hiked all the way to the top of that...

About 30 minutes or so past the first point where we had planned on stopping, we turned the corner and saw this...

There was also a beautiful rainbow at the bottom of the falls at this viewpoint.

We both agreed that it was strange that they would map out a hike that stopped where the one we started did....I mean it was a really lame little look-out not close to the waterfall and only a short little bit later was this glorious sight. We were super glad that we didn't stop, but it even got better after this.

My favorite tree...Amy's favorite tree...

The top of this hike was the highlight of the trip. The entire trip was absolutely amazing, but this part was favorite! It was a great hike with amazing views of the Valley from the top as well as an amazing view of the waterfall. It was glorious.

At the top...

Amy has these really nifty zip off pants. She wore them as shorts that day, but decided to bring her pants legs along in case it was cold later. It was pretty chilly at the top, so she decided to put them on. I snapped a picture and it came out looking like she was an amputee. Pretty funny.
The flowing water at the top of the waterfall...
Maybe we are both looking out trying to comprehend the beauty and depth of this amazing sight.....I really could have stayed up there all day long....in fact, I could still be up there right now.

More random candid shots.....they are favorite....



Emergency Room- Brian Regan


only in the city.

Friday, I drove into the city to pick up my race number for the Peachtree Road Race. The city (any city) is an interesting place. In a very short amount of time I saw lots of funny things. The city is a wonderful place to people watch and I found myself missing living there. The funniest thing that I saw was a guy riding a bike in a very strange outfit. He was heavily tattooed (but not in a hard core tattooed guy sort of way) and he had on a helmet that looked like this one....

....but it was painted silver. He also had on a medieval armor vest that looked like this one, but without the designs on it....

He was wearing it over his t-shirt. I stared in awe as he rode past and I wondered what thought processes go through the mind of the person that A) purchases this 2) wakes up and decides that this is his desired attire for the day.....its Georgia.....its 95 degrees and humid. I imagined driving down 78 in Snellville and seeing something like that....it would never happen. Things like this can only be seen in the city.

Yosemite valley....favorite.

On the list of top pretty places I have been in my lifetime, would be this place...

A self-portrait driving into the park.....yes, taken while driving.

So fun! Yosemite was the third (and last....sort of) major stop on our journey out west. Our first day there was Sunday and as the previous post stated, it was a mad house, but oh so worth it. Even though it takes 2 1/2 hours to get into the center of the park where the welcome center and Yosemite Valley are, there are many pretty things to see along the way. There was this stop, where you could pull over and see an amazing view of the valley with waterfalls and a river in the distance.

Yosemite Valley at sunset...
One of the several amazing waterfalls in the park...

A river at the base of another waterfall...


5 things to know if traveling to Yosemite.

Some things you should know before planning a journey to Yosemite:

1. If you plan on camping in the park, you must plan your trip at least 6 months ahead of time. Apparently, planning a few weeks in advance for a summer trip to Yosemite is not really all that possible. You need to know the year before that you plan on doing that, so that you can reserve a campsite at least 5 months in advance...because if you don't YOU WILL NEVER FIND ONE in the park (thing 2 will explain why this is important). You would easily know this was the case if you visited the website...here are a few quotes from there...

"Be aware that nearly all reservations for the months of May through September and for some other weekends are filled the first day they become available (often within minutes after 7 am)!"

"Campgrounds requiring reservations are usually full from around April through September. You should make a reservation as early as possible."

"In May and June, you're very unlikely to find a first-come, first-served campsite" This one was bolded!

2. Camping inside the park is important because it takes 2 1/2 hours to get into the middle of the park (where most of the stuff is) from the east side park entrance. The first time we drove it we kind of thought it was a fluke...but it was not. It took every bit of those hours and even more when you were lucky enough to find yourself behind one of the many RV's venturing into the park. This is why people clamor for camping spots.

3. There is snow....lots of snow....and frozen lakes....in Yosemite...IN LATE JUNE. Hence, few camping locations open. And since there is still snow, one would assume that the temperatures at night are still quite frigid...and one would be right. But again, ITS JUNE....so who would know that?

4. Sunday at Yosemite is like Black Friday at the mall, a summer Saturday at Disney World or the REI Scratch and Dent sale (so I've heard). The park is a mad house...there is no place to park...little room to move in a 761,000 acre piece of land...over half of the Asian world is there...at the end of the day the bathroom looks like a war zone...and every RV or house on wheels that was ever made is there.

5. In spite of all the above listed things to know...Yosemite is totally WORTH IT. It is truly a beautiful place.

The first night we arrived late from Tahoe and all of the outside the park camping was full. A man and his wife offered to let us stay at their site, but after much debate and not really knowing what to do we put in a call to good ole' Virginia Creek Settlement....our favorite place. Unfortunately, all of the covered wagons had been snagged up, but we did get the last available tent cabin. The tent cabin was good, but it was not as much favorite. We did build our first fire, make some dinner on a camping stove and roasted some smores.

The next morning we got up early and made our way back to the outside the park campsites to claim one. Not only did we get one...we got THE BEST ONE..right by this amazing waterfall. Here is my look of excitement and content...

and here is our tent.....SO FUN! The water was amazing and loud and glorious! It was awesome! After spending a glorious day in Yosemite this is what we got to come back to. I could have stayed there a while longer for sure!


assaulted with tobacco.

This morning something happened to me that has never happened to me before and I am honestly still in a little bit of shock about it. I was driving my car behind a biker dude. I wasn't in a hurry. He wasn't going slow. I wasn't driving too close behind him (or at least I thought). We are driving down this two lane road and he suddenly hits his brakes, slowing down very quickly. He wasn't turning....there was no one or nothing in front of him...he just slowed way down. So I slowed way down....in that process got close to him and then let him speed back up and get a good distance ahead of me....and then it happened. His arm flew up into the air and I noticed a big, black blob flying through the air towards my car. And then, it hit...smack in the middle of my windshield.....his used wad of chewing tobacco!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! He had taken his tobacco out of his mouth and hurled it at my car windshield! SICK! I was in shock. I have no idea what in the world I did to him! I always know when I am in a hurry and a car in front of me is going slow and I am purposefully too close to them because I am irritated and trying to send a message (this is evil and it never works, but I do it nonetheless....there is an honest confession). But this guy...I was not close to him. I hate riding behind motorcycles and try to give them plenty of space. So, what did I do? I wish that I could say that I was filled with grace and forgiveness and that I said a little prayer for the guy just in case he had had a bad day, but that is just not how it went down. I laid on the horn. Was this move effective in making him feel bad about his actions?.....absolutely not! He threw his arm up into the air and with it his middle finger, but it did make me feel a little better....me and my Honda Civic with the giant wad of disgusting, cancer causing, chewing tobacco on the windshield. I feel like honking the horn was definitely on the more reserved end of what I could have done....it is definitely one of the more reserved responses that crept into my head in the moment...some of the other ones might have landed me in jail.