Go Gators!

I love this time of year and one of my favorite parts about this time of year is college football! Since, I went to Clemson, a big state school, I love all of the Saturday game-time to do. My friend and new roommate, Amy is a huge Gators fan and had never been to a game in the Swamp. This past weekend her dad got 4 free tickets, so we packed up some stuff and headed down to Florida. We went to the gamer with her dad and her older sister. This was also my first Gator's game. It was super fun. We got great parking, great seats, did some minor "tailgating," walked around in a sea of orange and blue fans, laughed at all the funny Gator paraphernalia that they make these days, like sequence dresses with diamond gators on them and purses with orange and blue ruffles. It was supposed to rain, but the rain held off. The Gators won in grand fashion beating Kentucky 48-14. Really, really fun.


musical houses.

I have lived in Atlanta for 8 months now and in that 8 month time period I have had 3 addresses. I lived in the guest bedroom of my sister and brother-in-law’s house in Loganville, GA for a few months. They are wonderful. Cali and I thoroughly enjoyed housing with them and the Bassetts.

I then moved into a house with 3 other girls in Lawrenceville, GA for several months. Pictured below are these lovely ladies. They are each amazing. They are super fun to be around and I am very glad that I know them. It just wasn't the best place for Cali. As it turns out, having a dog can make finding a place to live quite tricky.
I just moved back to Loganville into a house owned by my friend Amy, with these lovely girls...

Since I seem to be playing musical houses these days and unfortunately, I am certain this is not my last go round, I am considering getting a P.O. Box. I mean, all of those $1 postal service address change fees are adding up.


the terrible 2's

Since she was a little puppy, my dog Cali has had a separation anxiety problem. You saw a little bit of it here and here. She destroys things and she salivates excessively in her crate and at back doors, when she is outside. This has been a massive source of stress for me as a dog owner. I can't crate her because every time I do, whether for an hour or 5 hours, I come home to a soaking wet dog and a soaking wet crate. I can't not crate her with a free conscience because she tends to periodically destroy things.

A few weeks ago, I crated her at my friend Amy's house and to my absolute surprise, came home to a dry crate. I thought this was a fluke and the next time she was crated...same thing....DRY. Since then, her crate has been dry every time and her salivation at back doors has decreased. It is an amazing thing! Maybe since she is almost 2 she is growing out it....maybe. One can hope right?


This song about the character of God is beautiful. If only I could lean into this truth today...

"A refuge for the poor, a shelter from the storm
This is our God
He will wipe away your tears and return your
wasted years
This is our God
So call upon His Name
He is mighty to save
This is our God

A father to the orphan, a healer to the broken
This is our God
And he brings peace to our madness and comfort
in our sadness
This is our God
So call upon His Name
He is mighty to save
This is our God

This is the one we have waited for
Jesus Lord and Savior
This is our God

A fountain for the thirsty, a lover for the lonely
This is our God
He brings glory to the humble and crowns for the
This is our God"



Today marks the first day of my favorite time of year! Can you guess what it is? If you know me, you can. It is the first day of FALL! You wouldn't know it if you are a Georgia resident because today you are experiencing 90 degree temperatures still, but there is the hope that those will subside and give way to amazing, crisp fall mornings very soon. This will be my first fall season back in the southeast. I enjoyed my years in Texas, but the thing I mourned there the most was the lack of an official fall season. The southeast does the fall quite well and I am super excited about it!
The official season change happens at 11:09pm this evening. My roommates and I plan on ringing in this season with pumpkin chocolate chip cookies to celebrate! Sounds like a great idea right? Here is a list of my favorite things about this time of year. These are in no particular order...

  1. It is college football season. Go Tigers!
  2. The temperatures outside feel amazing and make me feel alive! You can be outside all of the time and that makes me happy.
  3. The leaves...the orange, red and yellow colorful leaves cannot be beaten. It is, in my opinion, the most beautiful thing nature does all year.
  4. Hiking and camping. It is the perfect time of year to hike and camp and I could do those activities during every free moment I have if it were possible.
  5. Pumpkin things....pumpkin spice lattes, pumpkin chocolate chip cookies, etc. Yumm!
  6. Cotton season. When I was a kid this time of year meant we got to jump in the cotton wagons on our farm. My dad would fill them up and we would play and play. It was one of my favorite childhood things.
  7. Sweatshirts and fleece jackets.
  8. The holiday season. Fall gives way to the beginning of the holiday season, which I just think is fun. It starts with Halloween and moves into Thanksgiving and then, of course, Christmas.


rest in peace ottoman.

Whenever I am driving and I see a random piece of furniture on the side of the road or interstate, I always wonder how it is possible to lose an entire chair, sofa or mattress and not even realize it. I mean, isn't it funny to drive by a sofa on the side of the road? I think pretty condescending things like, "Idiot. Why didn't he tie down his crap? Why didn't he come back and get it?" Well...you know that whole Biblical idea of being judged by the measure you judge....well I am that person now. I moved some furniture yesterday in the back of a truck. Lauren and I loaded it all by ourselves and were really proud of our efforts. Drove it all 25 miles to it's new home. Unpacked it all. I drove to church that night and then back to the house afterwards and had no idea I was missing anything until my friend said, "Hey. Where is the ottoman?" I looked for it......no where. I then reasoned that I hadn't packed it and called my sister who reassured me that I had, in fact, packed it. This left the only other option being that my ottoman was somewhere on the side of the road, where it had been for the past 6 hours, unbeknown to me. I hopped in my car and road up and down the route to no avail. The precious ottoman to my chair is gone. Someone must have picked it up and probably at this very moment has their feet propped up on it. This is sad for many reasons; the first of which being that that is my favorite part of that chair and one of the reasons I bought it. I wanted a big chair and ottoman I could put my feet up on. It matched and everything. Sad day. I now have to buy one.

I will say, that I would have loved to have been driving along behind someone (at a safe distance of course) and seen an ottoman fly out of the back of a truck. I think that though it was tragic for me, maybe it was funny to someone else.


in need of marathon motivation.

I am seriously struggling with my marathon training. I started out quite hopeful because training for my 10k back in May went well and training for my first Half Marathon in August went well. I finished that race in a faster time than expected and thought that would put me ahead of schedule for marathon training, but I may have digressed since then. Here is what I have realized....
training for a full marathon is much more difficult and time consuming that training for a Half. The longest I ever ran before the half was 10 miles, which took about an hour and a half. With this one I have to run that weekly at least once, plus a longer run on the weekend. I am finding that I don't really want to run for 2 1/3...3 hours....EVER. It is hard to find routes that long where I can get water and food and a bathroom if necessary, that aren't 18 laps around a park. I also don't want it to consume my life, which it very easily can. I knew going in to this that I would probably really like the half and want to do them more and that the full might be a one time thing, so I can say I did it. So far this is very much the case. I am having to remind myself why I am doing this. I am not doing this for my comfort or even for my own personal achievement. I am doing it to help cure diabetes. I am doing it in memory of my dad and in honor of my sister and brother. I am doing it to sacrifice something in hopes of sharing in what they are experiencing and have experienced.
Keeping this perspective for the next month and half will help. An Ipod or a running partner or someone willing to ride beside me in a golf cart and hand me water would probably help as well. I would settle for just one of those things at this point. 16 miles is boring and difficult without those things.


an amazing acheivement.

My sister and brother-in-law are amazing! Back in the beginning of the Spring Lauren decided that it was time to fight back against Diabetes, so her and Trey signed up for a JDRF Ride 70 mile for the cure around Lake Tahoe. The race was scheduled for Sept. 12th, the day before a year to date of her diagnosis as well as her birthday. Not only did they have to train to ride 70 miles, they had to each raise $4000. The blew that figure up and raised well over that. There ride was a week ago tomorrow and they rocked it! They were some of the first people to finish the ride. I could not be more proud of both of them for their sacrifice, their commitment and their passion! They did something truly great and inspired tons of people!

They already have plans to do it again next year and are trying to recruit other people....myself included. You can continue to view their story here.

Lauren and Trey....I love you both!


i want a garden.

So...my sister has a garden...on the side of her house! It's pretty awesome. She has basil and she makes her own pesto with it. She has tomatoes growing out of her awning. She also has SWEET POTATOES! That is right...sweet potatoes. She can grab a shovel, walk around the side of her house and dig up a load of sweet potatoes. I have been asking if I could have some so today we dug up this bunch!
I wasn't satisfied with that arm full...I wanted to keep digging, but Lauren said I had to wait. These are going to make excellent sweet potato fries! So exciting! If I ever own any land....I will totally plant a garden!


a book recommendation.....

If you have relationships (and unless you live in a cave somewhere (which would mean no internet, which would mean you wouldn't be reading this) you should have some relationships) this book is a must read. It is not just a book for "leaders".....it is a book for everyone! There are an endless number of books on leadership, relationships, communication, conflict resolution, etc, but this book might just be the best of them all. It is the legs to "Love thy neighbor as thyself....or...as I have loved you." I often read that verse and say, "ok, but how do I do that?" This book is the how (obviously not an exhaustive how, but extremely helpful). It opens your eyes to the number one issue in relational conflict....YOU! Now, I realize that most people would balk at that because the last thing we want is to know that we are the problem...we want books on how to fix the other person, but that is not helpful to us. The book explains things in a way that opens your eyes to the reality that most of the time the way we handle things ends up fostering in the other person the very thing we are warring against to begin with.

Go ahead....go buy the book. Read it! You will see what I am talking about.


In honor of tomorrow...

It is football season, which means it is almost fall and both of these things make me very happy....as does this video!



what the heck is a Ho Ho?

My boss at church asked me recently if I would head up the kids portion of family camp this year. I agreed because I like camp and it sounded like something I would enjoy. It is also 3 days in the mountains and if you know me....mountains is all you have to say and I am in. Anyway, I went to Walmart today to buy the list of supplies I needed for all of the kids games. Someone else came up with the games, so I wasn't familiar with some of the items I needed. One game in particular is called, "bobbing for Ho Ho's." You needed bowls, milk and of course, Ho Ho's. I didn't know what a Ho Ho was. I actually thought that it was one of those generic bag cereals...you know, like a knock off cheerios. I walked up and down the cereal isle and I could not find anything that said "Ho Ho's," so I considered getting Honey Nut Scooters instead (who comes up with these names?). Lauren happened to call me while I was in there so I asked her and she didn't know. Then I asked her to google it and she was hesitant because of what might come up when she typed in the words "Ho Ho's." She googled it anyway, but with no luck. So, I then googled it on my phone and got lucky. Apparently, Ho Ho's are not cereal at all. They are Hostess snack cakes! They are Hostess' version of Little Debbie's Swiss Cake Rolls, which I LOVE! Who knew? Walmart did not however, have said Ho Ho's.....so I bought little chocolate donuts instead.
You learn something new everyday. My sister was right though....you should be careful when googleing "Ho Ho's." I did it when I got home to find this picture......
....and I also got a picture of Santa......laying face down...naked except for a Santa hat.......and I will NEVER be the same again.


a funeral.

I attended a funeral yesterday of a woman who was a wife and mother in her late 40's. She died unexpectedly this weekend. She sat in the same chair every Sunday.....this chair....

This was, by far, the largest funeral I have ever been to. It was really sad, but also very powerful. She lived a life that was worthy of the calling she had received and it was evident in that place, both on the faces of her family members and in the sheer number of people there to pay their respects. The chair above is a small tribute to her, as if to say, "Even though you are not here, we remember you." To me, this is the most difficult part of death....the fact that the person is just gone. They are no longer here. One day they are and the next day there is just an empty chair.
Funerals like these (where someone dies young and unexpectedly) are the ones that stop you in your tracks and remind you that life is short, that you are not promised tomorrow and that death is a certainty. They make you evaluate your life, lay things down, and realign yourself with things that matter.
This woman lived deeply and loved well. I really pray that when my day comes, people would be able to say the same about me.....that that day would be a day of victory and not regret...a day of hope and not sorrow...a day of worship, not mourning.