Craigslist "Free" Section Part 4

For all of you who are have been searching high and low for your very own concrete sewer manhole, you're in luck! Today is your lucky day! Oh wait...maybe you aren't in luck...the owner isn't actually sure that this large, cylindrical, hollow piece of concrete that is sitting in his yard is actually a manhole. I am really not sure how a concrete sewer manhole makes it into your yard without your consent, but I suppose stranger things have happened.
If you decide to go see this item to verify its identity yourself, and you determine that it is, in fact, the concrete sewer manhole of your dreams, you will need your very own crane to get it home, since the current owner specifically says that not even a Bobcat will lift this gem.


the Craigslist "free" section Part 3

A list of the reasons I think this post is ridiculous:

Thing #A) Who doesn't know how to spell "deer?"
3) Who thinks, "I know what I'll do today! I'll collect acorns, so that others can feed deer. And then I'll post an ad on Craigslist because surely someone is online searching for free deer feeding acorns.
H) Deer are actually able to find and feed themselves acorns. They do not require the help of human acorn retrievers.
%) This cat collected enough acorns that a bag or bucket is necessary for pick-up
8) What would you say when you called the number? "Ahhhh, yeah, I, uhhh....I'm interested in your acorns? My deer really like acorns."
Thing # Last) This world might just be crazy enough that someone actually responded to this ad and traipsed out to Kennesaw, bucket in hand.


the Craigslist "free" section part 2

Because you may not be able to read this to get the full affect, I will quote it for you. It says, "Homemade pencil tray, made from sheet metal. Made in shop class. Includes some bonus pens to go with it. Easy porch pickup."

If the pencil tray itself was not enough, and the bonus pen offer just tipped you over the edge and you just must have this item you may drive all the way to Decatur from where you live, saunter up to this person's porch and without dropping any cash whatsoever (that is if you don't count the gas and time it took to pick up the item) this little gem can be yours. Ahhhh....the joy of the free Craigslist free section.


the Craigstlist "free" section.

Lately, I have been doing a lot of Craigslist browsing. I've been looking for a new place to live, looking for a new car and looking for a job. It wasn't until a few days ago that I discovered the joy of browsing the section marked, "free." I think every now and then you may actually find a decent item that you are looking for, like free moving boxes or free firewood. Other times, you may find some real entertaining "treasures."

First up we have this tantalizing treasure...I almost can't believe it's free...

Please note that "free" is a reduced price from $2 each. I am so glad he reduced them because though they are absolutely worth every penny of the $8 total, I must have them and on the unemployed budget, $8 is just too much to spare.

This is just the first of several posts to come on this topic....stay tuned.


renewed hope

I interviewed for a job yesterday that I really, really want to get. This was my second high school English teaching interview. The first one, as documented here, went horribly and left me feeling so discouraged for trying to be a teacher. They really made me feel like I was an idiot for even trying to do alternative certification to get a teaching job...like it was an absurd idea. When I got the email that this most recent school wanted to interview me, I was really nervous that it would turn out the same way. For some reason, when I got to the school today that feeling was gone. I felt confident and hopeful that this time was going to go well.

The assistant principal who interviewed me had done alternative certification himself and now had his PHD. He was so encouraging during the whole interview. He told me that in his experience those who take an alternate route to teaching have been the best teachers. The interview went so well and though I may not be the candidate that they choose at the end of the process, I feel like I am in the running and I have a renewed sense of hope that this idea to teach is possible.

I would really like to teach and coach. I really want this job...so we'll see. Pray for me! If I get it...I am going to NEED it! I should start googling, "How to be an English teacher."



I love this place...

And I love these friends...

I was so blessed at Clemson to have an amazing group of friends. I miss them and wish I got to see them more. This was my second Clemson game this year and there might just be one more! Go Tigers!


5 months

This past week I hit the 5 month mark without a job. 5 months is a long time, but it feels like even longer. I wish that I could say that I did something awesome with those 5 months, like traveled to beautiful places that I have never been, but I didn't. I have spent a lot of time sitting in the house that I live in. It is hard to think about traveling when you have no income. I suppose when I get a job, that I will look back and wish I had done some more fun things with all of that free time.
In the last 5 months I have had moments and days where I felt hopeful that all of this was going to work out for the better and I have also had many days of discouragement and sadness. I have spent countless hours thinking about the path that brought me here and replaying in my head that fateful 10 minutes that seemed to have changed everything. It has not been easy and I have not enjoyed it, but maybe, just maybe, there is some light at the end of this tunnel.
After 5 months of filling out lots of applications, writing dozens of cover letters and emailing dozens of resumes with NO phone calls and NO interviews, I finally got some response. In the last 2 weeks I have had 2 initial interviews and a meeting with someone who is pushing my resume along in their organization. Tomorrow, I have second interview with one of the opportunities. And, I passed the GACE, which is SHOCKING to me. I swore up and down that I failed that test and I absolutely believed it. Passing that test opens up the door for me to Sub and to pursue alternative certification in the future if I want to teach.
I am by no means on a sure and steady career path, but at least I am on a path.
I would not have thought that I would be 28 and still have no career to speak of. Most people my age have been whatever they have been for about 6 years now, but that I just not how it has been for me and maybe that is okay. I am just glad to be a little closer to some kind of job with some kind of income. We will see soon enough!


Happy Birthday Sister!

Happy 26th Birthday to my amazing sister, who blesses me in so many ways and has every year that she has been alive! To an amazing 27th year! I love you!


Fall is officially here.

How do I know that it is fall, you ask? Well, I know for the following reasons...

Reason #A) The windows are down in my house, letting in the 60 and 70 degree temperatures in the middle of the day.....they are also letting in the flies because there are no screens on our windows, but that is beside the point.

Reason #Next) I attended a NCAA college football game on Saturday-the Clemson season opener against Troy State. And though the temperatures were not in the 70's (more like scorching high 90's), I maintain it is a reason that fall is here.

Reason #last) This...

That's right! I had the season's first Pumpkin Spice Latte yesterday. The seasonal favorite returned to stores nationwide on Tuesday and you best believe I was ready when it did!
I would also not be opposed to someone buying me one of these and loading it up with Moola seeing as Starbucks is quite out of the range of this unemployed girl's budget....

I am greatly looking foward to all of the upcoming things that will usher in the rest of the fall season......leaves changing, sweatshirts, more football, hiking, apple picking and festivals. I LOVE FALL!!!!!


Dogs are AMAZING! Such a sad story

This dog wouldn't leave the casket of his owner, one of the navy seals killed in the helicopter crash in Afghanistan.
Click here for the full story. Dog mourns at casket of fallen Navy SEAL


How you know you didn't get the job.

So I had an interview on Wednesday; my first interview since I lost my job. I am trying to work towards my alternative certification, which in the state of Georgia you cannot do until you have secured a teaching job....I find this a little backwards. If I could get a teaching job without being certified (having any qualifications) then why would I need to get my alternative certification? But they didn't ask me how to set-up the system, so you work with what you've got. I suppose I will just have to keep applying for jobs I don't qualify for and hope someone takes pity on me and trusts that I would be a good teacher just because I say so.
So, I got an interview for a high school English teaching job at a local Title 1 school. I saw the opening and emailed the principal. I told him I was not certified, but sent him my resume and my credentials and to my surprise, he told me to set-up an interview. Though I was hopeful, things did not go all that well. Below are the top 3...4 reasons I know I did not get the job:

Reason # 1) I interviewed with the principal and the 2 heads of the English department. For the first awkward minute they all reviewed my resume and the first words that were spoken to me went something like this, "Now it might be on here and I might just be missing it, but are you not certified in English?" Strike # 1

Reason # 2) They asked a total of 6 questions. The principal only asked 2 and didn't even really look at me. Strike 2

Reason # 3) The interview started at 11am. When I cranked up my car to leave the clock said 11:15am. Everything I read said the interviews normally last around 45 minutes. Strike 3.

Reason # 4) As if there needed to me a 4th strike, they were going to make a decision by today and I got no phone call or email....text message....telegraph....nada. Struck Out.

Oh well. Like I said, I have been out of a job for quite a while now and I have applied for lots of things and contacted lots of people and I haven't gotten a single bite, so at least it was nice to have an interview, even if it bombed. I am not really use to bombing things...I don't really like the feeling, but it happens to everyone.

I am just about at the end of my tolerance for unemployment. I do not handle idleness very well. I am getting quite stir crazy, so hopefully something will change soon.


August MyMission article

August article for MyMISSION Fulfilled. Tips for Meeting Your Running Goals. Click Here.


Do you speak Christian?

Interesting article from CNN.com What do you think?

Do you speak Christian?

Editor's note: Kirby Ferguson is a New York-based writer, filmmaker and speaker who created the web video series Everything is a Remix. His videos, like the one above, can be found on Vimeo, an online community where artists share their films.

By John Blake, CNN

(CNN) - Can you speak Christian?

Have you told anyone “I’m born again?” Have you “walked the aisle” to “pray the prayer?”

Did you ever “name and claim” something and, after getting it, announce, “I’m highly blessed and favored?”

Many Americans are bilingual. They speak a secular language of sports talk, celebrity gossip and current events. But mention religion and some become armchair preachers who pepper their conversations with popular Christian words and trendy theological phrases.

If this is you, some Christian pastors and scholars have some bad news: You may not know what you’re talking about. They say that many contemporary Christians have become pious parrots. They constantly repeat Christian phrases that they don’t understand or distort.

Marcus Borg, an Episcopal theologian, calls this practice “speaking Christian.” He says he heard so many people misusing terms such as “born again” and “salvation” that he wrote a book about the practice.

People who speak Christian aren’t just mangling religious terminology, he says. They’re also inventing counterfeit Christian terms such as “the rapture” as if they were a part of essential church teaching.

The rapture, a phrase used to describe the sudden transport of true Christians to heaven while the rest of humanity is left behind to suffer, actually contradicts historic Christian teaching, Borg says.

“The rapture is a recent invention. Nobody had thought of what is now known as the rapture until about 1850,” says Borg, canon theologian at Trinity Episcopal Cathedral in Portland, Oregon.

How politicians speak Christian

Speaking Christian isn’t confined to religion. It’s infiltrated politics.

Political candidates have to learn how to speak Christian to win elections, says Bill Leonard, a professor of church history at Wake Forest University’s School of Divinity in North Carolina.

One of our greatest presidents learned this early in his career. Abraham Lincoln was running for Congress when his opponent accused him of not being a Christian. Lincoln often referred to the Bible in his speeches, but he never joined a church or said he was born again like his congressional opponent, Leonard says.

"Lincoln was less specific about his own experience and, while he used biblical language, it was less distinctively Christian or conversionistic than many of the evangelical preachers thought it should be,” Leonard says.

Lincoln won that congressional election, but the accusation stuck with him until his death, Leonard says.

One recent president, though, knew how to speak Christian fluently.

During his 2003 State of the Union address, George W. Bush baffled some listeners when he declared that there was “wonder-working power” in the goodness of American people.

Evangelical ears, though, perked up at that phrase. It was an evangelical favorite, drawn from a popular 19th century revival hymn about the wonder-working power of Christ called “In the Precious Blood of the Lamb.”

Leonard says Bush was sending a coded message to evangelical voters: I’m one of you.

“The code says that one: I’m inside the community. And two: These are the linguistic ways that I show I believe what is required of me,” Leonard says.

Have you ‘named it and claimed it'?

Ordinary Christians do what Bush did all the time, Leonard says. They use coded Christian terms like verbal passports - flashing them gains you admittance to certain Christian communities.

Say you’ve met someone who is Pentecostal or charismatic, a group whose members believe in the gifts of the Holy Spirit, such as healing and speaking in tongues. If you want to signal to that person that you share their belief, you start talking about “receiving the baptism of the Holy Ghost” or getting the “second blessings,” Leonard says.

Translation: Getting a baptism by water or sprinkling isn’t enough for some Pentecostals and charismatics. A person needs a baptism “in the spirit” to validate their Christian credentials.

Or say you’ve been invited to a megachurch that proclaims the prosperity theology (God will bless the faithful with wealth and health). You may hear what sounds like a new language.

Prosperity Christians don’t say “I want that new Mercedes.” They say they are going to “believe for a new Mercedes.” They don’t say “I want a promotion.” They say I “name and claim” a promotion.

The rationale behind both phrases is that what one speaks aloud in faith will come to pass. The prosperity dialect has become so popular that Leonard has added his own wrinkle.

“I call it ‘name it, claim it, grab it and have it,’ ’’ he says with a chuckle.

Some forms of speaking Christian, though, can become obsolete through lack of use.

Few contemporary pastors use the language of damnation - “turn or burn,” converting “the pagans” or warning people they’re going to hit “hell wide open” - because it’s considered too polarizing, Leonard says. The language of “walking the aisle” is also fading, Leonard says.

Appalachian and Southern Christians often told stories about staggering into church and walking forward during the altar call to say the “sinner’s prayer” during revival services that would often last for several weeks.

“People ‘testified’ to holding on to the pew until their knuckles turned white, fighting salvation all the way,” Leonard says. “You were in the back of the church, and you fought being saved.”

Contemporary churchgoers, though, no longer have time to take that walk, Leonard says. They consider their lives too busy for long revival services and extended altar calls. Many churches are either jettisoning or streamlining the altar call, Leonard says.

“You got soccer, you got PTA, you got family responsibilities - the culture just won’t sustain it as it once did,” Leonard says.

Even some of the most basic religious words are in jeopardy because of overuse.

Calling yourself a Christian, for example, is no longer cool among evangelicals on college campuses, says Robert Crosby, a theology professor at Southeastern University in Florida.

“Fewer believers are referring to themselves these days as ‘Christian,’ ” Crosby says. “More are using terms such as ‘Christ follower.’ This is due to the fact that the more generic term, Christian, has come to be used within religious and even political ways to refer to a voting bloc.”

What’s at stake

Speaking Christian correctly may seem like it’s just a fuss over semantics, but it’s ultimately about something bigger: defining Christianity, says Borg, author of “Speaking Christian.”

Christians use common words and phrases in hymns, prayers and sermons “to connect their religion to their life in the world,” Borg says.

“Speaking Christian is an umbrella term for not only knowing the words, but understanding them,” Borg says. “It’s knowing the basic vocabulary, knowing the basic stories.”

When Christians forget what their words mean, they forget what their faith means, Borg says.

Consider the word “salvation.” Most Christians use the words "salvation" or "saved" to talk about being rescued from sin or going to heaven, Borg says.

Yet salvation in the Bible is seldom confined to an afterlife. Those characters in the Bible who invoked the word salvation used it to describe the passage from injustice to justice, like the Israelites’ liberation from Egyptian bondage, Borg says.

“The Bible knows that powerful and wealthy elites commonly structure the world in their own self-interest. Pharaoh and Herod and Caesar are still with us. From them we need to be saved,” Borg writes.

And when Christians forget what their faith means, they get duped by trendy terms such as the rapture that have little to do with historical Christianity, he says.

The rapture has become an accepted part of the Christian vocabulary with the publication of the megaselling “Left Behind” novels and a heavily publicized prediction earlier this year by a Christian radio broadcaster that the rapture would occur in May.

But the notion that Christians will abandon the Earth to meet Jesus in the clouds while others are left behind to suffer is not traditional Christian teaching, Borg says.

He says it was first proclaimed by John Nelson Darby, a 19th century British evangelist, who thought of it after reading a New Testament passage in the first book of Thessalonians that described true believers being “caught up in the clouds together” with Jesus.

Christianity’s focus has long been about ushering in God’s kingdom “on Earth, not just in heaven,” Borg says.

“Christianity’s goal is not to escape from this world. It loves this world and seeks to change it for the better,” he writes.

For now, though, Borg and others are also focusing on changing how Christians talk about their faith.

If you don’t want to speak Christian, they say, pay attention to how Christianity’s founder spoke. Jesus spoke in a way that drew people in, says Leonard, the Wake Forest professor.

“He used stories, parables and metaphors,” Leonard says. “He communicated in images that both the religious folks and nonreligious folks of his day understand.”

When Christians develop their own private language for one another, they forget how Jesus made faith accessible to ordinary people, he says.

“Speaking Christian can become a way of suggesting a kind of spiritual status that others don’t have,” he says. “It communicates a kind of spiritual elitism that holds the spiritually ‘unwashed’ at arm’s length."

By that time, they’ve reached the final stage of speaking Christian - they've become spiritual snobs.


Dog Tease Video

I LOVE this. It has made me laugh very very hard!


July 25th

July 25th. It's the last day of the trifecta of days that are difficult. It is my dad's birthday. He would be 55 today. Even after 5 years it's difficult. 5 years is a long time right? Should it be easier now than say, 3 years ago? I am not sure that while we are here, on earth that is, we ever really stop missing those who come in and out of our lives. I think that is part of the fall. We were not made for death, but now that death is a part of this life it leads a void in us when we find it on our front doorstep. Goodbye was never supposed to be in our vocabulary, but that is the world we find ourselves in. So today, instead of celebrating year 55 of my dad's life, I mourn his death and look towards the future where death is no more.


Top 10 reasons I am ready for Fall

1. Summer in Georgia is WAY TOO HOT!
2. Football season
3. Pretty leaves
4. Pumpkin things....lattes, pies, coffee creamer, pancakes etc.
5. Hiking
6. Amazing temperatures
7. Apple picking and pumpkin patches
8. Fleeces and light jackets
9. The beginning of the holiday season
10. Did I mention pretty leaves and hiking and outdoor things?

Oh Fall cannot get here fast enough!


Why my sister is awesome.

A) She is exceptionally gracious, kind and loving. People adore her.
3) She is extremely smart, but doesn't think so. She will be starting a PHD program in the fall for special ed. She was approached by her Master's professors about applying.
T) She is a great teacher. Her student's love her. She is great at what she does and she loves those kids well even when they are hard to love.
Y) She has always looked out for the underdog. She has always had a heart for the kid or the person on the fringes and she has never cared what anyone thought about her reaching out to those people.
2) She has Bassett Hounds.....3 of them...she had 8 (5 puppies) and now she has 3....and they are funny.
8) She is about to do a 100 mile bike ride with JDRF on July 30th in Vermont. She did a 70 mile bike ride in Tahoe last year to raise money for JDRF and fight back against Diabetes.
hh) She is very creative and very thoughtful. Growing up, she gave me some of the most creative presents I have ever gotten!
X0) She is super funny and very fun to be around. She can always make you laugh.
U) She loves me well and sometimes (especially as a sister) I can be very hard to love.

Thank you sister for being you! For being awesome! For loving me the way that you do!
I love you and I am very thankful for you!


Chick-fil-A First 100 Event!

The Chick-fil-a opening was SOOO much fun. I had been eating at Chick-fil-a a few weeks before with my sister and my friend Heather Lacy (who is a Chick-fil-a addict) and she started talking about how she had gone to one of these grand opening events a few weeks before. As she was telling us about it we all agreed that it sounded like so much fun and that we should go the next one in Georgia, which just happened to be my birthday week. Here is how it works. You arrive at the Chickfila by 6am the morning before the grand opening. They give everyone a raffle ticket and draw 100 names. Those 100 people win the grand prize of free Chickfila for a year....52 free meals. They then draw 10 alternates who move up if any of the 100 leave and then from those alternates left they draw 1 name to win 52 free meals. The trick is, to claim your prize you must stay in the parking lot for 24 hours (until the store opens the next morning). There were 5 of us, which increased our chances of winning. I was the first one called at #63 and I was inside nervous and lonely as they got up into the 90's and nobody else from our group had been called. Finally, Heather (with last minute flare) was called at 97 and then Lauren was called as alternate 108. Lauren ended up being 1 out of only 4 alternates left by the next morning and won the raffle for the free 52, giving us 3 winners and 30ish free meals each. So, for 24 hours we stayed in the parking lot, played games, ate lots of free chicken, sweated to death, played more games, read some books, played more games, sweated some more and slept on the concrete in tents until 4:30ish the next morning.

Here is a picture of our set-up.

Some people are apparently Chick-fil-a Grand Opening pros and have very elaborate set-ups with generators, projectors, video games and even cots, but I think we did pretty good for our first time. The pop-up tent was a life saver! That and we got the money spot in the lot that was behind a high wall with tall trees on the other side and we had a good bit of shade the first half of the day. Some people were in spots with full sun all day and no hope of shade.

A picture of one of the many silly games they had us play. Many of them yielded prizes non of us were interested in (like cheesecake....who wants cheesecake when you have been eating fried chicken all day and sitting in the 100 degree heat?) but were still fun anyway. We were supposed to slide an oreo off our forehead and into our mouths. Lauren was successful, but the only place I slid it too was on the ground.

Here is us the next morning, a little worse for the wear, but lots of free Chicken richer. (not pictured due to no desire to be seen in her condition- Heather Lacy)

This is my I'm in an oversized t-shirt and silly hat, but I just won free chicken face!

Here is us with our spoils!
It really was a lot of fun! We have already looked to see if there are any more close by in the near future. Some of these people are chick-fil-a opening junkies and seem to follow these events all over the country. A couple beside us had attended over 10 of these events. We were even asked by someone if we were going to the one in Texas. I don't think driving to Texas for free Chick-fil-a is very cost efficient, but maybe.....Birmingham?


Birthday Week

I had a fantastic Birthday week. I could not have asked for a more fun-filled, friend-filled week of events. I have great friends and family (both here and elsewhere) that made me feel so special and loved! Here is a breakdown of the weeks events by day.

Monday, July 11th- Stone Mountain Laser Show and Picnic.
This was an event that I haven't attended since I have lived here and have been wanting to go to. They do it every night during the summer and apparently this is the first summer they have "updated" the show since they started it in the 80's. It was really fun. We tried to play frisbee before it started, but it was crowded and I hit an old lady in the arm and she was non too happy about it, so we just sat and talked.

Tuesday, July 12th- Six Flags over Georgia.
I have also not been to Six Flags since I moved to Atlanta. It had been a few years since I had been to a theme park. Amy surprised me and took me on Tuesday. The only downside was that it happened to be the hottest day of the year to date and they were warning people to stay inside, but we thought we would to the opposite and ride roller coasters in the heat.
We were drenched (I was drenched) about an hour in and we were both a little nauseous probably due to the heat and roller coaster motion combo. 3 rides in they shut all the rides down due to thunder, lighting and drizzling rain. I do appreciate their caution because I don't really want to die on a coaster, but I found the bad weather a little unfortunate. We left the park for about an hour and rode around and then came back to see if the rides were back on. They were and so we lined up for the first coaster and after the sent one cart they shut it down again.....more "inclement weather." We stood there for about an hour until they finally decided there was no more thunder (which we never heard anyway, but oh well). All-in-all the bad weather worked in our favor because it cleared out the park and cooled things down. We road everything we wanted to ride and some things twice and then realized we had had enough and didn't want to push the nausea feeling any further. SO FUN!

Taking a break from the extreme heat.
Bumper cars.
Wednesday, July 13th and Thursday, July 14th - Chick-fil-a Grand Opening First 100 Event.
This was SOOO much fun. We (5 of us) arrived at Chick-fil-a in Dallas, Ga by 6am (which means we got up in the 3 o'clock hour) and stayed there, camping in the parking lot until 6am the following morning. Two of us won the raffle and Lauren got an alternate spot and ended up winning the drawing for 52 free meals. After 24 hours of eating free chicken, games, sweating buckets (this day beat the previous day out for hottest day of the year), and camping in a parking lot we each walked home utterly exhausted, but with 30ish free Chick-fil-a meals in hand. It was such a fun and different thing to do....if only it had been cooler. More details to come about this event in my next post.

The gang waiting to get raffle tickets.
Excited faces.
Thursday, July 14th- Chick-fil-a, naps, nerts, La Madeleine and The Lincoln Lawyer
We woke up way too early on the concrete on Thursday morning to get in line and collect our prize. The original plan for Thursday was to leave from the Chick-fil-a event and go camping up at Jack's river in North Georgia. But it was so early and we were so tried that we came home and took a nap. The weather was rainy and non-cooperative for much outdoor activity so lunch and nerts it was for some of the afternoon. For dinner Amy took me to La Madeleine, which is one of my favorite places that I haven't been too since I moved from Texas. It is an amazing little french inspired cafe that I first discovered in Texas. I found out a while back that they have 2 in Atlanta, but neither are very close to my house. She knew I have been wanting to go so she took me and she fell in love with it too. It is so yummy!!!!! We then got The Lincoln Lawyer (a movie I have been wanting to see) from the Redbox and watched it at home. It was very good.

Friday, July 15th- The day of my birth!- Blueberry picking, blueberry pancakes, more nerts, birthday dinner and a dessert party.
Since we were supposed to be waking up on the 15th in the woods somewhere and weren't we had to come up with a plan B. We decided to go pick blueberries at a farm about 30 minutes away. It takes a long time to pick a gallon of blueberries....they are tiny...and a gallon is a lot....and we are very selective. They are delicious and we can officially make blueberry pancakes for the next year without running low. So, if push comes to shove and I can't find a job I will be living off of blueberry pancakes and Chick-fil-a.....and by 29 I will be as big as a house. The pancake breakfast (at lunch time) was awesome. We played some more nerts. Late that day Lauren cooked me a meal of my request, which was chicken poppyseed, "dirty" mac and cheese and green beans. It did not disappoint. We then drove over to my house where Amy had set-up a surprise dessert party with some of my favorite people. There was a Coke Cake (YUMMY) also made by my sister, an ice cream sundae bar, some glass bottled Cheerwine, games and presents. It was a FANTASTIC birthday (week)! I felt very loved!

My yummy birthday dinner.
Thank you Amy and Lauren for everything you did this week! I love both of you very, very much! Thank you friends and family that I didn't get to see who sent presents and cards and texts and phone calls. Thank you acquaintances and those I barely know for seeing it was my birthday on Facebook and taking a second to post on my wall....you flooded my inbox with emails....and also made me feel special....all 100 of you.... ;-)

To another year....here we go 29.


Writing for My Mission Fulfilled.

A few months ago an old student of mine emailed me and asked me if I was interested in writing articles for a website run by the WMU. She was not the editor of an initiative called My Mission Fulfilled and they were looking for more writers. I thought it sounded like a fun opportunity so I said yes. The website features articles in 4 main categories related to missional living and targets women in their 20's. Their goal is to help equip women to fulfill their call in Christ. My first two articles have been published there and I am currently working on the third one.
The website can be found by clicking here.
The first one is entitled Community: Exhortation and Impact.
The second one is entitled Poverty and Abuse Among Children: The Facts and The Call.

This has been a really fun thing for me. I enjoy writing and it is an opportunity that just fell in my lap. Check out the website. It has got some neat stuff on it.


A Recap of June and Dreams for July

I find it very hard to believe that it already July. It seems like yesterday that July 2010 was rolling in and I was asking the time to slow down. It really is crazy how time flies by.
In the month of June I was supposed to be in Peru for 3 weeks, but due to my being let go from Grace I was not able to lead that trip and instead spent my time doing other random things.
When I first found out I wasn't going to be going on that trip I really wanted to go somewhere fun. I wanted to get in my car and head out west or up north and see so many of the things that I have yet to see....Niagra Falls, camp in Glacier National Park (dream), hike in Wyoming, etc. Instead I spent it here. I went to North and South Carolina, which is not near as "exciting," but in some weird way it was perfect.
1) In the first part of June Amy's mom came. I got a new ceiling fan in my room (See previous post), and we got a new kitchen faucet and a grill. The grill has been really fun....the 3 times we have used it.
B) We went to the mountains after that, to one of my favorite hikes and slid down Turtleback falls...super fun. There is video footage somewhere....maybe I will work on posting that. But for now here is a picture from the internet.
8) After that it was beach time with the family. My mom and her husband rent a house in Ocean Isle, NC, so we headed there for almost a week and it was a very fun and relaxing time. I managed to not get burned, which is a miracle.
C) After that, came home for a day and it was time to head out to Camp Sunshine in Greenville, SC. This will in the future be referred to as "Little Kid camp" mostly because I was unaware that this camp was only for little kids this week. It was a very fun, very tiring week that did, indeed, remind me why I prefer working with high schoolers. And one of those little "Carrier Monkeys" as Rachel McMichael would call them, gave me their sick germs and I have now been sick for several days.
Lastly) The last Hoorah of June was a whitewater rafting trip down the Ocoee on Thursday. Several of my friends and I bought Groupons for half off rafting in June and went on Thursday. It was very fun and hilarious because of the people who went. A photo can be viewed here.

What did not happen in June?
Well, other than Peru....me finding a job. Yep, still jobless and not sure what the future holds. I am finding it more and more difficult to hold onto the "there is something better out there" mindset, when there is no movement. I also did not win the lottery, but then again I didn't play....so can't complain much about that.

What Dreams are there for July? Well, so far not many. I would love for Fall to set in and stay until November. It is so dang hot here. At the top of the list would be finding a job...preferably, one that I would like to have, not just one that brings in money. There is talk of visiting a Chickfila opening somewhere close to here....maybe this would yield 52 free Chickfila meals...that would be fun. Oh, and it is my birth month. Yep, the big 28. Hard to believe. Not sure where the last few years have gone....doesn't feel like I have done much with them, but maybe that is just the unemployment talking. As always, I am curious about what 28 will hold that the previous 27 did not. I guess we will see.


dog activities.

When your dog disappears from your sight for a while and you hear no noise from her, there are several options as to what she may be up to.

Option # A) She might be sleeping. If your dog is old or tired from a full and rigorous day of laying around then you might find her sleeping innocently in the house somewhere.

Option 2) She might be quietly playing with a toy or chewing a bone back in her lair of solitude, so as to not be disturbed.

Option next) There really is no option next, as there are actually very few activities dogs do other than sleep and play with toys, unless you have a Lassie type dog, who may be out saving humans from utter peril.

Option actuality) Or your dog could be doing this...

I realized the other day that Cali had been missing and way too quiet for the middle of the day and the moment I asked Amy if she had seen Cali, Amy walked into her bedroom and saw this.....Cali sitting among the remnants of what use to be a very nice bath sponge.


House Projects.

For a while Amy and I were lobbying for her mother to come up and visit. Her mom is like the female version of Bob Villa...she is very good at handiwork and we had a running list of things we wanted fixed/added to the house. First on the list was a way to hang the hammock that Amy owns. I love a hammock and if I were to have one, that would be the location I could be found in most days. I mean what better way to spend unemployment than in a hammock, though now it is quite warm (and by that I mean freakin' hot) with no shade in our yard.

Anyway, her mom finally found some time off and came to visit. She successfully completed several projects including; putting in a new kitchen faucet, painting part of the kitchen, planting some plants, and my favorite....hanging a ceiling fan in my room. My room is on the front of the house, which happens to face East and when the sun comes up in the morning it literally feels like I am sleeping in the middle of the front yard. It is so bright and so hot and I am already a very hot sleeper, so the fan is a much welcomed addition. Here is a picture...and I must also mention that Amy helped assemble (parts of) this.

We also found something in Lowes that we believed we just had to have.....a grill. We bought, assembled and then cooked on our brand new grill all in one day. This was very much a purchase on a whim, but one that I have already appreciated (all except for cleaning it.....not a fan of cleaning it).

Amy's mom assembling the grill.
The finished product
Cali enjoying the spoils of the new purchase.
The feast.

The first meal on the grill was quite good, though all the info about grilling times online was terribly inaccurate. I am not the world's best griller yet, but with time maybe I will improve.

Thank you Mrs. Becky for COMING TO VISIT and for all of your hard work! I am impressed with your skills!


Pet Butler

I was driving back from the city today when I passed a truck belonging to a business called "Pet Butler." It was painted green and covered in slogans and info about the business. Curious about what they do? They clean up after your pet. That is right....they scoop poop. Their slogan is "Got Poop? We Scoop!"

Who hires someone to scoop up their pet's poop? Who has that kind of money or enough dogs that that task would just be too much of an undertaking? All you need is 5 minutes and a Kroger bag....and that is only if you clean up once a week. If you do it daily the time diminishes to 1 minute and a Kroger bag.

I was so intrigued that I had to visit their website because of course, they have one. It is ridiculous. It is filled with "poop puns." They even have a section for testimonials. Here is what George R. from New Jersey had to say about their services: "You smell that? Me neither, thanks Pet Butler! :)" They even have a "Pet Butler Turdometer" that keeps a running count of the number of poops they have scooped. And if you are so inclined to join the movement there are franchise opportunities.

I just don't understand why some businesses exist. Call me old fashioned, but I will pick up my own dog's poop.


my first tri

On Sunday I finished my first triathlon. I participated in the 2011 IronGirl near Atlanta. The race is a fundraiser for Aflac cancer center for children. It was a sprint triathlon, which consists of a 1/3 mile swim, 18 mile bike and a 3 mile run. In hindsight....and to be honest, in foresight, I should have trained, but I really didn't. I only did 2 of those activities in the same day 3 times and with large breaks in between and I never did all 3 activities in the same day. I swam maybe 6 times, biked twice and ran maybe 10 or so times. Before the race I was the most worried about the swim because I have never swam like that before and as it turns out I should have been. The swim was awful. I got maybe 3 sets of strokes in and could barely breathe. People later said that the swim was much worse than it has been the past....something about the current being bad this year. I don't know the reason...I just know it was bad. I finished it without drowning and was on to the bike. Now I don't really like biking. I try to, but I hate biking up hills. As it turns out, however, the bike was my favorite part of this race. I did really well in it, biked it really fast and passed tons of people, which made up for my bad swim time. It was a very pretty bike course, which helped also. I had not done a transition from biking to running ever and when I finished and stepped off the bike in transition I almost fell over. My legs felt like jello. I had to pull myself together though because I was about to have to run 3 miles. I greatly appreciated the people who made that 3 mile run mostly uphill....that was real sweet.
I did finish though and they named me an IronGirl as I passed over the finish line and adorned me with a bright pink medal. Overall, it was pretty fun. My roommate came and was an excellent supporter...cheering us on and taking pictures to update my facebook status, which makes it look like I carried my phone during the entire race to give my "followers" the play-by-play.
Here are some of the pictures. Pictures of my in the swim cap will not be appearing here or anywhere else in public space....they are pretty rough. Below is transition 1 between the swim and bike.
I think this picture is hilarious. Amy didn't mean to take it, but it is after the bike before I headed out on the run. I was eating a GU, which turned out to be nasty. It tasted like I was shoving melted tootsie rolls in my mouth and the last thing I wanted right then was melted tootsie rolls. The face is priceless.
Here is the all done photo. I was very glad to be finished. There are more pictures on facebook of the event.
I feel pretty accomplished this year. Since last May I have completed my first 10k, half marathon, full marathon and triathlon. I never planned it that way, but that is what happened. I've really enjoyed it.


i love my dog.

I love my dog. She is the cutest and sweetest. She is a faithful friend, a gifted sleeper, a great snuggler and super smart. Lauren says she is too smart to be so bad and sometimes she is bad. But most of the time she is just a good girl. I always wanted a dog and I ended up with a good one. She use to hate her crate. She would salivate the moment you put her in it and when I would return the crate, and she would be soaked...gross. Now she is so good in her crate. Below is a picture of her today. I was working at home in the office and she just got in her crate and curled up to take a nap. So cute!


pictoral representations.

It is difficult to be in a place where you do not know the language. You can't communicate with people. You can't read signs, or labels or menus. This is why I appreciated places that not only had words, but visual representations of those words. Pictures are a lot more universal than languages. I found this picture below to be particularly helpful. I am not sure I would have known how to proceed without it.

Thank you Amsterdam airport....just another way you have raised the bar on customer service. Except, next time you might want to show the water not shooting away from the stick person.


Fishing with Lauren's kids

Three weeks ago, Lauren invited me to go fishing with her special ed class....it might have been one of the most amazing things I have ever been a part of. Some of them were scared to death of worms. Some of them were scared to death of fish. None of them could cast or bait a hook. One kid in particular just liked to continuously reel his in. But every kid caught a fish and most kids caught multiple fish. It was a GREAT!!!!