Saturday, December 31, 2011

Here's to 2011

2011, what a year. Many things have happened... plenty good, and if I must say, our fair share of bad. Here, as for what I can remember, are the highs (and some lows) of my year

January - I went on a college retreat... little did I know the man of my dreams was on this trip. One of my friends was abducted... and almost killed... We all look at life a little differently now. I started my second semester of graduate school. This was one of the hardest and trying semesters, I thought after my first semester I would have a little know how and things would be easier. Boy, was I wrong, but I worked through it, and I am almost finished!

February - I turned 23, a blah number as I had to leave my favorite number 22 HAHA! And I celebrated working 6 months for UA

March - I was able to celebrate mine and my best friends (belated) birthday's with a beautiful trip to DC for Spring Break. I had so much fun going to work with her, and just hanging out. This was my first time flying alone! What an experience. Without Mary-Anne, I wouldn't have my 'culture' :D

April - the town I have come to know and love was devastated by a deadly and fierce tornado. I went home with, and spent the night with perfect strangers because I was unable to reach my home... Tuscaloosa learned to live again and through many weeks of hard work, we are still fighting. Hunter, a boy I had dated less than a week, drove through the night 5 hours to help with the storm, and to see if his friends and family (and me ;)) were ok. The end of the semester for UA was cancelled... something I had no idea could happen... and we work to rebuild our city every day....

May - Two great friends of mine got MARRIED!! :) And we celebrated one year of being college graduates. Mary Allison and Brandon are GREAT!! I remember rebuilding and cleaning Tuscaloosa and that this was the month that Hunter left for basic training. This is when our fairytale romance began. I have piles of letters from this time... An experience not many get to have... letters as communication, no cell phones, no texting, VERY FEW phone calls. Only letters. Wow.

June - I started my graduate research in late May and early June, it is throughout this month that I would see it almost to completion. My friend Lauren left for Afghanistan.... I am so thankful for her service, and pray continually for her safe return home!

July - I started a summer class, on top of research and work... and this class almost killed me. These were the hardest four weeks of my life, and something I will hopefully never have to do again. It was very different walking back into the walls of the University, after being trapped in a bathroom by the tornado that changed us all... An eerie feeling...

August - I drove to Arkansas, and then Missouri to watch Hunter graduate from basic and AIT. It was an amazing experience, and after 106 days without him, it was a much needed trip, even if just to see his face! We started school again in the fall and the tough times began. Time, money, work, school. But as always, God pulled us through. Praise Him!

September - Football, tailgating, school in full swing. Another dream season for the Tide was beginning.

October - This month... I cooked and couponed a lot. My one test of the semester was Oct 31... and that was scary. This past fall... my grades hinged on very little... just two tests in one class... and only a semester long project in the other. Graduate school was very crazy... and this semester stressed me a lot, but also blessed me. About this time... I also began playing for my church praise band.

November - I won my first EVER contest... by random draw, I got a beautiful necklace! An man who could be my father, blessed me and my sister with a beautiful gift! :) I also got to attend a Chris Tomlin concert with my cousin Tori, and got to meet Chris Tomlin!

December - The semester came to a close, and both Hunter and I ended with great grades. I got an A and a B and Hunter got four A's and one B. :) Go, us and my roommate graduated from UA! During my break, I have been home... and to Hunter's family... and will make another trip at the beginning of the new year. It has been a great, and crazy, break. But... I love my crazy life. My friend Stephanie went to the Mayo Clinic to hopefully find answers to her peculiar disease.... And we are still praying for relief.

Happy New Year!! 
May the year 2012 bless you and bring much happiness and joy to your family.

Friday, December 30, 2011

Hurting for a friend

My friend Stephanie is very sick... and has been for quite some time, since 2007 to be exact. Steph is a good faker, and has been able to keep quite about her troubles from most of the world.. until now.

Please pray for my friend Stephanie. She keeps a blog about her perseverance through the pain and now she is at the Mayo Clinic hoping the doctors there can give her answers.

A short background:
In March 2007, Stephanie began experiencing nausea - initially, we thought it was a stomach virus but the nausea has never gone away. She has had nausea 24 hours a day since. In March 2009, she began to throw up every day. She was diagnosed with mild gastroparesis but we were told it did not explain the severity of her symptoms. In 2010 we discovered Dr Thomas Abell at University Hospital in Jackson, MS. He was the first doctor that validated her symptoms and recommended installation of a gastric pace maker. We had that procedure in December 2010. Unfortunately, the pace maker did not work for Steph so in August of 2011 we had it removed. In the process we also learned that she has neuropathy in the nerves in her stomach. The surgeries seemed to escalate her condition and now she experiences intense pain almost on a daily basis. We began to seek additional insight into her situation by seeing as many different doctors as we could. We ultimately asked for a referral to the Mayo Clinic in Rochester and are truly hopeful all the pieces of the puzzle will be assembled here.

For additional information on Stephanie's journey, you can go to her blog at

Have you ever went to a friends house, just praying they were having a good day? Have you ever held a friend while their body was violently shaking, and she was crying out in pain.... These are things I never wish you have to experience, and I hope that with the help of the Doctors, my friend Stephanie can find relief from.

It is hard, as a high schooler and college student not to hang out with friends because you are in such great pain...

As I cry out to the Lord many times for my friend, begging Him to heal her, or to give her some relief... I have become weary. We are all weary for answers, and her illness is the worst that it has ever been. When I want to chat with my friend about her upcoming wedding, the pain looms in the background.

Lord, please heal my friend, if it be your will. If not, please give us comfort and answers.... Teach us to make the most of this. Strengthen us, guide us... lead us, help up to understand. Lord... help my friend.

Proverbs 3:5-6

New American Standard Bible (NASB)

5 Trust in the LORD with all your heart
And do not lean on your own understanding.
6 In all your ways acknowledge Him,
And He will make your paths straight.

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Merry Christmas!

As we celebrate with friends and family, let us not forget Jesus is the reason for the season. Celebrate the birth of our Savior! May each of you be blessed!

Merry CHRISTmas!

Saturday, December 24, 2011


Hunter and I celebrated Christmas a little early since we are each with our respective families. He gave me a beautiful Pandora bracelet that I actually picked out myself! What a day!

Hunter and I went shopping last Saturday morning to 'buy a gift for his mother'. Boy, was I fooled! We looked at all the Pandora jewelery and he even sized my wrist to 'make sure the bracelet would fit his mom'.

After looking through many charms Hunter made his final selection and the gift was wrapped and paid for. We shopped around a few more stores and then went home.

I had dinner with my roommate and her family, and then Hunter game over later for us to exchange gifts. I was so shocked when I opened the gift we had picked out earlier that day. He even wrapped it the way I told him to!!! I told him, Hunter, this is your mother's gift.... and he assured me it was mine.

After going back and forth for a few minutes, I finally opened the beautiful gift! How thoughtful, and clever of Hunter! He did such a good job, and I love my gift!

A beautiful gift! A rose charm, for SAI, and a cross charm. This means so much to me, and I love it. Church is what brought us together, and what a blessing it is!

Friday, December 23, 2011

Work Christmas Lunch

I created a beautiful batch of cookies from a recipe written about by my wonderful friend Jackie, you can find the post here!

The guys at work love these red velvet cake cookies. They are amazing! I added frosting, cream cheese of course, to add just a little punch. Here is my finished product. Check out my friend Jackie, and you can find many more great recipes like this!

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Outfit of the Day (OOTD)

Recently I won a skirt from a giveaway on Sara's blog at You, Me & Anthropologie, you can check my post about it, here.

I was so excited to discover this weekend that my skirt had arrived in the mail! I couldn't wait to wear it, so I wore it to work Monday. I know I usually don't do outfits posts... because I am definitely no fashion forward girl.

But, here is what I came up with:

The complete outfit: 
Jacket: Sikes and Kohn 
Shirt: ??
Scarf: ??
Skirt: Shabby Apple, fall 2011
Shoes: TJ Maxx

My outfit, so that you can see the pieces:

Skirt detailing
Skirt and Shirt
Add scarf
So. There goes! I LOVE this skirt. It is true to size. I used the sizing guide with my measurements and it fits perfectly! This is my first high wasted skirt (well, anything) and I TRULY love it! It wasn't too tight, and the material was great. Way to go Shabby Apple I love this skirt!

Close ups of the skirt: 


Disclaimer: Shabby Apple doesn't know me, and they don't know I am reviewing this skirt! 

Monday, December 19, 2011

The end of Fall 2011

Wow. The semester is over and I came out ok. I got one A and one B. Next semester begins my final semester as a Mathematics Masters student.

This semester has been a tad less stressful than semesters past. Could you say I am finally getting the hang of this? (of course, right before I am finished) The past few weeks have been just as stressful as they could be. I worked and studied, worked and studied.. took out my frustrations on Hunter (yeah... sorry, love!) and studied and worked some more.

Thankfully all my studying payed off, and I was willing to walk away from my last final with a huge smile.

What a journey the past year and a half has taken me on.. it is amazing to look back... see what I have been through, and where I am today. I look forward to beginning a new chapter in this life, as I journey to a teaching job, and life after working full time and going to school. Wow, what a change that will be!!!

I am enjoying a few days, cleaning up around the apartment, catching up on a few things. I also took a nap today after work! :) I am so glad that I planned ahead, and finished my Christmas shopping early. All I had to do was finish wrapping this weekend, and I am all set.

Now, for the rest of the year.. home for Christmas, and then headed to Hunter's home for new years. Working out the last few days of work, and then after the new year, going with the college group from church to Passion 2012.

Wow... it is almost 2012 already?!

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Blog Trouble

I am having some serious trouble with Blogger. New blogs I try to follow get randomly deleted, and blogs I try to unfollow won't go away.

Has anyone every used wordpress? And is it hard to export your blog to wordpress?

I need opinions and options.. I am seriously getting fed up with blogger.

UPDATE: Exporting isn't hard at all! Wordpress does seem a bit more complicated than blogger, and not as customizable. I have seen many forums about the same problem I am having, some dating back to at least 2 years old. I am sad that this is a problem that is continuing and hope that many of you don't experience the issues I am having.


Thursday, December 8, 2011

Many Thanks: The beginning of Gratitude

Many of my friends post weekly editions of thankfulness. I am going to give it a shot. We all need to be more thankful for what we have, me especially. After a rough two weeks, I need to remind myself that I am so blessed.

Thankful thoughts:
  1. My computer at work being fixed. Yesterday morning, it wouldn't work.. IT took my computer and it was gone all day. I walked into work this morning, and to my surprise, my computer is back and fully updated. As an Apple user, it is neat to explore the new Windows system.
  2. My car is fixed. Yes, it cost me almost $700... money I don't have. But, it was great to wake up this morning and go outside not having to worry about how I was going to make it through the day. Welcome back, car!
  3. My friend Mary-Anne, who is part of the inspiration for this posting. Without chatting with her daily.. I probably wouldn't make it.
  4. Hunter, through it all he drove me around, fussed with me when I fussed and truly cares. He hugs me tight when I cry, he apologizes and will tell me everything is all right.
  5. Thank you notes - have you ever been called irreplacable? Friday morning one of my bosses handed me a thank you card for doing a spreadsheet for him. In there was the sweetest note... and he called me irreplaceable. What a feeling!
Luke 10:38-42
 38 Now as they were traveling along, He entered a village; and a woman named Martha welcomed Him into her home. 39 She had a sister called Mary, who was seated at the Lord’s feet, listening to His word. 40 But Martha was distracted with [q]all her preparations; and she came up to Him and said, “Lord, do You not care that my sister has left me to do all the serving alone? Then tell her to help me.” 41 But the Lord answered and said to her, Martha, Martha, you are worried and bothered about so many things; 42 but only one thing is necessary, for Mary has chosen the good part, which shall not be taken away from her.”

The Lord is teaching me to lean on Him, not to worry through the woes of life and the pains of every day. This is not our home, and in that fact we can REJOICE! Things are tough... times are hard... but through it all we can be thankful in the blessings of the Lord!

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Christmas Time

Thanks to the wonderful Sara over at You, Me & Anthropologie for coming up with a great set of questions! Feel free to copy the questions and answer them yourselves or just pick a few to answer in the comments :)

What's your favorite Christmas cartoon?

I don't think I have one.

What's your favorite Christmas movie?

Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer

What's your favorite Christmas song?

O Holy Night and The First Noel. I used to sing these as a kid putting up decorations around Mom's house.

Where do you spend Christmas?

With my mom and dad... at home. We sometimes travel to other family member's homes. This year may be a little different, as Hunter and I try to have a joint Christmas. 

Do you open presents on Christmas Eve or Christmas Day?

Depending on my sister's children... The past few years we have opened on Christmas eve in an 'each-child-take-a-turn' manner. However, I always insist on having something to open Christmas morning. It is after all, Christmas morning!
Do you have stockings?

No, but maybe one day, when I have a house.
Which reindeer is your favorite?

Rudolph... maybe that is because I am a redhead. ;)

How are you at wrapping presents?

I would say that I am a pretty good wrapper... but my mom, she is a present artist!

Do you go out shopping the day after Christmas?

Do you buy a Christmas dress/outfit every year?

Not at all... do people actually do that?!
Hot Chocolate, Apple Cider, or Egg Nog?

I love hot chocolate, but a good apple cider if definitely my favorite!

Gingerbread man or frosted sugar cookie?

Frosted sugar cookie!

Real tree or fake tree?

I have a fake tree in my apartment, and my parents now have a fake tree at their house. But until my Mom became allergic to all things green (yes, even trees) we always had a real tree. When I have a house of my own, I hope to have a real Christmas tree. I feel it makes it more special. :)

Put up your own lights or drive around and look at other people's lights?

I currently live in an apartment, so I just go look at the lights others put out. But I can't wait to decorate my own home for Christmas one day!


Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Beef noodles

Hunter's dad makes wonderful Taiwanese beef noodles.

The week I stayed when them for his graduation was the first time I had ever been with a family so immersed in the culture of Taiwan. After serving more than 20 years in Taiwan, that is where their heart lies.

Beef Noodles are spicy and heart warming. The perfect comfort food, and I understand why Hunter likes them so much.

The second time I stayed with his family his father cooked them again. It is Hunter's favorite, so they try to make it every time he comes home. This is when Hunter's family taught me to use chop sticks to eat my beef noodles. It was HILARIOUS! It took me twice as long to eat mine as it did for them, but I was not going to be the only one at the table using a fork and spoon!

The soup is a labor of love...filled with spices, beef and specialty items. It cooks all day, and the house smells delightful as the fragrance fills the air.

So... the other day, I tried to make a cheap knock off. While it was good.. it was nothing like the real thing.

Noodles (I used fettuccine)
Beef broth (or bullion and water)
Crushed red pepper
salt and pepper to taste.

I first made my broth and brought it to a boil, then I added the spices. The soup is meant to be spicy... SUPER spicy.

I then cooked my noodles, and once cooked added them to the simmering broth.

Ta-da. Super simple, and quite tasty... but like I said, not as good as the real thing. But this would be a great soup for a cold winter night when you have a cold. :)

Happy cooking!

Monday, December 5, 2011

Skirt Giveaway

After a week filled with bad luck... I was pleasantly surprised when I got an uplifting text eluding to something greater from my friend Mary-Anne.

She asked me if I had read the recent post over at You, Me & Anthropologie, and I had told her I had not.

I immediately checked my blog reader to see what was up. Much to my surprise, I won this skirt in Sara's recent giveaway!!

How awesome is that?! I can't wait to get this skirt and post an outfit picture for you guys to see!

God knows just what we need, and in these trying times, He gave me just what I needed... A little boost, and a stroke of good luck after the bad luck.

Praise God from whom all blessings flow!!

Sunday, December 4, 2011

A stroke of bad luck

Last week was, in a word... rough. The days went slowly and due to a certain situation, things at work were very tense, and at times unbearable.

I hate to say I caught myself shedding tears at my desk, more than once.

Tuesday night I worked tirelessly to get my final homework set of the semester finished. I pushed myself long and hard and only took a break to make dinner and watch the airing of Rudolph. There was one problem I just had no clue where to begin... and this deeply troubled me.

If you know me, you know I do not believe in leaving an answer blank... so I did my best, researched a bit and put down what I could.. with little to no confidence in my answer. I arrived in class on Wednesday only to find out our homework assignment had been postponed and that the professor would be going over the one problem I didn't understand that day in class. What a relief!  (or so I thought).

With my schedule this semester it works in my favor to have homework due on Wednesday, as I spend Thursday nights in group meetings for my other classes and then help Hunter with his homework. This is a very set schedule that I live by daily, and if something changes, it is hard to recover... however, by the grace of God, I somehow do.

So, after staying up till midnight working on group projects and helping Hunter with his work, I was too incoherent to do my homework. I set my alarm for 3am, after a little sleep I could get up and focus just enough to get it done. I work up around 4:15am... what happened to that alarm clock? The world may never know.

I got up and got ready for work and headed out, thankfully I was able to finish my homework before class started, right in time to turn it in.

In the midst of all this, Friday morning my car nearly stalled out in an intersection on my way to work. What a nightmare. I got scared that my car would die again, so I turned off my radio and defroster. Thankfully the ice from my windshield was nearly gone.

I could tell my car wasn't running right. The gears weren't changing and I no longer had headlights. Yes, pitch black 5:45am, and I have no headlights. I literally coasted into work this morning... not sure really what was wrong with my car.

I spoke with some of my guys and described what had happened.. We prayed for a bad battery, but most likely it was my alternator. I finally called Hunter and asked him to pick me up and take me to my class. As my luck would have it, right when it was time to leave for class, the train stops dead in the middle of the tracks.. the train tracks separate my part of town from the University. Thankfully Hunter knows town well enough he was able to get around but, he was a little ill about it.

I made it to class on time, and turned in my homework. And, at 4pm I left work to get my car checked. To make a long story short, I need a new alternator, and through my guys at work, and Hunter's family... I took it to a repair place that would keep it over the weekend and get started Monday.

It is going to be very expensive... and this just added more stress to my plate. Remember this post? As I talked to my mom about the finances of it all and the stress of finding a place, I was just glad that I had somewhere to take it. I know God will provide, and all things will work out.

To top off my weekend, this happened:

And here I was thinking I would put off buying new glasses in order to offset spending even more money... Ahh, what a joyful time of year this is.. however, it is the most expensive time of the year too.. without all my misfortune.

Hunter has been at drill all weekend, so I was unable to use him as my ride.. but thankfully friends from church have been picking me up and taking me to where I need to go. Otherwise.. I am just sitting at home cleaning... but Hey, the apartment needed it.

Hope your weeks are going better than mine! :)

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Meet with me - Ten Shekel Shirt

"Ten Shekel Shirt - Meet With Me lyrics"

I'm here to meet with you
come and meet with me
I'm here to find you
reveal yourself to me

As I wait, you make me strong
As I long, you draw me to your arms
As I stand you come and sing your praise
You come, you come and you fill this place
Won't you come, Won't you come and fill this place

I'm here to meet with you
Come and meet with me
I'm here to find you,
reveal yourself to me

As I wait, you make me strong
As I long, you draw me to your arms
As I stand you come and sing your praise
You come, you come and you fill this place
Won't you come, Won't you come and fill this place
Lord come Lord come and fill this place

I'm here to meet with you
Come and meet with me

You can listen to this song here.

The lines that touch me the most in this are "As I wait, you make me strong; as I long, you draw me to your arms." Sometimes we are required to wait on God's timing... It is my prayer that as I wait, and as you wait... become strong.. and draw near to the Lord.