Wednesday, December 30, 2009

2009 Rewind

For many of us, 2009 has had its fair share of ups and downs...more downs it seems for some of us. While it has been a rough year, I feel like I have learned more this year than I have in a really long time. When times are hard, we tend to lean more on God and on each other. I think this is what we should always try to do regardless of our circumstances.

I think that the biggest lesson I learned this year is to live within my means and plan for the future. I don't think I would have ever learned it had I not lost my job in February. Eight months of unemployment really forces you to look inside yourself and figure things out on your own. The highlight of my year was returning to my beloved Cape Town, South Africa to lead a team of 13 people on a mission trip for our church. I had yet another life changing experience at my home away from home that just so happens to be on the other side of the world. I was also baptized in August as a result of my time spent in Cape Town this year and last year.

As I write this, I'm realizing that it was actually an amazing year for me. God brought me down, and then He raised me up. Sometimes we need to be humbled in order to learn and grow. While my life isn't always peachy keen, I'm confident that God has great things in store for all of us in 2010. I encourage you to put your faith in our perfect Maker who always knows what is best for us.

Monday, December 28, 2009

Get carded

Wondering what to do with all those pretty Christmas cards you received this holiday season? Instead of throwing them away, why not put them to good use by participating in the recycling program at St. Jude's. All you have to do is mail your cards (any occasion) to this address:

St. Jude's Ranch for Children
Recycled Card Program
100 St. Jude's Street
Boulder City, NV 89005

The program is really neat-the kids at St. Jude's make new cards from your old cards, and they get paid for their work. They also learn the importance of reusing and recycling. It's a win-win situation! For more details on the program, go to Let's all go green and help make tomorrow better for everyone.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

The real Reason for the season

With less than 48 hours left before Christmas Day, I know that many of us feel overwhelmed with everything that needs to get done between now and then. Let's all try to slow down, take a deep breath, and focus on the reason for the season. This might sound trite, but it is important to do. If you are a parent, I doubt your kids will care if the presents are wrapped in haste in a haphazard manner or if the house is not perfectly clean. Christmas dinner doesn't have to be perfect-your family and/or loved ones will enjoy it even if the turkey is dry, and the pie crust is not homemade. They will care that the ENTIRE family was able to spend time together and celebrate our Savior's birth.

Having seen my fair share of people running around during the holidays over the last 28 years, I often marvel at how the meaning of Christmas becomes lost in the chaos of the season. Instead of focusing on spending time with your loved ones, we've entrenched ourselves in a gift giving frenzy. We buy gifts for people because we think that's what you do at Christmas. Please know that I'm not saying buying gifts for people is bad or wrong...I love finding the perfect gift for someone. I just don't think that stressing out over finding the most amazing gift for someone who already has everything they need is necessary. What about gifts of time, service, and love? I would really like to see our society move away from giving hoards of gifts at Christmas and focus on the more important aspects of the season. Let's give thanks for the many gifts we already have like family, friends, pets, and the most important gift of all, Jesus' sacrifice to us. That gift came at a great price, and yet it is free to everyone. It came in a most unconventional way, but it remains the most significant gift of all times.

I hope you find time this Christmas season to relax and spend time with loved ones. More importantly, I pray that we don't forget to pause and thank God for the real Reason for the season.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

I heart.

I heart this minaudiere. It is simply fabulous in every way. The Who What Wear girls ( featured it last week in one of their daily posts, and I had to share it with all of you. It would make the perfect addition to your holiday wardrobe. I'm not sure how much you can actually hold in it, but that's not the point right? Talk about statement. You will certainly make one with this small piece of perfection.

To order it, go to Feel free to order one for me, and I will heart you forever.

Monday, December 21, 2009

Don't idle

Today's go green tip is a big one for me. When I see people who start their cars on cold mornings and then go back in their house/apartment/etc, it drives me INSANE! Yes, I know it is cold, but we live in the SOUTH*! Unless you will be transporting an infant or a sick individual, there is just no need to do this. Your car will warm up soon enough, and you will be just fine. Trust me!

When I lived in my old apartment complex, I would marvel at one woman who would walk down three flights of stairs to start her car and would leave it running for a good 15 minutes or so. Really? It's just unnecessary people. While researching this subject, I came across this interesting bit of information. "Idling for long periods in cold weather can actually cause excessive engine wear," the EPA notes in a report. So, this practice is both bad for your car AND bad for the environment. And it wastes gas.

*If you are reading this and live in an extremely cold area of the world, then do what you want. For the Southerners out there who can't stomach the cold weather, TOO BAD! Be kind to Mother Earth and to your car and stop idling.

Friday, December 18, 2009

God's saving grace

Many of you know that I had the privilege of getting baptized on August 30th of this year. My friend and leader from my first globalX trip to Cape Town, Evan McLaughlin, baptized me, and it was one of the most memorable experiences of my life. The night was even more special because I know that my friends at Southpoint Church in Cape Town were watching as well despite the fact that was after midnight there. God's amazing grace has saved me and has changed my life forever.

Here is a link to watch my testimony and the video from my baptism. My prayer this holiday season is that you know that all things are possible in Christ (Philippians 4:13), and that the gift of Jesus is the only one that matters at the end of the day.

"Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation;
the old has gone, the new has come!"
2 Corinthians 5:17

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Hi, my name is...

"Hi. My name is..." At what age is it appropriate to start introducing yourself using both your first AND last name? Is this an age issue, or am I just weird? Wait, don't answer that. But really, when is it appropriate to use your first and last name when you are not in a professional setting? I've noticed that older adults always use both their full name regardless of where they are. I just feel strange using my full name at parties, bars, etc. It feels so formal and forced to add my last name. Why is this? Am I the only one who feels this way?

There's a scene in You've Got Mail where Meg Ryan addresses this issue. She ponders this stating something along the lines of a "whole generation of cocktail waitresses" who only use their first name. I mean, I don't think I'm Cher or Oprah or anything. I just don't always feel like throwing my last name onto my introduction. Besides, Elle has such a nice ring to it :)

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Monday, December 14, 2009

"It is more blessed to give than to receive."

Still struggling to figure out what to buy someone this year for Christmas? Why not go green and help a worthwhile cause at the same time? Consider making a donation to a charity in honor or in memory of someone. You will save time, gas, and gift wrapping supplies. If your loved one is an animal lover, you could make a donation to an animal shelter where they live. If they are passionate about the environment, you could make a donation to an organization such as the National Wildlife Federation ( or to the Sierra Club ( Has someone in your loved one's family suffered from cancer? Think about making a donation to the American Cancer Society ( in their honor. Or, you can pool your family's funds together and adopt a family. Trust me, all parties involved will benefit from doing so. You won't even miss the gifts. "It is more blessed to give than to receive." (Acts 20:35)

Let's all make a conscious effort to walk away from giving hordes of gifts this year just because it's what most people do at Christmas. Money is tight for all of us right now, so let's give a gift that matters and helps others. We are all blessed in different ways, so let's share our blessings with each other...I think that is what Christmas is all about. When it's all said and done, all we have is the eternal gift of God's amazing Grace and the love we have for each other.

Monday, December 7, 2009

That's a wrap!

As Christmas gets closer and closer, many of us are already starting to wrap gifts. Today's go green tip focuses on gift wrapping. Let's get creative this year! Wrap up a gift in your favorite magazine cover or a scarf that is part of the gift. If you prefer to use gift bags like I do, re-use them. It pains me when I see people throw away perfectly good gift bags. You can also re-use tissue paper and other wrapping materials. If all else fails, go classic and wrap your gifts in newspaper.

However, let's keep in mind that the best gift of all cannot be Happy wrapping!

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Is time ever really on our side?

Is time ever really on our side? I had to renew my driver's license on Friday, and the concept of time has been on my mind since then. My new license will not expire until December 31, 2014-on my 34th birthday. I pondered this thought the whole drive home...where will I be five years from now? Will I be married? Will I have any children? Where will I be working? Will I be living out my dream of residing in New York City? All of these thoughts and more have been forefront in my mind since my time at the DMV two days ago.

In life, it seems like time is never on our side. When we are little, we want to be older. Once we are older, we want to be (or at least look) younger. I remember being 15 and thinking that my 16th birthday would never come. The song "Long December" by Counting Crows epitomized my seemingly endless wait for my birthday to arrive, so I could finally get my driver's license. Now, the 31st of December seems to arrive at an increasingly quickening pace each year.

While I look forward to what the future brings, sometimes I wish that I could pause time and stay at 28 for the rest of my life. Or, at the very least, I wish that I could always have an extra five minutes, so that I wasn't perpetually running five minutes late. However, it seems that the young will always want to be older, and the older will wish they were younger. Little girls will want to cast their dolls aside for makeup and boys, and adult women will apply their eye cream, face tightening serum, and other anti-aging products in haste. I guess the secret is finding contentment regardless of what stage you are in life. For now, I relish the day when time will be on my side.