Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Highlights of 2010

When looking back on 2010, it would be easy for me to say, "not that much happened," but I know that's not true.  Here are some highlights:

  • Helped a friend get engaged.

  • Fell in love with roasted carrots and brussel sprouts (foods I'd never eaten before).

  • Donned not one, not two, but three bridesmaid dresses.

  • Finally took that trip to Princeton, NJ I'd been meaning to do for years.  Loved it and my time with Amelia there.

  • Discovered I enjoy vodka martinis. (This was a bit of a personal goal for me.)

  • Found a church home in Charleston.

  • Took my appreciation for DVR and TV to a whole new level.

  • Started working out with Jillian Michaels (sometimes routinely; sometimes not).

  • Read a lot of books.

  • Started relying on Proactiv.

  • Read through Isaiah.

  • As I mentioned previously, the Lord taught me a lot about being joyful and more positive.  So thankful for that. 

  • I've never had a "theme verse" for a year before, and wasn't looking for one this year, but this verse became the anthem of my 2010: INTO YOUR HAND I COMMIT MY SPIRIT; YOU HAVE REDEEMED ME, O LORD, FAITHFUL GOD.  Psalm 31:5

  • Learned to love Google Reader.

  • A lot of time with good friends...and I'm so glad!
  • Tuesday, December 28, 2010

    2010 follow up

    I thought I'd give an update on a post last year.  Some things I was looking forward to in 2010:

    • Turning 27. Ok, I am kind of dreading moving into my late 20's. But, Lord willing, it is going to happen whether I like it or not. So why not be happy about it?  Was a great birthday!
    • A Charleston summer! Beach, fishing, and being tan!  Loved it!
    • My brother's wedding.  Had a blast!
    • Potential weddings of some really good friends. No pressure guys! Haha.  They followed through!
    • Finding a church home in Charleston.  Done.
    • Hopefully knocking some things off my 25-30 to do list.  Not so much done...oh well.
    • Having a more positive outlook on life.  The Lord has really taught me a lot about this, I think.  I still have a LONG way to go (don't we all?!), but I think he made me more positive this year.  Namely, I learned a lot about joy.  Having joy in the midst of all circumstances and (perhaps hardest, yet most rewarding) being joyful for others -- especially when they get things that I'd like to have.  For example, I wouldn't mind getting married.  And this year I was blessed to be in a few weddings and be genuinely excited for those getting married.  Only because of the Lord.  And other things I would like in my life, but have been excited to see in the lives of others.  I know this isn't of me, but a gracious gift.  Hoping to stay/become more joyful in the years to come.

    Saturday, December 25, 2010

    Merry Christmas!

    LUKE 2:8-21

    And in the same region there were shepherds out in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. And an angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were filled with fear. 10 And the angel said to them, “Fear not, for behold, I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. 11 For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. 12 And this will be a sign for you: you will find a baby wrapped in swaddling cloths and lying in a manger.” 13 And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying,
    14 “Glory to God in the highest,
    and on earth peace among those with whom he is pleased!” [3]
    15 When the angels went away from them into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, “Let us go over to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has made known to us.” 16 And they went with haste and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby lying in a manger.17 And when they saw it, they made known the saying that had been told them concerning this child. 18 And all who heard it wondered at what the shepherds told them. 19 But Mary treasured up all these things, pondering them in her heart. 20 And the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all they had heard and seen, as it had been told them.
    21 And at the end of eight days, when he was circumcised, he was called Jesus, the name given by the angel before he was conceived in the womb.

    Friday, December 24, 2010

    Chistmas Eve

    Zechariah 9:9

    Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion!
    Shout aloud, O daughter of Jerusalem!
    Behold, your king is coming to you;
    righteous and having salvation is he,
    humble and mounted on a donkey,
    on a colt, the foal of a donkey.

    Thursday, December 23, 2010

    Cook-Off 2k10

    Marifrasier had her annual Christmas cook off party tonight.  Jacqueline and I schemed for weeks about our entry.  We searched recipes, blogs, and old favorites to find the perfect dish.  (Thanks to a suggestion by Courtney) we decided to go with one of my childhood favorites: home made doughnuts!  Mom used to make them and even serve us in bed sometimes.  They are delicious.  Never in my life have I made so many, though!  We made 200!

    We WON the dessert category!

    Way to go Jacqueline!  I had a blast cooking up this yummy sweet with you!  And I loved watching people love them...

    Go ahead, treat yourself:

    Buy canned biscuits -- NOT flakey; the cheaper the better, according to mom.
    Cut each biscuit into quarters and roll into a ball.
    Heat oil to 325 and drop balls in the oil.
    Flip once they turn golden brown.
    When the other side turns golden, remove with a slotted spoon and place in one of two containers (that have lids): powdered sugar AND cinnamon/sugar combination.  
    Put the lid on and shake, shake, shake!
    Remove and enjoy.  They are best when warm.

    I have to say, this party is nothing if not random.  But I had a really good time.  It is interesting to watch the different groups of people and try to remember names.  Haha.  A special shout out to Jane Harper.  As usual, her comments and company did not disappoint!

    Wednesday, December 22, 2010

    New Twist on an Old Favorite

    The other day, someone brought "salt cookies" into the office.  I have to say, I was a bit nervous, but I ended up loving them!  I loved the sweet/salty combination.  Last night, I decided to do some baking and that included making my own version of this cookie.  The originals were chocolate chip with butterscotch chips and fully coated in salt.
    I made my mom's chocolate chip cookies.  One batch without chips (my favorites!).  Two batches of regular.  And one salted batch.  I formed the cookies as usual, and then dunked the top in a bowl of salt.  I opted to only salt the top.  The result: I really like them.  Definitely a nice twist on a favorite cookie!

    Tuesday, December 21, 2010

    Total Eclipse

    I'm not super into stars, moons, and the likes.  But when something comes around once in your lifetime, I don't mind losing a bit of sleep to partake. 
    I set my alarm for 2:00 am to wake up.  I told the alarm to stop, rather than snooze.  Then I fell back asleep and dreamed that I got up and watched the eclipse and it was magnificent.  So I woke back up, it was 2:20.  Set an alarm for 2:30.  Woke up.  Received a text from Courtney, "So cloudy I can't see anything.  Sad day."  I replied that I was gearing up.  Put on my capilene pants, sweat pants, cowboy boots, capilene shirt, hat, scarf, and gloves, and down puffy coat.  I headed outside and was AMAZED. 
    Maybe the sky always looks that beautiful at 2:30 in the morning?  I called Courtney and told her it was awesome.  We decided that I should grab my lap top so we could video chat and hopefully she could see it.  Whilst doing that, I called my house to talk to mom and woke dad up...oops.  While dad was trying to get my mom, she beeped in on her cell phone.  Mom, Courtney, and I had a nice little chat.  I should mention that mom was in the backyard on a beach chair with an ELECTRIC blanket hooked up via an extension cord and had ear plugs in.  She said it was marvelous.
    There was still a tiny sliver of silver on the far right side.  So I headed in to come back later.
    It really looked like this (but with a TINY bit of silver):

    At 3:00, Courtney said, "Should be totally dark now according to my phone."  Because she downloaded an app for it.  So I hopped back out of bed and went to check.  There was still a tiny sliver of white.  Re-set the alarm.  At 3:30 it wasn't fully dark yet and I could see the clouds starting to roll in.  While that was disappointing, it looked pretty cool. 
    Just before 4:00, I realized work would be hell today.  [And it has been!]  It was cloudy and I couldn't see the moon well at all.  I decided to give it one more shot at 4:50 (go big or go home, people!).  At that time, I couldn't see it at all.  I was SO glad that I could see a bit of it, though.  Pretty awesome. 
    I had not one, but two Diet Cokes this morning.  I am still dragging...but worth it!

    Monday, December 20, 2010

    Drab to Fab

    Krissie gets by with a little help from her friends, Courtney and I, in the hair department.


    Y'all, seriously, are Courtney and I awesome or what?!   No more "butt part."  No more frizz.  She's so hip and modern.  Her hair looks amazing!  Krissie has been getting comments left and right -- from friends, students, faculty at school.  Even middle school boys have been all, "Mrs. Barr, you look great.  What did you differently?!" I am so glad!

    Krissie:  by the by... my hair straightner is my new favorite, non-negotiable in the morning

    Krissie, you're welcome.

    Thursday, December 16, 2010

    Eatin' & Singin'

    Wednesday night I had dinner with some friends (Mexican; I ate EVERYTHING on my plate) and then we went to sing Christmas carols at church.  They also had cookies.  Don't worry, I managed to eat two, even though I was quite full from supper.
    Along with the carols, a few poems were read.  I loved this one:
    An angel came to me
    and I was unprepared
    to be what God was using
    Mother I was to be.
    A moment I despaired,
    thought briefly of refusing.
    The angel knew I heard.
    According to God's Word
    I bowed to this strange choosing.
    A palace should have been
    the birthplace of a king
    (I had no way of knowing).
    We went to Bethlehem;
    it was so strange a thing
    The wind was cold, and blowing,
    my cloak was old, and thin.
    They turned us from the inn;
    the town was overflowing.
    God's Word, a child so small
    who still must learn to speak
    lay in humiliation.
    Joseph stood, strong and tall.
    The beasts were warm and meek
    and moved with hesitation.
    The Child bron in a stall?
    I understood it: all.
    Kings came in adoration.
    Perhaps it was absurd;
    a stable set apard,
    the sleepy cattle lowing;
    and the Incarnate Word
    resting against my heart.
    My joy was overflowing.
    The shepherds came, adored
    the folly of the Lord,
    wiser than all men's knowing.
    -- Madelein L'Engle
    I drove back home being encouraged by my friends Beth and Mary.  One moved home from 1/2 way accross the country to take care of a parent going through really rough chemo.  The other teaches elementry school in an underprivelaged area and goes out of her way to love her kids.  Like wash their clothes, send food home so they can eat supper, and spend time with them outside of the classroom. 
    “The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’ -- Matthew 25:40
    Also, in case you were wondering, the Mexican didn't agree with Beth and I.  And by "didn't agree with" I mean a mild case of food poisening.  I'll say this: it made for an interesting morning. 

    Monday, December 13, 2010

    Gifts that give

    I have to say some years I flat out HATE Christmas shopping.  I feel forced to buy people gifts and often don't know what to buy, ergo I just get very frustrated.  This year I did most of my shopping online which was awesome!  I also tried to do gifts that give back to others.  Here are a few I purchased:

    TOMS.  I own a pair and LOVE them.  For every pair you buy, a kid in a developing nation gets a free pair!
    International Sanctuary.  Proceeds go to help fight human trafficking.  Products are made by survivors of human trafficking.

    Krochet Kids.  Ugandan ladies make the hats, etc.  They are able to rise out of poverty by making their own money - able to send their kids to school, save money, and live in freedom.  Guys that started the company also love Jesus.

    Saturday, December 11, 2010

    Once Upon A Time...

    A boy met a girl.

    The girl:  Freshman year at PC, I was on the cool hall -- 2nd floor Belk.  Ashley Festa lived next door to me.  She was feisty, competitive, loud, loved the Lord, and was more excited about Alpha Delta Pi than anyone else I've ever met.  Ever.  (This still holds true.)  I seriously cannot come up with an anology to describe her enthusiasm.  She also loved pearls, Vera Bradley, and staying up super late (ok, that describes most sorority girls, but Festa has a way of making things "hers").  Over the years, and subsequent ones to follow, we became good friends and I'm so glad!

    The boy:  Apparently Austin and I both went to PC our freshman year, but I didn't know it.  The beginning of my sophomore year, I went to Outback Steakhouse with some friends.  Austin was with us and it is the first time I remember meeting him.  Our initial conversation went something like this:

    Austin: Hey, you're in my poly sci class.
    Me: I don't think so.
    Austin: Yes, I've seen you there.
    Me: Really?  I've never seen you before.
    Austin: Yeah, Dr. Raber at so and so time on so and so days.
    Me: Yeah!  I'm in that class.  Interesting.

    We became friends and actually ended up having lots of classes together and being study buddies. 
    But back to the main characters of this story.  Festa and Austin started dating our Sophomore year.  And dated.  And broke up.  And dated.  And broke up.  And I think you get the picture.  By the time we received our diplomas, they were not dating.

    However, they both made the decision to attend Dallas Theological Seminary in Dallas: different programs; same grad school.  The plot thickens.  This may (or may not) come to a surprise to you, but they started dating again in Dallas!  And...then they broke up.  Then they started dating again...and then not so much.  Yeah, you smell what I'm stepping in.  Festa graduated.  A year or so later, Austin did, too.  The pattern continued.

    Summer of '09 I was lucky enough to see Festa as she passed through Spartanburg.  As we were talking about boys (because sometimes girls do that), she kept describing her perfect man.  We all laughed because Austin fit the bill, but that road had been traveled too many times.

    Somewhere in 2010 I heard a rumor that they were dating again.  Picking Festa up from the airport this summer, we were able to hash it out.  I have to say, it was really cool hearing how the Lord had been working in Austin and Festa.  Hearing how their relationship had changed over the years and how the Lord had really taught them how to love one another, compromise and sacrifice, and really just matured them as people and in their relationship.  She assumed they'd be engaged by the end of the year...

    Sadly, I was half asleep when Courtney texted me the other night to share the good news that they were (finally) engaged.  I got it early the next morning and promptly texted the boy and the girl.  Excited for you both!  Looking forward to a trip to Dallas!

    Thursday, December 9, 2010

    New Song I Love

    I really like Amos Lee.  I haven't listened to him in a I was pretty excited when I heard this song on the radio on my drive home tonight.  Makes me think of summer, driving in the car late at night with friends, laughing and attempting to solve the great mysteries of life...

    Look up child 
    The world is born 
    Shoe's untied 
    And your soles are worn 

    Windows are rolled down 
    Sun is setting high 
    Windows are rolled down 
    I'm fixin' to die 

    Corn rows have companion feel 
    This rocky road and this steering wheel 
    Who do you call to ease your pain 
    I hope for you to get through this rain 

    Windows are rolled down 
    Moon is hanging low 
    Windows are rolled down 
    Think it's time for me to go hey-ay-ay-a............-ay

    Is it what you dreamed it'd be
    Are you locked up in this fantasy
    Oh this miles that have
    torn us apart
    My new found faith
    and my broken heart

    Windows are rolled down
    Sun is rising high
    Windows are rolled down
    Feel that wind rushing by hey-ay-ay-a.......

    Windows are rolled down

    Tuesday, December 7, 2010

    Surprised by the Power of the Spirit

    I read this book, by Jack Deere, over the past few days.  I really wasn't sure what to expect when I started reading this book; however, I was pleasantly surprised.  Dr. Deere's writing is very personal, relatable, and easy to read.  He shares lots of stories and invited me to reconsider my own theology concerning the Holy Spirit.  I really recommend it.
    ...the real reasons for disbelieving in the gifts of the Spirit today are not at all based on Scripture; they are based on experience [or lack there of] (56).
    The book of Acts is the best source that we have to demonstrate what normal church life is supposed to look like when the Holy Spirit is present and wroking in the church.  Here we find a church that has passion for God, is willing to sacrifice -- even to the point of martyrdom -- and is a miracle-working church.  Why would we think that God wants the church to be something different today?  Would anyone seriously rather have the church in Calvin's day or the church in twentieth-century America as the mondel of normal church life? (114).
    These desires were put into your heart by your heavenly Father, and he has not drawn you this far abandon you or leave you unfulfilled.  The holy frustration you feel right now is meant to drive you on.  He wants you to be thankful for what you have, but he never wants you to be content with your present level of divine intimacy (169).
    If the essence of the Christian life becomes conformity to rules, we will always be led into self-righteousness (189).

    Monday, December 6, 2010

    Christmas Cheer and a Beer!

    A long, long time ago I lived with Katie and Jenn.  Circa Fall of 2005 Katie and her boyfriend (now husband) Jake went to a Carolina game.  Katie picked up a case of Bud Light to take to the tailgate.  They ended up parking forever away and Jake didn't want to be seen carrying a case of beer all over Columbia.  Hahahaha!  Katie was a smidge irritated that they left the beer in the car and brought it home after the game. 
    So we had a case of beer.  Jenn didn't drink beer.  Neither did I.  Katie did socially, but wasn't the type to hunker down with a case by her lonesome.  So the beer sat and sat in our fridge.  One day in December Katie and I tried to think of ways to get rid of the beer...and Christmas Cheer and a Beer was born!
    Now this was not the first time Katie and I came up with interesting things to do as roommates.  Jenn ususally did not participate (I guess she thought we were weird or something?), but this time she agreed.  Yes!
    We put on semi formal wear (I got to re-wear my ADPi Christmas party dress from freshman year!) and donned some antlers (thanks to Jenn who had those).  We baked cookies of some sort.  And we grabbed the case of beer.
    Y'all, we went to our friends houses, chanted the Christmas Cheer and a Beer poem we wrote, and handed out cookies and a beer.  It was a hilarious and magical evening.  Cheer was delivered throughout Columbia. 
    The holiday season has drawn near.
    So we dressed up and came right here.
    All to give you christmas cheer. 
    This is our favorite time of year
    Enjoy your treat and your beer!
    Katie ended up marrying Jake which required a move to Greenville.  Mary moved in.  CCB 2006 involved the same antlers, but that year we wore old bridesmaid dresses.  Who would have guessed the David's Bridal gown would have been re-worn after all?!  Haha.  At this point, I'd say we were legen -- wait for it -- dary in Columbia!  2007 took a turn when we dressed up as Christmas (Jenn; complete with white lights that could be plugged in), Cheer (Mary as a cheerleader), and beer (me). 
    I headed to Clemson for grad school in 2008 and Nicole took my spot.  Jenn, Mary, and Nicole got high tech that year with real elf costumes!  Same for 2009.  Then Jenn got married in 2010...and we decided to have a CCB reunion!  A drop in at Jenn's with all of the past roommates! 
    Sadly, Carolina went to the SEC championship.  Mary knew that if she did, she wouldn't be able to participate.  Sad.  Nicole bailed on us at the last minute to attend the game as well.  So we were down to the original 3: Jenn, Katie, and I. 
    We had lots of food.  Lots of beer.  Lots of wine.  Lots of fun friends.  Jenn had a framed picture from each year so you could take the CCB walk down memory fun!
    Side note: Some things have changed.  I love beer.  Katie (and Jake) drink freely now.  Jenn will even indulge in a brewski given the right moment. 
    I loved getting to spend time with some people that I rarely get to see.  Catching up on our current lives and laughing about old times.  I think CCB 2010 was the best one yet!

    Friday, December 3, 2010

    Hair Chop

    So...I got a hair cut.  I'd been contemplating a cut since before Mary Alice's wedding, but didn't get in time for the wedding.  Wednesday was a bad hair day so I decided to do it on Thursday.  Yet Thursday I had a GREAT hair day so I debated whether or not I should follow through.  Well, I did and I'm so glad I did!



    (Excuse the jippy photos.)

    Thursday, December 2, 2010

    Oil Sticks

    I'd been wanting a candle for my office.  Something that smells good and makes it a bit more homey.  I was bit reluctant though, since I work in an old house.  I mean, it was built around 1850 -- so its basically like working in a house of kindling wood.  If anyone would burn the place down, it would be me.  And then I'd have to deal with the insurance aspect of all that -- making more work for myself.  So, I put the idea out of my head. 
    BUT the other day, during a marathon trip to Wal Mart, I purchased this:

    $4.  Smells heavenly (Mulled Spices).  Makes my office homey and awesome.  Plus I have a new "toy" which is always fun.

    Wednesday, December 1, 2010

    Hump Day Joy

    Just like last winter, and the winter before that, I am feeling seasonally depressed a bit.  The days are shorter, so I want to do less and could be in bed at 7 pm, it is hard to get out of bed in the morning, and I just miss the sunshine.

    But onward and upward...despite the winter blues, some things I am thankful for today:

    • Good conversations.  Jenn.  Maggie.  Shannon Innes (in Costa Rica).  Thanks to the miracle of gchat, I am able to talk to friends throughout the work day.  It really gets me through sometimes.
    • I completed a crazy hard Sudoku puzzle that I've been working on for a few days.  It's the kind where 5 are connected to each other and it was a doozy!
    • Grooveshark.  Free music.  All kinds.  All day long.
    • Happy 29th Birthday, Jane Harper!
    • I've been having some really good time in the word this week.  I read Isaiah 54 and started Isaiah 55.  Really good to be reminded that I am a broken mess, that I have a savior that loves me and just longs for me to be with him.