One of my dearest friends gave birth to a precious boy Owen on Sunday evening, and yesterday they found out he has a congenital heart disease called Shone’s Complex. It is serious and very scary, and my heart breaks for what they are all going through. Owen is undergoing his first surgery now at 11am.
Please pray for healing and a peace that transcends all understanding. Our God is great and powerful and mighty to save. You can find more updates on his Caring Bridge site.
In the last few days of 2013, J and I sat across from each other on our couch and talked about this year. We didn’t really know what 2014 would hold, which is pretty rare since we would normally have 10 things on the calendar by January 1st. (Our calendar now, however, is back to normal with most weekends for the next seven months accounted for.)
It was one of those good talks where you dream and make plans about the future loosely, knowing full well God may take us on a different journey.
We talked about the goals we had for the year. The trips we want to take. The friends we want to get together with. The family events we anticipate attending. The home projects we want to prioritize. And also the timing for when we want to start a family, and the things we want to do before then.
One of the things on my pre-baby bucket list is to go on a missions trip.
J and I have talked about going on a mission trip for the last few years, but it has never worked out with his limited vacation days. And with a few obligations on the horizon, it is unlikely he would be able to do a trip this year. During this conversation, however, he mentioned that I go on one this year by myself.
I went on a few missions trips in high school and college, and always enjoyed them. It was a chance to travel to different parts of the world and spend time with my friends. Oh, and help people. That was an fringe benefit.
I’ve changed a lot in the last ten years. God’s been doing a major work on my heart, altering my perspective on missions and grace and the poor and what my role is in all of it. It’s something I’m still navigating through, but the desire to get out of my Americanized bubble is strong.
For a long time, I thought of missions trips as something students do, not really working adults. Our church has certainly changed my attitude, with its mission-centric sermons and offering dozens of mission trips throughout the year for all generations.
Coincidentally, earlier in December I had looked at the trips that my church was organizing, but didn’t see any that resonated with me… mainly because I didn’t see a trip going to Haiti. And for some reason I really want to go to Haiti. I’m not sure why, but I have thought about Haiti a lot in the last few months.
After J suggested I go on a trip, just for kicks I pulled up the site to see what trips were on the horizon. Low and behold, there was a new trip listed going to Haiti in the spring. I started laughing. Wouldn’t that be an adventure! I emailed the leader of the trip to learn more about it. They still had room, and they needed more girls.
I made a pro/con list (naturally), prayed about it, and on our way back from Charlotte where we celebrated New Years, I decided to do it.
So, April 15th I will be heading to Haiti to help serve the people of Port au Prince. I don’t know any of the other team members and am not sure exactly what to expect, but I am so, so excited.
One of my goals this year is grow and learn more about the world we live in. I would like to be able to speak intelligently on topics other than the drama going on in the lives of my favorite TV characters. I know, a tall order.
Here’s more background from my 2014 goals:
I rarely watch the news because I find it boring, but there is so much I can learn from the rest of the world. And one day my kids will learn this “history” we call the present and I’m not going to know what they are talking about.
I decided to start small, so I added to my January goals to “listen to NPR on my way to work every day.” A simple start.
I added this goal rather begrudgingly, but surprisingly have really enjoyed listening to NPR every day. Maybe this is a sign of me getting older or how simple-minded I viewed the news before, but it wasn’t boring at all. I loved the varied stories and learned about the conflict in Syria, the upcoming Olympic games, a bombing at a restaurant in Afghanistan, how people are helping the homeless in sub-zero temperatures, and the fight for teacher’s salaries here in North Carolina.
Last week I read an article on signs of a Type A person. Aside from interrupting (that’s actually one of my pet peeves, so please tell me if I ever do it to you), all signs point to me as being very Type A.
One of these signs is fear of wasting time. I am so guilty of this. When I’m waiting in a line, I check my phone and try to multitask because God forbid I stand idly by when there’s things to get done.
But I think that’s why radio is my favorite medium of receiving news. It doesn’t really interrupt something I’m already doing — driving to work — so it’s more passive on my part. Sitting in front of the TV to watch the news is not how I want to spend my time, and navigating news websites overwhelm me. I don’t know where to begin.
The radio it is. I’m on my way to a smarter 2014.
How do you consume the news? I’ve heard a lot of people use Twitter, but I get lost in all of the status updates. Maybe I follow too many people.
One of my best friends Allison (in like half of all my pictures) is having a baby in a month, and this past weekend a few friends and I threw her a shower at my mom’s house. I am trying to be better about a) taking more photos, and b) posting pictures sooner (still have on my list to post Thanksgiving and Christmas recaps – oy!!), so as soon as I downloaded these from my camera, I decided to put my favorites in a post to share. Because y’all — it was such a sweet shower. That baby boy has so many aunts that love him!
I also wanted to share because sometimes when you’re planning a party it’s hard to come up with all of the pieces from scratch and it’s helpful to see what other parties look like when you’re brainstorming. So here’s a recap of what we did for anyone hosting one in the future. :)
Decorations: We didn’t really have a theme, just a color scheme. Originally it was mint and gold, but as it happens when you order “mint crepe paper” online, sometimes it comes in teal. So it ended up a mint, gold, gray, silver, and teal party, which worked out beautifully. Allison’s sister Natalie made this cute backdrop for behind the couch, which looks good in this picture but way cuter in person. She hot-glued the tissue paper to a gold ribbon and said it was easy, but that looks like a fragile task if you ask me. :)
My sister Carrie made pompoms over the table, and a cute yarn pom-pom wreath and a sign for the french doors leading to the back porch. Allison has a woodland creatures decoration theme to her nursery, so we placed gold spray-painted pinecones around the table and incorporated some wooden circles as centerpieces.
Menu: It was a 2pm shower, so the menu was pretty simple but tasty. A few of the guests and hostesses were gluten free, so we labeled all gluten free items with a gold glittery dot. We had:
I have learned it’s good to have a mixture of items that can be prepared two days ahead (chocolate peanut butter cups, buy the cheese, crackers, hummus), one day ahead (cupcakes, chicken salad), and the day of (coconut macroons, cut the fruit/veggies, make the icing). Spreading it out makes it all so much easier and stress-free.
For drinks, we had a pomegranate-cranberry spritzer (just sprite + pomegranate juice + cranberry juice) and a hot chocolate bar (since it was a January shower). My friend Michelle was in charge of the hot chocolate and it was a hit! She had three different kinds of hot chocolate, varied stirrers and toppings. What I would do for a hot cup of chocolate right now…
Games: In lieu of a big organized game, we had guests write messages on diapers. We also had little cards for guests to fill out answering four questions, which Carrie made into a little book: - What to do when the baby is up at midnight - A tradition to start - Carry this with you at all times - Always remember
After the party was over we all sat around the fire reading the funny and sweet messages people left. Lots of diapers will be changed by the dad very soon. :)
Favor: Natalie made gluten-free sugar cookies in the shape of onesies as a favor, although I didn’t get a good picture of them. But trust me, they were cute and delicious.
It was such a fun shower and SO good to see so many dear friends. I can’t wait to meet Baby Parker next month!
January. The only thing I thought about in January was the marathon. Training for it, praying for it, running it, and then recovering from it. We also hosted friends for New Years at our apartment, had a great trip in Charleston, and celebrated my father in-law’s 60th birthday.
March. My sisters and brother in-law came into town and we had a great time celebrating St. Patrick’s Day. We went to Greensboro to celebrate the many family birthdays, spent Easter with J’s family, and said farewell to some friends who moved to Germany.
May. We went to Asheville for a weekend getaway where we ate delicious food and toured the Biltmore. We also went strawberry picking and celebrated Mother’s Day in Greensboro. We went to St. Augustine for a wedding over Memorial Day weekend and enjoyed the gorgeous warm weather with friends/family.
June. We celebrate J’s 28th birthday in Boone with old friends who moved back from Austin, TX. We spent lots of time at the pool and went to Greensboro for a family staycation.
September. We finished painting and moved everything into the house. We bought a washer, dryer, rug, couch and ottoman. Our two families went to the beach together, where I celebrated my 28th birthday. We met our neighbors and I went to Greensboro for a wedding shower for my cousin.
October. I had two girl’s weekends — one in Asheville and one in Charlotte with old friends — and J hosted his old college buddy for one of those weekends. I painted abstract art over the mantle. My mother in-law celebrated her 60th birthday and we surprised her with a few fun events, including the first party at our house. We also saw lots of family at my cousin’s wedding in High Point.
November. My sister and brother in-law came to stay with us and we cheered Andrew on as he ran a half marathon. We went to Boone for a lovely autumn weekend with friends, and hosted a Friendsgiving. We celebrated Thanksgiving at my in-laws and did a lot of Black Friday shopping.
December. We decorated our house for Christmas, attended a few parties, went to see Handel’s Messiah, the Nutcracker, and hosted a surprise party for my friend’s 30th birthday. We had Christmas early with my in-laws and spent the real Christmas with my family. We went to Charlotte for New Year’s and toasted the new year with my sister, brother in-law and good friends.