Monday, May 21, 2012

Hospital, Home runs, and Hiking

Weekend recap.  3-2-1 go.

Julianne had her 6-month checkup on Thursday.  (All clear - hooray!)  It's an all-day event, and I accompanied Mama and J to keep them company.  A quick funny story.  Julianne gets all of the cool hospital bracelets during her checkups... one of which is a big yellow bracelet with the notice "FALL RISK" in huge print.  I asked J why they still made her wear that one, and she said she didn't know what "fall risk" meant.  Hahaha.  Well, I guess technically it could mean either "at risk for falling" or "at risk for injury if a fall occurs" but either way it's pretty self-explanatory.  So after discussing this, J said she is pretty clumsy so maybe she should wear it around school, too.  Oh my.

Home runs.
Charles and I went to a Barons game on Friday night.  Unfortunately, they lost to the Montgomery Biscuits, but it was still a great time despite a hoard of 8-year-old girls that screamed in our ears all night.   We're itching to make it to a Braves game.  And I'm pretty sure there was only one home run but the plural version sounded better in the title.

pre-Barons game

I told Mama that Vestavia was making me claustrophobic, and she laughed at me.  But seriously, I need to see open spaces on the reg, and I've needed a hiking fix for a while now so off to Oak Mountain State Park we went.  Now as much as I love the outdoors, I don't get out very much.  I've slowed down considerably since my soccer days*, and this was quite obvious 2 miles into what felt like a hike with a 45-degree incline (obviously an exaggeration).  Thankfully, the terrain leveled out, and the remaining hike was really fun**.  We might have hiked further, but somehow we both failed to get our hands on maps with distances marked and over estimated the time it would take to get back to the car (it's faster going down than up - just FYI).  Charles used his nifty Map my Run app for the iPhone to log our every step (don't judge us!).

* this does not bode well for future Caroline since I'm only 4 years out of soccer... not the point though.
** I have lots of itchy bug bites constantly reminding me just how fun it was.

Sunday, May 20, 2012

sweet summertime

Here's to…
 bare feet in the grass
toes in the pool
book in hand
hammock naps
ice cream scoops
tan lines
and outdoor showers
Let the days of summer begin. 

Friday, May 18, 2012


Title: Awakening by Chris Tomlin
I'm laying in the hammock at my house reflecting on my time spent in Guatemala. All I can say is that the Lord is so good. To say the least, last week was a whirlwind of an adventure. But it was a whirlwind that I will never forget.

Saturday: we loaded up in the church van and headed to Atlanta airport. From there, we flew straight to Guatemala City and drove immediately to our hotel. (I didn't take my DSLR camera for theft reasons but it ended up being a huge blessing because I was able to focus more on why I was there. The downside is that I don't have very many pictures but I will share some of the ones I have!)

inside our hotel
As soon as I walked into the hotel and saw the colorful hammock and the open ceiling I knew I was going to love this place. This space was perfect for spending time with Jesus each morning and having fellowship and prayer each night. 
After getting settled into the hotel, we walked down to a park in our neighborhood. We played soccer for hours and hung out with the kids and students there. Little did we know that God had already been preparing the hearts of those people, but we were able to have a pizza party that night and share the Gospel to the people we had already met that day. God is good.

Sunday: Okay, the breakfast in Guatemala is legit. Like pretty sure we should implement their breakfasts in 'Merica. Coffee cookies to dip in my amazingly smooth coffee each morning? Yes please. Anyways, we split up into two groups and went to church Sunday morning. We prayed, sang, and listened to the sermon in Spanish, but  you could feel the Lord's presence in that tiny room nonetheless. It was such a blessing to be able to see some of my brothers and sisters in Christ and know that God is moving in people's hearts all over the world. 
That afternoon, we went to a park called Las Americas where they have a festival and hold horse rides every Sunday. We carried around signs that said, "Abrazos Gratis" (Free Hugs). While I felt like most of the time we were being made fun of, we made connections with some people that we were able to see later on in the week. God always has a plan. 

Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday: These days were my favorite. We were able to go to Universidad del Valle each day and meet the students there. We played soccer (sensing a trend?), had even more coffee (always a good idea), and had picnics on campus. The Lord kept opening up doors to have conversation after conversation. We made tons of friends at the university and were able to welcome new brothers and sisters in Christ, as well as encourage Christians that are there. God is faithful.

Thursday: We hiked 3.5 miles up a volcano. Obviously we had to hike down too but that wasn't nearly as bad as the hike up. While most of our group chose to rode horses, I was feeling tough and decided to walk the whole way. I would regret that decision later, but I survived. We roasted marshmallows in the volcano (Yepp, you heard that right) and listened to Scripture as we stood in awe of our beautiful surroundings. After conquering the volcano (Lord of the Rings style), we drove over to Antigua and shopped at the markets there before heading back to the hotel. God is infinitively creative.

Friday: After a long delay in our flight, we finally boarded the plane and headed home. I am so thankful to have spent a week with people who lived out the Gospel. I already miss the wonderful people I met and I'm pretty sure I left part of my heart in Guatemala. 

I planted the seed, Apollos watered it, but God has been making it grow.  So neither the one who plants nor the one who waters is anything, but only God, who makes things grow. -1 Corinthians 3:6-7

Monday, May 14, 2012

Southern Culture Weekend

Last weekend was a VERY BUSY.
Friday: move home
Saturday: unpack/ Crawfish boil
Sunday: Talladega/ Sprint Cup Race

And here is the Reader's Digest version of the weekend.

Crawfish boil:
Saw a few bands, ate crawfish-shaped cookies (the real crawfish smelled nasty), people watched, and got our picture made with a crawfish.  A general rule of thumb: the later the sketchier.  And when in doubt, always get your picture made with the mascot.  We also got our picture made with Lupe Fiasco, but we didn't get any info on how to view it... so...

Talladega Race:
Got a fake suntan via rubber, watched cars go around the racetrack (shocker), ate a picnic lunch, wore earplugs for 3 hours but yelled/ talked to each other anyway, people watched (not as interesting/ strange as @ Crawfish), hung out with friends.

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Prayer for a friend

This week ALEX has been in GUATEMALA with First Baptist Church Opelika sharing HIS WORD and doing... well I'll let her fill you in on that part {aka I don't know all the little details}.

MEANWHILE, I've been in B'ham praying this verse for her:

Zephaniah 3:17 
The LORD your God is in your midst, a mighty one who will save; he will rejoice over you with gladness; he will quiet you by his love; he will exult over you with loud singing.

Thursday, May 3, 2012

3 year life-span

Today, I got a new student ID.  

I really wanted to make my TigerCard that I got at Camp War Eagle last all 4 years, but today I caved.  Here's why--  Apparently, while studying abroad, we will need to have our student ID's.  And seeing as my current student ID no longer has my picture or my complete name on it, it's safe to say it's no longer an ID, just a magnetic piece of plastic.  And since I didn't want to get stranded in a foreign country (probably an exaggeration), I felt it necessary to get re-IDed.  But I can officially say my original TigerCard survived 3 whole years at Auburn (no clue why I think this is actually an accomplishment - thank you for letting me have my moment).

For some (dumb) reason, I thought maybe they could just use my picture from my old one (it was raining when I went to the TigerCard office).  Not so.  Hello rain hair!

Old ID - clearly in need of an upgrade (the barcode is blurred out just in case someone wanted to steal my identity).

New ID - The paw prints look stupid.

taco casserole

I cooked the other night. This is a big deal considering the fact that I rarely have time to cook because I still live in the dorm. Without an oven. or a dishwasher. or a washer. or a dryer. Can you tell I'm ready to live in an apartment? 
I made taco casserole (adapted from this recipe). I've made it before and let me tell you, it was just as good the second time around. 
I lb ground beef
1 package taco seasoning
2 cups shredded cheese (I used the mexican blend)
1 cup salsa
tortilla chips
rice (I used the microwavable Spanish rice)
1 can Rotel (optional)

Brown ground beef, drain, and mix in taco seasoning
Line the bottom of the pan with the chips (crushed up usually works better)
After microwaving the rice, pour the rice, the salsa, and the cheese in a bowl and mix together
Pour this over the chips, along with the beef
Sprinkle remaining cheese and Rotel on the top
Put in oven at 375 until the cheese is melted

The original recipe called for beans, onions, and black olives. If you want to get all fancy, go for it. But the recipe also did not originally include rice. So choose wisely.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

feel the rhythm.

Day 2 of Exam Week.
We are still alive (I felt this was necessary information).
Study mode is in full force around here. Last night, I was yelling at Caroline from my room. I asked her if she was still alive. I heard a weak reply that she was, in fact, alive and I felt like Derice talking to Sanka in Cool Runnings. If you don't know what I'm talking about, then I am truly sorry for your childhood. 

Okay, back to real life.

In about 4 days, I will be boarding a plane and heading to Guatemala for a week. Along with 15 other people from my church in Auburn, I will be doing outreach on several college campuses in Guatemala City. Playing frisbee, kicking around the soccer ball, getting coffee with local students, and hiking a volcano are some things expected to happen during this trip. Not only am I thankful for this wonderful opportunity, but I am also beyond excited and cannot wait to see what the Lord has in store. Please pray for me, that words may be given to me in opening my mouth boldly to proclaim the mystery of the Gospel (Eph. 6:19)