Coral background

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Let Me Count the Ways...

Miles does super sweet things for me on a pretty regular basis, but for some reason these things just got me. I told him it would be a huge service to me if he did my dishes so I could study, to which he gladly obliged :)
Then, he watched The Bachelorette with me. Enjoy his thoughts:

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Tuesday Musings: Looong Weekend

Over this long weekend, I did no work. Doing no work is great for if you don't have any classes and not a care in the world. It's not so great if you do in fact have classes, like me for instance. This weekend was real! It was fun! The whole no work part though is going to make this week not real fun. Here's to finishing a midterm, a final, three papers, two quizzes, and a book in four days! D:

My car hit 76,670 miles this weekend! I have a weird obsession with taking pictures of my odometer when it hits palindrome numbers. I'm a nerd. I know.
I got to go to Sarah and Eric's weeding this weekend! It was lovely!
Hung out with this sweet girl/future roomie at the wedding
The wedding was extra special because I'll be marrying this sweet man there in a few months! Can't get here soon enough!
Jen and I can hardly take them out.
After the wedding, Miles & I drove down to my family's lake house. It was so relaxing!
Aaaand he beat me and Ticket to Ride. Revenge came in the form of multiple games of Bananagrams. It was an even trade.

Friday, May 25, 2012

High Five for Friday: Babysitting!

High five for...

1. getting to babysit four sweet girls with Miles!

2. all the girls ganging up on and beating up Miles.
Just kidding! ...But really.

3. before we got to their house, KB, the youngest, was crying & upset. To console her, they told her Liz was coming over. She stopped crying and said, "the one with the brown hair?!" She perked up when my hair color was confirmed and got smiley. Then she quickly said, "but I don't want Miles to come!" (She really does love him though.)
So cute.
4. Miles winning at Yahtzee by getting two Yahtzees in one round (and being pretty impressed with himself).

5. getting to hang out with the parents of these fun girls after babysitting. We had the privilege of hearing many a horror (now comedic) story about their early years of marriage, which, obviously, fully qualifies them to be great marriage counselors :)

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Jesus & Mythology

This past year I had the opportunity to homeschool a wonderful, spunky, & sweet first grader. It was a huge highlight in my week! One of the hands down best parts of the experience was watching her grow throughout the year. Within a few months of starting, I watched her reading become smooth and expressive and her math skills become fluid and quick!

We did a range of activities, went through multiple textbooks, and read a variety of books. Addy's hands down favorite part of our time together was the last half hour or so when we would read out of her Greek Mythology book. This book was old school - in fact it was hard to keep all the pages together and in order because it was so worn!

To be honest, at first I was really surprised her mom, a wonderful woman who has encouraged me greatly in my faith and is so knowledgeable, not only let her read the book but wanted me to spend time each day reading it to this young, impressionable first grader. I mean, wasn't Greek mythology going to muddy the waters for distinguishing between gods and God? Could a first grader really differentiate between how Zeus created the world and how the Creator of the universe said "Let there be light"?

My views very quickly changed. Story after story related back to either a story in the Old Testament, the Gospel, or Biblical principles. The stories provided ample opportunity to ask Addy reading comprehension questions within the context of the Gospel, OT stories, etc. She was (much to my surprise) able to easily distinguish between "lower-case" gods and the God. There were even a few glorious moments while reading where she would say something like "Hey! This story is like [OT story]!"

In Greek mythology, mankind has a "falling out" with Zeus which is very similar to the Fall of Man in Genesis 3. Greek mythology talks about a great flood, similar to the Genesis flood. War is a common theme in both Greek myths and the Bible.

Aside from similar stories, more connections can be made. For instance, many of the Greek gods were extremely jealous. In the Bible, God is described as jealous. While the same adjective is used, these two jealousies are extremely different. Greek gods were jealous and vindictive and volatile; God on the other hand is jealous in a loving manner - He's jealous because he deserves our affections as our creator and heavenly father. Many of the mythical story lines (as with much literature) fall short. The characters, while they may have a few admirable qualities, always have an Achilles' heel (punny!). They fall short in some way. Ultimately, they show how unworthy they are of human affections. Who would want to worship and follow a god that, though strong, tries to kill his own children, has affairs, and is neurotic?

Flawed, measly Greek gods point to Jesus as the ultimate champion and king, and to God as the greatest, most loving, tender father. Inevitably, kids will come in contact with faith opposition at some point. Rather than trashing Greek mythology, let's redeem it. Greek mythology not only points to the Gospel, it can even strengthen faith in God.

Monday, May 21, 2012

Monday Musings: Tasting & Trivia

On Friday, my mom came in as scheduled for our taste test with Beau Bennett of Beau Catering. Oh. My. Goodness. My mom and I were salivating the minute Beau started whipping up delicacies in my tiny kitchen. Lime baked salmon with roasted red pepper sauce, zucchini & squash salad with pine nuts and parmesan, and crab stuffed mushrooms. Beau even brought us some barbeque, or "Beaubeque" as he likes to call it. Beau is from Little Washington, which if you're unfamiliar with small towns in NC, is in the eastern part of the state, which means that he makes eastern style barbeque, which is the kind of barbeque I've always dissed despite trying because I'm from Lexington, which means I like Lexington barbeque, which is sweet and tangy and very different than the vinegary, imitation stuff. Despite my geographic bias, Beau won me over. Beaubeque is delish.

On Saturday, since Miles is at home in the mountains, I got to teach our Route56 students! It was really fun and they were surprisingly into the lesson (whether or not they'll remember it next week is yet to be determined...).

After church, I got to hang out with my all-star pals Lauren & Sydnie. We went to Buffalo Wild Wings. After eating there once, I wasn't super impressed so I understandably wasn't doing cartwheels in the parking lot when we pulled up. That is until I found out they have TRIVIA. The Quiz Bowl captain in me was pumped. Lauren and Sydnie obviously had fun playing trivia too, as evidenced by their expressions :)
Lauren ended up winning the entire round which was thrilling! Then we realized I came in second and Sydnie snagged third! Good job, table!
Victory, at its finest!
This weekend was great fun, but if I'm honest, I'm ready for my fiance to get back in town! We haven't been apart this long since he went to Malaysia and I was in Kenya simultaneously as part of our summer project. I am anxiously awaiting his arrival to RDU on Tuesday! Woohoo!
On our last impromptu date to see the Avengers (+ CookOut!) before he headed home

Friday, May 18, 2012

High Five for Friday

I heard about the "High Five for Friday" posts from The Small Things Blog and From My Grey Desk Blog (they're sisters!) - it's basically just a recap for the week!

I'm high fiving for...

1. Summer school starting! (I realize I'm a nerd.) While my sensation and perception class isn't the most fun, my class about childhood maltreatment is fascinating - plus, I have lots of friends in there!

2. Getting our Save the Date cards ordered!

3. Finding wedding decor in the dollar section at Target. They were even half off!

4. This. Ahh... like a big drink of water for my soul. I'm trying to praise God for his past faithfulness and trust in future faithfulness and provision (easier said than done).

5. My momma is coming today! Woohoo! We're having our caterer taste test and going to get wedding decor!

Thursday, May 17, 2012

I'm Going to Feel Like a Horrible Mother

I'm currently taking a psychology class about child maltreatment and abuse. I'm barely into the class and it's already extremely interesting to me. I love being a psychology major, especially when that means I get to learn about babies!

Today we had a guest lecturer that talked about North Carolina's recent initiative to reduce cases of Shaken Baby Syndrome. The program is called "PURPLE" and seeks to educate mothers, fathers, and care givers about what to expect when they have a baby in terms of crying and coping with crying.

Did you know that babies, normal & healthy babies, often cry 4 hours every day? And they sleep for about 16 hours every day, on average. That means for every hour a baby is awake they could be crying for half of it.


In my mind, babies are supposed to be cute and cuddly and only cry for a minute or two until they're satiated by a clean diaper and milk.

Nope. Apparently not.

So why am I tell you this, friend? Well because frankly if I was a new mom and didn't have this information I would feel like I was the worst mother on the planet. I would feel like a failure. I would frankly not be shocked if I struggled with postpartum depression if my baby was inconsolably crying for hours on end. I also say this because it's not just something new moms need to be privy to but to males (who are, in the majority of cases, perpetrators of Shaken Baby Syndrome) and child care givers (who are more likely than mothers to commit the crime) who care for and live with children.

Crying is normal though. Hours of crying is normal. Healthy, even.

The PURPLE initiative seeks to console parents with this information, telling them that the crying of a normal, healthy baby is...
Resistant to soothing
Painful expression
Long lasting
Clustered in the Evening

So, mamas & future mamas, take heart - you're not a failure! Daddies & future daddies, might wanna buy some earplugs, prepare to help out, and get the number of a good massage therapist (for you & your baby mama). For real.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Attachment Parenting and All Things Natural & Instinctual
Apparently there's been a lot of buzz around May's TIME magazine cover. So much buzz, in fact, that Miles caught wind of it and passed it along to me, knowing I'd be interested. As a psychology major, I'm eating this story up.

There are seriously TONS of avenues I could take with this one. 

Kate Pickert, author of this viral article, says that "attachment parenting is based on the idea that you should follow your instincts." It includes extended breast feeding, child-led weaning, co-sleeping, and swaddling/wearing the baby.

Dr. Bill Sears is the patriarch of attachment parenting. Understandably, his opinions stem from his own stressful childhood experiences. Sears says that if a woman and her child were on a deserted island, away from mother in laws, parenting books, & psychologists, she would naturally practice attachment parenting.

I'm all about being attached to your child, but since when has something being natural been the standard? Natural instincts and motherly tendencies are great, but "natural" tendencies shouldn't be the standard. I have a pretty natural tendency to be judgmental and prideful, to be controlling and withdraw from community, but those things aren't good. Talk of all things natural being superior isn't just displayed on the cover of TIME, this advertising scheme is used everywhere. Why? A lot of times natural things are better. Natural food is better because its free of added chemicals and preservatives. Natural linens are better because they're not synthetic. And the list goes on.

However, I often justify sinful behavior because it felt "natural." My natural tendencies (my nature) are not always good because I'm a human and therefore my nature is inherently sinful. Any facet of my nature that is not full on sinful is a product of grace and sanctification. So, friends, next time you choose something, justify something, purchase something because its natural, let that remind you of your own nature. Natural tendencies, while at times good, are often masqueraded sinful desires flowing from a depraved heart.

Monday, May 14, 2012

Monday Musings: Lots of Red, Lots of Food, & Feeling Like a Creeper

Our essence captured while trying to make sense of a professor's handwriting on Miles' final paper.
I promise this was not staged.

This was the weekend we've all been waiting for - graduation! Miles is now officially a graduate of NC State! Woohoo! (Kinda.) Apparently being a graduate of a major university translates into needing to get a job and not having a stable place to live - but, hey, we're goin' with it. Bring on the job interviews!

I think I'm going to have to go on a 74 day fast after this weekend. Miles' family being in town meant lots of good food (thanks, Tim & Wendy!). My belly greatly appreciated it. My hips not so much.

Being out and about committing gluttony and shopping and whatnot meant I had ample bits of humanity with which to watch and analyze. The hands down best facet of this population was the babies. I befriended a 3-year-old little boy named Brick (can't decide if I love or loathe this name) at a Japanese steakhouse. We "took pictures" with our pagers from the restaurant of one another. It was adorable. Pretty sure his mom thought I was a creeper. I continued my alerting baby behavior by playing peak-a-boo with a little girl in TJ Maxx. Pretty sure her dad thought I was a creeper. I never know how to justify myself in situations like that. I think I need a necklace/forehead tattoo/demarcation that states my non-creepy, whole-hearted love for babies. Suggestions?

Friday, May 11, 2012

Frying-Vat-Free Make Up Options

I am the oiliest person I know. My mom and I can't go anywhere without oil absorbing sheets, for fear of looking like we dipped our faces in a frying vat at McDonald's. Summer is the worst time of year for frying-vat-face, which is why I'm posting some make-up products I've tried and loved (for oily faces + some random year-round products). Some of the products are splurges, but they are well worth what you pay for them and last a long time!

 I just started using Urban Decay De-Slick (in a tube) after seeing it featured on a food blog, oddly enough. I've found applying it with a sponge wedge applicator yields the best result. It gives me a matte finish, which was previously unheard of and very welcomed!

I just saw these Boscia Lavender Blotting Linens featured on Martha Stewart Weddings. They've received great reviews, and I can't wait to try them. Plus, they have twice as many sheets as the leading oil absorbing wipe for roughly the same price!

Eyeshadow Primer:
I've had Urban Decay Original Eyeshadow Primer for almost two years now and have yet to finish the bottle. Before using this primer, anytime I would wear eyeshadow it would (1) either come off completely or (2) gather into a really attractive, mangled, thick crease. This primer keeps eyeshadow on my oily eyelids all day, which is quite the feat!

Eyeshadow: Too Faced's Neutral Eyeshadow Collection
This was a definite splurge from two Christmases ago. I still haven't put a dent in it! Partially because I don't wear eyeshadow that often, and partially because it's so pigmented that a little goes a long way. (Not having to use a ton of eyeshadow to get the color to show up means less creasing, too!) Too Faced has some great eyeshadow options and their kits often include instructions/ideas for wearing their products. This product will well outlast my low-end drugstore eyeshadow.

Lipstick: Revlon Color Burst Lip Butter
"Cherry Tarte" was my first real lipstick ever. I got it a few months ago and feel super sophisticated wearing it! I was really nervous about buying lipstick and did a lot of research going into it. Nearly everywhere I checked said this lipstick was the best. At first "Cherry Tarte" seemed too bright for me, but I decided to bite the bullet and give it a shot. I was really pleased! It's not quite as bright on and I would definitely recommend this lipstick - no funky taste or weird break-out-inducing products (which for me is huge!). I want to add "Sugar Frosting' and "Pink Parfait" to my collection for more toned-down options.

Mascara: L'Oreal Telescopic Mascara
Y'all. This mascara is the best. I've used it since my high school days of dreaming about being an eyelash model. I've tried tons of other kinds of mascara and always come back to this one. The regular Telescopic kind (not the funky explosion kind) is my fave!

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Here's Looking At You, Almost Graduated Fiance

Miles is DONE with his college career and will graduate this Saturday! I edited his last college paper ever last night, which was a bittersweet moment for the nerd in me.

You've worked so hard this year, Miles, amidst lots of change. You've somehow managed to balance loving me well with your school work, your friends, BYX, being an RA, and teaching Route56.

I'm not going to lie, I'm pretty excited you're done so you can stop writing crazy research papers and return to writing ridiculously sweet poetry :)

I'm so proud of you!

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Engagement Pictures!

The talented Joey Murrell Benedict of j&a photos took our engagement pictures a few weekends ago and we finally go them back, after much anticipation! I wanted to do a baking theme and it turned out perfectly! Joey has taken my family's pictures for years - I remember taking my senior portraits and talking about how Joey was going to have to do my wedding pictures. It's so exciting to have that dream come to fruition!

Monday, May 7, 2012

Monday Musings: I'm DONE.

I am officially done with my full-time career at UNC. WHAT?!

I'll be taking some summer classes, then in the fall I only have 8 hours. Seriously, I don't feel old enough to almost be graduating!

Buuuutttt I'm pretty okay with graduating early, seeing as a week after I graduate I am getting married! Woohoo!

Since finishing up my last exam...
I've gone on a bestie date with Lauren. We saw Safe House - SO GOOD. We got popcorn, a obvious must, and finished up by going to Sweet Frog for froyo!
I've hung out with my sweet fiance, who has yet to finish :( A week from today he'll be done though! Since he's been packing up and taking things off his wall, he made this giant poster airplane.
Aaaand he may or may not have thrown it. The pinnacle of RA-rule-following right there, folks.

I didn't think to snap a picture of it, but Miles took me on an impromptu date to see The Vow. I didn't ask him to take me or even say I wanted to see it. He just up and surprised me! And he got me popcorn. Then after we went to dinner & hung out. It was so sweet and thoughtful!
We went to Target to look around for things we liked before we go to register this Friday. Miles apparently likes zebra stripes and sequins. I might have to pull out some trump cards, lest we want our house looking like a 7th grader's room exploded...
I drove home and saw this beautiful sunset! I'm spending a few days at home before summer school starts. I picked up our engagement pictures, am trying on my (Mom's) wedding dress for the first time tomorrow, and hanging out at the lake with my friends!
And I finally put my Summit Church sticker on my car! (Read: I finally washed my car for the first time in so that it was clean enough to put my Summit Church sticker on it.)

I'm so excited to share our engagement pictures! They're awesome. They'll be up tomorrow :)

Friday, May 4, 2012

Why Jesus Wants Me to Have a Big Wedding

As I've mentioned before, I have dreamt of my wedding pretty much my whole life. I've had a plethora of detailed dreams about it (of course, until recently, all of them had the annoying can't-see-the-groom's-face-at-the-end-of-the-aisle ending). I've saved pictures online and bookmarked wedding blogs for a few years now. Heck, when I was about 14 I decided I wanted to use the money my Paw had graciously and sweetly stored away for me for my wedding and/or honeymoon.

Okay, that's my side.

Miles, bless his heart, has not dreamt of such things. He's had dreams about things after the wedding. He's kept things in perspective. He's told me (more than once) that our wedding day is really the least important day of our marriage, with the last day of it holding the most weight. Granted, this perspective of realism has been helpful in planning. It's allowed me to relinquish some control (which is a big deal for me) and to not allow planning to be stressful or anxiety-provoking. However, I take this perspective with a grain of salt. I mean, come on, we're only getting married once! And it's pretty much the biggest party of our lives. There won't be any other time in our life where all our friends and family are gathered. That's a big deal!

Yesterday, I was reading in Let Me Be a Woman by Elisabeth Elliot (shocker, I know); she addresses the tension between wedding dreams and vanity beautifully, per yoush.

I laughed reading Jim Elliot's thoughts on weddings: [They are] "the vainest, most meaningless forms... no vestige of reality. The witnesses dress for show. The flesh is given all the place. We Fundamentalists are a pack of mood-loving show-offs... It is no more than an expensive tedium."

What a man. Obviously, Jim Elliot, at the age of 21, "had not come to understand the meaning of ritual." Elisabeth contrasts her late husband's quote with C.S. Lewis' thoughts on pomp, ritual, and humility:
Above all, you must be rid of the hideous idea, fruit of a widespread inferiority complex, that pomp, on the proper occasions, has any connection with vanity or self-conceit. A celebrant approaching the altar, a princess led out by a king to dance to dance a minuet, a general officer on a ceremonial parade, a major-domo preceding the boar's head at a Christmas feast - all these wear unusual clothes and move with calculated dignity. This does not mean that they are vain, but that they are obedient, they are obeying the hoc age which presides over every solemnity. The modern habit of doing ceremonial things unceremoniously is no proof of humility; rather it proves the offender's inability to forget himself in the rite, and his readiness to spoil for everyone else the proper pleasure of ritual.
Ahhh... bless you, C.S. Lewis. Isn't this such a richly beautiful imagery of ritual and tradition?

Elisabeth Elliot goes on to say that earthly orders are a reflection of the heavenly. A wedding isn't "merely an excuse to get all our friends and relatives together to 'share our joy'... [it is] a celebration of marriage, of an institution ordained of God at the creation of man, to be entered into with solemnity as well as with joy."

I often think of marriage as a reflection of Christ's relationship with his bride, the church. But for some strange reason, I forget weddings in and of themselves are a reflection of Christ's pursuit of and covenant with his bride. People love weddings, because, yes, they're fun, but ultimately because they are a reflection of something much greater. They're a dim semblance of a more glorious reality.

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Wordless Wednesday: Woomie Wuv!

To say she's a loyal UNC sports fan would be a gigantic understatement.
First time drinking from the Old Well!
I'm so thankful for you, Em! Rooming together has been such a blessing! Congrats on graduating! Love you!