I waited patiently for the Lord;
he inclined to me and heard my cry.
He drew me up from the pit of destruction,
out of the miry bog,
and set my feet upon a rock,
making my steps secure.
He put a new song in my mouth,
a song of praise to our God.
Many will see and fear,
and put their trust in the Lord.
Cok Guzeldi! I had an incredible trip to Turkey over the week of Thanksgiving. It was wonderful spending time with some of my favorite folks, eating fabulous Turkish food, enjoying the Bosphorous, tromping around my Besiktas, and more or less just soaking in all that is Turkey. Gosh, I miss that place (at least most things!) Here's just a sample of pics...
Cute as cute could be!
I miss you Jen - especially walking arm in arm and having people try to talk to us in English!
Jen and Semih about to enjoy delish Iskender!
I'm praying for you ladies!
7 Rebes plus 3 Paulds plus 2 Blays equals way too much fun decorating gingerbread cookies!
One of my original Adapazari friends, Seyfi - except now he's all grown up and dignified! It was so much fun to see him!
S'mores and more s'mores and even more laughs!
I seriously heart these two! They're kids are cute as ever except lots lots taller. :)
My dear dear friend Selma and her cok tatli nephew! I love you Selma and am praying for you!
Saved the best for last...My hero, Lynette and I on the lovely boat ride to Eminonu. I had such a wonderful time sharing life with you and the fam for a week. Love.
Well, it's about time I told you about Clay. It doesn't get much better than Clay. He's for sure, one of my favs. I mean , I wasn't lucky enough to get him to be my date for Retro Prom, but still he was sweet enough to take a couple pictures with me. Look how excited I am! Let me give you just a taste of the stud that is Clay...
He's super smart (especially about really obtuse trivia)
And he's ohso funny
And he's amazing at karaoke
And he's a fabuloso dancer
And let's just say he looks INCREDIBLE in polyester - and let's face it, not many men do.
All in all, I heart Clay. In fact, I wish I could get jars of him. I mean, if they sold jars of Clay, I'd buy them by the dozen.
I must be dreaming of Clay in this photo!
Errrrggggghhhh! Clay with the other woman! That hussy, thinking she can woo him with that blue eye shadow!
Woooohoooo, my friends, autumn has finally come to Texas! Oh, today is a glorious day with the crisp wind blowing, oh it is simply marvelous. A wonderful day all around really. It began with me hitting the snooze at least three times, which not that I wanted to get up even then at 6:40 a.m., but it was only because I had a great time catching up with two girlfriends last night till after midnight which was so good. So, it kind of made it worth it that I was so tired this morning. Then, thankfully I figured out something to wear that didn't need to be ironed and didn't require a lot of thinking. One of those blessed days when the very first outfit you try works perfectly. Somedays you try three different options and it's still not perfect, other days after several tries you finally reach perfection, and 90% of the days you don't really feel cute, but you've got to get to work anyways and really, who else cares? But, alas today was an easy one. Feeling cute definitely helps the day start out right. Oh, and since it's FALL, I'm wearing my boots which also makes me happy. This is especially so since we have dubbed Thursdays as Western Thursdays. I really think I should get a prize today for wearing my boots.
Let's see what else, so it's been an enjoyable day in the office with not too much craziness going on. One of those days where it's such a joy to work with so many friends! For lunch several of us went to Olive Garden where I had soup, salad, and breadsticks and we talked about boys. That's always a good time (honestly, it's not always a good time, but today it was.) And now I'm back in the office and avoiding work by updating my blog. And...tonight I have no plans, no where to be, no agenda and that makes me very very happy. Sometimes I just love to be home w/my pooch and get to bed early. Boring, I know, but sometimes I'm just a homebody. Oh, and while this is not on the topic of today, I must tell you about last weekend. To show my sister how thankful I am that she was born, I planned a surprise Tea Party just for us and then tickets to an amazing dance performance downtown. (Hubbard Street Dance Chicago is AMAZING!) Wow, we had so much fun. Everything was perfect. Especially the scones and clotted cream, and let's not forget the tea sandwiches in leaf shapes. Oh, and cheese crisps and spinach artichoke bruschetta and pumpkin cake and did I forget to mention the tea?
Yes friends, thanks for the reminder that it's time to post. I can't believe it's been a month! And I cannot believe it's October - oh my goodness gracious! I absolutely love the fall. I love the word "autumnal." I just love the idea of it, ya know. It's a good thing that I can love the idea of it in my head, because it doesn't really exist in real life here in Houston. It is still 92% F and no I'm not kidding and humid as all get out. But alas, I do have my candy jar on my desk full (well by this point only half full) of candy corn and mellowcreme pumpkins. Oh the goodness of the sugar wax that is those pumpkins. And I'm thinking about going to Hobby Lobby and getting some fake leaves to staple all in my cubicle. Wouldn't that be delightful. Actually, we did have a couple beautiful days a few weeks ago and we ate lunch at the park a few days. That was amazing!
Janelle and Dave on the swings. Kasey and I didn't attempt it in our skirts...instead we chose to just sit and be beautiful! What else, ah yes, hip hop. A couple friends and I have started taking hip hop classes on Monday nights. Last night was our fourth time. I no longer feel like throwing up afterwards which is a good sign that I'm improving, or at least getting into better shape. The teacher is so incredibly good although he's pretty hardcore. Actually, that's probably what makes him such a good teacher. We spend about 30-45 minutes stretching and just working out doing stomach crunches, sit-ups, etc. and then an hour learning hip hop combinations that really get your heart pumping. Oh my gosh, I don't have too much funk in me, but I'm working on it. Last night I almost passed out because the teacher doesn't like to have airconditioning which sounds all well and good except there is absolutely no airflow. After about an hour of breathing in all of my friends' exhaled air, I actually almost passed out. When the teach saw how pale I was (and the fact that I almost keeled over) he told me to step outside and get some fresh air. Of course I did, but the air outside wasn't fresh either - oh the Houston humidity. But, I did survive and I love it. It really is so much fun, despite all the sweating. :)
And, for about 4 days, one of my favorite friends, Kristi, who was here this summer showed up for a surprise visit from Ohio - way to go Will! It was so much fun to be with her again for a few days! Here's Janelle, Kasey and I with her Cedarville Lady's basketball shirts that Kristi brought us!
Oh, and in more exciting news......drumroll please.......I'm now on facebook! I know I'm really too old to be, but the problem is so many of my friends are just babes I tell ya. I have 12 friends so far - wooohooo!
Okay, so maybe this is a bit cheese, but hey, at least I'm posting. I thought for those of you who live in far away places you might want to hear about my Houston friends. And for my Houston friends who see me every day, but still regularly check my blog (much to your disappointment most days) I figured you'd like to see yourself! :) So, here's some of the super fun folks God has blessed me with...
ATTN: FRIENDS - feel free to skip down to just your name to see what I wrote about you! :)
Kasey Joy - and yes, she really is a joy. She really is happy and makes other people happy so much of the time! She always has some crazy or funny story to tell which she spices up with drama. And just yesterday she brought me a little surprise just cause she knew I would like it! And oh by the way, she's my Tuesday hang out friend. She LOVES Gilmore Girls so we used to meet at her place every Tuesday night to share dinner, watch GG, and just have fun. The summer's been kind of crazy so we haven't gotten together every Tuesday, but we've been getting better as the fall approaches. Lots of times we try out a new restaurant or cook something up - sometimes good, sometimes not so good!
My sister, Kate (she's on the right, my niece is on the left)- there is noone on the planet that I would rather go to WalMart with than Kate. Only she and I can have so much fun, buy so many things we don't need, talk each other into or out of buying so much craziness, or laugh so much in a superstore. It really is ridiculous. She really is my very best friend - one of those built in best friends. She just has to be because she's always known me, always will, knows all of our family issues and joys and well, she's just my sister. I can't imagine life without a sister. Sad, truly. And she's so much fun, even when she's depressed she makes me laugh. :)
Janello, also known as Janelle - she was my very first friend at Tallowood, the one who ate lunch with me every day asking me twenty questions until she finally got me to talk. She's the one I go visit in her cubicle and often sit in her lap. I can talk to Janelle about work stress, boss stress, dress code stress, boy stress and she just gets it. I'm not sure how I'd survive some days at work without her. She's also a crazy Lord of the Rings fan and is a ton of fun if you get her to the rodeo (she's fun without the rodeo too, just super fun at the rodeo!) OH, and I love to make fun of her for being OCD. My sweet friend Mo - also known as Monica - who just got married in June - wooohoooo! And she honestly seems taller in real life (actually I think it's my shoes) Anyway, Monica is one of my most favorite peeps because she loved me and "got me" when I really needed somebody too. When I was in my funk she totally understood and told me it was gonna be okay. She's my coffee buddy although we need to get together again soon - the miles and marriage and my busyness are keeping us apart. :) Oh, Annetta - what to say? (I think you can figure out which one she is!) She is one of those precious gifts from God that I never would have expected. She's the high school associate and we share a cubicle wall which provides so much fun as we hear each other typing e-mails and then we giggle when we get the message. She is crazy and has a Humongo heart and passion and love for worship and keeps me a little edgier than I would normally be! And oh my goodness, I love to pray with her. And let's not forget, she inspires me to be proactive about my dreams. :)
Will, Will, Will - he's the one who keeps me entertained in the office for sure. Will's great because he never ever gets mad at me, even when I encouraged the unauthorized opening of his nunchucks when he was out of town! And who else could have so much fun with me balancing on a soccer ball and flipping quarters off your elbow and then catching them. See, most of you can't even imagine what I'm talking about. Yep, that's Will. Oh, and he's also a Bible scientist.
Roberto - also known as Rob - and here seen as a cowboy (yep,he's on the right). Rob's one of my buddies from when I went to Peru, anybody remember that? Anywho, he's also on staff at Tallowood and makes great comments during movies, and is always up for an adventure, and tries to keep Will in line at the testosterhome.
Okay, so this is weird, I'm putting my boss, Jerome - but honestly, he is indeed a friend too and I love, love, love working with him. And since I'm sure you've all heard about him, now you can see him too. There's only one J-Rome.
Oh, gosh, this is getting long - and I know I'm leaving some people off - so sorry about that, but you probably dont' even know I have a blog so you won't get your feelings hurt. But, alas here are two more of favorite folks from this summer. Kristi (in the middle)- Kristi was definitely God's gift to me this summer. I couldn't begin to tell you what an encouragement she was too me - always brightening up my days. Yep, I miss that girl.
Whit - I could NOT have made it through the summer without him by my side at camp and the mtrip. A few things Whit loves - soccer (especially in the office), cream soda (especially on road trips), discussing theology (basically wherever), Georgia, and well let's not forget car racing, but that's a long story, oh and then there's chasing cars (as in the snowpatrol song). He actually might be moving back to Texas, but time will tell!
And yes, one more - Crazy Dave - honestly we don't hang out much outside the office, but he's always making me laugh. He and his wife, Jess, (sorry no pic)just moved hear a couple months ago (probably more than that!), and I have loved getting to know them. And who else could launch Western Thursdays! He walked in today with the hat which quickly earned him a place in the post.
HiYa Friends! I really don't feel like sitting at this computer very long since I've been here ALL DAY - actually, make that ALL WEEK, but I did want to let you in on a secret. If you could use some encouragement in life, a sobering encouragement that is, you should listen to a couple of these messages on Ecclesiastes. I recommend you start with #1 to get the full effect although I have to say #4 is now my new fav. Whatever the season of your life at the moment, good, bad, easy, hard, building up, tearing down, gathering stones or scattering, I promise these words will give you perspective and hope and wisdom for how to enjoy the days whatever they hold. The Village Church - Matt Chandler - Ecclesiastes - I promise you won't regret taking the time to listen. Take a listen while you're e-mailing or cleaning house or whatever. Just listen. :) Just click on the blue "Ecclesiastes" at the top and it will take you straight to the website. I'm telling you, whatever it is, our sweet and wise and powerful Father is saying, "I've got this."
Yep, I've been so remiss in posting, that nobody even harasses me about updating anymore. But, even left to my own devices, I thought hey, I think I'll update the cosmos about my goings on. Not that I really have that much to say, but I'm sure I'll come up with something. Hmmm, the last month - so much I can hardly even begin to talk about it. The HS mission trip was incredible, lots of lessons learned, laughs had, and challenges overcome, relationships built, insight gained, wow - I'm starting to sound so...I don't know, just weird. Hmmm...maybe photos, photos are always good. Let me see what I can dig up. Let's see, here's one of the whole team our very first day out and about - We spent this day hanging out with a friend we met at Camp who lives in Austin. What else, what else...Oh yes, the kids burying each other in the sand at South Padre, along with our Isaiah the amazing guy God provided to help us out for a couple days. Wow, this is boring me - not that the trip was boring, but it was just so long ago. Maybe one more pic and then we'll move on...Here's some of the gang with two girls at a children's home in Brownsville . Oh wait, just one more...I developed a love (rather an addiction) to cream soda on the trip thanks to Rev. Dr. Chuck Norris Ricky Bobby MD, PhD, SUV, who influenced me under much duress to drink the stuff on every occasion. By the way, I'm Mrs. Chuck Norris Ricky Bobby, also known as Sweet Pea - yeah, it's kind of a long story. So yeah, here I am happy w/ yet another bottle of liquid gold. And yeah, you can see how spiritual the week was! Oh goodness. It's hard to have a serious moment sitting in my office right now (after hours I might add) because there are currently 6 other people in here with about 4 of them talking at the moment and so it's a little bit hard to think. So, more later. Remind me to talk about the principle of one...
This is my fabulous group at camp - GO PINK! Yes, I know it has been way way too long. I promise I'll write a super cool update tomorrow afternoon! I really wanted to today, but the day has gotten away from me and if I don't leave on time I'll be stuck in traffic which would really stink since I'm going to hang with my sis tonight. (sorry boys! not that the boys actually read this, but if they did, there's my apology!) So, here's a preview of more to come. Camp was amazing as you'll soon discover and you'll also enjoy my picture from a junior high lock-in a few weeks ago where I discovered the obsession that is DANCE DANCE REVOLUTION - DDR to those who are in the know...
down to only about 2! :) And alas, I have absolutely no time to update, but I'm doing itI used to have like 6 readers, now I think I'm anyway - yes, I love you guys. I am very crazy super duper busy getting ready for summer w/work and all. Camp, trips, lock-ins, you name it, we're planning it. It's all totally worth it and I love my job, but I do have moments of stress. Yesterday, I was inspired to write a poem about working. I wouldn't want you all to be jealous of my poetic abilities, so I'll spare you. However, it was quite moving. What else, what else - I agreed to help with the junior high lock-in tonight - yep, that's all night long with a bunch of junior high students. Yep, I'm not too bright - either that or I'm a sadist.
Anywho, OH....I did go to a fabulous tea party last week for my dear friend who is graduating from high school. It was at the swankiest hotel in Houston and oh-so-girly. We had tea and scones and tea sandwiches and fruit tartlets. Oh my, it was delightful. And did I forget to mention Charles who told us all about the Devonshire clotted cream that they have flown in from England 5 days a week. I'm telling ya, it was a top notch high tea. And what else, Oh today is my friend Karin's last day at work which makes me incredibly sad, so sad that I refuse to think about it. But, in honor of her we went out to eat for lunch at the close by Turkish restaurant. I had iskender which was absolutely amazing! Just like the real thing in Turkey. Cok guzel!
Well, I gots to go. Peace out yo! (it must be the youth influence)
Yesterday the coolest thing happened! It's been one of those weeks where all these crazy "coincidences" keep happening. Our Father really is amazing. Let me begin at the beginning, about 5 years ago, when I was in seminary I had an incredible ch. history professor who made history come alive to me. I absolutely fell in love with ch history. Part of the love affair was with the books we used for the class by Justo Gonzalez. I guess I just borrowed the books from a friend or the library to save money and so I didn't have the books once the class was over. Well, ever since then I've thought to myself that I should try to find those books to buy them. Trust me, they really are interesting! :) But...knowing me, I never got around to ordering them or remembering exactly what the authors name was, etc. And for some crazy, random reason I thought about those books yesterday morning as I was getting ready for work. And I had one of those fleeting thoughts/prayers that wisps through your mind just like a leaf. It's in and out before you know it. Well I just kind of said to the Father that it would be great to have those books, but I can't really buy them now because I really need to save my money so that I can go to Turkey later this year, and I just asked if He wanted to provide for me to get those books then He could. That was it - end of thought! As it turns out, when I got to my desk yesterday morning there was a thankyou card sitting on my desk with a gift card to our new bookstore. I was delighted, although I wasn't even thinking about my thought from earlier in the morning. When I finally pulled myself away from my desk about 3:15 in the afternoon, I went to peruse the bookstore and chatting with the saleslady about how hard it would be to pick out what to get. I wanted it to be something fun, something special, just the right thing. I even looked for a church history section, but didn't see one (the bookstore is kind of small), so I just kept looking. I looked at fiction books (but I hate to spend money on fiction!), I looked at music, I looked at gift stuff, I looked at all the other books, and nothing was grabbing me, ya know? And then the bookstore manager came in and I was really feeling the pressure to find something - today! And plus, I really needed to get back to my desk...Well, then I had the thought, "Ask the manager if they have any Christian books." And because I'm such a dufus I almost didn't because I just didn't want to, and didn't want them to feel bad if they didn't have any. Well, sometimes I learn to listen to His voice and so I went ahead and asked her. And she said, " Well, we just have these two books right here." And BEHOLD, there was the two-volume set of the books I've been looking for all this time -the church history books by Gonzalez. I yelled, "These are the books!" And of course, the price was absolutely perfect for me to get both of the books and a teeny bit left over to get a Mother's Day card! Whoopppeee! I was so excited to tell the ladies about my crazy story! Isn't that the coolest thing? Wow, sometimes He is just so very nice to us, just because. I love that about Him, don't you? As I was curled up in bed last night I began reading the first chapter, and I'm already into it.
Last Monday morning (April 10th) I was sitting as my desk when my cell phone rang. It was my aunt on the phone who asked if I had heard news from Ohio yet and then asked if I was sitting down. I've always known that my grandmother would die one day, but I certainly wasn't expecting it that morning. My parents happened to be flying down to Houston at the same time so my sister and I went to the airport to meet them and give them the news. What a week it's been since then. My family and I spent several days in Ohio for the funeral and going through all of Grammie's things. It was an exhausting and terribly painful week for all of us. She is really the only grandmother I've known and we were pretty tight, two peas in a pod. She was my favorite and I do believe that I was hers. Man, I'll miss her loving me! She was 92 years young. I know that sounds corny to say, but it's true. She was so full of life that I still can't quite accept her being gone. I loved her for so many reasons, but I'll start to cry if I think of all those just right now. Even through all the sorrow (by the way, I think this is one of the first times in my life where sorrow seems like the best word to describe what's going on in my heart) God has been abundantly sweet giving lots of gifts along the way. I had a precious time with my family this past week, reliving old memories and enjoying small-town life for a few days. My brother and sister and I had the best time together on our trip back to Texas. I told my sister it was just like when we were little, and she said "Yeah, except Andy was nice." :) And I've figured out one of the reasons God values beauty. Beauty seems trivial at times, but while my heart has been sad I've found little bits of healing and dare I say it, cheer, in the gerber daisies and Easter lilly now sitting on my desk. God, thanks for that and especially for all those who have loved me this week - I am very blessed.