Friday, December 19, 2008

American By Choice

This week I was privileged to be part of a naturalization ceremony for a friend of mine. Several coworkers and I headed to the Convention Center in downtown DC. It was an awesome experience to see so many people gathered together for the sole purpose of becoming citizens of the United States. According to the judge presiding over the ceremony this was the largest naturalization ceremony in DC history with 701 people from 104 countries pledging allegiance to the United States. I was misty eyed through much of the 2+ hour ceremony.

We had a color guard, the national anthem, the reading of each name and country of those becoming naturalized, the oath of allegiance to the United States, the pledge of allegiance to the flag and then a big congratulations with much waving of small American flags. Some of my favorite moments were the cheers that came after the new citizens were told they could receive their passports in as little as three days! Other favorite moments: a stoic couple from Croatia beaming and kissing after they became citizens and some young adult kids cheering for their 60+ year old parents as their names were called.

Overall, it was really exciting to see people become Americans by choice and it was a thrilling memory to have with me as I will be on the frontlines of the visa line helping to start others dreams come to reality in a ceremony like this some day.

Monday, December 01, 2008

What's New Pussycat, Woah, Woah, Woah

Being a Monday and all, I thought I might post a few updates for my few faithful readers. If you are one of them, thank you for sticking with me through thin and thick and hardly there posts.

Update #1 - Foreign Service

As you have seen from the previous blog, I have been offered and have accepted a position with the State Department as a Foreign Service Officer. I'm still excited and still in a bit of shock when I start to think about it. Orientation will begin for me on January 5 in DC. I'm glad that I get to stick around the area for a bit longer while in transition and don't have to move to a new city quite yet. On February 13, I will attend what is known as Flag Day. The day I find out which country I will be spending the next few years working and living in for my first post. This will be a day of great anticipation and nervousness and excitement and I'm already planning a big party for that evening. I will also learn at that time what additional training I will need before leaving for post ie. language training and other important things. I'm guessing that I will be leaving for post sometime the end of next summer or early fall. Of course this is all a guess and I won't know for sure until February. I'm already busy starting to think about a myriad of different things like insurance, taxes, moving, buying things I'll need, clothes, etc. It's gonna be fun but also a lot of work. If you think about it and are the praying type, I would really appreciate prayers for wisdom and insight regarding my choices of posts (I get to put in my preferences) and for the assignment of those posts and for an openness and sense of camraderie and friendship among the 70 plus of us that are starting orientation together.

Update #2 - The Grand Canyon

This was an amazing four day backpacking trip that I was able to go on with my dad, his brother and half sister. We hiked to the bottom of the Canyon, spent two nights at the bottom, hiked halfway up, camped again, and hiked the rest of the way. It was spectacular and a vacation of firsts for me:

first time to the Grand Canyon
first time backpacking
first time meeting my Dad's half sister
first time seeing the Hoover Dam
first time in Arizona
first time in Las Vegas
first time swimming in the Colorado River
first time smoking a cigar

Overall, it was a great vacation of firsts and what was even more cool about it was that I found out about the Foreign Service a couple hours before flying on a plane to start the trip. I spent the whole time in the canyon vacillating between "I'm in the Grand Canyon" and "I'm a Foreign Service Officer". It was great and so cool to hang out with my dad and family for a couple days. I'll post pictures soon.

Update #3 - Thanksgiving in Nashville

I just spent four days in Nashville, TN with my friend (and pastor) Heather and her husband Ryan and another friend/colleague Juliet. We spent the holiday with Heather's sister and brother in law and other related family members. I ate so much that it hurt to even look at food again. But it was so much fun. We went to Fido's - this really cool coffeeshop, the Catfish House for some delicious grilled catfish (and fried okra, fried green tomatoes, fried pickles, and friend onion rings - all was delicious but I don't want to eat fried food for a while), Corkys for awesome barbecue ribs and collard greens with pepper vinegar - yummy, and of course the house for turkey and all the trimmings. It was some good eating. We also made it out to the Grand Ole Opry for an evening of good country music. It was so cool to be there even if I didn't know any of the artists or the songs, but just so much fun anyway. On the ride back, we "ran into" my friend Josh on the highway, so I switched cars and rode back back with him which was so much fun. Overall, a great holiday.

Update #4 - The New House

For those of you in the know (and those who now will be), I moved into the city a month ago. I'm now a ten block walk from work and loving being in the city. I still haven't quite gotten everything unpacked and in its place but I'm getting there. So far its been an easy transition and it will make the new commute in January pretty easy as well.

Friday, October 31, 2008

World Here I Come

Just to let you all know that as of 2:30pm today, I am officially a Foreign Service Officer with the Department of State. It has been a long journey but as mentioned in my previous entry - Praise God from whom ALL blessings flow. More details when I return from my backpacking trip to the Grand Canyon and Cirque du Soleil in Las Vegas.

WOW. still in shock.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Praise God From Whom All Blessings Flow

That's about all I can say this week. And for the past couple of weeks. I can't say that I have always said this or have thought it or acted like it at times, but man, God deserves all praise. In spite of the crazy economy (with friends losing jobs) and hearing stories of other friends getting seriously sick or having some serious run ins with the law, God is good. And He deserves our praise whether we are feeling it or not.

I feel so blessed right now that I am moving to a new place and I'm so extremely blessed to have the incredible living situation I have had for the past 3 1/2 years. Dawson House is wonderful! My job is super great and I enjoy every minute of it. And now I'll be closer so I'm excited about the new opportunities that is providing me as well. In addition, I get to go on a super cool vacation next week. I'm excited and so grateful that I can do really neat things like this. I've never been to the Grand Canyon so backpacking it for four days is going to be awesome! Plus I'll get to hang out with my dad so that's going to be great too. And I'm planning on seeing a Cirque du Soleil show in Vegas. That is on my life to do list so it should be super fun. All that to say God is so good to me and I'm so grateful for the many blessings of friends, family, and life in general.

I'm also waiting to hear one more piece of news about the Foreign Service. The past month has been a rollercoaster in regards to it and I'm not exactly sure what's going to happen next. My eligibility was supposed to expire on October 12, but State granted an extension to a small group of people and I ended up having a six month extension moving my expiration date to April 2009. I'm right on the bubble of getting hired for a January start date. All this to say, I look back on this journey that started in February of 2006 and see that God has brought me this far. To Him be the glory.

Thursday, October 02, 2008

Update Part Deux

So a friend reminded me that I had failed to live up to my promise of posting an update the following day. I'm sorry and so here's an update: I am moving! I have decided to move from suburbia (which has been awesome) down to the city of DC. I'm excited about the chance to live in the middle of the action and save time and money from commuting to do other fun stuff like take dance classes and hang out more with people I want to get to know better. I move the end of October into a house with 4 other girls. I'm also going to be 10 blocks from work which is so exciting. I can walk or bike to work everyday. Woohoo!

The other funny thing about moving the end of the month is that I'm going on vacation Nov. 1-6. So far the past two moves I have made have occurred right before going on vacation. When I moved from DC to Southern MD in 2004, I moved in the weekend I left for Europe for 3 weeks. When I moved from Southern MD to where I live now, I left for a missions trip to Ethiopia the next day. Now I'm moving into a new place the day before I head out to the Grand Canyon for a week of hiking and camping and seeing Cirque du Soleil in Las Vegas. I'm so excited about the vacation part and of coming back to lots of boxes and a new home.

I'll post pictures of the new place when I get them done.

Sunday, September 28, 2008


So there has been a fair amount of stuff happening over the past couple months like Steel Magnolias, God on Broadway, friends and family updates. I promise to have an update posted tomorrow as I'm in the middle of waiting to see about one more huge and potentially life changing event. I would appreciate your prayers about this matter and will fill you in on more once I know how things pan out. Thanks!

More to come...

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Inspiration or Cheese - You Decide

1) Try our Sundays. They are better than Baskin Robbins.
2) If you dont like the way you were born, try being born again.
3) There are some searches that cant be found by Google.
4) Prayer - the best wireless connection.
5) Life is Gods gift to us - What we do with it is our gift to God.
6) Hybrid Christians run on truth and love.
7) Jesus is my prozac.
8) God answers knee-mail.
9) In the dark? Follow the son!
10) Under the same management for over 2000 years.
11) If God had a refrigerator, your picture would be on it.
12) Dont give up! Moses was once a basket case!
13) If God seems far away, guess who moved?
14) God does not forget the sinner, he forgets the sin.
15) Gossip the Gospel.

Monday, August 11, 2008

Who Should I Vote For In November?

So I took one of those Internet quizzes that asks you a bunch of questions and then tells you which candidate you best align with in order to assist you in your decision making. I took the test and my results are listed below which of course begs the question: who should I vote for in November? I tell people all the time that I'm a moderate and no one ever believes me. Maybe the results of this silly quiz will convince someone that I'm telling the truth.

72% John McCain
72% Barack Obama
69% Hillary Clinton
67% Chris Dodd
65% John Edwards
63% Joe Biden
63% Bill Richardson
60% Mitt Romney
59% Mike Huckabee
58% Rudy Giuliani
52% Dennis Kucinich
51% Fred Thompson
50% Mike Gravel
40% Tom Tancredo
35% Ron Paul

2008 Presidential Candidate Matching Quiz

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Florida Triathlon Pictures

So I don't have any clever title for this entry. Just got my pictures from my triathlon in Florida a couple weekends ago and these are the highlights. This was the first time my dad has been to a triathlon and seen me compete in one so it was really fun. He said he thought he could do one too :) Triathlon's are addicting and exciting!

This was in the transition area, first thing in the morning getting everything set up. I'm showing off my number. You get your number marked on both arms and front of your leg. Your age goes on your calf.

Heading into the ocean for the 1/4 mile swim. With Hurricane Bonnie off the coast, the waves were 2-5 feet. It was AWESOME! I'm on the left side in the black and red suit.

Running through the sand after the swim was tough. I'm headed back to the transition area to change and get ready for...

...the 11.1 mile bike ride.

I borrowed this bike from a friend of mine. It was just a little too big for me, so Dad and I hammered down the seat post until it was almost level with the top bar. It was also totally rusted and we had to tie on the water bottle cage. But it rolled so it was a blessing.

This is at the end of the 3.1 mile run. I turned the corner and am heading to the finish line.

Sprinting to the finish line. I remember in high school my basketball coach would always tell us to finish strong no matter what. So that's what I'm doing. Not the best picture - but hey I've been working hard for one hour and thirty-eight minutes :)

Crossing the finish line. I'm done!

Enjoying the post-race food. Yummy!


My cousin Lori and I in Montana last summer. We had so much fun together - me the thirty-one year old and her the thirteen year old.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Fun In The Sunshine State

This past weekend I headed south to Florida for a little R&R with my dad and stepmom. Dad picked me up at the airport on Wednesday night and we drove to Sarasota for a business meeting the next day. That meeting consisted of sailing on the above 43 foot catamaran for a couple of hours. I love my dad's job :)

Then we headed back home and I got ready for a triathlon on Saturday. My dad was able to come out and watch the race which was really fun for me to have him there. It was my first open water swim as well and took place in the ocean with 2-4 foot swells from Hurricane Bertha. It was so fun! I did end up losing my goggles though which was sad. But I finished the race and Dad was inspired to maybe do one himself. We'll see :) Dad took pictures and I'll post those once I get them.

Saturday night we had a barbecue at the house and I had invited lots of friends I hadn't seen in a several years. It was really fun to catch up with them and see all their kids and hear their stories. So great. Then on Sunday we went to church at my old church that I haven't been to in like six years. There was a rush of memories as soon as we walked in the door so that was a bit overwhelming. There were familiar faces although I've forgotten many names, but still it was great to worship there again. Even Dad was overwhelmed with memories especially ones of when Mom was alive standing in the hallway and in the service. It was a neat time.

Then I flew home back to DC and enjoyed sitting next to a really nice (and really good looking) guy on the plane. That never happens. I didn't get his name but it was a fun flight :)

Wednesday, July 09, 2008

Fourth Celebrations

Fourth of July found me doing lots of fun things for the weekend. On Friday, I hung out with my friend Renee most of the day then took in the fireworks near the Capitol building with a group of friends. Saturday I headed to Harper's Ferry, WV for some tubing. Awesome time! Sunday found me hanging with small children at Sunday School, lunch with my friends Jen and Clinton and wrapping up the weekend with "All Shook Up", a musical based around Elvis songs at a dinner theater in Maryland. All in all a good time.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Girls At The Movies

Chasity, a girl I don't remember, me, Renee

This is a picture of some of the girls that went to opening night of "Sex and the City" movie. It was an interesting night with LOTS of women all dressed up in heels and flirty outfits. Overall a good time.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Birthday Celebration

For my birthday this past year, I really wanted to go hang out at the National Arboretum. So my friends all met there and we ended up having a scavenger hunt race around the gardens looking for certain plants and stuff. It was a blast! Then we headed to a random Caribbean restaurant for food which was super fun too. All in all, it was a great birthday. Thanks friends!

Christy, Anne, Katie and Jen. They were in one car - I was in another and we raced all over. So much fun!

My team had to take a picture climbing these giant columns. Jeff, Renee, me, and Greg.

A bonsai tree started the year I was born - 1976. Love it!

Memorial Day Weekend 2008

Owen, Amber, Katlyn, me, Dennis, Brandt

I went camping with some friends for the weekend and it was amazing. This is our third or fourth year going and its always such a blast. We ended up camping on some property of one of my friends friends :) so although we pitched our tents on the grass, we were right next door to a cottage and on the river where we could fish, sail, kayak and swim. It was pretty awesome and all just an hour from DC!

Here are two pictures of sunset one night. We kayaked over to the other side of the property and the pictures were taken by two friends who walked over. I'll post more later.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

New Job

It has been one month since I started my new job and it has been going swimmingly. For those of you that don't know I am working at my church, National Community Church ( and I love it. The people are so much fun to work with and I'm laughing on a regular basis everyday. It's awesome. I am the office manager so I'm the lead admin person, overseeing the maintenance staff and doing staff event planning and lots of other stuff. It's a good time.

Thursday, May 08, 2008

Old School

Yesterday my radio was stolen out of my car. Yes another theft. Thankfully this time, they didn't break anything so it won't cost me any additional money besides the replacement of my radio. Which by the way was a tape player as well. So someone in my neighborhood decided to go old school and pimp their ride with a tape player. I wish them all the best.

The only tape that was stolen was the one that happened to be in the tape player at the time. It was a mixed tape made by an old boyfriend of mine from waaaaay back. He's married now with a kid, so it's probably for the best that it was stolen. I couldn't really throw it out or give it back to him.

Monday, April 14, 2008

A Taste of Brazil

More to follow but I wanted to give you something to chew on. I'm chewing a firefly larvae. It was a little sweet, a little creamy, and a little nutty. It's been feeding on a palm tree nut after all.

And drinking from a water vine chopped down by a machete. The clearest, purest, yummiest water ever.

I love the jungle!

Thursday, April 03, 2008

Last Day On The Job

Today is my last day at Blackboard. It has been quite a year (or rather almost 15 months). As I started the job, I wasn't that enthusiastic about what was ahead. During my time here, the job wasn't exactly something that allowed me to use my passions, but I was successful at it and I enjoyed the people I was working with which made the days fun. Now I'm headed off on a new adventure. I have no idea what awaits me at the church as I've never been full-time ministry before, but I think I'll learn alot and grow a lot. I already know I like most of the people there. And those I don't know yet, I'm looking forward to meeting and building a friendship with.

Yesterday some of my fellow Blackboarders took me out to lunch which was a nice way to celebrate the end of my time here. We had Italian which was so yummy.

Then Christy wanted a work picture of the two of us so here we are standing in front of the company logo.

I started off my last day at Blackboard with a trip to the dentist which is always super exciting and I will end it by packing for my trip to Brazil that leaves tomorrow. I will be incommunicado for the next 10 days, but when I get back, I'll be sure to have some pictures and stories to share with you.

Wednesday, April 02, 2008

My New Bike

Click here for all the specs!

As I mentioned in my previous post, the tri season is here and so if I'm really serious about doing some big time races, I needed to get on the ball and get a new bike. Last night, my friend Christy and I went to a bike store just to look. And I walked out an hour later with this beauty :) The price was fantastic - big time sale, so I couldn't pass it up.

This is my first road bike as I have only had a mountain bike for the past seven years and have been using that in the few tris I've done so far. My dad bought me the mountain bike in 2000 for Christmas and when I told him I had bought a new bike, he asked me if I was still going to ride the bike he bought me. Of course I said yes. I'll keep that bike as long as I can not just for sentimental reasons, but also because it's a great bike. Maybe I'll do some offroading triathlon sometime or adventure racing with it!

Here's to a fun and healthy summer.

Tuesday, April 01, 2008

New Month, New Job

So as I like to keep things interesting, I have decided to change jobs. So this Thursday is my last day at my current position. Then I leave for Brazil and South Beach Miami for 10 days. On my return I will start in my new position as office manager (or Director of Operations as I like to call it) at my church. This is a very different and crazy kind of move and I'm both looking forward to it and a little nervous about the switch.

I'm sure I'll post more on it as time permits.

Monday, March 31, 2008

Tri Season 2008 Is Here

It's that time of year again - when athletes around the world are oiling up their bike chains, putting on body glide and testing out their goggles. Yes - it's tri season 2008.

And I kicked it off yesterday with a mini tri and several friends and a roommate. I haven't been training very much, but I have decided that I want to try an Olympic distance (1500m swim or .93 miles, 24.8 mile bike, and 6.2 mile run) the end of this year. There's one in Annapolis September 7 and seeing as how that's my mom's birthday I think that would be a great way to celebrate her birthday. Of course that kind of distance requires that I start some serious training and that I buy some new equipment - like a road bike. Thus far the triathlons I have done have been on my mountain bike with road slicks put on which has helped, but still I don't get very far very fast.

The race yesterday was a lot of fun even if it was pretty small (250yd swim, 4 mile bike, 1.4 mile run). I hadn't done much training for the event but it was a great way to get me motivated to start training more seriously for the rest of the season. There were 8 girls who went out for the race yesterday. My roommate Anne, friends Christy and Jill, and a couple other girls I don't know really well and some I met for the first time. Everyone did really great and we all went out to Cracker Barrel afterward and ate a big ole breakfast. Then I went home and crashed for a couple hours in the afternoon and am still tired today.

Here's to a great season. If you want to think about trying a tri - I totally encourage you to do it. Find something really small in your area and give it a try. You may find yourself addicted and on your way to a super cool healthy lifestyle.

Friday, March 28, 2008

My Birthday

Last Saturday was my 32nd birthday and I had such a fun day. It started with a regular monthly brunch with a couple of friends. It just happened to land on my birthday this year which was great.

Then I picked up my friend Greg from the metro and we met a group of other friends and roommates at the National Arboretum. I've never been and have wanted to go. The weather started off a bit cloudy, but the sun came out and it was gorgeous. Christy, Anne and Katie came up with a scavenger hunt for us so we broke into two teams and drove around the grounds looking for crazy things like a crocus, a cherry blossom tree, a reptile and a black squirrel. It was a lot of fun. Then we walked around the bonsai trees and I found one that was started the year I was born! How fun is that.

Then we headed to H street to grab a bite to eat and something to drink. We ended up in this great Caribbean restaurant. Rum punch, plantains, oxtail, rice and was so yummy and the staff were awesome.

Then back to the house for a super chill time of presents, pizza, cake, talking and watching the Bee Movie. My friend Josh came over and hung out with us girls. Such a great and relaxing day.

I can't wait to get back to the Arboretum - it was so beautiful.

Thanks to Christy and Anne for the planning and thanks to all my friends for enjoying the day with me.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

He Said Bonjour, She Started Crying

So for all of my bluff and bravada about lots of things, one thing that I am scared of is speaking a foreign language. I know its crazy. But I get really nervous about sounding and looking like an idiot that I don't want to open my mouth. I freeze and I can't think of anything to say or do.

Now there have been times in my life when I have had no problem. Mainly when I'm traveling and have no choice. Then I don't care. But thinking about meeting up with a group of French speakers here in DC and trying to talk with them freaks me out a bit.

And yet if I want to get into the Foreign Service, I should have and need to get my act together and start to parle francaise (speak French).

The impetus behind this new surege of attention to French happened last night. I met up with a friend of mine - actually we have only met once before on February 5, 2007. C and I were the only two people to pass the Foreign Service Orals together last year at our location and so we have this crazy little connection. He received the call from the State Department and has been in DC the past month for the orientation training.

We met up last night and he was really pushing for me to get moving with my language training and to try and get hired as soon as possible. This is the only thing that can improve my score and possibly get me hired before October. If not, then I have to take the test again in July (which I'm going to do anyway) and try for next year to get "the call".

But that doesn't change the fact that I'm nervous and a bit scared of speaking French. Even though I know it is something I have to do, its a bit nervewracking. But hey, I've got to chase the lion and face my fears.

Thanks C for your encouragement, your belief in me and your willingness to challenge me to get out there and cahse the french speaking lions. Here's to the Foreign Service and cheers to you for blazing the trail!

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Facing Fears

My church has small groups on a semester system. They run for 12 weeks three times a year and provide a start and stop point for people to jump in and out which is helpful with the large college age population that attends the church.

This spring semester I have been leading a small group using curriculum written by my pastor, Mark Batterson. It's called "Chase the Lion" and is based on his book "In A Pit With A Lion On A Snowy Day". We have covered topics related to Taking Risks and Seizing Opportunities. This week we covered Facing Fears and I like to incorporate a practical application to the lesson that we are studying.

This week, I challenged the small group to step out and face their fear of talking about religion and faith with people. I provided each person with a questionnaire and we headed out to Union Station (train station and major tourist destination in Washington, DC near the Capitol building). Each person had to talk to two people and ask them the following questions:

What is your faith/religious background (if you have one)?
What words come to mind when you think about Jesus?
What comes to mind when you think about Christians?
How often do you attend church?
What is the reason you go / don't go?
What would it take for a church to reach you / others?
In your opinion, what do you think it takes for a person to go to Heaven when they die?

It was such a great experience for all of us as we found a way to approach a topic that can be scary in a non-threatening way. Most of us found that we wanted to continue the conversations and ask more probing questions. It was a great introduction to evangelism and a great way to see that we can initiate a conversation about faith in a simple and easy way.

Here's to more conversations!

Lent Is Almost Over and Easter Is Around the Corner

This year for Lent, I gave up sleep.

And no I haven't pulled a 40 day all nighter or anything. Rather, I have been getting up a bit earlier each morning and calling a friend of mine who also needs to get up in the morning. We share about our previous day and then we pray for each other for that day. It hasn't always been easy. In fact some days it's been downright tough or didn't happen at all (like the weekends), but for the most part, we've been pretty good about it.

What I have really enjoyed the most about it is the fact that this was a friend that I have known for several years, but wasn't really close with or didn't know her that well. I took a chance and asked if she wanted to do something like this and she said yes and so we decided to try this experiment for Lent. I have really gotten to know her better over this time which has been really great.

We haven't talked about continuing this on past Easter, but I have enjoyed it so much that I would like to keep doing it. We'll see.

I encourage you to try this as well. Perhaps there is someone that you want to get to know better but you can't really take the time to always meet with them for lunch or spend time with them face to face. You can just call each other in the morning or at a set time and encourage one another. Maybe you want someone to keep you accountable to working out, or reading your Bible, or getting up early, or going to bed early. THis is a great way to start an accountability partnership with someone and it doesn't take up much time at all (although I will say that we do tend to talk for a bit before we get to praying :)

Weight Watchers Update

I'm still doing this thing :)

Here's this weeks results:

Starting Weight: 153.8
Current Weight: 146.4
Total Loss To Date: 7.4

My goal is to lose a total of 10 pounds by the time I leave for Brazil in two weeks. I think I can easily lose 2.6 pounds between now and then.

I haven't been paying so much attention to this lately, but I have realized that I lost about 5 pounds and have managed to keep it off for a while, and now I'm going to work on the next five pounds and keep that off for a bit and let my metabolism and my body adjust to the new numbers and then I'm going to tackle my last 8 pounds. My goal weight is 135 so I'm just about 10 pounds away from that.

Why that number? Well I like the sound of it. I figure I'll be about a size 6-8 which is a great size. I don't think that it is too skinny of a weight. It also works really well for my height and my BMI (body mass index score). It's kind of in the middle for height and weight and BMI and since I'm a middle of the road kind of girl it's my perfect weight!

I Love The Stage!

Last year the church put on a production of Godspell which was awesome. I auditioned for it which was really nervewracking because I'm a little scared of auditions due to an incident in jr. high and this audition included singing which I like but am also a little scared to do in front of people.

I got a part and had an absolute blast singing and dancing my way through the Gospel.

This year the church is putting on a production of Steel Magnolias. So I auditioned and got a role! I'm going to be Shelby (played by Julia Roberts in the movie). I'm excited about the cast of all women and know that it is going to be another stellar show.

I'll keep you posted on how rehearsals go and everything.

Monday, March 03, 2008

Technology Goes Global In A Personal Way

I'm at work in Washington, DC listening live to BBC Radio 6 Music based in the UK and a band from Jacksonville, FL (where I used to live) came on. Talk about a global time bending weird thing. Anway, I'm kind of an anti technophile (not necessarily a technophobe) and this experience kind of makes me like technology and kind of doesn't. Anyway, that's all for now.

Click Here to listen to BBC Radio 6 Music.

Thursday, February 28, 2008

My Brazil Trip

I'm headed to the Amazon! On April 4, I will board a plane with one of my roommates, Susan and we will fly to Miami to meet up with 30 other singles from around the U.S. Then we will board a plane and fly to Manaus, Brazil for a week in the Amazon.

I've never been to Brazil before and I'm really excited about the trip. We're going to stay in a hotel on stilts in the jungle and cruise the Amazon. We'll be going piranha fishing, jungle hiking, swimming with the pink dolphins and who knows what else. It should be a blast!

Then on our way home, Susan and I will hang out in Miami for three days soaking in the rays on the beach and living it up on the strip in South Beach dancing the night away. I'm excited about this trip and really excited that a friend is going with me. We'll be back in DC on April 13.

I know I haven't posted many pictures on here lately. Blame the lack of a camera on my person at all times for that one. But I will be sure to post pics of the Amazon and the jungle and all the fun in the sun we'll be having!

Weight Watchers Update

Yes, I am still doing Weight Watchers. It has been a slow time however, but I achieved another success yesterday. Another .6 down. I was gone a lot in January with travel to Florida and Colorado for work and if the company is paying, I'm eating! Next week I'm headed to Michigan for a conference for three days. I'm hoping I'll be able to stick to my routine and diet. It's so hard when I travel to do that though.

My short term goal is to hit an even number by the time I leave for Brazil on April 4. That gives me exactly five weeks from today to lose 7 pounds. I know that I can do that. I just have to work hard at it :)

Here's the stats:

Starting Weight 8/15/07: 153.8 lbs
Current Weight 2/27/08: 147.8 lbs
Total Loss To Date: 6.0 lbs
Current Goal: 140 lbs by 4/4/08
Most Weight Lost in a week: 3.4 lbs (I do blame water weight for that dramatic loss however!)
Lowest Weight since starting Weight Watchers: 146.4 lbs on 10/10/07

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

October 12, 2008 is D-Day

That's the day that I expire off the Foreign Service list. I have begun studying to take the test again in July, but wow I would LOVE to get hired before I expire off. However, persistence is what is needed for the Foreign Service. Today I received my most recent ranking - 50 out of 70. Seems like a low number, but they usually only hire about 12-15 people each time. I have two more chances. However, this past hiring cycle they did get into the low 20's. Here's hoping that somehow I will squeeze in just barely.

Your prayers are much appreciated both for the next testing cycle and for the hiring.

I'm freaking out for some reason today with excitement over this. I guess two years into the process and I'm still excited means that there is something in this that I want and desire to do.

Today I was in the Brazilian Embassy getting my visas for my upcoming trip in April. I was looking at the people behind the counter and thinking that they are doing what I hope to be doing someday. I think I would really like it. Talking with people, helping them, doing admin stuff as well. All good stuff - not for everyone, but I would like it.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008


So I'm still waiting on the Foreign Service stuff. So far, I am somewhere in the 60's with not a very good chance of getting hired. And today offers went out for the May class which means I only have two more shots at getting a call this year - one in July and one in September. In case you don't remember, I expire off the register in October.

So with all of that, I have been meaning to take the test again, but just haven't been very inspired to start studying again. However, this weekend, I got the urge to start studying and will do so with a vengeance for the test in July. Yes, I have to wait until July to take the test again. If I fail, I will have to wait until July of 2009 to take it again which is a bummer, but hey, another year to study. If I pass however, I will need to be invited to take the Oral examination again and if I pass that, I will need a better score than my 5.3 I received last time. So pretty much the entire process starts all over again. Which is okay I guess.

For those of you keeping track - I first took the written exam in April of 2006. I passed the Oral exam in February of 2007. So if everything goes well this second go round of testing, I may have a job in 2009 or beyond. The key is persisence and I'm gonna keep trying. Or get married to a Foreign Service Officer. Whichever one comes first :)

Monday, February 18, 2008

Weird Things

So my friend Amy wrote about some of her weird habits and tagged me to do the same. I've been thinking about weird things lately and trying to think of some to write about. I know I have a lot of weird things, but I can't think of too many at the moment.

One that I remembered this morning is how much I like to sleep under my pillow. Most mornings I forget to sleep under my pillow, but when I do it is like heaven. I sleep flat on my stomach and put my pillow on top of my head. I have to have the edge of it kind of close to my face so I don't suffocate, but I love it and it is so yummy to sleep like this.

I don't like ice in my drinks usually. This isn't so weird for people who have lived overseas, but for American's its a little bit strange I guess.

I like to talk in accents occasionally and when I get into one it can be hard to get out of it. Easiest ones are British, Southern, French. Sometimes, I'll try out an Australian or Minnesota/Wisconsin. I have to be in just the right mood though.

I like to sing lots of things. I sing exclamations - like if I am suddenly surprised or scared or if I'm excited or for whatever reason. I like to make up words to common tunes to describe a situation or add to a conversation.

I used to have to arrange books on my bookshelf according to height and width. Of course there were always a couple books at the end that don't quite fit anywhere, so I just have to stick them in somewhere and not think about it.

I believe that stuffed animals have some kind of personality. I can't say that they come alive, but I do think there's a little spark of life in there somewhere.

I get really sad if I think too hard about a business going out of business or if very few people are frequenting an establishment. I think about the disappointment and the death of a dream for someone when its failing. I try not to think about it too hard though.

I also really like the Old Testament. Maybe better than the New Testament in some ways. Not that the stuff that happened in the New Testament is less important - quite the opposite, but there's something about the historical importance of the Old Testament that I really love. Probably has something to do with the fact that I enjoy Catholic Mass on occasion as well. Gives me a sense of history and belonging.

I'm sure those of you who know me will have other weird things. That's what I've come up with for now.


Wednesday, February 06, 2008

Brasil - aqui eu venho!

So I'm headed to Brazil in April with my roommate Susan. It's an organized tour to the Amazon and it should be so much fun. I'll post more later, but I'm excited and wanted to let you know.

Friday, February 01, 2008

January Updates

So it has been over a month since I last wrote. At the moment I'm sitting in a hotel room in Frisco, CO about nine miles from Breckenridge. I just spent the last week in Denver on business and since I was in the area, thought I would take a couple days and head into the mountains for some skiing. I'm in a bit of a conundrum however because I can't decide if I should just go hard core skiing over the next 2.5 days or if I should throw some snowboarding in there as well. I may hold off on the snowboarding for the wild mountains of Western Maryland. By the way, I learned how to snowboard for the first time last weekend on those mountains. And I have the bruises and sore muscles to prove it. I'm also consider some spa time and maybe a snowmobile tour over the Continental Divide, but I can't quite decide.

It should be fun and although I'm by myself, I know I'll make some snow bum friends.

This month I also spent a week in Florida - Orlando to be exact - also for work. I tell you I sure get around with this company. I'm not complaining because although it was a tough transition for me last year, I am getting used to the company and the job. I'm still keeping my fingers crossed for the Foreign Service however.

Last weekend was also our yearly leadership retreat at church and it was a great time of getting together with other leaders and learning more about what it means to be a leader in leading others and helping others to be leaders and grow in their own personal leadership :)

I'll write more later about my excellent adventure here in the mountains of Colorado. For now, I'm going to go put on my moon boots and long underwear and look around town. And for the record, I'm going to hang out at Copper Mountain this weekend. My fellow van mates all said that it was the best mountain in this area. I'll let you know what I think. Cheers!