Monday, January 30, 2012

Intentional :)


But it a good way.

Have you ever been overwhelmed, not by the amount of work you have to do, the problems in life and the unresolved conflicts, but by the awesome power and incredible grace of God? I have always been a person that knew my faith and strove to do my best in living it out, but just recently I have been OVERWHELMED by just how great of a faith I have.

That has been my lesson this weekend. Not just living in complacency, but constantly thinking of all the things He has done for me. And one of the things that is coolest in life? When other people are having the EXACT same thoughts as you. And you have a GREAT conversation about how amazing our God is over dinner that lasts until the cafeteria workers kick you out. These are the moments we should live for.

Though I know sleep is necessary, as well as work, I have decided to take a new perspective this semester. I am going to try to be intentional with not only my workload, but also my relationships. So far, putting the relationships first, I have realized I will ALWAYS have time to do the work I need to if I make it. But the joys of a heartfelt conversation with a sister/brother in the Spirit are only an occasional blessing.

So this week, I challenge you to be more intentional in all you do, make your priorities and enjoy your life to the fullest for the glory of God. THAT is a fulfilled life.

Also, here is a little bit of joy to enjoy on a Monday morning, with a cup of coffee and a cinnamon muffin. Or whatever you like. ;)

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Hasmat... another Adventure?

Adventures in Oddity... and something on top of that

This week one of the lessons I have been learning is about the perks of spontaneity and the joy of being flexible. I have found that no matter what my plan may be, there is a VERY high probability my day will not turn out that way. I think I have just been so used to a schedule and so anal about keeping it that I have almost gone off the deep end with planning (I should have known something was wrong last semester when I tried to plan my studying down to the very minute...).

An example of being flexible came one day when my mum, my sister and I pulled into our driveway a few years back. All seemed well.... until we took the dog out for a walk. Over the edge of the hill by the road, someone had tossed a large oil drum, allowing it to rest in our yard. Thanks, guys.

As we checked this new arrival out, I noticed there was no writing on it at all. Except a little yellow piece of paper, very faded that said TOXI. I thought, "Who would be dumb enough to put toxic waster in our back yard?" That itself is a dumb question as the world we live in is a LOT stranger than it seems on the outside.

The drum seemed harmless, lying in the overgrown grass under the green maple tree. It didn't bother the squirrels... so should it bother us?

Needless to say, it bothered my dad, who immediately called the police. They told us it was probably just an empty oil drum some jag was too lazy to throw away properly. Which makes sense, other than that our backyard has rarely been confused with a landfill, and it certainly does not seem to me to be the ideal place to dump garbage.

The days went by, and the oil drum became a curious topic of conversation in our lives.

A few weeks later we receive a call at home. A group was coming to pick up the drum. Great. No big deal. At least it would be easier to mow the lawn again.

Hours later the HAS MAT team arrives. Yes, the Has mat team. In their white suits, helmets with tinted front windows and moon boots. There were about six of them, barricading the road so that their truck could back up, allowing the crane on the back to carry the 'goods' up. They placed this a large white barrel, and then sealed it with their special tools. Then, they drove away. This whole process took about four hours, as they couldn't risk the chance of spilling the "toxic" waste.

What crazy things are happening to you today?

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Beauty is....

First two days back at school done! All my classes this semester seem great, so no worries in life (for now).

My 8 am class, Civ Arts, was introduced today by a discussion on beauty. When asked what we saw beautiful over the break, one student answered that he saw a moonbeam. I have never heard of this prior to today.

A moonbow is like a rainbow, but around a waterfall at night (usually). Due to our rods and cones not reacting as well in the dark, we cannot see the colors in the dispersion of the white light. Who knew?

My Professor, Dr. Francis, was so excited by the news of this occurrence he almost knocked over a desk. Sweet, tea-drinking, reliable Dr. Francis was brought joy today, and so was I by this little known event.

"Beauty is in the eye of the beholder" was broken down into its horrible lie during this class, and the true beauty of art and music was discussed. All on the first day. What a great semester this will be!!!

What was exciting in your life today?

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Back to the Grind...

GCC, Look at me NOW!

Now that I am back at school and waiting for the new semester to begin tomorrow, my life is on the brink.... of a storm of work that refuses to end before May.

But it makes me happy when I see all my friends who have been parted from my side since before Christmas. Though it will make me sad to leave all my friends from home.... :( I can't win!

On the plus side, due to my missions trip coming up in 2 months and the fact that I have knee problems (physical therapy, here I come! :P) makes it much more likely to be going home on weekends this semester. Which is kinda sad, but there is a reason I am basically being forced into it.

Do you ever wonder why things happen this way? In my life, I seem to just get over a hurdle and another one pops up to trip me and leave me with my face in the mud (and whatever else is there). But then I begin to consider strange occurrences that are starting to make sense: my parents' one car being totaled, and a 'new' used car becoming available just in time for me to need to use it to drive to PT, my being off of life from mono last semester, causing me to not have a social life (so I'm not missing much now that I am once again handicapped. :P

Good things are coming of all the bad things in life, even if I don't quite understand yet. And it is reassuring to know that I'm not the one in control. If I were, I would be a WRECK right now. :P

What surprises have snuck up on you lately?

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Snowpocalypse... REALLY?!


I don't know if everyone else has heard the all too common winter phrase yet, but SNOWPOCALYPSE has already been referred to the snow that has happened around here over the past few days. Yes, it has snowed a decent amount here, but I have to laugh when I think of when I first heard this phrase used, and how it has been abused.

A few years ago, there was a time it snowed constantly here for almost a week. Now, this is not uncommon in Western PA, but the fact that it froze every night made it worse. The snow would fall, the top layer would freeze and the process began again. That week I don't believe I had school at all. Which normally my school, as it serviced a large area, would continue school unless it was impossible to drive on one of the major highways by it.

This was the first time I had heard the phrase "snowpocalypse". I helped my dad clear the driveway during that week, and one day we were out there for four hours, and we only cleared about half of it. He even made me buy boots with large soles so I could walk more easily through it (dangit, having short legs :P).

Last night it snowed probably about four inches. Pretty decent, but it won't stop me. The Muppet Movie is calling to me tonight and I won't relent! (yes, this will be the second time I have seen it, but it is worth it).

I give my props to the people living in Erie PA who deal with feet upon feet of snow and don't worry about it at all. I am content with the level of snow here in Butler, and by no means would want to have to shovel THAT much snow. (I'd have to get higher boots!)

Anyhoo, the snow looks gorgeous, it hasn't killed me yet and it still looks crisp on the trees. That is the way it should be. :)

What is it like in your area?

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Fingernail Marbling

This was my response to seeing the infinitely amazing process of marbling fingernails. It's so fun and easy, why had I never done this before?!

As an artist, my friend Meryl knew it was important to let others know how this process is done:

My tips of joy for this adventure:

1. Use distilled/filtered water. Less particles= less frustration with specks of nastiness.
2. Use electrical tape or a tape that conforms to the shape of your finger well.
3. Make sure you get all of the excess polish out of the glass before you pull your finger out.
4. Use nail polish that is relatively new and will drip into the cup well. Sometimes different nail polishes don't want to work either, so it is a little trial and error.
5. Practice. My first ones looked HORRIBLE, but after awhile they got better.


Thursday, January 12, 2012

Creatures on Crestmont

Adventures in Oddity!

    Our first segment in adventures in oddity will begin with the stories involved in the first house my family moved into after we moved from West Virginia to Pennsylvania. This house was a small, slightly in need of love ranch, nowhere near worth the money we paid for it. But I guess moving from small town West Virginia to slightly larger small town Pennsylvania causes the price of living to rise... slightly... actually, a lot.
    At this point in my life, I was about three years old and my sister Henrietta five. After living in the house for a few months, we began to hear strange noises coming from the roof at night. Thump, thump, THUMP. After this, we began to find Mountain Dew cans perched on our front windows. My parents began to become worried. Our little Shitzu Chaddie, though feisty and to be honest, mean, could not protect our home from the strange stalker galavanting on our property. Ready to call the police, my parents stayed up one night to find out who this creeping creature was. After the usual nightly thumping began, my parents went to see what was happening. Lo and behold, it was our neighbor from down the street. He was in his forties, living with his parents due to his mental disabilities. Nonetheless, traipsing around our yard was NOT an ideal situation for this man to be in, and thus my parents continually spoke to his parents and eventually, his excursions became one of the causes for us moving out.
   After moving into our house on Crestmont Drive, we met a "sweet" old woman, Mrs. Z, down the street. Turns out, she was the grandmother of a kid in my kindergarten class. My mother thought she was a normal old woman.... until she drove around the neighborhood with her undergarments hanging out the car window, drying in the breeze. She also hung little plastic jack-o-lanterns from her front tree all year round. Quirky, yes, but we did live in Pennsylvania, so these were not completely STRANGE occurrences. Then, we had a yard sale, one of my family's favorite summer events. Mrs. Z showed up, and then promptly picked up dishes and clothes, and then walked away. My mother, in all her glory, tracked the woman down and forced her to pay for the items she thought she should just have. Okay, so she is too cheap to buy a dryer and she steals stuff from the neighborhood yard sales. Okay, strange, but we can put up with it. Later on that day, Mrs. Z came back to the sale and gave me a baby doll.... body. She didn't want the body, but did want the head, so she thought I could enjoy the body.... okay.... Now five years old, I knew this lady was, to put it bluntly, a whackjob. She then promptly returned and traded the head for the body as she changed her mind on which part she wanted. Then, while walking the dog, my mother walked past Mrs. Z's house and noticed all of the lawn chairs lined on her porch. Curious, my all too nice mother asked her if she was expecting company. She replied, "They're for when the mothership comes. I need to be hospitable to my children. After all, as I am the reincarnation of Jesus, they will come and take me to my heavenly home". After this incident, my parents thought this neighborhood was probably NOT the best one to raise children in.
   While living in this house, we also had to fix the septic tank (before this area got sewage). Every day the workers left our house, an animal fell down into the hole and died. Obviously the hole became a sort of animal burial ground, and thus, parting with our sad little house was easier. Actually, it was a JOY to leave. That house was the only house my mother did not weep over leaving (she being the woman who cries during the holiday commercial where Paul or whatever his name is comes home from school/West Africa?)

What crazy people have you met in your life?

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Craftiness... and whatnot

Goals for 2012

As a true human, I don't believe new years' resolutions are possible. Because I have NEVER succeeded at keeping one for an entire year. So instead, I do goals, as in things that would be great to do, but I won't kill myself over. So far, this is the list I have come up with:

   1. Finish reading the Bible... last year it was my resolution to read the Bible in a year.... and THAT didn't happen. It sounds so much easier than it actually is. I think my biggest problem is that I find something really good in my reading and I don't want to breeze past it. So it is a goal this year to complete.
   2. Go on lots of adventures.... thrift store adventures, trips (Dominican Republic, escapade to Virginia for my friends Nathan and Chloe's wedding, etc)
   3. Share the gospel more often... as a Christian, this should be a first priority.... but it never is. :P And it is easier said than done, I might add. But, opportunities arise, and I need to be conscious of them. :)
   4. Crafty projects!!!!... Last year my big project was a Zelda quilt for Dmitri:

      This year, I hope to do lots of small projects, like coffee cozies, cutesy headbands and bows (I like bows... a lot), decorations for my dorm room and much more! I already succeeded at making a shirt out of a vintage pillowcase, so I think the sky is the limit!!! :D

What do you plan to do this year? :)

Monday, January 9, 2012

Thoughts and Developments


Not really. But it sounds good.

You know how when you watch a very good adventure/action movie your dreams evolve into fantastic escapades? This has been happening to me a lot more since I began watching Lost this summer. Now that there are 6 episodes left till the end, I believe the intensity of the suspense has caused these strange dreams to escalate even more.

In the past, the only things that have given me as much nightly entertainment were the Lord of the Rings movies and Harry Potter. Now Lost has been added to this list. I almost wonder if the quality of the movie/show is correlated with the influence it has on the subconscious mind.

In other news, the world of my hometown, Butler, PA, is either getting a lot better or a lot worse. I can't tell. Here are the top 10 exciting changes that have happened within the last year or will happen soon (not in specific order):

   1. The Chop Shop opened- this restaurant located on Main Street has created a fun place to eat, with inspiring dishes like the "redneck" and "nirvana with enlightenment (enlightenment can be ordered on the side). Definitely a plus.
   2. The old Hot Dog Shop building to be replaced with Butler Brewery- I don't know whether to consider this a good thing or a bad thing. Good, if they serve delicious food like the Brewery located in Slippery Rock. Bad, if it just creates more alcoholics in town.
   3. The organic food restaurant opening. Why Butler for this wonderful establishment? I really have no idea. But being just a few doors down from the court house may serve as a benefit to this eatery.
   4. The Pac Sun in the mall closed. This is a BAD thing. Very bad. They were the only place that had pants that fit me perfectly. And opening around the same time in the mall was a store devoted entirely to... drum roll.... calendars. Is there really that high of a demand of calendars that it necessitates an entire STORE devoted to them? The only person I know who needs more than 2 calendars is my mom's boss, Diedra. She is (to put it mildly) INSANE. Last year my mom, who is a calendar fan herself, threw out over 30 calendars that were in her office (she is a school nurse).
   5. Sheetz sold coupon books. I know this isn't exactly Butler only, but as there are at least 3 in town, I consider this viable. I have already used $20 worth of coupons and have only used half of my coupon book (total cost: $10). Great deal, I think.
   6. They closed the Monroe Street bridge. Again. You know how they say Pittsburgh is always under construction? The thought is emulated in Butler when it comes to bridges. I guess they thought since the one bridge of 422 was finished (after 2 1/2 years of being worked on) they might as well redo this bridge, even though it was just redone 3 or so years ago. Crazies, if you ask me. And inconvenient. :P
   7. The Heritage Center (AKA, Butler's version of a shady museum) was transformed into From the Hand art gallery. Good, as the other gallery, The Art Association, only caters to a certain audience and wants lots of money from everyone. They have their reasons. But another art gallery is certainly a pleasurable thing.
   8. The bookstore at the mall was bought and renamed BAM! (Books a Million). I honestly don't really see much of a difference in it other than the staging of the store, but the name is great! :D
   9. There are now not one, not two, but THREE Hoagie Shoppes. Enough said there.
   10. Someone bought our old house. My family moved a little less than a week before my sister Henrietta and I went to college. The guy who bought it is as follows:
                   -Momma's boy
                   -Owner of a couple parrots
                   -Never home
                   -"A Big Creeper", as my friend Cory who lives across the street describes
    Worked for me, since as long as we could sell the house quickly for a good price I was happy. Not that it was a bad house, it was just INTERESTING. Many stories could be told of this house, warranting a new feature for the blog: "Adventures in Oddity"!

And for your enjoyment, a random picture of the past:

~My Friend Jeremy, also known as the one and only NAPKINFACE, defender of the spills and stains of our century~

Until next time, enjoy your hometown, all the good and the bad, and remember: somedays the most exciting thing that can happen is your dreams. And sometimes, that is MUCH for the better. :)

Friday, January 6, 2012

Another day of productivity...

Today was another day that some important things got done... (or at least started).

1) I called all of the people I needed to remind them of the missions trip I am going on during spring break this year. A group of people from my church are spending a week in the Dominican Republic with the group Meeting God in Missions (MGM).

If you are interested in this group, here is the link to their website:

      Though it is a Medical missions trip, I am one of the blessed ones who gets to spend my entire time playing with kids! Which is a good thing since my Spanish is only understandable at an elementary level anyways... Me and the four year olds? We have GREAT conversations.
      In case you are wondering, I went on this trip with my high school last year. It was a wonderful adventure: We had the opportunity to speak to at least a hundred people, provide medical, dental and child care, as well as addressing some construction needs. While there, I sang with a worship team in Spanish at a church and our group was able to appear on local DR television!!! (A kids show with a clown... and we sang contemporary Christian songs... and they had a smoke machine behind us... I really want to find a video, to say the least). It was a wonderful trip overall, and I CAN'T wait to go back!

One of my little friends and I, on the first day of our trip... before I became a tomato. :)

2) Today I also imported most of my music collection onto my itunes.... a long overdue chore, but time consuming for me and thus I procrastinated on it as long as I could... In the process, I found some old favorites, such as these:

3) Got all of the badges on Bejeweled... yes... this WAS a productive day. :)

4) I also got some reading done today, which is a SUPER plus... Hopefully there will be some time to reread Harry Potter in the next few weeks. :)

What have you succeeded at today? 

So I can claim my persona... :P

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For me!!!

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Another Day in the Life

Due to being on Christmas break, I have slumped into the lazy life of an unemployed college student. Today was a day of some productivity though...

1) Make coffee AND remember to clean the pot out... doesn't sound hard, but when in the lackadaisical lifestyle, this is a big deal. :)

2) Went to Walmart, only spent $10 and didn't get stuck in the parking lot. This is a success on ANY day.

3) Reorganized the pantry. I am constantly surprised at how quickly this space is destroyed. When the male counterparts in my life hit, the pantry is rent into shambles. :P

4) Made pumpkin spice muffins. This is one of my FAVORITE recipes to make, and it's SO easy. And healthy. I think I heard somewhere it is worth 2 points on Weight Watchers... But they are good, and simple so that makes a great plus for me.

               Pumpkin Spice Muffins
             2/3 cup water
             1 box of spice cake mix
             15 oz. Pumpkin Puree
             1 egg white

       Preheat oven to 350*
       Mix it all together in a big bowl. Using a mixer works best, but honestly I enjoy stirring with just a spoon  and they always turn out fine. :)
       This is the point if you want you add tasty morsels like chocolate chips or nuts and such. 
       Put the batter in the little muffin cups in a muffin pan. I usually fill the cups up 2/3 the way, since the muffins grow! :)
       Bake for about 10-15 minutes, depending on how good your oven is and whether you like harder muffins or gooey. (Gooey ones are FANTASTIC, BTW...)
      Let cool and enjoy. Actually, don't let cool if you want, since they are fabulous when warm and the chocolate chips are melty and mmmmmmmmmm!!! I want one right now!
      These muffins can be made with whatever cake mix you want too. The chocolate ones are great as well.

5) My last bit of productivity involves actually singing and reading. I am a voice major and talked all semester about how excited I was to sing songs that were fun and not required when I went on break. Same for reading too... But you know how plans like that end up. :P

Anyhoo, with sooo much productivity going on, I believe I have earned the right to go to my boyfriend Dmitri's house and watch some Lost.... we're on season 6 and we still like it.... I don't know if that is a good sign or not. Either way, we will probably be done by next week, so if worse comes to worse, time will tell.

Hope you have a fantastic day!