Sunday, January 13, 2013

The Best Christmas Present Ever!

It has been way too long since I have updated my blog. Not much has been going on in my life except my dietetic internship (which seems to be taking over my whole life). Oh, and the fact that I am now ENGAGED!!!!! 

On Friday, December 21st, Matt drove up to Memphis to spend the weekend with me. He met me at work, we went to the Trolley Stop for dinner, and went to the Grizzlies game. We walked back to Matt's car after the game. He had parked on the roof level of the parking garage next to autozone park. It's normal for Matt to park in random spots (or at the spots farthest away), so I thought nothing of it. Before we got in the car, Matt pulled out a box and some blankets. The box contained my birthday present...a jewelry box with a beautiful cross necklace inside. I was shocked to see it and was so excited about this new piece of jewelry that I did not look for anything else in the box. Matt pointed out a book at the bottom of the box: a photo book that he had put together, "The Story of Us."We went through each page of pictures, and Matt had things to say about each page. He has such a great memory and recalled many things throughout our relationship that I had even forgotten about. The last page of the book was a collage of pictures from our relationship and had one sentence written across the pages: "All of this has been fun, but I have one question..." At this point I had an idea of what was about to happen. My heart started to beat faster and louder...I could hear my own heartbeat! Matt said all sorts of sweet things, and then asked me if I would spend the rest of my life with him and if I would marry him. Of course, I said "YES!"

Since then, we have been having fun brainstorming wedding and registry ideas. I have already found my dress and we are getting close to choosing the date and location. I am so excited about getting to spend the rest of my life with my best friend! Matt is the most thoughtful, selfless, hard-working, godly man I know. He challenges me, encourages me, and makes me so happy. I am the luckiest girl in the world to be his fiance! 

2013 is sure to be a big year: Paul and Heather just moved to Florida, Heather is having a baby boy in the next 6 weeks, I will be moving to Birmingham at the end of July and starting a career, and Matt and I will be getting married!
Our view from the roof of the parking deck: Autozone Park and downtown lights
The book Matt made for me: "The Story of Us"
My absolutely gorgeous ring! 

Monday, October 8, 2012

Pumpkin-Filled Weekend

This past weekend was filled with all things pumpkin! Matt was here to experience it, which I know he loved...can't you tell?

He came Friday night, and I cooked dinner for my family, including pumpkin hummus and pumpkin bread pudding. Both were new recipes.
Pumpkin Hummus
Pumpkin bread pudding with ice cream
Saturday, Mom made pumpkin biscuits and I made a pumpkin smoothie, then Matt and I went shopping for pumpkins and for candy corn m&m's. After looking at 4 different stores, we could not find the m&m's. We found some decent pumpkins and used two to plant flowers and carved the other one. Then, we roasted the seeds. Matt also brought me some pumpkins. I love the entrance to our house!
Pumpkin Biscuit with Pumpkin Butter
Pumpkin Smoothie
Pumpkin Seeds 3 ways
Sunday morning, I made pumpkin yogurt for breakfast. After church, we met one of Matt's college roommate's for lunch and then went to Target and finally found candy corn m&m's.

Pumpkin Yogurt
Matt left Sunday afternoon. Our weekends together go by much too quickly!

Monday, October 1, 2012

Fall Weekend

October 1st is officially Fall for me. I am so excited about all things pumpkin! I cannot wait to get cooking. I have so many recipes to experiment with. Fortunately, pumpkin is in season for a few months, so I have lots of time to enjoy this season.

This past weekend I went down to Birmingham. Matt comes up with the best ideas for us to do. Friday night we went to a Greek festival. There were so many people there, and I was amazed by the organization they had. I cannot imagine running an event as big as this. We got to try some desserts we had never heard of, and enjoyed them at the top of a parking deck overlooking the downtown area.

We got back to Matt's house, and he surprised me with a brand new Mac! I was (and still am) absolutely shocked. I was definitely needing a new computer, but not ready to spend the money on one.   He treats me way too well. I don't know how I have gotten so lucky to be his girlfriend.

Saturday we went to a pumpkin patch and picked our own pumpkins. There were so many pumpkins, and most of them looked so good it was hard to choose the best-looking one. We liked our pumpkins too much to carve them, so we stopped at wal-mart and bought cheap ones to carve.

Matt is coming to Memphis this coming weekend, but I don't think I can top the weekend we had. I have one more week until my internship starts. I am super nervous, feel very unprepared, and have so many things to do in the next week. I am blogging right now to avoid reading for my online class, so I better get back to what I need to be doing!

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Since I have Been Home...

Since I have been home from the Philippines, I have not been doing very much. My internship does not start until October, and I only have one online class. I do some babysitting, but that's about it. I have had some very unproductive days. I am really looking forward to starting my internship and getting on a schedule and into a routine, but I am sure once it starts, I will be wishing I had more lazy days like I have been having. Matt is in business with his brother in Birmingham, so we only see each other on the weekends. Doing the long distance thing is very hard, especially since I have not been very busy and have a lot of time to myself, but it makes the weekends a lot of fun. The first weekend Matt came here, we had a date night, went to see Batman, and had Paul's graduation dinner. My first weekend in Birmingham, we went to the Baron's game and went to Six Flags!

Baron's Game

After one of the rides (pretty awesome hair!)

The next weekend, Matt came to Memphis and we made sushi! It was much easier and turned out so much better than I expected. I definitely want to make it a regular thing!

Our fillers: crab, carrots, cucumber, shrimp, avocado, salmon (we made different combinations)
Rolling (using a dish towel because we didn't have a bamboo mat)
My sushi!

The next weekend (Labor Day) was the first home football game. My family tailgated before the game, and I drove to Matt's during half-time. On Sunday, we spent the afternoon at the lake. Monday, we went shopping and cooked dinner for Matt's parents.

Grill Masters
My super amazing boyfriend skiing like a pro!   

This past weekend, we went down to Starkville for another football game. We beat Auburn! The win made tailgating after the game so much fun!

Best friends! I miss her so much!
I am one lucky girl!

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

I spent 8 weeks this summer in the Philippines. I went with Nehemiah Teams, which is a mission sending organization that sends college-age people to the unreached and hard to reach. The vision of Nehemiah Teams is to lead students to finish the Great Commission (Matthew 28:19-20) in this generation. This organization sends mission teams to the Philippines, Thailand, South Sudan, South Korea, and other countries. There are nanny teams, agriculture teams, riverboat teams, backpacking teams, and a healthcare team. I was on the healthcare team, which included 16 other college students from different parts of the United States. When we got to the Philippines, we were divided into 4 teams of 4 and each team was assigned to a different village, in which we lived for the summer. One of the things we did was perform circumcisions for free. I won't go into detail, but circumcisions in the Philippines are very different than an America. The boys were between 4 and 10 years old. This was a great service to the village because circumcisions are expensive if you go to a health clinic. We used this service as a way to show them the love of God and our love for them. Other than the circumcisions, the only healthcare we did was take blood pressure and bandage minor wounds on children. Our main purpose in living in the village was to share the Gospel and disciple believers. Most of our time was spent doing bible studies with the families we made contact with. We also spent time every night with the kids teaching them songs and telling them bible stories.

The entire healthcare team
My team: Arlin, Melissa, Ross, Rachael, and Jael
Performing a circumcision
Some of the kids after bible story time (we had 20-30 kids every night)
The older couple who we had bible study with almost every morning

I faced many challenges this summer, but God taught me a lot through them. One of the challenges was feeling unproductive. We had a lot of downtime, which made me feel unproductive and lazy, but rest and slow-pace is a part of the culture there. For us to effectively reach these people, we had to adapt to their culture, which meant taking "siesta time" each day and not focusing on time. Another challenge was not being able to see the fruit of our labor. I would get discouraged many times because I could not see the impact we were having, if any at all. We did not always see the results we wanted to see, but God kept reminding me that it is His work, not ours. He also taught me that as long as we are willing, faithful, and obedient, He is going to work, whether we see it or not. I may never see the impact we had on the people in this village, but I have to trust that God used our time there and worked through us.

God taught me a lot this summer. He grew me a lot in my prayer life. I will admit that I have never had a strong prayer life. I have not taken much time to pray, and when I do pray, my prayers are half-hearted and focused on me. I learned more about the importance of prayer and the need for prayer. I also realized that I need to pray more intensely and expectantly and with thanksgiving. My prayers have shifted from self to others (although I still pray for myself). My prayer life is still an area in which I need a lot of growth, but it has definitely changed over the past couple of months. Another thing God taught me was the importance of missions. I have always seen missions as something that is important, but I did not realize how important it is. God's desire is for every person to have a relationship with Him, and He wants to use us to share His love with others. People (especially those who do not have access to the Gospel) are not going to know about God's love and salvation unless followers of Christ tell them. Romans 10:14 says, "How, then, can they call on the one they have not believe in? And how can they believe in the one of whom they have not heard? And how can they hear without someone preaching to them?" Christians have not been saved just for the sake of a secure eternity in Heaven or even just for the sake of having a relationship with Jesus. We have been saved in order that we will go out and tell others about God's free gift of salvation. Sharing God's love and telling others about what He has done should be the purpose of every Christian. Sadly, my selfishness and laziness many times get in the way. But if we truly love God, we will obey His commands and seek to please Him and glorify Him.

There is so much more I could write about this summer, but I don't want to make this post too long. I would encourage any college student to look at Nehemiah teams, and I would encourage every follower of Christ to go on mission trips: short-term and long-term, national and international. God commands us to go and make disciples of all nations. This includes the United States and every other country. You do not have to go on a mission trip to fulfill this command. We should be obeying it every day here at home, but we should also be involved in foreign missions by going on mission trips, supporting others to go, praying for those who are going, and reaching internationals here in America. How are you fulfilling the Great Commission?

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Back to the Blog World

I have not posted in a very long time. I had decided to give up blogging because I just was not interested in keeping up with it anymore. After going back and reading my blog and after hearing a few other people tell me they wanted me to blog again, I have decided to re-enter the blogging world. I am not really sure how many readers I still have, but I am not writing just for other people to read. After going back and reading some of my older posts, I realized that blogging is a great way to document things going on in my life and things I want to remember. In order to catch everyone up on my life, I am going to write 3 different posts: one on this past spring semester, one on my summer in the Philippines, and one on things that have happened since I have been home from the Philippines. I am also going to try to give my blog a new look (with the help of my amazing boyfriend). Thanks to everyone who does read my blog and comments. Your comments mean so much to me, and I love reading them! I will use this post to write about this past spring semester.

I had made the decision before my knee surgery in December to no longer be on the track team. It was a very hard decision, but it was for the best since I would not have been able to recover in time to compete for outdoor. Because of my chronic knee pain, I wanted to take my recovery slowly and not try to rush to get back to running. Coming back to Starkville in January was hard because I was not longer on the team, I was doing physical therapy 3 days a week, and I was starting night classes for grad school. I quickly realized that I needed a part time job to give me something to do during my days since all my classes were at night. Fortunately, I found a job working for a massage therapist. It was the perfect job: I only worked 2 days a week for 7 hours each day and was able to do school work while I was working. It was a very easy job: answer phone calls, make appointments, do laundry, and clean.
I went to physical therapy 3 days a week until April. In February, I was able to start aqua jogging. It was so great to finally be able to do some exercise. Unfortunately, I wasn't able to do much more than aqua jog. Even though I built up my leg muscles in PT and stretched and iced every day, my right knee still gave me a lot of trouble. My left knee healed pretty quickly, but I was still in pain in my right knee. I tried running many times, but each time was a failure. Even though it was a discouragement, I was still thankful for the ability to walk and aqua jog. My classes kept me busy all semester. It probably wasn't the best idea to take four night classes (Monday-Thursday) my first semester of graduate school, but I am thankful that I did it despite how much work it took and despite the stress. Matt graduated in May and is now in business with his brother in Birmingham. I moved out of my apartment the day after his graduation. It was really hard leaving Starkville. I loved living there during college and have such great memories from my four years there. I moved back home because I have a dietetic internship through the VA hospital that starts in October and lasts for 10 months. Here are a few pictures from last semester:

Cheering on my best friend at the home track meet

 Matt and I at a friend's wedding
(picture taken by Rebecca Long Photography)

Saying goodbye to my wonderful roommate of 3 years

Matt's Graduation

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Next Step: Rehab

I got my stitches out Monday! Hopefully I can post some pics once Renee emails them to me (hint, hint). The doctor explained to me what exactly he did to my right knee (the one that has been bothering me all year). It is easier to explain it with a drawing, but I will attempt to explain it in words. He cut out a piece of cartilage that was flapping around underneath my patella. Since cutting it out left a "space," he poked holes where the cartilage was so that it would bleed in order that scar tissue would replace the cartilage that was removed (that was a terrible explanation). Since he did more work to that knee (he just cut plica from my left knee), it will take my right knee slightly longer to heal.

It was so nice to be out of the ace wraps and able to bend my knees! I was able to drive home yesterday without discomfort until I got to Collierville and had to stop and go a lot. I am able to get around a lot better, but I am still not walking normally yet. I can't stand for long amounts of time or my knees get pretty sore. It is amazing how much quad strength I have lost after a week of not using my legs very much. I have a lot of physical therapy to do before my quads and knees are back to normal. Rehab starts tomorrow, and I am looking forward to doing the exercises, even though many of them will be uncomfortable and possibly painful.

I have much greater appreciation for those who are wheel-chair bound or home-bound. It was so difficult for me to sit on the couch all day in my apartment for a week. I am so grateful that even if I have knee pain, I am still able to walk and easily get around. Instead of griping and complaining, I need to be more thankful for all that I have and am able to do.