Thursday, August 20, 2009

3 down, 2 to go

I am finally back to school after a very short summer. Most of my things are unpacked, but I find that I am running out places to put my things. Almost every square inch of my room is already being utilized and I still have a few more boxes and bags to make disappear. Ugh!

My air conditioner is in - that's a plus. My feet are still swollen - that's a minus. But I get to wear open-toed sandals - another plus. We went to Riverfront this evening to play some volleyball and boy are my feet ever sore. It was worth it though!

Last night was our first prayer meeting and it was a very special time of worship, testimonies and basking in the glory of God. I'm really not the best speaker and honestly dread giving testimonies, but I sure do love to listen to them. They are such simple reminders that God is still on the throne, working miracles, providing needs, opening and closing doors in His perfect time. Serving God is such an awesome privilege, one that I never want to take for granted.

I am excited with anticipation of what this year brings. Last year was a very trying year for me, the year before that was one I try to erase from memory and my very first year was one of transition from childhood to adulthood. My prayer for this year is that the Lord shape me and mold me into what He would have me be. I'm nearing the end of my time here at GBS and I want to be fully prepared to face the world with the confidence of Christ. I can't wait to see where God will lead me. I have given Him all of me and He is free to do with me as He pleases. May I never forget my purpose here on earth as a child of God.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009


Are people still blogging? Am I wasting my time? Please tell me if I am! I could be doing other things like...sleeping, or something. Oh well, I like to write - even if no one in the world is reading this.

Anyways, on to my story...

I am humbled and embarrassed to say...I fell for a scam.

Yes, I understand you can't trust anyone or anything when it comes to the internet. I am fully aware of how scams work, or so I thought.

I've been wanting a teeth whitener, like everyone else, cheaper than the $200.00 a dentist would charge. I'm sure you've all seen those ads plastered on every site for "Teeth Whitening Secret Discovered By A Mom." I was curious and decided to click on the ad. The link took me to a website that looked like a reliable source.

The story goes, a woman named Cathy didn't have much money for an expensive teeth whitener and decided to try these free trials she came across. She used them together and discovered that they worked better than anything she's ever seen or heard of. The trials are free, except for the s&h. Together they both came to under $3.00.

I thought, "$3.00 isn't much to lose. I'll try it." Before I even took time to really think about it, read the terms and conditions, or even look for a COPYRIGHT on the web page, I gave them my information for the FREE trials.

This all happened earlier this afternoon. Tonight I saw another ad for the same thing and something told me to click on it again. Somehow this time I noticed the terms and conditions. I decided to research this "wonder story" and found it to be a big scam.

"Great!" I thought. "I've already given them my information!" In the terms and conditions it says that by subscribing to the free trial you give them permission to bill your credit card for your full size order that they send every three months. I saw numbers like 75, and 120 and several smaller numbers, all with dollar signs in front of them!

At the bottom they gave a number you could call to cancel your membership. While researching I even found that the cancellation is a scam.

So now I have to call my bank tomorrow to have them cancel my card. *sigh*

Let this be a lesson to all!
1) Check for copyrights at the bottom of the web page. (This usually indicates authenticiy...I think.)
2) Always research the products, stories, etc before giving out any personal information.
3) Always read the terms and conditions before agreeing to anything!
4) Beware of "free" trials. There's usually a catch. (NOTHING is free!)

For those of you who've read Sam's blog - curiosity doesn't just lead to physical death, but can lead to financial "death" also.

P.P.S. (or is it P.S.S.?)
Check out my other recent post below.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009


As I said on my Facebook status, "I am happy and sad at the same time about change."

And as a friend commented on my status, "There is nothing wrong with change, if it is in the right direction. - Winston Churchill"

So many potential changes loom in my near future; changes that I am very excited about. My cognate change to missions, the internship I have to complete, my future in counseling. Then there are those far off changes that still remain in the dark, like the man I will marry, the children I will raise, the lives I will touch through my ministry - whatever it may be.

Then I was just thinking about changes that are happening for some of my friends. They will be moving away, far away. And when I thought about that I wanted to cry (I almost did). But God reminded me that just as I am happy about the changes He is working for me in my life, so also are my friends happy about God working in the changes for them in their lives.

I am trusting God and faithfully following Him wherever He leads me. As long as I hold on to His hand change will always be good no matter the circumstances...always.

"For I know the plans I have for you," declares the Lord, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future."
- Jeremiah 29:11 (NIV)

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Tea Time!

About a week ago I decided to make some traditional Irish brown bread and vegetable soup. I've been missing Ireland, so what better way to reminisce about the experience than by sitting down to the same food I was served while in the beautiful Emerald Isle! I also wanted to give my family the experience of an Irish tea.

I found a couple recipes online and went to the store to retrieve the ingredients. Brown bread is a dense, grainy bread that uses baking soda as its rising ingredient; fairly simple to bake for a beginner in the bread department...from what I read on the internet. Friday night I baked two loaves of brown bread to eat with the soup for Saturday. They looked very nice...except that they both cracked around the middle!

(Sorry, blogger is dumb and wouldn't post the pic correctly. Grrr!)

Saturday evening I went to work on the soup. Ireland's vegetable soup is quite different from our own. Our vegetable soup is generally tomato based. Irish vegetable soup is carrot and potato based. The recipe also called for parsnips, turnips and leeks.

I have never before seen a leek, let alone know what one was. And parsnips and turnips aren't a regular part of my diet either. Let's just say that Meijer wasn't quite prepared for a big demand in these few vegetables.

I got up early Saturday morning and started peeling and chopping all of the vegetables. Later that evening I made the soup. This particular recipe called for sage, parsley and thyme - with a little bit of salt and pepper to taste - for the seasoning. I had fun making it!

My most favorite part about the soup is that it is pureed. I understand that some people wouldn't be satisfied with just pureed soup for dinner. My dad was a little concerned because 1) he doesn't really care for soup, and 2) especially when it's pureed. I must say, however, that typically the pureed soup is eaten at tea time - which isn't supposed to be a whole meal anyways, simply a "snack." In America we don't have "tea time," we have supper...consisting of something hearty like a slab of steak, a heap of potatoes and a good portion of veggies. But for my sake, we were going to have "tea time." Yep, I even made tea (Irish Breakfast) and served it with the soup and bread. ;)

We set the table and prepared to dig in to what looked so delicious! I even arranged the place setting like it would be in Ireland...I think.

I took my first bite of the brown bread and it literally made my stomach churn. It was SO salty! It must have been that salted butter I used because we didn't have any unsalted butter like the recipe called for. It was also too doughy in the center. (I blame it on the recipe.) "Hopefully the soup will be better," I thought to myself. Yuck! The soup wasn't salty enough! Then I remembered that I never did do a taste test before serving it. I also found out that I do NOT like parnips, or was it the turnips - perhaps both.

I was so disappointed in how the bread AND the soup turned out. Well, my family must have liked it because they ate it up! They, however, never had the good stuff to compare my cooking to. They'd be turning their noses up too if they had tasted what I had been served in Ireland.

Oh well, there's always a first time to everything. I'll just have to get better recipes for the next time!

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Closer to God

I finished reading another book! Recommended to me by my aunt, I read The Shack, by William P. Young.

I don't normally read modern fiction - and by modern I mean written recently. I prefer the classics. But my aunt told me that it was an extremely good book and worth the read. So I decided to try it.

Before delving into the book I glanced over the reviews. They gave me goosebumps of anticipation. One review reads, "When you close the back cover you will be changed." I couldn't wait to start reading!

To summarize, it's a book about the goodness and love of God revealed through the life of one hurt and disappointed man. We all have ideas and presumptions of what God is like. Most people in the world have the wrong idea of who God is. This book reveals God's love and attributes in a very real, tangible way.

"The Shack is like standing by the ocean, closing your eyes and breathing deeply, filling your lungs with purity after choking for so long on the stifling smog of religiosity," as one reviewer stated. Young certainly knew how to break down the walls of the box that we all put God in.

As the review predicted, I was changed. I laughed, I cried, I was convicted, I prayed. God used that book to draw me closer to Him, to remind me of who He is and to teach me knew things about Him.

The biggest lesson I learned was that God does not orchestrate tragedies to teach us lessons. But He does USE those painful situations to teach us things - about Him, about ourselves, about others and life. He lets the world turn and allows nature to take it's course. But this doesn't mean that He is someTHING that keeps His distance from His creation. Psalm 46:1 says, "God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble."

For all those wishing to draw closer to God I would highly recommend reading this book.

Friday, July 17, 2009

A Blast from the Past

I was going through some stuff of mine and found my great grandpa's senior yearbook from 1931!.

He sure was a handsome guy! It's neat to be able to see a little bit of myself in this picture of my Great Grandpa Gray.

Looking through the yearbook I noticed that everyone had a nickname and a quote. My grandpa's nickname was "Rony" (probably pronounced Ronnie). His quote reads, "My tongue within my lips I rein: for who talks much must talk in vain." I like his quote because it describes him perfectly. Grandpa always was a quiet and reserved man. I only found one other picture of him in the yearbook. He was on the Apple Judging Team.

There are so many "strange" things all throughout the book. First, I noticed that none of the men smiled for their pictures. About half of the women did, but not a single man smiled for his picture.

I also noticed that popularity was an issue even in the 30s. Two of their mock elections say "Most Popular Girl (among girls)/(among boys)" and "Most Popular Boy (among girls)/(among boys)." (Because it's just SO important to make that distinction. *she says in a sarcastic tone*) Some of the funny ones included: Class Shark, Class Sheik, Class Gum Chewer, Class Roughneck, Best Girl/Boy Dancer.

Just a few other oddities:

They dedicated the yearbook to their PARENTS! Wow! You'd never see that happen these days.

The valedictorian and salutatorian's speeches are typed up in the yearbook.

They had an agriculture teacher!

It seems every female in the 30s was born with extremely wavy hair.

They put the custodian's picture on the first page.

The drama club was called The Dramatic Club.

They included a calendar of events recording the highlights from each day from September 1 - December 19. Quite interesting the things they put on the calendar.
A few excerpts worth reading:
Sept. 8 - First fire drill. Two frosh hurt in rush for the door.
Sept. 10 - We all rented a locker today. All those that had a $1.00.
Sept. 22 - The fair is over and our money is gone.
Sept. 23 - The seniors are makig a wonderful attempt to become dignified.
Sept. 30 - Someone borrowed 100 pads of theme paper.
Oct. 1 - Investigation concerning lost paper.
Oct. 7 - Wayne Burdick takes a nap the seventh period every day.
Oct. 15 - Noret Flood got excused to go hunting.
Oct. 28 - Ogden Amstutz left school.
Oct. 29 - They're still talking about that lost paper.
Dec. 10 - Mr. Snow quieted assembly with a whistle. This is an original idea.

It really is a neat piece of history; and to think that it is my Great Grandfather's history!

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Blue Moon

Today I was able to enjoy one of summer's best experiences: Blue Moon Ice-Cream. Many of you have never tasted, let alone heard of, Blue Moon. This is because it comes from the great state of Michigan!

The flavor is indescribable. All I can say is that it is SO delicious...and BLUE! Eating this ice-cream brings back childhood memories of when I was just 4 or 5 years old going to the ice-cream store my dad worked at as a teenager to get Blue Moon ice-cream, eaten in a homemade waffle cone. Or sitting in the Meijer Purple Cow Cafe with Grandpa Byers, while mom and grandma shopped, eating Blue Moon ice-cream. Or stopping by the ice-cream stand in Silver Lake after a day at the beach to get Blue Moon ice-cream.

Who knew that so many memories could be stored in one flavor of ice-cream!