Saturday, May 19, 2012

in sickness and in health.

I've been a little under the weather today.  Nothing too major; just your typical headache/stuffy nose/sore throat/aches that everyone comes down with every once in a while.  I've spent the day alternating between our bed and the couch, napping, reading, fooling around on the computer... and being pitiful.

I'll own it.  I can be a bit melodramatic when I'm not feeling well.  Thankfully, my sweet, sweet husband not only tolerates me, he cares for very well.  He brings me water, hands me my laptop even when it's only mere feet away from me, and goes to the store to get me medicine.  

I was reminded today of the time I got some sort of 24 hour bug while we were engaged.  It was a Friday night and the next day I was supposed to go wedding dress shopping with my roommates.  Instead, I spent the night vomiting.  My sweet Cori stayed with me the whole night, sleeping curled up in a ball on the edge of my bed.  Every few hours I'd wake up, throw up into a plastic bag, cry, and then fall back to sleep for a few more hours.  Cori would switch out the plastic bags, try to soothe me, then wait for me to wake up again.  He even ran to Walgreens in the middle of the night to get me Pepto-Bismal (which, sadly, didn't stay down).  I realize this isn't the prettiest of stories, but it was a very tender moment of my husband-to-be caring for me.  It was a huge comfort to see him react so kindly to me in my sickness.  I didn't find my wedding dress that day (we went Monday instead, so it was no huge deal) but I did discover another reason why this man I was planning to marry was such a treasure.

I told Cori today that I don't think I'll ever forget the love he showed me that night.  What can I say?  My husband is the best.

snapshots of Willow.

Cori and I are convinced that Willow is an unusual cat.  In our experience, a lot of cats are super independent and want to be on their own... sure, they'll sit on your lap when THEY want to be petted, but it's all on their terms.  Willow is extraordinarily outgoing and LOVES people.  She likes when we hold her like you would a baby- either cradling her in your arms or holding her on your shoulder.  She wants to be in the midst of everything and her happiest days are the ones we spend outside, so she can combine her love for the outdoors with frequent trips to us for some adoration.  Here are a few pictures of evidence...

Yes, that is my pillow.  And yes, this is moments after I woke up.  Most nights when she does this, I just move closer to Cori and steal part of his pillow.  

Cori took this one.  Pure cuteness.

Willow wanted some clam chowder for dinner too!  She hopped up on the table my lap during dinner and I took a self-portrait of us. :)
Cori was innocently surfing the internet, when Willow decided she just had a be a part of the party.
Cori refers to her as a mountain goat when she does this... always has to be at the highest point.

Getting comfy...

Please pardon the RIDICULOUS expression on Cori's face.  Sometimes she does this on her own, but she'll also do it if Cori pats his chest.  Not sure if she's stretching, hoping to scale his chest, or just being crazy...

Saturday, May 12, 2012

where i am.

It's no secret that the move to Tampa was a hard one for me.  

It's also no secret that I still miss New Orleans on a constant basis.  I miss the view of the city from the interstate at night.  I miss the familiar halls and faces of McDonogh 32.  I miss running and walking and driving down St. Charles and spending afternoons in the French Quarter.  I miss walking down a street and hearing jazz music and I miss the way the entire city comes together during Saints' games.  I miss crawfish boils, beignets, and that amazing Creole/Cajun taste.  I miss days spent gutting with my relief team and running down Franklin Avenue to Lake Pontchartrain.  I miss the living room of the Willow House.  Most of all, I miss the friends that became family.

I also miss Virginia.  I miss the church that taught me how to love Jesus and the girlfriends who I've known since elementary school.  I miss my family.  I miss the rolling hills of Harrisonburg and chocolate peanut butter ice cream at Klines.  I miss dance parties at the Sandcastle with my housemates.  I miss the way that the seasons changed; fall always came in with brilliant colors and spring with a warmth in the air that teased of the summer days to come.  I miss the permanence of it, because when I think of Virginia, I think of the future, of settling down and not saying any more of these heart-wrenching good-byes.

But this post isn't to whine about how homesick I continue to be.  It's to say that I live in Tampa right now, and Tampa is a good place for me to be.  While I can't say that I recommend combining 3 major life changes into 1- marriage, moving, and new jobs- I can say that God has used it well in our lives.  Moving to a brand new city, leaving all the girlfriends I relied so heavily on, forced me to rely on my new husband.  It allowed us countless hours to live life together, to buy furniture and watch movies and cuddle and play the Wii and laugh and learn how to be husband and wife.  Moving forced me to leave my job, which- despite how much I loved it and still miss it- was the source of a fair amount of anxiety and sorrow in my life as I struggled to love and educate in a difficult environment.  It allowed me to start a new job where I have been able to remember how much I love kids.

And most profoundly, moving brought me into a new season with the Lord.  I'm sure it's a combination of so many things- our church here, the challenges and blessings of marriage, renewed obedience- but I am experiencing Jesus here.  I am being challenged to live for God fully, to pray big things, to read my Bible, to be uncomfortable for the sake of communicating the beautiful truth of all that Jesus has done.  

God could have done all these things in New Orleans or Virginia or Antarctica.  But He is doing them here, and that confirms for me that I am where I am supposed to be.  That even though I still miss New Orleans so much that I cried when I saw a picture with my old kitchen in the background and that I am ready to complete the adventure of living away from Virginia... Tampa is my home, because Tampa is where God has me.

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

6 years ago...

This past weekend marked 6 years since my college graduation.  It's crazy to think that just 6 years ago, I was closing the door on one of the most profound chapters in my life.  It's only appropriate that I take a few moments to reminisce about my 4 wonderful years at James Madison University.  These were my pre-digital camera years, so pardon the randomness of some of these pictures.

Freshman year

Jenny and I at Homecoming.  This was almost 10 years ago, so I guess I shouldn't be shocked by how young we look... but it's hard to look at this picture and think about Jenny preparing to be a mom and me being married.  We're such babies here!

Sophomore year

My precious sophomore year Bible study
a snow day with my friend Erin- and sadly, I don't remember the girl in the middle's name... I think it was Erin, too?

Capture the flag!  Suz, me, and Caitlyn

the LLAMA FARM!  So much love for Harrisonburg, VA.

Big Break (a spring break trip with Campus Crusade for Christ ) 2004

Junior year

BFF's!  Junior year was the year that Katherine and I really became inseperable.

One of many crazy nights with Katherine... dressing up our friends Paul and John.
my housemates for the year!  the Pearl!

Senior year

Every year, Crusade would have a night of 'Wacky Tacky Rollerskating'... and Katherine and I are at our best when we're dressed in ridiculous costumes.  Our wonderful housemate Meagan got in on the fun with us!

SO much to love in this picture!  1. the plastic horse that Katherine and I were obsessed with and 2. my Katrina relief team- these were the wonderful friends I went to Pass Christian with that Christmas, 4 months after Katrina hit.  This trip is what caused me to go to New Orleans and these friends were SO precious to me!
the MAFIA!  Erin, Rachel, Caitlyn, Katherine, Kim, me- some of my closest girlfriends from JMU!

in a word: ridiculousness.  Sara, me, Katherine, Krista.  performing 'my life be like' by Grits at a Cru coffee shop
they were precious to me then, and they're precious to me now!  so much love for caitlyn and katherine :)

 So, I definitely have some fun pictures from summer project in Myrtle Beach and graduation... but this post already has about a million pictures and I need to do some other things, so I'll save it for another time.  Thanks for walking down memory lane with me :)

Monday, May 7, 2012


Every day I have spent in Uganda has been beautifully overwhelming; everywhere I have looked, raw, filthy, human need and brokenness have been on display, begging for someone to meet them, fix them.  And even though I realize I cannot always mend or meet, I can enter in.  I can enter into someone's pain and sit with them and know.  This is Jesus.  Not that He apologizes for the hard and the hurt, but that He enters in, He comes with us to the hard places.  And so I continue to enter.  from the book Kisses from Katie

I'm currently getting my butt kicked by reading this book, and I'm really enjoying it.  It's a true story about a girl named Katie, who moved to Uganda after graduating high school, is now 23, and is in the process of adopting 13 little orphan girls.  Talk about living out what Jesus says about caring for the poor!  I'm only on chapter 2, but this passage really struck me, and since I can't underline or highlight a library book, I thought I'd share it here.  I'm not saying that we're all called to move to Uganda, but the truth is, we are all called to enter in.

Sunday, May 6, 2012

life, lately.

as of late.

Willow: has settled into a new sleep pattern.  First, she falls asleep directly on top of Cori, preferably as close to his face as possible.  At some point in the night, she settles either between us or on either side of us.  It's adorable and annoying all at the same time.  We've also finally found a solution to her flea problems- unfortunately, Florida's warm weather is perfect for breeding fleas, and Willow- our rambunctious, let me outside NOW cat- is particularly sensitive to them.  The expensive medicine didn't work; the $8 flea collar from Wal-Mart is doing the trick.  Go figure.

Dinner: has been yummy.  My newest hit with the hubby is Buffalo Chicken Stuffed Shells.  Of course, I don't eat it at all, but Cori loves Buffalo chicken and I've never made him anything of the sort... ever... so it was time.  It was fairly easy to make and he loved it, which is good because there is a lot of it and it is allllll for him!  In the last few weeks, we've also enjoyed Shrimp ScampiScallops with creamy bacon corn sauce, and the ever-classy (but so yummy!) Corn Dog Muffins, to name a few.  

Tampa: has been lovely.  We're still very much enjoying our church and the friends we've made there, bike rides around our neighborhood and time with our neighbors, and plan to continue to take advantage of our season's passes to Busch Gardens.  Yesterday we went to the beach, and it was just perfect.  Clearwater Beach (beautiful!) is about 30 to 45 minutes from us, so we got there by 10, enjoyed a few hours of soaking up the sun and splashing up the waves, and headed home at 1.  It's still foreign to me to have the beach so close.  Shouldn't I have to take a week off work and drive hours and hours to get to a nice beach like this?

Our tv: has been keeping us relaxed and amused with Netflix providing episodes of Parks and Recreation and Brian Regan sketches, and the library with movies like Lars and the Real Girl.

This summer: is shaping up to a be good one.  I'll be working full-time for the first summer in a long time, and while I'm mourning the relaxing days of summer past, I'm looking forward to teaching a summer VPK (voluntary pre-k) program.  I'm also excited for a conference (with speakers such as Tim & Kathy Keller and John & Noel Piper!) with some girlfriends from church, am hoping for a long weekend in NOLA, and am in the midst of finalizing plans for an anniversary/vacation trip with Cori.

The fall: already holds some pretty wonderful events.  One of my best friends, Kim, is getting married in October and I am SO excited to celebrate with her.  And of course, there are babies!  My friend Katie and her husband Aaron are expecting a boy in September, and in November, my friend Jenny and her husband Clarke are expecting a child.  My 10-year high school reunion is being held the day after Thanksgiving, so I'm hoping for a Virginia trip where we can combine seeing both our families with a meeting of Baby White and my reunion.