Monday, November 16, 2009

Decisions, decisions

Realize that I haven't posted lately - I still like the idea of a blog, but I haven't been able to motivate myself to do it (probably because I have to internet). I need some direction of what I want to post about other than wishy-washy Brett Favre. (see below). Working on it! Have some thoughts down on my laptop but not sure how to organize them.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009


I was going to write a post - but I don't feel like it anymore. :) Fickle.
Have a great day!

Thursday, September 3, 2009


Brett Favre, you're no longer Favrelous. There's a time and a place for a comeback...

...but this is not one of them. Neither was last time. Or the last time.

(for questions regarding this conclusion, visit here).

Great Shots

I run a camp in the summer - and here are some photos from that experience.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009


Sorry for the lack of posts - summer camp happened! I'll update whenever possible. Please pray for changed hearts and lives - and safety - for campers this summer.

Friday, May 22, 2009


Now if only I could actually WATCH the games - thank you so much, DirecTV, for your awesome price hikes, blackouts, and other fabulous services.

Thursday, May 21, 2009


Disclaimer: It's been one of those days where the words just aren't flowing. This post might not be a pretty read, so just imagine it's a blog version of Shakespeare.

In one day, I've heard more about missions in Uganda than I have in the course of my whole life. Today, my friend Mikeheads to Uganda with the pastor at his church, Scott, and a lot of other church leaders with Compassion International. And just yesterday, I talked to my friend Rev. Kim Urbanik, founder and director of the Christian Drama School of New Jersey, and she told me about an amazing mission that one of her former students, Cindy, took to Uganda in Summer 2008. The CDSNJ kids managed to raise ten thousand dollars to help Cindy's mission, which provided education in drama, singing, English, math, and much more - including new property and a new school building. The kids made these awesome tie-dye t-shirts for all 400+ kids at the school in Uganda.
Back in the states, the CDS decided to make their next drama pay homage to the kids in Uganda by incorporating African dance and songs into the show. The show quickly became their most popular, and there are plans to perform it even more in the future. And this summer, 40 staff members at Ligonier Camp will be performing sections of this show for campers and sharing with them how one passionate person can indeed change the world.

So here's what made me think about this post - Kim told me yesterday that a friend of hers is sponsoring a child through Compassion International, and she got a photo in the mail of her child from Uganda - wearing a tie-dyed cross t-shirt from the Christian Drama School. Today, Mike and a group of US pastors are heading to Uganda to love kids through Compassion International. I just started thinking about how two groups of people from two different areas are being used by God to touch the same group of kids. And many groups of kids all across Uganda and the world. How cool is that?

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Don't do it

Brett Favre, you're Favrelous. You really are. But don't you dare come out of retirement (again) to play for a new team. This has to end.

Monday, May 4, 2009

Movie love

I watched the movie Finding Neverland yesterday. Actually, I got it for 5.00 at CD warehouse because I remembered really enjoying it but I couldn't remember a lot of it. I think I like it because it's appropriate for little children but the story has a very thoughtful element that will appeal to adults as well. The story is really intriguing (who hasn't loved Peter Pan?) and I always appreciate knowing more about the authors of the plays and books I've read. It's a cute movie, a little romantic, a little tragic, with a little fantasy, but I think the relationships between the characters are truly engaging and made the film. It's made me think in a British accent all day.
Oh, and Johnny Depp & Kate Winslet are in it. Two people, in my very uninformed and humble opinion, who are excellent actors.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

I'm beating Bob Costas

No, but really...I am. When it comes to the NCAA tournament bracket challenge on, I am beating Bob Costas and tied with Mike Greenburg (of my favorite Mike & Mike in the Morning show).
Just so you know: I've got Louisville, UConn, Pitt, and North Carolina as my final four. Not super-original, I get it, since they're all #1 seeds, but what can I say? The ranking system keeps getting better and better, and those teams are good.
Once I finish interviews, it's back to the games. :)

Monday, March 9, 2009

You stay classy, Buffalo

At least they only signed him for one year.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

For what it's worth.... is my opinion on the sports topics of the day. To clarify, I am as un-athletic as they come, but I watch a lot of sports and listen to lost of sports talk. Disclaimer: Most of my facts/understanding of football terminology is probably erroneous. I'm no journalist. But I enjoy talking about sports, and felt like weighing in. What else is a blog for?

First of all, I would like to address the Terrell Owens situation. The facts are that he has just been released by the Dallas Cowboys one year into a four year contract, which means that the Cowboys can no longer use the 9 million left on that contract to pay another player. Silly? Maybe. Terrell Owens is an incredible football player and leads the league in touchdown receptions in a career. He also has put himself in a situation where no one will throw him any passes so that he can make more touchdown receptions. Tony Romo, Jeff Garcia, and Donovan McNabb - all great quarterbacks - are on the list of people who will never throw to #81. The issue? No, not TO's ridiculous off-the-field lifestyle or outrageous comments to the media, but the fact that he can't handle sharing the spotlight. His latest issue is with tight end Jason Witten, whom he suspects has been secretly meeting with Tony Romo to create plays that exclude Owens. This claim has spilled over into discontent among other players, concern among the coaching staff, and enough locker-room drama that even Cowboys owner Jerry Jones is willing to eat his words and send Terrell Owens back into the world of un-signed receivers. This might be a terrible thing to say, but I really hope no one takes on TO for 2009. I think it is important to show that unlike many professional sports, the NFL is not willing to sacrifice the quality of the team in order to let a superstar have his show.
Secondly, and this is just something I noticed on Mike & Mike this morning, the NFL needs to keep the salary cap. This past year, a collective bargaining agreement was not reached between the NFL players union and the organization, which means (I think) that in 2010, it's sort of a free-for-all. Right now, the salary cap in the NFL provides a sense of equality among all teams because even if you have more money, you can't use it to recruit players over a certain amount. Then I saw this about baseball's recent salary spending:
The New York Yankees budgeted $441 million for this year to sign 5 PLAYERS. The next closest team spent about $127 million dollars for 8 players. Is it any wonder that the Yankees are the "winningest" franchise in baseball history where World Championships are concerned?
Based on this, in my honest opinion, the NFL needs to keep the salary cap. Also, selfishly, I love my Steelers, and the Rooneys are notoriously frugal. On the other hand, you can afford to be frugal when you build your team through the draft!
This whole post probably bored many of you. But I had fun writing it. ;)

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

I'm Weird

I just finished the Financial Peace University course offered at my church, and created by Dave Ramsey, financial guru. Mostly Dave Ramsey reminds me of my Dad because he won't let you spend any money. (Just kidding, Dad!) But seriously, I enjoyed this course because it made me think more about how I manage God's money when it's in my wallet. In the final lesson, The Great Misunderstanding, it really was made clear to me that money is not, was not, and never will be mine. I simply use it to glorify God and to do his work. Throughout high school and college, my schools and churches have all had different ways to manage money and to budget. What I like about the Dave Ramsey one is that it balances out the necessity of saving money and having it for important things like college tuition and retirement, it's also very clear in saying that unless you are giving money away, it is a detriment to you. So having money is not bad, but "the love of money is at the root of all kinds of evil". I think it has really put a lot of things in perspective for me, and I really want to take the class again sometime to better understand the details!
For all of you who are unfamiliar with Financial Peace University, I'm including the 7 Baby Steps to Financial Peace. Here they are:

1. Have $1000 in the bank for an "emergency fund"
2. Develop a debt snowball (pay off debts!)
3. Save 3-6 months of expenses
4. Invest 15% of your income
5. Save for college tuition
6. Pay off your house early
7. Build wealth and give it away

Since I don't have kids or a house, I only have 5 baby steps right now. :) Whew! I highly encourage anyone to take this class - it seems impossible to do, but it's not when it's all broken down this way.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Early Riser

I love waking up early. No, let me be clear: I love being awake early! Waking up is the pits. But being up, hitting the gym, showering & getting ready, walking my dog, watching ESPN, spending quiet time, eating breakfast, packing a lunch, and drinking tea are all things I get done between about 6:50 and 9 am. Today, I also read the paper! Of course, to be able to wake up, I've been going to bed a bit earlier, or at least "closing up shop" earlier. I turn the TV off by about 8:30 pm, then wash my dishes, run the dishwasher, wipe down the counters, switch over the laundry, let the dog out, fill the humidifier, get my glass of water, and then curl up into bed with a good book. I find that I am just a better organized person with an early night and an early morning, and I like the personnel at the Y early in the morning rather than the 5 o'clock crowd (mostly scantily dressed high-schoolers).
Anyway, my mornings make me feel refreshed and ready to take on the day because I don't spend all my time thinking about what I have to do when I get home or how overwhelmed I will be after I am done with small group or class and still have to clean up the house! Now when I get home from my various activities, I get to relax and enjoy my time.
If you're feeling stressed and overwhelmed, I suggest early to bed and early to rise, even just for a few weeks. :)

Tuesday, February 24, 2009


I'm doing two things for lent, and "giving up" something isn't directly involved. But it will happen indirectly. I understand the purpose behind the "giving up" in order to represent the suffering of Christ for 40 days in the desert. But I've been thinking of things I could give up, and most of them are things that I am not heavily reliant on anyway (television, internet, junk food, reading). I have what you might call "built in moderation" because I am busy in many ways. But I have decided that in the same spirit, I'm going to adopt two things that will be a struggle for me, but that will ultimately be a joy.
1) Drink water. I don't like it. It tastes like nothing. I drink it when I go to the gym, or if it's really hot outside, but I mostly stick with juice or tea or milk. But I know that water is good for me, and I notice immediately when I start drinking a good 64 ounces a day that I have prettier skin, more energy, and I feel healthier. So I've got my pink nalgene all filled with agua, and it's off we go.

2) Live on a Dave Ramsey approved budget. I have had a "budget" in the past, but mostly it involved not spending too much money and having plenty left over at the end of the month. Dave advises a zero-balance budget, because "mystery unused money" lying in a checking account gets spent on junk. So I've balanced my budget precisely to the penny, I've got my envelopes all ready.

Balancing my budget out was actually surprising. I sat down with my calculator, bank statements, and Monthly Cash-Flow plan(from and figured out where I was spending too much and where I wasn't spending enough (can you say "giving" and "savings"?). I was spending very little on food, which I was sure would be the culprit. I actually increased my food budget significantly and tithed fully as well as saved 10% of my income, while paying off my school loans a little extra each month, and still came up with extra cash. That goes in the "blow money" which sounds like drug money, but really just means it's money that's there for my "Just in Case" moments. ;)

Anyway, I think both things will be like "giving up" things, but really adopting things that I know God is calling me to. I'll try to keep everyone updated. :)

Friday, February 20, 2009

Who knew?

To the right is a fennel bulb.

Below is "sweet anise".

I needed fennel bulb, but it was labeled "Anise". I thought, "There's no way that can be anise, I've seen it before, and it's star-shaped and grows on a bush!" I even picked up the bulb and smelled it to check, but I was wary, so I didn't take it home. Turns out that many produce vendors mislabel fennel as "Sweet Anise" because of its mild licorice taste, but that it is, indeed, fennel.

Who knew?

Monday, February 9, 2009


This is one of my favorite photos from Super Bowl XLIII. I watched the game over at Hot Metal Church in the South Side, and it was wild. My parents even drove up from Florida to watch the game in da 'Burgh - and it was worth every minute of the tedious drive! The church recently acquired a new building - formerly a bar - so it had the feel of watching at a bar without all the drinking. The place went nuts from the moment the guys came onto the field until the final turnover with 14 seconds remaining. I spent the last 3 minutes of that game in a true panic - which was nothing compared to one of the boys at the church who had to walk back and forth, in and out of the room. But I should have known that Big Ben would carry us through! It certainly was a Super Bowl to remember - and I sure will remember it, judging by all the Steelers memorabilia I am suckered into on a daily basis. Don't worry - I'm not too crazy, but I did just get a shirt that says, "got six?" on the front and "da burgh does" on the back.
Anyway, I really like winning the Super Bowl because it means that there's Steelers talk all off-season, wondering about the draft, and the future of the team. Plus, the game has been re-aired three times so far, with a fourth on Thursday night, so it's almost like the season hasn't ended. Mike & Mike bring up the team at least once daily, and usually more.
I can't wait until it's out on DVD! And I wonder if they'll include it on the "America's Game" list soon?

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Nine Days!

I'm going on a nine-day trip this week (and next). I just thought it would be fun to list all of the places I get to go on this trip. So here it goes:
Hanover, PA
Lancaster, PA
Elizabethtown, PA
Grantham, PA (Messiah College)
Kutztown, PA
Reading, PA
Pittsburgh, PA
Vienna, Va
Arlington, VA
Sterling, VA
Westminster, MD
Grove City, PA (Grove City College)
It's a lot of traveling, but I also get to see a lot of great people and kids. Typically, my trips don't last quite this long, but this time it just worked out to be a little bit crazy. The Super Bowl made it a little more wild, and my parents are coming, so I'll be "busting a move" from Reading to Pittsburgh for the big game. My goal on this trip: try to accomplish something sort of fun & memorable in the places that I visit. For example, when I had to recruit in Baltimore, I went to Ellicott City, MD, to see where my grandmother had lived when she was first married. I'm sure I'll find something interesting for this trip, too!
Wish me luck (and good weather!).

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Newbery Update

So, in case you were wondering, I'm making good headway on my Newbery Award Reading List. Since September 1, 2008, I've read (drumroll please)....49 Newbery Award Winners! I started with 2007, and I've made my way back to 1944. I've missed some in between because they've been checked out of the library (you'll notice that the difference between 2007 & 1944 is not 49), or because the library doesn't have a circulating copy. But I'm working with the inter-library loan and we should be able to work that out.
Anyway, so far favorites are:
The Tale of Despereaux by Kate DiCamillo
The View from Saturday by E.L. Konigsburg
Maniac Magee by Jerry Spinelli
The Westing Game by Ellen Raskin
Up a Road Slowly by Irene Hunt
The Bronze Bow by Elizabeth George Speare

A few not-so-favorites:
Jacob Have I Loved by Katherine Patterson
M.C. Higgins the Great by Virginia Hamilton

But overall, I've been pleasantly surprised by how great the books are! They're tough to put down. Some of the not-so-favorites had rather adult themes about them, particularly, "Jacob Have I Loved", which bordered on the inappropriate. I have a friend at church who is reading the Newberys with her kids, and I advised her to really check that one out before reading it aloud.

If you're looking for a new path to pursue in your reading, I highly recommend the Newbery list. There's a lot of creativity and variety in them, and the stories are interesting and generally uplifting.

Friday, January 23, 2009


The Pittsburgh Steelers are going to the Super Bowl.

My pledge: wear at least one piece of Steelers bling/flair each day leading up to Super Bowl XLIII.

Zayn, a free t-shirt is coming your way. And it's good...very good.


I think I wrote about this before, but I was walking my dog yesterday and thinking about how cool dog adoption is. It was a pretty simple process, and I got to take home a dog that house trained and mellow, albeit a little strange.

I know that purebred puppies are really cute, and it's fun to be able to raise and instill your own doggie values into your pup. But they also relieve themselves on your carpet, chew on your furniture or clothing, whine at night, go out five times a day, need lots of shots, and eventually, a spay or neuter (unless you are certified dog breeder). Plus, they're expensive to "purchase".

When I got Angel (and no, I didn't name her), she was eight years old, eight pounds too heavy, and shy of strangers. And though she is still a little overweight and shy, she's adjusted really well. Plus, she lets me know when she needs to go out, she only goes out three times a day, she has no interest in chewing on anything but her own food & treats, she needs only two shots a year, she's already spayed, and she is doing great welcoming "strangers" (strangers to her = friends to me) to the house - she even let Jim pet her belly.

Anyway, my point is that adopting a dog can be a really rewarding experience because it's easier on you. Also, it's good for that dog who can't find a home. And your adopted dog will learn to love you because you have given it a home and a family.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

New Year

It's the new year, and a time for new starts. I generally get really excited about that "clean slate" feeling that a New Year can bring. Unfortunately, the New Year was incredibly busy so far...and I feel far from "clean-slated". I'm behind on my laundry, I missed my school loan payment (fortunately paid ahead, so no penalty), my work "to-do" list is a mile long, my last promo visit was a little slow, I have phone calls to return, I'm already behind on the 40-day challenge, and I have a boiler in my basement that goes out once every three weeks and spits soot all over, leaving my house at about 45 degrees. Aughh! It has not been a pleasant start to the new year. I desperately need some time to get my house in order and my brain on task.

But then I started thinking. Who says I have to have my clean slate on January 1st? If I give my heart and my time to God today, he offers me that clean slate. I don't have to decide on the first of the year to get in shape or commit time to God or to save for vacation, I can do it today! And while my mounds of laundry won't disappear by the time I get home tonight, my bad attitude about it should and will. It might mean that I need to take a day from work (I still have one comp day this week), and get my laundry done, get my Dave Ramsey-approved budget back under control, and get some food in my fridge!

And call Suzannah to watch the "Countdown to the Crown" & Miss America together. It's my girly guilty pleasure. And also this.