Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Home Made Holiday Punch Deliciousness

So tonight I stopped at the corner market and picked up a can of ginger ale to accompany the fruits and berries waiting patiently in my fridge to be juiced.

Cranberries, raspberries, apples, and ginger ale. 
(measurements to taste and size of need)

Break out that juicer you have in your cupboard and go nuts with the fruit. I found the apples really helped mellow out the tart cranberries, and the raspberries gave it a lip smacking sweetness. After stirring together the juice, add in the ginger ale, and shabam!

 Delicious home made punch that tops the artificial taste of any super market juice. I love the tart ginger fizz that begs the holidays to be celebrated with cheer.

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Mini Expeditions: Art and Travel

I absolutely love that travel asks art and design to the dance and it can either be a Napoleon Dynamite situation or a Julia Styles in Save the Last Dance kind of situation. Seeing artistic endeavors to promote travel really catch me, and remind me why I love my industry.

Here are some that caught my eye recently, click the header links for more!

Landmark Building Logos from Around the World:
Amtrak Signals it Still has Wi-fi


Enjoy, and I'll be keeping my eye out for more awesome travel inspired design!

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Advent Again, Advent Always

Advent is a season before Christmas where we prepare and remember the incarnation of Jesus and all that it means. (for more info, here is my post from 2010 all about Advent)

Last year I was so blessed by the focus and the introspection that the Advent readings brought, and will be embarking on the journey again. This year, my Advent guide is from the Village Church, and can be linked HERE. It is a weekly reading along with some personal questions to think through and answer. There is also a family devotional section. It is a great resource for anyone, and would be a great tool to do with a roommate, spouse, or friend.

This year, my heart is battling restlessness and unsettled yearning. As I expectantly enter into this Christmas season, this quote from an article by Sally Breedlove really resonates with me:

I need the reminder that for the rest of this life I have a choice: try to make this world enough, or receive the unsettledness of my heart as a gift. If I don’t yearn for more, I will miss the One who both entered time and lives beyond it. It is hard to learn patience. But good waiting clears the air; it helps me find out what I really, really desire. When I learn to wait for the truest things, endurance moves past a grit-my-teeth trial to hope and strength. Year by year I have the opportunity to live into Advent. If I listen, I will hear the truth: I’m part of the exile, a woman heading home. Advent coaches me to wish for, to long, and finally to expect and even glimpse what lies ahead.  (Advent: Putting the Brakes on Christmas Insanity)

What is Advent? by Noel Piper
A Season to Look Back and Look Ahead by Noel Piper

An Advent Guide from The Village Church

Monday, November 28, 2011

A Day in the Hudson Valley

Last week my friend Hannah and I took a day trip to the beautiful Hudson Valley in New York. She had done an internship there last year and wanted to revisit some of the sights. Of course I obliged as a partner in adventure!

Having never been to the Hudson Valley area (made up of (but not limited to) Poughkeepsie, Hyde Park, and New Paltz), I had no idea what to expect, but was delightfully surprised.

Our first stop was the Hawthorne Valley Farm Store. This is a 400 acre biodynamic farm, market, and school all in one, located in Ghent, NY. This basically means that they are super organic and all natural. It was a cool little market, and this is where Hannah did her baking internship for JWU.

Our next stop was the Culinary Institute of America, a world renowned culinary college and competitor with Johnson & Wales. Located in Hyde Park, NY, their campus is along the Hudson River and has restaurants and bakeries open to the public. We had a delicious lunch at the Apple Pie Bakery. My turkey sandwich and roasted cauliflower soup was exceptional, as expected. If you are ever in the area, it would be a worth while stop for JUST the book store and cafe. Some culinary students were sitting behind us during lunch and they were passionately discussing the ingredients of the lunch special. It was perfect.

We didn't really have exact plans for the day, and just kind of flew by the seat of our pants.
We decided to check out FDR's Home and Library. While a tour cost money, we gave ourselves a mini tour, FREE of charge. The property was beautiful, and it was really neat to see some history. There were enough plaques to guide us around and tell us what was what. I can imagine the tour inside the house and library would be well worth it though.

Our next stop was the Walkway Over the Hudson, a pedestrian bridge from Poughkeepsie to Highland, salvaged from an old railway bridge and turned into a beautiful pedestrian area. Holy WOW. You could see for so miles, and I just cant get over how amazing this was.

After walking across that amazing bridge, which was just breathtaking, we headed into the artsy downtown New Paltz area. SUNY New Paltz is definitely known for being a little left of center artsy, creative type of school, and I think it carries over into the town. Many of the shops are full of cool and unusual things. We had coffee at a little cafe called the Cafeteria that was full of fun furniture and strange art. It was 9 times hipster.

Heading back through Poughkeepsie, Hannah INSISTED that we stop at Rossi's Deli, and wow, I am glad. They have the BEST paninis in all the land. I had the proscuitto, olive paste, spinach sandwich, and it was the most glorious, giant thing I have ever had. The home made focaccia bread was filled to the brim with the most savory Italian ingredients my mouth has ever been privy to.

The last stop of the day was the Millbrook Winery and Vineyard in Millbrook, NY, an award winning winery, also called the "flagship winery of the Hudson Valley." They offer wine tastings, and if you get there in time, tours of the facility.  The vineyard was a beautiful sight, and the shop had all sorts of wines available for purchase. I wish I had bought some to bring home!

Our trip to the Hudson Valley proved to be quite the ideal little trip. It took about three and a half hours to drive from Rhode Island, taking the Taconic Parkway from the Mass Pike. It would make a great day trip, even a weekend trip for a family, or couple, of any age or interest!

If there was more time, I would have loved to explore more of the Hudson Valley Wine Trail, Wing's Castle, The Catskill Mountains, and all the history the area has to offer! I recommend  Travel Hudson Valley for more information about any of these sites.

Have you ever been to this area? Any other hidden sites you want to share?

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Humble Pie and Thanksgiving Feast

Interesting thoughts on Thanksgiving:

"Being thankful is not telling God you appreciate the fact that your life is not in shambles. If that is the basis of your gratitude, you are on slippery ground. Every day of your life you face the possibility that a blessing in your life may be taken away. But blessings are only signs of God's love. The real blessing, of course, is the love itself. Whenever we get too attached to the sign, we lose our grasp on the God who gave it to us. Churches are filled with widows who can explain this to you. We are not ultimately grateful that we are still holding our blessings. We are grateful that we are held by God even when the blessings are slipping through our fingers."-Rev Craig Barnes

From, "Stop Turning Thanksgiving into a Facebook Like"

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Shooting the Wounded

I was reading this Boundless article when I came across this quote that really impacted me.

One of the lessons I have learned in six and half decades of life is that very few dreams should go on hold while you improve the shortcomings of your life.... To be sure, there are times when you need to stop what you are doing and focus on conquering a flaw. But if you wait till all your shortcomings are remedied, your dreams will die. All our advances are with a limp. 
If you wait till you are beyond criticism to pursue your dream, you will never do it. You won't marry or stay married. You won't decide to have children or raise them. You won't take your first job or keep it. You won't go into missions or stay there.... Few things paralyze people more than their own imperfections. And there are always people around to remind you of your flaws and suggest you can't move forward until you're better. -John Piper, Bloodlines

Hmm. How many times do I think I need to be nearly perfect before I can accomplish a goal. I think this way about marriage, having kids, jobs, writing, friendships. The list goes on.

What kind of things are you holding back on because you don't think you are perfect enough?

Monday, November 14, 2011

Community and the Truth

"You shall remember that you were a slave in the land of Egypt, and the Lord your God redeemed you.." (Deut  15:15)

I have heard it said that every time we sin, we are forgetting our identity as a son in the house of the Lord and running back to the slave master of judgement and shackles. This rings true in my life. When I sin, I often forget that I am a liberated daughter of the most high king, and revert to a cowering little dog chained to a fence.

One of the awesome things about being deeply involved in a local church is the biblical duty to one another to constantly be reminding each other of truth. Much of this truth we are to remind each other of is the fact that we are no longer slaves to sin, but alive in Christ.

Colossians 3:9 Tells us to stop lying to one another, as we have put off the "old self"
Colossians 3:11 tells us to bear with one another and forgive each other, because that is how God has treated us
Hebrews 3:13 Tells us to daily point each other to christ so that we are not caught in the hardness of sin
Hebrews 10:24 Reminds us to encourage each other in love, as we have been loved
1 Peter 4:8  Tells us to love each other earnestly
1 Peter 4:9 Tells us to show hospitality to one another without complaining, as that is what God offered us

How many times do we see other brothers and sisters stumbling (stumbling or struggling) and only respond self righteously, judgmentally, or without concern. What an anti-gospel attitude (that I am not proud to admit having at times).  

But when we show each other love, exhort one another to pursue the truth, and encourage one another gently and tenderly, we are essentially preaching to one another: "Listen brother, Christ has set me free from my own sin! I am now free to serve Christ and not my own desires. Let me love him by loving you! Remember!You do not have to be a slave to yourself either! Put off your old ways! Follow Christ!" 

I am so thankful for a church family that often responds to me in grace, truth, and love. When I forget my identity and act sinfully which causes hurt, friction, or pain- they preach to me, through words and actions: "Sister, God has forgiven and loved me, and I forgive and love you. God forgives and loves you, turn from your sin and follow Christ. Remember the Lord your God has redeemed you."

Next time someone hurts you or is acting sinfully, remember that this is a time to lovingly point that person to the gospel, through word, actions, and your response to them. Help them remember their identity as a ransomed sinner who can find freedom, rest, and hope in the Christ who has saved them.

"By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.”
John 13:35

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

What is One Word?

You may have seen the past few "one word" posts. Since my writing time and abilities are lagging lately, you will probably see more "one words" in the future, as they are an easy way to get out some of my creative writing urges.

Here is the premise: OneWord.com has a new word every 24 hours that you have 60 seconds to write about, and these are my entries.

If you are interested in the project, I'd love to be your friend on it. You can find my profile under travelingAlissa. Otherwise, stay tuned for some more off the cuff one word writing here and there.

Thanks for hanging out my friends!

Monday, November 7, 2011

One Word: Autumn

Autumn reminds us that seasons change. The crisp air reminds us that some things must die in order to gain new life in the spring. Dying leaves are beautiful, remember.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

One Word: Automatic

This kind of “love” was not automatic. A year of pondering and too much pressure, I caved into the realization that while it is not pervasive and euphoric, it is right, and it is what I actually want.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Obsession Confession: Roasted Chick Peas

What has 16% of your daily  fiber intake? What has 6 grams of fiber? What has vitamin C and iron?

You guessed it my friends. One serving of chick peas (about 1/2 cup).

Ever since I was introduced to home made hummus, chick peas have been a staple food. You can do so many things with them! Let me share with you my favorite snack of all time:

Roasted Chick Peas

1 can of chick peas (drained and rinsed)
1.5 table spoons of olive oil
Spices to taste (I usually throw in a dash of red pepper flakes, some onion powder, paprika, and garlic salt- but you can be creative here)

Preheat oven to 450.

1. In a bowl, toss ingredients so the chick peas are covered in oil and you can see a nice dusting of spices
2. Pour chickpeas onto a baking sheet (any size that lets you have an even layer of chickpeas so they aren't on top of each other)
3. Set timer for 15 minutes and put the sheet into the oven
4. At timer, move around the chickpeas so they wont burn on the bottom
5. Set another timer for 15 minutes and put sheet back into oven, watching the last few minutes to make sure they are not burned, but browned and toasted
6. After hearing that timer, you are all set!

Take the chick peas out, let them cool, and you will have a crunchy and tasty snack! YUM!

Do you have any delicious chick pea recipes? What about other favorite healthy snacks?

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Slugs, Bandwagons, and Jars of Clay

Hey Family and Friends afar. I've been a little lax in communication lately, and I apologize. As you probably know, my phone was out of service for a few weeks there and Ive been kind of  busy since I got the new one.

Figured I would update you a little bit on some things Ive been up to.

My roommate Erica and I poured salt on a slug that we found in our backyard the other day:

I went to a upclose and personal acoustic Jars of Clay concert in Foxboro the other night with some friends. Here is my favorite clip from my most favorite song:

Yesterday a friend and I got caught up in an "Occupy" Providence protest march. It was pretty intense, but everyone was really nice, and there were some great signage.

Aside from work, reading a ton of books, hanging out with friends, enjoying olive bread from Seven Stars Bakery, and church, that's been about the past week :)

Monday, October 10, 2011

New England Fall Adventures I Hope To Have

As fall slowly creeps in to New England (finally.. wait.. is it even here yet?! IT'S OCTOBER!), and the air begins to prick your skin with it's cool breeze, now is the time to make a list of all the fall/winter wild adventures!

A selection of local vendors featured on Grant's Block featured to showcase Rhode Island crafters, farmers, and culinary geniuses. Every Saturday from Thanksgiving to mid December. 

pic from Creative Commons
"One minute, it's slaloming along a rocky riverbed through dense cover of birch and maple; the next, it's soaring up to a sudden vista as if God has suddenly pulled away a curtain. There's a reason this stretch of highway -- some 200 miles from Massachusetts to Lake Memphremagog -- has been called the most scenic in New England." -from Yankee Magazine

A restless foliage peeping route. Sounds perfect. Now, to get a car.

From gregcookland.com

3. Steel Yard Iron Pour //October 28th 
"Each year, the Steel Yard teams up with the Iron Guild to demonstrate the industrial arts in an exciting, accessible way. Our annual Iron Pour is a luminous spectacle in celebration of the fall season here in Providence. This year's performance promises to be in keeping with the dramatic displays of the past with a monster theme."

Um, awesome!

October 22 2011
Forests, bonfires, storytelling" all perfect fall activities in a hardly known but amazing park in Providence!

Here are some helpful resources:

What events or annual fall activities do you have on YOUR New England calendar?

Sunday, October 9, 2011

In My Weakness He Is Strong

God is good.

I think he brings us to a place of emptiness so we realize that nothing else will satisfy us except for Him.
A place of loneliness so that we realize that no one else can be there for us like He can.
A place of loss so we can realize that he is our ultimate provider.
A place of weakness so we can realize that he is our strength.
A place of waiting until we realize that it is His sovereign timing that is perfect.

All of these things so we learn to make less of ourselves and more of Him.

Tomorrow I get to spend time with my lovely church family through our corporate gathering and then some of us are hitting the road for a spur of the moment camping trip in the woods of Rhode Island. Spending time away from the "busy-ness" of life always helps me to gather my thoughts and relish in the bigger picture of things.
Catch ya on the flip side.

Thursday, October 6, 2011


I've gotten so close to writing a legitimate blog post in the past few weeks that my draft section is over flowing with measly half-thoughts. 

So for lack of anything better to do, I think I will combine all of those half thoughts into this one blog post. God bless you as you wade into my inabilities to produce something worth while. 

September 24, 2011

That word about sums up how I've felt lately, especially today.

September 29, 2011

Hostel. Cafeteria. Frat house. Discipleship community. Restaurant.

Those are all words that help describe the abode where I along with 11 others live, lovingly deemed "The Jewett."

October 5, 2011

"What am I doing with my life?"

"I just need to take a break from people to figure myself out."

"Who am I?"

All questions and statements that are easy for an introspection junkie like me to get caught up in. But that's the problem, more of myself isn't going to solve anything here.

That about sums up the past week or so.

There is a lot more going on, but I'm really horribly unmotivated and distracted to be able to write anything cohesive. Bear with me friends.

Catch ya soon.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Book Review: Am I Really A Christian

Earlier this summer I was in a mall in Worcester, Massachusetts when I saw a shocking advertisement from a health care facility. It said “Pride kills thousands of men each year.”

I can attest to that statement. At my dad’s funeral, someone came up to me and told me that my dad might have been suffering from a risky medical condition but that he did not want to get treated or tell anyone of the situation. It was due to pride. He ended up dying alone, separated from his family and any friends he might have still had.

Those stories told simply to say that we need to humble ourselves and seek truth and help. 

“Am I Really a Christian”  by Mike McKinley is a book that encourages Christians and those that want to be Christians to humbly “go to the doctor’s appointment,” and take any measures necessary for spiritual heath.

Author Mike McKinley does a great job of examining scripture to look for solid truths on what it means to be a Christian and then teaching us to look for evidences of God’s mighty saving work in our lives.

While some could take this book as provocative, it asks an eternally important question in a simple, gospel driven, and straight forward way. Jesus himself says there are many who will get to the end and expect to walk through the pearly gates, only to hear, “I never even knew you,” from God himself. (Matthew 25). The purpose of the book is to explore such things deeply, before it is too late.

The book is laid out in nine chapters, each addressing what it means and does not mean to be a Christian.  Each chapter goes to scripture to discuss what it clearly says in regards to being born again.  At the end of each chapter there is a response section in which the author thoughtfully calls us to reflect, repent, remember, and report through different questions and scripture references.

McKinley does a great job at addressing how self deceived and comically limited our own self awareness is by showing us that being a Christian doesn’t mean checking a box once, or just claiming that we are. It requires a change of heart, a change of team.

McKinley takes on popular misconceptions of what a Christian is. He goes head on against the idea that you are a Christian simply because you love Jesus. He also challenges our hearts by showing us that we are not Christians if we continually abide in sin, deliberately keep in it, and happily make it a practice. I appreciated the chapters on loving others and not loving our stuff.  He again, goes to scripture to show us that being a Christian means we will have a heart that loves others, dying to ourselves, and putting our hope in Christ instead of worldly goods.

 I really appreciated how it also talks about the goodness of God. God delights to save his people and he is not some swindler trying to trick us into losing the race. Graciously God has given us some guidance on who belongs to himself. “You shall know them by their fruits” (Matthew 7:20). Essentially, we need to prayerfully take heed to Jesus’ warnings and cling to his promises.

The book repeats the gospel often, and helps us to see that “human beings are not spiritually wounded, we are spiritually dead.” Many people who claim to be Christians are just working on fixing themselves up, but “self improvement is not the solution to these kinds of problems. A radical overhaul is.” Chapter two dives in to what it looks like to be born again and what it means to essentially have a total alteration of your cosmic allegiances. He tackles the question “how can you tell that you are born again,” and shows us five basic things that all Christians have. (Belief in true doctrine, hatred for sin in your life, perseverance over time, love for other people, freedom from love of the world.)

I loved that involvement in a local church is stressed as an essential help to our faith. This book explains that when we are around others, they can help us locate our blind spots. Also, being immersed in good biblical teaching can help us align our values and measurements with God’s.

Time and time again the reminder sounded that I need to place my trust in Christ for my salvation, and not in a resume of religious works.

This book is a helpful instrument for anyone. It will help you peel back your heart layers and look for the evidence that God has done a mighty saving work in our lives. Even as someone who has grown up in and around Christian culture, claiming the gospel for myself at a young age, this book presented a much needed assessment. 

Check out more resources and purchase it here: Am I Really A Christian by Mike McKinley.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

eBook Review: 31 Days to Blogging Mojo

I recently received a copy of and read 31 Days to Find Your Blogging Mojo by Bryan Allain.

This e-book is a helpful tool for any blogger, whether 2 days into a blogging career or 6 years in (like me).

I found it extremely easy to read and not overwhelming like other “30 days to…” books. Each day was clearly laid out in a humorous but helpful manner. I tore through this ebook in one sitting, and hope to go back and take each day at a time.

Bryan has a good understanding of what tips and tricks help one to really grow and focus their blog. He gives helpful tips like thinking about who you want to read your blog, then start to write each post as if you were addressing that person specifically. He also focuses on being proud of your writing and not being shy about your work.

I appreciate that he has a lot of wisdom and advice because he has been there and learned each step through his own trial and error.

Though sometimes the random humor quips at the end of each day seemed to be pulling for straws, they helped make this book a really useful but light hearted read… perfect for any blogger who is already in the blogging trenches, busy with trying to write up a storm.

After going back through this book, I really think my tired blog will be a new and more enchanting place.
If you are interested in giving your blog a boost, finding your blogging passion, growing your audience, or just figuring out what to write, I definitely recommend this resource.

It is available now. RIGHT HERE  

Tuesday, September 6, 2011


I rested my bike up against the bench and laid facing the cloudy night sky as I listened to the water splash on it's merry way. Sometimes after a long bike ride, this favorite bench near the Woonasquatucket River is my oasis to think and pray.

A trip to my secret bench tonight seemed extra necessary.

"God, I have no idea what I'm doing. I'm at the point where I cant even pretend or even take one measly step forward in confidence. I feel like I am getting opposing wisdom from valued parties. I am confused. I am rushed. I am yearning. I am aching for truth."

The other evening I was at a friend's house while she was taking care of her children. The little one was crying and grabbing and slurping.

"He does this when he gets hungry," she said. "Like he is insatiable."
She put the bottle in his mouth and he hungrily sucked and gummed all that he could take in.

 1 Peter 2:2 tells us that we need to be as hungry for spiritual things as a baby is for his milk so that we can grow. I wondered to myself if I craved the word, or if my tear filled ache for wisdom tonight was a direct reflection that I have been starving myself of the bread of life.

If I am honest I can admit that I have lately been living on measly ramen noodle nutrition when I could be feasting on a divinely fulfilling meal. I even know the recipe, but like any good meal, it takes the dedication to set aside time to it. That is a problem. Laziness, "busyness," convenience... selfishness.

"God, I see that I crave your wisdom and your word. I am starving for it. I will fall to the wayside without it. I am shaky and weak without it. Please help me. I don't even know what to say other than help."

I rode my bike back to my house. It's about 1:30am at this point. I've come to understand my longings as almost starvation. My body aches for sleep. My first meal of the day tomorrow will be the bread and meat of the gospel. 

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Come on Irene!

This morning I was woken up by the strong winds of Tropical Storm Irene sprinting by my window as if the start gun has just gone off! I walked out into the living room to sit and watch the rain and the wind compete for attention by destroying anything that would let them. Mostly leaves and some small branches have been strewn about on my street at this point.

I've been watching the coverage at cnn.com, weather.com, and the Projo to see what Rhode Island can actually expect for the worst. The mayor called for a parking ban all across the city, and I think they even shut up the hurricane barriers last night.

Down in Narragansett the waves have already crashed onto shore and covered the road. 

All flights out of T.F. Green have been cancelled. 

Over 100,000 people across Rhode Island are without power, thanks to this handy real time assessment from National Grid. Thankfully, we still have it.

Here are some photos of Irene taken my rhodey locals, updated frequently.

There is also a real time news update that I've been watching from Channel 12 WPRI

Later this afternoon, some friends are coming over for a continued hurricane party and we are making brunch and hunkering down while it hits the hardest around 2pm. (if you want to brave the elements, feel free to stop by).

Until then, I will be reading some Valley of Vision, and my new book from Mike McKinley. I'll let you know if anything crazy happens.

Over and out.

Thursday, August 25, 2011


Many a transition has occurred in the past two weeks/months. That might help explain why I have been off the grid for a bit.

I've gone from messy room to clean room:

From hanging out with friends in Buffalo to hanging out with friends in Providence:

Bye's Popcorn in Olcott w/ Kt, Linds, and Jan
The Attic performing in Buffalo. Bryan, Casey, and co.
Grace Harbor afternoon at the Beach. Jake, Niki, and Adam.

From working in the University Info Center to training in the Auto Roadside Assistance call center.

From being a full time student/intern/part time/club president to having one job.

From having 4 roommates, to 5 roommates, to 2 roommates, to 3 roommates. 

From jeans and a T-shirt to business casual.

From flip flops to high heels.

From planning CSF to sending the new CSF leaders a text of encouragement as they are at their planning retreat as I ride the bus to work.

From a one hour daily round trip commute to a two hour daily round trip commute.

From staying up all hours of the night to kicking people out by eleven.

From having all the time in my life to check facebook, read blogs, text friends, play games, watch movies to actually having to do work at work.

From a dumb phone to a smart phone.

From getting paid biweekly to getting paid every week (what a joy). 
...And until my first paycheck: From small amounts of cash flowing to not even enough nickels in my piggy bank to buy a cup of coffee.

From being a student, along with all of my best friends, to being at totally different places in life as my best friends.

From growing my garden to slowly watching it die as I get home from training exhausted and want to fall into bed, like the cucumber flowers are falling into their bed.

From Providence to Maine to Providence to San Diego to Providence to Buffalo to Providence.

All while keeping my identity in check, and thanking God that HE does not change. 

As you can see, it has been a busy summer, especially the past two weeks as I have traveled home and then came back and started training at my new job. The training has been going great, but I am fighting the urge to grow up and get to bed early. That makes me pretty sleepy this week. 

My desire to write has not died down, in fact I have about 5-10 blog posts in the works that I am DYING to write, and they include multiple book reviews, travel editorials, funny thoughts, theological pondering, and life contemplations.

I hope you understand and will be checking back often in the next few weeks!

What transitions have you been going through lately? 

Friday, August 12, 2011

Last Day in the UIC!

Today is my last day in the University Information Center at Johnson & Wales, better known as the UIC. I've worked here for 2.5 years, and it's always been a great time. The above picture is a little slice of my cube. 

Many an artistic thing have taken place in my little cubical, as well as much reading, writing, thinking, doodling,    studying, and of course, working. 

I will miss the ability to just basically do anything while Im not on the phone, and the flexibility of everyone.

I will miss the people through the years, Donna, Patty, Sharon, Cathy, Carly, Randall, Chloe, Scott, Meagan.. etc.  

Today they had a little send off and brought in the most epic, sugar crashing kind of cake, as well as some awesome gifts!

They know me so well, I mean come on- Trader Joes, Russia, and gardening. YES!
Aww, this is so sad!

Thursday, August 11, 2011

It Takes a Family [Day Three & Four]

See ITAF Recap Days 1-2 HERE
Day Three
Day Three had four more lectures, and would be our last day to absorb all that we possibly could from such knowledgeable resources.

Bill Duncan gave a lecture on “The Law of Marriage and Parenthood.” We learned about the legal transformation of parenthood, the default definitions and how the norm was being questioned and challenged. Bill did a great job of showing us some court cases that sought to redefine what it means to be a parent and how it belittles the needs of children, often putting them in harmful situations. We looked at cases in which abusers ended up with custody, and how children were treated more like consumer goods than blessed biological responsibilities.

Brad Wilcox spoke on “Marriage, The Gold Standard for Children: An International Perspective from the Social Sciences.” It was eye opening to see how cultures around the world are doing with this redefinition of family and marriage. Most of them are not excelling with such ideology, and he pointed out that it is the “elite wisdom” of the rich and famous that ends up trickling down and mostly affecting the poorer, lower classes with the most tragedy.  He showed us statistics from Europe to South America of how children in “broken” homes are more likely to experience negative outcomes such as depression, failure to complete education, and feeling distressed.  Through the information and research provided, it is clear that we must support traditional marriage if for no other reason than the hope of our children.

The Bible and Homosexual Practice: Key Issues,” presented by Robert Gagnon was a refreshing and challenging take on what how the bible holistically discusses homosexuality.  Going through the Bible from beginning to end, he touched on three main arguments including Paul’s ignorance, and fear of upsetting male dominance- which after discussing we see there are no historical possibilities of these being true arguments.

Our last lecture came from Dr. Jennifer Roback Morse, speaking on “It Takes A Family to Raise a Village.” She was very straightforward in describing what we are going against in this fight for marriage. Mostly, the “Condomists” and their disregard of biology in favor of poor ideology, pushing contraception as the ideal method of promoting recreational, sterile, amoral sex (an impossible way to view sex in reality). She showed us how this viewpoint is neither sustainable nor economical. Her last challenge to us for the weekend was for us to 1. Keep the Faith, 2. Inform ourselves, 3. Speak Out, and 4. Show up (KISS). We need to get past differences and work towards intelligently understanding and educating on this issue.

At the end of the night, we had a time of hearing from other students and discussing issues on identifying and addressing the needs in order to win this battle for our families. It was a very encouraging hearing from other students and the movements (big or small) on their campuses and in their communities. Some of them showed tremendous amounts of courage and fought for what is right.

“Frightened hearts have perfect skin, courageous hearts are wounded.” –Cambodian proverb.

We dismissed for the evening, which was a sad moment. We had become a sort of family ourselves, and when you go through such intense training with a like minded group of people, the camaraderie becomes deep. You see that while you might be alone in your part of the country or campus, on a grand scheme, there are others in the same boat as you. This feeling of being together with people who understand, it is priceless.

The next day, Sunday, Dr J invited students to come hang out at a boat club on Mission Bay while we wait for our planes. It was such a great afternoon, and I couldnt grasp the wonderful hospitality! I loved it.

That night I spent at a hostel in downtown San Diego, which was pretty cool, and pretty small. The roommate that I met was this crazy German girl who was fired from her au paire job, which is awkward, but ok. She had crazy hair. 

Monday morning, I hopped on the bus and headed to the airport. Long flight later to Boston, and early morning drive to Providence, and I was back.  

Before this weekend, I would have balked at common arguments against the purpose of one man and one woman coming together in marriage for procreation and protection. I would have been hesitant to join in certain conversations. Now after sitting under such good teaching, I feel prepared and equipped to dive right in as someone intelligently informed. I have met people who have challenged and encouraged, exhorted, and admonished me towards understanding and truth.

Leaving San Diego was a sad time, but it comes with much hope. We can win this. If we fight for truth, we can save our families.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Mini Expeditions : Little Links

There are some weeks where I stumble upon (literally, not via stumbleupon- though you should totally hook up with that site and be my friend) really great articles that I just want to write about like a beast. But having not much spare time lately has caused a back-up of such articles, and I need to put them somewhere!

So here we go, I'm just going to pile them maybe once a week or so in here so I can come back to them at another point in time. They are just too good to pass up.

End Marathon Mania by Beth Comery
I just wanted to go to the Hope Artiste Village in Pawtucket, and you wouldn't think it was that hard. But there was a marathon going on in Providence that closed half the roads. It took 45 minutes to drive less than 10 miles. This is a typical situation. It sucks.

God and Nexus by Darryl Dash
"But every time I use my NEXUS card, I'm going to think about how God runs a tighter ship than NEXUS, but how grace has made a way for my approval."

Caring for your Introvert by Jonathan Rauch
Extroverts: please read.

The Bossy Pants Guide For Getting Ready on Sunday by Mike Cosper
"Sometimes the best thing a pastor can do is discourage creativity, calling people to simply focus on the ministries of Word and prayer."//Amen

Monday, August 8, 2011

It Takes a Family [Day One & Two]

Last weekend I got on a plane (after a crazy 4am drive to Boston) and hit the air to San Diego California.

I hardly knew what exactly I was getting myself into. All I knew was that I was going to a conference that had something to do with marriage.

Little did I know that I would learn so much from nationally known speakers, make some great friends from across the country, and become equipped to fully enter the discussion on the importance of one man and one woman marrying for life.

Here is a brief overview of my experiences.

The Ruth Institute is a sub-organization, or project, of the National Organization for Marriage. It promotes "marriage between one man and one woman as the ideal for family and childbearing" and mostly works on educating, informing, and discussing on all topics related, such as family law, redefining marriage, same sex marriage, etc. It is supported by proponents of such ideals, including those from various "faith traditions." The student conference "
It Takes a Family to Raise a Village" is for further educating and connecting young adult leaders who are passionate about leading the way in the fight for the "gold standard" of marriage.

This conference was a place to learn how to defend marriage from a political, economical, social, biological standpoint.

Arriving at 11am Thursday morning, a few of us hopped in a cab to Point Loma Nazarene University (situated ohh... five seconds from the Pacific). Being early, we decided to take a walk and find lunch. We stumbled upon seafood counter right on the water called Point Loma Seafood, serving up everything fresh and delicious. Heading back to the university we settled in our dorms (or shall I say ocean view suite's), got changed, and then went to the opening reception to mingle.

Hearing from Dr. Jennifer Roback Morse, Founder of 
The Ruth Institute, we were challenged "Defending Marriage: Three Problems that Can't Be Solved With a Political Campaign." We also heard some student leaders from around the country who are making an impact on their campuses, sometimes in an uphill battle against universities trying to quell free speech.. It was awesome. The Ruth Institute is also putting on a contest called "The Reel Love Challenge" for students to make a video about what makes "life long married love possible."

Day Two consisted of four lectures throughout the day. We started off the day reminding ourselves that we were in sunny and beautiful San Diego! The sessions were lead by an intellectual group of nationally known professionals in their respected fields.

Bill Duncan, President of The Marriage Law Foundation, spoke on "Defining Marriage and the Law." He explained how the laws of marriage and parenthood interact with each other. We learned that:

·         marriage is easier to get out of than a cell phone contract
·         the political history of marriage law 
·         including the 1970's protest movement
·         the court case in Hawaii in the 1900's
·         and the Defense of Marriage Act in 1996

 He also discussed the legal arguments and political framing surrounding the issue, and that the real essential for marriage is simply a public recognition of a couple to join together for the protection of children.

Brad Wilcox, Director of the National Marriage Project at the University of Virginia and Associate Professor of Sociology at the University of Virginia, gave a lecture entitled "What Goes Into a Successful Courtship and Marriage." He brought up information about the pitfalls of cohabitation, points about the need for society to encourage healthy dating and relating so that marriages will be healthy, and that oftentimes young people are encouraged toward career and education, but not family life. I thought it was interesting because, well, I totally agree! He also said that "Marriage is the institution that virtually every culture has used to ensure that children get the material, emotional, social, and spiritual support of their mother and father, and that marriage is essential for men and women to order their desires for emotion."

Robert Gagnon, Associate Professor of New Testament at Pittsburgh Theological Seminary, spoke on "Jesus and Marriage," bringing forth truths and wisdom from a Biblical perspective, and how Jesus always brought things back to a "Creation Model," emphasizing the twoness of a sexual bond which prohibits a revolving door of divorce. The conference was not explicitly religious, but most there were from a "faith background."

Dr. Freda Bush, senior partner with East Lakeland OB-GYN Associates in Jackson, Mississippi, and a Clinical Instructor in the Department of OB-GYN and Department of Family Medicine at the University of Mississippi Medical Center, spoke on "Frogs, Frags, and Friends: The Hormonal, Emotional, and Physical Impacts of Casual Sex." This was super interested because she literally went through different hormones in the brain such as Dopamine, Oxytocin, Vasopressin, Pheromones, Serotonin and how the brain releases them, connects to certain behaviors, and trigger "trust" circuits. She presented things from a very fascinating medical viewpoint, which often is not  considered.


We then had a faculty panel discussing "Campus Sexuality, Relationships, and Changing Culture." I was so encouraged by hearing from the faculty (listed above), and from fellow young adult leaders. There are some crazy shenanigans going on college campuses all over the world, but I am challenged to know there are others in the fight.

That night, after battling jetlag, most of us passed out early, but with full brains. 

*It Takes A Family [Day Three & Four] Here

Friday, August 5, 2011

Love Letter to RIPTA

Dear Rhode Island Public Transportation (lovingly referred to as RIPTA),

When our relationship started, it was pretty shaky. I didn’t know what I wanted, and you knew all too well. I was just using you, and you saw through it and let me off at the end of the route, on a dead end, I was 18 and didn’t know how to navigate such waters yet. But soon enough we reconnected and I was smarter this time… respecting your power and embracing everything about you, even if it brought us into a bind here or there.

Things were good, and we spent many hours together. I got to know your crazy side, the 99. Every ten minutes a bipolar mess, home, class, work. We made it through. After a year of that it was time for a change. The 56 and 57 are the multiple personalities that remind me of two comedians who like to taunt the audience. I learned how to take the jokes, and I loved you more. Sometimes when things were stressful, you would show me your quiet, tender, compassionate sides- the 30 and the 22, and late into the night we would spend thinking things through as we went on trips to Warwick- just you and me as we escaped.

Remember that summer we spent wandering through Cranston in the early morn? You would pick me up from internship and bring me right to my job back in Providence. So kind of you to carry my books. Sometimes we would take day trips down to Newport and explore the beaches and mansions. How we would dream of our future together.

You know, even when you were late to our dates, or went on vacation for Victory Over Japan day without telling me (how am I supposed to know? Im not a native!), I forgave you and we moved on. Through 4 years of loving you, I only cheated twice. Once was that time on my study abroad (what happens in Russia stays in Russia), but I knew what I had with you was too special to just give up. The second time was when I thought having a car would be for the best. But the car dumped me and you took me back. You even loved me when I would take extended phone calls while we were together. What a love.

Why are things strained between us now? I thought we had a good thing going. Last night when you wanted us to “define the relationship,” it really caught me off guard. Why did you announce it over the news? Couldn’t we work things out differently? I can’t afford to lose you, any of you, I don’t want you to hold back.

RIPTA listen to my plea! Without you how will I get to work, class, the grocery store, my friends house, on vacation, to the airport, to the train station, to the Greyhound Bus, to the DMV, to the park, to the mall, late at night, early in the morning, during the afternoon, at rush hour. You have been good to me, spoiled me. I know I don’t have a lot of experience in this kind of relationship, but it’s better than what I had before back home. I know you are poor, but I'll do anything, we can figure out something out.

Please don’t leave me high and dry. I admit it, I am codependent on you, I use you, I need you. Think of me when deciding what kind of “life change” you need. Please, think of me.

Much Love,