Tag Archives: family

Interesting Articles and Tips for College-Age Students

It’s back to school and the blogosphere is flooded with tons of helpful tips, advice, and info about heading back to college…or jumping in for the first time.

First, I read two articles specifically addressing “20-somethings.” The first was “The 20 Things I Wish Someone Had Told Me at 20” by Dr. Karin L. Smithson on HuffingtonPost.com. It has some good reminders worth reading as so many head back to school…about picking friends, staying healthy, the importance of family and faith, etc.

The second was “20 Things 20 Year Olds Don’t Get” by Jason Nazar on Forbes.com. For all my friends heading back to college…or just out of college…or just trying to build traction in your careers, this article contains some fairly sound advice. It’s not necessarily that young people “don’t get it” but rather some good career tips that they “should get,” or maybe “don’t get yet,” or “what to strive for.” From productivity to professionalism, online etiquette to face to face communication, reputation and fiscal responsibility, this article hits the key topics that are crucial for young people to grasp early on if they desire to be successful.

Also, I’m noticing lots of college-age or recent post-college grads struggling with “discerning God’s will for their lives.” One book I recently read that I wish I had read when I started college is Kevin DeYoung’s Just Do Something. See my recent book review here. Also, remember that you don’t have to read every spiritual self-help book known to man; if you have a Bible and read it regularly, seek godly counsel, and prayer, those three things are more valuable than any “how to” book or article out there.

In regards to what to major in, I read “The Decline and Fall of the English Major” by Verlyn Klinkenborg on NYTimes.com. It is sad to hear that the number of students majoring in English is declining. I could have majored in a great number of things, but I am continually thankful that I majored in English. It has been invaluable in every aspect of my life–personally, professionally, socially, even spiritually. The most beneficial classes I took were probably Critical Writing with Dr. Horton and Philosophy of Education with Dr. Salter (both should be required by every major, in my humble opinion). To think clearly and logically and to be able to write concisely and coherently are two of the most precious yet neglected treasures in this culture. Klinkenborg writes: “Writing well used to be a fundamental principle of the humanities, as essential as the knowledge of mathematics and statistics in the sciences. But writing well isn’t merely a utilitarian skill. It is about developing a rational grace and energy in your conversation with the world around you.” and “No one has found a way to put a dollar sign on this kind of literacy, and I doubt anyone ever will. But everyone who possesses it — no matter how or when it was acquired — knows that it is a rare and precious inheritance.” Well said, Verlyn.

Finally, it’s important in your college years to stay healthy in this fast-paced, stress-filled season of life. Here’s a fun “Cheat Sheet for Healthy School Lunches” from The Honest Co.:

Journey Journal: Days 182-201

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The last few weeks, my life could pretty well be summed up by this picture. I feel like I’m finally getting back to a normal routine with normal sleep and normal family life. Here’s the basic gist:

Day 182: Monday, July 1, 2013

Busy day at work. Rolled out the Registration for our next big event: FX-TW 2013! FX-VB 2013 was great, but the Frontline Experience at the Wilds will have more sessions, more breakout sessions (including a special “Pastors’ Track”), and some amazing speakers! Come! Bring your friends! Bring your Young Adult class! Bring your pastors! Get excited about what God is doing through unconventional missions to unreached people groups! Come…and then go! Hope to see you all there! I cannot wait for the FX-TW conference on September 27-28th! More info at www.frontlineexperience.org!

Days 183-187: Tuesday-Saturday, July 2-6, 2013

On top of being insanely busy at work, I added to the insanity by accepting a request to be a sub on a friend’s paper route. What was I thinking?! I was thinking $500 for 2 weeks of getting up early. But I didn’t realize just HOW early those faithful people who toss printed papers on your driveway have to get up: let’s just say it was somewhere in the neighborhood of before 3AM. Yikes! I will say…the best part about subbing on a paper route (besides the extra cash) is being the first in line for a Panera breakfast date with my man! Fresh coffee. Quiet. Sunrise. (Yes, we did the whole two-week route together! Yes, it rained every single day! And, no, it is not worth it when you factor in cost of gas, lack of sleep, etc.!)

Days 188-189: Sunday-Monday, July 7-8, 2013

Still subbing the paper route and working full-time. So very tired! I am not a morning person–or at least not a “middle-of-the-night” person.

Day 190: Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Fantastic day of God-filled conversations! So thankful for refreshment of faithful friends and family! Had a friend stop by the office for a cup of coffee and conversation about her future plans as she headed to a new city to pursue further education, find a new job, and get plugged into a church in the city! After work, had dinner with my dear friend Faith and discussed contentment and the will of God–based on recent sermons we’ve heard, conversations we’ve had, and books we’ve read. Finally, just before bed, I was able to talk on the phone with my grandma who turned 90 today! She is one of the most amazing people I have ever known–and she gives all the glory to Jesus!! So thankful for a godly heritage! Happy Birthday, Grandma T! Went to bed refreshed and encouraged, despite the exhaustion.

Days 191-193: Wednesday-Friday, July 10-12, 2013

panera celebrationLast few days of the paper route. Few things are as enjoyable on a quiet afternoon as dark chocolate, almonds, and coffee.

Celebrated the last paper route on Thursday morning with breakfast at Panera (part of their “hidden menu”). It was two eggs, thinly sliced steak, sliced tomatoes, and avocado with a cup of their Dark Roast (definitely needed that).

Mom made it into town on Thursday. So, on Friday night, we had my mom, my sister and brother-in-law and the nephews over for homemade pizza and kale salad. They loved it! And it’s the last time I’ll get to say “my sister and the boys”–she’s due to have a baby girl any day now!

Days 194-195: Saturday-Sunday, July 13-14, 2013

Welcomed Kassia Jane to the world on Saturday morning! Mom and baby doing well…and she is precious!! Spent the day with my mom and the nephews at our house, while Bryan (“Uncle B”) and his dad (“Uncle B’s dad…Papa”) worked on the back room project (the outside walls are officially up and it is looking like an actual room!). Finally made it up to the hospital for the boys to meet their little sister around 4p.m. on Saturday, and as soon as we walked in, little Mark got sick. Poor kid. Needless to say, the visit was cut short. Fortunately, it didn’t last long…whatever it was.

Sunday night, after several busy, busy weeks, we decided to do date night at the new Tupelo Honey Cafe in downtown Greenville tonight. Fantastic burgers and fries–and we sat where we could watch the kitchen in action! Everything looked delicious! We’ll be back!

Days 196-200: Monday-Friday, July 15-19, 2013

Still getting back to a normal sleep and work schedule, while hosting and visiting family. It’s been a busy week in the office. Wednesday, I posted to FB:

3 instant messages, 5 email inboxes, and 2 phone calls going on at the same time. #oneofthosedays

And “one of those days” it was, indeed! But it was all worth it. By the end of the week, all of our new English teachers’ paperwork was complete and their flights were booked to head to China next month! There are still a few more details to complete to get them ready, but we are praising God for how He is working on their behalf! This is a very exciting time! On top of that, our test site for the new database system is up (training starts on Monday)! Dad arrived Friday morning. Friday night, Michelle decided to rest at home with the baby, while Alan and the boys, along with my folks, came over for a spaghetti dinner! It really hit the spot!

Day 201: Saturday, July 20, 2013

Plans for today involve laundry (for us and my sister), hanging out with family, Bryan helping with a banquet at church, and rest. Definitely rest!

Journey Journal: Days 129-148 (Catching Up)

Has it really been 20 days since I wrote a blog post?! My sincerest apologies, but “busy” does not even come close to describing the last three weeks! Don’t worry–there have been some moments of calm.

Day 129: Thursday, May 9, 2013

Today was an exciting day! Bryan officially changed his major to Culinary Arts today! Let the cooking begin…or continue, rather! This is one very excited wife! He’s been at Greenville Tech for the last year taking some basic courses, but starting in August, he’ll be in the Culinary program (great news: everything he’s taken so far actually applies to the new major!). This was a long process, but I am excited to see him pursue one of his greatest passions–food! Below is one of his most recent creations: a Curried Chicken BLT with a special sauce and fried egg!

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Day 130: Friday, May 10, 2013

Today, a 16-year old boy in our church, Todd Lurtey, lost his battle with cancer. It was a very sad week, and we will miss him very much, but we are thankful that he is no longer suffering and in the arms of His Savior! There are no words…just love and grief and prayers. One thing is sure: Todd is in heaven smiling with that big, beautiful smile next to His Savior. Todd was known for his smile–and as big as it was on earth, I can only imagine how huge his heavenly smile is!

The Lurteys have had a beautiful testimony through this incredibly difficult trial–through the pain and tears, through the questions and even sometimes doubt, they have shown the grace and trust in our great Savior; they have counted every day with Todd as a gift and blessed God. I just realized that exactly four years ago today was when Brenda first shared her testimony of the beginning of this trial. I am so thankful to be a part of our church family at Heritage–to see what the hands of Jesus look like–to see how the body of Christ

Day 131: Saturday, May 11, 2013

This morning, I got to babysit three of my nephews. Then my parents stopped by for a lunch of turkey burgers and salmon sandwiches. I was able to give my mom her Mother’s Day gift and chat for a while–the visits are never long enough! Then later today, we finally sold our motorcycle!

Day 132: Sunday, May 12, 2013

Happy Mother’s Day! Today’s 2nd grade Journey Group involved extra singing and creating special Mother’s Day cards with the kids. Neither of our moms were in town today, so after church, we headed to Paris Mountain State Park for a 5.5 mile hike! We went on some new-to-us trails and it was a really beautiful day!

Day 133: Monday, May 13, 2013

Today we heard of another friend who died last night. Grieving with those who grieve. Thankful that because of Jesus there is hope in despair, comfort in sorrow, and healing for suffering. May the peace of God, which surpasses understanding, guard our hearts and minds in Christ Jesus. (Rom. 12:15; II Cor. 4:14-18; Phil. 4:7)

Days 134-136: Tuesday through Thursday, May 14-16, 2013

Excited to hear that GOGA studios bought out their franchise and changed the name to iVIVA (i for you and me, V for Vibration, I for infrared sauna, V for vitality, A for alkaline water)! I love the new name! If you haven’t checked it out yet, it is a fantastic and refreshing routine!

One of things I’ve missed the most since switching to a dairy-free diet is mac-n-cheese, so I tried a new recipe and was pleasantly surprised with this Creamy Cauliflower Alfredo Sauce. I used gluten-free spiral pasta, soy milk and nutritional yeast, and added garlic and dijon for an extra kick of flavor!

Read of the day: “Why God Gave Us The Church, Not Superman” – There is no such thing as “Super-Christians,” so go ahead and take your cape back to Goodwill, please.

Day 137: Friday, May 15, 2013

Worked till about 1:30, then closed up shop to attend Todd’s funeral. Though sad, it was a celebration of life in Christ. After the funeral, we packed up the car and drove down to SE Georgia for our niece’s high school graduation. Spent the night at Bryan’s aunt’s and uncle’s house–so nice to see them again!

Day 138: Saturday, May 16, 2013

Woke up early and headed to Ciera’s graduation! So excited for her as she closes this chapter and begins a new one. After graduation, we were able to spend a little while with Ciera and her folks before heading home for Sunday. It was a whirlwind trip but totally worth it.

Day 139: Sunday, May 17, 2013

Quote of the day: “The fuel of worship is a true vision of the greatness of God; the fire that makes the fuel burn white hot is the quickening of the Holy Spirit; the furnace made alive and warm by the flame of truth is our renewed spirit; and the resulting heat of our affections is powerful worship, pushing its way out in confessions, longings, acclamations, tears, songs, shouts, bowed heads, lifted hands, and obedient lives.” ~John Piper

Taught 2nd grade Journey group in the a.m. Hosted the Young Professionals class for pizza and salad for the evening. What a fun group! I think there were people in nearly every room of the house and on the front porch–talking, eating, playing Taboo, games on the Wii–it was fantastic!

Day 140: Monday, May 20, 2013

7 years ago today I married my best friend Bryan! So thankful for his love, his leadership, and his ability to make me laugh even on the hardest days. My cousin and his girlfriend gave us an amazing “thank you” gift card to The Lazy Goat–and we spent it all (and then some)! We had steak and parmesan truffle fries, fried goat cheese with honey and crushed pistachios (definitely ordering those again), Moroccan fried chicken with falafel waffles, and–our favorite–Duck, Duck, Goat pizza with duck meat, a duck egg, goat cheese, arugula, and balsamic soaked dried cherries! It was so nice to look out over the Reedy River and not have to cook (or clean up)–just enjoy one another!

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Days 141-144: Tuesday through Friday, May 21-24, 2013

Several busy days of work–lots of upcoming events, Dispatches sales, upgrading some technology stuff, etc. Friday night we were able to get together with two other couples for a fantastic Cashew Chicken stir-fry, a game of Settlers, and a dessert of fresh fruit topped with toasted nuts and Rice Krispies and drizzled with a raspberry puree. So much fun!

Day 145: Saturday, May 25, 2013

Brunch with our friends Jordan and Sarah! I made up a new recipe for Sour Cream Pancakes with Cream and Berry Compote toppings! I would share the recipe…but I’m pretty sure I want to save it for “The Cookbook” (thinking more and more seriously about writing one, so I’m starting to save up some recipes for the “testing” phase).

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My sister and her boys came over for a couple hours this afternoon–had fun playing Jenga and Wii with them! Went for a walk with Bryan, then randomly got together for a game of Dominion and coffee with our friends Nate and Leigh!

Day 146: Sunday, May 26, 2013

Really enjoying this group of 2nd graders in our Journey Group! Had fun talking about our Exalted God and applying it to their lives! Had a headache and it’s been a pretty exhausting couple of weeks, so Bryan took me to Panera for lunch–it was a nice treat! After evening service, we had several of the young adults over for a cookout. Bryan made his famous curry burgers, Laurie brought some fantastic homemade guacamole, and I made some potato wedges. We are really enjoying getting to know these friends!

Day 147: Monday, May 27, 2013

Happy Memorial Day! Had an absolutely fantastic day with Bryan’s side of the family. Started with blueberry pancakes at his folks’ house at 8AM and finished with a delicious BBQ dinner at his sister’s. After the long day, we came home, lit some candles and listened to some classical violin on the back porch, and shared our dreams for the future. So thankful for a man who is romantic and teaches me to relax all at the same time.

Day 148: Tuesday, May 28, 2013

After work, we came home and fired up the grill one more time for a dinner of ribs, baked beans, salad and chips with some dear friends from church. We are so thankful for Aaron and Marjeana and their love for Christ, their love for the people around them, the way they raise their children, and their passion for growing in grace and coming alongside others to grow in that same grace! For dessert, we had fruit and ice cream (well, they had ice cream–I’m still avoiding the dairy)–and we introduced them to balsamic vinegar as an ice cream topping! (I know it sounds weird, but the tiniest bit can be truly fantastic!) The kids played Wii while we reminisced and laughed and got to know each other a little bit better.

So, 20 very full days are behind us–days of sadness mixed with days of joy, mundane days mixed with days that symbolize major life changes, days of busyness and friends and family, but most of all days filled with seeing God work and learning to wait on Him and accept His gifts when He gives them for as long as He gives them. God is good–all the time!

Journey Journal: Days 88-91

Day 88: Friday, March 29, 2013

An amazing Good Friday service tonight at church, beginning the celebration of our Great Savior Jesus Christ! So thankful that my sins–all of them–have been nailed to the cross!

Day 89: Saturday, March 30, 2013

Left early for our drive to Ohio to spend Easter weekend with my family. Thank goodness for granola bars, bananas, nuts, and…Starbucks. Of course, the real reason for the trip was to meet my newest niece…who is so sweet and adorable, especially when she coos!

Day 90: Sunday, March 31, 2013

Went to church with my brother and his family, then shared Easter dinner with the whole family (except for my brother in law). Mom made a delicious ham topped with cherry jam, mashed sweet potatoes with brown sugar and pecans, butter-dill red potatoes, and a beautiful mixed greens salad. After dinner, dad pulled out the projector and old slides and we had some good, nostalgic laughs from the 80s and 90s. Finished up with some coffee and pie.

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Easter Dinner

Day 91: Monday, April 1, 2013

Bryan and I had breakfast with mom and dad at Bob Evans. I spent the morning with my mom and sister, while Bryan graciously watched the nephews. Then spent the afternoon with my sister in law and her new baby! Dinner with my folks, sister and her family, followed by more time with my brother and his family in the evening. I’m thankful for the time to get to know my sister in law better.

Journey Journal: Days 33-34

Day 33: Saturday, February 2, 2013

Slept in late. Made whole wheat pancakes with coconut milk instead of regular milk, cooked using coconut oil instead of butter for brunch with Bryan. He whipped up some scrambled eggs and maple sausage patties, and I made a fruit salad to top the pancakes: pineapple, blackberries, apples, pears, oranges, and kiwi. We ended up eating around 11AM, so that kept us full until dinnertime. Ran some errands, and went to a book exchange party!

We finally installed a new faucet for our kitchen sink (it’s needed replaced since the day we moved in…four and a half years, a Lowe’s Christmas gift card, and a little muscle work later, we finally have a faucet with a working handle!). Next project: replace the kitchen cabinet hardware so it matches the new faucet! (Maybe that will happen by the time we reach our tenth anniversary! LOL) While Bryan worked on the faucet (and I kept out of his way), I filed my looming stack of paperwork and trashed the junk mail that had been piling up. (I have a new goal of filing for 5 minutes every night after this last batch.)

Day 34: Sunday, February 3, 2013

Good service this morning, followed by our 2nd grade Journey Group lesson about “God is Patient.” Kind of ironic topic, since the kids seemed to be trying our patience a bit, but I’ve always said I think the teachers learn more from Sunday School than the kids anyway, and He is definitely not finished with us yet. Had lunch at Bryan’s folks’ house, as we celebrated our nephew David’s 1st birthday! Cannot believe he is already one and walking everywhere! So cute! And he’s dairy-free too, so Julie made a delicious dairy-free chocolate cake that I had to ask for the recipe! Had some good conversations about the Gospel with Bryan on our drives out and back home. And finished the night by watching a few Super Bowl commercials. Overall, a very good day of rest, worship, and family fellowship!