Happy Things

Boy, did I wake up in a foul mood. Yesterday’s disappointments still lingering in my mind. I was in a sour mood while driving to school, in lab, and even up until lunchtime. But after having one my favorite extra large salads from my favorite small-town deli, I wasn’t that frustrated anymore.

“It is what it is.”

I can’t change anything about what I’m doing. I feel like I’m giving my best at school, and I’ll just have to take that for what it is. For some reason, my teachers and I don’t click this semester. I can’t seem to give them what they are looking for, but I’m done with it. And I can’t lie and say that I haven’t wanted to quit, because I¬†so have. I think of it almost every hour on the hour. But I’m not a quitter. And if I have to take these two classes again, then so be it.

Moving on!

So after I inhaled my ginormous salad, I started mentally listing things that are making me happy right now. And I wanted to share that list with you ūüôā

1 -Good music to listen to while making the trek to school: ¬†Langhorn Slim’s CD “The Way We Move”, any and all Avett Brothers CD’s, She & Him¬†

     

(source) ¬† This CD is so fun! There isn’t any banjo but that’s OK. Langhorn Slim has a really unique singing voice and I love it. Jason introduced to me his music about a month ago, and I’m so glad he did. Since I spend most of my time driving it’s definitely a necessity to have good music on to make it less of a chore. Especially since it takes me an hour to get to school! Avett Brothers are still, by far, my favorite, but it’s nice to have some new stuff. And¬†She & Him?¬†Yes, please!

2- Less gloss, more stain

Lip gloss and I have just not been getting along lately. It stays on my lips for maybe 10 minutes and then is gone. I’ve been looking for a more permanent lip color for the wedding, one that would last even after our first kiss as husband and wife, and hopefully into the night! I found it!

NYC LipStain in Champagne. It is da bomb. It’s almost like a marker, but for my lips ūüôā I can put this on early in the morning before class, and it will¬†still be on my lips at 5 when Jason comes through the door! It also is a naturally pink color too, nothing to dark. I appreciate a natural-looking color without any color, my lips tend to get a bit bluish looking. The only hangup I have about this product is that when it’s on-¬†it’s on.¬†It doesn’t rub off easily. The first time I tried it I was in a moving car. Not a good idea. I accidentally went outside of my lip line and it didn’t come off easily. This stuff dries super fast!

3- I finally spotted a female Eastern Towhee at the park yesterday! 
(It looks like this)

Adult female

Towhee’s are not easily seen because they like to stay hidden in branches and undergrowth. In my short bird-watching “career”, I have seen a few male Towhee’s…they are easily identifiable because of their dark, contrasting colors:

Adult male

Both male and females are not usually out in the open like cardinals and robins are (in this area). I did get lucky this past winter though! I was sitting on my couch drinking tea and bird-watching. I had learned the birds feeding schedule in my area, and knew they would be out scratching in our yard any minute. It was 9 a.m. Finally, one by one they come until there is a whole group of them fluttering around. There were the common, everyday birds, and then Jason said “What’s that one?”. It was a male Towhee! Right there among the cardinals and wrens! That was the second time I ever saw one. I also spotted a few chickadees and a brown thrasher the next day! That was kind of weird..it looked like a shore bird in my front yard but after doing some research, I realized it was just stopping by on it’s way to a warmer state…

Speaking of birds…

4- These cute bird clips I found at Dollar Tree!

DSCN5917

Our wedding is bird-themed and my original use for these clips was this: We have about 25 photos of use as kids and teenagers and babies, etc…that we want to display at the wedding. I was going to get some strong wire or thick twine to create a sort of clothesline photo album and use these birds to clip the photos in place, however, we don’t have a table to put this on or post to hold it up. Suggestions? We also have recycled wine bottles that I’m sure I can do something with!

5- Mar-dog: Learning her personality 

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It took a week for Marley to eat or walk somewhere without having her tail stuck in between her legs. The first time I took her to the park, she would cower down to the ground at anyone who would walk past…she would then try to make a bee-line back to the car as quickly as possible. Now that it’s been about 3 weeks, her personality is starting to shine through! This dog loves to cuddle. She is the cuddle-queen. She will jump on the couch, nestle in right between Jason and I, and put her head on my lap. Also, when I sometimes lay down in the afternoons, she’ll run into the bedroom, jump on the bed and lay¬†right up against me with her head on my shoulder. I love her. She also loves to play ball, chew on her toy sheep and eat only when someone is in the room with her. She’s an awesome dog.

Speaking of dogs…

6- This painting of my late dog, Trixie.

DSCN5886

My friend, Denisse, was with me when I got the news that Trixie was dying. She offered to paint a portrait of her and of course I said ‘Yes!”. I can’t believe how much I love the finished product. Not only is it one of the sweetest things that anyone has ever done for me, but every time I walk by it, I think of Trixie when she was a happy dog. She spent her last week with us in a sickly state and I don’t like to think of her like that. This painting shows the happy, smiley dog that I want to remember. It’s one of the most treasured items in my house.

7- Daydreaming about our wedding and saying our vows to each other. 

Another thing I do on the drive to school! Wish I could share my wedding dress and all that, but we shall keep that secret until the big day! Only 6 more weeks!! Yippee!

8- David Attenborough’s “The Life of Birds” documentary

(source) It’s available on instant Netflix! There is also “The Life of Mammals” on instant. I’m watching that next ūüôā

9-My church peeps.

They are always there for me, speaking encouragement to me..listening to me whine about all things wedding or school, ready to give me a hug when I need it. And they all love God. Their hearts show it. I love having them in my life and consider them my family!

10- Jason.

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I can’ t wait to marry this man. He makes cookies when I don’t feel like baking. He cleans up after dinner. He reads marriage books with me, and does the exercises without complaining. He gets takeout when I don’t feel like cooking. He asks me what I’m reading. He holds my hand while we watch Big Bang Theory together. He puts fake bugs in the bed to scare me. He’s the icing to my cake, the cheese to my macaroni, the fork to my spoon. He’s the best!

I could be his wife All. Day. all DAY. 

Yeah, son.

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moments & sleep

hi.

I thought of something yesterday that really made me change my upside down view about sleeping. Actually, it wasn’t really a¬†thought per se, but an¬†action. Let me start by giving you a little background-

I’ve been an insomniac for 12(+/-) years now. It started in middle school, with me not being able to sleep if the clock wasn’t facing the wall or had something draped over it to block the light it exuded. The faucets had to be turned off.¬†Completely¬†off…so much as a drip and my bat-like ears would perk up and I would be awake for the rest of the night. The room had to be dark…can’t-see-hand-in-front-of-face dark. You get the idea…

As I’ve gotten older, and as I’ve decreased my caffeine intake drastically, my insomnia has gotten a little better. But I still suffer through week-long episodes of not being able to sleep.

I can honestly tell you that since the age of about 11, I have been in a constant mental state of go-go-go, do-do-do, be-be-be. (Having insomnia also makes me babble like a baby ūüėÄ ).

A couple of posts ago, I told you guys about how every time I sit down to study I end up falling asleep…and then feel guilty for falling asleep and not studying. I am the type of person that even if my mind and body are exhausted, I will still go to the gym, still stay awake at all hours of the night worrying and letting my brain run 50 miles per hour.

Yesterday I volunteered at church. It was super rainy and super cold. Most of us got soaked through our shoes and pants. I went home and took a hot bath and was in my jammies by 4 p.m. I grabbed my Bio textbook, sat on the bed with Mar-dog snuggled up next to me and began to read the next chapter.

When I woke up about two hours later, the light was turned off. The curtains were closed, the blankets were over me. It was clear Jason had been in the room! And of course, my first thought upon waking up was:

“All that time wasted with sleep, you could have read that entire chapter and then some!”

And then something happened..I don’t know if it was God showing me something about myself..or if Jason’s¬†simple action of turning off the light for me caused me to stop, but that’s what I did.

I realized that¬†I am¬†burdened by worry and anxiety.¬†I have the type of personality that always wants to be “on”. Always going and doing…I feel the constant need for exercise and for learning. I can imagine that this only feeds my inability to slow down.¬†

And Jason… Gosh, Jason. I love that man so.

preconcert

Just the simple act of him turning the lights off¬†for me, closing the curtains¬†for me,¬†putting me under the covers and making me comfortable, closing my Bio book¬†for me...Sometimes there are things that we cannot change about ourselves. Or maybe we are in a process of change and are not quite there yet…but God is so good to us. What we can’t do for ourselves, He can always do¬†for us.¬†He can give me those couple of hours of amazing sleep. He can turn off my mind. Better yet, He wants to. My weakness of not slowing down is nothing to God.¬†I just thank Him every day for sending me a great man to marry. One that he can prompt to take care of me in the right ways. I love that when I’m not quiet, He is the one to quiet me..for my own good.

He’s taught me that I don’t need to be “on” all the time. That I can stop thinking and things will be OK. I don’t have to worry about everything. It’s almost like He’s just wrapping me up in a big bear hug and just holding me. I can always sit in the Father’s love.¬†Always.¬†

This is a growing process for me…being able to trust in God more and learning to let go. I’m so glad that He is showing me the way.

There are other moments of this past week that were pretty note-worthy:

  • I had a meeting with the undergraduate coordinator..after being in his presence for maybe 15 minutes he says to me “You know, I can truly see you becoming a great international leader for animal welfare.” -!!!!! I don’t know about an¬†international¬†leader, but I would love to be a leader someday. It’s so awesome when a complete stranger sees those qualities in you!
  • We found out our new pup, Marley, has no serious health problems…thank goodness!

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  • Akward moment of the week– walking through Student Union at 8 pm and finding that it transform into a break-dancing club…? Oh, the awkward part? Having no where else to walk but straight through the break-dancers…spinning on their heads, poppin’ all over the place…Please don’t kick me in my shins. Thank you.
  • That moment when your soon-to-be husband shaves his beard off. I don’t know what it is with men and their facial hair, but Jason had a serious attachment to his ever-growing beard. I told him I don’t care how it looks on the wedding day, as long as he is there to marry me (!), but he trimmed it down anyway. He said something about how it resembles the time he spends on his senior design project? …..I guess it’s just one of those things I will never get. I, personally, think it may be all the Avett Brothers YouTube videos he’s been watching…..

(Source)

‘Tis fine with me! I love those guys! Top favorite fo’ sho’. Also- they are freaking awesome in concert.

Love ya.

xoxo

Stacey

answering your calling

I once stopped traffic to remove a (what-I-thought-was) dead snake from the road.

When I was 11, my then cat,Spooky, caught two small field mice and left them on our porch as a “gift”. I frantically searched the house for some sort of medical item to fix them. I came up with medical tape and a gauze patch. I taped the gauze patch around their wound and slowly waited to see if that would restore them to their lively health. I watched as their small, teeny-tiny stomachs slowly stopped moving.¬†

In the summer months when Jason and I leave the door open way into the evening, I spend a good portion of my time trying to get the bugs that came in back out.

I allow extra running time on rainy days because I know there will be worms on the greenway that need saving.

When Sophie started going outside, she became an excellent bird-hunter (much to my dismay). Though I¬†never¬†scolded her for it – it’s her nature to do this! – I totally and completely hated it. Especially when she would sneak a dead bird by me and into our house to play with!¬†That¬† I would not allow. Jason and I buried these birds on the side of the house under our hydrangea bush.

I once found a wounded mourning dove at work and took it home with me in a shoebox to see if I had the right medicine for it. That bird is also part of our bird cemetary.

 

My college career has been confusing (to me, never to the Lord) at times. When I began the Biology program, I felt led there. I felt like I had a calling to go into it and come out with a science degree so that I can work with animals. A few months ago I tried to change this. In having a hard time with school and making a few bad grades, I decided that I was going to switch to the BA program instead.

“It’s easier. I will get done faster. Maybe I can become a teacher with it? Or, I’ve always loved Nutrition, maybe I’ll become an R.D.” These are the things I told myself. And the plan was set. Forget my calling! Getting there is just too hard, I’d rather take the easy way thankyouverymuch. So I began planning and contacting Winthrop about their Nutrition program…setting up meetings, thanking God that I wouldn’t have to go on to Organic Chem II. Less labs! Hooray!

Then one day I’m sitting in Biology and my friend is talking about an internship opening at the Raptor Center. And I swear to you, my heart dropped, I felt such a strong urge and conviction from the Holy Spirit there was no denying it. And then the Lord gave me¬†one word:¬†Go.

That’s when I began an arguement with God.¬†“But I don’t want to do that! It’s too hard and I’m not smart enough! I’ve already planned on getting back into Nutrition after this. God, I don’t want to go through that program!” Have you ever argued with God? Well, you aren’t going to win. That night I went home and cried to Jason, telling him the whole story and how I’d never felt any conviction like I had right then.

Your calling is not something you can deny about yourself. 

Does I seem like a weirdo to the person sitting in traffic that I’ve stopped just to move a dead snake? Sure.

Did my mom think I was crazy for bringing mice into the house? More-so, did she think I was crazy for trying to save them? You bet.

But that doesn’t matter to God. From the time I was that little girl staring at a garden snake kept in a mason jar at my uncles house, till the traffic-stopping woman I am today-¬†God has been preparing me for something.

feeding

 

He’s put these qualities in me.¬†There is no denying them. I’ve felt like he’s got something great planned for me. That’s he’s going to us me in a great way. And¬†greatness is only measured by¬†Him, not by this world.¬†Therefore, it can be defined in many ways…in ways that don’t fit our definition of “to be great”.

This past week, I’ve had more of a peace in my heart about my grades in Chemistry. Our veterinarian told me that he took it and failed the first time. Other students have told me that it’s the hardest class at the university. But God tells me¬†“You won’t even remember this obstacle once you see the great things I’ve prepared for you.” .

So I’m choosing to believe Him. I believe that He’ll make a path for me to get to the calling that I’m supposed to fulfill. I believe that He’s going to use me. I believe Him when He tells me not to be ashamed of my tender heart.

I’m going to be keep being “weird”. I will keep trying to save and help animals that are suffering. I will keep¬†feeding and pouring into this passion of mine because it is God-given.

I will keep believing Him for greater things that I cannot yet see.

 pig2

xoxo

Stacey

off.

I just can’t get with it this semester. My brain is on any and everything else other than schoolwork. I’ve been struggling a lot with focusing and not beating myself up if I make a bad grade or if I don’t meet the expectations I set for myself. It’s a constant battle.

It seems like this whole semester I’ve been in a state of guilt for not doing¬†this or failing at¬†that.¬† Maybe I never fully bounced back from the confidence-crushing meeting I had with my Organic Chem professor? I dunno. Something switched off the second week of school ¬†and it hasn’t come back on. I still care about my grades, but I’m also tired of caring about my grades.

And maybe it’s just that a lot has happened this semester and it’s just become an¬†off semester. I struggled with work, my grades at the beginning were terrible (with two mid-term F’s staring back at me on my transcript), Trixie passed away (it felt like I never really had time to fully grieve the loss of my dog because of all the other things I needed to focus on), the wedding is getting closer and closer, we inherited another dog (a 9 month old puppy) and so it never ends.

I sit down to study and end up falling asleep for an hour. And then I wake up feeling guilty and figure “What’s the use?”. But I know I can’t continue to think like this.

I’m so glad I went to church today. Our pastor talked about the story of Peter walking on the water, and how it wasn’t really about Peter, but about God showing who He really is. And how Peter called out to Jesus and asked him to prove that it was He by asking him out on to the water. And Jesus said “Come”.

He talked about how Jesus knowingly sent them ahead into a storm. And how Jesus only stopped to help after Peter cried out to Him. And when Peter did, Jesus¬†immediately¬†saved him. And just because you are going through a storm doesn’t mean that it’s of the devil. Jesus sent them into a storm, but he also pulled them out. It’s all about God’s glory and His compassion for us.

Maybe I need to do a little calling out to Jesus. I often wonder if my praying life needs re-tweaking. Along with the other aspects of my life, it hasn’t been given much attention to. I mean, I know He’s¬†there and that He will see me through this because that’s His promise to me. But that doesn’t mean that I won’t fail…and if I do, then the Lord is there to pick me up again…and He doesn’t love me any less if I fail or succeed. His love for me is constant and great.

And I can trust that even when there are times when it’s hard for me to focus, or times when I feel like giving up in all aspects of life, that the Lord has¬†got me. He loves me the same when I’m quiet towards him as he does when I’m singing at the top of my lungs at church.

He loves me. 

He¬†loves¬†me. ¬† ¬† ¬†No matter what…

xoxo

Stacey

 

birds and baking

There are a few things that I cannot stop thinking about.

And the first is this:

So, I spend a lot of my time¬†watching¬†birds,¬†thinking¬†about birds,¬†listening¬†to birds…and in my down time, I like to learn about them too. Which is why, on a Friday night, you can catch me watching “The Life of Birds” documentary produced by BBC. I know. I’m totally living it up. My life is just so super ca-ra-zay.¬†

A couple of weeks ago, Jason and I were watching an episode about how different types of birds store their food. And wouldn’t you know they showed a woodpecker pecking holes in a giant tree and stuffing acorns in them. Maybe I’m just a huge dork, but this blew my mind away. I sat there in awe of these hard-working birds…going “Oh my gosh! Can you believe that?! Do you believe that?!!”

You know what is so great about these birds? This is a 24 hour job for them. Not only do they have to peck the holes to get the acorn in (that’s what she said?) but they also have to¬†constantly¬†manage their acorns. As the acorns stay in the holes for a few days, they begin to shrink and become too small for that particular hole and have to be moved to a better-fitting hole. These woodpeckers have to go all around the tree constantly checking and replacing acorns that no longer fit into the holes. I applaud them. If I had to do this, I would starve to death. My acorns don’t fit? Oh well. Guess I’ll just die.

I also learned more about the hummingbird species (I can just¬†feel you leaving my blog right about now! ūüôā Those poor birds have such a tough life. I never knew how hard their lives are. They have to pretty much eat all day when preparing to go south for the winter. If they don’t get enough to eat, they perish over the ocean. Because their journey is 500 miles over nothing but¬†the ocean. I’d call that a non-stop flight (harharhar).

Enough about birds.

Jason and I have a serious problem.

It began a few months ago. Jason and I had just finished up dinner and I was rummaging in the cabinet for the dark chocolate bar I usually keep to satisfy my sweet tooth after meals (I have a major sweet-tooth). It was gone. Nothing sweet to eat. That will just not do.

So I cracked open my cookbooks and looked for a simple cookie or pie recipe to suffice until I could get to the store again.

Yeah…I haven’t had a dark chocolate bar for dessert in¬†months.¬†

We are now in a full-blown homemade dessert obsession and my three vegan dessert books are not helping. I’m making about two desserts for us a week. I have to say that it¬†is fun learning how to make vegan toffee pudding with just a few ingredients, but it’s become an addiction!

Here is a list of all the desserts we’ve had in the past 3 or so months:

  • Banaoffee Pie (a mix of toffee pudding, coconut cream fluff topping, bananas, and graham cracker)
  • Banana Chocolate Chip Bread x3 (also eaten for breakfast, snack, and dessert..this lasts about 2 days in our house). We’re sad. We know.
  • Chocolate Chip Cookies
  • Cowgirl Cookies
  • Double Chocolate Chip Cookies
  • Fig Hand Pies (eh)
  • Oatmeal Chocolate Health Cookies (we love chocolate)
  • Lazy Samoas (Er.meh.gerd. Out of this world)
  • Lightened Up Snickers Pie
  • Double Chocolate Coffee Cake

Help us.

I just can’t. stop. baking.

And I have my last dress fitting in two weeks. But homemade desserts are just¬†so much better than store bought. I don’t care what anyone says. I can totally tastes the love when someone gives me a batch of cookies.

I have a pie crust sitting on the counter right now. It’s about to be filled with chocolate pudding, strawberries and coconut whip cream.

Yes, we have a serious problem…

xoxo,

stacey