Monday, December 21, 2009


I made it! I finished it. Stick a fork in me--I am d-o-n-e.

I am officially on Christmas break and let me tell you--this is going to be the most cherished break I've had in life, so far. I have already spent a day doing absolutely nothing and loved every second of it. My week includes activities such as reading for pleasure, going to our local coffee shop and drinking my favorite white chocolate mocha, seeing friends who were kind enough to remain my friends after my semester long hiatus of friendship... you get the picture.

You know, it's weird to say that I'm IN med school now. I feel like I've talked about wanting to go.. or "I'm starting in the fall"... that the fact that I'm done with a semester (supposedly the worst of them all) is surreal. I guess I really will have the letters that aren't just letters at the end of my name: M.D. How crazy is that?

I'm excited to see familiar faces over the next 2 weeks--from faces of people that I haven't seen since BEFORE I went to Germany to some that I haven't seen in a few weeks. A lot has happened throughout this year, more so than I think any other time in my life. So many chapters in my life closed and opened, and its hard to believe it happened in such a short amount of time. God keeps me going through all the changes--good, bad, and ugly. I can't wait to see what He wants me to do as time goes on.

Another thought is I have bought a grand total of 2 Christmas presents so far. It's actually quite embarrassing. I blame it on school :) I hope to brave the crowds tomorrow or Wednesday to find what I need. For now, I need to figure out what I need. Yikes. In conclusion, merry Christmas. I hope your heart, feet, and other all body parts are warm as this winter chill is settling in--even in Mississippi!

here are a couple of shots from my first night of freedom: a tacky Christmas party at my house!

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Ginormous Thank You

For those of you who still read my blog, and for those people out there who were praying for me, THANK YOU.

I am officially finished with gross and developmental anatomy. That is, assuming I passed the boards in both classes. Either way, the prayers were what got me the grade I have in gross and developmental. I scored my highest in both classes on this last test, even with all the other tests in the way. There was so much I didn't know, but somehow I was tested on the material I DID know, and we all know that the only way that happened is by the grace of our Lord.

So, thank you for your prayers. I feel rejuvenated enough to hopefully kick some biochemistry tail, and by that I mean just pass the class. We have our final on Wednesday and our board in there on Friday. In other words, I'll be a M1.5 come Friday afternoon = 4 days and 18 hours away.

I hope that you could continue to pray for me as these last two tests approach. I may be rejuvenated, but these tests are covering more material than I've ever had in one semester. I will continue to push through because God has showed me, again, that this is the path He wants me to pursue. That gives me strength to move forward!

OOOOOH and MERRY CHRISTMAS TO ALL! Not much longer until the wonderful day of celebration is here. Hope everyone is enjoying the season, and most importantly, the reason behind it all.

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Last call

So I've made it through 3 tests this week, only 3 more tests, 2 board exams, and 1 cumulative exam left. Less than 2 weeks left in school--December 18th can't get here soon enough!

I would like to ask for any prayers right now. I am VERY nervous about this upcoming gross anatomy test, so nervous that I'm writing a blog solely to ask for your prayers. I need God's army to pull me through!!

2 last things:

and after the egg bowl, here is my only response... sung to the tune of here comes Santa Claus:

Here comes Ole Miss! Here comes Ole Miss! Right down Dexter Lane! Marshay and Hodge and all their teammates, are going to a bowl game. Hotty Toddy, Gosh Almighty we still have 8 wins. Buy your ticket and pack your bags cause Ole Miss plays again!

Always proud to be an Ole Miss fan.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009


Things have been a little more laid back these past 2 weeks. We've only had one test since the dreaded test debacle, and it could have been worse. Most of my class took it easy this past weekend, and we're now putting our noses back in the books to get ready for the tornado of December. We'll have a test in Phys and Histo the first week of the month, then Monday Dec. 7 we'll have our final gross anatomy test, followed 2 days later by the board exam--and then we'll be done with gross anatomy foreverrrrrrrrrrr!!! (assuming we all pass :/) then one week later we'll have a cumulative biochem exam, followed by the biochem board exam that friday, Dec. 18. SO, in other words, I ask that you keep my classmates and I in your prayers--that we'll finish strong and finish well. All I care about is passing, honestly :)

Moving on, I'd like to mention the fact that I've now been back from Germany longer than I was over there. I can't explain how weird that is to say out loud. It's unbelievable that the same amount of time I was in Germany has already been spent in America again. I wish words wouldn't fail me, but sometimes there's no explaining feelings. As I mentioned in a previous post, I haven't allowed myself to fully dwell on my time there. With school starting so soon after I got back, I didn't think emotionally I could handle it. So I avoided thinking about Jan-June. And here it is, November 17, and I'm still avoiding it.

Don't get me wrong--I haven't forgotten. No way in this lifetime could that happen. And I don't neglect thinking about Germany at all--on the contrary, I am reminded of it in little ways every day. I just refer to the whole experience--the things I learned, the memories I made, the lessons that were taught, the smiles and laughter, and of course, the tears. There's just.. gosh, why can't I put this into words? I just can't handle all the memories rushing back to me at once. I pray that God will show the right time, and I will eventually stop adding layers of bricks to the wall around the memories. Maybe I'll let them come bursting through. For now, I focus on my studies and relish in the fact that I changed in Germany, came back an "edited" version of me, and will hopefully allow myself to change more--for the good, of course. The world is big, and I'm ready to see more of it.

I'm including some fun shots of my teammates and I on our many adventures throughout Germany. We had some fun times with the camera. The last few pictures are some shots of the beautiful country that I do miss, and I hope that I'll have the opportunity, once more, to photograph it.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Wow! Where have I been? Well, it turns out that after those 11 days of, um, horrible life, I realized that I had yet another round of tests just like it. Starting last Friday and until this coming Friday, I have 5 tests. I'm through with 4 of them (cue the choir singing praises), and I am still alive. My grades? barely hanging on. Either way, I'm still here and alive. I'm LOVING the fact that it's already November... although it's kind of bittersweet. I need more time to have grades I'm satisfied with, but at the same time, I just want to be through with this semester. I think I'll settle for being done soon--so soon that I can say I'm finished NEXT MONTH! December 18, 2009, exactly 44 days and 22 hours away, my life will have a pause, a break, a hiatus, a moment. to. breathe.

We have 2 weeks off for Christmas, and I don't think I've had a Christmas break which I yearned for more. I don't know how I'll get all I want to do, done, while at the same time doing absolutely nothing. I think I'll manage either way. I hate not having the opportunity to be there for my friends and be a part of their lives. I will do my best to make up for it after this semester. For now, text messages, emails, blog stalking, and the occasional phone call will have to suffice.

Happy fall.. and I hope everyone's Halloween was more entertaining than mine! Here's a shot from the hour I really enjoyed my costume. Nikki and I on the trolley to the UMC Halloween party:

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

11 long days...

Just wanted to check in and mention that I think I'm officially experiencing the toughest 11 days of my life. From October 9 to October 19, I have 5 tests--pretty much one in every subject I'm taking, along with being a bridesmaid in a wedding this coming weekend (the 17th). But, I've made it through 3 of the tests, 1 of which was hands down the hardest of the 5. I'm pushing through, and once this is all over, I'll officially be over halfway through school :))))))

A random occurrence did put an interesting twist on my study time this week--a corneal abrasion. AKA scratch on my eye. How, you might ask? Beats me. I went to bed with an irritated eye Sunday night, and I awoke Monday morning with a red eye, watering and hurting. I decided that I would tough it out with my contacts because we had our gross anatomy test that afternoon (and who wants to be wearing glasses when you play with someone intestines?). Lo and behold, I went to the doc tuesday morning because things weren't any better and what do they tell me? I scratched my eye and have to wear an EYE PATCH for 24 hours.

If you've never worn an eye patch, let me tell you--it's weird. And don't be mistaken--its not the black pirate eye patch you're thinking about. It's a white patch that is taped onto my face. I am not allowed to drive (rightly so), nor do I have any depth perception. In fact, when I woke up this morning with it, I totally missed my toothbrush when I was trying to apply toothpaste. I skipped class, headed to the doc, and found out I have to wear a patch for ANOTHER 24 hours. For real. This time, I plan on drawing a skull and cross bones to dress it up for class tomorrow. Anyways, I'm off to read about biochemistry with one eye. Over and out!

"Hey Day, you better sleep with one eye open, just like when you're awake!!!"
Beth Brownlee

Hat made by Jodi--paper hat extraordinaire.

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Heart and Soul

Well hello October!

A few things have happened in these last few weeks in September. We actually had a nice change in weather--weather that would actually constitute fall weather. We've had the kind of temperatures that make you actually want to stay outside, whether to study or to play frisbee. Although, I'm sure we'd all choose the latter of the two.

I've been busy with school, as always. We've had tests in every subject, thus far, and in some cases, two or three. I'm seeing what I'm up against--and I'm not gonna lie, it's kind of intimidating. Not enough to keep me from going up against it, but enough to keep me aware that there's no way you can survive medical school without proper preparation. That's always fun to learn the hard way. There have been some pretty cool things happen--like the fact that I got to use a bone saw, and I've now held the heart and lungs in my hands. Let me tell you--your heart is a lot bigger than you think.

I feel pretty terrible about my lack of communication with my friends and family. I take all the blame, but I know that as much as I hate neglecting time on the phone and in person, I know that it will be better after Christmas. So apologies to any of you reading this blog.

As far as my walk with Christ goes, cool things are happening. I've already had a great moment that answered my question as to whether or not I need to pursue medicine. The answer is yes, by the way. That makes all this 10x more bearable. I didn't realize how much of a difference that could make. This semester, like the past spring semester, makes me rely on God fully. I can tell when I don't. He provides, always, and I can't believe how lucky I am to have his undying love.

I still think about Dresden often, and I pray for the people of that city.

Have a great day... and enjoy all the beautiful weather you can!

Sunday, September 20, 2009

3 months

So I have officially been back in the U.S. for over three months. We hit the 3 month marker about 5 days ago. Wait a minute... is that right? Has it really been that long?

I still have a hard time thinking about my time there. I know my trip to Germany was not easy, but in my own way, I do miss it. I haven't let myself think about Germany in quite awhile. With school constantly going, I just push my memories to a dark, far-away corner in my mind... a place where I can dig through later. Don't get me wrong; I have constant reminders that I went there, that I spent 5 months experiencing another culture, and that I came back changed. I will never go a day without thinking about my time, if only for a few seconds.

I guess what I am trying to say is that I have not let myself relive January through June. You know when you look at pictures and remember each detail of how the photo came to be, of the before and after moments, of the conversation that led to the picture? I haven't done that. I'm a tad bit scared. Honestly, I have not looked through most of my photo albums upon my return. It's something I've been putting off. I've been on trips before; I've experienced the bittersweet emotions, but this is different. This trip was like no other. When God wants to change you, there's no stopping Him. Sometimes it hurts during the process of changing, but when you look back, you miss that time.

I know I'm not making sense. It's taken me this long to even form those thoughts I've just written into words. I think I'm scared to relive some of the emotions I had while I was over there. On top of those emotions, I'll have new ones, from a different perspective... the "after I've had to time to think about it" perspective. One day I'll be a big girl and do that, but for now, know that I miss Germany.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Nice cut

Well, as of Monday evening, I made it through my first gross anatomy tests. If you need to ask me about your arm, or back, just holler. I may (or may not) be able to answer it. It was actually quite entertaining to take the practical. Let me just set up the scene for you. Imagine about 40 metal boxes, elevated to about elbow level, long enough for a man of average height. All of them are open, with a dead body raised up either face up or down (faces covered). We walk in and go to an assigned table/box and begin. We must recognize what nerve/artery/vein/muscle/bone/ligament is tagged. After 1 minute and 10 seconds, an alarm goes off, and we move on. In a nutshell, it something like "musical cadavers" as my roommate puts it. We get our grades back tomorrow, so I may not be in such a great mood!

Another fun thing that happened today--I, for the first time ever (thank goodness), used a bone saw. On my cadaver, of course. It was quite empowering! There I was, holding an electric saw, vibrating in my hand, as a slowly cut through bone. My lab partner and I cut the front half of the rib cage off so that we could see our cadaver's lungs.... and wow. It..was...aawweeesooomme. We haven't seen the heart yet, but we're all meeting in lab on Friday to take it out. I have told about 140 different people today (yes, I'm exaggerating) because I felt like it was "something to write home about." I may have a heck of a time getting used to this whole non-social life/studying-my-brain-to-mush lifestyle, but at least some pretty cool perks come along with it!

Hope everyone is doing well. I hate that I don't talk to many people often, but I promise that come December I will be back to normal. Thanks for reading!

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Happy Birthday Mama!

OK, so my mom's birthday was on Tuesday of this week. It's saturday. Yeah yeah whatever. Either way, I just want to say HAPPY BIRTHDAY again to her. Don't worry, I talked to her plenty on the actual day, but now that I'm supposed to be studying for my gross anatomy tests on Monday, I naturally opted to write a blog instead.

Thank you so much for everything you do, Mama. I can't begin to describe how lucky I am to have you in my life. If you weren't the mom you are, I honestly don't think I would have done half the stuff that I did. Germany included. I thank the Lord that he gave me an organized and self-sacrificial mother because we both know that I'm not exactly "on top of things." I know I'm 24 years old and should probably be better, but you always come in and save me from the mess that I've somehow gotten myself into (due mostly to my procrastination). You've raised my siblings to be wonderful young adults, to whom I am proud to be related :) I hope that you've had a great week, and I love you with all of my heart. Our God knew what he was doing when he made you for us, for dad, and for this world.

Here are some great pictures for meine Mutter!

Mother, sister, and I at Miss Mississippi pageant

Ma and I in Dresden, visiting Grosser Garten

Corky taking mom for a spin at Todd and REB's wedding reception

Mama and I waiting for Michael Buble to serenade us

It was cold as we went to visit the Blue Wonder by the Elbe in Dresden!

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Much easier than writing a new post.

Finish these sentences...
Maybe I studying for my biochem and genetics tests that are on tuesday..
My ex is....nonexistent.
I love...serving people.
People would say that I am....obsessed with watching movies.
I don't people think we'll understand all about the human body.
When I wake up in the morning...I should not hold a conversation for at least an hour.
I have lost...some memories that I wish I still had.
Life is full of...opportunities to see the world.
My past has taught me...that God seriously knows what He's doing.
I get annoyed...when I don't mark off all of my to-do list.
Parties are...the best when people dress up.
Dogs...are waaaay better than cats.
Cats...are worthless.
Tomorrow is...the beginning of the wonderful Labor Day weekend!
I have a low tolerance for...poor grammar.
If I had a million dollars...I'd travel to New Zealand.
I am terrified..of going blind.
I've come to realize that my last kiss...was something I don't think much about.
I am listening to...Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers soundtrack.. because that's some great study music.
I talk...on the phone more than necessary.
My friends... are so dependable and encouraging.
My first real a quite a funny story to tell.
Love is...why I exist.
Marriage is...something you need to make sure you're ready for.
Somewhere, someone is thinking....about peanut butter.
I'll always...remember the Alamo.
The last time I really cried...was something I don't want to relive.
My cell phone I stay in touch with friends.
Before I go to bed...I read my daily Bible.
Right now I am thinking excited I am to drive home and see my family!
Babies...are no where in my near future.
Today I...did an awesome Arnold Schwarzenegger impression.
I really want to...already be done with medical school :)

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Case o' bones

So test block one--finished and done. I do not know how I did, but I'm ok with that because I want to put it off as long as possible....I'm rewarding myself by doing nothing school related today, and I'm loving every minute of it. As I only got 4 hours of sleep before my test last night, I've already covered the basic reward: a nap. Now what to do? We'll see. I really want to get out of the house before I get cabin fever.

Anyways, my main point of posting is to tell you this interesting tid bit. In my house, at this very moment, sits a box, or suitcase (whichever you prefer), of human bones. Yes, real human bones. Weird, isn't it? They're only from the vertebral column, but its enough to fit a case that would normally carry a trumpet or some other musical instrument. In fact, I'm pretty sure that's what the case is. But instead of carry a normal band instrument, we have some bones. We're supposed to look at them closely, identify them, you know, whatever you're supposed to do with bones. Can't wait.

Anyways, off to make myself look normal after that deep sleep nap. Happy Wednesday!

Saturday, August 15, 2009

A week through doctor land

typing as I'm thinking..

So, I've been a little absent from the blog world. A lot of things have been occupying my time--mostly school. I had a week long orientation last week, being overloaded with random information that I couldn't recall if you asked me to. It's ok, though, because who needs it anyway? Well, I hope I won't really need it. I met several of my new classmates and found out how many were feeling the same things I was feeling--anxiety, excitement, etc. I made it through the week, which was harder than I expected due to the lack of sleep (remember, I'm the get up around 10:30 or 11 type person).

This week began with classes. They hit in full force. I'm talking category 5 hurricane. Here I am, on Saturday, spending the lovely day inside, reading notes on my computer from lectures. We have our first block test this coming Wednesday, covering 3 different subjects. One of the subjects is Biochem. I was quickly reminded of my loathing for this subject.

I've been out of school for a little over 2 years now, so when I walk into my classroom and see over 100 computers staring back at me, I'm still caught off guard. Everyone has one (requirement, of course). You won't see anyone (almost) taking notes by hand. I actually haven't even bought a notebook. I wonder how long that will last.

Anyways, I will try to update here, but my life won't be particularly interesting over the next 4 months. We start gross anatomy next week, so I'll steal my first glimpse of my future dissectee. Maybe I'll find something neat on my cadaver in lab to tell you all about. We'll see. Anyways, hope everyone else is doing well.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

I'm baaaaack

Good news! I've moved back down to the greater Jackson area! I'm excited. I've got a house, new roommate, and cable. Food, adequate furniture, and my own internet? not so much. I'm making my way there. School orientation starts next week--a wonderful 4 day orientation. After that, REAL school starts, and my life will never be the same. Exciting? yes. Anxious? HECK yes. That's all for now. Maybe a few pictures that I never posted from my time in Europe. Yay.

Dresden by Night

Weesenstein Castle

Dachau Concentration Camp

Monday, July 20, 2009

Miss Mississippi

I went to Vicksburg, MS this past week/weekend to support my sister in the Miss Mississippi pageant. There's isn't quite that much to do in Vicksburg, so we actually only spent 2 full days there, while commuting from Jackson on the other days. Caitlyn won a talent prelim on Thursday and was easily the most talented girl who competed in the pageant. Yes, I am biased, but I know plenty of less biased people who will agree :) Anyways, she didn't end up making the top ten (what a rip off), but she's doing her best to make the most of what she learned last week for future years. I know she's got a lot more up her sleeve! 

During the days I was in Vicksburg, my mom and I went and visited the Mississippi River where I was able to take some fun shots. We also visited a battlefield park (memorial for the Civil War) where my mother and I thought we were going to be stuck there as we could NOT find the exit. We saw plenty of memorials several times. Anyways, here are some pics. Mississippi is a beautiful place!

Monday, July 13, 2009

We're going SHOOTIN'!

Wow, what a super weekend! Since I've been home, I haven't done anything quite out of the ordinary (with the exception of seeing Wicked with Lauren!!). It has mostly involved catching up with old friends, driving to Jackson, watching movies, driving to Jackson, watching movies in Jackson.. you get the picture (you could imagine how many gas stations I've visited). OH yeah, and drinking mochas and lattes. Anyways, this weekend was quite the new experience.

On Saturday, I said bye to my sister as she headed off to Vicksburg for preparation for Miss Mississippi. Afterwards, I went to a wedding in, appropriately enough, Jackson. No, that's not out of the ordinary. It was quite beautiful, and it was a wonderful reason to see many of my friends and have a good time dancing to The Devil Went Down To Georgia. Afterwards, I spent the evening with some of my closer friends, having dinner, visiting Borders, getting ice cream. No, that's not out of the ordinary, either. It was a great time, though.

After a long Saturday, I left early from Jackson to drive over to Birmingham, AL. I was visiting one of my lifelong best friends, Jenna, and her husband Casey. We had plans to go out to the gun range and get a little shooting practice in! Yes, that is out of the ordinary... well, for me, at least. After grabbing some lunch with them two and Jenna's sister and brother-in-law, we geared up (or more Casey got everything ready while we sat there and talked) and headed out! Casey gave me a brief orientation with a .22 Caliber pistol--and I paid close attention as having only shot a BB gun and some type of rifle in my entire life. When we got out there, we picked targets and boy did they have a nice plethora of choices, including Osama bin Laden and Barney. I decided to have a little fun and grabbed Barney as a target :) After sticking in some ear plugs and making sure there was a green light (learned that this means the range is "hot"), I l stepped up, loaded the gun and took aim at Barney. I shot ten times (until the gun was empty), stepped away, and checked my damage to Barney. I ended up hitting him right smack on the target! I think it has a little something to do with my loathing of Barney, but that dinosaur best look at my target and stay away from me!

Jenna and I took turns shooting the .22, and we each took one turn shooting a 9 mm. That gun was tougher to shoot with--as in I only shot 2 bullets with it and let Casey finish it off. We stayed out at the gun range for about 2 hours! Even though it was scorching hot, I had LOADS of fun!!!!!! I can't wait to do that again. I decided I might even post my Barney target on my new place to warn intruders :) After our fun time at the range, we headed back to Jenna and Casey's, and Jenna and I baked some chocolate chip cookies (brownlee/smith tradition), complete with icing and sprinkles. Needless to say, I felt like I was going to be sick after a few and regretted eating so many immediately. The hours of feeling sick were worth the few minutes of enjoyment. Here are a few pics from the day!!!

Jenna taking aim at her Barney target

Now it's my turn at Barney!

Jenna actually has a gun in her holster

Too bad for Barney

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Michael Jackson

Ok, my friend Lauren wrote a post about this awhile ago, you know back when it happened. I'm not trying to copy her, but seriously people... Michael Jackson was a singer. He was not a god; he was not a hero; he was not really all that great of a guy, honestly. He WAS an amazing entertainer, but that about covers it. After seeing about 10 minutes of his memorial service on TV today, I was fed up. Who are these random famous people giving speeches because they were such close "friends" with him? Why do they act like Michael Jackson was the only good thing to happen to this world?

I don't see the men and women dying for our country getting a highly publicized memorial service. The people who are, you know, actually doing something for our nation. I feel like everyone forgot the looney, slightly disturbing things Michael Jackson did, i.e. holding his baby over a rail. I am not saying he doesn't deserve nice things said about him, or he shouldn't be recognized for the way he changed music. I just wish that people would remember he was just a person, like the rest of us, and not an idol to be worshiped. So CNN, Yahoo!, etc., report on the news! Michael Jackson is dead--it's not news anymore. Thanks.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

This Too Shall Be Made Right

I went to a Derek Webb concert a couple of years ago. The guy is talented, but for some reason when his songs come on my iPod, I seem to next them--except one. I heard this song awhile ago, and thought that the lyrics said it best. If you don't want to read them all, please read the last stanza. These words speak a lot of truth. Here are the lyrics to "This Too Shall Be Made Right"

"People love you the most for the things you hate
And hate you for loving the things that you cannot keep straight
People judge you on a curve
And tell you you’re getting what you deserve
This too shall be made right

Children cannot learn when children cannot eat
Stack them like lumber when children cannot sleep
Children dream of wishing wells
Whose waters quench all the fires of Hell
This too shall be made right

The earth and the sky and the sea are all holding their breath
Wars and abuses have nature groaning with death
We say we’re just trying to stay alive
But it looks so much more like a way to die
This too shall be made right

There’s a time for peace and there is a time for war
A time to forgive and a time to settle the score
A time for babies to lose their lives
A time for hunger and genocide
This too shall be made right

I don’t know the suffering of people outside my front door
I join the oppressors of those who I choose to ignore
I’m trading comfort for human life
And that’s not just murder it’s suicide
This too shall be made right."

I can no longer turn the other way. How am I any less blameless than the oppressors if I don't stand up for what is right?

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

I'm home? Really????

I'm home. Really, I am here. This is not a dream. This isn't some sort of alternate reality. I am actually here--in America, in my favorite state, with my family and friends, back to home. I've said that to myself over and over and over.... because I am trying to convince myself that this is real. To hug my mama and daddy, to laugh next to my sister, to sit around the table at Borders with my friends, to eat dinner with my family... all these things I have been aching to do, and now I have finally done them. No more of this virtual life. I don't have to see my friends and family through a video camera with skype. I don't have to find out about important, life-altering news through facebook or gmail. This is real!

I have been officially back in the states 24 hours now and have some (but not a lot, yet) time to think. It's hard to grasp the fact the day I've been longing for has come. My heart went home before me, so it's nice to be reunited. Some people ask me how it feels to be here. What emotions am I experiencing? My answer is simple: my utterly blissful joy outweighs any other emotion. Yes, I have plenty of emotions stirring under the surface. At the moment, they are all being held at bay because I want to enjoy every moment of this. I told my friend Nikki yesterday that I don't think I have ever been this happy in my life. Sounds a little extreme, right? Well, it's the truth. I can't believe I am here.

When "reverse culture shock" attacks, I'll be sure to write about it. For now, know that I am happy to be home! I love you America!

Monday, June 8, 2009

Wrapping it up..

Well, I've returned safely and soundly from vacation. I have to admit--Bavaria and the little of Austria I saw are INSANELY beautiful. It was picture perfect. I really hope to go back again one day. I spent 5 full days traveling. We stayed in Munich all 4 nights of our trip and used it as a base to visit the surrounding area. We had 3 days of sight-seeing: Day 1--Dachau concentration camp and Regensburg, Day 2--Schwangau, location of Mad King Ludwig's castle and the Alps, and Day 3--Salzburg, Austria.

Dachau was one of the most sobering places I've ever visited. The videos, pictures, and stories of the camp make you wonder how humans, in their right mind, ever treated anyone like that. The camp was the first one built under the Nazi Regime, and it served as a model for the camps to come. Regensburg holds a bridge that dates back to around 1135, used by crusaders who wanted to cross the Danube and head to the Holy Land. Neuschwanstein castle was as magical as I expected it to be. Cinderella and Sleeping Beauty would be right at home. The Alps were as breathtaking as I remembered them when I saw them on my previous visit to Europe... and Salzburg. If you've seen The Sound of Music then you've seen much of the city. Mozart was born here, and the city is full of culture and beauty. I definitely want to see more of Austria after visiting here.

On a completely different note, I'm now down to 3 full days left in Germany. Lord willing, I'll fly out to Paris early Friday morning, spend the weekend there for debriefing, and fly to the U.S. on Monday morning. It's hard to believe that my five month trip to Germany is coming to a close. It's been hard; it's been rough at times, but it's been worth it. God has taught me things about life that I would've never learned in the comfort of my life at home. He needed to remove me from everything I knew, from everyone I knew, and show me how much I need Him. It's been a life-changing experience.

As this long weekend approaches, I would like to ask for your prayers for safe travel. All the Hands-on teams located in Western Europe will be traveling to Paris on Friday, and either back to the U.S./back to their European locations on Monday. Please pray for our flights and trains. We really want to return back home safely! Can't wait to see you all.

pictures to come.

Friday, May 29, 2009


It's hard to believe in a little over 2 weeks I'll be home. I'm seeing the end of my last full week in Dresden. I feel like these last 5 months have been twice as long as most because, as my teammate Jennifer put it so perfectly, when God is teaching and changing you, time passes very slowly. We've got much lying ahead of us in these 2 weeks. First off, we're going to have to finish ministry work. That specifically involves saying good-bye to our conversation partners. We have four with whom we regularly meet, and we'll have to say bye to them all. I hate this part of leaving. What's even weirder is the fact that I'll probably never see any of them again. After we leave them, we just have to pray that we made some sort of impact on their lives and that they won't easily forget us.

You may be wondering why I won't have a full week in Dresden next week. Well, we do have a full week here in Germany next week, but that full week won't be in Dresden... because we're getting to go visit Bavaria for 5 days! For those who don't know where Bavaria is, it's the largest state in Germany, located in the southeast corner, and its capital in Munich. Most of the stereotypes people have for Germany come from Munich--including lederhosen. We'll see sites like Neuschwanstein Castle (the one Walt Disney used to model the Cinderella Castle), Dachau concentration camp, and maybe even a little of Austria. I cannot wait to see what some consider to be the most beautiful area of Germany. We'll let you know what we think--but I have a feeling that seeing the Alps on a crisp and clear day probably won't be disappointing. 

In other news, our language tutor is recovering very quickly from her stroke. She has now moved out of the hospital and is in rehab. This is great news, but it also means that we probably won't see her again. We will continue to pray for her, and thank you all for your continued prayers for her as well as my team and I. I'll be back to post pictures of next week. Cannot wait!

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

This is STILL not Mississippi

Here's the rest of my list of differences. Be it a European thing, a German thing, or just a Saxony thing--it's different than what I know back in the good ol' Mississippi.

24. You have to pay or tip to use most public restrooms.

25. You have to ask for your ticket to pay at a restaurant.

26. Their ketchup here is usually a lot sweeter than ours.

27. Peanut Butter isn’t used much. Even worse, PB&Js… thought of as weird. As a major fan of peanut butter, this hurts a little.

28. Warning: their water served in restaurants and in plastic bottles—do not, under any circumstances, drink it. It’s almost always carbonated. Even if you get "still water," it may "still" taste funny. Oivay.

29. Smiling at people for no reason apparently makes people think you’re “of weak mind”?

30. Dresden is not the fashion capital of the world--that’s for sure. :)

31. They don’t have any get-everything-you-need-in-one-stop stores.

32. Their mustard is full of horse radish (which I particularly like).

33. Public Transportation is absolutely amazing all over the country. Trams, metros, trains, buses, ferries...

34. Not only do you need to watch out for car traffic but also bike traffic!

35. When you are paying for a meal, they bring a change purse to the table with them and make your change right there.

36. Indecent exposure in movies—nothing to bat an eye at in Germany. Violence in movies—only if you’re old enough! Backwards, huh?

37. Their calendars start the week on Monday.

38. They have a shelf milk option that’s very common—you can keep it for as long as you want. You don’t even have to refrigerate it. That is, of course, if you don’t open it.

39. Speaking of refrigerating, they don’t refrigerate their eggs at the grocery store. They let them sit on the shelf.

40. Their chedder cheese is white?

41. Many German buildings, even those with 4 or 5 floors, have no elevators.

42. Even when the road is clear of all moving vehicles, people still don’t cross if the Ampelmann (the pedestrian crosswalk symbol) says not to.

43. The option for having an apartment without a kitchen is quite common.

And lastly,

44. ..... prostitution is legal.

Outside a bathroom in the mall.. 50 Euro cents first, please!

Wow, I must be of weak mind.

The Ampelmann says no, so we don't go.

Sunday, May 17, 2009


Well, I have to admit, this past week was superb. Within a dot over a week, my team and I went to Berlin, Hamburg, and Prague. I wrote a little about Berlin in the last post. It was an unplanned, decided at the last minute kind of outing.

Our experience in Hamburg was fantastic. It was nice to see what western Germany looks like. Yes, the wall fell 20 years ago, but there are still differences between the East and the West. Hamburg is quite an international city, and it was nice to hear English on their metros. We talked to several university students during our 2 full days there, and we even had one join us for dinner and games our last night! His name is Ivan, and he is from France. He's been to America before and thoroughly enjoyed it. He had a great time playing Connect Four and the Wii. It was a good trip!

On Saturday, our supervisor's wife took us to Prague. Let me tell you--it did NOT disappoint. If you ever have the chance to go there, do it. I would say it's the most beautiful city I have visited. We spent all day there, taking pictures, shopping, and watching an interesting "Zombie Walk." I hope I can go back there one day!

This week is back to beautiful Dresden and time for us to focus our efforts on the local University. Also, please keep our German "tutor" in your prayers. She suffered from a stroke on Friday (she is 86), and she is still in the hospital. We visited her today and she seems to be recovering well. I can only pray and hope she will fully recover. That's all for now. Tschuess!

German word:
die Gesundheit--health

Hamburg Rathaus

Hamburg city

Prague Church of Our Lady Before Tyn

View from Charles' Bridge

View of Prague

Prague Museum

Tuesday, May 12, 2009


Hello to all!!

Just wanted to say a big thank you to those of you who sent me cards, facebook messages, emails, etc. to wish me a happy birthday! I had the opportunity to go back to Berlin on a beautiful day and for a beautiful price. AND I was able to use my brand new Nikon D60 to take some more pictures (Thanks Mom and Dad.. and Caitlyn)!

I am currently in Hamburg, learning some tricks of the trade from a family who lives here. We're hoping to take some tips about talking with University students back to Dresden. When we return on Thursday, we'll have Friday in Dresden and then we're off to Prague for the day on Saturday. Looks like we'll be all over the place these next few days! More details and pictures to come later. And I haven't said this recently, but thank you for your continued prayers.

Victory Column in Berlin

My homemade strawberry birthday cake

German word:

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

American Love

I love my family. I do believe I've written something like 2 blog posts about them already. I love my friends. I don't know if I've ever written a blog about them. It's high time for that to be fixed.

After being away from those whom I love, I’ve come to a point in my life that could (most likely) only have been reached by leaving them. When I set out for this 5 month long excursion, I had no idea what was in store for me. I just assumed I'd live in Germany, doing... well honestly, I hadn’t much of an idea what I would be doing. I just knew that I would be in one of the most beautiful countries in Europe, a place where I've always felt drawn.

After having many of my expectations tossed to the wind (we were warned about this in orientation), I’ve had to do a little adjusting. And by a little, I mean a lot. Sometimes adjusting to things is hard. And you know whom I’ve always had around me when I have hard times? My family. My friends. Going through this experience without them has shown me several things. Here are a few of them:

1. I need to rely on God much more than people. God never lets you down. In HIM I need to find my strength and hope first and foremost.
2. I have one of the best families in the universe. They always know when to talk and when to listen. They know what to say and how to encourage me. They make me laugh, and they love me.
3. My friends are truly a gift from God. He has placed some of the most compassionate, caring people in my path for me to lean on when I need support. Distance tests friendships, and mine have aced the trial. (My family is also included in the friend category).

So here’s to those of you to whom I am referring. I’m not going to sit and write a list of names, but I think most people will know if I am talking about them or not ☺. I cannot express how much I have taken for granted, but never again! I am eager to see your faces when I return to America in just a little over a month. Expect a big bear hug!

As no post is complete without pictures, I’ve decided to make a collage of several friends, and all family members included. I only had the ones on my computer to choose from, so I hope no one is offended if not pictured.

Thursday, April 30, 2009


I cannot believe I won't be in the States when this movie is in theaters! Take advantage of seeing it... if you can. Go X-Men!

Sunday, April 26, 2009


Let's see here, what's been going on.

Well, at lot of social interactions with Germans, for sure. We have a new conversation partner, named Sandra, that has gotten us involved with other people. She is somewhat new to Dresden, and through this thing that she calls "German facebook" has access to meeting new people who want to get involved in hanging out in Dresden. On the 17th of the month, we went with her to her hometown, Leipzig, and saw some pretty cool sites. We learned that the city holds the largest train station in Europe and yes, it. was. huge. We also saw the church at which Bach consistently played and a familiar site--Starbucks. On the train ride back, an interesting conversation happened that my teammate Jennifer writes about here. She gives a nice account of the story since she was the one with whom the conversation was held. I, sadly, slept on the ride back and missed out. Trust me--I never knew my sleeping could get in the way of things! I think it worked out for the best because Sandra might've been less open if she was discussing everything with all four of us, instead of just two. We are planning on seeing her again this coming Tuesday to go for a paddle boat ride on the Elbe.

Now, more currently--through Sandra we've met a guy named Mat. He likes movies and invited us all to go to one. So, this Wednesday, I finally saw my first movie IN THEATERS since January 11. Considering I go to the movies once a week at home, I've been suffering. Seriously--I have a test that proves that I will go into stress mode when I don't exhibit my "artistic" side, which just so happens to be movies (in my case). On top of going to the movies, the movie I watched just so happened to be Slumdog Millionaire. I was very impressed. I should be writing a review about it sometime soon! 

We have met with a new conversation partner, Elizabeth, but only for about 10 minutes. She needed to leave and go practice the piano. In that time, we were able to find out that she attends a local Lutheran church and hopes to start playing church hymns soon. I'm excited to get the chance to know Elizabeth! We'll see more of her tomorrow.

Lastly, Jessica, Jennifer, and I ventured outside of Dresden on Saturday to visit the easternmost town in Germany: Görlitz. Some claims were thrown out there that it is considered the most beautiful city in Germany. Well, all I have to say is that Dresden is prettier :) It is still a beautiful city, though. We even found a place called Heiliges Grab, a copy of the Holy Sepulcher in Jerusalem, with representations of the scenes of Christ's Passion. After viewing most of the city, we walked across the border into Poland. Yep, we just walked on over. The Polish city's name is Zgorzelec, and it wasn't much to see. I don't really care too much about that because I can say I've now been to Poland! It was quite a difficult thing after we realized that we dont a) know the language, b) have a map, or c) have Polish money. We made it back to Germany safely, nonetheless. 

That's most of what's going on around here. We have several meetings with people this week so we hope that they will all go well! And guess what? May starts this Friday! What a great month it will be!

German word: wünschen--to wish

Bach's statue in front of "his church"

Supersized Train Station

St. Peter's Kirche in Görlitz

Görlitz City Hall

Angel proclaiming that Jesus' tomb is empy!

A look down Brüderstrasse

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Yes, I like Harry Potter

So, I didn't really have time to write a post, but I saw the new Harry Potter trailer and thought I'd post it for all to see! I'm so excited to see it this summer!

If, for some reason, the Youtube video didn't work, here's the link to the Warner Brothers website with the trailer. :)
Harry Potter Trailer

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

I have seen the sun!

So let's see here--last week. I have finally discovered that Germany DOES see the sun and oh what a beauty the country is when it is covered by a blue sky and adorned by flowers of all colors. My main picture at the top is one taken (in my opinion) on the first day of spring. I forgot what a joy it is to walk outside without a coat, scarf, and gloves. My how I've missed warmth! A plus about the warm weather here is the humidity is about 1/2 of the humidity at home, so now I know what normal temperatures are supposed to feel like!

Moving onto activities of last week: We had a retreat of sorts at a city about an hour and a half from here. The town is extremely small and with a name almost impossible to pronounce. Through the trip we learned a lot about ourselves, our teammates, and how we work together as a team. There were several other missionaries from Germany at the retreat, so it was also nice to meet others serving God in Germany! I wish everyone I knew could take this test. It's called Grip-Birkman, and it's one of the most elaborate tests I've ever taken. It describes you when you're just jim dandy, and what happens to you when you get stressed out. It shows your highest levels of interest (my top two were artistic and scientific..hint hint) which help people learn how to help you out when they see your stress signs. I believe in this test so much that I'm just going to save it in my email and hand it over to my future husband one day (who knows if email will even exist by that point). I think this test is so beneficial for teammates to have--I know it's already helped my fellow hands-on teammates and I!

Outside of the Grip-Birkman discussion times, we had a lot of free time in the late afternoon and evening. I was lucky enough to participate in my first ultimate frisbee game and show Team Dresden, as well as the rest of Germany, how truly competitive I am. The team I was on won both times, so I walked off the field happy. We also visited a local waterfall, as well as an Alpine slide. I've been on an Alpine slide once before, so I felt confident enough in the tracks to put my speed level on full steam ahead. All in all, last week was an amazing trip! We're hoping to see more of Germany in our last two months here!

German word:
niesen--to sneeze

Team Hands-on Dresden in front of the waterfall

On the way down on the alpine slide

The whole Alpine slide