Monday, November 26, 2012

Dear Blogosphere

Dear Blogosphere,

I have missed you and I apologize for my lack of communication. It's been awhile since October 9th and as you could imagine, a lot as happened.

I know I make a promise to you about three times a year that I will be a faithful blogger and about three times a year, I fail. It's not the new year yet, but I'm going to get a head start on my resolution and resolve to blog more. Considering my blogging record, it's ambitious. I know.

Here's a few updates:

Soon after my road trip to North Carolina, I headed south to Florida over Fall Break. I went to visit the University of Florida for graduate school. I got incredibly sick, lost my voice for the first time ever and to my great disappointment, didn't get to meet Tim Tebow. I did get to go to a football game, hang out with some great friends, and enjoyed my time with them. They might not agree considering I coughed and whispered at them the whole time.

And in case you were wondering, no I did not cheer for Florida nor South Carolina at the football game. What kind of Kentucky fan would I be?

Remember my friend Abe Parker? He made it to the Eddie's Attic Shootout and when I was invited to road trip to Atlanta to see him play, of course I accepted the offer. Seeing him surprised and happy to see us was worth the drive. The competition was tough. He did amazing and played well, but sadly didn't win. Here is a video of his last performance of the night.

Last update: When I was in Honduras in July, I blogged about a girl named Genesis that needed glasses. I wrote to Mrs. Patterson to get an update and she gave me great news. Genesis got glasses!

An American mission team came to Honduras to do an eye clinic and was able to give Genesis glasses. They are not exactly what she needs, but will work until she is able to get ones that are. The church had some money left over in the missions budget from our trip in July and is able to purchase her new glasses. God is good.

Grace and Peace,

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

An "Engaging" Spontaneous Trip to the Beach

It all started while studying in the library on Thursday.

Sharayah, Heath and I sat in a sea of chemistry and communications notes in a study room discussing how much we did not want to be studying. Productivity was nonexistent. Sharayah kept talking about how much she wanted to be at the beach for the weekend with her family, especially because her sister's boyfriend was proposing on Sunday.

Then she had the bright idea of a road trip.

We were reluctant. Twenty-two hours in the car and 20 hours at the beach over a 42 hour period? If you've been in Kentucky over the past week, you know it's been frigid. Running in the ocean on a warm sunny beach was a very tempting offer. Heath and I both fell into the temptation and agreed to go.

We left in the late afternoon on Saturday and arrived at Holden Beach, NC at 2 A.M. Sunday morning. It was late, we were tired, but too excited to not splash into the ocean.

Sharayah's family is amazing. Not only did they fund the entire trip, but they're just so much fun to be around. We woke up Sunday ready to hit the water, but not before we ate delicious homemade chocolate chip pumpkin bread and sang hymns during breakfast.

Photo taken by Sharayah's mom
The Travelers

After breakfast we headed out to the beach to play volleyball, body board and throw the football around. There were lots of face plants and diving into the water, mostly by me, but others looked ridiculous as well.

Throughout the entire day it was VERY difficult to keep the proposal a secret. I was just too excited. I've known Sharayah's sister Whitney and her fiance Tyler since freshman year. They've been dating for about three years and it's that time of year and life where every other friend is getting engaged, so we were all expecting it to happen sometime soon. Heath, Sharayah, her parents and I were the only ones that knew it was happening that day.

Tyler told Whitney that he wasn't able to come to the beach, because of practice and school. There were many other lies told so she wouldn't see it coming, but it was all in the name of love. We told everyone else that we were going to take pictures on the beach before dinner so we got everyone to dress up.

I was given the daunting task of taking pictures of it all. I was honored, but very nervous. Thankfully the pictures turned out great and tell the story better than I can.

Note the small blue dot to the left. That's Tyler

Still clueless

She was shocked

As you could probably guess, she said yes and the ring is gorgeous. Good job Tyler.

The whole thing worked out perfectly and although we were exhausted returning to campus at 8 A.M. Monday morning, it was worth it.  

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Have You Heard of Abe Parker?

Have you ever had an event in your life occur that seemed completely arbitrary at the time, but in retrospect it's an awesome story? I had that moment of realization last night when I asked my friend Abe to recap the the past 6 months of his life.

I can't remember the first time I met Abe. It was probably sometime freshman year when I met several new people everyday and couldn't keep names with faces. Over the past three years we've become friends and I'm very thankful for that. He's kinda awesome at music and when I say kinda, I mean REALLY awesome. Check out his music HERE.

Back to my awesome story ... Last semester, while on Facebook when I probably should have been doing homework, I discovered a contest that Andy Grammer was hosting. Basically you put a video on a website, people vote, Andy and his crew vote and the video with the most votes wins. Winning meant opening for Andy Grammer at one of his concerts. I sent the link to Abe with a note encouraging him to enter. He took my advice and you can probably guess the outcome. He won.

He and his band packed up their gear, traveled to Vienna, VA and were the opening act for Andy Grammer. Abe was able to meet Andy and make some great connections with his band and tour manager. He was able to travel to several cities with him to play for the crowds as they waited to get into the concerts.

A few weeks ago, Abe traveled to Atlanta to play at Eddie's Attic in their open mic competition. Of course he won. I had no doubt that he would. He's just that great, but don't take my word for it. Check out what another blogger who heard him play at the competition said HERE. He met up with Andy while in Atlanta and spent several hours talking to him about music and songwriting.

I got to hear this whole story from his perspective as he strummed my ukelele on my couch last night. It was funny to think of how me sending him a link to a contest started all of this. Another cool thing, the Vienna metro station is the station I got on every morning to get to my internship in DC.

His enthusiasm for music and passion for songwriting is very evident in his relentless attempt to do what he loves. The best part is he gives all the glory to God. He is so trusting in God's sovereign plan and purpose for his life. Keep your eye on this guy. He'll make it big one day and I can't wait until his does.  

Check out one of my favorite songs of his. He wrote it for his little sister before she went to college. Precious, right?


Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Flashback to Freshmen Year

Remember how I said I was going to participate in a Mud Run? Well ... that didn't happen.

Cassie realized that she had double booked herself and decided that taking the GRE instead of doing a Mud Run was the better choice. I decided to forgive her since it kinda determines the rest of her life, but this did not cause my weekend to be a disappointment. It was like freshman year all over again.

I have so many great memories from freshman year. Always meeting someone new, bonfires, staying out until the last minute before curfew, gen ed classes and figuring out what I wanted my major to be. It seems like it was forever ago.

Saturday, the senior class ushered in the fall season by hosting a bonfire accompanied with volleyball, singing around the fire, s'mores (my favorite) and hotdogs (not my favorite).

After the bonfire, a group of us ran to the upper soccer field to lay on the hill side. Blankets were stretched out with us squishing together to keep warm. We laughed reminiscing about how we all met one another, our first impressions, both good and bad, how excited and eager we were to be in college, the crushes we had that now seem ridiculous and the rookie mistakes we made.

I am so thankful for my past three years at Asbury. I have made a wonderful group of friends and will never say goodbye to them. I'm thankful that we can spend our Saturday nights around a bonfire, under the stars and not out partying or getting drunk. I'm thankful that they've been there to comfort me when I've felt at my lowest and to celebrate with me when I've succeeded. I am so blessed.

Highlights from freshmen year:

First bonfire at the Owens' house

Girls' Night Out where I met some of my best friends

Freshmen Class Cabinet at Freshmen Formal

Freshmen Homecoming Representatives

When Asbury was a college

Is it really senior year already?  

Sunday, September 2, 2012

Goodwill Hunting

Fall is fast approaching and I am elated. It is, without a doubt, my favorite season.

Chunky knit sweaters, pumpkin spice lattes, the Red River Gorge, my brown leather boots, colorful leaves, campfires, s'mores. Wrap it all up in "brown paper packages tied up with string. These are few of my favorite things."

As part of preparing for fall, I research when Starbucks' Pumpkin Spice Latte is once again released into the world for humanity to enjoy (Sept 6) and bring out my (small) fall wardrobe. I try to add to it every year and this year I had help from my lovely apartmentmates Jane and Sharayah.

After spending some time at my favorite coffee house, we headed to Goodwill to see what we could find. One can ALWAYS find something that is at least intriguing if not purchase worthy at Goodwill.

Like I said, you can at least find something intriguing

 Sharayah is the "Goodwill Goddess." She always finds the best stuff
   Jane found an exercise video to go along with her yoga video.

I walked out with a gray chunky knit sweater, but was tempted to purchase this. I have no use for it, but it made me think back to my childhood. Do you know what it is?

Sharayah also purchased a DVD of "When in Rome," a Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen movie. We were all so excited to watch our favorite childhood celebrities.

I couldn't handle it. I made up the excuse that I had to bake. It was SO BAD. The acting, the cheesy lines, the ridiculous romances that 15 year old girls should not be having ... 10 years ago, I couldn't get enough of their movies. My how we've changed.


Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Mud Running (Part 1)

So I'm doing this next Saturday:   

It is what you probably think it is. It's a mud run.

For a class, my roommate Cassie has to complete some sort of physical challenge that she has never attempted before. I was sitting at the table, doing my French grammar homework (that class is already killing me) when she asked if I would do it with her.

Running through mud, climbing over obstacles, face planting and making a fool of myself for 5 kilometers.... why not? Yup, I thought about it probably as long as it took you to read that last sentence before I agreed to it.

We registered online and then it hit me. 


We'll see how it goes. Prayers would be appreciated.

Monday, August 27, 2012

One Week Down, 14 More to Go

The first week of my senior fall semester has come to an end. As you can probably tell by my lack of blogging, it's been busy. Last week was RA training. I have been incredibly blessed to work with the great RA staff for this year and can't really describe how great that week was in words, so I'm going to let you interpret it through the pictures below. Enjoy.

Shopping at Hobby Lobby for decorations
Swimming in the Kentucky River

Celebrating the few strikes we got in bowling
Dodgeball Team "Eldersgate"

Sporting the Goodwill shopping spree finds

I promise we did do training-like activities. For example, the Wilmore Fire Chief did a  fire safety lesson with all the Residence Life staff and taught us how to put out fires with a fire extinguisher. Before it was my turn, I asked him if I could wear his helmet. He gave me a great big smile and placed it on my head as I stumbled to balance its weight. I could totally be in their next year's calendar.

The fun had to come to an end with the commencement of classes. Sometimes I get so caught up with everything revolving around academics that I forget that that is why I am at college. My mom just says that I enjoy it way too much. She's right, because Friday night I was, once again, part of the world's largest water balloon fight. (Check out last year's post HERE)

Saturday night followed with a dance party at CSF, which are always fun for us Asbury students who have been deprived from such fun. Sunday finished the weekend with going to a bridal show and church with friends. I hope this weekend is a sign of the fun ahead. It's my last year. I have to make the most of it.

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Making Homeless Friends

I'm back, officially back at the 'bury. I'm so happy to be here. I have lots to blog about, but I had an encounter today that is more blog worthy than my week of RA training. Don't worry, I'll write about it as well.

Like the typical college student, I shop at Walmart a lot. I stopped by on my way to a local Christian high school football game to help promote Asbury. As I was walking in, I saw a lady with a small poker table and a pink sign that said, "Women's Christian Academy." She was talking to a man who just dropped a few dollars into her plastic bin about all the great service that they do. I didn't stop, but kept walking.

After grabbing things I needed and debating over which sugar dispenser I should buy for 10 minutes, picking one up and then returning it back to the shelf 5 minutes later, I headed out. As I walked out the same doors I entered, I saw three teenagers sitting outside the doors on the opposite side of the "Women's Christian Academy" lady. One guy with bright red hair was holding a sign that said, "homeless and hungry." I smiled and kept walking.

As I was walking to Ruby (my truck), I felt the need to go help the three teenagers. I just wanted to hear their story, so I went back. I walked up and said, "Hi, I'm Janah. How can I help y'all?" Almost in unison they said, "We're hungry. Any food would be great." I then asked if they wouldn't mind walking across the parking lot with me to McDonald's so I could buy them dinner. They jumped up and started following me.

I just started asking question, "What are your names? Where are y'all from? Where are y'all living? What's your story?"  They were from Lexington and all came from broken homes. *Ella's mom had recently died, *Mike's parents disowned him and *Doug had ran away, but he didn't say why. They met on the streets and banded together to help one another survive.

When we arrived at McDonald's I told them to get whatever they wanted and then come sit with me. They sat and started telling me about how they were living in an abandoned building and sleeping with some blankets and pillows that UK students had thrown out while moving in the past few days. Ella said, "They just throw out perfectly good things, because they have the money to buy new ones." Talk about feeling convicted.

There was a lull in conversation and I said, "I want you guys to know why I'm doing this." Doug interjected saying, "It's because you're religious." I wasn't quite sure how to respond, but said, "Well I wanted to demonstrate to you the love that Christ has for you. He cares and loves you, even in tough situations in life." Erik was amazed and said, "Wow, no one has ever done this for me before." I almost stated crying.
They started expressing their dislikes about the church and why they're not Christians. It was an AWESOME conversation, but I hurt for them. I was so sad that they had all been so hurt by the church. I wasn't sure what to say so I said, "I'm sorry." Doug smiled and said, "But at least you're not forcing it down our throat." I said, "I do not want to force it down your throat, but just want to love on you all." He responded with, "Thank you. I knew from the start that you weren't trying to."

Our conversation continued, but I had to head out to get the the football game on time. I asked if I could pray for them before I left and they all nodded yes. I prayed probably the wordiest, most nervous prayer I've ever prayed. I told them that I was really glad I met them, I loved them, they thanked me again and I headed out.

There was more to our conversation, lots of laughs and awkward silence, but it was great. I left happy and proud of myself for helping someone in need, then I realized how stupid that was and un-Christ like. I came back down to earth real quick and was humbled.

Then I was angry.

Why had so many "Christians" hurt these teenagers? What did they do that turned them away from Christ? Why didn't the Christian lady from the "Women's Christian Academy" help them? I could get on my soap box and rant about these for hours. It really frustrates me.

I don't know where Ella, Doug and Mike went after I left McDonald's. I pray that they find someone to help them and demonstrate Christ's love for them in a bigger way than I could.  

*These are not their real names. I have changed them for their safety.

Thursday, August 9, 2012

"Hey Christian Girl"

If you've spent any amount of time on Pinterest I'm sure you've seen pictures of Ryan Gosling with captions like this:

ryan gosling hey girl

Funny, no doubt, but it's gotten better.


 There is a blog called Hey Christian Girl and it's great. I've spent way too much time looking at it, but it's hilarious. Tim Tebow is on it and we all know how much I love Tim Tebow.


Monday, August 6, 2012

Celebrating the Olympics

The Olympic games are well underway and my patriotism is bigger than ever before. Not only am I proud to support Team USA and their stylish Polo getups, but I have multiple friends and hometown heroes that I'm excited to cheer on.

During the 2008 Summer Olympics, a high school friend, Elaine Breeden rocked the 200 meter butterfly and won silver. Unfortunately she did not make the team this year, but I'm still proud.
Lexington natives Lee Kiefer and Tyson Gay are representing Team USA in fencing and track.

They aren't the only people representing the great state of Kentucky in London. There are nearly 100 Asburians there as well. They are working with the local news station WLEX writing articles, creating short videos and even keeping a blog. Of course I've been ridiculously jealous and sad that I am not there with them sharing in all the fun. Thankfully I wasn't the only one left behind. The few of us remaining decided to have an opening ceremony celebration of our own.

My friends Laura and Katie invited several of us over to watch the ceremony, so of course we ate lots of junk food like good college kids do. I made red, white and blue cupcakes with "Go USA" written on them and Zach brought the necessary ingredients for loaf.


I was really proud and Katie was really happy

I tried to google loaf to see if I could find a better explanation for it, but it seems that the rest of the world hasn't discovered it yet. Basically, it's a cookie dough log that has been baked and is eaten with ice cream. It's best to eat it one part cookie and one part ice cream on your spoon. If you enjoy eating raw cookie dough, this is a good way to satisfy that craving without the fear of salmonella. Very sweet and very filling, but so good.

This isn't everyone that was there, but the chef and sous chefs that made loaf.

I've missed these people and am so happy and excited to be around them 24/7 again, starting Thursday. That's right, Thurday and I'm back at Asbury. It can't be here soon enough.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012


I moved around a lot while growing up. Made lots of friends, lost lots of friends, but some friendships just stuck. One of those friends that has continued to remain close is my friend Sydney.

I remember meeting her while we were both "volunteering" in the church preschool class. We were something like 7 and 8, circa 1999.  We were playing with the little kids and I asked her why she was hiding in the kitchen playset cabinet. I don't remember her response and she might even have a different story, but that is my first memory of Sydney.

My first time at the beach (2007)

Since then we've danced in the Nutcracker together, went on many family vacations, camping, school dances, helped one another get ready for prom and shared many embarassing moments together. My favorite: when we went hiking in the Red River Gorge with our dads. I'll spare her the embarassment. I don't remember a Sunday at church without her. She is a friend who has always been there.

I threw her a baby shower and was there when her sweet little Emma was born. I have so much love for this little girl. She has a great momma.

Not only am I honored to have been her friend for 13 or so years, but she has asked me to be her Maid of Honor when she and her hubby-to-be get hitched. With great power come great responsibility and I'm excited.

She, her mother and I went wedding dress shopping on Monday and were very successful, not only in dress selection. I had the opportunity to introduce them to bubble tea.

A tough contender, but it didn't make the cut

They didn't like the pearls, but still enjoyed it
My family has always been really bad at taking pictures. I do have more of the two of us when we were younger, but she would kill me if I posted them.

I love this girl. We've been through many happy times and many rough times together. it's just one of those friendships that no matter what happens, will never end.

Monday, July 23, 2012

Getting Back in the Swing of Things

I've been back for over a full week now and it's already felt as though I've been here all summer. Throughout this past week I would think to myself, "Where was I this time last week?" My answer usually was playing with kids, attempting to speak Spanish or puppets. I miss that.

There is no doubt I miss Honduras, but I've definitely missed my old Kentucky home. I started back at AirMart. They let me out of the conference room and promoted me to the front desk. It's the little things that make life exciting.

Something I've really enjoyed  is getting to catch up with friends. One of my best friends and roommates, Sharayah, came into town to take a test for a class she's taking this summer. It was a great excuse for her to visit me.

We went to a new restaurant in Lexington called Shakespeare and Company. The atmosphere and decorations were great. We really enjoyed our goat cheese and herb pizza as well. The service wasn't so great, but I'd give it another chance.

Afterwards we went to our favorite coffeehouse, Common Grounds Coffeehouse to hear the live music they have every Friday and Saturday night. To our disappointment, the guy singing and playing his acoustic guitar wasn't very good. There was only a small table of his friends who yelled out inside jokes and songs for him to sing. Although it was somewhat amusing, we decided to head upstairs to chat and found this sign on the door of the room we wanted to go into.

We decided not to intrude. I thought about leaving the number of the CDC and their website for Zombie Preparedness. It's a comical website and amazing public relations case study. If you call or text the number on the sign, please let me know their response.

Only 2 1/2 more weeks and I move back to school. I can't believe how quickly this summer has gone by! It is definitely not what I expected it would be, but it seems that God always exceeds my expectations. Going to France didn't work out. Visitng my friend in England and Northern Ireland didn't happen, but the adventures I had in DC and living with Julie and Martin are unforgetable. I learned so much and grew in ways I didn't see coming. It was great making new friends in DC and seeing old ones in Honduras. This is my last school summer break and it's definitely been a memorable one. 

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Back Home

I've been home for 3 days now and am trying to play catch up. I've already jumped back into both jobs, church and hanging out with friends, so I apologize for the delay in writing about our last day in Honduras.

Thursday was definitely my favorite day. We only got to go to one school, but it was the one I enjoyed the most. The school was on top of a mountain, literally. We had to unload everyone from the Excursion so that Juan could drive it up the road. We hiked the rest of the way. Talk about a mountain top experience. It was beautiful. We could even see MEDA from there.

All the teachers, but one, were at a seminar that day. The one teacher left behind was with all the kindergarteners and 1st graders by herself. I don't know if she knew we were coming or not, but I'm sure she was happy that we came. The kids were so well behaved and super sweet. This was the poorest school we had been. Noah took my puppet for me, so I got to run around and take pictures.

Throughout the week, I was so thankful for all our translators. They were so patient and great at their job. Noah, Levi and Fernando went with us just about everywhere we went. I really enjoyed getting to know these guys and already miss hanging out with them.

Remember the Patterson family and Iris from my first post in Honduras? Someone found my blog when researching adoptions in Honduras. They somehow found the contact information for the Patterson's and have connected them with a group to help them with their adoption. I was so excited to hear this when Mrs. Patterson told me. It's great to see that God is using my blog to help others, especially such a great family that I had the honor of getting to know.

There is someone else that I met in Honduras that I really want to help. Her name is Genesis.

While in crafts, Mrs. Patterson could tell that she wasn't feeling well and asked her if she wanted to come sit with us. She nodded and was excited to take pictures with Mrs. Patterson's iPod touch, which now has a lot of pictures of me.

I asked her name and got her story as well. Her eyesight is very poor so she gets headaches a lot. It also greatly affects her school work. A lot of schools in Honduras do not have many textbooks, because they can't afford them. The kids have to copy everything out of the textbooks they do have. Genesis often makes mistakes when copying her school work, because of her vision.

Her family is unable to buy her glasses. I asked if someone donated the money would someone in Honduras be able to help her get glasses. Mrs. Patterson said yes, but there is another team coming in September that is hosting an eye clinic. They're hoping that Genesis will be able to get some glasses that have been donated. I asked that Mrs. Patterson let me know if she doesn't get any glasses, I would find money to get her some.

I met so many kids with similar stories to Genesis. I had the opportunity to speak to the youth Sunday school class this past Sunday and shared Genesis' and other kids' stories. I also get to speak at the adult Sunday school class this coming Sunday and hope that people will be more aware of the ministry our church has in Honduras and will want to go and be a part of it.

I didn't meet one Honduran that wasn't friendly and welcoming. It could be because we are American, but regardless they were sweet. Pastor Melvin and his family welcomed our team and others to their house our last night. We had a pinata and desserts. There were a lot of laughs and many happy taste buds.

I don't know if I'll ever be back in Honduras, but I said that my last trip there as well. God has a funny way about taking us places and putting us in situations that we never expected.