Monday, September 29, 2008

On the Road Again

Please pray for Nick tonight. At about 11pm EST (10 for you Central time zone folks) Nick will leave the comfort of the posh Crowne Plaza in Bahrain for Qatar and life in a tent. He won't be flying direct since he's traveling on military aircraft so he'll be in the air for most of our nighttime. I'll let you know when I know that he's made it safe, but it could be a few days until he has phone access. Just assume that no news from me in the next few days is good news :)

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Quick Update

When you live solo, there aren't a lot of photo ops. However, I firmly believe that blogs get boring fast without pictures.'s a picture we took of Finlay at the beach this summer. Enjoy.

And yes, he is sitting on the beach chair. He really does think he's a little human.

In other news, I find it really helpful to dwell on positive things when Nick is gone on trips. Maybe having "whatsoever things are good,whatsoever things are honest, etc." drilled into my head so many times paid off! At any rate, here are some things I'm thankful for this week:

First and foremost, Trenholm Road UMC. Nick and I have decided to join this church, and the people there are really reaching out to us. I'm really excited to get more involved with this church!

Second, phone cards. While Nick has been in Bahrain he has been able to call me every day, and trust me, hearing his voice and being able to communicate with him while he is so far away makes a huge difference.

Speaking of huge differences, I'm very thankful for our new apartment. While it is overall much nicer than our old house, what I really like about it is the sense of security I have in my home. I'm not afraid to walk Finlay at night, and I've been able to sleep!

Fourth, I am thankful for my new job. This one probably deserves to be higher up on the list. Not only is it a means of paying the bills and a reason to get out of bed in the morning, I get to do what I love all day every day. Add to that a fantastic supervisor (who I also count as a good friend) and a staff and faculty I couldn't enjoy being with more, and work is a great place for me to be!

Finally, my new car. I actually try to think of reasons to go places because I enjoy being in it so much! I guess if you've got to get a new car, you might as well have one that you love, right?

I hope you all are feeling just as blessed this Sunday evening. Have a great week!

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Reader, I bought her

Bronte may seem a little dramatic here, but I thought of that great line from Jane Eyre when I was driving my new car home today. I love her! Here are some pictures. I'll post better ones tomorrow when it's lighter outside.


Monday, September 22, 2008

Nick Update

I just want to let everyone know that Nick has landed safely in Bahrain. He seems comfortable in his hotel, and he got there in just enough time to go to bed to rest up for tomorrow! Thank you all for your prayers while he is over there. Although both countries he is visiting are very friendly, it's always a little disconcerting for him to be so far from home.

Fare thee well, Big Red

Tomorrow will be a bittersweet day. It's the day I'm picking up by brand-spanking-new CRV, and it's also the day I bid farewell to Big Red. It may seem odd for a girly-girl like myself to be so attached to a car. I think most would agree that she's probably not so fond of me, owing to the fact that I wrecked her pretty three years (but not once since 2002).

The thing is, she's been in my family since she was, 1997. I remember clearly the day my mom pulled up to the freshmen carpool line in her. I remember traveling to "away" football games with her loaded down with friends. I remember what a big deal it was when I got to take her all the way to Hillsboro, packed full of fellow seniors, to watch a high school basketball game during Corrigan. I remember when Mom and Dad finally relinquished her to me (after I'd ripped off my Firebird's ground effects on all the speedbumps around Baylor).

Since she officially became mine in college she's taken road trips across Texas and across the country. She took mye to mywedding and my honeymoon, Nick's and my first apartment, and hauled all of my most precious belongings to South Carolina. She spent six months hauling my butt back and forth from Sumter to graduate school and back again every weekday! She even made it to a real Gamecock tailgate party or two.

So you can see that it's no small thing for me to give her up. She's never once complained about her old age. She's never had so much as squeaky brakes or a flat tire much less a major breakdown or part failure. I know that the mechanic says I have to let her go, that she is too tired to carry on much longer without some major help, but I have to admit that even the prospect of a sparkling new car is not enough to make me feel glad to give up Big Red.

Big Red, I will miss you, and not just when I'm trying to pack all of our Christmas luggage into the new, smaller, CRV. I will miss the way your cheery red color stood out in a packed parking lot. I will miss the place where your console is so worn from my elbow resting on it that it has a little indention just the right size. I'll miss the gritty stains on your floor mats, each one a reminder of a trip to Wendy's with my buddies or a near-miss accident, avoided thanks to your excellent handling. I will miss your ability to carry me and four of my friends and all of our stuff for a weekend trip, no problem. I will miss the way you proudly bear your Texas license plates and tags. I will miss your dignity, even in the face of certain abandonment. I will miss all of the precious memories that you were a part of.

My greatest hope is that the good people at the Honda dealership can fix you up and get you settled with a nice family. Maybe one with a teenage girl with a good heart and a slightly leaden foot. I hope you enjoy your new life, but please don't forget about me.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Big Weekend

This weekend two big things happened. Yesterday we bought a car - a new Honda CRV! I get to pick it up on Tuesday so I'll put up some pictures then. I'm planning an homage to Big Red (my old faithful) soon. I'm kind of sad to give her up! Nick did all the wheeling and dealing yesterday, talking the sales guy waaay down on the price and getting us a great interest rate. I was so proud and grateful!

Today was not so happy. Nicholas left for a month-long trip through the Middle East. He'll be visiting Bahrain and Qatar. As I'm typing this he is en-route to Frankfurt. Finlay and I are really sad and tired and don't really feel like blogging. Fin's actually concked out on the couch next to me. We're watching Hope Floats, which is not exactly helping our sadness. Perhaps in a minute we'll peruse the offering on our HD movies on-demand.

I hope everyone has a great Monday, and I'll give you an update on the new car just as soon as it's in my hands.

Monday, September 15, 2008


As you might imagine, my new life as a career woman has kept me a bit busier than I used to be! I'm sorry that I'm just getting around to posting after my new job announcement, but I'm just getting settled into a daily routine. We don't have anything particularly exciting to share, except that Nick's trip to Qatar has now been moved to the end of this month through mid-October (not sure of the exact dates, but he could leave as soon as Sunday).

We have a few pictures to share with you. The first is from Nick's and my celebration dinner for my new job at Gervais and Vine. The second picture is of the massive plug of Finlay hair that stopped up our vacuum last weekend. We had to stick a curtain rod down the tube to force it all out! I know it's kind of gross, but we found it pretty amusing and amazing. I am loving my new job as an academic advisor in the History department at USC. As an extra bonus I even get to go to the national NACADA (National Academic Advisors Association) conference in Chicago in early October.

I hope this post finds you all well. Please pray for Nick's safe travel this weekend/early next week.

Thursday, September 4, 2008

A Straight Path

"Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him and he will make your paths straight." Proverbs 3:5-6
*Disclaimer: This post is going to be long and sappy so if you're not up for it, come back later!
Over two years ago Nick and I moved to South Carolina. Soon followed a strange and difficult turn of events for our new and little family. A week after our first wedding anniversary, in late May, we discovered that, surprise!, we were pregnant. One month later we learned that Nick would be deploying for the last five months of the pregnancy. I was more devastated about that than I had been about anything else in my entire life. Three days later, on June 29th, we lost the pregnancy at not quite 11 weeks. One month after that Nick left on a 4 1/2 month deployoment to the middle east, as scheduled.
At the time I couldn't fathom why on earth I was being afflicted like that. Although I know that so many of my family and friends have gone through similar struggles, and that my situation is certainly not unique to me, it is difficult during those times to not feel as if you are being singled out for punishment. It was easy for me to sit around and feel sorry for myself.
The Sunday following my miscarriage, I sent Mom off to the airport and attended church services at the new church I'd been visiting (Nick was still on shift and unable to attend on Sundays). There was a baby dedication that day, which was especially difficult to sit through. At the end of the service I took communion and tried not to cry at the altar as I begged God to take away my pain, to reveal some kind of greater purpose for my life.
That prayer set about a series of events that can be described as nothing but providential. First, I was provided with a job at my church. This provided a much-needed income and a reason to get out of bed each day. With time, too, came friends, real true friends who saw me through some difficult times during Nick's deployment. Then, as I was looking around for a full-time job, a career I could sink my teeth into, God revealed to me the next big step in his plan, and boy was it a leap of faith.
God called me to graduate school! Again, he provided for me every step of the way. I got in with no trouble, and was soon introduced to another incredible group of friends, mentors, and allies, who got me through 20 trying months of school and work. Throughout grad school, I was constantly reminded that soon I'd graduate and need to get a job. Although I knew it would be challenging to find a job in Columbia, with a high number of qualified applicants for every job, I trusted that the Lord had led me this far, he would show me the way forward.
While I can't say that my faith in his plan and provision never wavered, I can tell you that I had an uncanny peace about how things would turn out. Just as I'd had a rather sudden epiphany about starting graduate school, this May I felt a rather strong inner urging to graduate a semester early. Doing this meant that I endured a rather trying summer, but I couldn't help but have a sense that the purpose of all my hard work would be revealed in due time.
Just as I was finishing up my last few weeks of school, my mentor and former co-worker, Anna (her blog is linked on the left), decided to stay at home with her new baby and work on her PhD rather than come back to work. It seemed like her position just might be tailor-made for me.
As it turns out, it was! I have been going through the application and interview process for the past few weeks, and was just informed that I had been offered the position. I am now officially an academic advisor in the USC History Department!! I know that a number of you have been hoping and praying for me to get this job for some time. Thanks for all your prayers - as you can see I have tried to be trusting and faithful, and the Lord has certainly given me a straight path here. For those dark weeks when I couldn't understand how any of my difficulties and trials could possibly fit into God's plan for my life, I have a definite answer. Even if I can't understand it all the time, I know that he is preparing the way for me.
I could not be more grateful or excited! I start tomorrow, and I'll let you know how it all goes.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

2 Big Things

Tomorrow morning I have an interview for my dream job at USC. Please wish me luck!

I'll also be putting together my first hurricane emergency preparedness kit, per the Red Cross. I figured that since I actually got a notice about the storm from the electric company I should look into getting ready for Hanna (and maybe Ike, we'll see). No worries Mom - we'll be set if Hanna gets to us!

Hope everyone is having a great short week!