Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Evening Prayer

Holy, Holy, Holy is the Lord God Almighty who was and is and is to come. He's Lord over every moment of history, every fleeting second of the present, and every anticipated tomorrow (for eternity!), and that's the God who holds my life in His beautiful hands. How could I ever think this life was about me? And why would I ever want to be the one in control? Oh, God, how You must laugh when I try. Please forgive the times I take the brush from Your masterful hand in order to create a mess of muddied color on a canvas for which you planned an exquisite masterpiece.

This is my evening prayer. Take my life and let it be consecrated, Lord, to Thee. Take my will and make it Thine. It shall be no longer mine.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Tenth Avenue North - "By Your Side"

Why are you striving these days?
Why are you trying to earn grace?
Why are you crying?
Let me lift up your face
Just don't turn away

Why are you looking for love?
Why are you still searching as if I'm not enough?
To where will you go child?
Tell me where will you run?
To where will you run?

And I'll be by your side
Wherever you fall
In the dead of night
Whenever you call
And please don't fight
These hands that are holding you
My hands are holding you

Look at these hands and my side
They swallowed the grave on that night
When I drank the world's sin
So I could carry you in
And give you life
I want to give you life

And I'll be by your side
Wherever you fall
In the dead of night
Whenever you call
And please don't fight
These hands that are holding you
My hands are holding you

Cause I, I love you
I want you to know
That I, I love you
I'll never let you go

And I'll be by your side
Wherever you fall
In the dead of night
Whenever you call
And please don't fight
These hands that are holding you
My hands are holding you

Monday, October 12, 2009

Wisdom in the Little Voices

One of the reasons I love working with middle school girls is the way God can still manage to surprise me and speak through their precious 13-year-old voices. Yesterday I was sitting next to Mackenzie May when she pointed at my 3-inch scar from my melanoma (removed 2 years ago) and asked, "Do you like your scar?" I shook my head because who likes ugly 3-inch scars in prominent places? She replied with what I thought was a strange answer at the moment, "Well, I do. You wouldn't be Stefanie without it." I was taken aback at first by her response, but after a few seconds, the wisdom hit me like a ton of bricks.

Our scars do make us who we are. I wouldn't be who I am today without the hope, healing, and trust I learned through recovering from cancer. All the pains, trials, and heartbreaks I have ever experienced have collectively brought me closer to Jesus and helped me realize a little more of who I am in Him, and I wouldn't trade them for the world. Mackenzie's little comment was a sweet reminder of that fact and brought to my memory one of my favorite passages, "Not only so, but we also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out his love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom he has given us." (Romans 5:3-5, emphasis mine). I'm so grateful that hope in Him will never disappoint and that He knows ahead of time every hurt that will come my way and how He'll use it to draw me closer to Him and make me more like Him. And I'm so glad God uses teenage girls to speak to my heart. :)

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Kari Jobe - "Healer"

You hold my every moment
You calm my raging seas
You walk with me through fire
And heal all my disease

I trust in You
I trust in You

I believe You're my healer
I believe You are all I need
I believe You're my portion
I believe You're more than enough for me
Jesus, You're all I need

You hold my every moment
You calm my raging seas
You walk with me through fire
And heal all my disease

I trust in You
I trust in You

I believe You're my healer
I believe You are all I need
I believe You're my portion
I believe You're more than enough for me
Jesus, You're all I need

Nothing is impossible for You
Nothing is impossible for You
Nothing is impossible for You
Nothing is impossible for You

Sunday, September 13, 2009

The Prayer of Saint Francis

Lord, make me an instrument of your peace.
Where there is hatred, let me sow love;
where there is injury, pardon;
where there is doubt, faith;
where there is despair, hope;
where there is darkness, light;
and where there is sadness, joy.

O Divine Master, grant that I may not so much seek
to be consoled as to console;
to be understood as to understand;
to be loved as to love.
For it is in giving that we receive;
it is in pardoning that we are pardoned;
and it is in dying that we are born to eternal life. Amen.

---Saint Francis of Assisi, 1181-1226

Friday, September 11, 2009

Tragedy from Above

Manhattan as seen from the ISS 8 years ago. Chilling. http://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/station/main/iss003e5387_feature.html

Take some time to pray for those families today.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

You Are Who You Follow

OK...at the risk of sounding nerdy, I have a confession. I love library school. Love it. Mostly because it just gets my wheels turning about so many cool things. Allow me to elaborate. Tonight I had my second Issues class, where basically the 15 or so of us who are graduating in December sit around and talk about important and controversial issues in the library world. Tonight's topics: how to use video games, facebook, Twitter, blogs, and wikis in libraries! We had quite the lively discussion about Web 2.0, which is the overarching term for sites that allow interaction between the user and site; all of them have some sort of self-generated information as well. I won't bore you with a lengthy definition, but in essence it's a big umbrella term for facebook, Twitter, blogs, wikis, YouTube...all those things. It's incredible to hear how libraries are using these new technologies to make information available in fresh, creative ways. One of my favorite things - book trailers. These are like movie trailers but for books! There are TONS of them on YouTube these days, and they're great for promoting books visually. Check out this book trailer for Sense and Sensibility and Sea Monsters...it's hilarious: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_jZVE5uF24Q.

I've recently become a twitterer (tweeter?), and I must admit I was skeptical at first, but now I adore it. I can get celebrity, sports, world, national, political, and library news all in one place! The best part currently is that I get job postings when library jobs open up across the country! And I have them texted to me, so I know immediately! Pretty sweet! I'm currently following *gasp* 165 accounts, and the funny thing is that you can tell a lot about who I am from who I follow. You can see the budding librarian, the Christ follower, the LSU alumna, the college sports freak, the Harry Potter geek, the celebrity gossip fan, the intellectual, the film lover, and more, and it made me realize that (pun intended) to a certain extent, you are who you follow.

Of course, they drill this into your head in middle school with all the talks of peer pressure and such, but that's not really what I'm talking about. I'm talking about those things we fill our lives with...the things we pay attention to...the things we can't live without. What is most important to me? What am I letting rule my life? What is taking up all my time?

One of the negative consequences of the digital world we live in is the plethora of distractions created by these Web 2.0 technologies. Don't get me wrong, I LOVE them, but I've wasted my share of hours (or afternoons or evenings) on facebook enough to know that it's easy to get caught up in little things that will monopolize your life if you let them. It becomes so second-nature that we hardly notice the time slipping away. I'm guilty of letting the busyness of life take me away from what's really important in life...what's lasting...what's eternal, and that's loving God and loving people. We're indeed living in an online world, but don't forget to take time for real people and time for God. As human beings, we're wired for friendships and to help each other through life, looking to each other for guidance and doing life together, following step by step.

A relationship with Christ is the ultimate example of that friendship. We follow him through an abundant, joyful life (relying on him through life's hardships) and onto an eternal life with Him. Life is really all about who or what you're following...that is to say who or what you're focusing on. And with that, I leave you to ponder as I go practice what I'm preaching and pry myself away from facebook quizzes to spend some QT with my Jesus. :)

Parting words from The Word:

Again Jesus spoke to them, saying, "I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life."
---John 8:12 (emphasis mine)

Sunday, August 30, 2009

By Now I Thought...

Today I've been contemplating timelines, checklists...probably partially because my best friend turned twenty-five and mentioned to me that she's halfway through her twenties...a place I will follow her to early next year. We both laughed and lightheartedly proclaimed ourselves as "old."

I've also recently begun Marian Jordan's The List, a potent little book about the list we make for ourselves. You know the list she means. It's that list you make when you're a kid around lunch tables or at slumber parties - the checklist of life. That list that states unabashedly what you proclaim you'll have done by the time you're twenty, or twenty-five, or thirty. I thankfully have no written evidence of my own list, but I remember countless conversations with my young friends dreaming about our perfect lives that would follow a strict schedule and in which all our deepest desires were met by the time we were...gasp...twenty-five.

So here I am on the brink of that magical age when everything is supposed to snap neatly into place, and my list is not exactly checking itself off. I'm not where I thought I'd be by now. Haven't done half the things I thought I would. Could it be that I have the wrong things on my list?

Or maybe it's that I'm too focused on the list itself instead of on the One who created the desires I so long for. Jordan's book pointed me to Psalm 33 and a few other psalms and reminded me that if God created my heart and my desires, of course He knows exactly how to best fulfill them in my life. The timing's not important...it's the trusting that's important. The journey. To quote Miley Cyrus (probably the only time I will ever do so)..."It's the climb." It's that step-by-step lifelong relationship of trust that really matters...not the temporary (albeit beautiful and wonderful) things our human hearts long for, the things we want so desperately to check off, the husband, the 2.5 kids, the dog, and the Colonial. Those things are indeed blessings from our Father because all good things do indeed come from above, but they will never, never, never compare to the greatness and beauty that is the Father himself.

This all clicked together for me when I stumbled across this video (entitled "By Now I Thought") for a new Bible study I've just started. I hope as you watch it that you too are encouraged as I was to stop falling victim to the trap of The List and of the demon of "by now I thought..." The song in the background sings "Jesus, save me," and will He ever. He'll save you and me from our dreams that seem out of reach, our futures that seem dim, and our whispers of "by now I thought..." I leave you to ponder this and thank God for His immense, unfailing, unmatched love and the hope we have in Him:

"Our soul waits for the Lord;
he is our help and shield.
For our heart is glad in him,
because we trust in his holy name.
Let your steadfast love, O Lord, be upon us,
even as we hope in you."
---Psalm 33:20-22 (emphasis mine)

"Be strong, and let your heart take courage,
all you who wait for the Lord!"
---Psalm 31:24

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

The Word of the Lord Proves True

This God—his way is perfect;
the word of the LORD proves true;
he is a shield for all those who take refuge in him.
"For who is God, but the LORD?

And who is a rock, except our God?
This God is my strong refuge
and has made my way blameless.
---2 Samuel 22:31-33, English Standard Version, emphasis mine

Friday, August 7, 2009

Goodbye, Summer. Hello, Autumn!

Well, another Louisiana summer has come and gone...not that you could tell by the weather. It's still plenty hot here, and I can't wait for the cool snap to come through and bring football with it! Things got pretty busy this summer, so let me give you a quick recap...

I finished two more graduate classes including one graphic novels class in which I read 60 graphic novels in 7 weeks. Yes, 60. And I LOVED it. I have a new-found appreciation for comics. Oh boy, add another nerd sticker to my collection. I can't believe it's flying by this fast. This time last year I was finishing my first semester, and now in a few weeks, I'll begin my final semester of school EVER! Yay for a master's degree! Let the job search begin...prayers very very very much appreciated. :) The plan is to look for a teen services position in a public library somewhere between Virginia and Georgia preferably in the Carolinas. We shall see. I'm trying to think positively despite the fact that this isn't the best time in the world to be looking for a job with the economy as bad as it is. I keep telling myself that there's a public library in nearly every city in America...surely one of them will hire me, right?

And speaking of libraries, ALA in Chicago was incredible! Shame on me for not blogging about it while I was there, but I was a little pre-occupied. ;) I learned so much from the conference, met some amazing librarians, got some free books, met some of my favorite authors (Laurie Halse Anderson, Neil Gaiman, Jennifer & Matt Holm), and generally confirmed that I am absolutely going into the right field. I am beyond excited about beginning my journey as a librarian very soon!

I had also never been to Chicago before, and I fell in love with it. The way it's surrounded by water gives this huge city a quaint, quiet feel. I can't really explain it, but you don't feel like you're in a big city at all, and the way the river winds right through downtown, I felt like I was in Italy or something (not that I've ever been there haha). I crammed in TONS of sightseeing (Sears Tower, Chicago River architecture tour, Navy Pier, Harry Potter exhibit at the Museum of Science and Industry, University of Chicago, Art Institute, Lake Michigan...and much, much more!), and I took way too many pictures to post here, but I'll include my favorite one. I had dinner one night on the river at this cute little cafe (It felt quite Parisian...never been there either) and snapped this right after dinner on the bridge:


Student ministry events went well this summer too. My girls are growing up so fast, and it's hard to believe they're starting 8th grade this next week. Wow. I saw many of them grow in their relationships with Christ this summer, and one even started her journey with the Lord. Yay, Anne Marie!!! She accepted Christ at Beach Week in Panama City, FL, which was just spectacular. Something about spending a week on the ocean just lets you hear the voice of God a little clearer...maybe it's the crashing waves or the blazing sun. He showed up in a big way, and it was a blessing to see how lives were changed.


And so the summer ends, and a new semester will begin soon...just one of hopefully a few new beginnings in store for me in the next year. New beginnings bring uncertainty and questions, but I'm embracing the change and am thrilled about trusting God to drop me right where He wants me. Here's to new chapters written by the Author and Perfecter of our faith!

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Evening Song

"Faith can move mountains of that I am sure. Just get me through December...get me through December so I can start again."
---Alison Krauss' "Get Me Through December"

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Get Your Geek On!

I geek Jane Austen novels, LSU sports, and ice cream. What do you geek? Find out at http://geekthelibrary.org/!

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Three Semesters Down...Two to Go!

Well ladies and gentlemen, I'm officially over halfway through library school...and somehow I miraculously still have a 4.0. That's gotta be a God thing. Praise Jesus that I graduate in seven months! Woo hoo! Then the door's wide open, and that scarily exhilarating! Here I am, Lord. Send me...your little librarian. :)

I'm thoroughly enjoying my month between semesters and filling my weekends with mini-vacations while I can. Last weekend I took a quick trip up to MS to see Staci graduate. I still can't believe my little sister is out of college now! Makes me feel quite ancient. I had a lovely drive up Hwy. 61 through St. Francisville, Natchez, Port Gibson, Vicksburg, and the Delta. I don't know how you can drive that stretch and not fall in love with the South. It made me want to put on a big hoop dress, sit on the front porch of a big antebellum house and drink lemonade. Sigh.

This weekend I'm off to the beautiful city of New Orleans to visit some friends and family. I think I love New Orleans a little more every time I go...so quaint and historic. I'm definitely going to have to move somewhere with a thrilling history and a unique story...not that Baton Rouge doesn't have one of those, but still.

Then Memorial Day weekend, I'll hit the road for Houston to see the TAYLORS!!! WOO and HOO!!! Can't wait. I'm so excited to hear about how God's moving their hearts closer and closer to Uganda with each passing day, and this is only the beginning of how God's going to work in and through them.

In other, totally unimportant news...two of my favorite couples made the finals on Dancing with the Stars! Vote for Shawn and Mark and Melissa and Tony! I just adore that show. Half the time I really have to halt the urge to dance around my living room with an imaginary partner haha! Yeah, I'm a nerd.

Speaking of dancing...I went to Nichole's dance recital on Sunday, and I've never experienced a dance recital quite like that. She goes to a Christian dance academy, so all the dances were Christian songs, and the recital truly felt like a worship service. I was moved in more ways that one. My mind was spinning with thoughts of how God wires us to all worship in our own unique ways. Nichole is a dancer. My sister is an artist and a dancer. I'm a writer and a singer. God gives us talents so we can give them back to Him in worship. It's a beautiful, wonderful, mysterious cycle of love. How has God gifted you to worship?

Thursday, April 23, 2009

What NOT to do on facebook

I was working on a project for my young adult services class when I stumbled across this: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iROYzrm5SBM. Hilarity.

Friday, April 17, 2009

Transportation of the Future Takes a Clue from the Past

http://www.whitehouse.gov/blog/09/04/16/A-Vision-for-High-Speed-Rail/

President Obama is proposing a high speed rail network and construction project. I'm loving this idea, but I'll be curious to see just how expensive it is for the average traveler. I'm all for trains, but if it's just as expensive as flying, I don't see it taking off (pardon the pun). Let's hope it's affordable. And thank goodness it will create some jobs...and cut back on stupid oil and gas costs.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Happy National Library Week!

Here's a little National Library Week treat. Who knew these people were librarians? http://www.mentalfloss.com/blogs/archives/24574

Batgirl is my hero(ine). ;)

Monday, April 13, 2009

Post-Easter Wonderfulness

Robbie Seay Band's "Beautiful, Scandalous Night":

Go on up to the mountain of mercy

To the crimson perpetual tide
Kneel down on the shore
Be thirsty no more
Go under and be purified
Follow Christ to the holy mountain
Sinner sorry and wrecked by the fall
Cleanse your heart and your soul
In the fountain that flows
For you and for me and for all

At the wonderful, tragic, mysterious tree
On that beautiful, scandalous night you and me
Were atoned by His blood and forever washed white
On that beautiful, scandalous night

On the hillside, you will be delivered
At the foot of the cross justified
And your spirit restored
By the river that pours
From our blessed Savior's side

High School Musical 4?

SNL still has it...sometimes. Check out Troy Bolton's life after high school speech: http://www.nbc.com/Saturday_Night_Live/video/clips/high-school-musical-4/1085201/

Monday, March 30, 2009

Twenty-four

Nothing like a little birthday song from Switchfoot. This seems fitting today:

Twenty four oceans

Twenty four skies
Twenty four failures
Twenty four tries
Twenty four finds me
In twenty-fourth place
Twenty four drop outs
At the end of the day
Life is not what I thought it was
Twenty four hours ago

Still I'm singing Spirit take me up in arms with You
And I'm not who I thought I was twenty four hours ago
Still I'm singing Spirit take me up in arms with You

Twenty four reasons to admit that I'm wrong
With all my excuses still twenty four strong

See I'm not copping out not copping out not copping out
When You're raising the dead in me
Oh, oh I am the second man
Oh, oh I am the second man now
Oh, oh I am the second man now

And You're raising these twenty four voices
With twenty four hearts
With all of my symphonies
In twenty four parts
But I want to be one today
Centered and true

I'm singing Spirit take me up in arms with You
You're raising the dead in me
Oh, oh I am the second man
Oh, oh I am the second man now
Oh, oh I am the second man now
And You're raising the dead in me

I want to see miracles, see the world change

Wrestled the angel, for more than a name
For more than a feeling
For more than a cause
I'm singing Spirit take me up in arms with You
And You're raising the dead in me
Twenty four voices
With twenty four hearts
With all of my symphonies
In twenty four parts.
I'm not copping out. Not copping out. Not copping out.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

It's the Little Things in Life...

...like when Google changes their logo for holidays! I love that! Check out the archive for all the past logos!

And here's another little fun tidbit of Spring...it's Google's tribute to the First Day of Spring and Eric Carle, author of the children's classic The Very Hungry Caterpillar:

Springing Forward with Fresh Perspective

It's spring again...that time of year when I celebrate the time I fell in love with Baton Rouge. We're going on six years now. :) I remember why I have a love/hate relationship with Baton Rouge around the middle of June (when I almost have my first heat stroke of the year), but I digress. It's been a beautiful week...one of those weeks where you just want to take a blanket and a book to a park and soak it all up (or at least I do). It's the time of year when sunny days feel like love letters from God, and I'm very grateful even if I don't get to soak them up as much as I'd like.

With spring also comes Disciple Now! I spent last weekend with 9 of my 7th grade girls, and it was a wonderful time of laughter, wonder, curiosity, Bible study, worship, and just plain fun. It's amazing to see how far many of them have come in their relationships with God since I met them in 5th grade. They're such blessings to me, and I adore seeing God working in their young hearts. It's inspiring and heartwarming. Here's my favorite pic from the weekend (We love jumping pics!):
One story we wrestled with and poured over this weekend was the Parable of the Lost Son(s). Allow me to explain that (s). ;) Many of us grew up reading about the poor pitiful younger son who ran off and squandered his inheritance then received amazing grace from his loving father upon his return, but we rarely pay attention to the older brother, who happens to be just as lost as his younger brother. I was reminded that many times we are the one running fast and hard away from God like the younger brother, and many more times we are the one shunning the one running away from God. We pretend we're ok with God ourselves when actually we have a false sense of righteousness and pride that comes from ourselves and not from a healthy relationship with God. Check it out in Luke 15:11-32. It'll rock your world...as I'm sure it did in its original telling.

If you back up to the beginning of Luke 15, you can see Jesus tell two other stories of lost things that were saved and found. I can just hear religious leaders grumbling by the time he got to the third story about a lost thing (This time a son.) and saying to themselves, "OK...we get it already!" Leave it to Jesus to stop them dead in their tracks though. He left them thinking verse 24 was the happy ending: "24For this son of mine was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found.' So they began to celebrate." I can almost hear the long pause in the text as he changes gears and utters that age-old literary table-turner, "Meanwhile..."

Verses 25-32 go on to tell the story of the older brother who throws himself a pity party because he's been doing all the right things and HE never got a party. Once again, Jesus highlights the importance of a relationship with Him and defies the false way religious rituals and even good deeds for the sake of only doing good deeds can dangerously try to replace that relationship. He was just as lost as his brother, but he had been at the feet of his father the whole time. Frightening...and yet so true. Thank the Lord there's grace enough for all of us...whether we're runners or goody-goodies.


I just love how Scripture can have that fresh meaning no matter how many times you read the same passage. It's like Spring every time you open it. I'm so glad God's the God of new beginnings, fresh starts, and clean slates. I pray you let Him give your eyes and heart a fresh outlook this Spring. He's everywhere...if you just look.

Monday, March 2, 2009

Windy City, Here I Come!!!

I found out this afternoon that I got a scholarship to go to ALA in Chicago this summer!!! For those of you non-library folks, that's the American Library Association's annual conference. I'll be there with 20,000 librarians for a whole week of book talks, seminars, exhibits, meet-the-authors, and MORE!!! Can you tell I'm excited?!

And I've always wanted to go to Chicago!!! YAY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Psalm 34

1 I will extol the LORD at all times;
his praise will always be on my lips.

2 My soul will boast in the LORD;
let the afflicted hear and rejoice.

3 Glorify the LORD with me;
let us exalt his name together.

4 I sought the LORD, and he answered me;
he delivered me from all my fears.

5 Those who look to him are radiant;
their faces are never covered with shame.

6 This poor man called, and the LORD heard him;
he saved him out of all his troubles.

7 The angel of the LORD encamps around those who fear him,
and he delivers them.

8 Taste and see that the LORD is good;
blessed is the man who takes refuge in him.

9 Fear the LORD, you his saints,
for those who fear him lack nothing.

10 The lions may grow weak and hungry,
but those who seek the LORD lack no good thing.

11 Come, my children, listen to me;
I will teach you the fear of the LORD.

12 Whoever of you loves life
and desires to see many good days,

13 keep your tongue from evil
and your lips from speaking lies.

14 Turn from evil and do good;
seek peace and pursue it.

15 The eyes of the LORD are on the righteous
and his ears are attentive to their cry;

16 the face of the LORD is against those who do evil,
to cut off the memory of them from the earth.

17 The righteous cry out, and the LORD hears them;
he delivers them from all their troubles.

18 The LORD is close to the brokenhearted
and saves those who are crushed in spirit.

19 A righteous man may have many troubles,
but the LORD delivers him from them all;

20 he protects all his bones,
not one of them will be broken.

21 Evil will slay the wicked;
the foes of the righteous will be condemned.

22 The LORD redeems his servants;
no one will be condemned who takes refuge in him.

Monday, February 23, 2009

Livin' the Louisiana Life

There are a few things in life you can only really experience in good ol' south Louisiana: king cake, crawfish, Mardi Gras, and baseball at the Box! Lucky me...I fit all of them into one weekend! I love this state. :)

Opening night at the new Alex Box stadium was magical, unforgettable, historic...in summary, it was AMAZING (right down to the cheesy ball o' Tiger spirit...don't ask)! I was a bit skeptical about the new snazzy stadium's ability to rekindle the tradition of the old Box, but I was wrong. To borrow a phrase from that terrible PR stunt by those "other" Tigers, it was like a family reunion! ;) There was an electric charge in the air and fireworks in the sky, and it was totally worth waiting in line for two hours with 800 other students.



video

LSU Pentecost: the transferal of Tiger baseball spirit from the old Box to the new

After the game, we went to see Slumdog Millionaire. I really don't know what else to say about this movie except that it has catapulted itself into my top 20 favorite movies, and I'm thrilled it won Best Picture (more on the Oscars later). I'm such a sucker for rags to riches coming of age semi-musicals. Loved it. You must see it.

Saturday, I went downtown for the Spanish Town parade. Clear skies, cultural history, community togetherness, creative political satire, and lots and lots of beads...what's not to love?!


And what better way to top off a lovely Louisiana weekend than the first crawfish dinner of the season! Gotta love those little mudbugs.

And as for the Oscars, which I've loved as long as I can remember, I was pleasantly surprised this year. For once, the glimmer and elegance of Oscars ceremonies past made its glorious return. Hugh Jackman, please come back and grace us with your gentlemanly presence next year! And Kate, that shampoo bottle quote will go down in Oscar history. Congrats on finally winning one! It's about time!

Sigh. Great great great weekend. Oops...gotta go. My dirty rice is done! (Told you I was livin' the Louisiana life!)

Monday, February 2, 2009

A Treatise on Plural Possession

If you know me very well at all, you know that very few things really irritate me. I'm a pretty easygoing girl. However, bear with me while I harp on one thing that is truly a grit in my oyster. ;)

I'm not sure where the elementary educational system goes wrong in teaching plural possession, but its misuse is viral and is sweeping the nation at an alarming pace with no regard for age, rank, or degree. Everywhere I turn I keep running into poor, pitiful misplaced apostrophes who just want to show that they belong to someone.

A friendly reminder...

My apartment is Stefanie Kellum's apartment.
My family's house is the Kellums' house.
Our Christmas cards will wish you a very Merry Christmas from the Kellums...NOT the Kellum's (*shiver*)

Respect the apostrophe. Let it do its job.

You can't say I'm not passionate about the correct usage of the English language...haha! Don't even get me started on the final comma in a series...crazy journalists!!!

This soap box presentation of Grammar Lessons from Stefanie is brought to you by the letter "s." ;)

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Hedwig!!!

I would be so excited to see a snowy owl, but I highly doubt they'll come all the way down to Louisiana...oh well. Maybe one will get sidetracked. :)

http://dsc.discovery.com/news/2009/01/28/snowy-owl-migration.html

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Out with the Old and In with the New... A Tale of Pomp, Circumstance, and Mixed Feelings

I'm officially five Presidents old now, having lived through Reagan, two Bushes, Clinton, and now Obama. (Man, you feel old when you measure you life in terms of Presidential terms!) Confession number 784: I love inaugurations. Maybe it's the history nerd in me or the sappy patriot or the lover of all things traditional, cultural, and classy, but this stuff just give me chill bumps. I think I'm going to have to make it a life goal to attend one some day.

Today's ceremonies did raise conflicting reactions in me, however. On one hand, it was incredible to see history unfold right before my eyes. It will likely go down as one of the defining moments of my generation and one of those "Where were you...?" memories...right up there with September 11 and the death of Princess Diana. Twas quite a momentous occassion right down to the details. I love that Obama was sworn in on the same Bible Lincoln used in 1861. Yay for rare books and beautiful irony! And while I'm a total sucker for momentous occasions and all things historic, it wasn't all hearts and rainbows today.

I worry that our country may be suffering from celebrity fever. Granted, President Obama is a pretty charismatic guy, and I totally respect him as a classy gentleman who loves his country and has a wonderful, hardworking spirit, but I still cringed a little when I heard all those people chanting his name. Isn't it a bit early to be chanting the man's name just for some (albeit hopeful) campaign promises? What exactly has he actually done in the grand scheme of things so far? I do so hope his presidency is a fabulously successful one because we're in some deep valleys right now, but I can't understand why I'd want to buy an Obama commemorative porcelain plate that advocates the slogan of change for $99.95 when the man just took office today.

I do wish our new President the best of luck, and I am excited about what ideas he might have to change things for the better, but as he said himself in his speech today, no one man can change a country by himself. Change starts with each American, and if we want our economy to look brighter, then we had better stop buying things we can't afford. Poor George Bush has to endure all the blame for the dismal economy that Americans ourselves screwed up in the first place.

Speaking of President Bush, watching the ceremony today, I couldn't help but notice what a crappy job we do of saying thanks to our outgoing presidents. A brief introduction...then we push them onto a helicopter like recluses. What a great way to show gratitude to the men who have the toughest job in the world. I know one thing though: I believe the happiest man in America right now is sitting happily and contently on his back porch on a quiet ranch in Texas and watching the stars with his lovely former First Lady (and, you know, 50 Secret Service guys). Thanks for doing your best, Mr. President, and forgive us for disrespecting you so. Enjoy your retirement! And, Mrs. Bush, I'm proud to join your profession...thanks for making us librarians look so elegant and for constantly reminding the country just how important libraries are...and thanks for bringing classy back!

And to our new President, may God grant you wisdom and strength to make the right decisions for our nation. You're in my prayers. Enjoy your new crib, and get those cute girls a puppy!

P.S.: Michelle, your dress was awesome. :)

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Surprised by Joy

I'm so glad God doesn't promise us happiness. What a fleeting, unsatisfactory thing is happiness. Ever-changing. Whimsical. Flighty. One minute it's standing beside you. The next it's gone without a trace, leaving you in the dark.

That's not my God. He's steadfast. True. Trustworthy. Foundational. Everlasting. He doesn't promise we'll never hurt, but thankfully, He does promise to see us through. To hold our hand. To give us a reason to keep going, keep fighting, keep loving, keep serving, keep showing His glory. He promises to never leave us in the dark. In fact, it's impossible for Him to leave us in the dark because He is light. He is hope. He is trust. He is joy.

His joy is staring life and all its hardships, pains, and heartaches square in the eye...and smiling.

A wise professor once told me that true wisdom is not learning how to give up what is bad for what is good but learning how to risk giving up what is good in order to embrace what is best. It's happiness versus joy.

I choose joy.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

A Recharging Christmas Break

Sorry for the long hiatus from the ol' blog, readers. I've been busy soaking up every ounce of quality free time I could possibly muster while school's out, and I must say, it was indeed a refreshing Christmas break.

I spent a few days in Oxford with the fam then headed to Dallas for the Cotton Bowl for a week with my parents (Staci was on a mission trip to Honduras...sweet!). I actually enjoyed watching Ole Miss regain some confidence in their football program, and it was nice to see Dad so excited again...even if the 50 million "Hotty Toddys" did drive me slightly crazy. Twas a great trip with my parents...harking back to the countless sports trips we made in the past. Ah, memories. Plus as an added bonus, I got to spend three whole days with Jenn and Chris! Man, I wish those kids lived closer because I love me some Carters! I love that you can be away from close friends for a while and just pick up right where you left off. And now that Jenn's married, it's like I've gained another great friend too in the hardcoredness that is Chris Carter. Haha! Fun times in the Big D!

And to top it all off, I just got back from Yoakum/Houston where Kaitlin and I visited Doug and Kat and the Taylor clan. It was beyond wonderful to get to catch up with them and hear how God's using them during the transition time between now and the time when they plan to go on the foreign mission field. They're so faithful to serve Him wholeheartedly wherever He has them even as they wait for a more permanent situation. It's inspiring.

Their pastor in Houston this morning spoke on discontentment, and I was reminded that we can never be content with how close we are to God and that we should be striving each day to know Him more and more and to serve Him sacrificially where we are in the now. It's a lesson I'm taking to heart personally as I finish out my last year of school. I want to give him 110% no matter how ready I am to start a new chapter. He still has abundantly more than I can imagine for me to do here in Baton Rouge, and I can't wait to see what's around the corner this semester. I'm so thankful God has blessed me with such incredible godly mentors and friends like the Taylors to visualize and exemplify that lesson to me as well. (Love you guys! I want to play more Spinner soon!)

That's all for tonight, folks. Good night, and have a pleasant tomorrow.

P.S.: Running on hay bales is ENTIRELY too much fun. And I'm a horrible four-wheeler driver. ;)