the one where i tell you what i’m into

inspired by sarah over at emerging mummy, i’m going to tell you what i’m into this summer, since i haven’t had much time to post. i’ve been away on mission trips and doing wedding things.

what i am into — summer 2011 edition

well, being a youth pastor means it’s that time of year where mission trips happen. i posted about my experience at the RISE workcamp, and i just returned home from our jr. high camp up to the heifer international overlook farmin rutland, mass. we spent time in the global village, living and learning about how people in countries around the world. we milked goats, hung out with a camel, cooked our own meals, learned about sustainability and ate fresh vegetables. you know it’s a successful trip when a youth posts on her facebook that it was “one of the most eye opening experiences of my entire life.”

what’s on my nightstand?
i’m currently reading Sisterhood Everlasting by Ann Brashares —  it’s the 5th book in the sisterhood of the traveling pants series which i read as a teenager. it’s neat to read their stories ten years later, since they were similar to my age now and are now in their thirties as she writes in this book. if you were a fan of them, i’d highly recommend it.

what do i want to read?
well, i like to read fiction in the summer since i read all year long in seminary. currently on my list though?

the help by kathryn stockett
something borrowed (and the rest of the series) by emily giffin

i can’t make too long of a want to read list because i never read them all. my bookshelves are swarming.

what tv shows are worth watching?
when i watch tv, it’s quite rare. my favorites right now: dirty jobs, river monsters, family guy, parenthood, glee, anything on tlc …

what movies have i seen or want to see?
i’m seeing Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2 tonight and i’m SO EXCITED. my roommate in college is obsessed with harry potter and got me into it as well. i haven’t been to the movies lately, but also want to see the hangover 2 and winnie the pooh 🙂

what’s in my ears?
currently, coldplay’s new song every teardrop is a waterfall. it’s an awesome song. i highly recommend it. i’m also into u2 right now because i’m going to their concert next week. i’m super excited.

what are you looking forward to next month?
well, now that my mission trips are done, i get a week at camp! 🙂 which is one of my favorite places to be. after that, it’s off to ohio for a skating camp and coaches college. then, vacation with matt and his family to the outer banks. i’m so looking forward to that. then, crazy begins with the skating kick-offs, VBS at the church, and school starts. summer is pretty much over.

anyway, i leave you with a picture of my favorite camel, abu, who lives at the farm in massachusetts.

what are you into these days? 






the one where there is joy

there is a great song in the new methodist hymnal called a place at the table (also known as for everyone born…) and the chorus sings,

“and god will delight when we are creators of justice, of joyyes, god will delight when we are creators of justice, justice and joy”

i love that line. i was driving in the car the other day reflecting back on the mission trip i just got back from trying to think about the big “AH HA!” moment for me last week. i think it was the presence of joy. the woman whose house we worked on kept telling us how happy she was that we were there, and you could tell how full of joy she was by the fact that her house was getting worked on.

she told the story of how when the RISE staff came to tell her she had been selected, her sister was there who called here, and she squealed with excitement.

in terms of the kids, i don’t think i’ve laughed as hard as i did on that trip. the things that come out of the mouths of 16 year old boys are hilarious sometimes. in the emerging worship class i took a few weeks ago, we talked about the importance of humor in worship, and how it can definitely add. it brings joy to people.

i think while away on the mission trip, the boys found a community filled with joy. those six boys, strangers as we left on sunday returned home full of joy, memories and friends that they will likely remember forever.

i think happiness and joy are crucial to a strong spiritual life, and something that we have to remember that god delights in. when we bring joy to other people, god is happy and joyful.

we can’t forget that we never how much a simple smile can do. 🙂

where do you find joy?

the one where we build

sorry i’ve been MIA — i just got back from a week long mission trip with the youth from my church! we were up in corning, ny with a program called RISE — we tore down a handicap ramp and build some stairs. it was a great week, full of laughs. i will spend some time this week recapping, but for now, i leave you with a few photos of our trip.

tearing down the ramp

carrying the ramp out

pj dressed up.

ramp demolition: complete!

adorable dog named kiwi


group hug to celebrate!

to photobooth or not to photobooth

some people i know went to a wedding recently that had a photobooth. they loved it, and made the suggestion to have one at our wedding. the one they experienced was the kind you find at the movie theatre that looks a little something like this:


it’s not that i don’t love this idea. personally? i think it’s a bit tacky. i mean, it is a nice occassion and to have something that belongs in a movie theatre is a bit, well, weird. you then get 2 copies of your pictures, one for you and one to put in a scrapbook type thing. i’m not sure how i feel about that.

however, then i saw this post on weddingbee by mrs. avacado and kind of fell in love with the idea of a not-so-movie-theatre-like photobooth. some wedding photographers call it a “smilebooth.”

photos get produced like this:

source: weddingbee post from above

check out this website (image is found) with some other fun examples.

i mean, how fun is that? props are involved, and it’s pretty much a white screen held up and a camera that doesn’t develop on demand — you get the pictures later and they come with a disc and everything. our photographer doesn’t really do that, but i’m sure we could set it up ourselves. i’ve been looking on weddingbee and other sites to see what people have said.

i’m not sure, however, that i want that distraction at our wedding. i want people to be out on the dance floor (which i’m told will be tough anyway, considering it’s an afternoon wedding) not worrying about the props in the photobooth. however, i’ve seen really fun photos produced using creative props, like chalkboard/dry erase…

did you have a photobooth at your wedding? if so, what kind and how did it work out?

a belated father’s day post.

i stand in hallmark stores and cry when i try and find my dad a father’s day card. you see, it has to be just right. it has to say dad, not father. it has to say how blessed i am. there are all these rules. and it must make me cry. i’m sure the people shopping with me are always wondering what is her problem?

well, for those who don’t know, my parents were divorced when i was very young. my mom got remarried when i was 5. yes, i slept at the reception. missed everything. oh well.

flower girl - 1992

my step-dad, no, my dad has been nothing but supportive and has loved me and cared for me as his own. blood doesn’t matter. i’ve never felt less than anyone else, and i’m really now starting to realize how lucky i am.

we bonded immediately over hockey. he and i would go to nj devils games, and we would play pond hockey on my aunt’s lake:

we also spent time eating carvel ice cream, and played super nintendo.

i could go on for hours. i would say that he is the most influential person in my life, and has taught me more about love than anything else. Because Glenn has loved me unconditionally even though he didn’t have to, I can really truly understand the love that God has for all of us.

We rarely talk about religion around our dinner tablee, but through the actions of my immediate family, I have learned a lot about acceptance, love, and family. I see God in the actions of them, in the love that Glenn has shown me when he did not have too. I grew up with too many people who did not get along with their step-parents.  my story is different.

Jesus didn’t hate people, and loved people, especially those on the margins –knowing this, and experiencing that kind of love on a daily basis has helped me develop a theology of how we should love everyone. it doesn’t matter if we are different — such as the fact that I may be the only blonde-haired, blue-eyed person in the room at family dinner — we are called to love those different than us, and accept them for who we are. We also then begin to realize that God loves everyone. Once we discover that love, our lives begin to take meaning. this unconditional love cannot be taken away, and my understanding of this has developed from a man who has raised me to be the person i am today.

i love you, glenn! you are the best dad ever 🙂

mom, me, dad @ graduation 2009

five-minute friday: home

i still live at home. a home that has been such since i was fourteen years old.

however, there were those four years where home was somewhere else. home was a group of six girls trying to figure out this crazy thing called college. i was a thousand miles away from new jersey, in the foreign land of birmingham, alabama. the six of us lived together our freshman year, and became inseparable.

apartment 1053A became home my senior year, where we would gather on friday nights to watch say yes to the dress and talk about our lives, and where we would be heading after graduation in may of 2009. i loved those times. i loved being able to come home to a group of women who cared about me, no matter what. it felt like home to me, people who cared about my well-being. this community of friends, more like sisters, who would drop everything to listen to my latest existential crisis and comfort me when i said that i was just going to drop everything and move to new zealand.

college girls

after graduation, home became unknown. i was lost and alone.

now, i’m looking forward to creating a home with that crazy matthew. where that will be? not sure. but we know that we will create a home where we learn to love each other unconditionally. home is not a physical place. it’s the people (and critters) we populate it with and the love that is present there. our home will shortly be filled with 2 kittens, and in a few years, small tinies running around and we will teach them that a home is a community filled with love, not necessarily all about blood relations, but about support and devotion.


i’m linking up at the gypsy mama for her five minute friday. To paint a verbal picture. To just write and not worry if it’s just write or not.

today’s prompt: HOME

      1. Write for 5 minutes flat – no editing, no over thinking, no backtracking.


      2. Link back here and invite others to join in.



Get a little crazy with encouragement for the five minuter who linked up before you.

say yes to the dress?

so, for those of you who forgot, i’m getting married on may 26 of next year. matt and i have been engaged since august, and we have a lot of stuff done. place, dj, photographer, officiant, etc.

however, one thing i’ve been holding off on is the dress. on mother’s day, my mom, sister, aunt, grandma, and myself took my first adventure into dress shopping. we went to david’s bridal because it was the only place open on a sunday, even though i was already thinking i wouldn’t find anything there.

it was a seriously overwhelming experience. they definitely don’t show that part on TLC’s “say yes to the dress.” maybe they do, but i don’t watch that carefully. you see, i’m not a cookie cutter person. which means cookie cutter dresses don’t work for me. i tried on about 7 dresses, none of which impressed me. sure, they were gorgeous. but they overwhelmed my short stature, and were too “girly.” (note: my roommate in college and i would play games where we would try and figure out who was more girly. the goal was to score the least amount of points)

so, i haven’t been shopping since. i have been tearing out dresses from magazines, but don’t want to spend a zillion dollars but want something unique. my mom was talking to the woman who makes the skating dresses for our teams (del arbour — she is amazingly talented and does beautiful work) and told her that i am getting married, to which del responded, “oh my gosh! if i’d have known, i’d make her dress” (almost assuming i was already married or getting married next week). my mom told me and i got SO EXCITED at this prospect. so, we called her back the next day and my mom asked…

and del said YES to making my wedding dress 🙂 don’t worry though, i don’t think it will look like a skating dress (although my future father-in-law thought it would be cute if i got married in a skating dress) so, in some ways, i said yes to the dress. we are going up to her shop in CT in 2 weeks to sit down and design. which means i have to get to work figuring out what i want. that will be tough, because i am so indecisive. but, i’m so excited about having something personal and so special!

what would you want if you were getting a custom-made wedding dress? how would you go about designing it?