Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Update, Update!

(FYI: Title of this blog should be sung to the tune of Dora the Explorer's "Backpack, backpack" song.)

Thank you all for thinking and praying for my family. Dad got the job in Gainesville (GA), so they will not have to move. WOOHOO! I mean, we'll still be moving next year, but at least we will be able to come home to the place that feels like home. This has been a tremendous faith-building exercise for everyone involved, which is good but hard.

Thanks again for your thoughts and prayers.

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

A Bright Purple Spot in a Very Confused State

You cannot escape it these days, no matter who or where you are. Talk about the impending 2008 presidential election is everywhere, so I have begun to give some thought to the candidate that I may support next year. I think that it's important not only to vote, but to vote according to who you believe is the best person for the job. As such, I am determined to find more out about the candidates in order to make the best decision. The problem with this is that much has changed about me since 2004 and I am back at square one, as they say. Actually, I have never understood much about the political system until now. (All I remember about high school civics is that my teacher made me sing Patsy Cline's Crazy at the opening of every class.) My very patient husband has so far explained to me that I cannot vote in both parties' primaries as I was hoping to because you have to be a registered member of a party in order to do so. "But what if I don't want to be a registered Democrat or Republican?" I cried. To which level-headed Libertarian husband replied, "I guess you won't be voting in the primaries then." Well, too bad. But who do I support next November?

I grew up and still live in Conservative, Republican Georgia, and, as bad as it is, I have pretty much voted as such with no education really about issues, what the candidates believe, and how this resonates with me. I am a terrible member of democracy! Well no more! The Libertarian suggested that I take an online quiz to get an idea of where I fit into the political spectrum. So, one day recently, I found myself with little to do, and not only did I take one quiz, I took five. And, the results of each confirmed what I have thought and the Libertarian feared for a while now. The first labeled me an Anarchist. Wow, really?! I mean, liberal maybe, but anarchist, surely not. I am a big fan of the law. Not only do I think it's necessary for society, but my husband makes a living interpereting it and upholding it. The next four were less harsh. Two labeled me a liberal, one a democrat, and one put me on the political spectrum somewhere between Lenin and the Dalai Lama. Well then. Libertarian joked that he would be taking me to counseling. But I still don't know where I stand politically. Frankly, I don't like labels, and I don't trust internet quizzes. (Thank you grad school.)

My challenge to you is the same that I have for myself. Find out about the candidates and issues they support and don't support and decide for yourself who would be the best person for the job before next November. Vote and be educated about it.

Thus ends my long political blog.

Monday, November 19, 2007

Reasons Why is Going Green

Why? Because it's the in thing to do right now and because it is the author's favorite color.

Want the Millers to stay in Athens?

If you do, then pray that my Dad gets the job he is going to interview for next week! It is with a very reputable poultry company for which he would oversee all of their ______ plants. (I cannot remember what kind of plants mom told me they were on the phone, I was so excited.) If he gets this job, he will have to travel more, but they (Dad, Mom, Grace, Micah, George, & Clifford) will get to stay in the place that we have all grown to know and love as home. This does not mean that the Magees (Brian, Kelli, Rumor, Charlie, & Paco) will get to stay, as the Marines do not have a commuting option, but at least we will have somewhere to come "home" to. If this is all very confusing to you, drop me an email and I'll explain myself better.

But whatever you do, pray that Dad gets this job!

Friday, November 16, 2007

Eternal Perspective on a Friday

On most Fridays I do not have an eternal perspective. Most Fridays are chock full of perspective that stretches maybe as far as Saturday evening. But this week has been replete with a feeling of the curse we live under as wayfarers on Earth. This week began for me with a funeral and started wrapping up last night with another funeral home visitation. It also contained a visit with my mother-in-law who has cancer. My grandfather had his second round of chemo this week. Now, I don't say all of this for you, my two readers, to feel bad for me, what I am beginning to realize at 25 is that this is how this life plays out. The writer of Ecclesiastes was speaking from experience when he wrote that there is a time for everything under the sun. And despite of all the apparent sadness in my life, I am not sad myslef. God is trully giving me eternal perspective today. This is the view where one looks at life and says, "We were not made for this." And I think it's a good place to be sometimes. I know that I was made for more, and I used to think that that would mean I would turn out to be a famous person someday. But it doesn't, it means that I was made for life with the Creator. I am a citizen of Heaven as Phillipians 3:20 talks about. These are the days in which I feel it. And I have no choice but to count this as a blessing.

"Mid toil and tribulation and tumult of her war she waits the consummation of peace forevermore. Til with the vision glorious, her longing eyes are blessed, and the great Church victorious shall be the Church at rest."
-Samuel Stone

Monday, November 05, 2007

Fall Back

I discovered a new thing that I like about adulthood today. In the past when the time changes in the fall (a.k.a. Fall Back), I have lamented greatly because it gets dark so much earlier in the day. However, this morning I discovered to my amazement that time change affects not only the evening, but the morning as well. Since I have been a student for what feels like the past 100 years, I have not noticed (read: I have slept through) the good side of "Fall Back." It's wonderful! It was so light outside that I was early to work this morning. Come five o'clock this evening when I am already using my headlights I may not be feeling the same, but for now, I love it. Usually the worst part is that I cannot run as late in the evening except for in a few select, well-lit places. This I am partially remedying this year as well. My friend Sarah has introduced me to spin classes and I am going to the second one today. We'll see how this goes, but I am thinking the Fall Back might just get a new reputation in my mind.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007


This is a word I find myself using a lot. That and "good morning." Sometimes I say "good morning" so many times in a day I still revert back to saying it at 5pm. Thus is the life of an operations coordinator (read-"receptionist"). Occasionally, a guest will stop by my desk just to comment how they would never be able to do my job because I am surrounded by people all the time and I have to be nice to everyone. And, it's true, sometimes, I very much struggle with having to be nice to everyone I see. But the hardest thing for me is that, when in doubt, I am wrong. The customer is right, my co-workers are right, it must be my fault. "Sure, I'll go ahead and get you a refund for parking because you didn't read the sign (that is on the parking meter that you paid) that I made yesterday saying that you didn't have to pay for parking."

Today is one of those days. I don't think I'd be happy doing any job today. I must have gotten up on the wrong side of the bed as they say. Maybe I just need lunch.

Monday, September 24, 2007

Beauty and the Mess

As I sit at my desk on this once-again sweltering fall afternoon, my mind wanders back over the last week. I heard a couple of stories last week that are sad to the point of being almost numbing. The details aren't important; what matters is they left me shaking my head and asking why. It was the first time in a while that I felt like jamming my fist in the air and imploring God to tell me Who He is to do such things to good people, people that I care about. Not that I doubt God, I believe that He is entirely sovreign, it's just that I can't see right now how these events could possibly for good. Read again: I can't see it.

And again, I am reminded to trust that these things are ultimately for the good. I am continually amazed as I speak to and hear about the people in the middle of these situations and their calm amdist the storms. In looking at my future as the wife of a Marine at a time when the international conflicts involving our Armed Forces seems unending, it scares me. I already know people who have paid the ultimate sacrifice for our freedom and I know that this number will only grow. What do I do? Do I stay isolated and not give myself as a friend to others in order to protect my emotions?

No. I love movies with happy endings mostly because real life is not like that. Real life is messy and sad, and as John Piper says, suffering only makes our joy more intense. (Note: His podcast is awesome.) We get the beauty and the mess together. I will leave you with a line from one of my favorite songwriters, Sandra McCracken:

"I'd rater have the mystery, and the madness, and the rain, because Hell's the only place we can be free from all love's pain."

Thursday, September 20, 2007


No, it's not a dirty word-get your head out of the gutter. It's actually what Grace wants to go to the zoo and see. Lavingos. You know, those tall pink birds that stand on one foot.

Friday, September 14, 2007

Shameless Plug

Here's some advice: If you ever have an event at the Classic Center, request the chocolate cookies with peanut butter in the middle. They'll change your life.

Friday, September 07, 2007

The seaweed is always greener somebody else's lake. Oh the immortal words of Sebastian the crab. I debated for a while what to call this particular post, and it came down to either the winning title (as seen above) or the losing, "I don't know what to do with my life." It seems to me like every time I think I settle on something, I do it for a month and find myself right back where I started - disillusioned , unsettled, and anxious to know what's next. Oftentimes, I think back to the past and wish that I were in some part of it again. And this is where I am right now. I am happy in the day to day, but I really don't see where this is going. And maybe I have to rest in the fact that I may never know. The people and prophets of the Old Testament lived and died for something that they never saw come to fruition. It's amazing to me that they kept faith for more than a day. Because the more I live, the more I think that it doesn't matter what my profession is (or what I do day in and day out), but it matters how I live my life around the people that God puts me around.

I pray that God would grant me grace for feet and faith for eyes so that I can move farther forward, not just farther along.

Sunday, July 15, 2007

All we need is love

Five words that rarely come out of my mouth after a radio announcer says, "And here is a song by Nickelback called...," are "Ooohh, I like this song." But that is exactly what you would have heard if you had been in the car with us on the way to Publix last Sunday. I know, I know, it's sad, but hear me out before you judge me. I don't know what the name of the song is, but it's the one that was on the commercial for "Heroes" sometime this last year. The chorus is something like, "If everyone cared and nobody cried, if everyone loved and nobody lied, if everyone shared and swallowed their pride, we'd see the day that nobody died."

It struck me as I heard the song today that the chorus was unintentionally alluding to something that Brian and I have been talking a lot about lately. We've been reading through Romans and it talks a lot about the tension between living by the law and living by faith, but it says that the law is good. So, we were pondering whether we should still live by the whole law when I remembered the verse that I think is in Matthew where Jesus said that the whole law can be summed up in the two commandments, love the Lord your God and love your neighbor as yourself. We discussed how true it is that if we really loved God and everyone there would be no need for all of the other laws. We would naturally fulfill them if we actually all loved each other as ourselves. And I think that whether they are meaning to or not, that is what Nickelback is talking about as well in the "Heroes" commercial song.

Now, I won't get into how because of the fall we are born into sin and we can't fulfill the law so that's why Jesus came, to fulfill it and be the sacrifice in our place in this blog, but maybe we'll get there in another. Romans is fabulous.

Also, as Brian says, "don't hate" about me liking the Nickelback song. I promise it's the only one I don't cringe at.

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Oh, Zagreb

So, I feel that I must finish the saga that was my short trip to Croatia. After four wonderful days on the coast, I rode with the rest of the UGA study abroad trip in a big bus for six hours to the capital city of Croatia - Zagreb. It is a charming European city, complete with lots of churches, narrow roads, squares, cafes, and statues. Zagreb does not have a metro system, it is chock full of these bright blue trolley cars that share the roads with the other cars. Since I could never figure out how to get a ticket to ride said trolleys, I opted for the ancient transportation mode of walking. I definitely got my money's worth out of the clearance Kinnucan's Merrells (sp?) that I bought for the trip.

This is where the meat of my trip was to happen. Please ask me in person sometime about my living situation in Zagreb. It's a long story (as my living situations tend to be) and I fear that I would get a little too worked up writing about it here. Nevertheless, my goal in Zagreb was to meet with NGOs that work with victims of human trafficking in Croatia. Not knowing where to start, a wonderful professor from UGA who was there with the study abroad group allowed me to go with him on the first day that we were there to meet a colleague of his at the Philosophy Faculty of the University of Zagreb. She teaches liguistics like Dr. Langston, but he thought that she had some contacts in the women's studies department there. Providentially, her contact was available when I was there and she immeadiately sat down to talk to me about my interests (which, by the way, are the health issues faced by women who are victims of trafficking, as well as the programs that are already in place to serve them). She also introduced me to a secretary on the hall who volunteers at several agencies in Zagreb. Her name is Jasmina (pronounced: Yasmina). Jasmina was wonderful. She dropped what she was doing, called, and set up meetings for me and my friend Jessi on the next day.

So, last Wednesday Jessi and I met with two different ladies who work with trafficking victims in Croatia. They explained to us the cycle of trafficking and what these women face when the cycle is broken. I'll write more about this in another post. They also told us individual stories of women they have worked with and each story is heartbreaking. This is s rhetorical question, but How can we live in what we call a modern society when people are still bought and sold like toothbrushes?

Needless to say, when I finally ran up the escalator at the Atlanta airport and saw Brian's face, I broke down in tears. It was a wonderful trip, but it was a hard trip. All the while I clung to the chorus of an old Rich Mullins song that goes, "If I stand let me stand on the promise that you'll pull me through, and if I can't let me fall on the grace that first brought me to you. If I sing let me sing for the joy that had borne in me these songs, and if I weep let me weep as a man who is longing for his home."

Monday, June 11, 2007

More Makarska

So, where was I? Dubronik, that's right. Again, Dubrovnik was breathtaking. I just wish that I could have had more time there to explore the city. Oh, another interesting thing about this particular day trip is that we had to drive through a little tip of Bosnia to get to Dubrovnik. On the way home that evening, we stopped at a very nice rest area in Bosnia and I bought some chocolate with the full intentions of brining it home. Alas, I still had a week left, so the Bosnian chocolate did not make it with me - I ate it. At least I can say I've been there, albeit briefly.

The next day we took a trip on an old wooden "sail" boat to two islands off the coast of Makraska. First we stopped on the islad of Hvar in the tiny little town of Jesla. It was so neat to go to all of these little towns. Each one has a little square with cafes and beautiful old churches with bell towers. Next, we went to the island of Brac (pronounced Brach) and spent the afternoon laying out on the beautiful Bol beach. I will mention here that the Adriatic is EXTREMELY salty. So, it is very fun to float around because it takes next to no effort, but when you get out and dry off, you have visible salt deposits all over you.

On the following day, we left Makarska for Zagreb, the capital city of Croatia, which sits landlocked to the northeast of where we were. I will write a post about the escapades there later.

Sunday, June 10, 2007

Heaven on Earth

Well, computers were not as easy to come by as I had thought in Croatia, and you have to pay for internet time, so I was not able to post while I was there. Plans always change, don't they? I am now safely home on the other side of the big pond, just up a bit early because my body is still six hours ahead. This is okay, because I am able to do things before church this morning instead of running out the door at the last minute because I didn't get up early enough.

So, Croatia. Well, it was an adventure. In some ways, it was the best trip I've ever taken, but in others, it was the absolute longest nine days of my life. After 3 planes and 30 hours, I found myself last Friday afternoon in the most beautiful place I've ever been - the Adriatic coast. Croatia has lots of coastline, it basically mirrors Italy on the other side of the Adriatic. It also has more than 1300 islands dotting this coastline. A man named Sveto drove me in his car from Split (Croatia's second largest city and home to Diocletian's Palace) to Makarska, where a UGA study abroad group was staying. They had already been in Croatia for almost three weeks, but I know some of them because they are MPH students also, so I had instant friends. We spent the next four days in paradise. I'm serious, before last week, I had no idea that it was even possible for earth to be so beautiful. There were several times when I almost cried because of the beauty. Take the highest mountains you've ever seen (like the ones out west) and put them on the shore of the clearest blue-green water possible. In between there, grow every kind of fruit tree and flower imaginable - that's Makarska.

We took a trip to Dubrovnik, at the southernmost point in Croatia. This area is also known as the Dalmatian coast. Dubrovnik is an old walled city with stone ramparts and steep, rocks on the coast. It looks like something out of a fairy tale. Interesting thing about Dubrovnik, it was once an independent state who's motto is Liberty. It was a very early democracy and is said to be the first country to recognize America's independence from Great Britain.

Okay, now I do have to get ready, so I'll write more later...

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

More about Croatia

Just in case you're like I was a year ago and have no idea where Croatia is, it was once part of Yugoslavia and is directly across the Adriatic Sea, going east from the boot-like penninsula that is Italy. It is a small country with a very rich history. Zagreb, the capital city, is a very old city that used to be two cities, one that was the upper Catholic city, and one that was the lower, secular city. Zagreb even means "below the hill" referring to the fact that much of it lies below the still standing, ancient cathedral. I hope to visit this while I am there. The first half of my trip will take place on the Adriatic coast in a town called Makarska. This is a fishing village along the coast. Many of the cities dotting the coast and islands still have strong evidence of ancient Roman occupation. This is going to be cool.

Right now, Croatia is hoping to be admitted to the European Union (EU) within the next two years. The official lanuage is Croatian and is a Slavic language. (Translation: it is nothing like anything that I know.) There are about 4 million people in Croatia and their currency is the kuna. That is about all I know now, but I will write more as I learn it.

Most of all, I am thankful that I will not be alone while in Croatia. Two of my good friends are there now and will be there for the first half of my trip. After that, I will be with some undergraduate interns from UGA, of whom I know one girl. Ultimately, I rest in the fact that I am never alone because the Lord is always with me.

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Off to Croatia

Hey, for anyone who still reads this blog, I thought I'd let everyone know that I am off to Croatia on Thursday. I am going to hopefully talk to women's groups in the capital city of Zagreb about the issues regarding domestic violence and sexual assualt that they face there and how they serve victims of these crimes. While I am there, I am going to do my best to update this blog with my activities. Please check back here for further accounts of my trip.

Above all, please pray for me as I travel for safety and direction.

Wednesday, May 02, 2007

Eating my words

Crunch, crunch. What is that sound? Me eating second breakfast this morning? No, it hasn't come to that yet, it's me eating my words. A while ago I wrote a tirade against skinny jeans and slowly but surely they kept growing on me until I found a pair that fit and flatter last Friday at JCrew for $10. So, I bought them. And, what is more, I really like them.

But for the record, they're called matchstick jeans.

Sunday, March 18, 2007

Jet Lag Nonsense

I wrote this last week and forgot to post it, so here goes...

March 9, 2007

I feel like my head is spinning because of jet lag, so I am sitting here writing so that I will not fall asleep during my last few minutes at work today. I feel a little bit like I am operating in a parallel universe today. About an hour ago, I went to the bathroom and I am pretty sure that I dozed off on the toilet. It always amazes me when I look forward to big life events, such as the trip to China to adopt Micah, and they just come and go like the wind. On the one hand, I feel like I was there forever. My body certainly feels like it was in a time zone that is 13 hours different than the one I am in now for 2 whole weeks.

In the many hours that I laid in bed last night wide awake, I began to try and process all that I saw, heard, thought, and felt during the time we spent in China. It is absolutely the most amazing thing that I have ever experienced to watch a child be adopted and learn to trust their new family. It is also always amazing to go to another place than the one that I live and realize how very small I am. My tendency is to almost start to feel insignificant, but then I begin to understand that we are all needed for certain purposes. Ever since I have been in graduate school, whenever I go away on a trip or have any sort of break, I get terribly depressed when it’s time to come back to the routine. This happened to me this week as usual, but since I am beginning to understand that I have a purpose, this really changes the light of everything for me. Right now, I am not quite sure what this purpose is, but I have to maintain hope that there is one for me. Oh, but I am rambling because I am so tired and I have about two million thoughts running amuck in my head.

Meanwhile, I am listening to our outreach advocate counsel a victim over the phone. She is unbelievable to be able to deal with what she deals with day in and day out and still have to presence of mind and energy to raise seven children. I mean really, I think I struggle with being a graduate student and having two cats! I think I may have it easy. The stories that some of these victims have blow my mind. Before this semester I had no earthly idea that even half of this stuff went on. It’s insane, you don’t even see some of this kind of stuff on television because it is so unreal. Okay, no more info about that. Just ask me about it sometime. Okay, time to go. I promise that next time I write things will make a bit more sense.

Friday, February 16, 2007

When love takes you in

One week from right now I will be on a plane to China with the rest of my family. Well, all except for one. The one we will be missing is the one we're going to meet. My parents are adopting again, but this time the child is a little boy. His name is Micah, but he doesn't know it yet. In fact, he has a family, a home, and a whole room with toys that he knows nothing about yet. But all of that is about to change in a whirlwind next Sunday when we meet him for the first time. "Like the rain that falls into the sea, in a moment what has been is lost in what will be."

Reflecting on the trip and Micah's adoption always leads me to the Gospel. Micah did not choose the life that he was born into. Similarly, he did not choose the conditions in which he lives. My mom saw his picture on their adoption agency's website one day last February and knew that he was her son. In essence, my parents chose Micah. They have done all of the paperwork, crossed all the t's, dotted all of the i's, and paid for the entire event. We are going to the other side of the world to pick him up and bring him home. He will be given a new name and a new home. He will be a fellow heir of my parents alongside Sarah, Andy, Grace, and me. All of this is not to "toot our own horn," so to speak, but rather to illustrate very clearly the work that God did in Christ on our behalf. We had no choice in the matter. We were helpless, even enemies of God when He chose us and paid for us with the dearest possession that He had, Himself, His Son. He finished all the work and now I am a daughter of God, a fellow heir with Christ himself. I am humbled to even begin to understand these things.