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Monday, December 30, 2013

Year in Review

2013 was a year measured in Disney trips. January opened with a trip to Disneyland, in the summer we traveled to Walt Disney World, and December ended with a final outing to Disneyland. Such a delight to experience the happiest place on earth with my friends and family.

In between Disney trips, I finished the last of my classes and said goodbye to college. Life is chugging along. I can't believe that I am out of college and will start working full-time next year. With so many changes, I'm blessed to experience each of these moments with wonderful people who make life all the more sweet. 

At the end of this year, I can look back and see that God has been faithful, He has provided, and He has evidenced Himself in very tangible ways. 

2013, its been magical.

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Merry Christmas!

But the angel said to them, “...I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord." Luke 2:10-11

How can it be that two thousand years ago God became flesh, a baby in a manger? Ultimate hope was born in ultimate humility. This Christmas, I am reminded of the humility and love of our Savior, that He would leave the glories of heaven and become man so that we could be forgiven and have life with Him. 

Praying that you know His love and wishing you a very Merry Christmas!

Monday, December 23, 2013

College Over and Out

The concluding weeks of school were filled with holiday shenanigans and savoring the last bits of college life. 

The end of the semester clearly calls for one last Ibex reunion. Since coming back form Israel last December, 2 couples have gotten married, 5 of us are graduating this fall, and 2 are moving to Israel. Our Ibex family is growing up. 

To celebrate the season, my work treated us to a tour of Christmas lights. We had a lovely evening riding around town in a vintage firetruck with warm drinks in hand. Welcome to Wakefield Wonderland, the best-lit street in the city. Bless their electricity bills. 

A beautiful day for our last day of classes, adios Advanced Accounting! 

Fall semester is complete, and with it my college career! What a bittersweet feeling to pack up my dorm room and say goodbye to school, but also to know that very exciting things lie ahead. I'm incredibly thankful for the last 3.5 years that the Lord graciously gave to me. 

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

November Recap

Another month down? One week left of school?

It's true, time sure does fly!

While November came and went in a jiffy, it kindly left behind some memorable moments. 

Free tacos, chips, and guac? Night made! Those are our happy faces.
We visited The Grove in LA for a special screening of About Time. It was the cutest movie. I try to convince people to go see it, but everyone who's seen the trailer doesn't believe a word I say. Don't watch the trailer and just trust me :).

Many-a-nights were spent studying till the crack of dawn {or 2am}. So proud of this girl for surviving accounting. 

As you may or may not know, I love reality TV and Dancing with the Stars is one of my favorites. Each week, I eagerly await what masterpiece Derek has whipped up :).  I was so excited when a sweet friend invited us to go see a taping!
Corbin Blu, Amber Riley, and Jack Osborne! 

Derek and Amber posing for a picture with Brooke during rehearsals.

And look what Brooke posted on her instagram:

- - - - - - - -

Only one more final standing between me and post-college life!
The countdown is ticking.
See you on the flip side.

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Fall Semester

Fall semester is tick, tick, ticking away and I haven't posted a single thing about it. Shameful.

What's been happening around here?

At the beginning of the semester, I found myself knee-deep in the job hunt. On a whim, I applied for a job at a dream-of-mine company, thinking I'd never hear a word from them. To my surprise, they called me and the whirlwind began. Let me just say, interviewing is stressful.

By God's grace, I was offered the job and I immediately accepted. I am so thankful and cannot wait to start in July!

In October, we trekked down to Orange County to help a church host their annual rummage sale for orphan care. I got to spend a week with these goofs sorting clothes, pricing hundreds of items, and running from the occasional tractor. 

A year ago, we were in Israel eating hummus and pita and today we're back in America eating scones and sipping tea. A year's gone by and I still adore these girls and the memories we share.

Good times, fall semester, good times.

Now let's hurry on up to Thanksgiving break :).

Monday, September 23, 2013

Reminiscing Israel: Rafting Across Galilee

* Reminiscing Israel // memories from my semester studying abroad in Israel. See all of them here.

In between day-long hikes, sightseeing, and floating down the Jordan, we managed to squeeze in afternoon of free time. 

Well...not everyone.

Most people were booked all seven days in Galilee, but for the mere 6 of us who weren't enrolled in the hiking class, we were granted a free day! 

Naturally, with afternoon of leisurely nothing in front of us, we blew up a teeny, yellow raft and decided to go rafting in the Sea of Galilee. 

We didn't take a camera, because who wants to risk their camera on the water? Not me!

1. The raft was so tiny that only 4 of us could fit inside. Leaving 2 of us to trail behind in inner tubes while hanging on to back of the raft by a single strand of rope.

2. Jonny practically rowed all 6 of us. The human propellers on the back didn't work so well.

3. Emalee is normal sized in real life.

4. Lauren and I were not seasick despite those expressions.

5. The two in the back really did pretend to be dolphins.

6. We tried to row across the Sea, but didn't even make it halfway, or a quarter of the way.

7. Thinking about the ridiculousness of this adventure always make me laugh. It was the best of times.

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Reminiscing Israel: Ein Gedi

* Reminiscing Israel // memories from my semester studying abroad in Israel. 

One hot Sunday, we took a hike through Ein Gedi.
First, we tackled Nahal Arugot.
And then Nahal David and its Ascent of Ziz where Jehoshaphat trusted in the Lord to win the battle over the Moabites and the Ammonites {2 Chronicles 20: 15-30}.

Ziz was so extremely steep! I think I would've collapsed right then and there in the middle of the rocks if our professor hadn't stopped for a breather. . .every two minutes. 
We made it to the top!
So sweaty! haha

On our way down the mountain, we stopped by this gorgeous waterfall. 
and happily jumped in to cool off!

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Walt Disney World

Near the end of June we jetted off to DISNEY WORLD in Orlando, Florida!

My {exceedingly generous} grandma organized the trip for the whole family {aunts, uncles, cousins, and all}. A party of 11!

Our time at Disney went by in a flash! We toured all 4 Disney parks as well as Universal Studios & Downtown Disney.

We stayed at the Beach Club Resort. It was SO charming and sat beside this lake.

Disney Resort // rainbow sunset on the Boardwalk 
Florida, you are prettier than a painting.

Animal Kingdom // Kilimanjaro Safaris ride
 Just splashin' away! This little buddy was having way too much fun. I think we were all jealous of his water play while we were swimming in sweat. Did I mention Florida's heat?! Orlando's HOT and humid, double whammy weather.

Epcot // Test Track ride
 By far my favorite ride at Epcot! We digitally created a car of our own, and then "tested" it during the ride. After the ride there's a bunch of interactive activities and a showcase of cars. This spiffy red one was ready for pictures. I, however, was not {can't.get.out.of.car.in.5.seconds}.

Epcot // World Showcase Fireworks
 The best way to end our last night at Disney World!

Monday, July 15, 2013

Reminiscing Israel: Cat Nips

* Reminiscing Israel // memories from my semester studying abroad in Israel. See all of them here.

Cats in Israel are kind of like squirrels in America. Stray cats are everywhere in Israel. EVERYWEHRE.

Wandering the streets of Jerusalem, all over the moshav, even in our dorms.

Meet Nips, as he was affectionately named.
I have no idea where he came from or how he appeared, but he sure took a liking to our group. So much so that he would follow us around and wait outside our dorm. As soon as we'd open the door, he'd run into our rooms.

It was cute. He was cute. At first.

Until he started to open closed doors by hanging on the door handle. I would have been impressed by his intellect and dexterity if we weren't so distracted by shooing him away from our food and chasing him outside!

After honing his mad opening-closed-door skills, he entered the dorms while we were away and ate the sacred mac and cheese in a land full of raw vegetables and mystery meat -- that was the last straw.
A fellow from our group walked the feisty little one to a neighborhood down the street and left him there.

Ok, that was a little depressing! But with cunning and wit like his, I'm sure he managed just fine. We even heard that he returned to the campus after we left.

Saturday, July 6, 2013

The Bachelorette in Barcelona

This week, The Bachelorette headed to Barcelona!

Who else watches this show? I fully admit that it is all kinds of ridiculous, and yet every week I look forward to watching it. Guilty pleasure, ughh.

I was even more excited to watch Monday night's episode because Des and her guys spent the week in Barcelona {my favorite city in the world!}. After visiting the city last year, I fell in LOVE with it.

I know I'm going overboard in this post, but I just couldn't help myself :).
Des waiting for Drew...
on the same street as the flat we rented!

* * * * *
La Sagrada de Familia!

 * * * * *

Des and Drew under the arch.

* * * * *
The grand cathedral.

If you ever have a chance to visit Barcelona, do it!

P.S. Why yes, I really was wearing the same outfit in every picture, haha. We visited all these sites on the same day and they were walking distance of one another.

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Reminiscing Israel: First Field Trip

* Reminiscing Israel // a series of memories from my semester studying abroad in Israel. See all of them here.

Let's go back to the beginning.

Back to our first field trip.

Back to the first time I stepped into Jerusalem and placed my feet upon the heart of the Holy Land. The place where Christ was buried and rose again. The place where He ascended into the clouds and promises to return again.

I had no idea what the semester would hold, and frankly, I wasn't quite into the whole "being abroad" thing. I remember counting down the days, anticipating going home even though I had just gotten there!

Pit Stop #1 :: Roof of the Petra Hostel
We set our eyes on this panoramic beauty. Our first view of Jerusalem!

Pit Stop #2 :: Church of the Holy Sepulchre
This is the most probable location where Jesus was buried and rose again.

Pit Stop #3 :: Lunch by the Damascus gate
We stopped off at a grassy park and devoured the first of many shwarmas & falafels {it's Israeli fast food!}

Pit Stop #4 :: Shaban's Shop in the Old City
All the shops in the old city hike up their prices about 200+% for tourists. I don't know how many times I walked out of a shop thinking, I probably got ripped off like a fool, haha. Shaban offers honest prices, no bargaining necessary. Whenever we visited his store he'd pour us a drink and offer us a chair. Sweet man!

Pit Stop #5 :: Jerusalem city wall
We walked along the top of the wall enclosing Jerusalem. There's the Mount of Olives!

Pit Stop #6 :: Pools of Bethesda
Here a great number of disabled people used to lie—the blind, the lame, the paralyzed. One who was there had been an invalid for thirty-eight years . . . Then Jesus said to him, “Get up! Pick up your mat and walk.” At once the man was cured; he picked up his mat and walked. ~ John 5

Pit Stop #7 :: Wailing Wall
 I'm exhausted just thinking about all the walking we did! We learned and saw so much in that one day. And that was just the beginning...

Saturday, June 29, 2013

Remeniscing Israel: Jordan Float

* Reminiscing Israel // memories from my semester studying abroad in Israel. See all of them here.
All prepped and ready to swim in the river where Jesus was baptized and a blind man was healed from leprosy! He [Naaman] went down and dipped himself in the Jordan seven times, as the man of God had told him, and his flesh was restored and became clean like that of a young boy {2 Kings 5}.

The Jordan is, for the most part, a calm little thing, but at points along the way it can be pretty strong-willed. So you can probably guess where our professors opted to have us start our river journey. . .where the current is the strongest, of course!
As soon as we plopped our innertubes on the water, the gushing waters dragged us into the side of the bank where the trees had long, tangly branches, just perfect for trapping unsuspecting people. While others found their footing or somehow navigated themselves out from the trees, I found myself completely submerged underwater and couldn't get up, or breathe. Thankfully, a kind soul came and pulled me out of those crazy waters. Near death experience in the Jordan, ✓!

Fortunately, it was pretty smooth sailing from there on out. Just floatin' along!
And to think, of all the rivers in the world, Jesus was baptized in these murky waters.

Then Jesus came from Galilee to the Jordan to be baptized by John. . . As soon as Jesus was baptized, He went up out of the water. At that moment heaven was opened, and He saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and lighting on Him. And a voice from heaven said, “This is my Son, whom I love; with Him I am well pleased."
{Matthew 13, 16-17}

 After the float, we compared bruises. Shallow bank + rocky ground = wounded knee. 
It was worth it :).

Monday, June 3, 2013

Dorm Room DIY

I'm no DIY {do-it-yourself} expert, but I love attempting a decorating/crafting scheme every now and then.

So let's do some DIY, dorm room style!

The wonderful thing about a dorm is that you can run wild since nobody really has expectations about how a dorm should look. Pretty much anything goes! So even if my DIY ends up looking not-so-hot, it's ok!

1. Photo collages are great if you want to display a whole bunch of photos. Anyone else have a hard time narrowing down pictures? I made these collages using Picasa {a free photo editor from Google}, printed them out on paper, and stuck them in a frame.

2. Magazine files are perfect for maintaining those random papers that accumulate from who knows where. Just toss the mystery papers into a file, and wallahhh, a clean desk! The file on the right has a bunch of folders in it, one for each class.

3. Wrapping paper as wall paper adds some color to a stark white room. Plus, it's so easy and so inexpensive! The wrapping paper cost $3 at Homegoods and is adorable to boot. All I did was cut the wrapping paper to fit inside the shelf, and used scotch tape to adhere it to the wall.

4. Because I'm a string light fiend, I already had those gigantic lanterns. Rather than hang them from the ceiling {which dorm policy doesn't allow, hello fire hazard}, I hung them from the top of the shelf using command hooks. Easy peasy!

5. Wall decals dress up a wall, but don't cause damage or involve nails. Perfect for dorms!

6. This was a plain white cup that I wrapped in a scrap of wrapping paper. That wrapping paper keeps popping up everywhere, huh?

7. Hang jewelry from the wall using tacs {or tiny command hooks}. Double functions as a jewelry organizer and wall decor.

8. Plain ol' cork boards are great, but patterned cork boards? Even better! Simply wrap the boards in a fun fabric and attach with a stapler.

Happy decorating!