Thursday, April 30, 2009

Granddaddy Mark



Dear Granddaddy,

I can’t believe its been a year since you passed away. I just can’t believe it. I still expect to see you when I walk in the door at Grandma’s house, and I hate seeing your boat or your chair because it makes me miss you so much more. I hate that you won’t be able to walk down the aisle with Grandma at my wedding – but I am so thankful that you got to know and love Parker. I hate that Weston lost one of his best friends and fishing buddies at such a young age. (You would be so proud of him - he’s playing second base this year. He’s not quite the batter that you were, but then again, who is?) I miss your voice when we sing “Happy birthday, God bless you” at birthday dinners with the family and I miss hearing you break out with “Rock of Ages” at random times.

We have had such a tough year and in some ways, I’m glad you haven’t been here for it. But, we have also had so many wonderful things happen and I suspect that you might have played a role in talking to Jesus on our behalves. Mom is in remission and Rebecca is pregnant – with triplets! Oh gosh, I know that you would be so excited. Weston has grown so much taller in the last year and Walker is walking around like a champ now. Grandma is still the cutest, wisest, strongest woman that I know and she misses you, her one and only sweetheart, like crazy.

Thank you so much for loving me and making me feel special. You were exactly what the perfect granddad is supposed to be – you and Grandma are the most wonderful grandparents anyone could ask for. Thank you for showing me how to fish and how to work in the garden. Thank you for showing me how to love so tenderly and purely like you loved Grandma. Thank you for showing me how to be strong in God – your determination and will power still amazes me. You never let anything, and I mean anything, get in your way of doing something that you wanted to do – not even Parkinson’s.

We miss you so much and we still grieve for you. I thought for sure that you’d be truckin’ on for many more years – years where you could see me marry the love of my life and hold my babies like you held me in the picture Mom took on my first birthday. But, I know our Father had better plans when He called you home last April, and I know that your loving on us and looking out for us from Heaven - in between all the time you spend fishing and singing, I mean.

I love you and miss you so much!

laura ann

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Spring '09 Semester Reflections

What a wonderful and busy semester! I learned so much! Overall, I loved my classes – Fiction, Japan’s Modern Revolution, History of Rome, Sociology, and Religion & Culture in America (well maybe not Religion…) In Fiction, I learned that there are a lot of disturbing novels available (i.e. Lolita and Dogeaters). I learned that the Japanese sang “Ee ja nai ka?” in the streets on the eve of the revolution, meaning “What the heck?” I learned everything I know about Rome from Talbert, the best professor at UNC. (Who knew that Cleopatra was such a manipulative, popular lady friend of Caesar and Antony?) I learned people have really broad definitions of religion… and for the record, I still don’t see jazz and coca-cola as religions. I taught 7th graders about Lao Tzu, Confucius, and Buddha and learned that though 7th grade kids are down right mean, they can be quite entertaining.

I read A LOT of books (I even left 2 out by accident – The Autobiography of an Ex-Colored Man by James Weldon Johnson, and Ceremony, by Leslie Marmon Silko).

I worried when Weston was in the hospital with pancreatitis… and other family members that have been in the hospital since then.

I got my wisdom teeth removed and then had to re-visit the doctors because of pain during that week. (which, by the way, my parking ticket appeal to NC Central was denied! I found out yesterday - grrr... what am I supposed to do, make my car float while I go inside to get the permit?)

I got to play in the first big snow since I’ve been at Carolina… and still had to go to class.

I’ve endured a whole semester without one of my closest friends, Erin, who was in Madagascar and now is in Botswana. Here we are talking on the phone with her while standing in the line for the UNC-dook game.

Speaking of… I celebrated 2 wins against dook and a National Championship (WHOO!!)

Wow, this semester has flown by! Four semesters down and two to go! I’m four exams away from being a senior! Crazy!

To see my reflections of last semester… click here.

laura ann

Monday, April 27, 2009

Family Stuff

Hey everyone!

I have a prayer request - my family. My Grandma Sue (Mom's mom who has Alzheimer's) was taken to the hospital last night. She's been very hostile towards anyone who tries to help her and she hasn't been eating. She had a really bad week and things aren't getting better, so she may or may not be moving to a nursing home. Please pray that the right decision is made for her and our family.

My Aunt Debbie (Dad's sister) is still in the hospital. She has really her moments/days, so please pray for her and that situation.

Finally, Thursday (April 30th) is the one year anniversary of my Granddaddy Mark's (Dad's dad) death. We still are saddened by and coping with his death, even a year later.

So, needless to say... We have a lot going on and I just ask that you pray for us so that we may have peace through all of this and that we can cling tight to each other and God. While I may not post much about the struggles my family is facing, please know that it is still very tough on us and we are still very much affected by them.

Mom, Dad, Weston, & I had a wonderful weekend together. Weston had a baseball game Friday and Saturday nights and we love being at the ball fields. We also went to Relay for Life Friday night, which is particularly special since my mom and Grandma Margie are breast cancer survivors.

I have some great pictures from the ball games and Relay (I got to catch up with my dear friend Anna!), but they are on my mom's camera... in Greenville. So you will just have to wait! :)

God bless!

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Score one for the Jesus music!

Recently I wrote a paper for my Religion & Culture class on Contemporary Christian artists crossing over into mainstream radio. I did a lot of research and found a lot of fascinating information. For focus sake, I divided Contemporary Christian Music (CCM) into two categories:

1) Blatantly religious (meaning it openly talks about God, Heaven, faith, etc.)

2) Ambiguously religious (meaning it can be on secular radio because it can be open to interpretation)

I focused my paper on the second category and talked about the growing popularity and acceptance of this type of music. Usually, proclaimed Christians that are not signed with Christian music labels sing these songs. For example, Mat Kearney, Creed, Lifehouse, The Fray, Switchfoot, etc. Anyways, these artists/songs/albums have been hitting the top of the Billboard charts over the last decade, while playing on Christian radio too. How awesome is that?

But, what is even MORE awesome is this: Did you know that 6 of the top 11 finalists on American Idol this season are self-proclaimed Christians? Yep! Danny Gokey, Michael Sarver (oil-rig guy), Kris Allen, Scott MacIntyre, Matt Giraud, and Lil Rounds all have said they are believers. Danny, Michael, and Kris all lead their local churches’ worship teams and Scott is a member of a gospel-quartet. Before coming on the show, Matt was previously in the Christian music industry and he has already released Christian albums. AND Danny, Matt, and Kris are in the top five now! Previous contestants such as Chris Daughtry, Ruben Studdard, and Carrie Underwood are also believers and have had cross-over songs – well, Ruben crossed-over completely into the gospel industry.

So what’s so great about this? Two things actually – 1) Clean music on secular radio = awesome! And 2) studies continually prove that the number of believers in America is on the decline and younger generations have the least. Well, who listens to pop radio and watches American Idol? Younger generations! Many of this generation's role models are believers and the music they sing glorifies God! (Sweet! High five!)

Score one for the Jesus music!

In a time where so-called “tolerance” rules over the nation, but Christians are mocked and dismissed for their “close-minded” views (did you see Miss America?), this news is awesome!

I could write so much more on this (only because I just wrote a paper on it), but that’s the gist of it. I thought it was pretty interesting so I wanted to share.

Rock on!

laura ann

Friday, April 24, 2009

"Summertime's a coming"

Thankfully, this busy semester is almost over. I’ve been thinking about what I want to do with all my free time this summer (besides working of course). I always have a bunch of things that I want to do, but during the school year they just aren’t feasible time wise. So, I’ve started a list (yes, a list) of the things I want to do this summer:

  1. Read Pride & Prejudice – its one of my favorite movies and I feel like such a cop out that I haven’t actually read the book… so, read it I will!
  2. Get a tan! Last summer, between summer school and work there was no time for fun in the sun. AND, seeing that I’m in two weddings coming up… girl needs to get a tan.
  3. Go to bed on time! - cause that never happens in college... didn't you see my last post?
  4. Finish my Grandma’s stocking that I started for her … for Christmas (ahem… last Christmas). Gosh cross-stitching takes so much time!
  5. Scrapbook – oh long, lost hobby, how I miss thee…

That’s all I have on the list so far… I’ll let you know if I add anything! What do you have on your list for the summertime?

laura ann

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Random Rambles No. 1

Man, (if I was a politically correct person, I would say "person" since "Man" is exclusive and all...) after finishing my paper at 3 am last night (yes, I know I should start on it sooner, but hello? I haven’t had time to work on it because of the other 1,023,423,497 things I’ve had to do), I was utterly exhausted! If I had it my way, I’d be in bed by 10:30 every night (yes, I know I’m in college, but I’m okay with being a loser), a girl needs her beauty sleep, right?

Anyways…
I actually woke up pretty well rested and went to class… though I considered turning in my paper and heading back to bed, I really wanted to do the Professor/Course evaluation for that class, but that’s a post for another day. Though I was feeling pretty rested, I was in quite the feisty mood today (in case you haven't already noticed).

For example, some guy in the quad was passing out pamphlets this morning. This is not unusual, but I really hate when people force you to take something that you’re going to throw away… I mean, just save a tree already. The guy prefaced the pamphlet with “Don’t you care enough to stop violence?” Okay, sure, I care about stopping violence, I’ll accept your little pamphlet thingy. Pause. It’s a pamphlet about becoming vegan. Hmm... nope, don’t care that much.

Fast forward to later… my friend Brittany and I were heading to pick up some lunch when vegan guy interrupts us. No I don’t want another one of your pamphlets about vegans and slaughter houses. I did not kill the animal, I simply ate an already cooked, dead animal… just like you are passing out paper that's on an already cut down tree. Besides, why let a good, cooked chicken go to waste when there are starving people in Africa? I’m sure they don’t think that eating chicken is violent. “Don’t you care enough to stop violence” Brittany and I: “NO!” And we proceed to Chick-fil-a. Seriously… we ate chicken nuggets.

**Just to defend myself, I really have nothing against vegans. I think it’s a noteworthy lifestyle, and I’m all for it if you want to do it, but it is definitely not for me.

Then, as I was walking into the restroom before class, I noticed that the sign said “Women’s Toilet.” Oh, just one toilet? I mean, really, who chose that sign? In fact, the restroom has several stalls, probably fifteen or more. With a toilet in each. As I was leaving, I saw across from me, “Men’s Toilet” Ha! Too bad they didn’t put "Urinal." Then, the following thought crossed my mind: These signs don’t even have Braille! Why I thought that I have no idea – it always bothers me when room signs have Braille because really? how would a blind person know that there was a sign there in the first place? Don’t believe me? – check it out sometime, you’ll see. But anyways – this thought alone tells me that I OBVIOUSLY need to get more sleep – I’m thinking off the wall thoughts. And with that said… I’m off to bed! (I just rhymed. In case you didn’t notice haha)

laura ann

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Stellan

Please pray for baby Stellan! He's having heart surgery right now in Boston - and Mckmama* just heard that he has fluid in his lungs and tissues. I have no idea what that means, but please be in prayer for this sweet baby boy!

*While I do not know Mckmama personally, I have been following her blog for about a year and feel as if I know her and her sweet family. You can follow her updates on her blog or click on my sidebar on "my charming kids."

laura ann

Monday, April 20, 2009

Weekend Fun

Yes, I'm still alive and well! Sorry it's been a couple of days.... but ANYWAYS!
I had an AMAZING weekend! Parker & I got to hang out and spend some quality time together. We went out to eat at Champs with Amanda & Cory and Katherine & Eric. The six of us went bowling afterwards and let's just say I was in God's good grace or something because I bowled better than I ever have before... definitely a fluke and will probably never happen again. The boys won... but the girls were pretty close considering the guys had a professional very good bowler.

First game scores:
Boys 344, Girls 316

Second game scores:
Boys 358, Girls 302

I bowled a 133 first game, and a 112 second game. Just to make it clear, I don't remember ever breaking 100 before this weekend - ever.

Here's the picture to prove it.


Although Cory's score is covered up... I let you figure out who the very good bowler is for the boys...

Team Boys - Eric, Parker, & Cory

Team Girls - Amanda, Laura, & Katherine
We may have lost the bowling contest, but I think it's safe to say we won the beauty contest :) haha... just sayin'

laura ann

Thursday, April 16, 2009

I'd rather be...

...here...
...or here...
...watching the sunset like this...
...or this...
Summer PLEASE come soon!

*By the way, the first picture is at the Atlantic beach, and the last three are at Parker's family's river house.

laura ann

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Semester Wrap-Up

Just wanted to ask for prayer for me as the semester wraps up! As usual, the last few weeks are crazy busy. Just to give you an idea this is what the rest of the semester looks like:

Wednesday (Today) – Japan’s Modern Revolution paper on Emergence of Modern Political Parties in the 1880s (5 pgs)
Thursday – Religion/Culture in America Exam
Friday – Rome Paper #5 on Augustus (2 pgs)
Monday – Fiction Comparative Analysis paper (6-8 pgs)
Tuesday – Teaching Fellows portfolio due
Thursday – Religion/Culture in America paper on Contemporary Christian Music’s artists crossing over into secular radio (10-12 pgs)
Friday – Rome Paper #6 due (2 pgs)
Finals begin and run until May 6th
So if you think about it, please pray for my sanity & ability to stay stress-free!

...and Carolina thinks A’s are easy to come by…. HA! Did you read that article? Geez – I’d just like to talk about that real quick:
Could it be because Carolina is getting record numbers of applications and therefore accepting more and more higher achieving scholars? Could it be because Carolina continues to recruit top faculty? I for one am not on the receiving end of all A’s (THAT would be nice for all the hard work I put in for all these classes! And, as far as I know, my brilliant friends aren’t either – in my circle of friends we have 3 high school valedictorians and the rest of us were in the top 10 PEOPLE, not percent – and we aren’t receiving all A’s here at Carolina) And finally, I’ve actually been on the losing end of the bell curve – meaning, more than once, when I made a straight out B+ (etc.) on an exam, due to the “curve,” I ended up with a C+…. So yeah… no A’s there...Just sayin… :) I don't know where they are getting their information!

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Also, I put up the new verse for this week – this is the 4th one, do you remember them all?

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

What's wrong with being "just" a woman?

In a discussion about gender in my religion class today, I was appalled by people’s views on women in religion. But before I start my rant, please know that though UNC is a liberal university, I think that many people here are “bandwagon” liberals. I think that many people here are afraid to speak out against the grain, which I find SO interesting since everyone thinks that being “liberal” is going against the grain. Anyhooo….

It is no secret that I want to get married young, build a home, and have children. I want to be a wife, a mother, a nurturer, and a homemaker. My priority will not be my career, though I plan to have one as a teacher. And that is okay. Sure, I go to a prestigious university and plan to graduate with a masters degree in 2011 and while I will be proud of my accomplishments, they won’t define me. I want to enter a covenant of marriage, and dare I say it, submit to my husband out of love and respect – just as the church does to Christ. What’s that? “Submit?” you ask, “but that’s not PC!” (Oh the horror! – insert sarcasm)

Why yes, I believe in submitting to my husband out of love and respect, because on the other side of the equation, he will honor me with his sacrifices out of love and respect. Oh, what? It’s mutual? YEAH! Have you read all of Ephesians 5? The rest of it says:

“Husbands, love your wives just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her.. Husbands should love their wives as their own bodies. Man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one.” verses 25, 28, 31

So, my husband will make sacrifices for me out of love and respect, just as Christ does for the church. My husband will love me as he loves himself because we shall be one. Not 2 unequal parts of a whole – but one whole. We will love, honor, and respect each other – it’s a mutual thing!

Sorry, I got a bit off track there… but back to original rant…

Did you know there is such a thing as a “politically correct” bible? There is! All the places that once said Father (as in “Our father in Heaven”) have been changed to either Father-Mother or God. All the places that said “Son of Man,” now say “the Human One.” Even though I want to laugh at such ridiculousness, it really frustrates me. Seriously? Women and men are different! We were both made in God’s image (Genesis 1:27) and we are both fearfully and wonderfully made (Psalm 139:14). God didn’t just create men and women with different parts and of different names without a reason. It was intentional. It is okay to be different from men – men aren’t better than women, therefore, being different from men doesn’t make women any less better.

So, get over your need to be politically correct lest you offend someone. The sheer fact that you think that when something is not politically correct it might offend women, is offensive in itself.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

My Redeemer Lives!

Glory to God! Happy Resurrection Sunday!

“He is not here; he has risen, just as he said.” - Matthew 28:6

I had a wonderful weekend at the river with Parker’s side of the family. Unfortunately, we totally missed the Sunrise Service on the river – apparently, they decided to make it a “First Light” service and we watched the sunrise on the way back to the river house. Nonetheless, it was beautiful. I loved spending time with Abi and Cody!

Oh, funny story! Yesterday, Abi and I were putting together a big ABC floor puzzle and after we finished it, we were pointing at and saying each letter. I’d point and she’d say the letter and it went something like this: A, B, C, D, E, F, G [Good job Abi!], H, I, J, K [right!], L, ‘em-nen-en-a’ Haha! Duh, “M” is totally short for “em-nen-en-a.” I mean, that is how the song goes… haha!

Yesterday, Abi played in her pool (brr!) and Cody fished on the pier. Candice and Jacob cleaned fish (yuck!). Last night Candice, Jacob, Martha Lynn, Preston, Parker, and I played Taboo – I regret to say the boys won :(

Here are a few pics from the weekend… (Look at that precious curly blonde hair!)





Anyways, I read Mckmama’s post today and just wanted to comment. She is SO right – Truth is not relative. Truth is truth. I don’t buy into the whole “I can believe what works for me and you can believe what works for you” thing. There is only one truth. Politically correctness, open-mindedness, tolerance, etc. – psh posh. If what I believe to be true is Christ died for my sins and was risen from the dead, and someone else believes that there is no God and no eternal life, only one can be true. I’ll take my chances. I know that my Redeemer lives!

Friday, April 10, 2009

"Numb from her toes down..."

I have 3 things that are totally unrelated and since I cannot come up with a nifty way to connect them, I'll just have to be unoriginal and scatter-brained. So without further ado...

I have GREAT NEWS! My mom had her 3 month checkup scan and everything remains stable! No changes = no cancer! Woot woot! Praise God! We are thrilled, but not surprised, for He is the Great Physician!

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I'm home for the day hanging out with mom and doing some stuff on my never ending To Do List. Tomorrow, Parker and I are heading to the river for the weekend with his WHOLE family - Preston, Martha Lynn, and the kids, Candice, Jacob, Ms. Lydia, & Mr. Jack. I'm SO excited to see Cody and Abi ("the kids") I haven't seen them in FOREVER! We're going to a sunrise service on Easter morning, which I've never done before so I'm pretty excited.

"And when they had platted a crown of thorns, they put it upon his head, and a reed in his right hand: and they bowed the knee before him, and mocked him, saying, Hail, King of the Jews! And they spit upon him, and took the reed, and smote him on the head. And after that they had mocked him, they took the robe off from him, and put his own raiment on him, and led him away to crucify him. And they crucified him, and parted his garments, casting lots: that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophet." Matthew 27:28-31, 35

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Totally unrelated - but I came across this and thought it was hilarious! Actual sentences found in a patient's medical charts (as posted by my friend Chelsea - Thanks Chels!)

  • Patient has chest pain if she lies on her left side for over a year.
  • On the second day the knee was better, and on the third day it disappeared.
  • The patient is tearful and crying constantly. She also appears to be depressed.
  • The patient has been depressed since she began seeing me in 1993.
  • Discharge status: Alive but without permission.
  • The patient refused autopsy.
  • The patient has no previous history of suicides.
  • She is numb from her toes down.
  • While in ER, she was examined, X-rated and sent home.
  • The skin was moist and dry.
  • Occasional, constant, infrequent headaches.
  • Patient was alert and unresponsive.
  • Rectal examination revealed a normal size thyroid.
  • She stated that she had been constipated for most of her life, until she got a divorce.
  • The lab test indicated abnormal lover function.
  • Skin: somewhat pale but present.
  • Patient has two teenage children, but no other abnormalities.

Hope you got a kick out of these!

God bless!

PS. I did update the verse for Bible Verse Wednesday (yes, I did it on Wednesday night late, but on Wednesday...) I love this verse!

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Nothin' finer

Last night was the most memorable I’ve had since coming to Carolina! It was so much fun! Since words cannot express the “aweseomeness” of it all… I have a couple of pictures for you!

Katherine and I went to the UNC basketball museum before the game... Look at all these ACC Championships...
However, I noticed a couple of things need to be updated ;-) hehe
But, it never hurts to talk a little smack...
...especially when you can back it up!

You can click on the letter to enlarge the picture, but it says:

Dear Michael [Jordan],
I am sorry to hear that you no longer have an interest in learning more about Duke University, however I do want you to know that my staff and I wish you the very best in your college career. You are a fine young man and you should make an immediate impact on whatever you choose.
Take care, and best of luck.
Sincerely,
Mike Krzyzweski

[Go ahead... you know you want to laugh! Haha!]

On to my childhood favorite basketball player's jersey - Eric Montross, 00!
The group of girls at the Dome - giving a "We Miss You" shoutout to Erin (in Botswana) and Roman (at home sick). Love you girls!
Looks like we'll be adding another one soon... YEAH!
And one more thing to express the greatness of the evening - the following is a video taken towards the end of the 1st half. Mind you, it was this loud throughout the whole game. Fans cheered non-stop. It was the loudest I've ever heard it in the Dome. Without seeing the game, you would've never thought we were winning by 20 at the time. It was a blast and I'll never forget it! (Don't forget to pause the music at the bottom, and you might want to turn your volume down a bit before pressing play.)

video

And in case you were wondering - I was on Franklin after the 2009 Championship Game. And I did get up and go to my 9:30 am class... only because I knew that there "could be nothin' finer than to be at Carolina in the morning..." after winning the national championship!

Cue - "Hark the sound of Tar Heel voices, ringing clear and true. Singing Carolina's praises, shouting NCU (NCU!). Hail to the brightest star of all, clear its radiance shines. Carolina priceless gem, receive all praises thine... I'M A TAR HEEL BORN, I'M A TAR HEEL BRED, AND WHEN I DIE I'M A TAR HEEL DEAD. SO IT'S RAH RAH CAROLINA-LINA, RAH RAH CAROLINA-LINA, RAH RAH CAROLINA-LINA, GO TO HELL DUKE RAH RAH RAH!"

Redemption

Way too tired to do a full out post tonight... but I will leave you with this!

Go Heels!!!! WHOOOO WHOOO 2009 National Champions!!! Yeah!

Saturday, April 4, 2009

Four Chairs

I have had this video for quite some time, and recently watched it again. "Four Chairs" is a message by Adrian Despres, who is on the staff at Kingdom Building Ministries. His message is very moving, but I must warn you... he is quite corny. If you watch any of it - watch from 29:15 to the end. I pray that it speaks to you too! Don't forget to pause the music at the bottom!


the 4 chairs

Also - I updated the Bible Verse for this week on Wednesday - so I hope you join me in arming yourself with God's word!!

God Bless! Enjoy this beautiful weekend!!!! Go Heels!