13 Goals for 2013 Revisited

Last year I made 13 goals for the year 2013 Let’s take a look at how well I did!

1. Go to D.C. for the Cherry Blossom Festival

Check! … well, kind of…

My roommate and I went up to D.C. over Easter break. I was thrilled to find out that we would be there during the Cherry Blossom Festival. Unfortunately, instead of being greeted with hundreds of blooming trees across the Capitol, we experienced a very wet–and cold–weekend.

Despite the lack of blooming beauties, we got to enjoy Capitol Hill Baptist Church, the Capitol Building, the Library of Congress and, of course, Georgetown Cupcake.

White House

2. Dean’s list/honors list both semesters

Check!

When I made this list, I was supposed to graduate in December. However, I was actually able to graduate in May.

I was able to make all As my last semester of college, though and didn’t have to take any of my final exams. I also received the departmental award for communications studies.

Communications Studies Award

3. Visit friends at ECU

Check!

I did make it down to ECU (in February, I think)! Not only did I get to see Erica and Matt, I also got to see my friend, Briana from high school. My trip was really rushed, but it was nice to catch up with some sweet friends. 

4. Visit Liberty

Check!

This could possibly be the best weekend of my last semester of college. The drive to Lynchburg is beautiful, and I could not have been greeted with more gracious hospitality! Ally and I went adventuring through the farmers’ market, a vintage thrift sale, the Farm Basket and many other beauties Lynchburg has to offer.

On my way to Lynchburg, I got to swing by Salem, VA and see my friend Hannah too!

Ally

Photo credit: Ally Tarantino

5. Go to California

Check!

I started off my trip in Los Angeles with Keely. I got to see the Hollywood sign from the distance, and we went to the beach! I spent a lazy afternoon by the pool and I enjoyed every minute of it! Let me tell you, dry heat is a BEAUTIFUL thing.

After a whirlwind weekend, I took a Megabus down to San Jose to spend some time with my friends Michael and Abby. We toured the Apple campus and even went to San Francisco for the day. The highlight of my time with them was probably meeting their daughter, Ada. She is so precious!

Photo credit: Michael Sumner

Photo credit: Michael Sumner

6. See the sun set over the Pacific Ocean

Check–kinda.

This has been on my bucket list for forever, and I can finally (kinda) check it off my list. I didn’t get to actually watch the sun sink below the horizon, but I did get to see the sunset’s beautiful aftermath.

IMG_3838

7. Graduate

Check!

I’m so cool, I beat my Dec. 16 graduation goal! Orrrr…. maybe it’s more like Dr. Carey’s so cool, he let me graduate with the rest of my class because I had enough credits, just not the last few required classes.

(Don’t worry… I did eventually get my diploma!)

Oops!

8. Get a job

Check!

This took a lot longer than I thought it would. I assumed that I’d waltz out of college and everyone would want to hire me. I had actually given up on this goal for the year by the beginning of November. I had found a temporary job where I was happy and I was sure no one would be hiring someone new so close to the holidays.

Boy, was I wrong! I started my job as the education reporter at the Salisbury Post on Dec. 11. It’s been a challenging and exciting few weeks.

Salisbury Post

9. Hit 50 bylines

Check?

If you include press releases and blog posts for Gardner-Webb and NCDA&CS, then yes, I accomplished my goal. If, however, you want to stick strictly to journalism bylines, I fell just a little short. I currently have 40 bylines between Religion News Service, The Shelby Star and Salisbury Post. That being said, I’ve written 15 stories since I started my job at the Post less than a month ago. I am confident that I’ll reach the 50 byline goal within the next two weeks or so.

wapo

10. Read at least halfway through the Bible

Nope.

I’ve never been able to keep up with a one year reading plan, and this year was no different. I’m not quite sure how far I got, but I know I wasn’t 50 percent of the way through. When I switched to my new phone, I got locked out of my login on my Bible app.

11. Learn to shoot a gun

Check! 

When my dad read my list of goals last year, he decided that No. 11 was one he could help me out with. So, when I went up to Wisconsin on my spring break, my whole family headed out to shoot.

gun

12. Read at least six non-school books

Ummmmm….. about that.

I used to love reading, but I really struggle to find the time to do it anymore. I did read All the President’s Men this summer, but beyond that, I wasn’t able to finish anything.

13. Create at least six signature cupcakes

Check!

Pictured below are my Chocolate Orange (my personal favorite), Snickers, Banana Pudding, Pumpkin, Lemon Blueberry and, of course, my Nutella Strawberry cupcake.

cupcakes

All in all, I’d say 2013 was a success! I experienced some of my highest highs and lowest lows, but through it all, I learned a lot!

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A few of my favorite things: 2012 in review

I spent several hours deciding the best way to sum up this past year in a blog post. I could write a long, sentimental post spelling out the lessons learned or I could rehash the joys and heartaches of the past 12 months. Since this year has been filled with so many new experiences, I decided that perhaps sharing my favorite things  might be the best way to give you a taste of my year.

Favorite Places

Washington, D.C. Charleston, SC. Capitol Hill Baptist Church (D.C.). Eastern Market (D.C.).

The Washington Monument, Washington, D.C.; The Capitol Building, Washington, D.C.; The Atlas Theater (H Street, Washington, D.C.); Charleston, S.C.

The Washington Monument, Washington, D.C.; The Capitol Building, Washington, D.C.; The Atlas Theater (H Street, Washington, D.C.); Charleston, S.C.

Favorite Restaurants

Spize (Downtown Raleigh). H &Pizza (D.C.). Tortilla Cafe (D.C.). Georgetown Cupcake (D.C.).

Favorite “Firsts”

First time living in an apartment.

First country concert–Jake Owen at the North Carolina State Fair.

Jake Owen Concert at the North Carolina State Fair

Jake Owen Concert at the North Carolina State Fair

Favorite Songs

10,000 Reasons, Matt Redmond. Behold Our God, Sovereign Grace Music. Barefoot Blue Jean Night, Jake Owen. Wanted, Hunter Hayes. Cruise, Florida Georgia Line. Life Ain’t Always Beautiful, Gary Allen. Honey Bee, Blake Shelton.

Favorite New Tradition

Elf on the Shelf

Our Elf on the Shelf

Our Elf on the Shelf

Favorite Movie

Les Misérables.

Favorite Hobby

Cupcake Decorating.

Cupcakes

Cupcakes

Favorite Food

Sushi

Favorite TV Shows

Downton Abbey. White Collar. Hart of Dixie. The Mentalist.

Favorite Blogs

Our Single Purpose: I especially liked “Top 10 Perks to the Single Woman’s Life,” “The Art of Forgiveness” and “Getting Over Him.”

The Small Things Blog.

Smart, Pretty and Awkward.

Favorite Verses

Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say rejoice. Let your reasonableness be known to everyone. The Lord is at hand, do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:4-7

For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope. Then you will call upon Me and come and pray to Me, and I will hear you. You will seek Me and find Me, when you seek Me with all your heart. Jeremiah 29:11-13

Bless the Lord, O my soul, and all that is within me, bless His holy name! Bless the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all His benefits, who forgives all your iniquity, who heals all your diseases, who redeems your life from the pit, who crowns you with steadfast love and mercy, who satisfies you with good so that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s. Psalm 103:1-5

For You have been my help, and in the shadow of Your wings I will sing for joy. My soul clings to You; Your right hand upholds me. Psalm 63:7-8

Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in your sight, O Lord, my Rock and my Redeemer. Psalm 19:14

Catching up

Wow, it’s been a long time since I’ve written! I’d say it’s time for us to get caught up on life… 

I’m getting ready to start the eighth week of my internship (is that even possible?). Time has really flown by! I’ll try to give you the best rundown that I can.

Capitol Hill Baptist Church

First of all… I’ve been going to Capitol Hill Baptist Church. I LOVE it!!! The services are a bit different than what I’m used to. CHBC services tend to be a little on the long side, but they are packed full of amazing content. The sermons are always Scripturally based and doctrinally sound.

Worship consists of responsive reading, prayer and singing.

The music tends to be a lot more traditional than I’m used to. We sing hymns and use sheet music. No power point. No flashy lights. No electric guitar. Just worship flowing from the hearts of hundreds of people of varying walks of life—politicians, construction workers, students, Hill staffers, journalists… I love that the music that we sing is so rich and encouraging.

Image 

One of my new favorite worship songs is “Behold Our God.”

The prayer in service is probably the most distinct thing about CHBC’s Sunday morning services. Any church can sing traditional songs and read Scripture corporately—but I have never heard a church pray like CHBC prays. Every week, they pray for our nation’s leaders, pastors of other churches and individual members of their church. There is set aside time to pray for forgiveness and time to praise God through prayer.

The other thing that I love about CHBC is their intern Bible Study. Every week, about 10 interns from various organizations meet with several CHBC members. We read the Bible and pray together. They encourage us to live Gospel-centered lives (both by what they say and how they live out their lives).

Before I left for Washington, D.C., I told Kelley that I really hoped that when this semester was all said and done, the thing that I would miss the most would be whatever church that I ended up getting plugged into. Honestly though, I didn’t really think that was possible. While I love my churches at home and school, I don’t know that I can say that I’ve truly felt “at home” in a church in a long time—but now I can. CHBC has been such a blessing. I can honestly say that Tuesday nights and Sunday mornings are my favorite times of the week.

 

Birthday

I’ve had a birthday since I last wrote. I have officially made it to the exciting age of 22—no longer in the carefree era of teenager-dom, the newfound freedoms of being 21 have lost their novelty and I’m not quite a real adult yet.

But despite it not being an incredibly exciting age, I DID have an incredibly exciting birthday. My best friend came up to D.C. for the weekend and we had a blast. 

Kelley got here late Friday night. I had cooked a homemade dinner, and we ate it on the roof of the Dellenback overlooking the city and the Capitol building. We hung out for a while, then we went to bed. We were both really tired and we had a ton of stuff planned for Saturday.

Saturday, we walked to Eastern Market and perused through the vendors’ tents and farmers’ stands. We admired tomatoes, jewelry, art and cowboy boots (I’m still kicking myself for not trying any of them on).

Next, we went to the Library of Congress, so Kelley could get her Library of Congress reader’s card.

After that, we took the metro to Metro Center and walked around the heart of D.C. We saw the F.B.I. building, Warner Theater and the National Press Building (where my internship is). We also stopped in a shop and I fell in love with beautiful, blue dress and I bought it.

We took the metro back to Union Station and had really yummy chicken salad and gelato. We walked around Union Station for a while, then we realized we were going to have to book it to get to our next destination.

We made it to the Barracks Row/D.C. State Fair about an hour before it closed, and it was a bust! Now, I understand that North Carolina has one of the largest ten day agricultural fairs in the nation and that I’m spoiled, but there was neither agriculture nor carnival rides. THEY DIDN’T EVEN HAVE COTTON CANDY (or caramel apples)!!! To make it worse, it was on Barracks row and there weren’t even any cute marines around! Lame, right? They did have some pretty cool acrobats, but other than that, there wasn’t much to see.

After  the “fair,” we went to Georgetown for cupcakes at Georgetown Cupcake. We waited in line for about 30 minutes to get in, but it was worth the wait! I got a chocolate birthday cupcake (appropriate, right?) and Kelley got a coconut cupcake. They were both absolutely delicious (and they had a pink, sparkly Kitchen aid mixer… can you say, “I want!”?)!

When we got back to the Dellenback, Kelley and I got dressed up as quickly as we could (I wore my new, blue, sparkly dress) and headed to the roof for a mocktail party, where we chatted with WJC and ASPers for a bit. When we got tired of socializing, we watched movies until the wee hours of the morning.

Sunday was pretty chill… Kelley left early/mid-afternoon, which was incredibly sad. I’m so glad she got to come. I had so much fun with my forever friend.

 Image

 

Internship

My internship has been an incredible learning experience. It’s been an opportunity to grow and be stretched. Some days are slow, and other days are packed full of excitement. Some weeks I have 2 or three things published, other weeks, there’s nothing at all. Learning that every day isn’t going to be something to write home about, has probably been the biggest thing for me. My first week was so successful, the lull that hit after was discouraging, but Lauren and Kevin have both been really encouraging.

That being said, I have done some really cool things. I wrote about an article featured in National Geographic exposing religious influence on the illegal ivory trade, I’ve tried (in vain) to get in touch with Christian hip-hop artist Lecrae, and talked to a former pro-baseball player (totally by chance).

I also got my congressional press pass. It’s probably my most prized possession that I’ve acquired this semester. Now, I’m not wanting to sound vain, but I normally take really good ID pictures, but if you look at the picture, you might notice that I look like a hot mess!

Well, I had a 2 o’clock deadline on my story that day, so I rushed down to the Corner Bakery in my building after I finished writing it and rushed to the bus stop. I didn’t get a chance to eat before the bus got there and I knew I wouldn’t be able to take it into the Capitol building, so I decided to scarf it down once I got off the bus. It was extremely windy, and the sky looked like it was about to pour—and pour it did. I barely had enough time to get my umbrella out before the heavens opened up! The wind was so strong that I had to throw away the rest of my lunch because I couldn’t hold my umbrella upright and hold my Panini at the same time.

I made my way towards the Capitol building as quickly as I could through the pouring rain, when a particularly strong gust of wind hit me and brought a wall of water with it and knocked me smack dab in the back. By the time I made it to the Capitol building I was drenched from head to toe, but it made for a good conversation starter though. While I was there, I got to take the subway under the Capitol building and I got to see the press gallery—most importantly though, I got my press pass.

 Image

 

Wow, it’s getting really late and this post is getting really long. I’m going to call it a night and hopefully get you caught the rest of the way up later this week (perhaps tomorrow?). Stay tuned for a road trip, the North Carolina State Fair (it was a Bumper Crop of Fun), bus day and a slightly rekindled passion (pah!).

What I’ve learned so far

Since I arrived in D.C., the Council of Christian Colleges and Universities staff had been preparing us to live and work as young Christian professionals in the city. We have been from Anacostia to Alexandria to Capitol Hill on a scavenger hunt to help us get acquainted with public transportation in the city. Abigail, Rose and James have imparted wisdom to us regarding city living, including grocery shopping, churches and safety. WJC and ASP program directors, Terry Mattingly and Peter Baker, have lectured on subjects such as journalism, professional calling and different views of Christianity.

The thing that has stuck out the most to me in the two weeks we’ve been here, however, hasn’t been how to figure out which bus to take to get where or how not to get mugged, but it has been our readings and talks about being a Christian in the “real world.”

Many times, young Christians (particularly graduates from Christian colleges) feel pressure to pursue “Christian” vocations. If one feels called to a secular vocation, then the solution is to Christianize it. That’s why we have our Christian newspapers, Christian magazines, Christian music, Christian movies, Christian books… you get the point.

Now, I’m not saying that this Christian-niche is necessarily bad. I definitely believe that there is a place for all of our Christian materials. However, what if some of those editors or musicians or writers would work to become the best of the best in the mainstream? What if rather than creating Jesus-saturated media that only appeals to those who already know Him, they created wholesome, excellent and balanced materials that appeal to (and therefore reach) a larger (and often unsaved) audience? What if…?

It all boils down to how you live your life. I believe it’s just as possible for someone to live a life pleasing to God as a journalist for World as it is or as a stay at home with your kids or as a reporter for the New York Times.

Last Tuesday, I went to Capitol Hill Baptist Church’s intern Bible Study. We talked about I Peter 1:1-2 and everything worked right with what we had been talking about in class!

What we want is not more little books about Christianity, but more little books by Christians on other subjects — with their Christianity latent.   ~C.S. Lewis

Now… here’s the catch… figuring out my calling in life… 😉

Getting Settled in D.C.

Well, it certainly has been an eventful few days here in Washington, D.C.

My parents and I left Raleigh early Thursday morning. We stopped for lunch outside of D.C. at Uno’s pizza (last lunch as a family until November). Then, we made our way through D.C. traffic to the Dellenback Center.

We made it here, checked in and I unpacked myself. After my parents left, I spent some time getting to know my roommates. Speaking of roommates, I have five of them!

Our apartment has two floors. The bottom floor has a kitchen, sitting area, kitchen table, a half-bath and desks. Upstairs has a full bath and two bedrooms. Four of us live in the larger of the two bedrooms, and the two others sleep in the smaller bedroom.

Friday night and Saturday morning were spent in Orientation activities. We learned about the safety and transportation in the city. We also went over the Community Covenant and academic expectations. Saturday afternoon, we were divided into groups and went on scavenger hunts throughout the city. My group visited Senator Burr’s office, the Giant Chair, Arlington, The National Press Building, and the Smithsonian Natural Science Museum. We had to make a video, so I’ll post it once I have the link.

Speaking of the National Press Building, that’s where my internship is going to be.

This morning, about 10 of us went to Capitol Hill Baptist church. After church, we came back, fixed lunch, and then went grocery shopping.

Grocery shopping was definitely the adventure of the day. One of my roommates, Elizabeth, wanted to find her internship, so we took the bus to downtown. After we found her internship, we got on the Georgetown Circulator, which EVENTUALLY was supposed to drop us off at Safeway near our apartment… or not… it took us all the way to Georgetown. We found a Safeway in Georgetown and did our shopping there. Then, we went to the bus station and took a different circulator bus to Union Station. During this ride, our bus driver got lost. When we finally got to Union Station, we walked back to our apartment. Total trip time: 4 hours.