All journeys have secret destinations, of which the traveler is unaware.

I have learned to be content in whatever circumstance I am. Philippians 4:11b



My phone just woke me up. It was my mom. You know when your mom calls late at night something is wrong. My niece Jamie has been taken to the ER by ambulance. My brother & his family were at someone's house at a party and she suddenly spiked a temp, had a seizure and stopped breathing. The got her breathing again and when mom talked to me she said Lee told her they were on the way to the ER. She called me so that I could pray for Jamie. Mom said she didn't want to be the only one praying. I find myself not even knowing what to say. All I can do is cry and beg God that's she'll be okay. If you are reading this PLEASE PLEASE take a minute and pray for my niece and my brother's family and my mom. Mom is somewhat freaking out, this is the first time something like this has ever happened and she can't just go to where Lee & his family are. She can't just drive down to Mississippi right now and be there for them. She said she'd call me when she found out anything else. I'll keep you posted. Until then, please pray for Jamie Lee.


8 Things Stollen from Amanda H

8 Things I am Passionate About:
1. Missions
2. Travel
3. Cooking/Food
4. Music
5. Needy People
6. God's will for my life
7. My family
8. My friends

8 Words/Phrases I Often Say:
1. I don't care
2. Whatever
3. Holy Smokes!
4. Que Pasa?
5. Yep
6. Nada
7. Aw Man
8. I dunno/I'm not deciding

8 Things I Want to Do Before I Die
1. Travel in EU for at least a month
2. Visit Israel
3. get to 125
4. Skydive
5. Learn to snowboard
6. Run for miles
7. Learn to speak another language fluently
8. Overcome my fear of being in front of large groups of people

8 Things I Currently Want or Need
1. 3-4 thousand dollars
2. Luggage
3. A new digital camera
4. to clean my apartment
5. a Macbook Pro
6. a NICE Digital video camera
7. new shoes
8. clothes/supplies for Ghana

8 Favorite TV shows:
1. Top Chef
2. Heroes
3. Lost
4. Ugly Betty(I know...guilty pleasure)
5. Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives
6. Good Eats
7. Anything on the Discovery Channel or History Channel
8. Everything on the Travel Channel

8 Favorite Restaurants:
1. Stromboli's
2. Romano's Macaroni Grill
3. Cookout
4. Taco Bell
5. Dale's Indian
6. Jason's Deli
7. Outback
8. Cheesecake factory

8 Things that Happened Today:
1. Worked my tail off at work and got REALLY frustrated with some people
2. Got my car inspected and oil changed
3. Talked to someone I've never met before that has been to Ghana
4. Went to the new Fresh Market here in town (CRAZINESS!)
5. Watched about 5 episodes of Heroes season one
6. Got off work early
7. Didn't clean my apartment (ok, so technically that's something that didn't happen)
8. Stayed up too late

8 Things to Look Forward to:
1. Ghana!
2. Thanksgiving
3. Christmas (probably in Ghana)
4. The weekend (hello, I have NOTHING that I have to do?! is that possible)
5. Payday
6. Seeing my friends Sunday at church
7. Cooking something fun this weekend
8. Going to bed


I'm so excited.....

and I just can't fight it! So, I've been at work ALL day, for like 12.5 hours. It's already been a rough week and it's only Tuesday. Anyway, I get home and eat dinner and I'm checking my email. So, I have a message on Facebook from Mrs H in Ghana. She wanted to know how my fundraising is going. Then, here's the kicker, she says "Laura has offered to pay for your ticket if you can get the money for the monthly payment" So all I have to say, is HOW AWESOME IS GOD!! I mean seriously, I've been trying to figure out how in the world I'm going to get that money in. and I saw a shooting star on the way home from work. I have to be back at work at 6 a.m. but I'm so excited I don't know if I'll even be able to sleep. I called a couple of my friends to let them know and I called my mom. She immediately sounded sad....she tried not to, but I can tell. She said "oh, so you''ll be gone for Christmas..?" I feel bad leaving her, but I can't let her "needing" me to keep me from doing something that God obviously wants me to do. So now, instead of $7000, I need about $3000. I can't even believe it. God is sooooooo good!
In Christ


I did it

In reference to a post a few back, I went up in front of the congregation this morning to ask for prayer about going to Ghana. Tim (the preacher) threw in a bit about how if anyone felt like they wanted to and were able to help me financially then they should. When the praise band was starting the last song, I felt like I needed to go up there, but I didn't budge. I could literally feel my legs shaking. I know it's hard to believe but doing that is more nerve wracking than flying or leaving the comforts of my well stocked home. At fall fest today, our children's minister (Chris) fussed at me for being so scared of doing things in front of people. Maybe "fussed" is a little extreme, but there was someone on stage playing a song that I really liked, and I mentioned to Chris that the guy on stage needed someone singing the harmony part. I started singing it just a little bit and he tried to get me to go up and sing on stage with the guy. I did not go, of course, and he then proceeded to give me some grief about how I needed to use my gifts and talents and whatnot. He's right, but I couldn't do it, I'm not ready for it yet. People have been telling me for a looooooooooong time that I needed to do stuff like that. Play the piano at church, sing in the praise band etc. I've heard it many many times. But seriously, I felt like I was going to pass out when I went up this morning, and I didn't even have to say anything. It's just a fear that I haven't conquered yet.


think, think think...(warning, this is a long post)

I've been thinking about Ghana a lot this week. We've been really busy at work so I've been working A LOT. I mean, I still have to work on Friday and Saturday and I've already got 40 hours. So, what's the deal with all the thinking about Ghana? Well....I'm working a lot but I just don't feel like what I do, makes any difference. I don't mean that I feel unappreciated at work (although, sometimes that's true) I mean I feel like working in catering where most of our clients are drug reps or doctors' offices and our events are almost all for very wealthy people, just feels unimportant. I dunno, I sort of feel like my desire to go to Ghana is a little bit selfish, because I know that I will personally feel more fulfilled. That is not the only reason I want to go to Ghana, it's not even the primary reason. The first and most important reason I want to go is because I feel like God is calling me their. Now I guess I just have to get it together so I can leave ASAP.

The devil is trying to get at me lately....I've had a HARD week at work. Yesterday I ticked someone off so badly that they walked out and didn't tell anyone they were leaving, or why. I didn't know they were mad at me until another co-worker got to work like 5-6 hours later and told me what he had said. He (the guy that walked out) apparently felt like I had been trying to tell him how to do his job, and he didn't appreciate it because he's been cooking a lot longer than I have. Today when I came in, my boss called me aside and told me that I didn't need to feel bad about what happened. They knew I was looking out for the integrity of our food and I wasn't trying to tell anybody how to do their job, I was just saying "hey, this is our recipe, this is the way WE do it for catering." I guess I'm glad that my boss knows that I'm looking out for the interest of their business, but I still kind of feel bad that they guy got so mad at me. What are you supposed to do when someone gets so mad at you that they just walk out, no warning. I had NO IDEA that he was mad and honestly I still really don't know how I made him mad.

Some days I'm really super excited about going back to Ghana.....some days I freak out internally and wonder what in the world I'm getting myself into. Mostly I'm excited. I talked with Connie about it a little the other night. I know that once I get there, I will change, that's a given. Frankly, that kind of scares me a little. Even change for the better is still change and unfamiliar places/situations even good ones, are still unfamiliar. I look at myself now, and wonder if I've changed any since I started college in 2000. I don't feel like I have really, even though I'm sure I must have.

I wonder, on a regular basis what is in store for me in the future. I can't imagine what will happen. When I think about it much, I get really freaked out. Connie asked me how long I was thinking about staying in least until the end of their school year. And then I said that I thought I could be happy there long-term. I mean, I think I could be as happy there as I am here. and yes, that freaks me out (I'm having a very freaked out week huh?) I am not even sure I can think about it really. And when I get back, what am I going to do? Work in another a relatively dead end job just to pay my bills? Or maybe I'll finally go to culinary school? Or maybe I'll find a job that actually uses my Comm degree? I just can't even fathom what God will lead me to. I get worried that I won't know what God wants me to do or where he wants me to go.

I wonder if I'll ever figure out what my passion in life is. I used to think it was music. For a while now I've been pretty passionate about food/cooking. I've always had a love of travel, not sure if that would be considered a passion though. If it is, I'm not sure how God would use it. Then sometimes I don't think I'm truly passionate about anything. What does it look like to be passionate about something anyway? I rarely get really excited about anything. I'm just not sure about any decision that I make. How do you learn/develop confidence (without failure)?


can you keep a secret?

So, I have a secret for you. Don't tell anybody, but I'm am totally, utterly scared of speaking in front of people. I'm raising support so I can go live in Ghana for however long God decides. But the idea of getting up in front of the several hundred people at church to ask for prayer about the trip scares me more than going to live thousands of miles away in a third world country. It's ridiculous! The thought of getting up in front of that many people (far less people even) absolutely freaks me out. You might say, "yeah, but it's just the people at church...." and you're right, if I can't feel comfortable with the people I go to church with then where can I feel comfortable right. But I am NOT an out in front of everybody kind of person. I like to just blend into the crowd. Honestly, getting up in front of the church to speak to everybody is really really far outside of my comfort zone. Lord help me....



So, I don't really have too much to post right now. I worked this weekend, so I had a pretty boring few days I guess. I have almost $500 in my Ghana account so far. I'm excited that money is coming in, but the stupid, doubtful part of me feels like $500 is barely a drop in the $7k bucket. I just have to have some faith I know. I just want to be able to go as soon as possible and I'm afraid that I'm going to get impatient. It will be ok though.


The Biggest Loser

I'm watching the biggest loser right now, and you know what I don't get? I don't get the contestants complaining about things like "oh, my feet hurt, my ankles hurt, it's hot" blah blah blah. I'm fat and I know it, if I started working out like crazy for hours & hours each day in the middle of the summer, I would EXPECT the pain. Some of the contestants are just, weak. I just want them to shut up with the complaining.


I just don't know

So, I should be in bed right now, but I started watching this show on Discovery. It was a news style documentary sort of show. Ted Koppel was the host/interviewer/narrator. The show was all about the KKK. I just felt so many different emotions as I was watching. I felt angry that one human being could treat another human being the way they KKK treated their targets. I felt sad that something like that could even happen here in the "land of the free." I felt cheated because we didn't learn about all of this in school as much as we should have. I felt ashamed that so many white, southerners just let it happen. How could you see people being lynched, and shot, and dragged away to never be seen again and just NOT do something to try to help. Mostly I felt really, really mad that this terrorist group (the KKK) poses under the guise of Christ. They spout scriptures and use religious imagery in their rituals and they, somehow, really think they are doing something that God himself would endorse!! Did you know that the last known lynching in this country was in 1981? Nineteen EIGHTY one! That was only 27 years ago, only a year before I was born. Yep. In 1981 a young man named Michael Donald, was walking down the street in Mobile, Alabama at night. Two young white men pulled up next to him in a car to ask for directions and they put a gun to his head and dragged him off into the night. He begged for his life, he offered them all the money he had. Ultimately they slit his throat a few times with a box cutter then waited until nearly daylight to hang his body from a tree in the middle of town with a noose so everyone could see. It makes me want to scream. It makes me feel physically sick. The fact that this group still exists makes me very angry. There's nothing I can do about it, but pray. I don't understand how people can claim Christ and think it's ok to treat any person, any human being so wrongly. I cringe when I hear "the N word." I don't care, if it's just a word, I don't care what the real origins of the word are. Ultimately that word, is detrimental to society. I could go off on a tangent here about some other things I think are detrimental to society, but I think I'll save it for another post. I am ashamed that in the United States of America we still have blatant racism, not just black/white racism. There is plenty of racism to go around over here. I know people that think that basically all /Middle Easterners are terrorists and they would not fly on a plane of a person that "looked" middle eastern were on the plane. Well, one of my brothers can look pretty Middle Eastern at times. Around here in this rural, agricultural area you can always hear somebody talking (complaining) about "the Mexicans." It makes me so mad. First of all, just because someone speaks Spanish, does NOT mean they are Mexican. Secondly, if we didn't have so many emigrants in this country there would not be any one to do all the real work. Next time you go out to eat, look in the kitchen of whatever restaurant you're in. I bet the majority of the workers are a minority group. You ignorant, white farmers want to talk junk about your "mexicans?" well who in the world would harvest your crops if they didn't do it? I have to quit typing now, I'm getting all riled up. I guess it's just something to think about.
Be like Christ, it's the only way to be



yeah, I know I've been posting a lot lately.....sue me..

So, I had a bit of a revelation this weekend. It's not something I've never thought about before, it's just something that I think I didn't ever really let sink in until this weekend. But first, some background. I'm the youngest in my family and the only girl. While I wouldn't say that I was or am spoiled, I'm sure I got out of doing my fair share of some things, like cleaning my room. When it came to things like that it seemed like mom was always more than happy to just do it for me. So I guess you could say that there were some things in life that I didn't really have to do, they were just given to me. Well, for some reason, it hit me this weekend that now that I'm an adult, that isn't going to happen. If there are things I want, or things that I feel God is calling me to do, I'm going to have to DO IT MYSELF! I don't mean "myself" as in totally alone, I'd be foolish to think that I could somehow achieve anything without God being in control of it. I mean more like, if there are things that I feel like need to change in my life, no one else on this earth is going to feel the exact same way about them as I do. Therefore, if I want something to change, I have to be the catalyst of that change. I can no longer sit on my tail and feel pitiful because things aren't the way I want them. I need to shut up, stop making excuses and just try my hardest to fix the problems. I need to be willing to do whatever it takes. In any aspect of my life. I want to go to Africa and I feel like God is calling me back there, I need to do WHATEVER IT TAKES to get there. I am totally out of shape, God gave me this body and I have a responsibility to take care of it, I need to do WHATEVER IT TAKES to get healthy. So basically this is not a new idea...just one that I saw with a new perspective this weekend.

The Norm-als

So there is this Christian band that I like called The Normals. I haven't listened to them in quite a while, but recently I've gotten back into them. I only have one of their albums, but MAN it's just a great album. The lyrics to the songs are just, so honest. I can sing along to their songs in my car and I feel like I could have written the lyrics myself. This song has been particularly relevant lately;
"What I Cannot Earn" the Normals

I try, I try
but I fail, I fail
it's like walking on ice in socks
it's like breathing underwater
I try

I live, I live
and I breathe, I breathe
but is living really life
and is breath really breathing
without You

when will I learn to accept my mistakes?
when will I learn to accept Your grace?

and if I was perfect well I wouldn't need mercy
and if I was perfect I wouldn't
need God - I wouldn't need God

when will I learn to accept my mistakes?
when will I learn to accept Your grace?
Your grace?
Your grace?

I think it might be my favorite song right now. Although, "Apron Full of Stains" is a pretty close second if for no other reason than the line "don't feel like I've got anything to I guess I've got nothin' to lose"



So, I am envious of people that can decide what to do with their life and then just DO it. Or perhaps they have this amazing gift from God and they are able to turn it into a career that they love and one that glorifies God all at the same time. I have never felt like I am exceedingly good at anything. Some have told me that I have a "gift" with music. Honestly I don't really think I do/did. I just feel like I was good at following directions, when the composer wrote a specific instruction in the music, I simply did what the instructions said. I played "with emotion" because the composer WROTE them into the music. I like photography, I've taken some pretty good pictures I suppose, or have been told. But I'm not a good enough photographer to make a career out of it. None of my photos were ever good enough to sell. I really like to cook. So far, cooking is really the only "career" I've had in life. Not that working in a kitchen making $10/hour is really what I'd call a career. but I honestly don't know if I am a good enough cook to make a career out if this either. Basically I have the "jane of all trades" problem. I'm decent at quite a few things, but I don't excel at any of them. So yes, Miss Amazing Musician, Mr Outstanding Artist, Miss Always Wanted to Teach or be a Nurse or whatever! I envy you. College would have been so much easier (and shorter) if I had been one of these people. Trust me, you don't want to get rejected from the music dept, change your major to Elem Ed only to figure out that you don't want to be a teacher after one semester, audition again and get rejected again in the music dept, and then finally decided to major in Comm only because you have NO IDEA what else to do and you like messing with audio video stuff. Don't get me wrong, I loved all the AV classes I took. I loved the creativity of storyboarding, and shooting and editing. taking raw footage and creating a finished piece from it. It's great. BUT, it's really hard to get a job in the industry without lots of experience and it's hard to get experience unless you can get a job. So here I graduate, working a relatively dead-end job ( which I enjoy, don't get me wrong), making plans to go back to Africa and I have absolutely no earthly idea what I'm supposed to do next. phew! life is totally nuts


So, why exactly do people blog? Why do I blog? For some it's like an online diary, for others it's less private, more like a way to share what's going on in their life with their friends or perfect strangers. So why? If you know me at all, then you know that I am NOT a share-er. I do not tell people my problems, or what's going on in my life to much extent. When someone asks me how I'm doing I usually reply with "fine" or "okay" even if I'm actually having a really bad day. But ultimately, everyone needs to vent and get all this crap out of their systems at times. So, I guess for me, it's so much easier to vent here in this blog. I don't know why it's easier, there are people that I see on a regular basis that read it, so it's not like what I say in here is a big secret. Maybe as I get older, I am starting to open up and share more about my life with people. I dunno. So, why do you Blog?


I'm realizing lately, that I don't see myself accurately. The picture on the left is me, about 8 years ago. Since that picture was taken I've lost around 60lbs. The picture on the right is fairly current. I don't think I look much different now. I guess, I know that I must look different. I just don't see it. I need to learn how to see myself. I'm not even sure why I'm posting this. I don't know. I've just been thinking about it a little lately. How do you change the way you see yourself, after 20 years of seeing yourself the same way? Perplexing


so, today was a really difficult day for me at work. Not too sure why, I didn't have so much more to do than usual. It was just a lot of crap from a lot of people. I'll post more when I chill out a little more and get some dinner.


I have officially received my first two donations for Ghana! How exciting is that. It's not a lot yet, but literally every single dollar counts. Even though there's A LOT of money left to raise, just knowing that I've officially gotten some money in for this cause has got me pumped up. I guess it says, there are people that believe, like I do, that I should go. Yeah, I'm psyched!

Mail Call

So, when I get paid on Tuesday I have lots more support letters to send out. People that I go to church with or that I see in person on a regular basis got theirs hand delivered to them. So when I get some more $$ on Tuesday I can get the letters in the mail for those unlucky souls that don't get to see me on a regular basis (yeah, I'm kidding.) But anyway, I think once I get these out I'll have sent out around 60-70 letters, so if every single letter I sent comes back with $100 I'll be set. Yeah, just kidding again. I know that won't happen, but I know the money will come in. Finances are tough for everyone right now, so I'm just being hopeful that if people are able to give something to help me out, then God will show them that. I'm also praying that if there is anyone that I need to send a letter to, that I might have overlooked, then He'll show me that too. I'd really like to be able to leave before the end of the year.....but there's always a little voice telling me that 2 1/2 months isn't very long to raise 7 grand. I know it's the devil, but it still gets to me sometimes. I need to just learn to say "get behind me satan" but I guess I just forget sometimes. Like Peter when he was walking on the water...he was doing so well, and then he started to see the waves and the wind and he started doubting ya know...He was probably thinking to himself "wait a minute, I can't walk on water, am I really doing this?" and of course he really was doing it with God's help, but once a little tiny bit of doubt crept in he just started sinking. But even then, while he was sinking Jesus was right there to lift him up. So I need to just let got of this whole money thing. I'm sending out letters to everyone I can think of until I can't think of anyone else. God will do the rest. Whenever the right time for me to go is, the money will be there. I've been really busy at work lately too. I've worked around 16 hours of over time in the last two weeks. So my next paycheck will hopefully be enough to catch up on most of my bills and maybe get the oil changed in my car (it's been forever.) well, I'm pretty much out of anything interesting to say now.


walk like a man, talk like a man...

so, today courtesy of my heinous allergies, I sound like a man when I talk. It started last night...after dinner service at work, I could barely talk. When I called my mom on the way home, the first thing she said when something like this; "good Lord, you sound horrible!" This morning when my boss called me, he said "whoa your voice is even deeper today than it was last night." Yes, thank you allergies, you have made me feel like crap for several days, and now I have a voice that could rival Isaac Hayes. On a good note, I don't feel quite as crappy today as I did when I woke up yesterday. I have to work today until around 5. We have a party at the restaurant and I'm basically making all the food for it on my own. Since no one else will be there, maybe I'll take some pictures of the food when I get done. Some of it won't be totally ready yet, since the party isn't until like 8p.m. and I'll be off around 5. Basically I'll just get everything to the last stage before you finish cooking it and when the boys get in the kitchen tonight they'll fire it right before the party.


For the record...

I hate allergies!! When I woke up today I felt like crap. Seriously. I mean, yesterday I was a little stuffy, from allergies, but apparently last night while I was asleep the big one hit. I still feel like crap. I just took some medicine and I'm eating soup for lunch. I have to be at work in a few hours and I have to work a couple of hours tomorrow too. I hope my allergies or cold or whatever this mess is, goes away, in a hurry!



Can I just say that I can't wait until enough money comes in for me to leave for Ghana....I wish I could leave tomorrow! Seriously. They really need more people over there RIGHT NOW and I really really hope & pray that the money comes in fast. I'm not exactly sure how fast God will send it though....I guess I'll have to just wait & see