Saturday, December 31, 2011

Christmas Recap

The past two weeks have been wonderful. I slept in, watched tons of TV and movies, and gallavanted all over Spartanburg visiting with people. Here's a very brief recap of my latest adventures.

The weekend I arrived in town, I was able to see the kids that I taught piano and used to babysit. I miss them so much!!! They have grown up so much - I'm pretty sure that Kristen will be taller than me the next time I return home.

The week before Christmas was pretty relaxed - I finished up my Christmas shopping, worked on homework, and caught up on rest.

On Christmas Eve, the family went to see the lights at Roper Mountain before going to the Christmas Eve service at church.

For Christmas, I got a professional-grade blender. You know you're old when you're ecstatic about getting housewares. :) I haven't taken it out of the box yet, but I can't wait to get home and make use of it!! It will come in very handy next week when I get my wisdom teeth out. I'm almost completely packed - and it looks like I will be able to fit everything in my luggage, along with the blender. It'll be tight, but I'm optimistic!

This past week, Ashleigh and I headed down to Rachel's house for a 3 Musketeers sleepover. We have a wonderful time. Getting together with these girls is always a blast! We had a Katherine Heigl marathon and watched "27 Dresses" and "Life as We Know It." I had forgotten how cute the first movie is - I bought it for Ashleigh for Christmas, and I'm thinking I need to go get my own copy!!

Yesterday my parents, Jocelyn, and I saw the movie "Courageous." It was done by Sherwood Pictures, a church located in Albany, Georgia. Their movies just get better and better. I was really impressed by the acting, and the storyline was very good as well. I don't usually cry in movies, but this one definitely caused tears on several occasions.

Tonight my family is headed to a New Year's Eve party, and then I fly out in the morning. I'm not really looking forward to starting school again, but the break has made a huge difference in my mental sanity. As of Monday, I'm on the downhill - only a year and a half left!!

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Sic 'Em Bears!!

Since I went to a very small undergraduate university, I'm trying to soak up all the experiences of a big university while I'm in law school. At least, the ones that seem mildly interesting and which aren't obsolete now that I'm a graduate student.

This past weekend, I went to a football game. In the rain. Actually, it didn't rain the entire game - but the ponchos I purchased from Academy Sports were definitely used - and worth every penny of the $4 I paid.

Here is a picture of us before we got wet - and before the rest of our party arrived. :)

The game was awesome. We were playing University of Texas, and since I have a couple friends who went there, I enjoyed some trash talking via text message during the game. It was very helpful that we were winning the entire game. :)

Other than that, my weekend was pretty laid back. On Saturday morning, I judged an undergraduate moot court competition here at the law school. It was kind of weird to be on the other side of the podium!! The teams were very good...and I ended up just telling them things that my professor had told me for my competition.

Sunday was church, and then in the evening I went to a new community group. Some of the graduate students are wanting to start one that meets every other Sunday night. I'm really looking forward to it - I think it will be a great opportunity to get connected at my new church, and hopefully it will increase the circle of people I know here in town.

The week has gotten off to a rough start, unfortunately. It seems that life has decided to throw me a multitude of curveballs to make things that much more difficult before I head home for Christmas break. I arrived home yesterday afternoon to find out that my flash drive was unresponsive. This little drive had ALL of my notes for this quarter, several projects that were not backed up, and my outlines, etc. from the past year and a half. Needless to say, I spent the next hour and a half calling my Dad, bawling my eyes out, and trying desperately to get the thing to work. Thankfully, I was eventually able to jam it in and hold it at an angle and retrieve everything on it. And I promise I will NOT let this happen again...I just always forget to make duplicates of my files!

This morning, I woke up and my voice was going out. It's currently 5:11pm, and my voice is completely gone, despite the fact that I have hardly talked all day. My throat has been sore since yesterday, so I think it's laryngitis (at least, according to WebMD). The internet said it can last anywhere from 2 days to 2 weeks. Here's praying that it's closer to the 2 day mark...or less. I've got a big trip to San Antonio/Austin planned this weekend that involves Asian karaoke, and I'd rather not be left sitting on the sidelines. :)

I'm a little scared about what's going to happen tomorrow...

Friday, December 2, 2011


Last Saturday, despite getting over a cold and generally feeling like a brick when I run these days, I finally accomplished my goal of running a sub-30-minute 5K!!!!!! It was a very pleasant surprise, and a nice confirmation that I am still reasonably fit - despite the fact that I feel like I've regressed in my running this year. In fact, I even went back to my very beginning training plan ("Couch to 5K") in hopes that I would feel like I was making progress. Up until Saturday, I wasn't convinced that it helped. But at least I'm making some improvement! And I was 3rd in my age category!!

AnnaGrace was 1st in her age category - yay us!!! The only unfortunate part is they didn't announce 2nd and 3rd for my age category (or if they did, I couldn't hear), so I didn't get my medal. :( Oh well - I guess I'll just have to "constructively" put up a medal on my wall. :)

Thanksgiving was WONDERFUL. I managed to check almost everything off my list!!

  • Believe! 5K
    • Done and beasted!!
  • Stuffed crust pizza
    • Almost - Dad made pizza, but cheese didn't make it into the crust. It was fabulous nonetheless!
  • Cinnamon rolls
    • I didn't even have to beg :)
  • Christmas light hunting
    • We forgot :(
  • Christmas shopping
    • Check!! I picked up a few more things and got some more ideas
  • Make frosted wine goblets
    • Check!
  • Watch lots of Christmas movies
    • Elf and Polar Express - does two count as "lots"??? I say yes
  • Eat until I'm stuffed
And added to the list:
  • Watching the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade
    • CHECK! And p.s., NBC has by far the BEST coverage
  • Hanging out with family and the most adorable little guy EVER

  • And of course, acting like an idiot - because I can :)

Monday, November 21, 2011

Catching Up

A blog update is long past due, I know. I got so caught up in finals, and then moot court, that I haven’t had a chance to sit down and record anything. Finally, however, I am beginning to surface once again – and I even spent this whole past weekend doing nothing!! Yep, that’s correct – no homework whatsoever. The beginning of a new quarter is always so glorious. :)

Well, first things first – I have survived my 4th set of law school finals – and only have 5 left!!! I haven’t decided whether they get easier are harder. In some ways, they’re easier. I know my limits, and I don’t try to push myself to do 10 hours of studying a day anymore. Additionally, I’ve got a great study group, which makes studying so much more enjoyable. However, since we had all new professors this quarter, there’s always the fear of the unknown regarding how hard the test will actually be. But overall I feel good, and it’s one more thing I can check off my list.

The weekend after finals, our group got together and decorated my Christmas tree. I know…it was well before Thanksgiving – but it was either that, or do it 2 weeks before we broke for Christmas. I decided to indulge early this year and put it up so we could enjoy it. Plus, there’s something about the horror of finals that just makes you crave Christmas. :)

We also watched “Home Alone 2,” which is one of my favorite Christmas movies. I know the trap scenes are sooo unrealistic, and yet they’re hysterically funny.

Three and a half days into the new quarter, I left for Malibu with my moot court team. We competed in Pepperdine’s National Entertainment Law Moot Court competition. I had to argue a copyright issue – as a musician, I enjoyed getting to learn about this area of the law. I’m not sure that I’ll ever end up practicing it (only big firms, mostly in California, where I refuse to live), but it was neat to get exposed to it. Additionally, we lucked out on location. I ate so much seafood last weekend…it was fantastic!! Since I rarely ever eat seafood at home, it was a nice change in diet.

Although I was really nervous going into the competition (think piano senior recital all over again), I loved the actual presentation part. Moot court is a simulation of arguing before an appellate court. At the competition, we were pretending to argue before the Supreme Court of the United States. It’s pretty cool when the judges come in and the bailiff says, “The Supreme Court of the United States is now in session.” And yes, I know I’m a nerd. :) My partner and I ended up competing all the way until the semi-final round, which was really exciting!! While I would have loved to have competed in the final round, I was very pleased with our results.

And now, to give a brief overview of my classes this quarter. My schedule got shifted around a little, so I’m taking all electives this quarter (instead of taking Constitutional Law and Remedies). My classes are: Estate Planning, Individual Taxation (blegh), Advanced Legal Research, Arbitration, and Bankruptcy. While doing my reading for Bankruptcy, I’ve decided that I will like basically any area of law that involves property. :) However, since dabbling in Bankruptcy isn’t really an option, I don’t think I can be torn away from my love of writing wills to actually make a practice out of it – but we’ll see.

This past weekend was glorious – after a crazy couple of weeks with finals and moot court, it was WONDERFUL to be able to relax and do absolutely nothing. On Friday night, the gang came over and we watched “The Christmas List,” which is my favorite Christmas movie of all time. On Saturday night, AnnaGrace and I made a stuffed crust pizza (second time in 2 days!!) and watched “Just Go With” with Adam Sandler and Jennifer Aniston. Despite a good bit of crude humor, it was actually really cute. Both of us were in the mood for something mindless and funny, so it fit the bill. :)

Well, that’s all for now…I have grand plans of blogging several times this weekend (Thanksgiving!!) to keep you apprised of all my grand adventures. Here’s my list of planned activities (along with some I’m still hoping about!):
  • Believe! 5K on Saturday
  • More stuffed crust pizza (Dad’s pizza crust + my addition of cheese = gotta be perfection)
  • Cinnamon rolls (I’m really craving these and hoping I can convince mom to make her “Christmas” breakfast dish a little early)
  • Driving through neighborhoods with lots of Christmas lights
  • Christmas shopping – I’m itching to start buying gifts!
  • Make frosted wine goblets – I’m testing out a DIY Christmas gift idea on pinterest – and I need new goblets to drink eggnog out of (it’s almost a crime to drink eggnog out of a regular glass in my book)
  • Watch lots of Christmas movies – “Elf,” “It’s a Wonderful Life,” “Polar Express…” and any others that I am forgetting (maybe “Home Alone 2” and “Christmas List” round 2???)
  • Eat until I’m stuffed…run it off…repeat multiple times…

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Wise Words

Hello, this is AnnaGrace. I just thought you might like to know that this is not Katelyn...although I am extremely thankful that she lets me hack into her blog and post to my heart's content - or discontent. Hmmm...anyway, I thought I would post some wise words.

"I wish Thy way.
But when in me myself would rise
And long for something otherwise,
Then, Holy One, take sword and spear
And slay." - Amy Carmichael

“Just keep fighting”
So easy to say. 
I am tired. 
I am bowed down
Beneath the weight
Of life. 
The weight 
Of me. 
I am surrounded by others. 
I am painfully alone. 
Life moves, lives, 
Breathes around me. 
The earth swallows me 
In solitude. 
The hard ground 
My pallet. 
Its coldness numbs 
My aching heart. 
My mangled spirit 
By the brutality of life 
The weight of my weapons 
Renders me motionless. 
I can’t keep fighting. 
All I can do is lie here 
Beneath my shield. 
I lie here. 
Not fighting. 
Cast upon the Rock. 
Inextricably entwined 
In His everlasting arms 
In Him, there is no need. 
No need to fight. 
For He has already won. 
The victory is mine.

"O Thou, who art my quietness, my deep repose
My rest from strife of tongues, my holy hill,
Fair is Thy pavillion, where I hold me still. 
Back let them fall from me, my clamorous fees.
Confusions multiplied;
From crowding things of sense I flee, and Thee I hide.
Until this tyranny be overpast,
Thy hand will hold me fast; 
What though the tumult of the storm increase,
Grant to Thy servant strength, O Lord, and bless with peace." - Amy Carmichael

..."to the glory of His name let me witness that in far away lands, in loneliness (deepest sometimes when it seems least so), in times of downheartedness and tiredness and sadness, always always He is near. He does comfort, if we let Him. Perhaps someone as weak and good for nothing as even I may read this. Don't be afraid! Through all circumstances, outside, inside, He can keep me close" - Amy Carmichael

"Bare heights of loneliness...a wilderness whose burning winds sweep over glowing sands, what are they to Him? Even there He can refresh us, even there He can renew us." - Amy Carmichael

Friday, November 11, 2011


I have my own blog. I am writing on this one. Stating the obvious? Yes. All I can manage right now? Again, yes. My brain and intellect are on absolute overload. Thus, this post is inevitably going to resemble a stream of conciousness post. Perhaps one day, I will give you a more thorough stream of consciousness post rather than merely a collection of a few random sentences. Okay. Ready? Go.

I do not remember receiving the Dictionary word of the day in my email this morning. Hmmm....

I love words.

Eating cereal from a giant mug is the best...and thanks mom for buying the chocolate Puffins when you were here last week. They are scrumptious!

Mahler - you have captivated me. I think I am in love.

I wish someone were here to play Scrabble with me.

I just wish someone were here. Period.

Is it bad that I started crying today when I saw a dead cat on the side of the road?

I wonder if I have the ingredients to make scones for tomorrow.

Grading and attendance records take up an inordinate amount of time. 

Crayola window crayons = one of the best inventions ever. 

I love photography. I need to do it more often. 

Taken at a monastary in Austria

Monteverdi. Boo.

Why did I decide to work while having 20/20 on in the background? As a single gal who lives alone, watching a documentary about mass murderers and rapists was not a wise life choice.

Moot court! Boo-yah! Get it Ridenour! You are awesomesauce! :)

The suit jacket. :)

I love trail running.

I am lonely.

This hurts.

My footsteps are erasers and as the miles pass by, so too do my anxieties.

When my heart is overwhelmed, O Lord, lead me to the Rock that is higher than I....and Lord, my heart is really overwhelmed. :(

"Depression hurts. Cymbalta can help" - (help you feel better, or help hurt you?) gotta love commercials for medications...the side effects sound awful!

"You are my hiding place. You fill my broken heart with songs"

"Let me learn that the cross precedes the crown, to be low is to be high, that the valley's where You make me more like Christ. Let me find Your grace in the valley. Let me find Your life in my death. Let me find Your joy in my sorrow - Your wealth in my need - that you're near with every breath... in the valley."

That's all for now. 

There is so much in my fluff-filled head, that it is probably best if I stop the stream of consciousness now. 

All my loving,

Sunday, October 23, 2011

No matter how many times I intend to sit down and blog this year, it seems that life just escapes me. Part of the problem is that, on a day-to-day basis, there are not a whole lot of "blog-worthy" things happening in my life. Honestly, this year has been quite different than last year. The "newness" of law school has worn off, and I find myself aching for this part of my life to just hurry up and be over. It's not even the coursework that's killing me. The only way I know how to describe is that I feel as though I am slowly being suffocated. Law school is sucking the life right out of my veins, and I'm slowly turning into someone whose constant refrain is, "When is my next break?" "When can I go home?" "How can I get out of the law building as often as possible?" It's not been pretty...

Well, that's more than I intended to say on that subject. I don't want my blog to turn into a series of depressing, here are some of the highlights from the past couple of weeks:

Two weeks ago, Jocelyn had her junior recital (so hard to believe that she's already a junior!). Not only was she amazing, but it also meant that my parents, both sets of grandparents, and AnnaGrace came into town. I made sure to work ahead, and took lots of time off that weekend. It was glorious.

On Saturday evening, we went to the Baylor/Iowa State game. Baylor got off to a rough start in the first quarter (two turnovers!!), but came back strong in the second quarter and won the game. Sic 'em Bears!!

Two weeks ago, I discovered one of the best CDs of ALL time (thanks AnnaGrace!). It's entitled "Music Inspired By the Story," and it has songs representing 18 different Bible stories, including Creation, Naomi & Ruth, Esther, and the thief on the cross. I have been listening to this CD almost exclusively for the past two weeks. It's hard to pick a favorite song on the album because they are all THAT good. Steven Curtis Chapman's song (This Is How Love Wins) is particularly excellent, though he is a favorite of mine in general, so I suppose I'm a little partial. I highly recommend this album - go buy it now!! :)

Last weekend, I carved a pumpkin for the very first time. I carved Pluto into mine. :) I'll have to get my hands on the picture of the finished product...

After carving, we used the insides to make sweet and salty carmelized pumpkin seeds (which were okay, but not great) and a second batch of pumpkin butter. I am addicted to this stuff!! So, here's the recipe:

Pumpkin Butter
Yield: 3.5 cups

1 (29 ounce) Can Pumpkin Puree,approx. 3 ½ cups or fresh
¾ cup Apple Juice (I Made Fresh But You Can Used Pre-Made)
1.5 tsp Ground Ginger
½ tsp Ground Cloves
1 cup Brown Sugar
1 Tbsp Ground Cinnamon
½ tsp Ground Nutmeg
Juice Of Half A Lemon

Combine pumpkin, apple juice, spices, and sugar in a large saucepan and stir well. Bring mixture to a boil. Reduce heat, and simmer for 30 minutes or until thickened. Cover with lid and stir frequently. Remove from heat. Adjust spices to taste. Stir in lemon juice, or more to taste. Once cool, pumpkin butter can be kept in an airtight container in the fridge. Makes enough to fill one large mason jar or about 3.5 cups.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Running Outside

Oh, how I have missed you, dear runs that occur outside. Trust me, my absence is not due to any lack of affection on my part. It is due to the heat to which I have been subject for the past four (five? six?) months. However, you will pleased to know that I am making a return, thanks to the beautiful weather we are now experiencing. You may join me in hoping that it is here to stay.

On Monday morning, I experienced the joy of an early morning run. After 6 weeks of trying to figure out when to fit running into my schedule (before my 9:15am class? at 3:30pm when I finish? some other time that remained undetermined?), and a couple weeks of rolling back my bedtime/waking time, I finally managed to get up early enough to go for a run at 7am. (Sorry for that extremely long sentence.)

It was glorious.

I only ran 2 miles, but I came back in a wonderful mood - ready to tackle a new week. Hurray for endorphins! Maybe I should start off every week like this...

Sunday, October 2, 2011

You Don't Know What You've Got Til It's Gone...

Ahh, the beauty of leaves changing colors. Besides cold weather, this is what I miss the most about South Carolina. The weather is starting to cool off now (highs in the mid-80s this weekend), but it feels like spring because there are no orange, red, or yellow leaves. I've been pretending like it's fall by eating lots of pumpkin things, but it's just not quite the same when it doesn't look like fall.

So, here is my list of preferences for where I live after school (wherever that might be): (1) Cold weather.  Preferably snow at least once a year; and (2) Cooler temps and leaves that change color in the fall.

Basically, I want four distinct seasons. :)

Despite my pining about the weather, this week has been very good. On Tuesday night, I attended the first symphony concert of the season!! It's SO good to be able to inject myself with a little bit of culture every once in a while. It's ironic - by the end of college, I only went to concerts if I had to, and even then not always willingly. Now, I'm dying for the opportunity to attend a concert!

This weekend I've been buried in my Trusts & Estates outline, trying to compartmentalize everything we've learned into nice little boxes for easy recall. It's amazing all of the little details that go into estate planning (or, even more complicated, a divorce!!). I came to the realization yesterday that, no matter how hard you plan, there is still the possibility that someone will completely squander their inheritance (your money) after you've died. Kind of depressing, isn't it? Here you've worked your whole life to save money, and then your irresponsible kid (or spouse, or grandchild) goes and wastes it! It sure puts the value of money into perspective, doesn't it?

In other news, I have another interview on Tuesday!!! It's a tiny firm (6 attorneys) in Dallas, and I am SUPER EXCITED! One of their sections is "Probate and Breach of Fiduciary Duty." AKA - Helping people walk through the probate process - just what I want to do! Fingers crossed that this one will turn out better than the five interviews I did during OCI, especially since has been my favorite firm all along. I will keep you posted! And with that, I am going to go do some interview prep!

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Standing for What is Right

"A man without ethics is like a wild beast loosed upon the earth."        - Albert Carnus

Today, I had the opportunity to attend a wonderful conference on ethics entitled "Doing the Right Thing." It is the product of a video series done by Chuck Colson, Robert George, and others discussing the complete breakdown of morality in our culture. Although the live event was in Virginia, there were webcast showings all over the country.

There were a total of five sessions, answering questions such as "Is there a moral authority?" "What does it mean to be human?" and "How can we affect a transformation in our culture?" I could spend hours writing this blog post, but I figured I would just give you a few highlights to whet your appetite, and leave the heavy lifting up to you. :)

One of the most interesting points I found was the panelist's assertion that we can reason with others without using religious terms. Yes, we are to share the Gospel with others. However, we can begin by appealing to their reasonableness. For example, consider presenting this scenario to a group of people: There is a old woman with her grocery bags trying to cross the street. Traffic is whizzing by, and she is unable to cross. You have three options: (1) Help her across the street; (2) Ignore her; or (3) Push her into traffic. Which one is the right answer? We all agree that it is #1!!! Why do we all agree? Because it appeals to the sense of decency and reasonableness within us.

The panelists stressed multiple times that we are always to present our arguments in a "winsome" manner. I love this word! It means refraining from "imposing" views on others. Rather, we are to "propose" - and invite others to join us at the wedding feast. Speak the truth in love.

The session I found the most interesting was led by Dr. Robert George. The session was titled "A Matter of Life and Death," and discussed the dignity of human life. Did you know that the Nazi genocide began not with the killing of the Jews, but with the killing of handicapped people? Furthermore, this began under a democratic rule, NOT after Hitler had gained absolute power. Contrast that with our current abortion laws...kind of scary, isn't it?

I think the statement that hit home with me was this: "Culture shapes conduct. Law shapes the culture. This is why the law on marriage is so important - because it shapes the culture, which in turn shapes the conduct of those around us."

WOW! This was a lightbulb moment for me. This is why the law on abortion is so important. I have heard many people say, "What's the big deal in allowing people who don't believe in the Bible to have control over their body?" The answer is: because once we open that door, there's no telling where it will lead. The legalization of abortion has led to the view that we can discriminate based on age, size, or stature. Where does this stop? Once we decided that all human life does not have the same dignity, we opened the door to a host of other issues - such as whether assisted suicide is okay, or whether we should abort children with handicaps. Rather than saying we are "bettering the gene pool," we bill it as "a choice," "control over my body," or "compassion" on the sick. No matter how you try to make it look beautiful, it's all the same - murder. That's why the laws relating to abortion, same-sex marriage, etc., are so important - because they shape the culture of the next generation.

I hope that this blog post makes sense. I am still in the midst of processing it myself, but I can guarantee you that you will see more references to this topic in the future as I deal with this in my own life. The legal field presents its own minefield of ethical decisions, as well as great opportunities to influence the law and our culture. After today, I am even more steadfast in my desire to stand for what is right, no matter what the "cost" may be to me on this earth.

Well, in closing, I encourage you to check out the "Doing the Right Thing" website. The 6-part video series is actually on sale through the end of September, and the DVD of today's webcast is only $7.95. I encourage you to invest in them and share them with others - it is a very worthy investment!

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Car Saga, Part 2

I gained another stripe in my march towards independence this afternoon. Dad suggested that I unscrew the battery cables and scrape them off, then screw them back on to see if a bad connection was the issue. He gave me detailed instructions over the phone, and I set out to my car with a screwdriver, two pairs of pliers,  and my camera. I figured it was time to resurrect photos on my blog, so I planned to document the adventure. :) (Side note: Sorry for the bad quality - my camera's batteries were dead, so I used the camera on my phone!)

The culprit
After successfully unscrewing the "negative" battery clamp, I sent a photo to Dad and called again. "What do I do next?" His response: "Just pop the clamp off."Back I went...

After almost giving up when the "positive" side screw was a bit of trouble, I managed to get both clamps off and scrape them clean.

Meanwhile, I was holding the hood up with my back because the struts (?) are busted. Note to self: In addition to buying jumper cables, I also need a broomstick to hold up the hood. :)

Makes for an interesting picture, right??? :)

About the time that I finished screwing the cables back on, my new neighbor from downstairs came out. He introduced himself and offered to give me a jump in case I needed it, which I did (sigh). Once I got the car running, I booked it to Auto Zone to purchase a new battery. Thankfully they installed it for me - I have had enough of digging around in the front of my car for a while! :)

Cars = A Necessary Evil

Gertrude (my car - name courtesy of Rachel and Ashleigh) has been so good to me over the past 4 years. When you have a good car, it's very easy to take for granted that it will start every morning when you go to leave for school.

And then one morning it doesn't.

Thankfully, it's merely the battery, and (hopefully!) not something more serious. My first wake-up call was on Friday morning when I got stuck at the gym because it wouldn't start. Thankfully there was an old man sitting in his car in the parking lot, and he was able to give me a jump.

That was an interesting experience - he accidentally crossed the wires (note to self: don't allow someone to have a conversation while hooking up the car batteries!!). I had always thought that cars blew up when that happened. I am thankful to report that this did NOT occur on Friday morning. Is it bad that while MaryLou was concerned about the old man killing himself, all I could think was, "Please don't hurt my car!!!!"???

Notes to self: (1) Buy jumper cables. After needing them twice in two weeks, it's time to stop putting that off. (2) Learn how to jump a car so you can do it yourself. Apparently it's not that difficult. (3) Sometimes being "independent" and living 24 hours from home isn't as glamorous as it's chalked up to be. Like when your car needs work and your dad isn't around to take care of it. :(

Yesterday, I had Auto Zone check the battery, and it is indeed bad. Thankfully, it's still under warranty, so I should get the replacement free!! The only unfortunate part about that is that it's under warranty at Costco, and the closest one is in Fort Worth. I was hoping to squeak by until Thursday when I can head that way...but alas, Gertrude failed to start this morning. And, Costco doesn't install batteries. While part of me is tempted to try and learn, I don't think now is the time to do so. I need my car to continue working for a long time (or at least 2 more years until I have a paycheck).

Plan B: Get it replaced here in Waco, take the old battery to Costco on Thursday, and get cash for it. Fingers crossed that this plan works without too many further complications. :)

In other news, I had another almost disaster last week. I somehow managed to lose my condo key in between the time I locked my door and the time I got to my car. It fell off the key ring, and who knows where it went - probably in the grass, but I don't have a metal detector or magnet to know for sure. :)

The good news is, I already had all of my stuff for the day, and was able to get MaryLou's key while at school to make a copy.

So, two "disasters" in one week that actually happened in the best possible manner so as to cause only the slightest inconvenience. It's times like this when I know the Lord is looking out for me...and boy, do I need it. :)

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Life Lessons

Life Lesson #1: Skipping one day of class does not cause the world to cave in. Nor does it cause the professor to call you out the next time you are in class.

Legal disclaimer: DO NOT try this during your first year of law school. I take no responsibility for what may occur if you do.

Last week, I decided to extend my Labor Day weekend by a day. I got home on Thursday night to an empty home (MaryLou was gone for an interview), and my class on Friday was not until 2:15pm. I had been toying with skipping all day on Thursday, but my Type A side had kept a firm hold on my decisions. However, when I walked in the door, I made a snap decision that I was not going to stay that night by myself. So, I scarfed down dinner, threw some clothes in a bag, and headed out the door.

The thing was, I decided not to tell AnnaGrace that I was coming. I wasn't ever able to surprise her last year, so I thought it would be fun to give it a try. The best part was that I even talked to her on the phone while I was driving!! :) She had no clue.

When I arrived at her apartment complex, I asked her whether she had checked her mail that day. When she responded that she had not, I told her to go check it. Then I parked myself outside her door and waited. I think the next 2 minutes were some of the longest in my life. :) (AnnaGrace had decided to take her trash out, so it took her extra long to get to the door.)

When she opened the door, she dropped the trash bag and her keys, and exclaimed, "Oh my gosh!!"

It was pretty awesome. :)

We spent the rest of the weekend getting haircuts, studying a little on Friday afternoon (at a coffee shop), and just enjoying some time off. Well deserved after 2 weeks of classes, right?? :)

On Monday, we ran the Labor Day 15K in Fort Worth again. The weather was beautiful!!! Apparently a tropical storm came through (unfortunately, no rain, though!) that brought a cold front and a good bit of wind. We were actually a little cold at the starting line!!

I finished in 1:36 even, a 7 1/2 minute improvement over my time last year!! I was quite proud of myself, especially considering that I did not feel sick like I did last year after I crossed the finish line. Hurray for figuring out how to properly fuel oneself! I have started using PowerBar's Energy Blasts for runs longer than about 7 miles. It makes a huge difference in how I feel at the end of the run. Before I started using them, it took me a while after I finished to feel well enough to eat. Now, however, I feel great after finishing, and I'm usually hungry within 15 minutes of ending my workout - which gives me a nice excuse to tear into whatever is in easy access. :)

She caught me in the middle of stretching my calves!
The rest of the week was spent in kind of a haze. I ended up getting back late on Monday night due to a friend's car not starting, so I spent the next day or so trying to get caught up on sleep. We did learn, however, how to open a trunk by reaching behind the seats and using an umbrella to reach the latch. Or rather, I watched while my friend learned. :)

Life Lesson #2 (From Trusts & Estates Class): Divorce/remarriage make disposing of property at your death so much more difficult. The best life choice is to marry one person for life (and be faithful)!

We started talking about Marital Property Law on Friday. In Texas, there are 5 classifications of property: his separate, her separate, joint community, his special community, and her special community. I'm still not quite clear on all the ins and outs of this stuff, so I'm not even going to try to explain it. The goal of all of it is to protect the assets that each party has coming in to the marriage. My guess is that it's only really a big deal when there are multiple marriages involved. If you've only been married to one person, and only have kids from that marriage, it's super easy to ensure that the property goes to the people to whom the decedent would have wanted it to go. However, if there are multiple marriages/kids out of wedlock, it gets rather complicated.

It's pretty amazing how we have managed to make life difficult in so many ways by our refusal to live biblically.

I promise to (at some point, hopefully in the near future!) outline the courses I am taking this year. Here's a list to whet your appetite: Business Organizations, Basic Tax and Accounting, Elder Law (LOVE!!!), and Trusts & Estates (again, LOVE!!!!). More on that later!

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

An Exercise in Faith

To my loyal blog followers: First, I would like to apologize for neglecting my blog for so long. No, I did not fall off the face of the planet. The last four weeks have been a crazy rollercoaster. While I have thought about writing often, I have not been able to pull my thoughts together enough to put together a coherent post.

Second, if this post seems incoherent (or if I seem completely off my rocker), please bear with me. I am NOT off my rocker – I am simply marching to the beat of Another. Anyway, I am still in the process of sorting things out. However, I am happy to report that I am no longer on the edge of a nervous breakdown! :) I know that those of you who have spoken to me over the past month or so (parents and grandparents especially!!) will be happy to know that I can now talk to you without breaking down in tears. At least for the moment, until the next crisis rears its head. :)

And now, to get to the substance of this post…

Never assume. I assumed that returning to school as a 2L would be a piece of cake. With one year of law school under my belt, I should be a pro, right?!? Unfortunately, the beginning of this school year has proven more daunting than I had anticipated. 2L has definitely arrived with its own challenges that seem even scarier than last year. As Dr. Strange has commented, “last year, it was the fear of the unknown – not knowing what to expect. This year, it’s the fear of the known and of what is required of me.” It all began when I became eligible for Law Review...

Most people would jump at the chance to be on Law Review. It's considered the "elite club" of law school, and is practically a necessity if you want a judicial clerkship or to work at a big law firm (and with a starting salary of $160,000, who wouldn't want to work for a big firm???). Honestly, though, I dreaded becoming eligible. As a member of a Moot Court team, I was concerned about the additional workload that being on Law Review would entail. Additionally, I'm beginning to feel tired after years of cramming my schedule and never saying "no." Secretly, I hoped that my grades wouldn’t be good enough so I wouldn’t have to make the decision.

As I struggled with my decision about Law Review, one thing became very clear. My primary motivation was based on the fear that turning it down would ruin my career. However, I knew that basing a decision on fear was unwise. 

Proverbs 16:3-4 - Commit to the Lord whatever you do, and your plans will succeed. The Lord works out everything for His own ends - even the wicked for a day of disaster.

So, after four weeks of tears, lots of prayer, and talking to nearly everyone that I trust, I declined the invitation to join Law Review. I based my decision on the knowledge that my God is bigger than Law Review - and He certainly doesn't need it on my resume to accomplish His purposes. So, I put my future career in His hands, and took a direction completely contrary to earthly wisdom. Yes, it's scary, but at the same time it's also incredibly exciting to see what the Lord will do with what I lay on the altar.

With that decision behind me, I faced the beginning of school. I don't think I have ever felt such a sense of dread in my entire life. Law school is an incredibly stressful place – for me, more culturally than academically. Although I placed my career at the feet of Christ when I turned down Law Review, I still struggle with a terrible fear that I will be unemployed. The mentality in law school makes it very easy to be sucked into thinking that if I don’t everything a “certain” way, I will be completely unemployable. Unfortunately, many of my core values are contrary to those of the legal profession, and I'm beginning to realize that I can't blend into the crowd anymore. The fear of being a pariah again (hello, high school) has reared its ugly head.

In the midst of these thoughts and feelings, I have come to the following realizations (similar to my “resolutions” from last year):

1.     I keep reminding myself that I am exactly where God wants me to be. I know without a doubt that He called me into the legal profession.

2.     God did not drop me off in Waco and forget about me. These days, I cling to the fact that He is trustworthy. Even when my life feels out of control, He is still in control. And when He closes doors, He is leading me to another one that is open. While I don’t know what it is right now, it’s out there.
(Now, if I could just get my feelings to cooperate in being patient and trusting His timing…)

3.     Finally, I do love what I am studying. The law is so practical, and impacts our lives in so many different ways. Even if I never make a single dime practicing law, I won’t care – give me a home office and people to write wills for, and I will be content. :) While I may not enjoy the culture all the time, the subject matter is interesting. Additionally, when I graduate, I will have a practical skill that I can use to serve others.

Well, that is all for now…I’m sure there will be more posts on this subject in the future, but I think this one has gotten long enough. For now, I hope you have a marvelous Labor Day weekend! I’m celebrating by getting a haircut, running a 15K, and getting out of Waco for FOUR DAYS!! (I may have skipped a class to do so…and I may be showing up – or by this time, have shown up – on a certain Strange girl’s doorstep unannounced…SHHH!!!) More on that later!
Before I close, allow me to leave you with a departing though
“Our greatest fear as individuals and as a church should not be of failure, but of succeeding at things in life that don’t really matter.”                       - 
Tim Kizziar

Sunday, July 31, 2011

Test Drive

Yesterday, I convinced AnnaGrace to stop at a car dealership on the way home from work. She received a flyer in the mail which said she was a winner. I was convinced she would win one of four prizes: (1) a new car; (2) an iPad; (3) up to $500 in gold coins; or (4) $400 cash. I had even read the fine print, and was ready to put up a fight if they didn't fork over the prize. Sometimes I enjoy the idea of playing the "I am a law school student" card. :)

The time at the dealership was quite entertaining. The contest rules stated that you had to test drive a car. This despite the fact that AnnaGrace made it quite clear that she was not interested in buying a car. The salesman, however, was very nice. And, it turns out he used to be a concert violinist!!! He and AnnaGrace had quite the time sharing music stories. :)

After test driving an Altima, the sales manager came out. It was hilarious to watch him try to figure out how he was going to convince AnnaGrace that she should ditch her 2009 Honda Accord and buy a Nissan. After every question she answered, you could see the wheels turning in his head. When he asked her how she liked her car, she said "I LOVE it!!" very enthusiastically. And that was the trick that killed the line of questioning. :)

As we waited to find out what her prize was, another sales associate came over and started talking. As we went to leave, he asked what we were doing next. When we responded with, "Dinner," he asked if that included beer. WHAT THE HECK?!?! He was waaay too old for us - though I wondered if he was trying to get information for the young sales associate who kept eyeing AnnaGrace. *GAG* AnnaGrace politely told him, "No, I don't drink ANY alcohol."

And with that, we walked out the door with her $1 prize.

Yep, you read that right.

I missed the line of the fine print that says, "Chance of winning $1 - 1:49,999." AKA - everyone (besides the top winners).


Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Sunday Shenanigans

Around 2am, Sunday morning, we were awakened by the sounds of a raucous party at a neighboring apartment. The next morning, this sight awaited us:

My first thought was, "How did he manage to sleep out here in the heat??" Apparently he didn't sleep too well, because by the time I was back from the gym at 10am, he was gone (despite being up so late). :)

After church, we decided to get make one last outing to cap off a phenomenal birthday week. Our first stop was Recycled Books, one of our favorite places in Denton!! Here are a few of the treasures we found:

A word to those picking wedding music: Please. Step AWAY from the trombone book. Trust me, trombone music at your wedding = NOT cool. Plus, you WILL be judged by any music majors in attendance. :)

So sad because it's not within the budget.
Hurray for more classical CDs!!
Next, we made a visit to Goodwill to drop off some clothes. But of course, you can't go to Goodwill without going in and looking around!! I wanted to peruse the CDs to see if I could find any more Steven Curtis Chapman (I've had quite a bit of luck lately). Instead, I found "The Italian Job" on DVD, and...A SUIT!!!! Since I need some new suits for this next year, I decided to search the rack and just see if there was anything decent. I ended up finding a suit from New York & Company - my FAVORITE store!!! It was in my size, and only $7!!! I seriously love finding deals like this!! Props to my grandpa for giving me this trait. :)

This picture does not do justice to how bomb-digg this suit is, but I'm sure it will make an appearance on the blog in all its glory at a later date. :)

I also discovered this treasure - but opted to leave it in the bin for someone else.

AnnaGrace made what may end up being the find of the YEAR. She picked up a Polaroid camera for only $2!! The jury is still out on whether or not it works, but we're hopeful that it's just the film that was causing the wonkyness.

And finally, FRO-YO!!!! We are both seriously addicted. Since it's been about 3 weeks since we've been, a visit to Yogurt Story was way overdue.

While there, we had an impromptu photo shoot - and ended up with some real winners!!!

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Womb Emancipation Day

I am now as old as my mother was when she had me - isn't that weird?!?!? Somehow, when you're a kid, being in your 20s seems so old. Then you hit it and realize it's not that old, after all. I guess that's just how all of life goes. :)

AnnaGrace ended up having to work on Thursday, so I tagged along and hung out at Starbucks. Since I have a registered gift card, I got a coupon for a free birthday drink - hurray for a Vente Java Chip Frappuchino!!! :) I was quite alert for the rest of the day, that's for sure! While at Starbucks, I was able to Skype with my mom, which was really nice. 

When AnnaGrace was done with work, we headed home for a couple minutes before our hair appointments. I've decided that hair cuts need to be a new birthday tradition. :) It feels so good to have less hair on my head!! We don't have a really good "after" picture yet - that will have to come later!

When we got home, I parked myself on the couch and talked to MaryLou while AnnaGrace cooked dinner and made a cake (she wouldn't let me help!). :) She made steak, mashed potatoes, rolls, and an avocado - it was AMAZING!!

Then it was time for cake. I have been waiting for this cake for 2 months, ever since we saw it while looking for AnnaGrace's birthday cake. It seriously makes me drool every time I look at it on the computer screen. :)

Hurray for a fantabulous day!!

Friday, July 22, 2011

Birthday Week

Extending birthdays is always great - especially when you can do so for a whole week!! It has also been the perfect way for us to get out and blow off some of our restlessness. :) On Tuesday, we ran some errands around town, and then donated blood. I have never donated blood before because I've been too scared to go on my own (I know, I'm a wuss). Well, it turns out that was a good thing, because I was pretty high maintenance. I nearly passed out twice. The first time was right after they put the needle in. Knowing my propensity to get light-headed at the mere mention of blood, I wasn't particularly surprised. :) Apparently I looked pretty awful - I didn't even have to tell the technician that I wasn't feeling good - all of sudden, he was tipping me backwards and calling for a drink and ice packs (FOUR of them!!). :)

We survived!!! :)
I nearly passed out again right after I finished donating, before the tech took the needle out. I honestly don't know what my problem was then. By that time, I had calmed down from the first episode, was feeling great, and had even managed to look over at the cord. All of sudden, as he was reading the post-donation directions, I felt myself getting lightheaded and hot all over again. I felt like such an idiot!! I am, however, determined to donate again in 2 months. I WILL overcome this fear/queasiness!!

While I was causing problems, AnnaGrace was on the opposite side of the room cracking up and having a grand ole' time!! She also came over when she was finished to make sure I was still alive. :)

On Wednesday, we took a day trip to Plano. It was great to "get out of town" even for a short time. :) Our first stop was REI. I need a new cap for my Nalgene, but unfortunately didn't find it here (or any other sports stores, for that matter). 

On our way to the next store, AnnaGrace found a quarter in the parking lot. :)

Next, we stopped in at Nordstrom's Rack. My Aunt raves about this store, because it is the only store that carries her shoe size. Although I was convinced that I still wouldn't be able to afford anything, I thought it would be fun to just browse. I ended up finding a suit jacket for only $35!!! When I tried it on, AnnaGrace nearly cried - so I knew I had to buy it!!! :) I really need to update my suit wardrobe, so I was happy to find this!

Since I had a coupon for a free birthday sandwich, we had lunch at Which Wich, an amazing sandwich shop. It's kind of like Subway, except much better. You pick a paper bag according to category (vegetarian, turkey, chicken, etc.). Then, you choose all the veggies, cheese, and toppings that you want. 
I picked  a BLT with avocado. YUM!!! I highly recommend this place! 

Our next stop was supposed to be Ikea, but we saw a PetsMart and decided to make a quick detour to look at the kitties. :) Bad life choice - we were both dying for a kitten when we walked out the door!! Priority #1 when I get out of law school (after I find a job, of course), is getting a kitten!!

Yep, that's us - Smart!! :)
We finally made it to Ikea - this store is the COOLEST PLACE EVER!!! Something has happened to me in the past year. All of a sudden, I'm obsessed with home stores, decorating ideas, etc. It's like suddenly there's a Martha Stewart inside of me dying to spend hours (and thousands of dollars) decorating, cooking, etc. So yes, I was in love when we stopped at Ikea. :)

I found the curtains I want in my future kitchen!!! I was sooo tempted to buy them, but resisted the urge - barely. :)

I had a blonde moment when I saw this display. I thought, "Geez, that's a really funky-looking ironing board!!"

Then I realized it was five ironing boards hanging on the wall. :)

Birthday update coming later!