Feels Like Home

In the past five years I have lived in eight different dwellings:

1.) Home home (Gig Harbor, Washington)
View of the Sunset from my bedroom window.

View of Mt. Rainier from our porch.

I love our house when it's snowy.

2. First year Dorms at UVa, Fitzhugh 330s!
Snazzy, huh?

3. Cameron 131 House AKA “The Burrow”
Loved this place.

4. Ahhh, Via dei Priori Apartment, Perugia Italy
View #1 from my bedroom window.

View #2 from my bedroom window.

View from our living room window.

5. Kappa Delta, Chancellor 136!

6. YWAM base, small room # ? Kigali, Rwanda

7. The Pointe Apts, “Il Bacio”
Please refer to "Ode to Il Bacio" for more wonderfulness from this place.

8. And now, my humble little Durham apartment.
I heart my green door. I also heart my birdie door mat.

Background One: I am a homebody. (Emphasis on the home)

Background Two: I hate moving (In part because it makes me realize how much stuff I have…)
Background Three: Change is often hard.

However, there always comes a point at which I’m doing some mundane, everyday task and I think to myself, this feels like home to me today. I think I had this moment today. I have only been living in this apartment about 2.5 months, but it’s finally feeling like home.

It is small. And quirky. And it's cold most of the time (Or am I just cold most of the time?) But I’ve come to love it.

I love that it is so small that I can vaccum the whole apt without uplugging my vaccum.
I love that my laundry room doubles as my kitchen…or does the kitchen double as my laundry room? Either way, I love when my kitchen smells like clean laundry…mmm. Or, when my laundry room smells like yummy-ness of food.
I love my comfy couch that I inherited from KD.
I love how our floors are uneven so we have to stick a dishrag underneath one leg of the kitchen table.
I love the little “porch” that we sit on, on pretty afternoons.
I love that it’s a seven-minute walk to the bus, and only a three-minute walk to the blue drop box to send letters.
I love that even though its my 8th home in five years, right now it is the place I get to come to, to relax, sleep, and get ready for another day of graduate life. It’s a roof over my head, and is therefore yet another sign of God’s provision in my life.

I’ve had 8 homes in five years.
Some people have no home.
Thank you God that wherever I go, you provide.



Today I was at church and I realized that everything I had on, with the exception of my jeans, previously belonged to someone else. And no, I didn’t steal them.

But, my shirt, my jacket, my shoes, and my purse were all hand-me-downs.

This happens a lot. And, about 90% of the compliments I get on what I’m wearing, rightfully belong to someone else, because the things I get the most compliments on, used to belong to someone else. I also have a few “Hand-me-loans”. This is what I call things that people (usually my mom) loan me, and then just tell me to keep for "awhile" because I wear them more. “Awhile”, my friends, is a very ambiguous term. So I usually just keep them till they come and take them away. Which basically means I just keep them.

Now, let me tell you, being a younger sister meant that growing up my older sister Laura usually got more NEW clothes and I would get her hand-me-downs. I resented this so very much. But, like naps, I look back now and scratch my head in bewilderment, wondering how I could have ever complained about having to have them.


Free + Clothes = Um, yes please!!
And, side note, most of the people who hand-me-down buy really cute clothes because they 1.) Have more money than I do or 2.) Have better style than me, or 3.) Both of the above.
So, this is a big thank you to ALL OF YOU BLESSED PEOPLE who have given me hand-me-downs. Not only do I love them, but I love thinking about YOU every time I wear them.
If anyone wants to hand-me-down old things, I am SO willing to take them. And if anyone needs something handed-you-down, please come look through my closet. I am sure there are things in there that I don’t wear or would look way better on you!!

Here are some of my favorite hand-me-downs:

Um, this must be where it all began…I would NEVER have picked out that pink shirt, sweater, socks, and hair tie for myself. Thanks Sister. (The truck on the other hand, must have been mine)

This bag, I carry it every day. EVERY day. One of my Mom’s best friends (and my other mother), Gail, gave it to me. She is my Number one hand-me-downer. And I love her. But not just cause of that.

These shoes, I wear just about everyday. Also from Gail.

All these shoes. Two from my mom, the rest from Gail.

I have four of these cute wicker blocks in my apt. I borrowed them my second year of under grad from Laura-Lee (another friend of Mom's whom I love), and was told I could just keep using them. Perfect example of a hand-me-loan. Note: Ignore my obsession with Audrey Hepburn…

This white sweater that I wore last weekend to this lovely picnic with Friends. They complemented it and I had to tell them the honest truth...Hand-Me-Down from Mamma. Yep.

These two dresses, white one = hand-me-down from Ashley West about three years ago. And the yellow from Jen. Note: Yellow dress = I love / Hand-me-loan that I secretly hope to hold onto for "awhile" longer…

This dress my mom bought last year, wore once, I got really jealous, and I kind of hand-me-stole it. :( But she totally let me!!

This sweatshirt was Adam’s favorite from New Zealand. Then he moved back. Then somehow it became mine. Score.

This ski coat is on the brink of being a hand-me-steal because my cousin left it at my apt last winter and I seriously have been trying to get it back to her, but it just never happens. So Mazy, next time I see you take it from me!! Thanksgiving??

I can't tell you how many more of my favorite shirts, dishes, knives, pillows, jackets, etc., are hand-me-downs from people I love.

Tanks for all the hand-me-love. :)




Happys and Sads, Part Due

It's been about two months at Duke now. After my first month, I realized I hadn't written anything about being at graduate school. So, I wrote about some of the early Happys and Sads of graduate school life. Now, I am almost done with 2 full months! So, I decided to write a second installment of my Happys and Sads. I may or may not have included a bonus section of Randoms. Part two my friends:

Name: Elise Jordan

Year: 1

Weeks Completed: 7
Program: MSc Global Health
Focus: Becoming less and less clear...

-When I sit on the bus, my feet don't reach the floor. It makes me feel childish.
-Sometimes, the bus just doesn't see me and passes by. Then I have to wait another 10 minutes...and it's getting cold.
-It's dark when I wake up now
-Two midterms and a paper in the span of about a week and a half.
-UVa getting our butt kicked by UNC for homecoming. :( :( This is double sad.
-Counting incidents of diarrhea...every time we analyze data we seem to be counting this. Seriously. And it gets old. Can we please count some other outcome every once in awhile???

-Having class outside in the grass on a sunny fall day.
-Mom and Dad spending almost three weeks on the East Coast and getting to see them 4 times! (Great visits, free food, free oil change!!, free wine, free hugs, lots of love)
-My best friend in Washington getting engaged!!!! (And asking me to be a bridesmaid) LOVE YOU EM!
-Fall break. (AKA, Fall "Two days off but there's a paper due the day you get back")
-Running on the trails in the Duke forests.
-Expanding my mind.
-Running into brotherkind on campus sometimes and getting really excited, even though we intentionally see each other most days...
-My friend Halley from UVA moving to Durham :)
-Two beautiful fall weekends away- first with my family in the mountains, then in Cville with almost all my best friends.
-My awesome roommate bringing new lamps from home so our apt isn't dark anymore...followed by said roommate doing a jig in the living room to celebrate the new lamps and how bright our apt is.
-Pumpkin season.
-Scarves, Hats, Boots, Jackets. (These are the boots my parents are getting me for my birthday!)

-Surviving two midterms and a big paper in about a week and half.
-Team "Other". Members: Read, Write, Think, and Eye Candy...
-Gelato study sessions (Can you say pumpkin chocolate chip gelato? Changed. My. Life.)
-Oh, and did I mention Adam is moving to N.C. in about 2 weeks?!!!! That's a happy, I guess. :)

Randoms: (New Addition)
-One of my best friends, who is a speech pathologist, explained to me what makes me snort when I laugh. Phew. Now I know. It's my soft palette's fault.
-The other day Adam asked me, "Are you at the Nerdery?" Aka, the library (where yes, I do spend a lot of my time). What exactly was he implying?

-Nirupama's random quotes: "China, what diseases to you have??" "I can't be a doctors without borders." "I think I'm brain fried."
-I eat A LOT of Acorn Squash. I want to make this soon:

Life here is still crazy. But still so wonderful. Can't wait for more happys, sads, and hopefully a lot more randoms in the months to come!! Happy Fall.


The Last SHALL Be First

I had a discussion with a friend in my program today about hopelessness.

More specifically, I had a conversation about how people without faith deal with hopelessness, especially in reference to global health. No doubt, everyone deals with difficulty in life, some much more than others. And many people do not believe in God.
Many people do not believe that God is ultimately more powerful than any destructive force on earth.
And many do not believe that God’s plan is to heal all hurt, right all wrong, and deliver those who suffer from their suffering.
But as for me, it is very difficult to study global health day in and day out, without falling on the fact that ultimately, God is the only force powerful enough to cure all suffering and end all disparity. I love this field. But the helplessness of it sometimes overwhelms my heart. The only refuge I have been able to find from that is in the knowledge of God's love and boundless power.

I love Brooke Fraser. If you don’t know her, you should. This song is from her new album and I cannot stop listening to it. There is a line about little ones thirsting that is so powerful to me, particularly because of my passion for clean water. This song speaks beautifully to the reality that, it is often hard to explain why things are the way they are. But that we can be sure that God has a heart for the "least of these".
And in the end, the last SHALL be first.
Here are the lyrics and a link to the song:

Come, tell me your trouble

I'm not your answer

But I'm a listening ear
Reality has left you reeling
All facts and no feeling
No faith and all fear
I don't know why a good man will fall
While a wicked one stands
And our lives blow about
Like flags on the land
Who's at fault is not important
Good intentions lie dormant
And we're all to blame
While apathy acts like an ally
My enemy and I are one and the same
I don't know why the innocents fall
While the monsters still stand
And our lives blow about
Like flags on the land
I don't know why our words are so proud
Yet their promise soothing
And our lives blow about
Like flags in the wind
You who mourn will be comforted
You who hunger will hunger no more
All the last shall be first
Of this I am sure
You who weep now will laugh again
All you lonely be lonely no more
Yes, the last will be first
Of this I'm sure

I don't know why the innocents fall
While the monsters stand

I don't know why the little ones thirst
But I know the last shall be first

I know the last shall be first
I know the last shall be first


3 Hours and 1/2 Tank Gas

After a truly wonderful weekend back home in Charlottesville (which I WILL write about soon), I hit the road for Durham.

A familiar drive -- South on 29, three hours, exactly ½ tank of gas in my Mazda3.

My plan for the drive: Study for my mid-term tomorrow while driving south.
(note: I've barely started studying for it because I’ve been playing in Cville with many wonderful old, and new, friends all weekend.)

But, as I was feeling sad to leave, frantic about what is ahead of me and how little I’ve prepared, trying to figure out how to safely flip through my flashcards while driving…

The words “Be Still, and Know that I AM GOD” hit me.

So, I stopped shuffling papers and feeling stressed.
I turned on my current favorite playlist of worship songs, and I was just still. It was a beautiful drive. And it made me want to do two things:

1. Share this playlist with you all because it made my soul happy today.
2. Encourage you too, to Be still and know that He is God.

Order doesn’t matter.
I shuffle them every time.
It always sounds perfect.

How He Loves, By David Crowder Band
Before the Throne of God (The Acoustic Version), By Shane & Shane
At the Cross, By Hillsong
Be Thou My Vision, By Ginny Owens
Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing, By Sufjan Stevens
Taking up my Cross, By Sam Fisher
Hosanna, By Hillosong United
Not Be Shaken, By Portico Band
Your Love is Strong, By Jon Foreman
O, For A Thousand Tongues to Sing, By David Crowder Band
Here is Love, By Passion
Like Incense, By Hillsong

Enjoy :)


A Little Ironic

I Love to write but I have a deeply ingrained, life-long fear of letting anyone read anything I’ve written. The only person I ever let proof anything is my dad. I even get really worked up when someone tries to look over my shoulder while I'm typing. Without fail I minimize the screen when someone is approaching. Plus, I always have this fear of leaving a paper in the printer at a library or some other public place of free printing, then having someone pick it up, read it (as if anyone does that), and identify me as the person a who wrote it. Next week we have to submit a draft to a Peer to edit! The horror.
I let exactly 4 people outside my family read the spiritual autobiography I wrote. That was a HUGE deal for me.

Yet, now I write a blog. Several times a week I dump onto it anything and everything that goes through my mind, slightly edited of course.


I let people read it.

But, I still can't bear to let anyone read anything I write outside of it.
The Irony.


A Weekend Among The Hills

My family and I retreated to the mountains this weekend. We ate good food. Drank good wine. Played a lot of bananagrams. Watched sports. Walked. Rode Horses. Snuggled. Said ridiculous things like: For all he knows, we're the pope.” Or “Mom! You’re in your IPOD on EVERY pic.” Or my fave, “I feel so stupid. I'm reading a book that is written in first person dog. And he just used a word I don't know.” But nothing about this weekend was more special to me than this:

We met up in Charlottesville and drove up skyline drive. Every season God made is beautiful. But folks, God painted an absolute masterpiece when he created the Shenandoah Valley in the middle of fall. We stopped almost every ten minutes to pull over and take pictures. Unfortunately, true to any awe-inspiring work of the Creator, pictures cannot do it justice.

I think fall is my favorite season. Not because it’s when I have my birthday. Not because of pumpkin everything, fall drinks at Starbucks, the start of college basketball season, getting to pull out my countless hats, scarves, and coats. And not because of Thanksgiving or the start of Christmas season. I think it’s my favorite season because to me, it paints a picture of God completing a work that He has started. When I look out at hill upon hill upon hill of brilliant color, I hear God saying:

“You were just a small seed. All you had to offer was a morsel of faith. But I have nurtured you, pruned you, and grown you up into something strong and secure. And now, I am going to use you to paint the most beautiful landscape imaginable. It will be a symbol of the work of my hands and its UNMATCHED beauty.”

Maybe they are just trees.

Maybe they are just almost dead trees.

But to me they symbolize the pinnacle of what they were created to be.

And they illustrate God's all-encompassing beauty.

"One thing I ask of the LORD, this is what I seek: that I may dwell in the house of the LORD all of the days of my life, to gaze upon the beauty of the LORD."

Psalm 27:4

Here are a few pictures:


The Little Things...

Dear coffee drinkers/addicts/must-have-its,

You have all probably experienced this cruel paradox: It's so hard to make a pot of coffee, before you've had any coffee. Quag. Mire. This morning I woke up and the last of the coffee that I made last night while writing a paper was still warm.

And so, I drank it.

Then I made my pot of coffee. My day is made. There is hope for this hopeless conundrum after all.


20 and 60 Years Young

This blog is for the men in my life. Ok, two of the men in my life. Namely, Glenn and Paul. My dad and my brother. This weekend we are going to the mountains in VA as a family to celebrate the 20th and 60th birthdays of my brother and father. A lot of women do not have the blessing of growing up with one excellent man in their lives. Much less two.

I am blessed.

Both of these men (Yes, PJ you count as a man now) have taught me so much about what I have always looked for in a man.

They love their family
They take care of and make sacrifices for the women in their lives.
They are opinionated, strong-willed, and always right. (Right?)
They are brilliant.
They love Duke basketball.
They know God.
They love God.

My dad has intimidated and scared most everyone that knows him at some point. But he has also made them laugh, cry, furry their brow in confusion, and learn something new. He leaves people smarter, more precise, and more passionate than he found them. He has also memorized the C section of the dictionary. There is no one in this world I trust more than this man. He has been an amazing husband to my mother for 35 years. He has been a teacher, provider, friend, disciplinary, and comforter to his whole family. He thinks I'm beautiful and tells me all the time. He is proud of me. He is why I love the picture of God being my Heavenly Father. And He has taught me more about my Heavenly Father than anyone else on earth.

Paul is so funny. But he so serious too. He is serious about things he wants and things he believes. He is smart, handsome, athletic, and tall. He protects me and takes care of me as if I were his baby sister. He challenges me to think more critically and work with more determination and ferocity. He thinks I am the best cook in the world and brags about it to everyone he knows. He gives me great gifts, I don't think most little brothers do that. He has been one of my best friends since we were little (Buddy Ol' Pals as we used to call it.) Our favorite activities have evolved as we've grown up but have always remained creative:

Playing "school" on the floor of the pantry for hours(where it was never nap time and always snack time)
Playing backyard baseball for hours on the computer
Playing tennis against the garage doors
Letting me dress him up in my dance costumes…
Passing notes under each other’s doors when we were "grounded"


Staying up late at night to finish Harry Potter books together and then talk about them
Cooking “together” (i.e. me cooking for him)
Playing tennis on real courts
Making “Windows-down” playlists for the summertime
Going Kayaking, Backpacking, Skiing, Boating, everything together
Compete in four year-long poke wars (As of the moment I am publishing this blog, I am winning. Boo-yah)

Him visiting me at UVa...followed by me following him to Duke.
Studying together in the Duke library, a lot
Going to church together every Sunday where people think we are dating. Then out to lunch.

So here's to these two amazing men. And here's to some family time celebrating them.

Getting ready to summit Mt. Rainier together.

Sunset, sleeping on the side of the mountain. So, so Glorious.

I'm his Harley babe...one of our favorite things to do together. Did I forget to mention my dad is really cool? Well, he is. He is Harley Davidson cool. And that's pretty cool.

YES! Someone to play sports with. Paul, you be the football, I'll go long...

I love him. He is terrified.

This was for a school choir concert. He was Moses. I was...from the Caribbean?

Halloween party at UVa. Blades of Glory. Anyone?

Mt. Si

Graduation weekend at UVa. Getting ready to be Dukies together.
Love you Guys so much.

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