Happys and Sads, Part Otto

March has come and gone now, but was a fun-filled month for me. So much happened in the past 30.5 days of my life. Here are some of the Happys and Sads that I can remember. And April...here we come.

Name: Elise Leighann Jordan
Program: MSc Global Health
Year: 1
Weeks completed: 30
Focus: Getting through finals. Then to Nepal.

Happys:

-The Duke-UNC rivalry being incorporated into a sermon at church. Love living in this area.
-The Anthropologie apron and gluten free baking cookbook that a good friend sent me just for fun.

-Trader Joe’s chick peas, they just taste better than any other chick peas. They’ve done it again.
-Spring break with two besties.
-Three weekends in a row in Cville.
-Mamma visiting me and spending a girls weekend doing wedding stuff. For those of y'all who don't know me well, I LOVE my Mamma.


-This moment:

-Getting to know this girl better: Especially over pint(s) of gelato and awkward stories.

-God using the amazing couple that we are doing pre-marital counseling with to speak so much wisdom into our lives. And to bring a lot of laughter to our souls. And often, ice cream to our bellies.
-Finished our wedding website. Come visit!
-Going to another Drew Holcomb and the Neighbors concert and having them rock my socks right off.
-The Pioneer Woman. She just gives my life so much entertainment and happiness. She also provides many-a-good recipes. Check her out and you’ll never turn back. She makes reading a recipe hilarious.
-Wedding Registering.
-Realizing that EVERYTHING is 10 times as much fun when I'm doing it with Adam. I.e. registering.
-Free bags of peanuts.
-Getting our engagement photos back from Eric Kelley and being obsessed with them. Thanks Eric and Lora! Y’all rock.

-Making friends with chickens

-Making yummy chicken

-Adam has an application on his droid where he can talk to the phone and it will type the text for him. This often results in gibberish messages that crack me up.
-Passing up the 7th month mark on our wedding countdown.
-I have the cutest Grandmom in the whole world. Period. And she just celebrated her 86th year of being awesome.

-Finding out that we are leaving a week later for Nepal so I don't have to miss my cousin's wedding!
-Only three weeks left of school!! Phew.


Sads:
-That game/massacre/nightmare. Sad, sad story. But I still love my Duke.
-Wondering how I'm going to get all the work I have left done in three weeks of school.
-The bus drivers always start driving before I've safely reached my seat or support pole. I go flying, naturally.
-Nice weather followed by horrible, horrible weather. It’s confusing.
-I broke one of my roommate's plates today. So far I have broken two of her plates and ruined one of her cookie sheets. Thank goodness they don't have rank-your-roommate sites the way they do with professors. I'd have 0 stars.
-Helping one of my favorite Durham friend pack her apartment up into a Uhaul so she could move away. :(
-Finding out that another of my favorite Durham friends is moving to Houston.
-Wondering why all my Durham friends keep moving away.


Randoms:
-I bought a one-piece swimsuit. Adam made fun of me. But I think it’s adorable. And modest. That’s my story and I’m sticking to it.
-Funny Quotes from my friends lately:
"Can you see this font? 'Cause that's font right there!"
"Is she (your mom) related to you? Oh wait, your MOM!"
“Elise, you have a crush on Butler don't you?”
“I look like I own Nepal these days.”
"Fidora on the Floor-a. (Like Dora the Explora?)"
-When it rains (i.e. this entire week) I wear my green rain coat, which happens to be the exact same shade as my Whole Foods lunch box. Which happens to be the exact same shade as my bright green rainboots. I look like a giant lime. Or Kiwi. Or Something.
-We made fish last night and the smell will not depart my apartment. I'm getting a little fish-high.


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Rainy Days Aren't Sunny Days...




Today is March 30.

But as far as I'm concerned, it's April. Because the showers have arrived. This is what my Dashboard weather gadget told me this morning:


And, believe it or not, this is better looking part of the week. It even snowed a little Monday morning. Wool socks are back in commission. I've had to wear my old nasty rain boots several times already. And, while I love the feeling of walking straight through a puddle in them with no fear of wet soggy jeans, today was just not the day for it.

But, you know the one thing that I DO love about rainy days? (Besides, of course my BRIGHT green raincoat that at least ensures that I won't get hit by a car).

They remind me of Home. As in Washington. Whether it is dumping buckets or just doing that misty thing where it just kind of spits on you all day long, it makes me feel a little more connected to little Gig Harbor.

It makes me think of my mom and one of her best friends Gail who walk together in the mornings even if they have to wear full-body waterproof gear and come back drenched.

It takes me back to setting out on a sailing trip to Vashon Island for 4th of July weekend with Adam--in the pouring down rain last summer, in complete denial of the fact that even July could be gross.

It takes me back to where I came from. Folks, I'm a product of rainy weather. I think it's why I'm obsessed with sunshine.

But you know what? Rain makes things lovely. It's just a fact of life. Washington is called the "Evergreen" state for a reason. And as much as rain stinks while its here, there is so much to look forward to when its gone. Because it makes things grow and bloom and be happy.

One of my best friends once made the (astute) comment that "Rainy days aren't sunny days, that's for sure."

Corrine, I couldn't have put it better myself. And I love that rainy days give us an excuse to stay inside and bundle up every once in awhile. And they make things (i.e. Washington) look like this...








I miss you Washington. Thanks for being rainy and so beautiful.


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The Whole Package

I'm not going to blog about you-know-what that happened last night. I'm in denial and don't want to talk about it. For those of you who don't automatically know what I'm referring to, let's just drop it...

Instead I want to blog about the amazing thing that occurred last night. Adam and I went to see Drew Holcomb and the Neighbors perform in Raleigh. Remember these guys? No? You can refer to a post appropriately titled A New Obsession to refresh your memory.

We accidentally discovered this band in December and haven't been able to get enough of them since. My friends, they've just got the whole package:

-Original, brilliant, and moving lyrics. They write their own music.
-AWESOME sound.
-Singers who are a married couple who just look like they could eat each other up when they are singing together.
-No fear of playing really loudly, in a really small venue. They rock it out. Every time.
-Awesome sense of humor.
-Realness and sincerity that comes through in everything they do.

Last time I sent you to their website to listen to some of their music. But this time I'm brining them to you! How easy is that? Some would call this nagging. I call it persistence. But it's for your own good I promise. You will love them. Below is their music video for a song called "Fire and Dynamite."

Watch.
Then go listen to "Live Forever," "Hung the Moon," "Anywhere but Here," and "Can't get enough of you" too.
Repeat.
Then call me and thank me relentlessly for introducing you to your new favorite band.

If you don't like them, I won't be offended. But I just felt like it was my duty as a friend to tell all of you lovely devoted readers about them.

Happy Friday and Enjoy!!





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To Begin, the Conclusion


Lately I've been confronted with how crazy of a journey life is. And the little things that happen that lead you to certain ideas, places, people. And I often spend so much time wondering what lies ahead, trying to anticipate or plan for it.


Sometimes I take comfort in not knowing. But usually, it drives me mad.

I was reflecting on this today and realized that this is true of my spiritual journey as well; It blows my mind thinking of the journey that God has brought me on, from the time I became a Christian until now. And it reminded me of the way I concluded the spiritual autobiography that I had to write my third year of undergrad. I've shared bits and pieces of it already (click below).
And I may share more in the future. But for now, I'm sharing its conclusion. Because this is where I found myself journeying today.
"X and Y are for the two axes, and my journey is a function (pun intended) of both. Math is my favorite subject and I tend to think of everything in terms of numerical calculation and manipulation. I see a lot of commonalities between my spiritual journey and a function on a graph. The X axis determines whether I am moving forward or backward. The goal of my journey is to always be making forward progress, no matter how slowly. The Y axis determines whether I am moving upward or downward. Along this axis, on the other hand, I am content to experience movement in both directions. A journey consisting only of mountain-top moments will never build character or strength. But a journey trapped permanently in the valley is hopeless. So I guess what I am saying is that I hope my journey looks a lot like the graph of sine. While it continuously experiences ups and downs, it is always moving forward toward infinity, or should I say eternity. From this illustration I can easily derive (I like puns) the final letter of my spiritual journey. X and Y are for the two axes; on which all my movement is represented.




Z is for Zion. Zion is a term often used to refer to the Promised Land. The Promised Land is a place where God dwells among his people, eternally. In my mind it represents the place and point in time when I will be united with God and will live eternally; without blemish and without pain. It gives direction, purpose, and meaning to my spiritual journey. Zion, to me, means fulfillment, comprehension, healing, and peace. The things that confound and confuse me now, will all come together and be perfectly reconciled. I will be surrounded by the Truth, and I will finally grasp it fully. There will be no more questions, only understanding. Zion is far, and yet it is very near, just as the Kingdom of God is both present and future. I have my eyes set on a destination, but I must also continue to focus on the voyage. Z is for Zion, the place that my autobiography ends, but my journey continues toward."


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Beautiful Things




This morning I am listening to my Jon Foreman Pandora station and this song came on:


It made me, (sigh), so humbled. In October I wrote about the way that God reveals himself so clearly in the Fall. Then I later wrote about how ready I was for Spring to arrive. And lately, I've been mesmerized by the slow but sure arrival of Spring and the new life that it brings. This weekend my dear friend Lauren came to visit and in attempt to take full advantage of the beautiful 70-80 degree weather, we spent a lot of time walking; Walking through the Duke forests, around campus, and through the famous Duke Gardens. The whole time, I just kept thinking how lovely the Spring is.


Lauren took these lovlies.



Then this morning I heard this song. And I was sitting here in the library at my favorite table, by my favorite window that has a beautiful tree right outside of it. I sit here often and so I know this tree well now. And it always tells me what season it is. As I watched it the Gungor lyrics started reminding me that God makes beautiful things. Which I know is true:

He created the earth.
And people.
And puppies.
And this tree.

But then, I started realizing that what the song is really emphasizing, is that God makes beautiful things out of not-so-beautiful things.

I.e. me.

And I just started praying the familiar Psalm that David did when he prayed that God would "Create in me a clean heart. And renew a steadfast spirit within me." (Psalm 51:10)

This song and this Psalm tell the story of this tree so well. It is not always lovely. And after the Fall, it kinda looks dead for awhile. And ugly. But then, God always makes it new, each Spring. And He restores its greenness, its flowers, its life. I love that.

And Aren't we all a little like that?

In constant need of God who will take us as we are, love us, and restore a right and steadfast spirit in us. And make us new.

"All around hope is springing up from this old ground.
Out of chaos life is being found in You.
You make beautiful things. You make beautiful things out of dust.
You make beautiful things. You make beautiful things out of us.
And You make me new, You are making me new."

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Someone Spectacular




Today is the first day of Spring.

Happy Spring!

Today is also the day that Einstein published his theory of relativity.
Ok, he was pretty smart.

But most importantly today is the day that my older sister Laura was born. I have never really written much about my sister on my blog.

This is not because I don't love her.
Or because she is unimportant or uninteresting.
It's just because it's too difficult to put her into words.
She is the most spectacular person I know.
And my best friend.

She gave me my first haircut, taught me how to shave my legs and curl my hair, taught me what to wear and what NOT to wear. She let me sleep in her room with her till I was about 8 even though I kicked and stole all the covers. She let me borrow her clothes, even her favorite things. She taught me how to be brave. She taught me to find my worth in who God says I am and not in what anyone else thinks or says. She taught me how to sacrifice my own desires when God calls me toward something else, no matter what the something else is.

She moved to Rwanda for two years after graduating college and met her husband there. They live in the states now but will move back to Rwanda for good after Robert finishes school.

And this is not because she doesn't love me.
Or because she thinks i'm unimportant or uninteresting.
It's difficult to put into words,
But basically, it's because she's the most spectacular person I know.
And we'll still always be best friends.

I don't know how many birthdays, holidays, everydays, I'll get to spend with her as adults. Far fewer than I imagined, I'm afraid. We may not live on the same continent when we are having children, being wives, living life, or experiencing all those things that sisters do together. But, we'll always be sisters. And she'll never cease to amaze me.

I love you Lovely Laura. Happy 26th Birthday.

Love,

Boots


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My Roots




I have a lot of Irish blood. And I'm proud of it. But, I've never really gone crazy for St. Patty's.

Maybe I'm just too boring.

Maybe I just don't have enough green in my wardrobe.

Or, maybe I'd prefer a pint of ice cream to anything else.


Nonetheless, I have very fond memories of the one time that I got to travel Ireland and learn how to live like true a true Irish girl--visiting the places my parents use to frequent when they lived in Dublin. The pubs, the music, the camaraderie...it's enough to make you forget about the worries and stresses of the day and soak in the beauty of life. And they do. Everyday, it seems. I love that about the Irish.

So this one is for everyone who finds a little inspiration from the Irish way. Happy St Patty's.





"May the road rise to meet you.
May the wind always be at your back.
May the sun shine warm upon your face.
And rains fall soft upon your fields.
And, until we meet again,
May God hold you in the hollow of His hand."
-Irish Proverb

Happy St. Patty's my friends. And happy weekend.





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Our Big Green...




::Surreal Moment Newsflash::
We just got our first wedding gift. Repeat wedding gift.


Our wedding may still be 228 days away, but somehow it suddenly feels a lot closer. We have barely told anyone that our registries even exist yet because they are still a work in progress. But a little birdie (named Mamma) told the one person we know that WOULD be too antsy to wait till October to get this for us and surely enough, the one kitchen appliance that I have dreamt of my entire life showed up at our doorstep tonight.

Hints:
It's big.
It's green.
And it mixes.


Ahhh, isn't it lovely!?




This came from the same woman who can't wait till after dinner to order dessert. Who always makes the yummiest baked goods for her family and, let's be honest, for herself. She is my sweet tooth soul mate. She never leaves the house without chocolates in her pockets. My mom and brother always tell me that I am somehow actually her daughter. And, as you can see, she is also incredibly generous. This was a "pie in the sky" (if you will) item for us. But we added it anyway. I almost cried when I saw what it was today.

And, as we opened it we looked at each other and realized, this is going to be in OUR kitchen. Why yes, yes it will. For a very long time. I will use it for our holidays, birthdays, and dinner parties.
When I want to surprise Adam with yummy treats.
When I experiment with all my crazy gluten free baked goods that only taste good half the time.
When I've had a hard day and just need baking therapy.

And whenever I do, it will be flashing that happy green smile of its up at me. And I'll smile right back.

And then I'll think of her. And I'll wonder what she is making in her KitchenAid at that moment.

Thank you for our first wedding gift. We love it. So much. Xo.

Love,

Elise (and Adam)

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