#2 Ten Dislikes

As part two of the blog challenge, ten things I dislike, also in no particular order.

#1 – Summer in Columbia

Real Temp: 99 degrees fahrenheit. Feels like: 110 degrees fahrenheit. Thank you humidity.

#2 – Things that Suddenly Work/Don’t Work

This always happens with my car. I drive it, it rattles or makes a noise or does something crazy. Dad borrows it to work on it and it runs perfectly. Better than normal even. I get it back, the rattle restarts. I think every person who relies on someone else to work on their vehicle understands this craziness.

#3 – Alfred’s Hyper Hour

About an hour before we go to bed, Alfred is literally bouncing off the walls. We’ve both been at work, we’re tired, we want to hold our kitty and be sweet. Our cat wants to play with our faces. Claw our feet. Climb the refrigerator. She’ll grow out of this phase, but right now it kind of makes me nuts.

#4 – Onions

Gross. Next.

#5 – Disorganization

I have a place for everything and everything should have a place. Mess with that and I dislike it. I’m a very organized person. Your disorganization doesn’t bother me unless it infringes on mine, or I have to live with you for an extended period. I have been blessed to live with some very neat, organized people.

#6 – Showering

It takes time I could be doing something else. If there was a way to stay clean without putting forth any effort, I’d be all over it.

#7 – Election Time

Do I even have to explain this one?

#8 – Bad Writing

Twilight, Fifty Shades, etcetera. I’ve read Twilight and I’ll admit, I’m a fan. But I can also admit her writing is not the epitome of style and beauty. She warms up a lot in four books. I don’t admire her characters. But even Twilight has more style than Fifty Shades. I read the short sample since its so popular with the moms I work with. Wow, is it awful writing. I wrote better in second grade. And my sentence structure was similar to hers.

#9 – Dishes

Again, do I need to explain this one? See: shower; onions.

#10 – Lying

Tell me the truth, plain and simple. Don’t walk on eggshells, don’t dance around the issue. I can handle it. I been putting on my big girl panties for a while now. Let me make the call.


I’m a Bad Blogger

I’ve been a bad blogger. I’ve been so busy, I forgot to blog. But today is your lucky day! I’m sick, so here you go!

It has, as usual, been a busy (almost) two months. During October I found out I have Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) which has finally explained some of the stomach problems that have plaqued me since I was in high school. We have begun the process of figuring out what foods trigger these symptoms as well as trying to mitigate the stress factors. However, October finished itself off nicely. As someone who works with children, I got Halloween off. Being new to the area, there wasn’t really anyone to see, so we stayed home, ate dinner, and watched a movie.

November was a bit more exciting! November 16th was Drew’s 25th birthday! We went out for dinner at a local Korean restaurant called Cho Wan Garden. It was delicious and very authentic. Anyone who knows me, knows I have a sensitive stomach (as mentioned in the previous paragraph). As I looked at the menu and the appetizers they set out before us, I was thinking, there is nothing I can eat here. The waitress was incredibly helpful, though, and we figured out something that sounded good. It sounded better than it tasted in my opinion. But Drew’s pick was so GOOD. We traded about three-quarters of the way through and I’m up for going there anytime now that I know what to order. 🙂 The week after was Thanksgiving. We spent Thanksgiving day at my family’s. For lunch we went to Grandma and Grandpa’s and spent time with the Murphy side and my dad. For dinner, we went with my mom’s side to Cracker Barrel. Normally, we do a huge lunch together, but this year Grammy wanted a change since it was our first holiday without Mom. Last year, Mom was in the hospital on Thanksgiving after dealing with an awful fall she had that morning. I think it was better than I expected this year, considering the circumstances. Our last major thing of the month was my best friend’s wedding shower-birthday-combo party. We did snack foods, drinks, and party games (The Game of Things and Apples to Apples). Josh Thompson won Things even though he left less than halfway through the game! And I won Apples to Apples. It was a fun night.

Now that its December we’re ticking off the days until Christmas. We have a sad, naked tree. We got it from Dad but our cat has pretty much killed the poor thing. She keeps climbing it and chewing on it. The needles have fallen out and the bottom branches are broken. The top was sad and squishy until yesterday. Drew made it look a lot better but its still sad. We’ve decided if we’re going to be cleaning up needles and having broken branches, then we might as well get a real tree since we’d at least be throwing it out anyways. So next year, real tree! Our cat is still freaking adorable, even as she breaks our tree. We’re getting her spayed December 20th, which I’m sure she’ll be thrilled with. Pictures of our cat in a cone coming soon! Right now, I have a severe viral sinus infection and three of my four clients are sick, so I’ve had pretty much the whole week off. Kind of nice, but my paycheck will feel the hit! And tomorrow, bye bye wisdom teeth. I think my doctors are tired of seeing me. 🙂 As for Drew, he’s finishing up his first semester at CPCC this week and he’s doing well. A quarter of his degree is done!


This month is Breast Cancer Awareness Month and tomorrow my mom will have been dead for three months because of this terrible disease.

She was diagnosed the week before Christmas in 2005. I didn’t know at the time, but she had Stage IV Metastatic Breast Cancer. She had her first surgery because of breast cancer on Christmas Eve. That week I got into a small accident because I couldn’t think straight. We spent Christmas day in NSICU, Mom flat on her back because the surgery had put steel and plastic in her lower back. She couldn’t bend, sit, or walk until much later. I spent Christmas Eve with family, Dad was with Mom. Christmas dinner, to my memory, was cancelled. She went through a mastectomy and radiation, then hormone therapy. For years, until I was over halfway through college, she was stable. Things were “stable or shrinking.” Until my third year, spring semester. The first time we found out it had spread from the original four locations. Chemo. She felt sick, she was tired. No effect. More chemo. She felt great after but her body couldn’t handle the second round. It depleted her blood cell count. They stopped mid-cycle. She went to the cancer treatment center and they made a plan that they never got to carry out. She went downhill, more tired, more worn out, upset at her lack of usual independence. She went in and out of the hospital during that last year for infections. The last time was when we found out her kidney function was around ten percent. All she wanted was to go home but she couldn’t and never did. She was transferred to hospice and died there a little bit before 8am on Saturday, July 21st.

We were later told that the doctors had initially given her two years but she lived six and a half. I believe that was a combination of the very strong willpower my mother possessed and a lot of prayers. Everywhere I went, I asked for prayer for her. I covered two countries and numerous states with prayer requests, and I firmly believe prayer works. If she had lived two, she’d never have seen me graduate high school. Instead she saw me finish high school, college, and she was at our wedding. In fact, our wedding was the last time I got with her where she seemed mostly herself. After that, she was in the hospital and hospice.

Breast cancer, all cancer really, is ravaging to not just the one living with cancer but the family. Every person in this country is somehow touched by breast cancer, whether they have it, their sister, mother, daughter, aunt, grandmother. And if you have somehow managed to avoid that link, then you’re touched by another kind. Please, ladies, do what you can to stay healthy. Self-breast exams, mammograms by forty if you don’t have a family history of breast cancer. If you do, start mammograms earlier, especially if, like me, you have family history and that family was diagnosed before menopause. Another option, if you have the insurance to cover it, is BRCA analysis also called BRAC analysis. Its a test for genetic predispositions to breast and ovarian cancers. I don’t have the right insurance but when I do, that’s my plan. Be aware of your own health. Take care of your bodies.

Let’s work for a cure. Donate to the people searching for a cure, walk for a cure, heck, buy merchandise that donates money to Susan G. Komen or the American Cancer Society. (I know, I know, pinkwashing and all that, but hey, if you want a new Tervis, get one that says fight like a girl, why not?)

And until there’s a cure, I wear pink for my mom. Because even though she’s in a better place, I’d give more than you can imagine to have her here on this earth with me and my family, to have one more phone call, one more Christmas. I love her too much to ask her to be here in that kind of pain but I don’t think it’s too much to ask for better treatment and a cure so someone else can be here without it.

#1 Ten Likes

As part of the blog challenge, I’m going to tell you ten things I like, in no particular order.

#1 – Peanut Butter M&Ms

These are so good. I’m sitting here killing the rest of our bag right now (sorry, Drew!) but they are delicious. The regular ones are fine, peanut is good, dark chocolate is good, but peanut butter m&ms are addictive.

#2 – Etsy

For those of you who have never heard of Etsy, you are missing out. This website facilitates the sale of handmade and vintage goods. They have everything under the sun. Want classic artwork with a Doctor Who twist? Try this. Estrogen chain necklace? Right here. Buffy the Vampire Slayer high heels? Of course! I bought my hoop skirt for our wedding here, Drew’s Christmas present last year, and so many other cute little things. You can even buy local. Seriously, check it out.

# 3 – How I Met Your Mother

So good. Neil Patrick Harris is so fun to watch. He makes a convincing womanizing jerk, which is hilarious considering he’s gay. Robin is totally “one of the guys” and Lilly and Marshall are the couple I always wanted to be a part of, or at least be friends with. In season one, Marshall and Ted get into a sword fight and stab Lilly. When they get to the hospital, she asks for the Knights of the Poorly Constructed Round Table. It’s a fun show.

#4 – Impromptu Days Off

I kind of love the days I get a phone call telling me that, for whatever reason, I can’t come into work today. I by no means want my clients to be sick, but its like a surprise birthday present. Its kind of fantastic to have your alarm go off and then see that you have several hours before you actually have to be somewhere. I love my clients but its nice to get an impromptu day to yourself.

#5 – Indian Food

Drew is the one who started my love of Indian food. When I met his parents it was in an Indian restaurant. The night he proposed we went to dinner at that same Indian restaurant. Then he got on an ethnic cooking spree and he makes some really freaking good Indian food. I’m undeniably American in taste; I love chicken marsala or chicken curry. I’m trying to convince him to make lamb, so feel free to mention it in passing anytime you talk to him. It would be highly entertaining to me. 🙂

#6 – Anything by Joss Whedon

Joss Whedon’s characters and story lines are so entertaining to me. He creates the blonde cheerleader who slays vampires and just wants a life outside of that, the broody vampire with a soul, a rebel soldier who smuggles things in space, a secret company that erases peoples personalities in order to make people a viable commodity, and a cabin in the woods that serves as a way to collect sacrifices for the ancient ones. He spins horror on its head and makes the known something new. Anything he makes, I’m game to watch.

#7 – Rain

I’m not a fan of drizzle but a solid downpour or a thunderstorm is awesome. I always sleep better when its raining, I’m happier, and I love a walk through the rain in my trenchcoat. Umbrella not required. I’m hoping to get some sweet rainboots when we’re in the UK in March.

#8 – Harry Potter

Do I really need to explain this one? I grew up with Harry Potter. He was a very bright era in my childhood. I own every movie, book, and want them all in e-book form, too. I want to read The Casual Vacancy but I haven’t had the chance yet. Harry Potter is why I read thousand page books and love epic fantasy and science fiction. Harry Potter was my gateway drug to Dragon*Con and all things fun and fictiony.

#9 – Ireland

Take me here. It’s where my family originates from and I dream of going there, at least for a bit. I know there are differences and I also know that there aren’t. I know it’s not all green leprechauns, too, and I’m tired of being preached at about high expectations dashed. I’m a realist with dreams but I’m not an idiot. I just want to go the way I have wanted to go for over a decade of my life. And as a 22-year-old, that’s a significant portion.

#10 – My Husband

Drew may not appreciate my photo choice, but I kind of love this one. His boutonniere had just broke and Mandy was fixing it. Our wedding was definitely a high stress day. I feel lucky to be able to say I don’t just love him, I like him. Not all couples can say that even four months in. As hard as these months have been, I feel incredibly blessed to have him by my side. Happy four months of marriage my love!

Blog Challenge

I stole this from Elise, a friend from college. I’ve been thinking I need a kickstarter, so I’m going to try doing this challenge to get more in the habit. Here are the topics that will be coming up this month.

1) 10 Likes

2) 10 Dislikes

3) My Favorite Season

4) Shows I’m Into

5) Something or Someone You Miss

6) Thoughts on God

7) 5 Ways to Win my Heart

8) Recipes I Love

9) My Dream Job

10) My Favorite Place

11) Article of Clothing You’re Attached to

12) A Fiction Character You Would Like to Be

13) A Letter to Anyone

14) My Fears

15) 5 Things You Lust After

16) Suffle on my iPod

17) My Family

18) Things You’re Thankful for

19) My Favorite Holiday

20) How I want to Grow Closer to God

21) Story of your Life in 10 words

22) What 2 brands of clothing would you wear for the rest of your life?

23) Best Time of Worship (ever)

24) My Favorite Musical Artist

25) Who is someone you admire who isn’t famous, but you wish the world knew about?

26) Why I married my spouse…

27) What are you looking forward to in the next 6 months?

What a Way to Make a Living

Did anyone catch the Dolly Parton song reference? No? That’s okay. I’m probably one of the few that sings “9 to 5” every time someone talks about working normal office hours.

So, one of the things I semi-mentioned last blog, i.e. “there’s more in the works,” is that my coordinator and leads at work recently recommended me for promotion! So for the past two days, I have been in Greenville going through something called Intensive Lead Training. It’s been very interesting. I joined the company prior to the creation of a written employee handbook, so its been nice to read all the policies and know what’s formally expected versus what is implied. It’s also been really good to learn more about intensive teaching and applied behavioral analysis (ABA) basics. I didn’t pass it on before because I wanted to wait and see how it panned out. I’m still going through the first part of the approval process through the company, then I have approval through the state, but I’m excited about the new opportunities.

Also, about a week ago we found out I had e coli. To answer your questions, no, I don’t know how I got, and no, I’m not contagious. I went on a week of antibiotics and now it is supposed to be over. So far, I think it is. This is only my first day post antibiotics, so I’m waiting to see how things go for a few days. On the bright side, I don’t have Celiacs, gluten sensitivities, or, presumably, Crohns. All of which I have now been tested for. But I have a couple of appointments to go before I can stop having my life run by doctors.

I’ve been really craft happy though. I sewed eight cloth napkins together and made a Christmas stocking for me. Last year I made one for Drew for Christmas and now I’m taking care of mine to match! All I have left is one “n” worth of embroidery and I’ll be done. But after such a sewing kick, its hard to find the motivation. The plan is to make one for each of children, with all of them in different colors. Drew’s is a rich green color and mine is a bright royal blue. As for the others, we have plenty of time to pick colors! My next project will be pillows for the couch. I have a pillow form and batting for another. I just need to make some pretty cases. Our apartment is full of neutrals so we need the added color.

Beyond that life is continuing like normal. We’ve been going to work, church, and in Drew’s case, school. Trying to live our lives as best we can. And its Fall!! Yay for cold weather, sweaters, and leaves changing colors! We have a busy October coming up and I’ll try to keep you all in the loop on what’s going on with us. If you read the blog, leave a comment sometime so I know whose reading. That might help me know what content people are interested in. For example, if you are a work colleague, funny work stories would be more your style. Someone we went to school with might want to hear about our church. Family would want general life stuff. Just want to know what you want to hear about! Also, I might start a blog challenge, since its still a bit weird to write something so broad instead of a letter or an email.

We’ve (Almost) Got Vision

Every two weeks seems to be the rhythm of the blog life for me. We’ll see how this goes!

As most of you don’t know, Drew and I have been talking to Greater Europe Mission (GEM) about the possibility of moving to the UK (probably either England or Ireland) for an as of yet undetermined period of time. We’ve been discussing what we could do there, whether to go the supported missionary route or a live-work route, and the different pieces of going. One of the things that has been highly suggested to us is a “vision trip” to go over and see what the culture is like and get a taste for things. We’ve decided to do just that. In March, we’ll be heading over to the UK for a little under two weeks. Everything is full of possibility, which is great! That also means everything is up in the air. We would greatly appreciate your prayers and thoughts as we figure out how to pursue this and what God wants for our lives. Drew’s passion is for the deaf. My passion is flexible at the moment it seems. We just hope that God will show us where to go and when.

Other than that all we seem to do is work, and go to school, at least in Drew’s case. I miss the free time of college. In many ways I had more time then, but then again, all that time went to homework. Still, I miss the process. I’m already looking forward to grad school and I haven’t even taken the GRE yet! I need to hop on that train before I miss it or forget everything I’ve ever stuffed into my head.

We are getting involved more at our new church, The Episcopal Church of the Holy Comforter. We attended a Newcomers event a couple of weeks ago, and there’s a party on Thursday. Everyone is so nice and they try very hard to remember our names! It’s a beautiful church and the Rector and Associate Rector are very kind. Of any church I have ever attended, this one tries the hardest to get newcomers integrated into parish life and Charlotte in general. They call themselves an incubator church because of the number of independent ministries that started as part of Holy Comforter. It’s been very exciting for me, and as someone who dearly loved Apostles, its nice to look forward to church every Sunday again.

There’s more in the works in our lives but, for now, it’s still so much in the works I can’t explain it until it gets more settled. I’ll try to keep you all updated! Please keep us in your prayers.

Follow Through is Hard to Come By

I’m still working on this whole blogging thing. I need to pick a day or two a week and just set out to blog that day every week. Anyways, my inability to commit to the blogoverse aside, I’d thought I’d give an update.

Since the end of July we’ve been pretty busy. I started work at last and have now gotten up to essentially full-time. My clients are fun and that’s all I can say about that. 🙂 It’s good to be working and earning money again. Drew has been working at Target still and he started his interpreting classes at Central Piedmont Community College (CPCC). Not to put words in his mouth, but he’s loving them. He has said multiple times that these classes are worth every penny we’re paying. I’m just happy that he’s getting to do what he loves!

This weekend we went to Dragon*Con. It was my third year and Drew’s second. I got to see a lot of my favorite people from Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Firefly, Charmed, and Warehouse 13. Not to mention Jane Espenson who is adorable. As always, the content was awesome and the guests were very entertaining. Drew got to put his education to work a few times by interpreting a couple of panels of X-Files, Warehouse 13, and a panel on the villains of Harry Potter. I got to see him do the panel of Warehouse 13 stars. He did a beautiful job, but then again I’m biased. 🙂 If you want to know more about the con, feel free to ask me or Drew or check out  their website. It’s awesome!

We also got a cat. Her name is Alfred. Yes HER name is Alfred. She’s an adorable black kitten who was born pretty much the same time we got married. She does adorably dumb things and finds her tail infinitely interesting. There’s a pic on my instagram. She enjoys eating, playing, and watching tv. Not even kidding. She’ll watch something, especially if it’s really bright or has animals, then when that stops get this bored look and move on.

We also think we have found a nice church. I’ll let you all know when we get a little settled into it and more sure of things.

Overall, life is good. It hasn’t been an easy month by any means emotionally but the good times are great times. We miss all our Columbia people!

Quite the Summer

It has been quite the summer, a roller coaster of good things and bad things.

First, I graduated from college. After four years of the incredibly tedious process of getting a Bible college degree, I have a Bachelor of Science in Bible, Psychology, and Youth Ministry. Well, technically speaking, I have a BS in Bible and Psychology with a minor in Youth Ministry, Family, and Culture. Now I get the wonderful opportunity to pay back my student loans. 🙂 Not that I’m being sarcastic or anything. I do have to say it feels good to be done with it even though I intend on going back to school in a couple of years.


Second, Drew and I got married. It was a beautiful, hectic, life-changing day. There is so much about that day I want to tell those of you who couldn’t come. I’ll start with this: the truth of the matter is, for something described as the biggest day of your life, it feels like any other day. You’re just in a big white dress kissing your best friend in front of an audience. I cannot deny that day was life changing, amazing, and beautiful. There are many things that flew by and I cannot remember, but there are moments that I will never forget. My dad walking me down the aisle. Drew’s hands shaking as he held mine during our first look. Him saying his vows. Hugging my mom after the ceremony. Driving away from the church and it finally hitting me we were married. But that is a story for another day.


Third, work has been taking forever to get me scheduled. Drew, however, got on schedule the week we got back from our honeymoon (in New York, by the way, also another whole story). So he has been working a lot and I have been trying to occupy a lot of open time. Thankfully, I will be starting next week. Thank goodness. They’ve been doing their best to get me on schedule.

Fourth, and besides the wedding, most important, my mother died a little over a week ago. It has been the hardest thing I have ever dealt with and I am not sure anything else will ever top it. In fact, I pray nothing does. Living in another town, it can be easy to forget she’s gone. Then I remember that if she were still here I would owe her a phone call. It’s those moments that are the hardest, the ones she was always involved in. The holidays are going to be very hard. Drew has been such a comfort and a strength for me, and I can’t imagine how I could have gotten through this week, especially her funeral, without him and without my dad. She was the best mother I could have asked for, better than I could have come up with on my own. Some people make a list of what qualities they want in a spouse. Well, I never could have imagined Drew into a list. If we could choose our parents, I couldn’t have quantified her into a list either. God gives us far better than our human minds can conceive.

Other than all this, all the other moments of the summer so far seem inconsequential. They weren’t at the moment but in the scheme of things, they are very small. But it is the small moments that sometimes mean the most. Keep us in your prayers as we move on in life, as we try to find a church to attend, and as we navigate new marriage. We have been so blessed.


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