Monday, February 15, 2010


One of the most incredible songs ever written, along with being performed by a very talented upcoming group (The Canadian Tenors) and THE Celine Dion herself.  Everytime I watch this I get chills.  EVERYTIME.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Eyes through Another Lense

This year at Christmas, I encourage each of you to look at giving a little differently this year.  Instead of flooding you family members with beautiful gifts or spending large amounts of money on the newest "it" item, I challenge you to give a gift that will save a life, encourage a healthy lifestyle, and bring hope to someone in need.

Give money to the Romanian Evangelistic Medical Mission to help get orphans into safe and healthy homes.

Give a pair of shoes from TOMS Shoes to your brother so that a child who doesn't have a pair, can experience what it's like to run around outside with shoes on.

Give a goat or a blanket, in honor of your mom, to a family in need living in a third world country through World Vision.

Give money in your family's name through Blood Water Mission in order to allow people in Africa living amounst the AIDS crisis taste clean water for the first time.

Or give money in order to bring rescue and restoration to victims of slavery, sexual exploitation, and other forms of violent oppression through The International Justice Mission.

There are countless organizations out there looking for people to help, donate, and show that they want to do something in order to bring justice to our world.  I encourage you to consider stepping forward to help save lives through the gifts that you give.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

The next Rachel Ray? Probably not...

Over the past couple of years, I have discovered a love and talent for cooking that I didn't know I had. Growing up I didn't help my mom cook, nor did I ask her to teach me how. It wasn't until my junior year of college that I decided that I should figure out how to since I was living on my own in an apartment and would need to cook for myself. I couldn't just walk across campus to Hubble or Olmsted anymore to get a meal, but I actually had to feed myself. After one bad attempted meal, I realized how important it was for me to figure out how to prepare a dish.

I stuck with cooking the same six things through college, but I began to expand my horizon once I moved to Wichita, bought my own house, had a real job, and felt like I was a real adult. It was time to step away from my comfort foods of pasta with red sauce and macaroni and cheese.

I gathered up as many cook books as I could get my hands on; I searched at garage sales, sale racks at Wal-Mart, and even took a few out of my mom's hands that she didn't use. I searched the web and printed recipe after recipe so that I always knew I had a variety to chose from whenever I wanted to make a meal. At first I did it because I wanted to eat healthier and was sick of having the same thing, but [especially] this past year the chore that it first was has turned into a passion.

I can't wait to cook for Matt and I most nights. Last night I made tilapia filets cooked in diced tomatoes, oregano, sautéed with orange pepper, onion, and garlic, put over rice. It was wonderful.

My shoe box full of written out and printed recipes is growing quickly. I hope to make a recipe book soon so that I no longer have to scramble through my box.

I may not be the next Iron Chef or Rachel Ray, but cooking is a form of art I will continue to pursue. Plus, seeing the smiles on people’s faces after feeding them a delicious meal brings joy to my heart!

Thursday, September 24, 2009

A Good Experience

Overall, I would say that I had a good experience while serving on Jury Duty.  I don't plan on putting my name on a list to serve a case once a month, or once every year for that matter, but I'm glad that I was picked.

It was interesting to me to sit through the trial, learn about the court system, and experience what a trial is really like, rather than rely on Judge Judy or Law & Order to tell me everything I need to know about the juditial system.  I never knew all of the rules and instructions that had to be followed by the lawyers, the judge, the witnesses, and the jury.

I was not allowed to talk about the case while the trial was occuring, which was hard for me, but it kept our opinions safe from being swayed one way or another.  This also included talking to my jury-mates.  It wasn't until deliberation day after the case was complete that we were allowed to say anything about it.  And in order to discuss, all 12 had to be in the jury room; no where else.

Once the trial was over, we were told that we could talk about it, research it, give opinions about it, etc etc etc; it didn't need to be kept a secret any longer.

My case involved a 13 year old girl who accused her father of touching her in a lewd manner one night when she was 10.  At the very beginning of the trial, something in my heart continued to say "he's not guilty."  I remember thinking, Why do I feel this way?  I don't know enough to make a decision yet.

As the trial continued on for the next three days, this feeling remained within and began to increase.  (In order to proclaim that someone is guilty, the jury must have no reasonable doubt.  If in fact a person has even a hint of reasonable doubt about the accusation, then automatically that person is not guilty.)

By the end of the trial I was confident that the man was not guilty.  I felt that the state had not done enough to prove to me that this situation occured in the manner that was presented.  It was a very hearsay case (he said/she said).  I felt the witnesses were not reliable, situations were stretched, and words were taken out of context.

My heart went out to this man and to the daughter, even if I couldn't believe what the daughter claimed.

The hardest thing during the trial was to not think with my feelings, because everyone who knows me knows that I am a very emotionally driven person; we too could not think about what could happen afterwards.  Relying on feelings and what could happen afterwards could greatly influence a person's decision for the verdict, so I tried with all that I had to think like my husband (an engineer).

Once myself and the rest of the jury went into the deliberation room, we talked through things first, and then we took a vote to see where everyone was at.  Myself and another gentleman were hardset on not guilty.  Eight were set on guilty.  Two others were unsure which way, but said they were leaning more towards guilty.

We spent about three hours discussing, re-listening to evidence, and making sure that our verdict would go with the instructions written from the judge.  My heart continued to break because I felt there was not even close to enough evidence to prove this man did was the acusation said he did.  We recessed and agreed to think about it over the weekend and return Monday to agree on a verdict.

I went home and I prayed like I've never prayed before.  There was no way I was willing to declare a hung jury (for numerous reasons), but I felt that my God was big enough to change the hearts of these people if the man was in fact innocent.  I spent night and day weeping, praying that hearts would be changed.

When I returned on Monday, we took a count right away to see where people were at. 

Ten people were for not guilty; the other two were set on guilty.

I almost started crying right there in the jury room because of the faithfulness of my God I was able to witness.  Even before I was picked for this jury, I prayed and asked the Lord to put me on this trial IF He needed me on it to stand up for justice.  And I was able to do so.

After more investigation and discussion, the two men finally changed over to not guilty, fully understanding that there wasn't enough truth presented to imprision this man.

I was even more encouraged and the decision was confirmed when the judge told us later that afternoon (after the trial), that he too would have voted the man not guilty.

God needed me to stand up for justice, and I was able to witness a miracle of hard hearts changed to see truth.  It was one of the most beautiful and powerful things I've ever experienced.  Daily, I try and pray for Jeff, and also for Lacey, as both of their worlds have been turned upside down since this accusatoin was made one year ago in October.  I will probably never see them again or ever talk to them, but God has reminded me that they too need prayer, even if I never know the outcome of their lives.

Stand up for justice.
Believe that it will be served.
And trust our God to break down the walls that stop it from occuring.

Thursday, September 10, 2009


According to my husband... I'm one lucky girl.

I was chosen.  Yes, chosen.  Chosen to serve on Jury Duty.  Hooray!...?... I think...

When I first told my husband he said, and I quote, "Good job babe!  That's like winning the lottary, right?!"

Today was my second day viewing the case and it has been quite an interesting experience.  Obviously I cannot say anything about the case until we have come to a verdict and the case has been closed, but let's just say it's intriguing, boring, and disheartening all at the same time.

I certainly don't want to serve every year of my life, but I would say that if you ever have the chance to do it, take it as a learning experience and enjoy the time you do have to be there.

Monday, August 24, 2009

jury summons.

I never thought I'd be summoned for jury duty, but Saturday night I walked into my house to find an envelope with my name on it from the Sedgwick County Courthouse.  The first thought that came to my head was, "for real...?!"

I slowly opened the envelope hoping it wasn't what I thought it was, but alas, I read in big bold letters across the top of the paper, JURY SUMMONS.

While reading through the letter, I hoped that under the list of people who could be excused was "anyone involved in the educational system", but no such luck.  Instead they dealt with the inability to understand English, having been convicted of a crime over the past ten years, or breast feeding mothers.  I, obviously, did not fall into any of those categories.

I had a few friends giving me ideas of how to get out of it... some suggested dressing up like a character from a movie like Princess Lea from Star Wars, while others remained simple, claiming that I knew the person being tried.

After thinking about it for a while, I began to get excited about having this opportunity.  Luckily, the day that I have been summoned, is only an in-service day for me at school, so I get to miss sitting through incredibly boring presentations and I won't have to plan for a sub. 

I do hope that if I do get picked to serve on the jury, that it won't be for some horrendous murder case that lasts for weeks; I cannot miss that much school...

All in all, the man has spoken, and I must complete my duty.

Saturday, August 22, 2009


I cannot wait to go see these guys in October. It'll be my fifth time seeing them live and I already know they're going to blow me away, just as they have every show I've been to.

Their new CD, Armistance, just came out earlier this week. It of course, is incredible.