Monday, April 26, 2010

Last weekend Michael and I had a great "Charleston" time enjoying the area and what it has to offer. We went to the Family Circle Cup on Friday night and watched the US' Melanie Oudin. Although she didn't play very well, we had a great first time at the tennis center.

And then, on Sunday, we went to Boone Hall Plantation's Strawberry Festival and picked over 4 lbs of strawberries...and Michael enjoyed his homeade root beer!

This past weekend we had the great honor of being a part of CT and Hef's wedding weekend. We had an absolute blast with our friends, and it was incredible seeing how many people came to show their love for this couple. CT & Hef love people so well...and it definitely shows!

We then got to have lunch with some friends in Charlotte, and I finally got to spend some time with little Em...she is just the happiest and cutest little thing! I miss her already :)


Sunday, April 18, 2010

Heart to God, Hand to Man

I heard this saying a while ago, and it has really stuck with me. Am I doing that? Am I giving my whole heart to God and my service to others? Humbly, my answer is no. Most days I consider that I am living just for me, or the small surroundings I am in. But God has called us to live beyond ourselves. As a Christ follower, I have the honorable obligation to serve as the hands and feet of God. That means putting others first and myself second, all while serving my Maker.

This is tough to do, especially in a culture that is all about success, personal wealth, pleasures and material possessions. But the truth is, we already have so much more…freedom, water, resources, food, space, time, community…than most people in the world. We’re a spoiled bunch, really. I say this with complete transparency because I am not removed from this. I know God has given me way more than I could ever ask or imagine. So what am I doing with it? This is a challenge I’ve been faced with, and maybe you are to.

As most of you know, Michael and I will be traveling to Haiti June 5-12. This will be my first missions trip, and Michael’s 4th or 5th. Admittedly, I am pretty nervous. I’m nervous about going to a place so poor, so devastated and so in need. But more than that, I’m pretty excited for God to use me. I know Haiti is just one of many places that are calling for help. In fact, right here in Charleston there are many people going hungry, thirsty or who are utterly empty and lonely. They’re around every corner, every turn, in every country, city and neighborhood.

We’ve been honored to support some of our friends and family who are the hands and feet of God across the world. They are answering God’s call to serve. But God’s call isn’t just in other countries, but it’s everywhere. I think it’s simply moving beyond “me” to “we”.

Our team leader, our good friend Jason Surratt, actually went down to Haiti only 2 weeks after the devastation. He has traveled around the world as Seacoast’s missions pastor, but he said he’s never seen the types of things he saw while in Haiti. He has given us the caution that our hearts will be broken. He’s urged us to begin praying for and journaling so our hearts may in some way be prepared for what we are going to experience during our short trip. Because of this, I thought that in addition to my personal journal, Michael and I can share some of the things we are praying and learning about here on this blog.

"Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out the laborers into His harvest field." Matthew 9:38


Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Gregory packs

10 years ago I got my first backpack of my own for the Philmont backpacking trip. My dad and I got it from Blue Ridge Mountain Sports, and it was a green Gregory backpack. Gregory has always been known for making durable, long-lasting backpacks, but now they can add one more characteristic to their brand and that is superior customer service. Somewhere in the last ten years I misplaced the top lid to my backpack, which is a pretty important piece in that it secures all your equipment inside your pack, keeps water and dirt out, and can also be unclipped to use for day hikes.
With my brother and I talking about a backpacking trip this coming fall, I decided it was time to try and do something about replacing this top lid so I emailed Gregory packs. Being ten years ago, the pack I have is no longer being produced, I didn't know the name of the pack since it was written on the top lid, but to my great surprise, I received a response back from George, a "product technical rep" saying that for a small fee and some pictures of my pack he could literally build me a brand new top lid. In a day and age where customer service usually falls by the wayside, Gregory proved to me that excellent customer service is still alive and well sometimes.
Well done, Gregory, and thanks for hooking me up! Ten years from now when I may need more than a new top lid, you all definitely have my business. You really can't put a price on good customer service!

- MB

Granola Bars

My friend Carrie provided a great recipe for homeade granola bars over on her blog. I've tried making granola bars before but I was really pleased with the texture and taste of these bars. You should give them a shot!

Granola Bars:
2 cups organic oats
1 cup brown sugar (I used 1/2 cup)
1 cup whole wheat flour (I used 3/4 cup)
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp salt
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 cup honey (I used just a bit more)
Any dried fruit, nuts, seeds, chocolate chips, butterscotch chips, etc. you may want to add. (I used walnuts and raisins).

Mix all ingredients and press into greased pan, 11 X 13. Dough will be very dry and crumbly, but press until dough forms with pan. Bake at 325 for 20 minutes or until edges are browned. Take out and let cool entirely. Cut into strips and store in airtight container.

NOTE: I added some 100% whey protein that Michael had around to add some extra won't hurt!


Thursday, April 1, 2010

Running the Cooper

Last weekend was the annual Cooper River Bridge Run in Charleston. Michael and I had both run in the race before, but many of our friends who came down to do the race have never run it. I was so proud of my big sister and my friends Morgann and Brie who not only finished the race, but blew past their goals!Michael and I both beat our times from 3 and four years ago!After pedicures, this is what we came back to...and the boys didn't even run it!
Post-race dinner...lots of smiles after the race!
(this is from the fabulous beach day we had on Friday and I got to spend time with my old roommate, Katie Jo!)

Over the weekend (Thursday night through Sunday night), we had 11 different people staying with was wonderful! Remember people, free place to stay at the beach!