100[ish] things about me

today i’m breaking the blog-silence for a so-much-fun-it-couldn’t-wait post, inspired by my friend alece over at grit & glory. check out her linked posts, have a little fun, & add yours to the mix!

  1. I’ve moved around more times than I can keep track of 
  2. yet my deepest longing is to feel rooted and at home.

  3. I love the idea of traveling
  4. but doing it is exhausting for me;
  5. I’m highly introverted and rather private
  6. but if I were more adventurous, I’d backpack around Europe
  7. or see more of Africa.

  8. I don’t really enjoy cooking
  9. but love to bake
  10. especially gingerbread or pumpkin anything. (#omnomnom)

  11. I love, love, LOVE hashtags–
  12. in an ironic, hipster kind of way.
  13. And I think that Fallon/Timberlake hashtag video is hilarious,
  14. especially because I’m not afraid to poke fun at myself.

  15. Food is my love language–
  16. possibly because I’m half-Italian
  17. but most likely because I’m deeply relational and thrive off connections made around the table.

  18. I used to loathe the taste of alcohol
  19. but have grown to appreciate a good glass of red wine.

  20. I try to carefully choose the words with which I speak
  21. yet I can’t ever stop myself from talking with my hands.
  22. (Did I mention I’m half-Italian?)
  23. If I were a boy, I would have been named Delfino.
  24. Oh, and my dad’s name was Luigi.

  25. My grandfather was the single most important person in my life
  26. and I still haven’t accepted the fact that he’s gone.

  27. I have a strong fear of knives/being stabbed
  28. and an equally strong dislike of black ink.
  29. I don’t really like cheese unless it’s melted
  30. or bread unless it’s toasted/crunchy
  31. or apples unless they’re Granny Smith.

  32. I still have no idea what I want to be when I grow up.
  33. I have mini-panic attacks about turning 30 this year,
  34. mostly because I’m nowhere close to the place in life I thought I’d be at this age.
  35. I want to remarry 
  36. and have children (2 or 3),
  37. but sometimes I second-guess that because I really love my sleep.
  38. Like, a lot.
  39. And my personal space.

  40. I’ve always wanted to play guitar
  41. and imagine what it would be like to lead worship.
  42. I love music,
  43. but especially lyrics,
  44. and most especially when I connect with their meaning.
  45. Which is often, because I’m one of those people who seeks meaning in ev. ery. thing.
  46. Seriously. I can’t accept things like coincidence or answers like, “That’s just the way life goes.”

  47. I’m highly organized
  48. and have a mild case of self-diagnosed OCD.
  49. I don’t like even numbers 
  50. and I count stairs when I’m climbing them.

  51. I used to wish I had green eyes
  52. and straight hair.
  53. …Okay. I still wish that.

  54. I like the idea of the outdoors much more than I enjoy the outdoors itself.
  55. I do, however, love the mountains–
  56. looking at them, that is.
  57. And I can’t stand camping
  58. even though I basically camped every day for my four years in Africa.

  59. I can be kind of brooding
  60. and I tend to live in the past or the future instead of the present.
  61. But I’m working on that.

  62. I love to shop,
  63. especially for clothes and purses.
  64. About 85% of my wardrobe is neutrals (think grey or navy),
  65. and I will wear black until they invent something darker.

  66. I journal daily
  67. and will often re-read old entries to remember how far I’ve come.

  68. I’m an idealist
  69. and a hopeless romantic, 
  70. and I waver between conservatism and liberalism, depending on the issue.

  71. I’m extremely independent,
  72. and I’ve been told I’m strong all my life.
  73. Yet some days, I just want to be able to fall apart in someone’s arms,
  74. and there are moments I’m afraid I’ll never have that again.

  75. I don’t like to be cold,
  76. yet I love dressing for cold weather.
  77. I like to be warm,
  78. but I hate to sweat.
  79. I’ve lived in both types of climates (harsh Canadian winters versus humid African tropics), but still don’t know which I’m more suited for.
  80. I wish it were fall all year ‘round.

  81. There are a few moments in my lifetime in which I’ve experienced joy so full it felt like my heart would burst.
  82. Most of those moments were when I was in Liberia.
  83. I contemplate going back every single day. And perhaps I will, at some point. But for now,
  84. I don’t feel ready.
  85. And I’m afraid of being emptied again.

  86. I could eat cereal for every single meal–
  87. except for Cookie Crisp. That stuff is vile.

  88. I’ve never seen Star Wars,
  89. which most people think is an abomination.
  90. Now I just refuse to watch it on principle alone.

  91. I didn’t get my license until I was 20 years old
  92. because the idea of getting behind the wheel used to freak me out, y’all.
  93. Now that I do drive, I’d never give up the freedom that comes with it.

  94. I’ve always been one who loves to learn,
  95. and there are times when I consider going back to school for a Ph.D.
  96. …But I don’t have the time (or finances) to devote to it.

  97. I think my godson is one of the coolest kids in the world,
  98. and I brag about him any chance I get.

  99. I legitimately love my own company,
  100. and I think I’m one of the funniest people I know.

  101. I cry at the drop of a hat
  102. and absolutely wear my heart on my sleeve,
  103. but cannot stand it when people mistake my kindness for weakness.

  104. I hate that I’m ending this list on an even number (see #49)
  105. …That’s better. 

thin-spiration: {week six}

update time!

  • weight: down another pound + a half. slow and steady will win this race!
  • i lasted three days on the caffeine detox before i caved and made myself a cup of bustelo. surprisingly, the detox wasn’t as bad as i expected. i only had a few minor headaches, and wasn’t all that cranky. going to try and limit myself to a cup a day from now on.
  • still trying to cut out as many starchy carbohydrates as possible (except for rice, of course. don’t think this african-girl-at-heart could eeeevvverrr make it without rice!) the first five days or so without bread was tough. really tough. but i definitely feel better without it, and am still considering make the official switch to gluten-free (thoughts, anyone?)
  • am learning that healthy food can (and should be!) delicious! still eating a lot of fresh fruits + veggies, greek yogurt for protein, lean meats–and loving it! recently found a great recipe for baked salmon with olive oil and sea salt. OH. MY. GOSH, Y’ALL. so amazingly yummy. seriously; try it!

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(it’s so wrong, but i laugh hysterically EVERY. SINGLE. TIME. and laughing burns calories, so…)

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(guilty. only it was iced pumpkin donut holes. tasty at the time, terrible later on.)

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(my inner monologue…daily.)

thin-spiration: {week three}

okay, y’all; you know how this works. but first – some updates!

  1. i’ve lost five pounds. which someone told me is the weight-equivalent of a chihuahua. …so, i’ve lost a chihuahua. not bad.
  2. i also spent yesterday in NYC and carbo-loaded in little italy. so it’s entirely possible those five pounds will come back to haunt me. but i don’t regret any of it. (well, maybe that last slice of pizza…)
  3. still running. up to about three miles before my body taps out on me.
  4. trying to eat as much fresh food as possible and maintain a nutritional balance. none of that diet food for me!
  5. i found out how many calories and grams of fat are in a spoonful of nutella, and i will never be the same. *sadface*

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and finally, THIS: “measuring self-worth based on socially constructed ideas of success is spiritual death.” (buddha)

until next week…
xo,
ep.

friday favorites: january 18, 2013

sorry i haven’t posted any friday faves for the last few weeks, but things have been kind of busy, what with me traveling halfway across the world and all. (smiley-face emoticon goes here.) but i’m back + better than ever, so let’s get this party started!

favorite blog post: this letter from kristen at rage against the minivan to controversial mars hill pastor mark driscoll. it’s smart, to the point, and FIERCE, y’all.
Some of us don’t find shame to be a spiritual motivator. A whole bunch of us think that you are misrepresenting Christ. And we’re talking about it, because we think it’s damaging.

favorite tweet: this one by @Jenna_Marbles made me literally LOL.
Every time I see a hot guy I think about how awesome it would be to make his sandwiches.

favorite song: i’ve been listening to will reagan’s newest album on repeat + have fallen in love with track 2, Give Me a Song. check it out–pretty sure you’ll love it as much as i do!
I will lift my hands if my hands fail me; I will bend my knees if my knees grow weak. I’ll raise my voice and I will sing: I know that you love me.

favorite photo: this shot of me + my sweet little Jumah-girl outside of her orphanage. she spent nearly an hour braiding and unbraiding my hair, running her fingers through it and kissing me on top of my head. i’m pretty sure my heart turned to absolute mush; i LOVE this sweet little one!

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favorite food: since i’m back in Liberia, my diet consists mainly of rice and soups, the staple food here. i have been OBSESSED with collard greens over rice, cooked with Liberian pepper, and topped with fried plantains. i’ve also been eating a lot of fresh pineapple as well, and even enjoyed some tasty passion-fruit from the vine growing right outside my house.

favorite scripture: 2 corinthians 1.nine. lately, i’ve been praying for God to show Himself strong on my behalf, and this verse is so encouraging to me. it reminds me that nothing is impossible for Him, and where human ability fails, there is space for Him to step in and do miracles!

how about you guys? what were some of your favorite things from this week? i’d love to hear from you! xo

friday favorites: december 14, 2012

i am so excited about this week’s faves! lots of awesome things that i can’t wait to share with you. so let’s just get right to it, shall we?

favorite blog post: this week, i discovered one of my new favorite bloggers, Cassi Clerget. seriously:: this girl is the real deal. check out one of her newer posts, Scars are sexy. it made me laugh and cry–and then share it with pretty much everyone i know.
Scars mean we have endured. They set us apart. They are our stories, written on us to be read by those who are a bit broken themselves.

favorite tweet: i love Twitter. i follow some pretty hilarious folks, and i am constantly giggling at the things they post. this week’s favorite is from @hipstermermaid:
My main hobbies include carbs and avoiding eye contact. (me too. meeee toooo.)
ps: want more Twitter awesomeness in your life? you should probably follow me then. i spend most of time retweeting people who are both wittier and wiser than me. it’s fantastic.

favorite song: Sweet Nothing by Calvin Harris + Florence Welch. this is my JAM, y’all.
so i put my faith in something unknown; i’m living on such sweet nothing. but i’m trying to hope with nothing to hold; i’m living on such sweet nothing.

favorite photo: lately, i’ve been struggling with doubt. so i was thrilled to find this great pic on Love is Louder‘s Facebook page. i even printed it out and pasted in my journal as a reminder that i walk by faith and not by sight.
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favorite food: it was my birthday on Monday–which means that i totally started celebrating a few days earlier. and to celebrate, i ate cupcakes. a lot of them, actually. i discovered Ady Cakes in West Reading, the cutest little shoppe that actually won Food Network’s Cupcake Wars! they make an incredible evil cherry cupcake–with red wine & cherry cake and icing. wine + cupcake = straight-up winning.

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favorite scripture: psalm 27:14. life these days seems like one big waiting room, and lately, i’ve been so tired. God gave me this verse in church on Sunday; i think it’s His way of reminding me that my hope is in Him–not a person or circumstance.

here’s hoping your Friday is just as fabulous as you are. as always, thanks for reading. xo

29 things i’ve learned in 29 years

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IT’S MY BIRTHDAY, Y’ALL. so to celebrate, i thought it would be fun to share a few “life lessons” that i’ve picked up along the way. ready? let’s go!

one: age ain’t nothin’ but a number.
it’s cheesy, and disgustingly cliche–but it’s true. your attitude and approach to life do wonders for making you feel younger (or older) than you are.

two: loving yourself for who you are is the single best decision you will ever make.
again, cliche, but true. unless you’re like, angelina jolie, there are probably things you wish you could change about yourself. join the club. but once you come to peace with who you are and how you’ve been created, life becomes a whole lot easier. and you become a whole lot happier! win-win.

three: exercise is good for body + soul.
i used to hate working out. seriously. like, loathed it. but the plain truth is that it’s good for me. all of me. when i exercise, i feel better about the way i look, but i also have a better outlook on life in general. again, win-win.

four: credit cards are for emergency use only.
as tempting as it may be to max out your mastercard on a shopping spree or that dream vacation, don’t. use your credit as a way to get you out of a pinch, not to waste on things you don’t really need that you can’t really afford.

five: forgive, forgive, forgive.
life is messy sometimes, and people are imperfect, and you’re going to get hurt. that’s brutally honest, but it’s true. there is nothing to be gained by holding grudges and hanging onto bitterness because you just can’t get over what he or she did to you. let it go. forgive–and then keep forgiving.

six: don’t settle.
you’re pretty awesome, and you deserve awesomeness in your life as well. don’t stick with something (or someone) that makes you feel yucky just because it’s easy. respect yourself, and refuse to settle for less.

seven: get a hobby.
learn how to dance/paint/mountain bike/whatever. choose something specific to your unique interests and skill set, and then do it.

eight: know thyself.
seriously. get some self-awareness. be quiet and reflect. find out what you like, what you don’t, who you want to become, what you need and want, your strengths and your weaknesses. when you know who you are, you are free to become exactly that.

nine: just because it’s allowed doesn’t mean it’s good for you.
this goes along with number eight. once you’re all enlightened and self-aware and stuff, make sure you figure out the limits and boundaries that you’re going to set for your life. then live by them. just because something works for someone else doesn’t mean that it’s for you. (oh, and read 1 corinthians 6:12. that paul guy knows what he’s talking about.)

ten: take a trip.
go somewhere, anywhere. the world is a big, beautiful place filled with amazing people, cultures, and stories. expand your worldview; it’s so much more than your own little corner of your own little neighborhood. get out there and explore!

eleven: quality beats quantity.
pretty much all the time. whether this applies to the pairs of shoes in your closet (who’s with me, ladies?) or the number of close friends in your social circle, something that will last the long haul is worth so much more than mass accumulation.

twelve: go with your gut.
i mean it. if you’re like me (read: human), you have pretty strong instincts. trust them. they are your friend, not your enemy.

thirteen: it’s not (at) all about you.
it’s easy for us to go through life consumed by our problems, our goals–our selves. and while i am all about self-care and making sure that all the different parts of us are healthy and thriving, i also recognize that selfishness is a very real problem, especially in this day and age and culture. fight it. look beyond yourself and seek out ways to serve others. at the end of the day, how we’ve loved each other is all that really matters.

fourteen: smile.
trust me. do this. like, all the time. it makes you look better, and it’s a gift you give to the world.

fifteen: listen to your body.
for real; i’ve unfortunately learned this one the hard way. the truth is, our bodies are extraordinary, and they have a way of letting the rest of us know what they need. if i’m hungry, my tummy growls a bit, or i get lightheaded. if i’m tired, my head starts hurting. if i’m getting sick, my bones ache, and i know i need more rest. learn to listen to your body’s signals, and act accordingly. all of you will be thankful for it!

sixteen: cats are evil.
there. i said it. just a piece of advice from me to you. you’re welcome.

seventeen: there’s nothing that a glass of red wine and some dark chocolate can’t fix.
wellllll…that’s not entirely true. it may not actually fix anything. but it will definitely make you feel better. so drink/eat up!

eighteen: grace makes the world go ‘round.
this is a big one. (probably should have put it as number one, but that would be too obvious.) give grace to others. be gentle with them. they’re people, just like you. i used to be extremely critical and judgmental, and it was like a cancer that infected every part of me. that’s when i realized, deeply and truly realized, the gratuitous grace of Jesus. he tells us in the scriptures that whoever has been forgiven much will also love much. i am well aware of my shortcomings, and i know that i’ve been forgiven of them. so what right do i have holding other people’s faults and failures against them? none. and neither do you. give grace; it’s a beautiful thing.

nineteen: style is subjective.
as a woman, i’ve read tons of fashion magazines, all telling me about the newest trends and what the current style is. and let me tell you: i used to buy into it. but this girl’s got curves, so how can i expect a size zero “supermodel” from vogue to tell me what i look good in? since then, i’ve learned what looks good on me, and i werrrrk it. that, my dear friends, is style.

twenty: drink lots of water.
maybe this comes from my years of living in a tropical country like Liberia, but water has become my new BFF. it’s good for your body, makes your skin look fresh–and it keeps you from being dehydrated! #winning

twenty-one: love God. love you. love others.
this is the greatest lesson i think i’ve ever learned. want a formula for a beautiful life?
step one: love God (which should be easy, because let’s face it: He’s pretty awesome.)
step two: love you. value yourself, accept every part of you. this is crucial, because you’re not going to do a very good job of loving others when you can’t even love the person in the mirror.
step three: love others. treat them as you would like to be treated. be kind and gracious.
it truly is that simple. try it.

twenty-two: laugh.
laughter really is the best medicine. watch a funny movie. hang out with friends. go see live comedy. find something that will make you happy, and let those laughs out. it’s one of the best feelings in the world!

twenty-three: you are not your past.
i once read somewhere that “every sinner has a future, and every saint has a past.” surprise, surprise; it’s actually true. we’ve all done things we’re not exactly proud of; we’re human. it’s what we do. but our mistakes are not our identities. you are not what you’ve done or what has happened to you. you are more–so, so much more.

twenty-four: say what you mean, and mean what you say.
our words are incredibly powerful, and sadly, not many of us realize that truth. so often, we speak in the moment and end up saying things we regret or that we didn’t actually mean. take the extra second to think about what it is that you actually want to communicate, and be purposeful in the words that you use. don’t talk just for the sake of talking. it’s ineffective.

twenty-five: cook at home.
i used to hate cooking. in fact, to be honest, it’s still not one of my favorite things to do. but cooking at home as opposed to going out to eat not only saves me money in the long run but is also healthier for me! plus, i get to try out new recipes, and my culinary skills have been upgraded from ‘dismal‘ to ‘mediocre‘ as a result. (that’s a joke, guys; it’s okay to laugh at that one.)

twenty-six: make friends with people who are different than you.
we are all different from one another. no one thinks or acts or believes exactly the same. and that is okay. we can still learn from one another and grow and be challenged by those who are not just like us. celebrate the differences; without them, life would be sheltered, shallow, and just plain boring.

twenty-seven: learn to be okay when things don’t go your way.
i’m a planner by nature; i suppose that’s partly due to my love of control. but here i sit, on my twenty-ninth birthday, and i have to say: nothing, not one single thing in my life today is what i had planned for. and in the past, when i didn’t get my way, i’d pout and sulk and throw a big ol‘ temper tantrum. guess what? it didn’t change a thing. life is still beyond our control, and plans don’t work out, and the best way to stay happy (and sane!) through it all is to accept it. okay? okay!

twenty-eight: floss.
just do it. the end.

twenty-nine: life goes on.
this is probably the most helpful lesson i’ve ever learned. no matter what you’re going through, no matter how much it hurts, even if it feels like this is the end: i promise you that it’s not. you will get through it. the pain will heal. life goes on, and you will smile again one day.

any thoughts from you guys? what are some of the best lessons you’ve learned/pieces of advice you’ve been given? 

friday favorites: december 7, 2012

happy Friday, friends! i haven’t been this excited about Friday since…well, last Friday! here’s the list of my favoritest things from the week::

favorite blog post: In which we get this part of the Incarnation by the superbly talented Sarah Bessey.
May we recognise the miracle of the Incarnation, not in spite of the mess, but because of the very humanness of it.

favorite tweet: by @donaldmiller
Only speak that which makes the world a better place.

favorite photo: pretty much anything from Buzzfeed’s 21 Pictures That Will Restore Your Faith In Humanity. (so. much. awesomeness.)

favorite song: okay, so i really tried to not like Taylor Swift’s new song, but it’s just so darn catchy! (how does she do it?!) give “I Knew You Were Trouble” a listen; it’s impossible to not start singing along!

favorite food: anything gingerbread. gingerbread lattes. gingerbread cookies. gingerbread muffins.
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favorite scripture: Isaiah 49: 14 – 16. sometimes, in the midst of our humanity, our problems, our mess, it’s easy to feel like God is absent. like He somehow has forgotten us. this passage is my reminder that i am always, always on His mind.

favorite purchase: a Glade Nutcracker Crunch jar candle i picked up at Target. it smells like Christmas and happiness and everything that is good in the world!

that’s it from me this Friday! and bring your lovely self back here  on Monday to check out a fun, happy-birthday-to-me blog post that i’ve been working on! xo

friday favorites: november 30, 2012

on a scale of 1 to rebecca black, how much do you just love Fridays?! they’re instant mood-boosters, for one. (seriously. if you are not happy on Friday, then you just have no soul.)

all kidding aside, Fridays are fun. which is exactly why i chose them to host my just-for-fun, lighthearted ongoing series: Friday Favorites! so let’s get started, shall we?

favorite blog post: Content by my fiercely fabulous Twitter friend @samanthamazing. FOR REAL. it’s like she lives inside my brain or something. as someone who’s been known to have “i’m forever alone!” pity parties with carbs and/or ice cream (usually both; let’s be honest), her words were like water for this thirsty heart.
“But in this waiting period, I’ve learned to love myself, love others, and how to be a bit of a badass. So, yeah, I’m pretty content with being single.”

favorite tweet: by @shkeeber
“I’m 98% sure that I’ve been dating my laptop.” (annnnnd cue the carbs. JUST KIDDING!)

favorite song: now that it’s almost December, i’ve made the leap into the Christmas music swimming pool. i am currently in love with Hillsong’s We Have a Savior album (it’s got the most delicious folk sound. mmm…) check out the title track here.

favorite food: lately, i’ve been on this greek yogurt kick (because let’s face it: it’s delish and a great source of protein!) the other day, i had the bright idea to add some peanut butter to some plain yogurt and then add a bit of honey. OH. MY. GOSH. i have no idea why it’s taken me so long to think of doing that; it was SUPER yummy! (you can also crush up graham crackers and throw ’em in there, too!)

favorite scripture: Amos 5:24. there are few things in life that make my heart skip a beat as much as a fiery passion for justice and righteousness!

favorite gift: these adorable bangles i got from a friend for a b-day/Christmas gift. i love all the colors; there’s one to be worn with every outfit!


and there you have it, folks! now get out there and make your Friday fabulous! xo

friday favorites: november 23, 2012

hello, all! i hope you guys had a fantabulous Thanksgiving; i know i did! thanks for bearing with me when i cancelled last week’s Friday favorites. here’s the list of all the things that made my heart smile this week.

favorite blog post: Sisters, Speak, the incredible Rachel Held Evans’ reply when asked by a reporter what one thing she would say to the women of the Church.
“Sisters, speak. Speak with valor. Speak with love. Speak with gentleness. Speak with wisdom. Speak the Gospel. Speak grace.”

favorite tweet: by @lovedoes
“We fix people because it helps; Jesus loved people because it works.”

favorite photo: my beautiful Mercy, who wanted to show me the craft that she made! (can’t wait to give that girl the biggest hug ever once i get back to Liberia!)

favorite song: i’ve discovered that my life is pretty much a soundtrack to every song by The Lumineers. this week, i’ve adored listening to Stubborn Love.
“It’s better to feel pain than nothing at all; the opposite of love’s indifference.”

favorite food: Thanksgiving = pecan pie. i ate more than my fair share of it this week. AND i even found this awesome recipe for no-bake, chocolate-covered pecan pie balls! this could be dangerous–dangerously delicious!

favorite scripture: Zechariah 9:9. i love the contrast in the imagery: mighty King Jesus, humbly riding in on a lowly donkey. He is both awesome and tender. love, love, love.

favorite gift: this girl’s got a birthday coming up (eek!), and i received two early presents from a dear friend! i’ve been *dying* to get my hands on these books; can’t wait to dig in!

favorite purchase: this is pretty much my favoritest thing ever. it’s a BREAD STAMPER, you guys. that makes FRENCH TOAST (get it?!) i bought it on clearance for $1.50 at TJ Maxx, and it just makes me so happy!

now it’s your turn! tell me about your favorite things from this week, why don’t you? xo