Truth Hour

I love reading other people's blogs. I love their honesty. I love their adventures. I love their humor.

Its so exciting and wonderful that we have this outlet to talk about our lives. To beautifully journal out our hearts, or maybe not so beautifully vent.

Some people's blogs make me laugh. Some make me cry... a lot.

However, if I were to be 100% honest with you I'd have to admit I do find myself getting jealous.
Sometimes I'm jealous of other people's humor and writing style. I think, "I bet if I were a funnier writer....something" I don't even know what would happen, but at least I'd be funny!

Last week I found myself jealous of other people's situations. Most of the blogs I read are of missionaries, living in countries that I want to be in. Like the Hendricks, the Livesay's, the Stone's, Theresa, and all the other blogs that I read by snowballing from my friends blogs.

Its really hard to read other people's adventures and blogs and be stuck here.

I found a plane ticket Thursday night.

No. Not like magically found it stuck in a book somewhere. I "found" after about 45 minutes of plane research to find the cheapest ticket. I considered running away one weekend in October.

Round trip price $520 (That's including the tax already.)
I was impressed. And pretty tempted to take that trip. I have learned a few things about purchasing plane tickets since my last trip... I won't tell you exactly how much I paid for my last plane ticket, but it was almost double what this $520 one was.

Knowing that I couldn't run away I did the next best thing... cry.

I miss my Haiti. I miss the Kreyol. I miss the children, their smiles, their nappy hair, their accents when the Limbe kids mimic our English, "Watiz yo rnaam?" (Say it out loud= What is your name?), when they see us and shout "gig'em" and "howdyee". Then they go running half clothed through the village shouting "Blanc! Blanc! Blanc!" alerting the neighborhood that we have arrived! I just miss it all.

I've had a lot of conversations about "the future" and Haiti recently. More specifically, what life would look like if the future doesn't include Haiti... and what if it does?

I've come to a place where I realize that... ummmm.....

(I've now stared at the beginning of that sentence trying to come up with an end to it for the past 15 minutes...)

OK. Here's where I am:

I want to serve the Lord with my life.

I want that to be in Haiti.

For now, I think those two things are in agreement.

However, I have realized that just because I think God wants me in Haiti for now doesn't mean that He's going to want me there forever.

I have a desire to be a wife and a mother. After holding Annie Bowles all of last night, the mommy part of me is really excited for the day I'll be able to hold my own babies. I have this really adorable vision of me and my children (some of them adopted with beautiful black skin) sitting in our hut and playing in the dirt in Haiti. I can see myself panicking the first time my son gets too high up in the coconut tree, or being emotional when my daughter makes me my first flower and weed bracelet. It will be awesome.

But while I can see that and think it will be awesome. I can also see myself having the makings of a pretty good American soccer mom. I don't think I could drive a mini van (they weird me out), but an SUV or a Tahoe I could drive.

Basically, I'm excited to see what's ahead.

Hoping that it is Haiti.

But excited either way.

I told a good friend yesterday that as awesome as my plans are, I know that God is faithful and His plans are perfect. I love it when our plans are the same. I pray for that! But I know that if my heart is seeking His I'll be more than happy wherever I am.

And I'm looking forward to that!


If It Ain't Broke...

...Don't fix it.

We've all heard the saying.

When I was younger the saying used to be "If it ain't broke, Noelle hasn't found it." (Coleman used to say "God is the maker of all things and Noelle is the breaker of all things." neat. Thanks Coleman.)

So, what if it is broke?

Well, I was.

When I started this blog the intent was to blog you through my life, but 6 months late. I've strayed from that. But today I'm going to do that.

6 Months ago I was broken. broken. broken. shattered. totaled. smashed. not functional. Get the picture?

My life was spinning out of control. I wasn't doing well in school. I wasn't sleeping well. My friendships were more stressful than encouraging. When I did hang out with friends I always came home crying. When I did sleep I'd have nightmares about the earthquake. When I did study I'd think about how pointless it was to be studying how babies suck their thumbs in developmental psych, or how Louis Pasteur made up a new kind of glass bottle with a swan neck in microbiology, or the tiny fossas and cracks in your bones and all the crazy names for them.

I didn't want to be in America. I didn't want to waste any more time. True, every weekend I was speaking at a different church or venue and raising money and awareness for Haiti. But I wanted to actually be there. I wasn't ready to be there. I would have just been a total emotion pile of mess.

Very few days went by that I didn't call my mom crying. I deleted my facebook. I turned off my phone. I literally wasn't sure that I was going to survive until Spring Break. I'm not sure what I thought was going to happen, but I didn't think I was going to make it.

Y'all. I'm not exaggerating. I was a total shipwreck. Not the pretty ones where the ship gently runs aground in beautiful blue-green water then sinks slowly, giving the sailors enough time to play and do rope swing flips into the water while waiting for a rescue ship.

I was this kind of shipwreck. Dark. Dirty. Messy. Scary. With no rescue boat.

I'm not exaggerating. I'm trying to accurately describe to you how broken I was. If I don't describe how utterly "without a paddle" I was, I can't tell you where I am now.

So I've set the stage. I was broken.

Even though I felt like there was no rescue ship. Even though I felt like I was without a paddle. Even thought I felt like I was on a roller coaster and forgot to pull that weird bar down over my head to hold me in.... I wasn't. I KNEW I wasn't, and that was the only thing that kept me hanging on. Even in my dark shipwreck I looked toward that weird scary, orange light and prayed for a rescue boat.

That rescue boat came. Not like a Coast Guard helicopter that lifted me right out of there. This was a little paddle boat that took a long time to arrive. I tread water for long time. And talked a LOT with my captain. And rescue came.

This summer God did some incredible healing in my heart. I know I'll never be "good as new", but I don't want to be!

I'm stronger with the mending.

When I was in Haiti. When the earth was shaking with aftershocks and I read aloud and quoted verses about God being my strong tower, my refuge, and my rock. That was comforting. When I was broken and I read about how Christ is the healer, that was encouraging. But I was still broken. When God showed up to that shipwreck and pulled me out and became my rock, my stronghold, my shelter, and my healer... that was life changing.

This summer was a slow healing process. I didn't wake up one morning and think..."WOW! I'm better!" But I did gradually wake up with more joy, with less nightmares, and with more peace.

This past Sunday was 8 months since the earthquake. It gets a little easier each month. This month, at church I cried. A lot! But they weren't sad tears. It was tears of joy and thankfulness.

I'm thankful that I was in Haiti when the earthquake struck. I'm thankful that God rescued me. I'm thankful for the healing He's done and will continue to do. I can't believe how in love with Jesus I am. When God proves Himself it really makes you love Him! Too bad it took me getting all smashed up to get to this point.

What's neat is that I realized that earthquake or no earthquake, I was a shipwreck. That helicopter rescue boat had already saved me once when I accepted Christ's gift of forgiveness all those years ago!

We sang "A mighty Fortress" at church. Its really basically the words I have been telling myself and praying for the past 8 months. I love these songs.

A mighty fortress is our God.
A sacred refuge is Your name.
Your Kingdom is unshakable.
With you forever we will reign.

Followed by:

Praise the Father
Praise the Son
Praise the Spirit, Three in one.
Clothed in Power and in grace.
The name above all other names.

My heart has been healed. Sometimes there is a need for a new heart of flesh to be placed within me. Sometimes that new heart of flesh requires my heart of stone to be broken... And I'm ok with that.



Everyone reading this probably remembers exactly where they were when they heard the news.

I sat glued to the TV the entire day.

"Who would do such a thing? Why?"

I remember watching in horror as the first tower fell. The newscasters kept talking about how the towers were designed not to fall. Then, shortly after the first, the next tower fell. My little 11 year old mind was so confused and scared. I wasn't sure that I understood what was happening. And I didn't feel safe venturing out into Houston later that next week.

Years later as I was talking to my brother about why he wanted to be in the military (and didn't he know how dangerous it is?!) he told me it was because he loved his country. But as much as he loved his country he loved me more. He is training and fighting for me. For his family. For his friends. If you are a friend of my brother, you should be honored. If you know him personally, you know what a blessing he is.

This is something he wrote two years ago while he was still at the Naval Academy:

"You know I complain a lot about what I do. Sometimes it's my way of dealing with stress. But today, for this small space of time, I don't have any doubts about my situation. On this day, I know that the Academy will be worth it, and the fact that I can't sleep until noon fades into insignificance.

I do my job for the men and women on the top floors of the towers. I do it for the firemen and police officers who never came back from work on this day seven years ago. For all the families permanently severed by the events of September 11, 2001, for anyone whose name is written on the boards downstairs, for all of you reading this note, you are why I signed my papers.

So, I want to say thanks to all of you folks out there reading this, because you are the ones who keep me going when I lose my sense of direction. And to all my shipmates, I love you guys so much. I'd dive in front of a MACK truck for any one of you.

And family, y'all are the best. I don't know how else to say it. Using words cheapens the way I feel about you.

All you guys out there that I know and love so much, thanks for letting me be in your lives. I hope that in the coming years, I can express to you through deeds as well as words how much I appreciate you.

I promise that I will do whatever it takes to keep you safe. I love you all very much, and I pray that God gives you peace this September 11.

Thanks again for being such awesome people. I can't imagine my life without you."

I love my brother. I love all his friends from the military. I'm thankful for all of them and their service.

I was so privileged to be able to see them all get commissioned as officers in the United States Navy and Marine Corps on May 28, 2010

So to all those in the military, police force, fire fighters, and anyone else that lays down their life daily. Thank you. May you be blessed!

Thank you Jesus, for the heart that you have given these men and women. Give them strength as they serve you and America. Keep them safe. Let them know your love. Let us never forget!


Food blog... and random blathering

So its been a while since I've blogged. I've really missed it.

School has started off wonderfully. I'm enjoying my classes, classmates and teachers. The beginning of fall semester is like a second chance at a New Years resolution. The Rec center on campus is packed, people are running on all the sidewalks, the produce section in HEB is packed, and everyone is ordering sugar-free skinny lattes.

The promise of August is fresh in the air. THIS is the (academic) year that things will be different. If you failed at your 2010 New Years Resolution, then no worries, here's your second chance. That's the beauty of living in a semester world!

So, you know me, I don't turn down bandwagons. I jump right on them wholeheartedly. Some of the bandwagons I jumped on...



V- necks

Tempo Nike Running shorts
Vera Bradley. My closet kinda looks like this!

And, last, but not least, Uggs. Used to hate them... Now I love them.

I realize Those are all clothing trends. But they are all I could think of at the moment. So here I am, jumping on the "New Years resolution in the Fall" bandwagon.

I'm working out more, trying to eat healthier, cook more, and make up recipes.
I also hope to:

-Take more pictures
-Invest deeply in friendships
-Get involved at my Church
-Live simply. (Less stuff, less cost, more healthy, more natural, less clutter in my life)

So for our fall resolutions, my roommate, Kylie and I have decided to cook more. Tonight was our first endeavor.
We made some mistakes, but eventually it all turned out yummy.

Our first mistake is that we tried to unload groceries, clean out our ice box (read: refrigerator), and start cooking all at the same time.

First adventure= cleaning out the ice box. Its difficult when you share the same fridge with 3 non-family members. You only pay attention to your own food, but sometimes you forget what you have, or you assume that the coffee creamer or chili that's been in the same place for somewhere between 3 and 10 months is your roommates. Tonight, since 2 of the 3 of us were home we did an icebox cleanse. Turns out that the creamer and chili was Meg's. She moved out last November :/

Second adventure= cooking while distracted by trashing old food. Also, meet my nemesis, the electric stove top. I just hate this thing.
Whatever happened to good old gas grill with real fire? How hard was that?

Dear real old-fashioned fire stove top,

I miss you.

I miss how I could turn you off and the heat would almost immediately subside. I miss how I could just look at your flames and know how hot you were burning. Now I have to guess by looking at how often the burner flashes red hot. Its awful. Come back to me.

Sincerely, Noelle G.

Tonight while distracted and cooking on my electric stove my chicken boiled over not once, but twice. Nothing bad. Just made a mess.

Despite the chicken mishaps my food turned out great!

I was very happy with the turnout. Here's how I did it.

-Start by cutting a big tomato in half and scooping out the insides. I lightly salted the tomato around the edges so it would dehydrate in the oven. *Warning* I have no idea if that's what happened or if I made that up. But I thought it sounded good.
-Add the tomato guts to your chopped chicken along with some spinach, green bell peppers, and a pinch of Mozzarella cheese, and anything else you like

-Scoop this mixture into your empty tomato shell.
-Add a little cheese on topBake for about 10 minutes then broil for 3ish minutes until it browns a teeny bit.

Place in a colorful dish and serve. If its too dry you can add a drop or two of your favorite salad dressing, but hopefully the tomato gets good and juicy in the oven.



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