Wednesday, February 9, 2011

just a question...

Since church on Sunday I have been mulling over a question. I will say up front I have no answer, but maybe one day. We prayed a prayer of confession during the beautiful service and in it was a line asking for forgiveness for wasting my talent. my brain immediatly went "whoa? what?" I don't usually consider not using my talents as something to be broken over, something to ask for forgiveness over. But as I thought it over I came to a few realizations. God has blessed me with talents, sometimes I accept them, sometimes I think I am not good at them. But He has given me gifts and abilities, and it is false humility to act like I am not good at things that I can do. And it is insulting to God to deny the abilities He has given me.
So my question has been, what does it look like to use my talents effectively? And what does it look like to use them to the glory of God?
Like I said, I don't have an answer yet, but I am working on it. Suggestions of how you use your talents well would be more than appreciated.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

recent and not so recent obsessions

So anyone that knows me well can tell you I have a few things I love in life. The big one would be God. And after that cooking, family, art, photography all come into play. And then we get to the small things, those things that don't seem like much, but that bring you spots of creativity, of joy, into your day. Mine are trees, pretty birds (aka not grackles), a good vintage find, earrings, and Anthropologie (when I am not broke). And yesterday Anthropologie was a very happy place. I have been obsessed with this puzzle they have for months. It is a wooden puzzle with all the pieces cut into neat shapes. It is SO fun! It was also like $150 originally. haha. Not happening. Then it was marked down to $99 right before Christmas...yeah I was broke then. So yesterday I saw Anthro was having a big sale (I don't stalk them online or anything), and I had wanted a shirt that was on the sale rack. So I popped into the store they have so conveniently placed right by my office to try the shirt on. And what do I see on the sale table, but the puzzle! Marked down to $49. I proceeded to grab it, look around like someone was going to steal it, worry about it sitting out with the clerk while I tried on my shirt, and then bought it. Now it is sitting it my room staring at me. I cannot decide if I want to put it together as a normal puzzle, or do some funky art piece with it...I am thinking scattered across a painted canvas with bits and pieces of the puzzle put together....

Friday, January 14, 2011

The Playground movie

Tonight I went and saw the Playground, at the Palace Theater in downtown Grapevine. It's a documentary by a woman named Libby Spears, and it's executive producers include George Clooney and Steven Soderburgh. The movie was put on by my church both in November and tonight, and all I can say after watching it is "wow". Throughout the movie, throughout the pain and sadness of what I was watching, I just kept thinking "ok, is it time for Jesus to come back yet??" I would like to say I am an aware person in this world. I watch, read, and listen to the news on a regular basis. I get my news from several sources, liberal and conservative, and I am well read. And I know bad things are happening in this world, but this movie opened my eyes to things I could not have imagined happening, much less happening in my backyard. So here is what I took away tonight, and by the end I want to show why this is relevent to DFW, TX.

According to wikipedia human trafficking is the illegal trade in human beings for the purposes of commercial sexual explotation or forced labor: a modern-day form of slavery. I am going to be talking about sexual trafficking tonight. At least 1.3 Million children are trafficked each year in the world. 100,000 (with an estimated 200,000-300,000 children at risk) U.S. children are forced into pornography or prostitution annually. Many of these children are taken or are runaways, but some are sold by parents or relatives. This is happening in the US, not just Cambodia, Thailand, or some other foreign country, children are being bought and sold. An estimated 1.6 million children run away from home each year in the US, the average time it takes for a trafficker or solicitor to approach them is 48 hours. 70-90% of sexually exploited children have a history of abuse. The USA is giving money and resources to help children in other countries to get out of this, and next to nothing to bring our own kids out of it. In fact, our laws make it worse, not better. Most teens that are being forced into this life are arrested and charged with prostitution instead of being helped and seen as the victim they are. Our laws are not conducive to helping the exploited children get help and get out of this hell.

1 in 4 girls, and 1 in 6 boys have been sexually abused. This is the statistic that hit me the hardest. Think about how many kids you know, and this how this statistic could play out in those numbers. ouch.

So locally, what does this look like? Well, they believe that 25% of all people trafficked through the US each year come through Texas. I believe the estimate is that 25% of calls to the National Sex Trafficking Hotline (1888-373-7888) are from Texas and 15% of those are from the Dallas/Fort Worth Area. Around 20,000 women and children are trafficked for major sports events, like the upcoming Super Bowl. And they believe that around 15% of those brought will be abandoned and left here to fend for themselves after the Super Bowl is over.

So what do we do? How can we help? I don't know if I have the answers, but I have some places to start.

The signs that someone is being trafficked from the Traffick 911 website:

  • Scripted answers.
  • Inconsistencies in story.
  • Branding or tattoos, especially that reflect ownership or money.
  • Bruising, including handprints or thin marks like an extension cord or wire. Varied stages of healing with black, purple, blue, yellow shades.
  • Coming on to several men.
  • Appears helpless, shamed, nervous.
  • Malnourished.
  • Inability or fear to make eye contact.
  • Chronic runaway; homeless youth.
  • Dating much older, abusive or controlling man.
  • Not attending school or has numerous school absences.
  • Clothes that say, “Daddy’s girl” or inappropriate for weather.

On its own, one of these signs might not indicate trafficking, but 2-3 together are a good indication. The average life expectancy for a child forced into sexual slavery is 7 years. Don’t wait. Call 911 and the National Human Trafficking Hotline, 1.888.373.7888, if you suspect something. It’s better to be wrong than not to report it. A life might just depend on it.

Other good websites to be aware of (and my resources for most of my statistics and information): (this is a local agency here is Dallas)

Also, there is an event coming up at Irving Bible Church called "It's Not My Fault" on January 28th at 7pm. And Urban Dog Coffee in Dallas is hosting a few events to help educate people and to raise money for New Friends New Life, check out their website for more info.

Sorry if this was just way to much, but I had to get it out of my head and pass it on. Please do something to help, please make yourself and others aware of the reality of this situation. This is real, and it is happening all around us.

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Fun in Dallas/Fort worth

So something I want to include on my blog is about fun places to go in Dallas and Fort Worth. I have actually lived in {mostly} Fort Worth for my whole life (minus my stint in college and a summer in Houston) and know the area pretty well. I am much less familiar with Dallas, but since the majority of my friends and my church are in the Dallas area I am getting there. So here are some of my recent favorite places and one I am looking forward to trying as soon as I am done with my diet.

1. Family Karaoke
Located at: 11433 Goodnight Lane, Dallas, TX 75229
(469) 522-0365
Open Tue-Sun 6pm-4am

This place in stuck back off of Royal Lane and 35 in Dallas, it looks very sketchy as you get to it (as do most fun places). Prices are decent, especially if you get a big group and split it. The music selection is good, and the service is awesome.

2. Red River
Located at: 10310 Technology Boulevard East
Dallas, TX 75220
(214) 352-1796

Since I moved back to Dallas I have been learning how to dance. Somehow I still stink at this, even 9 months later (I blame my complete lack rhythm, which somehow after playing the fiddle for 5 years I never developed), but it fun! The live band plays at the latest music, the DJ plays good stuff the rest of the time, and the drink selection is decent, just don't ask for Blue Moon. And my personal favorite pastime, there is always good people watching to be had.

3. Yogolait
Located at: 3250 Hulen Street
Fort Worth, TX 76107-8100
(817) 732-3366

I am a total frozen yogurt junkie. I would eat it every day if I could. Yogolait is one of my favorites for several reasons. Firstly, I love that they post the nutritional facts above each flavor. If you are like me, you might assume that plain tart has the least amount of sugar, but that's not true, usually the chocolate or the strawberry has significantly less sugar. Secondly, I love their topping choices, even though they don't usually carry any cereal toppings. But they have awesome brownies, dark chocolate curls, actual fresh fruit (i.e. hasn't been frozen), and so much more. Thirdly, the atmosphere is fun and creative. They are currently featuring an artist by the name of Pamela Gordimer. Her style is very Georgia O'Keeffe (my favorite artist). You can see pictures of her work on the Yogolait facebook page: Facebook:yogolait.

4. Ellerbe Fine Foods
Located at: 1501 West Magnolia Avenue, Fort Worth, TX
(817) 926-3663


I love this place, and I have only been once. Basically, I cannot afford to go eat here except on really, really nice occasions. I went here for my celebration dinner of finally getting a real, full-time job with my family. And it was one of the best meals I have EVER had. From the cheese plate to desert, I was exceptionally impressed. Even though I ate there months ago, I can still distinclty remember my spring pea risotto with fresh pea tendrils and scallops. *sigh* I am a sucker for a good risotto and scallop dish and this one was perfect. They cook with local, fresh ingredients, and change the menu constantly. When I was there they were serving a prickly pear sorbet that was made using prickly pear from the chef's, parent's ranch. So cool! Hopefully soon I can go back. Reservations are strongly encouraged.

5. Spiral Diner
Located at: 1314 West Magnolia Avenue, Fort Worth (also a location in Oak Cliff in Dallas)
(817) 332-8834

I love the Magnolia area of Fort Worth and it is because of the funky, little places like this (Ellerbe's in located just down the street from here). I am a dedicated meat eater, I am never going to be vegetarian, but this place is fun. The atmosphere is very 1950's diner and so artsy. It just fits my personality to a t. The waitstaff are all nice, knowledgeable, and usually pierced and tattooed. Their menu is organic whenever possible, and 100% vegan. They have a glossery at the beginning of their menu, and their prices are good. My favorite thing I have had to eat was the "Festivus Sandwhich" which was a thanksgiving style sandwhich (so tofurkey, stuffing, cranberry sauce, etc), and sooo good! I didn't miss anything and plus the name made me happy. check it out even if you aren't a vegan or vegetarian, we could all use a little expanding of our culinary horizons.

6. Dream Cafe
Located at: There are two, one in Uptown and one in Addison.

My friend Amy has been telling me about this place for months now. And since she has great taste in food and venues I have been dying to try it out. But every time she has gone recently I have had something else going on. But we are going for brunch sometime in the near future. Their website sucks me in with the "global" and "eclectic" food claims, those are two of my favorite words to apply to my meals. :) I just finished reading the brunch menu and am now considering a cheat day of the crazy diet. yummy!

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

I am blessed

So sometimes I forget what a blessed life I live. I start focusing on the things I don't like about my life, instead of realizing I have been given so much. One thing I am so grateful for lately is the wonderful girls of my bible study. I joined this group about 18 months ago and have laughed and cried alongside them. They have become some of the first girls I call when I need something and who I want to know when something joyful happens. My favorite part of our group is that every week we do "what's God doing in your life". There are weeks when I dread this question, when I feel like God is doing nothing, or that I am avoiding God. But even during those weeks, I treasure this time because it allows me to see God working in the other girls lives and to force me to look deeper at my life and see where I might be missing something He is doing. So here is to all the girls who encourage me each week, who keep me going, and who are just there when I need to vent. I adore you all!

Monday, January 3, 2011

Food + Dieting

So I am a good Southern girl and I love to bake and cook. My mom taught me as a little girl how to make everything her grandmother taught her. So I can make a good pie, chicken and dumplings, pot roast, etc. But I am also I very healthy eater for the most part (since I was "blessed" with my not so fast metabolism) so I love to make healthier versions of everything, good salads, etc. And by heathier I don't mean I just make everything with splenda and call it a day, but I try and eat real food, so as un-processed as possible. I buy a few items in organic (but I am not super intense about it), I usually buy whatever looks best. So I say all this to let you know that I will be blogging about food, and cooking, and sharing recipes, but they will be in short supply for the next several weeks. I am about to do the HGC diet with my sister. So basically I am only allowed to eat a few foods for the next few weeks, and recipes would be boring. But afterward, I will be cooking up a storm to make up for lost time. :)

Sunday, January 2, 2011

The beginning

Welcome to my life. I am a 20-something girl living in the DFW area, just trying to figure out this life. My loves include photography, cooking, art, finding the perfect item on sale at Anthrolpologie, and spending time with the awesome group of women I have been blessed with.

My vision for this blog is for it to be a place where I can share my photography, my cooking escapades, and a little of my life. I want to show the glimpses of beauty and art that I see in our world each day, and through that inspire others to see the beauty in their own lives.

So let the journey of 2011 begin!