Tuesday, April 28, 2009

My friend and surf coach, Shelley


This woman is amazing...and is in this video! I just love her spunk, her personality, her beauty, and her strength.

Monday, April 27, 2009

I did it!


13.1 miles deep in the woods, over trees, creeks, large slabs of granite, up steep hills and I wasn't dead last!

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Inman Park Festival


Carla, Catherine, Emma Grace, Christine and I went to the Inman Park Festival this weekend. We volunteered for the Travis' whose home was on the Tour. Emma Grace was the official greeter and door opener and greeted about 300 people during our 2 hour shift. When I finished my shift at my post by the master bedroom, I found Emma Grace on the front porch with a Sharpie, marking tickets and telling visitors quite professionally, "Don't miss the rooms on your right and exit through the master bedroom" over and over. I even heard her mixing up her accent each time and pretending to be British with the last couple. Then we took the tour ourselves, viewing about 6 out of the 12 homes in Inman Park. During the long walk Emma Grace's Havaiana's were rubbing a blister between her toes. So Catherine did what all big sister's do best.We had dinner in College Park, put pennies on the train track and only had to wait about 20 minutes for our shiny flat coins. A good time was had by all.





Tuesday, April 21, 2009

The Baby Laughing

It is kind of a fake laugh, but laughing nonetheless.

video

Monday, April 20, 2009

Carson the Superhero


I went to Carla's last weekend. Carson and I played Superhero. To play Superhero you have to give yourself a really cool name that ends in Boy, Girl, Man or Woman depending on your age, unless you are Carson and then you get to use the "man" suffix. You tell Carson all the different super powers you possess. Then you walk around in the backyard and around the house while he gives you the play by play on what is happening and how you are to fight the bad guys and when to use your X-ray vision. I would use my best Cowardly Lion voice and say, "Put 'em up" and he would laugh at me and my complete inability to fight with true gusto. But I guess my 31 year old imagination just sees grass and trees and blue skies and Miss Sarah the Jack Russell Terrier, while his 5 year old mind envisions dark alleys and mountains to climb and walls to scale and lime green tunnels and bad guys lurking around the corner. We let Natty play too. Wouldn't you?

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Speechless

Visit msnbc.com for Breaking News, World News, and News about the Economy

Words cannot describe all the emotions I feel when I watch this. Such excitement, sadness, joy, anticipation, revelation of His goodness. You go Whitney! I can't wait to see what all you do and am so blessed to be able to watch. Even Matt Lauer sees the Jesus in you!!
www.cerakmorrellupdate.blogspot.com

Vietnam

'Member when I blogged the other day about Wix, showing off me looking 12 and daydreaming about the stars? Well I found some proof for you that I did go to Vietnam and didn't make that part up. I have hundreds of pictures of my trip to Vietnam, but Lord only knows where they are. Well, I know where they are. They are on CD's in the Rubbermaid Bin in the wardrobe in the guest bedroom. Why does it seem so incredibly cumbersome to upload pictures? One of these days I am going to come up with a system that works. But for now, I really don't have one at all whatsoever. I just tried to upload some from my camera to show you recent photos of the boys from my visit to Carla's yesterday, but the camera battery died in the process. And now I can't upload from home because I downgraded to DSL lite to try and save a little money and it is not fast enough to upload pictures! And ugh! Then again it could also be the computer itself because it has some problems and shuts down a few times a day. It's always somethin'. However, I found these on snapfish from 2005.

I went with these nuts. An amazing group of highly successful people chosen by a fabulous organization known as the American Council of Young Political Leaders...and they picked me too. Included in the group were a White House Staffer, a Secretary of State, two State Senators, a Boston City Councilman, a Lobbyist and me. I had an absolute blast and loved every minute of it...almost. The Vietnamese government leaders truly rolled out the red carpet for us and we were able to experience the best of the best of their country. I would go back.The first night there we went to this Water Puppet Show. I found it funny the way they pronounced Water Puppet...it was all very staccato and quick and fast with emphasis on the T's...more like, whitterpuppetttt. I have never been so sleepy in my whole entire life. We flew into Chicago, then Osaka, Japan or somewhere and then Hanoi I think and then went to that crazy whitterpuppettttt show and I was soooooooo jet lagged and miserable. But the show was amazing, from what I saw.We stayed in this one amazing hotel in Hue. We also stayed in some pretty horrific places that just make me laugh thinking about them. We made it fun and I honestly have not laughed so hard for so long, about so many things, that often in my life. Our group got along amazingly well and we had an absolute blast. We were all total strangers, from various parts of the country and walks of life, but we made it fun and enjoyed the adventure. And I wish we were all out by that pool at this Hotel in Hue right now. I kept the card from this place and would love to go back. We took Pedicabs or rickshaws around town in Hue. We wanted to go do Karaoke one night because we had heard that is what Vietnamese do. We asked the drivers to take us and we wound up at this literal hole in the wall. It was a concrete block house with a pleather sofa and a tiny, tiny little TV with rabbit ears and two microphones. We laughed at what it was. We expected American big televisions and air conditioning. No way. I think there was one tiny dim bulb in the ceiling, pale green walls, that horrific L-shaped sofa that could swallow you, and a gross dirty plastic bucket with luke warm water, a few pieces of ice and a few warm bottles of Tiger beer floating inside. I have honestly never laughed so hard in my entire life. We sang horrifically and recklessly and quite soberly. I will never forget when we chose to sing the Beatles "Hey Jude" and the lyrics came up, "ra ra ra ra" instead of "la la la la"!!! and it was no joke. It was also funny that the graphics for each song were the same. I had not done Karaoke before, nor have I since, but evidently some of the songs feature lyrics with pictures in the background to make it more like a music video and create a little ambiance along with the song. Well, in Hue they only had three "graphics"...and they were all of random animals, like sheep and goats and bulls and the like. Each song would rotate through those same pictures over and over. Maybe you had to be there, but it was the funniest thing I had ever seen. Never mind Senator Merle Flowers singing country music which was also up there, but I want to see him succeed and have vowed to never show the video proof I have.Every meal was entertaining. Here we actually had entertainment. We saw this a lot. Lots of dancing and singing and overall entertainment at the tables. We ate at the very best places in each town and often ate buffet style, eating as much as we wanted of a huge variety of foods. That was fun. Until we went to Ha Long Bay. This has to be one of the most stunning places on the planet. Photos simply do not do it justice. They rented a boat for us and prepared a meal for us on the boat. We stopped and toured a cave! Then Paul did this:And I followed suit. As did a handful of the others and those of us who did this got violently ill while those who did not seemed to be fine. Ok, so maybe "violent" is a strong word. But my stomach was a wreck for quite some time and the amazing Vietnamese cuisine suddenly didn't appeal to me so much anymore and I just wanted to come home and have normal food and even after I came home I still didn't feel so hot. But I am better now. After four years one would hope so, right? But I can say I swam in Ha Long Bay, can you?

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Easter and My Little Lambs

This is the first time Carla has had professional photos made of their quartet. I remember when I was little thinking the Milner's had the biggest family in whole world and that NO ONE had FOUR children. Jesse, Suzanne, Angie AND Laura Gene! I love looking at big families and all their kids and all the combinations of all the genes displayed in so many different varieties. I love these kids. I love that Catherine is passionate and sensitive and imaginative. I love Gracie's tenacity and creativity and boldness. I love Carson's face and attitude and the way he is standing in this picture and holding Blue Bear. I love The Baby's ears and Thunder Thighs. He's going to be the athlete so I am told. I love watching them grow. And I love Jesus and that He died for my sins, and theirs too and that we are spotless like that little lamb and we don't have to slaughter him any longer, because Jesus died and rose from the dead and went to Heaven to intercede for us. I love that we don't have to live by The Law, but by His sweet, sweet grace we are spotless. It blows my mind. I hope your Easter weekend is amazing! Enjoy the eggs, pastels and His infinite mercy.

Trail Half Marathon


Debating doing this next weekend. The good thing is that walking is "allowed" up those really steep inclines and over rocky terrain. I like the idea of getting to walk during a race. I think I can do it.
I got my number. I am #31!

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Beyond Good Intentions



I met Tori while she was filming for this project in Mozambique. I love viewing her research on international aid effectiveness. The film is being released in episodes and can be viewed from the site above. Tori's expertise in international aid has developed extensively over the past seven years as she has traveled the globe working with aid organizations on four continents. Her experiences range from large-scale refugee assistance programs in Kenya, Lebanon, and Somalia, to smaller grassroots educational and child development initiatives in Uganda, Egypt, Togo, and China. Tori graduated with honors from Duke University in 2004 with a B.A. in Global Health and Human Development. She also served as a Fulbright Scholar in Egypt and holds a Masters diploma in Refugee Studies from the American University in Cairo, as well as a Masters of Education from Harvard University. Tori embarked on a solo trip around the world to shoot the Beyond Good Intentions series which is her first film project.

The Beyond Good Intentions film series follows the round-the-world journey of first-time filmmaker, Tori Hogan, as she investigates how international aid can be more effective. Shot on location in eight different countries, the ten-episode series takes viewers along for the ride as Tori meets with countless aid workers and recipients to uncover more innovative approaches to helping communities in need.

On this journey, viewers travel with Tori through Colombia, Argentina, Indonesia, Cambodia, India, Madagascar, Mozambique, and South Africa. In each country, Tori investigates a different issue in aid effectiveness, from the role of aid workers and volunteers, to the potential impact of more innovative approaches to aid through social entrepreneurship and market-based endeavors.

The film series was inspired by Tori's own frustrations with international aid after spending several years working and volunteering with aid projects around the world. "I continued to see well-intentioned aid initiatives failing to really make a difference," Tori says, "But these projects were affecting people's lives, and I felt that it was irresponsible to rely on good intentions alone." So she taught herself how to be a filmmaker, packed her backpack, and embarked on a solo journey of a lifetime to uncover what really works in international aid.

The film series is the first of its kind, and is bold enough to ask the questions that many are afraid to ask about the realities of the aid industry. However, the purpose of Beyond Good Intentions is not to focus on past failures, but rather to inspire viewers and to stimulate a movement that will spark greater innovation and effectiveness in future approaches to helping those in need. "For me," Tori says, "the goal of this series is to catalyze a much-needed dialogue about aid effectiveness, and to start a movement towards change."

A new episode in the Beyond Good Intentions series will be released each Wednesday from April 8th to May 27th, 2009. Viewers are encouraged to become part of the on-line dialogue and to join the movement towards encouraging more innovative and effective approaches to international aid worldwide.
Check this out and let me know what you think.

you coulda told me, but ida never believed you


I just want to make sure you all hear my little Southern twang as I write this. I am on my pseudo comfy sofa in my Patagonia and navy blue jogging pants with the cuffs pulled down over my toes. It's cold in the house, but sunny outside. But windy. I am putting off my run. I will go, eventually. I've got a lot on my mind and running is the best thing for that.

So I am writing to all of you who follow this little blog and comment and write me back. I have a tiny handful of official followers and a greater following who, like myself are inundated with usernames and passwords and opt to view anonymously and that's fine too.

A few months ago I mentioned Madagascar. I mentioned going there. To live. For an undetermined amount of time. The current political situation there is not good and there is much unrest and US citizens are not allowed at this time. But that is not a deterrent. The situation will improve and I am praying. I am not free to go right away anyway, so I am simply waiting and praying and enjoying hot baths.

Yet, it is looking like this might seriously become a reality. Recently, I have been in contact with Iris Ministries. It was their Holy Given School of Missions that I attended in 2007. To cut to the chase, we have a tiny plan. They want to get to know me and I want to get to know them. My 3 months there were amazing, but didn't give me one on one time with the leadership or time to really study how the base is ran, supplies purchased, books balanced, mouths fed, children educated, etc...Iris would like for me to come and visit and see how things are done and create relationship with the leaders there, so that I may be equipped to assist in the direction of the Madagascar base. It has been tentatively discussed that I would go in July. I have a few weeks of leave time saved up that would permit me to easily take time off work and go for a few weeks to help and to learn.

Now you know everything that I know. Now we all just get to sit back at watch. Will you be reading my posts two years from now as I write them with a chubby African baby on my knee from a dirty orange laptop? I have no idea. I love my friend Mark's reply when I wrote to tell him I may come to visit. He and his wife Jen are currently living there. He writes "Are you crazy? Considering selling out for the King? Is He worth such sacrifices?". I love it even more that I know people who think like this.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

I run like a girl

Not sure why the unpleasant face here. Maybe it's because of that huge vein in my hand that you can see from way back here or it could have to do with my insecurity of wearing Spandex in public.
I am just crossing the finish line.

Approaching the finish line.

Yes, my mouth is wide open as I check the clock and realize the Kenyan, running twice as far, is on my heels.

This one is classic. My high school English teacher once told me she could read me like a book. I wonder why?

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

A little more about the race


I told you it was cold!

Running through Auburn Avenue was fun, the sun came up and there was so much to see.
I know this guy!!! His name is Alan King!!! We went to North Georgia College together! He is in this slideshow of pics I stole from the AJC. Crazy. I have not seen him in years! The flowers weren't for me.
I got one of these.
This is the marathon female winner. Just look at her, she isn't even sweating and she is smiling!
This guy and I finished at the same time. He ran twice as far.