Monday Night Bible Study

I’m rarely plagued by loneliness. I can spend hours alone in my home and be perfectly content. In fact, the only time I ever experience loneliness is when I’m in a crowded room. It can be difficult for me to build connections with new people and even more difficult to sustain those connections.

As a person who enjoys lounging in my comfort zone, I’m tempted to avoid large group settings. Even so, I’ve always enjoyed attending the women’s Bible study at my church. There I am able to worship alongside a large group of women, and then we break up into small groups for discussion.

However, for almost two years, Monday night Bible study has conflicted with my school schedule. Even though I wasn’t able to attend the study, I continued to do the Bible study by myself. I believe time spent in the word of God will always be fruitful. I can say the Lord ministered to me in the comfort of my own room and that it was a necessary season.

This semester I no longer have class on Mondays, and I have been able to officially rejoin the group. This past Monday, we met in someone’s home to belatedly celebrate Valentine’s day. While eating spaghetti and lasagna, I witnessed the love of Christ in these women. We vary in age; some could be my sisters, mothers, or grandmothers. Some are single; others are married. Our group is composed of a stay at home mom, a surgical tech, a teacher, a nurse, an executive, a student, among many other occupations. God has also empowered each of these ladies with unique spiritual gifts. Some are listeners. Some serve.

For this reason, I wholeheartedly praise God for the diversity within the body of Christ.

Upon opening a valentine,  Colossians 3:14 was taped inside.

“Above all these things put on love, which is the bond of perfection. And let the peace of God rule in your hearts, to which also you were called in one body; be thankful. Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom, teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord.”

Colossians 3:14-16

The Dark Horse is Forever

For those of you who read my post called “Meeting Golden,” I promised to write about the time I crashed my friend’s week-long vacation in Hawaii.

Here it is!

 

We decided that she’d get a ten minute head start to smoke a cigarette. I didn’t mind, relishing in the extra time to snooze on the pull out couch.

We met during undergrad. We’d study Chaucer and Shakespeare together, always with Dr. Caldwell. In our final semester, Britany suggested we take creative writing. I agreed but insisted, “We’re gonna take intermediate, okay?” That was until intermediate wasn’t an option. That’s when we parted ways. Britany took the advanced class, and I joined in with the beginners.

Britany called right before graduation. One of her regulars had gifted her with a trip to Hawaii. The room was paid for; all she had to do was book a flight.

I half jokingly invited myself, and before I knew it, I was asking my husband if I could fly to Hawaii with a friend I didn’t know too well.

Don’t get me wrong, Britany and I talked regularly, but most of our conversations revolved around homework, how we had procrastinated again, and the kids we had tutored during the week. Our friendship only existed within the walls of our university. Things could get awkward in Oahu. A week is a long time to spend with just one person.

On our trip, Britany and I developed a system. She’d smoke and after approximately ten minutes, I’d take the elevator down and slide out the back door to meet Britany in the designated smoking area. Every time, I’d find Britany with a new friend. They would be swapping life stories like kids with trading cards. A lady gave us fresh banana bread, another advised us where to snorkel and which bus to catch.

But the most memorable encounter was when I observed Britany sitting on a bench with a Japanese couple. Britany and I were supposed to be on our way to sing karaoke. I had hoped once she saw me, she’d rise so we could leave. Instead, Britany invited me to sit down. The couple spoke little English, and for the past ten minutes, they had communicated using google translate. Together we lingered, bonding over cats and sharing bits of ourselves. After awhile, the four of us drifted to the karaoke bar.

There we sang in our own languages. Although, they did join in with Aerosmith’s “I don’t Want to Miss a Thing.” We clapped and cheered for one another, and between anthems we’d chat, speaking into the tablet’s microphone. It worked well, although there was one particular instance Britany and I looked down on the screen to read,

“The dark horse is forever”

We’d lose it, compose ourselves, and tell them to try again.
I wonder what secret messages we spoke into them.

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Meeting Golden

I enrolled in a class called Chaucer, in which we exclusively read Chaucer’s The Canterbury Tales. Although I may be an English major, I did not read much growing up. I had never heard of him, and I was not ready to encounter middle English. If you’ve never read middle English, it might as well be a totally different language. Although, somehow you get used to it. Dr. Caldwell demanded that we read the text as it was written. However, we were allowed to read his works in modern English as a supplement. She reminded us that our midterm and final would include portions in middle English. Therefore, in order to succeed we needed to know how to digest his work as it was originally written.

I did exactly as she instructed. I’d read a small portion of the tale in middle English, and then I would stop to read the equivalent in modern English to ensure I was comprehending the material. It was an exhaustive process, but I was also going to nail Dr. Caldwell’s exams.

Then the day of the midterm arrived. I successfully completed the short response, but when I reached the essay portion of the exam, things started to get shaky. I was asked to thematically link three or four tales, and my mind could not think of a single connection. I grappled and grasped for anything, sensing that time was slipping away. Finally, it hit me. In each tale, one character goes on a quest. I furiously wrote down and developed my idea, and I walked out of the classroom feeling victorious. That was until I realized, “Oh my gosh, I just argued that they all have a plot.” Suddenly, I was convinced that I had failed, and sheer panic struck. That’s when she caught up to me. We had never spoken before, but she said something along the lines of “Wasn’t that a doozy?” I’m pretty sure “doozy” isn’t even in her vocabulary, but let’s roll with it. And that’s all I needed to spill my guts. From that day forward, I’d sit next to Britany Jean Golden.

 

Hello Everyone! Happy Tuesday. This blog post is dedicated to my sweet sister-friend, Britany Jean Golden. Today is her birthday, and I guarantee you’ll be hearing more about our friendship soon!

…Like that time I crashed her week-long trip in Hawaii. That’s when we became sisters.

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The New Girl

The summer before 7th grade, my parents and I moved to Southern California. I was slightly nervous to attend a school where I wouldn’t know anyone, but I was comforted by the not so distant memories of “the new girl” I once knew. I remember how her hair rivered down her back. We swarmed her like excited puppies, eager to share who was friends with who, where the best seat in the cafeteria was, and our latest crushes.

All I needed to do was start the 7th grade a few days late. I knew if I postponed my entry, the teacher would present me to the class, give my short bio, and the kids would flock to me like they flocked to every new girl. On the day I started school, it all seemed to go according to my plan, except that last part. Although my classmates looked at me as I stood before the white board, no one was interested in who I was or where I had been. However, all was not lost.

Mrs. Harris introduced me to Annie. I would later find out she was one of the most popular girls in my class. I still remember her low-rise jeans and her clear lip gloss.  Shortly after meeting, Annie asked me to pull out my class schedule, and somehow the stars had aligned. We were a perfect match. After each bell rang, we’d strap on our backpacks and head for our next class together. Eventually, we made it to lunch, and she introduced me to a number of her friends.

I knew it was important that I make a good impression. The girls naturally began to converse, and although I can’t remember a single topic mentioned, it didn’t take me long to realize that I had nothing in common with any of them. I began to panic. I knew I needed to say something. I knew I needed to be memorable, river memorability like the new girl’s long flowing hair, but not a single word came. The bell rang, and time was up. Like a herd of startled antelope, Annie and her friends scattered before I could even think to pick up my tray. I rushed to throw my garbage away, only to turn around to find Annie and the girls were gone.

Instantly, I knew I had been ditched. Surely, I felt hurt, but there was also relief. I didn’t fit. They knew it. I knew it. I would just have to make new friends, but before that I’d have to find my next class. I pulled out the map I hadn’t used once that day and began my search. As I wandered the grounds, the school slowly emptied till I alone was left. Eventually, a lady with a lanyard found me and directed me to class. She opened the door for me, and I made my way to an empty seat. All eyes were on me, except Annie’s. She never looked up.

The next day Annie approached me. She told me that she was sorry, but that we couldn’t have lunch together anymore. I told her that was something I had already figured out.

One thing you all should know about me is that I don’t fear being alone. I never have. However, being seen alone was a different story.  The thought of sitting at a lunch table by myself was beyond something I could handle at that age. So, I developed a strategy. I’d walk around the school yard pretending to meet up with the friends I didn’t have. Except, one can wander for only so long. Hiding in the bathroom was the next best option. When it comes to fight or flight, I’m a flight type of girl. I remember standing in that stall and quickly recognizing what an idiot I was. Was I really going to hide in a bathroom during lunch all year long?

No. I was going to find a friend. I left the bathroom and scanned the lunch tables. I wondered how everyone had grouped so seamlessly. That’s when I saw her, a girl standing alone, staring blankly out into no where land. She was the one I’d approach.

I don’t remember exactly what I said to this stranger, but I know it was something along the lines of, “I noticed you don’t seem to have any friends, and I don’t have any friends. So, maybe we can help each other out.” And that’s how I met Dez.

Even though Annie and I couldn’t formally socialize, she continued to be my friend in the way her popularity allowed. For those two years in middle school, she always smiled and said hello. Toward the end of eighth grade, Annie approached me during P.E, and this is what she said.

I have a lot of friends, but none of them really care about me. You only have a few friends, but I know that they love you.”

After our conversation, she’d go back to those friends. Even now, fifteen years later, I’m not sure why. But that day, her words were a gift. It was right to be ditched.

 

Reliving 2017’s Highlights

So, my husband started his very own blog a few days ago, and I’m already stealing his cool ideas. (Feel free to stalk)

Let’s look at my 2017 “top nine!”

1) These pictures were taken by my personal photographer, my mom. She’s not an actual photographer, but I’m really awkward in front of a camera, so I need someone who can lovingly force me to smile.

2) This picture is special, because it’s the day our best friends, Kevin and Shadie, got married, and my husband and I both got to be in the wedding and walk down the aisle together.

3) My hubby and I spent Christmas Eve with my very cute parents. We actually live with them right now, but it’s a blessing, because they’re wonderful and we have ZERO student loans!

4) This one time my husband and I threatened to throw a potluck vowel renewal for our dear friends, and lo and behold, our friends basically ended up planning wedding #2. We definitely feel responsible.

5) Christmas with the Shamus! These peeps are my dear in-laws, and I loved them even before I loved my husband. My father-in-law was even my boss well before Danny and I started dating.

6) More pics from Shadie’s and Kevin’s wedding. Our anniversaries are three days apart, so one year we’ll have to celebrate together!

7) My husband won a contest at work, and the prize was Disneyland passes! This means I get to spend a lot more time with the beloved KaylaAnn, because she and her FIANCÉ have passed too. (They just got engaged) 😉

8) Kamie and I’s friendship blossomed this year after I found out she was a fellow book lover! We even started our own book club. 🙂

9) My brand new nephew is the cutest little guy! I wish I wasn’t a long distance auntie!

Happy New Year, everyone! Stay safe, and see ya in 2018!

ALSO, I now have 50 followers and on New Year’s Eve! Thank you all sooo much for making today all the more special. ❤️

Xoxo

T. Shaw

Blogmas Day 17: Games for the Fam this Holiday Season

Happy Blogmas Day 17! I’m going to step outside of my norm and do something a little different today. We’ll see how it goes!

I don’t normally play board games, because the instructions are too complicated or the game has one too many rules.

But, I married a guy who loves games, and it does give our family something to do together.

Therefore, this post is for the non-gamer like me, who thinks Sorry and Uno are where it’s at. Maybe you can choose one of these games to play with your family this holiday season. 🙂

  1. Wits & Wagers: Party Edition

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Players: 4+
Ages: 8+

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This is a trivia game, and every question will be answered with a number.

Here are sample questions & answers:

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The great thing about these trivia questions is that it is rare that anyone knows the exact answer (or number). So, it’s anyone’s game. Also, it is not about guessing the right (or closest) answer, but about betting on the right answer (which may not be the answer you provided).

This is a quick game, approx. 30 min and that might even include two rounds (another reason why I like it).

2. Dicecapades

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Players: 2-6
Ages: 12+

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Basically, this game is about playing with as many dice as you can.

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This game consists of three categories, Actionland, Thinkingtown, and Triviaville. Here are examples of each.

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I like this game, because it’s simple, it occasionally gets you out of your seat, and it has a little something for everyone.

The only downfall of this game is that, if small children are anywhere in a 30 mile radius, some of those dice will go missing.

3. Loaded Questions: The Classic Game of ‘Who Said What’

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Players: 4-6
Ages: Teen-Adult
(I have played with my nieces and nephew while they were in elementary school, and they had no problems answering the game’s questions.)

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During each player’s turn, he or she will read a question that corresponds to the space he or she has landed on.

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These questions are broken into four categories, Hypotheticals, Anything Goes, No-Brainers, and Personals.

After reading the question aloud, the other players will write down their answers in secret. The player will then have to guess who wrote each answer.

I love this game, because it sparks conversation and many times the answers will surprise you! Do you really know who you live with?

This game can be long. The last time I played with my family it took 2 1/2 hours to complete, but the time honestly flies. Plus, you can always take a brief intermission to eat some pie!

4. Monopoly Empire

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If you hate Monopoly like me, this game is for you! If you love Monopoly like my husband, this game is also for you!

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This game only takes 30 minutes at the most!

It is pretty similar to the original Monopoly, except instead of trying to be the last one standing, you win by being the first person to build your tower. You build your tower by buying properties. Notice, the properties’ sizes depend on how expensive they are. This game also involves a great deal of luck. You might get a “chance” card that changes everything. 😉

5. Coup

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Players: 2-6
Ages: 13+

This is a game of deception. Unless, you’re not a good liar like me, and you just tell the truth the whole time, but I’ve won that way too!

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Each player is given two character cards and a cheat sheet, which explains the action and counteraction specific to each character. This is so handy for people like me! No way to get lost.

The point of this game is to kill everyone (either by assassination or a coup).

Each player keeps their characters secret, which means they can pretend to be characters they aren’t (as long as they don’t get caught!).

Coup reminds me of the game Mafia. However, unlike Mafia, there are no teams. It’s every man for himself.

 

Those are my five suggestions, folks! Let me know if you have played any of the games mentioned or if you have found one you’d like to try!

xoxo