Tuesday, February 28, 2006

He picked SARAH!
I admit it. I am a closet fan of The Bachelor. Tonight my roommate Kimberly and I watched the season finale and we are celebrating Travis' pick of Sarah. She was undeniably the most poised, honest, and beautiful (outside and in) woman on the show. Way to go, Trav! I know, I know, you probably pity me at this point because I have no other exciting stuff to blog about... c'mon, Nicole, get a life! But, humor me please. And allow all those other closet fans to revel in the excitement of a "nice girl" victory. Hurray for all the nice girls out there! It's fleeting, but isn't reality/fantasy love fun...?

Sunday, February 26, 2006

Jeff & I went to Big Bear Lake today to hang out. Last week, it snowed in Big Bear so the place looked amazing...not a bit like Southern California. It made for a nice Saturday getaway...here's a few of the pics...
Sunset at Big Bear.

My little brother.
We laughed a lot today. In this picture we were trying to make a serious face and just ended up laughing...

Friday, February 24, 2006

So, this weekend I am in for a cultural experience. Usually this time of year, I would be trotting off to Europe or Asia for some sort of work trip. But this Spring I'm up for a whole new cultural experience: NASCAR. My brother Jeff (probably one of the funniest people I know) is coming to visit me this weekend so we can go to the race at Fontana. I am pumped! I don't know that much about the sport, but I've been studying in preparation for Sunday's race. I know what pole position is. I know that we need earplugs and binoculars. And I know not to carry my big purse ("you don't want to be keeping up with a bunch of crap in a crowd of 80,000 people" - an actual quote from Jeff). So, I'm all set! I mean, what else is there to know?

I'm really looking forward to hanging out with Jeff. Little brothers, even if they are 27-year-old grad students, have the ability to make you laugh about pretty much anything, don't they? Whether it is the noise the squirting ketchup bottle makes or the shared family jokes, I'm certain it will be a laughable time. Plus, I kinda appreciate a date who's willing to honestly tell me not to bring my purse loaded down with "crap" to our day of fun. That's kinda cool...other men could learn from that kind of transparency!

Yay for the NASCAR cultural experience! I'll keep you posted!

Saturday, February 18, 2006

It's raining. It really is. You know, I have been known to poke fun at So Cal weather men because every evening they watch the Doppler hoping that "bunch of clouds over the Pacific" could potentially produce the rain we so desperately need. The weather segment of the news always shows the Doppler and every cloud from here to Fiji as a potential source of precipitation. This (one) time they were right and it is really raining! I guess I see the comedy in the Doppler because in Texas we use the thing to predict the next tornado, massive thunderstorm, and eminent baseball size hail...proving that no matter where you live, that Doppler is a valuable piece of technology.

I rarely hear the sound of rain against my window as I'm falling asleep, so I'll enjoy it tonight. And maybe even tomorrow...says the Doppler.

Sunday, February 12, 2006

The Beach

Last Saturday the college group from my church spent the day at the beach. For those of you who don't know, I've been leading the college ministry at my church for about six months now. The church is small, but we have a very faithful group of students. It has been a true blessing to be a part of influencing the lives of these students and this church. Although I often feel ill-equipped for the task of leadership, God has been gracious to place me with these students and has grown the group from 8 to 25 these past few months. He has also intervened in the lives of these young people and placed them on a path to satisfaction in Christ alone. How humbled I am to be a part of the process...

This is Karis, my pastor's daughter, and Tiffany, one of the college students she adores.

The most resilient plant in the world lives right outside my apartment door. Last year, when I moved into my own place I decided it was time to get a planter out front with something alive in it. My reasons were split - first of all, I simply wanted one because everyone else in my complex has one. I felt the need to prove myself as a nurturer. Second, I figured everything grows in California and there's plenty of sun. Surely I can nurture a plant in this environment. Can't I? So I purchased a hydrangea. It had beautiful pink blooms last Spring and was even the talk of my apartment complex. . . ok, that's not true. (I'm pretty sure people have more pressing issues on their minds than whether or not the new girl's hydrangea blooms are going to make it through the summer...things like when are Brad and Angelina going to get married? or what's going to happen on the next riveting issue of 24?) I was faithful to water it and make sure it survived. When I spent a month overseas last summer, my landlord watered it and the blooms welcomed me home from India and Turkey. Then, I headed off to Texas for a couple of weeks, asking my friend Bekah to take the reins on the watering. When I came back in two weeks, all the blooms were gone and the dirt was so dry it seemed obvious Bek forgot to hydrate. All that work. All that attention. Dashed in two week's time. (I've forgiven Bekah, by the way.)

So I started the path of recovery for my hydrangea. I watered. I waited. But the pink blooms never returned. Ever. Soon I just stopped watering it because I saw no sign of life. Soon the kids in my complex used the dirt as a trash receptacle for their various candy wrappers. (though I never caught them in the act I knew it was them...) By December, I thought, "well, the pot it still good...when Spring comes, I'll just start all over...." All seemed lost for my pink hydrangea...

This story does have a redemptive theme. I'm getting there. Two weeks ago I saw a speck of green on one of the bare brown stems. From the speck, my hydrangea now has several leaves sprouting! I'm hoping by March the pink blooms will return. I'm committed to nursing it back to health and watering it. No more negative thoughts about salvaging the pot. No more entrusting the precious (soon-to-be blooms) to those who aren't as vested in the growth process. No more letting those kids at my complex throw their Starburst and Blow Pop wrappers in the pot. They'll see. Soon they won't even be able to see the dirt because the blooms will be exploding all over leaving no room for careless trash. Just wait. And see how resilient this little hydrangea can be!