Tuesday, July 31, 2012

They belong together!

                                                       The Folks! I love this picture of them!

On Thursday my dear and amazing parents will have been married for 32 years!!!! Two UF Gators met and dated and got married down in Gainsville, Florida and the rest as they say, is history:)

WOW, I think it is truly wonderful and awe inspiring to see their example. The 32 years that my parents have been married is a true and honest blessing. And as I grow up, I don't take their marriage for granted. They have allowed God to mold them. It can't have always been easy, yet it was necessary, and has produced rich dividends.

Love, forgiveness, faith, tears, joy, stress, peace, growth, toughness, feasting, need, silence, and laughter all that and more have characterized their years together, and though I have only shared 27 of the 32 years, I think I can say that they are a special couple.

One tip I always remember from my daddy (I think...sometimes their wisdom meshes together in my forgetful mind) is that married people still need to date. I love that! I often give friends a movie gift card for their weddings so that they can have a date night.

From my mama, the tip is that marraige is not a balance of you give 50% and they give 50%. She said some days you will feel like you gave 90% and they gave 10%. All types of math combinations will be done in your married lifespan, but this idea of 50/50 is not something she believes in. In the end there are not many 50/50 days and you will go crazy trying to make it happen.

If I had to characterize my parents I would say they are go with the flow, mellow people, who are growing in their commitment to Christ, and who love their family and friends (many of whom are just like family). If I had to pick something about them that has lingered over the many years, I would say their sense of humor. Betty does not do it on purpose, but she is always good for a laugh. Gerald is more subtle, but his quick grin after a well timed comment or joke is great.

Here's wishing my loving parents many more years of his deep chuckles & her light laughter shared together and surrounded with love and deepest caring.

Friday, July 27, 2012

Friday Tunes

I was obsessed with this Nelly and Tim McGraw duet. I clearly, remember Cherika getting fed up with me after I played it about 100 times;) Anyway, it's the weekend, and a ton of folks are moving. I'm so glad I am not;)

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

2 sets of Goose Bumps

For all of the woes of modern technology. It does have its shining, redemptive moments!
This is the tale of me, and two sets of goose bumps, for two very different reasons.

As I awakened on Friday morning I saw the scary news about the shooting in Colorado. At first my sleepy mind thought there must be some mistake. But as I watched the news, it became crystal clear that the news was terrifyingly true. I have so many great memories surrounding movies, I can't even begin to explain. I have also seen my fair share of midnight, mega premieres. I was so saddened by the news, but not completely shocked because really, anything can happen anywhere in this world. Evil still exists and (as a side note) there are masses of untreated mental illnesses roaming this county as well.
But, I got my goose bumps, on Saturday night. As the list of victims and their life stories poured fourth. At least 2 of the victims were 27. 27! I am 27. That could have been me. That very easily could have been me. That truth slammed into my conscious and it was a very sobering time of reflection. I have never quite had that feeling before. It's that place that happens to you every so often when you realize the frailty of life. Like so many others, my prayers are with everyone still suffering from the shooting and it's aftermath.

But, like I said there were 2 sets of goose bumps.

As I lay in bed trying to head to sleep on Sunday I saw a new blog posting from a dear, sweet, amazing friend. I have blogged about Kassy before and baby Asher. However, in the midst of sometimes disappointing health news, this time I was in for a treat. She posted pictures/video of this amazing child walking!! I teared up, and goose bumps broke out over my skin AGAIN! What a weekend.
If you don't know the story of Asher and his health problems, it just is not going to make any sense. But if you are like me and have been thinking and praying for this family, then his walking, his triumph, and his sweet, gorgeous smile are an example of the kind of miracles that I believe in. Because you see, the very first news I ever heard of Asher was huge, and scary. Mel and I were in Tallahassee. She let me know that Kassy had given birth very early...too early. And that the baby had a host of health problems that would shape his little life for who knew how long. So, to zip to today and see him walking, against all odds, and with MAJOR surgery coming up in October. Well my joy was overfull. I truly believe Asher can do anything, and I just know as long as we keep him in God's hands it will be a triumph.

1 weekend, and 2 sets of goose bumps. 2 situations that need prayer. 2 times that I was shaken out of my mundane sometimes selfish world and invited to share in the lives of others.

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Committed, Christ-centered, Fun & Passionate

Sometimes, even though I am not even dating, I ponder marriage. Probably in the way that some married couples without children ponder life as parents. I guess it's kind of somewhere between daydreaming and my best hopes for my possible future reality. It's not an everyday thing though so don't panic! I have some more growing up to do before I could ever become someone's wife.

If I had to name 4 qualities that I want in my marriage they would be a marriage that is:
Committed, Christ-centered, Fun and Passionate

I am completely biased of course, but these 4 things sum up what I think are important between a married man and woman. Why these four? Here's my thinking....

Committed- I have SUCH a sensitive heart and spirit. It is not always the first thing you notice about me, it's much deeper down. Anyway, one of my worst nightmares would have to be someone cheating on me. It could play a part in my not dating much. When I think about getting to know someone and opening up yourself to care about them and then that trust being broken. It's like a punch in my heart. I can be strong through many things, but lack of commitment makes me weak. So, my marriage has to be committed, no ifs ands or irreconcilable differences. I am not saying perfection, or princely behavior. I am saying respectful love and open communication. You can't provide that, well then we could never ever work.
PS- I want to be the type of woman that my future husband will want to commit too, and vice versa. I pray commitment flow naturally from our love and care for each other.

Christ-centered- In today's broken society the only way I would ever get married is if it would be centered on Christ. With the world telling you to consider a "starter marriage" and hurry up and "file for a divorce" the still small voice that guides me and I pray my future husband need not be another human being. It sounds joyful to me to think about how a Christ centered marriage would enhance my life. Being able to share what truly matters with your love sounds sweet. Knowing that in spite of differences and "life" you and your husband are on the same team and neither of you is the captain. Now that is a marriage to dream of:) And a marriage I will wait for.

Fun- Laugh with me. Be silly and random with me. Create a lifetime of memories and special jokes that only we share. In my marriage I would hope to redefine fun as a couple. In the midst of life, I would need my husband to remind me of fun, when I would be pouty and down in the dumps. I need our marriage to not only be the fun of roller-coasters and hot funnel cakes. But also the fun of whispered movie commentary and volunteering with children.

Passionate- Ohh la la! I don't have to go into details here but the point is this. We are married, we better be attracted to each other. If I can't find undiscovered passion with you, well then I might as well stay single or keep looking. Both of us deserve more. When I think passionate of course I mean our love lives. But I also want a marriage that is passionate about life and living. No tip toeing around, no blending in and sneaking in and out of life. Let's both choose to be present and passionate about each other and the causes that are close to our hearts.

I am sure one day I will look back at this post. Hopefully it will be a good thing and if I am meant to be in a relationship it will be all of these things and more. The more is also exciting! The fact that there are things that have not even crossed my mind yet that could be meant for me! However, for now, like I always tell Melanie I have a great life to live. And while many I know and love are making the marriage commitment. I will be perfectly happy discovering more about myself, meeting and maintaining wonderful friendships, and traveling. However, I'm open to God's will in all parts of my life, including dating relationships.

Monday, July 16, 2012

All Smiles

Oh how quickly good news can brighten my day. I got the job!!!
It is an answered prayer and the thing that had been on my mind since about last November.
I will be staying in Athens....crazy, yet just right. I will be working at an elementary school which is my passion! My official title will be School Counselor.....YAY!!!

Even as I was saying a thankful prayer, that was more like a chant, I did not want to forget ALL of the unemployed or unhappily employed people out there. I know, the disappointment and waiting can make you feel crazy at times, but there are jobs out there. But, sometimes you do have to re-evaluate your plan. Sometimes you have to throw stubbornness aside and trample it underfoot when it tries to gain a hold in your spirit again. Sometimes you have to cry and fret and wonder what are you supposed to do with your life? Sometimes you have to rely on friends and family and share your weakness and be open to the encouragement of good people. And all the time you have to wait. That is the lesson I learned. Everyone at some point has to wait for what they want....at least if they want it to be a good thing. And not just a selfish mess of hurried, flurried unrealistic hopes. Because often times it's the timing that is the issue. Not the goal or the dream itself....so don't give up! Just wait for the right time. It's coming.

Tonight as I lay my head on my pillow, I am all smiles! But the blessing is that even before the official news I had found my smile again. Even if this job had not worked out, I have faith that the right one would have. I had been through my own personal crisis and emerged on the other side. A little more mature, a LOT more humble, and a little more satisfied with the uncertainties that make up the life of a Florida turned Georgia girl who loves to teach, read, cook, and learn.

Considering I started this blog at the start of my grad school journey with good news. It feels fantastic to start a new segment with more good news. Life surely does come full circle:) Goodnight!

Saturday, July 14, 2012


In 2015 my passport expires! It is the passport that took me to Germany, and Italy, my first international travel adventure! I have the BEST memories from that month of going and seeing more of the world.

Maybe you can guess, but I desperately want to use my passport one more time before it expires. Where do I want to go? There is no question that the one place that is calling my heart is Greece!

I am not nervous about the political upheaval, or matters like that. My main holdup is my struggles with saving money. However, once I get a job and if I really set my mind on this travel goal....well you never know what might happen:)

I think my travel bug only gets worse while reading the fabulous, and beautiful travel blog of my friends. Here is the link if you are interested. It's wonderful and the pictures are fantastic! It's so cool to get to see far off places through the eyes of people my own age, who share some things in common with me.

I am going to be bold. I declare here and now, this 14th of July 2012, that I, Sabrina Maude Stewart, will use my passport at least one more time before it expires in 2015. And to be even more bold and specific, I declare that I will use it to travel to Greece. Hold me to it friends! But most importantly I am going to hold myself to it. It's a dream of mine and unlike some others that have not been that realistic, I refuse to give this one up. I have a vivid picture of me standing on a cliff on one of the Greek isles with a flowing sundress billowing around me as the sea breeze washes over my entire being. I aim to make that picture a reality. I really do.

Friday, July 13, 2012

Friday Tunes

After cranking the volume WAY up and singing (screaming) this song into my pretend microphone, I just had to feature it today for my Friday Tune.

Enjoy some Bon Jovi, old school style! I know, I know my musical tastes are quite eclectic. But so am I, if I must admit the truth;) 

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

For the Love of Friends

                                                                         (from here)
A general life lesson is that we often forget how important something is until we need it.
We come to depend on things and in the lull of safety and satisfaction we can easily overlook blessings that are right in front of us.

Sometimes that happens with our friends. Sometimes these precious people, who are almost as close as family (and those who are just like family) don't get appreciated enough.

I remembered in this past week that I am so blessed with a number of great friends. And I am thankful for each and every one of them.

I made an across town move last week. And my friends have been SO helpful and gracious and kind! The offers to assist me have been heartfelt and just what I needed. My simple thanks does not seem like enough, but it is all I have currently as I am not working in July.

Friends, helped pack, clean, organize, and unpack. Friends have called me and discussed the move, reminded me to take a deep breath, and also reminded me that there are bigger things than a lost flashdrive (I almost had a panic attack!). Friends have made me laugh loudly, friends have helped me direct my prayers outwards, friends have humbled me with their thoughtfulness.

I guess the best tribute to these wonderful friends is to imitate them in their helpfulness. When I see ways to help, I need to get moving. When I get asked to serve, I need to say yes. When both small and big things happen and my friends need me, I need to gladly  put aside myself for a while and go enjoy being of service to my friends!

For all who helped me...Thank You!

Saturday, July 7, 2012

Blessings for my New Home

Yesterday evening I, along with some good friends, began the moving process. Since I own lots of stuff and because I live on the 3rd floor of an old, old building, AND because I am moving to the 3rd floor of another building; I'm using professional movers for the majority of the move. Yesterday was just the mini move!

We almost made it before the rains came. It poured for about 30 minutes but that was some much needed rain so I was thankful.

As I wandered around my new home I took time to go over my moving map for tomorrow. Which chairs, tables, and shelves go where etc.. What a fun game:)

In the midst of this, with the rain pouring down, and the beautiful woodland views, I said a prayer.

It was a prayer and blessing of sorts for my new home. Part thankfulness that God has provided me with a fantastic place to live. Also, extreme gratitude for ALL the beautiful things I own that will fill my new space with life and comfort. I am a blessed girl, we all are really.

I prayed for the friends and family who would spend time in my home. I prayed over the gatherings. I prayed  that God would grant me serenity in my home. I even prayed for the people I have not met yet who will become friends and hopefully come for a visit.

As I walked through the rooms of my apartment I was content. The storms of life have knocked my little ship around, but the S.S. Sabrina is still sailing. Waiting, sometimes impatiently for the next adventure.

There are a million lists of things that I want to do with my new home. Pretty things to buy to add a little more pizzazz here and there. Some major spray painting projects to tackle. But the most important thing is done. Me, spending quiet moments with my home. Me, praying and being humbled by the good things that abound in my life and the God who gives with both hands. May I use this blessing to bless others.

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Friday Tunes

Heather Headley has a fantastic voice in the Broadway show Aida.
This is not a song from the show, but it's an old favorite and she sings it beautifully.
Here's to a weekend of moving...and getting a DVR!

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Excited Again

It is difficult for me to be excited during uncertainty. I can be content and happy, but I don't welcome brand new things with arms wide open.

However, after weeks of waiting and not knowing, some things are finally beginning to fall into place. In God's timing, not my own:)

I'm starting to feel my natural excitement levels peek again. I was riding high right around graduation. Then "real-life" dropped by and had me shaking in my boots.

I know that starting up summer prayer group and sharing with my sisters in Christ has gotten me excited and back in balance.

Fresh fruit, beautiful rambles outdoors, and home-cooked meals are my own personal cleanse that have helped me feel better, lighter and refreshed.

A return to my morning devotionals and church, after weeks of traveling were absolutely necessary. Why was I feeling off key and disconnected? Yeah, not getting spiritually filled will drain me quickly.

Since I'm feeling much better about life in general I thought I should set out some July goals. My friend Annie started me thinking about having monthly goals as I read her blog. Her purpose was to carefully use the summer to reclaim her life. Find out what she actually wanted to do......and then do those things. It's kind of radical in its simplicity. Look at your life and cut back on the things that drain you, make you unhappy, or just are reckless time fillers.

So for July I have a few goals. My June goals were straightforward. Exercise more outdoors (check), eat more fruits and veggies (check, check) and start up my morning devotions and Bible study (1/2 check).

Get new apartment "home like" in time for the start of the school year (Aug. 1st)
Eat more fruits and veggies....try one new recipe for each (fruit and veggie).
Take a trip over to Atlanta. Purposefully make plans to see all my family and friends who live there. Not just the group that I typically see.
Keep in contact with my friends through phone, text, or notes. Use this free time to deepen relationships:)