Tag: Lessons Learned

House Projects…

Here are the two biggest transformations thus far:


Master bedroom: 9 9a


305684_859495627280_363319103_n 564749_874828520040_1653679878_n

We’re enjoying every step of the way and we’re learning SO much as we tackle these projects ourselves (with tons of help)!

Gas Station Etiquette 101

I spent 68 hours at gas stations throughout the month of July. This experience gave me plenty of time to make observations about what I have deemed the “Gas Station Etiquette” of a majority of the people I observed. Some of these observations were frustrating, some amusing. I decided that I needed to blog about these things because it is apparent that some people were never taught how to behave properly while visiting a gas station.

These are all things that I observed multiple times. And yes, this is intended to be humorous. 🙂



1. When arriving at a gas station and pulling up to a pump, slow down. Be aware that there are other cars and people around you.

2. When you pull up to a pump, park 1-3 feet from the pump, not 5-6. You block traffic and the hose isn’t always long enough to reach your vehicle when you’re too far away.

3. Turn off your engine. It’s the law. And it’s a law for a reason. I don’t care if it’s hot outside. You’ll survive when you get back into your car.

4. Never leave your vehicle while gas is being dispensed. Just because you really need Starbucks doesn’t mean you should walk across the street while pumping. This is inconsiderate and dangerous in so many ways.

5. Do NOT smoke near the pumps, or anywhere near the fueling area really.

True story: At one station in particular, I was standing 5 feet away from two men who were standing right next to the pump smoking while they pumped gas. Even worse, they LIT their cigarettes while pumping. Shall we go back to basic science? Gasoline and its vapors are flammable. I backed away quickly to reduce any damage that might occur should an explosion have taken place. 

6. You must always pay before pumping. Don’t be surprised or feel inconvenienced. It’s been this way for a LONG time.

7. If a receipt prints, either take it and keep it or throw it away. Do not leave the receipt hanging from the pump and don’t stuff it into the plastic brochure holders attached to the pumps. Those are not trash cans.

8. The fueling area is NOT a parking lot. If you need to go into the store, drive to one of the conveniently located and clearly marked parking spots near the entrance.

9.  Just because it is convenient for you to park right in front of the store entrance or in the middle of the parking lot (where there are no parking spots) doesn’t mean that it’s convenient for everyone else. There are painted lines for a reason.

10. When you go into the store, turn off your car. There is no need to leave it running, unlocked, unless you really want to get rid of your car. Do not leave it idling for ten minutes or more (I saw this SO many times). It wastes expensive gasoline.

I’m sure there are more things that I could share, so I’ll update as I remember more. All in all, I observed a complete lack of consideration for others during my time. What happened to putting others before yourself?

What is your biggest “gas station etiquette” pet peeve?

Book Review: “My Big Bottom Blessing: How Hating My Body Led to Loving My Life”


I was asked to review this book, and I am SO glad that I read it. As someone who struggles to be content with my outward appearance, this book delivered messages of biblical truth and encouragement that resonated deep within my heart. The author, Teasi Cannon, is so open, honest, and relatable! Her story is powerful and an incredible example of God’s redemptive power.

The book doesn’t only deal with self-image issues–Teasi dives in and tackles important (and seldom discussed) inner heart issues that she discovered on her journey toward a healthy self-image. I related to a few of them–such as not celebrating the successes of others because of a fear that it demeans my own talents. I definitely need to work on that, and Teasi provides questions and scripture to help readers work through those issues.

Teasi discusses the concept of an “Orphan Heart” which is when we are living as though we aren’t completely loved and cared for by God. It made complete sense and I realized that there are some areas in need of work in my own life.

“I let my doctors (not Vanity Fair or Cosmo) tell me if I’m physically healthy, and I let God alone assign my value.”

I loved this passage and had to include it here:

To “glorify” God with our body means to use it to honor or magnify Him. There are many ways to interpret what that might look like in our individual lives. But one thing is for sure, we can’t do it if we hate our body so much that we keep it hidden from the world in shame. That’s the devil’s goal. How do you think he’s doing?

Our enemy wants us to be so ashamed of the appearance of our body that we forget all about the life-changing potential (God’s Spirit) it houses. If he can influence us to become embarrassed enough, maybe we’ll just stay home and keep that good stuff to ourselves. (I’m not going because my pants are too tight.) And when we do, it just leaves more hurting people–maybe even a family member or friend–to die without hope.

This is just an example of the powerful message this book contains. She is absolutely right! I had never thought about it that way, but I can completely see how the devil is using the media/perception of true beauty based on celebrities to manipulate us and keep us from doing God’s Kingdom work. Teasi has put words to the struggles that we see all around us and within ourselves.

You can download a sample chapter here. You can also see a blog post or download an interview with the author here.

Even if you don’t struggle with self-image issues, I recommend this book. We all have baggage from our past that needs to be dropped in order to fully be who God has created us to be…and this book provides resources to be set free for good.

I received a free copy of this book from Worthy Publishing and the opinions expressed are my own.

Lessons Learned From Not Speeding…

A few months ago I made the decision to no longer intentionally drive above the speed limit (note: this only applies while driving in town…I know, I know…for some reason, the interstates are a separate thing in my mind which isn’t right, but that’s how it is right now… 🙂 ) because I realized that it is a sin. It’s become quite the “respectable sin” in our society, and I’ve become increasingly aware of it in my own life.

I’m a California girl. Everyone speeds there. I lived in Southern California for seven years prior to moving to Pennsylvania, and there, if you don’t speed you get run over (on the interstates, at least). It became a way of life…but that is all changing now.

Believe it or not, this didn’t start because of a speeding ticket (I’ve only had two in my entire life, and neither of them were recent).

This started because we live on a road where the speed limit is 25 miles per hour. And there are great reasons for that speed limit: the road is narrow, it’s a neighborhood, there are children, and there are many hidden driveways all along our road. However, because people often use our road to bypass part of Hersheypark Drive, they are always flying down our road.

Having lived here for six months now, it has come to irritate me greatly. It took me awhile to put words to my irritation, but here’s what it comes down to: disrespect. I felt disrespected by the non-residents flying down my road.

This led me to realize that whenever we speed, we are being disrespectful both to the residents of that area AND to the local law enforcement officials…and to God. So, I decided to stop.

It has been a process, and I’ve learned a few things along the way:

1–I care FAR too much about what strangers think of me… 

It is amazing how much I’ve been tempted to speed because someone gets really close to my tail and I get anxious–not because of safety, but because I don’t want them to (1) think I’m a bad driver or (2) get angry and call me names that I can’t hear anyway. It sounds ridiculous written out, but it’s true! Why on earth do I/we care so much about strangers being upset with us because we are obeying the law? (Working on this…)

2–It is AMAZING how many people speed…

I can honestly say that I’ve felt very isolated in my quest to obey the law. Related to number one, it is amazing how many times I’ve been passed in recent months…and it has been humbling. And it has surprised me, because the local police here in Harrisburg/Hershey are ALWAYS looking to catch speeders. Always. I think they’re bored 😉  But seriously, I didn’t realize before just how many people choose to disobey the speed limits continually.

3–Speeding doesn’t really save that much time…

That’s an argument I hear quite a bit from those who choose to speed–that it saves them time. From my observations lately, unless you’re doing 100 mph, you will likely not save more than a couple of minutes. Yesterday I was passed by someone on a two lane highway who was in SUCH a hurry…we got to our destination at the exact same time due to lights and other cars ahead of him doing the speed limit. 🙂 And yes, that made me happy inside. Working on that, too.

I’m sure there will be more lessons learned as I continue my quest to not speed…but this is what I’ve learned thus far.


I’ve learned something about myself in the past couple of weeks: I compare myself and my talents to others entirely too much…and because of that, I often have a lack of confidence in myself.

Example: Photography. I have some friends who are incredibly gifted “people photographers”, and I love to learn from their work. Since I tend to focus on scenic photography, taking pictures of people has been intimidating to me. I don’t have a lot of experience with it, which of course makes it uncomfortable. And the biggest problem, I think, has been that I compare my work to the work of others…and then I get frustrated when my pictures don’t look like theirs, instead of appreciating my work for what it is.

Another example: Guitar. When our worship pastor first asked me in January to play guitar for the worship team, I was beyond intimidated. Because I know so many incredibly talented guitar players, I have doubted my ability to play guitar for as long as I’ve been playing (13 years). I know I’m not the best–but I am willing to learn and grow and use my talent for the Lord. After I played that first week, I realized that I loved it, and I wasn’t terrible! I now look forward to being able to serve the Lord with my musical ability each week–and it doesn’t hurt that I get to sing each week, too (singing is the one gift in which I have no problem with confidence, LOL).

Between photographing the Quinceañera this weekend (people pictures) and playing piano for worship this morning (when I hadn’t played in public in about 10 years), I was challenged to step out of my comfort zone, and it made me realize how little confidence I have in myself sometimes. It didn’t go nearly as badly as I expected… 🙂

It’s time to recognize that I am a beloved child of God, and I have gifts and abilities that He has given me…and if He calls me to use them, He will enable me to succeed. 🙂 And all I have to do is say “yes” when He calls. 🙂

Looking Back at 2008…

This has probably been the most crazy year of my life thus far. It has been filled with trials and challenges, but also with joy and growth…I’m 26 years old today–and I’m now closer to 30 than 20. Such a strange thought! I don’t feel like I could possibly be nearly 30, but I guess that’s a good thing. 🙂

In December 2007, I began praying that God would make me “uncomfortable.” I realized that I was not growing in my faith because I was comfortable where I was in life…when you look at the example of any biblical character, they grew the most when God challenged them and presented new situations to them. So, I began to pray that He would do the same with me. And He did not disappoint. The most obvious example of that is that I now live in Pennsylvania, where I’m experiencing my first “real Winter”. 🙂 The growth that has occurred this year is remarkable, and I can’t wait to see where I am at this time next year! I have learned that being comfortable is overrated–and boring, actually. 🙂

In 2008:

I attended the “Passion” conference in L.A., by myself, and was forever changed by that event…I was given an opportunity to teach in Dubai for the 2008-2009 school year…I had to quit my job at ADP because they changed their mind about giving me time off to lead my mission team to New Orleans…I decided to move to Pennsylvania without a job, trusting the Lord in His guidance…I spent six days driving across the United States with my Mom (and saw things like the Grand Canyon, Painted Desert, and other things in the nine states we drove through)…I went to seven new states this year, bringing the total to 31…I had pneumonia for 13 weeks…I spent an amazing month in New Orleans, serving the Lord and serving others…I took about 15,000 pictures…I spent 5 months unemployed and watched the Lord provide for me in miraculous ways…I now have an incredible job with a growing lobbying firm, where I can finally use my degree and my passions…I got in my first car accident, and had to buy a new car…I learned a valuable lesson about friendships–it’s okay to let some go, because some people are “toxic” to our lives…I drove in snow for the first time…I’ve lost some friends and gained new ones, and my life has been so blessed by my new friends in Pennsylvania…I’ve learned that it’s okay to accept help from others…I found a new church here in PA that is healthy, missions-focused, and I’m ready to dive in and serve…

2009 is going to be an interesting year, that’s for sure. Two of my good friends and I decided to give up ice cream (defined as anything that is “frozen dairy”) for a year. It will most definitely be the hardest thing I’ve given up! However, it will be a constant reminder that I’m trying to be even more healthy when it comes to food than I already am, and I am going to succeed this year in losing the weight I gained while I had pneumonia. 🙂 So, I’m eating a lot of ice cream today! If the Moravian shoe thing I tried (see prior posts) is accurate (Ha!), then I’ll be engaged by next Christmas. Not counting on that, but I wouldn’t mind! 🙂

Most of all, I’m excited to see what the Lord is going to do in my life and in the lives of those around me. He called me here to Central Pennsylvania for a reason, and I’m excited to see what He has in store! 🙂