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Bible, Family, Life

3 Crucial Principals to Embrace Change

January 13, 2016

A few days ago we took our Christmas tree to the trash pick-up on the curb outside our apartment. It was time. All the needles were falling onto the floor and it was beginning to smell more like swine than pine. Like that tree, 2015 has come and gone. And with the clearing out of the old there is room for the new. The incomparable Taylor Swift said, “This is a new year. A new beginning. And things will change.”

I had no idea how true that quote was until last year when “change” became my thing. I am a girl who enjoys change as much as this kid enjoys the snow.

But when change comes and you cannot control it, you either embrace the new or you struggle to make the new fit into an outdated mold.

At the beginning of 2015, I worked as Collections Manager at Museum of the Bible and lived in Oklahoma City with my husband Michael. He was serving on staff at the church where we met at age seven. It was all either of us ever dreamed of having. Today, one year later, we both work at new jobs for Museum of the Bible while living in a New York City high-rise with no weekly church duties. We are surrounded by new people, a new church community, and new daily routines. Everything has changed.

Change is hard.

I know people who thrive in change. I know others who struggle with the smallest change. Change causes discomfort as we get outside of the known and beyond the routine. The beauty in the difficulty of change is that it can cause us to grow, to move forward, and to learn something new.

The oldest and strongest emotion of mankind is fear, and the oldest and strongest kind of fear is fear of the unknown. – H. P. Lovecraft

Here are three things I learned in what I’ve dubbed “The Year of Change”:

  1. Change Takes Courage

Fear is inherent anytime we consider significant change. When we are fearing the fear of change, though, we can confront it with the hope of the result we are striving toward. This hope for the future can give us the courage to change today. Take fear for what it is: Our routine hoping to remain untouched.

We all know the old saying “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it”. While a computer with dial-up internet might not be “broke” that does not mean it is operating at its highest capacity. We often settle for ordinary or what we know because it is comfortable. While change for the sake of change is not always healthy, change does give us the opportunity to grow.

  1. Our Change Affects Others

One of the hardest parts about change is the way our personal change can affect others. Personal autonomy is so widely celebrated we often forget the reality that everything we do affects other people. This includes changes that comes into our lives.

When I moved away from home, this did not just affect my ability to see my friends, they can no longer see me. Leaving my church meant my voice is no longer present in our Bible studies there. Change is difficult because it not only costs me, but it often costs the people I love. This realization should cause us to communicate well with those we love, in order to help them move through our change with us. Being sensitive and reassuring to those affected by my change will go a long way in the relationship.

For more thoughts on this point, I enjoyed this perspective by Donald Miller on how our changes or growth can affect others.

  1. Change Is Worth It

Despite all the pain it causes us and others, change is worth it. Truly, it is inevitable. Whether or not we try to change, we will change. If any of us consider ourselves leaders, then it is especially important for us to learn to embrace change not just for ourselves, but for the benefit of those we are leading.

If we are a believers in Jesus Christ, we know that God works all things together for the good of those who love him. So change is good because God is working it out for our good! Even in tragic, unexpected, ugly change, God can use it for his purposes. Be encouraged. Change is worth it!

To improve is to change; to be perfect is to change often. -Winston Churchill

With all of this change, I have found comfort in two things that I know will never change: the Bible, and the God of the Bible. As J.I. Packer said in his book Knowing God: (p. 78)

“The words of human beings are unstable. But not so the words of God. They stand forever, as abidingly valid expressions of his mind and thought… Isaiah writes, ‘All flesh is grass… The grass withers… But the word of our God will stand forever’. (Isaiah 40:6-8 RSV)”

I would love to hear from you. How do you handle change? What material have you found helpful?

 

-LM

 

Additional reading:

For 7 helpful tips on how to handle major life change, I enjoyed this article from the Huffington Post.

To read about how to help manage change as a business leader, I thought this article by Forbes was a good starting point.

Bible, Family, Life, Museum of the Bible, Travel, Uncategorized

“Welcome to New York… It’s been waiting for you”

December 22, 2015

I love hearing Taylor Swift welcome me home to NYC every time I land. Maybe someday I’ll even get to meet her. After all, we do live in the same city now – as well as 8.5 million other people (but at least there’s a chance?)

Now that I have lived in Manhattan for a month, here are the top 5 things I have learned about life here:

  1. Sirens are constantly going off.
    • It is surprising how quickly you begin to tune them out.
  2. New Yorkers are actually very nice.
    • In the first few days living in our apartment, we met so many people in our building that were excited for us and sincerely welcoming. It really made a difference and put us at ease.
    • Although New Yorkers can be nice, don’t mess with them if it is rush hour, or in a crowded touristy area.
  3. People sleep on the subway more often than I would expect.
    • In almost every other subway ride, I see a person sleeping. One guy even fell asleep mid-text message. He kept almost dropping his phone as his hand’s grip slowly loosened when he drifted to deeper and deeper sleep. (I was tempted to take his phone and carry on the conversation with whoever he was texting.)
  4. Living near an express subway stop is fantastic.
    • The subway stops every five to ten streets or so, but on the express train it will skip a few stops and only stop every twenty streets or so. Hopping on the express subway and avoiding the local stops = joy. It saves precious time.
  5. Chick-fil-A is a hit.
    • In September we began praying about whether or not to make this move. I felt like we were supposed to move, but I really just wanted a sign to solidify the decision. Not too long after that, we read Chick-fil-A was opening its first store in Manhattan. If that’s not a sign, I do not know what is.
    • As long as I am in a city with a Chick-fil-A, I can survive. We went to their store during our first week here, and it was PACKED. I think they are going to do alright in this city.

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On a more personal note, here is one thing I have learned about myself so far:

I’ve learned to appreciate my relationships and community more. For the first time in my life, I am living in a place where I can count on my two hands the number of people that know my name. Born and raised in Oklahoma City, and never living further than a 45-minute radius from where I was born, I have always been surrounded by family and long-standing friendships. New York is such a different experience since I don’t have quick, easy availability to those friends and family members.

A few highlights of our time in the city so far are definitely our Museum of the Bible (MOTB) events. During our first few weeks, MOTB hosted two events. This provided a great opportunity to introduce the vision of the museum with some wonderful people. Michael and I were also excited about the timing of the events, because it meant we got to meet people, hoping that we could make a few new friends!

As always, the museum events were fabulous. Our events planning team members always do an amazing job at making each event special. Here are a few photos of the evening:

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We also loved going to our new friend Scott Harrison’s event – a charity ball for Charity: Water at the Met. It was spectacular.

http://adammason.com

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One month in, and, New York, you do not disappoint.

It’s a new soundtrack, I can dance to this beat forevermore. The lights are so bright, but they never blind me. (“Welcome to New York” – Taylor Swift, 1989)

-LM

 

Life, Museum of the Bible, Travel

Top 3 Things Every Traveler Should Do Before A Trip

September 28, 2015

This year my travel schedule has really ramped up. I love getting to meet people all over the country and world, and telling them about what is going on with Museum of the Bible. As I have taken on more frequent flyer miles, I have found that it’s helpful to have a good pre-travel routine. Before I get on my flight, here is my must-do routine:

 

  1. Think ahead

I like to be well-prepared for a trip. But I hate packing. I always feel like I’m forgetting something. I usually remember all of the important things, but I’m still prone to forget the obvious things every once in a while! Just last week I forgot to bring any makeup on a trip to NYC! Yikes!

Packing

In planning for the airport, I like to make sure I know what’s in my carry-on. Here are some questions I always ask myself:

  • Is my carry-on easy for me to manage? I like to bring a carry-on with wheels so that my shoulder doesn’t get tired from carrying the bag around.
  • Can I pack everything into one carry-on suitcase so that all I need is my boarding pass and I am ready to go? If not, is there anything I can eliminate for the trip?
  • Are there easy accessible pockets in my travel bag for my cell phones, photo ID, and boarding pass? I like a bag with external zippered pockets to hold these essentials.
  • Are my liquids in my checked bag or in a quart-sized bag that is easy to get to in my carry-on at security?
  • Are my shoes easy to take off/put on at the security station?
  • Do I have an extra layer—sweater, jacket, or hoodie—for when (not if, but when!) I get cold on the flight? I almost always wear this sweater when I travel.

 

These questions are helpful as I am packing and figuring out what to wear before heading to the airport.

 

  1. Prepare for Check-in & Security

I like to have my record locator at hand for a swift check-in, and I often have to check a bag. Helpful tip: Try to lock the bag with a TSA approved lock. I’ve learned this the hard way through a bad experience of having jewelry stolen out of my bag. 🙁

 

Then it is time for security. With these easy steps, I’m ready to go!

  • I have my shoes ready to come off, and my outer layers and liquids bag ready to go in a bin.
  • My laptop is out of the bag and in its own bin.
  • At the security belt, I put my shoes through first so that I can put them right away on the other side. No one likes to be barefoot in an airport, am I right? Then my purse, followed by my laptop so I can grab it and put it back in my carry-on, which goes through last.

 

  1. Get ready for the flight

I always like to have a water bottle handy when traveling. Being in airplanes can dehydrate you, so I recommend carrying a bottle of H2O. The first thing I do after going through security is to buy a water bottle! You won’t be sorry about this. If you don’t want to purchase one, bring an empty bottle through security, and fill it at a fountain on the other side. It’s that easy!

 

After all of this, I head to my gate, check for any last emails or text messages I might need to respond to, and wait to board! I always carry a book or something to read, too.

Airport sitting

What are your travel tips? Anything I should consider adding or changing to my routine? I would love to hear from you, even if it’s a horror story of one of your bad travel experiences. 😉

#Wheelsup

-LM

Airport boarding

Brunch, Church, Friends, Life, Travel, Uncategorized

Brunch: Jacob’s Pickles NYC

September 24, 2015

“Welcome to New York, it’s been waiting for you…” –Taylor Swift

It was a gorgeous Sunday morning in the upper west side of Manhattan. I was in the city to visit a few friends. We had just gotten out of a Sunday morning service and needed a place to brunch. That is when we discovered Jacob’s Pickles.

Walking in, I immediately fell in love with the adorable atmosphere. It is a mix of modern warehouse and urban farmhouse décor. (Does that even make sense?…oh well.)

JP OUtdoor pic

JP tables

Brick Wall JP

JP Bar

It was quiet that first day we visited, which is rare. This place has become even more popular since I first discovered it. Every time that I have gone back during normal meal hours, it is pretty busy. If you’re worried about getting in without a wait, you might want to make a reservation.

coffee cup at JP

We ordered our coffees and started sipping. It was so nice to be able to catch up with my squad. These women became some of my closest friends at college. We were in the same sorority, and have a lot of shared memories. These are the women that were my roomies, that tried to teach me how to dance (sorry C and J, I’m still working on it), and were there to listen to me when I was going through a hard season. Now that we have gone our separate ways, it is a treasure when we get together. (To get to know this group of my friends, you can check out one of my first blog posts, which I wrote about them the week we graduated.)

It makes me smile just thinking of that sweet time.

 

I ordered the French toast the first time. And, yes, I have ordered that exact same dish every time I have gone back. I’ve even gone twice in one week, and ordered the French toast both times. I know there are so many places in NYC that are amazing that I should try, but goodness, it’s hard to pass up Jacob’s Pickles. Yum.

Their French toast is unique. Jacob’s Pickles has amazing biscuits, and they use their biscuits for the toast. I guess the “toast” in French toast should actually be “biscuit,” but whatever. The flaky biscuits are savory and crumbly. With some of Jacob’s Pickles sweet, dark syrup on top, it is truly a delight to eat.

 

One thing about their French toast I love, is the amount of strawberries they put on top. Often when I order something with berries on top, I get two strawberries, or five blueberries total. Not this place. They are not skimpy with the fresh strawberries they pile on their heavenly French toast style biscuits.

 

Their orange juice is fresh-squeezed and tasty. It is good if you are looking to load up on vitamin C and are willing to dish out a few bucks for it. Jacob’s coffee is not the world’s best cup of coffee, but it is a solid cup of coffee.

 

I guess this shop still holds the title to “World’s Best Cup of Coffee”.

If you are looking for the world’s best coffee and can’t find Buddy’s shop, you may consider checking out some of these recommendations of the best coffee in NYC. (I digress… But I personally love Stumptown!)

 

If you’re in Manhattan, I am telling you to check out Jacob’s Pickles. I hear their pickles are actually good, too. If you try them, let me know what you think.

 

Where should I go next time I am in NYC? As loyal as my little heart is to Jacob’s Pickles, I do like trying new places. Let me know what you suggest in the city that never sleeps.

 

-LM

Me then at JP

Brunch, Life, Travel, Uncategorized

Lake Tahoe

September 18, 2015

Have you ever been to Lake Tahoe? I just went for the first time, and LOVED it!

Michael and I celebrated our 6th wedding anniversary at the beginning of August. To celebrate, we decided to take a trip over the long Labor Day weekend, and we chose Lake Tahoe as our destination.

Our schedule included some sleeping in, taking naps, sitting on the beach, getting in the water via paddle boarding and kayaking, going up the mountain for the scenery and hiking, and checking out some of the cute local restaurants and coffee spots. It was ideal.

Taking the time to reflect on the many transitions this year has held for us so far was just what we needed.

With that being said, let me show you the memories we made while in Lake Tahoe.

Day 1:

The first was only a half day, but we made the most of it by checking out the beach, catching a nice dinner, and enjoying the fire pit.

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Day 2:

We wanted to check out South Lake Tahoe, so we got up early and went down to Emerald Bay to see the sunrise. It. Was. Amazing.

Then we went over to the Heavenly Gondola and went up to the highest peak in the area. The altitude was killer for this Oklahoma girl. I was already out of breath just from walking, so we kept our “hike” pretty mild.

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Taking a break from hiking, we also enjoyed playing corn hole. (Michael won.)

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We also had the chance to witness a proposal at the top of the mountain! (She said yes!)

We finished off the day with a nice lunch by the beach, some reading at a coffee shop, an early dinner, and then we were asleep before 9:00pm!

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Day 3:

A number of people recommended a restaurant called The Log Cabin, so we got up and enjoyed a delicious breakfast before heading to a river for some fly fishing. This breakfast was good! And their coffee was the best I had while in Tahoe.

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The rest of the day was spent at the hotel. We had fun paddle boarding and kayaking before dinner.

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LaKayak

It ended with s’mores and sweatpants by the fire. A perfect way to end the day!

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Day 4:

By day four we had explored as much as we wanted to, and were ready to just sit at the hotel all day! We got breakfast at the resort, did more reading on the beach, kayaking again, and just hanging out until going back down to South Lake for dinner at the restaurant with my FAVORITE view: Edgewood.

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I should take some time here to tell you my most embarrassing moment of the trip. It of course happened at Edgewood, which was the nicest restaurant we ate at.

Michael and I were seated in a one-sided semi-circle booth, so we could cuddle up next to each other and not be accused of being a “same-side-sitting” couple.  It was just the only way.

During the appetizer, I accidentally pulled on the table cloth, and ALMOST spilled both of my drinks. (This place was the kind of place that gave you your iced tea AND a water.) Thankfully, it was a close call, but I didn’t actually spill.

Five minutes later though, somehow I managed to do the exact same thing, but this time I wasn’t as lucky. Two full glasses of water and tea actually flew all over the table, seat, and me. Oops.

I guess I did it so gracefully that our waiter didn’t even notice. Unfortunately, the tables around defiantly heard the crash, and were giving side glances to check out the disaster while I cleaned up.

Because half of the booth was wet, I had to scoot way over to Michael’s side. (Maybe I actually spilled the drinks on purpose for the excuse to be closer to my hubby.) Thankfully the rest of the meal was less eventful, and we enjoyed watching the sunset together cuddle up rather close in that half wet, half dry booth.

Watching the sun set over that lake was one of my favorite memories. It was beautiful.

Lake Tahoe, I like you. I hope I will be seeing you again some day.

What are some of your favorite vacations spots? Any suggestions I should add to me dream list of places to visit? I would love to hear from you!

-LM

P.S. If you are ready to start planning your own vacation, consider planning ahead for Washington D.C. in 2017. You can have your chance to win a free trip to our Museum of the Bible grand opening by entering in our sweepstakes! Good luck!

Bible, Life, Travel

Real Life vs. Social Life: #NoFilter

August 17, 2015

Social Life: We are living it up with amazing coffee and working in Denver!
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Real Life: Why am I making that horrible face? Anything for the artsy social pic.
Real Life

I think social media is really cool. I use it a lot. I think there are many benefits with social media. One thing I think is a downfall with social, though, is the ability for people to show what their life is really like. It is so easy to let your Facebook timeline to present the kind of life you want people to think you have. It is definitely tempting for me to put out the best image about my life and how I want people to see me. It’s human nature. Most of us want others to think well of us, and many of us are afraid of being really known in fear of being found out as uninteresting, broken, imperfect, etc.

I have to say, my feed is often filled with posts about the exciting adventures, cool travels, and the interesting people I get to meet. I am very grateful for the path God has brought me on, and grateful for his grace in my life. Nevertheless, I definitely am showing the highlights. We don’t always post the unappealing or ugly things that happen in our lives. We also don’t (usually) make posts about the average, everyday mundane things going on (unless it’s another picture of my coffee—which you know I love!).

#CoffeeOfLaurensInstagram

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So, I’ll just go ahead and let you know that I am without a doubt imperfect, broken, often uninteresting, and more (or so much less). I am impatient with people when I am in LA traffic. I struggle with feeling entitled when boarding an airplane and I don’t get priority because I’m on an airline that I don’t have status with. I snap at my husband when I am stressed prior to going on stage or TV. I think more about myself than I should and not enough about others. I don’t look put together all of the time as much as I wish I did. And on and on and on.

What I love is the beautiful gift of grace from God that allows me to have peace in the midst of my mess. Anything I’ve done well, I can only credit to my heavenly Father. I am forever grateful that the Bible tells me that I am completely loved by him. This is one of the ways the Bible has impacted me. I love the Bible, and love that for a living I get to invite others to engage with this book.

Grateful,
-LM

Social Life: We are cute sisters bonding over donuts!
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Real Life: Feeling sick after these donuts.
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Brunch, Life

I am the Champion of Waffles

July 20, 2015
Waffle Champion Door - always a pleasant sight.

Waffle Champion door – always a pleasant sight.

hello! 

I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again – brunch is a treasured Saturday ritual for me. I’ve been on a nice streak lately where I’ve gotten to enjoy brunch in OKC the past three or four Saturdays in a row- it has been awesome!

I love being in OKC. It is home.

I also love that OKC has a growing supply of local restaurants, and many of them do brunch quite well. Today I will highlight one of my favorite local brunch spots in all of Oklahoma:

Waffle Champion.

You already know what this place is king of: waffles.

Who doesn’t love a good waffle? Everyone loves waffles, and let me tell you – these waffles are GOOD. No, they are GREAT.

I have never had a waffle with such a perfect mix of amazing texture that is so fluffy and soft yet also the perfect taste of light sweetness and bread-y delight. Waffle Champion’s batter is just impressive. It really is something.

My go-to order is the regular waffle, with fresh berries on top. It is to die for. My mouth is watering just thinking about them. This picture isn’t going to help.

Waffles CLose up

WC has all different types of food options with the word “waffle” in it- traditional waffles with toppings and syrup, craft waffle sandwiches, even loaded waffle French fries. If you are looking for a healthy treat, this may not be your place. They do have soup and salad options, but it will be hard to stick with a healthy option when you walk in and smell the sweet buttery aroma of their batter baking in the waffle machines all lined in a row.

So, if you are ready to have a “cheat day”, or just don’t care, then I suggest you stop what you are doing right now and head on over to this waffle lovers heaven on earth. (As long as it’s Tues-Sun, 7am-2pm… their hours don’t leave a lot of option for me except for the weekend!)

I always appreciate fun drink options wherever my brunch taste buds may take me. WC has a nice selection including handcrafted sodas, cold press juice, milkshakes with Roxy’s local ice-cream, elemental coffee and other typical brunch place drinks.

Where WC isn’t lacking for fantastic food, they could, in my opinion, use a better atmosphere. Unless you like the fast pace, bustling, loud setting. The shop itself is quite small, so the line is almost always out the door any time I go on Saturday. Thankfully they have a well-organized system of getting people through the line and getting guests a table. Still, if you were planning to sit and sip on your coffee, you may plan to sip a little faster as you stare at the line of people waiting for a table and a waffle. In my experience, the line doesn’t slow down until well after 1pm most Saturdays.

The latest addition to WC is their outside seating option. This is new in the past few months. It has helped to add a few more tables as well as offer a quieter seating option. The tables are shaded, so even in the summer months it isn’t bad as far as the heat goes (especially if you are there early).

All in all, this place is one of my top two favorites for local brunch in OKC. If you haven’t tried it yet, make it a priority. Keep in mind their hours as well as the fact that parking can be tricky. It is well worth it though.

Maybe I’ll see you there

http://www.wafflechampion.com/

One of our MANY brunch dates at WC

One of our MANY brunch dates at WC

Brunch, Life, Travel

I love Angelina

June 1, 2015

Brunch.

I really like breakfast food. Especially when it doesn’t require me to get up early. If I can enjoy breakfast food late morning it is the best of both worlds. Thus, brunch is one of my favorite things and I want to share with you some of my favorite spots.

When I think of the ideal brunch, I imagine a leisurely meal with lovely people. I often enjoy brunch with my hubby, family or dear friends. It is usually enjoyed on a Saturday when I don’t have anything else to do, and I treasure those Saturdays. Slow Saturday mornings at home are few and far between in this season of life right now, and I am sure they won’t get easier to come by as life continues forward. So, I try to enjoy those lovely Saturday mornings when I have with nothing to do but sleep in and pick a nice breakfast spot with my hubby. I also enjoy them when I am squeezing in a tasty breakfast meal on the go or on the road and pretend like I’ve got nothing else to do.

I have tried many of the places in my home town of OKC, and love them. There are some fabulous places for brunch in OKC. So many tasty local spots. I will share about them in the future. For now, my husband gave me this idea to blog about my brunch places that I get the chance to visit while on the road.

Angelina.

Angelina

I was told by a number of people that I should try this place while in Paris. They all recommended it for the hot chocolate. For those of you that told me to go there- thank you! I went the first morning I had in Paris, eager to try the hot chocolate after all they hype, but also eager to see what their brunch menu looked like. Michael and I had a few days in Paris over the weekend between business trips in Israel and England, so we were excited to soak in the city, but also enjoy the food while we are at it.

The place was adorable. A very vintage sheek tea room. It was definitely girly, but not to the same level as Laduree. Michael was pleased to see there were a few other guys in the restaurant :). We got seated and I was giddy – first because I was in Paris for a long weekend with my hubby, and secondly because I was getting brunch in Paris with my hubby this Saturday morning with nothing else to do but sightsee! A dream.

Atmosphere

Brunch

I check out the menu and after some struggle through translation from French to English, I find that they have the golden dish- French toast! Oh I love French toast. It is so good. I try it everywhere I go. I order the French toast and the hot chocolate. Eek how lovely- French toast, I France!

It lived up to what I would have hoped. Authentic French toast, and it was some of the best I have ever had. It had the perfect texture. The crust wasn’t too crunchy, but it was just lightly crisp. The inside bread was amazing- melt in your mouth, but not soggy. It was only lightly drizzled with some caramel syrup, so it was the perfect amount of added sweetness to the toast. If you like traditional syrup with your French toast, you might miss it- though I think you would still enjoy the Carmel drizzle just fine.

French Toast

The hot chocolate tasted like it was just straight melted Godiva chocolate. Whoa- so good, but really rich! I could only drink half a cup, but it was a good half a cup! They give you some whip cream to smooth out the chocolate. It was amazing, but I could have taken it a little less sweet. I also had their tea the next day- the Angelina special tea, and it was wonderful. A very sweet black tea, maybe a little sweeter than I prefer, but it had a nice smooth flavor.

Hot Chocolate

I definitely recommend trying Angelina if you are around one. It has great atmosphere as well as great food.

Do you have any recommendations for other good brunch places in Paris?

-LAGM

Bachelor's degree- University of Oklahoma, Friends, Life, School, Uncategorized

Alumna- created April 29, 2010

September 27, 2011

As my time at the University of Oklahoma, and my time as an OU Tridelta collegiate member comes to an end, I can’t help but reflect back on the sweet friendships I have made in this season. The friendships I found in college have meant the world to me and have helped me grow into who I am today. Each one of the tridelt senior women in my “crew” 😉 have impacted me in specific and different ways.

With Meghan, I see the gift of creativity which God has given her. I tend to lack in the area of creativity, but Meghan is so talented in this area. Meghan shows this attribute of God as creator, and I love it.

“In the beginning, God created… ” Genesis 1:1a

My friend Kayley shows intense joy in her life. Kayley is always smiling, and encouraging others. This is a joy that she attributes to her relationship with Jesus. She has shown me to lean into the joy that can be found in Christ. No one has a life that doesn’t come with its own set of trials. Our joy is not in the circumstances, and Kayley is a wonderful example of someone who finds her joy in Jesus.

“Consider it pure joy my brother, when you face trials of many kinds, because you know the testing of your faith develops perseverance” James 1:2

With Sarah, I am challenged by her discipline and focus on becoming all that she can be. This discipline is evident in her amazing progress in track as a pole vaulter. God gives us all gifts, and we should use them and work hard at whatever we do. This is something I see lived out in Sarah’s life.

“Whatever your hand finds to do, do it with all your might, for in the grave, where you are going, there is neither working nor planning nor knowledge nor wisdom.” Ecclesiastes 9:10

My friend Jessica is precious. She is always so compassionate and kind. She shows me a beautiful picture of God’s compassion and kindness as he loves us unconditionally. God is so merciful, and I see this characteristic lived out in Jess. She challenges me to be more compassionate and considerate of others around me. 

“Blessed are the merciful, for they will be shown mercy.” Matthew 5:7

In Cherrie’s life I see hope and determination. There is a hope that Cherrie has in Christ, and she shows that hope with her life and it is evident to those around her. She lives her life to the full, and is always up for a new adventure. She has an amazing story and gives glory to God for everything.

“But in your hearts set apart Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect,” 1 Peter 3:15

With my friend Noralea it is evident that she has an adventurous spirit, and a serving heart. Her love of adventure leads her into a spiritual adventure with a heart striving to be closer to God. It is beautiful to see her discover God in new ways and challenge me to do the same. Noralea is also very thoughtful and is continually looking to serve others. 

“Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor, serving the Lord.” Romans 12:11

And my dear friend Casey shows complete loyalty, and has a firm and unshakable faith. She is a wonderful friend. She is loyal to all the relationships in her life and this characteristic is also seen in her loyalty to God. She has a solid faith in God and is always learning more. It is so comforting to see this loyalty and love, and know that God is always going to love. Nothing can change that.

“But I trust in your unfailing love; my heart rejoices in your salvation.” Psalm 13:5

“A man of many companions may come to ruin, but there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother.” Proverbs 18:24

I have so many beautiful friends, and they teach me so many things. My Tridelta friends are so special to me, and I thank my Lord for them. I am reminded of Philippians 1 as we approach these last few weeks together before we all graduate and move to different places.

Verses 3-6 say “I thank my God every time I remember you. In all my prayers for all of you, I always pray with joy because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now, being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.”

La

 

Update 9/22/2015:

I wanted to add a more recent pic to this post! We graduated spring 2010, but five years later still love seeing each other! This was taken December 2014:

friends 2014.1