More Feelings in Lines That Rhyme

I am behind on the assignment I gave to myself, but I wanted to make sure I stuck with it. The past two weeks were busy, but also filled with very encouraging news. I will share the news in a couple of  weeks.
The assignment I gave to myself involved me writing poetry for the first week. I only wrote one poem, but I wanted to do at least two to make this legit. Here it goes.

I have seen men try their hardest
and still fail in the end.
I have felt the warmth of a mother
only to have it stolen.
I have felt pain from that same mother’s hand
because of drugs that took her soul.
I’ve heard words that bite at flesh and bone,
never knowing what they stole.

I’ve seen pain and hurt and sorrow too,
all lurking to kill and steal.
I’ve also seen God’s grace abound
as death nipped at my heels.
Through all of this I found God,
waiting for my attention.
He cleansed my heart and healed my wounds
and showed me true affection.

It’s not the best poem I’ve written, but I’m pleased with it. I’ve remembered that through poetry I used to make myself vulnerable. As time has passed, I made myself less and less vulnerable. This has also been accompanied with a lack of understanding towards myself. While writing just two poems (about my feelings or thoughts) I was reminded of what it means to make myself vulnerable, and how to understand a piece of myself. I may not continue to write poetry on a daily basis, but I will revisit it more often.

I’m going to move on to photography next. We are going to Table Rock State Park this weekend for my birthday so that should make for some good pictures. ❤
The photography entries will probably have more pictures rather than words, but I feel like that’s a given.

Maymester is over, and I am now in the midst of Summer I which includes my computer class (required) and Social Psychology. They are going well, but I am a bit frustrated with Charleston Southern for requiring a computer class with a curriculum that a 4th grader could probably pass. Nevertheless, I push forward.

Until next time,
❤  TZ

Entering the Kingdom of Heaven

As I was reading my Bible this afternoon, the wind turned the pages and brought me this verse.
“…’Truly, I say to you, unless you turn and become like children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.'”

I have read this countless times before, but as I read it this time I was reminded of all the things I was fond of growing up: soccer, poetry, taking pictures, climbing trees, making forts, and drawing.

Most of these things have been sitting on my metaphorical childhood shelf for some time, leaving me to wonder how much child I have left inside of me. What part of me do I need to change in order to be like a child again?

I have decided to revisit these things over the next couple of weeks. Starting with poetry because it was the most accessible thing for me to attempt this evening. Now, I know I am no Robert Frost or William Blake, so bear with me and my probably embarrassing poems. I am trying to find my childlike heart. So, my first poem is about summer, my favorite season. I wrote this from the heart of a bride on her wedding day.

Summer

Sun on skin, a burning peace
warming, comforting, exciting.
Summer’s smile on bits of lace
sneaking, bending, enticing.
Wind that rides the curves of cheeks
unending in its teasing,
trails the fields of skin unending
always proving pleasing.
While winter, fall, and spring may come
all eager in their entrance,
summer sways with ease and wonder,
sunshine, wind, and romance.

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Over the next couple of days I will try to write a short poem, and include them in my blog throughout the week. This is my attempt to find Tanya the child and her sense of wonder.

-TZ

The End of A Semester

The spring semester was strenuous to say the least. Stacked with interesting, yet challenging, Psychology classes (Psych. or Adulthood and Aging, and Psych. of Religion), online classes, and Behavioral Statistics, I was struggling to keep up. I also started fertility treatments this semester, making time pass even more slowly as each cycle proved to be a “let down”.
I ended the semester with five A’s and a B+, proving that hard work is worth while. Even thought for most of the semester I felt discouraged, uninterested, and frustrated, I came out of it feeling like I had accomplished something.
Summer has started and I am now taking summer classes. The Maymester class I am currently in is “Psychopathology in Film”, and I love it. So far, we have watched “A Streetcar Named Desire”, “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest”, “Sybil”, and “Ordinary People”. We watch the movies and write up assessments on a person from the film, and continue with a treatment plan for them. Definitely the most entertaining classes I have ever taken. Dr. Jones makes it fun and insightful with her amazing sense of humor and background as a clinical psychologist.
My other two summer courses (in June) are Intro to Computer Systems, and Social Psychology. I’m not inclined to think they are going to be as interesting as the current course, but maybe they will surprise me.

Plans for the summer are…
1. Class and work at the Brewer
2. Camping trip to the mountains in June
3. Road trip to Delaware/New Jersey
4. Daniel’s cousin’s wedding ❤
5. Trip to Houston, TX to see Jon, Kristen, and baby Luke
6. Celebrate our five year anniversary<3
7. House projects
-Renovate bathroom
-Work on fence/gate
-Finally put the back splash up in the kitchen
-Finish painting the guest bedroom
8. Finish learning the Arabic alphabet/number system

And in the meantime, we are praying for God to give us a child (or children).

I know this wasn’t the most interesting blog post, but I haven’t written in a while and wanted to shake off the dust. Better reads to come.

-TZ

 

People

I have been thinking about what God is doing in my life. I’m currently in a waiting period. Waiting to move forward as an adult (because I’m finishing my degree). Waiting to become a mother. Waiting for it to get warm again ha ha. Something I haven’t had to wait for is people. God has surrounded Daniel and I with people. Being busy with school, volunteer work, and simply giving time to our marriage makes it difficult to do things like hangout with people at church, or go to a ton of social events. So, for a while we felt separated. Now, we have awesome people left and right, all around us.
My cousin Andrea has moved to Charleston. She is the only family I have down here, and it’s only been a week, but it’s been amazing.
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Brandy and Charlie (friends from CSU) help us with the most mundane things (like fixing our shed roof or putting our patio in) and make them fun. ❤

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Femcke is my South Africa away from South Africa, reminding me of some of the best times of my life (so far).  **vriend**
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Then there are all of the people in between who fill in the empty cracks. They help make the waiting period fun. Thanks people! I hope we can be what all of you are for us. =)

Disclaimer: this is not an exclusive list. There are a lot of people who are not directly around us right now who are amazing. For our family and friends who live else where, please know you are all appreciated

❤ TZ

 

 

Music

I found an old mix CD (yes, I still listen to them)the other day and put it in the car. While I was driving my husband to work this morning, a song came on that immediately took me to a specific moment in my life. I began to think about all of the moments in my life that have been branded by a song, and realized most of the big ones have been. I thought of ten.
1. The song from the CD was “The Great Escape” by Boys Like Girls, and it was the sound of my graduation from Lake Forest High School. I could smell the grass that covered the soccer field I played on religiously. I could hear the cowbells being rung in the stadium when we all stood up to toss our caps. I could see Jenn and all of the other faces I spent everyday becoming more and more familiar with. It was fun to go back. It was random, and welcomed.
2. This one is weird, but nevertheless it’s made an imprint. “It’s All Coming Back To Me Now” by Celine Dion. Now, the actual song may not be weird, but the memory it’s attached to it is. When I was six (or so) I was lying on the bed in my mom’s room while she was getting ready for work, and the radio was on. I was hiding under the sheet, and I didn’t think she knew. She began to sing along to this song, and right before the second chorus she lifted the sheet and began singing loudly at me. I just lied there cracking up. She was a horrible singer.
3. “I Go Back” by Kenny Chesney marks the death of my mom mom (mom’s side). Dan and I were playing catch in a field with a football right after I heard she had passed. This song came on the radio and I cried quietly as we continued to play.
4. To piggy back on the last one, “Hear You Me” by Jimmy Eat World is imprinted in my heart as the song of my mom’s death. It’s not the most dynamic song, but that’s the one. It’s a song that haunts me.
5. “Candy” by Robbie Williams is one of my favorites. It takes me back to the first time Daniel and I ventured out on the African road in our new Mahindra Scorpio. It came on the radio while we were driving to Greytown. Sage was in the back with her head hanging out of the window. The road was dry, so there was dust everywhere. The heat was thick, and our AC didn’t work, so we were hot and covered in dust. It was perfect.
6. This one isn’t really one that I come into contact with regularly, and it’s not a song per say. It’s the call to prayer in Doha, Qatar. Daniel and I visited as we were moving back from South Africa and when it played I was immediately taken back to Daniel’s childhood home. I could smell the flowers in Judy’s garden. I could feel the warm air blowing in through the window. It was a nice sound to wake up to.
7. “Wonderwall” covered by Paul Anka. The Eastern University swing dance club played this song at every meeting. It was the first song Daniel and I danced to. We were so bad. I got dizzy when he spun me. He wore slippers to the first lesson. We were hopeless. This song makes my heart so happy.
8. “Fix You” by Coldplay. Daniel and I were waiting for the train one night after I met his brother Jon for the first time. We were bored and the train was taking forever. This was back when smart phones weren’t popular. Daniel had maybe five songs on his phone, one of them being “Fix You”. So  he played it and we just sat quietly, listening to Chris Martin move us nearly to tears, because that song is so beautiful. It was the first time I had heard it. Now when it plays, I’m back in downtown Philly with the love of my life, and we’re 18.
9. “Bitter Sweet Symphony”  by the Verve. This one-hit wonder was the song my cousin Becca would play every time we took a late night drive on the back roads in Delaware. It puts wind in my hair. It ushers in the fragrance of Lovespell, McDonald’s fries, and miscellaneous car air fresheners.  It makes me feel like driving, for no reason.
10. “The Gambler” by Fun. Daniel doesn’t pay too much attention to lyrics. He pays more attention to the actual music of a song. So, he was never the guy to say “this song reminds me of you”. One day after I got home from work however, we were talking on the phone (we were still dating at the time), and he said “I found more music by Fun. and one of the songs reminds me of us. You should listen to it”. I was swooned. This one takes me back to the floor of my room in that tiny farm house, where I talked to Daniel every night while we were dating. It takes me back to daydreaming about my future with a wonderful man. It’s the song we danced to in the kitchen of Aunt Debbie and Uncle Bill’s beach house while we were on our honeymoon.  It makes me feel young, old, and loved all at once.

If time traveling is possible, it’s through music.

Thanks for reading =) If you have a song attached to a memory, please feel free to tell me in a comment.

❤ TZ

 

Being Content

As I sat in my Social Problems class this morning I realized I have something a lot of people don’t have: contentment. It’s not meant to be a brag or something to cause tension, but I feel very compelled to get this thought out of my head. My professor was elaborating on the fact that so many people are unsatisfied with their jobs, their house, even their life. He continued by saying that this dissatisfaction has been worsening over the last couple of decades, and we talked about what things cause it. Now, I understand that some people are going through horrible things across the globe, and this is not directed at those truly struggling, but I think that some of this dissatisfaction can be minimized with a change of thought process. People have this lack of contentment because they put unrealistic expectations on life, want things that will not bring them happiness, and choose to dwell in the idea that the future will be better, but don’t do anything to improve the present.

Expectations are dangerous. Life changes and is unpredictable. While I think it is okay to have standards, I think being aware of this unpredictability can help us create a light-footedness in life. In doing this, it allows us to not only spring back from unfortunate evens, but can help us to even find joy during these times.

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Things of this world leave us only wanting more. So then, it is safe to say they will not bring us true joy or satisfaction. Wanting things promotes greed and unrest and is birthed by social expectations. I have felt the pressure of society in different facets, and admittedly the pressure is quite intense. It can sway our decisions to live a certain way, dress a certain way, eat a certain way, and even talk a certain way. When we allow the world to influence us in these ways it will lead to us using things as a crutch to support this lifestyle. Suddenly your house is a status symbol. Your clothes and make up are a distraction. Your money makes you feel secure. Honestly, it’s all rubbish.

A lot of people live with the “one day” mindset. You know, “one day we’ll have enough money to buy the things we want” or “one day I’ll have a job that makes me happy” or “one day I’ll have enough time to do the things I want”, but right now you have the power to decide that where you are is not only good enough, but great. Constantly striving for the next thing that will improve your life leaves you neglecting the “here and now”. You will miss everything if you only live with the “one day” mindset.

John 10:10 says “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly.”  If you are struggling with being content, remember that Jesus came so that we may have LIFE. That truth in and of itself is enough. We can be content knowing that this life is a gift.

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I know most of this was rambling, but maybe you can get a morsel of truth out of it. If not, thanks for reading my nonsense.

❤ TZ

My Top 10 Favorite Places to Run

For those of you who enjoy running (probably not many of you) here is a list of places I have put my stamp of approval on.

10.) Tyler State Park, Newtown, PA. It is mostly wooded with some field scenery and water features. There are usually white-tailed deer just off the path too.
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9.) Brandywine Creek State Park, Brandywine, DE.  This one is beautiful. Mostly wooded as well, but the views in the meadows are AMAZING. There are also a few challenging hills.
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8.) Wissahickon Park, Philadelphia, PA. Wooded, again. The trail follows a river for 7 miles. Along the river there are fun features like a small waterfall that has a huge rock at the bottom (people like to jump off of it for fun), an iron bridge over a gorge, foundations of old buildings, and a small cafe to grab a coffee or meal after the run. This park merges with Fairmount Park which will take you all the way into downtown Philly.
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7.) Ravenel Bridge, Charleston, SC. So this one is a little different because it’s just a bridge. What this run has going for it: great hillage, spectacular views (run right before sunset so you can see the sun setting from the top), the novelty factor. If you do the bridge it is 2.5 miles one way. I usually go to one side and then back. If you do this during the summer bring sunscreen and try to do it in the morning or evening when the sun is lower in the sky.
bridge

6.)  Giant’s Castle, Drakensberg in Kwazulu Natal, South Africa. I know this one is kind of far away, but honestly people if the location wasn’t a factor it may be my number one. The wildlife is amazing. The views are breath taking. The best part is, you feel far away from everything in the world. It is still 100% nature. Most of the time you have to make your own trail. My heart aches to go back here. giants-castle

5.) Gorges State Park, Sapphire, NC. So much fun! It’s wooded trails again, but there are some awesome waterfalls to distract you from the incline of the trails. If you get too warm, jump in the water. There are usually other people swimming so you won’t be the only one. This is a great summer run if you want a challenge.
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4.) Downtown Charleston, SC. This may not be for you if you don’t like small streets or navigating through potential crowds. If you can look past these things it’s a great run. And if you want to get really crazy you can tack on the bridge (see 7) at the beginning or end of this run. This run has fun sights and zero incline which makes it fast-paced . It’s a “feel good about yourself” kinda run.
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3.) Downtown Annapolis, MD. This may not seem awesome, but the downtown area is quite fun. There is also some incline here and there (yay hills!). It’s historic. It’s by the water. It has great places to eat, post run.
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2.) Downtown, Singapore. So despite the fact that it’s on the other side of the world, this place is hands down one of the BEST places to run. The city is clean. The waterfront area is gorgeous. You can sight see while you run. And if you run at night the lights around the city are pretty great. Plus, they have a statue called the “Merlion” (half fish, half lion). Enough said.
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1.) Table Rock State Park, Pickens, SC. This one has all the things. It has the epic factor. It has the challenge factor. It has extreme inclines, water features, boulders (“that’s a nice boulder”), amazing views at the top, shade (for summer runs), and a lake at the bottom to swim in once you finish. There are short trails, but if you want a challenge and a reward you should do the Pinnacle Mountain Trail (4.2) or Table Rock Trail (3.6 mi). WARNING: these trails are very strenuous. If you have not run consistently beforehand do not attempt to run these. Even runners who have run plenty to prepare have been injured tying to run these trails. Prepare yourself.

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Honorable Mentions:
* Killen’s Pond State Park, Felton, DE. My home cross country course (it’s sentimental and    quaint).
* Bobbio Pellice, Italy. It’s super beautiful, but I wasn’t really into running at the time, so I    don’t feel like I can accurately rate it now. I think it would probably make the list if I tried    it again.
* Pagosa Springs, CO. Really pretty, but I only did a 2 mile loop here, so my experience            with it is limited.

Happy Running!
❤ TZ

2017

So far 2017 has been very successful. School is going well, I haven’t had soda since before Christmas, I ran the Charleston Half Marathon in 1:47:00 (2 mins off from my goal, 1:45:00), God is doing fun things in our life, and I have been doing yoga everyday.

Here are 10 things I would like to accomplish in the year to come…
1. Complete a half marathon in 1:30:00 or better
2. Improve some of my yoga poses
3. Cut down the dead tree in our backyard
4. Finish Walden by Henry David Thoreau
5. Eat out only once a week (maximum)
6. Spend 30 mins a day in silence with God
7. Finish garden beds around patio
8.  Start learning Arabic
9. Downsize my wardrobe
10. Go on a vacation with Daniel

So here’s to 2017, may it be a great year!
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❤ TZ

Traveling, Christmas, New Years, and All the Randomness in Between

So the holidays wound up being more hectic than I anticipated, so I was unable to blog while we were in DE and NJ. So here is a reflection on the events that took place.

Time spent at my dad’s house was better than the previous years because HE QUIT SMOKING!  I swear my dad continues to amaze me throughout life. Him and Lori (my step mom) took us antiquing, and to Rice (a sushi restaurant). They were also flawless in their execution as hosts, never ceasing to open their home to us. Thank you Lori and Dad. =)

The Christmas Eve party was a hit. It always is. I love seeing everyone in one place celebrating not only Christmas, but my uncle Scott’s birthday. My cousin Jessica was there and we got to meet her boyfriend Mike. They recently bought their first home so congrats to them!
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Jess and Mike. They’re cute
Christmas day was split up between Delaware and New Jersey. The drive to Cape May is always enjoyable. While we were with Daniel’s side of the family we saw His two siblings (Jon and Josh) and their wives (Kristen and Amy) along with our niece, Avery. Throughout the week grandparents, aunts, uncles, and cousins also came and went. We played an abundance of Hand and Foot and corn hole, ate great food, walked to the beach numerous times, and enjoyed stories told by everyone. Overall, it was very successful.

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Pandemic
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That time Karl and I won in Hand and Foot

We also got to see Jenn, Sean, Lincoln, and baby Connor.

 

The most moving part of the trip was being able to see my cousin, Becca. Her story is incredible, but still sensitive so I won’t share it. It is still just hers to share. But I have faith in her, and was truly excited and thankful to be able to see her. We haven’t seen each other in four and a half years, but it was like we had never parted. I love her.

We then moved to Downingtown, PA where we saw Mark (Daniel’s room mate from Eastern) and his wife Angelica. They are simply, AWESOME. We went for a 4-5 mile walk, played a short-lived game of Code Names, and spent time at Angelica’s family’s house. Fun!

Bests and Worsts of the trip

Best meal: Sushi with my dad and Lori in Dover, DE

Worst commute: From New Jersey to Northern, De. Traffic everywhere, bridge/turnpike tolls, and drivers that insisted on flashing you even when you are going faster than the speed limit.

Best bed we slept in: My aunt and uncle’s bed in Middletown, DE. Seriously, the most comfortable mattress I have ever experienced.

Worst round of Hand and Foot: Karl and I were on the same team, and one round I had THREE red 3’s in my foot. Oops.

Best car game: coming up with the most useless super hero powers with my cousin Andrea. I especially love the power of being able to “make you look”.

Best conversation: A group conversation between myself, Daniel, a couple who is friends with my aunt and uncle, my dad, and other misc. people. Topic: Overseas Adoption. It was insightful, moving, and comforting.

The holidays were once again, wonderful. Thank you to everyone who made themselves available, welcomed us into their homes, fed us, and put up with our crazy pups. You are all awesome!

❤ TZ

 

 

 

 

 

Christmas Itinerary

Tis the season to travel to Delaware and New Jersey. Tonight Daniel an I will pack the car with duffle bags, gifts, snacks, dogs, and all of the other nonsense that makes it’s way into our blue hatchback. I am going to attempt to blog every couple of days while we are up there since we usually have a lot of downtime, but we will see how things actually play out. So here is our proposed, completely flexible, itinerary for the upcoming adventure.

Day one (Friday 12/23): Morning departure from North Charleston. 9-10 hour car ride full of Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone audio book, NPR, mix CDs (yes CDs), nonsense conversations, and singing. Arrive in Dover, Delaware in the evening.
Day two (Saturday 12/24): Breakfast at Jenn’s house with her family in the morning. On an unrelated note, her second son was born on Monday, so we will get to meet Conner Joel Grove. Hangout with my dad and Lori until the family Christmas Eve party where I will initiate the riveting game of mouth Jenga (pictures will be taken).
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Day three (Sunday 12/25): Wake up at my dad’s house, have breakfast and open gifts. Go to Grandparent’s house for lunch and then head to Cape May, NJ. Dinner and gifts in Cape May.
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Day four (Mon 12/26): Cape May, NJ. No distinct plans for this day.
Day five (Tues 12/27): Cape May, NJ. No plans again.
Day six (Wed 12/28): Cape May, NJ. Possible departure.
Day seven (Thurs 12/29): Cape May, NJ if we don’t depart on Wed. Then definite departure today. See my aunt and uncle (mom’s side) in Hockessin, DE. Spend the night in Middletown, DE at my aunt and uncle’s house. They have 11 acres so the dogs can run around. The house is also huge which I think will be fun to play hide and seek in.
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Day eight (Fri 12/30): We are going to go antiquing with my Dad and Lori. We will also be spending the night at the Middletown house again.
Day nine (Sat 12/31): We have no new years plan, but I think we will try to see some friends today near Wissahickson Park, PA (Northern Philly)
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Day ten (Sun 1/1): No plans. Maybe go to Jenn’s house again.
Day eleven (Mon 1/2): Most likely depart from Delaware and head back to Charleston.

I probably won’t start writing again until the day after Christmas, so until then….

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❤ TZ