Sunday, March 27, 2011


her name is laura ann. his name is donald herbert.
he was quarterback. she was cheerleader.

they fell in love at a much simpler time. no computers, no gadgets, yet fifty years later, their 21 year old grandchild is blogging about them in one of their many, many bedrooms in their huge, huge house.
they are my grandparents. my family. my heritage.
this weekend we journeyed to tampa, my birthplace and the current residence of my mother's half of the family. i have somewhere between 15-20 first cousins on this joke. and now those cousins, the ones i grew up with, are all having babies and families of their own.

we had sara's baby shower with friends and family down here and i couldn't help but think of all the memories that reside in this house. just like every time i come back here.

have you ever had one of those places that never change on you? no matter how many times you move, friends you go through, or memories you make, this place never changes.
my grandparents house, has always been the same. it even smells. the same.

i get asked the same questions:
"so, natalie, do you have a beau?"
no grandmom.
she uses words like 'beau'. i roll my eyes, but, i secretly adore it.
i wake up at the college-age time every morning of 'at least 10:30am and arrive in the kitchen to my granddad's "oh! i already called the mortician! i guess we can tell him not to come now that you're awake."
oh you and your precious bald head. i have come to expect that joke, sir. 
but i can't help to reminisce every time i stay here.
the stairs i will always remember, just slippery enough for me and my cousins to slide down on my grandmother's extra large seat cushions.
the same old pool balls, one of which my sister threw through the glass gun case when she was ten years old.
the lake we swam in, looked for clams in, and learned to water ski and tube in. the one with the island in the center we could conduct adventures and laugh for hours.

the bathroom with the ugly wallpaper and matching curtains and shower drapes.
the creepy yet comforting dolls and figurines collected from distant lands, both sentimental and beautiful, each one in their own way.
the back yard i played countless hours in, with snakes, bugs, and the type of grass i have never found  anywhere else.
i'm convinced there's no greater, springey-er, grass in all the world.
the same back yard we searched for lizards and easter eggs in.
the heritage.
and now it is all happening with the younger ones. they will play in the yard just like we did.

they will make the same memories, smell the same smells, celebrate the same holidays, and all that is cradled inbetween.

they will blow out the candles all together, just like we did.

i am thankful. i am so blessed. and though our family, just like every other family, has issues of our own, we can come together under this one roof and love eachother year after year after year, birthday after party after babyshower-- and know that none of it will ever change.

at least for today.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

two wonders.

before you read. click here and let this song play in the background of your reading.

so monday was a really bad day for me. it just was from start to finish, i wasn't feeling it.
it began on sunday, when i woke up from a nap. weird, i know, usually you're supposed to feel better after a nap. my brain said, "not this time, suckaaa."
anyways sunday night my little bible study i help lead threw a party for one of the youth leaders. i was having a hard time being "all there" but two noticeable things happened that night, which i held on to throughout the depressing monday that would ensue.

First thing: i spend a good thirty minutes with one of the girls in my group. a sixth grader. one of my favorites, though i love all of them dearly.
her name will go unmentioned, but this girl blessed me beyond what she will know.
she's one of those girls who you never really know if she's listening all the time, always distracted, a talker, in love with the boys, a spunky little sass-a-frass, you know them. you may have been one of them.
she's a lover at the heart though, and she does love Jesus. she does understand more than you or i could know.
by the divine plan of God he put us in that room together alone. there were over twenty girls there, five leaders.i should have gotten at least three more girls. but God just placed her right in there. across the table, looking at her leader, me a little intimidated, but prepared to just let God take us where He wants to. i looked at her while she found the bible-app in her ipod. i thought as i saw through her sixth grader facade. there's a reason i'm in this room with just you. lets make this one count.
"open your bible, and lets read this together."
we read the second chapter of James, a little tough to explain the first 14 verses when talking about partiality and the law of liberty to a sixth grader whose boy crazy. but it went well.
we were supposed to go back to the group after ten minutes but ended up staying in that room alone together the whole time. i couldn't say no to a girl who wanted discipleship time.
and we never got off topic. not once. she was into the Word of God. i was eating up every part of it.
for real, i live for moments like that.
the ones that you know that God is using you, even when you don't deserve it.
but do we ever deserve it?
when i'm having a pity party and i know it i try to look for those "wonders" among me. that meeting was the first one.
the second thing: --this song-- came on. 
you may say, its a coincidence, but its exactly what i wanted to hear at that moment. that i was in my God's hands. that He was keeping me safe and secure. that He would deliver me from myself. that He was truly my protector. 
this song came back to me, and now every time i hear it i think of a little lego-man sized natalie just chillin in the palm of God. eating some cheetos and just resting and safe. and home.
when i needed it most, God reminded me i was just in His huge God-sized hands. (ok minus the cheetos.)
"i'm here little lego-man sized natalie. i'm here and i'm not letting go. in this world you may have troubles, but look! i have overcome the world. for you." 

Friday, March 18, 2011

the shings and other things.

before you read this, you might get grossed out, i'm being a little transparent here, so here it goes.
i have the shings. and when i say the shings what i really mean is shingles.
i know, eww.
first thought? am i going to die?
second thought? isn't this what sailors get?
no natalie. that's scurvy.
shingles is an extremely painful, itchy, uncomfortable dormant type of chicken pox that appears in one place on your body, usually around the waist area. i found it on the back of my neck. which is a good thing because it doesn't hurt as bad as other people's have in other places.
think light sunburn + someone punched you in the shoulder and neck + muscle aches + itchyness.
i was diagnosed by my professional doctor judy, who has seen it before. she's a mom. she knows all.
anyways this virus is brought upon by stress, lack of sleep, and the sun. i presently have a sore throat and three inflamed lymph nodes around my neck and back. you can't really contract it from people unless you rub your blistered skin all up in their grill.
yes, all up in their grill. don't worry, i'm secretly black.
but this illness makes you super tired and not feeling 100%. luckily i have a mild case, and caught it before it began to look like this:
 mine looks more like this.
grossed out yet?
anyways, i don't find it weird that out of all the thing i could have gotten sick from, its one of those that happen because of stress. God seriously has a sense of humor.
about a couple of years ago i developed anxiety. it was seriously a blow to my pride of "having it altogether." i mean i was in control. i didn't drink, cuss, smoke, or anything else that college kids do. i was attending a Bible College, maintained good grades, and was a RA over 6 girls. i had never had a boyfriend, so i didn't mess up in that department. to the world i was pretty much perfect. i took pride in myself, way too much pride that i had it altogether. God humbled me and rocked my world ever since.
when you realize that you have something like anxiety or depression, or anything that means that "i have issues" when you are known and know yourself as 'having it all together' it is humbling, confusing, and humbling. did i mention humbling? i tried everything i knew how to do to deny this 'anxiety thing' even believing that i didn't have anxiety, but something else that was affecting my health and appetite.  i had lost 14 pounds in two weeks, couldn't keep anything down, and was shaking uncontrollably for a month. i had an endoscopy. they found nothing, put me on medication, and all got better over a period of two weeks. it was all here and gone. 
i have an anxiety problem. but the more i learn about it the more that i find pretty much every woman i know has it to some degree. i can be perfectly fine one week, and have a little panic attack without thinking i am worrying about anything the next week.
here's where the humility comes in. having anxiety means that i have to take care of myself. once i get in the groove of school, work, and social life i make myself busier and busier. i take on things that are too much for my little brain to handle and i get stressed out. God allowed me to have this problem, not to 'give me what i deserve' because i'm so prideful about myself, but to make myself treat me like He treats me. 
if there's one thing i've learned through dealing with anxiety its that i have to rest. the only difference between pre-anxiety me and now is that i accept who God has made me and have (and still am) cut the chains of legalism. i know that i am loved beyond measure, and that is enough.
i have to have lazy days, i don't have to make straight a's or have perfect relationships with guys. its ok that i mess up all the time, and its ok that i "have issues." for real, y'all we all do. 
this shingles virus has me in my bed, watching alias, and doing some real relaxing. God must have known that i would have filled my spring break up with plans and not allowed myself to recoup from a stressful semester. 
i want to get school work done, i want to go to the beach, i want to clean, babysit and fill my schedule with busyness. God was whispering in my ear, "slow down, child or I'll make you slow down. I'll make you love yourself like I love you, ill make you let Me love on you."
fine God. ill let go. just show me how you love on me.
Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light. – Matthew 11:28-30

Tuesday, March 15, 2011


thought healthfulness was an appropriate topic for today's blog as i am feeling energized from a 4.5 mile jog yesterday and our family garden has blossmed into a legit machine. my college life has been surprisingly healthier than how it used to be. i eat better, exercise often, play lacrosse, and make myself busier so i don't have too much down time.
well as i was making the 'healthy decision' to have a lazy night and lay in my bed and watch half a season of --Alias--, i decided to make a healthy and fun snack: granola, or granoley as i refer to it. go ahead and try saying it out loud, preferably like a five year old boy. granoley.
fun right?
a little this
a little that
pop it in the oven
and you have a healthy snack.
don't forget the Emeril "BAM" of cinnamon. yelled out loud of course.
as for another healthy decision:
my friend/employer/soul sista judy and i have begun a garden at her house after watching food, inc. a disturbingly real account of the food industry. at the end of the movie is a challenge for every american to begin their own home garden.
we took it literally. went out and bought soil, fertilizer, and seeds.
our plants were growing! we felt like tom hanks when he made fire and yelled it out to the world.

 "i! have made plant life!"- our neighbors didn't feel as excited as we were, maybe because our midnight games of capture the flag and "burn everything we have" bon fires.
then the winter came.
everything died. except for these lettuces (plural? lettuci?):

she hung on.
oh yeah and two pumpkin plants that came back.
so we started again. tomatoes basil, cilantro, cabbage, lettuce, peas, watermelon, strawberries, and miracle grow.
we are determined. we put the kids to work, and our little seeds have grown!
basil. how precious.
check it out! we have watermelon growing!
anyways, needless to say, we're excited. its almost like having your first child grow up minus the diapers and rebellious teenage stage. we have made plant life.

Saturday, March 12, 2011


it would be like me to pick the most fragile shell on the entire beach as my favorite. i love capiz shells, which is weird and so floridian for me to say, because i have never been a shell collector. but lately i have been loving these little shiny gems of the sea. and the fact that i try to go to the beach every beautiful weekend may have something to do with it. its become a tradition for me to try to nonchalantly sneak up on a flock of seagulls and suddenly scare them away by running at them like a lunatic 5-year-old.
 they are just so dern shiny. like the fingernails of God.
anyways, in order for you to find the amount of capiz that i did today you have to walk. and i mean a while. i'm pretty sure i walked a mile or so along the beach. it was refreshing. and salvation. 
i've never been a beach walker either, but when your looking for shells you can literally go for an hour without realizing it. glad i don't have kids, cuz i'd totally forget about them.
so i began my journey finding some odd crab and jellyfish things, spiral shells, and of course capiz along the beaches. i got about half a mile out of where my friends and i set up beach camp and stopped. i was alone. anyone that was even remotely close to me looked like ants. it was so quiet, save the sound of the waves. God said "sit, my child, and just listen...smell the salty fishy-ness and the fresh, fresh air. this moment is for you, my daughter."
yes Sir.
you should try it. its refreshingly new and perfect. really. perfection. especially on a day like this. not hot, not cold, no biting flies, no creepy men, just me my capiz collection and the soft murmur of these waves. they were swaying a tune just for me. just for that moment.
 it looked like this.
i couldn't believe how mind-blowingly peaceful the whole twenty minutes i stayed in that place was. the wind through my hair, i layed down unprotected from the beach sand by a towel or blanket. i had nothing unnatural to distract me with. i closed my eyes, under the warm sun. i rested.
"thank you Jesus, thank you for everything. i am in awe of this moment right now."
i was completely alone, but not lonely.
you should have been there.
i began my long journey back and a my daring side took over. 
jump in? 'she' asked me.
--it was so cold-- like spring water in the mountains of canada cold. not good for a shell collecting floridian.
come on, WHEN are you EVER going to have this chance again? alone, but not lonely, spontaneous and jump in the ice cold water. do it, be spontaneous for once in your life.
fine. you got me.
i HAD to psych my self up. how do i do this? ease my way in, run and jump, walk and dive? out loud i literally said, "ok, if you just put your feet in you wont get the rest of your body in. so you have to just run and dive in."
i chose the run and dive method.
but the not-so-daring-side of me put my feet in anyways. 
"aw man! its so cold" again, out loud.
"you have to do it now, just dive in"
"ok, alright (laughs loud and nervous like)"
i went for it. 'she' got me.
it was freezing and i laughed underwater, above water, you name it i was cracking myself up!
"float on your back and just relax" she said.
"yes mam" i answered. (i promise i don't have multiple personality disorder.)
i was so cold. shivering even. but i didn't care. i floated there, alone, but not lonely, and just stared into the clear, blue sky arms outstretched. i was close to heaven and such a part of the ocean. quiet. and content.
i felt the serenity of God at that moment. He granted me an experience that i could enjoy, like His huge God-hand handing me a shiny capiz shell sized time with Him. He taught me to enjoy Him today. to leave all behind and spend relational, not religious, time with Him. He stood in today where a man could have been, right with me, keeping me company, showing me a great amount of grace, and loving on me with the entirety of His heart. 
there is no one like Him.
so i let daring natalie have the best of me there, but don't you worry. regular natalie scared myself out of the water within two minutes, because 'everyone knows sharks think black bathing suits look like seals in the water,' and you better believe i was going to protect myself from jaws' lunch escapades.
but i did it. i jumped into the freezing ocean. and it was the best time i've had alone in a while.
i picked up my capiz shells and sunnies, shivered back to my friends with my loot in hand.
"don't worry gulls, i won't scare you away today."
who knows the outcome of these shells. perhaps one day daring me will take over and attempt something like --this--. but for now these little gems will go with the rest of my beach loot and remind me of the twenty minutes of inexpressible joy and contentment in today's wonder around me.

1 Peter 1:8 - Though you have not seen Him, you love Him; and even though you do not see Him not, you believe in Him and are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

here comes the sun, do do do do.

when i wake up in the morning, the very first thing i look at is the shade of my room. not the purpley comforter or the boring 'apartment-tan' walls. but the brightness or darkness of the entire room, depending upon the light that is creeping through my window, blinds, and finally, curtains. i know instantly just from opening my eyes what the weather will be like. this morning i wasn't so sure.
if you live in pensacola, or anywhere around here, you experienced a torrential downpour yesterday, out of nowhere. the sky stayed a depressing dark gray, and right as my ten o'clock class rolled around, the oh-so-dramatic intermittent alarms went off on campus, warning all of us to get under our desks, fetal position, cover your head, and get right with God. tornado is coming, and we're all going to die.
well, none of us died, but i'm convinced an ant and or bug holocaust happened as a result of the amount of water that poured out of the sky yesterday. for real, it was ridiculous.
anyways, i didn't know what to expect this morning as the shade of my room. something told me though that today will be an exceptional day.
i have no complaints. its gorgeous outside.
and cool too. the perfect combination for a day of gazing at the school's flower patch, while i selfishly breathe in its aroma, and watching the little bird nest that includes a piece of garbage amongst it's twigs.
i'm happy its a beautiful day. its a miracle. we didn't know this day would happen until we got here. i played --this-- right when i opened the window to reveal the glory of the Lord and exclaimed "well glory glory hallelujah."
Romans 1:20- "for since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen." i'm seeing it Jesus. thanks a lot.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011


that word has such a negative connotation in today's world. today, open your mind and find the beauty in it.  
to be used isn't always a bad thing.
a little sister in Christ came to me today. she is heartbroken. tears filled the eyes of this beautiful, fun-loving, girl. i loved every minute of it. not that she was in misery, but because her coming to me for advice and encouragement was exactly what i long for. we'll get to more of that later...
there are certain times in my life where i know that i know that i know that God is using me in a situation. today was one of those times. she came. she teared up. i felt her pain. she was broken, humbled, lonely, depressed, deceived, and all the other feelings girls have after a long relationship breaks apart. she was hopeless. she felt worthless. she felt deceived. she felt used, in the negative sense of the word. i have been there.
i was used today, though, gladly, and positively, by God. my life was used today, my hurt, shame, downfalls, uprisings, experiences, coping strategies, all were used today. i was content in that conversation with her at that moment to say "i know exactly how you feel. you'll feel better down the road, but right now, you're going to hurt. bad. nights are the worst. lonely, emotional, and hurtful. but you are worth a man who is sure. you will come out better."
today, i can honestly say that i am thankful for the mistakes i have made and how i have been hurt in past relationships. (wow. God did that.) i would be hurt again if it meant that i could have more conversations with young women, encourage them in the Lord, and use all my hurt as a testimony of the acceptance and loving-kindness of God. i long to be used by God in those situations.
one of my dreams is to be able to have my future spouse and i completely transparent with the students of our church or community. i dream of an open door policy in a small colonial house where these hurting girls and guys can come and listen to the wisdom that God has for them in His word. they could feel safe and secure. they could cry, laugh, we could cook, (or do manly things), and just relax. they could play cards, just sit and talk, sip lemonade and sweet tea, and find hope by being in a home submitted and dedicated to God. to listen to our past experiences and failures, on the couch, playing ball, baking muffins. we would encourage them and be able to say, "i 100 percent have been there. it sucks right now. a lot. but there is hope."
this is a dream of mine, i don't think i have told many people. but every time i am used, by God, this dream comes back up into my mind, like the little pumpkin seed in my garden that just won't die in spite of every other thing getting froze to death this year...
who knows what God has in store for me. i ask Him and am wholeheartedly expecting Him to absolutely blow my mind with what He has prepared for me.
Habakkuk 1:5 - "Look among the nations! Observe! Be astonished! Wonder! Because I am doing something in your days-- You would not believe if you were told."

Monday, March 7, 2011

Joshua 3:5

Then Joshua said to the people, "Consecrate yourselves, for tomorrow the LORD will do wonders among you." 

It is so hard for me to believe this.
no, not that this all happened between joshua and the promised land, but that God always does wonders among His people, if we're ready, willing, and searching for Him. what does that even look like? what would happen if we completely let go of every hindrance and expected God do wonders among us?
today was a beautiful day where i live. there are specific times during the year when i stop and look up, around, and about me. today was one of those days. i read american political ideas of the 1780s and sat next to the college library just allowing the sun penetrate my skin and the cool air come about me, as i was alone, content and relaxed on the steps. every so often someone would come by me, make eye contact, or pretend not to. i don't mind.
there are too many kids these days walking around with ear buds in, shut off from the sounds of nature. they don't hear the wind rustling between the trees. they don't hear the sound of their feet on the pavement. they don't notice the souls walking by them, time after time.
i notice these things. i find the flowers that others don't notice, the patches of blooming trees recently planted that bear the names of those who nurse them. i refuse to listen to music, when i have the music of God given nature given to me every single day.
perhaps the wonders like josh 3:5 are already among me. God has already fulfilled the promise of his creation speaking of Him. that is a wonder in itself. maybe i need to stop wishing for more than what i have, a wonder that i think i need right now, a discontentment in my life and focus on the wonders that are displayed before me every single day at every single moment. truly stop. and. be. in. the. moment.
and pray.
my friend just recently had her baby. they named her sarah, due to their hardships in trying to conceive. she is here, arrived in this world. she is perfect. she has all fingers and toes. she is loved beyond any comprehension by her parents who have only known her for two days. they will bring her home, and she will depend upon them for every little thing.  she will cry, laugh, sleep, and be smothered in kisses and photos. it will be a time of tired joy, but joy nonetheless.
my prayer for this blog is that it will inspire you and i to notice the wonders among us. in a walk under the sun, the works of political fathers, or the birth of a babe. open your eyes, world. open your eyes and find a wondrous spirit within you. try God. see if he will show you something wonderful, wondrous.

About Me

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I'm a sister, a daughter, a student, an aspiring museum exhibit developer, an Auntie Nattles to two precious babes, and a Nanny Nats to others. Above all, I am a Christ-follower. A sister, a friend, a lover, a possession, a daughter, and a woman, redeemed and accepted by the gracious and forever love of Christ. The purpose of this blog is to illustrate the latter and paint a picture for you and I to recognize and enjoy the mysterious, glorious, and timely wonders of the Lord among you all. Then Joshua said to the people, "Consecrate yourselves, for tomorrow the LORD will do wonders among you." Joshua 3:5

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