A Different Aroma

As I walked into the bunk room I found this laying on my bed. It was the warmest welcome and such a comfort to read as the rain came down.

As I walked into the bunk room I found this laying on my bed. It was the warmest welcome and such a comfort to read as the rain came down.

We are here! Our team has finally arrived in Uganda a mere 28 hours after we left Nashville. There were quite a few delays along the way but we have made it. It is about 11:30 pm Ugandan time but I’m not too tired. I’m excited and full of life. Yes, I’ll admit I’m a little exhausted but being on African soil sparks a fire in my veins. I am ready!

Unfortunately, our bags were not as ready as we were when we left. We just found out that 13 of our 22 bags had not made it the airport in Africa; and, 11 of them are still chilling on the tarmac in Nashville, including both of mine. I’m not really upset, but more puzzled that 11 bags were sitting on the tarmac in Nashville for 28 hours and no one bothered to check them through or try to get them to their destination. Did people just walk past them and disregard them? I can’t think of a reasonable explanation for it, but it’s already becoming a distant (no pun intended) thought. I don’t have any time to think about that, just time to rejoice that I’m in Uganda!

It’s about 1:30am and we finally board our bus to head to Jinja. Entebbe, the city we just flew into is about 3 hours away from Jinja so we still have quite a long road ahead of us. I decide to sit in the back with the 3 fresh high school graduates. We chit chat about life things, like getting pregnant and giving birth – I mean naturally, what else would we talk about? However, I’m starting to get tired so I nestle in my window seat and stare out the window.

It’s dark out, so I can’t see too much, but what I notice are all the different smells. As we leave the airport the smell of sulfur fills my nostrils. If you’re not sure what sulfur smells like, it’s similar to the stingiest fart smell in the world. But it’s not too long until the smell of fresh clean air takes over. The fresh air is followed by smells of gasoline, burning rubber, campfire, cinnamon, bar-b-que, gunpowder (you know, the way it smells after fireworks), cotton candy, bamboo and alas the jungle, the sweet sweet jungle. I am intrigued by all the different scents; all the different smells of Africa. An hour has passed since we left the airport, and it just began to pour down rain so we shut the windows. I rest my head against the cool glass and listen to the pitter patter of rain.

We arrive at the James Place a few hours later. Fortunately, the rain let up just long enough to get our bags inside and then it came pouring down again. The rain is a nice little blessing because it provides a light cool breeze through the windows in our room. There’s something about the sound of rain that’s so relaxing. It’s like “real life spa” music. The lightening provides a flash, which illuminates the room and is followed by the low growl of thunder a few seconds later. The heart of the storm must not be too close. It’s 5 minutes after 5am. I close my eyes to doze off to sleep. As I lay down I think about my sister. We’ve never been away from each other for more than a month and the thought of being away from her for two months makes me already miss her. But these next couple of months are going to change our lives and (hopefully) only for the good. I thank God for my many blessings and let the sound of the rain drift me to my dreams.


* To learn about more about HEAL Ministries visit http://www.HEAL-ministries.org or follow them on Instagram or Twitter (@HEALministries).



Thirsty Thursday: Apple Berry

Apple Berry

Who’s enjoying this lovely weather and needs a refreshing drink!

Today I opened my fridge and noticed my blackberries and strawberries were going to go bad soon so I decided to make a little juice. It’s nice and fruity for the summertime weather and its also packed with lots of nutrients. For example, did you know strawberries help you think? Fisetin, a naturally occurring flavonoid (vitamin) commonly found in strawberries and other berries, stimulates signaling pathways that enhance long-term memory! With that being said, DRINK UP! Not only will it quench your thirst it will also help you get ready for those dreaded finals.

Here’s what you’ll need:

1 Cup Blackberries 1 Cup Strawberries 3 Large Green Apples

1 Cup Blackberries
1 Cup Strawberries
3 Large Green Apples

Screen Shot 2014-04-10 at 4.34.29 PMScreen Shot 2014-04-10 at 4.34.42 PM

Know Your Values


Last week, World Vision decided to open their doors and make a public announcement that they will now be hiring people who are in a same sex marriage. This decision was widely welcomed at large because it showed their support in the movement toward equality. However, just 2 days later the organization announced that they would be reversing their original decision which caused an uproar and many questions.

After the reversal people have started to say that World Vision doesn’t have values and if they do they don’t know what they are. Their values state,

“We act in ways that respect the dignity, uniqueness, and intrinsic worth of every person—the poor, the donors, our staff and their families, boards, and volunteers. We celebrate the richness of diversity in human personality, culture, and contribution.”

The reversal was a contradiction to their values but another problem lies in their value system. The organization has not established clear values for its people to believe in and live out every day. Without a strong value system you don’t know what to stand for and when a controversial decision is made it is bound to crumble under pressure. This is what happened to world vision.

After World Vision reversed their decision they sent out a press release that stated:

“ We are brokenhearted over the pain and confusion we have caused many of our friends…”

This sort of communication suggests that World Vision’s priorities lie with their large, influential donors. In their mission statement they state that they are trying to tackle poverty and injustice but by reversing their decision they’ve only caused a greater injustice.

World Vision could have been a leader in the fight for equality for gays but instead they have not only inflicted injustice among the gays but have also hurt themselves tremendously in the process. World Vision was unprepared for the inevitable backlash they were going to get from making this decision and instead of forging forward they waved their white flag and surrendered to the Christian criticism.


Looking for an Internship? Well Nivea is looking for an intern and they seem to have a pretty creative interview process.

Just the other day Nivea announced their latest contest – #interngram. They are in search of a creative digital intern and they’ve decided to use Instagram as their application process. They’ve challenged students to use instagram to show off their creativity.  

The challenge starts with candidates choosing one of three options: 

… a) express your creativity, b) show us your confidence or c) prove your pace. How? Take a photo or make a video that brings your chosen challenge – and your skills—to life.

The challenge is not only helping promote Nivea but also encouraging their potential interns get creative. It’s pretty smart on Nivea’s end too to reach out via social media for a few reasons:

  1. They can do a little background search on their applicants via their social media (aka stalk their interns)
  2. It promotes their brand by making an internship application public
  3. It gets people involved via likes and shares!

Makes you wonder how other companies might get creative in the future with their internships! 

Green Giant

Green Giant

Happy Thirsty Thursday!

Today it’s Green, Green, and more Green.

Yes, I know it doesn’t look like it would taste good. After all, when was the last time you ate a salad and thought it was the most delicious thing in the world? I get it. But y’all- the smoothie is the most delicious smoothie in the world.

Yesterday, I made a huge batch of it. I made 5 cups. FIVE. One for each of my grandparents, one for my parents to share, and two for me. I know what you’re thinking… I originally made one for each of my parents but they were at work when I made them and I got a hankerin’ for some more juice about 3 hours later, so I drank one of theirs. I wasn’t sorry but I know they were because they all loved it- and they were reluctant to drink it too!

Not only is this smoothie relatively cheap (about $9 for all 5 servings) in the world of juicing its also has about 3 servings of vegetables in one glass. You get to drink your vegetables and actually enjoy it! Don’t be afraid of the color, close your eyes and drink it if you have to because it’s DELICIOUS! It’s just the right amount of sweetness!

Here’s how to make it:

1 Cup Spinach, Kale, Chard Mix (from Trader Joe’s)
1/2 Large Cucumber (about 5 inches)
2 Celery Sticks
1 Cup Frozen Pineapple
1.5 cup Water or Apple Juice

Just put it in the blender and you’re ready to go!

It’s “On the House” at Kitchen Notes

The past couple Monday nights I’ve been spoiled. My best friend, Libby, also known as The Local Lady, has been wineing and dining me all over town. Two weeks ago we ate at Cantina Laredo and just this last Monday we enjoyed the sweet southern tastes of Kitchen Notes and Bar Lines in the Omni Hotel. The best part? We didn’t have to pay a dime.

How did we luck out? How did we get our 3 course meals and drinks paid for? Libby has a blog and a pretty dang good one at that. Over the summer she started The Local Lady. Her focus is on “Embracing Authenticity and One of a Kind Legacies.” She works hard traveling all over Nashville, setting up interviews, and getting to know the local gems. And with today being Valentines Day, these local restaurants wanted to give us a taste of their menu beforehand.

Barlines @ The Omni

Libby enjoying her drink at Barlines

Of the two, I preferred our experience at the Omni for a few reasons.

1. They pay attention to the detail. Upon arriving they opened the door for us, made sure we knew where we were going, and greeted us when we entered the room. They had us enter a drawing for a one night stay at the Omni Hotel with a complimentary breakfast at Kitchen Notes and in each of our seats they had a gift bag. The bag contained a few gifts from local artisans along with a bit of information about the Omni Hotel and Kitchen Notes.

2. The let us try everything. Of course, it was a set valentines menu but from that menu we got to try 4 appetizers, 3 entrees, and 3 different desserts. I believe in order to make a good recommendation for your readers you should try everything. As a blogger it’s nice to be able to tell them what you liked and disliked; what you thought was the best or what could have been better… They did not skimp on anything and they were constantly making sure we had what we needed. Additionally, their set menu was composed of items off their regular menu. That aspect will have me returning even after Valentine’s Day since I know I’ll be able to get what I had year round.

3. 2 Different Restaurants, 1 Location. We had the pleasure of trying both Kitchen Notes, a southern restaurant, and Bar Lines, a “honky tonk” bar. We enjoyed a nice sit down meal and afterwards enjoyed drinks and live music. Bar Lines is mainly a whiskey bar. They try to put their focus on Tennessee and what local cuisine and drinks would taste like. At the bar, Libby and I enjoyed the “Lincoln County Maple Smash.” It had George Dickel Tennessee Whisky, Maple Syrup, Lemon, and Mint. I’m not a mixed drink girl but that was TASTY!

Overall, my experience at The Omni was enjoyable because they were focused on us. They wanted to make sure we were staying informed and having a pleasant time- and we definitely did! I would go back and highly recommend it!


Also, check out Libby’s Local Lady Video 🙂


Juice “Beets” Wine


Happy Thirsty Thursday Lovers!

I’m sure many of you, like myself, are getting ready for Valentines Day tomorrow! So, why not get ready with some juice! This dark red juice can trick anyone into thinking their drinking wine… that is until they taste it of course but why not make the switch? Why not try sitting down to a romantic glass of juice instead. I know I know, I sound like I’m describing a valentines date we all had in kindergarten but promise me you’ll at least think about it.

This juice isn’t too sweet. It still has a sweet aspect to it but because about half of the juice is made up of vegetables the sweetness of the apples are canceled out but don’t get me wrong: its not bitter by any means. I think this is one of the most enjoyable juices I’ve had to drink in a while.  The awesome part about this juice is that it is PACKED with nutrients from the spinach and kale (scroll down to see the nutrition facts). So, instead of facing a hangover Saturday morning, you’ll be feeling great from drinking this juice all night long!

Here’s how to make it!

Juice "Beets" Wine

2 Large Green Apples
1 Bunch Spinach
4 Kale Leaves
1 Beet with Leaves

A little helpful hint: When buying kale and spinach don’t buy them from the salad section where they’re already boxed up. It’s much more affordable to buy them in bunches from the produce section!