Thursday, October 23, 2008

Addie Laughs

I have had the privilege of knowing Addie Barona for many years now. He has a special kind of autism that makes him full of life and personality. I would love to view the world as Addie does for just one day! He never ceases to make me laugh and I always have a new Addie story! He calls me his half-sister because we have a very similar hair color! :)

One day, Addie called me and said something about a James Bond, and a bunch of other mixed together things I just tuned out in between my intervals of "uh huh." I was driving and went through a dead spot for my cell phone reception and the connection started breaking up. Addie says, "Wait, Amber! Amber! You there? I'm breaking up with you!!"

Haha. I love that kid.

Monday, October 20, 2008


My cousin, Rebekah.

Scoundrels on Both Sides!

We have known for a while of our not-so-shining legacy on my mother's side of the family. My grandmother's maiden name is Burr. Her great, great...uncle is Aaron Burr. Oddly enough, this is how I got my nickname, Ber-Ber, that most of my friends call me! I told my old debate coach of the family connection one day many years ago and he coined the nickname. For those of you who don't know, Aaron was the one who shot Alexander Hamilton in a dual, was Thomas Jefferson's vice president until he became insane and devised what is forever known as The Burr Conspiracy to take over America. Creepy. What's even more creepy is that I have an uncle that slightly resembles him!
Well, at the family reunion this past weekend, I spent some time talking to my 13th cousin, Barbara. (just kidding, she is really just my 6th:) She is one of 57 6th cousins just on my grandmother's side of the family! Anyway, she has spent hours and hours compiling a family genealogy. Apparently, my grandmother's great-grandfather was a man named Thomas Elliot. Thomas was one of Francis Marion's men, but he didn't work only for Francis Marion. He was actually a spy for the British! Apparently, he did so well that he was given a King's Grant of thousands and thousands of acres around the Columbia, SC area. I always wondered why it seemed like my family has been in the South Carolina area since the garden of eden. That is probably why!

So, I have a conspirator on one side and a traitor on the other. How lovely.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

I sing because I'm happy, I sing because I'm FREE...

As of 24 hours ago, I am officially unemployed and ready to begin the next chapter! I am having a wonderful time at a family reunion this weekend. I am especially thrilled to spend time with my grandparents. I have always been a grandaddy's girl.

Already, I have had a big country breakfast and bought a Gamecocks tee shirt! Tonight, we are having hot dogs over the camp fire in the backyard and I'm sure the Bowen choir will be preforming with all our respective harmonizing parts present. Tomorrow, some of us are going to hear Sinclair Ferguson preach. My Uncle and his family attend his Church and we always love to hear him when we come. Then, off to the Tidwell family reunion where our mouths will maintain a constant interval of chewing and talking, chewing and talking. That's just how Tidwells do things!

Photography Feats

I accomplished what I thought was impossible and managed to get some decent pictures from my brother and cousin.

This isn't them....

Marly, the family dog.
She loves pears. My grandparents have a pear orchard on their property so she feasts on a daily basis.
I love their place.
This is my cousin, Ryan.
Don't look. He made me do it.

If any of my young, single girl-friends would like his number, shoot me an email. He says he has evening classes monday - thursdays but is free on friday and saturday.
This is my brother, Patrick. He's a physics major. If you are still interested and want his number, I guess you can email me.
Dwight Schrute is in the house! Looks like he's in his beet field and everything. And, as Ryan says, it looks like Moses parted his hair.
Ooo-laa- laa

My cousin is Sylar.
This is Ryan's 80's model pose.
This is Ryan being embarrassed by the pose he just did.

And my favorite picture for this round:

Monday, October 13, 2008

T-Minus 5 Days!!

In 5 more days, I will be officially unemployed!! Talk about a dream come true! Friday, October 17th will mark the day when the new phase of my life begins: Operation Prepare for Italy!! This day has been circled in my calendar and longed for for months!

Don't get me wrong, despite the 8-5 m-f desk bondage, I have been so blessed by the job. Here are the top 15 things I am going to miss:

1. Hearing about my boss' "former life," which includes mafia affiliation, life in Oklahoma as the grandson of the county judge, getting drunk on Mead in Ireland, meeting many stupid people in his life (most of whom he's met recently:), hearing his imitating voices, giving him a hard time about the piles on his desk and the additives and preservatives he puts in his water, talking about all his adventures all over the world, hearing about the shaman/chiropractor he encountered in the Philippines, eating Falafel, etc.

2. Working with Jerry Lassetter. He's the most awesome co-worker ever!! I learned a lot about Job working with him too! Don't bring up the tree in the gravel parking's still a sensitive subject. :)

3. Making faces at Carrie from across the hall.

4. Getting voicemails from Mrs. Judy in the Accounting Office saying, "Amber, try the P.O. form again."

5. Stopping in to give my old Roomie a hug in the Financial Development office when I have to take things to Stealey.

6. Being able to proudly pull into the Faculty Parking lot and waiving to all the walking students!

7. Having people ask me what exotic meal I brought for lunch today.

Thinking, thinking...

8. Sending out emails to all DMin students saying "everyone contact a certain individual in a certain office immediately." (Dr. Ewart made me delete the part about 2:00 am and his personal cell phone!)

9. Joseph Phan and the Trinity as an example of a small-group.

10. The way Dr. Ewart (my boss) chokes when he places "Dr." in front of some of the student's names!

12. Bill Whisnant...sweatest man ever!

13. My boss being protective and supportive.

14. Dr. Reid's smiles and encouragement.

15. Hanging out, laughing with, talking to, and being picked on by the professors.

Now on to new and different adventures! Here is my POA for the next few months:

October 17-31: Finish papers for independent study and theology, thesis prospectus.
November 4-8: IMB Conference
November 10-14: Start learning Italian!!
November 15-23: LONDON!
November 24-30: Travel for Thanksgiving, study Italian
December 1-January 25: Italian, time with family/friends, get visa, and pack
January 26-March 26: Training

So, my few months off aren't really few months off. I'm considering it to be simply making it possible for me to get everything done.

Time is flying! Prayers are coveted!

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Autumn Arts Festival

Wake Forest is such a neat place to live. The town celebrates each new season with art festivals and concerts. When my mom mentioned the autumn art festival was today, I grabbed my camera and raced out the door. I was not going to miss my last Autumn Art Festival.

First, I mane a bee-line to the Nigerian lady's stand. I've gotten to know her a little over the years. She came over as a student leaving her widowed mother behind. She brought some of her mother's handicrafts over and they sold very quickly. Now, her mother mails everything she makes for her daughter to sell. I've got a couple necklaces from her and I love them!

Lots and lots of neat jewelry... Blown glass is really popular here.

I thought this was really neat. Couldn't tell if it creeped me out or inspired me more.
Wake Forest Coffee Company. I've spent many a late night sucking down some caffeine and studying for tests here.
Grasshopper on mums - Fall is here!
I loved face painting when I was a kid.
Steve Bender is a local flower farmer who sells gorgeous flowers every saturday at the farmer's market. I am a loyal customer! I love getting huge bouquets of flowers for 5 bucks! He is a really sweet man and is always very creative. In the winter time, he sells dried flowers. How cool is that?? He says he has a whole barn filled with them hanging from the ceiling. They are really beautiful.

This lady sells the best soaps ever. I love her mermaid one the best. She's really fun to talk to too!
I heart pottery.
I really, really heart pottery.

Local artists are the best. I thought this picture was really pretty.
The one thing about Wake Forest I just don't get is the fascination with making freaky looking animals out of scrap metal. I really just don't get it.

This is an artist who sells her work in the Cotton Company. I really like everything she does. This isn't the greatest picture but she always uses really great colors and there is something really appealing about her work.

Friday, October 10, 2008

Embarrassing Moments Part 3

So, this one happened recently. Today, in fact.... Let me give you some background:

I was sitting at my desk of bondage sometime between 8 and 5 trying to get oral defenses scheduled for the graduating (or HOPEFULLY graduating) DMin students. There is one particular student who has been an absolute pain-in-the-rear and conveniently has Dr. Akin as his Faculty Chair. Looking through his file, there are copies of letters Dr. Akin sent to him on his letter head that I would have died were they addressed to me! Let's just say they are very "honest." This individual has been very difficult in getting his defense scheduled. Out of frustration, my boss decided being locked in a room with Dr. Akin alone for 2 hours is just what this guy needs for his oral defense.

That started a chain of emails back and forth between Dr. Akin, Dr. Ewart, Dr. Robinson, Dr. Akin's secretary, and myself. The Drs. involved got quite funny refering to instruction or destruction in the oral defense, among other comments that will remain unrevealed!

We recently got new phones here with a nifty caller ID system. (19th Century here we come!) The only drawback is when someone transfers a person, it will pop up as the name of the person who made the transfer, not the individual calling.

(You probably are beginning to guess where this is going:) My phone rang and I saw "Kim Humphrey" on the ID. (Dr. Akin's secretary) Since the emails had just quieted down, I assummed she was calling to make some post-game comments! I picked up the phone and, instead of my usual "Dr. Ewart's office, this is Amber" greeting that I find myself repeating when I answer my cell phone, I sarcastically exclaimed, "I am so pretending I didn't read any of those emails!" On the other end, I hear a confused, "Hello?" from a voice that was most certainly not Kim's!

Oh, but it gets worse! As soon as I heard the unfamiliar voice, I must have jumped up in my seat because my foot slammed down on my hanging phone cord and disconnected it from the phone! Not only did I commit a horrific office faux pas, but I also disconnected the poor guy! I grabbed the phone cord, shoved the now broken plastic clip back into the phone with some tape, took a few deep breaths, contemplated transcendental reality, and then hit "redial."

Oh, but it gets worse. When I called him back, I said, "Hi, this is Amber Bowen from Dr. Ewart's office. I'm sorry I accidentally disconnected you. Can I help you with something?"
"Oh, yes. Thank you for calling me back. My name is so-and-so and I am one of the new Trustees."
He said something else after that... but I think I was visiting transcendental reality at that point!

It all turned out fine and gave the Kim Humphrey a good laugh when I ran over to Stealey to tell her what happened. I just found it funny about 5 minutes ago...

Its good thing I numbered my days here before they were numbered for me!!

Thursday, October 9, 2008

My New Favorite Restaurant!

Its a gourmet French deli, espresso bar, and music downtown Youngsville! Whenever I would drive through downtown Youngsville, the sign always caught my eye and peaked my curiosity. After a few months, I decided to check it out. I walked in and was greeted by the owner's French accent. (or, at least that's what I noticed first!) He made me the macchiato of my life and secured me as a loyal customer upon my first sip!

The shop was really quiet when I came so I got to talk to him while relishing in the Platonic Form of espresso. I mentioned I would be headed to Italy in a few months which gave us an intstant connection! He told me a lot about Europe,the lifestyle there and all the fabulous places to visit.

I think he put some kind of honing device in that espresso because I found myself driving there like a brainwashed cult member a few days later for more! This time, I met the lady who works there with him. (She's American) The 3 of us talked for a while and I really enjoyed getting to know them!

A few months later, I now have an "Amber Special" upon request! They are now used to seeing me bring my computer in to edit pictures or do schoolwork and a stack of books! This is yet another way the Lord is preparing me for the hard and suffering work of engaging people and building relationships in Italy!

So, if you go, let me recommend the Le Caprese sandwich and the "Amber Special" which is a macchiato with a little extra milk. I want to go there for dessert sometime after I have worked out for at least 3 hours and order Le Nutella. (Oh yes, a nutella sandwich with sliced bananas and coconut!!)

Embarrassing Moments Part 2

Second Embarrassing Moment. This one caused quite a bit of strife between me and Bekah!

Bekah guilt-tripped me into joining her and her roommate, Cassie, for the Meredith Formal. I did not want to go to this event. I can barely stand to remain on the premises of the all-girl campus for longer than 16 hours much less attend a formal with them! I had a really bad attitude but was shamelessly manipulated into going. Leverage? The authentic Italian restaurant downtown where they make their own pasta and everything. It is owned by an Italian family. It's authenticity is marked not only by it's fresh-made pasta but by the Italian waiters who do a down-up when any member of the female gender walks in! "It will be good practice for you to learn how to portray politeness and niceness and don't-try-it-buddy at the same time!" Bekah said.

So, we got all dressed up for this formal and headed downtown for our evening of feasting before spending the rest of it with Meredith girls and their scared-to-death looking dates.

Walked in. Down-Up. Female waiter? Yes!! This isn't too bad! In the midst of our meal, we did notice a particular waiter kept coming to our table to check on us, give us water, act all buddy/buddy with our waitress, etc. We finished gorging ourselves and Bekah and I went up to pay. The waiter who had stalked us while we were eating suddenly changed roles and became the cashier! (Amazing!) Bekah was in front of me in line and he asked her where we were going since we were all dressed up. Bekah, making a sweeping generalization, said, "Oh, well, we all go to Meredith and are attending the formal tonight."
"So, where are your dates?" He asked.
Oh, great. I thought.
"Well, we just like going with girls." She innocently replied.
SIREN, SIREN!! Oh, please don't let him take that the wrong way!!!
At that moment, she had finished paying and was walking back to the table and I steped forward. He looked at me and said, "Well, looks like we have something in common! I don't like boys either!"
Remember the face freeze from the last post? Well, here it was again! My tongue was once again paralyzed and only managed to get out an unintelligible, "nnnnnn...." as I handed him my debit card.

I hope I spelled my name right because as soon as I gave him my signed copy of the receipt, I pounded my stilettos back to the table exclaiming, "BEKAH!!!! Do you realize what you just told him???????????" After intensely explaining what happened in a very loud whisper, she says, "Oh, Amber, he didn't take it that way. He wouldn't have made that comment if he thought we were serious." "OH, YES HE WOULD!!!" I angrily replied as we got our purses and stormed out the restaurant as I made sure I stayed a little farther away from her than usual!

We argued all the way back to the car and during the car ride back to Meredith. Poor Cassie, who was driving and directing us to where we needed to be as we continued to verbally lash each other, did an excellent job of containing her laughter. (or her eye rolling...not sure which one) She volunteered to get out of the car and get an umbrella from the room. When the door shut, we both became quiet and the silence left a buzzing lull in our ears. A few minutes later, Bekah says in a quiet voice, "Amber?"
"I'm sorry for making that guy think we are lesbians."

I am still holding that moment over her head to this day despite the fact that it suddenly became funny a few months ago when I was helping her pack for Italy!

Love you, Bekah!! Here's a picture from that night:

Wednesday, October 8, 2008