Category Archives: Uncategorized

Wow. It has been a long time, huh?

Never have I ever, where have you gone? I know you all have been missing me. Let’s be honest.


So, in true Never Have I Ever fashion, I am writing a blog post like I never have before.  I am writing about my job and asking you to help.As many of you know, I quit my job as a teacher and started working for Young Life. Young Life is a group I have volunteered with since I was in college and I am thrilled to be working for them.  We need to raise $50,000 more in this upcoming calendar year than we have in years past. This is a huge undertaking and I would love your help.

First let me give you some background information:


Why did you quit your stable job teaching, you ask? Well that is a complicated answer. The short answer is: I was called. That sounds bizarre. So here is more: after years of teaching I began to grow dissatisfied with the job. As this was happening, I first started working with college students for Young Life. I was losing enthusiasm for teaching, while I was gaining enthusiasm for working with college kids. While I had been volunteering for years with Young Life, I didn’t feel like I hit my stride until I started working at George Mason. After considering what my next move would be, for several reasons it seemed that I was called to work with Young Life College at George Mason.


What do you do? If you haven’t asked this question, you have probably thought it. This job looks really different than teaching did, obviously, but I am still working just as hard. My job is to mentor students,  train and develop Young Life leaders for the area, while running a non-profit. Derek (who I work with) spend time in the office doing expense reports, fundraising and planning strategically. But, we also spend time on the campus meeting with students, leading Bible studies and training students to become Young Life leaders in the area. It looks different everyday and it is greatly satisfying.


What can I do to help? I know that at the end of the year, people are considering making year end contributions to many different organizations. I would love for you to think about adding Mason Young Life to that list. As I said before, we are seeking to raise $50, 000 more this year than we have in the past. This money is not a raise for me or Derek, instead it allows us to continue pouring into the lives of students at George Mason as they enter into what can be a confusing part of adolescence. If that is something you are interested in, please click here and follow the instructions. I am available to answer any questions you might have!


Merry Christmas, ya’ll! And thanks for taking the time to read this!



Lions and Tigers and Bears!

Only a very small fraction of this title is appropriate. Approximately 33%. You’ll see.

My life has taken a turn for the outdoorsy. No one would have described me that way in the past, but in this season in life I am enjoying it more and more! This past weekend I went to White Oak Canyon in Shenandoah National Park. If you have never been before-it is worth the drive alone (of which I have zero pictures, but trust me). It is off Skyline Drive, which again, I have never been on. It is almost as if I didn’t grow up here.


Before we began our adventure my friend Alex warned that it was possible we would see bears or snakes. I thought to myself, “that is highly unlikely.”

I was wrong.

Within minutes of walking a group of friendly Germans in front of us stopped to look way into the trees. There was a bear cub WAY up in the trees.


This led me to question a few things 1. Doesn’t that seem awfully high up for a bear to be? 2. Why do people put their stuff in bear bags while camping if they can get up that high?

3. Where was that baby’s Mama? I actually couldn’t stop thinking about question number 3.


We  got further down the path and nearly stepped on a stick…that rattled, or a rattlesnake! What the heck? Shouldn’t they live in a desert or something? Someplace warmer? After a while it coiled up, I thought this meant it was relaxing. Actually, it was getting ready to attack. Thank goodness it didn’t.


Lest you don’t believe me that the pictured snake is truly a rattlesnake, a snake lover approached the snake soon after us and quickly identified it as a rattlesnake as he closely examined it.

On the way back we saw that baby bear again with her mother and another baby. What a day! I have never seen so much dangerous wildlife in one place. I must admit I felt that I was in the zoo and had a lot more confidence than I should have.

Please enjoy some non-wildlife pictures from the day.




Blazing New Trails.

Well, hello there.

Yes, I have been fairly absent. Mason Young Life has started back up and my life has been pretty much all about that. Little time for new adventures. This past week I walked/ran 2 new trails though, and they were pretty exciting.

On Friday I went with 2 Mason students to the Bull Run Trail. This has an entrance in Clifton, out by Hemlock. I mention that I went with 2 other people because I tried going to this trail a few months ago by myself but got freaked out and turned around after a few minutes. What freaked me out? I didn’t have cell phone reception and there were zero other people. I felt like it was the perfect recipe for an abduction. I’m not exactly sure what 2 other people would do, other than make it a mass abduction, but I felt better about it.  Turns out, this place is beautiful. It is a trail right by a big stream/small river. We didn’t end up walking that far, instead we waded in the water. It was pretty great, and I have to wonder why it is such an undiscovered gem?





On Saturday, I told Maria I would do a long run with her. She is running a half marathon this weekend. I did everything possible to set myself up for failure: didn’t sleep very much, didn’t drink very much and didn’t eat very much either. The only thing I did right was find a good place to run. We decided to run a trail at Manassas Battlefield. She needed to run 11 miles, and they have 2 loops-one is 5.5 miles and the other 6.something. We set out to run the 5.5 mile one twice. I can’t speak for Maria, but I felt like curling up into a ball for a long time after one loop. She decided to go on to the longer loop second and I kept going on the first (knowing I wasn’t going to do the whole thing). We both turned around before too long and headed to Peterson’s for a reward.

The trail is good for running though. It is pretty, not too many people on it and varied scenery. All in all, it was way more successful than it should have been. I was too busy sweating to take pictures, but here is one from the internet.



Singing instead of Fountains

You’ll be happy to know the adventures of Hannah and B continue this year. These adventures take me into the land of the stay at home mom.  As an outsider, I believe I can see things with a clearer eye.

Today, I took B to the fountains at the Mosaic District (our favorite hot spot). Much to our chagrin, there was a lady there with a guitar instead. What makes people suspend what they know is good and bad when they have kids? I am not saying everyone does it, but it does seem to happen.

The lady with the guitar was singing songs with huge gaps in between verses as she maneuvered the kids she was using as props around the “stage” (actually just the sidewalk). As she pleaded for people to participate, I promise I saw more grown ladies’ arms than children’s.

B and I weren’t buying it. IMG_0389


Do you remember me? Hannah’s long lost friend, Maria? I know, it’s been a while, but I’ve been busy living the dream this summer. I just got back from Hawaii, something I NEVER thought I would get to do! My completely awesome friend Jessica invited me to come with her for her 30th birthday celebration and of course I gladly accepted. Her parents are there for about a month, and they used to live on the island when Jessica was little, so they definitely know their way around. We had a built in chaffeaur and tour guide service for the entire week! There are so many things to blog about from that week, so I’ll break it up into a few posts.

One of my favorite things we did was going to Pearl Harbor and seeing the USS Arizona Memorial and USS Missouri. Sadly and thruthfully, I always think those kind of things will end up being boring, but this tour was completely awesome. It was so moving to see where the USS Arizona was below the water line and where the memorial was built right on top of it. The USS Missouri was awesome to see too. It was fascinating to see what a working ship looked like and felt like. I can’t imagine living on their for months at a time!

Here are some pictures of our day. Get pumped, I’m coming back soon with shark dive stories and pictures.

The USS Missouri:

919317_10100146956704836_1925997057_o1167453_10100146956789666_831742793_o (2)1167641_10100146956969306_378033422_o1096945_10100146957064116_603235447_o1167213_10100146957318606_1338420890_o1172414_912620354712_1209506599_o1094746_912620539342_490517492_o1097300_912620444532_1117408133_o1116046_912619935552_1071755971_o


And the USS Arizona Memorial:



This is just the beginning of the awesome week! Back later for more.


Radio Silence

Most springs and summers I get on a running kick. This year is no exception, in fact I am getting ready for the Army 10 miler in October. I run in a variety of pretty places where I see things like this:


or this:


Normally, I am listening to something like this:

(I don’t know why this video won’t embed. It is infuriating me-but I think you’ll be happy if you click on it.)


I like to keep things varied while I run.

BUT, the other day I had lunch with my friend Alison and she was telling me how much she was enjoying running listening to nothing. That’s crazy, I thought, no chance I could go longer than 5 minutes listening to nothing.  But, in the honor of  Never Have I Ever, I thought I would give it a shot.

I decided I would have some time to think, pray, and reflect. Some time to be quiet and watch the things around me. But, I’d bring my headphones just in case.

I have to tell you it was way more successful than I thought. Although I did have trouble hearing my thoughts over my loud breathing, I was able to think about some things I have been pushing out of my head and pray for some things I wouldn’t have otherwise. Alison was right!

AND, I ran further than I have from my house this summer. Success.


(But, I may go back to Beyoncé tomorrow. Who knows?)

Choices by Shawn

My friend Jen is about to leave for a semester in Korea, so we decided to celebrate with a big American breakfast. I haven’t found the perfect breakfast spot just yet, but I had heard great things about Choices By Shawn and we decided to try it out. What a name, am I right people? What a strange name.

Choices by Shawn is known to be a gluten friendly kind of place, but also just plain delicious. It is in a big old house right in Fairfax City.

vsco_1It has all the charm you want from a good breakfast place. Not a chain, a place to sit outside, steaming hot coffee,  and delicious eggs and pancakes. Do you really need any more in a Saturday morning? I challenge you to think of more.

Choices (the shortened name is still weird) has a system for gluten free diners. You get a red card upon arrival


And your meal is to be served on a red plate. Ever heard of the Scarlett Letter? Yeah, my sentiments exactly.


The pancakes were delicious, red plate or not. I was served an entire bowl of butter. A good morning was had by all. Jen had eggs, biscuits and gravy. The gravy was a much darker brown than what I am accustomed to, not exactly photogenic, but she said it was good. I think I might have found the breakfast spot I have been searching for all these years.



I can’t think of a comedian with greater impact than Jerry Seinfeld.  His show ended 15 years ago, yet people still watch it and talk about it as if it were new.  I know he is famous without the show, but that is remarkable in my book.

Here are some things about Seinfeld I hope you aren’t missing:

1. Modern Seinfeld on Twitter. These tweets are one of the reasons I keep checking that thing.

Screen Shot 2013-08-13 at 9.24.08 AM

I know Seinfeld has nothing to do with these tweets, but I can’t stop imagining a whole episode surrounding the tweets. Mission accomplished anonymous tweeter.

2. Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee. You have probably all seen these. I think that because everyone I mention it to has, which leads me to the point that I am mad at anyone who holds this kind of information from me.  In these episodes Jerry goes to pick up a comedian in some sort of fancy car and they go get coffee. They spend a lot of time together, but the whole thing lasts less than 20 minutes. I wish I could see more, but I like thinking about what the rest of the time must have been. I love these because it is clear that Jerry Seinfeld appreciates the other comedians so much.

I tried to pick my favorite one, but I really like all of them. The second season has longer episodes but the first season has some real classics.




Stuck in an Elevator


My friend Emily got married last weekend in Charlotte. Emily and I met when I was 16 and we were working at Saranac for work crew. It was such a fantastic month and we have been friends ever since.  It was a great weekend, but definitely a weekend full of Never Have I Evers.

Never Have I Ever been to Charlotte.


(I loved it and have thought about moving there ever since.)

Never Have I Ever been to a wedding completely alone really knowing only the bride.


(It was fantastic, her friends are very welcoming and made it so easy.)

Never Have I Ever been to a dry bar.


(These are very in…it is a place that dries your hair-I know you are thinking that sounds excessive, if you had my hair you wouldn’t think so. You would be asking why I don’t do it more often. Trust me.)

But the most exciting, Never Have I Ever been stuck in an elevator.

Emily’s wedding was at the Foundation for the Carolina’s in Charlotte. It is a museum downstairs, where the ceremony was, and upstairs has a reception area on the rooftop. It was really beautiful.

Nice big cat, want it?

Nice big cat, want it?

To get upstairs we had to take the elevator. They said there were only stairs to get down from the fourth floor-not up. I am still scratching my head over that one.  There were only 2 elevators and over 100 people.  The elevators were not fast-moving.  Everyone was eager to get up to the party, so we jammed the elevator full.

I am not exactly sure how many people ended up on that elevator, or how many people over capacity it was. We pressed the 4 and waited. No one said anything negative for a few minutes. We were full of hope and anticipation for the night. After what felt like an eternity someone asked, “Are we moving?” Nope, sure didn’t feel like it. It became clear that we were moving, but going up and down. Someone pressed the alarm, which didn’t seem to do much. With the ringing of the alarm and the up and down motion of the elevator, panic set in. I was in an elevator with at least 20 strangers and my fear of being confined was setting in. Sweat quickly formed and shallow breaths. I had to keep reminding myself to stay calm.

Finally the doors opened and released us into the basement of the building.


   You can see that some were eager to jump right back onto the elevator, while I waited, too scared to return. This picture I find so funny because I don’t know the person taking the picture, yet I am posing for them. Tragedy brought us together. I waited in the basement for at least 10 more minutes for another elevator to come back for us. I thought for a minute I might never get out.

I did, people, you can rest assured.


All was not lost due to that unfortunate event. It ended up being fantastic.

Congratulations, Emily!


Wrong Numbers

For the past few weeks I have been getting phone calls from an unnamed local number.

(that isn’t actually my phone).

Unknown callers bring out the real optimist in me. A secret admirer has found my number, someone wants to offer me a deal I can’t refuse on countless things, or the like.

I rarely think it is a courtesy call (which it always is).

This number was persistent. Day after day I would look down having just missed a call from them.  How is it possible?

This morning was my lucky day. The phone was ringing, now is my chance to meet my destiny.

“Hello?” I answer with an eager fervor.

Pause….an obvious sign of a courtesy call, “Hello, may I please speak to Mort?”

Dang you courtesy wrong numbers.