Monthly Archives: December 2013

Christmas Card

Most of you know my mom writes an epic Christmas poem each year full of rhymes and an update on our family since the last December. I have decided that maybe its about time to send out my own Christmas card this year. I could write a poem….oh who am I kidding? It couldn’t compare. Then I thought again. With the wedding so close and so many details to attend to, I would drive myself mad trying to get a nice letter out in time. It looks like I will wait for a new last name before you get a Christmas card in the mail from me.

I love reading cards from family and friends each December to look back on their year and see how much growth and change has occurred over the last 12 months. So much has happened for me in the last year, why not have a Christmas-cardblog ?  ( I made that word up).  I can write my heart out, and don’t have to limit myself to one 4×6 photo!Here goes!

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Since last Christmas card….

I headed back to my senior year at MU to get down to business. Whoever said senior year is a blow off, was definitely not an engineer. I completed my computer and electrical engineering capstone project: A high efficiency desensitized solarcell hydrogen generator. Yes, it was as complicated as it sounds. Somewhere in the mist of all the studying I was able to squeeze in a little fun on our epic snow days, a spring break trip to Gulf Shores,  and an amazing, Engineer’s week celebration and dance.


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In the spring I purchased an (almost) new car. It was the first time owning a car that was not almost as old as me. My 2011 Honda Civic treats me well driving back and forth from STL to KC and back, and boy do I love the amazing gas mileage! (34mpg!) I love knowing that my car is reliable, and that it is a product of my hard work and years of saving.

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In May came a long awaited graduation. So many loved ones came to celebrate with me and 12 (male) classmates received our Computer Engineering degrees. Yup that’s right. It was the only girl in my graduating class. It was quite the change from my graduation from CJA, all girls highschool, four years ago.

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During my time at MU, I worked as a part-time nanny for two amazing boys. It was tough to say good by to my two little ninjas. Its hard to believe that when I met them they were just 2 and a few months old!

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I said “good bye” to Columbia for now, but will always be a tiger at heart. I plan to stay involved at the University through my position on the Engineering Recent Alumni Board.

Life sped up real quick after graduation.  George and I set a wedding date, and got to planning. I spent my summer based out of STL planning for the next stages of my life, and traveling every change I had.

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Merry Christmas from the (almost) Terlep Family
Merry Christmas from the (almost) Terlep Family

A family trip to San Francisco was a great time! We visited Alcatraz, Yosmite, China town, Muir Woods, Golden Gate park, and much more (read about our adventures here!). I think we walked hundreds of miles on this trip. It was such great family time exploring a new city.

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I headed to South Africa with a group of engineering students from MU. We spent a week at a school outside of Capetown teaching students about engineering and promoting college education. It was a great experience to see how different our lives were, yet how our hearts are the same. We spend the rest of the trip exploring South Africa and on safari in Kruger national park.

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Our annual family trip table rock lake did not disappoint!

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On my birthday I moved across the state to Kansas City.  I decorated an apartment of my own, and even learned to cheer for the KC Royals.

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My very first “big girl job” has been more than I can ask for. I have found a perfect balance of my computer- nerd personality and my desire to work with, and help people.  I project manage and work on software for a health care technology company. I love being able to geek-out and see first hand how my work is impacting patient care in hospitals and everyday life.

Lately when I am not working, I am wedding planning, cooking, exercising, or traveling back to Columbia or St. Louis to spend time with George and family. I have had some great opportunity to reconnect with old friends at showers and bachelorette  festivities. I just couldn’t ask for more!

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December marked a second exciting graduation. My Chemical engineer has a great job to look forward to soon starting after the wedding.

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I have so many blessings in my life and so many people that have helped support me this year. I have loved meeting people though this blog, and sharing my thoughts, feelings, projects, and adventure with you all along the way. Thanks for reading. I wish each and everyone of you a very merry Christmas. My we all focus on the Lord in such a beautiful season as we share in love and traditions.

PS: Here is my Christmas gift to you all!

Attempted Christmas Eve Whitney Family Christmas pic
Attempted Christmas Eve Whitney Family Christmas pic

 

 

 

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Evil Did Not Win

Today marks the anniversary of an unthinkable tragedy.  My heart still aches for the families who lost their babies. The pain will surly stay with them forever. These moments are times that test our faith. I don’t think we will ever understand these tragedies, and it is so hard to accept that.

Here is a beautiful video about one mom and how she is responding to her pain. It is very inspirational.

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My prayers go out to those effected on this day, and to the sweet little angels who have gone before us.

Christmas cookies!

The best way to get in the holiday mood? Baking Christmas cookies! In high school, this became my thing. Sure the rest of the family helps, but primarily I run the show.  It’s the best! Usually crank them out on one night, just one batch after another , the sweet aroma fills the house, and I create a constant stream of dishes.  Lucky for me, baking at home means I have a dishes elf (aka Mom). She has a constant stream of dishes making sure the favorite spatula is clean and ready to be used for the next batch.

“Death by chocolate cookies”

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This year I had second thoughts about baking. On one hand, I have to fit in a pretty white dress in 24 days. On the other hand, my little kitchen is stocked with wonderful new gadgets just waiting to be put to use! I knew I couldn’t forgo cookies this year when I received an early wedding gift: the kitchen aid mixer! The cookie queen herself (my moms long time friend from work, Kathy)  brought over the gift early knowing it wouldn’t be Christmas without the cookies! She has been bringing over the most delicious baked goods since I was a wee baby.

Unfortunately, my dishes elf is now 4 hours away 😦 . Knowing  an apartment full of cookies would be dangerous for my figure, I called in for some backup.

Girls cookie night with these beautiful ladies!

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Baking with the besties!

I am so thankful for all the generous gifts and kitchen gadgets, they made baking even more fun! Check out my Christmas apron made by one of the “cousins”, Kathy, and that shiny new mixer (from the other Kathy).

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We made “death by chocolate” cookies and chocolate chip. What are your favorite cookies?

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Oh and side note: MK and Elizabeth took self-ies while I did all the work.

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Rest in Peace Mandela

Yesterday a great leader passed.  South Africa, and the world will mourn the death of President Nelson Mandela, a figure of great political change and peace.

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This summer I had the great pleasure of visiting South Africa and teaching engineering in a school outside of Cape Town. Although I had briefly studied Mandela in history books, it was not until my trip that I really had the chance to realize the impact this man had on an entire country, and ultimately a whole planet.  For the class  we were assigned to read  the book “Playing the Enemy: Nelson Mandela and the Game That Made a Nation”. To be completely honest, the book was not written in a style that made is an easy read. However the story was incredible.  If I could give one piece of advice to the world today it would be to watch the movie that tells the same story.

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Here is the trailer to the film.( Invictus trailer) Even if you are uninterested in sports or politics, I still highly recommend it.

During my visit to South Africa, President Mandela was in very poor health. They were not predicting he would make it through the week.  However his health did improve slightly towards the end of our trip, and were able to join in the celebration of his 95th birthday at his former home in Soweto (an urban area outside of Johannesburg). This celebration gave me goosebumps (you can read more about it, and the rest of my trip here). It was so incredible to be a witness a part of history  We signed a poster wishing him a happy birthday. The poster read,  “How privileged we are to live in your time” .

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When I heard the unfortunate news, I reached out to my friends in South Africa, the students from the school.  I wrote on our facebook page that their friends at Mizzou send our love and  prayers. My beautiful friend Paulcia said “His death will surely be the cause of a nation dividing”. Gosh it just broke my heart to hear her say this. The worst part, is that is could quite possibly be true.  I was there. I saw the museum of district 6. I bonded with so many students who’s lives were directly impacted by the changes this man influenced.  There is still a lot of work to be done there regarding equality for all races. There are still many people who harbor hatred for the blacks and coloreds of the country. They are stricken with poverty and prejudice.  With the death of Mandela, a symbol of hope and peace has perished.  It leaves me scared and sad of what this might mean for the country, and what it might mean for my friends at Bellville South. This could be a great opportunity for the nation to rise and unite, but it could also mean uproars of violence and political unrest.

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No he was not a prophet or god, but he instilled principles of peace and  acceptance. He came out of 27 years in prison ready to forgive and fight for the people who imprisoned him. I just can’t imagine how much strength it took for him to do the right thing when our human tendencies usually lean towards revenge, anger, self pity,  and  hatred.  Not only did he avoid these, but encouraged so many others to do the same.

I know I will probably not ever be a political figure  and change the habits of a city, let alone a country. Still his actions inspire me to do what is right and loving even when it feels hard. Even when I am hurt and want so badly to seek revenge, ignore, or hurt the person who betrays me, I can follow the example of acting with peace and most importantly love.

"In judging out progress as individuals, we tend to concentrate on external factors such as one's social position, influence and popularity, ealth and standard of education...but internal factors may be even more crucial in assessing one's development as a human being; humility, purity, generosity, absence of vanity, readiness to serve your fellow men - qualities within the reach of every human soul" - Mandela 1977
“In judging out progress as individuals, we tend to concentrate on external factors such as one’s social position, influence and popularity, ealth and standard of education…but internal factors may be even more crucial in assessing one’s development as a human being; humility, purity, generosity, absence of vanity, readiness to serve your fellow men – qualities within the reach of every human soul” – Mandela 1977

This is the Gospel. Even though we sin and turn our backs on the Lord, he sent us his son to love us and teach us how to love one another. It is so easy for us to forget this when we have been hurt.  I do not think that Mandela is a god or prophet, but I do think he is a great example. I have been inspired by him and his actions, and so have many others.  In 1989, he was quoted saying “I stand here before you not at a prophet, but as a humble servant of you the people”.  To me that is truly inspiring and humbling. I want to be a servant of love and peace in this world. To me, that may just mean I have the ability to impact my family, friends, and co workers, but if more people act in this way what a difference it could make.

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I pray that South Africa may mourn in peace and continue in the search of peace and love for one another.

God bless and sien jou later!

Scatterbrain

So they say when you get pregnant you get forgetful and scatterbrained. I don’t know about the pregnant part, but I think it must happen before you get married too. My mind is all over the place these days. I have so many to do lists and check lists I need a check list to keep them straight.  This post is in complete reflection of my thoughts…  all over the place.

At my bridal shower I had the cutest outfit with a white dress I borrowed from my friend Katie. I left the dress in KC…4 hours away from the shower. I ended up in STL with nothing but jeans and sweaters. This would have never happened to pre-bridal Julie. Normally I would have the dress, and three back ups. Lucky for me, my mom and I can share clothes and shoes. Even luckier, my sister convinced my mom to buy this cute dress the say before. It all worked out 🙂IMG_6329

Check out this gorgeous quilt my Grandma made for me and George. She is so talented.IMG_6319

Sisters are never too old for sleepovers. Shannon and I shared a room for (too) many years. Now that we don’t see each other all the time we always have so much to talk about when we do. She came to KC for cousin spa day and the night before, we stayed up late like old times chit chatting. I am looking forward to a visit to Dallas to check out her new digs 🙂

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I didn’t take many photos on Thanksgiving, I was too busy enjoying the family. (ps Shannon send me the pics from your camera). Lucky for me, I have very talented family. Cousins Lucy and Lanie preformed a delightful magic show and offered free portraits to follow. This piece of art currently adorns my fridge.  (notice the outfits!)2013-11-28 17.45.48

Yes we went black Friday shopping again this year. Nothing to crazy though. Shannon and I got up early to get free gift cards at Sports Authority and ran to a few more places. Mom had to work…(don’t they know this is a holiday?). She was able to snag a few bargain before heading in, but it just wasn’t the same.2013-11-29 05.26.12

Did I mention I love my family? These lovely ladies had me giggling all night with wine, champagne, lots of sweet snacks, and a really funny charades type game. I am lucky to have grown up close to so much great family close by. I really miss them. It’s been four months since I moved across the state. I have been loving the adventure and learning opportunity, but after a wonderful thanksgiving and shower, great girls night, and bowling for grandpa’s birthday it was hard to leave. I have been feeling kind of home sick this week 😦 2013-11-30 20.54.44

Oh and yes we are on the kitchen floor. There was plenty of couch and table space, but it just happened. When there is good food and good company we will just make ourselves comfy! 2013-11-30 22.20.56