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Allegra Vieux

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December 23, 2013

Home Again, Home Again, Jiggety-Jig

December 23, 2013 | By | 2 Comments

Hey blog world.

By now, you’ve probably figured out that it’s officially Christmas Break, almost 2 weeks in counting! I’ve successfully completed 2 TV series from Investigation Discovery on Netflix, along with a season of Desperate Housewives and 6 movies.

Aka, I’m bored out of my MIND.

At home I have my parents, my two little brothers, and my 2 dogs: Patch and Bailey. My dad has been out of town for work and his flight was delayed. My mom works all day. My brother, Alex, works 2 jobs when he’s not in classes. My baby brother, Asher, is a senior in high school, therefore his break just officially started…

and then there’s me & the dogs. I think I knew I was going crazy when I caught myself talking to them for extended periods of time. No need to be alarmed: They are intuitive, intelligent, and involved so the conversations were not lost on them. I only wish they could do more than bark and howl back at me. (pictured below: Bailey on the left and Patch on the right.)

Picture 10How I’ve kept myself occupied: Netflix, Pinterest, baking, and cleaning. Usually, I shop. But given that it’s Christmas I’ve decided to cut back on spending. Also an ice storm hit Oklahoma so that may have influenced my penny pinching decision.

I’m probably like a good 107% extrovert so it’s only killing me a little to be on break. The good news is my sister and nephew come home tomorrow (Tuesday,) my dad’s flight gets in around 9am, my mom took the week off, and Asher starts being around so I’m sure I’ll be sick of them in no time.

In the spirit of Christmas, I have a couple of gifts for my faithful 3 readers out there.

1. Free Music!

tymayfieldchristmassamplerI hope you’re enjoying the music playing above! It is a new Christmas song covered by my friend, Ty Mayfield. This year, he is giving away his Christmas Sampler on Noisetrade! It’s an upbeat, fun, bluesy/jazzy mix with some of his original songs (including a Christmas orig,) and the cover you’re listening to! You will LOVE it- Money back guarantee. Download it for FREE HERE !!!

2. My favorite Pinterest Recipe!

I’ve found the PERFECT chocolate chip cookie recipe on Pinterest…and I’m not normally one for actually doing what I pin! It’s amazing, therefore I will share it with you.

perfectchoccookie(Original post here: http://theperfectchocolatechipcookie.com/instruct.php)

Ingredients:

2 3/4 c  all-purpose flour
1 t baking soda
1 t salt
1/2 c unsalted butter at room temperature
1/2 c Crisco

1 c light brown sugar
1 c minus 2 T white sugar
2 large eggs
1 1/2 t vanilla
1 1/2 c semi-sweet chocolate chips

The key with these cookies is to follow directions closely! I’m not one for this either- every time a recipe tells me to do something oddly specific, I say to myself, “why??” and do it the easy way. I’ve tried to add comments for the picture-directions to help you identify the “why” behind the matter.

Picture 4Mixing the flour allows the final dough to have an even distribution of ingredients without over-mixing it.

Beating the butter and shortening gives the dough a better rise in the oven, making the cookies lighter. Butter is good for taste and shortening is good to make the cookie softer.

Picture 5Adding the chocolate chips before adding the flour evenly distributes them without over-mixing the final dough.  Do not over-mix or it will discolor the dough.

The flour to be just incorporated, is the point when you no longer see white spots of flour.  Do not overmix! Over-mixing will ruin the cookies.  They will bake flatter and look greasy.

Picture 6

When shaping the cookies, you will know if you have the fat/flour ratio right: too little flour- it will stick to your hands, forms a messy looking ball, just right- won’t stick to your hands, but just barely, forms a smooth ball, too much flour- dough has to be forced into a ball, crumbly dough, rough looking ball

The same problems occur when over-handling the dough as over-mixing it.  They will bake flat and look greasy.  Handle the dough as little as possible while still shaping them properly.

To freeze, place the dough balls on a plate side by side, cover and freeze at least an hour.  You can then bag them and they won’t be stuck together when you take them out.

Picture 7 Picture 8

 It takes most ovens much longer to preheat than when it beeps to tell you it’s ready.  An oven thermometer is very helpful.  When most ovens beep, they are usually 50-100 degrees too low.  It will ruin the cookies to bake them at the incorrect temperature.  Let the oven heat longer than it allows for “preheating.”

Determining when they are done:

underdone- the are tall, shiny in the middle, pale in color, fall apart when transfered, fall through on the cooling rack

perfect- domed, puffy, show a few signs of browning, look a bit underdone but are not shiny on the top, hold together during transfer It is important to wait 2 minutes before transferring them.  They continue to bake from the heat of the sheet without being over-baked in the oven.  Also, they will hold together better and be less likely to fall in the middle if you wait.

…And if they don’t look like the cookies above, here are the possibilities to what went wrong:

Picture 9

 

I hope you enjoy!

Have a holly jolly Christmas, and let me know how you feel about the music and the cookies!

Over and Out!

Allegra Vieux

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December 11, 2013

What Strategic Management taught me about Yoga Pants

December 11, 2013 | By | 10 Comments

yoga-allianceBlog world: It’s finals week. I’m not going to bore you with another post about it, but I did just kill my Strategic Management final. Whoop!

Strategic Management is the business capstone, and I learned so much in it that I couldn’t even begin to tell you about how awesome of a class it was. However, after taking my final, I feel pretty confident about the information I learned.

Has anyone been on Facebook lately? Can anyone tell me why I’ve read more about yoga pants than the fight for world peace in the last 3 months? I’ve seen so many religious/Biblical arguments on the subject, most of which are against wearing the polyester/spandex blend articles of clothing.

First of all, I don’t know why everyone has to agree one way or another about everything all the time. But since I’m forced to pick a side, I’m going to refrain from using Biblical references to manipulate my audience. The word of God doesn’t have much to say on Yoga pants specifically, so I’m not going to mold it to defend what I think it should defend. Instead, I’m going to walk you through everything I’ve learned in my Strategic Management class and bring hopefully a refreshing perspective.

Without further adieu, I present

What Strategic Management taught me about Yoga Pants

So in my class, we had to read 1. a text book, 2. Seven Habits of Highly Successful People by Stephen Covey, and 3. Good to Great by Jim Collins. The source of my information comes from those three books and the infinite wisdom of Dr. Jamie Myrtle.

In Covey’s book, the first habit of 7 is Be Proactive. The big idea is that our basic nature is to act, not to be acted upon. Holding people responsible for their actions is not demeaning, it is affirming. Don’t be scared off because of the language I’m about to use, because I’ll break it all down. Covey talks about the theories of determinism, aka, why we become who we become. Genetic determinism says “I am who I am because of my heritage or genetic makeup,” Psychic determinism says “I am who I am because of my upbringing and childhood circumstances,” and Environmental determinism says “I am who I am because of the environment around me.”

So there are a lot of things that can determine who we are if we allow them to. When we live using a reactive paradigm, this is essentially what it looks like.

stimulus-response

“Something else caused my reaction.” This is a victim mentality.

Covey talks about the space between the Stimulus and the Response. We have the freedom to choose. This is called being proactive. The model looks like this:freedom-to-chooseAll that to say, no one can force you to do anything. You have the opportunity to choose. Just because your mother makes chocolate chip cookies doesn’t mean you have to eat them. Just because someone cuts you off in traffic doesn’t mean your day is ruined. Just because a girl wears yoga pants doesn’t mean you have to lust after her. Similarly, just because a girl is wearing yoga pants doesn’t mean you have to be uncomfortable. The freedom to choose, friends. Look away. Are yoga pants form fitting? Yes. Are skinny jeans? Yes. The thing here is that they cover more than most shorts, skirts, or dresses. I’m not seeking to condemn, I’m just telling you how it is. People are going to wear these pants whether you rant about it on Facebook or not. Nobody’s forcing you to wear them, therefore: let’s not waste time and energy trying to force people out of them either.

In the book Good to Great, Collins talks about good vs. great leaders. There are 5 levels of leadership, as pictured below.

level-5 leadersThroughout the text, Collins compares level 4 and level 5 leaders. When things are going wrong inside an organization, a Level 4 Leader will “look out the window” to find it, or push blame on others. He/She will also “look in the mirror” when things are going well. This is where Level 4 and 5 leaders contrast.

Level 5 leaders look out the window to apportion credit to factors outside themselves when things go well (and if they cannot find a specific person or event to give credit to, they credit good luck). At the same time, they look in the mirror to apportion responsibility, never blaming bad luck when things go poorly.

When things in your life aren’t going well, do you look to yourself first, or to the outside world? If you are struggling with lust, do you first cast blame on all the yoga-pant wearing girls around you that you have no control over, or do you examine your own heart? If you are insecure about your body, do you blame the media or other girls who rock yoga pants, or do you look to the real issue: your own heart?

Don’t be thrown off by what I’m about to say.

The Macro-environment effects you. The external, uncontrollable factors in the environment will influence your decisions. We can evaluate which are the relevant factors in the macro-environment through a PESTEL analysis.

Political factors (taxes)

Economic conditions (local to worldwide, age distribution)

Sociocultural forces (ethnic values, family structure, cultural attitudes)

Technological factors (updates in cellphones, computers, electronics)

Environmental factors (the natural environment)

Legal/regulatory conditions (new legislature)

Hang with me.. it’s about to get easier. Okay so when we think about all of these factors, it totally makes sense that yoga pants are booming in the US of A, specifically in Economic and Sociocultural forces. People are busier than ever. Women are working and child-rearing. With the rise of divorce, there are many single, working moms. One of the things I like about fashion is that it follows societal trends, not the other way around. Due to all of this, women feel more free to wear their workout clothing in the midst of picking up groceries from the store while the kids are at soccer practice after working 8-5 with a 30 minute workout at the gym over lunch. Fashion followed this- it is now trendy to wear yoga pants in public. The factors in the macro-environment have led to the popularity of comfortable, chic, informal clothing. If you just don’t like the trend, that’s a completely other argument. If you think there is a moral issue with the trend, then you are saying there is a moral issue with the entire society, and your yoga-pants argument is illogical. Fight what the real issue is here, such as women raising children on their own- volunteer to help some single moms in your community.

Okay it’s time to land this plane. As I know that everyone will continue to argue this subject, I would like to assist you in doing so. In Covey’s novel, he discusses a Win-Win character. Here are the 6 fundamental attitudes about conflict you can have in life.

  1. Win-Win: Both interests are met
  2. Win-Lose: I win, you lose
  3. Lose-Win: Victim mentality, people pleasing
  4. Lose-Lose: War. 2 people who won’t back down from their interests
  5. Win: I don’t care what you lose, I just win
  6. Win-Win or no deal: Both interests are met regardless of how long it takes to work it out

The point is this. People are more likely to hear your point of view if you listen to theirs first. There is difference between listening and waiting to respond. Be sure to stop formulating your argument to listen to the interests of those around you. Maybe we can find common ground this way instead of an ageless argument.

Okay so that’s what I learned this semester. I’d like to thank Professor Myrtle for the wisdom. Peace, Love and Yoga Pants.

Over and Out!

 

 

 

 

Allegra Vieux

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December 3, 2013

Going to Juarez, be right back!

December 3, 2013 | By | One Comment

Hey blog world!

So I spent last weekend in Juarez. Crazy, I know, but it was pretty tranquil and the people were wonderful.

I went with my gorgeous friend Taylor. Her grandparents have a branch of Compassionate Ministries, which gives relief to areas in the world through supplies. Normally, they make a trip to Mexico before Christmas to give Nazarene pastors and their families gifts and clothing and other various things in time for the cold, winter season. They have a banquet and there are like 20 pastors from the area with their whole families in a restaurant. Taylor and I went in place of her grandparents this year. She speaks English and French, so my pseudo-Spanish skills came in handy. We flew to El Paso Friday night, met up with the other 6 people on our team, went into Juarez for most of the day Saturday, and flew home Sunday. It was quick! Don’t worry, I documented our weekend.

This is how we remembered where we parked at the airport.

This is how we remembered where we parked at the airport.

Successfully across the border! I love this city.

Successfully across the border! I love this city.

This is Juanita. She is a pastor's wife with a killer sense of humor. She many times offered her school aged boys to me when I commented on how cute they are. Hilarious!

This is Juanita. She is a pastor’s wife with a killer sense of humor. She many times offered her school aged boys to me when I commented on how cute they are. Hilarious!

Taylor, Ana, and baby Santiago! Ana is a pastor in Mexico and this is her nephew! Her brother (Santiago's dad) is also a pastor, and they look just the same.

Taylor, Ana, and baby Santiago! Ana is a pastor in Mexico and this is her nephew! Her brother (Santiago’s dad) is also a pastor, and they look just the same.

Me with my new friends! They are wonderful women of God and like to laugh!

Me with my new friends! They are wonderful women of God and like to laugh!

Me and Taylor at the airport. Isn't she adorbs??

Me and Taylor at the airport. Isn’t she adorbs??

Okay so I’m also kind of a jerk friend. Because Taylor doesn’t speak Spanish and would mostly smile and nod along with whatever I said, I may or may not have misrepresented her multiple times. For one, I asked the pastors if they had any single young men in their congregations because my friend wants to get married to a Mexican man. Then told them it was a practical joke. Juanita heard what I said, and responded with, “Tell her if she marries a Mexican man he’ll want her to have 8 kids!” (this captures her sense of humor tremendously.) People also asked if she was the Doctor’s granddaughter, and then asked what her name was. Taylor isn’t exactly a name in Spanish, so after a couple people struggled through her name I came up with a solution. Her name sounds very close to the Spanish word for “trailer,” so I told them just to call her “Tráiler.” Problem solved!

Here are some obligatory pics from Thanksgiving. I got inspired by my hours of Pinterest endeavors.

We even spray painted the sticks navy blue.

We even spray painted the sticks navy blue.

Yeah my family never decorates for Thanksgiving.

Yeah my family never decorates for Thanksgiving.

yeah we never set the table either.

yeah we never set the table either.

We do this a lot.

We do this a lot.

I know. My nephew Lennox is the cutest.

I know. My nephew Lennox is the cutest.

Also the Today Show stopped by campus this afternoon to shoot a story about Granny Franny. I made the B-Roll, but Joelle Garguilo is the best! She seriously has a heart of gold and loves life. Thanks for hanging out with us, Joelle!

JoelleGarguilo

…Random events make for a random blog post.

Over and Out!

 

 

Allegra Vieux

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November 16, 2013

Tis the Season

November 16, 2013 | By | No Comments

(Please enjoy the sweet sounds of Sleeping At Last while reading this post)

Attention Blog World:

You may have been misled by our blogfeed as of this week. You may think based on the title of this post that the current season is that of TWIRP, which as you have probably figured out by now stands for MNU’s annual tradition: The Woman Is Required To Pay. While I did not TWIRP anyone, (see my post about dating,) I’m here to introduce a new topic to our faithful 6 readers out there.

The holidays are upon us! It’s official. Thanksgiving is less than 2 weeks away, Christmas is 40 days away, and the new year is 47 days out! (ish-depending on how you count.)

I have spent approximately 40 hours this week on Pinterest looking at fun Christmas decor and Christmas crafts and Christmas vegan crockpot recipes, all the while listening to Christmas music. The Target Christmas commercial really gets me in the mood and I’ve been to Target about 3 times this week just meandering throughout the seasonal section. I love the Holidays!

Now, before you formulate your comment about how much you hate that I’m skipping over Thanksgiving and jumping right to Christmas or how Christmas is too materialistic, I’d like to address them right off the bat.

1. Happy Holidays is about the season, not the individual days.

I think it’s absolutely absurd that Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Years have to be separate. When I say “Christmas,” I’m not talking about one single day- It’s the season. The one thing I’m thankful for most is Christ, so the whole season is a time to be Thankful. To separate the holidays is to abide by the materialistic component. There is no research in what I’m about to say, but I think it’s poetic that the Christmas season is kicked off by Thanksgiving: a time to reflect on all the things we are thankful for, which then leads into the birth of our Savior, which is the top of the Thankfulness chart, and then into New Years- a time to put our reflection to action start new.

2. Focus on the lasting, not the passing.

It’s possible to focus on the lasting memories made at Christmas time, and not just the passing material gifts. Let me give you an example: I was in 1st grade and woke up on a snowwy Lawrence morning to what seemed like a MILLION Christmas presents under the tree. It’s always been one of my mom’s things to make sure that we open presents for hours- One year when we were broke, she even wrapped up necessities like cleaning supplies and a new toilet seat to give us the “Christmas Miracle” feel. ANYway, while I remember waiting patiently to open what felt like my hundred presents, I don’t remember what I got, except one prized gift.

Picture 3 Picture 4

Yes, my Nsync “Home for Christmas” album. I’m listening to it as I type! While it may be that I remember this moment so clearly because I then and still on occasion believe Justin Timberlake is who the Lord has set aside for me, it meant so much to me that my mom went the extra mile. She took interest into what I was interested in, which is the biggest service you can do for a person IMO (in my opinion.) I didn’t even ask for this CD, but she knew how much I love(d) Nsync and got a special CD for me and even marked it, “From Santa.” I totes knew it wasn’t from Santa because I didn’t put it in my letter I sent him, and that made me love it even more. It’s not about the gift, it’s about the demonstration of love.

3. “The Man” is not out to get you.

As a marketing student, I can tell you that I’ve had a lot of conversations about campaign ideas, none of which started out with, “How are we going to drive America into materialistic death today,” OR “We gotta get those people to stop focusing on the God component of Christmas and more on the cheap crap they’re gonna need under the tree.” If you feel like you are having a hard time focusing on “the reason for the season,” it’s not because of advertisements, it’s because of overindulgence. I’m just as guilty of this as the next American Citizen. Turn off the TV, put down the ads, stop filling your Cartwheel coupon book. The things advertised are not meant to be the focus of your holiday- they are meant to enhance it. It’s kind of like makeup. Makeup is not your beauty, it just enhances it. (Realizing that this as well as any other analogy eventually breaks down, don’t think about it too hard.) It is your own choice to be consumed by consumerism, so take some responsibility.

While it seems like the whole world revolves around Christmas this time of year, it is definitely important to realized that it doesn’t. For many people, Christmas is just another day. It is a privilege to be able to take time off and spend even a day with loved ones reflecting on all that we are thankful for.  A heart wrenching statistic I recently read was that 100 million people in our world are homeless. A related stat estimates that 80% of humans trafficked are homeless when taken. This post is not to guilt you by any means, but it is important to keep in mind the bigger picture. Slaves don’t get time off with their families.

I found this Slavery Footprint tracker online through Amor’s Blog. I was shocked to know that I personally employ 43 slaves. It takes like 5 minutes to calculate, and I would encourage you to try it.

Picture 7

While you may have many different feelings regarding your results, I want to encourage you that there are things you can do this Christmas to contribute to making our world a better place. Part of my internship this summer was creating an advent calendar called “24 Days of Disruption.” This is a cool 24 day challenge to Disrupt your ordinary Christmas and become more Christ focused this season.

Here’s a blog post with more information: Picture 6

If you don’t click any other link I’ve provided, please read and watch more about this. Do Christmas differently this year. As your pinning your crafts and shopping for gifts and baking pumpkin bread, remember to take time and think about those who are not as fortunate. Commit to 24 Days of Disrupt and start new traditions to drive out the American tradition of worshiping “stuff” in the Christmas season. Take responsibility and action: you have been called to live a life higher than an imprisonment by your own things.

Happy Holidays!

Over and out!

 

 

Allegra Vieux

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November 13, 2013

Mission Impossible

November 13, 2013 | By | 4 Comments

Hello Blog World.

This video is part of the worship service at my church on Sunday. Funny story about that.

So I guess you could say I’m the type of person that likes new things. I like trying/starting new things, and it doesn’t take much for me to get really EXCITED. I enjoy looking for new music, activities, playing new games, going new places, etc. And on the contrary, I get really bored with the same things over and over. I get bored easily and withdraw most often. I lose interest and move on to something… well.. new.

Last year in chapel, a guy came and spoke about Moses and his staff. He talked about how Moses, somewhere along the lines, acquired his staff, and no matter what situation Moses was in, God used the staff to help him lead the Israelites. He related the staff to our degrees. The main idea was that we could all be church planters regardless of our degrees, and we could all go into ministry and yada yada.

Then he said the words “We’ll have free pizza in the Tipping Point tonight and talk more about…” and I pretty much didn’t listen after that because I was so there. (in addition to new things, I really like free things.)

So I go to this meeting to hear about what the church planting process looks like from the ground up, because it has always interested me. Side note-I helped with a church plant on the plaza not too long ago, and it was really cool to see it come together. We met in the movie theater to attract people who were looking for a more casual worship experience and hopefully bring in some who weren’t comfortable walking into a church building. So I’m at this meeting enjoying new people and eating pizza that I didn’t pay for, and then like 5 guys who were all planting churches in the area talked about their vision for their individual plants, and proceeded to try and recruit us MNU students to help them out.

Okay so I’ll admit that I wasn’t super interested. I had just gotten settled into a church in Olathe and was making connections and really felt like I was in the right place. Our worship was awesome, our preaching was out of this world, and people were going down to the altar in masses of like 17 every week. I was cool with it. Also, it was a big congregation so I didn’t really have to be involved, although I was going to Bible study and giving and all that jazz. The point of this is, as soon as we were dismissed I tried to bolt out of that place because I didn’t want to lose my life to promoting a new church especially knowing how much school work I had to do.

Then, to my dismay, this dude Jonathan stopped me and started asking me about my life.

If you don’t know me, I’m a talker. and because I like meeting new people and new things, I became a little intrigued.  He said, “My hope is that we’ll be meeting in the movie theater in Overland Park at 135th and Antioch.” 2 things about this jumped out: 1. My Aunt and Uncle live 10 blocks north of that theater and 2. I helped plant a church once in a movie theater. So he gave me his business card, told me to email him because he wanted to talk about marketing ideas with me. So I gave him a fake smile and nod and told him I’d be in touch. he he he

Yeah okay so he somehow remembered my name and found me because I got an email from a professor asking if it was okay for him to give my email to this guy. Dang. I was like, “okay yeah I guess…”

So then after approximately 16 emails (I made it nearly impossible for him to get a hold of me,) I finally responded and he took me to Starbucks. We talked about social media and analytical junk that I won’t bore you with, then he asked me to meet every week. I was like, uhhh peace out. (Actually I probably went one or two more times for the free Starbucks and then told him I was busy.)

Since we’re being honest, I was getting a little interested, but not enough to exert much effort. Well this Jonathan dude exerted a lot of effort and sent me an email for kick-off Sunday with the order of service and a list of who was working where.

and….

there…

was…

my…

name.

I was like, dang. This poor guy doesn’t get it. I guess I’ll show up this week, help with Audio/Visual, and then let him down gently. Because at least this way, I can say I tried and it just wasn’t for me.

So 9 months later I still go to this church and it’s not because I don’t have the heart to tell this guy that I’m not interested. I guess you could say I fell in love? It ended up that this church was like, designed for me. I still help with A/V and want to be even more involved. Turns out, this Jonathan guy can bring the word like nobody’s business. Then there’s Hurley and Tim: They are real musicians who have real musician friends who they bring with them to lead worship every week. Translation: It’s always different! This week, Hurls brought her rapper friend Rye-On and he free-styled  during the set. It was incredible.

So in the spirit of new and free, I have to give a shameless plug for Tim Cone, who also leads us in worship at Mission Church.

Picture 1 Picture 2

If you go to spacesuitmusic.com you get his new album for free. I don’t promote things that suck, so you should probably just go do it. It’s amazing and I’ve had it on repeat all day. I’ll make it even easier for you: Follow this link! NEW FREE MUSIC FROM TIM CONE

aaaaaanndd if you’re ever in the area, I would definitely recommend Mission Church KC. Never a dull moment!

Over and Outtt!

 

Allegra Vieux

By

November 4, 2013

Nazarene Musical 3

November 4, 2013 | By | No Comments

…This is my life.

Meet my friends Konner, Jonathan, Will, Charles, and Josh.

Watch More Here!

There are days when I feel like my whole life is a musical… and that’s probably because it is.

Over and Out!

 

Allegra Vieux

By

October 30, 2013

Mourning the Death of a Relationship: A word for the hurting, the healing, and the hating

October 30, 2013 | By | No Comments

man_crying

crying-girlBreaking up is hard to do.

I can’t take credit for that wisdom, but in my experience, it is true.

When a relationship ends, it’s almost as if a whole person dies. When 2 people come together and form a dating relationship, the dynamic of the couple is like a 3rd friend. When that time is over, it’s like the third friend has left on bad terms, or even died but no one wants to acknowledge it. It affects everyone around, even those who weren’t involved. The two newly single people can catch a glimpse of each other from across campus and everyone within the local zip code feels the tension. I think it has something to do with quantum physics, but I’m no science major so don’t quote me on that.

There are 3 major people groups involved in a break up, as listed below:

1. The Hurting: The one who got broken up with- maybe didn’t see it coming.

2. The Healing: The one who broke off the relationship.

3. The Hating: The friends of the couple, or highly opinionated acquaintances.

Keep in mind that in whatever I’m about to say, I’m on your side. I’m writing as the completely unbiased third party, and won’t give you half-truths. There are absolutely situations that one person is completely wrong, but this is from the stand point that things just didn’t work out. If you are in any of these positions, I feel for you. It’s aca-awkward. So let’s dive in and relieve the tension.

To The Hurting: Be glad you’re not in a relationship with someone that doesn’t value you for all that you’re worth. Last week I kind of put Bruno Mars on blast, but the dude also has good things to say. For example, I wake up to “Treasure” every morning. The whole song is a booster, but there is a line that is fitting for this subject.

You’re wonderful, flawless, ooh, you’re a sexy lady”

Lady or gentleman, you are wonderful. You are flawless. You are sexy! These are all Biblical. Don’t mistake a relationship fizzling as a reflection of your identity. The addition of a significant other does not change who you are. The absence of a significant other does not change who you are. I have no reason to lie. You are a dream come true. A masterpiece- Don’t get in your head and make everything a reflection of you. Start listening to the truth and tuning out the lies. To quote B. o. B., “You the whole package, plus you pay your taxes.” I know for a fact the first statement is true, and if the second is true, then you’re set for life.

To The Healing: Props to you for having the courage to end something that isn’t going any further. It’s never easy to let someone down, but the shorter the delay, the better. You may be concerned that your sig (or in this case ex-sig) is drowning themselves in tears or cookie dough ice cream, but don’t take that on. Don’t give yourself the credit of making or breaking someone’s life. Sure, this is painful for everyone involved, but you’re not the center of the universe, therefore, you cannot send anyone into an apocalypse. They will be fine and so will you. Be prepared though- this takes time. Don’t expect to go back to being friends within moments of ending it. That’s not good for you or them. Let them lay low for a while, and don’t force a conversation or moment to happen.

To The Hating: This blog is mostly for you. If you are a friend of a sig, then there’s no such thing as a third party. You probably have opinions. You probably have the best of intentions in supporting your friend. Sometimes, the lines of supportive and destructive get blurred. Things that start so positive end really horribly, like the riot in the movie, Hot Rod.

hotrod5If you’re not familiar with the movie, the main character, Rod, played by Andy Samburg, is trying to raise funds for his dying stepfather’s heart transplant. While on his way to the fundraising event, the whole community comes alongside him and walks together with him. The song “You’re the Voice” by John Farnham plays over the dialogue and it is truly an inspiring moment in a weird, satirical movie. (Side note- this is my FAVORITE movie ever! Watch it if you haven’t because your life will be CHANGED!) Then the inevitable happens: a riot breaks out and the whole moment is killed in a matter of seconds.

I’m going to go as far to say that this actually happens more often on campus than we acknowledge. For example, a couple splits and the girl and guy go back to their respective same gender friends. The said friends both start consoling The Hurting and The Healing, and come alongside them in support. Somewhere along the lines, the opposing party (usually, The Healing,) becomes the enemy and it is a battle to get as many people in your army as possible. Tearing others down won’t make anyone any higher. This brings me to my first point:

Blowing out someone else’s candle will not make yours shine brighter.

One time, it was one of my professor’s 50th birthdays. My friend Emily and I got a small cake for him with 50 trick candles on top. We waited for him to go to class and proceeded to light all of said candles with the intention of disrupting his class and having a good laugh. The plan backfired. We definitely disrupted his class, because the flames came together and created one HUGE flame measuring up to 2 feet in height and nearly causing the entire business building to burn down. We busted into class, sang happy birthday, and then he made a wish, and tried to blow them out. This was the moment when I decided I hated trick candles, because the flames came back with a vengeance. The Lord was on our side, as it was a rainy day, and we RAN through the first floor of Metz, burst outside, and launched the now wet candles into the bushes. The cake was covered in rainbow wax and riddled in holes.. DEFINITELY inedible.

What if we, took our candles, and put them together to burn bright, instead of using them like torches to lead a riot? Maybe this is corny, but what if we loved our neighbors by supporting the good instead of condemning the bad? When talking to our Hurting and Healing friends, let’s make a point of reaffirming their qualities instead of bashing the bad. Forget boyfriend bonfires and remember the candle fiasco: it will change your paradigm.

What do you do if your Hurting friend is bashing their Healing ex-sig? It’s easy to jump on the wagon and want to join in with what they are saying. This brings me to my next point:

Not everything is black and white.

Keep in mind that the side of the story you are hearing when your friend is upset is tainted and not the most accurate. Don’t take those statements to the bank. Reaffirm your friend, and keep their candle shining, maybe even relight the flame. Use your powers for good and not for evil.

Do we all remember when Brad Pitt and Jennifer Aniston were married? They were my favorite Celebrity couple second only to Nick Lachey and Jessica Simpson. I remember the day like it was yesterday: I was watching Newly Weds on MTV and the screen went black for a Public Service Announcement: that Brad and Jen called it quits. People went nuts! If people were in support of Jen, then they wore pink ribbons, but if they were for Brad, they wore blue ribbons. It originally had to do with Aniston backing Breast Cancer Awareness, known world wide for the pink ribbon, and Angelina Jolie with the blue ribbons for Child Abuse Awareness, and because Brad switched partners he switched causes or something… the point is that choosing sides and viewing things as black and white gets you no where except for down a destructive road leading to drama, and nobody wants that!

Real talk though- One of the things I think Christians miss the most is unconditional love. It’s a tough concept to grasp. This brings me to my final point:

It is possible to support a person without supporting their decisions.

We’ve all heard the stories about the engaged couple we don’t agree with and the battle among the friends on deciding if they are going to go to their wedding or not because they don’t support the marriage. Perhaps you’ve had to decide whether you’re going to a wedding or not, or maybe you’ve just had to decide if you’re going to buy Miley’s new song because it’s catchy but you don’t want to support her craziness. Similar principle.

I don’t preach often. But this is a subject that gets me hyped.

I don’t think Jesus died to give us the power to judge and condemn and make known our opinions. He died to give us life abundant. To not support someone because of their decisions is the farthest thing from the Jesus way of life. Jesus went to the cheating tax collector’s home and shared a meal with him. He hung out with the prostitutes and touched the sick and unclean. And what’s cool is, despite my decisions, regardless of my actions, and irrespective of my choices, He’s there for me and continues to support me. If He didn’t, that would be conditional love, and our gospel would look a whole lot different.

Let’s now apply this to a break up among our friends: You may not agree with The Healing’s decision to end things. That doesn’t give you the right to step in and assume the role of God by judging them based on their actions. This does not give you divine permission to hate them, start a riot and put people against them. That is called slander, and the Word of God is clear about this. You may not have agreed with The Hurting’s decision to date The Healing in the first place. That doesn’t give you the right to bash anyone. People of the Christian world: Can we please eliminate the expectation of meeting a certain living standard to start loving and accepting others? If this were the law we lived by, we would have no need for the cross, and I, personally, would be screwed.

I want to leave you on a lighter note- and I think this video below sums up everything nicely. Watch how Sophia Grace builds up Miley with the truth and just radiates with love for her. Let’s love both The Hurting and The Healing the way these little ladies love everyone!

Sophia Grace and Rosie on Ellen

If you made it this far, then well done!

Over and Out!

 

 

Allegra Vieux

By

October 22, 2013

Relationship Advice From an Unlikely Source

October 22, 2013 | By | 24 Comments

 

Picture 14

My beautiful engaged friend, Kyndra and her fiance Justin.

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My wonderful engaged friends Sam and Abi. Poster children!

My dear friends of MNU Blogs,

It seems like among high school and college aged students, relationships are the hot topic. I don’t know about you readers out there, but at least 75% of my conversations are about finding “the one” or dating or “talking” or something of the matter. This week alone I’ve had about 7 conversations about dating and relationships and it’s only Tuesday.

I find myself pondering the question: Why are these people coming to me? I’m not qualified to answer their questions and here are some of the reasons why I’m probably the worst person to come to:

  1. I’m happily single and feel that college should be about spending as much time with as many people as possible before we leave. (Side note: I am a founding co-president of MNU’s unofficial evangelical organization TSFL: Team Single For Life.)
  2. I don’t usually know anything about the relationship at hand. Most of the time, I don’t even know the significant other (from here on referred to as “sig,”) so I am completely one sided.
  3. I am blunt. I tell things like it is.  I’m not good at telling people what they want to hear when it’s not true.

On the other hand, maybe all of these things actually qualify me to give advice more. I don’t waste time in dating relationships if I know they’re not going anywhere. I am 100% PRO whoever I am talking to (we all need one of those friends.) And, I don’t waste my time sugar-coating the facts. Just today I was talking to a good friend of mine and she said, “Hey, you should write a blog. You have such good advice.” Well, it’s Tuesday, so here we go.

May I present: Relationship Advice From an Unlikely Source: The completely blunt unbiased third party advice you’re looking for in your relationship.

I remember when I was 16 and visiting some friends from my hometown. I asked my BFFL Kimberly about another one of our friends. “Is she going out with that guy??” and the words she said back to me are forever burned into the front of my mind. “Well, they’re talking.” I asked her to explain what this meant, and she said something ambiguously alluding to not officially dating but talking to each other exclusively and occasionally going out on dates. This brings me to point #1.

1. Talking is Dating, so call it what it is.

People act like if they say they are dating someone, then they are forever tied to them and have to marry them. NEWSFLASH: that would be called an engagement.

Hey, speaking of dating, whatever happened to guys asking girls out on dates? You know, the good ole fashioned dinner and skating at the local roller-rink? With the advances in technology, it seems like nowadays people are texting every minute of the day until one day a photo album on Facebook shows up called “I SAID YES!!!!!” This brings me to point #2.

2. If you aren’t going off campus together, you’re going nowhere together.

Let me speak to the ladies for a moment: You are worth a guy taking the time to ask you out on formal dates. You are worth a guy not being worried about what people will think if his partners in crime see him with you. He should be proud to be with you! Enough of this ridiculous virtual relationship stuff. Demand the best because you ARE the best. And you don’t have to take my word for it: the Bible spells it out. Check it out sometime. And if Jesus thinks you’re to die for, then whoever you’re with should too!

And to the men: it’s not your fault that you’re being given the easy option of emojis and snapchats instead of face to face interaction. Heck, if I were in your shoes, I’d choose free over wining (grape juicing?) and dining any day. I’m so sorry that we have lowered our standards and basically said “you’re never going to be able to treat me as a mature adult, so I’ll make it easy for you.” We’ve trained you that virtual relationships are okay, and I would like to personally apologize on behalf of Christian women in America that we have killed the chase, made it easy, and are readily waiting for no effort on your end at all. Do us a favor, and don’t settle for someone who says you’re incapable of wooing us over. It’ll make you better and make us shape up to be the women Christ calls us to be.

I’ve talked to some friends recently that have been torn because they are in either a pseudo-relationship or a full blown committed relationship, but the feelings aren’t really there. They are afraid to leave because they fear “being forever alone” and that if they don’t stay in the relationship, then they won’t ever find anyone better and they’ll die alone. I’ve also talked to singles who are not in a relationship and are depressed that they aren’t planning a wedding with their graduation party. This leads me to my next point:

3. Quit being ridiculous and start being honest.

It is absolutely ridiculous that people fear the gift of celibacy. Let me reassure you that if you crave a relationship, you probably don’t have it! PS- You are 20 years old. Marriage is a commitment FOR LIFE. The national average for marriage is in the 27-29 year mark. Average life expectancy for Americans is 80 years. You have 60 years to find someone… And can we even call it finding someone? Doesn’t God have this world in His hands? Can we start trusting that He has our best interest in mind and will give us the people in our lives that we need? I’m no ministry major, but I’ve been to a lot of chapel and church services and I think that’s Biblical. And if you’re not feeling it, you’re not feeling it. That’s the most admirable reason to break off a relationship IMO (in my opinion.) If your sig isn’t what you’re looking for, or if the feelings aren’t there, then let them go because chances are you’re not the one for them either. Literally, no one can reprimand you for being honest about your feelings. They can reprimand you for ignoring your feelings and then having them all come up later like a volcanic eruption. That’s when this question gets thrown out: “Why didn’t you tell me you felt this way? What else have you been withholding?” Nip that sucker in the bud and move on.  And in the spirit of honesty, nobody likes confrontation. Get it over with so you can stop being consumed with it.

Researchers estimate that 40-50% of first time marriages end in divorce, and 60% of second marriages end in divorce or permanent separation. As you can probably guess, it’s time for point #4.

4. Don’t be a statistic.

In the words of Bruno Mars, “It’s a beautiful night, we’re looking for something dumb to do. Hey baby, I think I wanna marry you.” Don’t sit on the other side of the computer and act like you’ve never danced to that song. I don’t blame you. It’s so catchy! But if marriage becomes an item on your list to check off, it’s time to reevaluate. Mars goes on to say “If we wake up and we wanna break up, that’s coooooool…” Friends of the United States of America: If your sig says or alludes this to you, it’s time to break up with them right then and there. More importantly, if you have this thought in the back of your mind, you’re probably not ready to make the commitment of holy matrimony. Maybe instead of listing getting married and starting a family a part of your 5 year plan, you should set other goals and let The good Lord surprise you with the desires of your heart. It will happen when you are least expecting it, so stop planning for it. You ain’t no Kardashian. Start loving where you’re at. Take advantage of the short amount of time you have as a single young adult and travel! Do things that take you out of your comfort zone and grow as an individual!

Once upon a time I had a friend going through something. For the sake of the story, we’ll call her Nancy. Nancy was like, IN LOVE with this dude, we’ll call him Rob. Rob was that guy in high school that everyone loved because he was awesome and everyone secretly hated because they wanted to be him. Nancy was your average girl next door, but obviously with a great sense of humor because she was friends with me. One day, Rob started taking interest in Nancy. He asked her to go out on dates, and then after about three weeks they made it FBO (Facebook Official.) Sounds like a classic romantic comedy? Well that’s because it was. Except Nancy became this alternate quiet opinionless person around Rob because she was afraid that her bold personality would scare him off. She didn’t feel comfortable around him. This leads me to my final point:

5. If you’re not having fun, then the relationship is done.

Yes, relationships are work. But the payoff should be worth it! If you can’t be yourself, you’ll drive yourself crazy. Don’t be a people pleaser. Sure, be agreeable and kind. And yes, I get the Biblical principle about women submitting to their men and husbands loving their wives, but I also understand that Jesus calls us to be BOLD and take on the courage of a lion! Enjoy being yourself, because baby, you were born this way. Annnd enjoy your sig being themselves too! They should LOVE your personality, and if they don’t, then they are missing out for real. I’m not required to tell you that because I’m not your mom or your best friend. You can trust my words. Likewise, you should LOVE their personality, and if you don’t then someone else will. It’s not your responsibility to give someone the pity laugh every time you turn around. If you’re anything like me and grew up in the protestant evangelical church, then I’m sure you’re familiar with the Newsong/Natalie Grant song “When God Made You.” (You can reminisce here.) With all due respect, can we please stop making marriage the end-all be-all? Let’s live life to the fullest and stop being so concerned about something that Jesus already has taken care of!

Keep these things in mind and you too will end up being in a beautiful engagement photo like the ones above.

Stay tuned for the flip: break up advice! (Dun Dun Dun!!!)

 

Over and Out!

 

 

 

Allegra Vieux

By

October 10, 2013

Some funnies for your Thursday morning

October 10, 2013 | By | 3 Comments

These are my friends. They are aspiring worship remix artists and went crazy one night in Land Cafe (the “after hours” snack shop on campus)

They start with Lord I Lift Your Name On High and end with some Kirk Franklin Medley.

Watch when my bud Will joins the fun

Enjoy!

 

[Kim Campbell I hope you laugh so hard it sends you into labor]
Allegra Vieux

By

October 9, 2013

10 MUSTS before starting homework…

October 9, 2013 | By | 2 Comments

Hello Blog World.

Senioritus has settled in. It is barely midterms. BLAH

I never thought I’d be the apathetic student ready to finish school. Just a few short months ago, I wanted to get a job on campus after graduation so I could stick around because I love MNU so much. It’s amazing how quickly things can change. Still love MNU, but ready to move on to the next step in my life.

Lately, I’ve been noticing that there are several completely illogical things that I HAVE to finish before I can even think about my homework. I know they’re illogical because I’m in intro to philosophy. You don’t have to tell me.

So may I present to you: 10 MUSTS before starting homework!

#1. Find a local Mexican bakery with friends and sustain yourself off the sweet-carbolicious goodness.

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#2. Make a late-night run to Applebees for half price appetizers (I’m a little embarrassed to say how often this happens)IMG_2285

#3. Design a new tattoo. I’m clearly an artist.IMG_2293

 

#4.) Meticulously make your bed. No wrinkles!

 

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#5. Read a book for pleasure. (I don’t even like reading, but this book is AWESOME when there’s homework to be done or not!)IMG_2295

 

#6. Sweep the bathroom floor.IMG_2297

 

#7. Organize the clothing in the dresser- you know, just in case my mom shows up and wants to see the inside.IMG_2298

#8. Pick out a shade of pink and sparkly to repaint my nails.. so what if it’s the 6th time this week?IMG_2299

#9. Re-organize the scarf collection.

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#10. Beat the high score on DOTS- If you don’t have this game, go download it! I scored a 301 without any powerups- WHATS UP.

IMG_7436And this dear friends, is why I’m blogging at 3am… with homework to be done yet.