Sunday, December 21, 2008

Bahamas Christmas Cruise

So for the first Cottrill/Halperin Christmas together, Mom and Alan took us on a cruise to the Bahamas:
8 people
4 rooms
3 nights
1 long dining room table
snorkeling excursion
swimming with dolphins
3 sit-down dinners
too many meals to count :)
1 book
2 glasses of wine
rum punch while sailing across the clear blue ocean
2 cameras
lots of pictures, here's a few to share:

Merry Christmas to all!
And Happy Chanukah ;)

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

election fears

As today is Election Day, I am giddy in anticipation of the results that will show tonight who the president of the United States will be for the next four years. I had a difficult time coming to my decision in this election. I was excited that it was my first election I was able to vote in, but at the same time, I was frustrated and almost disappointed in the fact that this was what I was given. I didn't like either candidate. I was overwhelmed with a decision I felt unable to make.

In the early stages of their campaigns, I was very fond of Obama. Like everyone else, I got sucked in by his inspirational pleas for "hope" and for "change". Yes, I believe that America needs hope and a change. But do I think Obama will bring that? No, I really don't. I believe that the same people ultimately make the decisions for this country regardless of who's in office, and that what we have seen in the past eight years unfold in our country is no doubt a plea for a change and whether Obama or McCain are in office, we will see a change.

This election is monumental! Not just because we could have the first black president, or the oldest president, or the first female vice president - yes, all those things are great, no matter who they are, but I feel that this is a monumental election for more than those reasons alone.

This election is a call to action - not just to vote for the sake of voting and getting a cute little sticker and a free cup of coffee from Starbucks. This is so much more! I'm not doing any name calling here or accusing anyone of anything, however I feel that this is a crucial time for individuals to be able to test their ability to do some really strong character judgment.

Are we voting for someone or something?
Are we voting for a thought or a plan?
Are we voting for a man or an idea?

Upon coming to my realization that McCain stood up for the things that I felt most important, and realizing he can bring a change that Obama talks about without cease...I quickly realized that Obama was not my choice for president. To this day, election day 2008, I still get goosebumps when I hear Obama speak. I still think he is inspirational and definitely can get a crowd going. But that alone cannot lead a country.

And today it hit me...what if Obama does win the presidency? What if the majority of the American people have gotten swallowed up by that tone of change and hope? I am just now considering that even though I cast my first vote ever, I may not get what I want just because I voted. And just because there are record breaking amounts of people voting this election, it doesn't necessarily mean that they are voting for the same person I am.

So I am praying today that the American people who have so graciously voiced their opinion in one of the most memorable elections in America's history have followed their hearts and their guts and that God's sovereignty will blanket this country tonight as the polls reveal our future.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Yom Kippur

Sundown this evening marked the beginning of Yom Kippur, the highest of the Jewish Holidays. Yom Kippur is also called the Day of Atonement, where Jews are supposed to spend the day in fasting and prayer. There are ten days in between Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur called the Days of Awe which are supposed to consist of one repenting and asking God to forgive him for his sins, and forgive all those that one would need to forgive.

This will be my first time observing the holiday. Growing up, my family got together for most Jewish holidays to cook and eat together. I've had many fond memories over the last 20 years sharing these moments with my Messianic Jewish family. But it seems that my experience with the Jewish stuff ended there, at that meal, every holiday...

Although I haven't spent the past ten days repenting every day, and although I do have to go to class and meetings tomorrow for school responsibilities, I want tomorrow to be my first real experience of practicing the fasting of Yum Kippur. I am going to pray five times thoughout the day as you should during this holiday. Because Rosh Hashanah is the Jewish New Year, the Day of Atonement comes afterward so you can start the new year off right with God.

Happy New Year!

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Monday, September 22, 2008


I ended my relaxing weekend with the harsh reality that I am a senior and life is not easy. Let me back up a bit...

Josh had been in Birmingham for the past two weeks training for his new job (which, by the way, went really well and his boss thinks very highly of him). I was anxiously counting down the days until I could see him again. So, come Friday night, I jumped in my car and made the hour drive to Niceville and met him at his house to have a delicious steak dinner with his family.

While there, we attempted to go fishing, but the waves were a little rough. I think this picture is funny because he was not very happy about not having sunglasses on this very sunny day. My favorite thing we did over the weekend was take his eight year old sister Allie to Mellow Mushroom for lunch Sunday. She's a goofball and lots of fun to play with. She's kind of adopted me as a big sister because her older sister Ashley got married in May and moved to Texas with her husband who is on the Bomb Squad in the Army.

Unfortunately, I realized upon returning back to Pensacola this morning that my semester is going to be more demanding than I've led up thus far. I'm the leader of my group in my Leadership class which basically means I'm in charge of half of the class's progress and success in our endeavors to spread awareness about the Special Olympics. I'm leading the external group which is in charge of connecting the Special Olympics to local public middle and high schools and also fund raising. This on its own is equal to a part time job. Plus I have four other classes I'm taking, in addition to volunteering for Big Brothers, Big Sisters , doing Dance Club and Peer Education at UWF. I realized that financially, I'm not as set as I'd like to be. I have exactly enough funds to have rent and utilities paid for the rest of the semester but nothing else - so in addition to everything, I have to get some sort of job also. I just have to find the time! I really only have weekends available, so anyone have ideas for employment for me?

Thursday, September 18, 2008

mercy reigns

I find I feel closest to the Lord when I hear worship music, and Shane & Shane have always been a favorite. I played this song about a hundred times tonight while "studying".

she hides her face, it seems too good
for Your embrace to find her
and say, "my dove, your voice is sweet
show me your form... your form is lovely"

Your mercy reigns
Your mercy comes
Your mecy falls
and rises with the sun
Your mercy reigns
Your mercy comes
Your mecy falls
and rises with the sun

its new every morning
its new every morning
its good enough for me

no ear has heard a melody
as sweet as yours for her
it seems too good, so undeserved
my heart faints now, for we are her

Your mercy reigns
Your mercy comes
Your mercy falls
and rises with the sun
Your mercy reigns
Your mercy comes
Your mercy falls
and rises with the sun

i will abide in Your love, Your love

(song of solomon 2:14, lamentations 3:22-23)

Wednesday, September 17, 2008


Last night I attended a candlelight vigil ceremony for a UWF student who killed himself last Tuesday. I didn't know this kid personally, but we did have a lot of the same friends.
Like many stories you hear of depression gone wrong, this guy was a superstar, popular, fraternity brother, funny, good student, good looking. Many people called him a friend and said he lit up the room.
So why then did he feel the desire to end his life so soon? What was it that his friends and family couldn't fix in his life that was so bad? What was it that caused him to feel these deep pangs of depression? What was it that made him unreachable? What was it that provoked him to purchase a gun, and try not once, but twice to end his life in the most selfish way of all?
Suicide is so confusing and unclear to me...if this kid believed in God, but couldn't find the strength to go on, does he go to Heaven? Isn't God supposed to provide a peace that surpasses all understanding? Why then, did this guy not possess this Peace? Is it fair that he just got tired of being here feeling the way that he did, so he just decided to leave early? Why can't we all just check out early if we're unhappy with where we are?
We can't because we haven't fulfilled our destiny. We will leave so many behind who will be hurt and in pain, sad and angry. Did this guy think of these things before he took his own life? Before he gave up?
I guess my question is, what makes us happy? What is it in life that pushes us, even though the hard times, to keep going?
RIP - T.L.K.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Economic depression?!

So, I'm trying to make myself more up to date and knowledgeable about the things happening in our world. I've made it a morning routine to start checking news cites. This morning, while pulling up the NY Times website, this article catches my eye.
Earlier in the morning I saw a friend's post on Facebook saying "if there's going to be a depression, its going to happen this week". Then I see this...
Please read the article, its very scary. Basically Lehman Brothers filed for bankruptcy Sunday (my uncle happens to be the VP at that company so it makes me worry even more) and Merrill Lynch sold itself to Bank of America for $50 billion! The article said Sunday was "one of the most dramatic days in Wall Street history"!
What bothers me most about this, as I continually get myself more involved in this election, is I don't really know who will help us out of this mess. Both candidates claim how they will help our economic situation that is progressively worsening.
Please follow this though, it is said to effect everyone!

Saturday, September 13, 2008


What is love? What is the inherent meaning of this word?
This act?
This feeling?
This expression?
Webster's dictionary defines love as:
strong affection for another arising out of kinship or personal ties
attraction based on sexual desire
affection and tenderness felt by lovers
affection based on admiration, benevolence, or common interests
an assurance of love
warm attachment, enthusiasm, or devotion

why do we have this urge, this desire, to feel this strong type of affection, to hear these words come out of someone else's mouth, that they love us?
The love of a mother, a father...
The love of a sibling...
The love of a spouse or partner...
The love of a close friend...
The love of THE Father...
Recently I've found myself needing to hear this word. I needed to know that someone important in my live loved me. I started fostering doubt that this love existed. During this time I felt the Lord tenderly touch my heart and tell me that He loves me. In multiple ways over a few day span He continually gave me reasons to search for that love. I started feeling hurt and pain and had to go to His love.
So then the time came when I wanted to know if this other person in my life truly loves me...and when I got the answer I was looking for, the answer that I felt I really needed, it was just a sweet reminder that I am already loved, unconditionally loved.
the love of another individual is wonderful, but the love of the Father is unconditional, not based on emotions or feelings - it is ALWAYS there. So anyone else who loves you once you realize you are loved by the Father, is like the cherry on top.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

It's been a while...

So, it's been a year since I've last written, and I can't say that anything exceptionally exciting is going on, but I love looking back at what I've written about my life in the past, so I don't want to let my college experience go by without documenting it (at least my senior year of it).

Well, I've just begun my senior year at UWF. Right now I'm sitting in the great hall of the commons on campus listening to a forum about voting and the current presidential election. Speaking of which - I am registered to vote as an independent, but I am just going to make this claim: I am in love with Sara Palin! I am really impressed with her integrity. I'm not one to frequently have political debates because I often don't have the information to back myself up. Recently I've been more involved in what the candidates have to say about our country and about themselves, and about each other - because it's impossible to get away from, they can't stop talking about each other!

Moving on...this semester I'm working with local branch of the Special Olympics through my Leadership class. Although we haven't done anything so far other than attending a swim meet, my heart is already being softened to these athletes and their families. I had the opportunity of speaking with the parents of some of the athletes and it was so touching to hear the gratitude and excitement in their voices knowing that there were people that had a mission to help their children. Our main goal is to spread awareness to the four local counties here in the Pensacola area to get more involved with the Special Olympics whether it be donating time, money, getting more athletes, volunteers, equipment and hopefully connecting local businesses to the S.O. to establish continued financial support. Our general idea so far is to put on some sort of fundraising event such as a formal or concert. If anyone has further ideas or insight please share! I'd love to integrate other ideas into our's. but if you'd like to get involved or offer support at all, we're trying to instill the R-word campaign which is an attempt to boycott the "r-word" and start referring to these wonderful individuals as intellectually disabled. I would really appreciate you start integrating this into your life! its hard to at first, I'm not going to lie, but you don't realize how often people use that offensive word on a daily basis.

well, I will be writing more, that's enough for now:)

love from Pensacola <3