Category Archives: university

Culture Shock and Duck Dynasty

The video I am about to share with you is connected to a part of my life from 2001 – 2004 when I lived in the south of the USA. Culture shock was inevitable. Having a guy move from behind me to quickly open a door in front of me so I could go through was a new example in chivalry to me.  I remember being confused and shocked the first few times doors were opened for me.  Still it seems to be something that I have not quite experienced as much else where in the world.  On base in Hawaii I was  leaving a building a step ahead of Andy from the Bachelor (remember the Navy officer?). I was struggling with a door while carrying my baby and my shopping bag and thought he might help me with the door, instead of waiting for me to figure it out on my own.  Still to this day I just assume he was really stressed out that day or trying to not run into crazed bachelor fans as a reason for his  monetary aloofness.  It is just another facet of my life where its interesting to see how cultures differ and what is expected in one country may not be so in another.  

A friend shared this video of Willie Robertson, from Duck Dynasty, talking last year during chapel at Harding University. This is the school that I went to after high school graduation to pursue a major in theatre with a minor in missions. It is located in small town of Searcy, outside Little Rock, Arkansas. This is a town where I met my husband, where we got married, and where I gave birth to our first son. 

To be fair I do not usually mention Arkansas as one of the places I have lived in the US. No offense to any of my readers from ‘the Natural State’ because my Uni campus was like a whole other world inside. It is referred to as the ‘Harding Bubble’. A private christian university in a dry county (forbids the sale of alcohol) it was not the same college experience by those who may have gone to a state school for their college years.  Instead of fraternities or sororities we had social clubs, which were essentially the same thing without extreme hazing, drinking, or dancing.  My favourite thing about this school was its focus on missions as I grew up in small missionary based churches in europe.  Thanks to Harding I was able to do an overseas summer mission to Australia and through its connections to Let’s Start Talking, my husband and I went to Thailand. 

 I am a believer in fate and it is why I know my husband and I were meant to meet each other during my freshman year. I had found out about this university initially from other Harding alum as they visited my church in Italy, or stayed at our house, while spending a semester at one of the Harding’s overseas campuses. They have one in Florence and one in Greece and there always seemed to be someone sporting a Harding t-shirt or ball cap through out my time in Europe.  It is how I found out about the summer camp, near the university, that I attended during my high school years.

To bring this back to the video above, I have not yet watched the show Duck Dynasty.  The whole world of the south, the love of hunting, wearing camo to any occasion aside from military life, and sporting any clothing or head pieces that bare the American flag have always seemed a bit foreign to me. To the fact that the last time I was in the south at a Walmart I counted how many people were wearing camo as a game to pass the time.  To be honest if someone were to tell me they were taking me hunting my mind would be first to envision men wearing an outfit that included tweed plus fours, a waist coast, jacket and cap. Plus dogs would be acquired as well on the walk through the country.  Then again I lived in England twice as a small girl and grew up having photos of the royal family on my dresser. 

When my friend posted the video I felt inclined more to watch it because of my connection to Harding and I was interested to see why Willie Robertson had been asked to speak in chapel.  As I listened I found out he had attended Harding too and from there I was intrigued to hear his story.  I have to say it was his words, his heart, and his personality in the chapel presentation that has made me want to watch Duck Dynasty now.  Or at least to see a few episodes to see if the man I saw speaking at my university is portrayed the same in the show. From the words he spoke about being true to yourself, I would assume my presumption would be correct.  From talking to my mum, who likes the show, and thinking ‘ehhh, thats not really my cup of tea‘ to being surprised has made enough of an impression on me to write a blog post about it. 
Q: Have you seen this show and did you like or dislike it? Why?  Or share with me a moment you were surprised in another culture, from your former preconceived notions.



1. Baby Bound started off as a blog dedicated to one couples’ journey to start a family while living as missionaries in a third world country. Now, over two years later, this blog has shifted gears into documenting the happenings of a young family and their mission to find beauty and bliss in all the little things in life while taking pictures along the way.

2. Biziness is Casual is authored by a punk rock mama named Dani. She lives in Southern California with her fiance and baby girl. Her blog is a mash up of mom stuff, family adventures, fashion, music, art, tattoos, lifestyle, design, and more.

3. A Compass Rose is a blog about a Third Culture Kid (TCK) living the Expat life in England with her family.  She works as a photographer and owns a blog, A Compass Rose.  She writes about growing up nomadic lifestyle as a TCK, about being an Expat, about life in England, and her travels across the world.
4. Life of TOI is authored by TOI. The blog captures the beauty in the ordinary things that make her and her family happy. On the blog you can find her opinion on race, style, travel and the meaning of motherhood.

5. Lost in Travels is a blog about a nomadic couple. After Chelsea and Jeremy got hitched two years ago they started getting cold sweats every time they thought about ‘settling down’ in their hometown. So what did they do instead? Sold all of their belongings that wouldn’t fit in two 50-pound bags and took the first flight to South Korea to teach. Chelsea’s blog highlights their lives as expats in the land of kimchi as well as documents their world travels. 

6. Momista Beginings is a mommy/baby blog that was conceived shortly after conception of baby Mia (now a year old) to parents, Mama Misty and Daddy Dom. Misty is an art teacher for pre-K through the 2nd grade who loves to create, DIY, bake, cook, and take pictures. Dom is self employed in the landscape biz and loves his 2 dogs, the outdoors, hiking, camping, cooking, gardening and tending to their 21 chickens! A few features of the blog include weekly updates throughout Mama Misty’s pregnancy, a detailed and photo filled birth story, DIY ideas and tutorials, tried and true recipes, Misty’s art projects for kids, product reviews, occasional giveaways and plenty of photos of Mia, their family and their average adventures. As summer approaches, nerves are high over the idea of Misty staying at home with the baby instead of working. As their new lives as parents constantly changes, so does their blog along with them. Look out for Misty’s up and coming launch of her Etsy store, followed by more details of a hopeful photography business start-up to help this family stay afloat, in order to stay home with the baby. Things are about to get real interesting and they welcome all new blogworms to join in on the fun.

7. Ms. Nancy Pants has her head in the clouds most days dreaming of the day she will finally take the jump and become a nomad traveling to the unknown. Since she is stuck in her cubicle for now, you can find her discovering a different kind of beauty in the dry state of AZ. She is doing her best to become domesticated a good home maker and attempt new recipes, crafts, taking pictures of the world around her or attending a local musical festival on the weekends. Her mission is to develop a radical self love for herself and share that with others who are on the same journey.

8. Tales of a Young Mama is written by Darlene, a young (ish) mamma of two. Love of all things Swedish, photography, fashion, iced coffee, traveling the world and babies. She blogs about their every day life in Denver, Colorado, raising two bilingual babies (okay one is no longer a baby!) with some (mostly) healthy recipes and fashion posts thrown in. 

9. To the Sea is a blog by an attorey-at-mom, Tejana, former kama’aina, and expat living in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania. She writes about fitness, parenting, travel, and life overseas.

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Concussions and first kisses.

Day 10, Friday of  the Challenge: Most embarrassing moment (s). Spill. 
Feel free to join in and if you catch this anytime through out the month feel free to just jump right in.   

I like to live by the rule that if I make someone laugh or smile with me, even if its at my expense, its better to deal with embarrassment that way. I was trying to come up with the most embarrassing stories of my lifetime but they either got lost in my memories or I have honestly blocked them out. All but one.  

I met Ryan my freshman year in the traveling theatre group we both auditioned for at our University. We were friends with crushes that fall semester and started dating the week before Valentines Day that Spring semester.  Sometime between February when we started dating and May when we parted ways for the summer we had our first kiss.  Neither of us have remembered exactly when it was but that there was a lot of hype leading up to the first kiss. Which leads me to our embarrasing story we share together.

We were parked outside of my freshman girls dormitory in his car after a date.  We both had to be in before curfew and we definitely waited until the last most possible moment to return back to our dorms on campus.  It is already a little awkward and embarrassing in the beginning of our dating period because he was my first (and only) boyfriend at University.  I had been anticipating the first kiss and getting more anxious about it every time one of my friends would ask me if it happened yet.  This was not a party school.  There was only one day a semester the opposite sex could visit the other dormitories and there were strict rules enforced.  Doors had to remain open, male guests could not use the restrooms in our dorm rooms, and ‘all feet must remain on the floor’.  The later rule I assume is to discourage make out sessions or heavier happening.  Anyways I explain all that to say that my friends held pizza parties after you had your first kiss with a guy.  Having not had any pizza parties yet and really wanting to kiss Ryan you can imagine my heart was racing inside his car.  He tried to be smooth and lean over to kiss me and I obviously did not get the mental memo and instead of having my lips meet his, our heads collided so hard it hurt.  So embarrassing. Needless to say that night was not our first kiss and no pizza party followed that evening.  I remember going inside and finding my RA upset that he would ‘never try to kiss me again’.  

Before we started dating we were put into this skit in our theatre group to perform at schools and churches called ‘Pick up lines’ which is where he would try to pick me up with really bad lines.  I had a catchy one liner at the end of it that tied it back to the faith and christianity.  That skit started the crushes began to have on each other.  Ironically it was a pick up line that he used out of humour in my expense right before our first actual kiss: 

“Lets try not to have a concussion this time.”

This my husband, Ryan, and I this year at the Roman Baths in Bath, England.  
We have been married for nine years (and change) and we have entered our 30’s.  
This is also Ryan and I, eleven years ago in University back in 2002. 
He was 20 and I was 19.  I find this photograph of us very embarrassing. 
To be fair  most of our photographs from my freshman and 
sophomore year of University are quite embarrassing.
Bad Hair: 
I thought it would be great to be blond. This is pre-beauty school and so I thought I could do it myself with box colour.  I ended up with a multifaceted orange-y mess. I also thought it would be liberating to cut my hair really short.  To add to the bad hair decision I sometimes wore my hair back in tiny ‘im a six year old’ pony tails. I honestly thing I should have realised my losses, shaved my head, gotten a wig, and started the growth process there. So see even your hairstylist can have bad hair decisions in their past. 😉
Bad Accessories: 

Its not that they were bad per se, but when added to everything else in this mix they did not really help the look. My accessories included not one but two WWJD bracelets worn together for sentimental reasons at the time.  We went to a private christian university so I was all about sporting my faith in my fashion choices back then.  The hemp jewelry Ryan made which as we were newly dating I found this so sweet and special.  
Bad Fashion: 
Not that I had a lot to choose from with living in a small town in the south in the US.  At my University students tended to wear jeans and a shirt normally and my school had very strict rules on wardrobe and modesty.  Which meant my previous adventurous European style became very stagnate and non existent. Really where is an H&M when you need one? 😉 
Freshman Fifteen:
It is easy to tell from the second photo above that Ryan and I both were carrying extra weight.  I think we both weighed more my freshman year and his sophomore year then we ever have in our entire lives.  I no longer had my mum’s good cooking or even a kitchen.  I relied on pizza delivery and food on campus. I didn’t actually realise how much weight we had carried until we began losing it the months that followed that photo being taken.  I spent an entire summer backpacking in Australia and he was working outside on the farm.  I was showing my suite mate a photo of my then fiance the school year to follow and did a double take on how heavy just Ryan had been the year before. I don’t know if it was bad that I had not realised he had lost so much weight or that I didn’t realise he was so chubby before.  Love is blind where eyes are concerned.  Anyways these photos always motivate us to eat well and keep and active, and to promote healthy lives for our children. 
So yes I find a lot of photographs from my first two years at 
Uni and during our engagement to be quite embarrassing.  
Q: Do you have photos that embarrass you from the past?

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*photographs found here either belong to Bonnie Rose of Bonnie Rose Photography © 2013 All Rights Reserved | 


Ronan and mummy in 2005.

No I am not pregnant.  Though I have been diagnosed with a bad case of baby fever.  My temporary remedy is living vicariously through all my friends who are having babies.  Recently it seems like the number of those involved in family growing is way up.  My newsfeed on facebook is filled with people pregnant, ready to give birth, or showing off their precious bundles of joy.  Those little babies just grow up so fast.  I can attest to that fact because my sweet babies are now eight and five years old respectfully.  My eldest just had his brithday this past month and I can hardly believe eight years have gone by.  In that same amount of time he will be sixteen and that just seems unfathomable.  I would love in the next few years to have one more and try for my girl. I’ve only had her name picked out since 2004. 😉

With my sweet Ronan in 2005.
I have been looking back through the photos of Ronan when he was born.  My husband, son, and I  have all changed quite a bit since those photos were taken.  It was the end of our days in University and were were so young.  Neither of our parents were able to be there for the birth, but we had a lot of friends from campus come visit.  I realized the baby pattern I mentioned above is quite true with our friends in the pictures below.  My high school bff and roommate at Harding University now has her own precious little girl.  We went to summer camp with Lauren (also pictured) is expecting or is now a new mum.   Then my friends Grant & Miriam have three sweet boys and have just announced they are expecting again.  Getting older is not so depressing, as it is so beautiful to see how well everyone is doing.  Children are such a blessing.  
My BFF from HS in Italy and Uni roommate, Caroline, with Ronan
My cabin-mate from Camp and friend from Uni, Lauren, with Ronan 
Friends from University, Miriam & Grant with Ronan

So until that time when we announce another one is on its way, you can find me on Pinterest pinning away things on Pregnancy, Oh Baby, and When I Have a Girl.   What will be her name?  You’ll just have to stick around and find out. 😉 
PS. Lauren and +Miriam Pinkston  you both are in my thoughts. 
P.P.S. Cannot wait to meet your sweet girl Caroline

Maddox in Reception

The school system is quite different in England, than how it is in the US. For instance most of the schools require a school uniform, and some even have ‘houses’ as depicted in J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter series. My oldest son is in Year Two, and that is the US equivalent of First Grade. While my boys are now in Primary school, they go to secondary school at age 11, off to College at the age of 16, and University at the age of 18. Ronan and Maddox are only 6 and 4 respectfully, and I am already anxious about how they will do on their A Levels and GCSEs. Thankfully we do have plenty of time to prepare for that stage of their education. I am enjoying every day that I get to take them to school and see them excited about being in class with their friends. This morning I snuck in for a little bit to take photos of some of the work Maddox has been doing in Reception. I find it hard to walk out and head back home, but he is always focused on learning as soon as he walks in to class. I hope that excitement about learning will stay with both my boys for years to come.

Caterpillar by Maddox

Crocodile by Maddox

Love Story: The Beginning

I had a fun night tonight, reminiscing over the beginnings of my relationship with my partner, Ryan. I had quite a few short, meaningless relationships in school growing up, but Ryan was my first and only serious relationship at University. We were friends for a semester, traveling out of state frequently with our Theatre Ministry group and hanging out in the Theatre Department on campus. We dated the next semester, and had a summer break before Ryan and I got engaged. We spent the next two semesters planning our Fall wedding. Looking back on it now, it was a very short dating period of just a year and half. I really enjoyed reading back through my old journal post about our dating and wedding times, and so much so I’ve added it as a page to my blog. If you care to reminisce with me, than take a look at ‘Love Story‘.