Monday, January 26, 2009

Tag! I'm it!

The rules are...
1) Choose a minimum of 7 blogs that you find brilliant in content or design.
2) Show the 7 winners names and links on your blog, and leave a comment informing them that they were tagged...
3) List at least 10 honest things about yourself.
Not only does Brooke update her blog more than anyone I know, she also posts like 5 million pictures that accompany each post. I only have the patience to attach 2 or 3 images because I get so tired of waiting for them to upload...kudos!
Kori just launched her blog and it already puts my blog to shame big time! I still can't even figure out how to do something cool with my layout and hers has all the bells and whistles like it was nothing. Wow wowie wow...impressive!
Lyric's blog is definitely an ode to her baby boy, Cole. I love reading about the new things he is doing or has accomplished as he's growing up. She also always has the cutest pictures and has an awesome layout as well.
Meg's blog cracks me up a lot of the time with her sometimes random posts. Case in point: her recent posting that Limu has a new energy drink. Nonetheless, I love her detailed story-telling and all of her pics that she posts!
Since Peter & Anne moved to Canada, this is the only way I keep up with what is going on in their lives. I like how Anne mixes both random posts and updates on their life.

Okay, so I only did 5 blogs, but seriously, who's counting???

So, I know the suspense is killing you. Can I get a drumroll's 10 honest things about myself:

1. If left to my own vices, I could most likely consume a jar of salsa per day. I put it on everything: vegetables, salads, fish, chicken, chips, crackers, eggs -- the list goes on! Crystal and Meagan think it's disgusting, but I remain unaffected. I shall continue to use superfluous amounts of salsa, and I don't care what you say!

2. I played volleyball and basketball in middle school. If you know the kind of "athlete" I am, you would realize how HI-larious this is. I'm pretty sure they let everyone play.

3. I L-O-V-E, LOVE to bake and love all baked goods. I'm not sure which is more fun, the baking or the eating...probably the eating. Whether it's muffins, quick breads, cookies, cupcakes, brownies or cake w/LOTS of icing, I'm a fan! Although if I had to pick one baked good to indulge in, it would definitely be my amaretto cake with cream cheese icing. If left alone, I could probably take down the entire thing...YIKES!

4. I can't sleep in beds with other people. True story. I don't know if this precludes me from marriage, but perhaps separate beds are an option? I don't like people touching me, or breathing on me, or getting anywhere close to me while I'm asleep. It's just not my thing. I have a phobia. I'm there to sleep. Period.

5. I, like 3 of my closest friends (Kori, Crystal and Hailey), am left-handed. However, I only do 2 things exclusively with my left hand: eating and writing. (Notice how I listed eating first. Apparently, that takes priority over writing in my head.) I throw right-handed, bat right-handed, play tennis right-handed, put on mascara with both get the idea.

6. One of my favorite hobbies is bargain shopping. I don't think there is anything more fun than searching out a bargain. Getting awesome suede boots for $15, jeans for $10, shirts for $5, wall art for $4, riding boots at the thrift store for $3 -- it's all so thrilling! I refuse to pay full price for anything, and I wish I could somehow make a living doing just this.

7. Taking a cue from Brooke, I'm ready to admit that I go as long as possible without washing my hair. This means I always have a container of baby powder on hand to facilitate this endeavor. If I could just wash my hair and go to bed, we'd be golden. However, I actually have to dry it and attempt to do something with it. Frankly, this requires too much effort and I'm not down.

8. On that note, I will also take a cue from Kori and admit that I don't wash my face at night. Gasp if you will, but I do what works for me - plain and simple. Washing my face every single night would really dry it out, so I choose to forgo this ritual.

9. I am fiercely competitive. If you know me, this comes as no surprise and it is nothing new. Growing up, I was notorious for throwing the Candy Land cards across the room if I didn't win. Things haven't changed. I can't stand losing. It doesn't matter if it's a game of tennis, a bet or a friendly game of Catch Phrase. Losing is unacceptable and I hate it.

10. I have a dream. No, it's not for something selfless like world peace. My dream is that I can put on my tennis shoes and take off running without feeling like I'm going to die. I don't aspire to run a marathon or anything crazy like that. I just want to jog for about 2-3 miles without going into cardiac arrest, that's it. However, I'm convinced that my lungs are underdeveloped so I don't know if this will ever happen.

Well, that's it my friends! Maybe you learned something. Maybe you didn't. Maybe you laughed or maybe you were totally grossed out. Either way, if you're reading these concluding sentences, you were at least entertained enough to make it to the end. You're welcome!

Saturday, January 24, 2009

What if?

What if we treated every person we met as though it was their last day to live?
What if we took the parking spot furthest from the door so someone else could park up close?
What if we allowed the person behind us in the grocery store to check out first because they had 2 children tugging at their shirt?
What if we smiled at the cashier who got our order wrong, instead of offering up a frown of disdain?
What if we wrote our tithe check as if God was watching over our shoulder? (P.S. He is...)
What if we turned off our computer/TV/Blackberry/I-phone/X-box and talked to our spouse instead?
What if we served others with a cheerful heart and put ourselves in second place?
What if we viewed marriage the way Christ views the church, and we sought to serve our spouse instead of demanding that our needs be met?
What if we tipped our waiter far above the 15% in order to bless him/her?
What if we recognized that possessions are so inconsequential when compared to the treasure that awaits us when we are in community with Jesus?
What if we realized that all work is futile and in vain if we are not showing others the love of Christ as we go about our day?
What if we stopped consuming selfishly and started giving freely?
What if Christianity wasn't about religion, church buildings, clergy, rituals, condemnation and judgment?
What if we understood that WE are the church?
What if these weren't just words?
What if we actively pursued Christ and sought to be more like Him?
What if????

Friday, January 16, 2009

Feelin' fine in '09

Well friends, I know at the birth of a new year it is customary to make the standard, yet futile new year's resolutions that we all know are either vain, unattainable, unremarkable or a combination of all 3. Yet, I am quite compelled to make several "declarations," if you will, that I would like to strive toward for the rest of my life. It is merely coincidental that these should be made public in the setting of a new year. So, without further ado, please bear with me as I bear my soul...

1. For the benefit of myself, my niece, my sister, my girlfriends and (wo)mankind, I will strive to speak positively of myself and all the superficial aspects that go with it. I will no longer participate in the sport that women, as a whole, have become MVPs at...the sport of listing all of the things wrong with us: short eyelashes, thin hair, ears that stick out, huge pores, squatty legs, love handles, fat fingers, double-chins, pale skin...I seriously could go on for days. It stops here!

2. I will attempt to spend less time in front of the TV, and more time being active. This includes actually playing tennis, as opposed to just keeping the raquet in my trunk for kicks and giggles.

3. I will struggle daily with giving control to God. This pertains to all aspects of my life, not just the ones I am comfortable letting go of.

4. I will aim to live in the present...the past is done and the future is not guaranteed. All we have is today, for better or worse.

5. I want to actively pursue Christ in the relationship that He intended us to have: as a father, a lover and a friend. I want to listen to Him. I want to actually read His word to better understand Him.

Through truly seeking God and catching just a glimpse of the true concept of eternity, I have actually experienced the freedom I have always longed for. The bottom line is, if you are disappointed with this life and you feel like most of it has just passed you by, there is hope. Hope that this is not all there is. It's kind of like those people that peaked in high school. You almost feel bad for them because if they peaked in high school, what do they have to look forward to? It is the same way with this short life on this broken, corrupt planet earth. If you have everything you want: perfect job, 4 homes, perfect mate, perfect kids, luxury car, designer clothes, dream vacations...then how can you truly long for eternity? This is not all there is! Being with God, in the relationship that He intended for us, will be so much more than all the things that satisfy our desires short-term in this life. That is where my hope lies in 2009, and for the rest of my days.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

New Year's Rockin' Eve

At my old age, it should come as no surprise that I have come to the mind-numbing realization that New Year's Eve is just another day/night. Yes, I know many of you might still plan for a rockin' time and place all your bets that this year will be the most amazing night, but let's be honest here for a second. The night never really pans out the way you imagined, and all you're left with is a defective party blower and some really cheesy (but infinitely awesome) glittery glasses. So...that being said, I am pleased to inform you, my loyal reader, that this new year's eve was just fine, thank you.

I was graciously adopted into Meagan & Bryan's plans which included an amazing dinner at Truluck's complete with champagne and party paraphanelia. (I had the crab cake if anyone's interested.) We then toasted the east coast new year at Brad's condo, and toasted the "real" new year at one of Bryan's friend's home. Here are a couple pics of the night.

Meagan, me and Crys

Meagan and I modeling our awesome 2009 shades

The next morning, we had planned on hosting our 2nd annual new year's day brunch, but we woke up to a power outage...awesome! Nevertheless, I was determined to make my monkey bread. Therefore, I hustled over to Meg's house to pop it in the oven at which point, I was informed that we had regained power. We had a houseful, but the brunch was still a success. We feasted (or gorged ourselves) on quiche, monkey bread, blueberry muffins, fruit salad, yogurt parfaits, mimosas and white russians. There was also a few rounds of catch phrase thrown into the mix. All in all, it was a smashing good time had by all. Here are a couple kodak moments from the morning.

The girls on New Year's morning

Our brunch spread

Thursday, January 8, 2009

2008: I bid you adieu.

I saw something similar on Brooke's blog, so I thought I'd steal it. After all, imitation is the highest form of flattery.

I will always remember that in 2008 I:
- Finally completed one of my past new year's resolutions which was to take tennis classes
- Played adventures in mommyhood by taking care of my niece Haylee while Nick & Michelle were in Mexico
- Said goodbye to teaching and didn't look back (although I miss my girls terribly)
- Managed a bakery and decided I probably didn't want to open my own
- Moved out of Austin Ranch (miss you Meg!)
- Moved in with my sister and her family
- Moved back in to Austin Ranch (love my roomie Cryssie, and my neighbor Stal)
- Found out I was going to be an aunt to a new niece/nephew
- Dominated countless games of Scattergories (I couldn't help myself)
- Celebrated my birthday with a margarita throwdown - best birthday ever
- Tried to launch my own business
- Became a member of my church (Watermark)
- Overcame a dark period through the help of faithful friends, family and prayers that never ceased
- Was forced to completely surrender to God in dry times (i.e. lacking a "real" job)
- Experienced real joy for the 1st time in over a year
- Danced around the house like a fool with my niece, Haylee Grace
- Finally forgave those in my life who I harbored resentment towards
- Laughed until my cheeks hurt
- Began serving in the greeting ministry at church
- Turned the TV off and spent time with friends and family instead
- Played wii and guitar hero for the 1st time...and realized I'm not very good
- Made my 1st gingerbread house
- Worked retail during the holidays (something I vowed never to do)
- Celebrated the engagement of my sweet fousin, Lianna and one of my besties, Meagan (can't wait for the weddings this year)
- Had a life-changing Christmas season
- Provided the education for 3 girls (through World Vision) who would have otherwise been unable to obtain an education
- Realized that the most important things in life are the little things: dancing with my niece, talking with my sister, laughing with my parents, happy hour with my friends, watching a beautiful sunset, talking a walk on a nice day...that's where God is...He's in all those things whispering to us...if only we would listen.

What will you remember about 2008???

Monday, January 5, 2009

abundance. (christmas part 2)

I will take you on a quick tour through my Christmas Eve and Christmas day celebrations.

On Christmas Eve, my sister and I started the day off by seeing Four Christmases. It was fun to go see a movie, just the 2 of us and it definitely got day going. I went to Watermark's Christmas Eve service with Cryssie and sat with her family and got to see Meagan's family as well. It was unlike any other service I have ever been to. It was life-changing, and truly impacted me on a level that is indescribable. I have begun to recognize that I understand so little of Christ and His love for His children. If only we could grasp a fraction of this, we would be able to lead lives overflowing with joy and peace no matter what our circumstances...I digress. Suffice it to say, I know I was supposed to be there. I ended the night with a fajita dinner at my Nick & Michelle's. It was so nice to be with family and Pearl of course. Michelle and I watched The Holiday and Meet Me in St. Louis (one of our favorite old movies). I stayed the night at their house and got to wake up on Christmas morning with them. Here is a pic from Christmas Eve.

me, haylee and the sis on christmas eve

As soon as we were up and going, we headed to our parent's house. We watched Haylee open presents, and had a couple to open as well. Christmas was downsized this year, and I couldn't be happier with the result. I was able to focus on other things this year, and avoid the craziness that goes with Christmas shopping. It was also nice to get through Christmas morning relatively fast when compared to previous years. Haylee loved all of her gifts, and I was especially excited to open my pink tennis raquet. Watch out everyone! I'm hitting the courts. We finished the morning with our traditional brunch: quiche, monkey bread and mimosas. After that, it was off to Grandma's!

haylee digging for stocking treats

ready to show off our sweet tennis moves

We were able to spend Christmas afternoon with my Grandma, and I was so grateful to see her as well as some of my cousins on my Dad's side. My Grandma is truly remarkable and such an example of Christ's love. She has never had much, but I don't think she has ever issued one complaint regarding wanting it a nicer home, finer clothes, etc. She has always clipped coupons and shopped at thrift stores. She raised 7 children, countless grandchildren, dozens of great grandchildren, and her home is still the central hub for holidays. In her prime, she was undeniably the best cook I know. But more than that, she is a picture of faithfulness, never wanting to miss a Sunday mass and always saying her rosary for whoever she knows is in need. Again...I digress. We had a nice time at her house, but had to leave in order to get back to our turkey in the oven. Here is a pic with one of my cousins.

stephanie, michelle & i at my grandma's house

We headed back home on Christmas night to feast once if we hadn't already consumed enough for the next 2 weeks. The menu included roast turkey, corn pudding, dressing, sweet potatoes, fresh cranberry sauce, mashed potatoes, gravy, crescent rolls and my amaretto cake. It was all so yummy, and I feel so undeserving to be blessed with so much. It is beyond my comprehension. We finished the night playing Catch Phrase.

the girls on christmas night

I must say that this Christmas season was one of the most special times I can remember. It was Christ-infused, instead of gift-infused. This Christmas was so full of hope, love and undescribable anything could happen. This Christmas was a time of new beginnings - a time to forget the past and focus on the present. There is nothing more important than being surrounded by those you love. Beyond that, nothing else really matters...the presents, the food, the's all just icing on the cake.

Sunday, January 4, 2009

What do we got going on here in Santa's workshop? (Christmas: Part I)

Hello my friends and happy new year to you all. I know it's been a while since my last post, so I thought I'd catch you up on what has been going down over the past month or so. The Christmas season was super fun, and there were lots of festive events to keep the merriment going.

My community group hosted a "Battle of the Sexes Gingerbread Throwdown." Basically, it was guys against girls and we each had to construct an original gingerbread house. I can't say I have done this since elementary school, so the results were a little dicey. However, it was a lot of fun, and I don't know if a winner was ever declared. Here are a couple of pictures from the night:

Our gingerbread village

My gingerbread house

Cryssie and I were able to host our 1st Annual Jingle Mingle this year in our new apartment. The party was extra special since Brooke and Freeland were in Dallas for the holidays. The mingle included a wine tasting and a rousing game of yankee swap (The Office anyone?). Here is a pic from the party.

The 1st Annual Jingle Mingle

Of course, the days leading up to Christmas would not be complete without looking at Christmas lights and making really tacky sugar cookie cutouts. I went with the fam to look at Deerfield's decorative display and I was not disappointed. They really go all out and I highly recommend hitting up that neighborhood if you haven't done so in the past. We finished the night icing our fabulous cookies. Here is a closeup of our hard work!

Check out our mad cookie skills

Another highlight from the days leading up to Christmas was my cousin Christina's Christmas party in Austin. I made the trip down south and was so glad I did. Her party was a blast, complete with an *NSYNC dance party. I love my cousins so much and am so blessed to have them as part of my family. This party definitely got me in the Christmas spirit!

My awesome Austin fousins