Tuesday, June 30, 2009

crazy little thing called pride

Well friends, it's been a while since I wrote about something serious that's been on my mind/heart. I know some people might postulate that I'm a bit too personal on my blog, and while I respect that opinion 110%, I don't necessarily feel the same way. I find myself to be consistently encouraged when people share with me something God is teaching them, and it is my hope the same will happen when I share...even if it is a bit (or a lot) humbling.

I must admit that I've been wanting to write this post for about 2 weeks, but hadn't mustered up the chutzpah to make public something I didn't even know I struggled with. As the title suggests, I've been dealing with a crazy little thing called pride. Here's a look at the bumpy road I've been on.

I was reading Mere Christianity by C.S. Lewis when I came across the chapter on the greatest human sin: PRIDE. What? The greatest human sin is pride? Yes, it actually makes a whole heap of sense seeing as though it was Lucifer's pride that got him kicked out of heaven - hello!?! Well, lucky for me, I am so perfectly humble (catch that sweet irony) that I don't need to worry one smidge about having this sin in my life. Who was I kidding? The more I thought about it, the more I realized my life reeked of pride.

Case in point: I feel it necessary to constantly tout my amazing feats of frugality to all those I come in contact with. I find it particularly essential to let friends and family know that I have not dined out, or purchased food out in months (unless I've used giftcards). Apparently, this makes me so incredibly superior (AKA prideful) that I need to force this habit on others and make them feel bad if they are spending money on food. What is my problem? I am so sorry if I have done this to you, and I will cease to make such comments. So in the future, if I decline your request to have dinner out, please don't take it personally. I simply don't have the means at the moment, but I won't bring that up anymore and I do want to hang out with you. Perhaps a tennis game or a cheap cup of coffee can be substituted?

I also find myself readily able and wholly determined to "handle things on my own," which again, is another behavior that is pride personified. At what point did I decide that God could only be trusted with some things, during certain times or in particular areas of my life? Is He really that small, and if so, why do I believe in such an inefficient, uncaring or incapable God? It seems rather counterintuitive, no? Yes, of course it does, which is why my attempts at fixing my little world are not only ridiculous, but also fruitless.

Finally, I tend to subconsciously compare myself to others in terms of service, sin, etc. Pride tells me I'm doing pretty good compared to this or that, but in reality, the moment we think we're doing pretty well is the moment we have to realize pride is rearing it's ugly head. Pride is one sneaky little sucker, and it can completely capture your heart if you are not on your guard.

What has God been showing you recently? What resources (books, podcasts, etc.) have you been challenged by recently?

Monday, June 29, 2009

Tasty Tuesdays: 2nd edition

Well, since I'm posting a 2nd edition, can I preemptively claim that this new feature isn't a complete and total failure?

I'm back with another edition of Tasty Tuesdays. Today's recipe is relatively new, but it was well received by my veggie-hating sister, so I take that as a resounding success. I did find the recipe on myrecipes.com (great site), but as per usual, I modified it to my specifications.

"Fresh from the garden" green bean salad

1 pkg. fresh (or frozen) green beans
2 tomatoes (chopped)
1/2 yellow onion (chopped)
2 T dijon mustard
1 T balsamic vinegar
2 T apple cider vinegar
1 t salt
1 t pepper
1/2 T sugar

1. Cook green beans and place in a bowl of ice cold water.
2. While they are cooling, combine the mustard, vinegars, salt, pepper and sugar in a medium sized bowl. Stir with a whisk until thoroughly mixed.
3. Drain green beans and pat dry with a paper towel.
4. Add green beans, tomatoes and onion to the dressing and stir to coat evenly.
5. Chill until ready to serve.

And there you have it. I know it's not super fancy or uber original, but if you need to bring a cool side to your next barbeque (hello 4th of July in just a few days), definitely give this recipe a try!

Until next week's Tasty Tuesday, here's to good eats and sweet treats!

happy birthday friend.

Yesterday, I helped celebrate the birth of my dear friend Kori.

Kori and I became good friends around the time I graduated from high school. Despite the fact we both went away to school (Missouri and New York), we still managed to stay best friends through college and after graduation. I have so many fun memories with her including her 2 trips to visit me in New York (hello Hairspray, Rent, Nine, The Lion King, the shopping, the food), our trip to Las Vegas, our times on the infamous Serious Pleasure, lots of ice cream, even more shopping trips, the visits to Lyric @ Tech, our long chats at Starbucks, gosh the list is endless...

the birthday girl and me, attempting to cool off in the pool

Anyway, on to the festivities. We spent the day lounging in the (94 degree) pool, and sipping some yummy drinks. After a few hours in the sun, we were treated to a tastebud tantalizing meal of grilled salmon, oven roasted vegetables and grilled peaches...amazing. It was all so delicious. I ate way more than my stomach could comfortable hold, and of course, I also had to eat the cookie cake with icecream and sprinkles... ha ha.

I'm so glad I got to be a part of the birthday celebration, and it was so fun to hang out with the birthday girl and all the rest of her family whom I love and don't get to see nearly enough. Thanks for letting me be a part, and here's to your 26th year, Kori. I hope it is blessed with a joy that's overflowing and a peace that surpasses all understanding.

Saturday, June 27, 2009

summer time, and the livin' is easy

I'm sure you've just been sitting on the edge of your seat waiting for another lakehouse post, so I won't keep you waiting. (You're welcome!)

Last Friday, I busted a move and made my way to Kingsland just as fast as Andi could take me. I arrived as the sun was setting and was greeted by 3 of my most favorite girls in the world. The night was fairly uneventful, but did include a primetime screening of "27 Dresses." Is there anything better than the "Benny and the Jetts" scene? (Get back to me on that.)

We woke up the next morning to a glorious day, and immediately set out for the super classy heebie jeebie (aka HEB) to plan and purchase the night's menu. I swear we were in there for 3 hours, but we got the goods and headed back to catch some rays.

After we all loaded on the boat (with the newly purchased tube that we were really pumped about), we quickly discovered the boat's engine was on the fritz...ahhhh! "Old Faithful" strikes again. We were forced to settle for plan B which included some trips out on the sea doo, a few jumps off the upper deck and a whole lot of laying out. Kind of a perfect day if you ask me.

Li and me
cheers to you mr. sun

After a fair amount of sun exposure, we set to work preparing the meal which included stuffed mushrooms (a la Lianna), baked salmon (courtesy of China), roasted asparagus (go me!), blue cheese salad (combo effort), baked beans (thank you Bush's) and of course, beer bread (word to Elisa). Naturally, this was accompanied by our infamous ghetto sangria. Elisa also whipped up some wicked brownies.

fousin love

times two

After dinner, the night was far from over! The girls planned a crazy crafty project for us to do that I had never done. We TIE-DYED...is that how you spell it? Either way, you know what I'm talking about. It was so much fun and I think we permanently stained the street outside their house (and quite possibly, Elisa's hands). I had no idea what I was doing, and my shirt is definitely proof of that very fact. Oh well. Here's some pics of the fruits of our labor.

yea for tie dye!

more tie dye awesomeness

The rest of the night was spent on the roof looking out for shooting stars and just gazing at the star-filled sky. Pretty perfect if you ask me.

Once again, the weekend flew by at lightening speed and I left wishing we could do it all over gain. Oh, how I love me some lake time. It's summertime, and the living is easy!

Thursday, June 25, 2009


So I'm sitting at my desk at approximately 9:45 in the AM, doing a whole lot of very busy and important things (clearly), when all of the sudden, crazy lady (AKA a woman who works in my office suite) comes running through the main corridor saying (more like yelling) something along the lines of "WE'RE ON LOCKDOWN. ENACT SAFE SHELTER!!!!!!!"

Naturally, I am awakened from my mind-numbing, computer-induced coma long enough to contemplate what the hezzie is going down. Being the eternal optimist I am, I immediately have visions of some angry student going AWOL because we told him he needed 3 hours of upper-level accounting in order to graduate (this interaction may or may not have occurred during business hours yesterday).

I'm starting to get a bit antsy because everyone in the office keeps receiving an insane amount of phone calls from the university with vague messages somewhere along the lines of: "There is a campus emergency. Stay in your building. Do not go outside. Please activate 'safe shelter' procedures." That's it. That's all they say. And I'm like, "thanks a heap coyote ugly." ("This cactus gram stings worse than your abondment." That was for the fousins - hope y'all are reading).

Well, after about 15 minutes of this RE-diculousness, we finally learn that this "emergency," this life threatening lockdown emergency, was a gas leak outside. Are you freaking kidding me? Suffice it to say, I was more than a tad miffed. Here I was, having my life flash before my eyes, when all we were dealing with was a little gas. Well, that just burns my britches.

Hope y'alls Thursday was a bit less uneventful!

P.S. In case you didn't notice, tomorrow is FRIDAY! Holler!

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Tasty Tuesdays: 1st edition

So at the risk of starting something that I potentially will never be able to follow through on, I'm introducing a new segment into my blog. I shall call it "Tasty Tuesdays" and it will feature a recipe I have not only used, but also really enjoy and find others to enjoy as well.

Please note that I'm not pretending these recipes are gourmet. I'm not pretending these are 100% my original recipes. This is not meant to be some sort of charade that implies I cook every day or that I'm some sort of authority you should take culinary advice from. It is simply one of the ways I will attempt to share my "abundant life" with you. Food is meant for fuel, but it is also meant for enjoyment. Since this is the case, why don't we prepare things that serve as proper fuel and are quite tasty at the same time? This is the reasoning behind "Tasty Tuesdays."

The following recipe is my take on the ever-popular spinach dip. (I figured I'd start with something super-easy and sure to please a crowd.) It is a very common recipe, but I have (significantly) decreased the amount of mayo and sour cream. After all, the recipe is called spinach dip, not mayo dip. Therefore, I feel spinach should be the star, not the sidekick. I've also added artichoke hearts, which are the bee knees in my opinion. I hope you feel the same way.

So...ladies and gentlemen, without further ado, I give you my very first installment of "Tasty Tuesdays." Please try to contain your excitement.

Rachel's rockin' spinach dip
1 package of frozen chopped spinach
1 can sliced water chestnuts
1 can quartered artichoke hearts
1/2 c. Kraft* mayo (made with olive oil)
1/2 c. light sour cream
1 pkg. Knorr* vegetable soup mix

(* indicates corporate trademark)

1. Defrost frozen spinach and pat dry with paper towels (try to squeeze out excess liquid).
2. Drain and chop water chestnuts and artichoke hearts. (A rough chop will do.)
3. Combine all ingredients in a medium sized bowl and chill until ready to serve.

here's a shot of the finished product

I'm a huge fun of serving this with sliced cucumber, red pepper, broccoli and pita chips. Holy yum!!! I hope you whip this up to enjoy with family and friends.

Monday, June 22, 2009

well you say it's your birthday...

It's my birthday too! Okay...not really, but I really needed to finish the lyric. Sue me.

Anyway, this past Wednesday, I helped celebrate the beginning of Nick's 28th year on this earth. I spent the night before prepping the celebratory feast. Once I got off work, I headed over to my sister's house and worked fast and furiously to finish my preparations on dinner, which included maple mustard-glazed salmon over brown rice, balsamic green beans w/carmelized onions and roasted sweet potatoes with a brown sugar glaze.

the plated meal

And of course, no birthday would be complete without something sweet to adorn with flaming candles. (Aren't traditions so strange sometimes?) I made Nick a chocolate chip cookie cake w/homemade buttercream icing. And I definitely got crafty with the decor. I look any excuse to dye icing and bust out a piping bag - woo hoo!

the birthday boy with his cake (and pearl)

haylee with her favorite food (cake)

All in all, it was a good night and I hope Nick enjoyed the meal. Happy birthday again Nick!

michelle, mere-bear and me

Happy Father's Day!

Happy Father's Day to a Dad who taught me how to drive a standard, always "saw me off" and made my bagel every morning (even when I had to leave at 6:45 in the AM and was total crabcake central), relentlessly tried to teach me how to play golf, fixed breakfast on Saturday mornings for Michelle and I (banana pancakes, waffles, french toast, "homemade" donuts), played countless games of tickle monster, beat me in numerous rounds of horse, always let me drive him around on the golf cart, never let me win at board games, taught me how to tightly pack a suitcase, let us play with his hair and put clips & bows in it, and the list goes on...

the pops with his girls

It is from him I inherited my blue eyes, "broken" nose, razor sharp wit (ha), fierce competitive nature and love for the theatrics. He went to all of my gymnastic and (most of my) cheerleading competitions, and always claimed he had hoped for only girls before and during my mom's pregnancies. He's the one I always call when I'm in trouble and need help.

do you see the resemblance?

Most of all, he has shown me that a real, Godly man takes responsibility for the error of his ways, and that true repentance is evidenced through actions, not merely words. Since he is human, he is by no means perfect, but he is the only man to ever win my heart and never ceases to make me feel like a princess.

popalla with the original rachie

I love you Dad - Happy Father's Day!



drop it like it's hot.

Hello and Happy Monday to you friends. As promised, I am ready to give you the full report on the second half of Lianna's Bachelorette Weekend which took place in the lovely, too good to be true, Kingsland Manor.

After a chock-full (and I mean full) day of boating, jet skiing, swimming, water skiing, laying out, etc., it was time to put on our party dresses and do it up right! We officially started the evening on the 2nd floor where we popped the bubbly, toasted the bride-to-be and had cocktail hour ("happy hour's from 4-6"). The cocktail du jour was a bellini which went down a bit too easily after a hot day in the sun. Unfortunately, I guzzled these pups like a camel drinks water in the Sahara Desert (but that's neither here, nor there). We also snacked on some homemade guac, spinach dip and shrimp cocktail.


the lovely bride

While the crew kicked back, i mean, enjoyed some cocktails, I helped finish up the prep for the divinely delicious dinner. Elisa and Christina planned a fabulous meal, and I regret to inform you that no pictures were taken...such a shame. The menu was comprised of a sublime spinach salad, glorious glazed salmon, remarkable roasted asparagus and hot, buttery beer bread. How's that for some cheesy descriptions?

christina, me and elisa

group shot amongst the beautiful background

We took advantage of the beautiful weather and ate dinner outside on the rooftop deck. It was perfect on all fronts. After totally stuffing ourselves with the scrumptious delights, we slowly began to make our way downstairs so Lianna could open her saucy gifts and we could get the after party rockin'. While the blushing bride unwrapped her honeymoon attire, we helped ourselves to dark chocolate-covered strawberries and amaretto cake. Once the last ribbon had been untied, we cranked the music up and danced the night away (some more than others).

quasi-crazy group photo (some more than others)

group pic in the dark of the night

The next morning, Christina and I (with what energy I could muster up), set to work preparing a bountiful brunch spread sure to please even the pickiest palate. (Wow, where is this coming from?) I whipped up a batch of sugary sweet monkey bread, while Christina got busy cranking out some amazing migas. She is quite the whiz in the kitchen - I love it! We rounded out the meal with a bright fresh fruit salad. I am sorry to say, once again, that I have zero pics to make your mouth water...major bummer.

After we did deap clean 2009 on the old lakehouse, it was time to bid adieu to my most favorite fousins. Thanks ladies for a top-notch weekend jam-packed with yummy eats, rockin' beats and a whole lotta heat!

Lianna - You are the quintessential, radiant bride-to-be. I am so proud of the wonderful person you have become, and I cannot wait for you to start your new life as a wife to Ed. You are going to be a gorgeous bride on your wedding day, both inside and out. I love you so much Li-Li!!!

Thursday, June 18, 2009


This is a day late, and a dollar short, but here's a BIG "abundant life" birthday shout-out to Nick!!! He served in the army for 4 years (and was a wicked cool Ranger), is my sister's husband, is the father of Haylee and Meredith and is one of the hardest workers I know. I hope you had a fabulous birthday and a wonderful day. May your 28th year be blessed with overwhelming joy, peace that surpasses all understanding, and abundant life that's overflowing.


P.S. I will do a detailed post later w/pics of the birthday celebration dinner (catered by yours truly) and I pinky promise to post the rest of Lianna's bachelorette throwdown.

Have a terrific Thursday!!!

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

barefoot and crazy

For those of you that don't follow country music, the title of this post most likely makes no sense. However, if you know the song, it's the perfect soundtrack for my lake-a-licious weekend. Well that, and Beyonce's "If you like it then you shoulda put a ring on it." Gosh, I can't seem to shake that song.

Anyway, after the less than stellar week I had, there was a lot of built-up anticipation leading up to the weekend...well, the par-tay did not disappoint. This is my 2nd time at the lakehouse, and everytime I leave, I can't wait to come back for more. I headed south as soon as I left work and I couldn't get there soon enough. The moment I walked in the door, it was like a weight had been lifted off me and it was time for the festivities to begin.

thumbs up to a safe trip & a party waiting

Since we were all pretty tired, we had a mini dance party and then popped in a classic, Father of the Bride, to get us all in the wedding spirit. I had forgotten how much I love that movie. It is pure genius and had me laughing out loud even though my eyes were heavy and unwilling to stay open.

The next morning, we got up (fairly) early and started decorating for the big bash. We put up lots of beach-themed cutouts, streamers, leis and busted out some awesome sunglasses (pictured below).

a bouquet of hanging leis

Miss Lake LBJ

We also got to work on a couple snacky food items that we could eat throughout the day in between boating, skiing and sea dooing (that sounds weird). Once everyone was up and at 'em, we put on our suits, loaded into the boat (that actually worked for once) and got busy out on the lake. After a quick swim in one of the coves, a few of us took the skis out for a spin. It may or may not have taken me about 5 attempts to actually get up on my skis. I'm sure I was quite entertaining, but at least I didn't give up. We were blessed with an absolutely gorgeous day out on the lake - it was perfectly amazing!

After we had spent a good 2-3 hours on the lake (and after my 5 wipeouts + 1 successful ski session), it was time to refuel with some serious snackage. I got down with some chicken salad (a la Lianna), crackers, veggies and spinach dip (a la moi). It was the perfect lunch for a day on the lake.

Once we devoured some sustenance, we headed out for one more boat ride. We just cruised around the lake a little bit. There was no more skiing or any foolishness like that. It was just pure relaxation in the sun. After we got back, it was super hot and definitely time for a little dip...but not just any dip, we all wanted to jump off the deck. Here's a before and after shot.

ready for the big plunge
apparently very excited

Well friends, I think I'm going to divide the weekend into 2 posts, so I will close with our jump in the lake. Thanks for reading my blog - y'all are definitely the bees knees!

P.S. I just made this delicious treat for Nick's b-day tomorrow -- holy yum!!!

Friday, June 12, 2009

later much!

After a rather dull, mundane and quasi-emotional week (and tornado-filled for that matter), I am roughly 3 hours away from heading south-bound, 35 (feel free to break into song)! Being without power Wednesday night and Thursday morning, coupled with some other drama has left me ready to shake the dust off of this town and get away to a carefree place, where the livin' is easy.

Fortunately for me, this happens to be the weekend of Lianna's bachelorette bash taking place at the fousin's lakehouse. There promises to be a lot of sun, a little (or a lot) bubbly, good eats and overall good times with great peeps. Stay tuned for a post with plenty 'o pics when I return.

Until then, I hope you all have quack-tastic weekends!!! May God fill your hearts with a joy that's abounding and a peace that surpasses all understanding.

P.S. Where's your favorite spot for a quick getaway? (mine's Austin/lakehouse...obvs!)

Sunday, June 7, 2009

what's up?

Since I'm sure most of you know that I lead a particularly exciting life, I'll fill you in on what I've been up to in hte past week or so.

Last Saturday, I spent the day with 3 of my favorite girls: my sis (of 26 years), Haylee (my 2 1/2 year-old niece) and Meredith (my 2-week-old niece). I hadn't gotten to spend a whole lot of time with them since Meredith had been born, so I was glad I had the whole day to get in some quality time. Nick had purchased a rather large blow-up pool for Haylee and I to kick it in, but apparently, Haylee is seriously afraid of the entire prospect of a pool. Michelle got it all ready for us, and Haylee managed to remain in it for about 2.5 seconds. I, on the other hand, enjoyed the pool for about 2 hours, while Haylee blew bubbles and played with the hose...the best laid plans...anyway, we spent most of the outside and Kori even dropped by to see Meredith. After some serious sun, I came in to make (my now infamous) beer bread to go with the meal I brought over for Nick and Michelle. I made pizza spaghetti pie and italian baked broccoli. (Sorry I don't have any pics.) The rest of the night was spent chowing down and watching Fool's Gold.

Haylee in her very revealing bikini

Haylee, me and her popsicle

On Sunday, Crystal and I served at the 1st 2 services at Watermark and then I attended the JPII graduation. It was so fun seeing alot of my old students give speeches and walk the stage. I was so proud of all of them! After graduation, I went to one of my old cheerleader's graduation parties. I wish I had a picture of the spread (and the cake). Babe's chicken strips, giant shrimp cocktail, a vast array of salads, dips and spreads were just a few of the offerings. Holy cow! I think I filled and refilled my plate about 3-4 times...yikes. And the cake...it was amazing with some sort of cream/raspberry filling. YUM! I also got to see quite a few of my old cheerleaders, and it was great to catch up with them.

The work week sauntered by at a fairly gradual pace, but isn't that the way it goes? What a blessing it is to even have a job at this time, so I continue to pray for a grateful heart and a joyful spirit.

Once the clock struck 5 on Friday afternoon, I headed to the 'rents for some grilling out and a rather cheesy movie. I can't say I recommend the Fantastic 4: Rise of the Silver Surfer, but the food more than made up for the lackluster entertainment. As always, thanks Dad for firing up the grill and having me over!

Yesterday was another sun-filled day at Nick and Michelle's. Haylee and I blew bubbles, swung on the swingset and played in the hose. I can't believe how big my oldest niece is getting. It makes me want to spend every moment with her so I do not miss anything. I can't imagine what a parent feels like. Anyway, I brought over a couple of salads and a homemade key lime pie (Michelle's fave) for them to enjoy. Unfortunately, I couldn't stay through the evening because I had a fundraiser party to attend for Krystal who is in my community group at Watermark.

Crystal, Amber, Crystal (not a typo) and I headed south to Elm Street for the shindig. It was in a really cool space with a bunch of different rooms and a teeny tiny patio that reminded me a whole lot of New York. There was some live music, rock band and a serious photo session. After a couple hours there, we headed to the Londoner and snagged a patio table for the rest of the evening.

my community group (minus 2)

Well, there you have it. Way more than you ever wanted to know about my life, but as uneventful as it may seem, it is my "abundant life."

May you have a glorious Sunday and may you find countless opportunities to love and serve those around you!

Saturday, June 6, 2009

a fresh start

Well friends, as you may have noticed, the old blog has received a makeover and a new title. Over the past couple of weeks, the title of my blog has started to bother me. Now, I know this might be a bit deep/introspective for a blog (took the words right out of your mouth didn't I), but the more I contemplated my blog's title, the more I felt it needed to be changed.

Granted, most of my blog's content consists of the details of my life and my opinions on things which I really have absolutely no authority to speak on. However, I decided I didn't want to live in a "world according to me." Instead, I wanted to focus on living the "abundant life" Christ has given me in this temporary world. This is based on the Bible verse that "Christ came so that we might have life, and have it more abundantly." I know this will come as quite a shock to you, but I actually don't have all of the answers. In fact, I have very few answers. The only thing I am sure of in this life is that we are here to love and serve others, and it is through this service that those around us will be pointed to Christ. What an incredible charge we have, and what a poor job I have been doing.

But...this post isn't about feeling guilty, it really is about my new title. It is my deepest desire to point others to the adundant life we have been given through Christ alone. It is not achieved "by actions so that none can boast."

So, there you have it. That is the meaning behind my new title. Thoughts???

Monday, June 1, 2009

a-town: numero dos

In light of the serious delay in my posts, I will keep this short and sweet. After Lianna's lovely bridal shower in Austin, we packed into Andi and headed to the Dehan's new lakehouse. The weather was a bit dodgy, as it rained all the way there, but we arrived safe and sound and ready to celebrate Elisa's birthday.

We started the fun with some margaritas and sangria, and I chipped in and made some homemade guacamole for everyone to eat while we waited on the burgers. Once the burgers were grilled, everyone grabbed a plate and filled it with hamburgers, baked beans, coleslaw and sweet potato fries (courtesy of Elisa and me). After dinner, Ed played some guitar and even graced us with a few diddys. We followed our music entertainment with the ubiquitous (and slightly off-key) happy birthday serenade to the birthday girl, which was sung over a chocolate chip cake with chocolate icing. The evening concluded with a lively chat on the rooftop deck underneath a blanket of stars.

sitting underneath the stars

After going to church on Sunday, we drove home under a gloomy sky. I must say things did not look like they were going to turn out well for us, in terms of lake activities. We tried to keep our chins up, and soothed our souls with some yummy eggs, coffee, fruit, cinnamon rolls, donuts and blueberry bread. Once brunch was cleaned up, the sun revealed its glorious face and we were ready for a day on the lake.

finally in the driver's seat

Since the boat was out of commission, we took turns on the jetski and I forgot how much fun riding (and driving) the jetski is. Although I suffered a minor injury to my toe, I had a blast.

all systems are a go

Throughout the day, we hung out on the deck, played cards, jumped off the deck into the lake, helped my aunt "patriotize" the lakehous and drank some yummy margaritas.

America, we salute you

fousins with the happy couple (btw, we are all older than the 2 actually getting married)

After a long day in the sun, we were treated to some yummy barbeque, corn on the cob and potato salad. I also got my first taste (but definitely not my last) of beer bread. We all loved it so much that Elisa had to make another pan of it that very night. (I have since made it for Michelle twice, and it's been a HUGE hit.)

cheers to a glorious day on the lake

Once we were sufficiently stuffed, we headed up to the deck and spent a good 3 hours looking at the stars. I saw constellations, shooting stars and satellites (and a few bats). Most importantly, I got to hang out with my cousin's fiancee, and it was such a treat getting to know him better. Ed is a great guy, and has really brought out an amazing side to Lianna that I am getting to see more and more. God has truly blessed their relationship, and it should be known that he is 100% approved in my book!

All in all, it was a great weekend and once again, I left with some great memories and with the knowledge that I'm so blessed to have cousins, who are also some of my best friends -- I LOVE Y'ALL!!!