February 15, 2017

Stars

The other day I was driving in my car and the lyrics "If you can calm the raging sea, you can calm the storm in me" stopped me dead in my tracks. I couldn't shake that imagery. As a girl who grew up in church and has heard the story of Jesus walking on water and calming the seas a million times this picture was so tangible to me. I, like most breathing people walking the planet have gone through some stuff, not near to the depths that many in this world have, but for me, some stuff. I, like most breathing, God-fearing people in this world have wondered "why me?" or "why this particular battle" here and there, that's fair, right? But what I've seen time and time again is that God calms the storm in me, and with time (sometimes a lot of time) brings peace, and maybe if I'm lucky, some understanding too. For the last several years I've been on a journey (which I've alluded to/discussed here numerous times) and I never thought I would come to a place where I'd say "If I could go back and just do the quick, easy fix I wouldn't do it" but that's where I've finally arrived. Don't get me wrong, that would be the easy, less painful, make everyone happy route, but I genuinely don't think it would be the best thing, or even dare I say, the right thing. What I've learned on this journey is that God can calm the storm in me, if I let Him, if I invite Him into the pain and the process and let Him do His work. There is value in that, it likely isn't ever going to be the easy road, or the quick road, or the make everybody happy road, but that's okay, as I've said many times before, I believe God is more interested in our character than our happiness. I also believe this route, in my particular story, paves the way for more healing, truer healing, even if it never comes, the door is wide, wide open. xo


Stars
You spoke a word and life began
Told oceans where to start and where to end
You set in motion time and space
But still you come and you call to me by name
Still you come and you call to me by name

If you can hold the stars in place
You can hold my heart the same
Whenever I fall away
Whenever I start to break
So here I am, lifting up my heart
To the one who holds the stars

The deepest depths, the darkest nights
Can't separate, can't keep me from your sight
I get so lost, forget my way
But still you love and you don't forget my name

If you can hold the stars in place
You can hold my heart the same
Whenever I fall away
Whenever I start to break
So here I am, lifting up my heart
If you can calm the raging sea
You can calm the storm in me
You're never too far away
You never show up too late
So here I am, lifting up my heart
To the one who holds the stars

Your love has called my name
What do I have to fear?
What do I have to fear?
Your love has called my name
What do I have to fear?
What do I have to fear?

If you can hold the stars in place
You can hold my heart the same
Whenever I fall away
Whenever I start to break
So here I am, lifting up my heart
(Lifting up my heart)
If you can calm the raging sea
You can calm the storm in me
You're never too far away
You never show up too late
So here I am, lifting up my heart
To the one who holds the stars

You're the one who holds the stars

~Skillet

February 9, 2017

crazytown + enneagram workshop

After my last post things went south...quickly. I won't go into all the ins and outs of this past week and a half that have been an utter train wreck but I will say it involved a major plumbing fiasco, staying somewhere else for a couple nights, a medical procedure, the death of a beloved pet, a lot of physical pain, numerous contractors, budget issues, etc etc. etc. Last year had a really rough start and I'm realizing the same thing about this year, I'm hopeful this year will start an upward trajectory soon but man, its been a doozy up to this point. Big sigh. Life...sometimes it just hits you smack in the face!

On a different note, I had the opportunity to attend an all day enneagram workshop at Baylor this week (taught by Joe & Suzanne Stabile). The workshop didn't delve into a lot of what I was hoping for but it still had some good information nonetheless. Here are some nuggets from the notes I took:

*You can learn from the past, you can't discern from the past

*maturity is holding the past, present and future at one time

*we have to discover Christianity as a way of life, not beliefs

*an open heart + pure intentions = holiness

*good discernment is never done in a vacuum

*what God is doing is none of your business

That last one caused me pause, I know God's ways are higher than mine (understatement) and that we don't get the inside scoop on what He's up to but I'm not sure its ever occurred to me that its none of my business. Hmmmm. I guess its not. But I sure would like to know! :) Going into the workshop I was hopeful to hear more about specific numbers and how they apply to others, etc. and although there wasn't a ton of that, there was some of that. As I think I've previously mentioned the enneagram is a personality assessment of sorts, basically each person is a 1-9 based on their personality and there are numbers they "go to" when they are healthy or unhealthy and based on this information it can help you can better understand/deal with yourself and others the more information you have. I've had many "aha" moments as I read books on the enneagram, go to workshops, etc. Lots of eye opening stuff there if you're interested in just bettering yourself and seeking to better understand others. I love that as I'm getting older I'm learning more about why things affect me the way they do, ie why something that someone did hurt me so badly or why I felt so strongly about X, etc. Its so eye opening to learn things about yourself and to put some awareness to things you might not have known. AND, to know you're not alone in it! At the workshop they didn't go through and ask each person what their number was but at one point they asked all the 9's to raise their hands (and there were only like 3 in the whole room and there were about 80 people there (rough guess), and at one point they asked all the 8's to raise their hands (and there were also, only a handful). I'm an 8 (if anyone is wondering :) and Adam is a 9 so it was so interesting to see how in a large-ish group, there were only a few of us. Hmmmmmm. What I also found intriguing (that I admittedly know virtually nothing about) is that each number has a spot on a "triad" where it deals w/ certain parts of the body, like certain numbers are associated w/ the head, some with the heart, and some with the gut. Apparently 8's are "in" (for lack of a better word) their gut and I had someone tell me the night before the workshop that most 8's they know have some form of stomach-issue type stuff. Or maybe a better way to say it is, the friends she has with stomach issues are also an 8 on the enneagram. At the workshop the speaker at one point said based on research that 8's are among the numbers most likely to have eating problem/issues, etc. and all my friends at the workshop instantly looked at me! I'm an 8 and I've had digestive issues for 20 years -so crazy! Obviously this isn't across the board, and I'm doing a drastic disservice by writing about this when I have such minimal information/understanding at this point but it was super intriguing/interesting to me. Things that make you go "hmmmm." I look forward to learning more and understanding myself/others better.

Sorry, that was some randomness but its also what's been going on over here/with me. I have more dr appointments this month, hoping for some clarity/healing but am thankful for a new day and that I get to live this life. Thanks for checking in, all. xo

January 30, 2017

back on the 'cord

So we officially moved into our friend's house 2 days ago and its been a whirlwind! Moving is ALWAYS insanity and we've moved a lot so you'd think we'd have a good handle on it but...not so much. We asked our friend's to help this go around (we've hired movers our last couple moves) and they were so helpful and we are almost done! Adam and I had to go back over for a couple hours yesterday and tomorrow we'll need to clean a couple things and then...we're officially outta there! We're all SO happy to be out of that rental, we all hated it! My projects at my friend's house aren't quite done yet so that's a bummer, I was hoping to have it wrapped up before we moved in but alas, as with any "little" project I take on, there's always gotta be a hiccup. Sigh. When they took out the jenky old vanity it revealed that the plumbing was actually coming from the side wall versus the back wall like we had all anticipated sooooo, I knew Jon wouldn't want to pay extra to have the plumbing moved and so that meant the sink I bought wouldn't fit. Sigh. Had to return the sink and now I'm waiting for the new one to arrive. And today the toilet was supposed to get installed but the guy hasn't shown up so...we've got 2 hold ups. Grrrr. Bright side: we're back on our old street and its SO fun to be so close to our friends again, yay! Right now the house is so quiet b/c B got called over for a play date up the street, Adam is teaching his evening class and I'm editing away. It was an early morning for us today, Adam set off the house alarm when we went to work out in the wee hours and after about 10 minutes the cops showed up. Ay yi yi. As you can imagine they had a lot of questions as to why the owner wasn't here and I live in Waco but I'm living here..ha! So, that happened. And today is my 24 hour fast for my medical procedure tomorrow where they'll check me out to make sure I'm not a total disaster on the inside so...I'm HUNGRY. Would appreciate your prayers for tomorrow, I hate being put under. :/ So, that's the haps around here, the good, the bad, and the ugly! Hope everyone's week is off to a great start! Here's a little nugget I'm editing...isn't he so cute?! xo


January 24, 2017

Wild One

I'm really blessed to go to the church I go to, and the worship is one of the many reasons why. My friend Jameson is the worship pastor at our church and he writes most of the songs we sing, talk about talent! His lyrics are so profound and often stop me dead in my tracks. One of my favorite songs of his is called "Wild One" and I'm going to share the lyrics here. A friend of mine that I made in the recent years of living in CA has had a rough go and I've walked with her through some of it since we met. She called me this morning and I think she was needing some encouragement and a reminder of what the truth really is so I tried to do that. I texted her after we spoke and told her to buy Jameson McGregor's set on iTunes, that she wouldn't be sorry and to crank up the song "Wild One" and just rest in God's truth (everyone reading this should go buy it too :). I love when a song teaches me something I didn't know about God, or shows me a new way to see Him. When you've been in church your whole life I think it can be harder to see God in a new way sometimes (well, it can be for me anyhow) and I love that this song does that for me. I can honestly say that before I heard this song I never considered God a "wild one" but He IS!! And I love that illustration! God is wild and unpredictable and we can't figure Him out and that's such great news! As my aunt reminds me regularly "He's always up to something." Enjoy my friends. xo



overwhelming
you cannot be contained
in leather bindings
the turn of a word or phrase
overwhelming
these idols that you break
crumbling to the ground in place

you were running with iconoclast strides
god, you're wilder than we ever thought you would be
though we try, we can't pin you down
you're a wild one

you're greater

disconcerting
these figures that we form
we want more money
we want a higher bar
disconcerting
these idols that we carve
controlling like the wind to a sail

you were running with iconoclast strides
god, you're wilder than we ever thought you would be
though we try, we can't pin you down
you're a wild one

unbound
you're overwhelming
we build you a house
but you keep moving
maker
you're not done making
we gave you seven days
but you're still forming
so form these broken bodies
into gold
a great love with a lighter load
tear these temples down
stone from stone
crashing to the ground like broken chains

you keep running with iconoclast strides
god, you're wilder than we ever thought you would be
though we try, we can't pin you down
you're a wild one

you're greater

~Jameson McGregor

January 17, 2017

a slow go

I can't believe we're halfway through January but at the same time I feel like its been a slow start to this new year. B went back to school late so that made it feel kinda lazy and slow, I wasn't feeling well which added to the slow start as well. I also think B getting out of school early Friday and then having yesterday off for MLK day has just made it feel like the year hasn't REALLY begun, but I think this is the week! I also haven't really cooked in ages and feel like we've kinda just been getting by, time to get real life started around here, folks. I'm starting to feel better which is great, and some stuff with the house is happening which is really great! Last week our foundation was poured and this week I've been told framing will begin!!! The weather has not been cooperating lately but after Wednesday (and then some rain Friday) I think we'll have some clear skies to work with for a bit. I feel like I stalk my weather app, I can't help it! The weather does change often in Waco so that's not unreasonable but I've been a little obsessive about it. Sigh.

Well, in fun news, we had a great weekend! I was talking to my friend Beth on Wednesday (she and her hubs and 2 boys lived in Waco for many years and then the past couple years they've moved to So Cal, then to CO, then to NY, then back to CO so its been nutty). She and I have had MANY teary convos over the past couple years about moving all over and missing Waco, etc. So anyhow, she was saying how her husband's 40th bday was coming, she didn't know what to do, they didn't really have friends at their new home yet, etc.. So I just said "COME TO WACO and we'll throw him a party!" So they did! It was SO FUN! She woke him up early Saturday morning and said "We're going on a trip!" She totally pulled it off and they arrived here Saturday afternoon! We haven't moved into our friend's house yet so I set them up over at his place, got them his car keys, etc. and it was awe.some. I helped to gather all our friend's together and we met up at a nice restaurant, I baked him his favorite cake and we all ushered in his 40th year with him! He was surrounded by his people, we laughed (and there were some happy tears) and it was just simply fantastic. I LOVE celebrating important moments for important people in my life and I was thrilled to be a part of honoring my dear friend. This is the good stuff of life.

In other news, I met the tile guy over at my friend Jon's house today! It was so funny, I was getting ready while B was getting ready this morning (usually I'm half coherent and fumbling around to get her to school so the fact that I was up and at 'em was unusual) and she said "Are you going somewhere after you drop me off?" And I said "Yeah, I'm meeting the tile guy at British Jon's, I'm having some work done to his house" and B said "Does he know??" It cracked me up! I said "Um...Yeah!" (But to be fair, it was a valid question! :) Jon did agree to let me do some things to sprucen up the place while he was gone but I have added a few more things to the list (that of course I will get his permission on first! :). Its fun to decorate someone else's space since I'm so far from doing it in my own house! I'm trying to pick inexpensive things that will make a big impact (since Jon doesn't want me to go nuts :). So for now, I'm having the kitchen painted, popcorn scraped off the kitchen ceiling, new fan put in, and a tile backsplash put in. Fun! He's going to come home to a transformed place! I'm trying to sneak in an inexpensive gut job to the quarter bath downstairs...we'll see! :)

I think that's all the news around these here parts! I just blogged a mini session so you can check it out HERE! Happy Tuesday! xo


January 9, 2017

back to life...back to re-al-ity...

B went back to school today so break is officially over. Whaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaah. I did not want to get up this morning, so cold outside! Today is the day I need to do things I've been putting off, ie paying taxes for my CA biz, closing out my biz in CA, laundry, dishes, following up w/ my lame web designer (not sure if you've noticed but my website has been down for WEEKS now -grrrr), etc.. Just things, things that I'm not too pumped to do. In brighter news, I'm thankful I feel well enough to do these things! 2017 has been off to a rough start physically for me but I feel like I'm on the mend a bit and thankful for that! Adam started his new semester today and he is starting a class at Truett today so its going to be a looong day for him. When he got permission from UMHB to adjunct at Truett they said to him "You know you don't have to work so hard any more, right?" We both thought that was kinda funny. Well, not too much to share over here, house is plugging along...plumbing is almost done on the front end and we're hopeful concrete can get poured this week before the rain comes! Unfortunately the weather forecast for this week isn't looking so great for house building so...sigh, probably not much happening for a bit. Well, even though my website is down my blog is up and running and you can see this cute fam HERE. Happy Monday! xo


January 4, 2017

2016 in review

Happy New Year, all! There's just something about a fresh start that gets me excited about January (even though its not my favorite month). This year has started a bit rough for us over here, my long-time digestive issues have reared their ugly head and cedar allergies have hit Adam hard so we're not top notch over here...hoping for better days ahead! B doesn't go back to school until the 9th so we're having a pretty lazy week and start to our new year. We're in the process of moving into our friend's house so we got yet another (and please Lord, last) storage unit to put our stuff into and slowly started moving some things over. [Have I mentioned that I hate moving?!] Adam and I are giddy that we only have 1 more move after this one (well, we hope, and at least until we're really old! :). I'm sure it goes without saying but the thing I'm most looking forward to in 2017 is our house being done and moving into our "forever" home (gotta use quotes....you never know right?). I have poured my heart into designing this home and can.not.wait. to see it come to life and to live our lives in it, GIDDY. My builder texted me this morning and told me the plumbers started working today and would be there the next 3 days "trenching and putting in the plumbing slab" so things are finally starting to move! Who hoo!

I always like to spend some time at the end of a year reflecting on the year and all it brought, 2016 was a big one for us so I'm going to share a bit here.

I have mixed feelings when I look back on 2016, its sort of bittersweet but more sweet than bitter. The past few years have been such a mixed bag, 2013 was perhaps our/my best year, and then it was followed by 2014-15 which were the worst years of my life, and then came 2016 that was somewhere in the middle. 2016 started really awful and ended really great. The start of 2016 brought some really hard job news for Adam and I, and some really hard personal conflict for me. Then I got really sick and as someone who has had a lot of horrible physical things here and there throughout my life, I will say that vertigo is one of the worst things that has ever happened to me. As the year progressed Adam and I got some hopeful job news that morphed into what we had been pleading to the Lord for for years, which was a job in Waco. With that turn of events everything took a turn in the right direction. What I haven't shared publicly is that Adam and I had decided to move back to Texas with or without the job at UMHB, we had worked it out with APU where Adam was literally going to commute to CA from TX each week!! It was such a daunting prospect but we were all in and that was our plan until the Lord came through with the job for Adam back home. We weren't excited about this plan but we were desperate, and desperate people do desperate things. I can't tell you how affirming it was that we made the decision to move and then the Lord provided the job; I knew Waco was home and it was really neat to see the Lord make that so apparent as well. 2016 will forever be the year that the Lord brought us back to Waco, brought us home and I'm so so thankful.

For the past couple years I've been on somewhat of a spiritual journey of knowing myself better, understanding myself and others better, digging deeper into what forgiveness and reconciliation really mean/look like, what being true to myself means in the midst of heartache, what lessons I want to teach my daughter, the difference between enabling and honesty, and the things I never want to go back to but hope for the future. As I've mentioned numerous times, I've read more books in the past couple years than in my whole life combined but what I can say about this journey is: I love Jesus more than I did before, I am a better person than I was before because there is more of Jesus in me, I am more gracious than I was, I am more patient, I am more understanding. I have invited several people into the recesses of my life to ask me hard questions and hold me accountable and I've been told there is a difference in me. Healing has taken place in me that for a season I couldn't even imagine happening, things that I couldn't talk about without bursting into tears have become somewhat peaceful and such major areas of growth and I'm so thankful to be on the other side. I still have deep wounds, don't get me wrong, but there has been so much healing and growth within these wounds that is tangible and I'm so thankful for that.

2016 brought us home and the search for home has been such a "thing" for me for so many years and we're here! It brought the start of the process of building our home which has always been a dream of mine that I never really thought would come to fruition and yet, here we are. 2 BIG dreams that the Lord has made possible, so so so thankful and grateful. 2016 was the year our family of 3 went on our first cruise together, we went to NYC for Christmas which is just dreamy in and of itself, and the 3 of us are now Wacoans again -thank you 2016 for the good that you brought!

As I head into 2017 my goals are pretty simple:

move into our home, have people over for dinner all.the.time., save for a pool, get a new mi casa up and running, (as of today) to loose 13 more pounds (I've lost 11 already -woot!), to make good food/try lots of new recipes, become a better photographer, read lots more books, go to a new place with Adam and B, to love Jesus more, and to throw a big ol' 40th birthday bash!

I'm sure I'll come with a few more here and there but I think that's a good start! I hope everyone is starting 2017 with high hopes and new mercies for a new year! Happy New year! xo

December 29, 2016

Christmas in New York 2016

We got home late last night from our week in NYC, and it was FABULOUS! I have envisioned New York for years and it really was everything I thought it would be and it was one of (if not "the") best Christmases ever. Before we left I got some recommendations from some folks, and I asked for suggestions on Instagram and we tried to check almost each one off the list. I had a list of things on my phone and would check them off as we went and we finished the whole list with the exception of a trip to the Met (and Tribeca but I think we might have gone there for a bit and I just didn't realize it?).

Here's how our trip went (and really, I'm detailing it more for me to look back on and remember so sorry if its a bit tedious :):

*we got to our hotel around dinner time on the 22nd, we dropped our stuff off and walked to Rockefeller center and looked at the iconic tree, the ice skating rink, looked in some shops, walked to Times Square (which was where our hotel was), saw Radio City Music Hall, and had a yummy dinner at a lovely French restaurant.

*23rd -we took the subway to Chelsea and walked the high line, it was so cool to be at a park looking down at the city and just taking in all the views. We ended the walk at the Chelsea market and had some treats at Sarabeth's bakery and shopped at the market. We then took the ferry to Staten Island so we could get a great view of the statue of liberty (none of us actually wanted to go "to" it so this was the way to see it from what we'd been told -that was fun, and cold!). We ate yummy Indian food in the financial district and then took the ferry back to Times Square where we changed our clothes and headed to Broadway to watch "Aladdin." It was a great show and it was in an old theatre which was so cool to see! Afterwards Adam was a hungry so we stopped by the iconic Shake Shack for him to grab a burger and B and I shared a peanut butter shake -yum!

*24th- We ate yummy grilled cheese sandwiches at this grilled cheese restaurant and took the subway to the Natural History Museum, after being there for hours (aka: too long for me!) we took a lovely stroll through central park -gorgeous! We then took a CROWDED walk down 5th/Park Ave and saw the beautiful, iconic store front windows, we were 10 minutes too late to the American Girl doll store (grrr), and then went to Dylan's candy shop to stock up on some treats. I also made a quick stop in the iconic Magnolia Bakery to grab some goodies and then we stopped in this bakery to kill some time before our dinner reservation at The Smith (which is pretty much what I want the inside of my new house to look like!). The bakery was about to close so we bought a couple items to have Christmas morning in our hotel and then they gave us some free baked goods since they were closing and had to get rid of them, that was really neat because we were able to then give those items away to the homeless and it felt good to pass along the generosity. We ate a YUMMY dinner at The Smith and then headed back to our hotel to relax a bit before church. Before going to NY Adam and I both thought it would be a really neat experience to go to a high church service in the city at a fancy church at the 11 o' clock service, so we did! We found a VERY high gorgeous episcopal church service and we made it about 50 minutes before we bailed! Ha! B was fading and according to the 30 page bulletin we weren't even halfway through the service so....there was that. It was still a neat experience and I'm glad we did it.

*25th -Christmas day started off very lazy for us, we had very full, busy days with LOTS of walking and made it back to our hotel around 11pm - midnight each night so we were wiped! We slept in, ate our yummy baked goods and watched Christmas movies. In the later afternoon we took the subway to Chinatown and walked through the crowded streets until we found a yummy authentic Chinese restaurant where we stuffed ourselves with many yummy things. This was great, and such a neat experience! Afterwards we went to a Chinese candy shop and loaded up on more treats (I'm sure you're sensing a theme here :), then we walked through Little Italy and I bought an ornament to commemorate our Christmas in New York, and then we went to the movies! B has been wanting to see the movie "Sing" and it seemed like a great Christmas-y thing to do. After the movie B wanted a milkshake so we stopped by the Sugar Factory and she got a fancy shmancy milkshake at this cool shop and then we made a couple more stops on the way back to our hotel for coookies and cheesecake before heading to bed.

*26th -We took the subway to the 911 Memorial/Museum and spent a good bit of time here. This was a really neat (for lack of a better word) experience. I thought they did a great job of commemorating the lives lost and of telling the story of that tragic day. After the museum we went to Little Italy for lunch, then took the subway to Grand Central Station (which was so pretty for the holidays). Then we headed to Union Square and I did some shopping at ABC Home (which was FAB). Then we took B back to the AG doll store which was a total zoo and the shelves were pretty much bare the day after Christmas! Then we hunted down Momofuku Milkbar to get the famous crack pie -that was SO good. Then we stopped in St. Patrick's Cathedral and saw that iconic beauty and then made the trek to Katz's Deli for the infamous pastrami sandwich (this ended up being Adam's favorite thing) which was amazing! It was a neat deli just to take in and see/experience but the food was UNREAL. Earlier in the evening we had stopped by Serendipity to get the iconic frozen hot chocolate, the wait was 3 hours so I put my name in but was doubtful we were gonna get in. When we were done at the deli it was the 2.5 hour mark since we put our name in and I suggested we try and make it! B was SO done and exhausted but she bucked up and we made the trek back to Serendipity where we proceeded to wait a bit longer before getting a table shortly before 11pm. This was SUCH a neat experience, to have such a full and exhausting day and to end it up the tiny stairwell into the most beautiful, whimsical room where the 3 of us had our yummy frozen hot chocolates felt magical -it really did.

27th -this day B and I were exhausted! Our legs were so.tired.and.sore. from the day before that I felt like we were lagging a bit this day. We took the subway into Soho where we did some shopping and spent a good bit of time in the iconic Dean & Deluca -YUM. After walking around Soho for a bit we took the subway to the upper east side and went to the Guggenheim museum. After we stared at sophisticated art :) we went to a late lunch at Sarabeth's. YUM. I've been wanting to see this antique store called "Olde Good Things" but our legs were SO tired so we hailed a cab, paid the big bucks and went and saw it, pretty cool but not "as" cool as I was anticipating. We went back to our hotel a bit early on this day, B and I needed a break. We watched some tv, Adam went to grab some of the "best NY pizza" and brought it back to the hotel and we had a cozy night in our room.

28th -on our last day we walked through central park to eat at the infamous "Tavern On The Green" -it was beautiful and yummy (and expensive) and a great last meal in NYC. I couldn't leave NYC without stopping at Levain Bakery as I'd been told by numerous folks that it had "the best chocolate chip cookie" so of course I had to have it! We made our way to the bakery and the line was SO LONG, Adam didn't think we had time but I insisted we try...and we made it! It was the TINIEST spot and was nothing to look at but it really was the best cookie I've.ever.had. It was AMAZING and worth the wait! After cookies we made our way to the airport and we got home last night around midnight tired and happy. It was just what I wanted it to be and it was such a neat memory for the 3 of us to be in New York City on Christmas, what a special trip! I hope everyone out there had a Merry Christmas and that it was magical too! xo


December 13, 2016

B is 10 -blogged!

I finally got around to blogging B's 10th birthday photos over HERE! xo


December 8, 2016

blogged..finally!

A while back my computer died, so I bought a new one, but all my links to my blog, website, etc. were on my old computer and I wasn't hopeful that I'd be able to figure out what I needed any time soon. Thankfully I was able to get my old computer up and running again (and by "I" I mean the computer fix it folks) so now I'm back in business! I FINALLY blogged these cuties over HERE, check it out! xo



December 5, 2016

oh life

As the saying goes "its always something" but as I was reminded recently, if you were to toss your problems along with others into a bowl, you would likely still reach for your own. Sigh. Adam's car died. Boo. We were hopeful to get another 2-3 years out of it but alas, 2k worth of work on a car that is valued at 2k with 130k miles on it...not a wise investment. After quite a bit of research I found a 2014 camry for Adam w/ only 8k miles on it! He drives a lot each day and gas mileage and reliability are key for him, so, the car is being shipped from Houston and should be ours soon enough! December is not an ideal month for even more extra expenditures but...what are ya gonna do?. Oh life. In other news we're going to try and rent out our rental and move into our friends house! Its kinda nutty, the thought of moving again sounds AWFUL but our friend is going on sabbatical for 8 months and needs someone to watch his house, we hate our rental and would love to have another bathroom, and our rent is free...a win win! But our lease isn't up until May so we need to find a renter....fingers crossed (and prayers appreciated!). Sadly nothing new on the house front (grrr) its still just a pile of dirt. Sigh. Its a really nice, smooth, built-up piece of dirt but still dirt nonetheless. My builder assured me it will "ramp up soon" but its been quite the deal getting the concrete contractor lined up for the foundation and the bit of rain we've had has not been helping. When we moved back to Waco this summer I really thought we'd be 2/3 of the way done at this point, what a joke! I try not to get too bummed about it but man, I'm SO ready for it to speed up a bit!

Christmas is coming fast this year, I did my shopping a bit early so now I'm done and just need to get things shipped off in the next couple days! It's sad not having a tree this year but all our ornaments, stand, etc. is buried in storage. I bought a mini tree at the grocery store the other day and B has been referring to it as our "ghetto tree" -I couldn't agree more! She made ornaments for it and I bought a $3 strand of ugly lights from the dollar spot at target...ghetto indeed. We're all getting excited to blow this pop stand for a bit and head to New York! I think its going to be a really memorable Christmas for our family this year and I can't wait to experience it! Happy Monday, all! xo


Peek of the cutie patootie Harps!

December 1, 2016

B's 10th birthday skating party

I'm FINALLY getting around to blogging B's party! The pics aren't stellar...I totally forgot to take one of all the girls (DOH!) and it was inside a skating rink so needless to say the light...wasn't awesome. All in all everyone had a great time, other than my mom breaking her toe I'd call it a success! B is 10! xo








 B picked the hot pink, black and gold color scheme...





Since the skating party was somewhat generic I wanted the girls party favors to be really personal, each girl got a bracelet with their name on it and a roller skate charm, a journal w/ their first initial, pens, fun tape, a wooden letter of their first initial, etc.. that was my favorite part. :)



November 30, 2016

my lazy day - "When God Doesn't Fix It"

Yesterday I had the laziest, cozy, most relaxing day. I didn't plan to have a lazy day, it just organically happened and it was SO nice. I finished another Ann Lamott book Monday night so when I woke up on Tuesday (after taking B to school) I came home and started a new book called "When God Doesn't Fix It" by Laura Story. I thought I would read a few chapters and then get started on my day (ie yoga, grocery store, bank, laundry, some editing, etc.) but I found myself saying "just one more chapter" and before I knew it, I had spent the.whole.day. in my pjs, in bed, reading the whole book! I'm not sure I've ever done that in my life but it was really great! I showered in the early evening, made B dinner and then Adam and I took her to volleyball practice before the two of us went on a little dinner date. All in all, a pretty great day. :)

I would recommend this new book by Laura Story, especially if there is an area of your life in need of some reconciliation, such good stuff here. Here are some of my favorite nuggets from the book:

* "Our desire is for God to fix broken things. But God's desire for us is to fix our relationship with him."

* "But when Adam and Eve disobeyed him we entered the second part of the narrative, the fall. The sin that entered the world that fateful day has consequences that continue to our day. War, poverty, greed, gossip, jealousy, gluttony, cancer, and brain tumors are just a few of the ways sin manifests itself. Everything is distorted and broken. The biggest break is our relationship with God. It's called the "fall" because we've fallen away from God, and we can't get up by ourselves."

* "We ask God why, believing the answer will provide us with some kind of deep soul satisfaction. But too often, we don't get the answer we want. I don't think that means we should give up asking questions; we just need to understand their role in our brokenness."

* "I promise you will find more purpose and joy in your life if you set aside the why and begin to ask how. How does my story fit into God's greater story of redemption?"

* "It's only when we bring our pain to him that we can find our dwelling in him."

* "There's nothing in scripture that tells us we're entitled to an answer. It's not that God is secretive and doesn't want us to know; it's that we're incapable of seeing the big picture."

* "Is there something you've let go of because you couldn't make it happen? Do you believe that if you offered it to God he could raise it or make it happen? Jesus takes dead things and revives them. He is the life. He is the resurrection. And it is through your belief in him that you will see the glory of God, just as Martha and Mary did. Jesus has the power to resurrect the things we've let die - our hope, our healing, our family, our mind, and our body. And though he doesn't promise to restore everything until we enter Restoration, occasionally we get a glimpse of things we let die being revived. And in that moment we see the glory of God."

* "When Jesus raises our dead things, he does it in his timing, not ours. And he does it for one reason -that we might catch a glimpse of his magnificent power and his marvelous glory."

* "No matter what it is that we are praying for, a time will come when we bump up against what we think God should do and what he allows."

* "To be better in our brokenness isn't to remove the brokenness; it's to remove the selfishness, pride, impatience, or other sinful behaviors we blame on the brokenness, When we stop blaming our situation on the brokenness, we begin to see that the brokenness is a trial designed specifically for us."

In my book I wrote "ugh..." in the margin next to this paragraph:

* "I rarely choose patience and grace over anger and annoyance. Yet I've learned that even though they aren't my automatic responses to situations, the more I practice patience and grace, the better I get. So why wouldn't God use the trials in my life to teach me patience? Why wouldn't God, who gave us perfect grace and who wants me to give and receive it, give me an astounding number of opportunities to learn how to give and receive grace? If God, who wants what is best for me, knows that means learning to depend on him more than I am capable of, why wouldn't he design circumstances in my life to teach me how to be totally dependent on him for everything?"

* "It's a deep joy that comes from making intentional choices about how we're going to live our lives despite our circumstances."

* "It's just that we acknowledge that God is God and we are not. Even in the midst of our unchanging circumstances, we can still give him praise and glory. We can still tell others how frail and weak we are, while saying how strong our God remains. We can be content and even find joy in our tragedy, not because we will ourselves to be or have some kind of extraordinary mastery over our feelings."

* "It's a hard truth to hear that our circumstances might not change and God might not fix the broken things in our lives. But I know personally that even when our situation doesn't change for the better, we can change for the better."

That last quote has really, really resonated with me because I've found it to be so true in my own life. There are a couple areas of my life in desperate need of healing and reconciliation but I can't make it happen, and its taken me a while to come to this conclusion. Its been such an interesting journey getting to where I am today; the older I get I realize there really is no replacement for time. I mean time in the most basic sense of the word, but also in the time that it takes for God to do some really good, hard, honest work. As I've mentioned here before, I'm better than I was a couple years ago; I love Jesus more, I'm more gracious, I'm more patient, I'm more forgiving, I'm more introspective which produces more thoughtfulness. It has been a journey to get to this place, and I'm nowhere near "done" yet, but I'm so aware of the progress I have made and I'm so thankful for that. As another year is coming to a close and I reflect on 2016, I see a lot of growth and healing in me and for me, that's a win. xo

November 28, 2016

T-Day weekend 2016

Whew! This past week went so fast! Its always a busy/fun time when cousin Mike comes into town for T-day but this year felt especially nutty! We rented our friend's home for T-day this year as our rental cannot accommodate a crowd (or a guest for that matter) and its not a cooking-friendly house so, to the Harp House we went! It was SO fun to be in my friend's beautiful #fixerupper and to cook in that fabulous kitchen! We had a GREAT time! There were 20 of us for Thanksgiving, so there was lots of food and fun all day long, we loved it! I made all my usual stuff but tried a new butterfinger cheesecake recipe and a pumpkin layer cake with marscapone icing which was pretty darn good! I have really missed entertaining so it was fun to be back at it with our dear friends. Friday we headed up to Dallas to root on the Baylor Bears, sadly we didn't get a win but we still had a great time! We spent the night in Dallas and had to be up and at 'em to get back to Waco to root on the lady bears in their volleyball game! (B is in a year round v-ball club and the coach works at Baylor and wanted the girls there to root on the bears, it was a lot of fun!). After the game we showed Mike our land, went out to dinner and went back to the Harp House for our last night there. Sunday we had to be up and at 'em to head to Austin for our family photos, so after we did that we spent the day hanging out in Austin having fun with Mike before he had to catch his flight back home. Whew! Busy non-stop weekend and this morning came too early! B did not want to get up and go to school and I was with her! It all just came too soon! I've got some work to do today and my house looks like a tornado went thru it so I'm gonna get after it! Hope you all had a great Thanksgiving!! xo

Here's a peek of a session I'm working on!


November 16, 2016

Adam is 40 (in photos)

Here are a handful of photos from Adam's 40th birthday bash! The "theme" was "Adam is 40" so I got balloons that said that, had 40oz beers in the middle of each table, and my friend made the coolest 40oz cake! Lots of fun celebrating my favorite person. xo


 gummy bears bc they are Adam's favorite and "40 sucks" suckers were on each table...




 bocce ball, ladder ball, and corn hole were all over the yard for folks to play...