Monday, August 30, 2010

Okaloosa Island - here we come!

I am just now getting extremely excited about our vacation!!! WOOHOO!!

If you're wondering why i'm "just now" getting excited... well, for a long time it was just so far away! Then, last week my sister was in a car accident. The accident caused Rhabdomyolysis, which is when there is such trauma to the muscles (leg muscles in her case) that it releases toxins into the bloodstream. It was the craziest thing. She didn't even think she was hurt. Then her leg started hurting but she thought it was just soreness. She works at a hospital & the director of oncology realized something more was wrong... long story short, we discovered that she had developed that condition as result of the car accident! They wanted to admit her but Michelle begged to go home. They let her go home with strict orders to rest & drink tons of water. Today she had an appointment & they said if her toxin levels hadn't gone down significantly then she would have to be admitted and have dialysis! After this we were not sure if we'd definitely be going to Florida. If Michelle was couldn't go but wasn't in the hospital, then we'd still go... though that wouldn't be cool. But if she was in the hospital, we would likely cancel the trip. Anyway, today she went back to the doctor & PRAISE THE LORD, her levels went down from 11,000 to 1,000!!! The doctor said she has never seen the levels drop so fast! Now, "normal" is 130, so she is not out of the woods yet. But she doesn't have to be admitted for dialysis & she can go on vacation! :)

Also, today i got the worst migraine at work! :( I came home at noon. But now i'm feeling much better & then i got the news about Michelle & then mom started emailing me about vacation plans & now i'm super duper excited! :)

So on Friday we are leaving for Okaloosa Island! We usually go to Destin or Pensacola. This year we're going to Okaloosa Island. I've never been there. It's just on the other side of Destin, mom said. We'll be staying in a condo - me, brad, mom, dad, michelle & her fiance, mike. All three dogs are coming too! (Lord, help us!) I'm actually not CRAZY about that idea, but we don't kennel our dogs (never have, never will...just can't do it!) & usually when i go out of town, mom keeps Fievel. When Michelle goes out of town, mom keeps Bali. When mom goes out of town, she takes her dog Molly with her. So yeah! We are taking them all with us! I suggested having someone house/dog-sit, but we didn't go with that (i don't remember why now)! Anyway, it'll be fun. It's a 3 bedroom, 3 bathroom condo. It looks nice!!! I cannot WAIT! 

Ahhhh... :)

It has everything we could ever need or want on this vacation! We have to work Friday... I arranged to get off at noon. Brad has to work all day, so as soon as he gets off & gets to my parents, we will be on our way!! We'll be getting there late. We are staying 7 whole days! Woohoo! (The only bad part is i'm not going to want to come back! LOL.) 

My sister suggested that we take turns cooking dinner. We usually eat at the condo & go out to dinner one night. I'm really excited about cooking! I've only been cooking since i got engaged &, other than making green bean casserole or chocolate chip pound cake (usually what i'm asked to make for holidays), my family hasn't tried my cooking!! So i'm looking forward to taking part in this. In the past, mom & michelle have done all the cooking! I told them i'd love to cook & that i'll even make them a frittata or omelette for breakfast. :)
I have so much to do before our trip!! Seriously... it's gonna be crazy! But i can't wait to leave Friday evening!! I can't wait to wake up on the beach Saturday morning!


Sunday, August 29, 2010

Jewelry party & shopping. & a prayer request.

Yesterday was my jewelry party. I went to one in May at my friend Shannon's. I usually will not go to parties like that... you know, pampered chef, mary kay, etc. But Shannon is sweet & i promised i'd go.

I had a ton of fun! More fun than i expected. I bought a cute heart necklace that's reversable. Super cute! I loved it! It was my 20 pounds lost present. :) She got a bonus if 3 people signed up to do a party. She had two sign up & then i decided to do it, too. Called mom to see if we could do it at her house & she agreed. So i signed up & it was scheduled for August 28th.

It went really well! We had a great time. 7 ladies showed up, which was a small group, but it was still fun! It was mom, my mother-in-law, my sister-in-law & her friend, my friend Shannon (the one whose house it was in May) & her friend Danell, my (very prego) friend Amy, & my coworker friend Wendy. I got all kinds of free jewelry for having the party... i got 137 bucks in free jewelry & i could get 4 items at half off. I got 3 pair of earrings (i am short on earrings!), a necklace/earring set & a watch! I haven't worn a watch in years because with cell phones, you got the time right there! But lately i've been wanting to wear a watch. So i got one. I only get the necklace/earring set right now. Everything else is ordered & will come in later. Can't wait!

Then...today after church, i wanted to go to Lane Bryant. They were having a 40% off of everything sale & can i tell you... i NEED bras. NEED! Not want! HA! Mine are worn out! Anyway, they have the best bras for my size women. And if you're plus size like me & know of cheaper bras that are JUST AS GOOD as the t-shirt bra from LB, let me know! Anyway, i got 2 bras, a cute shirt & a CUTE pair of pj's! It's like a blue floral babydoll top with short pj bottoms that match. SUPER cute & sweet & cozy! :) Wearing them now!

I also ran to Kirklands next door (LOVE that store) & got us a welcome mat. It has poppies on it. I love Poppies.

So it was fun.

Other than WORK, i'm looking forward to this week. I will workout everyday after work, except Friday because we are leaving for FLORIDA on Friday!!!! :) WOOHOO! We will not return until the following Friday! I will also be getting a pedi this week & hopfully buying Brad some swim trunks. Also, Brad will be completely done w/ his music project in about an hour. YES! OH & my dear friend Brittany is gonna be in town & i'm having dinner w/ her on Wednesday night!

Side note: Please pray for my sister. She was in a car accident this week - a 4-car pileup. At first she thought she was fine, then her leg was hurting her very badly.... We have discovered that the car accident caused Rhabdomyolysis. She will go back to the doctor tomorrow & if the toxin levels in her bloodstream have not gone down enough, she will have to be admitted for dialysis. Please pray for quick healing & recovery. And that she can still go to Florida!! (Michelle, if you are reading this, do not kill me! I figure if mom posts it on FB, & some people put it on your FB, then i can put it on my blog! Besides, these are strangers reading, not mom's friends! HA! ...love you.)

i miss church.

So much to say on this topic. I've been contemplating writing a post about this for almost a year now. If that tells you anything.

I grew up in church. My parents began attending before i was born & we were one of those families that went to church every time the doors were open. Sunday mornings, Sunday nights, Wednesday nights. As a teen, Friday nights. Also, as a teen, i don't remember my parents making me go. I just wanted to be there.

That isn't a bad thing. I needed the youth group. As you know, being a teen is not easy. I was not fitting in well in school, due to being shy and overweight. Not a great combination. I did have my friends & i was in musical theatre...great things. But i also experienced being made fun of. Not so great. Also, I wanted to fit in. And i think it's important to be a part of a strong youth group during those teen years where everyone is trying so hard to be just like everyone else (or trying so hard to be so UNLIKE everyone else! It's usually one or the other for high schoolers). I was very lucky. I had a great youth group. It's important to have friends your age who also want to live for God. My teens & pre-teens were my hardest years. Not just because of trouble fitting in, but because of my home life. I had a hard time. It should also be noted that i gave my life to Jesus in high school. I had become a christian at age 5, but surrendered to him fully, with the understanding of what that meant, at age 15.

In my late teens, i "graduated" from youth group, but i stayed a part of it & became a youth leader. Then, at 21, i became what they called a youth advisor. I would guess that i was a part of the youth group (as a member, leader or advisor) every Sunday morning, Sunday night, Wednesday night & Friday night - not to mention all extra activities, summer camps, mini-camps & leading a bible study with friends at a home for troubled teen girls on thursday nights - for about 14 years - more than half of my life. God did incredible things in my life during those years & i do not regret them. I'm thankful for them. I learned a lot. I gained a ton of wisdom. My broken heart was healed. I loved every minute of it. But i'm pretty sure that everyone who was a part of it now understands that we spent WAY too much time in church. Is it just me? I don't think so. Sure, lots of it was necessary & i grew a ton in my walk with God. But seriously? There were a LOT of requirements. I think all of us realize that now.

My involvement there ended just when i was starting to get a bit burnt out. I'd guess so, after 14 years, wouldn't you think? It happened when there was a split. Some people stayed. Others left & joined my youth pastor in starting his own church. Some (like me) found another church altogether. Others stopped going to church completely. Some that stopped going to church completely also walked away from God.

It was a tough time. It happened in March 2006. I assumed I would join the church of my youth pastor because he & his family were (& are) so important to me. I imagined i would always be a part of his ministry. But I got invited to HeartsEase Family Life Church & I loved it. Everyone was so nice & I liked being a part of it. It was awesome. The music, the preaching, everything. I became involved & soon began to sing on the praise team. Made some great friends because of that.

I began going to HeartsEase in March 2006 & i got involved with theatre in May 2006. So i guess HFLC members only saw the committed church girl that i was for 2 months. Then i became the committed theatre girl. I still went to church all the time, but it had significantly changed from how i was at Victory. And i was fine with that. For i KNEW that God had led me to theatre. That is a part of my life that i know God ordained. Yes, i was surrounded by people of the "WORLD", but i was at a point in my walk with God where i could do that without being influenced in a negative way. I don't mean that arrogantly, but i'm just saying. I would not be easily swayed. I did struggle with temptation, especially during the fall of 2007. But I remained pure. I didn't give in. Though i wasn't perfect, my heart remained faithful to God.

Even so, my time in church dropped significantly. I kept going Sunday mornings & I stayed on the praise team. But if i was doing a show, i couldn't go to church on Wednesday nights. And i couldn't do extra things, either. Because of rehearsal. Then it got to where, i didn't have a show & still skipped Wednesdays. My excuse? Exhaustion. It was honest, but maybe not excusable. :) And i know i got judged for that. I know people thought i was not being a good christian. But i am convinced that our church attendance is not really what God is concerned about. I'm not saying you shouldn't go. I think it's awesome. I think it is necessary. I think you can read your Bible at home & spend time in prayer at home, but i also think it is good to do those things corporately. I also think fellowship is very important. So i still went to church on Sundays. But i missed a lot of Wednesdays. And honestly? i was okay with that. I think you will understand now what i mean when i say that I'd had my fill of being in church every time the doors are open.

When Brad & I got together he started coming to my church. It wasn't long before word got around that he is a terrific musician (he is!) & he joined the praise team, playing the organ mostly (R&B style organ, not funeral style). (FYI: our black worship leader asked my pale-skinned husband to show her how to play like a black person! Another band member told him he is a black man trapped in a white man's body. HA!) We had an awesome time as a part of the praise team. I miss it.

After we got married, we stopped going to church! I mean, not immediately & not on purpose, but it happened. We never intended to leave. We took a break from the praise team because Brad was doing some music work at home & it was taking up a lot of his weekend time.  I stayed home, too, because i was usually exhausted from theatre during the week & missed my husband for the same reason. I wanted to be home with him.

Months passed & we did without church. It was crazy. I mean, we never intended to miss so much of it! We never intended to stop going to HeartsEase. But once you stop going it becomes easy for it to be an option. It was easier to not go. Please don't forget my background! I have missed more church services in 2009 & 2010 than i have in my entire life. Do i think God looks down on me for this? Nah. Do i think people look down on me for this? Absolutely. My relationship with God didn't falter, but i did come to some realizations. I stopped praying & reading the Bible & spending time in His presence. Brad did not. He studies the Bible like nobody's business. But i didn't. So even if God doesn't look down on me for missing church - it's not about works, people - that is really kind of besides the point. Church is important. Like it or not. But we got away from it.We had a legitimate excuse every week but it was kind of insane. We'd go have coffee with his parents, we'd have a family reunion to go to, we'd be sick, we'd be out of town, i mean, it was just one thing after another. One Sunday after another. Before long, we hadn't been to HFLC in so long that we didn't really know if we were still welcome there. I mean, obviously we were, but we felt weird. So we visited other places. We thought that maybe we were supposed to go somewhere else.

We visited a church near our house (that i will not name!) & hated it. We visited Brad's parent's church & liked it. We visited my youth pastor's church & enjoyed it, too. And we visited Victory, the church i attended before HeartsEase. We liked Victory a lot. I thought we would start going there. 3 of my best girlfriends go there & i LOVE the preaching. They have great people. It's closer to us than HFLC (not by much, but still). We went several Sundays in a row. We liked it. We thought we would start going there.

Then we went back to HFLC for a wedding shower (it was a co-ed shower). 2 members of the praise team were getting married & we were invited. I honestly didn't know if we'd be invited to the wedding now that we weren't at their church anymore. But they surprised me by inviting us. I was so excited about the shower, but nervous! I didn't know how people would react to seeing us there. Let's just say that i was VERY pleasantly surprised. And so was Brad. We were MORE than welcomed. I mean, i felt like people truly LOVED us. They were SUPER excited & overjoyed to see us! It wasn't fake. It wasn't a "well, where have you been?!" It was just "we've missed y'all so much!" It was great. It was crazy. We left there & said, "We are SO going back to HeartsEase!"

I mean, people often say they found their church because it just "felt like home". And that is how it felt when we went to the shower that day. I couldn't wait to go back.

SO we are going back. I mean, since that shower, our visits have been sporadic. Brad was given an awesome (paid!) music job & he has literally had to pour out all his weekend time on that project (because his time is so limited during the week). So we have only gone back a few times since the shower. Then i went once by myself 3 weeks ago, the next week we went to Istrouma to hear Kari Jobe one more time, & then this week i went by myself again (because Brad's project is due tomorrow). I hate going without Brad, but I just don't wanna miss another Sunday. I missed being in presence of the Lord, i missed their worship services & i missed the love & friendship of those who go there. Ever since the women's conference, i have longed to get back in church. Not just as a random Sunday morning church goer. But as an involved church member. I am sorry, but i will never again be in the church every time the doors are open. And i'm not going to feel guilty about that. I think there is balance in everything & i think it is okay to stay  home at times. I know lots of people who would disagree with me on that...but it's okay. We're not going to agree on everything. I'll still do theatre, too (though right now i have nothing planned with theatre until December). But i am going to strive to involved at HFLC.

This morning & the last time i was there, i noticed lots of new faces. I am ready to get to know them & i'm excited to see our HFLC family on a much more regular basis. I am so ready to go back. I've shared this with Brad & he agrees. He misses it too. We both miss being a part of the praise team & I actually miss working with the youth (which i never did at HFLC, but i did it for years at VHC). Not that we will jump into those things immediately, but one day... :)

We'll be vacationing in Florida next week, but after that, it's back to HeartsEase. And i can't wait. :)

Sunday Questions

Time for Getting to know YOU Sunday with Keely, from MannLand5. Play along! :)

1. If you accidentally knick a car in the parking lot, do you leave a note or get the heck out of there? 
I think this depends. I was reading other answers to this question & was shocked to see that most said get out of there! Ohmygosh! You are at fault, you should help pay to fix it. Then i read more & realized that not everyone took "knicked" to mean "hit". Obviously if there is no damage, i wouldn't leave a note. But i once hit a car in the parkinglot & it was at school, so instead of leaving a note, i went in to find whose car it was. I was horrified, embarrassed & felt TERRIBLE, but really... i hit their vehicle! & it was obvious damage to a brand new truck. Thankfully, the guy told me not to worry about it.

2.  Love your body or plastic surgery?
I like my body. "Love" would be taking it a bit too far. ;) If you know me or saw me, you would be shocked that i say i like it. I am extremely overweight, but i am working on that...by eating healthy & spending an hour in the gym, four days a week. It's gonna get better. Still, it is my body. And my hubby loves it. :)

I really hate plastic surgery. I get it for certain people, in certain situations, but i don't include beautiful women with gorgeous figures who may have saggy boobs or bellies because of giving birth. I mean, you gave birth! And THAT is a beautiful thing. It is unrealistic to want to look like someone straight out of a magazine. And to me, the magazine image is not real beauty, anyway.

3. What about your favorite blogs continues to drive you back?
They are relatable. They are fun, filled with humorous stories & pictures & honesty. If you don't post very often or only do giveaways & if your blog is cluttered, i probably will not become a follower.

4. What percentage of your blog is BS, just to make your life seem more interesting than it really is? 
None of it is BS. None at all. 

5. If you had to give up one type of meat for the rest of your life, what would it be? 
Pork. I mean, i like it alright, but i don't LOVE it. I could do without.

6. How often do you eat out? 
Restaurants? Twice a month. If you're including deli's & such, i'd say once a week. Either way, i've come a long way, baby. :)

7. Skinny Jeans or Boot Cut? 
Boot Cut. 

8. If you caught your spouse cheating, would you forgive, divorce or plan your kill? 
[shudder] I do not even want to THINK about it! Hard as it would be, i would definitely forgive, but forgiveness doesn't mean you'd take them back! Forgiveness doesn't mean what they did is okay. Forgiveness is for YOU!! The most important life lesson i have learned is about the importance of forgiveness. However... trust would be gone. I cannot imagine staying with someone who cheated on me. Though i have seen God do miracles in marriages that have had affairs. I'm not sure though. I think i would be getting a divorce if he cheated on me. Though i would be devastated.

Ok, your turn!

XXL M&M Chocolate Chip Cookies

I have been wanting to try a cookie recipe from Picky Palate. She has the most amazing looking recipes! I wanted to wait until i could find a muffin top pan because her cookies turn out PERFECT. But i decided to make them for the jewelry party we were having at my parent's house this weekend & i decided to just do it without the muffin top pan. Therefore, they are still huge & delicious, but one of these days i'd like to get one of those pans!

Anyway... you should have seen me while i was trying to make this yesterday morning. I have this bad habit of doing things without doing the smart thing, like (a) making sure i have all of the ingredients for the recipe before going to the grocery store, & (b) getting out all of the ingredients before i begin the cooking process! So we went to the grocery store Friday night & i assumed i had everything i needed except the m&m's & chocolate chips. Wrong! Saturday morning, around 7am, i went to cooking only to discover we had no vanilla. Well. You can't make cookies from scratch without vanilla! I left everything there on the counter as it was, put on a bra & some flip flops & headed to Walmart. I was in my PJ's. My hair was frizzy & huge. I had on my glasses. It was a very scary sight. My pj's consisted of pink & green striped pajama pants & a huge gray t-shirt. Nice. I compared myself to those pictures on the peopleofwalmart.com & decided that, by comparison, i was much better dressed & therefore, safe. (Just like i did with Brad & his black velcro sneakers.)

Called Brad on the way to Walmart to read me the recipe to make sure i hadn't forgotten anything else. I hadn't. flour, check. baking soda, check. salt, check. chocolate chips, check. And m&m's. Check. Picked up the vanilla (deciding that 7:30 am on a Saturday is the perfect time to go to walmart...no crowds, hardly any people at all in fact, & great parking).

Came home & continued to cook only to find that i had exactly 2 1/4 cups of flour. And the recipe calls for 3 3/4 cups. I was like, "I do not believe this!" I was about to pitch a fit, as i am known to do... hehe... when Brad suggested i just finish cooking them & see how they turn out. I did & guess what? They turned out DELISH. I wouldn't suggest purposefully doing with less flour. But i did & they were fine. :)

Ok. Finally. The recipe.
Thank you, Picky Palate.

XXL M&M Chocolate Chip Cookies

2 sticks softened butter
3/4 cup sugar
1 cup packed light brown sugar
2 extra large eggs
2 Tablespoons pure vanilla
3 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 teaspoon salt
12 ounce bag chocolate chips
1 bag m&m's (you'll have some leftover

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. In a large bowl, beat the butter & sugars until well beaten. Beat in eggs & vanilla until well combined. Place flour, baking soda & salt into another bowl, mix. Slowly add to wet ingredients along with the chocolate chips. Do not mix in M&M's! 

2. Scoop 1/4 cookie dough & press into a muffin top pan (or onto a cookie sheet). Now, press your M&M's onto the pressed cookies. This way they won't break apart! Bake for 12-15 minutes, until edges are golden brown. Let cool for 10 minutes on pan & then transfer to a cooling rack. Serve!

Makes about 18 XXL cookies. 


 "I can have a cookie, mom?!" ~Fievel

Friday, August 27, 2010

Another Friday Meme

I think it's Mama M that hates the word meme...sorry, mama!! :)

Today is 5QF! One of my favorites. If you wanna play along, answer these in your own blog & then head over to My Little Life & add your link to the blog hop!

1. How many pets do you have?
One. A dog named Fievel. Isn't he cute?! I love him!

2. If you could switch places with anyone in the world for one day, who would it be?
Only if it was for one day... & i think i've said this before... but Amy Adams, my favorite actress. Preferably on a day when she's filming a movie. Or any random ensemble member of a broadway show. :)

3. What is your favorite money saving tip?
I definitely am saving a lot of money by packing my lunch for work instead of eating out all the time! Not to mention, it's WAY healthier! :)

4. What do you want your kids to be when they grow up?
As far as career? That is entirely up to them & i hope they don't settle. I hope they pursue what they were born to do. :) Though of course i would prefer them NOT to be in any dangerous field! Worry their mama to death! :)

5. What is your favorite quote?
Your turn! :)

It's Friday, y'all!

I am so glad it is Friday! Of course... i am always glad it's Friday! But i am just exhausted & ready for another weekend! Last night i had to work at the Manship. It's just a few-times-a-month part-time job. House Manager. I really like it. There are always 2 HM's & i really like the girl i worked with last night. Her name is Amber & we've worked together once before, but i was in training & we didn't really have time to chat. But she is just so cute, & she looks like a ballerina (though she said she's never taken dance & that she is not so graceful) & i discovered she is married with two kids (i had guessed she was not married & didn't have kids!). Her kids are 2 & 4 months & their names are Oliver & Birdie! Which i think is cute. I know Birdie is different, but it reminds me of Hope Floats. Wasn't that kid called Birdie? Anyway, i don't know why i'm blabbing about Amber, i just think she is such a sweet person & i love new friends! Hopefully she won't come across this blog & be all wierded out that i wrote about her. :)

ANYWAY. It's time for Fill in the Blank Friday. :)

This is one of my favorite memes... if you wanna play, answer these in your own blog & then head on over to Lauren's at the little things we do & add your link to the blog hop! :)

1. The most adventurous thing I've ever done is go on a missions trip to Panama with a bunch of strangers for a whole month. I think that is pretty adventurous, especially considering i'm really shy around strangers. I also spent a week in the jungle sleeping on the ground at night, bathing in the river & brushing my teeth without a sink & running water (i used bottled water, if you're wondering). It was amazing.

2. If i were a pair of shoes i'd be a cute pair of cozy flats. In a fun color.

3. My preferred mode of digital communcation is text or email.

4. I feel happiest when Brad & I have a whole day together. Or maybe when we are spending it with our families.

5. A little dream i have for my life is to actually get some headshots done, print some resumes & get an agent. I don't want to be some big movie star, i just want to act. & get paid for it. Commercials will do.

6. The one modern convenience i could not do without is the cell phone. How original, right? I don't even have a phone with all the bells & whistles. Just a little samsung impression. But i love being able to send little love notes to hubby, or 'thinking of you' texts to a friend. Not to mention it comes in handy when you need to get in touch with someone, like NOW.

7. Music, Movies, TV or Books - if i could only choose one to enjoy, i would pick books. Though i really couldn't live without music, either. And i love movies. I can't decide between music or books. i would truly be sad without both of them! I'm gonna go with Books, then Music, then Movies & then TV. I can totally live without TV (& i do!).

Your turn. Happy Friday, everyone!

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Boring post...sorry 'bout that.

I'm so tired. I don't even know what i'm doing still up. It's 9:46 pm. Not too late, but i was planning to go to bed early tonight. I will, after this.

I didn't go to gym tonight. 2nd night in a row. Which is fine, as long as i get in 4 days a week. Which means i gotta do it Thursday, Friday AND Saturday (i did Monday). I can do it! I'm just so tired this week. I moved my work schedule up a half an hour. Not that big a deal, right? Well, it is seriously making me quite exhausted! Who knew?! Next week i'll be used to it. Then i'll go on vacation & have to get used to getting up with an alarm all over again. Of course, i don't care. It's worth it! Vacation = thankfulness!!

So tomorrow is a long day. I'm House Managing at the Manship Theatre. Work 8-4:30. Gym 4:40-5:40ish. Shower & dress at the gym. Make it to the theatre by 7. Since i get off at 4:30 now, that will give me time to grab dinner between gym & theatre. I should get home from theatre around 11. Ick.

Saturday, we are having a jewelry party at my house. I hope a bunch of people come! So far it's only 7. So if you are reading this blog, please come to my jewelry party! It's at my parent's house! Please!! :) I don't really care if you buy anything. I just need bodies there. PLEASEEEE!! :) Seriously. I'll be your best friend. And it will be fun. :)

Other than that, this weekend is completely free. YAY. And then Friday, i'm going to FLORIDA with the fam. YAY! I cannot wait.

So that's it for now. Sorry for writing the most boring post EVER. I'll have better ones this weekend.

Photographer Friend Show-off 3!

Time to show off my 3rd photographer friend!!

If you haven't been around long, i have been featuring some photographer friends on my blog once a week. The first week i featured Amanda's pics & the next week i showed off Laura's pics. Check them out!

This week i am featuring...

Amber & i were friends in high school. I had not seen her in YEARS & one day one of us found each other on Facebook (of course! Isn't that how it goes these days?!). It was fun seeing her on facebook & looking at pics of her gorgeous family!! It wasn't long before i realized she takes some GREAT pictures! I needed a photographer to do some one year pics/christmas card pics for us last year & she was offering a special so i booked her! We went to City Park at LSU. What a great place to take pics! We had a great time & her daughter was a big help with Fievel. One of the pics from that shoot is at the top of my sidebar..the one of Brad & I on the bench with Fievel in between. I absolutely LOVE that picture!!

Here are some more pics by Amber at White Horse Photography. Enjoy!
(please note i can't do the horizontal pics in x-large. click the pick to see it larger!)

Sweet Family Pics...


Babies! Love this one!!

These are two of my favorites. Love the one in the field & the headshot is fantastic!

Engagement shots. Beautiful.

Bridal sessions & Weddings!

I love these two (above & below)!

Had to save my favorite for last... isn't she a cutie?!!

Hope you enjoyed taking a peek of Amber's photography! Be sure to check out her website & blog at White Horse Photography! Thanks, Amber, for letting me show off your gorgeous pics! 

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

the ugliest shoes. ever.

My friends Laura & Linds have an awesome blog called Girl Talk. I love it, it's just for us girls to talk about GIRL things. :) You should check it out!! Today, Girl Talk is having its very first blog hop!!! And the topic today is SHOES.

Woohoo! I love shoes!! I am not as in love with shoes as SOME people i know... people who have multiple pairs of shoes for every outfit! That's not me. I pretty much stick to my favorite black flats & my favorite brown flats & some awesome black heels for dress up. But i do love cute shoes. They're fun! I just wish i could do better in heels! Heels are sexy but i about break my neck trying to walk in them!! 

However, this post is not going to be about my favorite pair of shoes. They are going to be about my LEAST favorite pair of shoes...

[insert scary piano music here]

I know some of you think that i must have married an imaginary man. I often talk about how much i love him, how wonderful he is, how perfect he is for me, how sweet he is, how romantic he is. My coworker has never met him & says she doesn't believe he's real. That i'm making it all up. ;) Well, he really is an awesome person! However. I am about to reveal a part of his life to you that i'm not quite sure you knew about. I'm about to reveal something about him that is ... eh... not so perfect!!?

[deep breath]

Brad has black velcro sneakers...And he likes them!

It's not that he likes them because he thinks they are stylish! He just likes that they are cheap & that they are practical. Easy to get on & off, etc. Which i totally understand.

Really, Brad doesn't have a whole lot of fashion sense! And he fully admits that! He just doesn't care! & it's fine w/ me that he doesn't care... i mean, he's a guy! :) And, really, he's come a long way! Though i am not miss fashionista, i still like fashion & what is stylish. I don't like all things that are considered "in style". But you can pretty much bet that i do not like all things that are considered "out of style"! HA! Brad tries to do as i please in this area, even though he really could care less. He has come a long way! It matters to me, so he does it. Now, that's love. :) He used to have a closet FULL of clothes that i didn't love... but he did let me go through them & get rid of a whole bunch of them! A miracle! Now he mostly sticks to polo shirts & khaki's or jeans. He does pretty well! He knows now to put the brown belt with the brown shoes & the black belt with the black shoes. :) 


He still loves those black velcro sneakers! When we first got back together, i would laugh on the inside about those terrible black velcro sneakers. I mean, i wasn't going to say anything to him about it. I didn't know at that point how he would react. If he would get offended or whatever. And i didn't want to be a naggy wife! At some point, i was more relaxed & comfortable enough to tell him that these shoes are honestly the ugliest things i've ever seen. And that he should stop wearing them. NOW. :) But i didn't tell him all that at first. Instead i just bought him new shoes, hoping that he would do what most people do - get rid of the old ones to make room for the new ones. Yeah, that didn't work.

 the shoes i bought brad, hoping he'd ditch the black velcro sneakers.

You might think the black sneaks are okay...not THAT bad. But i just think they are AWFUL! I also think shoes with velcro are only for two types of people: Grandfathers & Toddlers! And look - i don't mind if you wear ugly shoes. I'm okay with them. I can be seen with you! But THESE?! Yeah...call me superficial or materialistic or whatever you want... but these are actually kind of embarrassing!  The other day it was pouring down rain & he put these on because we had to go to Walmart! I felt a little freaked out about him wearing them in WALMART! Then i remembered that website of pics from what people wear at walmart... & decided he was safe, in comparison. :) 

He says that he wears them when he's going to get dirty or when it's raining, so his Nike's won't get dirty/wet. So the Nike's will last longer. Okay, honey. :oI
hmmm...black velcro sneakers? or nikes? i'm gonna choose nike's! 

 What's really funny is that for our engagement pics, i wanted to make sure he was dressed appropriately...i mean, this was a photo shoot after all! SO i told him what to wear. We were going to do a casual outfit & dressed up. So i told him to wear his black shoes with both outfits. Meaning the GOOD NEWER black shoes!! So he gets to my house to pick me up for our engagement pics & he had on the BLACK VELCRO SNEAKERS! For PICTURES!!!! GASP! I was a big girl. I didn't say a word. :) He had brought the nice black shoes, like i said, but he thought those were for the dress up outfit. He didn't realize he could wear those with jeans & a polo. I still didn't say a word. We took those pics with his black sneaks. And now we have this picture framed & HUGE in our bedroom.

i spy black velcro sneakers! ahhhh! :)

I know this is odd, but i'm actually glad they're in the pics. I think it's funny. Seriously - Brad has come a long way! I mean, i was SURE that he had at least 4 pair of them!!! But today when i went to take pics, i only found 2! Maybe we are making progress?! Also, when i asked him if i could write about the black velcro sneakers, it began a long conversation about these shoes & WHY he wears them & in the end, he told me all that matters is that they are cheap. He likes one pair of nice shoes & another pair of cheap shoes just to get dirty in... i assured him i can find CHEAP shoes that are not quite so ... ugly. :) 

Thank you, hoobie, for letting me tell about your black velcro sneakers!
I love you, shoes & all!

Please feel free to write your own "shoe story" or show off your favorite shoes in your own blog & then link up here! I'm sure they won't mind if you're a day late (since i didn't post this till 9:30 pm!)

Worship with Kari Jobe

I had such an awesome time this weekend at the Beautiful Conference. It wasn't that i had some sort of breakthrough moment or anything... it's just that i was able to get away & spend some time in God's presence. I admit that i have not done that on my own a lot lately & this weekend reminded me of how much i need His presence in my life. It's such an awesome place to be.

The worship services were amazing. Kari Jobe has SUCH a beautiful voice & such a heart for worship. She did a great job & so did her band. I am so glad she was a part of it! You may know who she is - if not, you probably sing her songs! She's done a lot with Gateway & Christ for the Nations, & recently began coming out with her own cd's. I've been listening to them in the car & i constantly have her music stuck in my head. Not a bad thing. :)

This is her newest cd.

This is the song i have stuck in my  head today. I love love love it. Kari wrote it. She talks at the beginning of the video & you can see what a sweet person she is (& cute as a button!). Just thought i would share. PLEASE listen, especially if you've never heard of her or aren't sure if you know her music. This is "You Are For Me", one of my favorites.

Later, i will post about what i learned from Angela Thomas, the guest speaker. She had a lot of awesome things to say. :)

Monday, August 23, 2010

my current wish list!

So Christmas is not really all THAT soon. And my birthday is even farther away. But i have some things that i kind of want/need lately... Actually, really, these are all wants. I mean, some are borderline need, as in they would make life easier/better, but i can LIVE without them. :) But that's alright. I just felt like sharing what WILL be on my Christmas/Birthday list...when the time comes. Ha!

Here we go...

1. Cute Juice Glasses
I actually saw these in Pier One twice now. The first time they were cute & i loved them & i almost got them. But i didn't. The second time they were still cute & i still loved them & they were on SALE...& i still didn't get them! I don't know why. Oh, wait, yes i do. Because Brad has about 10 jillion ugly plastic cups that i am pretty sure he's not going to get rid of...cute new glasses or not. They are the same size as these cute ones above. There is really no room for these in our cabinets now...unless we get rid of the ugly ones. And as i said, i don't think that is happening! When i get a kitchen like THIS...

...THEN i'll have room for the juice glasses... & the other things that are currently in our junk room since we have not quite enough cabinet space!!

2. A Canon Rebel

Yes. I really want this! I asked for it last Christmas but didn't get it. Then i saved enough money to get one & opted to get a new dresser instead. I was learning a lot on my little point & shoot & decided to stick with that awhile longer. I still think i will stick with that awhile longer. But in the next couple of years, i'd love love love one of these babies!

3. A Reading Pillow
I simply have got to break down & buy one of these. I read or get online in my bed ALL THE TIME & it kills my back after awhile. This would be so much better!!

4. An ipod nano
This is a recent want. And it's not a need at all. I mean, if i really want music to listen to while i'm working out, then i need to buy the pc cord for my phone & put music on my phone. Pretty sure that'd be way cheaper! However, i was looking at my friend's ipod nano last week & i loved it! I'd love to have one of these for working out! i would have to have different ear things though... ear buds hurt my ears! Anyway, i'll probably do the phone thing. Or maybe i'll save up & buy one of these instead. Hmm...

5. Calphalon EVERYTHING!
When i registered at Bed Bath & Beyond, i registered for the Calphalon dishes. I didn't get them. Which was more than fine, because i got the Walmart pots/pans that i registered for & Brad had some already too. Those have done the job just fine! However, i love Calphalon stuff. When we registered we got one of their chopping knives for free & we also got their vegetable peeler. They are 2 of my best kitchen items! Everytime i use them, i rave about them! HAHA (& i use them all the time).  I told brad that I'd love to have the Calphalon stuff & that maybe i will buy a piece at a time. Ya know? It's a little more expensive but worth it!

6. Muffin Top Pans
I had never even heard of these, but i'm a huge fan of Picky Palate & Jenny's cookies are always made with a muffin top pan! And wow! There is a definite difference in the look (& size!) of her cookies. I have looked for them in Walmart & Bed Bath & Beyond with no luck! Did a google search that said Target sells them, so i'll be sure to look for one next time i'm in Target! Just look at these cookies!!! 

I mean, WOW! :) (Don't worry, i would only make these for a party or something! Not just a home at night - 'else i'd be tempted to eat the whole pan!)

7. Sunshine Print
This is one of those things that we just HAVE to HAVE. :) You may not know, but i sing this song to brad ALL the time. Except instead of the word "sunshine", i say "hoobie" (what i call him a lot). I sing this to him probably a few times a day. It goes kind of like this, "You are my hoobie! My hoobie hoobie! You make me HAPPY when skies are grey! You'll never know, HOOB, how much i LURVE YOU! Please don't take my hoobie away!" HAHA. (Yes, i know, I'm wierd!) So anyway...yeah...when i saw that on Etsy, i said, "I have to have that!" :) You can check it out here.

So there's my current "wants". What are yours????

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Ranch House Crockpot Pork Chops with Parmesan Mashed Potatoes

Well, I have been following Jenny at Picky Palate for awhile now because her recipes looks SO delicious! I finally tried her Romano Ranch Chicken & Rice Skillet & it was FANTASTIC! So today i tried her crockpot pork chops with parmesan mashed potatoes. A BIG HIT! Seriously, it was DELISH! I usually don't do the best mashed potatoes - i know they are easy, but for whatever reason, mine are not that great. But these were the best! The pork chops were SUPER easy & turned out sooo tender & yum! Definitely will be making this dish again!!

Ranch House Crock Pot Pork Chops with Parmesan Mashed Potatoes
6 pork chops, 1/2 inch thick
1 packet dry ranch dressing seasoning
1 10 ounce can of Cream of Chicken Soup

 4 lbs. potatoes, peeled & cubed (i used yukon gold)
5 tablespoons butter
1 cup fresh grated parmesan cheese
6 cloves garlic, roasted 
1 - 1 1/2 cups warm milk 
salt & pepper to taste
1. Place pork chops in crock pot. Sprinkle ranch dressing over them & top with cream of chicken soup. Cover & cook on low for 6 hours or high for 4 hours.

2. Place potatoes into a large pot of cold water. Place onto stovetop over high heat and bring to a boil. Once water is boiling, cook for 10-12 minutes or until potatoes are fork tender. Drain and transfer to a bowl. Mix with an electric mixer on low until potatoes are mashed. Then add butter, parmesan, garlic, milk, salt and pepper. Season to taste if needed. For thinner mashed potatoes add more milk, slowly until your desired consistency. 

3. Scoop mashed potatoes onto serving plates and top with pork chops and soup gravy from crock pot. 

Side note: I usually use fresh garlic but towards the end of cooking today i just didn't feel like cooking all of a sudden. So i cheated & used garlic salt instead. It was still absolutely delicious. I love garlic, so i'm sure it'd be fantastic with the roasted garlic. But i'll have to try that next time. Also, i had 7 chops, not 6, and would use a little more Cream of Chicken soup. It was absolutely WONDERFUL, just could have used more gravy! I had never used a mixer before to mash my potatoes... what a great idea! HA!


Sunday Funday.

Time for Getting to Know YOU with MannLand5. Answer these questions in your own blog & then head on over to MannLand5 to link up! She is also hosting a $100 visa card giveaway!

1. If you could host a reality TV show, which one would it be?
I would actually like to be a judge on American Idol. I wouldn't mind hosting, but i wouldn't be as good at it & i think Ryan does a great job as it is! AI is out at least 2, but maybe 3 judges... maybe they will call me to replace one of them?

2. Do you put your seatbelt on before or after you start the car?
BEFORE! It is WAY TOO HOT to do anything but get that a/c going immediately! Brad does it after & i'm like "seriously? i'm sweating my makeup off already!!" HA! (I do put my seatbelt on before driving, though! & that's really all that matters!)

3. Shave or hair removal cream?
Shave. Those hair removal creams are yucky.

4. What's your favorite feature in a house?
I have a thing for window seats. When i was little, my best friend had a window seat at her house & i always said i wanted one in mine. I also love the little computer nook areas that are in some kitchens.

5. What's your favorite fall scent?
Cinnamon! Burning leaves.

6. What TV show are you looking forward to the most this fall?
Not a one. I really don't watch TV anymore. Though we missed the last season of LOST, so i'm sure we'll be netflixing that!

7. Personal Shopper or Personal Chef?
Shopper. I really like to cook & would be sad if i couldn't. Unless the chef would teach me some stuff! Shopping is not my favorite thing, though i love fashion. So if i had a personal shopper that could get me clothes that perfectly suited my taste & in the right size, yeah - that would save me some time & frustration!

8. What is the first word that comes to mind when you think of fall?
Leaves. I love the beautiful changing colors of the leaves on the trees. :)
And cooler weather. Can't wait!

Your turn!

Baby Fever

I guess i should just come out with it... I have baby fever so bad, y'all! Have had it for awhile, but i guess i can just go ahead & admit it on my blog!

I just can't wait to be a mommy! We are not starting a family quite yet, so don't get TOO excited! But we do have a time frame in mind. Hopefully all will go as planned?!

Anyway, i found this picture on Etsy a week or two ago & i saved it to my computer. I just can't stop looking at it. i swear. I fell IN LOVE.

I want this baby.

Or at least a baby girl with this baby hat. :)

In case i forget about the baby fever, i can just take a glance at this picture & it's all over for me. Again.

Sunday Stealing

Felt like participating in Sunday Stealing this week. Although it is Saturday. :) Here we go!!

1. Are you happier now than you were five months ago?
Just as happy now as i was then, i think. It's a good year. :)

2. Have you ever slept in the same bed with anyone that you shouldn't have?


3. Can you sleep in total darkness?

4. Your phone is ringing. It’s the person you fell hardest for, the one who got away, what do you say?
That happened to me in December of 2007. We were married in November of 2008. We'd been broken up for 11 years. You can read the whole story if you want (links in my sidebar!).

5. What do you think about the weather this summer?

I think it is TOO HOT!! I don't know why we always act surprised, i mean, this IS louisiana, but GEEZ! Cannot wait till Fall!

6. How many people do you trust with everything?

i have a lot of people in my life that are trustworthy.

7. What was the last thing you drank?


8. Is there anyone you want to come see you?

LAURA! Hahaha!

9. Name one thing you love about winter?
coffee tastes better when it's cold out. :) And i love winter clothes. And Christmastime.

10. Have you ever dated a Goth?

11. What are you looking forward to tomorrow?


12. Name something you dislike about the day you’re having?

I was not able to make a co-ed shower for 2 good friends. It just wasn't happening. I really wanted to go, it was just a bad day for us! But we are going to make it up to them by having them over for dinner!

13. What's the longest that you have committed to one person and one person only?

We'll celebrate 2 years of marriage in November.

14. What’s the first thing you did when you opened your eyes today?

well, i woke up with a headache. So i got up & got some advil & then hit snooze for a little more sleep.

15. Has anyone ever told you they never want to ever lose you?


16. Is there anybody that you wish you could fix your relationship with?

No...not really.

17. Could you go out in public, looking like you do now?

No... i have a gown on. And no bra.

18. Do you think things will change in the next 3 months? How?

I will lose some more weight. :)

19. Do you believe that you never know what you got until you lose it?

Not always. I think everyone has to learn that lesson at some point, though.

20. Do you have a friend of the opposite sex you can talk to?

My husband. 

The end! Your turn! Link up at Sunday Stealing!

Saturday, August 21, 2010

The Beautiful Conference!

Oh, y'all! I had such an amazing time at the women's conference this weekend! It was such a great time & so refreshing! The conference was called "Beautiful" & the subject was how beautiful we are to God. And how Beautiful HE is!! Kari Jobe was the guest worship leader - she was FANTASTIC - and by the way, she is cute as a button! Really tiny & adorable. If you don't know who Kari Jobe is & you go to church - you probably have sang some of her songs & just didn't realize it. Anyway, look her up!! I bought all 3 of her cd's b/c you could get one for $15 or all three for $25. :) Angela Thomas was the guest speaker & wow! I absolutely LOVE her. She is my new favorite person. Seriously, she's right up there with Beth Moore for me. She is SO funny & easy to relate to & a great teacher. WOW. I am going to share some of what she talked about in a future blog post. :) What an incredible weekend.

I had the privilege of going to this conference with some of the women in my family. Well, me & my mom & a bunch of my in-laws. Usually i go to stuff like this with church friends. I don't usually get to do that with family. It was wonderful being with them for this conference!!

The weekend went like this:
Friday, 4pm - i left work early & went & got us a table at Cracker Barrel. Table of 10 crazy loud women! We had dinner together before the conference & had a great time!!

my cousins-in-law, megan & whitney 

my sister-in-law Jaimie (right) with her friend Delana. 

Mrs. Melanie & her friend, Becca

Aunt KK & Melanie! HA!

me with my mom & mom-in-law!! We were mid-laughs!:)

whitney! all saddy because she almost didn't get told about Kari Jobe being in town! & she freaking LOVES kari jobe! 

my mom being silly in the cracker barrel shop! 

now y'all see where i get it from... 

After dinner, we headed to the conference! We got great seats! i was surprised. We got there about an hour early, i think. Kari Jobe led worship & then Angela Thomas spoke & then Kari Jobe led worship again. AWESOME!!! 

ran into some girls from Victory - my old roomie Aimie, her sister Abby, & Kristin :)

It was cold in there!! Megan & Whitney got a quilt out of Aunt KK's car!

The service was truly awesome!! & Istrouma does a great job of putting on a women's conference! They had a break & upstairs they had baskets full of snacks, everywhere...no extra charge! And bottled waters. And coffee & bagels on Saturday morning. It was nice. :) Saturday i did not get to the conference till about 10 minutes after 9, when it started! But it's all good! We had the same seats as the night before. YAY! Kari led worship, then we had two sessions with Angela Thomas & then we had another worship session with Kari. It was truly awesome! Pardon my eyes in some of the pics, i was so tired!! HA! 

me & my old roomie, Aimie! love her!

see what i mean about the eyes!? i rarely blink in pics. i was just so tired! But i LOVE ashley & was thrilled to run into her at the conference!

me & whitney! :)

ROBYN!! One of my favorite people. I want to be like her when i grow up! ;) 

more victory girls! abigail, rachel, laura & becca

becca. one of my dearest best friends. :)

 Whitney got a pic with Kari Jobe! :)

After the conference it was lunch time, so we went to eat at one of my favorite restaurants, the cheesecake bistro. YUM! almost everyone got the Crescent City Chicken Wrap - that thing is so good! 

me & Jaimie!

HA! I love her!! (Her reaction to having to take a pic all by herself!)

 me & my mom

Mrs. Cheryl, Aunt KK, Becca & Mrs. Melanie!

Me, Whitney, Megan & Jaimie!

Sadly, i missed the cocktail party i had that afternoon! My good friends Chris & Mary were having a shower today at 4pm. I left lunch, ran to the store to get their gift, got stuck in traffic & got home sweaty, not feeling too well & EXHAUSTED. Plus, it was 4pm when i got home - time for the party to start! And i had to get all dressed up! Needless to say, we did not make it! But we are going to have the newlyweds-to-be over for dinner to make up for it! I CRASHED & did not wake up till almost 8pm! But what a wonderful weekend it was! I think i will visit Istrouma Baptist in the morning to hear Kari Jobe one last time. :) 

Thank you, Jesus, for an awesome weekend! I will fill you all in on the details more later. Sorry for the picture overload... i'm actually only apologizing because everyone else does that when they put up so many pics. But that's what blogs are for! To store memories, right? And share stories. So i'm really not sorry for the picture overload! Just saying... but i love y'all if you stuck around to look at them all! :)