Monday, December 31, 2012

New Year's Resolutions: 2013 edition.

Time for a new year, y'all. 

I always say November 14th starts my favorite time of the year. That is our anniversary, then suddenly it's the most wonderful time of the year - Thanksgiving & Christmas! 

But I am always ready when December 25th passes, and then the 26th & 27th... suddenly i am just ITCHING for the new year to start. 2013. Unlucky number?! I don't think so! I am thinking it's going to be a year full of love, peace & joy!

I am excited to see what is in store for 2013. I am excited to see what all takes place. Even though 2012 did not grant me my two biggest wishes (which would be for a house & a baby, if you didn't know), I still had a very blessed year. We were given a new church home, and with that came some new incredible friendships. I grew in my relationship with God. I got closer to certain friends & family members. We finally paid off my student loans (praise the Lord!). I also finally made a significant breakthrough when it comes to breaking free of addiction (to sugar. yes, it's a problem!).

But am I ready for a new year? You betcha. Always!
So, I didn't do too bad with my 2012 resolutions. But i am excited to set new goals for 2013.

I have added updates throughout the year - they are in RED. 

  •  Grow in my relationship with God. Trust Him completely. Give Him my ALL. Allow Him to set me free in every area of my life!
  • Continue being an involved member of Covenant Community Church. 
  • Build & grow in new friendships with my new church family.
  • Give cheerfully & wisely of my time & money there.
  • Continue to minister with song with the praise team. 
  • Spend time praying &/or reading the Bible. DAILY.
  • Participate in a Bible Study - either online or in person or both. 
  • Continue to omit sweets/desserts & bad carbs from my diet, and to allow starches only occasionally & in moderation. 
  • EXERCISE! This is something I love to do but have failed miserably in the middle to end of 2012. Must get back to it. My ultimate goal is to exercise at least 4 times a week. 3 is acceptable on very busy weeks!  
  • Take workout classes again, such as Zumba or Bootcamp.
  • Give cheerfully.
  • Do a random act of kindness/pay it forward act at least once a month!
    • January - $20 tip to waitress at Outback Steakhouse
  • Save for a car & to pay off our mortgage.
  • Stay within the budget! Do not blow all my spending money on food! 

  • Take at least two photography classes - either online or in person or both. 
    • Starting first class January 10th!
  • Participate in photography blog hops. 
  • Learn all I can about photography & practice, practice, practice! 
  • Create photo books for 2009, 2010 & 2011. (I am almost done with 2012 & i did it over the last few days, so SURELY i can do these others in a whole year, right?!)
  • Read all unread books on my bookshelves before buying any new ones.
    • Currently reading Breaking Free 01/07/13.
  • Clean the house thoroughly at least once per month!
  • Paint kitchen table or buy a new one. 
  •  Find curtains that will work on the doors to our trailer. (I will post about this later so you will understand!) 
  • Buy or make a mail organizer and hang it up! No stacks of mail all over the place! (This kind of makes me INSANE. I will need hubby's cooperation with this. :))
  • Organize cabinets above our washer/dryer. 

So here are some things that I would LIKE to happen, but that are not resolutions simply because they might be too high for me to attain this year. Haha. 
(1) Take a photo-a-day. 
(2) Organize/clean out our extra room. 
(3) Paint the shutters on our trailer. They need it.
(4) Tear down our stupid built-in entertainment center & buy a new one. (Hubby might not like this goal. But i hate it. It's dumb. I may do a post on it one day to show you. :))

And that's it! I know it's a lot, and I'm okay with that. I didn't do too bad last year, and i made just as many. Here's to a fantastic 2012! Whatever your goals are... as long as you set realistic & specific ones... You can do it! :)

{HAPPY NEW YEAR, friends!}

Sunday, December 30, 2012

A Christmas get-together!

Every year for the past few years we have gotten together with 3 couple-friends of ours for a Christmas get-together. It's usually right before or after Christmas, and it's usually because our friends Amanda & Matt are in town from California. They couldn't come in town this year, though, and we really really missed them! We still had our night, and Becca invited another couple from their church to join us - Rachel & Darren. I already knew them a little - Rachel leads worship at Victory, and has such a beautiful voice! It was fun to get to know them a little bit more! 

Becca made an AMAZING dinner of Vegetable Enchiladas...y'all. It was FANTASTIC. Definitely need the recipe! She had sides of black beans & rice. Dessert was a brownie, but she had fruit JUST FOR ME because I'm not eating sweets. Fruit is a sweet, but you know what i mean! How sweet & thoughtful is that?! Love her.

So here are some pics from the evening. :)

 Adam & Katie 

 Rachel & Darren

 Me & my love! 

The newlyweds - Becca & Mike

Adam & Katie's sweet baby girl joined us too! She was SO GOOD! Love her. 

 They're so cute! And they both take their coffee black. I think people who take their coffee black are cool. Even though i can't bring myself to do it! Ha!

 We played Apples to Apples. It is such a great game with the right people - and this was a great group for it! Hilarious! :)

Just another round of Apples to Apples!

This picture cracks me up! Love this baby girl!

 Mike & Becca's tree. :)

 Brad even got some love from sweet Natalie! I promise he's not dropping her! She was loving him tipping her backwards! She wanted to do it again & again!

This pic was taken by Brad on accident while we were getting ready to take a pic together. I LOVE IT. Isn't she beautiful!? Inside & out! 

Daddy & Daughter 

 Finally got to give this ornament to Becca & Mike - bummed i couldn't get it to them BEFORE Christmas, but oh-well! Isn't it pretty? I ordered it from Etsy & i LOVE it! 

 Tank joined us at the end of the party. I had never met Tank. What a SWEET BEAUTIFUL DOGGIE!

Me, Katie & Becca. LOVE these two!

SO, we had a great time! Looking forward to next year - and hopefully some time together between now & then, too! :)

2012 Resolutions Update!

 I have said it two or three times this week already, and I'll say it again. I love a new year. I love the idea of a fresh start. I know you can start over anytime, technically; of course you can. But a new year to me means a fresh start, a chance to just start over completely. I feel that way day by day, but even more so when it's a totally new year. 

That being said, I cannot wait to start 2013. I filled in my new calendar last night, and couldn't help but wonder what will take place in the coming year. 

I always make New Year's Resolutions. I know a lot of people don't, or make goals or to-do lists instead, and that is fine. For me, resolutions are great... it's never a bad thing to set a new goal for yourself. I will write a post on my 2013 resolutions soon...some you will see are repeats from what is below! For now, let's see how I did in 2012. 

SIDE NOTE: I do not consider it a failure if you didn't stick with every single new year's resolution. As each day passes, you learn new things. Maybe you made too many resolutions. Maybe you made an impossible one for yourself. If so, it is OKAY to change your mind once you learn that it isn't the right time or the right kind of resolution for you this year! This is not a cop-out. But it is a WAY OUT of the mindset that says just because you don't succeed in unattainable or untimely resolutions, doesn't mean you can't stick to plenty of others. ;)

If it's in red, it means i pretty much consider it a big fat FAIL. {Womp, womp!}

-Read the Bible. Daily. {This happened a LOT more than in 2011, but i wouldn't say daily.}
-Become an involved member of my church. {We found our home church this year, and definitely became involved! This was not hard once we found the right place for us!}
-Love people. Really love them, the way God has called me to. {Definitely more so than in 2011. Of course this is always a work in progress.}
-Minister with song again. {YES! After about 3 years off, I joined our church's praise team & have been singing every Sunday. One night, i led two songs as well. It has been a JOY to do this.}
-Be a better friend. {Odd resolution haha... I hope i stuck to this one!}
-Read some christian books, including Captivating by John & Stasi Eldredge & Crazy Love by Francis Chan. {I did not read the two above & this will be a repeat on my 2013 list! Haha. I did read plenty of Christian novels & also The Necessity of an Enemy (Ron Carpenter Jr) & Embracing your Freedom (Susie Larson).} 
-Track food daily on My Net Diary. {This is something I would never keep up with for an ENTIRE YEAR. I consider this impossible for me, haha. I did track my food on & off all year, though, with this app & another.}
-No sugar or white flour. (Fruit is allowed.) {It's a work in progress. I did well, then did horribly & then managed to stay COMPETELY off it for 34 days at the end of the year! You can keep up with that journey on my weightloss blog. I am always learning more & doing better & I do feel like i am finally making progress in this area of my life.}
-Exercise at least every other day. {HAHA! I have definitely fallen WAY off the wagon in this area. Gone are the days of constant bootcamp & zumba classes. I MISS working out the way i used to & do plan to get back to it in 2012.} 
-GIVE MORE {We did, but i want to do more in 2013.}
-SAVE MORE {We did & paid off my student loan debt!}
-Stick to the budget more.  {We do stick to the budget as a couple - the one that is for bills and stuff - but i have a hard time blowing my spending money on food, when i could save it for things i REALLY want or need. Want to work on this in 2013.}

-Take a photography class (or two or three). {I took one online class. Taking another in January that I am super excited about!}
-Do the Picture-A-Day thing. {This did not happen for the 2nd year in a row. I will probably try again for the fun of it in 2013 but it will NOT be a resolution. It's just not something I can make myself stick to!}
-Participate in photography blog hops. {Nope. Really want to in 2013!}
-Read "Learning to See Creatively" by Bryan Peterson {Started, but didn't finish.}
-Read "Understanding Exposure" by Bryan Peterson {Nope.}

If you made New Year's Resolutions, Goals, or a To-Do List for 2012, how did you do? 
Do you consider every non-success a total failure?
What are some of your goals for 2013?

Saturday, December 29, 2012

2012 RECAP: Part Two

Continuing my 2012 recap! The first 6 months are recapped here!

In July, I went to a church ladies tea! It was my first thing to go to at our new church outside of Sunday mornings, and it was a lot of fun. I took one of my favorite pics of my mom, with Gayle, our church secretary, who is a hoot! I also witnessed a scene that came straight out of Law & Order....except it was real life.

August was a crazy month!! I finally got to meet Baby Izaac, my beautiful friend Natalie got engaged via flash mob!!!, my beautiful friend Rachel got married (pictured above), I got stuck in traffic so bad that i nearly peed my pants (for real), oh, and Hurricane Isaac came for a visit. P.S. Just realized I never posted Natalie's actual engagement video b/c only the rehearsal was available at that time. So click the link & watch - it is AWESOME!)

 In September, i worked backstage for ASSASSINS, which was an amazing experience. I wrote a post about what God says, and I co-hosted a very successful shower for one of my besties!

 In October, my sweet mother-in-law retired, our church was thrilled to welcome new youth pastors Andy & Ashley (pictured above with our pastor & his wife), I wrote a post about God's Love, we had a lot of fun at the family reunion & we FINALLY went on a zoo date after 4 years of living RIGHT ACROSS THE STREET from one!

 In November, we had fall pictures made, our "Billy & Mandy obsession" continued :), our dear friends Becca & Michael got married, I finally met my cousin's twin babies, and we celebrated four years of marriage at the New Orleans Audubon Zoo!

& last but not least, 

In December, I was heartbroken to hear about what happened in Newtown, CT, I went Christmas shopping with my mom & sister, I ran sound for our theater's production of A Christmas Carol, we started a new tradition, and we had a wonderful Christmas.

*  *  *  *  *  *

Wow! It has been fun looking back & remembering things I had forgotten all about! How was your year? Overall, 2012 has been a great one for me. I am mainly thinking of finding our new church & making some new wonderful lifelong friendships. I am excited to see what is in store for 2013, though... I always love a new year. :) 

Friday, December 28, 2012

2012 RECAP: Part One

Let's see if i can keep a 2012 recap to just 12 pictures. Think that's possible? 

I don't either. But worth a shot! 

January 2012 was my first full month at my job and I was STRESSED TO THE MAX. Tears were involved. It wasn't fun. Thankfully, it got better.

I also went to a girl's night at my friend Charlynn's (see pic above!). LOVE HER!

February consisted of 2 gender reveal parties and 2 baby showers, including one where i showed up at the wrong house. It was pretty hilarious. I watched my friend Amanda's gender reveal via skype or something. This pic is from just a moment after finding out they were having a boy! :)

I turned 34 in March. Woah. We celebrated by having dinner with good friends at Chimes East, one of my favorite restaurants. For the first time in my life, I experienced sadness and fear about growing older, simply because the biological clock was ticking loudly, with nothing to show for it. Thankfully, at almost 35, God has brought a lot of peace regarding my future as a mama. This sermon was preached two days after my birthday, and I swear that was God's birthday gift to me.

In April, we drove to Mandeville to pick up my sister's couches! She was giving them to me. It was a GORGEOUS day. I also helped to host my sweet friend Amanda's baby shower! Also, Easter Sunday we visited our church & found our home church after a long search & finally giving up. I cannot even begin to tell you the joy & happiness we have found since finding where we belong! Friendships, ministry... it feels like home & i am so thankful!

In May, I got back in the theater game & stage managed The 39 Steps! This has got to be my most favorite stage managing experience... yep, ever! Well, actually... we had a VERY hard time holding on to crew members! That kept my stress level higher than on any other show. But other than that? It was great. So many cues to remember, which made it all exciting, INCREDIBLE acting skills which gave every performance another discovery, my favorite director to work with, etc etc! It was grand. :) The director & cast pictured above. I also heard another great sermon that was truly for me... Seek First.

In June, i went to TWO wedding showers in one weekend. We went to my SEVENTH Beaux Arts Ball (annual theater celebration), our friends Tim & Amber got married, & we celebrated my sister's birthday, husband's birthday, and dad's father's day all at once! :) Obviously this was the month for celebration! :)

*  *  *  *  *

I will continue this in another post! :) This was long enough!


Linking up with Mama M for Five Question Friday! :) 

1. If you had to give 1 million dollars to someone (not your spouse), who would it be & why? 
I am assuming I have 1 million to give? Did i win it? If so, i would give it to whichever friend promised to give me enough to buy a house and two new cars (one for me & one for Brad)! Because we really want a house more than anything, and we are going to NEED new to us cars very soon. Haha! 

2. What bathroom stall do you always go to first?
Always the first one. Unless I'm at Baton Rouge Little Theater, where the first stall has NO room unless you are an extremely short person. Ha!

*edited after reading Mama M's answers: I once read the first stall is the least used stall. That's why I got in the habit of only using the first stall. Of course... if a hundred people use it vs two hundred...what's the difference, really?! Haha!

3. How do you prefer to shop? In stores or online?
This completely depends on what I'm shopping for. I love to shop online. So much easier! Especially from Amazon, they ship so fast! But for things like shoes, i have to do it in stores, much as i'd rather not. I'm just too afraid i won't get the size right! And gifts are fun to shop for in stores.

4. What's the weather like in your neck of the woods?
It's pretty chilly right now. Chilly as in my feet are frozen. And that means 49 degrees, which i know is NOTHING for those of you seeing tons of snow! I am in Louisiana and it was 77 degrees on Christmas Eve. 60-something & stormy Christmas Day. And i guess the rain brought in a cold front, because today & yesterday it was in the 40's! 

5. Do you own a pair of TOMS & what do you think? Overrated, underrated or about right? 
At first I didn't get it, but then they started growing on me. Haha! I never thought I would get a pair because $50 seems like a LOT of money for a slip-on shoe! I do love the "one for one" campaign, though. ANYWAY, my work gave us $50 gift card to TOMS for Christmas! So it looks like I am getting a pair after all! :) I thought I'd never be able to choose, but I finally went with this pair. Can't wait for them to arrive. I hear they are verrrrry comfortable! 


Christmas #4! {Christmas Day}

On Christmas Day, we went to Brad's Uncle David & Aunt KK's house to celebrate with family. You should know that Uncle David & Aunt KK have what is probably my dream home. I absolutely LOVE IT. I swear they thought of everything when they built this house! :)

You can see some of their house in this picture, although I was actually taking it of the MAJOR STORM that was brewing. Tornado warnings & lightning & thunder & LOTS of wind! It felt like a hurricane was coming! Geez! The electricity went out twice, but only for a few seconds. 
Seems like it brought a cold front, though, which is EXACTLY what was needed! 77 degrees is just too hot for Christmas, even in Louisiana!

That picture was actually taken as we were running to Brad's parent's future home so we could see the new flooring put in. I just KNEW it was going to rain on us and ... it did! Thankfully we got back before it started pouring!

I absolutely love spending holidays with this side of brad's family. They are all SO MUCH FUN! I took more pics at this Christmas than the other three, probably because we were there the longest (from one pm to six pm). We had a blast ... & the food! SO GOOD! 

PHOTO DUMP TIME. :) Please forgive all the pics & captions... I feel the need to explain who is who, so if you really could care less, just keep scrolling. Haha.

 my sweet in-loves

 Megan, Clay, Jaimie, Brad & Matt. {Megan & Matt are siblings & Brad's cousins. Jaimie is Brad's sister. Clay is Megan's new husband.}

 Brad's cousin Whitney who is just adorable. And hilarious. 

 Me & my beautiful sis-in-love, Jaimie

 Silly cousins - Brad & Matt 

 Siblings Cayde & Hayden. Doesn't Hayden have the most beautiful hair?! 

Do you love dressing?! (aka stuffing) Jaimie & Whitney do!! Haha! 

 Megan & baby Izaac 

My father-in-love, his sister Paula, her hubby Cliff & their granddaughter Hayden! 

We played a hilariously fun game where a gift ($20 in this case) is wrapped a zillion times. You have to try to open it with oven mitts on! Meanwhile, the person next to you rolls the dice until they get a six, and when they do, your turn is up!
It was hilarious!!! I couldn't believe how many times Aunt KK had wrapped that $20 bill! :)

 Aunt KK with her first grandbaby, Izaac 

 Brad's cousin Chad with his son Cayde. 

 Cousins Whitney & Megan

This might be my favorite one of the day. :) 
Haha! Now we see where he gets it! ;) 

The only pic we got of us was a cell phone pic. OOPS! 

Hope I didn't bore you with all of these pics! I have enjoyed looking at your Christmas re-caps though! :) Hope this new year 2013 is the best one for you yet!