December 27, 2009

You

So one of my Christmas gifts from Mama Reed was a new iPod... it is a purple 5th generation nano with 16 GB of space!! My old ipod only had 2G so if I wanted to put new music on, I had to take some off and I was constantly rearranging. I am loving the new ipod and finding some of my old music!

One of things I found on it was an old CD my friend Lara had given me and the following poem is read as one of the tracks and it just touched me again tonight so I wanted to share:

(you can also see her read this poem on youtube)
You
by Amena J Brown
You find me when I'm hiding behind all my disguises
You see me
It takes you to keep me breathing
You are heart...Passion...Vision...Word Incision
You send me and you bring me close
Close close closer
Until when you look at me you see you
You are heavenly
My present and future destiny
You are Father...Creator...Sustainer...Life changer...Pride breaker...
You are yesterday today and forever
You are pleasure...You are worth...Reason...Present in every season
You are worship...Devotion
You are the reason for all my commotion
You are the one that I pray to
You can tell that I'm nothing without you
So awesome that I can pray to you about you
To know you...To sense you ...To believe you more...To love you more...To obey you more
To give you more of my heart

Oh God search me...Know me...See me...Examine me...Test me...Love me...Watch me...Protect me...Show me...Investigate me...Be pleased with me...Question me...Keep me...Change me...Have me...Correct me...Take me...Help me...Create in me...Break in on me...Be my reality...Sustain me...Decrease me...
Decrease me
Decrease me
Decrease me
Until there is no me left
Only you
Only you
Only you

You are light...Are true... Are you... Are hope... Are love... Are strength... Are escape rescue safe... You are peace... You are belief... You are advance and retreat
Of what, to what, to whom can I compare you?
You are my all things new
You are my place of refuge
You are my fortress
My rest
My creativity in the strength of your words to me
You are my ability to see hear feel move live breathe be
You are life and death all at the same time
You are friend
You are believer savior redeemer
You are today tomorrow and the next day
And the next day and the next day and the next day
You are truth
You transcend old age and youth
You are timeless... priceless... lightness in darkness... greatness...goodness...sinless

And in a mess like my life you see righteousness
You leave me speechless
You alone are God

December 23, 2009

Christmas Baking

So one of my favorite parts of Christmas season is BAKING. For as long as I can remember, my mom has baked lots of goodies to give out as Christmas gifts. Last weekend I came over to help her getting everything done and here is a little sampling:

There were kiss cookies
and chocolate covered peanuts
and Butterscotch Haystacks
....Red Velvet Cake Balls....
.... and 3 pans of fudge....
... and my personal favorite: Peanut Butter Balls!!

Now if I could just keep myself from eating it all....

Merry Christmas! :)

December 19, 2009

A Simple Life

So the Christmas background was just a place-holder until I could get my new one all figured out :) Even though it's not yet a new year, I was ready for a fresh start on my blog. I found this background at The Cutest Blog on the Block and fell in love with it!!

I started searching through my quote book that I keep to find a new one for my header. This quote from Laura Ingalls Wilder (who I've loved since I was very little) is actually the first one written in my book and I thought it was a good one.

And it really is so much more than a quote. I want to simplify my life... I want to not make things so complicated... I want to not want as much and give more... I want to live on what I need instead of the abundance that I continue to pursue... I want to de-clutter my life. And I feel like a lot of it goes hand-in-hand with the Bible Verse I added to the side from John 1:16 "From the fullness of His grace, we have all received one blessing after another." I am beyond blessed in so many ways and truly desire to live more simply.

I also added new pictures to the side! This design should stick around for a while.... just needed to get it right :)

December 1, 2009

A Humble Heart


I am so blessed. Today is my birthday and I have been beyond blessed by my friends, family and co-workers. Even though being an adult makes birthdays not quite as fun I mean it was really just a normal Tuesday... I worked out, I went to work (which PS apparently, my company used to give everyone their birthday off... how amazing is that?), I went to my BSF leaders' meeting. But it was nice to get sweet messages throughout the day from people!

And I got some wonderful gifts as well! When I visited Nicki in VA earlier this fall I got my birthday present early... she gave me a Holiday Dessert Cookbook and a Pampered Chef Scoop (which btw I will be using tomorrow to make Red Velvet Cake Balls for Thursday night's BSF!) And tonight after leaders' meeting, Erin gave me some really cute jewelry! She said it best when she said that jewelry is always a fun gift because we're not as likely to buy it for ourselves... I totally agree and I am excited to wear it!

And tonight I grabbed a quick dinner with Mama Reed before BSF and she gave me my gift... the Creche for the Willow Tree Nativity!! I love Willow Tree angels and received the basic Nativity from her a few years ago for my birthday and have been wanting other pieces to build it... but I have especially had my eye on the Creche so I was very excited to get it! Once I got home tonight I was unloading it to put up and was reading through the insert that came with it and I wanted to share because it touched me...

The new Willow Tree Creche is more than just a backdrop for the Nativity collection. While its simple architecture is in keeping with the overall Willow Tree look, the Creche has meaning built into its very design. The artist gave this piece a regal, stately appearance, yet chose to make it from the humble materials of barn wood and nails. This mirrors the belief of Christ's holiness and humanity. The structure's proportions also suggest the size and shape of the cross, while its rusty nails foretell the crucifixion. The Creche intimately shelters the Holy Family, then opens wide to welcome shepherds and travelers from afar who came to praise the newborn son.

I want to approach this season with a humbled heart. A heart that is humbled by His love and grace. A heart that is changed by His mercy. A heart that is fully aware of the true reason behind Christmas... that a baby was born to bring Light into our darkness and still today Jesus brings light to us. And that He was born for the purpose of dying to save me. I want my life to reflect this grace and to be an offering to Him instead of continuing to chase the things that I want.

I am humbled and in awe of His love and mercy and want the to be shown in every aspect of my life

November 27, 2009

It's the Most Wonderful Time...

... I had a wonderful Thanksgiving and now am ready to celebrate Christmas! I love love love Christmas time and am excited about all of the fun things already planned...

and with the new season: a new BLOG BACKGROUND :)

Yay for Christmastime!

November 25, 2009

Sour Cream Coffee Cake

Tomorrow is Thanksgiving and of course Thanksgiving is all about the food! Every year we spend Thanksgiving at my grandparent's house in Palestine, TX. Since my Grandma passed away when I was in college, my mom and aunts now prepare our meal for the day! This year my mom signed me up to make one of my favorite recipes which is my Grandmother's Sour Cream Coffee Cake!

So this morning I set out to make it and I think it turned out well!

Here's the recipe:
1 cup butter
1 cup sugar
1 tsp Vanilla
2 eggs
1 cup sour cream
2 cups flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt

Topping: 1/2 cup nuts, 1/3 cup brown sugar, 1 cup sugar, 1 tsp cinnamon

Preheat Oven to 350
Cream sugar and butter
Add eggs and vanilla and beat well
Add dry ingredients with sour cream
In a separate bowl mix the topping ingredients together
Spread 1/2 of the batter in a greased 9x13 pan
Sprinkle with 1/2 the topping
Add rest of to batter and smooth to an even layer (which btw... easier said that done!)
And sprinkle the remaining topping
Bake 35 minutes at 350 degrees
*Can refrigerate overnight and bake in the morning; freezes well

This is what you get:

November 22, 2009

Putting People First

So the other night I was catching up on all of my shows on DVR and since I was doing other things at the time, I listened to most of the commercials instead of fast forwarding. And in the course of a couple of hours the same commercial came on 3 times and every time the same thing made me cringe a little...

They had a commercial for Friday Night's 20/20 in which Barbara Walters was interviewing Sarah Palin and part of the commercial had her asking Palin's husband Todd "How did you feel when she told you you were going to have a Down Syndrome Baby"

Now I work with infants and toddlers who have developmental delays and disabilities, so "people-first" language has been drilled in my head. This meaning that they are a person first (i.e. he is a baby with Down Syndrome). Therefore saying that the disability does not define the child.

I'm not writing this as a rampage against Barbara Walters... I know she means nothing by it... like I said people first language has been drilled into my mind so much that when I hear things I perk up. So I went to look a little at people's comments regarding this and found how many comments thought that this complaint that people had was petty. And I can definitely see where they are coming from... it seems petty to be complaining about the order of wording when they are being so supportive of this family of a child with disabilities. I found the following message from a parent of a child with Down Syndrome and I thought it explained things pretty well so I wanted to share it:

With all the Sarah Palin interviews, I love that there is discussion of having children with Down syndrome. Unfortunately what makes my skin crawl and blood pressure rise is these interviews including language that is down-right inappropriate. I admit, before Mary, I probably would have said the same thing -- BUT once you know better, you do better. So with my below statements I am hoping those who read this will now know better.


Referring to Palin, they say, "She found out she was going to have a baby that IS Down syndrome." (I am talking about you Oprah and Barbara Walters)....Really? My daughter IS Down syndrome? Last time I checked she IS a fun, chatty, perfectionist-little lady who happens to HAVE an extra chromosome. For those of you who don't understand what the big deal is, let me tell you, as a parent, the difference is profound. Mary isn't DS, she has DS. She isn't a Down's baby, she has an extra chromosome.

Part of the problem is the flaw of the English language. People aren't trying to be offensive, they are just using the same sentence structure they always do...red hair, brown tree, cute boy....the adjective is in front of the noun. But people, please don't use my daughter's "disability" as her main definitive adjective. She is so much more than a Down's baby. She is my baby, and now my little girl. Once you get to know her, you honestly don't even see the DS anymore. So knock it off media. Get the language right. They are people WITH DS. Not DS people.

Anyway... like I said I really did not intend this as a bashing of the language used... I just feel as though people don't know how it sounds when they say certain things so I wanted to comment on it because this is a subject near and dear to my heart.

Kind of on the same note (but very different)... while I was doing some reading that evening I found in several articles the fact that 90% of women who receive a diagnosis of Down Syndrome choose to have an abortion. Seriously, I started crying when I read this fact. I guess I knew that doctors do these genetic screenings during pregnancy so that termination is an option. But it shocked me that the percentage is so high. I think of all the babies I work with who have Down Syndrome and the amazing potential they have... their smiles that can light up a room and brighten even the worst day... their hugs and kisses that they give... the intelligence and progress that they show every day and my heart broke to think that this is considered enough of a deterrent that a baby should not be born. Anyway... I'm not really going to go on about this because it makes me too sad.

Sorry... I really hope this didn't sound like I was preaching... Just something that was on my mind this weekend!

November 20, 2009

Thankful

So last weekend, my cousin Christy posted the following as her facebook status:

Let's see how many people can do this. Every day this month until Thanksgiving, think of one thing that you are thankful for and post it as your status. "Today I am thankful for..." The longer you do it, the harder it gets! Now if you think you can do it then repost this message as your status to invite others to take the challenge, then post what YOU are thankful for today.....

I know that I am so blessed and often times I don't acknowledge that and I get so caught up in all the difficulties that I don't focus on the good. So I decided I needed to do this and I want to share a list of things I am thankful for here as well... some are repeats from Facebook, some are not :)

I am thankful for my Savior, my Friend, Jesus Christ and the abundant grace He shows me every day. In BSF this year, we have been reading the Gospel of John and I have been so amazed to read and get a deeper glimpse in the Person and Heart of Christ and just the amazing realization of how little I deserve His love, yet how freely He gives it!

I am thankful for good friends. I have been blessed with 3 of the most amazing best friends throughout the years! Nicki, Erin, and Lara are all there for me to laugh with and cry with and share my heart with and I am so grateful for each one of them! I love seeing how our friendships grow and change over the years and I look forward to many more years of laughter with each of them!

I am thankful for my family. My Mama Reed who has become one of my greatest friends in the last few years. She is always there to encourage me and bring me back to reality! My brother Nick who I am enjoying getting to spend time with during his season living back at home... who always shares absurd stories and quotes with me and lets me join him on Rock Band regardless of how bad I am! My brother Jeremy who gives me lots of reasons to laugh and who I am so proud of for all he has accomplished! And my sister-in-law Aja who helps to balance out the house full of boys I grew up with! I am so grateful to have gotten a sister almost 5 years ago when Jeremy got married... and I couldn't have chosen a better one!

I am thankful for my job. I have faced a lot of trials at work over the last year and it has been rough, to say the least. But I am thankful to have a job where I get to work with families and children every day. And I am thankful for my co-workers who are supportive and encouraging when I need it most!

I am thankful for my health. I have been thinking about this a lot in the last week... I know so many who are ill. My Sunday School teacher from when I was in High School was recently diagnosed with cancer that they found in his brain, spine, and lungs. His spirit through this trial has been so amazing to see and I know the Lord is already working a miracle in his life and his body. But I also have 2 of my babies that I work with who are in the hospital, both for the 3rd time in 2 months. I started thinking the other day about how so many of the babies I work with have seen more doctors in the last year than I have in my entire life. And it just made me feel even more blessed that I have not had to face such a trial recently.

I am thankful for cool weather. I love being able to come home and open the windows! I love being able to wear long sleeves. And I loved my $28 electric bill last month!! :)

I am thankful for my church family. When I moved back to the Dallas area, I took that opportunity to visit several churches and even started getting plugged in at one close to me. I was loving it and still miss it at times. But when the pastor at my home church passed away unexpectedly, all I wanted was to be back with my church family. I grew up in this church where my parents were charter members, where I was baptized, where I took my first steps at a church picnic. And since going back I have been given the opportunity to work with the youth group, teaching Jr High Sunday School and helping with sunday evening and Wednesday night activities. Every weekend I am challenged by these "kids" and encouraged by them and I feel so lucky to get to work with them!!

I am thankful for my puppy, Allie. Seriously, there is nothing better than having "someone" to come home to. I love curling up with her on evenings when I am home. I am so grateful to have her for company!!

I am thankful for the future. I feel as though I have a lot of exciting things coming up, and I can't wait to see the plan unfold!!

November 11, 2009

My Week with the Puppies

This week I am housesitting and dog sitting for my brother and sister-in-law while they are celebrating their birthdays in Jamaica! I have gotten a taste of having more than 1 dog and it's been a little crazy Granted... most of the craziness is because of my dog... because she is so excited to see her cousins and she doesn't like to sleep in new places. The first night we were here, Allie cried all night long... non-stop for 9 hours. I thought we were in for a long week, but we've all now settled into our routines and it's nice and calm (most of the time). Here's a look at our morning:

This is Sadie... probably the sweetest dog I know... she is so fun and treats Allie like her toy


Maggie May is not so fond of Allie (or the craziness when Allie and Sadie play... we call her the fun police). She spends most of her time hiding behind this chair
And of course my snuggle puggle, Allie! Finally settled down at Uncle Jeremy's!

November 6, 2009

Cinnamon Rolls

So I love to bake... I think this is pretty evident to anyone who knows me! My church's annual Holiday Bazaar is this weekend and when they asked for more donations for the Bake Sale, I was excited! Because I especially love to bake when I can give the goodies to someone else!!

So I thought about what I could make and I decided to try something new. I read about Pioneer Woman's Homemade Cinnamon Rolls a few months ago and have been wanting to make them. I've been thinking about making some at Christmas and giving them out to people, and I probably will still do that. But I decided why wait?!

So this week I set off to make homemade cinnamon rolls and I LOVE them!! They really were so easy to make... and even though it was a huge mess.... they are so good!!

I am looking forward to making them again soon!

October 30, 2009

Patience my friends...

So I posted about it earlier this week on twitter... but can I just say....

Can we please at least wait until November to put out Christmas stuff?

I went to Target on Tuesday morning (the 27th) and they were taking down all of the Halloween stuff and putting up Christmas stuff. I thought... surely not. They are just trying to get things organized to put it up once Halloween is over. But no, today we went back and there was all of the Christmas stuff... the trees were up and the decorations were everywhere.

Now let me tell you... I LOVE Christmas. I love Christmas time and all of the fun that surrounds it. I love decorating my apartment and listening to Christmas music.

But why, Target, can you not wait until after Halloween to put out the Christmas stuff? Really, we are in such a rush to blow past everything!

And it probably would not bother me as much if it weren't for the fact that Hobby Lobby had Christmas decorations out before the 4th of July! All of this early Christmas is making me rebel inside to where I don't want to buy anything related to Christmas at all right now.

It's just a little sad to me that it gets earlier and earlier every year and we can't even fully enjoy one holiday before rushing into another...

October 28, 2009

Nicki's "Laura Tote Bag"

So my week in Virginia has been absolutely AMAZING so far. Yesterday Nicki had work and school all day so I had a day of down time which was so wonderful. I went on a long walk and then spent the afternoon shopping!!! (or I guess it was browsing because I didn't buy a thing... but sometimes that is my favorite day at the stores!)

Today, as Nicki called it, was take Laura to school day. I got to go and sit in on her classes... which most of her classmates and even her professors couldn't believe that I wanted to come. But it was so interesting and really is so applicable to what I do now. We talked about behavior prevention and assessments of children
.
It was just so great to get to spend a day in the life of Nicki. I loved getting to see campus and meet everyone and see what she in learning! As Mathis said, Nicki wanted a Laura tote bag to carry around everywhere... and I am loving getting to see everything!

I'm excited for the rest of the week too! It has been so wonderful just to spend the week here and get to have some down time!

October 25, 2009

Fall in Virginia!

So I am currently in VA visiting my best friend Nicki. I flew in yesterday and am so blessed to get to stay for a whole week! I am looking forward to having this week off work and to rest here and spend great time with her.

So far we have had a wonderful time! Last night we went to downtown Blacksburg and I got to see Virginia Tech and we went and had some yummy pizza at one of the restaurants downtown.

This morning I went to their church and then we had brunch. Then we spent the afternoon at the Pumpkin Patch! It was such a beautiful afternoon and perfect weather for looking at pumpkins and eating some kettle corn!

Now we are relaxing at their home... Nicki is studying and we are about to watch some TV. I am so excited to be here and looking forward to a great week!!

October 20, 2009

Community Hunger Day

This coming Thursday, October 22 is Community Hunger Day in Dallas. It is sponsored by Central Dallas Ministries and TI. They provide food, medical care, legal assistance, housing and educational opportunities and this week they are holding a fund raising opportunity.

The youth that I work with at my church have decided to participate in this outreach and have done a GREAT job of getting the word out through videos they have posted to Facebook (which I will be sharing later this week!). The idea of this day is that they are asking people who are willing to "go hungry" on Thursday and donate the money they would save on food to this organization.

Through this organization, they can feed a family for $28 a week (which is what a lot of families spend in a day). I just wanted to pass along this information because the amazing youth at my church have inspired me to take part!

Here is the link if you want more information: http://www.communityhungerday.org/index.php

October 10, 2009

Fall Traditions


There is something about Fall that makes me want to watch Football! Needless to say, I was very excited that the Baylor vs OU game was on ABC today (it's the first game that was actually televised in the DFW area). Sadly the Bears lost... I read in the paper this morning that the predicted point spread was 25.5... and we lost by 26 points... way to hold true to those predictions! But I still love my Baylor Bears!!

But my love for football goes back from before my Baylor days to my good old Garland Owls! By the time I started High School, I had been going to their football games for 6 years. My oldest brother played on the team while he was in High School, so my parents had season tickets. And I can remember several trips to go to games in Odessa or Abilene or Tyler and the treasured memories of games at Texas Stadium! Garland football games were one of my dad's favorite things and I think that's part of the reason I love it so much too! It's hard for me to go to a football game without remembering him next to me singing the National Anthem and standing through the whole game cheering on the team! And this year they are 3-0 for their district so far... very exciting! I love getting to still hear about them through my youth who go to the games :)

Even though the Bears (bless their hearts) struggle their way through the regular Big XII season, I still cheer them on every week and follow the games online when they aren't televised!

Nothing says Fall in Texas like High School and College Football :)

October 9, 2009

All my windows are open... I've got my Scentsy going with one of my new fall scents... Allie and I are curled up on the couch watching a movie... and I thought it was time for my blog to get a Fall makeover :)

It's been a busy week... looking forward to relaxing this weekend!

October 1, 2009

Pumpkin Muffins!

Nothing says fall like Pumpkin... so without any delay... here are the pumpkin muffins I made last night!

Ingredients:

2 cup all-purpose flour
1 Tbsp baking powder
1 tsp table salt
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp ground cloves
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp ground nutmeg
2/3 cup unsweetened applesauce
1 cup canned pumpkin
2/3 cup sugar
1/2 cup fat-free egg substitute
2/3 cup fat-free skim milk

Preheat Oven to 400. Coat 12-hole muffin tin with cooking spray.

Combine flour, baking powder, salt , baking soda, cloves, cinnamon and nutmeg in a large bowl.

Combine applesauce, pumpkin, sugar, egg substitute and milk in a medium bowl; mix thoroughly with a wooden spoon.

Add applesauce mixture to flour mixture and mix until completely incorporated.

Pour batter into muffin tins so each hole is about 2/3 full. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, or until a tester inserted in the center of a muffin comes out clean. Yields 1 muffin per serving.

There were normal sized muffins:

And Mini Muffins:

I got this recipe from the Weight Watchers website and I absolutely love it. They are so yummy and not too bad for you either, which is amazing! And they are perfect for sharing with friends and co-workers!

September 30, 2009

Fall :)




So October is only 4 hours away!! Tonight is the first night in a couple of weeks where I am home and have a little time. So tonight I baked pumpkin muffins and put up my fall decorations!






(SO sad... somewhere between Mardel and home I lost the "T" for my THANKS... it's a cute little Turkey... going back tomorrow to replace it, but still wanted to get everything out... so for now I'll give hanks for Fall!)

Coming tomorrow is Pumpkin Muffin Recipe! :)

September 29, 2009

I know that You are For me

This morning I downloaded Kari Jobe's album and I absolutely LOVE it. I have heard her song "I'm singing" on the radio recently and decided to look into it more. I listened to it while I worked out today and then during my driving today (which I do a lot of in my job!)

Tonight on the way home from Bible Study, I got caught up in this song:

So faithful, so constant
So loving and so true, so powerful in all you do
You fill me, You see me
You know my every move
You love for me to sing to you

I know that you are for me, I know that you are for me
I know that you will never, forsake me in my weakness
I know that you have come now
Even if to write upon my heart
To remind me who you are

So patient, so gracious
So merciful and true, so wonderul in all you do
You fill me, You see me
You know my every move You love for me to sing to you

I needed so badly to hear that He is for me. It is one of the things I have been praying over the weekend... remembering Whose I am and that He holds every moment. Remembering that He has already told me who I am in Him and nothing else can matter. How blessed am I to be His daughter? And how amazing to know that He is for me!

September 21, 2009

Watch Dog

You know...living by yourself in a new apartment can be a little scary sometimes...

Good thing I brought my security system with me:

It's very efficient... Allie thinks she owns the world... so she watches and if she sees anybody who even looks like they might be coming near our building she barks!

September 20, 2009

Cooking Inspiration Part 2!

A couple of months ago I wrote about Cooking Inspiration after Reading Julie and Julia (which as a sidenote... I saw the movie in August and loved it... so fun to see Julia Child's life on the screen!)

I still have been having lots of fun baking. I bought a Dessert decorator pro to help make my baking a little more fun! So far I have made several batches of cupcakes for work, my Youth and Bible Study. And I got to help make lots of yummy desserts to celebrate Erin's parents 30th Anniversary!

Any my baking and cooking is about to get a little more fun. Yesterday Erin came over to see my new apartment and brought a sweet gift with her:

I now have my very own apron!!! I am so excited about this gift and it definitely makes me want to get in the kitchen more!! (just a sidenote as well... Erin got this apron from one of our College friend, April's, Etsy store! She sews handmade aprons, purses, dresses, etc. and they are ADORABLE!)

I know this apron will come in handy as I get ready for all of my fall baking!! Thanks sweet friend!!

September 19, 2009

New Apartment!!

I have been a busy girl lately! Last week I moved into a new apartment and am finally settled in, so I wanted to get some pictures up. I am so excited about my new place. It is in a good location... closer to work and my church and still right by the highway so it's easy to get out to Dallas!

Welcome to my new place:


To the Right is the Kitchen:
And to the Left is the Dining Room:

The Wall of Pictures between the dining room and living room:
And the Living Room:

My Bedroom:

The Built-in Desk by the Kitchen (and my Baylor Diploma of course!):


And my craft space now that I have my built-in desk:


I am loving my new place and enjoying being settled!

August 29, 2009

A New Day

Last weekend I went to the Women of Faith Conference here in Dallas and it was amazing. I stood in the American Airlines Center singing praise to our God along with 16,000 other women and it was overwhelming. So many awesome speakers and concerts... it was a refreshing weekend.

The theme for the weekend was A Grand New Day

How appropriate for where I am right now...

I have been needing that refreshing moment from God and a new day and I feel as though I've gotten it. And newness is all around!

Just look around my apartment at the dining room full of boxes, the empty bookshleves, walls and cabinets. A new apartment is in the very near future... I'm moving in about 12 days!!

And a new school year... which usually doesn't effect me much... but I just feel as though it's a new start.

The fall also means a new year of BSF! In fact, I'm up so early today getting ready for our class workshop to get prepared for the new year!

A new month is about to start as well... the end of the month at work is always the craziest, but a new month brings a little bit of a slow down when things aren't quite so rushed.

And other new and exciting things are coming too!

August 17, 2009

Praise the One who gives and takes away

9 years ago today my dad passed away after a quick battle with a strong cancer.

There were moments in the last 9 years where I was't sure I would survive...or if I did I would merely live life at rock bottom. Moments where I could never forsee myself being rescued from the pit of my sorrow. That my life might never recover...

but at some point in the last 9 years I was rescued again by the One who turns my mourning into songs of praise.

In the last 9 years on this date I have: started my Senior year of High School, Moved into a dorm at Baylor, and moved into my first ever apartment

trading my sorrows for the joy of the Lord

A few weeks ago I was getting some paperwork done and I was looking over my caseload to see upcoming 3rd birthdays (when we dismiss a child and they transition to other services) and I realized I have 2 kids who turn 3 today. Not only that but I have another child who turns 2 today. So I have 3 kids...all unrelated... with birthdays today. May not seem like too big of a deal until I realized that with the exception of the twins on my caseload, I don't have a single repeated birthday other than today

Coincidence? Definitely not.... Just a reminder to me that God is faithful. That His promises are true. His mercies are new every morning. He makes beauty from the ashes. And when I need it most, He reminds me that He is still in control, joy remains, hope endures, and life goes on.

So today I am remembering. But moreso I am celebrating. Celebrating the life of my daddy and celebrating my Heavenly Father who knows exactly what I need and meets me exactly where I am, and in His time pulls me out of the muck and the mire, sets my feet on the rock, and puts a new song in my mouth.

August 8, 2009

The Packing Begins!


So I know I'm not moving until September... but I was looking at my calendar the other day and realized I have lots going on for the next 3 weekends, which means the next free weekend I have is the one right before I move. So I decided I'd start some of the packing process.

Unfortunately, I haven't gotten too much done. First off, because when I went to get my boxes out of my storage closets almost all of them have little wasp nests in them!! We had a huge wasp nest on our balcony until recently, and I guess some have transferred to the boxes. Luckily none of them actually had wasps in them, but I had to destroy a whole bunch before I could even begin packing.

Sadly, the only thing I've really packed are books and decorations, so my apartment just looks kind of sad. I wanted to pack more, but I just can't commit. I mean, what if I need my 8", 9" and 10" spring form pans in the next month? Or one of my 57 cookie cutters? Or all of my scrapbook paper?! How could I pack them and then have to dig for them? It's a little pathetic, I know.

But at least I started and am on my way. I'd much rather be making decorations (which is how I've spent the last month) than packing!

August 1, 2009

It's Official!

I am moving in September!!

It has been over a month since I went and put down a deposit for a brand new apartment and today I finally got the word that I am all set to move in (after a month of back and forth with the complex and them needing one more thing before my application was approved)

I am so excited about this move. It's only about 10 minutes from where I currently live... but it is closer to work and to my church. And it is still close to the highway, so it's easy to get out to Dallas for all of my things there!

And the best part? It includes a washer and dryer... and after 2 years of lugging my laundry around I am so excited to be able to do laundry while I stay at home!! And the apartment complex is brand new so I will be the first person to live in this apartment, which is so nice!!

Now I just need to get packing because my August weekends are pretty busy!

July 29, 2009

Cooking Inspiration


For me there is no better way to relax than to curl up with a good book. So I spent a lot of my vacation this past weekend reading. One of the books I just finished is Julie & Julia which is being made into a movie that comes out soon. It's about a woman who decides to cook through Julia Childs' cookbook in 1 year and blog about it. It was different than most books I read and kind of slow to get started, but I really enjoyed it!

Of course I also am a huge fan of cooking blogs and one of my favorite things to do is follow other people's recipe blogs and find new things to make! (of course, I prefer baking to cooking, so most of things I look for are yummy desserts like the ones from Bakerella!). So this book also interested me from that point because it was just her adventures and mess ups in the kitchen and continuing to cook even when everything is a mess (and uh, I tend to make a mess in the kitchen!)

So while reading all of this it really made me want to cook. I have been on a quest all summer looking for various recipes to make and I have whole collection to try and yet somehow still eat Peanut Butter and Jelly Sandwiches for every meal...

But the more I thought about the cooking, the more I realized that I need inspiration (as if a hundred cooking blogs and a book aren't enough inspiration?) and want I really want is an apron. Now I love to bake, so how I have gotten by this far in life without an apron is beyond me (although when I told Mama Reed this weekend that I really want an apron her response was "why?" as if that is a trivial thing... haha)

So now I have been on the search for the perfect apron (although Mama Reed also pointed out that they are "very easy to make" and I shouldn't waste my money buying one) and my current favorite is:
Why? Because it's pink and brown and just really fun! But for now I will keep looking and may even consider making one as Mama suggested!

And I was inspired because I did have something other than PB&J for dinner tonight! I made a turkey tenderloin and mashed potatoes! Not the most complicated of meals, but it's something right?

July 26, 2009

along for the ride

Right now, I am on vacation in Galveston with my mom and my brother and so far it has been a great trip. We spent a day at the waterpark and a day laying at the beach (I have some very weird tan lines.. my leg has 2 red stripes and then a white one and the other has a patch of red even though I was very careful about how I applied sunscreen... hmmm)



But I have to say one of my favorite things so far has been being able to exercise by the beach! Both mornings I have gotten up and gone on a long walk/jog along the seawall and it has been such a nice change of scenery. And all week I have been wanting to ride a bike... I think it's a combination of several things...

1. One of the books I brought with me this week (which happens to be called along for the ride) talks a lot about bike riding

2. As I went on my walks there have been several people out biking

and

3. I haven't riden a bike in a very long time and I have been wanting to for a while


So this afternoon I rented a bike and rode along the Seawall... and I felt like I was a kid again! I haven't had a bike since I was probably in middle school and I've thought about getting one, but know I would not use it enough. Although I did see someone this morning with a beagle running alongside their bike like this:
... and if I could teach Allie to do that I might reconsider ;)
But it has been a great weekend and I have enjoyed being away for a little while. Tonight we are ordering pizza and staying in to relax!

July 7, 2009

What's been going on?

I know it's been a while since I've written anything. Basically all my life has consisted of recently is working, pretty much non-stop and then being exhausted every evening and sleeping. Nothing too exciting to update on! But I did have a wonderful 3 day weekend for the 4th of July!!

I started off Friday by sleeping in and then taking Allie for a long walk. We went over to my mom's around lunch time, and Allie stayed with her for Friday night and Saturday! I headed out to Addison for Kaboomtown with Erin and her parents!

We enjoyed some hotdogs and a funnel cake while waiting for the Fireworks and then saw the amazing fireworks show!

On the 4th I woke up and went down to the pool at my apartment. It was the first time I had been swimming all summer and it was so nice to lay out and a read a book by the pool and then swim when I needed to cool off! Great start to the holiday :)

I also decided to use my laid-back day on the 4th for crafts. I have had a pattern to sew this blanket for a long time and have been wanting to make it. I decided to start by making a smaller version (that could be Allie's of course, because my dog is ridiculously spoiled) so I could practice it. Luckily Hobby Lobby had all of their fabrics 30% off on Saturday, so I got some good deals! I spent the afternoon on Saturday sewing and finished the blanket and I think it was a success:
Well that is about all that has been going on with me!

June 14, 2009

Dinner Dates!

When Erin first moved to Dallas we made plans to get together once a week for dinner. We started by getting together on Thursdays and one of us would make dinner and we would watch The Office! Our Thursday nights did frequently turn into one of us buying dinner somewhere instead, but these nights were a great way to get to see each other. Because she also lived about 40-45 minutes away for the first year that she was in "dallas"

Our dinners were put on hold when we both joined BSF leadership... because we were seeing each other 2 nights a week as it was (at leaders meeting and on class night!) and we luckily get to catch up then!

But since we are on BSF break this summer, we decided we should get back to once a week dinners. And we decided that we were going to branch out more and experiment with new recipes! Let me warn you... it's probably going to be an interesting summer. Both of us have very interesting kitchen experiences and I'm sure there will be lots of humor along the way!

But I started us off this Friday by making Crispy Mustard-Glazed Chicken, Twice Baked Potatoes, and Blueberry Pie!

I think it turned out pretty well... and it was a great night with one of my best friends. Good way to unwind after a busy week!

June 1, 2009

My Own Personal Brand of Therapy...


So it has been a really rough day... nothing in particular happened, just the realization that things are crazy and they are going to stay crazy for a while and I am just going to keep going non stop for who knows how long...

But I will be okay because I came home to my own personal therapy... what would that be? Cheesecakes (as pictured above)? Close... sweets do help... but really my true therapy is baking! I don't know why but baking really does help me relieve stress.

So I decided to make some of Junior's Cheesecakes Little Fellas! I made original and chocolate swirl! It felt so good to get out of all my ingredients and make these from scratch. And luckily, tomorrow if my friend, Courtney's birthday and she is having a dessert party so I got to bake and I don't have to eat it all! I get to share my treats with other people... that is the best kind of baking for me!

Now if only I could find a way to enjoy cooking as much... because even though I made cheesecakes from scratch tonight... I heated up frozen chicken nuggets and fries for dinner...hmmm

And can I just say that this was my first Cheesecake experiment in a while and it made it so much better to use my beautiful

Kitchenaid Mixer! It made the experience all that much more fun.

Ah therapy...

May 24, 2009

New Phone, Spa Day, IKEA Round 2

So I have luckily been off work since last Wednesday at noon. My mom and I took off a few days to have a "dallas vacation" and just hang out here.

Wednesday we went to lunch and a movie. On Thursday we went shopping and then met my brother, Jeremy, for lunch and then I introduced my mom to Sprinkles Cupcakes!! On Friday, we spent a while at the Sprint store updating our plan. We updated to the data plan so I can now check my email (and use twitter!) all day long from my phone--just what I need, huh?

And I was also lucky enough to get a new phone. mama reed and nick decided to keep their current phones, but I was ready for a new one and so far I am very pleased with my...


Samsung Instinct! It is one of Sprint's newer phones and I really love it. I had thought about getting a blackberry, but this one is definitely more fun!

Then my mom and I spent the afternoon at the spa... getting massages, facials, manicures and pedicures. It was a wonderful afternoon and I really enjoyed it!

Today I got to go to IKEA (2 times in the last week!) with my brother, Nick, to help him get organized! He is living at home and basically my mom told him he needed to clean his room and organize it better or she was going to kick him out (not that she would actually do that...) so he called to see if I would go with him to help him find things and transport them in my car.

So we got him a new bookshelf and organization bins. It's definitely a start... and I could seriously spend all day at IKEA...

Now I am curled up with Allie watching a movie and looking forward to having tomorrow off to continue to rest before starting a crazy week!

Have a Wonderful Memorial Day!

May 17, 2009

IKEA

It has been a wonderful weekend! Friday night my family and I went to Arlington for the Rangers' game. My mom absolutely loves baseball, so we bought tickets for all of us to go as her Mother's Day Present and she really enjoyed it.

Then on Saturday Erin and I headed out to IKEA in Frisco. It was so nice to have the whole afternoon to look through everything and not feel rushed... because it definitely can be an ALL DAY experience!

I went in with the hopes of finding a new coffee table. My coffee table is one of the last pieces of furniture that I inherited... my old Sunday School teacher Lisa had an old one that she gave me and I have been so grateful to have it! But I was ready for something a little sturdier. So I set out to find one of my trip out to IKEA.

And luckily I found one I really liked that wasn't too badly priced. So I got it and then sweet Erin came back to my apartment with me to help me unload it (because there's no way I could carry it up the stairs!) and then assemble it! Then we headed over to her apartment to hang her new picture ledges and get her dining room set up! (For pictures of the assembly process, you can see them at her blog!)

But here are a few pictures of my finished table:


And my favorite part: A shelf where I can hide my remotes and computer and other random things!

May 12, 2009

2 years ago...

2 years ago I graduated from Baylor. I've been thinking about that graduation a lot in the last week, after going to my cousin's graduation and in the process driving through Waco twice (I haven't been in Waco since the fall for Homecoming)

But what I really want to talk about is my car... 2 years ago I also was gifted with a brand new 2008 Mazda Tribute...

Yesterday said new car hit 50,000 miles (which is a bit ridiculous)...

... and is getting a very expensive birthday present since sometime this week I have to replace the Transmission Cooler. Last week my car started driving a little weird (and by a little I mean that occasionally I would be stopped, would put my foot on the gas and my car would not go for a minute and then lunge forward). I was trying to hold off on taking it in until next week because Mama Reed will be off work that week so it would be easier to get in and out. On Sunday I was back in town going to pick up the Allie Monster and I stopped at a red light and my car completely stalled. I had to turn it off and back on to get it to go...I decided it couldn't wait...

So I came home Sunday Night and looked through all of my warranty info (we got an extended warranty, so it was still good even though I drive an insane number of miles). Got up early yesterday to take it in... after 2 hours of waiting the verdict was in. My car is leaking transmission fluid (which just in case you're wondering, isn't good...) and that specific part of my transmission is (surprise surprise) not covered by the warranty...

Sigh--Happy Birthday Mazda Tribute!

May 10, 2009

Graduation Weekend

This weekend I went to San Antonio to watch my cousin, Melissa, graduate from St. Mary's. I took off half a day on Friday and my mom and I drove down. It was a great weekend with my family. I spent most of graduation catching up with my cousin, Michelle (Melissa's sister). Michelle recently got engaged and just found out Friday she was accepted to Pharmacy school, so she's got a lot going on! We spent most of graduation talking about wedding plans and playing games--we did pay attention and cheer when Missy walked across the stage of course ;)

I unfortunately forgot my camera, but am supposed to be getting pics from my Aunt, so I will definitely post those once I have them! But let me leave you with this picture, because someone else had a wonderful weekend with her cousins too...


Allie spent the weekend with her Uncle Jeremy and Aunt Aja and got to play with her cousins, Sadie and Maggie. She got a good progress report, she and Sadie played hard all weekend, and NO ESCAPE ATTEMPTS!!! The only complaint is that she didn't sleep well at night because she didn't know where she was--but she is definitely tired now. She came home, jumped on the bed and hasn't moved in the last hour!

May 6, 2009

Tweet! Tweet!

So I recently joined twitter and I am really liking it! I have more recently learned how to text in new tweets which is so fun to me!! One of my co-workers recently found out that I use twitter so she is constantly asking me if I'm going to "tweet" about... whatever has just happened. Today many of these moments occurred and I did not twitter them, so here they are in a lovely blog...

This morning I arrived to work and the front door was propped open and as soon as I walked in I realized why--it smelled awful. We were having a hard time finding the smell, but my co-worker Rhonda found it was coming from the trash (even though we just took the trash out yesterday when it was smelling bad). And proceeded to run out the door with the trash and my supervisor running after her with a can of Lysol... and when my supervisor came back in the first words out of her mouth were "are you going to twitter about this?"...

Then we went and got Chiloso (yum!) for lunch and while we were eating at our back table, Erin came back to "stretch her eyeballs" and asked if I was going to twitter about that...

I spent the afternoon at a visit with a little boy I hadn't seen in a while and at the end he came to cuddle in my lap while he drank his juice. And when we told him we had to go bye bye he said "uh no" and then ran after us crying. That broke my and Carri's (our speech therapist) hearts as he cried after us... to which I thought Lord Help me when I have kids of my own that I have to leave anywhere with them crying for me...

Now I am off to get some cleaning finished. My mom and I are leaving at noon on Friday to go to San Antonio for my cousin, Melissa's, graduation and I would like to leave my apartment in some kind of order!

May 2, 2009

Imagine...

... North Texas without hunger. Help bridge the gap!

This was the slogan printed on the t-shirts for today's Russ Noland Memorial Golf Tournament that I helped at! This golf tournament was to benefit the Food 4 Kids Program at the North Texas Food Bank. This program provides a backpack of kid-friendly food to at risk kids for the weekends. Basically helping to "bridge the gap" between Friday lunch and Monday breakfast that are served at school.

Our pastor that passed away in August (Russ) was a huge advocate for this program, and he was always big into this golf tournament, so it was only right that this year the golf tournament was in memory of him.

I went to help wherever needed and ended up running all over the place! I started by helping with registration and then went to help judge the putting contest (which was pretty amusing considering I had NO IDEA what the heck I was doing!). Then one of the ladies said a couple of her volunteers didn't show up so she needed help at the 7th hole during the tournament.

So I spent the afternoon at the 7th hole handing out prizes to anyone who made it within the circle around the hole--only 2 guys got prizes but it was fun to see everyone as they came through! And when the rain started, everyone teased me for my pink umbrella! Unfortunately the tournament was cut short because the thunder and lightening and torrential downpours started! So we headed in early for burger and raffle drawings!

It was a fun day and such a great experience--I'm so glad I was able to help out!

April 25, 2009

Lazy Saturday


This Picture pretty much sums up our Saturday...

...well except for the cleaning that I did in the living room and dining room and kitchen... and I organized all my recipes and typed them up on recipe cards... and I went and did laundry...and I went to church tonight...

This picture pretty much sums up Allie's Saturday!

Hope yours was wonderful and relaxing too!

April 18, 2009

In the Mood for Change

Do you ever just get in the mood to change things up? Today I did some much needed cleaning around my apartment. I have been going non-stop for the last few weeks and then have been gone on the weekends so my apartment has been a little neglected.

I spent most of my morning cleaning my kitchen and reorganizing all of my kitchen cabinets! While cleaning out one of the cabinets I found a few things that I needed to find a place to store and when I put them up on top of the cabinets I realized that there was space up there to put things and I suddenly had to have decorations for the top of my cabinets!

I am not very patient when it comes to things like this--when I have an idea like that I can't let it go until it's done. So I started with some things I had around my apartment and was able to find some vases that fit--but I still needed more.

So I headed to Walmart (which gets a little crazy on Saturday afternoons!) and searched for what I wanted. I ended up getting out there for under $20 in about 15 minutes just collecting things that I wanted and I actually am very pleased with how it turned out! Unfortunately there is a light in the middle of my kitchen ceiling, so it is hard to take pictures of the top of the cabinets--but I tried. So here are a few just to give you an idea:















It seems like a pretty insignificant change and something that no one else would probably even notice--but it just made me happy to have even a little change :)

Happy Saturday!