Monday, November 22, 2010

All I Need

Let's catch up! How is your sweet November going??
On some days here in Texas we cuddle up in big sweaters, and on others we sit out on our balconies and work on our tan. The weather throws us for loops, but we've had so many of those perfectly sunny and brisk days that I can't begin to complain!

There have been so many moments of pure joy this fall that I've wanted to just bottle up: I held our friends' newborn baby, had cozy nights on the couch with John, talked for hours with my parents, and spent an entire weekend with my closest girlfriends. Life is so sweet.

But then there are those days where we have to dig a little deeper to realize God's blessings. They test our faith and force us to rely on the notion that we are strong because God is strong. Our Texas weather is a great example of life's unpredictability. No matter what happens, we know that God is there, and there's nothing more comforting than that.

A really great friend of ours unexpectedly lost his dad today and my heart aches for him. We've all been busy writing out our Christmas lists and making sure our family members have our wish lists recorded down to specific colors and sizes. We spend Thanksgiving stuffing ourselves silly and giving little thought, if any, to those who go to bed hungry. John and I served Thanksgiving dinner to community members in need at our church last night, and my heart ached as I watched one elderly man grab leftovers from the nearby tables and carefully wrap them up in a large plastic bag to take home with him.

It's only Monday and already the events of this week have reinforced just how blessed I am at this very moment. God is so good, and I am constantly reminded of His amazing grace.

How have you been blessed today?


Wednesday, October 13, 2010

March 27

Well, I have been anxiously awaiting this day, and now that it's finally here, I can't wait to share the big news with you!!

I signed up this morning to run my first half marathon on March 27! I have about five months now to get over the nervousness of it all and whip my body into shape so that I can make it through this race with flying colors... or just cross the finish line ;). John is running it with me (this will be his second half), so I'm thrilled that we'll get to accomplish this together!

I've never committed to such a physical challenge before and am ready to take it on! I'm going to start running with the West Texas Running Club next week in preparation and am going to keep attending as many yoga classes as possible to strengthen and stretch.

My mom is a marathoner and has undoubtedly been the inspiration behind all of this. She's going to give me lots of tips on training and refueling my body! I'll be so grateful for her guidance along the way!

Have you ever run a half marathon? What advice can you give me?

In other big news, Scout graduated puppy school a few weeks ago and we couldn't be prouder of our little guy! He has conquered "sit", "shake", "high five" and "stay" - a true gentleman!


Monday, September 27, 2010

Monday Highs

Life has gotten a bit hectic again lately and I find myself craving that downtime on the couch...not just on Sunday, but on a Monday night when my energy should be at its peak. You know when you need a vacation from your vacation? That's how I felt today. After a lazy weekend at the lake, life was back in full swing this morning with work projects, laundry, dusting, grocery shopping... and the list goes on. I love that satisfaction of crossing off completed to-do's, but curling up on the couch with a blanket is tops!

Regardless of how exhausted I might feel, it's the busiest of weeks that give me the little nudge I need to stop and smell the roses. The fact that I'm able to stay as busy as I do is a blessing in and of itself, but here are a few other things I'm particular thankful for tonight...

Fall has arrived! By "fall" in Texas, I mean 65 degree mornings with promises of cooler afternoons and changing leaves on the horizon! Those first few mornings of crisp fall air on sunny days are so reinvigorating. I adore them.

My puppy, Scout. My poor pup was neutered today and I realized just how much I miss his company when he isn't around. He's teaching me how to be more selfless, and I appreciate that. Thanks, Scout! ;)

A cozy bed to climb into tonight. Hopping into bed with a candle lit, a cup of hot tea and Beth Moore playing on my iPod is the best way to end the day!

Tomorrow is a travel day - in and out of the big city for a four hour meeting and then home for a few hours of volunteer work.

What are you grateful for on this Monday night?


Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Onward and Upward

Complements of lucysnowephotography via Etsy
Yoga, homemade dinner, QT with John and Scout. How are you spending your Wednesday evening?


"Never mind searching for who you are. Search for the person you aspire to be." - Robert Brault

Thursday, September 9, 2010

The Only Way

"The best way to live this Thursday is to approach it as if it were our last day on Earth. Confess your sins to God while there's time. Seek restoration of broken relationships while you can. Love and serve your King with all your heart, soul, mind and strength (Matthew 22:37). Love us as yourself (v. 39)."

"If you see the end of this day, you'll be glad you lived it for Jesus. If you don't, you'll be grateful forever."
{Excerpt from Jim Dennison's daily devotional "God Issues"}

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Sugar Fix

I got my first real sugar hankering last night since I gave up the poison on Thursday. I reached for the Blue Bell... put it back. Stared at the fridge wondering what might fix this...realized I was craving something creamy and warm...something with banana. So, instead of baking banana muffins or banana cream pie, I made the best banana oatmeal I've ever had, with lots of healthy kicks!

It went a little something like this:

1/2 cup old fashioned oats
1 cup water
1 banana
1 tbsp. ground flax seed
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1 tsp. vanilla
1tbsp. honey
1 tbsp. almond butter
1 tbsp. unsweetened dried cherries
1 cup rice milk (or your milk of choice)

Make the oatmeal as directed on the package, slicing in the banana into the pot while the oatmeal cooks on the stove. The bananas will puff up, giving your oatmeal a creamier texture. Once the oatmeal is done, add in all other ingredients and stir. Top it with milk, and you have yourself a complete meal... and a sweet tooth fix!



Thursday, September 2, 2010

What Will You Do?

Is your mind ever muddled with the "what ifs" in life? I have to be honest, things are going extremely well for John and me this fall. He was offered a job, my job is challenging me in new ways, and we added Scout to our family! And not to mention that we have incredible friends, a supportive family and our health.

In the midst of everything, I get caught up in the "what ifs" of transitioning away from where we are now to a new life in another city here in Texas (when we eventually make that move next summer). What if we don't find friends as good as the ones here? What if we aren't able to spend as much time together? What if we get in over our heads? Life is full of those silly questions, right?

I do truly believe that because of God's amazing love and protection, everything always works out just as it should. I also believe that setting and achieving goals help us renew our strength and focus on the here and now. With that said, it's time to set some goals, folks! Instead of focusing on results (lose weight - hello New Years Resolutions that NEVER come to fruition!), I want these goals to focus on the processes. At the end of the day, I might lose weight or be in better shape, but those things won't be the focus.

So, here we go!

1. Practice yoga 3 days/week now through the end of the year (Why? I feel my best when I devote time to my myself through yoga - it makes me stronger physically and emotionally. I can't explain it, you just have to try it out for yourself!)

2. Run a 10k (Why? I run 3-4 miles now, but for some reason, six miles seems SO much more difficult! I need to prove to myself that my body can go so much further than I think)

3. Learn to sew (Why? This is a talent I've been wanting to learn for a while! One of my best friends has agreed to teach me! Our first project is to make a quilt and donate it to the Children's Advocacy Center)

4. Read the Bible (Why? I'm embarrassed to say that I've never read the Bible front to back, and I know this is a spiritual journey I need to take)

5. No more cheese, no more desserts (Why? I know this resembles a new years resolution, but these are two of my biggest temptations when it comes to food, and this is more of a test of my willpower than anything. Besides, I hate a sugar crash, don't you?)

6. Juice everyday (Following Kris Carr's method of reducing one bad thing and increasing one good thing, I want to add a fresh glass of homemade juice to my diet everday. I don't use my juicer often enough, but I do know that I always feel so much better when I start my day with a green juice (if you're new to juicing and want to do this with me, start with a combination of apple and carrot - so yummy. If you want to try something bold, add kale, parsley and beets to that - seriously, so good!)

In an effort to not overwhelm myself, I'm sticking to this short list! I'll keep you updated on my progress! :)

What are some of your goals? How will you stick to them?


Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Puppy Kisses

Happy Tuesday!!


Sunday, August 29, 2010

The Whole Truth

I traveled to Virginia and back last week to give a client presentation....Getting to Virginia from West Texas is not easy folks, and on top of that, my nerves were high. Although I worked in the air, thanks to gogo in-flight on American, I disconnected for a few hours to read magazines, my favorite being Whole Living (previously Body + Soul). I adore this magazine because it inspires me to live a healthy life (more on that inspiration in another post).

Anyway, I came across an interview that posed some really great questions. I started pondering over the answers I would give, and am just coming back to the article on this Sunday night.

So, here's the Q&A from my point of view (to give Whole Living credit here, check out the September 2010 issue - love!!).

Q: If I could say one thing to myself 20 years go...
A: Without revealing my age, I was pretty little 20 years ago and may have looked something like this:

Only with longer hair and even more spunk! I would tell myself to take those naps!

Q: My favorite place in the world...
A: Everything feels right in the world when I'm at home with John, cuddling on the couch, sipping on red wine and watching a movie. Nothing beats that..

Q: The lesson I keep learning over and over...
A: Things always work out just as they should... don't fret!

Q: The movie I watch when I want to laugh...
A: Dumb and Dumber

Q: Unhealthiest thing I've ever passed off as dinner...
A: Cheese and wine

Q: Personal philosophy...
A: Give people the benefit of the doubt, have sympathy and remember that you are never alone.

Q: What keeps me up at night...
A: Life's endless possibilities. My dad told me once with utmost sincerity that I could do anything I wanted... no dream is out of reach. I believe him 100% - no matter what, you make the decisions that shape your life.

Q: Book that changed my life...
A: I think there are some books, including the Bible, that are in the process of changing my life. The philosophy in Eat, Pray, Love also helped me think outside the box a few years ago.

Q: I unwind by...
A: Practicing yoga. Although it has fallen off my schedule the past few months, there is no better way for me to really release the stress than by letting it go on the mat. Even when I can't make a class, I'll shift into downward dog for a few minutes and just shake it out!

Q: I feel healthy when I...
A: Make my own juice at home - carrot, apple and beet is my favorite combination.

Q: I define "downtime" as...
A: Having a glass of wine without my phone or laptop in sight.

Q: Coffee or tea?
A: Decaf coffee after a big dinner, hot tea in the morning and before bed.

Q: Guiltiest pleasure...
A: Cheese! I also happen to love reality tv, which I understand to be a complete waste of time!

Q: The last time I lost my temper was...
Yesterday :(. Scout had an accident on the couch and I lost it.

Q: I'm currently reading...
A: Eat, Pray, Love for the second time

Q: Whole living means...
A: Feeling complete in the moment. Going to bed at night feeling good about your day's efforts, feeling loved and letting others know how much you care.

Q: Home means...
A: Love. Where my favorite people, where I'm surrounded by my comforts, where we spend late nights talking over wine with our friends.

Q: Prized possession...
A: Love letters from John over the years. Although we faced many ups and downs over 10 years of dating, those letters remind me just how far we've come.

Q: Exercise routine...
A: A combination of running, yoga, walking/running Scout and the 30 Day Shred (Thanks Jillian Michaels!)

Q: Proudest moment in my career...
A: In retrospect, the entire year I spent working in Chicago. It was challenging in so many different ways, and I'm proud of myself for pulling through those days successfully.

Q: My mom was right about...
A: Cleaning the house before leaving for vacation. Who wants to be welcomed home by dirty clothes, dusty furniture and unmade beds? Not me!

Q: My mom was wrong about...
A: Not giving people a second chance. There are so many instances where I'm glad I gave people the opportunity to redeem themselves. 

Q: My dad always told me...
A: People brag because they're insecure.

What is your favorite place in the world? What keeps you up at night? I want to hear from you!


Thursday, August 12, 2010


Is there ever a better moment to thank God than now?

Whether you're sitting in sunshine or in rain, alone at home or surrounded by loved ones, thank the Lord for the blessings of this life. God has so many plans for you, and today is one of them.


Sunday, August 8, 2010

All That Glitters

NYC... so inspired by...

The bird's eye view... looking down on the bustling city from far above and feeling like anything is possible...

Friends who call this city home and navigate the busy sidewalks to and from work everyday...

Grand Central Station, where paths cross...

Lady Lib, who is a glimmer of hope and reminds us to be proud that we're American...

Ellis Island... the first ceilings my great grandfather saw as he docked on the island after a long trip from Denmark at the age of 20, anxious to navigate his new life in America all on his own...

The breathtaking view of lower Manhatten from the Brooklyn Bridge...

Sights of Paris at home...

Calm in the midst of the chaos...

The overwhelming beauty of the MET and the art it houses...

More to come...


Wednesday, August 4, 2010


Life with this guy is easy.

Two amazing years (and two days) under our belts. Life is so, so good!


Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Pull Up A Chair

Let's talk food. The scrumptious, buttery variety that forces you to undo that top button, curse your skinny jeans and live (without complaint) in your yoga pants...

I live, love, breathe (and sometimes beg) for delicious food. When I have free time in my day, I tune into the Food Network, read cookbooks, research restaurants in my favorite cities and email people at Le Cordon Bleu to find out how I might become a student.. I'm serious.

So, it should be no surprise that on this typical Tuesday here in West Texas I made chicken pot pie with homemade biscuits. Nevermind that it's 95 degrees outside and no time of year for anyone in their right mind to be making chicken pot pie or be using an oven, for that matter. But here I stood over a hot stove, a perfect rue forming and biscuit dough thickening. I love food (did I already tell you that?) but the real reason I labored over a hot stove was because next week John and I celebrate 2 years of marriage and I remember him saying once that he really likes chicken pot pie... and so pot pie it was. On the big day we'll be in New York City. I'll swoon over a lovely dinner from the gourmet kitchen at Pastis and not think twice about my 2x4 kitchen at home. But tonight, just for tonight, I wanted to whip him up something special... something with homemade biscuits. They weren't just your typical biscuits, though, they were heart biscuits...

I just realized how unappealing this picture actually looks, but trust me, it was delicious! If it didn't come straight out of Ina Garten's Barefoot Contessa Family Style cookbook, I would totally share the recipe. But, I will say if you have 2 1/2 sticks of butter in your fridge, you're on the right track ;).

I'll report back after our trip with lots of photos of our adventures!!


Thursday, July 22, 2010

Make a mental note

Just because you can do anything does not mean you can do everything.


Monday, July 12, 2010


Meet Scout: golden retriever, heart stealer and first addition to the Ellis family!

John and I approached this situation with level heads - the goal was to see the puppy yesterday evening and then sleep on it to prevent making an emotional decision. But when I held this little guy in all his fluffiness, I HAD to have him. I've always been an emotional and impulsive decision maker and this instance was no different. Just look at him.... I think it served me well this time :).

I'm working today while Scout is exploring the ranch with John. I just received a report that they took a trip in the Kubota, swam in the tank and napped in the hammock! I feel like a bad mamma for missing all of his first adventures. Lots and lots of cuddle time tonight to make up for it!

Do you have a dog? What are your best tips for raising a puppy?? This is my plea for help... don't ignore it!

Adding puppy chow and chew toys - LOTS of chew toys - to the grocery list. 


Friday, July 9, 2010

Top Ten

Either you're madly in love with someone and know where I'm coming from on this post OR you think this is totally disgusting and will never return to my blog. I'm sorry to the latter group - you will be missed - but this is necessary.

My heart is overflowing with love for my amazing husband this morning, so I'm writing, because writing is what I do when I'm excited and passionate about something. Stop reading here if you feel your breakfast coming up...

I could write a little novel right now about my relationship with John but will refrain since that would severely cut into the relaxing summer I hope to have from here on out, and not to mention my lunch break that I'm taking in 15 minutes.

So, I'm going to keep this short and sweet with a bulleted "I love you because" list. Here goes....

I Love You

1. You're persistent. You work harder than anyone I know and never take the easy way out.

2. You show me everyday what it means to truly love the Lord and let His strength be your own.

3. You tell me I'm beautiful first thing in the morning, when the crusties are still in my eyes and my hair is disheveled.

4. You're slow to anger and quick to forgive.

5. You remind me that all of my wildest dreams are possible.

6. You are the handiest of handy men.... the fact that you can fix my car with your right hand while building a wine rack with your left (ok, I kid... kind of), makes me feel like the luckiest lady on earth!

7. You make sure people around you feel valued.

8. You'll fall asleep to Mary Poppins on a rainy night with me.

9. You cook a mean chicken breast and eat the ones I destroy :)

10. You are an amazing husband who I know will be a wonderful dad someday!

You are the best!! xoxo

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Boy Scouts and Glow Bracelets

My July 4th weekend has, thus far, been filled with yummy food, good conversations and LOTS of relaxing.... as in, John and I have spent 12 hours on the couch watching Mad Men - believe me, I counted.

We haven't had a weekend like this in months, so instead of feeling antsy like I usually would on a sunny Sunday, I'm perfectly fine basking in the air conditioning on a cozy couch with a blanket. In this day and age, it's a luxury, really.

Because of the lack of activity around here, I don't have much to share today. Here's a little bit of what's been going on in the life of Mrs. Ellis. This summer has been crazy, fun, exciting, exhausting and challenging all at once... and that's what has made it so wonderful. We are blessed!

(P.S. My last name used to be Talley and, clearly, we're very amusing ;))

Just a little lunch with my high school sweetheart ;)

A real superhero, AKA my nephew Preston, dropped in to save the day :)

On top of the world



Sunday afternoon visit to the.... wait for it.... National Boy Scout Museum. Yes, I love my Eagle Scout that much. xo

Shuttle bus, Franzia, and glow bracelets may or may not have been involved...

Happy July 4th to you!

Monday, June 28, 2010


I woke up at 5:45 this morning with great intentions. You see, I ran four miles straight last night.... no walking... no cursing... no water chugging. I just ran and ran and it felt amazing! Now, I have friends (and a husband) who can hop up on the laziest of Sundays and run six miles without even breaking a sweat, but I'm more of a three mile kind of girl. When the treadmill reads 3.0, I stop - that's it. What I realized last night, though, is that your body can go SO much further, if your mind will just allow it to. All of a sudden 3 miles turns into 3.5 and 3.5 into 4... you get my drift.

However, this morning my mind was so involved in the crazy dream I was having that I automatically hit snooze time and time again until all of a sudden my 5:45 wake-up call to hit the gym was 7:30. I have a very, very kind husband who lets me get away with this behavior. Needless to say, I had to be a responsible adult, skip the gym and haul my tail to work.

And now, it's five in the afternoon and I'm tired, I'm hungry, and I just want to find a couch. Yes, I'll be back on the treadmill bright and early tomorrow morning (you can hold me accountable!), but for tonight, I just want to listen to classical music on the rainy drive home, change into my lazy gear and eat some carbs....


Thursday, June 24, 2010


In the midst of it all, He's there.


Monday, June 21, 2010

Summer Love

Today is the first day of summer - what are you doing to enjoy it?

Another favorite of mine for your Monday....

I don't mind if you've got something nice to say about me
And I enjoy an accolade like the rest
You could take my picture and hang it in a gallery
Of all who's who and so-n-so's that used to be the best
At such'n' wouldn't matter much

I won't lie, it feels alright to see your name in lights
We all need an 'Atta boy' or 'Atta girl'
But in the end I'd like to hang my hat on more besides
The temporary trappings of this world

I want to leave a legacy
How will they remember me?
Did I choose to love? Did I point to you enough
To make a mark on things?
I want to leave an offering
A child of mercy and grace who
blessed your name unapologetically
And leave that kind of legacy

I don't have to look too far or too long awhile
To make a lengthly list of all that I enjoy
It's an accumulating trinket and treasure pile
Where moth and rust, thieves and such will soon enough destroy

Not well traveled, not well read, not well-to-do or well bred
Just want to hear instead "Well done" good and faithful one...


Friday, June 11, 2010


Give the world the best you have, and the best will come back to you.


Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Office Space

Listen up, I work from home by myself…with nobody to talk to… no reason to make myself look presentable in the morning…no lunching with co-workers or gabbing over a snack break…sounds appealing, huh? It’s hard, so hard that when I was given the opportunity to work in an actual office for the two months that we’re in Dallas this summer, I jumped with glee! You would be surprised what a few years of 8-5 isolation can do to a woman…

I’ve been in the office for two weeks now and it has been amazing!! I find myself enjoying the smallest, and usually aggravating, things that my co-workers ignore or drown out with iPods. People chatting, the girl next to me smacking on her cheetos (oh wait, that’s me), keyboards clicking….glorious evidence that there is life around me! See, I told you that isolation thing made me a little cooky…

Anyhow, aside from the obvious of seeing my co-workers everyday again, these are some of the reasons I especially enjoy being back in the office…

Meetings – Let me tell you, to actually be able to see who is talking on the other end of the phone is such a beautiful thing. No more straining to hear what’s being said by someone on the other side of the room… no more wondering what kind of reactions I’m getting from people when I’m talking…

Snack room – You know I love food, so you should have seen this coming :). We have one of the best snack rooms I have ever seen… EVER. It’s full of deliciousness and I avoid it like the plague until…

I grab the Cheetos – Now let me just say that they are the baked variety, and yes, I do recognize that there’s absolutely no ounce of nutrition in them, but they are so, so good… my guilty pleasure… an addiction I unsuccessfully attempt to kick to the curb every single day. I love my baked Cheetos and we have an abundance of them in that devilish snack room, and I’m pretty sure I’m the only one who eats them…

Big city ambiance – Windows border our office walls and the views are spectacular. West Texas is beautiful, but a city skyline is stunning to me..

A desk – While sitting on a couch every day sounds lovely, sitting at an actual work desk is far more appealing. I feel so much more professional and focused. Maybe it’s a cubicle and maybe nasty fluorescent lighting hovers from above, but still, I love it…

Music – The speakers in our bathroom boldly play the likes of Lady GaGa and Jay-Z. It always catches me off guard, but then I find myself dancing a little jig as I wash my hands and realize that it puts a smile on my face every time :)

For all of you who work in an office, bask in that fluorescent lighting and decorate those fabulous cubicle walls ;). Seriously, you are lucky… trust me!


Thursday, June 3, 2010

Making Lemonade

I know I said this recently, but my life has been completely wonky lately... not in a bad way, just all over the place - fun, exciting, fresh.. but wonky. I've been absent, I have, and I'm fully aware that I'm not going to win any kind of 2010 blogger award, but please bear with me!!

I've been celebrating marriages...

seeing my teddy bear of a brother-in-law off to Germany...

taking advantage of every spare moment I have with my husband...

lunching with friends...

and emailing and texting like crazy with those I left behind in West Texas for the summer...

City life is fabulous, but I do miss the slower pace of West Texas where there's no such thing as traffic and toll roads. I've been yelled at for driving too slow, have become far too dependent on my iPhone and am never, ever quite sure where I'm going exactly. Bottom line, it makes for an exhausting day, and it's all I can do to turn myself into a downward facing dog and call it a night... sigh.

I'll be back soon, I promise! Lots of prayers for you in the meantime!

Monday, May 31, 2010

For Our Troops

Happy Memorial Day!

Monday, May 24, 2010

His Will Be Done

As I was driving home from yoga on Saturday morning, I came across a horrible car accident on a street that has a speed limit of 40mph. It was tragic, and of course I'll spare you the details, but it really got me thinking. Yes, of course, there were the instant reminders to drive slowly and carefully, but more than anything, it was a reminder to enjoy every moment of the day ahead with my family. My heart was aching for the people in that car, for family members who received a call about the accident and for anyone else who actually witnessed the incident. My eyes unexpectedly welled up with tears in church the next day and I knew it was the weight of that accident finally lifting from my heart.

I don't mean to be such a downer, especially on a Monday, so let me turn this into a positive. The entire rest of my weekend was spent just living in the moment with my family. We enjoyed a local festival, talked about life, took pictures together and basked in the summer heat. I had a heightened sense of all the blessings in my life that day because of that accident. Of course, I wished at the moment that I had never seen it or that it hadn't happened all together, for that matter, but it's just another case in point that God uses even the terrible things in this world for good.

Lesson of the day - live enthusiastically, pray loudly, speak wisely and drive carefully... please!


Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Sense and Sensibility

To live content with small means;
to seek elegance rather than luxury,
and refinement rather than fashion;
to be worthy, not rich; to study hard, think
quietly, talk gently, act
listen to stars and buds, to babes and
sages, with open heart; await occasions,
hurry never...this is my symphony.
-William Henry Channing


Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Where Am I?

Hello from Dallas, TX! :)

John and I are in the Big D for a two month stint while he's clerking at a law firm this summer. My sister-in-law and her husband have graciously allowed us to move in for the time being... we are blessed, what can I say!

I may have shed a little tear as we loaded up and left our cozy home behind in West Texas, but all those "I hope our things stay safe" and "We won't sleep in our bed for two months" comments quickly turned into "I get to shop at Northpark Mall next week!" and "John, I signed up for classes at a yoga studio in Dallas!" and "Have you heard of Javier's?? We have to go there!"

Now listen, guys, I grew up in a small town where we had two acceptable clothing stores, four sit down restaurants and a huge Wal-Mart that dominated the town. I'm a small town girl at heart, so you better believe I still get excited about big shopping malls, fancy restaurants and gyms galore. Yes, I've lived in Dallas before, but being back sparks all that excitement that I had when we moved here the first time around.

The summer that I studied abroad in Paris was magical in so many ways, but I also spent a lot of time missing home and wishing I was back in Texas where the sun was hot and Tex-Mex food was readily accessible. I know it sounds ludicrous, but no matter how much wiser we grow, we always miss the comforts of home when we aren't there... even if we are in a place as wonderful as Paris.

My goal this summer is to soak up every ounce of this time spent with our friends and family here in Dallas and get re-aquainted with the city, hopefully discovering it in ways I never have before.

No matter where you are today, take some time to just appreciate your surroundings. You are blessed!


Thursday, May 13, 2010

One Love

"Only one life, 'twill soon be past, Only what's done for Christ will last."


Monday, May 10, 2010

Words From The Wise

Oh my goodness guys, I have turned into an old woman overnight...

Maybe it's the turning 26 thing, maybe it's the marriage thing, maybe it's the living in West Texas thing... whatever it is, I have suddenly started relating to the grandmothers of this world better than I'm relating to recent college grads...

Take a peek into my life and let me know if you agree...

- I joined a cooking group - don't get me wrong, these girls are fabulous, I adore cooking and the concept is genius, but we all know the average 26 year-old in this country isn't strapping on pearls and an apron at the end of a workday...

- I do a little dance when my Southern Living magazine shows up each month

- I'm playing bunko tonight....yes, bunko. Again, these girls are just as beautiful and fun as the ones in my cooking group and I know I'll have a fabulous time, but in my mind, bunko = grandmothers. Anyone?

- "Getting crazy" consists of several glasses of wine with my best friend and passing out before the clock strikes 11

- I'm waking up earlier than usual. I know the highly successful people of this world aren't sleeping until 10am every morning, but rising before the sun does means I'm taking advantage of all the hours in my day, which is something that old people do, no?

- One of my best friends is teaching me to sew.... this might be the ultimate reason I'm feeling more at home with the Baby Boomers

Let me preface the below images by telling you that I am seriously one happy lady. Maybe I play bunko, cook with other people and covet my friend's sewing machine, but let me be honest, I am still immature, terrified of parenting someday, enjoy Jay-Z and watch ABC Family from time to time. I'm still young at heart and haven't quite (*QUITE) lost my zest.

But sometimes, you just feel like this...

I know you won't judge me... :)


Monday, May 3, 2010

By Our Love

Woke up with this song in my head and had to share...

Brothers, let us come together
Walking in the Spirit, there's much to be done...
We will come reaching, out from our comforts
And they will know us by our love...

Sisters, we were made for kindness
We can pierce the darkness as He shines through us...
We will come reaching, with a song of healing...
And they will know us by our love!

The time is now
Come church arise...
Love with His hands
See with His eyes...
Bind it around you,
Never let it leave you,
And they will know us by our love...

Children, you are hope for justice,
Stand firm in the Truth now, set your hearts above
You will be reaching, long after we're gone,
And they will know you by your love!


Sunday, May 2, 2010

Sunday Nights

I wish I could say that Sunday nights are relaxing around here, but they just aren't. Regardless of how much I try to soak up the last few weekend hours, Sunday nights are typically filled with many a sighs as I check (and dwell over) my work email and calendar. When you have ten meetings on your calendar and a 4am wakeup call to catch another flight (and likely be searched by airport security, yet again, at that ungodly hour), it's hard to stay postive...
But, let me be honest, I have SO MANY fun things to look forward to this week, and I'm sure you do, too! If I can plan something that I enjoy for each day of the week, it makes those meetings and early mornings much more bearable. Let me break it down for you:

MONDAY: 6am yoga (this might not sound like fun, but it's truly amazing and kicks my rear into shape:))
TUESDAY: 6am yoga, pizza and movie night with my Bible study girls!!
WEDNESDAY: Fingers crossed that I'll get to walk with my friend Amanda and her precious baby boy!
THURSDAY: Work trip to Austin - if the weather is nice, I WILL be found lunching on a local patio :)
FRIDAY: Wedding rehearsal din din for my friend Katherine in Houston, AND on top of that, I get to see my dear friend Hillary -- we've been best buds since we were 3 - see, I told you...

(That's me...screaming at the photographer...probably demanding more blush...)

SATURDAY: Wedding (interpreted - love, champagne and wedding cake.. enough said), QT with my other best friend, Sarah
SUNDAY: Back home to John (!!) and then Sunday night, of course, I'll make this list all over again for the week ahead :)

I almost fogot to tell you - my goal (if you can call it that) for the next year is to get out of bed by 6am every weekday for an entire year! I started it on Friday and it was such a productive morning! I made banana bread, had a cup of coffee, started laundry, spent some time in prayer, ran three miles and showered all before work started at 8:30. Suprisingly enough, I felt better all day than I do when I sleep in. Plus, the gratification I feel in being productive while the rest of the world  is sleeping (ok, I know there are plenty of people movin' and shakin' at 6am, but I like to believe I'm the only one up ;)) is a beautiful thing!

Have an amazing Monday... I'm praying for you!


Wednesday, April 28, 2010

I Learn As I Go

I couldn't feel more blessed than I do on my birthday. An adorable friend left a gift for me outside our front door this morning, and I got to chat with my sister and best friend, Sarah. With all this love overflowing, my dad and mom's card then proceeded to make me cry! Don't you just love tears of joy? Even though my happy cries can be dramatic ugly cries, I still love them so! So many amazing notes from my dear friends and family members - how is a girl not to feel lucky with all that love?!

And then on the note of getting older, my sister (she's 30 mind you) jokingly reminded me this morning that I'm now in my upper 20s - seriously? I feel like I just celebrated my 21st birthday yesterday! Where has the time gone? Honestly though, I'm proud of where I am today. I've come a long way since I was 21 but also recognize that I still have a LONG way to go. God keeps working on me each and everyday... some days I feel I've made progress and other days I feel like I've taken a step back. Either way, I've learned so much about myself in the past six years. Maybe most people go through a journey of self-discovery earlier in life, but I'm still searching, hoping that I'll one day be able to look around and feel perfect peace that I'm right where I belong.

My dad reminded me this morning that our birthdays are a time of celebration and reflection, not only on the past year, but of all the years that have led us to where we are now. Let's take a look back, shall we?

I studied abroad in Paris the summer after I turned 20. John was studying abroad in Cambridge at the same time, and I was lucky enough to spend this weekend with him in Paris - a romantic dinner this night was topped off with a long conversation in front of the twinkling Eiffel Tower. It was the most perfect night of my life.. until he proposed three years later :).

I celebrated my 21st birthday with all my amazing friends. My best girls drove in from other cities to celebrate with me - that's love!

I graduated from UT - such a bittersweet moment - hard to leave all my amazing friends but also excited to start a new chapter.

I visited Chicago with my family when I was a little girl and I told me parents then that I wanted to live there someday. It happened! I moved there the summer after my 23rd birthday with the challenges to excel in a new job, make new friends, and learn my way around the city. Although there were a lot of tears that year, I am so grateful that I had the courage to make that move. I learned SO much about myself that year!!

After nine... NINE years of dating, we finally got married! The most special day of our lives, no doubt. So blessed to have shared it with so many of our amazing friends and family members.

And then it all came full circle and we moved back to Texas. If I've learned anything over the past few years, it's that life is so completely unpredictable. Never in a million years did I think I would be living in West Texas and LOVING it here!

And this one is just for fun :). One of my best childhood friends, Airiel, and me in our dance costumes. Childhood friends are the best - we played with dolls together, slyly passed each other notes in 6th grade, used each other's makeup, borrowed each other's clothes, cheered together and cried together. My childhood friends are still some of my best - they just know me better than anyone else, and I find so much comfort in that.  

In man's realm, time diminishes beauty. In God's realm where we will spend forever, time perfects beauty.