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.


Monday, April 26, 2010

Every Morning

The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases, his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning...


Friday, April 23, 2010

Taking a Little Vacation

I'm a little giddy this morning because my husband gave me permission (he keeps me on a tight leash ;)) to plan our summer vacations! I often Google luxury hotels and restaurants in glamorous cities, close my eyes and pretend I'm there instead of sitting in this sand box that is West Texas. Even after living in downtown Chicago for a year and having this view from my cozy apartment, I still crave the bright lights and hustle and bustle of a big city.

John and I have been fortunate enough to eat lots of amazing meals together in major cities including L.A., Paris, Washington D.C., London, Chicago, San Francisco, and yes, Dallas. Food is one thing I don't like to skimp on, so you can be sure that our vacations will include lots of good eats!

You might have noticed from the list of cities above that we haven't done NYC together - we've visited separately, but never together. It's on our agenda for the summer, no doubt.

While tickling our fancies but bringing us back down to earth, I'm also planning a separate road trip through the deep south - think New Orleans, Atlanta (to visit family), Savannah and Charleston. Southern hospitality, pounds of butter and charming bed and breakfasts just can't be beat! ;)

So here's my question: Do you have any hotel and restaurant recommendations in any of these locations? I'm looking for charming, romantic and affordable hotels and restaurants that will give us a real taste of each city.

Is there anything better than planning a vacation??


Thursday, April 22, 2010

Spring Has Sprung

If God brings you to it, He will bring you through it.
Happy moments, praise God.
Difficult moments, seek God.
Quiet moments, worship God.
Painful moments, trust God.
Every moment, thank God.

Lots of praising, seeking, and thanking going on around here today! Do you turn to God in the difficult moments? Better yet, do you sing His praises in moments of joy? I know I'm quick to let John know about my frustration or excitement before I talk to God. Maybe if I turned to the Lord first, I would allow John more of those quiet moments to worship :).

Spring in Texas... bluebonnet fields, long talks on the patio, Sunday afternoon naps with the windows open...if you're in the Lone Star State right now, you know what I'm talking about. Glorious!

I hope your week has been filled with joy!


Monday, April 19, 2010

When Nothing Else Will Do

I started drinking afternoon coffee with my parents when I was home in college and even now, having a cup takes me back to their living room... lounging on their plush couch, sipping coffee, eating dessert and analyzing life (and trust me, we analyze... my dad's a therapist :)).

(Say hi to my mom and dad - aren't they cute?? :))

Although I adore the smell and taste, I went on a coffee hiatus, trading it out for green and herbal teas in hopes that I could maintain a high enough energy level without it.

Most days I'm reasonably functional without the caffeine. I find that drinking lots of water, eating well and exercising help me stay alert. But today, folks, that wasn't cutting it. I was up at 5:15 this morning for 6am yoga (that absolutely kicked my rear, by the way) and I literally just never woke up! You would think that after dozens of chatarungas, arm balances and squats, I would have come home alert, but I walked back in the door the same way I left - sleepy eyed and slightly irritated that I was up so early. Don't get me wrong, I love, love, love my morning yoga classes, but today I just needed a cup of jo.... know what I mean?

At 3:30 I hit a wall and ventured out to Starbucks for a grande vanilla latte. It. was. amazing!! Hate to say it, but if addiction is possible after one cup, I believe I'm there.

John - please add an extra cup to your five tomorrow morning. I'll be grateful, and nicer, and prettier (??), and more likely to make you breakfast... ;)


P.S. I know ranting about coffee probably doesn't leave you feeling very blessed or inspired (except to maybe stop by Starbucks on your way home), so here's a little video to fuel your soul.

Friday, April 16, 2010

I Love You

Two flights, one hotel, six meetings, three trips to Whole Foods, one raw food restaurant and an upset tummy later, I'm finally home... right where I belong :). There's a big part of me that loves work travel... people watching in airports, exploring new cities, feeling independent. But when the chatty security guard decides to search my suitcase and take a sample of whatever might be on the palm of my hand at 5am, the trip is simply exhausting before it has even begun!

So, what does a girl do when she's exhausted, wet from the torrential rain, and has an upset tummy? She throws a fit, that's what! Despite my husband's incredibly sweet gestures when I got home yesterday evening (think red wine, dark chocolate and a love note), I pouted about my week, may or may not have kicked my legs in frustration a few times and ultimately whined (not wined, as he would have preferred ;)) myself to sleep.

That, my friends, is what a lack of appreciation looks like. Despite all the good things going on in my life last night, I was so focused on all the aggravating things that had gone wrong - what a waste, right?

Anyway, John, if you're reading this, I LOVE YOU and truly appreciate all you do for me! The best part about work trips is that I always get to come back home to you.

For each new morning with its light,
For rest and shelter of the night,
For health and food, for love and friends,
For everything Thy goodness sends.
-Ralph Waldo Emerson


Monday, April 12, 2010

Rain or Shine

I'm feeling especially chipper on this dreary Monday morning. Maybe it's because of this sweet little excerpt from Jim Denison's God Issues email I received today:

A priest met a beggar. "God give you a good day, my friend," he said. The beggar answered, "I thank God I have never had a bad one." The priest said, "God give you a happy life, my friend." "I thank God," said the beggar, "I am never unhappy." The amazed priest asked, "What do you mean?" "Well," said the beggar, "When it is good weather, I thank God, when it rains, I thank God, when I have food, I thank God, when I'm hungry, I thank God. Since God's will is my will, and whatever pleases him pleases me, I am happy always."

The priest looked at the beggar in astonishment. "Who are you?" he asked. "I am a king," said the beggar, "Where is your kingdom?" The beggar answered quietly, "In my heart."

Whether it's rain or shine for you this morning, thank God and be pleased that his will is done.


Thursday, April 8, 2010


As I pulled up to my yoga studio at 6am this morning, the first thing that caught my eye through the studio's windows was a wooded sign that read "Simplify". Let me tell you, that sign was put there just for me...ok, maybe not, but God made sure that I really took that message to heart this morning. Although yoga naturally reminds me to keep things simple by focusing solely on my breath and body while I'm on the mat, some weeks I need it to be spelled out for me: SIMPLIFY.

When life gets a little topsy-turvy, I start focusing on the aspects of my life that I can control. While I do believe that being proactive is crucial in easing stress and boosting confidence, those nagging little details that we want to have a grasp on often put our minds in overdrive.

Instead of trying to control events and surroundings, why not just simplify? For instance, this weekend John and I are attending a wedding that, like almost all weddings, will bring us much joy while simultaneously tugging at our heartstrings. We were sent an agenda of sorts for the weekend that made us feel a little tense. Be at the church at this time, attend this dinner at this time, email this person if you can make it, etc. Having planned a wedding of my own, I know it's a wee bit stressful for everyone involved, whether you want it to be or not!

My thought this morning was that instead of worrying about all the event details - where I have to be, what I have to wear, how I'll feel emotionally throughout the weekend - I'm going to simplify and focus on the bottom line: we'll be there to simply love those around us. That just makes me feel warm inside :).

No matter what is on your weekend agenda, keep it simple and approach everything you do with love and courage.


"God is deeply attentive to our most secret hurts, concerns, and hopes." Beth Moore

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Give Thanks

I don't know about you, but I certainly don't let my friends and family know just how much I appreciate them everyday. It just takes a simple "thank you"...

Thank you for sharing your wisdom
Thank you for having faith in me
Thank you for letting me vent (phew! God knows I need to do that ;))
Thank you for being such a good role model

These are just a few of the "thank yous" I didn't share this week and should have. No doubt, we all have special people in our lives that help shape who we are. Some of them know they inspire us and refuel our souls when we need it most, and others have no idea of the impact they have. My goal this Easter Sunday is to take a few moments to let the people in my life know just how grateful I am for their constant love and support.

Whether it's snail mail (my favorite!), an email, a BIG hug or a prayer, take a few moments this week to count your blessings and thank the source! Maybe your small act of appreciation will inspire others to spread the message.

Give thanks to the LORD, for he is good; his love endures forever.


Thursday, April 1, 2010

All God's Creatures


Mercy unto you, and peace, and love, be multiplied.
Jude 2