Gobble Gobble!

11.27.2010

Let me start out by saying that I absolutely LOVE Thanksgiving. There is just so much to love about it:
  • food,
  • family, 
  • friends, {apparently a lot of 'f' things}
  • and we're at the cusp of entering the BEST, most wonderful time of year...CHRISTMAS!
But I entered this Thanksgiving with a different view. A better one. I took the time {and the pictures} to recognize what matters.  Not looking so forward to Christmas that I missed what Thanksgiving is all about. It is just as its name says--a time to give thanks. And that's what I did. I thanked my family; my friends; my God. I am beyond blessed...

So on to the recap! Hubby and I {and our 4-legged children} hit the road Wednesday evening to arrive at my brother's house for an amazing dinner with his wife and our great grandfather.

{Sidenote--my brother is a freak. Seriously. The guy made homemade croutons, tortillas, whipped cream and yeast rolls...just while we were there! I swear the whole "good cook" gene completely skipped over me}

Thursday morning, Jessica {sister-in-law}, hubby and myself got up to go to the Turkey Strut 5K. Andrew didn't run in it--he was our personal photographer and moral supporter. But it was so fun and there were a ton of people! I had no clue that many people wanted to run 3.1 miles on turkey day, but they sure did. It was super chilly and halfway through, it started raining! Winter is trying so hard to make its way to the south...I'm rooting for it!
we're ready to go!

tired but so happy at this point
my biggest supporter in every area of my life!

Afterward, we headed back to my brother's house to get ready to undo all of the calorie burning we had just participated in. There were still a few minor details that had to be finished up, but because of that, I got to use a KitchenAid Stand Mixer for the first time. I know, it's sad, but true. I was converted though! I loved it. So for anyone that is interested in spending $200 on me anytime soon, this is what I want! 

As I said before, the whole cooking gene skipped right on over me, and because of such, I tried to steer clear of the hustle and bustle of the kitchen other than using the above amazingness. But I was able to distract my brother long enough to get a picture with him and our great-grandpa.
such handsome men!
I showed Papa Lacy the picture and informed him that he was one good looking man and his response was "Not bad for all the mileage I suppose". I told him that he was good looking no matter what! As the food started making it's way to the table, I decided it looked too incredible NOT to get a a picture...or a dozen


Just looking at those pictures make my mouth water! It was a certifiable feast! I managed to just have one helping of most things, but some things just demand 2 servings. After lunch pretty much everyone went to nap except me and my brother. He had to make chicken enchiladas for their next Thanksgiving feast, so with me being the best little sister ever, stayed up and helped him out. It was fun, but a little tedious. This is where the homemade tortillas come into the picture and my job was to roll the flour, smash it {seriously} and after they cooked, stuff them with the filling. Once that was done, it was time for them to hit the road with my great grandpa and for us to make a few more stops as well. We stopped by my parents again to hang out for a few minutes and then headed to the Meadow's! I hadn't seen Brittany {or the rest of them} in far too long and it was so great!

Friday morning, Jessica & I got up and went to Target and the mall. Neither one was really THAT bad, but we also did not go at 4 am. That's just crazy. But I was able to get the rest of my Christmas shopping done done for the most part and got some things for me to wear at my new job! So all in all, it was a very successful shopping trip. We headed home after that and just relaxed for the rest of the evening on Friday.

It was a great Thanksgiving and now I can't wait to start transforming our house into a Christmas village! I always love December, and I know that this year will be no different!

Hope you all had a great Thanksgiving!

Truly I Say to You

11.24.2010

{I know I'm a couple of days early with the new layout...but I can't help it!}

I've really been praying that the Lord helps me in focusing on what is really important this time of year. Traditions are great and I am all for them, but that isn't what makes Christmas. Christmas is a time to bless others and to recognize even more how very blessed we are. The older I get, Christmas changes. Not in a bad way; but now I'm not counting down the days and hours for Santa. Now I'm looking for ways to glorify the Lord. Whether that is helping a family have gifts for Christmas that they may not otherwise have or if it's just spending more quality time with friends and family. Because at the end of the day {and year}that is what matters. The relationships. God has given us a small window of time on this earth and I'm learning more and more how small that window can be. So while I'm here on the other side of it, I'm going to live it the best way that I can.

Death is not our enemy; a wasted life is our enemy.- Louie Giglio



I signed up for Max Lucado's Christmas devotionals this year, and this is what he suggested in Day 3:

One of the best ways you can prepare yourself for a great Christmas is to listen for God's voice. What might he want to say to you as December 25 draws near?

Life gets busy. Especially this time of year. But regardless, find that time, that space, that quiet to just sit and listen. God wants us to be excited for Christmas--but not because of Santa or presents. He wants us to find joy, excitement AND peace because of Him and the gift that He gave us all those years ago. 

So this Christmas, don't only take time to watch Charlie Brown Christmas and The Grinch. Take time to listen for God. To bless someone. To desire family and friends.

It's not the bows and lights that make this a magical time of year.

A New Chapter!

11.23.2010

So as you may remember from this post, I was a little worried about my job situation once the project I'm currently working on ended.

Well not anymore!

Starting December 6th, I will be an employee at the international law offices of K&L Gates!

I am so excited! I think that this will be a great opportunity and I'm going to learn so much. My official title is Business Development Assistant and the BD department is focused mainly on marketing and events {right up my alley}. It's funny because for months now I've said that I'd love to work Uptown and now I get the opportunity to do so. Hubby thought I was crazy, but I think that I'll enjoy it immensely. So with that said, please be praying that the transition will be as close to flawless as possible!

Thank you all so much for your prayers and encouragement. I know that God's timing is perfect, but the unknown can still be a scary place to be!

At least I know that I'm never alone.

What I'm Hearing

11.22.2010

I've gotten really lucky with the songs and albums I've downloaded from iTunes lately...and these are the lyrics that stick with me and that I love:

By T.Swift...
  • You are the best thing that’s ever been mine
  • 'cause I see sparks fly whenever you smile...I'm captivated by you, baby, like a firework show.
  • All I can say is I was enchanted to meet you...This night is sparkling, don't you let it go
  • The stakes are high, the water's rough...but this love is ours
By Rascal Flatts...
  • As I stare in your eyes, thanking God for this life that He's given me...you're a gift to me
  • Just the touch of your hand, it fixes everything .. it gets my heartbeat moving
  • Thought I'd been touched, thought I'd been kissed, thought I'd been loved, but it was nothing like this.
  • Nowhere to be and all night to get there
  • Love's a beautiful thing People still dream, and people still hope that someday they'll get it right...a love like yours and mine is why they try
  • You think your lost, but your not lost on your own. Your not alone..I will stand by you. I will help you through when you've done all you can do
By Dave Barnes...
  • God gave me you for the ups and downs..God gave me you for the days of doubt
  • On my own I’m only half of what I could be, I can’t do without you. We are stitched together and what Love has tethered I pray we never undo
  • When nothing is going my way, you're still beside me...when it all falls into place, it just reminds me

I love when lyrics can remind me of something and/or someone. Clearly, the majority of these remind me of my dear hubby.

What can I say? He's pretty awesome.

What are you listening to?

p.s. only 4 more days until Christmas music can flow freely from my radio

p.p.s I am currently listening to it anyways


Christmas Cards!!!

11.19.2010

Probably 2 months after hubby and I were married, I said that we absolutely had to do Christmas cards.

That was in August.

Two years later, I feel the same way. Is there better way to send love and Christmas joy to your family and friends?

I think not!

Shutterfly always has so many ways to display pictures; from prints, photobooks, calendars and so many others. And because of such, it is that reason our little family's Christmas cards will be coming from them! The only problem now is which layout and seasonal design!

Here are a couple of options:

or...



or...


The other issue I face is if the picture will just be hubbs and myself or if we are including our 4-legged children! Seriously. It's a tough decision for me. But regardless of who will be featured on our cards, I know that they'll look great and the quality will be high...because everything I have ever received from Shutterfly has only been such! So if you're thinking about sending Christmas cards, I HIGHLY suggest going this way! You won't be disappointed.

And please, if you have an opinion on the above choices, I'm open to anything!

I love this time of year!

Now That Was Fun

{This should've been written  before last nights debacle}

107-63.

That was the final score of the North Carolina and Hofstra game on Thursday night. It was the first time Carolina had score 100+ in 44 games. It was something that happened more often than not. It was what they were known for. But last season shifted what "normal" Tar Heel basketball was.

But Thursday night was different. Thursday night I witnessed a team play together, have fun and fight. Again, something that was not to frequent last year.

Thursday night I saw an 18 year old live a dream and score 19 points while doing it.

Thursday night gave me hope for the season. It let me and more importantly, the guys on the court see what they're capable of. Last year is done. It was terrible and it happened, but it is over.

Thursday night was the start of something new.

Thursday night was not a one man show. 6...count it, 6 guys scored in double figures and there was a total of 29 assists. That is a team. Not one or two players trying to do it on their own. A team playing for the same thing; a win.

Thursday night...was fun.




Thankful Thursday!...Part 2

11.18.2010

To continue from last week...

  1. Starbucks red cups and the seasonal deliciousness that resides in them
  2. Taking pictures
  3. Pumpkin pie
  4. The ability to see everything that this beautiful life has to offer
  5. Christmas trees, lights, cookies...basically anything with Christmas in it
  6. The chance to learn and grow from mistakes
  7. Hope

  8.  My husband and our dogs...yes I know I've already said them, but let's face it, I am beyond thankful for them
  9. Comfort food on a cold night
  10. Reminding others what they should be thankful for in their life
  11. The opportunity to bless others in whatever way we can
  12. The beach
  13. The mountains
  14. Rain/thunderstorms
  15. New life

Enter his gates with thanksgiving and his courts with praise; give thanks to him and praise his name.
--Psalm 100:4
Though life can throw curve balls and we can forget how much we have, "thankful Thursdays" should be an everyday, all year thing. So take a moment today and the days and weeks to follow, and recognize everything and everyone in your life that you are thankful for.

Even if you're not always sure why...

 

DIY - Christmas Gifts!

11.16.2010

Though I am not a creative person by nature, I try to stretch that part of me around this time of year. I love when gifts {whether it be at Christmas time or birthdays or just because} have a personal touch to them. I don't sew and the thought of baking in mass amounts is quite daunting, so that leaves me with just a few options. But after a lot of thought, I came up with, what I believe, are some great ideas for my 2 wonderful aunts. I don't get to see them as much as I'd like, so Christmas is a great time to remind them that I think about them.

I would love to tell/show you what I'm making them, but it's a surprise and since family members of mine read this, I can't reveal my self-proclaimed awesome idea.

But while trying to come up with my own idea, I stumbled across a couple of others:

  • Brown Sugar Body Scrub 

    1 cup organic brown sugar

    1 cup white granulated sugar

    ¾ cup almond, soybeans, hazelnut, or macadamia nut base oil

    2 teaspoons cinnamon, powdered

    2 teaspoons ginger, powdered

    2 teaspoons nutmeg, powdered

    40 drops cardamom essential oil
Now, I have no clue what cardamom essential oil is, but other than that, everything is easily pronounced and not that expensive. It would be a great gift and you could be really creative with packaging and make it all your own!

  • Homemade Goodies! This is the absolute best time of year to eat bake. And while it seems scary to me to make endless amounts of cookies or fudge or breads, it can be easily done and obviously a great gift to get! I found some recipes from Real Simple and Betty Crocker


While there are many other crafty, homemade presents to be discovered out there, these seem the most fun and more importantly, the most simple. I'd love to hear about things that you've made or found!


Tis the Season...Almost

11.15.2010

In the coming weeks, these blue eyes will be filled with:

Twinkling lights
Big red bows
Snow flakes {hopefully}
Christmas cookies
Stockings
Food
Eating
Christmas trees and wreaths
Family
Friends
Hustling and bustling
Decorating EVERYTHING in our home
Charlie Brown
The Polar Express
Biltmore Estate

and above all...


And an angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were filled with fear. And the angel said to them, “Fear not, for behold, I bring you good news of a great joy that will be for all the people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. And this will be a sign for you: you will find a baby wrapped in swaddling cloths and lying in a manger.”--Luke 2:9-12


What an amazing time of year!




tree at Birkdale Village

Thankful Thursday!

11.11.2010

I got this idea from Rachel who got it from Whitney and I thought it was brilliant so figured I'd have some fun with it too!

  1. Having full knowledge of the grace, love and mercy that is showered on me, my life and family each and everyday from my Savior, Jesus Christ.
  2. Having a husband that loves me despite my mood swings, temper tantrums and crying fests over nothing that is apparent to anyone else
  3. Our sweet, crazy, cuddly puppy dogs. The love I have for them is probably not normal.
  4. Our first Thanksgiving and Christmas in our first home
  5. My family. Both of them.
  6. The incredible friendships that span the state and venture into others ones. God has blessed me with some amazing people
  7. Our church and the family we have in it. Not a week goes by where I don't feel convicted, challenged and blessed by the word that is given at Central Church of God
  8. A healthy and able body
  9. Food in my cabinets and refrigerator and most importantly, my belly 
  10. Music and the ability to hear it, sing along with it and dance to it
  11. Sports. I know that it's a weird thing to be thankful for, but I enjoy it and it's something hubby and I can enjoy together
  12. Laughing till I cry
  13. Season changes and the abundance of color that each brings
  14. Peace
  15. Weekends filled with nothing to do
...

To be continued next week!

The MOST Wonderful Time...

11.10.2010

My favorite season is fast approaching. A season in which tears of joy {and sometimes sadness} are spilled. Where my excitement cannot be contained no matter how hard I try. And most importantly, when my life seems to be a little more complete.

No I'm talking about Christmas {though is definitely up there}.

The season that I am referring to is none other than college basketball! I'm guessing that if you didn't think I was crazy before, you're rethinking that right about now. I can't help it though! I am giddy just thinking about it. Though practice officially started almost a month ago, most games have yet to make their way to national television. And although some have, the most important team has not been able to be seen..

...until Friday. That's right folks, the University of North Carolina Tar Heels will be going up against Lipscomb University {I didn't say it was going to be a big game} this Friday at 7:00. After an absolute dismal season in 2009, I have been waiting for this for what feels like an eternity. I have high hopes for this season; by no means do I think they'll be making a run for the National title, but I'm hoping for a better record than 20-17 {5-11}.

After acquiring a recruit whose accolades include 2010 Morgan Wootten National Player of the Year, 2010 Jordan All-American, 2010 Mr. Basketball in Iowa and the number 1 from ESPNU Rankings Class of 2010, I'm interested to see what comes of this year.



Here's to happy hoops!

Testimony

11.09.2010

Everyone has a story.

A beginning.

This is mine.

{written 2007}

I grew up going to church, Sunday School, and Vacation Bible School. I enjoyed all of these things and believed I had a relationship with Christ because of them. Through high-school, while other friends were partying and drinking, I prided myself that I didn't do any of those things. Again, I believed that I was living a Godly life and had that relationship that everyone always spoke of inside the church. I had no idea how truly wrong I was. In 2004, the bubble I had placed myself in began to develop some holes. The first was when a good friend of mine had to be sent away to a school in New York due to a drinking and drug problem that his parents believed he had. It was the first big blow to my otherwise picturesque world. The next life changing event was leaving the home I had always known to go to school at Appalachian State University. Up until that point, I had believed that I was mature and that I wouldn't be one of those kids that went crazy once they were away from home. I was wrong. In more ways then I could have ever imagined.


My freshmen year roommate {and two other years of school} was my best friend from high-school. She was truly an angel that God sent to me; she never left my side and loved me despite all the ways I messed up that first semester. Much of my first semester is a blur due to excessive drinking on the weekends. But the funny thing about that is that I was still trying to do campus ministries and believing I was living a Godly life. There was no reason for my drinking that was obvious to me; I was just doing it to do it. Then on December 11, 2004, my life changed forever and my bubble was burst. One of my best friends passed away in his sleep. Seventeen years old, healthy, and no outward signs of why. All of a sudden everything I thought I had known had vanished. What I knew of God didn't matter. I was physically hurting from my heartbreak and all I wanted was to feel NOTHING. No amount of people telling me that they'd pray for me or telling me that he was in a better place helped. At all. All I knew is that I wanted to be in the place that he was. And on December 30th, I consumed more alcohol then I ever had and ever would again. And as I laid there in my stupor, I prayed {yes, prayed} that God would take me from this place. Obviously, He did not. And in the coming weeks, months and years, He gently reminded me of who He is and whose I am. The pain was still there, but God's love was real to me for the first time. Up until then, all I had was a head knowledge and I now finally started grasping the abundance of His grace and mercy.

Since the night of December 30, 2004, I have never treated my body in such a way. God's mercies, grace and love are revealed to me each and everyday. Over the last five years, my faith and trust have grown in ways I cannot articulate. I know I am not where I should be, but I am not where I once was. I have never meant more than the prayer I prayed that night, but praise God for the prayers that He doesn't answer. But I believe that He has me here for a reason. And my desires to reach the unreached has grown exponentially. I would love the opportunity to share how God's love and grace overcomes even the darkest moments and times.
When I wrote this, it was the first time I had written my testimony completely out. There are things I could add, but I won't. And there is nothing that I would change about the events that brought me to where I am today. I sometimes wish that I wouldn't have made things so difficult on myself, but God uses trials and hardships as a way to learn and to grow. I am blessed beyond belief, but I did not get here alone.

Comfortable

11.08.2010

The art of being in a comfort zone is something that I have perfected. I am not proud of this fact, but it is true. As much as I say that I want God to stretch me, I am not terribly sure that that is true. I like knowing where I am at all times and what to expect and not being in pain from a trial or discipline.

I hate that. I really do.

But as much as I hate it, am I willing to let go of the things that I let make me comfortable? Money? That's a hard one. Possibly the hardest one. I like the cushion. I like feeling that financial protection.

What about the provision that God has over me daily...no, by the minute, His hand is guiding every step I make. What about leaning on that? What about recognizing the cushion that it provides?

I took a HUGE leap out of my comfort zone this weekend. Want to know how long it's taken me to gather up the courage and faith to take that leap? At least a year. How awful is that? I know that God loves me no matter how long it may take, but that is frustrating. This was not something that could necessarily take a year, but like I've said before, I am an avoid-er. On some level, I honestly and truly believe that if I push something out of my mind and don't face it head on, it'll go away. Yes I know, I'm crazy for thinking that is how it could possibly work, but I am human.

And I am me. I am impatient, fearful and above all, loved. Despite the first two things, I am loved. By my family, my husband, my friends and God. The most perfect being to ever walk on this earth, believes that I am worthy of love. How awesome of a thought? No matter how much I doubt that fact, myself or even Him, He loves me regardless. Praise God!

I read Hebrews 11 today and if you're not familiar with that chapter, please read it. One verse {or part of it rather} really struck a chord in my heart and spirit;

...and he went out not knowing where he was going...by faith he went to live in the land of promise --Hebrews 11:8-9

The leap that I took this weekend? I have no idea what the response will be or what will come of it. The enemy has tried to tell me his take on it, but God has silenced him. I have to believe that good will come of it and that God has been preparing this long before me.

Pastor Livingston's message yesterday was incredible and I am so thankful for the man that God placed in our church and in our lives. He looks out for our souls. Not just what we want to hear, but what we need to hear. I may not leave every Sunday with warm and fuzzies, but I always leave wanting to better myself for the glory of God. One thing he said yesterday was this;

"When you look at the storm through Jesus rather than the other way around, you will rejoice and pray like it's breathing"


Praying and rejoicing...they can't be separated. The more you pray, the more you'll feel like rejoicing. And vice versa.

So if God trying to pull you out of your comfort zone and you're fighting tooth and nail, let go.

The other side is so worth it.

1/4 of 100

11.02.2010

A quarter of a century.

Halfway to fifty.

25.

That is how many years I've been on this earth. It's so hard for me to believe that that number represents that fact. I have loved, hated, cherished and rushed through so many of the years leading up to this point. And I believe that it's time to just appreciate the year that I'm in and the ones to come.

This past weekend I got to celebrate with some amazing friends and my always incredible husband!

lunch with Carly!
My dear friend that I'm pictured with above, moved off to the west coast earlier this year and it has been too long since I've last seen her! Thankfully, she timed her visit perfectly and I had the chance to enjoy lunch and time with her on my birthday. Then Friday evening, good chili, friends and conversation was had inside the our household.


every girl should wear a crown on her birthday with her prince at her side

it's obvious we were really prepared for this

my sweet friend Michelle and the cupcakes she made me!
Friday could not have been more perfect. Andrew and I have been so blessed by the friendships that have been made since we have been in Charlotte together.

About 6 or 7 months ago, Andrew told me that he had bought Carrie Underwood tickets. I was ecstatic and asked excitedly when it was. His reply...October 30th. Are you kidding me? Why in the world did you tell me so soon?!


But I digress. It was the perfect birthday present and October 30th arrived a lot faster than I could have ever imagined!

got the tickets! i'm ready to go!
opening song
riding in the bed of a truck above the crowd
last song of the night!
She was an incredible performer and her voice was amazing {per usual} and we had a blast. Andrew took about 700 pictures {literally}, but I thought I'd just leave you a couple.

Sunday {Halloween!} evening, we went over to Andrew's parents to eat and see our sweet nieces and nephew get all dressed up! It was great to see how excited they get and also know that we wouldn't be the ones dealing with the sugar highs.
the little monkey that is my nephew
what a cutie!

precious girls!

I'll leave you with a snapshot I was able to grab at the end of Sunday...our sweet puppy dogs as jack-o-latterns! Andrew was standing in front of them with treats which is why they're sitting as still as they are, otherwise, such a feat would have not been achieved. 
our 2 furry pumpkins!
 It's hard to believe that it's November! But now comes the best time of year in my opinion! So much to prepare for and be excited about!

But then again, it doesn't take much for me to be excited.

What about you: do you love this time of year as much as I do?

Real Simple Thought...

11.01.2010

Every morning I receive the Daily Thought from Real Simple. Some are funny, some make me say "huh" and some actually make me think. Today's thought...it made me think.

“The opposite of talking isn’t listening. The opposite of talking is waiting.”

― Fran Lebowitz

 

I understand that this thought is meant to be taken literally, but I read this and took it in a completely different way.

How many of us are guilty of talking at God? I know I am. I give my requests, my praises, and say "Amen". That's it. No waiting. No listening. Just talking. I know better. I really do. But for some reason, I do all the talking.

Between the two of us {me & God} I'm pretty certain that whatever He has to say is far more significant and worth hearing. The talking thing has always been something I've excelled at. Ask any of my elementary teachers or read the comments on my report cards to verify that statement. 

I wait for the LORD, my whole being waits,
and in his word I put my hope.
I wait for the Lord
more than watchmen wait for the morning,
--Psalm 130:5-6

...After the earthquake came a fire, but the LORD was not in the fire. And after the fire
came a gentle whisper.
--1 Kings 19:12



Part Most of the not being able to wait and listen for the Lord, stems from the fact that I have the least amount of patience than anyone else I know. True story. But I know that the ways I expect the Lord to move and to speak is just not the way He chooses do things {most of the time}. It's the gentle, soft whisper I have to be waiting for. Listening for. This is an area of my faith and my life that is constantly being challenged and that I'm constantly asking for God to work on. But the funny thing about God is that He works on it in ways that stretch me and that my friends is something that I'm not always a fan of.

This season of my life has commanded a lot of waiting and listening and many times I have not succeeded at the challenge. But thankfully, due to unending grace, I'm granted do-overs time and time again.

Maybe one of these days I'll get it.

 
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