Friday, January 29, 2010

Raise Your Hand

If you're afraid.
If you've ever "lost it" with your kids.
If your marriage is in trouble.
If you rarely have a quiet time.
If you're addicted to Diet Coke.
If you are one person at church and another person at home.
If you can't remember the sermon from last Sunday.
If you're addicted to something you can't joke about.
If you could use a good cry.
If you don't know how to say "no".
If you have stories you've never told.
If you think "the real you" is unlovable.
If you hate your body.
If you want more than you need.
If you need things you've never asked for.
If you're not "fine".

Is your hand up?
Now look around the room.
You're not alone.


Kingdom Mama, Sarah, wrote this post a while back.  I was just re-reading some of her posts because they are that good, and thought I would share this.  :)

Thursday, January 28, 2010

before and after

Pixel Perfect is hosting a blog hop for everyone to post before (sooc) and after (edited) pictures!  Since I love playing with photoshop, I decided to join in!
I’ve posted both of these pictures before, but only the edited versions.  I almost hate to show the SOOC shots cause it shows how much I have left to learn!  Yikes!
and one more…
How fun!  I can’t wait to see everyone else’s pictures!  Check them out, too, if you want!

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

a heavy heart

I started reading a new book, Same Kind of Different as Me by Ron Hall and Denver Moore, recently.  It’s the second book that the Bloom Bookclub is reading.

I’m only about halfway through, but already this book has had an impact on me.  It’s a true story of the lives of the two authors and how they became friends. 

I don’t want to spoil the story, but I have to say that Denver was homeless in Fort Worth, TX, for a good bit of his life.  In the book he tells of his memories of life on the streets.  It just really opened my eyes for the first time to what life as a homeless person must really be like.  I’ve always had compassion for the homeless, but while reading this book my heart was just softened more towards them.

It came at a perfect time, too.  (Thank You, Jesus!  Your timing is always right on!)

This past weekend Justin and I had the opportunity to go out in downtown Dallas with a team of people and minister to several homeless and hungry people.  We took them some food, clothes, and the Hope of Jesus Christ.

A girl that went with us wrote a note on facebook telling her account of the time we spent.  If you want to read it, you can here.

I wrote in response to her post and want to share that here as well.  (It is lengthy, but this is for me.)

it was also my first time to do any sort of ministry to the homeless. i wasn't going to go at first because i was sleepy and knew it was cold outside. God prompted me to go, and i'm so glad i did. i got very convicted about not going because it was cold and inconvenient for me. at least i had on a jacket. many people that are no different than me are out there without warm clothes. without full tummies. sleeping on concrete with temperatures in the teens and twenties.
i tried imagining myself out there. i tried imagining my mother or my sister or one of my (future) children out there. it just broke my heart. none of us are any better than the ones sleeping in the cold and wondering where their next meal is coming from. just a few wrong choices or bad events in my life, and i could be there.
i didn't do any "preaching" saturday night. i really just tried to talk to the people and encourage them. i wanted to let them know that i realize they are humans, too, and that God loves them just as much as any of us out there.
a couple of the stories i heard were just so heartbreaking, as im sure all of them are. one man i talked to told me that he at one time lived up north with his wife and daughter. he worked a good job and had a nice home and vehicle. he made a bad decision and chose drugs, and over time he lost it all. justin and i began telling him that there is hope in Jesus. justin has been in that same spot. a life of drugs with nowhere to lay his head at night. We told the man some of that testimony and you could see the change in his face. a ray of hope began to shine. we told him that we hoped to see him again, but not on the streets sleeping. we want to see him on the streets preaching and passing that hope along to others.
after this experience, God has really softened my heart for the homeless. He laid it on my heart to help gather supplies for the backpack ministry. we don't have much money, but i figured that if each time i buy our groceries and our socks and our water, i can just pick up one or two items for the homeless. it won't add much to my total bill. we will never even feel the difference. but those men and women on the streets could feel the difference eternally.

Rusty by the urban fabric.

I urge you, if you live in a city where homeless men and women live, please prayerfully consider what you can do to help them.  You never know, you might change a life.


I mentioned the other day that I went to the doctor and had blood drawn.

For probably a little over a year now I have not been feeling right.  I have been beyond exhausted almost all of the time.  Even if I sleep all night and take a nap in the afternoon, I am ready to go to bed just a couple hours later.  I’ve also had some other symptoms such as weight gain, hair loss, sensitivity to cold and some others.

I hadn’t been to the doctor in years because we don’t have medical insurance.  Well, finally enough was enough and my mother paid for my doctor visit and lab work.

We thought I may have a disease called hypothyroid.  It runs heavily in my mom’s side of the family and follows all of the symptoms I have been showing.  We also thought I could be anemic.  Anemia causes some of the symptoms including fatigue.

However, we got the results of my blood work and everything came back normal!

Praise the Lord!

So the doctor seems to think that I have a stress and anxiety level that is too high and is causing the symptoms.  Yikes!  I’m not really sure how to decrease my stress level, but I don’t want to get on medication for this either.  :(

Any ideas, advice, etc is welcome!

Zebra Stripes Stress

Sunday, January 24, 2010


Tonight I’m really missing my family.  :(
Ava is growing up so fast.  Here is the latest picture of her from my sister’s phone.
Such a cutie!!!  I just cannot believe that she is almost TWO years old!!!!

Friday, January 22, 2010



I hate being stuck.  Needles make me nervous.

Hubby drove me to my dr appointment today because I knew I would have blood drawn and was afraid I may be too woozy to drive home.  Plus I just like moral support when I go to the doctor.  (Please excuse poor picture quality.  I asked Justin to take the picture with my DSLR, and he didn’t even put his eye up to the viewfinder)

Besides the needle, today has been a good day.  The weather is perfect.  It’s just beautiful outside.  When we got home, we decided to sit on the balcony and read for a bit before Justin had to get ready for work.  I took this picture off the balcony.  I love the mix of blue sky and clouds.  Gorgeous!


I’ll find out the results of my blood work on Monday or Tuesday, I believe.  I’ll share more about what’s going on with me whenever I find out.

Yay for weekends!

Even though I have an 8 hour training for my job tomorrow.  :( :( :(

Thursday, January 21, 2010


Everyday at work I get 20 minutes for my break.  I usually spend most of that time heating up food and eating and then checking emails and facebook from my phone.

Yesterday, however, we had a ‘pancakes and pajama’ party for lunch.  Everyone wore their pj’s, and we (the teachers) cooked eggs, sausage, and microwavable pancakes for the children.  Of course I ate with the kiddos.  Then I still got my 20 minutes of free time and decided to go sit in my car and listen to music.

I had been in my car about 10 minutes.  Just singing a little and checking my email.  Out of the corner of my eye, I saw someone in my side view mirror walking up to my car.

Guess who….


That sweet boy was going to surprise me by leaving a sweet note in my car with this..


He did surprise me, but I surprised him too!  He did NOT expect me to be sitting in my car.  Haha, it was pretty funny at the time.  It was just crazy timing.  That was the first time since I’ve had the job that I went to my car during lunch.  And my lunch break time is different every day, so there is no way we could have planned something like that.

Either way, I felt very special and very loved.  He can be such a sweet and thoughtful guy when he wants to be ;)

Sunday, January 17, 2010

what a disappointment

I had to take Bobo out tonight and decided I would get myself a little treat.  I have been craving a chick-fil-a brownie.  yummm!

So I walked the dog then hopped in the car and headed to get my chocolate and nutty goodness. 

Guess what….  today is Sunday.  chick-fil-a is closed on Sunday.  Bummer.  I totally forgot it was Sunday.  I guess because I didn’t go to church this morning.  :(

I have noticed a pattern.  Most of the time when I really really want chick-fil-a, it’s on a Sunday.  Grrr….

Anyway, on to bigger and better things…

I bought this lovely yesterday.


I’m making it a new goal to drink more water.  This jug holds 8 glasses which, from what I have heard, is how much I should be drinking daily. 

Today I only drank half.  This is ALOT of water.  I’m feeling like if I ever drink that entire thing I will be puffed up like a water balloon. Ha!

We will see.  I’m going to keep trying!

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Bloggy Award!!!

Erin from The Williamson Family tagged me for a blog award!  I think this is my second one ever.  It’s cool to know that someone out there that I have never even met enjoys reading my blog :)  Thanks, Erin!!!


Here are the rules:

List 10 things that make you happy.

Tag 10 bloggers that brighten your day.

Make sure to link back to the person that tagged you!

My ten…

1.) My other half.  I really have NO IDEA where I would be without this guy.  As corny or cheesy as it sounds, he really does complete me.  He makes me laugh every day and keeps me entertained.  We share dreams and goals and good times and bad times.  He drives me crazy, but keeps me sane all at the same time.  God really knew what He was doing when He paired me up with Justin.

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2.)  My family.  I love all of my family sooooo much.  I have not always appreciated them so much.  Since I have grown up, though, I never take a moment with any of my family for granted.  They have made me who I am.  I miss them so much now that I live away from everyone.  And in case you haven’t noticed, there is one little girl that is my WORLD!  Miss Ava Nicole.  She is my princess.

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3.) Photography.  I’m so blessed that my hubby surprised me with my camera a little over a year ago for Christmas.  I never would have guessed how much I love taking and editing pictures.  It really makes me happy.  I hope to continue learning and getting better and better.  At one point in my life I could not think of anything I was good at.  I could not think of any hobbies that I had except for reading.  Now I have found something.  :)

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4.)  Friends.  I do not have a whole bunch of close friends.  The ones that I do have, though, I cherish.  I have learned over the years that good true friends are hard to come by.  Getting to spend quality time with a best friend makes me truly happy.

5.) My kitty and puppy.  These guys are like my little furry babies.  Especially Sylvester.  I love them so much and love that they love me so much!  They make my day when I can tell they are excited to see me after I have been gone all day.

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6.) Sweets.  Sugar.  Dessert.  YUMMM…  Anyone that really knows me probably knows that a good way to cheer me up is to bring me some icecream or take me out for cheesecake.  It’s sometimes a bad thing.  Like when I can’t fit into my jeans.  But I have come to peace with the fact that it’s just part of who I am.  Sweets make me happy.  So does sweet tea with my dinner. 

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7.)  The beach.  I love going on vacation to just about anywhere.  But I think I’m the happiest at the beach.  I love the sand and the waves.  I love the sounds and the beauty of how huge and vast the ocean seems.  Even when I just get home from a beach trip, I cannot wait to go back again.

8.)  Getting gift cards.  I love getting gift cards cause I get to shop without really spending any money!  They are the best, too, because I know I will love whatever I end up with.  I know a bunch of people think they are too impersonal, but I think they rock! 

9.)  Reading blogs and blogging.  I have written about this before I think.  Maybe a few times.  But I just adore blogging.  It makes me happy.  I love reading other blogs and laughing at funny stories, getting new recipes to try out, or getting inspiration and encouragement.  I love blogging because it is such an outlet for me.  Plus it’s a great way for someone with no scrapbooking skills to scrapbook.  I will be able to look back on this years from now and remember every little thing and have pictures to go with my stories.  Happy time!

Living and Loving Life

10)  Thinking about my future.  Thoughts of my future really make me happy and make me excited.  I’m so glad that I do not dread the future.  I cannot wait to see where God takes Justin and myself in ministry. I cannot even begin to imagine all we will see and do.  And of course, the thoughts of my future children make me radiate happiness.  I have been thinking about that more and more since this will be the year we start trying to get pregnant.  I couldn’t be more excited!  And that’s only the beginning.  I have a full lifetime to make memories with all of the people that I love the most.  What could possibly make me more happy?!


And now I tag:


Sunday, January 10, 2010

any dallas area readers??

I’ve decided to yet again start casually looking for another job.

My job now is nice in that I only work Monday through Thursday during the day and get holidays off.  But I just don’t feel passionate about my work.  I don’t love it. 

I don’t even know where to begin looking for a job though.  When we moved here I sent my resume to hundreds of places and filled out dozens of online apps.  It’s no easy task to get a job around here.

I’m hoping somebody I know will know somebody that knows somebody.. ha!

I’m interested in nannying (especially infants and younger children), photography, and my newest interest would be to try working with some sort of pregnancy crisis center. 

My passion was rekindled last night for young girls that get pregnant and feel hopeless and for their innocent babies. We had a guest speaker at church that really shook me up about some things.. one being abortion.

Anyway… I thought I would post here and see if anyone that reads this could possibly help me out!  If you have anything at all, please comment or email me or both!

Thanks in advance!

Friday, January 8, 2010


Like I mentioned in one of my many Christmas posts, my in-laws got me a new lens as one of my Christmas gifts.  It’s the Canon 55-250mm f/4-5.6 with IS.

I have taken very few pictures since Christmas, and definitely not any that required so much zoom.  So today I decided to test it out.  From inside my apartment of course.  It is wayyyyyyyyyyy too cold (like 14 degrees) to go outside and play.

Looking out our backdoor, this is what you see…


Nothing special.  Trees, Popeyes, and an American Flag.

I decided to zoom in on the flag.


I’m loving it!  Before the most I could do was with my kit lens, which was only up to 55mm. 

Now I can’t wait for a real reason to use it, like a wedding or a trip to the zoo or playing with Ava girl outside.

Photography is so fun :) 

and, of course, now I want more lenses!  It’s addicting!

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Cowboy Chili

With all this cold winter weather I have been wanting to cook foods that will really warm us up.  I found this recipe for Cowboy Chili on Jennifer’s blog.


Cowboy Chili

1 Whole chicken or 4 chicken breasts

3 cans of chicken broth

1 can black beans

1 can pinto beans

1 can black eyed peas

1 can yellow corn

Small can of tomato sauce

1 jar of Thick-n-Chunky Salsa

1 Pack of taco seasoning

Boil and cut up chicken. Rinse and drain beans and corn. Mix all ingredients together in large crock pot. Cook on low all day.

I have to say that I did not cook mine all day, and it was still delicious.

Also, if you don’t have a crockpot, just put the ingredients in a pot, bring to a boil, and simmer for at least 30 minutes.

I took Jennifer’s advice and made corn bread muffins to go with it.  Also, I added sour cream and shredded cheese to top it off.  Oh, and I sprinkled some chili seasoning into mine.  We like our food spicy!



Sunday, January 3, 2010

which one?

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I was trying to get a hazy, vintage-y, yellowy edit in photoshop.  The top picture is the original.  The middle one I used a curves adjustment layer.  The last one I used a color fill layer set to exclusion.  I’m thinking I like the last one cause the effect is more noticeable.  Anyone else wanna tell me what you think?

it’s a keeper!

We put Bobo in his kennel when we leave the house, because if we don’t he “has accidents” all over the carpet.  :)

One time recently when we left, we thought it would be nicer for him if we put his doggy bed in there for some cushion and comfort.  Well when we came home he had torn it up and started pulling the stuffing out.  Bad boy!

We found him a new bed at Ross the other day.


I think it’s safe to say he likes it.  It’s a keeper!



And while we were in Ross, Justin bought me this cool little cushion/pillow/prop thing that I have been eyeing for a while.  Love it!


Saturday, January 2, 2010

BBQ burgers

I doubt this even qualifies as a recipe, but I want to share anyway because we like these so much.


My mom-in-law introduced this idea to me.  It’s sort of like a sloppy joe, but better.

You just brown 1 lb. (or however much you think you need) of hamburger meat.  Then cover the meat in Kraft Spicy Honey BBQ sauce.  Let it simmer about 20 minutes, then serve on hamburger buns! 

Simple.  Quick.  Easy.  Yummy.   My kind of meal!

I substituted deer meat tonight for the beef, and it was still good.

Friday, January 1, 2010

a new year

I absolutely cannot believe how fast 2009 went by.  It seems crazy to think that I have to start writing 2010 at the end of the date. 

I’ve heard this quote lately and totally agree with it—“ the days are long, but the years are short.”  That pretty much sums up the last half of 2009 for me.  Many of my days would just drag by.  I wasn’t completely happy in certain areas of life, and that caused my days to seem like they lasted foreverrrr. 

But now, looking back I can’t believe that it’s been almost an entire year since Richard and Nicole got married.  Or that it’s been six months that we have lived in Texas.  Or that I have been 25 for 3 months already.  It’s just unbelievable.

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When I started thinking about writing a post last night, I couldn’t decide what I wanted to write about.  I half expected myself to do a post like last year recapping the highlights of 2009.  Not that many exciting things took place over the year though.  Then I thought about writing a post about my resolution for 2010.  But I just really don’t have just one specific thing.

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I want to work on being a better wife and work on my relationship with the Lord and work on losing some of my “happily married” weight.  I want to work on my photography and work on becoming a better cook.  I want to work on getting pregnant (wayyyy later in the year… don’t get excited! ha!).  I want to be more positive in my outlook on life and make more long-lasting friendships.  I want to develop a better self-esteem and spend more time doing things that make me happy.

Looking at my list of “goals” makes me really want to just slow down.  I want to enjoy the year of 2010.  I don’t want to rush through it.  I want to make fun and loving memories with all of the people that I care about.  I don’t want to take anyone or any of our time together for granted.

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