Saturday, February 27, 2010

about time

Today I finally went and got my hair cut.  I can’t believe it had been since July ‘09.  Yikes!

And because I waited so long, I had to cut off a little more length that I really wanted to. 

The end result… shorter, some layers, and the bangs are back!


These after pictures aren’t the best, but you get the point!  Hopefully tomorrow I’ll be able to fix it a little better myself.  For some reason it never looks right when styled at the salon.  It definitely feels lighter and healthier though.  I’m a happy girl :)

Friday, February 26, 2010

double date

Tonight Justin and I met up with Candice and Dominic for a dinner date.  You would never believe how much trouble four people can have choosing a restaurant!  We finally decided on Salt Grass Steakhouse.  It was so yummy!  We had a really nice time just talking and catching up on life.  It’s so nice to have them closer to me now!






It’s my Ava’s 2nd birthday today.  I can’t believe it.  Her party is tomorrow, so I’ll do a birthday post after going to the party and taking some pictures there!  :)

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

guess who!

Tonight was a very special night around my house.  I had some very special visitors.  It was their first time ever to come to my house.

Guess who..


My sister, Dominic, and Ava came to see me!  I was so excited that I ran outside to meet them and greet them and snap this picture of Ava.  It melts my heart that she is always so excited to see me :)  Just look at that big grin!!!  ahhhh….  I LOVE that girl so much!!!!!

We didn’t do much.  Just sat and talked and watched AI while Ava played in the floor.  She was obsessed with our kitty-kitty.  She fell in love with Mrs. Potato Head.  She was afraid of Bobo.  She got about 15 children’s books off the shelf and read only one of them.  She built a tower out of Jenga blocks.  (Aunt Lissa needs to have more toys!!!)  I was amazed by how much her hair and her vocabulary have grown since Christmas.  I still have not come to terms with the fact that she will be 2 on Friday!

Sylvester kept trying to hide from Ava.  She stayed right on his tail though!


Ava had us cracking up because she was using the pieces from Mrs. Potato Head for herself.  She put the tongue in her mouth, the hat on her head, and the glasses on her face.  Too cute!


I think I must have told Candice and Dom a million times how excited and glad I was that they came over.  I am so thrilled to have family around!  We have plans for a dinner date on Friday which is also Ava’s birthday.  Hopefully I’ll be able to make it to her birthday party this weekend, too!


She’s so pretty :)

Monday, February 22, 2010


Last night while Justin was at work I decided to work on a little surprise for him.  He had been doing all his reading/studying/homework at our little dining table with bar stools.  Not very comfortable.  So last night I decided to move the table out and move his desk and office chair in!  I organized all his stuff and was so excited for him to get home and see it.  He loved it and is much more comfortable there now :)


And a surprise for me…

I have heard so much about Beth Moore’s new book “So Long, Insecurity”.  I really wanted it for my Valentine’s gift, but didn’t get it.  I was thinking about buying it for myself, but just could not part with that much money on a book right now.

Well, when we checked the mail today it was waiting on me!  My precious mother-in-law loves to spoil Justin and me.  I talked to her a few days ago about how down I was feeling.  I told her much of it stems from me being insecure in different areas of my life.  I briefly mentioned that I wanted to read this book sometime soon.  I was so shocked to get it in the mail today!  Yayyyy!!!! :)  Can’t wait to read it!


leave some love

One of my in-real-life friends started a blog today!  I’m excited about it and hope she keeps it updated with pictures of her new baby boy and family.  Everyone that reads my blog should hop over to her blog and leave her some bloggy love!  Maybe this will encourage her to keep it up!  :) 


Sunday, February 21, 2010

getting to know me

After a rough week and the advice of a good friend, I have decided to make a greater effort in taking care of me and doing things that make me happy.

Too often I get caught up in the busyness of life.  Work, cleaning house, laundry, cooking dinner, church, different ministries, etc.  I forget that I need to take time out for myself. 

While talking to this friend this past week, I realized that I really have no clue what makes me tick.  She asked what makes me happy, and I had little to answer.  I know that my family makes me happy.  Taking pictures makes me happy.  Cuddling babies makes me happy.  Being in the presence of God makes me happy.  But what else?  I want to find out.  I want to get to know ME better.

So, I took some time to put on worship music and paint my nails and give myself a pedicure.  It was nice.  Relaxing.  It had been too long since I had done that.  And today I put on a pretty dress and makeup and even some matching jewelry and heels.  I felt pretty.  I know everything is not about physical appearance.  This wasn’t about that.  I just wanted to feel good about myself.  It was nice.

And like I said in my last post, I’m getting a haircut soon.  Can’t wait.

Oh, and I get to take some more pictures soon.  Lacey is having Hudson Wade sometime within the next two weeks!!!  I will be doing some newborn pictures of him.  I may get to take some more pictures of John Tyler.  And I will be taking some senior pictures for a friend sometime soon, too.  I can honestly say that I feel so “in my element” when behind the camera.  I love it.  I love taking the pictures and editing them.  Even if I never make a dime off of it, I think I will always keep photography around.

Some of the biggest news that makes me happiest of all right now…. My sister, Dom, and Ava have made it to DFW.  They now live only about 25 minutes away from me.  I could not be more excited about spending time with them.  We already have a double dinner date set for Friday.  Ava’s birthday is this week, too, so I’m sure I’ll be seeing her soon.  :) :) :)


Thank you, Jesus (and Jenna), for opening my eyes to this area of my life.


so, what makes you tick?  when are you happiest?  what is your passion?

Saturday, February 20, 2010

hairy issues

It’s that time again. Time for a hair cut.  I can’t believe that I have not had a haircut since JULY!  Holy cow.. that is just wayyyyy too long!  It’s just so easy to ignore my hair when it’s long.  It doesn’t require much maintenance.  That along with the fact that we don’t have extra money laying around and the fact that I don’t trust just anyone with my hair= 7 months without a haircut!  Yikes!

So, I’m planning a trip to my hometown sometime within the next couple weeks.  While I’m there I’m determined to get something done with this mop on my head.

But what?!

Every time I make my appointment, I agonize over what to do.  I always want to be bold and chop it off.  Right now with it so long, I don’t have time to fix it, so it usually ends up in a ponytail.  Boring.  Not cute.

But every time I cut it off, I want it long again.

I need help!!!!




aunt lissa


please, please, please feel free to cast your vote in my comments! 

freedom—pass it on

Pete Wilson from Nashville posted this video on his blog.  I wanted to share it here for anyone that may need to hear his words.

If you or someone you know needs freedom, listen until the end.

Friday, February 19, 2010

valentine’s 2010

Is it too late to write about Valentine’s day?  I just kept putting it off and putting it off… and now it’s the end of the week.  Oh well!

I guess I kept putting it off because this year we didn’t have much of a Valentine’s “celebration” or anything.  Justin had to work all weekend and all day on Sunday, Valentine’s Day.

Since he would be working the whole time, we decided to go out and eat early… Thursday night.  We had of the craziest most unromantic dinners ever! Ha!

We knew we wanted to try somewhere new to both of us and didn’t want to spend very much money.  Well, I had a gift card for $25 to a place called Magic Time Machine.  We looked at the website, and it looked like a fun place that would have pretty decent food.  We piled up in the car in our jeans, hoodies, and tennis shoes because there was about 10 inches of snow and the ground.  I just couldn’t make myself dress up and put on heels.  I didn’t even put on makeup!  That may have been mistake number 1.  I just didn’t feel cute.  It didn’t feel like a special celebration.

IMG_4354 IMG_4351 Don’t we both look thrilled? Ha.. especially Justin.

Anyway, maybe because it was snowing or maybe because other people know better, there was nobody there besides us and another couple and a few young girls.  The environment was not what it seemed to be on the website.  Our server was dressed up as a pirate and played the part well.  The whole time we were sitting there, we just kept thinking that maybe the food would save the date.  Ummmm… not so much.

Neither of us liked our food, but tried not to say anything at first.  We wanted this to be a good date, a fun date, a date to remember!  We will remember it alright! Ha… craziest Valentine’s meal ever!!!


At the end of our meal a game came by and started making us a balloon animal.  A tiger.  I was pretty impressed with his skill, but was not figuring out how a balloon animal really fit into my idea of romance!


At least we had fun and lots of laughs!  It will be something I never forget!

After dinner we headed straight home because the roads were getting bad.  The snow was beautiful though.  I made Justin stop when we pulled into the apartment complex so I could snap a few pictures.




The snow was really deep for Texas!  I’m so glad we got to experience it!

Besides dinner, we decided to just exchange one small gift.  I got Justin a CD that he had been wanting, and he got me a giftcard to one of my favorite stores.

Oh, and I made him this pie.




Tuesday, February 16, 2010

photography help

 Clickin' Moms

Lately I have had a couple people email me regarding questions about photography, cameras, etc.  I am TOTALLY not the one to be asking.  I am still so very new to all of this.  But, I wanted to refer you today to a place that has helped me more than any other. 

A few months ago I won a free 1 year subscription to Clickin’ Moms on a bloggy giveaway.  I’m so glad I did.  There are tons of forums on the site with anything and everything photography related being discussed.  And if you have questions, you just post them and usually within an hour some of the other generous members will have answers for you.  You can also upload your own pictures and have people critique them or edit them for you.  It’s so fun and helpful!

I highly recommend this site to anyone that wants to learn more about photography.

And right now for new members they are giving 10% off if you use the code: FRIEND at checkout.

You can click the picture above to sign up!

Don’t forget about the discount code!!!!

Monday, February 15, 2010

a little fishy

I have never been a big fan of seafood.  In fact, a few years ago I would not put anything in my mouth that had once lived in the water.  And then I met Justin.  He loves seafood and fish.  So I’m branching out.  I’ll eat some fish and a little shrimp here and there now.  Maybe even some seafood gumbo!

Anyway, here is a great recipe for tilapia.  I love it because with all the seasonings, you don’t taste any fishy flavor!


Blackened Cumin Cayenne Tilapia

  • 1  tablespoon  olive oil
  • 4  (6-ounce) tilapia fillets
  • 2  teaspoons  ground cumin
  • 1/2  teaspoon  salt
  • 1/2  teaspoon  garlic powder
  • 1/2  teaspoon  ground red pepper
  • 1/4  teaspoon  freshly ground black pepper
  • Cooking spray

Preheat broiler. Rub oil evenly over fish. Combine cumin, salt, garlic powder, and peppers; sprinkle over fish. Arrange fish on a broiler pan coated with cooking spray; broil 5 minutes or until fish flakes easily when tested with a fork or desired degree of doneness.

Easy peasy!  And so fast.  10 minutes tops!  Oh, and it’s healthy… which is rare around this house. Ha!

Tonight we did sweet potatoes and corn with it.  Hubby said it was one of the best meals I’ve cooked so far!  Pretty impressive :)

**I got this recipe from here**

Friday, February 12, 2010

strawberry pie

This is one of Justin’s most favorite desserts.  His mom gave me the recipe so he wouldn’t have to go without it once we moved to Texas.


Natalie's Strawberry Pie

2 Cans Sweetened Condensed Milk

2/3 cup Lemon Juice

2 tsp Vanilla

1  small container Cool Whip (I like the extra creamy best)

Fresh strawberries - cut up - can put as many or as little as you prefer

2 Keebler Shortbread Crusts

This pie is so simple to make and so delicious.  It makes two pies.  We usually try to give one away, but if we can’t… no problem! ;)

I decided, this time, to put some chocolate covered strawberries on top to make it extra special because this was for our Valentine’s Day celebration!


The day it snowed big time. (well for TX and LA)

Justin somehow turned off our alarm or didn’t set it right or something.  We were supposed to wake up at 6:30, but didn’t wake up until 7:30.  We both knew right away that we would be late for school and work.  Justin got up first and a minute later he was saying something about snow.  I jumped out of bed and looked out the sliding glass doors.



I started freaking out.  Justin says my face lit up like a little kid that just got the most amazing and surprising gift on Christmas morning. Haha!  I was thrilled.  I’ve only seen snow a handfull of times in my life, and it never really stuck for very long.  It was always a thin layer and short-lived.  Immediately I thought that all I wanted to do was stay home and play in the snow all day!  I started looking on the internet to see if my school decided to close for the day.  It didn’t.  I called my boss and told her that we were snowed in.  There were inches of snow on the ground, and I didn’t want to drive on the roads.  No luck.  She didn’t go for it.  Justin drove me to work then headed to his school.

Finally after the longest day ever, we got home and got ready to go!

We took Bobo out for a walk and then to the “bark park” where we could let him run free.  He seemed to LOVE the snow!




While I took pictures, Justin had fun making snowballs and tossing them around.  A couple at me.  One time he slipped a little and decided to quit messing with me! ha





I tried making him pose for some cute pictures, but he wasn’t feeling it.  This all the more affirmed that I need children.  Then I’ll have some subjects to photograph any time I want!



Finally we left there and headed to the car.  I wanted to drive around and look at all the beautiful snow everywhere.  It was just gorgeous to me, and I couldn’t get over it.

IMG_4248  IMG_4249



We pulled over at the bank, and while Justin went in to deposit some cash, I took some pictures of some trees :)


I’m sure I looked like a crazy.  I had an old dishtowel wrapped around my camera. I couldn’t let my precious get wet!!!  (It got wet anyway)


We drove a little farther down the road and saw tons of people on top of this huge hill.  Justin made a u-turn and pulled in.  We hiked up the hill and eventually asked if we could take a turn on someone’s tube.  People were using all sorts of stuff to slide down.  I guess not too many Texans have real sleds.  Anyway, someone let Justin take a few turns on their “sled”.  They were very nice and generous.


IMG_4295  IMG_4289

I made Justin take my picture so that we would have evidence of me in the snow.  Sometimes it stinks being the only one working the camera.  Who am I trying to kid, though?  I LOVE taking pictures!!!


We eventually decided to go home and get ready for the night.  We had plans to celebrate Valentine’s Day that night since Justin has to work all weekend long.


The fabulous snow is already quickly melting.  Sylvester is having a blast watching it drip down in big chunks from the trees outside our window.  I’m hoping it doesn’t take another 25 years before I see this kind of snow again.  I would really like to build a snowman at some point in my life.  I should have done that yesterday!

snow baby

Soon I am going to post all about how it snowed like crazy here in DFW yesterday.  I took tons of pictures and can’t wait to write all about it.

But for now… I just want to share a picture of the sweetest little girl I know!

ava snow baby_filtered

Yesterday while Justin and I were playing in the snow and having so much fun, I kept thinking about how much I wish my sis and her family lived here already.  I wanted Ava to get to experience the snow, too!  It’s so very rare for us southerners to see snow like this.  Actually yesterday was the first time in my life I had seen snow that was really light and fluffy and inches deep.

Anyway, I’m so thankful because it snowed in Louisiana yesterday too!!!  Ava got to see and play in snow afterall!  This is a picture my sister sent to my phone.  Love it! 

Thanks, Candice!!!  Can’t wait to see yall!

Thursday, February 11, 2010

when a body becomes a business

Justin forwarded an email to me tonight that he got from our church group called OneVoice.  It was part of the most recent newsletter. 

Something to think about…..

The question that changed my life????

by David Ryser

A number of years ago, I had the privilege of teaching at a school of ministry. My students were hungry for God, and I was constantly searching for ways to challenge them to fall more in love with Jesus and to become voices for revival in the Church. I came across a quote.... It is a short version of the history of Christianity, and it goes like this: 
Christianity started in Palestine as a fellowship; it moved to Greece and became a philosophy; it moved to Italy and became an institution;it moved to Europe and became a culture; it came to America and became an enterprise. Some of the students were only 18 or 19 years old--barely out of diapers--and I wanted them to understand and appreciate the import of the last line, so I clarified it by adding,"An enterprise. That's a business."

After a few moments Martha, the youngest student in the class, raised her hand. I could not imagine what her question might be. I thought the little vignette was self-explanatory, and that I had performed it brilliantly. Nevertheless, I acknowledged Martha's raised hand, "Yes, Martha." She asked such a simple question, "A business? But isn't it supposed to be a body?" I could not envision where this line of questioning was going, and the only response I could think of was, "Yes." She continued, "But when a body becomes a business, isn't that a prostitute?"

The room went dead silent. For several seconds no one moved or spoke. We were stunned, afraid to make a sound because the presence of God had flooded into the room, and we knew we were on holy ground. All I could think in those sacred moments was,"Wow, I wish I'd thought of that." I didn't dare express that thought aloud. God had taken over the class.

Martha's question changed my life. For six months, I thought about her question at least once every day. "When a body becomes a business, isn't that a prostitute?" There is only one answer to her question. The answer is "Yes." The American Church, tragically,is heavily populated by people who do not love God. How can we love Him? We don't even know Him; and I mean really know Him.

... I stand by my statement that most American Christians do not know God--much less love Him. The root of this condition originates in how we came to God. Most of us came to Him because of what we were told He would do for us. We were promised that He would bless us in life and take us to heaven after death. We married Him for His money, and we don't care if He lives or dies as long as we can get His stuff. We have made the Kingdom of God into a business,merchandising His anointing. This should not be. We are commanded to love God, and are called to be the Bride of Christ--that's pretty intimate stuff. We are supposed to be His lovers. How can we love someone we don't even know? And even if we do know someone, is that a guarantee that we truly love them? Are we lovers or prostitutes?

I was pondering Martha's question again one day, and considered the question, "What's the difference between a lover and a prostitute?" 

I realized that both do many of the same things, but a lover does what she does because she loves. A prostitute pretends to love, but only as long as you pay. Then I asked the question, "What would happen if God stopped paying me?"

For the next several months, I allowed God to search me to uncover my motives for loving and serving Him. Was I really a true lover of God? What would happen if He stopped blessing me? What if He never did another thing for me? Would I still love Him? Please understand, I believe in the promises and blessings of God. The issue here is not whether God blesses His children; the issue is the condition of my heart. Why do I serve Him? Are His blessings in my life the gifts of a loving Father, or are they a wage that I have earned or a bribe/payment to love Him? Do I love God without any conditions? It took several months to work through these questions.

Even now I wonder if my desire to love God is always matched by my attitude and behavior. I still catch myself being disappointed with God and angry that He has not met some perceived need in my life. I suspect this is something which is never fully resolved, but I want more than anything else to be a true lover of God.

So what is it going to be? Which are we, lover or prostitute? There are no prostitutes in heaven, or in the Kingdom of God for that matter, but there are plenty of former prostitutes in both places. Take it from a recovering prostitute when I say there is no substitute or unconditional, intimate relationship with God. And I mean there is no palatable substitute available to us (take another look at Matthew 7:21-23 sometime). We must choose.

sky and water edit

It’s before and after time again.  I usually only take and edit pictures of people, so this time I decided to branch out and try something different.  I took this picture in Shreveport, LA, when Justin and I were there celebrating our 1 year (of togetherness)anniversary. 

Let me say ahead of time, I realize the edit on this picture is overdone.  I just wanted to play and see what pretty colors I could bring out. 


Imported Photos 00027


 Imported Photos 00027-2

I <3 photoshop!  So fun to play around and see what you can come up with!

Check out all of the other before and afters right here!!!