Monday, November 29, 2010

Rockin' Around the Christmas Card Tree

This year I decided to make a resolution before New Year's. If you've been reading this blog longer than a minute, you know that we've had a wild and crazy year (and have been blessed the entire way so please don't think I'm complaining) so I decided to handle the Christmas season a bit differently.

I made a commitment at the beginning of November to get all of my Christmas shopping by the end of this month, to get all of the decorations out on Thanksgiving weekend and to have Christmas cards ordered by December 1 as well.

Why?

So we can simply enjoy the month of December and truly reflect on what the season is about. To enjoy a magical season with the man, the girl and the Puppy Posse. And, for the most part, I've been wildly successful. I have exactly two Christmas presents left to buy, all of my decorations are up save the two aluminum trees and I'm really close to finalizing the Christmas card design.

This year I decided to use Shutterfly because I wasn't totally satisfied with the ones we had last year. They were cute but you have to remember that I do print advertising for a living so I'm spoiled with the quality our designers put out on a daily basis and the closest thing I've found to their quality for cards is Shutterfly.

Currently these are my two lead contenders - what do you think?



There are tons of designs and you can check out more by clicking here or here.

I'm also hosting a table at our women's Candlelight Christmas Tea this year. Each table is a different theme and I've chosen mine so I'm planning to use these invitations...


Again, there is an option for any taste and you can see for yourself by going here

I would like to note, though, that this is sample text. There will be no cocktails served at my table. :-)

As you can see, Shutterfly has great quality products at phenomenal prices. Please believe me on that one because I work with printers and bids every single day--this is a bargain, friends! They also have wall calendars (a great grandparent gift), photo mugs (hello, dad!) and other products that can make for one-stop shopping. Which may allow you to spend more time being merry and bright this season as well.

And that's always a good thing.

And, though I haven't fully decided on the design, I have decided on the verse we'll be using on our cards this year.

The Lord has done great things for us and we are filled with joy!
Psalm 126:3

If you would like to learn more about Shutterfly's blogging opportunities for the Christmas season, which can allow you to get some of their phenomenal products for free, check them out here.

Merry Christmas, y'all!

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Laundry...

...has never...


...looked so cute...

Friday, November 19, 2010

Once upon a time...

...in Central Texas there was a football team determined to achieve what some thought to be impossible - return to a bowl game after a 16-year absence...

They were led into battle by their fearless quarterback - and Heisman candidate - Robert Griffin III.


And, ironically, Robert Griffin III would be guarded by offensive lineman Robert T. Griffin. As you can  clearly see from the picture below, the two are not commonly mistaken for the other by fair maidens in Waco.


They were aided by many teammates who believed they could achieve said goal regardless of what the naysayers might believe.


And they overachieved by logging not six but SEVEN wins throughout the first 11 games of the season.


They did so regardless of the fact that they generally play TWO (as opposed to the conventional one) teams on the field during each and every contest, which has caused their other fearless leader - Coach Art Briles - to have blood pressure inducing moments that are becoming more common as the season progresses...


But our amazing Bears continue to battle. Therefore, we will continue to join them in these battles. Each and every week. We shall also continue to pray a good wash in hot water will allow their jerseys to return to form as it has become evident holding calls are only called on our sweet team and most definitely not on a team wearing red/black or maroon/white.


And don't even get me started about the lack of a facemask call...

Because in this fairy tale those types of issues only add fuel to the fire that I predict will be 
B-L-A-Z-I-N-G this time next year.

Sic 'em! :-)

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Operation Christmas Child

Happy Thursday, friends!

This time next week we'll be celebrating Thanksgiving all across this great nation but there are many others around the world who don't have much at all to celebrate. I've been really convicted of that this year as I've followed the trips of the Compassion bloggers and read their stories about children in other countries who don't have in a year a fraction of what my child enjoys in a single day.

To prove that point to my girl - and to get her more involved in helping others - we began packing shoeboxes for Operation Christmas Child last year. We packed one for a girl and another for a boy and Tay really enjoyed it. The boxes are shipped all over the world through Samaritan's Purse.

What I didn't realize is that there are so many around me who don't know about this project and, more specifically, don't know how easy it is to help others through this ministry. So here's the deal - all you have to do is get a shoebox (or one of the plastic shoeboxes, which is what we do so the kiddos can use them over and over - 99 cents at Home Depot), fill it with items a child would enjoy, pay $7 for shipping and drop it off at a participating collection station or church.

Easy, right?

I took Tay to Dollar Tree last Friday while we were waiting to pick Davey up from work (he got called in while we were out for dinner) and we LOADED UP, friends, on crayons, coloring books, books, toys, hard candy, etc. We got princess dress up clothes for the little girl and "guy stuff" for the little boy. And toothpaste, toothbrushes and socks because they truly don't enjoy the luxuries we take for granted.

You can find out more information about what to pack, drop off points, etc. by clicking here. One other really cool option is to pay the $7 shipping online, which will allow you to print out labels that have a barcode on them. That way you can follow your box and learn where exactly it was sent.

Awesome, right?

So, let's get packing, friends.

Little children, let us stop just saying we love people; let us really love them, and show it by our actions.
1 John 3:18

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Learning the Ropes

While I would love to discuss all the exciting things that have been going on in our life lately, the fact of that matter is that we have two main focuses right now. They are - in no particular order - puppy rearing and football.

Before somebody throws a flag (which would clearly mean they weren't at a Baylor game because we can't even buy appropriately called penalties), let me reiterate that God is always #1 and family is #2. Rambo is a part of the family so I guess that was covered but I just don't want any confusion or speculation about where our loyalties actually lie.

Steps down from soapbox.

Anyway, those two hobbies are keeping us rather busy these days. You know, with the frequent potty breaks, finding a treat that will actually encourage R to go OUTSIDE (which ended up being Goldfish; only our dog...), and keeping my blood pressure at a level that isn't stroke inducing has been rather time consuming.

R did get his first taste of Dave's grilling. He was a fan. See?


He then suffered from what I like to refer to as a post pork tenderloin coma. Don't worry - he woke up and continued to wreak havoc on our home and shoes. Didn't skip a beat there.


Prissy is clearly amused by his puppy-like antics.

On a side note, Dave asked me exactly how old Priss is last night because she was limping. After replying that she will be six soon, it occurred to me that the girls' got a whole lot of girth going on. That can't be easy on the joints. So we're giving her Bo's leftover glucosamine. Hand me downs.


He would truly rather chew on fingers, Perkie's lead, stilettos (don't get me started), slippers and hair so I thought him actually chewing on a BONE deserved a photoshoot.




Yes, he is adorable. And he knows it, y'all. We love him immensely and Perkie actually does too. She's an entirely different dog - in a good way - than we've ever seen. I'm thinking she just enjoys having someone around who's smaller than she is...which means she may not be quite as fond of him in a few months.


But, for now, we're enjoying the ride. Wrapping loose ends to the marathon that I like to call 2010. It's been fast and furious. Full of surgeries, doctor's appointments, therapy, sick dogs, sweet vacations, lots of growth spiritually and restoration in general.

I'm sure I'll discuss that in further detail (you already knew that, right?) toward the end of December but - sweet mercy - mama needs a nap. And perhaps a Prozac or two. But it's good. It's His plan. And we're all in.

And I'll continue to hold fast to the hope that full potty training is in said plan as well. If not, we'll just roll with the punches. But still - hope. :-)

Happy Wednesday!

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

An Experiment

Last week we were dealing with some business-type issues that had me a bit stressed and praying for a good outcome, which ties into this though you'll have to give me a minute...


 I've been doing a lot of thinking and studying about the "portion" we've each received from the Lord. More specifically, about the thought that each of us should pour out our portion into and onto others.

And that study married up with a church and Sunday School lesson last week that focused - among other things - on the fact that we must love one another. Not just in a superficial way but really, truly loving one another. Quite frankly there are some people in my life that I don't always like much less love.

But, yet, that's the commandment.

So I've been thinking about what actually "loving" others is all about. And I don't claim to have all - or even most - of the answers but I decided to try a little experiment. 

Every time I got anxious or uneasy about what was going on in our life last week, I prayed for someone else. 

For instance, one of my friends' husbands unexpectedly lost his job last week so I did a lot of asking for peace and wisdom for that couple.

I also prayed for the family of our friend, Brandi, who recently passed away after a long battle with breast cancer.

For another acquaintance who I like but don't exactly trust.

That my grandmother would experience complete healing, that she would have peace and would be encouraged.

That my mother would have a safe trip back from Louisiana.

For my girl as the 'tween waters are difficult to navigate.

For a co-worker who was recently diagnosed with Non-Hodgkins Lymphoma of the central nervous system.

And on. And on. And on.

Now that's not to say that I didn't do a lot of praying for our situation as well because I did but I honestly tried to even it out...

And you know what? 

I had complete and inexpressible joy and peace all week long. No, it wasn't perfect - though you already know that if you follow Baylor football - but it was awesome.

Which leads me to a bigger and broader question, which is why I don't just obey all of those commandments instead of exercising my own stubborn will. That's probably a post for another time, though, as I'm certain you didn't come here to read a thesis. 

Particularly a thesis without a conclusion.

So there you have it. My experiment. As it turns out, God is good. All the time. He also knows what He's talking about. All the time.

So I pray that I'll hear Him more and speak less.

(That was a chorus of Amens you just heard from the peanut gallery.)

The Lord has done great things for us and we are FILLED with joy!
Psalm 126:3

Friday, November 12, 2010

Through the Eyes of a Child

My girl received her very own digital camera from her dad for her birthday this year. She has been taking pictures off and on for the last month and I finally downloaded them the other night because the one you previously saw of Prissy was going to be used for a special Christmas present.

Side note: she asked that I use that photo - and post it here - because she thought Priss would like for everyone to see such a slimming picture of her. 

I thought it was kind of fun to look through all of her pictures, though, because I think they really speak to what's important to her. Although, as you'll see in a minute, what's important to her isn't always very photogenic. And that's totally fine. Just a fact. :-)

Clearly she loves this little guy...



...and she also has a penchant for beautiful trees...


...and another - slightly larger - guy...

Side note 2: she did have a photo of Bo on her camera but it was toward the end of his sweet life and, y'all, the boy lost 27 pounds in his last 6 weeks. Needless to say, it made me cry all over again while also giving me peace that we made the right decision. It also will never see the light of the internet. Period.


Fortunately for me, she also loves her mama. And her mama loves her too. Even in all of her 'tween glory. And, sometimes, because of that 'tween spunk. But don't tell - it will be our little secret!


She also loves a beautiful sunset and I love that she asked her Boppy, who's known to know a thing or 100 about photography, to help her get "just the right shot."


She's also creative and thinks the "drawing" setting on her camera is absolutely fantastic.


I think I prefer this type of picture of my house because it looks so clean and kept which, um, it is. Of course. :-)


She loves him...and so do I...


And, judging by the other photos, she also enjoys the occasional artsy photo, her dad, her Nanna's dog, Zoey, her friends in children's choir, her script for the Christmas musical and family in general.

That, my friends, brings my heart pure, unadulterated joy.

Have a great weekend, friends!

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Hey Y'all

Hi friends!

Hope you're all doing well today. I was looking over the last few weeks of blog posts and, um, can you say Debbie Downer? Though a number of issues collided at once, I just want to assure everyone that we are not drowning in sadness or desperation.

Nope. Not at all.

In fact, we're doing pretty really well.

And that has me thinking - yes, that could indeed we're all in a heap of trouble - about when facing trouble would have did bring our family world toppling down. We were just a big mess for years, y'all. You never knew what you were getting with us - we were mean, nasty, unhappy folks.

Period.

God has done so much for us. Much more than we deserve and, yes, this year has been challenging on a number of fronts but we're making it through.

Together.

With a smile on our face (most of the time).

And I'm good with that...

In other news...

It looks like Miss Taylor made straight A's for the second six weeks in a row. We are super proud and, quite frankly, what I'm most proud of is that she's really doing all of the work on her own. Except for calling out a few spelling words and double checking her math calculations by using the calculator on my phone (don't judge, y'all...) I've not done a whole lot of assisting.

I realize that means she's growing up.

We're not dwelling on that point. Thankyouverymuch.

My grandmother has not made as fast of a recovery as we'd expected after her colon surgery; however, she is doing better this week and has gotten good reports from her doctors. We're very grateful for the progress.

My mom made it back home yesterday!

Rambo is a little stinker.We love him dearly. He's getting to be such a big boy already, which both makes me happy and sad at the same time. The vet says he's perfectly healthy so we (and our checkbook) are very grateful.

Perkie has gotten a new lease on life by having a pup around who's smaller than she is. Who knew the girl would love to wrestle with him so much?!?!

Prissy is having a much tougher time with the transition. Bo was at the house when she came home as a 6-week-old puppy so she's grieving her brother. It's so sad, friends, but we're doing what we can to help her and she's now sleeping with Taylor at night. It's her own personal time, which we felt like she needed.

And that's all I've got.

We do have a few silent prayer requests so if you think about it, a shout out to Him certainly wouldn't be lost on our family. Let me assure you, though, that we have absolutely nothing about which to complain.


God rewrote the text of my life when I opened the book of my heart to His eyes.
Psalm 18:24

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Photography by Taylor

Simply because both photographer and subject are too stinkin' cute...


Happy Wednesday, y'all!

Because I needed some encouragement today and thought someone else may too...

How can I repay the Lord for all His acts of kindness to me? I will celebrate my deliverance and call on the name of the Lord.
Psalm 116:12-13

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Faith. Love. HOPE.

There are some things I just don't understand, friends. Like why two precious children had to say goodbye to their mother, who was only 38 years old, two weeks ago this Thursday. I just don't get it.

At the ripe age of 34 you just should not be diagnosed with breast cancer. That's the prime of life, right? A time to enjoy your family and friends. A time to make your mark on this world. Not a time to begin the battle of your life. One that eventually takes your life.

But that's the story of my friend, Brandi Shelton, and I can promise you that she has most definitely outlived her life. Exhibit A - her pink fire truck. Survivor 2.


You see, Brandi fought a valiant fight with breast cancer. She is one of the most amazing women I've ever had the privilege to know and she is an inspiration to many. Now her truck will be that for many more.


When Brandi learned that the cancer had spread to her brain, Team Brandi - a support network of friends and family - hit her Facebook page with a plea that we raise the money needed to paint a truck in Brandi's honor. This was her daughter, Gracie's, wish when she first saw this type of truck in the spring at the Holland Corn Fest.

By the grace of God, the money was raised and Brandi was able to sign her truck...


These trucks travel across the country as part of the Pink Heals Tour to raise awareness and support for those fighting breast cancer.


As you can see, Brandi's motto was "I refuse to lose!"


Can we all just agree that's awesome?!?!


She will be missed by so many but will continue to positively affect the lives of countless women and their families because she would not give up her fight.


We grieve for the Shelton family and we pray that a peace that passes ALL understanding will envelope them during this time. 


But, as Brandi's pastor said at her funeral, we still have hope.


Because we know Brandi was a believer, we will see her again. Because - through Him - she found peace and joy even under painful and difficult circumstances, she is a role model to all.


Now here's where I am completely honest with you and tell you that we were extremely close to Tim and Brandi when we lived in Belton but, to be frank, we weren't after moving to Waco. And that I regret. Immensely.


But that doesn't diminish how Brandi's spirit has affected our family. I would venture to guess it's the same for many...


So we are holding each other a bit tighter. Showing a bit more patience. Loving deeper. Slowing down. Enjoying life. And never taking one moment for granted.


All the while trusting that our Savior is in control. No matter what, He won't let go. Those are lessons of a lifetime. Ones that Brandi lived by.


We will see you soon, friend.

Photo credits: Team Brandi
http://www.facebook.com/pages/Team-Brandi/184138761949

Monday, November 8, 2010

'Twas a Sweet Victory A Long Time in the Making

Because every Homecoming parade is followed by a football game, Taylor and I headed over to the stadium shortly after running some errands that were necessitated by the facts she was attending a slumber party that evening and I was leaving for Louisiana the next day.

We quickly spotted Jeremy Wariner, Olympic Gold medalist, who had donned his green and gold for what turned out to be a very special day.


If you've been following Baylor football at all, you know that we've experienced what some call a bowl drought for the past 16 years or so. To some that would seem like an insurmountable obstacle but to RG3 and company, it was simply a challenge.


One they have met head-on this season. As the good Lord would have it, the possible sixth win had a possibility of occurring on Homecoming. Only He could write a script like that, y'all, and I can't even describe in words how special this weekend was for the entire Baylor family.


Because, you see, neither thunder nor lightning nor weather delays nor a flash flood from above could keep this team from achieving pivotal Number Six.


Said flood did keep my khaki capris from functioning the same ever again but, hey, it was totally worth it. In the end, we had a beautiful weekend in which we honored alums new and not so, we saw a women's basketball star in a crown as a member of the Homecoming Court, saw the eternal flame passed to another generation of students and...




...witnessed what some may term a miracle on the Brazos.


Except that it wasn't...because hard work, determination and a will to let His light shine through you has the ability to accomplish much more than anyone else may believe possible.


Yes, we are incredibly proud of our team. We will absolutely attend the bowl game if it's in Texas. And we will continue to fling our green and gold afar.

But, most of all, we will continue to support athletes - across all sports - who seek not only to win games but to glorify God. Baylor is a unique university and we feel incredibly blessed to be a part of this family. One where this future Bear already fits right in...


Just to prove that our entire life is not consumed by football, I thought I'd let you know we actually missed the big finish because the weather delays cut into someone's slumber party time. Dave and I listened to the last bit on the radio in our room while trying to get Bo to eat.

We, of course, jumped up and down and did a little jig. Did you expect anything less?

And, by the way, our football team went out the next week and logged win Number Seven. They were playing a little school you may have heard of - The University of Texas - in Austin.

Can I get a Sic 'Em?!?!