Thursday, December 27, 2012

Our Year (Photo Book style!)

Well.  This has officially been the longest I have ever gone without posting on my blog since I started writing it back in 2008.  Not because there's been a lack of things to talk about, but more because that new pain I mentioned in this post?  It hasn't gone away.  And on this blog, I've always been totally honest about all my physical problems.  Heck, it's the reason I started this blog in the first place. But ya'll. I just haven't wanted to talk about it.
That's really why I've been gone.
And I still don't want to talk about it!
So, if you don't mind...I need to give myself permission to not pour out every single issue with my back on here for a while.  If something big happens, I will (probably) post about it, but until then I need the freedom to talk about other things.
So, let me show you the Photo Book I just completed for last year!
A little background: it just so happens that since Andrew and I met, I've kept photo albums every year. It started as simply as me loving to take pictures and just needing a place to put them. But since we are going on 12 YEARS married next July, my annual albums are quite an impressive feat! And very fun to look back on and remember.
Last year was the first time I did it digitally and it turned out great.  Working online works well for me since I spend way more time than the average 34 year old woman resting in bed. 
I worked crazy hard on this one, I'm not gonna lie. :) But I was really happy with the way it turned out.  Can't wait to get it in the mail. Take a look!

Click here to view this photo book larger
Visit to create your own personalized photobook.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

My Fun Opportunity, All Because of this Here Blog

It was kind of funny. A few months ago, I noticed a comment on here from a sweet lady named Rhonda who said she'd like to discuss a writing opportunity with me, so if I was interested would I please email her?

For a split second I thought "hmmmm...that'd be cool!" then I quickly wrote if off assuming that since (by design) I do not promote this blog nor do I have any sort of huge following, it was probably nothing.

But later, my one consistent blog commenter (*waving* Hi Katie!! :) had seen the comment too and asked me about it. So I decided to send an email, just in case....
And lo and behold, it was for real!  Rhonda is the editor of a Heart Magazine and she had seen my little story and video about memorizing Psalm 139 and asked if I'd be interested in writing an article for about how the Psalms have shaped my life. 
Well, I'll be...
What a wonderful time I had doing it! I really, truly do have quite a tale to tell about this, and I am thrilled for the opportunity to share it. 
Thank you, Rhonda.  This was so fun, and your magazine is awesome. God's continued blessing to you and yours.

You can read my article at the link below on pages 8-10: (it may take a sec to download...)

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

My Favs: Summer Edition

Here are a few of my favorite things this summer.....
1). Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me (and Other Concerns) and I Feel Bad About My Neck
I am a fan of the humorous essay, and both these authors do it really well.  Having a book of easy to read chapters is the perfect addition to any bedside table, and the whimsy and wit of both writers is a rare gift-- they're funny without being raunchy--and I call that a score.
Best part? Ideal for any time you need something to do, but only have a few minutes.
Down side? Is it cliche to buy a Nora Ephron book the day after her passing?  Probably, but I did it anyway. 

2). Weight Watchers String Cheese
I'm pretty much always watching my weight or straight up counting points on Weight Watchers. So I appreciate a yummy, low cal snack.  These are hands-down my favorite right now.
Best Part? It's the best tasting string cheese on the planet (so many are too cheesy.) Also, they are perfect consistency for optimum stringing. :)
Down Side? I've found that no one can eat string cheese in a delicate fashion.
Where to get it? I've seen them at Super Walmart but not at all grocery stores, so you'll have to check. I usually stock up when I see them.

3). Essie Turquoise and Caico Nail Polish
I'm can be a very boring person when it comes to toenail color.  I choose deep wine shades (and french manicures when done professionally) and that's about it.  The one time branched out and tried a "Navy Blue" that I hoped would look cute with jeans, it made my feet look purple and sickly. BUT THIS FUN, BREEZY AQUA IS PERFECT! Every time I look at my feet, I smile.
Best Part? It stays on with out chipping for-ever.  I mean really forever.  You will have to redo your nails because of growth before chipping. And I call that another score.
Down Side?  The consistency is thin you have to be careful of dripping and apply several coats. But my uber sylish sister-in-law (in the pic with me below) confirmed that the thinness is what makes it stay on so well. Alrighty then, I'll take it!
Where? Got mine at Target.

4). Neutrogena Build A Tan Sunless Tanning Lotion
This Florida girl has never tried a self-tanner.  I've been too traumatised by stories of streaks and orange hands and I love to lay by a pool anyway--so I've never felt the need.  Until I realized that I'm not a teenager anymore and that the world doesn't revolve around my relaxing and beach going. SO... I started small, and ya'll-- I'm in love.  I may never lay out again.
Best Part?  It goes on in one easy coat and gives a perfect, natural, healthy glow.
Down Side? I usually only put on one quick coat so if I shower the next day it will fade and I'll have to reapply.
Where? I got mine at Target. I love Target.
I'm wearing it in this pic.  Pretty natural, right?


5). Publix Deli Chips and Salsa
This picture does not do this dip justice. Oh, how I wish I could give you a sample--because I'm sure you would do just what my friend Summer did after she tried it--stop on the way home to buy yourself some.  It's chopped and assembled fresh in the deli and I'm telling you people, it will forever change your chips and salsa experience.  And I do love me a good chips and salsa experience.
Best Part? It's scrumptious, sweet, and ZERO Weight Watchers Points.
Down Side?  You can only buy it at Publix.
Where?  By the packaged cheeses and meats in the Deli selection.
I'm going to go eat some right now.

Hope you're having a good summer! Any favs you want to share with me?

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Acting, Voice Over, and a Whole Lotta Trust

I'm starting this story at the end, with a picture of my Bible--open to Psalm 116--laying on the floor in my Voice Over studio.
I'm sure that sentence makes no sense, so let me start at the beginning.
It's been a crazy past few months with lots of highs and several lows.
Since I most often write about my back stuff here (so honored you bear with me! I write for myself but am grateful for each of you who read along), I've never written about the Voice Over work I've been getting into over the past 8 months or so.  I thought about it, but didn't know where to start.   Then (as usual) my back stuff got intertwined and *poof!* a blog post was born. :)
So here we are.
But it's kind of a long story. 
And to understand it completely, I must to rewind to the very beginning, that laid it's roots years ago.
Once upon a time, I loved theater and acting (and I was rather good at it too.) I don't say that to boast, just to help better explain how deep-seated some of my recent struggles are. Acting is the one talent I have that, from the time I was a kid, has always come naturally. I adore it, and for the most part, have had some fantastic opportunities with it too, usually receiving consistent, positive feedback from directors and others I've worked with.
But, over the last decade or so a pattern started to develop.  Time and time again, when different roles or open doors came my way, I'd only to be able to go so far with them before it was thwarted by my back problems.
Two examples include:
1) Landing my dream job at Disney, working there for a while, making plans to move up with the company, only have to quit due to physical stamina and an immanent back surgery.
2) Getting my second professional acting job, only to throw my back out so badly that I later had to decline their offer.
I could literally go on and on with examples like this, but these are two of the most devastating.
Not very long after both of those happened, I figured it was time to just move on to the next big "plan" on my (emphasis on the my :) life's agenda: having children and being a stay-at-home mom.   I knew acting would always be there.
So we had SaraRose (which for the record, is the best thing we've ever done, and why I want another! :)  But no one could have predicted how bad my back problems would get after that.  Three major surgeries later, and I'm pretty sure I'll never be able to act again (so much of acting is physical), or have any more children.
Whew. Those are some tough pills to swallow, let me tell you.
Most of this blog over the years has chronicled me working thru some of that.  I remember writing this post which summed up the one major question I had now that life looked so....different.
I have always been the kind of person who loves, almost needs, to have something new on the horizon--it's part of who I am, what gives me joy.  So it was really disorienting to look at the future with a bleak "what now?"
So, I decided to really pray.  I don't want to sound super spiritual or something, but around September, I even pulled a Jerry Fallwell and started fasting....I was just so desolate and desperate for God to speak and lead me.
And WOW. Did He ever! (there is something to fasting, ya'll--God can move).
In a very miraculous way that I won't go into now, God led me to pursue Voice Over work....
and I absolutely love it.
It seems to be the perfect fit, melding my love for acting (without having to use my body), and the ability to work and rest as needed.
God has opened wide every door, hooking me up with classes and critiques from professionals,  providing the finances to set up a small recording studio in our home, and even connecting me with a Voice Over artist in the area, Sean Caldwell, who does amazing work, and has offered mentor me. Wow.  And all of this is just since early this year.  Overwhelming and so, so awesome (there aren't really enough adjectives appropriate here!)
**On an different note, but a just-as-miraculous one, around this same time, God gave my husband a new job that is layered with blessings for our family.   We've been praying for 9 years for a new job like this for him, and are still pinching ourselves it's come true!**
God had been so good to us. He had answered monumental prayers.
It seemed like things were starting to make a little sense. I was believing God is alive and active more than I ever have. I was feeling more confident and in control than I had in years.  I was finally looking toward the future with hope!
I even took down my faith poster!!
But then. 
Don't you just know Satan was crouching, waiting to pounce on that one? YEA.
Well, pounce he did.
Out of no where and with a vengeance, I started having a terrible new back and leg pain. There were days I could hardly walk.  Before I knew it, old wounds reopened, and I found myself questioning, "Why do I even bother? I know the way this all turns out. Why do I ever get my hopes up? Haven't I learned my lesson? This is just going to be another pitiful, painful end" and on and on it spiraled. 
Even with all God had done, I shut down.
I stopped pursuing meetings with Sean, and I didn't even open the door to my studio.  It all just hurt too much. Stopping completely was my only coping mechanism.
Days and weeks went by. 
I lay in bed, defeated, and told the Lord I was over it.  
But I did continue to pray.  There's not much else to do when you're stuck in bed :)......but mostly because I fully believe in it's power--how could I not after all I've seen this year?
Then one night, my dad (what would I do without my dad?), came over and I mentioned to him my struggles.  As always, he helped me with my perspective, and I felt the load lessen a bit.  Then I reached out to some friends who came over and prayed with me.  A few days after that, my dear confidante, Terrie Scott, popped in to say good-bye, and I mentioned it to her as well.  She gave me some good things to think about and is the one who suggested I straight-up put a Bible in my studio as a reminder of Who's in control of all this to begin with.   I thought that was a great idea.
Then God (who I'm learning never moves as quickly as I want Him to :), dropped two new Voice Over scripts--with a deadline--smack-dab in my lap. It was very unexpected-- I had put forth no effort to find work.  But it was just what I needed to, pain or no pain, open up the studio door, and start recording again.  I even called Sean and we worked together twice this week.
I have had a blast.
The pain is still there. It's not as oppressive as it was, but it's still enough to make me nervous.  I don't know what it means...and I don't know if I want to. 
But I do know that when it comes to Voice Over, I'm going to try my best to keep on going, regardless of the pain or all my wounds and worries.  
God's gave this to me as an answer and a gift, that much I know.
And I have so much fun doing it!  I also have some cool opportunities coming up, so really, that is far as I need to focus. 
I don't know if it will all crumble, I don't know if I will have to give it up.
Heck, I don't know if things won't keep moving in a positive direction!
But I do know that God is keeping me reliant on Him.  Much like Jacob with his limp, and Paul with his proverbial thorn in the flesh, I'm never too far from humility and being desperate for the Lord. I've always wanted to live from a place like that,  I just never dreamed it would come like this. Or be this hard!  So hard I would have to keep a literal Bible close by for support!  But hey, whatever it takes. I need all the reminders I can get that God is bigger than my fears.
PS. I tried to attach some audio so you could hear some of my work, (seems mean to talk about Voice Over without something to listen to), but I couldn't figure it out. There is so much to the technical side I'm learning. I will as soon as I do!

Saturday, June 9, 2012

Have You Ever Seen a Cat's Eyes in the Dark?

This is so opposite from the things I usually post here, but this is awesome and I seriously cannot stop laughing watching it. I am compelled to spread the love. My favorite is the snapping and whistle playing in the middle. :)
Also, I adore Mr. Rogers.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

A Place Of Healing

I've mentioned before that:
A). I am a stalker fan of Joni Eareckson Tada (and Beth Moore too for that matter.)
       B). I get overly excited about things I love.
C). When I am overly excited about something I love I can't help gushing and using lots of exclamation points!!!!!!!!
That being said, please bear with me in this post; it's sure to be a combination of all 3. :)
A few days ago I started reading Joni's book A Place of Healing, and my heart is so full I could cry just typing these words out.
I have never, ever read something that so perfectly, so succinctly, so powerfully articulates exactly where I am in my current situation with pain and suffering.  I've read books that are encouraging, books that help me look at obstacles in a new light, but I can't lie that many times I read them thinking, "well, that's great. But how do I apply that while living in PAIN every waking minute?"
And that's the difference here.
Joni knows. She gets it.
Did you know Joni lives with pain?  Many are aware that she's been a quadriplegic for 40 years, or that she had breast cancer--but on top of  all that--she lives with intense pain in her neck and lower back.  And even to her, someone who knows all about overcoming limitations and hardship, the pain has rocked her to the core.
She states:
"with this pain it's--it's as though God's reintroducing me to suffering. The agony I've experienced is beyond anything I could have imagined. Words truly fail me....I never used to be this way. Honestly. I never used to whine. I never used to wake up wondering if I'd be able to get out of bed. Most of all, I never remember being this anxious or fearful....I'm afraid I'm wearing out my friends. And my husband. Just as I used to tell God years ago when I was first injured, I find myself once more praying 'Lord, I can't live the rest of my life like this'."
My heart resonates with that paragraph so deeply. I have felt all of those things too, and I need a book that gets it on that level. I need to be assured I am not alone.
Perhaps the most extraordinary thing, though, is that while Joni admittedly hates the pain, daily grapples with it and is at times deeply overwhelmed
She is not overcome by it.
Chapter after chapter speaks only hope and victory and beauty from ashes.
Powerful words of healing beyond physical deliverance. 
That is how I want to live. I don't want to give in, to let pain destroy my joy or rob me of who I am becoming.  Most of all, I never want the pain--as desperate as it can make me feel some days--to shatter my relationship with God. I know that's exactly what Satan wants to happen, I can sense that spiritual battle all around me at times, but I want to live in victory no matter my circumstances.

So, having said all that (with minimal exclamation points too--impressive! :),
I want to share with you some of her thoughts. I'm sure they may have deeper meaning to someone living with pain, but I promise if you take the time read them all the way too will be blessed.

From the chapter titled: "What Benefit is There to My Pain?"
"Maybe like me, you've occasionally worried that the cares, troubles and afflictions of this life will simply begin to wear you down, dulling your joy, deluding your hope, and robbing you of the radiance you once experienced as a believer. 
In fact, it may be the very opposite.
It isn't the hurts, bumps and bruises that rob us of the freshness of Christ's beauty in our lives.  More likely, it is careless ease, empty pride, earthly preoccupations and too much prosperity that will put layers of dirty film over our souls."
(Oh my word.  I really needed to hear that.)

From the chapter: "How Can I Go on Like This?"  (Can I hear an amen for these chapter titles?)
I am so glad that this life for us is not an easy road.  If it were, if the Lord didn't occasionally give us a taste of hell's splash over, you and I would soon forget that this world is not our home.  I'm also grateful that he opens our eyes from time to time to the magnitude of this spiritual war we are in, He does this by giving us wonderful foretastes of glory divine in the joys we experience, and he does it by allowing us foretastes of hell in our suffering."
(What a powerful thought. Suffering reminds us there is a hell.)

From  the chapter: "How Can I Bring Him Glory?"
"I've fought for just the smallest bits of normalcy and peace in my war with pain, and I don't feel as if I have very much left to offer at all. 
But in the final scheme of things, I know it doesn't matter.
He is the One who will make the most of the little I've got.  He is the One who took note of the widows mite, dropped into treasury and affirmed that her little was worth more in heaven's sight than the offering of those who had given much."
(What an encouragement to a wife and mother like me who feels her limitations so profoundly)

Of course I could go on and on, but I've gushed enough for one post.  Suffice it to say I am reading this book with a swelling, thankful heart--to Joni and to the God we both serve. 
I hope I can honor Him in my pain half as much as she does.

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Its Time: Moving the Faith Poster

Ya'll.  Can I get a hug right now?  I kinda need one because I just took big step this morning.  I took the Faith Poster down from the wall beside my bed.  And I cried.
I am actually crying now as I type this!
I knew it would be difficult, but I didn't think it'd hit me this hard. And I only moved it to the back of my door! Ha! Now I'm crying and laughing!
I guess the tears just prove how much this poster means to me.  For the longest time, it was the only thing shining life into the darkest, loneliest days of my life.  When I had nothing but tears, I'd roll over and see the sweet little clippings I'd pain-stakingly placed on there....and they reminded me to hope. When everything in my body told me life as I knew it was over, the poster hung firmly, whispering that even if my future looks different, there are still good things to come.   And at the risk of sounding dramatic, this little poster helped me visualize things to live for when I really, really needed it.
I've wondered for a while now about taking it down.  It's been up for four years (one clipping reads "A Brand New You in 2009!")  But, I just couldn't bring myself to do it.  I'd miss it too much.  And there's some really important stuff on there is still isn't answered. 
Thru the years I have prayed for all of it to come true.
And a lot of it has!
But a lot of it hasn't.
So how could I take it down?
Then, I read this.  Where Joni Earickson Tada talked about a drawing a friend did for her right after her accident.  The artist sketched Joni "putting the pieces of her life back together," and Joni explained that some of those pieces never fit back together perfectly. But that "there is great wisdom in trusting God for each piece that doesn't go back the way it was."
And that hit home. 
It was time. Time to trust that God sees and knows whether the poster is there to remind me or not.

My life may never look like the picture I hoped for when I pieced those pictures together.
But it doesn't have to.  In fact, there is greater faith in believing that.
I'm on the other side of so much. And my life is good.
Different? Yes.  Harder?  Undoubtedly.
But it is still good.  I am seeing God move in some awesome, wonderful ways for me.
Not to mention that my heart is for sure changed becuase of all I've been thru the last four years.  God has grown me, stretched me, refined me, and I will never be the same. "From Sorrow to Strength," if you will. "A Beautiful New Me."
And the inner change has always been more important to me than the physical stuff, the "Active Life!" represented in the poster.
So today I took it least it hasn't gone too far. :)
I am sad, but I am happy as well.
I appreciate you letting me memorialize it here.  I think I needed to talk it out.
And for the record, I still believe God can give everything on there and more, if He so chooses.  But His way is perfect.
The only problem I have now is that my bedroom wall looks a little bare.
Luckily, I have Pinterest to help with that. :) 

Sunday, March 4, 2012

A Thought That Counted

The other day I got a letter in the mail from my little sister.
She didn't have to send it, but she did.  And that means the world to me. 
Here's some of what it read:

"This card has been passed from my kitchen counter to my purse---just waiting for me to write it out. Just waiting for the right timing on what to say.
Although I know completely that you are rejoicing with us having another baby, I know part of you feels sad too. I couldn't say these words to you audibly, but I really appreciate your excitement (especially in us having a girl). I know it's probably hard for you and I don't neglect that in any way...
You have no idea the inspiration you are to me. I love you dearly."

There was more to it, of course, but that's the general idea. And I just want to say how much that small act of kindness was appreciated.
Thank you, Erika.
Thank you for (in the midst of your great joy) taking the time to think about me. 
And then making the effort to tell me so.
It really mattered.
I love you, too. And I'm so happy for you.

My baby sis and me

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

100 Things About Me for my 100th Post

So this is my 100th blog post. Wow. Back in 2008, I started writing here because I was very depressed and needed an outlet for my thoughts.
And I remember thinking that once my back got all better it would be neat to go back read how God healed me from such a low place.
Well.  That didn't necessarily happen how I thought, now did it? :)
But this blog has still been a soft place to fall and I love that. Even more, it opened my eyes to the others out there who write really, really good ones. This isn't one of those, of course.. but it's mine and I enjoy my little space here. 
For this milestone post I thought it'd be fun to write out "100 Things About Me," but that was before I realized what an intimidating feat that would be. Whew!
Nevertheless, I already started the list so I may as well finish.
Here goes nothing--
100 Things About Me
1. Holding warm clothes straight out of the dryer makes me smile.
2. I am pretty much cold all of the time.
3. Laughing so hard I cry is my favorite.
4. That doesn't happen often enough.
5. It makes me happy when my phone bings with a new text message.
6. But I don't like to talk on the phone.
7. I can actually be a little phobic about it.  It's odd.
8. My scardey-cat tendencies are EPIC. Always have been.
9. But I've worked on them for a long time, and I am s-l-o-w-ly seeing progress.
10. I have two recurring dreams.
11. One is that I'm in college and I find out there is a Math class I didn't take, therefore I can't graduate. Terrifying, I tell you. TERRIFYING.
12.  The other is that I am getting married and I don't know the guy and I don't want to marry him (once it was an Asian man?)...and all I want is to be with Andrew.
13.  I don't know my left from my right. And I'm not even kidding.
14.  Not knowing your left from right can be quite hazardous when you are alone and following MapQuest directions.
15. I'm a movie lover.
16. I really wish we all could agree to just ignore whatever comes after BlueRay. I really don't want to start my movie collection again.
17. I've found that wearing a hats is a good idea.  People comment on how together and fashionable I appear, when really I just skipped showering and doing my hair that day. 
18. It's a win, win really. :)
19. Favorite Oscar winning movies include: "Good Will Hunting," "Rain Man," "Forrest Gump," "The Kings Speech" and "Schindler's List."
20. But favorite rom coms are the best for a rainy day: "Return to Me," "You've Got Mail," "Sleepless in Seattle," and "The Holiday."
21. My favorite girly-girl stuff is perfect for those mopey moments when I need something special in my life: "Anne of Green Gables," "Little Women," "Pride and Prejudice," and "Gone with the Wind."
22. I also just discovered "Downton Abbey." Amen.
23. I love having a daughter.
24.  And especially get a kick out of how fancy and girly she is.
25.  'Cause I am too.
26.  I can't wait to introduce her to some of my favorite movies and books.
27.  I am sad that I may not have any more children. I grieve it.
28.  And I worry about SaraRose being an only child.
29.  I don't always understand God.
30.  But I trust Him anyway.
31.  I am descended from a passenger on the Mayflower.
32.  His name was Edward Doty; the relation is on my maternal grandmother's side.
33.  I enjoy the process of applying make-up and rarely go without it.
34. If I own any clothes that say "dry clean only" it pretty much means they will never be washed.
35. I took piano lessons for seven years and can't play a note.
36. When I quit piano old people told me, "When you grow up, you're going to regret that decision and wish you could play."
37. But I'm grown up now and I don't. Not one bit.
38. And speaking of ill-advised, hilarious childhood efforts...I once attended Basketball Camp.
39. To this day that makes me laugh because I have neither a competitive nor an athletic bone in my body.
40. Suffice it to say that it was a beautiful, redemptive day when I discovered my knack for the Theater. :)
41. I am a middle child.
42. I am also a pastor's daughter.
43. I have wonderful parents.
44. Only in the last decade or so have I realized what a rare and beautiful gift that is.
45. In fact, I hope I can raise my child as well as my parents did my sisters and me.
46. I think facebook is a fabulous invention.
47.  Except for the days that I don't.
48. When I was 16, I saw Tom Cruise place his hands and feet in the cement at the Grauman's Chinese Theater.
49.  Also that day, I got Nicole Kidman's autograph. (Um yea, this was back in Ye Olden Days when they were still married.)
50. It was a monumental day for my teenage self (major crush on Tom at the time!)
51. Now I think he's kind of a wackadoodle.
52. But even so, that day goes down as one of my best life memories ever.
53. I am like moth to a flame with a new People Magazine.
54. The only time I'm happy to see a red light in traffic is when I have a text message to finish.
55. I love me a good Bible Study.
56. I worked at Disney World.
57. Right now, my favorite sitcom is "The Big Bang Theory." Bazinga!
58. Rivaling my enjoyment of movies is watching a good television series on DVD.
59. I discovered the genius that is Gilmore Girls and The Office from a DVD marathon.
60. I miss Lorelai and Stars Hollow.
61. 10 years into marriage and I still carry guilt for not finishing my wedding thank you notes.
62. I graduated from Keswick Christian School.
63. And Liberty University.
64. I often wonder if I'll get my Masters Degree someday. Maybe.
65. I have never had my heart broken by a guy, but I have had it broken by a friend.
66. I have a fairly extensive "Gone with the Wind" collection. Old movie scripts, editions, posters and even a pen that reads "Frankly, my dear..." :) 
67. Right now, I'm wondering how many more of these I have to come up with!
68. And am hoping you aren't bored to tears wondering the same thing.
Oh well, let's keep going....
69.  I often wonder how on the world other people have money to keep up with technology (I certainly don't).
70.  I hated Jr. High.
71.  Though I can rarely articulate the words properly, I'm a poet at heart.
72. That's probably one reason I have a soft spot for John Denver music. Oh, yes. You heard me.
73. His music fills up my senses like a night in the forest, what can I say?
74. Typing all this stuff out, I'm realizing what a dork I am! (But aren't we all in our own way?!)
75. I thoroughly enjoy a good nap.
76. I've been to Israel and Jordan. 
77. I also studied theater in England, Scotland, Wales and Ireland one summer.
78. Both trips were awesome.
79. But now I've been to the all the overseas countries I've ever desired to visit, so I guess I'm good now? We'll see.
80. I am an extrovert who loves to meet, talk, laugh and hang with people.
81. But I'm kinda a homebody too.
82. My favorite pizza is Pizza Hut Pepperoni Lovers, stuffed crust.
83. An honest compliment can make my day.
84. Consequently, if I think something nice about a person, I generally try to tell them.
85. I figure, why keep kind stuff to yourself? It might make their day too.
86. I can impersonate Glinda the Good Witch from the "Wizard of Oz."
87. My husband and I met on a blind date.
88. One of my favorite, happiest past times is browsing a bookstore.
89. A good cry always makes me feel better.
90. I'm convinced I drink coffee not because I love the taste, but more because I enjoy the aroma and the warmth of the mug in my hands.
91. I have had wonderful women mentors in my life.  And I am so grateful for that. (Special shout-out to Terrie Scott and Peggy Hinson.)
92. I hope to pay that forward and mentor younger women myself as I grow and live this life.
93. It amazes me that my husband never exaggerates. Like, ever.
94. I, on the other hand, come from a long line of "gushers" who can tend to dramatize stories for effect. (It's a problem. I'm working on it :)
95. I have three major scars (all from surgeries).
96. I can't stand air vents blowing straight on me.
97. Peas and kidney beans totally gross me out.
98. Getting ready in the morning, I try and remind myself that another word for "beautiful" can be "confident."
99. I'm a sucker for a good quote and have a hand-written book of my favorites.
100. Show Tunes complete me.

Aaaaaaand that's a wrap, people! Over and out. ;) 

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

The Beth Moore Siesta Celebration (Or, Whew. I Did It :)

Well, I am back! If you read this blog pretty much at all, you know what an accomplishment this trip was for me.
Here's a little recap of everything.
This celebration was only for those of us who memorized Scripture all year and honestly, I never thought I'd be able to go.  I started memorizing just because I really wanted to internalize Psalm 139, and I knew if that was going to happen…I’d need accountability to get ‘er done. But as the year progressed and I memorized and memorized and got to verses 18…..19…..20….I started to think, maybe, just maybe I could go to the Celebration in January.
But that was a MASSIVE maybe.
Because of the pain I live with.
I haven't done anything on my own like that since all my surgeries, and the huge life adjustment.
And it's just a fact that I rely on a ton of help from other people, and need lots of rest to live my life.
But I really wanted to do it.  So I asked for the money for Christmas and booked my flight and rental car.  YIKES.
But. I did it, and I must say: I am proud.
And I also had a wonderful  time!  
My hotel was gorgeous and I met a ton of fun, sweet women (this world is filled with SO MANY awesome people, don’t you think?).

But best of all, was the Celebration. It was held at Houston’s First Baptist Church, which is where Beth’s Bible Study “Living Beyond Yourself” was filmed.  That was the first study of hers I ever did, and God spoke to me in big ways thru it.  So that was fun and strangely comforting to see it up close and personal.

There were women from all over that had memorized thru the year, but it was still a relatively intimate group of us. And I got a great seat.
Then, it started! 
And Lord have mercy, was the worship amazing! I GOT MY PRAISE ON, people!  I had to laugh when I totally pulled a Miss America 2012 and forgot to wear waterproof mascara!  Um, duh. When the Holy Spirit shows up, it better be waterproof. :) But what a fantastic night! 
Beth brought a WORD from 2 John.  Those of you who have done her studies can just imagine. 
After the event was over, we had a group picture, and after that, I waited my turn and got to speak with and hug Beth. Oh, yes I did. I felt so honored for the opportunity; not many others got to do that.  It’s so sweet to be able look straight in the eye and talk with someone God has used to  profoundly speak truth and growth into your life.  Then she squeezed my hand and hugged me too.
So I pretty much consider us besties now. 
Me and my new BFF
I also got to chat with her daughter Amanda and meet two other bloggers, Melanie (Big Mama) and Sophie (BooMama) who write hilarious blogs that I love reading.

So, that was Friday, and I don’t think I have ever been so relieved to see a big, king-sized bed in my life. 
Saturday morning, I breakfasted with some of the sweet girls I’d met the night before and then followed them to the church for the conclusion of the event.  I had flashbacks of AWANA when we had to get with a partner and recite our verses.  But I did good!  I even got an extra gift for being able to say all 24 from the whole year.  See, AWANA?  Have I redeemed myself yet? (AWANA and I have a complicated relationship.  I loved it; it didn’t love me back.)
But seriously, it was a powerful, beautiful service and lucklily this time, I remembered the waterproof!
By the time it was over, my poor back was SCREAMING at me, so I had to bow out of lunch plans to go back to the hotel and rest, but I rested in satisfaction knowing that I had done it. The biggest part of the whole adventure was over.  And I had gotten to meet Beth Moore. :)

The most difficult part of the whole experience for me was THE DRIVING. Ugh. I had very detailed maps (thank you, Andrew) of each place I had to go, but I pretty much got lost every single time I got out on those crazy, crisscrossing streets.  So I avoided driving around out at all costs.  It was only in the car, lost, all by myself that I heard myself screaming “WHAT WAS I THINKING??! I SHOULD NEVER HAVE DONE THIS!!!”  
But, I knew deep down I didn’t really mean it.
It was totally worth it. 
But believe me when I say…. I AM glad to be back home!

Thursday, January 19, 2012

A trip. And he knows me well. :)

Tomorrow, I'm flying to Houston to attend a special Celebration for all the women who memorized 24 Scripture verses this year thru Beth Moore's blog!
I am very excited...I know it's going to be tons of fun and extremely encouraging.
I am also a little nervous, because this is the first trip of this magnitude I've taken since all my back stuff has happened.  Should be an interesting adventure! I'm just gonna take stuff as it comes.

I also wanted to share a cute little anecdote before I take off. 
I already posted about it on Facebook, so sorry if this is overlapping for anyone.

But while I was packing the other night I mention to Andrew, "Good grief, it seems like everyone is so worried about me--I have travelled before, you know." (I had been *a little* bombarded with helpful travel hints that day.)
And his answer to me was brilliant; the man knows me well:  "Kristen, it's kinda like in 'Return to Me' when years after her big surgery Grace goes to Italy... and her grandpa and his friends are all standing around worrying if she's going to be alright, and asking if she really wants to do this. We've all been with you thru so much, and we just want to make sure you're going to be ok."
And I totally got it--I speak movie. :)
And *tears* it made me very grateful for everyone in my life that cares so much.

Wish me luck!!

Thursday, January 5, 2012

It doesn't happen often that something greatly exceeds my expectations. I'm a dreamer, ok?!
But there is one thing that's done it. 
Over and above. 
Cup to overflowing.
Storybook beautiful.
Totally better than I ever dreamed it might be.