Postcard from Marco Island

I just got back from a glorious four-day trip to the beach where I felt like a newlywed all over again. 
Mr. Right had a conference in Marco Island, Florida, and I happily hitched a ride with him and turned it into a mini vacation. Emphasis on the vacation – I did almost nothing but lie on the beach, lie by the pool, sip diet coke and soak up some new books. 
And write. Every morning I took my laptop down to the pool and hashed out pages of my new novel. Did I mention that I finally got the nerve to start the novel I’ve been day dreaming about for years? It’s absolutely terrifying and I’m not yet ready to divulge much about it, but it’s also exhilarating and a bit dangerous – in a good way – to finally sit down and pour out my thoughts onto paper and see where it all ends up. Who knows where that will be.
In the afternoons Mr. Right would join me (laptop-free this time) on the beach or by the pool for more sitting and doing absolutely nothing. I never just sit and do nothing at my house, so this made me over the moon happy. Besides, Mr. Right looks even dreamier while hanging out at the beach.

Two of our evenings were filled with conference obligations (which we enjoyed, the people there were a lot of fun), but one night we had all to ourselves, and Mr. Right cooked up a little plan to wow me right there in Florida. We got takeout Chinese food for dinner (he called it the “best bad chinese food” on the island), and we had a picnic on the dock of a yacht club, watching the sun set into the ocean as we dangled our feet in the water.
It was quite romantic.
And then we topped everything off with ice cream. It doesn’t get any better than that.

Our trip also allowed me to cross TWO items off my summer bucket list
1. Dip my toes in the ocean. This photo shows my toes in the sand, right next to the ocean. The picture of my toes in the ocean makes my toes look funny. And I’m a girl and I don’t want you to see my toes looking funny (I think it’s something about water reflecting light and making things look distorted? I should have listened in junior high science class.). So here are my toes in the sand. But trust me when I tell you that I not only dipped these toes in the Gulf, but I swam all the way to my shoulders. You see, I don’t like to get my hair wet. Even for special occasions like bucket lists.
2. Take a moonlit walk on the beach. We put this off to the last night there (because the other two nights we were in food comas from so much dessert), and on that night it rained. But I couldn’t let a little rain (and mild lightening… mama, I promise it was very mild) stop me, and so we took a moonlit walk on the beach, in the rain. It was like something straight out of the Notebook. It was also my favorite part of the whole trip – standing in the dark, barefoot on the beach, listening to the waves and kissing in the rain.
I wish I had gotten a photo of it, but it would have looked like this:
So instead I’ll leave you with this – an almost equally bad picture of us enjoying dessert, just the two of us, right before our rainy moonlit walk. The quality of the photo may be poor, but it’s a good reminder of a special date filled with big conversations and lot’s of chocolate cake.

The Great Camping Trip of 2012

We have been wanting to go camping ever since we got married – I’m not the most outdoorsy girl out there, but I do love a weekend camping trip. There’s just something about sitting in a lawn chair, cooking dinner over an open fire, sleeping under the stars, and peeing behind a tree that just says FUN.
Oh wait, maybe not that last part. But seriously, I LOVE camping. Especially when the camping is so short I don’t have to shower in their facilities. In this case… an 18-hour campout, 45 minutes from our house.
It has taken us two years to find the perfect weekend with the perfect weather for our little adventure, but a few days ago Mr. Right sent me a text that said “How about a campout Friday night?” And the trip was on…
We headed out to Holiday Park at Lake Benbrook, just the two of us, Harley the Wonder Schnoodle, a tent, and a car full of stuff. Mr. Right took care of all of the details (he is such a catch, isn’t he?) and all I had to do was pack an overnight bag. 
We made our way to our little paradise in the woods (Campsite #97… totally worth the $14), quickly put up our tent, set up our gear, and breathed in the beautiful outdoor air.
And just then, a giant van pulled up, and out spilled an entire troop of junior high boy scouts, destined to take the two campsites right next to ours.
It was like my favorite movie, except boys. Eager, excited, extremely awkward boys experiencing their VERY FIRST CAMPOUT EVER! (insert squeals of excitement here) It was so funny to watch them skip around in pure glee over their weekend adventure with the dads.
While the boy scouts were enjoying their hotdogs and chips, my gourmet chef of a husband made us steak, grilled veggies and dessert wontons cooked in our cast iron skillet (filled with nutella and banana… they were outstanding). 
I’ve decided everything tastes better when cooked on an open fire. Especially when it’s cooked by your smoking hot husband. We basked in our cozy steak dinner and turned it into a really special date.
That night, thanks to our new air mattress and my trusty ear plugs (and who are we kidding… a hefty dose of Benadryl), I slept better than I usually do at home. 
The next morning Chef Right whipped up homemade french toast cooked in a cast iron skillet, and french press coffee for each of us (we even do “his” and “hers” coffee when we camp). Again… it was glorious.
Side note: I love how when you camp, it’s perfectly normal to have a roll of toilet paper next to all of your kitchen things. 
Since we were only about 15 minutes from my in-laws’ house, they met us for breakfast. They are so dear to us. 
We finished the camping trip by taking Harley the Wonder Schnoodle on a long walk around the lake, admiring the many spring wildflowers and enjoying the gorgeous weather.
After we packed up the car we decided to swing by to watch Mr. Right’s dad do some roping practice. His hobby is team roping, and I’d never seen him do it before. They’ve got a great set-up that includes a remote-controlled gate to release the cows. He even let me go on a quick ride on his prized horse Pokey. (Yes, I realize that hot pink polka dot running shorts are not exactly appropriate horse riding gear… you can also note that I’m still wearing the same shirt I wore the day before… gotta love camping.)

And then we headed back home for a hot shower and a two hour nap. Which is exactly how I like to end my camping trips.

Stay tuned, it’s a big week on the blog… I’ll tell you about the night when someone asked me, “How does it feel to be the only white person at this party?” And, I’ll debut pictures of my sister’s baby shower and THE baby quilt.

Happy Anniversary… for real this time

We’ve been celebrating for a week, but today, January 8, is our REAL anniversary. So of course I’m feeling extra mushy, going back and rereading Facebook messages from our wedding day, and thinking back to all of the things I was feeling, all the special people who were around us, and how I had no idea just how much I could love my husband.

This is the video we played at our rehearsal dinner… which makes me weepy and warm and fuzzy.

And this is what Mr. Right surprised me with this afternoon… he practically chased down a Girl Scout to snag me my absolute favorite cookies (I have a habit of hoarding them in my freezer and rationing them so they’ll last me until the following year). In fact, since he had to work most of today (which is why we’ve extended our celebration to a full week – a trade I will happily make), I will admit that I may or may not have spent my afternoon lying in bed, reading my book and munching on cookies (only two) with my electric blanket on full throttle, thus probably cooking my innards but keeping my toes toasty and warm.

And, he bought me dozens and dozens of roses.

I’m a sucker for flowers.

Happy anniversary to my wonderful husband and best friend.

Prayer & dance parties

They pushed the closing of our house back a few more days. Which means we have to pay another month’s mortgage. Which wouldn’t be a huge deal, except that I thought we were done. I thought we were finished paying unexpected expenses.

We’ve already paid to fix the foundation. We paid to fix the air conditioner that was vandalized during the break-in. We paid to rewire most of the house. Paid for some miscellaneous minor repairs. Paid someone to water our grass for four months. Paid to repaint the whole interior. Paid to replace a set of doors. Paid two mortgages for five months. And we still have to repay our tax credit to Obama.

My first response to this latest news wasn’t rejoicing. I cried. A lot. And then we prayed together, reminding ourselves that we will continue to trust in the Lord even in the midst of bad news. We will choose to give thanks in all circumstances, even when it’s not easy. Or fun.

And then Mr. Right and I threw a dance party in our living room to cheer ourselves up.  Dancing silly hip-hop moves I learned in middle school to Sir Mix A Lot made us laugh until our sides hurt. And then we slow-danced to George Straight, right there, barefoot in our living room.

We decided to choose joy.

Fast forward to today… Mr. Right called me this afternoon with wonderful news. He called our bank and explained our situation, and we don’t have to pay our mortgage this month after all! The banker was so kind and offered a solution that works great for everybody… and we found out we get $300 more back on our escrowed taxes than we originally thought. So, we actually “made” some money today! (which is all theoretical since we’re still taking a loss… but less than I thought we would be losing as of this morning)

There will be some rejoicing going on tonight in the Wright household…

We continue to choose joy. And I may celebrate with ice cream.

I know what you did last summer: summer bucket list update

Summer 2011 is officially over. Not only was it the hottest summer of my lifetime (68 days of 100 degree temperatures… holy cow!) but it was my first summer as a newlywed, and it was full of adventures.

Remember our summer bucket list? Here’s how we did…

1. Swim

2. Watch fireworks

3. Take a picnic

This may have been our most romantic date yet – Mr. Right packed us the most amazing picnic (with homemade potato salad and chocolate chip cookies… swoon), and we rode our bikes down to Trinity Trail in Fort Worth. We sat on our picnic blanket for hours and watched the sun go down and talked about life, our first eight months of marriage, and what we want to do this fall. It was maybe my favorite date ever.

4. Go on a bike ride

5. Watch a sunset

6. Go to the lake

7. Eat a leisurely dinner on a restaurant patio (too darn hot)

8. Host our cousins for a visit (we went and visited them in OKC instead)

9. Go to Will’s mall (We didn’t make it there, but Will’s grad school is doing a cover story in their school newspaper about his evangelism efforts at this particular mall which has an international flair… I’m so proud of my man, and can’t wait to go with him there soon).

10. Ride the train to Dallas

We decided to switch out the train ride for a day in Dallas at the Dallas World Aquarium and dinner at Iron Cactus… I highly recommend both! It’s not on the train route… so we drove.

11. Eat dinner on our back porch  We substituted breakfast, and Labor Day morning was the first cool opportunity ALL SUMMER to do this… but we snuck it in just under the wire. I had waffles. It was glorious.

12. Discover a new restaurant – My favorites were Cafe Medi and Twisted Root and Lili’s Bistro. We were also treated to a very nice dinner at Del Frisco’s, which counts since it was Mr. Right’s first time to eat there.

13. Cook a brisket – Mr. Right rocked this in our crock pot. He was so cute… I bet he checked it 87 times because he was brimming with excitement. I happily ate the product of his laborious toil.

14. Watch the newest Harry Potter

15. Lose 15 pounds – FAIL. I lost 4…

16. Eat at Cowboy Chow – just never made it over there… but this rolls over to our Fall Bucket List.

17. Cheer on the Rangers – twice… I’d post a picture but I was having a terrible hair day. Both times. I’m growing out my bangs… so this is a frequent occurrence.

18. Compete in a triathlon (Will) – I watched. And cheered. And drank coffee while my cute man swam in spandex shorts.

19. Date night on Trinity Trail (see #3)

20. Spontaneous ice cream date – there were spontaneous ice cream dates, spontaneous snow cone dates, and spontaneous fro-yo dates, which is why I failed at #15.

21. Use our crock pot – there’s a brisket somewhere under all those goodies… Mr. Right has been on a kick with the briskets. I don’t mind.

22. Eat Argentine food – My own personal chef (husband) made us homemade empanadas inspired by his summer living in Argentina. He used pizza dough… super easy. You should try it.

23. Eat Colombian food – This is rolling over to our Fall Bucket List

24. Eat Indian food

We completed 18 of 24 items… not bad for a crazy summer! We did much more than what this list covers… we took a trip to Florida, two trips to Oklahoma (Mr. Right made three), two trips to Midland, two weekends hosting an out-of-town guest, one week of house sitting… and we flipped and sold a house. I discovered spin class (and even – gasp – wore spandex), finished a quilt, sewed hundreds of yo-yo’s, went through ESL training, assured a dozen people that I am NOT pregnant, and had many fun dinners with friends. And only had two pedicures (look at me roughing it… I’m such a girl scout).

It was a very good summer indeed.

The cold front that hit over the weekend (thank you Jesus!) has inspired me to start brainstorming ideas for fall, which will definitely include a lot of quilting, finishing a Pinterest-inspired wreath, and lot’s of snuggling with Mr. Right in front of the fire. 

Ciao summer… bring on the fall and its tall boots, colorful scarves, fire logs and hot chocolate. 

I’m going to be rich

If I had a dollar for every time some well-meaning person asked me if I was pregnant…
I’d be a dollar richer. Again…
That’s right… it happened again. Is this normal, people? I was at a non-profit fundraiser over the weekend, and a well-meaning friend who has known me since I was in college, came up to me, put her arm around me, and said…
Her: So, I hear you have some BIG NEWS for me!
Me: Huh?
Her: I hear you have a BIG ANNOUNCEMENT!!!
Me: uh???
Her: So are you…
And then I knew what she was talking about. The P-word. She never said it out-right, but she didn’t have to, I knew what she was referring to. I quickly assured her that I am most definitely NOT pregnant. And then I did my best attempt at laughing it off.
But it still hurt my feelings.
I realize that every time someone asks me (probably about 10 times since January), it’s a well-meaning person who knows me and who is probably super excited that I’m finally married, and they probably assume that the next logical step is to immediately make a baby. I keep telling myself that they are not suggesting that I have a baby bump, although I have retired several shirts that may have given that impression.
I know my blog buddies (most of whom have had babies) are much more sensitive than that. But to the rest of the world… please don’t ask. Ever.
I promise that when the time comes for a big announcement (and trust me, there are no plans for anything like that for awhile), I will shout it from the rooftops. You know I can’t keep a secret. But don’t hold your breath – after spending the first four months of our marriage sick in bed, I’ve got a few adventures to experience before we start expanding our little family.
Speaking of which… for all of my sweet blog friends who prayed so fervently for me earlier this year, I’m happy to report that I have been healthy four straight months! Praise Jesus.
In other news – the “are you pregnant” question didn’t do too much to damper our evening. The fundraiser was a big BINGO game, and Mr. Right won one of the largest packages! He won us tickets to the Fort Worth Symphony at Bass Hall, the Dallas Symphony, tickets to several movie theaters, tickets to a live theater production of Scrooge, tickets to the Omni theater, plus some misc. other date nights. We are beyond thrilled.

One year

August 16 marked the one-year anniversary since Mr. Right dropped to a knee and proposed. I’ve always been big on anniversaries – I love to mark the wins and reminisce about past adventures and reflect on what the Lord has done for us since the last milestone.
So how did we celebrate this anniversary? We went with another couple friend to see The Help (which I think was even better than the book version I read last year) and then came home and re-read the letter Mr. Right used to propose. If you assumed that this weepy woman shed a few tears reading my love letter… you would be right. (You can see it’s one of many, many love letters I’ve collected from my man.)

I realized I’ve never told the story of how we got engaged… so here goes:
Mr. Right says he knew on our first date that we would get married. It took me a few weeks, but then I too was hooked. We waited six months, which seems fast to some people and slow to others – I’ve come to realize that everybody is different. For us, the decision was a very easy one.
We talked about everything, including our engagement, ahead of time. Mr. Right told me he would propose sometime in August or September, so August 1 came and went, and I got into hyper-vigilant mode. Every time we got together, I tried to make sure my hair and outfit were absolutely perfect. Since we were hanging out almost every day, that meant about 12 wasted outfits and good hair days.
He picked the one day I never would have expected it. We planned to go to dinner with a couple in our church who had offered to do our marriage counseling once we got engaged. I barely knew them yet (Mr. Right was much closer to them at the time), and being the organized planner that I am, I even confirmed with them at church the day before that we were still on for dinner.
They played right along.
Mr. Right was scheduled to pick me up for dinner. I was worried about making a good impression. And then there was a knock on my door, and instead of my man, it was my sister, who said she was there to kidnap me. She wouldn’t tell me where she was taking me.
I knew at that moment that this was it. And I immediately froze. Stopped talking. Went into a daze.
She drove me to Fort Worth. That 15 minute drive dragged on forever as I vacillated back and forth between wanting to pee in my pants with excitement and being too shocked to process any coherent thoughts. So we drove, mostly in silence.
My sister pulled up to the museum district, and standing in front of the Kimball Art Museum was my Mr. Right, looking dapper and holding a wooden box with a giant yellow bow. He took me by the hand and led me to the museum steps, next to the reflecting pool–the site of one of favorite dates when we sat lazily on those museum steps and dreamed about our future together, watching the sunset over that reflecting pool.
But back to the proposal…
He led me to our spot and handed me the box that he said he created for me to hold the many love letters he would write me in the future. Inside was a love letter telling me why he wanted to marry me, what he had prayed over our relationship, and his dreams for our future. It was the perfect proposal for this sentimental sap who loves to reread my love letters over and over and over. After I finished the letter, he dropped to one knee and presented me with a gorgeous ring. I said yes, cried, did a little hugging and jumping up and down, and then my sisters suddenly appeared with cameras and we did an impromptu photoshoot to celebrate the day.
I felt so loved.

In honor of our big day, I thought I’d share the save-the-date video I created for our wedding. Every time I hear this song now, I get warm fuzzies.

Greatest Weekend EVER

This weekend may go down in history as one of the greatest no-plans, normal weekends EVER. Here are the reasons:
1. My husband preached for the first time. I was so proud, I thought my heart might burst with pride for my preacher man. He spoke to a Wednesday night men’s service (can you guess how much I stood out amongst 50 men?) and even though you might think I’m just a tad bit biased… my man hit it out of the park. It was all I could do to stay in my chair, I was so giddy for him.
2. We had a big family dinner of fried chicken, peach cobbler AND strawberry pie to celebrate my dad’s birthday Thursday night. There goes Project 115, but it was worth it.
3. I took Friday off from work, and declared it Bethe’s Day-O-Fun. And let me tell you, it was fun. I spent the morning in my pj’s sipping coffee and sewing yo-yo’s while I caught up on missed episodes of the Bachelorette and my favorite prison show. Please, someone start watching it so I have someone to discuss the show with. At noon I mustered up the energy to put on clothes (but no makeup) and met some of my favorite girlfriends for lunch, and then we spent the afternoon at the pool, eating brownies and enjoying those wonderful girl conversations that can only be had on a summer afternoon when no guys are around. It was wonderful.
When I came home, my husband surprised me with FLOWERS and yet another love letter, for absolutely no reason at all. I gushed. And cried. And gushed some more. And then we went out on a hot date to eat our weight in meat and cheese (hooray for the Texas de Brazil buy-one-get-one-free birthday coupon!). Again… Project 115 down the tubes.
4. Saturday, for the record, we went to spin class. I know you’re finally giving me a nod of approval amidst some bad food choices this week. I even wore spandex pants, which should be good for extra credit. After class I came home and took the most glorious two-hour-nap a girl could ever have while Mr. Right cooked me a savory brisket in our crock pot, crossing two items off our Summer Bucket List. Go us. (There’s brisket under all that cilantro, tomato, poblano, and tomatillo, I promise.)
5. Saturday night we settled in for a quiet evening of movie watching (12 Angry Men) without cell phones, distractions… or makeup. Until I checked my cell phone and realized that every news station in town had called about a certain breaking news story that had just happened at our hospital. Since PR jobs are wonderfully unpredictable, I had to throw on my best black suit and race up to the hospital, makeup bag in tow, scribbling notes on the back of a Hallmark bag I’d dug out of my purse, to take media calls on what turned out to be the lead story on the 10:00 news. What an adrenaline rush. And now many of my coworkers have seen me without makeup. (Then again, they saw a lot worse during my ER visit a few years ago).
6. Sunday was full of church (and Mr. Right teaching again), a baby shower, dinner with friends, and a (gulp) visit to our favorite Mexican bakery for just ONE cookie (I know you’re judging me, and I really don’t care–maybe weighing 115 isn’t worth it anymore).
And now I’m going to turn off my computer, curl up in bed with my latest book friend and coast into the new week rested and happy.

I choose you

I must admit that there is one area of my life right now that I feel is defeating me. It makes me feel like an utter failure. It doesn’t matter what my “thing” is, we all have one from time to time. For me, it’s a battle that I seem to be fighting almost daily.
My husband calls it “bean plating,” because it’s like staring at a plate of beans and trying to analyze it, dissecting everything on the plate and wondering about how it’s cooked, why each bean is shaped the way it is, are they correctly positioned… and yet, it’s just a plate of beans. There’s no need to overanalyze. It’s just beans.
My plate of beans is causing me worry, fear, and stress. My plate of beans makes me doubt my abilities as a wife, it makes me wonder if I’m normal.
My plate of beans is winning.
Last night, as I confessed to my husband that my plate of beans–salted with insecurity and fear– is making me doubt my abilities as a wife, my kind, sweet, patient, Christian man did the greatest thing he could possibly do.
He told me, “I still choose you.” He chooses me. Even though he’s caught more glimpses of my deepest insecurities than he probably ever thought was possible… the flaws that I’ve worked so hard to hide from the rest of the world for decades… he still chooses me.
I know I’m not the only woman who craves to be chosen. Whether you’re watching Hard Time in a Women’s Prison or The Bachelorette, we see so many examples of women who will go to great lengths to be chosen. To be accepted. To be loved.
“For you are a people holy to the Lord your God. The Lord your God has chosen you out of all the peoples on the face of the earth to be his people, his treasured possession.

“The Lord did not set his affection on you and choose you because you were more numerous than other peoples, for you were the fewest of all peoples. But it was because the Lord loved you and kept the oath he swore to your ancestors that he brought you out with a mighty hand and redeemed you from the land of slavery, from the power of Pharaoh king of Egypt.”
Deuteronomy 7:6-8
Even in the midst of my battle of the beans, my husband chooses me to be his treasured possession, in spite of my biggest insecurities. That love shows me, in a way I can touch and feel, a tiny glimpse of the kind of love my God has for me.
I am so thankful for a husband who points me right back to the cross in the most unexpected of ways.


For our halfiversary (cheesy, but we love any excuse to celebrate something) Mr. Right told me about six weeks ago that he was taking me on a surprise date. He does this from time to time and I absolutely love it.
For six weeks, he teased me relentlessly, trying to get me to guess what the date was. So mean, right?

Since Mr. Right is about as good at keeping secrets as I am, he spilled the beans the day before our big date. He called me at work (thankfully my coworkers had already left for the weekend) and told me that his big surprise was that he was taking me on a shopping spree. To Northpark Mall. To buy work clothes.
And I burst into tears.
You see, we’ve been super good at following our Dave Ramsey budget, which means we’re being quite conservative on spending anything that’s not absolutely necessary. We’ve made it a priority to pay down as much debt as we possibly can before we start having kids (think car, part of our mortage, etc.). Add to that the fact that we still have two houses… and two mortgages… two electric bills… you get the idea. We’re being frugal.
Oh, and I should mention that almost none of my clothes fit. What little clothing money I had set aside has gone to buy staple items that fit… like a pair of shorts. A couple of shirts from Target. Some tops from a resale shop.
But it’s worth it because Mr. Right and I have talked a lot about our financial goals – I don’t mind sacrificing because it’s for a fantastic cause. We’re not hurting. We’re doing it together. And we’re still having an absolute blast. We’re just being extra careful. And we agreed that when we sell the house, we’d both go clothing shopping to replenish some of the things we haven’t been able to buy lately. You know, like pants that actually zip.
So that’s why I cried. I haven’t set foot in a mall since we got married, and I thought it’d be several more months. I was willing to wait. And then Mr. Right called me to say that he had sold his old laptop and with the money he made, he was taking me on a shopping spree.
Did I mention I cried?
What a sweet, sacrificial husband I married. I am so very thankful for him and his heart. We had an absolute blast on our shopping spree with all the fancy North Dallas people (talk about interesting people-watching for this suburban girl). We snagged all sorts of great items on sale (like two shirts from the GAP, originally $60 each, that I got marked down to $8 each… yea!). I have pants that fit. Tops that make me feel like a movie star. And a husband who makes me feel like an absolute princess.
I hit the jackpot.
After we finished shopping, we went to Twisted Root for one of the best burgers I’ve ever tasted. And, we got to cross off “try a new restaurant” from our summer bucket list.
I am so thankful for my man, and crazy in love with him. He works hard to find new ways to pursue me, whether it’s baking my favorite muffins, leaving me love notes in my lunch, or taking me out for a night on the town.
And he’s not the only one with surprises up his sleeve. I’ve got a little something planned for his birthday this weekend that he’s going to go nuts over. You better believe I’ve been teasing him with hints all week. He’s going to flip. I promise I’ll take a picture.