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 froze

Last night we had our second “how to drive a standard” driving lesson. And I did so unbelievably awesome…

Until I stalled out at the gas station down the street, and the car died. While a man watched in disgust. And I froze. I just couldn’t do it. I had to do the walk of shame around the car to the passenger seat while Mr. Right got us back on the road.

Woah nelly, we’ve got some catching up to do!

My head is filled with so many things, that the only way I could organize this post was with numbers. I figured a mind-map wouldn’t fit on the screen.
1. Yesterday was International Kissing Day. I wish I had known! Luckily, since we’re googley-eyed newlyweds, we “accidentally” celebrated anyway. I think every day should be International Kissing Day.
2. Last week we were both sick with head colds, so we spent most evenings cuddled in bed, watching The Adjustment Bureau, Unknown, and two nights of Schindler’s List (plus a documentary in the DVD extras). Schindler’s List may be one of the most powerful movies I’ve ever seen, but Mr. Right and I had nightmares for two nights and I felt incredibly stressed for a few days (I’m a total softie when it comes to blood, guts, and sad movies). But, movies like that and Hotel Rwanda should be required viewing for everybody… a good reminder that people, no matter their color, gender, nationality, political affiliation or socioeconomic status, are still just like me and should be treated with compassion. And a reminder that power in the wrong hands can be devastating.
3. I got to quilt for an entire day on Saturday. It was absolutely glorious. I have huge urges to create things, and being able to work uninterrupted for hours at a time on a project is a huge release for me. I think I’m going to make it into a baby quilt (not for me… no announcements here) instead of doing a twin-size as previously planned. (ps- the colors on this “cutesy” iPhone picture are a bit washed out)
I’ve already got a hankering to begin the next one, which I think may be a yo-yo quilt.
4. We had a wonderfully normal 4th of July holiday. After a year of extremes (extreme health issues, extreme home makeover), I’ve felt like Mr. Right and I seem to have hit our married couple stride and are enjoying “normal” newlywed life. Friday night he cooked me a fabulous steak dinner and we watched a movie, Saturday night (after my quilting marathon) we had a couple from church over and got to hear about the two years they spent living in Vanuatu. What an adventure.
(photo borrowed from sweet Courtney @ church)
Sunday we had two church parties, and during the latter one Mr. Right and I schooled everybody in speed scrabble. Monday we helped friends unpack their new home and then spent the afternoon/evening laying out by the pool at my parents’ house and enjoying a big family dinner.
We topped off the weekend by riding bikes out to the lake by our house, lying on a picnic blanket and watching fireworks. It was a moment I wish I could bottle and relive over and over… both because of the fireworks and because of the cute boy lying next to me holding my hand.
Sigh. What a wonderful weekend.
5. Mr. Right and I are total planners. So much, in fact, that I can tell you what we’re doing every weekend between now and Labor Day. It’s just the way we roll. Which is why nights like last night are so special – instead of being responsible adults and doing responsible adult things, we decided at the very last minute to drop everything and go out to sushi and a movie (Transformers)… on a school night. Poor Mr. Right still had to stay up past midnight to finish his homework, but it was worth it (of course, easy for me to say, I was back home and asleep by 10:30). I sure do love that boy, in case you haven’t noticed.
6. Project 115: I had a relapse. I’m going to admit it. I haven’t gained anything back, but I haven’t worked out in more than two weeks – first because we house sat far away from our gym, then because I got sick with a headcold… and after being so good about watching what I eat, I had a total relapse over the 4th weekend and ate my weight in desserts and barbecue. But this morning I was back at spin class, and I am determined to be back on the wagon. I still have 12 pounds to lose… and I’m all in. I promise. For real. I have a closet full of clothes that are just begging me to fit back into.
7. One more thing… we’ve been doing the Dave Ramsey envelope system for months now, and we absolutely love it. So easy, so guilt-free when I want to spend my money, and I don’t waste time adding up all my debit card $5 purchases to figure out where I spent my money each month. It really works for us. But this week, I lost my envelope! I have one more week until the new budget cycle and I can’t find my lunch/pedicure/Starbucks/random-I-want-to-buy-this envelope ANYWHERE! Could be a long week of PBJ sandwiches for me, huh? If you find an envelope that says “Bethe’s Blow Money” please return it ASAP.

Living the dream… I mean, adventure

This week we’ve had a lock out and a break in. We have laid in the pool, eaten Indian food, stayed up late watching reality TV… and called 911. My husband had to jump a spiked fence and we watched one of the most moving movies of my life. And I found a new way to live my passion.

First things first. Our rent house got robbed. It stunk. All they got was a bunch of copper wiring, but they did considerable damage to our air conditioner (outside and inside) and made a nice little mess that I’ll have to clean up. But thankfully they didn’t scratch my newly painted cabinets during all their debauchery and lowliness. Small wins, right?
The worst part was that it took the Fort Worth Police Department four hours to respond to our 911 call. FOUR HOURS. And since our AC was damaged and the house has no furniture, we had to sit in lawn chairs on the front porch in our work clothes, getting eaten by mosquitos and sweating in the humidity as we waited… and waited… and waited. It was a lot like camping, minus the camp fire, tent, or the soothing sound of crickets chirping. Apparently Wednesday nights are hopping nights for the Fort Worth police. We made our initial 911 call at 7:30 (right after the most lovely date with Mr. Right at our favorite Indian food restaurant) and the police finally rolled up at 11:15 p.m. On a work night. Lovely.
Crazy thing is, I feel total peace about this house. It’s been on the market for two weeks and has already had a break-in, and yet I know deep in my soul that God is in control. He has proven in the past that he can take care of us and that he cares about the smallest details (I mean, he brought me the man of my dreams by way of Colorado and Oklahoma and somehow convinced him that he should drive 45 minutes to join a church he didn’t have any connection with). I know he will prove faithful, and so we continue to thank the Lord for protecting our house from serious damage, for keeping us away during the break-in, and I know that when His time is right, that cute little house will sell.
Speaking of break-ins, my nextdoor neighbor at our OTHER house had their front door kicked in last week… while they were home. My sister also had her door kicked in about a month ago. Yikes. Good thing I have that intricate security system with the lasers like they have at the casinos in the Oceans 11 movies. One foul trigger and BAAAAM!
Back to our week…
We house sat for my parents this week, which meant we took full advantage of that wonderful pool in their backyard and the many cable channels on our TV that we’re too thrifty to pay for. Being removed from our regular surroundings and without any house work to do felt like a mini retreat with Mr. Right, and we had such a wonderful time together. I feel like my batteries are recharged.
There was the one little snafu while house sitting where Mr. Right got locked out while taking the dogs out to use the bathroom at 6:00 a.m. during a rain storm, while I blissfully slept on the other side of the house. After ten minutes of pounding on the back door, he had to jump their 6-foot, wrought-iron fence (with spikes) and come around to bang on the front door until I (finally) heard him and let him in. Poor guy, he married a VERY sound sleeper.
I have a new favorite TV show – Extreme Makeover Weight Loss Edition. I love watching the one-year transformations… it’s so much more gratifying than waiting an entire season of The Biggest Loser. It has replaced The Bachelorette as my very favorite reality show (this season is oh so boring).
And, we watched Hotel Rwanda. I’m now ready to move to Africa and adopt an orphan (or two). That was the most disturbing and moving movie I have ever seen, and it’s just another way that my heart continues to spur for people living in far away places. I have to admit I had to cover my eyes on more than one occasion. You should watch it.
Speaking of people in far-away places, Mr. Right and I are getting ESL certified next month, and we plan to start teaching in the fall, most likely through our church or at a location that’s brimming with internationals (we have our eye on one). I’ve had a heart for women’s ministry for many years, and after retiring from teaching my beloved ladies’ class at church when I got married, I’ve been praying that God would provide a new ministry for me that I could be as passionate about, while still supporting my husband in the class that he works with. I think I have found my answer, and I’m so excited! We sat in on a class last week, and my heart leapt with joy as I saw women from all different cultures sitting together, gaining practical skills that will help them thrive in their new home, but also being exposed to the gospel that has the ability to transform their lives.
I’m just giddy.
As for Project 115… the good news is that my pants continue to get looser by the week. The bad news is that I had to take a week off because our house sitting put me 30 minutes from work (instead of 5) and nowhere near my gym, so those 5:30 a.m. workouts were out. But I’ve still been watching my calories and I plan to pick up where I left off on Monday. Promise.
We have something really fun planned for this weekend. I’ll give details next week.

My A.D.D. version of updates

1. I’m still going strong on Project 115. I did the P90X legs workout and the Ab Ripper X this morning. I feel thoroughly ripped, and may not be able to walk well tomorrow, but I’m certain that my legs will someday look like hers.
2. One week into Project 115 and I’ve gained two pounds. I’m hoping beyond hope that it’s muscle, because I’m already noticing some new definition. So, 13 pounds to go. Crud.
3. I have a new favorite restaurant – Zoe’s Kitchen. Their spinach wraps are to-die-for. No kidding. I may or may not have been there three times in the last 10 days.
4. If you’re not on Pinterest, you’re missing out. It’s like Facebook for creative girls. Please join so I have more pretty pictures to peruse over. My list of crafts I want to conquer is ever-growing… can’t wait to tackle a few.
5. After introducing my husband to Pinterest, he told me that this is the “dude version.”
6. Speaking of husbands, my sweet husband brought me a Sonic drink today at work. I’m so in love.


My house got hit by a tornado today. No, that’s not a euphemism for how messy my house looks after a crazy wedding week. My house actually got hit by a TORNADO. No kidding!

Thankfully it was just a small tornado, but some old ladies in the neighborhood really saw it skip throughout our neighborhood, and one of the places it touched down was in my backyard. My house is fine, but my fence died a quick and dramatic death. I heard a neighbor’s trampoline ended up on someone else’s fence, and a few others lost their chimneys. My neighbor’s tree snapped in half and two others suffered fence damage, but my yard seems to have fared the worst.
This tornado hit the day after my sister’s wedding, so I hadn’t slept in a week. It was the most amazing wedding in the history of weddings, but as with any big event, exhaustion plus emotion plus constant activity for days in a row makes for a delicate emotional state. So you can probably imagine my reaction when my house got hit by a tornado. Let’s just say that it was terribly scary for two minutes, and after the wind died down and I saw the damage, I did the only thing I knew to do.
I called Mr. Right. And started crying.
And he did the sweetest thing ever. He dropped everything and drove across town to take care of me. Even though I told him not to, even though I told him I was fine and there wasn’t anything he could do to fix the damage, he still came. He brought me lunch, rubbed my shoulders, and then left me to a much-needed nap while he did other things around my house.
Now the rain has stopped. The house is quiet. He’s in his study, working on homework and I’m sipping on a big cup of comfort coffee and enjoying the stillness of the early evening. I’m thanking God that he spared my house, kept me safe, and gave me a man who is so wonderfully fantastic. I am blessed.
And I am going to bed early.

Yes, still here

Hello friends. It’s me, the girl who never ever writes anymore. I’m still here, still kicking. I’m just having more fun than any girl should be allowed to have. Some days I find myself feeling so busy, and then I reflect back on my last three years of life, and I am so thankful that now when I’m busy, it’s because I’m doing things that I tremendously enjoy. I have a countdown feature on my beloved iPhone, and it tells me that it’s been 77 glorious days since I graduated. Let me tell you, life after school is pure heaven.
I survived working another marathon. This one just about wiped me out, yet helping out brings me a lot of satisfaction. After five years, I’ve come to really like the people who run this event and look forward to it all year. And working the finish line yet again gave me “the bug” to run a big race. For the first time in my life, I felt the desire to run a full marathon… all 26.2 miles. We’ll see if the bug is still alive and well come this fall, or if it has been replaced by yet another new hobby. If nothing else, I’m still determined to run a Half in honor of that milestone birthday of mine this fall.
I saw a rodeo at Cowboys stadium with my sister’s community group. After watching these bull riders, I’m seriously considering permanently trading in my stilettos for my pink cowgirl boots.
I recently met the governor. He came to town to stump for my state representative, and since my job has a strong community relations aspect, I stopped by to do some networking and represent my employer. I had to elbow my way through a bunch of old republicans to finagle this picture.
My sister and I saw my very favorite band, Needtobreathe, play at the House of Blues the other night. It may have been one of the best concerts I’ve ever been to. I love all their songs, and they’re ten times better live than on their CDs. We had standing-room-only floor tickets, and my fire cracker sister looked at me and said, “We’re pushing our way to the front… follow me.” And then my super petite sister elbowed her way through a bunch of huge guys until we were only a few feet from the stage. I was so proud. What a fun sister bonding night.
I’ll leave you with the greatness of Needtobreathe.

2009 In Review

This is a little tradition I started back in 2007 (you can read 2007 here and 2008 here). It’s fun to look back over the year as I start to make my resolutions for 2010.

Where did you begin 2009?
I hosted a New Year’s karaoke party at my place. The best part was having the karaoke machine all to myself for an extra day. I may or may not have sung every song on the CD… twice. I swear I sound JUST LIKE Alicia Keyes when nobody is around. Promise.
What random cool things happened in 2009?
I walked barefoot on the beach in San Diego. I rode a horse in a blizzard in Colorado. I saw South Beach in Miami during spring break (THAT was scary!). I floated the river in New Braunfels. I hiked a medieval wall overlooking the sea in Croatia. I roamed the streets of Florence alone, eating my weight in croissants and gelato. I auditioned for a reality television show. I flew first class for the first time. My sister got married. One of my articles got published in a real-live journal. The singles ministry at my church exploded (in a good way). I finally finished that masters degree.
Favorite books from 2009?
Don’t laugh – but 20o9 was the year of the Twilight novel (actually, all four). I also read A Voice in the Wind, Black Like Me (awesome!), The Razor’s Edge, Light on Snow, and at the moment I’m trodding through Wuthering Heights. I think that’s nine books in 12 months… not fantastic, but remember, I was also in school.

Do anything embarrassing?
Of course! I mooned a store full of people at Banana Republic. I had a meltdown at the Apple Store. I cooked a cucumber, mistaking it for a zucchini. I thought I poisoned a dinner guest with salmonella (turns out she was fine…). And many, many other silly, klutzy, wonderfully embarrassing things. But at least I didn’t set my hair on fire in 2009. Things are looking up, people.

New Question: What scripture did you study? (this is for me… fun to keep a record)
I taught Esther & the Psalms of Ascent in 2009, so I lived and breathed that scripture throughout the year. During my own personal study time (when I wasn’t preparing for my lesson) I went through a good part of the Old Testament (Joshua, Judges, Ruth, 1 & 2 Samuel, Hosea, plus a good deal of time spent in the other Psalms that I wasn’t teaching). And as always, when I’m having a bad day/week, I go back to my favorites – 1 & 2 Corinthians and Romans… they’re like my comfort food.
Did you know anybody who got married?
My sister! Plus, I went to weddings for Tera & Lee, Katie & Justin, Rebecca & Tyler.
Did you move anywhere?
Thank you Jesus… no.
What sporting events did you attend?
Rangers games, a Cowboys game, a Baylor football game, a TCU football game, a Mavs game or two, and a marathon race. I’m in love with the new Cowboys Stadium, by the way. Never thought I’d say that.
Describe your birthday:
I had my first ever surprise party! It was so fun and I was definitely surprised! You can read about it here.
What’s something you learned about yourself?
I learned that if someone is in the hospital, you should visit them. Or bring them a meal. Anything to be sure they realize that they’re remembered.
I learned that if you’re praying for someone, you should tell them… because they probably need to hear it. The girls in my Sunday School class–so many of them–provided such good encouragement at different times throughout the year with little cards and emails and phone calls. They’re a wonderful reminder that we’re here to reflect God’s glory (and love) to other people.
Speaking of which… in 2009 I heard God speak more loudly and more clearly than probably any other time in my life. It was wonderful and humbling and encouraging and convicting. Praying for more of that blessing in 2010.
I learned the hard way the importance of taking time to rest, before life forces you to do it anyway.
Were you in school this year?
Yep… I took five classes in 2009. But you already knew that. I also spoke at a couple of junior high schools and to some college classes at TCU and UTA.
Any new additions to your family?
I gained a new brother-in-law whom I just adore. And he and my sister adopted a new puppy… a Goldendoodle named Rusty. He’s a maniac, but he’s a cute maniac.
Made new friends?
That’s the beautiful thing about life… it’s always bringing new folks into your path. I made some really fun new friends this year… both guys and girls. I’d list their names but don’t want to leave anybody out.
Favorite night out?
When I was in Santorini, Greece, I sat on a patio for about four hours, enjoyed a leisurely dinner and watched the sun set behind a nearby volcano. When the sun finally disappeared, everybody cheered. How often have you seen folks cheer for a sunset? Only in Greece…
What do you want to change in 2010?
I want to cook more and read more. Be waiting for a dinner party invitation from me very soon.
Other than home, where did you spend most of your time?
If you don’t count TCU and church, I spent a good amount of time hanging out at the lake, laying out by the pool, or finding just about any excuse I could make to spend time outdoors.
Do you have a new year’s resolution?
Besides cooking and reading? You’ll have to stay tuned…
What was your favorite purchase?
Plane tickets. My iPhone. And maybe the Words with Friends App (shout out).
Did you get sick this year?
After five years of never taking a sick day at work, I took my fair share in 2009. I got the “regular” flu in February (2 weeks of fever and 25 blogs) and then got the “swine” flu in September (cake compared to the regular flu). I also made my first trip to the ER for my crazy annoying asthma. But it was probably a good thing, because now I can say “I’m not just the spokesperson… I’m also a client.”
Start a new hobby?
I took salsa lessons for three months. Trust me, these hips don’t lie. Although they stutter occasionally.
What are you wishing for in 2010?
In 2010 I am looking forward to living a life of spontaneity. Less planning and more flying by the seat of my pants. I hope to squeeze in a trip or two, spend a ton of time with friends and family, and officially start (and maybe finish) the book that I’ve been mulling over in my head. And whatever plans I have will take backseat to what God has planned for me, because let’s face it, my friend, those are the only plans that really matter.

You should be reading this

I’m working on a couple of posts… a 2009 recap, my 2010 New Years Resolutions, and a scripture/church one that may not ever get posted, but will at least be sent out to the lovely ladies in my Sunday School class. So much to do, and so little time.

Oh wait. I’ve got all sorts of time these days! And I am so very grateful! Not only am I done with school, but I’m enjoying a bit of a Christmas holiday from work. I truly adore my job, but I also am one of those people who realizes that I’m a much better employee if I have some time off to myself to play and recharge. And that’s exactly what I’m doing this week… and man is it nice!
So while you anxiously await future blogs (nah, I know you’re busy too!), here’s some reading for you:
The Pioneer Woman – Recipes, plus fun stories from a “regular gal.” I like regular gals, seeing as I’m about as regular as they come.
Copy Cat Chic – This gal takes trendy, expensive items, then points you toward a cheaper-but-equally-chic steal somewhere else. I’m on a big home decorating/reorganization kick, so this one is right up my alley.
Beth Moore’s Blog – Anybody who knows me knows I simply adore Beth Moore and her Bible studies. I find a lot of encouragement from reading about this great woman of God who is another one of those “regular gals” who finds humor in normal female things. One of my favorite Beth Moore stories was when she forgot her hair stuff and had to tease her hair with a fork. I’ve been known to use any random sharp object I can find to part my hair… including a pencil, tweezers, my keys…
Back to organizing those closets and cabinets. There’s something so refreshing about regaining control of your life, one messy cabinet at a time. Yet somehow the more I organize, the more junk I seem to accumulate on my kitchen counters that no longer have a “home.” Luckily I’m taking a car-full of goodies to my church’s food pantry/clothing closet this week – so I can get rid of all this superfluous stuff and somebody else can be blessed with items they need.