2010 Year in Review

This is my fourth year to do a year-in-review. It’s fun to look back on how my life has changed over these past few years, and I think 2010 may have been one filled with the most changes, and the MOSTS fun. For past years, feel free to check out 2007, 2008, and 2009.

Where did you begin 2010?
I went to a church party, but left a little before midnight, so I rang in the new year on the telephone with my sister. New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day were both filled with dozens of media calls, and on January 2 I had a story on the front page of the paper (the best New Year’s gift a PR gal can have).
New Year’s Eve
What random cool things happened in 2010?
I went on a first date with a certain Mr. Right who ended up being the man of my dreams… six months later he asked me to marry him, and VERY soon we’ll officially be husband and wife! Other than that rather cool thing, I also went on a mission trip to Colombia, a beach trip to Florida, cooked a ton, hosted 30 people at my house for Easter, attended my first World Series game, watched my sister marry her best friend, bought a car, had my picture made with the governor, I got a new office with a window, and went on some amazing dates. Oh, and my house got hit by a tornado.
Books read in 2010?
Beth Moore’s So Long Insecurity
Son of Hamas (one of my favorites of the year)
Laura Bush’s autobiography: Spoken from the Heart (this is what I’m reading now, only half-way finished)
Orange is the New Black (such a fun book!)
Forgiveness: Breaking the Power of the Past (maybe the best study I’ve ever taught… life changing)
The Magician’s Nephew (a Narnia book)
The Horse and his Boy (a Narnia book)
Do anything embarrassing?
Right before Mr. Right asked me out, but when I knew he was kind of digging me, I had a very flirty conversation with him after church one night. I was feeling really good about myself… probably too good. As I was walking away, still looking at him as I said goodbye, I walked STRAIGHT into the visitor welcome desk. HARD.

What scripture did you study? (this is for me… fun to keep a record)
I did pretty deep studies of Isaiah, Jeremiah, Lamentations, Ezekiel, Daniel, Hosea, John, and all of Paul’s letters in the New Testament. I did an amazing study during Christmas on the Advent with Mr. Right (we’re going to make this a new family tradition) and taught Sunday School classes on forgiveness, prayer, and fasting. I had never studied much on fasting, let alone practiced it, and this year I loved learning about this often missed spiritual discipline. Even better, we had some much older and wiser people come speak and give us tips – it was so interesting to learn from them.

Did you know anybody who got married?
2010 was the year of the wedding. My other sister got married (Sarah & Philip), Sara & Dave, Amanda & Kevin, Amanda & James, my boss’ daughter, and two of Mr. Right’s closest friends. I was a bridesmaid twice and ALMOST a bride (I’ll make the 2011 list).
(With my sister @ her wedding)

Did you move anywhere?
Celebrating four years in my house this January. And getting a new roommate!

What sporting events did you attend?
I went to the last game of the Rangers World Series (we lost), and also to a Division Series playoff game against the Yankees. I went to Opening Day of the Rangers and saw a handful of their games through the summer. I also attended my favorite marathon, where I single-handedly handed out about 8,000 finisher shirts. Woah nelly, that was a crazy exhausting but very fun day.

(at the World Series)

Describe your birthday:

Mr. Right threw me a lovely birthday party at our favorite coffee shop (site of our first “sort of” date) and our two families and some friends came by for cake made by our wedding cake designer (my favorite). Since it was my 30th we did a lot of celebrating – I also went to dinner with some girlfriends, and my family and his family both had family dinners.

(at my 30th birthday)

What’s something you learned about yourself?
I learned that God really did have plans for me that were better than my own. I learned a lot about what it takes to love someone else in the way they want to be loved, and I got lot’s of great advice from married couples young and old about how to make a good marriage. Hopefully I can put those things into practice!
I also traveled to my first third-world country and learned so much about myself, my desire to serve the Lord, and my willingness to follow Him wherever He leads me. I learned a lot about people – we’re all the same, whether we live in the interior of Colombia or in the suburbs of DFW. It’s one of my favorite parts of traveling – realizing just how similar we all really are.

(in one of the barrios in Cartagena, Colombia)

Were you in school this year?

NO! For the first time since 2006… no school for me!

(NEW!) Where did you travel this year?
I got to add South America to my ever-growing list of places I’ve conquered. We took a week-long mission trip to Colombia, where I discovered that I love the people there and LOVE the food.

I also went to Destin, Florida with my family for a week, I went to “The Lake” with Mr. Right (aka – his family reunion), drove to Oklahoma for a wedding shower, took two trips to Midland, and squeezed in a quick road trip to Abilene.

Destin, Florida

Any new additions to your family?
I got another new brother-in-law (Philip), plus an enormous family through Mr. Right. I am so blessed to be marrying into a solid, laid-back Christian family who has been absolutely welcoming. All my life I hoped I’d marry into a big family, and last year when I attended their family reunion with 100+ people (complete with an old-fashioned baptist hymn sing-along), I knew my prayers had been answered!

Favorite night out?
There were several. Our first date at my favorite Italian restaurant (Taverna) and then a walk through downtown and our favorite bookstore. Or the night we had a private tour of the Amon Carter Museum and then a walk through the museum grounds and a nightcap on the patio at Starbucks. Or maybe it was the night he took me to Babe’s for old-fashioned comfort food after a particularly stressful day, and then we walked out onto the dock overlooking the lake, dipped our feet in the water and watched the stars… for hours. Or maybe it was a simple evening of hanging out next to the glow of our Christmas tree listening to the crackle of a warm fire. There were MANY favorite nights this year.

What do you want to change in 2011?

I think I’m going to get married. Maybe gain a new roommate–seems like a good idea. I also look forward to finding a new way to serve in our new ministry. There’s lot’s of new folks I don’t know very well, and that has to be remedied quickly. It’s time to start hosting dinner parties again.

Where did you spend most of your time?
I spent a lot of time home in my kitchen, cooking dozens and dozens of dinners with Mr. Right. It’s kind of “our thing” and probably why he and I have had to hit the gym a bit harder lately. Worth it though.

Do you have a new year’s resolution?
Get married.
Memorize 2 verses per month.
Read through the Bible chronologically.

What was your favorite purchase?
I didn’t purchase any of these things, but my new favorite things are (1) my engagement ring, (2) my new chaise lounge, (3) my Nook.

Did you get sick this year?
I was very healthy this year – what a blessing.

Start a new hobby?
No, but I picked my quilting and knitting back up. It seems to go in spurts, but I think this year I’ll have more time than ever before to work on projects, since Mr. Right is in grad school and will have lot’s of homework to keep him occupied. I also sorely neglected my writing (and this blog), but hope to remedy that in 2011.
My latest quilt, made from scraps of material samples from Ethan Allen

What are you hoping and planning for in 2011?

I plan to learn how to be a good wife to Mr. Right. I plan to learn how to serve in a new ministry–this includes figuring out how to be a good minister’s wife (not the cookie-cutter stereotypical minister’s wife, but one who can help my man love on our people and reach out to folks who desperately need to know Christ’s love), but it also involves me finding my own “place” in a new ministry and different areas of the church than I’ve been for the past seven years. I plan to read through the Bible in a year, this time chronologically (I have been going in book order before). And I plan to log a lot of time on my knees asking God where he wants us… whether it’s here or in some far off land. Either way, I pray that we can both be faithful to the Lord and his calling for us in 2011, whatever that looks like.

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.

Hodge Podge Blog

Just a few random updates…

1. My car has been in the shop for 24 days and $2400. Today my dad came and picked her up, and we were scheduled to trade cars back tonight… but she broke again. The mechanic had said, “Be sure to watch for such-and-such, if that happens, it’s a very bad sign.” Well, as luck would have it, such-and-such happened. So back she goes to the  mechanic tomorrow, and I will cross my fingers that the next fix doesn’t cost too much more. I’m trying to maintain my sense of humor, but it’s definitely a challenge.
In the meantime, I’m swearing off pedicures until I save for a new car. I hope you will continue to be my friend even if I have horrible hobbit feet.
2. I’m sick again. My allergies have been absolutely horrible. So have Harley the Wonder Schnoodle’s. As I’ve said before, we’re allergic to the same thing, and both of us are teetering on the edge of allergy misery this week. No time to be sick, so we’re going to continue to dope up on allergy meds and hope for the best. Makes the head a bit cloudy though.
Luckily the cloudy head keeps me from focusing on my car.
3. My professor decided to double the length of my paper due next week, on a whim. Hate is a strong word for this situation. But incredible frustration, extreme annoyance, and flabbergastedness (if it were a word) might suffice. There goes my weekend plans. Oh wait, I have to work Saturday anyway. And read three books in the next week or so. No big deal.
4. I have the blog of all blogs floating in my head… you may have seen the pictures from Facebook of my little country adventure, but it’s definitely a story that deserves its own blog. I mean, we caught armadillos on a ranch in the middle of the night while I pranced through a cow pasture in my red high heels and a cocktail dress. My joyride in that ’71 lime green convertible was one of my most memorable nights in years.
But these allergy meds are clouding my head, which greatly diminishes my ability to be witty. So the lime green convertible story will have to wait until the pollen count drops a little.

Tow trucks, backpacks, and hobbits

Today was my very last first day of school. Ever. I made my family promise that if I ever decide to pursue a PhD, that they will hold an intervention and, if necessary, knock some sense into me by force. Or, they have my permission to lock me up until I return to my senses. This is indeed my very last semester. And I think it’s going to be a good one.

And if it’s not, that’s okay, because it’s also my LAST one. Three and a half long years, and I’ll finally have something to show for all that hard work!
As for my car… they towed poor Snowflake away today. I laughed as I hid my key under a flower pot on my front porch, thinking that somebody might try to steal poor Snowflake. But they sure wouldn’t get very far! No word yet on how bad the damage is… I appreciate any prayers you might send my way for an affordable fix. I keep reminding myself that it’s just “stuff.” I’m trying to keep it in perspective. No need to stress too much about temporary things.
I wonder how many skipped pedicures it will take to pay off this repair bill? I’m guessing I may have hobbit feet by then. I’m also thinking about getting rid of my lawn boy (gulp). I know. Desperate times call for desperate measures.
In the meantime… I’m taking up a new hobby. It’s a bit of a surprise, but I promise to write all about it next week. Let’s just say that it’s an athletic endeavor that should prove to be a lot more fun than that silly half marathon I had considered training for. This one involves athleticism… precision… and cute shoes. 
Oh yeah, that’s my kind of sport.


What a week it has been…

Last week started off with a midnight trip to the Emergency Room. I’ve been struggling with some major asthma issues over the past two weeks, and it really got ugly late Sunday night. I got to the point where I could barely breathe and finally drove myself to the ER. By the time I arrived, I was in pretty bad shape (imagine trying to breathe through a stir straw), but after lot’s of drugs and some heavy duty breathing treatments, I was better. Not great, but better. 
Luckily I work at the best hospital in the Metroplex, and they took good care of me. I can happily say that I’m not only the spokesperson, I’m now also a patient (it worked for that Hairclub for Men guy). I’m just hoping to not be a patient again anytime soon, although this asthma stuff still isn’t under control. I’m working with my doctor on it… feel free to send a few prayers my way!
So that was Sunday night. Monday night I had 20 people at my house for dinner and a church meeting. You know me… I don’t do anything half way. Luckily I have some wonderful guy friends (thanks Joel) who came over early and set up everything so I didn’t have to do any heavy lifting in my sorry state. I had already baked pies the night before, and we just ordered pizza, so it was a relatively easy party… at least as far as dinner for 20 goes.
Then Tuesday, I found out my big summer school paper was due on Friday (note to self: always double check the deadline). I thought I had another week. My 50 page paper was only a 10 page paper on Monday morning, but by Thursday night at 11:55, that sucker was written and edited and emailed to my professor. Let’s just say that I didn’t eat or sleep very much between Tuesday and Thursday. That’s a lot of writing.
Then Friday I celebrated the end of my paper with a road trip to float the Comal River in New Braunfels. It was such a nice trip–18 of us stayed in two rather posh condos and floated the river for two days. We also managed a little outlet mall shopping (yes!), some two-steppin’ at Gruene Hall, and dinner on the patio at the Gristmill. It was such a nice, mellow weekend and it gave me the chance to get to know a few folks better, as well as travel with some of my very favorite friends. I had a really great time, and I got to wear my cowgirl boots.

And now I’m back, unpacked (not really, my bags are still on my bedroom floor, but I just step over them), and life is back to normal, whatever that is. This really has been my favorite summer in my history of summers, and as I look toward the fall and some upcoming fun trips (San Diego and Estes Park, Colorado!) I must say that I can’t wait.

Random hilarity in my head

1. Good old Tiffany saved the day yet again. She got my sewing machine to work, and thanks to her help and encouragement, I have successfully pieced together my first quilt! It helps to have friends who are talented, occasionally it rubs off on me. It also helps to have a hobby that involves an excuse for a girls’ night. Not that anybody ever needs an excuse for girls’ night! This means I’m well on my way to becoming a quilting phenom… maybe I’ll be the female Michael Phelps of quilting. I’ll post photos as soon as I can find where I put my digital camera…

2. I ran seven miles tonight at the park. It was ugly. On Saturday, when I did six, I felt fantastic. Tonight, I just wanted someone to shoot me. Funny how that happens sometimes.

3. I think I have a ripping problem. Or a “moving too fast” problem. Today, I bent down to grab something off the bottom shelf of my storage cabinet, and stood up too fast. Riiiiip. My high heel got caught on my cute black skirt and ripped a hole right through it! It wouldn’t be so bad if this wasn’t the millionth time I have ripped my clothes at work. I had to go home and change. I loved that skirt, but alas, now it’s just a distant memory.

4. I’m now a girl with two jobs! As if I didn’t have enough things going on right now, I have taken the job as a graduate assistant to a professor up at school. In exchange for working on projects for them from home, I’m getting free tuition PLUS a stipend! Hooray! The only challenge will be fitting in that work between my full-time job, my homework from grad school, my half-marathon training, my tennis game, my new quilting hobby, my Sunday School teaching, and my social life. Yeah, I think I can do it! (In reality, I’m super thankful to have this new job, because private school tuition is EXPENSIVE, so this is a huge blessing!)

5. A few months ago I blogged about running into a guy from high school whom I hadn’t seen in nine years. When we finally ran into each other, I was getting my hair done and had a head full of goop, wearing a shower cap, sitting under a hair dryer (hey, having hair this naturally blonde requires a lot of work). I looked awful. Well, guess who I saw AGAIN after I ran my six miles on Saturday in the heat of the day. Yep, same guy. Only this time instead of a head full of goop, I was sweating PROFUSELY, my face purple, huffing and puffing. Boy do I know how to impress a guy! Groan.

Sorry, my head was just swimming with information. I’m probably still a bit delusional from lack of oxygen to my brain after all that running. I’m off to go soak my poor muscles and slip into bed early. Thanks to everyone who has been leaving me comments, it makes me so happy to see them!

Friday Ketchup

Last night my poor softball team lost yet again. During one of our innings, they scored 8 runs (the run rule) before we ever got a SINGLE out! The final score was 15-5, but it seemed like 100-2. I consider it a victory, though, since nobody asked me if I was a boy this time. Baby steps.

I also played tennis the other night with friends. It was fantastic! Way better than going to the gym, and an excuse for me to wear a cute tennis skirt! I think we’re going to make it a standing “thing” each week… there I go again overcommitting! But this one will combine socializing and exercise–my favorite!

Life is good. I’ve got the next nine days off from work–a regular “vacation-sandwich”… with the meat being a quick trip to New York, and the buns being time at home lounging by the pool, reading books and sleeping late. Yea!