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Friday, May 30, 2014

here comes the sun


I do realize that as a working girl, summertime does not equal a three month break from reality anymore.  But that doesn't stop the feeling of freedom I get when the pools open, schools let out, boats head to the lake, and we break out the beach towels, sunscreen, swimsuits, and suitcases.

And let me tell you what, this summer is going to be chock-full of sunshine trips all over the world!

Here's the list.  Are you ready?

June 6-8 - Port Aransas, TX

Sean and I are heading down the coast for a little beach trip with his family.  I'm looking forward to relaxing and spending quality time with his clan.  Life just gets so busy here, so it will be great to kick back and enjoy each other's company.  And a trip to the beach is always a win in my book.

June 15-28 - Israel

You read that right - We're going to Israel!  Sean and I headed off on a two-week study tour with a group from our church.  The trip is through Jerusalem University College and is led by Jack Beck, a brilliant professor there.  It's a mini study abroad trip, complete with a textbook to read and homework to complete before we go.  It's heavy on history and geography and making the Bible come alive in it's setting.  It's completely nerdy, and I'm completely excited.  I know God will move in incredible ways on this trip because it's already such an amazing blessing that Sean and I have the opportunity to go at this stage in our lives. Prepare for massive photo dumps.

July 24 - 28 - Eureka Springs, AR

Family reunion with my side!  We're renting some cabins near the river and it's going to be a blast!  Floating the river, a winery or two, lots of board games (per the usual), and of course, all the love and laughter that is guaranteed with all 19 of us going!  I love how that number gets higher every trip as we add significant others and brand new family members.  There's a joyful chaos in these huge family gatherings that I wouldn't trade for the world.

And of course, we'll make a few Galveston day trips throughout the summer.  Say what you want about Galveston, but it's only an hour away and has a warm place in my heart from so many summer trips.  And hey, it's still the beach!

Bon voyage!  Go grab some sunshine!

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

May: 5k Foam Fest

Have I mentioned how much I love fun runs?

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I love the themes and the after-parties and the costumes and the crowds and all the festivities.  The 5k Foam Fest was a 5k run with obstacles, which was so fun!  Most of the big obstacles were inflatables.  And they were covered in foam.  And I loved it.  We also climbed over a rope net, crawled under some wires through the mud, ran across a floating path, and crossed the finish line by going down a huge inflatable slide. So. Fun.

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Go get some exercise! You'll have a blast, I just know it.

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

3 years

our very first picture together - Dec 2006

May 21, 2011

February 2014

May each year be better than the last.

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

dallas days

This past weekend I went up to Dallas with Sean and my good friend, Rose, to visit some old friends of ours.  These sweet friends have their first little one due in July and just bought a house!  It was lovely to see their updates and spend some time catching up.

We ate delicious Mexican food at one of Bryce and Sarah's new favorites, played some board games in their new (and super cute!) living room, and headed out to Grapevine for the annual "Main Street Days" festival.  The weather was beautiful and we had a great time sipping drinks, listening to live music, and window shopping.

Sunday, we woke up and went to service Watermark church before grabbing lunch and hitting the road.  It was definitely a quick trip, but always worth it to spend some quality time with good friends.

Thursday, May 8, 2014

Walk to Emmaus

"While they were talking and discussing together, Jesus himself drew near and went with them."
-Luke 24:15, ESV

This past weekend I went on a retreat called Walk to Emmaus.  The weekend is based on Luke 24:13-35, where Jesus walked with two men on the road to Emmaus after he had risen.  They didn't recognize him, but he taught them the scriptures about himself and all that had happened that first Easter.  When they got to Emmaus, Jesus broke bread with them and they recognized him.

In form, I learned so much from the speakers and the people on this retreat.  I met the most amazing women, and we shared our hearts and our stories along the road.  Jesus was present in the learning and the love, and I know I met people who will be dear to my heart forever.

Most of all, it was so incredible for my heart to be reminded that Jesus loves us.  Now, I was raised in the church, participated in Bible bowls, went to camp, listened to my parents, and was generally a pretty good kid.  I know the words to "Jesus Loves Me," and my childhood Sunday school classes taught me of his love often.

But too often, my heart would forget what my head had been taught.

Turns out, I've been trying to earn my way to Heaven.  I wasn't doing it on purpose - if you had asked me, I would have told you that we are a broken people and God sent his Son to save us.  We can't do it on our own and we need Jesus.  I know that.  But while I would speak those words, I would put a lot of pressure on myself to do well, to be good.

Even if my actions were right, they did not come from a place of love, but a place of duty.

That pressure quickly becomes a burden, and I found myself burnt out and unmotivated.  I could get by, but I grew dissatisfied and cynical.  Life was good from the outside, but I was weary.

My Walk to Emmaus was certainly on God's timing.  This refreshing retreat could not have come at a better time.  I was wrapped up and surrounded by love - the love that our sovereign God has for his creation.  The love that is displayed on the cross.  The love that makes beautiful things out of dust.

Now, I am inspired to do good and be well.  The good to be done is in response to Jesus - his love fills my heart, then overflows and pours out from my words and my hands. I am broken, I am weak, and I am loved.  The world is broken, the world is weak, the world is loved.  This, my friends, is the beautiful truth.

"This is how God showed his love for us: God sent his only Son into the world so we might live through him.  This is the kind of love we are talking about - not that we once upon a time loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as a sacrifice to clear away our sins and the damage they've done to our relationship with God."

-1 John 4: 9-10, The Message Translation

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Stitch Fix #1

Y'all. Have you heard about Stitch Fix? Because it's awesome.

Stitch Fix is an online personal styling service - you fill out a style profile and they send you goodies (clothes, jewelry, I believe there are even bags now!) to try on in your own home.  There is a $20 styling fee that is applied to your order if you decide to keep something.  Even better, you get 25% off if you keep everything!  Keep what you like; send back what you don't in the prepaid envelope.  Too easy.

I am not a huge fan of shopping for clothes because I feel like I'll take a million items into the dressing room and only end up with one or two things that I can tolerate.  It is not often that I try something on that I really love.  I'm only 5' tall and short-waisted, so maybe you can imagine the challenge!  But after reading all the rave customer reviews about Stitch Fix, I had to give it a try.  My wardrobe is getting desperate.  Did I mention that I don't like shopping?

Once I finally scheduled my fix, I spent the days leading up to its arrival reading every single way too many reviews.  "Everything fits!" "My style to a T!" "How do they do it?" I couldn't wait for my turn, and I'm excited to share my review!

1 - Porter Basic Legging - $38

Hello, leggings!  I didn't own any black leggings (told you, the situation is desperate), and these are a wardrobe must.  There are so many things in my closet that can be refreshed by wearing them a little differently, and these leggings may be the secret.  Not to mention that they are so comfortable and flattering.  Keep.

2 - Lysander Geo Print Spaghetti Strap Top - $68

I love the pattern and the colors of this top!  Sadly, it just wasn't very flattering in person.  (Though after these pictures I had second thoughts.)  I felt like it made my shoulders look narrower, my hips look wider, and that it puckered strangely in the front.  Probably should steer away from the spaghetti straps going forward.  It also felt like it was slipping down in front and would be a bit high maintenance.  Final decision - I just didn't love it $68 worth.  Return.

3 - Azaria Braid Detailed Tank - $54

I adore this tank.  It is so soft and I love the braid detailing.  The top portion fits so well - not gapping in the armholes and so comfortable.  It's way too long for me though.  This top was my biggest debate.  I wanted to keep it so badly; I even thought about getting it hemmed.  However, I just couldn't justify the price tag if I was going to have to pay extra to make it right.  If only it were shorter!  It could've been love.  Regretfully, return.

4 - Kirin Abstract Print Soft Short - $58

When I pulled these out of the box, I wasn't so sure.  Sean was even less so.  BUT this is why you are encouraged to try everything on with pieces from your own closet.  Once I got everything together, I was smitten.  These shorts almost look like a skirt.  They are light and flowy and easy to wear.  I had pinned a few outfits with shorts on my Pinterest board, so I love that Natalie took that into consideration.  I don't own anything like these shorts, so I'm excited that these are a keep!

5 - Alan Cowl Neck Asymmetrical Cardigan - $58

Pretty color, asymmetrical zipper, personality - right up my alley.  I knew I would wear this jacket all the time.  Unluckily, it did not fit.  Too long, so the bottom stretched across my hips and went way long on the back, and too gappy in the front where it shouldn't have been.  The neck did not drape across, but instead became part of the gappy-ness (yeah I'm making these words up, but you know what I mean) and just laid there all wrong.  Womp womp.  Return.

I'm not pregnant.   This is why the cardigan is going back.

While not everything fit, I loved everything in my box!  I love that Stitch Fix personalizes your fix and I think Natalie gave me a great box with variety and color. And even 2 out of 5 is way better than my typical dressing room experience.  I can't to see what will come in my next box.  Thanks Natalie!

If you want to try Stitch Fix for yourself, I would love if you would use my referral link!  When you're friends sign up too, you'll get $25 credit each time.  Spread the love and have fun!