Friday, December 30, 2011

My Top 5 Posts of 2011

Wow, I can't believe that 2011 is coming to a close.  It's been a wonderful year filled with lots of great accomplishments...
One other accomplishment that I'm particularly proud of is starting (and keeping up with) this blog.  It was been such a fun way to creatively express my thoughts on life, marriage, motherhood and music.  I would like to say a big THANK YOU to everyone who has encouraged and supported me throughout this journey.  I hope to see you again in the new year!

In case you missed some of my blog entries, here is a list of My Top 5 Posts of 2011 (based on the number of page views):

1.  One Thing Remains
2.  This One's For You, Babe
3.  "In my end is my beginning." - T.S. Elliot
4.  So, What's On Your Goal Board?
5.  Closer

Have a great weekend and a very Happy New Year!

With love,

Monday, December 26, 2011

Jingle Bells

I hope you all had a very Merry Christmas!  For your enjoyment, here is William singing Jingle Bells!

Friday, December 23, 2011

A Heart Like Mary's

It’s easy to get caught up in the busyness of the Christmas season – decorating the tree, buying presents, going to holiday parties, and riding around the neighborhood to see which house has the best Christmas lights.  I enjoy all of these things and more during Christmas, but I always want to remember the reason that I celebrate Christmas, and that is to celebrate the birth of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.  

Each year, when I read the birth story of Jesus, I usually imagine myself as one of the shepherds who heard about Jesus being born and wanted to go and see him.  This year, however, I read the birth story from the perspective of Jesus’ mother, Mary.  

Now that I am a mother, I can only imagine what Mary must have been going through as she had to travel with Joseph while she was pregnant and about to go into labor.  Not only that, but Mary knew that she was carrying the Son of God.  The angel Gabriel came to Mary and told her that she would be pregnant with a son who would be called the Son of the Most High.  What an extraordinary responsibility to bear.  

I have no idea how I would have reacted if an angel came to me and told me something like that.  Knowing me, I would have said something along these lines: Well, how can this happen? I’m too young! And plus, I haven’t even accomplished all of the other dreams that I set out for myself. Can you give me some more time, please!?  That may have been my reaction, but let’s see how Mary reacted:     

“I am the Lord’s servant,” Mary answered. “May your word to me be fulfilled."  (Luke 1:38)
Even though I know this story, I always find myself in awe of Mary’s humble response.  Mary heard what the Lord has planned for her life and she basically said, "Okay, may your will be done in my life."  Oh, how I long to have a heart like Mary’s – a heart that says “yes” to the plans of God!

There are times when God has placed something on my heart – either to do something or to not do something – and I had a very hard time being obedient.  I sometimes believe that I know what’s best for my life, so I want things to go my way.  I’m sure Mary, too, had plans for her life, but she was wise enough to know that God’s plans for her would be infinitely greater than what she could have planned out for herself.  

The very talented Amy Grant sings a beautiful song titled Breath of Heaven.  There’s a line in the song that says, “But I offer all I am, for the mercy of your plan.”  That is the heart of Mary, laying down her plans and picking up God’s plans for her life.  I imagine it wasn’t easy, but she did it anyways.  

Friday, December 16, 2011

William's 1st Christmas Program

It's Friday!  I'm always excited about Fridays, but today was an extra special one because William sang in his very first Christmas program at school.  I was so nervous for him!  He is always singing when we're at home, but there are times when he won't sing out loud because there are a lot of people around (hmmm....sounds a little like me!).  So, I just prayed that he would be at peace and sing his little heart out - no matter how many people were listening.

William's class sang Twinkle Twinkle Little Star.  I could barely see him because he was standing in the back, but I was so proud to see him holding up his little star as they sang, "up above the world the high, like a diamond in the sky."  It was so adorable.
At the end of the program, all of the kids sang We Wish You a Merry Christmas.  It was then that we waved to William, and he was so excited to see us at first, but then he just started crying.  Poor thing!
Once the program was over, we went back to his classroom to enjoy some yummy snacks.  I just can't believe how big William is now!  I mean, I remember when he was just a little baby who drank from a bottle and needed to be carried around everywhere.  And now, he's a handsome young boy who can walk and talk and eat and drink (and sing!) all by himself.  I'm so proud to be his mommy!

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Yo Gabba Gabba! LIVE!

A couple of Friday's ago, Jason and I took William to see Yo Gabba Gabba LIVE!  In case you don't know, Yo Gabba Gabba is a fun and quirky show on Nick Jr. that kids (and adults) just love.  So, when I heard Yo Gabba Gabba was coming to Houston, I knew I had to get tickets.  And, I'm so glad I did because the show was...AWESOME!!
As you can see, William was really enjoying the show.  I loved seeing him laugh and smile and dance around.  So much fun!

My favorite part of the show was when Biz Markie came out.  Oh yeah!
The whole evening was so incredible, and I can't wait to see them again next year. Until next time!

Monday, December 12, 2011

Sunday Quiet Time

I always learn a valuable life lesson when I'm watching Oprah’s Lifeclass.  On one particular episode a few weeks ago, Oprah said something that caught my attention in a big way.  She said that she spends at least one day a week by herself; a time for her to be quiet and just be with her thoughts.  I couldn't even remember when was the last time that I took time to just be with my thoughts.  However, I was inspired to find a little time, once a week, to spend with just me.   
Yesterday evening, after all of the good football games were over and there was nothing else to watch, we turned off the TV, turned on some soothing instrumental music, and enjoyed our very first Sunday Quiet Time.  I snuggled on the couch with my big comfy blanket and started reading the new O magazine that I had just received in the mail a few days earlier.  (And yes, in case you can’t tell, I’m a huge Oprah fan!)  When I usually read a magazine, I read it so fast that I don't even remember what I read the very next day.  This time, however, I read slowly.
I made sure to pay attention to each word, each paragraph and each article.  I even read the articles that I didn’t think I would be interested in, and to my surprise, those turned out to be the ones that I connected with the most.  I was also inspired to journal some of my own thoughts and ideas, which is something I have not done in a very long time.
After about an hour of reading and journaling, I felt refreshed and re-energized, like my empty cup had been filled back up again.  I was refueled to give of myself again and to take care of those that I love most.  I was able to truly enjoy some playtime with my son right before he went to bed, and I kindly asked my husband if he wanted a glass of water while he was working on a project.  I know that may seem like such a small thing, but it is something that I often overlook when I'm too busy or too tired from doing other stuff.   
Sunday Quiet Time turned out to be huge success, and I can't wait to incorporate it into our future Sunday evenings.  I believe that I will be a better wife, mother, sister, daughter, friend and employee if I take an hour a week to just sit and be.  Yeah, I may miss out on watching Kourtney & Kim Take New York on Sunday nights, but hey, that's what DVR is for, right!?           

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Weekend Fun

Hey everyone!  I was going to say Happy Monday, but I just realized that it is now past 1 a.m., so I guess that means I should say Happy Tuesday instead!  I hope you all had a lovely weekend.  My weekend was great!  On Friday night, we took William to see Yo Gabba Gabba Live, and we had an awesome time.  I have some pics that I will share soon, I just have to download them from my camera! 

Also, my mom and my step-dad, Jim, came into town and we got to spend lots of quality time with them.  I feel incredibly blessed to have a great family that I truly enjoy spending time with.  What a gift! 

Me, Mom and Jim
Pittsburgh - June 2011

Friday, December 2, 2011

It's All About the Details {Christmas}

Our home is all decorated for Christmas.  Here are a few of my favorite details.  
Happy Friday, and I hope you all have an excellent weekend!

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Music Inspiration: Lionel Richie

Over the weekend, I watched the 45th annual CMA Awards show.  My husband had recorded it for me because he knows how much I love country music (and thank goodness he loves country music as well!).  I really enjoyed the performances by Taylor Swift, Rascal Flatts, Keith Urban and Martina McBride. 

The absolute best part of the show for me was when Lionel Richie performed with other country artists.  First of all, I had no idea that he even sang country music!  I’ve always loved Lionel for his classic Motown hits such as “Three Times a Lady”, “Easy” and “Brick House”, so when the host of the show announced that Lionel Richie was about to perform, I was pleasantly surprised.  Needless to say, I was glued to the TV as I watched him perform, and I was completely inspired.  I’ve always had an idea that I wanted to sing country music, but there was something about seeing Lionel Richie perform on the CMA Awards that stirred within me an even a greater assurance that I want to sing country music!

Just in case you missed it, here is Lionel Richie singing some of his greatest hits with Little Big Town, Darius Rucker and, my personal favorite, Rascal Flatts.  Enjoy!

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Holiday Fun

Happy Monday everyone!  I hope you all had a fabulous Thanksgiving!  Our Thanksgiving was quite enjoyable.  We spent time with Jason's family, watched some good football games and ate some delicious food. 

My favorite part of the day was when we we went to the Uptown Holiday Lighting.  This is a fun family event where Christmas trees are lit up all along Post Oak Boulevard and there is a spectacular fireworks show.  Oh, and even Santa and Mrs. Claus made an appearance! 

And here's Santa!!!
All night, William said that he wanted to see a fire truck.  It just so happened that we saw this fire truck as we were walking back to our apartment.  What a great reminder of "Ask and you shall receive!"

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Team Jacob

I saw Breaking Dawn on Friday, and it was awesome!  I especially loved the movie because it reminded me of why I love Jacob so much.  Go Team Jacob!!

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

The Countdown is On!

Just 26 more hours until I get to see this movie... 

Ooh, I can't wait!!!

Monday, November 14, 2011

My Weekend

Happy Monday!  I hope you all had a wonderful weekend.  My weekend was filled with lots of fun family activities.  On Friday evening, we had our very first Family Movie Night.  We watched Shrek Forever After and ate yummy popcorn and candy.  It was a lot of fun.  I’m already looking forward to our next family movie night! 

On Saturday, my cousin married his beautiful bride.  It was a small, intimate wedding, and I felt incredibly blessed to be there.  I didn’t have my camera with me so I didn’t get to take any photos, but it was a lovely ceremony and reception.  I believe that they will enjoy a beautiful life together.

On Sunday, I went to church and was excited to see Danny Gokey (from Season 8 of American Idol) as a guest singer.  I believe Danny normally sings country music, but he has such a soulful sounding voice, and I loved that!  I also loved how he sang with complete abandonment.  I pray that I will be able to do one day!  Danny sang a song titled, I Still Believe, which is a great song.  All day I’ve been singing, “I never saw a man walk on water, I never met the Man who walked on water, but I still believe.”  What beautiful words!  I will always believe!

So, I’d love to know, how was your weekend?

Friday, November 11, 2011

I Smile

Have you ever heard the song, I Smile, by Kirk Franklin? 

I've heard this song many times on the radio, and I always enjoyed it because it talked about how we all look so much better when we smile (and I often feel like some people need to smile more).  However, it wasn't until I saw the video for this song and actually paid attention to each and every single word being said, that I truly began to understand the meaning and the purpose behind it. 

There's one part in the song where Kirk says, "Now everyday ain't gonna be perfect, but it still don't mean today don't have purpose."  Now that may not be the most grammatically correct sentence, but for me, these words make the message of the song crystal clear.  We smile not because everything in life is perfect, but because God has a purpose for everything that we go through in life.  He has a plan, and it's a good plan. 

Sure, it's easy to smile when things are going great, but this song has helped me to see that I can still smile when life is rough.  I can smile when life is difficult.  I can smile when life is painful because I know that there is purpose in the pain.  Like the song says, "I know God is working, so I smile.  Even though I've been here for a while, I smile."

Check out the video here, and I hope that it makes you smile.


Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Dream Fulfilled {Kate Spade Purse}

For years, I have wanted a Kate Spade purse.  To me, her handbags are classic, chic and ultra-sophisticated, but they are also a little bit over my budget.  However, everytime I passed by the Kate Spade store in our mall, I would quietly say to myself, "One day, I will own my very own Kate Spade bag." 

Well, last weekend, my husband and I went to a premium outlet shop that is about 45 minutes from our house.  I was in need of a new lightweight coat because the weather is finally starting to cool off here.  After walking into a couple of stores, I found a coat that I really liked, but I wanted to make sure that I went to all of stores before I settled on buying one coat. 

Then, I discovered the Kate Spade Outlet, and even though I wasn't really in need of a purse, I knew I had to walk into the store.  Let me just say, I thought I walked right into heaven when I walked into that store.  Everywhere I turned there were beautiful purses, glamorous accessories, stylish clothes and adorable shoes. 

When I walked to the back of the store, that’s where I found a few purses that had an additional % off the already great sale price.  I saw one particular purse that I fell in love with instantly.  It’s a classic, tan hobo bag that will go perfectly with anything and everything, and the name of the bag just happened to be “lori” so I took that as I sign that this bag was meant to be mine.

I ran to get my husband and told him that I found a purse that I just had to have.

So, to make a long story short... I bought my very first Kate Spade purse!  I am so excited about it because it truly is a dream fulfilled.  And, the best part of this whole story is that this purse originally sold for $325, and I got it for only $120!!  Hallelujah!

Friday, November 4, 2011

My Super Hero Is...

Buzz Lightyear!!!



I guess even super heroes need to take a break!