Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Recap - Indianapolis Thanksgiving.

Well as I alluded to when I surfaced for a quick blog from Indianapolis, my time at home was perfect. It was a blend of all of my favorite things – my family, food, shopping, football. I was in heaven.

Dad treated me to new running shoes AND a heart rate monitor! If you don’t follow me on twitter then you’ll want to scope this pic to scope my duds. I'm finding the heart rate monitor to be a great motivator and a useful tool to gauge just how hard I'm working. I would highly recommend it. I bought a polar FT4.

The game, though not a success, was great fun. Got to see several good friends before the game and at halftime. Oh, and got to have my picture taken with my good friend slash Peyton Manning look-a-like Sean:

How funny is that? I did get to see him after he lost the costume and the alter-ego and went back to being Sean...

Wanted to share a few other pictures from this week as well. Here are the cousins before we left to go downtown to see the big tree be lit:

And while we were downtown for the tree lighting - freezing...

Sitting around watching football with the cousins (Wesley and Whitley):

Overall, a GREAT trip. But as always, good to be back in Tampa and back to the condo.



New Years Eve Outfit - Help Wanted.

I found this Jessica Simpson dress at Marshalls this week - for $39.99 instead of $168 and I love it. Magenta's a great color for me with my skin tone. Here's my debate though - what color shoes? Opinions from friends so far: black, nude, gold, or silver.
I want your help! What do you think?!

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Book Review: You Don't Look like Anyone I Know.

Imagine going to the grocery store, splitting up with your husband to get the job done faster. Then a man you don't recognize approaches you, touches you, acting as though he's your husband. You're frightened. You're overwhelmed. Then you realize, he is your husband - you just can't recognize his face. For Heather Sellers this is life. With prosopagnosia, a rare neurological disorder you don't have the ability to remember or recognize faces, even of those you love.

Before reading Heather's touching, heart-breaking, and fascinating story, I had never heard of 'face blindness'. I read the story of her tumultuous childhood, one in which she didn't have a name for this strange inability to store faces within her memory and both her parents suffered severely with mental illness, untreated. You hurt for her as you read that she felt like the crazy one and was often times the adult, even at a young age. Children should be allowed to be just that, kids. For Heather her childhood was chaotic and confusing.

The truth is her stories is heart-breaking. A broken home. A troubled childhood. So few answers. But Sellers pain-staking honesty is what makes 'You Don't Look Like Anyone I Know' a worthwhile read. Raw honesty, unmerited hope, and a strong belief in the power of love hold true throughout the text.

You'll grow to love Heather as you see her find the truth about herself as well as her parents. It will warm your heart as you see her find love with a new family of her own. You'll rejoice with her as new perspective frees her and she rises above her circumstances. Hardship remains a theme to the end, but Seller's ability to persevere will inspire you.

A window into the lives of households riddled with mental illness fascinated me, even as it hurt my heart for Heather. Similar to 'The Glass Castle' it was a poignant memoir of a broken childhood and the struggle to piece life together afterwards. You won't be able to put it down.

Note: This book was given for review by Riverhead Books.

Belly Laughs.

Hello lovelies.

It's been a few days and I'm surfacing from laughing til my stomach muscles hurt to check in with you. I'm still in Indiana for another 3 days (counting this one) and this trip came at a much-needed time. After a tough and trying couple of weeks it has been a big gulp of fresh air to be here with the ones I love the most - just relaxing and being myself.

After three days of help from my Aunt, who's a physical therapist, I'm happy to report my shoulder is on the mend. It's back to functioning properly and only hurt towards the end of the day when it's been forced to move and work all day. I'm hopeful that by the time I return to Tampa on Monday, I will feel good as new.

Our house has been full of people and food for the past few days. 12 people staying in one home and 4 southern cooks will do that too ya! But it has been a blast! From watching movies, to wrestling, to workouts, to me trying to play 21 with my far-superiorly-athletic cousins and uncle, to downtown Christmas tree lightings, to food comas - I couldn't have planned the past few days any better if I tried. Oh wait, I even got a good solid hour of shopping in there , that I didn't have to pay for.

I haven't smiled this hard or laughed this long in weeks. I am so content at this moment, I can't even begin to put it into words. This is what home is supposed to be like. Full of family.

Don't worry, there will be pictures to follow when I'm back on my turf. I left the laptop at home this trip in the name of spending less time in front of a computer screen and more time curled up by the fire. Or with my nose in a book. Though the reading hasn't been happening in plenty with the activity level in this household this week.

This morning while the whole house was sleeping my Dad and I got to read side-by-side near the fire and talk. Those special, unexpectedly quiet little moments make all the difference, don't they? I could stay curled up like that forever. We don't even have to break the silence to be having a conversation ...but let's be honest, we're both talkers so we always do.

Some of the family has headed home now and the house seems a little empty without them. I always hate to see anyone go. But I look forward to a vigorous workout, a lunch date with my Daddy ( a pleasant surprise offer ), and whatever this afternoon holds. Tomorrow I'll cheer on Daddy and the Colts on Sunday Night Football with my Mom, my grandparents, and my sister, Ruthie. Then it's back to real life Monday with renewed energy for to finish 2010 strong.

I'm grateful for this time away. This time to unwind with the ones I love most. I hope that each of you are having similar, wonderful experiences.


Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Token Thanksgiving Post.

So I'm heading out later today to Indianapolis, IN to be with my family for Thanksgiving. I cherish the time I get with my Mom's side of the family on these trips because sadly, it's the one time a year we all get to be together (or at least that I get to be with them). I wanted to leave you with some thanksgiving thoughts...

I have an incredible amount to be thankful for this year and I don't want to steal all the thunder from what I hope will be my traditional end of the year recap in January. But here we go...

- First and foremost, I'm grateful for grace. For a merciful Savior who washes my sins away and who is always extending me much-needed but totally undeserved grace. Her mercies are truly new every morning, and I find so much peace in that.

- I'm immeasurably grateful for a church home that has grown me in my faith this year, challenged me on some tough stuff, and given me a support system. (that church for those of you who don't know is Grace Family Church).

- It probably goes without saying but it's worth saying anyway that I'm thankful for having an incredible family. My parents who have been married for 30 years, my beautiful, incredible sisters. My sweet brother-in-law. I'm blessed enough to have all 4 of my grandparents still with me. As well as great aunts, uncles, cousins, etc. I love each and every one of them and I'm blessed by having their love in return.

- Incredible friendships. I was saying just last night at dinner how when you graduate college you really realize who your true friends are, and you weed some out that maybe weren't so good of friends afterall. But 2 years later, I'm tremendously grateful for the close friendships I have. I treasure them.

- I'm thankful a. to have a job in this crazy economy. But above that (b.) to have a job I love, I'm passionate about, and that lets me work with truly amazing coworkers. They feel like family, and I know that's a rare blessing.

- Home. I've always wanted a place of my own to call home. I'm grateful to have a sweet little place of my own and that it really does feel like home.

- I'm thankful for the Lord's provision in my life.

- I'm thankful to all the people who have supported me throughout my weight loss endevours this year.

- I'm thankful to all my prayer warriors that have prayed me through some tough times this year - you know who you are. I am forever in your debt.

Ok and this entry wouldn't be complete without a few sillier but still totally true thanks...

- I'm thankful for moments that make me laugh til I cry.

- I'm thankful for diet coke in plenty.

- I'm thankful for friends I can vent too when I've had enough - or rant about horrible first dates with.

- I'm thankful that I survived another year of clumsiness that involved a tumble down the stairs and many other dangerously un-dainty moments (oh like when I split my pants at work trying to show a coworker my Jillian Michael's moves).

- I'm thankful for social networking because I can stalk all you fabulous people and keep up on your lives.

- I'm thankful for 'happy hour' at sonic and steak n shake so I can have diet cherry cokes almost every day.

- I'm thankful for suitcases with 4 wheels instead of 2 - seriously life-changing.

- I'm eternally grateful to the maker of Imodium - after 10 months of weird stomach issues - you've saved my life a few times over.

- I'm thankful for a good sense of humor and not taking myself too seriously.

- I'm thankful that 25 has not brought any forehead wrinkles...yet.

Lastly, I'm thankful for you all who read my blog and support me in my funny, fabulous life. You are special to me and my interactions with you are a blessing.



Sunday, November 21, 2010

Going to the...cathedral?

Went to my first ever catholic wedding last night. So, so happy for my sweet friend Melina and her new hubby Adam.

Here's a few pictures...

Wishing them all the best and being very jealous this week of their 2 week european honeymoon!



This song brought me to tears this morning....

This entry told you some of what the last few months have challenged and encouraged me with. At this point in time, as the song says, I cannot see the end of the storm but I'm trusting in a faithful God. But also, I was touched by these words...

'I believe you still heal
And demons still bow
I'm convince there is power
in trusting in a faithful God
So I will praise til you appear
And set your foot upon this shore
I declare that every foe
is subject to MY faithful God.

(lyrics by Gateway Worship).

If you didn't watch the video of Zac Smith from this entry then I ask that you go back and watch it now. I am inspired by Zac words which his wife repeated as she accept his award Thursday night, they are still ringing in my ears. I don't doubt for a moment that the Lord can heal the problems with my stomach that even the doctors don't understand. And I believe with every fiber of my being that he could take them away in a split second. But whether or not he choses too - God is still God, and God is still good. My God is a faithful God - and my hope, my trust, and most often lately it seems, my strength, are found in Him.

It's been a tough couple of months. First with my stomach problems. Then oral surgery a few weeks ago. Followed my a back injury a couple days after surgery.

I am incredibly humbled by the response I received to 'An Entry 8 Months in the Making'. I have seen over and over the Lord use my struggles this year to bring glory to His name and while my body isn't quite there, my heart rejoices with Him. I can say to you with great joy...

It is well, it is well with my soul.


Friday, November 19, 2010

Reader Question.

Hello lovies.

After posting my 'about me' page. I got the following question (via facebook) from a good friend/faithful blog reader:

So, I'm quite interested in how your organization works. I'm figuring out the best system for me and so far, haven't been successful. Any tips or resources you can suggest?

Most of my friends shy away from allowing me to voice my freakish opinions about organization - so thanks for asking Lisa. I think being organized it like being on a weight loss plan, you have to find what works for you. Example: I was a horrible, miserable, chubby failure at Weight Watchers but I am a crazy good calorie counter. Really, they're similar but one just fits me and one was off. In other words, my disclaimer for this entry is that what works for me may not be the perfect fit for you but it might help you find what does work for you.

The first step and maybe the hardest/most obvious is that to be organized you also have to be disciplined. Anyone can make a plan, it's sticking with it that hangs people up. So while I can give you some helpful hints, the trick will be you really being committed to being organized.

1. Have a good planner. As previously mentioned I use a Coach planner but there are certainly cheaper versions. Mine is laid out similar to this:

This refill by Franklin Covey found here is $12.95 per year and you can pick whatever fabulous outside you want. With Coach the planners (the size I have) are about 200 bucks ( I bought mine when I worked there so I had a REALLY good discount) but the inserts are $20 bucks per year.

Here's the key to keeping up your planner well. Force yourself to write everything you commit to into your planner. Even if it's 'I'm going to spend 2 hours on Saturday studying' - go to Saturday pick your two hour window and right it in. The other thing that's REALLY upped the helpfulness of my planner is that I color coordinate it with highlighters. Here's my key:

Orange - important! aka: bills, due dates, doctors appointments,etc.

Yellow - work. aka: meetings, travel dates, plane flights and confirmations, work parties, etc.

Pink - fun stuff. aka: dates, girls nights, facials - the stuff I plan just because I want to do it.

Green - church. Because I'm in leadership at my church I have a lot of church things in a given month. My small group, which meets weekly. My leadership meetings (once a month). Volunteer commitments. And I even highlight when I plan out my times to prep for some of the aforementioned items.

Blue - blue for me is blog stuff. Because I have so many crazy things happening with the blog right now, it gets a color as well. This helps me remember when my book reviews are due. When I promised to review events or products. You get the idea.

For you Lisa, you may want to have orange, yellow, and pink the same as mine but change out green and blue for school & ______. Whatever you find yourself needing to keep track of the most.

I also schedule my workouts so that I really get them done!

2. Don't leave all your cleaning for when someone's coming over. I was SO guilty of this. Seriously, I'd reek havoc on my condo and then when I knew I was having company I'd stress myself out trying to get it all done before they came over. This is a crappy way to keep you house clean AND it's murder for your nerves. Turns out a clean house helps you keep a clean mind and stay low stress.

I know for Lisa, my reader who wrote it, you have ...2 dogs is it? AND a husband. Boys are dirty, I know these things. This probably makes it even harder to keep a clean house.

Here's my nerdy organized way of dealing with this.

I keep an excel sheet that gives me a couple chores per day but divides up both the chores that need to be done every week - changing the sheets, cleaning the bathroom, etc. and the ones that need to be done (in my case) every 2-4 weeks: mopping my hardwoods and tiles, vacuum my staircases, sweeping out the garage, etc.

Plan it out so it works with your schedule though. For example, Thursdays are a CRAZY day for me because after work, I have company til 9:30pm (my bible study) and I'm frequently packing that night to head out of town early Friday morning. So Thursdays are NOT the day for mopping or vacuuming the whole house. Thursdays are dishes. I run the dishwasher and empty it every Thursday while I'm brewing coffee and setting things up for my bible study. Tuesdays are my night at home - so these are a good day for some harder, more involved chores.

You get the idea.

These are my two main things that keep my calender working and my house in working order. If you've got some other problem areas you want me to comment on, get at me. I'll happily look into it. : ]


Thursday, November 18, 2010

Challenges and Champions - 2010.

So guess who got to meet one of their heros tonight? Me! You all know from blog entry after blog entry that I love Dave Ramsey and his Financial Peace University program which I took and then taught. And tonight at my works 20th Anniversary Banquet - I got to meet him and shake his hand (and even joke around with him a bit later in the evening).

He brought the house down. Great, great speech. I'm inspired by his words and looking forward to reading the copy of 'Total Money Makeover' we were given as a gift.

The extremely talented Michael W. Smith was also present and accounted for. What a talented man he is and with such a beautiful heart for the Lord.

Here's Amy & I before the night began - sporting our new dresses and shoes.

Sweet Barbara and I. : ] Love this pic.

Lastly, I wanted to show you a precious video. Zac Smith, who you'll watch below won an award at our banquet tonight for inspiring father's with this video.

Zac passed away in May. And his wife and children were there to collect his award. I had the chance to meet her afterwards and thank her for coming, what I know must have been a tough thing to do. I doubt there was a dry eye in the place during this time in the evening. I was blubbering. I treasure every moment I get with my sweet Daddy, but Zac's message is one everyone should here. Because tomorrow is promised to no one. We only have one chance to make the most of our time with our parents, and they with us.

I was truly touched by meeting his family. And I'm blessed by Zac and the story he shared. His wife said, 'Zac has been gone 6 months and we are here to tell you that God is still God, and God is still good'. What a testament. I wish you all could have been there. I really do.

I hope this blog entry brought a little bit of an incredible night to you.


Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Show: Fashion Through the Ages.

If you’re my friend on facebook or follow me via twitter you already know I attended a fashion show last night. The local Redkin beauty school put on a fashion throughout the ages show to raise scholarship money. For some odd reason I get invited to practically everything that goes on in Tampa lately, via e-mail. So I got an e-mail letting me know there would be a fashion show and would I like to attend. My coworker who is adventurous like myself and I decided, why not?

We did a 20 minute change after work at the office and I think we did a pretty great job. Don’t you? Both wearing purple was not planned, by the way. My purple ruffled front shirt was found at the Gap outlet on sale when I took a mind clearing trip to Ellenton on Monday night. Not bad for 20 bucks, eh? Excuse the bad coloring in this pic...not sure what's up with that, I look a smidge grey in the face.

The fashion show was fashion through the ages so they had three groups: 40s & 50s, 60s & 70s, and the 80s & 90s. I was a little torn, but I think 40s and 50s were my favorite. Though 60s and 70s did win in the end. Here's a few people from the decades you might recognize (Twiggy, Cher, Charlies Angels, Jackie Kennedy, etc):

Overall, the students did a great job and it seemed had fun in the process. I hope they raised more money than the anticipated, although I admit to being slightly bitter about having not won anything in the raffle. Gr. I really wanted that 1500 dollar handbag! And it was won by a man - double gr.

I may just have to make this annual night of fashion a tradition - it was well worth the 5 bucks.



Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Like Daughter, Like Father.

I'm not the only one focused on getting fit this year...

Dad & I at last years Fall Colts event:

The new, improved, and smaller two-some at this years event...

I feel so blessed to get to work with Dad a few times a year, for this season in our careers. I don't take a moment of it for granted. I love this man with all my heart. I'm so lucky to have a wonderful Dad.


Monday, November 15, 2010

An Entry 8 Months in the Making...

I’m guessing that if you read this blog fairly regularly, you already know I have an incredible life. It is full of great people, fun times, oodles of adventures, and more love than I deserve. What you may not see here (because no one likes a Debbie Downer) is that while my life is both rewarding and blessed – I do go through trials like everyone else. From time to time I write about them, A. to remind you that I’m human and B. because I find that some of my readers relate best to me when I let you into my head and heart and allow you to watch me struggle through the hardships of being 25 in this crazy world we live in. Tonight will be one of those nights.

2010 has been a fast-paced year for me. I’ve been in the air almost as much as I’ve been on the ground. I’ve flown all over the east coast. Been a bridesmaid. Lost 55 pounds. Read 48 books. Been to Missouri for the first time ever. Modified my new home. Started a bible study. There really hasn’t been a dull moment! What I’ve shared breifly before here is that while I’ve made this year one focused on improving my mental, spiritual, financial, and physical health – this may be the toughest year I’ve had to date – especially physically.

Let me elaborate. As my Dad was driving me to the airport last night after a Colts victory up in ‘naptown’, we were talking about both of our recent weight loss experiences and he said ‘Do you just feel 100 times better?’. I paused to think of how best to word my answer. The truth is I feel the best I have in years about the way I LOOK but this year is probably the least healthy I’ve ever felt. This may sound backwards – that’s because it IS! When you exercise more and eat healthier you should feel better, right? That’s what we’re told. But in the process of transitioning into this healthier lifestyle a stomach problem that had been dormant for years – came back with a vengance.

For years I took for granted being healthy. Feeling healthy. I’ve been blessed to have a minimum amount of sickness along the way. No broken bones. No hospitalizations. No surgeries. By 25, and after surviving 3 bad car accidents they told me I shouldn’t have lived through – I was still holding strong with all those records. Actually, I still am now. So this year when I began getting sick (to my stomach) 3-4 days a week for hours at a time, I was shocked! Here I am finally doing what I’ve known for a few years I should be doing – getting healthy and I feel like absolute poop. What gives?

As the blog entry I linked too earlier in this post shows you – I really had to do some spiritual battle with myself. I had to examine my ungrateful heart and my selfish attitude and really get down to the truth – would I accept good from the Lord and not hardship? Could I keep my joy when times got tough? As I battled through that and wrote to you all the cries of my heart and the Lord’s merciful response in ‘Miracles Happen’. But here’s the trick: the miracle wasn’t that I got better.

What I know for sure is the Lord is with me in times of trial. He may not take away the tough times, but He doesn’t leave me alone. He was with me in Cincinnati, Ohio – the sickest I’ve been in the 8 months of battling what they can only define as of now as ‘IBS’ which is without cure. He was with me as I sat in my car and cried after being told, they really just don’t know what’s wrong, or how to fix it. He’s been with me as I’ve battled crushing disappointment after disappointment as I’ve tried eliminating things from my diet (dairy, caffeine, etc) and as I’ve upped my exercise, changed my diet, and taken hundreds of probiotic supplements, only to have them work briefly (a week, 3 weeks, a month) and then fail me. He has remained.

So while my body grows stronger with all my hard work, I feel perhaps the weakest I have ever felt. Brow beaten by my bodies fight against itself and the failure I feel at being powerless to get control. I have run the whole gamut of emotions – embarrassment, weakness, powerlessness, failure, frustration, anger, disappointment, discouragement, maybe even a little depression. I have cried out to the Lord in my pain and while I know that my cries never fall on deaf ears, I continue to struggle with my health.

I wanted to share this with you to show you my weakness. That I fall so terribly short of being in control and of being graceful in affliction because my friends are always telling me that I seem so ‘together’. And in case any of you thought I was super girl with my color coordinated planner and my regularly updated blog – here’s the behind the scenes. I struggle! Like everyone else. Maybe worse. Because mine involves a full sweat and a toilet. My life isn’t always neat or pretty – sometimes it’s straight up crappy (pun intended).

Here’s what I know from embracing the most successful year of my life-to-date at the weakest point I’ve ever been – God doesn’t need my strength, he wants my faithfulness. My ‘anchor’ verse for this time in life has been this:

But he said to me, "My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness." Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ's power may rest on me. – 2 Corinthians 12:9

Knowing though, that I am not the only one enduring some tough stuff these days, I wanted to offer you some comfort. Comfort that I can give you, but that is not my own. Because as we’ve established today – I am weak. What I take comfort in is that the God I serve and the God who’s looking out for me, is not. Here are some verses I hope you can draw peace from in your times of trial.

1 Whoever dwells in the shelter of the Most High will rest in the shadow of the Almighty.[a] 2 I will say of the LORD, “He is my refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust.” – Psalm 91:1-2

31 but those who hope in the LORD will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint. – Isaiah 40:31

1 Truly my soul finds rest in God; my salvation comes from him. – Psalm 62:1

I know these deep, soul-searching blogs aren’t my norm so for those of you who are new here (welcome to my 6 new followers in the last week) – I hope I haven’t overwhelmed you yet! This has been laying heavy on my heart this weekend as I traveled and I wanted to share it with you. While I won’t weigh you down with all my troubles – I do think it’s important to share with you the big times in life and this is one of them. The Lord is teaching me and stretching me. I have hope that eventually I will feel great again physically but even as I wait for that day I’m encouraged at how well I feel spiritually.

The Lord has been so good to me.


Thursday, November 11, 2010

Biker Chic.

I've been lusting after moto jackets all fall long (well all week of it here in Tampa at least). I'd had my eye on this lovely from New York and Co for months but for $109 - I just couldn't justify it. When I went back this week with a coupon, the jacket was 40% off and they let me use my $30 off coupon. Ba-da-bing. I now have a moto jacket and I am PUMPED about it. Had to show you guys. : ] I'm that proud.
Rest assured I will be sporting it this weekend in Indianapolis.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Three Days til Indy.

Hello Lovelies.

First off, thank you for your feedback on my last blog. After hesitating to post pictures (eck) of my before and after I was pleasantly surprised to get not only comments but e-mails, facebook messages, and texts about the post. Turns out more of you than I thought can relate to where I've been, where I'm at, or where I'm headed. So thank you for your encouraging words, your kind thoughts, and your questions - which I thoroughly enjoyed answering!

For those of you who asked that I keep you up to date on how I do - I will do so! I'm two days into my newest contest and plan and feeling strong.

I leave Friday for Indianapolis for a whirlwind 3 day weekend of work, family, friends, and football - pretty much in that order. We are having our Fall Colts FKE in Indianapolis this weekend. It will be sold out soon but if you're interested you can register on our website - www.allprodad.com and I will see you there!

I'm excited to have some of my closest friends return as volunteers - Candy, Josh, and Sean. Also excited to have my new friends, Ellen and Chris coming to bring their son, Cason for the first time! The Colts event has a special place in my heart A. because of my love for the Colts but B. because my own sweet Dad will be there as a spokesmen. My Dad and I have attended quite a few of these events over the years together. Starting with the very first one, here in Tampa when he and Coach Tony spoke. Later as a volunteer in high school and college. And now as a staff member.

Watching Dad engage with the crowd never gets old for me and my pride in him has only grown throughout the years. I am so proud of him. I guess once you hit your mid-twenties that glow parents have about their kids comes full circle and we kids starting having it about our parents. Coach Jim and Dad will rock the house again this year, I'm confident and I look forward to another year I get to be there to cheer him on.

Friday night I'll get some family time and hopefully a chance to meet up with a new-ish friend, Jon I met through an APD event as well! : ] Saturday will be the event and several of my friends will be in attendance, volunteering, etc. so while it will be work it will be the best kind of work day. Afterwards a group of us are going to grab dinner at a place I haven't tried in Indy yet - Tony Sacco's Coal Oven Pizza. If you've been - give me some feedback!

Sunday is all about my Colts. I'll get to go to church with the fam, an at-home-favorite of mine (attending church without them just isn't quite the same). Then we'll head downtown to show em some love as the Colts take on the Cincinnati Bengals and one of my favorite people I love to hate - Chad Ochocinco. I don't know why but he really grates on my nerves in interviews. I have preciously confessed I did watch his entire dating show, The Ultimate Catch, though. Sad.

Looking forward to a great trip to my former home and some quality time with the people I love most. Of course, a chance to break out my fall/winter clothes is pretty exciting as well. I'll try to remember to take pics for once. How many pairs of boots can I fit in a carry on? Hmm...


Sunday, November 7, 2010

New Challenge.

As I've shared on the blog previously 2010 has been an incredible year for me. I've focused in on discipline in my life, in several areas. One being my physical health. After being overweight most of my life, a coworker of mine challenged me to a weight loss contest and really lit a fire under me. Thanks to her encouragement (and my love for competition) I'm 3 contests in (winning each), 53 pounds down, and 22 inches smaller (from the 4 areas I monitor).

Now it's my turn to pay it forward...

So starting tomorrow I'm teaming up with 1 of my friends to take on 2 others in a 'biggest loser' style competition that will last 12 weeks. The challenge will be greatest for me, because the smaller I get and the longer my body has to adjust to my new lifestyle the harder (and slower) the pounds (and inches) come off. But I'm not afraid of hard work.

The rules are in place. The prize is set. Here we go...lets see if I can come out the biggest loser, a fourth time.

Here's my before picture for this competition:

And just for fun...my before picture from my first competition:

Crazy huh?

Wish me luck - 12 weeks starts tomorrow.


Thursday, November 4, 2010

Times of Trials.

I know I haven’t had a deep heart-to-heart with you all in a while, so maybe this will be a welcomed break from my silly adventures and fashion advice. It’s been weighing on my mind recently about ‘times of trial’. Now if you aren’t a church goer or a bible reader, this may be a term that doesn’t register with regularity for you but we Christians call the tough times or choppy waters, times of trials pretty frequently as taken from Psalms 46:1 which describes the Lord as an ever-present help in times of trouble (or trial). A comforting verse for those of us who believe. Ever-present is a great way to describe it, don’t you think? I love Psalms.

It seems as of late that I know so many people who are going through times of trouble. From dealing with cancer, to marriage issues, to divorces, infidelity, sickness, unemployment, foreclosure, etc. I’m intrigued by how people handle these times. Some with grace, others with anger or resentment. Some by shutting out the people they love, others with increased prayer or time dedicated to serving. Some people avoid the problems while people like myself like to face problems head on. We all have our way of handling tough times.

I’m not an expert so I won’t tell you the right way to handle these times, if there even is one right way (as opposed to many). When I’m going through these times, as this week has been a pretty rough one for me, I like to read back and think about Job. Job is kind of my spiritual super hero if you will. I have a million ‘favorite’ bible stories or characters, but Job, Job is on a whole different level for me. For those of you who don’t know his story Job was an incredibly successful man. He had a big, beautiful family – property, money, livestock, the whole shebang. But the devil challenged the Lord and said if God would let the devil take these things from him, surely Job would desert his faith.

I’ve wondered a few times if the devils ever asks the Lord something of that nature about me. That Becca Christensen, she’s weak – if you let me take her massive stash of Coach purses and her favorite pair of Michel Kors jeans – she’d curse you. Do you ever think things like this? I wonder sometimes if Satan is just itching to make it hard to be to hang on to my joy.
Anyway, the Lord allowed Satan to take away everything Job had. He lost everything. Including his family. Now this is where this story really grips my heart. While I think I could lose my home, my belongings, my job, etc…when it gets to the part about his family it really breaks my heart. I think about losing any member of even my extended family and I cringe but to lose my whole immediate family, I can’t even bare the idea. I shudder at the thought.

So here I wonder, if the Lord took my family would I remember that they were his to begin with? The honest truth is, I’m not sure. I would certainly have to do some internal battling. I can think of no greater loss.
This is why Job is my super hero. In Job 2 he says (after his wife tells him to curse the Lord and die) – ‘shall we accept good from the Lord and not evil’? And the chapter goes on to say that Job didn’t sin with his words. Meaning, he didn’t say the million horrible things I’m pretty sure would have flown through my mind at that moment.

But maybe most surprisingly of all is when Job says, ‘the Lord has given and the Lord has taken away, blessed be the name of the Lord’. I supposed if I really saw all that I have been given, including my precious family as a gift from the Lord then I would know if and when he takes them, they were always his to take. What would my praise look like?

I’ve been battling through some of these as I consider each situation my friends are going through and even the ones I’ve endured during this crazy week. But in a sermon recently my pastor was talking about God’s response to some of Job’s questions later on in the book of Job (questions I think most of us would ask) and I’m in awe from his responses…

From Chapter 38:

2 “Who is this that obscures my plans with words without knowledge? 3 Brace yourself like a man; I will question you, and you shall answer me.
4 “Where were you when I laid the earth’s foundation? Tell me, if you understand. 5 Who marked off its dimensions? Surely you know!

Where was I indeed? I encourage you to read the whole Chapter, it’s intense. But what I take away from this is – the Lord’s plans are so much bigger than I can fathom. In my simple mind, so many things are without reason or excuse but the Lord in his infinite wisdom is always working things together for good and who am I to question the ways in which he works?

Here’s the good part…we already know how it ends. That while there is sin, death, and just plain crappy weeks in the world – victory is the Lords. We know how it ends. We know who wins. And if you’re on the right team, what’s to fear or worry about? That my friends, is good news.


Wednesday, November 3, 2010


Me with a mouthful of gauze after I changed it the one and only time I had too.

Thanks for all your thoughts and prayers this week as I faced my first ever ‘surgery’. Yikes, guess that can’t be my go-to for the game never-have-ever anymore, huh? I’ll have to stick with ‘broken a bone’ I suppose (don’t steal it!). Honestly though, I really felt the prayers, it’s incredible how easy this whole process has been.

The oral surgeon and his staff made me feel comfortable and the Lord gave me an incredible calm that I cannot describe. It was short, sweet, painless, and without event. They pulled my teeth in about 30 seconds a piece. They required no stitches. I was out the door with a mouthful of gauze a few minutes later and after a few hours of TV I was out with friends enjoying fro yo.

I never even had to fill me prescription for the pain meds – I’m finally no longer in any pain. My pre-surgery pain was 100 times what I’m experiencing now and short of being hungry thanks for lack of solid food since Saturday – I feel great! I do look forward to getting all of my strength back. I’m feeling a bit wobbly but I expect that’s pretty normal when you’re malnourished.

Again, thank you to all for prayers and support. I’m happily back to life as usual and soon to be back to food as usual. Yum.

Ps: I got the cutest sweatsuit award at their office yesterday ; ] At least we know my oral surgeons ladies know good taste when they see it.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Back From Baltimore.

Well lovies, I've been back a few days but I like to recap my weekends away. Last weekend I traveled with my work to Baltimore, MD for one of our events. I simply love going places I either haven't been, or haven't been recently. Years ago my Dad actually worked at the University of Maryland, so Baltimore isn't a foreign place for me but it's been so long, it was certainly seeing things with fresh eyes.
Br! I forgot that it's actually fall most places. We Tampa-ites are still enjoying the 90s and in my case, still working on our tans. You northern people totally have an excuse for your paleness - I forgot how cold 50 degrees can feel! I was layered up til I looked like the Pillsbury dough boy and I was still shivering. What's up with my thin blood?

Ok I can officially swear by the neck pillow (pictured above) I slept the best I ever have on both my flights this weekend. Love! None of that falling over when you first fall asleep and waking yourself back up. And I didn't strain my neck like I usually manage to do. I felt great, I got a good mornings and nights nap en route. Delightful. I bought the serasoft kind, because I'm obsessed with those blankets (I have 4) and because, let's be honest, it was 7 bucks at Marshalls. It has crossed my mind to start collecting them though. If anyone finds a zebra one, let me know. It must be mine.

So it was my first trip to M & T Bank stadium - which is beautiful. I know I'm a bit of a football nerd but honestly, seeing new stadiums is such a thrill for me. I love the game and I love where it's played. I can't help myself!

This blog post wouldn't be complete without showing you that from my hotel room I could see Camden Park - where the Orioles play AND M & T Bank Stadium where the Ravens games are played. Love.

I wouldn't mind a lengthier trip to Baltimore in the near future for some sight seeing. Maybe when it's not so cold though.

One last thing of note about my trip - the outlet mall! We stopped there for breakfast when we landed and had a few minutes to explore. When we ended up with 40 minutes to shop I managed to turn 40 minutes and 48 bucks into - 2 pairs of work pants and 3 tops. Oh Gap outlet, you are officially my best friend in Baltimore. I loved it. Maybe some pics to follow. We shall see.



My Mission to See All 50 States.

New Hampshire
New Jersy
New York
North Carolina
Rhode Island
South Carolina
West Virginia

19 States to Go.

Book Review: Last Night at Chateau Marmont.

Enter: Brooke Alter. A young spunky redhead working 2 jobs as a nutritionist to support to her talented but so far undiscovered musician husband. She's head over heels in love with her cute, charming, attentive husband. The teacher's pet of her hospital job, the one that she hopes will pave the way for the private practice she plans to open a few short years later. The overly caring and concerned nutritional advisor at an all girl's private school who treats each girl as if they were her baby sister. In short, she's living on love and surviving just fine. Until...
After 5 years of marriage Brooke Alter is thrown into a whirlwind by her husband’s sudden, overnight fame. When Brooke’s husband Julian gets discovered and his debut album starts off at number 4 on the billboard charts, her life is turned upside down. From paparazzi to reading about the demise of their marriage in tabloids across the country, to Julian-hungry-crazy-fans nothing in Brooke’s life will be the same again. The question is, can she adjust?

If fame is the test of a person’s true character then Julian’s may be in question. His ego grows faster than Pinocchio’s nose. While he travels the world promoting, well, himself – he seems to forget the sacrifices his wife made to get him there. Asking her to quit her jobs to be at his beckon call and constantly belittling her role as a nutritionist at an all girls school, the same job that paid the bills while he was a starving artist a mere month before. Their relationship is certainly on the rocks.

The tests of true friendship, what really matters in life, and how your relationship can survive sudden success will keep you interested throughout Lauren Weisberger’s latest novel, Last Night at Chateau Marmont. It’s a funny, easy chic-lit read and as always, I enjoy Weisberger's style of writing. I found myself taking Brooke’s side and wanting Julian to realize what he was putting her through. Her way of showing the rumor hungry reporters was an added bonus, as I’ve witnessed some of that myself over the years. A good reminder we should be slow to believe anything we read....people love a good story.
A worthwhile read that kept my attention and endeared me to the characters - even Brooke and Julian's dog, Walter Alter. The drama of their tale may just leaving you thankful for being off the radar and out of the limelight.


Monday, November 1, 2010

Bring on the Cold (weather).

After freezing somewhat willingly in Baltimore this past weekend I decided a new coat for my cold weather travels was a must. I'd been reading in People StyleWatch how popular Old Navy coats are this year (nice work guys) - so I'd gone to look at the oh-so-popular red coat with ruffles when I found this lovely coat pictured above.

I was pumped to find a magenta coat, and honestly, I'm pumped that magenta is so popular this year because it's a great color for me. With my dark skin tone these bright jewel tones if you will are a great choice for me. So this is the coat I'll be rocking on my 3 trips to Indy and one trip to St Louis left this fall/winter season.

You will find me wearing it most frequently with my over the knee black boots. ; ]


About Me.

With new followers and random readers it just seems time to have an official 'about me' page to let you know who you're following and/or reading.

I am a twenty-five year old go-getter who never stops moving. Freakishly organized, I am never without my color coordinated Coach planner. I make lists for everything - packing, chores, work, everything. I love working. Always have, in fact. Started at 15 and I've been going strong for 10 years since.

I graduated from Purdue University with a degree in Sociology and imagined I'd end up as a case worker. Flash forward two years and here I am living and thriving in Tampa, Florida as the Assistant to the Director of Events. Events is an intense industry but I love every second and I'm thankful to be doing work I'm both passionate about and that allows me to be around my favorite sport, football.

Being the daughter of a football coach of over 30 years, I grew up in the stands and on the sidelines. Not much has changed except that being 17 hours away, I now have to spend half the season screaming at the TV from dive bars and half the season jet setting in for a game here and here, between my travels for work.

Being mobile my whole childhood, moving from place to place (read: team to team) I knew that I would settle in somewhere and call it home. Tampa is certainly that place. I bought a place back in December of 2009 and I couldn't be happier with my little dream home. Don't worry - you'll read about it plenty, and see tons of pictures the longer you follow.

I consider myself a saved sinner, that's lucky that my faith doesn't require perfection. This isn't a 'Christian blog' it's a blog about a Christian. Does that make sense?

If you stick around you can bet you'll read about: fashion, football, friendship, faith, family family family, fabulousness, quirks, quotes, major faux pas, trouble, trials, travels, and day-to-day happenings.

Welcome to my blog, where I give you access to my life and bring you in as part of my family. I hope you feel welcomed and encouraged by what you find here.


A painful goodbye.

Well after a long weekend of pain, I will be saying a pain-filled goodbye to my wisdom teeth. I held on to them for 25 years because until now they’d never really given me a reason to hate them. But now that they’re pushing on nerves that are making my jaw, mouth, and ear hurt – I’m having them executed. Fairwell wisdom teeth – it’s been real.

I may be bold and show you all a picture of the aftermath. ; ] We shall see.

But after 3 days without solid food and I’m guessing another 3 after tomorrow’s surgery, I look forward to a big fat burger when this is all said and done.

Prayers and ice cream welcomed over the next few days.