Friday, December 21, 2012

Sweaters and Books.

Someone asked me the other day if I had started packing for my Christmas trip up north.  To which I responded, "I'm just taking sweaters and books'.  I literally travel with a suitcase almost entirely filled with books.  Before you smarty pants suggest I buy a kindle I actually have one AND an ipad...but it's just not the same and library books and used books are so much less expensive.  So, as backup to my suitcase of books I will also have ereader options handy.  But here's a peek at what I'll be working on over Christmas...

Everywhere hailed for its emotional intensity and unflagging narrative momentum, this magnificent novel transports us to the turn of the twentieth century, to the world of a prominent Boston family summering on the New Hampshire coast, and to the social orbit of a spirited young woman who falls into a passionate, illicit affair with an older man, with cataclysmic results. (via Goodreads)

Anna Emerson is a thirty-year-old English teacher desperately in need of adventure. Worn down by the cold Chicago winters and a relationship that's going nowhere, she jumps at the chance to spend the summer on a tropical island tutoring sixteen-year-old T.J. 

T.J. Callahan has no desire to go anywhere. His cancer is in remission and he wants to get back to his normal life. But his parents are insisting he spend the summer in the Maldives catching up on all the school he missed last year. 

Anna and T.J. board a private plane headed to the Callahan's summer home, and as they fly over the Maldives' twelve hundred islands, the unthinkable happens. Their plane crashes in shark-infested waters. They make it to shore, but soon discover that they're stranded on an uninhabited island. 

At first, their only thought is survival. But as the days turn to weeks, and then months, the castaways encounter plenty of other obstacles, including violent tropical storms, the many dangers lurking in the sea, and the possibility that T.J.'s cancer could return. As T.J. celebrates yet another birthday on the island, Anna begins to wonder if the biggest challenge of all might be living with a boy who is gradually becoming a man. (via Goodreads)

Note: This book is a New York Times Bestseller and was highly recommended to me.

To five-year-old Jack, Room is the entire world. It is where he was born and grew up; it's where he lives with his Ma as they learn and read and eat and sleep and play. At night, his Ma shuts him safely in the wardrobe, where he is meant to be asleep when Old Nick visits.

Room is home to Jack, but to Ma, it is the prison where Old Nick has held her captive for seven years. Through determination, ingenuity, and fierce motherly love, Ma has created a life for Jack. But she knows it's not enough...not for her or for him. She devises a bold escape plan, one that relies on her young son's bravery and a lot of luck. What she does not realize is just how unprepared she is for the plan to actually work.

Told entirely in the language of the energetic, pragmatic five-year-old Jack, ROOM is a celebration of resilience and the limitless bond between parent and child, a brilliantly executed novel about what it means to journey from one world to another. (via Goodreads)

These are the books I snagged from the library or used bookstore in time to head up to Indiana.  I have placed no limited on how much or little I will read this Christmas since I've already completed my 100 book goal for the year.  But I would say somewhere between 2-10 books will be accomplished.

Any other books you'd highly recommend for me this Christmas season?


Thursday, December 20, 2012

Suggested Reading: Christmas Break.

Ok, so, I finished 100 books early and I keep getting message after message asking for suggestions on what you all should be reading.  If you've sent me one of these messages, hopefully I've returned it!  I try to keep up with them and suggest on an individual basis if I feel like I know your reading style BUT since I don't have time to play librarian every day - I thought I'd give you all some reading suggestions for your Christmas break (assuming you get one, which I hope you do).

If you love to read by the fire here's what I think you might want to have with you...(Note: I'm going to give you ten, this should be good for all my crazy christmas readers and college kids on break for a full month - the rest of you can pick and choose)

1. The Paris Wife. I four starred this one on goodreads. This book is fiction but based on the life of Ernest Hemingway and his wife Hadley, his first of four wives.  As a Hemingway fan and a gal with a love of all things Paris, this book really kept my attention.

2. The Secret Life of CeeCee Wilkes. This one was given to me by Amber and I LOVED it. I gave it 5 stars on Goodreads because I literally couldn't put it down.  If you like a little mystery and suspense but with well developed characters, this story should be on your list.

3. The Lost Memoirs of Jane Austen.  Ok, I love Jane Austen. I've been fascinated by her for years.  This book is loosely based on her real life.  Jane Austen was said to have had a love affair that changed her life and played into her writing and this book seeks to reveal the truth.  I was spell-bound.

4. Anything.  This book literally changed my life.  Just get it.

5. Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? (and other concerns).  Hilarious.  Pee in your pants hilarious.  And oh so accurate.

6. Gone Girl.  Totally messed up and twisted but I couldn't put it down halfway through until I finished. I rarely read a book I haven't figured out the plot of 30 pages in and this one kept me guessing til the end.  For that, I say, worth the read.

7. Fearless. This book was incredible and so timely for me.  If you're in a transition period in life this book may just be on the mark for you.

8. Start Something That Matters. This book was incredible.  Inspiring, uplifting, motivating, and interesting all in one. I gave it 5 stars.

9. Slammed.  I recommended this to some of my favorite readers and we all agreed, we couldn't put it down.  We quickly read the sequel and we're all anxiously awaiting a third book out by her in March of 2013.  This is a great 'summer read' style book, so if you're planning on giving your brain a vacation this December, snag this.

10.  Testimony. I snagged this gem at a used bookstore and I LOVED it.  I went back and found another by the same author to read myself over Christmas.  This one has some scandal but in the end I thought it was beautifully crafted and written. A sad reminder of how quickly bad decisions can rock our worlds and change our lives forever.

Happy Christmas reading time loves. If you try any of these out send me your feedback. I will be checking my personal e-mail over the vacation break:


Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Twas the Week Before Christmas.

It's less than a week until Christmas day!  Anyone else having a hard time believing that?  It's just not starting to feel like Christmas to me after a couple parties this past week.  It's still warm and sunshiney here in Tampa, which probably takes away from the feel a bit.  But whether or not it dips below 70 here this month, Christmas is coming!

This past weekend I hosted a handful of friends for a Christmas brunch at my place.  It was so fun just to see and spend time with everyone before we disperse to our various Christmases around the country (or for the lucky ones, stay around and actually relax).

I made 2 new Pinterest recipes both of which actually were remarkably good and successful (this is not always the case for me).  And everything that people brought was delish. I finally had to invite friends over for a leftovers party to purge some of the extras!  Whew.

With a few days to go I need to wrap up work, scrounge up all my winter-ish clothes to pack, and today on lunch: finally mail my faraway friends their gifts.  So here they go to Indy, Chicago, Austin, and beyond.

The biggest debate of my week before Christmas is how many books to pack for my week up north... who wants to vote?

Looking forward to time with family, seeing sweet friends, cheering on the Colts, and playing with my new DSLR camera while up there.

Happy week before the C-day.


Thursday, December 13, 2012

Second Annual Christmas Letter.

I started a new tradition last year of blogging my Christmas letter instead of printing them and sending them out with my Christmas cards.  Here is last years letter which I stopped to read again before I wrote the one you will find below...

(Me, Ruth, Mom (Deb), Dad (Clyde), Rachel, Noa, and Chris - on our family trip to Myrtle Beach this summer)

Friends, Family, and Family friends,

Merry Christmas to each of you and to your sweet families.

If you are new to this blog this year either because you've come into my life in 2012 or because you read the address on the bottom of this years Christmas card - welcome!  I have been blogging less than ever this year but I hope with more direction, clearer vision, and a more open dialog than in years past.

As I reread my 2011  Christmas letter I was so humbled to think of all the Lord has done in 2012.  I expected this year to be easier than the last but it has brought with it more challenges than any year before.  But as it draws to an end I am most grateful to report that I have never felt stronger in the my relationship with the Lord than I do as I close 2012 and this year was a  year of being faithful in my time and my commitment to Him.  Through that He has used a tough year for good in me and I hope in a few small ways - through me.

In April of 2012 I went to Port Au Prince, Haiti where along with a team of strangers that became friends I worked hard to lay the foundation of a church.  We met the physical need of a church that already existed and is serving there by giving them a building and we were able to encourage the pastor and the congregation of our fellow Christians there.

(Haiti - April 2012.)

 I worked a concrete mixer along with a fellow church member and it was the dirtiest heaviest work I've done to date. I will share that I came back from that trip of 4am-4pm workdays more rested than I could have from any vacation and I announced to my Dad from the Miami airport 'that was better than any trip I've ever been on'.   My world was rocked but I came back ready to serve again, which I will do in January of 2013 on a trip to Togo in West Africa.

(Easter 2012)

Being an Aunt is by far my favorite role and my love for Noa grows with each day.  We recently celebrated (unfortunately from afar for me) Noa's first birthday.  I am reminded daily what a gift she is.  She has brought more joy to my family than I could have imagined and she arrived with timing only the Lord could have ordained.  I am impatiently awaiting some time with her over Christmas in Indianapolis where I hope to start working on 'Aunt B' being her first words.

This year had it's fair share of travels which included a May trip to Washington DC to spend time with my family there as well as explore a city that now holds a big piece of my heart.

(Washington DC - May 2012)

Travels were an overwhelming theme for this year as I visited: Louisville, Scottsburg, Indy, Pittsburgh, St. Louis, Daytona, Orlando, Washington DC, Haiti, Raleigh, Kansas City, Jacksonville, and beyond.  Whew. I have lived as much out of a suitcase as out of a dresser this year but it has given me so many unique experiences and well, an abundance of frequent flier miles!

I completed my first home renovation project in the summer of 2012 which involved a new paint job, new bathroom counters, sinks, and faucets.  When people tell you that home projects are always more work and more money than you expect? Listen to them!  But I'm pleased to say that all went well and I've enjoyed the rest of the year with the results.

 (Summer Remodel Project - July 2012)

More than anything else this year I am grateful for relationships.  I am thankful for the new friends the Lord has brought to me in 2012. I'm thankful for each person who has walked with me through a busy work season, an incredible football season, and a season of spiritual growth.  I'm grateful for a bible study group who has worn their knees out in prayer for me this year.  For each new friend, I am thankful for you and for the fact that you have so quickly become more like family than friends.

(Amber & I - October 2012)

This year brought with it my three year anniversary of working with All Pro Dad as well as the completion of my third year of home ownership.  My third event season with All Pro Dad allowed me another chance to work alongside my Dad with a company that is close to both of our hearts.  What a sweet season it has been for us to further a common mission, to see families strengthened and Dad's making their kids a priority.  I'm grateful for the Lord's provision this year and every year and for the home He's continued to provide for me here in Tampa.  The batch pad saw many visitors from near and far this year and my work travels took me to see many of the league friends I've made in my time with events.

 (Jared, me, Candy, and Jason - Colts All Pro Dad Event, November 2012)

In December, I look forward to closing 2012 in Carmel, Indiana for Christmas with my sweet family.  I'm narrowing in on the end of my 100 book reading goal for this year and expect to cross the finish line well ahead of New Years Eve.  I am enjoying my first Christmas tree, a season of parties, and the month long reminder of the birth of my Savior.

All that has happened in 2012 makes me excited to begin 2013 as I look forward to welcoming a second brother-in-law into the family this coming summer.  My excitement (and nerves) continue to grow as my first trip literally around the world to build at Aquaponics center in Africa quickly approaches.  I have determined my 2013 exploration trip to be Seattle, Washington.  And despite much goading from friends, I have not determined my goals for 2013 but I do promise they will not include doubling my current reading goal.

Thank you thank you to all who have made this year special - I am grateful for each of you and I look forward to continuing to do life with you on the blog and in person in 2013.  Merry Christmas, Happy New Year, and Go Colts!

All My Love,

'She is clothed with strength and dignity, and she laughs without fear of the future' - Proverbs 31:25

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Don't Get Your Tinsel in a Tangle.

Finally starting to look like Christmas at my house, even if Tampa doesn't feel wintery at all (no, I'm not complaining)...

Finally bought my first Christmas tree this year.

I am most excited to use my 2012 Mt. Vernon ornament that I bought on my travels to DC this year - but it's also fun to have my friends represented on my tree!

Whew, the house is almost ready, the travel plans are made, the Christmas party is planned - now, to just sit back an enjoy the month!

Monday, December 3, 2012

Falling Out of Love.

For any of you who have been in a serious relationship, you know that love takes work.  Someday's are fun and easy while others zap your energy or leave you anxious for better times.  What I hadn't really considered until recently is that loving your life works almost exactly the same way.  Sometimes you have to fight to keep the love alive.

It's not a secret in blog world that I've been through a tough couple of months.  I only just realized this week that a big portion of my problems has been that I let myself fall out of love with the life I've built.  When I look back at 2011 I was so in love with life.  Even the first part of 2012 felt that way.  Then fall came and a midst tough challenges, rocky relationships, work busyness, and exhaustion, I let myself fall out of that love.  I forgot what it was I was working so hard for.  I lost sight of why I first fell in love with Tampa, this job, and why I valued these relationships.

Over a lunch date with my Dad when I was over-eagerly sharing all these ideas I'd been having he, without meaning too, reminded me.  When I talked about how smart it would be to sell my condo soon (I could make a sizable profit and the market is right again) he said, 'but Bekes you LOVE that condo.  It's your home and you've done so well with it.  Keep it because you love it'.  And he's right. I DO love my condo.  For the gypsy child who never got to have a 'childhood' home, I have an adulthood home, and this is it.  But in the midst of this crazy season, I simply forgot.

I spent this weekend doing all the things this fall stripped me of - sleeping, resting, cleaning, decorating, catching up with friends, cooking out with my neighbors, baking and delivering to buddies, and drinking coffee on my red velvet couch with a good book.  After a weekend of getting back to being me I was on that same couch, with that book, pondering that life-loving girl who'd gotten lost in the shuffle.

I recognize this next season as being for falling back in love.  For jogs by the water, good books, great friendships, home cooked meals, bridge drives, and days by the pool.  It's time to put some of the past few months hardships behind me and really focus on what's important and in finding that joy I had earlier this year.  And it feels good, to recognize that, and to work towards it.  Oh how I've missed being in love.  And I will add, December seems like the perfect month for falling...


Thursday, November 29, 2012

Olive Branches.

It seems that life has set out to teach me humility in the last few months before this year ends.  I have been in just about every awkward situation you can think of these past few weeks (I truly might write a book someday) and the overwhelming need to be a peace keeper and to be humble has weighed on me.  It's also been a theme in so many areas of my life.  At bible study this past Monday, after a week of just such circumstances I read this of the Proverbs 31 woman:

She is a peacekeeper. (Proverbs 3:17) - Wisdom's ways are pleasant ways, and all her paths are peace. (Proverbs 12:20)

Ah, peacekeeping.  It's never been a strength of mine.  I'm passionate.  Mouthy.  Impatient.  Expectant.  And frequently, entitled.  Basically I'm the opposite of this wise woman of Proverbs.  But man am I being forced to work at it now.

And more than having my hand forced I'm finding that I want to grow in this area.  Certainly I desire to be wise and if wisdom means peaceful and pleasant paths, well sign me up.  But I think the journey to these peaceful paths is the tough part, hm?

So here's my solution...olive branches.  Rome wasn't built in a day and wounds aren't healed overnight.  Forgiveness is sometimes a process and smoothing over bumps in the road behind you takes time (longer without an apology or any real remorse on the other person's part).  But when these awkward opportunities present themselves and you're faced with the chance to choose peace, try an olive branch. It's really the perfect example because they're small.  It's the simple but profound gesture of extending undeserved grace for the moment and the first step on a journey to peaceful paths to come.

If, like myself, you find that your pride is tripping you up because you deserve an apology or you're hesitant to give that undeserved grace just remember that there is frequently more strength in choosing peace.  It's not a sign of weakness but a show of character.  Or as Jennie Allen says, ' Jesus wants our dignity to come from him, not how we are treated. There is strength and intention in humility'.

So here's to olive branches this holiday season.  To being the bigger person even when you don't feel like it.  To forgiving the un-sorry.  To showing love to the undeserving.  To coming out smelling like roses in an ugly situation.  And a toast to all of us who have had to be on the receiving end of this at some point as well.


Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Thanksgiving, Engagements, and Family Oh My.

Whew, it feels good to be back in Tampa.  I'm looking forward to having my feet on the ground in my hometown for almost a full month!  But that's not to discount what an amazing month November turned out to be and what a sweet time I had with family over the Thanksgiving holiday.

My sister got engaged!  I got to be a small part of it (I delivered the now fiance for the surprise) and it was so sweet to be home to share in the excitement.

I loved the time with my cousins, even being put to shame at the gym by their fit selves.  I should probably start aspiring to be more like them.

I had the sweetest lunch date with my Dad - but that is a whole separate blog post to share the wisdom he gave me!

And I took a little rental car road trip to see friends in Southern Indiana while I was at it.

Whew.  As always like has been a whirlwind but I'm looking forward to slowing down, working on my goals for next year, and tying up some lose ends of 2012.  I'm now less than two months away from my trip to Africa and only 6 books away from finishing my 100 book goal for 2012!  Ready to finish this year strong.

Here's a little recap of my week away in pictures:

This little cutie, Asher, is one of my Dad's players babies and he was precious.  He also loved me and my oversized sweater and cuddle and slept on my all day.

Too many cooks in the kitchen.

Mom and I on our lunch date at the airport.

 And again.

Cousins, sister, and Luke (on the far right) my soon-to-be bro in law.

                  3rd annual ornament exchange - and this is the first year I'll have a tree to hang mine on!

Hope you all day a Happy Thanksgiving and much to be grateful for this year!


Monday, November 19, 2012

Roadtrip Weekend.

Okay everything on this blog is a little delayed lately but now that I've finished my final event for this season it may be safe to say I'll catch back up and be a bit more regular around here...but as sure as I say that everything will change.  So stay tuned.

Anyway,  I wanted to take the time to post some pictures from the Jacksonville road trip my friends and I went on the weekend before last.  After Pittsburgh and Indy I came back on a Sunday (after a Colts win) to prepare for to meet my friends in Jacksonville on Thursday night for another football game (you know I can never get enough).

It was truly one of the best weekends.   It was so fun to be with my Dad for lunch and pregame and nothing brings me more joy than my family and friends together.  I so love them getting to know each other and all the special people in my life getting along.  Ok fine, and the Colts winning was icing on the cake.

Dad snagged us pregame passes so we could spend a little more time with him down on the field.  I think after these I was too cold to take many pictures...

(Jason, Me, Dad, and Jared during pregame warm-ups)

 (Jason and I)

            (my sweet childhood friend/former roomie/small grouper/bff/favorite road trip buddy - Jess)

           (These two have quickly become two of my favorite people in the world - great guys.)

The boys followed me back to Tampa for the rest of the weekend which can pretty much be summed up by this photo:

We spent both days at the beach.  They spent it finding 102 sand dollars, two of which now grace my coffee table.

It was literally the perfect weekend.  I kind of want to go back and relive it again now that I wrote about it.

But don't worry, the travels keep on coming.

Never a dull moment.


Tuesday, November 13, 2012

2012 Reading List.

And again I say, the list...

1. Catching Fire - Suzanne Collins
2. Mockingjay - Suzanne Collins
3. A Life in Stitches - Rachael Herron
4. Leaving Paradise - Simone Elkeles
5. Sing Me Home - Jodi Picoult
6. The 6th Target - James Patterson
7. Serendipity - Lousie Shaffer
8. Haiti: A Tumultuous History - Philippe Girard
9. Orange it the New Black - Piper Kerman
10. The Secret Holocaust Diaries - Nonna Bannister
11. 7th Heaven - James Patterson
12. The Icing on the Cupcake - Jennifer Ross
13. Mrs. Kimble - Jennifer Haigh
14. Sams Letters to Jennifer - James Patterson
15. Abducted - T.R. Ragan
16. First Time Landlord - Janet Portman
17. Off the Record - Elizabeth White
18. Lady of Bolton Hill - Elizabeth Camden
19. Velvet Elvis - Rob Bell
20. Total Money Makeover - Dave Ramsey
21. American Wife - Curtis Sittenfeld
22. Daisy Chain - Mary Demuth
23. The Keeper - Sarah Langan
24. The Paris Wife - Paula McClain
25. Hollywood is like High School with Money - Zoey Dean
26. The Lucky One - Nicholas Sparks
27. The Secret Life of CeeCee Wilkes - Diane Chamberlain
28. Tess of the d'Ubervilles - Thomas Hardy
29. Master your Metabolism - Jillian Michaels
30. The Surgeon - Tess Gerritsen
31. Small Space Organizing - Kathryn Bechen
32. The Picture of Dorian Gray - Oscar Wilde
33. Organizing Your Day - Sandra Felton
34.  Me & My Big Mouth - Joyce Meyer
35. Uglies - Scott Westerfeld
36. Fifty Shades of Grey - E.L. James
37. Crazy Love - Francis Chan
38. The Lost Memoirs of Jane Austen - Syrie James
39. Still Missing - Chevy Stevens
40. Seven - Jen Hatmaker
41. 17 Day Diet - Mike Moreno
42. Forgotton God - Francis Chan
43. Girls in Trucks - Katie Crouch
44. Goodnight Nobody - Jennifer Weiner
45. A Desireable Residence - Madeleine Wickham
46. Sail - James Patterson
47. Anything - Jennie Allen
48. The Choice - Nicholas Sparks
49. The Sari Shop Widow - Shobhan Bantwal
50. A Million Miles in a Thousand Years - Donald Miller
51. The Atonement Child - Francine Rivers
52. Kisses from Katie - Katie Davis
53. A Version of the Truth - Jennifer Kaufman
54. Nantucket Nights - Elin Hilderbrand
55. Lone Wolf - Jodi Picoult
56. Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? - Mindy Kaling
57. War Brides- Helen Bryan
58. Swim - Jennifer Weiner
59. Fearless - Max Lucado
60. The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People - Stephen R Covey
61. Island of Lost Girls - Jennifer McMahon
62. Start Something that Matters - Blake Mycoskie
63. A Million Miles in a Thousand Years - Donald Miller
64. Gone Girl - Gillian Flynn
65. Quiet Strength - Tony Dungy
66. One Breath Away - Heather Gudenkauf
67. Worth Lying For - Lisa Cheney
68. Mission Possible - Eva Moskowitz
69. The Furious Longing of God - Brennan Manning
70. The Guy Not Taken - Jennifer Weiner
71. Accused - Janice Catore
72. Slammed - Colleen Hoover
73. Point of Retreat - Colleen Hoover
74. 8th Confession - James Patterson
75. 9th Judgement - James Patterson
76. Erasing Hell - Francis Chan
77. Riversong - Tess Hardwick
78. Crash - Nicole Williams
79. Clash - Nicole Williams
80. Where We Belong - Emily Giffin
81. Recalculating - Jennifer Weiner
82. 10th Anniversary - James Patterson
83. 11th Hour - James Patterson
84. I Never Promised You a Goodie Bag - Jennifer Gilbert
85. Dark Place - Gillian Flynn
86. Sharp Objects - Gillian Flynn
87. Style - Lauren Conrad
88. Stuck - Jennie Allen
89. Testimony - Anita Shreve
90. Between the Lines - Jodi Picoult
91.The End of Everything - Megan Abbott
92. The Darlings - Cristina Alger
93. My Life Next Door - Huntley Fitzpatrick
94. The Circle Maker - Mark Batterson
95. Married by Mistake - Abby Gaines
96. Three Weeks with My Brother - Nicholas Sparks
97. The Edge of Never - J.A. Redmerski
98. In Search of Lucy - Lia Fairchild
99. Domestic Affairs - Bridget Siegel
100. Red Sea Rules - Robert Morgan


Monday, November 12, 2012


The last few months have been a roller coaster and to say that they have left me humbled would be an understatement. But as I was finally hitting a new stride - a hard but purposeful one in which I thought things were as hard as they could get, I got leveled one more time. As I came a place of  acceptance for the areas in my life I couldn't fix and I challenged myself to handle them with grace I had no idea I would encounter yet a harder season in the form of friendships.

For any of you who have mourned the loss of a friend for any number of reasons, I'm sorry. In the pursuit of what I thought was right I came to a tough crossroad. Go with my gut or give the people in my life I have loved their way. It sounds simple but I wouldn't be writing this if it were, now would I? I've never been one for lines in the sand and I'm fiercely loyal but don't back me into a corner...

What I realize as I've grown older and unfortunately not much wiser is this - while you can't control other people, you are responsible for who you can control, you. And so as lines were drawn I didn't choose a side, I chose what I knew to be right.

Word to the wise, doing the right thing sucks sometimes. Maybe even most of the time. And it comes at a cost.

Doing what I thought was right when I felt like I had been dealt a bad hand has cost me dearly. It's cost me friendships. They may or may not ever be restored but will certainly bare the scars of my choice and theirs.

The loss of the friendships isn't all. Loss of trust. Loss of respect. Loss of intimacy. I could go on and on.

But in the midst of this I have been reminded of the big picture. Who do I want to be?  As I thought about my decisions I thought hard about the kind of person I desire to be and that has become the focus of this season. I'm still figuring it out but heres a few things I know...

I desire to be the kind of friend who's love protects.  I desire to be trustworthy and reliable. I desire to be honest even when it hurts.  I desire to be real. I desire to be gracious and loving. I desire to be like Christ in that I want my love to cover a multitude of sin. I desire to treat others to the gift of grace I have been given. I desire to be a person of character who's walk lines up with their talk. I desire to be uncompromising in my convictions. And I hope to earn respect where I cannot earn approval.

Maybe I will revisit this in a few months but as of now I don't see any of the involved friendships ever being the same. But for once in my life I can say if I had it to do over I'd do it the same.  My walk lined up with my talk and it cost me dearly but it didn't cost me my integrity and for that I am grateful.

For everything there is a season and I truly hope this one is nearing the end.


Monday, November 5, 2012

Indy Weekend.

Gosh I feel like the weekends are flying by these days.  Thank you for your sweet words on last weeks post, they encouraged me beyond words.  I spent the past four days in Indianapolis and what a sweet four days it was. It was FULL with work, family, friends, and family friends.  But even as I landed after midnight last night I felt grateful for every moment.

Our Colts event is of course my favorite event to work because I get to work with this guy:

It's been such a sweet three year work season for us to be able to do these events together.  I don't take a single moment of it for granted.  I truly have the most amazing Dad of all, how could I not care to further the message of how important father's are?

 Of course having these three along as volunteers took the event from good to great for me.  Absolutely loved spending time with them and it was so special to have them be part of my work event.

I worked Friday and Saturday but managed to get a lunch and shopping date in with my Momma and some time with my Dad (at 6am, taking him to work mostly).  Mom even treated me to some gear for this Thursday game in Jax so I won't freeze in my short sleeves!

Stuck around after the event on Saturday to play downtown with my friends and then to catch the Colts game Sunday with this pretty lady:

Felt good to be home with my parents and the goodbye didn't hurt as much since I'll be back with Dad, Jared, and Jason on Thursday and home for Thanksgiving before the end of this month.

God is good. Another great event and another great weekend.


Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Maybe, Maybe Not.

My younger sister Ruth went through a weird phase.  I think maybe she was a fibber or my Dad thought she exaggerated too much.  So he put the fear of God into her literally about lying.  And for the next year or two after everything she said she would say 'maybe, maybe not' just to make sure that not matter what she said it couldn't be a lie.  It was incredibly annoying.

I realized this week as I'm reading The Circle Maker, I do that in my prayers sometimes.  The book talked this week about how sometimes we add a 'if it's your will' at the end of our prayers because we don't really think the Lord going to answer them and we want to leave Him an out.  But I was reminded this morning that God is bigger than our biggest problem, our biggest dream, and his grace is bigger than our biggest sins.  And what a reminder that is.  If we can really grasp that, wouldn't we pray differently?

The coolest thing I've taken from the book so far is that one couple that Mark Batterson writes about would write notes to the Lord with their biggest, craziest, hardest prayers and post them on the fridge.  I LOVE that.  I love the idea of being bold, of putting it in writing, and of not being ashamed for the people who come into your home to know that you're praying big.

And so, I got out my colorful post it's and I wrote my biggest requests.  For some of you.  For my family members.  For my friends. And for my own life.  I dated them today and I put them on my fridge.  I'm praying big, I'm praying bold, and I'm praying with the expectation that my God is bigger that every request.  I'm not adding any maybe, maybe not's at the end of my prayers. And when he answers them I'm going to take them down, add another date and give them to the person whose request it is as a reminder that our God is way bigger than the box we put him in.


Tuesday, October 30, 2012


Happy Tuesday to all!

I'm back in Tampa for what feels like a couple day layover on my way back out.  I was in Pittsburgh, PA this past weekend working out event with the Steelers and I landed late Saturday night.  Sunday was busy, Monday was madness, and not today I'm taking a deep breath before I join my 60 boxes in Indianapolis to help run our Indianapolis Colts event.

So, hello.

Our event with Coach Tomlin in Pittsburgh went well and we had a great turnout.  It was fun to see Coach again and he did an incredible job of inspiring the Dad's and kids that attended our event.  So thankful for his commitment to the program.

We had a great team from our office go and I think it's safe to say that a fun but slightly freezing time was had by all.  It was warm when we arrived Friday and freezing by the time we left on Saturday night.  I hear they're supposed to get snow this week!  Yikes.

I landed at midnight going into Sunday morning but I took a long nap and awoke to see my sweet friend Amber be baptized on Sunday morning.

This was the absolute highlight of my weekend. I'm so grateful for her friendship and she was a timely gift from the Lord when I couldn't have needed her more.  I've loved doing life, jailbreak lunches, and bible study with her.  Try as I might I can't really imagine how I survived my day-to-day life without her.  I was so proud of her this weekend and it was such an honor to be there to be a part of it!

Sunday afternoon I rolled up in a throw blanket like a burrito and basically died on top of my bed only to resurrect a few hours later to host my bible study girls for a dessert night.  Clearly not in my right might I didn't take many picture but I at least wanted to show you all that I cleaned and semi decorated!...

It was such a sweet way to end the weekend and begin the week. I have the most amazing group of girls.  Thankful for the chance to do life with them in this season.

I head out again Thursday to work with my favorite of our spokesmen, my sweet Daddy. Looking forward to some face time with my mom, a lunch date with my Dad, working the event alongside my best friend Candy and two of my favorite new Indiana boys, Jared and Jason before catching the Colts v. Dolphins game on Sunday and flying home to get ready for a road trip weekend following.  Whew.  Life is good.  Busy, a little overwhelming, and full, but so good.