Thursday, May 30, 2013

It's Me: A to Z

I stole this from one of my dearest friends, Ashley - check her blog out
I figured it would be fun and quick, and hopefully interesting for you. 

A. Age: 24.

B. Bed size: Queen. 
(Btw, our new hand-me-down sleep number AWESOME!)

C. Chore you hate: Laundry.

D. Dogs: None. One of two things would happen:
I'd either get bored with him/her after a few weeks...
 Or get really attached and be devastated when it dies.

E. Essential start to your day: Frozen coffee. Not good for me, I know.

F. Favorite color: Pink. Teal. Orange. Green.

G. Gold or silver: Silver, I think.

H. Height: 5'5''.

I. Instruments you play: Nothing well. 

J. Job title: Campbell CAS Admissions Coordinator (Go Camels!) 

K. Kids: None yet. 

L. Live: Middle of no where. 
Community: Christian Light, Address: Fuquay, County: Harnett. 

M. Maiden name: Johnson

N. Nicknames: "My Nee" (Dad's), Sissy (Brandon's), Lillers (D's). Umm...?

O. Overnight hospital stays: None that I know of...

P. Pet peeve: People who are always late. People who complain all the time. 

Q. Quote: "I am come that they might have LIFE, 
and that they might have it more abundantly!" -Jesus

R. Righty or lefty: Righty. 

S. Siblings: My favorite little bro: Brandon.

T.Time you wake up: Between 7:00 and 7:30.

U. University attended: The best one. Campbell! 

V. Vegetables you dislike: Peppers. Onions. Tomatoes (I don't care if you call them fruit...they're gross)

W. What makes you run late: My flippin' comfy bed and cozy husband. 

X. X-rays you’ve had: Teeth. 

Y. Yummy food: Mexican. Hibachi chicken. French fries.

Z. Zoo animal favorite: "baby" anything. Seriously. 
Baby elephant. Baby hippos. Baby polar bear. 

Monday, May 27, 2013

This weekend...

 I feel like I haven't been to work in a week - which means that it was probably a good weekend. 

Friday night we went out to eat with my best pal since 4th grade and her wonderful husband. They live a little over an hour away from us, so we are happy when we get to hang out with them on our monthly dates. I am reminded every single time of how blessed I am to have a best friend who has been a huge part of my life since I was 9. Most people don't have that.

After eating, we headed to Pullen park - where we walked around, took in the sights, laughed a lot and played on the playground. It made us miss the days of recess...but appreciate being able to be a kid again around each other. 

On Saturday, we spent the day shopping with Derrick's Mom. We had a nice lunch with her, and then our focus was to find furniture for our deck. It took a lot of shopping and around...and made for a long afternoon...but we were blessed to find a table with chairs and an umbrella and a three-person deck swing with cover - both on sale. 

Then we spent the evening at a fish fry with the Green family - where Jessie and I cheered on our guys as they played a hardcore game of basketball. The night ended with a game of Phase 10...and Derrick and I putting our table together.

Sunday morning we watched a sermon from home and then finished putting our deck furniture together. It was a good project to work through. After I fixed lunch, I took full advantage of the deck - spending a couple of hours basking in the sunshine and getting lost in a good book. 

Sunday night, Derrick and I volunteered with a few other members of our small group in pre-school nursery at church. That was a lot of fun, and it was good to get to hang out with the kiddos. To see their innocence and joy. Afterwards, we grabbed food and headed to my parents house to hear about their trip to Vegas.

Today (Monday), I woke up and spent some time with Jesus (on the deck, of course)...then it was time to go grocery shopping. Which I actually enjoy. While we ate lunch, we discussed our week's chapter of Crazy Love. I love my quiet time with Derrick and God. 

Then I stayed out on the deck and finished reading my book...before we headed off to a cookout with some of our friends at Hope. It was awesome to be surrounded by our new friends, eat good food and laugh at the kids having fun in the backyard 

Now it's Bachelorette time. 

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Why I love the library..

Today I went to the library on my lunch break. It was both wonderful, inspiring, and overwhelming. As it always is.

My sweet husband likes to give me a hard time about my semi-frequent library trips. For every holiday he always asks if I want a kindle or something similar. No, thank you. 

Why I still go to the library
I like the people, the purpose and the shelves of stories and characters waiting to be discovered. They have books for whatever mood I'm in. Books I can touch and hold and smell.

It beats having to pay for books. Or pay for a kindle and then pay for books. 
And, if I don't like a book, I can just take it back and try again. 
(I still buy all my devotion books. I like writing and highlighting.)

It's where my tax money goes. I know I don't actually get to choose, but I mentally like to believe that my tax money is going to firemen, EMTs and...
 the library. 
I use the library to take advantage of those thousands of dollars that the government so kindly deducts from my salary. 

Why I suck at the library
I don't handle lots of options well. So, at the library, I always go to the exact same aisle. And the exact same authors.

 I've read all of Karen Kingsbury's Christian fiction books and Beverly Lewis' Amish fiction books (yes, I'm obsessed with Amish fiction) at least one-three times each. Today, I had no idea where to go or what to get because I've literally recently read all of my "go-to books". 
So what did I end up with? Robin Jones Gunn's books - which I read many times in high school.

So I encourage you to take advantage of some of your tax dollars!
And also please give me some suggestions of new authors to explore...

Monday, May 20, 2013

Beauty Maker, Time Saver

Over the past few months, I've discovered two things that - as a woman - make my life a little easier.

1. Coconut Oil
My dear friend Ashley turned me on to this. At first, I was skeptical, but I gave it a try. There are many benefits to coconut oil, but I primarily use it for two reasons:

In the mornings or evenings, while getting ready, I put a spoonful in my mouth and slowly swish it for 10-20 minutes. This (weird) simple thing helps clean your teeth and gums, freshen your breath and detoxify your mouth. After the 10-20 minutes - DON'T SWALLOW. Spit and brush your teeth. 

Before I take a shower or a bath, I rub coconut oil all over (it's especially awesome for the face as well). 
It makes for a slippery shower, but creates smooth, soft skin! And it sure beats having to put heavy, sticky lotion on afterwards.

Just give it a try.  $6 at Walmart - cheaper than any other mouth wash/moisturizer combo I know of.

2. Wardrobe Match-up
(Get ready to roll your eyes. But trust me.)

Last Monday night, Derrick was out of town - so I had many hours of productivity. The night before I had been feeling like I "needed" new clothes, and I knew that wasn't the case. I'm not one to spend money on fashion - so I wanted to avoid sinking into that...
 I was just overwhelmed and tired of grabbing the same outfits each day.

 I needed organization and inspiration. 
So, I literally spread my entire wardrobe out around the house so that I could see every piece and proceeded to go through my clothes. I would grab bottoms, match a top (and sweater or accessory) and hang in my closet.  I matched together 30+ prepared outfits, hung them neatly and, with things that didn't fit or didn't match anything, made a nice stack of yard sale/charity stuff. Now I know what I have, what I need and what I don't need.

 Seriously, ladies, I would encourage you to set aside an hour or two to do this. It saves so much time in the morning, gets rid of excess and allows you to pair together new outfit combinations you wouldn't normally think of. And, every week when I do the laundry, I pair together a few new outfits and add them into the mix. 

 And let not your adornment be merely external-- braiding the hair, and wearing gold jewelry, or putting on dresses; but let it be the hidden person of the heart, with the imperishable quality of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is precious in the sight of God. For in this way in former times the holy women also, who hoped in God, used to adorn themselves, being submissive to their own husbands.
1 Peter 3:3-5

Friday, May 17, 2013

Friendship on fire.

 I'm sure you've heard that "love is friendship on fire". Maybe you like that idea, maybe you don't. But you don't really get it until you have it. 

I have a group of seven girl friends who I would consider my best friends. They have known me for years. We have grown up together. We have hurt together, laughed together, cried together. We act serious together and completely silly with each other. We are real and open with each other and sometimes we're not. We go on adventures together and have scrapbooks of memories together.

What I have with my husband is an unexplainably deeper version of that. He's the person I want to talk to. The person that I want to end my day with, just watching tv, playing video games, or sitting in the quiet next to one another. He's the person I get frustrated with and tell him so. He's the person that I'm seriously vulnerable with and crazy-silly with. We grasp hands and grow together. Hurt together, laugh together. We talk through things...and sometimes we just be and don't talk. He's my comfort-person. He is my absolute best friend. 

We were friends first. And then that friendship caught on fire. 

It makes me sad when married couples aren't best friends.When they don't have fun together. When they aren't for each other. When they don't want to talk about simple things and serious things. When they don't want to just do life together. 

Sure, best friendships have bumps in the road. Best friends hurt one another and get frustrated. Each friend is imperfect and brings those imperfections into the relationship.

But where romance and passion may fail, where legal documents may seem negotiable, where marriage may seem overwhelming, friendship overcomes. 

So, my single friends out there, don't look for Mr. Perfect. Just enjoy building those friendships...and, one day, you'll find yourself falling in love with your best friend.  You'll be laughing at a party or playing video games or watching your favorite movie on the couch or riding in a van to a TV studio in Garner...
,,,and you'll look over - and all of a sudden it all makes sense. 

Friendship on fire. 

Sunday, May 12, 2013

A mother of a weekend

 It was a great weekend of productivity and loving on all of the moms and grandmas in our lives!

We started off Saturday morning assisting and cheering on my dad as he worked on our new deck!

Jessie and I took Mrs. Vickie shopping to love on her for Mother's Day. We spent the majority of the afternoon in Charming Charlies - where Jessie and I appreciated and made fun of (check out the sea urchin afro rings above) some of the jewelry...and Mrs. Vickie was in heaven. We met up with Derrick for dinner to end the evening. 

Derrick and I started out Sunday morning watching a sermon on God's Will and His Ways from Elevation in Charlotte...from the comfort of bed.

We went grocery shopping, visited all of our wonderful grandmothers...and spent time with my mom for a bit while my awesome dad continued working on the deck (mom and I are standing on it above). 

 We went to Hope's Sunday at 5 service to learn about serving others...

Met my family for dinner at Buffalo Wild Wings!

Present time for my beautiful, gracious mom...

And we ended with one of my favorite nights of the year...Survivor finale! 

Sunday, May 5, 2013

Taking Back Sabbath

It sounds like the name of a CD...or book...

But it's the stage of life I'm in. 

In the Old Testament, God makes the Sabbath a priority. A big deal.

In the New Testament, Jesus took time to rest. (Mark 6:31)

But, in today's society and in my mind, busier is better. You always have to be doing more and more. To just sit and relax means that you're not doing something you should be doing. To be exhausted is good. 

Lately, I've been grasping to work out my priorities. Every week night has been booked. Every Sunday has been busy from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Some Saturdays are filled with work, some filled with household responsibilities. All important things, all good things...but altogether it can be a little overwhelming.

Derrick and I are going to our new church - Hope Community. The service we go to is at 5 p.m., which means - starting today - we have all day Sunday to ourselves. This makes me feel guilty...but I think God knew I needed it. 

It's time to take back the Sabbath. Spend some time with Jesus. Sit on the back porch and take in creation. Snuggle with my husband. Get in the Word together. Pray for the week ahead. Watch a movie. Go grocery shopping together. Visit relatives. Go for a walk. 

See, I think God gave us a Sabbath - a day of rest - for three reasons:

He wants us to spend time with Him. To give a portion back. To hang out with Him, rest in Him, meet with HIm, focus on Him. 

He wants us to trust Him with our lives. Set aside the need to control everything, to always be busy, to be planning and doing - and trust Him.

Take Care
He designed our bodies, our spirits, our minds, and our world. He knows that going going going all the time wears on us. He wanted to take care of us. To give us a time of rest. 

So, I'm excited. Selfishly excited to have some more time available. Spiritually to spend some more time getting to know Jesus. I'm praying I can take back the Sabbath. I'll let you know how it goes. 

This morning we slept in. Woke up and read Philippians 4 together, prayed for the week, listened to our favorite worship songs, and then watched a live sermon from SeaCoast church in South Carolina - all in bed. Then we made our grocery list for the week and went grocery shopping together. When we got home, I did the budget and picked out my clothes for the week...then we headed to visit some of my relatives who we haven't seen in eight months...although they live right next door.
It has been a Day of Rest.

“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened,
 and I will give you rest."
 Matthew 11:28

Thursday, May 2, 2013

Pencil You In...

If you haven't seen or heard from Derrick or me in a's not because we stopped caring about you. I promise.

Free weeknights are very rare in our life. Watching TV at the time it comes on doesn't happen. God has been so good to us, and we live life to the full. There's a whole list of people - literally - that we're waiting to dedicate time to...

Growing up, we always had family night. When we began watching Survivor, Thursday night become our big family night...and so it is still. And I value that so much. So when Derrick and I got married, that was something I made a priority. Thursday nights with my family, and he happily supports that.Who can argue with interactive TV watching and good food.

While we were engaged, we wanted to have a family night with Derrick's family as well. So Monday night is our dinner and game night with Derrick's family. It's fun to play Cranium, Farkle, Taboo...over Mexican or Italian or pork chops.

So those close to us know that Mondays and Thursdays are generally taken.
 We have chosen family as a priority.

 Growing up, church was traditionally Sunday morning, Sunday night, and Wednesday night. And, for the most part, we still follow that model. 

Wednesday night is our Small Group -we started a new one last night, and we loved it! And we go to Hope's Sunday at 5 service. So our Wednesday and Sunday nights are taken. 

When we don't have work events on Friday nights, most of the time Derrick is editing his personal video work, and I do laundry and clean. I know it doesn't sound fun - but I love getting all of that done.

Tuesday nights are generally our open night - which means that they get quickly booked with friends and family. Dinner in downtown Raleigh with my best friend. Hanging out with church friends in Fuquay. Going out with Derrick's family...

That leaves us with Saturday nights at home.

So, like I said, I promise we're not trying to ignore you. If you're free on Tuesday or Saturday nights...we can pencil you in :)