Cheer ‘Em On! Sprint Triathlon Edition

A few weeks ago (ok, maybe over a month ago…I’m so on top of things) Walker and some friends completed the Towne Lake Sprint Triathlon after training for four months. From May to September, they watched what they ate, carved time out of their day to work out and encouraged each other to stay disciplined. They each conquered a 400 meter swim, a 12 mile bike ride and a 5K run. We are all so proud of them!

I’m pretty sure I’ve discovered my new calling. I want to spend every day at races just being a witness and a participant in all the cheerleading. It’s such a positive place. Everyone wants the best for everyone. People cheer for strangers. Not one person goes overlooked or neglected. It’s just the best. I think we all left pretty inspired. I just kept wondering what life would be like if we cheered each other on all the time. I may have even teared up when I saw our guys waiting at the finish line to give and receive big sweaty hugs as each one of them crossed the line. Sweet friends.

After crossing the finish line, I’m pretty sure each one mentioned that they never want to do another one again, but by lunchtime they were already planning their next race. We couldn’t be more proud of all the energy and perseverance y’all put into this race, and we can’t wait for the next one!Processed with VSCOcam with c1 presetIMG_0701.JPGProcessed with VSCOcam with c1 presetIMG_0649.JPGProcessed with VSCOcam with c1 presetIMG_0700.JPGIMG_0702.JPGIMG_0650.JPGIMG_0654.JPGIMG_0703.JPGIMG_0704.JPG

 

To Alex and Stacia

With the chaos of the school year’s end and the busyness of our summer months, I regrettably realized I never blogged about my best friend’s wedding. I’ve talked about Stacia on here before, ok maybe one, two, three times… not including all my shout outs to the beloved Bunny Club here and here. These days I consider the rare occasions we all get to spend together to be somewhat of a sacred time. I, or any of us for that matter, know full well not to take the time for granted. So between getting to spend 48 hours with these friends and my family + having the incredible privilege of standing as Stacia’s maid of honor, I look back on the weekend with the most grateful of hearts. Below is the speech I gave at the reception.
IMG_0407Nineteen years ago, I walked into my 5th grade classroom to find our desks in new arrangements. While most of the desks were in groups, mine was only next to one. The one who would be my partner and study buddy for at least the next few weeks. Being curious, I slyly lifted the top of the desk to grab a sneak peek at the name of this mysterious student. As soon as my eyes had time to adjust to what I was seeing, I dropped the lid in complete horror. The desk was chocked full of crumpled papers and disheveled school supplies. How could the teacher do this to me? There was just no way this messy person and I were ever going to get along.

Then all of a sudden my friend Stacia walked up and sat in the desk beaming with enthusiasm that we were sitting together. And as my excitement grew that I was actually sitting by the girl who had so graciously befriended me, the lonely new student, at the beginning of the year, I also think my confusion sky-rocketed. I know I probably sat glancing from desk to Stacia, desk to Stacia, desk to Stacia thinking, “I don’t even know who you are anymore!”

Well, 19 years later, I can say for sure that I know who Stacia is.

In fact Stacia is just a little bit messy.

She’s the one who will wear a pair of Rainbow flip-flops for literally 8 years– maybe longer.

And if you know her at all, you know she’s the definition of frugal. Her roommates may or may not have told me she collected condiments from restaurants so she never had to buy them. Or when she reused those plastic cups from QT instead of doing with them what you’re supposed to do with them—throw them away!

She’s the girl who grew out her leg hair for 3 months in high school, so it’s safe to say she’s the girl who has always been herself and not cared too much about what other people think.

I think we can all agree she’s the most laid-back human to have ever existed. Ever.

But Stacia is also the smartest person I know. Always has been.

She is the person who will sit and laugh for hours at the silliest joke, and will always laugh til she cries (which doesn’t take much).

Stacia is the person who will always put other people before herself. And will go out of her way to help someone (or some animal) in need.

She’s the person who works harder than most, who gives more than she has, and who cares for everyone with the purest of intentions.

Stacia is the person who, don’t tell my husband, makes me laugh harder than anyone in the world.

Stacia is the best friend I could have asked for.

For so many of us in the room, Stacia is the person who has loved us really, really well. And Alex, as long as you can put up with just a little bit of her messiness, she is going to love you really, really well. I’m so excited for your future together, and I couldn’t feel more privileged to share this day with y’all.

So as we all raise our glass we simply say, we love you.

To Alex and Stacia…
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Good things

It’s obviously been a while since I just published this post two times accidentally before it was even close to being finished…

Today marks exactly 2 months since my last post. And this being my first free weekend in 2 months, I took a 3.5 hour nap this afternoon. So, tonight seems to be lending me some free time. The past 8 weeks have been a little out of control- in a totally acceptable kind of way. I’m sure I’ve said it before, but I don’t think I’ve ever been this busy. But with this type of busyness also comes lots and lots of friends–new and old. Between weddings, showers, births, retreats, birthdays and passed exams, we’ve been on the go quite a bit. And even though we’ve been battling those hurdles called exhaustion, we’re still sprinting full speed ahead from celebration to celebration, because people are just worth it to us. We are so grateful for all of these friends and feel so honored to be a part of their lives! We are just as grateful that we’ve been able to be present at so many of their important occasions!

I said in January that my words seem to have left me, and it’s holding true still. I’ve honestly barely had time to form any thoughts. Much less flesh them out. But there have just been so many good things in the last few months that I want to remember. So while writing isn’t my thing right now, these pictures easily speak for themselves.

Lynn and James’ Fiesta Shower20140413-224052.jpgMeeting baby Nolan for the first time and Amanda’s 30th birthday.20140413-221918.jpgGetting to spend the day with Danielle before she welcomed baby Evie. Just for clarification … I’m dressed for an 80’s partaaay. 20140413-222010.jpgFishin’ with Jared. 20140413-222147.jpgLynn and James’ wedding!20140413-222334.jpgThrilled to be her Maid of Honor.20140413-222503.jpgStacia’s bridal shower in Phoenix. 20140413-222604.jpgstaciabridalshower20140413-223654.jpgA really great group of seniors at FBC Athens’ Dnow. 20140413-223809.jpgOk, I’m pushing publish. On purpose this time.

Pie

20140209-081740.jpgDays with friends are good. Days with friends that revolve around food are better. And finally, days with friends that will soon be moving to Georgia are so fun and a little sad… but ultimately awesome because we couldn’t be happier for their new opportunity.

We love this little group of Truett friends and have so enjoyed having them close by in Houston. It’s always such a nice escape to get away for the day and explore new places and restaurants. But really we just go to see them. We always look forward to the conversations, the telling of seminary memories and the laughter we know will come in abundance.  This group is a safe place. A table around which we can do everything from flush out frustrations to share dreams of the future.

Can’t wait to see y’all on ‘Honey Boo Boo Goes to Church!’ Dinah, you better drive to Lufkin for the viewing party. Thanks for such a refreshing day, y’all! And for the thousands of calories. I enjoyed every single one! 20140209-081748.jpg

A happy place

20131130-180905.jpgConfession. Pretty much everything I said in my last post never happened, except well, Opal is away. We didn’t make it to Arizona, and the eye twitch has worsened. Like, maybe-I- shouldn’t-drive worsened. It definitely wasn’t the Thanksgiving break we anticipated or planned. It’s been an emotional seven days. An uncertain seven days.

But still, there is much to be thankful for.

And one of those many things is how we spent our Saturday. My two bearded men and I headed over to a local tree farm to pick out our first Christmas tree. It’s my first time to have a real tree, whereas Walker looked in the mirror and proclaimed, “The blood of a 1,000 lumberjacks is running through my veins.” Obviously, he let us newbies know he’s a professional.

I loved wandering through the trees like a kid and spotting Walker’s head pop in and out of the rows. And hearing Jared choose his favorite trees, which all happened to be abnormally uniquely shaped. We walked away with one of the many perfect pines, and on the way home I asked if we could go back and pick another. I got denied. Lots of fist pumps for this family owned farm that provided us not only with a cherished tree but also some tangible cheer and merriment!

Yes, there is still much to be thankful for. 20131130-180954.jpg20131130-182400.jpgProcessed with VSCOcam with f2 preset20131130-180856.jpg20131130-180932.jpg20131130-180940.jpg20131130-182354.jpgProcessed with VSCOcam with f2 presetBesties at Kendricks20131130-180848.jpgKendricks20131130-180913.jpg20131130-180921.jpg

Welcome to the Bunny Club

This is the Bunny ClubProcessed with VSCOcam with c1 presetAnd we gained a new member last weekend. Our third male to be inducted. makeupMiss Alyssa became Mrs. Schmeider, and we had way too much fun reuniting in AZ and celebrating her new marriage with Joey. I think we’re all a little sad the long-awaited weekend together is over. photo-4The weekend was filled with details galore, as Alyssa the dream chaser not only works for the American Cancer Society but also owns her own events planning company. Everyone involved had such a good time. She’s one of those people that’s always, and I mean always, looking out for others. On this weekend, the weekend she’s allowed to make all about herself, she was constantly taking care of everyone else. That’s just who she is. She loves a lot. And Alyssa, we love you a lot.best day everAs I watched Joey and Alyssa leave together for our junior prom, I’m absolutely sure I never imagined them getting married 10 years down the road. But as a testament to hard work, devotion, sacrifice and sometimes unconventional ways, that’s just what these two did. It couldn’t be more uplifting to see their journey come to this point of marriage, and to walk alongside them as they forge a new path together.  photo 1Now, if you’d asked me 10 years ago if I thought the Bunny Club would still be around today, watching each other get married and pushing through life together, my young little self would have said “DUH.” I might not have known the kinds of circumstances life would bring us or how far away we would end up from one another, but there was never a doubt in my mind that we’d stick it through, this thing called friendship, for the long run–for life. And that’s what we’ve done. From middle school to high school, through college and now young-adulthood, we’ve waded through life together, listened to each other, flown across the country and played phone tag for 6 months. We’ve celebrated in new jobs and marriages and moves, and we’ve comforted in doubt and uncertainty and disappointments. There have been big gestures and small texts messages, but I think they key to our friendship is really much simpler. We’ve never thought about not being friends. Through distance, and the bigger kicker–busyness, letting go has never been an option. We’re friends, and that’s just the way it is. So basically all this rambling is just to say how thankful I am for this set of girls and their families, too. A giant fist pump for 15 years of friendship, and a raise the roof to many more! photo-7I really wish I’d taken more pictures, but I was just too busy enjoying my friends. Until May, Bunny Club, until May.photo-2

Thanksween

Well, Mo and I are no longer on speaking terms after she said Opal isn’t very cute, but…20131027-223542.jpgThree cheers jumps for Mo and Kari’s annual trip to Lufkin!! I’ve said before that friends taking the time to come east means the world to us. We are constantly driving near and far to see people, so when people come to us, we feel so special. Unfortunately Walker wasn’t here on Saturday, but Jared filled his manly presence, and I’m also noticing he got the most camera time.

Kari and Mo sewed these awesome Thanksween t-shirts. Notice they match! And there I am wearing a plain black v-neck they brought me because they got tired : ) I’m still laughing about that. downtownbookstoreLast year the weather forced us to stay inside and knit all day, but this year Kari only knit in our down time. We spent the afternoon walking around downtown and popping in the coffee shop, used bookstore and antique shops.20131027-223655.jpg20131027-223753.jpgThe clear skies had a chill in the air, and since we are pretty much obsessed with our new lights, it was the perfect night for an outdoor dinner and movie. Jared whipped up a Wild Rice and Kale Chowder while Kari and I worked on the caramel apples. Mo took her role as photog. 20131027-223824.jpgThat cat is lucky to be alive after he tried messing with Kari, but I guess he won her over considering he cuddled in her lap for the entire movie. 20131104-174634.jpg20131027-223851.jpgapple laughsjared appleAs we sat around the table warming ourselves with hot chowder, we kept repeating “this is perfect!” The atmosphere took on somewhat of a whimsical feel, but it had much more to do with the companionship than the twinkle lights. Kari and Mo are two of the wisest and most genuine people I know. To be in their presence is to feel comfortable, hopeful and safe. Their conversations are meaningful and uplifting, their words are encouraging and intentional, and their laughter is deep. It was such a refreshing weekend, not because of what we did or where we went, but rest was found in the simplicity of reuniting with good friends. Jared and I were so happy to spend the day with you. We miss y’all already! Come back, and maybe Walker will grace us with his presence. movie copy

Dallas: Our real life wrecking ball

Before I begin, let me preface with this. Walker and I are completely aware of how fortunate we are to take any kind of trip. We recognize the privilege to drive even just down the road as we have cars and gas money and eyes that see. We know that. But we are human. And sometimes we show it…bigtime. I’m choosing to write every detail of the weekend, because I never want to forget. Nor do I want to “pull another October 11” as the new catchphrase around our house goes. Now, onto the story. 20131014-214625.jpgTwo weeks ago, Walker and I took a quick trip to Dallas to celebrate our 2-year anniversary and my birthday, and so the affectionate story of Birthversary weekend begins…

After racing home from work on Friday and being told to hurry and pack, my hormonal self lay on the floor of our closet atop dirty clothes and shoes poking me in the back. After five minutes of staring up at 2 full racks of fashionable attire, I heard myself lament, “I have nothing to wear.” And so began the 10 minute tantrum of no longer wanting to go because “I wouldn’t feel cute.” I’m sure Walker was questioning his desire to take me with him by this point, too.

I changed outfits 4 times before finally pulling a trustworthy chambray out of the dirty clothes and dressing myself in wrinkled desperation. I grabbed my antibiotics, threw my rain boots in the truck and positioned my body to the window. I’m such a good companion.

The ride was quiet with intermittent interruptions of Walker’s attempts to lighten the mood. He really is a good companion.

The situation plunged again as hunger pains arrived, and we thought it a good idea to grab a snack. We pulled off the road for that ‘quick snack,’ and before we knew it we each devoured 10 chicken nuggets followed by fries. We were stuffed and in no need of an actual dinner. Our lack of discipline and addiction to instant gratification left us frustrated angry we had wasted a Birthversary meal on McDonalds. McDonalds!

My horrible mood finally took its toll on Walker as he grew quiet with inner thoughts of having ‘ruined the weekend.’  He had waited ‘til Friday to book a hotel for Friday night. ON RED RIVER SHOOTOUT WEEKEND. While all of Austin and Oklahoma were trekking to Dallas, so were we. And we were paying for it, literally, in having to book the only open hotel room in Dallas—a club level room in the downtown Sheraton. So of course I said we just shouldn’t go because it was a waste of money.

Not only had I dampened the trip with my repulsive disposition, Walker now began sprinkling the weekend with gripes of self-loathing. Together we straight up drowned the trip.

Then, by some immaculate conception of higher hopes we unsteadily managed to gather ourselves into making a decision: “We will do better and enjoy this weekend.” As we drove into downtown Dallas we had no idea that Dallas was about to wreck us. And not in the ‘that worship service really wrecked me’ way, but more in the Miley Cyrus kind of way.7-11Sitting in the hotel lobby in black-rimmed glasses and cuffed jeans, I have never before felt like such a fun-hating, miserable grump. While Walker cut in front of 30 drunken college kids oblivious it was their turn to check in, I omnisciently sat assessing the situation in my head.

We had arrived at the Sheraton around 8 p.m. to find a mass of cars attempting to edge their way into parking garage numero dos. Parking garage numero uno was full. There were honks, near collisions, an excess of selfish attitudes and I’m sure a few middle fingers. After 45 minutes circling the same 6 parking levels including 10 minutes of trying to back out of a dead end with 5 cars behind us (who plans a parking lot with a dead end?) we finally made the decision to park illegally in a space for rent cars only. The situation only got better when a girl also trying to park told us she wasn’t even staying in the hotel. Must memorize license plate. Must memorize license plate.

Relieved and exhausted, we made it to the hotel lobby frat house. For one weekend and one weekend only, the downtown Sheraton transformed itself into the biggest frat party of all time.

So there I sat in a sea of toned, tanned thighs and high pitched squeals observing my surroundings. Every girl in TX and OK had vowed to wear cut off jean shorts paired with cowboy boots, unless they had already committed to mini skirts and wedges. As I watched cooler after cooler being rolled past (seriously though, even Wal-Mart doesn’t own the amount of rolling ice-chests I saw that night), I tried my best to relate. “They’re in college! They’re just having a good time! Who am I to think they’re annoying! I don’t want to be their kill-joy!” I’d like to think I’d succeeded in wishing them the best, until I witnessed a dude introduce himself to a girl and then ask her if she wanted to go upstairs with him.

And with that, Walker and I dodged our way to the elevator thinking the situation couldn’t have been worse, until we saw 2 young parents with 3 kids walk by, and we knew, yes, yes it could be worse.

Floor 27. Club level. We made it. Maybe it was destiny that ended us here on an expensive yet quiet, peaceful floor in the middle of collegiate chaos.

Walker decided he actually did need dinner, so after a quick check of the room, we wearily ventured back to ground level.

Waiting for the elevator Walker joked, “You know what would complete the night? Beer pong.”

No sooner did his vocal chords finish vibrating when we undeniably heard

Ping.

Pong.

Ping.

Followed by cheers and laughter.

Forget destiny. There was no escape.

Having dashed to poke my head around the corner, I turned back to Walker with my jaw on the floor. Someone had taken the time and effort to lug a Ping-Pong table from home, through the parking garage, to the 27th floor. And they were playing beer pong. Across the hall from our room. With the door open. On the club level.

Good thing I had time to pick my jaw off the floor before we got in the elevator, or I might have accidentally shared saliva with a stranger. The elevator floor was littered with leftover Jell-o shots. It was then we knew it was all out of our control. We could laugh. Or we could complain. We did both.

Knowing that we absolutely could in no circumstance move the car and knowing every restaurant would be a mirror image of our hotel lobby, we settled on walking to some place simple—Jimmy John’s seemed to be the only nearby establishment.

Closed.

So, for our 2nd attempt at a Birthversary meal, Walker purchased a hotdog and Funyuns from the only dining availability—SEVEN ELEVEN.

Let’s go back to the hotel. Get in bed. Watch TV. Forget this day all together.

Having forgotten my pajamas, before collapsing on the bed I stared at myself in the mirror wearing Walker’s sweat-stained undershirt with cut-off sleeves. See, it really was a Miley kind of weekend.

Around 9:30 with a mix of enthusiasm and despair, we jumped into bed unable to click the remote fast enough. Oh please let the TV take us to a land far away.

Half of our channels did not work.

But that’s ok. Because we found a modern family marathon. And by 9:45, my day was over.donutsOctober 12 proved to be evidence of the power of hormones as I awoke chipper and positive to take Dallas back. It wasn’t my doing, but thank goodness it was done. Overcast and dreary, Dallas seemed bright and beautiful as everyone had begun making their way to the stadium leaving us with a city to explore. We ate Hypnotic Donuts at White Rock Lake and visited a fun antique shop. We cried our way through the JFK 6th Floor Museum and did a little shopping in the afternoon. Our evening ended with pizza, which is always a great ending for us. We began our drive home Saturday night grateful that a bad day didn’t turn into a bad weekend. And realizing how much we just wanted to cuddle with Opal. hypnotic donuts dallasIt wasn’t what we imagined it would be…like, at all…but any time away together is good time. Or at least a growing experience in some way or another. Dallas, you wrecked us, but maybe our selfish, grumpy, materialistic, entitled selves need to be wrecked every once in a while. jfk museumsecond shotsixth floorMay we never ‘pull an October 11’ ever again. Happy Birthversary!

For the love of phones

Blogtembera self portrait.self portrait

I love my iPhone. I do. It let’s me stay connected to my people, provides a steady stream of entertainment and gives me a sense of security when I’m lost and alone.  Not to mention it captures FUN moments like this one earlier today!

Tonight Walker and I pulled over to snap our portraits for Blogtember (a day late of course) with our phones, and then we put them away. And it felt so good. This wasn’t our first phone-free date, but each time I get a little apprehensive at the beginning. What if I need my phone?! What if somebody needs me?!

Thanks to some good friends we went to see Rhythmic Circus, a tap dancing – band performance that was out of this world. Our attention was focused on every single click of the heel, and during intermission we focused on each other. It was an incredible show. Even my non-dancing husband caught the fever as he (seriously) tap danced all the way back to the truck weaving in and out of the traffic.

As we pulled our our phones back out at the end of the night, we had no text messages, no notifications, nothing. Nobody needed us. There was no social media that just couldn’t wait (there never is). It was a night of us needing each other, and throwing away any distractions that might get in the way. I love you, iPhone, but I love people more. You will be making less and less appearances on the daily. I choose real- life interaction over status updates and Instagram likes. Let’s do today all over again tomorrow.

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