Thursday, April 30, 2015

"Brother"

(by NEEDTOBREATHE feat. Gavin DeGraw) 



My birthday isn't until the end of July, but I've started celebrating already!! I figure this is such a big year that I should celebrate for a few months! Not really, but sorta...Kristin leaves for a summer job soon and will miss my big day, so she asked me if she could buy my ticket to NEEDTOBREATHE's Tour De Compadres with Ben Rector, Drew Holcomb and the Neighbors, and Colony House on Tuesday night!!


We went out for Indian food on the way and met up with Coco at the venue!


I hadn't realized that Colony House was previously called Caleb, so I didn't think I had heard of them before. I like them and wish we hadn't gotten stuck in traffic and missed all but their last song or two! I also failed to get a picture...Probably because I was trying to find Aaron & Kloe'. We were downstairs, and Aaron had texted me when they saw us from their seats up in balcony. It took us awhile to find them, and they thoroughly enjoyed creeping on us while we scanned the entire balcony for them repeatedly. He continued to text me things like, "Hey get off your phone and talk to Kristin" and "Photo bomb behind you." Silly boy...

Drew Holcomb and the Neighbors played after Colony House. My favorite part of the concert (both this time a last) was when the crowd joined in toward the end of "Fire and Dynamite":

Though I prefer it when Ellie is a part of things, I still think they were amazing! I liked the more intimate feeling when I saw them in College Station, but I'd see them anywhere, anytime. I just love them. I was a little busy last time they were in town (10 days earlier...when we were finally getting our Oriya tattoos), but maybe I'll go to CS when they're there again this fall...




Ben Rector was also pretty terrific! This was my first time to see him in concert, and I was not disappointed...


...Well, except for the fact that he didn't do "Beautiful". That was disappointing. But anyways...I always see the Instragram selfies & video selfies of him with the crowd, so it was neat to be a part of that (even though I can't find me in his video). I'd have to say that my favorite part was a new song that he played for us. It's about the men who drive him places. {Grammar nerd confession: I wanted to correct him for saying "the men that drive me places." But if given the opportunity, I would only correct him because I care about his music!} The story behind the song was really touching, and I think it's neat that he cares about the lives and the stories of the cab drivers who take him to airports and such. I didn't get any video of that, but I managed to catch a bit of my favorite part of "When I'm With You":


And of course NEEDTOBREATHE was amazing as usual!

This was my fourth time to see them, and I would see them again tomorrow. Seriously.




It's really hard to pick a favorite part of their performance. I always love when they do "Girl Named Tennessee" {shout out to Brooke!} And "Multiplied" was beautiful! But "Wasteland" has been somewhat of an anthem for me since the last concert, so I think it may have been my favorite part this time as well!


They closed with "Brother" and had all of the compadres come back on the stage to finish it out:


It was super! If you have a chance to see them on either leg of this tour, I highly recommend it! Switchfoot will take Ben Rector's place on the second leg. That'd be a great concert to see, too. If they were going to be anywhere near, I'd totally go again!

Have you seen any of these bands in concert? If so, I'd love to hear about it!

Amy

Sunday, April 26, 2015

"Here We Go"

(by Drew Holcomb and the Neighbors) 



Today was the Dessert Auction, and I'm beyond tired, so I'm hoping this post makes sense. If not please forgive me...

I haven't done this in awhile, but before I forget I'd like to post my favorite lines from today's song:

Music, it makes you feel good, makes you feel understood
Like you’re not alone, you’re not a rolling stone
Not the only one on the road

I have more that I could say about the song, but I may not last until the end of all that I'd like to share with y'all about my week...

Wednesday was Admin Day, but I didn't know it until I received a Happy Admin Day text from Clyde early Wednesday morning! Because of the last-minute things that are generally associated with the aforementioned Dessert Auction, I had taken off Wednesday instead of Friday. I was delighted to receive a few Admin Day gifts when I got to work on Thursday! :) I meant to post the following picture on Instagram this week, but apparently I got distracted between making the collage and actually posting it!

{Clyde gave me a delicious chocolate chip bundt cake, Marcie gave me chocolate-covered espresso beans, and Rick gave me a coffee plant! ü}

On Wednesday night, my birthday girls & I celebrated Amy's birthday! We went out for Mexican food and followed that up with ice cream. Sadly, we didn't take any pictures. We even saw three sets of friends from church and didn't think to have them take one! :/

As I mentioned a couple of times already, the Dessert Auction was today! I've probably said this in years' past, but this is our student ministry's annual fundraiser. It usually brings in enough money to cover transportation for camps and other summer events as well as camp scholarships. Kim, Amy, & I helped Cody, Isaac, & Alex (a.k.a. the CIA Squad, or CIA for short) make a dessert yesterday...




And Elly & I made Dr Pepper cupcakes last night. She had already showered and had a towel on her head, so I took a picture of the ingredients...

...& completely forgot to take a picture of the final product. #fail

The auction went really well! I must confess that I had a brief moment when I had to shut the door to the conference room (where we were collecting the desserts) and vent to a couple of my friends. Apparently my I don't knows weren't sufficient for a couple of people who asked me questions regarding things that were not my responsibility, and I was feeling a bit overwhelmed by their persistence. Sometimes people don't seem to understand that I cannot know what I do not know! Aside from those few moments, though, I feel like the day was super! I am super tired, though! I'm sure I'm not as tired as a few of our men who got up super early this morning to start cooking the delicious meat. Another 15+ parents & volunteers and 40+ students worked hard both behind the scenes and serving publicly today, and I don't even know how many additional volunteers helped moved chairs and tables to transform the fellowship hall & sanctuary into a buffet line & dining hall. We couldn't pull it all off without these faithful volunteers, and I am so grateful!

And of course I am grateful for the generous people who spend exorbitant amounts of money on lemon squares, cheesecake, and brownies that they either don't eat any of or share with everybody! I was particularly touched by a situation that occurred before the auction even began. A man I've never met found me in the conference room because he and his wife wanted to give a scholarship for a student. That is actually common and wonderful, but it was the next part that really got me because I can relate to his experience. He said that he also wanted to give enough for that student to have some spending money at camp. He remembers not being able to afford the extras like t-shirts and snacks, and he wanted to be sure that a student who went on scholarship would also be able to buy a few things at camp. ♥

One final thing for today...I've been working on a little patio re-do! Though I still like what I had out there, the weather (mainly the humidity) just isn't very nice to fabric. The pillows and cushion couldn't be cleaned anymore, and the glider hadn't been painted in 15+ years (when I first got it from my step-dad)! So I used up some gift cards from Christmas and bought a few things to freshen the patio up a bit. And though I desperately need to clean up the ground and walls, I couldn't wait to show y'all some pictures!!
BEFORE:

AFTER:

In case you're wondering, the ampersand is a symbol of Daniel 3 and a bit of an anthem among the She Reads Truth community. It is a reminder that God is able to deliver. And if not...He is still good, and I will serve Him. I thought the "&" was a fitting decoration for my patio since, as you may recall, I like to refer to it as my sanctuary. And a sanctuary is a good place to remember God's goodness.

I hope y'all have a super great week! I know I will because my Tuesday night plans are great enough to last for awhile...! ♥

Amy

Monday, April 20, 2015

"Give Away Your Life"

(by Ross King)



Today's song is from Ross King's new record Unfettered that is coming out on May 6th! And because I'm not opposed to name-dropping, I just had to tell y'all that it was co-written by Jon Steingard of Hawk Nelson!! How cool is that?! ü

And now to catch y'all up on the last week and a half (or so)...

I went on a Women's Retreat with my church last weekend, and it was super great! Sara rode up with me, and we decided to be adventurous and try out a restaurant we'd never heard of for dinner on the way up. They had delicious salsa and fajitas, so it was totally worth the risk!


There was an optional Thursday night stay at the retreat center, and this was the first time I took advantage of it. I enjoyed having an extra night to stay up late playing games as well as a full day to relax, go into town and shop, and eat good food! It was also nice to have no agenda and simply enjoy the beautiful camp!


We played a little icebreaker on the first night of the official programming. We found people who were born during our same birthday month, asked some questions while passing a ball of yarn to those who had the same answer as we did, which resulted in seeing how interwoven we are. I'm sure I could stand to explain the rules of the game a little better, but y'all probably don't care about all of the details! Here I am with the other July birthday girls! :)


Our speaker spoke on Waiting: The pattern and purpose of waiting, God's pursuit in seasons of waiting, and the peace in waiting. I was really encouraged by the reminder of God's faithfulness during my seasons of waiting. We were all given a tag and asked to write down something that we're waiting for, and the retreat team hung our tags on a screen door. I didn't read all of them, but I read a few and was encouraged to see that I'm not alone. Not that I really thought I was, but sometimes it's comforting to really know it.


After each session we broke out into small groups. I was blessed to be a part of these ladies' group! ♥


I scrolled through the official retreat photos that were posted online. Besides one where I was flipping my hair, this one is all that I found...{of course I'm drinking coffee. I think I have a problem...}


Aside from staying up late playing games and/or talking to our friends, we also had a craft available for us to do! I've been wanting to paint a coffee mug, so I was excited to have the opportunity! We could do whatever we wanted, but they supplied stencils of our super cute retreat logo. I used too much paint, and some of it peeled off with the stencil, but it's cute if you don't look too close! :)


I went straight from the retreat to a birthday party for my friend Johnny from church. Chris was already there with a few other people from church. I failed to get a picture, but I didn't want to not mention it!

The following day after church, we had a luncheon for the families who sponsor our orphans in India. Though it wasn't my responsibility, I had envisioned some decorations for the tables. Without even discussing my thoughts with Sherri, our Hospitality Team coordinator, she made the tables look even better than I had imagined! Here are just a few of the centerpieces...




I don't suppose I've told you all about the workings of the orphanage because I really don't know what all I'm allowed to say, but there are 47 families or small groups who have "adopted" an orphan and support them on a monthly basis. We invited them all to lunch so we could thank them for their support and share a bit about our plans for the future. We also gave out magnets of each child to their families...


...and my talented photographer friend Maria took pictures of all of the families to send to the orphans!

Kristin and I had draped a couple of our saris on a room divider for a backdrop, and I was so happy with how it turned out! :)



In other news...Pepper is becoming friends with Laurien! I guess she has decided that if Laurien is going to be a part of our family, she should attempt to accept her! ü


Baby girl's half-birthday was on Saturday, so we celebrated by trying out a cupcakery nearby!


And that night Kristin got her first tattoo!!


Nicole and I also got the same tattoo, though all three of us got it in different places...


It says Mu tumaku bhala pai {which means I love you in Oriya, the language they speak at the orphanage} ♥


Nicole and I have been talking about getting an Oriya tattoo together since before our second trip, but we wanted our friend in India to write out the phrase for us to ensure that we didn't end up in a foreign language tattoo fail blog or something! ;) This tattoo is a reminder of the orphans and all that God has done and is doing for them. But not only that, it is a reminder of God's love for me. Matthew Henry's commentary on Isaiah 49:15-16 describes how God has set a mark on his hand, or a seal on his arm, to indicate His tender affection toward His people as well as the fact that He will never forget or forsake us. This new mark on my arm is a reminder of how God feels toward the orphans and toward me. ♥

After we got our tattoos, we spent some time at our favorite little coffee shop in Houston!

It was such a fun night!

I guess that's all for now. I hope y'all have a super great week!! ♥


Amy

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

"Royals"

(by Lorde) 



Today's random song choice is because I went to an Astros vs. Royals game on Saturday, and this song kept going through my mind. Yes, I'm weird...

Anyways, I'm late again and could explain that it was a busy weekend blah blah blah, but I'll just cut to the chase and tell you what I've been up to lately...

My dad asked me to pick his car up from the shop, then he let me drive it for a couple of days! :) He likes to prevent dings in his door by parking far away from other cars, so when the kids & I grabbed some dinner between the chiropractor and Maundy Thursday service, I parked in the lot of a business that had closed for the day. It was just on the other side of the drive-thru, but nobody else would want to park there. I wanted Dad to know that he had taught me well, so I sent him this picture of his "baby":


I tried to get a decent picture of my babies while we were there, because they were sitting next to each other and I thought they looked cute. They weren't the most cooperative, though...






Crazy story...I'm 99% sure I was almost broadsided by a van earlier that day. I was at a red light coming out of the church parking lot, and Neil stopped to ask me something as he turned into the lot. My light turned green, but I hesitated as we wrapped up our conversation. Just as I was about to go, a van ran the red. Had I gone when I was supposed to go, I totally would've gotten hit. Crazy, huh?!

Moving on to happier stories...My step-mom treated me to a manicure and pedicure on Friday! Have you ever heard me say that before?! It's because I haven't. That just wasn't the sort of thing my former step-mom would've done with/for me {though she did take me to get my second piercings in my ears when I was 17, so that counts for something! ü} I don't know if I've mentioned that P-Dub never had children, so this was a first for her, too! It was a nice way to spend some of my afternoon.

Then after the Good Friday service that night, Sam invited Elly & me to The Cheesecake Factory with her and a couple of her kids. It was delicious, and I enjoyed spending time with her!


On Saturday, Laurien came over to bake cookies (some of which I gave to Neil because he "saved my life," as he likes to say)! Then we went to the Astros game with Dad & P-Dub! They lost, but it was a preseason game, so they played a lot of rookies and stuff. I haven't found a new favorite since the Chris Johnson situation a few years ago, so I was looking for a new one & hoping a new guy would impress me! Tucker had potential because I like his name & number (75), but it didn't happen. I'll keep y'all posted {though I'm sure only Jana & RR Mama even come close to caring about this!}


Before I forget, Kennan posted pictures from her baby shower last weekend! Here she is with all of us hostesses:



And since this week is nearly halfway gone and there's a Women's Retreat this weekend (which means I'll probably be late again), I'll just go ahead and fill you in on this week so far...

My family was invited to an Easter dessert bar at my friend Ashley's house!! {Dessert bar, y'all! Of course we were destined to be friends! ♥} We ate a bunch of assorted desserts and relaxed on the back patio while the kids swam and played basketball...

...and ga-ga!


We had a little team-building field trip today after a brief staff meeting...We went bowling, then ate lunch at Torchy's!



My team came in 2nd to Jana's team (in the second picture above). Neil walked all around the office in a homemade crown this afternoon asking whose team won...

And in case you can't tell, that's a star attached to it...!


Never a dull moment!

And finally...

What?! Have you seen green Kit Kats?? Apparently they're Japanese and are just one of 15 different flavors. I just don't know how to feel about them. Part of me thinks they'd be gross, but I'm a bit curious at the same time...What do you think?

My battery is about to die, so I'm going to post this without proof-reading. Please forgive any typos! I hope y'all are having a super great week!! ♥

Amy