Sunday, March 27, 2016

"Win My Soul"

(by Ross King) 

I hope you and your families had a nice Easter! The thing that keeps coming to my mind over the past week is the reminder that Jesus defeated death. I know, that's totally what the resurrection is about. It has just really stood out to me in a different way this week. Jesus died to pay the penalty for our sins, and that is really huge. But He rose from the dead, y'all. He defeated death!

And not only that, but as today's song says, He went to war with death itself to win my soul.

Gosh. That's huge!

Anyways, you should totally read 1 Corinthians 15. It's just so good! It's too much to try to unpack right now, but it's all about how the resurrection is essential to the gospel, to our faith, to our hope. The hope that does not disappoint.

I decided I should go ahead and fill you in on the random happenings of my life while I had a few moments...

My kiddos' Spring Break was pretty low-key but fun! They both happened to be busy with friends on Pi Day, so Christopher and I celebrated without them! :)

Pepper turned nine the next day {what?!}

Lindsay offered to sit at my desk an extra day that week so I could be off with my kids. We thought about going to Austin, but SXSW was going on. It was also the day that Michelle Obama was visiting Austin, so we decided it really wasn't the best time for that. So we drove up to the College Station area for lunch at this super cute diner! ü

I promise the kids were there! They didn't want to take a selfie with us! :/

We had an event at the Warehouse that Friday night. I realized that I had enough pictures for a post, so I'll tell y'all more about it later. But I'll go ahead and tell y'all that we went to Freddy's with these cool kids afterward!

The next day Elly and I had to go in to Houston to get her phone fixed. While we were there, we did a little adventuring...

And that night she joined me at a game night reunion with my old small group girls

This week wasn't too eventful. Laurien came over for dinner and dessert, but I failed to take pictures. The next day she went with me to Cody's track meet, and I failed to take pictures again. And Nicole & the girls came over for a bit that evening, and once again I failed to take pictures! But after the Maundy Thursday service, Elly & I joined Samantha & Cassidee for our cheesecake-after-a-holy-week-service tradition! It started last year, and we liked it, so it's tradition! ü

We had a nice weekend. Yesterday was pretty relaxing, and a lot of today was filled with church. I realized this afternoon that Elly went to one service, Cody went to two, I went to three, and Chris went to four! Ha! Chris played bass during all of them, I greeted during two services, Cody served in the nursery during one, and we all attended the last one. I had a Landry's gift card that we used for lunch today at Saltgrass, so that was nice! And we had a relaxing afternoon at home. My kids are off school tomorrow, but I have to go to work. So I better get to bed!

I hope y'all are doing well! ♥


Tuesday, March 22, 2016


(by Ray Charles) 

Christopher and I flew to Georgia for another CURE OM Symposium a couple of weeks ago!

It was like the one we attended in Houston three years ago and LA two years ago {& failed to ever post about} where ocular melanoma patients, loved ones, doctors, and researchers gather to connect, discuss, and learn. It began with a Meet & Greet on Friday night, where we were able to reconnect with old friends and make new ones.

Saturday and Sunday were filled with large group sessions...

...where we learned about primary disease, different therapies and treatments that are being used in metastatic disease, followup, and research. We also heard from a patient and caregiver panel as well as the latest developments in a cluster that has been discovered in North Carolina.

We also broke out into smaller sessions, like Resiliency and OM, led by our friend Anne Marie, pictured below...

...and even smaller peer-to-peer discussion groups. I led one on parenting, though I think people were a bit confused and seemed to think they were coming to my group for advice on how to deal with teenagers, when I was actually just leading a discussion/support group!

We stayed in the hotel where the conference was held. It was in Decatur, just a block away from the square. When the conference wasn't going on, Christopher and I explored a little!

My friend Laura had told me about the Brick Store Pub, where we ate delicious fish and chips shortly after settling in to the hotel.

We discovered a little coffee shop nearby...

And Jeni's ice cream was just on the other side of the courthouse!

When we were at the airport for our flight home, we discovered that there was a Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf in the next terminal over from us. I have no shame in saying that I walked 30 minutes round-trip for an ice blended! There are six CBTL's in Austin but not a single one in Houston, so it isn't something I can run out and get any time I want one. This girl was excited!

We flew over the rodeo as we were landing in Houston, and I managed to capture what I thought turned out to be a pretty neat shot!

That about sums up our little trip! I enjoyed Georgia, though I was disappointed that it wasn't peach season. I think I'll have to go back! ;) I'll close with words from my British friend, Rob, when he shared about CURE OM's vision for our community.


Friday, March 18, 2016



Kristin & I got to see Johnnyswim at The Raven Tower a few weeks ago!!

That picture was when we first got there, before we realized just how miserably cold it was at the venue. Seriously, y'all, it had been in the 70's for days...until around 1:00 the afternoon of the concert. The temperature dropped into the 40's, and the wind was blowing like crazy! And we had no idea that it was an open venue. So we promptly bought Johnnyswim sweatshirts. We had no other choice! ü

The opening band was Sunbears! We hadn't heard them before, but they were fun! And we talked to a couple of the guys after the show.

I even got photocred on Twitter and a mention on Instagram! The IG mention was about Torchy's (which Kristin & I had recommended), but still...

Johnnyswim was awesome, as expected!

In case you don't know about them, Johnnyswim is a husband and wife duo consisting of Abner:

& Amanda:

{Yes, she's gorgeous. And she's Donna Summer's daughter. If that doesn't convince you to listen to them, then something's wrong with you!}

Not only are they super talented, but they're also super cute together!

I like how they trade off singing the lead and the harmony, and it's just beautiful! They played several of their more popular songs as well as covers that had been requested by people who were supposedly in the audience. One of the user names was funny, though, and nobody ever acknowledged that it was them!

As I've said after previous concerts, there's usually a song that I hadn't paid much attention to until hearing it live. Such was the case with today's song. I'm not entirely sure what did it, but it might possibly be the phrase, "Oh, the battle rages, but the war is won."

I wish I could adequately describe just how good this concert was! All I can say is that you should totally go see them if they're ever in your area. It was totally worth every second in the freezing cold!


Tuesday, March 15, 2016

"One Thing Remains"

(by Bethel Music) 

This is probably the latest I've ever done a recap post for the year, but it just goes in keeping with the rest of my blog posts lately...

If 2014 was a year of change, 2015 was a year of adjusting to the changes and trying to embrace a few more. If I can be completely honest again, I still feel a bit unsettled. But as my song choice for 2015 says, God and His love have remained constant in the trial and the change.

And now for my 2015 recap...

Though I never got around to posting about it (partially due to the fact that I'm not entirely sure what I'm allowed to post), I was honored, humbled, and thoroughly excited to return to India!

My sweet boy turned 14 in January. He had another successful track season, and though he didn't break a 5-minute mile, he got pretty dang close with a 5:09! He won the mile again at district and came in second in the 2400. He was voted Class Comedian! Since promoting up to the high school group at the beginning of the summer, he was able to join the leadership team for the students at church. A lot of his summer was spent serving the preteens as well as planning and serving at events for the junior high and high school students. He started high school in the fall and ran on the varsity cross country team! Though he isn't winning races now that he is competing against so many upperclassmen, his team went to Regionals! He got braces in the Fall, and I still think he looks so handsome! :)

The highlights of my spring where celebrating Pi Day, Girls' Weekend with my beautiful cousin Kendra, Aunt Karla, & Catherine (and Jason & Judah!), seeing Pentatonix with Kim & Sally, attending the Women's Retreat, seeing NEEDTOBREATHE (along with Drew Holcomb, Ben Rector, and Colony House) on the Tour de Compadres, and getting another tattoo!! Out of my love for the Indian people and as a reminder of God's love for me, I got mu tumaku bhala pai tattooed on my arm. Nicole and Kristin, my India travel mates, got the same tattoo on their feet! It means I love you in Oriya, the language they speak at the orphanage in India. ♥

In addition to our usual student activities at the church (where I continue to volunteer and love it), we had a few suprises during the summer...First of all, we "stole" a puppy from Pops & Abuelita!

We took a quasi-spontaneous, super fun trip to New Orleans!

Christopher had a birthday, we celebrated our 19th anniversary, and I turned 40!! Christopher threw me a groovy 1975-themed surprise party at Brian & Jana's, and around 75 of my favorite people attended! It truly was something I'l never forget!

My baby girl turned 17 in October, which means she'll be an adult in less than a year! I can't believe it. She continues to love art, entering competitions through the school and drawing as often as possible. She has also been learning more on her guitar and recently started playing the ukulele. She seems to  have caught on to that pretty quickly, probably due to her previous guitar knowledge. Regardless of how, I am thoroughly impressed with her talent! She got a side-shave haircut during the summer, and though I wasn't sure how I felt about it at first, I think she really pulls it off and looks super cute with it!

Fall highlights include co-hosting National Night Out with Kristi's family again, seeing Colony House with Laurien, several student activities, and another Girls' Weekend at Kendra's.

And I suppose that sums things up for my family in 2015!