Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Gotta See the Whole Town

New York was... wonderful. Truly an amazing experience.

We were blessed with safe and easy travel, no major hiccups, and a really fun trip. More and more I am realizing how special and unique it is to seriously ENJOY spending time with my siblings and my parents, and this vacation was no exception. Dad, Mom, Clay and I all laughed a lot, had plenty to talk and joke about, and really just enjoyed being around each other!

I loved that there was SO MUCH to do there, and I really tried to pack every day full to the brim with as much sight-seeing as possible. If I weren't limited by sore feet from so much WALKING or the need for, you know, SLEEP, I really don't think I ever would have stopped!

I loved seeing the top of Rockefeller Center with my mom, and am so glad she and I got that time together. Afterwards we warmed up (yes, it was COLD there most days!) in a French cafe with pastries and hot, sweet drinks. I got to see filming locations for things like "You've Got Mail," "Friends," and "Newsies" (kinda). I also really enjoyed going to see the Statue of Liberty and visiting the museum there (I know, I just said I enjoyed a MUSEUM, but it's true!). And then of course there was BROADWAY! "Billy Elliot" was a wonnnnderful production that we all enjoyed far more than I think any of us thought we would. It really does have a great great story, good music, and of course amazing dancing.

One of my favorite parts was walking the entire length of Central Park (about two and a half miles!) with my family and stopping only to enjoy some honey roasted cashews (DE.LIC.IOUS.) and the view at the reservoir. Another favorite was arriving back in Midtown after the Yankees/Rangers game up in the Bronx. We were FREEZING and all I could think about was GETTING WARM. We ended up in a little diner that was so warm and cozy and only got better with the arrival of Manhattan clam chowder and a grilled mozzerella cheese sandwich. I just remember removing jackets and scarves one by one as we finally thawed out and practically melted into our booth. (Or maybe that was just me... ;))

I think the standout portion of the trip has to be our last night in the city. Somehow we ended up at Sardi's (SARDI'S!) for dinner, and I spent the entire evening spotting different favorite celebrities on the wall in caricature form. After a ridiculously delicious meal (swordfish!) we headed down the street to the Al Hirschfeld Theater to see HIM:

In this:

(Seriously, if you like musicals at ALL, you will do yourself a favor and PRESS PLAY.)

So that gives you just a taste of the FUN we all had at the theater that night. Daniel Radcliffe was amazing (he started the show hanging over the orchestra pit on a rope as a window washer). He had a remarkable singing voice, was ridiculously funny, and surprised us all with his athleticism and fantastic dancing! I watched the entire show just grinning and laughing my way through, and when it was over I exited the theater basically walking on air.

New York, New York, a wonderful town.
The Bronx is up, and the Battery's down.
The people ride in a hole in the ground.
New York, New York, it's a wonderful town!!

Sunday, April 24, 2011


Death swallowed by triumphant Life!
Who got the last word, oh, Death?
Oh, Death, who's afraid of you now?
1 Corinthians 15:55, The Message

Saturday, April 23, 2011

The Weight of it All

Between the cross of Friday and the victory of Sunday rests Holy Saturday.

But it doesn't really rest.
It's a tight line of tension walked first by the disciples.


Trusting that when the sun comes up,
so will the Son of Man...

The Son of God,
The Hope of Glory,
The Great Rescuer.

We hold our breath
and we wait for Him.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

NY: Hog Heaven

Val and the rest of my fam are living it up in NY.


Also proof that we are a family skilled in hamming it up and hogging the screen.

Monday, April 18, 2011

Princess Preference

Choosing a favorite Disney heroine/princess tends to be a fairly popular habit of most of the young women I work with. I would like to make a brief argument for my choice: MULAN.
1. Mulan is the only princess to appear on a DVD cover with a weapon.
2. Mulan gets the good guy AND defeats the bad guy (kicks tail).
3. The end.

The only logical follow-up question: who's your favorite Disney heroine?

*This is not my favorite Disney movie, only my favorite female. Please don't send me hate mail.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

One High-Falutin' Son of a Gun

Reason #1 I am Just Like Jack Kelly

Strike! Strike! Strike!

Jack Kelly went on strike from selling newspapers. My strike is of the bowling variety.

This morning was my company's annual trip to the bowling alley. This time is generally all about talking to fellow staffers, eating, and, yes, bowling. The bowling, however, really is secondary to the talking and the eating.

My first game was pretty bad- I came in last on my lane with the abysmal score of 80. My next round was slightly better; at least I broke a hundred that time with a 103. Then on the first frame of the third and final game, I picked up a spare! Followed by another one, and another! Then I bowled a strike. Then a strike.


That's about when people started noticing my game. Notable for being three spares and then three strikes in a row (which Kyle informed me is something called a "turkey."), but also for being a good game played by ME, Valerie, the non-bowler.

A crowd started to form. More and more people were high-fiving me. I bowled another spare, and it was pointed out to be that I had bowled seven frames and not left a pin behind. The crowd got bigger. On my next turn, I bowled an eight, and alas! The last two pins were perfectly split. I managed to knock one of them down. ALL OF THIS STILL A MIRACLE TO ME. Please understand that.

Jordan, a staffer a few years younger than me, jokingly took on the role of a sort of coach/manager to me, telling the crowd "Nobody talk to her! She's in the zone! NOBODY TALK TO HER!"

When it was time for my 10th and final frame, the crowd was even bigger, and another co-worker was literally standing right next to me filming the whole thing. Unfortunately I didn't entertain the crowd with another turkey or even another spare.

But in the end? I had bowled a 176. From an 80 to a 176. Now THAT is a Disney movie.

Reason#2 I am Just Like Jack Kelly

I'm the King of New York!

...Or Queen. Either way: NEW YORK CITY. I will be IN IT. ON FRIDAY.

(BRB- jumping up and down)

(Now twirling on the fan blades and landing on a table holding a newspaper.)


Sunday, April 10, 2011

Tour De Tejas

We arrived at the airport on April 1st only to discover our flight was delayed and that we wouldn't be arriving in Texas until after 2:00am. Awesome. I can honestly say that was the worst part of the entire 9 day trip! D and I were so blessed to be able to have this time together and with family and friends. The Final Four brought us to Texas but then we spent the week exploring and eating in the southwest part of the state.

Sporting our Texas and Ohio State gear at the championship game. Heartbreak for Butler, but a chance for us to check something off of our bucket list. Thanks again, Dad!

Meet up #1: The Houston Zoo with the Bates family!

The boys had a great time touring the zoo together. Isn't Cooper the cutest thing you've ever seen?

Enjoying our turn around the carousel.

Meet up #2: Houston Family. Val and I are lucky to have lots of family in Texas. My folks invited the crew over for dinner. Note the serious game of monster trucks being enjoyed by the cousins.

With Shani!

Meet up #3: Houston Grandparents! Val, D and I were treated to some Cajun Seafood and great conversations about Geraldo Rivera. Did you know his real name is Gerald?

Meet up #4: Whitney! Whitney drove in straight from teaching to join us for the Tyler cousin dinner. We have great taste, obviously, as we were sporting the same shirt. Does everyone have this Target t-shirt?

Meet up #5: Pine Cove peeps at Andy's Frozen Custard. (Noting the food theme, are you?) We crammed seeing as many people as we could while we were in Tyler and STILL missed a ton of great food... err... people.

Meet up #6: Tyler Grandparents! Breakfast casserole, long walks, and financial discussions... what more could you ask for?

Meet up #7: Elise and baby Daniel! Talk about a drive-thru meeting. We loved getting to meet the newest addition to the family while in Waco for a few hours.

Meet up #8: Waco Family. The Smiths and George's go hand in hand! We were so lucky to steal a few hours with my aunt and uncle and have my sleep-deprived cousin, Aaron (daddy to Daniel) stop by.

Meet up #9: Becca! David had never been to Austin before so I knew that this would need to be a large portion of our trip. Becca was a fabulous hostess and took us all around town - hiking, eating, and more eating.
No trip to Austin is complete without a visit to The Salt Lick.

Per usual, we cannot take a serious picture. After entering our meat comas we spent the evening playing dominoes on the outside patio.

Breakfast at Round Rock Donuts. I told you, we are serious about food.

I've mentioned Friday Night Lights before. Umm... we couldn't be in the area of where it was filmed and NOT stop by some FNL locations. (D as Coach Taylor...)

Clear eyes, full hearts...

Texas Bluebonnets

And one last night in Houston with the folks before we flew back to Phoenix. Games, a musical, and more food. My parents speak my love language!

We came, we saw, we ate.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

At the Moment

It's a bit ironic that the biggest gaps in our posting schedule tend to occur when Ginger and I are, in fact, together. Not entirely surprising, though, seeing as how those times also tend to coincide with, like... actual trips and vacations. Ginger and David are gone now, though so my life is back to being Ginger and David-less. Lame.

In other news, I am now the proud owner of the newly released season 5 dvd of "Friday Night Lights." Returning to Dillon is like coming home.

I am finally getting over an allergy-related illness, slash implosion of the sinuses and throat and OMG I AM SO TIRED OF KLEENEX AND THROAT SPRAYS AND LOZENGES WHY DOES IT FEEL LIKE THERE ARE EXPLOSIONS GOING OFF IN MY NOSE ALL DAY GO AWAAAAAAAAAAAY. Please?

But yes, it finally looks like I am out of the allergy-ridden woods. Double hallelujah, with some extra pollen obliteration on the side.

Want to know what I am doing this Saturday? Here's a hint: the high for the day is 92 degrees, and my pool is full of water. GUESSES?

Totally on the agenda as well: a long-overdue oil change. (Hi, Dad!)

[Sidenote: Did that last phrase make anyone else think of "A Goofy Movie?" If so, then: you are my new favorite person.]

Anyway. YOU GUYS. Blog giveaways? They totally work! Dreams do come true! You really can win things just by leaving comments! For instance, Ginger once won a hair clippy thing, and last week I won a Jesus Storybook Bible! Yes, on a BLOG GIVEAWAY! All this to say, Ginger has a giveaway going on over at her official, adult-like blog. She's giving away two (2) (dos) copies of a really cool book called "From Head to Foot: All of You Living All For Him." So: go forth and enter. And spread the word! You only have until tomorrow evening to enter!!!!!11!1one

Uh oh.

I think I spoke to soon. Now I am sucking on a throat lozenge (High five to Halls Fruit Breezers for seeing me through the Sinus Implosion of '11, as well as a delirious study night I once spent with Julie freshman year. Couldn't do it without y'all.) and am sniffling again. Alright then. Off to rally the troops (aka Benadryl, ibuprofen, and more FLING FLANGING KLEENEX) and hopefully conquer the allergy beast soon. Wish me luck.

Friday, April 1, 2011

Feels Like Home

I'm typing from my home today, but I'm also flying home today. We have an 8:00pm flight to Houston tonight. We are shutting up our house, packing up our bags, and flying to the Lone Star State to start a week-long road trip adventure. My brother will pick us up from the airport (let's all cross our fingers on that one) and deliver us to my home... my parents' home.

Question: When does your home stop being your home?

I've changed my name and my welcome mat. I proudly display my initialed stationary, coasters, and towels. None of these changes have been involuntary. I registered for everything with the letter C on it as my husband chuckled and rolled his eyes.

Question: When do you stop feeling like you are moving all the time?

I've moved 15 times since 2000. Most of those were moves within the same city or area code, but all the same: that's a lot of transition.

I've been trying to dig roots here, honestly. I've been living in my new city for almost six months now and I feel like I should have a really settled feeling... but I don't. I am so happy to be D's wife. I am excited for my business and dreaming endeavors, and I am so pleased to live in our home. We have a lovely church, diverse and wonderful neighbors, and family within 45 minutes of driving.

So what gives?
I think I knew the answer even before it came, but all the same I still had to be smacked across the face with a frying pan this week.

My friendships are changing again. Those that I depended upon for years are now moving steadily forward in their own communities and families. I feel like all I can do is watch from the side and call out as they lap me one more time. None of this is bad or even sad... it's just part of change.

I've been attending three different groups this year. I signed up for Bible study, small group fellowship, and Bunco fun. I just realized that out of the forty others represented in those groups, I have FOUR of those phone numbers in my contact list. Granted, I don't need all the numbers from my co-ed small group, but the statistics are still surprising as I sit here adding.

The numbers are evidence of my frying pan moment. I am not letting anyone IN. I attend, I cook food, I share my prayer requests, and then I rush out the door. I have yet to really share me.

Here's what I read on Tuesday sitting on a bench outside the Library.

The discipline of community makes us persons; that is, people who are sounding through to each other a truth, a beauty, and a love which is greater, fuller, and richer than we ourselves can grasp. In true community we are windows constantly offering each other new views on the mystery of God's presence in our lives. Thus the discipline of community is a true discipline of prayer. It makes us alert to the presence of the Spirit who cries out "Abba," Father, among us and thus prays from the center of our common life. Community thus is obedience practiced together.
- Henri Nouwen, Making All Things New

You know what I wanted? I wanted to be able to blame this on cliques or inside jokes or even being the new person. But I can't. This is my doing. This is my stubbornness, disobedience, and judgement. I have kept the shades drawn and kept community out, and for that I feel deep regret. I am saddened and sorry.

But it's time to move on. I am done with passive community. I am ready for this community to become my home... away from my Heavenly Home.

"So let's do it—full of belief, confident that we're presentable inside and out. Let's keep a firm grip on the promises that keep us going. He always keeps his word. Let's see how inventive we can be in encouraging love and helping out, not avoiding worshiping together as some do but spurring each other on, especially as we see the big Day approaching." Hebrews 10:22-25, The Message

"But our citizenship is in heaven. And we eagerly await a Savior from there, the Lord Jesus Christ..." Philippians 3:20, NIV

* * * * * *
The She Speaks Conference is about women connecting the hearts of women to the heart of our Father God. My heart is to serve and follow Him as He leads. I am butterflies and goosebumps about this opportunity in Concord, North Carolina - July 22-24, 2011. Anne Voskamp is graciously offering a scholarship to the conference HERE. Follow the link for more details and I hope to see you there!

She Speaks Conference