Monday, December 3, 2012

Christmas Is Coming

It's finally December, which means that Christmas is just around the corner! I'm so excited.

What better way to get in a festive mood than by looking back at last Christmas?

(Yeah, that doesn't really make much sense.)

Either way, look! I made a new video!


Friday, September 21, 2012

Happy Sarah!

I have a friend named Happy Sarah.


My mom gave her that name almost 15 years ago when we were sophomores in high school. Before that moment she was just known as Sarah to me.

We met when I moved from my small private school with 20 people in my class to the HUGE AND SCARY public high school chosen for me by zoning and a school board. Sarah was in my choir but she became my friend on a choir trip to Six Flags over Texas. I'm fairly sure we sat together on the bus and she was part of the group of friends that first exposed me to the music of Les Mis.

Sarah and I grew closer during the summer as we endured driver's ed together. The class was less than entertaining, but we both enjoyed Rolos during our breaks. I remember being invited by Sarah to join her and her family to see "Smokey Joe's Cafe" at the Dallas Summer Musicals. We dressed up and went out to eat before the show. Musicals and Rolos... not a bad way to begin a friendship.

We both drove beaters. Her car was powder blue and mine was silver. I have fond memories of both of us singing "My Heart Will Go On" from that powder blue car. School dances, choir concerts, plays, birthdays... totally memory lane moment for me right now. I'm sitting with a cheesy grin on my face remembering walking out of "My Best Friend's Wedding" and feeling like adulthood was forever away.


My mom gave her the name "Happy Sarah" because I knew several Sarahs that might call me on the phone... but THIS Sarah has the happiest phone voice. She still does to this day. I love talking to Sarah on the phone because she is a fabulous conversationalist. She has the best response to good news, the perfect amount of pauses, and the most inquisitive questions. She makes me feel valued in every conversation because my goodness, the woman forgets nothing!

Next week I will fly to the Lone Star State to watch Happy Sarah become Mrs. Happy Sarah. She's found her lobster and I couldn't be happier for her.

I missed my 10-year high school reunion... and so did Sarah, for that matter. She was here in Arizona, watching me get married. I'm so excited that her wedding is bringing about an 11-year reunion of sorts.


Cheers to the ever delightful, Happy Sarah... lover of ducks, cheese, cakes, travel, romantic comedies, good books, gardens, purple, a worthy man named Scott, and living life to the full! May your marriage bring you as much joy as you bring to the rest of the world, my friend!

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

They Say it's YOUR BIRTHDAY!!


Two members of our original crew are celebrating Birthdays today! 

Happy Birthday to Dad AND Val...

You are so MORBY.


Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Getaway

After a summer of 115 degree heat we were ready to get out of town for the weekend. We were blessed to have a free cabin to enjoy and doubly blessed to have some of our favorite people join us!


D and I left Phoenix and headed Northwest on a Friday afternoon. The hours flew as we listened to "The Giver" on CD. It's one of my favorite books and it was a delight to share it with someone who was unfamiliar with the story. It did take me almost a full CD before I realized that ARVIN SLOANE was the one reading to me.

We left the heat, desert, and work for cool weather, green things, community, and board games.

We made the most of our time, staying up late and even getting up nice and early. I'm (usually) thankful for a spouse who wants to experience everything life has to offer... even before 6am.

Waking up at sunrise to catch a glimpse. 

 Lots and lots of games!

The hike that kept going and going... (We let the guys pick the path.)
Beauty everywhere.

The Crew: Baileys, Cims, and Wiensies. So thankful for a group that plays together and prays together.

This is my personal favorite from the attempted photo shoot!
My guy.


Morning to night... God's goodness all around.
I'm ready to go again. Like now.



Tuesday, July 31, 2012

4th of July

The rule is that you can still write about the 4th of July as long as it's still technically July, right? Okay, awesome.

So usually I head to the beach house in Galveston with the family for Independence Day every year. I was bummed that it wasn't going to happen this summer, but my day in East Texas ended up being pretty perfect!

First of all, I took the day off and slept in until 10. HOLLA, y'all.

Second, I met up with Emily, Lacey, and Lori at Stanley's BBQ, a local favorite. As you can see, it was pretty epic.
Pictured: epicness. You need to go to there.

Lori with the famous Baby Wade

Lace is intimidated by her giant/delicious baked potato

Awwwww yeah

She is happiest when eating barbecue.

From there we headed back to my apartment for some serious pool time. Which included lots of talking, reading magazines, and sipping on sophisticated beverages.

This is how we roll.

We spent our evening with a group at Lori's house, eating way too much and looking way too cute, or at least I think so.
I mean, back me up here.

Future roommates! More on that to come...

Fireworks to wrap up the evening?

Boom. Shaka laka.
Even better: these are the fireworks from one of the best movies of all time,  THE SANDLOT.

Yeah yeah!
God bless America.


Friday, June 8, 2012

Online dating doesn't have to be awkward.

I met my husband on eHarmony.

I signed up for an on-line dating three separate times in my late twenties. Once for three months with eHarmony, one month through Match, and then a final one-month sprint on eHarmony that led to the final match with my husband. These facts don’t make me an expert on the topic. I went on dates with three different people and obviously married one of those three.

That being said – I’ve had multiple friends ask for advice when it comes to online dating. There are important things to consider before meeting a total stranger, but I think there are also some really important things to consider on the day you sign-up for an account.

Here’s my list of important reminders!
 
On-Line Dating Pros:
1.  1 in 8 marriages now start out as online dating relationship. We were hesitant to talk about it at first, but now it’s just a part of our story. I feel like every time we tell our story we hear about more and more people who are really finding success through the medium.I have no problem giving a shout-out to the matchmaking skills of a website… and more importantly to the matchmaking skills of a Heavenly Father who can use ANYTHING to accomplish His purposes.

2.  Online dating provides a "place" to meet people that you don't already have reason to meet. Very helpful in our situation… we lived almost an hour away from each other.

3.  Online dating websites are super user friendly. You get to find a service that embodies your values - which already helps you narrow the field dramatically. (So helpful.)

TIPS FOR FILLING OUT AN PROFILE:
1. Make the main thing the main thing. I set up some “must haves” for myself when I started the journey. I was personally looking for something more than someone who just went to church. I wanted someone who was following after Jesus. I was careful to use that type of language in my profile so no one would have to guess where I stood. Put out there whatever is most important to you – active vs. sedentary lifestyle, willing to attend sporting events, wanting to have kids, faith… etc. It will save everyone a lot of time.
2. Have someone who knows you well read through your profile. My girlfriend who did that for me actually changed a few things. She said that even though what I had was good, it wasn’t an accurate and full picture of me… it was too serious. She helped refine the descriptive words about me and checked for grammar and spelling. (Speaking of grammar – that’s something I looked for in every profile I came across. If you can’t take the time to proofread I’m probably done reading your profile.) She also helped me pick out a variety of pictures. A lot of guys and gals choose to put up one in a bathing suit to show off tats and what-not… but that’s not my M.O. and frankly that’s not the guy I was looking for. (In fact, a shirtless pic as the main pic was a turn off for me. I’m not dating/marrying someone’s abs or nipple ring.)
3. Fill out that “What’s one thing my friends know about me?” question. I rolled my eyes at the number of guys who answered, “Guess you will have to wait to find that out.” Not clever. Everyone answers that way. Be unique!
4. Don’t make your search too small. Again – keep the main things firm (for me strong faith, not smoking, and wanting a family were most important) – but be ready to make the rest of the search broader. Had my friend not encouraged me to change the height and age range of my search I would have missed meeting my guy! Keep your options open unless you keep getting too much of one age. Feel free to change those ranges of distance etc. on a weekly basis to see what kind of different matches you get. If you only get one a day, chances are you need to make the distance or age broader.
5. I wouldn’t jump to “fast track” open communication. Take your time and don’t get discouraged if people don’t respond as quickly as you might want. Some people only get on once a day, or even once a week – it just depends how long they’ve been on e-harmony. At the beginning I was checking 2xs a day… not so much in the weeks that followed, especially after D and I moved to e-mail.
We went through the E-harmony steps, then moved to personal e-mail, then to texting and talking on the phone before we had our first date. When we moved to open communication D asked how I thought things should progress. He asked about the timeline of each progression so that I would be comfortable… and I didn’t give him my last name until we moved to personal e-mail addresses.
6. Give a piece of info on your profile that makes you stand out. Most people say they like sports, hanging with friends, their families and “God.” Great. But what makes you “you”?
What caught our attention?
David listed my favorite book, A Severe Mercy, as the last book he had read. Major bonus points. 
D said that aside from pics and a general pleasant profile, my “one thing you should know about me” fact snagged his attention: “I have mad board game skills.” – it was comical but also something he enjoys.
GENERAL ONLINE DATING TIPS
  • Ask LOTS of questions before you meet.
  • GOOGLE and research. (Be smart!)
  • Let friends and family know where you are going to be and when. (You might even have someone within walking distance of your first date.)
  • Drive separately until you feel like you know this person.
  • Involve your community in your relationship. (We didn’t want our marriage to exist on an island separated from the input of other relationships – so we made spending time with each other’s community a top priority. We double-dated with friends, watched LOST with his crew, and made sure to stay connected to both of our faith communities.)
  • Pray it up. 
This is not an all-inclusive list by any means – any of the tips. So feel free to add everything I’ve forgotten today.


Tuesday, May 22, 2012

What I'm Loving Right Now

M&Ms Sweet and Salty Snack Mix
I mean, milk chocolate m&ms with pretzels and peanuts and tiny chocolate chip cookies? What more could you want- DARK chocolate m&ms with pretzels and almonds and raisins? THEY HAVE THAT ONE TOO. All varieties are amazing, and have been the unofficial sponsors of all recent girly hangout nights. 
 
"Newsies" on Broadway
I will admit that it took me a while to warm to the show, because there's a GIRL REPORTER, WHAT?! And also: they CHANGED SOME LYRICS?????????? However, once I ordered my junior high self to just GET OVER IT ALREADY, I was surprised at how fast I fell in love with the whole musical. And if you've seen my recent activity on Spotify, you know I've been SLIGHTLY addicted to the soundtrack. This song in particular:
Click play and listen to it while you read the rest of this. And don't miss the section starting at 3:08, MY FAVORITE PART!!!

"The Avengers" 
Last night I saw "The Avengers" for the third time. Aaaaaand tt was just as awesome as it was the first time, CLEARLY. We haven't stopped quoting it or picking favorite characters or referencing the Hulk punch since. Emily did a much better job recapping why this movie is so amazing, so go forth and read!

Pool Time
Remember last summer how all my Saturdays were taken up by copious pool time? Yeah. IT HAS BEGUN.

Kristen Wiig's SNL Farewell Sketch
I know a lot of people don't even watch Saturday Night Live anymore (WHAT IN THE WORLD, Y'ALL), but if you missed this past Saturday night's episode, you missed out on a jewel. The amazing/hilarious/irreplaceable Kristen Wiig is leaving SNL after seven years, and the cast gave her a fantastic sendoff that okay MAYBE I cried during.

Maybe.

Boom. Shaka Laka.
Said just like that! Boom. Shaka laka. It's our new catchphrase, created by the one and only Lori Redfearn, and it has many, many uses. I'm sure you will agree. Look into starting to use this, and possibly making it your own.

Boom shaka laka, y'all.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Not Shy in Chi-Town

I turned 30 in January. My husband threw me a fabulous surprise party and then took fabulous to a whole new level when he whisked me off to Chicago for my present.


When we headed for the airport I had no clue regarding our final destination. For packing purposes he gave me a forecast and some minimal direction as to the type of things I would need to prepare for.  He waited until our bags were checked at the airport and our boarding passes secretly printed before finally sharing the surprises. They came in a wave of envelopes.


1. Chicago!
2. Tickets to Mama Mia!
3. Tickets to WAIT, WAIT, DON'T TELL ME!


The man is an excellent gift giver.


I don't need to convince anyone that I'm mildly obsessed with NPR. I've been listening to public radio in the mornings since I was a sophomore in high school. Garrison Keillor joined us on many family roadtrips during my childhood. I've trained for 5Ks, 10Ks and even the half marathon by tuning into Wait, Wait, Don't Tell Me and This American Life.


Chicago has been on my travel list for years... but that's primarily because Wait, Wait is taped there before a live studio audience. My bucket list contains "Attend a live taping of Wait, Wait." For real.


Give me whatever label you like, but I'm not going to deny my love for Peter Sagal.


And the night of the taping, I suppose I sought to prove my dedication to the man. 


To fully understand this event, you have to imagine meeting one of your favorite entertainment personalities. We went out for a yet another great meal before taking a cab to the Chase Bank Downtown Auditorium. Seating is pretty much first come, first serve... so of course we arrived early to get a good spot in line. When the ticketing staff arrived they quickly informed everyone there was in fact, no line to be formed. Our line didn't exist. (What is this, the Matrix?) They would not recognize the line, and instead when the will-call table opened up it was just going to be a giant mad dash from every end of the basement room. I wondered if anyone had ever been trampled before, but then realized this was a public radio audience. So.. probably not? But D and I made a plan anyways. I would wait almost behind the tables while he picked up our tickets and then once I saw them in his hand I would make a mad dash to get us a spot at the "real line." We rushed the table, snagged a spot, picked up a program and proceeded to analyze everything about the night's show. At this point I was as giddy as all get out. I was even shaking a little bit. Not gonna lie.


We end up in the 3rd row and within feet of the small stage. The entire theatre holds about 400 people, so there really isn't a bad seat in the house. I simply wanted to be the closest to Peter Sagal, Carl Kasell, Peter Grosz, Roxanne Roberts, and Brian Bablyon as humanly possible. I wanted to be able to reach out and touch the earphones and microphones. (Not really, but kind of... yes.)


The show was thoroughly entertaining. We laughed all the way through. D even remarked how much he enjoyed the night. As soon as the taping drew to a close we were informed that we could line up and meet EVERYONE.  ("Everyone we know is doing what?? GIVING AWAY CANDY?"  "What do we have to do?) 


I don't usually stand in lines to meet celebrities. I don't purchase VIP tickets to concerts. I just feel awkward and I know I'm going to be an idiot. But this was different. I felt like these people were my friends. I had been listening to their voices for years, and besides... it's just public radio.


So I BOLTED for Peter Sagal's line. D had the camera out and I had my pen and program at the ready. I kept trying to think of something terribly witty and engaging to say. But by the time I reached Peter, I just word vomited. I don't know what happened. I said something to the effect of "OH MY GOODNESS. IT IS SUCH AN HONOR TO MEET YOU!! Blah, blah, blah. Gush, gush, gush." It was like that scene in A Christmas Story. And in spite of my meltdown he smiled professionally and asked my name and was about to send me on my merry way when I finally blurted out:


"If I was a 13 year-old girl, YOU would be my Justin Bieber!!"


This was followed by a brief period of uncomfortable silence as he signed my program. He finally replied with a smile, "Well, that's very interesting. I've never been told that before."


I laughed nervously and said thank you about a million times and let my husband take our photo before running away.


My internal dialogue for the next 3 hours: "GINGER. What did you do?!"


D reassured me that Peter wouldn't remember this story in the next hour, much less the next day. It was going to be ok.


So I wandered over and met Carl Kasell and then had a very nice discussion with Roxanne Roberts, before finishing off the night by telling Peter Grosz that I loved his work in the Sonic commercials. "Oh yeah," I said, "Big fan."


Big dork.
Awesome trip.
Chicago Art Institute.
Frozen Lake Michigan.
Ice Skating in Millenium Park.
Deep Dish Pizza.
Willis Tower.
John Hancock Building.
Wrigley Field.



Amazing husband.
Fabulous memories.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Since U Been Gone

Mom and Dad left for Italy approximately A MILLION YEARS AGO.

...Okay fine, it's been two weeks BUT STILL.

They have clearly missed out on a number of awesome happenings in the life of their middle child.

Like:

1. I got a new iPhone case! The silvery sparkle one has been good to me, but it was time for a less glittery one that left fewer jewels everywhere. The solution?


Texas Forever. (Sidenote: I miss you, Coach Taylor!)

2. Good? Tacos from "Fresh." Better? Tacos from "Fresh" with Lori and Emily. Best? Tacos from "Fresh" with Lori and Emily followed by "The Proposal" with Lori and Emily and Lacey and Chili's chips and salsa and ranch and also peanut butter m&m's and cherry coke zeroes. WE? Know how to party.

3. The first two times my air conditioner went out? Hilarious. The third time? NOT SO MUCH. Thankfully two of the nights of heat I got to spend in Lori's guest room, and the final fix resulted in my old-timey thermostat being replaced with this:


The 21st century feels good, y'all.

Good and cool.

4. What's better than celebrating Cinco de Mayo once? Celebrating Cinco de Mayo DOS times! That's right: not only did I get to attend a rockin' party at Andrea's on May 5, complete with fajitas AND piƱatas, I also got to attend the CUTEST little bilingual Cinco de Mayo music performance you have EVER seen on Cinco de Uno thanks to Emily, aka the best music teacher ever, and her adorable first graders. Top THAT performance off with some Tex Mex at Posados? Done and DONE.

5. Remember that time at work when we surprised a camper AT HER HOUSE? Yeah. There's a video of that awesomesauce:



6. Maybe I saw "The Avengers" one times, and MAYBE I saw "The Avengers" two times. All I know is: it was awesome and I couldn't stop laughing or having to fight the urge to high five the screen.

7. Oh, a Rangers game? Yeah, that happened. In honor of sweet Jacey's birthday, we loaded up and headed to Dallas to watch our boys put the hurt on Tampa. And when Jacey asked me what happened because she accidentally missed a play, I replied very knowledgeably, OF COURSE: "Umm, he hit it and then that guy threw it to that guy. And now he's out."

Baseball! I know things!


8. Point of Grace had a... less than stellar album release day, poor gals. I mean, they are FINALLY back with some new music, and they get bumped from the #1 album spot in the Christian/Gospel Music section on iTunes by a CAMP?

Because oh y'all:

Summer Lights Number 1 on iTunes

YEAH.

And I know I can't speak TERRIBLY objectively here, but I must note that the "Summer Lights" album is actually really great, and I think you should probably check it out. No really: go.

9. I saw one of my TOP 5 FAVORITE MOVIES OF ALL THE TIMES on the big screen. It's true: I got to go see "A League of Their Own" at the downtown theater with Emily and Jacey. And it. Was. Awesome.

10. Oh look! I finished my Galveston trip video! Boom shaka laka:



11. John and Lori hosted a "Cutie Cute Dance Party," (my name for the event that John made known he did NOT approve of) that was completely sparkly and delightful and wonderful. I mean, sure there was way less dancing than some of the ladies were hoping for, aka none for those of us not in a couple or related to one of the dudes. (IF WE'RE BEING HONEST HERE, AND I ALWAYS AM MOSTLY.)

But there were also s'mores, sparklers, great music, amazing pulled pork (high five, Lori!), laughter, a rainbow, TWINKLE LIGHTS, and time with fun friends.

So yeah, it was fabulous.


Well, that's all for now. Still on the horizon: a return trip to Dallas for a friend's documentary screening and a certain EPIC Pre-Summer Bash that I basically cannot wait for.

Good night all, and ciao to the world travelers! Miss you and can't wait for you to come back.

Friday, May 4, 2012

You haven't seen WHAT?



At small group this week we were asked the following question:


What's a movie that you've never seen that you "should have seen"?

Meaning- when you mention having not seen a classic or even cult classic film, what causes other people to yell in dismay... "YOU'VE NEVER SEEN....?"

I'm still thinking about my answer. Prior to marriage my list was a lot longer. That's what living with a guy will do for you. Thank you dear for my viewings of Doc Hollywood, The Usual Suspects, Rainman, What About Bob, The Passion of the Christ, Ferris Bueller's Day Off (I had never seen it from start to finish), Once... and I'm sure there are many others that I'm just not remembering at the moment.

I know personal aesthetic and choices come into play with the movies we watch, but I decided to pull up some lists on-line and see if there were any other movies I should add to my "dismay" list. I hunted Collection of the best movies from the 80s, Top Cult Classics, and Movies you should have seen lists and came up with the following...

Duck Soup (According to the Gilmore Girls)
The Thin Man (This in is only here because of my sister. I WILL see this one for sure!)
Basically any Sci-Fi movie from the 70's, 80's and 90's... 2001: A Space Odyssey, Aliens, Terminator, etc.
Lawrence of Arabia
I'm pretty sure I haven't seen all 3 of the original Star Wars. (Maybe not the one with the wookies? I know that statement alone took some one's breath away.)
Blade Runner
Easy Rider
Pretty much any horror movie from any time period. (I don't really plan on pursuing these with much energy. "What Lies Beneath" kept me up for weeks.)
Jaws (any of them)
Pulp Fiction (Not gonna happen. Least favorite things in film: gratuitous blood and repeated use of the "F" word.)
Psycho
A Streetcar Named Desire
Labyrinth (Not in a hurry. Sorry, David Bowie.)
Beetlejuice
Ghostbusters

So - what's on your top 10 list that would make you lament if you heard someone else hadn't seen it?

What haven't you seen that gets everyone else all in a tizzy? (In our small group we heard: The Godfather, The Sound of Music, It's a Wonderful Life, Aliens, and plenty of others.)

And finally, what haven't you seen on my top ten list? (I would really like an opportunity to be more dramatic)

My list:
1. Waiting for Guffman
2. Chariots of Fire
3. The Family Stone

4. Pride & Prejudice

5. Love Actually

6. Amelie
 
7. Chocolat
8. The Last of the Mohicans

9. Meet Me in St. Louis

10. Galaxy Quest


Alright - comment away. Judgement awaits. ;)

Saturday, April 28, 2012

The time I went camping and left the pink sparkle watch at home.

Aside from one ill-fated campout in '95 or '96, when my cousin Hilary was scared off for good thanks to a certain notorious thunderstorm, I have been the only girl to regularly attend the Morby campouts with my dad, brother, cousins, and uncles.

I don't know why my sister or other cousins have never had any interest in joining us, or why the one night Kathy spent out there this most recent campotu was, as she put it, "my first and last campout."

What's not to love? Campfires, fishing, hiking, guns, fireworks, food
straight off the grill or camp stove, reading by the lake... These are a few of my favorite things!

Of course, there's no running water, a few bugs and snakes, and sleeping on the ground... But no, even then: what's not to love?

One thing that I noticed several times was the interesting dichotomy and warring halves of my girly and tomboy camping sides. For instance:

Yes, I did manage to wash my hair over the weekend. BUT I washed it in the lake. With some Old Spice body wash, because that's what was
there.

Okay, so I brought back some honeysuckle from the woods to put on one of the picnic tables. BUT in my other hand? I was carrying a snake skin.

Yes, I brought my comforter out to the campsite in a Nordstrom shopping bag. BUT I carried it into a tent that I OWN and set up myself, with some help from Dad, before we also set up my brother's tent. So.

Fine, I brought back more wildflowers from the field out by the power easement. I'll give you that one. BUT I hacked off the ends with a machete so they would fit in a cup of water.

BOOM.

Sound like too much fun to be had? IT WAS. Want to feel like you were there? Click play!
Previously: 2010 Morbypalooza Campout Video

Friday, April 13, 2012

Fuller Picture

video

One time I went to the Dead Sea. Everyone around me was laughing and screaming through the experience. They were hunting for giant chunks of salt or rocks that they could carry home and tell exciting stories about that time they swam in the Dead Sea.

I took my time watching everyone else get in. I was cold outside of the water so I knew... I knew that water was going to be mildly unpleasant.

Understatement.

Floating in the Dead Sea IS a unique and once in a lifetime experience. I'm glad I got in.

The water that kept us floating felt thick and frigid. "Look at me floating without even trying!"

We were warned that getting the water in our eyes would be painful and that drinking a cup-full would be deadly. That's so inviting.

I think my biggest mistake was shaving my legs the day I was going to get into a body of water in which 35% of it is made up of dissolved salts. Holy mother of pearl. My legs still scream out in agony when I think about it.

But when I read about the Dead Sea I now have a picture in my mind... and I am so thankful for that fuller picture.

Really painful picture - but way cool fuller picture.

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Rain. Pizza. Eyeballs.

After work today I drove out to the ball fields, even though I knew full well that the game's cancellation was most likely imminent. Sure enough, five minutes after I arrived, the umpire DROVE BY the field, rolled down his window, and shouted, "Game's cancelled!"

Well.

The obvious solution at this point? PIZZA, of course! So the entire team plus the fans (hi!) loaded up and drove through the driving rain and HAIL to the best pizza joint in town (Bruno's, duh!).

We discussed auditioning for The Amazing Race, growing up with cows in the front yard (what?), and I probably talked way too much about Jimmy Fallon. But it was greatness.

Friends, laughter, and pepperoni. That's basically the three cherries lining up on the slot machine of FUN, according to Val. So shall it be written.

From there I braved a dark and rainy and lightning-y drive over to the grandparents' house, entertaining myself (and probably people in the cars stopped next to me at lights?) on the way by cranking up the radio and singing/dancing along, because sometimes you just gotta get your dance on to Cee Lo. (Or is that not a thing?)

Ginger was beat from a full day of speaking (did I already excitedly mention that SHE'S IN TEXAS???) and was working on notes for tomorrow, so the evening was pretty low-key. But just sitting in the living room with both grandparents, Mom, Dad, and sister, was enough.

We watched the end of the Lady Bears basketball game, which was MOST exciting, and even though I didn't go to college at Baylor or anything, I have enough family members who are DIE HARD FANS (and one who was there-- Hi, Aunt Kathy!) that I felt a swell of pride and ALMOST said "Sic em!" when the game ended. Almost.

Instead I just played another round of Draw Something.

Dad and I laughed about local commercials, I spent a bit too long writing a tweet about the song "Lucky", and Grandpa had just a little bit of trouble working the DVR (did I already mention that he has 139 episodes of NCIS saved up???). Mom told me about making Ginger's t-shirt quilt, Cousin Amy called, and Grandma talked about having surgery on the inside of HER EYEBALL during a discussion of phantom pains.

So that was my evening. How was yours?

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

For Sheldon and Davy

I'm not sure how many years it will take before I stop considering March 28th an anniversary of sorts. I didn't buy a card and we aren't going out to dinner, but I'm remembering it just the same.

The tree stump.

The book.

The ring.

THE question.

After just four months of dating, D asked me to marry him.

"A Severe Mercy" has been an important book in our story. I read about David before I actually met him. Talk about a first impression. When D mentioned this book on his eharmony profile, I knew there had to be something unique and special about this man.
That hunch was correct.

"A Severe Mercy, by Sheldon Vanauken, is a heart-rending love story described by its author as "the spiritual autobiography of a love rather than of the lovers." Vanauken chronicles the birth of a powerful love born out of the relationship he shares with his wife, Davy, and describes the growth of their relationship and the dreams that they share." -Jacque Holthusen

It was only fitting that the story of Sheldon and Davy be present at our engagement and that their words had a place in our ceremony. If you haven't read the book before, may I suggest you add it to the list this year? It's one of the most beautiful love stories I've ever read.
  • "She knew without my saying that I was hers, that I was full of happiness that we were deeply together… wherever the road led. And I knew without her saying that she had, somehow, come to a new understanding that God in His ample love embraced our love with, it may be, a sort of tenderness, and we must tread the Way to Him hand in hand. We understood without words that we must hold the co-inherence of lovers and be Companions of the Co-inherence of the Incarnate Lord: she in me and I in her; Christ in us and we in Him.” - A Severe Mercy

Dear Sheldon and Davy...

Happy March 28th.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Oh. THAT HAPPENED.

You know, I could use this space to talk about the overwhelming response I received from my last blog post. (I will say: y'all are awesome and I am still BLOWN AWAY by... everything. Thank you.)

Or I could talk about how Ginger has been in Israel for what seems like SO LOOOOONG and how glad I am to have her finally back in gchat and cell phone range.

I could talk about how EXCITED I AM FOR SPRING: warm weather, flip flops, softball games, fun trips, sunshine, and just... everything. I'm excited.



BUT. Let's talk about what's really important here.

People: I SAW JIMMY FALLON!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I mean, Jimmy Fallon, y'all. My FAVORITE celebrity-type person. He was HERE. In TEXAS. And I saw him. If you know me? You know this is pretty HUGE.

Basically: I was in Austin for SXSW Interactive (the far nerdier/geekier sister of SXSW Film or Music) last week. And I found out on Sunday that THE Jimmy Fallon would be moderating a panel. That very day.

My reaction: say "WHAT" about 20 times (no exaggeration) and then do everything in my power to get to said panel.




And I was. IN THE FOURTH ROW. Where I grinned and giggled my way through the presentation, and took (again, no exaggeration) 56 pictures and videos.

I mean, I was basically the Zeppelin kid from "Almost Famous."
















They're here. Zeppelin are here. They are here.


Sigh. Jimmy FALLON was here.

And I saw him.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Pinch Me

I don't know if I can put into words what I'm feeling and processing today. So many people that I love are working through disappointments. They had dreamed and hoped and then... it didn't happen. Heartbreak.

Have you seen the Joseph Kony video that's been shared millions of times this week? Watching the shares and even the controversy surrounding the social media frenzy has taken me back to a time of my own heartbreak. In May of 2008 I applied to be an intern with Invisible Children. I was absolutely convinced that I would be accepted and moving to Uganda. I had asked for a leave of absence at work. I put every inch of me into believing that I would move to Uganda in the fall. I read books, memorized facts, took classes, and even moved my stuff into storage- all the while 100% believing and trusting that God was going to have me to to Uganda. The DAY AFTER I moved my stuff into storage I got the "no" letter. I wrote this blog post in July of 2008 while I was still reeling.

I have known the disappointment that comes when you feel like you are living and walking in God's will... only to have everything you are sure of break apart.

I'll be honest, the rest of 2008 was challenging. I struggled. But I learned so much through the experience about myself and about My God. He didn't say "no" to punish or confuse me. I had been asking Him to guide my steps... and He did.

Rejection is hard, especially when you feel like you were acting in faith. "But in faith Abraham left everything – his home and family – and went to the land the Lord would slowly grant him."


Abram [Abraham] who did not always wait, obey, or trust - is chosen to have more descendants than the sands in the sea. This man from Ur was selected out of everyone on the planet of that time to receive THE PROMISE. So why Abram?

Genesis 12:4 suggests an initial answer: "So Abram left." Perhaps one answer is simply, "Because he'd go." (Beth Moore)

Uganda with Invisible Children in the fall of 2008 is not the land for me. Perhaps Uganda or Africa one day...but maybe not. Part of this process was learning just to be willing to go wherever or whenever He leads. I had money saved, my bags packed, and I was ready for His call. Maybe He was just asking me if I was ready.


Whether I'm overseas or right here on my quiet street, I know I'm aiming to follow.


"But we are not of those who shrink back and are destroyed, but of those who believe and are saved." Hebrews 10:39


Wednesday, March 7, 2012

The Reveal

It was never my desire to become a living Cathy comic. So I never mentioned this before. And this is hard for me to bring up so... publicly. I seriously have SO much apprehension about sharing this.

But you know what? I'm just gonna go there.

Hi, my name is Valerie. And I lost 50 pounds.

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(grin)

So... what now?

I suppose that, in the words of Wadsworth, "I'm going to tell you how it was all done. Follow me."

Well. The movie montage of the past year would be a lot of shots of me getting out of bed early, leaving the house makeupless and tennis shoed up and heading downstairs to drive the three minutes to my local gym. It's true, little bloggingtons. Nearly every morning I have started my day off by conquering the elliptical machine, the treadmill, the stationary bike, and/or some free weights. Throw in a mix of jump roping, planking, lunges, and other miscellaneous morning exercises and there you go. You would also be treated to clips of Zumba class, runs/walks through the park accompanied by Wait Wait Don't Tell Me and/or the likes of Kelly, Beyonce, Avril, and Michael Giaccino. Perhaps most importantly you would see shots of me on the computer logging nearly EVERYTHING I'VE EATEN for the past 12 months YES EVEN WHILE I WAS IN NEW YORK CITY.

Sometimes you will hear people say something to the effect of their weight just "falling off." "I stopped drinking soda and the weight just started to fall off!" "I started walking in tiny circles around my arm chair and the weight just fell off!" "I high fived a beluga whale and WONDER OF WONDERS THE WEIGHT JUST MAGICALLY FELL OFF AND NOW I RIDE A UNICORN TO THE OFFICE."

Well, I don't know these people or why they feel the need to lie. Because there isn't, there won't ever be, and there never was anything even remotely CLOSE to the phrase "the weight just fell off me" involved in this. So, lies and dream fantasy phrases like that one, BE GONE! You are not welcome here. Because I got up early, and sweated, and got sore, and turned down ice cream, and drank DIET COKE WITH DIET CHERRY FROM SONIC, LIKE, WHAT IS THAT EVEN!!!!!!!

There is no "falling off." I cannot stress that enough. Even though it's a popular phrase and people even assigned that phrase to ME once or twice (pa-shaw), it's absolutely not true. There is NO "falling off." There is only stretching, and running, and looking silly in Zumba class, and declining the brownies, and setting out your workout clothes the night before, and getting on the elliptical AGAIN, and keeping a nectarine in the fridge at work, and washing out the blender blades and making a breakfast smoothie THE NIGHT BEFORE. There is only gathering up the courage to call the gym for an appointment with a personal trainer and getting up early on Saturday morning to meet "Joel" and talk to him about "goals," and looking like an idiot while he teaches you "burpees" (aka OF THE DEVIL). There is only watching people drink soda and eat burgers and fries while you eat chicken yet again, and looking silly at the gym trying out machines you haven't used before, and pushing yourself in the park to run to the next bridge then the next then the next one more one more one more. There is only telling yourself that a piece of pineapple is a treat, and sweating your FACE off because it's SUMMER HELLOOOO WHY ARE YOU AT THE PARK, and looking up nutritional information for a restaurant before you go and picking out what you're going to eat ahead of time, and coming so far but still feeling like you have SO far to go. And all of the above again and again and again and AGAIN AND AGAIN AND AGAIN. (And again.)

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Despite the fact that, yes, I moved the scale downwards by 50 pounds in about a year, the numbers did not, by any means, go consistently down. The graph showing my progress is not a straight line going from the top left corner down to the bottom right. And that's what can be really frustrating about the process: the inconsistency of results. I could intake the same (small) number of calories and put the same time in at the gym this week that I did last week, and while last week I magically lost 3 pounds, this week I could lose just zero. Or add one back. Or have multiple weeks of discipline with NO RESULTS AT ALL SO PLEASE SOMEONE THROW THIS SCALE OUT THE FRAKKIN WINDOW BECAUSE WHAT EXACTLY IS YOUR PROBLEM, SCALE?!? It happens. Sometimes I just had to laugh, like the time the scale hadn't budged for two entire weeks, only to fall a pound the day after I ate McDonald's for lunch. EXPLAIN YOURSELF, SCIENCE! Okay but seriously, just to drive the point home: just because you kill yourself in the gym and eat only, I don't know, barley and tepid glacier water, doesn't mean you're going to make a significant weight difference. I don't know why that happens, but it happens.

I know that before I started this particular "journey," anytime I heard about someone who lost weight, I'd want to know how they did it, always hoping the answer was something other than "exercise and a lower calorie intake." GUESS WHAT: that's always it. Always always always. So the short answer for "How did you do it?" is that simple: I exercised. And I didn't eat a lot of crap.

Of course there's a little more to it, and I think that the other thing you'll always hear people talk about is the importance of doing what's right for YOU. Because boot camp and vegan diets aren't for everyone, and they're certainly not for me. So really you just have to figure out what's going to work for you. And what worked for me was an exercise cocktail of aerobic workouts and Zumba and long runs in the park and a few mornings a week of the circuit that Trainer Joel put together for me. And it was a random food mix of eggs, microwave dinners, smoothies, fiber bars, pineapples, salads, and the occasional burger or cup of 85% diet coke, 15% real coke, because oh come ON. But above all, credit goes to calorie counting, because without that... it's just SO hard to know! I could think a salad I ordered off the menu is the healthiest possible lunch I could get, only to check the calories later and PEOPLE THIS IS RIDICULOUS, 900 CALORIES!? IN A SALAD?! THAT'S JUST WRONG. But yes, there will be times when you find yourself pouring over the nutritional information of a WENDY'S so you can go and not be blind-sided by a 700 CALORIE CHICKEN SANDWICH. (Yes, that is a thing that exists.)

So that was it for me: counting calories. Not everything works for everyone, obviously, and this just happened to work for me. When I discovered LoseIt.com, I got down to business. Having a daily measurably goal was huge for me, because it took the guesswork out of it, and I had numbers to shoot for every day. Every day! The calorie count is what I would come away with as being the most important piece of this puzzle, outside of the desire to finally just DO it, and also a really fabulous workout outfit, because well. You never know.

There is one other supremely important thing that absolutely must be mentioned here: I would not have lost a single ounce of anything if that had been outside of God's will. And I am not saying that I prayed to sweet baby Jesus if I could pretty please just lose some weight and then poof it happened. Because Lord have mercy, but that is not a thing. Instead, my living, caring, ACTIVE God gifted me with strength, determination, and enough of a sense of humor to make it out of Zumba class undiscouraged. He gave me all of the tools I need to complete the monumental task before me. The tenacity, the support, the drive, the fire, and the WHAT IS UP attitude that is sometimes necessary to defeat long and arduous tasks like this one. No one could have prepared me like He did, could have purposefully planned out my story the way He did. I am thankful for His grace, for His mercy, and for creating all of the many wonderful musicians who would one day come together to make up my workout playlist. I mean--He knows what He's doing, y'all.

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And now, I MUST say: thank you to my mom, my BIGGEST cheerleader, who was treated to nearly every step and milestone along the way, cheering me on no matter how small my accomplishments. Thanks to my dad and sister for always encouraging me and motivating me to continue on with this in a very non-pushy and sweet way. Thanks to cousin Shanni, who promised me a trip to Nordstrom's for a treat if I kept at it (and delivered HUGELY). Thanks to Andrea, who gave up an afternoon to take these "After" pictures for me. Thanks to Javier, Not Mindy Riggins, and all of the other Zumba instructors who pushed me one hour at a time. Thanks to TVs in the machines at the gym. Thanks to clementine oranges, dark chocolate kisses, egg whites that come in cartons, 100 calorie ice cream sandwiches, and of course, the MVP of the group, skim milk. Bravo, guys. Finally, big props and MASSIVE thanks go to my online "friends" from LoseIt, who did jumping jacks and happy dances with me and for me EVERY step of the way. Their comments and smiley faces always brightened my day, and they made small victories feel like a VERY big deal. And I've never even met them.

NO THANKS go to: french fries (Y'ALL. Do you even realize???), overly perky people in Zumba class that make me think more about punching them IN THE FACE than actually exercising, that one itch on my right shin always that made me have to stand on the sides of the treadmill so I could lean down and scratch that one place real fast and jump back on which happened ALL THE TIME, tortilla chips (not an easy thing to stay away from in Texas, aka I TOTALLY DIDN'T but I HATE YOU ANYWAY), and finally, especially the fitness world for making me feel like I can't do ANYTHING right- like saying soda is unhealthy and so I make the change to diet but then they say diet soda is just as bad for you and WHY DOES NOTHING PLEASE YOU!?

It's not easy. And I will never condescend to anyone who decides to do it or thinks maybe they SHOULD do it, because it is HARD AS HELL. I'm sorry, but it is. Worth it? Yes. But hard. I never would have thought that ANYONE would ask for my advice, or how I, of all people, was losing weight, or EXACTLY what I am doing. But people, surprisingly enough, have done exactly that! I never thought that I would be the one that would an example to ANYONE, and yet here I am.

So if you'd like any further details or would like to ask any questions at all, please feel free to do so in the comments, or just email vmorby (at) g mail (dot) com. I would love to share, to advise, to encourage, to bring you to Zumba class, to... anything. Really.

Unfortunately, in the end there IS no movie montage, no "work it, gurrrrl" soundtrack, no fast forward button. There's no triumphant swells of music, no thumping bass. It's often quiet. Lonely. Boring. Slow. Frustrating. Monotonous. Complicated.

But it IS worth it, in the end. It's worth it for the "work it, gurrrrl" feeling. For the "Have you...?" comments. For the compliments suddenly coming from every which way. For the people asking me (ME!) how I did it!

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(Pause. Big intake of breath.)

You know, for a really long time, it really is just slow. And quiet. And boring. For a really long time you put the work in with no real results. With no one noticing.

But then one day they do notice. And you get to buy new clothes, and feel just a little bit fabulous.

One day you'll bask in the glow of knowing you did it.

One day you'll lose 50 pounds.

And you'll hit "Publish" on your victory blog post, and share it with the world.