Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Confession Time

I have a confession to make – and it’s probably the most difficult confession I have made via my blog. I have an eating disorder. It’s not exactly what you may be thinking – but believe me when I tell you it is something I genuinely struggle with every day. I can’t stop overeating. Pretty much, I’m bulimic – but I forget to throw up. When I’m stressed, frustrated, tired, happy, sad, excited – pretty much any emotion other than content – I binge on anything I can find. I wish I could say that I only over indulge on sweets and chocolates – but that would be a lie. I wish I could say that salty snacks such as chips or trail mixes were my only weak spot – but that too would be a lie. I wouldn’t even dare try to pretend that my only vice would be fast food – because, you got it – I would be lying.

You see, I love it all. I love every bad for you food imaginable: sweets, snacks, fast food, fried food, etc. If you put a piece of cheesecake in front of me and a cup of fruit – I’m going for the cheesecake. And on the rare occasion that reason sets in and I decide to eat fruit as opposed to cheesecake, I will stare at whomever is eating cheesecake with disgust and jealousy. It’s honestly my biggest downfall.

Last Thursday while eating a bag of salt and vinegar chips, I had a mini meltdown. I cried to Steven that I was just unhappy with myself. I have so little self control when it comes to what I eat and how much I eat. Couple that with my lack of discipline in my workouts and I’m starting to pack on the pounds these days. Mind you – as I was crying – I was shoving salt and vinegar chips in my mouth. Starting to see the problem?

Last night Steven and I watched four episodes of “Kirstie Alley’s Big Life”. It was hysterical and entertaining. Steven *hates* reality TV – to the point that MTV is banned in his presence – but even he was laughing out loud at Kirstie’s shenanigans. Although it was comical, it was incredibly sad for me. I sat there watching her struggle with eating habits and exercise routines and I recognized so many flaws of my own. I could see how embarrassed she was at how her clothes fit – and I felt her pain as I feel the same way each morning when I search through my closet for something to wear. I watched her sneaking into the kitchen late night and understood how badly she wanted that piece of cake. I don’t think I have ever identified with a celebrity so strongly.

While I’m not quite as far gone as Kirstie, I realize that I have to make a real change. I just can’t keep doing this to myself. I’m a confident woman – I’m a capable woman – why on earth am I allowing an extra 10-15 pounds to keep me down like this? So I’m joining “Team Kirstie” and I’m going to lose the weight with her.

I’m back on Weight Watchers (any point friendly recipes are more than welcome!) and I’m hitting the gym each morning. I have even downloaded this neat little app on my Aeris that tracks my points for me. You know how us Type-A people love apps to keep our lives organized! It’s not going to be easy, but I’m determined to feel comfortable in my bathing suit this summer – and it’s only two months away.

PS:  If you haven’t watched Kirstie Alley’s Big Life – you should definitely check it out. It’s fabulous!

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Top Two Tuesday - Randomness

When I saw the topic for Taylor's Top Two Tuesday - I just couldn't help but play along this week.  I love randomness.  I'm the queen of random - to the point where it's obnoxious - or at least according to my husband it is.  So let's see two completely random factoids about me....

1. I had a mullet when I was five.  That's right - you heard me.  Remember, I'm from Alabama - Southern Alabama to be exact.  It was 1990 and I was in kindergarten - apparently mullets were in style.  Does anyone remember crimping?  My mom thought it would be super cute to crimp
my mullet for my kindergarten pictures.  There I was - missing my front teeth with HUGE bangs and a crimped mullet.  It's a miracle I don't have serious mental issues (or more than I already have - that is!)

2.  I hate the taste of 7Up.  It makes me think of being sick when I was little - it makes me think of throw-up.  It makes me want to throw up.  OMG - my mouth is watering just typing this sentence.  I can drink Sprite and Ginger Ale (strange, I know) - but something about 7Up seriously makes my stomach do a flip.  I hate to throw up - in my opinion it's the worst sickness possible!

What are two random facts about you!?!?

Housework Tuesday - Super Cute Poem

Happy Housework Tuesday party people!  The incredibly thoughtful Kelly over at Keeping Up With Kelly & Co emailed me a poem this week as it reminded her of my Housework Tuesday segment.  Thanks lady!

The Cleaning Poem
I asked the Lord to tell me
Why my house is such a mess.
He asked if I'd been 'computering',
And I had to answer 'yes.'

He told me to get off my fanny,
And tidy up the house.
And so I started cleaning up...
The smudges off my mouse.

I wiped and shined the topside.
That really did the trick...
I was just admiring my good work.
I didn't mean to 'click.'

But click, I did, and oops - I found
A real absorbing site
That I got SO way into it...
I was into it all night.

Nothing's changed except my mouse.
It's very, very shiny.
I guess my house will stay a mess...
While I sit here on my hiney.

I'm sure many of you, just like me, can identify with the lady in this poem.  I can't tell you how many times I have entered our office with the intention of dusting or vacuuming only to find myself blogging or checking my dashboard an hour later.  Whoops!  I guess I only have myself to blame.  :)

Happy Housework Tuesday!  And btw - I am hosting a giveaway sponsored by Kirkland's as promised last week.  It will just be closer to Friday or Saturday of this week before all the details are finalized.  So keep checking back - you won't want to miss it!

Friday, March 26, 2010

Play Along Friday

Happy Friday lovely bloggers.  Usually I host "Guest Post Friday" each Friday so I am unable to play along other super fun Friday posts.  This week I've decided to forgo a guest post (will be back soon - don't worry!) and I'm going to play along with a few of my favorite Friday features.

This week's Favorite Friday topic is Favorite TV Show - Comedy

My all time favorite would have to be Friends! I've seen every episode multiple times and I never get tired of them! I especially love the holiday shows.  They put me in the spirit each holiday season!

Currently I'm addicite to ABC Family's Comedy Wednesday - particularly Modern Family.  Phil is my favorite - poor guy, just can't catch a break.  I laugh hysterically ever week!

Julie over at Brown Eyed Belle wants to know what you're loving today - and I'm loving a lot!

Benefit makeup.  I could spend a fortune on Benefit products.  They are so smooth, so long lasting, so chic and amazing.  I have to force myself ot walk past this counter - because once I stop, I can't not shop!

You know me - I love all things hot pink and black.  It's just the perfect expression of me - serious (black) with a side of fun and style (hot pink) - gotta love it!

Anything with my R monogram - especially the new yard flag that my mom got me for my birthday.  I love it - it makes our yard look so classy!

Speaking of our yard, I love a well manicured lawn and outdoor space.  While I'm dreaming of one day having a back yard like this - I'm really proud of the hard work hubby has done in our yard since we moved in.  Our lawn is truly one of the best looking in the neighborhoods - something to be proud of.  I'll have to post pics once we plant our flowers.

I've said it before - I love Juicy perfume.  And Kathy (mother-in-law) surprised me with a bottle of Juicy and Viva la Juicy for my birthday.  Yay!!

Sigma Sigma Sigma - I love my sorority.  These women taught me so much as a collegian and I am so grateful for the friendships I have carried into my adult life.  Faithful Unto Death!

What about you?  Want to play along - what's your favorite comedy - what are you loving today? 

 Happy Friday!  Make sure to check back a little later this afternoon as I will announce a giveaway that I'm hosting - it's sponsored by Kirkland's - you don't want to miss it!

Thursday, March 25, 2010

I'm So Happy

Why so happy you may ask?  Because I've been two happy awards!

Stacie so graciously awarded me the Happy award.

The rules are pretty simple:

1. Thank the nominator: Thanks, Stacie.  You started my day off just right with this peppy award!

2. List things that make you happy:
~Watching Steven play football. He looks so sexy running around all sweaty and athletic looking. I’m so excited to watch him play in the football tournament this Saturday!
~Being in the sun – particularly taking Dixie for a walk on a sunny day or laying in a beach chair near the beautiful ocean. Vitamin D is like honey for my soul!
~Catching up with a girlfriend on the phone. Jess, Amanda and Khristi – you are all so far away and I cherish our phone dates (even though they don’t happen nearly enough!)
~Zumba class. I love shaking it (no matter how poorly I may shake it) – this class just makes me happy!
~Blogging – yes blogging. It’s my outlet, my hobby, a little piece of Amber shared with the world. I love the friendships I have developed. Who knew when I started blogging about 5 months ago that this would be such a great experience?
~A good love story: Nicholas Sparks, Twilight, Titanic, Pearl Harbor – this list goes on and on. Whether I’m reading a love story or watching it on the big screen, I can’t get enough.

Tamara at Memory Bean Designs awarded me the “I Love Your Blog” award.

Thanks lady! Her blog is adorable and she has some fantastic art finds – you definitely check her out!

Now it’s time to pass along the award to a few bloggers who make me happy on a regular basis.
K at A Bee And His Honey
Laura at Cowboy Boots & Baby Booties
Tami at She Talks To Angels
Brittany at Simplicity in Baltimore
Mrs. J at The Smelly Life
Mateya at Our Journey From The Altar To Iraq

Happy Thursday all! It’s almost Friday – that’s definitely something to be happy about!  Make sure to check my post tomorrow because I will be offering a giveaway hosted by Kirklands that you won't want to miss!

When You Got A Good Thing

Anyone who has read my blog for a period of time has more than likely realized that I’m a “feel good” music junky. At any given point, I always have a “theme song” – this song is usually playing over and over while I sit at my desk or I find myself humming it as I drive. A mantra to keep my perspective in check.

One of my real life close friends, Sarah, is getting married in August. She recently was kind enough to share her first dance song with me – “When You Got A Good Thing” by Lady Antebellum.

Everybody keeps telling me I'm such a lucky man,
Lookin' at you standing there, I know I am.
Barefoot beauty with eyes that blue,
Sunshine sure looks good on you, I swear.

Oh I can't believe I finally found ya, baby.
Happy ever after, after all this time.
Oh there's gonna be some up and downs,
But with you to wrap my arms around, I'm fine.

So baby, hold on tight.
Don't let go!
Hold on to the love we're makin',
'Cause baby when the ground starts shakin'
You gotta know, when you got a good thing.

You know you keep bringin' out the best in me,
And I need you now, even more than the air I breathe
You can make me laugh when I want to cry.
This will last forever, I just know.

So baby, Hold on tight.
Don't let go!
Hold on to the love we're makin',
'Cause baby when the ground starts shakin'
You gotta know, when you got a good thing.

We got a good thing, baby!

So Hold on tight.
Baby, don't let go!
Hold on to the love we're makin',
'Cause baby when the ground starts shakin'
You gotta know,

Oh, You gotta know,
Oh, You gotta know,
You gotta know.
When you got a good thing.

We got a good thing Baby

I had never heard this song until Sarah played it as we were driving home one day. As I sat there listening to the words, imagining her twirling around the dance floor staring lovingly into the eyes of her husband, I was overcome with joy. I realized that no matter what may be happening, I too have a good thing. A blessing – a companionship – an anchor in stormy weather. I believe this song depicts marriage beautifully – perfectly. Happily ever after with a side of ups and downs. I’ve played it non-stop over the past few days as a reminder of what I found almost two years ago staring into the eyes of my husband during our first dance: A promise, a commitment, a happily ever after with a side of ups and down. I promise not to let go.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

My Heart's Prayer

Dear Father,

I have so much to be thankful for - but so rarely do I acknowledge Your blessings in my life.  Thank you for today. Thank you for salvation. Thank you for my faithful, devoted husband – my best friend, my confidant. Thank you for my family – for a mother who always answer the phone when I really need her. For a father whose prayers I feel from miles away. Most importanly, thank-you for forgiveness.

Please forgive me for my many failures. Forgive me for doubting You. Forgive me for doubting that You will work a miracle in my life. Forgive me for questioning this path. Help me to see with Your eyes – help me to understand with Your understanding. Silence the echoes of despair and uncertainty that resonate in my core. Forgive my selfishness and impatience. Forgive my controlling spirit. Forgive me for thinking of myself before the needs of others. Forgive me for being so much like me and so little like You.

I believe in Your word. I believe that you want to bless me. I believe that you will not give me more than I can take and that You are always here with me: loving me, comforting me, surrounding me with Your grace and mercy. How I long for the faith of a mustard seed and pray for understanding during this trial.

Thank you for loving me in spite of myself.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Top Two Tuesday

I decided to play along with Taylor’s Top Two Tuesday again this week. She wants to know what are two things you just can’t live without? I’m going to take this in a very literal sense – meaning two items – because I would hate to have to narrow the field down to two people (or possibly puppies!)

This is actually quite easy for me. Two items that I am never ever never never without would be:

The fact that I wear contacts and have crystal clear blue eyes makes my eyes ridiculously sensitive to light. I actually will get bad headaches if I am out in the sun without my sunglasses. Even in the winter – these babies are always on. I believe Maui Jim provides the best protection and most comfortable lenses – so I wear that pair most often. I recently picked up these Kate Spade beauties though – super excited to rock these this summer! I just love the print along the sides!

I guess I’m obsessed with my eyes. (I should be – they are the only feature that I like about myself!) Being a natural blonde, my eye lashes are literally WHITE. If I don’t have mascara, I look like a little girl. My eyes disappear against the other features of my face. I may go out of the house without base, powder or blush – but you will not catch me out without mascara on my lashes. Loreal Voluminous Carbon Black is my favorite. It’s serious mascara!

You should play along! What two thing can you not live without??

Housework Tuesday - Watch Out For Those FUMES

**Yes, this is kind of a long post – but I swear it will be worth it to read to the end. Just humor me.  :)

Watch out for those fumes you might ask? Well as many of you know, this past Saturday was a day for spring cleaning at my house. It was miserable – let me tell you. The weather was absolutely perfect in Charlotte, and instead of getting outside and getting a little sun, I spent my entire day dusting and wiping down every surface of my house.

Let me explain – my home is covered in white: white baseboards, white doors, white blinds & window panes, white tile in the bathrooms, white shower & tubs. And in case you haven’t noticed – I have two boxer puppies that love to drag dirt and mud into my home. Thank the Lord for Clorox wipes. I went through not one, but two, bottles of Clorox wipes while wiping down doors, window panes & base boards. For those of you who aren’t accountants – that’s 50 wipes! (I promise I don’t live in a pig sty – we just have a lot of white!)

I have also mentioned recently that hubby and I are newly addicted to the show Criminal Minds. I’m not quite sure why I love this show so dearly because every episode brings a new fear – being abducted in a park, being abducted while giving a stranger directions, being abducted while on vacation – you get it – I’m scared of being abducted. I would say that about 3 out of 7 shows begin with a woman doing some type of chore in her home. The creepy “watch out” music begins to play as she unknowingly dusts her dining room table and before she knows it WHAM she’s clubbed or shot or stabbed. Not exactly a pleasant thought, huh?

As I said, Steven was not at home during spring cleaning as he was practicing for an upcoming charity football tournament. Something about being at home by myself, all the windows & doors open (my attempt to enjoy some of the pleasant weather) and cleaning like a mad woman with music blaring throughout the house made me feel uneasy. I kept looking over my shoulder, fearful that I might find an attacker lurching in the shadows. Yes, I’m paranoid – I realize this.

So here’s the part where the fumes come into play. My master shower is nearly *impossible* to keep clean. It is a standalone shower with white tile trim & a white floor. I finally found a heavy duty shower cleaner that does the trick – but it stinks to high heavens! I’m serious. This cleaner is so strong and so powerful that I feel as if I can barely breathe when I’m on my hand and knees scrubbing the tile in my shower. Our bathroom is on the small side and doesn’t have very good ventilation – so every time I clean the shower, I find myself at the mercy of the fumes.

If I’m being 100% honest, I waited a little too long between cleanings and my shower grimier than normal. As a result I had to use extra shower spray and scrub with even more intensity. After about fifteen minutes scrubbing my shower, I noticed a tiny red dot on the white base of the shower. What is that? And then another tiny red drop hit the base as well. Now, if I had been thinking logically, I would have realized that the intense fumes coupled with physical excursion had caused my nose to bleed. However, in my state of Criminal Minds induced paranoia, the thoughts in my head went a little something like this….

OMG – OMG – OMG!! Where is he? Where is the killer? I don’t feel like I’ve been shot or stabbed, but I’m bleeding. OMG I’M BLEEDING!!! I don’t even know how to work Steven’s gun in the closet. OMG. WHERE IS MY HUSBAND!?!?!

I sprinted out of the bathroom and ran out back to find Dixie and Bauer – if my husband wasn’t around they were my last line of defense. My heart was racing and my thoughts were jumbled. I caught a glimpse of myself in the reflection of a window and I noticed my nose was bleeding. As the fresh air began to clear my mind I was able to understand. Nose bleed…fumes…IDIOT!

Thankfully, there wasn’t an attempt on my life and no one tried to steal me. Unfortunately, I believe the fumes caused a little damage to my nervous system. I had an insane migraine for the rest of the day. So bad in fact that I had to cancel plans with friends at the last minute. My lungs also ached for the remainder of the day. As I was complaining to Steven about having to cancel plans, I asked if he thought all the fumes from cleaning might have given me a headache. He said it was possible and I told him that my nose had actually started to bleed while I was cleaning the shower.

This sent him through the roof. Apparently, cleaning chemicals can be very toxic. (Shouldn’t that put that on the bottle??) I could have passed out or gone into some type of arrest while he was gone. I should have opened more windows or turned on a fan. What was I thinking, he asked?? In the middle of Steven’s tirade, his dad called. Steven decided to share my cleaning mishap with Chris (father-in-law) who also decided to school me on the do’s and don’ts of house hold cleaning products. (Since they both were so obviously concerned about my nose bleed I decided against telling them the rest of the story – I didn’t want to make my case any worse!)

Okay – okay. Lesson learned. And let this Housework Tuesday be a lesson to you as well! Cleaning your home is hazardous to your health. It’s incredibly dangerous – do not attempt on your own. Hire a professional and be done with it! :)

Monday, March 22, 2010

What Could Possibly Make Monday A Good Day?

A super fun blog award – that’s what! Hillary over at A Gal And Her Dog surprised me today by awarding me the Master of Karate And Friendship Award. 

The rules are quite simple:
1. List 6 things you are a master in.
2. Pass it on to 6 bloggers you think are masters

So let’s see…six things I’m a master at? This is really difficult. I don’t honestly feel I’ve mastered anything at this point on my life. I’m doing good to keep afloat these days. But I’ll give myself some credit, if I must. Please understand – I use the term “master” very loosely. I’ll just say I’m better at the following tasks than most. :)

- Debits & Credits: Oh yeah, I’m talking accounting lingo people. The standing balance for an asset account, such as cash, should always be a debit. The standing balance for a liability account, such as accounts payable, should always be a credit. I’m still learning all the meticulous details of accounting, but I’ve pretty much mastered the basics.

- Making the perfect grilled cheese sandwich: I’ve learned a little trick that helps the cheese to melt completely through without burning the bread. And no – I don’t even use one of those grilled cheese machines. I make ‘em like my Mema did – and hubby loves them!

-Cleaning my hardwoods: This is a chore that I loathe – and I’ve got it down to an art form. An hour and a half from start to finish for the entire house – that’s down 45 minutes from the two hours and fifteen minutes it used to take.

- Loving my puppies: This one is easy. I know exactly where Bauer likes for his ears to be rubbed. I know exactly how to lay so Dixie can cuddle against me in her favorite spot. They make loving them so easy.

- Bejeweled: Yep – a video game on my phone. I haven’t quite mastered my new Droid Aeris (I still accidentally call people all the time – stupid touch screen!) But I am pretty good at this super fun game – hubby can’t touch my high scores (and I won’t let him forget it!)

- Public speaking: Okay – so this might be a little more of a long shot. I’m not talking about crowds of thousands – I haven’t had that opportunity yet. I am, however, pretty good on the fly when talking in meetings for local organizations or church groups. I just don’t get nervous. It’s easy for me to come up with something to say, a quick answer to a question, quick comeback for a harsh comment. I kind of enjoy it. It’s a strange excitement – I wish I had pursued a career that required me to speak for a living. Shoulda, coulda, woulda!

You know I love to shower fellow bloggers with awards so I would like to pass this along to the following:
- Kaloula at A Million To One because she created a blog specifically about stories of people who are making a difference.  How inspirational!
- Risley at Risley because she just announced she's pregnant!  Yay!
- KatieF at The Life Of An Army Wife to brighten my Blogger BFF's day as she prepares for her husband's deployment.
- Jenn at Jeans Friday as she's one of my new favorites.
- Mrs. Muffins because I think it's so kind that she does blog makeovers for so many of her blogger friends.
- Ashley at Pink-Ture Perfect because she's a Charlotte local that's constantly giving me great tips in this area!

Happy Monday to all my blogger friends.  One day closer to the weekend!

I Blame Walt Disney

I believe that I have mentioned this before, but just in case the hot pink and overuse of the word “fabulous” didn’t give me away, I am a sorority girl – or at least I was in college. Three years post graduation, I find myself serving as a chapter advisor for my sorority. Before you start to project any preconceived notions of “sorority girls” onto me – let me explain that my collegiate chapter was not what you typically think of. We absolutely placed community service, scholarship & philanthropy above social activities. The driving force of our chapter was our sisterhood – the genuine bonds between the fifty women I called my sisters.

I have genuinely enjoyed being an advisor this past year. It is nice to be on the “other side” – the “grown-up” side. Unfortunately, my chapter is going through some growing pains right now. Little dramas are sprouting up here and there and myself, as well as the other advisors, have finally been drug into the mix of things.

I visited my chapter last night to listen to their concerns – to get a better sense of what the true problem is. After about an hour of “she did this” and “I feel this”, I realized the source of the problem. W.O.M.E.N – particularly high school and college age women.

Now before any of my more liberal or feminist followers become incredibly offended, let me explain. I am speaking from a purely judgment free place because I was one of those women. And if you’re completely honest, I bet you were too. And you know who I blame? Walt Disney.

That’s right – I blame Disney, Nickelodeon, Hallmark – and every other commercial giant that makes a fortune from telling little girls that she’s a princess and should be treated as such. I mean think about it – how many Disney movies or Nickelodeon shows depict the helpless, beautiful, incredibly spoiled princess who must wait patiently for her knight in shining armor? How many times during my childhood did I pretend to be a damsel in distress waiting for my prince to come and rescue me?

Those childhood fantasies carry into adolescence, you know. We grow to become selfish, manipulative, dreamy-eyed teenagers who bounce from boyfriend to boyfriend looking for “love”. (Again – I was one of these girls – no judgment. As a matter of fact, my group of friends in high school were particularly heinous and manipulative. *Except for you Khristi, of course*)

These selfish, misguided young women then enter college. And in the absence of their parents guiding voices, many only become more confused regarding love and friendship. It truly is difficult to break from that “princess” mentality. It’s hard to put the needs and desires of others above your own needs and desires. It is hard to recognize that the love you so desperately desire will not come barreling through the academic quad on a white shiny horse and he will not profess his love for the whole world to see. It just doesn’t happen that way – and if it does, please – oh please, contact me – because I’m dying to hear about it.

Fortunately, I finally have accepted the fact that my real life love story doesn’t have to read like the pages of a Nicholas Sparks novel. My love story is centered around compromise and forgiveness. My prince shows his love for me through small acts of kindness that only I can truly appreciate: coming home Saturday night with a copy of New Moon – just because it’s my favorite. Going for an ice cream run during a literal monsoon – just so I can shake my sweet craving. Waking up early to make a pot of coffee for my first day at a new job. Be still my beating heart.

So I sat there last night, listening to them, feeling their pain. It can be so frustrating to be so confused, so stuck. Somewhere between childhood and adulthood. Somewhere between dependence and independence. I can see the signs that a few of them are really close to “getting it”. A few of the older girls are starting to realize that what is best for themselves might not be what is best for the whole. Some even recognize that what is popular is not always right and what is right is not always popular.

I hope I can be a mentor to those young women the way my advisors mentored me. I want to be a sounding board of reality and honesty for them. While I am not really that much older than them, and I really don’t have that much “real life” experience myself, I have been blessed with many amazing women who set an admirable example for me to follow. Because in the defense of “those” girls – it’s difficult out there. And someone needs to help them figure it out – because Walt Disney certainly won’t.

Friday, March 19, 2010

What Happened To Kindness?

Sometimes I like to go do a little window shopping on my lunch break, you know, just to get out of the office. Today I decided to run by trusty Wal-Mart on my lunch break just in case they had some undiscovered super cheap jewel that I didn’t know I needed (they didn’t – by the way – total bummer.)

On my drive back I found myself praying for many things. As I have said before, Steven and I are going through a difficult time right now. Some unexpected curve balls have been thrown our way as of late, and we are working through them. I know this is a minor speed bump, and I truly believe that somehow this challenge is actually a blessing in disguise. I believe that God has a plan for our lives and that He wants to bless us – I’m just waiting on Him to reveal His plan. So I sat at the stop light praying. Praying that God would bless my husband. Praying that God would bless me. Praying that God would reveal His will for our lives and open a door to new opportunities for us – and sooner rather than later, please.

In the middle of reflection I caught sight of an elderly, homeless woman standing on the street corner to my right. I immediately shifted my glance as to avoid eye contact with her. After all, she probably was homeless because she had some sort of addiction, and if I gave her money she wouldn’t buy food she would buy something that would only make her situation worse, right?

In the exact instant that I completed that thought, the wind was knocked out of me. Thoughts of shame and guilt started to flow like running water – drowning me in a river of conviction. How dare I? How dare I sit in my car praying that God would bless my life and ignore a blatant opportunity to be a blessing in the life of someone else? Who am I to judge this women? It is only by the grace of God that I can sit comfortably in my air conditioned car while this poor elderly woman stands starving on a street corner. How in the world have I become so jaded that my first instinct is to turn my eyes from those in need instead of looking for an opportunity to show kindness and generosity. Just last week a couple from our Life Group sent Steven and I an incredibly thoughtful gift. I was so touched by their act of kindness that I was moved to tears. A week later I can’t bring myself to give a few dollars to a person in significantly more need than myself? Lord please forgive me for being so selfish.

As the light turned green I reached for my purse. Of course I only had two dollars cash to give to this woman, but I figured something was better than nothing. I called to her and as she approached my passenger side door I was surprised to seeing the biggest smile on her face. “Thank-you sweet child,” she praised. “You are so beautiful. You remind me of my daughter – you have her smile. The kind of smile that gives people hope. I pray that God blesses your kindness.” Wow….wow…wow….

As cars began to honk at me for holding up traffic, I quickly wished her well and drove away. I barely got out of her sight before I burst into tears. The kind of smile that gives people hope? Pray that God blesses my kindness? This stranger showered me with words of praise and compassion when only moments before I had mentally accused her of being some type of addict? Talk about a reality check.

This world is full of tragedy. Just yesterday I learned that a blogger friend, Mrs. P, lost her husband while he was serving in Afghanistan. This economy has wreaked havoc on family after family of hardworking Americans who can now barely afford to feed and clothe their families. Hospitals are ridden with patients struggling to overcome illness and disease – families sit in waiting rooms praying for the lives of their loved ones.

I’m so ashamed of myself for the way I initially reacted to the sight of this homeless woman. I pray that this will be a turning point in my life – that I will not shy from helping those in need again. I was reminded today that no act of kindness is too small. If we look close enough, we are given an opportunity each day to show compassion and generosity to those around us. Like me, will you continue to ignore the hurting around you – or will you wake up and be a blessing in someone’s life?

That best portion of a good man’s life,
His little, nameless, unremembered acts of kindness and of love.
-William Wordsworth

Just Call Me A Control Freak

Happy Friday! I cannot begin to tell you all how excited I am that Friday is finally here. About 6 hours of work left – and I’m free for a couple days. :)

As I mentioned on Tuesday, this weekend is Spring Cleaning Part 1 at the our house. Sneaky hubby found a loop hole that has gotten him out of the cleaning. He is playing in a charity flag football tournament next weekend and his team has called practice tomorrow morning. I can’t really be upset about this now can I, it’s for charity. What kind of wife doesn’t want her man playing football for charity? So it looks like it will be little old me cleaning all by my lonesome tomorrow.

I’m pretty sure I may have eluded to this in the past, but I am somewhat kind of okay fine – I’m absolutely, 100% a control freak. I like things to be well planned and organized – you know, basically tied up in a pretty pink bow. When things are disorganized or poorly planned I lose sleep at night. And at this current moment, my entire life is unorganized. My officer hours have recently changed from 8-5 to 9-6. Couple that with the recent time change and my internal clock is spinning out of control! I just can’t seem to get my act together these days.

So in a desperate attempt to create some sort of normalcy and sense of purpose, I created the following cleaning schedule in excel. As you can see – I have outlined five hours of my day tomorrow. I’ve even included the pretty little check boxes so I can feel like I am accomplishing something as I work through my incredibly long list!

Chore Time                                   (Hours)

Dust Living Room & Entry Way       0.25

Dust Master Bedroom                             0.25

Dust Office & Guest Bedroom         0.25

Clean Guest Bathroom                            0.25

Clean Master Bathroom                          0.50
-Clean tub & shower
-Clean toilet
-Clean baseboards
-Clean sink area

Clean Ceiling Fans                                0.25
-Living room
-Master bedroom

Clean Light Fixtures                             0.25
-Entry way
-Dining room

Baseboards                                         0.75

Sweep & Mop Floors                   1.50

Clean Oven                                         0.25

Clean Blinds & Window Panes     0.50
-Living room
-Master bedroom

Total Expected Time (Hours):       5.00

(I'm SUPER frustrated because the formatting didn't come through correctly when I copied and pasted from Excel.  You can't see my super cute check boxes. And the numbers are all out of alignment.  I promise, in true control freak fashion - my schedule in Excel is banging! If you would like to borrow my schedule to create a detailed list of your own - just let me know and I'll shoot you a copy!)

I know this may seem incredibly strange to many of you. Who really wants to put their chores on paper? Who wants to know that five hours of grueling, mind numbing cleaning awaits you on a beautiful Saturday? Me – that’s who. I know what needs to be done, I have my game plan. I can monitor my progress and determine if I am moving quickly enough through my list.

Like I said C.O.N.T.R.O.L F.R.E.AK! I just simply cannot help myself. And yes, I will sleep better tonight knowing that I have this handy little schedule to walk me through my mountain of cleaning tomorrow.

So I hope that you all have better things planned for what is looking might be the best Saturday of 2010 in much of America! If all goes as planned, I’ll be finished by 2 pm tomorrow and Dixie and I might just have to go for a lovely run!

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Why Are They Always Named Amber


Hubby and I have recently become obsessed with Criminal Minds. About a month ago we started watching a few re-runs on AMC every now and then. We quickly have become hooked and are now working our way through the series by renting the DVD’s from Netflix.

e received the 1st and 2nd DVD of Season 2 yesterday. I arrived home much earlier than hubby so I patiently waited for his arrival – pathetically excited to begin Season 2. Steven barely walked through the door when I demanded he change immediately and load the DVD. The second episode we watched involved an incredibly deranged serial killer that would abduct college age women and brutally beat and molest them. The killer would tape his conquests and send a copy of the DVD to the victim’s family. Truly sick – right?

Imagine my surprise when the killer was revealed in the last ten minutes of the show and it turned out to be a petite little blonde girl named AMBER. Steven shot me a look of humor and satisfaction as my blood pressure began to rise and I could feel my face becoming red with emotion.

Why are they always named Amber??? I mean honestly, I have never known a fictional character named Amber in a TV show, movie or book to be a quality character. The teeny bopper movies are filled with “Ambers” – ditzy cheerleaders who are usually pretty slutty and always self-centered. (Anyone remember Amber from “Clueless”? Case and point!) Or Amber’s are also depicted as trashy, rednecks that “just don’t know any better.” I mean really!?!?!

A few of my closest guy friends from college nicknamed me “Candy”. Candy, you may ask? Well, as they explained Amber is apparently a rather common stripper name. As my given name was in fact a stripper name – the guys thought it would be hilarious to call me an even more common stripper name – Candy.

Amber was actually one of the most popular names of girls born from 1985-1986. So I have to ask myself, why are we so poorly depicted? I may be blonde and Southern, but I’m certainly not a trashy redneck or a stripper. Why does modern day Hollywood insist on ruining my name??? I swear – I will name my daughter the most unique/crazy never to be used in Hollywood name ever.

What about you? Is your name commonly represented in a way that just boils your blood? Any stereotypes associated with your name?

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Simply Fabulous Award - Round 2

I forgot to mention this earlier - but Happy St. Patty's Day!  In an attempt to spread a little cheer, I thought I would pass along my second round of the "Simply Fabulous" award.  As I said when I created this award, I love the word fabulous - as I'm sure you can tell - it's all over my blog! 

Since I created the blog in January, I have come to find so many new, talented bloggers that I feel it's time to award some new recipients.  So here are the rules:

- Post this award on your blog.
- Blog about a woman (real life, celebrity or fictional) that you think is *fabulous* and explain why you think she rocks.
- Pass the award on to 5 other bloggers that you think are deserving.

I would like to pass my super fabulous award along to the following women who I find fabulous and inspirational.  I look forwarding to reading your blogs each day!
- Miss Kriss
- Katie at Life In The Fulmer Lane
- Heather at Live.Love.Laugh
- Natasha at A Day In The Life
- Kelly at Keeping Up With Kelly & Co

So Happy St. Patty's Day fellow bloggers.  Feel free to grab my award and pass it along to any blogger you feel is deserving.  Spread the cheer because we all know how fun awards can be!

I Don't Need Your Attitude....

This super cute plaque is a new addition to the desk at my office. (Shh…don’t tell hubby…I’m not supposed to be buying anything these days – but it was only $1 – that really doesn’t count, right?!?!) At first, I grabbed it because it was hot pink and I needed one tiny doo-dad to complete my desk. As I have been staring at the saying this week, I realize this kind of sums me up in one sentence.

You see, Steven claims that I am one of “those women” – you know, the kind that doesn’t play well with other women. I believe this is completely untrue. I play just fine with plenty of women! I truly believe that my closest female friends would consider me to be kind, compassionate, caring, giving, considerate – you know, all the things that make a friend a great friend. And to my general acquaintances, I believe I treat them just the same. I would say that I easily live 90% of my life as a happy-go-lucky, easy to get along with female.

I think the “problem” is that on the rare occasion that someone crosses me, I tend to become a little rude mean hot-headed sassy. I mean, if I am honest, I have been known to go off on the idiotic less than capable waiter or waitress who brings out the wrong food three or four times. I have also snatched a cell phone from a bratty little teenage girl who wouldn’t shut up during a movie. (In my defense I asked her very politely to get off the phone twice – and her mother really should have taught her better!) I also have heard many friends say, “I certainly wouldn’t want to piss you off” more times that I can count.

It isn’t that I enjoy confrontation, but I’m certainly not afraid of it. I can truly say that in my adult life I have not sought out drama. BTW – I consider my “adult life” to be the years after college – because well, I still had my immature moments in college – sorority girl and all. Is it wrong that I don’t back down from a challenge? I’m not afraid to stand up for myself, my family or my close friends. I especially don’t allow my family to be treated poorly – I’m very protective in that sense. If you want to see me really angry mess with my family – especially one of my siblings. Oh please…I dare you. Or you could threaten or speak badly about my marriage. Ask one of my old friends how well that went over for her. Notice how I said “old friends” – yeah, we don’t exactly speak anymore.

But does that really mean that I don’t play well with others? I mean, this phrase really says it all – don’t give me any attitude and I won’t give you any in return. I guess I’m asking the question, because I do not want to be one of “those” women. I’m not looking to be “one of the guys” and I certainly am not trying to prove anything. I don’t want to be the type of person that others find unapproachable or unlikeable. But does that mean that I should always be meek and unassertive? Do you think men struggle with this issue? How does one walk the fine line between confident and abrasive? Assertive and aggressive? Capable and condescending?

What does this little plaque on my desk really say about me. Is Steven right? I would like to think not, but perhaps I should reconsider.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Housework Tuesday - Spring Cleaning

Happy Housework Tuesday lovely bloggers! Sorry for being MIA for a couple days – busy, busy around these parts!

Despite the fact that my internal clock is completely devastated by the recent time change, I *LOVE* the fact that it is still daylight when I get home at night! Dixie and I are about to start going for evening walks again. :) I am also loving the warmer temperatures we have been experiencing in North Carolina the past few days. Basically, what I am trying to say is SPRING IS HERE (or doing its best to get here!)

The only part about Spring’s arrival that I hate is spring cleaning. But I guess you can’t have one without the other – or you could, but that would just be wrong. So it’s that time at our house. I have already told hubby that plan on dedicating Saturday morning to some major cleaning. Time to do all the chores that I despise….
- Baseboards
- Dusting light fixtures
- Organizing closets (possibly getting rid of some clothes??)
- Bleaching the bath tubs
- Moving furniture and sweeping/cleaning underneath

Ahh..the list goes on and on! But this is only the second year that I have done spring cleaning at my house. So I wonder if I am missing some all important chore that I should pay special attention to. What’s on your list for spring cleaning? Am I missing anything??

Hope you have a great Tuesday!

Friday, March 12, 2010

Guest Post Friday - Mom Came for a Visit

First I would like to say Thank You SO Much for all the birthday wishes yesterday.  I was actually pretty bummed when I woke up, but as the day progressed and I felt love from real life friends and surprisingly so many blogger friends, I realized how blessed I am.  It turned out to be a wonderful birthday!

For this week's edition of Guest Post Friday - I invited my mama over.  She wrote an incredibly sweet and thoughtful post yesterday - a tribute to my 25 years.  So I thought I would share it with you.  For those of you who don't know, I'm a preacher's daughter.  And my mom is a blogger - There Is Life Being The Wife Of A Preacher.  You can check out the original post - or many other stories that chronicle my life with my family - at her page.  Thank-you mommy for your sweet words! 
25 years ago today I had my first child. She came in the way of a surprise in my life. From the very moment that I found out I was pregnant, I knew she was a gift from God and He gave her to me to take care of! I was dating my high school sweetheart when I found out I was pregnant. I had just graduated in June. He wanted to marry me and I chose not to.
I will never forget that night on March 10 around 7:00 pm, when my contractions started. By 9:30 my mom realized that I was timing them. Talk about getting excited. I called my best friend for her to come over so that she could drive us to the hospital. I knew that mom would be just too nervous. So off to Dothan we went. I remember having to go to the bathroom and we stopped at Burger King. Leigh went flying in the door yelling "We're having a baby!". I can only imagine what they were thinking. I did order a hamburger and went to the bathroom. Well the contractions just stuck all night at 5 minutes apart.

The next morning the doctor started me on the medicine to make them stronger. And somewhere down the line he even broke my water. When it was time for her to make her grand debut, they called the doctor, and after the second call he finally came. (I think he thought he would just prove a point to a young unwed mother) I didn't get any drugs and didn't even get a local when it was time for her to be born. Today I can still remember that burning sensation from when he had to cut me to get her out!

She weighed 8 lbs 8 oz. And when she was placed on my chest and I called her Amber, she immediately stopped crying. This was an incredible feeling, knowing that she recognized my voice.

She was treated like a little person and it is evident in that today. I think this has made her much more stronger in her days of growing up. She was never really treated like a baby
I also want to share that her dad and I both gave our lives to Christ about 18 months after she was born. That night when I prayed, I ask God to send somebody to take care of me and Amber. Two weeks later I was face to face with Chris, I heard God say "This is who you ask for". Two months later we were married.

Living in the deep south we did the "pageant" thing like everybody else. She didn't win but she was no doubt the prettiest girl on the stage. This hot pink dress was our favorite. My mom didn't even look at the pricetag, she said she was do whateven she had to for that dress. My mom had so much fun with Amber. This would be where the great saying "All Dolled Up" came from.

I think Amber has done a great job adapting to us being in the ministry and moving to several states. She was always a social butterfly (still not as much as her sister) but she met people easily. And for my next picture she is a sophomore in High School. (Sorry Amber, I scrambled to find pictures this morning). We were living in Ohio at this time. This was a new haircut. Pretty cute and started to look more grown up now!

Her senior year must have been the most stressful for her. In November of this year she found out that her mother was pregnant - sorry Amber, you didn't get a puppy, you got a baby brother. But the good news was that her friends thought it was cool and not to gross. In February we found out that we would be moving to South Carolina and we made a choice to let her stay in Ohio and finish school. That was very hard for me, to leave my child behind. We would stay up and send instant messages at night. That was fun for me! I did get to enjoy flying back to Ohio and see her on a few trips. This gave me time to work on her scrapbook for high school. We traveled back to see her graduate and then move her to South Carolina so she could start college.
Amazing to see that in college was where she met her prince charming. But seriously with these blue eyes, how could she not catch him? Even though it was not technically love at first sight, when she told him where she was from he changed his mind about her and that was it. He thought she was a Yankee, but she quickly informed him of her TRUE Southern heritage. They dated through college. I had so much fun delivering her engagement ring to him. I think we were both so nervouse to make sure she didn't know what we were up to. She didn't have a clue - whew!

The wedding was INCREDIBLE! God blessed us with sunshine for an outdoor wedding. Even though we were living so far away and trying to get it all together, we somehow pulled it off. It made traveling back and forth fun and I always love getting my visits in. Yes, I even treasure them today! Maybe we should think about vacationing together - now that would make for great blogging. Oh, wait, we did part of a trip already....let's rethink that.

Amber has entertained us with lots and lots of "blonde" comments. She makes life enjoyable and never dull. I just may have to do another blog of those moments but for now we will save them and spare her. It is all about Amber day today - in a good way!

Amber has always fallen into the little mother role, she helped take care of her brother and sister as they grew up. Maybe that is why she is putting off having kids for a while! But there is no doubt in my mind that she will make an incredible mother. I am enjoying getting to know her even more with her blog. And it is also neat to see how my character spills into hers every now and then (sorry Steven).
So today I say Happy 25th Birthday Amber. God blessed me with a jewel. I love you and look forward to seeing what God has in store for you. Always know that I love you!

Okay - so some of the pictures are slightly embarrassing - but you get the point.  I'm very loved.  I am so blessed to have such a strong, confident example of what a mother and woman should be.  I don't say it enough mom, but thank-you for all that you have done. Being the wife/child of a pastor is rewarding, but also challenging and you always made our journey as easy and funfilled as possible.  I LOVE YOU!

Are you equally blessed with a beautiful mother, aunt, grandmother?  A woman in your life from who you draw strength and inspiration?  Hope ya'll have a GREAT Friday!

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Blah - I'm 25

So the day that I have been dreading is finally's my birthday....I'm 25.  I have been looking about my "About Me" column with sheer disdain the past few weeks knowing that today I would have to change the part that said "I'm twenty-four."  I really didn't think that through too well when I set-up this blog.....

So this year I've wised up. Now I will classify myself as a "twenty-something" - because Lord knows I don't need to perform the brutal task of bumping up my age each year in my "About Me" section.

I'm not exactly sure why I'm so down in the mouth this birthday.  Maybe it's because the past few months have been a real challenge for me.  Or maybe I realize all of the goals I have for myself that I still need to complete - MBA, CPA, etc....  I feel like "25" is somehow the official stamp of adulthood (nevermind that I've been married for almost two years and have owned a house for almost the same.) I can really no longer use the excuse, "Well - I was young, and didn't really know better...."  Or possibly I'm allergic to aging - makes me sick on my stomach?

But unfortunately as I have learned from the beautiful women ahead of me, this birthday is a reality and I'm getting older no matter how much I dislike it.  So I'm off - for the first day of 25.  :)

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Happy Birthday Dixie!

Two years ago today, this beautiful little puppy was born.  She was itty bitty and incredibly adoreable.  At five weeks old Steven and I brought her home and into our lives.  We named her Dixie - a tribute to all things we loved and held dear.

Don't think we're horrible people - we didn't realize how young she was at the time.  We found an ad for pure bred boxers and jumped at the chance to bring this beautiful puppy home.  It wasn't until we were driving home that I did the math.  It was April 13th and we were on the way home from a family shower in Jackson, MS.  We were to be married in June.  The breeders told us the litter was born on March 10th.  And with all the weddings plans and showers and crazy schedules, March 10th seemed like such a long time ago that we didn't even stop to see how old she really was.

We loaded Dixie up for her first trip to PetSmart the next day in order to purchase all the puppy essentials.  The "trainer" at PetSmart made us feel HORRIBLE.  She chastised us for "ripping this poor puppy from her mother too soon."  She informed me that at such a young age Dixie couldn't even regulate her own body temperature - she was an infant - and we shouldn't have her.  How were we supposed to know?  The breeders listed the litter for way or another Dixie was going to be sold to a family - I was just glad she came to us. I vowed to take care of her as well as her mother would have.

I am the reason she is so spoiled.  She stayed with Steven the weeks leading up to our wedding and I insisted that he allow her to sleep in the bed with him - after all, she couldn't even regulate her own body temperature. (To this day - she insists that her place is in the bed beside her Daddy!)  When he was out of town, I watched over her like a mother hen.  She was never out of our sight and we constantly showered her with love and affection.

Who wouldn't love that face though?  By the time she was eight weeks old she was completely house broken.  She could sit, stay and lay down.  She was the best puppy.  She was our jewel.

Dixie's first trip to the lake - she *loved* the water!
She was not too fond of the cold air and insisted on wrapping herself in the towel!
Daddy's favorite girls

We were so attached to her by the time our wedding rolled around that we decided to take her on our honeymoon with us!  Steven, more than I, could not stand the thought of leaving her when she was still so small, so the day after our wedding the three of us began our first family road trip to Destin, FL.

Dixie's frist trip to the beach.
She loved to growl at the waves!

Now, over a year and a half later, I love her as if she were my child.  In dog years, she is technically 14 and believe me - there are many times that she acts more like a moody teenage girl than a sweet little puppy, but she still makes my heart melt at some point every day.  She has literally licked my tears away as I have cried.  She serves as my ever faithful gaurd dog when Daddy is away on business.  She's my running buddy and personal space heater during the cold winter nights.  She is!

My pretty, pretty girl.

So now that I that I have managed to solidify my place as "the crazy dog lady", I guess there is only one thing left to say.  Happy Birthday Dixie Belle!  Mommy loves you more than you could possibly know and I promise we will go for a super long birthday run when I get home tonight.  I love you!

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