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Archive for February, 2010

Weekly Winners (Feb. 21 – 27)

February 27th, 2010 33 comments

Hey, guess what! MORE SNOW! Only this time in Central Texas, where its not snowed this much since 1982. To top it off, on each end of this week featured days with highs in the upper-60s/lower-70s. CRAZY!!!

For more Weekly Winner hi-jinx, check out the lovely Lotus (aka Sarcastic Mom).

This tree grows across the street from my parents house. On Sunday, its large branches against the beautiful sunset struck me as something I had to document.

This tree grows across the street from my parent's house. On Sunday, its large branches against the beautiful sunset struck me as something I had to document.

Cold and hungry.

Cold and hungry.

Will you swing with me?

Will you swing with me?

Even though it snowed all day long, it stayed just above freezing for most of the day. Snow collected on the rooftops, even as it dripped down the edges like rain.

Even though it snowed all day long, it stayed just above freezing for most of the day. Snow collected on the rooftops, even as it dripped down the edges like rain.

My parents dog stared out at the snow much of the day in an almost state of confusion. What is this stuff coming from the sky? And why?

My parents dog stared out at the snow much of the day in an almost state of confusion. What is this stuff coming from the sky? And why?

Let them eat cake! The snow outside compelled me to make a cake. So I baked this chocolate cake, and served it up with powdered sugar, whipped cream and sprinkles. Why do it half-way?? Go all out!

Let them eat cake! The snow outside compelled me to make a cake. So I baked this chocolate cake, and served it up with powdered sugar, whipped cream and sprinkles. Why do it half-way?? Go all out!

Reaching 50 degrees the next day, the snow quickly melted in the sunshine.

Reaching 50 degrees the next day, the snow quickly melted in the sunshine.

I was driving late at night from a friends house when I saw this huge Texas flag being whipped in the wind. I HAD to pull over to get a photo.

I was driving late at night from a friend's house when I saw this huge Texas flag being whipped in the wind. I HAD to pull over to get a photo.

I began with a sunset; I end with a sunset. Upper 60s and sunshine. The sunset was stunning, and it seemed the perfect ending for the week.

I began with a sunset; I end with a sunset. Upper 60s and sunshine for Saturday. The sunset was stunning, and it seemed the perfect ending for the week.

♥ ♥ ♥

All of my photos available on my Flickr stream.

Categories: photos, weekly-winners Tags:

Love is more than a four letter word

February 26th, 2010 2 comments

I wonder sometimes if the word “Love” is used too much. I wonder sometimes if I could be accused of doing that myself. Then again, is it possible its not used enough?

I remember before my husband and I used the word “love” towards one another, I wasn’t as free with the word. It’s not that I didn’t feel love; its that I took the word very seriously and refused to use it lightly. I’d tell my family I loved them, and perhaps my absolute closest friends. But past that? Not so much. Over time, though, I was shown by people around me that it is okay to use the word “love” — because I do.

loveblogI saw a TV show recently in which someone described a near-death experience. And they said something along the lines of acknowledging that when we die, all we carry with us is the love we gave and received in life. It really got me thinking. Instead of material possessions, shouldn’t we instead be cultivating love in our hearts? After all, it makes sense that it would be the only thing we take with us when we go.

Of course on the other side of things, I suppose that it could be said that an unhappy person takes with them the distress and hate they cultivate. I would think that that alone would be a version of hell. An eternity of hate versus an eternity of love? Give me love. In both life and in death.

Perhaps I do use the word love a little too loosely sometimes. I’ll say I love a certain food or a certain drink, and I suppose in reality “like” would be a more appropriate word in that situation. But somehow, “like” feels like it is holding something back. Like I’m lukewarm about something. Love is just so much stronger and more powerful. Love just brings such wonderful and filling emotions! Why hold back?

I’ve heard it said many times, “Its better to have loved and lost than to have never loved at all.” Say that to someone with a broken heart and they’ll want to punch you, of course. Love hurts! Love leaves you vulnerable to being let down! Love takes your heart and your very soul to this peak above the clouds where it could fall and be shattered into a million pieces!

Yeah. Been there. Done that. Decided it was a load of bull.

One of my favorite quotes is by George MacDonald, “To be trusted is a greater complement than to be loved.” See, I can be accused of not being trusting. Because I’m not. I don’t trust a majority of people as far as I could throw them. But it doesn’t mean I’m not loving.  Perhaps I’ll explore trust versus love — how they go together just as much as they can be opposing feelings — in a future blog entry.

For now, though, love what you do for a living. Love the people around you. And as hard as it is… love your enemies. At least they keep life interesting. (Ha ha!) Love your health. Love the day you’ve been given. Love a song on the radio.  Cultivate a life filled with love, and it’ll grow from within and transform you.

Love is more than a four letter word. It’s both a noun and a verb. Love truly is the greatest thing of all. Even the Bible tells us so. I think its what we are put here to do, to have, to share. So let that four letter word fly without shame!

You just might grow to LOVE it!

Categories: random musings Tags:

What makes me who I am…

February 25th, 2010 No comments

I heard an article yesterday that a college in Massachusetts is now accepting YouTube videos of students applying for admission.

An excerpt from the story:

“We’re not judging it on the qualities of the production values,” says Lee Coffin, dean of admissions at Tufts. “We’re not looking for Oscar-winning short films. What we’re really hoping to get out of these videos is another part of the puzzles that make up this 17-year-old person.”

I’m glad I didn’t have this kind of pressure on my shoulders when I applied to college!  However, I can’t help but sit and wonder what I’d have done as a video when I was 17. Who I am today and who I was twelve a few years ago are two different people! However, in the same breath, my core values haven’t changed one bit.

First and foremost, I would have to introduce my family. It’s changed some since I was 17. My niece and my husband have both been added to the family since then. More love to go around! I have without a doubt been blessed with the most amazing family. A family that is supportive and loving. A family that laughs together and leans on each other. A family that I can always rely on to be there for me. And one that I will always been here for… they are truly the people who mold me more than anything else.

My faith would also be at the top of the list. My faith and the hope and strength God gives to me is a huge part of who I am. I am not someone who will wear my faith on my sleeve, but I also will not deny it. I will not hold back how much I do lean on it to get me through trials in life.

My faith is stronger today than it was back then.

Home would have to be introduced. Back then, I would have focused on my hometown, and my love for wide open fields and back roads. Today, I would have to show that, but I would also have to put a heavy focus on my city. I absolutely love Nashville and its vibe. I love its melting pot of people, and the wonderful friends I’ve made there.

My school would have to be acknowledged. Back then, high school and the pride I had in my school then. Today, being an Aggie is a bigger part of who I am than anyone could ever understand or truly respect. Digs against my school could very will be considered a dig against me personally. My school is more than its football team. My school is a family in and of itself. I could never ask anyone to understand. All I ever ask is to for it to be respected.

Finally, lots of little quirks make me who I am. Back then, things like yearbook, newspaper, band, flags, CDs and my pick up truck would be who I would introduce. Today, writing, photography, travel, my cats, my home, and a good home-cooked meal would probably be what I add to the mix.

Come to think of it, there would be absolutely no way for me to capture all the things that make me who I am in a way that would be true to myself. I suspect many of those applying for admission are realizing that fact, and are instead taking the catchy route. Sometimes its easier to entertain than it is to study yourself.

But at 17 — heck at ANY age — its not a bad idea to do just that. Take time to consider what it is that makes you who you are, and a step beyond that… how do you portray that to the world?

Categories: faith, family, husband, me time, nashville, texas, texas a&m Tags:

This snowy winter continues

February 23rd, 2010 No comments

Growing up, I can’t count how many times I truly saw snow. Because the number of times is so small.

No, in Texas, we would get ice. For maybe two days. Then its over. But as for snow? Its just so RARE. We would get excited to make a 9 inch tall snow man if we could gather enough flakes to do it. I remember in 7th grade my history teacher letting the class go outside to play in some random snow flurries.

Like I said, snow was rare. Ice was not. The house I grew up in had a ramp on the back deck. When it would ice over, and we’d get a snow day from school, my brother and I would bundle up, put on our cowboy boots and take turns sliding down the ramp. Who needed skis or ice skates when you’ve got a well iced deck ramp and cowboy boots. We’d slide until our fingers and toes were numb and our noses bright red. Then we’d come inside and have hot chocolate. For awhile we had a wood heater, and we’d roast marshmallows. A level of heaven I’ve not re-visited to date.

2008 - Oregon

As a result of growing up with ice in the winter, I’ve developed a solid fear of driving when there is any sort of frozen precipitation on the ground. I have no clue how to manage it, and as a result I will happily stay home for days at a time to keep myself and my vehicle in one piece. I know I can’t drive in it. I’m not even going to try!

Moving to Nashville introduced me to an area in which snow is not as unusual, but also an area where no one else can drive in it either.In the last three and a half years, I’ve seen more snow than I’d seen in my 26 years prior to moving. Between snow in Nashville, snow in Portland, OR Christmas 2008, snow in the Smoky Mountains, and snow in Dallas, TX just last month… I’m caught up in my snow quota, I think!

But, here I am in Central Texas with family, and we have a chance of snow tomorrow. Yes you heard me. SNOW.

On the news, they showed people stocking up at the grocery store as if they would be snowed in for days. I had to chuckle, as we’re expected to be in the 50s in a couple days. Snowed in, we will not be.

People in Nashville panic in the same manner. Regularly, bread shelves will be completely empty at the first chance of snow. And it forever baffles me! Whether I am in Texas or in Nashville, the chances of a snow storm leaving a person stranded at home for multiple days is slim. I don’t understand the panic that occurs in these areas at the thought of white flakes falling from the sky.

I don’t discount the dangers that can occur in heavy snowfall. Driving in dangerous conditions being only a portion of the worries. Loss of electricity and warmth is one of the biggest fears. Broken water pipes being another. I acknowledge these with respect.

However, this snow chance today in Central Texas just makes me shake my head. It was 70 only two days ago. It’ll be in the 50s in two more days. Panic has no need to set in here. Relax. Take your time should road conditions get bad. And don’t lose your head and logic.

I still have a lot of fear of driving on ice. I still prefer to stay home when winter weather sets in. However, I’ve seen enough snow lately to take it with a little grain of salt. Its still magical to see and experience to me. I still turn into a kid when it snows. I still respect it and the dangers it can bring. However, if you’ll respect it and not lose perspective, you should be able to enjoy it without fear.

Noon edit: Okay, so they were right. Its snowing quite hard and has been for a few hours. I’m amazed and baffled! Most snow since 1982!

My parent's dog playing in the snow.

My parent's dog playing in the snow.


Categories: random musings Tags:

Prepare for the worst

February 22nd, 2010 2 comments

I’m going to say something uncharacteristically pessimistic. I always prepare for the worst.

Now for something optimistic. I always hope for the best.

Hope for the best, but prepare for the worst. My mom told me that years ago, and its always stuck with me. It’s become a life habit I don’t even think about doing. I just do it naturally.

One of my biggest lessons in doing that was when I didn’t get flag corp when I tried out my Freshman year. I couldn’t fathom not making the squad. My life would be OVER. I never considered the worst seriously. I never had a healthy approach to this ordeal.

I didn’t make it. My life was not over. I was, however, numb and devastated a few days. I justified it 1000 ways, but at the end of the day. I’d just failed to acknowledge the worst case scenario, and as a result I melted down.

I’m sure there are countless other times that I failed to even acknowledge the “worst case scenario” and as a result I was unprepared when it came to pass. But that example is probably the biggest one that always comes to my mind.

Hope for the best. Believe in the best.

Mindset is half the battle in all things. If you think you can, you will. I believe this to be true. However, if you put so much weight onto something HAVING to turn out a certain way, I think you put yourself right into the position of it not happening. Similarly, if you go in assuming a certain result, you’ll undoubtedly be disappointed when it doesn’t go exactly like you expect.

Today, my dad prepared our tax return. I went in bracing for the worst: owing. I know too many people who DO owe this year, and I knew much of our combined income had not had taxes taken out of it. And even though I work with tax returns right now on a daily basis, there is still so much of tax laws I don’t understand. One being what deductions are allowed and how they are applied. (This is why I make the returns look pretty as opposed to actually preparing them.) I was truly prepared to owe.

When we came out with a refund, I almost cried with joy and relief. Literally. I had hoped for the best, but I was fully prepared for the worst. And as a result, the outcome was better than I expected. Even if my refund was only $1, it would have been better than I was prepared to see. I was tickled.

I hope for the best in all things. Always. But I also brace myself for the worst. It allows me to have some sort of game plan and calmness in the situation that the worst does happen. In the same breath, it usually makes anything that happens a very pleasant result.

I plan to keep this mindset for a long time to come. It’s served me well so far. I am certain it will serve me well in the future.

Weekly Winners (Feb. 14 – 20)

February 20th, 2010 25 comments

Snow to sunshine. Tennessee to Texas. This is my week in photos.

For more weekly winner participants, head on over to our hostess, Lotus (aka Sarcastic Mom).

Snow moved in the night of Valentines Day, making my city a winter wonderland once again.

Snow moved in the night of Valentine's Day, making my city a winter wonderland once again.

Much like the dove with the olive branch, this patch of green grass heards the coming of Spring in a few weeks. It fights through over an inch of snow to reach for the sunlight.   *Photo appeared on Nashvillest this week.*

Much like the dove with the olive branch, this patch of green grass heralds the coming of Spring in a few weeks. It fights through over an inch of snow to reach for the sunlight.

*Above photo appeared on Nashvillest this week.*

Powdery snow settles for a rest on tree leaves.

Powdery snow settles for a rest on tree leaves.

What is it about fresh snow that makes a grown woman into a giddy child? Atleast, you know, when she doesnt have anywhere to be that day.

What is it about fresh snow that makes a grown woman into a giddy child? Atleast, you know, when she doesn't have anywhere to be that day.

Im forever amazed at the beauty of the world from above. A palate painted by God of fields, trees, streams and lakes.

I'm forever amazed at the beauty of the world from above. A palette painted by God of fields, trees, streams and lakes.

Mr. Smith can fuss all he wants about Southwest, but I am loyal customer. My flight was half an hour early, which I am so happy to say is NOT unusual! The staff is always an absolute pleasure, and they are definitely the best deal in the industry!

Mr. Smith can fuss all he wants about Southwest, but I am loyal customer. My flight was half an hour early, which I am so happy to say is NOT unusual! The staff is always an absolute pleasure, and they are definitely the best deal in the industry!

From snow in Nashville, to sunshine and 60s in Texas, dandelions give a beautiful pop of color in a deep green field of thick grass.

From snow in Nashville, to sunshine and 60s in Texas, dandelions give a beautiful pop of color in a deep green field of thick grass.

Reaching for the sky, the trees look for sunshine and rain to grow... perhaps wed be good to take note of their approach to life. Take the rain with the sun and be grateful for both.

Reaching for the sky, the trees look for sunshine and rain to grow... perhaps we'd be good to take note of their approach to life. Take the rain with the sun and be grateful for both.

Am I barking up the wrong tree? Twisted and knotted and rough.

Am I barking up the wrong tree? Twisted and knotted and rough.

All of my photos available on my Flickr stream.

Categories: photos, weekly-winners Tags: