Seven years ago, it was sunny and 70°

January 6th, 2014 4 comments

Today’s big topic is how crazy cold it is… as I type this, the wind chill is -5° (with an actual temp of around 11°). I know to anyone in the northern states, this is nothing. But to a Nashvillian (and expecially a born and raised Texan!) its ridiculous. Silly. Stupid.

But it doesn’t keep me from smiling and remembering that seven years ago, it was 70° in Texas, and I got to marry my best friend.

Photo by AJW Photo

I made a new years goal this year to journal daily (or as close as possible), and as a bonus I’ve gone back to read old posts. Today, I dig out my journal entry about my wedding…

I had scheduled myself and the girls hair appointments at 9 AM, and the place was half an hour away. … It took an hour and a half to do my hair. My usually straight (and fine!) hair was put into ringlets, with the front pulled smooth in a side part with my tiara and veil placed at the edge of the smooth area before it went into curls. I loved it! I was nervous it would fall, but actually it held in curls for over two days. LOL God bless hair stylists!!

We grabbed hamburgers at McDonalds on our way to the church, and the drive-thru lady actually asked me when I was getting marred, to which I replied, “In about four hours!” ;) I felt like a McDonald’s commercial in my veil eating a Homestyle Burger.

Photo by AJW Photo

We had the BEST bridal party, ever. This is HUGE in things going well. I was blessed with bridesmaids who were SO HELPFUL, because once you get that dress on you (heck when you just get the veil on!) are seriously rendered rather… helpless. You need people to help you.

Time passed… really rather quickly. I think a lot of people were surprised by how calm I was through it all. It wasn’t until my maid of honor went down the aisle did I just get SO GIDDY. I almost got teary when I looked at my Daddy beside me and realized it was all HERE. My Dad gave me a hug and whispered in my ear, “No tears.” I replied, “No promises.”

Photo by AJW Photo

It went SO smoothly, and seemed to fly by! I honestly can’t wait to see the video of it to remember all the details. I know one of the groomsmen said he almost started tearing up himself! And we were paid such great compliments like, “That was the most beautiful ceremony I’ve ever been to.”

Our priest was so awesome. I didn’t start giggling, and I put the ring on the correct finger. (The night before I got his hands backwards.) Our readers were fantastic. Everything flowed so smoothly. Before I knew it, we were being introduced as husband and wife! And amazingly it started to lightly drizzle rain down; we feel it was Craig’s mom shedding tears of joy. :)

Photo by AJW Photo

Once we came into the reception, we decided to cut cake right away. And, no, we did not smash it into each other’s faces. We had the peanut gallery egging us on (haha) but we had agreed not to, and we stuck to our word. Many of our guests thanked us for that — as did our photographers.

Photo by AJW

We then did the bouquet toss and garter toss, followed by first dance, father-daughter dance, and money dance. I was out on the floor for about eight songs straight, and by the last one (in which my niece grabbed me to dance) I was motioning for Craig to come take her to dance so I could get something to drink! I was exhausted — but happy. I was a little bummed a lot of people left early, but it was fine. We still had a ton of fun.

Photo by AJW

Before I knew it, it was time to leave! We had purchased confetti poppers to use instead of bird seed or bubbles or bells. I danced one last time with my Dad, and then we headed out. Mom had made me a cape to wear over my dress since it was chilly and my dress was strapless. I put on my cape, hugged my parents, and then we dared the confetti. I made sure to double back to hug my brother before we climbed into my maid of honor’s new Explorer.

Photo by AJW

I pulled a fast one on everyone. I set it up with my MOH to leave in HER car, and kept out truck hidden. Our wedding present to ourselves was to get a next truck, and I refused to have it painted up or anything. So we hid my truck, and left with her — keeping them all in the dark on it all. Only my MOH and her boyfriend knew where the truck was. I LOVED that and it worked so great.

We went to a little cabin that my Dad’s cousin has as a Bed & Breakfast. They gave it to us for the night for free! It was in the middle of no where. So adorable; so private. We ended up sitting for three hours on the couch talking — filling each other in on all we each missed the last day.

I am SO HAPPY right now! I am almost overwhelmed in how happy I am. The funny thing Craig and I both agreed — we don’t feel any different. We’re more relaxed having it all behind us now, but we’re mostly just insanely happy. I am amazed by how well it all went. It was SO SMOOTH. And I attribute that to having such great people around us that we could depend on to help us at all times.

Photo by AJW

Its fun to go back and remember, seven years later. The last two days I’ve been going, “This time seven years ago we were having our joint bachelor/bachelorette party!” and then, “You were getting your tux right now, seven years ago.” Then, “Where did I go at this time back then? I can’t remember now! Darn it!”

Even if some of the details are lost now, the fact that I am so thankful for that day… and thankful we’re stronger today than we were then. We are still blessed with amazing people around us. New friends. Old friend. Our parents and siblings are so supportive. We’re a team, but we have a great support staff helping us along the way.

THANK YOU to all of you… and HAPPY ANNIVERSARY to my husband. I LOVE YOU and am so very thankful for you every single day. Here’s the seven years, and many, many, many more.

All photos by AJW Photo. I can’t recommend them enough to this day. 

2014 Goals

January 1st, 2014 3 comments

Our 11th midnight rung in together. So thankful!!

I generally don’t make “New Years Resolutions.” EVERY day is a chance to make a fresh start, is my thought.

(See what were my 2013 goals… of which I really only successfully did two. Oops?)

However, this season I’ve been running and running and running, with this day as my prize. The day I get to just STOP for awhile. The day I get to reset. Our Christmas gifts are literally still in the boxes they traveled in from Texas. I barely just unpacked my suitcase, stacking the clothes on the bench at the foot of the bed, figuring I’ll just work my way through wearing them versus putting them away. I ache all over from five nights straight behind the bar — culminating in New Years Eve and an 11-hour night. (No really, we got there at 6 pm, and we finally left after 5 am.) I’m TIRED.

But I’m also rejuvenated in a way. All day yesterday, I was actually a little sad to see 2013 go… it was a good year to me. I don’t know if that was mostly due to attitude, lack of any huge tragedies, or I was just too busy to notice anything negative. Whatever the reason, I liked 2013. But at the stroke of midnight, as I hugged and kissed my husband and “Auld Lang Syne” played — I fought back tears. Tears of thanks for a great 2013. Tears of hope for 2014.

My 2014 Goals:

1. Get my passport. I’ve had this on my unwritten life to-do list for the last seven years. I have this crazy fear that something could happen to my husband while in Canada, and I would not be able to get to him due to my lack of having a passport. Its one of those things I think all Road Widows should probably have for such a case. I pray I never need it for emergency sake, instead have it for fun things like vacations overseas. But I still think I should have one.

2. Write a letter every month of the year. This is something one of my best friends and I have challenged each other to do this year. The written letter is a dying art, and that makes me so very sad to say. So my goal for 2014 is to write a letter or send a greeting card to SOMEONE every single month of 2014. Bonus points if I can somehow send to a different person each month, but we will see. I suspect Mrs. Baker will be the only recipient of more than one.

3. Buy a house. This was on last year’s goals list, but didn’t happen. Partly due to just not getting our stuff together; partly due to just being too busy. But I really want to see this happen this next year. I love my home, and our landlords are amazing and dear friends. And our neighbors absolutely rock. And I’m pretty addicted to being 15 minutes from downtown. But I want a house that’s MINE. That I can paint and remodel if I want to… and I’d like a little more elbow room. And a second bathroom. That’s not too much to ask, I don’t think.

4. Get back to what I weighed at my wedding. Or as close as possible. Especially after this Christmas season, I’m itching to get in better shape. I’m blessed with my height, so extra pounds don’t seem to show as much as I think they do. (Or so friends tell me.) But I’ve exceeded my personal threshold this last month, and that frustrates me a little. Oh, I enjoyed all the delicious, amazing foods of Christmas. But I also went into the season with a few more pounds than I liked to begin with… this shouldn’t be THAT difficult of a challenge, really. Mostly I just need to eat smarter and healthier and I should be good to go.

5. Journal. I used to keep a daily journal. Then Facebook, Twitter and marriage happened. And I no longer had time nor felt the need to journal as I had. But I miss being able to look back on any given day and see what I did or how I felt. I might not have time to journal EVERY day, but I am going to make that my goal. (But I am not going to beat myself up if I miss a day here and there.)

6. Photography. Well, I still need to get my website up, so that’s a given goal. I also need to finish the photography class/certification that I signed up for last year. I am SO VERY THANKFUL for all the new photography gear I got for Christmas. Can’t wait to break it all out and tinker with it. It’s all going to open up my photographing abilities dramatically. Exciting times ahead for my photography work.

7. Game nights. We had a recurring “Margarita Monday” through 2013. We recently talked about having game nights periodically with friends. I’d love to see that happen here and there. Just get together and play cards, or board games, or (when its warmer) cornhole or horseshoes. Maybe have a bowling night sometime.

8. Bookkeeping. This past year has been my worst in terms of bookkeeping. And I’m the daughter of people who own their own business doing bookkeeping and income tax preparation! Epic FAIL! Goal for 2014 is to keep up with the finances a LOT better.

9. Second vehicle. My husband and I are right on that edge of being desperate for a second vehicle. At the end of 2013, we both had to REALLY give a lot to juggle having one truck. I know that in this next year, it’ll become a necessity that we get that second set of wheels.

10. More positive people around me. I can say with complete certainty that I somehow surrounded myself with many positive and successful people in 2013. Ironically, in many situations, they came to ME versus the other way around. That baffled me, but I also grasped that fact with both hands and held on tight. I think those people — most specifically the NASCL and CASA — are a huge part of why I loved the last year so much. They were evidence of how surrounding yourself with positive people gives positive results. I want more of that. I looked around at one point last night, and my heart was so full of all the people I saw that I can sincerely say have a place in my heart. Even if my bank account were to hit zero, I’d still feel myself a rich woman.

 Happy 2014!

Categories: goals Tags: ,

Memories from 2013

December 30th, 2013 2 comments

As always, as another year draws to a close, its time to look back and remember some of the best (and worst) memories of the past 12 months. So here are some of my memories from 2013:


064: Happy Birthday, Rick & Joyce

Fiddle & Steel Sock hop

West, Texas

West, TX Explosion

Glenn Miller Orchestra

Glenn Miller Orchestra

Cruising the Smokies

Gatlinburg, TN Vacation!

Cameron Yoe vs Lexington Eagles

Another State Championship for Cameron Yoe

Wilson County Fair 2013

Wilson County Fair 2013

280: CASA golf

SEC vs ACC golf tournament benefiting CASA

269: Frist

Our first trip to the Frist to see some amazing cars

257: Jimmy Fortune w/ Brassfield Aly

I got to see Jimmy Fortune perform

Nashville Sounds Baseball

Nashville Sounds Baseball with Friends


I got to meet Mel Tillis!

Joe Diffie at Riverfront

My husband played the Riverfront stage during CMA Fest.

199: Natchez Trace: Water Valley Overlook

Amazing drive out (a few times!) with my husband on the bike.

197: Views from the bridge

My sister-in-law visited!

An Afternoon at Arrington Vineyards

Several wonderful visits to my parent’s house and them here.

151: Born to Win

My niece and her softball games are always memories to treasure.

148: Downtown Uncorked

Quality time with my girls!

Loaf Love Tour

Three words: LOAF LOVE TOUR

115: Chip Esten with the Time Jumpers

My first time seeing the Time Jumpers… which is darn close to going to church if you’re even remotely a music fan.

Printer's Alley Christmas

We made it snow in the Alley

360: Cheekwood

Cheekwood beauty

Katie & Ryan

LOTS of fun photoshoots!

Carving pumpkins

Anne came to visit right before Halloween!

Michael Bublé

Michael Bublé took the top spot in my “concerts I’ve ever seen” list

Nashville Fall Color Run

My first 5K with amazing friends. COLOR RUN BABY!

Laughter and good times with Friends

Laughter and good times with Friends


Surrounded by love and family.

2013… you were very good to me! THANK YOU!

Here to help one another

December 27th, 2013 3 comments

A family Christmas tradition that I cherish every year is to attend midnight mass. Of course, I can’t recall midnight mass ever actually starting at midnight, but that isn’t the point. I look forward to going to church in the middle of a cold winter night, singing Christmas songs and hearing the Story of Jesus’ birth. I look forward to that as much as any other tradition.

This Christmas Eve we left for church with plenty of time… We get there early to hear Christmas songs and to just enjoy the warmth and love of being at church. My husband drove us all in our truck, and I set up music to plays softly. We were on a small farm-to-market road when I noticed taillights in a field.

“Oh someone left their truck parked In their field,” I thought. It wouldn’t be an unusual thing for a farmer to do. You see trucks parked beside or In fields along that FM road all the time.

Then our headlights swept over the vehicle. My brain was confused by the scene

“Wait,” I started.

“That truck is upside down,” my husband finished, hitting the breaks hard.

“Yeah… That’s not right…”

“The headlights are still on!”

He started backing up and sure enough…. The headlights were very dimly still glowing. My husband pointed our headlights towards the truck and we all had a moment of, “Now what?”

My husband jumped out and headed out into the muddy field to see if there was anyone in the truck still. I took my dad’s phone and called 9-1-1. (I felt more comfortable using his local number than my Nashville one. Dunno that it mattered but in my brain it did. I was still kinda in autopilot processing what was happening!)

As I talked to 9-1-1. I watched my husband help a young woman out of the back passenger door of the truck. I relayed this is dispatch, then had to go find out if anyone else was in the truck and if they needed to send an ambulance. As I got closer, my husband shouted to stay where I was because of the mud everywhere.

“I don’t care about the mud, is there anyone else in the truck? Is she okay?” I shouted back, barreling towards the overturned vehicle. I was acutely aware of my boots getting heavier with every step.

No one in the truck… She was badly shaken and covered in mud from head to toe, but otherwise seemed okay. I relayed this to the dispatcher and she said she had sheriff enroute and would send an ambulance just in case anyway. I thanked her and hung up the phone.

By this time, three more trucks had stopped and I couldn’t help but notice that everyone was dressed for church as well. Any other night of the year, the road could have been void of cars for hours at that late hour.

The girl was disoriented and definitely in shock. She was more worried about where her side mirrors landed than the fact she wasn’t wearing shoes. I took my jacket off and handed it to her — my favorite leather coat my husband brought back for Korea as a gift for me — because she was shaking and it was cold out there. Something in my heart and gut said she needed it far worse than I did. It was a no-brainer.

“No! I’m a mess!” she protested.

Almost in unison, my husband and as both said, “It washes. Take it.”

She gratefully wrapped up in it and her shaking slowed a little.

The crowd started to disperse a bit. Everyone could see she was okay, and they knew I had been on the phone with help and it was just a waiting game.

I got a chuckle when she said the engine still ran, so maybe they could just push the truck over and she could still continue to her destination that night. Or maybe not. How did it even happen, she wondered out loud.

My guess was that she just missed the curve, going straight instead of to the right. What mattered, though, was that she was okay. She told us she almost cried when she saw us stop…. THAT got me.

My dad brought me my mom’s jacket, as I was standing out in the cold in a short sleeved dress… I didn’t really feel the cold until I put that coat’s warmth on my arms. All I wanted to do was give the girl a hug, and tell her it was okay. She was pacing and quite lost. She eventually walked back to the truck and fished her cell phone out. We all got a laugh when she called her boyfriend and went, “Honey, I don’t think I’m going to make it.” “Why?” “My truck is flipped over in a field!”

The sheriff arrived and I went to get a business card… I wanted to leave my jacket with the girl and the deputy could return it to me the next day. The girl declined and the sheriff gave her one he had. I think my husband and I were both hesitant to leave her, but she was in good hands. The ambulance arrived to check her out as we did finally part ways. When we went to get in our truck, I took stock of how caked my new boots were with mud… And I just didn’t care. We had helped this girl… And dammit boots and jackets wash. And even if we arrived at church late (which we didn’t) I felt more at peace in that moment than I had in awhile.

The girl has been on my mind and in my heart ever since that night. My husband told me later that when he opened the door to help the girl out, the cab was full of mud and Christmas gifts. As she climbed out, still spitting out mud from her mouth (we think the truck slid on its roof and the windshield gave in filing the truck with mud), she said her Christmas was now ruined. My husband disagreed with her.. What mattered is she walked away from a rollover. On Christmas Eve.

I don’t know about anyone else, but I felt God in that field that night. He put us in the path to find her. And while we got her help… He also gave us pause to look around at ourselves and our purpose in life… Moment to moment, year to year. It was oddly the most Christmas moment I could have had.

The thing is, this is the fourth time my husband and I have been one of the first on the scene of an accident. My husband summed it up so beautifully on his Facebook page that night…

I’m no hero… Just in the right place at the right time. All I’m going to say is we have a job to do… To look out for one another. Take care of each other. Hug your loved ones a little tighter, for an extra second or two this season. Merry Christmas everyone. I’m having an extra special one… All is well with my heart, and I’m thankful.

Amen, honey. Amen.


Wishing you a very Merry Christmas!

December 24th, 2013 No comments

2013-12-24 16.10.00I want this day and the next to go by very slowly.

As a child, it felt like Christmas would NEVER arrive. Today, I feel like its gotten here much too fast. Slow down, time! Slow down! I’m trying to enjoy every single moment that this holiday brings… everything from a quick nap, to gift exchanges, to big meals, to side splitting laughter.

To memories being made.

My wish for all of you is to have a very joyous, peaceful and loving Christmas. Whether you are surrounded by friends and family, or you’re enjoying a quiet day at home on your own, I hope you can find the peace and love this holiday is meant to bring.



Categories: christmas Tags:

Christmas memories

December 20th, 2013 No comments


This time next week, it’ll all be over. The gifts exchanged…carols sung… Families going separate ways. Another Christmas in the books.

As we barrel down the interstate to spend the holiday with family, I am filled with conflicting emotions. I’ve spent the last week focused on to do lists and getting everything done before we left. House and cats covered (so no bad guys go case my house… It’s under surveillance and you’ll be caught!). Photo jobs done and completed. Christmas parties and shopping. Paying bills. Etc. The spirit of the season gets lost in responsibilities.

I miss the wonder of the season I had as a child. The anticipation of Santa. “Midnight” mass where I’d sing in the choir, and all us kids would all whisper about what gifts we already received. Peace on Earth seemed to truly happen for that one night a year. New dresses and shiny shoes. Dressing up that night was as exciting as Santa’s approach… Would we get home before he got to Texas??

I still remember like yesterday seeing a shooting star just after midnight on our way home from church a few yeas ago, and I remember closing my eyes making a wish… An extra special Christmas wish.

My grandparents and cousins are Christmas... late 1980s.

My grandparents and cousins are Christmas… late 1980s.

I miss seeing my extended family every Christmas. Photos were taken; carols were sung. (The biggest laughs coming from the “12 Days of Christmas.”) Gifts exchanged and opened in order of age — youngest to oldest. Books and horse things were my main loves. My brother the occasional remote control car.

Christmas in Texas typically was warm enough to go outside and play after dinner. New bikes could be tried out immediately, and I know a few toys were broken within hours of being opened.

However, as years have passed schedules and lives have changed. Christmas together isn’t necessarily guaranteed as it once was. The season no longer seems to last long enough… It passes in a blur and we are left wondering what happened. We worry more about paying bills than we worry about getting enough hugs. And it’s in that fact that I feel a tinge of sadness going into Christmas. But it’s also spurring me to strive to enjoy my Christmas holiday. To move a little slower. To disconnect from the web more. Worry less. Laugh more. Wear my Santa hat and dare anyone to stare. It’s Christmas… And a time to make more memories to be cherished for years to come.