The Most Wonderful Time..

How are you, dearest bloggites?

I hope that you're happy, healthy, and at peace - and that you've sufficiently satisfied all your turkey-and-dressing cravings for 2008, 'cause it's holiday season. And that's what we do.

I'm still basking in the holiday glow and unashamedly enjoying the leftovers, myself. Oh, yes, I am. I kidnapped [with permission, which makes it sooo much more legal] all three of my precious nephews at Christmas, and I've been having a blast bonding with them and with my family during this season.

Yes, we're being fat and lazy.

I make no apologies.

So the hectic part of the festivities has passed, and between tossing back the leftover cookies and Christmas fudge I seem to be consuming at alarming rates, I'm working on a list. [You may recall that my melancholy mother is to blame for the listmaking tendencies, but I bear her no ill will. Live and let list, I say.]

I think it's important to make lists around this time of year. Why? I'm not completely sure, but I know that people do this religiously, so I feel compelled to join. That's the sanguine in me, copycatting the melancholy in you.

My Must-Do List
[before 2008 is gone and I'm haunted by my lack of listing]

Find gainful employment
Start dieting again
Make cookies with my nephews
Try not to eat too many of the cookies we made
Eat too many cookies
Wake up earlier every day to work out
Take naps watching cartoons with my nephews
Work out
Chase my nephews around the house
Pare down my wardrobe to make more space
Buy adorable sweater on clearance
Catch up with old friends I've lost touch with this year
Avoid the town gossip at Walmart because my hair isn't fixed
Journal more memories before I forget them
Take [and make!] more photo opportunities with my family

As you can see, I'm off to a rousing start. I do have something to show for all of my listing [besides extra pounds and a fabulous sweater] though; Leah and I had a chance to take all three nephews for a spin in their new outfits [yes, yes I do have fabulous taste in little boy clothes, thankyouverymuch!] and we snapped a few a load of pictures.

Behold the cuteness that is Damien [10], Tyler [6], and Raiden [6 months].

I know. It's too much.

So... The year is drawing to a close; have you tossed out the 2008 edition of your to-do list yet?



Say Hello...

..To my little friend, the Spurs widget. Because everyone needs to know exactly what they're doing, yes?

No? Step aside, naysayers, this team is the best in the business.

Due to a period in my life that I fondly refer to as 'the San Antonio times' [shoutouts to my homies from HOPE!] I became a deeply devoted fan of all things Spurs. My family, curious about my sudden support, decided to check 'em out... And became deeply devoted fans, naturally.

One of my favorite things about the team is their commitment to the community. The Spurs team members are great about taking active part in community enrichment, and the community loves 'em right back for it.

'Cause these are our boys, yo.

Even newbie George Hill [who is so lovable I want to keep him in my pocket!] is in on the generous action; he just made a couple of SA-area kiddos very, very happy for Christmas.

*le sigh*

I heart you, you wonderful, ridiculously large, basketball-playing boys.




Funny, Punny You!



I got to go see this gal do her thing last night at Improv, and it was hee-larious. Anjelah Johnson is one of my all-time favorite comics. You may remember this nugget of trivia if you saw my post about 'Beautiful Nail'. [If you didn't, we must not have been friends for long. It's ok. Now you know and it's all good.] The girl is golden comedy. And she loves Jesus, so she got jokes that be clean, y'all.

I hearted the feature comic, too - he's an Italian from Tennessee, by way of New York City [and if that isn't fodder for the jokes, I don't know what is. I'm just sayin'..] and he loves Jesus, too, so basically, it was like hitting the clean comedy jackpot.

And I do love to win stuff.

Thanks to a nice young man at the welcome desk, we also got some of the best seats in the house- almost directly in front of the mic, but just beyond the circle of spotlight. Y'know, where the cool cats hang out.

As if all of that funtasticness isn't memorable enough, nachos and drinks set me back $35. Aaaaaah. Now that's memories. ;o)

My official gifting advice for this holiday season? Get tickets. But please, please don't order the nachos.



I Shot A Buck.

Okay, that's not entirely true. [Although I do have a hunting story for another time and place.]

But I have reached 100 posts! Yeay! I feel like that's a true milestone. Or an indication of deep-rooted insanity. Either way, I'm so glad you've stuck around for the ridiculous awesome displays of insanity that spew forth from my fingers.

You may not know this, but composing a 100th post is stressful. Should I be serious? Should I be effusive and thankful? Sassy? Should I be witty? Can I be witty - is that even possible?

You can see where this is a problem.

So instead of worrying about that, I want to share a superfantabulously cool blog that I re-found today. I visited awhile back, and like the sometimes-not-so-brilliant gal that I can be emulate, I forgot to bookmark the page and couldn't remember the url to save the whales!


I was thrilled to see that the author was a guest poster at the always-entertaining SCL today, though, 'cause that means I can stalk visit his page more often. Just for the wallpapers, naturally.

This one is the one I'm currently using. Sassy, yes? Seriously, you should go check out all of his desktop wallpapers - you won't be disappointed.



Notice anything new?

*whistling a ditty, pointedly rolling eyes upward*

See it yet? Okay, good. Here's the story; I'm lucky blessed enough to have a sister who is patient and kind enough to put up with me when I have random ideas like 'let's go downtown and take pictures!'

Yes, she's that fabulous. No, you may not keep her in your pocket.

So yesterday was a beautifully grey day [which, if you're expertly ameteurish like me, you'll know spells clear, crisp pictures without squinty-eyed shots from the sunlight] and the perfect opportunity to avoid studying and do something completely unneccesary, so we did just that. Leah got some fun shots; these are my favorites, taken in front of an abandoned historic building. I'm loving the colors!

The only problem is that I have so many new possibilities for bloggy designs now that my creative little heart is almost overwhelmed.

It's a sickness.

I'll be trying out new designs featuring the photography of my favorite sister when I have more time to put my elusive ideas into proper .jpeg format, but for now, I'm going with a rough draft of another 'hello, alohilana!' design.

You'll just have to check back for more. ;o)



Sloooowly I Click..

Merry Wednesday, dear bloggites. I hope you're well.

Me? I'm doin' GREAT! Thanks for asking. ['Cause I know you did. Right?]

I mean that most sincerely, despite the final exams still looming over my head and the bronchitis-like cough currently rattling my lungs out of my ribcage. Life's still good!

My biggest problem these days is the fact that I'm So. Stinking. Distractable. Point in case: I keep getting sidetracked by Christmas every time I crack open another textbook. Seriously, how am I supposed to think about physiological psychology and learning and memory studies in the 20th century when I could be elbow-deep in crafty, adorable holiday things, getting my fill of fat little snowpeople and wonky gingerbread cookies and Mexican hot cocoa.

It's enough to drive a sane girl like me to the brink of loony, I tell you. Especially when I see adorable projects like the ones featured at The Empire That Is Martha and I immediately feel an urgent need to replicate them. For some strange reason, their paper Christmas trees are begging me to make them. I kid you not. Martha is killing me with her daily holiday projects, y'all.

But I still heart Martha Stewart and her vast array of creativity ninjas.

[By the way of a byline, this title will only make sense if you're an I Love Lucy fan. Viva vaudeville!]



We Interrupt This Season...

Y'all. Personal Insight #236: I am a blogging fiend when I should be studying for the 7 finals and Spanish paper I need to finish before Tuesday.

Because there's nothin' like prioritizing.

That being said, I realized something today. In the midst of the here-and-not-here blogging madness that has become my little web journal here, I neglected the traditional Thanksgiving post.

Why, you ask?

I'm so glad you asked.

It's not that I have nothing to be thankful for; quite the opposite is true, in fact. My heart brims with love and appreciation for everything I've been blessed with. I have a supportive, caring, doting family that can only be described as the absolute best. I have friends that support me, encourage me, humor me, and remind me of the important things in life. I have health [minus the near-constant stream of apparent allergic reaction to oxygen that I have lately endured] that many people only dream of.

But lately, it's been difficult to put into words how much it all means to me, because truly, the blessings in my life are what keeps me [somewhat] sane in a crazy, insane life.

I'm truly, madly, deeply thankful.

But I'm also thankful for the insights into other lives; lives where pain and fear and joy and hope reflect shiny little glimmers of those very emotions in my own life. See, there's a whole population of people who celebrated our traditional day of giving thanks missing pieces of their hearts. People who make sacrifices daily for what we have. No matter what your stance on war and military endeavors may be, there are men and women who willingly volunteered to serve a country that they may very well die for. Because they believe in what we have.

This season, in the midst of thankfulness and gift giving and cookie baking and caroling, there are young fathers in the middle of a sandy desert, looking at pictures of babies they have yet to meet. There are mothers who are longing to be baking cookies for their families and wrapping gifts for under the tree, and there are families here who are one place setting less than a full table for holiday dinners.

If you don't look beyond the warmth and joy of your family celebrations this year, I won't judge you. I encourage you to bask in the glow of the holiday season; it's the most wonderful time of the year, after all.

But if you do nothing else, thank a soldier. Thank a family missing loved ones to an ongoing endeavor for middle-eastern stability, however that elusive goal may or may not be reached. It's not hard to do; in fact, corporate big guy xerox [yes, surprisingly enough!] has made it easy for you with their 'Let's Give Thanks' campaign.

You've probably been there, done that, right? It's soooooo 2002. Most people have peeled away their yellow ribbon car magnets and moved on to economic discussions and Obama dissertations. Except that those soldiers are still there. The constant spotlight may have faded, but your support, your prayers, and your love are even more important than before.

So do it again, ok? This year. And hug someone you're thankful for. 'Cause some people would give anything to do just that.


It's Hair-Raising!

Whoever said the days of hairdos teased and fluffed to epic proportions and glued into place by the power of hairspray are over?

It wasn't me. 'Cause I'm all about big hair.

Just in case, though, you're not a fan of helmet hair, you can still show your love for super spray on behalf of all the Aquanet junkies out there [like, you know.. ME!]. Hairspray is magnificently versatile; if you don't believe me, just check out this public service announcement.

And enjoy. ;o)


He's Delightful.

The book of Psalms. Chapter 37. Verse 4. Know this one? If you cut your first baby teeth on the edge of a church pew like I did, you may just have it engraved in your brain. 'Cause we love us some promise.

"Delight yourself in the Lord,
and He will give you the desires of your heart."

This oft-quoted verse was penned by David as divinely-inspired encouragement to longing, hopeful hearts, and it's a beautiful reminder of our Father's love.

But there's more.

Encouraging the downtrodden in times of trouble is something that we, as ambassadors of Jesus, should do well and often. It's all a part of living His love. But sometimes, we carelessly toss around Ps. 37:4 as a pat-phrase response to very real problems. But in doing so, we relegate Jesus to genie-in-a-bottle status. It goes something like this [cue commercial announcer voice]:

'Are you pining for your special someone?
Are you desperate for a new job?
Really, really,
really want that solo? Aww, honey,
you delight yourself in the Lord and just see what happens!'

Psalm 37 has a lot more to say about taming the wild, frantic beatings of a heart desperate for answers. Cue verses 5-8:

Commit your way to the LORD; trust in him and he will do this: He will make your righteousness shine like the dawn, the justice of your cause like the noonday sun. Be still before the LORD and wait patiently for him; do not fret when men succeed in their ways, when they carry out their wicked schemes. Refrain from anger and turn from wrath; do not fret—it leads only to evil.

Don't fret. Trust in Him. He will make your righteousness [that's you, hanging on when questions and fears whirl around your mind at the speed of light] shine like the dawn. I love that, y'all. Dawn is the brilliant awakening of the sun after a dark, dark night. Is that not a promise to sink your tether into? I'm just sayin'.

But here's where a lot of people stop paying attention. It's much easier to believe that our current wishes will be fulfilled than to face the painful truth that we may be wishing for the wrong things.

It's even harder to fight the fear that He's not really delighted in us, that our righteousness is paltry and insignificant, and that we'll never know the fulfillment that we dream of.

Oh, stop it, you. Don't act like you don't know. It happens to all of us. It's that whole human thing.

Stick it out to the end, though. Verses 39 and 40 are the closing lines:

The salvation of the righteous comes from the LORD; he is their stronghold in time of trouble. The LORD helps them and delivers them; he delivers them from the wicked and saves them, because they take refuge in him.

Jesus isn't measuring your righteousness and providing your wishes according to how full your righteous meter is. He's promising you this: if you run to Him for refuge, He will take your confusion and your agony and sing to you a song of hope.

And those wishes? Prince Charming, the solo, the job? Maybe they'll be fulfilled exactly like you plan. Maybe they'll be provided in different ways.

The promise to cling to, though, is that we'll see the hand of Jesus when the dawn breaks and the answers to our hopes and dreams are illuminated in the shining light of our Refuge.



Hola, Mexicanos!

Hi there! Are you new here? Maybe you [like several visitors this month] googled 'Mexican word of the day'?

Well, here's one. Juneau. No, not that hardy little township in the snowy regions of Alaska. Juneau as in 'Juneau who made these tamales?'

What's that you say... Did you want to see 'puppies Rache'?

Well, today is definitely your lucky day. I aim to entertain and inspire, so feast your eyes on the cuteness that is a beagle puppy. [Although I don't know what this has to do with me, but hey - you asked!]

I know, it's too much.

I'm amused and intrigued by the ways that people are finding my blog [thank you, Google Webmaster Tools, for snooping around and finding these gems for me!] but by all means, keep googlin' and visitin', y'all.

Even if you didn't really mean to stop by at all. It's ok. Hopefully you'll stick around for the good parts. ;o)


St. Tarjay

Tarjay, how I love thee. Let me count the ways... You keep me enthralled with your clearance racks, you provide me with endless hours of entertainment in your fabulous home decor department, you stock KitchenAid mixers in three colors, and you pretty much lay down the smack on WalMart. One word: Choxie.

So I was Christmas shopping tonight with my sister and got a little sidetracked. I fell madly in love with this happy little pair of platform sandals; I knew my heart was gone when aforementioned sister pulled them off of the shelf with an incredulous look.

'Oh. My. Gosh.' Says my sister [in chucks] 'Who would wear these?!?!?'

...She didn't need my reply, since I was bouncing down the aisle with a pair in my size to try.

The story ends well for my Christmas list, though; I was good, y'all! I paraded around the shoe department for a minute or twenty [which was no small task, considering the rubber band that held my feet captive] and painfully decided to put them back. I couldn't help but beg for a quick picture, though, 'cause these babies are hawt! That $30 can be better spent, but I want to remember that I wore them. ;o)


On A Wing And A Prayer.

At the [very high] risk of sounding like a lunatic, I have to admit something to you, my favorite bloggites.

I heart Skymall.

I have to diverge here for just a moment, though, because I might have forgotten to mention that I recently embarked on a one-weekend, whirlwind trip from Texas to Ohio and back to take part in the wedding festivities of my lovely friends Tara and Ryan.

I know. My unfaithfulness to blogdom is shameful. I do hereby sincerely repent for my unbloggy ways.

I'm going to totally make it up to you by sharing the highlights, though, ok? Seriously, I had a blast just seeing old-new-old friends in Ohio; I have so missed them all since coming back to Texas.

If that wasn't cool enough, though, [and it totally was, but I'm just sayin'] I got to cruise the Ohio plains in a Dodge Charger. And I looked 'fierce' - if the guy at the rental desk wasn't lying to me. Sneaky little man, I see you upselling to me!

Plus, I got to go to Calvary and worship with the church family that embraced me for 10 months. And I got to spend some quality time shopping at a super-top-secret-hush-hush-employee-sale at my favorite store with a Secret, thanks to my lovely hostess Addie. $6 sweats from the Pink line - that's all I'm saying. [Yes, she rocks. No, you may not keep her in your pocket.]

It was a wonderful experience, full of laughter, a few tears, and quite a bit of sugar to cement the memories. Oh, and I also brought back The Coolest, Most Amazing Magazine Ever.

What, you say? What is this bastion of goodness?

That would be none other than the Skymall magazine, my friend. I have nothing but love in my heart for the wonders that unfold in its pages. I'm not going to lie. After the plane had lifted into the air [by God's grace, because I was definitely talking to Him about it] and the conversation about my seatmate's sailboat and his passion for Italian food started to fade, I had mercy on the poor fellow [he was beginning to shift uncomfortably at my random conversation] and started examining the contents of the seat pocket in front of me.

And that's when I found The Magazine. [It is only appropriate to refer to it in titling, btw.] And that's when I started dog-earing that sucker like a pioneer woman with a Sears and Roebuck. A blanket with sleeves, aptly monikered 'the slanket' and available in 5 colors? Oh, yes. Yes please. And whoever invented the personal toothbrush sanitizer must have been divinely inspired, because I think the Lord wants me to have one.

I wasn't as keen on the 'Richard The Lionhearted Throne' or the 'Deer Head Shelf', to be sure, but you can't fault them for covering all the bases. I'm just sayin'.

Do yourself a favor. Book thee a flight [anywhere is fine, but if you're looking for not-so-lovely weather, fantastic food, and great company, I recommend Texas] and throw yourself into this magazine with wild abandon.

Or, you know, you can check out their website. It's your call.

But don't say I didn't warn you.


Hope. He's Coming for Me.

Have you ever been so intrigued by the nuances of a written passage that you read it a million times before you were satisfied with your own interpretation?

I'm going to go with yes here, because it's my blog and I did that today. [It's possible that I'm just that slow, but that just doesn't seem right.. ;o)]

I read the lyrics to this song for the first time, and I was leg-dropped by it's incredible eloquence and understatement, because it's deeply, movingly profound. Elegant understatements fascinate me, because clearly, I'm a gal who is all about the words. And this song uses them so well to weave emotion, homesickness, questions, and hope into a melody that I just can't help but share.

I know.

I need therapy for my youtube obsession.


'The C.S. Lewis Song'

If I find in myself desires nothing in this world can satisfy,
I can only conclude that I was not made for here
If the flesh that I fight is at best only light and momentary,
Then of course I'll feel nude when to where I'm destined I'm compared

Speak to me in the light of the dawn

Mercy comes with the morning
I will sigh and with all creation groan as I wait for hope to come for me

Am I lost or just less found? On the straight or on the roundabout of the wrong way?

Is this a soul that stirs in me, is it breaking free, wanting to come alive?
'Cause my comfort would prefer for me to be numb
And avoid the impending birth of who I was born to become

Speak to me in the light of the dawn

Mercy comes with the morning
I will sigh and with all creation groan as I wait for hope to come for me

For we, we are not long here
Our time is but a breath, so we better breathe it
And I, I was made to live, I was made to love, I was made to know you
Hope is coming for me

Hope, He's coming for me



The Slippery Slope.

Is it even possible to eat healthy foods for free [or cheap] dollars with 0 extra minutes to spare? 'Cause the unthinkable has happened, y'all.

My cute little color-coded food pyramid [inspired by, of course, the official government agency on all things food] is officially in a funk.

Because living in my life is tough work.

Okay, okay, so there really is no excuse, but somewhere along the path, my 2008 resolution to eat colorful, crunchy vegetables in abundance [and therefore set free the skinny woman inside me] turned into a decision to consume the cheapest, most filling, most quickly obtained substances possible.

Cue Taco Bell. And Burger King. And Panera. And Chipotle. And Cane's.

Oh, yeah. It's that bad.

At first, the change was subtle. It would be okay as long as I texted Diet.com for every fast food meal, counting calories and fats and basing my decisions on the least evil choice. Then it was okay because I already knew the calorie count of a Whopper, so I was prepared. I was determined to keep the fat girl from re-emerging, victorious and a little smug; so determined, in fact, that I made a valiant effort to cook my own food. That quickly turned into 'cook my own Lean Cuisine', which quickly turned into 'throw some Pizza Rolls' into the oven while I'm writing this paper.

Clearly, this less-than-healthy approach is doing nothing for the skinny girl inside me, so I have a plan to do battle against the fat girl again...

Right after I finish cooking those Pizza Rolls.

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