Monday, December 19, 2011

Cards, presents, and baked goods

Sometimes I wish Christmas was a lot simpler. Does everyone really need all the cards, presents, and baked goods? The cards get thrown away, the presents often end up forgotten or ill-used, and the baked goods are gone within a couple days. What's the point, really?

Yeah, yeah, I know most of you will jump on me for saying that. The cards are thoughtful, the presents show the spirit of giving, the baked goods are delicious. I get that.

What I'm really wondering is, why do we spend so much time and energy on them when that energy (and money) is better spent elsewhere?

In the midst of buying presents at overcrowded stores full of semi-grouchy people, it occurred to me that everyone I'm buying presents for really has enough stuff already. They don't need more things. There are plenty of people out there who have nothing, and here I am filling the already crowded houses of those who have plenty.

What if, instead of spending time, energy, and money on things that pass away, we took time for eternal things? What if we got together with our families and provided Christmas dinner for a family who wouldn't have one otherwise? Or if we bought toys for kids who have been told they won't be getting presents this year?

When Jesus came to earth as a little baby, the first people told of His arrival weren't kings or holy men. They were shepherds. They were considered so dirty that if you touched one, you had to be cleansed. They were untouchable. Yet, they were the first told of this heavenly gift, of this Savior.

Shouldn't Christmas be the same way for us? Shouldn't we first give to those society deems untouchable and worry about ourselves later?

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Pregnancy faves

Three blogs in three days? I know, I'm crazy! Guess I'm just in a sharing mood this week. :)

The past few months have been all about comfort, and in that time I've found a few things I can't live without! I only wish I'd found them earlier. So pregnant ladies, take note!

Earth Therapeutics Anti-Stress Comfort Wrap
With my constantly sore ribs and lower back, this microwaveable/freezable wrap has been a Godsend. Every 10 minutes spent with a hot wrap gives me an hour without rib pain, and I think that's a pretty good trade! It's great to cozy up with at bedtime as well.

Belly Band
I got a Be Maternity BeBand from Target, and it's been a great investment. Since I loathe most of the maternity jeans I've found, this has been a lifesaver. Slip it over your pre-pregnancy jeans and you don't even have to zip them up!

The Republic of Tea - Get Maternal
I discovered this tea at the Health Food Center today ($7.99 for 36 tea bags), and it is amazing. I wish I'd known about it during the first trimester. It has ginger to help with nausea and all sorts of other herbal goodness to help combat water retention, keep muscle tone, grow strong baby bones, etc. And it's tasty too!

What are your top three pregnancy comforts?

Christmas with friends!

It's way past my pregnant lady bedtime (which is usually between 9:30 and 10:30, in case you wanted to know), but I just can't help but post some photos from our marketing support staff reunion party!

The marketing support staff is where I started in the company I work for, and the coworkers were amaz-za-zing. We had some of the best - and funniest - times in that office, and to memorialize them we posted the best one liners on a Twitter account. As a surprise for all of us, Aiden went through and printed them all out for our enjoyment. It basically turned into a 6 hour laugh fest!

The quotes. See how funny we are? That bowl is FULL!
"Buttshorts!...Why did I say that?"
Laughed 'til we cried. True story.
I would like to point out that even Shaun laughed out loud. That rarely happens!

It's amazing how one line, like "DO NOT FART!" or "I AM that good looking!" brings back a flood of memories and laughs! It was good to get together with people who share my offbeat sense of humor. Oh, and love of sweets. Did I mention the sweets?

It's okay. You can drool. I did too.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

26 weeks and counting!

I haven't had much to update about lately, so here's a mini-update that answers some of the questions people have been asking me!

I'm eating a lot of...strawberry jello, mac & cheese, pickles, and colby jack cheese. And I will absolutely demolish a bag of peppermint bark Ghiradellis when given the chance.

I'm feeling...meh. My ribcage is very sore and makes it hard to sit down for long periods of time. Other than that and my lack of sleep though, not so bad!

Baby is...26 weeks along. According to Baby Center, he's about 1.66 pounds and 14 inches long. And he's very opinionated! If he doesn't like how I'm sitting or laying, he lets me know.

His name is...undecided at this point. It will definitely start with a K! Not because we decided we wanted a K name though. For some reason every name we like just happens to start with that letter!

His room will be...vintage baseball. Sometime soon Mom and I will be undertaking the task of sewing bedding for his crib! I'm pretty excited.

Well folks, that's all for now! If anyone has any burning questions, ask away. :)

Monday, November 14, 2011

Baby kicks and new Bible studies

From some awesome highs to some really low lows, my past couple weeks have been kind of an emotional roller coaster. I guess I should appreciate it since it's the only roller coaster I'll be riding for a while! :)

Last week the baby, who I hadn't really felt moving around much before, decided to start a danceathon that hasn't really let up much since. I was really excited that Shaun was there, so he didn't miss it. :-) Every little kick's been enough to make me emotional. I love feeling him move around so much! Baby's been somewhat more laid back today, but I can tell you for certain that he dislikes my seriously uncomfortable desk chair at work just as much as I do. He'll kick me until I stand up, then start all over when I sit down again. I concur with his opinion, so I've been trying to get up and move around every now and then, but it's a lot more difficult in the building I'm in now since there's not really any place to go.

Speaking of the building I'm in now for work, I still don't like it. I have to park freakishly far away (I used to park 10 feet from my office's door), the bathroom situation is awkward, the kitchen is entirely too crowded at lunch and I'm not a fan of sitting in a room with  like 20 other people and no dividers of any sort. I'm too easily distracted for that. It's a pregnant lady's nightmare.

I've been kind of down in the dumps lately over a bunch of stuff, but my Bible study just started a new book by Kay Arthur called Lord, Give Me a Heart for You that is absolutely amazing. It focuses primarily on 2 Corinthians, and the first chapter alone had me in tears reading about God's purpose in affliction and the comfort only He can give. It's a great study that covers a lot of ground, and I highly recommend it. I promise you'll see yourself reflected in it, and what's more - challenged.

On to other cool, Bible-related matters, yesterday Bob Cornuke spoke at our church. He's a police investigator turned Bible investigator, I guess you could say. Taking what it says in the Bible he goes out and looks for things like Paul's shipwreck, Noah's ark, and Mount Sinai. He's definitely found where Paul's shipwreck occurred and has seen the anchors that were left in the ocean as a result, and he's also given tons and tons of evidence for where the real Mount Sinai is. It's so cool seeing proof of the Bible's accuracy.

He's also done research into the ark of the covenant, and apparently he showed some really cool stuff about it on Sunday morning, but I was in and out of the auditorium feeling really sick. :-/ I don't know why I always feel sick when a really cool guest speaker comes to church!

Well, that's all I've got for today! My brain's feeling pretty fried lately, so trying to remember what happened last week is kinda hard. :-) In parting, I leave you with two of my favorite quotes from chapter 1 of Lord, Give Me a Heart for You:

"When we go beyond our limit, then we experience the supernatural intervention of God and we know that we know it's God."

"And the more intense the suffering, the more abundant the comfort. In other words, He assures us, precious one, that we can never 'out-suffer' His comfort."

Thursday, October 27, 2011

My pants don't fit! And other life stories...

I realize I've been absolutely terrible with the updates lately. I'm sorry about that! Life has been absolutely insane lately. In September I had loads of Scottish things to do, including dancing at the Tulsa Scottish Festival and flying up to McPherson, KS, for the festival there (and it was my first time in a small plane! So much fun). This October has been hectic and full of things both fun and frustrating.

After a lot of hard work, mostly on Shaun's part, we finally had the Ink For Your Letter launch party at the Conservatory last Saturday. It went really well! Shaun and I manned the merch table, with help from Jay, and I got to be in charge of the drawing for the XBox 360 and other prizes. That's too much power for me, I tell you! ;) I also had a tip jar that said "Tips, please! I'm pregnant!" but all I got was a dollar bill, four pennies, and a handwritten note from Jay that said "Tip: eat more pizza." I hope you people tip better at restaurants!

My job description also changed this month...twice. If this was a baseball team I'd be listed on the roster as a utility player. I also changed office buildings. I'm now in the production building, which I hate because there are not NEARLY enough bathrooms. It never fails, every single time I feel nauseous and have to make a mad dash to a bathroom, there's someone walking in to the only available one right in front of me. Today the guy who did that turned around, looked at me as I clutched my hand over my mouth, and still went in. I don't know how I managed to hold it in til he vacated the bathroom, but I swear next time I'm puking on the offender! That'll show him.

We've had a lot of house guests of the touring band variety lately. This month we've had Ten After Two stay over on their way to Little Rock, and next month we'll have Decoder and Woe, Is Me. I love seeing all those musician guys. They're highly entertaining! Seriously, lots of laughs with them around.

Oh, and did I mention? We're officially having a boy. :) I'm constantly expanding and starting to feel a bit like a balloon. Hope no one tries to pop me! I'm starting to regret owning fitted clothes at all. None of my pants fit! I have maternity pants, but I pout about them. Pants should NOT come up over one's belly button.

I'm sure there's more updating to be done, but at the moment my brain doesn't want to work, so that's all for now! Stay tuned for more baby updates :)

Friday, September 2, 2011

Hey look! A pregnancy update!

I guess I should get better at updating this with what I'm actually up to lately! People seem a lot more likely to ask a pregnant woman than a non-child-bearing one. ;)

So, what's up with me? Well for starters, I'm really looking forward to the imminent move from first trimester to second! Right now I feel queasy a lot (the puking portion of this pregnancy is slowly wearing off) and I tend to start nodding off if I sit still too long, but my appetite is definitely getting better. I'm also finding that I'm craving a lot healthier food than I used to. I don't eat near as much fried food as I used to, even though it's still a beloved part of my diet. The weirdest thing is my love of Dr. Pepper is completely gone. This former DP addict hasn't had one in at least 6 weeks!

Shaun's birthday was Wednesday, so we kind of made a week of it. On Sunday we had a party with his family, then Monday we did dinner at Abuelo's (free birthday dessert! Enough to share!) and finally watched Deathly Hallows Part 2 at the mall. For his actual birthday we totally pigged out on Mom's crunchy chicken and cookies & cream cake. I think it's the first time I've pigged out in a few months lol.

I still have a while before the doctor can determine Peanut's gender for us, and it's driving me crazy! I keep seeing pretty little girl onesies I want to buy, and on the flip side I also really want to buy Atlanta Braves and St. Louis Cardinals onesies that are available on the MLB site. So dang cute. I guess I'll just have to use some patience 'til I find out!

Back to the subject of food, because that is my favorite subject lately, this weekend is the OCCC Arts Festival! I highly recommend it. Cheap admission - $5 for parking and that's it - amazing art, and of course the FOOD. We normally only stay for a couple hours, but I'm wondering if my fam would willingly go for a late lunch and stay til an early dinner. I have plans to eat roasted corn, a funnel cake, tater twirls, and maybe throw something else in there somewhere. That's doable, right? :)

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

First trimester: new habits!

As an 11 week pregnant lady, things are a-changin'! I've started a list of what's currently going on with me about one million times, but then in my usually sleepy state I'll discard it and have to start all over the next day. So here's what I've got so far! I bet I've left out quite a bit:

Naps occur frequently nowadays. If Shaun doesn't wake me up, I'll sleep for four hours, wake up for a snack, then go to bed at 9:30. I'm basically a hibernating bear.

I've found myself craving things I didn't even like previously. Namely, chicken pot pie. I find myself thinking about it all the time. At work, in the car, while drifting off to sleep...chicken pot pie is taking over my world.

*Note* I finally got my chicken pot pie last night...and found I couldn't eat more than like 1/16th of it. I don't know why my stomach waits until I get something I really really want to eat then ruins it for me.

I've also found myself craving things that really weren't high on my priority list before now. Here I speak of fair food! Thankfully next month I'll get to go to the fair, the Tulsa Scottish Festival, and the OCCC Arts Festival, all of which are gloriously packed full of fair food. My tummy rejoices...I think.

My favorite perfume now makes me queasy. This is sad.

Since I let people know that I'm pregnant, all pregnant women in the world have decided they need to discuss what they have in common with me. I've been told their due dates, the gender of the baby, etc., and in the back of my mind I keep thinking "did I ask?"

I might also be slightly grouchy. I've been told I'll get over it.

Monday, July 4, 2011

Mexican on a bicycle

I think the high water mark of my experience at USAO was the night we saw the Mexican on a bicycle. Mind you, to my friends and me he would've just been a man on a bicycle had the police not been involved. Anyhoo, it was one of the most eventful nights of my life and as a result I've told this story to everyone I know entirely too many times. For those who haven't heard it, though, here it is.

Chickasha, where USAO is located, is a rather sleepy town where everything but Taco Bell and Walmart closes early. Since there's hardly anything to do at night, my friends and I would take long walks through the neighborhoods surrounding our school's campus. We were out doing just that on this particular night, and we had brought along my friend Jay, who happened to be visiting from out of town. For some reason Jay and I together seem to draw in trouble like a magnet. I blame that on what happened as we were walking back toward campus.

Here we see 4 out of 5 of the persons involved in said walk. Jay is the one who appears to need to pee.

Police cruisers seemed to be in abundance around USAO that Saturday night, and every one of them would slow down as it passed so the officer could glare at us like we were a bunch of hooligans. Finally it occurred to us that Chickasha High School was holding its prom at USAO that night, and those students genuinely were hooligans, hence the heightened police circuiting the school.

Since Chickasha happens to be a very redneck town, all the prom-mobiles probably looked something like this.

Eventually one of those police cars slowed to a stop next to us as we walked down the wide median and the officer glared at us in a manner I assume he picked up in police academy. I attempted to glare back. Jay and my fiancé (now husband) Shaun walked up to his car and asked if there was a problem. The officer continued to glare for a moment, then asked a question that will stick in my mind 'til I die:

"Have you seen a Mexican on a bicycle?"

Did he steal your donuts, sir?

We all stared incredulously for a moment as crickets chirped in the background. Just as Jay was saying "no...should we be worried?" the police officer's radio crackled to life with the words "He's on Arizona!" and off he sped.

We continued on our stroll, pondering all the crimes this Mexican on a bicycle may have committed. Then we heard it.

Creak creak...creak creak.

All five of us stopped in unison and watched as a very large Mexican on a very tiny bicycle slowly pedaled his way down a cross street. It must have been a strange moment for him, seeing five college students standing open-mouthed and turning their heads as he passed like we were one organism.

Imagine this, only ghetto.

When he reached the other side of the wide intersection, he stopped and looked back at us just as a police cruiser turned onto the street and headed our direction. Immediately we realized he couldn't see the Mexican from his vantage point, and by golly we weren't going to let him get away. We sprang into action.

My reaction was to go running toward the cruiser, waving my arms and yelling. My friend Aiden followed. Meanwhile, Sunny jumped up and down where she was while Shaun and Jay pointed toward the cross street. Presumably after he surmised that we weren't leading him into a trap, the cop sped over and rolled down his window just in time to hear "He's on California!"

Off he sped once again, and soon we could see lights from multiple cruisers on the next cross street. We ran toward it just in time to see the Mexican being pushed up against one of the cars and handcuffed. We helped catch a wanted person!

We never did find out what crime the Mexican had committed, so I've had to come up with scenarios of my own to satisfy my imagination. It usually ranges from murdering a fellow patron at the classiest bar in Chickasha, a lovely heap of rotting wood called the Wan Dora, to throwing a bowling ball at an opposing team in the bowling alley. Whatever the case may be, I'm sure it was a sight to behold.

- LL

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

It's the little things...

Earlier today, Shaun did one of those things that bothers me. In a good way...but it still bothers me. We were IMing back and forth, and out of the blue he said "Maybe your surprise will come in the mail today."

Surprise? What surprise? Is it in a box? In an envelope? Was it expensive? Can I find record of it on our bank statement? What is it???

I'm impatient, therefore I dislike knowing there's some surprise in store for me. I have to know now, thankyouverymuch. Somehow I made it through the remaining hours at work and managed to not look like a crazy person when I walked in the door, but you better believe it was rough!

I walked into our room, and sitting on our bed was a familiar green, yellow, and pink box. I could rattle off a ton of nerdy facts about just exactly what is in the box, but just know that it's a Baby So Beautiful. A gorgeous redheaded doll in a pink-checked dress.

You see, when I was little I religiously saved my allowance each month until I could afford to purchase a Baby So Beautiful. They were the most beautiful dolls you've ever seen, and you'll never see two that are alike. By the time they quit distributing them (1996 I believe), I owned between 15 and 20.

Fast forward to this year, and those dolls were all carefully stored in tubs at my parents house. My Mom kept asking me to take them to my house, but I didn't really have any place to store them. Now it makes me really mad that I didn't.

As we were packing up everything that wasn't destroyed by the tornado, I realized that my dolls weren't anywhere to be found. In the midst of all this, it was the straw that broke the camel's back and made me cry like a baby. I'd been saving those to give to our daughter someday, and they were gone.

Shaun knew how much it bothered me, and a couple weeks later I got my surprise: a mint-in-box BSB he found on Ebay. It made me cry all over again. That one little doll made up for the numerous dolls I had lost.

It's amazing how sometimes the little things in life, like buying a doll for someone who's probably overly sentimental about her lost childhood toys, can make such a huge difference. I'm blessed to have such a great husband who realizes that. :)

[Note: I tried really hard not to be nerdy about this, but I'm about to post every nerdy thought I've had about my lovely new doll] HolycowIfinallygotmyredheadBSB! And she's mint in the box! And she has the same color eyes as me! Which means she has the same color eyes as my personal favorite BSB in my collection, Meagan! Can I take her out of the box? No, I won't. I want her to stay in perfect condition. But I waaaaaaant to take the hairnet off her hair so I can see her curls! No...I won't. She'll stay in the box. I am NEVER letting my daughter play with her. She's mine. No wait...I need to share. No I don't. Yes I do. No...she'll stay in a box. On a shelf. A high shelf. Yes, that sounds good. A very, very high shelf. This is a good plan. Ahhhhh, look how cute her chubby little toes are! Nope, my daughter is NEVER, I repeat, NEVER playing with her. What should I name her? This could take a while...

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Hey look, everyone! I'm grouchy!

*Warning* This blog is ridiculously long and probably only interesting to anyone wondering why I'm such a grouch lately. Just so you know. I promise I'll post something less depressing soon to make up for it.

I talk a lot, so I know it's hard for people to understand that I really don't verbalize anything about big problems very often. When I do talk about them, it's usually to downplay the situation, offer up humor about it, or let someone know just enough that they understand what's going on. Rarely do I share how it makes me feel or what the problem actually is. Today I'm offering a glimpse into what my life is like right now for the third reason I gave: to help you understand why I may seem a bit crazy right now. This isn't a comprehensive list, and some of the "big stuff" has been left off simply because it's not something I want to share.

First off, most of you know we're currently dealing with the fact that my parents home was blown away by a tornado. The only house I remember living in with them is gone. My Mom's wedding china is gone, along with a lot of their other belongings. A lot of things I was saving in hopes I could give them to my daughter some day are gone forever. It's hard to describe the feelings that go along with all this. From the outside it's easy to say "at least everyone's unhurt." Yes, that is an awesome thing, but there's also a whole mess of weird feelings that come in the aftermath that could definitely make life suck if you let them. (Not saying anyone is letting them. Just saying that those feelings exist. I know a lot of people on Mom and Dad's street are struggling even more)

Now for something that not everyone knows. A friend of mine died in the Chickasha tornado and I'm having trouble coming to grips with that. I keep expecting her to get on Facebook and say "just kidding guys!" When an elderly family member or an acquaintance from church dies, I can have peace about it. When a friend who didn't share my belief in the Savior dies it's incredibly hard to find any peace about it.

My stomach literally hurts all the time. When I wake up in the morning there's always a sense of dread because the moment I stand up the pain hits. Motivating myself to do anything but lay in bed is becoming harder. I know it's mostly "stress-related," but how do you reduce the stress causing the problem when there's no way you can block out everything occurring lately?

Things don't always turn out the way I'd planned. Actually, they never do. I know that ultimately that's a great thing, but right now we're in the middle of things that I never planned because they totally suck. A lot of the things I haven't mentioned are smaller than those I've listed and some of them are even bigger. The result of all this is that I'm constantly tired, stressed out, and grouchy. It's a daily struggle to not snap at people and it's hard to look interested in things that used to be fun for me. I'm so blessed to have a family that rallies so well in hard times. Especially Shaun. He's my rock, and I also think he's the keeper of my sanity. God has given me an amazing support system.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Post-tornado update

Hello everyone! I just wanted to post a tornado update and let you know what's going on. A huge tornado struck my parents neighborhood and pretty much leveled everything. I think maybe a couple homes survived. Everyone in the neighborhood was okay thanks to the families that have storm shelters. Anyone with a storm shelter made sure to grab those who didn't and it made all the difference! As far as I know a young boy is still missing from a couple miles over, so please pray they find him soon and that he is alright.

My parents home was decimated, but thankfully most of the areas holding valuables were miraculously saved. It's so strange to see the roof caved in and walls bent in directions they weren't meant to be next to spots that are almost completely intact. For instance, the roof is gone over it, but my Mom's prized antique mirror was still hanging on the living room wall looking just fine and dandy!

It's times like these that remind me how great our family, friends, state, and church truly are. Mom, Shaun, and I received literally dozens of calls and texts checking to make sure they were okay. Half of my Mom's side of the family showed up and helped us move a bunch of stuff out of the house. Have I mentioned how amazing my family is? Because they are!

On a street already crowded with about 30 more cars than it can handle, people were showing up to gawk, clog traffic, and take photos, but at the same time there were also people showing up to be great samaritans. Trucks with horse trailers poured in to take all the horses on the block to safer spots. One was limping and had a pretty serious-looking gash but her leg wasn't broken, so she should be fine! I was glad to see people doing so much to help.

On a more serious note, this blog is also to honor a life lost yesterday. Laron Short was killed by the tornado in Chickasha and will be sorely missed. She was a graduate of USAO, my Editor-in-Chief at The Trend, and one of the most unique individuals I've ever met. She had been living in Australia and had just returned to Oklahoma on Monday. She was not a Christian, and that stabs me right in the heart. Please pray for Laron's friends and family, that God may stir their hearts and draw them to Him.

Friday, April 15, 2011

Little known facts about LL - Take One

This might turn into a recurring theme for me, so strap in and enjoy the randomness :)

Fact 1: Shaun's very cute, very tiny Maltese named Spencer happens to be my archenemy. He pees on EVERYTHING I own. Just MY stuff, not Shaun's. He peed on my favorite sweater, which I didn't notice until I was running late to work, threw on the sweater, and ran out the door. I was wondering who at work smelled like pee, then I realized "oh right, it's me." Cue Hulk-like anger, minus the greenness. He also peed on my computer bag strap. Yet again...didn't notice til I threw the darn thing over my shoulder. That five pound miscreant is lucky he hasn't been drop-kicked out my front door yet.

Fact 2: I cry easier than just about anyone else I've ever met. If you start crying around me I hope you're ready for some sympathetic tears because I'm about to turn on the waterworks. Baptisms at church? Tears. Funerals for persons I hardly know? Sniffles at the very least. Lilo and Stitch? Get the friggin' Kleenex.

Fact 3: I LOVE tattoos. Good tattoos. Not "hey look, I got this on a whim one night" tattoos, but honest to goodness permanent inked-on artwork. If you have a nifty-looking tattoo, I'll probably spend a good amount of time staring at it. Just a warning.

Fact 4: I happen to be married to the goofiest person on the planet, but you wouldn't know that if you've only been around him in public settings. I love that dude, but getting him to answer any questions directly on the first try is a challenge I have yet to overcome. I guess that was only partially about me...whoops. Oh well, it's my blog and I'll do what I want!

Fact 5: A lot of my friends with whom I identify the most live hundreds of miles away and spend over half the year on tour. For a lot of music fans, a show at the Diamond or at the Conservatory is a chance to see one of their favorite bands live, but for me it's also a chance to briefly hang out with some of the people I love. So when I tweet the next day that I'm suffering from Post Concert Stress Disorder, now you know what I mean. ;)

Tuesday, April 12, 2011


I find that God uses the most unexpected people to teach me lessons. Lately He's been teaching me the power of small actions and words like never before, mainly the power of showing your appreciation.

I've felt awfully unappreciated lately. I'll go above and beyond for someone and they act like it's nothing. That suuuuuucks. I rank it right below "just saw a dead puppy on the side of the road" on the list of "Things that make me feel awful." Have you ever seen Bedtime Stories? Like Adam Sandler, I'm feeling "under-demeciated" these days.

Sad thing is, the people who seem to forget to show appreciation are usually those who seem to have the manners to know better. I'm that person a lot of times. A lot of times you see it in business settings or even at church. On the flip side, I've seen firsthand how those you least expect gratitude from are the most likely to give it with enthusiasm.

Take for example some friends of mine in a touring band. They've got long hair and tattoos and their crazy concert to driving ratio means little time for showers. They're not exactly the type of guys you expect any kind words from AND they've had some bad luck lately that would make most people grumpy, but they are some of the most appreciative dudes you'll ever meet. We spent some time driving them around to get some errands done, and they thanked us approximately thirty billion times. No lie. As if that wasn't enough to make my entire week, before they started their encore they dedicated it to us!

Talk about awesomeness! I was living high off that moment for quite a while after that. Seriously, I've rarely felt so special. The entire rest of the weekend I've been thinking about how I can pass on that feeling, 'cause it's worth sharing. Everyone should get to feel appreciated and worthy of notice every now and then.

One of my prayers lately is that I'll learn to show my appreciation for people as earnestly as my friends. I don't think they realize what a blessing they've been to me, and I hope I can be a fraction as awesome as they are.

Friday, March 4, 2011

Music festival essentials

South by Southwest and South by So What are just around the corner (not to mention the fact that I'm already looking forward to Warped Tour), and it's time to pack those festival essentials! I've gotten so I barely even have to think about what to pack anymore, thanks to a formula I stick to religiously. Here are some of my fave items to take!

1. Covergirl concealer - Makeup melts pretty fast when you're out in the sun, so I keep it simple. Concealer is a quick fix to hide the fact that I'm completely sleep deprived, and it packs in my purse easily for touch ups.

2. JK Jemma Kidd Stain/Flush/Blush Makeup Concentrate - A pretty flush rounds out my makeup essentials and is my other secret weapon against a sleepy, bedraggled face. Jemma Kidd's is my fave since it's easy to apply with my fingers and comes in a tiny and packable package!

3. Aveeno Positively Radiant Moisturizer - As a complete pale face, I turn into a crispy lobster lookalike if I don't use moisturizer with a bit of sunscreen in it. Skin protection or bust!

4. Small over-the-shoulder bag - I've got a trusty purse that goes on all my festival adventures with me. It has enough pockets to stay organized, and can fit a camera and a snack despite its diminutive size. Don't forget to throw some hand sanitizer in there!
5. Sunglasses - I always feel like a nerd when I forget my sunglasses. Let's face it, no one wants to go around squinting at everything!

6. Cheap, dark skinnies - Since I somehow always manage to spill something or get something spilled on me at festivals I'm a huge advocate of wearing a $10 pair of dark skinnies from Forever 21. They're stretchy, comfy, and won't induce tears if you ruin them.

7. Toms - Without comfy shoes it's awfully hard to enjoy days full of music! Ignore the urge to wear those cute sandals and go for cuteness and functionality. Your feet will thank you!

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Today's small tale of woe

I've been feeling under the weather for a few days now, and today it all culminated in me taking a sick day from work. In my grouchy state, there was little to improve my mood.

I had ONE thing to look forward to today, and nothing else would do. That one thing happens to be a Woe, Is Me and Stheart collab hoodie. This hoodie:

Nothing else in my rainy, grumpy world could perk me up. Nothing. I couldn't remember whether it was coming USPS or UPS, so I waited patiently for the mail and UPS trucks to come, peering out the front door every now and then in anticipation.

Finally I heard a thump outside the front door. Success! I hurried out the front door in my pj pants and baggy shirt, grabbed the box from the porch, and ran inside.

In my glee I ripped open the box. And when I say ripped, I mean carefully opened. I didn't want to tear my awesome new Stheart hoodie.

Anger. Sadness. More grumpy feelings.

Inside the box rested not my hoodie, but a pair of shoes. Shaun's new pair of shoes, to be exact. I sat down, frustrated, mumbling made-up curse words under my breath.

My only hope then lay in the hands of the United States Postal Service. Never before had I needed to put so much trust in the hands of a government service. Despite my reservations, I was sure they wouldn't let me down.

A little while later I pulled on my polka-dot rain boots over my shamrock pjs, grabbed a jacket, and headed toward the mailbox, scanning the neighborhood for possible witnesses. I reached the mailbox, my heart pounding, and found a package within!

I rushed into the house once again, tore open the package, and pulled out...two limited edition Arkaik shirts that Shaun and I had ordered a while back. Not my hoodie.

All hope lost, I flopped on the couch, weeping tears of agony. My hoodie would not make it in time to wear for casual Friday at work.

After some brief research, Shaun found that my beloved Stheart hoodie had been misrouted and should have been in my hands by now. Yet again, a government service failed me. So much anticipation, and so little reward.

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Pride & Peaches

There is something you must know about me. I love Pride and Prejudice with all my 24-year-old heart. Jane Austen, in my opinion, is one of the cleverest writers of all time. She could make a simple description of a house witty and entertaining.

 Colin Firth. Le sigh.

I love all things Austen, but P & P holds a special place with me because Elizabeth Bennet has spunk that can't be rivaled, and let's face it: Darcy makes girls everywhere sigh longingly. I first read P & P in my 11th grade AP English Lit class, where we lovingly referred to it as Pride & Peaches. By the end of the book even the guys in our class were grudgingly admitting that the story line isn't all that bad.

Fast forward to today, and I'm lucky enough to have married the ONE man in the world who can retain his masculinity while thinking P & P is actually quite funny. He prefers the Keira Knightley version and I think Mr. Collins is his favorite character.

That's this guy. Cringe-worthy.

For Christmas Shaun even bought me the BBC Jane Austen boxed set. We've watched approximately 10 hours worth of Jane Austen's stories, and he hasn't complained yet. I'm so proud!

 That's right, I posted someone's fan art. Deal with it.

If you haven't already, I highly suggest making a reading of Pride and Prejudice a Valentine tradition. It'll have you sighing with thoughts of Bingley and Darcy in no time :)

"You must allow me to tell you how ardently I admire and love you."

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Random thought? Maybe.

There are so many things in movies that seem so cool, or at least appropriate to the scene, until you start dissecting what would have actually happened to get to that stage. I started thinking about this while watching Queen of the Damned yesterday. Take, for example, Lestat's transformation from "normal" vampire to vampire king in the movie. He goes from this...

..."normal," leather-pant-wearing, super-powered vampire man... this. Skirt [or baggy pants] wearing vampire-god with a wide belt and fringe.

Very exotic and vampire king appropriate, right? Sure. Until you start thinking of the conversation that probably led up to the skirt wearing. It probably went something like this:

Lestat: "Hey, that gold sheen on your skin is pretty cool. Where can I have that done?"

Akasha: "Gold skin-sheen comes later. First, you must put this on."

Lestat: "This is a skirt. I think I'll just wear my leather pants, if you don't mind."

Akasha: "Kings don't wear leather pants. Kings wear skirts."

Lestat: "Well this king wears leather pants!"

Akasha: "This queen doesn't have kings who wear leather pants. Skirt, or get the heck out."

Lestat: "Pants!"

Akasha: "Skirt!"

Lestat: "Pants!"

Akasha: "Skirt!"

Lestat: "Pants!"

Akasha: "Skirt!"

Lestat: "Fine!"

Let's face it, that's less than cool.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

No day like a snow day!

There's no day like a snow day! Shaun and I worked from home today, since we currently can't get out of the driveway. Right now there's a seven foot snowdrift ending on top of Shaun's truck, and if I can ever get out the front door I'll take a photo of it!

Our back yard is always gorgeous in the snow. We've got some snow drifts that the dogs are all too willing to plow into, leaving them with snow beards and icy feet!

Meanwhile, the view out our front door is pretty too. I guess the dogs concur...

 ...because they'll sit and watch the windblown snow as long as we let them!

One of the best parts of working from home is the chance to enjoy a cup of hot tea in my Tinker Bell mug and watch Dorian Gray, The Hound of the Baskervilles, and Northanger Abbey. Yep...I'm a sucker for BBC and English literature.

Last but certainly not least, lunch was fantastic! I made chicken vegetable rotini. Many of you probably know that I'm that perpetual five-year-old who can't stand any soup other than chicken noodle. I'm weird, I know. Anyhoo, I dipped into the snacks we save for when we watch the foster sisters and ate some of their Club Mini Crackers. Every time I pick one up I feel like a giant. Nom nom nom...

Days like today probably seem boring to everyone else, but sometimes I like to enjoy a quiet day full of comfort foods and classic tales. It prepares me for the rest of the crazy work week!

Monday, January 31, 2011

I always forget about the big news

I've said it before, and I'll say it again: I always forget to blog about any big news in my life. Well, since I just dropped an entire jar of the best pasta sauce ever, thus dashing any hope I had of eating amazing pasta over the snowpocalypse, I need a way to distract myself from my current pasta-pression.

Here it is: I finally got to switch over to work full time on Variance! Today was my third day on the job, and I'm enjoying it so far. It's pretty fast-paced and there's a wide array of things I get to do. Out of everything that's happened so far, though, there are two things I've enjoyed the most: 1) My opinions matter and are sought, and 2) I got to name my own title. I am officially the editorial director for Variance!

I'm sure I'll have more details as my job is shaped a little more by the new system we have in place, but that's all for now! wasn't enough to cure my sadness over the pasta. At least I tried.

Saturday, January 29, 2011

The birthday madness continues...

Hands down, birthday 24 has been the best one ever. Let's look at the evidence:


Shaun had flowers and chocolates sent to me. You have to understand that no one has ever bought me flowers. This is partially because I always said I didn't want flowers. Really, this was a lie. I just didn't want anyone [Shaun] spending too much of his money on something that I would immediately kill. Plants wilt at the slightest contact with me, I swear. They know I'm coming, and they just keel over and die. Anyhoo, prettiest flowers ever [and I'm sorry the photo is blurry].

My second piece of evidence is the abundance of desserts. Besides the above-mentioned chocolates, I've had dessert nachos from Abuelos [a family tradition for my birthday!], cake that Mom bought, and ah-mazing cookies by miz Emily. I'm amazed I haven't grown cankles and love handles yet.

Third point: presents. Shaun got me a Tim Tebow jersey. For those of you who don't know already, I love the Broncos and I think Tebow is one of the best Christian role models of our time. I used my birthday money from Mom and Dad to buy The Complete Tales and Poems of Edgar Allen Poe and a Woe, Is Me shirt. They also got me a wall decoration that says "dance." Haven't found a place to put it yet! To top it all off I got a set of Beats in-ear headphones.

Okay, I didn't have a photo for this one, but last night I got to hang out with some of my favorite people. Whenever I've had big birthday parties in the past something usually went wrong, so this time around it was nice to just chill with people I love!

There you have it folks...a very boring [to everyone but myself] list of why my birthday rocked. I do believe this one sets the bar for birthdays to come!

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Salt and light

“You are the salt of the earth; but if the salt loses its flavor, how shall it be seasoned? It is then good for nothing but to be thrown out and trampled underfoot by men. You are the light of the world. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do they light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a lampstand, and it gives light to all who are in the house. Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven." - Matthew 5:13-16

I used to wonder why I was drawn to certain places, people, events. Why my heart goes out to certain circumstances and the people in them. Then I read Matthew 5:13-16 with new eyes. What good is a candle in a brightly lit room? A little bit, maybe. However, put that candle in darkness, and people draw to it like moths. I'm looking for darkness and praying for ways to light it. When Christians cluster together in their churches, waiting for unbelievers to come to them, they're missing the point. Jesus commanded us to go, not to hang out together thinking opportunities will come find us. The darkness consumes everything around us with wild abandon when we hide our light in the basket of the church building.

If we're not out in the world shining the light of the gospel through our words and actions then we disgrace our Savior. How can they know the joy and peace of Jesus Christ if we don't show them? When I was younger I didn't understand how my passions in this life were all to be used for God's glory. At least, I didn't comprehend that each could be used as a witnessing tool. Now that I understand, every time I have a band over to my house to hang out or go to a concert and mingle with fans, I know that it's my chance to show them the narrow road.

I trip over my words a lot when I speak to people, but it's always easy to do something that opens a door to speak with them. It's amazing how I'll get these urges and notions to do something without really understanding how God is going to use that action. Sometimes it's as easy as baking cookies. Little actions, little services done for others. I used to think of servanthood as a series of actions done with the mindset "have to serve. Have to serve." Now I realize that when you truly want to serve God and people, it doesn't feel like servitude at all. It feels like a warm glow inside. That's probably one of the most sappy things I've ever said in my mostly sap-less life, but it's entirely true.

I baked a whole bunch of cookies for some of our band friends this weekend, and when I gave them the cookies I made they were so excited. You would've thought it was Christmas morning. Being able to give people that feeling with such a simple gesture astounds me and drives me to do more. It's those moments that open doors in the hearts of others.

" the weak I became as weak, that I might win the weak. I have become all things to all men, that I might by all means save some. Now this I do for the gospel’s sake, that I may be partaker of it with you." - 1 Corinthians 9:22-23

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Birfday madness

January 28 is a big day, so mark your calendar. It might possibly be the most important holiday ever...that isn't about Jesus. It's my birthday. You may start picking out your gift to me now. I like Stheart hoodies and silly bands.

My birthday present to myself this year is a trip down to Dallas on the 21st to see two of my fave bands, Woe, Is Me and The Word Alive. We Came As Romans and For Today will be there as well, so all in all I'm pretty excited! Now let's just hope this under-the-weather feeling I have doesn't turn into something disastrous before then.

Among other things, I get to see two of my favorite people on Friday: Telle Smith and Tyler Carter. For those of you who don't know, that's this guy:

...and this guy:

Cuties, huh? And they're available, ladies! I love these guys and I can't wait to see them in action again. They're so passionate about their music and their fans. Let the games begin!

Friday, January 7, 2011

Hey look! Cuteness!

Meet Allysha. One of her many joys in life is finding alternate ways to wear her clothes. Alternate shirt wearing method #483 is ventilated bonnet. Note the wonderful positioning of the sleeve, which enables the wearer to feel the wetness of the rain on a cloudy day. None of that pesky "waterproof" stuff for Allysha. Later, her shirt became a skirt. Unfortunately, the shirt-skirt did not go over as well as the ventilated shirt-bonnet, and a small crying fit ensued.

 Allysha's life is consumed with taking care of her young one. Having a baby when you, yourself, happen to be a baby can be quite tiring. Fortunately, she has mastered the art of napping with her baby's bottle in, or at least near, said baby's mouth. This is a skill few possess, but many envy.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

The slow part of the race

It's days like today that remind me that the world sucks. Sin sucks. It made the world the crappy, heartbreaking place it is now. Death, unwanted change, jealousy, oppression, anger, sadness. I wish I had my own private island where I could escape. I can think of maybe five people in the world I'd allow there.

I spent half of last night hearbroken over the fact that my dance teacher was leaving forever and I didn't even get to drive her to the airport. There are very few people I'd say have had a huge impact in my life, and she's in the top two. She lit up my life with wisdom and purpose, and she had this habit of giving me this smile and a wink that said "you've got this." The last time I saw her, as I went to get in the car to leave, I turned to wave goodbye and she gave me a smile and a wink. Like, "don't worry, we've both got this. It'll be okay." Somehow though, I don't feel like it's okay. One of the best friends I've ever had or will have is gone. In another country where I probably won't get to visit. Available only by email.

I'm not the strong type. I'm more the break-down-and-cry type, and today gave me ample reason to do so. More than just my dance teacher leaving. How is it that the world pushes you down, and keeps pushing and pushing and pushing until you crack? Why does it all happen at once? I feel like I have these weights keeping me from moving. I just want to curl up and let life pass by right now. The only hope I have is that Christ wants to remove those weights. To stop the world from pushing. In the race of life I feel like I'm moving at a crawl right now, but thankfully that won't last forever, because I have the One on my side who said His yoke is easy, and His burden is light.

"Therefore, since we have so great a cloud of witnesses surrounding us, let us also set aside every encumbrance and the sin which so easily entangles us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us." - Hebrews 12:1

Monday, January 3, 2011


I had a lot of big stuff happen in 2010. Truly, this was probably the busiest year I've ever had!

The year in jobs:
I started working at Tate Publishing as a niche marketing publicist.
Grew to know and love the best coworkers EVER.
Helped jump-start a new publication, Variance Magazine.
Shaun and I started an outlet for hardcore/metalcore/etc. music news called scene[essence].
Started a management group for local hardcore and metal bands called Intellect Management.
Signed two great bands so far, Teeth Like Lions and Beyond Our Skies.

The year in big events:
Celebrated our one year anniversary by going to the Creation Museum and marveling at God's awesome power. I'm so blessed to be married to a guy who shares the same passion for God's Word that I have.
Started Elm Street Bible Study with a group of Yukon friends.
Had a Christmas that didn't suck.
Got the house-buying process started. Scared to death.
Helped Mrs. Lawrence get ready to move back to Scotland. Cried a lot.

The year in sugar:
I drank approximately 4,608 ounces of Dr. Pepper. Give or take about 2,000 ounces.
Had an infamous Pixi Stix incident, in which my blood sugar probably reached dangerous levels.

The year in music:
Got to hang out with some awesome musicians, including Tyler Carter, Telle Smith, Chris Dudley, Chris Cerulli, and many more. I'm looking forward to more of the same this year!
Saw upwards of 60 bands in concert. Possibly over 80, but I've lost count.