January 28, 2009

Oh, Houston

I just got back home from a work trip to Houston. I can definitely say it was a trip I will never forget: I got in my first car accident. It was awful. For a moment it was like I was in slow motion, and then I felt like things were spinning so fast that I couldn't see straight. I'm completely fine (praise the Lord!) but two cars were beat up pretty badly.

It's so crazy how a few seconds can change a life. Had I been a few seconds behind, I wouldn't be writing this. I wouldn't be crying out to God to give me favor so that Todd and I aren't slapped with huge insurance deductibles. I wouldn't be an emotional wreck. But had I been a few seconds ahead - I wouldn't be writing this. I don't even know that I would still be here.

The short story is that I got turned around in downtown Houston, got confused by their streets/lights and ended up colliding into another vehicle. The other part of the story is that I was protected by a mighty God who loves me so much that he would let me walk away without a scratch. I have been completely covered in prayer by friends and family and their love has been wonderfully overwhelming.

I didn't want to write this post. I wanted to pretend that this never happened. But it did and I have been shown love and kindness that I don't deserve. So thankful to be back in my own home tonight. So thankful to be with my husband. I'm just, well, so thankful.

Houston, I forgive you.

January 24, 2009

Barbara's Homecookin'

Last night Todd and I decided we were long overdue for a date night. I can't remember our last date night - long before Christmas I know for sure. We are both huge fans of local mom & pop restaurants and I was thrilled to come across Barbara's Homecookin' on a local food critic's site. As soon as I saw the pictures I knew we would love this place. I picked Todd up and told him I was taking him somewhere new. The look on his face when we pulled into the parking lot was priceless! The food was amazing - I felt like I had stepped back into a small town in Missouri. It felt like home. The food was great. It's not at all good for you, so I don't recommend it to those on a diet, but if you're wanting to splurge on some greasy food, look no farther than Barbara's Homecookin' in Franklin, Tennessee!

Above photos courtesy of Donna / The Franklin Fun Times Guide

I ordered the fried catfish, mashed potatoes (that have been featured in Southern Living as the best mashed potatoes in the South in 2005) and fried okra. Oh my word - so good!

January 22, 2009

Seafood Never Looked So Good!

When I'm on the hunt for a great new recipe, Southern Living is one of the first places I look. I was flipping through magazines while Todd was watching 30 Rock and came across a great recipe for tilapia. I haven't been a seafood fan long. As a kid I couldn't stand the taste of it, but fortunately my taste buds changed!
I'm thinking I may have to make this over Valentine's Day weekend. Since our budget is tight this year, I'm sure we'll do a nice dinner at home. However, one of our youth girls got us both gift cards for 30 minute massages (how amazing is that?!) so that will be part of our V-Day weekend as well.

I'm hoping this recipe does the trick:
Pecan Crusted Tilapia - photo courtesy of Southern Living. The recipe can be found here.

January 21, 2009

President Barack Obama

Watching the inauguration yesterday was moving and inspiring. It is amazing how far we have come as a nation. But I have to say for me, the most moving event that took place yesterday was Rick Warren's prayer for President Obama and the country.

In that moment we were reminded how truly blessed we are as Americans - to freely worship our Savior and to ask for His help in guiding our nation. I, like many, also felt the great responsibility of praying for our country and our new President.

If you didn't get the chance to hear the opening prayer, you can watch below.

January 17, 2009

A Warm Bowl of Soup

It's another cold day in Nashville. It's so hard to not wish the days away, wanting Spring to be here. One great thing about cold weather is the food. Todd's mom gave me a great soup mix when we were home for Christmas. All I had to do was add veggies and pasta. The whole house smelled like delicious herbs and spices. It was a great way to distract me from the bone chilling cold!
Our dear friends Josh and Christi are home sick today. I'm sure they're snuggling in bed trying to get rest. Christi - want me to bring you some of the soup I made? :)

January 16, 2009

Baby, It's Cold Outside!

In the morning when I rise...
In the morning when I rise...
In the morning when I rise...
Give me Jesus
- Fernando Ortega
Photo courtesy of Southern Living.
The temperature when I got up this morning was 7! That's cold. It was all I could do to get out of bed. I wanted to stay under the blankets for hours, and then get up and make the yummy "Easy Orange Rolls" that were featured in Southern Living last month. Just looking at the picture makes my mouth water. I'm going to make those soon.
Although I wasn't thrilled about getting out of bed, I woke up feeling renewed today. Last night Todd and I had dinner with a couple of friends that I work with and headed home to spend our typical Thursday night watching The Office and Greys. But we've been trying to be more intentional with our time, so after The Office, we turned off the TV and opened our Bibles. It has been a while since we have done that. Todd has really been getting into Revelation, so a neighbor (and pastor) of ours brought by a stack of books for him. I actually had to ask Todd to put the books down and come to bed.
I really feel like this year is going to be different. I believe that our relationships with our friends and family will grow deeper. I think our marriage will strengthen and most importantly, if God can do what He has done in the first few weeks of 2009 for us and those close to us (bringing exciting opportunity to friends, saving another friend's job from layoff), then I have no doubt that He will continue to do great things.

January 15, 2009

Home Office Inspiration

I'm finding myself more and more interested in interior design. Maybe it's because I own a home or maybe it's that it is such a great creative outlet. I often think about taking design classes - just to have a backup in case the music industry crumbles, but I love my job, so until I'm forced to find another career, I'll just enjoy day dreaming of how my house could look "someday."

I actually don't mind the fact that I can't afford to decorate my house the way I would like. It's still fun to read home design magazines and day dream about what my house could be like. If I actually had the money, I could change everything, but when the new edition of Home arrived, I wouldn't be able to start all over again when I see a new great idea. So for now I'll keep myself content just "playing pretend."
Speaking of decor ideas, I saw a great home office setup in the newest Pottery Barn catalog. Todd and I have debated whether or not to turn one of our bedrooms into an office or to save it for a nursery. After flipping through PB, I think we should save it for a nursery. We have a great space downstairs that can work for an office one day. I like to think it would look something like this:

Photo courtesy of Pottery Barn.

Aprons, Aprons!

I have a slight fetish with aprons. I just love them - although I'm bad about remembering to wear mine. I'm slightly more in love with the idea of having cute aprons. But I'm going to be better about wearing them! Especially after seeing this post from one of my favorite blogs. How cute is this?! She will be posting the pattern soon. I think I'm going to have to try to make one myself.

Photos courtesy of The Sticklers Blog.

Just for fun, here's a picture of me in the apron my wonderful friend Allison made for my birthday. I love the pocket - it looks like an oven mitt! I was happily showing it off to my family this past Thanksgiving. Every girl should own one great apron! :)

January 14, 2009

Picture Perfect Evening

Update - that photo wall I mentioned in an earlier post is complete! Thanks to a wonderful Christmas gift (a gift card to Pier 1) and some matting from Hobby Lobby, I finished my photo wall just minutes before our youth kids came over for Bible study. I have to say that I'm pretty proud of it, although the pictures don't show it off well. :)

Tonight was a great night with our youth group. I have been guilty of complaining about it taking up another night of my week, so to give them the best of us, Todd and I decided to cut out other activities including a small group with close friends to better serve our kids. It's a funny thing what happens when you listen to that small voice inside of you and surrender your life (and schedule) to our Creator. God definitely moved in our home tonight and it's amazing what He is doing in the lives of our students. They were open and honest. One of our kids flat out said he just isn't sure about this whole "Christian" thing. There were no weird looks, no awkwardness, just patience and acceptance. I know the others will see him through this. They made it clear that they will walk through the journey with him. Wow.

So thankful for those students and also thankful that clearing out the clutter is already making a difference. I'm already looking forward to spending next Wednesday night with them. Sadly, I don't say that often enough. The past few months have been so busy that I lost sight of what is important and what God is doing. I'm excited to learn what else I was missing out on when I controlled my life instead of letting God lead.

January 8, 2009

I'm Getting Organized In 2009

Last year I bought the best day planner (I was sure it was going to be the best because it was on back order for months!). But it arrived and it was the best. I reordered another one today. It's stylish and simple and I take it everywhere.

I've caught the organization bug. I know everyone says they're going to get more organized at the beginning of the year. Funny thing is that I don't have much "stuff" to organize. We have empty rooms and closets. It's more of a mental organization. We do have a laundry room, but for some reason the dirty clothes rarely make it there. I just feel so calm when everything is in its place. When I was younger, I couldn't start my homework until my room was clean. I'm just that way. Life just feels less chaotic when things are organized. I'm better at picking up my Bible and reading it when it's on my night stand and not in the car because I forgot to bring it in after church. I'll remember to put something in the mail if it's ready to go on the counter, not stuck under dirty dishes. I'll have more time for the friends I love when I'm not saying yes to everything that comes my way.

So here's to being organized in my home and life in general. I'm cleaning out life's clutter this year. The activities that are wearing me out and the unnecessary items that I add to my to-do list. I think that's my goal for this year: get rid of the junk, be content with less and live a simpler, more organized life.

Inspired to go get the amazing day planner I mentioned?

Get your own here! Image courtesy of Paper Source.

January 6, 2009

Same Kind of Different As Me

One more thought for the night - read this book! It's amazing.

Click here to order a copy.

Love Was In The Air

Todd and I are back in Nashville and have finally caught up on sleep. We literally went non-stop the entire time we were in Ozark. When I got back to work and told co-workers about our trip and how busy we were, they told me that the next time we shouldn't tell people we are in town. That sounds good in theory, but I could never do that. Our families get so excited when we visit and go to extreme measures to spend time with us. Todd and I are treated like kings and queens - but that is not what we go home for. I could never not tell my grandparents I was visiting. Or my cousins or anyone else in my family. They just mean too much to us. I cried when I drove away from my parents house. I haven't been so sad to leave Ozark in a long time. We have already made plans to go back. March 12-15. Can't wait!
We ended our vacation in wedding craziness. My best friend from high school, Mary, got married on January 2nd. I have never seen a more beautiful bride. She was beaming. So pure and beautiful. God absolutely had His hand on every detail of that wedding. Two wonderful people so in love with each other and their Savior. I gave up holding back the tears during rehearsal dinner! I love weddings. When I hear the vows, I'm secretely repeating those vows again to my husband. I never want to forget the vows I made. Love is such an amazing thing.

Now it's back to life as normal, but Todd and I are so thankful for the 12 days we had back home. We made lots of great memories and are anxiously waiting to see our friends and family from Missouri again very soon.

Mary, the beautiful bride.

Andrea, me, Mary & Ashley - My best friends from high school.