August 30, 2009

Expert Traveler

I'm back from Texas and if I had to sum up my trip in one word, it would be HOT. It was a scorcher in the South. I had a really good time traveling with Leeland, but I've seen enough of Texas to last me awhile and I'm really glad to be home. There is nothing like sleeping in your own bed or showering in your own bathroom or picking out clothes from your closet rather than a suitcase. Still, I'm thankful for the opportunity to travel and to have "church" at each of my stops. I couldn't have asked for better guys to spend a week with. Well, except for my husband!


The picture above is of Leeland & Jack Mooring. I honestly can't believe I was awake enough to snap this photo. This was taken on the last day of our trip after 2 hours of sleep. We rolled into Tyler, Texas at 3am and we were out the door by 6am (I'm insane and got up an hour early to shower and iron my clothes - I'm crazy, I know).


This photo was taken in San Antonio. The guys performed in seven different cities in five days. By Thursday afternoon we were all pretty delirious. I know I don't have many blog followers, but if any of you get the chance to see these guys in concert, please go. They won't disappoint.

You would think that after being gone for a week, I wouldn't even want to think about travel, but Todd and I were running errands and I found a great deal on a new suitcase. Never in my life did I think I would be in airports as much as I am, but the more a person travels, the more important luggage becomes. We were at Target and found a Swiss Gear carry-on for half price. I couldn't resist. Todd bought it for me as an early birthday gift.


While we were shopping I grabbed a box of my new obsession: Tazo Chai Tea. I have always liked chai, but lately I crave it every day. That's one of the perks of traveling so much. I get my fill of Starbucks Iced Chai's. Tazo makes it so easy to whip up a chai latte. In the past I associated chai tea with fall, so maybe it's my way of coercing it to get here a bit quicker.


What goes great with chai lattes? How about Chai Spice Girl cookies? I'm definitely making these this year. Find the recipe here.


Yum. This makes me want to bake something. In my own kitchen. Have I mentioned how nice it is to be home?

August 23, 2009

Deep In The Heart Of Texas

I'm about to begin a 7-city/5-day road trip in Texas. I'm normally pretty excited about work trips, but my job hasn't required me to be away from home for more than 2-3 days in over a year. I forgot how hard it was for me to leave the comforts of home and more importantly, my husband for days at a time.

The good news is that I will be on the road with Leeland, so I am confident that I will laugh a lot and be challenged spiritually. Leeland Mooring has been called "a modern day prophet." I feel pretty honored to tag alongside the band as they lead hundreds in worship this week. That alone makes it easier to pack my bags.

Now if I could just do something about the crazy, southern heat wave. It may not dip below 100 degrees the entire time I'm gone. I guess I'll make good use of my summer clothes one more time before putting them away!

Texas, here I come!


August 19, 2009

Who Inspires You?

Recently I have come across many blogs that have a special feature, spotlighting a favorite blog or a family member or friend that has made a difference. What a great idea! There are many people in my life that have made a difference and I hope to write about each of them here. Today I thought I would give it a try and kick things off by introducing the blog world to one of my closest friends.

Meet Mary.


Mary and I have been friends since 7th grade. As awkward middle-schoolers, we quickly became close friends. You can't be around Mary and not smile. She's the life of the party, the center of attention, and the most gentle, giving person you will ever meet. Quite the package, huh?

Stunningly beautiful, Mary became popular by default, but she was a friend to everyone. Her passion for life is contagious. Her toothy grin and silly humor will bring you to tears. I can't say enough about her!


What I love the most about Mary is her servant's heart and her love for the Lord. I can honestly say that I don't know who or where I would be had she not entered my life. I didn't grow up in church. My parents quit attending when I was six, soon after they divorced (thankfully they are both involved in great churches now!). I hopped from church to church, denomination to denomination hoping to fit in. I was about to give up when Mary invited me to her church, James River. It was at James River that I came to know Christ and my life was radically changed, but it was also my friendship with Mary that strengthened my faith. High school was tough for me. That may sound crazy because I can sit here and say I dated the captain of the football team, was a homecoming attendant twice (losing the crown to Mary herself!), was a member of the dance team and had the best friends a girl could ask for. But my relationship with Todd became serious too fast, and drama quickly followed. Mary carried me through. She cried with me when Todd and I broke up. She prayed with me when my parents were fighting. She understood me when I struggled with doubt. She was right beside me on my wedding day. She introduced me to my Savior. You can see that when I say I don't know where I would be without her, I mean it.


Mary is currently living in Virgina Beach working as a Social Worker. She just married her best friend Ryan and although I don't see her nearly enough, I feel so blessed when we do get the chance to catch up.


Words can't express how thankful I am for my Mary. She's a keeper!

August 12, 2009

If I Could Do It All Again

I recently found the blog of an incredible local photographer that made me ask myself the question, "If given the chance, would I do it all again?" More specifically, if I could go back in time, would I change anything about my wedding? My first response was yes, I would absolutely go back and do it again. It was the best day of my life. Why wouldn't I want to relive it? But would I change anything? Yeah, I think so.

Our lives have changed so much since our wedding day over 4 years ago. Our tastes are different, our friends are different, our address is completely different. If money were no object, I would celebrate my 5 year anniversary with a Stepp Wedding Part II.

Dream with me...

First, I think I would have an outdoor wedding surrounded by yellow wildflowers (assuming the weather and my hair cooperated). This is, after all, just a dream.


How adorable are these invitations and wedding favors?



Todd's groomsmen would definitely have to wear suspenders.


Just a cozy, intimate wedding with my closest family and friends.


Where we would take fabulous photos like this one:


Anthropologie would provide the table settings.


While we dined under the stars with our best friends.


Wait a second, the picture above looks familiar...


Oh yeah, that's what it reminded me of.

So yes, I'm one of those girls who would do her wedding all over again, but only because some really special people have come into our lives that didn't get to share it with us the first time. I guess I could just go all out on a vow renewal ceremony. I do love to plan a party!

August 10, 2009


What a week! I'm back home after a whirlwind trip to Denver. Todd and I have been crazy busy, but today for the first time in weeks I've been able to catch my breath. I can't tell you how much I've needed it.

Colorado was beautiful. My grandmother and most of her side of the family live in the Denver area, so I was able to stay with her for a couple of days. I'll stay with family over a hotel any day. Especially when I'm traveling alone. It was also good timing because I had a bit of a work crisis while on the road and being around family saved me. I had a near breakdown (for those of you who follow me on twitter, you know what I'm talking about). It was one of those "I work so hard, so many hours, hours away from my husband, and for what?" moments. It wasn't pretty. Fortunately I got my act together in time for God to show me the "for what." He does that every time. I forget. He reminds me. Every time. Without fail.

Tenth Avenue North played to a full-house. For a relatively new band, they packed that 2,000 seat church in Denver in minutes and hundreds were turned away because there was no room. There aren't many bands (even in Christian music unfortunately) that draw me into a place of worship like these guys. God has an anointing on them that is unbelievable. I was definitely humbled and reminded that this "thing" I do called the music industry is so much bigger than my deadlines and schedules. People are coming to Christ through a song or a word from one of our artists and I have the privilege of saying I helped get that song on the radio. It doesn't make the job any easier, but it does make the stress a bit more manageable. I flew back to Nashville with a little more perspective. Unfortunately, I'll forget again and God will have to remind me...again. Sad, huh?


Me & Grandma

013 - Copy

Tenth Avenue North playing to a waiting crowd in Denver, CO

In the midst of the craziness I have somehow had the time to read two great books. I guess that's because there isn't really much else to do when you're 36,000 feet in the air.

I was able to snag an advanced copy of Max Lucado's new book Fearless. Oh my word. It's one of the best books I've read in a really long time. I might be a bit biased because one, I love Max Lucado, and two, I've struggled with fear most of my life. Fearless does a spectacular job of covering all kinds of fear and deals with those unique fears in a powerful way. This book really got me thinking. It made me angry at times (because I try to justify hanging on to my fears), but it opened my eyes too. It's definitely a book I will come back to over and over again.


The other book, that I just finished last night, is called The Sweet By & By. If you know me very well, you know that I just adore senior citizens. The Sweet By & By is set in a nursing home and it tells the story of two women in the home, their nurse and their hairdresser. It's an easy read and such a sweet story. It really makes you think about getting older, what's really important, and how you want to look back on your life.


*Tracy, I know you just bought it, but I was able to snag a copy at the library and couldn't wait to read it!

Wishing everyone in blogland a happy, productive week.

August 7, 2009


One of my best friends, the beautiful Christiana Rush, has an amazing blog. I'm telling you, she has a gift for writing like you have never seen. Her blog is going to be bigger than The Pioneer Woman's! I think so anyway.

You have to check out her blog: This.Very.Moment.

I'm also a little giddy because she interviewed me for her new Friday Favorites feature. I feel so honored.

So go check it out and give it a good read. You won't be sorry.


The wonderfully talented Christiana Rush
Seriously, go check this girl out!
Happy Friday. :)

August 2, 2009

Weekend Getaway: Huntsville, Alabama

Todd and I are home after a quick road-trip to Huntsville, Alabama. I know that doesn't sound very glamorous, but that was the point. We just wanted to get away for a night to recharge - no flights, no long hours in the car, no spending tons of money, just a night away for the two of us to do nothing. Sometimes doing nothing makes for the best weekends.

Several months ago I found this great little area of Huntsville in an issue of Southern Living. There I go again, mentioning that magazine! I was interested when they compared it to Venice (Italy) and Los Angeles. Really? Huntsville, Alabama? No way. I had to see for myself.

So Todd and I packed our things and headed south. On our way we stopped by the Unclaimed Baggage Center. I had never heard of this place. Todd's co-worker recommended that we check it out. It's a huge warehouse that is full of lost luggage. It's TJ Maxx on crack. Unfortunately Todd and I didn't find anything we couldn't live without. I almost bought a Tommy Hilfiger overnight bag for $15, but if you know me, I hate spending money, so I put it back.


We later arrived at our hotel, grabbed a delicious dinner and did a little shopping before the rain started pouring. It was great that our hotel was only steps from the mall.

We stayed here:


At a little over $100 a night, you can't go wrong. Our room was beautiful.

We ate here:


Ketchup is part of the Dolce Group, owned by Ashton Kutcher. Why he decided to invest in Huntsville is beyond me, but I'm not complaining. It's close to Nashville and the food was great.


I ordered the slider sampler - a mini kobe beef burger, a mini grilled tuna burger and a mini pork burger. So good. Obviously a restaurant named Ketchup is going to have plenty of the red stuff. The sampler above includes apple, bbq, traditional, chipotle and ranch flavored ketchup. I was digging the apple and chipotle. Todd was a big fan of the ranch.

We shopped here:


Oh Anthropologie, how I wish I made more money. I would buy one of everything in your store.


The Bridge Street Town Center in Huntsville is gorgeous. The mall offers gondola and paddle boat rides. This is why it gets its comparison to Venice. I've been to Italy, and it's definitely no Venice, but it does make for a great European-esque visit if you're looking for a fun place to stop in northern Alabama.

I'm thankful that Todd and I had the chance to sneak away together before I jet off to Denver this week. I cherish our times together because I know it won't always just be the two of us. But while it is, I try to be intentional about making the most of it.

013 (2)

Hope your weekend was a relaxing one!