Thursday, November 8, 2012

These Are A Few of my Favorite Things - Fall Clothes Love

I know I am not the most fashionable person that ever existed, and I do not claim to be.  However, I will tell you everyday how much I love Fall and something I love about Fall are the clothes... sweaters and coziness go hand in hand for me and I loved putting these outfits together for you :)  

Color is important.  Looking down at these mint or mustard flats would bring so much joy to me... i wish they were mine!  Maybe it is working in corporate America that has made me appreciate a fun weekend outfit, or maybe it was deep in there all along.  Either way, I hope you enjoy these two outfits as much as I enjoyed creating them! friends... explore it!  I know I will continue to do so :)  

Happy Thursday Friends!

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Pumpkin Picking and Family Fun

A few weeks ago Bill mentioned wanting to go to a Pumpkin patch with me, and I thought it sounded like such a "Ryan idea," and told him I would love that.  Well, as usual, I struggled to remember he wanted to do something since I did not write it on our calendar, so he brought it up again.  I expressed enthusiasm and asked when he wanted to go, and we couldn't pick a time, so it slipped my mind one more time.  The third time around, he was frustrated and said he could tell that I didn't want to go... To his surprise I said I was completely excited and wanted to go SO badly.  It's so funny how different people read a situation!  I had been excited since the first mention.  We put it on the calendar and asked my sister Faith and her boyfriend Josh to join us!

The only reason I mention this is to let you all know that sometimes I cannot remember anything.  In fact, I just completely forget things all the time.  I never want anyone to take that personally.  I just have the worst memory.  Like... I leave cabinets open and burners on... poor Bill has to follow me around often and make sure I don't do anything destructive!  I have to learn to laugh about this characteristic of myself, or else it will make me sad.  It is not for lack of care that I forget...

Now, onto my pumpkin patch recap!  
The four of us headed to the patch, pick your own vegetable field, and corn field maze as a small bundle of excitement.  We carpooled over, which I think always helps a groups moral, and we walked the fields of pumpkins.  Honestly, it was pretty slim pickins when we arrived.  However, we found some humor in it and picked some sad looking pumpkins to be prominent in our photo ops :)  We had a great time wandering through a joke of a corn field maze and learning how the "pick your own vegetable patch" worked.

At the end of this outing I realized how comfortable I am with these lovely people.  Faith and Josh are younger than Bill and I, but we really enjoy their company and it is just natural now since we have been able to spend so much time together.  

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Life As I Know It - My Day to Day After Marriage

First of all, I am happy to report that I love living life around Bill.  He is just such an easy person to be around and he really sets me at ease. He loves to read and always is comfortable and cooks fun food with me and always makes me laugh.  I know, I know... I am SUCH a newlywed, but I am OK with it.  I just love him with every part of me.

Life as I know it has changed.  I no longer live with a girlfriend who I chat with and she braids my hair... Now I live with a boy who is always smiling.  Honestly, I tried to go into this whole marriage thing with no expectations, but I guess I had a few.  You listen to people your whole life tell you what marriage will be like, and you can't help but take some of what they say to heart.  However, what I have learned is that my marriage is different from everyone else's.  No matter what someone else would do, I need to learn to approach things best for me and Bill.

Bill needs patience and understanding and love and respect - some men need other things.  We can always give each other advice on how to best handle a situation, but the only thing we should operate off of is peace with the all knowing God who knows the heart of our significant other.

Everyday I come home to happy man.  We just love to be around each other.  Whether we are cooking or cleaning or reading or watching a movie, I am just happy to be next to him through it all.  I guess this is the part that has surprised me the most.  I am not sad the wedding is over.  So many people told me I would have this "depression" after we got back from the honeymoon, and sure I wish we were still in Thailand and off work and living outside of reality.  But, its nice to know that even in my real life, Bill is the most wonderful thing for me.

I will sleep happy tonight with Bill next to me.  He just completes my heart.  

Thursday, November 1, 2012

A Week of Pure Bliss - Our Thai Adventure


I still can't believe we got to experience the wonderful adventure that was this place.

We left the day after the wedding for Phuket and after over 24 hours in airports and on airplanes we landed in our new favorite place.  Our resort was absolutely incredible - Expansive with pool after pool and bar after bar.  Nestled right on the beach, with so many amenities we could barely keep track of them.  We had a wonderful welcome when our barefoot bellhop brought our bags into our room with a bottle of wine waiting on the counter.  Chocolates sat close by and a bathtub full of flower petals.  Towels folded into the shape of swans sat on the bed and we loved it all.

We fell fast asleep in our fluffy king sized bed and every day blended into the next after that.  LOTS of amazing food, baby elephants that hung out by the pool, Thai massages, beer and wine, walks and talks, late nights and lots of sleeping in, cooking classes, bus rides, an elephant trek through the jungle, a boat cruise at sunset, and the most incredible husband.  It was a dream of a honeymoon, and it was only the beginning.  I fell more in love every minute of every day, and it just felt like we were the only two people in the world for a week straight.

I will write more about the elephants and cooking class at a later date, and you can look forward to many wonderful pictures.  In the meantime, know they were the highlights of the trip for me in many ways!

From Phuket we headed to Bangkok for a complete change of pace.  Bangkok was fast and upbeat with tons going on and constant motion around us.  It is a wake up early and stay up late city.  We walked everywhere.   We hit tons of markets, had an overwhelming amount of street food, took a ferry taxi, checked out the Grand Palace, shopped, dressed up for a fancy dinner, and stayed in a swanky hotel. 

When we got on the plane to come home my heart was too happy to be sad.  My time with Bill in Thailand was honestly the best week I have ever had.  I can't wait to travel again with him, but I don't think anything will ever compare to this trip.  I have never felt more beautiful or more relaxed. 

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

The Day I Became Mrs. Rogers

My Wedding Day.

I could not have imagined a more perfect and beautiful day. 
I have never felt more incredible. 

A sea of lovely friend and family filtered in and out of the room where I was getting ready and everyone looked incredible.  So many smiles, so much fawning, and through it all I could not wait to see my Bill.  I just needed those big eyes and sweet smile to bring my heart to ease.  I was not nervous, just ready.  I was not anxious, but I absolutely was antsy.  I just wanted to be with my love.

As I walked down the aisle and saw his face, I could not believe our moment had come.  I felt like God had brought me into that moment to understand his relationship with the church.  We are the bride of Christ.  The way I felt that day is how the church should feel when they are presented to Christ.  If I am fully honest, the parallel was almost too much for that moment.  It was overwhelming enough as it was!  As I looked into Bill's gentle face nothing else was on my mind but the love that we shared.  Every word he said stuck in my heart, and will remain there forever.  As I recited my vows I began to cry, out of compelte love and adoration for the man that stood before me, the man that moments later became my husband.

As we exited the field and walked into our new life as one, my heart melted.  Our kiss had been fabulous and our love is so incredible.  I was grinning from ear to ear and could not help but look at my future in Bill's eyes.  My love for him was overflowing, and as portraits happened and people filtered by my side I could only focus on how happy I was to have made the promise for forever.  I can't believe I get to keep Bill!  It still feels too good to be true.

When the pictures ended and we went into the house for a break, my hair went up, my dress got bustled, and we got ready to enter the reception.  Everytime I looked at Bill, I swooned.  His ring glistened in the light that hung over head and I could not stop smiling.  We walked out onto the back deck and into the tent in the backyard, and as we made our way to our seats, I made eye contact with so many dear people to me.  My father got up to speak and brought the room to tears.  The food was served and the brick oven pizza and homemade pastas were incredible.  The wine was flowing and everywhere I looked I saw joy spreading.  And now it was time for bartending.

Bill and I decided to forego the money dance and do something we called "Tip Your Bartenders" to raise money for the honeymoon.  We had a few large format bottles of wine at the wedding and we held those and had people pose for pictures with them and had the groosmen pouring wine for everyone as they were in line.  It was a huge success and we got really wonderful pictures with lots of people at the wedding.

Dancing began and people were having an absolute blast.  I did not see anyone who was not enjoying themselves.  The dancing turned into the main event and the patio was full of fun.  Songs were playing loudly and everyone was jumping and laughing and bumping to the music.  I enjoyed every moment and even got Bill out on the dance floor with me.  He was really amazing the entire time!  Speeches and toasts began and everyone said wonderful things about us.  We were really humbled by the love we received.

We headed out into the field where the ceremony took place to do something I had been envisioning for awhile.  I loved the idea of a candlelighting ceremony, but I felt as though it lacked in one specific area - It does not include everyone else at the wedding!  My vision came to fruition when everyone lit candles together and encircled Bill and I with our parents in the center as we were prayed over and I shared some thoughts straight from my heart.  It was an incredibly special moment for Bill and I, as we really considered everyone there family, and I was able to share that with them.

We headed back to the reception site and partied a little longer.  Cake cutting and friendship continued.  The dancing wrapped up with a song from the Wedding Singer "Grow Old With You" and as I looked around and at Bill I realized it was the perfect day.  I was so thanksful and humbled and overwhelmed and happy.  We ran out under gold sparklers with our friends and family waving and smiling.  It was so bittersweet. 

Once in a lifetime does not sum up our wedding - it was truly God sent to fill my heart with joy for years to come.  Wow, reliving it just now has brought an incredible feeling to my heart.  Don't worry friends, lots more pictures to be shared.  Patience :)

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

A Marathon of Celebration - Drinks, Crabs & Baseball

How can I put so much joy into words? 

Our wedding celebration was incredible from start to finish.  I will cover the actual wedding day tomorrow, but what I want you to hear about today is everything leading up to the wedding.  We had a marathon of celebration and to tell you how much it meant to me would be impossible.  So many wonderful people who love Bill and I drove and flew from all over the country to celebrate our union.  It was more than just a night out, a crab feast, and a baseball game.  It was about our friends and family being in the same place at the same time and having the most wonderful week ever.  Honestly, everytime I looked around I was overwhelmed with a rush of excitement and love.  God really blessed me through our wedding with the people in our lives.  Whether I haven't seen them in years or I see them all the time, it was such a joy to have everyone in one place.  A humbling, overwhelming and joyous blessing.

There were three night time celebrations leading up the wedding.  The Bachelor/Bachelorette Party in Baltimore, the crab feast at the Wecker family home (where I grew up), and the Orioles baseball game at Camden Yards.  I could never choose a favorite night, but I'm going to attempt to succinctly sum them up for you now.

The Bachelor/Bachelorette party started at a restaurant in downtown Fells Point, which is a neighborhood in Baltimore.  Everyone carpooled down and looked amazing (we have some good looking friends).  It was one of those nights that felt like a dream.  Great food, good drinks, wonderful friends, so much laughter and conversation... our table was perfection - long and high and constantly changing.  We walked around and hung out with everyone.  Honestly, it was Bill and my dream to have all of our wonderful friends in this environment.  I felt like the most beautiful bride in the world everytime I caught Bill's eye.  Every friend that made it out this night is SO special and important to us. 

Sigh... to have them all together was an answered prayer.

After dinner, the boys and girls split up and I looked at the girls around me and was overcome with what God had provided for me.  I went through a dark period that lacked deep relationships with women of God, and as I looked around at my drop dead gorgeous girlfriends and family, I was reminded what an answer to prayer they all are.  They are beautiful, they hold me accountable, they take time to listen to my heart, and they check in on me even when we are apart.  We got some drinks and dessert and then headed home for a movie and junk food.  It was so perfect :)

The next evening was the rehearsal and rehearsal dinner.  As we started practicing it all started to set in.  You plan and plan and then the rehearsal arrives and you start to really understand all that matters is you and your husband-to-be and the love that you share.  While we were rehearsing, Bill's eyes welled up with tears and he looked at me in the sweetest way.  I gave him a big hug, and in that moment, and every moment after, nothing else mattered.  We wrapped up the rehearsal and pulled ourselves together and headed to the other half of the yard for dinner.

Something that Maryland is known for is crab feasts, and Bill and I had a crazy idea to invite 75 people to a crab feast in my parent's back yard for our rehearsal dinner.  Honestly, I had my doubts about pulling off a crab feast of this scale, but once we set the ball in motion it seemed like everyone was on board.  Once it all started, I knew we hit the nail on the head.  It went absolutely perfectly!  Beer was flowing, hot crabs were dumped on tables as needed.  We had the perfect amount for everyone and the Maryland natives taught those who had never partaken before.  We projected the Ravens game on the side of the house, and when I caught Bill's eye halfway through my eyes welled up with tears.  It was EXACTLY what we were both picturing and it was an amazing and epic night. 

The night before the wedding was one of the most anticipated events of the weekend, the Orioles baseball game at Camden Yards.  This was something Bill and I were thrilled to share with our family and friends alike.  It was a gorgeous, clear night with a slight chill in the air.  As everyone arrived and filled in our block of seats I was once again thrilled with the turnout.  Each night had gotten progressively bigger, and this night was a huge group of people.  About 2/3 of the people that came to our wedding were at the baseball game the night before. 

We were in the top section, and apparently on nationally sydicted television.  My sisters and family made KissCam signs and the fireworks lit up the sky after the game finished with an Orioles victory.  We danced and drank and ate hot dogs and just soaked up the atmosphere that baseball staidums offer.   

I just couldn't believe it had all happened at the end of this night.  Not only had we pulled it all off, but it had gone off without a hitch.  There was no drama or problems.  Everyone was on board for the celebration of a lifetime.  We kept it simple and were rewarded for our efforts of dreaming big and making sure everyone felt like family, because they truly are.  I could not have imagined a more incredible few days leading up the the wedding.  I was blown away by the efforts of our bridal parties and our amazing friends. 

Bill and I wish we could thank everyone in person individually by buying them dinner and fawning all over them, but in the case that it can't happen, we want to make sure if you read these words you feel our thanks.  We are extremely grateful and overwhelmed by your generosity. 

Monday, October 29, 2012

A Penny For Your Thoughts - Wedding Updates To Come and Inspiration

I am back and aiming to keep you much more updated on the goings on in the Roger abode.  That's right, I am officially Mrs. Ryan Rogers!  So Surreal... It feels like it was a long time coming, but in reality we have not hit 3 years together yet!  Being a Mrs. is overwhelming in the best way.  I am overwhelmed with my love for Bill and the fact that we get to spend life together... It's almost too much for my heart to imagine. 

I am happy to report I had the most lovely wedding that ever existed.  For me, it could not have been more perfect.

Honestly, I feel like it was a dream come true and I have to pinch myself often.  While I was prepared for something to go entirely wrong, the food to be ruined, my dress to rip, and people to be standing around not having a good time - none of those things happened.  In fact, everything went better than expected.

To start back on this blogging train, I want to update you on each item involved in the wedding; and while I am not sure how to tackle it yet, I know I am going to try.  Wedding week, the wedding day, our honeymoon, and life since we returned are what I hope to give you a glimpse into this week, as best I can.  Be prepared for lots of swooning and an over pouring of my heart about my love for Bill and the amount that it completes me.  I love coming home to his smiling face!

I hope to give you tons to read about in the coming months and to find my voice all over again.  I have missed consistently pouring my heart out and I think I am struggling with processing because once I discovered this nothing has fulfilled me quite the same.  Pray for me to push through this block and find my way back to writing.  I have plenty of inspiration surrounding me, I just need to tap into it!

Check back with me tomorrow :)  Get used to it!

Monday, September 24, 2012

A Penny For Your Thoughts - Birthdays and Thank Yous

I cannot believe I have been gone from my beloved blog for so long.  I have not just missed writing, but I have needed this type of processing.  I recently experienced someone asking me to say what I wanted them to type and I realized it is not as easy for me to say what I am thinking as it is for me to type it out.  

I am not sure why I chose today to begin writing again.  While it may feel arbitrary, it may be because I am getting married this week and I have a lot to process.  It may be because I have never been through this before and with no frame of reference a blogger must write it out.  It may be because I have realized that I have so much encouragement to offer anyone who reads this, and it may be because people have been surprising me lately and I want to share that with the world.  

No matter why I chose to start writing again, I chose it, and I can easily stop - like I have once before.  However, I find my spirit rejuvenated.  First from my love for my unbelievable man who I cannot wait to make lifelong promises to in front of family and friends.  And second, for my renewed faith in my creator.  No matter where you lie on the faith scale, please give my heart a chance to speak to yours.  While you may not resonate with my faith, I guarantee you will resonate with one of my struggles.  And maybe the way I handle it will bring you to an understanding of my character and from that you will begin to understand my faith.  Don't rule it out :)

Tomorrow is my beautiful Mother and Sister's birthday, and while I wish I could be with them, I am so glad they can be with each other.  I want to write a little about them to give you a taste of these people who mean the world to me.

Faith is like a serious ray of sunshine.  She literally livens up any party and brightens up every room she walks into.  She has a contagious energy and a beautiful smile.  Her spirit loves to sing, and she does it like a literal angel before your eyes.  It is amazing to be around her and witness her faith and love grow and change and develop.  I am so proud of her and can't wait to celebrate so many more achievements in her life.  This birthday marks her independence and I cannot wait to see where God takes her and our friendship!  She is one of the maids on honor for me in my wedding on Saturday (along with our other beautious sister) and I cannot believe I was blessed with her to be one of my best friends in life.  I love you Faith Rose!

My mom is someone you should get to know.  She is generous with her last two pennies.  She will literally give you the coat off her back.  She is kind and SO forgiving and honestly someone I want to be just like when I grow up.  When I think of my family I immediately think of my parents.  They are such a strong team and people Bill and I aspire to be like.  She alone is smart, funny, kind and unbelievably wonderful.  I do not say these things because she is my mother; you can ask anyone in her life.  Patti Wecker would do anything for anyone and I hope to be just like her someday.

All this being said, I will be taking a red eye tomorrow night to begin the celebration of my wedding to William Jesse Rogers.  Honestly, I cannot say enough good things about him, and if you want to read a little bit about our journey go to the "My Boy" section of the blog in the right sidebar.  I hope to bring you updates on my heart and head as this week goes on and to give you my inner most thoughts and emotions.  Please check back and hold on to a piece of me.  This is bound to be one of the most important weeks of my entire life, and i am going into it ready to be with the one I love more than I ever knew possible.

God has been SO good to me.  He has given me the most wonderful family and I cannot imagine who I would be without them.  I know it seems like an easy time to be grateful - I am getting married!  However, all I have heard is the expectation of stress.  If i am married at the end of the day on Saturday, I have succeeded.  The rest is simple details.

What are you grateful for today?  
Take the time to write it out.  
Focus on it and let it soak in.
It WILL be therapy for your heart.

I am so glad to be back writing again... I guess I needed this more than I knew.

See you very soon :)  I am planning on Wednesday!

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

It's Out Of My Hands - A Journey Of Sweet Faith

I wish that people could see the world through my eyes sometimes, because then they would understand my heart better.   I love traveling and seeing new places, but even just the idea of an adventure makes me happy.  I am thrilled to just sit around thinking of all the places I want to go and people I want to see.  Tea or curry or chocolate from a foreign land makes me feel like I am on a trip in my own home.  I love knowing these wonderful places exist, and I love planning on going to see them; but if I never make it and just live in a sweet house with Bill and have dinner with our family and friends, and work hard and live basked in simplicity, and invest whole heartedly in relationships, it will be over and abundantly enough.

The world is big and often times overwhelming, and I want to explore it, but it is all nothing without those you love.  I am sure in my time, Thailand will not be the last place I visit apart from my hometown and Bill’s.  I know that I will probably be privileged enough to go on lots of trips and board many a plane and eat tons of crazy food and get lost in a few places.  When I see items like these pictured from World Market, I feel rejuvenated.  Why? You might ask…  Well, maps symbolize the open end to a journey, there is always somewhere else to explore.  Who knows where God is going to take Bill and I!  The possibilities are literally endless.  I love that. 

I love that the plan is out of my hands.  I tend to want control everything and always know what is coming next, but my renewed outlook is taking the approach of sweet faith in God and not trying to make things happen.  As Bill and I get closer and closer to marriage (10 weeks!) and living under the same roof, I am trusting that God has designed us for each other.  While I am aware it is going to be work, I am also aware that my best friend will be on this journey with me in a deeper way.  God has brought us each wonderful friends to go to for affirmation or constructive criticism.  We are so blessed.

Our journey will be one where when we look back, we marvel at where we have come from.  I am sure we will go through all kinds of seasons of change.  I am so excited to travel through this life with Bill, but even more to journey with God between us.  He guides our steps and designs out paths and I can’t wait to see where he leads us!

Thursday, July 12, 2012

A Penny For Your Thoughts - My Boy & Our Big Day Stress

Alright people, I know you think I should be more stressed out and completely out of my mind.  My wedding is less than 3 months away, and while delegation has been my best friend for a cross country wedding, I think what is most important is the mindset I have adopted over the course of this journey.  Not just a journey to a wedding, but a journey to join my life with Bills.

Our wedding will be wonderful.  Lights strung overhead, a dress I feel perfect in, an amazing man in a dapper suit, friends and family all around, wine, pizza, music, paper lanterns, and so much other wonderfulness.  However, what I am looking forward to is waking up and seeing Bill every morning.  I am looking forward to growing old with him and watching him succeed in every way.  I can't wait to cook him bacon and leave him little notes.  I get so excited knowing I can hug him everyday.  I am looking forward to that laugh and smile that only he has for the rest of my life.

There is no stress when I picture his face.  I cannot help but remember how much I love him and how God sent him to me to calm my heart and bring me peace in the most chaotic of circumstances.  Sure, I am often overwhelmed by all the decisions that I have to make and all the work that needs to be done.  The wedding to-do list seems to only grow.  However, when I come back to home base and remember what the point of it all is, I do not even bat an eyelash.  He is someone I am proud to be with and someone I love being around.  He is generous and caring and gracious and a man of faith.  He is learning what each of those things means more and more every day, but it is all over him.  I love who he is deep down and on the surface.

I can't wait to dance with him, promise him forever, and celebrate with people we love at our wedding, but more than that I can't wait to invite people into our home, show people love that they never expected, and be the best team we can be.

Bill my dear, you are it for me.  I cannot wait to marry you and to be your girl forever. 

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Good Food Is Better With Great Company

I love good food.  Cooking it, eating it, serving it, talking about it... I enjoy all aspects.  However, lately I have realized that good food is even better with great company.  Sure you can eat the same meal with the same wine and enjoy it, but if you are with people you love, laughing and talking, doesn't that food taste slightly better?  That wine a bit smoother?  I have observed this in others and noticed that celebratory eating also fits this description.  If it is your birthday, you got a promotion at work, or you just accomplished a milestone in your life - food simply tastes better.
All this considered, my favorite is the regular day to day life that is often times taken for granted.  Spending this past Sunday with Bill was very simple, yet so wonderful because he is the best company.  We grilled a yummy pizza and had blueberry beer and lemonade (which really tasted like juice and was so refreshing).  It was so wonderful to share a meal and drink with him while relaxing on a Sunday afternoon, but that food may not have tasted as good if I had it alone.  Sometimes, it is the fun of doing it together that makes it delicious. 
I have experienced the opposite issue as well.  When we are fighting, or I am upset with anyone in general, food doesn't taste as good.  It tastes bland or overwhelming.  All you can concentrate on is the fight ending or the tension fading, not the food you are partaking in.  It can be your favorite meal, but if you are sad or feeling down, it could taste like nothing to you. 
What does this post boil down to?  Cook meals with people you love, don't always opp for the easy way out.  Cooking together is like any other activity, it brings you closer.  When you just get food to go and sit in front of the television not talking to each other your heart is not investing deeper and it is causing a rift to exist.  The more you do it, the harder it is to break the cycle.
I just want to encourage you to cook from scratch this week.  The sense of accomplishment and the amount you enjoy your food will grow exponentially.  Good food is meant to be shared, don't be selfish :)
Eat well friends.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

These Are A Few Of My Favorite Things - Summer Baseball Games

There is nothing like a baseball game.
I know, I know - you have heard this from me before, but let me tell you, it never gets old to me.  I can't go to too many games.  I want to one day have season tickets with Bill and go all the time: Get to know the people around us, cheers victories with them, and like we are not surrounded bystrangers.  The ambiance, the food, the drinks, and just the attitude of baseball is so fun and carefree.  It is a sport where I feel like the entire time I am watching, I am a part of something so fun and worth my time - it brings so much joy to my heart.
This past Friday the Baltimore Orioles were in town, and I always attempt to make it out to support my home team and wear my Orioles t-shirt :)  It was a blast (and not just because the Orioles won), but mostly because it was the best of times with wonderful friends!  I went with a pretty big group (12 of us to be exact) and we laughed and danced and ate and just relaxed.  What a lovely thing to do on a Friday night! 
There is something so nostalgic about a baseball game, and I think I will always just love to be at a game waching and smiling. 
Happy Tuesday!

Monday, July 9, 2012

On Location - Free Movie Mondays

I am sitting in my lawn chair surrounded by strangers, sipping wine and anxiously awaiting Billy Elliott to be projected on the wall about 100 yards away. It does not even matter what the movie is, all that matters is being outside, in the open fresh air, with people I love hanging out with.


This is the first of 5 weeks that free movies will be showing this way, and to explain the ambiance would be impossible. I'm going to go soak it up now and enjoy my friends and snacks.

I hope you are having an equally lovely evening :)

Friday, June 29, 2012

A Season Of Reading - Superfreakonomics

Since recently acquiring a library card (I know some of you are horrified by that), I have re-discovered what a wonderous land the public library is.  My commute has also become much much more bearable as I tear through audio book after audio book.  Right now, I am listening to Water For Elephants, which I am sure I will discuss with you in the coming weeks, but today I want to tell you about Superfreakonomics.
Superfreakonomics, by Steven Levitt and Stephen Dubner is subtitled "Global Cooling, Patriotic Prostitutes, and Why Suicide Bombers Should Buy Life Insurance," but that only begins to sum up the thoughts that went into this work.  They did not have Freakonomics at my library, so I compromised and took on the second book first.  While the first 15 minutes were them apologizing for their controversial nature, and explaining some issues that came up in the first book, it was genuinely interesting and entertaining.  Honestly, as a business major, I loved it.  It is an unconventional approach to economics, and uses principles we learned in business school in a creative way.  That is how my brain works! 
I love that they argue that drunk walking is more dangerous than drunk driving, statistically.  I love that they are not afriad to talk to prostitutes to get information from them for an economic study.  I love the research on ways to end natural disasters and the completely crazy methods and testing that is taking place.  I really just loved hearing little known information and absorbing as much of it as I could.  Some of the findings presented blew me away; while some were items I wish more people cared to know!  I loved the paths that they took to get to their conclusions.  They must have sat down and mapped it out then sighed and just started writing furiously to connect the dots.
I thought this book was wonderful.  Listening to it was something I daily looked forward to when it was my audio book du jour.  Just like so many psychology minded friends of mine love reading Malcolm Gladwell, I would recommend these books to business minded (and politically minded) people.  I am sure a self-righteous person may claim this book to have no worth, but I beg to differ.  They may not be treating these issues with as much reverence as some would request, but I think it is taking some items that may not necessarily be well known, and putting a pleasant spin on them to get them heard.  Plus they are not dealing with the emotion of situations, just the economics.
I recommend this book for entertainment value alone, and you might just learn something!

Thursday, June 28, 2012

A Season of Reading - The Reader

The first book we tackled for our newly established book club (we are on our third book right now) was called, appropiately enough, The Reader, by Bernhard Schlink.  Controversial in nature, this book revolves around an affair between a young boy and an older woman.  I like the Google review's phrasing that stated, "both a literary surprise and a moral challenge."  You find yourself appalled, yet you continue to read, because generally speaking it is a relationship most of us are not only familiar with but are also completely baffled by.
The first half of the book I hated, if I am completely honest, but as you see where the author is taking you, and you let them take you there, you begin to find the value in the first half.  Written from the boys perspective, you see how this choice to be with a much older woman early in his life effects his entire life, down to every relationship and every emotion.  There are moments where you feel sorry for him, because although he knew it was not a natural relationship nor was it what others would have encoruaged or approved of, she brought value to his life in a distinctive way.  However, you also find that she really digs into his psyche and sets the tone for all his relationships.  Healthy, normal relationships no longer feel healthy or normal to him after these encounters.  It really is a painful story.
The book leads to later in his life when he encounters her again in a different setting and he remembers it all so vividly, yet he has blocked it all out.  He has gone to law school married and ultimately lived a full life, but continues to feel nothing.  He just exists.   However, I was thrilled to have stuck it out until the end, because we saw some resolution come from his story and his life of loving her.  While things seem to fall apart to others, he was never present with them to begin with.  He just doesn't care for anything that way that he cared for her.  I do not agree with his lifestyle, but I think it is well presented in this book.  I think he could have overcome and been a better man, but he did not choose to do that.  It is really a fascinating story of an effected child's sub conscious. 
I guess I would have to say I would recommend this book to someone who could handle it, although it absolutely set the tone for the book club.  It opened my eyes to a book I may never have read otherwise, and there was value in what the author taught.  However, I was depressed and ultimately saddened when it reached its final pages. 
What I did learn through this story was that people need God.  They cannot use their own strength to recover, and I think this book shows human sadness and ambivolence at its harshest.  I pray that anyone who reads this does not validate the relationship, but sees the danger and destruction in it all.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

A Season of Reading - Beautiful Boy

Before I tell you more about the books my book club has been reading, I first must tell you about the first book on tape I listened to... which by the way turned into a gateway for a whole new world!  This was an intense experience as I drove and listened and it made me understand why people love this option who have long commutes.  I am hooked, and am on my fourth book on tape in the car right now! 

I will tell you all about them in good time...

This is an autobiography of a father wrestling with his son's drug adiction, and it effected me to the core.  The book goes through the child's entire life, and shows the connection between the father and son.  It shows why this relationship was so important to them both.  They are as close as a father and son can be when he is young and even as he gets older, but drugs get in the way of everything.

The slippery slope is detailed in that Nic (the son) started smoking pot at an early age and got drunk on a family vacation when his parents had gone to bed.  It only gets worse from there.  The story is so painful I wanted to cry at times.  Not even because it was sad, but because you can feel the father's emotional frustration.  I would be frustrated too!  Drugs are something I may never understand and I do not relate to, but I know they are a very real problem and this book had tons of information that brought me to acute awareness of the industry and of the effects of crystal meth and other drugs on the human brain.

As I listened I experienced the story.  It was intense and dark and often times horrifying.  The things drug addicts do and say are difficult to listen to.  I have known a few alcoholics, and it breaks my heart to be around them.  They cannot help themselves, but you cannot help them either.  The vicious cycle is exhausting and ultimately impossible, as the father experiences in the book.  It is hard, because he offers little hope, because the option of complete recovery is not something that is preached, expecially on hard drugs.

I would absolutely recommend this book to others who feel they can handle it.  Having never experienced it, I feel as though I have a tighter grasp on the reality of the situation, and people should step outside themselves for a book like this to gain insight on the horrifying phenommenon that the drug world is.

Books on tape? Yes please. 
I can soak up an entire book while running errands and I have been loving it.

Any recommendations?
Want to send anything my way?

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

A Season Of Reading - Introducing Book Club

Photo Credit: Jessica Cross
I know I have been MIA and I know that is slightly unacceteptable.  Every time I come around I talk about how much I miss you, but actions are worth more right?  I am here to fill you in on a big piece of my life lately - a season of reading.  I literally have 5 books to fill you in on (maybe even 6 by the nd of the week)!  But first, I want to introduce you to my book club :)  We are on our third book now, and still going strong.  I will walk you through book by book, but I wanted to talk about the idea of book club and what it means to me.
I loved the concept from the moment it was mentioned.  I was already in my "season of reading" this year where I was making an effort to read a book a month, and with my new discovery of books on tape (you will hear more about later in the week) I am flying through 2 books a month at least!  With that being said, I jumped at the chance to share some snacks and delve into a good book with a group of girlfriends.  We all offer so many different perspectives and comparisons and we started off strong with a slightly controversial book in my professional opinion :)  We all had something to say from the initial opening page, and the conversation flowed.  It was honestly glorious.
Why is it so important?  The conversations that flow from books and other media sources, are so intensely meaningful.  We can each relate to different charactrs and that reveals so much about each person.  We all need to invest in other worlds in order to understand our own.  Intelligent conversation really motivates me, and reading so much has made my brain wander in all kinds of directions - in the best way!  I feel like my knowledge, perception, and understandings are growing and developing and I love taking a look into other mentalities and worlds.
I only hope to remain in this season indefinitely and to always give myself over to stories.  I encourage you to read with your significant other and/or friend group.  It is so amazing what a good book can lead to :)

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Be Encouraged - Preferences versus Necessities

Happy Tuesday my Lovely Readers!

Today I wanted to share with you a recent article I wrote for Polka Dot Coaching, and hopefully get some of your feedback!  I genuinely love writing on others peoples blogs, although my own allows me a certain type of freedom as well; and this was no different.  It brought me so much joy to see how Nailah (the creator of Polka Dot Coaching) took my words and added an image and description of myself to go with them.  This is more than an answer to prayer, it is an affirmation that my desire to write is also a gift God has granted me with.  That is HUGE for me.  It can be something other people take seriously, and something that I really pursue.  Each time someone else publishes a piece I have written, my confidence grows a little in a humble way.  God, use me to further you through my writing, and use me to make a positive impact on this world!  It is not just about writing for me; it is about making an impact on others. 

I have been wrestling with losing a piece of my personality, and without know it, Nailah chose a "Free Spirit" image that really reassured me that all is not lost and I am still holding on to a piece of me that I consider so dear.  It is so amazing how someone can be an answer to your prayers without having any idea you needed to hear just what they same in you.  I didn't even put 2 and 2 together until I saw the image pop up with my post, and it literally brought tears to my eyes.  Someone else saw me, through my words, the way I want to be.  A Free Spirit, with a smiling face...

Written below is the text of the post, but I would really appreciate if you would head over to Polka Dot Coaching and take a look at the post Nailah put together for me.  I would love to post for her more, and having lots of feedback is always a good thing :)
image credit: A Well Traveled Woman
I took a deep breath and I jumped off the platform head first over the Nile River, and was overwhelmed by the feeling of freedom that rushed over me.  The fear of jumping never crossed my mind; I was too wrapped up in my own personal mellow drama of the moment.  However, once I had released myself to give it up and let it go, I literally jumped head first into the unknown.  This was my first time bungee jumping and it represented much greater things than just conquering a fear of heights.  I was releasing hurtful relationships and seemingly intangible dreams. I was releasing pent up frustration and tension. And I was releasing what I wanted and instead learning to be happy with what I needed.  This last distinction has changed my life: Preferences versus Necessities.  Give that some thought and let it wash over you.  America has brain washed us in some ways to believe we NEED things that we simply WANT.
I need creativity in my life, but I do not need a career in it, that is just what I would prefer.  I need happiness, but I can choose that of my own free will and go after it in my personal life.  I need to always accept my current situation and to remove denial from my heart and mind.  I need love and family, but I did not NEED that from the boy that in that moment I desired attention from, i just wanted that.  Sometimes we really start to believe we need things that we are aware are unnecessary in our lives.  We are so convinced that we feel we may die if we do not get them.  If you think about this process logically, it is extremely irrational.  We know we do not need something, yet our antics and dramatizations make it seem really important to us. Often times we are just trying to save face in the end. We can convince ourselves we are in love with people we barely know, we will only be happy in one specific career, that one specific success or failure will change everything, and that we will never have close friends and are destined for loneliness.  Rarely are these emotions reflective of reality; they are valid, but clouded.
I have always had people tell me that they wish that they could take chances like I do.  They wish they could move across the country & the world, go to a school where they do not know a single soul, and start a vulnerable blog about their life as an open book.  If you are reading those words and feeling the same way, I am here to tell you that you can!  You CAN take any chance that you want, and you will probably get an extreme rush of excitement from the exhilaration of the process.  To live your life to the fullest, you really NEED vulnerability in your life and you NEED to take risks.
Taking risks and being vulnerable has brought me into a career I would never have expected, a relationship with a boy who is absolutely perfect for my heart, and a life full of friends and family that I am invested in.  While the results may vary, I am encouraging you today to get in touch with who you are and what you need and focus on simplicity.  The latest technology will not solve your heart problems, but true genuine relationships will.  Patience will help in this process as it takes time, but whenever you are feeling down or lonely I can honestly say, you have a friend in me.  I resonate with your heart’s cry and I know that the journey of stripping away the excess desires that have been masking themselves as things you need is difficult, but the future simple life you will lead will be worth all the agony.
Be Well Lovely Friends.

Sunday, June 17, 2012

To My Wonderful Father

Daddy, you have taught me so many things in life, but most importantly you have taught me the value of people and selflessness.  You give every ounce of your energy, time, and finances to making me and my siblings and mother life the best we can ask for.  I have never wanted for anything.  You have provided for all of my wants and needs for as long as I can remember.  I would never dream of taking that for granted.

The trip we went on last year to Boston and Maine was the beginning of something wonderful.  I look forward to many more trips in the future, hikes through beautiful places, and laughter and delicious food all over the world.  I dream of so many places I want to see with you, and I pray often God will provide us the opportunity to do those things together.

Thank you for instilling faith in me and for never letting me make excuses for not going to church or working on my relationship with God.  Thank you for always telling me to look for a man who respects me and loves me for who I am (and one who gives me cards for no reason).  Thank you for always smiling at me and loving me without hesitation.  Thank you for working hard every day to provide for the people you love most.  Thank you for giving me an example of a man of God and someone who always puts others before himself.  Thank you for your consistent prayer through the years.  Thank you for allowing me the opportunity to go to Italy, move to California, and see Uganda.  I could not have done those things without you.

I know this is a big year for me as I move into marriage and you hand me over to Bill on our wedding day, but I want you to know that you will always have a special place in my heart.  I will always be your little girl.   I am constantly thinking of you and praying for you and feeling your prayers and thoughts for me.  Our connection crosses the country and I am so proud to be your daughter and friend.

I hope that this fathers day is filled with so much joy and relaxation for you.  I wish I could be there to celebrate with you, but know you will be on my heart and in my mind all day long.  I know it goes without saying, but I love you so much daddy.  You mean everything to me and I pray you feel that everyday.  I can't wait to see you in September as we celebrate Bill and My lives combining into one, and you are a large part of the person I am that allows this wedding to be possible.

Keep living healthy and working hard.  Don't forget to take care of yourself and call as often as you want.  I am just a phone call away, and I love hearing your stories.  Don't forget to let me know what book you pick for us to read!  I'm looking forward to sharing a book with you :)

I love you so much daddy.  Happy Fathers Day!

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Life Lessons - A More Than Inspiring Couple

I have the honor and privilege of knowing this wonderful selfless family.  They attend my church and our ties are truly amazing.  My grandmother and Erin's grandmother are best friends in Maryland, while we discover our relationship here.  Erin is a woman who has changed me for the better.  I can honestly say after knowing her I will never be the same.  

I feel like I have precious little to say in comparison to this amazing couple.  
They are awe inspiring and will never fail to amaze me.
Take 9 minutes to listen to their story and the outlook they have on life.  
You will never look at your own problems the same.

I honestly pray to be this strong, brave, and faithful in the face of adversity.

Mike and Erin, you daily amaze me.  I know there are days where you must crack and cry and scream and then there are days when you feel blessed and showered and adored.  I pray for your continued peace and faith through this journey of life.  Know that you are naturally inspiring and you do not have to work at it.  You are people I love to know better and better and I pray to effect you even a fraction as much as you have affected me.  Thank you, for all you do and all you are.  I love your family very much.  I am here for anything I can do for you.  Anything.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

A Penny For Your Thoughts - Learn To Love Better


Even when you feel like they are in the right place it seems like there is not enough time for what is truly important.  Even when you are surrounded by friends and family you cannot make them feel important enough or tell them you love them enough.  Even when you spend time with wonderful people there are not enough hours in the day to make them feel enough love.  Even when you write letters and make phone calls you cannot write or call enough.

What am I learning?  You can work towards a goal of being 100% present, but our humanity does not allow us to be perfect, and that would be attaining perfection.  We can work towards being like Christ, but we cannot attain it.  That is a hard spot to be in.  I like knowing I can attain something and then work towards what is next.  The lesson I am seeking to grasp, is that the work and drive to keep moving forward despite never fully attaining or perfecting the Christian life is all a part of the journey.  I only hope I can strive towards moving forward and that aspiration to be more like Christ everyday.

I know some of you are reading this and thinking that I am more present than you are, and some of you are reading it and thinking I sound self righteous.  Well, I am here to tell you I have no idea where I stand sometimes.  I only know that I am trying my hardest every day and if you could see my heart and its desires you would know that it cries out to show people the love they each deserve.

I hope you each work towards loving people more and better each day.  Yes, you can learn to love people better.  Stop making it about you and make it about them.  How do they receive love?  Step outside yourself and remember that some things aren't meant to be easy, but the harder you work at them, the easier they get!

Thursday, May 31, 2012

C'est La Vie - Finding Adventure in the Day to Day

I saw this image on Pinterest the other day and just wanted to share it with the world.  I love the patterns and colors and everything, but what I love most is the adventure it implies.  She has only herself, a car, a map, and a trunk full of randomness.  On my Bucket List is the item, “Go on a Road Trip Alone,” and this only spurs me to want to do that sooner.  There is something about being alone that makes you feel free.  You can do whatever you want because no one will know!  I do not mean this in a weird way, just there is this release of the need to impress. 
I know so many people, myself included, that just need to relax.  We need to give in to this freeing mentality of life being an adventure.  Sure, we have responsibilities, but I have lately been convicted to savor the moments and really sink into situations.  Do not let yourself feel awkward ever!  Find a new kind of humor in awkward situations.  Release yourself from self conscious tendencies.  Life is too short to worry all the time!  I really need to take my own words to heart today and start concentrating on being happy in my own skin and knowing that the day to day can be an adventure :)
Have a lovely Thursday my friends. 
Find passion in the journey today brings you!

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

The Wonder That Is Caesar Salad Pizza

There are some foods that you crave as soon as you are done eating them.  When you think of them, you always let out a little sigh.  You want them often and you think of them when you least expect it.  You constantly wish you could make it yourself, but it is just not in your skill set.  You have to patiently wait until the right time comes and you are invited to partake in them, or you make time to go to that restaurant that holds these wonderful items.

I am sure I have brought unique items to each of your minds, and that was kind of the point.  The item we crave and love and dream about is different for each of us.  For me, it has changed over the last few years.  It brings me sadness to think that in the past my favorite food items came out of my father's restaurant in Columbia, Maryland.  The reason this makes me sad, is because I live so far away.  We had a pizza on our original menu that I will never forget!  The menu has changed multiple times over the past few years, and it will never again return, but the truffle oil drizzle was only the beginning of it's perfection.

Is this post making you hungry?  Making you wish you could walk away from your computer and get your favorite foods?  Well, I am sorry for doing that to you, but I feel as though I have adequately set the stage for the joy that Bill's dad's caesar salad pizza brings my heart.  It is so delicious I can barely stand to write about it knowing we won't have another pizza party for awhile.  He make his dough from scratch and has such a science to the process.  I cannot get enough of it.  I can literally make myself sick eating piece after piece.

I believe this to be a high compliment in life.  When people can't stop eating your food and won't stop telling you how wonderful it is.  I aim to be a cook like that... one day!

To the original Bill Rogers, thank you for sharing this treat with me two years ago.  I am so happy to have been truly initiated into your family and to have finally gotten to help with pizza night this last time around.  I look forward to many more to come!