Friday, January 20, 2012

Day 30

So here it is, day 133, and I am FINALLY finishing my 30 day blog challenge!  Just a little past the due date... oh well, it's been fun.  Hope you've enjoyed seeing a few of my little oddities.

What is your favorite song?

Like I could only pick one! In no particular order:

1.  In Christ Alone
2.  How Deep the Father's Love For Us
3.  Dancing in the Minefields--Andrew Peterson
4.  Gimmie That Girl--Joe Nichols
5.  She's Everything--Brad Paisley
6.  Mathilda
7.  In Color--Jamey Johnson
8.  Soulmate--Josh Turner
9.  Your Man--Josh Turner
10. Down at the Twist and Shout--Mary Chapin Carpenter
11.  Tupelo Honey
12.  It Happens--Sugarland
13.  You Never Let Go--Matt Redman
14.  Benny and the Jets--Elton John
15. Dancin' With Angels--Shaunda Chanda
16.  Captivate Us--Watermark
17.  When I Said I Do--Clint and Lisa Black
18.  Simple Man--especially Shinedown's version
19.  Rockin' Song--Acapella
20.  While You Were Sleeping--Casting Crowns

And there are soooooo many more.  Music makes my world happier :)

love, angie

Monday, January 16, 2012

Wedding Book

I have recently used and fallen in love with Shutterfly!  I used them to make our Christmas cards this year--love them!  Used them to create a memory book of Arabella's birth for myself and smaller versions for the grandparents--love them!  And since I got a customer appreciation gift certificate from them that had to be used by Tuesday, I figured I'd make a memory book of our wedding--love it!  I can't wait to get it in!

If you've never used Shutterfly, do!  It's so user-friendly and they have excellent products.  It's become one of the easiest ways to creatively preserve and display my memories.  Enjoy!

You'll love Shutterfly's award-winning photo books. Try it today.

love, angie

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Religion vs. Relationship

This country is one who preaches and claims to be a Christian nation.  But as an American people, what makes us so?  Just in my short life time, I have seen such a decline in the moral standings of the world.  A lot of the battle is religion vs. relationship.

I hate the question, what religion are you?  There are many different religions in this world, but this question is often used when referring to Christian denomination.  It irks my every nerve to know that people who claim to believe in and love the same Savior are divided so fiercely--and mostly over man-made legalities.  We have gotten in the way of the Gospel.  Our "religious" ways have gotten in the way of love.  Our judgmental glances and habits make us ignore those to whom Jesus would reach out first.  

We sit in our fancy buildings and go to our scheduled meetings--but what good is that if we are not in a relationship with Jesus, and also in a relationship with the people of this Earth that exhibits the love of Jesus?

Please watch this video.  Think about what he says.  Do you know and love Jesus or do you simply know and love religion?

Two incredible books that I read recently started the spark in my mind about this very topic.  I encourage each of you to read them.  Challenge what you've always thought.  Research, read, and love on your own.  I was raised in the church my entire life, and these two books completely rocked my way of thinking and my relationship with Jesus.  

Irresistible Revolution--Shane Claiborne

Crazy Love--Francis Chan

"People aren't confused by the Gospel; they're confused by us.  Jesus is the only way to God, but we are not the only way to Jesus.  This world doesn't need my tie, my hoodie, my denomination, or my translation of the Bible.  They just need Jesus.  We can be passionate about what we believe, but we can't strap ourselves to the Gospel, because we're slowing it down.  Jesus is going to save the world--but maybe, the best things we can do, is just get out of the way."
--Casting Crowns, "What This World Needs"

challenge yourself.

love, angie

Monday, January 9, 2012

Day 29

In the past month, what have you learned?

  • Extreme patience
  • How to function on chunks of sleep
  • The necessity of help
  • How having a child together strengthens a marriage
  • How to convince my husband to let me leave my Christmas tree up longer--decorate it for Mardi Gras!
  • My baby's tricks to make her stop crying and to make her go to sleep
  • Just because it's December/January, does not mean it won't be hot outside (I really already knew that)
  • Southwest really has amazing prices and deals on flights
  • Tylenol and Colic Calm are wonder drugs
  • My daughter really is the cutest baby ever

Friday, January 6, 2012

Day 28

A picture of you last year and now, and how have you changed since then?

Christmas 2010

Christmas 2011

I'm another year older.
I'm a mama now.
I no longer have a gallbladder.
I have 5 new scars on my stomach.
I'm no longer a teacher.
I'm a lot more tired.
I'm more grateful than ever.  

Bella's Songs

My daughter looooooves music.  I mean, really.  I'm not trying to exaggerate--just ask someone who's seen it in action.  Unless she's just starving, music will calm her almost instantly.  But just as in everything else, she's quite picky (she started "talking back" to Hunter this week when he messes with her and she doesn't like it--hilarious!).  She's not crazy about instrumental music; she doesn't like real upbeat songs; and she prefers women singing.  Selah and Kari Jobe are her favorite stations on Pandora--filling her with the love of Jesus early :)  Occasionally she'll go for a little Norah Jones, Josh Turner, and Wayne Toups, but only on special occasions.  The other day, I had it on Josh Turner radio and she was just a squawking.  I turned it to Selah and within 10 seconds she was sound asleep.  The girl knows what she wants and she lets you know it...  Oh Lordy, we're in for it!

But I want to share a few songs that have become special to me because of my baby.

"Rockin' Song"

Growing up in the Church of Christ (and having parents who are close friends with the Lancasters), we grew up listening to Acapella pretty much all the time.  They have a song, "Rockin' Song" that I loved when I was little.  I had completely forgotten about it until a dear family friend reminded me of it when Arabella was born.  After many sleepless nights and moments of exhausted frustration, this song helps me remember the true importance and sacredness of motherhood.  This song means so much to me now.

"I Saw God Today"

I really liked this song from the first time I heard it.  The only part that bothers me is that line, "I had to take a break, I'd been by her side for 18 hours straight..."  Pretty sure the mom would have loved to take a break too!  Ugh.  But, I digress.  To me, it just focuses on how much of a miracle becoming a parent is.  God is truly visible daily if you choose to look for him.  But how anyone can deny his presence in the creation of life is mind-boggling.  We did see God that day in the birth of our daughter, and through her we are able to continue to see him every day.

"American Girl"

This next one is so sweet to me because Hunter wanted a boy so badly.  After we had her, his mom said, "And to think you wanted a girl..." His reply, "I know, what was I thinking?"  It's been so sweet to watch him form that daddy/daughter relationship.  He even sent this song to me after we found out we were having a girl as a way to let me know he was excited.

"My Little Girl"

And finally, I have loved this song since the first time I heard it.  I know it was written for a movie about a girl and a horse, but the words are so sweet.  I have always been a daddy's girl, so it rings true for me on my own level.  But since we've had Bella, it rings on another as I watch her mold into her daddy's heart.  She will always be his little girl and that warms my heart to the core.

I adore my sweet baby

love, angie

Day 27

Why are you doing this 30 day challenge?

Well, it started as something different and kind of fun to get me in the habit of blogging daily.  Ha!  We see how well that turned out...

Now it's something I'm determined to finish. 

Tuesday, January 3, 2012


The new year usually brings about talk of resolving lives and making big changes--and those goals usually are never met and often abandoned within the month of January.  I've never made an actual "New Year's Resolution."  I'm not one to fall into the trend when I know the outcome is unlikely.  

But this year will be one of big changes for us.  It holds many adjustments but also the opportunity for absolute greatness!  So I'm going to try to resolve some possible obstacles of that greatness.  Hopefully this will not be a form of "New Year's Resolutions" but rather a series of "Life Resolutions."

1.  Be more self-controlled, particularly financially.  We lost my paycheck and gained the expenses of having a child all around the same time.  My problem--I'm a big shopper and a big gifter.  I have to learn to tell myself no and stick with it.  New financial habits so that we can enjoy what we have even more.

2.  Being healthy.  I don't necessarily wish to lose a certain amount of weight or go completely nuts about eating healthily.  I want to just make healthier choices:  taking a walk every day, eating less junk (mainly, decreasing the size of my sweet tooth!), cooking more meals with healthy options, resting as regularly as I can, etc.

3.  Getting a routine set up.  This is an overdue accomplishment that I need to get a hold on asap--for mine and Bella's sakes.  We've had so much happen between visitors, surgeries, and holidays that a schedule just hasn't been one of my top things to work on.  But that's got to happen soon so that we both know what to expect out of the day.

4.  Spending more quality time as a couple and family.  We have such the bad habit of the TV always being on--we even sadly eat in front of it every meal...shameful, I know.  We need to start eating together at the table.  Turn the TV off at night and actually talk.  Spend less time on our phones and the computer (I recognize the irony as I'm typing this...) and more time making memories together.

5.  Keep the house clean.  This has never been something that I'm very good at.  I've gotten much better, but it's still not something I enjoy doing--I like the end result, but get too lazy to really work at it.  Hunter's main love language is acts of service and he loves the house to be clean.  I'm pretty good at picking up, but I need to focus more on deep cleaning.

6.  Complain less about Hunter's job and instead be supportive.  This past year and a half has been crazy for him out there.  He's been working soooo much--weekends and no vacation--with these shut downs.  It's been driving me absolutely crazy.  But I know it's driving him crazy too.  And instead of encouraging and supporting him, I have tended to lean more toward the negative, whiney side.  I am so grateful that he has an amazing job that provides for our family and allows me to stay at home with our daughter.  I am also incredibly grateful that he has a career that he enjoys (most of the time!) and in which he excels.  And I need to let him know that more often than I do.  

7.  Taking more pictures and video--with my camera, not my phone.  I want us to have family photos and videos of our kids growing up.  In order for that to happen, I need to get busy!

8.  On that note, I need to work on Arabella's baby book!  I am going to scrapbook it through the first year--nothing super extravagant; just the major highlights.  I have some pages done, but I really need to get with it before she becomes mobile!

9.  Be more frugal and less wasteful.  Do I really need to buy this?  What can I make with the ingredients I already have?  What can I rid the house of--donations and/or trash?  

10.  Get more involved with Jesus--through prayer, church, study.  Regain focus and stay hungry for Him.

love, angie

Day 26

What do you think about your friends?

Um, that's just silly to me.  Obviously I think they are the best thing since sliced bread or they wouldn't be my friends.

I'm so lucky to have family that have grown into friends--that goes for Hunter and I with our own family and each other's.  It's just great.

We also made the absolute best friends we could have imagined in college.  I mean really, if we could still live in the same town, live across the street from each other, and not be broke, we could film our own series entitled Friends, and it would be comparable to the original.  We are just a fabulous combination.

And of course we have our life-longers and newbys (not meant as our name, but as new friends...)

I don't know where I'd be without my friends!

Monday, January 2, 2012

Day 25

What would you find in my purse?

Chapstick, Vera Bradley wallet and checkbook, pacifier, phone, some type of candy, pens, camera and charger on most days, wadded up receipts, keys, sunglasses, meds...

Nothing of much interest.

Day 24

A letter to your parents

Mom and Dad,

I really don't even know where to begin--and when I'm writing, that's usually not a problem I face.  First of all, now that Hunter and I are parents, thank you.  You never truly understand the devotion and sacrifice your parents obtained for you until you are on the other side of the relationship.  It's extremely hard, and I'm extremely grateful.

I want to thank you first and foremost for raising me to love my Jesus.  I don't feel like it was ever "shoved down our throats", but being raised in a God-fearing home molded my foundation in Christianity.

I also want to thank you for setting high expectations for me.  I'm my own worst critic and one of my biggest fears was (and is) disappointing you.  However you didn't set unattainable goals.  You encouraged me to reach my full potential and never doubt and limit my own abilities.  For that, I am so thankful.

Thank you for letting me laugh.  You never made life so serious that we couldn't enjoy it.  You taught me that there is a time to be serious, but there's also a lot of time to have fun.  Being a dork is completely acceptable and even encouraged :)  Thanks for letting me see that side of you as well.

Some of the greatest memories I have are of our family vacations.  I am so incredibly blessed to have been raised in a family that focused so much on family.  I love that we drove 25 hours to Colorado every year--that takes a lot of patience and forms special kinds of relationships!  I loved our camping trips and the days we were able to spend all together.  I still love playing board and card games together.  I hope to carry on some of these traditions for our growing little family.

You taught me to be responsible--especially in making decisions and for my own actions.  Work came first and then play.  Laziness was never a trait to be proud of

One of the most important and cherished qualities you have to me is your marriage.  It is not perfect, but it is.  In a society that expects and practically encourages divorce, you've managed to overcome the odds and stay devoted.  You made promises and you've kept them.  You gave an example of sacrifice and compromise, dedication and perseverance.  I know it's not easy, and I respect you even more for that.

You are not the perfect parents.  But you are the perfect parents for me.  I'm so glad now that I'm an adult to have you not only as parents, but also as friends.  You are my place of security and wisdom.  You represent my first home.  I love you both so much.

love, angie

Our wedding, August 2007
Graduation from Louisiana Tech, November 2008
Juneau Alaska, August 2009
Family Pictures, September 2010
Christmas, December 2011

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Day 23

What is something you crave?

  • A strengthening relationship with Jesus.
  • Love and affection from my boy.
  • Smiles and happy moments from my absolutely beautiful daughter.
  • Seafood and Cajun goodness.  Oh man, there is just no comparison.
  • A really good book.
  • Cold (Southern version of cold) weather.
  • Knowledge.  There is nothing like learning something new.
  • Energy.  I just never seem to have much of it anymore.
  • SLEEP.  I have always loved it.  Now I cherish it.
  • Chocolate Peppermint milkshakes from Chick-Fil-A.
  • A really fun crafting project and time to complete it.
  • Laughter--such a great cleanse.
  • Time with my best friends.
  • Memories with my family.  There just can never be enough.
  • Comfortable clothes.  Pajama pants, long sleeve t-shirt, slippers.
  • Vacations.
  • Hunter to be off of work.  
  • A good quote.

Four Christmases...

We are incredibly happy and very lucky for both of our families to live in the same town.  It makes holidays and even weekend visits so much easier and we're able to see everybody so much more often.  This leads to multiple holiday gatherings though, and like every other year, we had four Christmases.  It started on Friday night and went all the way through Sunday.  It was packed and exhausting, but we loved being able to spend time and make memories with our loved ones (and eat some really good food--love Louisiana Christmases).  Plus, all the hype wore poor Arabella out and she slept so well that weekend!  Score for us!

Friday: Frank's house
We were missing Clayton because he's still in boot camp.  He joined the Air Force in November--we missed him, but we're proud of him!
Menu: Steak, crab/shrimp etoufee, baked potatoes, shrimp creole
Angie, Clint, (Benny!), Lindsey, Blaine, Hunter, Sydney, BA, and Kaitlyn
Hunter, Arabella, and Uncle Bilo
Saturday: My parents
Michelle came down and we were able to spend all day together as a family.  It was great!  Mom and Dad had bought a Kinect earlier that week, so we had a blast playing on it all afternoon.  Kailyn was sick so she struggled a little bit, but it was still overall a great day. We also did matching PJ's this year which was super fun (and so much more comfortable)!
Menu: ham, cheesy potatoes, sweet potato casserole, broccoli casserole, green beans, sweet peas, crawfish fettucini
The boys goofing off as The Grinch
The girls minus Kailyn--the sleepy town train called her aboard
My stud and my Santa baby :)
The five kiddos
The whole fam--so so happy we got such a good picture!
Gettin' sassy in our snowflake jammies
Love them
Mimi and Papa with the grandbabies

My gift to Hunter: two Elton Louviere (famous local artist) prints and a book of his work.  This way, no matter where life and ExxonMobil takes us, we can always be reminded of home.

Hunter's gift to me:  Apple TV.  We're officially making the switch into the world of Mac.  And this way, we can stream Bella's music to the surround sound!
 Sunday morning:  Ellie's house
We headed over that morning for breakfast and stayed through lunch.  We were able to visit and end the day with a game of Phase 10--good times!
Menu: Chicken and sausage gumbo, homemade potato salad
MawMaw and Bella--Ellie got her her Christmas dress this year
Four generations:  Pop (Ellie's dad), Ellie (Hunter's mom), Hunter, and Arabella
MawMaw Nona (Ellie's mom) and Arabella, singing and rocking away
Sunday afternoon: Grandmaw's
All of Hunter's extended family gets together every year.
Menu: Shrimp/crab/oyster gumbo, potato salad
PawPaw Newby and his grandsons
Arabella with Aunt Lindsey and Uncle B--and Benny!
PawPaw made it over after work and was able to get in some Arabella snuggles
Monday afternoon we headed to Pineville for a few days with the Sassers. It had been incredibly too long since we had gotten to visit--so glad we were able to make this one work out!  
Made it there Monday night in time to watch the Saints game with them and watch Drew beat the record!
Ready to cheer on our boys!  Who Dat?!
Snuggled up with Kyle and her tunes :)  Giving him a little practice for his little man's arrival in a couple of months
We're so blessed with such great family and friends.  I hope your holiday was as wonderful as ours!  *Here's to making memories*

love, angie