Friday, December 31, 2010

2010: God Is...

Is it really this time of the year again?  It was this time last year that I sat down to write an end of the year post.  It doesn't seem like there's been 365 days between then and now.  But, anywho, I really don't even know where to start. What to say? 2010 has been the most unique year of my life.  So much has happened, in my life and in the life of those around me.  Celebrations, mournings, new beginnings, endings, so much!  Rather than write about all those things, I think what I will do is share with you two of the biggest things that happened to me this year.  And it's interesting because one happened at the beginning of the year and the other commenced at the end of this year!  

January.  Jesus Is With Me.  So, at the conclusion of 2009 (December), I received some "not so good" news from my doctor.  A test came back showing signs of cancerous cells in my body.  Now, the "not so good" thing is that this wasn't the first time a doctor had told me that.  The first time, a biopsy was not recommended, just some follow-up testing.  This time, however, my doctor heavily recommended (i.e. required) a biopsy.  The biopsy was first scheduled for December 2009.  I wanted to get it over and done with so as not to take it with me into the new year.  Well, that didn't happen.  It had to be rescheduled for the beginning of 2010. 

But here's the thing.  I wasn't worried. I wasn't afraid.  I simply stood on God's Word and I was calm. So much so I was even a little bit surprised.  However, there was ONE thing on my mind--Lord, this procedure is going to hurt.  Thus, my prayer was for Him to take away the pain of the procedure.   While I waited (and waited and waited) for the day of the procedure to come, it seemed like my body wanted to play tricks on me.  I experienced pain that had never happened before.  I didn't tell anyone.  What I did do was praise Jesus ahead of time for delivering me from cancer or anything remotely related!  I praised Him for the confidence I had in Him.  I praised Him for being able to truly say, no matter what happened, "Jesus I'll never forget what you've done for me!" (a song we sing a lot at church). 

The day of the biopsy finally arrived.  Troy came with me.  He waited in the waiting room.  I went in.  My fantastic doctor (I love her!) was her positive and happy self as usual.  She and her assistant attempted to comfort me.  Well kinda, the assistant told me, "I'm surprised you're not crying!"  Anyway, here goes. No going back now.  I remembered what my one prayer had been--Lord, please take the pain of this procedure away.  And folks, I'm happy to say HE DID!!!  With all that was going on, I was able to bear it!  I felt some scrapes and tugs, but the pain! Where was the pain?!! I'll tell you where, in the hands of Jesus!  He was with me!  Period.  And that is the happiest moment of my 2010.  Knowing that Jesus was with me! Not simply believing that He was with me.  Knowing, feeling that He was with me.  Granting me my request.  I'll never forget it as long as I live.  Just thinking about it takes me back to that table.  I wish I were a better writer just so I could convey for you just how powerful that moment was for me.   

December. Jesus Has A Customized Will for Me, SG.  [Subtopics: Jesus is a Provider, Way Maker, Deliverer, Keeper, Just Plain Good!]  This year I also experienced, for the first time, our good friend Mr. Unemployment.  When my clerkship came close to an end I sent my resume to a few select places.  Mind you, I sent them out knowing that most firms in Greenville were unable to do any hiring (say it with me, "hiring freeze!").  Anywho, as expected, I was promptly informed by the two firms that they were unable to make any new hires.  One firm asked if I'd be interested in another office.  However, moving was not an option.  I had turned down a FANTASTIC firm in Georgia because Troy and I were staying in Greenville.  So, what did I do? I prayed and I waited.  Waited to know what I was supposed to do next.  Lord, do I apply other places or do I stick to the places that I want? I tell you not one month went by and I received a call from one of the firms that could not hire anyone.  A partner wanted to meet me! And he wanted to make a way for me to be on board!

After a few meetings and an interview I am happy to say I received an offer.  (And accepted it!) And, while I can't go into details, let me say that I couldn't have asked for anything better!  Every aspect is exactly what I wanted, asked for, and needed!  It is the type of environment I wanted and a welcomed change! I start on Monday! January 3rd!! 

And the funny thing is, earlier this year I told Troy that I might want to take some time off between my clerkship and whatever was next.  He asked how long and I said, "I don't know maybe until January!"  I didn't necessarily plan it to be that way, but it worked out for my good.  Moreover, the time spent not working was a blessing!  It was a humbling experience and it was an opportunity for me to go through something new and unplanned.  I am a planner by nature.  I plan everything.  To-do lists are my friend (I am so close to scratching off "blog entry" from today's list!).  So, for something to happen in my life that was drastically unplanned, I was able to remember that I am not the author my life.  I am a character and I trust the author completely.  So, I am ever grateful for the time spent living in the unknown.  Because all I needed to know was that Jesus Is. Period.

So friends, those are two experiences that mean a great deal to me.  I love how one experience opened the year and the other closed it out.  I really am excited to see how life gets even better in 2011!! Stay tuned!! And please, share with me some of your 2010 highlights!!  Let's celebrate and rejoice together!!

Grateful, with a capital G,

Friday, December 24, 2010

Color Me Inspired

This picture has inspired me to completely re-do our living room.  I love the overall feel, the colors (minus the wall color.  I am not painting our living room! the current color is a great neutral color), pretty much everything about this room.

I want a new sofa & love seat, an area rug, a new coffee table, a new floor lamp, new colors, everything!!  Let's see if 2011 (and the hub!) will agree with me!...

Stay tuned,

Monday, December 20, 2010

Blog Swap!

Today is Blog Swap Day!!!  I didn't know that until today, but imagine my surprise when Michelle over at Gooseberried  agreed to blog swap with me today!!  You can find my entry on Michelle's blog!  And here's Michelle's blog entry.  We were to write about something we hope to do in 2011 that has been put off in 2010.  Here's Michelle--

Hi everyone! I'm so lucky to have met Shunta today on Twitter because she agreed to participate in the 20-Something Blogger's Blog Swap with me. The partner I was originally assigned to bailed on me and I was a sad face. Then in comes Shunta and I'm happy again! It's like she's my super hero...

Anyway, the topic for this post is:

What will you do next year that you've been putting off for too long?

When I was in 5th grade, I was forced to join either band or orchestra. My elementary school always had a music hour, but this time we actually had to choose to be involved with something. I had no idea what I wanted to do so naturally, I did whatever my best friend of the time did. I guess you could say I was a follower. My friend wanted to play a violin because her older sister did. I guess you could say she was a follower too. 

During my first orchestra class, the teacher, Mr. Cheney, asked me what I wanted to play. I told him that I wanted to play the violin not because I was sure I should be playing the violin, but because that was all I really knew of. So, he sat me in the second violin section next to a boy named Sam, whom I loathed because he always teased me in between classes. I noticed that there was another section between the 2nd violins and the cellos. They were playing instruments that looked like violins too. I immediately asked Mr. Cheney why I couldn't sit in their section instead of having to pair with Sam. He told me that they were playing violas which were much different to playing the violin. Then I told him in response that I changed my mind and would rather play a viola.

And in that mere moment, I picked something to be a part of my life for the next seven years. All because of a boy I hated.

Turns out, I was pretty good at music. Mr. Cheney didn't know who I was when he first met me but I quickly moved up from last chair to first chair when he noticed how natural the music came to me. Most of my fellow students ended up hating orchestra and dropping it within the next year or two. Although the daily practicing was tedious, I actually enjoyed being involved in orchestra. 

When I finally made it to junior high, I was told about an annual competition in Arizona called All-State. It was the first ever competition I would participate in wherein I had to audition for my place within the viola section. I was nervous, but I did the best I could and ended up in 11th chair. 11 out of 38. Not bad.

In high school, there were more of these types of competitions where I had to audition for a spot. Some of the other people in my school would audition and wouldn't make it meaning, they wouldn't even get to go. But each year, I always made it. I didn't always make it to the top and place 1st or 2nd chair. But, I always made it and I loved it. 

When I graduated high school, I decided not to continue doing orchestra in college. Mostly, I didn't want to deal with seeing all the stuck up people that can afford private lessons with a person who charges $200 per hour on a daily basis and I also didn't think I would have time for it. After abandoning my musical talents for the 4.5 years I went to college, I recently decided to purchase my own viola and start getting back into it again. I didn't know where I would go with it, but I wanted to at least make it a part of my life.

In deciding this, I totally forgot how incredibly hard it is to play especially after 4.5 years out of practice. Even tuning the dang thing was hard. After a few half-[behind] (censor!) attempts for practice sessions, I gave up and put my viola back in its case and tucked into the closet. In 2011, I'm hoping to change all this. I want to start picking a few days of the week to practice my viola starting with tuning and re-learning all the scales. Even though it's going to be a painful process, I'm committing to re-learning and establishing my talents.

Who knows, maybe I'll get so good at it, I'll feel confident enough to try out for the local symphony orchestra. 

Thanks so much Michelle for blog swapping with me today!  I hope you'll come back this time next year and let us know how the viola playing is coming along!!  I was a cello player myself! It's your turn now friendly reader!  What will you hope to do in 2011 that you've been putting off for too long?

Do tell,

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Window Shopping

Yesterday I went out to the Pottery Barn Outlet in Gaffney to window shop.  I'm on the lookout for a new coffee table and rug for the living room.  Here are the top contenders (pardon the not-so-great-quality iPhone pictures!)...

nice dark wood. solid construction. simple.

does this look like it's too busy? too much going on?

And guess what?! This rug is currently being sold at Pottery Barn for way more than at the PBO! Score one for outlets! 

Stay tuned for the living room make over.  Soon to come in 2011! 

So excited,

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

28...for the next 5 years!

Whose the happiest birthday girl who just turned 28?

ME!!  Last Saturday I celebrated one of Jesus' greatest gifts--LIFE!!  I saw yet another birthday!!  And all I wanted to do was spend time with some of the people who mean the most to me--my friends!!!  I must say it was pretty much exactly what I needed!!  Some of my closest friends took the time to let me know just how much I mean to them and I am more grateful than I could ever express!!! 

FRIDAY. MORGAN!! Morgan took off of work (that's right, she gave up a precious vacation day for me!!) on Friday and came up the day before my birthday!! We went out to lunch, went shopping, poked around in some stores, and then Friday night we vegged out HARD CORE and watched movies! 

 all the essential food groups--pizza, chips (pepperoni, chicken, pineapple), cookies, chocolate.  And in the fridge/freezer--Ben & Jerrys & cupcakes!

We visited a new store here in Greenville--Buy Buy Baby.  And here's what we saw... some new gadget called a Mama Roo!
 Morgan wondering what the mess?  This is called a Mama Roo and it rotates a baby in a circular motion to allow the child to be "bounced just like mom does."  Really?  Too much!!

We were just so confused about this Mama Roo. What happened to being rocked in a loved ones' arms?

SATURDAY! Saturday, I was surrounded with more love!  Friends came over to the house to hang out before dinner!

DINNER.  Then we headed to Myabi for dinner where Sonja jumped in the mix!!
Myabi was yummy as always!
And the fellowship--SUPERB!
Charity & Troy are like brother & sister!

Charity, Morgan, & Lauren

 Eric & Sonja

 Mike & Shemeka

Me & Troy!

I got to open some gifts at Myabi also and guess what Charity gave me GUYS?!!!  Just thinking about it makes me excited.  Not only did I get Volume 4 of Glee to round out my collection, but I also received...
RONDO JERSEY SHIRT!!! I am a HUGE Rajon Rondo fan!  And plan to wear this shirt during every game for the remainder of the season!  Here's a group picture of us leaving Myabi before heading to Bowling!

BOWLING.  Imagine my excitement when my bowling shoes matched my birthday shirt AND Rondo jersey!

And, while I wasn't the best bowler, I have my secret techniques!...
 roll the ball real slow!
 then spread your wings to show it which way to go!
works every time (except for when it doesn't!)...

Sonja sports her fun bowling socks!

And I even got to spin a wheel for a prize...
 I won two free games!!  Whose coming with me?! (although next time we're coming on NON-SMOKING night!! sheesh. My entire outfit has to go to the cleaners!)

LOVE.  Here's a pic of all of my beautiful and heartfelt cards!! It really was a birthday filled with well-wishes, cupcakes (Allison's husband made me cupcakes!! And she decorated them! so super sweet!), cards, gift cards, and so much more.  I am so grateful.  All I wanted was simply to spend time with positive people who love me for me.  That was enough.  I'm a happy lady I must say!! 
Oh, and I've decided that 28 was such a fun birthday that I'm going to remain 28 for the next 5 years.  Please note this.  Thank you!!

Grateful for the gift of friendship from a group of positive people!!,

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Our Thanksgiving...

Troy and I headed to Georgia to visit my parents and siblings this Thanksgiving.  Here's a synopsis of what went down:  The family hung out.  My mom and I shopped. Troy slept and watched football.  My mom and I shopped.  Troy watched more football. My mom and I shopped.  The family ate. The family went ice skating.  The family ate again. And then we came home! We had such a great time.

Last year was my first time doing the Midnight Madness at Tanger Outlets.  My mom and I kept that going this year! We left the house headed to the outlets in Locust Grove (about 25 minutes from my parents' house) at 11:30 p.m. Thanksgiving night.
Little did we know that PEOPLE ARE CRAZY! (I guess us included!)  Traffic was a HOT mess as far back as 1 mile before the exit.
Then once we actually arrived to the outlet, NO PARKING!! People were parking just about any and everywhere!
And there were so many people!!  I thought maybe the stores were giving stuff away!

Anywho, after shopping at the outlets for about 2 hours or so, we headed home for a nap.  Then, around 10:00 a.m. we headed for Lenox Mall and a few other places (Marshalls & TJ Maxx included of course!).

after 5 hours of sleep...back at it again!

Right outside of Lenox, we saw protesters...
...and a guy who forgot to look in the mirror before coming out in public!

Saturday morning I had breakfast with Whitney!  Such a lovely time!  It started out a little confusing, however!  We could NOT figure out the parking meter in front of the restaurant downtown.  How many lawyers does it take to figure out an Atlanta parking meter? Apparently TWO!

Success!! We figured it out! Stupid meter!

Saturday night Troy and I went ice skating with my parents, brother, and my brother's friend.   I got a twirl or two in without falling!
My parents had a great time! 
 my dad likes to pose! Remember when we played putt putt with him?
 "I don't wanna fall" ~Mom

But I was the ONLY one who fell.

That's me.  Woman on the ice.  But, all in all, it was a good time had by all!

Adrian, one of my many brothers.

So that's my Thanksgiving in a nutshell.  I am quite thankful to have spent time with my family.  And speaking of thankful, I am very grateful to have seen another birthday!  That's right, yesterday I celebrated another birthday!! 28 here I am!  Pictures of the birthday fun are forthcoming so stay tuned!!

How was your Thanksgiving?,

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Will Drool For Shoes!...

So, I admitted my slight liking of shoes a few weeks ago.  Well, last week I saw this picture which made me drool--look at that lovely shoe storage/display!

(wipes drool off keyboard AGAIN!)  Anywho, as promised, here are some of my favorite fall shoes from my closet.  Starting with Round Toes!  There's something about fall that makes me want to wear round toes way more often than any other season of the year.  Here are my current favorite round toes!

 Macy's Find!
Absolutely Enjoy these!! Wear them with black tights!

 Classic Black Round Toe a la Jessica Simpson!
Yet Another Macy's Find

 Rampage Shoe That is SOOOO Fall!
You Guessed It...From Macys! 

Next up, my "witch shoes" as Troy calls them.  He thinks they look like shoes witches wear! LOL! But I think they are fabulous!! Especially the black shoes!! I can wear them with like 55% or more of my fall skirts! 

Ann Marino oxford pumps! 
LOVE wearing these with black tights, pattern pencil skirt, & black turtleneck!
TJ Maxx find (I am such a maxinista)
And guess what...
Paid LESS for the same shoe in gray at DSW!
These are suede, the black shoes are not.

Anywho, these are some of my most worn fall shoes!! Share some of your favorite fall shoes!!!

Yay for shoes,