Friday, April 26, 2013

glamping & other adventures

High five for Friday!  I'm linking up with Lauren today. 

1.  Steve and I are going camping this weekend at McCormick's Creek.  I have only camped once in my life.  On my last camping excursion, we ate chips for dinner since our hot dogs expired without anyone noticing and it rained the whole time.  And even then, we still managed to have fun.  But there's really no way to go but up on this trip!  Personally, I am a fan of the whole glamping (glamorous camping) idea...I mean, what girl wouldn't want to hang out in a tent like this one?  Yes yes, I know, good luck to me trying to talk Steve into it :)  Maybe someday!

2.  Yes, I am that grownup who purchased the kiddy animal crackers and ate them blissfully as I waltzed down the grocery store aisles.  It was awesome.  Animal crackers make grocery shopping so much more enjoyable, especially if you are a kid at heart like me.
3.  I finally got around to hanging pictures on the walls in our home.  This bad boy has been hanging in our living room with empty frames for, oh I don't know, approximately eight months.  Oops.  But it's finally full with an assortment of engagement pictures and makes me so happy every time I walk by.
4.  Lyla and I have been loving long walks in the spring evenings together. 
5.  I am not a good cook, but lately I have been trying to make more meals at home.  It's a combined effort to save money and to eat healthier.  Steve has loved it and somehow I haven't managed to mess anything up too badly yet.  This was an easy recipe for skinny chicken tacos (you can find the recipe here).  They turned out surprisingly delicious - yum!
Happy (almost) weekend!

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

a prayer of st. augustine

"We know, brothers and sisters,
and we hold with firmest faith,
that Christ died for us but once;
The Righteous for sinners,
The Master for slaves,
The Free for captives,
The Doctor for the sick,
The Happy for the miserable,
The Rich for the needy,
The Seeker for the lost,
The Redeemer for the sheep,
and what's most awe-inspiring of all,
The Creator for the created,
holding on to what He always is,
handing over what He was made;
hidden from sight, the Godhead,
appearing to sight, the human,
by his power, life-giving,
by his weakness, dying,
in his divinity, unchanging,
in his flesh, capable of suffering."

Monday, April 22, 2013

how to pray

"I asked God for strength, that I might achieve; I was made weak, that I might learn humbly to obey. I asked God for health, that I might do greater things; I was given infirmity, that I might do better things. I asked for riches, that I might be happy; I was given poverty, that I might be wise. I asked for power, that I might have the praise of men; I was given weakness, that I might feel the need of God. I asked for all things, that I might enjoy life; I was given life, that I might enjoy all things. I got nothing that I asked for--but everything that I had hoped for. Almost despite myself, my unspoken prayers were answered. I am among men, most richly blessed."

Lately, I feel like God has been lovingly nudging me to re-think how I pray.  I've never been what I would consider a "good pray-er."  Too often I skip out on extended prayer time with God and if I do manage to set aside a block of time specifically to pray, I too frequently find myself speaking to God one moment, and pondering what to make for dinner the next.  Or I often go through a laundry-list of prayers, and get frustrated when some of the "big ones" go unanswered. 

Rarely in prayer do I ever find myself listening to what God wants to say to me.

I am ashamed to admit that I have never really thought about listening to God during my prayer time.  I mean, it's time for my prayers, right?  So surely I should do all the talking?  Wrong.  Prayer is a conversation with God.  It is not just a time for listing grievances - it is a time of communion with my Maker.

The ultimate objective of prayer is not to have my requests answered.  Half of the time, my requests aren't even what I should be asking for in the big scheme of things.  That's why I love the quote above so much.  Almost despite myself, my unspoken prayers were answered.  He knows what is best for me, even if I don't know what's best for myself.  Time spent in serious, devoted prayer (and silence waiting in His presence) can only help me to more clearly see what God's plan is for me and how I can grow more like him each day.  While there is a lot of power in speaking my heart out loud to the Lord, sometimes I just need to stop rambling talking, and start listening.

I encourage you to join me in spending thirty minutes each day this week in complete solitude with God. If you run out of things to talk to him about, that's ok.  Just spend the rest of the time in silence, asking Him to speak to your heart.  After all, He is the best friend you will ever have.  No one listens better than He does, and no one can give you what you desire like He can.  Spend time in quiet thoughtfulness with Him, and He will give you everything that your heart has hoped for - even if it wasn't on your "prayer list."

I asked for all things, that I might enjoy life; I was given life, that I might enjoy all things. I got nothing that I asked for--but everything that I had hoped for.  

Stop talking.  Start listening.  Let God speak to your heart.

Prayer points us beyond ourselves,
beyond our friendships,
to the deepest realization of all:
that God made us to be lovers of God.
He is at the very heart of our hearts.
-James Houston

Sunday, April 21, 2013

the houstonian

I promised in this post to share more about our trip down to Houston last weekend.  I've given bits and pieces in the last couple of posts, but the trip was so great that it is deserving of it's own (lengthy) post.  Here goes!

Steve and I arrived in Houston on Friday afternoon.  After picking up our rental car (a free upgrade to an SUV - only in Texas), we took a quick tour of downtown as we headed to my favorite tex-mex restaurant - Chuy's.  In college, my roommate and I had weekly dates at Chuy's for their delicious queso and margaritas.  I took Steve for the first time when he came to Texas to meet my parents.  He fell in love immediately, so lunch at Chuy's was a must for both of us.
Our next stop was to my alma mater, Rice University.  I may be a little biased, but I think my college campus is the prettiest one there is.  Memories flooded back as we walked through my old lecture halls and across the main quad.  I'm so grateful to have had the privilege of attending Rice, and to have so many great memories there.  It was even better sharing a few of those memories with Steve as we strolled around the campus.

We had plans to meet my sister for dinner, so we had a few hours to waste after the Rice campus tour.  We hopped across the street and spent the rest of the afternoon at Hermann Park.  It's one of the prettiest parts of Houston, and literally right across the street from Rice.

After we soaked up some sun in the park, we picked up my sister for an early birthday dinner.
 Isn't she such a beautiful birthday girl?

Saturday began with breakfast with my college roommate and her bf, followed by shopping, lunch and Starbucks with my sister.  Sadly I failed to take pictures all day, but it was a lot of fun.

We stayed at my friend Erin's house for the weekend, and caught up with my girls before heading to Amanda's wedding.
The wedding itself was beautiful.  It was an outdoor ceremony and the weather couldn't have been more perfect.  Amanda looked beautiful and we all had a blast catching up with other old friends at the reception.

On Sunday morning, Steve and I had to catch an early flight but managed to make a quick stop to Shipley's - a Houston breakfast staple - on the way.  Yum!

The weekend was a whirlwind.  A wonderful, fun-filled, friend-filled weekend.  There's nothing like reuniting with old friends - when you get together, no matter how much time has passed, it's like you've never been apart.  I am so thankful for my girls who will always be there for me, through thick and thin, for years to come.

Friday, April 19, 2013

high five for friday

I'm linking up with Lauren this week.  Happy Friday!

1.  Steve and I traveled down to Houston last weekend to celebrate an old friend's wedding.  It was great being back in my old stomping grounds - including my alma mater, Rice U - and seeing some of my oldest and dearest friends.  It was such a wonderful trip and I really did not want to leave.  Good thing we are headed back next month for another wedding :)

 2.  The best Houstonian breakfast out there.... 
...and the best tex-mex too.  All in one weekend.  I am one happy girl.
3.  Reunion of old friends at Amanda's wedding.  So, so good to see my girls!
4.  One of my New Year's Resolutions was to read the Bible in its entirety within a year.  I'm doing the ESV Study Bible plan on my iPhone (usually listening to and from work) and hit my 100th day last week!  It's been incredible and so encouraging to see how spending time in actual scripture (as opposed to just a devotional book or journal) each day has brought me closer to the Lord.  I must say, though, some of this Leviticus stuff is hard to swallow!  :)
5. When I arrived home from Houston, the prettiest bunch of daffodils was waiting for me from my in-laws' garden. Welcome, Springtime - I've been waiting out a loooong winter for you.
Steve and I have big plans for yard work this weekend - some flower planting, fertilizing, grass-care (?) and possibly also painting our front door.  He is really excited about it.  I am a wimp and have never really done yardwork before in my life, so I am terrified.  Wish me luck!  


Wednesday, April 17, 2013

though she be but little, she is fierce

Never were the words of William Shakespeare so true as when describing my little sister, who turns twenty-four today!  Since we were in Houston last weekend, we got to celebrate an early bday with her.  I'm so thankful for that - sometimes being away from my sister is the hardest part about living in Indiana. 

 It's hard to believe that she is almost halfway through her twenties!  (Which makes me a lot older too, haha).  I still remember the day she came into the world, and how I just couldn't wait to have a little sister.  I knew that I was going to have a baby sister (even though my parents didn't know whether it was a boy or girl until she had arrived - oops!) and her name was going to be Shelby.  And that was that.  Luckily, she was a girl, and we were best friends from that moment on. 

Isn't she such a beauty?

We have been through so much together - multiple family moves, schools, jobs, you name it and we've shared it - and I am so thankful that we are not just sisters, but also friends.  Best sister friends.  It doesn't get much better than that.

I am so proud of my little sister and love her dearly.  Happy birthday, Shelby!  Can't wait to see what God has in store for you this year - I'm sure whatever it is will blow us all away.  Sending lots of love your way.  xoxo

Sunday, April 14, 2013

full heart

I'm back from the best weekend ever in Houston, and my heart is oh so full!  The weekend was packed with sister bonding, a birthday celebration, a tour of my alma mater, sunshine, late bedtimes, reminiscing over the "old days," a brunch double date, introducing Steve to more Houston staples, a gorgeous wedding, a beautiful bride and a hilariously fun reception, (way too much) tex-mex food, and sharing countless hours of stories, smiles, and laughter with my girls.  Best. Weekend.  Ever.

I'll post later in more detail about the trip but I think the whole weekend is summed up quite well by this candid captured by the hubby:

Love these girls.  Never a dull moment :)

Now I'm off to catch up on sleep and get ready for the week.  I hope you had a great weekend!

Friday, April 12, 2013

texas time!

High five for Friday!  I'm linking up with Lauren this week for my five silver linings of the week:

1.  Wedding season has begun!  We're kicking off this year's round of weddings with a trip to Houston for my friend Amanda's wedding.  Amanda and I have been friends (and choir nerds) since high school, and I'm so excited to celebrate her big day along with the rest of my high school friends.  There's nothing like a reunion with these girls - whenever we are together, even if it's been years, it's like we've never been apart.

2.  Did I mention that we are going to Texas today?!?  Soooo excited.  And I get to see this pretty face on the right:

3.  It's my sister's 24th birthday next week, so we are going to celebrate while Steve and I are in town this weekend.  Can't believe she's in her mid-twenties already.  Which makes me way too old :)  On that note, I'm happy to present my favorite work-break read of the week: "Life In Your Early Twenties Vs. Your Late Twenties." 

4.  Springtime sunshine has arrived in Indy.  Finally.

5.  We found a new favorite Mexican restaurant in town w/ three different types of homemade salsa.  Steve couldn't be happier.  If you're ever in Indy, try La Margarita in Fountain Square.  I promise you will not be disappointed!