Monday, December 30, 2013

2013 in review

I think that 2013 for me can best be summed up with one word: restoration.  This past year was a big one for me - personally, relationally, career-wise, and spiritually.  It wasn't an easy year - but through it all, God was there.  He held my hand through it all and taught me to trust His plan for my life.  I also learned how to lean on Him in adversity and to believe that He makes everything beautiful in its time (Eccl. 3:11 esv).  

It was a big year of growth and restoration, and I know that God has even more in store for me in the upcoming year.  But before we turn to 2014, here are a few of the highlights from 2013:

 We celebrated NYE with good friends (and I wrote my very first blog post!).
We visited beautiful San Diego in February.
I celebrated my golden birthday.
I joined my friend Jess in Florida for a much-needed weekend getaway.
My friend Amanda got married, and I was reunited with these lovely ladies.
I gave camping a shot (and learned that glamping may be a better fit...).
My friend Jessie's wedding was one big Rice reunion.
I spent a wonderful ladies' weekend with my mom in Chicago.
My friend Michelle got married on the beach in Florida, and we vacationed in the Florida Keys.
We celebrated our one-year anniversary (which fell on Father's Day this year).

We gave gardening a try.
We rode in the Jeep for the Dune Acres 4th of July parade.
Steve and I learned how to married-date.
I learned how to golf... and that I actually like it!
I ate a delicious elephant ear at the Indiana State Fair.
We traveled to Pennsylvania for my friend Anna's wedding.
I helped my parents move into their new beautiful home.
Lyla experienced her first Westie Walk and loved it.
Steve's 5-year class reunion was a blast.
I picked pumpkins in my hometown with my sweet friend Larissa.
I fundraised and participated in the Alzheimer's Association Walk to End Alzheimers in honor of Pops.
God showered love on us through the story of our new living room couches.
We celebrated a wonderful Thanksgiving with my family (and I hugged a giraffe!) in Texas.
We took in the city of Chicago from the top of the Willis Tower.
We had the perfect Christmas with my family.  And I got a new camera!  Look out 2014, better pictures are coming your way on this little blog of mine.

What a year.  Here's to 2014: continued restoration, growth, and God's promised beautification of everything in its time.

Friday, December 27, 2013

lone star christmas

Merry belated Christmas, friends!  Steve and I flew down to Texas to be with my family for the holiday and we had a great time.  My only complaint was that our trip was too short.  It was wonderful spending the holiday with my family.  There are so many fun longstanding Christmas traditions in my family, and it was really special to share them with Steve for the first time this year.  Here are a few moments captured during our time together.  
 
One of the most exciting developments over the holiday was that I got a new camera!  I am so excited to learn how to use it and to use more than just my iPhone for documenting those precious moments in life - like our family Christmas picture.  So. excited. :)
I hope you all had a wonderful Christmas!

the gaylord texan

My mom arranged a special surprise while Steve and I were in town for Christmas: a trip to the Gaylord Texan to tour its annual ice sculpture exhibit on Christmas Eve.  This year's exhibit was entitled ICE! featuring The Nutcracker and was incredible! 
The temperature inside the exhibit hall was 17 degrees, so we bundled up in winter coats, hats, gloves and parkas provided by the hotel.  We were lookin' pretty stylish rockin' those parkas, let me tell ya.
 The exhibit itself was incredible.  We walked our way through the Nutcracker story, one exquisite ice carving at a time.  I've never seen anything like it. 
 There was even an ice slide.  Of course, I made my sister go down with me.  Weeeee!
 The ICE! exhibit ended with a tour of New York City and a beautiful nativity scene.
After thawing out from the ice exhibit, we explored the rest of the hotel.  It was huge!  I would love to someday spend a long weekend there... there's so much to do that you would never have to leave the resort the entire time!  
 The Gaylor Texan's trademark is this huge Texan star in the center of the hotel.  I would love to see it lit up at night - I imagine it would be pretty breathtaking.
We wrapped up our trip with lunch at the Riverwalk Cafe.  Mexican food - yum!
It was a great trip to the Gaylord!  And even greater to spend the day with my beautiful family.  If you're ever in DFW and looking for a place to stay or just to spend a few hours and grab a good meal, I highly recommend checking out the Gaylord Texan.