Wednesday, December 31, 2008


I did not disappear from the world of blogging. It's okay... the world can go on. I have been on my deathbed with a killer stomach bug as my first excuse. I have been in Tulsa with my precious family is my second excuse.

The stomach bug decided to attack me the night after Christmas while in Tulsa. We finished eating pizza and I thought my innards might jump out. I threw up a few million times and thought all was done. Nope... two more days of death followed. This means I could not adequately enjoy my family which angers me to the highest degree. Then in the Tulsa Airport on the way back to Dallas I threw up in a trashcan in front of people!!! I'm still very weak, but have been able to eat a little here and there. Now I know I like to diet... but, my gosh... God has a sense of humor.

I do not have pictures from Tulsa because they are on Brenda's camera and she must send them to me. We had a really nice time. My two year old niece, Rylie is a riot and makes me laugh a lot. She now calls me "Jolly" and "JuJu" - I guess that is better than "Dewey." It is so fun to watch children and see how they play. They are always entertained and always ready for something new to begin.

We watched a lot of football and a few movies here and there. I always enjoy going to their church. It is very small, but neat and I like the pastor. I didn't feel well at all so that made me sad I couldn't quite absorb the lesson. It was also great to have some more time with my Dad. We had a good time just chatting here and there.

On our layover to Tulsa Nick came to pick us up and Dad got to meet Dianne and Jim. It was neat. It meant a lot to me for them to get to know one another since I talk about my Dad a lot to them. He enjoyed talking vacationing and the mountains with them. Brenda asked if they would be new best friends... I'm not sure... Dad and Brenda are more coffee and cake people while Dianne and Jim enjoy their wine and pudding! I think they'd all get along. They each are such wonderful people. I wanted Dad to get to know Nick better as well. I never know where things will lead, but it's important for them to know one another and to like one another! Can you imagine if Dad didn't like my man! I just don't choose to find that one out. There is also the stance though when a woman hurt my daddy I wanted to punch her teeth out and rip out her hair.... I'm sure he'd do the same for me!

So today wraps up 2008. Nick is having a big ole party. There are lots of people coming so I am very excited. I feel a lot better which makes me happy... I hope I can make it past midnight! You know, not that I would ever rewind time, but 2007 was not a good year at all really... and surprisingly 2008 gave me a lot of opportunities and blessings. It's been a wonderful year. There have been both the good and the bad, but overall I'm pretty happy with it. There have been milestones and setbacks... but, that comes with the journey. I keep thinking: "New Year, New You." I like myself, but there is some tweaking that I can do in 2009. Small things... and big things... Like finding a church home and being more selfless and becoming less passive... here and there God is always working within me. I guess that makes no need for a real resolution. God will tell us what we need to change and what we need to resolve. That's enough for me to remember!

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Christmas 2008

"The Christmas Story" plays in the background, Dad putters around the house playing with his newest toys from Santa and the aroma of Christmas candles fills the air. This is my Christmas morning. It is very different compared to others, but it is quite perfect. My phone has been ringing and dinging off the wall with Christmas calls and texts. This warms my heart. We will take off in a plane to Tulsa in a couple of hours. Not exactly a fun way to spend Christmas night, but it will be worth it. We may even get to spend a few hours with the Gray family on our layover in Dallas.

Yesterday Dad and I went to visit my mom's mom, Grandmommy and my Uncle Mike in Snyder. Mike is a tennis professional in Dallas at Royal Oaks Country Club, but I never see him. We had a really nice time. We all just sat around talking for hours and hours. Mike knows everything in the world about sports. Everything, no joke. He told me old stories about my Mom. Apparently she was pretty perfect. Ahhh I knew that! Grandmommy was doing well and she enjoyed her gifts, too.

Then we went to the Stewart household for our tradition. It's insane... for the past 25 years it's been at Ina's, but she is in poor health so it is now in the hands of Howard and Vicki. It was so wonderful to see Stephanie, too! Last Christmas she wheeled in on her little wheelchair after her wreck. This year she was showing us the remnants. The girl broke her entire leg pretty much, crushed her ankle, pelvis, spleen, vertebrates... wow... Now her ankle is still different colors and contains many scars, but that is really the only remnant of the wreck! She wears boots a lot of the time for stability, but she's fine with that! She and her hubby, Jason are four months pregnant and they hope to name him Parker or Trooper. We had a nice time just chatting and hanging out... oh, and eating like pigs. The best food in the world! I looked around the room just smiling at all the familiar faces.
Teffy wants me to smile with my mouth shut. Ummm no...
The same pose every Christmas... Ahhh...

Then Dad and I came home to open gifts. Brenda is still in North Dakota so it was a bit different without her. We both got some neat gifts. Don't laugh... but in my old age I sure get excited about a coffeemaker and CrockPot! There were many other gifts, too... ahh I love gifts... but I love more to give them to people! Dad got two bottles of wine from me and then the Grays because he kept saying he wanted a good red wine. Well, he now looks like a wino. I gave him other neat things though, too! Santa woke me up this morning with a stocking full of gifts. Santa knows I like to spend money so he gave me many gift cards... and candy! Oh... and a spatula... a really neat flexy one. He wants me to cook. He even brought my cat some toys and a gift card.

Now I am about to go for a jog and give people some calls.

I wish you all a Merry Christmas and a blessed new year.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

WWW Christmas Party

We had a great time at the WWW party last night! It was Anna, Kacie, Andrea, Erin, Nikki, Kathryn and me! Kacie just moved into a HUGE home as she is getting married in a few weeks. I am insanely jealous! Bryan doesn't live there yet, but it already looks like a perfect little family home. We hung out around the chips and dip just chit chatting. Then we took pictures by the fire! We finally opened gifts and had the best time stealing things! Erin was telling us that last weekend during her marathon run she collapsed with a stroke/mini heart attack and was in the hospital two days. That is very scary! We are all pumped about Kacie's upcoming nuptials so that was the talk of the night. I am so thankful to God for my wonderful friends. They enhance my life and make me laugh and just continue to bless me. And... to think... exactly five years ago I told Andrea that I just didn't know if she'd stick around as a friend so I just wasn't giving her a chance. I made her cry... then I realized she was sure special in my life. Can anyone say I was a little dense as a college student?!

Monday, December 22, 2008

A Gray-T Christmas

I told you there was something magical about Christmas. Today I have been greeted with e-mails from two random amazing friends. Just checking in... we hadn't talked in a while. God made me smile so much through these words. One of my old pals, Shelby, had a dream about me last night. We live in the Metroplex, but never see one another. It warmed my heart to hear this because you just never know when you are on someone's mind. She'll always be close in heart... there's no worry about that. Same goes for Abra who wrote me as she just thought of me! Awww...

Last night the Gray family made me a little Christmas celebration. It almost brought tears to my eyes. It is so kind when other people go out of their way to make you happy. Dianne cooked some amazing chicken bowtie pasta (Nick's favorite) and we sat in front of the fire for a bit and chit chatted. Jim & Dianne got me a digital photo keychain, a furry throw (because I always steal theirs when I am over there) and linen spray... long story, but it's all because of my mean cat. Then Nick gave me an Ipod (YESSSS!!!) and "Sex and the City!" I have needed an Ipod forever... I hope I can figure it out! My favorite was watching him open his gifts... I got him an Under Armour polo, some Texas Tech receiving gloves and a huge 16x20 poster framed collage of his favorite Texas Tech players. Then he took me to look at some lights in their neighborhood. These homes were ridiculous and huge... I wanted to steal them. Hey, some were for sale! I could pick me up a million dollar home... The lights were outstanding... but, I still swear Big Spring lights beat all.

I am so excited to fly home tomorrow night. We love Christmas celebrations! My poor Dad has been working so much and he needs a break. I hope he gets a chance to relax. Tonight is the girl celebration at Kacie's house. It will be nice to all hang out and enjoy one another. I didn't sleep much last night thinking of all I needed to do and the Christmas cheer, but it's all worth it.

Spread some love today!!!

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Fa La La La La

There is not much going on, but I love Christmas. That's it.

I went to the Dallas Symphony with Nick's mom and Granny Thursday night. It was magnificent. I really enjoyed the entire night. My favorite part was not the Symphony though. I got to Nick's parents house early. Not only did he show up, but his brother was also there. So it was like a little family get together. A fire was blazing and his mother served us some soup. I had the best time just hanging out before the Symphony. One day I'd love to live near my Dad and Brenda...

Last night was the Gray neighborhood party. Geoff, Tony, Nick and I all got dressed up and went over there. It was wine and desserts. We mainly stayed in the television room and entertained the children. They are good birth control as they hung on us and screamed and ran around the room. They were adorable though! We had a nice time then we took Nick's family to look at the lights showcased on Good Morning America in Plano. That was really neat.

It's a leisurely Saturday around here. I got all my shopping done so now I am just doing the finishing touches. I spoke with my family in Welch today. Dad tried to get me a plane ticket to see them... that is so very sweet, but it is not going to work out. They are having a wonderful time. I love them so much. I also spoke with Teffy last night. She is having a boy and wants to name him Trooper... strange, but I like it! I think Julio is better fitted since he is my "nephew!" Julio Glenn Harrison. Yep...

Tonight is the Dallas Cowboys last game at Texas Stadium. Yeehaw. It doesn't really effect me... but, I'll enjoy the game! Tomorrow Nick's family is cooking me a special dinner and we are opening gifts. I hope they enjoy their gifts. I try so hard to shop for what people will love. And Monday night is my girls Christmas party. I got a really cute red hat for it!!! So excited!!! I am ready to venture home!!! I forget I need to pack... ummm... that is a priority!!! Dad and I will have our first Christmas Eve just us... but, we will make it. Ahhh Christmas is so hard on me when I am at home. I miss the olden days of Mom, Dad and me so much. It rips me apart, but I know that is my life and we must embrace our blessings. To be with the Stewarts on Christmas Eve, the fact Teffy is still with us after her horrific accident, the fact we are all together and laughing and talking... that is what matters! I don't care about gifts as long as I have love... oh, okay... and a couple of gifts :)!!!

Speaking of... it's time to finish up a few projects before time runs out!

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

It's Cold

I decided today that I hate being cold. As I brushed my teeth this morning I was shivering and I realized I stood there in my bathrobe and flannel pants and I just hated to be cold. To get dressed up for an evening in general I must put on my socks, pants, shirt, blazer/coat, belt... agh... where is the summer when I threw on a tank top and shorts? Lots less laundry! Alas, during summer I yearn for the times of cold air when I can run in the brisk wind and cuddle by a fire.

The past two nights I have cuddled by a fire. Well, not exactly cuddling, but sitting by the fire watching TV with Nick. Tonight I am so going to work out then have a night to myself watching TV and wrapping gifts cuddled in a blanket because I don't know how to start a fire.

The season keeps on going as tomorrow is the Dallas Symphony with Nick's mom and grandmother, Friday is the Gray Christmas Party, Sunday the Grays are throwing me a mini Christmas and Monday is the WWW Christmas Party (My girlfriends and I are exchanging gifts at Kacie's)... then I fly home on Tuesday!!! YAAAAY!!! I do really wish I could go visit my family in Welch this year, but we are going to have a wonderful time in Midland and Tulsa. I am truly blessed with my family. It makes me want to cry just thinking of the blessings God has bestowed upon me in these wonderful people.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Wintry Wonder Weekend

Calling today a winter day might be a bit of an understatement. Of course, if it was to be snowing I could really call it a winter day, but the brisk mountainous air makes my always cold self call it a winter day! I would like to sit by my fire, but if one was to look at previous entries one would realize the Christmas to-do list never finishes. I finished most of my shopping, but my nails, laundry and wrapping just aren’t done. This week I get to attend the Dallas symphony and the Gray Christmas Bash, too!

Friday Nick, Tony, Geoff and I went looking at lights. There are so many places to choose, but we chose Deerfield in Plano. It was so beautiful. There were limos and horse drawn carriages. I still say not much can compare to the lights in Big Spring. It seems neighbors are always trying to outdo neighbors so you get a great show there. Growing up I lived on the Christmas light street. There was a legend that in your papers you had to sign to put up lights! As I grew up the lights dimmed, but when I was little our whole street was Christmas insanity. I always enjoyed getting on the roof with Dad and stapling in lights. It was always a special time for us. I think there is an old story where one time Dad rolled off the roof. I don’t know the details, but it always scared me into staying away from the edges!

This weekend was Sarah Cohen’s 27th birthday. We threw her a party at her house. It ended up being a bunch of girls sitting around chatting. It was so much fun! It made me nostalgic because I could swear it was just yesterday that Stephanie and I flew down to surprise her for her 21st birthday in Austin. I’m old. She’s old, too. Sarah is so special to me.

I also spent alllll day Saturday shopping for Christmas gifts. From downtown Plano to the Galleria up to NorthPark then finally finding what I really wanted at SteinMart! It really isn’t smart to hit the mall during the holidays. I wanted to hit actual people.

I cannot resist adding these photos. Stephanie, Sarah and I met on Bid Day in college. We spent the first frat party night roaming around as we didn’t know much about frat parties. We took a picture at one house that night and from then on we have taken pictures in the same positions!!! I love these girls!

I’m glad it feels like Christmas outside. I DVR’ed a bunch of lifetime movies so I can watch them this week. I don’t want to waste one minute of holiday thrill.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Christmas Killing

The holidays may be killing me.

I absolutely love being busy, but right now with the whole to-do list taking up my calendar my sleep is deprived to the max and there is not enough time in my day! Parties… shopping… working out… events… Christmas cards… wrapping… whoa. How do people with kids do it?! Last night I was sure I’d get a break… nope, the boss took the whole company to a Dallas Stars game. Don’t get me wrong – it was a blast. So today I was a walking zombie. I’m thinking I’ll get in a nap before a workout tonight… a workout after I swing by Wal Mart to pick up a prescription and swing by Walgreens to pick up photo cards and oh yeah – my apartments are throwing a little get together! Then I’d go to Nicks… nope… he is going to his parents tonight and insisted I come over there right after work. Hmm…. Boyfriend time squashes the to do list time. In the next week I have Sarah’s birthday party, my girls Christmas gathering at Kacie’s, the Gray Christmas party, McKinney Trade Days to shop for gifts, finish shopping for ole Dad’s gifts trying to find the perfect price, find Nick another perfect gift, send Christmas cards after I had the bright idea to make them myself, go to church, oh yeah sign a new apartment lease, lalalala I am just going to stop there before I pass out. I LOVE IT!!! I love the Christmas spirit and I absolutely love being so blessed with such wonderful opportunities and friends that open their homes! I wonder if they will have wine to calm me?

I keep having to remind myself between all the activity that Christmas is about Jesus. God and I have talked a lot lately. I hate that I get so wrapped up in everything else that sometimes I just “forget.” When I was a reporter I felt like I was helping to change the world because I did story after story to help people during the holidays. I wish I had the money to give and give to people in need. I’ve been working with God to help steer a friend in His direction. This has been going on for a few years now, but it seems that is the best Christmas gift I can give to her. To see Him working in her heart warms my own. I have another friend lost from God and I have been trying to work with her to just see His hand in her life. It’s often so hard for us to share Jesus when we all are fighting our own battles. I lose sight so many times as well.

I am absorbing my blessings this holiday season. My amazing family… my wonderful friends… I was smiling the other day at a memory. One Christmas in high school I was so proud of myself because I spent $50 on my mother a Gap sweatshirt. I knew she would love it. At this time spending that kind of money on anyone but myself was ridiculous! I remember feeling selfless and so happy that I made her smile. It’s funny the gifts we remember. I have bought my Dad many things over the years, but it is the things that meant something to me that I will forever remember. It isn’t about the Polo shirt or satellite radio. It’s about the framed photo or handmade collage. I miss my mother so much during the holidays. She loved decorating and she loved singing and mostly she just loved to make us smile with her gifts. I have so many blessings in my life, but I will always miss her laughter during the holiday season.

Now that my delirium has reached a new level I hope someone will give me some wine. Maybe it will knock me out so I can dream about shopping instead of going through my list in my mind all night!

Monday, December 8, 2008

I'm A Wedding Professional

I am now a professional wedding-goer. I love it, too. Weddings are some the best times in life... This weekend was another Gray family wedding. The Grays have four sets of best friends. Nick and Justin grew up with Tara and Jenna. Tara lives in San Diego, but this weekend came back to Texas to marry her sweetheart. Leslie came as Justin's date and I went as Nick's date. Such a blast! Let me tell you - this was no ordinary wedding.

Chris and Tara are too adorable for words. This is one of their fun engagement photos:

I have seen it all by now. I also notice no matter how big and extravagant the wedding... the thing that makes it all happen is the love in the room. People laughing, dancing and eating is truly the best thing. I noticed Chris and Tara stopped to talk to each table making them all feel special. I don't think they noticed the extravagance. They were dancing and singing and most of all - smiling.

This reception took place downtown at the Old Red Courthouse Museum. Four stories of reception! Waiters walked around serving us appetizers, beer and Sangria before the actual dinner began. I roamed around looking at Dallas artifacts and taking pictures, of course. I did find some cheese with caramel and pecans upstairs so that made me very happy. Nick laughs at my love of cheese. Then we all went upstairs for a formal dinner and dancing. My favorite part were the toasts. They had so many toasts! The bride, groom, parents, etc all gave toasts! The Teter women love to dance so they had a really great band. Nick and I tried to dance, but the band kept playing disco... and he laughed at my attempts to disco.

Something very special about the wedding... Tara and Jenna lost their father when they were younger... so it warmed my heart as I saw sister and mother walking Tara down the aisle. I hope one day in eighty years when I get married that I can honor my mother in some way as they honored their father throughout the entire night. Mrs. Teter, Tara and Jenna are truly three of the neatest women I have met. They are so full of energy and so much fun. I always feel loved when I see them. That makes me happy to see good people falling into so many blessings.

We were all wiped out by the end of the night. I didn't go to church on Sunday because I was sleepy and it felt so good to wrap myself in the blanket. Not a good excuse... I was so proud of my bright red dress, but it was pretty much covered up with Nick's coat all night. I am always cold. But, we must always be beautiful as a professional wedding-goer!

Photobooth Fun!

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Girl's Night Out

I'm sitting here trying to figure out how I can push as much as possible in the matter of only a few hours. It seems my schedule tends to look like that for the next few weeks... wow, what a blessing to have so many opportunities to be with friends, shop for loved ones, work out to work off the Christmas pie and enjoy the spirit of the holiday season. That said, my push for perfection in gifts may kill me. I just want to make people smile. It's hard to find the perfect gift and not spend millions. My feet hurt from scouring the stores!!! And... I love it!

Last night the girls and I went to Chuys. We have started calling it Working Women's Wednesday and somehow morphed into calling ourselves WWW... fun. Kathryn and I got there early so we just hung out and talked. Finally Kacie, Raelyn, Nikki and Anna came. We had such a nice time. Kacie is getting married next month so we had a lot to talk about when it came to her wedding! Anna is a wedding planner so it was endless! I left there and jotted over to Sarah & Kristen's to borrow a dress for Tara's wedding this weekend. Yes, I attend many weddings! We had fun just laying on Kristen's bed talking. Definitely a girl's night!

It's so cold outside today. Nick said he'd make a fire, but I have a business holiday party tonight then I want to work out... yeah right, I cannot make it in time to enjoy a fire. I yearn for one of those nights where you get a glass of wine, wrap in a blanket and watch television in front of a fire. Heck, even a space heater! I may just have to do that in order to finish all of my Christmas projects! Cards are up next!!! Projects are my favorites because they take time instead of money.

You know what else I learned today... my cousins burned my ear while straightening my hair... no big deal... well, it started bleeding today and was literally dripping blood. I had no idea earlobes had so much blood. My co workers laugh at my wound. I also ran out of mustard for my sandwich so I threw on some ranch that was in the fridge. My tummy began to hurt. I think the ranch is old.

Anyway... so excited for the weekend. Tara's wedding is in this beautiful Catholic church and her reception is at the Old Red Courthouse. Amazing!!! We are going with Nick's entire family so I am thrilled!!! I may freeze to death, but I'm still thrilled. I wonder if I can carry around my space heater?

Friday, November 28, 2008

Gobbles '08

The house is dark and quiet now as we all unwind from our Thanksgiving festivities. An hour ago children were running around, parents were sharing stories and the television blasted music.

Thanksgiving the past two years is a new chapter for me. Dad and I now celebrate the holiday with Brenda's family in San Antonio. Her brother and his family come in from Austin and we all stay with her other brother. Her entire clan gets together at her aunt's house and we have a big celebration.

I am a Texas Techsan among many Aggies. Enough said there. The food is spectacular, but I enjoy the company the most.

I have two cousins that I just put under my wing. Katelyn is ten... my mini me. She is adorable.

Seva is seven. She is so gentle and sweet.

I let them straighten my hair each morning. They thought life was Heaven. My ear hurts where Seva burned it.

Her bird, Paul, also bit me on the face.

I told Dad today that a few times I thought we needed to call Granny Jac. I kept forgetting she has gone to Heaven. This is our first holiday without her. It's a bit surreal, but all for the best. It's very different to be with another family that is not quite my own, but we are "one" now; it has just taken a while. I do not feel the same comfort I feel with the Adams family, but I do feel the love surrounding me in the room. I called Nick's family and talked to them a few times. They were so excited. His mother is such a hoot.

This morning the whole clan began the day by golfing! I have never played nine holes of golf. Brenda will say I cheated, but she's lying!!! We had such a nice time. My Dad is a big time golfer so it was fun to join his world.

Dad, Jimmy, Jay, Julie

Oops. I hit it in the water.

Then I went to visit Tiffany and JC and their new baby, Hailey. We had such a nice talk. Hailey is just beaming. So beautiful and just like a little pristine doll. I was scared I would drop her. She is going to be another protege!!! I love this kid already.

We tried to shop, but everyone was really sleepy so we all came back to the house to lounge. I'm not ready to go back to my world! This is my world right here!!! Family is the most important thing in the world. I have so much in the world to be thankful for; even when we feel like life is not going our way; something out there is in our favor. I am so very thankful for the blessings God has given me in my friends and family.

I am thankful God has given me Nick as he has changed my life for the better and helped me be a become a better person. I am thankful to have an amazing Dad who just awes me with his wisdom and love every day. I am thankful to have a best friend for over 20 years in Chandra and Stephanie. Yes, I am thankful that I had my own mother for nineteen precious years and thankful to have a stepmother that blesses my life each day as well. Life might not ever be perfect, but my list of blessings help me see my thanks should always be abundantly flowing.

Lights out. Gobble Gobble.