Monday, December 19, 2011

My Prayer Today

May I have the leading to be a small piece of the redemptive story I know He is weaving in the lives of those around me.

"Heal my heart and make it clean,
Open up my eyes to the things unseen,
Show me how to love like You have loved me.

Break my heart for what breaks Yours,
Everything I am for your kingdom's cause,
As I walk from earth into eternity."

-"Hosanna"  Hillsong United

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Christmas This Year

My house is clean, my tree is decorated, my shopping is almost done, and I'm enjoying a dark, lazy Sunday evening listening to Indie Christmas on Pandora. Christmas heaven! There is more decorating I could do, an endless list of Christmas goodies I could make, and fun parties I could plan but this year I'm trying to chill.  I'm trying to savor the season with rest, quiet and reflection.  This Psalm caught my eye today:

Psalm 131- I Have Calmed and Quieted My Soul

O Lord, my heart is not lifted up;
my eyes are not raised too high;
I do not occupy myself with things
too great and too marvelous for me.
But I have calmed and quieted my soul,
like a weaned child with his mother,
like a weaned child is my soul within me.

O Israel, hope in the Lord
from this time forth and forevermore.

To have a humble, thankful and calm prayer this Christmas season.

Monday, November 28, 2011


My friend Laura and I have spent hours and hours talking about life. This picture is from one of those coversations. We analyze, we hash it out, we talk it through over and over again. The people, the complicated situations, the emotions. We've read the self-help books, we've taken the Oprah classes (really), we just really like trying to figure it all out. It is fun to us.

So it came as no surprise that when I turned 25 this year I spent some extra time in thought over where I've been and where I'm going. I've always expected to have the "Quarter Life Crisis" that John Mayer told me about in one of his songs. I didn't have one. The last 25 years have been so wonderful. I've had some ups and downs but it has all brought me to where I am today. And what I know is that the next 25 have the potential to be even better. They have the potential to be worse, too. Let's face it, I'll probably experience more heartache, more trouble, more grief in my second 25. Sounds bad but it's the truth, right? I'm in the real adult world, I have responsibilites and will only take on more. Those I love aren't getting any younger and neither am I.

At year 25 I'm setting out on a mission to enjoy my life even more than ever before, come what may, come what will. To do this, I'm laying a few ground rules for myself. I got the idea from the book The Happiness Project. It's my own personal 10 commandments. They are unique to me. They are things I picked up from the Bible, books, friends, articles. Too lofty to achieve but it can't hurt to try!

1. Love, First.
2. I can do anything, I can't do everything.
3. Always expect the best outcome.
4. Love what I do. Period.
5. Take time to savor the beautiful things.
6. Don't take on the burden of things I can't control.
7. In this world there will be trouble. His grace will get me through.
8. Don't worry about how it is "supposed" to be... just LIVE.
9. Put people above things.
10. Laugh often.

Laura, you wanna chat?

Sunday, November 13, 2011

A November Saturday

This Saturday I had the chance to go flea market shopping and cute-store looking in beautiful Lambertville, NJ. But the best part was the company.  I still have a magent that Jenah gave me years ago that says "Friends are the family we make for ourselves".  I'm so thankful and blessed to have found family here.  I'm continually in awe of how God provides what we need and more.

The cold, windy bridge.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Two Years

Two years.  It feel somewhere between 6 months and 20 years depending on the day you ask me.  Abbie started a little tradition with her and Ben where they take a picture each year on or near their anniversary.  Corey and I are starting the same thing.  I'm sure that every picture will have it's own feel and take us back to our life at that time.

Year 2 picture feels like this:

Rush home from work "early" at 6pm.
Say hello and "man, that was another crazy day at work."
I told you not to get me flowers but why didn't you get me flowers?
A real fall day.
Corey goes to the neighbors house to see if they can take our picture so we will remember how skinny we were one day.
Neighbors aren't home so we settle for a self-made portrait and hope we are skinny next year.
You're moving the camera before it gets finished, that's why it's blurry!
We found street parking in Center City (and a grouchy meter man).
El Vez.  Our Favorite.  Caesar Chavez Guacamole. Blood Orange Margaritas.  Mahi Mahi Tacos. Amazing.
What do we want to do better next year? 
Be more selfless.
Dessert or home and bedtime?
Home and bedtime.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011


A tucked away spot on the side of the Philadelphia Museum of Art. In the midst of the crazy week don't forget the beauty. Happy Tuesday

Sunday, July 24, 2011


I walked into heaven on a hot June day in Dallas, Texas. Rows and rows and rows of beautiful boots. I want a pair of genuine, awesome, timeless cowgirl boots to wear until I'm 85.

Any suggestions?

Sunday, July 17, 2011


Every Friday is on the one hand the most wonderful and freeing days of the week. The week is over, you have a couple days free from the cubicle forget that life insurance, annoying financial advisers and the phrase "pounding the phones" EVER existed. On the other hand, it often fills me with sense of "I have so much that I want/need to do and I don't have enough time to fit it in!" This Friday I felt that strongly and actually started going through the things that I "wanted" to do to check them off my list.

Ok, got those magazines read that I was dying to have time to read, check. Ok, I picked something new to cook, check. But I wasn't actually having fun, I was making what should have been enjoyable, a chore!

Corey was working on his car out front so I just went outside to sit on my stoop and clear my head. There was a cool breeze.--- Let me just take one moment to describe the gravity of that statement for those of you that are not from Alabama. That sentence is unheard of, unspoken and impossible in an Alabama July. I am always shocked to feel such a breeze at this time of year and still have to convince myself that it is not a figment of my imagination. So, I'll say it again.--- There was a cool breeze. It was around dusk but the sun was hitting the clouds just right to make a beautiful sky. The street was a peace. --For those of you not from Philadelphia, let me just take a minute to describe the gravity of this situation. There were no screaming children, there were no fights, there were no stupidly loud motorcycles, nor was there a curse word uttered in earshot. So I'll say this again.--- The street was at peace.

I felt myself loosen and sink into the peace myself. I felt the sweetness of the moment and it was ten times better than the "fun" things I marked off of my list. I didn't orchestrate this moment like I had been trying to orchestrate my perfect weekend, it came to me. And then I though of this.

"Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights who does not change like shifting shadows" James 1:17

All that is good is from Him. I'm once again reminded that I'm powerless to create my own happiness and what He provides is infinitely better than what I can create for myself.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

The 4th!

Corey got home from a 7 week trip on Friday night of 4th of July weekend. We had a jam packed weekend to celebrate his return. 2 huge fireworks shows from two different roof tops, visiting a new restaurant, cookout at our house and a tubing adventure down the Delaware River. Here are just a few shots from the weekend.

Frankford Hall, a restaurant with ping pong.

And games! Please excuse lousy iPhone photography skills (see finger).

Toni and Ben with his mustache holding our new favorite friend, Evan.

Charis and Joel taking their turn.

We don't mind crowding in to our "backyard" which most of my friends and family wouldn't consider a backyard at all. But it's our little taste of the 4th of July outdoors.

Trenton Ave by night.

Fireworks going off at the Philadelphia Museum of Art, seen from Ben and Toni's roof.

One of many secondary fireworks shows. They were going off all over the city!

Oswald on Fussing

"Fussing always ends in sin. We imagine that a little anxiety and worry are an indication of how very wise we are; it is much more an indication of how really wicked we are. Fretting springs from a determination to get our own way. Our Lord was never worried and He was never anxious, because He was not 'out' to realize his own ideas; He was out to realize God's ideas.

Have you been bolstering up that stupid soul of yours with the idea that your circumstances are too much for God? Put all 'supposing' on one side and dwell in the shadow of the Almighty. Deliberately tell God that you will not fret about that thing. All of our fret and worry is caused by calculating without God."

-Oswald Chambers

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Nag's Head 2011

May I NEVER go a summer without a beach trip again! In the South I was accustomed to going on several beach trips per year. Moving to Philly ground that to a screeching halt. I went on day trips to New Jersey but went almost 3 years without going on a summer beach trip. Thanks to Karen, the streak was broken! We went to Nag's Head, North Carolina. It was relaxing, beautiful and lots of fun!

One of the lighthouses on the Outer Banks.

Ben and Toni on top of the sand mountain.

Me and my friend Lotta.

Toni and Charis make it to the top!

John and Wyatt

Phil is posing for the camera. Fiance Betsy is not amused.

What a cute family! Lotta, Tate and Jefta.

I LOVE these girls!!

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Happy Sunday Afternoon...

From the Phillies game! Who says two ladies can't go to a baseball game? Corey's mom Sarah is visiting her parents in the Philly 'burbs so we spent today together taking in an afternoon game.

Monday, June 13, 2011

The Straightaways

I heard a quote recently that keeps popping into my mind. I just love this quote!

"What you lose in the round-abouts you make up for in the straightaways"

I don't know where I heard this, I think it was on some podcast, and I vaguely remember that it is a British saying?? After I heard it, I just kept finding examples of this in my life. In relationships, exercise, work, housecleaning...and the list goes one. You know how it can take weeks of being in a relationship rut just to solve it all in one conversation. Or you are slammed at work and certain things just aren't getting done, but then an afternoon is inexplicably slow and you make up your lost ground and more. You see, round-abouts and straightaways!

I don't know about you but when I'm in the round-abouts, I totally forget about the straightaways and how much lost time you can make up. Recently I have been very busy and stressed and feel like I may never catch a break. Obviously stuck in a round-about. But just when you least expect it you catch a straightaway. It is amazing how much relaxation you can make up in one single evening sitting on your back patio. Last night I just sat, stared at my little window to the sky, listened to the children playing and soaked it all it. Weeks of hustle and bustle just melted away.

God bless the straightaway!

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Lord, Have Mercy

For a long time, when I thought of this phrase I pictured something like this--An older Southern woman is walking through a grocery store when she runs into an old friend she hasn't seen in 40 years, "Well, Lawd have mercy, look who it is!"

I though of it more of an exclamation rather than a prayer.

Beginning with a discussion in my home meeting, I'm starting to think of this prayer in a whole new light. Even when life is really good it doesn't mean that it is easy. I find myself getting really stressed out about work. I want to be the best, I don't want anyone to be mad at me, I want to be perfect and it is obvious that what I want is unattainable. But boy do I strive for it. I get so stressed that I start to feel it in my body and I realize that for my health, I've got to take a chill pill!

So I chill. I want to combat my stress the right way. I want to be the best stress fighter ever! I try to use all the right techniques by eating better, taking deep breaths, telling myself the right things, remembering the right verses, praying the right prayers. But a familiar feeling creeps in and I've got myself completely stressed out about trying not to be stressed.

By now you may realize that I've gotten myself into a real predicament!

It came to a head as I drove to work one morning this week. I just wanted to cry but I tried to pray. I didn't even know what to pray and I told God that. I was feeling defeated, but then it hit me.

"Lord, have mercy"

"Lord, have mercy on my silly self"
"Lord, have mercy on me a sinner"
"Lord, have mercy when I don't know what to do"
"Lord, have mercy when I'm selfish"
"Lord, have mercy when I'm ungrateful"
"Lord, have mercy when I'm confused"

"Lord, have mercy"

Now, you may not be a crazy as me, but how many prayers can be summed up in those three words? I mean, He knows, right?

In the car this week, just a simple prayer was the mercy that I needed.

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Inscription for the Entrance to a Wood

Picture courtesy of Mama Greer

Nature speaks to me, especially this little place called Greer Farm. It speaks to God too, nature is whole a kingdom of worshippers. I read the poem below after a long hard day of work in the the city and was immediately transported to a beautiful wood...and peace. A place that I had been before. If you are somewhere far away from a peaceful wood, maybe it will transport you too.

Stranger, if thou hast learned a truth which needs

No school of long experience, that the world

Is full of guilt and misery, and hast seen

Enough of all its sorrows, crimes, and cares,

To tire thee of it, enter this wild wood

And view the haunts of Nature. The calm shade

Shall bring a kindred calm, and the sweet breeze

That makes the green leaves dance, shall waft a balm

To thy sick heart. Thou wilt find nothing here

Of all that pained thee in the haunts of men,

And made thee loathe thy life. The primal curse

Fell, it is true, upon the unsinning earth,
But not in vengeance. God hath yoked to guilt

Her pale tormentor, misery. Hence, these shades

Are still the abodes of gladness; the thick roof

Of green and stirring branches is alive

And musical with birds, that sing and sport

In wantonness of spirit; while below

The squirrel, with raised paws and form erect,

Chirps merrily. Throngs of insects in the shade

Try their thin wings and dance in the warm beam

That waked them into life. Even the green trees

Partake the deep contentment; as they bend

To the soft winds, the sun from the blue sky

Looks in and sheds a blessing on the scene.

Scarce less the cleft-born wild-flower seems to enjoy

Existence than the winged plunderer

That sucks its sweets. The mossy rocks themselves,

And the old and ponderous trunks of prostrate trees

That lead from knoll to knoll a causey rude

Or bridge the sunken brook, and their dark roots,

With all their earth upon them, twisting high,

Breathe fixed tranquility. The rivulet

Sends for glad sounds, and tripping o'er its bed

Of pebbly sands, or leaping down the rocks,

Seems, with continuous laughter, to rejoice

In its own being. Softly tread the marge.

Lest from her midway perch thou scare the wren

Thad dips her bill in water. The cool wind,

That stirs the stream in play, shall come to thee,

Like one that loves thee nor will let thee pass

Ungreeted, and shall give its light embrace.

William Cullen Bryant

Friday, May 27, 2011

Christ Church

Laura and Charlie recently visited us in Philadelphia. We had a blast and I used it as an opportunity to see a few things that I never have before. For some reason, the only pictures I took were of Christ Church.

I love old things and this place is very old. The church dates back to the 1600s, but the current building was built in 1744. It was the largest building in the nation for 80 years. The same bells that ring today are the same bells that rang on July 4th, 1776. They were cast at the same place as the liberty bell but these never cracked! Not only are most of the the things in the church original but it also houses the baptistry that baptized William Penn in England in the mid 1600s. It's a working church to this day. Maybe I'll stop by next Sunday!

Saturday, May 21, 2011

The Alero

***Does anyone else bond with their car? If not, you may want to stop reading now because the remainder of this post may just make you think I'm really crazy.***

I just got a new car, but am a little sad about leaving my old one behind.

I think I realized why. I remember the first day it really snowed in Philadelphia, I was wiping the inches of snow and scraping the ice off of this car in my business clothes on the way to work thinking,

"Can you believe where we are?"

"Did I really move to Philadelphia?"

"Am I really living alone scraping ice off of my car in a still strange city?"

It looked so strange to see my car completely out of it's native enviroment. Probably because I felt strange out of my own native enviroment. Was she/I really now expected to put up with snow and ice and all it represented?

Fast forward over 2 years, I'm through my trasition phase and I feel completely at home. But I remember sometime that this car is about the only physical thing that remained constant in my life from Alabama to Pennsylvania. It gave us a bond. We did this together!

Thank you!

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Gardening 2.0

This is my second year to plant my window boxes and front pots. There is something special about planing in an urban setting. You really feel like you are bringing life to the city. Planting a flower in a field of green is beautiful. Planting a flower in a field of concrete is inspiring.

I love my plants and I can't wait to see these grow up and fill their pots! I don't have kids. I don't have pets. These are my babies.

Here are a few pictures of the front. Pics of the back patio, soon to come.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Just another day in the life...

We have a silly house. Last Thursday, without saying a word, this is how Corey selected the record he wanted. I didn't even realize how funny it looked until I saw the picture. Our friend Ben happened to be playing with the camara and captured the ri-dunk-u-lous moment.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

The South

A shot from Tuscaloosa News capturing the fully destroyed neighborhood of Forest Lake near where I lived in college.

I didn't lose a friend or family member when I could have. I didn't even know anyone who was injured. I wasn't even there myself. But the events of last week in Alabama have greatly saddended me. I am so blessed that my family and friends escaped unharmed, but I so sad for those who didn't. I'm sad for my adopted hometown, Tuscaloosa Alabama. A lot has been lost and it's something to be sad about. I didn't know anyone that died but I walked their streets, I went to the same stores, I ate at the same restaurants, I lived a similar life and had it happened 3 years ago it could have been me. It all makes me so homesick. I want to be there to comfort friends and to start picking up the pieces.

Just another reminder that there is only one constant, one thing we know will not be wiped away.

"For the mountains may depart and the hills be removed, but my steadfast love will not depart from you and my covenant of peace shall not be removed." Isaiah 54:10

God bless the recovery and healing.

Monday, April 25, 2011

Row Home Easter

I have a magnet Jenah gave me that says, "Friends are the family we create for ourselves".

And this Easter, I'm thankful for our friend family. Here are a couple of snapshots from this Easter at Jason and Haley's.

Row Home egg hunt for Lotta.

Memphis Street

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Why, Hello Spring!

You know how much happier you are when you complete a really difficult task compared to when you complete an easy one? I feel like winter in Pennsylvania is just a little different from winter in Alabama. And needless to say, I have never been so happy to wecome spring! Spring comes later up here and the old saying "April showers bring May flowers" fits Phiadelphia exactly. Just about a week ago, the first sign of color appeared literally overnight. One day, I drove by this tree and it was brown, the next day it had burst into a big white ball! The cherry trees bloomed along the side of the river giving me hope that no, winter will not last forever. Then a few days later, the green decided to make an appearance. In most of the city, you still see just a vague green haze on the trees that will soon erupt with bright green leaves. It is still jacket weather, but hints of warmth pop in from time to time just to let me know it is coming. Hello Spring! Conrad Square, one block from my house.

Bringing a little Spring indoors.