Saturday, July 31, 2010

New Orleans Part II: Walking About & The Riverwalk

Walking around broken cobblestone roads
My friends and I meandered
Trying to stay cool in all the humidity
While watching trolley's
and jesters
the bignet's were worth it!

Friday, July 30, 2010

New Orleans Part I: The Hotel

After driving through the night, a small hotel in Laurel, MS and lunch in Hattiesburg and a quick stop in Picayune to see John's parents, we drove on out and made it to our hotel! The Hotel Le Cirque on Lee Circle in New Orleans!
Nope... this isn't it =o) Tricked you, didn't I? This is the view from our (mine and Patty's) hotel room. Isn't that building beautiful? And from my little view, I could also see the trolley tracks. Had you noticed them yet? We rode the trolley around for a bit and ended up at Audubon Park. I'll show you more of that later. Here's another view from our window...
That's why the street we were on is called Lee Circle. That's the general right there looking down on the street making sure everything is safe and sound ;0) I found it to be a little bit ironic that this Yankee was hanging out under the watchful eye of the confederate general... but back to the hotel... It was really nice! We didn't spend very much time there and I didn't think to take any photos of the inside, but the hotel staff was extremely friendly! They suggested all kinds of places to go (don't worry dad & mom, we didn't go to the tattoo parlor they told us about) and spent all kinds of time chatting with us about our visits =o) I did get a photo of the outside of our hotel at night. It might have been the coolest part. 
Pardon the blurry, not so great photo, but by 2:30 in the morning, all I had was my cell phone! My camera had already been put up for the evening... So that was our hotel... are you ready for more? Check back tomorrow!

Friday Stream of Consciousness

I don’t watch American Idol. Well… I mostly don’t watch American Idol. I watch it during tryouts (if I happen to be home) because it makes me laugh but I heard today that Steven Tyler might be a possibility for a new judge… if that happens, I’m probably going to turn into an American Idol junkie. Have I ever told you how much I *heart* Steven Tyler and Aerosmith? I do, very much! When most of my friends went to college and started listening to U2, I went to college and started listening to Aerosmith. One of the things on my not yet officially started bucket list, is go see Aerosmith in concert. I’m hoping to take care of that one in the next year or so!

I finally finished editing all of the photos from my birthday New Orleans trip! It was a crazy fun time (with a Sting sighting!), and I’m looking forward to blogging about it! I’ll probably do a three part post over the weekend starting tonight, so stay tuned! It took forever because I was trying to edit other photos in between and I took around 500 total over the whole three days… a lot of those are gone now. Deleted. But I can’t wait to share  some of the better ones that made the cut from the French Quarter and Audubon Park!

I’ve been reading Donald Miller’s blog lately (I’m a fan of his books) and keep meaning to blog off of his blogs because they just make so much sense, but maybe I’ll just tell you to go and check his blog out for yourselves (although I probably will end up still referencing him from time to time). You can check him out here; and even if you don’t go and read them all, you should at least check out the insightful and deep blogs written through the eyes of his dog Lucy. They’re lovely…

I’m going to a Stampin’ Up party tomorrow which means I’m going to get in the crafty card making mood tomorrow evening but that’s ok, because it’ll give me something to write about on my blog and I’ve been in all kinds of blogging moods lately =o) Did you know, faithful blog readers, that I’ve had almost 1000 hits on this blog this month?? It’s CRAZY! And awesome, because like I’ve said before I *heart* blogging so it’s nice to know that there are people out there who like to read what I like to write and who like to look at photos that I enjoy taking =o) Maybe if I reach 1000 again in August I’ll do a giveaway of a 8x10 photo print or something similar… I’ll think about it. ;0)

Stay tuned… there are all kinds of possibilities!

Thursday, July 29, 2010

13. Actually take up coworker offers of ‘letting me practice my photography’ using their children

Check! Kristi and I plotted just a little bit and made plans to take some photos of her with her kids and her boyfriend Mike's son. It was an awesome little trick to surprise him for his birthday! Here are a few of my favorites from that day..

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Adoption: Part 1 of ?

Adoption, in its many meanings, has been on my heart a lot lately. In a way that I’m still processing. Still learning. But so big that I really want to share it with you, blog friends… So I’m going to do a series. I don’t know if it’ll be 2 posts or 10 (probably more than 2!).

Maybe someday when I think it’s done, I’ll fill in the question mark above with the number of posts, but until then this will be in parts. I’m thinking weekly. Not necessarily every Tuesday… but possibly.

I want to cover a lot. What God is showing me... I feel completely unprepared to even write about this, but I feel so prompted to talk about it that I’m going to do it! =o) as a precursor to the deeper things coming, here are some random web definitions of adopt/adoption:

1. to choose or take as one's own; make one's own by selection or assent
2. to take and rear (the child of other parents) as one's own child, specifically by a formal legal act.
(a google search of random wiki sites)

adopt - take into one's family

adoption - a legal proceeding that creates a parent-child relation between persons not related by blood; the adopted child is entitled to all privileges belonging to a natural child of the adoptive parents (including the right to inherit)

The act of adopting, or state of being adopted; voluntary acceptance of a child of other parents to be the same as one's own child; Admission to a more intimate relation; reception; as, the adoption of persons into hospitals or monasteries, or of one society into another; The choosing and making ...

Adoption, in Christian theology, is the term that describes the admission of a believer into the family of God.
I am looking forward to this series with hope and trepidation; willing and mostly ready to see where God takes me on this journey. Are you ready to be along for the ride?

Monday, July 26, 2010

Happy Christmas in July (a day late)

[little tree] by ee cummings

little tree
little silent Christmas tree
you are so little
you are more like a flower

who found you in the green forest
and were you very sorry to come away?
see i will comfort you
because you smell so sweetly

i will kiss your cool bark
and hug you safe and tight
just as your mother would,
only don't be afraid

look the spangles
that sleep all the year in a dark box
dreaming of being taken out and allowed to shine,
the balls the chains red and gold the fluffy threads,

put up your little arms
and i'll give them all to you to hold
every finger shall have its ring
and there won't be a single place dark or unhappy

then when you're quite dressed
you'll stand in the window for everyone to see
and how they'll stare!
oh but you'll be very proud

and my little sister and i will take hands
and looking up at our beautiful tree
we'll dance and sing
"Noel Noel"

Sunday, July 25, 2010

A 30th Surprise!

I don't like to lie to my friends.. well, to anyone... but especially to the people I love. 

But I had to. Really. If I hadn't, we wouldn't have been able to pull it off.

So it started with mani/pedi's in the morning...

And Rachel thought that was all... but there was a party...

and an extra surprise of an out-of-town friend

which made for a very fun, very special surprise party celebrating this awesome girl!

Happy Birthday (its actually today) Rachel... sorry bout the lying ;o)

Friday, July 23, 2010

I Splurged

Have you ever found anything that you just wanted? Clothing or an accessory.. maybe just a new toy? That happened to me the other day. You see, I very much like this little fashion thing going on where girls have a pretty flower in their hair. I've liked it since my hair was super long and it would have looked kind of dumb. I didn't know how it would look now. But I couldn't resist the lovely blue and the tiny little beads all on a light little easily hidden golden headband... It wasn't an expensive splurge, but a splurge nonetheless... isn't it cute?

Thursday, July 22, 2010

I need to blog

I need to blog because I like to blog, and blogging helps me keep my thoughts straight; but I don’t know what to say right now. Haha… I still want to blog about fun things, but I want to mix them in with the things God is showing me. It feels like a crazy mix, and I know I’ve done it before, but I feel like this time it’s different somehow.

I don’t know if it’s because I’m still struggling against these changes in my life, sometimes it feels that way. It’s like I’m like this brick and God’s will is the clover blooming through the cracks.

I think that part of me is enjoying this growth so much that I’m afraid I’ll go back to just fun and silly ‘this is what I’m doing’ posts and I’ll forget to tell you all about what God is doing, too.

I know that won’t happen, but no one ever said our fears weren’t occasionally completely unrealistic… deep down, I know that just as God wouldn’t allow me to go to sleep until I posted on Monday, I know that He won’t let me not post about Him.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Change In The Making (a.k.a. My Life in Song)

There's a better version of me
That I can't quite see
But things are gonna change
Right now I'm a total mess and
Right now I'm completely incomplete
But things are gonna change
'Cause you're not through with me yet

This is a redemption's story
With every step that I'm taking
Every day, you're chipping away
What I don't need
This is me under construction
This is my pride being broken
And every day I'm closer to who I'm meant to be
I'm a change in the making

Wish I could live more patiently
Wish I could give a little more of me
Without stopiing to think twice
Wish I had faith like a little child
Wish I could walk a single mile
Without tripping on my own feet

This is a redemption's story
With every step that I'm taking
Every day, you're chipping away
What I don't need
This is me under construction
This is my pride being broken
And every day I'm closer to who I'm meant to be
I'm a change in the making

From the dawn of history
You make new and you redeem
From a broken world to a broken heart
You finish what you start in everything

Like a river rolls into the sea
We're not who we're going to be
But things are going to change

I'm living a redemption's story
With every step that I'm taking
Every day, you're chipping away
What I don't need
This is me under construction
This is my pride being broken
And every day I'm closer to who I'm meant to be
I'm a change in the making

I'm a change in the making
I'm not who I'm going to be
I'm moving closer to your glory

-Addison Road, Stories (2010)

Monday, July 19, 2010

Direction (a.k.a. This Might Be the Hardest Blog I’ve Ever Written)

I like this blog a lot. I like blogging a lot. I’m sure you can tell that. I don’t think someone can dislike blogging and have 266 blog posts; let alone start a second blog!!

I'm guessing if you’ve read Shades of Gray for a while, you’ve noticed the ebb and flow of me. The way I sometimes allow the faith side of me to show while other times (like the last few months) I don’t. I think those are the times this blog becomes more about what I’ve done than about who I am.

I think you should know, my dear blog friends, that in truth, this blog really is a reflection of me. Of where I am in my life. When I want my life to be about what I’m doing, not who I am. Those times, periods, where I don’t speak about God, about what He is in my life are generally times that I (like a petulant 5 year old) am being stubborn. The times I try to tell God what I want or where I want to be or what I want my life to look like. The times that I am angry or sad and I just want nothing to do with Him. Even in all that He has done for me, I still rebel (more often than I even want to think about).

That is where I have been lately. That’s been me. Like I’m 5.

I think if I had to sum up my testimony in 3 words it would be: God is faithful. He really is, you know. For all the times I strayed, for all the times I fought back, for all of the lukewarm moments I’ve had in my life as a Christian, God was right there nudging me and guiding me (like the little lost sheep I was/am) right back into His arms again. I don't deserve this, so please don't think I'm starting a self-righteous blog post. I have a shirt that says simply, "I am the wretch the song refers to." It is true. I am the least likely person God should want.

My pastor has been doing a sermon series this summer about the doctrine of our faith. And two Sunday's ago, it was entitled We Believe... God Seeks. You can (should) listen to it here. I mean really you should listen to all of them. You can download them on podcast on iTunes, too, but I digress. God Seeks. I truly believe God has been seeking me. He knows that I have been trying to runaway, and He wants to show me how much He loves me. I am His adopted daughter. And if you listen to Pastor Mike's sermon, you'll hear this truth from him...

The only thing that makes us adoptable is the love of the adoptive parents.

God loves me/you/everybody so much that He welcomes us (sometimes time and time again) into a place where He will care for us. Where He will heal our wounds and fears. He will take our hardened and unclean hearts and make them white as snow. There is nothing we can do to make Him want us, but still He has wanted us since before we were born...

I'm praying for me, and you dear blog readers. I hope that whatever God wants me to say on here, I'll say. And I hope He uses me to bless you.

There's so much more I should say, want to say, need to say; but I'm still processing myself.

Friday, July 16, 2010

Don't Ask Me Why

... but I love this picture of Rachel. I over-edited it and cropped like crazy, but still.... what do you think??

Thursday, July 15, 2010


Do you? I’ve been on twitter for a while now and sometimes I find myself wanting to speak in tweeting terms.

Does this happen to anyone else besides me??

I want to shorten conversations, speak quicker, use 140 characters or less. Shorten words, abbreviate like crazy (although the desire to shorten words and give nicknames happened long before twitter existed). I’ll be talking and to make sure the person I’m talking to really understands me or the emotion I’m trying to convey I’ll add the ‘#’ with a word at the end of a sentence. For instance:

I can’t be home during SYTYCD. #thankfulforfriends

That guy…  #crazypeople

[that singer] is my favorite #americanidol (just an example, I don’t actually watch AI)

Or my most common desire to just speak


I don’t know what it is about #frustration that makes me want to speak it so very badly! Haha… I don’t know if it’s the ease in communication or the fact that you can say it and it feels like I’m really relaying my emotions… or if there’s just something wrong with me. Which could very well be the case.

I have explained why I randomly say #frustration to more than one person in my life. Maybe I need to get off the tweeting...

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

I Should Be Sweeping

Should be. And my sheets and blankets are freshly washed and need to be on my bed. After all, the house is showing tomorrow. And yet I sit here with the need to type. To send a blog out to people who might know me. To people unknown...

I watched Mr Holland's Opus tonight with Rachel. Truth be told, I spent most of the day in a funk and just kind of wanted to watch a movie that would probably make me cry, and for some reason Rachel is always up for hanging out and watching sad movies.... I don't know why, but when I'm in the mood for sad, I'm glad for it.

But it dawned on me at the end of the movie... how often do we feel unsuccessful. How often do we go through our day to day lives thinking that what we're doing really doesn't matter. We do. I do. You do. What you do, who you are matter to those around you. If I know you. Or really if I don't. If you're just one of  the amazing people that read this blog and keep my typing, you matter to me! I appreciate you, and I'm so very glad you're in my life. You make my life different in a great and awesome way! I hope you know it and I hope you start telling those around you that they make a difference to you, too. I wish for us all to not have to wait, like Mr Holland did, to learn how much we're cared for. Watch the movie, if you haven't, but for now watch this clip. And pay attention to the truth spoken by the governor's speech... and in case you missed it, I'm glad for the difference you made in my life. =o)

Hattiesburg Mississippi

Have you been to Hattiesburg? Are you from there? Have you ever driven through? I think I want to compile a list of people I know that have been or are from there. Really. I think I can count 7 or 8 off the top of my head... So tell me, blog friends, do you know Hattiesburg?

We stopped there on our way through Mississippi heading towards New Orleans for my birthday weekend... It reminded me a lot of Murfreesboro (where I live now). Both are good sized towns with a lot going on in them. Tons of restaurants with a mix of chain places and local places. Both have college campuses within their borders. I've taken some great pictures of MTSU, but Southern Miss has this tree. It's huge and stunning and it makes you want to climb up it to spend the afternoon reading in it. I wasn't going to make John stop his car, but I did. I had to. I couldn't help myself. I wanted photos to really remember this tree.

I took some that didn't turn out as interesting as I'd hoped, and I took some that remind me of senior yearbook photos, but all in all, I'm glad I have memories of this tree...

Monday, July 12, 2010

Another Shot I Liked

Have you gotten the CD yet??

Meet Hector

He's my laptop...

Remember how I like to name things?? I've been meaning to introduce you all to a few more of my randomly named 'family members'. Hector is one of those things. I didn't get him brand new, but I'm pretty sure it's a safe bet to say that Hector's previous owner never called him by his name.

I'm a fan of Hector. He's how I'm able to go online and type and even more exciting for me?

Hector allows me to edit photos... =o)

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Today has been...

... in terms my life group (Sunday school) uses; Epic. Mammoth. Biblical.

It's no wonder, really, that Biblegateway's verse of the day is:

“Ah, Sovereign LORD, you have made the heavens and the earth by your great power and outstretched arm. Nothing is too hard for you.”- Jeremiah 32:17

God is speaking, using, doing, changing. In ways I'm not sure I entirely understand right now. But I do want to use my blog to promote for a minute. I went to a CD release concert for a local church tonight and I think I would fail a little bit if I didn't tell you to go and check out the CD at Amazon or in iTunes... More than just being good music, the lyrics really touched my heart.

It was one of the best Rock Concert Worship Services I've been to in a long time.

Friday, July 9, 2010

#59: Have an Adventure

Rachel and I like to take drives. It's fun, it's cheap and since we both like to play photographer, it's fun to see what kind of sights your camera can catch. This day started out like any other I had off of work. I tried to sleep in (I'm never very successful at that) and then kind of bummed around the house when Rachel called to tell me she was off work. We had thought about swimming, but decided that taking a drive sounded fun.

So we drove. We started around Bell Buckle and ended up driving towards Shelbyville. After we drove through the square, we kept on going. Towards Tullahoma or so we thought. We ended up deciding to take a random left to go to the Normandy Dam when we saw a sign for a Distillery.

Did anyone know there was a whiskey besides Jack Daniels that was distilled in Tennessee?

There is. George A Dickel. It's technically in Tullahoma although it's a half of a block from Normandy and most places list their address as Normandy. There are a grand total of 28 employees who work there (so huge. ha!). Rachel and I happened to get there right as the last tour of the day was starting... yup, they do tours... and it was free, so off we went on a tour with a couple from Georgia to learn about George A Dickel's Tennessee Sippin' Whisky from a self proclaimed redneck who liked to crack jokes at herself.

We learned some things and now have silly quotes added to our repertoire; all in all, it was a very fun adventure.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

RubyRed Turned 30!

It was in June, but less than a month ago. I'm getting better blogging friends! RubyRed was one of my roommates before she got married... so was Crystal and Rachel was an honorary roommie.. so when we started thinking about what do do for her birthday, a fun theme filled party sounded like a very fun idea. So we ran with it. We happened to be watching the new Alice in Wonderland that Tim Burton directed when we realized how fun a party that could be. Normally used for a kid, extremely fun for a bunch of adults. It may have been the details

Although I personally think it was the friends

That made RubyRed's 30th birthday in Wonderland oh-so-sweet.

Happy Birthday again, RubyRed! I hope you had as much fun as I did =o)

Thankful Thursday

Nope.. it's not a new series I'm starting. I'm just really thankful today. For friends who are so helpful for everything that was finished on a productive yet fun day off (even though I still have to sweep); and for internet access that allows me to type up blogs without hooking my phone up to act as a modem.

Today has been a great day.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

As Promised...

...boys jumping









posing while jumping

jumping backwards



and jumping…

needless to say, they had a good time....