Thursday, June 28, 2012


I wanted to thank you for your prayers & thoughts over the past couple of days. They mean a lot to me!

I'm not going to go into much detail for the sake of my family's privacy, but just know that things worked out in the best possible manner. Life is definitely going to change and there are some difficult days ahead, but I think ultimately this will be good. 

The past two days were very emotionally challenging and this morning I read Psalm 37 and found a lot of wisdom in it. I'm not sure where you are in life, but it contains such words of truth, love, and comfort that I wanted to share it with you.

Psalm 37: 1-11

Do not fret because of those who are evil
    or be envious of those who do wrong; 
for like the grass they will soon wither, 
    like green plants they will soon die away.
Trust in the Lord and do good;
    dwell in the land and enjoy safe pasture. 
Take delight in the Lord,
    and he will give you the desires of your heart.
Commit your way to the Lord;
    trust in him and he will do this:
He will make your righteous reward shine like the dawn, 
    your vindication like the noonday sun.
Be still before the Lord
    and wait patiently for him;
do not fret when people succeed in their ways, 
    when they carry out their wicked schemes.
Refrain from anger and turn from wrath;
    do not fret —it leads only to evil.
For those who are evil will be destroyed, 
    but those who hope in the Lord will inherit the land.
A little while, and the wicked will be no more; 
    though you look for them, they will not be found.
But the meek will inherit the land 
    and enjoy peace and prosperity.

Monday, June 25, 2012

A Request

This is not a happy post, I'm sorry to say. I won't give any details for several reasons, but I'm just here to request your prayers for tomorrow for my family. We are facing a serious situation that is, to put it mildly, life changing. 

I couldn't come on here and do my typical happy, positive post because that's not where I'm at and I want to be honest on this blog of mine. So, if you don't mind, please pray for my family tomorrow, for wisdom, and for peace. 

Thank you


Friday, June 22, 2012


Now that it has been a few weeks since Matt and I got home from our trip and we've gotten back into the swing of our day-to-day life, I am starting to get a serious case of wanderlust. That, and it is getting hot-hot-hot here in Texas. I am much more of a fall/winter kind of person, so this heat is not treating me well. Leave it to say the beach is not on my list of places to go.

Instead, here are a few places I have on my mind today.

Source; Of course I would love to go back here
And Neuschwanstein (personal photo)
Source; Lake Tahoe--- it looks so peaceful!
Source; Smuggler's Notch State Park in Vermont
Source; And Disneyland just opened up Car's Land-- I can't believe how much it looks like the movie!

Aside from the last one, they should have cooler temperatures than the 100 degrees I'll be facing this weekend. But at least it is Friday and we are going to see Brave later, so it should be a great day! 

Hope you have a great weekend! Any plans?

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Pinterest... How I love thee!

I'm linking up today to do another edition of...
Here are a few of my favorite pins from the last few weeks... Enjoy!

Source: via Jessica on Pinterest
Source: via Jessica on Pinterest

Showed this to my husband the other day and he agreed, which is why we're not having kids for quite some time... :P

Monday, June 18, 2012

Anniversary Cake

Since Matt and I were gone on our vacation on our actual anniversary, we celebrated it with the traditional cake after we got home. Instead of actually freezing the top tier, the bakery we chose to do our wedding cake has a nice little deal: come your first year anniversary, they provide a free top-tier sized cake. Due to our schedule, we still had to freeze it for a little over a week while we were gone, but the cake came out deliciously! It was fun to have something to celebrate once we got home from our vacation and it gave us something to look forward to on that long drive home.

But enough talk... here are some pictures!

Unwrapping the cake after my parents brought it from Houston
Ooh how pretty!

The flower is definitely gorgeous! Then we wrapped it up with saran wrap & aluminum foil to freeze it
Unwrapping it after it had been defrosted once we got back
Only a little damage to the frosting, not too bad! 
Cutting the cake (yup, had to be cheesy)
And the requisite glass of milk with our first slice of cake

Again, if you are in the Houston area and need a bakery, use this bakery- I highly recommend them! They are very easy to work with and the cake is sooo good!  

Friday, June 15, 2012

Friday Update

Now that my anniversary trip recaps are over, I figured I would give you a little bit of an update on my life in general. It is summer, so I am less busy than during the semester, but there are still things happening in my life, some of those school related believe it or not!

  • Masters' Thesis Proposal. I have been working on this for the better half of the past two weeks. It is almost done, too, just need to edit a few more things then I get to set up a time for the defense. Yay?
  • Conference paper/presentation. I will be going to a conference in November, and since it will be the first time I have ever run the analyses first hand, I wanted to get started on it insanely early so I won't have to worry about it as much once the fall semester rolls around. So that's been on my to-do list as well.
  • Family visit. This weekend, Matt's mother and youngest brother are coming up for a visit and I'm excited to spend time with them! Should be a good time!
  • Girls' night. A recently-married friend of mine and I decided we needed to have a girls' night, so that's what's on the agenda for me this evening! A fun dinner and good conversation sounds perfect.
  • Raining. There is a thunderstorm going on outside my window right now, and though I didn't appreciate waking up to thunder, we do need the rain so that's a plus!
Hope you have a great Friday! Anyone have anything fun planned?
Source; my motto for the past few days

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Anniversary Trip: Other Fun Things

In this last recap of our trip, I figured I would include other random fun things we saw, did, or ate that wasn't encompassed by the other three posts. Also, feel free to ask me any questions! We did have an amazing time and I highly recommend you going there. One of the reasons the Great Smoky Mountains National Park is the most popular national park is because it is within a 1-day drive for about a half of the US population. If you are thinking of going, let me know and I can recommend some of the resources we used to plan.

Crazy things we saw on our drive: 
We saw a few interesting sights on our drive we were able to capture in pictures
We saw this glider being towed by another plane on our way from Huntsville to Gatlinburg
And then the random Oscar Meyer truck... We actually saw two of these, two days apart
 Random things in Gatlinburg:
The strip/main drag in Gatlinburg is definitely a tourist trap. There are a lot of weird shops, odd arcade-type shows, and plenty of Ripley's Believe-It-Or-Not stuff. And then, there are these two things:
They advertise as being the first legal source of moonshine in the state. They give out free samples and let me say, I am not a big fan of 100 proof moonshine. They had other flavors, like apple pie and strawberry, that were a bit better. 
Then we came across this random chair...?
As you may know, one of our favorite things to do is eat. A big reason I exercise so much and eat healthy during the week is so I can go a little bit crazy (within reason) on trips. Since I knew food was a priority for us, I spent a decent amount of time researching various eateries (thank you Yelp & Trip Advisor). I'm glad I did because we certainly ate well!

Our first meal in Gatlinburg, delicious burgers & spinach-artichoke dip... I still dream about this meal
Dessert at a little cafe- amaretto bread pudding
Also at the same cafe, Matt's strawberry shortcake
Our last dinner in Gatlinburg; I finally got my trout (and delicious mac & cheese)
Matt's fried chicken, much more his speed than a fish with the tail still attached
We had to get dessert! Kilwin's was the number one rated restaurant in all of Gatlinburg, so we knew we had to  try it
Our ice cream- his strawberry & cream (I think) and my banana  fudge something--- both delicious!
We drove home by way of Memphis, TN, so we of course had to try some of their BBQ
Delicious pulled pork, complete with mac & cheese, beans, and...
The best banana pudding. Seriously. Matt and I ranked this as one of our favorites if not the favorite dessert of the trip
As you can see, we ate well. We really did have a fantastic time on our trip and I hope you enjoyed seeing some of our pictures. It was a great celebration of our first year of marriage and we look forward to many more trips like this! Now off to go work out and try to burn off more of this food!

Monday, June 11, 2012

Anniversary Trip: Great Smoky Mountains National Park

Despite what you may have thought from my last post, the main attraction of our vacation was to visit the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Matt had never been and I had visited once with my family several years ago, so it was pretty much new to both of us. I'm so glad we went because it was absolutely gorgeous! We filled our time with a good mix of sight-seeing via hiking and driving as well as visiting various historical sites such as Cade's Cove

The smokies are older than the Rockies, which is why they are shorter and not snow-covered year round. However, the way they were formed leads to great diversity in the plant and wildlife. The rangers told us that going from Gatlinburg all the way up to the tallest point, Clingman's Dome, would be like traveling from Alabama to Canada in terms of not only elevation, but also in the plants and wildlife we see. Neither Matt or I are huge into trees or other plants, but even we could tell a difference from the lower to the high elevations! As you will see in our pictures, it is definitely foggy at times, and then perfectly clear at others.

One of the first amazing views we came across
Oh the fun of mountain driving...
We liked the rock walls we would come across
The drive to Clingman's Dome was quite foggy...
You can't see it (neither could we), but at the top of this mountain is an observation deck
The beginning of the .5 mi hike all the way up to the top of Cilngman's Dome
Along the way the Appalachian Trail intersects with it. Matt wanted to take the trail, but I refused. It is over 2K miles one way...
The highest point in the Smokies... and here was our view!
Along with this... oh the fog...
At the top we saw this guy and his dog, who we later found out were hiking the Appalachian Trail, all of it!
The descent into the foggy abyss...
On another part of the drive that day, another amazing view
One of the first mills we came to
The water source to power the mill 
And look, corn meal!
An hour or so later, we hiked to Juney Whank Falls
Look! A hiking trail!
The next day, this was an old cabin we came to
In the same area was a 1 mi hiking trail Matt and I decided to take. Thus begins the search for the salamander. Random fact for you, the number of salamanders as well as their collective weight is far greater than that of the black bear population in the national park. Unfortunately, no matter how many little mountain streams we looked in, we never found one :(
More epic hiking
More little mountain streams
On the 3 mi hike to Laurel Falls
Along the hike it is good to stop and admire the amazing view
At the falls, looking downwards... quite a falls indeed!
So pretty!
An old school house
An old Methodist church
And I figure that's enough pictures of the park to put on here. We took more of course, but I don't want to bore you too much! We had an amazing time exploring the park and there was still a lot we didn't get to see, tons of hikes we didn't take, and zero salamanders & zero black bears spotted (much to Matt's disappointment). I highly recommend it if you ever get a chance to go-- it is free and it is the nation's most popular national park for a reason. We can't wait to go back and make some more amazing memories!