Sunday, September 25, 2011

A Date to the Water Gardens

I've been wanting to visit the Water Gardens in Fort Worth for some time now.  We tried to go a few weeks ago, but we got there around 9:30 and it was already shut off (even though the sign says they are open until 11:00 pm...liars). 

Anyway, we had no plans on Saturday morning, the A&M game wasn't until 2:30 and the Auburn game wasn't televised.  Will and I decided to venture out to the Water Gardens late in the morning.  It was a beautiful day, there was a breeze that was actually cool, the sky was a brilliant blue and you could be outside without being miserable...this hasn't happened in several months!  I hadn't taken my camera out for a good photo session since I took my first photography class, so I was anxious to try it out.  I had fun playing with the ISO, the aperture and the shutter speed (sounds so official).  I'm actually understanding what it means to take a good picture. 

The pics are award winning, but I'm pretty proud of are just a few of my favorites!

The Aerated Pool

The Active far my favorite.  You can actually walk down into it!

It was SO loud!

Steps going down

Will on top of the mountain

The quiet calm

Water quietly coming down the rocks

We finished the morning off with lunch at Mellow Mushroom!  I may regret introducing Will to their pizza, it's all he wants now! It was a GREAT date! 

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Angels Among Us

Every now and then, things need to be put into perspective.  I've had quite a busy week, I feel like I haven't slowed down at work at all, I come home completely wiped out.  I haven't been complaining (I really don't have anything to complain about anyway), but I haven't been thankful either.  I haven't been thankful for all the blessings I have and all the wonderful people in my life.  I have an amazing family (both birth family and family that I have chosen to be a part of).  I have a great job that I love, I have a church I love and a church family to share my faith with, I have a wonderful home and everything that I could ever need.  Today something happened that made me put things into perspective and be more thankful for what I have.

This morning I got the news that our Camp family sent another little angel to Heaven this morning.  He was only 10 and he fought hard in his battle with cancer.  He is truly a HERO in every sense of the word, his spirit was strong throughout his battle and he went through treatments like a champ!  He loved Auburn and several current team members and Aubie visited him in the past few weeks.  Lutzenkirchen even told him that the touchdown he scored during the Miss State game was for him. 

Next year at Camp, his name will be the first, an hopefully only name read, when we have our candle lighting ceremony.  When we have the ceremony, we always play the same song, "Angels Among Us" while we light our candles and leave them on the beach to burn out.  Today, this special little boy became one of those "Angels Among Us" and he will be remembered.  Today, I wear my heart charm for you...

Angels Among Us

I was walking home from school on a cold winter's day
Took a shortcut through the woods and I lost my way
It was getting late and I was scared and alone
Then a kind old man took my hand and led me home
Mama couldn't see him, but he was standing there
But I knew in my heart, he was the answer to my prayers

Oh I believe there are angels among us
Sent down to us from somewhere up above
They come to you and me in our darkest hours
To show us how to live
To teach us how to give
To guide us with a light of love

When life dealt troubled times and had me down on my knees
There's always been someone there to come along and comfort me
A kind word from a stranger to lend a helping hand
A phone call from a friend just to say I understand
Ain't it kind of funny at the dark end of the road
Someone lights the way with just a single ray of hope

Oh I believe there are angels among us
Sent down to us from somewhere up above
They come to you and me in our darkest hours
To show us how to live
To teach us how to give
To guide us with a light of love

They wear so many faces
Show up in the strangest places
Grace us with thier mercy
In our time of need

Oh I believe there are angels among us
Sent down to us from somewhere up above
They come to you and me in our darkest hours
To show us how to live
To teach us how to give
To guide us with a light of love

To guide us with the light of love.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Gettin Crafty

So I'm sure by now, everyone's heard of Pintrest...well it's my newest addiction.  Some of the stuff I know I will never have, but it's nice to dream!  I'm the girl that cuts things out of magazines and keeps them in proctive sleeves in binders.  Most of these things I will never do because I don't think I am artsy enough to do them, but if I ever got that itch, I have the instructions. 

Pintrest let's me organize without the hassle of cutting/tearing out of magazines...GENIUS!, I got the itch...On Pintrest, I saw a cute idea for a dry erase board. I pinned it to my wall and kept it in the back of my little head.  This morning (after recovering from a major sinus headache that kept me in bed until about 10:30- so not like me) I decided to run to Ulta to get some makeup and realized that Michael's is right next to Ulta.  I decided to wander in and see what they had.  After looking around for a bit, I grabbed a basket and started buying.  When I got home, I began to attempt the project. Ignore CC...she doesn't understand why I would take a picture without her in it. 

Step 1- Find picture frames and spray paint them whatever color you want.  I choose white because it would go with anything and if I decide to change out the paper on the inside, it wouldn't clash.  (I'm still trying to completely figure out my camera settings, sorry some pictures aren't the best color quality.)  The flower pot is for a different project, focus on the frames. 

Step 2- While frames are drying, cut scrapbook paper to the size you need.  I just traced the silly picure paper from the frame and used my handy-dandy paper cutter.  If you don't have a paper cutter, I highly suggest you get one...scissors are so overrated. 

Step 3- Find some ribbon that compliments your paper choice.  I think I chose nicely.  Cut some ribbon and tie into a bow with the strings hanging down. 

Step 4- Hot glue those beautifully tied ribbons to the back of the picture frames.  I removed the stuff on the back that allows you to hang or stand the picture up. 

Step 5- Hang and enjoy!  Use dry erase markers to leave little notes!

I plan on putting them outside my office doors so when I am on one campus, I can leave notes for the other campus, or if I'm at a meeting and not on either campus.  LOVE this idea and I'm quite impressed at how they turned out!

Stay tuned to see if I decide to try more! 

Thursday, September 15, 2011


So with new things happening this year in my life (new job, not coaching, no grad school), I've tried to be more positive and upbeat and less bitchy crabby.  For the most part I've done a good job, I've opened up to people at work, I've put effort into asking about others, I've been more thankful and find I'm not as stressed as I have been in the past. (I've also been able to work out more which helps with the stress, but that's a different story). 

As hard as I've tried though, there are some things that are bugging me and I think it's necessary healthy for me to vent.

Things that bother me lately- and while these are directed at some people, I will NOT tell you who they are about, so don't ask...
1.  When you are with a group of other people, act personable, don't try to rush conversation. 
2.  When you need something done for you (especially something from me), asking me nicely usually makes me more willing to move it up on my "to-do" list.  I know you are stressed out, but if you didn't wait until the last minute to ask me, you wouldn't be so stressed. 
3.  When someone does something for you or gives you something, please be appreciative of that.  I Someone might have spent a lot of time on it and acting like you are owed it doesn't make me want to repeat the act of kindness. 
4.  When in a conversation, ask about other people, I'm not going to be interested in you if you aren't interested in me. 
5.  If someone smiles at you, smile might make you feel better. 

OK, positivity back on...

Sunday, September 11, 2011


Today is the 10th anniversary of 9/11/01.  I have a hard time using the word anniversary, anniversary is reserved for happy things like birthdays and celebrations. 

I wasn't alive when JFK was shot, when we landed on the moon, when MLK was shot or many other major events that shaped our nation's history.  I remember the OKC bombing, but I think I was still too young to really understand what it meant. 

9/11 is really the first major event that I remember everything about.  It was a Tuesday, I remember because I had only had one class on Tuesdays/Thursdays the fall of my sophomore year and that class (Ethics) wasn't until 3:00 in the afternoon.  I had been up late the night before because a guy I had gone out with a few times was suddenly being a major jerk for no reason and I was upset. 

Around 7:45, my suitemate, Laura, threw open my door, turned on the lights and said, "Lauren, get up, you have to get up now!"  She said this over and over and was turning on the little tv in my and Alisha's room.  I asked her what was going on and she said I just needed to watch.  She asked several times if I had spoken to my mom, and at that time I couldn't figure out why. 

I watched over and over as they showed planes crashing into the towers, the towers collapsing and people running in all directions.  Once it finally sunk in what was happening (reporters just started saying "terrorist attack"), I remembered Laura asking if I had talked to my mom.  I asked Laura why she was so worried about me talking to my mom.  She looked at me and said "They are attacking DC, too." 

While I was in college, my parents lived just outside of DC and both of them worked in DC.  My mom was the principal at a private school called Rock Creek Academy and my stepdad worked at the FAA Headquarters.  

I grabbed my phone and tried calling my mom's cell, busy, Wayne's cell, busy, my mom's office, busy, Wayne's office, busy.  Then I saw pictures of the Pentagon and heard reporters saying that DC was completely sealed off, no one in, no one out.  They were trapped. 

I spent the better part of an hour trying to reach someone.  Finally, I was able to get through to my mom's secretary and she put me through to my mom.  They were ok, parents were freaking out trying to get their children or trying to get back into the city.  I asked if she had talked to Wayne...she told me Wayne was on a plane.  My heart dropped.  What plane?  What flight?  Was he ok?  My mom didn't have any of his flight info, but said none of the numbers they couldn't track in the air sounded familiar. 

A few hours later, I got a phone call from Wayne saying he had landed in Houston and he was ok.  He asked that if I talked to my mom first, I let her know that he was ok.  It was extremly difficult to get a line into/out of DC for the day of and the days following 9/11. 

My mom didn't return home until late in the evening.  Thankfully, other than emotional stress, she was fine.  Wayne spent a few days in Houston, then he and his co-worker rented a car and drove from Houston to Virginia. 

As I spent today remembering that horrific day, I relived all those feelings.  Watching the videos all over again today brought up all those feelings of fear I experienced that day.  I remember going to class and we spent the whole time talking about what happened and how we felt about it.  While a lot of people didn't come to class that day, I'm glad I did.  It was nice to get different perspectives. 

9/11/01  Never Forget. 

Thursday, September 8, 2011

September...a month to celebrate

A while back, I posted about a camp I go to in Alabama every summer.  This camp will always hold a special place in my heart and will always be one of my very favorite places to be.  I've been going for about 10 years now, and I've seen all kinds of things.  I've seen relationships start at camp, I've seen a couple get engaged at camp, I've made some amazing friends in both counselors and campers at camp, basically, I can't don't want to imagine my life without camp. 
Since I live so very far away, I can't go back as often as I would like, and I can't participate in some events like the 5k MonkeyC Monkey Run, the Christmas Party, and many other fundraising events throughout the year.  I can't be as involved as I wish I could be. 

Why mention all this now?  Well, September is Childhood Cancer Awareness month and the cancer ribbon is gold.  There are 46 children diagnosed everyday with some form of cancer, and that is 46 too many.  No family should have to watch their children suffer from this henious disease. 

If you've ever been in my car, you will see something hanging from my rear view mirror.  It's called a Monkey Fist, it's a camp thing.  It's a constant reminder to me, and something that puts things in perspective on rough days.  A Monkey Fist is supposedly the strongest knot known to man.  There is a story that goes along with the Monkey fist, but I can't remember it...ask Rhett Blackwell, he knows it.  We wear our Monkey Fists like a necklace, and on the strings of those of us who have been to camp for awhile are hearts like the one in the picture.  We get one at every camp session, it's to remind us of the heartbeat of camp.  There is a hole in the center to remind us of the hole cancer causes in our lives.  Most of my hearts are on my Monkey Fists, except the one on my chain.  This one is my first heart bead.  I wear it on and off throughout the year, but I wear it continuously throughout the month of September. 

 I wear it to remember those campers that we have lost, and I wear it to celebrate the campers that have faced cancer head one and beat it.  Each one of them has touched my life in so very many ways.  I am so proud of these kids, I have known some of them since they were kids and now they are in high school or even college.  I love these kids and am so proud to call them my friends! 

So remember Childhood Cancer Awareness month.   Pray for those families that have been affected, remember those we've lost, but most importantly, celebrate those who have defied the odds and beat cancer! Fight like a Kid!