Monday, December 20, 2010

He Changes Everything

How can it be that a baby born in a stable in Bethlehem so many years ago can change everything so radically & completely?

Who would have imagined that God's son would be born from a lineage that included a prostitute and an adulterer?

How amazing is it that our King leads by serving?

How fantastic is it that Christ can radically rewire our selfish hearts and minds and help us love one another sacrificially?

And how perfect is it that it's all about what Christ has done (and not about our actions)?

These are reasons to celebrate. He is where my heart and mind needs to dwell instead of the endless to-do lists, holiday scheduling and gift buying, and trying to figure out how the holidays can feel more relaxed and not so rushed/over-planned.

p.s. I'm thankful for my friend Beth and the calling she and her husband are pursuing. It's cool to watch people so clearly live out the Lord's plan for their lives.

Monday, December 06, 2010

Party Attire

In the past two weeks, I've been invited to two events with attire suggestions that strike me as funny. The first one was "business casual or cocktail," which feels like a really wide option range. I'm borrowing a friend's long sleeve black wrap dress, which seems like a nice compromise (and helps me avoid buying a winter dress that I'd probably never wear b/c I'm always so cold plus the mall in Chattanooga falls somewhere between frustrating and hopeless). The other invite calls for "dinner party casual." That seems like an unhelpful attire suggestion, but I'm thinking dark jeans and a nice shirt will work.

My neighbor said she once got an invitation that called for "hill country elegant," which sort of sounds like an oxymoron to me. Another friend received an invitation with the suggested attire of "Charleston casual." Whatever happened to the four simple categories of casual, business casual, cocktail, or black tie?

In other news, we're closing on a house next month! The house is in a fantastic location (maybe a mile from where we live now) with a nice size, relatively flat lot (hard to find in this party of town). We'll share our back fence with some of our closest friends, and several people from our church live live within a few blocks. The house needs a LOT of work, but fortunately it was priced accordingly. In fact, the house was never even listed, so we avoided the realtor fees. It's one of those situations where everything just fell into place within a week. We're excited.

Hope you guys are enjoying the Christmas season and not overly busy. I'm doing my best to slow down and enjoy.

p.s. I'm thankful that our Christmas tree is up! I love, love, love sitting in the dark living room with just the tree lights.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010


Good afternoon blog world!

Please excuse my long absence. In response to Rachel's question as to whether I plan to continue blogging now that I'm married, I guess my best answer is I don't know. It rarely occurs to me to write a post, and when it does, it's rare that I actually get out the computer and do it. Looking back, I've only posted 10 times this year, but I haven't quite felt compelled to just shut the blog down.

A lot has changed since I last wrote. About two weeks after we returned from our honeymoon & my work retreat, Blake got a job. Thankfully it's not "just a job," but a job that fits his skills and desires really well. So now Blake works from home and travels once or twice a month. It's been such an answer to prayers.

We're house hunting and are really looking forward to living in a larger space. The one bedroom loft feels really small and makes alone time difficult plus it's hard for me to work from home now that Blake is.

Needless to say, we're been making lots of adjustments in getting used to living together and just being married. Some of the things that I thought would be challenging (like shared finances) haven't been, but then other things that I never suspected would be hard are difficult for us. Being together so much (and in such small quarters) has given us more opportunities to care for each other, but it's also give us more opportunities to hurt & annoy the other; that's been really hard for me. Blake is great at taking things like this in stride, but conflict bothers me much more than it should. Marriage has definitely exposed (or reminded me of) areas in which I have room to grow. I'm glad I have such a patient partner.

p.s. I'm thankful that I can bring my dog Thatcher to work with me. I asked him this morning if he wanted to go to the office with me, and he almost did a back flip in excitement.

Wednesday, June 30, 2010


It's my third day back in the office, so I'm finally getting around to blogging :) Blake & I got married on the 12th, and everything went very smoothly. Some wonderful friends helped in all different sorts of ways (from bringing Thatcher to his part of the photo shoot to piping frosting on cupcakes), and the entire experience was yet another reminder of God's goodness and perfect plan.

I'm not really sure that people care about all of the details, but if you have any questions, feel free to ask. The photographs posted here were taken by Amy Beth Bullard who I met through the blogosphere.

I loved starting our photographs early--around 7:45 and enjoyed the ceremony and,
reception (although I hated not having more time to talk to each person), but one of my favorite moments was when Blake & I got in the car after the reception and it was all over--the planning, to-do lists, and constancy of it all, and I knew that we had a week together with no one else and nothing that had to be accomplished. Our night in Atlanta and week in the Dominican Republic were just what we needed, and I feel incredibly blessed to be married to Blake.

p.s. I'm thankful for the 19 days I had off from work (even if I didn't get paid:)

p.p.s. The tankini thing lasted one day. Bikinis are much more comfy!

Monday, June 07, 2010


A few months ago, at my boss's request, I drafted my first (and hopefully last) prenuptial agreement for a couple in their late 60s. The initial meeting was awkward as I attempted to determine why exactly they needed such an agreement given their very modest assets. I finally learned that one of the parties wanted to ensure that a residence would ultimately become her children's property upon her death.

As we proceeded to draft the prenuptial agreement and wills, things, at least in my mind, went downhill. At one point, I found us itemizing who had paid what portions of items they'd jointly purchased and what they had assured me was a simple will and prenuptial agreement quickly became complicated and petty. Her resentment and their lack of communication became evident. The agreement was finalized and signed just hours before their wedding.

Guess what? After three months of marriage, they are calling it quits. One of the parties has called and asked me to handle the annulment or divorce, but thankfully our firm is conflicted out since I drafted the prenuptial agreement and wills (plus I generally do not handle domestic matters). I know that I'm unaware of the circumstances but three months?

So there you have it. Prenuptial agreements are written in contemplation and preparation of divorce*. Blake & I haven't discussed how we would like for the dissolution of marriage to occur because we do not plan on that happening. We don't want a contingency plan or escape hatch. I have to wonder if this couple spent nearly the time or resources trying to save (or plan for) their marriage that they did on this prenuptial agreement. I wonder how the divorce rate of couples with prenuptial agreements compare to the typical rate. Regardless I'm hoping this couple will reconsider and give their marriage more than a few months of effort.

p.s. I'm grateful that the sun is out today and that I only have 2 more days of work after today.

* I realize there are sometimes extraordinary circumstances that may necessitate a prenuptial agreement to protect a shared family asset, etc.

Sunday, May 30, 2010

Spanx for Men....

Did you know this existed? I was searching for a tie for Blake for the wedding when I ran across this creation.

Only 12 more days until our wedding, and we're both ready for this busy engagement season to be behind us and to be married (and on the beach in Dominican Republic). It's been a stressful season but such constant confirmation to me that I am incredibly blessed to be marrying Blake. The closest thing we've had to an argument was a one hour disagreement about whether or not I'd walk down the aisle, which given all of the decisions and whatnot we've had to handle is fantastic.

So two more cool things.....

(1) Our photographer contacted me. Yes, I didn't have to call or look for a photographer. Amy Beth emailed me to see if she could be of help! She's been reading my blog for over a year and photographs as a side job. She's definitely talented, and from reading her blog, I can tell she's a beautiful person. I'll meet her this week for the first time in person :) Gotta love the blogosphere.

(2) Speaking of the blogosphere, I helped host a baby shower last Saturday when one of the guests approached me and said I looked familiar....because she reads my blog! Ha. She doesn't blog but recognized me from photos. Small world.

I hope everyone is enjoying the long weekend!

p.s. I'm grateful for the rest I've gotten this weekend and for unexpected time with my friend Chasie.

Wednesday, May 05, 2010

"I Can Just Get Over It"

Given my aversion to effectively handling interpersonal conflict, I often, at least initially, take the position that "I can just get over" whatever has bothered me. I'm not sure this isn't a good approach--after all, I don't need to confront everyone about everything, especially since some things sting in the moment but are quickly forgotten.

On the flip side, sometimes I don't just get over it, and after a few weeks, I realize that I've become a little bitter and I've complained about the situation to others rather than maturely discussed it with those directly involved. As I began to write this post, I contemplated sharing the situation with you all. After all, I suspect most of you would agree with my position, and then I'd feel even more justified in my frustration. I would still not, however, be remotely justified in my delay in actually handling the situation as a Christian is called to do. So this afternoon I will (1) ask for forgiveness in how I've vented entirely too much about this and become bitter and (2) explain my frustration and seek understanding. Of course, I almost dread this conversation. I wonder when I'll finally learn that in some instances I just need to deal with things and not stew on them. I'm guessing marriage will give me some opportunities to practice handling things in a more immediate way since it might be hard to live with someone while I'm stewing :) Thankfully Blake is great at handling interpersonal conflict and calling me out when I appear to be pouting.

In other, oh-so-exciting-news, I think I'm going to go with roses as seen in this photograph but in pink. Blake will likely be wearing a navy suit, so should he wear a pink tie? I love navy and pink together....

p.s. I'm grateful for my time with my friend Allison this weekend (and that she wasn't at home in Nashville during the flood) and the super fun lingerie shower on Saturday night.

Friday, April 30, 2010

Bikinis & Bosses

When Blake & I return from our honeymoon on the Saturday following our wedding, we will then head from the Atlanta airport to Pawley's Island for my law firm's retreat. While I wish it was a week later just to give us a chance to do laundry, see Thatcher, etc., I'm so thankful that Blake & I will be married (meaning he gets to go with me). Years ago I really wanted to visit Pawley's, but accommodations on the island are very pricey for a single since there are only two hotels; it seems most people rent homes. The retreat is only a few days, and I think we'll return home on my birthday.

So it's occurred to me that I'll likely be in swimwear on the beach with my bosses. I don't know why exactly but that's just weird to me. I only own bikinis, and while they're not unusually skimpy I think I might feel weird wearing them around my employers (two men). Would you guys? I'm thinking it may be time for me to buy a tankini.

On a semi-related note, do you guys find some of the Victoria Secret swimsuit ads to be as ridiculous as I do? It makes it more difficult for me to discern if I like the bikini or not when the model is starting to pull her bikini bottom off, straddling the sand, or otherwise lewdly posed. Maybe I need to shop at Target instead :)

And on that note, happy Friday!!

p.s. I'm thankful for my sweet friends who are throwing Blake & me our first shower tomorrow...and later in the day my lingerie shower.

Monday, April 26, 2010

Wedding Planning....

Reception Centerpieces: After spending hours clicking through images of floral centerpieces and feeling stressed about having to make decisions about something that really isn't that important to me, I've decided to go with my original idea for centerpieces: cupcakes (probably on cake stands) and maybe my favorite appetizer at the restaurant where we've having our brunch reception (homemade sweet potato chips with an oddly yummy blue cheese fondue).

My bouquet: SO now the only flower decision I have to make is for my bouquet. I'd love your ideas. White calla lilies are simple & pretty, but since I'm not having attendants (and their dresses to brighten things up) I wonder if I need to have a flower with more color. I also like flowers tightly smushed together and pink....Any thoughts? Links? Suggestions? I guess I need to have a boutonniere for him too? I'm hoping to find photographs of what I like and then take that to a florist.

Dress: It's here! I'm not in love with it, but given that I didn't want to spend much money or time my options were limited. So I bought a dress at David's Bridal for $250 plus tax. David's isn't a pleasant shopping experience (no one will help you get in & out of dresses; the dressing rooms are small; and it sort of gives me that same overwhelming feeling that Walmart does on a Saturday), BUT you can try on dresses in your size (unlike boutiques that seem to only carry a size 10) and the dresses are very cheap compared to most stores. Here's a shot of me in the sample of the dress I bought. The back of the dress isn't so cute, so Blake's mom is adding buttons. AND I need no alterations! That's saves me $100s! The store said I need to wear a slip under the dress to make it go out more, but I'm not sure I want it to poof out any more. Thoughts?

Can you tell how poor I am at making decisions? My mother has picked out a veil she really likes, but I haven't brought myself to spend $80 (even if it is my mom's money:) on tulle with ribbon on the edges! I think that when you add the word bride or wedding to something, retailers take it as an opportunity to mark things up even more than usual. It's such a racket.

We've spent the last 10 days moving most of Blake's stuff into my place (no small feat, esp. since I have ONE closet), and while moving is no fun, it's been such a reminder of how well we work together and how incredibly blessed I am to have met someone I'd want to share all of this with. He's sweet to stay at his dad's house the next 47 days, so we can put what he would have paid in rent/utilities toward our honeymoon expense. And now I get to sleep in his nice king size pillow
top mattress.

p.s. I'm thankful for Thatcher...he's snoozing beside me on the sofa and so good at cuddling.

Friday, April 09, 2010

Only Two More Months!

Thank you guys for your sweet comments and encouragement. I am grateful for all of the kindness I've experienced since Blake proposed. It makes this time extra fun.

It's been a very busy last two weeks as we've set a date (June 12th) and chosen and booked: a ceremony location (our church which is two blocks from our lofts), reception location (also two blocks away), and honeymoon location (Dominican Republic). So all of the big stuff is settled, and I am making a dress decision on Saturday. I'm not in love with any of the ones I've tried on, but the dress part isn't very important to me and I'm not really willing to spend much time or money on we'll see.

I also have a trial coming up in two weeks, so needless to say I feel a bit overwhelmed at times. I'm really excited about being married, and I think we'll both be glad when this planning stage is over. Blake has almost finished designing our invitations, and he even registered for our dishes at a local store one afternoon.

We're having a small wedding--just family and very close friends, so that's made all of the planning easier, although it's made the guest list very challenging. Finding a reception venue that can accommodate a lot of people and that isn't prohibitively expensive at this "late" date is challenging (a few people have asked if I'm pregnant...and the answer is a resounding "no"), plus we both want a smaller, modest wedding. I doubt we'll hire a florist, and the jury is out on photographers. So many photographers will not let you have your digital prints or have wedding packages beginning at $2500; I'm just not willing to spend that kind of money. We're not having any attendants--just a flower girl. We're doing our best to keep it simple and focused on what is important to us--having a worship ceremony to celebrate Christ and our covenant of marriage and being with those that we love and who will help encourage and hold us accountable in the future (and when we're mad at each other :)

Just 65 more days until Blake & I are relaxing on the beach at an amazing resort....and on that note, happy Friday and happy weekend!

p.s. I'm thankful for this beautiful, sunshine-filled day and the weekend ahead.

Friday, March 26, 2010


Blake (previous blog alias: Clay) and I walked Thatcher last Saturday night after dinner at Hennen's. During our walk at the park we came to a grassy area that's sort of isolated in the woods and surrounded by a round cement structure. Clay commented on how pretty it was since it was lit up, and I walked over to inspect the lights. Then I realized they were candles. I had a brief moment of suspicion but quickly dismissed it, simply thinking the candles must have been left by someone. After all Blake & I had been together all evening. When we reached the middle of the circle Blake started fumbling with his jacket pocket, and I realized he was about to propose. It was really sweet and felt surreal and after talking for a bit we walked over to the other nearby park to see some of our close friends (half of whom knew what was going on and half who were excited to hear the news). Thatcher didn't seem to have strong feelings either way :)

Since then I've been so excited (and anxious to get things planned) that I've barely been able to sleep. I couldn't be happier and am planning to get married June 12.

If you're like me and like to ready people's "stories," you can read about our first date here (where I say that I will not go out with Blake, my neighbor, again even though I had a great time:), our second date & how I judged him too quickly here, third date, fourth date, the eleventh date, and how I missed him when I was in Nicaragua, the delightful birthday surprise he gave me....that's at least the start of this story....

Happy Friday!

p.s. I'm thankful that I've been patient and didn't settle for less than God's best, especially when people told me I was "too picky," that who I was looking for didn't exist, etc.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Agent Morgan, Bows, and Boursin Cheese

Filet mignon with boursin cheese is delicious.

Has anyone else noticed how couples never actually look at the photographer anymore in engagement photographs? I was looking at an album on Facebook, and I don't think there was a single photo of the couple looking at each other, in the same direction, or both in the direction of the photographer. I like some of the fun things photographers do now, but I still think there's something to be said for a semi-"normal" photograph.

Are big bows and monogramming for babies just a Southern thing?

My friend A2 gave Thatcher his very first gift, and it's been such a blessing to me because he chews on it instead of my fingers. Speaking of Thatch, he's already retrieving! Good dog! Here's a photograph of him in his new favorite place at Clay's house.

Does anyone else find Criminal Minds to be addictive? I discovered the show a few months ago and proceeded to DVR and watch every episode. Gotta love how Derek Morgan kicks every door down....why try the knob when you can just kick, right?

I really liked Accidentally Me's posts on the proposed health care "reform" and in which she notes how insurance is generally designed to cover catastrophic events. For example, car insurance doesn't cover oil changes and routine maintenance; we cover those costs ourselves and rely on insurance for accidents. If car insurance covered tires, oil changes, and transmissions, imagine how much our premiums would be and how that might change how we take care of our cars. Anyway, AM details the problems with the current proposed health care "reform" much better than I can. You should check it out.

p.s. I'm thankful for my new secretary. She's so professional, full of initiative, and efficient.

Tuesday, February 02, 2010

Meet Thatcher (Thatch)

I acquired a new roommate this weekend. Meet Thatch! He's a four pound, 9 week old King Charles Cavalier Spaniel and ridiculously cute. He's finally getting the hang of walking on my cement floors and not belly flopping. He's fearless but not so much because he's brave; it's more that he's extremely friendly and outgoing. So far he seems to love everyone and everything he meets, and his boldness is growing daily. Thankfully Clay is mostly home during the day, which really is the only reason I was able to get a puppy since Thatch has to go outside every hour or two now. So far the crate training is going really well, and I can't wait for him to be able to sleep through the night!

I'm sure my sister feels the same way about her newest daughter who is absolutely perfect and was born last week. I can't wait to hang out with Mallie more and see my other two nieces in action trying to take care of her....their very own living doll.

Hope your 2010 is off to a great start!

p.s. I'm thankful for the gift of life. Mallie is such a reminder of how precious it is.