Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Congratulations Layne on ALC!

Today we got some wonderful news for Layne. Two weeks ago, he applied for a program called the Associate Leadership Council. It's a program for +/- 30 people, who range in age from 27-37 years old and are involved in the Dallas Real Estate community. It's an amazing program built around networking, career development, and service. It's a serious time commitment, and is something Layne has considered doing the past few years, but with the house and the wedding we decided it wasn't the right time. He applied this year though, and today he got the phone call stating he had been selected for the program.

I am so proud of Layne. He is such a hard worker. I don't know if people realize his work ethic and his commitment to his career. Ever since moving to Building Solutions, Layne has loved his job, but he has lost interaction with peers his age. The next co-worker in age is 57. Layne is turning 30 in December.

ALC is a nine month program. One Friday a month will be dedicated to the program, along with an overnight retreat and other activities. It's a major time commitment, but I'm willing to give up a few hours here and there. I know how good this will be for Layne and how much he will enjoy it.

Congratulations Layne! I knew you would be selected, and love to brag on you once again. Wohoo! It's time to celebrate now! Tex-Mex for dinner?!?

My Honey Do Project

Last Sunday, Layne and I selected paint colors for our living room and kitchen. When I was let go on Wednesday, I was desperate for something to keep my hands busy. Painting was the perfect project. It took FOREVER with all of our cut-ins, and a second coat was a definite must. But now, I'm proud to say it is done and it looks great. Before, our entire kitchen was white. The kitchen was still beautiful, but now, it looks amazing. The color really makes our cabinets and wood floors stand out. It's hard to get a good picture of the color on camera, but this was the best I could get. The color is called Downing Straw, and Layne and I are both really pleased with it. Especially Layne, since he got out of majority of the work.

My family is coming in town for Labor Day (a mix of Aunts, Uncles, Parents, siblings, and cousins) and my goal is to finish the living room before they get here. Three walls will be painted a color called dapper tan, and the fourth is called cajun red. I can't wait for you to see it!

Monday, August 24, 2009

In the last week...

In the last week...

1.) I have lost my job.

2.) Our home computer was fried, and we were using my work computer as needed. Therefore, we had no computer.

3.) Our Internet was disconnected.

4.) My cell phone contacts were wiped clean.

I had no form of communication, and was forced to live in the quasi-stone ages. It was miserable. I am now glad to say we have purchased a new laptop (at a great discount), AT&T has come to the house and hooked up our Internet as well as a house phone line, and Abby and Layne have helped me reconstruct most of my phone book. The kitchen has also been painted a lovely shade called Downing Straw (with my new found free time). More information to come about everything later...

Damn, it feels good to be able to blog again.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

But I Don't Wanna...

Today is the first time that I'm starting to dread my training. The walking isn't bad, but it really does take up a good bit of time. I've got 5 miles tonight, 10 miles on Saturday, and 6 miles on Sunday, which brings my total for the week to 24 miles! Man, they are adding up quick!

I'm prepping myself as I enter my first weekend with a long distance challenge with music playlists on my iPhone. I've got the Golden Band from Tigerland, filled with an interview with Billy Cannon, the game clip from his famous 89 yard run, and songs titled the Ballad of Pete Maravich and Archie Who At LSU. I pulled a 58 song playlist of the shared drive at work, filled with songs co-workers have compiled for cardio workouts (I know- I work at such a cool place), and for when I really loose all drive, I've got a praise and worship mix too. That always does the trick for me.

I'm using my support system as my motivation- A special thank you to everyone who has signed up to play the NFL One Pick this year! (My money is on Emil taking the pot!) And I've had several new donors. Thank you Kimbeaux, Amanda Exner, and Vita Carbo for your $20 donations! I'll be thinking about all of you as I soak up the sun this evening and over this weekend. So far, 5% of my goal has been reached with 15% reached through verbal commitments. I am so appreciative to everyone for your enthusiasm and support. It really goes a long way- thank you, and keep it coming!

Sewing 201: Tote Bags

Last night I headed over to my 2nd sewing class at Jo-Ann's. I had a blast, and as you can see, my tote bag came out pretty well. I've learned sewing basics... and last night we focused on measuring and creating a pattern. It was pretty simple, and I learned several new things. I'm glad I went, and am looking forward to Sewing 301. That's a two part class, and I'll be making a pair of capri pants and a matching top. My goal is to get to the point where I can sew clothes for myself, so I'm pretty pumped to already be getting to that stage.

In family news, my Aunt Ellie went to the emergency room last night. They were worried that she had a blood clot, but as it turns out it is only a torn muscle. I say only, not that it isn't painful, but in terms that it isn't life threatening. Love you Aunt Ellie, and I hope the pain isn't too bad. Don't worry... when you get to Dallas, I'll carry you all around Macy's on my back if I have to.
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Wednesday, August 12, 2009


We had a nice weekend in Dallas, filled with family, friends, and chores. We tackled our master bathroom, master and guest bedroom, cleaned the floors, a couple loads of laundry... all musts on our to-do list. The work wasn't any fun, but we were glad to have it done.

On Saturday, we stopped by an Estate Sale in our neighborhood. One thing I've learned is that our neighbors have some really nice things in their homes, and there are some great deals if you pay attention to them. Layne and I had hit up Sonic Happy Hour for my weekend Route 44 Sweet Tea and Layne's Ocean Water, and we decided to drop in. We ended up walking away with our very first art purchase. We have several prints up in the house, and a canvas painting passed on from my Granny, but this is the first thing we purchased together. I know the picture is a little blurry, but the painting is of the Moulin Rouge and a street corner in Paris, France. Layne and I traveled there together in Jan 2007, so it has some personal meaning to us. They're impression style, original oil painting from Italy that were framed in New York and made their way down here. We haven't hung them yet, but we are both pretty excited about them.

I also got new tennis shoes this weekend. The shin splints and ankles rubbed raw had to go. My husband spoils me... I'm so excited. Yesterday I walked 4 miles in them and could definitely tell the difference. How nice!

Tonight I've got an easy 45 minutes of cross training, and then I'm off to Sewing 201. I'm making a tote bag tonight. You're going to LOVE my fabrics! Fundraising for the 3 Day is going great. I've already had a good response, and have yet to really make an effort. I'm inspired by what I'm doing, and it gives purpose to every day of the week. It's a good feeling.

In other news, Gregory is back at LSU and (drum roll please) he found out this week that he was accepted to the College of Business! LSU's business school was just ranked the #26 public business school in the country, and I'm really proud of my brother's determination and hard work over the past few semesters. I knew you could do it G-Baby, and am so proud of you for believing in yourself too! Abby starts nursing school today, so her world is about to change significantly too. Doody took her to buy a bike this weekend (her husband spoils her as well). Abby has had back problems for years, and cycling is a great way for her to exercise. I think this will be a great outlet for her this year. Stephen is working for Jefferson Parish school system right now, substitute teaching and working as a caregiver with special ed students. It's great part-time work for him until he moves back to Dallas in October. (Layne and I can't wait!)

That's all I've got for today. Stay tuned for the results of my next sewing project!
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Friday, August 7, 2009

3 Day Update and Thank You's

To update everyone on my three day efforts:
  • I started my training yesterday and walked 2.5 miles. Today, I'm headed to the gym for 30 minutes of cross training. Saturday I've got an 8 mile walk planned, and Sunday I'll be walking 6 miles.
  • Monday will be my day of rest- and I'm already looking forward to it.
  • I don't have the right walking shoes. I've got two spots on each ankle that have been rubbed raw- not acceptable.
  • Good news is that Luke's Locker and Run On offer special discounts to people participating in the 3 Day. Wohoo for 15% off!
  • Thank You to my sorority sister Heather Matthews, my sorority sister and BFF Sara Crow and her husband Jeff, and Brian's girlfriend Megan Lipe who have combined to donate $50 this week. With minimal effort I've already raised 2% of my goal. I know I can do it. Thanks for being the first ones to contribute to my cause.
  • I'm looking for good music to jam to while I'm strutting my stuff around the neighborhood in the summer heat. Recommend something awesome that will help keep some pep in my step. I'm looking forward to some diversity in my music lineup!
  • Last night's choice? That's easy! WICKED! I danced through the neighborhood, and feel sorry for anyone who had their windows open. You can never go wrong with a musical...

Like I told Layne last night... I really believe my Mom is still alive and with us today because women like Nancy Brinker starting raising money for breast cancer research, awareness, and education in 1978. I am forever indebted to those women's efforts, and am honored to be able to make the effort that I am right now. All I need is for you to do your part- $10 from 230 people... only 225 to go!

Have an awesome weekend everyone! I'll be sure to let you know how my training efforts faired next week!

Sewing 101

Ta-Da! Behold my first sewing project since Mrs. Mouney's home economics class in high school. Aimes- do you remember the time in class I wasn't paying any attention, she was lecturing, and I just started sewing? Talk about embarrassing!
This week I signed up for the Sewing 101 class at Jo-Ann's. We learned sewing basics, and were able to make a pillow case by the end of our 2.5 hour session. I'll admit, I'm pretty excited about it. I think I'm going to go back and get some seasonal fabric, so I can make some Halloween and Christmas pillow cases. I don't know if anyone would really want one, but I bet my 5 year old cousin Grace would like that. I'll have to get some LSU fabric too...
Sewing 201 teaches you to make a tote bag- which should be awesome. I plan on breaking out Granny's sewing machines (that's right- 2) to see what kind of magic I can work. I used her pin cushion, pins, and scissors for the class. It was a nice warm and fuzzy moment to use her supplies while exploring another hobby. I can't do much- just the basics. But if you have any special requests, let me know. Practice makes perfect... and I definitely need projects for practice.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

The Three Day

After a lot of thought, I have decided to particiapate in the Atlanta Breast Cancer 3 Day, and have been lucky enough to convince Amy Armstrong to do it with me.

What's the 3 Day? Basically, it a 60 mile walk over the course of three days across the city of Atlanta. (Please pray for good weather!) The proceeds go to the Susan G. Komen foundation to fund breast cancer research, education, screening, and treatmeant.

Why the 3 Day? Well, I'm not anywhere close to be able to run a marathon, walking is definitely more my style. In college, my sorority's national philanthropy is Susan G Komen, so its a cause near to my heart. And most importantly, because my mom is a survivor. My mom is still with us, because women like Nancy Brinker stood up and made a committment to make a difference starting in the early 1980's. I am so thankful for the gift they gave my mother- I want to give it to other women as well.

Breat Cancer Facts
  • One in eight women in the U.S. will be diagnosed with breast cancer in her lifetime.
  • Breast cancer knows no boundaries- be it age, gender, socio-economic status or geographic location.
  • There are 2.5 million breast cancer survivors in the U.S. today.
Since the beginning of The 3 Day in 2003, more than $400 million have been raised through donations, contributions, and sponsorships. The money has been invested in breast cancer research, education, and community health programs- not only for those affected by the disease, but for the family, friends, and co-workers of those who have been affected too.

What can you do? Up for the challenge? Sign up to walk 60 miles with Amy and I. I can promise you this... we'll definitely keep you entertained, and Amy never runs out of things to say. Is that too much too soon? Amy and I are going to raise $4,600 together. We're looking for 460 people to donate $10 each... and we know we can reach our goal. Don't you want to be one of the 460 who makes this weekend possible? Check the link below to view my personal page, where you can learn more about our weekend adventure and make your $10 donation.


Quick Trip Home- Good for the Heart

I'm back in Dallas safe and sound after our whirlwind trip to Baton Rouge and back. McQ-nez and I definitely made the right decision to go support our friend. Seeing Ragan was absolutely heart breaking. She held herself together incredibly well. She laughed and smiled at moments. I know it will take time... lots of time... for her heart to find peace, but I know she'll be okay. I know we'll be there for her in the days and weeks to come. I am so thankful for the blessings in my life. I am so inspired to be a better friend and a better communicator. Despite all of the pain, this was a beautiful reminder of how special and precious life is and how lucky we are to have each other.

To all my girls- Zeta Love and Mine

Monday night we were able to go out to dinner to celebrate Dad's birthday. The McQuiston family came with us, as well as Nan. It was a really nice night. I am so lucky my family dropped everything so we could have quality time together. I spent the night at Greg's and was sad to leave him and Stephen, but glad for the small time we had together. Abby was at the services on Monday night and Tuesday morning. It was nice to have her hand there to hold onto. Everyone was in tears... being with each other makes all the difference. I cried when I had to leave her. Labor Day can't get here soon enough.

Tonight, I'm taking Sewing 101 at Jo-Ann's. I'm SO excited. I think we're making a pillowcase. I can't wait to show you my creation.

Life is good. Life can be challenging, but life is good. Everythings gonna be alright...

Monday, August 3, 2009

Losing a Loved One...

For all of you who have kept Ragan and her husband Ben in your prayers- thank you. It's with a heavy heart that I share the news that he is no longer with us in this world. Ben went missing Wednesday morning sometime between 5:30-7am, and was found just after midnight on Thursday night. Although I have only talked to Ragan via email, I am told that she is holding up incredibly well right now. I'm not surprised. Ragan is deeply rooted in her faith, and I know that is helping her push through the day to day challenges. The weeks and months in the future is when she will need love, support, and encouragement... and I have no doubt that the people who love her will take care of her.

Lauren McQuiston Martinez (aka Friend Face or McQ-nez) and I are driving down to Baton Rouge tonight and will be driving back to Dallas tomorrow. We'll make it in time for the visitation, and will get on the road right after the funeral. It's going to be a short trip, but both of us feel strongly about being there... to be there for our friend, and for the opportunity to be with our friends as well. Losing Ben has shaken a lot of us to the core, and I think it will do our hearts good to be with each other.

I know many of you have never met Ragan but have kept her in your prayers this weekend- thank you. Your support is amazing, and is lifting her up to a good place. If anyone wants her contact information, please let me know and I will forward it along.

Many of my friends have turned to their faith this past weekend as they search for answers, and one quote has repeatedly been mentioned. "Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understandings, In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will direct your path." Proverbs 3: 5-6 I don't know how easy it would be for me to trust the Lord if I lost Layne, but Ragan's belief, ability to trust, and commitment to her faith is inspiring. I want to be the type of person who can let go of the need to control and understand why things happen. Suffering is such a hard concept to come to peace with. Grieving is such a painful process.

The Lord works in mysterious ways. We don't understand the why's or how's. We may not get the answers our heart is looking for. But I believe that someday, one day, we'll be able to look back at our time of deepest pain, when we feared we had been abandoned, and we will see the Lord working in our lives. We will know that it was at that time he held us closest.

To Ragan- I love you. My heart aches for you. I cannot imagine your pain and suffering, but I know you will be okay. I trust that the Lord will lead you to peace and happiness.

To Ben- I believe I will see you in Heaven in one day. I don't know why you left us, or what the circumstances were, but you will be missed by your loved ones. Don't worry- they're in good hands.

To Layne- If I ever had a reason to lay off and cut you some slack, this is it. I love you, and thank God for everyday we have together. This situation is just another reminder that everyday we have together is a gift.

And to all my family and friends- If I don't say it enough... I love you. I cherish the relationships that we share. I may talk to some of you everyday. Some of you I may catch up with once a month. Either way, I value what we share so much. Because of each of you, I have been changed for good. Thank you for the role you play in my life.

There is always a little good that comes from something bad. I'm looking forward to my road trip with McQ, even though she'll be sleeping through most of our car ride. And tonight, it looks like I'll get to see my family. We're getting together after the visitation, because today is a very special day.

HAPPY BIRTHDAY FAJ PAJ! I love you Dad, and can't wait to give you a hug tonight!