Saturday, June 26, 2010

Settling In

About two years ago Bryant bought me an orchid. I was so excited - I had always wanted one. He showed me how to water it and we found the perfect spot for it in our sunroom where it would catch the morning sun. I was so proud of it. One day as I was bragging about it, I told a lady that Bryant had bought me an orchard.

She looked at me surprised and said, "Really? Bryant bought you an orchard?"

"Oops, I meant orchid." It was an orchard to me. I loved that thing. Almost as much as I loved our house. It was the first home we had bought and we truly loved it. Bryant had just finished pilot training and we were moving back home for good. I remember on the day of closing, our attorney asked us how long we were planning to live there. We told him our intentions were five to seven years, leaning toward the "seven years" side. He replied the average move is every two years and predicted we would do the same. We looked at him politely while thinking he was crazy.

I assumed it would take six months to a year to settle in. There's something about spending your first Christmas in a house that makes it a home. A year went by and I still didn't feel "settled". Two years went by and I just came to the realization that it wasn't so much the home that gives you that sense of rest but the place you are at in your life. After all, we were adjusting to new work schedules and in time, I thought the settling would come. But it didn't.

The idea of moving sooner that we had planned became a topic of conversation. And then the topic became a regular and we began to "explore our options." After a weekend of house shopping, we would always come to the same conclusion and the subject would become just a topic again.

There were a handful of times after much discussion I would emphatically say out loud, "We are just going to stay here another ___ years." Then God would speak, but He whispered. And a whisper is hard to hear when you're not listening for it. So we waited and He whispered again. And again. Sometimes it sounded like He was speaking a little louder. I'm not sure if He was or if by combining several whispers, the volume is so loud you cannot mistake what you are hearing. Regardless, I am thankful that God is patient with us and will confirm His will to us until we "get it". The key is to keep an open heart and seek Him diligently. And once you know what He is saying, you must do it.

Although not always the case, as soon as we put the sign in our yard, the rest was easy. We sold our house quickly, so quickly that we moved in with my parents for a few months. And you would think that would make the unsettled feeling worse. But it didn't. I remember the last minutes that Bryant and I spent in our house together before turning over our keys. They were minutes of joy and gratitude. We had lived there a total of three and a half years and as we drove off, we had instant closure. It's uncanny how obedience brings resolve, especially for the child of God.

Along with our possessions, we took our orchid to my parents' house and it found its place by the window in their hearth room. Not adhering to the old adage, "Timing is everything," we began a new watering schedule for our lovely plant.

Months went by and finally, the day before Thanksgiving we moved into our new home. We brought our orchid with and set it by our kitchen window. Only one bloom was left and it was dried up. Even Miles knew it. When he would walk by it, he would push his nose into it as to say, "It's dead, can I eat it?"

Moving in right before the holidays was a challenge but it was also fun. We celebrated our first Christmas at home and even managed to put up the tree. The moment we finished unpacking the last box in sight, we sat down and didn't get back up until winter was over.

With the arrival of spring came a second wind to pick up where we had left off on our house projects. Bryant began landscaping projects and cleaning out the garage while I finished the few remaining boxes and began shopping to fill in pieces here and there.

Bryant bought several other plants to put on the patio so they could be seen from the kitchen windows. My attention turned to watering the new plants and making sure they survived. One day Bryant pulled me aside and pointed to a short green stem emerging from the roots of the orchid. I couldn't believe it. After it grew a good six inches, he clipped the stem to a stake so it would grow straight.

It wasn't long after we saw the new growth that a few buds appeared. And then this week.

I'm not sure at what point over the seven months we've been here that it happened. All I know is I am at that place where I wanted to be, and most importantly where God wanted me to be. Brother Steve said in one of his sermons that some people don't believe God cares where you live, what part of town you live in or who your neighbors are. He said he thinks it does matter to God. And I do too.

We have all turned into major homebodies here, including Miles. And this week even the orchid let us know it feels right at home too.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

First Days of Summer

After realizing that Miles hadn't come to the back door in quite awhile, I headed outdoors only to catch him sunbathing in the backyard yesterday.

Tonight I took a peek at our blueberry bush since I hadn't paid much attention to it the last week and on first glance there were no major changes but on second look...

And from the few minutes it took me to walk up the hill and snap that picture, I am now counting no less than half a dozen mosquito bites on my arms and ankles.

Summer is here.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010


Two weeks ago my mom and I went to Vegas for a few days on business. It was my first time in the city and granted, a work trip doesn't allow for quite the same experience as a vacation, but nevertheless I think I got a pretty good picture of what Vegas is all about- not as good as I had hoped and just as bad as I had expected.

I won't go into detail about the "bad"- my biggest disappointment though was that it wasn't really classy. Maybe I've watched Oceans Eleven one too many times, but I pictured the casino floor of the Bellagio to be a sight to behold. I thought Vegas was the #1 choice for the rich, elite and VIPs of the world - at least that's how it looks on the television series Las Vegas. But most of the people playing the slots were retired. No glamour there. And what's all this talk about how they pump oxygen into the casino floors to make you feel good so you can stay there longer (and play more)? It was so smokey I couldn't imagine how a child could retain consciousness after moderate indoor exposure (I was surprised how many kids were there).

Amanda did tell me we would be walking a lot on our trip. We walked a ton and since every casino is connected, just to get from here to there we would walk through several casino floors on the way to and from our meetings. If we had been there a different time of year, it would have been much more enjoyable since we could have walked outside more. But it was so HOT! It was 110 degrees our first day and with such a dry climate as theirs it was literally stifling.

Of all the hotels, I'm glad we stayed at the Mirage. One thing I didn't realize before arriving is that each hotel has a theme, per say, based on which show they offer at their theater (which is why you wouldn't want to stay at a hotel that was showing a scandalous show). Ours was showing The Beatles LOVE by Cirque du Soleil. The entrance to the theater was pretty cool - my mom and I thought it was a good photo op.

Every hotel had a lounge or two next to the theater. The Mirage's Revolution Lounge inspired by The Beatles was definitely the most impressive. The seating was inside the letters R-E-V-O-L-U-T-I-O-N.

We did have one free night to go to a show and everyone we asked said Cirque du Soleil's "O" was the best. It was fabulous! I have seen the Cirque's La Nouba several times in Orlando and "O" was so much better. I would definitely see it again.

Another highlight of the trip was walking outside after the show. The lights on the strip brought a whole other personality to the city that was quite energizing after being inside all day. Because it is so crowded in Vegas, they build these second-story overpasses so you don't have to wait for traffic to clear to cross the streets. This picture was taken outside the Bellagio with the Eiffel Tower replica in the background. I figured it was the closest I'm going to get to Paris for awhile.

On our way to dinner we caught the fountain show at the Bellagio. Classic Vegas.

We ate dinner at Mon Ami Gabi, a French restaurant in the Paris hotel, where they served warm baguettes in paper bags. The server sat us by a large group that were celebrating a friend's birthday (the Chanel bag was a dead giveaway). I recognized the name on the cute brown cupcake box and asked the girl sitting closest to us where I could find the nearest location. She pointed to the owner sitting at the other end of the table and before I knew it I was taking pictures with Pamela Jenkins, owner of The Cupcakery, and discussing my favorite cupcake flavor.

Pamela was everything you would hope a cupcake owner would be: adorable. She had on a short white dress with an oversized crystal necklace. She gave me a white cupcake with lemon-blueberry frosting. My favorite part was the pink glitter on the sides.

Before we headed home, we had a few free hours our last day. We went to The Forum Shops at Caesars and the first thing we tried was an oxygen bar where we breathed oxygen for 20 minutes and received back massages. It was an interesting experience but it was definitely relaxing and cleared our heads- who can shop with a head full of smoke?

I will credit Vegas with the highest concentration of designer stores of all the places I've been to. New York has lots of shopping but it's more spread out. After our morning of shopping, we ended with lunch at Spago, a Wolfgang Puck restaurant. I had some of the best spaghetti I've ever had while dining out. I can't think of a better way to end a trip than with some good food and a local cupcake.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Recent Ups and Downs

I copied Lauren's Ups and Downs title for today's post. It just fit so well.

Down: I got some bad news this week regarding a client from work.
Up: The Lord had been preparing me for it for quite some time.

Down: One of our hot water heaters went out.
Up: We have a home warranty.

Up: We have a home warranty through a reliable company, Nationwide.
Down: Come to find out, Nationwide is not on your side.

Down: They refuse to replace the hot water heater.
Up: We have an emergency fund.

Down: Our Air Conditioning unit went out this week.
Up: We have a home warranty.

Down: Nationwide won't return our calls or emails about the A/C.
Up: We have a large emergency fund.

Up: I spent the night at my parents' house last night.
Down: Their A/C is out too.

Up: I finally got a Costco card this week to save money.
Down: I spent $186 my first visit.

Up: We have put some beautiful landscaping in our yard the past couple of months.
Down: We don't have a sprinkler system.

Up: We are going to the beach next week.
Down: The oil is waiting for us.

Friday, June 11, 2010

Friday, June 4, 2010

Gigi's Comes to Germantown

Looks like cupcakes are making their way to Germantown!

The ironic thing is the first time I went to Gigi's Cupcakes in Memphis back when they opened in January (I remember because I took a friend there for her birthday), I asked the owners if they were going to open a store in Germantown. I told them they really should and that the Forest Hill Shopping Center (Stone Crest) would be the perfect location. They knew the exact spot because they replied, "Yeah, there's a Dunkin' Donuts there." To which I replied, "Cupcakes and donuts are completely different."

Maybe they received 100 comments just like mine or maybe they don't remember our conversation at all, but I like to think I had something to do with their smart business move ;)

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