Tuesday, December 13, 2011

"Is it just me...

... or are you carrying lower than you were before?"

These are the words my husband spoke to me earlier today.  And all day long I had been thinking the same thing about my pregnant belly.  I have also noticed how noticeable my belly is from the front lately- for at least a couple of days.

And because today is picture day, we decided to compare and contrast just to see if we were imagining things...

The verdict?  You tell me!

(These are in order from the last 4 weeks, today's being the last one.)

Week 20

Week 20

Week 21

Week 21

Week 22

Week 22

Week 23

Week 23

I know that these are not all at exactly the same distance, but it is fairly obvious to me that the most recent belly picture shows a more pronounced belly and a slightly lower belly.  The strange part is that I have only gained about a half pound in the last week or so.

On top of all this, the baby is moving like crazy today.  Whether I am still or moving, Spare is going nuts in there!  There's movement high and low.  One of my youth got to feel the baby kick/hit on Sunday.  That was really cool for me and for her.  She was pretty weirded out by me saying, "The baby is really kicking around today."  And when I asked if she wanted to feel it, after she'd expressed how strange it would be to feel that, she said yes.  So, next time Spare started kicking, Helen got to feel it!

All of these changes in my body are really cool to feel.  And now that we have moved into our new house, I am really ready to get the nursery figured out!

Monday, December 12, 2011

Advent 2011

Here's a quick run down on our Advent activities so far, as well as what's to come before the end of the calendar year...

First Sunday in Advent: We were in Cuba, specifically Havana.  That Sunday morning, my dad, step mom, two older brothers, husband, and I woke to have breakfast at our hotel before getting on the tour bus and heading to the Episcopal Cathedral in Havana.  The church was very nice- very quaint and kind of small for a Cathedral, but probably a good sized church for Cuban standards.  The service was also very nice.  Bishop Leo Frade, with whom we were traveling, asked all of the clergy to come forward and introduce themselves.  My dad went up and said all that he wanted to (in Spanish).  And then the Bishop asked him to repeat (in English).  During his recount of what he had already said, my dad used the phrase, "This is my home."  And it was at this point that he got choked up (in English); and it was also at this point that the rest of us got choked up. 

After the church service, the 6 of us left in a taxi.  The Cathedral was located a few blocks away from my dad's old houses.  He and his family left Cuba in 1960 and this was his first time back.  After 51 years, he still recalled all of the details of daily life.  The first house we stopped at was where he lived for a short period of time, but it was near a park and a movie theater.  The second house we stopped at was where he lived for a longer period of time, and it was the house they lived in right before they left the country.  It was so interesting to hear all of the stories that he told about his experiences, especially after Fidel Castro took power.

After our tour, we headed back to the hotel to rest up for the National Ballet of Cuba, as well as a visit to the Tropicana (famous night club) later that night.  The next day, we traveled back to the US; then on home on Tuesday.  Once we arrived back in BR, we spent the next several days packing for our big move into our new house!

Second Sunday of Advent: Jared and I both had to preach that Sunday, so we were both fairly tired from that.  However, the tired we felt was nothing compared to how we would feel the following Friday (the 9th) after we moved and unpacked all day!  We have been exhausted ever since.  Our new house is awesome, though.  It's quite large and there's so much more space than we've ever had before.  Other than a couple of rough nights with the dogs (getting used to being in a new place with a new routine), it's been a fairly smooth transition.  We are unpacking like maniacs, but it's difficult to feel like you're accomplishing much when you're also working full time and doing other things (see Third Sunday of Advent).  But we are definitely making progress.

Third Sunday of Advent: After church services, a fundraiser, and my regular high school program, I also held a confirmation meeting for parents of youth who will be confirmed this spring.  I headed home and Jared and I did a little more unpacking and setting up.  I had planned on watching the Sunday Night Football game... but I fell asleep before halftime.  I was so tired in fact, that I woke up during the 4th quarter with about 5 minutes left in the game.

Today I have been very tired, still, and I am trying very hard to fight off a head cold.  All the dry weather in LA is making it hard to breathe through my nose.  After all, it's only 72% humidity right now... and I am used to so much more.

Later this week, several folks in the family and I will be traveling to New Orleans for my ordination to the transitional diaconate.  In layman's terms, I am getting ordained as a clergy person!  Saturday morning, the Bishop of the Diocese of Louisiana will lay hands on me and, by the power of the Holy Spirit, I will become a deacon.  This is a huge moment in life for me.  I have struggled for a long time with my call to ordination- wrestled with God, family, friends, and enemies about it; and now it is coming to fruition.  It's a big day.

It's also a big day because many of my youth will be making their way down to NO, too; they will come to my ordination and then will spend the rest of the day in NO doing Angel Tree shopping and a youth event called Bowling with the Bishop!  So, it's going to be a full day in NOLA for me. 

Fourth Sunday in Advent: The day after ordination, I will serve my first Sunday as a clergy person.  This includes: reading the Gospel and preaching at 3 services, setting the table for the Lord's Supper, and giving the dismissal at the end of the service.

But wait... there's more!  This will also be the day that we have our youth group Christmas Party!  So, once I finish with all my regular duties, I will have to make sure everything is set up for the party. On Monday, Jared and I will go to the doctor for our 24 week appointment.  This week will end with three Christmas Eve services, including one children's pageant!

All in all, it's been a very busy Advent and will continue to be.

Come Christmas Day, though, it will all settle down a bit.  I am thoroughly looking forward to the 3 and 1/2 months or so after Christmas and before Spare arrives.  I am thinking this will be a short time of rest (at least in comparison to the past few months) before the baby shakes everything up again!

Friday, December 2, 2011

We're Back!

I realize it has been far too long since my last post... And sadly, this one will not satisfy any kind of update; however, for the purpose of accountability, I wanted to let you know some of the ideas for posts that I've been thinking of and making note of.  This way, once life calms a bit, I will remember what I wanted to post about!


- The smell of holiness- what smell comes to mind when you think of church or spirituality?  I have one that I will share with you!

- Our last bowling outing, just before we left for Cuba.

- Our trip to Cuba over Thanksgiving.

- Our most recent ultrasound/doctor's appointment.

- Why is it that just as Advent arrives (a time intended for meditation, reflection, preparation, etc.) life becomes so insane that we often forget what the purpose of Advent is?

So, that's what I've come up with so far.  I am sure that by the time I actually post something, I'll have some more ideas.  But we are moving in exactly one week; so please be patient with me... It may be a little while.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

See Spare Grow

So, here are a few photos of the last few weeks...

Week 17

Week 17

Week 18

Week 18

Week 19

Week 19

Needless to say, I am feeling rather big in the belly region right now!  I will say that the most recent picture was taken this evening (we normally take photos in the morning), so I am probably a little rounder than I would have been this morning.

In other news, we are buying a house this week!  And we have our next OB appointment the day before.  That said, my mom is coming to town to do the final walk-through on the house and to the ultrasound appointment.  I am very excited!  I haven't seen her since mid-September and she's pretty much just getting the weekly update with the photos; so it will be really fun to see how she reacts to seeing me in person with a baby bump!

Finally, due to the amount of crazy we have going on in our lives right now (especially with buying the house), we haven't been bowling the last two Fridays!  I am hoping we are able to remedy that situation soon, but it's not looking good.  With the few things that need to be done on the house before we move in, as well as Thanksgiving break and packing to do, I am not sure when we'll have a chance to bowl.  But I assure you, we will bowl again!

Thursday, November 10, 2011


Let me preface this post by saying that I should be writing a sermon right now... I'm not procrastinating, really; but I would prefer to have my sermon done by Thursday afternoon.  However, I have been wanting to blog all week and simply not had time to do so.

Have you ever felt so overwhelmed by an outpouring of blessings in your life that you lash out and start fights with your spouse?  Well, I have!  All this week, in fact.  Allow me to elaborate...

With the exception of losing Jared's dad in mid-September, the last four-and-a-half months have been overflowing with awesomeness (channeling Barney from How I Met Your Mother).  We got to end our summer of insanity with lots of vacation time with family and friends.  We started August with the knowledge that we were pregnant, though we wouldn't go public until October.  We learned that we would get to look for and buy our very first home.  We received confirmation that I would be ordained as a transitional deacon in the Episcopal Church. And this month, we are actually in the process of buying the house; we will travel to Cuba for Thanksgiving.  Next month, we will move into the new house; I will be ordained; and we will travel to Dallas for Christmas fun with some of my family!

When it rains, it pours!  My cup runneth over!  (Not to mention my baby bump runneth over my elastic waistband, too!)  And the like.

Even though none of these things are bad things to be experiencing and dealing with, they are still overwhelming.  Jared and I have been very snippy and short-tempered with each other lately.  We really don't like having these times; but I think we are snippy and short because we can be.  Does this make sense to anyone else?  Your spouse, hopefully, becomes the person that you can bear all to, but who will still love you even after you've borne it all.  So that's what this season of transition and change feels like for me.  We are short-tempered and super high strung right now, but we know that we are partners through all of the crazy.

Even though there is stress involved in all of these transitions, I am incredibly excited to have all of these experiences.  We will own our first home!  We will finally get to put together a nursery for Spare!  I will have hands laid upon my head and be made a deacon in the church!  And, eventually, we will hold our sweet baby in our arms and our lives will REALLY change.

There is so much to be grateful for in all of these changes.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Too Early to Think...

... So, I'll blog instead!  The hubs just left for a meeting in Alexandria today.  We had the chance to eat breakfast together this morning, which was nice, but now I am too awake to go back to bed and too sleepy to do anything else.

We've been bowling a couple of weeks in a row, now.  It's been a great time on Fridays for us.  The only problem for me is that my form is changing (catch the dual meaning, there?), and so it is becoming more difficult for me to roll the ball the way I am used to rolling it.  So, often when I think I am rolling correctly, I pull to the right or the left and end up very frustrated.

Speaking of frustration...

10.28.2011, frustration

So, yeah, we've had some frustrating moments in our bowling lately.

Here are our scores for the last couple of weeks!


10.21.2011, Game 1
Game 1

10.21.2011, Game 2
Game 2

10.21.2011, Game 3
Game 3

10.21.2011, Game 4
Game 4


10.28.2011, Game 1
Game 1

10.28.2011, Game 2
Game 2

10.28.2011, Game 3
Game 3

10.28.2011, Game 4
Game 4

And here's a self-portrait, a small attempt to make our day of bowling a little more joyful!

10.28.2011, self-portrait

This weekend, we are due to go to Jared's homecoming at his college. So, I am not sure if we'll have the opportunity to bowl, but if we do, we'll post scores next week!

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

A Few Photos

So, today is the final day of my 16th week of pregnancy.  And here are a couple of photos to show the progress of Spare's growth.

Week 9

This was the first picture we took in Dallas over Labor Day weekend. We stayed at my mom's house, but she and my stepdad weren't there. So, she asked me to take a picture and text it to her.

Week 16

And this was from this morning, in the same shirt.

Needless to say, I've started wearing maternity clothes, mostly because my regular clothes either don't fit and/or are terribly uncomfortable!

I have been feeling very good, though.  I have some energy back, but still fall asleep on the couch in front of the TV almost every night, especially lately since the Texas Rangers are in the World Series!  I have been walking and/or working out on the elliptical machine at the gym.  Jared is starting to train for a half-marathon, which is tough work, so I am trying to workout alongside him, even though I can't run with him.  So, that's part of why I am trying to keep my activity up.

The other reason is because I gained about 10 pounds during the first trimester.  I am now trying to be more discriminating about my weight gain.  I am not trying to lose weight or in any way trying to avoid gaining; I am just trying to be a little healthier about my weight gain from here on out.  So lots of protein, fruits, veggies, and whole grains are in the works!

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Spare's First Onsie(s)

So, Jared and I were out looking for a semi-masculine pink LSU shirt for the volleyball match last night.  It was the Pink Match, so almost everyone, even the players, was wearing pink!  Jared has TONS of LSU t-shirts and even polos; but most of them are gray and some purples and a few yellows.  But he has NO pink LSU shirts.  He got me one last season, because they were being sold at a volleyball match- the Pink Match.

Anyway, we went shopping at the LSU Sports Shop, which is right outside of the PMAC (where basketball, volleyball, gymnastics, etc. games and meets are played) and Tiger Stadium.  We went in, expecting to find some pink shirts everywhere!  And there were NONE!

But Jared and I wandered throughout the whole store scouring the racks for pink.  Unfortunately all we could find were tiny pink shirts for little girls... not exactly appropriate for a 6' tall grown man.

Then, Jared happened upon the infant section of the store...  And that's when things got dangerous.  There were so many cute LSU baby things!  Since we are having a baby, we have been discussing our budget a lot lately.  So, I was trying to be the "responsible" one and say, "Okay, if we buy this, where's the money coming from..."  Jared had an answer for every item we looked at!

The first thing that caught Jared's eye was a football jersey, but it was in 0-3 months.  And since Jared was 10lbs., 2oz when he was born, I am thinking there's a good chance that our kid will not fit into 0-3 months for longer than about a minute.  So, we kept looking!

So, all in all, we walked away with two items purchased: 1) a 3 pack of LSU onsies; and 2) a super cute burp cloth.

Here they are...

Spare's first onsie, blanket

The purple and white onsie are the same- they say "LSU."  The gray one says "LSU Tigers" in old school building blocks!

And, of course, the burp cloth is just hilarious because of drooling babies!  So, anyway, we are very excited about our first purchase for Spare's wardrobe.

I am sure that the LSU side of the family will help us keep Spare in team colors as he/she is born and grows older!

Rollin' with my Honey

So, here are some of our scores since early September.

September 2, 2011
AMF Richardson Lanes (a.k.a.- the place we bowled after our wedding)
This was the game that I made mention of here.

J Dubb- 181
Mtr. Alina- 139
Nurse Stacey- 104
Paulito- 110

J Dubb- 123
Mtr. Alina- 122
Nurse Stacey- 70
Paulito- 98

JDubb- 143
Mtr. Alina- 125
Nurse Stacey- 97
Paulito- 118

September 16, 2011
Circle Bowl, Baton Rouge LA

ASW- 169
JRW- 152

ASW- 139
JRW- 111

ASW- 135
JRW- 146

JRW- 135

And now, for something completely different!  I started taking pictures of the whole game on the screen display at the lanes- this way, you can see how the game played out, where we really picked up, or where we started to lose control.

October 7, 2011
Circle Bowl, Baton Rouge LA

10 07 2011 game 1
A tie to start...

10 07 2011 game 2
Jared takes the second game.

10 07 2011 game 3
My highest score ever, but just shy of my goal.

10 07 2011 game 4
Last game of the day.

October 14, 2011
Circle Bowl, Baton Rouge LA

10 14 2011 game 1
Game 1

10 14 2011 game 2
Game 2

10 14 2011 game 3
Game 3

10 14 2011 game 4
Game 4- I am finally victorious!

So, I hope you've enjoyed the switch to the photos of the entire game, instead of just listing the score.  I know I find them more interesting, because I am a big fan of bowling and like to know how things could have been different or better.

I did notice yesterday that I was VERY tired while we were bowling.  I was frustrated because I kept pulling right as we got farther and farther into our games.  Jared made the point that my body is changing with pregnancy, and I should adjust my game accordingly.  So, in game 4, I tried to slow my roll and focus more on my form and follow-through than speed.  It helped a little bit.

Monday, October 10, 2011

What to Expect...

In the coming months, we will both be posting more on how our lives are changing and transitioning.  In the past 7 months, we have experienced so much change.  We found out that Jared would be appointed at a church where he would be the solo pastor; we completed our first 10K; we packed up all our stuff and moved to a suburb of Baton Rouge (this involves many changes in and of itself: a new commute, a new wonderful congregation, a new parsonage with its own issues, and the list goes on).  We went on two vacations, and Alina went on a mission trip over the summer; we lost Jared’s dad just weeks ago; we just found out that Alina will be ordained as a transitional deacon in the Episcopal Church sometime in the near future; and we found out that we will most likely be moving again, but this time to a house of our choosing.

OH, and we also got pregnant!!!

That’s right, friends, we are expecting a baby in April of 2012!  This actually happened over the summer, as well, but we were very cautious about waiting until the first trimester was over to “go public.”  But we have completed 14 weeks of pregnancy and are ready to share our good news with everyone.  But please don’t worry; Jared’s dad knew that we were expecting a baby before he died.  He was probably the most excited of anyone!

So, you can see how our lives will be continuing to change and transition over the next several… well, years, I’m sure.  Our blogs will reflect all of these changes, as they have already.  Alina will most likely continue to share bowling scores and experiences, with added updates on pregnancy and maybe some photos, as soon as she starts showing.  Jared will continue to reflect on the “light stuff” of life and ministry; he’ll also be sharing some goals and looking for accountability from those who love him.

Again, we are so excited to share this wonderful news with all of you.  We are extremely excited about becoming parents of human children, not just furry ones.  We are really looking forward to Alina starting to show, both of us feeling the baby kick, and, of course, meeting sweet little “Spare,” (in utero name) whose sex will remain a secret to all of us until s/he is born.

We ask for your prayers and your support during this exciting time!

Thursday, September 29, 2011

John Newman Williams

About three days after my last blog post, my father-in-law died.  He had been on hospice for only 11 days.  When we originally heard that he had made the decision to go into hospice care, we thought that he had about 4-6 weeks left.  Let me rephrase that, we thought that we had 4-6 weeks left with him.  As each day progressed and each time we saw him, we realized that we had less time.  Hospice came to the house the first time on a Wednesday afternoon.  The next time I saw John, which was the following Friday and Saturday, I thought that we'd be lucky to have 2 weeks with him.

The following weekend, Jared and I visited on a Friday afternoon, September 16th.  We had been bowling that afternoon and were planning to stay for dinner with my in-laws.  John wasn't really up for eating and spent most of the time we were there sleeping or talking with Jared.  He looked pretty bad.  He was kind of jaundiced and breathing very heavily.  So, Jared, Marie, and I ate dinner, had a nice time, and watched the Boise State football game.

The next day was Jared's brother's birthday.  The whole family gathered for lunch, presents, and cake.  John had been resting during lunch/cake and about half of the presents.  He gathered the energy to come into the living room when James opened the gift from his mom and dad.  It was an LSU cooler; something they had seen at Home Depot weeks before.  James was pleasantly surprised.  We all sang "Happy Birthday."  And then slowly, everyone started doing their own thing.  A few left the room to clean up; a few left the room because there were just too many of us in the room; and a few left the room for another birthday party at someone else's house.

I was sitting with James' wife, Beth, outside on the porch.  We were chatting about life and all the craziness it brings.  I noticed that John, who was sitting in his chair by the back window, was trying very hard-by himself- to get out of his chair to go back to the bedroom to lie down.  This was becoming a near-impossible task for him to do on his own.  I quickly walked inside and asked Jared's uncle for some help.  We assisted John out of the chair and back to the bedroom.

He settled himself in his bed and started talking with James.  At this point, I realized that we didn't have have as much time as we thought we did.  There were a lot of tears that day, not just mine.  I really did think that we had a few days left with John, at best.  I began advising our friends and family who had been planning to visit John the following week and weekend that they should just wait... wait until the funeral service.

On Sunday evening, I called Jared's mom to see how the previous night had been.  After speaking with Jared's other uncle, my worst fears were confirmed.  A doctor and the hospice nurse had been by on Sunday afternoon.  They both suspected that John had just a few days left to live. 

Jared hadn't heard this latest news, yet, when I arrived home from youth group.  I was waiting for a better time to tell him, not that there's ever a "good" time to tell someone that their dad is going to die soon.  Finally, a phone call from Jared's best friend allowed for a pause in the TV show that we had been watching.  Chris was asking when would be a good time to come and see John.  I knew that I needed to intervene in the conversation at that moment and tell Jared the news.

After Jared hung up with Chris, I told him what I had heard from his uncle.  We both sat, kind of stunned, kind of crying, kind of helpless for a few minutes.  Eventually, Jared called Chris back and told him that he and his wife, Skye, should just wait until there were plans for services.

We went to bed quite solemnly that night.  And just as I was drifting off to sleep, right after Jared had put his phone down, it rang.  At 10:40pm on September 18th, Jared's dad died.  Marie called to give us the news.

As much as I love you all, the rest of the details of that night are reserved for family and for those who were present.  What I will tell you is that it was one of the saddest things I've ever witnessed and experienced, while also being one of the most peaceful things I've ever been a part of.  John had been in so much pain and had been so ready not to be in pain anymore, that he died peacefully in his bed.  We were all so reluctant to let him go when he was alive, but once he died, we knew that it was exactly the right thing.

At his funeral service, the service of resurrection, a dear friend of the family, Carole, had this to say about John: "John had cancer, but the cancer never had John."  And the night that he died, he didn't have cancer anymore. 

John Newman Williams is someone who I will always strive to be more like.  He lived an amazingly joyful life, even when he was in pain.  He raised a wonderful family that cares deeply for their God, their church, and their family.  I pray that John's love and spirit would live on in Jared and I and our family.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Life & Death

Last week, we found out that my father-in-law decided to go on hospice.  After four and a half years of fighting prostate cancer, he decided he was finished fighting.  He has been in some kind of rather severe pain for a while now.  The hospice folks have been super amazing so far, even going so far as to bringing meds by at 11pm one night.

Obviously, this has been very difficult on all of us, but we are hanging in there.

The title of "Life & Death" comes to me now, because Jared and I are now in the phase of life where everyone is having babies.  We got through the "everyone's getting married" phase about a year ago, and are now in the "everyone's pregnant" phase.  Seriously, I think if we counted, it'd be somewhere between 15 and 20 people who we know that are pregnant.  It's a strange paradox to be looking so forward to all the new life that will be entering our world from October to April, while sitting next to a man who won't be with us in a few months.

I find myself gazing into the future months with anxious anticipation, all the while praying that God would slow time right now.  It is a strange place to find myself.

Here's a photo of Jared and his dad from last summer.

John & Jared
John & Jared, July 2010
 John is one of the kindest people you will ever meet in your life.  He would do anything for you.  He is the best listener and adviser.  He cares for every person he encounters whether he's known them his whole life or only for a moment. 

People have been responding to the family with many memories of John and his overwhelming love.  One of my fondest memories of John is from the first time I met Jared's parents.  John and I deheaded shrimp for about 45 minutes on the driveway of his house in the warm Louisiana sun.  He was impressed (I guess) that his son's girlfriend was interested in deheading shrimp with him.  I explained that as I child I used to watch my great uncle (Uncle J.R.) skin and gut live catfish at my grandparents' lake house in Texas.  Deheading shrimp was fun for me.

It was the first time that I really got to know John.  He told me that he grew up on a dairy farm in south Louisiana.  He told me stories about Jared and his other children when they were kids.  In all of the stories that he told, he conveyed how much he loved his family and his flock.  Being a pastor for 35+ years can really make you love people or hate them.  And John has always chosen to love people.

I am so lucky to be one of those people whom he has chosen to love.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Labor Day Weekend

We traveled to Dallas over Labor Day weekend.  It was very fun, but insanely busy.  Our schedule looked a little something like this...

8am- Leave house
4pm- Arrive Dallas
7:30pm- Snuffer's with Carrie

9am- Ham & Eggs with the Wrights in Lewisville, followed by hanging at their house until about lunch time
12:30pm- would have been lunch with Sarah, but she and her hubs fell sick that morning
3pm- Pool time with the Valentas
7pm- Chuy's & Bowling with the Regans (Scores to come...)

10:30am- Cafe Brazil with Michelle & her sister
12:30pm- Texadelphia with the Nowlins & Nancy
3:30pm- Begin trek to Cowboys Stadium for LSU v. Oregon game
7pm- Kick off

11am- First UMC, Duncanville
12:30pm- Lunch (can't remember the name of the Mexian restaurant) with the Johnstons
2:45- Back to the house for pool time with the Jacobies, the Somos, and Afton
7pm- Pei Wei with the Somos

6am- Rise and shine
7am- Depart for Shreveport
10:15am- Jared's Fantasy Football Draft with college friends
3pm- Depart for BR

Needless to say, there were only 2 meals that we didn't have some plans with other folks.  It was completely insane and very enjoyable.  I ended up getting sick- just a head cold- on Monday morning.  I am starting to feel better, though.

I took some photos of a few things... I wish I had taken more, but my brain was fried from all the amazing food, fun, and lack of sleep!

Quite possibly the best breakfast tacos I've ever eaten...

Breakfast tacos

Jared's "short stack" of pancakes... they leave out the minor detail that it's a short stack of pancakes bigger than your head.

Short stack

Jess & Andy got "biscuit and gravy," as in one biscuit.  Again, they fail to mention that the biscuit is the size of half a loaf of bread.
Biscuit and gravy

Bowling with the Regans!

Our awesome glow-in-the-dark bowling bracelets...
Awesome bracelets

Both of the Regans!

View of the field from our seats.
Our view

View of the field from the suite we were escorted to about 30 minutes before LSU opened a can on Oregon.
Our 2nd view

Enjoying the game from an amazing suite with delicious food and fellow LSU fans!

One of the "mariachis" who sang "Margaritaville" to us at lunch on Sunday with the Johnstons.
Mariachi 2

The other "mariachi."  I really wish they had been wearing traditional mariachi attire.

It was such a fun weekend!!!

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Some Scores

Jared and I have been bowling for the past three weeks!  Since our summer had been so busy, it has felt rare that we bowl for three weeks in a row.  But we've gotten back into some kind of routine.

So here are the scores from our first two outings.  I am going to include our scores from Labor Day weekend in a post on our trip to Dallas, so stay tuned for that.

August 19, 2011
Circle Bowl, Baton Rouge LA

JRW- 100
ASW- 188

JRW- 146
ASW- 176

JRW- 122
ASW- 111

JRW- 121
ASW- 148

August 26, 2011
Circle Bowl, Baton Rouge LA

ASW- 118
JRW- 129

ASW- 158
JRW- 150

ASW- 188
JRW- 140

ASW- 92
JRW- 160

So, we have this joke about bowling and consistency.  Basically, in my opinion, if you are a consistent bowler, then there's a chance that you can be a really great bowler, even if your scores are low.  For example, if you line up the same way, approach the lane the same way, and release the ball the same way every time your roll, then you're most likely going to score consistently each game.  Other factors come into play, though, like how tired you are, how heavy of a ball you're using, and if you're warm or cold.  For example, I would say that 80% of the time, Jared and I say, "First game doesn't count," because we are "cold."

All that being said, we have both been rather inconsistent in our bowling lately, as evidenced by our scores!  It's rare for me to roll a 176 and 92 all in the same hour, but I did it!  So, Inconsistency is often anthropomorphized in our trips to the lanes!  She's a cranky bitch, who shows up uninvited.  We aren't her biggest fans, and we'd rather she go away forever.  But, she's usually around for at least a game.

Inconsistency is usually my date to the lanes, but as you can see from these scores, she's been showing up with Jared more often lately.  And honestly, I'd rather she show up with Jared than with me :)

Jared and I are quite competitive: we are both the youngest child in our families of origin, and we learned very early on in our relationship that we should always be each other's partner in Spades.  That being said, when we do bowl against each other, Jared hates to lose.  We sometimes end up in an argument of some kind after we bowl because of how competitive we are.

Often I will say, "I just want to do my best each time," and I also have the goal of breaking 200 someday.  And Jared says, "I just want to do my best, too; but I want my best to be better than you!"  So you can see how sharing the hobby of bowling is wonderful and potentially dangerous for our relationship.  Overall, though, we have gotten much better about supporting each other in our efforts at the lanes.  We really do enjoy going together, and we've learned how not to let the other's success or failure completely determine how we will do as individuals.

For example, I used to be very sensitive to Jared not doing well.  I was so distraught that he was no longer having fun that I would start doing poorly- obviously not on purpose, but because I was so distracted by his feelings of frustration and anger.

Needless to say, we don't have as many arguments as we used to.  One of the best things about us having those arguments is that we would talk through them on the long drive home.  We have learned how to communicate while we are bowling so that we don't accidentally psych each other out or take frustrations personally.

It's been such an amazing thing for our relationship!  One of the many additional reasons to love bowling: open lines of communication with the spouse!

Thursday, August 18, 2011

The Bible in a Year

First off, I would like to thank my dear friend Skye for my new blog design!  Didn't she do a great job???  It was a complete and total surprise to me, but I completely love it!  It's got the cool retro bowling alley look to it.  It's awesome!!!

Now for my title: The Bible in a Year.  My husband got this crazy idea a while ago from a fellow pastor friend: read the whole Bible in a year.  He asked me if I was interested in doing this with him- kind of an accountability partner thing.  I said, "Sure.  But do I have to read it from cover to cover?"  The answer: Yes.  As much as I have always wanted to read the whole Bible- really read it and know that I've read the whole thing, not just pretty sure that I did that in seminary- I have tried it and failed.  I usually stopped somewhere in Leviticus, which is truly thrilling stuff.

So, I reluctantly agreed.  Jared also told me that he was going to ask his colleagues who are going through the ordination process with him to join him in this effort.  That way, he would have double accountability- those he'll see a few times a year at various church related events, and the person he sees every night before bed and every morning when he wakes up.

And so we began on June 1st.  I will admit to you all that I haven't had the easiest time with this task.  You've read about my busy summer and you're familiar with my new commute; so finding the time to read 2-4 chapters of the Old Testament everyday has been pretty difficult.  As of this morning, I was more than 7 days behind.  I read a few chapters with my morning tea at home.  Then I read a few more here at the office.  I am caught up to today, but not through today. 

Every single day that I am at work/in the office first thing, I make time to read my chapters and I even journal-usually not about the readings, though.  But on weekends and/or my day off, it's incredibly difficult to 1) remember, 2) find time to read, and 3) actually sit down and do it.  This is how I get so far behind in just a couple of days.

We are currently in Judges.  I am supposed to read chapters 6 and 7 of Judges today.  I finished chapter 5 with very heavy eyelids and seriously contemplated a nap at 9:45am... I'm obviously struggling with reading the Bible in a year.

And I am not sure that this really is meant to be an easy task, no matter how much I want it to be.  It is very palatable- reading a few chapters a day for a year.  It almost sounds enticing, like an infomercial or something: "For just 20 minutes every day, you can improve your biblical knowledge and spiritual growth."  And I thought, "Well that's totally manageable!"  But the fine print says, "You may have to give up: extra snooze button touch, time with your spouse, your morning walk, getting to work on time, staying awake at your job, spending time with loved ones, etc."

God never promises that discipleship will be easy.  I know of no where in the Bible that it says, "Follow me, it will be the easiest thing you ever do!"  Dietrich Bonhoeffer wrote a book called The Cost of Discipleship; if that doesn't make it clear I don't know what does!

And, yet, I am bothered by how much time and effort is required of me to complete this simple task-reading a few chapters a day.  It's not easy, but it is simple.  Study is one of the spiritual disciplines.  It's something that we are encouraged to do and do well.  We pray to "hear... read, mark, learn and inwardly digest" the Scriptures (Book of Common Prayer, 236).  I'm not even doing that; I am just reading.  I am not really studying what I am reading.

My hope in admitting this to you is that I will take this task more seriously.  Perhaps it will take a year or two of reading the Bible everyday to get to the point of inward digestion; perhaps it will take longer.  But I know that this is something I want to do and I hope to do everyday.

Friday, August 5, 2011

Trips to the Lanes...

... for the past 2 1/2 months!  That's right, friends, I have scores dating from May 26th.  So, here we go!

May 26, 2011
Circle Bowl
Baton Rouge LA

ASW- 155
JRW- 130

ASW- 133
JRW- 160

ASW- 126
JRW- 139

ASW- 159
JRW- 168

ASW- 149
JRW- 140

June 3, 2011
Island Strikz Lanes
Biloxi MS

JRW- 173
ASW- 124

JRW- 120
ASW 116

JRW- 150
ASW- 180

JRW- 145
ASW- 159

June 24, 2011
Circle Bowl
Baton Rouge LA

ASW- 134
JRW- 136

ASW- 122
JRW- 162

ASW- 179
JRW- 173

ASW- 135
JRW- 184

ASW- 114
JRW- 131

July 7, 2011
AMF Star Lanes
Asheville NC

ASW- 151
JRW- 116

ASW- 154
JRW- 150

ASW- 107
JRW- 159

ASW- 115
JRW- 130

ASW- 131
JRW- 164

July 15, 2011
Circle Bowl
Baton Rouge LA

ASW- 105
JRW- 123

ASW- 190
JRW- 152

ASW- 175
JRW- 130

ASW- 149
JRW- 132

July 29, 2011
Circle Bowl
Baton Rouge LA

JRW- 123
ASW- 158

JRW- 140
ASW- 97  (This was rather painful, and I'd like never to discuss it.)

JRW- 155
ASW- 88 (Please see previous game's comment.)

JRW- 135
ASW- 131

And now we are up to speed.  Today's scores are listed below, as are some photos from our trip to Circle Bowl.

August 5, 2011
Circle Bowl
Baton Rouge LA

ASW- 103
JRW- 184

ASW- 166
JRW- 157

ASW- 138
JRW- 144

ASW- 150
JRW- 179

Circle Bowl

This are the best idea ever: The first time we came to Circle Bowl, we bought the purple one.  You purchase the "pin" for around $6, then every time you get a refill it's only $1.  Say, if you bowl every week or so at the same lanes, then you just bring your pin in and get close to 40 oz. of your favorite beverage for only $1.  OR, you can fill it with water, like I do (mine's the blue one)!

Spare 1

We got a lot of spares today...

Spare 2

So many, in fact that I think we got to see the entire repertoire of graphics for the spares.

Spare 3

Did I mention, a LOT of spares?

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Bowling in Asheville NC

The week of July 4th, Jared and I traveled to Cashiers, North Carolina, where my mom and stepdad have a house in the mountains.  It is lovely there.  The weather was nice- about 80 degrees Fahrenheit during the day and in the 60s at night.  We golfed a little bit- we are not very good at golf, but we are learning!  We also had the opportunity to bowl in Asheville one day, when my stepdad took the car into the dealership.  We tried to encourage him to roll with us, but he had conveniently scheduled a conference call during that time, since cell service is very unreliable near their house.

And so, we bowled...

AMF Lanes, Asheville NC

Awesome mural

Jared bowling

And then we went to dinner with my parents.

Me & Mom

It was a really nice time in North Carolina!

Saturday, July 30, 2011

Possum Kingdom

Not just the name of a Toadies song from the 90s.  It's an actual lake in Texas.  A lake that I have spent many summer days on.  It's beautiful, even with some wildfire damage. 


We went on vacation with some friends from grad school last week, and it was glorious!  I was kind of not wanting to go at first, only due to the fact that I had only spent about 14 nights in my new house since we moved in mid-June.  But I am so glad that I went and got to spend so much time with friends!



Andy napping

We had a great time, mostly just relaxing.  We went out on the boat and floated.  We stayed in during the hot afternoons, napped, read, and watched movies.  And we played games at night.

Chris with branch

Me & the Hubs

We ended the week with a trip "to town" to see Harry Potter 7, Part II (Is there a movie theater in Graham?).  It was very entertaining.  Plus, before the movie, we went and had Mexican food and accidentally celebrated Jon's birthday, again!

Jon's birthday gift