Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Once upon a time, we had a snow day...

Last Friday we had a snow day, and this was not your typical Houston snow day either. It was coming down like crazy! Last December we had snow early in December and it was so much fun. Really sets the holiday mood, especially when you are used to Houston finally getting cold in late January or February.

This was the view out of my window at work:
And then I got out to my car and saw this:

And then we got to leave early after our agency pot luck and Liz and I were very excited:
And then I got to go home:



Lovely.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Seasons

I love the changing of the seasons. Love it. Sometimes Houston is a bummer because our seasons are so wacky, but at least that makes it exciting. (I'll just keep telling myself that.) You also have to decorate a lot to remind yourself what season you're in! Fall is my favorite season. It's several things...the relief of cooler days that comes after our blistering summers, the anticipation of the holidays, football season, lots of cooking and yummy smells...all of the above. It's also very mysterious

I took down my pumpkins and my fall leaves in preparation for the calendar's switch from fall to "winter," but I am so legalistic about when I decorate that I cannot put up one Christmas decoration until the last bite of Thanksgiving pie has been eaten, but then it is ON. Home Alone on or Christmas music blaring, the decorations will go up! I'll get my Christmas boxes down today, but I will not open them. I think I would be the same about Christmas music too, except when you've been in choir the majority of your life, you know that Christmas music starts in October, naturally.

As far as life seasons go, it's interesting to observe and live through various milestones. It's amazing how many we've already gone through and we are only in our mid-twenties! It's weird to think that many more of the milestones we go through will actually be experienced by our children. We'll be there to watch, guide and hopefully steer them in the right direction. We are in our "young marrieds" season, but we have friends spanning the college season, the single adult season and the new parents season. It's challenging to maintain friendships across the seasons, but we do our best!

I'm thankful for the seasons because within seasons there is both change and consistency, and I can really relate to that. Ecclesiastes 3 even says that, actually. The various seasons are given, born, die, plant, uproot...weep, laugh, mourn, dance, but at the end of the list: "I know that everything God does will endure forever; nothing can be added to it and nothing taken from it. God does it so that men will revere him. Whatever is has already been, and what will be has been before; and God will call the past to account." Change and consistency.

That's something to be thankful for.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

I've never seen such a thing


That, my friends, is a diaper castle. A few couples in our Sunday School class threw a surprise couples' baby shower for the Griffins. Jamie and Jill made them a diaper cake, and not to be outdone or left out, their husbands, Kuy and Kyle, decided to make a diaper castle. Much more manly, right? It even had little flags and A&M fabric. I thought it was hilarious, and the Griffins seemed to like it too.


And of course, it was so much fun to play with Avery at the party. My heart melted when Brandi said, "Avery tell Miss Allison thanks for playing with you," and she did the sign language for thank you! Adorable.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

The Grace Window

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Dedicated in loving memory of Myron B. Deily
"The window on the far left represents the grace of God and the love of Christ. The two hands balancing the globe are made of two-way mirrors so we can see ourselves and those beyond (much like the hands in the Diversity panel across the room.) This is meant to address the grace of compassion, a core of our Christian faith. The grid in the sphere is meant to represent the many different peoples who are all connected throughout God's diverse world. The black and white glass is meant to represent humanity. The flowing green and turquoise glass is meant to represent the lushness of the human spirit, rooted in and guided by the Holy Spirit of God. There are two plates at the top by the cross which represent the blessing and grace of a holy union."
What the program DOESN'T say is that Grandad Mike's wedding ring is embedded into the window and the cross at the top bears the same knot that made up his ring. The program also doesn't say that the artist used several of his cufflinks, including 2 monogrammed with MBD in the window. The program doesn't say that the colorful grid also represents the structure with which he loved to live his life. The program doesn't mention the Puerto Rican coqui frog in the bottom right corner, is meant to symbolize his heritage. What a beautiful memorial to him and what wonderful art to inspire intimate reflection. Grandad Mike would be the first to tell you that his life wasn't perfect, he wouldn't have expected a window in his honor. None of us are perfect...but there is grace.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Hoodrat stuff with your friends...

So, there we were in small group doing our Old Testament survey study, and all of a sudden a loud splash of water hits our front door. I was sitting pretty close to our door and it REALLY startled me. Our door is pretty deep in our porch so I was confused, to say the least. Everyone jumped up and went to look out the windows- it was hard to see, but then we figured out SOMEONE WRAPPED OUR HOUSE DURING SMALL GROUP! They turned on our sprinkler and pointed it at the door to let us know. We went outside to assess the damage, and this is what we found:


Still perplexed, and a little in shock, we kinda stood around, noticing all the work the vandals had put into their escapade:


And based on a few clues, such as an offer for "Free Financial Advice" on our sidewalk, and shoe polish on Dr. Houser's car offering free eye exams, we thought, "Hmmm the perps must know us. This was not a random act by any means." :)

So we decided, it must've been the Rabes' small group...we couldn't believe they had driven all the way from Cypress to Meyerland for this act of Sunday School terrorism. We were a little flattered, honestly. So, after we waited awhile, thinking we might see our friends, we cleaned up,

and went back inside the house to finish up. We still had to get through Joshua and Judges, you see. We had our speculations, and even accusations, along with a growing pile of clues. And even though Kuy and Cory are friends, we found it odd that Cory just happened to call Kuy at 10:00 that evening as we were wrapping things up. Our suspicions were confirmed when we found some of THESE posted on the class website a couple days later. You moms-to-be should be especially ashamed- what kind of example are you setting for your child, bringing them into lives of crime?



Just crazy. :) That Cypress small group- always up to hoodrat stuff with your friends...

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Here and Now-There and Then


I must say that Tuesday night Bible Study has a special place on my calendar and in my heart. This is my second Beth Moore study to do "live" with thousands of other women from all over Houston, congregating together at our church. I didn't really know what to expect as we began to study the book of Revelation, but I must say, it has been in-cre-di-ble. It's just an added bonus that my mom is doing it this time as well- a perk of her being a new empty nester!

Please allow me to share the tip of the iceberg of this past week's study of Revelation 4-5; I am just going to hit a few highlights that begged me to sit in my seat in the sanctuary till morning came, just to try and process it all. As Beth kept saying "Lord this is just too much." Too much goodness, indeed!

--Revelation 4 gives a pretty crazy description of the throne room in Heaven. Poor John...he was just trying his best to convey what he saw in terms/animals/descriptions we might understand! The description was so overwhelming and detailed, but he did not describe God himself on his throne- just the surroundings. Beth likened this to the times when we drive by an extravagant home. We might not know who lives there, but we know, based on their surroundings, that they MUST be important!
--Another aspect of Revelation 4:6-11, is that it gives a CLEAR representation of a theocentric Heaven. Everything and everybody was surrounding the throne of God, praising him and placing their undivided focus on Him. Unfortunately, our imperfect world does not always share this theocentricity, but we can realign our focus to be in line with Heaven. We talked about how self-centeredness is such an illusion. We feel the most indulgent and like we are entitled to this, that and the other when we focus on our problems or complaints, or how people around us are wronging us. Self-centeredness is guaranteed to bring misery for the simple reason that it goes against the order of Heaven- how perfect creation should operate. We need to let go of ourselves- which is hard, because it is our biggest temptation to focus on ourselves.
--Revelation 5 delves into what will happen with the scroll and the lamb. In 5, the Lord is holding the scroll, and an angel "proclaims in a loud voice, 'Who is worthy to break the seals and open the scroll?" But no one in heaven or on earth or under the earth could open the scroll or even look inside it. I wept and wept because no one was found who was worthy to open the scroll or look inside. Then one of the elders said to me 'Do not weep! See the Lion of the tribe of Judah, the Root of David, has triumphed. He is able to open the scroll and its seven seals.'" (2-5) Okay so bear with me. There are some major things here. First-scholars have not agreed on the content of the scroll. There are innumerable interpretations, but it is definitely understood to be a scroll of destiny...the plans for the new Jerusalem? The title deed to earth? The scroll needs to be opened in order for the eschatological events to be set in motion. The daily, applicable points are these (very boiled down) if the Lamb is worthy to hold this magnificent scroll, what are you and I STILL unwilling to hand over and trust him with? Aren't we silly people? The second point is this: the Greek for the weeping that John did is the worst sort of grief that can be expressed in the Greek language. John was at the depths of despair over the fact that there was no one worthy to open the scroll. The elder then reminded him of the Lord's ability to handle it. He is good. He is worthy. In our day to day problems, when we try to do it on our own and figure it out in human terms, God will let us feel that despair of failure and what it's like to try our own way, not to punish us, but to then feel the absolute joy and fulfillment of what it's like to be filled by Him. Too bad we have to repeat this lesson so much. :)

I hope you made it this far in my post-I just was so blessed by those 3-4 points (not to mention the entire study!) that I had to share...and I didn't even go into the crystal sea part! For those of you who don't have the opportunity to go to this study on Tuesday nights, I highly recommend it whenever it comes out in DVD/book form.

"Then I heard every creature in heave and on earth and under the earth and on the sea, and all that is in them, singing:
'To him who sits on the throne and to the Lamb
be praise and honor and glory and power,
for ever and ever!'
The four living creatures said, 'Amen,' and the elders fell down and worshiped." Rev. 5:13-14

See how beautiful theocentric living is?

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

With fall...blog falls apart

So, in an attempt to spruce things up a bit around here, I decided to try a fall template. Easier said than done, and I'm usually savvy with simple html background switches.

Not so this evening, but anyway, this beautiful new fall template decided to delete ALL of my blog links. Not cool. I had to re-do my blog roll from memory and cheat off of other friend's blogs and their links. For those of you who do not have your blog link on your facebook, or I might've forgotten because hey...it's 11 p.m. on Wednesday night...please send me the link to your blog- even if I didn't have your link on my blog roll before...send it along! I love my blog links on the side and checking in with everyone. Also, even to some of my "followers" I don't know how to find your blog link from your follower profile, so please send me the links in the comments section. Thanks a million. That's what I get for trying to be creative/seasonal.

But the good news remains...fall is coming. You've got to be deliberate around here, where the seasons are so muddy and undefined, my fall decorations are about to jump out of the closet, but I'll wait...I've already had 2 pumpkin spice lattes. In Houston we are enjoying a week of on and off rain- praise the Lord because this summer's weather was miserably dry. 09-09-09 brought another baby to the Veritas class- Miss Sarah Anne Hearn. Can't wait to meet her, and would you believe her stud of a mother only had to push for 12 minutes and go through 2 contractions? God sure answered their prayers! As far as my sisters are concerned, this week also brings Liz's 19th birthday and Julianne's 21st (look out!) We are getting old, but each chapter of life just gets more and more fun...

P.S. does anyone know how I can change my title from boring Times New Roman bold to something more...organic? A flowy cursive or a simple papyrus-type font? Ally...I know you know how...help!

P.P.S Not even going to jump into the health care debate (mainly because I don't get most of it...) or any other opinions, because I do have them here and there, but all that aside, what was all the fuss over Obama's speech to the kiddos at school? I read the text and thought it was fantastic...maybe because it struck a chord with me and the message I tried so desperately to impart on my own students, but still, it was darn good.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Sorry, August...

Dear August,

Seems like I've been waiting to see this:

for a long time.

I'm sorry August...as I've told my friends...you just don't do anything for me- no holidays, and summer is coming to a close. Since my days of teaching school and attending school are over for now, you don't allow me to stock up on school supplies, plan a new year, have a new schedule...nothin'. I used to love you for many years, such as 1988, right before preschool, the beginning of my scholastic journey:
August, you're hot. Right as I'm getting over summer and am ready for life to cool off...or at least not force me to sweat with every departure from the air conditioning, you linger. I think you're trying too hard. You kill my grass and you give me preseason football games, not even real ones. 2009 August has been a good one- a lake trip, a wedding, a first birthday, fun Veritas events, a game night and my parents' 29th wedding anniversary...but even those events aren't worth you sticking around. I'm ready for the routine of fall, the anticipation of the holidays and cooler runs. August, I ran 87 miles in your heat! You're no good for marathon training.

I've let go...I welcomed September to my calendar with a pumpkin spice latte with Liz this morning and a double date at Los Tios with the Craigs this evening! I'll celebrate Labor Day this weekend and enjoy Baylor's first football game against Wake Forest on Saturday. It won't be long before my fall decorations emerge as well...I'm moving on.

Adios, August...it's been...hot.

Regards,
Allison

Monday, August 24, 2009

Honorary Dentonite

I often joke that Cason "came with" great furniture when we got married. He also "came with" a great hometown that I LOVE to visit: Denton! Part of the affection attached to the town is probably how super relaxed we always are when we visit- Bill and Trish always make it so laid back, fun and comfortable. They also have a really neat home in the historic district- very near the town square/courthouse as well as UNT's campus.

We were in north Texas for Amanda and Erik's wedding this weekend (so much fun!!)

We stayed in Denton Friday night and thanks again to mapmyrun.com I had a lovely run on Saturday morning. It was nice- cool and dry- the first hint of fall (NOT experiencing that in Houston yet- on average, I tend to sweat at least one pound of my weight during morning runs. Sick.) Anyway, I got to run by UNT, around the town square and courthouse and back through the historic district. It was also hillier (is that a word?)than I'm used to in Houston, so that was good. Coming down the road, I knew I was home when I rounded the corner and saw the Maginot Line.

What appears to be a tasteful landscape element is REALLY a fortification. As many of you know, Bill is career military. Living in such close proximity to both UNT and the Fry St. bars, my sweet inlaws have unfortunately had their share of intruder cars enter their yard and backyard fence. Bill built the Maginot line (google for WWI reference.) It is composed of bricks, large rocks, old anchors...many things that would prevent a straying car from accidentally running into the house. (Can you see the peripheral anchor by the crape myrtle?) There's more where that came from.

Whether you grab a margarita at Miguelito's, enjoy brunch at the Chestnut Tree, check out Recycled- a fantastic used bookstore in an old opera house or just experience "the Austin of the north," wikipedia (gospel, right?) says "Dentonites take pride in being part of a unique and diverse creative community, and many consider this community to be the primary value of life in Denton that separates it from other Texas cities. Many in the creative community see Denton as the antidote to the ballooning traffic and population concerns of larger cities. The combination of Denton's respected music and art cultures, and the large intellectual population sustained by the town's two universities, which together have a combined enrollment of over 45,000 students, make Denton one of the state's most dominant cultural bases."

Didn't mention that my little Liz began her freshman year as an honors chemical engineering major at UT...we celebrated before she left with a yummy lunch at Niko Niko's. Look at this cute little longhorn!

Thursday, August 13, 2009

I lost my mom on Legendary Lane

Sounds like the title to a country song right? I’ll get to that.

So, as many of you probably already know, I lost each and every last marble and signed up for the Chevron Houston Marathon in January. Before spring 2008, I had never run an excess of 2 miles in my life, and even those occasions were few and far between. Somehow I eeked out the half marathon in January 2009 and was pleased with my 2:26:23 time. In a moment of insanity, I made a loose pact (can you make a loose pact?) with my body that before we bore children, we would run a marathon, so might as well run it in 2009…rather than, say, 2015.

When I started “training” in the last week of July, I realized I had 26 weeks until the race, so, like a genius, I googled “26-week marathon training plan.” After searching through a few more complicated schedules, I found a nice one that just says the number of miles you need to run each day with Monday being a rest day. I think I can modify this one as well. Running 6 days a week is crazy- and I am allowing myself grace if I skip a day in the week for other things. I’ve had a morning run here and there (the routine I need to get into) but most days, both because I cannot pull myself out of bed and the wretched humidity, I try to run in the evening after work. I tallied my mileage on the chart, and when this whole thing is said and done in January, theoretically, I will have run 840.2 miles. Sheesh. I’ve run 45 so far, and I just have to take it a day at a time.

A few girls at church told me about www.mapmyrun.com. What a great tool! I can customize runs on my computer based on length/where I want to run, change them up, calculate fun routes and see others’ routes all over town. In my first week of training, our family went to Lake Cedar Creek for the 23rd (?) annual Baylor Summer Bunch gathering of all 9 families. Normally, this would be an excuse to take a couple days off my running, but no- mapmyrun.com allowed me to trace a 3 mile route through Gun Barrel City, Texas!



This was perfect. On Friday, mom wanted to go for a walk, so I said- just stay on Legendary Lane, mom, I’ll run through the neighborhood a bit and then find you on my way back. Well, Diane is a speedy walker, so she got too far down the road, and I couldn’t find her. I ran back to the hotel, got a hotel key from my dad and Cason before they went to golf, and jumped in the ‘burban to find her. I did find her…and then we went to Canton.

Friday, July 24, 2009

God bless the animals!

So we all know Theodore loves his coral chair...this was just too perfect and made us laugh so hard.

Also, I had an interesting experience at work. I am a part of a new leadership training group at Family Services. At our first meeting we had a little get to know you activity. I can tell you my favorite color is green, but picking ONE favorite TV show? ONE favorite animal? Is this my favorite animal as a pet? My favorite animal that shows God's creativity or sense of humor? I need a little clarity here. Everyone else put "cat" or "dog." I just had to put 2 animals, and I answered "Raccoons and ducks." I was that girl.

I do like bears (they are cute and, of course, Baylor's mascot) and you know I love my cats. "Why ducks and raccoons?" you ask. Well. Since this is my blog, I get to tell you. Ducks are cool because they walk, swim, fly and float. They are happy on land, in the water and in the air. PLUS they quack AND waddle. How cute do the little ducklings look following their mamas? They also migrate all over the place and get to travel. Raccoons...well they have little masks, little hands and a wicked cool tail. Sneaky little varmint bandits! What are your favorite animals? :)




Tuesday, July 14, 2009

You can find me...

Here:Or here:
Or here.
Praise God for vacations! Be back soon!

Friday, July 3, 2009

Lemons for less!

When Cason and I were shopping for a dining room set, I found this lemon tree I really liked. What I didn't like was the price. $300. Are you kidding? So then I decided to make my own- after spending a mere $35 at Hobby Lobby, I think I might like mine better. Another DIY savings!

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

2 years!

Two years ago today, Cason and I got married!We celebrated with dinner at Del Frisco's after work. We are so grateful to the Lord for these two years, and we are so excited for many more ahead!

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Summer Essentials

Needless to say (as evidenced by my blog absenteeism) June has been busy- lots going on at work, B’s graduation weekend, 25th birthday, Father’s Day, shower hosting, shower attending, board meetings, summer small groups, game night, friends having babies, Baylor events…just…busy, but fun! As the mercury rises in Houston (as it always does, but this June is ESPECIALLY hot/dry) I’ve put together a few things that are my “essentials” this summer as I enjoy the season and beat the heat!

My Sigg bottle. It fits in my purse, and I drink from it all day! Also- "Juicy Glo" nail polish for fingers and toes. A great, bright, red-orange color. Sigg was a gift from my aunt and uncle for our wedding, as a part of a "green household kit." (Sigg: $21.99 Nail polish: $4.49 at CVS)
Never underestimate the purse-sized deodorant. Very important. $2 A citronella candle- since nothing else will keep the mosquitos away! $10
Sun-loving plants...because we get a LOT of sun. $20
We don't have a grill yet, but the George Foreman works great for fresh vegetables! These are from Gran and Granpa's garden. Yum! $24.99
Sun shades for the car- unfortunately, I don't park in a garage, and my seats are black leather. These were also free- left by the previous owner of my car- but it's $10.95. They fold up really well.
Mulch! Very important to help the roots of your plants stay hydrated. Mulch acts as a great barrier against the heat. It's cheap too at about $2/bag.
Sonic happy hour! Who doesn't love a Route 44 strawberry limeade for $1.06?
Our sprinklers! Much needed for late night/early morning watering. These were free- left in the garage by our home's previous owner! (but you can get them at Lowe's for $14.87 for 2)
And, I don't have the time/patience/desire to lay out much (that will change when I go to Florida for a week.) So in the meantime, why not try a sunless tan? This one is a great one because it does NOT smell like baby food. Major plus. ($10.99)
I also learned a new word recently. It's the summer version of "hibernate." It would be nice to do this...at least during the hottest part of the day, right?

es-ti-vate

1.to spend the summer, as at a specific place or in a certain activity.
2.Zoology. to spend a hot, dry season in an inactive, dormant state, as certain reptiles, snails, insects, and small mammals.
Also, if I had a dollar for every time Cason and I have sang/danced the "Mini Buffalo Ranch Chicken Sandwich" jingle from Jack in the Box, I could afford to buy all these great products for all of YOU!
Happy summer!