Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Christmas 2009

This is our first Christmas in Houston and it's different. Every year I usually pull out the Christmas decorations at Thanksgiving. I spend hours and days make sure the tree and hosue look perfect. I look forward to it every year. But this year, we are still in temporary housing and all the decorations are tightly packed. So I thought I would have a hard time getting into the Holiday Spirit. Not so, thankfully.
A few nights ago my husband surprised me by pulling out our little silver table topper tree. Here it is in all its glory surrounded by presents.

I know some of you may be thinking, What's the big deal? And you know what? You're right - that's what I learned in Christmas 2009. The decorations are fun and festive, but they do not make the season, they are not the reason we celebrate.

We celebrate because our Savior came from Heaven to earth to save us. It's not about stressing over getting the house ready and buying a lot of presents. It's about Him, His love for us, and sharing that love.

Don't get me wrong - traditions of putting up the tree, going to parties, exchanging gifts, and celebrating with the ones we love are awesome. I just learned that it's all about balance and putting Jesus first during this season (really all year round).

The Echols pray you have a very Merry Christmas with your family!

I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is Christ the Lord. Luke 2:10b-11, NIV

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

The Eternal Question...

What do I get my husband for Christmas?! I already bought him one gift, but he knows what it is -he picked it out. So I'm stumped. He just had his birthday in October and he got a lot of what he wanted. Then he used his birthday money to buy some books and DVDs. To top it off, he doesn't have the typical "guy" hobbies. He's not into hunting or fishing or sports (the Big 3). He does like video games, but he said he doesn't want any right now. He also does not want any clothes. So, again, I'm stumped.

Anybody have any creative husband Christmas gift ideas? What did you do when you were a newlywed and found yourself in this position?

This sounds so petty compared to what this season is really about. And I know he could care less what I get him, but I just want him to feel special on Christmas morning. So any help is greatly appreciated. And tell me if you've been there too - there's consolation in numbers.

Happy Shopping!

Saturday, December 5, 2009

We Don't Get White Christmas's in Houston - Or Do We?

Well, living in Houston has brought it's share of challenges and surprises, but nothing tops yesterday. We got 3 inches of snow! It was so beautiful! Here are a few pics. They're not great but they give you an idea of what we saw.

We did not get much on the ground in our backyard because of all the trees, but look at the roofs!
You can kinda see how much snow was coming down in this one.
It really was awesome. The hubs and I were sipping hot cocoa and watching the snow fall as Christmas music played from the ipod. It reminded us of our honeymoon to Whistler, Canada. A perfect winter day.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Making it Feel Like Home

Houston is definitely a good fit for the Echols. We've only been here 2 days, but we've had some fun exploring our new home. There are so many new and exciting things. But there are also many familiar things. Such as, the torrential downpour of rain yesterday. Well, that's Fall in the deep south for ya. Lots and lots of rain. It made running errands yesterday an adventure. We avoided I10 and 610 completely. Which was a good thing. We saw parts of town we would not normally have seen. We made the obligatory Lowe's run and then I had my first HEB experience. That is the coolest grocery store ever. I could have gotten my entire lunch free there by just visiting all the cooking demonstrations. Then finished it off with a delicious dessert wine or coffee. I. am. in. love. Thank you HEB.

It's going to be fun these next few months exploring neighborhoods and boroughs to find our perfect home. We already found a few neighborhoods we'd like to see homes in. If you do not know, we are leasing until we find the right house. Don calls it Base Camp. It's a perfect description.

We moved in on Thursday and found that our master bathroom toilet spewed water out the back everytime you flush. Then found that the guest bathroom toilet did not work at all. Quite a problem. But our landlord was wonderful and she had them both replaced. So we have brand new toilets. I know it's not a big deal, but it's nice to have something new.

Next, we discovered that the tiles on a section of the counter in the kitchen are not glued down nor are they grouted. Interesting. So leasing is turning out to be an adventure. Even though in the big scheme of things we have a nice lease home - these things are such an incentive to find our home to buy. It's going to be fun looking.

The move itself was an adventure, but easier than I thought. The puppies were awesome. Mostly because we gave them doggie downers before we left Shreveport and they slept the entire way to Houston. Saweet! Then, we hired Impack Movers to unload the truck in Houston. The best money we ever spent. Those two guys had everything, and I mean everything, unloaded in one hour. And that includes the refrigerator and washer/dryer. It was amazing to watch.

The only thing I'm disappointed in is that I will not be able to decorate for the upcoming fall and holiday season. We decided to only unpack the bare essentials. Everything else is staying in it's boxes since we'll be moving again in a mere 6 to 8 months. All the boxes (our entire home) is stored in the two guest bedrooms. So even though I really want to make the house homey and Fall-ish (and Christmassy later) - the thought of repacking the house again in 6 to 8 months is enough to keep me in check. But next year will be awesome!

Lastly, the hubs and I are enjoying all this time we get to spend together. In Shreveport, we were committed to a lot of things (Church ministries, friends, social activities). So we were constantly busy. We were together most of the time but just busy. Here we cannot commit to much until find our home - so it's like we get to slow down and date again. It's going to be so much fun.

Keep us in your prayers as my man begins his job search. I'm not worried because God has provided so much for us already. Just pray for wisdom and discernment. We want him to be exactly where God wants him.

We love and miss everyone in Louisiana. But we are so excited to get to know our Houston friends and family better. And I promise pictures are coming soon.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Moving Day or Days I Should Say

Well it is officially MOVING DAY! Yay! I have prepared for and dreaded this day for weeks. Now it is finally here. Although a lot of the heavy duty stuff was done last night by my new superheros.

Sasquatch and his two awesome Side Kicks - Troy and Noland. You guys rock! I mean they really do. Troy was even injured and he still managed to get it done. These guys moved the refrigerator, washer and dryer, sofas, dressers, hutches, and dining room tables with the greatest of ease (well - maybe not ease, but they did it).

Poor things! We have had the most wonderful Fall weather the last few days. Cool and breezy. Then yesterday the Heavens decided to rain down their fury, not to mention 200% humidity. It was awful, but my superheros persevered.

So that's the latest update. Sasquatch and I need to get back to work. I'll catch ya in Houston (with pics hopefully!).

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

House Hunting in Houston

What a week it has been! I never thought finding a home in Houston would be so hard and exhausting.

Don and I thought we'd found a home last Sunday - after a 48 hour marathon of looking in Houston. We put an offer in Sunday night late and drove all the way back to Shreveport. Unfortunately, late Monday night we found out it would not work out. So Tuesday morning we headed back to Houston. Thank goodness for great friends! We stayed with Don's sweet fraternity bro and his beautiful wife - and their brand new baby.

My mom - the real estate agent - came along and we began looking again. Another one of Don's fraternity brother's hooked us up with our wonderful realtors. They're a husband and wife team - Tony and Charlsey. Charlsey took us all over Houston Wednesday, but on Wednesday evening we wrote a contract on a new construction with her. But you could tell she, Tony and my mom were not crazy about the house. I was so determined I just did not realize. Plus, Don and I were so completely exhausted - it was 10pm when we wrote the contract. We gave the builder a huge deposit and went back to our friend's house and passed out.

I woke up with my sweet husband sitting on the edge of my bed. He said he knew we'd made a mistake and wanted to get out of the contract. After about an hour of crying and talking I agreed. My husband was awesome! He got us out of our contract and got our money returned. Then, he found us a great lease house.

I was determined not to sign a one year lease - I was kinda a baby about it. But again it worked out. The home we really want agreed to a 6 month lease and we passed the credit check. So now we are waiting on our phone interview with the landlord. If she likes us we finally have a home in Houston.

We just decided to lease and take our time looking, instead of rushing things and buying something we really were not excited about. It took a while for that wisdom to penetrate my hard head, but I'm finally excited and ready to go.

Yesterday was my last day at work so now I can focus on getting the house packed and get going. I am going to miss Shreveport and all our friends but I feel God has a real adventure in store for us - and I. am. ready.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

On the Road Again

What a weekend! Don and I traveled to Houston on Friday to find our house. We spent all weekend looking and saw nothing we liked. Then, at the end of the day on Sunday we finally found one. We wrote a contract at 7pm and got back on the road home. We drove into our garage at 11pm and went to work the next day. We were sooooooo tired yesterday, but excited because we were waiting to hear if our contract was accepted. We fully expected it to be. But then we got the call late last night that it was not and the owner was not willing to negotiate.

Yeah, I had a fit. I was, again, left with nowhere to live and I start work on 10/12. So Don, Mom and I decided to hit the road again today, go back to Houston and find the house. We are using a realtor who is Don's fraternity bro and I can tell he's more familiar with the market than our previous realtor. So I am very optimistic.

Pray for us! We are driving in the rain right now. And we will not leave Houston until we find our house!

Friday, September 18, 2009

B-I-G Announcement, Big Changes

Well, as I'm sure you've noticed, my posting has been rather sparse the last two weeks. There is a reason for that...We are MOVING to HOUSTON, TX! Yeah, that's right, out of the blue! Here's the story:

If you've read this blog anytime, you know that 2 weeks before Christmas of 2008 I was told by my boss that my entire department and I were being laid off. Our last day of work was 1/30/09. So during those two months I was posting my resume like crazy. I ended taking a job in town with a physician practice.

I was at my new job about 2 months when I realized that this would not work out. It was not the job I was told I was being hired for and many other reasons. But I did not look for another job, I just tried to stay optimistic. I knew when God was ready for me to move on he would provide the opportunity. And I prayed that constantly. About 2 weeks after I started praying for God to present an opportunity, I was contacted by my (now) new boss, Leanne.

I received an email from her saying she was not a solicitor (ha!) and that she'd found my resume on my professional organization's website. I wasn't sure about responding, so I called my boss from my previous job. He had worked with the company recruiting me and I wanted his insight. He was very encouraging and complimentary of the organization. So I decided, Why not? I responded back and then immediately sent a big Thanks up to God.

Leanne and I emailed and talked on the phone for about 2 weeks, then she set up a web cam interview with her and another individual at the company. It went so well. But I didn't hear from Leanne for like a week after the interview. The waiting was so hard. Then I got an email from her asking if we'd be willing to move to Albuquerque.

WHAT?! ALBUQUERQUE?! That, of course, was my first response (as well as the Hubby). But after we prayed and thought about it, we decided that if that is where God wants us to go, we'll go. For about 3 weeks we were set to head out to New Mexico. Then Leanne and I met in person in Lafayette for another interview. She said she really wanted me in Houston, but that job would not be hiring for about 2-4 months. Yikes! I decided I wanted to wait for the better position in Houston (plus I really did not want to move to Albuquerque). Then I came back home and started the waiting game. Boy was that hard! I was so frustrated with things going on at work, but I knew if I was just patient God would put me in the right place.

Just about the time (about 2 weeks) I resigned myself to the fact that I would not be hearing back from Leanne for a few months she emailed me and asked me to come to Houston for a last interview. WooHoo! I was so excited. They flew me down to Houston and had a Town Car and driver waiting to pick me up. It was so cool.

The interview was awesome! Everyone was so nice and it is the exact environment I've dreamed of working in. Better yet - Leanne brought me to her neighborhood and house to check out the area and then to lunch. I felt so wanted. I've never had an organization recruit me so hard. She offered me the job that day. And not only did God provide a new opportunity, he provided a better paying one. And they are giving us a huge allowance that will cover our moving expenses. It is almost unbelievable.

But that's not the best part - here is how God really showed us he would take care of everything.

So of course, I was excited about moving, but I only had 4 1/2 weeks to sell our home, find a home in Houston, buy it, and move (plus Hubby has to find a job). I was just a little freaked out. I started having nightmares with me living in a run down apartment in Houston and Hubby staying in Shreveport until he found a job. But God is sooooo good. One week after we put our house up for sale it sold to a sweet couple in our Sunday School class. And it sold for the exact amount of money we need to get into a house in Houston.

So, Hubby and I are heading down to Houston to find our house. There is still so much left to happen before we move. And, as I have learned this week, the new home loan regulations make it very difficult to close in our time frame. Our loan officer told us it's possible, but we'd better have a Plan B. Right now we are looking at closing on both houses on the Friday before I start work. Moving the next day. Putting the house together the next. And then I start work. It will be a whirlwind. But I don't care, I am sooo excited! Hubby is diligently looking for a job, so please pray for that. But I know God will provide because he has all along the way.

So, it's scary, fun, and exciting - but so worth it.

And that's why I have not written lately. Hubby gave his notice today, so we couldn't take the chance someone from work would find out. It was killing me! There was so much I wanted to tell you guys. But there it is and the saga continues Monday, I'll tell you all about the House Hunting Trip.

Have a great weekend!

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

My Fav DIY Projects

As you may know from one of my earlier blogs, I am trying to win the grand prize in the DIY Showoff Scavenger Hunt at DIY Showoff

Well, one of the requirements for entry is to blog about your favorite DIY project. Um, since I have a big life change going on right now (I will reveal all next week, I just cannot right now, you will understand when I tell you) I have not had time to do my own project. So, I decided to feature my 2 most recent favs from one very talented blogger.

#1 is Pink and Polka Dot's The Laziest Slip Cover Tutorial Ever! I cannot wait to get started on this! I have the most ugly duo of chairs in my living room which desperately need slip covers. But like I'm gonna spend $200 on a slip cover. I could buy a new chair for that! But they really need help. For one thing, they do not match. One is faded maroon and the other is a brown crisscross pattern. Second, Daisy made the maroon one her chew toy for a while and it's covered in her bite marks. So this is definitely going to be a DIY project for me.

#2 is also a Pink and Polka Dot creation: Monogrammed Crow! I know, you're thinking What?! But, I love this idea! I plan on using a Fleur de lis pattern and other's that will fit each person I give this to. Because this is going to be one of my Christmas gifts to my family members. (Shhh! Don't tell) How sweet! I love it because you can personalize it to each person and their front door. Here is the pic of PPD's finished product:

Photo courtesy of PinkandPolkaDot: http://pinkandpolkadot.blogspot.com/

One more requirement, in order to get another entry, is to link this post from DIY Show Off. I like this Sparkly Fall Garland. I can really see it in my home going well with my pumpkins and other fall decor. Check it out!

More news to come soon...I promise! Until then I really hope I win the grand prize (I'm gonna need it with the big life change):

Saturday, September 12, 2009

The DIY Scavenger Hunt

I am soooooo excited about the DIY Show Off Scavenger Hunt! You can find this great blog by clicking on DIY Show Off or going to my Blog Roll page.Those 5 of you who are loyal readers will remember Grandma's Chair as my first DIY project on this blog. Well, I have about a million more at home I'd like to do, but I do not have the necessary tools. DIY Scavenger Hunt is the answer to my DIY prayer - well maybe. This is the prize for the winner of this fun game:

Black & Decker 7.2V Project Kit with Bag (Saweeet!)
If you are interested in playing too, just click on the DIY Scavenger Hunt button above and you can get all the rules. FUN!

And remember (and I'll try to as well - pray for me people, it's so easy to give in)

Wisdom is having something to say and NOT saying it.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Do You Remember?

Today is the 8th anniversary of 9/11/01. All the news programs are asking people to remember where they were on that tragic day. Where were you?

I was 22 years old and sitting in my very early 8 am Speech Disorders class at Louisiana State University in Shreveport. I was a Speech Pathology major. I'm one of those dorks who never. ever. used her degree. I just went straight into grad school.

Anyway, there I was, surrounded by about 5 other young ladies. We were all extremely tired. You know, that I have not had my first cup of coffee look. Hey - it was 8.o.clock.in.the.am. I had to drive about 40 minutes to get to class.

So we're sitting there quietly working on a project and all of a sudden a girl comes running into the classroom yelling Can you believe it? We had absolutely no idea what she was talking about. Finally, we turned on the TV in the room and were shocked, like everyone else. It was the most surreal event I've ever experienced. We felt like we were in a movie or watching a movie. We made that comment several times.

My professor canceled class and I went down to my car to listen to the news. I still had other classes that day so I had to stay. I remember thinking Why are we still going to class, we need to do something! It still irks me to this day that my other classes were not canceled. Anyway, I know I was feeling what everyone else did at that moment. You felt as if you needed to make a beeline for the Pentagon or NY because people needed help. I have never felt more helpless as I did that day.

Of course for me that was not an option because I was half way across the country from those locations. And I think we all remember what air travel was like that day and many weeks after.

As the days passed I remember watching our new President - George W. Bush with swelling pride. He wasted no time rallying the workers in New York and Washington. He was inspiring. The people were inspiring. I was in awe of the display of human bravery and love.

Today, our nation saw evil, the very worst of human nature, and we responded with the best of America"
President George W. Bush, September 11, 2001

Years later I've met some of the volunteers of those terrible days and seen the effects their work took on their health. It's sad to see them suffer, but they are so full of fulfillment and pride, knowing they were there and they helped.

Sept 11 will always be a day I will remember - a day of tragedy but the days and weeks that followed were some of the greatest displays of humanity ever. I love my country and I love the people who serve to protect it. Make sure you let them know.

Where were you on that day? How do you remember it?

The Lord is good, a strong refuge when trouble comes. He is close to those who trust in him. Nahum 1:7 (NLT)

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Lots of Change

I know, it's been a good week since I've posted anything, but I've had a lot going on. I cannot reveal the big change now, but will very soon. All I will say is that the Hubs and I have a big adventure ahead of us (no, I'm not pregnant).

Well, I don't know about you, but I do not do change well. at. all. I tend to freak out, fret, worry, go insane (as Sasparilla loves to put it). I always wonder why I do this because every time a big life change has occurred God has carried me through beautifully. He always makes everything fall into the exact right place at the exact right time. But yet, I still fret. I usually end up making myself an exhausted mess and the people who love me are so annoyed. Where is my faith? Does anyone else struggle with this? How do you deal with it?

So as I was beginning my descent into anxiety hell, I opened my email and found this wonderful devotion from Proverbs31 Ministry by Tracie Miles. It's as if she's lived my life. Please check it out, it will bless your day.

I'll leave you with words of comfort from out LORD on this subject:

And my God will meet all of your needs according to his glorious riches in Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:19 (NIV)

You are my hiding place; you will protect me from trouble and surround me with songs of deliverance. Psalm 32:7 (NIV)

Oh and check it out. I have a button thingy. Jenny from Simply Delightful Designs made one as part of my blog redesign. Grab it on the side bar. Tell all your friends!

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Grandma's Chairs

I recently inherited my grandmother's dining room table and chairs. And even though I love her, I hate the Golden Girls, 80's, floral print fabric.

Not exactly my style. So I decided to be a big girl and recover the chairs. It took me a while to find the right fabric at the right price. But I finally did, so here's how I transformed my grandmother's chairs.

Obligatory before picture

First things first...Here are all the tools you will need except the staple gun which I forgot to photograph. Batting or a chair seat foam, if you want to be fancy. A level or ruler for straight lines. Scissors, screwdriver or large staple remover, white fabric pencil, black magic marker, measuring tape, and Febreeze.

Once you have everything assembled, remove the seats from the chair. Usually you just have to take out the screws. Then, start the fun job of removing the staples. I used the screwdriver by shoving it under the staple and just wiggling the staple out. I had a ton of staples because I had 3 layers of old fabric to remove. Here are the other two, nice right?

Now that all the fabric is removed your left with the old foam and old batting and wood seat. I reused the foam which is where the Febreeze comes in. My grandparent's were heavy smokers. So I Febreezed the heck out of these and put them on the back porch. It worked great. But I most definately did not reuse the old batting - gross.

Place your wood seat on your batting (or foam) and trace a pattern using the black magic marker. Cut out your batting and use it as your pattern for your other seats.

Unfortunately, I did not take pics of the next steps. But, believe me, if I can do it so can you. It's so simple. If you have a pattern in your fabric like me, make sure there isn't a part of the pattern that needs to be centered on the seat. My fabric has one so I put my batting on the wood seat then centered the pattern. I flipped the seat, pulled the fabric taught on one side and stapled. I just went around and when I came to the corners I folded it (like a present) so there is no puckering, just nice and neat.

Make sure you staple everything down nice and tight and your done. It's that simple. And here is the final result.

I love my new dining room table and chairs! Do you have any fun do it yourself fun?


Friday, August 28, 2009

The Fancy Fritter

I have the most talented cousin in the world, Stacy. Stacy is my younger cousin and she can make the cutest baby clothes, bibs, burp clothes, etc. Here is a preview of some of the stuff from her Etsy shop (note the precious model, her little one and my little cousin, the Fritter)

I've seen some of the precious pillowcase dresses and they are to die for...I can't wait to have a baby and let Stacy pretty her up (I guess if it's a boy, we can boy him up? maybe).

Anywoo, please check her out: Gracious Creations, her Etsy store. And the Fancy Fritter, her blog where she will sometimes feature some of her best stuff.

Show Us Your Life - Wedding Showers

Today at Kelly's Korner is Show Us Your Life Friday - Wedding Showers. This is perfect for me since Sasaparilla and I just threw a shower last weekend for his best friend. We threw the tool and garden shower, but it was open to all, not just the guys. I am very proud of myself in my decorating abilities

We went with the typical theme of tools, so I decided to take my step ladder and put it on the table. It made the perfect serving piece - it replace my smaller, wrought iron , stacked serving piece. We put all the fixings for the chili on it - cheese, sour cream, and Fritos.

Here is the remainder of my table scape. I took an existing arrangement and added nails, washers, and bolts to the bottom of the apothecary jar. Then I filled in the arrangement with the tools from my husbands tool set. Finally, I took the tool box and arranged it askew on the table and put the arrangement on top of it. There you go!

As for the food, we decided to serve three kinds of chili with all the fixings. It was a guy themed party so we wanted to keep with that. The ladies enjoyed it all just as much as the guys. I'll post the chili we made on the Recipe section soon. Then, my sis in law and I split dessert duty. She made these lovely vanilla cupcakes. She made these for us on the day we were engaged and they are delicious. Note the sweet little silver rings in the frosting. Then I made Southern Living's Chocolate Bread Pudding. Sorry no pic but it was awesome! I'll be posting that recipe soon as well.

Finally, we bought them a wheelbarrow. So we put it next to where they were going to sit to open their gifts and put all the gifts in it. We did not get a pic but it looked great and everyone loved it.

Well, that was our Tool and Garden Chili Shower and we had a blast, hope you enjoyed!

Thursday, August 27, 2009

The New Look

Look at my new blog! Isn't it pretty? I'm so excited! A few weeks ago I won a blog redesign by

She was awesome! She worked with me so patiently even though I kept changing my mind and asking silly questions. But the result is awesome I think. I really wanted her to incorporate Fleur de lis because it represents two big parts of me: My french heritage and the Trinity/Cross. I also love my rotating header. 5 pics and 5 scriptures will rotate, so each time you come to the site you will get a new one. Sweet!
You will also notice my top bar options. Let me explain them a little. Love Story is the story of how my husband and I met, and met, and met and then finally fell in love. Recipes is my recipe blog. I will be posting my recipes, but I'd love to have some guest bloggers post their own. So please go to the Contact section, email me with the subject as GrumpyPants' Recipes. You can put your post right in the email and I will post it for you on my page. I really want this to work because I know that myself and my girlfriends are always looking for recipes. I think the other sections are pretty self explanatory.
Go check out Simply Delightful Designs! She is incredibly creative, great and easy to work with, and has awesome prices.
Thanks Simply Delightful Designs!

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

To Bang or Not to Bang

So I decided I needed to get a haircut. Nothing drastic just a little style. About a year ago I went for it and cut my hair into a short bob (see photo below).
This is my 2008 Birthday and yes, my mother in law gave me that book. I love her sense of humor.

I had about a million "That is such a cute haircut, who did that?" comments after the cut. I loved it, but it took some work every morning. And I could never pull it into a french twist or pony tail on those mornings I just didn't want to mess with it. So I grew it out.

Once grown out I had this mop of hair that just hung in my face (see before pic below).

So I thought I'd go just about an inch shorter and put on some bangs (see after pic, along with extra chin).

What was I thinking? I asked Don what he thought and after some Umm's and Well's, he told me he liked it better before. He said, I look like a thirty year old with the bangs, but I didn't before. Thanks Sasparilla (that's his blog name - SasparillaSasquatch - check it out as soon as he actually posts, encourage him to post, he's terribly loquacious). It's not his fault, I asked. So now, it's back to the growing out. But what do I do about the flopping in the face? I hate it. I usually end up with my hair tucked behind my ears at the end of the day. It doesn't make for a professional or managerial look. I end up looking like the teenage intern. Talk about getting some respect.

So tell me about your hair disasters, even post some pics (hey I showed you mine, now show me yours). I'm gonna try the Mr. McLinky thing I'm seeing on everyone else's blog. And since I love all 9 of you, but you're 9, tell a friend. If you tell a friend and you tell a friend and you tell a friend...you get the point. Let's laugh about our hair mistakes together (and make Grumpy Pants feel better, that's the real point). Anyway, there ya go. My hair. At lease I can pull it into a twist and it looks good.

Friday, August 21, 2009

Trust In...

I just finished reading a great trilogy of books by Linda Lee Chaiken, The East of the Sun trilogy (check it out of your church's library or your local library or buy it at Lifeway). The books follow a young woman, Evy, through her life and as she falls in love and marries Rogan, in the late 1800's and early 1900's. The focus of their relationship is Evy learning to put her trust in God as well as her husband. That struck a chord with me. I love my husband more than words can express. He is the most loving, sacrificing, and humble man of God and I thank God for him everyday. But, I'd have to say that trust has been an issue with us. Don't get me wrong, we're very happy - I think this is why they say marriage is the ultimate Refiners fire. In marriage, you are forced to face all the good and bad things about yourself, but hopefully, with a loving partner who is willing to go on that journey with you. Don has been so wonderful through this process.

Anywoo, I was single for 28 years before I was married. In the South that is apparently considered OLD MAID territory. Whatever, I wasn't ready to be married until then, so there.(that's a little shout out to all my single ladies who think that just because they are 20 something and not married they are losers. NO MA'AM! God will bring your man about at His appointed time and it is wonderful when He does - so don't rush things. Enjoy your singledom, God has a purpose in it, seek it out). Ok I'm done with my little side note.

So, like I said, I was 28 when I was married. Plus, I came from a single mom family, so I was used to being very independent and not having a man around. This has led me to make some rooky wifey mistakes. Such as questioning my husband on every decision he makes. Why? Why did we turn this way, I go that way? Why? Why? Why? Ummm, I can see how that can be quite annoying, but at the time I feel like I'm entitled to know everything. Instead of just trusting my husband and his ability to make decisions for us.

Evy and Rogan faced this on a much more dramatic scale. The scene that really spoke to my heart was when Evy and Rogan's ship (this takes place in 1900) docked in Tarshish. Rogan was in a hurry to get them passage on another ship and told Evy not to go into town. Evy decided she was going anyway - despite her husbands wishes. She didn't think that he might have a good reason for not wanting her to leave. No, she just thought he was being mean and she deserved to get off the ship. Well, let's just say, Rogan swooped in just in time to save her from a desperate situation. If she'd just listened to him and trusted that he knew what he was talking about and that he had her best interest at heart, she never would have been in danger nor done damage to their relationship.

As I read this, I finally became fully aware of how I have hurt my husband by not trusting in him. When he brings this up I usually say I deserve to ask questions and know what's going on. I did not realize until recently that I am in essence questioning him and his abilities as a husband. I had no idea because I was only looking at it from my perspective. I am sooooo sorry Sasparilla, I love you and even though I know I won't be perfect, I will trust you and have trusted you always. I just have not done a very good job at showing that.

I started to think about all our pre marital counseling. We were told marriage represents man's relationship with God. Wow! Did I screw up or what? Not only did I tell my husband I didn't trust myself with him, I told God I didn't trust him with me. I never realized how arrogant I could be. But again, that's part of marriage, God revealing our little issues and helping us deal with them with a loving partner.

I'm not trying to say we as wives shouldn't ever question our husbands, just check your motives. Am I asking because I just want to know or understand? Or am I asking so I can make sure I get my way? Quite humbling.

Let me leave you with a few verses God brought to mind today.

I trust in God. I praise his word.
I trust in God. I will not be afraid.
What can people do to me?
Psalm 56:4 (NIRV)

Trust in him at all times, O people;
pour out your hearts to him,
for God is our refuge.
Psalm 62:8 (NIV)

Have a great day and be encouraged - no wife is perfect (neither is a husband) - hold each other up and encourage each other in your journey through life - do not persecute each other, but love unconditionally.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

The Prayer Life

This is hilarious and so, so, so, so true. Wow, let's laugh at our humaness.

Weight Watchers on Hold

As you read in Thyroid and Antidepressants, I have a slight thyroid problem. It's being treated, but my doc told me I'd gain some weight until we got my levels correct. Great! I'd just lost two pounds on the Weight Watchers and she tells me I'm gonna gain it back, plus more. So I put Weight Watchers on hold. Oh and to top it off, she said I could not work out until she gave me the ok. Dang It! I mean talk about no control!

I'm not happy, I'm getting fat, and I can do absolutely nothing about it. I got a new haircut (which I will post as soon as I can get the pics from the husband's camera). Don took pics of before and after for me. I just about cried when he showed me those pics. I made a mistake because the new do emphasizes my roundness. Notably the double chin I'm developing.

Did I mention I am not happy? I'm not a vain person ya'll. But I'm just as concerned with my appearance as the next girl. It doesn't help that I used to be a size 1/2. I know, start groaning. That's usually what most people do. But I was. And when I was training for Miss LA, my trainers tried to make me gain weight. Unsuccessfully, I may add. I was the contestant who ate the Johnny's Pizza the night we had swimsuit competition. And all the girls hated me. But now, I look like a bloated pageant queen, instead of toned and beautiful swimsuit contestant. It's not fun. My arms swing in the wind now. OMG! And did I mention I have not had children yet?

The doc visit is on Sept 3rd, so hopefully I can resume the working out and the Weight Watchers. I will, of course, keep you posted and let you know my progress (and include some whining because I am Grumpy Pants after all).

Good day!

Tuesday, August 18, 2009


If you need a little lift in your day, check out (in)courage

It's a wonderful site full of encouragement and God. I signed up to have the feed sent to my email and I cannot tell you how great it is to get them. I usually end of receiving it when I am in the most need, and God uses these ladies to speak to my heart. Don't we all need a little of that everyday.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Thyroid and Antidepressants

I have been vindicated! I cannot tell you how happy I am to write this post (although some of you may think I'm crazy before it's over). I have been on a long journey and have finally come to the end. Let me slow down and start at the beginning...

About six years ago I moved to Little Rock, AR to begin grad school. At that time I started feeling funny - not quite myself. Gaining a little weight (even though I was still training for Miss LA and had never had this problem before), emotional, and fatigued. All normal reactions to grad school, so I just wrote it off. My third year I began my residency and moved to Monroe, LA. There the symptoms really started to kick in - terrible fatigue (the kind that you're so tired when you're driving home at 5pm after work you feel drunk), more weight gain, really emotional, and fast heartbeat. Again, I attributed all this to stress and beginning a new career. This is three years now. So I moved back to Shreveport and started dating Don. He and his family were just shocked at the fact that I was always tired. I would go to bed at like 8 pm every night. Poor Don started getting very worried. But I was putting on a brave face and pushing it hard to keep up. I'd already mentioned all my symptoms along the years to my doctors and they all said it was nothing. My Ob/Gyn in Monroe said it could be my thyroid, but instead of giving me a blood test she gave me a quiz. A QUIZ! Really? Can we say lazy?

Anyway, the wonderful day came when Don proposed. Soon after that he put his foot down and made me go to the doctor. I went to my family doctor, explained all my symptoms and told him I would not be leaving until he actually did something. He drew some blood and told me he'd call me with the results.

The results came back that I had hypothyroidism. What? Basically, he said my thyroid was a little underactive and I would need to take a synthetic hormone for the rest of my life. I could live with that. Anything to make me feel better and help me loose the 20 lbs I'd put on. But the annoying thing was he never did any follow-up. I learned later that I should have been getting blood work every 4-6 weeks to check my levels and ensure my dosage was correct.

So, of course, I started to feel like crap again about 3 months later. I found an endocrinologist, and thought this person would take care of me. He was nice and he listened - but he prescribed me an antidepressant. So instead of looking into my strange symptoms and finding out what was wrong with me, he decided I was a little high strung and depressed. Yeah, that makes sense.

I gave up at that point. I was tired of going to doctors and being made to feel I was crazy. I must be a hypochondriac because my symptoms in someone my age without children just didn't make sense.

Don would not have it. The breaking point was when my heart starting beating so fast and so hard I thought I was going to pass out. Literally started seeing stars. Well, I'd just started my new job in the clinic and so I made an appointment with our endocrinologist. Who just so happens to be a woman. She spent 5 minutes talking with me and knew exactly what was wrong with me. Of course, she took some actual blood to confirm (no quiz here). Turns out I do not have hypothyroidism, I have the complete opposite - Grave's Disease. Grave's disease is hyperactivity of the thyroid. So my other doctor basically prescribed me more of what was making me sick and made the problem worse. My current doctor said she's surprised I didn't show up in the ER with cardiac arrest.

So that was a happy day. I finally knew what was wrong with me. I was not imagining it or being a crazy hypochondriac or anything, I really was sick. The treatment is to basically kill my thyroid and then start me back on the synthetic hormone. We killed the thyroid by taking radiated iodine. Nice huh? I could not be around people for 2 whole days because I could have given them radiation poisoning. Don had to sleep in another bed room for 2 weeks.

It will all be worth it though. I will be well and feeling good. I go back to the doctor on the 3rd to follow up the killing of the thyroid and get my new hormone dosage. We did have to put off having children for a year, but this way my baby will be healthy as well.

Well, that's my long story. I felt some of you might benefit from my struggle. Do not ever let a doctor intimidate you or make you feel like you're crazy. You know your body better than anyone and you know when something is wrong. If your doctor won't listen to you, find another.

Ok that was long, so I'll stop now. Good bye.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Long Time No See

The coolest thing happened this week on Facebook. My best friend from when I was 6 found me on it. It was awesome. We were buds. Her name is Kelley too and she lived in the house behind mine. We'd climb our chain link fence about a dozen times a day to play. We spent a lot of time in our saaaweeet above ground pool. We'd listen to Bruce Springsteen and play with all her Care Bears. She had about a million of them and most of their little friends. Her mom made the most incredible Monkey Bread. Good times.

Then, Kelley's family moved back to Georgia, where they were from and I was a very sad little Cajun. Shortly after they moved I was able to visit her in Georgia for about a week and then that was the last time I saw her. I've tried for years to find her and her family, but never could. But I have thought of her so many times over the years. Times like the prom and graduation and my wedding. I always felt she should have been at those events and I wondered what they were like for her. She was the funniest and the best. And now we found each other! WooHoo! Facebook you rule!

Anyone else found some long lost friend or relative on Facebook or other social networking site? What was it like?

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Life Without the Cable

I was reading BooMama this morning and decided I needed to share my dilemma. I call it my HGTV-detox. Ummm, Hi my name is GrumpyPants, and I miss my HGTV. I know I'm being a baby about this, but I miss it, I really do. Here's the deal...My husband, Don, has not had cable since around his 3rd or 4th year in college. He and his roommates moved in and just never found the time to get cable. They weren't home much anyway and when they were they'd watch DVDs. Then, in his first job after graduation, he'd work 60+ hours a week. So there was no need for cable. Also, he joined the Blockbuster Club, which is just like NetFlix except it's Blockbuster. So there was never a shortage of entertainment. Don was great with me when we got married and we tried the cable. But, we really only watched it first thing in the morning when we were getting dressed and on Saturday mornings. And, let's face it, I need to be cleaning my house on Saturday morning instead of watching other people clean up their house. But, dang it, sometimes - say Saturday mornings - I want to watch a peppy designer transform a run down house into a mansion, all for $2,000. Can I hear an Amen!?

But, Don's right. We are so much more productive without cable and the $70 extra bucks a month is nice as well. Plus, we still watch a good deal of TV during the week. We get The Office, House, The X Files, and Lost in from Blockbuster and watch that quite a lot. We have even discussed cutting back on this. Because the couch potato body is just not attractive and the laundry should be done at some point.

Anyway, all this rambling to say, I miss HGTV. Can someone create a way that I can get my HGTV, FoodNetwork, TNT, USA, The History Channel, TLC, and Animal Planet only and leave everything else out. Because I really do not need all the sports, news, and hunting (really? do we really need to watch someone fish?) channels. Anyone else feel as I do, or am I just crazy? Anyone ever cut out TV cold turkey? What was it like?

I will end with saying that TV is fine in moderation, but when it gets out of hand - say more than 6 hours on average per week - it's time to cut it off. And we plan to limit TV severely with our children - we do not want overweight kids who have no idea how to play because they sit in front of the TV all day - no TV babysitter in the Echols' household. Thank You Very Much.

Monday, August 10, 2009


Hey guess what? Guess what? I now officially have 4 followers. Four! Woohoo! Thank you followers for being at all interested in my ramblings and life. And for reading my totally random posts. I completely appreciate it and tell your friends.

You like me, you really like me! (Ha!)


You know, I read a devotion today that really has me thinking. Where is my passion, my desire to represent Christ and draw others to him? Why am I so consumed with me and my life, yet never think of what God would have me do today? I mean, He's my entire reason for being. God created me to worship and praise him and to bring others to him. What have I done for him lately? Not much, I fear. Does anyone else struggle with this? I find myself battling time constantly. Trying to make time for a devotion or a quiet time or a simple prayer. Most times I fail and then I wonder why I do not hear the Spirit's leading, why I miss opportunity. I know there have been many times God has presented an opportunity to represent him to someone and I've missed it. What a frightening thought!

My pastor, Dr. Chuck, taught on "Reaping and Sowing" this past Sunday from Galatians 6:7-10. 7Do not be deceived: God cannot be mocked. A man reaps what he sows. 8 The one who sows to please his sinful nature, from that nature will reap destruction; the one who sows to please the Spirit, from the Spirit will reap eternal life. 9Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do no give up. 10Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, especially to those who belong to the family of believers.

There is so much in those few verses, but one really got me. Dr. Chuck said that an opportunity is a limited time in which to fulfill a purpose. For us, as Christians, that purpose is to SOW and REAP - to sow the seeds God gives us and reap the rewards of that obedience (seeing others saved, seeing others healed from a hurt, feeling the joy of serving, etc). When was the last time I made time to serve a fellow believer? Or a non-believer for that matter? When I did, what was my hearts motivation?

So then, in Sunday school, we were in the book of Acts - Acts 1:1-11. It is so awesome how God's Word applies just as much today as it did on 1 AD. God's disciples and apostles were just as distracted and human as we are. They wanted to know when Israel would be restored. "When will we see you, Jesus, come back and kick some Pharisee and Roman butt? (paraphrased)" I always seem to be like them - focused on what I think is best and wondering why God does not listen to me. I mean, I know what I'm talking about, right? How arrogant and disobedient can you get? Then he tells me, It is not for you to know the times or dates the Father has set by his own authority. But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth (Acts 1:7-8). God trying to tell me to stop struggling in making my own way and follow his. Take the opportunity he's given me - it's only for a limited time - and reap the blessing. I hope you find time for the blessing as well, for that is all He wants to give.

My determined purpose is that I may know Him - that I may progressively become more deeply and intimately acquainted with Him, percieving and recognizing and understanding the wonders of his person more strongly and more clearly.Philippians 3:10, AMP

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Show Us Your Life - Wedding Reception and Honeymoon

This week Kelly's Korner is hosting "Show Us Your Life - Wedding Receptions and Honeymoons." Well, I am very happy about this, because we had a rocking reception and a beautiful honeymoon.

Here's the Big D and I in our First Dance. We went to dance lessons to learn the Fox Trot and dance to "I've Got My Love to Keep Me Warm." It's not "our song", it just fit with theme of the wedding and honeymoon. Well, as you can tell from this pic, the dancing lessons flew out the door as soon as we hit the dance floor. Mostly my fault, I completely forgot everything. But, hey, the dress swung beautifully - Thanks Low's Bridal!

A good spin

And the dip

Here's our cake. I loved it! And so did our guests, because it was gone, gone, gone. It was a vanilla but each layer had a different filling. Yummy!

Of course Don had his Groom's Cake. It was marvelous, everyone got a kick out of this. Can you guess what this is?

Our decor was unbelievable. Our florist turned the Barksdale Air Force Base Officer's Club into a sophisticated winter-themed club.

Then we danced the night away:

Yeah, I'm biting my lower lip, what about it?

My feet never hurt once all night because I came prepared with my bedazzled Sketchers

Here's my mom, sis, and I dancing to "Shout" and Don

Yeah, he did, I don't want to talk about it.

Can ya tell we had an awesome time?

So we were off to the Honeymoon Suite at the brand new Hilton in our town. We got there around 12 am and had to be at the airport for 7am to make the flight to Vancouver. That's right, we continued the winter theme into the honeymoon and went to Whistler, British Columbia, Canada.

I don't really know what I was thinking because I don't ski. But I thought I'd try it. Well, after 4 hours of falling down the mountain and going all of 100 yards from the lift, the mountain patrol told me to give it up. They made me walk back up to the lift. It was so embarrassing. But I got a spa day out of it, so it was totally worth it.

Here's a small bit of the beauty we saw.

Here we are as we arrived at the airport in Vancouver

This was the view from our seeewwweeet condo, which had a hot tub on the balcony. I thought at first, "Who would want to get in a hot tub outside when it's -2?" Well let me tell you, after you've fallen down a mountain and have bruises from head to toe , that hot tub is your best friend.

Day One, we went dog sledding. It was so much fun! This little guy liked me a lot.

Here we are! My man had the time of his life. You can see me, having fun, but wrapped up tight cause it was cooooooold ya'll.

And this is what happens when you get ice sickles on your eye lashes.

Here's one of the little guys. Cute!

Day Two, Ski Day, the worst day of my life. It was also a day that cemented for me that I married the best man for me. Each time I fell down the mountain I would get more and more upset and started crying. But my man instead of getting mad and frustrated with me because I was ruining his trip, he just kept encouraging me. He was awesome! So here I am thinking, "How the heck do I walk in these?" And then, "WHAT AM I DOING?!"

That's the end of Day 2. Period.

Day 3 - Touring. To make up for the bad day before Don took me on a tour of our beautiful Whistler. We took the lift to the top of the mountain and had lunch at the beautiful 5 star restaurant at the lodge.

Here I am at the top! Oh Canada!

Since Whistler will be the host of the 2010 Winter Olympics, they had all kinds of cool things on the mountain.

Here we are at the the lodge restaurant. Cool view.

Day 4 - SPA DAY! And the angels were singing...not really, but it was awesome. Don went back up the dang mountain and skiied and had the best time. He was like a little kid.

Awwww, did I say the spa was great?! Then we ate the most wonderful fondu.

Day 5 - A One Horse Open Sleigh

Yeah, he took me on the most romantic, rustic one horse open sleigh ride. He's the best

Aren't we sweet?

Hey, and guess what? We ate some more.

Whew! Ok, so I know that was a monster post, but the reception and the honeymoon in one is a lot.

I hope you enjoyed your tour of the Echols' Winter Wonderland Wedding and Honeymoon!