About Me

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A 30-something living in the foothills of the Virginia mountains; I'm saved by grace, addicted to coffee and my little sister is my best friend! I devote most of my time to exploring, reading, attending as many Nationals games as possible and documenting life here. My Prince Charming got lost somewhere along the way...but I'm trying to remain hopeful that true love exists.

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Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Maybe I'm Being Dramatic...

"Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see." Hebrews 11:1

Let me preface this post by acknowledging that this may come off as sounding like I'm complaining, being whiny or ungrateful. I'm sorry if it seems that way because I'm none of those things - I realize that I am blessed beyond measure & there are so many other people in this life that have real struggles & dire circumstances that make my day to day life trivial. But - and yes, there is a but to all this, writing about things often helps me sort through my thoughts & feelings. Maybe someone will read this & say a little prayer for me & there is never anything wrong with having anyone lift you up in prayer. We all need it to get through each & every day. That being said...move forward with caution...

I'm feeling those feelings of discouragement & discontent. Maybe they creep in because a new year has started & I get this feeling that 28 doesn't seem like I always thought it would seem. I feel like my life should somehow be different that the dish I've been handed at this moment. I want fettuccine Alfredo with fresh grated Parmesan sprinkled on top but I've been given buttered noodles with Parmesan shook out of the plastic bottle. I know - like I already said, that makes me sound like I'm grumbling about things that I have no business being grumbly about, but I'm also airing my feelings...so there you have it.

I know what causes these feelings; it's those little things that make you feel that twinge of discontent, the looks from certain people that let you know that they think you've not followed that strict path that everyone else has followed - the look that lets you know that because your life doesn't resemble everyone else's you're obviously doing something wrong; this is one of the pitfalls of growing up in a small town, but I digress.The constant nit picking reprimands over silly things; things that have no real consequence but are brought up day after day to remind you that maybe you're not quite up to par. The feeling of looking at your pictures & seeing that it is still just me & the dog while it seems everyone else's pictures have just a little bit more than mine. Feelings of discontent brought on by other feelings: failure, inadequacy, anxiety, being undesirable, envy...the list could probably go on & on. Feelings like that, feelings that are used to make us stray from the path we are meant to be on, the path that the Lord has set down before us. Because if Satan can make us start feeling those things, then he gets his hooks into us & causes us to veer off the path. Satan tells us "the road you're walking has a lot of rocks & holes in the pathway...but look over there at the path those people are on, it's covered with soft grass & has sweet flowers lining the path..."

"He has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also set eternity in the human heart; yet no one can fathom what God has done from beginning to end." Ecclesiastes 3:11

I usually want to run from these problems as opposed to facing them head on - my solution seems to be wanting to just move somewhere else, get away from it all & start a new life, free from the people & the expectations that I've known all my life. Two years ago, as much as I wanted to move to Virginia it didn't seem like it was where I needed to be. Well, I am getting those feelings or discontent & restlessness again. Of course, my first thought is that maybe the time has come for me to move, to start things again in a place where few people know me & don't have any expectations of what I should have done by now. It seems like the perfect solution & makes perfect sense for my life right now: I have no one & nothing that really holds me back from making a new life for myself & now is the perfect time. Plus, I decreed 2013 the year of change, so I guess I feel like I need to make all these changes. I want to make changes because I have this idea of what I want my life to be - but maybe what I want & what the Lord wants are in major conflict, which causes me to be in major conflict because I don't know what to do - beyond pray. While I know prayer, patience & faith are the answers, sometimes they are hard answers to swallow. It's hard to accept that what I want may be in direct conflict with what I need & as someone who likes to have control, it is also hard to daily relinquish that control & trust that things will work out better when I let go than when I hang on tight to things.

What inspired all these thoughts all of a sudden? Because honestly, they were sudden. I hadn't really thought about this at all until I opened a little snack yesterday.

I mean - is this prophetic? Is it just a candy wrapper?


There you have it. A candy wrapper. I opened a piece of Dove chocolate yesterday, excited to see what it said & that was the message. And the first thought that jumped into my head when I read that was "But wait a second Lord, I don't know that I really like where I'm at." I mean, it's a candy wrapper. Am I reading too much into this or is this the kind of sign you get when you pray for direction? I don't know. I just know that seeing that wrapper made me start thinking all these crazy things about my life & where it is headed. I had to reach out to family & friends, express my concern about the message of the candy wrapper. I'm probably just wound a little too tight but if so, something about the little message on the wrapper has caused me to come undone.

I suppose the only real answer at this point is that I need to continue to pray about the direction that my life should take, be patient & know that sometimes the answer isn't always yes; sometimes it is not now or even no. I should also have faith - faith that if I pray & have the patience to wait on the Lord, things will all work out the way they are supposed to. Even if it means that things aren't always coming up roses. Because to pick a rose, you have to be willing to brave the thorns. 

"Lord, you alone are my portion and my cup; you make my lot secure. The boundary lines have fallen for me in pleasant places; surely I have a delightful inheritance." Psalms 16:5-6


Monday, January 28, 2013

The Folks Were in Town - Yahoo!!!

Oh goodness what a week....or maybe weekend, it has been. The week itself went by fairly quickly until Thursday. It was basically business as usual for me: work in the mornings, walking on the dreaded treadmill when I got home; side note, can I tell you - I hate that thing when I get on it, but when I get off I absolutely love it & feel such a sense of accomplishment. I think I use the thoughts of how good I feel when I get off to keep me going the whole time I'm hating the actual walking. Supper, sometimes TV or reading a good book or a bubble bath...and then of course, to bed to do the whole thing over the next day. I took a couple pictures throughout the beginning of the week...

I will never understand the many odd & varied positions he sits in...but if he's comfortable, hey - go for it.


Beautiful sunset on Tuesday night. I am getting too brave about snapping pics while driving...


Hot chocolate to ward off the January chill while I read a good book in the evenings - in my Hershey mug!


Watson is always willing to help clean the dishes after supper, especially if it means he gets to sample...


I love this show - read his first book, read his second book...ready to read this one. And yes, he's crazy. If you've never heard of "An Idiot Abroad" you should look it up on You Tube. You'll crack up, I promise.


Going back to Thursday - because that is when things got a little bit more interesting. I had known for several weeks now that my Dad would be coming to visit me the last weekend in January. I'd decorated the calendar & planned accordingly, I was planning to cook red beans & rice for my Dad...like the sweet daughter that I am. I'd talked to my Mom & we'd have numerous discussions about what in the world she was going to do all weekend on her own - maybe catch up on scrap booking, visit with our friends the Manley's, sleep late & read all weekend? She had lots of plans & not a one of them involved her being in MS because she just couldn't get the time off/it cost too much to buy 2 plane tickets. So, I was excited about seeing my Daddy & I knew Momma had plenty to do to keep herself busy. And then there was this conversation on Thursday morning while I was on the way to work...

Natalie: So, what did you do last night if you weren't watching the Wednesday night comedy shows? Because you were still awake; I saw that you made a comment on Facebook or I wouldn't have text you that picture...
Mom: Oh, you know I just went to church, took a bath & picked up some, finished packing....*cue intake of breath*
Natalie: Wait, why did you pack if you aren't going anywhere? Are you COMING HERE? ARE YOU?
Mom: Well crap...yes. It was supposed to be a surprise but I messed that up.

Hilarious, right? She almost made it & I would have completely been floored to open my front door & see both of them standing there...but I was thrilled all the same & went through Thursday grinning like crazy knowing that I'd get to see both my Dad & my Mom!




I had to update the calendar to reflect the exciting news!


He isn't a very patient waiter - he was ready to see our guests.



Watson almost took down the glass door when he saw that both my parents were standing outside on the porch Thursday night at 11:05. That little dog of mine is absolutely a mess. He was very good about getting back in his bed, but once he was awake on Friday morning his only concern was to be as close to my parents as he could get - which meant getting in my Mom's lap immediately.

He says "go to work, I'll stay here & nap in Nana's lap..."

Mom & I got lunch on Friday at Deli on 5th, where I took a picture of the brownie we had for dessert...but I somehow forgot to load it on here. Oh well, it was delicious for sure. My sweet parents bought me some groceries on Friday afternoon while I was finishing up my work day - my Mom made sure I had plenty of meat & veggies to eat once she was gone; she made sure to get some fruit too. It was so nice to go home & see that someone was there instead of meeting an empty house. We chilled for just a little while before heading off to get Olive Garden for supper & explore Lowe's! It may not be the Friday night most people dream of, but it's more than I've usually got going on when Friday night rolls around!

I could drink this by the gallon...


Mascato Peach Chicken - this might be my new favorite dish. Seriously amazing.


Someone was excited about his chicken scampi....


Supper with my parents - so wonderful!

I enjoy going to Lowe's - I like to look at light fixtures, sink fixtures, showers, tile...it is all very thrilling to me. I need to inherit from a rich relative so I can start building my dream home as soon as possible because I've already picked out light fixtures, sink fixtures & even some tile back splash. We went to buy a new toilet seat & we were there for over an hour...I had to amuse myself somehow.

Home improvement can be fun...


How can there be a magazine solely devoted to chickens??? I feel like there is only a finite about of knowledge about chickens. Seriously. But those are some awfully cute chicks on the cover.

We also visited Wal Mart, but only for 15 minutes as opposed to over an hour. We stopped by my Dad's brother's house to get some tools for my Dad's Saturday projects & we were able to visit with my Uncle Greg & Aunt J'nett, so that was nice. All I know was by the time we finally got home, I was worn out & ready to crawl into my bed - which is exactly what I did.

Saturday morning coffee apocalypse - it was madness.


Proof that begging always pays off - Watson got a bite of coconut syrup covered waffle.


Breaking in the brand new waffle maker that I got for Christmas. It works very well.


After we had breakfast on Saturday morning, my Dad was all about getting started on his home improvement projects. He gave me an outside water spigot, raked & cleaned up my yard & swept all the limbs off my roof. I've got myself a good Daddy y'all...because all I had to do to help was pick up some sticks before Mom & I went to town. I think I got off pretty easy, don't you? Thank you Daddy!! :)
Oh yes...the joy of the pedicure.


I was having a good Saturday - can't you tell?


Mom was obviously having a good Saturday too.


Mom snacks on a leftover Olive Garden bread stick. Naturally, Watson thinks he needs a bite...


He gets a bite, of course. My Mom is helpless when it comes to his pleas...


Watching the world pass by on the gray Saturday afternoon...


My new ballet flats - aren't they amazing? I absolutely love them. Thank you sweet parents!


New dresses & a vest!


Lavender - not even sure what the name of this polish was, but I love it.

I spent Saturday afternoon whipping up a pot of red beans & rice for supper, which I think went over well. I certainly enjoyed it. We visited with more family members, ate some yummy desserts & then I crashed. I assume my parents went to bed shortly after I did...but who knows? I was worn out from picking up sticks & being pampered...hahaha.

Precious boy & I in the nursery on Sunday - I love my littles!


Sunday afternoon nap with the cousin...


New flowers for my planter - hopefully they'll bloom up nicely!


A beautiful vase that my Mom got me from Moonbeams - only $5 & so pretty!


Sitting outside on the porch, Watson continues to refine the art of begging...


The hazard of having my family at home...sweets! Eek!



We rounded out the weekend with church on Sunday night & then eating out with some family friends at the Mexican restaurant that the big city of Collinsville is now sporting. All in all, it was a wonderful week & an even more wonderful weekend. I'll see my Mom again in just 3 weeks, this time in Colorado Springs. Not sure when I'll see Daddy again...it's never really soon enough because I wish I could see them every day. So glad you guys were able to come visit & thank you for being the best parents a girl could ask for. I love you both dearly. Hope you had as good a weekend with me as I had with you!

Now then - I don't know about all of y'all...but I'm ready to get myself home, get my walking out of the way & get settled on the couch. Dallas premieres tonight & I'm ready to get back to South Fork & see what the Ewing's have been up to. I love me some John Ross...even if he is the bad boy! ;)


Yum - I'll take tall, dark & handsome with a cowboy hat please.

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Sickness, Snow, Stupidity & Sunshine...Finally

This week has seemed long - it was a week that didn't start on the best note & while it got a bit better as the week progressed, it had some bumps along the way that weren't the greatest thing. Life is all about bumps those, you just have to follow the road & hope none of the bumps rattle you too much....& when they do rattle you just a little bit too much & you find you've tripped & fell in a puddle.... you readjust & keep on following. You'll never get where you're supposed to be if you just stay sitting in the puddle - all that gets you is wet & miserable. No one wants that.

Monday & Tuesday were fairly dismal. I felt like I was getting a cold all of last weekend, but when I woke up on Monday I knew it was more than just a cold. I called the doctor's office, where they issued a challenge: "Can you be here in 30 minutes?" I told them 40 minutes was doable & then went rushing through the house exchanging pajamas for jeans & a t-shirt, only realizing hours later that I'd never brushed my teeth. Oh well, I felt like crap & so somehow that seemed to justify it. Of course it was pouring rain that felt like ice because it was about 35 degrees outside...you know, the kind of weather that really improves sickness. 2 hours of sitting and waiting later (like, why did they even throw out the challenge of 30 minutes, you don't ever get called back that quickly) I was told that I had acute bronchitis & drainage. There is nothing "cute" about bronchitis...there was also nothing cute about my face when the pharmacist told me that my meds would be $85. All I knew was I wanted to just get home, take the medicine & go back to sleep. Which is exactly what I did. For 2 days. Cough syrup with codeine in it is genius & my dog; while not nearly as good as nurse as my Mom, was pretty loving.

Prescription meds - they'll break what little you have in the bank...

My sick day(s) companion - always right there with me.

The many faces of Watson - as he is sitting on the couch with me. Gotta love that little face.

I cooked gumbo Tuesday night - it didn't really wow me, so there won't be a post about it.

Sick day goodness - it's always nice when my Mom slips in a little extra to a package!


I went back to work on Wednesday & while I was done being physically sick, I was still about sick to death of the rain. It rained last week starting on Friday with a brief reprieve on Saturday...but then the heavens opened up & it rained Sunday - Wednesday. And just when you think you can't take anymore, heaven sends you a nice surprise & that rain turns to snow....which happens once every 3 years here in MS.

Are you kidding me with that forecast? I never thought Thursday's prediction would come true...

So much rain - I was tired of the dismal, dreary & wet weather.


I'm not going to elaborate on the snow, because I managed to do a whole post on snow on Thursday. It is such a big deal in MS that it warranted it's own post. Yep!

One snow pic - because there is a whole post about snow.


The blessed weekend somehow seemed to take longer to get here than usual, which makes no sense since I only worked 3 days this week. I think when you're sick, that somehow makes time move differently. The days that you're sick are long but the days when you go back to work are somehow longer. I don't know, but I think that's how it works. I snagged myself a pizza & some movies for Friday night - my lovely parents gave me a Little Caesar's gift card, so the pizza was free & fed me for not one, but two meals. Rejoice! I watched "Ruby Sparks" & "Beasts of the Southern Wild" which are both movies that I guess would fall into the independent category; I thought they were both pretty good. I was thoroughly impressed with the little girl in "Beasts of the Southern Wild"...she was pretty fierce to only be 6 years old. Watson's favorite movie was "Beasts of the Southern Wild" because well, it actually had beasts in it. :)

We like to lay on the couch & watch movies...

Friday night eats & entertainment? Check!

Just watching "Beasts of the Southern Wild"...

SUNSHINE - OH HOW I HAVE MISSED YOU!


I have so thoroughly enjoyed the sunshine these past 2 days, it is almost a shame to see the sun set. But thankfully, according to the weather man it will be back tomorrow. Thank goodness.

Baby love always makes things wonderful!

Feeling very tribal with my Uganda beads on this Sunday....

The dangers of leftover goodies at the church - most unhealthy breakfast ever.

"My" boys in the nursery!


As for the stupidity thing - sometimes you realize that something you thought was one thing is actually something else. Maybe you stupidly thought it was the one thing but then you hit one of those bumps in the road that brought you back to reality. But the longer I think about it, it's actually not me that is the stupid one...so I'm not going to let that little bump in the road bother me anymore. There are much bigger & better things to look forward to & live for - that little bump isn't going to derail me! So - on to the next week & whatever it will bring.

Oh yeah - I got my hair did. Love it! :)