Tuesday, May 20, 2008

travels in texas

so, here is the long awaited post with pictures!! about my travels in texas. instead of writing all the details about the trip, i'm going to let the pictures tell most of the story. i'll add some captions under each so you know what in the world is going on (as if you aren't going to be able to tell from my fantastic photographic skillz...mad skillz people...mad skillz and clearly, just because i spelled "skills" with a "z" really illustrates my amazing photographic abilities;).



yay!! my awesome friend, andrea, picked me up from the airport and was my host while i was in texas. she let me crash on her couch and we just had the best time shopping, laughing, getting lost, and visiting our favorite places in good ole' dallas. our first stop from the airport...before lunch or anything...was at sam moon. i mean, we have priorities, people ;). andrea and i found some fabulous deals and made some outstanding purchases. ohhh. i love me some sam moon. :)





video

the next day, cari, andrea, and i had some girl time. your eyes do not deceive you...this is, in fact, a video. it was not supposed to be a video and if you watch it, you will realize that poor andrea and cari had no idea they were smiling and posing for video instead of the camera. if you listen closely, you can hear me saying, "oh no, i'm recording a video..." classic amy photography skills, people...classic amy. anyway, we were eating lunch at one of our favorite mexican restaurants, chuy's, after a morning of trying on bridesmaid dresses. nothing solves the problem of strapless tops and tafetta like queso and homemade tortillas. you should try it sometime, really.

















after our lunch at chuys, we did a little shopping (swoozies) and had dessert at sprinkles. yuumm.

(unfortunately, i somehow missed taking pictures on thursday but we had a very thrilling day which included trying on wedding dresses, some more shopping, and having dinner with my incredible friend, stephanie.)

now, back to the pictures...






































so after living in dallas for 4 years, i finally made it to the dallas world aquarium. i have to tell you, after 4 years of wanting to go...it wasn't as exciting as i had built it up to be. don't get me wrong, it's great and all but.......it just wasn't what i had imagined all these years. there were more birds and other animals than fish (which confuses me because they call it an aquarium but anyway). but the penguins and the flamingos were neat to get to see.


while i was walking through the aquarium, actually walking down some stairs, i realized my flip flop kept coming off (i almost fell down the stairs). i couldn't figure out why it wouldn't stay on my foot until i looked closer...yes, that is right...in the middle of the dallas world aquarium, my flip flop broke. remember how i said there are more animals than fish? well, there is a huge portion of the aquarium that is like a rain forest with birds that fly around and bugs and things (it made me kind of freak out on the inside because you feel like something could just land on your head) and it's not the type of place you just want to walk around barefoot. so, i did what any girl who is afraid of stepping in some unknown substance created by some animal in her barefeet...i worked very hard to keep that flip flop on my foot. i basically had to drag that foot around and not lift it up. we're not even going to talk about how ridiculous i looked dragging my foot and broken flip flop around the aquarium but what is a girl to do? we checked the gift shop and they didn't have any flip flops. (i would have bought anything at that point if they would have had them.) no worries, though because we left the aquarium and i was able to find some new sandals at the gap.






















oops. we're a little lost here. after our stop at the gap to rescue my foot (i have such foot/toe/flip flop issues, don't i? i wonder why?) we realized we were lost. now, that is andrea smiling at me because 1) it's just what we do (the two of us)...we get lost almost always when we're together. the street sign picture is to illustrate that we needed hillcrest but somehow ended up at boedeker street. go figure. at least we weren't in the scary mary part of dallas this time (been there, done that. it's no good).

hey...look!! it's hillcrest!! fortunately, we weren't lost for too long and we were so very thankful for that. that friday evening i had to be at lake lavon to participate in a women's ministry retreat with cari's church. so, it was important that i was on time. i made it on time to the retreat and i only have on picture from the retreat...which is a FABULOUS picture of cari but i promised it wouldn't go on my blog (unless cari gives me permission).

after the retreat, i visited the church where i worked while i lived in dallas, prestonwood, and then quickly caught a plane back to charlotte and my sweetie (it was really hard leaving him after being engaged for only 2 days before i left). i had such a blast visiting my friends in dallas and just being in that city..there are SO MANY things i love about it and am always, always glad to go back and visit.

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Monday, May 19, 2008

wedding website/blog

hey guys. we've created a wedding website/blog that we will update with information about the big day from time to time. feel free to check it out!

www.amyandjoel.blogspot.com

only 201 days to go!!!

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Wednesday, May 14, 2008

a full plate

i just realized it's been a week since i last blogged but lots has been going on and sometimes, i am convinced that my brain has reached a point where it's having to let stuff "leak out" in order to make room for new stuff to know, to do, and to remember. honestly, there has been so much floating around in my mind that i need to do that i don't even know where to start to even begin making to-do lists on paper. all my plates (work, wedding, friends, family) are so full that i can't even see the plate. needless to say, i'm trying to stay on top of everything and i've come to terms with the fact that all i can do is try!

so, with that great intro to this post, i just want you to know that when i sat down to update the blog, i had trouble connecting my thoughts into a coherent post and do you know what i do when that happens? that's right, i just make a list of all the random stuff floating around in my head. so here we go...in no particular order, here is the stuff that i've been thinking about, working on, and doing in the last week. enjoy ;)

  • i finally picked my bridesmaid dresses for the wedding...yay! i love them and i hope that my bridesmaids at least like them. i can say, though, that they fit the theme and the style of the wedding perfectly. i will admit that it's a bit nerve wracking for someone like me who wants everyone to be happy to make a decision like that and just be happy with my decision (even if other people aren't). but, i'm learning that i can't always make everyone happy. you would think that i would have gotten that lesson down by now. oh well...it's another opportunity for growth.

  • joel's brother, sister-in-law, and nephew were in town so we had dinner and spent time with them and his parents friday night. i know i've said this before but i am so very aware to of the blessing to have such a great family-to-be. and by the way...joel, will, christy, mary, & charles: i think i really won...i think there was a scoring error or something ;)...surely, i didn't lose after i did such a fantastic job building roads and such.

  • for mother's day mom and i had a fun day at the biltmore house enjoying their festival of flowers. i have tons of pictures and plan to post them soon...or at some point you know, when i have time. (it will happen right after i post the pictures from texas ;)

  • my nephew's baseball season started last night and i couldn't be prouder of him. his team won 19-3. i love going to his games and we have so much fun as a family cheering him on.

  • i had a bit of a revelation about myself last night at pizza hut. (where everyone has a revelation about themselves, right?) apparently, i am way more passionate about the type of pizza crust on the pizza than i ever realized. as my family (all 9 of us) was trying to order...bless that waitress' heart...when she asked about the type of crust, i all of a sudden yelled, "PAN, WE WANT THE PAN CRUST!!" it was much louder than i realized because everyone stopped and looked at me and the waitress said, "you really like pan pizza, huh?" and started laughing at me. oh well. it was one of those moments that i didn't mean to yell out my answer but i knew i had to raise my voice in order to be heard over the 8 other people at the table. what can i say? i was the baby of the family for a long time (so i know all about making your voice heard) and sometimes you have to fight for your right for good pizza :).

  • did i say that i'm feeling overwhelmed at work? well, i am and i just started feeling overwhelmed (really feeling it...i knew it was coming and it happened...today).

  • mom and i are going friday to pick out the paper for our save the date cards. i'm really excited about that because if you know me AT ALL, you know that i absolutely adore cute paper and stationery. oh my word.

  • i don't think that i mentioned on the blog that when i attended the "great bridal expo" two weeks ago that i won this fabulous prize from the charleston visitors bureau. i won a free night's stay at the downtown embassy suites (one of their packages that includes a reception, breakfast, the suite, etc.), a spa gift certificate, a charleston cookbook, free passes to charleston attractions, a travel mug, this great big folder thing all about charleston, a dvd, and a bridal planning kit that i have seen at barnes and noble but i skipped it because it was so expensive. needless to say, since i never win ANYTHING (and i mean i never, ever win) i was super excited.

  • i'm really considering ways that i can manage my stress. does anyone have any solutions? (besides quitting the things that are causing stress...that's not even a possibility.)

  • i was able to spend time with my friend melissa today and i just love her. she makes me laugh, she encourages me, and is all around simply amazing.

  • i decided that even while i'm feeling stressed or overwhelmed, i want to be intentional not to let it effect other areas of my life and all you girls out there know how hard that is...because it's just how we're wired. i'm going to make an effort, though.

anyway, back to work for me. i will try to think of more funny stories that are potentially blog-worthy.

until then...

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Wednesday, May 7, 2008

is something burning?

i wasn't intentionally waiting to post the wheelchair story to make you ask for it...seriously...i just haven't had time to sit down and write it out until now. (and a sidenote, this isn't the wheelchair story that tisha has heard...that one is funny but i am DEFINITELY NOT posting that one on the blog for lots of reasons. if you want to hear that one, you'll have to email me and i will have to call you or tell you in person.)

anyway, back to the point of the post...the story.

i'm sure all of you remember the saga of the big toe surgery. i mean, seriously, who would forget about the 5 or 10 posts solely about my big toe? classic blogging material if i've ever seen it ;). because of the big toe surgery, i was not allowed to walk on my foot for 4 weeks and was on crutches. now, walking on crutches occasionally is no big deal but i work at a pretty big church and it was just easier to borrow a wheelchair from our media center (aka library) during office hours. i only used the wheelchair when i had to make long journeys (from my office to the chapel, from my office to the worship center, from my office to the courtyard, etc.) and not to mention the fact that it made my journeys to all those other places much faster. i am not such a quick traveller on crutches. so, my sweet and amazing assistant, lisa, took it upon herself to try to convince our media center director to let me borrow a wheelchair from their "stash" (and by stash, i mean 2 wheelchairs) for 4 weeks. well, the first wheelchair that they brought me had a flat tire. do you know how hard it is to push a person in a wheelchair with a flat tire? it's hard. just ask lisa. (and i'm not even going to talk about how hard it is to push yourself if there's a flat tire because i tried and decided it was too hard so i quit. good to know i persevere through difficult times, huh? ;)

so, they brought me the second chair and i'm not even kidding that this chair was seriously for a teenager or a child. it was much smaller than your average wheelchair but i was determined that it was going to work AND i was not going to complain because i had sent lisa down to the media center on more than one occasion to deal with the wheelchair drama. now, i am not going to lie to you or convince you that i don't have big hips, i do. i'm not oblivious to this fact. so, i would squeeze myself into this wheelchair every day and it worked just fine. no flat tires, no big issues except for one thing...the first morning i rode in it i noticed that the sides of my thighs were burning. at first, i couldn't figure out at all what was wrong and thought something very wrong was going on with me. then, i realized that in order for my big hips to fit in the teenage wheelchair, it pushed the metal sides out and they were rubbing against the wheels. the faster someone pushed me, the more it burned. now, i never said a word to anyone about this (until monday on the phone with cari) because i was embarrassed (and now i'm blogging about it. i have no shame...no shame, i tell you). i mean, who wants to say to some saint who is pushing you around the church, "excuse me, can you go a little slower because when you push me really fast, the metal that my big hips are pushing against the wheels gets really hot and burns my thighs." so, i just smiled and endured the burning. i did, though, worry a few times when my coordinator's children or my nephews had been pushing me to see how fast they could push me that we might just burn a hole through that metal and that we were perhaps producing sparks...can you just picture that in your head? (and in the process, burn a hole in my clothes. now, that would have been quite the tragedy. not to mention that if i had returned a wheelchair that had holes burned in the side of it to the media center, i don't even want to think of the consequences). thankfully, that did not happen and nothing was burned or scorched through the entire process. whew. i still see that chair around campus every now and then...it usually has teenagers riding in it (you know, sprained ankle, broken leg, etc.). i just shake my head and think, "amy grayson, you are a nut that you squeezed your big hips in that little chair."

so, there is the wheelchair story in a nutshell. i am concerned that it is not as funny as you all thought it was going to be. hopefully, it wasn't too much of a let down.

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Tuesday, May 6, 2008

peace

my friend, cari, has started a petition of sorts to get her readers to talk me into sharing "the wheelchair story." i'm considering it...check back a bit later and maybe i will have posted it. i'm afraid, though, with her big build up that you will be very disappointed when you actually read it. oh well, we'll see.

meanwhile, back to other news in amy's world... ;)

do you ever have a moment where you feel like the Lord has said to you, "alright, that's enough wallowing and worrying and being consumed by fill-in-the-blank. it's time to trust Me." well, that happened to me this morning. i've had something (a rather big something) on my mind the last couple days and it's been more than just a small worry or concern...it's been kind of major. to be honest, it's consumed pretty much all i've thought or prayed about and this morning i heard the Lord say to me in a very clear way, "are you ready to trust Me? are you ready to believe what you've been saying over the last few weeks (funny how that happens, huh?) that you are ready to follow Me even when you don't see the big picture?" once i acknowledged that i was ready to trust the Lord through this situation, i experienced a tremendous amount of peace and while it doesn't make the issue go away or disappear or become even less of an issue...it does change how i deal with it.

honestly, i felt a little stupid because i KNOW i serve a trustworthy, faithful, loving, just God. i KNOW that He is faithful to provide. once i acknowledged that trusting Him is the best course of action, i experienced such an amazing peace. the situation still exists and still presents LOTS of challenges (opportunities for growth...that's what we called it at my last church ;) but the peace of God WILL guard my heart and my mind in Christ Jesus.

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