Archive for the ‘What My Friends Can Do’ Category

So what do you get when you combine three special ladies who are oozing with talent, creativity, and generous hearts, and encourage them to join forces for a party planning effort?

You get the cutest baby shower ON the planet!!

Our precious Jackson Alexander is due to arrive in around 6 weeks (did your heart just skip a beat, too?), and to help us welcome him in style were our dear friends Karis, Marla, and Rachel.  Knowing Jackson’s Daddy to be the dapper man that he is, they conspired the most perfect theme for the event: Bow Ties and Seersucker.

In between the conversations and the fun, I was able to snap a handful of pictures.  Please up the cuteness quotient by about a thousand, and hopefully you’ll get an idea of just how precious this affair really was.  Amazing job, Friends!  Thank you so much for the incredibly special day!!

The sign-in table.  Note the hanging diaper “bowties”!

Also at the sign-in table.  The cute bowtie was one of Jackson’s presents.

The food table. The picture in the back is my pregnant silhouette.

Beverages, anyone?

My food plate.  Notice the fruit bowtie!

The party favors.

P.S. Yum!!

The girls ended up hanging Jackson’s new clothes on the bowtie clothesline.  So sad I didn’t snap a picture of that!

P.S.  Anyone else notice Jackson’s initials?

This kid will NOT be able to escape his name.

Jackson’s Aunt Ashley and Mimi.  He’s in for a lot of love!

Somehow I came home with only one “people picture”, and even though I think you’re getting a GLIMPSE in to the beautifully fantastic day, I feel like I’m shortchanging the love and the talent.  Note to self:  take more pictures!!



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Back in January while Ryan and I visited our Colorado loved ones, I was struck by one of the many talents of my friend Mandy.  While enjoying one of our several delicious home-cooked Gibson meals (can I get an Amen, Friends??), I searched for a napkin and was directed to a beautiful collection of colorful cotton delights.  “Oh, we use these,” Mandy said handing me a soft, folded cloth.

My paper-napkin-only self must have looked confused, because Mandy soon told me a sweet story about her mother collecting and being given several scraps of pretty fabric, and how they had taken those pieces and turned them in to really special napkins. Mandy had sewn them together herself and had her own collection of cotton napkins to be used in her own home. Not only were they gorgeous and unique, but they also served a very awesome and thoughtful purpose.  Since they’re reusable, they’re a great way to make a “go-green” effort.

Those napkins stuck with me, and when I was able to see my dear friend for a brief weekend back in May, I asked her about them once again.  She told me that they were a project that she’d like to help me with and encouraged me to bring some fabric with me when I made my trip in July.  Noted!

So last Friday Mandy hauled out her machine, did her thread-arranging magic, and guided me through the napkin-making process.  I brought some fabric with me, and in addition to those pieces Mandy also supplied some of her own materials that complemented my collection.  The final result was terrific!

Pardon the graininess. I haven't skillfully mastered my camera phone!

I can hardly wait to use them!  Thank you, Friend, for helping me make something that I already treasure and for graciously giving me (once again!) your time, your patience, and your talents.  Love you!!

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My incredibly talented husband is sometimes asked to write blog posts for his job at the Baker Institute, and this recent post can also be found on the Houston Chronicle website. A collective sigh from all of us LOST-philes…we’re gonna make it, Friends…


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Earlier this evening I caught a couple of grins while watching my husband talk with his forever friend, Jeremy, on the phone. Last month our dear friends moved to Colorado Springs, a mere 980+ miles away, and Ryan was calling to pass on his birthday wishes to his buddy. It blessed me to see Ryan’s big happy smile as he talked with his friend, and as I heard his chuckles from across the house, though I couldn’t quite hear the jokes being shared, I caught myself laughing as well.

After Ryan got off the phone, we leaned on each other and shared a sigh. We are both so excited for our friends and their adventure, but the fact remains that though we are happy, we still miss them painfully. You see, a year ago at this time, we were sharing a few adventures together. Jeremy and Mandy along with our other dear friends (Regan and Maren) planned a trip with Ryan and myself during the 4th of July holiday. This past weekend served as a constant reminder of their friendship and our precious memories as we enjoyed our holiday weekend, but this time not alongside our friends.

Once we got over our sighing, Ryan and I started counting up our blessings and our “Jeremy and Mandy Moments” from the past few days. On more than one occasion this weekend we’ve smiled together about different situations that reminded us of our wonderful friends, and we thought it would be fun to create a memory list. Here goes:

1. Pop Ice. Or as our daughter now refers to them, “Iiiiiice!!!” Jeremy passed on his huge barely eaten box of frozen treats to us before they moved, and every time Ryan grabs one we both think of where we got them. Ryan was even eating one while on the phone with Jeremy.

2. Constant Colorado talk. Currently it seems that there are quite a few people that we know that are either moving to Colorado or are planning a trip there quite soon. Even the characters in the novel that I am currently reading have all moved themselves to Boulder, and one character just decided on a day trip to Colorado Springs. Apparently that’s the thing to do.

3. The “Over-the-Fence” Disposal System. On Saturday I noticed that several of our neighbors had decided to use the empty land between their respective fences as a dump site. When I asked Ryan, “Now who would just throw their crap over their fence?”, he looked at me for a second and then just started to laugh…

4. The Solitary Sidekick. As we wrapped up our 4th of July fun with our church Saturday night, I caught a glimpse of a sweet little boy name Enrique. Enrique has a special place in our hearts not because of the time we’ve spent with him (we really don’t know him very well at all), but because he and our precious Caleb were great friends at school this past year. I really couldn’t fight the tears as I watched Enrique wander outside without his (quite literal) running buddy, and my heart ached as I then peeked at my husband, missing his great friend as well.

My intent is not too end this on a sad note, chiefly because “sadness” doesn’t adequately describe our current state. Yes, we miss them terribly, but their current physical absence from us does not at all suggest that we don’t have them with us everywhere we go. There has not been a day when we haven’t been reminded of our friends, been enriched, been blessed. We can’t have a void in our lives of where they used to be because their presence in our hearts is where they will always be. I said before that Ryan and Jeremy are forever friends. Forever is bigger than Colorado.

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Many months ago I resolved that I wanted to spend more time reading and writing. I decided to create a blog so that I could chronicle my reads and get a little practice putting my thoughts in to words. Since then I have been reading, but I have not been very consistent with my story summaries and reviews.

Enter my genius friend, Jenny. Jenny is a wonderful book enthusiast who currently works in a very fitting profession; she and my buddy Jeremy are tied for the best librarians in the world. Several months ago, Jenny invited me to join an online Book Club, and I think (I hope!), this will help me catalog a book list a bit better, as well as give me an opportunity to see what my other friends are reading. For those of you interested in sharing some great book titles, please consider this my informal invitation to get in on the fun.


Happy reading, everyone!

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Ode to Jana, my delightful, curly-headed friend who has brought to me (and many others) such greats as The Herb Garden, Nursery Day, and (my favorite!) Jana Logic.

Though she and I first met several years ago, I still consider her a new friend. I don’t know if that’s because so many of our Houston area buddies have been in our collective lives forever or because I continue to learn of her wonderfully multi-faceted quirks, but regardless, I am very thankful for her. In recent months she and I have become better friends partly because I just love to be around her and also because of our new shared stage in life.

Like me, Jana is a new stay-at-home mom. I think we would both agree that this “career transition” has been a blessing, and we are very happy and thankful to be staying home with our kids. However with this new shared stage, she and I have both discovered that coupled with the challenges of caring for a new baby is the very real challenge of additional mouths and needs, but significantly less income. It is what Jana has decided to do in our present life chapter that I find both motivating and inspiring.

At this point, I’m having trouble providing an appropriate label for Jana’s talent. See, most labels for her particular gift have a bit of a negative connotation, and I think there is nothing about Jana’s money savvy state that should be considered less than admirable. When it comes to spending money, Jana is just smart.

Since I am a world-class copycat, I’ve enlisted Jana’s help in cutting back on expenses, and from her model I’ve learned so much. Yeah, we both clip coupons and search for deals, but what I really love about Jana’s penny-pinching ways is that it does not interfere with her enjoying life or with being an absolutely fantastic mom. Because of Jana I’ve experienced so much more of this great city in which I live; before our stay-at-home mommyhood I never went to our zoo, museums, or unique boutiques, and because of her wise spending habits my baby and I have been able to do it all for just a little bit of money.

So there’s a great thing that my friend can do. Thank you, Jana. You’ve made life a lot more fun.

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I first met my husband’s best friend 9 years ago.  Ryan (the husband) was trying to get his nerves together so he could ask me to get some coffee, and Jeremy (the best friend) kindly intervened and encouraged me to stick around a bit so Ryan could come talk to me.  Looking back at this night, I’m struck by the things my 18 year old self didn’t know: 1. Ryan doesn’t drink coffee, and 2. This wouldn’t be the last time that Jeremy would change my life for the better.

Despite my greatest efforts, I’m a wuss.  I like the idea of trying new things, but unfortunately my fear of screwing things up or looking like an idiot has held me back from things that I might enjoy.  I’ve been very content with the things that I can do, but I can’t help but feel like I’m missing out on a lot.

On the opposite end of the spectrum is my friend, Jeremy.  When it comes to trying new things, you name it and Jeremy has either done it, wants to do it, or doesn’t know that it exists yet.  Whether it’s getting a tattoo, purchasing and using an antiquated piece of machinery, or taking a weekend road trip to Canada, Jeremy is pretty much up for anything, and the rest of us are blessed to revel in the tales of Jeremy’s latest adventure.

Before I misguide you, please understand my thrill-seeking friend:  Jeremy is not reckless.  He is a great thinker and has a good heart, so his pursuits never result in anything selfish or dangerous.  Jeremy just understands what it means to embrace life, and when he is struck by something that looks fun or interesting rather than vacillate between what he can or cannot do, his attitude is quite simply, “Why not?”

This is something cool that my friend can do. As one who has an eye for my friends’ talents, this is an attribute of Jeremy that I greatly admire and would like to experience in my own life. To be quite honest, his can-do attitude is what inspired me to begin this little project in the first place, so stay tuned for Allison’s Pursuits of What Looks Like Fun.  Courtesy of Jeremy.

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