Thursday, October 30, 2008

A Story I've Never Told Ya'll

It was the summer of 1999. I was on tour with the Houston Children's Chorus, traveling throughout Europe, singing in the most beautiful, historic places. It was my last hurrah before I graduated out. We had already been to Rome and Florence. Our last stop on our two week trip was to Venice. Every place we went took my breath away. I was amazed that there was so much "world" out there that I had never seen.

There were about 160 of us total on this trip. On our first day in Venice, we took a tour of St. Mark's Cathedral. That was one of the most amazing things I have ever seen. I found a picture online:

Later, we all split up into groups to go through the markets and do some shopping. My group had 5 girls and 1 adult chaperone. We were all 6th-8th grade, so she didn't have to watch us that closely. Anyways, we ran into another group of girls with their chaperone, so we began to walk the streets of Venice together, a group of 10 energetic American little girls and 2 chaperones. We had a ball.


We were in this beautiful hand blown glass shop. It was a 2-story store, with lots of vases, figurines, and beautiful things that I probably would appreciate more now that I am older. I found this beautiful bright blue glass ring that fit just perfectly on my middle finger. I turned to my friend Julia to show it to her, and she wasn't there. "She must have gone downstairs", I thought. So down I went into the lower level of the store... I was expecting to see 9 girls in the same bright blue t-shirt I was wearing. No where to be found.

I walked outside, and looked to the right and the left of the alley we were shopping in. No bright blue shirts. "They cannot be this difficult to spot. I saw Julia like 90 seconds ago", I thought. So I walked into the stores directly to the right and left of the glass shop I had been in. No girls.

"Don't panic", I thought. I stood outside the store, knowing that of course they would realize in about 30 seconds that I was not with them, and that they would turn around and come back to the place they last saw me. After an hour passed by and I was still standing there, I knew that things were not going to be that simple.

It was around that time that I saw a man in his early to mid thirties staring at me. He slowly walked up to me and said,

"Sweetheart, are you lost?".

Cue crying. Lots of tears.

"Y-y-y-yesssss!" I sobbed.

"Are you an American?" he asked.

I told him I was. He was from Ohio. He wanted to know if he could walk me somewhere. I didn't know where to go. He asked if he could get me a ride back to my hotel. I didn't know what it was called. (It was some long Italian name). He wanted to know if I wanted to use his cellphone. I didn't know who to call. I didn't know the number of anybody on the tour with us, and what was I supposed to do, call my mom back in the States? "Hi Mom! I'm all by myself, lost in Venice!". That would've been pretty.

So he gave me $40,000 lire (which I think is about $50 American dollars, I may be wrong) and gave me his cell phone number. I could tell he was worried about me, but didn't really know what to do. After he left, I decided to start walking. I just knew I was bound to see some bright blue shirts... I mean there were 160 of us!

So off I went walking. Looking back, I really wish I could've enjoyed this walk more. I spent 4 hours by myself in Venice, exploring... too bad I was looking at the color of people's shirts, rather than the architecture and culture around me! At one point, I was walking over a bridge. As I looked below, I saw alot of my friends from the tour, in their bright blue shirts, passing below me on a gondola. "YOU GUYS!!!" I yelled. They all smiled and waved as they passed below me. I tried to follow their gondola down the waterway, but I just got myself more lost.

There was only one moment I remember panicking. I had walked into this area that was not at all tourist-y. This was a shadier area of Venice, and as soon as I walked into it, I got stares from all around me. I was red-headed, pale, freckle faced, and could not look more like an American tourist. I ran back in the opposite direction as fast as I could.

As I was walking, I remembered the cathedral. There was a big square where people congregated and fed the pidgeons. And there was a big clock tower... maybe if I could just go there, it would be easier to spot people.

So I walked and walked and walked...... and I came across this bar, with their doors wide open. I stopped in front of the doors and asked the bartender, "How do I get to St. Mark's Sqaure?". Blank stare. "St. Mark's Square... with the cathedral?" I asked again. Blank stares from the drunk patrons of the bar. Finally, the bartender seemed to have a lightbulb... she said "SAN MARCO?". YES!!! "Si, si, San Marco!!" I replied. At this point, she went off on this unbearably long explanation in Italian, using her hands and fingers. I knew she was telling me exactly how to get there. Language barrier. Yikes.

Anyways, I finally had a breakthrough moment. I walked upon a archway and saw this: (It's pretty cool actually, I found all these pictures on google but I am almost certain this is the exact archway I walked through. I just remember thinking it was so beautiful!)

So I walked into that square and sat right down against the tower, me and my periwinkle Jansport backpack. And my bright blue shirt. I probably sat for 45 minutes, wondering how in the world this happened.

It was then that I saw one of our male chaperones, with his group of 6 boys. He saw me, and his eyes got huge. "JENNY!!! WHAT ARE YOU DOING HERE? WHERE IS YOUR CHAPERONE?!?". Again, cue tears. I barely got it out, but somehow explained to him that they left me and I was lost and I've been by myself for hours. He and his boys sat down on the ground with me as he explained to me the importance of "not wandering off". Gee, thanks.

Finally, I saw them. 10 girls in bright blue shirts, sobbing. 2 female adult chaperones, sobbing. And we ran. And we hugged. And they all said "I'm sorry, I'm sorry" about 1100 times. And my dear friend Julia was unconsolable.

Turns out, they had left that store, and some girls wanted to shop, while other girls wanted to go get some ice cream. They split up into two groups, each group thinking the other group had me. It wasn't until a few hours later when they met back up that they realized I had not been with either group.

I wish I would've enjoyed it more. I wish that the leaders didn't ask me if I thought my parents would sue. I wish I would've taken some more pictures. I wish I would've bought that blue glass ring.

I wish I could go back someday.

And that, my friends, is the story of my Venetian adventure :)

Monday, October 27, 2008

Street Names

My job deals primarily with new homes under construction, 90% of those in new developments. So, everytime a new house is being built, the builder will call me and give me all the specifics on the house, including the address. These people are cracking me up with the street names. Who decides what a street is going to be called? And why do some of these names make absolutely no sense at all? Allow me to give a few examples:

1. Some names are too long, and a bit unnecessary. Do you really wanna write " Blue Cardinal Meadow Ridge Lane" every time you write your address down for someone?

2. Some names sound ridiculous.... "Blue Tiger Mountain" is a little contrived, don't you think?

3. There is a whole street full of homes on "Littlehip Hawthorn".

4. My sister Shannon told me there is an area in Austin, full of multi-million dollar mansions. All of these giant, fancy homes live on a street called "Possum Trot". Is that ugly or what?!

5. Forgive me, but I am not interested in living on a street called "Goat Lagoon".


7. Again, I am not making this up: "Tonnawanda Park Forest"

8. I feel bad for the people who have built their dream home on "Gorki Pueblo"

9. "Wexford Chenango" - 'nuff said.

10. This doesn't really fall into a street name category, but I just have to share..... I had a builder call me the other day and tell me that one of their homeowners wants to change their address from "7506" to "7508". I asked why... apparently they wanted 7508 because the number 6 "made them uncomfortable, and it isn't a peaceful number. 7506 is not feng shui". FOR REALS!!

Whatever happened to Maple Street?!?!

Thursday, October 23, 2008


I very much enjoyed your responses to last post's "Talk to Me". I must say, the prize definitely goes to Cristina! What a thoughtful husband she has! Jaclyn and I were thinking that maybe Cristina might tell us where her husband bought such a thoughtful gift? Because maybe we want to steal his idea and give something like that to someone else........ pretty pretty please, dear Cristina? :)

I would have to say that the best gift I have ever received (besides my engagement ring) would have to be my first car. Too bad I totalled it by hitting a stationary object.... sorry, Daddy. That is another story for another day...... or maybe NEVER! :)

Today was a GREAT day, largely due to the fact that I did NOT go to work today... and for this I am very thankful. We are taking one day off every other week due to the economic crisis, and I opted to take today off. Best decision I've made all week! I got to see some of my favorite people today.... Lindsee, Claire, Miss Grace Parker, my mom, my dad, my cousin Joey, Troy (who has done my hair forever), Mama Eddy and our dear DANA!! :) It was such a fun day. While Lindsee, Claire and I were eating at Olive Garden, I found myself wishing that I could be a stay at home wife and eat at Olive Garden with the girls all the time!

I DID get highlights today!!! This was a big step for me. I put my hair in the hands of Troy, who always does EXACTLY what I want him to do... and I am loving what he did with the color! It is VERY subtle. I'm pretty sure that people who do not know me would not realize that they were highlights. He put some beautiful golds in my hair that really have a vibrant tone. I am pleased and can no longer say that I am the only woman in Texas that has never put any color in her hair! I am glad that my hair looks like it did before... it is still red, just a bit golder red. Is golder a word? More gold? Can someone help me out?

Grant has been out all evening at a concert... I have been lounging, reading Southern Accents and cleaning my kitchen counters. It's been a good night! It was so pretty and crisp out this evening when I took Moxie out for his walk that I almost took the long way home! I decided not to though since it is night time and we have some shady neighbors and Grant is out late. Now Mr. Moxie is sleeping by my feet as I am blogging to you sweet folks!

Tomorrow is back to work... but thankfully it is FRIDAY! :)

Talk to Me: What is somewhere you have always wanted to visit but never have?

Monday, October 20, 2008

Talk to Me

I am tired... so... list-format post is in order today. However, if you get to the end of this ever-so-exciting weekend recap, then you will get to talk to me in a new feature I like to call.... "Talk to Me".

1. I am slowly recuperating from my busy weekend. I did not stop at all, the Children's Chorus took up every waking moment of my weekend, Friday through Sunday. Such cute kids though.

2. There is a line in a Dr. Seuss song that the kids are singing, and a soloist has to sing the word "sauerkraut". Bless his heart, he kept singing "Saukernaut" (pronounced Socker-Not). Adorable.

3. We watched "Baby Mama" last night. SO. FLIPPIN. FUNNY. I'm still quoting it.

4. This week is going to be weird at work. Our VP is on vacation all week which kinda scares me, and, the accountant got fired on Friday. Again. This was Accountant #4, since MAY. And I am doing her job again in the mean time until they hire someone.

5. Due to the economic crisis, our hours have been cut. Nice. However, I will now have every other Friday off! :)

6. I went to Kroger last night to buy some white cheddar popcorn. I was CRAVING it. And it was good.

7. My hair needs some help. And, for the first time EVER, I have decided I am going to put some highlights in it. VERY SUBTLE ONES. Because I have never ever put any kind of color in my hair, this is a HUGE step for me. I am very nervous!!

8. I saw my friend Amy this weekend. She has lost 67 lbs. I about fell over when I saw her! She said she did it by running everyday. I told Grant that I want to start running everyday. This should last till about Tuesday.

9. I had dinner with my Linds Saturday night. It was SO NICE. I love her.

10. The children's chorus sang at a wedding Saturday night. It was a beautiful wedding. Apparently only beautiful people were allowed to be present. The bridesmaids were ALL blonde. It looked like an episode of The Hills. And one bridesmaid just would not fix the bride's train and it looked terrible. It was all tucked under her and wrinkled. Lindsee and I were trying to telepathically communicate to her to FIX THE TRAIN!!! That is her ONE JOB! Thankfully, the mother of the bride got up from her pew and fixed it after about 6 minutes of torture. I felt much better. But you could tell that the bridesmaid felt really stupid. HELLO!!

11. Church was awesome yesterday. We are really liking our new Sunday school class!

12. I had a corndog for lunch yesterday. And, to quote my sister Shannon, "I really need to start eating more corndogs". They really are soooooo good. Have you ever had the Mini-Corndogs from A&W? YUM!

And now... a new feature to get some conversation going:

Talk to me: What is the best gift you've ever received? (I'm talking material here. We all know the real answer is eternal life, but I am thinking more along the lines of "coach purse") I am waiting to be impressed :)

Have a great week ladies!

Friday, October 17, 2008


Ahhh yes.... TGIF. Brings back memories of Cory and Topanga.

It is 4:45 on Friday afternoon and I am out of here in 15 minutes! I have reached a stopping point in my workload and have decided that I should spend my last 15 minutes of this day blogging. I'm sure the head honchos will not mind.

Honestly, this isn't going to be a very fun weekend for me. I am doing choreography rehearsals with the Houston Children's Chorus all this evening, ALL DAY (and I do mean ALL DAY) tomorrow and then Sunday afternoon. I won't be seeing the husband much. Speaking of husband....

I am ALL ABOUT this praying for my husband constantly thing! He does not read my blog at all, but this week he shared with me that he has been trying to make himself pray at least once an hour at work, and he has found that his spirits have been "up" this week. I never really told him about this thing I've been doing, but apparently he has been feeling the need for prayer too! SO COOL! I am so glad all of you ladies decided to join in as well. And I don't plan on stopping anytime soon!

Quick Praise Report: On November 13 I will be attending the Amy Grant concert.... the concert that is focused on the first ten years of her career.... aka the AWESOME YEARS. I am BEYOND ECSTATIC..... I may be sporting a side pony tail, or perhaps a sweatshirt decorated in puff paint. I could wear a bright t-shirt and pull it through one of those things that looks like a non-smoking sign. I haven't decided yet. It is going to be a big night. HUGE.

I hope you have a wonderful, relaxing, rejuvenating weekend..... keep on prayin!

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Praying for our Husbands

I have really had it on my heart lately to be praying for my husband. I always pray for him... for his protection, for his heart, and I thank the Lord for the way he works so hard for our family.

But this morning I just really felt that I needed to spend some serious time in prayer for him.

I have decided that from now until Saturday, I am going to spend some heavy time lifting up my sweet husband to our Lord in prayer. I have a list on my desk (on a post-it-note, of course) of specific things I am asking of my Jesus. Every time I look down, I pick one thing off of the list and close my eyes and talk to God about it. I will be praying for him before I go to sleep. I will be praying in my car on my way to work. I just want to do everything I can to pray as much as possible for the man that is the love of my life.

And then, I thought about how alot of my friends, family, and yes, my sweet blog friends are married too and maybe they may wanna get in on some of this goodness....

Ya see, my friends, sometimes I speak my mind too often and "attack" or come down hard on Grant. But I really need to realize that the #1 way I can help my husband is to PRAY for him.

Who wants to join me? Anyone wanna come along with me on my "Pray for Husband" week? And for my sweet friends and family who are not married, this is an AWESOME time for you to pray for your future mate, wherever he may be. You can pray over him, that he would make wise decisions and that the Lord would be preparing him for YOU!

Let's make it a Blog movement! Who is with me? Leave a comment if you're joining!

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Good Friends, Good Weekend

Our friends Katie and Mo left this afternoon to head back to Baton Rouge. It was so fun to have them here the whole weekend. We had alot of fun! We had very fun talks and very serious discussions. We miss those two and are so blessed that they came to visit! We ate alot of fried food, chips & queso, and kolaches. The boys were very consumed with their guns. Katie and I have no interest in the firearms so we just laid in my bed and talked about anything and everything. And I mean everything. Katie and I did some serious shopping. We both bought several things from Payless and then we did some damage at the outlet mall.

I wore my new Payless shoes to the outlet mall. But, I have to tell ya, about one hour into the shopping trip, I began to feel the "Payless-ness" of the shoes. It was a painful time.

I did, amazingly enough, purchase my first Christmas gift for 2008. I am starting early this year. I really wasn't intending to, but it was one of those things that I saw this item and immediately thought of someone inparticular and knew that I had to get it. When you know, you know. So, let the Christmas shopping begin. :)

I am making a new dessert this evening. It involves chocolate pudding, whipped cream, oreos, and strawberries, all layered in a coffee mug. The husband is really excited. And I am pretty ecstatic about it as well!!

Love you friends!

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Chocolate Chip Pancakes

Happy Saturday Morning to You!

I just wanted to post a quick update. KATIE & MO ARE HERE! Our dear friends have come to stay with us for the weekend. It has been a blast so far. Last night Katie and I went to Payless and each bought atleast one pair of shoes. I also bought 2 necklaces. BOGO makes me feel justified :)

Right now my husband is in the kitchen, making chocolate chip pancakes, and later today we are going to explore the outlet malls.

It's gonna be a great Saturday!

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Aisle 13

Monday after work I went to the grocery store. I usually go on Sundays but since we got back late from New Orleans on Sunday night, I was unable to go. We had absolutely nothing to eat in our pantry/fridge (unless Grant would like to eat cookie dough for dinner.... which sounds AWESOME to me) so off I went to Kroger.

I was still in my work clothes that day: high heels, black pants, and a purple button up shirt. After wearing high heels ALL day and then going up and down the aisles of the grocery store, I was ready to take those shoes off. But that would be disgusting.

Anyways, I was in aisle 13 or so when I had a horrifying discovery. I was holding a jar of Prego in my hand when I looked down and realize that a button of my shirt had come undone!! The top button was buttoned, but the one right below it was not... and ya'll... I WAS GIVING PEOPLE A SHOW! It wasn't one of those buttons that doesn't matter. This was a button that was pretty much anything you needed to see. I out loud said "Oh My Gosh!!" and put the Prego back on the shelf while I tried to put myself back together.

Now, girls, here is where I am a little irked. I was in Aisle 13!! Lord knows how many stay at home moms and lovely women I walked past. Why didn't any of these dear women say anything?? I had been feeling like people were staring at me. At one point I pulled out my compact and made sure nothing was on my face. But nope, nothing was on my face. Why wouldn't they tell me? I thought maybe they think I'm just a floozy and I am intentionally having my shirt gaping wide open. But there is no way they thought that because the top button was buttoned.

Come on ladies!!! Help a girl out!! If I saw a girl walking by with her business all over the place I would TOTALLY stop and tell her! What is the deal?! I got out of that store as fast as I could. With my three cute pumpkins that now adorn my kitchen counter.

Moral of the story: Ladies, if you see a young girl trying to get through her grocery shopping and is so distracted that she doesn't realize that she is giving all of Kroger a free show, HELP A SISTER OUT!!!

Monday, October 6, 2008

Just Another Marvelous Monday

Well happy Monday to you all! Grant and I just got back from New Orleans late last night. I have to tell you, we had an GREAT time. We hadn't seen Grant's family since the 4th of July (CRAZY!) and the trip was long overdue and felt far too short.

We had a wonderful time just sitting around the kitchen talking, discussing how Ronda is going to decorate the nursery for the twins, eating ice cream cake and just being together. Grant and his dad and his brother got to spend alot of time together and I am so thankful, he has been missing his family really badly! By the way, that Ronda is beautiful, glowing, and I can already tell she is going to be such a great mommy.

Grant's mom took great care of us the whole weekend and cooked her little heart out. We are so thankful. Moxie and Bailey (Chase and Ronda's beagle) got along great. They love to just pace around the house and follow Grant's mom wherever she goes! And then Gammy and Paw-Z came over with their little baby chihuahua, Black Jack. Black Jack is NOT a fan of Moxie at all and also doesn't seem to realize that Moxie is much bigger than him. They were cracking us up.

Grant and I got back to Houston around 9:45 and unpacked and went straight to bed. We were exhausted. This morning I am feeling really rested and rejuvenated though, so Praise the Lord! :)

Our dear friends Mo & Katie are coming to Houston to see us this weekend! I am beyond excited as I haven't seen my Katie since JUNE (this is getting ridiculous) and I am thrilled to have her here!!

So today I am just working working working, going to the grocery store afterwork and cookin dinner. It's a good day my friends!

Have a positive attitude today. Praise God for the small things and don't focus on the negatives. :) That's my pep talk for ya!

Thursday, October 2, 2008


I have always been a really heavy sleeper. I mean REALLY heavy. I'd sleep through anything and everything. One time, in highschool, we were at our church camp and in the middle of the night, our youth pastor burst into our cabin in a gorilla suit, blowing a leaf blower in our face while a guy behind him held a huge light and a video camera. They played the footage at breakfast the next morning, and sweet Jenny just slept through the whole gosh darn thing. They couldn't have had that leaf blower any closer to my face. I was probably just dreaming that I was on a roller coaster or something.

In highschool, I had to wake up super early. Our school started at 7:30 am, but to get through traffic you had to arrive at school no later than 7:00, and I picked up 4 kids in my carpool, so I had an early morning. My method was to shower and blowdry my hair at night, sleep in as late as possible the following morning, and then throw on jeans, brush my teeth, change into a different t-shirt, throw my hair into a ponytail, put my Skechers on and get out of the house. My entire routine from wake-up to leaving lasted around 10 minutes. It's sad now that I think about it. My carpool kids that I took to school used to call me in the morning (I had my own phone line) and scream into my answering machine, "JENNY!! WAKE UP!!".

One time (I think it was my junior year) I woke up one morning to the sound of the trash can be rolled up the driveway. I knew it was my dad outside. But I looked out the window and it seemed really bright outside. I looked at my clock, it was 9:30am. I opened the window and yelled "DAD! Why am I still here?!". He looked up at my window, with a VERY stern look on his face and said "I DON'T KNOW!!". They thought I had already left. Oops.

I've always worried about what kind of mom I would be. Would I hear my children crying at night? Would I be able to function that early in the morning? What are the chances that the Lord would bless me with an infant who slept till 9:30 every morning?

But something has changed within me. Something is not the same...... (take it away, Linds)

I've been waking up cheery. I'm even weirding myself out. This morning, I showered, and blow dried my hair, and the whole time I was singing. I've been playing with the dog and taking him on a walk. This morning I was driving to work and having a whole "I'm so glad to be alive" moment and "it is SUCH a pretty day outside" thoughts. A couple weeks ago, I had nothing planned on a Saturday morning... and I woke up at 7:30. Just for the heck of it. SERIOUSLY. WHAT IS HAPPENING TO ME?!

Maybe the Lord knows that He needs to begin preparing me now for a baby. Not that that is anytime soon, but He knows me better than anyone, cause, you know, He made me and all that, and He knows that this could be a long process.

I have asked the Lord to create in me a clean heart and renew a steadfast spirit within me. And I think, as a bonus (and just cause He loves me so much), He is also beginning to bless me with a new REM cycle. Sweet.