Tuesday, January 26, 2010


Tomorrow, our family will bury my Grandpa who lived an amazing life of 84 years. He spent the last 59 of those years being married to my Grandma. As you can see in the picture above, they were best buds and had a lot of fun together. I have learned so much about Grandpa and the story of his life in the past 24 hrs. For instance, I never knew that his middle name was Kelton or that Grandma was only 18 yrs. old when they got married! I didn't even know that he was a vet until I saw the folded flag in his coffin. I've heard story after story about how he reached out to others and showed them Christ.

I do know that he was a faithful, God directed, good man who loved his family very much. He has been a staple in my life ever since I was born and I don't know how many school programs, soccer games, band concerts and graduations he's sat through just to be there for me. He taught me how to fish and he always did fun things with us when we were kids. I am sad that he didn't get to meet our kids or get a chance to be a great-grandpa. His bear hugs knocked the breath out of you and I loved that. I hope to live my story in his footsteps in so many ways.

This has been really tough because I've never had anyone close to me die - it feels unbearable at times. I can't imagine Grandma or our family without him. His loss has definitely brought our family closer together, but there is a piece of the puzzle missing. It's been amazing laughing, crying and sharing stories about this man we all love and admire so much.

Grandpa, may you rest in peace and watch over us until I see you again in heaven - I'll be waiting for a big hug. I love you.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Our First Photo Shoot

We recently purchased a Canon Digital Rebel T1i and went on our first photo shoot at Chickasaw Gardens. Here are our two favorite shots:



Friday, January 15, 2010

I don't believe in hypothetical situations - that's like lying to your brain.

Is it actually Friday??? I wasn't sure what a 5-day work week looked like after having 3 weeks of 3-day work weeks - I must say that I prefer 4-day weekends. I'm purposefully not posting pics to this week's blog because A) No great pics were taken of this week's events & B) I'm hoping next week's blog pics will knock your socks off ...keep reading for details.

Friends A Plenty
I realized this week after having a conversation with my dad how lucky we are to have so many friends here in Memphis. There are many weeks that we are out with a different couple every single night & it's been so much fun investing in those friendships! This has not always been the case & I know the reason is because we've made a conscious effort to have meaningful conversations, make plans & create fun traditions ...plus, we're pretty awesome to hang out with. I will not take this life stage for granted & hope that even after our family grows that we will continue to make time to share life with our peeps.

ScreamFree Grieving
This past week has been a roller coaster of emotions for me since my grandpa's stroke. I have been extremely moody, irritable & I've felt like a sass alien has taken over my body at times because I've said some pretty mean things to Ben for no reason. Ben has been incredible. He has listened, cuddled, stayed up late watching movies, held me when the alligator tears came & even washed my hair for me. The biggest thing he has done has been not taking things personally or taking on my stuff.

The stress I've felt this past week has been overwhelming & I've tried to be conscious of that. Being ScreamFree in the midst of this stress has been a huge test for us individually & within our marriage & I can't explain to you how much more peace I feel by the calming presence Ben has shown. Someone said to me this week after having an in depth conversation with Ben, "He is a whole new man," to which I replied, "I know."

My Office Quote of the Week
No actual quotes this week, however I do find it humorous that most of the guys that work back in the shop refer to me as "Ms. Monica" which makes me feel like a teacher or something. Don't get me wrong, I would much rather them call me that than my suspicions of being nicknamed "Ice Queen" due to my blunt honesty & ability to under function rather than over function when it comes to putting paper in the copy machine.

Investing in My Story
So... this past week we made two major investments in my story. Ben told me a few weeks ago that he had decided to invest his x-mas money which didn't surprise me at all. What did surprise me was when he said that he wanted to invest it in ME by putting it towards a really nice camera which I've been wanting for years. You see, the character in my story is an awesome photographer & loves to capture life on film.

We also paid for & reserved my spot at a training weekend up in Nashville in April so that I can become an ASP (Accredited Staging Professional) Home Stager. Both of these were huge financial investments, but it was a surprisingly easy decision to make because the characters in our story don't hesitate or fear spending money on things or experiences that help us become our true selves.

Tonight is Benica date night! We're eating sushi at Blue Fin & then going to see comedian Brian Regan at The Orpheum. Tomorrow we plan to get up at the crack of dawn to get our car inspected, then reward ourselves with our traditional Sat breakfast at Panera followed by a "Memphis inspired" photo shoot with my new camera! Stay tuned in the near future for a whole new blog look. Happy Friday everyone!

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Revised Unstandard Version of My Wedding Vows

Love is patient... I will not always be patient with you when I am in a hurry.
Love is kind... I will not always be kind to you when I am not feeling good about myself.
It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud... I will envy, boast, and be proud (especially when I feel insecure).
It is not rude... I will be rude--it just slips out sometimes! Other times I think I want it to hurt you--I'm wrong when I do that.
It is not self-seeking... I am not above self-seeking when I really want something.
It is not easily angered... I will be easily angered from time to time, especially when I feel threatened.
It keeps no record of wrongs... I will keep a secret tally of wrongs, dwell on them, and occasionally pull them out when I want my way or feel entitled to something.
Love does not delight in evil... It might go against what I want to do, but sometimes I will delight in evil and avoid the truth, even to your face. I need grace during these times.
It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres... I will not always be able to protect you, trust you fully, have hope, or persevere.
Love never fails... I will fail you...

But love won’t, and I promise to do my best to love you and let love do its work in our relationship, as God is love, and is capable of perfect love. My failures will point to our need for His perfect love in our marriage.

Friday, January 8, 2010

A good man is not a perfect man; a good man is an honest man, faithful, and unhesitatingly responsive to the voice of God in his life.

Hello blog friends! Have you missed me? I thought so - happy 2010! I realized today when sitting down to blog that this is why weekly blogging is key because it's nearly impossible to remember everything cool & funny that has happened in the past several weeks.

Christmas Rundown
We began our journey to Hot Springs with high hopes while listening to John Mayer's new album. I give it 3 stars because it was good, but I keep expecting something different from him & then it always sounds the same.

During our first year of marriage we went on a road trip to Colorado & downloaded a "road trip" CD which always reminds us of that trip & the first time we heard those songs. We've continued to do this ever since & it's been a fun family tradition to go along with Twizzlers (i.e. the most fun snack to eat & play air drums with in the car).

We had a blast with Ben's fam watching our nephews & niece open presents & taking time to have meaningful conversations. Then we trucked it up to Missouri & had a good ole' Griswold family Christmas with my fam including my grandparents, aunts, uncles & cousins. My favorite Christmas present went to my cousin Chad ...it's a pregnant lady coffee mug - priceless!

Should auld acquaintance be forgot
Since we're both having a milestone birthday this year, we decided to act old & stay in on NYE. A couple of friends came over & we made pizza, watched a movie & stayed up to watch the ball drop twice. On New Year's Day we hosted a brunch at our house & had 6 people of the 30 friends we invited come, but Ben got to make t-bones & eggs & it was a lot of fun.

is pretty much what we've been doing since the holidays. We have been winterizing our house this week by putting plastic on all the windows, covers on the outside facets & dripping the inside facets so that our pipes don't bust. Ben has been eating, drinking & sleeping football & I've been attempting not to go into post-Twilight depression. He did voluntarily watch the movie Twilight with me & he liked it! Oh, & we began our first real attempt at a budget complete with a pretty awesome iPhone app on Jan 1 - so far so good.

The quote title of this blog makes me think of my grandpa. He is currently in a hospital in Florida because yesterday he had a stroke. He is a good man & none of us are ready to stop sharing life with him yet, so please keep him & our family in your prayers. Here's hoping that each of you develop a GREAT story in 2010!