Friday, August 31, 2012


You know it's close when people begin to hang their flags out in front of their house. Pretty soon after that the coozies come out, Game Day outfits are bought, and tailgating recipes are traded. All of it can mean only one thing... my FAVORITE SEASON has arrived! It's not Spring, Summer, Winter, or Fall - it's FOOTBALL!!!

Today we went out to run some errands, and naturally I wore my Auburn shirt and Tiger Paw earrings. It took less than an hour before an Alabama fan started trash talking me. Now, normally I would cringe, roll my eyes, and try to bite my tongue (to keep myself from making a nasty comment about how he didn't even go to Bama so I don't know why he's trash talking an Auburn ALUMNA... seriously people.... I need Jesus to hold my tongue a lot during football season ;) but today I found myself grinning.

Newton dives in and it's a TOUCHDOWN AUBURN!!!!

Auburn vs Arkansas 2010 - The last time I got to roll Toomer's Corner!

Today, I smiled and bantered back. Why so happy, you ask? Because for 2 FULL football seasons I lived in Michigan... far away from the SEC. It's true I didn't see any Bammers, and there was nothing crimson or white to assault my eyes (my mother was SO jealous of the distance, especially when Bama won the National Championship the first year I was gone), but I also didn't see any Tigers. And while I'm sure we'd all love a vacation from our arch rivals every now and then, it wasn't worth it to be that far away from the Auburn Family.

I couldn't buy Auburn clothes anywhere, and I never saw an orange and blue flag flying. I had no Auburn fans to watch games with - no one to mourn or celebrate with. And our 2nd year there, when AUBURN WON THE NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP - I watched it in the living room of a house while a bunch of yankees cheered for Oregon! (Thank God my precious husband wore an Auburn shirt that night and cheered with me! And to the other 2 of you who were on my side that night, I am eternally grateful ;) I was almost 1,000 miles away from the most INTENSE rivalry football has ever seen, and no one understood how much I missed it!

Rusty was an AUBURN fan for me in Michigan - that's true LOVE!

Our National Championship "tailgate" food - complete with the Auburn Creed!

Cory was sweet enough & smart enough to be a TIGER for the night!

Exactly one year ago today, we were packing up our home in Michigan. We missed the first game of the football season while we drove back to Sweet Home Alabama that Saturday. Our new house was chaotic the first month of the season (from renovations + unpacking), and the second month I was horribly sick. Then we left for India and Thailand for 6 weeks, and I missed the rest of the season AND the Iron Bowl for the FIRST time in 27 years!

You probably can't tell, but I wore my AUBURN shirt to move home!

So tonight, as I sit on the couch in my Auburn pajama pants,  I find myself giddy. I am SO happy to be back in the South for this football season... close enough to drive to Auburn football games any weekend I want to! I'm embracing the sea of Auburn shirts, the War Eagles I hear at the grocery store, Target, and even at church on Sunday mornings, and yes, I'm even grinning through the trash talk from Bammers. Because all of that can mean only one thing... I'm HOME again and my FAVORITE season is here!

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Jars of Clay...

I took this photograph while visiting India last November. These clay water jars were piled against the wall behind one of the school buildings. I thought they were simple but beautiful, and was reminded of this verse when I snapped the photo. 

It is shocking to me that they still use such simple, dirty, clay vessels to carry life-giving water to people. I can think up a long list of better ways to get water from one place to another! What a great reminder that we are not worthy to carry the light of Christ... we are imperfect vessels and God could have chosen a better way! But in his infinite mercy, grace, and love HE CHOSE US to carry His life-giving message around the world. Every day the King of Kings chooses to use us to show his love to a broken world. What an honor.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Freshman Flashbacks...

Today, my baby brother had his first day of class at Auburn University! As I reflected back on how I felt my first day at my beloved AU, I realized it's been 10 years since I was a bright-eyed freshman wandering around campus.

10 years ago this month I moved away from home for the very first time. 10 years ago this week (almost to the day... I think we started class on August the 18th) I stepped on Auburn's campus and sat through my very first college class. 10 years ago one of my favorite seasons of my life began.

People talk about how high school was their "glory days" but for me, it was most definitely my years at Auburn. My college experience was the time of my LIFE! I accomplished so much, had so many incredible opportunities, made the most amazing friends, and etched a million precious memories into my mind.

Last night I went through a box of college photos and found myself right back in the midst of those memories... and I couldn't resist sharing a few of them here! (I apologize in advance for the bad quality - we can't get our scanner to work so you are getting pictures of pictures!) Since it's the 10 Year Anniversary of my Freshman year - these pictures will just be a few favorites from my first year at Auburn. So get ready for a trip down memory lane...


Of course FOOTBALL was one of my favorite things about being a student at Auburn! I loved getting dressed up to go to games, and all of my sweet fraternity dates that took such good care of me! Sometimes I miss wearing pretty Game Day dresses... but I do not miss wearing high heels all over campus!

With David Ytterberg in the FarmHouse section - AU vs LSU 2002

Me with Lance Ingram in the FIJI section

I got to perform on the football field at HomeComing my Freshman Year because I was a member of the AU Singers. It was INCREDIBLE to be on the field, looking up at that crowd! The picture above is of me and Blair Cheek - right before we went down to the sidelines!

This fella was one of my very first friends at Auburn. He was in my group at Camp War Eagle (Freshman Orientation) and from that week together I got to be friends with him and his roommate Lance. You might recognize his grin from American Idol - yes screaming teen girls everywhere, that is Paul McDonald! I used to join him onstage to sing "Walkin in Memphis" whenever I was at a Hightide Blues show (his band in college).... I never knew that would be my claim to fame! It's still so crazy to see his picture in magazines!


My mentor at Auburn told me I HAD to try out for Freshman Forum, and I'm so glad I did! This group was made up of 60 of the best student leaders from our Freshman Class. It was my first experience with the SGA at Auburn, and being chosen as a member was a stepping stone for so many other organizations I was involved in. I am still good friends with a lot of the people I met through Freshman Forum - as a matter of fact - 2 of them were bridesmaids in my wedding!

With our fearless leaders - Lindsay, Trace, and Amanda!


Hey Day is a tradition that ensures that Auburn remains the friendliest campus in the nation! On this day each year, people pass out nametags all over campus and everyone tells each other HEY by name! There's also entertainment, free food, and other activities - it's a lot of fun! My freshman year Josh Adams and I won a talent contest, so we got to perform for everyone on the concourse!

Giving out HEY DAY nametags on the concourse with Blair!

Performing with Josh on the HEY DAY stage!


Competing in Miss AU was my first experience in a BIG Miss Alabama preliminary pageant. If I remember right, that year we had something like 39 contestants?! I also competed in Miss Glom that year, Miss Alabama Agriculture, and was the Miss Alabama State Cinderella International Woman (whew, that title is a mouthful!) I was a busy bee with all the pageants and appearances I had to make!


I was a FarmHouse Fraternity Little Sister for all 5 of my years at Auburn. We were a support system for the brothers -  helping with rush, encouraging the pledges, and taking part in socials. We had all sorts of fun events we did each year (like sneaking in and decorating the whole house with Valentines every February!) Over the years the brothers became like family to me - even going so far as to drive to Birmingham to visit my baby brother when he was in the hospital!


BJ Agnew and I dressed up like Easter Bunnies and delivered goodies to our "Big Brothers"!

My first FH Social - Harvest Hoedown! (You can't really see our costumes, it was too cold outside!)

Davey Richerson, one of my FarmHouse Big Brothers. Throughout the years I had quite a few Big Brothers and Little Brothers (Pledges) including Davey, Taylor Teel, Kenneth Camp, Brad Acton and I'm sure a few more that I can't recall!


What better way to make memories in college than a ROADTRIP?! These four girlfriends and I drove to Savannah, GA together as part of my Intro to Architecture class (a roadtrip was required - fun, huh?) We had a great time together visiting my Aunt Angie, shopping, and going out on the town!

L-R :: Ericka, Nikki, Amy, Katie, and BJ in Savannah

Being silly at Bay Street Blues (wasn't that what this place was called?)


I love any excuse to get all dressed up, so of course I loved going to formals!

AU Singers Formal :: Spring 2003

My date Shelton was a set up (we'd only met once the night before!) but we had SO much fun!

The Navy & Marine Ball :: Fall 2002


Being a member of AU Singers was the honor (and joy) of a lifetime! These men and women were some of the most talented performers I have ever met! I loved performing with them more than anything else in the world! 

These pictures are from our Fall Retreat Freshman Year. I wish I could find a pic of us in our sequins, but the only ones I found are from Sophomore year...


Speaking of honors - the AU Singers were given the honor and privilege to perform for President Bush's visit to Auburn University! We were in our sequins in this pic, but it was freezing outside so they're hidden under our jackets.


Our AU Singers Summer Tour my freshman year was a trip to New York City! I can barely describe how in love I was the first time I stepped out into Times Square. The whole experience was incredible - from seeing my first Broadway Musical (AIDA) to performing LIVE on The Today Show! We also got to see Ground Zero (very emotional), watch several more musicals (Movin' Out & Phantom of the Opera), go shopping, and perform at the Lincoln Center Plaza (in front of Juilliard). It was definitely a trip I won't forget!

Waiting to get on the Subway with Candice, Tricia, and Casey!

With Blair, Ann Marie, & Dr. Smith right before we performed LIVE on The Today Show!


On the way to New York we stopped off for a performance in D.C. at The Old Post Office Pavilion. My friend BJ came (with a family friend she was visiting) to see us perform! Of course no trip to D.C. is complete without a photo in front of The White House!

There are hundreds more memories I wish I could find photos of - my first Call-Outs, hanging out with AUBIE, me working in the Admissions office (my job all through college), painting the Tiger Paw at Toomer's Corner, wearing my pajamas at the Wreck Tech parade.... and of course thousands more pictures from the rest of my years at Auburn - but I will save those for another time! It's easy to see that I had a wonderful Freshman Year - but it was just the beginning of my college experience. I will always be grateful for the relationships, opportunities, and memories I have from my time at Auburn... The Loveliest Village on The Plains!

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

A TNG Reunion

I can't believe I'm admitting this, as it will show my age, but last weekend was my 10 year reunion. (I know, you just gasped didn't you? You thought I was 22, right? Of course you did... of course you did...  ;) 

Now I have never been the girl who looked forward to her high school reunion - high school just wasn't my favorite chapter of life. If you'd asked me 5 years ago if I'd go to my reunion I would've told you no - and the plan was the same last week. Don't get me wrong - I made some great memories during my years at 'ol OHS, and I know some precious people (both teachers and students) from my time in school there. I do my best to stay in touch with friends and former teachers via facebook, and have been back to Oxford for a tour of the new school. But the idea of being crammed into a room with a whole bunch of people you were never really close with in high school and haven't seen in 10 years just sounds like a recipe for awkwardness to me!

So, I wasn't going.

Until I got a message from my good friend Susanne, asking if I'd be interested in coming to a TNG Reunion that weekend.

What's that? An intimate gathering of some of my closest girlfriends and their husbands... no awkwardness required? A chance to laugh and reminisce without feeling old because I can't remember half my classmate's names? (True story - my memory is getting bad. My friend Brittany told me this weekend I need to start taking Ginkgo Biloba - Haha!) Count me in!

And so - we drove back to my hometown last Saturday for a very special TNG 10 Year Reunion!

L-R :: Catherine, Sarah (& Baby Arthurs), Brittany, Susanne (and Maylee), Blair, Erin, Allison, Bethanie, Kristian, and me!

If you're wondering what TNG means, it stands for Thursday Night Girls. This group of 12 girls (Megan & Jessica couldn't make it - you girls were missed!) got together every single Thursday night of our Junior & Senior year for a sleepover at Susanne's house. It started the Fall of our Junior year as a way to all go to the Friday morning Prayer Breakfasts together (during football season). But we loved each other so much that the tradition continued the rest of the year... and all of the next year!

Each Thursday night this group of crazy girls would invade the Bowman residence. Sweet Shirley and Ron would feed us and put up with our giggles and late night chatter. And somehow we'd all find a place to crash for the night, get ready the next morning (12 girls taking showers and fixing their hair and makeup at the same house - HOW did we do that?!) and make it to school on time Friday... so our parents let us keep coming week after week!

We had so much fun together at that house, and walking back up the driveway Saturday night brought so many good memories back to me! (And a few bad memories too... like walking out on Friday mornings to find that the Senior guys had left their mark on our cars again with car chalk, or flour, or saran wrap... how many times did that happen?!)

It was awesome to see all the girls again, and to meet their husbands (and a super cute future TNG Maylee!)

We spent hours looking through old photos, yearbooks, and high school scrapbooks, telling stories, and laughing together. If I hadn't been so forgetful (Brittany, you're right, where do I buy Ginkgo Biloba again?) I would've taken pictures of some of those scrapbook pages and posted them here! But the pictures were just too incriminating... I mean... embarrassing... I mean... I forgot ;) Just take my word for it - we've all aged beautifully!

Me with Susanne and her sweet mom Shirley! Ms. Shirley was my 6th grade teacher, 
and one of our patient hosts all those Thursday nights in high school. She was super 
sweet to let us use her house again for old time's sake! And Susanne organized everything 
and got all the delicious food for the night! She and I have been friends since Kindergarten, 
so we go wayyy back!

 Catherine, me, and Sus. Catherine was Susanne's next door neighbor,
and I spent almost as much time at her house as I did Susanne's! 

 Erin, Allison, Bethany, and Kristian laughing at Rusty playing paparazzi!

A fun shot of me & Kristian. Kris was my very best friend from 8th grade on... 
to this day I don't know anyone with as many stories (or secrets) of mine than her! 
As the saying goes... "We'll be friends forever... because you know too much!" Ha! 
We did just about everything together in high school - choir, showchoir, pageants, 
youth group, youth band, and of course our girl's singing group, "Sweet Serenity"!

To all the TNG's reading this - it was WONDERFUL seeing you girls again! I'm just so sad I didn't get more time to catch up with each and every one of you (clearly we needed another sleepover!) If any of you come through the B'ham area I'd love to meet for coffee sometime. Hope to see you all again in another 10 years - with a few more future TNG's in tow! ;)

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Home Decor :: Vintage Sheet Music

It's been around 3 weeks since our house flooded and while we've made great progress (new carpet is coming Tuesday! YES!), we still aren't back to normal around here. So, since we're still living in a mess of boxes and exposed cement floor, I thought I'd take a minute to do a post about my living room - back when it was pretty!

As many of you know, we live in a rental home, which means we are limited on what we can change about our house. We're also waiting to buy new furniture until we buy a home, so when we moved in I had to work really hard to use what we had.

I'm not sure if you can tell from the pictures below, but our living room is a really big, oddly shaped room. It took us 5 tries before we got the furniture arranged in way we didn't hate!

Between the fireplace (above) and the the black & burlap chairs (4th photo) 
is about 15 feet of empty space. It is such a strange design!

Yes, that is a crazy old, super heavy TV (below)! I know, I know... we need a flat screen. 
We are still living in the "dark ages" without HD TV!

The only new pieces of furniture we bought for this room were the coffee table (above) and the thrift store table (below) I re-did here. The black armchairs below are from our dining room table upstairs (we only keep 4 upstairs and this is the perfect space for the other 2. At Christmastime, our tree goes in this corner and the chairs go back with the dining room table.)

Our furniture was all cream and black (with some wood tones thrown in) which totally worked in our last house, because the walls were done in pale green wall-paper. But when we put our stuff in this house, it looked... well... blah. Cream walls with nothing but cream and black furniture was super boring! And it was made worse by the fact that the living room is halfway underground (which means less natural light). I knew we needed a bright accent color and for some reason I was feeling PURPLE! After adding a few throw pillows we decided we liked the look and I started searching for art.

And then I hit a wall.

Have you ever tried to find PURPLE art? Your choices are grapes, flower photos, fairies, butterflies, and unicorns. As exciting as those options were, I just couldn't see this on our living room wall...


So I went back to searching. I looked for weeks in stores and online... and then when I was almost ready to give up, I hit the jackpot! I stumbled upon this vintage sheet music on Ebay and fell in love!

Have you ever looked at any vintage sheet music? If not, you are seriously missing out! The term, "They don't make 'em like they used to" definitely applies here. These days sheet music is pretty boring (the cover that is). But 50, 75, and 100+ years ago the covers were absolutely GORGEOUS! They were covered in incredible artwork with some of the most fabulous color combinations. And the best part is... you can usually find them for around $5 - $10 each! I ended up with 3 different purple pieces for our living room walls....

Sophisticated Lady (Duke Ellington, 1930's)

Tell Me Little Gypsy (Irving Berlin, 1920)

... and the Zenith March Two-Step (Harry Lincoln, 1905)

The last one was the most expensive ($25) because it's rare to find a piece that's over 100 years old in great condition. But when I saw her, I just had to have her! She's wearing a robe and a crown for crying out loud! It was meant to be! And so, my dear sweet Daddy bought her as a gift to finish out my collection.

I got all 3 pieces matted and framed at a very reasonable frame shop downtown, and now they are happily hanging on my living room walls. I'm thrilled to have not only unique art on my walls, but a piece of history as well! It means so much to be able to give treasures like these a new purpose!

It's a good thing my husband loves history and antiques. The fact that these were vintage pieces somehow made him overlook the Lady, Gypsy, and Queen now living in his house! ;)

*Have any of you ever used vintage sheet music in your decorating? I have been amazed at the variety that's available! If you're looking to add a piece (or pieces) to a room in your home, I'd love to help! Please comment below with the color scheme or theme (for example - a circus theme for a nursery) you're looking for and any details that might be special to you (a girl or boy's name, a state, a country, an animal, or a song). I'll pick one or two of the comments and see what I can find for a couple of my sweet readers!