"In his heart a man plans his course, but the LORD determines his steps."

Sunday, May 31, 2009

Texas On My Mind

So, Nick is out of town right now, and I sure miss him already. I really should have been in bed 1 1/2 hours ago, but I can never sleep well when Nick's gone. Its just me and Frodo for the next few days, so he'll have to be my snuggle buddy. Nick went to Houston for training, and... well I can't tell you when I'll meet up with him because for now its a secret :).

I love, love Louisiana, our house, and our friends, but every now and then I just miss Texas, especially Houston! I miss the BBQ, the Tex Mex, the friendliness, I miss Texas country - its hard to explain to outsiders that being Texan is almost like being a nationality. This past week I have been tearing whenever I see anything Texas A&M related. I wish that I could go with Nick this week, but alas, I cannot, for I must work.

Do you know one of the reasons why I know Houston will always be my home? Its the only town where I know all of the radio stations by heart. When I was flying back and forth from Madisonville to Houston every week last year, I had a little routine. After inspecting my rental car and before heading to work downtown, I would immediately reprogram all of the radio dials to the following:

89.3 KSBJ - Christian
92.9 93 Q Country - Country
93.7 The Arrow - Classic Rock
94.5 The Buzz - Alternative Rock
96.5 Mix
97.1 - Classic Country
99.1 Sunny
100.3 KILT - Country
103.7 Jack - whatever they feel like
104.1 - A little of everything
106.9 The Point - 80's Music
107.5 Oldies

I lived in College Station for FOUR years and never got the radio stations programmed on all 12 channels. I think I pretty much just left them alone, except for 92.5, a Texas country station. I just kept the dials on Houston stations. I lived in California for ONE year and never programmed all 12 channels, I sort of found one station that played sermons all the time and left it there. Its just too intimidating to explore all of those channels. I really feel like as soon as I have all of 12 of my buttons accounted for, that's it, it's my new home, and Houston no longer is.

Well, I have FOUR stations now figured out, and that's more than any other place I've lived besides Houston.

88.1 - Christian (I think, its programmed to 1-1)
99.5 - Rush Radio
103.3 - Sunny
104.1 - Alternative Rock

So, I have 8 more to go before Madisonville is my real home. We'll just have to wait and see if I get them all filled...

***ADDENDUM***

My, my, my, I forgot one -
95.7 - Classic rock, and also the home of Walton and Johnson in the mornings!

WOW -5, this is getting dangerous...

Thursday, May 28, 2009

More Than Perfect!

I haven't blogged in a while because I have been soooo busy. Look for a post in the next few days titled... Texas On My Mind :).

As of today, I have been married to my beloved for FOUR years! This song, More Than Perfect by Cory Morrow, is our song and the song that we danced to at our wedding. It was a beautiful, magical day, but every day since then has been even better. I'm so blessed to have found my soul mate so young, he's my best friend and I respect him more than anyone I've ever known, also we have so much fun together!
Here's to at least 71 more!

Nick designed this gazebo in autocad and built it all by himself over Christmas break, is it the most beautiful thing?


Yes, I had a GREEN cake :).

What a handsome groom! :)

My two sweet guys


My beautiful sister

I also cheated on my Song game a little bit, but its for a good reason, so I hope you'll forgive me.

Friday, May 15, 2009

Hop onboard, and make your getaway... (aka Get LOST!)

How amazing is this show! Its like that shot of the ant that widens to reveal a colony that widens to reveal a park that widens to reveal Manhattan that widens to reveal the US that widens to reveal the world that widens to reveal the galaxy that widens to reveal the UNIVERSE!

This episode completely blew me away, and if you don't watch the show, now's the time, RUN to your nearest video store and start renting the old episodes. You have 7 months before the next season starts.

It was a fun but sad evening! Nick, Jessica, Jeff, Elysha, David and I all got together as usual to watch it, and Jessica made some really amazing cookies. Check them out here: http://texasladyspillingthebeans.blogspot.com/2009/05/lost-finale.html . This show is even more fun when watched with friends, and I will really miss our Wednesday evening Lost parties (tear).

I won't even try to recap the whole 2 hour finale, but I will make general comments and post my questions:

1. Expounding on my universe comment, its like at the beginning of the series, there was the Losties vs. the Others, and "bearded" Tom was the leader. Then it was revealed that Ben was the leader and it was all Ben vs. Charles Widmore. Then it was the Others vs the Dharma initiative. Now its Jacob vs. some dude in black - I'm just going to call him MIB (man in black) since we don't know his name yet. For a while we thought that Halpert was the man, but now it turns out he doesn't know a lot either.

2. Finally Jacob is revealed! Only to die at the hands of his enemy hiding in John Locke's body! Is this the "war" that Widmore and others have been talking about? If so, then who is on what side? It would seem that Smokey is on MIB's side, since he told Ben to do whatever John Locke says.

3. Do you think that Smokey is MIB? We already know that the smoke monster can take the shape of people, like Alex. If MIB is a shapeshifter, then perhaps he can get off the island like Jacob and he's been taking the form of Christian/Claire/Charlie/Ana Lucia/Libby. This would mean that Christian has never been speaking on behalf of Jacob and that he is really dead, just like John Locke. This would make sense because Christian told Sun to wait for John Locke and he would have known that it wasn't really John Locke, just MIB in John's body. Also when Alex tells Ben to do everything John Locke says, she's really just Smokey/MIB using her body to manipulate Ben into a positiong where he wants to kill Jacob. I think that that must be it!

4. So first Ellie was the leader, then Widmore at some point, then Ben, then John for a short time. How did Charles take over from Ellie? Ben never actually spoke to Jacob, so this opens the theory that maybe no one but Richard ever gets to speak to Jacob, not even the other leaders.

5. How much does Widmore know? Did he know when he told John Locke that he had to return or there would be a war that John would have to die and then be used by MIB? Is Charles's working for MIB or is he just clueless that John would be a host body? Both he and Eloise did say that they don't know what happens from here on out.

6. Why did Jacob purposely distract Sayid and allow Nadia to die? This would indicate that Jacob is not all good. What exactly did his touch do to everyone? Kate still ended up being a lawbreaker, and he encouraged Sawyer to write that note he carried around forever about killing the REAL Sawyer. He did appear to help Jack become a brilliant surgeon and kept Locke from dying. I don't know what to make of him!

7. Poor John Locke! I was so happy for him that he finally found his purpose and destiny. Now it turns out that his only destiny was to be murdered by Ben! Poor baby, what a tragic character.

8. What is the "loophole" that MIB found? It clearly has something to do with the rules for selecting a leader. It would seem that Jacob doesn't have a very active role in selecting a leader. He's more like God, Richard is his Prophet and advises the King (Leader). MIB/Smokey has been manipulating Locke into this position, of becoming the Leader, for a very long time so that he could kill him and then take over his body. Since the real John Locke was dead, did the Leader status revert back to Ben, and only the Leader can kill Jacob?

9. I'm so sad that Juliet is dead, she and Sawyer were a good couple. She died a hero though :). I am a little dissapointed because I always thought that they would keep the love quadrangle going, and I wanted to see a return of the Juliet/Jack tension from Season 3 to compete with the return of the Kate/Sawyer tension. How crazy was it when Juliet took out that dude in the sub and told Sawyer that Kate was right and then told Sawyer that Jack was right? In the words of my husband "Now that's a woman!" I could completely understand her wanting to never meet Sawyer; it made perfect sense to me (ahem Jessica).

10. The Sawyer/Jack fight was what we've all been waiting for! How insane was that?

11. I did love the way everyone came together in the end, and I loved them all at that moment! Even Jack. I loved Miles getting to save his dad, and I was really glad when Phil was impaled with rebar. :)

12. Finally we find Rose and Bernard, I am convinced that they are Adam and Eve. Did the Others know that they were there?

13. Do you think Ilana meant Lapidus would be a good candidate for Leader?

14. What was the deal with Jacob's cabin? Did he ever use that cabin? I am thinking not, and that the statue has always been his home. Its just a decoy that MIB/Smokey uses.

15. Is Sayid going to die?

16. I am so excited that SOMEONE (Sun) found Charlie's ring! That's just wonderful.

Anyway, the show has given me many things to mull over. I am going to rewatch all of the seasons and pay close attention to the "rules" to see if I can figure out exactly what the loophole is!

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

You don't even notice the face of the sky...

Ok... so I am really trying to not post political stuff on here that often(unless written by yours truly)! But I was just sitting here, munchin' on my strawberries, reading Townhall, and once again - Thomas Sowell is so astoundingly brilliantly spot on that I have to share. Mea culpa :).

Talking Points available at: http://townhall.com/columnists/ThomasSowell/2009/05/12/talking_points

One of the many signs of the degeneration of our times is how many serious, even life-and-death, issues are approached as talking points in a game of verbal fencing. Nothing illustrates this more than the fatuous, and even childish, controversy about "torturing" captured terrorists.

People's actions often make far more sense than their words. Most of the people who are talking lofty talk about how we mustn't descend to the level of our enemies would themselves behave very differently if presented with a comparable situation, instead of being presented with an opportunity to be morally one up with rhetoric.

What if it was your mother or your child who was tied up somewhere beside a ticking time bomb and you had captured a terrorist who knew where that was? Face it: What you would do to that terrorist to make him talk would make water-boarding look like a picnic.

You wouldn't care what the New York Times would say or what "world opinion" in the U.N. would say. You would save your loved one's life and tell those other people what they could do.
But if the United States behaves that way it is called "arrogance"-- even by American citizens. Indeed, even by the American president.

There is a big difference between being ponderous and being serious. It is scary when the President of the United States is not being serious about matters of life and death, saying that there are "other ways" of getting information from terrorists.

Maybe this is a step up from the previous talking point that "torture" had not gotten any important information out of terrorists. Only after this had been shown to be a flat-out lie did Barack Obama shift his rhetoric to the lame assertion that unspecified "other ways" could have been used.

For a man whose whole life has been based on style rather than substance, on rhetoric rather than reality, perhaps nothing better could have been expected. But that the media and the public would have become so mesmerized by the Obama cult that they could not see through this to think of their own survival, or that of this nation, is truly a chilling thought.

When we look back at history, it is amazing what foolish and even childish things people said and did on the eve of a catastrophe about to consume them. In 1938, with Hitler preparing to unleash a war in which tens of millions of men, women and children would be slaughtered, the play that was the biggest hit on the Paris stage was a play about French and German reconciliation, and a French pacifist that year dedicated his book to Adolf Hitler.

When historians of the future look back on our era, what will they think of our time? Our media too squeamish to call murderous and sadistic terrorists anything worse than "militants" or "insurgents"? Our president going abroad to denigrate the country that elected him, pandering to feckless allies and outright enemies, and literally bowing to a foreign tyrant ruling a country from which most of the 9/11 terrorists came?

It is easy to make talking points about how Churchill did not torture German prisoners, even while London was being bombed. There was a very good reason for that: They were ordinary prisoners of war who were covered by the Geneva Convention and who didn't know anything that would keep London from being bombed.

Whatever the verbal fencing over the meaning of the word "torture," there is a fundamental difference between simply inflicting pain on innocent people for the sheer pleasure of it-- which is what our terrorist enemies do-- and getting life-saving information out of the terrorists by whatever means are necessary.

The left has long confused physical parallels with moral parallels. But when a criminal shoots at a policeman and the policeman shoots back, physical equivalence is not moral equivalence. And what American intelligence agents have done to captured terrorists is not even physical equivalence.

If we have reached the point where we cannot be bothered to think beyond rhetoric or to make moral distinctions, then we have reached the point where our own survival in an increasingly dangerous world of nuclear proliferation can no longer be taken for granted.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

It's Time!

And now my friends, the post you have all been waiting for...
So last year on of my best friends, Kristen Champagne, sent me a forward announcing a Harry Potter themed amusement park! Since I love Harry Potter and I love, love, love theme parks, I was soooo excited.

Side note - I love Harry Potter, but I am in no way a fanatic. They do not make my favorite books of all time, but I love them and enjoy them just the same. You will never, ever find me in a Quidditch shirt, ever... not there's anything wrong with that. I did however want to buy a Thing 1 and Thing 2 t-shirt at Islands of Adventure, but Nick sqashed that plan (boo).

THEN, I found out that the Harry Potter theme park was not going to be its own park, but an Island inside Islands of Adventure. This made it even more exciting since I love Islands of Adventure above all others (its a sacred thing, don't mess with it ;)).

And I was so excited to see pieces of the new theme park going up when I was there last week. Its really happening, I thought! We had fun guessing what pieces of the theme part were. Nick guessed the picture below is a picture of Platform 9 3/4, we also caught a glimpse of what we think is Hogwarts castle near the Dueling Dragons ride.

But something kept nagging at me... how would they fit in all that the Wizarding World of Harry Potter had to offer in such a small space? I think that Warner Brothers could put a stand alone Harry Potter theme park in the middle of Nebraska and it could attract Disney-like numbers from all over the world! I'd totally make a point to go, and I'm not even a hard core Harry Potter fan!
I checked out their webside http://www.universalorlando.com/harrypotter/, and sure enough, its only going to be one small Island. It will feature Hogsmeade, Hogwarts castle and the Forbidden forest. I'm sure that they haven't announced everything yet, but here's hoping that they don't leave out these things:
Diagon Alley
I could totally see a really fun Gringotts ride where you ride down to collect your things, but then suddenly, you've been identified as a theif and Gringotts turns on you. You go through bunches of obstacles and then you find a dragon, hop on out out!
Of course all of the shops are important too.
Quidditch
A 3-d ride where you're suspended in mid air, similar to Soarin' at Disney.
Hogwarts castle
This could seriously be its own village in a stand alone theme park. I envision a Haunted Mansion type ride where you get into little pods that take you around the castle. You can stay on the pods, and they would be a ride in and of themselves, or you can get off at certain locations that are their own individual rides. The main ride would have you visiting the House Elves, seeing the ghosts, traveling past Dumbledore's study. You could also have a place to eat in the great hall.
For example:
A ride that takes you down into the Chamber of Secrets to battle the Basilisk.
Explore parts of the castle on foot.
Take a ride in the a boat on the underground of Hogwarts castle, you know kind of where the first years come in and explore under there.
On the Hogwarts grounds they've already got the Forbidden Forest (thank goodness)! But I hope they don't neglect the lake where Harry meets the mermaids. I could see some sort of underwater adventure.
The Ministry of Magic
I think that this could be a cool ride that follows the events of book 5!
Azkaban
That would be soooo scary and so awesome filled with Dementors!
I'm sure that I could come up with more, but that's probably a good start for now. Its just off the top of my head. For any of you who have read Harry Potter, can you think of a ride you'd like to see?
Also, one of my favorite things about Harry Potter is that the most evil villain (besides Voldemort of course) is not even a Death Eater, but a government beaurocrat and she's so wicked that I can barely read the fifth book, but I manage somehow... :).

3 Days

We got back from our trip to Florida on Sunday and we had such a fun time!

We drove to Tallahassee on Wednesday night and spent the night in a free hotel room, courtesy of points that Nick has accumulated from traveling with Chevron. I resisted the urge to go and egg Charlie Crist's (stimulus supporter, blah) mansion... Northern Florida was really beautiful, we were so impressed.

We finished off the drive to Orlando on Thursday morning and after purchasing 2 discounted tickets (again courtesy of Chevron) we went strait to Universal Studio's Islands of Adventure! This is my favorite theme park of all time! Even if you are not a geek, you will love the Spiderman and Hulk rides, which are my all time favorites. I would describe the rides here (I've been told my dramatic interpretation of these two are in the top 10 as far as theme park monologues go...), but I have much more important things to discuss.

Here's the two of us as we arrived at the park - this would be take 17, we apparently have not mastered the art of self photography! I was wearing FOUR pieces of aTm flare that day, am I a devoted Aggie or what? Nick's in his Latin Club shirt, sit "cutest nerd" ego teneo!

We had a blast on Thursday and Friday going between Universal and Islands of Adventure, and we finally got to go to the new Simpson's Ride. Two honorable mentions for best theme park ride catchphrase from Homer, "All the seats are the same, except the ones that are better" and "Nobody ruins my vacation except ME... and maybe... THE BOY!" If you had ever been on a vacation with my dad, that one would really hit home! It was sooo good, and more than made up for the fact that it had taken the place of my old favorite ride, Back to the Future. We also did the Mummy, and apart from a really lame mechanical fake Seti I at the beginning of the ride, it was incredible and complete with a flame ceiling and a psuedoending!

I also have to give a shout out to Canada and everyone's favorite Mounty, Dudley Do Right! Kudos for the best theme park ride catchphrase of all time, "Has anyone seen my horse?" Sorry if you don't get that... I guess you have to be one of the cool kids :).

On Friday night we went to dinner at Margaritaville and ate two Cheeseburgers in Paradise and then went to see Star Trek on the big screen. It was pretty good, but I was hoping that they would completely leave the old series behind and completely start over the way they did with Batman.
Here's some more Wann cuteness, as in Nick Wann :) at dinner.
And on Saturday we just hung out at the pool at our hotel, Wyndam Bonnet Creek, this one was courtesy of my parents. It was lovely and had a lazy river. Then that night we attempted to hang out in Downtown Disney and then go put put golfing, but we only made one quick walk around Downtown Disney and we were tuckered out. So we decided to grab a pizza and call it a nice relaxing night back at the hotel.
On Sunday we drove back to Madisonville, got our pup Frodo from Jessica (or Yessica if you prefer?), and our wonderful, short, three day vacation was complete!
Ok, now I can get to what I really, really, really want to talk about, but its so important that I think it deserves its own post! ***Spoiler Alert*** How am I ever going to come up with a Pat Green inspired title for a Harry Potter theme park?

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Everybody gotta get away sometimes...

"Forget about yourself for awhile..."

I left work a little early today to run an errand before our trip and then work from home until Nick gets backs so we can leave for Orlando as soon as he gets home. I can't wait to see him!

So I need to stop blogging and get back to work, BUT, I just wanted to say that we're leaving today, and I can't wait! We'll drive to Tallahassee tonight, and then onto Orlando in the morning (don't worry Bruce, we'll be safe!).

Also, I'm initiating a challenge - pick a musician or group and all of your blog titles must come from his/her/their songs for the next month. I wonder who Adrienne will pick... :). JK, no one has to participate if they don't want to! But if you do, make your choice adventurous stranger...

So, from now until June 6th, I am going to start all of my blog titles with a line from a Pat Green song. Is it a lame game? Probably... but oh well!



Love,
Stori

Sunday, May 3, 2009

What a Wannderful Weekend!

Nick got home from a week in Houston Friday night, and come Saturday, it was time to put on my gardening shoes (aren't they supercute? The ladybugs are starting to fade, but they're still cute.)
I have been wanting to redo our front yard since we moved in, but we've had a million and one projects ahead of this one. I'm not sure what made us finally decide that this was the weekend, but finally Saturday morning we decided to get to it! I thought it would take us several weekends, but we got about 90% done before the rain stopped us. I'm not going to post the completed pics though until it is 100% done.
Here is the house front a little ways into the demo. We had already knocked down the azalea bushes and transplanted them into the backyard. As you can see, it was all bushes and they were pretty overgrown and they blocked the windows. It was that way when we moved in, and even though we trimmed them, it never looked very good. The flowerbed was also filled with weeds that were difficult to get to behind the bushes, and a lot of them had sharp prickles that hurt.

After we cleared out the flower bed, we reshaped it so that it would be more curvy and frame house. We also revealed brick that is in desperate need of a good pressure washing! It's going to drive me nuts until we get that cleaned.

Frodo was on hand to help with the digging! See him enjoying the fruits of his labor?

Our neighbor was nice enough to lend us his tiller, so we were able to get the soil turned up in one day! Please ignore the previously hidden grimy walls.

We managed to complete this all on Saturday, and we were done in time for church. It was a fun night. We went to the 6:45 PM service, and listened to a wonderful sermon. Then we went out to dinner at a restaurant called Mandina's. I had found a deal online to buy $50 worth of gift certificates to there for only $15. Pretty sweet deal, and the food was good too! After dinner we splurged and split a banana split at Basin Robbins, and finally we went home and watched Baby Mama (with Tina Fey and Amy Poehler). That movie is hilarious!

Sunday was the reward for all of Saturday's work. We went to Lowe's in the morning to pick out our plants, and spent the rest of the day arranging and planting them. I even splurged on a fancy new door mat :). We are almost done, but the torrential rain prevented us from finishing everything. So, as soon as we get the house and walkway pressure washed and our last few flowers planted, I am going to post pictures for everyone to see.

This was one of the best weekends I've had in a long time, and I can't wait until this weekend. We're taking off Thursday from work (we already have Friday off) and heading to Orlando to visit Universal Studios, and maybe Sea World or Disney. I'm so excited!

Friday, May 1, 2009

I'm Back!

So, I didn't announce it or anything, but I took a week long break from blogging and conservative news. The truth is, the past two months have been a little hard. I've been on medication that made me moody (poor Nick), dizzy, hungry and also caused me to gain 6 pounds! Yep in 2 months... the South Beach Diet thing didn't really end up working out to well :). You should have seen me scarf down Mexican food when I was in Texas in March.

I'm not on the medication for the next month at least (and Nick sang halleluiah). I realized that even though I didn't have time for the things I used to love, I had found two new passions in my life - blogging and conservative news. I decided to take a little break from those two things, along with TV (except for Lost, the Office and How I Met Your Mother), and just spend some time reflecting on God and his promise to me... For I know the plans I have for you, plans for good, and not for evil, plans to give you hope and future. I failed pretty badly at this, but I did make some head way. My biggest trouble is just enjoying quiet time with the Lord. I prefer listening to sermons or reading to just sitting silently in prayer. I did end up watching more TV than I had originally planned, and I also did end up downloading some John Ortberg sermons and listening to them.

I managed to make some progress in disciplined worship, and I had a wonderful quiet time with the Lord on Tuesday evening. He revealed Proverbs 16:1 to me "The preparations of the heart belong to man,But the answer of the tongue is from the LORD." Between this, and some wonderful guidance from my friend Jessy, I've come to the conclusion that I just have to plan my life. He doesn't always guide me in every important decision - sometimes he's so silent, it's frustrating! Even if I end up making a mistake, perhaps God wants to use that to grow me and mold me into being a little bit more like Him. So I'm still pondering things, but get ready because as soon as I figure out what to do with myself, I'm stepping out in faith!

I also decided that it was time to stop making excuses about exercising - I just needed to do it. Now, a few weeks ago I mentioned Bikram Yoga, and how there wasn't a single Bikram yoga studio in Louisiana. Well I half lied, apparently there isn't a single authorized studio in LA, but there is a yoga studio that offers Bikram Yoga! Its in Uptown, on Oak Street, its incredibly inconvenient, but I am turning my life upside down so that I can attend the classes. My plan is to go every day except Thursday (Bible Study) and days that I have to stay late for meetings. I've only been to two classes so far, but I'm going again today, and I seriously cannot wait! I really love it, and I hope that I can stick it out. Its my favorite form of exercise, it suits me, its predictable yet challenging, and there isn't a lot of movement that requires coordination :). I am going to start driving to work over taking the bus so that I can go to classes, so please be praying for my safety in the Murder Capital of the USA! I will also be needing to get to work at 6AM so that I can leave at 3:50ish to make the 4:30PM class.

As for Conservative news, I did pretty good, but its impossible to stop people from telling me things! What a week to be out of the loop though... 100 day mark into the Obama presidency, Air Force One and Fighter Jets flying over NY causing a panic, Obama's embarassing dependence on the teleprompter revealed, the release of the "torture" memos, fast tracking socialized medicine, and others. Actually it was a really good week for me to ignore the news as I read that :).

Also, there's so much I want to put up about changes to our house, but I can't find my camera. It doesn't seem right to describe the changes without pictures, that's why I haven't blogged on it. My goal for the weekend is to tear my house up until I find that camera!

Love,
Stori

PS. How awful was Lost the other night? It sort of elevated Faraday up to being one of my favorite characters, along with John Locke. I have a soft spot for boys with bad or no mothers :(.

Pure and Undefiled Religion

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