Influence – The Girl Behind the Blog

I know. I know… Father’s Day is the last time I’ve posted. Things have got busy around here. I moved. I went away for a big chunk of the summer. So much change. Good change… and I’ve been really rethinking the way I want to approach blogging. I’ve been dragging my feet on it really. Last week I marked my calendar to participate in The Girl Behind the Blog vlog link-up today. And then promptly forgot until this afternoon. I was “supposed” to have already done a catch-up, I’m back, let’s relaunch this thing post. I haven’t. But what better way to dive back in than this? So I turned my grandma’s armchair around to face my dining room (the best light downstairs, since I still have no lighting in the living room, and also to hide all the empty moving boxes and piles of Stuff), threw my all-day-with-a-toddler hair into a bun, touched up my make-up, and slipped on some jewelry and my favorite new cardi. So here goes… I hate watching myself, so I haven’t even viewed the video fully myself.

Sorry it’s five minutes long. Here’s a fact about me: I have an extremely difficult time being concise when I’m talking. I just like talking too much. So… I decided to leave it as is. It’s me.

Talk to y’all later… and SOON! I promise.

xoxo,
Alanna

 

A dream that will need all the love you can give

“April showers bring May flowers,” so the saying goes. April 2011 certainly brought more than showers… a seeming monsoon in the form of being fired from my job (although I soon realized that rain can be a good thing). In terms of employment, it took a full year of rain for those May flowers to bloom. Here I am, May 2012, just over one year from being fired, and one week into a job I didn’t imagine filling 365 days ago, but one I am now incredibly thrilled to have.

I’m a nanny. I’ve mentioned that one of the ways I’ve stayed afloat this year is short-term and part-time nannying. But now it’s turning full-time. I am taking over for one of my closest friends as she steps down from her nanny position to have her own baby. My new charge is “almost two,” as he’ll tell you. I couldn’t ask for a sweeter, cuter, more enjoyable little companion. The family is wonderful and I feel so blessed to have such great employers (it feels weird to call them such a former title). May and June are transition months, as A and I work together to make sure everything goes smoothly.

Days are filled with trips to playgrounds and parks, finger painting, snack-eating, and playing ball of any kind. Singing songs and pretending. There’s a carseat installed in my car. It’s not where I imagined God would take me after this year of pondering and praying over my future. But let me tell you, it is 100% right and I truly could not be happier. I honestly couldn’t imagine anymore going back to an office job. Maybe some day again, but for now I find this a million times better! I guess the Father does know best, doesn’t He?

For obvious reasons of privacy and safety, my little buddy won’t be appearing on the blog, nor will my job be much of a central topic. But as I’ve shared some of the trials and blessings of this past year with you, I wanted to tell you this great joy! I kept having moments last week where I reminded myself just what amazing things God has done and I felt giddy. I had almost stopped believing that my life would have an upswing and yet now I’m back with a steady salary and making plans and dreams again.

I waited patiently for the Lord; he inclined to me and heard my cry. He drew me up from the pit of destruction, out of the miry bog, and set my feet upon a rock, making my steps secure. He put a new song in my mouth, a song of praise to our God. Many will see and fear, and put their trust in the Lord. – Psalm 40:1-3

xoxo,
Alanna

P.S. Gold star to you if you know why I picked the title of this post.

Road trip

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Yesterday morning, after catering two nights in a row (the second a two course meal plated and served for 150 people – that’s vs a buffet), I started out on a road trip. Six states, 650 miles, and 11 hours. All by myself. It was hard.

But it was worth it. I would do it again. For this reward:

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Finally, FINALLY having my precious, scrumptious little niece in my arms. It’s been a hard wait… Since Valentine’s Day. Y’all. She is just the cutest baby girl ever. Gorgeous blue eyes and expressive eyebrows. Rolls upon rolls of chub I just want to eat up.
xoxo,
Aunt Boo*

*my family nickname was Boo when I was little, so starting with my 20 month old nephew I’ve been trying to establish this as my name.

April 12 on 12

Do you remember the 12 on 12 post from last month? It’s that time again: time to take 12 photos on the 12th of the month. Well, actually, obviously that time is past. So here is my yesterday condensed to twelve Instagrams!

L-R: work out clothes with running shoes already shed after a 3.69 mile run; trying to be good lately about taking my vitamin every day; a trip to the most addicting store on the planet

L-R: twirling my rainbow skirt – it’s full and just begs to be twirled; smoothie time! – 1 whole gala apple, plus frozen strawberries, plus pineapple, plus vanilla yogurt, plus kids’ juice (a little weaker); side pony!

L-R: I promise this looked better before I saved it! The night sky – one of my favorite colors ever (if you look close there’s two stars – I think I must have accidentally changed the filter because it really was more obviously sky); a box of tiles ready for me to paint Scripture on Right Focus Designs; a little grooming for Lucy – she loves it!

L-R: Lucy saying, “I love you,” by making biscuits on my leg… and I think it’s time for a claw-clipping because it hurt!; Scripture card bookmark; the last thing I do before turning out the light: lip balm and hand lotion!

Yesterday wasn’t a particularly interesting day. I stayed at home for the most part. But that’s what this project is all about: capturing your day, no matter what it holds! Hope you enjoyed this little peek into my life.

xoxo,
Alanna

Happy Friday!

Happy Friday, y’all! Do you have any plans for the weekend? I’m spending some time with a good friend in the morning tomorrow (giving her a haircut!) and then I cater in the evening. It’s at a beautiful location where I’ve never served before. I’m excited to see what it looks like for an event (wedding, I think)!

So. Really exciting: I’m guest-posting over at Run with Scissors today! Janel is one of my favorite bloggers ever, and I’m thrilled and privileged to be helping her out while she’s focusing on bonding with her brand new baby, Amelia. It’s a fun make-up DIY and I’ve been waiting ever-so-patiently to share it with y’all! If you’re stopping over for the first time from RWS: WELCOME! Would you like some tea? Cookies?

Cuteness!

Today there’s a live kitten-cam over on HelloGiggles! Apparently the kittens and their mama were rescued after a fire, I think. They’re with a foster right now but will be up for adoption in a few weeks. It’s adorable… they’re playing and falling all over each other right now. I’ve had it up for about an hour now; it’s probably really a bad idea because it makes me want to go get a kitten. No, self! Two cats are enough!

Nomnomnom!

I made this recipe for baked apple chips yesterday (via a friend… via Pinterest). They. Were. AMAZING! I ate the entire batch in one sitting (it was only 2 apples worth and a few slices burnt). So easy and so healthy. My observations: I think I cut the slices too thin, hence the burning. Don’t cut the slices thinner than 1/4″ at the least! Also, the friend who tried them out first suggested checking them every 20 mins. I’m glad I did. I flipped them at an hour and set a timer again for 20 mins but they were burnt even by then (the recipe calls for 2 hours of baking). I think I’m going to make more this afternoon…

Okay… I need to shower (euw, I worked out and then have been cleaning). And I have to finish a fun project I plan to feature here on the blog! Hope you’re having a great Friday and remember: it’s the weekend!

xoxo,
Alanna

Undefeated

I just got back from a special showing of the documentary Undefeated with Brenda. Y’all… Y’ALL. Go see it! It is such an inspiring, yet approachable, story. Seriously, I was starting to tear up not even 10 minutes into the film. Really honest scenes of life in the highschool’s community. In my town. Hard to realize such desperate squalor is a short drive from me.

It’s the story of the volunteer (VOLUNTEER) football coaches of Manassas High in North Memphis and how they took a 110 year old program known as the “whipping boy” of Tennessee and turned it into a winning team. But more importantly, it’s the story of lives impacted and changed. On both sides of the equation. Coaches to players, players to coaches.

Over and over again, Coach Bill Courtney pumps up his team to win, but most importantly he reminds them that the central thing is heart and character. Character, he reminds them after both wins and losses, is what you do with your failures, not your successes.

It’s a story of giving and sacrifice, learning and being humbled. It’s a reminder to forget our selfish concerns and do something for the sake of someone else (and that’s a near direct quote from the movie).

At the end of the film, we actually got to have a short question and answer session with Coaches Courtney and Ray. The last question was from a young boy who asked, “Who taught you so much about character?” Coach Courtney looked thoughtful for a second and then answered with conviction, “Jesus.”

Friends… let us be teachable with Jesus. We never know how He may end up using us!

xoxo,
Alanna

Jeremiah Small

Hi y’all. Sorry it’s been a quiet week. My heart’s been a little heavy and distracted; some personal stuff going on, but I’m moving forward now and looking up. Plus when I got on my computer Thursday to write a belated Once Upon a Time post, I saw some really tragic news on Facebook. I just didn’t have it in me to write a blog post. It’s been weighing on my heart every since.

Some of my dearest college friends, John and Mary, literally sold or put into storage nearly all their belongings two years ago. They left jobs and families to move to Kurdistan, a region in Northern Iraq. The reason? To teach at the Classical School of the Medes, a Christian school begun in January 2001 with now 3 locations. This is their second year teaching, with a brief furlough home over the holidays for the birth of their first child. It has been such a joy and privilege to pray for them and watch their journey of faith.

On Thursday, one of CSM’s teachers, Jeremiah Small, was shot and killed by one of his students. My friends have directed all of us to this article as being decently balanced. Although John and Mary teach at another location in a different city, Jeremiah was their friend and colleague. They, as well as the whole CSM organization, are reeling with this tragedy. As I understand, CSM has never seen a violent incident like this. The three schools are beloved and respected in region and the community is grieving.

This article written by the highschool seniors at CSM is very important to read, as is this tribute by another student. I worry, and I am sure the school’s community and organization do even more, that many Westerners will assume in reactionary ignorance that this is just another reason to think “all Muslims are terrorists”. HOW WRONG THAT ASSUMPTION IS! The details and motivations of the attack are still being sorted out. But even on the big, unlikely if that this incident was fueled by religious motivations, this student’s are no more representative of his entire religion than are the actions of a Christian abortion clinic bomber. Or are we making sweeping statements about the culture and heritage of the student who shot and killed his peers at Chardon High School in Ohio recently? If you want a picture of the Kurdish community, read the beautiful tributes by Jeremiah’s students.

Instead of ignorant, irrational judgment, let us react in compassion and sympathy. This was a beloved teacher, friend, colleague, brother, and son. We need to be surrounding his school, students, community, friends, and family with prayer. John and Mary sent their supporters a link to a memorial fund if you care to give. It will help pay for his family to fly to Iraq, his memorial service, etc.

Precious in the sight of the LORD is the death of his saints. – Psalm 116:15

xoxo,
Alanna

Silly cat

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I’m in the middle of my going-to-bed routine but I had to stop a moment to share with y’all this picture of my goofy boy this morning. Relaxed in my lap… he loves to lie on his back. Sometimes he does it by himself. Even sleeps. Charlie is a special cat. Special, special cat. And he makes me smile. 🙂
xoxo,
Alanna

Flu :(

Hi friends – sadly I’m stuck in bed with the flu. Thank God, not the stomach flu, but just the achey, fever, chills flu. 3rd day of misery. My brain is fairly fried so no real posts from me most likely until I feel better. Hope y’all had a fabulous Valentine’s Day!
xoxo,
Alanna