Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Visit from the Lamb family

My oldest sister Miriam and her family visited this past week from Texas. Their visit completed the summer visits from my family. It's certainly was a very busy June, as we had company 19 out of the 30 days in a month. I was able to see all of my family that lives out of town, and this includes all 15 of my nieces and nephews. It was wonderful to see the ones I already knew and meet the new additions to my family.

It was exceptionally hot this past week, so we didn't go anywhere exciting with Miriam and her family, we just basically stayed inside and kept cool while passing the time hanging out and playing games. It was a great week and it was especially great to see my nieces Kim, Michaela, Courtney and Samantha. It had been an entire year since I'd seen them, so it was fun to see how they had changed and grown.

Here are some on my favorite pictures from their visit:

Mom, Miriam and the girls:
Michaela and me:
Miriam and her girls:
Mom and Miriam:
Courtney and me: The girls in their Easter dresses:
Playing games after church:
Miriam and me: Granny and me with the girls:
The Lamb girls:Samantha and Courtney:

Laura's baby shower

This past Saturday we had a baby shower in our home for my younger sister Laura who is expecting her first baby on July 30. Laura's friend Susan is the one who put on the shower, and she did a beautiful job. It was nice that it was here at the house so that I could easily attend, and also so that my sister Miriam (who was in town from Texas) and her four girls could come. The turnout wasn't huge, but I was glad because it was a lot more comfortable.

Here are a few of the best pictures:

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Ode to Kristin

I recently wrote about my sister Kristin and how she and her family visited the first week in June. I was so excited to see her because it had been four years since I'd seen her last.

Kristin and I are three years apart, so we went through periods in our life when we were closer than others. However, we became closer when our older sister Annetta left for college and we were the oldest two at home. It was hard for me when Kristin went away to college a year later, but it was always great to talk to her on the phone or see her when she visited. Kristin got married a few years after leaving home, and she and her husband have been living in Utah for the past 10 years. This means that I haven't seen Kristin face-to-face very much in the past decade.

Thanks for technology, though, because I'm able to e-mail on my voice-activated laptop, and Kristin and I usually e-mail each other four or five days a week. We prattle on about all sorts of things like the TV shows and movies we watch, the books we read, what I'm up to in my life, what she's up to with her kids, what new recipe or dessert she's trying, etc. I love Kristin so much and I just wanted to brag about her for a minute. I'm so glad that we're sisters and friends!

Here are a few of my favorite pictures of the two of us throughout the years: (I accidentally added them backwards, so were starting at at the most recent.)

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Don't you give up!

This is a link to a very inspiring five minute video clip about the trials we face in life. I found the sentiment in this video especially comforting. The clip references the trials and challenges we face in life, and how long and difficult the road that is life can seem. "There is help and happiness ahead. Some blessings come soon, some come late and some don't come until heaven. But for those who embrace the gospel of Jesus Christ they come. It will be all right in the end -- trust God and belief in good things to come."

Monday, June 21, 2010

Turning 26!

I celebrated my 26th birthday this past Saturday. Each birthday I'm always amazed at how old I'm getting! I feel younger than the number I am because I don't feel like I've accomplished as much as a normal 26-year-old should've accomplished. For example, I'm not married, I don't have any children, I don't have a college degree, I don't have a job, etc. I often wonder what my life would be like if I hadn't had my accident and I weren't paralyzed. Would I be married yet? If so, who would I be married to, and what would he be like? Would I be a mom? It's a lot to think about, although these thoughts would purely be speculations, of course. I guess I have my own specialized list of accomplishments, though, like being a happy, healthy disabled person.

Anyway... I celebrated my birthday with a get-together on Friday, June 11, when my sister Kristin was in town. It was Kristin's birthday (our birthdays are only eight days apart), so it was great to be able to celebrate our birthdays together. (She turned 29 and I turned 26.) I invited five of my friends, and I had lots of my family (Annette and Joseph, Kristin and Scott, Laura and Brett, plus Mom and Chandra) around to help me make celebrate. It's rare for me to have so much of my family around since we all live so far apart -- it was a special treat!

Kristin is an amazing cook and she made some delicious party foods: glazed cheese croissants, basil cream cheese bruschetta and coconut cream fruit dip to have with fresh pineapple, strawberries and grapes. Kristin also made a birthday cake for the two of us. She let me pick what cake I wanted, and it was a difficult choice! I settled on a chocolate cake with chocolate butter cream frosting and chocolate ganache. It was amazing! I was very fortunate to have Kristin, my sister, my friend and our chef for the evening to celebrate my birthday with me!

Everyone had a great time talking and visiting while we ate. After we ate we played a game called Werewolves of Millers Hollow -- a game that Kristin gave me last Christmas, but one that I hadn't been able to play yet since it takes quite a few people to play. (It's a game that is similar to Mafia, if you've heard of that. -- I never had.) It was a lot of fun and we all had a great evening! Here are some of my favorite pictures from that night:

Kristin and me and our lovely cake:
Kristin and me: Nate and me: Kristin and Scott:
Kristin and Chandra: Visiting and Playing: It was a fun evening and great mouse birthday celebration!

Vera Bradley

When my sister Sharon was visiting a few weeks ago she showed me her new purse that she'd recently bought. I immediately loved it, and I wanted to know who made it and where she got it! She told me that it was a Vera Bradley bag, and she said that she'd bought it at a little boutique, although you can buy them online. The next day I got on my computer so that I could peruse the Vera Bradley website. I was amazed at the number of styles of handbags and totes that were available on the website, not to mention the beautiful fabrics that each style came in.

(Not only can you buy beautiful purses, but there are tons of accessories that you can buy like cosmetic bags in different sizes, sunglasses, checkbook covers, wallets in varying shapes and sizes and things like that.)

After looking at the website for about an hour (it was a highly addicting website!), I chose a style of purse and decided on a fabric. It was a tough choice (and I really couldn't have gone wrong), I ordered my new bag. It was so hard to narrow my selection down, and I really wanted to buy about five different bags, but I limited myself to one since they are pretty pricey. Anyway, at $75 (including shipping) it was a major indulgence (especially since I already have an acceptable purse), but I'm the kind of person that has to have something when I really want it. If not, it stays on my mind, fermenting until I have it!

Here's a picture of my new bag: it's not the best picture, but it's just the picture off of the website. (I assure you that it looks so much better in person!)

The bags are addicting because they are so beautiful. When I saw my sister Sharon's, I caught the bug and knew I had to have one. When mine arrived and my sister Annette saw it, she too caught the bug! (She called me this morning and told me that she bought one to use as a small diaper bag!)

For anyone who wants one but thinks they are too expensive, not to worry! They have awesome deals on different prints that are being discontinued. I could've gotten my purse for half the price if I'd been willing to settle for a different fabric. (As it was, I decided to get the fabric that I really wanted instead of settling for one that I liked, but didn't love.) Visit http://www.verabradley.com/ if you are interested in shopping!

Friday, June 18, 2010

The timetable of trials

I was recently talking to a friend about the trials and challenges we face in life. I told my friend that I think it's easier to endure and get through a trial if you know how long you're going to be tested. For example, I told my friend that I know that I'm in it for the long-haul when it comes to my physical trial of being paralyzed. I know that I'm going to be paralyzed (and all that it entails) for the rest of my life. This trial won't end until the day I die. This may sound pessimistic, but I'm only being realistic.

My friend thought it was interesting that I find it helpful to know how long a particular trial is going to last. Personally, if I know a trial is going to be lifelong, or if a trial is going to last X number of months/years, it helps me manage my load.

Earthly life is so long and yet so short at the same time. It's truly going to be over in the blink of an eye. However, this doesn't seem like much of a consolation when we are in the midst of a trial, and the road seems especially long. However, what makes life easier to bear is knowing that something incredible is waiting for me just around the corner. This isn't just a hope -- I know it is. That's why "keep your eye on the prize" is my personal mantra.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

A former obsession

When my sister Sharon was in town visiting a few weeks ago we went to the movies and were reminiscing about old times on the drive up and back. I was telling Sharon's friend Shellie about my obsession with Leonardo DiCaprio when I was in eighth grade. (I really was obsessed!) I remember begging my parents to let me see Titanic. They finally relented, and my dad took me and my sisters Annette and Kristin to see it.

Now that I'm older and wiser, I look back at my 13-year-old self and I see just how silly I was! If I were a 13-year-old girl right now, though, I'm sure I would have a similar obsession with the Twilight stars, or something like that. It's funny to reflect back on my life and remember what it was like to be a kid.

My love for Leo is something I definitely haven't lived down, because my sisters and friends still tease me about it today! And just for the record, I'm still a huge DiCaprio fan, but not for the same reasons. I think he is such an amazing actor, and the movie that I love him in most is Catch Me If You Can -- his portrayal of Frank Abagnale Jr. is so good!

Purple feet

Sometimes when I wear flip-flops or shoes that show my feet people will notice that my feet have a slightly purpleish hue, and they'll say something like, "Oh, your feet must be so cold!" No, they aren't cold, thank you very much! I just have poor circulation, partly due to my spinal cord injury and partly due to the fact that I'm always in a sitting position and I'm not up walking around, so the blood tends to pool in my feet. I know that people are only concerned for me, but I can't help but feel slightly irritated when people worry about my "cold feet." When people ask me if my feet are all right I liken it to asking a pregnant woman if she's carrying twins because she's so large.

So yes, my feet may appear slightly purple, but I assure you they are just fine!

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Movie #11

When my sister Sharon was visiting we went to the movies with her friend Shellie and our younger sister Chandra and we saw the movie Robin Hood. I wasn't sure what to expect from this movie, but I went into it with an open mind. I wasn't disappointed. The movie wasn't the traditional Robin Hood story; it was more of the back story of how Robin Hood got to be the Robin Hood that most of us are familiar with where he steals from the rich and gives to the poor. As much as I liked the movie, I found it hard to follow and I kept getting confused as to who the good guys were and who the bad guys were, so I'm really looking forward to seeing it again when it comes out on DVD. All in all, I really liked it, although I have to admit I'm still partial to Robin Hood Prince of Thieves with Kevin Costner.

Visiting Dad with Kristin's family

When Kristin visited we decided to go to the cemetery after church to visit Dad. This was the first time that Kristin's boys were able to see where their Grandpa Johnson is buried. The cemetery is such a beautiful and peaceful place, so it was fun to stop by and take some flowers to Dad. (And it also made for a good photo op!) Here are some pictures from that afternoon:

Dad's headstone: Kristin and Kaleb:
Mom peeking through a tree:
Kristin, Kaleb and Ethan:
Kristin and Chandra: The Hawkins Family at Dad's grave:
The Hawkins Family before church:

Pictures from the zoo

On Friday, June 4, I went to the St. Louis Zoo with my mom as well as my sisters Sharon and Kristin and their families. It was an incredibly hot/humid day, but we went anyway and had a really fun time. (One of the best things about the St. Louis Zoo is that it's free!) Here are some of my favorite pictures:

Kristin, Scott and their four boys: Kaleb, Ethan, Jared and Aaron:
Grammy and the kids: Mom, Kristin and Laura:
The kids and the animals: A picture of all nine Leigh and Hawkins cousins:
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