52 in 52

Ok, so not too long ago I randomly started singing a song I hadn't heard since circa 1998 when scrunchies were cool and Taylor Hanson held the keys to my heart. It got me thinking how crazy it is that I can unintentionally memorize lyrics to a song...lots and lots of songs actually...and then instantly recall the words years later. Seriously, where is the mega filing cabinet in my brain that houses all of that junk and why does it reject important things like I don't know, ummm, my computer password and my driver's license number, for crying out loud! I started asking myself how many important things, like scripture, I could recall. Maybe 2 verses if my life depended on it, maybe. However, these things are the truths I rely on, believe in, and depend upon, yet I can't recall them on a regular day much less in a time of need. It's time to use that "mega filing cabinet" space for good. It's decided then...

52 in 52! I am going to memorize a verse a week. With 1 verse a week, I'll hopefully study, learn and store away 52 verses in 52 weeks over the course of a year. I thought about putting verses to the tune of Spice Girls and NSYNC songs, but decided against it mostly for Tate and Wrigley's sake. I am going to try it this way first and see how it goes. 

Well, it's week 3 people! So far, so good. Feel free to join in the fun. The more the merrier! Click the link on the side bar to see the verse for this week and the ones from past weeks. My goal is to update it every Monday. Let the fun begin...well technically it began 3 weeks ago, so let the fun continue! 

"If you wanna be my lover, you gotta get with my friends"

uh, I mean...

"REJOICE always, PRAY continually, give THANKS in all circumstances: for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus."  -1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 

{yeah that's better, and much more useful!}



You might be a triathlete if...

When asked how old you are, you answer 25-29
You think it's natural to do your business behind a tree.
You think a marathon is a cool down. 
You participate in the corporate race just to increase your bike speed. 
You go for an extra lap after completing the city-wide 5k to make it an adequate training day. 
Your wife is not worried you left for your run 2 hours ago. 
Your "cologne" you wear to work is called chlorine. 
You consider sugar water, goo, and salt tablets proper nutrition. 
You clean your bike more than your car. 
You know what a 'fartlek' is and say it with a straight face.
You never round up or down milage when asked how far you ran, because 0.1 is important too.  
You have a $4,000 bike strapped to your $2,000 car.
You consider Clif bars as one of the four food groups.
You can't decide which Zoot t-shirt to wear to your race registration.
You've peed on yourself by choice.
You've asked, "Does this spandex make my butt look big?"

{and lastly and most importantly...}

Nobody believes you when you say, "never again!"

This could not be more true. I believe last May, after finishing his second Ironman and shuffling out of the medical tent with an IV, Tate said we would take a year off. {I say "we" because we both participate- he trains, sweats and dry heaves, while I worry, pray and clap until my hands are numb. It's a team effort.} Well, that "year" lasted a short 8 months. These triathletes are hungry for more swimming, more running, more biking, more sweating, more exhaustion, and more thrill. Only one thing can fill this craving...

It's official, Tate and Dad are now registered for Ironman Texas 2013. 
We are going for a THREE-PEAT, people! 

Some of us were excited...
While some were nervous, but still supportive like any good wife would be...
And others just wanted a belly rub...she doesn't ask for much in life. 
Let the fun begin! Ironman Texas. The Woodlands, Texas. May, 18, 2013. 
See you there!

"Enthusiasm is one of the most powerful engines of success. When you do a thing, do it with all your might. Put your whole soul into it. Stamp it with your own personality. Be active, be energetic and faithful, and you will accomplish your object. Nothing great was ever achieved without enthusiasm.”  -Ralph Waldo Emerson


texoma christmas y'all

So many places, so little time. This Christmas we took a little tour of the greater Texoma area.  From Waco to Oklahoma to Amarillo to Allen back to Waco to New Braunfels. Whhhew! We are beyond blessed to have lots of wonderful, crazy, loving family. We did our best to see as much fam as we could over the break, and we got a lot of QT in the car...like a LOT. Let's start at the beginning of our journey...

12.20.12 Waco, Texas

Tate and I started off Christmas together by cooking dinner and opening one present each. The gift-giver gets to choose your gift. Being only married for a few years, we don't have many traditions of our own, so maybe this will catch on. We were going to watch a Christmas movie, but packing for our long trip took priority. Boo. I will be looking stylin' in my new J Crew blazer {that Tate picked out and thought of all on his own} and he will be looking good as always in his new watch. Wrigley was a little less grateful as she stuck her nose up at her candy cane bone and didn't even bother glancing at her new toy. Only children.

12.21.12 Edmond, Oklahoma

We enjoyed spending time with family and puppies, lots and lots of puppies! My aunt has 6 dogs so there is always a cuddle buddy. We made our traditional King Christmas meal, of course, of fried shrimp, steak, mac and cheese, homemade fries, coleslaw, and featured newer additions such as chicken and baked mac and cheese. We opened {what verb do you use here} stockings, which is my favorite tradition of all! Everyone has their different stocking method, but most of us prefer to pull one item out at a time and announce it to the entire group. It takes a while, but we don't mind. We like to really draw out the stocking opening process. Later, we opened presents, and did our Dirty Santa gift exchange. We also played Bunko, thanks to Jan the game organizer {one of her many titles}, which I think may be turning into a new tradition. Us kids all thought Bunko was just for old ladies, but that is certainly not the truth. It's a good time! And the iTunes gift cards are a good encouragement to participate too.

12.23.12 Amarillo, Texas

"Amarillo By Morning" was the song of the day. Well, actually we got there around noon to just in time to miss church {awww, durn our timing} and met up with Robby and LaVon for some lunch. Although we were only in town for a few days, we managed to find time to make a shopping trip or two {shopping is a Barrett spiritual gift}. It was the first time I had actually bought a gift on Christmas Eve, but I was peered pressured by the other gifted shoppers. But when in Rome Amarillo... We went to church Christmas Eve and had a wonderful meal with family, friends and the cutest 2 year olds on the planet. I gladly sacrificed my new mint green cords I got at Aunt Kelly's to tiny red jello covered hands as one of those cuties crawled in my lap during dinner. We woke up to lots of snow Christmas morning! We ended up getting snowed in and weren't able to make it to Lubbock to see Tate's Grandmother. But Plan B was nice too. We ended up hanging around the house for a relaxing morning of reading the Christmas story and opening presents around the cozy fire. It was the year of the foot! I think we opened 8 pairs of shoes, lots of socks, and a shoe shine kit {dad presents...glad I'm not one}. We wished we could have seen family in Lubbock since we don't get there often, but had a nice day, lounging around in pajama pants, watching Robby wreck his new remote control helicopter into the wall...and coffee table...and chandelier.


12.26.12 Allen, Texas

5 1/2 more hours of quality time in the car...we ran out of things to talk about around hour 1, so thinks got a little awkward {not really}. We attempted to listen to my first book on tape, but I nixed that idea on CD 2. Bru-tal. The 27th was Nicholson Christmas!  We ate lunch together at my parents' house and then opened presents around the Christmas tree. This year I was really excited for some reason to see everyone open gifts from us. We normally know what we are getting, but this year there were lots of fun surprises! Mom acted surprised when she opened her iPhone 5 she bought herself, Lynley took pics on her new "mom quality camera," Shawn got extra awkward when we opened underwear, and Wrigley avoided all eye-contact with all boxes out of fear for her own life. In true celebration of 'the year of the foot,' we collectively got 9 pairs of shoes. That night all the besties and husbands met at the Ringlers for Friendsmas. So far it's gotten better with each year...can't wait to see what next year holds! We had lots of food at our little Mexican potluck. Then in true fashion we played games, lots of games! Some planned and some improvised. Then we did our gift exchange. But, the night wouldn't have been complete without making the guys take lots of pics of us...so we did and they complained. All was normal in the world. Before we left town we were able to meet up with my grandparents for lunch. It was great to catch up a bit since we didn't see them for Christmas Eve.

12.29.12 New Braunfels, Texas

On to New Braunfels to see Tate's grandparents, aunt, and uncle! We there a few hours before Grandma came home from the hospital. She had been the hospital for a little over a week after having lung surgery due to cancer. It was such a blessing to have her home in time for our Barrett-Vanstory Christmas! Perhaps the best Christmas present of all- she is now "cancer free," thank you Lord! PaPa cooked us a yummy meal of chicken fried venison, mashed potatoes and corn. I tried to divert my attention as Uncle Randy showed pics of the deer he shot WHILE eating fresh venison. Nice! Later we opened presents. We were extra thankful this year, being all together and having Grandma home too. I'm sure she was exhausted and a bit on sensory overload with all of us crowding around her asking her questions. We spent the night at Aunt Roxi and Uncle Randy's beautiful new house. The next day a few of us kicked it "out-of-town-LaVon" style, skipping church and hitting up the outlet mall {but I guess if your spiritual gift is shopping then you can worship at the outlet mall too}. Later, we met up with the others for Uncle Randy's homemade stew and then hit the road for home sweet Waco!

12.30.12 Waco, Texas

Hello house, do you remember us? It was such a nice trip, but we were also thankful to be home...ahh, home...it is still so nice to say that {we've only been in our new house for 5 months}. Wrigley and I were reunited with our lonely couch and didn't move for a few hours. The unpacking can wait since I don't have to work for a week. The joys of working for a school district are sinking in...just...about...now...zzzz

MERRY Christmas and HAPPY everything to you! 


adding a little more good

Hello friends! Here's to hoping your Christmas was MERRY + BRIGHT and that your New Year is filled with wonderful possibilities! I hope with the fresh start of 2013 you are filled with anticipation and hope.

Ok, for some reason I have never liked the term "New Year's Resolution." Maybe it's because year after year, when asking my Grandma Flo about her resolutions for the new year she would state with confidence {and sass, of course}, "Why make a resolution on Jan. 1? If you want to change something, just start any of the 365 days of the year." Well, Grandma Flo, I agree. I also just looked up the word "resolution" and news to me {but probably not to my smart friends}, some synonyms are: plan, commitment, intention, purpose. "Hmmm...Purpose" {said while rubbing my chin and squinting my eyes}, I like that. Ok then- My hope and purpose for 2013 is to
Add a little more GOOD. 
It's broad yet simple. Why? Well, by being intentional with my actions, I hope to increase the opportunity to brighten someone else's day, but more importantly experience and learn the true nature of God's love and mercy. This will take shape in many forms. The avenues to achieve this shouldn't be too lofty, but through attainable tasks I do already...just adding a little more thought behind it, and in turn, a little more good to it. Starting points include: 

1. Visit. Giving up my coveted 30 minute lunch break in solitude to eat and visit with one of my students. 

2. Memorize. I want to be able to recall scripture to encourage myself and others. You know sometimes when you are talking to a friend and you want to encourage them and you say, "ya know, in the Bible somewhere, it says something about...fill in the blank." Well, I want to know exactly what it says. So I will put up one verse a week in my kitchen to recite as I brew coffee and make dinner. Starting today.

3. Reduce. As a true environmentalist's wife, I will reduce my footprint. I have already bought several reuseable boxes for Christmas next year as opposed to mounds of wrapping paper. I will also cart around and utilize those reusable bags not only grocery shopping, but everywhere- Target, Lowe's, CVS-- here comes the reuseable bag girl. Lastly, I am seriously considering eliminating bottled water altogether in our house. Goodbye my beloved Evian. Things are getting real.    

4. Help. This is a hard one. I want to help out and get to know my neighbors...not like my figurative neighbors but the people who literally live next to me. I don't know the people I live by and I want to change that. How do I put this- in our neck of the woods, we are not short on old people. So it shouldn't be hard to think of ways to help; however, we never see anyone, ever. I think we are the only people who stay up past 8:30 PM or leave our house daily.  When raking leaves, we can can also rake the leaves of Mr. leave-the-garage door-up-every-afternoon or simply take some extra cookies we were already baking across the street to Mr. safari-hat-and- orange-shorts. 

The point is to be more intentional with the tasks that over time become habitual, thoughtless, and mundane. Adding a little more good to each day! As we look on this new year expectantly, I am both reminded and encouraged by this verse {and just so happens to be the verse to memorize for week 1, imagine that}: 

"He has shown you...what is GOOD. 
And what does the Lord require of you? 
To act justly 
and to love mercy 
and to walk humbly with your God. "
{Micah 6:8}