Monday, June 8, 2015

Ups and Downs.

This weekend was one of great highs and a very deep low.  It started off great-- Friday afternoon, I spent some quality time with my grandmother and her sister before Donny and I picked up a piano that a long-time family friend was giving away for free.  I've been out of practice for so long that I can barely remember what the notes on the bass clef are, but it's coming back to me slowly.  I'm absolutely loving having it in our home!
Saturday, I was at my usual summer Saturday spot-- the pool with my book.  Fortunately for me, it was graduation day for our county's high schools, so there were significantly less people at the pool.  The weather was warm, the water was cool, and my book was intriguing.  I couldn't have asked for a more relaxing day.
I'm reading The Astronaut Wives Club and loving it.  It's a fascinating and unique story that I've never really considered before.  I am starting to get a little lost in the names now that there are almost 50 astronauts (and their wives) in the space program.  But I'm getting through anyway because their stories are so compelling.
Saturday night, we also got doughnuts!  Since the line on National Doughnut Day at Krispy Kreme was wrapped around the building and into the street on Friday, we decided that it wasn't worth saving a dollar and we'd just come back the next day.  KK now has these delicious lemon doughnuts for summer!!   And I love anything with lemon. Yum yum.
Sunday, however, was where the wheels came off the wagon, so to speak.  Our beloved Bible Fellowship leaders, who have become wonderful friends and mentors to us in the last year, announced that they would no longer be leading our class, as God was calling them to find another church home.  Their announcement was nothing short of devastating for me personally and our class.  It's hard for me to even describe the range of emotions that I've been wildly vacillating between for the last 24 hours.  Of course, I'm very sad and disappointed.  And as irrational as it may be, I also feel angry and betrayed.  Why have I wasted so much time investing in a relationship with them just for them to leave us?  

Then I remember that God's ways are not our ways.  And his plan is better than what we can see.  And of course, their decision to leave our class and church is not a personal affront to me.  It's just so sad to me when people leave and relationships change.  But despite my sadness, I'm choosing to trust that God has an even better plan for us and for our class.  It's incredibly hard to look toward the future with hope when the present is painful.  But praise be to God that His Spirit lives in me and gives me perspective that I can't see with my human eyes.  I'm sure that I'll go back and forth between emotions for a while because I'm so human-- I just pray that in my sad or angry moments I choose to trust in God.  HE is the great teacher and mentor and friend, far beyond what any person can be. 

"So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. 
For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal."  
2 Corinthians 4:18

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

REPOST: I Want the Truth! (Or Just an NG.)

This was originally posted in April 2014, but my case got continued that week.  
Now more than a year later, I'm FINALLY getting to try the case today that prompted this post initially!

UPDATE:  After winning a pretrial motion and getting much of the state's case excluded, they offered my client a reduced plea with unsupervised probation.  So, he took it.  No trial after all, but still a victory.

There's nothing more exciting in the life of a lawyer than a jury trial.  When I was young, I'd watch Law & Order and dream of being Jack McCoy.  As I got older, I wanted to be Lieutenant Daniel Caffey in A Few Good Men, which is still one of my all-time favorite movies.
These days, my trial attorney hero is Mickey Haller of The Lincoln Lawyer.  I just don't want his clients...
This week, I'll be in a jury trial-- only the second of my career.  My first came only about a year after I started practicing, and I've been antsy for another one ever since.  My case this week isn't the strongest, but as long as I have something to argue, I'm set.  

I managed to hold off the nerves and anxiety through the weekend, but now that I'm in the office and making final preparations, I can feel the adrenaline and nerves starting up.  There's no rush quite like beginning an opening statement to a jury.  Except maybe hearing the words, "not guilty."

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Memorial Day Weekend.

What a great weekend!  Friday night, I volunteered at a safe house for women who are recovering from drug addiction.  The women at this place are on their way to a permanent rehab facility, so their stays can be very short or very long.  This farmhouse is usually the first stop for them from the streets or from jail or from home-- often in very distressing states.  And they also provide transition assistance to women who have completed long-term rehab stays for them to come back into the community, find jobs, repair credit, etc.  It's such a wonderful program, and the women there really touched me.  

Saturday was the first day that the pool was open this year, and I have been so excited to get back out there!!  I was only out there for a little bit, but it was glorious.  
Donny and I spent the afternoon with some good friends of ours doing wine tastings at a few local wineries before coming home at watching Hitch.
Memorial Weekend Sunday is my dad's favorite day of the year with the Monaco Grand Prix, Indianapolis 500, and Coca-Cola 600 all in one day.  So I went to my parents' house to spend the day with him and had a lot of fun.  

And Monday, I was back at the pool for a while, but by early afternoon, there were SO many people there!  I'm looking forward to a few weeks from now when the newness of the pool wears off so I can have quiet mornings there again.  The pool did give me a great opportunity to finish the first book of Jeffrey Archer's Clifton Chronicles series, and I read over 200+ pages in the second one.  I'm really close to finishing The Sins of the Father, so I need to get to the library to pick up #3!
This week I have another jury trial, so I spent some of yesterday also preparing for that.  I was all ready to go to trial today, but it looks like it will be tomorrow sometime.  Can't wait!

How was your Memorial Day Weekend??

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

What I'm Loving Wednesday.

Happy Wednesday, everyone!  Only two more days to go until a nice, long weekend!  Today, I'm loving...

... Starbucks Ice Vanilla Soy Lattes.  I am not a coffee lover-- I usually get tea when I go to Starbucks.  But last Friday morning, I desperately needed some caffeine at 5:30am, so I stopped to get something that I hoped wouldn't taste too yucky.  And it turns out that these are delicious!  So of course I've gotten one every day this week.  Oops...

... Suki skincare.  My face has been breaking out like crazy recently, so I've started doing a couple things to try to stop it. First, cutting out soda, dairy (hence the soy latte above...), and most sweets.  Second, I switched my skincare to this brand, which is 100% natural and vegan.  So many chemicals in skincare products actually cause inflammation and irritation.  I don't know if anything I was using was irritating my face, but I decided to give it a shot (even though I have not eliminated chemicals in my makeup, so I'm obviously not all that consistent with it).  I bought the trial kit for clarity, which is a 60-day supply of six products in mini sizes designed to help clear up irritation/redness/inflammation.  I've only been using it since Saturday, and already I'm really loving some of the products-- the cleansers and toners are fantastic.  Jury is still out on the masque and moisturizers.  I'll definitely be posting more about it after I've given it some time.

... our pool opens this weekend!  Oh gosh, my favorite thing in the world last year was Saturday mornings at the pool.  It's been so hot the last two weeks that I've been dying to float around in that pretty blue water with my book.   I can't even tell you how excited I am that it's almost here!

... my husband.  I know I've talked recently about my love for my family, my friends, and my paralegal.  But there's no one I'm more thankful for than Donny.  Every day, he makes me smile and laugh.  My days are so much better because he's there to share them with me.  He encourages me to be more like Jesus through his words and his example.  He loves me, his family, and even people that he doesn't know.  He's always willing to lend a hand to someone and tries to meet others' needs.  I couldn't be prouder to be his wife.

What are you loving today?  Link up with Jodi and Rachel!!

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

DIY Essential Oil Bath Salts.


I love essential oils.  And I love bath stuff from Lush.  My friend Katie does too.  We often buy each other bath bombs and other goodies from Lush.  But for her birthday this year, I decided to try to do my own with my doTERRA oils (click here or contact me if you want to try some)!  Of course, I turned to pinterest for inspiration, and I found lots of tutorials.  But I ended up blending a few of them together to get what I really wanted. 

I decided to make three different "flavors" of salts.  Lavender for relaxation, Balance for calming and de-stressing, and the Citrus Bliss just because I know it's her favorite scent.  Citrus Bliss is invigorating and uplifting, and it smells heavenly!

INGREDIENTS:

3 parts epsom salts
2 parts baking soda
1 part citric acid
Food color to your preference (optional)
Essential oils of your choice

DIRECTIONS:

In a large (completely dry) glass bowl, mix the salts, essential oils, and food coloring with a whisk until combined. You'll likely have to stir for a while to break up the clumps of food coloring, but they'll eventually mix in well.  

A few tips that I learned:  1) Make sure you use enough food coloring at this stage where your salts are pretty saturated with color.  You still have white ingredients to add to this that will make the mixture a lot lighter.  And 2) a little essential oil goes a long way.  I used 1c. salts, 2/3c. baking soda, and 1/3c. citric acid, and five or six drops of oil was plenty.

Add in baking soda and whisk again to combine well.  Then whisk in the citric acid last until it's all blended and clump-free.

Store in airtight, glass containers (essential oils and plastic do not go well together).

And enjoy!  You can use just a few tablespoons for a fun, fizzy bath.  Or if you want more of a detox bath, use about a cup of the salts.  

Let me know if you try it and what you think!

Monday, May 18, 2015

Weekend Update.

Friday, I spent the day volunteering for the National High School Mock Trial Competition.  I was really excited to do it before I realized it required me to be somewhere two hours from home by 7:30am...  Which meant that I was up on Friday at 3:40am.  Yikes.  I got halfway to Raleigh before I passed a Starbucks that was open!  But every now and then, I do enjoy watching the sun come up, and it was a once-a-year event, so I wasn't complaining too much.  
I love driving into downtown Raleigh-- so pretty!
And, of course, I can't possibly go to the Triangle without driving through my favorite place-- Chapel Hill!  Gosh, I love this place.
I had a blast at the tournament and saw some really fantastic high schoolers present their cases. Every time I go to one of these things, I really want to coach a team! And then I realize the time commitment that that requires... I don't know if I can teach a community college course, be in a weekly Bible study, play tennis, volunteer at a halfway house, AND help coach a mock trial team this fall. Wow, my head hurts already from just thinking about it. I'll just have to pray and seek God about what he wants me to do and what he wants me to say no to. 

Saturday, I managed to recover some sleep from the day before and actually read some in a book.  I actually read more than 200 pages this weekend!  I'm so glad that I got to spend time in a book-- I've missed it.  I started Jeffrey Archer's Only Time Will Tell, and it's really interesting.  It moves very fast, and sometimes I think it might be too fast.  But the story is fascinating, so I'll reserve judgment until I'm done.

Sunday, we had a wonderful day at church.  The message and Bible Fellowship lesson were about the Bible.  I mean, duh, of course it was about the Bible.  But more specifically about how God's word is true.  God's word is reliable.  God's word is our source.  And God's word is the standard that everything must line up with.  

And so of course, this morning, I was immediately challenged to put this into practice.  I had some difficult court cases and dealt with some difficult and unreasonable people first thing that made me want to be mean and nasty right back to them.  But I'm trying to live my life more intentionally and  Spirit-led by acknowledging that my reactions are my choices.  My feelings may not be, but how I act and respond and the thoughts I dwell on most certainly are.  Fortunately, I have this graphic as my phone background as a reminder to me that through the power of the Holy Spirit, the mean and negative thoughts I think do not have have to rule me!  I can capture them and bring them under the power of Christ and make them obedient to how He tells me to live-- to love and value people and not automatically think everyone who disagrees with me is an idiot.  It is NOT easy, and in my own power would be impossible.  But then again, no one ever said that following Jesus and trying to be more like Him would be effortless.
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