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Saturday, December 13, 2014

Christmas Lights: Granbury Historic Town Square

Matt and I lived in Stephenville for ten and a half years now. Sadly, it's only just now, when we're on the verge of moving away, that I've discovered that I'm absolutely in love with a neighboring town, Granbury. One of the oldest historic towns in Central Texas, they have an adorable town square. It's also filled with Bed & Breakfasts, old churches, historic hotels, an old opera house that's still in commission.

Earlier this year, I went with my friend Robin to the Harvest Moon Festival in Granbury. Tonight, Matt and I, along with some of his friends from work, went to see the Living Christmas Cards. A huge display of Christmas card-like backdrops, each card has actors who play out the card's scene/theme. While what we saw of them was neat, I was really most impressed with the decorated town square. Unlike Stephenville, Granbury does their town square up with tons of lights. It's absolutely beautiful.

We had dinner in a little chicken place (Babe's) off the square, then went to see the cards. I have a really hard time with crowds, so I couldn't stand long in the crush of people around each card without my anxiety going berserk. Since it was almost impossible to see them from the back when you're 5'5", I spent more time looking at the square than at the cards.


The lights strung to the top of the court house come from each of the four corners of the square and there's a huge star on top of the clock tower, though it's impossible to see that from this angle. The lights can be seen from miles away, all over town. So pretty, I had a hard time really finding a good angle, but I love how it looks through the tree branches.


Each of the four corners in the square has a huge christmas tree. Each of them have a different color theme. While I didn't get a picture of all of them, I thought this one was really pretty. Here in town, our tree is tiny and far less lit by comparison--if you want to see it, I shared a picture on my Instagram

All the buildings in Granbury's town square, or most of them anyway, have christmas lights and all of the street lights are hung with pretty wreaths. Many of the windows have pretty displays with Christmas trees and lights, and snowy scenes. It really is a sight to see.


On the way back to the car, down a cute little street where the old buildings have wrought iron stairwells to the second floor on the outside, we came upon this little boutique all lit up for the holiday. I just love how it looks! And, in case you're wondering, it's just as cute on the inside. 

I'm happy that I got to see Granbury's town square all lit up for Christmas, even if it's for the first and last time. I'm particularly grateful because my darling husband, who went out of his way to take me there, is sick. He also had to work tonight--he's in the middle of 12 shifts in a row. So, he gave up what little time he had to rest--and recoup--so that I could see the Christmas lights and cards. He's an amazing man. I'm so thankful for him and all he does for me.

Next year, I hope we're somewhere just as lovely. While I look forward to the challenges that moving brings, I'm sad that I've only just begun to discover what my own back yard has to offer. Between now and then, I'm going to work to enjoy it as much as possible!

Merry Christmas!!

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

O Christmas Tree...

I have a confession to make... my Christmas tree has been up since Halloween.

Like, I literally took it out of the box and put it up on Halloween. It came in August, and with Matt encouraging me to put it up in the middle of October, I only waited as long as I did because I was self-conscious about having a Christmas tree in my living room before the beginning of November. When Halloween got here, I figured it was close enough.

I let Matt pick the theme this year because for the past two years he's been gracious about our tree being decked out in pink and teal. He never complained about having a pink themed tree, he just smiled and told me it was pretty. This year, he wanted something different which meant going on a hunt for new ornaments. A bigger problem than it sounds since he wanted the theme to be clear, white, and silver. You can't just buy a big ol' tube of white and silver ornaments. You have to buy them individually or in smaller (more expensive) boxes.

I tried to get him allow me to add green ornaments, or some small red accents, but he refused. He wanted what he wanted, so I made it happen. It didn't come out too bad, if I do say so myself...


Terrible iPhonography and mess aside, the tree is really pretty (and not nearly as yellowish as these pics look--thanks terrible lighting!). Matt says it's the prettiest tree we've ever had which I take as a compliment because, well, I shopped for the tree (it's an unlit Treetopia No. 2 Pencil Tree), ornaments, and embellishments. I put it all together. I'm happy with it.


Now Christmas just needs to get here. I'm dying to open those presents. I've been staring at the tree for a month and a half now, it's time for Christmas to get here already.

In the mean time, I've been watching a lot of corny Christmas movies on the Hallmark Channel and Lifetime. They're all adorable, if clearly low budget. Well worth a watch if you like fun holiday romance--I try to avoid the sad ones, I can't deal with sad.

So what about you? Is your Christmas tree up? Do you have a theme? The tree at home (at my folks house, is ecclectic which I love but don't have enough ornaments collected to pull that off myself). Whatever the case may be, I hope your Christmas season has been nice so far!



***

PS. We've discussed it next year, and if Peyton Manning doesn't retire this year, we're going to do a blue and orange Broncos tree. This girl loves the Mann!!

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Thankful

I've never been one to spend a whole lot of time counting my blessings. It's so much simpler to complain about hardships than to stop and remember that there are good things happening in my life, too. Maybe it's because when you (when I) acknowledge all of those things that're good in my life, it becomes harder to see or complain about the bad or hard things.
But, I'm thankful for Thanksgiving (let's not talk about its origins, okay, that bums me out) because it gives me the perfect excuse to talk about those things I don't usually see, or believe, or acknowledge as blessings.

So this year, I'm thankful that...
My mom is cancer free: This has to be the thing I'm most thankful for this year. My mom was diagnosed with invasive ductal carcinoma early this summer and, thank the Lord, they caught it early enough that it was small. She had surgery, had radiation, and is now cancer free! I love you, mom.

I've finally grown brave enough to seek therapy: After years of doubt and worry, I finally started getting therapy in May. It's helped me so much, I'm only sorry I didn't do it sooner. My therapist is a wonderful lady, who I like, and who challenges me to see myself as I really am.

I'm married to the most amazing, inspiring, accepting man: I love you, Matt. Thank you for all you do for me and for us. I cannot imagine my life without you in it. You truly are my hero.

That amazing man got a great promotion this year:Yes! He was promoted to leadership at the company where he works. This is big, and it's meant he's busier, but he loves it so much it's hard not to be happy even when he's working long hours.

I got into a Ph.D Program this year: I was accepted into TWU's Ph.D program for Rhetoric. A great honor not everyone gets and I was hugely honored to be among those granted acceptance.

I was brave enough to know it was right for me to go back to school: This was a pretty big deal. I thought it was the right decision, but after they accepted me I realized I couldn't go. First, I don't have enough financial aid left to finish it. But really, the biggest reason was that I wasn't doing it for the right reasons. So, I made the difficult decision to sit it out. I'm so thankful that I did, and for the support of everyone around me.

I'm warm, safe, and comfortable when so many people in the world aren't: I have a roof over my head and food in my belly. I'm in a good place with my marriage, I've graduated with my MA, my life is really good. I don't have a job outside the house, but otherwise, I'm in a good place.

I'm able to work full-time doing the thing I love most, writing: Hopefully, something will come of it. I've been working away over here, with several projects more than half done. Let's hope for a published book in 2015!

When I look at everything and I realize how lucky I am, it really hits me that all of the problems I have (none of which are coming to me right now, after all that thankfulness) are seriously first world problems. I'm healthy (even though I'm overweight), I have a strong marriage, my dogs are healthy and happy, I managed to make it to 36 without incident. I'm in a good place, I have much to be thankful for. I hope you do too.

So tomorrow for Thanksgiving, Matt and I are staying home and sharing the day together. My family is 1,500 miles away and Matt had to work a lot this week so we're not going to see his family or our friends in Waco. Instead, we'll have a nice meal at home together. But just because it's just us doesn't mean I don't go all out. I'm making a ham, green bean casserole, hash-brown casserole (per request), stuffing, cranberry sauce, rolls, and pie. We'll have a lot of left overs, as always, but that'll feed us for days afterward! Thankfully, I won't have to do much cooking this weekend.

Wherever you are, what ever you're doing this year, I hope you have a blessed Thanksgiving holiday. Please take a moment to think of those less fortunate and to count your blessings, whatever they may be.  Happy Thanksgiving!

image via: Lil' Luna

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Busy November: NaNoWriMo, Warlords of Draenor, et al.

Well, hell. So, November has been our busiest of the year, I think. So much is going on, not the least of which is that Blizzard decided to crash NaNoWriMo with the release of the Warlords of Draenor expac. Why they had to do this, I have no idea. October 13th or December 13th and it would have been fine, but they picked November 13th! So, I'm now trying to figure out how I'm going to work and play Warlords, and be productive, and right now it's not looking pretty.

Will I keep doing it? Yup. I am finishing NaNoWriMo this year if it kills me--especially since I'm so happy with the project I'm working on right now. Since Warlords is so laggy right now, being productive may be just as easily said as done. I'm currently waiting for my server to come back up and have a 20 minute wait. There are 1,200 people ahead of me in the queue. It's easy to see how I could be using this time to do something productive.

Instead, I'm using it for blogging. Which is, if I'm being honest, procrastination. I enjoy it, but I could be writing. Could being the operative word, right there.

But NaNoWriMo and Warlords of Draenor aren't the only things going on this month. Matt broke his foot, so there were doctor appoints. There's therapy. Matt is going to a scotch tasting/class thing in Fort Worth tomorrow night and I'm going to tag along, maybe get some Christmas shopping in while he enjoys his scotch. Next week, we're going to Dallas House of Blues for a Suicide Girls burlesque show--I got Matt tickets as part of his birthday present last month. Thanksgiving is coming up.

On top of all of that, Matt has worked 18 or the last 19 days. Oh, and did I mention he's averaging 10 hours a day? Yeah, he's busy and thank God that he loves his job, because it would be a lot if he hated it. We're blessed in that, at least.

So, like everyone else, we're super busy right now. I'm still writing, I'm sitting at a little over 21,000 words toward my 50,000 word goal. That means, sadly, that I'm actually behind. I think, though, that I can catch up. I'm looking forward to finding out. For now, though, I'm going to go see where I am in the queue and try to get back onto Warlords. It's release day, so I'm thinking if they fixed some of the bugs I may just play today and get some writing done... erm, later. Yeah, later. ;)

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Election Day... Please Vote!!

Today in midterm election day in the US. If you're registered (and I hope everyone over the age of 18 is registered) please exercise your constitutional right and vote. Even if you live somewhere that's been heavily redistricted, even if you feel like your vote doesn't really matter because you're the minority party in your state. Vote anyway.

Here in Texas we've recently become subject to some pretty ugly, discriminatory voter ID laws. It's a system I don't agree with, for many reasons, but mostly because it discourages and/or prevents minority voters from casting their ballots.

So please, if you're able and willing, go and cast your ballot if you can. Many people died, including many women not that long ago, so we could do just that. It only takes about 20 minutes (at least that's what it took here this morning). You do have a say in who controls your government, all you have to do is choose to exercise your right to do so.

This soapbox has been brought to you by the letters V, O, T, & E! ;)