Sunday, May 1, 2011

Eight Months? Really? Where does the time go?

Right out the window, that's where.

When I started out on the blogging highway, I had every intention of becoming one of those wonderful bloggers people talk about - "Did you read Rana's blog today?  Wasn't it super insightful and fun?" - "Why yes, I did!  Have you read the book she's blogging about?"

Jeez Louise, I can't believe I haven't blogged in eight months!  So sorry, blog family!  FAIL.  FAILING.  FAILURE.

Of course, at that time, I was on a completely different adventure with a completely different schedule - the adventure of being unemployed.  Oh how I loved that time.  TIME.  Time to do a daily devotional.  Time to work out at least once, and sometimes, TWICE A DAY!  Time to buy groceries and cook and do laundry every day and make my bed every morning.

(Oh yeah, and time to stress about not having a job, but whatev.)

And time to blog.

Well, as you were informed in September, I accepted a new job and that just threw a stick in my happy, "I've got plenty of time bicycle spoke."  DANG!

I do enjoy my job.  Really, I do.  I'm thankful to be employed.  But I hate that it's eating at my time.  Time away from my husband, my doggies, my home.  It seems like I've been working so, so, so much lately, and I can't seem to get ahead.  My job is an endless to-do list, with no break in sight.

But really, I don't want to sound like a brat who just doesn't want to work an 8 to 5'er.  Allow me to reiterate: I am very thankful for my job.  I'm simply going through a tough time of long hours and stress and want to vent a little.  I'll get over it.

On another note, I've also picked up a new hobby, passion since we last spoke.  And that, my friends, is the art of sewing.  Yep, that's right - sewing.  On a sewing machine.  On a 1975 Bernina, to be exact.  And I have noone but my wonderful mama to thank for that.  This passion has inspired ba-jillions of ideas and gifts for my friends and their babies, spurred the creation of an Etsy shop (coming soon - almost done!), and even took over a bedroom in my house for my "Creative Suite."  I love it, I tell ya.  LOVE IT!

But all of that is for another post.  See?  I'm already planning my next blog post!  It's proof of my good intentions!

Until next time, stay thirsty my friends!

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Rain, a Job, and a Special Friend: Blessings from the Sky!

Don't you just love it when your prayers are answered?

WOW - Hurricane Hermine dropped a LOAD of rain on us this week.  I absolutely love the rain - growing up in the dry sticks of eastern New Mexico, you learn to appreciate it.  Even when it comes to the tune of 8 inches and makes it really hard for your husband to get to work.

A few posts back, I confidently wrote about my new game plan.  My new life lay out.  After all, I turned "almost 30" this year... remember?  It was time I figured out what in the world I was doing with myself.

The idea of pursuing a future in public education still sounds like a great idea, but I simply waited too long to follow that path this year. I waited so late in the summer to start down this journey, and I was just plain out of luck.  So I decided to hang out and wait for something to happen.

And pray.

And then I got a phone call out of the blue.

Long story short, I accepted a position yesterday with the Ridglea Country Club here in Fort Worth.  I'll be starting my new position as the Membership Director next week and I couldn't be more excited.

I've never felt that a job suited me as much as this job does - every aspect is dead on, and I'm joining a wonderful team.  I'm so excited!

To top it all off, I had a great conversation with a close friend this morning.  We are the kind of friends that don't talk extremely often, but when we do, we pick up right where we left off, which I love.  Turns out, she and I are both dealing with the same curves in the road at the same time with regards to our lives.  Isn't it nice to know that we aren't alone?

Hey, it just started raining again.  :)

Today, I thank God for dropping blessings from the sky - no matter which form they come.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Feeling the Burn while Feeding the Brain: What a concept!

As I said in my post yesterday, I started a new daily devotion.  I actually found the devotional book in my husband's nightstand, a gift to him from my mother-in-law, Lesly.  Although I'm only a few days into it, I'm LOVING it, and I highly recommend you pick it up if you are ever looking for something to jump-start your day.  It's called The One Year Devotional: Walk with God by Tiegreen.  It's simple, applicable and easy to read - and I love that it doesn't require a huge time commitment (although that's not really important, I KNOW.)  It's good.  Read it.

Anyway, as I was finishing up with my reading this morning I realized something.  As a kiddo, we all learned the Books of the Bible's New Testament by singing the song, right? "Matthew, Mark, Luke and John, Acts and the Letters to the Roooooomans!"  Well, I may have the occasional mix-up, but I am usually right on track with these.  However, I never learned the Books of the Old Testament - did you?  This morning I realized that I can only recite the first five in order: Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, Deuteronomy.

SOOOOO... I decided that I'd make a memory card, similar to those you'd make if you are trying to memorize your favorite Bible verses.  Only this time, I made it with the Books of the Old Testament.  I even had room for the New Testament, so I put those on there, too - just in case I can't remember the old Sunday School tune.

AND... I took my new card to the gym with me this morning.  I'm now proud to say that after 3.7 miles on the treadmill, I can recite the books of the Old Testament.

All of this before 9 o'clock in the morning - I feel quite accomplished!

PLUS... it made the workout go by sooooo much faster.  Could it be because my mind was working as hard as my body on that treadmill?  I'm thinking so!  I even zoned out a little, timing my running pace as I recited each book.

This, my friends, is a good thing!

Now I need to decide what else I can study on the treadmill - my "Treadmill Trivia," if you will.  Any suggestions?  Maybe I'll learn how to count to ten in various languages, or the periodic table of elements (Mr. Nauert would be so proud!)  How about the State Capitols (no, I never learned that either.)  Or maybe I'll make it fun and memorize the list of all of our Miss Americas!  FUN!

Here's a photo of my card, in case you want to see what I stared at for an hour.  I know it's blurry, but the camera on my iPhone really isn't all it's cracked up to be:

Rana's Memory Card for the Books of the Bible

And in case you want to make one of your own, but don't know where your Bible is (or how to use Google for that matter), OR you want to put me to the test, here are the Books of the Old Testament, in order - of course:

Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, Deuteronomy, Joshua, Judges, Ruth, 1 Samuel, 2 Samuel, 1 Kings, 2 Kings, 1 Chronicles, 2 Chronicles, Ezra, Nehemiah, Esther, Job, Psalms, Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, Song of Songs, Isaiah, Jeremiah, Lamentations, Ezekiel, Daniel, Hosea, Joel, Amos, Obadiah, Jonah, Micah, Nahum, Habakkuk, Zephaniah, Haggai, Zechariah, and Malachi.

How'd I do?

Happy Tuesday, everyone!

Monday, July 19, 2010

Miss New Mexico 2010: The Other Side of the Table

Last month, I had the incredible opportunity to serve as a judge on the panel that would select our newest Miss New Mexico.  What an exciting experience!  I have to admit, however, that when Carol Henry, (Executive Director of the Miss NM Organization and my surrogate mama during the year I held the title) called to ask me to judge, I was a bit taken back.  I know that according to Miss America rules, a state titleholder must be "out of the system" for a number of years before she is eligible to sit on a judges panel.  Had I really already met the Out-of-System requirement?

Wow - Yes, I had.  It's just crazy to think that it's been seven years since I wore the Miss New Mexico crown.

Aside from the initial shock and following excitement, I turned into a nail-biter (figuratively speaking.  Well, literally speaking, too.)  In the months and weeks leading up to the pageant, I began to get nervous at the task at hand.  I had such an amazing experience as Miss New Mexico, and I desperately wanted to select a girl who would really take advantage of the title and learn and grow from it.  I wanted to select a girl who had worked hard to earn it, and who would be a gracious winner.

A few weeks before pageant time, I received my judges book in the mail.  Ah yes, the golden judges book.  I remembered how I had spent days - DAYS- perfecting my paperwork, looking for typos and asking everyone I knew to read over it for me.  I wanted to make sure that the information I submitted to the judges gave them the most accurate description of me, and gave them the clearest idea of what I was like as a person.

From the moment I found the box on my front porch, I poured myself into that judges book!  I meticulously read over each contestants information, making notes on things that were interesting - making notes on things I wanted to know more about.  I studied each girl's platform issue, and I looked to make sure each contestant had a true passion for that issue.  I made sure I had a list of educated and insightful questions to ask during the personal interview portion of the competition (no, this is not the on-stage portion the public gets to see.)  And yes, I looked to see if each and every one of those girls was on Facebook, and I looked at their pages.  (And no, I didn't find one bit of incriminating evidence against any of them - these were truly girls with great character.)

I was ready.

In the end, our judges panel selected an excellent titleholder, Madison Tabet.  It wasn't easy, though - we had a considerable number of contestants who would have made amazing Miss New Mexico's, and I hope that they each come back to compete in the coming years at their shot to wear the crown and more importantly, serve as a role model for people everywhere.

Madison Tabet, Miss New Mexico 2010.

Still, when the top five were being called out, I sat with my hands over my mouth, speechless, with a knot or ten in my stomach.  I was so nervous!  It was like I was competing all over again!  Needless to say, I knew how each one of the Top 5 were feeling at that point.

Miss New Mexico Pageant 2010 Top 5.

Madison met all of my criteria - she will make a fantastic Miss New Mexico, and I can't wait to see where she will go next.  In fact, Tiff and I are headed to Miss America in Las Vegas next January to watch.

What a wonderful experience - one that I will never, ever forget.  Special thanks to all of my Miss New Mexico family, and my new friends who served on the panel with me.

Fellow judge Phil Kimmi, with the Miss Missouri Org., and I goofing off backstage.

The other added plus?  The HUGE added plus?  My best gal pal in the world Tiffany Jewell was there too, and she was recruited to perform in the production numbers with a few of my Miss New Mexico sisters!  "You can't stop the beat!"

Tiffany Jewell (Miss Idaho 2003), Blake Marvin (American Idol Contestant) 
and Jenny Marlowe (Miss New Mexico 2007).

Best of luck to Madison at the Miss America Pageant this coming January!

Ta ta for now!

Now... where were we?

Okay, first and foremost, let me just go ahead and apologize for not blogging sooner.  I know that I said I would blog often, and I promise I thought I would.  But the past 3 months have been a flurry of activity and travel, soul searching, sale searching, body bronzing (and burning) and Rock Star toes.

But I'm back.  (Shout out to Mrs. Lewis!  While I was visiting my family in Fluvanna earlier this summer, she actually asked me if I had posted another blog - evidence that SOMEONE reads this!  Thanks, Mrs. Lewis!)

So yes, lots happening since my last post back in... April.

First off, I turned "Almost 30" -  29 to be exact.  And to be quite honest, I had a bit of a freak out moment when I realized that this time next year I'll be turning 30, and I still don't know what I want to be when I grow up!  Shouldn't I have this all figured out by now?  I mean, I've got two college degrees hanging on my wall (and the student loans to prove 'em), and a professional background that is - um - diverse.  DIVERSE, I say.  Believe me, you should try reading my resume.

When I was a wee gal growing up in Dream-ville, I remember thinking that 22 was the age that I would really be an adult.  I'd have it all figured out by then.  I'd be married with babies, a thriving career, a spotless home and real, grown-up friends.  Ha!  22!  Realistically, 22 found me wrapped up in the whirlwind that is the Miss America experience, traveling across the state of New Mexico on a speaking tour and waving from a convertible in every small town parade you could think of.  WOW - If only I could have been Miss New Mexico at 29 instead of 22!  If I had only known then what I... blah, blah, blah.

ANYWAY, on the morning of my 29th, 
I woke up in a tizzy, and I realized, 

Since then, needless to say, I have found myself at a bit of a personal and professional crossroad.

Who do I want to be, and what do I want to do?

As far as my professional tract goes, I'm taking a break.  Thankfully, I've got a super supportive husband who is encouraging me to take the time to really decide what is going to make me happy.  During this time, I've been praying for an incredible experience to reveal itself to me, and I believe the Lord has opened my eyes to something I once dismissed.

One of my favorite reference books.

Once upon a time, while I was in grad-school, I decided that I'd go ahead and obtain my teaching certification, just in case I ever wanted to teach.  Well, I'm super glad I did!  While sitting still and listening for God to tell me where he wanted me, the idea of the education field kept popping up.  I'll be teaching Speech and/or Journalism, and although I'm not sure if I'll start this fall or next, I'm pumped about it.  I'm truly looking forward to such a rewarding experience.

Next up, my personal life.  Bradley and I celebrated two years of wedded bliss in April.  TIME FLIES!  The two of us finally decided to get ourselves healthy and back in shape, and I've been hitting the gym, and he's hitting P90X early in the mornings.  I think we will reward ourselves with a beach vacation sometime soon.  (And no, babe.  I'm not referring to the beaches of Lake Amistad.)

My new runners, and my new best friends.

But perhaps my most important adventure over the summer has been my personal quest to reconnect with my God.  I've started a new daily devotional that is helping me get back into the habit of trusting God and listening for him to direct me.  I even jazzed up my new devotional journal with my "prayer word" - Joy.  It definitely keeps me inspired. :)

The Joy of the Lord is my strength.  Nehemiah 8:10.

Oh yeah, this brings me to another point.  In case you didn't notice, I've changed the title of my blog.  The old one was boring and didn't inspire me at all.  The new one is better and more relevant, I think.

Okay, so those are a few points of interest for the past few months.  On top of this, however, I've had the wonderful fortune of traveling a lot, and spending a great deal of time hosting company at our home here in Fort Worth.  More details on more adventures coming up next...

Ciao, friends!

Friday, April 30, 2010

"We interrupt this program to bring you a VERY, VERY important message!"

Today is Friday, April 30, 2009  2010.  (Yes, it's April, and I'm still not used to the new year.  But that's not what's important here.)

April is a BIG DEAL.  And seeing that it's the last day of the month, I wanted to get this message posted before moving on to ANYTHING else.

April is National Organ Donor Awareness Month - or National Donate Life Month, friends!

As many of you probably already know, organ and tissue donation is a cause that is very near and dear to my heart.  And if you do a little research and think hard, you'll probably learn that it's near and dear to your heart, too.   Chances are, you know someone who is waiting for or who has received a life saving organ transplant.  Unfortunately, you may even know someone who wasn't able to wait long enough.

So here's the deal.  The BIG DEAL.

As of April 27th, there are close to 110,000 American candidates waiting for a life-saving transplant.

Are you an organ and tissue donor?   Are you sure about that?

You know, many states deal with this issue in different ways.  Some states allow you to indicate your wish to donate on your drivers license.  Some states have organ donor cards.  Some states even have an organ donor registry - YES!  (See below for a link to these registries).

Anyone can become a potential organ and tissue donor simply by making the commitment and sharing their decision with loved ones.  Informing next-of-kin is crucial to becoming a donor, even for people who have indicated their wish on their drivers license, carry signed donor cards, or register on the state registry.

Think about it, folks - this is a BIG DEAL.  Please don't assume that your family knows your wishes regarding organ donation, and please don't assume that you know their wishes, either.  Have a talk.  Make sure everyone is clear on the wishes of everyone else in your family.

Your decision to donate and share this with your family could make a life-saving difference for many people.  Plus, you have the potential to improve the quality of life for many, many others.  It's the ultimate gift - making a donation so that others may have the chance to live.  To LIVE, friends!

Have a Heart - Be an Organ and Tissue Donor! 

For more information on becoming an organ and tissue donor, please refer to the following resources:

Donate Life Amerca

United States Government Information on Organ Donation

For a list of state donor registries, please visit:

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Welcome to the party!

I am a gal with a lot to say.  But quite frankly, I'm not sure what to say on this blog.

I am married to a wonderful man, Bradley.  He's the real deal - a real dude's dude.  He loves to fish - I sometimes refer to myself as a bass fisherman's widow - and I joke about his bass boat being his 'one true love'.  I'm only joking (I think).  We've been married for two years now, and when I think about all we have done and been through during our short marriage, a smile comes to my face.  We are great friends, and I'll always be thankful for him.

However, I will probably try NOT to blog about him much.  He's one of those guys who thinks blogging is a bit weird, and he has actually requested to be left out.  So there.  I will, however, refer to him as I feel necessary - especially if he is playing a supporting role (or starring role, for that matter) in my story.

When I told Bradley that I was going to start a blog, it was he who posed the question: "What in the world are you going to blog about?  What do you do or have or want that others want to read about?"

He had a point.

I started following a few blogs a year or so ago (you can find these under my favorite blogs - you'll love them, too!)  When I look back at these now, I realize that most of the blogs I follow revolve around motherhood.  I love the thought of being a mother, and hopefully someday I will be a mother, too.  But I am, in fact, not a mother at the moment.  I won't have any sweet stories about my child hosting a tea party for her baby dolls, or my son learning how to fly a kite.  If not motherhood, then what will be the source of my writing?  Where will I get inspiration?

Well, I don't know.  But I feel certain - CERTAIN -  that I have something interesting to say.  I'm trying to be a better cook, and I'd love to learn more about photography - maybe I'll write about that?  I've joined an online book club - I'm sure I'll write about that.  My Wednesday night Bible study?  Maybe!  How about my travels?  My artsy-craftsy side?  Yes!

Further, I have no idea how often I'll post.  Some of my favorite bloggers post daily - daily!  I can only hope to get that good!  But for now, maybe weekly, maybe monthly, maybe three in one day.  I've never been one for regular scheduling anyway.

Think of it as being like a fortune cookie - you never know what message you'll get, and you never know - maybe you can relate or learn from my experiences.  Or maybe you are just looking to read about some of my more embarrassing moments to make yourself feel a bit better.  Whatever your reason, read on.

Truth be told, (and don't take this the wrong way) I am writing this blog more for me than for anyone else.  It's a way to chronicle my life, my adventures, my challenges and my celebrations!  Even if I don't have any avid readers, this is going to be my way of telling my story.