Family and Friends

Lights, outside and in

Food, Food, Food

Snow, more the merrier. No ice though.

Stockings hung by the chimney... or in my case down the stairs.

Finding great gifts

Love, not just for family and friends but mostly for Jesus Christ! He's the reason for the season!
Work and Christmas prep have kept me very busy but I'm amped because Christmas week is here! We got roughly 18 inches of snow, more than this area has had in a long time. I’m excited that for once we’ll have snow at Christmas time. Plus, I get to wear my new boots, which I love. Thanks Mom. Annie seems to love the snow also, even though it’s taller than she is. She bounces all around with her little head in the air. Due to being snowed in it was nice to spend the weekend hanging out with Brad around the house. Saturday night we played some board games and I killed Brad at Monopoly. That's putting it nicely.

We will be very busy this week with all the family gatherings. Wednesday night is Christmas at Brad’s Moms, Thursday his Grandma’s, Friday morning his Dad’s, lunch at his other Grandma’s and dinner at my parents. Yes, lots of gatherings with our big family! It will be lots of fun. I will keep you posted!

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Thanksgiving went by well. The night before, Annika and Sean were in town from Vegas and six of us caught up over sushi. It was a lot of fun to catch up and really made me realize how much I miss them. We decided we will be headed out to visit them in the spring. I’m excited to have them show us their new stomping grounds and do a little gambling.

This was my first year cooking for Thanksgiving on my own. Brad’s Dad, Granny and Uncle headed over to our house for lunch. I made the works and I must say I impressed myself! For dinner we headed to Brad’s aunts who annually hosts the McAlexander dinner. There are a bunch of them so her work was cut out for her. All of this eating was followed by another dinner at my parent’s house, who hosted the Conner family dinner. LOTS of eating.

The weekend following, Brad and I hung our stockings, put the tree up and wrapped most of the gifts. I’m not much of a procrastinator around the holidays so I began shopping a few months ago. My shopping is almost done. Now, if we could just get some snow!
My apologizes for being a bad blogger. I started my new job in marketing and public relations for the United Way of Montgomery, Radford & Floyd on the 19th. It has definitely kept me busy. Although it has only been about a week and a half I’m really excited to be working for such a great organization and feel renewed! Some people may say that it isn’t about what you do but how you do it. I think that’s garbage. It is about what you do. It’s about the people you help, the people you touch and the lives that are changed around you. I may not have all the answers and I definitely can’t solve all the problems at my job or elsewhere. What I do know, is that when I get up in the morning my life has a little more meaning than it did before and that’s more than enough for me.
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Turkey fever has got a hold of me! Since we are now into the second week of November I’m feeling very festive and excitingly planning for Thanksgiving. This will be my first year making a turkey. While I’m not a great cook, I think I’m capable and with the right ingredients and recipe, can do just about anything. Watch out!

At the office we have officially brought out the Christmas tunes and no I don’t think it’s too soon. The way I see it we only have two months of that Christmas spirit and it never seems like quite enough to me. I’m ready for the cold weather and have disappointingly been watching the weather in the mornings to see 60 and 70 degree weather. It’s November… I want the cold and will soon want the snow. I’m ready for the Christmas lights, trees, presents, shopping, food, family and friends!
As previously mentioned, I've been in the desperate need of change, a change in my life to help me receive fulfillment in a new way. A need to do something that helps others instead of being a part of something that's always about pushing a number. I've spent many hours in prayer and thought to find what direction to take. My decision has been made and I'm ready to share it!

I’m very excited to announce that on November 19th I will begin working at the United Way of Montgomery, Radford & Floyd. I’m going back to where it all started! In college I put in a year of volunteer work at the UW and was later offered a Marketing and Communication Intern position. I will now be going back to step into the role of Marketing/PR and Resource Development Manager, I know, it’s a mouthful. I’m very excited for the change in direction of my career and honored to be working for a wonderful organization that truly helps people’s lives. It’s an organization that inspired me and I know will only continue to do so.

While I will miss my co-workers at The Roanoke Times, I know that some of us will remain friends. As someone recently told me, this is one of the many steps I will have to take to find where I fit and what I want to do with my life. I think it’s 100% true. I’m excited to look forward and know that great things are to come. I will look back on my first job out of college with nothing but fond memories of my co-workers. They taught me a lot and we shared a lot of great laughs.

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Saturday was a great day! I was able to do some much needed retail therapy with my mom. We also hit up Starbucks and I was more than glad because I hadn’t been in a week and a half and was experiencing withdrawal symptoms. I ended up with some great finds; cute pair of stilettos, two necklaces, two sweaters, two pairs of pants and four or five shirts! I even got Brad a few shirts! Like any good wife would do.

After my therapy session I headed home to prepare for some friends who were coming over for dinner before heading to downtown Blacksburg for some drinks and dancing at the Boo Bash. We met up with a few people from work and ran into some friends. The night was a lot of fun and I will leave the rest of the details up to the photos;

Good times. I have a feeling I will have a lot to talk about this week... stay tuned.

A lot of people that know me well probably know that growing up my family didn’t have much money. Don’t get me wrong, my Mom always made sure we were fed and clothed and gave and did for us everything she could. I’m proud of my Mom and know it was hard to raise two children on her own after my Dad died. I was also very blessed to have a Mother who would give anything to see me happy. That is what my Mother defined motherhood to mean to me; strength, courage, determination and a love so strong you would give your life in a seconds notice. One of the things growing up this way instilled in me is the constant need to give back.

A great organization here in Christiansburg is the Montgomery County Christmas Store. This organization is near and dear to my heart because I went to the very same one when I was a little girl. They not only let my Mom pick out toys for my brother and I, they also let me pick out gifts for my family. My Mother still to this day has a set of Christmas canisters I picked out for her when I was around 4 years old, the first time we went to the Christmas store. Each Christmas she puts them out in her kitchen. They have always served as a reminder to me of how wonderful God is and great things he has done for my family. If it wasn’t for the Christmas Store I don’t know if I would have had the Christmas’ I was fortunate enough to have had and the memories I’ve been given. In November, Brad and I will be volunteering there and I’m very excited to help others and an organization that helped my family. I encourage all my friends to help out in anyway because this is truly an organization that changes people's lives.
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Things are going refreshingly well. Lots going on and lots to look forward to and keep me busy!

Friday I received a huge confidence boost and it was much needed. I performed well at doing something that I found myself slightly apprehensive about. What will come of it? I’m unsure and frankly think the boost may be enough.

Shout out to my lovely ladies. Friday was also a great day because I got to catch up with a few of my girls, Gabe and Brittany. We frequently plan girl’s night out Fridays but have all found ourselves very busy and been unable to see each other for awhile. While we missed Jenny, who was out of town, we had a nice time eating sushi and chatting, which to me is like therapy to some. I love my girls and find myself having withdrawals when I don’t see them regularly. They are all very unique and beautiful women. I love having such diverse friends that I can learn so much from. I carry a piece of each of them everywhere I go and thank God for each of them daily!

Saturday was a great family day. My Mom and I took my nephew to lunch and took him to play arcade games. I think he had a nice time and I know Mom and I did! It's surprising to see this area grow so much and still have very little attractions for young children. I think it's sad there is no indoor play areas. There's the skatign ring but I don't think a 3 year on skates is a good idea. This evening Bradley and I had a much needed date night. We had dinner and caught a movie. While our first choice, Couples Retreat, was sold out, we settled for Paranormal Activity. This is a movie I don’t believe I would ever have seen if it weren’t for the fact that there were no good choices. It was scary and as I write this before bed, I do not want to think about it.

Sunday I hope for so much needed time for cleaning and catching up on T.V! Coming up next weekend is Halloween and Brad and I are looking forward to it. While we haven’t gotten our costumes together because we can sometimes be procrastinators. I’m looking forward to my creations coming together. This year we will be going as, drum roll please… Sherlock Holmes and Waldo. Yes, I came up with that one myself. This will be the first time we semi match. We always tend to be on two very different pages when it comes to costumes and Bradley usually ends up refusing to wear what I have chosen for him.

I’ll keep you posted!
The best parts of living in this area;

Poor Billy’s Sushi

The Parkway in Fall

Dudes Drive-In hotdogs!

Virginia Tech football season, GO HOKIES!

Starlight Drive-In during the summer, you can’t beat paying a dollar for a hot dog, fries or popcorn!

Grama’s Goodies chicken salad

Kobe, Japanese fast-food that is good. I don’t even want to get started talking about the Hokie Sauce, it’s delicious. I’m unsure of what’s in it but it’s some sort of mayo based sauce and as for the rest I don’t care.

Hiking spots like The Cascades and Alta Mons.
This weekend flew by faster than usual. My church had trunk or treating on Saturday night and it was a lot of fun. Lots of costumes, candy, pizza and games, what more could any kid (or kid at heart) want? Sunday, after church, I headed to Wal-Mart for the Judgment House bake sale. It was 40 some degrees and it felt like 30 after an hour but was successful. We gave out hundreds of flyers, made some money and met some great people. We even had a man bring us some Starbucks hot chocolate. Sweetest thing ever! It was fun and was kind of refreshing to see how many great people there are out there. Lots of folks were very receptive and wanted to help out!
Since I’ve already posted about my favorite parts of fall, I won’t bore you with it again. But, today Brad and I went with his nieces and nephews, only five of his nine, to the Sinkland Farm’s Pumpkin Patch. We got to eat hot dogs, go for hayrides, find the perfect pumpkin, get face paintings and go through some mazes. Its days like today that make you remember that family is what it’s all about. I’m blessed to have received such a wonderful family and I guess I got Brad as a little something extra!

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This morning I received one of the cutest chain emails I've seen in awhile. Needless to say this was one I passed along.

It defiantly reminds me of Annie, my 1 year old JRT. She loves attention so much I think she would let someone do just about anything to her. She would probably try to eat the marker though. : )

My friend and fellow co-worker Sarah has been training for her first marathon for the last 6 months. The big race day has finally come and will take place this Saturday in Baltimore. I just wanted to give her a shout out and wish her well! I’m very proud of her because I sure as heck know I couldn’t run a 26.2 mile race. I think it’s something that not many people have the dedication and work ethic to do and I know she’ll do great!
Prayer is an important part of my life and for the past year I’ve felt like my life needs a change when it comes to the work that I do. So, I’ve turned to prayer to have God help me choose the path that will be best for my life and Brad’s. I’ve now been married for 6 months and the biggest difficulty for me in marriage has been understanding that being a wife means I make the best decisions for both Brad and I, not just myself. I’ve always been the type of person to make a decision and simply go with it. I’m quick to decisions instead of hard thought. My husband on the other hand is quite the opposite, which is what I truly believe keeps me stable and from being all over the place sometimes. So I’ve been considering multiple choices in my life and hope that the next year proves to be all that I hope for and more importantly what God wants for me. I’ll keep you posted with what happens…
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Yesterday I officially finished my Christmas boxes for Operation Christmas Child. This is something I got involved in with my church. You simply fill a shoe box with school supplies, hygiene products, toys and candy for a child in poverty. You also include a $7 donation per box for shipping. The boxes are taken to a Samaritan’s Purse drop zone and shipped all over the world! It's a great organitation and I feel privileged to be involved!

The Operation Christmas Child ministry extends far beyond a gift-filled shoe box. A primary goal of the project is to offer children the opportunity to participate in the Operation Christmas Child Discipleship Program, and to give every graduate a New Testament in their local language. In 2009-2010, an estimated 1.9 million children will have the opportunity to participate in the program, with an estimated 1.2 million of these boys and girls completing the series of Bible lessons. These discipleship materials are used by local churches as effective resources to show children how to come into relationship with God, to explore His Word, and to encourage children to grow in their faith.
- Samaritan's Purse site

The deadline isn't until November, so there is still time to get involved!
About three or four months ago I started a book club with Monique and Sarah from work. Our goal is to read a book a month and then we have a dinner meeting to discuss the book together. We currently have five or six members and are looking to expand. So if anyone is interested let me know!

So far I think the book club has been a success. It’s nice to spend time with and discuss books with others who enjoy reading. Especially since my husband doesn’t fall in that category. In the next month or so I’m hoping to pitch an idea to my book club to possibly do a fundraiser for literacy. A few years ago I worked at The United Way and learned about a really great volunteer organization called the Literacy Volunteers of the New River Valley. This non-profit helps both children and adults by improving their literacy skills.

From I found some really sad statistics on literacy.

• Literacy is learned. Illiteracy is passed along by parents who cannot read or write.
• One child in four grows up not knowing how to read.
• 43% of adults at Level 1 literacy skills live in poverty compared to only 4% of those at Level 5
• 3 out of 4 food stamp recipients perform in the lowest 2 literacy levels
• 90% of welfare recipients are high school dropouts
• 16 to 19 year old girls at the poverty level and below, with below average skills, are 6 times more likely to have out-of-wedlock children than their reading counterparts.
• Low literary costs $73 million per year in terms of direct health care costs. A recent study by Pfizer put the cost much higher.

I wanted to see if anyone had any cool fundraising ideas? We could always do a bake sale, candy sale, resale or raffle of sorts, but these are also open to their own possibilities. Let me know if anyone knows of a fundraising idea that has proven to be successful!
Thank my current occupation for theses;

In memory ads should never involve a person shirtless and drinking a beer. It screams disrespectful to me.

Rude emails that are degrading and belittling can’t be made ok with a smiley face immediately following. It’s still rude, degrading and belittling to me. Thanks.

No matter who you are it is odd to touch something I’m drinking or eating, even if it’s the exterior of the container. If it’s on my desk please don’t touch it. H1N1 anyone?

All of these listed are odd; resting your head on someone’s shoulder you don’t see outside of work, yelling “sunglasses” at someone just because they are wearing them and yelling out while dropping to your knees in the middle of the office.

Don’t assume the person who works in the office is the one who delivers your paper. Odds are I don’t get up at 1 a.m. to deliver your paper then work in the office from 8am – 5 pm. I’m just saying, odds are against it.

If you are sick, with let’s say Bronchitis etc. Something that is spreadable. Don’t be coughing all over the place and infecting the people who work in the small office around you. I’m all for dependability but we aren’t doctors, we don’t save lives, take a day off.
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We just got back yesterday from Williamsburg and it was tons of fun! It rained everyday but it was just scattered showers that kept the lines down at Busch Gardens. Howl-O-Scare was pretty cool and I def recommend it. Williamsburg is a really pretty area of VA and I love the history. We also checked out William and Mary again before we headed home, I seem to have a thing for colleges. Overall, it was a pretty relaxing mini-vacation other than the 5 mile up hill bike ride Brad took me on… don’t get me started.

We stayed at Kingsmill. It was super pretty.

Me and ol TJ hanging out.

Brad on our bike ride around the resort.


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We are headed for the weekend with our friends Mark and Terry to Williamsburg. I'm excited to tour William and Mary. I think it's one of the most beautiful colleges and is the second oldest college in America.

It's only been a few months since we last ventured to Williamsburg but I'm also amped to go to Busch Gardens! I'm a rollercoaster junkie and can't wait to ride Griffon... my fav. Not to mention the fact that this is my first visit during Howl-O-Scream!

90 degrees straight toward the ground, reaching speeds faster than 70 miles per hour!

Sould be a fun time! More to come!
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My church, Abundant Life Fellowship, is having our annual Judgment House at the end of October! It's a lot of fun and everyone is welcome! Come check it out!

Well two weeks ago I got this crazy idea of getting my hair cut short. I’ve only cut my hair short once. That was the day before high school graduation and I hated it. The problem is when I get an idea in my head I just go for it. I’ve never been much for thinking a decision completely through. So, a day or two after my great idea I got about 6 inches of hair cut off... Most days I hate it and that’s for one simple reason; I am and will always be a ponytail kind of gal. Low ponytails are my thing and they go with everything; working out, work, hanging at home, out with the gals… everything. I would like to mention that I told my hairstylist to just keep enough for a ponytail and in response she said "Ok, not a problem," which I believed was a mutual verbal understanding that somehow was forgotten. But, in light of my new do, that is even shorter than is was at high school graduation, I’m determined to make the best of it and rock it. Today, is day one of looking for a new look. Instead of my usual straighten it until it won’t straighten anymore, I went with a bigger natural look. It’s ok but is falling, literally, short. I’ll keep you posted when I find what I like.

and After

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