Saturday, January 30, 2010

Things to be Happy About - January Edition

One of the things I got for Christmas was a day by day calendar for my desk at work. Each day, the calendar page lists about 10 things to be happy about. By the end of the year, I will have read about thousands of things to be happy about. As I tear off the page each day, I circle one or two items on the page that really brings me happiness for one reason or another. Since we are at the end of the month, I thought I would list my favorites from January and a little reason why. I am going to try and do this each month. It will be a fun way to focus on the little things in life that bring such happiness.

Here are my January things to be happy about...

  • A Terrific Hair Day - What a perfect start to any girl's day


  • A Warm Cocoon of Blankets - I love to snuggle up in blankets


  • A Warmed-Up Car - Every single morning, John starts my car for me so it's nice and toasty when I get in to drive to work


  • Short Naps - I'm not one to take long naps, but sometimes a short recharge is great


  • A Glassed-In Sun Porch - My grandparents had one of these and I have so many wonderful memories of being on their back porch and playing in the backyard


  • Fruits of your Labors - How rewarding to work so hard on something and enjoy the finished product


  • Tomato Soup in Mugs - MMMMM ~ so creamy and warm


  • New Products at the Grocery Store - I'm a sucker for this kind of stuff ~ I love grocery shopping and trying all sorts of new things


  • Warm, Fluffy Towels - Not only does John warm up the car for me, but when I get in the shower he throws my towel in the dryer and when he hears the shower turn off, he brings me my warm towel...he's the best


  • Bread Fresh from the Oven - Oh my, what a smell and so tasty with cold butter


  • A Love You Can Count On - The love John and I share - solid as a rock!


  • Gift-Giving - As much as I love to receive gifts, I think I love giving them even more


  • The Smell of Popcorn - We pop our popcorn on the stove - YUMMY! The smell of it sends Calvin racing into the kitchen


  • Homemade Chicken Pot Pie - A cozy meal that I love to cook AND eat


  • A Laughing Couple - Not a day passes that John and I aren't laughing about something ~ we have oodles of fun together


  • A Potluck Dinner - Don't you love these at church? A buffet of deliciousness


  • Weekend Clothes - As I type this I'm wearing a t-shirt and fuzzy, fleece pants ~ ahh, the comfort. I like to dress up, but it's nice to take a break from "work clothes"


  • Indulging Your Organizational Compulsions - If you know me well, you know that I'm an organizational freak so any organization project brings a smile to my face


  • Reruns of Favorite TV Shows - Takes you back to the "good ol' days" when TV was wonderful


  • Coffee Beans Grinding - The smell in the house is divine and knowing a cup of hot coffee is on it's way ~ fabulous


  • Neatly Made Beds - I don't love making the bed, but I do love looking in a room and seeing it all nicely made


  • Cookies in the Oven - This may be one of the best things ever ~ warm cookies and milk


  • Dog-Ear Softness - Calvin has his ears played with constantly and they are soft as can be


  • Hummingbirds - John gets excited when he sees hummingbirds and that makes me happy


  • Stories Behind Photos - I really enjoy knowing all of the stories that a picture tells...the when, who, where, why ~ they truly capture memories


  • Lighting a Candle in Church - Such peace and calm ~ especially with a lit candle on Christmas Eve singing "Silent Night"


  • A Bride in White - Is there anything more beautiful than a bride on her wedding day?

Speaking of a bride, something bringing me happiness today is knowing that I am 9 days away from celebrating the day my groom and I were married ~ 7 amazing years! One last thing...this is my 100th blog post! I sure have enjoyed doing this blog ~ sharing our life with you.

I hope that you find something to be happy about each and everyday. Life is precious and we take so much for granted! I am looking forward to gathering my favorites from February ~ have a wonderful weekend.

Until we meet again...
Riley

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Farkle Fun


We LOVE board games in our house and both of our families love to play games. We have a completely full game closet with over 60 games in it! We enjoy playing board games any chance we get.

One of the games we got for Christmas was a version of "Farkle" - it is called "Farkle Party". Have you ever played "Farkle"? I had never played it before we got it for Christmas, but John had. He had some memories of playing it at his Grandma's house, so that was really neat.

It is a lot of fun! It's a dice game, kind of like Yahtzee. We really enjoy it too because two people can play it and most of the time, it's just the two of us playing a game. For several games, it required to have to more than two people to play, so this works good for us.

We've kind of gotten on a Farkle kick where we play it several times a week in the evenings after we're done with all our "stuff" to do. We played it twice last night and John absolutely destroyed me. It's all in good fun though - we simply have a blast playing games. It gives us time to spend together having fun and escaping reality and there are lots of laughs! We played Pictionary after that and we were rolling at some of the pictures and answers.

If you are looking for some fun with your spouse or family - play games!!

Until we meet again...
Riley

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

HAPPY BIRTHDAY, JACOB!

We would like to wish our sweet nephew, Jacob, a very Happy 11th Birthday! He was 4 the day we got married - wow, how time does fly. We hope you have a wonderful day - we love you very much!

Uncle John & Aunt Riley

Sunday, January 24, 2010

HELD

This morning, the sermon we heard was about those times in life when things happen that there is no explanation for and how in those times we should just run to God instead of trying to figure out why. So many things happen in the world and in life that don't seem to make sense and we'll never understand, but in those times we need to just go to God, crawl up in His lap and be held.

There is a song that fits this perfectly. It's by Natalie Grant and it's called "Held". It's such a powerful song!

Here's the video...



Have a wonderful week!
Until we meet again...
John & Riley

Monday, January 18, 2010

Weekend Review

Happy Monday - hope you had nice weekend! We certainly did - this was our first regular weekend at home since before Christmas, so it was nice to have things back to normal (even though we really enjoyed all of our holiday travels).

Friday night I got my hair cut after work and then John and I met up at El Chico for dinner to celebrate the day we met (for the story behind that, click here to read all about it). After dinner we ran a few shopping errands around town, got coffee at Starbucks and bought our groceries for this week. It was a fun Friday night!

Saturday started out rather cold and rainy, so we spend most of the day inside doing all sorts of "To Dos" around the house. There were basic weekly things we needed to take care of and we worked on a couple of "projects" as well - we got a lot done! Being the planner/organizational freak that I am...I love being productive so it felt great. Also, I finally got the buffet table in that I've been wanting for the dining room. It was delivered earlier in the week and John so kindly put it all together for me on Saturday. I still have a wall quote and mirror to put above it, but here is a picture of the table...

Once I get it all set up and decorated, I will take a picture of it in the dining room. I will really enjoy having the extra storage space in it plus it will be nice to serve food or snacks from. I also plan on having a few decor items on top when it's not being used as a serving area.

After our full day at home, Saturday night was DATE NIGHT - hooray! We love "Date Night". We went to Joe's Crab Shack for dinner and it was oh so delicious! After dinner we went and saw "The Blind Side".

We have been wanting to see this movie for a while and WOW, was it awesome! We both LOVED the movie and would highly recommend it. After the movie, it was on to dessert and coffee at Chili's - mmmm!

Sunday we enjoyed muffins for breakfast and going to church - a great Sunday school lesson and wonderful worship service. I will chose NOT to comment on the Cowboys game and their pathetic effort. I actually told John to change the channel toward the end...I was too disgusted to watch anymore. Better luck next year I suppose, but I'm tired of saying that year after year. I'm already getting depressed that football season is almost over and now this - oh well, life goes on - HAHA! Sunday afternoon we worked on a few more things around the house and enjoyed a nice Sunday nap. Last night, we had a big, yummy supper along with dessert and we played some games (while I kept one eye on the Golden Globes).

We have a full week and weekend ahead. However, we don't have too much going on tonight so I think after work we are going to take Calvin for a walk, a homemade pizza is on the menu for dinner then we may play the Wii and have a relaxing evening before the week gets more hectic.

Have yourself a wonderful week!
Until we meet again...
Riley

Thursday, January 14, 2010

HAPPY BIRTHDAY, CALVIN!

HAPPY 7th BIRTHDAY, CALVIN!

Though we aren't sure of the exact date, we know that Calvin was born in January 2003 so we are celebrating his birth month instead of his exact birthday. You can read more about this adorable dog on the right side bar. We got Calvin in April 2003 (all 5 lbs of him at the time) and he has been a joy ever since then. He's brought us so much happiness and is tons of fun. I know he's "just a dog", but if you are a pet owner, you know how special they are and that they are truly a part of your family. Everyone says this about their dog, but Calvin is simply the perfect dog. We've had so many people comment on what a calm, well behaved dog he is. He's such a sweet dog and a wonderful friend!

We try to take care of him as best we can and we also pray for him that God will allow him to remain healthy and be with us for many more years to come.

We love you, Calvin!
Until we meet again...
Riley

Friday, January 8, 2010

The Day We Met

It was eight years ago today, January 8, 2002. I flew to the Little Rock airport to meet John - face to face for the first time. If you don't know how "Our Story" began, you can catch up and read about it all here. Reading that will help with the rest of the story...

I exited the plane and made my way to the friend/family waiting area and there was John, with daisies in hand (my favorite flower). John had come to the airport to pick me up along with Jason and Angela. After leaving the airport we all went to lunch at El Chico. After lunch, Jason and Angela dropped us off at John's house in Conway and they went back home. John gave me a tour of his cute little house and gave me a few PEZ dispensers (which I collect). Later in the afternoon, we drove out to Mount Vernon to eat dinner and spend time with John's parents and Jason, Angela, Jacob and Isaac. It was a really nice, fun evening. John still says to this day that he was so nervous that day - too cute!

I was scheduled to stay for a week in Arkansas (staying with Jason and Angela). My flight back home was the following week. John and I were going to have a full week to get to know each other more in person, spend some quality time together and see where things would go. Well, to make a long story short, I never flew back home! I canceled my flight and decided to stay here indefinitely. (FYI: I did go back home to get some of my things at one point and I lived with Jason and Angela for a while.)

I flew to meet John on January 8, 2002 and we were engaged within 3 months. When you know...you know! And exactly one month from today (February 8th) we will be celebrating our 7th anniversary.

God is amazing in how He weaved our lives together in the way that He did in His time, not ours. We were both hoping and praying for that perfect person and not very patient in doing so, but as always, He had a plan for us.

John gave me a card this morning and in it he wrote, "I really can't tell you how thankful I am for January 8, 2002 and for every moment since. I love you so much more than you could possibly ever know!" Signed - Your Husband. Oh and on the front of the card was a man holding a daisy behind his back. John is the sweetest and so very thoughtful. I love that he knows, remembers and makes special all of the meaningful dates in our life together. I'm incredibly blessed that he was chosen for me!

We ususally go eat at El Chico every January 8th to remember our first meal together! Again, since we are visiting John's family we will have to do it another time, but it will be done. We have a date planned to celebrate the day we met - face to face for the first time!

Until we meet again...
Mrs. Ussery

Thursday, January 7, 2010

New Year's Resoultions

I don't typically make "resoultions" per se as each new year dawns, but I always try to think of things that I would like to do better or do dfferently. A new year serves as an Etch-a-Sketch to erase the past and start anew - isn't that really nice sometimes? John and I both have been thinking about what we would like to change in 2010...

The "eating better" and "exercising more" usually goes without saying - it's understood really. We spend from Thanksgiving to Christmas eating all sorts of yummy things - anything we can get our hands on usually. By the time the new year rolls around, we are usually carrying that "holiday weight" on top of the unwanted pounds we had already gained through the year...so we are miserable and ready to get back on track and get healthy again. I too am ready for that!

We are currently celebrating a late Christmas in Arkansas with John's family, but when we return home it is back to the routine. We will start eating normally and fairly healthy again (with a few indulgences here and there!) and start working out more regularly. I was getting up at 5am and working out before work. That is WAY TOO EARLY, but I'd rather do it then and get it over with than having to worry about it after work and a long drive home. I typically do a workout DVD or the Wii Fit in our living room - whoo hoo! I prepare monthly menus so that helps us stay pretty on track with our eating, but it's the weekends that usually get us in trouble, but we are going to work on that too.

One thing that I plan to do (and have asked John to hold me accountable) is reading the Bible everyday and doing a short devotional. By the time 2010 ends, I will have read the entire Bible. I have a book, "The One Year Bible Devotionals for Women" that I plan to use...
Sadly, I've had this book for a couple of years. I bought it with good intentions, but never have really used it like I should, but a change is gonna come! It is January 7th and I've done 7 days worth - only 51 weeks to go! I've greatly enjoyed it thus far and look forward to spending 365 days in His word and applying a small lesson to my life daily. I told John to stay on me if I start slacking and he pledged his support. He's already told me several times how proud he is of me and that's wonderful to hear.

Together, we have decided to do what we are calling "12 Months of Giving". God has blessed us so much, that we want to bless others and not just during the holidays, but the whole year through! So we've decided to set aside a little money each month and give a donation to a person/people or organization that may need it. There are so many people and charities that need help ALL year. From month to month, we may simply give money or we may go and buy any supplies or items they may need to help their cause. It will be such a good feeling to be giving back each and every month. I know I am repeating myself, but God has helped us so much so we want to thank Him by helping others. For January, we are giving our money to the Boys & Girls Club. John called and asked if they needed money or purchased items and she was thrilled and said that we could just mail a check, so we plan to do that next week. She even told him that we are welcome to come and take a tour. It's only one month, but I already feel wonderful about this year of giving!

Do you make new year's resolutions? May your 2010 be blessed and give thanks to the Lord for He is good. His love endures forever...
Until we meet again,
Riley

Monday, January 4, 2010

How 'bout them Cowboys?

NFC EAST CHAMPS!!! Very few even predicted the Cowboys would make the playoffs much less win the division, but they did - hooray!! What a great game and such a dominate performance by the Cowboys. Here's hoping they carry their hot streak into and through the playoffs - it's been FAR TOO LONG!

Saturday night is the re-match of the Cowboys vs Eagles. We will be visiting John's family this weekend, so we will get to watch the game with them. Our nephew, Jacob just so happens to be a huge Eagles fan (poor guy!) so I'm sure there will be a lot of trash talking Saturday night back and forth - fun times!
I'm sorry sweet Jacob, I think the Cowboys are going to beat your Eagles one last time (3rd time this season) and finish them off for good!! I can't take another playoff loss...

I still need to post some of our Christmas pictures. Ahhhhh - it's just been such a busy time and now we are getting into the swing of the new year! We have lots of pictures from our trip to Odessa and then John and I did our gift exchange on New Year's Day and that was lots of fun (we have pictures from that as well). I came down with a cold on Thursday which stinks, but other than that it was a wonderful weekend. Our house is starting to get back to normal too with Christmas decorations being put away and cleaning being done. Anywho, hopefully sooner rather that later, I'll get our Christmas pictures on here.

Have a great week and Happy 2010!
Until we meet again...
Riley