Thursday, May 27, 2010

Heading Home...Graduation & Wedding

Tomorrow afternoon, we are driving to Odessa (my hometown) for two big celebrations and to spend some time with my family over Memorial Day weekend. Our niece Hillary is graduating AND getting married in the same weekend - what an exciting time for her! Here she is as a little girl - isn't she too sweet?? (she still is)...
The arrow is pointing to her at my graduation and now I'll be going to her's - WOW, where does the time go?!
Here she is with me at the our wedding reception with her little bouquet. She was a junior bridesmaid and caught my bouquet - now's she's getting married herself. After this weekend, I'll have a picture of me with her in her wedding dress - so special.
This is Hillary now with her husband-to-be, Jake. They are such an adorable, happy couple. We are so very happy for them and know God will bless them with a wonderful marriage.
I was in the 7th grade when Hillary was born and it's been such a pleasure to be her Aunt. She has brought me so much joy and it's been a delight to develop our relationship and watch her grow into such an amazing young lady. Uncle John thinks she pretty special too! We wish her and Jake the absolute best as they begin this new chapter of their life as husband and wife.

We are looking forward to a weekend of celebrating, but also seeing and spending time with all our family. We'll be back next week with all of the details and pictures. Have a happy weekend!

Until we meet again...
Aunt Riley

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Hallway Addition

For a while now, I've been wanting to add a small bookcase in the hallway that leads from our entry way into the living room. I've had some decorative wall panels hanging on the walls in that area, but needed to fill the space underneath. I had several pictures that I wanted to put out, but running out of display room. Plus I wanted to have another place to set out decorations for the various holidays through the year. My handyman husband kindly put this bookcase together for me on Saturday. I'm pretty pleased with how it turned out and it really helps fill this space. I might add a few more things here and there, but for now here are some before and after pictures... The black and white picture of John and I, on the top right shelf, was a gift to me from John for our anniversary back in February (read about it here). It's a picture that I've been waiting to put out because it needed a home and now it finally has one! The black and white salt and pepper shakers on the same shelf are representative of John and me. They can actually be explained by watching the movie "Fireproof" (read about that about here).

Here's a clip from the movie that will help explain it a little more...

Until we meet again...
Riley

Thursday, May 20, 2010

OH HAPPY THURSDAY!

Thursday has been my favorite day for many years. I know - it's kind of an odd day to be one's "favorite day of the week", but it's mine! I guess Friday is most people's favorite day and I LOVE Fridays, but I guess it's just an understood fact that everyone loves Fridays. One thing that makes Thursday so great is that you know and can tell yourself "Tomorrow is Friday"! It's so nice to get through a Thursday and appreciate that the weekend is ahead.

These days, Thursday is "grocery list making night" at our house - does it get any more exciting?? I honestly do get excited about stuff like that. We buy our groceries every Friday night (which you can read about here). That being said, the list must be made on Thursday night. We do keep a running list on the refrigerator, but I take that list and then do a check through the house and kitchen to see what else we need to add to the list. Then, being the obsessive person that am, I take everything and write it out on a categorized list (which I created in Excel and printed copies). It makes shopping so much easier because you have all the items you need to buy organized by the various sections of the store - meat, dairy, produce, canned goods, snacks and so on - it eliminates the back and forth through the store. Oh goodness - I need help!! The OCD madness never ends. I'm a coupon clipper as well so once I have the list finalized, I look through the store ads and all my coupons to see what I will be able to save on.

Thursday nights we also watch our two favorite shows...

The Office and Parks & Recreation - hillarious comedies that we look forward to watching every Thursday night. Side note - one of our all-time favorites "FRIENDS" was on Thursday nights as well - remember "Must See TV"? Back to present time, I hear so many people that love "The Office" and so many others say they just don't get it, but to each their own. "Parks & Recreation" is just in it's second season, but we were glad to hear that it has been renewed for another season. It was labeled as "one of the best shows on TV that no one's watching". We really enjoy it and laugh so much every week. Sadly, tonight is season finale night so we will say goodbye until the fall.

Here's wishing you a Happy Friday Eve - ready for the weekend!
Until we meet again,
Riley

Saturday, May 15, 2010

I Got My Picture Made with ELVIS!

No, No...I'm not one of those people who think Elvis is still alive (but no offense to those who do - he is "The King" afterall)! I'm talking about Elvis Andrus - Shortstop for the Texas Rangers. A couple of weeks ago, we went to our first baseball game of the season. Here's me and my baseball buddy... It was such a fun night - we love Ranger games! They didn't win, but it was awesome weather, great seats, beyond yummy food and the best company. Before the game, we were watching the Rangers take batting practice. As they were winding down, Elvis came over to sign autographs for those watching so we jumped in the line. We usually carry baseballs and Sharpies to the games just in case autographs are being signed by the players (sometimes they do and sometimes they don't). We were lucky enough to get Elvis' autograph on both of our baseballs. Elvis is only in his 2nd year (just turned 22) and is an amazing player. He's a gem for the Rangers and great that he's so young - many more productive years ahead. He was kind enough to give us his autograph and also take a picture with me.
It was also "Elvis Andrus Bobblehead Night" - fans received a free one, so now we both have his bobblehead in our offices. We have tickets for another game next Saturday night when they face the CUBS (BOO!). It will be a great night and hopefully we get to experience sweet victory this time.

Have a wonderful weekend!
Until we meet again...
Riley

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

FIREPROOF

I am so blessed and thankful to have a husband that is very committed to making our marriage better and stronger every single day. Right after God, our marriage is our top priority in life. We want to treat it daily like the treasure and gift that it is. We do numerous things to make sure our marriage isn't neglected or doesn't get stuck in a rut. We never want our love, friendship, bond, happiness or joy fade with time. It seems like more and more marriages are falling apart or simply empty these days. We want to do all that we can to combat anything negative happening to our marriage. We want to shine the light of Christ through our marriage as a Godly couple. We may be viewed as "too focused" on our marriage or a little "out there" for how into our love and life we are, but that's just who we are - Mr. and Mrs. Ussery - so happy and so in love.

One movie we absolutely LOVE is "Fireproof" and it just happens to be about marriage...

You MUST see this movie!! Every time I watch this movie, I'm inspired to be a better wife. Except for a couple, the people in this movie are not professional actors, they are simply members of a church that are using the production of this movie to spread the word about keeping God at the center of your life and marriage. We've watched this movie many times and also just completed a 6-week devotional study based on the movie - it was AWESOME.

I asked my groom to be a guest blogger and give his take on this movie and the impact it has on him. Here is what John had to say...

WHAT IS FIREPROOF ABOUT?
Fireproof is about a couple (Caleb and Catherine Holt) whose deteriorating marriage has reached it's breaking point and is about to end in divorce. Through undertaking a challenge called "The Love Dare" (given to Caleb by his father), Caleb comes to understand his need for salvation in Jesus Christ, turns from being selfish to loving his wife unconditionally, leads his wife to Christ, and saves the marriage.

WHY DO I LOVE FIREPROOF?

  • It is clean - unlike most movies, you don't feel like you need to take a shower after you watch it
  • It shares the Good News of Jesus Christ clearly and concisely. It doesn't water down the Gospel trying to be "politically correct"
  • It makes clear the fact that a marriage will never be all it can or should be without Jesus as its foundation
  • It teaches the lesson that marriage is a lifelong covenant and love should be unconditional
  • It has some really funny parts!

WHY SHOULD PEOPLE WATCH IT?
It will move you to a stronger love for and commitment to the Lord and your spouse than you've ever had before!

HOW WILL IT IMPROVE YOUR MARRIAGE?
I believe watching Fireproof and applying its message will improve your marriage primarily by motivating spouses to stop being selfish and give each other the unconditional love that Christ gives to all. It drive homes the point that marriage in not a contract of convenience, only to be upheld when things are good, but a lifelong covenant that requires God as its foundation and is to be honored forever, no matter what.

Thank you very much John for your contribution. Our marriage is FIREPROOF - is yours?

Until we meet again...
Riley

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Things to be Happy About - April Edition

We are now into May so it's time again to post my favorite "things to be happy about" from my desk calendar in April. If you need to catch up you can read about the previous months by clicking on the month - January, February and March.

Here are my April things to be happy about...
  • Lemon wedges for fish ~ Fresh lemon squeezed on seafod is so yummy and makes it taste a notch better
  • Displaying things on easels ~ If you walk around our house, you will see pictures, plaques, plates and other things propped up on display easels - I love using them in decorating
  • The swirl of a skirt ~ Being a girl, big flowy skirts are so neat - there's something about spinning around and making your skirt look like an umbrella . I wish we still lived in the days where women wore dresses and pearls...those were the days
  • "Amazing Grace" ~ One of the greatest hymns of all time - classic, timeless and so comforting...it always warms my heart
  • Extra Virgin Olive Oil ~ A staple in our house and used in a lot of our cooking
  • Buying finishing tackle ~ Not something I do, but something my John does...he loves fishing, just doesn't get to do it often enough. He bought some new fishing stuff about a week ago - like a kid in a candy store, he enjoyed looking through it all and picking out a few new things
  • Soup & Sandwich meals ~ So simple, but can really hit the spot. There are so many good soup and sandwich combinations
  • Unclutterd Rooms ~ Ahhhhhh, bliss...cluttered rooms do not make me happy!
  • Home Cooking ~ Eating out is a fun treat and always delicious, but nothing beats "home cooking"...especially good family recipes
  • Thank You notes ~ I was taught at a very young age to send thank you notes for all gifts for all occasions and here I am 31 years old and I still send thank you notes for everything. I think it's so important to show appreciation for thoughtfulness - plus it's another way I can hold onto old fashioned "snail mail"
  • Squirrel Tails ~ I adore squirrels - they are one of my favorite animals. There are several that play in the tree outside of my office window and I love to watch them . I get excited everytime I see a squirrel and their fluffy tails. I have squirrel pajamas and also a stuffed squirrel named "Sawyer" that's holding a heart that reads "I'm nuts about you" (who do you think gave that to me?)
  • Retreating to a Spa ~ This is something I had never done before, but recently John surprised me with a day at the spa. I had a facial, massage, manicure and pedicure - it was AMAZING. I was treated like a queen and felt so nice when I left there...and so relaxed too
  • Maraschino Cherries ~ YUM! I could eat a whole jar
  • Wraparound Porches ~ These add such comfort and beauty to a home. I love to see them on houses driving by and it's my dream to have a house with one surrounded by magnolia trees
  • French Dip Sandwiches ~ Such a tasty sandwich - warm, meaty, cheesy...finger lickin' good! We like making these at home with leftover sliced brisket and provolone cheese
  • The Little Things ~ I am a person that is easily pleased so the "little things" in life bring me such happiness
  • Downtown Shopping ~ How delightful are the towns that still have neat stores and shops downtown? It's one reason we enjoy Fredericksburg, Texas so much - Main Street is full of neat shops and stores. It reminds me of a simpler time. I was definitely born in the wrong decade
  • Kitchen Supply Stores ~ DANGER! DANGER! I'm a kitchen gadget/tool lover so these stores are my toy store. I can't go in one without staying a while and coming out with something perfect to add to my kitchen collection. I'm overwhelmed by all of the kitchen "stuff" and want it all. I should mention there's a kitchen store on Main Street in Fredericksburg - heaven!
  • Post-Its ~ What a gift to this Earth! I'm addicted to buying and using post-it notes and I'm not ashamed...they are incredible things. I have them in all sizes, shapes and colors and use them for everything at home and work. Buy my some post-its and I'll be your friend for life - remember how I said I'm easily pleased?
  • Hibachi Cooking ~ One of our favorite date night places is a hibachi restaurant and it's SO good. It's entertainment and a delicious meal in one place
  • Tulips ~ This is a very special flower to John and I. I discovered a several years ago that tulips mean "You mean everything to me" so we have exchanged them several times throughout our marriage

Have a happy May - until we meet again...
Riley