Friday, March 30, 2012

kindness


Happy Friday to all!  
I ran across this quote the other day and since then it keeps playing in the back of mind.  This weekend I hope that I will put my pride aside and leave my ever-present need to be right at the door.  I will be a patient heart that listens and loves.....



Wednesday, March 28, 2012

happy girls

photo credit, http://www.doctormacro.com


We’ve all heard this quote before, but do we really believe that “happy girls are the prettiest girls?”  Take a look at the magazine rack at the grocery store.  The covers are filled with sayings like, “Top 10 Beauty Secrets” and “How to get that Glow.”  Between all of the eye creams, hair tips and microdermabrasion recommendations, it seems as if we miss the number 1 beauty secret – happiness.  I think Ms. Hepburn knew what she was talking about years ago.  There is something in a woman that only happiness can capture.  Now I don’t mean the kind of happiness that you get when the slow poke in the left lane finally moves over to let you pass them. No, not the fleeting kind.  I mean the pure joy kind.  The kind of happiness that lingers after a long talk with an old friend.  Or the kind that seems to fill the room whenever family is around – even if it’s the crazy family members.  Or the kind of happiness you get when you sit down for “you” time and do whatever it is that truly brings you happiness.  I must say that there is an inner joy that some of you may think I am referring to that I believe only comes with knowing the Lord, but today that is not what I’m talking about – more on that in a later post.  Today I’m just talking about finding things that make you happy and doing them.  That’s the second part.  Once you find those things that make you happy – that bring you bliss – decide what you are going to do about them.  I believe that laziness is the stealer of happiness and that you get out what you put in.  So, I’ve created a fill-in-the-blank exercise that I encourage all of you to sit down and think about . . . it goes like this:


“It makes me happy when ___________, so I ___________.


Here are a few of my happiness phrases…

It makes me happy when I write, so I started a blog.

It makes me happy when my husband is happy, so I try to make him feel special every day.

It makes me happy when I have energy, so I try my best to eat healthy.

It makes me happy when I eat chocolate, so I indulge in a little every day.

It makes me happy to be involved in my friends’ lives, so I make an extra effort to stay connected and involved and take interest in their interests.

It makes me happy to have a clean house, so I try my best to pick up a little each day.

It makes me happy to have my husband’s undivided attention, so I give him mine.

It makes me happy to see my parents’ smile, so I try to make them proud every day.


What are your happiness phrases?









Tuesday, March 27, 2012

white or wrong

So here it is. I live at the beach. It’s 80 degrees. Almost April. And I want to wear my white skinnies. Is it wrong? Growing up in the south I’ve always played by the rules, fashion and all else. But it just seems so right to slip on my white jeans, a sequined top and some flats for lunch with the girls. But there it is in the back of my mind – the Memorial Day rule. It plagues me every year. And then there’s winter white? Why is that OK but the lines between March and May are completely blurry?

Well, I’ve created a new rule. In my world white jeans, shorts, skirts and dresses are OK adored after Easter. And guess what? Easter is right around the corner . . . YEE HAW.

Monday, March 26, 2012

weekend in an instagram

I loved my weekend!  Even though my pack lost, UNC did as well which made up for it just a little bit.  I got to spend time with friends, family and see my dad win the Racquetball State Championships.  So here is my weekend in instagram pictures.  Enjoy and happy Monday!

1. Watching basketball with the Dearies. 2) With hubby watching my daddy play.

Sunday, March 25, 2012

wedding post part 1

1 ½ years

 

1 year and 6 months ago I married my best friend.
1 year 6 months ago I wore the prettiest dress I’ve ever seen.
1 year 6 months ago I felt like a princess.
And 1 year 6 months ago my happily ever after began.

I’m a big celebrator of any kind of anniversary – well of any kind of anything.  But today marks my 1.5 year wedding anniversary and that leaves me with so much to be grateful for.  So in honor of the romance of September 25, 2010 – I decided to share a few wedding pictures.  All of them pre-ceremony (the rest will come later) – oh and a letter to the man who changed my life.


now some wedding memories . . . 
getting ready with my bridesmaids
my sisters
the boys

almost ready to go

the handsome groom
the boys
still in love with that dress



getting ready to walk


ready to walk



Wednesday, March 21, 2012

unexpected wake-up calls


You know those times in your life where everything seems to be going A-OK?  No one’s really sick, no one’s really sad – everything is just sorta smooth sailing.  And then it happens.  You get an unexpected wake-up call.  You feel that lump in your throat rising, you’re weak in the knees, you can’t speak or maybe you’re sobbing uncontrollably, and you just know something has gone wrong.  It can be a serious wake-up call where you lose someone or something in your life.  A traumatic experience that will change you and your loved ones forever.  Or maybe it’s a less permanent wake-up call that reminds you how blessed you are and just how short life is, but eventually life turns back to the way it was.
It’s these times in your life when you take a step back, reevaluate your priorities and hold everyone you love as close as you can.  You’re reminded of God’s grace and unconditional love and how comforting it is knowing that He is in control.  You look around at your home or your apartment and suddenly all of the “stuff” disappears and the only thing that remains is the people.  I think God does this on purpose.  He needs to bring us back to Him sometimes and in some cases the only way to do this is a wake-up call. 
Without going into too much detail, I experienced one of those wake-up calls this past Sunday.  Luckily it was replaced by the truth that everything will be OK and nothing has changed in my life for the permanent time.  But still.  Since then I drive with my windows down and the radio off.  I rush to the door even faster to give my husband kisses after work.  I break a smile in the middle of the day just remembering something funny my mom said the night before.  Right now I am present.  I am grateful for the time I am given and for the people of whom I can share it with.  And most of all I am grateful for those wake-up calls.  Those somewhat scary, uncertain times when God gives you a squeeze and reminds you just how truly blessed you are. 
So here’s to wake-up calls.  They happen every day and can be as subtle or as loud as God wants.  May they remind you of what is important in life and encourage you to live each day to the fullest.
These times also always bring back memories.  Happy memories.  So I'll share a few with you :)
family photo-op.  circa 1989.
the first time I held my oldest nephew. august 17, 2001



best friends, 2009


mexico with hubs, 2009

get your greens

So my husband and I try our best to eat healthy - sometimes we succeed and sometimes we fail.  We are always looking for yummy ways to get in our raw veggies but I can’t lie, we are both kind of picky.  Well, last night we succeeded in eating a healthy, easy and delicious meal! I originally found this recipe here and we loved it so much, I had to share.  Matt doesn’t seem to consider anything a “meal” without a meat so we added chicken and rice for some more substance and it was perfect!

What you need:

2 bunches broccoli, diced
1 cup asparagus, diced
1 cup fresh spinach
1 slice Swiss cheese
1 slice Provolone cheese
2 slices Mozzarella cheese
1 can cream of celery soup
1 cup skim milk
1 cup organic chicken, cut in small pieces (optional)
1 cup brown rice
1 tbsp garlic powder (you could substitute garlic salt too)
Salt to taste (we like Sea Salt)
2 tbsp grated Parmesan for garnish

your skin will love you for eating all these green veggies


Preparation:
  
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F
Place broccoli, asparagus and spinach in large bowl
Shred the Swiss, Mozzarella and Provolone cheeses and add to the bowl.
Add rice, soup, milk, garlic powder, and salt to taste.
Mix gently and pour into a large casserole dish.
Add chicken and spoon in evenly.
Baked covered for about 35-40 minutes.
Take out, remove cover and add parmesan for garnish.






add milk slowly and stir as you are adding


once you add the chicken, take a spoon and slowly mix well


yum

  
ENJOY!

This is also a GREAT way for all you moms out there looking for easy and scrumptious ways to get your kids’ their green veggies.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Monday, March 19, 2012

weekend round-up


Ahh Monday.  Is it here already?  As always my weekends are never quite long enough.  Filled with date night, birthday bashes and lots of Wolfpack victories, I'd say I had a pretty dag on GREAT weekend.  So here it is:


Friday, not only did my NCSU boys get a win over San Diego State, but hubby and I got to have date night at one of our favorite spots too!  Double whammy.  Here's a picture of the view from our table . . . sunset bliss.

sunset from our table at Bluewater Grill



Saturday morning my mom and I got to spend some QT shopping and eating – both of which we are considered experts.  Later that afternoon, Matt and I hopped over to his parent’s house to pick up our Corn Hole Boards (yee haw) and see them off to Hilton Head for the week.  Saturday night I had the privilege of eating the best sushi in Wilmington with 6 lovely ladies - all in honor of this gal's birthday.  Love you Kristen!

the birthday girl drinking her champagne sent to the table by our sweet friend Mallory :)

all the girls at Bento Box


Sunday began with lots of sleeping and spending the day at my parent's house. Oh - and watching the Wolfpack pull out yet ANOTHER big win. Sweet 16 here we come!  Now it is with these wonderful weekend memories that I will make it through another week.  Come fast Friday.


Tuesday, March 13, 2012

for the love of Sevilla


for the love of Sevilla



Sevilla Dodson Lopatka.  Born October 1, 2007 in Newton Grove, North Carolina.  She came home with her mom on November 23, 2007 and has since lived happily ever after. 
As my friends and family know, my husband and I are completely in love with our yorkiepoo pup.  She has stolen a part of our hearts that we will never get back.  The way she leaps from her favorite chair as soon as we walk in the door, how she can never quite give us enough kisses, and how we can be so mad at her and even spank her (not hard don’t worry) and in .5 seconds she is in our arms and happy again.  Her ability to forgive and forget is like no one else I know and her loyalty is unwavering.  She may look small and meek, but trust me; she’s got a fighting side covered in loyalty.  If anyone ever tried to mess with our family, you better believe her “fangs” and attack-mode-stance would be on display for the world to see.
Now some of you reading this are probably going, “Is she crazy?  Does she know she’s talking about a dog?”  And the answer to both of those questions is probably yes.  But that’s just it – sometimes my DOG is a better example of unconditional love than I am.  I believe my pup, and probably yours, has a lot to teach us.  No matter what it is we’re doing – from going on long walks to watching the news – Sevilla is in utter bliss.  Why?  Well because she’s grateful to be with me.  Maybe God put these four-legged furry friends on this planet to show us how to truly love, how to truly forgive and how to truly enjoy every minute of life. 
So here I go.  I hope to live my life a little more like my dog each day.  Yep, I just said that.  I hope to love unconditionally, keep no record of wrongs, forgive without question and run through life as if I have unending energy…
I don’t claim to be the first person to have such an epiphany, so to close up, here are some rather wise quotes that agree with my stance on life with dogs.


There is no psychiatrist in the world like a puppy licking your face. ~Ben Williams


We long for an affection altogether ignorant of our faults. Heaven has accorded this to us in the uncritical canine attachment. ~George Eliot


Dogs are not our whole life, but they make our lives whole. ~Roger Caras


Sunday, March 11, 2012

my abc's



I got the idea for this post from one of my favorite blogs
So here are my ABC’s to cap off my Sunday Funday.  Enjoy!
Age: 26. I'm starting to get old.
Bedsize: Queen. We like to cuddle.
Chores that you hate: Laundry, dishes and vacuuming.  Is that too many?
Dogs: A 4.5 year old yorkiepoo named Sevilla.
Essential start to your day: Kisses from my hubby and my pup
Favorite color: Usually green, but I’ve been doing a lot with blue lately.
Gold or Silver: I like silver décor but gold jewelry – so can I choose both?
Height: 5 feet/6 inches.
Instruments you play: Hmm I own a blue guitar and can strum a few notes and the only song I can play on the piano is “My Heart Will Go On”
Job title: English as a Second Language Teacher.
Kids: No humans, just a pup - but one day that will change.
Live: Wilmington, North Carolina.
Mother's Name: Linda or “Lindy” according to my husband
Nicknames: Nisey, Nise, Doll baby (from my dad), wifey (from the hubby)
Overnight hospital stays: zero.
Pet peeves: Unproductive meetings with people who like to hear themselves talk.
Quote from a movie or tv show: "If you’re a bird, I’m a bird."
Right or Lefty: Righty.
Siblings: I have an older sissy, 3 brother-in-laws and 2 sissy-in-laws.
Time you wake up: After pressing snooze 10 times – it’s usually somewhere around 6:30.
Underwear: Yes?
Vegetable you hate: Olives – they are vegetables right?
What makes you run late: Curling my hair.
X-Rays You've Had: My teeth and my heart.
Yummy food you make: Pancakes.  Lots of them.  Any kind you want.
Zoo Animal: Monkeys. Duh.

Do you know your ABC's?

Saturday, March 10, 2012

the sound of family.

the sound of family.

There's nothing quite like it. The voices you've grown up hearing, the voices you've grown to know and the voices you will never forget.

After high school I left Wilmington and didn't come back for 7.5 years. I lived in Raleigh, Durham and Winston-Salem and never thought I'd live in Wilmington again. And frankly - I was OK with that. Sure my parents, my sissy and her hubby and her 2 kids lived there - but I just "knew" I'd always have to visit them. I mean, my husband and I had made a life together in Winston-Salem - bought a house (a month before finding out we were moving - more on that later), made friends and were about to join the country club. Shoot - we were planning on raising our bambinos in Winston! All that changed when we went to Wilmington in June 2011 for a wedding. It happened. We were presented with the opportunity we never thought we'd have - the chance for Matt to work in Wilmington. In his words "I never realized how much my wife wanted to move home until it became a possibility." And honestly babe - I didn't either!

But it happened and we moved. It was messy and annoying and we still own a house in Winston and we lived with my parents for 6 months - but it happened and it's wonderful. I'm reminded how blessed I am every day and today, that reminder came in 2 forms -
that of screaming and yelling and that of Chick-Fil-A.

The screaming and yelling was aimed at the TV of course. It was the sound of my hubby and my brother-in-law, Russ, howling passionately at the Wolfpack while they were robbed of making it to the finals in the ACC tournament. And yes I said, ROBBED - Carolina did NOT deserve to win.

The Chik-Fil-A madness I will describe happened right before. We met my mom and dad, who are babysitting my sister's little boys for the day, for lunch just up the road. It was Matt, Linda, George and I in the midst of little kid CHAOS. Wade - my 3 year old nephew - couldn’t quite part with the indoor jungle gym to eat his lunch, and Chase - my 10 year old nephew - wanted to talk about the "pranks" he had done at school the previous week all the while justifying his behavior because "he has good grades." Chase, you're in 4th grade - you better have good grades!

Now our apartment is quite and I'm left grateful. Grateful that we are so close to our family - literally and figuratively. Grateful that despite the crazies - we all love each other so much. Grateful that we are all so different yet accept each other while laughing. And grateful that the sound of family will forever fill up my soul. Because in the end I can't chose your family but it is their voices that I will be hearing for the next 75 years. And I'm so lucky . . .


speaking of family, let me introduce you to mine. . .
my parents, Linda and George

my 2nd parents, margaret and tony


my sissy and her fam, Veronica, Charlie and Chase

matt and i with his two brothers and their wives (why yes, matt does have an IDENTICAL twin brother - how did you guess?)



the two muchkins i mentioned above.  chase and wade.  utter chaos.




easton lopatka - showing the world who's the real superman





our child - Sevilla Lopatka