Dec 30, 2010

Mr. G.Q, himself

     It was the day after Christmas. I walked around the corner from the kitchen and then froze right in my tracks. There, standing in the dining room, was Mr. G. Q.  I froze, awestruck by his handsome posture & timeless style.

     In all seriousness, y’all… Mr. Model was none other than my younger brother. Bri-baby, Bernie, Nernie, Berns, Baby boy..and if you are feeling really formal…Brian. Despite the fact that he is NOT the youngest in my family, or the youngest boy in my family, he is often referred to as the baby boy. Blame it on that dirty blonde hair, baby blue eyes, and rascal smile.

     Believe it or not, Brian had the audacity to grow up and go away to college {Go Bucks!}. I am trying to forgive him for all this maturing and leaving the house business, but it’s hard. These days Brian can be found reading The Wall Street Journal on his computer, making important phone calls on his smart phone, achieving 4.0 GPA’s in his finance classes, becoming one with his ipod, installing new stereo systems in his car, taking Mid-shipmen cruises for ROTC, keeping his hair cut too short, giving business and financial advice for anyone who will listen, picking on his red-headed little sister, going on runs, piercing your heart with a steel gaze, and looking real handsome.

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Who is this man?! And what did you do with my little brother? You know, the one who used to be smaller than me? The one who loved Toy Story & The Lion King? The one who used to fashion himself in camouflage 24.7?

Well- whoever he is- he sure is good-looking!

{Love you Berns!}


Your beautiful, intelligent, funny, sophisticated, successful older sister ;)

Dec 26, 2010

Go Tell it on The Mountain

     Over the hills & everywhere…Go tell it on the mountain, our Jesus Christ is born! While Christmas Day is over, the Christmas season is just beginning! No, we are definitely not the family that takes our tree down after New Year’s. In fact-the Christmas tree did not get put up & decorated until last week. We did not finish decorating the house until Christmas Eve. Advent was much more of a time of quiet, anticipation & prayer. While I feel like the rest of the world will quickly move on from Christmas after the New Year…we will remain in joyful celebration :) The decorations won’t be put away and the tree won’t meet the curb until the Church returns to Ordinary Time {After the Epiphany & Jesus’ Baptism}.

     Christmas Day 2010 was a one I’ll always remember! Newly engaged, celebrating with both families, falling deeper into the meaning of Jesus’ arrival, and a big, Virginia Christmas miracle….SNOW :) As Christmas Day came to a close, and families were basking in the peace of Christ’s presence, comfort of full tummies, and warmth of love..the flurries began to fall. We went to bed with hopeful hearts and were rewarded with a ethereal winter wonderland when we threw the curtains open in the morning. A White Christmas! For the first time here in two decades.  I can’t think of a more beautiful reflection of God’s love for us through nature!

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A special visit from a Baltimore Oriole

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Some handsome brothers..forblog 086

Beloved Christmas scene at my house~

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Marcus & I loved our first joint Christmas celebration {as future husband and wife} I truly love having two families, and getting to be part of new traditions! Blessed, blessed, blessed! And as if buying me a gorgeous diamond ring a couple months ago wasn’t enough…I was really spoiled this Christmas by my handsome fiancĂ© ;) He is the most thoughtful gift giver!

{Great gift.. I LOVE James Taylor}

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{Found inside CD…. AHHHHHHHHHHH}forblog 090

and {oh my goodness} He found a little table and painted & antiqued it! Our first piece of furniture!! And on top of the little table was a breathtaking Mary statue. I was pretty speechless :)

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Many Christmas Blessings,

Dec 25, 2010

“Come Thou Long Expected Jesus”

Luke 2: 1-7 “In those days a decree went out from Caesar Augustus that the whole world should be all went to be enrolled, each to his own town. And Joseph too went up from Galilee from the town of Nazareth to Judea, to the city of David that is called Bethlehem, because he was of the house and family of David, to be enrolled with Mary, his betrothed, who was with child. While they were there, the time came for her to have her first child. And she gave birth to her firstborn son. She wrapped him in swaddling clothes and laid him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn. Mary&Joseph Dec 2010 002Mary&Joseph Dec 2010 001

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Merry, Merry Christmas! I pray that your day be filled with warmth, family, friends, food and joy! May your hearts be full with the love of our Savior, and your face reflect the light His peace. God Bless you, friends!



And thanks to  ‘Big Baby’- my old baby doll lovingly adopted {& named} by my niece & nephew-for standing in as a sweet baby Jesus ;)

Dec 24, 2010


     Merry Christmas Eve y’all!! Here is a blog that is completely un-related to Christmas!! {But don’t worry.. I have a FABULOUS Christmas post in the works..IMHO, anyways}.   So, like most people right now, I have been busy doing a lot of Christmas preparation..especially in the wrapping presents department. My mom normally approaches a couple days before Christmas begging for my help, so I’ll wrap presents for my dad and siblings from ‘Santa Claus.’ Because my 13 year old brother still believes. Or wait…my mom still believes my 13 year old brother believes. And he is a smart cookie, & a good pretender to boot! If my mom had to deal with the fact that ALL of her children were too old for Santa Claus, I think it would break her heart. Patrick has taken it upon himself to keep her heart intact. God Bless him.

   The above paragraph has absolutely NOTHING to do with the blog post intended in my mind before I started typing. So, please see post title and then be understanding. Thank you. So, I am in the midst of wrapping all these presents when this huge, pink binder begins calling my name. The black writing across the top says THE ULTIMATE WEDDING GUIDE PLANNER AND ORGANIZER. And I am telling you people, I could not look away! So instead of going through a roll of tape every two presents {I am horrible at wrapping presents and a member of tape wasters anonymous}I am sitting here all kinds of stressed out because Marcus and I are behind wedding planning. Did you know you are supposed to have your wedding colors picked out 6 to 9 months before the wedding? Hire a calligrapher at 4 months out? {Hahahahahahahahahahahahahaha, really?! Hire a calligrapher?! ohhhhh my!}

    Actually, Marcus and I are making incredible progress in the wedding planning department. Especially when it comes to the whole wedding date and venue area. You know, minor details ;) It turns out that we will probably get married sooner than expected {Hooray!} because summer and fall just are not good wedding times for a hard working, retreat-facilitating, mission trip -leading, youth conference -attending, Confirmation- teaching, youth group- running Handsome, hottie youth minister. So believe it or not, we are looking at May. Beautiful, beautiful May :)

     But my ADHD mind needs help. I really want some wedding colors! But I change my mind every two seconds :( I need to fall in love with two beautiful colors and I need help from the experts and am welcoming opinions. Actually, I am BEGGING for opinions.  Here are some of my two cents. Growing up my favorite color was blue. Now I love green. I always wanted sage green and brown for wedding colors. BUT I do not like those at all for a spring wedding. I don’t really like pink. Since I am really into green I thought a kelly/spring green would be great. Then I decided it was a little too bright for my style. I love Earth tones and pastels and creams. I thought of a twig brown and pastel blue. My mom cringed at brown at a wedding. So now I am thinking sage green and pastel blue. Ideas, thoughts, suggestions… please, please, please!!!!!!

Eternal gratitude,


P.S. My mom is going to come up here and wonder why none of her presents are wrapped

P.P.S Thanks to Morgan, my secret Santa at work, who got the wonderful {albeit overwhelming!} wedding organizer for me

P.P.S I need more tape

Dec 19, 2010

A Day for the Daybook

Outside My Window

The sun is setting behind the tall, tall trees surrounding the houses in my neighborhood. I LOVE this time of day, and am distracted by the orange and pink glow as I type.  I also see lights in second story windows of houses down the street. I always love houses that are lit up at night. My mom was never the type to draw the downstairs curtains at night, so when you walked by my house in the could see the house light streaming into the dark night, displaying us eating dinner, doing dishes, homework at the table, etc.

I am Listening to

The sound of my brothers in the garage below. I hear my dad’s cough and the door slamming as Patrick runs in and out.

I am Wearing

My favorite sweater in the whole world! It’s a turtleneck on steroids, y’all! ;) A very, very warm olive green sweater, with my favorite American Eagle jeans tucked into the warmest boots I’ve ever owned. And I am laying in bed right now, too. Can you tell I am cold?

I am so Grateful for


The tabernacle, stark and center at mass, and the priceless moments of anticipatory adoration of the Holy Eucharist. For a church community changed. For a Eucharistic parish

For movies like “It’s a wonderful life”

For a niece and nephew that love to pretend they are Mary and Joseph

For all the baking the month of December brings

For his arm around me at mass, and for a shared prayer life

I'm Pondering

What God has in store for Marcus and I in 2011. How I can prepare to be a wife and mother. What God is trying to teach me right now. My mother’s heart.

I am Reading

Morning and Evening prayer in my Magnificat… the words that pour strength into my soul for the day, and peace in my heart and mind when I lay my head down at night.

I am Thinking

Every day is going quicker than the day before. And I’m only 24!? Bouncing ideas of how to make my time count more.

I am Creating

plugging away at my Scrapbook

ideas for Marcus’ Christmas present

A picture collage of my family for my mom’s Christmas letter

and I’m about to go create some awesome homemade Macaroni to go along with our dinner tonight ;)

On my iPod

James Taylor’s ‘At Christmas’

Go tell it on the Mountain to be specific. And my heart is full, full, full.

Towards Rhythm and Beauty

learning how to have humility at home, how to love those hard to love, how to be an open channel for Christ..

To Live the Liturgy

lighting the Advent Calendar, and praying St. Andrew’s Novena

I am Hoping and Praying

For God to bless Marcus in ways that will blow us out of the water!

For Mrs. Warren to be healed of breast cancer

For Williams in Honduras

For those alone this Christmas

For God to change and transform me

Around the House

Decorating the Christmas Tree tonight!!

One of My Favorite Things

The time of day when the sun pours through the big front windows, warming this drafty house. I have been known to bask in the sweet sun with the cats there :)

A Few Plans for the Rest of the Week

Finishing up Marcus’ Christmas present

Baking some Christmas goodies for work

Finish wrapping presents

work, weekly adoration, 2096! Young Adult group, sidewalk counseling—the usual

cleaning, cleaning, cleaning

learning more and more about being generous with my time and helpful for others

praying for my handsome future husband

Picture thoughts:


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Loved the snow we had this week {this picture is from LAST years big snow} But I chose this picture for the light. This is that beautiful, timeless, warm afternoon/evening light I spoke of in the beginning of my post. YUM!

Dec 16, 2010

Disconnected in December

     Maybe it was the 3.5 hour drive home from work today, or maybe it was the pretty good fall I experienced before getting in my car…either way I’m feeling a little funny this evening. I don’t typically have such a long commute to and from work, but since the Navy Base closed down at noon {snow! panic!} and we were all sent home..and I mean {we} as in the whole entire Naval Baseat the same took me two and half hours to get off base, and even longer to get back to Chesapeake. Making matters more interesting, as I was walking to my car to leave work, I slipped on a patch of ice and landed on the back of my head and my left elbow. Embarrassing, scary, wet, cold, and painful! As I nursed my throbbing elbow on the way home, I finally was able to pinpoint an emotion I’d been feeling the past couple of weeks. Winter2010photoshopped 006

     Disconnected.  I felt a little satisfaction having finally come to that conclusion..but then really began to reflect on why I was feeling that way. For starters…after 4 years of joining networks ,adding friends, sending &receiving invites, changing relationship status’, perusing newsfeeds, changing my status, liking others’ status, posting pictures, wall-to-wall chatter with best friends, close friends, acquaintances, and people I barely knew.. I deleted {deactivated, because FB is creepy} my facebook.  And boy am I ever disconnected. I don’t know who is having a bad day at work, who is engaged, so & so’s pictures of their trip to Europe, what FB invitations I am missing to different young adult groups, which new relationships have formed, etc. Disconnected and it feels SO good, y’all!! Now—I have to be honest, I absolutely  get the urge to sign back on, and as a photographer, I miss seeing people’s pictures, and I do truly feel like I am missing out on a club. BUT there is a peace, silence and calm that has entered my life. A freedom I have not experienced in 4 years. I am eager to spend more time truly talking to people. And even more eager to end the nosiness Facebook encourages. And! Oh! The free time!! If it was my business to know all the news on FB, those people would surely call me and tell me anything new and important in their life and I would do the same for them. I truly believe that Facebook contributes to the our “instant gratification” culture,  feelings of jealousy and inadequacy—as well as a depreciation of Godly communication. Now, please understand I am NOT knocking facebook users {& I may even return one day} as I understand the wonderful tool it can be. It was just something God had been asking me personally to do…tugging at my heart in a way I couldn’t ignore.

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      I have also been feeling disconnected at home. There is quite an age gap between my younger siblings, and while they are truly a blessing… I can’t help but feel out of place. I am SO excited {AKA impatient} to begin my holy vocation, so my heart just doesn’t seem to belong at 260 Marina Reach anymore. My amazing, handsome, holy, Renaissance  Man and I have had quite some difficulty in setting a wedding date and it leaves me discouraged. While I know God is at work, patience has never been my strong suit. That being said, I would wait 4957294 years if I had to in order to marry him. He’s THAT amazing ;)

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     And finally, you may have noticed a different type of photographs on my blog recently… My feelings of disconnect have even seemed to attack my hobby. So I’ve been doing a little soul-searching and a lot of praying, and just snapping little details of my life now instead of faces. While I absolutely miss faces, and little ones, and all the fun and work of a photoshoot.. I know I need a little re-charging and re-focusing. Needing to spend time discerning God’s will for ALL aspects of my life :) We are so blessed to worship a God who is desirous of sharing His holy & good will….and that is something I never want to be disconnected from!

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Dec 9, 2010

Dreaming of ‘Boater,’ warmer Days :)

    Cold, cold, cold. I have been SO cold all day..from the moment I poked my head out of the covers this morning {at 4:30 am, no less!} for work, I have not been able to warm up today! I am writing you from my bed, in long underwear-sweatpants, two pairs of socks, scarf and I still can’t feel my toes or nose :( I know you really don’t want to hear my rant on how dang cold my house is thankful I am my parent’s let me live here, so I digress…

    I stumbled on some pictures today of a really, really good day. It was in October, my most beloved month {all those great saint feast days!!} just a week shy of becoming a fiance :) Marcus showed up at my house with a little something he found from the thrift store. I LOVED it! Since we both had the day off, we decided to do a little project and these were the results:

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Notice the flowers blooming in the warm October sun?! Dreaming of that crispy, late day, hazy fall warmth today!

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I absolutely LOVE this little boat {and all things nautical} and loved painting it with Marcus even more. I avoided posting the close-ups, as I am not a talented painter..but I still think it turned out okay ;) And sheesh! Check out the thrift-store-treasure-finder extraordinaire  below! Somebody send us a chaperone… he’s too hot to handle ;)

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Love and Blessings,

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Dec 7, 2010

Sneaky St. Nick

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Yes, I know YESTERDAY was the feast of St. Nicholas…but I was too busy eating all the chocolate and candy-canes to post. {Thank you for understanding my chocolate problem} Despite me being 24 years old, St. Nick STILL stops by on his feast day each year and enables my chocolate habit. I am eternally grateful to him for this. Unfamiliar with this Sweet Saint’s tradition?! Read this and return:St. Nicholas.  And as you can gather by the size of the shoes below, my mom is determined to  let St. Nick’s legend live on no matter how old her children are. No complaints here :)

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Anyways, while I was documenting this special feast day, our cat Willoughby came over to see what I was doing. And before I could stop him, he sauntered right up to the candy like he owned it. Then he looked up at me to see if I was watching him.

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I turned my back for a second to find my lens cap and Willoughby took that golden opportunity to celebrate St. Nicholas’ Feast Day for  himself.

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Advent Blessings,

Laura {& Willoughby}


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