In Loving Memory of Our Kona

Sam and I let our sweet Australian Shepherd go this morning and it was harder than we could have ever imagined. Can you ever be fully prepared for a loss like this? I definitely wasn’t ready for him to go…and it’s kind of hard to believe he is gone, it will probably be awhile before it fully sinks in.

I still think I should see him lying in his favorite spot in the hallway, where he could best see Sam and I running around the house so busy. I still think he should be riding in the back seat of the car whenever we are driving somewhere, or that I’ll wake up to his happy face with his doggy breath in mine.

We knew it was time, and there was no better way for him to go. I’m thankful that he was ours, and that he lived a long, good life. And that he got to go with Sam and I by his side… I’ll forever cherish the soul that God blessed us with in this life and all of the memories we made. He was the best and most loyal, loving, character of a companion. He was our little boy and we’ll always love him and he’ll always have a special place in our hearts.

When I think of him, I’ll see him running free on the beach. I’ll think of him jumping high and all of is little quirks. I’ll think of him barking at airplanes and chasing squirrels. I’ll see him sitting with his paws so politely crossed and staring into our eyes with love. I’ll miss the way he would jump onto the bed and lay his head on top of mine. And the way he would so loyally guard us. He was the best companion we could have ever asked for, and he will be so greatly missed.

This is a poem that a kind and wise lady in her late 80’s shared with me awhile back at a Bible study (and it’s by her),I hope she doesn’t mind me sharing it, I think it’s fitting for our day…and the weather.

“In Defense of Rain”

Is there life after knowing what’s wrong –
Paradise gone?
But, Adam and Eve –
They, somehow, lived on.

Yes, there is life after feeling the pain –
In the following ways –
Eternity with Him –
And, here, in living all our days.

For the sunshine, so sublime –
Needs to be followed by the rain –
To enjoy the fullness of this life –
And, eternity as gain.

For, though the radiance gives us bliss –
The showers are His sweetest kiss –
Without each one we would die –
And, still, as dry ground, we would lie.

But, with both, the bright and clouds, our lives are full –
And, though weighted down by burdens we must pull –
Those things which cause us painful strife –
Are the very necessary “rain” of life.

Shared with the Bible Study
2/5/15
Alice I. Draving, Ph.D.

Happy 10 Month-Aversary to Sam and I

I snatched “Our Story” from our wedding website: www.weddingwire.com/amandaandsamuel

One day I’ll share a more complete version:

Sam and Amanda met in the year of 2008 after they had been evacuated from Galveston because of Hurricane Ike. They met briefly in the rec center in College Station while relocated for the fall semester but it wasn’t until the spring back in Galveston that they found each other in the same circle of friends. It wasnt love at first sight, Sam could never remember her name and Amanda thought he was pretentious. Nevertheless they slowly became friends and then came to find out they really enjoyed each other’s company! They shared a love for random adventures around the island and most importantly they shared a love for Jesus Christ that ultimately brought them together. It took one long, awkward and awesome year for Sam’s pursuits to win Amanda over, but he did it, with his persistence and charm! And so it all officially began in June of 2011 with Amanda’s not so eloquent words, “I don’t want to not be your girlfriend.”

Here’s to 10 months! A friendship-dating-engaged-married journey shown below in a few pictures.

We were hardly friends here. Just in the same circle of friends and I think we were celebrating his birthday?


Ninjas VS Pirates. We were obviously realizing that we were kind of kindred spirits.


OH there’s such a bigger story behind this picture. I’ll just say, nothing happened but this is one of the first times we ever actually hung out as friends alone on a camping trip with three of our other friends. I remember I had to trust Sam to get us down Enchanted Rock through a cave underneath the big rock, which by the way neither of us had headlamps.


One of the many awesome parties thrown at Sam and Sam’s house! I was best friends with his roommate at the time. Sam Dav! And they threw the best college parties probably ever.

This summer we actually ended up being roommates as I was looking for a place to live. So naturally we hung out more. Still just friends, but our friendship definitely grew a lot during this time. We hung out all the time.


After that summer I ended up living in a house that was two houses down from Sam-Sam and Mike’s.


This night was a game changer in our friendship. We ended up kissing that night and then the next morning Sam took me to breakfast on a date and told me that he liked me.


I told Sam that I wanted to be friends after our breakfast date and we continued to become better friends. And he was very persistent in visiting mine, Shane and Jeff’s house A LOT. Haha. I think I was in denial at this point that something was developing.


Eventually we start dating. OBVS.


We dated around 2 1/2 -3 years. The majority of the first year Sam lived in Belton and would drive an hour almost every day to come and visit me while I was living in Pflugerville and finishing up school.

I surprised Sam for his 27th birthday and took him sky-diving!

Sam proposes. WHICH, super romantic setting, but funny story as well. He didn’t want me to have a clue about it happening, but I could tell something was up. He seemed nervous and I honestly thought he was going to break up with me or something because he was being so serious and trying to get me alone away from everyone without me thinking he was going to propose. NEVER even crossed my mind though.

I finally graduate!

We get married June 27th 2014!


And immediately enjoy a week long honeymoon at an all-inclusive resort in Punta Cana in the Dominican Republic. TAKE ME BACK.


Probably our most recent picture at 9months of marriage!



‚̧ Amanda

After 9 Months of Marriage

Sam and I have been married 9 months today! Which makes carrying a baby seem REALLY long. Haha. Seriously though, all you momma’s out there are strong, inspiring & beautiful! Really the past 9 months have been the BEST, toughest and some of the most growing times in my life! And I’m all about celebrating things because 1. celebrating is fun and 2. commitment for life is a big deal and SHOULD be celebrated! Whenever the heck you want. And month-aversaries are a big deal your first year of marriage, because it’s so new and there is so much change and  learning happening! Sam and I have seen every side of each other possible to this point…the good, the bad, the ugly (we don’t have kids quite yet, but people tell me it’s a game changer ūüėČ ). Who said the honeymoon phase was the whole first year? They were oh so wrong, but maybe we’re just two too stubborn people. In spite of that we are two people who understand our need for God, unconditional love and forgiveness in marriage and are continually growing! Read my post ‘Embracing the Ick’ from our 7 month-aversary and see what I mean! Did I mention forgiveness? Because we are human beings we are dumb dumbs sometimes (or a lot of times). 

So in honor of 9 months I want to share a part of the letter that Sam gave me on the day of our wedding because it’s so sweet (I’m not sharing the whole thing because there’s a bigger story to some of it and it’s more personal and I want it to stay between us ūüôā ) But here it is! I carry his letter and our vows in my wallet so I have them with me wherever I go!

“My Love…You have and always will be the substance of faith becoming sight in my life! The journey we have taken to this point has shown God’s specific provision and love time and time again. You are more than I could have ever known to hope for as a wife and companion in this life. You make me smile and laugh and feel joy everyday, and your love is making me into someone I could never have been without you…I will spend the rest of my life showing you how grateful I am that finally after all the time I have waited and prayed, you are here. I love you with all of my heart, relentlessly and unconditionally. Always will! I cannot wait to make you my wife, see you at the altar! – Samuel”

What I’ve Learned from my Momma

It’s my mom’s birthday!!! She’s 45 years so YOUNG today (people think we are sisters all of the time)!! Here’s to you mom, you’re the best mom a daughter could ask for!

Here are a few things I am thankful to have learned from my mom over the years ūüôā

Don’t judge people!
My mom can befriend just about anyone no matter who they are or what their story or struggle is. Reason being, she cares about people! She’s one of the most caring and thoughtful people I know!
Be the bigger person
Through all of the drama our family has been through (oy, don’t get me started) my mom still reaches out. She is able to put aside her hurt when it comes down to it and be the bigger person. She reaches out, she thinks of people, she is thoughtful. Even when it’s tough. And that is something I really admire because under the same circumstances I would find it hard to be as nice as she is and I have a great example of being the bigger person in her. And I love that about her!
Be there for people
If someone needs help, she helps them. And She has always, always been there for me. Wayyy more times than I could ever count. I’ve always known I have someone who has my back and that’s my mom.
Have fun!
You gotta let loose, have some fun and enjoy life in the process of living! I have so many great memories singing karaoke with my mom! She’s also got mad dance moves! I probably got mine from her. And she throws great parties! She knows how to be a good host, which I also think I got from her because I love having people over!
Cleanliness!
Though I’m still working on getting better at this I took for granted my moms cleaning habits growing up. But now I can appreciate her awesome home making skills since I get to experience the struggle of how hard it is to keep a house clean! She was always the best at this, still is!
Commitment
My parents aren’t perfect and everyone knows that marriage can be hard, but what I’ve seen in my mom is a strong commitment to my dad even through the toughest of times! And I really admire that about her. She’s a good wife and has shown me how to stand by her husband and follow him in good times and bad, however imperfect two people may be. Thank you for that mom!
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 Thank you for who you are and everything you do. I love you! HAPPY BIRTHDAY!!!!!

Best Dad in the World

I’ve learned a lot from my dad over the years, just by him being who he is, He taught me MANY things that I picked up on in spite of being the stubborn and self-centered kid and teen AND young adult that I¬†am. I haven’t picked up as many skills and traits from my dad as I had hoped, but I’m still learning!

My dad is awesome and I’ve looked up to him for as long as I can remember.¬†I’m not saying he’s perfect but even with his flaws, I couldn’t imagine having a better dad.

You could say that I was a huge surprise for my parents when I came along. My dad had to work a lot and was working multiple jobs, night shifts included, to work his way through college and also provide for my mom and I. Some of my first memories of my dad were of him coming home from work and as exhausted as he must have been still finding the time to scoop me up and make me feel loved, to give me piggy back rides and then hold me in his lap on our big papasan chair until we both fell asleep in front of the tv. And growing up over the years there are so many wonderful memories I will always cherish and so many things  he taught me that I will forever hold onto and hopefully grow in:

He taught me  the importance of my faith through raising me in the Catholic Church where I learned about my Savior, Jesus Christ, with our bed-time and supper prayer, through the reverence we were expected to have at church,  and in going to church every Sunday.

He taught me the importance of being put together. I remember so many times I would walk down the stairs to go somewhere, church for example, looking like I just rolled out of bed and he would make me turn around and iron whatever I was wearing, or change clothes. He saved me from looking like a hoodlum lots of times!

He consoled me. One of my favorite memories of my dad and I was when I came home from a haircut that went horribly wrong. I was so upset, they had cut it too short and had styled it weird and I thought I looked like a boy, but my dad took the time to style my hair and tell me it looked good. I look back on that and laugh because the way my dad blow dried my hair made me have a white girl afro, but what mattered in the end was that he cared and took the time to help, and gave me a laugh.

He always handled my disappointments sternly and graciously. Anytime I made stupid decisions. Or anytime I was doing poorly in school. Or the time I got in trouble with the cops for mudding on public property. disappointing my dad was usually a punishment in itself but he also made very clear the consequences of my actions in a way that was gracious when I was always expecting the worst. And I learned full-well from those mistakes.

He was always there for me, even when it was inconvenient for him. If I got a flat tire, he changed it on the side of the road. When my car broke down two hours away from home, he drove out and fixed it. When my engine exploded, he fixed my car. When I got in my first car-wreck, he flew out and made sure I was okay. He was generous with his time AND his resources.

He was my biggest cheerleader alongside my mom. He taught me how to ride a bike, he¬†cheered me on at my soccer games throughout the many years I played and he still encourages me that I can do it. Whatever I’m willing to put my mind to and work hard for. I can do it.

He’s always pushed me to be an independent and strong person. He used to always say to me, “I raised you to be a man in this world” and I love him for it. ¬†Essentially he taught me how to take care of myself.

He taught me the value of taking care of things: chores, mowing the lawn, helping with house/yard work.

He’s always wanted the best for my brother and I with everything. He still does. ¬†He’s always¬†made time for his kids (and taught us FUN/cool/good-to-know things): whether riding dirt bikes together, hanging out at the shooting range, changing the car oil together, flying a plane together (he’s a PRIVATE PILOT, so cool), driving me to go sky-diving, fishing together, taking the family on fun vacations, teaching¬†us how to ski, camping, etc.

He’s the COOLEST dad in the world. He has so many great stories. His sense of humor and laugh are infectious. He works harder than any man I know. He takes care of his family better than any man I know. He can build virtually anything: a house, a plane, a car…he’s done it all. He’s the most handy man I know. He’s the most intelligent man I know, both intellectually and socially. He’s got more skills than anyone I know.¬†He is funny, loving,¬†¬†and there are a million other things I could say about how awesome my dad is but quite simply, there¬†is nobody like my dad.

((If you are reading this, Thanks for being the BEST dad in the world and the best dad a girl could ask for.))

Mom threw him a birthday party this past weekend. 49 years young!

Mom threw him a birthday party this past weekend. 49 years young!

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Mom had an awesome bar made-up for his birthday.

Mom had an awesome bar made-up for his birthday.

Back in the day. I have to get more copies of pictures from my mom's scrapbooks.

Back in the day. I have to get more copies of pictures from my mom’s scrapbooks.

My dad and I a little over a year ago celebrating my 25th birthday.

My dad and I a little over a year ago celebrating my 25th birthday.

Embracing the Ick

In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “Embrace the Ick.”

What more appropriate way to ring in our seven month anniversary than with sailor’s mouths and slamming doors? Welcome to the Ick of Marriage.¬†We aren’t perfect and we definitely don’t claim to be. Marriage is hard y’all! Especially when two people are as stubborn as Sam and I; ya know the whole “my way or the highway attitude”? Yeah, we both have it times ten. Nevertheless, I couldn’t picture my life with anyone else and Sam has told me the same thing, “I wouldn’t want to do life with anybody else.” My response is always, are you sure about that? And¬†sure enough, time and time again he¬†lovingly reassures me that he will love me for the rest of our lives even when I go through the lady crazies! Haha!

We all know that marriage isn’t always easy, sometimes it¬†hardly ever is. We bring “ick” to marriage because we are human, but marriage is worth every struggle and hard time because in it you find companionship and commitment in your most real, raw, vulnerable and even your worst moments. We love each other in spite of our icky-ness and flaws because we are aware of our own and most importantly we continually forgive! In marriage we embrace each other as we are and give each other a steady and dependable¬†place to grow without worry of abandonment. This is what it means to Embrace the Ick.

Christmas at Home!

My FAVORITE holiday always comes and goes wayy too stinkin’ fast! I’m dragging it out as long as I can though, I ‘m making my poor hubby bear Christmas tunes until we get back from our trip to Colorado that we leave for TOMORROW¬†and I’m SO excited. I’ll post on that later though.

Christmas with my family is¬†something I cherish. Over the years the family dynamic has changed a bit, relationships have weakened and we’ve gone from having extravagantly huge family gatherings to celebrating just us five when we are celebrating with my side of the family (mom, dad, brother, myself and Sam). It’s been tough watching a family fall apart, but¬†that’s what happens when people refuse to forgive and continue to look for reasons to be justified in their anger and hatred instead of being genuinely sorry. This is other post worthy, it’s sad, but it hasn’t ruined our Christmas spirit!

Christmas with my folks will always be nothing short of amazing. I usually help my mom decorate the house right after Thanksgiving, the house is trimmed top to bottom with Christmas decorations and it’s beautiful!

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Christmas Eve we all go to church together. My family is Catholic and I was raised Catholic, but my hubby was raised Baptist, so him and I met in the middle and started going to a non-denominational church. Since we celebrated Christmas with my family this year we went to the Catholic church that I grew up going to and it was beautiful.Very traditional and very reverent which is what I miss most about it.

After church we always open a pair of Christmas pajamas and then wear them over to the Osborne’s house (family friends) for queso, tamales and booze after which this year I was immediately ready to pass out.

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Christmas morning I was the first one up (as always) but at least this year it was at 7am instead of 3am, haha. As far as I’m concerned Santa exists and I was still getting up super early with the feeling of Christmas wonder¬†until¬†a year ago! I mean I still feel the joy and wonder and excitement of Christmas because it’s something I will forever hold onto but all I have to say is growing up sucks! Haha…so anyway I made coffee and breakfast and woke everyone up! My family is always pretty big on presents, we know that’s not what Christmas is about but we love giving gifts, for one because we enjoy it and for two it’s easier for us to give each other lots of gifts than it is to say I love you out loud, but that’s just the kind of family we are. We know we are all deeply loved. And since I was able to do a little more buying this year I was really excited to watch people open their gifts (my momma in particular).

My mom likes to have everyone open their gifts one at a time so that it lasts longer, and instead of putting the santa¬†gift out like she did when we were little, she’s been saving the best for last the past few years. I am super pumped because I have been wanting to dabble in photography for some time and my parents got me a sweet Nikon DSLR! I’ve always enjoyed taking pictures and now I can try to get even more artsy with them, although I know nothing about photography so I’m thinking it will be a while before I get the hang of it, one of my friends said he learned everything he knows on Pinterest and he’s REALLY good, so I’m hoping I can learn a few things on there!

Sam got a smoker from my parents for Christmas and he’s already made some awesome chicken and ribs. It was like I got double the presents this year because most of Sam’s gifts were beneficial to me as well haha, one of the many perks of being married! ūüėČ

After presents my mom made an extravagant Christmas lunch/dinner as she always does and then we all slipped happily into food comas…The End.

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Thanksgiving ’14

So many changes happen when you get married! Like my last name, after almost six months of marriage I finally changed it the week before Thanksgiving. And speaking of Thanksgiving, now we have to start splitting up time between families during the holidays. Do we go to his family’s shindig or mine, who gets what which year? We never spent the actual day of the holiday together when we were dating we always just spent time with our families, which I was perfectly okay with because as much as I love his family, who is now also my family, there’s nothing like being home with mom, dad and the brother for the holidays, especially Christmas! So that’s what we decided this year, Thanksgiving with The Waltman’s (Sam’s Fam) and Christmas with the Bounds Family (my fam). I really can’t wait until we can just host during the holidays so everyone comes to us! So this Thanksgiving we were in Leakey, TX with the Waltman’s and it was beautiful: scenic¬†hill country, lots of delicious food and pumpkin pie which is especially important, and good family time. I married into a very sweet, loving, and funny family and I’m super thankful for them!

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We did end up getting to spend some time with my family as well which I was also super thankful to get to do. My mom had a hug Thanksgiving meal ready especially for us when we got there, and I got to help my mom decorate the house for Christmas, which is one of my favorite things to do! Open a bottle of wine and get ready for the BEST month of the year and the BEST holiday! I have to admit that I get so wrapped up in the fun of decorating for Christmas and gift-giving that I have to stop to remind myself that Jesus is the reason for the season! And to keep the Christmas Spirit alive with that in mind and heart!

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Meet Zoey

WE ARE BRINGING HOME A NEW FUR BABY TOMORROW! Sam has been traveling for work the past two weeks but he gets home tomorrow morning at 9AM and then we are going to pick her up. We found her through South Texas Aussie Rescue, the same people that helped Sam find Kona, our current Austalian Shepherd baby. Sam got Kona when Kona was 2 and now our baby is 10, and still healthy as ever! We decided he needed a buddy and found the sweetest 5 month old Aussie girl named Lolli (we plan to re-name her upon adoption). I’ll post her puppy pick but we met her last Saturday while Sam was home a couple days and she is bigger now, and in my opinion much cuter than her puppy picture portrays, but it must be her SWEET personality.

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Here’s a puppy picture of our new baby girl. She’s a little bigger now, we can’t wait to bring her home tomorrow!

This is our big teddy bear Kona! Our ten year old. He's beautiful and a hoot!

This is our baby teddy bear Kona! Our ten year old. He’s beautiful and a hoot!

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Wedding Advice

I was looking through some of mine and Sam’s wedding pictures and here is my bit of advice: do what YOU want to do for your wedding, not what anyone else wants you to do.

Sam and I wanted to have a destination wedding really bad but sadly didn’t…and okay, I’ve got to say planning a wedding started out fun, it was more the idea of planning a wedding than actually planning a wedding. Somehow we managed to pull everything off in time but it was really stressful toward the end. Sam and I were engaged 6 months and were married in June at a venue about 45 minutes from home. We wanted to do a destination wedding from the get go but had so many people tell us that we should do it here so they could come. First mistake! We invited over 300 people and of the 275 people who RSVP’ed saying they would come a LARGE majority ended up not making it. That was frustrating to me because it messed up our seating arrangements (which I also didn’t want to do), and we (my parents) ended up spending way more money than was necessary on food and alcohol. Lesson learned: Your wedding isn’t for other people, it is for you and your bride/groom and as much as having a tiny intimate wedding either home or at a destination might offend people, who cares! They’ll get over it and if they don’t, get new friends! Bottom line, your wedding is about the two of you!! And that’s how it should be when two people decide to commit their entire lives to one another. It’s not just a party for people; first and foremost it is the ceremony of two becoming one and entering into a sacred covenant with one another and with God and taking on the responsibility of a lifelong commitment to your person. Secondly, it’s a celebration of that.

It’s funny, Sam and I think back to our wedding day and cringe and actually laugh about how much it wasn’t what we wanted it to be!¬†Don’t get me wrong, we are so grateful to my parents for paying for the wedding and it was a beautiful ceremony and reception. It was just ten times more stressful than it should have been and a little less intimate than it should have been. We were so ready to get to our hotel room and just enjoy some alone time after our wedding that we actually left an hour before the reception was over. As much as I’m glad people came, no bride and groom should have to talk to people all night instead of dancing and celebrating with those closest to them. Do yourselves a favor and do whatever the heck you want to do for your wedding so you don’t end up looking back at it a little bit regretfully.

Oh and my last bit of advice, wear a wedding dress with straps! Because having to hold up my dress all night long was a B****!

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