Anchors Aweigh : August 2013

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Fulfillment

I am so excited to be participating in Susannah's link-up on being romanced by God. We are the bride of Christ, our one true source of contentment. It's such a neat concept that I honestly didn't fully grasp until recently. I have many different relationships here on this Earth. We all do. Some are deeper while others remain more surface-level. I used to think that I could be completely fulfilled by these relationships, but I have found that this will never be the case.

I thought that marrying Parker would fulfill my every need and desire for the rest of my life. I thought that he was the person I needed to be completely and wholly satisfied, but this isn't true. Don't get me wrong, I can't say enough good things about our marriage and why I love Parker, but he can't fulfill every desire of my heart, and he isn't supposed to. Nor am I supposed to be able to fulfill every single need of his. I've found that the only relationship that can truly fulfill every inch of my being is the relationship I have with Jesus Christ. This is the one relationship that will never hurt me, never forsake me, never look down on me, and always love me in a way people here on Earth can't.

Fulfillment is a tricky thing. As a society, we are constantly striving to make more money, look younger, and own the latest and greatest gadget. If we can achieve these things, maybe we can find happiness. Materialistic gains will never, ever completely fulfill us. No matter how hard we try, there will always be a void in our hearts. God is the only source of true fulfillment. He has given us these relationships here on Earth for a reason, but that reason was not complete fulfillment. It isn't fair to expect Parker to satisfy every need and desire of my heart, just like it isn't fair for him to expect that from me. We weren't created for that. Honestly, this is a relief! How much pressure is it to try to fulfill someone's every need and desire? I'd personally rather not be responsible for this and leave it to the One who made us and loves us. As Parker and I have turned more and more to the Lord for a deeper relationship with Him, He has rewarded us with a deeper marriage to each other. Putting all of our faith and trust in God and not just in each other has brought us closer together, and this is no coincidence.


Our Heavenly Father is our lover and romancer and the only complete source of fulfillment in our lives. He yearns so badly to be there for us. We just have to let Him in.

Jalapeno Juice Will Burn Your Face Off

Okay, not really, but it sure felt like it. Let's back up. We don't do a lot of spicy foods at our house, so my experience cooking with jalapenos is limited. Parker requested jalapeno poppers, so I made up a recipe that didn't require the grill and began cooking. I thought jalapenos were like onions- you shouldn't touch your eyes and worse case scenario you might tear up, but it's not a big deal. Yeah, wrong.


 I started cutting and de-seeding the jalapenos. I touched my face a couple of times when I had an itch, and the jalapeno juice would occasionally squirt out at me when I was trying to get the last of the seeds out. My face was burning a bit, but I figured I would tough it out and it would go away. By the time I was done with the 8 jalapenos, I felt like my face was on fire.

I ran to the bathroom to splash cold water on my face and apply a little aloe vera, and the pain only intensified. I turned the shower on cold, stuck my face under it, and the pain only intensified. I tried ice, and the pain only intensified. I finally went to Parker out of desperation to see if he had any ideas, and he googled what to do. Google, what a revolutionary idea. Why didn't I think of that? He came back seconds later with Dawn dishwashing soap and said "try this and shampoo". After lathering shampoo and Dawn all over my face and applying ice cubes until I couldn't feel my fingers anymore, the pain finally subsided. I felt like I had a sunburn for the next hour or so, but it was nothing compared to how I felt initially.

I know this sounds silly, and I feel silly writing it because it was just a little jalapeno, but that little situation was no joke. Note for the future: jalapeno juice should stay far, far away from your face. Apparently I should wear gloves in the future. If you do make the same mistake I did, shampoo and ice cubes will be your best friend. I have this lovely photo courtesy of Parker, because while I was in pain, he found the whole thing amusing. He also figured out how to help me, so I guess I can't be too upset!



Tailgating Tuesdays: 3 Ingredient Crockpot Pulled Pork Sliders

Happy Tuesday everyone! In honor of football season, I want to start a miniseries on my blog called Tailgating Tuesdays. As you may know, there are few things that get Parker and I more excited than Aggie football games. Since we don't have the luxury of attending every game anymore, we love to have football parties with friends. Let's be honest, one of the best parts of football season is the food! Today I am sharing a recipe perfect for football season: 3 ingredient crockpot pulled pork sliders.

Ingredients:
2-2.5 lb pork tenderloin
1 12 oz can root beer (I couldn't find a can, so I measured out 1.5 cups from a bottle)
1 18 oz bottle of BBQ sauce (we always use Sweet Baby Ray's)
24 Hawaiian rolls or sliders of your choice
swiss cheese- optional

Directions:
1. Place pork tenderloin, root beer, and BBQ sauce in the crockpot and cook on low for 6 hours.
2. Shred and enjoy!

You could of course put the meat on regular sized buns or in tortillas, but these sliders are perfect for a larger group when you are mainly serving finger foods.



Enjoy!

Scenes From The Weekend

These next few weekends are going to be jam-packed for us, so we savored all the rest and relaxation we could from this one!

Friday night we went to our first Hooks game at the infamous Whataburger Field with some friends. Good food, great company, and an intense 9th inning made it an awesome evening. Neither of us are die hard Hooks fans or anything (we just support the local team in each new place that we live), but they won! One of the guys on the team actually played on the same baseball team as Parker in California when they were younger, so it was neat to see him playing in the minors!




Saturday we had an us day. Parker grilled, we watched Game of Thrones, took naps (me), played video games (him), etc. It was a lazy Saturday and we were all about it! We did get all dressed up Saturday night to go to dinner with friends, so we'll call that productive since we otherwise wouldn't have left the house.


In other news, we tried out a new church on Sunday, and I think we finally found the perfect church for us. One of the great things about military life is all the moving, but that can definitely be a downside when you fall in love with a church and have to leave it. We are only in Kingsville for a year, but we really want to get involved in a church while we are here. Parker is convinced if I help in the church nursery, that will cure the baby fever for a while! I'm fairly confident it would do the opposite ;). 

For now though, I'll just obsess over these two cuties!


I Guess We're Not Emotionally Bonded

Happy Friday friends! Words cannot express how excited I am that the weekend is upon us, and I'm sure I am not alone in this! This weekend has been a little up and down for us, but there is one little furball who has kept us smiling through it all. Thank goodness for Jenny!

And now for our favorite Jenny moment of the week...

Parker read somewhere that dogs who are emotionally bonded to their owners tend to yawn when they do, so all week Parker and I have been yawning obnoxiously in front of Jenny to see if she will yawn too. She has a couple of times, but most of the time she stares at us like we are from another planet. At this point she's just annoyed, but here is Parker in action trying to prove Jenny is emotionally bonded to us:

video


Jenny was so not impressed, but Parker and I got a kick out of it! Moral of the story: I guess Jenny isn't emotionally bonded to us. Or better moral of the story: that statistic Parker found is completely ridiculous. I think I might go with the latter.


Have a great weekend!

My Favorite Picture

I am such a picture person. Even before I had a blog, I was the one who always had the camera out trying to document anything and everything. Fortunately, Parker appreciates this instead of being annoyed by it. Through the thousands of pictures I have taken over the years, this is my all-time favorite picture. Okay, this is actually three pictures crammed into one, but it encompasses our relationship and love for each other perfectly. We love to be silly and try not to take ourselves too seriously. Underneath it all, we are both so goofy and dorky. We wouldn't have been us if we would have fed each other the wedding cake nicely! I hope that no matter what life brings, 50 years from now, we will still be laughing.


I asked my sponsors and swappers to share their favorite pictures as well. I think you can learn so much about someone from their favorite picture!


My favorite picture these days is this sweet moment between my two favorite boys and it is a perfect representation of our life.  Yes, my husband prefers the floor and old sleeping bag to a couch and plush blanket.  And yes, Bruce will happily lay by his side while he studies on said floor. This is our simple life and I'm loving it! -Emily, Just The Stew Of Us


The three people in this picture have been a constant source of strength and encouragement not only in the good days, but in the dark ones, reminding me that the Lord is indeed close by. This picture is a favorite as I am reminded and overwhelmed with God's goodness to me. -Rebecca, Caravan Sonnet


The hubby and I did a makeshift photoshoot behind our apartment. I love it because, even though I am not a model and we are both amateur photographers, I love the light and just about everything in this photo. The background, and the dry bushes just give a little something different. Its also special cause my hubby took it! -Diane, DD Kimball Road


This photo of my sisters Brittany and Brandi and me, taken at Boone Hall Plantation in Mount Pleasant, SC, is special to me because I remember seeing "The Notebook" and "North and South" as a child and telling myself that someday I'd visit Charleston and Boone Hall Plantation in particular. It's been two years since my visit and this photo is still my desktop background because it's a reminder that dreams can come true. -Bailey, Becoming Bailey


This is a picture of the sunrise in South Africa when I went there in January 2011. It's my favorite because it captures the beauty of South Africa, and it definitely is a piece of God's beauty. -Britney, The Quiet Place

To sponsor Anchors Aweigh in September, visit my Sponsors tab.

Peanut Butter Dog Biscuits

Yes, I made homemade dog biscuits for my dog child. Peanut butter is her favorite food (and one of about 3 human foods we actually let her have), so I was so excited when my bloggy friend Laura posted this recipe for the pups. Mine came out a little different than hers because I used more peanut butter than I was supposed to, but Jenny loved them!

Ingredients:
3/4 cup creamy peanut butter
1/4 cup honey
1 T olive oil
1 cup water
1 cup rolled oats
2 cups flour

Directions:
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Whisk together peanut butter, honey, oil, and water in a small bowl.
2. In a medium bowl, combine flour and oats. Fold peanut butter mixture into flour mixture and stir until incorporated.
3. Roll out dough with a rolling pin to 1/4 in - 1/2 in thick. Use a bone cookie cutter to cut out biscuits and place on a baking sheet.
4. Bake about 15 minutes or until crispy. Let cool and serve to the pup in your life!




Side note: I decided to give one a taste since it's made of ingredients we eat every day (it's not like it's Alpo!). Let's just say these treats are meant for the pups. Way too bland for us humans, but your dog will love it! Mama tested, Jenny approved.

Love Is Easy

I was warned how much hard work marriage can be countless times before Parker and I said "I do". Everyone wanted to make sure I was prepared and didn't just think it would be rainbows and butterflies all the time. I tried to be respectful and listen to their advice, but in my head I was thinking about what I was going to eat for lunch or what I was going to wear the next day. I loved Parker so much, and he loved me so much. Marriage wasn't going to be hard work for us. I thought we would be the exception.

We've been married a little over two years, and here is what I have decided: marriage is work and can even be hard at times, but love is easy. Going from being independent to suddenly making all your decisions with another person is definitely a transition. Marriage does take work, and sometimes it takes hard work. We don't get along all the time. We argue about small things and big things. We get frustrated when we don't see eye to eye. I guess this is the "work" in marriage, but I can honestly say that loving Parker has always been easy. I think that's the awesome part about marriage. Through the trials and tribulations life throws at us, one thing always holds true: we love each other so much.

Parker and I talk a lot about how our love has grown. I didn't think there was any way I could love him more than I did the day we became husband and wife, but I do. He didn't think he could love me more than the day he proposed, but he does. We both know our love for each other will grow infinitely when we one day have children. We've been through too much together for that love to ever go away, and I think that is the way it is supposed to be.

So all those opinionated loved ones who told us marriage can be hard work? It turns out they were right. It can be hard work. Most of the time it's not, but sometimes it definitely takes work to get through certain situations. They forgot to give one crucial piece of advice though. Love is easy.


I Don't Go To The Gym

I have gotten so into working out lately. I now enjoy going on the occasional run and love incorporating weights into my work-outs. But you know what? I don't go to the gym. Ever. I really can't remember the last time I worked out in a gym, which is a little sad since I always have free access to one on base. Here's what I've found out: I can get just as good of a work-out in my living room, and then I don't have to go anywhere!

Today I thought I would share our current favorite way to work-out: Hasfit. Parker found these videos on Youtube a few months ago, and I absolutely love them. Why? Because each video targets a specific area, and the work-outs are only 10 minutes long. I like the way I feel after I work-out, but I hate dedicating an hour of my day to do so. I wake up so sore after doing one or two of these videos, and I can tell a difference in the way I look. Here are two of my favorites so far:



I like to do arms and abs one day, legs another, cardio the next, etc. I've never really lifted weights before. I didn't realize how important it was, but it has helped tone up my entire body. I love using weights now! And by weights, I mean these little 5 pounders I purchased from Walmart for $2. I'll probably move to 8 pound weights eventually, but you'd be amazed how sore you can be doing these work-outs with 5 pound weights.


I am not affiliated with Hasfit, nor was I compensated for this post. I just genuinely enjoy these work-outs and wanted to share! Happy Monday!!

Origami Owl

When Allie with Origami Owl emailed me about their beautiful jewelry, I knew I had to pass it along to my fabulous readers. I am really sentimental and love jewelry and accessories that mean something, and that is exactly what Origami Owl represents.


Origami Owl is a fun and fashionable jewelry line with a unique twist. Designers create one-of-a-kind personalized lockets choosing from over 500 charms, a variety of lockets and chains in different sizes and styles, and add-ons like dangles and engraved plates. Each locket is designed to tell a story. This is one of my favorite designs. I love how classy and elegant it feels while still being personal and symbolic. Gorgeous!

 
Allie is offering a 10% discount for all Anchors Aweigh readers, and you can visit www.allieross.origamiowl.com/shop and email your order to an.ross30@gmail.com to claim your discount. If you would like a catalog, you can send an email to Allie. The 10% discount is good until August 31st!

But guess what else? Some of you may remember my post about Faith, the beautiful little girl Parker and I are sponsoring through Compassion International. Allie has graciously agreed to donate 10% of the proceeds directly to Faith. I love that!!

I'll leave you with these lockets. This picture made me wish Parker and I were expecting. What a neat gift to give to our mothers to tell them all about their new grandbaby!


Don't forget Christmas is right around the corner! Happy shopping friends!!

You May Not Know

These posts have been floating around blogland for a few days now, and I think the questions are really interesting and decided to participate. Yesterday you learned more about the boy behind the blog, so today I'll give you a few random facts you may not know about the girl behind the blog. And by a few, I mean five.

1. Is this how you imagined your life would be?
Absolutely not. I love this question because I have been told it seems like Parker and I have the perfect life. Honestly, we feel like we do, but this was never, ever the life I imagined. I wanted to get married, settle down in a Dallas suburb next to my family, and have kiddos a few years later. I did get to marry the love of my life, but settling down is the opposite of what we've done. And I love it. I never dreamed of the military life when I was younger, but now that I am living out this wonderful adventure with Parker, I really wouldn't want it any other way. It just goes to show how God's plan can be so much greater than your own.


2. What is one trend you will never hop onto?
I would've said Twitter, but that ship sailed when I gave in and got a Twitter last week. So now my answer is mint paired with chocolate. I have no idea why people seem to enjoy this so much. I am an avid chocolate lover, so why would I want to ruin it with the mint taste? Mint makes chocolate tastes like toothpaste, and I get so deflated when I bite into a piece of chocolate only to find out it's tainted with mint.
 

3. What is the best piece of advice someone has ever given you?
My Dad instilled a concept in me when I was younger that I still revert back to today: quiet confidence. Most people don't know this about me, but I was actively involved in TaeKwonDo when I was younger. I was actually pretty good at it. I was ranked first in the state of Texas and fourth in the nation for my age, and I got used to winning at tournaments. My Dad taught me to be quietly confident in my abilities, but not outwardly boastful about the talent God had given me. I think humility is such an attractive quality in a person.

A few throwbacks

 4. What is your favorite piece of jewelry, other than your wedding ring?
Easy, my Aggie ring! Getting your Aggie ring is a big deal at Texas A&M. I wear it every day and will continue to do so for the rest of my life. I love that little ring of gold!


5. If you had a baby now, what would the baby's initials be? 
This question is such a teaser because I get to share the names we love without actually sharing them. I'll do it for a girl, and I'll do my favorite and Parker's favorite. If we had a baby girl right now, her initials would either me TEP or CEP. I'll let you try to guess what those initials stand for, and I'll give you a hint- the P is Phelps ;).

Happy Friday everyone!!


More From The Boy Behind The Blog

This is my favorite link-up to participate in because, well, I'm mildly obsessed with my husband and love any excuse to talk about him. He's a good sport and agreed to answer the questions if he could just say the answers really quickly and then go about his day. Heaven forbid he have to spend any time writing them down, so of course I agreed ;). Here are a few more facts about the boy behind the blog...

Questions and Answers (my responses to his answers are in blue):

1. What would you do with $1,000,000?
Invest it
Isn't he crazy? This would have been my answer too, so I can't make fun of him too much for it!

2. What is your dream job?
Flying airplanes
Parker is so blessed to actually be living out his dream. I have written about this before, but I love that he does what he has wanted to do ever since he was little. 


3. Who is your celebrity crush?
Johnny Manziel
That's cute, Parker. His actual celebrity crushes are Natalie Portman and Mila Kunis, but I think he was smart enough not to give a real answer on this one ;) haha

4. What is your favorite sports team?
Aggie football team...see answer #3
True times a million! We both get so so excited for football season with the Aggies. Do yall think the Aggies can rock this season like they did last year? We do!

Throwback from football season a few years ago!

5. What was your AOL/AIM screen name back in the day?
phelpy333. What do you mean back in the day?...
Honestly I'm surprised it wasn't il0veVideoGames11 or something like that. Would've made sense.

Thank you Parker for participating! I know you're so excited for September's round of questions. Try to contain your excitement!

A Half Birthday Should Be A Real Thing

You know what I have decided? We should really start celebrating half birthdays around here. I decide this every year around the middle of August, conveniently a few days before my half birthday. I know this sounds ridiculous and greedy, but hear me out...

Just when you are in a slump feeling like nobody wants to focus on you...BAM! It's your half birthday, here's half a cake. Day made, right?

About the time every year you are done playing with all your toys you received on your birthday...BAM! It's your half birthday, here's a new toy. Day made, right?

Just when you decide you really want the game Yahtzee so you and your husband can play it...BAM! It's your half birthday, here's Yahtzee. Day made, right?

Okay, so the first two are completely ridiculous, I agree. The third, however, is sadly real life. Parker and I play the game Cribbage almost every night, and I have been telling him for the past couple of months that I would love to get the game Yahtzee because I think we would have a lot of fun playing together. Now I realize it's a $10 game and I could go buy it at Walmart, but I thought this was the perfect opportunity to reintroduce the half birthday concept. After a few intentionally loud Facetime conversations with my twin sister about how important our half birthday is and how great of a gift Yahtzee would be, Parker took the not so subtle hints and ordered the silly game off of Amazon to shut us up. Winning!
"Seriously? A half birthday? My wife is officially nuts..."

Today is my half birthday, and there is a beautiful Amazon box on the table just waiting for me to open it this evening. So yes, the concept of a half birthday is completely ridiculous. BUT, there is a shiny new board game in said Amazon box just waiting to be opened. Completely ridiculous or secretly genius? Maybe it's the latter!
Domesticated Working Woman

You Might Be An Aggie If...

There are only 18 days until Fightin' Texas Aggie football season, and I think every Aggie in America is going crazy. I don't know about yall, but football season has become one of my favorite times of the year! It's no secret Parker and I went to Texas A&M and love our school, but I thought I would share a few fun game day facts about what it's like to be an Aggie.

You might be an Aggie if...

It's completely acceptable and expected to greet anyone and everyone on campus by saying "Howdy!".


 You and all your friends look forward to seeing the Fightin' Texas Aggie band during half time as much as you look forward to seeing the actual game. Some schools don't necessarily care about the band, but we are mildly obsessed with ours. Even if the Aggies lose, we always win halftime ;).


Johnny Manziel is a household name. This guy helped make our inaugural season in the SEC an extremely successful one. We are excited to see him do it again this year!


About 10% of the student population is made of these guys. This is the Corps of Cadets, and Parker was a member all four years. The Corps deserves an entire post on it's own, but it is one of the neatest things about Texas A&M. 


You get a kiss every time the Aggies score. The Aggies score, we score! ;)


You ooh and aah over a certain border collie no matter how many times you've seen her. Reveille is the first lady of Texas A&M, and we are all obsessed. She attends class with her handler (always a sophomore in the Corps of Cadets), and if she barks during class, the professor has to dismiss class for the day.


Win or lose, you bleed maroon. "We've seen em win, and we've seen em lose, but we've never seen em quit". They play this before each game, and I always get chills!

My twin sister and me on game day!

 I hope yall are as excited about football season as I am! Tailgaiting, watch parties, copious amounts of maroon everywhere...I can't wait!




Family, Board Games, and Pupper Snuggles

The name says it all- this weekend was perfect. Parker and I really need to quit traveling so much on the weekends, but there is always next weekend, right? We spent two days with my family, and it was the perfect chance to getaway from the stresses of work and flight school and just relax while mom and dad paid for everything ;).

Scenes from the weekend...

Family
These people mean so much to me, so a weekend spent with them is a weekend well spent. We gorged on wine and pizza at 2 in the afternoon, spent a half hour trying to decide what movie we were going to see, and went out for ice cream when nobody was the least bit hungry...perfection.  We missed my littlest sister while she was at camp though!

Our board games of choice

Sophisticated, right? Disney Sorry was an epic blast from the past, and I forgot how much fun Clue is to play! Even though the boys kicked our tails, it was such a great family game! We will be busting Clue out again in the near future.

Pupper Snuggles

Not pictured is Bella the German Shepard, but that's what happens when you can't stop playing with your ball. Jenny had a blast with her cousins and will be recovering most of the day today. Nobody has any kids yet, so the pups become the center of attention at family gatherings. I know it's hard to tell, but we are dog lovers over here!

That about sums up our weekend. It was low-key, but that's how we prefer it!
How was your weekend?



My Dog Has Resorted To Punishing Herself

When Jenny does something she isn't supposed to, she gets in trouble. Trouble for her means us yelling "NO" in a stern, loud voice and crouching over her. Different strokes for different folks, but this works like a charm for her. I really think she hates disappointing us, so just showing her we are upset usually makes her pretty remorseful.

So funny story...

A couple of weeks ago, I caught Jenny laying on our bed. She's allowed on our bed, but by invitation only. She's not allowed to jump up anytime she wants, and that is exactly what she did. As soon as I walked in and started to get upset with her, she immediately jumped off the bed, ran to my office, and sat facing the wall in shame. What? Was she actually punishing herself? She sat like this for a few minutes, and it was quite possibly the cutest thing ever. I was dying.


I walked over to get her after I decided her self-inflicted time out should be over, she gave me kisses, and she went about her pupper day. I guess she decided she'd rather punish herself than get yelled at. It was the most precious thing, but I sincerely hope it doesn't become a trend. This brings the term pathetic to a whole new level!


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