Thursday, December 16, 2010

Pregnancy is a Privilege, not a Promise

I graduated in 2010 from the U of A with my Masters in Elementary Education, but realized while I was intern teaching that I did not want to teach. However, the timing was definitely in God's hands because he had the perfect job waiting for me. He worked out a lot of  hurdles to use my gifts in a small way to bless others at Loving Choices, a pregnancy crisis center. Basically, my job is to meet with women on a daily basis who find themselves in a crisis pregnancy (a pregnancy in which they didn't plan/want) and educate them on their options as well as direct them toward community resources. I also get to share the love of Christ with them and offer them the chance to follow the one man who will love them unconditionally.
 I LOVE my job! I really, sincerely, could not have written out a job description for a job that I could have created and liked it more than this. It's part time (leaving me time to clean, cook, and grocery shop during my off days), I work with awesome women, it's a Christ-centered environment, and it involves babies!

However, of all the great parts about my job, there is one major drawback; watching girls in sometimes painful, abusive, or unbelievable circumstances mourn the blessing of being able to get pregnant. When I'm meeting with these women, my first reaction is to think, "How awful this must be for you! I can't imagine how hard this must be, please let me help you." I know they are in unimaginable situations that bring judgement, alienation, and pain from the ones they love the most (parents, friends, father of baby). Some of these girls are barely old enough to be able to conceive, while others are coming in with three kids in tow, sometimes including an infant that is only a few months old. For this, I do not envy these women nor judge them. My heart breaks for them, I hold them while they cry, and I pray that the Holy Spirit intercedes for them as they seek the Lord for what could possibly be the first time in their lives.
The other part of counseling that is hard is watching woman after woman walk in through our doors and be disgusted, angry, depressed, hateful, and sometimes completely nonchalant about the fact that they are carrying new life. The thoughts of pity, fear, and helplessness are so pervasive and overwhelming that it is almost impossible for them to think about how special it truly is that they could get pregnant at all. I'm not saying that they are all in a situation to parent, I can understand why some of them are not ready to become moms yet. But when I think about some of my dear friends that are have been trying to conceive for years I can't help but wonder how they could take getting pregnant for granted.
While driving home from work some days, I can't help but almost say out loud to myself, "You have no idea how lucky you are that you can even get pregnant." Not to be confused with "You have no idea how lucky you are to be pregnant," because they are obviously in a crisis situation that is not one I envy. But the possibility, the chance that new life can begin within you, that's not something every woman gets; but it seems to be something a lot of women forget is only a privilege, not a promise.

I will stand beside any woman no matter what her decision; parenting, abortion, or adoption. Loving someone like Christ loves us means still walking along side them when sin is present. On a daily basis, I fail my Savior and reject him, yet he still calls to me. Why then, would I think myself so righteous that I would not do the same for others? I am not worthy to sit in the judgement seat, so instead, I prefer to just offer a heart that is open to anyone in need, regardless of their past choices.

Maybe some people understand how hard it can be to conceive and are calloused toward pregnancy anyway. I choose to believe that most people are just ignorant of the likelihood of pregnancy until they are walking in the shoes of someone who is trying desperately to conceive and having no such luck. Either way, pregnancy is a precious gift from God that is intended as a BLESSING whether the pregnancy was planned or not, so let us rejoice in the possibility of new life always.

Then Esau looked at the women and children and asked, “Who are these people with you?”
   “These are the children God has graciously given to me, your servant,” Jacob replied.
-Genesis 33:5

Monday, December 13, 2010

Stupid Immune System

First round of sickness for the winter has arrived and I am NOT happy about it. I always think I have a great immune system when I see everyone getting sick around me but then I woke up Sunday morning feeling awful and it continued on into my Monday. I hate feeling this way! I also hate blowing my nose. I hate not being able to breathe. I hate how my nose can be stuffy and runny at the same time (this is something I will ask God about when I get to Heaven). I also hate that no medicine seems to work. I also hate that I'm at work when I feel this way, but I hate even more using a vacation day to sit at home feeling miserable.

All in all, today is dreary and freezing and I hate being sick. Ugh.

Thursday, December 2, 2010


Ugh. I finally gave in. I held off for as long as possible, but so help me if Katelyn Graves told me one more time, "Oh my gosh, you would loooove it! You have to get on it. YOU'LL LOVE IT" I would lose it.

So here's to you, KGB. Your never ending prodding has resulted in one more internet addiction that I do not need and shouldn't (but probably do, let's be honest) have the time to update.

Monday, November 29, 2010

Four Christmas's...Christmas'...Four Christmi...More Than One Christmas

Ahhh yes, the joyous occation of divvying up holidays between TWO sets of divorced parents and FOUR households, not to mention the EIGHT extended families...

Holidays have been complicated in my family since my parents got divorced when I was 8. I always had two of everything, including trips to visit extended family for holidays (Mississippi for my dad and all over Missouri for my mom). But it was really all I ever knew, so I got pretty used to it. However, getting married to another child of divorce has begun to really shake things up. If you've seen the movie Four Christmases it's not that far off.

Here's the schedule so far:

We will probably be seeing three of the four extended families in the week/weekend before Christmas, then comes the real schenanigans...

Night of the 22rd/day of the 23th (BENTONVILLE, AR): His Mom and Stepdad
Night of the 23rd/morning of the 24th (ROGERS, AR): My Dad
Lunch/Afternoon/Evening of the 24th (FAYETTEVILLE, AR): His Dad and Stepmom
Late Evening of the 24th/day of 25th (LAMAR, MO): My Mom

And I guess somewhere in there we will have our own little Christmas with Bosco? All I know is that by the time we get to the 26th I will probably be so sick of holiday traveling and living out of a suitcase that my tree will be coming down and all my decorations will be put away...

But four times the families means four times the love, so I can't complain too much :)

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

A Shopping We Will Go

It's that time of year again, Thanksgiving shopping trip with "Mother" aka, Garland's mom (the boys never really warmed up to the term "mom").  If you've ever heard stories from time spent with Garland's family, you know that this will be an adventure. Details about this trip:
1) Mother and John (step father) take us all (both sons and their corresponding significant others) to go shopping each year as a Thanksgiving tradition. And to answer your question, no, this is not for Christmas. Christmas is separate, this is just something I lucked into when I married Garland.
2) This year we are going to the Kansas City Plaza and it's going to be a whole weekend extravaganza (Friday through Sunday).
3) The first stop on the journey is to eat at Mother's favorite restaurant in Missouri, which is technically a garden megastore that just so happens to make soup and sell really fancy plates.
4) Friday night will be dinner at The Cheesecake Factory and I am so excited!
5) Mother issues a spending minimum. This means that Garland and Garrett (younger Autry brother) will be forced to actually buy more than socks and undershirts (Garland tries to pass those items off as his entire "shopping" list every year).
6) Saturday morning will begin shopping-palooza, and my first stop will be ANTHROPOLOGY (sigh). Love at first shop.
7) Thanksgiving extravaganza weekend will take a momentary break on Saturday night for the Razorback game at 6, and this will determine the enjoyment of the rest of the weekend. While Mother, Libster (Garrett's girlfriend), and I go see a movie, the boys will yell and scream at the tv and (hopefully) be happy with the outcome, otherwise we are all going to have to endure pouty lips and poor attitudes for the rest of the night.
8) Sunday is the last day, and there is no telling what Mother has up her sleeve.
9) We will head back to Arkansas in our two cars (Mother insists on driving two so they boys can be in different cars. This way, if there were an accident, she would at least have one surviving son...).
10) I am very much looking forward to this! Craziness will ensue, but spending time with the in-laws is always entertaining and fun.

No word yet if there will be any Christmas outfits purchased for Maynard (Mother's prized cat). Wish me luck!

Monday, November 8, 2010

Ten Things

Thing 1) Barn Bash was this past weekend and I have never seen so much flannel in one place. Courtney Matthews looked like a mix between a pirate and a homeless man.

Thing 2) I am desperately craving anything that includes chocolate and peanut butter, be it an Andy's concrete or just straight up, delicious Reece's Peanut Butter Cups.

Thing 3) I am trying very hard (even as I type this) to not hum, sing, mouth trumpet, or listen to Christmas music of any kind, for fear that I would get sick of it before Christmas. However, I am desperately wanting to hear some Ben Rector Christmas music (confession: I listened to it in the shower last night. I am weak).

Thing 4) I am so sick of watching football. I would be completely happy if no more football games were played until next August.

Thing 5) I love the current weather, but I can't seem to figure out if I need to be wearing my light jacket or my heavy jacket or just a sweater. No matter what I chose, I fail and end up sweating or freezing all day/night.

Thing 6) Garland's family has what I call the "Autry Itch," which is not a communicable disease as it sounds, but rather a disorder in which they get the itch to change something much faster than a regular person (ex. paint/redecorate, get a new dog, buy a new house, etc.). The statement I said eariler about it not being a communicable disease was maybe a half truth because I'm pretty sure I've caught it. I want to buy a new house and fix it up all over again!

Thing 7) I hate insurance. Doctor's are so expensive. Insurance covers basically nothing.

Thing 8) Garland cut Bosco's nails last night and Bosco yanked away on the last one causing Garland to cut a little too deep, which lead to Bosco bleeding and although it was only a tiny baby cut, because he kept running and jumping it looked like we gutted a dear on the back porch.

Thing 9) I am coming to realize that Garland and I have a real problem not having people over. If we are sitting at home and no one is there I'm always wondering, "Where is everybody? Why is everyone so busy?" This leads me to believe that we may be the worst empty nesters that ever existed. I may end up with like 12043213 pets.

Thing 10) It's only Monday (sigh). Here comes the rest of the week.

Thursday, October 21, 2010


So one of my favorite hobbies is making cards, like for birthdays and holidays and stuff. I've been in a little bit of a card slump lately because I wanted to do something a little more simple and a little more stampy, and I finally found the perfect inspiration! A young, stay at home mom named Maile Belles has a blog at and she is just the muse I needed. She has the perfect simple style I was going for and her use of stamps and buttons makes me giddy! This is by far my new favorite blog and every new card she uploads challenges me to try something new.

She is also a part of the product line team at, and since I have discovered their products I have been on a major shopping binge! Love love love their stuff. Wish I had a million dollars so I could buy one of everything! *sigh* I guess I'll just have to settle for adding their stamps to my Christmas wish list...

Here are some of my favorites that she has done:

Wednesday, October 13, 2010


This strange phenomenon begins to take place when the cool weather comes in and my tan begins to fade: my body assumes I am a forest critter and therefore must put on extra layers of fat to keep me warm during the cold, Arkansas winter. Unfortunately, I am not a cute, cuddly critter and I still have to go out in public in my newly expanded body. When you're only 5'3'' eight pounds can make a difference (I really hate it when my face gets rounder!). Which brings me to my point, I have to get serious about working out again.

I thought about modifying my diet, but let's get serious, I LOVE EATING. I'm not saying I'm going to eat Chic-Fil-A everyday, I know better than that. I'm eating veggies and trying to limit sugar intake and fatty, greasy foods. However, I'm never going to be that girl that only eats ice cream once a month and never drinks a Coke and lives off of salmon and asparagus. So I'm forced to accept the fact that (as much as I HAAATTTEEEE IT) I will have to be working out on a (gasp!) daily-ish basis as opposed to my 2 days I usually do.

Now here's the sitch: I have a lot of excuses for not working out. They are as follows:
1) I hate working out.
2) I have asthma, and as nerdy as that makes me, I can't do straight running for more than like, 5 minutes (nor do I want to).
3) I have workout ADD, so I can't do the same thing for more than a few minutes.
4) I hate working out.
5) I am really not willing to dedicate much of my day to working out (I'm shooting for 20-25 minutes a day, 6 days a week).

So what to do  now? First of all, RUNNING IS OUT. I hate it, and because of my asthma I start wheezing in all that cold winter air and almost always end up with Bronchitis. When I was trying to get in shape for the wedding, I did p90x which was suuuuper intense and did the job. However, I was in college and getting ready to be stared at for an entire day, so I had the time and motivation to work out 90 minutes a day, 6 days a week. I can pretty safely say that I will probably never do the entire 90 day workout ever again, although sometimes I get on a kick and do a random session.
I also bought an elliptical about 2 years ago because there is one thing I can't give up while working out, and that is my DVR. If I don't have something to keep me distracted from the actual working out that is happening, then I'll quit after like 10 minutes. The elliptical solves this problem because I can watch all the TV I want while doing something semi-productive. The downfall of the elliptical is sometimes I catch myself running only slightly faster than a speed walk which is not very beneficial for losing weight (but better than sitting on the couch).
SOLUTION! I have been hearing great things about Jillian Michael's 30 Day Shred workout video. It's only 20 minutes a day and combines strength training, cardio, and abs. I can also have it playing on my computer while I watch TV (bonus!). I tried the easy session yesterday (out of easy, medium, and hard) and it totally kicked my butt. I was breathing pretty hard, but not in a way that got my asthma going. It was great for my ADD because it does 3 minutes of strength training, followed by two minutes of cardio, followed by 1 minute of abs (repeat). The strength training combines dumbbell lifts with squats, thrusts, etc. so it doubles the workout. Cardio switches between things like butt kicks, jump rope, and jumping jacks. Abs were mostly variations of the traditional crunch. I am sore this morning in my legs, arms, and butt. Not much in the stomach area, but that could be partially due to the fact that anytime I would lay down Bosco came and sat on my stomach because he is codependent.

In summary, I am going to try to do the full 30 Day Shred and my goal is to lose 8-10 pounds! I plan on getting up every morning and following this schedule: quiet time, workout, breakfast, go to work. Today was day one and I stayed in bed, fail. Haha, I'll have to do it tonight after cell group instead. Day 2, here I come! Hopefully my comfy bed allows me to leave...

P.S. Until the weight loss begins, I have found a wonderful quick fix for distracting anyone who may begin to notice my body has moved into hibernation mode, and that is a fake tan! Based on a recommendation from my friend Lauren, I started using Bliss: A Tan for All Seasons self tanner and it is incredible! It doesn't leave lines or smears and it sprays on PURPLE so you can see exactly where you are rubbing it in. I applied it once and have had a glorious tan for 4 days now. Kudos to Bliss for making me feel like it's summer all year round!
P.P.S. For those of you who are thinking, "man, this girl needs to get her priorities straight! There's more important things in the world than body image..." I totally get that my body is the one that God gave me and that a) I will never be a tiny supermodel, and b) I will never have the body I had in high school again. And I'm absolutely okay with that! My husband loves my body and would never even notice a few extra pounds. However, I think we can all admit that we just FEEL better when we're consistently working out, even if we don't have the perfect body after doing so! So that's that :)

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

A little Advice from Beardy

I don't claim to be a scholar when it comes to theological books. I'm not talking about Crazy Love or The Forgotten God by Francis Chan . While those are great books, they are pretty easy and straight to the point (for the public type books). When I say theological, I am talking about the books Garland reads through like they are comics (this hobby is beyond me), like The Screwtape Letters, Mortification of Sin, and Confessions by Augustine. However, when doing a little more research on the infamous Saint Augustine, I realized that while he writes a lot of stuff that might put me to sleep or make my head spin, he also had some pretty brilliant thoughts for us laymen and layladies. So after a little digging on this Christian icon, I found the following quotes that taken even individually could change my behavior and attitude on a daily basis.

Complete abstinence is easier than perfect moderation.

Find out how much God has given you and from it take what you need; the remainder is needed by others.

God loves each of us as if there were only one of us.

I have read in Plato and Cicero sayings that are wise and very beautiful; but I have never read in either of them: Come unto me all ye that labor and are heavy laden.

If two friends ask you to judge a dispute, don't accept, because you will lose one friend; on the other hand, if two strangers come with the same request, accept because you will gain one friend.

If you believe what you like in the gospels, and reject what you don't like, it is not the gospel you believe, but yourself.

It is not the punishment but the cause that makes the martyr.

Men go abroad to wonder at the heights of mountains, at the huge waves of the sea, at the long courses of the rivers, at the vast compass of the ocean, at the circular motions of the stars, and they pass by themselves without wondering.

Miracles are not contrary to nature, but only contrary to what we know about nature.

The confession of evil works is the first beginning of good works.

Who can map out the various forces at play in one soul? Man is a great depth, O Lord. The hairs of his head are easier by far to count than his feeling, the movements of his heart.

Thanks for great insight, a terrific beard, and a pointy hat that I don't quite understand.

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Craft Addict

Now that Garland and I have lived in our home for a year and a half, I am realizing I have a problem. It was so so so fun to decorate everything when we first moved in, we literally painted and decorated every wall from scratch. I loved getting to google decorating ideas and make my own stuff to go around the house instead of buying it. The problem is, I still want to make stuff to put around the house but I have run out of room!
My latest decorating kick has been an obsession with burlap! Yes, burlap. I want to take down everything in my house and put up this earthy, textured material. Do you think anyone has ever wallpapered in burlap? Maybe I could get in Martha Stewart Magazine...

LUCKILY... My beautiful friend, Sydney Baker (soon to be Ross! yippee!) is getting married this weekend and is donating all the burlap material from her reception to our community group women for craft night! So I'm hoping to have some of these fun projects up in our home before too long...

Covered Magnet Board

Burlap Wreath

Table Runner

Christmas Gifts!!! I'm totally doing this

Lavender Press Frame

Stamped Monogram Pillow

Holiday Flag Hanging

Wine Bottle Gift Bag

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Bad Dream

So last night I dreamt (is that a word? you don't say dreamed or dreameded...)
So last night I had a dream that Garland and I were having a baby. And I remember that I was starting to go into labor and I was freaking out because it hurt! So they wheeled me to the hospital and I immediately begged for the epidural. Well this must have been some epidural because the next thing I remembered was waking up after labor (wouldn't it be nice if it really happened like that, you could skip all the hard parts and wake up afterward to a perfect baby?).

I look across the room and there's Garland holding our sweet, precious baby boy. I was so excited because it looked so sweet and he tells me,
"I already named him. Antebellum. Antebellum Autry."

I start to hysterically cry and freak out and I start shouting, "YOU IDIOT! HOW COULD YOU! EVERYONE WILL CALL  HIM LADY! LADY ANTEBELLUM AUTRY! HE'S A BOOOOOOYYYYY!!!!!"

weird, huh?

Monday, August 16, 2010

Made in Oregon

In June we went to visit our wonderful friends Josh and Laurel Eddleman in Portland, Oregon. Portland is a beautiful city and feels a little like a really, really huge Fayetteville. We loved how eco-friendly everyone was and all the fun outdoor activities they have. Overall, it was a blast to catch up with good friends and get a wonderful picture of their ministry on the Northwest coast!

It rained almost everyday, so this was my Portland wardrobe that I borrowed from Laurel :)

We went to the Rose Garden and even though it was raining, it was gorgeous!

After dinner they wrapped our leftovers in tin foil--in animal shapes! Mine was a swan :)

Let the Bicycle riding commence!
Hmmmm... this is just an overall interesting picture...

Then the boys bought matching hoodies, hahaha!

Monday, August 9, 2010

New Favorite Drink: Riviera Maya

So for our one year anniversary Garland's parents sent us on a trip to Cancun, Mexico (Thanks John and Beth!!). We went with two of our favorite people, Derek and Alexia Necessary. It was so incredible! We went to the all-inclusive resort Cancun Royal and it was stunning. I could not have imagined a more beautiful beach, impeccable service, mouth watering food, luxurious room (hot tub in every suite), and an unbelievable price. I would go back every year if Garland would let me!

Champagne upon arrival, always a good sign!

View of the lobby
Alexia in oversized furniture
One of the many restaurants
View from our balcony!
Delicious drinks!
Fancy Ceasar salad, yummy!

INCREDIBLE chocolate creme brulee!
We celebrated Derek's birthday while we were there!
Anniversary decorations in our room... Wonderful surprise