WOO - CONNECTEDNESS - POSITIVITY - ARRANGER- MAXIMIZER

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Lauren's Legacy.

Change is one of life's inevitable actions. There are times that I look back at the past 7 years and realize just how much has changed. I see how much I have grown as an individual. I see all the opportunities I've had to travel. I see all the moments I was able to connect with the people around me. But most importantly, I look back and think of one particular lady who inspired my actions over the past 7 years. Without a doubt, her legacy has led me to where I am. Today, 7 years since that sad day, I celebrate the life and legacy that Miss Lauren Lewis left for us. Just thinking about her, always has, and always will leave a smile on my face. Those of you who have known me for a while know that Lauren was an extremely influential person in my life. Her love for education, serving others, and connecting with people is the reason I got into student affairs. I was planning to finish my degree in agriculture and head into the world of extension. But as I got involved in organizations at A&M and saw just how important student affairs professionals are, I knew that was the field for me. Over the past 4 years, I often stop and think of her as I meet with students. I see that same sparkle in their eyes for Texas A&M and leadership. Last semester, we also had the opportunity to talk with Maggies (a women's organization that Lauren loved) about Lauren and the impact she had on so many during her time at Texas A&M. It was an amazing night remembering her and honoring her...a night that I will treasure forever. In my office, I keep her words right above my monitor to remind me of why I am in this field. For being so young, she indeed was wise beyond her years...
Lauren's passing was a slap in the face for me. It taught me that we are not invincible. We are only here for a short amount of time, and if we aren't helping others, then our time here on earth has been wasted. I absolutely adored this lady. She was intelligent, beautiful, fun, charismatic, and had a heart of GOLD. She made me laugh with her crazy dance moves, made me tired by looking at her filled planner, and made me smile with her sweet East Texas accent. I loved the way she would fit right in my arms for a long hug and loved the way she could make you feel like you were the only person in the room when having a conversation with her. While she was only here for a little while, Lauren lived. And as each day comes and goes, I pray that I can live the way she did...fully and beautifully. In the past year, Lauren has continued to impact my life as she is the reason my current roommate (and one of my closest friends), Megan is in my life. On this day last year, Megan and I decided to meet up to celebrate Miss Lauren. Megan has recently moved back to College Station and was looking for someone who knew Lauren to spend the evening with. I knew that Megan was one of Lauren's closest friends and they had shared so many of life's big moments together. Megan and I knew of each other as we were both friends with Lauren, but didn't really know much about each other. Luckily, Lauren brought us together and sparked a special friendship. A few months later, Megan moved in with me and we've been friends ever since. Over the past year, I have grown to adore Megan Higginbotham. We have been able to laugh together as she makes up ridiculous songs, cook some incredible meals that we have shared at our table together, cried together as bad news has come our way, danced around the house together, and most importantly, we have been able to pray together and lead lives that hopefully make Lauren proud. It is amazing how people continue to bless your life even in their absence. Even though I can't pick up the phone to thank her, I will forever be grateful for Lauren linking us together.
To you, beautiful friend, I just want you to know that you are missed. Over the next couple months as life brings on more changes, know that you are being remembered and honored. So thankful for the life you led and pray that I can continue to live a life that will make you proud.

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

The items that make up life.

Right before the Christmas holidays, Kevin and I headed to the stores to take part in one of the most exciting and definitely one of the most tiring tasks that comes with getting married...THE WEDDING REGISTRY! Now, let me start by saying that I have spent a LOT of time looking at registries. I am a professional wedding goer, so if there is a registry...I have seen it. I like to think I am a master at reading a registry. I know exactly where every item is in the store, I know exactly which coupons get me the best deal, and I know EXACTLY how to use that coupon to get 15-20% off! One Sunday after church, Kevin and I decided to head over to the beautiful Bed, Bath, and Beyond. No, not Bath & Bodyworks. Although every time I try to say the name of one, I accidently use the other. While these two stores are unrelated, something about them both having the word "Bath" really can throw a girl off. Kevin and I sat down with one of the workers there and received instructions on how to make the perfect registry. He had lots of good tips that really helped us get started. Kevin took on the important role of registry scanner (which secretly I think he enjoyed), while I took on the task of pointing at items. Hey, both take a lot of skill. ;) After spending almost 3 hours in the store, we had compiled a list of almost 100 items. While to some, these are just items. I burst with excitment thinking of the wonderful conversations Kevin and I will have over a dinner prepared in those pots and pans. I smile when I think of the glasses of wine I will get to enjoy with Kevin after a long day at work. I melt when I think of the memories we will make as we bake cookies with our kids some days using those cookie cutters and cookie sheets. I am thankful when I picture us taking a casserole in those pyrex dishes to a friend who is just had a baby or who someone who just lost a loved one. Really, all these items are just that, items. But as I start to think about all these "items" that make up life, I just get MORE and MORE excited that I get to do life with Kevin. So, to all of you who will take a look at our registry and/or purchase items, please know that we are both so appreciative for these "items" and do not take take the blessings we have for granted. Here's some pictures of us after we conquered the Bed, Bath, & Beyond registry! We were exhausted and decided to take on store #2 (Target) another weekend!

Thursday, January 22, 2015

100 Days....100 Reasons.

Today marks 100 days until I marry Mr. Kevin Gleason. So, today my blog post is a special shout out to him. Here are a 100 reasons I love him. Over the next 100 days, I pray that we can continue to grow together and enjoy this special time in preparation of the sacrament of marriage.
1. You make me smile. 2. You drive me places. 3. You are a servant of The Lord. 4. The way you hold my hand when you are driving. 5. That we have the same taste in music. 6. When we pray together at church. 7. You look up to your Dad. 8. You are an Aggie. 9. Lazy days with you are my favorite. 10. You always send me a good morning text. 11. You let me pick out your clothes. 12. You always tell me you love me. 13. You can wrap anything in bacon. 14. You pray for me. 15. When you hug me, you never let go first. 16. You let me make the plans. 17. You love my nephews. 18. You love cattle. 19. You spoil me. 20. You fit in with my family. 21. You have strong hands. 22. You give amazing back rubs. 23. You can season any type of meat. 24. You miss me when we are not together. 25. Your random texts throughout the day always make me smile. 26. You don’t know words to most songs. 27. You love agriculture. 28. The way you talk with old men. 29. Your laugh. 30. The way you look in a pullover. 31. Your strong arms. 32. You hug your Mom. 33. That we go to mass together. 34. The fact that you are becoming Catholic for our family. 35. The way you talk about our future family. 36. The fact that you play guitar. 37. Your love for Aaron Watson 38. Your love for Aaron Watson’s family. 39. The way you tell the same stories over and over. 40. You like having me as a tag along when you play golf. 41. God created you with me in mind. 42. We are a team. 43. Your love for Columbia fleeces. 44. You are my designated driver 45. You don’t like to read…neither do I. 46. You love breakfast. 47. The way you offer to help my Dad. 48. You are smart. 49. Home is wherever you are. 50. You drink coffee. 51. You are driven. 52. You carry a bible in your truck. 53. You would pick up and move wherever to be with me. 54. The way you use your charm to impress my Mom. 55. You don’t judge people by their looks. 56. You like being involved in the community. 57. You were on the livestock judging team. 58. When you say you love me, you mean it. 59. You make good choices. 60. You trust me. 61. You mow my grass. 62. You love my friends. 63. You would do anything to help anyone. 64. You donate money for good causes. 65. You always offer to pay for dinner. 66. The way you impress everyone you meet. 67. Everyone knows you…from Facebook. 68. You always have your phone nearby so I know I can reach you. 69. I can picture my life with you. 70. You can make a mean omelet. 71. Sitting at home doing nothing with you. 72. You let me clean your house. 73. You have nothing to hide. 74. I never doubt that you will protect me. 75. When you tell me I am sweet. 76. You don’t need fancy things. 77. There is no one I would rather spend the rest of my life with. 78. It took me 27 years to find you. 79. The way you smell when you get out of the shower. 80. The two little moles behind your ear. 81. The fact that you don’t know a stranger. 82. When I hear your ringtone I smile. 83. Whatever you do, you give it your all. 84. The way you always walk outside of me to protect me. 85. You love church picnics. 86. You want to give me the world. 87. We both like the mountains better than the beach. 88. The fact that we talk on the phone every night we aren’t together. 89. You think about taking care of me when we are apart. 90. You are open to trying new things with me. 91. Whatever I suggest is a good idea (most of the time). 92. That you are willing to make improvements on your house for me. 93. You want to travel with me. 94. We drink our coffee the same way: 1 sugar and cream. 95. You don’t want to use your vacation unless it is spent with me. 96. You are willing to sell anything to my friends when they want to hear you auctioneer. 97. Your soft lips. 98. That fact that you bought my engagement ring from Chuck. 99. You are the Kevin Gleason in Kevin Gleason and the Locals. 100. I can picture you at the end of the aisle looking back at me on our wedding day.

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Engagement Pictures with Bethany Womack Photography

I am little late but on Sunday, October 26, 2014, Kevin and I were very blessed to take Engagement Pictures with our sweet friend, and one of #LesleysLadies, Bethany Womack! Bethany and I have been friends since high school and have continued a special friendship over the years. Bethany and I have one of those relationships built on trust and honesty. So, who better than someone I trust and who will be honest with me to take pictures of my man and I! I spent a couple weeks shopping for new clothes, digging in the back of my closet, and hoping to find the perfect outfits for Kevin and I to wear for the pictures. After a weekend of laying out every option and not being able to see the bed, we had the outfits selected! Up next, the location. If you know us well, you know that country and laid back is our style. So, I told Kevin to start searching for some cool spots in Milam County. The week before our pictures we drove around as Kevin showed me all the spots he had picked. A few were good....a few were bad....some were impossible to get to in a vehicle. But after searching and searching, we decided to take most of them right behind Kevin's house on his land in Cameron. With the sun setting over the tree line, we knew it was the perfect fit. I had been looking forward to pictures for a long time...I like to think I am a natural in front of a camera. I mean, have you met our family? Pictures are a part of our daily life. I got my hair cut, my nails done, this was it. I was ready!! We started with our first shots in front of the tin barn then decided to drive to Milano to take some at the sale barn. The wood was a really cool tough and some of my favorites. Kevin found pictures a little more challenging. I told him to act normal but apparently, this wasn't normal. Haha...he was fun to watch and after a while started having fun with it too. Right at sunset we came back to Kevin's house and took the last round of shots in the pasture...with us....his cows...and his guitar. FINALLY, this man was in his happy place. And you can definitely tell as a result. The pictures turned out more perfect than I could have imagined. As I look at them (on a daily basis), I can see the love we have for each other captured perfectly in these shots. A huge thank you to my B for loving us, for being our friend, and for taking pictures that I will treasure for a lifetime. If you are looking for a photographer, check her out!

Monday, December 15, 2014

Bridesmaid Boxes

Now that I had picked my 6 ladies to stand by me, I started thinking of creative ways to ask them to be in our wedding. I spent hours on Pintrest...browsed stores for days...and then finally decided that I wanted to put together a "Bridesmaid Box". These boxes ended up more perfect than I imagined and they were full of special items for each of my ladies. This best advice I can give to others planning to make a box for your bridesmaid, is to make it personal. Buy items that are special to you and your girls! That will make it even more unique and special for them! First, I started with the boxes. I was planning to make them with a variety of pictures but found these at Michael's and decided that pre-made boxes would save me time and money in the long run. So glad I picked these. Next I started collecting supplies to go inside.
I started with your typical wedding necessities: Kleenex for the happy tears, wine to celebrate all the special occasions, coffee to help us through the morning afters, a calendar with our wedding date circled so the ladies can save the date, nail polish to have something a little girly, and a ring pop...well, because ring pops are FUN!
Then I made it a little more personal...I bought gold frames and added a picture of me and each bridesmaid in it. To continue the personalization, I bought two different movies to add in. For Lindsey and Lacey (my sisters and Maid/Matron of Honors) I got "My Best Friend's Wedding" and for the other four ladies I got "27 Dresses" for a little comic relief. Everyone always told me that movie was about me. I definitely got some entertainment from the lady at Hastings who asked me if I always buy movies in sets of 4. Um...not usually. Only for special occasions.
Finally I added a few little pieces that I created especially for my ladies based off of ideas I found on Pintrest. My first was a list of #LesleysLadies so everyone knew who all would be included in the bridal party. These looked better printed, but here is an idea...
Then I found this cute list of "Bridesmaid To-Dos" that I really liked. I changed up a few things so that it would apply to my ladies perfectly!
And then finally...I popped the big question along with a personalized letter from me to each of them.
I was super happy with how they turned out and I think the girls were too! Here are some pictures of the final products!
They must've liked them because I got six "YES" replies to the questions! I now have six beautiful bridesmaids. What a gorgeous group of #LesleysLadies!!!

A Shout Out to ALL of #LesleysLadies

As you probably know I have been a bridesmaid in eleven weddings. Those eleven days were eleven of the most special days of my life. There is nothing better than standing by your best friends as they vow their lives to their partners. A wedding means a lot to me in regards to the bonding of two people. However, it also means a lot in regards to the bonding experience you have with the women who are included in your wedding. So, naturally, when it came time to sit down and pick the lovely ladies who would be standing by my side as I marry Kevin, it was very important to me that I take into consideration all the lovely ladies that I know and call my best friends. I have been so blessed to have a large group of women who have been a part of of my becoming who I am. Now, for those of you haven't had to do this yet...narrowing down your closest friends to a select few is without a doubt one of the hardest things I have ever had to do. After much thought and prayer, I came down to choosing six lovely ladies who have been integral parts of who I am. Two of these women have known me my entire life and I am lucky enough to call my sisters. Two of these women are not only best friends to me, they are also my cousins. And then the other two of these women are without a doubt my very best friends. Collectively, they have inspired me, loved me, supported me, cried with me, and been there for all the important moments in my life. I am honored that they will stand beside me as I marry Kevin. Naturally, there are additional women who I would have loved to have standing by me as well. I am so blessed to have SO MANY amazing women in my life and over the years this is something that I have not taken for granted. I have been blessed with the ability to really connect with other people. And through my connections I have gained so much as result from the women in my life. I hope that as I marry Kevin, ALL the women who I am lucky enough to call my friends will know that I look up to every one of you. I admire some of you as strong, independent women and I pray that I will always know who I am and fight for what is right.I admire some of you as wives and pray that I can be a wife like you are. I admire some of you as mothers and I pray that I can love my future children in the ways that you love yours. I admire some of you as faithful servants and pray that I can show my love for God the way that you do. No matter which category you are in, please know that I look up to all of you and I am so thankful for the example you have set forward for me as a woman, a wife, a mother, and a friend.

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

The Date.

When Kevin and I sat down to start looking at potential dates for the wedding, it was immediately a puzzle that we would have to put together. Before Kevin proposed, I had always pictured a fall wedding. Since I was assuming he would propose in November, I was thinking that a year long engagement would be perfect ending in a November wedding. So, you can imagine the kink Kevin threw in my plans when he popped the question in August. Looking back now, I am SO glad that he didn't wait until November. I would have been impatiently waiting and honestly, was ready to marry him back in early Spring! So, the fun began of really considering how long we wanted our engagement to be and what would be the perfect day for the Gleason Wedding! November was over a year away and I just didn't want to wait that long. When we started RCIA classes at St. Mary's our teacher shared this quote with me...and it of course rang very true with us...
At Lacey's wedding, my mom swears that she has never been so hot in her entire life. I would like to think it was the wine, but August 2nd definitely wasn't a "chilly" day for a wedding. Likewise, my dad spends his summers in the field harvesting so we wanted to keep that in mind as well to allow him to enjoy the day with us and not be worried about how many acres he could be combining that day. Luckily, neither Kevin nor I like sweating, so we pretty much marked out June-August. That was easy. 3 months down, 9 more to go. Since we were trying not to have a long engagement, September-December began getting ruled out as well. Perfect, 7 months out, 5 months left. The thought of planning a wedding, or I should say, the wedding I have dreamed about, could not be done in a short period of time and after being a part of so many other weddings, I wanted to make sure we weren't rushing anything and giving ourselves enough time to enjoy being engaged! We definitely understand that this is a very special time of preparation for us and we didn't want to cut that time short just to make it official sooner. So, after praying about it and taking all things into consideration: harvest season, planting season, graduations, Kevin's brother being in Qatar, etc....we decided on May 2015! There are 5 Saturdays in May so again, the challenge was set. A couple of our family members had gotten married over Memorial Day Weekend, and I remembered having that extra day off the Monday after was never a bad thing. So, we considered May 23rd. But after visiting with family that weekend wasn't going to work, so we started looking in early May instead. We narrowed it down to May 2nd and May 9th. There is a special little boy who's birthday is on May 9th, and we didn't want our wedding to interfere with Reid's 4th birthday, so we settled on May 2nd! After calling around to make sure the church and hall were available, it appeared that we had SET A DATE! May 2, 2015 it is! So, after holding it in for a few days, we knew we wanted to have a little fun as we shared this date with our parents. We got them together and let them do a little puzzle solving as well.
After a little unscrambling, they too were marking their calendars for 05.02.2015! We can't wait for it to be here and look forward to celebrating on May 2nd for many years to come.

The Dress.

Everyone has heard about "that moment" happening when a bride slips on that white wedding dress. Well, on October 25th, 2014, I had "that moment"! It was a day that I hadn't really pictured in my head. Throughout the entire wedding planning experience I have struggled with picturing myself. I could always picture Kevin, walking down the aisle to him, the hall, and my friends and family having an awesome time at our reception...but the one thing I couldn't see was me. That all changed, with my dress shopping day! It was hard to decide who to take with me on the dress shopping adventure. I wanted to take the whole crew of #LesleysLadies, but after reading a few blogs and thinking about it, I knew that due to space in the dressing rooms, I wanted to stick with the moms and my sisters! We have spent many weekends in a dressing room together over the years and they have never steered me wrong in regards to an honest opinion before, so why start now. I also was very excited that Kevin's mom got to join us for the weekend. Having two boys, I knew that this was a special day for her and who would know what Kevin would like better than his mom. So, to Houston to Houston we went. As I got ready I heard some racket going on in Lindsey's living room. As I walked out, I was surprised to see this waiting for me. My family always knows how to make little things into big moments with unforgettable memories. This day, was no exception.
. We started out the morning with brunch at an awesome place near Lindsey's house. Clearly we had a lot to celebrate, so mimosas were a necessity. Mimosas take all the nerves away, right?
A few people had already starting inquiring about when I was going shopping and I was feeling a little behind since this is one of the most important things about getting married, or so people say. I would beg to differ since Kevin told me I could wear shorts and a t-shirt to our wedding and he would still marry me. I decided NOT to go with his suggestion and venture out to find the perfect dress. After 3 stores and multiple slip ons and slip offs, I found the PERFECT dress at David's Bridal. Going into the day, I had a feeling that David's Bridal would be the place I would find it. As I stated before, David and I have been friends for a while now. Minus a few, the majority of my bridesmaid dresses had been purchased there. I always felt comfortable there, they had dresses in my size, and more importantly...in my budget. I had something in mind in regards to the design that I was looking for going into the day. All the other dresses were beautiful and I felt beautiful in them, but none of them were exactly what I had in mind....until I slipped on this one. It was the second dress I tried on at David's Bridal, and it didn't take long for me to realize it was "the one". For those of you who are married, you know that there are no mirrors in the changing rooms. Therefore, you wiggle into a dress, walk out, see everyone's reaction, and THEN, finally get a look at yourself in a dress. So...I put this one on (with the help of my sister, both of which were super helpful to me in the dress sopping experience), walked out....saw some wonderful smiles looking back at me from the girls....turned around.....and saw it. I am tearing up just thinking about it. In that moment, I knew. It was exactly what I was looking for, it was exactly my size, and it was exactly the dress that I wanted to be wearing as I walk down the aisle to marry Kevin. So, "that moment" immediately turned into my neck turning red, me tearing me, and in return the girls tearing up as well. I think I tried on one other dress, for good measures, and then decided it was "the one". I clearly, can't post pictures of the dress just yet, but I definitely want to take Kevin's breath away walking down the aisle in my beautiful white dress, and I am confident that I will. Here are some pictures of the shopping fun...

Let The Wedding Planning Begin...

Welp, the countdown is officially begun. In 158 days I will become Mrs. Kevin Gleason. Crazy to think about how quickly the time will fly by. A little over 3 months has passed since we got engaged and I am feeling really good about the wedding planning and have been in awe of how nicely everything has come together so far. Maybe it is the experiences I have had being a bridesmaid 11 times or maybe my event planning experience at work, but I feel like I am rocking this whole "bride" thing. It didn't take long after the proposal for me to sit down and start making my lists. Anyone that knows me knows that I find a great deal of joy in excel spreadsheets and word document timelines. So...not long after the lists had been formed. We started the event planning with the Fall Bridal Show in College Station on September 21st! I wasn't sure what to expect but having been to the bridal show in Houston with Lacey when she got married I was ready to feel overwhelmed. As I started browsing the aisles of florists, rental places, caterers, and bakeries, I wasn't stressed at all. The opposite really, I was having FUN! The girls with me were so helpful and from that moment, I realized that what I had coming my way over the next 8+ months was going to be so wonderful. Having the wedding in Cameron, we didn't need a reception location or a caterer, but nevertheless, we had a ball eating free cupcakes and signing up for tons of free giveaways (which I didn't win). Overall, it was the perfect way to start out planning our special day with #LesleysLadies. Here are a few pictures form the Bridal Show...

Monday, November 10, 2014

Our First Date.

For those of you who know me well, you know that I love to reflect. This weekend will mark a full year since my first date with Mr. Gleason. We met back in August but for some odd reason it took that man a whole two months to finally make a date with me a priority. In his defense, October 2013 was a pretty crazy month for my family. At the beginning of the month my dad found out he had a blood clot in his leg which made some new challenges. At the end of October, our family had one of the worst weeks when we lost my aunt. All of these things resulted in Kevin and I having to reschedule our first date three times. I guess it true what they say, third time is a charm. When November 1st came along and I was supposed to go to dinner with Kevin, I honestly wasn't sure I wanted to. Not because I wasn't excited about getting to know him, but because it had been a pretty heavy week. The more I thought about it, the more I knew I needed dinner with someone who didn't know all the sadness we had been experiencing. On Friday night, November 1, 2014, I agreed to dinner with a man who I had no idea I would be engaged to a year later. I had been asking around for some suggestions for the perfect place for a dinner date. I asked around and did lots of research which led to choosing Napa Flats, a new place in town. After multiple outfit texts to Bethany, I found the perfect outfit and waited patiently. As soon as I opened the door and saw him, all the craziness went away and I just felt happy. Happy that we finally had a chance to do dinner and happy for the chance to get to know a really great guy. After an extended dinner that turned into an even longer conversation post-dinner, I was super surprised at just how interesting I found this man. He was smart, played guitar, knew some people I knew, paid for dinner, and made me smile. I had no idea at the end of the night just how much I needed all those things. The next day I got some free tickets to the A&M Football game and was surprised when I decided to invite Kevin to go with me. He agreed (which now might have been because he liked me and might have been because he liked Aggie Football, not sure which). Again, I was pleasantly surprised at just how warm he was and how happy he made me feel. Here is a picture of us at the game on our "second date"...
I accidently left my parking pass in Kevin's truck which resulted in a very quick third date. We met up in Caldwell, went to Sonic, and sat in his truck and talked. After three quick dates in a three day time period, I ended up inviting him to my birthday dinner the following weekend. That first date turned into many dates and six months later, I found myself back at Napa Flats with that same man. At this point, I was pretty confident that he was the one.
As I look back at the past year we have spent together, I could not be happier that God put Kevin in my path. He supports me, he loves me, he makes me laugh, and on May 2nd, I am going to become his wife. So, to my love, here's to many more exciting years ahead as my partner! I didn't know I would fall for you so quickly, but when you know, you know. I love you more than you can imagine.