Happy Anniversary to us!

Yesterday we celebrated our anniversary by doing something out of the ordinary for us:  we stayed home!  Crazy and wild, I know.

This summer is packed full of traveling, friends, family, and adventures.  A few weeks ago Robby and I went to Dallas to watch the Byron Nelson golf tournament.  We celebrated while there, ate dinner at Eddie V’s (terrific steak and scallops!), visited friends, and rested.

  
But for the actual day of our anniversary, staying at home sounded like a dream come true.  Robby grilled out (I will post his steak marinade soon.  It’s a game changer!) and I fixed the side dishes as well as desert.

  
Oh the desert……I made a gluten free angel food cake.  From a box.   But still….It was the first time that I’ve ever made one.  Robby watched as I whipped the egg whites into stiff peaks, folded in the baking mix, and smelled the goodness as it baked to a golden puff in the oven.    Doesn’t it look terrific?

  
I remember as a little girl watching my mother invert the angel food cake to let it cool.  I didn’t fully understand why, but I thought it was a funny thing to do with this delicious cake.  So in my best attempt to recreate her smooth skills, I flipped the hot cake.   And then…this happened….

  
HAHA!   Y’all, it just plopped right out.   I didn’t know what to do?   So I called my mother.

“Mom!?!?   Is this normal? ”

My mothers response, “Nope.  I have never had that happen before.”

Gee.   Thanks, Mom.   No advice, just letting me know that once again…..what I’ve done is out of the ordinary.  That’s love.

It didn’t stop us from eating it, though!   It was the perfect end to our dinner.

   
 Above is a a creative gift that my sister-in-law gave us for Christmas.  It’s a bottle label with our anniversary date and wedding picture.   We placed the label on one of our new favorite wines (Noisy Water Winery in Ruidoso, NM) and enjoyed it after dinner.

  
And to top off our night at home, we have grass in the back yard!   Ranger was a sweet girl and posed for us in the picture above.

So here’s to another year of adventures in marriage!   My husband is such a wonderful man and I can’t wait to see what God has in store for us this year.

Robert and Alison-23

Life update…..

It happened. I honestly tried not to let it. You blink, and months have flown by! You finally have a moment to sit and decompress from the hustle and bustle, and realize that you used to have a life outside of work. What did you do with all that free time? You blogged! oh, yeahhhhh! About that….haven’t updated in a while, huh?

Since my mind thinks in lists lately, here’s the list of what’s kept us busy:

1a. Teaching – 4th graders are funny little people! I have a bunch of sweet, kind, and funny students this year. Lots of characters in there. Sometimes Ranger helps me grade papers.
Ranger Grading papers

1b. – Robby’s job is going well. =) I don’t know much about it, but he says it’s good!

2. It’s fall in Texas. That means FOOTBALL! We’ve been traveling to home games for Texas A&M (whoop!) It’s always fun to catch up with friends at games.
Aggie 2014

Aggie game 2014

3. If we haven’t been at the game, we’ve watched with friends and thrown a party.

4. Robby went hunting! Unfortunately, it rained the entire time. Still, he enjoyed visiting with friends.

5. Family! My momma came to visit us in Midland! It was a great time catching up with her.
mom and me

6. Ranger! Our sweet pup is almost one year old, and has a ton of energy. She keeps us active!!
Ranger & Football

7. Friends! I got to catch up with my college girls as well as lots of time with my Bible study friends.
Jess' Wedding

summer mummers

And so, there you go! Not much cooking going on around here, but I’m hoping to make some yummy spice cake cookies tomorrow for Bible Study. We’ll see if that happens!

How Time Flies

During the heat of the summer when I was 8 years old, I highly doubted time would fly by as fast as my parents and grandparents talked about.   How could it?   The summer days were so long, and sometimes boring without friends to play with and things to do.

And now, I blink and the months have just flown off the calendar pages in my kitchen.  It’s March!?!?!  How did this happen?  Wasn’t it just November?  Surely it was just yesterday when Robby and I were only in talks and dreams of what our first home would be like.   And now we’ve lived in our home for 3 months now and still haven’t sent out our announcement postcards with the precious picture of us in front of the address.   Ooopps!   (I promise, I’ll get those sent out one day, promise!)

Though teaching does take up most of my brain and energy, the real  reason I haven’t found time to sit down and blog is….I have nothing to blog about!  Ha!

I could blog about food and AdvoCare and how I’ve now lost 22 pounds throughout the year.   But, to be honest, I haven’t cooked very much lately.  It’s embarrassing, really.   I have a meeting every Tuesday night, and Bible Study every Wednesday, we usually travel or have guests on the weekends, so that leaves my cooking time quite limited.  I might make my own Strawberry Jam this weekend.  If so, I’ll post how it turns out.   1st time to use my own recipe, so wish me luck!

What about blogging about Ranger?  The puppy does take most of our attention when Robby and I get home.   Oh, sweet Ranger keeps us laughing!   I’m not sure if I want to be the crazy woman who posts about her dog all the time.  (I’ve done my best on Facebook not to post too often about my pup!)  But, it’s true!   Ranger has our heart!  We love to go to the dog park, run around the neighborhood, play fetch, cuddle on the floor, and more.  My favorite thing about Ranger right now is how she loves to hang her head out the window and let her ears flap in the wind as we drive around town.  Just precious!  She’s going to be a good dog for our family.

Image

Blogging about teaching?  Due to privacy and law, I have to be very careful about posting about my classroom.    I’m not (at this time) the teacher that blogs about the cute items she’s created to enhance her mundane lessons.  I’m the teacher that wants to share the life lessons and funny moments of the students, the heart matters that tug at you and make you feel all warm and fuzzy when the kiddos over come their own mountains.  So the stories I want to share with you, unfortunately, I can’t on here.  Perhaps if I had started blogging when I was a single lady and had time to create fun things in the classroom, I could have blogged it.   Oh well!

The real reason I haven’t blogged is that when I get home every night, I just want to spend time with my hubby.   I know that sounds cheesy, but it’s true.   I don’t want to miss a moment with him!

While Robby is out of town this weekend, I will try to catch up on the posts that have been sitting in my draft pile for months.  And if not this weekend, maybe while I’m on Spring Break (Yay for being a teacher and getting Spring Break!).

The Dirty Thirty

Still not quite sure why people call it the “dirty thirty”, but I turned 30 regardless!
My students were sweethearts and sang to me (ALL DAY LONG!), I received beautiful flowers from my hubby at work, my parents sent me a pretty little ivy plant, a co-worker brought me a cookie cake, and many friends met up with us for dinner at the hibachi grill that we love!   What a day!    It was such a nice way to end the work week:  dinner and great friends.   It just reminded me of how faithful the Lord is.   He has provided me with a husband, a home, a job, friends, church family, and more.  Praising Him for all the blessings on this 1st day in my 30’s!

A year ago, I set about with a 30X30 bucket list.   Here is the updated version on what was accomplished:

  1. Go to Vegas with Robby – We are going next weekend to see George Strait!  Can’t wait!
  2. Do something spontaneous – learned to play golf!  May 2013
  3. Get pictures taken by the Texas A&M Barn – This didn’t happen, sadly.  Perhaps next football season!
  4. Go snow skiing with friends – Went to Aspen, CO in February 2013
  5. Learn to play tennis – Started lessons in March 2013.  Decided I’m not so good at it, but was fun!
  6. Take cooking classes – I can’t believe I didn’t do this!  I love to cook, how did this one slip by me?
  7. Lose 10 lbs – Actually, I lost 20!   Thank you, AdvoCare!
  8. Make a Baby Rigney (this one makes my hubby nervous, haha)  Didn’t happen, it can wait!
  9. Move into our 1st home – We got our 1st home in December 2013.
  10. Get a dog – Welcome to the family, Ranger!
  11. Invest more time with family  – Caught up with lots of family in February at my parents house, went with family to see our cousins in Footloose, Cousins’ Reunion in July, lots of family time in November and December.
  12. Take my mom on a trip – We went to Hughes Springs, TX.   Does that count?
  13. Go to NYC with Robby – Didn’t happen…..we went to Arkansas, Rockport, Colorado, all of Texas…..NYC another year.
  14. Grow a garden – Check!  I had tomatoes and herbs.  YAY!
  15. Buy a gun – Got my 1st gun on April 7th.
  16. Throw a dinner party for friends – BBQ’d with friends on April 9, 2013.  1st of many dinner parties to come.
  17. Make 3 new friends (or more!) CHECK!  So blessed with new friends in Midland!  Love my Bible Study ladies!
  18. Do one Random Act of Kindness each month – Donated Blood in Feb, Picked up trash in parking lot in March
  19. Take Yoga classes – Started yoga at Yoga Works Midland.  Namaste!
  20. Go wine tasting in the Hill Country – Didn’t get to go this year.
  21. Go horseback riding – Didn’t do this one either, waiting on a friend to let us know when he has a horse that he trusts.
  22. Start/Finish a new devotional book – “A Woman of Love” a study of the book of Ruth.  I HIGHLY recommend it!   Now working on Made to Crave
  23. Spend more time in prayer – Daily!  You betcha!
  24. Volunteer somewhere local – Permian Basin Rehab Center Telethon (March), Bountiful Baskets (May), Food to Kids, Kids in the Kitchen
  25. Scrap book my trip with Mom and Zachary to Disney (way back in 2009) – Still in a box somewhere in the new house…maybe this summer I can get to that.
  26. Sew something for my home – curtains!  Check!
  27. Make home-made gifts for friends – Made fruit jellies!  Yum!
  28. Learn 3 new classical piano pieces – nope, didn’t happen.  I had fun trying, though!
  29. See 3 musicals – Shrek the Musical (January), Footloose (February), and Wicked (March)
  30. Read 30 books! – Got 25 read, not too shabby I think.
  • School of Fear, by Gitty Daneshvari   SO CUTE!  My nephew read it (6th grade) and loved it.   A fun tween fiction.
  • Sparkly Green Earrings by Melanie Shankle – a MUST read for everyone.  Witty and heartfelt, you’ll love this book!
  • The Paris Wife by Paula McLain – heart strings will be pulled when you read about the crazy life of the Hemmingways in 1920′s Paris
  • The Three Martini Play Date – had me giggling and taking notes about what to expect when we have kids.  GREAT read for a new dad
  • Ghostopolis – comic book style, read this with a student in tutoring.  Good story line!!
  • Maine – this one took a while to get through, lots of family drama and history.  Easy to relate to, though
  • Missing Dad – LOVE this book!   Everyone should read it and pass it along to friends
  • The Lucky One – Nicholas Sparks did it again, sucked me in to a book and had me hooked!
  • Wonder – This Bluebonnet Book nominee won the heart of my students from the get go, as well as our staff.  It’s a MUST read!
  • Balloons on Broadway – The story of Tony Sarg and how we have balloons in the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade.  Caldecott worthy, the art in this book is beautiful!
  • Looking at Lincoln – Another Bluebonnet nominee, great book for all ages!
  • Coral Reefs – gorgeous art and facts about reefs that will hold your interest for a long time!
  • I’ll Be Seeing You – sweet story of pen pals through WWII, my mother passed this along to me.
  • Rich Dad, Poor Dad – grandfather encouraged me to read this, interesting…
  • Little Women – a classic that I can’t believe I haven’t read till now.   So good!  I just love Jo!
  • The Persian  Cinderella – Picked this up on a whim while my students were in the library, and I loved it!  Such a great story to teach cultural differences with!
  • A Woman of Love – Great Bible Study of Ruth
  • Ruth (in the Bible)
  • Against All Grain (Cook Book) – a Christmas gift that I LOVED looking at, the pictures are fantastic and I can use all the recipes with my food allergies/intolerance
  • The Great Gatsby – A classic that I could read over and over again!
  • It Starts with Food – Interesting research and suggestions on taking a deeper look into what we are putting into our bodies.
  • The Sensational Scent of Prayer – great read!
  • Married by Mistake – such a fun, light read!
  • Live Like A Narnian – of COURSE I had to include my brother-in-law’s book, eye-opening and inspiring to enjoy the good things the Lord has given us.  A MUST read!
  • Made to Crave – Just started this book with a friend, looking into why we crave food and how to fill that God-shaped hole in our lives with Him and not food!

Well, that’s it!  I completed well over half of my bucket list and 25 of 30 books!

I anticipate all the adventures that the Lord will lead me through in the next 30 years.  The past 30 have been a lot of fun!

Announcing…..DRILL TEAM TIME!

Looking back on my childhood, I remember late nights spent at the dance studio practicing ballet or jazz, countless hours driving my family crazy playing piano and hearing them shout, “SLOW DOWN!!” due to my goal of playing a piece as fast as possible, and traveling with the choir for competitions and performances.   Now that I’m an adult, I am so incredibly grateful to my parents for all the time spent shuttling me to these events as well as financially making it possible!  Thanks Mom and Dad!

And a note to my parents:

I promise  your time and money has not gone to waste.  Though I did not pursue music or dance in college, nor become a teach for either of those things, I promise I’m still using those talents!   I sing to/with my students in class.  (Yesterday, we sang “Tomorrow” from Annie while we packed up, sooooo much fun!)  And now, I get to teach drill team for last period!   That’s right, all those long, hard hours spent being a Mt. Pleasant Tiger Doll are coming back!

I can’t WAIT to start choreography and play with the pom-poms!   High kick line for elementary is going to be precious!
Maybe one day one of my students will go on to be a Rangerette!

Kilgore Rangerettes

Pictures to come soon….

Work, Teaching, and Friends

#7 and #8 on my list of 30 Things bring a smile to my face and warm my heart.

#7- My FLA Family. My first job after college was as an admin assistant for a VP at my university, DBU. My job was nice and it allowed me to start working on my masters degree. During that time I realized that God gave me a talent to teach and I should start using that talent! In the summer of 2007, I stepped into my classroom for the first time in July, no AC in the room, junk left from the last teacher, dead cockroaches scattered around the carpet and halls, and lots or hope and dreams in my heart. Much like my college experience, I had no idea how much God was going to bless me with friendships. My 2 co-teachers were the PERFECT fit! Greta Caldwell and Analisa Rodriguez.

Greta, Analisa, and Alison

 

These ladies are like superheroes to me. I always blew off the comments about us being The Dream Team, or the joke about us as Charlie’s Angels. But ya know what,….they were right, now that I look back on it! I learned so much about discipline, using data to structure my lessons, keeping my faith, laughing a LOT each day, and what a true team looks like. There was never a moment where I doubted my team. We were a unified front, all pulling our weight equally. Later Greta went on to be a Math Specialist, and Cara was added to our team.  What a character!  She was our missing piece and jumped right in.  She would even participate in our dress up shenanigans!  Pictured below is our Mad Scientist Day!

Mad Scientists

And it wasn’t just my grade level! The whole campus had a very unusual makeup to it. We all liked each other! There was a mutual respect between everyone. We were young, energetic, optimistic and willing to take on any challenge with a smile. Years later, we still try to get together and catchup.   Love these people!

Forest Lane Academy Staff!  Love these people!

Forest Lane Academy Staff! Love these people!

 

Al this leads me to #8 – my current job

I love my new school!   The students are so much fun, parents are involved, leadership is great!  It is so nice to come home and have a smile on my face each and every day.   Everyone should have a job like that!   It is full of challenges and fun opportunities for the students.  The fine arts academy setting attracts a delightful group of students, so talented in their own ways.  I really enjoy working here!

#6 – My College, DBU!

College – “it was the best years of my life” Pat Green & Brad Paisley

I LOVED COLLEGE!   It amazes me when high school students are not interested in going to college.  They have no idea what memories and experiences they are missing out on!   I know I was completely clueless to how God would grow me both academically and socially in college.  In my last post, I showed you my #5 – my college girlfriends.  They played a huge part of my college experience.  However, my actual college was how God shaped and molded me into the professional I am today.  Dallas Baptist University was, and still is, a crucial part of my day-to-day in the classroom teaching.

#6-Dallas Baptist University

Jeremiah 29:11 – “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord.  “Plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”

This Bible verse is forever written upon my heart.  It is the verse that my university stands on, one that you will see everywhere on campus and hear in classes and at chapel.  It is a verse that gives comfort and guidance.

My college story:   My heart was set on going to Texas A&M.  I don’t know why, but I wanted to me an Aggie!  I loved the traditions, the atmosphere, and my best friend in high school was going there.  What more could I ask for?   God had different plans, though.  While walking into a football game at A&M my senior year of high school, I said a little prayer in my heart.  “God, going here is going to be so cool!  I can’t wait to be here!”   I heard Him so clearly say, “No, not A&M” that you would have thought He was on a loud speaker.  People always look skeptical when I tell them that, but it was true.   One way I knew it was God telling me no was that I had a peace about not going there.  It was not a let down, or dreams crushed, but a change in direction.  And so, I started wondering where He would lead me.  In a very random way, but oh-so-divine-planned-out, Dallas Baptist called me one Saturday afternoon out of the blue and ask if I would be attending in the fall.  I had no money to pay for college, and my family couldn’t afford a private school, so I was at a loss on how I could afford DBU.   I knew it had to be a God-thing when they told me that I had scholarships to pay for me entire 1st year there.  WOW!   How could I say no to the Lord completely opening the gates for me to walk right through?    So I packed up and went to DBU!  He continued to provide for me the entire 4 years, through jobs and scholarships, I was covered.

DBU taught me what it looks like and what it means to be a servant leader.  My professors showed me daily how to lead others in a way that is so contradictory to what society says.  Each and every single one of my professors had such a a deep walk with Christ, and it showed in everything they did.  How they taught, how they lead the conversations in class, their own families,…it was all a reflection of Christ.  When I’m in the classroom now, I constantly ask how I can lead like Christ….by serving.  What a great example my professors set for me as an educator.

It is my dream to one day provide an anonymous scholarship for a deserving individual just as I was given.  To give the opportunity to a college student to grow closer to Christ in knowledge and academics!  WOW!    Thank you, Dallas Baptist University, for all that you do to shape the future.

2014 Happy New Year!

Happy New Year from The Rigneys! We started the new year with friends all together in DFW, watching Johnny Football and the Aggies win the Chick-fil-A bowl, and a great band playing a live show for us. Fantastic!

And to keep the tradition going, we ate black eyed peas for good luck on New Years Day.

Hoping the best for you and your family in 2014!

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30 Days Till 30 – 26 Days to Go!

Yesterday I told you about the #1 and #2 things in my life, today is #3-5.

#3  The Alexander Family

Alison's Family

Alison’s Family

I’m currently blogging from my parents house in Mt. Pleasant, TX.   (North East Texas at it’s finest!)   My family is sitting around watching the Cowboys play football, a roaring fire is keeping us all cozy, I have both brothers sitting beside me, Mom and Dad visiting with Robby and me, sister-in-law having teacher talk with me, my niece and nephew running around the house.   All this adds up to one things = LIFE IS GOOD!   I’ve blogged about my bothers before, so I won’t remind you how amazing both Mark and Scott are.  My mother and father are pretty great people.   Both give selflessly to the community, help others when given the chance, and have a smile on their face and love in their heart for anyone they encounter.  My grandmother was here earlier, an intelligent and wise 91 year old whom I seek advice from.  My family is very important to me.  I have only known one house; we never moved!   I grew up with both sets of grandparents in the same small hometown and cousins all over the place.  Yep, Mt. Pleasant and Mayberry were pretty much the same place for me!   My heart is so happy to be back here with them for the holidays.  My family is always in my heart while we are apart.  I love my family!

 

#4 – The Rigney/Reese Family

Robby's family

Robby’s family

My 2nd family is my husband’s family. Robby’s family accepted me as one of their own so quickly, that it’s sometimes hard to remember that we haven’t been family forever!   My mother-in-law Greta is so helpful and jumps at the chance to give to others around her.  Joe & Jenn have become not only family but friends to Robby and me.  Danny & Kayla bring so much talent and music to our family!  Sam & Peter, the precious nephews, keep us laughing and entertained all day long.  Daddy Jim, Robby’s grandfather, so gracioiusly let us live with him for the past 1 1/2 years, and Manaynee, Robby’s grandmother, is so sweet!   And then there’s cousins and aunts and uncles.  Oh my!   What would I do without Aunt Carol and Uncle Rocky to joke with when our family gets together?    Yes, the Rigney and Reese family are very near and dear to my heart.

#5 – My College Friends!

The College Girls, Christmas 2012

The College Girls, Christmas 2012

The day I moved to college I met 5 ladies:  Crystal (my roomie), Sarah, Miranda, Jennifer, and Katy.  We have added in friends along the years (Jessica is awesome!!), always welcoming anyone that has an open heart and love to share.  After 11 years, we have stayed close and get toether as often as we can.  We have stood in each others weddings, laughed till we peed our pants, cried through heataches, and prayed ferverently for each other.  We have traveled together, sometimes even as far as around the world, and giggled ourselves silly way into the wee hours of the night.   Our mothers told us early on that our friendship was special and one-of-a-kind.  Little did we know ours was a friendship that spans the globe, that endures the ages, and holds us together through the good and bad that life hands us.  I know that if I needed anything, all I have to do is call any of them and they will be there.  Just this past weekend we got together  and laughed and talked till after midnight, and it did my heart such good to see these ladies!  How fun it’s been to watch Katy fall in love with Dan and get married 8 years ago, or Sarah bring Justin to meet us all in Dallas for weekend and later go on to marry him and have their own optomotry office!   The guys are just as much a part of our group, bringing joy and laughter to us all!   We love each other like family.   I don’t know where I would be without my college girlfriends!  Love you, ladies!

30 Days Till 30!

Ladies and Gents….the countdown has begun. 30 days till I turn *gasp* THIRTY!! (Actually, the countdown started on Christmas Day, but we’ve been a bit busy so I’m going to catch up today!)

My creative sister-in-law, Jenny, suggested that I blog the 30 days leading up to my birthday. The blog posts can be filled with important people, memories, favorite places, etc… What a fantastic idea! So today, I will play catch up and do the top 2!

#1 God- My life would be nothing without Jesus Christ. By God’s mercy I was born into a family that taught me about our Lord and raised me to know the Truth. I became a Christian at the age of 10 and was baptized at my home church. I pray that I continue to follow and trust in The Lord all my days, honoring him with all of the talents and blessings He has so graciously poured out on me.

#2 Robby- My husband is amazing!! Just the other day a new friend was telling his girlfriend about Robby while at a party. “Robby’s a good guy. He’s got a great heart and is smart….” I know he is fantastic, but it’s even better to hear others speak so highly of his character. If you haven’t met Robby yet, what are you waiting for? He’s the life of the party, a great listener, a problem solver, a team player, the “best man” every guy should have at his wedding, compassionate, funny, and the biggest Aggie Fan you’ll ever meet. I love my husband!

Tomorrow I will blog the next few items on my list. Watch out, year #30!