Monday, December 14, 2009

My Nightstand


Crystal Waterford Candle...check

Fresh Cut Roses from my very own Rosebush...check

Lilac & Lavender Scented Candle...check

Anthology of Love Letters...check

Picture of the Lieutenant in Uniform...check

Classic Love Story I'm Currently Reading {Wuthering Heights}...check

Hopeless Romantic? Guilty.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Thanksgiving in Review 2009

Thanksgiving with the in-laws in Columbus, GA....









Happy Thanksgiving & Welcome Christmas!

Sunday, December 6, 2009

One More Test...

By the way, this boy turned ONE a couple of months ago! Where does the time go?


We Interrupt End of Semester Paper Writing... test out my new-found ability to add BIG PHOTOS to the blog. Because what better way to take a break from paper writing than to post really big pictures of my beautiful niece?


Friday, December 4, 2009

Study Buddy

Studying is made a little more bearable with help from a grey tabby cat named Maggie...

Don't worry, I thoroughly clean my kitchen table before anyone eats there.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Is it time yet?

I may or may not be listening to Christmas music on Pandora today....okay I am. But I refuse to decorate until after Thanksgiving!

When do you start celebrating Christmas?

Monday, November 16, 2009

{Wrinkles of Time}

When I was younger I remember taking frequent trips to Perimeter Mall with my mother and grandmother. After parking, I would watch them pull down their respective visors and use the vanity mirrors to freshen their lipstick before going into the mall. I come from a long line of good Southern women who taught me many valuable lessons, not the least of which is "thou shalt not enter a public gathering place of any kind without fresh lipstick". I would watch them pucker their lips and apply, and sometimes Grandmother would let me put on a little (ever so little) bit of lipstick myself. In doing so I noticed something, my eight year old lips were smooth, whereas hers had lines in them. I thought the lines were beautiful, and I was jealous. I remember mentioning this fact to her once, and she was quite appalled that I would refer to such a thing (I should probably mention here that my grandmother, even still, doesn't have that many lines, people actually used to ask if she was my mother, so she was probably not accustomed to such questioning). I could not understand her reaction, I wanted those lovely lines; they made the lipstick look so much better in my opinion!

Earlier this week upon my arrival at school, I drove in the parking lot, pulled into my space, and proceeded to pull down my visor to freshen my lipstick in my vanity mirror. After all, I was taught by the best, and I too am a good little Southern lady. It was then I saw them. Despite the fact that I have religiously applied Vaseline to my lips EVERY MORNING and EVERY NIGHT since I was 15 years old (a beauty tip from Mama) there they were. Lines.

I. Freaked. Out.

It was not the first sign of age I've noticed this year. I as approach my twenty-ninth birthday, my body seems to be looking for ways to advertise my increasing years. Two years ago I noticed that the two lines that appeared in between my eyebrows when I squinted didn't immediately disappear when I relaxed my face. Instead they remained indefinitely. In the past couple of months I've also noticed my cheeks seem a little different. Less smooth perhaps? It's hard to quantify it exactly; all I know is the skin looks different. In discussing this with my mother, she told me that when you hit thirty it all "goes downhill fast", and "don't I use any wrinkle cream"? Well, I do as a matter-of-fact. As a teenager Grandmother also taught all us girls that it was never too early to have a skin care routine. My main problem, however, is that while the wrinkles are starting to appear, I'm still getting adolescent pimples, so what's a girl to do for a skincare product?

Here's the thing, I've always found lines and wrinkles on women to be beautiful. In fact, I think most women only get more beautiful with age. So why do I recognize and admire that beauty in other women, but not in myself? I think the main reason is that as the changes occur, I see them as transforming me from the true person I am into someone I am not. As pondered on this, however, I came to a realization. Are not these lines and creases more of who I am than the smooth skin of 16? Life writes its story over all of us, in the smile lines around our mouths and the crinkles around our eyes. If we are lucky, most of our lines will settle into pleasant ones, inevitably though, there will be some of sorrow and of worry.

I made a decision that from now on when I look in the mirror and discover this line or that, I will accept them. I will know that living and loving will leave its mark, and I will cherish each one as a badge of honor; proof that I've lived and experienced in full all the joys and all of the sorrows that womanhood has to offer.

That being said, a little cosmetic help never hurt anyone….and I just discovered a combination anti-wrinkle/anti-blemish cream made by Neutrogena. This good Southern girl bought two tubes.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Repost: No Jackie O

Today marks the one year anniversary of my fall from grace in my front yard. In celebration, I'm reposting the original blog here. FYI, I had several x-rays of my foot and they didn't find anything, but said if pain continued to go see a foot specialist b/c they can do more in depth x-rays. Well, still had pain, didn't go see anyone (yeah, Ben was thrilled about that), and 365 days later it still hurts when I walk a lot or workout. So, most likely it was fractured. Whoops. I should also note that the day after this happened Ben went ahead and purchased crutches so there will not be a need in the future for a bar stool walker. He decided crutches were a sound investment when he had a wife like me.

Here's a Friday laugh for you at my expense!

Originally posted THURSDAY, NOVEMBER 13, 2008

No Jackie O

Those of you who know me well know I LOVE Jackie Kennedy. There are many ways in which I try to emulate her. I wear pearls as my signature jewelry item (and mine are fake, just like her signature three string pearls), I send out handwritten notes on personal stationary, I try to be the perfect hostess, and I try to choose a classic way of dressing that is stylish yet timeless (that is a work in progress, it's harder than it sounds). There are many many ways in which I will never ever be like her. She was always graceful in walk with her shoulders back. Well, I inherited my fathers gait, and while it's great for a man it's less than attractive on a woman. I've tried very hard to change. I've even walked over and over towards mirrors. It doesn't work. My shoulders also slump. I think I inherited that from my mother, who was never proud enough of her 5 feet 11 inches and therefore always slumps (and just in case the height wasn't enough to make you hate her, she's skinny like a supermodel too). Jackie spoke in a quiet soft voice that made gentlemen have to lean in to hear her. If you've spent .7 seconds with me, you know I'm LOUD. It's another thing I try to change. In college I decided instead of fighting it I would just channel the trait into becoming a speech communication major. I never made less than an A. Go figure.

So why the sudden dissertation on the strengths of Jackie and the weaknesses of Angela? Because tonight I had another reminder of why I can never be like her. I arrived home after nine tonight from an SAA meeting. I got out of my car (and I would like to insert here that it was raining all day and the ground is quite slippery) to walk to the trunk to get out a bag and WIPE OUT! You know those times when you fall when you just don't know where you lost your footing or how, but suddenly you're out of control? Well, I slipped on the ground, twisted my ankle, and rolled a little ways down our front hill with the contents of my purse strewn over the lawn. There was searing pain through my ankle and foot. I managed to drag my body to my purse, fish out my phone, and call Ben who was inside. When he came out the door his response was not, "Oh my goodness, poor baby, are you okay?". Nope, it was "Why in the heck are you laying in the middle of the yard, get up!". Now I ask, if I had been able to get up, why I would have called him? He also said, "You are officially the clumsiest person I know." OUCH. I'm pretty sure Jack never said that to Jackie. He really shouldn't complain. He hasn't taken me to the hospital for my clumsiness nearly as many times as my college roommate Elizabeth did. The UGA Health Center knew us well! Anyway, he carried me in the house and did some manipulations on the ankle. While I have complete faith in him and know he would never do anything to hurt me, in the midst of the pain in my ankle I found myself screaming, "Please don't!! Remember you are not yet licensed to practice medicine!" He keeps telling me how dramatic I am, but how can talking about how bad something hurts if it really hurts be dramatic? So, I cannot put any pressure on my ankle AT ALL. Ben, being the clever boy he his, devised a way for me to get myself around the house.

Used to be a bar it's my walker.

So I'm in the bed, and I ask Ben to bring me orange juice and my computer so I can blog and he said I was PUSHING IT!

He brought the orange juice, but do you know that he refused to bring me to my computer so I could blog? He said I am way too addicted to blogging and he refused to be an enabler.
This is me, devastated, desperate, and begging!

So, I did what any dedicated blogger would do. I got my stool/walker and began the slow trip across the house myself to update the blog with the night's adventures. I do know Jackie was determined to get what she wanted, so here's an A+ to me for stubbornness.

And...come to think of it...Jackie did sprain her ankle while participating in one of the rough Kennedy tag football games at Hyannis Port, so hey, maybe there's hope for me yet!

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

We All Need a Hero...

...and the good news is we are all surrounded by them. They are the men and women in uniform who sacrifice for us every day. Today is Veterans Day. I love to use this day to celebrate my husband who is training to be an Air Force doctor. I think he's always a little taken aback by my efforts, though. He has such an immense respect and awe for those in battle he doesn't feel he's earned the right to be celebrated. This morning he received an email from a classmate of his. She sent this to him and his classmates who are in the military, and I think it describes beautifully why they should be celebrated. I hope she doesn't mind me sharing.

Hi Guys and Gals,

I want to take a moment and say thank you. Today is Veterans Day as you know and while some of you may not have gone to battle, you are learning the skills you need to take care of our soldiers. A few of those soldiers are members of my family and it warms my heart to know that one day they maybe in your office or on your operating table. I am comforted by the fact that I know they will be receiving care from individuals I would entrust my very life to as well.

God Bless you all.

I thought this was so beautiful, it inspired me to write my own letter:************************

Dear Lt. Goins,

I am proud to be your wife. I am proud that you have always had a call to serve. From the first months I knew you, I knew you would serve in the military in some capacity. If it wasn't as a physician, it would have been in some other way. Your obligation to this country has always been as strong as your desire to be a doctor. I am humbled by someone whose lifelong ambitions have been to serve and care for others, and honored to share a small role in that endeavor.

My father instilled in me a deep love of country and respect for those in uniform. Deep down, I always knew I would be a military wife and that the man I chose to love would serve. When looking into my future I always saw myself in a military life, just as you did. Now I know that God was preparing me for you and our life together. Isn't His plan awesome?

Now you are on the road to fulfilling your dreams. Not only will you be caring for people as a doctor, but you will be caring for the best America has to offer, our men and women in uniform. One of the proudest moments of my life will always be standing in your medical school and pinning on your lieutenant bars after you took the oath of office. It was the realization of a lifetime of ambitions.

I remain, respectfully and humbly,


Ben and I did not spontaneously acquire this devotion we feel to this wonderful country of ours. It was born into us and nurtured by our families who have also served. We would like to honor our parents and grandparents on this Veterans Day:

Connie Brewster Hice, United States Navy (Ben's grandmother)
Laurens Hice, United States Marine Corp (Ben's grandfather)
Herbert Robinson, United States Army, Purple Heart Recipient (Ang's grandfather)
Arthur Couch, United States Air Force (Ang's grandfather)
Jeff Robinson, decorated United States Army (Ang's father)

We also have many other uncles and cousins who served in the military from WWII through Vietnam, too many to list here. We are thankful for their service and will devote our lives to ensuring their sacrifices were not in vain.

Have you thanked a veteran today?

Monday, November 2, 2009

I'm His Girl

I am an expert at going without my husband. When we were first married we both worked long hours and didn't see each other that often. When we moved to Tennessee for medical school he was in class from 8:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. and then often stayed at the school to study until midnight. The June after his first year of medical school he was in officer training for a month and I didn't see him at all for four weeks. And then we got to the third year. For the most part (except for surgery) the hours of his rotations have been pretty decent. Of course, two nights a week I'm not at home because I'm in class, but generally we are able to spend lots of time together. Lots of time. We don't need to schedule a date night anymore, we have a date life. We are really and truly best friends, two halves of the same whole. We operate in a wonderful little world of our own. When he's gone our home is empty and lifeless without him.

I guess that's why it was very difficult to drop him off at the airport on Saturday. He's only going to be gone for four days which should be a cakewalk for me. But, when I pulled away I got an incredibly empty feeling. I told myself to get a grip, for goodness sakes, he's working on scheduling rotations in San Antonio and Biloxi, he'll be gone for a couple of months in a row. Not to mention the fact that I'm a Air Force wife and will possibly have to deal with future deployments. This was nothing.

But I can't help it, I love that guy. I've always had a soft spot for men who adore me and think I walk on water (blame my father). I felt shame, I was not acting as a brave military wife should. I signed up for a lifetime to separation. If I couldn't even handle four days without sadness, how was I going to get through my future?

Warning: Climbing on my soapbox now....
I was then reminded of something that frustrated me when Ben was in officer training. Some people didn't seem all that concerned with how I was coping because they knew "I could handle it". Some seem to equate "handling it" with not feeling that badly over it at all. Let me assure you, that is not the case. I have other women tell me things like "oh, good for you, but I could never be apart from my husband like that." Do they somehow think their love for their husband is greater than what I feel for mine? Do they think it's easier for me? Its not. Its just as hard but I do it anyway. I know they think it seems impossible for them. It seems that way for me too. IMPOSSIBLE. In the future, I'll have to be stronger than I ever wanted to have to be, but I'll do it.

The next time you see a military spouse saying goodbye to their husband and wife, think about being in their shoes. Think about how it would feel to have an entire part of you severed and removed from your life, and then to have to carry on. I'll have it easier than most, as a physician Ben will not be on the front lines and the Air Force only has 6 month deployments. Those who have loved ones on the front lines for a year or more have my admiration. I know it isn't easy for them, I only know they do it because they have to.

So driving home I came to the conclusion that its okay to hurt when he leaves. Being brave doesn't mean being numb, it means going on even when you feel like your world is in disarray. So be it New Orleans, San Antonio, Afghanistan, or an Asian land war (as Ben likes to joke); 6 days or 6 months, I'll miss him just the same. I'll just remember how lucky I am to be able to love someone that much in the first place.

Hurry home Honey.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Real Life

Loved this post today from Small Notebook. I realize in the past year the home magazines I used to read I've been replaced largely by home blogs. After reading this post, I think I realize why. Blogs are real people giving me real and viable solutions to home management unlike many magazines, where the recommendations are expensive and unattainable. I love the web!

Thursday, October 22, 2009

TMI Alert: Hormones control my life

So, I guess its my blog and I can write what I want to. I mean, I've read more about pregnancy, labor, breastfeeding, and baby poop/vomit than I ever wanted to know from other blogs. In comparison, here at Goin' Places we're pretty conservative.

With that disclaimer, I will continue. Apparently the only time I blog these days is when I'm hormonal. Perhaps because its the only time two necessary blogging circumstances occur in my life 1) I sit still long enough to actually do it and 2) I'm emotional.

This is how I dealt with the hormones today. I wore my favorite sweats, a huge t-shirt (can I get a shout out for Shorty's in Grayton Beach? Woot, woot!), drank massive amounts of water and curled up in a fetal position and prayed for the sweet release of death. In an optimistic gesture, I gave myself a pedicure. A lovely bright Georgia red (because who doesn't feel better with red toes?). With water weight and breakouts, my toes are the last thing I have control over. I wanted to make sure they looked nice.

Last month, I got my cry from this movie. Today I just watched this over and over and over again.

I sobbed and sobbed and prayed to have sons someday. Ben looked at me warily but didn't say anything, because at this point in our lives he's learned not to ask questions.

When I was done crying I looked around the living room for something to do. There were plenty of constructive chores to occupy my time like straighten up, laundry, or pack for the weekend, but none of those satisfied me.

So I picked up my Georgia red nail polish and planted myself on the couch at Ben's feet where I proceeded to paint all 10 of Ben's toenails a lovely vibrant red.

And he let me.

Because, like I said, he's learned not to ask questions.

I'm one lucky girl.

How do you deal with out of control hormones?

To Whom It May Concern: Rest assured Ben's toes are back to normal. They didn't stay red long. Which was fine, it was more about the process, not the final product. I mean, his manly man feet did look pretty silly.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Fall Nights

Despite the fact that the low tonight in Hoover, AL is 47 very cold degrees, Ben and I will be braving the night with our windows open. Why? Well, because we're suckers for fresh cool breezes and the sounds of frogs and crickets outside our window. And because the rosebush outside our bedroom window has burst forth in all its Indian Summer glory, and in the mornings the dew and wind carry the scent of roses to us while we wake from slumber. Not to worry, we'll be snug and cozy under our sheets and comforter, me in p.j. pants, socks, a t-shirt, and a sweatshirt, and Ben in his birthday suit. If we get cold we'll use the trusty old heating method of snuggling.

The only problem I forsee is the morning. When you're warm and cozy under the sheets with the love of your life, who wants to peel off the covers and emerge into the cold world? Even if there is a good cup of coffee as a reward?

Good night! Happy Fall Y'all!

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Best Little

I just spent the last 20 minutes sobbing through the end of The Best Little ________ in Texas, which clearly means I'm in the throngs of some sort of horrible hormonal imbalance. An observation: Only Dolly Parton could pull off making a movie that makes you sympathize with "working girls" and angry when their "house" is shut down.

Here are the two scenes that really got me going with the waterworks...

Hard Candy Christmas: I'm pretty sure there's a Christmas video somewhere of my extended family (grandparents, parents, aunt, uncle, cousins) in the 80's singing this for the camera. I would love to get my hands on it. By the way, the plucky brunette who hops up off the rail as the bus is pulling up to the house towards the end of the song is inspiring. I will channel her next time I'm in a crisis. I'll just picture her lifting up that cowboy boot and I'll know I can go on.

I Will Always Love You: In the 90s when the Whitney Houston version came out I was in love with it. My mother promptly took me to Blockbuster Music (which was brand new, it had just bought out Turtle) where we purchased Dolly's cassette so she could introduce me to the real and proper version of the song. I never looked back. Y'all know Dolly wrote this, right? By the way, right before this clip starts, Dolly tells Burt, "I've danced my dance and now it's time to pay the fiddler". I think I'm going to have to start using that a lot in the future, isn't is a great phrase?

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Gene Pool Part Two

Y'all were right! That's my mother! Pretty similar...except for the noses.

Post Edit: Y'all know how I feel about my nose, right? {sigh} I give frequent pep talks to Ben's nose genes so they will overtake mine and our children will end up with nice noses. I'm not optimistic though, thus far no genes have proven powerful enough to overcome the Robinson nose.

Post Post Edit: My favorite comment was from my mother's cousin Bambi, who mentioned how mama used to separate her eyelashes one at a time with a straight pen. Several people have told me about this before, so I thought that was hilarious!

One more thing...this was mom's drill team uniform, so don't judge her choice of wardrobe too harshly! And the picture of me was taken before mother had convinced me to start wearing "eyebrows". She used to tell me, "Angela, put some eyebrows on, you look ridiculous!" I now color my eyebrows in every morning and turns out they arch up, just like hers. She tells me that's what they're supposed to do because it makes you look younger, but it drives me crazy.

Friday, September 18, 2009

Gene Pool

Does she look familiar to anyone?

Friday, September 11, 2009

Have You Forgotten?

Because I haven't.

Excerpt from the diary of Angela Marie Robinson, age 20.
Lumpkin Place Apartments
The University of Georgia
Athens, GA
September 11, 2001

The World Trade Center is gone. The Pentagon has been hit. Thousands upon thousands are dead. This day Hell as been brought to the United States. Our nation is shaken with the threat of terrorism. Terrorism, a gruesome word that will strike fear and outrage in the hearts of our people. I've watched other countries fight wars and be bombed and terrorized. Now the world is watching us.

I am very uneasy tonight. I look over my shoulder. I shudder. I cannot concentrate on school work. My little girl American ideas have been shattered. I feel unsafe. Not because I fear a terrorist attack at this moment and place, but because I live in a country that is vulnerable to such attacks. I've never before been afraid. I never hid under my desk in elementary school during a bomb drill, I never laid awake in bed at night and listened to a plane fly overhead wondering if it contained a nuclear bomb. I've never watched my loved ones be taken off to war and come back forever changed. These were the trials of older generations. Unlike our parents, we grew up in a golden age of America. The Cold War ended and the Berlin Wall came down.

For 20 years I've never been afraid. I've always believed nothing could ever penetrate our defense. Nothing could ever hurt us. Today my generation joins the ranks before us. Now we too will live in expectation of danger. We too are burned by the flames of terror. Our lives have changed forever. Innocence is lost. We are children no more.

We are disillusioned, shocked, and disgusted. But we are ready. We will fight this. We will bring to our children the same America we believed we had. They will not grow up in fear. We will not stand for it.

May Jesus have mercy on our souls.

Today, eight years later, there still exists an evil in this world that must be wiped out. Martin Luther King Jr. said that "Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere." We will persevere. We will not give up.

We will keep the faith.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Homemaker Horror

My Dearest Ben,

Well, I just got home from my first grad school class and you're already snug in the bed, snoozing away. I guess a guy needs his sleep when he gets up at 3:00 a.m. and works 14 hour days. Anyway, what are my reflections on my first day of class? I think it's going to be hard. Darn it.

Anyway, darling, the reason I'm really writing is to let you know that if tomorrow your morning coffee has a metallic taste to it, that's because I had to staple the bottom of the filter together. Why did I have to do this? Because the filter in the coffee pot is on its fourth use as I have forgotten to purchase coffee filters for the second day in a row. But just think how much money I'm saving in coffee filters with each re-use!

Thanks for understanding.



Yeah, I'm an awesome wife. June Cleaver is rolling over in her grave.

Friday, August 14, 2009

Living Simply

Recently, Ben and I find ourselves discussing what we hope we remember from our medical school experience. This suburban Atlanta girl just returned to city life in Birmingham after two years in rural Appalachia. I couldn’t wait to get back to restaurants, shopping, museums, symphonies, and theaters (not that I spent a significant amount of time in the latter three, but just knowing they are there…you understand…). Civilization awaited me with arms wide open, beckoning me home. I thought I was the same girl who left the city a mere two years earlier. I thought I was leaving the place I didn’t belong for the place I did.

I was wrong.

Two years in Appalach
ia transformed me in ways I didn’t anticipate. Reentry has not gone as smoothly as I expected. The most unexpected part? I like the changes within myself. I don’t want to change back.

In the mountains I lived in a modest little home (okay, I still do, but bear with me, I'm painting a picture here). I took a job as a secretary and a 60% cut in pay and we took out student loans for the first time in our lives. Our income was meager. In the beginning I felt a daily tightening in my chest wondering if we would make it. And you know what? We did. We budgeted and cut corners. I didn’t get expensive haircuts or bi-weekly manicures and pedicures or pricey clothes. Our grocery list took a major beating, filet mignon was replaced with stew meat (maybe not literally, but you get the idea) and I bought clothes at Steve and Barry’s. After a few months I realized we were thriving and happy, and we were proud. We were even able to purchase furniture and travel. We were able to do this because other things, like expensive clothes and fancy meals out, didn’t seem so important anymore. We were prioritizing, and I was surprised how far we could stretch our little budget. Only then did I realize how much money we spent before medical school. I wondered, with a sick feeling in my gut, where that money (about $65,000 more annually than our current income) had gone.

An interesting thing happens when you start going
without. Instead of looking for joy in material things (a joy which quickly wears off, leaving you looking for the next item to purchase), you must find happiness elsewhere. You can’t take that trip to Target to cheer you up, so you take a walk outside. You relish the warmth of the sun on your skin, the scent in the breeze as it whips your clothes around you, and quiet conversations with the Lord. You and your husband decide on a cheap bottle of wine and dinner at home (which has many benefits as it turns out, there’s so many things you can do during a date night at home that are just not appropriate for a restaurant). Instead of sitting in a Starbucks with a girlfriend she invites you into her home where you can finish off an entire pot of coffee while laughing and crying together on her comfy couch. The past two years I shared my home with more people than I ever had before because there was really no where else for us to go. And even if there had been, we couldn’t afford it! There is something about being in each others homes that intensifies the bonds of friendship.

There was something else about thos
e friendships. We were all in the same boat. We were all poor. We were all supporting our significant others on a long, hard road to achieving their dream. There was absolutely no competition in these friendships because we were all equal. If one month someone could afford something beautiful for her home or a great new pair of shoes we all rejoiced with her. If one month one of us was waiting for loan money to hit the bank so she could buy groceries, we supported and comforted, and assured her that this too would pass. There were no frienemies among us. I experienced a purity of friendship there that I never had before. There was no one else who could understand what it was like to be the wife of a medical student and facing a life of coming in second. Ben goes through periods where I feel like I’m barely a footnote in his existence. This, of course, is not the reality. He has the weight of the world on his shoulders, or at least the weight of our little world. It would take a caring friend whose husband was acting similarly to remind me that although it may seem like I was coming in second, every thing Ben did was not for himself, but for my future and the future of our family and that I’m always close to his thoughts and heart. My marriage was better because of those friendships.

And so, that is what Tennessee gave me. Everything new, shiny, and distracting was stripped away leaving only what mattered in life: love, family, friendship, and the Lord. My eyes fill with tears at the thought of what we’ve left behind. At the risk of sounding trite, I truly did not realize what we had until it was gone. I am so thankful I had the opportunity to change. I never want to return to the girl who thought expensive jewelry, a fancy car, and designer clothes paved the way to happiness. Being plunged back into a world where material things are used as measurement for self-worth makes it clear how much I’ve changed. No matter what our future income may be, I want to continue to live simply, allocating our money towards the things we value like education, travel, tithing, and creating a home that is a haven (not necessarily a showplace) and not wasting it on keeping up with our friends and neighbors. If I buy something of quality or expense, I want to buy it because it’s something I will value or cherish, not because someone else might think more of me for owning it. That is the lesson I want to keep close to me.

I know that we have made the right decision to move to Birmingham. It is allowing us to spend more time with family and old friends (but not old frienemies, I got rid of those a long time ago), Ben is in a hospital where he is experiencing new things every day, and I am able to pursue my dream of continuing my education. But a little part of my heart remains nestled amongst green rolling hills in a tiny town that time has forgotten, and it is there it will always stay.

And no one is more surprised than me.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Why do I blog?

This is a question I’ve been considering lately. I didn’t even realize I was considering it until I read the question here and here. I’ve had a little burnout and was even {gasp} considering taking my blog down. I've experienced blogger burnout before, but this was serious.

So what is my purpose for blogging? The genesis of my blog was two years ago when I was faced with moving away from my friends and family for the first time and it didn’t look like I’d be moving back anytime soon. At least not in the next ten years. I blogged to stay connected. I thought our parents and grandparents would enjoy the pictures and stories about our lives in Tennessee and that it would help them to feel closer to us. Beyond maybe about six people however, I didn’t expect my readership to grow. I blogged in the third person trying to make it sound like Ben and I were speaking as one from the blog. Then that got tiring and I just started writing in the first person because who was I kidding? Did anyone really think Ben and I were sitting at the computer together planning out what we were going to say? No way, Ben was studying and I was lonely and it felt that by speaking as a unit I was being dishonest. Then, other people started reading my blog. Before I knew it my fourth cousin twice removed on my father’s mother’s side was asking me why my blog hadn’t been updated lately. Friends were telling me which posts they loved. Strangers were stopping by and leaving me sweet comments, telling me they were praying for us and our adventure as a military family. Then my blogging developed a new purpose. Not only was I blogging but I was reading other blogs. I was in the blogosphere to feel connected to not just family, but the outside world. When my husband was busy and there were no friends or family, blogs became my comfort. It was my link to a world outside of medical school.

While immersing myself in blog world, I decided that our blog was going to become an online diary to share with our children. I would print it out each year and save for the kiddies to someday cherish as a glimpse into who we were before them (begin humming “The Way We Were” here). With this I put undue pressure on myself to post every event, every picture, every move, every time one of us sneezed. A little unnecessary. That’s what picture albums are for. I still want my words here for our future children, but maybe not every little mundane thing. That equals burnout for me.

So what does that leave me with? What is my purpose?

I think I would like to share my thoughts and feelings, not just give a play by play on our lives. I want my blog to be something more than just an electronic scrapbook. If I had a chronicle of my parents’ early lives together I wouldn’t want to know just what they did, I would want to know what they felt. What they thought. The most memorable pictures of my parents together were when they were 17 and 18, just married, and driving across country to live in Colorado where my father was stationed in the Army. They took pictures at the different state lines to record the trip. Sure, I know they did that, but what were they thinking and feeling while they did that? When were they happy? When were they sad? Did my mother, only a baby herself, ever cry at night thinking about leaving behind her mother, father, sister and niece? Did my father ever feel overwhelmed with the responsibility of moving his young bride across the country and being faced with providing for a family? When they spoke about the future which was nothing but a blank slate filled with hope and promise, what plans did they lay?

So with that in mind, I’ve decided what I want to record for my children is the deeper part of me. And it doesn’t matter who reads or doesn’t read. I’m going to write for me and I’m going to write for my kids (and in case you're new here, there aren't actually any kids yet, we're talking future children). Now, this is not to say that every post will now become a profound proclamation of who I am as a person. I’m still going to talk about our lives together and what we do and where we go, but I’m going to do it with a different purpose. Maybe that will show through, maybe it won’t. Maybe it will just look like the same old blog to you. But to me it will feel different, and that will inspire me to keep going. Not just to blog with a different purpose, but maybe even to live with a different purpose.

In fact, perhaps I will start living on purpose. And if I do, that may be the best possible outcome for this humble little blog.

Thursday, July 23, 2009


I have a new obsession and his name is Jon Schmidt. No, I don't know him personally, but I kind of get the same feelings about him as I did about Joey in New Kids on the Block when I was eight. Not love exactly, just innocent adoration. I hope Ben doesn't mind. Watching Mr. Schmidt's videos on YouTube makes me wish I had never quit piano lessons. Twice. Hey, it interfered with cheerleading practice {Which clearly has served me better than piano lessons would have. Ahem.} My favorite is the arrangement of Taylor Swift's Love Story with Coldplay's Viva la Vida. I listen to it every morning. Really loud. My cats hate it. The intent is for me to just listen while I do other things, but I always end up watching the musicians instead, it's so fascinating to me. Watch it, it's worth your eight minutes. The end is a story of how he came up with the arrangement. Enjoy!

Thursday, July 9, 2009


Quote on The Shabby Nest today:

When I stand before God at the end of my life I hope that I would not have a bit of talent left, and I could say "I used everything you gave me." Erma Bombeck

What a beautiful idea.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

It's Our Day

Three years ago today Ben and I became a family. Reflecting back on the past three years, I can't believe all that has occurred, namely, all the moves! In three years we've lived in three states. Twice we've uprooted our entire lives and left behind family and friends to start completely anew. Nomadic living has certainly strengthened our marriage. When we left Tennessee for the last time on Friday, I shed a few tears looking around the empty house. We left the only state we ever knew (not to mention civilization) and came to Tennessee with nothing but each other. I feel that's where we really became a family. As I look back on the first three years I start thinking about the next three years. They will bring a doctorate degree, a master's degree, Ben will become a Captain in the Air Force and a physician, another move (one even farther away), beginning residency, and hopefully, our first child.

But even with all the really big stuff that's happened, it's really those little things that make up a marriage. Coffee and eggs on weekend mornings, the hectic weekday mornings, popcorn and movie night, foot rubs, morning cuddles, grilling out, friends over for dinner, feeding the cats, decorating for the holidays, and fighting over what lamps to buy. But, when you're married to the right person, all of those boring, mundane, everyday things seem Magical. I'm so glad I've always believed in magic.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Never never never

I will never ever be unpacked. Ever. It will never happen. We keep working furiously and I feel like the boxes are multiplying. Forget it, I'll just leave everything packed until we move in two years.


Monday, June 15, 2009

Here we go again!

Today: Load up truck and SUV and drive to Chattanooga
Tuesday: Ben takes boards in Chattanooga while I get up REALLY early to make it to our new place in B'ham at 7:00 a.m. to wait all day for gas and internet connection. Ben will join me there that night after boards.
Wednesday: Get up REALLY early again {have I mentioned yet that Ben and I are not morning people?} and drive back to Tennessee in SUV, pick up moving van, load van.
Thursday: Say good-bye to Tennessee and make final trip to Birmingham.

I'll talk to you guys next week when we're officially Alabama residents!

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Livin the Life

Ella lounging pool side for the first time. Looks like she read my post on hats!

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Goins Week In Review

1. Angela accepted to graduate school, check!
2. Ben finished his second year of medical school, check!
3. Gained a beautiful new niece, check!
3. Found a place to live in Birmingham, check!

WHEW! Now you may understand the new tag line of our blog. I know it's a little cheesy, but every time I hear that line from this song I think, oh my, that is so descriptive of our life! Life is moving fast and it's all we can do to keep up.

Coming up:
June 16: Ben takes boards
June 20: Moving Day
July 6: Ben begins clinical rotations and his 3rd year of med school

I think I need a nap...

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Roll Tide?

I was accepted this week into the graduate school at The University of Alabama in Tuscaloosa! I will be pursing a Master's degree in Communication Studies with a concentration in Political Communication. I am so thrilled and excited! I've been dying to get back to school since I graduated, I love being a student. The question I keep getting is, won't that be weird being a Georgia grad? Well, I don't think so. First of all, they are not a huge rival like Tennessee or Florida, THAT would be difficult. Secondly, part of the reason I really wanted to go there is because it's another big SEC school much like UGA, and I love that atmosphere. Of course, I will enjoy the occasional football game this season and will cheer for Alabama...just not when they play Georgia!

More Ella...

We were able to take a couple of days this week to go and visit our new niece. I drove while Ben took over the backseat of my car to study for boards and nap. Ella is even more beautiful in person than in pictures. Lauren seems like she's always been a mother, I hope my maternal instincts kick in like hers did! I wish I had taken pictures of Ella's nursery because it's so beautiful, a room fit for a princess. And the window box full of flowers Ken planted outside her window is to die for. We're so glad we were able to see her this week. It will probably be at least a month before we see her again and I know she will change so much during that time. Ben who normally can take or leave babies seemed to be very taken with little maybe there's hope for him yet!
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Monday, May 18, 2009

Well...she certainly made an entrance

After 17 days of being on pins and needles waiting for her arrival, our niece Ella Scarlett Jolie is finally here! I guess she just wanted to make sure everyone was paying attention for her big entrance into the world. She was born May 17 and was 7 lbs 9oz and 21 inches long. Mom and baby are doing great!

Friday, May 1, 2009

Little niece, coming soon....

It looks like we will have a niece soon! At Lauren's doctor's appointment today she was almost fully effaced and 3 centimeters dilated (and I'm sure she will sooo appreciate me sharing that with everyone). She was walking, walking, walking this afternoon. We're hoping Ella will make her appearance sometime this weekend!

Here is Mason saying what Aunt Angela?! You will be loving and adoring someone else besides me?! Don't worry, buddy, there's plenty of love and presents to go around.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Why does no one wear a hat anymore?

Is there anything more ladylike than a gorgeous new hat? In days past, a new hat had the same effect on women as new shoes. It had the ability to make you feel instantly stylish and gorgeous. So why don't we wear them anymore? Perhaps because modern hairstyles don't pair well with a hat? I wonder... Well, if you're like me and lament the passing of this classic fashion click here to enjoy LIFE'S photo gallery of spring hats. I feel happier and more sophisticated already!

P.S. Notice the gloves in all these pictures? Yeah, love those too.

I think I forgot to tell you...

Back in December I announced that Ben's sister is having a girl and that she was taking suggestions for a name, and boy did you respond! They did decide on a name for the little is...drum roll please...Ella Scarlett! Isn't that precious? For those of you who don't know I'm a HUGE Gone with the Wind fan. I mean, insane, ridiculous fan. My cats are named Maggie (Margaret Mitchell Goins) and Nelly (Melanie Wilkes Goins). So, needless to say, I L-O-V-E the middle name. And the first name is so sweet and lovely. Now we just can't wait to meet her. She's due in May, so it won't be long now!

Monday, April 20, 2009

I'm not famous but my friends are, so that counts

I know, I know, it's either all or nothing with me in the blogging world, isn't it? But, I've been without a laptop and while I have full use of my husband's laptop and our desktop they just don't seem to suffice for blogging. Blogging requires personal, familiar territory. I took a trip to Knoxville this evening and am now in possession of a shiny new power cord :). I'm enjoying sitting in Starbucks on a computer while sipping my chai latte. Simple pleasures.

So, while I upload pictures and compose posts, please enjoy this article featuring my precious friend Elizabeth Wands. Ms. Wands is a member of my mischievous group of Brumby friends. This group dates back to our freshman year of college and in August we will be celebrating 10 years of friendship together. Wands, as we call her, purchased a condo in New Orleans this year and the Times-Picayune did a write up on the condos.

So, click here and scroll to the third picture down to see what's it's like to be spotlighted in the lifestyle section of a major newspaper. I can only dream...

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

sleepin' single in a double bed

I'm rethinking the recent purchase of our new king size bed. Ben is in D.C. and I have to go crawl in that big bed all alone. {sigh}

Monday, March 2, 2009

Georgia Snow!

Half of Georgia was covered in snow yesterday, while here in east Tennessee we got nothing! Snow in Georgia is a rarity and we get really excited when we see a couple of flakes, much less have actual accumulation, so the whole state was a little giddy. Here's how my family enjoyed the day...

Okay, enough of snow and cold now, I'm ready for SPRING!!