25, Alive, & Thriving!

Happy (belated) birthday to me!


I have wanted to be this age…well, forever. It’s such a nice milestone. I have high expectations for 25.

On Monday I was instructed NOT to go to work per my sneaky husband. Instead, he sent me for a little spa visit to get a hot stone massage, facial, and pedicure! It was a-maz-ing! (Note: Mary accepts these types of gifts on all days, not just holidays).

I also got the cutest flower bouquet delivered to work on Tuesday from some of my favorite Chi Chi’s……..

…and Seth sent me one of my favorite flower…lilies!

(yes, please let that breathtaking view of the parking garage outside of my window office soak in…)

I was even surprised with a Vera Bradley cosmetic bag and some super cute jewelry!
Seth & I celebrated both of our birthdays last night at Pallottas and ended the night by tag-teaming his accounting homework. I know…SO romantic! :)

Thanks to all my family & friends who helped make my birthday fabulous! I love you all!

Here’s to 25. Only 5 years away from…30.

Through Emily’s Eyes

I recently had the privilege of meeting Emily Maddock. She is a fantastic girl & blessing from God who has a heart for children & international missions. Our Sunday school class helped support her this past weekend at the church missions festival. I encourage all of you to check out her website and read her testimony. She is so creative and started making “Ransom Notes” to help raise money and awareness for human trafficking in other countries. They are symbolic of the ransom Christ paid for our lives. I copied the below statement to give you an idea:

“Millions of women and children are trafficked and exploited through forced prostitution and bonded labor. Ransom Notes are intended to create awareness of this injustice as well as to raise money to ransom victims. Proceeds go to International Justice Mission (IJM), an organization working to free captives all over the world.”

It breaks my heart to know that precious children all over the world are suffering, especially in terrible conditions such as these. The above picture shows some examples of the “ransom notes” she creates. They are beautiful and have so much meaning. The work she does to help get these kids out of trouble and into a more stable environment is just amazing.

Her work touched my heart and I hope it can change your life as well. If you’d like to support Emily and her work with IJM, her contact information is on the website linked below.


Thank you, Emily, for sharing your ministry with us and reminding us how important it is to serve others.

How deep the Father’s love for us
How vast beyond all measure
That He should give His only Son
And make a wretch His treasure

How great the pain of searing loss
The Father turns His face away
As wounds which mar the Chosen One
Bring many sons to glory

Behold the man upon the cross
My sin upon His shoulder
Ashamed I hear my mocking voice
Call out among the scoffers

It was my sin that held Him there
Until it was accomplished
His dying breath has brought me life
I know that it is finished

I will not boast in anything
No gifts, no power, no wisdom
But I will boast in Jesus Christ
His death and resurrection

Why should I gain from His reward
I cannot give an answer
But this I know with all my heart
His wounds have paid my ransom

Why should I gain from His reward
I cannot give an answer
But this I know with all my heart
His wounds have paid my ransom

“For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.”

Mark 10:45


The So You Think You Can Dance Tour…not just for teeny boppers!

On Saturday night, several of us girls went to watch the dancing show as they made their way across Texas. I am proud to admit that YES, I did go last year as well. And it was so fun! Almost as good as watching on TV. And they do all our favorite dances from the season. I was thisclose to buying a big poster for the bedroom plus an autographed 8×10 but you know, I didn’t want to go toooo crazy :)

Me & Cara eating at Benjy’s beforehand
Kim & Traci
The…DANCERS! Kherington & Twitch doing the prison break dance
Yeah, we went there. Erika, Traci, & Cara being 4-REAL
Kim, me, & Joanna
“We can’t stop the beat…”

Yea! SO fun. Can’t wait for season 5 next summer!

Landscaping Project Pictures

First of all…thanks to Garrett for finally sending these to me! :) We all know I’m never one to keep the blog readers waiting. And I’ll admit, I bribed him with an ode. I know, I’ve completely disregarded those the past few Fridays. And seeing as I’ve been on post overload the past couple days, I will have to put him in the mix for the next few. Don’t worry, I won’t forget!!

As I mentioned last weekend, several of us from our Sunday school class volunteered at the Montgomery County Youth Shelter. They had some leftover hurricane debris that needed picking up, plus we cleaned up a couple of flower beds and *hopefully* planted things that will last.

This is what we started with. Get ready to say goodbye to all that monkey grass and random overgrowth…

Garrett posing by his project

Laura, Cara, Erika, Tami, Me, & Allison. Working hard and looking good!

The plants we bought. Along with tons of soil and mulch.

Deciding where everything should go…

Part of our finished product! Hopefully everything stays alive and grows up big!

Erika & MeSo amazingly strong. I KNOW.

Work it Seth!
Tami, Karyn, Me, & Allison

Thanks guys for a fun Saturday!
Ok, I’ll try to cool it on the posting for awhile. Lots of big things happening over the next few days though. Something about…..So You Think You Can Dance???????????????

Happy Birthday Seth!

Today, Seth becomes a man. The big 2-5! We’ve finally hit true adulthood! (All younger ages are questionable because you could still be in college…) In honor of his birthday, I will compose a non-original post of the 25 best things about my husband…

1. You love your job and what you do. Look how excited you were on your first day of work!!

2. You take fantastic care of me

3. You rarely complain or say bad things about anyone

4. You know how to fix things. You’re my handyman!

5. You tell me I’m pretty even when I have no make up on and have just woken up.

6. You’re not shy and can talk to anyone.

7. You have hidden musical talents…making you a superstar at Rock Band!

8. You are generous, selfless, and loving.

9. You love your God (I would put this back at no. 1 but I really don’t want to re-number) and always find ways to serve Him
10. You discipline the dogs. Which gives me hope for children. Because Lord knows I won’t do it :)
11. You get super-excited if anything has to do with A&M
12. You helped me paint the house even though you didn’t want to
13. You value my opinion (at least I think you do…)
14. You love your family and would do anything for them
15. You are picky about the way you fold your socks. Who would’ve known?
16. You pick up all the dog poop in the backyard. Almost without complaining.
17. You respond to nearly all 50ish emails I send you during the day. And don’t act annoyed.
18. You are spontaneous and love to have a good time
19. You never ever give up
20. You always compliment the food I cook
21. YOU know how to cook! Who else teaches me how to make “stiff peaks” and cut butter??
22. You sit through some of my TV shows even though you hate them
23. You can remember every high school football or baseball game you played in
24. You are competitive and will argue a point to the death
25. You’re my best friend!
I love you, Seth! Hope you have a great 25th birthday!!

Windpant Disclaimer

Ok guys. Apparently several of you have gotten yourself in a tizzy over my post that mentioned windpants.

Of course I yearn to wear them! Why WOULDN’T a person love them? They have a stretchy waistband (you can eat a lot and it doesn’t press into your stomach…i.e. perfect for Thanksgiving), they are slick (making it easy to clean up spills), they are perfect to exercise in, I COULD GO ON.

Basically, I would sleep in them. No, I do sleep in them.

And just to get things straight, I am not referring to these:

OR these:I merely mean a trendy Nike tracksuit. I was given the OK last year to buy this from some of the same people that are criticizing my choice of winterwear this year.

So, for anyone else who has thought about poking fun of me…too bad. I am comfortable in my slick shiny pants. And you can’t do anything about it.

Only an Aggie…

As part of the A&M recruiting team at work, I’ve gotten to see many interesting things…but today was the best yet.

I had called to make dinner reservations last week at a well-known restaurant in College Station (we’ll leave it anonymous to protect the semi-innocent). When asked who the reservation would be for I said, “My company, Anadarko Petroleum Corporation. It’s a recruiting dinner. My name is Mary and I am the contact.”

Easy as pie.

Today, I received a call from said restaurant. The conversation went as follows:

Ring Ring Ring

Me: “This is Mary”
Restaurant: “Hi! May I please speak with Mrs. Darko?”
Me: “Excuse me?”
Restaurant: “Can I please speak with Mrs. Darko? A Mrs. Anna Darko?”
Me (about to pee in my pants): “Well, this is Mary Anderle. I WORK for a company called Anadarko.”
Restaurant: “Well, I have a reservation next week here for a Mrs. Anna Darko.”

Bless her heart.

The Most Wonderful Time of the Year

Ah. You smell that?

That’s right. It’s Christmas!


How exciting to walk outside and enjoy the BRISK holiday air this morning. Never mind that it’s all gone by now. But how I yearn to wear a light jacket and windpants! For it to be so chilly that only taco soup and cornbread is appropriate for dinner!

I was just so conflicted in Hobby Lobby yesterday. We should all be in the spirit of Halloween and fall…but when you throw a great giant Christmas section in the mix…how can you not meander over to look at the ornaments, yard signs (not blow ups, mind you), and other holiday paraphernalia???

This is one of the reasons why I listened to Christmas music on my computer this morning at work. Because why the heck not?!

This also brings up the dreaded topic of Christmas shopping. I have GOT to start making a list, because Lord help all of us if I have to be in a store past that first weekend of December. Do not, I repeat, do not put Christmas shopping off until the last minute. Do you really want to be caught up in the crazy insane mess that is a mall??? Oh, it’s fun to buy them and all, but I don’t particularly enjoy racing against the clock and fighting with mad women in line behind me.

The ONLY acceptable Christmas shopping with insanely large groups of people is, you guessed it, The Nutcracker Market! Oh, November 13th-16th cannot come soon enough! Yes, I have joined the crazy mass of women the past two years and cannot wait for the third. You have never seen women fight over the last metal snowman statue until you’ve been here. Or the second to last hot pink crazy wild boa Christmas tree. For a more toned down experience, I invite you to try out the Holiday Market out here in The Woods. Last year Cathy and I had the experience of downing (many) wine-a-rita samples, tasting all sorts of Texas dips & salsas, and searching for Christmas stockings for the dogs.

Another thing on my mind is the…family Christmas card. It was tough enough to get dear Maggie to cooperate last year. This time we have TWO furry creatures to deal with. I can already tell how fun it will be. Neither are prone to dress up clothes but I really feel that this is the year! I really think Tucker has been itching for some reindeer antlers. And perhaps Maggie would like a Rudolph nose? I’m hoping we can get something along the lines of these two…

Picture studio, here we come!