Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn't do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover. --Mark Twain

Monday, July 16, 2012


Joey and I both have childhood memories associated with figs. Joey's Granny would give him a shotgun at the very mature age of 8 or so along with the instruction To Kill the Mockingbird(s) who were eating up her figs. God bless Jackson in the '90s ;) My memories don't conjure up such hilarity, but my grandmother, Phyllis Jean, and my great grandmother Twila Grace each had fig trees. Phee still makes fig preserves which are oh so good. She and I agree, what else are you supposed to do with figs? I especially have memories of Mamaw making her strawberry fig preserves, which was so delicious. I loved nothing more than spreading bright red preserves on toast with butter when I was a little girl....I still like it as a slightly less little girl.

Imagine our surprise when we discovered that one of our trees in the backyard was indeed....fig. So I called up my beautiful Phee and asked her to embellish her great figgy wisdom upon her first grandchild. She sent me the recipe for the strawfiggy preserves that Mamaw made. So Joey and I gullumphed to the store, bought some mason jars and set to picking and peeling figs. I did a little (a lot) research as to how one is supposed to sterilize the jars, which was honestly the hardest part of the whole thing for a recovering germaphobe (My darling coworkers have given me this label...I'm not sure I like it, but it might be true. I digress). I don't want to get botulism, and after all, we've had our share of severe bouts of food poisoning and other tales of woe in this two-person household, thanks very much. So I probably sterilized them more than necessary, but what can I say, I'm a dreamer...and I dream of not getting botulism.

Our toils made two and a half full jars of preserves! It was a fun little Saturday project and brought back fond memories of home and family. The figs are still comin', so I plan to give away my loot to lucky friends in the area. If you'd like to try your luck at fig preserves and need a recipe or tips on how to stay botulism-free, let me know and I'll be glad to share.

Yours in figs,

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Recent travels

Although I'm thankful I don't have to do it all the time, traveling for work can have its perks. Especially when Joey is able to accompany me! Earlier this year I went to Seattle for a conference. Neither of us had ever been and we've always wanted to visit, so it was a great opportunity. It certainly lived up to its reputation of raining constantly, but nevertheless we enjoyed ourselves. Here are a few photos from the trip (when I wasn't working):

The famous Pike Place Market

My favorite part of the market was the fresh flower arrangements for sale. They were stunning and so affordable! If I lived in Seattle, I would always have fresh flowers in my home :)

World Famous Pike Place Fish Co.!
More flowers

Dining out on the pier

Air view of the city

We enjoyed the visit, Seattle!

Recently I went to Niagara Falls, the Canadian side, for work. It was a very quick trip and Joey didn't come with me, but I had a chance to sneak away to see the Falls for the very first time (ok it was easy because I could easily see them from my hotel). They are breathtaking! I sauntered down one evening to check them out up close and when they were all lit up, but sadly the camera on my phone couldn't pick up the images at all. But here they are in the day time:

Rainbow over the Falls! They said this happens all the time. 

Lastly, I traveled over to a little place called NEW ORLEANS back in May for a tradeshow, which is probably my favorite place to get to go since it's home. I don't have any pictures from that occasion, but most of you probably know it well ;)

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Springtime in Austin!

I have been loving the weather lately! THIS is when the drier climate has its perks - 85 degrees feels lovely with the springtime breeze and very little humidity. Sadly, when it creeps up to 105 in the summer months, no amount of dryness can fend off the heat. I never thought I would experience hotter summers than what we get in the swamp, but I was oh so wrong. Oh Texas heat, you are unrelenting.

But summer is not upon us YET! And the Texas bluebonnets have been in full bloom everywhere! I think the drought was so bad last year that they never made an appearance, but we've had way more rain this year (when I say 'way more' I mean from nothing to some...progress!). The bluebonnets are a beautiful sight to see as you drive along the highway or pass by a field. They are most striking I think because they grow in such great quantities in that lovely purple-blue shade. I know I'm not the only admirer because I've seen quite a few people taking photos of and among them with their families. So needless to say Polly B and I had a little photo shoot of our own one afternoon...there's a large patch of the darlings in a park right by our house. Take a look!

Polly Browne wasn't sure what to think of them

They're quite fragrant and fun to pounce on!


Sunday, April 8, 2012

me and you

Oh blog how I have neglected you. I unfortunately have let March go by without mentioning that Joey and I celebrated our 6th year of la mariage! It does not feel at all like 6 years, but I guess that is a good thing. 

I wanted to especially share the beautiful slideshow that Joey made for me for our anniversary. He knows I really appreciate stuff like that, and it is so special! It definitely made me cry, and I am not a crier. If you have about 3 minutes, I hope you'll take the time to view Joey's masterpiece - it is beautifully made (just like him). Be sure to turn up the sound, as the slideshow dances along to a song by Zac Brown Band that is special to us (ok, we've never lived in a van, but you get the idea!). Joey worked on this for several months leading up to March and found he had to majorly cut down on the amount of pictures he wanted to use in order to fit the timing of the song. Considering we've been together for 13 years and I'm a picture freak, that's not surprising. Please enjoy! 

My Greatest Adventure from Fleur Williams on Vimeo.

I love watching this video - it reminds me of how we've been blessed with precious time together (and how sweet my husby is). Whether it's traveling across the globe or grocery shopping, it has been a joyous adventure. I can't think of a better partner with whom to share my life. Joey loves me for exactly who I am at any given time or place, and I'd like to think he would reciprocate the same sentiments about my love for him. When we were engaged, someone wise told us that love is not a feeling but an action. In other words, we aren't always going to "feel" like loving our spouses, but we actively do it any way because this is a sign of true love. How often does Christ love his bride when we are so undeserving? Every single day. We strive to reflect that in our marriage even though we sometimes fail miserably. It's impossible to know what the future holds for us, but I pray that we'll enjoy many more years hand in hand.

We had a great anniversary weekend together in early March. We ate some really good food, drank wine, shopped, went to church and just enjoyed each other's company. Our big dinner was at Hudson's on the Bend in the hill country, which is an excellent restaurant that we highly recommend!

Happy Anniversary to my best friend, my partner in life, my most precious blessing. I don't know where I'd be without you, and I'm glad I don't have to find out!

Wednesday, February 29, 2012


This month marks one year of life in Austin! (good thing there was an extra day in February so I could get this post in) It's hard to believe we've been here an entire year. It seems not all that long ago that Joey and I rushed to move one Saturday because we each had job interviews on the following Monday - aware of the fact that heavy snow was possibly coming to Texas - but what choice did we have? The weather is as up-and-down here as it is in Louisiana after all. So we hurriedly packed up and headed out for the eight-hour road trip. Sure enough, we moved our furniture out of the UHaul into our apartment in the snow and bitter cold of the night. . .did I mention that for extra fun the trailer door on the UHaul would only open halfway? Awesome. Once we finally got moved in, all I wanted to do was soak in a warm bath - much to my chagrin, there was no hot water in our new home. I wish this recount was over, but I have to mention that in the morning the roads were of course iced over. We needed to return said UHaul, so we thought we'd take our chances (dumb). People in Texas are just as clueless when it comes to driving on ice as Louisianians and so there were the subsequent wrecks resulting from inexperienced snow bunnies on wheels, but as an extra challenge, Austin is quite the hilly terrain. So when you try to drive up a fairly steep hill on ice, chances are you'll slide right back down. That's what happened to us, except we had a large trailer behind us (double dumb). It was actually pretty scary if you think about it - the weight of the trailer could have flipped the truck over with us inside. Of course Joey realized this in the moment, and commanded me to jump out of the truck with Polly Browne. I love a man who can quickly think on his feet, don't you? It all ended up okay; some of our new neighbors were able to help us out of our. . . situation. After all this, I just had to keep telling myself that if moving to a new place was easy then everyone would do it, and Joey and Fleur are adventure seeking FIGHTERS! Well, that's what I had to tell myself anyway. Last but not least, the interviews we rushed over for? They ended up being rescheduled. . . something about a snowstorm. . .

The challenges of moving to Austin of course didn't end with the logistical nightmare of moving in the snow - as I'm sure anyone who has relocated would agree, it's a huge adjustment. Learning the lay of the land, securing employment, acclimating to a new position and colleagues once you've landed a job, meeting new people and trying to form new friendships, and the list goes on . . . none of this is easy, and it takes time. I guess that's why many people choose to stay in one place their entire lives. I think about the relationships I've formed in my life - many of them are at least a decade or more in the making - I wonder at times, will it even be possible to form new friendships like those? Of course the answer is yes, with time. And the truth is, as long as I have my best friend and partner in life beside me, that's all I really need. The little girl helps too.

Some of you know that we recently moved to a different part of Austin for Year Two. Last February, neither Joey nor I had secured employment yet, so we didn't have jobs to be geographically close to (Austin is a pretty big place, so where one works is something to take into consideration when it comes to a residence....a difference from where I'm from). So not having jobs to center life around, the obvious choice was to live as centrally as we could to enjoy all that Austin has to offer. We have really loved the area we have occupied over the past year. Besides being close to all things Austin, it was just a really beautiful and convenient place to be. Of course there were downsides - our loft style town home got old, my commute to work was around 45 minutes each way and we had some serious issues with a neighbor's aggressive dog (NOT ok to threaten our little girl). Oh, and in order to purchase a home in this particular area, we'd need to spend about half a million big ones just for a 2 bedroom home . . . not happening.

So while we might not be in as "cool" an area as we were previously (we're not that cool anyway), we now have a house with many rooms and a fenced in yard in a lovely little neighborhood that's still quite convenient. It's so nice to have real space again. And my commute to work has been chopped down by more than half, which is a huge perk.

All this to say, I feel like our first year was our tour of Austin. We experienced Austin in the way that people do when they come here for a vacation, and it was lovely. We had the pleasure of playing host to MANY friends and family during this first year (and we're hoping that will continue into year two, so come on down!) Year two is for settling on in - and livin' life on the reals. Of course we still enjoy the city - which is why we moved here in the first place - but we're moseying into the saddle of life, if you'll pardon the pun (God bless Texas?).  I am really enjoying my job as well my freelance writing assignments (so pretty much always working!), and Joey is doing extremely well in school while working part-time in a group of clinics. Staying busy for sure. We've found a church we really like, and we hope to continue to grow in our walk with the Lord with the help of this church body.

Not to imply that everything is all pink and roses all the time because real life is not that way, kiddos. But even when I'm in a sad little corner, I am very much aware of all the blessings that surround me so gracefully, knowing that I deserve none of it. Speaking of blessings, we are celebrating our sixth year of marriage this weekend! WHOA!

So here's to closing out our first year in Austin. We are looking forward to all things to come in year two - bring it!

Love and light,

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Heart Strings

We had a scrumptious Valentines Day this year at home! It's always nice to take a moment to tell the ones that you love that you do, indeed, love them. Whether we have a significant other or friends or family or all of the above, there's bound to be someone in our lives who desires love from us and who loves us in return. I do not deserve the love that is so abundantly showered upon me by my husband, my family and friends . . . but isn't that what unconditional love is all about? (thank Heaven!) And how thankful I am!

I hope you had a fun-filled, confetti in your hair, cupcake in your mouth, lovey dovey booboo kind of day!


Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Bond. Dad Bond.

What can I possibly say about my Dad that will adequately encompass his essence? I'm not sure I can, but I'll do my best.

He's the snappiest dresser I know. He works harder than a workhorse, yet still has tons of energy....always. He drives a Maserati and refers to himself as 007. He's never met a stranger. He can drive you bonkers, but you can't help but be sucked in by his charm. He has 5 daughters, 1 son and loves to talk about all us in everyone. He is very proud of his Italian heritage. His appearance very much deceives his true age. I got my full head of hair from him, and I hope I also inherit the anti-aging gene. He's a fan of potty humor....also got that from him. He absolutely has a mischievous side and a slight love of the dramatic. He's a truly great lawyer. Yes, it's accurate to state I've never met anyone quite like my father (and you probably haven't either if you've had the pleasure), but I'm very glad to say he's mine.

Papala's birthday fell on the last weekend of January this year, and he invited Maya and I to come into Houston to celebrate. All of my little sisters are dancers, and every year they attend a competition/workshop held in Houston; and it usually falls around my dad's birthday. So I drove in after work, and Maya flew in - we all had a great time! It was lovely to get to see my sisters in action and of course hang out with them for the weekend. I can't believe how fast they are growing. And little baby boy is just getting cuter and bigger by the moment! Since Michael has been born, I think this is the first time all 6 siblings have been together in one place, and I'm so glad we were all able to come together to celebrate the birth of the one and only Skip. My only regret is that we didn't get a photo of us all together - shoot! I love you Dad - wishing you the happiest of birthdays! Looking forward to your visit to Austin this weekend!

Girls will be girls - Isabella, Fleur and Maya

Making his 10-minute birthday he would say, when you have 6 kids, you need a lot of wishes, baaazing! And then he would slap you on the head if you're his kid. Thanks Dad... 

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

30 Things to Stop Doing to Yourself

I came across this list via a cute friend's blog, and I thought it was worth sharing with all of you! Personal confession: I know I have been guilty of doing all 30 of these things to myself at some point in my life - some at the same time. So in light of the New Year, here are some good little reminders for us all. Enjoy!

1.             Stop spending time with the wrong people. – Life is too short to spend time with people who suck the happiness out of you.  If someone wants you in their life, they’ll make room for you.  You shouldn’t have to fight for a spot.  Never, ever insist yourself to someone who continuously overlooks your worth.  And remember, it’s not the people that stand by your side when you’re at your best, but the ones who stand beside you when you’re at your worst that are your true friends.

2.            Stop running from your problems. – Face them head on.  No, it won’t be easy.  There is no person in the world capable of flawlessly handling every punch thrown at them.  We aren’t supposed to be able to instantly solve problems.  That’s not how we’re made.  In fact, we’re made to get upset, sad, hurt, stumble and fall.  Because that’s the whole purpose of living – to face problems, learn, adapt, and solve them over the course of time.  This is what ultimately molds us into the person we become.

3.            Stop lying to yourself. – You can lie to anyone else in the world, but you can’t lie to yourself.  Our lives improve only when we take chances, and the first and most difficult chance we can take is to be honest with ourselves.  Read The Road Less Traveled .

4.            Stop putting your own needs on the back burner. – The most painful thing is losing yourself in the process of loving someone too much, and forgetting that you are special too.  Yes, help others; but help yourself too.  If there was ever a moment to follow your passion and do something that matters to you, that moment is now.

5.            Stop trying to be someone you’re not. – One of the greatest challenges in life is being yourself in a world that’s trying to make you likeeveryone else.  Someone will always be prettier, someone will always be smarter, someone will always be younger, but they will never be you.  Don’t change so people will like you.  Be yourself and the right people will love the real you.

6.            Stop trying to hold onto the past. – You can’t start the next chapter of your life if you keep re-reading your last one.

7.            Stop being scared to make a mistake. – Doing something and getting it wrong is at least ten times more productive than doing nothing.  Every success has a trail of failures behind it, and every failure is leading towards success.  You end up regretting the things you did NOT do far more than the things you did.

8.            Stop berating yourself for old mistakes. – We may love the wrong person and cry about the wrong things, but no matter how things go wrong, one thing is for sure, mistakes help us find the person and things that are right for us.  We all make mistakes, have struggles, and even regret things in our past.  But you are not your mistakes, you are not your struggles, and you are here NOW with the power to shape your day and your future.  Every single thing that has ever happened in your life is preparing you for a moment that is yet to come.

9.            Stop trying to buy happiness. – Many of the things we desire are expensive.  But the truth is, the things that really satisfy us are totally free – love, laughter and working on our passions.

10.          Stop exclusively looking to others for happiness. – If you’re not happy with who you are on the inside, you won’t be happy in a long-term relationship with anyone else either.  You have to create stability in your own life first before you can share it with someone else.  Read Stumbling on Happiness .

11.           Stop being idle. – Don’t think too much or you’ll create a problem that wasn’t even there in the first place.  Evaluate situations and take decisive action.  You cannot change what you refuse to confront.  Making progress involves risk.  Period!  You can’t make it to second base with your foot on first.

12.          Stop thinking you’re not ready. – Nobody ever feels 100% ready when an opportunity arises.  Because most great opportunities in life force us to grow beyond our comfort zones, which means we won’t feel totally comfortable at first.

13.          Stop getting involved in relationships for the wrong reasons. – Relationships must be chosen wisely.  It’s better to be alone than to be in bad company.  There’s no need to rush.  If something is meant to be, it will happen – in the right time, with the right person, and for the best reason. Fall in love when you’re ready, not when you’re lonely.

14.          Stop rejecting new relationships just because old ones didn’t work. – In life you’ll realize that there is a purpose for everyone you meet.  Some will test you, some will use you and some will teach you.  But most importantly, some will bring out the best in you.

15.          Stop trying to compete against everyone else. – Don’t worry about what others doing better than you.  Concentrate on beating your own records every day.  Success is a battle between YOU and YOURSELF only.

16.          Stop being jealous of others. – Jealousy is the art of counting someone else’s blessings instead of your own.  Ask yourself this:  “What’s something I have that everyone wants?”

17.          Stop complaining and feeling sorry for yourself. – Life’s curveballs are thrown for a reason – to shift your path in a direction that is meant for you.  You may not see or understand everything the moment it happens, and it may be tough.  But reflect back on those negative curveballs thrown at you in the past.  You’ll often see that eventually they led you to a better place, person, state of mind, or situation.  So smile!  Let everyone know that today you are a lot stronger than you were yesterday, and you will be.

18.          Stop holding grudges. – Don’t live your life with hate in your heart.  You will end up hurting yourself more than the people you hate.  Forgiveness is not saying, “What you did to me is okay.”  It is saying, “I’m not going to let what you did to me ruin my happiness forever.”  Forgiveness is the answer… let go, find peace, liberate yourself!  And remember, forgiveness is not just for other people, it’s for you too.  If you must, forgive yourself, move on and try to do better next time.

19.          Stop letting others bring you down to their level. – Refuse to lower your standards to accommodate those who refuse to raise theirs.

20.         Stop wasting time explaining yourself to others. – Your friends don’t need it and your enemies won’t believe it anyway.  Just do what you know in your heart is right.

21.          Stop doing the same things over and over without taking a break. – The time to take a deep breath is when you don’t have time for it.  If you keep doing what you’re doing, you’ll keep getting what you’re getting.  Sometimes you need to distance yourself to see things clearly.

22.         Stop overlooking the beauty of small moments. – Enjoy the little things, because one day you may look back and discover they were the big things.  The best portion of your life will be the small, nameless moments you spend smiling with someone who matters to you.

23.         Stop trying to make things perfect. – The real world doesn’t reward perfectionists, it rewards people who get things done.  Read Getting Things Done .

24.         Stop following the path of least resistance. – Life is not easy, especially when you plan on achieving something worthwhile.  Don’t take the easy way out.  Do something extraordinary.

25.          Stop acting like everything is fine if it isn’t. – It’s okay to fall apart for a little while.  You don’t always have to pretend to be strong, and there is no need to constantly prove that everything is going well.  You shouldn’t be concerned with what other people are thinking either – cry if you need to – it’s healthy to shed your tears.  The sooner you do, the sooner you will be able to smile again.

26.         Stop blaming others for your troubles. – The extent to which you can achieve your dreams depends on the extent to which you take responsibility for your life.  When you blame others for what you’re going through, you deny responsibility – you give others power over that part of your life.

27.          Stop trying to be everything to everyone. – Doing so is impossible, and trying will only burn you out.  But making one person smile CAN change the world.  Maybe not the whole world, but their world.  So narrow your focus.

28.         Stop worrying so much. – Worry will not strip tomorrow of its burdens, it will strip today of its joy.  One way to check if something is worth mulling over is to ask yourself this question: “Will this matter in one year’s time?  Three years?  Five years?”  If not, then it’s not worth worrying about.

29.         Stop focusing on what you don’t want to happen. – Focus on what you do want to happen.  Positive thinking is at the forefront of every great success story.  If you awake every morning with the thought that something wonderful will happen in your life today, and you pay close attention, you’ll often find that you’re right.

30.         Stop being ungrateful. – No matter how good or bad you have it, wake up each day thankful for your life.  Someone somewhere else is desperately fighting for theirs.  Instead of thinking about what you’re missing, try thinking about what you have that everyone else is missing.

“You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do people light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a stand, and it gives light to all in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven." Matthew 5:14-16

List originally taken from

Monday, January 16, 2012

The Holiday Season

Hi Everyone! I'm behind per usual, as things have been a little hectic - lots going on and we're excited for 2012, but for now, I must close out's the blog rules that I've just made up.

December was a fun and busy month! One of my best friends stopped over for a night with her husband. Although they were just passing through, we had a lovely night visiting and being generally awesome. I love my Doctors Guidry! We decided not to have a tree this year (Christmas with the Kranks?); it just didn't make sense with us beginning to move out of our town home (plus our ornaments are still in Louisiana...whoops) and with us going back to Louisiana for the holidays. We still got into the spirit...and you KNOW we sent Christmas cards! See previous post. 

This is what I come home to - Joey Crocker!

We got "tacky" with new friends

We attended my company's holiday party at The Driskill Hotel, Austin
Love these girls!

Handsome arm candy :)

I mean, somebody has to get the party started...might as well be us!

And we had a lovely, hilarious Christmas filled with the usual craziness - but as my motto surrounding the holidays states, "Tis the Season!" Of course we drove to Louisiana for Christmas, joined by my beautiful sister, who flew into Austin from L.A. We went to a few holiday parties, caught up with as many friends as possible, visited family, had a bonfire, had the slightest car wreck yet again (what is it with going to Louisiana and my car getting hit? Are you trying to tell me something, Louisiana? See here.) played a lot of monopoly ("You should really invest in real estate"... I am quite the heckler when it comes to monopoly fyi) and even had the midnight winnow. My poor mother's house is filled with mine and Maya's "stuff" from yesteryear, and it desperately needed to be sorted and for the most part thrown away!! I think we stayed up until about 3am one night going through all that many memories and oh so much crap that is now out of my mom's house - yay!!

Joey and his sweet Mom
Gal pals at a holiday party!
Meredith, Holly, Fleur and Ashley
(totally stole this pic from Ash!)

Fleur, Brenda and Maya

With our littlest sister, Isabella
Love these girls!

The Farm
We stayed on my mom's beautiful farm this time coming home - it was a lot of fun! Polly Browne especially enjoyed getting into all sorts of trouble on the farm. . . oh, that dog.
And of course J-man could walk right out the front door and hunt - dream come true. Although, after a stellar report card and just because we love the guy, Joey got an Xbox 360 from me and a few other family members - so I think it's safe to say that once Christmas day rolled around, he was kinda hooked on the ole boxxy poo. It was great to surprise him this year!!
Joey plays Xbox as the hounds look on...or away rather.

As always, we were sad to leave Louisiana. I hope you all had a wondrous Christmas with your family! Best wishes for 2012!

Much love,