Modge Podge of a Blog...

So I have been horrible about blogging as of late. Not to say that there hasn't been a TON of things going on... because their has been! Gonna try to make this re-cap short and sweet, but let's face it... my name is Sarah Decker... and I like to tell stories... so don't get your hopes up on the short & sweet.

Baby Jake!
My best friend and soul sista, Beth (Rosamond) Emerson had her precious baby boy, Jacob Cole, in the wee hours of the morning on November 19th! I made a mad dash to San Antonio at 6:30am to get to see my new nephew and his beaming parents!

When I got there, Beth and Jordan were totally surprised and we had about an hour with just the 3 of us to talk about all of the funny stories that led up to Mr. Jake's arrival. And then, I had the absolute privilege of being in the room when they were re-introduced to their baby boy for the first time. (He had been in the nursery having tests run since about an hour after he was born.) Then the fun began! It was the most surreal moment for me, to see my two great friends literally become parents in front of my eyes. Beth and I shared tons of moments and laughs that included the statement "it's not about me anymore!" J and I had a moment where we both realized how unequipped we were. Even though I'm not a parent, it was just awesome to share these first few moments with the Emerson's as a family. Here are some of my fav pics from that morning!

Rubey's 30th!
One of my dear sweet best friends, Melissa Rubey, turned 30 in November! Her parents threw a fun party at this incredible restaurant, The Paggi House. It was fun to meet new people and celebrate my friend in a big, BIG way!

Thanksgiving 2009
Made it home for Thanksgiving this year! What a blessing to actually have the day after Thanksgiving off!! Our days were filled with relaxing, Mah Jong, football and basketball. One word: perfection.

We had a small Thanksgiving this year, but it was great! Jean and Kat came over and we had a blast!

Moms and Daughters

My lil' sis

Me and Granny Grace

Dad shooting at buzzards and Layla getting HYPED

CAE Exam
The week after Thanksgiving, I had to hit the books. My friend, Julie, and I decided to take the "Certified Association Executive" test this fall. So, we've been going to study groups every Wednesday for 10 weeks to prepare for this exam. The test was on Friday, December 4th. It.was.hard. Thanks to all of my friends and family who I totally neglected that week to study... and thank you for your prayers! We should get the results back in late January.

Linda's 30th Birthday!
Linda turned 30 on December 7th! We held off the festivities until the weekend after her bday... and man, was it a blast! We had a slumber party, old school style, at the apartment on Friday night. (I have pics, but don't have my camera to upload them... so just wait for those) We had pizza, desserts, pinata, dance party, glow sticks, laughs and good times.

And everything else...
I've been extremely busy with work... traveling quite a bit, but I don't complain because I love love love my job! I've also had Christmas parties, dinners, gatherings galore. It's all been in great fun... but I have YET to finish my Christmas shopping... which is totally unlike me!

God has blessed me beyond measure, and I'm continuously blown away by his sovereignty. 2009 has been a year of healing, learning and surrendering. I've also made the most wonderful friends in Austin that lift my spirits and keep me smiling. College ministry has been one of the most humbling, amazing things I have ever done, and I so look forward to what the Lord will do at UT in 2010.

I guess I want to leave you with this:

As we approach Christmas, really let it soak in how much God loves you. If not for anything else but the fact that He kept His promise... and He delivered all of us out of darkness through His Son! The birth of Christ is just God saying, "see... I told you I would!" If anything, it's an encouragement!

Also, I've been really meditating on who God chose to reveal His Good News of Christ's birth. Shephards and 3 wise men. Shephards were the lowest of low in the society of that time. But, God saw them as worthy, and made a huge display with the angels! Could you imagine the humility that those guys felt?! And then there were the 3 wise men. These guys were astrologers... they were ubber smart, and kings looked to them for advice. How interesting that God chose 3 men that the most powerful men at that time would actually listen to. So cool to see how God uses people: their places, their influences, their passions, their lives to reveal His glory.

I promise that I'll be updating soon. I have lots of fun events planned in Henderson for Chrimah and then NYC for New Years! I can't wait to celebrate with my family... and celebrate with my God on his fulfilled promise of Christ! I'm ready for Him to come back!!!



11.18.1999 - my story.

I realized tonight that the point of a blog is to share. I’ve done some good sharing, but never really told a story. A true story. An experience that changed my life. So, I’m taking the 10 year anniversary of the single greatest tragedy at Texas A&M to share my story of that day. By no means am I trying to compare my experience with anyone who was injured, was actually there, working on Bonfire, or anything like that. I was just merely a freshman, that didn’t work on Bonfire, that was a new Aggie, and a girl that lost a good friend.

To be honest, it wasn’t until after I read the recent article about Aggie Bonfire in Texas Monthly that it really began to get to me that those of us that were there when Bonfire fell never talked about it. None of us shared our story. It was almost like it was the surreal thing that we were just all trying to get through. We didn’t want to forget, by any means, but we just needed to move forward. And I think, in part, at least for me, it was because we wanted to do what we felt like our friends that we lost would want us to do.

But, I realize now that we kind of dropped the ball. Because we didn’t pass on those first-hand accounts… our experience, whether we were there, whether we weren’t, whether we knew one of the victims or injured, or not. The next classes after us lost out on what Bonfire meant to us, personally.

So. This is my story.

November 18, 1999

I lived in Mosher dorm, and if you looked out of my window, through the limbs of a big oak tree, you could see Bonfire standing tall. I was not a Bonfire girl. I was the last person to volunteer to wake up at 4am on a Saturday morning to go into a forest to chop down trees. I was excited about Bonfire. But, I really didn’t have the desire to work on it.

I had a calculus test at 8am on November 18th. So, naturally I was attempting an all-nighter the night before. My family had called me around 11:30 that night to tell me about the meteor shower that was going to happen around 2am. They were all going to go check it out and thought that I may want to go watch it somewhere in College Station. I had every intention of staying up to study, so I thought it’d be a good idea to head over to the O&M building and try to get into the observation deck to watch it. I’m thankful now that I didn’t, because the O&M building observation deck overlooks the Polo Fields, where Bonfire was being built. Had I not fallen asleep, I may have seen it fall.

My roommate, Leah, and I were asleep when our suitemates bursted into our room at 4:30 on the morning of November 18th and said, “Bonfire fell and a bunch of people are dead.” They were heading down to the sight to see what dorms and Corp squads were supposed to be working on it on that shift. I immediately listed off a list, “check to see if Off-Campus Ags, Dunn or FHK were there!” I had 3 good friends from home that I knew were working on Bonfire. 1 guy and 2 girls. I immediately got really worried. Leah turned on our little TV and they had a live video feed on the A&M station at the sight. There were no words. Just the live video. I remember it being haunting. We just sat there and watched. We prayed and watched.

At 6am, I knew my dad would be getting up, and learning of the news. So, I called home. Not to say that I was okay, because my parents knew better to question if I was at the sight. But, I called to have them check call the parents of Katie McCrady, John Pool and Jamie Hand. Leah went on to class to see if they were cancelling classes or not, and I just waited. It wasn’t too long after I got off of the phone that my mom called me back. I was in the bathroom. I remember her saying that she called the Hand’s house to check on Jamie and that Kristen, Jamie’s sister who was a year younger than us, answered the phone. That Kristen told my mom that they couldn’t find Jamie and that Mr. & Mrs. Hand were on their way to College Station. At this point, I fell to the ground and started crying. When my mom said, “We are on our way.” I just remember saying, “ok.” My mom told me later that she knew that I needed them at that time… that I didn’t try to turn them away or tell them not to worry… which had been my response to them so many times before. After I got off the phone, I called Rachael Jacob, my other good friend from high school that was also at A&M. We made plans to meet up at a certain time and she would go with me and my parents to find the Hands. I then called my best friend, Brooke. Brooke lived in College Station too, but had gone home to Henderson early for the weekend. So, I told her what was going on and just let her know I would keep her up-to-date as much as I could. I remember really wishing that she hadn’t had already left…

It turns out that I had the spawn of satan as my calculus instructor. Leah came back to tell me that my class was still meeting and it looked like everyone was taking their test. So, livid, I went to class. I sat down and literally filled in A-B-C-D-E on each line of the scantron. I will never forget when the Corp guy came in. He had on his Bonfire working gear, completely covered in dirt. The prof made him sit down to take his test. This is when the already livid East Texas girl became even more livid. Feisty Sarah came out in full force. I marched down to the prof and told him that I thought he was horrible for making us take the test… that obviously there were a lot of questions on our minds that weren’t calculus related. And then I said it for the first time, “And my dear friend is missing, we don’t know if she’s dead or alive. So, screw your test and we WILL be getting a make-up exam.” I turned around and stomped out. That was the last time I would feel good for a while…

By that time, my parents were in town and Rachael and I met up. {I guess I should first explain the relationship my parents had with Jamie. Jamie was my absolute best friend in the whole world for about 3 years. She literally spent almost every weekend at my house. My parents adored her, as they did all of my girlfriends in High School. They treated, and still treat, my friends as if they were their own. Even after Jamie and I drifted a little, we were still really good friends. She could light up the room with her smile and we all just adored her. So, my parents were coming for me, but they were also coming for the Hands and for all of the other friends that would just need a momma or daddy to hug on them.} We found the Hand’s, Jamie’s oldest sister – Shelly and her husband, Jake Fears (a good friend that was a sophomore), Holly Christian (a girl from Henderson that was older, but working at A&M) and some other friends of the Hands that were from Henderson. They were all at the MSC, at the information room for any family or friends trying to find out about certain people. They had no word on Jamie, except that someone thought they saw her get into an ambulance. So, they told us to go to College Station Medical Center. Thus began the longest day of my life…

We got to CSMC to find that they had no word on Jamie. She hadn’t been admitted there… we were told to go try St. Joesph’s in Bryan. I have no idea what time all of this was going down, but I just remember that time stood still. So, with the help of Holly (cause none of us students knew where anything was in Bryan), we caravanned to Bryan. I remember St. Joe’s being a lot more chaotic than CSMC. They actually had a huge waiting room specifically for Bonfire, and it was packed. Again, no word on Jamie. And, looking back on it, I wouldn’t have wanted their jobs for anything… they were just as in shock as all of us. They told us to wait in the waiting room and they would try to find out anything they could.

I remember that Rachael and I kind of walked off from the group. I have no idea why, but when we did… we saw a girl sitting by herself, she had been crying and she had an FHK dorm hat on. FHK was Jamie’s dorm. We asked her if she knew anything about Jamie Hand. The girl said, “Are you here with her family? I’ve been waiting for them.” We immediately grabbed Shelly’s husband and she proceeded to tell us that someone had thought they saw her get into an ambulance. But, Jamie had recently gone back to her natural hair color (brown) from being a blonde. The girl they saw was blonde… She then said that Jamie wasn’t there and that they couldn’t figure out where she would be. After the story was told to the hospital staff and the Hand’s, we were told that our answers would be at the stack.

That was the first time I had gone out there. It was afternoon by this point… I think around 2:00. It was crazy. Surreal and just crazy. People were everywhere. People were just there watching and waiting. The Hand’s were ushered off to a private waiting room, so mom, dad, Rachael and I just sat down on some logs. At some point, my dear friends, Justin Hobbs, Josh Hoover and Kent Evans showed up to wait with us. I didn’t know it then, but those 3 guys would be instrumental in helping me get through the rest of my freshman year and dealing with what was about to happen.

Katie McCrady found us too. She had worked on stack on the shift before the fall, but had come back out to help. They were only allowing certain students, mainly those that had worked on stack, to help lift logs. I realized after reading the Texas Monthly article that it was like a huge, multi-ton heavy Jenga game. One wrong move of one log, and many more people could have been hurt. Also, the logs were all twinned together with wire… so you couldn’t just pick them up… there was a process to lift every single log off to get to those that were trapped. I remember someone coming over an intercom asking everyone to be quiet, that they were dropping down a microphone into stack to see if they could hear anyone. You could have heard a pin drop. I remember holding my breath… just praying that there was a sound. I don’t think at that time I knew how many people they had found dead.

At the insistence of Hobbs, we left my parents at our “post” and went for a walk. We were talking to someone, when all of a sudden the crowd fell silent again, but this time, you could hear a shift of body position. Everyone was turning to face stack. It was the most eerie sound I have ever heard, and I can’t even explain what came over me. But, I looked at Rachael and said, “we need to get back.”

As we walked back over to where my parents were stationed, my dad was sitting there, cradling Katie. She was sobbing uncontrollably. My dad was just rocking her. My mom was nowhere to be seen. Katie looked at me and just said, “Sarah, she’s gone.” Rachael started crying and I just stood there. I was in absolute shock. I wanted to go to the Hand’s. I started walking towards their trailer, and met my mom on her way back. She was crying really hard and just told me that I didn’t need to go see them just yet. She walked back with me, and I just remember saying, “I need my cell phone.”

In 1999, the cell phone coverage anywhere really wasn’t all that great. The lines had been clogged all day long, and we had only been able to make or receive a small handful of calls all day. I had gone back to my dorm before going out to the sight and gotten a list of messages that Leah had been taking for me while we were hospital jumping. At any rate, I grabbed my phone and proceeded to make calls to friends from home. I will never forget walking away from sight, sitting on the ground with no one around, and having to call some of my dearest friend to tell them that our friend had died. It was, to date, one of the hardest things I have ever had to do.

My parents were trying to get me to go home with them that night. But, I couldn’t. I wasn’t ready. I knew that when I got home, I was going to be asked about what happened that day… and I wasn’t ready to re-live it. I needed some time. I worked it out to ride home with a few people the next day. I got back to my dorm, Leah was gone, and I just sat on the bed… and stared into space. I was in absolute, total shock. I still hadn’t cried. Hobbs called me, and after somewhat of an insistent argument on his part, he talked to me into packing an overnight bag and he was on his way to pick me up. He had promised my parents that he would take care of me, and he wasn’t going to fall through.

I got to Hobbs and Josh’s house and I just remember being sandwiched between them on the couch, watching the news. I think that was the first time I realized that 11 people had died. And I just couldn’t believe that one of my friends was one of those 11.

I went into Hobbs’ room to sleep. We talked for a while, and he told me that I should call Brooke. He shut the door as he left, I called Brooke… and as soon as I started talking to her, I lost it. I finally started mourning my friend. I’m still a little baffled as to why it took me so long. When I was hanging up with Brooke, she told me that if I didn’t get up and get Hobbs’ to hug me she would kick my butt the next day. So, I did. And I cried even more. Josh was outside on the porch strumming his guitar… and it turns out he wrote a song about what I went through that night. It’s still so special to hear that song.

After I got home the next day, Brooke was at my house waiting on me. Mom, Brooke, our friend – Hayley and I went over to the Hands’. I don’t remember much from being there, but I remember telling Mrs. Hand about how Jamie made signs that said “Bonfire or Bust” on the way down to the ’98 Bonfire during our senior year of high school. And that I just couldn’t help but have peace over the fact that she died doing something she absolutely loved. When we got in the car, I remember my mom saying something about how proud she was of me and just the comforting things I had said to Mrs. Hand. I see so clearly now that the Lord has definitely blessed me with a spiritual gift of comforting others. Because, that was all God speaking through me.

I remember our group of friends (which probably totaled our entire senior class) just spent every minute we could together during that time. We had all grown up with each other, and Jamie was the first friend we had lost… that we could really grasp. We all just didn’t know what to do. The funeral was a daze. It was all a daze… for all of us.

I didn’t go back to College Station until Thanksgiving afternoon. I had gotten Taylor and Blair UT tickets with me in the student section a month or so before, and mom, dad, Tresa and Neal had gotten tickets too… so we had already planned on going down to Bonfire and to the game. But, instead of Bonfire, we had a candlelight vigil at the sight. I just remember the sea, literal sea, of candlelight. And, then the whole crowd began to walk to Kyle Field for Midnight Yell. I don’t remember much about that Yell Practice… but I remember the 12 cannon shots that were fired. Riveting. There wasn’t a dry eye in the entire place.

The next day was the game. Before the game began, they released 12 white doves from the field. Blair, who was 11 at the time, and Taylor, who was 17, just hugged me so tight. It was one of the most precious moments I think I’ve ever shared with them. I was so grateful to have them there with me at that game. At halftime, the UT band was unbelievable. They played “Amazing Grace” and just played the most respectful and appropriate halftime show they could have. Then the Aggie Band just carried the torch. I get chills even now just thinking about it. And, then… we won. We won. I cry every time I think about that win. It was so much more than just winning a game, it was a glimmer of hope, a little light in the darkness that we had all been in, it gave us all something to smile about. I know that God is in all things… and God was definitely in that win on that Friday in November.

When I got back to school after Thanksgiving, I had an extremely hard time. I just struggled with her death. Not with God… I don’t think I asked why… but I just kept on thinking I would wake up from the dream I was living in. Looking back on it, I was just surrounded by it everywhere I turned. If I was at A&M, I was surrounded by the reminders… If I went home, I was surrounded by reminders. I just didn’t have an escape from it. But, I see now that God didn’t want me to escape from it. I had to face it, had to deal with the discomfort. My relationship with Him definitely grew because of Bonfire. Breakaway on Tuesday nights became my safe-haven. I could stand in the back there and cry, I felt surrounded by God’s love in that place… and I didn’t want to miss that. The very first Breakaway after Thanksgiving, we sang “Shout to the Lord”. I remember the line “the mountains bow down and the seas will roar at the sound of Your Name” absolutely broke me. It just made me realize that the God of Heaven and earth, the God that had made Jamie had taken her away. He had a much better plan for her than she or anyone else had for her. Basically, it just hit me that we all live for Him, we all exist for Him, and He chooses our next steps.

“My Jesus, my Savior. Lord, there is none like You. All of my days, I want to praise the wonders of Your mighty love. My Comfort, my Shelter. Tower of Refuge and Strength. Let every breath with all that I am, never cease to worship You! Shout to the Lord, all the earth let us sing. Power and Majesty, Praise to the King! The mountains bow down and the seas will roar at the sound of Your Name! I sing for joy at the work of Your Hands, forever I’ll love You, forever I stand. Nothing compares to the promise I have in You!”

Ten years after the fact, I think about Jamie a lot. I wonder what she would have accomplished by now if she were still here. The girl was destined for huge things. She always wanted to be famous, but in a way, she is. Her signature, her portrait, her story is forever embedded in Aggieland at the Bonfire Memorial… but also in Aggie history. With a school that is so incredibly rich in tradition and its history, my dear, sweet friend, our Jamie, will never be forgotten.

So... if you are still reading, that's my story. One of a million experiences from that day. One this day, I pray for the families and friends of those that lost someone they loved. I pray for those that worked on Bonfire, whether injured or not. I pray for Aggieland. And I pray for God to guide the A&M administration with His wisdom on whether or not to bring Bonfire back to campus.


Aggieland. How I love thee...

I confess. I'm ridiculous. I haven't blogged in a VERY long time. But frankly, I have absolutely NO idea where the month of October went. We have a dry-erase calendar in our apartment, and it still reads September.

Do you remember the days when you were a kid and you couldn't WAIT for that slumber party with your best friends? All day at school, you all would just be so excited that you were just anticipating the bell to ring for the end of class, just so you were one class closer to getting the party started? Well... I had a "grown-up" one of those days last Friday! It was the 5th Annual Brew-B-Que at Aggieland! And almost all of my favorite Aggies were going to be in attendance. I could not wait to get on the road.

My summary of the entire weekend is below:

"I threw it on the grroooouuuund!!"
Fitzwilly's hamburger. Delicious.
Josh Hoover... live and in concert
Impromptu Karaoke Training
Late night Taco C
BShaw and the Great Vat of Cheese
Best laugh of 2009
4am Bedtime
Surprise! Mo (Melissa) Cox is in the house!!
Campus... ahhh warm fuzzy heart
New massive Aggie Ring photo ops

Brew-B-Que Tailgate!!
J-Hey and the man beard



Corner Bar - Rooftop Bar for the game.
Wings-N-More... yummm delish
Aggies Win!!
Bshaw doing the limbo

Cafe Excel for a "grown up" dinner
"Do you know the difference between spots and balls?"
Northgate fun.
Almost killing Linda... not on purpose though.
"Do you like Mariah Carey??"
wake up call from our favorite Brew-B-Que guy friends.
Brunch at the Bodega

Mom & Dad stop by with... Layla!!!
reunited with my dog = awesome.
Save the Date pics for Ber & Billy Bob
rehash all the fun stories on the way home.

One another Aggie note, if you haven't read the incredible article in Texas Monthly about the Aggie Bonfire, you are missing out. It makes me proud to be an Aggie, it brought me to tears, but it was a good reminder of how much I've grown-learned-changed because of that November day 10 years ago. Click HERE for the article.

I can not express the pure joy I had from a weekend with great friends. God keeps reminding me of his incredible blessings through my friendships.... both old and new. And I am truly blessed to have gone to such an amazing school, with incredible people. Aggieland is just good for my soul sometimes. I love that place... it's like my home away from home home.

"There's a spirit can ne'er be told, it's the Spirit of Aggieland!"


lesson learned... well, still in progress...

I'm a blogger. But, I haven't been that good at blogging as of late. I have to confess that it's because I really want to write about a topic and I'm apprehensive to do so. It's nothing earth shattering, but just something that God has been teaching me over the last year... but I didn't really get it until a few months ago. My lesson can be summed up in one word:


I like to be in control. I like to know what's going on. I like to prepare myself for situations that may or may not occur... just because I don't want to be caught off guard or shocked. I like to prepare myself for the worst, because for many times in my life, the other shoe does eventually drop. I guess you say I like to build up my walls... I like walls. Walls are safe, walls are comfort, walls are supposed to be strong.

Around this time last year was the first time I really felt like I had to surrender someone I loved. I felt the Lord telling me to trust Him, so I obeyed. It was the hardest thing I have ever had to do, but there was something about knowing that God was in control that brought some peace amongst the chaos in my mind and heart. A few months later, my Granny went Home. And I had to surrender to the Lord for that as well. She was a woman of deep faith, a woman that I would share my heart with and the Lord spoke to me through her. So, when we lost her, I was a little lost too.

Winter/Spring of 09 was chaotic. I've told many people that I had too many toes in too many pools. I was stretching myself in so many different ways, just trying to fill voids and hurts, when all I was doing was avoiding "the surrender". Finally, this Summer, when things kind of came to a stand-still for a bit, the Lord led me out of my comfort zone... and this is where I started putting it all together :)

I truly believe my mission field is in the college ministry... specifically UT. (I know, funny that this Aggie has a heart for the Horns! But I firmly believe that God has one heck of a sense of humor!) I also have a heart for discipleship. So, I had this desire to do this with college women. I was asked to co-develop a college womens class at the Stone (my Church)... so I eagerly accepted. But, then they asked me to take a Teaching Lab to learn teaching styles, the different areas that need to be addressed while teaching, etc. I was a Speech Communications major at A&M, but only had to take one public speaking class. It was the one class I hated. I can talk about things I'm passionate about until I blue in the face, but don't ask me to come up with talking points, write them out and then make an outline, thesis statement and all that jazz... that's just not my style. So, I knew this about myself, but I also knew that this class is something I really felt like I was supposed to do. The class took me out of my comfort zone. The class challenged me to do something totally different. The class made me face some personal fears. But the most important lesson I learned was that I had to surrender. I had to surrender to the Lord... because I felt like it was Him urging me to do it. It was extremely difficult. I had a lot of spiritual warfare going on in my life during this class... oddly on the weeks that I had to prepare my lessons. But it was because I felt this battle that the Enemy was waging against me that I knew God had me right where He wanted me. I learned a lot about myself. I learned a lot about the Sovereignty of God. I learned a lot about truly surrendering... letting go and letting God do His thing.

Since the end of my class, I'm constantly seeing how God is calling me, even in the small, daily struggles, to surrender to Him. The first few weeks of September were difficult weeks to face for my family and our close friends. And no matter how much I wanted to "do" something, I just felt like I was supposed to surrender my fears and worries. So, I've been praying... and trusting...

So often I feel like we ask God for strength, because we want to get through something. I kind of feel like in my case, it's because I didn't ever want to surrender everything to Him. But, someone recently pointed out to me that the Bible doesn't say "Lord, give me strength"... it says "The Lord IS my strength". To me, surrendering is just saying, "God, I trust You. I trust Your plan. I'm just going to lean on You so you can show me my next step. I know You'll hold me up." He always does. He never fails. Even when we don't get what we want, He doesn't fail.

If you are still reading, I hope that you are encouraged to surrender. It's totally scary not to know what's next, to keep from building up the walls in my heart... but I know that the trials I face, whether large or small, are all for the glory of God. And I know that His love is steadfast and merciful... and that's an awesome thing :)

And it's so fitting and very much a God-thing that the "verse of the day" is Romans 5:3-5. I read this verse literally on Saturday and I feel like it totally applies to this whole surrender - let go - let God thing I have going on now :) ...

"We can rejoice, too, when we run into problems and trials, for we know that they help us develop endurance. And endurance develops strength of character, and character strengthens our confident hope of salvation. And this hope will not lead to disappointment. For we know how dearly God loves us, because he has given us the Holy Spirit to fill our hearts with his love."


For your enjoyment...

I feel like a LOT of people have been sending me hilarious YouTube videos lately... so I'll share a few of them here without sending mass emails... :)

Will use these guys the next time I need a website...

An oldie, but goodie...

I want to find a man who will love me enough to do this at our wedding...

They love Jesus, but I don't get it...

And my absolute FAVORITE...

On another note, check out my friend's blog today... I cried I was laughing so hard.

Hope these provide a good little Monday laugh!


I know, I'm a little late... but here's my Twilight Series review...

SPOILER ALERT - If you are planning on reading the Twilight Series, don't read any further... I'm about to reveal all of the mysteries...

So, Linda and I decided a few months back that we would give in and watch the Twilight movie. Just to see what it was all about. Well, we liked it. She immediately decided that she wanted to read the books, and I just thought I'd pull another Harry Potter trick and just wait for all the movies to find out what happened. That lasted all of 2 months...

I found out that my mom, good ol' Pauls, has in fact read all of the Twilight series. She wanted to find out about what all of her 4th graders were reading. (This is an important fact that I will be coming back to later in this post.) And then, I find out that my friend at work, Julz, was reading it. Julz' excitement about this series was nothing short of mesmorizing and addicting. So, I bit the bullet and started reading...

Here are my short & sweet reviews...
Twilight. It was good. Sets the stage for the love of Bella and Edward... cool. Not much in here that I was thinking "WOAH! Easy there Stephenie Meyer"... but definitely a better read than the movie... +1 Point Stephenie Meyer

New Moon. Well hello there darkness. I mean... dang, talk about tugging at the heart strings. The break-up between Bella and Edward about did me in. I was crying... just because I couldn't help but see that Stephenie Meyer HAD to have drawn off of personal experiences to be able to write about what losing a love feels like. And then you have Bella wanting to be "friends" with Jacob... and I'm practically screaming at my book saying "You're doing that to avoid your feelings!! You aren't facing life and your broken heart!" And then I had to calm myself down by saying, she's only 18... she just doesn't know.

But, there is a BUT... my mom told me that her 4th graders were reading these books. So, I tried to look through the eyes of a young person, and I have to say... I really didn't like what I saw! I mean, as adults, we know that having a broken heart literally makes you want to lay in the middle of the woods and die. But, in reality, we don't. We get up the next day, we go to work and we deal. We turn to God for peace, we seek His wisdom and we endure. Lying in the woods is what we feel but it's not what we do. But, to a younger person reading these books... that's going to be what they think they should do when they have a broken heart... no matter what the cause! Ok... I'm getting off of my soap box... -5 points Stephenie Meyer (I was on a soap box... that constitutes getting major points off)

Eclipse. This one has been my favorite of the series. Jacob and Edward become "friends". Teamwork at it's best. Killing crazy Victoria. And Edward telling ol' Bells that he won't do it with her unless they are married. (That's a good message to the kiddos!) Engagement rings. Saving Seattle. It's just filled with a bunch of vampire-werewolf-human goodness. +3 Points Stephenie Meyer

Breaking Dawn. Oh my. I have to be honest and say that I haven't finished this one yet. But, it's a struggle. The good things: Bella and Edward get married, Bella doesn't die when they do it, they have an extra long honeymoon, Bella becomes a vampire but not a "normal" new-blood vampire, Bella finds out her special vampire power - "shielding". The crazy, outrageous "this is a stretch" things: ol' Bells getting preggo?? REALLY Steph?? Tell me... how does that work?? Edward is dead. He has no beating heart. He only drinks animal blood. How, in anyone's imagination, would he have sperm to impregnate Bells? (Yes, probably the last time any of you will read the word "sperm" on my blog... but it had to be said. Sorry Dad.) It does not make sense... even in the world of fiction. I know... vampires, werewolves, half-breeds... it all doesn't make sense. But REALLY?! I mean, I know that it's because she has a baby that Bella gets to become a vampire, but what about an accidental biting or something like that? Arg. If all of this could have been believable, she lost me at preggers. -4 points Stephenie Meyers

So...another outrageous thing - Jacob "imprinting" on Renesmee. That.is.creepy. I don't care if the kid is growing like a chia pet... and she'll be old enough for him to date in 3 weeks. This is a strrrrrrrrrrrrrrreeeeeeeeeeeeeetch. -1 point Stephenie Meyers

And lastly, really? Renesmee? I know she's trying to put both mom's in one name... but that is the dumbest name I've heard in a while. I am personally glad when they refer to her as Nessie, because that's a little more bearable. -.5 points Stephenie Meyers

I'm sad to say, but I just can't get through the last book. It is a struggle for me. And I guess I keep on imagining the Bella from the movie and I'm thinking "she is going to be HORRIBLE in the Breaking Dawn movie!" Pretty sure it will be painful (not in a heart-breaking way) thing to watch.

In conclusion, I like the Twilight series. Even though I don't agree with or understand some of the crazy things that are written. If I can be allowed to put on my "future mom" hat, I'm pretty sure my kids won't be allowed to read these books until after they turn 16... ok maybe 18. I feel like kids need to live through life a little to be able to look at this as a work of fiction and not something to help you live in a whimsical dreamworld. Needless to say, the series is a fun read for adults who know the difference between good fiction and reality.

But, don't worry that I downloaded the soundtrack... and two of those songs just happen to be two of my ringtones. It's a good soundtrack, don't judge! Annnnd... also don't worry that Linda has bought the movie and we are constantly excited to watch it. Annnnd... I'm ready to see New Moon.

I like the books... just don't go buying me Twilight t-shirts or sheets for my bed...


"music makes my heart beat and hope runs through my veins." - SKD

I'm a lover of music. I listen to music practically all day. Pandora is one of the coolest website inventions ever. I grew up listening to all kinds of music. I remember Sunday afternoons we would point the antenna to the West and pick up 103.7 KVIL out of Dallas for the "classic rock". Apparently, that's when they would just load up with the oldies-but-goodies. At any rate, music has been a huge piece of the Sarah Decker pie. I relate to it, I remember events by the music that was playing, I remember emotions felt through it. So, I decided to make my list of the top 15 concerts/shows that mean the most to me! They are in no particular order... cause they just can't be ranked!

Nanci Griffith - circa 1991-ish
Majestic Theater - Dallas, TX. I often refer to Nanci's voice as the "woman's voice of my childhood". She's not well known in the US, but she is respected among musicians around the world. She has this gentle, folkish voice that just sounds angelic. This was my first concert I ever went to and it was at the Majestic Theater! I know... way to set the bar Paula and Terry!

James Taylor - 1992
Starplex - Dallas, TX. A Sunday afternoon. Pauls and Terr get a wild hair and decide to pack up the blanket, drive to Dallas on the hope that we could get tickets! I was so hyped! We got tickets, ended up running into one of my Dad's best friends, I smelt the smell of marijuana for the first time (no, I was not with anyone smoking it...) and I saw Don Henley sitting at the edge of the stage just totally awe-struck by James Taylor. I remember him singing my favorite "Sweet Baby James" and I just knew I would always remember it!

Coldplay - 2005
Austin City Limits Music Festival - Austin, TX. I had admired Coldplay, had one of their CDs, and thought "Why not check them out while I'm there?" I'm so glad I did! I was blown away and walked away an avid fan! When they sang "Yellow", I think I teared up... it was such an amazing sight and sound.

John Mayer - 2004
Starplex (or whatever it was called at the time) - Dallas, TX. I was with two of my best friends, Beth and Melissa... and I had an absolute blast. There's really nothing like hearing Mayer live. Sometimes his records don't do him justice. This dude is an amazing guitarist and will just blow your mind in concert.

Marc Broussard - 2004
SXSW - Antone's - Austin, TX. Went to see Gavin DeGraw and Matt Nathanson, and ended up discovering this diamond in the rough! I've been to 7 or 8 of his shows and only once was I disappointed! He is the essence of an entertainer who totally gives his all with each performance. I went to this show with a tough critic, and he was completely impressed.

The Fray - 2006
The Parish - Austin, TX. Amber and I literally sold out this show! There were 2 tickets left for sale when I called to get 3... so we took them and went. The Fray had just started getting some radio play in Austin, but not a ton... and only on one station. At any rate, we.fell.in.love. These guys are the real deal... they sound exactly like they do on their records... so you know they are legit!

Don Henley - 2002
Oil Palace - Tyler, TX. I grew up loving the Eagles. And seeing as how Don was an East Texas boy, he did a benefit show in Tyler. I have vivid memories of some overweight dude in front of me jirating to "Dirty Laundry" that I'd rather be erased from memory. However, in his encore... he played "Hotel California". I cried like I was one of those girls at a Beatles or Michael Jackson concert. Yes, it's one of my favorite all-time songs... but it was a song that me and my best friend from middle school, Jamie, listened to on a weekly basis. When Jamie passed away in '99, it took a whole other meaning. Truly a special memory for me!

Rolling Stones - 2006
Zilker Park - Austin, TX. How could I pass up a chance to see the Stones in practically my backyard?! My concert buddy of '06, Mr. Jonny Hey, and I got a pretty good spot about 100 yards from the stage (seeing as how Zilker is 350 acres, that's good!) and we were hyped. They started out the show with a whole bunch of songs I'd never heard. However, about an hour in, they just started pumping out the hits! And when they did this, they got on a movable portion of the stage that literally brought the whole band about 10 yards from us! It was AWESOME!

BB King, Jimmie Vaughn, John Mayer, Eric Clapton & Buddy Guy - 2004

Crossroads Music Festival - Cotton Bowl - Dallas, TX
Think of every amazing guitarist that was living at this time... now imagine them in one place. Yes. It was that awesome. Me and the Fleetwoods all made the trek... sat in the scorching Summer heat... but it was worth it! The 5 guys mentioned above all got on stage at once and just started jamming. It was totally improptu and not expected... but amazing to behold at the same time!

Counting Crows - 2006
San Antonio, TX. I've been to a few of their shows... but this one was by far the BEST. They played a whole bunch of their songs from their first few albums, not the main stream stuff from the radio. And I'm pretty sure they played my top 5 Counting Crows songs... which makes the concert-going experience even better.

Ray LaMontange - 2006

ACL Festival - Austin, TX. He was a little awkward in the Texas heat, but I fell in love with his music. If you ever get a chance to see him live, be sure to invite me to go with you.

Al Green - 2004
Stubbs - Austin, TX. The only thing that could've made this show better was if my best friend from HS, Brooke, would've been with me. Al is amazing live. He may be in his 70s, but the man can belt it out just like he did on his albums FROM the 70s! I also have to add that he threw me a rose... for the 2nd time. I think there's a connection :)

Bon Jovi - 2008

American Airlines Center - Dallas, TX. My farewell from Dallas couldn't have been better! Me, Bshaw and Herducks jammed it out! The whole show was action-packed, they are great performers, and let's just say that they are still in the hay-day! Obviously, "Livin' on a Prayer" was our favorite, but his acoustic "Bed of Roses" was just beautiful!

Pat McGee Band - 2002

Fort Worth, TX. Melissa and I made the roadtrip to Fort Worth that day to catch a free Pat McGee Band show! This band is one of our favorites... great driving Texas roads music. We were front and center and the band was totally impressed that we knew every word to every song. Neither of us had anything for them to sign, so I had them sign 2 deposit slips. We were in college... what else do you expect?!

Dave Matthews - 2000
The Woodlands, TX. I have to admit that I'm not the biggest fan of Dave. I think he has great music, but it's not like I can sit and listen to him for hours. The reason why this show made my list, was because of the atmosphere. The Woodlands is a pavilion... so everyone brings blankets, etc. It had been raining ALL day long but the show was still going to happen. So, my friends and I loaded up and drove to Houston. The rain subsided and we watched the clouds roll off... while giving the most incredible lightening show you could imagine. It was truly something I will never forget. Then he played "Crash" and I was just taking it all in. Incredible.


just your average treehouse...

All I have to say, is that if you ever want to come to Henderson and have a special time... I can maybe pull some strings to get you a night's stay here...

My dad and his best friend have been working on this "get-a-way" on some land outside of Henderson for the past 2 years. I'm SO proud of them! This place is awesome... and just an amazing retreat. And yes, there is a bed, running water and an outhouse for all of your modern day conveniences...


my "cool points" go UP in May...

I apologize to all 3 of you that read this blog for not updating sooner! It's been crazy and busy the last few weeks! Both work and life have been super exciting and has definitely kept me on my toes!! Therefore, mind the long blog... but I figured it'd be fun to put more pics up... just so you can SEE what I've been up to!

Wednesday, May 20th - Hoover's Pre-Bday dinner
This group of ladies literally span the last 10 years of my life!
I'm so blessed to have them ALL as friends AND in Austin!

Thursday, May 21st - On the Road to Angel Fire, NM with Linda!!

(my 28th birthday)

Being from the Land o' Tall Trees and currently living in the Texas Hill Country,
I was amazed at this sight!

We made the NM border exciting! Tri-pod, pinata, action photo... check check and check!

Our first view of the Mountains!!

Birthday dinner at the best little restaurant - The Roasted Clove

Friday, May 22nd - Hiking in Cimmaron

Saturday, May 23rd - Horseback Riding!

me and my horse "Cash"

Sunday, May 24th - Whitewater Rafting on the Rio Grande I have a water camera with some pics on it, but the best action shots are HERE

We made the 12 hour drive back to the ATX on Memorial Day! It was such an amazing trip... lots of time to enjoy God's beauty and get some good reading, journaling and praying in! I officially want to thank my incredible roommate and best friend, Linda for making this trip SO special! She truly out-did herself and made it so much fun!

This PAST weekend, I had a few friends come from out-of-town and quite a few of my friends from the ATX help me officially celebrate my 28th!

Linda, Herlocker and I started off our Saturday with Kayaking on Town Lake! It was so much fun... Linda and I are even looking into getting memberships for the summer! Then, I made them go shopping in our work-out clothes.
Herducks - you weren't in Dallas anymore! :)

It was a ton of fun... we started off the night at the South Congress Trailer Eateries. The food is amazing and everyone was able to find something from the trailers that tickled their fancy! Mighty Cones was the big hit! It's a spin-off of Austin re-nowned Hudson's on the Bend!
- Loving us some Mighty Cone - - the Cone goodness - - me, Molls, Lindies & Bex -

My new BFF, Molly, made the most delicious strawberry cake and cupcakes that we all couldn't get enough of! She is truly a gem and I'm so grateful for her friendship!

We then went over to Guerro's for a little outdoor band fun... and obviously, photo-ops!

Then, we made our way down to the Speakeasy for a little Rotel and the Hot Tomatoes action! It was a blast... fun atmosphere, dance-offs, songs that you just can't help but sing at the top of your lungs... truly a night for the ages!

So, to come to a close... I am BLESSED beyond measure with an incredible family, fabulous friends and a God who loves me unconditionally!