Sunday, February 27, 2011

A morning of laughter

My Wednesday morning started out not so good but gave lots a good laugh...
I had all the bags and "stuff" loaded in my arms to put in my car. I got to my car only to have my neighbor's cat jump out of my window. I screamed probably the loudest I've ever screamed. I am terrified of cats! You are probably wondering how the cat got in my car...well, in order for my vehicle to fit in the garage door I have to roll down my window & pull in my side mirror EVERY time I pull in the garage. Tuesday morning when I got home from bible study I obviously forgot to roll up my window when I got in the garage so my window was down all night. David & the boys played outside that afternoon with the garage doors open. The neighbor's cat likes to roam the neighborhood but I think mainly our garage because he knows I am terrified! That silly cat was in our garage all night! Once I got back in the house and stopped the near heart attack...I insisted on David going to check my vehicle for any presents the cat may have left behind and to be absolutely sure the cat was no where in sight. Weird as it may seem I felt like my car had been broken into and I was being stalked! The entire drive to school I felt like that darn cat was sitting in the passenger seat staring at me. Everytime (even now as I type) that I picture the cat's face lurching after me I shudder. Was it going to eat me and claw my eyes out...uuuummm probably not BUT that doesn't make me less scared of cats!!!! Most of my friends know that I'm terrified, not just scared, of cats. This didn't just happen over night I guess. My sister liked cats when we were growing up. We lived out in the country so we had stray cats often at our house. My memory is standing at the back door at the top of the steps crying for someone to carry me over the thousand cats at my feet. My mom laughs & says we had maybe a few at a time but I think she is not remembering well obviously because all I remember is thousands of cats at my feet. Yah I know..that is completely unlikely!:-)
A friend of mine told me on Thursday that she would do cat therapy with me to get me to a point that I could pet a cat in my lap. UUUUMMMM...thanks Bethany but no thanks. :-) She said the therapy would start with me being able to not get sick at my stomach when I see a picture of a cat in a book. Then we could move to having a cat in the same room as me to eventually holding a cat (the thought of that makes my skin crawl). Again...doesn't sound fun to me so I'll do without that therapy for now. Throughout the day I could see that cat jumping out my window all over again in my mind....It didn't help matters when I told my friend Amanda and she pointed out what if it had jumped on me while I was driving. Oh heavens...I wouldn't have live to tell the story if that happened! If I didn't die from a heart attack first then I would've died from a car crash. Praise Jesus that didn't happen!

Boys will be boys

Yesterday David & I were downstairs watching TV and we suddenly heard the boys screaming & crying from upstairs. We hurried up the stairs to find them fighting! Alex had bitten Drew on the shoulder and actually broke the skin. Drew had pushed Alex for getting in his way. They don't waste time saying ugly things or whining around...they just fight it out, apologize, hug and move on.
After church today we played outside since it's strangely warm and humid. My mom said we are suppose to get severe storms. Looks like I'll be cleaning out our storm room AKA pantry because I'm terrified of storms.
David captured some really cute pictures of the boys playing.

On your mark...get set.... GO!

Hugs turn into wrestling!

So thankful for our church!

David & I were talking this morning after church that the weekend has flown by eventhough we were complete couch potatoes yesterday.
In January we began attending a "Marriage Matters" class at our church. Our church has so many wonderful ministry and study opportunities. The class is led by family counselors who attend our church. It is a true blessing!!! Not because we felt like our marriage was failing but because we all have something to improve in our lives, right? It has opened my eyes to soooooo many good points. Last week we talked about the 5 love languages AND the 5 languages of apology. This week we began talking about our family tree and how family patterns affect our marriages. Only with God's help can we break certain patterns in our lives.
The worship service was wondeful as always. I'm so touched by our pastor's desire to preach what God has laid on his heart even if it means not preaching his prepared sermon. He preaches from the bible and doesn't "sugar coat" it. Amen for that! He often speaks about remembering the day you were saved and truly knowing you have eternal life. He has such a passion for leading others to Christ and challenging those of us that are saved to always be 100% sure we are walking with Christ. This prompted some thoughts in me...there are lots of people I know VERY well but have never heard their salvation story. I started to wonder why don't we talk about that more?
David & I always talk about the sermon after church so today we shared memories of our salvation story. We had talked about it in general at times knowing the ages we were saved or where we were at. David said he was 14 when he was saved and specifically remembers sitting and praying to ask Jesus in his heart. I was 7 or 8 and just remember different parts. I can remember sobbing that I didn't want to go to hell for my sins. I remember the day I went forward to be saved and just crying and crying with my parents, sister, and grandparents and then I remember feeling "different" once it was done. What's your story? Did you feel different?
We sang a song during the invitation today that really struck me as our heads were bowed and I was praying for those that might be sitting around me and unsaved. It started with the old hymn "Jesus paid it all...all to him I owe...sin had left a crimson stain...he washed it white as snow". Then the words changes to "Oh Praise the one who paid my debt and raised this life up from the dead." Those words are quite powerful!
A college group led our worship music today and they did a wonderful job. I have always hoped that my boys will sing or play musical instrunments (if God blesses them with that gift). Watching young people serve God in that way is so neat to me!

Enjoying the weekend

We started our weekend with a date night on Friday. Bonefish Grill is our favorite date spot. We had a few gift cards left over and decided to go on a date. Our neighbor came over to stay with the boys. She is such a precious teenager! The boys absolutely adore her and I don't worry a minute while they are in her care. When we got home we had a movie night in our bed and watched "Scooby" episodes which are Alex's favorite. Saturday morning our women's ministry at church was having their "Mugs and Muffins" event. I was up getting ready to go when Drew came in my room and said "Mommy can you lay down with me and let's just watch a movie?". I couldn't turn that down so all four of us laid in bed until 11:00!!! We searched Disney Cruise vacations on the computer and the boys got really excited about that. I hope we can go on one this year!
The rest of the day we played at home and watched TV. I did force myself off of the couch long enough to walk/jog with friends. About 5 of my friends and I have started meeting 2-3 days a week to walk/jog. I'm so thankful for them all! Running with friends is much better than doing it alone.
Since I exercised I thought it was only appropriate to go eat at Catfish Hole for supper. That was our first time there & it was delicious. The boys were eating so much that the waitress commented on how they must love fish and hushpuppies. They come by that honest because I LOVE LOVE LOVE me some fried fish and hushpuppies. I have loved that for as long as I can remember but it's not David's favorite since he grew up in Georgia and prefers real seafood instead of catfish. :-)
The highlight of my day was when Drew said "I like your hair like that mommmy. You are pretty." I wore my hair curly because I was too lazy to dry it out and straighten it. So sweet of him to notice!

Yay!!! Gran & Pop finally made it.

Since the weekend before my birthday my parents have been trying to come visit. The weather had another plan for them though. Drew & Alex were so excited that Jenna came also. I let that be a surprise for them and it definitely made them ecstatic!For as long as I can remember I have had a strawberry cake for my birthday. It's funny that everyone in my family has "their cake" for their birthday. My dad & David always choose german chocolate. My sister makes her own because she makes my Granny's traditional birthday cake and she does an AMAZING job. My mom usually chooses strawberry cake like me BUT she also enjoys Jen's icing from Granny's recipe. Since my parents couldn't make it for my birthday, David was so sweet and found the strawberry cake recipe and made one for me. I was thrilled! It was delicious and sooo thoughtful. Drew, Alex, & I really appreciated it. David was so worried about the way it looked but TRUST me...the looks did not affect the taste one bit.

I told my mom that I would freeze half so we could enjoy it again when they came but accidentally ate it all. Sadly we had to eat strawberry cake again when they came to visit. ha!

The weather was so beautiful that we spent most of Saturday at the park. First we took the dogs to the "dog park" on Walton then we went to the new Metropark to enjoy the cake and ice cream. My mom took care of David too because he doesn't like strawberry cake so she brought him a german chocolate cake. We had a "late" birthday party at the park.

The boys and Jenna had a ball playing together at the park. Jenna can do no wrong in their eyes. I realized how much she loves them when my sister told me she gave up going to her best friend's birthday party to come visit the boys for the weekend.

My mom & I went to a fabric store in Rogers on Saturday to buy fabric for Alex's bedding. I've had such a dilemma on what to do to make his boy a little less baby but didn't want to change all the decor in his room. I bought some cotton fabric and made two pillow cases and a flat sheet. I decided to still use the fitted sheets we have and just got fabric to match. He loves his new pillow. He says he wants to sleep in his new bed. It's so cute that now he wants to tuck in his Jessie doll and stuffed animals and lay their head on his pillow when he goes to bed. I am thrilled to have updated his baby bedding but without spending a fortune. I hope I didn't disgrace my mom & granny's sewing skills too much. Hopefully one day I can be as good as them! :-)

Sadly the time came for them to leave on Sunday. I know God has placed us here and I'm so very thankful for our life but saying goodbye is never easy. I miss day to day life with my sister and her family and my parents. I can't wait for the lake season so we can spend lots of time together at the lake!

Somewhere tropical sounds divine...

So our first snow storm dropped about 11 inches of snow and I thought that was alot until our second snow storm exploded a whopping 2 feet of snow. I swear that I didn't wish for that when I blew out my birthday candle. Believe me...if I had then I would've wished for it to fall ON MY BIRTHDAY so I didn't have to spend my birthday at school until 9:00 that night.
When the weather began to talk about our 2nd snow storm I totally blew it off and thought "Oh it can't amount to much...surely there is no snow left to fall after the 11 inches." Well, needless to say I was WRONG. It was to my husband's knees and he is over 6 feet tall.

However, it was absolutely the most beautiful snow storm I've ever seen. I always hate when the snow falls at night because my favorite part about snow is when it is actually falling.

Being snowed in was a blessing in one way because we were all sick and could rest without worrying about going to work or school or activities.

However, 2 weeks of snow days and sickness made me very thankful when God sent sunshine to Northwest Arkansas!

The weather is an absolutely marvel to me. One day we can have below zero temperatures and the next day we can be playing out in 2 feet of snow without snow attire. Neely came home with us from school and I let them play in the snow. I can honestly say I've never seen so much snow that it was still hanging around on a 60degree day. That was so fun though because we could enjoy playing in the snow without freezing to death.
Alex was having trouble walking up the mountain of snow so Drew helped him up. So sweet!

Time to catch up

Well for 2 weeks I've had GOOD intentions of updating my blog but intentions were EXACTLY all it amounted to. I decided that Sunday may have to be my only blogging day. Between teaching 2 days a week, bible study and other church activities, playgroup, maintaining our housework, spending time together as a family, and all those other daily responsibilities we all have...I find it so hard to sit down long enough to write a blog post. We enjoyed this weekend of doing really NOTHING.
I guess I'll just have several days worth of posting now. We've had lots going on in the last few weeks from 2 feet of snow to my 30th birthday to my family visiting and much more just everyday fun. Here we go...

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Victory in Jesus

Our evening worship service at church tonight was not only a walk down memory lane with old hymns but a true BLESSING. This prompted me to write a blog post in memory of my dear Granny & Papa.

The service started with "Oh Victory in Jesus". Immediately images of my childhood began to appear in my heart & mind. From that point on I could not erase my Granny & Papa from my mind. I was so blessed to have such wonderful, God loving, giving grandparents. To say that I was cheated to lose them before I grew into an adult wouldn't be a fair statement. They blessed my life so richly for 17-24 years and that in itself gave me a lifetime full of memories.
Although I do often wish they could've seen my boys and that I could call my Granny just to talk or that holidays would forever be at their house with no one missing. As the piano began the music of "Oh Victory in Jesus" my heart was smiling as tears filled my eyes. I could not focus on anything around as I drifted back to my childhood. Visions of my Granny's hands holding mine in church, hearing her voice sing the hymns, and most vividly their smiling faces. Have you ever met people that you were of course soooo sad to say goodbye when their long life ended BUT knew that they were entering a wonderful place we as believers know as Heaven??? Praise Jesus we are not on this earth forever! As my family mourned the loss of first my Granny then my Papa...tears flowed heavy in their absence but we couldn't be more thankful to know they were dancing in heaven with Jesus. My sister sang "Thank You" at my Papa's funeral.

That song could not have been more fitting for such an incredible life. This picture shows the true joy my Papa brought to all of our lives.

Was he perfect? Absolutely not because none of us are. Did I adore he & Granny? Absolutely yes!

We also sang "Amazing Grace" because what would be a hymn service without "Amazing Grace". Better yet...what would our life be without God's amazing grace? This song will forever make me remember rocking my niece Hannah. I was 16 when she was born and oh did our family adore her. I sang this hymn so many times as I rocked her that I lost count. She was true evidence of God's amazing grace for so many reasons. First and foremost was that she was born 9 months before my Granny was diagnosed with cancer. At such a trying time in our family, she gave us joy! Five days after her 1st birthday during the night, my Granny went to be with Jesus. The next morning I laid down on my sister's bed and as we sobbed together, sweet little Hannah hugged on us and brought smiles to our faces. That is TRULY God's gift of grace & joy in sadness!

Tonight one part of the medley struck me like it never has before..."Grace, God's grace; Grace that is greater than ALL our sin". Now that's a statement that sums up our lives on this earth. We are sinners and that's why God sent his son. Yet, we have forgiveness because God gave his son! Did we deserve that or will we ever deserve such a gift, of course not BUT God did it anyway. This makes me think of a Casting Crowns song titled "In Me". Part of the chorus says "I'll never get by living on my own ability. How refreshing to know you don't need me.How amazing to find that you want me."

Last hymn we sang..."How Great Thou Art". I could not sing the song for tears flowing down my face and a lump in my throat as my mind was flooded of memories of Granny & Papa. It's interesting to think about the things that I see in their life now that I didn't understand the complete picture when I was growing up. Although I felt extreme sadness as I missed my Granny & Papa and wished I could tell them so many things about my life today, I couldn't help but smile & rejoice in the words
"When Christ shall come and shout with acclamation
and take me home, what joy shall fill my heart.
Then I shall bow, in humble adoration,
And then proclaim, My GOD HOW GREAT THOU ART"
As that song brought our service to an end, I had a smile beneath my tears picturing Granny & Papa with joy of doing just as the song said and proclaiming "How GREAT Thou Art"!

Both services at church today, as always, were an incredible way to begin my week. I am so thankful God led us to northwest Arkansas and especially to First Baptist Church. David & I said many, many times in our 11 years of attending FBC-Jonesboro that we could never ever find a church we love like that church so we couldn't move. God had a different plan and he caught us by surprise! I have so many more things to share about today's services but I'll save those for another time.

As we sang today "God is good all the time. All the time God is good"!

Have a great week!

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Our Date Night

Yesterday David & I had a date night. David's office sponsored a table at the Boys & Girls Club Winter Ball but one of my friends called it "prom" which is pretty funny. Sad or funny...we haven't dressed up like that since our senior prom. Ha! We had so much fun with David's coworkers.

Alex didn't want to be left out of the pictures. My friend, Laurie, let me borrow her jewelry & I think Alex really liked it!
My parents were suppose to come this weekend for my birthday but sadly the snow forced them to stay at home. So my Aunt Debbie & Uncle Dan invited the boys to stay with them while we went to our "prom". As always...they had a great time. Drew was so excited that they gave him a REAL cell phone. He said "Look mommy, you said I could have a phone when I get bigger and Aunt Debbie & Uncle Dan gave me one". What he doesn't realize is that it's several years old but he doesn't care. I'll have to ask my friend, Laurie, to teach him how to use it because it's very simliar to her phone. Although, his has a camera and I couldn't remember of Laurie's does so maybe he can teach her that feature. :-) He is really proud of that feature on the phone & took pictures until the battery finally died. Of course, it's on the charger now so he can photograph us all today.

Dana, David's coworker, made the event last night about my birthday. It was a great celebration! I was so honored that they decorated, hired a band, and so many guests attended that didn't even know me. Ha! Dana gave me 5 chances to draw for a prize as my birthday present. I won 1 time out of the 5 chances...guess I better not ever go to a casino, huh? I picked a free night at a hotel with breakfast for two. That's something David & I could both enjoy & can't wait to use it! Thanks Dana!!! They had some GREAT prizes and I was really tempted to buy lots of tickets but I didn't. I almost got David a $250 watch with my prize choice which was a great deal but while we were debating another couple wanted it. He says he dreamed about that watch last night. Whoops...sorry again babe! I did buy one chance & I ended up winning with that chance. It was at the end so most of the prizes were gone. I did pick a great prize though...a HUGE basket of Heinz products. Whoo-hoo!
The food was fantastic which made me real happy. At one point I noticed that I was the ONLY one sitting at our table eating. I tried to act important though by texting with my friend Amanda so people thought I was sitting down to be on the phone & not just eating.

Well...I'm not a dancer by any means but David LOVES to dance. I love to dance my house! I was PERFECTLY content watching my friends & David dance while I sat at the table. I wasn't the least bit sad about it but apparently Dana & Lee didn't want me sitting alone so they literally dragged me onto the dance floor. Luckily it was 80s music which is easier to dance to than rap music. I don't know what I would've done had the band started playing Rap music. Well I guess I would've started break dancing...right?

It was a great night with food, friends, dancing, prizes, & laughter despite the looks on their faces here! This might have been when they were staring at me for eating??? Just kidding.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Old Happenings Around Our House

Bringing in the New Year with Friends
New Year's Eve we had some friends over for Low Country Boil. We love the Ormons & the Vestals so of course it was so much fun. The kids had so much fun playing. My boys didn't mind that they're the only boys. Drew adores Emily. He says one day when he's big his name will be "Drew Ormon". He's always concerned what Emily will think about his outfit for church. Usually when Emily's name is brought into the conversation he responds with "Oh yah that's what I'm talkin' bout". I hope they always remain friends. Drew always loves for Emily to ride with us to Cubbies...they laugh the entire time we are in the car. There is something funny always when Drew & Neely are together too. They spend their time laughing while Alex & Neely spend their time chatting.

Drew & Emily dressed up as Spiderman & Mrs. Incredible.

Happy New Year

Cousin Time
A few weeks ago my brother-in-law and sister-in-law and nephews came to spend the weekend with us. We had such a great visit. Our boys are all very close in age. In fact, Alex & Sawyer are 10 days apart. Drew thought Max was soooo cool because he loved Mario just as much as Drew. They spent the weekend playing video games which was heaven to Drew because we limit his video game time usually. On Saturday David & Shaun took Max & Drew to the Hogs game.

Alex & Sawyer got to do some painting while big brothers were at the basketball game. It was messy but fun. Considering I colored on my grandparent's couch with a permanent marker when I was small, glued coloring pages to my bedroom walls, colored on my granny's wooden lap tray with a permanent marker, and many other art projects...I just have to laugh at the payback I'm getting from Alex. I, of course, tell him NO when he does it but I remind myself it's not the end of the world and everything can be cleaned up. When they're grown one day I know I'll look at scratches and crayons on my walls and smile at the memories or at least I'm sure that's what my Granny Kee would have done.

First Snow Day of 2011

Birthday Party Saturdays

We had 3 birthday parties recently. The boys had so much fun. Happy Birthday Harper, Caleb, and Ella Kate!
Drew enjoying a cupcake with his guy buddies.

Enjoying a Warm Saturday Afternoon (right before the Winter Death Storm 2011-this is what my brother-in-law, Heath named it)

The boys were soooo excited to get a package in the mail today from Gran & Pop. Drew got the package from the mail & said to Alex "Look brother, a package from Gran & Pop and there's probably something in there for you too." Alex has been working a little on potty training so Gran sent him some new Thomas the Train undies. He was VERY proud of them, to say the least. He wanted to wear them over his diaper or clothes for the rest of the day.