Tuesday, December 30, 2008
Marc and I went down to South Carolina to spend the weekend with his dad and stepmom December 19-21. We celebrated Christmas with all of Melinda's family, and then also our Christmas with them, Matt, Tammy, and Karleigh. I don't spend as much time with Karleigh as I do with Allie and Ava - they live in Hillsborough, and we just don't see them as much as we should. So, it was really fun spending time with her. She's just adorable! I love her curls!
And, on the way home, as always, we stopped by Concord Mills. It was crazy busy. But I just love outlet stores! =.) I can't pay full price for clothes! Especially when I know I can get them at a much lower price somewhere else. So, we finished up our Christmas shopping, then came on home.
As soon as we got home, I changed and went with Brock and Allie to the Christmas Cantata at Mars Hill Baptist Church. That's the church we grew up in, and our grandmothers still go there. So, we went and listened. For as long as I remember, when you walk out the door, some of the deacons are standing out on the steps, and you get a little brown paper bag filled with fruit, raisins, chewing gum, and a candy bar. They cover all the bases! So, we each got a bag, then went down stairs to the fellowship hall and ate some homemade goodies. I love that about Mars Hill. Number 1 - the food is always delicious! Number 2 - you know almost everyone there. That's the benefit of a small church. I haven't seen some of these people in 6 months or more, because that's when Marc and I transfered our membership to Crosslink. It was great seeing old friends. =.)
Tuesday night, I went to dinner with my other girls. We went to Tupelo's and enjoyed half price wine, and a really good dinner. After that, we went to the Wooden Nickel and just hung out for a while. I had to go home early, as I had to work Christmas Eve.
On Christmas Eve, we had dinner at my grandma's and opened gifts there. We finished there around 8. Marc and I had to get home to finish wrapping all of our presents for Christmas, and then we opened our gifts to each other. We didn't want to be rushed on Christmas morning, and I think I like doing things on Christmas Eve, at least while it's just the two of us.
Then, on Christmas morning, we looked through our stockings to each other, then went over to Brock and Wendy's, and did gifts with them and Mama and Daddy. Then we went to Matt & Tammy's and exchanged gifts with them and Marc's mom and aunt, and just hung out for a little bit with them. Lunch was at my aunt's - with my mom's brother, sisters, mom, and families. We opened gifts after lunch, then we celebrated Lisa's birthday, she opened her gifts, then we ate birthday cake. Our next stop was at Marc's aunts' house, we did dinner there, then we did a "Dirty Santa" gift exchange. And finally, our last stop of the day was my grandpa's house. We exchanged gifts there, then we went home to wait for Lyman and Melinda to get there. They stayed with us Christmas night, and then went home the next morning. I went shopping with Mama for a little bit. This is our day in pictures:
Mama admiring her new picture
Okay - that was Friday, so on Saturday, we did dinner with my other grandma's family - her nieces and nephews and family from her brothers and sisters. It's been awhile since we've seen everyone.
I feel like our Christmas was completely family-filled, and I loved it. However, I feel like I need some more time off to recouperate! I am still a little tired of eating! =.) Now, looking forward to the new year, and more eating!
I hope your Christmas was merry, and that you are blessed with all things in the new year!
"I have told you these things, so that in my you may have peace. In this world, you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world." John 16:33
Monday, December 15, 2008
See, my grandmother makes the best Christmas cookies ever. They're homemade sugar cookies with icing on top. Since she has arthritis, and it's been getting a bit worse each year, it's hard for her to roll out the dough, and cut them out, etc. And since we all love the cookies so much, we told her we would help her make them so she could still give them out.
Brock and I are the oldest grandkids...the next oldest is 7 years younger than me. She came over to help watch Allie this year, and Allie was so funny! Allie wanted to help so badly (I really think she just wanted to get icing on her fingers so she could lick it off). So, my grandma broke out the sprinkles, and they made buttons for the snowmen and the gingerbread men. Anyways, here are some pictures of Brock, Marc, and me working in her kitchen.
On Sunday, we had a family reunion to go to. We have one twice a year, and it's with my great grandmother's family. It's all of her brothers and sisters, and all of their kids, and their kid's kids, etc. This year, there were only about 70 people there, but they're getting older. It's good to see these people...it makes me wonder - how many other families still know their families from 4 generations prior? Do you know yours? I only know it on my dad's side of the family. Growing up with the family I have, I hope my kids know as much of their family as possible...as far back as they can. They won't appreciate it when they're young, and I realize that, but they will once they're older, and they'll cherish the time they spent with those loved ones. =.)
"A wife of noble character who can find? She is worth far more than rubies. Her husband has full confidence in her and lacks nothing of value. She brings him good, not harm, all the days of her life." Proverbs 31:10-12
Monday, December 8, 2008
This one is empty because it was my breakfast this morning. =.) I absolutely LOVE a Mountain Dew. My favorite is from a can. They just taste better. Those who are addicts like me, you know what I'm talking about. =.)
In November, our pastor at Crosslink Community Church, Pastor Ken, as I'll call him, challenged everyone to fast for 40 days. The purpose of the fast:
- Pray for the people in your wallet (the 3 people you have written down in your wallet that you've listed as needing prayer that God will come into their lives and convict them, and that Jesus will find them wherever they are).
- Pray for the DreamBIG initiative that's going on (We're currently meeting in the auditorium of a middle school because the church is only 2, almost 3, years old, and we don't have a physical building to call our church, yet. DreamBIG is our fund to begin searching for land to build on).
So, any time we thought about what we were fasting, it was supposed to be a reminder to pray for the two items above, as well as anything else you felt needed prayer.
Marc and I were talking after this service about what we were going to fast, and I told him I'd fast chocolate. That would be hard for me, but not impossible. I love chocolate, so it would be a sacrifice for me. He said that if I really wanted to fast, then I should give up Mt. Dew for 40 days. Let me tell you, I thought he was crazy, because I didn't really think I could do it. But I thought about it and I prayed about it, and I decided that if I were going to do this, and really give up something that I consider a daily part of my life, then Mt. Dew would be the thing that would be the biggest sacrifice for me. So, I did.
I made a countdown in my planner from 40 all the way to Mt. Dew Day! And that day, was on Saturday, December 6th. On Saturday morning, I woke up - we had a 2 liter Mt. Dew in the fridge, but it had been open for over a week, and to be honest, I did not want my first sip of Mt. Dew in 40 days to be that of a flat 2 liter. That would have just been a disappointment. I needed gas, so I drove to Andy's after getting my fake tree out of Mama & Daddy's storage building at their house, and purchased 2 refreshingly cold cans of Mountain Dew. I waited until I got back home, popped the top of that much awaited for drink, turned it up, and had my first sip in 40 days.
And ya know what, it didn't taste nearly as great as it was supposed to! I don't know if my taste buds have changed, but every swallow of Mt. Dew since Saturday - they just haven't tasted the way I expected. Don't get me wrong...it was good...but not as good as I wanted it to be. =.) So, I do believe that my newest 'addiction' in the world of soft drinks is: Sprite. At least it's caffeine free. =.)
"For the word of the LORD is right and true; he is faithful in all he does." Psalm 33:4
Here's the thing - Marc has always had a real tree, and I've always had a fake tree. I so believe that a fake tree is just really so much easier. No needles to pick up, no tree trunks to water, no having to turn the tree off when we're not home, etc. He says he likes the way the real trees smell, and he doesn't mind the "hassle" of a real tree.
So, back to Friday night. We went over to Brock and Wendy's for dinner, and Brock & Marc ended up watching some Motocross/4-wheeler show that Brock had DVR'd. When we left, I was all prepared to go get the tree, and Marc said he was just too tired, and he hadn't had a shower since work, and he didn't want to go get one.
That means, on Saturday, while Marc was out riding one of these:
all day with Brock, Justin, and Dougie south of Charlotte, I stayed home and put up this:
Now, all I need to do is get a candle so Marc can at least have the scent of a real Christmas tree around (which I hate, by the way, but I will sacrifice because he has).
"She will give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins." Matthew 1:21
Tuesday, December 2, 2008
I think it came out pretty well. I'm satisfied with it. =.)
Matt and Tammy had to leave early because they had to get Karleigh to bed. She was just too cute! She absolutely loved the dogs. She would go up to their doggie gate and wanted to touch them, but she didn't want them to lick her, so she'd pull her hand out when came close. Karleigh would follow everyone around, and she was just so much fun! It was really great having everyone over!
After they left, the rest of us stayed up until after 1 a.m. playing spades. Melinda and I won the first game, then we let Lyman and Marc win the second game. =.)
Thanksgiving morning was spent with Lyman & Melinda. Then we went to Marc's mom's family for a quick lunch, then finished up with dessert at my Mama's family. Then, all the ladies gathered 'round the sales papers to plot out our strategy. =.)
On Friday, we started shopping around 5-5:30 at Wal-Mart. Then, Mama went with me to Best Buy. They had a great deal on a dishwasher, and Marc's dad let us know that the pump on ours was done. However, the dishwasher is 20 years old, so it was definitely time for a new one. It's silver and pretty and quieter than the old one, so I'm happy. Then, we went to Kohl's, Old Navy, TJ Maxx, Target, Chick-fil-A for a yummy lunch, PacSun, Charlotte Russe, Bath & Body Works, CompUSA, Sears, BACK to Wal-Mart, and finally home! I was so tired when I got home, that I was just lazy! This is the back of my Explorer filled with my purchases! And yes, that is my dishwasher purchase in there. It fit perfectly!
Yay for Shopping on Black Friday!
On Saturday, Brock, Wendy, Allie, Ava, Marc and I all went and had a "family portrait" done for Mama's Christmas present. Here are the ones we picked and liked best. They were cropped better for the prints we purchased, but you get the idea.
This is the one for Mama
This is Brock and his family:
This is baby Ava - She's just too cute!
And last, Marc and me:
It looks so much like an engagement picture to me, but oh, well. It's the only 'professional' picture we've taken since our wedding.
Sunday, we did lunch at my paternal grandmother's house to celebrate Wendy's birthday. It was great getting to spend time with cousins, and of course to see Allie & Ava. I just LOVE those girls! =.)
Needless to say, I don't feel like I really got a "vacation" over Thanksgiving. I dreaded going into work on Monday, but that's life.
If you could please pray for Alex's friends and family. I mentioned him last week, and I know that some of his friends are just taking it really hard. His funeral is Thursday night, and I just know that prayer works.
"Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted." Matthew 5:4
Wednesday, November 26, 2008
- A resurrected Savior in Jesus Christ. I feel like I've been on a roller coaster ride in my relationship with God this past year, but I know I'm headed in the right direction, now. God has given me this awesome new church and church family, which includes my true family, and for that I am beyond grateful. =.)
- A wonderful and loving husband and best friend. Marc has been my best friend for over 10 years now, and my love for more than 8 years. I can't imagine where or who I would be without Marc in my life. He drives me nuts sometimes, but I know I do the same to him. I truly feel that he is my soul mate, the one God intended for me from the beginning.
- My family! I'm blessed with a very close immediate family, and an even closer extended family. And they're all so close in proximity, as well! My Mama and Daddy have shown me what a true marriage is supposed to be - equal partners, who put the other first. Their love for each other and for Brock and me has taught me how to love and be loved. And our dogs, who are our family. They love unconditionally and are a comfort to us, just by being them.
- Family! Marc's family is super special to us, as well. My family is closer (by a LOT), so we see them more often, but Marc's family is great! His mom has this great devotion to her sons, and she loves them both so much. You can tell she just wants them to be happy and successful and loved. His dad and step mom are in SC, so we don't see them nearly enough. They've been so generous to us from the beginning and we're thankful for that. Matt and Tammy - we're blessed not only to be related, but to be friends, as well, and that's awesome.
- Nieces! I can't wait to have children of my own, but until we're ready, Marc and I get to enjoy our 3 nieces. Allie is 3 and half years old, Karleigh is 1 and half, and Ava is almost 6 months. I'm sure our brothers would love a little boy in there somewhere, but they're all thankful for their little girls, as are we.
- Friends - Tiffany and Kelli -what would I do without you girls? Tiff - my favorite roomie! I never would have made it past freshman year without you. And the craziness we lived through (especially with other roommates)...you helped make college an unforgettable experience. I'm even more thankful for the friendship that we've shared. You've been there for me through so much, and I thank you for that. Kelli - you are just too special. One of my confidants and just awesome person. You make me laugh, and I love to hear what you have to say. Thank you for what you bring to my life, and to our CODE dinners. =.) Love, love, LOVE you girls!
- Friends - the weekend crew. I've made so many new friends over the past year, two years - Katie H, Katie M, Krystle, Megan, Sarah - you girls are awesome! I'm glad our guys are friends and we've all gotten to know each other! And I'm ready for the next girls night. =.)
- Job - in a time where not everyone in employed, Marc and I are both blessed to have a job to go to every day, and paycheck that continues to come in, even if the economy isn't at its best. I know that this is all God's doing, and even if we didn't have jobs, God would provide for us. He's just making it easier for us, right now.
- Health - so many others suffer from ailments and terminal illnesses, and we're just really lucky to be healthy, and to have a healthy family. We've lost some loved ones this year, but they lived long, full lives, and they are all in a better place right now.
- Shelter - not only shelter, but a home that is our own. We have a place we've worked hard to get to where it is now, and in a place where we love. Our little piece of heaven is ours (of course, it's on lend from God, but He's letting us use it).
Alright...I hope you've enjoyed my reflections. May God bless and keep you as you enjoy your holiday with the ones you love most.
And for those who have an unexpected opening at your table this Thanksgiving, I lift you up in prayer for comfort from above.
My revelation to this is:
1. If you love someone, tell them. Don't assume they know - make sure they do.
2. Life is unexpected, and only God can comfort the soul completely.
3. People are precious and can be gone in an instant. I want to make sure I don't have regrets when I'm gone - whether it be tomorrow or 50 years from tomorrow.
So, Tiffany, I love you, and I'm here for you. My prayers are with you, Kevin, and all of your friends.
Monday, November 24, 2008
We've been cleaning up in and around the house since we finished our renovations. While the contractors were working on our house, we pretty much just lived in our bedroom, and we had lawn chairs set up in our living room with a small TV. It was hard to keep things organized or do much of anything else while they were in the house. So, our spare bedroom became a catch-all for everything that wouldn't fit into our bedroom. We finally got that cleaned up (with the help of my wonderful mom) a few weekends ago. We completely moved from the original master bedroom to the new master, and got our closets transferred, etc, as well. Now we have a fully functional guest bedroom and a spare bedroom (which is really my sewing room). It's so nice to finally have everything in order. So, yesterday, we spent some time cleaning up around the house. We took a bunch of stuff to the dump, to the shop, and just tidied up. Our carport looked like a junk yard for awhile, so it's nice to have that back to normal, too.
Now, we just need to paint a few doors and window frames inside, and I think we really will be done. I'm sure that won't last long - Marc will find something else that needs to be done - but I'll be satisfied if we can get those last few things done. I would love to have it done before Marc's dad and step mom are up on Wednesday, but I think that's a bit too ambitious, so I'll just have to settle for before Christmas. =.)
Now, back to work...
"This is how God often works. He does not spare us from suffering but enables us to conquer it." ~Marie Chapian
Friday, November 21, 2008
I'm not so sure the dogs are thrilled about it, though. I felt so bad leaving them out this morning! Ace just keep looking at me from the carport as if to say, "What? You're leaving? But I want to go back inside!!" Paisley...she was a little more adventuresome. She was at least running around in it when we let them out first thing. This is the first snow they've seen on the ground. I kind of hope it does a bigger snow, just so we can see them play in it! =.)
On a more solemn note, Marc's mom was going into surgery today to have her galbladder removed. She'd been having some abdominal pain, and went to the doctor. She has some galstones, and she was supposed to have surgery at 10:45 this morning. Shelia was really anxious about the procedure because she hadn't ever been under anesthesia before, but she did really well. I just talked to Marc, and as soon as she does her list of 'stuff', she'll get to go home. So Matt and Marc are waiting around the hospital. Hopefully she'll get through that list this afternoon, and not have to spend the night. So, please pray she does fine from here on out.
So, in June, Marc and I transferred our membership to a new church. I am so excited about Crosslink Community Church! Pastor Ken is awesome. You can tell that God just uses him and works through him constantly. So, tomorrow morning, the church is having a huge yard sale to raise money to upfit a new building that we'll be moving into. The church is only a few years old, so we don't have a "church" building. We've been meeing at a middle school in Efland for about 2 years now, and it's time that we get our own place. It'll be nice to have a place to go to ALL the time. I'm really excited to see how God is going to use this new space for His plans. So, while you're sleeping in tomorrow, I'll be helping Mama unload her dining room table at 7 a.m. in 24 degree weather. =.) This is the link to Crosslink's website, just in case you're interested. =.)
I really hope I'll be able to get some sewing done tomorrow, too. I'd love to make some Christmas presents! I think I'm gonna do some Christmas wrapping tonight, too. We usually put up our Christmas tree the weekend after Thanksgiving - another tradition - and I hate to see a tree with no presents underneath. So, I've got a few presents, already, so I need to get them wrapped. I've also gotta get some birthday presents. Just on my mom's side of the family, we have 6 birthdays in December, from the first day to the last. I've got some, know what I'm getting for others, but completely clueless on some. I'm so bad at buying presents for boys. For the girls - those are a piece of cake. But for little boys, unless it's a Hot Wheels, I'm lost. I need to make my list so I'll know what to get next Friday. I can't WAIT for Friday.
Okay...enough rambling...I'll leave you with this:
"[Thanksgiving] I always thank God for you because his grace given you in Christ Jesus. For in him you have been enriched in every way - in all your speaking and in all your knowledge."
1 Corinthians 1:4-5
Wednesday, November 19, 2008
I have maybe 3 recent pics of the husband and myself. I used to take pictures ALL the time...not usually of myself, granted, but still. So, I've vowed to myself that I've gotta take some...and soon!
I can't believe that it's almost Thanksgiving...just a week away. I am super excited about Black Friday shopping! Thanksgiving and Black Friday are my 2 favorite days of the year. I prefer Thanksgiving to Christmas, because it's not as busy for Marc and me as Christmas day is. Don't get me wrong...I absolutely love Christmas, but Thanksgiving is just more relaxing for us. And I'm a huge fan of tradition. I'm just a small town girl at heart, and tradition just makes me smile.
So, we'll get to see our families on Thanksgiving, and at my aunt's we'll dissect every single sales paper there is, then plan out our day. It's a girls day - with my 2 aunts, my grandma, my Mama, and 2 of my cousins. We'll start at Wal-Mart, probably around 6 am, then we go all over for the day. I know the economy is down and all that stuff...It's not so much about the buying 'stuff' as is just hanging out with my family. We spend more time together on that one day than we get to most of the year. It's about the tradition. I've been going with my girls shopping since I was 15. I remember thinking they were completely crazy before then...even that first year I went...my Mama left earlier than I did, and I slept in a little longer. My Daddy took me by Bojangle's on the way to Wal-Mart, and I met up with everyone there. That was before the new Super Wal-Mart, and it didn't open until 6 am, so they would go get in line at like 5-5:30, and wait for the doors to open. The line would be all the way through the parking lot, and the parking lot was full.
Okay...enough reminiscing...I need to work. Can't wait 'til next Friday, and my time with my family...they're just special and mine, and I'm beyond blessed to belong to them. =) Have a happy day!
"If God were small enough to be understood, he would not be big enough to be worshiped." - Evelyn Underhill
Tuesday, November 18, 2008
Marc and I got married March 25, 2006.
Paisley & Ace are both a little over 2 years, so they're full grown in these pictures. They stay outside during the day, and are spoiled with their own room at night. They're precious!
I'll be thinking of what else I might want to talk about next... =.)