Saturday, May 31, 2008
This is one of the most beautiful, heart-warming performances I have ever seen! What a precious baby girl! I hope your heart is touched by this as was mine. My prayer for all of you today is for our Lord's blessings to surround you, and that you may truly feel embraced by the gentleness of His love. -Amen
Thursday, May 29, 2008
This is my first attempt at something, crafty! The first picture is a before shot of the tote that my friend, Datha was getting rid of. I thought the verse was beautiful and uplifting. The colors, however, were just a little ho-hum for my taste. So, I bought some fabric paint and decided to brighten it up for summer. Inspired by the pair of "cha-cha" heels I just bought, I went with bright, bold colors. I'm really excited about how it turned out. I would love to develop a creative outlet and talent, just for fun and relaxation. I'm always looking for new ways to express myself. Hope all is well my bloggy friends -Blessings!
Tuesday, May 27, 2008
My friend Ashley @ The Nostalgic World of Newlyweds tagged me a while ago. (Sorry Ashley!) This little meme is all about my honey and I, so I thought I'd use it for Maria's monthly marriage challenge-A Year Of Romance, to continue our love story. Enjoy!
How long did you date? SIX YEARS! If you count both the time we dated and were engaged. We started dating in September of 1995. We met on the very first day of classes our freshman year in college, (8/22/95.) It was a Tuesday morning and we had English 101 together, with Dr. McQuaig. He was sitting right there, as I walked into class. And we exchanged a moment between us that I don't think either one of us will ever forget. He was writing, and glanced up as I was coming in the door (you know to see who was coming...) but then he immediately looked up again and smiled and we locked eyes. WoW! I don't know if you'd say love at first sight, but my heart fluttered and my stomach was doing summer-salts. I took a deep breath and went to sit in the front row, which was two rows in front of him. He still teases me because there was a seat open right next to him. Well, I had to play a little hard to get. (I mean any respectable southern lady knows that. hee-hee!) And anyway, my first thought was well aren't we a little forward. Well, actually my very first thought was Gorgeous! and yes a tad bit forward.
We spent the next 2 weeks stealing glimpses of each other from across the room. I was the one who officially made the next move. He wore a Centerfuge t-shirt one day to class and I struck up a conversation with him about it b/c I had gone to the same camp summer before last. He asked me if he could walk me back to my dorm, and he carried my books. Quite the gentleman I must say-( being from the south we'd say-his momma raised him right!) Little did I know that his next class was in the same building we were already in, just a couple doors down. When we reached my dorm, we said good bye and as I watched him walk away, I said, "I'm going to marry him someday."-Right out loud! Then I was like, "What am I saying. I don't even know him." Yes, I realize I was talking to myself. I was more than a little startled, to be perfectly honest. Now, I realize that some of you may be sitting there saying -Yeah, right. But honestly folks, it really happened that way. I remember telling Hugh's mom about this story when we were teasing each other about who knew it was "the real thing," first. And she told me she knew about a month after we started dating, when Hugh was home one weekend and said, "Mom, what would you say if I told you Tiffany and I were going to get married?" She told him, "I think that's great, just finish school and graduate first." - My heart melted! I'm so lucky!
Back to dating...Our first official date was a couple weeks later on (9/19/95.) Hugh actually asked me out 3 times before I said yes. Although I knew that I was really attracted to him, I was coming out of a long term relationship with my high school sweetheart, and I had sworn off men. The third time he asked I already had a prior engagement, but I could also tell by the look on his face that he wasn't going to ask again. Suddenly I wasn't ready to let him get away so fast. Soooo, I asked him if he'd like to go with me to my sorority's Fall Fling. And he said, Yes!
How old is he? Does age really matter? We're both in our 30's.
Who eats more? He does, but I've been known to have quite an appetite, as well. Food and I have a love/hate relationship. I am working on my habits in this area of my life. Because, I want to set a healthy example for my children, especially my daughter. It's hard enough for girls in today's world. I refuse to have her develop a complex because of me. I don't want her to grow up insecure and learn to obsess over every little flaw, real or imaginary, because she watched mommy criticize herself in front of a mirror or overheard her comparing with girlfriends about how much she didn't eat at lunch because of the ten pounds she's currently trying to lose. When she was born I claimed the verses of Psalm 139:13-14, especially for her. If I am to teach her to "praise the Lord, because she is fearfully and wonderfully made," then in good confidence, I must teach her to honor and respectfully care for the body/temple that God has given her.
Who said “I love you” first? Me.
Who is taller? He is, by almost a foot. But, I really like that about us. -He's my tall, dark, strong, handsome man.
Who sings better? Well, I'm officially the singer in our pair. Hugh doesn't consider himself a singer. But, I can get him to sing for me. I love his voice. I especially love when we sing really loud together in the car with the music blaring. We can be really silly together.
Who is smarter? I think he is. Don't get me wrong, I'm an intelligent young lady, knowledgeable in many areas, and I can hold my own in a good conversation, but I still think he's smarter, and I admire that about him.
Whose temper is worse? Hugh- definitely!
Who does the laundry? Mostly me, but he's been known to do a load or two.
Who sleeps on the right side of the bed? I'm on the right, and he's to my left. We change it up, though. Every time we move, or just rearrange the room we have switched sides.
Who pays the bills? He does.
Who cooks dinner? I do. But he is a good cook, and great on the grill. One of our favorite things to do together is try out a new recipe, and cook together.
Who drives when you are together? He does, mostly.
Who is more stubborn? We both are, depending on what you're talking about. But overall, I'd have to say he is- sorry honey!
Who kissed who first? He kissed me, on our first date. On our fist date, we road around for 2 hours telling each other our life stories. My husband will be the first to tell you that we were spilling the beans on things we hadn't even told our best friends. But we both knew there was something real happening between us. something big! So, we laid it all out on the line....this is who I am, the good, the bad, and the ugly. If you can handle it, great. If not, then we don't need to take this any farther. We talked about how we had never felt that comfortable with anyone, before, ever. By the time we thought about getting something to eat, everything was closed except the KFC drive-thru. We took our KFC back to his room and ate our chicken off of an ironing board. Yup! Very romantic, I know. But it was memorable!
When I think about special kisses we've shared, I also think about the first time Hugh took me home with for the weekend. We kissed at the intersection of highway 8 and highway 49. It's the halfway point b/w Cleveland and Grenada. He kissed me, and now it's kinda our thing to share a kiss at that intersection. And then, on 10/10/95, we had a very surreal experience at Grenada Lake. We had just parked to get out and walk along the hiking trails at the lake. We leaned over to share a kiss before getting out of the car and all of the sudden, we hear a knock on the window. We look up and see this elderly lady smiling and waving at us. Hugh rolled down the window and she said, "Way to go! It's so good to see two young people in love. Kiss her again!" Then she told us how she had met her husband at that very spot. And even though he had been gone for a couple years, she still came there where they had met, every year on their anniversary. After she walked away, we were getting out of the car laughing and talking about how sweet, but embarrassing that just was when we noticed we were completely alone. She was gone. No where in sight. It's like she had vanished into thin air. And we never passed her as we walked along the trail. We've since decided that she may have been our very own angel. (Smiles!)
Who is the first to admit when they are wrong? Me. But he's very apologetic if he knows he has hurt me. We try very hard to keep our communication open. It takes work. Marriage takes a lot of effort to keep it fresh. Don't let anyone fool you into thinking otherwise. There is a lot of love, but there is also a lot of swallowing of pride, a lot of forgiveness, and a lot of humble pie to go along with it.
Whose parents do you see the most? His. My parents have already passed.
Who proposed? He did, of course. If you want the details. See this post.
Who is more sensitive? He is very tender hearted and compassionate, but I am more emotional.
Who has more friends? I do. Hugh has a handful of close friends. I've been blessed to have always been surrounded by more than my share of faithful friends. I've learned that the deep, meaningful, long lasting friendships take time and effort to cultivate, just like any other relationship. You have to nurture it.
Who has more siblings? He does.
Who wears the pants in the family? He does!- But we discuss everything and make decisions together. However, if there are instances where he says no, then I respect that and defer to his judgment. An example of this would be, when our church was taking up a special offering to buy flag poles to display the American flag and the Christian flag outside our church. They set aside one Sunday and one offering for this purpose. Hugh and I had discussed it, and agreed to give aside from our regular tithe, in honor of my father, who served our country. When the day came, we forgot the money at home, and didn't have any extra cash or checks with us. The pastor reminded everyone that this would be the only time they would be taking up money for this, please help them meet their goal. Our current home church here is very small and intimate. Well, I leaned over to ask Hugh if they didn't reach the goal would he stand up and pledge the money we allotted, and maybe that would help to reach the goal.- And he said, no. Well, I could feel the tears stinging my eyes, as I tried very hard not cry. I was crushed. He knew how much this meant to me, and why. Later, in the car on the way home, he took my hand and explained that he initially had the same thought cross his mind, but he didn't want to draw attention to himself in that way. He felt that would have been wrong. I really respect that, and deferring to his judgment I learned something. If I had pushed my own agenda and pouted to get my own way, I would have wrongly brought attention to ourselves and taken the focus off of God, because I was acting out of my own emotion and not God's leading- or gentle nudging in this case. The Lord used this situation to teach me to trust my husband's leadership and to submit to his final decision.
Well, now you know a little more about us and our very own love story! Blessings!
Saturday, May 24, 2008
I hope everyone had a beautiful celebratory Mother's Day weekend with their families. I know this post is a little late, but I've been working on it here and there. This was not my first Mother's Day, but it was the first with my daughter. Even though Hugh had to work, I had a very special day with my children. I made muffins for breakfast. We also had bacon, sliced bananas, raspberries, blueberries, blackberries and milk. I had roasted almond coffee, as a special treat. I got up early, before the children, so I could have everything ready, and we could enjoy it together, without feeling rushed. We had a lovely morning of worship and fellowship at church. I really look forward to church on Sundays. Trey made me my very first handmade Mother's Day gift. His Sunday school class made an impression of their hand prints with their name, date and a little heart that said I love you Mommy-too cute! I mean, can it get any better than that. I was going to spend the afternoon playing outside with my lovies and planting flowers in honor of my mother, but it was cold and rainy, so we played indoor games and took a long nap. Then we took a drive. We came home and danced to our 60 years of Disney album. After dinner and baths it was time to wind down with our nightly rituals (a bed time story, rocking, singing hymns and praying together.) It was a wonderful day.
This is the first year I've really allowed myself to think about my mom. I mean I've thought about not having her here for Mother's Day, and not having the chance for my children to know her. But up until recently, I haven't really been able to think about her and remember her without getting upset. It just hurt too much. Today, I'm able to think about her and smile. Because I'm finally able to think about all that she meant to me (and will always mean to me,) and celebrate that with joy, instead of dwell on all that I have lost. It takes time, but I'm getting there slowly. As Mother's Day has been approaching, I've been filled with a swell of emotions and memories, in a really wonderful way. Some of the things I treasure most as a mother are...
The sound of giggles and deep belly laughs- (both of my little ones have very husky belly laughs)
The silly, wet mess we make at bath time
Watching Trey dance, sing and talk to himself in front of the mirror
Anna Grace's Miss America wave
When Trey asks me to sing to him- and how he sings with me
Anna Grace's big, beautiful smile that makes her eyes disappear into two little half-moon slits
Jumping on the bed with Trey-(yes, I know I'm not going to win any mommy awards for this one, but it's so much fun!)He loves pillow fights, summer-salts, -all rough and tumble play. I love that he wants me to play with him. He'll climb up my back, over my shoulder, and sit in my lap just to kiss me and say, "Mommy- Zerbies!"
I love that Anna Grace is such a girly-girl. She already plays with her dolls and teddy bear. She will pick up any shoe by the laces, put it on her shoulder and carry it around like a purse. She also likes to brush her own hair.
Trey's language development. It is so funny how he associates things too. Stars-aka the mall (b/c of the big star on the Macy's sign,) cheesy-cheese-aka Chuck E Cheese
Anna Grace loves to help me with laundry. She will take out the socks and wash cloths and make a big pile on the floor next to her. Or sometimes she'll take them to her room and put them in her bed or in the bottom drawer
The clean smell of my babies after bath time. I love to breath in that smell as I rock them before bed time
I love when Anna Grace falls asleep cradled in my arms, or hugging me with her head on my shoulder
I love how lately Trey comes to wake me up. He will snuggle me and give me morning kisses, then pull off the covers and say out mommy, out!
I could go on forever. The more I write, the more that comes to mind. And it all makes me think about what I cherish about my mom, as well.
I love that my mom wasn't afraid of hard work. I've seen her sweating and dirty. But I also saw her beautifully dressed. She always carried herself in a quiet, graceful way.
Her daily beauty treatment included- always washing her face with Noxema, always applying lotion (head to toe) after showering, only using liquid make up (including a cream blush,) she would always curl her eyelashes and line her lips before applying lipstick, she always wore jewelry (even when she was casually dressed down, and she always smelled of Chantilly-her favorite perfume.
Momma loved plants and animals. We always had pets- dogs and cats. We even had a squirrel once. She found a baby that had lost it's mother and fallen out of a tree. She nursed him back to health, raised him and then released him into our back yard, where he lived in a 50 foot high tree. We know he stayed there because he would still come down the tree and eat out of her hand. She fed the neighborhood cats and even a family of raccoons-(she loved to watch them through the kitchen window as she washed the dishes. They would wash off the food she'd leave for them under a leaky facet outside.) She helped our poodles and shiatsu birth their pups, and I remember her bottle feeding a box of kittens that had been abandoned, until she found each of them a home.
On to plants...She had a green thumb. No really people, we had an 11 foot high corn plant (indoors) along with a 9 foot rubber plant, and various other plants, large and small. She loved hanging baskets and ferns. I always got her a new one each year for her birthday or Mother's Day. Daddy always brought home a Christmas cactus or poinsettia during the holidays. It never failed to bring a smile to her face. The most beautiful of all her plants were her flowers, pansies, four o'clock, magnolias, tulips, and roses. One of the sweetest memories I have of my mom is waking up to the fragrance of her fresh cut roses. She would leave a vase on my night stand every so often.
She loved to read. She was an avid reader and visited the library on a regular basis. She didn't buy books very often, but the ones she did buy she would then give away after reading them.
She was very sentimental and tender hearted. I could always count on her to cry with me during a sad movie. You could share your confidences with her, and she listened, and if you cried, she would hold your hand and cry with you. If something touched her heart, she wasn't afraid to show her emotion. Many people find this a weakness, but to me it is a strength I admired in her.
She loved children. She was a 4-H, Sunday school, children's church, VBS leader. She always volunteered as a helper for school functions and she eventually had her own daycare. She wanted her daycare to be as much like "home" as possible. She always had a birthday party for the children she cared for, complete with a cake, ice cream and presents. She had a costume at Halloween and gave pictures to their parents. She always had a big celebration at Christmas with music, food, presents, a tree and lots of decorations. I remember helping her in the summers take the kids swimming, to the park to feed the ducks, or the library for story hour. She even work out a deal w/ the local theatre one summer when one of the Disney movies was out-(I think it was either Little Mermaid or Beauty and the Beast,) to bring all of her kids for a dollar a piece. They could also buy a coke and candy for a dollar. She always tried to provide fun activities for the children. She was loving, but very, very strict. She didn't put up with mess or disrespect of any kind, and she was known she raise her voice. This is something I didn't like or agree with, but no one is perfect. (I also understand her better now that I have children of my own and have been a teacher for some time. It happens. We all have moments we are not proud of.) Most importantly the children knew that she loved them and they loved Miss Ooocy!
I admired how giving my mother was, but always in a discrete way. She understood growing up poor and accepting a handout as hard to take and embarrassing at times, even when it is given in kindness and is greatly needed and greatly appreciated. So, she would do things to help others in a very quiet, behind the scenes kind of way. If someone needed food or money, it would just show up, and they need never know who it came from. She often helped people, whom others had given up on. She rooted for the underdog, and though she was often disappointed and taken advantage of, she never stopped giving. She believed in second chances.
My mom taught me how to love and serve others. What I am about to share- I've only shared with a few people, but I think it is a true example of the strength of her character. It was the night before Christmas eve about ten years ago when Momma and I were busy visiting and baking in the kitchen, and we ran out of golden raisins, we needed for her recipe for pumpkin bread. So, we decided to make a quick run up to Sunflower food store. While we were there, we noticed a family in need of a little help and some Christmas cheer. They were in line buying meat, vegetables and bread for Christmas dinner. They had two small children, a boy and a girl, who like many young children asked for a treat. It was heart breaking to see their parents try to explain to them that they couldn't afford the treat and what they needed for dinner the next day. We also noticed they were paying with food stamps. -Now I know there are alot of people out there that abuse the system, but this family wasn't in line with steaks and beer. You could tell they were a hard working family who needed a break. Momma whispered that we should do something for them. We wondered if the parents could afford to give their children presents that year. We had toys left over from her daycare Christmas party and the Operation Christmas Child shoe boxes we do every year. We secretly followed the family home to find out where they lived. Then we went home to wrap up presents for the little boy and girl who lived there. We were giddy with excitement! We left the presents and a Christmas card for the family on their front porch for them to find the next morning. We never got to see their faces when they found the surprise, but that wasn't what was important. It was the giving that mattered. That's just the kind of person my mother was. She tried to instill in me compassion, kindness and a servant's heart through her own actions.
The best gift my mom and dad ever gave me was a song they dedicated to me one Christmas. It was Child of Mine by Carole King. They said they were driving somewhere, when the song came on the radio, and they said they got to talking about how it reminded them so much of me and how they felt about me. They wrote all of this in a card and gave it to me along with the CD for Christmas. It meant the world to me! I couldn't add it to play list so you could hear the song, but here are the lyrics...
Although you see the world different than me Sometimes I can touch upon the wonders that you see. All the new colors and pictures you've designed Oh yes, sweet darling So glad you are a child of mine. Child of mine, child of mine Oh yes, sweet darling So glad you are a child of mine.
You don't need direction, you know which way to go. And I don't want to hold you back, I just want to watch you grow. You're the one who taught me you don't have to look behind. Oh yes, sweet darling So glad you are a child of mine. Child of mine, child of mine Oh yes, sweet darling So glad you are a child of mine.
Nobody's gonna kill your dreams. Or tell you how to live your life. There'll always be people to make it hard for a while. But you'll change their heads when they see you smile. The times you were born in may not have been the best. But you can make the times to come better than the rest. I know you will be honest if you can't always be kind. Oh yes, sweet darling So glad you are a child of mine. Child of mine, child of mine, Oh yes, sweet darling So glad you are a child of mine.
Child of mine, child of mine Oh yes, sweet darling So glad you are a child of mine.
Blessings to all!
Tuesday, May 20, 2008
Becoming a stay at home mom has afforded me the time to read, leisurely. I don't think I've ever read so much or enjoyed reading so much in my life. Some of my very favorite books that I've read this year are located to the left on my virtual bookshelf. I am currently reading Mitten Strings For God-Reflections For Mothers In A Hurry, by Katrina Kenison. I am also reading The Excellent Wife by Martha Peace, as part of the Lux Venic reading group. I must apologize to the reading group, I have yet to post on each chapter as part of the group's discussion. I will catch up soon.- Promise!
When my mother-in-law visited us a month or so ago, she started teaching me how to sew. I've almost finished an outfit for baby girl and lil' man. I'm also looking into a couple of simple patterns for burpies, bibs and aprons. I sooo want a matching mother/daughter apron set. Her are a couple of my favorites so far... M/D#1, or M/D#2. Which one do you like the best? I also love these two (1 and 2)just for myself. I think it kinda depends on the mood, Latin retro, or silly and sassy. I am also lovin Jessie Steele's designs , Carolyn's Kitchen Aprons, and this wild and crazy number.OK, can you tell I'm really into aprons right now?!? (hee-hee!)
While my beautiful sister, Demetria, was here, she gave me some great decorating advice and helped me give the front of my house a make over. We planted some flowers, bought a new rug, hung an arrangement on the door, and I haven't been able to stop since. I've slowly been adding more plants and flowers and I even made this cute little sign to hang outside our home that has our name on it. I'm going to paint our front door next. I'll post pictures soon.
I've been feeling very creative, lately. My friend Datha gave me a canvas tote that she was getting rid of. It was a little faded and kinda plain for my taste, but it had a beautiful scripture on the front of it. So, I bought fabric paint, and inspired by a great pair of cha-cha- summer shoes I just bought, I created a whole new bag for myself. -Again, I'll post pictures later.
I have been praying to find a play group that the children and I could join. Well, the Lord answered my prayer- in a different way. I started my own. We have been getting together twice a month since March, here at my home and this week we have our fist outing. We are going to the Metro Park Gardens to see what's in bloom, feed the ducks and visit a butterfly habitat. There are four of us that meet on a regular basis with our little ones. We are having a wonderful time, and I really look forward to it every other week.
I wanted to do something special when my sis was here, so I decided it was time to start singing again in church. I had originally planned to start back in February, but it didn't work out, and since I had a song ready, I wanted to do it when she could be here. (Her support means a great deal to me.) Well, as a result of that I was contacted and asked to sing for the ladies monthly luncheon associated with Stonecroft Ministries. It was such a blessing. I was also asked if I'd be interested in the leadership training. Wow! The Lord is opening up wonderful opportunities. It is very exciting!
Hugh and I just celebrated our Seven Year Anniversary!!!!!!! We've actually been together almost thirteen years now, but married seven. I will be sharing more on that as part of The Year of Romance monthly challenge.
Anna Grace is growing so fast. She started walking at nine months and now, she is running everywhere. Her hair is starting to lay down on her head and she's adding new words to her vocabulary. The newest one is "juice."- She's precious!
Trey is enjoying finally getting to be outdoors. Yesterday, we did bubbles and sidewalk chalk for almost an hour. He loves to help me water the plants and fill our bird feeder. He also helps his daddy mow the lawn. We enjoy watching the robins, finches, chickadees and squirrels eat in the front yard every morning. Oh and we have a nest of baby birds on the back porch. We went on a little trip to the Amish country this weekend. Trey was so excited to see all the barns with cows, and horse and buggies. It was beautiful. We're going back in a couple weeks to pick our own strawberries.
Well, I guess that's about all I've been up to lately. (That's all?!- What am I saying? That's quite enough,) No really, I have been busy, but in a good way! There will be more to come later, but for now, I must run. The children and I are off to play outside! Blessings to all!