Wednesday, December 8, 2010
We're just getting around to decorating and putting up our Christmas tree. Some how we lost a whole box of ornaments, decorations, stockings and stocking holders in our move home to Mississippi five months ago. At first I was completely panicked, and then a little sad. Our stockings were ones I've had since I was a little girl. My mom and dad passed them to us after we got married. They're weren't anything fancy, but, they had great sentimental value. Somehow, this seems to be some kind or reoccurring theme in my life. If you have been reading my blog for a while you may remember this post I wrote back in 2008. I am still clinging to His promises and His peace. It's OK to let go of all the "stuff" in our lives material or emotional. It's OK to treasure the memories, but, to let go. I've also learned that it's OK to be hurt and disappointed, but, to learn what you can take away from the experience without becoming jaded and bitter. Circumstances do not define our lives or who we are. What defines who we are and how we react to all life experiences is the simple fact of "Are we doing it with Him (Jesus) or without Him?" If I choose Him nothing can rob me of the joy and peace that is only found in our Lord and saviour. So, we move forward and build new memories and look back on the good times with a smile on our face and joy in our hearts.
I am looking for stockings and a few other things to add to what we have this year and I'll add a little more next year. It's been nice to see other blogs displaying their Christmas cheer and decorations already. It inspires you to get in the spirit of the season and start getting your things out and together. Our house is filled with music and I have all my candles lit, and a few presents already wrapped. We even felt good enough to go to the Christmas parade here in town last night with friends. I'm looking forward to sharing our home and decorations soon. We have alot of company coming for the holidays, so I have got to get with the program :)
Hope everyone is having a wonderful week. ~Blessings!
Thursday, December 2, 2010
She was the one who talked me into starting a blog many moons ago. I kept saying "What?! I don't have time for all that." She insisted we do this together to keep up with our day to day with the kids. I am so glad she is persistent, because I have truly enjoyed writing and reflecting over the past several years. So, let's raise a glass and welcome her back, because without her I wouldn't be here, and if I weren't here, you wouldn't be here reading this, and besides that she's fabulous. So here's a toast to my sister, my friend, my partner in crime. I love you. You're my heart. Thanks for always having my back and for always pushing me to be better. Thank you for your honesty and your encouragement and for being the most hilarious person I know, because sometimes I just need a good laugh. (arm hair.) What more can I say except that you mean to me more than you know. I have learned so much from you and I am grateful you are my confidant and friend! OK, wipe away the tears and lets get back to blogging. (No pressure) -Love You- Tiff
Wednesday, December 1, 2010
Well, I back from all the celebrating that we've been doing over this Thanksgiving holiday. It was really wonderful. I have to say I was disappointed at first that Hugh wasn't going to have Thanksgiving off, but, it all worked out, because his mom had to work also, so we moved our celebrating to Saturday evening. Hugh's dad and step-mom went on a long overdue vacation over the holiday, and were not planning to be home. So, imagine my surprise when Ms. Nancy called me Thursday morning and said, "What are you doing?" I said, We're just sitting here watching the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade in our P.J.s." They had gotten home the night before, and she said she didn't want us to be alone so why don't we come on down to their house. How sweet! I am so glad she called because it just wouldn't have been the same. Don't get me wrong it still would have been a nice quiet relaxing day for us if we had just stayed home and played together, but, it was nice to be with family. It was also the anniversary of my daddy's passing, so it was nice to not have to be alone and think about things. It's not as hard as it used to be. Time definitely heals and helps alot, but, it's hard not to look at my sweet babies and wish they weren't missing this. Not, to mention the fact that I wish I could call my mom and ask her about her sweet potato casserole recipe. (I took my own version to Demetria's house for Thanksgiving dinner on Saturday.) And I miss breaking out the Christmas decorations with my dad.
Daddy always made the holidays so much fun. He would pull all the decorations out of the attic, put on the Christmas music and go to town. It was great because we lived in the third oldest house in town, and my dad worked really hard drilling holes and running the necessary wires through to other rooms so we could enjoy the music throughout the house, and that was way back in the late 80s early 90s before all the high tech fancy equipment we have available to us now. We decorated inside and out. Thanksgiving through the Christmas, our house was always alive with activity. Really it started even before that with Halloween. We just went from one celebration to the next. I have memories of daddy and mama decorating, cooking, and planning and buying presents for our angel tree children, Samaritan Purse Shoebox children and all of the children in my mom's day care. They were givers, and they always emphasized God's love through serving and giving to others. Uhhh, I miss them so much. It's not much heart breakingly sad any more, as much as, it is a yearning or a longing for them. I know I will see them again someday. -Thank you Lord! For now I can enjoy a great legacy of Love and thanksgiving they've left for me to pass on. Back to Thanksgiving....
I have to brag on my sweet sister for a moment here. Demetria hosted a wonderful Thanksgiving dinner for us all this year in her home. And her home y'all is such a beautiful mixture of this bold, vibrant artsy style with a little bit of traditional thrown in and a touch of high luxury, but, not too much. It's very livable, not too over the top, but so creative. She prepared the turkey, dressing, green bean casserole and deviled eggs (which were fine-ness,) and I brought the sweet potatoes, pumpkin pie and cupcakes for the kids, and not just any cupcakes strawberry Sugarees cupcakes (crazy- unbelievably good.)The kids played their little hearts out, and we visited and cooked and the boys watched the egg bowl. (For those of you who are not Mississippi natives it is the annual Ole Miss v/s Mississippi State game. Big time rivalry going on here.) College football is more important here than pro-football. i know it's hard to believe, but you just have to live here to understand. Sunday, Demetria and I spent the afternoon shopping. -THE WHOLE AFTERNOON. This is huge people. I have been dreaming of this like forever. Let me say we were in rare form. We were cutting up so bad at one point we had people in the dressing room laughing with us and I'm sure at us, as well. It was awesome. The boys were cutting her built ins apart to make room for Kevin's fat new T.V. We came home to find all children still alive and our husbands grinning like Cheshire cats. I have to give it to them though they did a bang up job, and we got some serious Christmas shopping done. :)
This has been such a wonderful month with so many things to be thankful for. I never officially finished my list, but, I've been blessed alot in so many ways, big and small, and I just want it to roll over into the rest of the holidays, as we spend time being thankful for the greatest gift of all. -Celebrating Jesus!
Sunday, November 21, 2010
#14. I have started singing Christmas carols at night as I put the kids to bed. Actually, I have been doing so for a couple weeks now. We have little bed time rituals that we've had for a while now, but, when we moved it was a little hard to get back into our regular routine. Trey and Anna Grace go back and forth between sleeping in their own rooms and still wanting to be in the same room. One night a couple months ago, they asked me would I please stay with them for a while and sing to them. (I usually sing hymns.) My heart melted and I told Hugh I am so thankful that they still want me to rock them and sing them to sleep. I thought maybe they were growing out of that, and I have to admit I missed it. It's nice to feel needed and wanted.
#15. I'm thankful that our finances are such that we can enjoy a few things we could not afford to indulge in before now. It's nice to be able to have a girls weekend like I did a few weekends ago with my sisters Demetria and M.C. We went to Mistletoe Market and had a fabulous time. I was able to get a few Christmas gifts there, as well as, a few things for the house. It was a nice sense of freedom to be able to do that and not feel like it was going to break our budget if I did. I didn't go crazy or anything. I'm still very conscious about our budget and our spending, but what a refreshing change. I feel like Christmas came early for me.
I'm still catching up on my list here so there will be more to come later today. I hope everyone is having a wonderful day! Blessings!
Monday, November 15, 2010
I took this with my phone so they're not showing up as well as I'd like them too, but I will post before and after pictures soon.
#11. I love Harvest by Yankee Candle. It's my favorite. It really makes my house smell great. I can't wait for Thanksgiving!
#12. I'm also thankful for my arrangements for my front doors. This is a little something extra that we can afford now, and it makes all the difference in the world, at least to me. I love them. It makes me so happy to be able to add little touches like this to our home. This is a close up of one of them. I hope y'all are having a wonderful week filled with all of your favorite things! ~Blessings
Sunday, November 14, 2010
7. Today I am enjoying the bird feeder Hugh hung outside our living room window. It's just something simple, but sometimes the simplest pleasures in life are the sweetest. It is so relaxing to me to be able to sit and watch the birds as I read or play with the kids. It reminds me of Ohio. We had a huge picture window in our living room there, and we had a feeder in the tree right outside the window there too. So, it feels familiar, and it makes it feel more like home. We've had a few cardinals come to visit, which also reminds me of being up north in Ohio, because that is the state bird there. I love how the Lord brings everything full circle in your life, even the littlest of things. He uses it all to remind you of the blessings in your life.
#8. Books! I am so thankful for books, for the enjoyment they bring us and for how they enrich our lives. I have been reading Jesus Calling this year. It is a daily devotion written from the perspective of God, as if He were talking directly to you. My friend Marci gave it to me for my birthday, with this inscription; This little book has opened my ears again to the voice of the Father. I pray it is a blessing to you. Just think...we'll be reading it together each day. (Side note: My birthday is in February so she had already begun this devotion at the beginning of the year.) Is that not the most endearing inscription? It makes me tear up every time I read it because I'm blessed to have a friend who truly cares about my spiritual life and walk with God. It was just what I needed this year. Some how the way it's written, in first person, just makes it more personal for me. It has prompted dialogue on my end in my prayer life, as well. I can't say enough good things about it.
The next set of books I have here I recently found for my children for the Advent season and Christmas holidays. I love Golden books. They remind me of my childhood. I found them on display in front of the check out at Walmart. Again, thank you Lord for small blessings! My little ones are going to be playing a donkey and a cow in our up coming Christmas play. Anna Grace was upset because they had originally told her she was going to be an angel along with her cousin, Taylor Brooke. She started crying when we left play practice this last week because she didn't want to be a cow in the play. She kept saying everyone was going to laugh at her. Trey on the other hand was very proud he was going to be a donkey. I think his excitement helped ease her disappointment. When I saw The Animals' Christmas Eve, I thought Oh how wonderful. This will help so much. -and it has. We have been reading the book every night, and now they are both excited about being animals in the play. Thank you Lord for sending just what we needed. #9. I can't wait to see them in the play. I'm thankful they get the opportunity to be a part of this.
Thursday, November 11, 2010
I'm thankful for the millions of men and women who have so bravely defended our freedom time and time again throughout our nations history. Today is a day to honor our service men and women. I am proud to recognize this day in honor of my father, who served in WWII and the Korean Conflict. He was a proud American. He loved this country. I know that my love for America comes deeply rooted from the role model he was for me throughout my life. God Bless America. God Bless those who live here, and love it and proudly serve for the freedom of all. -Thank you.
Wednesday, November 10, 2010
5. I am so thankful that Trey is attending a classical Christian school. Although it was hard to let go of my dream of home schooling for both my children, I'm glad I listened to my husband. Trey is learning so much. He is in a wonderful supportive atmosphere, and he loves everything about it. He loves his teacher. He loves his classmates and he loves learning. He comes home excited to tell what new things they did that day. The Lord took this situation and turned my disappointment into joy. I love that there are smaller classrooms, so the children get more individual attention. There are sixteen children in his class and he there is a teacher and an assistant. So, there are in essence eight students per adult. The school itself has a very intimate atmosphere and every single person I have encountered has been warm and friendly. It's very family oriented, and everyone really gets involved in some capacity or another. It also helps that I know he is getting a quality education. Each grade has tested three grade levels above their own (nationally not just state wide)every year they have been open. I know he is being challenged and that material is presented in such a way that it makes it exciting and interesting to learn. I couldn't ask for better. Best of all he is in a Christian atmosphere. The school is very serious about the spiritual education they offer. I have had the pleasure of seeing that first hand during our chapel services on Wednesday mornings.
6. I'm thankful that as part of the blessing of being a stay at home mom I get to attend the chapel service Trey's school offers every Wednesday morning. Parents and siblings are welcomed to attend with the students. I love going to church. I just really enjoy it. So, I feel like I'm getting an extra little bit of church thrown into my week. It just makes me feel good. It keeps me up. And it amazes me at what the children are learning. Each grade level takes turns opening the service on Wednesday mornings. They start with the pledge to the American flag, the pledge to the Christian flag and the pledge to the Bible. Then they recite a passage of scripture, a poem, and finish with a song before the speaker comes to share. Trey's pre-school class recited (Proverbs 3:5-6) Trust in the LORD with all your heart
and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge him, and he will direct your paths. Then, they recited a poem by Robert Louis Stevenson.
Of speckled eggs the birdie sings
And nests among the trees;
The sailor sings of ropes and things
In ships upon the seas.
The children sing in far Japan,
The children sing in Spain;
The organ with the organ man
Is singing in the rain.
Then, they sang a days of the week song and a little praise song The Lord's Army. I was so proud, and amazed. I can't wait to see what they share next. What are you thankful for today?
Tuesday, November 9, 2010
3. I'm thankful for solitude, a chance to steal away a few moments of peace and quiet. I don't know about you, but, that is not easy to come by for this momma. In the raising of a three and four year old there are times when the house is filled with the sweet sounds of laughter, children playing and music. There are also other times when the air is filled with the noise of fighting, screaming, the crashing of toys and the calling of my name (well, the calling for momma anyway.) I was not raised with any siblings so I am not accustomed to the love/hate relationship that lies between them. Hugh keeps telling me to pick my battles and that I need to let them work it out sometimes instead of correcting every little thing, but I can't help myself. Can't we just all get along?! "Please be kind to each other. That was not very nice. Say you're sorry," is what I find myself constantly saying. And then sometimes it's turns into "Stop it! Now that is enough." "Sigh." Parenting is a daunting task at times. I take what my husband says to heart, but, I often find there is a delicate balance between picking your battles and staying consistent. It is in those moments that I desire nothing more than complete silence so I can collect my thoughts, and pray for direction and my attitude.
I guess I'm showing my age by saying so. I used to love noise. The more people, the louder the music the better. I felt energized being surrounded by it. Now it's draining. I covet peace and quiet, and I covet my quiet time with the Lord. Which leads me to ....
#4. I'm thankful for daily devotions with the Lord. I had the most awesome quiet time yesterday morning. It was so simple and ordinary, yet completely blissful. I had two tea biscuits, a glass of orange juice and it was just me and the Lord spending a little time together. Like having breakfast with an old friend! It made my whole day. It just set the mood for things to come. I wish everyday to be just like that.
2. I am thankful for the gift of friendship, and it truly is a gift. God has been ever so gracious to me in this particular area of my life. I have friends old and new that are precious treasures. I attract a lot of different types of people. I know I've shared before that Hugh and I have a running joke that all my friends don't go together.
I think it's the creative side in me that desires something different, something unique that draws you in like a good piece of art. People are like that -good art. beautiful and complicated, ordinary yet astounding and even captivating at times. I'm glad I have friends that challenge me to get out of my safe little box and think beyond myself and own perspective at times. They help me stretch and grow alot. All of my friends bring this to my life to some degree even when we have so many things in common.
The friendships I treasure most are my close Christian friends. They just get it, or they just get me. Jesus is the tie that binds for all time, and there is such a comfort in that. There is a deep level of knowing that you just can't get to unless you are equally yoked in this area. I don't say this to diminish my other friendships, and I'm not even saying I love my Christian friends more, but I guess that is why I always try to share Jesus with all my friends. I want to share in that common bond. When you love someone you want to give them the best. Well, Jesus is my best. I have found that having Jesus is sharing something that time, distance and circumstances can not change.
I hope you all have friendships like that out there, deep abiding friendships that enrich your lives. If not, then ask the Lord for one and search one out like a hidden treasure waiting to be found. I truly believe with all my heart that if you love the Lord, and you are walking in close fellowship with Him, he will give you the desires of your heart if they will draw you closer to Him. ~Blessings!
Sunday, November 7, 2010
It is time for the 2010 Giving Thanks Challenge hosted by Leah at South Breeze Farm. I look forward to this challenge every year. It helps me to focus on the up coming holiday season and the true meaning of it. We are so blessed and have so very much to be thankful for. I have missed blogging. It is one of my favorite pass times. So, I'm going to take this opportunity to throw myself back into it. I have always thought of my blog as part gratitude journal and part scrapbook. I store some of my most treasured memories, thoughts and dreams here. I hope it serves as an encouragement to visitors. I love meeting new people and finding a kindered spirit.
The Giving Thanks Challenge lasts throughout the month of November, and you can approach it several ways. Some people like to write a post each day of the month for what they are thankful for. Others like to keep an on going list on their sidebar. Some like to do both. It's a great way to find new blogs. I hope some of you will join us.
I'm getting a late start, so I'm going to do a few things I'm thankful for each day until I catch up .
1. I'm thankful for traditions old and new. I love sharing things that connect us through years and generations. I have traditions with family and friends, and just the memory of them brings joy and warms my heart. For instance, momma and daddy always made enough food to feed an army for Thanksgiving, more than we ever needed for three people. Some years they would invite someone they knew who didn't have someone to have Thanksgiving dinner with. My parents both came from large families, so they knew what it was like to be far away from those you love during the holidays. Some how every year my best friend Peige found her way to our house after all of her family celebrations were over. I have countless memories of the two of us in the kitchen with my mom as she were cleaning up, laughing and cutting up together. We'd find ourselves hours later sitting right there in the floor talking late into the night and eating some of momma's stuffing.
One of my favorite traditions is that we always go to church as a family on Christmas Eve. That is one tradition I intend to keep always with my family as well. We've started a new tradition with my sister, Demetria. For the passed three years, we've have gotten our two families together to take our children to see the lights in Canton. Our kids love it, and it reminds me of how momma, daddy and I would drive over to Leland every year to see the lights on the bayou. I get excited just thinking about it. The holiday season is such a special time. We also get together every year with our very close friends Shelia, Ashley, Marci and John. This last year we had eight children between us and we had a birthday party for baby Jesus. John read the nativity story and he and Hugh helped the kids make reindeer food with the kids. It was so much fun.
Thursday, November 4, 2010
I've only caught a few episodes of this series on AMC, but I'm facinated with the clothes, props, and sets. It is so well done you feel transported to New York circa 1960s. I found this fun little game at AMCTV where you can put together your own little Mad Men alter ego. So, here I am, as a stay at home wife and mother mad men style.....
Thursday, October 28, 2010
We have had a steady stream of visitors since we moved home in late June. My sweet friend Heidi and her family came down for a week in early August. It was during Elvis week, and Heidi is a huge Elvis fan, so we took a day trip up to Memphis just us girls. It was so much fun. We were positively silly. We decided that we would make it an annual event and meet up for a girls weekend every year. Here are a couple of picks....
As you can tell is was a very hot summer day and we were all about to melt, but we still had fun. Can't let a little thing like heat get in the way of a good time.
My aunt Cathy flew in for a week at the beginning of October. I have missed her so much. For as long as I can remember we have always seen each other every other year be it in the summer or at Christmas time. This is the longest we've ever gone between visits (4 years) but it couldn't be helped. I'm just glad I got a whole week with her. Even with that it didn't seem long enough. I could seriously move her right in with us. She and my uncle Jr. have taken up the grand parents role on my side of the family since momma and daddy have passed. She is actually my great aunt, because she was my mom's aunt but they were raised together as sisters. We have always been close and had a very special bond. There's nothing we wouldn't do for each other. When momma passed I was sitting in the E.R. holding her hand for more than an hour. I just couldn't make myself get up and leave. I didn't want it to be real. I couldn't let her go and I couldn't stop crying. I finally asked Hugh to call my aunt Cathy. I asked her to come, because I didn't think I could do this without her. She told me she already had her plane ticket and she would be there as soon as possible. There was no question she was already there before I had to ask. She really is like my second momma. And I'm so at peace with her around. She just has that presence. We had such a wonderful time while she was here. We went to Cedar Hills Farm, Fiddlin Rooster Farm and we had a bonfire and cook out with Hugh's cousin Barry, his wife Brandy and their daughter Taylor Brooke. We painted pumpkins, roasted hot dogs and made smores. The kids played soccer in the yard and even put up Taylor Brooke's tent and played in it. Here are a few highlights...
My friend Datha also came down for a long weekend in October. It really touched my heart that two of my closest friends have made the effort to take time off to come all the way down here to visit. I know they could have spent their time and money on other things. I am so blessed! It was good to have time to catch up and visit with Datha. She and Mark are foster parents now, and feel like the Lord is leading them to adopt through foster care. I don't know any couple who could be better foster parents than Mark and Datha. They have a great capacity to love. They are both in ministry and have three of their own children. Fostering has been a wonderful and heart wrenching process for them. Every child that comes to them is like their own and it is hard to let them go. You hope and pray you are sending them back into what is now a stable and more nurturing environment, but you never know. I told her I really don't know how she does it. I tear up every time we talk about it. It is so hard to hear about the situations those babies come out of when they come to them. She said sometimes she can't even let herself think about it. All she can do is pray a hedge of protection over them and know that no matter where they are, they will always have two people who will always be praying for them, and maybe that in itself is why the Lord has brought them into their lives. God bless them. I'm not the only one who was happy to have Datha visit. My children love her, especially Trey. They have a very special connection. I can't wait to see her at Christmas. They have family in Louisiana and so they are going to stop on their way down to visit. So we'll get to see the whole family for the holidays. Here are a few pictures from when she was visiting....
We have also had many of our friends and family right here in Mississippi come for a visit, so we are still in the process of getting settled in. In the midst of all of our company we have been trying to paint and furnish the house. That has been the somewhat frustrating part. We have taken down chair railing, put up new dry wall and painted. We also put up a new ceiling in our bedroom. We have made repairs to the pool and hot tub, and are working on the landscaping as well. We have had a lot on our plate. Oh, and my latest venture involved taking over the Fall Festival for Trey's school this year. I wanted to take the opportunity to get to know the faculty other families at the school and what better way to get involved. OK, so maybe I should have volunteered for part of the festival like concessions, instead of taking on the whole thing my first year, but I like a challenge. Either that or I'm a glutton for punishment. No really, it all turned out fine and I've gotten a lot of nice compliments on it. Thank you Lord! And I know what will and will not work for next year. Best of all, I met and had the chance to work with so many wonderful people.
It's been busy, but it's finally calming down a bit, and so I hope I can catch up with some of my favorite blogs now. I'm ready to stay at home, decorate for the holidays and just enjoy a little home life.
Friday, August 20, 2010
Thursday, August 12, 2010
We knew the time was coming, and it wasn't that it was unexpected or anything, but death is always hard. We spent the weekend with family, and we shared alot of our best memories about Granny. Hugh and I and the kids stayed with his mom and so did Demetria, Kevin and their kids. We stayed up way too late sitting on Ms. Donna's bed talking. It was like old times, and I think it would have made Granny happy. It's strange how sometimes loss draws you all closer together, isn't it.
Demetria was kind enough to secure us a baby sitter for the visitation and funeral. Since it was so hot and many of Granny's friends would be in attendance, the visitation and funeral were held at the church with no grave side service. Our family did go out to the grave site in the early evening to spend a little quiet time and pay our respects. On the way, Trey said, "Grammy is up in heaven with Lord Jesus, isn't she?" Yes, my love she is. "Sometimes when you are sick or old you go up to heaven with Lord Jesus. That's where Grammy is. That's why her body looked like it was sleeping. She looked like an angel." I had actually kept Trey and Anna Grace in the vestibule until the baby sitter arrived and while the rest of the family went down to the front of the sanctuary. They did have to pass through the sanctuary on the very far left side to go back to the nursery. It's amazing to me that he internalized all of that by just a glance. He said he missed her, and I told him it was ok to miss her, because that just means we love her, and Lord Jesus understands that.
When we got to the grave site, everyone took a moment on their own. Ms. Donna and Demetria helped Anna Grace take a rose to press in her Bible to remember granny. Trey told Hugh he wanted to sing Grammy her favorite song (You Are My Sunshine) but, he was afraid she wouldn't hear him. Hugh assured him that Jesus would let granny hear him. So he stood there and sang very quietly, just as he had always done when he went to visit her. Such sweet moments.
We loved her so very much and we will miss her tremendously, but we have a peace knowing she is with her Lord and there is no more pain, no more suffering. She is at peace. Here are some of my favorite pictures of our Granny/Grammy.
A picture of Granny that Hugh took when he flew down home for his mom's graduation from nursing school.
I am three months pregnant here with Trey. Granny and Ms. Donna flew up to visit with us in Ohio. They also came for Hugh's white coating ceremony when we lived in Kansas City, but I can't seem to find a photo of that right now. We were at the airport here.
Granny holding her new great-grandson, Trey the morning after he was born.
This picture means so much to me now. The look on her face as she is holding Trey brings tears to my eyes. You can see how proud she is and how much she loved him right from the start.
Ms. Donna, Granny and my aunt Cathy with Trey. This was taken the day they were flying back to Mississippi.
Granny's first time to meet Anna Grace. They were both excited to see each other.
Sweet smooches from her Grammy.
This is one of my favorite pictures. I took this three years ago at Thanksgiving. Granny with her three daughters, Barbara, Jean and Donna. They are all so beautiful. Granny had this picture up in her room at Graceland.
Love you Granny.
Thursday, August 5, 2010
I really enjoy my children and had hopped that I would be home schooling them. Many of you that know me, know that this has been a desire of my heart. I even worked on a few pre-school activities at home with them over this passed year. We talked about it and prayed about it, but Hugh never felt that was where God was leading our family. I'm going to continue to work with Anna Grace in the mornings while Trey is at school. And of course I'm going to supplement and do whatever I can to foster and support what Trey is learning as well. I have fond memories of my mother sitting down with me after school to ask me all about my day and help me with homework.
When we were looking at houses back in December, we met Nicole, a doctor's wife, whose house we were actually considering. We hit it off and talked about the hospital there in town (where Hugh will be moonlighting,) finishing residency, moving and buying our first home. It was so nice to meet someone who knew and understood exactly where we are in life. She had also been in education before becoming a stay at home mom, so we had that in common as well. She really gave insight into all the schools in the area, public and private. She knew about teachers, programs, and each school's teaching philosophy (creative, learn through play, as opposed to a more structured classical approach.) She even gave us contact names and numbers.
Hugh was the one whom took initiative and contacted all the schools for information. I was still holding out hope on home schooling, but I was keeping an open mind. There was one private Christian school in particular that Hugh was interested in. I think he tried to persuade me to seriously consider it, as much as I tried to persuade him on home schooling. I couldn't understand why we would consider paying for pre-school when I'm perfectly capable of teaching them here at home. I was, after all a pre-school teacher before we had children. We compromised on narrowing it down to two schools, one public and one private to pray about and seriously consider. They both came highly recommended and fit our philosophy of education. They also both had waiting lists. So when I called to make the inquiries, I found that the public school was closed to applications and had already chosen their students for the year. We thought we may have missed out on the chance for Trey to get in preschool for the year, and Hugh agreed that if the other school was closed as well, I would teach Trey at home, and we would put him on waiting list now for kindergarten next year. I called the private school and found that they had one opening left, and it just happened to be in their four year old pre-school class. We took that as a sign that God had definitely closed one door and opened the other. We had our answer. We have actually met several people in our new neighborhood had through visiting churches that have had their children on the waiting list for a couple years, and couldn't believe we got in. It was definitely the Lord.
We started the application process in March and Trey was accepted in May. Because it is a Christian school we had to sign and agree to their philosophy and mission statement, give two references (one from our pastor, and another non-family member,) and give a written statement on what we expecting the school to provide for our child both educationally and spiritually. We were able to take a tour of the school when we got here, and Trey even attended a four day summer camp they were offering. He was immediately hooked. He talked and talked about school and even went to bed early every night because he was so excited about being ready for school the next day. -Thank you Lord!
The thing I like most about the school is that it is not merely a Christian school in name only. They take their spiritual leadership and education as serious as they do their formal education. I would say 95 percent of their faculty and staff currently serve in ministry in some capacity or have been involved in missions. Many of them have lived in foreign countries serving on the mission field. All of the teachers have degrees in their specialty area and most have advanced degrees. This has really helped me to let go of my disappointment, and embrace the excitement of this new stage in our life. It will help us to get to know people in the area and Trey will make new friends. And we (Hugh and I) feel a peace that this is where our family is supposed to be and serve. That makes all the difference in the world. I'll have to share pictures of his first day. I hope you are enjoying the last couple days of summer with your family and the special little people in your lives! ~Blessings!
Sunday, August 1, 2010
Hugh surprised me with breakfast and then we took the kids swimming. We are really enjoying our new pool. I think the kids are about to grow fins with all the swimming we've been doing. It's actually been the best part of our summer. After our swim, we decided to drive down to Grenada to see Granny, or Grammy, as our children have affectionately named her. This is a picture of Granny and Hugh, when he graduated from med school.
Isn't she beautiful? She is such a sweetheart. She is in a nursing home now, and we know it won't be long before she goes home to be with the Lord. We are trying to spend as much time as we can with her. A few weeks ago, Demetria, Kevin, Kaden and Russ came to spend the weekend with us, and it just so happened to fall on Granny's birthday. So we took some flowers and sang her Happy Birthday. I'm so glad we got to do that together.
Yesterday, we were there for a while before she recognized us and knew we were there. Hugh found a hymnal and I held her hand and sang to her for a while. Mrs. Donna, Hugh's mom had told me that singing songs from her childhood helped to trigger her memory. She would close her eyes every once in a while, so I thought she was drifting off to sleep. I had the sweetest moment with her as I was singing How Great Thou Art. Her eyes were still closed, but she lifted one of her hands to heaven and said, "How sweet it is. How sweet it is." I can't tell you how much that blessed me. When she opened her eyes, she looked right at Hugh and said, "Well, hi there!" as if we had just arrived. It worked.
Ms. Donna arrived a few minutes later with Trey and Anna Grace in tow. She had taken them to Walmart. She had Hugh help her set up a stereo in Granny's room, so she could listen to praise music throughout the day. She also asked the lady whom sits with Granny to read scripture to her everyday to keep her calm and her spirits lifted. While we were there, Anna Grace came over and gave her Grammy a kiss, and Trey held her hand and sang her favorite song, You Are My Sunshine. We were going to put on her music and quietly slip out, but granny asked me to keep singing to her. Again, what a blessing I received.
Ms. Donna came over to my side of the bed and started singing softy along with me. I was fine until she reached out and held mine and Granny's hand. I just got choked up. After a moment, I was able to regain my composure and finish singing with her. We left shortly there after because they brought Granny's dinner down and we could tell she was tired. Ms. Donna took Trey and Anna Grace and slipped out a few minutes before us.
When we were leaving, Hugh looked at me and reached out his hand to take mine. Neither of us said a word. We didn't have to. We had one of those moments I cherish in marriage where so much is said without a word spoken. We know each other so well that we know what the other is thinking and feeling, and so much can pass between us in the silence. It is so nice to be known, to be understood. What a blessing it is to be married to your best friend.
Tuesday, July 20, 2010
I've struggled with guilt over moving the children away from all they've ever known. It has been hard on them. They miss their old room in our old home. They miss their friends and they miss our church. There have been nights I put them to bed and they cry, and it breaks my heart. And it makes me miss it all too. It's hard to embrace the excitement and joy of the situation, when your heart is aching.
And we have been plagued it seems with little mishaps. We looked at two different moving companies and went with the one that gave us a locked in estimate at a less expensive rate. However, the company grossly underestimated how much stuff we had. Two men showed up the morning of the 25th with a large truck. We found out quickly it wasn't ours. They were there just to pack us. In fact, the company had over booked and didn't have anyone to pack us. They asked this crew, who were on their way to Washington D.C. to stop for half a day and pack us. Of course they couldn't get it all done in half a day so another crew cam the next morning to finish packing us and a third crew came in the afternoon to load the truck. It was so unorganized. Each of the crews that came didn't like the way the one before them had packed things and we were not expecting to have to tip three different crews to pack us. Then when the crew with the truck came, they brought a small truck and stated the obvious that it wasn't all going to fit on this one truck. So, they asked us if they could put the rest in the garage and pick it up the next day. We were like uh, no -we have to be out by 9:00 the next morning in order for the new renters to start moving in their stuff on time. And it wasn't like we were just moving a couple hours away where we could come back if they forgot something. We're moving across the country. So, they called a second truck to come. That crew didn't want to be there at all and two of the four men gave us attitude about it. They also tried to say they couldn't get it all on their truck so, Hugh called all six men together and said, "Look, one way or another all of this is getting on these two trucks so make it happen. He jumped in to help and spent the last four hours packing, labeling, and loading the trucks with the men. He even stopped to attend to one of the men who had a huge gash in his arm. (Yes, he's a total sweetheart!)
Then, when we got here the morning of closing on the house, we had a walk through with our realtor and the man who had done the inspection on the house. The previous owners had not done what they said they would in making the necessary repairs. The house was filthy. When I say filthy I'm talking black base boards. They were not careful when removing pictures from the walls up stairs and pull out sheet rock and made holes the size of nickles. The pool, which they agreed would be ready for use on the day of closing was green and slimy. And they had taken things out of the house that were specifically in our contract to be left. For example, we asked that the security system and all components be left with the house. Well, there were just chords hanging out of the wall where they had ripped out the dvr and monitors. Our realtor got in touch with them, but they said they had done all they were going to do, and that they didn't take the monitors, they took their t.v.s and we weren't getting their t.v.s. Well, we explained we didn't want their t.v.s, but we needed the monitors to be able to tell if the security system even worked at all after the way they had left it. (We didn't know until this week, when the security system guy came out here to check everything that the dvr was gone. And we can't run the cameras on the outside of the house without them. So, that is going to set us back about a grand to have it all reinstalled correctly. On a positive note, our alarms work well and our house is as tight as Fort Knox with the security system we have. The security guy said we have a better system than he has installed in some banks. He thought the previous owners were a little paranoid, but hey, at least I will feel safe here when Hugh is working late.
I don't know if any of you have ever had a rough closing day, but ours was so stressful it almost ruined it for me. When we got to closing they owners decided that they were going to keep our earnest money because we had bothered them all day about such nonsense. Thank the Lord there was a third party lawyer there to tell them they couldn't just get hot and bothered and decide to keep the money. They said it was because we moved the closing date, and the lawyer reminded them they agreed to that change so they didn't have a leg to stand on. We had already signed the papers, but had stipulations in that they were to call a plumber and other repair persons while there and give a credit card number so they couldn't back out after receiving their check at the end of closing to take care of the things they promised. Hugh basically told them that if they didn't agree to that we would put our stuff in storage and buy another house. Now, I love this house and I didn't want to lose it, but I would have walked away if that's what it had come down to. I stand by Hugh on whatever decision he makes for our family. Thankfully, they agreed!
So, we have since been busy with movers, repair persons, painters, and the like coming in and out everyday. The second truck was scheduled to arrive on the 13th, but came the following week with someone else's things. They returned the next day with our things. -Thank you Lord! It's just been a little crazy, or at least it feels that way to me. I'm ready for a little rest and for things to smooth down a bit. We've had a stead stream of visitors, so I'm still unpacking, but I got the first load unpacked before the second load arrived. It took me three weeks, so i imagine that about how it will go with this load too. I'm ready to feel settled. It is starting to feel a little more like home and I am so thankful for that. I just didn't realize how stressful this could be. It doesn't always work out as we've planned, but it is working, slowly but surely. I'll share pictures soon as we paint and decorate. We are waiting for Hugh to get his first check in before we start that whole process, but, it will be soon. YA!!!!
Until next time....as my sister Demetria says, "Don't be stressed. Be blessed."
Friday, July 16, 2010
I am very much a "bloom where you're planted" kinda girl. I have thoroughly enjoyed each place I have had the opportunity to live. I can find wonderful points about each one of them. I loved living in Kansas City. By the end of my first year there I knew the city inside and out. I loved the shopping, the night life, and all the culture and arts available at every turn. I had a great job. I was still a newly wed. Life was good. Ohio was not a place I thought I'd fall in love with, but, I did. Our family grew there from two to four. Memories were made. Moments I'll always treasure. And the seasons are beautiful there. And life, at least where we were living still has somewhat of an old fashioned feel to it. We flew kites and picniced in the park. Corn hole is still a very popular game at birthday parties and cookouts. Every Tuesday, you can find a group of elder gentlemen and ladies playing Boccie ball in Howland Corners near the gazebo. And in fall, you can find a festival every weekend featuring homemade goodies like apple butter, family hayrides, and corn mazes. I feel like I've made the best of every opportunity I could find that each place had to offer. And yet my heart still longed for home. The place I'm from. The place I belong. -I belong to it and it belongs to me. Have you ever felt that way about a place. No matter where you go, it always draws you back to itself. That's how I feel about the south.
It has been a long journey down to Mississippi. A very long and draining three weeks. There have been many bumps in the road getting settled, but, all that for another day. Right now, I just want to enjoy being back and linger in the moment for a while.
Goodnight my sweet friends. Thank you for staying with me and praying me through all the while I've been packing, moving and traveling down here. I miss you and love you and we'll talk soon. ~Blessings!
Tuesday, June 15, 2010
These are our out-going, enthusiastic, center-stage people.
They act on a moments notice. They are witting, charming and spontaneous. They love to talk. They need variety, fun and stimulation. They are natural trouble-shooters and are good at flying by the seat of their pants.
They are great at motivating and inspiring others. They are great net-workers. They usually know a lot of people. They can be very loving and encouraging unless under pressure when they can use their verbal skills to attack. They have a strong desire to be liked and enjoy being the center of attention.
They are personable and are sensitive to the reactions of others, often taking things personally. They usually pay attention to style and trends (many times setting them). They can be the life of a party. They are great at inspiring and motivating others and thrive in an environment where they can have a voice in making major decisions.
These are people that we might refer to as "Rocks of Gibraltar."
They are fair and dependable. They are honest and stable. They are loving and reliable. They live their lives with a great deal of integrity.
They take a larger view of the world and see things from a reference of wholeness and completeness. They pride themselves in being able to see the "big" or "whole" picture. Their word has great value and they do not give it lightly. When they commit, their word is their bond. They are in a constant progression toward wholeness.
They love to categorize and view the world from a systems perspective. They enjoy consistency and like things that have a measure of predictability. They are empathetic but not overly sympathetic. They rebuke with without judgment, counsel with mild but strong hearts. They are temperate, modest and wise.
I love little tests like this. I think it's interesting and we love to discuss the results. If you'd like to take the test, you can find it here. I'd love to know how it turns out if you'd like to share. ~Blessings on your day!
Monday, June 14, 2010
Hugh had his residency graduation Friday night. it was held at The Grand Pavilion at Avalon Inn, which is part of the country club here. I didn't take a camera, so these were taken with Hugh's iphone. There were four graduating out of this group of E.R. residents. The key note speaker was Dr. Anita Steinberg. She spoke on what each of the graduates were going to uniquely bring to their profession. I can't believe residency is actually coming to an end.
Dr. Moosally, the director of the Emergency Medicine residency program recognizing Hugh. I was beaming with pride. Saturday night, Dr. Moosally held a party for all the Emergency Medicine residents and presented the graduates with gifts. We had a wonderful time laughing and talking with friends, and decided to meet up next year for a couples weekend together. Something nice to look forward to.
Thank you to all our family and friends who have prayed us through the last eight years of medical school and residency. It has been an adventure. As much as we've wanted the end to come, we are going to miss it. We have a lot of treasured memories to look back on. We're going to miss all of you that have been a part of this journey. God Bless and we love you!
Thursday, June 10, 2010
This week, I would like to feature Barnyard Song by Rhonda Gowler Greene. This was one of my favorites when I was teaching preschool, because it is a humorous story that can be used in a thematic unit such as Life on the Farm or In the Barnyard, and it can be used in combination with your music time.
In the story each of the animals enjoy adding their unique sound to the other sounds in the barnyard and make music. They love to sing together, but the story takes a humorous twist when the barnyard animals come down with the flu. Suddenly the The animals' sounds go from oinks, quacks, and moos to wheezes, sneezes and a-h-h-choos!
After reading the book together, we had fun playing games together in our circle time such as matching the correct sound with the animal it belongs to. I had pictures on popsicle sticks and they got to jump up with their animal when they had a match. Later in our music time we added instruments and different rhythms for each animal. And we used a song about farm animals to walk slow like a pig, or gallop fast like a horse. There are all kinds of fun things you can do with this book. At home we are just enjoying reading it together.
For more features this week visit our hostess Sarah Denley. ~Blessings on your day!
Tuesday, June 8, 2010
I found out Sunday night two of them not only found the Lord, but are in seminary and are serving at the church associated with the mission downtown Jackson Mississippi. PRAISE THE LORD!!!!!
Let me give you a little back ground on them. They were husband and wife and both music majors with me in college. Both extraordinarily talented. The wife grew up in the Mormon church, and the husband was a steadfast atheist. Around my senior year he had his wife read a book disproving Joseph Smith's sacred tablets. I have not read the book, but apparently archaeologists have proven the tablets to be nothing more than Egyptian burial tablets. His wife was visibly shaken after reading this book and even called her brother out west who is high up in their church, like a deacon. She asked him if he knew about the book and the scientific findings, and he told her yes. She asked him how then he could continue on there if all they had ever believed in was based on a lie. He said because it works for me. She was crushed, and she left the Mormon church right then and there. Her husband was so pleased with himself it was a little unsettling to me. He always struck me as one who sees faith as weakness, or even a lack of intelligence. I think he felt people used their imaginary god to comfort themselves, or at least that is somewhat how it was expressed to me. He had a disdain for Christ and anything Christian. -And now, well now praise God he's found the Lord and it has turned his whole life around, both of their lives.
When I got the phone call, I started crying in the car on the way to church, and my children were asking, "Daddy, what's wrong with mama?" He told them she's crying happy tears. I was so amazed, and overjoyed! And so very thankful! Thank you Lord Jesus, thank you.
Saturday, June 5, 2010
P.S. All My family, friends and followers who have a blog please grab my new button! -Love y'all!
Friday, June 4, 2010
Our new home is going to feel like a vacation. I told Hugh it's perfectly fine with me that we aren't going anywhere this summer, because our new home is exactly where I want to be, hosting family and friends. And I am so excited that some of our friends are going to be coming down for a visit! Our next door neighbors and friends, the Semrau family will be staying a night with us in late July as they pass our way headed down to visit family in Louisiana. And my sweet friend Heidi and her family are going to come down and stay a few days with us in August before school starts. We are going to take them to Graceland and over to Tupelo since Heidi is a huge Elvis fan. This is like an answer to a prayer for me. Datha's children and Heidi's children are Trey and Anna Grace's best friends and play mates! So as we get down there and get settled in, and the children realize we are there to stay and aren't going back to Ohio, our friends will come for a visit. I think it will make their adjustment a little easier. And by that time I will need a friend fix as well. Thank you Lord for small miracles. Well, I'm off to pack and start tagging items for our garage sale. Have a wonderful weekend everyone! ~Blessings!
Thursday, June 3, 2010
I'm not good with change and letting go. Even as I put aside our bassinet, double stroller and piles of baby clothes to sell this weekend it makes me sad. I know we don't need them, but I can't help but be sentimental. I look around and all I can think is this is the house we brought our babies home to. This is the room that Trey and Anna Grace have shared together.
Their beds sit opposite one another and my rocking chair is in the middle and sits in front of the window on the back wall. We've used the closet for Anna Grace and the bureau and set of drawers have been for Trey. Through the years the pictures on the walls have changed and the toy box was replaced by a set of selves with buckets for toys. It has seen it's share of play time, reading and rocking. There have been lots of cuddles and prayers and goodnight kisses too. Such sweet memories.
I don't know how we're going to separate Trey and Anna Grace into their own rooms. They love being together. They don't want to go to bed with out each other, and if one sneaks into our room in the middle of the night the other will wake up and come looking for them. It started when I was pregnant with Anna Grace. They had such a special relationship even then. When I would rock Trey at night before bed, you could see Anna Grace move across my stomach and snuggle right up next to him. They are really like twins.
I can't wait to see what new memories they are going to make in our new home. Speaking of our new home I thought I'd share another sneak peak.
This is the celling of Anna Grace's room. The room is already pink, her favorite color, and above she will have a beautiful mural of sky blue with puffy white clouds.
Here is a room we will all be spending time in together, the kitchen. I am in love with this kitchen. It is so open and spacious. I can't wait to add my own personal touch to it. Hugh's favorite part is the large granite island. I love that I can see us here cooking together as a family and enjoying each other's company. I'll share more pictures later. Hope everyone is having a wonderful week. ~Blessings!