Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Christmas, Christmas and More Christmas

This is the 2nd year I haven't been able to decorate for Christmas. :( It's disappointing to me, because I LOVE Christmas. The cheesier the decor the better. I am all about being sentimental. I can't wait until we finally get settled. I pray that next year I will be able to decorate, and make goodies with Greg and Kirsten. I look forward to watching Christmas movies, hosting Christmas parties, driving crazy distances to see over-the-top Christmas lights, and sending out Christmas cards again. I want to take Kirsten to Stone Mtn. every year to write her letter to Santa. I want to serve those less fortunate, and make birthday cupcakes for Jesus, and have a birthday party for Him. As my Mother In-law says, "This will come, this is only temporary." I praise God for the selling of our house in MS. Now, my prayer is for Him to reveal to us our new home. I know He's preparing it for us, and handling details we may never know. I look forward to the day when He says, "Here you are. This is where I want you planted in GA."

Traveling for Christmas is hard. This effort consists of packing for 10 days for 3 people... one being a 2yr. old, presents for both sides of the family, Chloe, our 4 legged first born, and goodies and entertainment for the car ride. This is a lot to fit into a Camry. Don't get me wrong, it's been more than fabulous seeing everyone, but maybe Christmas isn't the best time to do this. Christmas is about family, but maybe this means immediate family. Maybe it's the rest of the year that's about the entire family. I don't know, this one is tough. I know we aren't the only ones with relatives in other states. It's a tough call, you want to be able to have your own traditions, but you want to spend time with the rest of the family too...what's right? This year, for us it was best to travel. God only knows what's best for future Christmases.

Our first adventure was to see Greg's side of the family in New Orleans...Destrehan, LA to be exact, but it's easier to say New Orleans. It took us about 8 hrs. to make a 6 hr. drive. LA was about 40 degrees warmer than GA. As soon as we crossed the LA state line we no longer saw red and green Christmas decorations. Everything was Black and Gold. We made it just in time to catch the Saints game.

We had such a great time catching up with family we haven't seen in years. We ate shrimp creole, meatballs and french bread. Conversation consisted of the Saints going to the playoffs, Mardi Gras parades, and the never ending effects of Katrina. My Mother In Law's friends that she refers to as "the YaYa's" stopped by to catch up. I call them the girls from Sexy in the Crescent City...always a pleasure, always a blast, ALWAYS a laugh.

My Father In-law took us to Mr. Roo's for lunch on Monday. Mr. Roo's is one of Greg's and my favorite places to eat. They have the best poboys in NOLA. They're always consistent. I'll post pics.

Sooooo goooood! Greg had the muffaletta and I had Mr. Roo's special.

As if that wasn't enough to make the day complete, we met Mover Rich from Imagination Movers in Target. He was super super nice. I apparently was more impressed than Kirsten was. As you can see in the picture below, she was more impressed with the toy train on the shelf behind him. His wife loved Kirsten's hat (she's wearing it in the background) I made her. She asked me how to do stripes because she's learning how to make hats too. I took Kirsten's hat off and showed her how. Yeah, we totally bonded.

A great ending to a great visit.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Christmas Party With The Girls

Tonight was our Bible Study Group's Christmas Party. We've spent the last 12 weeks doing Beth Moore's study on Daniel. This study was challenging to say the least, but it was so worth the challenge. We all made a commitment to learn back in September. Not only did we learn about Daniel and his faithfulness, we also learned about his God. The wonderful thing, this is also our God.

Through the study of Daniel, I met some amazing women that I was privileged to spend my Monday nights with. Who needs Monday Night Football when I can spend time getting to know God and these wonderfully gifted women? I am so blessed that God placed each of these precious women in my life.

Our Christmas Party was at O'Charley's in Hiram. The food was great, but the company and fellowship was even better. We were each greeted at the table with little bags of Christmas goodies. Also, our entertainment was the little game we played for our ornament exchange.

I love these ladies and I am so blessed to know each of them. God has placed us all in each other's lives for a reason. I can't wait to start our next Beth Moore study, Stepping Up, a study of Psalms.

To my girls, this is my prayer for you...

Phil. 1:3-6

I thank my God every time I remember you. In all my prayers for all of you, I always pray with joy because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now, being confident of this, that He who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Best Gift

This weekend was the eagerly anticipated Best Gift production at Pinelake Church. I say production because the word program can't justify the greatness of Best Gift, and program is a word that's too easily stereotyped. I am so excited that I was able to take the trip to see it. This was such a bittersweet experience for me. This was the event that I have been bracing myself for since we moved. I've always been a part of the choir, so this is my first year to deal with not being in it. I am a visitor now :(. However, this was also the first year I actually got to sit in the audience and see it with my husband. It was such a blessing to have him with me.

Best Gift never ceases to satisfy me. It always manages to go above and beyond my expectations. After all, it is all about the way I see it, right?....Totally kidding. I credit the splendor of Best Gift to Obedient Leadership, Prayerful Teams, and Faithful Servants. Sprinkle this with some amazing talent given by God above to all involved with the sole purpose to glorify HIM.

On top of this being an amazing production, God blessed me with a personal gift during the show. He answered a question that I forgot I had asked Him a long time ago. I won't go into details, but about 4 years ago, I wanted an answer to something and never received one. It was nothing huge, and God owed me no explanation. But clear as day He said, "That's why! Now know it's not about you (me), and see I am working on a bigger plan here...but you (I) do play a part." I was so blessed, humbled and honored all at the same time. God is good, and God is faithful!

I honestly can't say whether or not this was my favorite Best Gift because I am partial to the ones in which I got to participate. However, this was some of my favorite music. It was beautiful, and every song had a wonderful message. To see and hear from the audience what I haven't really had the opportunity to before, made me appreciate everything even more. I didn't know what to expect, and as I mentioned earlier, I was amazed. The choir was absolutely beautiful, glorious, and just freakin' awesome. I am so blessed to say that at one time, I was a part of such a wonderful group and ministry.

I love going back to MS and visiting Pinelake and my friends. They are all so precious, and they always make me feel welcome. I miss being a part of this ministry dearly. I really grew as a Christian through that experience. It's so great to be able to call such a godly group, family.

We had a Best Gift after party at Lea Anne's house and it was so fun catching up with my friends I haven't seen in a while. I can't wait to go back for Christmas and see them again. Only 12 more days!

Sunday, December 6, 2009

De Ja Vue

Today was such a special day. It started off like any other Sunday morning. My family and I had every intention of attending the 9:00 am church service, but, like every other Sunday morning, we chose to be lazy and go to the 11:00 am service instead. With this choice we got to drink our coffee in mugs instead of travel cups, and we watched Mickey Mouse Clubhouse with Kirsten in our PJ's. I love family time like this.

We went to church as usual. When we got there Greg went to the computer to check Kirsten into childcare, and I took her to look at the fish tank. As I was standing there I got the most intense sensation of de ja vue. It was like the world paused and this scene passed through my mind really fast, but it was so real.

I knew this was God speaking to me. He let me know exactly why I was feeling this. It never crossed my mind until that instant, but today was exactly one year from the first time we visited West Ridge Church. I swear this feeling was so strong. I couldn't concentrate on anything, but remembering the first time I stepped foot into that place.

My life was in such a different place a year ago. Greg and I visited West Ridge last year, while we were in GA looking for a place to live. That weekend was honestly the most overwhelming and stressful weekend of my life. The day before, we spent all day visiting every suburb of Atlanta that could be a possibility for us to start our new life. We ate lunch at quiznos that day, and I told Greg there was no way I could move here. I was determined that I was supposed to stay in MS and he was going to move to GA and somehow we would work it out. I mean, couples do it all the time. Greg wasn't going for this.

This morning I cried from the second the Worship started until church was over. They were tears of gratitude and humility knowing that God brought me to this challenge and He is bringing me through it. He showed me that I am no where near where I was last year. He has held all my anxieties and frustrations, and He has been in control of everything. He is showing me so much love here through His blessed children. I haven't consistently attended West Ridge for the past year because I didn't officially move to GA until April, but Greg has. He even bought me an "UN" shirt...which I don't know why they sold t'shirts for that series logo, when there's been so many cooler series logos since then, but that's another blog.

After church today I received a phone call from one of my new GA friends. She's so precious. I was able to tell her how special church was today for me, and she said the sweetest thing to me. She told me that now I have family here, and now I am at home.

Phil. 1:3 I thank God every time I remember you.