Friday, December 30, 2011

Getting ready for 2012

Wow! It's been a long time since I've had the chance to sit down and blog. Things have been busy with the holidays and getting ready for the holidays and celebrating the holidays, etc. Greg, Kirsten and I went to MS for Thanksgiving and Christmas this year. It was great to see my MS peeps again and hang out. It was also great to spend some quality time with my family too.

Short story about Christmas with my family.....My mom gave all of us pj's and slippers this year. Most of the time when she buys our gifts, she'll give Andrea, Hayley and me gifts that are the same, or very similar with the same idea. She does the same for Jonathan and Greg. This year, she gave Hayley and me matching pj's. They're really cute too. Well, my dad wasn't aware my mom gave us pj's or what they looked like. He bought her a pair, and when she opened them she saw they were the same as ours. So, of course, we had to take a pic of the 3 of us wearing our pj's. I'll insert it as soon as I figure out how to put it on here from my phone :).

Christmas was full of good times, great blessings, and yummy food....way way way too much yummy food.

The New Year is around the corner, and it's time for the list of resolutions. I've been thinking about this for a while and I wanted to try to look deeper than the typical lose weight, eat better, etc. Those are always given resolutions.

Before I write my list, I want to take a look back at my 2011 resolutions and give an update on how those turned out....

Top 10 List of Goals and Things I am looking forward to in 2011:
10. Get more comfortable driving on Atlanta's scary interstates
(doing good with that, Yay me!)
9. Getting fully moved in our house
(still working on it but definitely much closer than this time last year)
8. Hoping we'll have or at least be expecting baby #2
(praying about this....much medical drama with this situation this year)
7. Pay off credit cards
(not fully out of debt yet, but much much closer, and we have a plan that works)
6. Get office set up, and kiln hooked up so I can get back to work
(office is set up, and I sold the kiln...will get back into that later)
5. Go to Disney World
(done...we went in Sept.)
4. Studying, Jesus The One and Only Bible study with my girls
(done...great study and met some great new friends)
3. Catching up with some old friends
(done...took a couple of long trips to MS to catch up, and some came to Atlanta this summer)
2. Kirsten will be participating in her first wedding as a flower girl
(Unfortunately, we weren't in the position for Kirsten to be able to participate in the wedding. It was a sad, hard, and disappointing decision we had to make due to lack of finances and the expenses of traveling.)
1. Celebrating 10 years with Greg
(done...we didn't do much to celebrate since our anniversary fell on the first day of school and first day of Kirsten's dance class. We did have a small date that day. No gifts or cards were exchanged...but we went to Disney a month later, so that was our gift to each other.)

2012 Resolutions:
1. I will do my best to serve healthier food options to Greg and Kirsten. I eat a lot healthier than I used to, but I don't enforce these practices on them. I make things that are fast and easy, and with that comes processed foods with no nutritional value. I'll substitute the hamburger helper with veggies and fruit.
2. Work towards participating in a 1/2 marathon. Before Thanksgiving I made it up to 10 miles, but I hurt my knee. I hope it won't take me long to get back to that point and go further.
3. Get better with my thank you notes. This past year I really dropped the ball with my thank you notes. I want to get back on track with these.
4. Make an effort to be kinder to others. I don't mean being nicer, I mean being kinder. "Anyone can be nice, but it takes sincerity to be kind." (Beth Moore)
5. Get deeper into the Word. I do the Bible Studies and the homework, but I want to learn more, and go deeper.
6. Learn to sew.
7. Master my scroll saw and jig saw.
8. Keep in better touch with my MS peeps.
9. Catch up on the scrapbooks I have to do for Kirsten.
10. Practice counting my blessings every day.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Crazy Fun Weekend

Last weekend we made a quick trip in to Mississippi to go to Southern Miss' Homecoming, run in Hayley's tribe's 5K, and go to her pinning ceremony. It was only after waking up at 4:30 am to make it to the race by 6:00 am that Hayley realized she got her dates mixed up. Nenemoosha's 5K is this Saturday. Props go out to sweet Ashley Chapman for allowing us to enter and get t'shirts for MC's Homecoming 5K. I think she felt sorry for us or was embarrassed for us for our mix up.

A shout out to my mom for participating in her 1st 5K. Not bad for a woman of her seasoning....let's just put it this way, if she isn't in Court on Tuesdays, you'll find her at Belk shopping with her discount. We were all ok with our finish times. Greg finished in 30:09. I finished in 36:03 and my mom was around 49 min. Hayley assured me that MC was a Hill free campus, but I beg to differ. It's not Peachtree Road, but it has it's inclines.

After the 5K we rushed back to Benton to get ready for Southern Miss' Homecoming. Our good friends Darren and Tracy Short and their kids went with us. I hate we didn't get to do the usual tailgating scene but we still had fun showing them around the campus. I have no doubt where Cole and Halle will be furthering their education in a few years. We consumed an uncountable amount of delicious calories at Crescent City Grill and topped everything off with some New Orleans bread pudding, formerly known as Jack Daniels bread pudding. If I was in the position to tell some officers what I wanted for my last meal, New Orleans bread pudding would make the list. (probably only 2 doz. eggs in one serving)

Greg and Darren stayed for the game while Tracy and I brought the kids back. Because I can't come to MS without getting Bop's, Tracy stopped for me. Still so great....sugar free chocolate shake with a spoonful of peanut butter. We had a great time talking sweet about our men and our dreams. Hers of course is to pack up her family and move to Atlanta....the land of opportunity :).

Sunday we slept in. This is unusual for us. My mom got Newk's sandwich trays for lunch while also making taco soup. Jonathan, Andrea and the boys came over, as well as Hayley. It was great to have family time, even though it was so short. Hopefully we'll get more time at Thanksgiving.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

2 Month Run Down

Wow so much has been going on with us the last two months, it's been hard to stop and blog. First, we had a leak in our kitchen that lead to the plumbers tearing up the wall, bar, cabinets and floor to find it. Fortunately, it was in the corner of the wall instead of the ground so they didn't have to break up our slab. Unfortunately, we've been living with a really messed up kitchen that the contractors taped up with butcher paper and visqueen. That look is so 2010.

For our 10 yr. anniversary we went to Disney World. We decided to wait and go in September because there are no lines, great weather, and it's a lot less expensive. My mom hooked us up with a sweet resort from her timeshare. Even though it wasn't on property, it was so nice to have 2 bedrooms, a full kitchen, a washer and dryer, balcony, and a jacuzzi tub in our bedroom...not our bathroom, our bedroom. We had a huge shower in the bathroom. The resort had 2 gigantic with a mini water park and the other with an indoor/outdoor option, hot tubs, zen area and dive in movies. Greg and I would only be able to stay in places like this with my mom's timeshare, so we were grateful for her generosity.

We realized how much we missed working at Disney when we met up with Kevin. It was so great seeing him again and meeting his wife. I miss the discounts, the parking, and the shortcuts through the parks. Kevin did take us to Property Control so we got some goodies. But, since we aren't cast members anymore we couldn't go to "the back of the store". :( We ran into one of the trainers from the store where Greg used to work. She still works for Disney, but she works in one of the HR depts now. We spent the entire safari ride at Animal Kingdom figuring out our strategy to get some real jobs with Disney and move back to Orlando. So worth it for the perks alone.

The weekend after we got back from Disney, my brother, sister in law and nephews came to see us. We had a great time catching up and showing off our new ghetto/retro kitchen. Greg and Jonathan went to the MSU/UGA football game while Andrea and I took the kids to Chick-fil-A and the Children's Museum. We dined at the finest dining establishments in Atlanta ... Cheeseburger Bobby's and Chow Baby. Good times.

Greg had to go to Chicago last week, and Kirsten and I had some much needed girl time. We did makeovers, watched princess movies, had tea parties, and went to Stevie B's.

Allison flew in to see me last weekend. That was fun. Greg had to work all weekend so Allison, Kirsten and I had girl time all over town. We went to Bumblebee Bakery for cupcakes and Cheeseburger Bobby's for dinner. We all went to church Sunday since Allison really digs West Ridge. We wanted to catch a word and James Griffin leading worship. So good. We spent Sunday afternoon at home reading tabloid magazines and watching tv, while cooking taco soup in the crock pot. It's been a while since I've had the chance to sit and chill on a Sunday afternoon. It was glorious.

I didn't take really take any pictures while my brother and Allison were in town. I really need to get better about that. I took hundreds of pictures on the Disney trip, but I didn't think about taking pictures while I had guests in town. I'll just have to do better next time.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Loving Difficult People , A New Perspective

I enjoyed the first part of Beth Moore's message, "Loving Difficult People", so much I had to go on and watch the rest of them. This message was so humbling. It taught me to see issues with difficult people from a different perspective.

Honestly, I just thought that for some reason, God didn't want me to have great relationships with the difficult people in my life. I prayed for years to have closer relationships with these people. As I grew impatient, and as matters seemed to get worse instead of better, I prayed for God to just help us get along with each other. I even went as far as confronting the people and explained that certain things they did hurt me. I offered my apologies to things I may have done that causes them to treat me the way they do, but this would just add fuel to their fire.

I then approached the situation with constant prayers for strength to offer forgiveness, whether they wanted it or not. I knew forgiveness couldn't be the end, because it didn't seem to leave me fulfilled. Satisfied, maybe, but not fulfilled. I would pray with wonder if I actually did forgive, because the matters seemed to get more and more challenging.

After this message, I realize that I have the ability to love, because God first loved me. Therefore, my love tank is filled from having His approval, not theirs. I can still offer them love without receiving it. I may never receive it. My only job is to love them. God will handle the rest. I need to find my peace in that.

I think that I saw things from the perspective of, "If you are nice to them, they'll be nice to you." This isn't always true. This is not what God means when he says to love the unlovely. He offers no promises that they'll love back. It's selfish of me to assume this. Instead, God tells me that He'll love me no matter how much I love them. BUT, if I don't love them, regardless of their response, I will not look like Him. He will not be seen through me. Basically, this isn't a mission to gain approval from these difficult people anymore. I already feel like a load of work is lifted off. It takes the chore of trying so hard out of it. I can be me, and just choose to love them. This opens the opportunity for God to work through me. He'll do all the work.

Here are the links to parts 2-6 of this message.

Monday, August 8, 2011

WOW 10 Years!

I can't believe Greg and I have been married 10 years. Time flies. I've invited Greg to join me in writing this post since this is a celebration we share equally. Our marriage has definitely had its ups and downs, but mostly it's on the upswing. I am so blessed to have such a great man for my partner. He is the greatest gift I could ever have on earth. I believe this celebration calls for some lists in honor of 10 years. This is what we've come up with.

Top 10 things that make our marriage work:
10. Know each others' sensitivities and honor them.
9. Learn each others' love language and practice it.
8. Never talk about each other in a negative way to others.
7. Build each other up. Compliment each other.
6. Say good things about each other to others. Especially those that irritate each other.
5. Leave family drama with the family, and move away. Keep extended family time to a minimum to avoid the drama. This is Biblical.
4. COMMUNICATE with each other. Never keep secrets.
3. Make time for each other/date nights.
2. Be true friends and speak TRUTH to each other, no matter if it's hard to hear.
1. Have God as the center of your relationship.

Top 10 Hardest things we've dealt with the past 10 years.

10. Living together. We went from seeing each other once a week to living together.
9. Unemployment off and on.
8. Changing careers.
7. Fertility issues.
6. A huge move.
5. Living apart for 3 months.
4. Becoming parents and balancing that with time with each other.
3. Selling our house in a bad economy.
2. Finances / getting out of debt.
1. In laws/families

Top 10 Things I LOVE about being married.
10. The partnership.
9. Making decisions together.
8. Unchaperoned snuggles on the couch.
7. It feels like we're playing house.
6. Waking up every morning to each other.
5. Coffee in bed with each other before Kirsten wakes up.
4. Kirsten snuggling in bed with us on Sat. mornings to watch cartoons and discuss the day.
3. Parenthood and everything with it.
2. Being each others' wing man/wing woman. When we want out of something we use the other person as an excuse to not do it...oops, just gave away our secret
1. Each others' company.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Happy Birthday, Greg!

My most favorite guy in the world has a birthday tomorrow! Since we'll be out celebrating tomorrow, I am going to post my tribute to Greg today.

Top 33 Things I love about Greg!

33. He's the smartest guy I know.
32. He's brilliant.
31. He's the sweetest guy I know.
30. He's considerate of others.
29. He has integrity. I don't know many people I can say that about these days.
28. He's completely independent. Has been as long as I've known him...since he was 18.
27. He doesn't take advantage of people, and feels strongly against doing such.
26. He is an amazing person.
25. He treats me like a queen.
24. He treats Kirsten like a princess.
23. He's a great listener.
22. He's very patient.
21. He's slow to anger.
20. He doesn't talk about people or gossip.
19. He is compassionate.
18. He'll do anything to help out anyone.
17. He has his priorities straight.
16. He's not a pushover.
15. He takes care of himself.
14. He's fun.
13. He's hilarious.
12. He's a hard worker.
11. He's not lazy.
10. He's got extremely strong faith.
9. He's adorable.
8. He's got a great smile.
7. He smells good.
6. He looks cute in anything.
5. He's got my back if I encounter an issue with a "difficult person."
4. He's not someone to mess with.
3. He will never put you down or make you feel dumb for not knowing computer stuff.
2. I love how he calls out big talkers without making it obvious.
1. He's got a huge heart.

Happy 33rd Birthday, Greg. I hope it's great! Love you.

Monday, August 1, 2011

Loving Difficult People

I was doing my occasional YouTube scan tonight and I came across this Beth Moore message.

It's 1 of 6. Like everyone else, I have some "difficult people" to love in my life. I have prayed for years for God to allow the relationships I have with these people to be easier to deal with. I have 3 difficult people in my life that at times seem to take turns poking me with their thorns. I know everyone has those difficult people they deal with. This message gave me some insight into what I can do to try to learn to not only deal with them, but with God's grace, learn to love them. It's easy to love those who love us back. But it's quite a challenge to love those who don't care for us. I am choosing to face the challenge in obedience and allow God to work on me so He can work through me.

My notes from the message:
1- Change my attitude about the situations
2- Remain in prayer, but take my pride out of it
3- Realize that God's got His hand in this and He's got a plan

These are small steps, but I think they are some that I could go on and try to achieve.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

From Then Till Now

Wow, so many updates. It's been hard to find time to blog with Kirsten out of school for the summer. I haven't really wanted to take any of my time away from her since I'm gonna have to share her again so soon with her teachers. I used to dream of time to myself, but since she started PreK (can't believe I actually typed that) I treasure all the time I have with her.

Since my last post, Greg got a promotion which we count as a blessing. Not only will this help out a lot with paying off our debt sooner, it gives Greg the opportunity to shine. He's so smart. We're so grateful that God is allowing him the opportunity to share his talents, skills and example with others. He's now the Director of Project Managers at DTI.

Father's Day didn't turn out the way I planned at all. I planned out this "dadventure" for Greg, and nothing fell into place. That's so frustrating. I told him I wanted to make it up to him and try it all again, but honestly it wouldn't be same if it wasn't of Father's Day. So maybe next year. I'm not giving away my details because they're still a surprise for Greg. We did end up going to eat, after waiting for over an hour (expected) and the kitchen messing up our order from being overwhelmed. Like I said, I hope to get a do over for his birthday. Since it isn't a nat'l holiday, I hope it can work out.

My birthday was great. Greg took off the day of my birthday and the day after. What better way to celebrate ones birthday than partaking in all the free goodies offered to the one with a birthday. We started our day off at Whitewater water park. We spend a lot of our summer at Whitewater. For lunch we stopped at Jersey Mike's for my free sub. Greg and I split a chicken salad sub while Kirsten had her usual turkey sub with cheetos. From Jersey Mike's we headed to Firehouse Subs for my free birthday sub there. So, Greg and I split a grilled chicken sub. Kirsten ordered her usual grilled cheese on sourdough, but then realized she was too full to eat after Jersey Mike's.

We booked Isabella to babysit for two date nights in a row. She's in high demand so we have to make reservations with her many weeks in advance. Greg took me shoe shopping and to Provino's for dinner. Yes, my meal was free. He also got me a pink birthday cake and blue bell birthday cake ice cream cups. My favorite.

After date night, I got to open my presents. He knows me so well....I got a pink jeweled cell phone case, and a zebra case. Greg also got me a table saw so I can exercise and express my creative side. I have to make me some jeweled safety goggles, just because I'm me.

Friday I got to sleep late and it was glorious. I got to have my coffee in bed and watch the Today show and other updates on the Casey Anthony trial. We ran errands around town all afternoon before it was time for date night #2. We went shoe shopping again and had dinner at Maggiano's at Perimeter Mall.

My inlaws came in town the weekend of the 4th of July to watch Kirsten while Greg and I ran in the Peachtree Road Race. We all went to the Peachtree Expo and hung out and ate pasta. They offered to take Kirsten back with them for the week so we could have some time to ourselves and hang out with Chi Alpha since they were in town for the week. How nice was that? I was a little hesitant at first, but was fine when we presented the idea to Kirsten and she was all about it.

Peachtree Road Race was Monday, July 4th. It's a 10K that starts at Lennox Square and runs down Peachtree Road, turns left at 10th St. and finishes in Piedmont Park. Mile 1 is a very small incline, not even noticeable. Miles 2-3 are downhill. Mile 4 is between a 7-8% incline the entire mile. It's known as Heartbreak Hill. You feel every single step. Mile 5 is flat and a little down hill in certain spots. Mile 6, I can't remember...I think I was hallucinating and running on adrenaline by that time. The .2 miles into the park seem longer than the rest of the race put together. Forget you just completed 6 miles, that's not enough. They want to squeeze another .2 out of you. If not, you don't get the t'shirt. It was 82 degrees and 70% humidity by the time we started. It was hard, ridiculous, and mean. I can't wait to do it again next year. BRING IT ON Heartbreak Hill.

Greg and I spent Monday afternoon and night with the Askews and Chi Alpha from Liberty Baptist in Hampton, VA. They performed for the Paulding Co. YDC and had dinner at the Varsity. It was so great to see Jeff and Liz and catch up with them. Chi Alpha was awesome. I loved watching them shine and share the love of Jesus with the hurting. This is a great group of kids. I could tell they were being ministered to as well as ministering to others. Being able to share in being a part of XA again for just a few days was such a blessing and honor.

So what did I do on my week off from my "job"? I cleaned my house from top to bottom. I watched the Teen Mom marathon on MTV. I got caught up on the Casey Anthony trial. I took a nap twice. I organized Kirsten's room. I did my Bible study. Greg and I made late night icee runs like we did when we were in college. I went to work with Greg one day and shopped by myself. Greg and I went to a Braves game and Stone Mtn. with Chi Alpha. I did not go to the gym this week simply because I took the week off, I can easily go to the gym with Kirsten, and I burned over 2200 cal. at the Peachtree. (not my normal weekly goal, but it's excellent for a 1 day work out) We had a date night on Friday night. We went to the Vortex and a movie. Usually we can't fit in dinner and a movie with a babysitter. It gets complicated trying to time it right. We didn't get home till about 12:45 and that's just way too late to ask Isabella to stay.

By Saturday we were missing Kirsten so much we couldn't wait to see her. We met Greg's parents in Tuscaloosa. WOW, is all I can say about the devastation there. We were seriously in awe of the damage this city has. Seeing it on tv is nothing compared to seeing it in person. I didn't go to Tuscaloosa expecting to see much if any damage. I wasn't expecting to drive through it. There was no way to avoid it. It's crazy how even the most solid structures can crumble in just a few seconds of a powerful storm. It was unbelievable. Please remember this city in your prayers. It really breaks my heart to see such devastation. I was going to take pictures and post them, but I decided not to. We've seen the pictures and the videos. Us looking at pictures doesn't help anything. Our actions after seeing the pictures is what helps. Even if all we do is pray, that's more than some will do.

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Kirsten's Turning 4!

Ahhh, my baby is 4....tomorrow! I thought the meltdown at 3 was fierce, but 4? It's crazy when some of my mom friends from Kirsten's class say things like, "and my child will be 5 in Sept.", or "he'll be 5 in Nov." WHAT? Kirsten's just turning 4....sslllloooooowwww dddoooowwwwnnnn. I have to admit "3" has been my absolute favorite age so far. Of course, I do love the baby stage, where you just look at your infant and hang on to every coo, and facial expression. Then comes the milestones of sitting up, and baby food, and crawling, then walking and a few words. I do miss those precious times I can't get back. What I don't miss are feedings every 2-3 hours, nursing, the smell of baby food, colic, explosive diapers, lack of sleep, and potty training. I would definitely do it all again, but I don't particularly miss it.

As we all know we can't celebrate or recognize any type of occasion worthy of mentioning without some lists. So, in honor of Kirsten's 4th birthday I want to share some lists of things that showcase my child and my adoration towards her.

Top 4 Kirsten-isms of age 3:

4. Me: "Kirsten, you know you are so stinking cute."
Kirsten: "No I'm not, Mommy. I just took a bath."

3. Kirsten: "My Daddy's favorite drink is Mountain Goo"

2. Kirsten: "I have 2 Gwamaws and 2 Pawpaws. I have a Big Gwamaw, and a Little Gwamaw, and a Big Pawpaw, and a Little Pawpaw."

1. Kirsten: "Mommy when I was a baby was I in your tummy?"
Me: "Yes, Kirsten you were."
Kirsten: "How did I get there? Did you eat me?"
Me: "Haha, No Baby, God put you in there."
Kirsten: "Oh....Did God eat me?"

My top 4 things I love about Kirsten:
4. She's the perfect mix of Greg and me. She carries the genes of our strongest qualities. She's great at problem solving like Greg, and she gets her creativity from me.

3. She's so sweet to other kids. She goes out of her way to speak to everyone and she does her best to include kids if she notices them not being included.

2. She is the most observant person I have ever known. Her observance is better than some of the smartest adults I've ever met. She has a photographic memory, I just know it. I don't say this as bragging about my child. This is nothing I could have ever taught her. She just has this observant memory that amazes me.

1. She's such a prissy, girly girl. She loves the mall. She loves to shop and try on dresses. She loves to cook with me, and pick flowers. She loves to dress up and have tea parties. I could not have hand picked a more awesome child.

I'm so honored to be her Mommy.

Monday, May 9, 2011

Mother's Day

A lady at our church was baptized yesterday and she shared the most amazing testimony about Mother's Day. A few years ago, on Mother's Day, her 19 month old son drowned in a pool. As you can imagine the agony and pain she went through, she said she was so angry at God. It took her years to move past this pain and regain her faith and strength. She recognizes and confesses that Christ pulled her through this, and gained complete control of her heart and life. Seven years later, on Mother's Day, this lady gave birth to her daughter. There is absolutely no way this story can be credited to anything BUT GOD. She saw it only fitting to share her testimony and baptism on Mother's Day. There was not a dry eye in the room. Hearing stories and testimonies give me so much light and encouragement. I love to hear how God works in others lives.

Greg and Kirsten made my Mother's Day so special. I felt so spoiled, loved, and mostly appreciated. We make a weekend out of holidays in our house. We make about a 7 day celebration out of birthdays. My weekend started with a trip to Roly Poly in Kennesaw. Greg isn't too fond of Roly Poly, but I am. I haven't had one since it closed in Jackson, MS years ago. I've been asking him to take me ever since I found out GA had them. It's about an hr. drive away, but he took me. On the way, I saw a church was having a craft show/garage sale. So, I asked Greg to stop. He was like, "Seriously, you want to go to this garage sale?" Of never know what treasures you'll find. I found fabric remnants for $.25, and a wooden ladder, that I've been wanting FOREVER for $5. It wouldn't fit in the car so I couldn't get that. :( On the craft side of the event, this precious tweenager made these hair accessories to sell to help raise money for a mission trip she's going on this summer. Well, I am a sucker for tweenage fundraisers, especially those "for Jesus" kinds. I bought a couple of hair accessories for Kirsten and some friends who have little girls. These were so out Blu Gertrude. It made the tweenager's day that I bought so many. But seriously, I now have her on speed dial in case I need a hair accessory pronto. :)

After the church function we went to Roly Poly, and it was still as yummy as ever. Then, Greg surprised me by taking me to Alpharetta. I love Alpharetta. All the shops look like castles. It's like Madison on very illegal steroids. We went on a wild goose chase looking for the Ben & Jerry's only to find it had closed. :( So we went to Northpoint Mall. They have the biggest White House/Black Market store in the universe. Not really, but it's pretty huge. I stayed in there for about 2 hrs. Then I got to take Kirsten to the American Girl store. She's counting down the days till her 8th b'day so she can have her party there. I mean, all her friends will come right? It's only about 1 1/2 - 2 hrs away. Kirsten ended up taking a nap...yes you read that right. She got so tired of shopping, I mean window shopping, that she fell asleep. So, Greg, being the muscle man he is, carried her 38 lb. self around the rest of the afternoon. What a great man...he let me shop (again, window shop), he followed me around the mall (that was 1 1/2 - 2 hrs away) on a Sat., and he lugged a sleeping 38 lb little girl for about an hour...greatness.

For dinner Greg took me to our favorite restaurant in Atlanta, The Real Chow Baby. So fabulous. We make everyone that comes to visit us try it. No one has left unsatisfied. It's an Asian stir fry place. You go through the line, fix your own bowls of rice, noodles, veggies, meats, sauces and spices. The cooks cook it for you then bring it to your table. It's all you can eat, so if you mess up your food, you can just go back and try again. Kirsten even ate the stir fry this time, and she liked it.

After we stuffed ourselves to the point of almost not fitting in our seatbelts we headed home. At home Greg had rented The Social Network from Redbox for me. I've been wanting to see that forever, and as part of our "cutbacks" we stopped our Netflix. I haven't watched a movie since February, and there's been tons of releases since then. The gesture was grand, but I fell asleep during the movie....long day.

Sunday Morning, Mother's Day, I was served my coffee and MOMosa in bed. Greg and I sit up in the bed on Sunday mornings and watch Charles Stanley on tv. I know, we're dorks, but he's really good for a pastor from the previous generation. He obviously opted for that Anger Management While Delivering a Message class in seminary :). When Kirsten woke up, she and Greg gave me my Mother's Day present....a Coach purse. Sorry, a PINK Coach purse. I was so proud of Greg. Kirsten said, "Mommy look, it's pink!" Love her. After getting ready the four of us went to church. The four of us being Kirsten, Greg, Me and my purse. We had a great message at church about family conflict, spiritual warfare and strongholds. Quite appropriate for Mother's Day, wouldn't you agree?

After church, I exercised my right to forgo lunch since I was still stuffed from The Real Chow Baby dinner, and I couldn't wait on my surprise Greg had for me. We pulled up at The Avenues and I thought for sure he had scheduled us to take one of those awkward family portraits with the backgrounds from the 70's and everyone seems to be sitting in front of each other. I was pleased, no I was ecstatic, to find out he had scheduled Kirsten and me appointments at Parisians. We were both going to get mani/pedi's. Kirsten walked right up to the wall of colors and chose her color right off and I chose lavender for me. She was all about this until she saw the pedicure chair and foot bath, then she freaked out. So, I opted for the hour long pedicure with some fancy sounding scrub and oil treatment. I haven't had a pedicure in years, and it was due time. I love my man. I do wish Kirsten would have joined in the fun, but I think she was just tired from Sat.

After my fabulous pedicure, we headed to Atlantic Station for ice cream. Cold Stone was packed, but it was a beautiful day to stroll around Atlantic Station. I love the atmosphere there. After the ice cream we went on another goose chase for some cupcakes Greg likes and he wanted to get for me. They were closing when we finally got there, and only had coconut left. I am not a coconut fan so I'll have to go back when they have a larger selection. For dinner, Greg grilled steaks. I sat on the couch while he cooked and propped my pedicured feet up. It was a great great day. Can't wait to honor my man for Father's Day for all his hard work.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

What's On Your Mind?

As you all may know, my Bible study group recently finished the study, Jesus The One and Only, by Beth Moore. It's one of her earlier studies, but she was on fire. It started off a little slow, but as it progressed it became all I could think about. I couldn't get enough of learning about Jesus' life, His works, His character, His love for me, His obstacles, His responses, His reactions, His emotions, His authenticity, His heart, His teachings, His words, His I said, I can't stop. With the way the study's schedule fell, our final session was the Monday before Easter. How appropriate.

Lots of areas in our study have really triggered my curiosity. For instance, the story of Judas Iscariot. Judas was one of Jesus' 12 disciples. Jesus chose these 12 men to be His followers. They ate with Jesus, stayed with Jesus, studied with Jesus, walked with Jesus, prayed with Jesus, and journeyed with Jesus. Jesus actually had many more disciples, but these 12 were the ones that dwelled with Him. These disciples were like family to Jesus. In fact, Jesus calls them His mother and brothers in Matthew.

Judas was the disciple that handled all the finances. He was a tax collector so he had a love for money. He loved money more than he loved Jesus. Judas did not have a genuine relationship with Christ, therefore his heart wasn't guarded against Satan. The Bible says that Satan entered Judas. Judas sold Jesus out for money. This is sort of ironic considering that Judas heard Jesus' sermon on the mount where He explained that the love of money is the root to all evil. This betrayal happened to fulfill prophesy, so Jesus was aware of what Judas was going to do to Him.

The question that rang in my head was this....Since Jesus knew Judas was going to betray Him, did it still hurt? I wondered this because Jesus experienced all types of emotions and temptations that we as humans face. This was in order for us to learn by His example how to handle these situations. Betrayal is awful. Especially, if it's from someone we consider family. It seems like knowing the betrayal was coming would make it less painful.

Call me a dingbat, but I always associated the betrayal towards Jesus with Peter. This was a type of betrayal, but Jesus knew Peter's heart, and He knew Peter often acted out of impulse. Jesus also knew Peter's denial would be a part of Peter's story, and eventually be used to God's glory. Jesus even tells Peter that "He prayed for Peter's faith to not fail, and when Peter turns back around He is to strengthen his brothers." I can't think of anything more encouraging I could hear from Jesus when I know my sins have disappointed Him. The Bible reveals Peter's heart to Jesus when it says that as soon as Peter realized he denied Christ he ran outside and wept bitterly.

Now, back to Judas. Judas betrayed Jesus with a kiss. With an act of affection. With a symbol of love. Could it be any worse? I can't see anything but pure evil portrayed here. How could someone hate somebody so much as to act like a part of his family, then turn the person over to the enemy who would later kill Him? And, do all this while kissing His cheek? Remember, Jesus did nothing wrong. He was innocent. What causes such a heartless act other than pure evil?

So, was it painful for Jesus to be betrayed even if He knew it was going to happen? I have to believe the answer is yes. Was it less painful since Jesus knew? I really don't think so. I truly believed in Jesus' heart He wanted to fulfill God's will. But I also know that on the Mount of Olives, Jesus prayed 3 times to God asking Him to remove the cup from Him. I believe Jesus hoped Judas wouldn't betray Him. Maybe for the sake of God finding another way. Maybe for the sake of Judas not spending his eternity in hell.

We live in a fallen world and we've all experienced betrayal. Some of us have experienced betrayal by family and those we consider family. We may even expect the betrayal to happen, but we always hope it won't. Then when it does, does it hurt any less? Maybe to those who have hardened their hearts. But we aren't called to harden our hearts. We're called to have hearts after God's heart. This would be to have the things that hurt God, hurt us. I find comfort in knowing that if I face times of betrayal God sees my hurt, and it hurts Him that I am hurt.

Jesus was all-knowing about His betrayal, and He treated Judas no differently than He treated His other disciples. He broke bread with Judas. He even washed Judas' feet. How humbling that was for me to grasp. May we all pray and accept God's strength to show such love to those who hurt us. This is what we're called to do as Christ followers.

Another deep thought I've had is this...I know when Christians pass away, we go to Heaven and God gives us new and transformed bodies. What if this is figurative and not so much literal? We are told that when we go to Heaven we become Christ-like. The lame will walk, and we'll have bodies of strength. What if we don't necessarily have that body we dream of, we just see it that way? Since we'll be Christ-like, will we see things as Christ does? If so, will we see ourselves as Christ sees us? He sees us as beautiful. He doesn't see our flaws the way we do. We are God's workmanship. What if we were able to see ourselves that way, and others too? If this is how we see ourselves in heaven, there really won't be a need for a total body transformation, right? What if the beauty we hold inside, becomes exactly who we are? If so, I know some amazingly beautiful people, and their beauty would blind us on earth. Maybe God saves this for when He makes the blind to see.

Thursday, March 31, 2011

Personalized Blessings

Since Greg and I have started getting strict with working our way out of debt, we've started noticing how God has blessed us. These are what I like to call my "little happy" blessings. I see them as those little acts of encouragement God gives us to show us He knows we're trying. He's individualized these blessings to fit us, where others may not think twice about them. I want to list them not only to show you how grateful I am, but so you can recognize some of the blessings God's given you as well.

1- My Mom, my Aunt Lynn, and my cousin Ashley came in a couple of weekends ago to shop for Ashley's wedding. We had the best time with each other. Greg had to work all weekend, so Kirsten and I got to spend time with just the girls. Kirsten really enjoyed shopping and spending time with everyone. The fact that my family took the effort and time to take off of work and drive such a long way to come see us was blessing enough. They introduced and treated us to some new restaurants and wonderful meals. I never expected such generosity from all of them not only for me, but Kirsten and Greg as well. When I stopped for gas, my Mom payed for my gas, and my Aunt gave Kirsten a gift of adorable Croc shoes. So sweet, and so generous. Thanks again, you two for your kindness and generosity. I look forward to returning the blessing one day.

2- Kirsten and I were pretty sick last week. I took Kirsten to the doctor, which would normally cost $20. No big deal, I'd rather pay $20 now to get her well, than pay hundreds later for lung X-rays and lab tests. When it was time to check out and pay, the doctor's office told me I had a credit there, and I owed them nothing. $20 Blessing.

3- I left the doctor's office with a Rx for Kirsten's nebulizer medication. Every other time I've had to fill this Rx it's cost me $80 with my insurance. This time it was $15. So this sickness only cost me $15, and she'll be stocked up with breathing treatments for at least a year. $65 Blessing.

4- Kirsten needed new sandals and dress shoes. I budgeted this to be around $50. I found her the cutest pair of sandals at Gymboree from last season for $5. Then, I found an even cuter pair of dress shoes for $25. I figured I would pay that since I got the sandals so cheap, and it was still in the budget. I went to pay and the shoes rang up for $10. Not only were her shoes inexpensive, they are new and stylin'. $35 Blessing.

5- As you know, I am obsessed with Special K and Peter Pan PB. I was down to my last jar of Peter Pan, and about to stress. Really, I was. Publix happened to have it on sale BOGO free last week. I got 12 jars for $12. Kirsten told the lady at check out, "My mommy loves peanut butter, but only Peter Pan." Special K is on sale this week at Target for $2.50, and I have coupons. Special K has been on sale 3 times this year, and usually, it's only on sale in Jan. Extra Blessing.

6- Greg received a promotion a few weeks ago. He's only been at this job since August. He's the smartest, kindest, hardest working guy there is. Not to mention, he's got a great smile, he's funny, charming, and looks hot in his business casual, which I'm sure had a little to do with it :). God chose to bless him with this promotion right now, instead of his yearly review or possibly never. Leaving his previous job was a big decision, and not the easiest choice to make. We've had to make a lot of adjustments from this transition of jobs, but Greg's confident this is where he's supposed to be. This new employer has allowed Greg to go in to work later, so he's able to take Kirsten to school in the mornings. He's allowed to work from home if necessary, so when Mommy's sick, Mommy has some help now. They are also pretty "pro-family", so when Kirsten has parties or programs at school, her Daddy can be there. Blessing after Blessing.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

It's Been A While

Wow...It's been a while since I've blogged. Contrary to what you may believe, I've been very busy. It's time to play catch up. Why do people say, "play catch up"? I don't play when I catch up, I get serious. So seriously, this is what's been going on and going through my mind the last month or so....

Kirsten and I took our first girls only road trip to MS during her Winter break. No boys allowed! J/K, Greg had to work. I would have loved for him to join us, but he felt like keeping his job was a little bit more important than making a 6 hr. drive, one way, to get a splenda chocolate peanut butter shake from Bops. However, he second guessed himself when I texted him pictures of Kirsten and me devouring our Bops. Kirsten and I spent time with my friend Allison for a couple of days, then we went to Benton and stayed with my parents for the rest of our trip. We spent some qt with my parents, siblings and nephews which was long overdue. We planned on staying longer but Kirsten got sick so we came back to GA.

I've been pretty religious about my workouts. I'm not necessarily losing a ton of weight or anything, but it's about the only thing I can really do for myself, and it's the only time I have to myself. I go to the gym almost everyday while Kirsten's in preschool. It feels good to have the people at the gym know me by name when I walk in, and give me pats on the back as I work out. When I leave they always say stuff like, "you are doing such a great job," and "I see you working hard in there"...makes me feel good. Every girl likes encouragement, especially if it involves exercise.

Greg and I have made a commitment to tackle our debt once and for all. We've had our "I've had enough moment." We realized how much we can do or accomplish if we get rid of our debt and use the money we use to pay off credit cards for other things. We want to be like "The Secret Millionaire", only we aren't millionaires. We started a plan through our church called, "I Was Broke, Now I'm Not." The guy that started this ministry, Joe Sangl, came to our church and packed the house when he spoke. He's awesome, his outlook is awesome and his plan is awesome. Everything is Scripture based and he, along with his story, is such a testimony. Greg and I are so fired up about this. Many haven't taken the news well that we are starting to focus our finances towards supporting our future and paying off our debts. I didn't realize how uncouth it was to not want to have debt anymore. Not only is it uncouth to work on getting out of debt, it's uncouth to live within your means. Seriously, we've gotten so many opinions on how wrong we are to say "no" to things we can't pay for with cash. I guess things are better when they really cost 2 or 3 times more with accrued interest. That's a lie I've bought into long enough. I know we'll face many trials with this process and season, and I know there's going to be some sacrifices. I just pray for mercy and protection as we take these steps towards obedience. We'll have keep our eyes focused on blessing others later.

Time for Opinionated Wednesday.....
1- "Why don't you just....?" - This will be the title of my first book. A pet peeve of mine is when you start to talk to someone, and no matter if you are stating something just to talk, or you dealt with an issue, the person will respond with..."Why don't you just....?" I would so much rather the person say, "Would you like my advice?" At least that way, I feel like I asked for it, or like I gave you permission to give me your opinion.

2- Right now on American Idol I like Lauren Alaina from GA, and Pia Toscano. I am so over that Scotty guy. He bears a strong resemblance to Howdy Doody and he was horrible with The River. It's time for him to go home.

3- I saw on the Today Show today that there's a condition called Shopping Bulimia. Really? This is a condition where someone repeatedly buys things and returns them just to do it. Ok...Today Show, this is far more devastating than the natural disaster in Japan. Come on, the things that get coverage these days.

Keep Japan and the Japanese, along with what's to come, in your prayers.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Soap Box Opinions

If you know me at all, you know I have an opinion. I sometimes feel so strongly in my opinions, I think that should classify them as facts. One of my favorite things to do, is have deep discussions with Greg where our opinions on issues come out. This could have potential to become heated discussions, but mostly we have the same opinions on matters. I am going to start writing Soapbox Wednesday blogs just to make Wednesdays a little more exciting.

Here are this week's opinion based no particular order:

1) Christina Aguilera forgetting the words to the National Anthem.
Yes, she should know the words, it's only the citizen thing to do. BUT who says she doesn't? She may have just had one of those mom moments. Her kid may have just fell and busted his head open as she was walking on the field. She may have just received devastating news. OR she may have caught a glimpse of her soon to be ex-husband making out with some skank. Anything could have triggered a lapse of memory. Honestly, if we all didn't know the words we would never have noticed. She still sang her face off and never stopped. I can only think of 2 other women that could have held a candle to her performance, mess up or not. One, Leah Michelle who was already singing America the Beautiful, and the other, Mandisa, who was either on tour or they didn't want her up there because she's a Christian Artist.

2) With that said, I am a perfectionist when it comes to knowing your words. An honest mistake is one thing, everyone has those moments. Lack of preparation is another. I find lack of preparation unacceptable and inexcusable. I have seen Faith Hill in concert 3 or 4 times and she NEVER remembers her words. That's just ridiculous. She's gorgeous, she sings great, but she suffers amnesia every time I've seen her perform.

3) Did Lindsey Lohan steal the necklace? At first I didn't even care, but after I saw it on every headline and every newscast I started to form an opinion. I think she did. Her and her publicist's story has changed more times than a 13 yr. old girl picking out her school picture outfit. She's always in some kind of trouble, and she thinks she shouldn't have to pay for her crimes. She's screaming for attention and she's apparently got issues. Lindsey needs some Jesus...let's keep her in our prayers, seriously.

4) Facebook games....Playing a game here and there for entertainment is one thing...but when it's the only thing on your profile, that's another. I can't stand getting on facebook and being told who did what in farmville, or cityville, or mafia wars, or whatever. Please, if you have time for this, you have time to do something getting out and making a difference somewhere. Start a blog talking about your opinions :) If playing these games interferes with quality time with friends, family or loved ones, you have a problem. Please, seek help....somewhere other than facebook.

5) SOME republican voters behavior. I voted republican. But, I am not going to put ugly things about the president all over my car. I'm not going to go to where he's speaking and scream out profanity to him just to have my voice heard in congress. Will this kind of behavior make anyone who sees or hears this change their minds on the president? Will they read that bumper sticker and go, "You know I never thought of Obama that way, but now that someone stated it with a curse word, I completely change my mind"? Or, "you know if I vote Bristol Palin to the finals of dancing with the stars even though she can't dance, I'll show those democrats. Having her in the finals will really make them wish they didn't put Obama in office." Really republicans? Can't we just be smart and mature about this? If we stop acting like we're 5, and just sit back, the democrats will hang themselves. All the money and education in the world can't top common sense and Christian values. However, I question the Christian values of the republicans right now. I know you don't have to be a Christian to be republican or democrat, and you don't have to be republican to be a Christian. No matter what political party you claim to be a part of, don't claim to be a Christian if you aren't or you aren't willing to act like one. I don't have to agree with Obama or his ways. I do have to see him as a person, as one of God's creations. He's created in the same image I am. God sees Obama through the same loving eyes He sees me and you through. Obama may be an unbelieving leader that claims to be a Christian. Obama may be a Christian that has gone off the straight and narrow path. He's still a human being. He's a husband and a daddy. I would hate to be the wife of the president and think that some rednecks were plotting to come attack my husband, or some idiots were devising a plan to attack my daddy. It's more than getting revenge, it's destroying lives of those that are innocent.

That's it for now. Let me know your comments and opinions. I may be opinionated, but I am also open for discussion.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Sweet Treats

My Mamaw introduced me to these Old Fashioned Creme Drops when I was a little girl. She kept them in her refrigerator and would give me some whenever I was at her house. They are so good, and every time I eat them I think about her. Sometimes for Christmas my mom will put them in my stocking. I'm not sure if my mom realizes the story behind these creme drops, but I always assumed she did because she makes a point to get them for me.

Last Saturday we were out and about, and Greg found these. He surprised Kirsten and me with them during our "I'm hungry..." whine. You know the one that follows the purchase of a beverage that satisfies the, "I'm thirsty..." whine. As we opened the bag and started to devour them, Greg told Kirsten about how my Mamaw used to give this candy to me when I was a little girl. It was so sweet how Kirsten was all ears as I told her about it. She had questions like, "Mommy, did my Grandma eat these?" and "Mommy, Grandma doesn't share these with me." Where my response was "I don't remember your Grandma ever eating these," and "If she doesn't give you any, she may not eat them."
They're so good, but best when refrigerated.
I have been feeding my addiction to Peter Pan peanut butter. I cannot get enough of this stuff. Here's a picture of my stash, but this is low compared to what I usually have. This should last me about 3 weeks.
This is my other favorite thing to eat...Special K Chocolatey Delight. So yummy, and it's better for you than a bowl of ice cream. I know, I need to add more fruit and veggies to my diet. It's not that I don't like fruits and veggies, I just like peanut butter (only peter pan) and Special K (only vanilla and chocolatey delight) better.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Snow Days

So, it's about 3 weeks in to 2011 and a lot has happened. We had our first snow/ice/winter storm of the year. Last week, and all of Atlanta was "snowed in" pretty much the whole week. Kirsten's school was closed and Greg had to work from home all week.

Our neighborhood had a pantry party Tuesday night. We all put the food we had to offer into a huge meal. We made red beans & rice with the smoked sausage, jambalaya with pork and chicken, mac & cheese, cornbread, and desserts for days. We never lost power or satellite signal, PRAISE GOD!!! The snow was so gorgeous. It wasn't like normal, it had a layer of ice about an inch thick on top of the snow. This made the snow sparkle all different irrodescent colors. People would ice skate in their driveways and on the streets. They would feature these people on 11 Alive. There's still snow in the medians and along the sides of the streets, as well as on rooftops.

I can't tell it as good as Megan McGlover, so I'll let her handle it from here.
Check her out: Peace