Friday, December 28, 2007

"Grunt Up A Big'n"

...This saying has been a great inside joke between Rand's Uncle Tim and me since our first meeting five years ago and today he grunt up a sad little doe. This is the first time I have ever seen a dead deer up close and personal. Gross!
This is Tim with his sad little Doe

Abby

Christmas Memories



What a wonderful Christmas! It started in Byhalia last Wednesday when Rand and I exchanged our presents to each other. We then headed out to Cabot to do Christmas last Friday with his Mama. Then on Saturday we headed into the Fort to do Christmas with my family. We had so much fun taking the Fab Four to ride the train, making a gingerbread house with them and making sure they didn't kill each other or us before my sister got into town on Christmas Eve. We loved visiting Melissa's precious boys. Drew always loves showing Randall his boots. Being with my aunts, uncles, grandparents, Melissa, my sister's family and my super sweet Mama always makes Christmas special. I am so thankful for a loving family who accepts, loves and welcomes me home no matter what.
Now we are in Morton spending time with Rand's aunt and uncle. Rand is killing ducks and shooting at deer. We sometimes get really worn out traveling all over the world to do Christmas, but we are so grateful to have family who want us to come stay with them at his special time of year. Enjoy the slide show and Happy 61st Daddy-o!

Abby

Monday, December 24, 2007

MERRY CHRISTMAS FROM A & J

We are together! Abby and I are actually writing this as a joint effort.
We are spending time with our family, but before we did that, we went to run an errand. (We took Randall with us) We decided to go to Sonic, because Abby HAD to have a route 44 drink. We got there at 12:50, as you know happy hour starts at 2:00, I commented that happy hour started in just a little over an hour. So Randall decided that we should go kill some time at Walmart. So we did, we went to Walmart, spent some money, went to TJ Maxx, didn't spend any money and then sat at Sonic for 15 minutes! I couldn't believe we were this cheap!!
Next subject!
Abby and I have on matching jeans(same size even just different lengths!) and sort-of the same shirt, really the only way they are the same is that they both are Christmasy and our cousin Hollye (who is now 40!) gave them to us.
If you were here we would sing We wish you a Merry Christmas to you and probably throw in a little Jingle Bells and Away in the Manger for good measure. So consider yourself caroled to by us-the Santa Sistas!!!!!

Am I Old?

Well, it is official-I'm old!I've been thinking it for the last 7 years, but this year it has really hit home! If you'll remember I went skiing in March and was TERRIFIED! I was scared of heights and scared of breaking a body part. That was the first time I noticed I was not as young as I used to be. I couldn't even act young. Friday I went shopping with the youth group at church and had to make them stop 2 times just so I could go to the bathroom-OLD!!! Saturday we took the college and career class ice skating. I didn't fall, but man did my shins hurt, I couldn't even get going very fast, it was like I was TO OLD to ice skate-OLD!!!!. How can that be? The only stories I have to tell are about being married or having children-OLD!!!! One of the girls that went ice skating with us wasn't even born when I graduated, and she is in college!!!OLD!!!!

Julie

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Christmas Vacation...

starts in 1 hour!!! I love working for a school and getting all these nice perks. I really don't know what I shall do with my sassy self. Not waking up at 5:15 for 2 work weeks is going to be a vacation all in itself. Fun times are soon to be had. Merry Christmas to me!
Abby

Happy Birthday To My Friend Cindy

We have been friends since 1985. She knows my ins and outs, my shortcomings and even my longcomings(if that is a word). She can make me laugh, cry, feel sad and feel blue. I love her much more than my failure to send a card or gift would allow you to believe. I wish you all a Cindy in your life. We aren't the kind that is always talking, texting, or emailing. But we have a friendship that knows no bounds.
I love you girl!!! Happy Birthday!!!

Jules

Monday, December 17, 2007

That's My King...Do You Know Him?

Watch this amazing video describing our Lord and Savior.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=upGCMl_b0n4

The S Family Christmas



What a fun family Christmas we had over the weekend! We all gathered in north Mississippi on Friday night and exchanged gifts white eating a bit also. The kids were so excited to play with their fun cousin, Claire. The adults enjoyed being together after not being together in some time. Aunt Abby loved having her "babies" in her home for an overnight stay. I think they loved it too! Enjoy the slide show of Christmas with our Daddy and the rest of our S family.

Friday, December 14, 2007

Christmas Crazy

I love this time of year. Everyone is frantically searching for all those last minute gifts and taking care of end of the year business. It is like a bunch of ants marching all around guarding the queen. Love it! Ahhhh, it actually drives me batty. My mind is in a thousand places like everyone else. Fun times but crazy times.
Jules and my fab four are coming to my house this morning for S family Christmas.....YEA! We shall have 16 in our home tonight for a fun Christmas gathering. Can you believe I have not seen the sister or my babies since July? Wow, this is the longest we have gone without seeing each other. I have missed her sweet face. I hear her voice most everyday but seeing her is so much sweeter.
Well, I am off to decorate for the board Christmas party. It is tonight at some place in the ghetto of Memfrica. I am decorating and then heading home to see my sister. I love my job. My boss & Rand don't love the idea of me driving down to the ghetto alone. I am cool with it though. I told my boss that I will just turn up my bass and blend because...Santa don't come to the Ghetto!
I need more sleep...really, you think?!

Thursday, December 13, 2007

That Latest Anna Story Is This...

Update: Anna has decided not to parent Becca after all. She has given her up to another mom but will still be her daycare provider. Oh, Anna...what a little imagination.

Anna has a baby doll named Becca. She carries Becca around and loves on her and likes to change her clothes, and all that fun girly stuff. I've known for some time that Anna was just the babysitter and that Becca had a mother that worked, and sometimes shopped. Today, I asked where Becca's mom was and Anna said that Becca's mom had died today and that now she was Becca's mom. So sadness reigned in the house for a while. But Anna is taking good care of Becca, much like a mother would. Becca's mom would be proud.

Julie

Monday, December 10, 2007

First Corinthians 13 - Christmas Style

If I decorate my house perfectly with plaid bows, strands of twinkling lights and shiny balls, but do not show love to my family... I'm just another decorator.


If I slave away in the kitchen, baking dozens of Christmas cookies, preparing gourmet meals and arranging a beautifully adorned table at mealtime: but do not show love to my family... I'm just another cook.


If I work at a soup kitchen, carol in the nursing home and give all that I have to charity: but do not show love to my family...It profits me nothing.


If I trim the spruce with shimmering angels and crocheted snowflakes, attend a myriad of holiday parties and sing in the choir's cantata but do not focus on Christ...I have missed the point.

Love stops the cooking to hug the child.

Love sets aside decorating to kiss the spouse.


Love is kind, though harried and tired.


Love doesn't envy another's home that has coordinated Christmas china and table linens.


Love doesn't yell at the kids to get out of the way, but is thankful that they are there to be in the way.


Love doesn't give only to those who are able to give in return; but rejoices in giving to those who can't.


Video games will break, pearl necklaces will be lost, golf clubs will rust; but giving the gift of love will endure.


Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never fails.

Friday, December 7, 2007

Razorback Sleigh


We are so very proud of our Razorback Sleigh. One of the maintenance men at my school loves Arkansas as much as we do. He made this for us one weekend and surprised me with it at work the next week. He is a wonderful man with a huge heart. He wouldn't let us pay him so we bought him some Arkansas team wear as payment. Please pray for this nice man who has become a dear friend to me. His name is Wayne. Wayne made this for us while his wife is dying at home of many health complications. Hospice is now in the home with them and it is just a matter of time. Wayne keeps doing for others while he is having his world turned upside down. He also has a matching Razorback sleigh in his yard and is super excited about Christmas. That melts my heart, really. I love when God puts people like Wayne in my life. It causes me to count my blessings and focus on what really matters in life. Go Hogs and find us a coach!
Abby


Thursday, December 6, 2007

I Choose the Calendar Tradition

I so agree with Abby, I think that if I had to choose between the chocolate advent calendar and the Christmas tree as my favorite Christmas tradition at our house, I would choose the calendars. I love them, and knowing my kids do too makes it even more special. This year, Aunt Abby sent the kids pictures of Santa with numbers on it and cotton balls for the kids to glue on each day, so that by Dec 24, Santa will have a full cotton ball beard. They are loving this too! Samuel said Aunt Abby could find anything on the computer for the kids to play with!
I must brag- Samuel had a math test yesterday and made a 100 on it, a history quiz and made a 100 on it, a science quiz and made a 100 on it! I was so proud and he was too. After making a few B's in a row, he had decided that B's were just fine. But after making 3 100's in a row, he remembered how good it felt to make an A! Yea! for Samuel. (And we use Abeka curriculum so it wasn't as if I made up the tests, they were real school tests and hard ones at that!)Merry Christmas you guys, there are less than 20 days until Christmas and I have so many more presents to buy! AAAAHHHHHH!!!!!


Julie

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

The Advent Calendar



The chocolate advent calendar was one of our favorite Christmas traditions growing up. When we were little girls mama always had an advent calendar for us. They were hard to find for a number of years so there were many years we shared a calendar. Jules would open one day, I would open the next. I hated sharing because I wanted the candy! I remember one year Mama only found 1 calendar and it was trinket toys and not candy, it did not go over so well with us girls.
Mama, Jules, the Fab Four and I all have an advent calendar we open each year. Most of the time we find them on the clearance rack after Christmas and place them in the freezer until the next year. Sounds real yuumy, I know. It doesn’t taste too bad, actually. It is always fun to remember whose freezer is housing all seven calendars. A fun game of hide and seek, for sure! I love that the fab four looks forward to each morning in December so they can open another door and get their chocolate candy for that day. It is so neat to see simple little traditions passed down with the same level of excitement.
Anna seems to be a lot like her Aunt Abby when it comes to the calendar (as she is with most all areas of her little life, poor sissy!) – she wants to get all the candy out on the first day! She of course shuts the doors back and I guess hopes the candy man will refill the missing pieces. Well, he doesn’t. When she wakes up and says, “Find 5 mama, open 5!” to find no candy it becomes a tearful morning for my little mini-me. Julie yells (the same message she yelled at me for 15 years)”Well, you shouldn’t have eaten all the candy on the first day! I have no sympathy for you!” Anna’s brothers took after their mama and they eat their candy one day at a time. Good boys.
I love the advent calendar tradition because it brings back so many memories of jumping out of bed to open the door of the day, seeing what shape the candy would be that day, fighting over whose day it was to open the door with Jules and listening to mama say, “Girls, it is December 1st. Time to start the advent calendar!” You know, she called me on December 1st this year and recited that same message! What a fun family tradition that I hope lives on forever.
Abby

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Cake Crazy

This is the 8 inch round cake I made for my boss last month. It was a four layer carrot cake with cream cheese filling (his favorite). It was the best tasting cake I have made thus far. I can't wait to bake another!

This is the guitar cake I made for my cousin Claire's Hannah Montana party last weekend. It was a chocolate cake with hints of cinnamon. She got to see Hannah live in concert the night before her party!

This is the tractor cake I made for my Rand for his birthday, which was on Thanksgiving this year. It was his favorite, yellow cake with chocolate icing. It was also my first time to make a tractor cake so it was a little rusty.
The next cake will be made next week for my cousin Hollye. She will be 40 and has requested a strawberry cake with cream cheese filling. I have black icing, mean greetings and candles ready to go!
Abby

We Got Our Tree!

We picked it out at Lowes, it was so much fun! We looked at all of them, picked several of them out and then voted on the winner from those. Good thing we were the only ones looking at trees! We got it home and put it in the stand in the garage and left it to get settled so we could decorate it Saturday afternoon. Fast forward to today-Tuesday and the tree is still in the garage. I woke up Saturday morning sick. I slept all day, missed a Christmas party and then slept all night. Sunday I laid around all day and felt bad. We always decorate the tree as a family but Samuel had a Cub Scout Pack meeting last night night so I think this year I may be decorating the tree by myself or maybe just with Stephen's help. And I have already shared with you my skill in decorating. I wish I had the money to have it professionally decorated. I have great visions of a beautiful room with greenery, lights, poinsettias, and a beautiful tree with big ornaments and ribbon. But I will settle with what I have, which is just fine. It is nice, but not opulent, but neither am I -so as Anna would say, "we match!"

Julie

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

I Hate ADT!

I know it isn’t nice to hate but I HATE ADT!!!!! If you use them, I pitty you. If you don’t use them then you are so very blessed! My blood pressure goes high whenever I see an ADT van, sign or commercial. If I could do a commercial against them, I would and I would do it for free! I am ADT free as of 12/31/07 and I can’t celebrate it enough. The past three years have been miserable dealing with those sad souls. Thank you Lee from Monitronics for paying off our contract with ADT and giving us an upgraded system. So, don’t try to break my glass, pull my garage door up, assault me in my driveway or break in one of my doors because you will be had by my new fine system, my fine friends!


Now, I feel better.

Abby

Oh, What I Would Do For A Turkey Sandwich!

We went to Stephen's parents for Thanksgiving, so there are no leftovers at our house, and I so wish I had a couple of slices of warm turkey on a piece of soft white bread that has generous portions of mayo on it (sorry Ab, I know you want to gag!). I did get a sandwich before we left Ft. Smith, but oh how I wish I could have more. I know I could go buy a turkey and make my own "leftovers" but it just wouldn't be the same.
If you know me at all you know I love to shop! Friday morning Stephen and I left the kids with his parents and went shopping. We went to 5 different stores and bought-get this-2 gifts! And we bought them at the same store. Where has my shopping stamina gone? We went to Kohl's and the line to check out was at least an hour and a half long, we turned around and went out of the store after spending 10 minutes looking for a parking place. We had a good time, don't get me wrong, spending time with my dear hubby is one of my favorite things to do!
Over the weekend we did the other Thanksgiving trek I love. The movies!!! We saw Enchanted, Anna loved it, and I didn't mind it to bad. It was awfully girly, but McDreamy was in it, so that made it better. The next night we saw Mr. Magoriams (sp) Wonder Emporium. That was a good movie and it was even rated G, what more could a parent ask for.
Well, now I need to go decorate the house. I'm not looking forward to it, because I'm not very good at it, but I'm going to do it anyway!Merry Christmas season to ya'll!

Julie

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Not to be Out Done by my Little Sis...

I AM THANKFUL FOR:

My fun, loyal, constant, God-fearing husband

My 3 precious beautiful boys, and my one precious beautiful daughter

My church and all the wonderful relationships I have with the people at FBC

My beautiful home

My friends, both new and old, who still want to read about what is going on in my life, and love me still

My family- the people who call, send notes, and love me no matter what I do

Coca-Cola, restaurants, television, late-night snacks after the kids have gone to bed

Julie

Monday, November 19, 2007

I Am Thankful For...

(in random order)

Less Migraines this year and medicine that does not make me feel bad all the time

My cute, hard working, responsible provider and funny husband who makes my little world complete


The family who loves to hug and loves me for all my quirks, my humor and my sensitive heart

That the old guy on the brand new Harley who rear-ended me & totaled my car in the spring did not get hurt or die.

Free hair care from my mother-in-law beautician


A mama who calls daily just to hear my voice

A job that does not feel like a job but rather a meeting amongst friends where I can use all my God given skills.

For loving neighbors who love me like family


My fab four (Samuel, David, Daniel and Anna K.) for all the warm fuzzy feelings they give me.

That I can now successfully decorate birthday cakes like a real baker for all my favorite people


A safe and comfortable place to call home

Mrs. Carolyn for bringing true belly laughter and tears of joy to my life while giving me a glimpse at myself in forty years

Learning to react with my heart instead of my emotions


Receiving 5 invitations for Thanksgiving dinner …I feel loved , torn and wish I could wiggle my nose and be at all 5 homes but I will have to settle for 1.



Happy Thanksgiving and I hope you can stop and reflect on all those things
that make you thankful this year.

Abby

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Boys, Boys, Boys

Well, it happened. As a mom of 3 boys I have been waiting for this, waiting and dreading. Saturday afternoon while Stephen was killing his first deer, Samuel got hit in the eye with (get this) a 13 year old fist! All the boys in the neighborhood were playing in our backyard and the playing turned to pushing and the pushing turned to hitting. All the kids said Samuel didn't do anything. We talked to the boy's parents and they were very apologetic. The boy had been suspended from school the day before for the same thing. I hated it for Samuel, he has such a tender heart and I think it really bothered him that someone would hit him, especially in his own backyard, but it did make him feel good to see how his friends stood up for him. Samuel's eye swelled and turned blue just about immediately. It looks like he has eyeshadow on it, but it doesn't hurt anymore-so all is well.

PS. Today as we were driving home from Pine Bluff we passed a pasture of cows that were all lying down. Samuel said "look mom, the cows are having Bible Study". How sweet is that?!

Julie

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Bling & Bows

How is that Christmas shopping coming along? Let me help you with two fabulous suggestions.

www.fawnscrown.com - Ashley, one of my bestest buds from college (we also share the same birthday!) has started her own jewelry business. It is amazing handcrafted jewelry and all made from wood and paper. Every time I wear the pieces she has made for me, I am flooded with compliments. If you are looking for unique jewelry for someone or yourself, this site is for you!

www.busybsbowtique.com - our cousin Sarah is making adorable bows through her new bow business. If you have a special little princess in your life who needs a fun, pretty bow for her little head, this is your site!

I hope this helps you with shopping ideas and boosts the business for some off my favorite girls.
(We also might get free products if you buy bling & bows. We love some bling and Anna always needs a bow!)

Abby

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

The Big Sister's Random Facts

One of the blogs I read posted random facts about herself, I shall do the same!!!
I only drink coke out of a plastic glass
If I'm in a restaurant that only has real glasses, I ask for a to-go cup.
I still tease my hair, and acknowledge that I am the only one under 58 that still does.(My mom does)
My eyes water when I am tired (I didn't notice until my friend Cindy told me).
I would rather eat out than at my home(which doesn't say anything bad about my cooking!!!!!).
My feet have grown 1/2 a size since having children.
I like to sleep late and my children don't. But that doesn't stop me from doing it!
I cannot potty train a child!!!!! But I can get them to sleep through the night!
I'm learning more about fractions now then I did when I was in school.

Hey girls check out this website. It has your local grocery ads and good coupons! You know us girls-SAVE,SAVE,SAVE!!!!!

Julie

Halloween Fun

Samuel was a clown, Anna was a Star City cheerleader, Daniel was a hobo and David was a sufer dude!


Thursday, November 8, 2007

Going to God's Country


It’s rare that I decide to take the long trek home on a whim, but I am tired and loopy these days. Rand and the other guys are working all weekend out of town trying to get all their cotton to the gin before it closes for the year. He said the gin is now staying open just for them. Crunch time, for sure. Anyway, Jules has been in the Fort since Sunday for the state convention and is on her way back to her place with her crew today. Mama is just green with gitty that she can see both of us in the same week at her place. Aunt J emailed some pictures this morning from our cousin’s engagement party and I didn’t even recognize Mama in the picture. So sad, really. I guess I do need to get home and reintroduce myself! Well, I am jetting out of Memfrica after lunch tomorrow and will be anxious to see Mama, Aunt J, Licca Lou and the boys. Much work to be done until then. Pray that the tractor trailers don’t honk at me all the way down 40….I hate that more than anything. They see big hair and young legs and stick to my Maxima like glue. Oh, fun times ahead!

Abby

Saturday, November 3, 2007

What Happened to Tom?

Santa Claus is making his first appearance at the Wolfchase Mall this weekend in Memphis. Seriously, what happened to Tom the Turkey? Did he die and no one told us? I love Christmas, but I miss Thanksgiving. We rush to get Christmas started and it stresses people out, causes some people to spend more and it has caused Tom to disappear. I think if I had a baby, I would take it to see Santa this weekend in a turkey costume!
I know I am guilty of rushing it but I don't want society to make me rush it. Last year I made clay ornaments in August while playing a Point of Grace Christmas CD, but I did it in the privacy of my own home and subjected no one to it other than my mom and sister when I called them with my ornament updates. I did it because I wanted to and it brought me joy. Last weekend I wrapped the 20 presents I have bought so far because I was dying to use my large supply of new wrapping products from the big after Christmas sales this past January. I put them away in a closet after I wrapped them. I like celebrating because I want to and not because I feel panicked to do so.
I hate hearing the countdown to Christmas every morning on the radio. My heart speeds up and I get a bit sweaty thinking of all there is to do. Surely Jesus also gets a little upset about this new rush on Christmas because the focus is truly not on Him but rather the almighty dollar.
I remember not even thinking about Christmas presents, parties or decorations until the first of December. Growing up we never put our tree up until the second week of December and we always got our pick of the prettiest at the tree lot. That was only ten years ago! Last year Rand and I put the lights on our house the weekend before Thanksgiving (we didn't turn them on until after T-Day!). We have fallen into the trap but we try to balance it as best we can with all that we have on our plates this time of year. Harvest, duck season, living away from three of our four families, my annual cookie/ornament swap, and my annual baking all have a special place in that Thanksgiving to Christmas window. We pray for a right focus and I think we make it work. So, we may be just as guilty as the mall, but we miss Tom and try our best to give him the respect he deserves.

Abby

Friday, November 2, 2007

What A Week

We have done 5 full and tiring days of school. And had 4 nights of activities. Oh to rest!!! Samuel is learning to estimate in division and it is harder for him than I thought it would be. But I think he is beginning to pick it up. David and Daniel are doing really good in school. All three boys made 100's on their spelling tests today. Samuel had rebellious, accuracy, regrettable, and obedience.(those words also pretty well describe the kind of week we had!) Along with 24 other words. Next weeks words are even hard for me, I'm going to have to study over the weekend. And not just on spelling, but the metric system! I don't remember much about it, so this weekend my face will be in a math book. I don't have to do much studying for 1st grade, I have it down!!!
Anna is still rebelling in the potty-training department. We've done everything I know to do, and everything anyone has suggested(except sending her to daycare). Today-it is 3:00 when I am typing this-she has not had an accident yet. Which is good, considering by this time yesterday she had been through 4 pairs of panties and still had 7 hours before she made it to bed. No, we don't normally stay out that late, but it was the last football game of the season and it was out of town. Wednesday, of course was Halloween. The kids were so cute. Sam was a clown, Dave was a surfer dude, Daniel was a hobo, and Anna was a cheerleader. I'll have pictures soon.

Julie

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

A Pumpkin Story


We got this email this morning from our cousin Sarah (or "Sa-Sa" as we affectionately call her). Her little Princess Gracie is full of personality and so cute. Enjoy and Happy Halloween!


Note to reader: Words in all caps indicate shouting and italics indicate quiet drama.

A Pumpkin Halloween Story

Once upon a time, long, long ago there was a little bitty pumpkin who was all alone in the forest and couldn't find any of his friends. Then, out of nowhere, POPPED out a WICKED, WICKED WITCH and she GRABBED that little bitty pumkin up and she took him home to her house in the forest. When she got home she TIED that little pumkin to a stick and she COOKED HIM and GOBBLED him up. Well, that little bitty pumkin was soooo sad to be in that witch's yucky tummy so he waited and waited till the wicked witch fell asleep. And when she was sound asleep that little bitty pumkin climbed OUT of that witches mouth and rolled out of her wicked house and lived happily ever after. THE END!

Recited by Princess Gracie Beth, The Prettiest
October 31st, 2007 (in the car on the way to school)

Note from Princess Gracie Beth's mama: Please forgive the grainy photo; it was taken with my phone on our way out the door this morning. :)

Friday, October 26, 2007

You're Welcome

We sisters go from not posting real often to posting all at one time. I love the lack of consistency, really. I think it is a reflection of life. It comes and goes in waves.

I am learning a lot about people through my line of work and especially at my new job. One thing I am learning real quick, is that everyone needs to see a smile. Smiling comes easy for me but some days I would rather not force it if I don't have to. But I am learning to force it anyway.
It is a reflection of our attitude.
Our attitude is all we have control over. Sometimes that is a tough thing to hear, but it is the truth. We can't control the wind, waves or the storms but we can control how we act when they come upon us. My boss used a great analogy with me when referring to one of our co-workers who has not yet learned this attitude lesson. Here is the analogy (From the Covey book, for those of you who are fans):
Relationships are like a bank. We make deposits so we can make a withdrawal when we need to. So, we smile when we have a horrid headache, we laugh at a joke that really isn't funny, we tell them their hair looks nice when we know they had it done(and it still looks the same as it did yesterday), we say "good morning" as we pass people in the parking lot knowing they won't speak back, we compliment their work when it is needed, etc. So, then when we need to really vent or let our hair down, they will listen and understand without finding fault with us. The goal is to make more deposits than withdrawals so we don't go in the red. Being in the red is not a good thing. Everyone suffers when we go into the red.
Difficult people will make more withdrawls than deposits and stay in the red but the goal, as with banking, is to not do that. We don't want to be "taxing" to be around because then no body will be around us when we really need them and want them around.
So, I am working on making more deposits and smiling more with those who are most difficult to get along with. I am also praying that God will give me a sarcastic spirit. I was praying for a sweet spirit but decided I didn't want to be sweet. ha!
I have been practicing this attitude thing more and more lately with people whom I never invested that energy. God is showing himself through those still, forced smiles. Today I was at Wal-mart picking up some organizational stuff to clean out cabinets/closets this weekend at the house. (Fun times....please come and help if you wish). I had emptied my cart into my trunk in the rain and hated walking all the way to the cart bin and almost shoved it in front of my car. I stopped and looked next to me hoping no one was around and I saw a mama getting her 2 kids out of her car. Both were under the age of 3. Her back was to me and I said "Do you need this cart for your babies?" I said it 2 times and still no answer. I was beginning to leave the deposit line. Her little girl finally tapped her on the leg and the lady turned around. She pointed to her ears and signed that she was deaf. I almost cried. I smiled instead and motioned for her to take the cart. She then looked me in the eye with a smile and signed 'Thank You" I got in my car and thought of my Granny (If you didn't know her...I am truly sorry for you. She was incredible and signed for the deaf community in Fort Smith). I loved that God was proving this atittude lesson with me in such a humble way. I hated I didn't know how to sign "You're Welcome." I wish Melissa had been with me to help me sign my reply. I love you Licca! :) I say all this to stress that our attitude is all people remember and take with them after spending time with us. What does your bank account look like and what message are you leaving behind with those you encounter?
Abby

Thursday, October 25, 2007

The Mama Battleground

I read blogs of moms with young kids and hear about their wonderful loving moments together. I even reread mine and remember all the memory-making times we've had together, all the laughs, trips and great stories. But can I just tell you that all of my memory making times aren't always memories I want to have. For instance, in January, I stopped buying diapers for Anna- now 9 1/2 months later she is STILL not potty trained. All of her friends are and most started after I started with Anna. It is the most frustrating experience of my lifetime. I've tried everything I have ever heard of except putting her in day care. I also have one child that is a thumb-sucker. That is such a fight! The poor thing gets in trouble everyday for it. It boggles my mind. I just wanted to let those of you that struggle with being a mom somedays to know that I struggle too. At times I feel beat up and beaten down. I have to remember that Jesus knows all that is going on in my life and has put his stamp of approval on it. (for some reason!)

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

My Miracle Baby




Because of my limited computer time and Abby's fall break at the beach (how do those two things go together?) I was unable to post on Samuel's birthday. He turned ten, yes 10!!! Thursday the 11th.
Ten years ago the dream of my lifetime was realized. I became a mom. I always dreamed of becoming a mother but that dream and the reality of the dream were two completely different things. I remember at a baby shower someone asking me what kind of bottles I was going to use. I looked at my mom and said "there are different kinds?" I was clueless. But boy did I ever jump right into it!
I had him 10 days early because of my blood pressure (and because of that Stephen still calls me hyper-tensive, when I get a little stressed!), so we were caught quite unprepared. No clothes had been washed, no bottles (I finally picked out a kind) had been washed. Nothing had been done, but putting the bed up. We drove from Leachville to Jonesboro and I remember all of that 30 minute drive. I tried to suck it all in, all the feelings of it being just Stephen and me. Just the two of us for the very last time-EVER!
We got to the hospital, Mom and Dad showed up, the Stephen's parents came, Mawmaw called from Texas(and then came to Jonesboro before I left the hospital to see her first great grandchild-what a pair of loving great grandparents my kids have (and Sarah's too!)), and after everyone left we named him-Samuel.
Saturday morning dawned early and rainy. The Oklahoma vs Texas game was on when Samuel was born- he was destined to be a sports nut I guess! As soon as he was delivered the Doc said "we call these miracle babies" and he showed me his cord, it had a big knot in it. Most babies don't survive that, so Samuel is my miracle baby.
I remember seeing his scrunched up face, and his beautiful red lips, and knowing that I had indeed fallen in love again, this time with someone that weighed less than a sack of potatoes. The next morning, Stephen was gone. It was just Samuel and I in the room, we were watching Bellevue Baptist Church on TV with my second favorite preacher-Adrian Rogers- preaching and I looked at Samuel's hands, feet, nose, and ears. I cried tears of joy and awe all over him. It was a beautiful moment. At times when Samuel is feeling a bit stressed about being the oldest brother, a 4th grader or whatever else stresses him out, I remind him of that day. It seems to mellow him out and me too.
Samuel is a loving, good-looking 10year old. He became a Christian at the age of 6 and has always been one to excel. He has played on 2 all-star baseball teams, and has won many trophies and awards for his ability to play baseball. He has also been rewarded at school, both public, and at home for his good grades. He has played Jesus, Joseph and this year is playing the lead in the Christmas play at church. He is a great kid, I pray that God uses him in a great and mighty way.
I love you kiddo!!!
Julie

Let Yourself...

This is from a Dress Barn ad I saw in a magazine and I love it. I don't just love Dress Barn so much, but I loved this ad and felt as though I needed to share:

Let yourself glitter from the inside out.
Let yourself celebrate the possibilities.
Let yourself glow in your radiance.
Let yourself feel the joy.
Let yourself jingle all the way.
Let yourself shine.

We changed the page layout because everyone and their mama had our page. Since I want to glitter and glow, I decided we best change it up a bit.
Abby

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Cancun Memories



What a wonderful beach vacation! Rand took me to Cancun for my fall break. We had the best time sunning on the beach with large topless British ladies all around us, bartering with the Mexicans at the market, walking 3 miles from town in our flip-flops so we wouldn’t have to get back on the dreaded city bus, eating the best French fries ever made while sitting on the beach in the afternoons, drinking 3 of the best fruity drinks ever concocted, Losing our beach pouch in the ocean with our safety box key in it and then finding it six hours later,our waiter at Senor Frogs making Rand wear a butterfly balloon get-up while he ate, Rand dressed for pictures on the beach while looking like a RIU maintenance man and someone waving him down for help, Having a Julia Roberts/Pretty Woman moment at the restaurant our first night while entering in my bathing suit cover-up, walking on the beach at night and listening to the waves, sitting on our balcony admiring the blue waters and the beautiful palm trees, and sitting in Houston for 10 hours trying to get home due to rain delays while Rand was getting food poisoning and not aware of it until we got home in the wee hours of the morning. What an unforgettable trip and yes, I am brown as a berry for those of you who keep asking. Don’t be jealous…it will fade away soon enough.
And, don’t you hate coming home from a vacation more exhausted then when you left?

Abby

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

Wednesday, October 3, 2007

"Good Morning To You, Good Morning To You....

Were all in our places with bright shining faces. Good Morning to you! Good Morning to You"
I rolled over this morning, looked at my alarm clock and thought I saw 5:46 glaring back at me. I normally rise, shine and give God the glory at 5:30 and Rand repeats the process at 6:00. I ran into the bathroom to partake in a speedy morning ritual of dental care, hair care, facial color, putting on my clothing and accessorizing myself. I then opened the bathroom door and thought, “Why is Rand still lying there with no sign of life?” I looked at the clock and it was 12:14! I woke him up and said “Did the power go off?” He was not yet giving God the glory and said “No! What is your deal?” I said, "Dude, I am SO dressed for work and it is only 12:14?!” He laughed at me as much as he could, being half asleep. I then went through my evening ritual to get ready for bed again, minus the shower. I am in awe at myself. It was so weird. I felt a bit insane for about a half hour until I fell off into a deep sleep. After all that, I did not wake up until 6:09. It is on mornings like these that I am so glad my Mama is not waking me up to "Good Morning to you..." while opening my blinds and then splashing water in my face. I miss a lot about childhood, but that ain't one of them...I can assure you. Wow, what an insane morning at my house.

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

Teenage Friendship

I was reminded at church Sunday morning of how difficult friendships are. Laura Ann is a beautiful high school senior, captain of her cheerleading squad, a Christian leader at school and at church and she is being treated badly by a handful of her "friends". These girls have been friends for years, but as what usually happens in high school, popularity becomes more important than moral and right behavior. My friend is being mistreated because she doesn't party or hang out with the people who do. She is being gossiped about and honors are being withheld that she deserves. My heart breaks for her. Instead of naming names, gripping, and whining, she asked me to pray for her. I usually pray for her each morning, but I will start praying for her more fervently. If you feel called to, pray for her also. I'm sure we "older girls" can remember high school and the ugly things we said about each other and did to each other. We know that it happens to everybody, but Laura Ann is experiencing it now.

Julie

Monday, October 1, 2007

Lone Star Recap

Rand and I had a wonderful visit to the Lone Star state over the weekend. Visiting my grandparents in their home makes my soul smile. We always love going and being with them for three or four days. My Mawmaw cooks our favorite foods and tells us how "perfect" we are the whole time we are there. She is a bit bias I know but who can't love that kind of royal treatment? Last night I laid in my bed and thanked God for my family. Our special bond is so unique and it defines who I am and I like it.
Here is my Mama's birthday cake. Mawmaw and I made it together in her kitchen. After many runny roses, I made a few that were presentable. It was a fun experience for sure. They all thought my "Specialty A Country Rose Garden" looked like the cake on Paula's magazine cover and of course my Mawmaw thought mine looked better than Paula's (I wish I could carry Mawmaw in my pocket!). So, we took a picture and sent it to Paula. We are hoping to receive tickets to Paula's Party so I can demonstrate my cake making abilities. Yes, you laugh...I do to. We still have hope though.
We had fun shopping for shoes, shopping for Cancun and shopping at the pottery store. Poor Rand went with us girls but he was a trooper. He picked up a pink purse and acted as though we was going to carry it when a lady in the store told him it matched his shirt! He is too cute, all man and he is mine. I like that.
Thanks to good family, good food, good times and unconditional love. Oh, and if I get a call from Paula, I will let you know.

Abby

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

A Frosty Night


I am thinking about this theme for our gala in February. As you may know, I love anything that has to do with snow and this event falls right into our coldest season. This is the main focus of my job. It a huge dinner with entertainment along with a live and silent auction. The goal of this gala is to raise $100,000 for our school’s annual fund. I am so glad God gave me this work to do. It makes my heart so happy and it is my warm cup of tea.
I present this plan to my Advancement Team next week. They know nothing of these plans as of yet. I went over some of my thoughts with my friend and our Communications Director today at lunch. Her eyes lit up as she listened to the details and it made me feel like I was going in the right direction. I am so glad I have her to bounce creative ideas off of before I go public with things.
I am thinking of having a winter wonderland, alpine theme, snowy mountain type atmosphere. Large glittery snowflakes hanging from the ceiling, winters tablescapes (my Sandra Lee lingo for you Food Network junkies) with snowball mums, a large sleigh for photos, all kinds of winter props, white pre-lit trees, and some Nordic themed ice sculptures.
For food I am thinking of stations. A Nordic Beverage Station (hot cocoa, coffee, marshmallows and flavorings), Swiss Alps (appetizers with cheese fondues and dipping treats), Café Alpine (main food line), Mountain of Chocolate (Desserts like bread pudding, coconut cake or hot fudge sundaes along with fountains of white and dark chocolate along with tasty dipping treats).
Entertainment/music/band ideas? This is where I would love any suggestions.
Please give me any hints or ideas before next Wednesday. This is really going to be a huge event and having my plan nailed down soon is crucial. I would seriously love for you to tell me if I am missing anything for my Frosty Night?

Abby

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

The Christmas Basket

just finished The Christmas Basket by Debbie McComber. Yes, reading a book based at Christmas time was a little odd, but it got me in the Christmas spirit. I can't wait!! I'm going to buy a new Nativity Scene this year. Mine is about 6 years old and one of the wisemen has been beheaded, one has had his gift taken from him, permanently, and the sheep has seen better days. I think it is time to replace it!I'm already excited about the Christmas crafts fairs, decorating the house, and listening to Christmas carols. 3 more moths!!! I'm so excited!!!
Julie

Real Life

My vacation is over!!
We hit "real life" pretty hard Monday morning. We had a good day at school and then we headed out to Walmart.I go there every Monday for our weekly shopping trip. I have tried shopping 2 weeks at a time but I found that planning 20 meals at a time ( we usually eat out on Friday night) is all I can do or want to do. We were all on our best behavior and the shopping trip was quick and painless ( if only they were all that way).
I called Stephen right as we were leaving to ask him about the shells (bullets for those that don't have hunting in their home) he wanted me to pick up. Laughing, he said "The staff wants to know if you are bringing the kids to Kingdom Kids." I looked at my watch and it was 3:30, (Kingdom Kids is a program we have for K-6 kids at the church. The church bus picks them up at school and brings them to church and it gets over at 5:00)I told him we would be there as quick as we could-so we drove quickly the 30 something miles to the church. Hopefully next week I will remember Kingdom Kids and get them there on time!
Tuesday was a busy day too. It was the last day to drop off clothes for Duck Duck Goose. So after school we headed to Little Rock. After a couple of errands there we stopped and ate Mexican food and then went home to settle down.
Wednesday was a stay at home day. Finally!!!Samuel needed a haircut so I had Stephen take him to the barber shop and I picked him up a little later. Oh, how time changes things. I can remember Samuel's first haircut. We took him to a place that specialized in children and we videotaped it. Nine years later we drop him off and pick him up later. The joys of having a 9 year old (very soon to be 10)!!!!

PS - I just wrote about how busy I am. I didn't mention how busy Stephen is. That just since Sunday he has had 8 meetings outside of regular working hours. My point is this, your pastor is a very busy man, often away from his family. Please show your appreciation to him, his wife and his children. A thank you or a hug is always appreciated!

Julie

Monday, September 24, 2007

A Walk In The Park - Updated

Update on my earlier post:
I made the decision to delete the post about the walk in the park. I know how widespread this blog network is and I would hate to step on anyone's toes or cause anymore heartache for those poor people involved in this moral dilema. My Mama gave me some good advice today - "We can't dictate the morals of other people." She is so very right. Rand and I are are so glad this is not our drama anymore. Like I tell my friends and co-workers, "Save yo drama fo yo Mama!"

Rand and I head out for East Texas this Thursday to love on my Mawmaw & UD and my Mama. We are celebrating birthdays this weekend. I am making my Mama one of my Signature A Cakes (This is what I am going to call my cakes for now until I come up with something more clever). I will share pics next week when we return!

Abby

Friday, September 14, 2007

The Birthday Recap

Thanks for the wonderful Birthday wishes! I had a fabulous birthday. My birthday is a major holiday to me and those closest to me know they have to recognize it as such. I think my Mama & Daddy raised us to think it was the most special day of the year so I am 29 and still think it is just as special as I did growing up. It is fun times for sure!
Rand is always so sweet on my birthday. He was not raised in the same “birthday bubble” as me and has had to make himself more birthday minded in the past five years in order to keep the peace on the 13th of September. God love that man! He literally woke up yesterday singing Happy Birthday, took me to lunch, gave me a new camera, cooked me dinner, did the dishes, and got me the cutest/funniest card! I was born right around 9:00 at night and so last night he screamed, “Happy Birthday” when the clock rolled around to that hour. That’s my Rand!
I got lots of good loot from my family & closest friends and love everything I received. Gift giving and receiving is my love language, so I really soar high on my birthday. I love that people you least expect to remember your birthday actually do remember and acknowledge it by email or a phone call and sometimes a gift! That always surprises me, really. So, thanks!
I must say the most memorable moment of my birthday was when I stepped on the scale at WW last night and it was down 3 pounds from last week. Not having a birthday cake in the house was so very worth it! I did have fat free lemon pie though, yummy!
Speaking of cake, I am posting a picture of a guitar cake I made for a friend’s husband. His name is JD and he plays the guitar. It was a time consuming effort but I think it turned out real nice. His birthday is today. Can you believe Melissa thought I was lying about making this cake when I emailed her the picture?! How dare that girl doubt my cake skills! Ha!

Abby

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Happy Birthday To My Sister



Happy Birthday to my sister tomorrow!
29 years ago I went to my 3rd grade class and waited rather impatiently for my Dad to call and tell me that I had a sister. My classroom was next door to the office, and every time I heard the phone ring, I got so excited! But it was never Dad. A friend of our family picked me up from school and took me to her house to stay until Mom had the baby. We ate supper and still no phone call from Dad, I took a bath and got ready for bed and still no phone call from Dad. Finally, after hearing on the news that there was a killer on the loose in town, and being terribly frightened that out of all the houses in Ft Smith, he would somehow pick out the one I was in and I would never see my baby sister, my Dad called. I had a baby sister named Abby Jo. I was so excited!

I would love to say that I was always excited to have a sister named Abby Jo, but there were quite a few years that neither of us were excited to be related. We fought and fought, but we loved also. We were each others defenders, and sad to say, offenders.
Abby was with me when my very first date picked me up on Halloween night. She was dressed up as Cyndi Lauper/Tina Turner. Her hair was 3 different colors and her clothes were quite something to behold. I was so embarrased, but she loved it. I took her on many dates after that. (not with the first date guy, he didn't ask me out after that- I kinda blame it on Abby!HA!HA!)

I heard a song on the radio yesterday that reminded me of her. It was "You are the sun, you are the rain" by Lionel Richie. I could just see her singing it loudly and dancing around our shared bedroom. What a wonderful Abby. We have so many stories about growing up, we could probably write a blog a day telling stories about each other.

Abby is a wonderful, mouthy, thoughtful, bossy, compassionate, neat-freak, loving, talkative, kind, curly-headed, energetic, thoughtful, friendly, daughter, sister, wife, aunt, and friend. She is loved by everyone she meets. It is an honor that God put her in my family. I am proud to call her sister, and even prouder to call her friend. I love you Abby Jo!!
Happy Birthday!
Next year you are 30!!!!!


Julie

Cool Air, Sealing The Lips and "Dirt" Dreams

Fall has arrived and I love it! I bought 2 cute swing type tops at Old Navy last month for fall and I can finally wear one today. There is something about a changing season that gives one an extra burst of energy & joy!

I get all these daily newsletters in my inbox and some I dismiss and some I actually read. This article is one that I read this morning and it made me really examine myself. I thought I would share it with you. We could all use a little lip therapy.

A month from today I will be in Mexico on the beach with my Rand. I am counting down the days until we get on that jet plane! I am past due for a much needed vacation and am looking forward to the "dirt".

"Dirt" you ask? Well, Jules is at the beach right now. Lucky dog. Yet, Anna is having some difficulty with the beach. Upon arrival she let them all know that she was, "not getting on that dirt!" and as of yesterday she was still refusing to step foot on that "dirt". She is referring to the beach as the "dirt" in her conversations. I love it. That is my sweet & stubborn baby girl!

So, I am sitting at my desk thinking of warm fall scents, enjoying my new shirt, vowing to keep my lips sealed today, dreaming of my vacation and laughing at the thought of our little sis refusing to get on the "dirt". It is going to be a good day!

Abby

Wednesday, September 5, 2007

Who Do I Fear?

In Sunday School Sunday the teacher asks this question. Am I more afraid of what God thinks about what I'm doing or what other people think? And I started thinking about it. Who do I fear-not a fright fear but a reverence, awe fear? Do I so fear people and what the will think and say that I am more concerned about what car I drive than spending time with God in prayer and in His word (that’s what should drive me)? Am I more concerned about what people think about how I raise my children, what clothes they wear and what activities they are involved in than I am about what God thinks about raising the children that He gave me?
We have made tough decisions this summer and hopefully they were God honoring ones. We chose once again to not play baseball on Sundays and we have chosen to homeschool the kids. These decisions have been met with talk, criticism, praise and some disapproving glances. And let me admit to you I have faltered, because what people think is important to me, but today’s question made me really think. Do I want to be a people pleaser or a God pleaser? I pray that I am a God pleaser in thought and action. What about you?
Julie

Tuesday, September 4, 2007

Why The Headache?

Update:
I got 3 big ole shots in my hip yesterday and the doctor put me back on my daily meds. A little sad but looking forward to it making my head stop hurting. Pray I can come off my meds sometime soon. I truly hate taking them, yet I truly despise the headaches. I still have a headache today but it is not as intense. Ready for the meds to start working again.

I was doing somersaults last week because I was migraine med free for two weeks with no headache. The celebration has come to a stop. Thursday afternoon I got the headache of all headaches. I had a visit from Ralph and Earl several times and slept most of my Labor Day weekend, hoping to ward it away. No such luck. I am getting a shot from the headache doctor this afternoon to hopefully knock it out and knock me out for the rest of the day. Please pray I don’t have to go back on my daily meds and this is just a rare occurrence from a little caffeine intake last week. Many of you know what a thorn in my side this onset of migraines has been for me the past year and a half. Please pray I can continue my somersaults after this shot today and not have to go back on those pesky prevention pills.
By the way, I must not forget to thank my husband and my neighbors for being such wonderful caretakers. My sweet neighbor had hip surgery last week but made me veggie soup and had her hubby walk it over to me because my head hurt. Too much! Rand is the best comforter, housekeeper and cook a girl could ask for. I wouldn’t trade him for the world.

Abby

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

True Laughter


We were laughing outloud in this picture - how fun!

Last weekend I went to visit my dear friend, Lindsey and see her new home. We had the best time catching up. We had not seen each other in well over two years...sad times! Melissa came on Saturday with baby Grant to shop and eat lunch with us. I laughed all day long. I love that type of laughter and honestly, there are only a few people in my life who can produce that type of real laughter. Best buds, for sure. I also love that Melissa knows my many smiles and facial expressions and what each one REALLY means. I don't see her enough, so it was so nice to have a few hours this past weekend for her to laugh at me and with me. It is such a special gift from God, really. Poor girl! Anyway, fun times for sure and I am looking forward to Lindsey coming to my home in the fall. I sure wish Melissa would come sometime but her hubby says I live too far away (Her three year old son, Drew also tells me that during phone conversations). We need to work on those boys!
My point: Cherish and nurture the REAL friendships in your life. They are precious!

Monday, August 27, 2007

I Love the Light in Their Eyes

Well, let me just say that I can't compete with Abby Jo's bird blog. She is a gifted writer and evidently (whether she likes it or not) a bird lover!
School has started! It is going really good. I know we are missing out on a lot of "real" school memories, like cubbies, backpacks, standing in line, hall passes, cafeteria food, etc... but we are making good memories at home.
We start the day off slow. I love to sleep late, so because of that we aren't rushed in the mornings. We pray before school, and when we don't we can really see a difference in how the day goes. Right now I am teaching language, math,spelling,reading, and phonics. I will start Bible, science, and social studies after our vacation! We have a schedule that works really good for us. Samuel studies his spelling words, and does his journal entry while I teach Daniel and David phonics, and math. At times I feel like my wings are wet and I can't fly(back to Abby's blog) but then I see the light go on in their eyes and I get so excited!!
Friday Samuel was learning double digit multiplication and oh how we were struggling! We did problem after problem. Stephen came in at one point and offered to take over the teaching. But I was not going to let that happen! I wanted the light that was going to come on in Samuel's eyes to be one that I helped put there. Selfish isn't it!!!
If we are on your personal prayer list please keep us there. Some days are much tougher than others.I still feel that some people may have their feelings hurt that we are homeschooling the kids this year. And as a people pleaser that isn't easy for me to deal with.
When Samuel finishes his current journal entry I will post it, I think it will be a real hoot. We were studying homonyms his story is about Hairy Harry. I can't wait to share it with you!!

Friday, August 24, 2007

My Wings

I made a list this morning of all the things that make my wings soar. I think I am in a process of development right now; emotionally and mentally. I love always learning, growing and feeling excitement about life. I am so glad the Lord keeps watch on my wings.

Joy in the hearts of people - you can see it in their eyes and hear it in their voices. I can’t spend much time these days with those who don’t have THE joy. It makes my wings tired and I stop and perch. I don’t want to perch with those that bring me down.

Distance -I love closeness with my dearest and greatest peeps but being smothered makes my wings limp! I like having a little room to do my own things and fly in my own migration pattern.

Healthy food – I love putting things into my body that strengthen my bones, taste good and will give me a healthier physique. It gives my wings energy to take flight.

Music
– I love a wide variety of music. The variety helps stimulate different thoughts and creative juices. My wings need to have a mixed beat.

Simplicity – Complicated tasks, people and situations make my wings go off course and not soar as pretty. Flying is a beautiful and simple task; shouldn’t life be the same?

Green – I love the color green. It energizes me and makes me want to soar. Nothing like a nice flight over a beautiful rolling field, huh?

Stewardship – Being a good steward of my time, talents and treasures makes soaring so much more meaningful.

So, this is my list and my blog. Think I am strange? Honestly, I don’t care. I love being Abby Jo and being unique. Also, I am not a big fan of birds so I have no idea where the wing analogy came from. Random, but it works! Thank you Lord, for giving me freedom of expression.

Monday, August 20, 2007

Elvis is Dead



Well, I ran the Elvis Presley International 25th Anniversary 5K (the 30th anniversary of his death, but you knew that already didn't you?). Sounds like a big deal, doesn't it?! Well, it was a hot deal, I will tell you that much. My friend John and old Nike marathon coach asked me to run this race with him back in June while dining at my house. I took him up on the challenge and met him at Graceland this past Saturday. Daddy and Randall of course stood on the side waiting for us to finish. Rocky the Redbird (The Fab Four's favortie mascot) was on the scene and did a fine job at harassing Daddy. It was priceless, really. The Ewing brothers (Dad's old high school buds) ran it (as they do every year) and I beat them in!! I was so proud. John & I also beat in the Navy. They were marching/running in a group behind us. We felt like big stuff, for sure. It was a hilly course and a very humid morning in the Bluff City. The residents of Whitehaven were gracious enough to set their sprinklers out for us to run through. I was most impressed with the free rain. It was a fun morning and John and I plan to do a 4 mile race next month in Midtown. Maybe I will get the marathon fever again? Nah! And yes, my sweet neighbor, Mrs. Rochelle had flowers delivered to me on Friday afternoon for a "good luck" wish. You would have thought I was running a marathon or something. What a sweet, sweet woman I have for a neighbor.

Friday, August 17, 2007

Plenty of Reasons...

I know I promised 14 reasons why I'm glad I'm married, but I just can't come up with anything cutesy, like I wanted to. I can come up with plenty of reasons: Samuel, Daniel, David, Anna Kathryn, a life-long companion, in-laws, love, etc... Maybe when I get some time to just sit, and think about it I will come up with something cute, until then, if you are married, send me some of your reasons why you love being married!!
One of our youth from our first church got married a couple of weekends ago.
She isn't the first one to get married by any means, but it did make me think about the example I set for others. I hope when people look at my marriage they see love, commitment, fun, satisfaction, forgiveness, compromise, and a host of other good things. God ordained marriage. I know there are people that don't agree with me and how I "do" marriage, but I try to be submissive, loving, kind, I try to do what is best for my family, and sometimes the submissive part seems to rub some people the wrong way. I really feel that Stephen has my best interests at heart, just as I have his best interests at heart. It is a two way street for us. God has blessed our marriage, I just pray we are a blessing to Him.
Julie

Monday, August 13, 2007

Advancement Team


2 posts about my school in one day - enough already!

Here I am with my Advancement team. We are launching a new website this week and needed a team picture for our landing page. I am still so excited about my job. This is my fourth week and everyday I am learning something new or meeting new people. Today I was in a board meeting with 8 men for two hours. A little intimidating, I must say! Anyway, I wanted to share my new little family with you.
Mrs. Carolyn and I are in the other picture. She has worked at the school for 27 years and knows everyone past and present (along with their mama’s, dogs, cats, etc). She is my mentor, for sure. Mrs. Carolyn is the face of our school and the funniest woman I have ever met. She leaves me cracking up with tears everyday. Randall gets Mrs. Carolyn stories every afternoon on our commute back to Mississippi. Mrs. Carolyn tells me I am a little version of her and that makes me smile.

First Day of School

I have a bridseye view of the middle school campus from my office window. Today is the first day of school. I am smiling at the middle school kids as they change classes. One boy held the outside door open for everyone and no one said thanks to him or even gave him a smile. He held it anyway because he was raised right, I guess. Then the boy lets the door go and drops his books on the ground because he tripped on his shoe lace. God love that little guy! Then there is that poor little girl who must be new to the school because she has no friends walking with her or talking to her. She is a bit chubby and has brand new loafers on that look as though they are hurting her feet. You can tell she is nervous and self conscious. I feel for her because I have been there way too many times. Then there are those snotty girls who are carrying their huge big purses with the name brand plastered all over them to each class while flipping their hair and talking amongst each other while they walk – oblivious to the poor little girl who has no one to talk to. I want to go out there and slap them! It does make me so glad they wear uniforms though. At least they all look alike no matter what they think of themselves. Then there is the class clown who is walking around wondering how his Daddy is because he had a heart attack in the night last night. He must be a ball of nerves, but he isn’t showing it. It is also so cute to watch them all try to carry those big text books and three ring binders in their hands. It is a balancing act, for sure. Anyway, it is so fun to watch them. One could do a sociology study from my desk. I must be getting old because they all look so little!
Abby

Friday, August 10, 2007

Well it is true, I am 37!

Well it is true, I am 37! I can't believe it! I don't feel 37, I don't feel like a mom of 4 who is once again homeschooling. I don't know how 37 is supposed to feel, but I just feel younger than 37. I think that by typing 37 over and over again, I will get used to the idea. I had such a wonderful birthday. I woke up to birthday gifts, and cards. David and I went and got "the best doughnuts ever" (as David said) at the Village and pigged out. For lunch we went back to the village and ate at the sandwich shop with Polly and Jeremy. Polly is Stephens secretary and Jeremy is the youth minister. Jeremy was telling people I was 38 and I wasn't very happy with him, but he and Ms. Polly bought lunch, so I forgave him!! After lunch Stephen, the kids and I went to the pool. I love it so much!! We stayed there until time to clean up and go to church. When I got to church, I received even more gifts, and cards. Debbie and Laura Ann had a cake made for me, it was beautiful! And quite yummy, it had so much icing on it, that there wasn't a piece that wasn't wonderful!! They also gave me a ring, that I had been drooling after since early spring. They are just wonderful people. If you ever come to Star City, I will introduce you to these great girls. It is an honor and blessing to know them! Next week is my 14th anniversary. I tried to come up with 30 reasons I love my 30's and couldn't come up with any (although my BFF Cindy came with a few that were terrific!!!) but I think I can come up with 14 reasons I love being married. So I will post those next week. Thanks for all the birthday wishes!
Love you all so much!
Jules

Wednesday, August 8, 2007

Happy Birthday

Today is my sister’s 37th birthday. Yep, she is getting old! I think this is the first birthday she has really dreaded. There is no need because she looks like she is twenty-five, acts like it and feels like it (Most days). Really, people never think she looks her age. We have good genes in that respect. People think I just graduated from college…HELLO! Age is just a number, anyway. After all, isn’t forty the new twenty? (I am still a teenager if that is the case!)
I remember Julia K’s 30th birthday so well. There is the cutest picture of us in linen sundresses standing arm-in-arm in front of my infamous green Caviler (I intended to scan & post the picture but time got away from me). That was when Samuel was still a “special only” to all of us (he still is to some of us – ha!). Wow, her life has been busy these past 7 years! She has lived in 3 different towns and had 3 more babies (2 at one time, of course. She is no Michelle Duggar). Through all the changes and years of gaining much wisdom she still has that same sweet, fun spirit she had when we sat at our kitchen table in Sutton Estates years ago and sang “Happy Birthday” over homemade birthday cakes. I hope she has a fabulous birthday with her rowdy clan and remembers how special this day is not only to her, but to all of us who love her to pieces!
Happy Birthday, Julia Kathryn!

Sunday, August 5, 2007

Tax Free Shopping Stinks!

No tax weekend is insane! As you may know it is for school supplies, clothes and computers under a certain amount. Well, I needed some work clothes and thought I would go pick some up yesterday. Sugar! It was pure insanity all over the city. I went into New York and Company and stood in line for a dressing room for over ten minutes. Kids were crawling between dressing rooms and screaming like mad. People were everywhere and wearing the rude badge! Nothing I tried on was worth buying after all that time and wasted energy. My Christian witness was fading real fast. I went into a few more stores and said "Trick it" and headed home. Last year Jules came into town and we braved the crowd. I think it was calmer last year. It was the first year and I think most of our "Memfrican" citizens didn't grasp the concept. I will pay tax for my khaki pants before I brave that chaos again!
Rand on the other hand scored real big in the clothes department yesterday. He went to Dillard's while I was in line kicking off screaming children. He got swim trunks, shorts, shirts and shoes. He was fully clothed when we got home. And he just went along for the ride...that Wanch! He is going to look cute in his new duds though...so that is all good in my book!

Wednesday, August 1, 2007

I Love The Pool


Can I just tell you how much I love the swimming pool?
We have had a pool in our backyard for the last 6 years. It was one of the blue pools, that has the blow-up ring at the top. We started out with a small one, then bought the next size up, and finally bought the size up from that. Our family just kept getting bigger(both in number and physical size!).
This picture is of the boys in the big blue pool - 2005.
This year we have a membership to a pool in town. The greatest thing about the pool, is that it is on our road. We can walk to it!((we drive to it, just because I'm so tired after sitting out in the sun, I just don't think I would make it home if I was walking!) The boys love it, and Anna too. I've yet to step foot in the water, but I sit beside it every chance I get.
Two weeks ago we were at childrens camp, so there was no lying by the pool for me. Last week we only got 2 pool days because we were in Fort Smith and this week we have had one day so far. Isn't this crazy? I'm writing about laying out by the pool and I'm 36! Oh, my goodness!!! I will be 37 in 7 more days!!! I'm all for celebrating birthdays but I think I am going to forget about turning a year older, I'll just celebrate the day. How about that?!
Love,
Jules

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Bobby Sherman's Greatest Hit

Bein' alone at night makes me sad, girl
Yeah, it brings me down all right
Tossin' and turnin' and freezin' and burnin'
And cryin' all through the night

Whoa-oh
Julie, Julie, Julie, do ya love me?
Julie, Julie, Julie, do ya care?
Julie, Julie, are ya thinkin' of me?
Julie, Julie, will ya still be there?

We had so much fun together
I was sure that you were mine
But leavin' you, baby, is drivin' me crazy
It's got me wonderin' all the time

Whoa-oh
Julie, Julie, Julie, do ya love me?
Ah, Julie, Julie, Julie, do ya care?
Julie, Julie, are ya thinkin' of me?
Julie, Julie, will ya still be there?

Honey, you cried the day I left you
Even though we knew I couldn't stay
But baby, remember, I'll be back September
But till then I'll write you every day

Whoa-oh
Julie, Julie, Julie, do ya love me?
Ah, Julie, Julie, Julie, do ya care?
Come on, Julie, Julie, are ya thinkin' of me?
Julie, Julie, will ya still be there?

Oh-oh
Julie, Julie, Julie, do ya love me?
Ah, Julie, Julie, Julie, do ya care?
Julie, Julie, are ya thinkin' of me?

Ok, this song was on in Wal-Mart today and I sang it out loud and then realized where I was. Oh well, I blended in with the other Wal-Mart trash! Randall would have walked away from me and hidden in the hunting section. Sorry you missed it, Babe.


This song by Bobby Sherman has always been so special to me. Julie moved out for the first time the day she got married. I was going into the tenth grade. She “willed” me her stereo because Stephen had a better one. Lucky me! I came home from her wedding and moved that stereo right into my room. Daddy had a tape made for her with all her old favs and wedding songs. We played it all day of her wedding. It was so fun. Anyway, I put this tape in and played it over and over the night she got married. I cried and I cried. I remember coming home from school, sitting in the floor, playing this song and crying. I was starting high school and needed my Conan (my pet name for Jules. Crazy, I know). She lived 5 hours away and it was so hard to adjust to the changes. “Julie, Julie, Julie Do You Love Me” brings on a flood of bittersweet memories. Thanks Wal-Mart satellite radio. You struck a chord today. I love you Julie and I know you love me!

Sunday, July 22, 2007

Rolling on the River

We had a great weekend on the river with Rand's uncle Rick & Aunt Diana. Rand's cousin Micah and his fiancé Tabby joined us. We all went out to eat Friday night then we all got strawberry shortcakes from the Bulldog. As we like to say, "That's on time!"(That means it is really good) We can always count on much laughter when we spend time together. Rick, Micah and Rand feed off each other and they define, "monkey see, monkey do". I love it! Rick got me to shoot a gun for the first time, ever! Too bad the camera wasn't around to capture that moment. He let me pick the gun I wanted to shoot but he didn't have one to match my outfit, so I picked the lightest one he had in his safe. No fear of me becoming a gun girl...it made me scream too loud.
We played in the White River all day Saturday and had a fun time. Saturday night we all went to the Mosquitofest street dance but quickly found ourselves heading home without any dancing. We had a fun time this weekend and I truly appreciate Diana's hospitality. She is the best host, hands down!

Rand & me taking in some shade on the sandbar

The 3 stooges - Rick, Micah & Rand

River Rats- Diana & me

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Hodge Podge

Can you believe I have not talked to my sister since last Wednesday! Life is so crazy right now, but fun. I believe she is at camp this week. Poor girl. She was hoping to maybe “opt out”. I don’t think it worked out for her so well. Oh well, she will survive. We have exchanged short emails this week, but nothing replaces those daily phone calls with my big sis.
This is my last day at the CWS. I may break out in the Hallelujah chorus at quitting time. Seriously. I told Rand I might even squeal my tires when I leave. That wouldn’t be to Christian though, would it? God has truly been right on time with this career transition. I start my new job on Monday and am super excited about it. I get a few days off to catch my breath before I dive into this new adventure. Rand and I are going to the river this weekend with Rick & Diana and Micah &Tabby. (This is Rand’s aunt, uncle, cousin and his fiancé, in case you are like “Who?”) I am looking forward to the getaway on Micah’s ski boat and catching some much-needed rays.
Rand & I are booking our Caribbean Getaway today! He is taking me to Cancun (or I am taking him…whichever!) in October during my fall break (I get school breaks/holidays now!). I am so anxious to lay on the beach by that turquoise water and do absolutely nothing for four whole days. I have to quit looking at the resort website before I make myself go crazy with anticipation. It is just July, Abby Jo!
I have around 15 pounds to loose before I go on my Caribbean Getaway. I am almost at my WW lifetime goal. I am in plateauville though. Maybe now that the trip is booked I will find that extra burst of motivation I need to get me to the finish line. I am thinking of the Little Engine that Could right now, “I think I can, I think I can, I KNOW I CAN!” Seriously, this is such an important goal for me to achieve. Do pray for me as I continue this challenging endeavor. I like to eat!
Well, I best get. My co-workers are throwing me a lunch today as a “good-bye” gift. I best go put on the ole AJSL charm!
So, can you say “Hodge podge blog”?! I know it does not have a main theme like most of my blogs but life is rather crazy right now and no one theme is getting my full attention. What fun!

Monday, July 16, 2007

Shopping, Scrapping and Starbucks



What a fun weekend! Mama came to see Rand & Me last Thursday afternoon and stayed until Sunday morning. We got to visit and do all sorts of fun stuff. I was wanting to attend a crop at my local scrapbook store but dreaded going alone the first time. Well of course, Mama came to escort me to the crop! It was so nice to crop with each other for 7 hours Friday night. She is super talented with her scrapbooking and teaches me so much. I often just give her my page and say "Here!" Nothing like a Mama, huh?! We had fun laughing at our inside jokes and observing the other ladies. We did miss Jules though. She is our fellow scrapper. Actually, we may have gotten kicked out for being so loud if she had been with us. Scrapping at Genia's with my girls is still my favorite place to scrap. Anyway, I love having a hobby that my mother and sister love as much as me.
We also shopped on Friday and Saturday. We even began the 2007 Christmas shopping season! We do like to spend money when we are together so maybe it is best we live in separate states! We enjoyed going to Starbucks and sipping each other's mocha's while engaging in good conversation. Anyway, it was nice to have Mama come to visit. I wish people visited us more often. I do think I am the hostess with the mostess (at least that is what Mama tells me!).

(Not the best picture of us. A little glare on the spectacles and we looked a little "worn" - but we captured the moment)

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

“Tell Abby I will pray for her, Mama!”

The other day I was chatting with Melissa on my cellphone while she was driving her van in the Fort and I was driving my sedan in the dirty south. I was ranting about my day and complaining a small bit. She was of course being her compassionate self and reassuring me with her kind words (This is why she is my BFF). Her three year old son, Drew, yells from the back of the van “Tell Abby I will pray for her, Mama!” Be careful little ears what you hear and be careful little mouths what you say, huh?!
As funny as it was, it made me think about prayer and how fortunate I am to have a family and a close group of friends who really pray for me. They don’t just say they are going to pray for me, they really do it! It makes me feel blessed and it humbles me. God has been generous enough to give me a new job and I count it all joy because it was bathed in prayer for weeks and months by these faithful prayer partners. Wow, what a testimony to what prayer can do!
I am like most people I think and I often make my own way in "small" situations and think praying about it is trivial. I have learned the hard way that nothing is trivial in God’s eyes. I currently work with a man who told me one day that praying about a job is just “wrong”. He said, “God doesn’t have time to mess with little stuff like that.” I have been so burdened by that and have been quick to tell him about my new job and how I know it came about through prayer. The school was praying for it and we were all praying for it. That is prayer at work! So, if you think prayer is just for certain things – WRONG! We are to live our life as a constant prayer. Yes, I am most guilty of NOT doing this, yet I want to strive to do better. I do love that little Drew Bear is already learning that EVERYTHING needs to go to God in prayer.