Monday, April 30, 2007

Shoot, You're Kidding

Jules and I have so much fun together...I love my sister!

Rand and I had so much fun staying up until 12:30 Friday night playing Guitar Hero with Jules & Stephen. My sister can tear up some "More Than a Feeling" (duh, it's Boston, after all!) Stephen can tear up any of the songs because he is just awesome like that, Rand can tear up on some "Sweet Child of Mine" and I, myself rocked out to "Woman" after many failed attempts. I love that game!!!!! We cracked up at the boys because they think Cherry Pie is really about cherry pie and sing the song...oh, the downsides of that game.

The twins got a trampoline for their birthday last week and it is the hot new item on Bobbies Circle. We jumped for 2 hours Saturday morning and ate donuts from the village bakery. It was wild: Stephen tried to slaughter me on it, Jules is quite the cheerleader as she can still do a toe touch, Rand taught Anna that is okay to fall down and that it is actually fun, Rand made sure we knew the rules of proper jumping before he got on and then we broke the weight limit with 6 people on it at one time and it didn't break!

David, Daniel and Anna got new bikes for their birthday. Their Uncle Randall and Daddy made sure they were adjusted properly and fitted to their liking. Anna just likes to sit on her Dora bike with her matching helmet and have everyone look at her. And I must say, she is awfully cute.

Let me tell you about the local resale shop in their town. Jules & I got a sack of shirts for 25 cents! I of course forgot to get mine out of the bag before we left her house...rats! Rand loved the thrift store because he swears all that stuff is from his childhood home...crack me up.

Jules planned a weenie roast birthday party at the state park for the twins. They had fun roasting their hot dogs with their friends and playing baseball. The cutest thing was the cake. It was a Jeff Gordon Nascar cake. David is the only one who likes Jeff Gordon though. So, Julie had to pick out another car on the toy aisle and stick it on the cake to make Daniel happy. It was cute and the best part is that they think their Aunt Abby made it! Oh, and I must not forget to mention the they had a baby alligator at their party. We got to pet it..."Shoot, you're kidding"...nope, it was for real.

I have posted a few picture's of Anna's birthday party and will have Julie post the one's from the boys party. I forgot to take my camera...not cool, I know! I am also posting a picture of Julie and Stephen from their ski trip last month. A hodge podge, but you will enjoy, I am sure.




That hat is too cute on her She is such a pretty birthday girl
The cutest cake...no, I did not make it :)
What cute ski bunnies

Abby

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Jolly Ranchers

This is a random blog, but isn’t that what makes blogging fun? Someone brought a huge sack of Jolly Ranchers up to work and put them in a big bowl in our lobby. Well, I frequent that bowl once before lunch and once after lunch. I hate that it draws me in, but it does. Jolly Ranchers remind me of my childhood so much, especially cherry and apple.
I used to ride my purple Huffy, spoke charms and all (which my mother later sold for $10 in a garage sale), to the E-Z mart at Windsor Park and Albert Pike, to load up on Jolly Ranchers. I would save all my coins (or my sister’s coins) and put them in a DoubleTree Hotel chocolate chip cookie tin. (We used to go stay at the DoubleTree in Tulsa all the time because Daddy had a comp with them through the radio station.) I would pour all my coins out in the floor and count them to see how many Jolly Ranchers I could buy.(They were 3 cents a piece) I would then load up on my bike and study how I was going to haul the tin to the E-Z Mart while riding my bike. It was a slow and wobbly trip, put I would get there. Once I arrived, I would go give the clerk my money. While the clerk counted the change strung out all over the counter, I would take my empty tin and go load up on my Jolly Ranchers. Knowing exactly how many I could afford and which ones were my favorite, I would devise a game plan before arriving at the store so I could hit and run.
Once I had them in my tin, I would then go throw them out on the counter and the clerk would count. It usually worked out just as I had planned once at the register, though there were times I had to put some back or even go grab more! I would then speed race home to show everyone my Jolly Ranchers. The ride home was never slow or wobbly as it was going. I remember calling Erica or anybody that was available to come over and play. I would act all cool and be like “Hey, you want a Jolly Rancher?” once they arrived. It was always an awe struck moment for them to see the vast assortment of that childhood favorite in my bedroom. I was the cool kid in town for that moment. I liked it.
Oh, if things were only that simple as an adult. If we could take pride in the simple things and be proud to share it with everyone. Instead, we are often embarrassed for anyone to know how simple our lives might actually be. I think the simpler the better. God honors that, I think, more than the other. So, as I continue to suck on my cherry Jolly Rancher, I will smile thinking about the simple things in my life, because they are truly the most meaningful.

Abby

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Birthdays and More

Today the D's are 6! I called them this morning to tell them happy birthday at about 6:45 and Dan told me Happy Birthday also...too cute. Then, Dave caught himself about to tell me Happy Birthday and so he said “ You having a good day?” It was hilarious to hear a 6 year old ask that!! I think they were still half asleep and had no idea what they were saying. They were opening their presents also, so their focus was not on the phone. Bless their hearts...they are so funny and super cute, if I must say so myself.
Julie has had a big birthday week, with Anna's last Friday (along with her duck party), the D's today and then their pirate party this Saturday. Whew! Then to top it off, they have a revival this week. They have planned for this for a long time and have been very excited about it. Please pray for them, their church, their city, the guest pastor and musician.
We will post birthday pictures soon!

Abby

Sunday, April 22, 2007

He Calls me Friend

It is one thing to be friendly, yet another to be a friend. John 15:15 gives me goose bumps because Jesus calls us his friend. Wow...that is cool! In John 15, He commands us to be more than surface level with people and to truly get to know their hearts. He encourages us to build relationships with people, all people.
Jesus served all people, even sinners. Why do we think we are above that calling? I know I am guilty of it as much as anyone. I often think, "Oh, I can't get too close to her/him because they don't know Jesus like I do and I shouldn't share my heart with them." This way of thinking is wrong on my part. Jesus hung out with the sinners, down & out and the poor. When we get past the surface, we all have the same needs and we all deserve to be treated the same, regardless.
Everyone deserves the same attention despite their sins. Jesus followed this rule and we should do no less than our King. We as Christians need to get personal with all people because
God is glorified through that type of friendliness.
Personally, this hits a soft spot with me. Where I live I have very few friends. I can count them on one hand actually! Growing up, this was not the case. I had more friends than I could mention. For some reason when I moved here, I decided to be selective on who I wanted as friends. Maybe it was my way of covering up my insecurities with my
new surroundings or maybe I thought no one could
replace my old friends, who knows.
To my dismay, we made some friends when we first married and I decided because they were not Christians we were baring bad witness and should stop hanging out with them.
Plus, they were sure to drag us down. I have fought loneliness often in these last few years and prayed daily for a "real friend".
Days have gone by with that request unanswered. Well, to my surprise these friends
that I shunned have come back into my life andas much as I bad mouthed it and fought it, I rejoice in it today.
I realize God wants Rand and me to bare good witness on these people and show His love to them through us. God never ceases to amaze me in the lessons he teaches me.
We have the awesome responsibility to show God's love to the world and
share his commands through friendships.
Please pray for me as I get to know these friends again with a refreshed heart. Pray that they will see Jesus in me in every one of our meetings. I am glad Jesus is teaching me to get passed the surface and really get to know hearts. Thank You Jesus for
friends and forgive me for not being one for so long.

Abby

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Protecting Our Boys

As I think about the shooting at Virginia Tech Monday I have so many thoughts. Ever since the Jonesboro school shooting in 1998 I have thought and prayed about the protection of our boys. Not just my boys but all boys. Every school shooting has been enacted by a boy or young man. A boy that a mother loved, a boy whose mother kissed his scratched knees when he fell off of his bike. A boy whose mother smiled at her sons fascination with bugs, dirt, or sticks. I don't know what happened to these young men, except maybe they never heard the clear message that Jesus loves them. Maybe no one invited them to Sunday School or Vacation Bible School. Maybe they were overlooked by Christians. Maybe they didn't understand that Jesus died for them and their sins. That they could be free from their sin, they didn't have to feel in bondage to it. Let's remember to pray for our boys. Not only for their protection from evil events, such as school shootings but also protection from the evil one. Our boys are precious and hold great hope for the future of our country.
Julie

Count It All Joy

For those who know the “real” me, you know how easily excited I am. The calmness in my soul lately is truly the work of the Lord. I love experiencing him shaping and molding me through all these uncertain possibilities on my horizon. Sometimes I think Randall thinks I have grown numb to it all because he can’t fathom why I am not on edge about everything before us, as it is my nature (He is slowly being convinced). I am finally in a place in my life where I am
honestly trusting God to take care of all things.
Scripture is coming alive to me like never before. Last night while lying in bed, I started reading Romans 12. (As my favorite verse is Romans 12:2) I was like a black man preaching at the Temple of Deliverance, proclaiming God’s word aloud in our bed! Randall was a good sport to sit through it as I am sure he was thinking, ”Could you not do this earlier in the day. Why do you wait until bed to get inspired?”
I think I am finally growing up, maturing and blossoming into the woman God intends for me to be. I love finally welcoming the trials and the bumps in the road because I know he is strengthening me to be still in his hands. Sure, I will always have learning and maturing to do through Him, yet right now I am experiencing it like no other time in my 28 years.
Wow, Thank you Jesus!
Please pray for us as we make decisions this next week that will affect our entire family. Pray that we can have clarity of mind and spirit. We only want God’s best and I pray that we can stay tuned in to his desire as we make these decisions. Yes, for some people this time would be a cakewalk but God makes us all so differently. We are at a turning point, a stepping-stone. Some of you are wondering, “What the heck is she talking about?” Well, as time progresses I will let you know. For right now, be a faithful friend and pray for us.
(Especially pray for “My Randall” as he will get the brunt of most of these decisions.)
I am finally joyful in all things and it is an amazing place to be…join me if you are not at the place in your life. Send me a message if you want to chat about it - abbyjolee@hotmail.com.
Count it all Joy,when you face trials of many kinds
(my sister’s favorite verse!)

Abby

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Easter Snapshots

Here are pictures from Easter Sunday....better late than never!
Aren't they precious!
(Daniel's pants crack us up!)

Sorry about your head Sambo :)

Abby's 2007 Tablescape Abby & Randall





Monday, April 16, 2007

Learning To Look Up, Even In The Bathtub!


Hey everyone! It has been a while since I have posted anything. I don't have internet at my house, so I have to rely on Stephen's computer, and he has been keeping it busy when I needed to get on it. Anyway this is what I have to share today! The other morning I was running Anna's bathwater and couldn't find the stopper. I looked in all the cups that seem to live in the bathtub, I looked in the boat that is docked in the Beavers boys bathtub-marina, I looked among all the superheros( that must have been napping because they surely were not acting like superheros and helping me find what I so desperatly needed!) I looked under the washclothes that seem to multiply in the bathtub and all to no avail!
It was no where to be found. AND THEN I looked up! There it was! Sitting on the soap dispenser. Not at all where it was supposed to be, but sitting there all be itself, at my eye-level. I immediatly thought " Why didn't I look up?" And then my next thought was " How many times do I not look-up when I should?" So, I pose that question to you also. Are you looking up? or are you looking down? Is your sight set on things above, or things below and here? I get so used to the muck and yuck that it seems each day brings that I sometimes forget to look up and see the help that God wants to give me. We must choose each day to look up!
The stopper just might be sitting in the soap dish, instead of playing with the superheros in the Beavers boys bathtub-marina!!!
Julie

Rubber Duck You're The One


Here our Anna's B-Day hats! She is having a duck party on Friday with 8 of her friends. She will be 3. The cake, favors and decor will all be ducks. Since I can't attend I needed to make a contribution so I made the hats. I made her a cute hat for her 1st B-Day party and she still has it in her room on her dresser. I love making these hats because they are super easy and so much fun to wear.
(click the picture to enlarge it so you can see it better)
Happy Duckie Day, Anna K!
Abby

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Sucker For A Sale

I love a good sale. Today I went and got Easter d├ęcor from Kroger & Dollar General on my lunch hour for next to nothing (as if I needed any more!). For those of you that don’t “really” know me….I am my Granny’s child. I love to decorate for the seasons and I go hog wild with it. I even decorate the bathrooms. It is a joke in the family that I decorate with a toilet seat cover at Christmas like Granny. Anyway, my favorite find today was ducks for Anna K’s birthday party. Jules found some on clearance at Wal-Mart yesterday and Mama already bought some last month at Garden Ridge….that child is going to have all kinds of ducks at her little b-day party. Fun times for her!
I am BOGOing this weekend for some wedges and may get some Dora sandals for Anna K. as my half off pair. Oh, the sacrifices I make for those loves! You know Anna has to have cheese and crackers every time Dora comes on. Whether it is 9 am, 1 pm, or 7 pm, when she sees Dora she high tails it to the kitchen for her cheese and crackers. She even thought she was Dora for a while, but she is now past that stage.
If you see a sale on Fisher Price digital cameras, message me and let me know. I am hunting those for the D’S (Dave & Dan) birthday. My cousin Claire got one for her birthday and it is the cutest thing. Dave loves to look at the screen after we take his picture so I know he will be tickled to have it. I just hope I can find it at a reasonable price, as I have to buy two of them and Anna’s birthday gift. I love that my sister choose to have three kids 4 days apart and I am the only aunt. It truly drains my pocket book but the expressions on their faces and the excitement in their voices make it worth the effort.
Speaking of sales….I got a fantastic deal on a car last week. It was an insane adventure but one that I will always remember. Thanks to Mama and to Skim, I love you for all you did for me Friday. What a day it was. I actually have seat warmers in my new ride! Rand says I sound redneck bragging about it but it was the first thing Mama and I tried out when we got in it, so call us rednecks, we don’t care! What a deal it was….God is good all the time for sure. If you need to buy a car, call me….I am a pro at it now.
Well as you can see, I am all about a good buy and felt like ranting about it today. Thanks for reading all of this nonsense.

Abby

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Easter Cuties

I have pictures of my kids on Easter in all of their cute duds, but my memory card doesn't fit Stephen's computer so ya'll are out of luck! Just imagine the cutest 3 boys and prettiest little girl you've ever seen and that will come pretty close to them!
I forgot to get a bow for Anna's hair. I didn't remember until Sat night when we were sitting in Pizza Hut. We went to Walmart but they didn't have any to match her dress, and since we were in Monitcello there wasn't any other place to go. She looked very pretty anyway. But I will try to find her a bow for the next time she wears the dress. As much as she is like her Aunt Abby, she does have times when she isn't. I told her she was the prettiest one at church, and she said "no, Kinsey was". Abby told everyone that she was the cutest one there, every chance she got!
I just love them both!!
The boys were quite handsome in their striped shirts and ties. They loved wearing the ties. Thanks to Nancy for helping with all the Easter clothes! They loved them!!! Congrats to Abby for making a beautiful Easter dinner this year. I wish I had been there to eat the ham, that she made from scratch! She glazed it and cooked it all by her little self after getting home from a whirlwind trip to northwest Arkansas. What a girl!!!! One last brag on the kids. At the church Easter egg hunt Saturday morning Anna won the grand prize after finding 42 eggs!!!!!
Way to go!!!!!
Love ya'll!!!
Julie

Monday, April 9, 2007

BOGO

Payless is having a BOGO sale!!!!!!
A girl always needs new shoes (at least we do)!
Abby & Julie

Isn't God Great To Give Us Children


I haven't bragged about my kids here yet, so let me take this opportunity to do so. My oldest is a 3rd grader and a handsome little thing. He is making all A's in school(except for a B in math that should be an A by now!) and playing hard on the baseball field as both a catcher and a pitcher. Not at the same time, as my Daddy likes to joke about!! He is learning responsibility by taking out the trash and cleaning his room and also by being a good big brother.

My next child is 5, very soon to be six. He is in kindergarten and making all S's and has recently had 3 stitches removed from his forehead after he ran into a door at the house. He was quite a trooper, I'm very proud of him. He is learning to read and wants to know what every word is that he can't sound out by himself.

My next child is 5, very soon to be six. Does that sound familiar? Oh the life of a twin! He is also in kindergarten and also making all S's. He loves to draw and make houses for his stuffed animals. He is more quiet about reading, but I think he will also love it. He is so cute, (as is his brother!HA!) and very loving.

My last child, ( and I should have said our instead of my in all of these descriptions, because I surely did not do all this by myself!) is a girl! Who will soon be 3. She is in the midst of being potty trained, we would love it if you would pray with us about this. She is lively, funny, cute, and at times hard-headed. For those of you who know Abby you will notice a similarity! She could be Abby's child! But she is mine and I love her, as I love all the others, with all my heart. Isn't God great to give us children to love, teach, nurture, and show them His love? I am so thankful to Him for giving me the family He has chosen to give me. At times I would like to run away, but I am always glad I never have. Deuteronomy 11:19 is my favorite, and my goal as a mother. Is it your goal as a mother?


Love ya'll,

Julie

Thursday, April 5, 2007

Eggs, The Bunny, Dresses and Jesus

Since I was a child Easter has excited me. I think it is because I was raised to know the REAL meaning of Easter and then also encouraged to believe in the bunny who hops down the bunny trail. Oh, the smell of vinegar and the colors that Mama made appear in the "pudding glasses". The clang of the spoons in those glasses and the magical colors that would appear bring a smile to my heart. We would look forward to lunch at Mawmaw's or Granny's (or later: Aunt J's or our house) so we could hide eggs with Sa-Sa & Zach. I just hated having to eat the eggs afterwards...yuck! I still dye eggs every year even though I have no children. It wouldn't feel like Easter without that Paas box full of color and fun.
I loved the bunny and still do. My bunny is of course a different bunny now that I live away from home but he still visits every year...I make him! I am thinking of a picture Mama has of Jules & Me on Easter morning. We are sitting in our new little dresses (granted Jules is a senior in high school in this picture) with our Easter baskets before church. I am of course cheesing real big so proud of my chocolate bunny, little lip glosses, etc and Julie has this miserable look on her face with her basket of the same loot. God love her...she was a sport to play the role with her 8 year old sister. Oh, the bunny....
My Meemaw always got me an Easter dress...it was her "thing". The shoes were always a part of the deal too and if I was real lucky I got a purse. Some years she wouldn't get to help us pick our Easter duds out so she would send money for Mama to take us shopping. We always took a picture of our dresses so she could see us in them. She also did this same thing at Christmas. Oh, the beautiful dresses I had. My favorite was my Laura Ashley in the 10th Grade. The last Easter dress my Meepster bought me is still in my closet and I wear it often. It is a black shift dress (as my Mawmaw refers to them) with big white polka dots on it. I have had that dress for 6 years now and it was the last dress she bought me. I miss her at Easter because she loved getting us ready for the big day. I am sure she enjoys being with Jesus on Easter a lot better though, don't you?!
Jesus, the Messiah, Savior, King of Kings, Sacrificial Lamb...the list could go on and on. Wow, what a thing to celebrate not just on Easter but every day. Easter just makes us reflect on it more than most of us do on a daily basis. The fact that Jesus rode into town on a donkey speaks to me most this year. (Every year I try to focus on something new) The donkey is it this year. He was a King, our Savior, the Son of God and he did not demand a chariot or a white horse but a simple donkey. How humbling. The manger was a humble entrance for a King. A donkey and a cross were a humbling exit for a king.
Jesus, my precious Jesus. Thank you for dying on that tree, taking that unbearable beating and enduring the nails and the crown of thorns for me and all my inadequacies. I am so undeserving of you sacrifice. Love is truly a cross and our Savior proved that love for us.
Happy Easter!

Abby

Tuesday, April 3, 2007

Mister, Let Me Off This Ride!




Oh, I screamed that on a roller coaster with Sarah when I was a little girl and I feel like screaming it today. I am glad God feels it necessary to test me, but I am getting a little worn out. Job uncertainties, job possibilities, headache management, family planning, indecisive vacation planning, weight loss plateaus, car wrecks, and car purchasing. AHHHHHHH!!!! These are all things I am passionate about and they are all up in the air. I count it all Joy, yet I am a little frazzled by it all. My sister has told me often "He doesn't put more on us that we can bear" and she is so right about that. I found a few letters she has written me over the years last week in a photo box. So many of them recite that statement. For she and I have been through alot, both together and individually. Thank God for my Conan ( my pet name for Jules).

My Daddy just texted me and asked me how I feel today after my wreck and I just simply replied, "exhausted". I smiled after I sent it because it states my condition so well. Joyful but exhausted. God has a master plan and he is showing it to me by sending me on the roller coaster we call, life. Anyone humming that 4HIM song about right now? I am!
Thank you God, but you can let me off now if you want to :)

P.S. Anna told me "I love you LOTS and I have on pink sip-sops (flip-flops)" on the phone today and that really makes me appreciate the simple things in life more than I used to. Thank you for those 4 precious babies Jules....and especially Anna K as she truly is my child. Bless your heart...that is a giant all in itself!


Abby


Facing My Giants

Have you seen Facing the Giants? What a movie! A church in Alabama wrote, produced, and acted in this movie. The message of the movie was really good and I watched the directors commentary for it (aren't DVD's great!) (As you can tell I didn't do much on this day!!HA!) too. The directors spoke of many miracles happening during the filming of the movie. It hit me again that God works among those that are working! If I have no expectations and don't work to get anything done, God hardly has anything to work thru. So, I need to ask the question of myself, what work does God want me to be in? Something in the church, something outside the church, a career, volunteer work? At times I can feel so useless, I want to do something, I just don't know what. I've read Proverbs 31 and thought about what it means to me and what I should do about the knowledge I have received from it. Right now, I'm going to focus on being a mother, and a wife, but most importantly a child of God, and an active one! I'm excited about this blog. Let us know what ya'll think!!

Julie

Back and Intact

We are back!!!! We came back all intact and our children were intact when we came back. Prayers answered! It was a great trip. Stephen and I shared a condo with one woman and 5 teenage boys. I was a little worried about my roommates before we went, but we all had such a good time, Stephen & I are even thinking about having a little reunion with them sometime soon.
I'm so thankful to God that we had a safe trip to Colorado and back.

I'm so excited about this blog. Abby and I have so much fun together and I'm glad that we can share some of that fun with you!! I promise to be a better blogger than I have been. Abby will stay on my case so that will be true!!!


Julie