Wednesday, April 30, 2008

This Place

I debated sharing my heart about this, but I just have to. I want all of you (whoever you are…we know we have lots of lurkers and we are thrilled you like us!) to feel my heartbeat at this amazing, scary, fun, life-altering, God-given and stressful time in my life.

Tomorrow is my last day of work at ECS. My Mama and I were talking via cellphone during our commutes home this afternoon and she asked me if it would be an emotional day for me and I said "Nah, it shouldn't. I cried all the way home one day last week and got it out of my system". I actually believed those words until I sat down to type my boss, Rex, a good-bye letter.

The past year has been an unexpected Gift from God. From the day my Aunt Babs emailed me while I was sitting miserably at the very worst job in THE world to tell me of the job opportunity at ECS, and until this very moment. I have become stronger, confident, sharper in my God-given talents, and rich in friendship because of (as Rex always says), "This place we call ECS!". It is a haven and a refuge and I am so blessed to have been able to call it my home for the past nine months.

I have mentioned Mrs. Carolyn so much that I know many of you feel like you know her ( Oh, how I wish you did!) but there are so many more people that have touched my heart for a lifetime. One of these special people is the man who hired me, Rex. I sat in Rex's office today for over an hour and talked to him as a friend, a brother and a teacher. I will miss that a lot. He shares my sense of humor and has made me laugh everyday. I will miss that too. Mostly, I will miss the way he has encouraged me to grow as a child of the Father. He respects me, has always been fair, honest and taught me much more than I will realize for some time, I am sure. Faithful Friend Paris Twila - Faithful Friend lyrics LyricsMode.com is a song I sang 12 years ago at GABC during the senior recognition service. My Aunt Donna reminded me of this song the other day. I am so glad she brought this song to mind. My "parting gift" to Rex was this song (I did not sing it, no worries). These lyrics are what made me sit in this chair tonight and weep with a thankful heart.

I know I have forever friends in all the ladies in the White House and promise to make them laugh and feel like a million bucks from Jonesboro through this blog and occasional emails. I do feel honored that Laura cried when I willed her my "cookie" sign to keep in her office so I would always be there in spirit, that Laverna is sad that I will not be there to tell her how cute she is, and how Patty will miss all my "abbyisms".

It is a bittersweet time in my life, more so than any other time I can remember (and I have had A LOT of seasons for a 29 year old, trust me!). Who would ever DREAM that a job would be so hard to leave. I can assure you I was unprepared for the impact it would have on my life.

I Thank God for this time, this place and this journey. I am glad I was able to stop off here for the past nine months and find a safe haven and a refuge from the storms of life. I feel better equipped to move forward in, "this place we call life!".


I must close out with what my fortune cookie said today:
"You will soon be confronted with unlimited opportunities". I am not one to put faith in a cookie (or St. Joseph for that matter), but I did enjoy the encouragement!




Abby

The Shack



Oh my goodness!
Abby and I found out about this book titled The Shack a couple of weeks ago from a fellow blogger and friend of Abby's. We looked around in a couple of bookstores and couldn't find it so she ordered it from Amazon(because she is an Amazon junkie! but that is another story!).

When she was here for the birthday weekend, she let me borrow it since she was going to be reading a book she was getting from me(but I forgot to give her, again that is another story!).

I started reading it Tuesday afternoon and finished it today. I would have finished it sooner had I not been so sleepy last night. It is a must-read book guys. One of the endorsements says that it is this generations Pilgrim's Progress and I think I agree. This book will touch your soul and change your heart. I loved it and will read it again just to see what I missed the first time. Go and get this book, read it and let us know what you think!!!

Julie

Warning!!!


Warning!!
It is lawn mowing season again. Please be careful when mowing around your vehicles or this may occur.
Julie

Sweet Prayer

Two nights ago as I was tucking the twins into bed, David said his prayers. He prayed that all the flood and tornado victims would find shelter. And then he prayed this
"shelter even better than what they had".
I was blown away by that, how sweet that he would want them to have better than before. Last night as I tucked him in and he prayed, he prayed the same thing. So , I asked him why he wanted them to have better shelter than before. He said "so next time a flood or tornado comes they will be safe."
I don't talk a lot about the twins different personalities, but David has a tender heart. He feels for others and wants the very best for everyone. He prays that everyone in the whole universe(he says he prays for the universe in case their are astronauts in space) will be saved. He isn't even a Christian yet. He is really a sweet boy, I can't wait to see what God has in store for him.

David's mom-Julie

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Thanks for the Header

Egg Drop Goodness - August 2007

I feel terrible for not saying “Thanks” sooner to Lindsey for making our header. (She made 4 of them, actually!) Lindsey is super special to our family. Everyone that has met her from Memphis to Fort Smith has fallen in love with her and always asks, “How is Lindsey?” Her family is just as special too and I have a pretty good feeling they ask her, “How is Abby?” We will be friends until Jesus takes us home!


She was/is my fellow bulk mail girl, brownie concrete companion, personal photographer, fashion & design expert, China Town patron, a firm & soft shoulder to lean on, a road trip buddy, a “Friends” watch party host, my laundry mat, a dance partner, a beautiful bridesmaid and one of the greatest friends I have ever had.
I could go on and on about her, but I won’t because I have to get back to work. I just wanted to give her a little “Thanks” for always being so sweet to take pics and design things for us out of love.


Linds, know that it never goes unappreciated!


Check out her photography blog and if you live in Central Arkansas…make an appointment with her!
Abby

Monday, April 28, 2008

Whew!

Whew! Birthday week is over!
I think it is safe to say that we are all thankful that it is now a normal week at our house.
There are no signs of streamers, wrapping paper, company, birthday cake, candles, or gifts! It is like regular. I am so glad.
As much as I enjoy celebrating the births of my children, it is tiring. Planning, buying and stressing about it takes its toll.
Stressing? you might say. Stressing? Yes, I say. I stress about the number of children that will attend the birthday party. I don't want my kids to be disappointed when no one shows up. Two of their friends didn't show up this year. I was surprised, I guess I should have reminded the parents, but I didn't and they didn't. Oh well. They had plenty of kids at the party and just enough cake, I think that if anyone else had been there there wouldn't have been enough cake.
Speaking of cake. It was so cute, and just what the boys wanted. Thank you Aunt Abby!!!
Well, I'm going to go relax!
Julie

Saturday, April 26, 2008

Birthday Weekend in Twinkle Town

We had a fun weekend celebrating birthdays. I love being with my fab four, my sister and my Mama. I always feel so loved for just being "me" when I am with them.
Here are some snapshots from my camera. It was fun times!
The Birthday Boys enjoying candy straws at the ballpark



The Birthday Princess admiring her new mirror from Marmie




My first Nephew is my special buddy...Love this boy!




Loving that blue icing



Birthday boys and the Blue Angels cake

made by Marmie & Aunt Abby




Pinata Fun - I love how this pic captures the excitement



Camping at Cane Creek on their Birthday


Birthday Princess with her cake

made by Anna & Aunt Abby

Abby

Friday, April 25, 2008

I Love Being at Julie's...

...Because we can get 3 sacks full of stuff at the resale shop for under $15, stay up until midnight redecorating/rearranging her house, sing like rockstars in her van and because one of my little loves will always end up in the bed with me before morning's light...Love it!

Abby

Thursday, April 24, 2008

To David and To Daniel

Well today is David's birthday and Daniel's birthday. They are 7 years old!
David,
It is because of you that your birthday is today. You just had to see the outside world sooner than we had planned. You love the number 24, on a race car or on the back of your baseball jersey, April 24th is definitely your day! You are a funny, feisty kid. You are always moving, unless you are snuggling up to me and then you are calm and quiet. You love to read, you are devouring books so fast I think we are going to run out of things for you to read, I love that!! Your imagination can not be rivaled. You love to build things, robots, forts, etc. You are a good student and are making good grades, I'm so proud of you. You are very loving and good at making friends. Your feelings get hurt easily because you have such a caring nature about you. God has given you a tender heart, I can't wait to see how He uses you.

Daniel,
Wow, you're 7! You are so excited! You wanted to know if I was putting streamers up on your door(and I did), and if you could open up all your presents on your birthday, or if you had to wait until Saturday at your party. You love a birthday! You make me laugh. You can say the zaniest things and make the funniest faces. You are quick-witted, but you can't make a quick decision. It takes you longer to decide what to order at a restaurant than anyone else. And then most of the time you change your mind. I love that about you. You love to draw and color. You are making good grades at school, I'm proud of you. You love to cuddle with me, and I always cherish those times(even when I seem to busy to). God has big plans for you, I can't wait to see what they are.

I love you boys. I love that you choose the same color car to ride in at an amusement park. That you choose a shirt to wear without knowing that your brother is wearing the exact one. That you like to play "guess which one is which". That Tuesday night when you ran onto the baseball field you both fell down(accidentally) when you got to your positions. I love that you fuss and fight. That you love each other with a fierce love. That you are so alike and yet so different. And that when others can't tell you apart-I can. That when you come to me at night and say something to me, I know your voice, or the shape of your head. I love you boys and I thank God for you!!
Julie

April 24-up again!!

It is 2:15 and I am up. 7 years ago tonight I was up at this time too. That night it was David's fault-he just couldn't be still, tonight it is post-nasal drip.
I can't believe 7 years have past. I know people always say that, that they can't believe so many years have past, but I really mean it. I remember 7 years ago so clearly.
Daddy was visiting and kept Samuel while I went to the doctor for an amino to see if the
babies lungs were developed enough for me to deliver on that Friday ( it would be 4
weeks early. When the doctor looked he saw that in all of David's movements the night before he had turned upside
down(which was not right side up!) and said that I needed to deliver that day or the next.
Stephen was at school in Memphis and had actually driven his carpool that day. I called him
on his cell phone from a pay phone at the doctors office to tell him that I was headed to the
hospital. He didn't answer, so I headed for the door to leave. As soon as I got to the door, the
pay phone rang. Can you believe it? I did not move fast in those days, but I got there as fast
as I could and told him to stay at school(he got out at 2, and would be home by 4). He of
course did nothing of the sort, and got his friends out of their classes and headed home.

I, being a good patient, headed to Burger King to tell Daddy that he couldn't go home to his
house, but instead had to take Samuel back to my house because I had to head to the
hospital,and to get me a whopper with fries and a coke. A girl must keep up her strength!
I also had to stop by the mall and get some socks. I hate feet, especially in hospitals, even
my own. So I parked at the shoe entrance of Dillards, thinking it logical that the socks would
be there, but they aren't. Socks are in the lingerie dept which is on the exact other corner of
the store. I waddled over there, in labor, contractions 8 minutes a part, and at 3. I finally
get to the check out with my gold-toe socks(which felt suffocating on my swollen feet), and
the lady asks me when I'm due, I told her in no uncertain terms that today was the day, if
not that very minute! She hurried my purchase right away!
I finally make to the hospital. It should have been a 5-10 minute trip from the dr office,
being that it is right across the street, but it took me over an hour. When I step off the
elevator, I hear"Is there a Julie Beavers here?" I waddled over and said "I'm Julie". It
was Stephen checking up on me. Without a cell phone, he didn't know where I was-oh
the good ole days.
Long story short, I had my baby boys at 6:05 and 6:08. 2 healthy dark headed crying bundles of joy. God had blessed our family with babies that were 4 weeks early and healthy. I didn't know if the amount of love I felt could be contained. Stephen and I were so excited, relieved, grateful, and scared to death!
Stephen's parents made it in time to hear them cry for the first time. Daddy came up, and our
preacher buddy Tom and his wife Robbie came. Oh yeah, I can't forget Kim and Jeffery too. What good friends. All of our other friends were at a baby shower for a girl at church who was due about the same time I was, except she waited for her due date!! The next day Mother and Abby came, I've never been so glad to see my family. We were complete (or so we thought!).
This is a wonderful day to celebrate God's beautiful gifts to us. As we celebrate David and Daniel's birthday today we won't forget to thank God for them. They are His precious gifts to us.
Julie

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Happy Birthday, D&D

Meeting D&D at the hospital 7 years ago

I was sitting at my computer in my apartment at school when my sister called me and said " There were 2 heartbeats...we 're having twins!!!". I cried. I then sat in that very same spot when she called me that Spring evening to say, "They're here!!!". I cried again. I then jetted out after class that next morning to go see my newest little loves, David & Daniel.

When they were babies, I loved holding them at the same time and trying my best to get one on each hip with ease just like Julie (She rocks!). I loved smelling their little bald heads while I held them. I then enjoyed protecting their little bald heads from foul balls at Redbirds games. Their little laughs and huge smiles melted my heart in an instant (and still do!).

They are not those cute baby boys anymore, they are now handsome 7 year old big boys! They are alike yet so different. I love when David gets excited and hustles while holding his mouth in a serious expression (He is SO much like Samuel). I love when Daniel questions things and cocks one knee out and has that look of "Duh, whatever!' on his precious little face (he gets this from his mother). I love how innocent they are and how excited they get about life. I love that they called me "Wadie" when they were tiny little loves until Julie informed me that they also called dogs "Wadie"!

I love that when they hear Aunt Abby is coming they envision being greeted with Nerds on a Rope and get ten kinds of excited at the prospect of her arrival. I love watching them interact with each other and be bestest friends. I love being able to tell them apart without much effort and point out who is who to those in the family who often ask, " Which one is that? I just cannot tell those two boys apart!". I act like I don't love it and I get on to them but I do find it funny when they roll their little eyes and say, "Oh brother, Aunt Abby is CRAZY!" and then they laugh with those contagious little giggles. These two boys are a HUGE blessing and have filled our family with two times the love!

I love you boys the BIGGEST much and I can't wait to see you tomorrow on your 7th Birthday!

Abby

P.S. Did anyone besides me notice the jet black hair in the picture? Wow, that was all natural without grey. I have gotten old, people!

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Its My Turn!

You won't believe this! Abby just emailed me and told me to write something because,
" it is all me of late, and that is a little too much of me"
Is anyone gasping besides me? I'll give you a moment to catch your breath after such a stunning sentence............ I didn't think it was possible for her to ever think that there was too much of her! This is a breakthrough!!! (Abby, I'm just joking)

We are in the middle of birthday week at our house. Sunday we celebrated Anna's 4th birthday complete with presents, cake, candles, lunch out, and most importantly streamers on her door.

Streamers on the bedroom door is a tradition that started on Samuel's 3rd birthday. We were having his fireman birthday party at our house and in order to separate the dining room from the living room (which was just one big room) I attached red streamers to the ceiling and they hung to the floor. It looked a bit like a 70's beaded curtain minus the beads. When we were planning his 4th birthday party(which was 6 1/2 years ago!) he asked if I had gotten the streamers. I said "yes, of course" and ran to Dollar General in Manila because my little tiny town didn't have a dollar store-can you believe that? I couldn't believe he remembered streamers. I mean we had gone to the firehouse and looked and played on the fire engines, we had chicken nuggets, and french fries with just his friends(no big brothers or sisters were invited) and he got tons of presents, and he remembered the streamers. His 4th birthday was one of the most stressful times of our little family's life so if he wanted streamers, he was dang-sure getting them!!
So fast forward 6 years and 4 kids. Anyone that has a birthday and gets to spend the night at our house on their birthday eve wakes up to streamers hanging from their bedroom door. With the exception of me, because apparently I am the only one that can hang up the streamers.
So, back to birthday week! We are now counting down hours until D&D's birthday. It is Thursday and they can hardly wait-they would be able to wait if they knew that Stephen and I don't yet know what we are getting them. And the other birthday tradition at our house is-as soon as you walk through your streamers, you get to open your presents.

Aunt Abby is coming on Thursday and we are so excited! We are thinking maybe a picnic for lunch that day. Samuel has a ballgame that night and I think we will eat Mexican afterwards. Marmie is coming Friday afternoon and D&D have a game that night. Saturday Nana and Papa are coming and we will have the official birthday party at 1:00 at the VFW park because they have tanks and cannons the kids can play on. Aunt Abby is making the boys a Blue Angel cake. We just love the Blue Angels!!!

So that is what is happening here. We will take pictures and post them!

Julie

Wonderful Words of Life

Mrs. Carolyn (my dear friend at work-read past posts) gave me a letter this morning with thirteen lessons to always remember as I journey on into my new path in life.
I want to share them with you.

My life will not be an apology. It will be a statement.

Jehovah moves mountains to create the opportunity of His choosing. It is up to you to be ready to move yourself.

Serving is a way we can place value on one another. A wise man is a server.

A leader must encourage others to struggle and assure them that the struggles are worthwhile.

Do battle with the challenges of your present and you will unlock the prizes of your future.

My past can never be changed, but I can change the future by changing my actions today.

I am who my friends are.

He who serves the most grows the fastest.

I will look to open the door for someone. I will not be distressed when no one is available to help me-I will be excited when I am available to help.

I will be a servant to others.

I will listen to the counsel of wise men.

I will choose my friends with care.

I will seek wisdom.

This sweet & sassy lady shares my heart and soul. I am so grateful to be able to take these nuggets of truth with me as I go along in my journey.

Abby

Monday, April 21, 2008

Fix You

This gives me goose bumps!
This Young at Heart group will "ignite your bones".
Wow!
Abby

Saturday, April 19, 2008

Anna, on your 4th birthday

Anna,
4 years, nine months and one week ago today I found out you were going to be a part of our family. I was at Friends for Life the day I found out I was going to have you.
Your daddy called and asked "Is this the crisis pregnancy center?"
I said "yes"
He said" I have a crisis. My wife isn't pregnant"
I said " yes, I am"
He said(after a moment of stunned silence) "Is it a girl?"
I said " the line was pink!"

You were unlike the boys. They loved to be held and loved on. In the hospital you were crying and your daddy and I didn't know what to do with you, so we laid you down in the bed and you immediately stopped crying and were perfectly content. You must have known I needed you to be a good baby. You were the best baby we had.
You completed our family and as Aunt Abby once said, added a softness to our home.
I never dreamed I would hold a little girl and call her my own. I thought our family was finished when the twins were born, but God had more in store for us.
I have so many thoughts I want to share with you. Memories of being pregnant with you, memories of holding you in the new bedroom our church so generously provided for us, and singing songs to you. One day I will get all my thoughts together and tell you about that time.
You are a joy, even though you give us a run for our money most days, we wouldn't trade you for the world. You bring laughter, smiles, and joy to our lives everyday. I thank God for you, Anna.

I love you sweet thing. Happy Birthday!!

Julie

Happy Birthday, Anna K.

Today (4/20) our sweet little Anna K. is 4!
She is my only niece. Because I am the only sibling for both Jules & Stephen, I am her only aunt (she has many fabulous great aunts though). She stole my heart from the moment I saw her in the hospital nursery with a little pink bow in her hair. She is sassy and stubborn just like her Aunt Abby...and spoiled rotten to the core! I love that she looks just like Jules and acts just like me. Her little personality is contagious and that sweet little face always melts my heart. I love that her Uncle Randall fell in love with her just as fast as I did. It thrills my soul that she loves Strawberry Shortcake, Care Bears and Barbies just as much as me. I love that she has a huge imagination and has a healthy relationship with her imaginary friends. I love that she loves her nails painted and requires a spritz of body spray after dressing for the day. I love that her brothers adore her and let her rule the roost. I am so glad God gave Jules & Stephen a little girl to soften things up a little bit in an all boy house. Yet, Anna has had more stitches, falls, cuts, bruises, etc than all 3 boys combined. She is a feisty little princess, that is for sure! She has given all of us 4 very full years and for that I am most thankful.

Happy Birthday Sissy, I love you the BIGGEST much!

Abby

My Yard Boy

I looked out my kitchen window this morning and said (outloud) to myself, "What a hottie!".

Rand came home to do yard work this weekend and I am so glad. I miss being at home with him. This will be his last time to do yard work here...so, enjoy the picture ladies!

Abby

Friday, April 18, 2008

A Blessed Life

Here is one last blessing for the week. It is a little deeper than the three previous ones I have posted. I am blessed to have the life I have. I know, it sounds silly and a little crazy coming from the girl who has been a basket case these past few weeks, but yesterday I realized that I am truly blessed to have this life.

Yesterday I sat in my car and rationalized with myself: I need to sell my house, buy a new one and find a job. I can choose to get overwhelmed or I can place it in the palm of my Provider's hands and let Him handle it. I am now choosing to hand it off to Him each morning, it works better that way!

So, now you ask why I all the sudden feel so blessed to have all this pressure? Let me tell you.

Last night I was working late at school. Mrs. Carolyn and I were walking to the parking lot when we noticed a middle school student sitting on a bench. (It was 7:30pm, school gets out at 2:45ish) We found out that he stays this late most everyday waiting on his ride. This young man is From Sudan. His mother fled their homeland with her children a few years back and they live in Memphis now. She works two jobs and he and his siblings receive scholarships to attend the school. He has to wait on his oldest sister to pick him up and that time varies each day. We had some grapes left over from an event and he ate them up in a flash. It broke my heart to see him waiting there and to see how hungry he was. Yet, this life he lives now is much better than what he came from.

I called my Mama on the way home last night. I told her about the boy at school and we discussed how we often think we have it so bad, but really we have such a blessed life. She then told me about a man who works for my Uncle Mike. This man had been living in a tent under the bridge in F.S. The storms blew his tent away last week. The company found him an apt. near the plant and paid one month of rent for him. Mama was getting a new couch in a few days, so she had Uncle Mike take the man her couch. (It is neat to see the circle that couch has made:) We recycle furniture in our family like crazy don't we guys?!). This man can now walk to work instead of paying for public transit and that old couch is a soft bed for him to lay his head.

Wow! I went to bed last night thankful and humbled. My stressors are not bad things nor tragic things..they are just life! It is a blessed life...a very privileged life.

I am blessed and so are you!
Abby

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Back down Memory Lane



I remember when I was a little girl, old enough to know better, but not smart enough to do anything about it. I was spending the night at Mamaw and Papaw's house, it was one of my favorite things to do.

Scene: I don't know where Papaw was this particular evening but Mamaw was on the phone and I was taking a bath. While in the bathtub I found her razor and decided that I wanted to use it. So I did, and yes, you know what happened! I cut my leg good!!! I cried (probably screamed) and Mamaw had to get off the phone and settle me down, clean me up, and dry me off. She took care of me, loved me and decided that I had learned a big enough lesson about razors that I didn't get in to much trouble.

Fast forward 30-33 years
Scene: I am sitting on the couch trying to be still so my back doesn't hurt so bad and I hear Anna ( in the bathtub) talking to David (who had gone in to see her).
Anna: Go get mom please.
David: What? this was all very calm
Anna: Go get mom please.
I go into the bathroom and sure enough Anna's finger is bleeding. She had gotten a hold of my razor and sliced a small portion of skin off of her finger. I have been dreading this day since I had Samuel 10 1/2 years ago, and it finally happened. I did just as I had been shown all those many years ago, (I didn't have to settle her down, she was pretty calm), cleaned her up, dried her off, took care of her, loved her and decided that she had learned a big enough lesson about razors that she didn't get in to much trouble. Thanks Mamaw for a great lesson.

This is another razor story that I just remembered and thought I would share with you. When I was in high school and in between boyfriends. I guy friend called and asked if I wanted to go fly kites in the park. I didn't have anything better to do, so I said yes. I remember it was spring, I didn't yet have a tan(there were no tanning beds at the time) but needed to wear shorts, so I shaved my legs. And boy did I do a bang up job! I cut my right leg all the way down the bone. It bled, and it hurt! I can still remember the pain. We had no band-aids(we weren't a band-aid kind of family) so I went next door to Mr. Macho's house. (This man would lay out in his backyard in a speedo, he was like 50-gross) He said he could fix me up, so he got something out of the medicine cabinet(I wasn't paying attention to him as I was trying not to bleed on his floor). He told me to give him my leg, so I did. And do you know what he put on my leg?
SEA BREEZE!!!
Can you imagine?
OH MY WORD!!!
It hurt so bad!
Well, I got over the pain, and went kite flying and probably grabbed a burger at the country club with my friend. I got over the pain, but I didn't forget it.
There is a lesson in that, but I can't share it with you, you'll have to figure it out on your own.

I have to get ready to go to the doctor or my mother and sister are going to come and beat me up!!HA!

Julie

Meet the Veggie Cake

I am trying to finish the week out by listing a few blessings and I am coming up short today, as you can see! :) I think it is okay to have big and little blessings. Today it is a little one.

I have found a good eat that I want to rave about. It is the Morning Star Ginger Teriyaki Veggie Cake. I am so thankful to have a new lowfat protein staple in my freezer. Yum! The biggest blessing is that they were on sale for $1.50 and it is a box of 4! It has made heat and eat meals I have been making for myself these past few weeks much more enjoyable than the old, tired Lean Cuisines. Now, if only it would pay off in the waist band of my capri pants!

I hope to have another blessing for you tomorrow....hopefully it won't be food related.

P.S. Pray for my Jules (she is a HUGE blessing to me). Her bowling injury really is more serious than she let on in her last post. She is going to the doctor today. She really needs not bowl ever again. It is funny, yet so sad. She is in more pain than she is letting on. Pray that my sweet sister is back to good health soon!

Abby

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Meet The Mother

Today I am counting my blessings again (it helps keep me sane right now). I am thanking God for my Mama today. (She is Julie's Mother too...I just wish not to share her in this post!)I am not going to get all mushy with this post (I could, but I won’t). I just want to introduce you to the great lady I call “Mama”.

I was three weeks late and determined not to come out when I was forced to arrive here on earth in 1978. I think Mama knew then that I was going to be high maintenance. I was nothing like my older sister and Mama had to learn how to manage two girls that were total opposites.

I hated school. Mama had to walk me to school for a while because I would not get out of the car at the crosswalk. So, we walked instead. She would walk me the back way to the playground where I was forced to cross a small ditch into the playground. She made me cross the ditch alone and I was not allowed to re-cross it once I got over it. I would usually cry like a fat child as I watched her on the other side of the ditch, but it worked and I learned to go to school like a big girl. (I was in the 5th grade!)

Hair drama. If you know me real well, you know my hair and the many struggles we had with it while I was growing up. I have my Daddy’s hair – thick and curly. My Mama and my sister have straight, thin hair. Many tears were shed in our bathroom over the years and many car rides home from the beauty shop were covered in tears. Mama never gave up on my hair. She bought me great bows to stick in my mess of hair and always told me I looked pretty. I think she lied to me, but it worked! I can’t imagine the agony she must have gone through trying to make my hair straight and thin and Julie’s thick and curly. She deserves an award just for just being in the bathroom with us each morning as we cried over our hair.

“Walk this way”. Mama would say those words and then walk all crazy down the hall to my room to get me to go to bed when I was little. I loved it. She always scratched my back before bed too. I love to go home for a few days or have her come to my house because she scratches my back before bed. Whenever anyone touches my back, I think of my Mama. I love that. I hope to “walk this way” with my kids someday. It is such a vivid memory of mine, I just love it!

“God doesn’t make junk”. “God is not the author of confusion”. Those are both phrases I can hear my Mama say as though she is standing right next to me. I love that she shoots things to me straight. No beating around the bush with my sweet little Mama! She is a hard worker, Steadfast in her faith, devoted to those she loves, strong in her convictions and my earthly “rock”. Her wise words and affection keep me level when I seem to be going out of balance. I could talk about her all day, but I will refrain from getting mushy. I am just so glad she is my Mama!

Abby

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Meet My BFF

Today I have decided to count my blessings and name them one by one (are you singing it with me?). One of those blessings is my BFF, Melissa (A.K.A. “Licca Lou”, “Lissy” or “MJ” – I use all these names. It is a bit insane, I know). She is going to be embarrassed that I am writing a post about her, but she will get over it!

Melissa became my friend when I was 4 years old. We lived in Sutton Estates together. We lived behind one another. She was in Kindergarten at FSC and I thought her uniform was really cool. She had the best play kitchen. It was very modern for the early 1980’s and I loved playing house with her. I was very shy (hard to imagine, I know) when I was a little girl. Her family has laughed many times remembering me knocking on their back door with my head down whispering, “Can Melissa play?”
Fast Forward 5 years: Melissa had moved out of the neighborhood and I had moved onto another street in the neighborhood (We lived in 3 different houses in the same neighborhood while I was growing up…crazy!). Melissa’s family joined our church, GABC in the 5th grade. I was so excited to see her again. We were in the same Training Union class on Sunday nights. She had glasses and braces and I thought that was pretty cool (I ended up having to get glasses and I hate I wished that on myself…not cool). We had different friends but we eventually found a deeper friendship by junior high.
Our junior high years were when we became BFF. We did everything together. I remember our moms putting us on phone restrictions from one another because we would talk all night long if not! We went to different schools but remained BFF until college. Melissa would get grounded often (“God love her, but she is in a lot of trouble”) but we always managed to get around it and see one another (She is going to kill me!). We went to church together, on trips together, to camp together, had many sleepovers and then started cruising F.S. together on the weekends. We cried together, laughed together, grew together, ate many Whoppers together, went on many diets together, shrunk each other’s clothes and stole each other’s crushes. I could write a book, but I don’t have time.
College came. We went to different colleges for 2 years but talked everyday on the phone for at least an hour. Email became popular and we added that to our daily communication agenda. We were inseparable and saw each other most every weekend. I decided I couldn’t take it anymore, so I transferred to Conway and lived with her and cousin, Jill. We were only together for a year, but it was much fun. I sometimes almost pee my pants thinking about all the fun things we did together.
Boyfriends came and turned into fianc├ęs. I feel like God had us fall in-love at the same time because He knew the other one of us would die or run the poor guy off! We did EVERYTHING together, so getting men at the same time was crucial. I am so thankful for that perfect timing.
Melissa lives 5 hours from me and has since the summer of 2001, yet we are as close today as we were when we were cruising in the Mazda, listening to Peter Cetera and drinking Route 44’s. I cherish this sweet friendship more than words can ever express. We laugh about sharing a room at the home because truthfully, we probably will.

I love that I don’t ever have to worry about our friendship; it is one of the constant things in my life. I love that she knows me inside and out and loves me just the same. I love that she knew me as a shy little girl. I love that she loved me through all my bad hair days. I love that she listens to me and remembers what I say. I love that she was my personal chauffeur for many years. I love that she prays for me daily and knows exactly how to pray. I love that she knows how to make me laugh in a way all her own. I love that she knows my mood by the tone of my voice. I love that God made us BFF’S for life!


Abby

Monday, April 14, 2008

Bowling-not for everyone


Saturday we took the children from church bowling. My kids were so excited. Papa had sent them each money to bowl and for a snack while we were there, you would have thought he sent them $100.00!There were about 23 kids and 4-5 adults. So the adults decided to bowl together. I was up for that. It turns out I do have a competitive spirit, it just doesn't get to shine much, because I'm not very good at games, or sports.
I picked up the bowling ball, walked up-I have a particular set of steps that I must go through before I throw the ball-and threw the ball. While I was throwing the ball down the lane-for a gutter ball-I hurt my back. But, my competitive spirit came out, and I bowled the rest of the game. Coming in not last but not first!
I am in so much pain!!!
Stephen reminded me that I don't have the best of luck at bowling alleys. About 12 years ago, we took our youth group bowling and while stepping down into the actual bowling pit(or whatever they call that area), twisted and sprained my right ankle. That was painful too. I wore an air cast and the next weekend we took those same kids to Six Flags-oh! the agony!!!
This pain is highly comparable. It hurts to stand, sit, lay down, bend down, smile, laugh, frown, etc... This really won't be a surprise to anyone but I am not an athlete. There is no sport that I'm really good at, unless shopping cheaply is a sport!
So my advice to you is-Beware of Bowling-it isn't for everyone!!
Julie

Saturday, April 12, 2008

First Haircut

Rand paid for his first haircut today! A huge milestone in our lives. (I took a pic of it and embarrassed him to death. It is on my phone and I can't get it to transfer to the computer...oh, well). Leaving the comforts of LaRue's (his mom's salon) is going to be a small shock to the wallet. I understand that I am still driving to Memphis or to the lake to get my hair done...it is free, you see! I love my hubby's tight wallet and my mother-in-law's awesome color jobs.

Abby

Friday, April 11, 2008

Did A Mack Truck Hit Me?

That is what it feels like. I am so exhausted from the ride I am on right now. It is not only exhausting; it is also fun, exciting, annoying and scary...but worth it.

Exhausting. I have our home arranged like a model home (lots of HGTV viewing and a professional stagger came to our home) and I am living in it at the same time. My agent tells me she is amazed that I am living in the house with it setup like it is and the buyers agents have been in awe also. I am not bragging, just trying to stress that it is not a comfy place to live. It is a chore, I must admit. I am ready to start living in Rand's apt. in J'boro in a few weeks (he has a housekeeper) and not have to wipe down any trace of life each morning before I leave the house. It is so exhausting.

Fun. Seeing Rand on Friday evenings after being away all week, shopping for a new home, exploring new shops and eateries, and finding a church is funtimes but also annoying.

Annoying. All the things I described as fun are also annoying. Change is good yet not always easy. Trying to find a job in a town that only hires LPNs, food service attendants and forklift drivers is past annoying and just plain scary. Locals telling us where we should live and why we shouldn't live here or there is nice but crosses the line to annoying after a while. I promise I won't need paper toilet seat covers in my bathrooms. I presently live in Marshall County, Mississippi and that is as bad as it gets, my friends and we have survived while raising our property value $20,000 in 4 years. I am also allergic to white trash, so have no fear!

Scary. Trying to find a job is my biggest fright at the moment. I am picturing myself refilling the slushie machine in my work shirt and sun visor at the local Kum & Go and asking, "Would you like a car wash with that?". Lord, help me!

Worth it. We prayed for this job for my sweet Rand for over two years. God has brought us into this season of life for a purpose far greater than we understand at the moment. I pray we learn all the lessons He wants for us to learn, we bloom when and where He wants us to bloom and above all, I pray that we honor and glorify Him every step of the way.

I am getting back on the ride while continuing to dodge the big trucks. Thanks for stopping by the rest area with me this morning.

Abby


Thursday, April 10, 2008

Our House


It is feast or famine around here. Either we post 3 a day or we don't post for 3 days, I have decided to not let it happen this week.
I really don't have anything to say. Things here are pretty dull actually. Stephen is going to work and the kids are having school and I have laundry. I did 12 loads on Tuesday. Did you get that? 12 loads of laundry in a day. Unbelievable.
Samuel gets to take the Iowa basic skills test next Tuesday. He and I are a little nervous about it, but I have promised him lunch out after he takes the test, so he is already feeling better about it. It's amazing what food can do! He's taking the test at the village here in town, and they have a great sandwich shop(along with a great bakery, steakhouse, and catfish place) there. He and I are really studying hard so he will be ready for the math part of the test. I don't know why I'm nervous, he will do fine, even better than fine. He is really a good student, I'm proud of him. I should go tell him that.
This is funny and then I'll let you get back to whatever you should be doing.
The other night I was telling the kids that after a mosquito bites you it takes a nap for an hour, and that only the girl mosquitoes bite. Daniel said" Really? Only the girl mosquitoes? You know why? Because if the boy mosquitoes bit it would hurt really bad." So there you go, the wisdom of Daniel.
Julie

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

The Cake Craze


Last summer when my cake decorating instructor asked all the students why we enrolled in the class I answered, “So I can make my nephews and my nieces birthday cakes”. Last year Julie realized that D & D think I make all their cakes (which is not true). We laughed and said they must think I work in the bakery at Wal-Mart, since this is where they usually go to pick them up. I decided then that I must not let my babies down. Claire ( my 2nd cousin and almost niece) has been the only one of my kiddos to receive an Aunt Abby cake (it was a Hannah Montana guitar) so as you can imagine, I am super stoked about being able to make 3 more of the 5 cakes this month!
(All 5 kids are in the above pic. Aren't they super fine!)


D& D are getting a Blue Angels cake with a runway (they get a more complicated cake because they have to share it. Bad for me, lucky for them). They were both so cute when Jules and I were looking up cakes on the Internet together (4 hours away from one another). She would email their response to each cake link/picture I sent. We were all laughing together, though so far apart. Love it! Anyway, it is going to be a trick for me to make but their Marmie and Mama have promised to help me assemble it. So, we shall see. David has promised to let me borrow his Blue Angels plane so I can match the colors just right (so fine, he is).


Anna’s cake is going to be a princess cake and super fun to make. I can already picture her face when she sees it…what a priceless little face! It is not the 3 tier cake she has wanted since last year, but she will have to deal with it. Maybe next year… if she acts right! I know she is going to love the princess cake and her special hat and be most happy.


I love the excitement I get out of making all of them smile and the memories we are making together. What joy they are to me. Samuel will of course get his in the fall and I do hope it is sports related because I am dying to do a cake like that. In the meantime I am making another rattle cake for a baby shower (a paying gig, I might add) and a diaper cake (another paying gig).
This cake craze will keep my mind off the move and that is a good thing!

Abby

A-HA

Oprah has A-HA moments-here is one of mine. I realize that some of you have never seen me or haven't seen me in a while, so this may come as a surprise to you, but I'm not the skinniest person on the block. In fact I have never been the weight I am now, and I have had 4 children(2 at one time)!
The other day Samuel was in the room with me while I was using my new flat iron and had these words of wisdom:
"your hair is already straight".
I tried to explain to him that this neat little device (that I love!!!) actually adds a little body to my hair. He wanted to know what that meant so I began to tell him that I use shampoo that adds body, mousse that adds body, I blow my hair dry upside down to add body and use a hairspray that is supposed to hold the body that the other products put in my hair.
It then dawned on me- that all these products have added body-TO MY BODY!, not my hair. It isn't the food I've eaten or even the cokes I've drunk, its the hair products!
A-HA!!
Julie

Monday, April 7, 2008

A Pearl

I ate oysters last night and found a pearl in one of them!
How cool is that?!


Abby

Saturday, April 5, 2008

Don't Steal My Moment!

This weekend I went to the Women of Faith conference in Little Rock with 5 ladies from our church. We had a really good time. Nicole C Mullin was UNREAL. I tell you that girl has some lungs and some arms! Wow, I wish I had those arms. Anyway she was fabulous, fabulous! Go see her, buy her CD, listen to her on the radio. She is the bomb!

Anyway, I am on here to tell you this story.
Before we all met for dinner on Friday night, two of the ladies and I went to a little boutique to look for jewelery. One of the ladies was buying earrings to go with her daughters prom dress. She had a picture of the dress that she had downloaded from her computer with her. It is a strapless, short black sequined dress with a pink sash. Beautiful! So we all walked around the store looking for earrings, and found nothing. So we walk up to the counter and my friend says, " I'm looking for earrings to go with my daughter's prom dress, this is the dress," and then shows the saleslady the picture of the dress. The saleslady then looks at me and says with a big smile on her face and excitement in her voice "for YOU!".
Oh my goodness!!! This could be the highlight of my adult life. My friend looked at me with a look of disgust, and my other friend was doing everything in her power to stay upright and quiet. She was holding back her laughter as best she could. I looked at her and with clenched teeth said "DON'T STEAL MY MOMENT!"
It was so funny! When we got out of the store we busted out. Can I just remind you people that I went to my senior prom 20 years ago. And I would never have looked good in that dress, but my friends daughter looked beautiful.

The other day I wished you a good day and a pair of red shoes. Today I wish you a great compliment!

Julie

Friday, April 4, 2008

This is more like it!

I was trying on a new shirt(new to me, not new to fashion) and asked the kids if they liked it. Anna came up smelled my shirt, and my jeans and said, "yes, they smell like mom!"
The boys didn't like it, but Anna apparently thinks that since they smell like me, they look like me! (But her "mother" also has a shirt like this so I guess she thinks it is a mom shirt!)
I know you are asking yourselves "doesn't she have anything better to do than blog funny statements by her kids." Well, I do. I have to pack and get the house in shape to be gone for 24 hours. Take a shower and get ready.
So, now I'm off to do anything better!
Julie

Another serious post!

Isaiah 40:11
... he gently leads those that have young.
As a mom of 4 children I often have mothers of older children tell me that
"they grow up fast" or "enjoy them while they're young" or "it's just a season".
My response to them is usually a curt smile and sometimes I will say "but they're young now" or "do you not remember this season of YOUR life". I am around my children all-I mean all-the time and at times I grow weary. I at times want to give these older, wiser women more than a curt smile. I want to stand up to them and ask (loudly) "Help me then!" "What did you do?"
I want to ask those of you that are older to not just give us younger moms a smile and a quote from above, but maybe a smile and a verse that got you through this time in your life. Or take one or more of our children for an hour or so. Younger moms, I ask you to remember this time in your lives. I often ...ponder these things in (my) heart (like Mary in Luke 2:19). Be prepared for when you are the older mother-you can give words of wisdom, truth and advise those younger moms in love.
The verse from Isaiah is helping me to not be so weary. Just knowing that Jesus is gently leading me is such a relief. He isn't tugging at me and yelling at me to get right, he is gently leading me. It is such a burden off of my shoulders to know that I am not in this alone, that He cares, He loves, and most of all He guides. YEA!!!!

ps. Melissa, the pics of Grant on Leighann's website are SOOO cute. The one where he is walking made me crack up!

ps2. No, I don't think Abby is talking about me in her previous post, but she could be.

ps3. What is the deal with us leaving such serious posts on a Friday! Stay tuned, we'll try to lighten it up a bit!!!
Julie

Where's The Thank You Note?

Why do so many people in my generation not send thank you notes? It is terribly rude.

Whether it is for a gift, a friend who picked up a dinner tab or lent a helping hand, or any other thoughtful gesture…a thank you note needs and should be sent. I have blogged about this before. It is one of my hot buttons. I know we don’t give (or we shouldn't) to receive praise for the gift…but a thank you note should not be debatable. Not saying "thanks" in the proper way sometimes tarnishes ones reputation and the odds of ever receiving anything again is just shot all to pieces.
How sad, really.

I am tired of spending my resources and hours of my precious time on creative gifts for friends who don’t appreciate them! I am fixing to start giving gifts from the Dollar Tree, unwrapped!
(ha ha, but seriously)

And don't start freaking out...this is more than likely not directed at you! Most of my friends and family were raised right...hee hee. I just had to get on my soapbox to make myself feel better.

Food for thought: If you ever have to debate about sending a thank you note, you should probably slap a stamp on that sucker and send it!


Ahhhh, it feels good to vent!
Abby

Thursday, April 3, 2008

We Love Consignment Sales!

In case you didn't know, my big sis and I LOVE a consignment sale...or any sale for that matter! Last night I went to the preview sale of a large consignment sale in Memphis. One of the girls at my work owns this consignment sale. It was amazing!
I have done a few of these sales with Jules and love the hunt, the bargain and the fight for survival. Jules had given me a list of specific things she needed for each child. She was on the phone with me as I described the clothes I was flipping through on the rack. It was most fun and it was like she was right there. We are both so cheap, it is funny! I am so glad she trusts me to shop used clothes for her. Aunt Abby will not be buying any trash for her babies, that is for sure!
I bought a lot of cute things and spent right under $30! Jules had done most of her shopping already and only needed a few more things to dress them for the Spring/Summer.
I can't wait to take my laundry basket ( belt attached for pulling), my bag on wheels and Rand's truck to a consignment sale and buy for my own babies! Consignment sales are worth the sweat and tears. I am so glad my sister has exposed me to them before starting my own family.

Abby

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Shoes


Aren't they great??!! I wish you could really see them, because they really are quite fabulous, shiny red patent leather heels, Mamaw you would be proud!! I wore them Sunday with my black dress-you remember the black dress story and comment right?-. I wish I had a picture of the black dress, but my photography skills are lacking. I also wish I knew how to link a picture of the dress from the White House Black Market website, but I don't- so there!!

I do wish you a great Tuesday and that you get a great pair of red heels!!! (Yes, you too Chip!)
Julie

Me Too!!!!


I got tagged too?!!! Thanks Mandy-what an honor!!!

My six words are:
Loud
Tired Loyal
Loving
Kind Sweet (these 2 were given by Daniel)
Julie