Friday, September 30, 2011

Food Friday

"Now he who supplies seed to the sower and bread for food will also supply and increase your store of seed and will enlarge the harvest of your righteousness."

2 Corinthians 9:10 (NIV)

"Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up." Galatians 6:9 (NIV)

It is harvest at our house. Our little Daddy brought home some goodies for us yesterday from the bootheel of Missouri after a day of harvesting his crop. Watching him open the tailgate of his truck with no anticipation of anything but a cooler being in the back of it made me think about harvest...real harvest. It makes me think of how blessed we are both as a nation and as God's children.
As we end our little emphasis on hunger this month, let's praise God for all the blessings we have in our lives. Harvest time is amongst us and it is great time to reflect on the bounty we have. Thank you for taking a look at the hunger epidemic with me. We will have recipes next week!

Happy Food Friday!
Abby

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Happy Birthday Mother

Rudda Ward posted this on facebook today for mom's birthday. It was taken at Rudda's wedding in the late 60's.

Today is our mom's birthday!

We aren't with her today but we wish we were. Birthdays are meant to be spent with family. This isn't the first year she's had to celebrate alone. It makes me sad.



But she doesn't make us sad. This woman makes us happy!!

She is strong. She is loving. She is beautiful. She is full of life. She is a friend. She is a confidant. She is a loving grandmother. She is the Mother of all Mothers!

We have been through a lot together. We have cried many tears together. She has listened to me as I poured out all the pieces of my broken heart out to her. She has been with me in my most joyous moments. She has been scared with me, happy with me, tearful with me, and excited with me.

When I look at my days of mothering I see so many ways I wish I was more like her. She is a great example of a Mother.

We love you Mom!!
More than we know how to express!

Julie



Monday, September 26, 2011

My Funny Little Fella

I am loving this boy. I know you already know this, yet I just can't express it enough. I am just loving this stage. Every stage has its perks. This one makes me laugh...and we all know how I love to laugh. It also makes me tired in a whole new tired way. It is a good tired and not the "drunk" tired of the infant stage. This is a sleep good tired and I like it, even though I sometimes complain. I really shouldn't.

Henry does and says the funniest things. He is a little character. I admit that he is my child. Beware! He is a little clown and I adore it. Henry will get into things and find things I did not know we even had. He found this water gun in the above photo in a random cabinet that I had for the Fab 4 a few years back. Never a dull moment. He had never played with a gun so his Daddy was demonstrating. I am not sure Henry thought it was all that fun...shooting his mother and all.

I am really trying my hardest to cherish all these sweet and simple times because I know they will soon be gone and he will be a big boy that I am no longer able to pick up and carry on my hip. We have a bar in our kitchen that sticks out a little ways. He always walked under it and hid from us. He now hits his head. Bittersweet times to see him now duck as he walks under it.

When I was pregnant I always thought of my baby boy at this stage. This is the stage I would day dream about. I remember truck rides with Randall and I would talk about what it would be like, what we would do, where we would go, etc. It is exactly what I imagined in my heart, and better. Yes, we have trying days and exhausting days, yet even those days have their precious and memorable moments. Life is what we choose to make of it. I am so thankful for my little family of 3 and all it is turning out to be. Being a Mama has taught me to count my blessings one by one in a whole new fashion and I hope in turn I am teaching Henry to do the same.

Abby

Friday, September 23, 2011

Food Friday

Last week I posted about the ferris wheel at WestEnd in our hometown having orange lights this month for hunger awareness. Well, we rode it last weekend while we were home in support of the cause and had SO much fun! I thought this would be my little foodie pic for this week. We are so fortunate to be able to fill the Fab 5's little bellies without a struggle. Samuel cracks me up in the photo....he looked mad on purpose. That was his pose. To be 13 again....ahhh.


This week I want to focus on my local food bank, since it is near and dear to my heart. I serve on the Food Bank of Northeast Arkansas Development Council. It is rewarding to serve in this capacity and see the benefits of sharing the mission and passion of the food bank with the community.

Our food bank serves 84 agencies in northeast Arkansas. An agency can be a church panty, a senior citizens home, shelter, etc. These agencies come and buy or are given cases of food. Where we can purchase a box of cereal for $3, they can purchase a whole case for $3. This and local food drives make serving the hungry possible. If you were to see the building our food bank operates out of you would be amazed. It outgrew itself a long time ago and it is now time to move. Neighborhoods grew up all around it and getting trucks of food in and out is sometimes a challenge. I live not too far from the food bank and drive past it to get to my house. Several times I have sat and waited for trucks to get in and out and some have even gotten stuck in the ditch.

No one that works at the food bank complains. I love that about them. They just do their job and remain thankful for the resources they do have. Through that attitude and their hard work, they have now raised the money needed to break ground on a new facility off the bypass in Jonesboro. Through a partnership with the Reynolds Foundation, we will have a brand new building by next summer. I am so excited to see the wonderful things God will do with the new facility.

Here are some facts about our local food bank that might give you a better idea of how it works, what they do and who they serve:

Our local food bank serves 2.6 million pounds of food each year to 84 agencies. They will double or triple the amount with the new facility because they will have more warehouse space.

8% of recipients are elderly. This floors me because the need is so much greater than 8%. We have got to do more for our seniors!

25% of recipients are children. I know the need is also greater than this number.

5,100 people receive food assistance each week through these 84 agencies. 89% of these households have incomes below the poverty line.



Jonesboro's unemployment rate is higher than the state average. It is almost 9%. This makes the need greater.

I share this so you can see how hunger is a priority and that there are people who are making serving this need their focus each and every day. There is still so much more we can do to serve. Learn more about your area's food bank and how you can get involved.



Happy Food Friday!


Abby

Thursday, September 22, 2011

A Hometown Weekend

Mama had all her babies at her house this past weekend and she loved it. Jules and I took the trek west without our hubbies in tow. It was fun to have girl time and to have the kids play with each other for a few days...or should I say it was fun for Henry. The Fab 4 were so gracious to entertain that sweet boy of ours!

This makes coming "home" even sweeter. Melissa is my BFF, if you are not familiar with her from previous posts. We have been friends since I was 4. Besides my sister, she is the friend I have had the longest in life, and she is my best friend. She had baby Luke 4 months after I had Henry and she has 2 other cute boys, Drew and Grant. Luke and Henry are going to be a pair! Henry calls him "Wookie" and all week he has said "Wookie house". Sweet little angel wants to go back. Melissa and I got to spend time together 3 times n 1 day. I loved it.

Going downtown is always so much fun. We grew up in Fort Smith. If you do not know what makes Fort Smith famous, we can tell you all about it! Julie's kids love the history of it all and Julie and I just love being down at Belle Point like old times. It is a win-win.

This was Henry's second visit to Judge Parker's Courthouse. His Daddy and I took him last summer and took lots of pictures. He has grown so much since then! He sat quietly in his stroller during the mock shootout that was taking place that day. It was like being on the set of Sweet Home Alabama...for real! The fab 4 loved it. We laughed a lot and it was great fun.

Our maternal grandfather is buried at the National Cemetery in our hometown. We always like to visit. Pawpaw would be so proud to call the Fab 5 his own. One day he will get to meet them in person...oh, what a glorious day that will be. It sort of makes me want to belt out "when the roll is called up yonder..." but I will refrain.

Of course they had to celebrate me just a little bit since it was my birthday week. I love Henry's expression. Such a male response to craft and fashion excitement already! Mama gave me a cute shirt and some pretty jewelry. Julie then gifted me with a Cricut. Yes, she rocks. I was rather happy with all my prizes. Mama also made me a chocolate sheet cake and it was divine.

Henry is in love with his Juju. He talks about her all the time. "Juju home", "Juju", "Juju at work"," Juju" "Bye Juju", "Juju", "Hi Juju" ,"Juju". So naturally, they were excited to embrace one another at Marmie's house. He loves his Marmie too. He keeps saying "Marmie house" since we have been home. So sweet. Julie, Mama and I laughed (well, mama didn't laugh. She gave us that stern look she used to give us as children) so hard one night after the kids went to bed. Julie couldn't breathe and I had to sit down on the floor to keep from wetting my pants. I am still smiling about it because it was Julie's fault! :)

Seeing Mawmaw was the icing on the cake. She was in town for her 65th class reunion. I wish we had been able to spend more time with her, but the reunion parties could not go on with out the queen! The children loved giving she and UD hugs and kisses...and so did we! They are such a blessing. I love this picture of she and Anna because I can feel that hug. I love her hugs.

Spending time with those who have loved me the longest is such a relaxing treat. We had a wonderful early Fall weekend in the Fort. I will cherish the warm fuzzy feeling it gave me for a long time.

Abby

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Churches, I love them!


We have been to four different churches in the last four weeks. It's been fun to visit other churches and I've made some observations.

We have seen the offering taken up in beach buckets, paint buckets, and traditional offering plates. We have sat in chairs and pews. We have sung praise music, hymns, old songs and new songs and in one church we got to hear a southern gospel quartet. We've had music led by women and men, guitars and full orchestras. Piano's and organs.

I guess because of the time of the year I have heard two "vision" sermons. They weren't really sermons, but the pastor's vision for the church. Oh, how I long for a sermon! I can't wait to sit in a pew on Sunday in my own church and hear my own pastor preach!

I realized that people worship in all kinds of ways. I knew that already, I'm not a total dingbat! The subtleties in a couple of the worship services were just enough that neither church family could have changed churches and felt comfortable. The service was made just for their members.

A couple of the churches had a mixture of races, the other two were all white congregations. I must say I love when many races get together in one place to worship the Lord. I think its the way its supposed to be done.

Two of the churches I loved. One of the churches I would go to if I lived there. And the other church I never plan on visiting again! Although I didn't enjoy that one church, the people there loved it. It was exactly what they needed to worship the Lord.

I'm so glad our God accepts worship in so many different ways. We don't all have to hold a hymnal, look at a screen, or just listen to songs being sung. We don't all have to sit in pews to worship. Our God allows many different types of worship and I am so very glad!

How do you worship?

Friday, September 16, 2011

Food Friday

As you know by now, we are dedicating Food Friday in September as a platform for hunger awareness. It is Hunger Action Month and we live in the hungriest state in the nation. Working directly with the local food bank in various capacities, it has become a cause close to our hearts.

Hunger is a problem 365 days a year, but for one month it is the focus of much attention. This is evidence of it. I loved, loved loved seeing this on the Hunger Action Month blog. It actually made me tear up a bit and smile from ear to ear. I love my hometown and seriously dig riding this ferris wheel with my family.

"The lights of this Ft. Smith, AR Ferris wheel will remain orange all month long as part of River Valley Regional Food Bank’s Light Up Hunger food drive. The historic wheel, also known as Big Eli, is a San Diego World’s Fair relic. It can now officially add Hunger Action Month advocate to it’s colorful timeline."

Like Eli, you too can get involved with hunger awareness and help 1 in 6 Americans:

1)Volunteer at your local food bank.

2) Make a financial contribution to your local food bank.

3) Lend your voice.

4) Tell your friends.

I sat in a club meeting a few weeks ago and realized one of our club members was dealing with hunger issues. It was humbling, to say the least. She admitted they had to go for assistance that week. So many Americans are living one paycheck away from being in need just like she was. We think it is not on our street, in our office or in our club....but it is.

My little foodie and I have so much fun in our kitchen. I am thankful it can be a fun place where he is not only fed physically, but mentally and spiritually. We are blessed beyond measure at our house and it is my goal to always teach my sweet boy to give to those less fortunate.

Monday we will wear orange to show we support fighting hunger...join us!

Pray for those who have empty bellies today and that someone will feed them

Abby

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Happy Birthday Abby Jo!!!!



Abby. She is such a joy to have in my life. She has always been a bundle of energy, full of life and fun. We are the complete opposite of each other in personality. I remember making her ask sales clerks questions for me when she was 8 & 9 years old. I was too embarrassed to, and she was more than happy to do it for me.


I still ask her to be my voice at times. She does such a good job.


She is my best friend. My confidante. My protector. My sister. I'm so glad God saw fit to put her in my life. Although I questioned Him at times, He knew just what I needed in a sister! HA!


Happy Birthday Abby Jo. I love you so much. I hope today is fun and celebrates you.


Love you!!!

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Double Delight

These cuties have had a blast at the beach this week. Daniel (left) and David (right) will always get the "oh my gosh, are y'all twins?!" as long as they go any where together. Evidently they have heard it a lot this week while at the beach. Bless them for loving each other and the fun of being look-alikes. I am so glad Jules sent me this picture to post. Made my little aunt heart happy. Love my little D's!

Abby

Friday, September 9, 2011

Food Friday

As you read last Food Friday, this is Hunger Action Month and we are dedicating our Food Friday's to highlight hunger and ways we can help. When most of us think of the hungry we picture children. Their little brains and bodies are growing at nano speed and proper nutrition is so important for them. It hurts any of us to think that there are children who are unable to eat because nothing is provided for them.

Yet, what REALLY gets me these days is this statistic. We don't think about our parents and grandparents being hungry. When we first moved to J'Town 3+ years ago I got involved with the Food Bank by delivering senior packs. Every two weeks I would load my Maxima with 20+ boxes of food and take them to a senior apartment complex. I had a love/hate relationship with it. I loved helping and felt the need was great, yet I hated the sadness it left in my heart for days afterwards. I am not one of those people that helps and feels good about it. I still see the need and focus on it. I would find myself going to each door and not being able to leave. They each wanted me to stay and visit. My deliveries often took over two hours. Randall and I decided I needed to find a different way to give.

I started writing a check to support a few seniors instead of delivering. I felt awful about it, but I learned my limitations in giving through all this. It is not emotionally healthy for me to see the need first hand. I think it is okay to admit that and beef up the areas where I am able to give until it hurts. We are all called to give of our time, talent and treasure in different ways.

At each stop I would see my sweet little Granny and that made me feel all sorts of things I did not want to feel while providing nutrition and smiles to these people whom I did not know. I then started seeing all sorts of people because honestly this need could hit my parents, my friends' parents, my aunts and uncles, etc. It is hard to swallow, but so true.

The need is great for our seniors and will be even greater in the years to come. It is up to the working generation to provide for them while we can. Let's make a pledge to be aware and offer support for those that have always supported us. It is sad to think that each day many of our seniors are choosing medicine or food.

Here is my little foodie. He was all ready for bed after his bath, with his "bonkie" in hand. He loves to hide in my cookbook cabinet. He is almost too big for it and that is surreal to me, really. When I look at this photo of him I realize how blessed he is and how blessed we are to have the means to provide for him and live in a country that can help us if we are ever in need. Pray for our country and the programs that support so many that could not do without them. Pray that the funding continues and that those with open hearts can continue to support the local programs that afford many of our neighbors the chance to survive.

Happy Food Friday!
Abby

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Our Preacher Man is 4-0


Mister Brother Stephen is 4-0! Happy day to you, bro man. Julia is having Internet issues at the beach and was not able to post successfully. I could not stand to think he would not have a post recognizing such an OLD milestone. So, here's to you, birthday boy. Enjoy a new decade of getting older and wiser. Your only sibling wishes she could shower you with singing via Skype...lucky you, your Internet is down!
Abby

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Freckle Fun in The Sun

It was girls day at the beach. Julie and Anna sent this to me from their cell phone today. It made me smile. I just love those freckle faced girls more than anything!


This is the princess of Gulf Shores this week. I am so glad they are all having a fun time now that Lee passed on by and they can get out and soak up some rays! Julie will be so glad I updated for her. She tried to post and lost her connection in her condo. Bless it.


Abby

Friday, September 2, 2011

Food Friday

Every morning this sweet boy wakes up and asks for his "muk" and his "pop pop". He knows how to open the pantry to find his "pop pop" and tries his hardest to pull open the fridge door to get his own "muk". That milk and pop tart are essential to us in the mornings. We always have an extra gallon of "muk" in the fridge out in the garage and we always have a stash of pop tarts hidden in the pantry. We think nothing of it. We don't realize how blessed we are to not only have what we need to meet his immediate need, but we have enough supply to meet the need for days and even weeks.

Sometimes I think about it. It breaks my heart to think about it. What if one morning he woke up and there was no "muk" or "pop pop". What would I say or do and how would he react? How would I fill his little belly? Yes, I would go to a food pantry or find government assistance, more than likely, but what if we did not have that available to us? What if he lived in the Horn of Africa and we had a famine that had killed over 29,000 children under the age of 5...what would we do?

Yes, this is heavy and depressing, but we take our food supply forgranted and do not realize how extremely blessed we are when there are others right under our nose and across the globe starving and malnourished.




I have never really been hungry. Yes I have been late to a meal, but I have not ever known true hunger. Someone asked me this week if hunger had ever been a struggle for my family since I was so passionate about it. Fortunately, it has not been a struggle for us. We have always been blessed to have plenty to eat...and often more than we need! I think it is a passion because it is so basic and so real. How can we let anyone be hungry in this rich nation we live in when we waste so much without regard to those in need? The famine in the Horn of Africa is a new burden of mine. I ask you to pray with me about that horrible famine killing hundreds of thousands of people. I can't even wrap my mind around that. Yet I do know that our great God loves those people just like he loves us and we should pray for them.

This month is hunger action month. Each Food Friday this month will be about an action we can take to help the hungry. Arkansas is the hungriest state in the nation. 1 in 6 of deals with hunger in the Natural State. You are among people each day that do not know where their next meal will come from, if they will have "muk" or a "pop pop" in the morning for their baby, or if they should fill their meds or buy food. These could be people you work with, that serve you lunch or scan your groceries, these could be people on your street or in your church pew.

What will you do this month to take action against hunger?

Abby

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Happy Day, UD


Happy Birthday to our handsome, loving, smart, talented and jolly grandfather. We love you to the the moon and back, UD! We are SUPER excited about hugging your neck in a few weeks...it has been too long (This was our photo from last Summer and has been used too many times on our posts. It is time for a new one, but it is so happy, we love it!)