Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Turkey Times

My boys and I loaded up last Wednesday and headed west to the Lone Star state to have Thanksgiving at my grandparents. There were 25 of us. It was great fun.

Marmie (my mama) loved having us there. We had not been in 5 years. Here she is stealing some love from H while he was still pacified by his DVD player. He is so rotten. How did we ever live without DVD players in the backseat?! He never cried on the 6 hour trip because of the Veggie Tales on DVD. It was fun for a while until Randall and I started talking in Veggie Tale accents to one another.

I love my Betty Jo. We staged the picture with the ham and I threw my arm up on my hip for the shot. She is too cute and fun. I wish she lived next door to me. I really, really do! I am always amazed at how the meal is perfectly displayed, warm and delicious, and there is always enough for our large group. I hope I have her genes. I like to think I do.

Thanksgiving with my favorite boys! Can I just say I wish I was half the mom that Randall is! I remember Julie saying that about Stephen when hers were little. I now know exactly what she meant. He rocks at his daddy job.

Randall loves my Mawmaw. He needed a grandma like her. I am so glad he got her! He was helping with the trash and had lots of help from Uncle Windle and Aunt Suzy. We are a hugging, kissing, praising bunch. I think he sometimes wants to gag, but I think deep down he truly loves it! I know I do.

This is priceless and needs no caption. Molly is my cousin Sarah's youngest child.

Molly and Henry ran up and down the hall and stairs, over and over again. I am sure everyone was glad to see us leave. Henry brought out the wild side in sweet little Molly. He is ALL boy!

Times with these two are never long enough. I could soak them up for days on end. My Mawmaw and her sister, Suzy are the best textbook on life a girl could have. There is a photo my mother has from Thanksgiving 1977 (the year before I was born) with these two that is a lot like this one, but Granny is in that one. I like to think she is in this one too!

Saying a special thanks to our Deliverer and Comforter this Thanksgiving with my cousin, Sa. Isn't she beautiful in that orange?! I have a beautiful family, that is for sure!

Giving Thanks for all our blessings would take a lifetime. We are a blessed little trio!

Abby

Arrow Of Light

David and Daniel earned their Arrow of Light award last night and crossed over from being Cub Scouts to become Boy Scouts. I am one proud Auntie! Yes, this is Aunt Abby and not their mom writing this. She is busy packing up their home to move them to a new one. I did not want to miss the opportunity to brag on these precious boys. I hope Henry is as disciplined, faithful, loving and convicted as his Juju's boys. What a blessing it is to be their aunt! I adore these look-a-like faces more than this keyboard will express!

Abby

Monday, November 28, 2011

Just the Facts, & a Little Emotion

Two weeks ago Stephen was asked by the deacons at First Baptist Star City to resign. It was a complete surprise to us, we had no idea this was in the works, no idea that anyone was that unhappy.

We walked around in a daze the first part of the week. We had people to contact. Wee had to find a house, find a job, decide where we were going to live. We also had to keep God center in our lives, keep our children calm and "in the loop" and remind each other that God is good, God is in charge and in control.

Although we were walking around in a daze we were still feeling the prayers of God's people. I remember the Monday night after it happened, I went to bed and was re-thinking the day, I realized that it had been much easier than I could have imagined. Sure, I cried. Sure, I yelled. But it was nothing like what I thought it would have been. And then I realized that it was because people were praying. Friends would text me throughout the days and remind me they were praying for me. I

Oh, I don't know how we would have gotten through those first days without the prayers of His people. They are what sustained us. They are what got us through the daze and the fog.

Stephen has wanted to start a new church in the delta for a long time now. He attended classes on church planting. Then we both attended classes in the spring and were certified through the Southern Baptist Convention to start a church . I was not on board with the idea. In fact, when we went to the classes together he introduced me and told everyone that I didn't want to do this! It was the truth, but I felt that if God was leading Stephen in this direction I better find out if this was indeed what God had in store for us.

I told Stephen in June that I was ready to start a church. It takes me a while, I'm slow to come around. We didn't know when we would begin the adventure but we finally knew we were on the same page.

When we drove in the driveway after Stephen was asked to leave he looked at me and said "I guess we're supposed to start a new church now!" What people meant for evil, God meant for good.

We are moving to Pine Bluff in the next couple of weeks. Some friends of ours are selling their home and are letting us stay in it until we find a place. God is good! God has shown Himself trustworthy, kind and loving, good and strong throughout the last two weeks. Stephen has preached both Sundays since then, our children have gone to Awana at another church, we still pray, and talk about the goodness of the Lord. We still love Him!

We plan on starting a multi-ethnic church in Pine Bluff. A church that looks like the community. A church that reaches out and includes the community. We are excited. It will be an adventure. It will be hard. But, it will be good!

If you feel like praying here are things you can pray for:
Stephen to find a job
that God will provide people to come along beside us and start this new work
that God will put in people a sense of urgency to be a part of this church
We will be able to find a home to live in permanently

Thank you!

I do want to say that I am journaling this experience. The journal is raw, it is full of real thoughts, real emotions, real disgust and real happiness and amazement. I've decided to not blog all of that. It happened. I was MAD! I was vengeful, I was bitter. But God has given me a sense of peace. One that cannot be explained. I'm very prone to fever blisters and stomach pains in times of stress. But through this, I have had neither. It is only God! The prayers of my friends, my friends friends, my family's friends and people I don't even know have been answered and continue to be answered. God is good ya'll. He is so very good!

Julie

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Give Thanks From A Grateful Heart

Today we are eating it up and giving thanks for the blessings we so often take for granted. It makes me think of this sweet song that my girl Paige sang at our wedding in 2003. What a wonderful memory and beautiful lyrics. I hope your day is full of gratitude and blessings.


There's nothing like the warmth of a summer afternoon
Waking to the sunlight, and being cradled by the moon
Catching fireflies at night
Building castles in the sand
Kissing Mama's face goodnight
Holding Daddy's hand
Thank you Lord, how could I ask for more

Running barefoot through the grass
A little hide and go seek
Being so in love, that you can hardly eat
Dancing in the dark, when there's no one else around
Being bundled 'neath the covers, watching snow
Fall to the ground
Thank you Lord, how could I ask for more

So many things I thought would bring me happiness
Some dreams that are realities today
Such an irony the things that mean the most to me
Are the memories that I've made along the way

So if there's anything I've learned
From this journey I am on
Simple truths will keep you going
Simple love will keep you strong
Cause there are questions without answers
Flames that never die
Heartaches we go through are often blessings in disguise
So thank you Lord, oh thank you Lord
How could I ask for more
There's nothing like the warmth of a summer afternoon
Waking to the sunlight, and being cradled by the moon
Catching fireflies at night
Building castles in the sand
Kissing Mama's face goodnight
Holding Daddy's hand
Thank you Lord, how could I ask for more

Running barefoot through the grass
A little hide and go seek
Being so in love, that you can hardly eat
Dancing in the dark, when there's no one else around
Being bundled 'neath the covers, watching snow
Fall to the ground
Thank you Lord, how could I ask for more

So many things I thought would bring me happiness
Some dreams that are realities today
Such an irony the things that mean the most to me
Are the memories that I've made along the way

So if there's anything I've learned
From this journey I am on
Simple truths will keep you going
Simple love will keep you strong
Cause there are questions without answers
Flames that never die
Heartaches we go through are often blessings in disguise
So thank you Lord, oh thank you Lord
How could I ask for more






Abby

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Thanksgiving Week

It's Thanksgiving week! I won't be with my extended family this week, but will be with Stephen's parents instead. We are headed to Branson, with a quick stop in Fort Smith to have dinner with my friend Cindy.

Thanksgiving dinner will be eaten at Shoney's, Cracker Barrel or Golden Corral. I don't know which one, but I'm sure we'll have plenty to eat. I'm making a couple of pies to take with us, so we'll have a little taste of Thanksgiving in our hotel room.

Silver Dollar City is so pretty decorated for Christmas, we love going there this time of year. Well, you know better than that. We love going there anytime of year!

What are your Thanksgiving plans?

Yesterday we went 4 wheeler riding on a friends property. I so wished I had my camera or even my phone to take pictures. The kids had a blast! Everyone got to drive and I got my first good look at how my children are going to be behind the wheel. Samuel and David are good drivers. Daniel may not ever get to drive anything ever again! And Anna seems to have a bit of a lead foot, I guess she gets that from me.

It was a good day, but I really wish I had pictures!

Julie

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Party Time

It is party time at our house. We have birthdays galore in the next few weeks and fun holiday celebrations. It is a busy, fun time and this little mama is excited!

Today is my hunky husband's birthday. He is 35 and alive! Henry and I are so proud we get to celebrate him all day long! We are so blessed to have him for another year :)

Our sweet little Piper Jo had her 2nd birthday this past weekend. She is Henry's best girl.

I love these two precious pups. Henry loved being the only boy at her party!

This week we had Henry's Thanksgiving feast at school. He ate 3 helpings of mashed "taters" and would have eaten more if he could have. He loves a tater.

He also loves Piper. Oh my...those two!

Their reactions are priceless. I have to remind him Piper's Daddy is "the law" and wears a gun. Oh, Henry!

Here's to a week of eating and celebrating!
Abby

Friday, November 18, 2011

Food Friday

This week we had a charity event at work. I coordinated the shindig and had a ball. I love a part-a! We raised money for 5 local charities and ate real good. Leslie (in the pic with me) and I love to eat good so we enjoyed being in charge of the food.

I found this cheese tray in shape of a tree on the Pinterest and insisted we had to have it! It was much better in person. This photo was taken at a bad angle, but I was too busy hosting to be taking photos for Food Friday...just sayin!

This is not food related, but this tree and I have had some rounds and I think I am finally ahead! I decorated our work tree in mid-October for a November issue of our local magazine. They did a feature story on our event and came and took photos. We moved the tree to the back of the building until it was acceptable to have a tree on display in the lobby... and it all fell apart. We brought it out last week and I redecorated it. Then, the next day the lights decided to burn out. So, I undecorated it, strung lights and then redecorated it. I am not touching that thing again until 2012! It is a hard job, I tell ya. (I know the poor angel is lopsided but my "give a dad-gum" is busted concerning that tree.)

Now I am gearing up for Thanksgiving! Henry wore his turkey shirt to school today and said "gobble gobble". I love that it is less than a week away. It always amazes me how food can take us down memory lane and evoke such wonderful feelings.

Next week I will get to eat oyster dressing. The excitement level in my mouth and tummy are out of control. I have not had it in 5 years. Way past due! I cannot wait to eat my Grandmother's Thanksgiving meal. I have missed it. Having split families on both sides makes it so hard for Randall and me to know where to go, who to see, who had us last time, who gets us this time, etc. The upside...we can pick where we want to go because that ole "give a dad-gum" is slowly getting busted as we get older! Mawmaw gets us this time...whoo hoo!

The rolls the Tilton women make...oh my...oh my. I cannot wait to have one melt in my mouth. When I smell them it makes me almost cry thinking about our Granny. I love it. She was my grandmother's mother and helped mold me into the woman I am today. I had her in my life each day until I was 13. I loved that women and her hot rolls. I hope she makes them in heaven.

Rhubarb pie...no strawberries, just rhubarb. This is the pie of all pies. My mouth is already puckering up for the first bite. I love family traditions. We have them on all sides. I am anxious to celebrate these food traditions with my large maternal family this Thanksgiving. Last year we spent it with my paternal family and enjoyed lots of recipes that reminded me of my precious Meemaw. I am blessed to go spend it this year with my only living grandmother, in her home. Thank you Lord, how could I ever ask for more!

Happy Food Friday!
Abby

Thursday, November 17, 2011

We're Ballin'

I don't think I've told you that Samuel and Daniel are playing basketball for a homeschool co-op in Pine Bluff.

We have friends that use the co-op and they asked if Samuel would like to play basketball for their junior high team. Well of course he wanted to. I had just told Stephen that we had to get that boy in some kind of competitive sport with a ball or he was going to go crazy ( or maybe I was going to go crazy!) He was carrying a ball with him everywhere he went just aching to throw it, shoot it or hit it.

The team practices every Tuesday and Thursday in Pine Bluff. Practice was going good for a couple of days and then they realized they didn't have many players and asked if the twins would like to play.

So, Daniel, my 10 year old, is playing for the jr. high team. It isn't ideal for him or the team, but he is able to let some of the players rest a bit. We have played six games and have lost them all. But we lose with great spirit! One game ended in a tie and went into overtime. It was the best game! It was such fun to watch Samuel play. I think he forgets at times that it isn't football, man that boy can wrestle with the best of them!

Daniel scored his first basket Tuesday night. I was so proud. I yelled his name and he looked at me and shrugged his shoulders like "I don't know, it just went in!" It was sweet, and just like him.

We have eight games left. We are hoping to win one of them. Our hopes aren't high, just realistic!
Go Eagles!!

PS. If you think of it, would you please pray for the Beavers 6? We would covet your prayers during this time. I'll share with you what is happening when the timing is better. I just didn't want to let the opportunity of blog readers praying for us to pass by. Thank you so much!

Julie

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Oh, the Stench!

For the last few days there our home has been filled with the aroma of trash. It hasn't been pleasant.

We have taken the trash out multiple times a day, we've washed the trash cans, cleaned out the frig. I couldn't get rid of the trash smell. But the more cleaning I did, the more localized the odor became.

Yesterday we narrowed it down to Samuel's room. He took all his dirty clothes to the laundry room (why he doesn't do that everyday is beyond me.) and said that he had found a wet towel under the clothes. He was certain that was the odor culprit. And because I wanted the smell gone, I agreed.

This morning I got up, walked down the hallway, which ends at Samuel's room, and was knocked backwards by the stench. Oh my! It was awful. I decided to do school first and then deal with the stench. But, it couldn't wait. I called Samuel in his room and even he said "this is nasty." He was speaking of the smell, but he could also have been speaking about the condition of his room!

I had him pick everything up off of the floor. I was convinced something had died in there, I didn't want to be the one to find it so I left him to it.

A few minutes later he came into the schoolroom with a zippy bag that had some kind of raw meat and its juices inside it. I can't imagine what it was or why it was in his room. But it is outside now. And Samuel's room is clean and smells like Glad Pumpkin Spice.

I give it 5 hours to smell and get dirty again.

Julie

Monday, November 14, 2011

My Vision



I have been singing this song all morning!

Abby

Friday, November 11, 2011

Food Friday


Creamy Tacos. They are so good. I am having a Sunday School party Mexican fiesta potluck tonight at our humble abode and plan to serve this goodness to my friends. It is a recipe that brings lots of love and memories with it. We did a family cookbook in 2004 and we had our good friends Aynn, Gay and Vicki all submit this recipe with a story of why they love it. It is goodness, for sure!

Ingredients:

  • 1 lb. ground beef
  • 1 can Rotel tomatoes and green chiles
  • 1 pint whipping cream
  • 1 can chili beans
  • 1 large box velveeta
  • fritos

Preparation:

Brown ground beef and drain. Put this in slow cooker/Crock Pot. Add whipping cream , chili beans, and stir. Cut velveeta in chunks and place in slow cooker/Crock Pot. Stir all of this and cook on low for 1-2 hours. Serve over fritos.

Note: I also top with sour cream, black olives, onion, lettuce, and salsa.


Here is the sweet little foodie eating a sucker after loosing a fight with the spaghetti. So cute!

Happy Food Friday!
Abby

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Living

The other night the kids and I were watching a replay of the 1978 Orange Bowl where Arkansas beat Oklahoma. They laughed at the lack of camera angles and kept asking what the score was and why it wasn't in a box at the top of the screen. I told them I had watched that game that night and that just confirmed in their minds that I am ancient, my days are short my friends.

I told them I remembered it because something really wonderful happened that night. My Grandaddy was a preacher and for some reason had a Living Bible laying on top of his tv.



Do you remember this Bible? It was hardback, yet had a soft green cover. Strange. Anyway. I noticed that it said Living Bible on it and I asked Grandaddy if I read it did that mean I would live forever. He said, with a smile on his face (a smile that I miss), that if I read it and believed it then yes, I would live forever!

I didn't understand the concept of eternity in Heaven but I did get the concept of the Bible, believing, and a forever life. It was the beginning of my conversion experience.

I love that memory. Salvation and a Hogs win, what more could you ask for!

Julie

Monday, November 7, 2011

Smart Little Gobble Gobble

My little turkey can say "gobble gobble" and "give thanks". It makes my Mama heart so proud. He is a sponge and I love it! This week I am making a thankful tree for us to have on the table at dinner time. It has made me think of all the little bitty things we have to be thankful for. Henry absorbing things and learning so much is something I am most thankful for this year.

He has been saying his ABC's for about 2 months now and it is clear as a bell. You can even start at any given letter and he will pick it up and finish it. So smart!

He is counting to 14. I have the cutest video of he and his daddy counting but downloading videos is my downfall. I don't take time to do it. Maybe I will this week if time allows. His little voice melts my insides.

He also knows all his shapes. You can even throw out a diamond or an octagon and he will tell you exactly what it is. You should hear him say "octagon". Preciousness! It makes me laugh because it is surreal to think he knows all this. Our school is amazing and we try to make sure most of what he plays with and watches at home is educational. It is paying off and that is so rewarding for this Mama!

I am so thankful to have this little turkey of mine. He colors my world. Thanksgiving is a great time to give thanks for all our blessings and he is the best blessing. He is healthy, happy and he laughs....I love that he laughs. laughing is my favorite.

Abby

Saturday, November 5, 2011

A Big Buck

Daniel scored the first big buck of the family. We are so proud...but not near as proud as he is. Look at that smile!



Friday, November 4, 2011

Food Friday

Do you love deer chili? I do. Since my hunky hunter likes to shoot ducks more than deer, his fun-loving Uncle Tim scored me a deer. We gave him 2000 pounds of corn and in return he was to get me a deer. I texted him last weekend and asked, "you killing my deer, boy?". He responded, "I am working on it, dear!" So, this week I got the text that said, "I got your deer, woman". I love that man. He had it processed and ground up for me. Now I just have to go get it and we will have chili at our house!

I cannot wait to make these. Don't they look so fun? Henry LOVES a mini Nutter Butter. When he says "cookie"this is what he wants. Don't give him a mini Oreo, Chips Ahoy or Ritz pb cracker...the boy knows! think I will make these for him this month. Maybe take them to Texas for Thanksgiving?!

This is a photo off of the internet. But honestly, doesn't everyone's muffin pan look like this?! Anyway, I like the idea of throwing some jiffy corn muffin mix in and putting half of a hot dog on top and baking it. You then have a corn dog muffin! A fun meal for the kiddos.

I also got this photo and idea from the internet. I am trying this next week. Easy and will be a winner with my boys. They love pepperoni, cheese and crescents. I am all about easy these days...but easy must also be tasty!

Another photo from Henry's Halloween pajama party at school. He loved those cheese puffs. He is a mess in more ways than one! I love that sweet little foodie of mine.

Happy Food Friday!
Abby

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Word!

Thanks to Pinterest I have a post for today. I am in a witty mood and have little to post about today. So, here we have it:


This is so true....so.so.so.VERY true. I am Abby and I am a Diet Cokeaholic.

This makes me laugh and there is really no need to leave me comments about it...I know, I know. But you know...

I need this on my my email signature. I apologize for my misuse of grammar for past and all future posts, emails and Facebook updates. I was an English scholar back in the day. That day is gone.

This makes me laugh outloud because it hits real close (Love ya, Mama!)

You know it! Everyday. Every stinkin day I am Snufflin like a rock star!

And can I get an AMEN!! There is not enough Germ-X to get us to Spring.

Abby

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

A Week of Memories

There are dates on the calendar that bring back memories.

Sure Dec. 25, Feb. 14, Aug. 8 and Aug. 14 are dates that bring back memories. But there are those other dates that when I look at my calendar and see them my heart leaps with joy at the memories, or it falls to the pit of my stomach.

This week is a mixture of both.

My first date was on Oct. 31. I was a sophomore in high school (& way to young to date), a senior asked me out, and because of his good reputation, and to save me huge embarrassment, my parents let me go. I was so excited. And nervous. Before I could go on my date I had to take my 7 year old sister trick-or-treating. Sounds harmless, but it wasn't. Abby was dressed as a cross between Tina Turner and Cyndi Lauper. Oh, it was just bad, but she loved it. I wish I had a picture.

I was hoping to get back so I could hide her before my date showed up but wouldn't you know he was early & I was on time and he saw her. I was so embarrassed, but he thought she was cute. Now that I have a 7 year old girl I can see where Abby was quite cute that night, but as a 15 year old I didn't think so.

I love to think about all the fun times I had in high school. They really all began that night.

This week 15 years ago, I received a call that my biological father had died. The circumstances were anything but pleasant and I was stunned. Our relationship had not been what it could have been, but the love I felt for him was strong. Strong. I had grieved the loss of grandparents but the loss of a parent, no matter the closeness, is something all together different. I wasn't real close to his family and I was nervous about going to the funeral. Stephen was my rock that week. I couldn't have done it if I had to have done it alone. It was the first time in our marriage we had had to deal with anything heavy and devastating. And we did it well. I'll never understand the whys of his death, and from my experience the past 15 years, this week will have a sadness to it for me.

I'm so thankful for a God that exchanges my sorrow for joy and my weeping for gladness. And for giving me a girl so that I think Abby could have possibly been cute that night so many years ago.

Julie