Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Go Eagles!

(Daniel to the far left with his arms up and Samuel has the ball)

Tonight is the last basketball game of the season. Samuel and Daniel started playing in October so its been a good long season of games. We've had a disappointing season but #12 and #32 have played hard with good attitudes and character. I couldn't ask for anything more. Well, more wins would have been nice, but oh well! I'll settle for good attitudes. Stephen helped coach the team and received a technical in one game. The head coach was thrilled it wasn't him getting it and I was appalled that Stephen would get one! You just never know what kind of day the referee has had before he comes to call your game.

The boys have made some good friends and so have I because of basketball. It has been a good season and tonight we will celebrate with the team at a local pizza place. I'm hoping for some baked potato pizza!

Julie

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Crossfit Confessions

Have you heard of Crossfit? It is growing in popularity. I am Crossfit...or attempting to be anyway. I have been going since November. I won a door prize at an event I attended and it was a free month at Crossfit. I tried it and got hooked. I am seeing results, but not on the scale yet. My arms have muscles that they have never had before and my rear end is slowly fading away, so that keeps me motivated. I am waiting for the rest of my body to change. I hope with time.



This little video gives you an idea of what a Crossfit workout is like. It is intense and exhilarating. I am addicted to it. I never thought I would be addicted to exercising, but I think I am now.

I get up most mornings at 4:45 and start my day with my Crossfit Carl. On the mornings Randall is out of town I have to go at lunch. The lunch workouts kick my booty a lot harder because the instructor is a lot different than Crossfit Carl, and it is at lunch and my body performs differently. I enjoy them both in their own way. It is a love/ hate relationship though, no doubt!

The Crossfitters are a fun group. No one is competing against each other and everyone supports each other. I don't really socialize with anyone outside of the gym, but the atmosphere of the group is like a little family. It is like nothing I have had before in a workout situation, and I have tried everything under the sun!

I am learning my diet determines my outcome. It is hard to give up my caffeine and sugary treats, but I am slowly modifying my food choices so I can see more results from my WODs(Workout Of The Day - Crossfit lingo). I work too hard getting up at 4:45 or sweating through my lunch hour to not see the results I want to see, so it is lean meats, veggies, a little fruit, a wee little sugar and a wee little starch for me most days. I do eat treats and drink my Diet Coke from Sonic, just in moderation. It is tough though, but so worth it. Being healthy is my goal, it is not to be skinny. I am 33, married and a mama, I don't care if I get whistled at. I am on blood pressure medicine and I would love to get off of it, or say I did all I could to get off of it.

I love this image because I often text Mama after my WOD and report my success. I love her comments back to me. She thinks I am Popeye and wants me to video tape my WOD for her to see. I love that!
My hands always have a callus. I had lifting gloves but they disappeared...I should really go buy more. I have fallen on my face, hit myself in the face with barbells and weighted balls, tripped over my own body and sprained my hand but kept on going with tears streaming down my face from pain, and I still wet my pants every time we jump rope. I feel like a man...but they don't wet their pants when they jump because they don't birth babies!

It is a joke at work and at home for them to say "well you can pick that up, move that, or do it because you are Crossfit!" So true, so true. Every morning I demonstrate my WOD to Randall when I return home as he lies in the bed and my coworkers get the demonstration as we start our work day. It is good times for everyone!

Anyway, if you are looking for a place to build confidence and lean muscle mass, find a Crossfit gym in your area. It is not the cheapest thing you can do, but it is worth the investment.

Abby

Friday, January 27, 2012

A Little Morning "Cheese"

We attempted a little photo session before school one morning this week. It was for Henry's Valentine's Day card. He loves to say "cheese" but sitting still is not his best thing. He has so much to do and see. He has never been 2 before...it is a big deal.

He makes me laugh. Always smiling and saying "cheese" but not looking at the camera. I practically stand on my head, bark, moo, sing, etc to get his attention but he just laughs and looks all around. There is so much to explore and see when you are 2.

He is going to be a heavily sought after Valentine, don't you agree? The girls in Toddler 2 may do some hair pulling over this boy on Feb 14th (I am such a modest mother). We can't wait to share his card with you on that day. I am doing a super fun theme for him this year. Last year it was airplanes and this year may top it. Oh, what fun it is to be the mama of such a fine boy!

Abby

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Lunch Ladies

This are my Pine Bluff girls. Well, minus one that left us when she moved to Jonesboro. But since she is allowing us to live in her house I have forgiven her.
Rachel, the one in the Ridgway t-shirt is moving away from us, also going to Jonesboro, so this was our good-bye lunch. No tears were shed, but oh my goodness the laughter that was heard! We had such a great time together.
We are all pastor's wives and mothers. We love that our husbands are in ministry in local churches, it is what brought us together. But our love for each other is what keeps us friends. These women have been by my side, literally, over the last couple of months. It is a joy to know them and to call them friend!
And on a side note, if your pastor has a wife hug her neck the next time you see her. She'll love it!

Julie

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Craft Crazy

I have so many fun ideas in my head but very few make it to fruition these days with being a working mother of a toddler and wife to a husband who travels. I love my many blessings, so don't think I am complaining...just being for reals here...a girl can't do it all, all the time! So, this past weekend I decided we were going to create and that we did! It was a crazy, fun time. It felt so good to get it out of my head and see the ideas come to life.

I am loving Pinterest. I am getting all sorts of handprint/footprint ideas for H. I decided to do a handprint or footprint each month this year and make a calendar of them next year. So, we made this footprint into a snowman and we went ahead and did a Valentine hand craft. It is suppose to make a heart in between, but with a squirmy 2 year old, we are just happy to get the idea of a heart. We also made some fun thumbprint cards for some special Valentine's. Henry loves to do crafts. They do them at school all the time so he is a pro with the hand and foot painting.

Friday night I went up to the office/craft room and did Cricut crafts until I could do no more. It was so much fun. I was up there all alone with my Pandora stations playing. It was fabulous fun. Randall was in his garage putting a new part on his 4-wheeler and watching ESPN, so we were both in our element and happy chickens. Anyway, I made these cute "Soapin you'll be my Valentine" for some special teachers. It was a fun craft and cheap to boot...score!

This is when I knew it was time to close up shop and go to bed. I decaled Henry's tub. This picture is not stellar.It is straighter than it appears in this photo. It is actually pretty cute in person. I also decaled Randall's door in his garage "Howdy" in silver vinyl. He encouraged me to go to bed at that point! I love my Cricut.


Henry loves his tub!


I purchased an iron on design for H on Etsy last week to put on a shirt. I then realized I could possibly make some of them on my own, so I did. My pal at work showed me some easy steps and I made this houndstooth H. I made one for Melissa's little Luke just like this one. It is so fun. I know it will not wear/wash much more than 5 or 6 times, but it cost me nothing but the iron on paper. I love dressing my boy!
And this is my big project right now. My kitchen is in remodel mode. Randall painted over the orange walls with gray. It is quite a change, but one I am excited about. We have wanted a gray room for a couple of years but have had no luck with finding a room for it to work in until now. We are keeping our black cabinets and adding this fabric in the kitchen in several places. I am excited to simplify the kitchen a little bit. It had gotten so busy and loud. The gray has made it much lighter. I will post pictures when we finish. We are waiting on our new fridge to arrive and deciding on an oven....which may take forever if it is anything like the fridge. We have been using the fridge in the garage since before Christmas, trying to decide on a new one for the kitchen (ours went out in early December). I have not yet complained about it but there are many nights I want to when I walk out in the cold to get my grub! It will be beautiful when it is finished, I hope!


So, what fun winter projects have you been working on?


Abby

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

An Unexpected Visitor

Last Thursday while Samuel was home alone, an intruder came in our house. Samuel heard the door, and thought it was Stephen but realized it wasn't. He went & got a bb gun and while on his way back to the kitchen, where the guy was, Samuel made a noise and the intruder fled.

Samuel watched him run out our backyard and across the ditch that runs along it. While he was in the backyard, I dropped Daniel off and left again to finish running errands. (Yes, I'll win the mother of the year award!) They both went to the ditch and looked for the guy and found a cup and saucer from my Christmas china lying carefully on the ground. Apparently, the guy decided he didn't need them after all.

I came home with David & Anna, saw my china sitting on the counter and began yelling for Samuel. I couldn't believe he would eat & drink off my china and just leave it sitting around. Well, they never answered. While I was still yelling for them Samuel called from a neighbors house and told me the story.

Matt, the neighbor, brought them home and we called 911 and filed a report with an officer. I was so proud of Samuel for his bravery and his strength. He said he was scared but when I first saw him I just saw a brave young man. He was able to keep an attitude of strength which kept Daniel from being scared or breaking down in tears.

I don't know what God has planned for our family. I don't know His plans for our church. I do know that He protected my son Thursday afternoon. I'm not a student of spiritual warfare, but I believe there was a battle fought in my home that afternoon and God won it handily. I totally thought that I would be sitting in the living room watching TV all night that night with one or all 4 of the kids because they wouldn't be able to sleep. But they all slept just fine, no bad dreams, no fear. I believe God is going to do great things and He is going to allow us to be a part of them. I can't wait.

I do hope that His plan doesn't include anymore intruders!

Julie

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Featured Family

This is a link to the blog our preschool ministry has just started. Its purpose is to introduce several families in our church as an encouragement to others in their walk with the Lord. We are the first family to be featured. It thrills my heart to serve in this church and have them serve us the way they do. If you do not have a church family, I encourage you to find one. If you live in our neck of the woods we would love to have you come to NBC with us.
Abby

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Baths, Bugs and Bubbles

Henry loves a bath. He goes bonkers when he hears "bath" so we have to spell it when talking about it unless it is time. He will sprint to the back of the house when he hears "bath" while laughing, squealing and yelling "Baftub...I want baftub!"

Have I ever told you how much I love this little fella?! I love this baby boy to pieces. He can be so ornery at times and push all my mama buttons, but I love him for it. These past few days it has been just the two of us. His Daddy went on a hunting trip and I was home with a stomach bug. Julie's dynamic duo shared the germ with ole Aunt Abby. Thanks, guys! Henry was so sweet and cooperative with his sick little mama. He has not gotten sick and I am so thankful.... and still crossing my fingers!

He was sweet to sit still with me while I felt so bad. At one point he looked at me, patted me on the arm and said, "Mama a good boy!"and leaned in and kissed my cheek. Melt.my.heart! I don't care how bad I feel, he can always make it better.

video

I found this video looking for a more recent one the other night. I almost cried looking at how little he was. I thought he was so big then. This was on the first day of Spring last year. I know I sound like a broken record, but I LOVE THIS CHILD OF MINE!

Abby

Monday, January 16, 2012

A Glimpse of Joy

Henry was all smiles when I picked him up early on Friday from school and told him we were going to see Juju and the gang. He had his Gigi, juice and his DVD player playing. He was set and ready! His little squinty smile is funny stuff.
We traveled to Stuttgart on our way to Pine Bluff to see Samuel and Daniel play basketball. Henry had never been to a basketball game. He ran right onto the court and after the ball. Anna caught him for me. She is such a good little helper. I wish I had her all the time! Aren't they cute in their raccoon and beaver hats?!
Daniel is on the far left and Samuel has the ball. I loved that they were both on the court at the same time. They are in a homeschool group that plays other homeschool groups and small private schools. It was fun to watch them play, cheer for them and hopefully not embarrass them. They are at that age and I forget sometimes. They are all still Henry's size in my aunt heart!
This little love went to a lock-in with a local church instead of going to the game. He came home early on Saturday morning and crashed on the couch. I love that his gun is still attached to him. He stayed up all night. David was so proud of himself. It was cute.
After a little sleep the boys ventured outside to play. I love that Julie's kids play outside and explore. Henry loves it too as you can see. The D's are kind to let him mess up all their stuff. Henry is spoiled rotten by everyone pretty much.
Dance Party at the preacher's house...hey! Just because we are Baptist does not mean we cannot bust a move. We S sisters have rhythm but I must say Julie has way more than me. That preacher's wife can move! We have fun, no matter what or where we are.
Juju kept busting the moves. Henry loved it. He loves to dance!
I am the only aunt so I can torture them with crafts and without fear of being on the "bad aunt" list. We did a paint craft and they moaned and even went into hiding. It really wasn't all that bad. Henry was the only one excited about it. He saw this picture on my computer screen and said "paint hand" and smiled. He loved it. So sweet.
I went into their office/classroom and this is what Anna's school desk looks like. My picture is in the center of her desk where she can do her assignments and see me. I then found another photo in her room. She loves me! I love that about her. She is my best girl, that is for sure.
This is the house. Julie wanted me to take a photo of it for you to see. God has provided above what anyone could ever think or ask for in this situation. We pray that the house sells in God's perfect timing for the owners and for Julie and Stephen as they look for a home of their own. God knows far more than we do and for now it is home and a huge blessing for them. It was so important for me to see where they lived. I am so glad I went and spent the weekend with them in this place and at this time.
The yard is beautiful. It was a great day to be outside. They have always been able to play outside in a big yard. God was great to provide that for them in this transition.
On Sunday we headed to church together. Stephen was the guest preacher at a church that they had never visited before. It was a beautiful church and the people were so kind. I know several of you have mentioned being so worried about the children. I must say that these children are so strong and trust God's direction for their family. It was so evident as I watched all 4 of them stand in the pew and sing their hearts out to God Sunday morning. What a gift it is to be an aunt to these exceptional children.
This little mister sat right there in that pew the entire service. Yes, he did! He loved being next to Samuel and watching "Bruder Steben" up front. He played with all of Juju's gift cards in her purse. She had tons. Most had 62 cents on them, but she had lots, none the less. His favorite was the Victoria's Secret card and he tried to give it to the old lady in front of us several times. Samuel and I both almost died a few small deaths over that! He ate all his yogurt melts and Nutter Butter bites and drank all his juice. He wanted to sing and sing and sing. It was a miracle he stayed in the pew. I knew he would not stay in their nursery. He still cries at ours and those are his people!

After helping "Bruder Steben" with the invitation prayer...(Henry said "God is great, God is good, let us thank him for our food. Be Quiet. AMEN!" while Stephen was praying) he was ready to run, so we let him. He loved running up and down the aisle. There are photos of Julie and me doing this when we were little. I love it.
We had a wonderful weekend loving on Juju and the gang. She needed me to see her in this place at this time. I needed to see it too. She truly is wrapped up in the arms of Jesus. It is obvious after witnessing it in person. Don't stop praying for my sister, please! Pray hard and often for a home that she can call her own and for Stephen to find a job. He will have to work while he starts the new church. God is good in providing all their other needs, i know he is working on a great plan for these.
Julie has always claimed "Count it all joy as you face trials of many kinds.." as her verse. I must say she is living it out right now. I love you Sister!
Abby

Friday, January 13, 2012

Rolling In The Delta

I get to spend the weekend with this silly bunch. Julie told me this weekend better meet her expectations! From the high side of the delta (or as us natives like to call it..."the dirty") to the low side, we will roll on down and see them. Pine Bluff better watch out, Henry and Aunt Abby are rolling in for the weekend! I thank God for my precious family and the joy we get over seeing one another. Nothing in this life is more precious than this.

P.S. I am taking a little break from Food Friday for a while. I hope you don't mind :)

Abby

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Little Big Town

I have lived in small town for most of my married life. I have only lived in a town with a Walmart in it for a total of 19 months. I've been married for 18 years!!!

I've loved living in small towns. I enjoy the closeness of the community, knowing what people drive and waving when we pass on the road. I like the small-town feel. I like being able to see the stars at night from my backyard. I love not having to lock the doors of my house or car. I have loved small town living. I have embraced it.

But let me tell you about living in a bigger town. I LOVE IT EVEN MORE!!! I never thought I wanted to live in a bigger town. 2700 people was big enough for me. But, I don't know if I can go back.

I can run & get Anna tights before church on Sunday (something I couldn't do in my small town), I can get free wifi at my local McDonald's. I like the traffic. I like the bigger town feel of the community. I even enjoy my security system and hearing my van honk when I lock it!

My kids are loving it. They have a large number of friends that they are running around with and having a great time. There are air-soft battles, video game battles, and basketball games. Anna is playing school, dolls and running around with the boys. They are enjoying Awana on Wednesday nights. This weekend David and Daniel have an Awana lock-in they are looking forward to.

I have bemoaned my situation on here quite a few times. I wanted to let you know that my kids are doing good. Sure, we have moments of "total despair", but they are quickly followed by moments of happiness and delight. Stephen and I are doing well also. We are making progress, making friends and making great memories.

Thanks for your prayers. This is not permission to stop praying, but an update on how your prayers are being answered. God is so good. Even when we cry and feel desperate and broken, He is good!

Julie
ps Stephen went to school with one of the guys in the group Little Big Town. It's one of our only real claims-to-fame. I wonder if he would remember us?

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

School days





School Days, School Days...

The kids went to school today. Not "real" school, as we call public school, but a homeschool academy that meets on Tuesdays. Everyone was excited, and everyone was a bit apprehensive about going this morning. They all looked so cute. I wish I had taken a picture. I just don't even think in pictures anymore! Shameful I know.

I woke up early this morning fixed breakfast and made lunches for the three in our family that don't care for spaghetti, which is what was being served for lunch at school. Sadly, I didn't think ahead about lunches and was out of bread and zippy bags. So, I made peanut butter crackers and wrapped them in foil. Poor things, they don't even know to be embarrassed!

Samuel is taking Geography, Civil War History, Music, and Drama. David and Daniel are taking Music, Science, Art, Cooking, and English. Anna is taking Music, Art, Cooking, Thinking Skills, and Grammar/Reading.

I hope they love it. I hope I love it. I also hope to be able to teach something at the Academy next year. After all, it is what I do. I'm praying about what I can do for the Academy and the children and also for me!

I hope ya'll have a great day today. It's cloudy and cold here, but I'm looking forward to a day that I can do anything I want. I just wish I could figure out what is at the top of that list!

Julie

Monday, January 9, 2012

Toddler Times

Henry is 25 months old. Sometimes I sit and start to panic that I am going to regret not writing it all down. This weekend was one of those weekends. I just sat down and started typing. I feel better now. I know I will never be able to record it all. I have so much bottled up in my heart that will stay there forever.


Henry, you are 25 months old:

You have learned that you have an opinion and you share it. It is adorable and annoying! You love to say “NO WAY” and “NO WAY JOSE!” You sometimes laugh when you say it…which makes it adorable.

You love your “monkey” like crazy. You still like both the blue/white & blue/green one . You love to rub the silky part. When we were at Marmie’s for Christmas Daddy had run an errand in the truck and your “monkey” was with him. Marmie gave you a green silk nightgown and you were happy. Silly, sleepy boy and crafty, smart grandma!

You love trucks, trains, tractors, buses, combines, and bicycles…anything that goes, basically. You love pushing your trucks, tractors and buses around the house. The books you have that deal with trucks, tractors and trains are your favorite ones to read.

You love to read! I hope you stay this way forever. Sitting in your book corner is a favorite past time of yours and ours. You sometimes read to yourself and it makes me smile. Each book is exciting to you and you like to come and share them with us. At night when you go to bed I spend more time picking up books than anything else. I love that, even if I groan about it…I really think it is precious.

You love to go “bye bye” and especially in Daddy’s truck. You sometimes wake up in the mornings wanting “Daddy’s truck”. You literally jump up and down and beam ear to ear when it is time to go bye bye. I am so glad you like to go, since you have to get up and go every morning of your little life but Saturday’s. School and church are so much more manageable because you like to go, go, go!

You can drink out of a cup and love to show us. You still have not mastered that running with the cup is not the best move. It is fun times watching you learn by trial and error.

You cried and cried at church for a long time. Thankfully, you are accepting that corporal worship is part of what we do at our house and you are taking kindly to it. You resist most every time we get to your classroom but when we leave you go full force and you are always having fun when we pick you up.

You are learning all about Jesus and his love. You often tell me “God Loves Henry” and “I love Jesus” and you LOVE to sing “Jesus Loves Me” when we rock you at bedtime. When you want us to sing it to you, you will say “I want Bible”. You have called the song “Bible” since you could ask for it. It will forever be “Bible” at our house. I play Praise Baby DVDs and CD’s in the car still and you love them. You are memorizing truths that will stick with you forever. You have no idea what they all mean yet, but you will, oh my sweet boy, you will.

You still LOVE to be rocked at home. At school and at Nana’s they tell me you go down without being rocked. I can’t even imagine! I guess you want that sweet time with Mama and Daddy. You are so rotten, child…so rotten!

Bath time is one of your best times of the day. You literally beg for it and then sprint to the tub. You love your bath toys so much. You play and play and then when it is time to get out you say “bye” to each toy in the tub individually and then you allow me or Daddy to dry you off. Daddy says it puts “separation” between you and the tub toys. Otherwise, you might think those toys can be taken out of the tub. He taught you to say “bye” to each one. Daddy is your favorite bath buddy. I am second place, but that is okay by me. I can get chores done while you boys scream, splash and suds up.

Eating is sometimes a challenge with you. You would eat French fries and chicken at every meal if you could. “Bies” are what you call “fries” and I honestly think they are your favorite food. You inhale them and when we let you have ketchup it is like a little bite of heaven for you! You want what you want (back to the opinion and sharing it comment) and will moan, groan and refuse food if you are not happy with the meal we present you. You are getting better at it though. Your Daddy is much better at working with you and getting you to eat things than I am. You love pudding and yogurt “pun-nin-nin”, raviolis “rab-bi-bolies”, croutons, chips, peas, potatoes, spaghetti “sghetti”, chili “chwee” and pop tarts “pop pop”.



Veggie Tales is your new obsession. I think you would watch them all day long if you could. You love Bob “Mano” and Larry “Comer”. You know all the characters and call them by name. I love that you are learning Bible truths and important lessons on life. Sesame Street, Super Why, Choo Choo Soul and Blues Clues are also high on your viewing list. We watch mostly this stuff too. I really have no shows I watch anymore. You have taken over the TV. You are rotten!

You are starting to notice your clothing and shoes. You sometimes share your opinion with me on what shoes you want to wear and what pajamas you would like to wear. I am glad you have not yet refused to wear any of your cute appliqu├ęd shirts and longalls. That day will make me cry.

You love to have your jacket zipped. You will say “zip it” as soon as we put it on. When you are ready to take it off you simply say “Jacket off”. It sort of reminds me of the Rain Man and scares me! You have a red jacket, a black coat and a little blue jacket with a sailboat on it. You love each one in its own way and like to share your opinion on which one you want to wear each day. The sailboat one is your favorite though. I paid $3 for it at a resale shop…this is why I love you!

Santa Claus was so much fun with you this year. You loved talking about him and seeing him on things. Seeing him in person was not so much fun though. Bless your heart! You still talk about him a lot. Grandaddy recorded a Christmas book for you. You like for me to play a page or two each night after bath time. You say, “I want Santa Caus Grandaddy”. It is precious. You giggle and smile and say “Grandaddy” the whole time it is playing.

You love to be tickled. We will lay in the floor with you and tickle you over and over. Your laughter is music to my soul. It makes the tired days so worth it. You will say “Tickle” when we stop. You always want more. I hope that giggle is bottled up in my heart forever. I do not want to ever forget how sweet it sounds to hear you giggle and giggle and beg for more. You have no idea how the world will try to still your joy as you get older and I wish I could protect you from it forever. I will do my best to keep you from it as long as I can. For now, we will just giggle, wet our diaper until it is full and giggle some more. It is so fun to roll on the floor with you and your toothy little grin!

You run around our house like you own it. Nothing is off limits to you. You even climb the stairs now. It wears me out some days but I love it more than you will ever know. Having your slobber, fingerprints and little messes all over the doors, windows and floors of our home makes it such a sweeter, softer place. I thank God for my toddler boy. You are such a handful at times, but a handful I would not trade for anything, ever. I am SO glad gave us you, Henry Patton!

Abby

Friday, January 6, 2012

Henry's Hogs

video

Henry is gearing up for the Cotton Bowl tonight. He wore his Arkansas shirt to school today and went with a lot of team spirit. I am sporting my Arkansas hoodie and ready to get home tonight and watch the game. We are first delivering a meal to some friends in our SS class who had a baby. I am sure they will enjoy BBQ while they watch the game with their new little guy. Cheer on the Hogs with us tonight...Henry would be so thankful!

Abby

P.S. My den is super dark so most all my videos have bad lighting because the den is where we live, for the most part. Excuse the lighting and enjoy!

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Praise God For Sundays

Do you remember the post from September when I told you about the different churches we had visited? And how different they were, yet still had similarities? Well, since I last blogged I have visited quite a few other churches. We have visited with Stephen and without Stephen. A couple of times he preached at one church and because of the children's activities we went to another church.

I have seen church people at their very best. Let me tell you what an encouragment that has been. Not only to me, but also to my family.

After being so disheartened by church people it has been a balm to our souls to see the love of Christ shown to us.

One Sunday morning I wasn't feeling 100% and was thinking of what my excuses could be to stay home. I don't feel good, lunch needs to be fixed, need to get groceries, need a few more Christmas gifts bought, would love to stay home by myself and also a sinking feeling about how "Christians" treat other Christians.

I had excuses! With that last one being the best. My world had been rocked by leaders of a local church.

But I couldn't do it. I need to be around God's people. I need to worship with other believers. After all Psalms says that all that have breath praise the lord. I was breathing and I needed to be praising!

Please don't tell me I'm the only one that has Sundays like this.

Julie

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

The Book Worm

Here are some books that are being in read in my home this Winter. I thought I would share them with you in case you were looking for a new, good read.


I have been doing Crossfit for a couple of months now. I get up at 4:45 most mornings and head to meet Crossfit Carl (my energetic, God-loving Paleolithic trainer). I get home at about 6:15 smoked and ready to start my day as mama, wife and marketing director. Self punishment is my friend!
I am now introducing this Paleo way of thinking/eating into my diet in order to see better results and feel better. It is very interesting and tough at times. It is basically how a caveman ate. Randall gets a kick out of it and texts me caveman comments all day long. I love that man.
I do not plan to be a fanatic and I do not plan to give up sugar for good, but for now I am trying to ween off of it in order to jump start my system and train myself to eat a little cleaner. I LOVE Crossfit and find myself doing things I never thought I could or would ever do. Eating better to maximize results from my hard work is a must. I can't wait to see how 2012 changes my health for the better. My goal is to say I did all I could to get off of my BP medicine...and looking a little leaner won't be half bad.

Here is the book description:

"Do you want to lose fat and stay young, all while avoiding cancer, diabetes, heart disease, Parkinson's, Alzheimer's and a host of other illnesses? The Paleolithic Solution incorporates the latest, cutting edge research from genetics, biochemistry and anthropology to help you look, feel and perform your best. Written by Robb Wolf, a research biochemist who traded in his lab coat and pocket protector for a whistle and a stopwatch to become one of the most sought after strength and conditioning coaches in the world. With Robb's unique perspective as both scientist and coach you will learn how simple nutrition, exercise and lifestyle changes can
radically change your appearance and health for the better"

Parenting a boy is sometimes overwhelming. Randall and I often find ourselves discussing the "what ifs" and "hows" of parenting a boy to ensure that he will turn out to be a decent, God-fearing man. Last week something really sad happened that affected my home church and it made me really think about it even more. We have this book and have read it once already and we plan to read it again, and again, and again...while we seek the Bible for hope and direction in raising our sweet Henry. No matter how well we do it, it is out of our control, but at least we can say we did our best. I know Jeff and Tracy did their very best with Zane and should be applauded for it.

Here is the Description:

"With so much confusion about the role of men in our society, it's no wonder so many parents and teachers are at a loss about how to bring up boys. Our culture has vilified masculinity and, as a result, boys are suffering.

Parents, teachers, and others involved in shaping the character of boys have many questions: Are boys fundamentally different from girls? What role does competition play in a boy's development? What is a father's unique contribution to parenting a son? What about a mom's role? How can grandparents contribute to raising a healthy grandson? What's the best way to educate boys? etc. In Bringing Up Boys, Dr. James Dobson tackles these questions and offers advice and encouragement based on a firm foundation of biblical principles."


This is my new Bible Study book. I am going to LOVE this study. The "girls" in all 3 young adult SS classes at my church gather 1 night a month at someones home and recap the study and how it is touching them. I was finally able to join in this time and it was such a blessing. I hope Randall is home every first Tuesday of the month from now on so I can go! :) Learning the hearts of these "girls" and sharing life with committed believers is how it is suppose to be. Learning what my idols are with a fresh perspective is going to be great. If you are looking for a study this is it.
It has great recipes and music suggestions for your group gatherings. We had the meal our chapter suggested and plan to do it again next time. So fun.

Here is the description:


"This distinctly relational study for women,
No Other Gods: Confronting Our Modern-Day Idols by Kelly Minter, is part of the unique Living Room Series and is based the corresponding book. In this 8 session Bible study, Kelly invites women to become part of her group, where friends share time, dinner, music, recipes, musings, and most of all, their lives. She encourages women to make room for God by dethroning the functional gods that clutter and claim their lives"


This is a book I purchased for Randall and I to read along with the Bible this year. Randall is always so interested in the hows and whys of the Bible and I am always wanting to know the relationships and correlations of people and places. Randall is often in awe that I took Old and New Testament in college and still have to purchase books like this...true! Anyway, I think this will be a great addition to our library this year. I also love that it is written by a Union University professor!

Here is the description:

"The Bible may be the most bought book in the world, but it is also often the least read and least applied due to a basic lack of understanding and motivation on the part of readers. Read the Bible for Life aims to improve biblical literacy in the culture and the church by simultaneously moving readers toward greater skill in reading the Bible well and toward a deeper commitment to applying Scripture to everyday life.

Through a series of down-to-earth conversations with some of today's brightest scholars, author George Guthrie discusses the basic tools and attitudes needed to read the Bible more effectively. Chapters focus on the various types of literature in Scripture and how to read them well. For instance, how should we read a psalm differently than we read a parable? How should we read a story of the Old Testament differently than we read a letter from Paul? How can we engage these various parts of Scripture in a way that is truly life-changing? The book also discusses issues such as reading the Bible in context, choosing and reading a Bible translation, reading in times of sorrow or suffering, and reading the Bible with your family.

As we better understand how to read the Bible skillfully, we begin to see how every person of the Bible, every psalm, and every teaching fits into the Bible's powerful, overarching story, and we begin to realize our place in the story that God is still writing in the world."


Here is to taking it back old school this year and signing off a little earlier, winding down, and reading more this Winter. What will you be reading this Winter?


Abby

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

A New Year


Ok, I'm back. Abby has done such a great job filling it the gaps for me here on the ole blog. I'm almost leary of starting back since she is such a great blogger.

We are settled in our new (temporary) home. Christmas decorations have gone up and come down. School has started, stopped, and started up again. Life is pretty normal. Our Sundays are different but we are just calling them our new normal. Stephen has been busy preaching at different churches on Sunday's filling in for vacationing pastors.

The kids are going to a homeschool academy one day a week. I'm looking so forward to this for them and also for me. They get a day with friends and fun subjects taught by someone besides me and I get a day to myself. Hallelujah & Amen!

God has been so real to us the last two months. His provision has been more than I knew to ask for. Stephen and I have shed happy tears being the recipients of God's goodness to many times to count.

If you don't have a relationship with the lord please contact us and let Abby or I lead you to a relationship with Him. He and His people are what have gotten us through this We are at peace, not anxious, (although we could be, there are many things to be anxious and worry about) and waiting to see what great plans He has for us this new year!

Julie

Thank You Melissa from Spiro

Melissa,

What a blessing to receive a sweet note and gift from you. I do not know who you are, but God does. I wanted to send you a formal thank you note but by the time Abby got the envelope to me it has ripped in the corner right where you address was. Shoot! I blame it on Henry :)
This public "thank you" will have to do. Your kindness was so uplifting and appreciated more than you will ever know. You have a super sweet heart. God bless you, Melissa!
Julie

Monday, January 2, 2012

Christmas in Dixie

S Family Christmas comes every year and every year it is great fun. We head to Daddy's house in Mississippi for a fun-filled day of family, gifts and food. And almost every year Daddy is supporting and sporting a new team's pullover....just kidding. He went from Arkansas to Ole Miss and now back to Memphis. I love it. He looks good in Tiger blue.
S Family matriarchs, Babs and Bob. Meemaw and Peepaw did well.
From Babs and Bob you have the beautiful brunette S girls. We are quite the trio. Jules and I love our cousin Hollye to pieces. She is like a sister to us. Coming from a small family, we bonded well growing up even though we lived a state away from one another.
From the 3 of us you have this handsome group! Thanks to Jules for doing most of the work :)
The S family produces such pretty girls. Meemaw would love pampering these two just like she did us. Claire and Anna are " our pretty girls". Meemaw used to say "my pretty girl" all the time. I loved that.
Henry and his Grandaddy are quite a pair. He looks a lot like Daddy when he was a boy. Henry wore his sweater vest to G'daddy's house in honor of him. Daddy loves a sweater vest. In fact my father in law saw Henry in that very vest and said "Henry, you look like Grandaddy!" So funny.
Grandaddy's babies. He sure has a fine looking group of grands, that is for sure! Henry was trying to escape as you can see. Anna has his number, thankfully. She is a better mother than me at times.
I loved this picture. It captures S family Christmas so well. Daddy was opening his calendar, which is now a family joke, while wearing Connie's glasses because he could not find his. Henry had just opened his Bob the Tomato from Daddy....Daddy's name is Bob... and Henry was looking for Larry the Cucumber "cumer". It was cute that he expected them to come as a pair. Henry loves Veggie Tales. Daddy's face is priceless and I just love the memory of it.
Daddy decided to hand down different things to Julie's kids. He said Henry wasn't old enough to care...true, true. Anyway, he gave Stephen our grandfather's Bible that Peepaw received when he graduated from college, when he entered into the ministry. Daddy's grandfather gave it to Peepaw and wrote an inscription to him in the front cover. Since Samuel is going into the ministry Daddy passed it on to him. Samuel has his great-grandfather's Bible that has an inscription in it from his great great-grandfather. Daddy told him not to use it too much because it will turn to dust!
I got to visit with my UJ. My Uncle Joe is precious. I cannot imagine life without him. I was terrified of him when I was a little girl. If you knew him you would laugh at that. I would cry and freeze up when I got near him. He is the most gentle man in the world. We laugh about it today. I try to make a point to apologize to him as much as I can. UJ is retired now and stays super busy remodeling and building things for Babs in his workshop. He is a saint and has blue eyes almost as pretty as Randall's! :)

Sissy got the red ones! She now has pink and red. She will have sassy feet in 2012. I think the boys are so cute in this picture.
I received so many nice things from everyone. This pillow was my favorite though. David made it for me and meant to give it to me in Fort Smith at Mama's but he was not finished making it. It is an inside joke between the Fab 4 and me. The pink side is my "soft side" and the animal print is my "street side". I now have it on my living room couch. I am soooo proud of it. I really think my sister has the coolest and sweetest kids around. I hope Henry is half as cool and sweet as them.



Christmas with a 2 year old has now come and gone. Praise be! Whew...it was exhausting. I am glad Matthew "Thew" enjoyed it. ha! It was actually very fun, just exhausting. Henry learned about Jesus, Santa and all our family traditions. He knows lots of carols, the nativity and what Santa Claus says. Next year it will be neat to see if he remembers any of it. I did leave a nativity up in his built in cabinet because I thought 365 days of Jesus isn't a bad idea. So, here's to planning Christmas 2012....what, what?! hee hee.

Abby