Thursday, December 31, 2009

Aunt Renea is Home!!!

If you haven't heard me talk about her before, my "Aunt" Renea is Mom's best friend since elementary school. They've been close friends ever since, and naturally, we have always called her Aunt, especially since we never had the privelege of knowing our uncle and she has never had children of her own. She's only lived in FP for a short time throughout the years, moving to New Jersey, Colorado, and most recently Pennsylvania. Just a few months ago, she finally made the move back to FP! We're very excited to finally have her here--and permanently!! :)

Last night, she went to dinner with all of us (minus Jonathan's girlfriend, Amanda.) **Sidenote: Speaking of Jon & Amanda, I think I failed to mention in my Christmas posts on here that Jonathan gave her a promise ring for Christmas!! To quote Ron Burgundy ("Anchorman"), that's "kind of a big deal!" :) I'm so happy for them!! Anyways, we went to dinner at the famous Don Chico's. It really is famous--Aunt Renea has heard all about it from so many people since she moved back. After dinner, we went to our house to exchange gifts. We had such a great time getting to visit with her. It's good to have family closer!!

Monday, December 28, 2009

Video Clip from FBC Christmas Program!

I wanted to post a link to a video clip from our mixed ensemble's performance at FBC of "Variations on Jingle Bells." Dr. Fiquett's wife recorded it and posted it for all of us, bless her heart. I wasn't able to copy the video onto my computer, so I'm trying this link first. Let me know if you can or can't pull it up, and I will try to find another route! Enjoy!!

*Update: You can't view the video unless you are logged on to Facebook. I have emailed the link to some of you, so you may have tried to open it up and discovered this. I've had a couple of emails letting me know, but hopefully you can watch it with someone who has an FB account. Maybe next time, Zach will video it with his new camera so I can post a link directly to the blog. :)

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Our Doggies on Christmas Day

We went out in our backyard and played with our dogs on Christmas Day in between stops. I remembered we had taken some photos with them last year, so we took some again this year. We love our babies!

Me with Daisy

Zach with Cosmo

Zach with Daisy & Cosmo

Me with Daisy & Cosmo

Merry CHRISTmas!

"The best of all gifts around any Christmas tree is the presence of a happy family wrapped up in each other." - Burton Hillis

I hope everyone had a wonderful Christmas, as we did!! We went to my Mamaw Ruth's on Christmas Eve as always, and had a great dinner followed by even better presents. After that, we went to Mom & Dad's and exchanged gifts with them and Jonathan & Amanda. As is every other year before, we always get what we want and are never left wanting more. We are so blessed with not only everything we need, but SO many things we don't have to have. I thank God for my many blessings in life!

On Christmas morning, we went to Mamaw & Papaw's to enjoy breakfast and exchange gifts with them.  We hit a little snag in our plans when we were headed down our road that morning. There was a huge tree down, so we had to wait about 30 minutes on a backhoe to arrive and remove the tree. The night before, there had actually been another tree beginning to fall over the road that blocked traffic too.

For lunch, Zach's dad took us, Grandma, Aunt Gail & Natalie to Mentone Springs Hotel for a buffet lunch. The hotel was beautiful and the food was GREAT!! We really enjoyed getting to spend time with them, since we don't usually get to see them on Christmas Day.

After lunch, we headed home to rest for a bit, then went to Zach's sister's in Chattanooga. We had dinner there & exchanged presents. Zach got a lot of great pics with his camera of the whole family. The day was busy, but wonderful. We really had a great "second married" Christmas with each other!

Happy Festivus!

Let me start by saying that the 23rd was an awesome day for me, thanks to my sweet husband! I got home from work that afternoon and was already in a rush because we had Zach's family coming over for dinner. I just had a lot of little things to get done before everyone arrived. He met me at the laundry room door when I came in from the garage and told me that my Christmas present had come in that day. I said something like, "That's great! Now, I have to get busy." He went on to tell me that he HAD to give it to me then. I was a little frustrated already, just because I had a lot to do and he was wanting to give me my gift at a "bad time," it seemed like to me. He told me to close my eyes, then he led me into our living room. When I opened my eyes, I saw my piano sitting in the living room!! During the day, he had moved my piano from parents' house to ours (with the help of my sweet dad and brother!), cleaned it, and was having it tuned for me! I was so happy and appreciated his thoughtfulness so much that I cried! Needless to say, he outdid himself with my Christmas gift this year!!!

Later that night, we had Zach's family over for our "Festivus" dinner. We started this little tradition last year, and everyone enjoyed it so much that we decided to have it again. We veer away from the traditional and grill bacon-wrapped shrimp and fish for dinner. We don't perform any of the actual "Festivus" events from the Seinfeld episode, but it falls on the same day and it's definitely a good excuse to cook and have family over.

Zach took a lot of photos with his camera. He has been experimenting a lot lately with his camera. He's getting a new camera for himself for Christmas and probably will be selling his old one. As great as the photos turn out on his current camera, I've considered buying it myself! :) If it weren't for being content with the good quality of my pictures and the convenience of my Sony point-and-shoot, I probably would! I can't really carry his bigger camera in a handbag though, so that wouldn't work well for me.

The first one shows Ella enjoying my Christmas present. :) I realized when I was browsing through his photos that he hadn't even taken any of us. He also didn't take any earlier that night when he gave me my present, just because he was too focused on working everything out. Oh well, it was worth it!

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Getting Ready for Christmas!

I wrapped ALL of our Christmas gifts this past week and put them under the tree. I just took one night after work and did it all. It's always sad to me how at first there are tons of presents under the tree, then one by one, they all disappear in the span of a week or so. On the other hand, that also means that we've given them to everyone, which is also a happy experience.

I took a photo of Daisy with her "fur" coat on before she went out one morning. I thought it was cute, so I had to add it on here.

 I also took a quick picture of her lying on all the bags in the floor while I was wrapping presents. If there's a plastic bag on the floor, she's usually on it for some odd reason.

This one shows our laundry room door and all of our Christmas cards. We've gotten so many cards this year- mostly from family and church family. We hadn't realized how many people in our church we have grown so close to just in this past year. We've really enjoyed all the cute pics and sweet notes in them. Plus, I always get excited about receiving cards in the mail- or anything else in the mail, for that matter.

I can't wait for Christmas!! Like a lot of people, it's my most favorite time of the year. We had our first family get-together this past Saturday and had a great time with a house full of about 40 people. My next party was a small luncheon at work, and then tonight is our "Second Annual Festivus Dinner" at our house! :) Lots to do, but so much fun!!

Light Snow- 12/05/09

We had a light snow on the morning of 12/05/09. It was on a Saturday, and Zach woke me up early so I could see the snow. :) I got out of the bed and opened the blinds in our bedroom to see a light blanket of snow in our yard. It only stayed on the ground for a couple of hours early that morning, so I'm glad that he woke me up to see. I posted a couple of photos Zach took- the first one of Cosmo and the second one of a little birdhouse in our backyard. Daisy isn't in the photos, because she would NOT go out in the yard. He said she acted a little afraid of the snow. When you think about it, it would be a little strange to see a blanket of white all over the usually green yard, if you're not aware of what it is. She came out onto the deck for just a minute, so he was able to get a cute pic of their little paw prints together, shown in the third photo.

Monday, December 21, 2009

A Spiritual Christmas Experience

Yesterday was such a great day!! Our service yesterday morning was wonderful as always, followed by our choir luncheon at The Summit. We then had rehearsals that afternoon and our chorale program that night, followed by another trip to The Summit for our Sunday School class Christmas party. I don't think I've ever laughed so much in my life than I did at that party! Three words: "White Elephant" gifts. These being anything of little value in your house that you don't like or would like to get rid of. Let me just say we were able to get rid of a real prize and scored a curved neck massager pillow in return. We ended the night with some of us, Zach included, playing pool downstairs, and the rest of us enjoying karaoke. It was such a fun night!

At our luncheon our SS teacher, Bob Johnston, mentioned something that really stuck in my mind throughout the day. Before our prayer, he said that he really hopes we will all take time to get away during this busy week, if even for just a few minutes, and have a true spiritual experience with God. He encouraged us to seek out the real meaning of Christmas, especially in spending time with family and friends. Christmas would mean a lot more if we would all do this. Even though it may seem like we have no time left for anything else, we should make time for this. I hope this stays with me during this Christmas week.

I had a great time spending most of the day with our choir. Our performance went off without a hitch and so many people have commented on how they enjoyed it so much. For me, I have never been happier than when I looked out in the congregation and saw an entire pew filled with my wonderful family!! My mom, dad and Mamaw Ruth came, as they did last year, and were joined by my brother and his sweet girlfriend Amanda, my Mamaw Helen and Papaw Hoyt, and my sweet, supportive husband and father-in-law. Zach's Grandma was also planning to be there, but didn't feel well that afternoon. I was so glad that we could all enjoy the night together!

Our quartet sang "O Holy Night," my favorite Christmas song, and I know it was all God helping me through it! Our mixed ensemble had everyone smiling with our rendition of "Variations of Jingle Bells." As soloist, Susan Downey outshined us all, as always! I really hope to obtain a copy of either the entire program or atleast one or two of the ensembles I was a part of. If so, I will try to post a clip here. Thank you so much to all the people who have helped with our awesome choir and for the sweet compliments and all the continued encouragement! I feel so blessed to be able to give this gift back to God!

Friday, December 18, 2009

"I Heard The Bells"

Just want to make a quick post and invite everyone to First Baptist Church's Christmas Chorale Concert entitled, "I Heard the Bells." We have so much great Christmas music this year, including the handbell choir and three special ensemble songs (two of them including yours truly.) :) I am so excited to be a part of our wonderful church choir and ensemble groups. I'm also really excited to have my family coming again this year! The more, the merrier! The music begins at 6:00 PM and we would love to pack the house again!

Our theme this year is based on the poem-turned-song by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow. I had heard this song many times before, but never really focused on the words until rehearsals this year. The words are beautiful:

I heard the bells on Christmas day
Their old familiar carols play,
And wild and sweet the words repeat
Of peace on earth, good will to men.

And thought how, as the day had come,
The belfries of all Christendom
Had rolled along the unbroken song
Of peace on earth, good will to men.

Till ringing, singing on its way
The world revolved from night to day,
A voice, a chime, a chant sublime
Of peace on earth, good will to men.

And in despair I bowed my head
“There is no peace on earth,” I said,
“For hate is strong and mocks the song
Of peace on earth, good will to men.”

Then pealed the bells more loud and deep:
“God is not dead, nor doth He sleep;
The wrong shall fail, the right prevail
With peace on earth, good will to men.”

Friday, December 11, 2009

Prayer Request

Most of you may have heard about the homicide that took place in Fort Payne yesterday. A man and his estranged wife had a domestic dispute that ended in her death. Coincidently, their divorce was finalized yesterday. This couple were customers of ours until just a few months ago. They have two little kids- a boy and a girl. Please pray for these children and for the woman's parents who are also customers of ours. It is so sad to know these people, but uplifting to see how strong they are in their Christian faith. Please remember their family at this time, especially it being so close to Christmas. Sadly, Christmas won't be the same for those two children this year.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Mary's Prayer

Amy Fischer taught our Sunday School class this past Sunday and included in her lesson the following poem that really caught my attention. I had heard of the author, Max Lucado, before, but had never heard this prayer read. It is beautifully worded and really shows us what Mary possibly felt and thought. It also reminds me of "Mary Did You Know," one of my absolute favorite Christmas songs!

Mary's Prayer

GOD. O infant, God. Heaven's fairest child. Conceived by the union of divine grace with our disgrace. Sleep well.

Sleep well. Bask in the coolness of this night bright with diamonds. Sleep well, for the heat of anger simmers nearby. Enjoy the silence of the crib, for the noise of confusion rumbles in your future. Savor the sweet safety of my arms, for a day is soon coming when I cannot protect you.

Rest well, tiny hands. For though you belong to a king, you will touch no satin, own no gold. You will grasp no pen, guide no brush. No, your tiny hands are reserved for works more precious:

to touch a leper's open wound,
to wipe a widow's weary tear,
to claw the ground of Gethsemane.

Your hands, so tiny, so white--clutched tonight in an infant's fist. They aren't destined to hold a scepter nor wave from a palace balcony. They are reserved instead for a Roman spike that will staple them to a Roman cross.

Sleep deeply, tiny eyes. Sleep while you can. For soon the blurriness will clear and you will see the mess we have made of your world.

You will see our nakedness, for we cannot hide.

You will see our selfishness, for we cannot give.

You will see our pain, for we cannot heal.

O eyes that will see hell's darkest pit and witness her ugly prince... sleep, please sleep; sleep while you can.

Lie still, tiny mouth. Lie still, mouth from which eternity will speak.

Tiny tongue that will soon summon the dead; that will define grace; that will silence our foolishness.

Rosebud lips--upon which ride a starborn kiss of forgiveness to those who believe you, and of death to those who deny you--lie still.

And tiny feet cupped in the palm of my hand, rest. For many difficult steps lie ahead for you.

Do you taste the dust of the trails you will travel?

Do you feel the cold seawater upon which you will walk?

Do you wrench at the invasion of the nail you will bear?

Do you fear the steep descent down the spiral staircase into Satan's domain?

Rest, tiny feet. Rest today so that tomorrow you might walk with power. Rest. For millions will follow in your steps.

And little heart ... holy heart ... pumping the blood of life through the universe: How many times will we break you?

You'll be torn by the thorns of our accusations.

You'll be ravaged by the cancer of our sin.

You'll be crushed under the weight of your own sorrow.

And you'll be pierced by the spear of our rejection.

Yet in that piercing, in that ultimate ripping of muscle and membrane, in that final rush of blood and water, you will find rest. Your hands will be freed, your eyes will see justice, your lips will smile, and your feet will carry you home.

And there you'll rest again this time in the embrace of your Father.

The real message of Christmas is the Easter message. It is John 3:16. He came as a baby so that He could one day die for your sins on a cross, and He rose again to prove that death was defeated.

~ Max Lucado, "God Came Near"

Monday, December 7, 2009

Christmas Angels

I wanted to post a link to an article from our local paper about our church and our Christmas Angels program that we do every year. I, as well as anyone else, love this program and how it gives us the opportunity to help others in need during the Christmas season. I recommend participating in this, if at all possible, to experience the real meaning of Christmas. This year seems different than others before, the cause more than likely being the hardships our local economy has faced and is still facing. So many people this year are without the jobs that they had the year before. So many others are in need this year than years before. Thanksgiving and Christmas are opportune times to realize how much we all have and to give back to others. Who knows, someday it may be us who are in need. As quoted by Mrs. Doris in the article, “It’s neat how God uses our hearts to take care of these folks,” Elliott said. “Even though we have more angels and more food needed, it’s going to be OK. It really is true how the Lord takes care of us. People do come through.”

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Christmas Card Photo Session + Two Dogs = Fun, Fun!!

Last year, I used one of our wedding photos on our Christmas card-- simple and quick. This year, I wanted to do something different and include our dogs in the picture-- not so simple and quick. :)

I had planned a few weeks ago to set aside part of an afternoon and get our little family together for pictures. It was Zach's idea to take it in front of our Christmas tree (which I loved!), so we waited until this Sunday when we had the tree decorated and were already fixed up from church that morning. I think Zach had been dreading this for days, since I wanted to include both of our dogs, Cosmo and Daisy, in the photo. Daisy is usually a little hyper when Cos is around, so we didn't really know how this was going to work. We took some 30-50 photos of us sitting in front of our Christmas tree with our two babies. I posted a few "blooper" photos to enjoy. Poor Zach pretty much gave up on the last few and walked away. I also included the only two really good ones. The first one is the one we ended up using for our Christmas card. I actually liked the second one better, but Daisy wasn't looking at the camera. Thank goodness for Zach's camera and tripod, or this would have never worked. We decided that if we were going to include them in the Christmas card photo next year, we would have to have a third party to man the camera. However, it was pretty entertaining watching Zach race from his spot with Cosmo in the floor to the camera and then back, all while I was holding Daisy and trying to keep Cosmo in place. All-in-all, it was a funny experience and I can't wait to get the cards back! I hope they turn out well!!

Thanksgiving 2009

This Thanksgiving was just as busy as last, but it was great as always! We had three stops to make during the day. First, we went to Zach's mom's in Chattanooga and enjoyed lunch with her, Ashley, Marissa and Ella. We had a great time getting to see them! We had taken some pictures of all of us there last year and wanted to do so again this year, so it's kind of become a little tradition. Zach brought his camera along and took some really great pics of all of us. I posted a few of my favorites. I was actually thinking about using the close-up of us for our Christmas card this year...if our "photo session" with our dogs didn't work out. Luckily, we did that on Sunday afternoon after church and were able to produce about TWO decent photos (we took tons and yes, there were only two really good ones!) Anyway, I will post those later for your entertainment.

After his mom's, we traveled back to Fort Payne to my grandparents' house where we enjoyed a late lunch with my parents, two grandmothers, my grandfather, my brother and his sweet girlfriend Amanda. They decided to be unconventional this year and grill steaks. I liked the idea of being different, but it was just hard to have a delicious steak on the plate in front of you and not be able to eat much of it! We had a great time with them, as always. I am so thankful for my wonderful, loving family and how we're always growing! *Sidenote: I'm not implying anything here--just referring to Zach and Amanda as our additions to the family! I read this back and was afraid someone might assume something! Haha!! :)

Our last stop of the day was Aunt Gail's house where we had dinner with her, Zach's dad, his grandma Grace, and Gail's three girls and their boyfriends. We always have a fun time catching up with everyone there. We even played a game which definitely kept everyone laughing. We usually stay rather late when we're there since we don't see them as often, so we didn't get in bed that night until about midnight.

Just as last year, I wanted to hit the Black Friday sales hard with Mom and her best friend Debbie, so I woke up at 3:00 that morning. Actually, let me rephrase that...I "got out of bed" at 3:00. I didn't really "wake up" until later that day. We really had a great time and I think it was well worth it. (Believe me, I absolutely hate getting up early, so I wouldn't do this if it wasn't worth it.) We got tons of stuff at Old Navy and spent most of our time there where we stood in line to check out for 45 minutes. Needless to say, we had plenty of time to talk and I made a lot of friends with the people in line there, so that was a bonus! While I was out shopping, Zach got our Christmas tree and wreath for this year. It was so nice coming home, opening the front door and smelling the fresh tree. I argue every year about getting an artificial tree just because of the convenience, but when the real one is standing in our living room decorated and the house smells like Christmas, I forget all about it. That night, we went to Zach's dad's to have pizza and watch the Alabama game. All I'll say about that is this: Auburn really fought hard. If I were an Auburn fan, I would be proud of my team. Alabama thankfully pulled out the win in the end, which we were jumping up and down and yelling about, so it was a great ending to the day!

I caught up on my sleep on Saturday morning and then Zach and I brought out the Christmas decorations and turned up the Christmas music. It was so much fun decorating the house once again. I can't believe this is our second married Christmas! The year has flown by!

Monday, November 23, 2009

Sad News

I posted last week on the Martin twins who were born prematurely and were being hospitalized for numerous complications. Sadly, one of the twins, Campbell, passed away yesterday. Please continue to pray for this precious family. I cannot imagine the grief they are experiencing, especially during this Thanksgiving week. Through it all, they continue to be thankful for the blessings they have through Joseph. Continue to pray that God will strengthen his little body so that his parents can bring him home! What a great Christmas present that would be!!

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

A Nice Surprise

We've been recovering steadily for the past few weeks from both of our sicknesses, so life is great right now! We went back to church this past Sunday morning for what seemed like the first time in forever. I had been back to children's choir practice last week to help get ready for our Christmas program, but it's just not the same as enjoying our services. I even got to sit with Zach since I am still not able to sing, so that was really nice! I returned to choir rehearsal this past week to just read along so that I wouldn't be really behind in our Christmas music, but it was a little sad. You don't really appreciate your voice until you don't have it, but we're getting there.  

I finally got to venture out of the house for a full day this past Saturday. We had a great, busy day! We headed to Chattanooga to see Zach's mom and take her out for her birthday--finally! We had a delicious lunch at J. Alexanders and then went to the movies to see Disney's "A Christmas Carol" in 3D. The movie was absolutely wonderful and the special effects were amazing. It really puts you in the Christmas spirit...if you weren't already! I highly recommend going to see it if you haven't yet. However, Zach and I wouldn't recommend taking your children. There were some young kids sitting behind us and they were really scared at a few parts in the movie. Anyway, after the movie we went to Zach's mom's house for a while and then, after a quick stop at our house to let little Daisy out, headed to his dad's for the Alabama game. Speaking of, Roll Tide Roll, 10-0!! :)

Yesterday after I got home from work, I was looking through the mail and noticed a card addressed to me and Zach. It was from an old friend of mine who I recently reconnected with on Facebook. The card was to congratulate us on our marriage and our recent one year anniversary. It was also filled with really sweet comments and special Bible verses. There was also a gift card inside to Bed, Bath & Beyond, where we had registered. Zach and I were so excited when we were opening that gift card that we didn't even notice another card inside. When we opened it, it was a gift card to Olive if the first card wasn't too much alone!! It was such a nice surprise to get just the sweet card out of the blue, but to get belated wedding and anniversary presents was even better! So, it looks like we'll be going on a shopping trip sometime in the near future. We're so blessed!!

Monday, November 9, 2009

Pray for the Martin Twins!

I am a member of a group on Facebook that was formed to keep  followers up-to-date on a certain couple's story. The girl actually went to school in Fort Payne many years back, so many people from Fort Payne around our age are members of that group and are trying to get the word out to people about their story so prayers will be sent up! A basic background of the story is that she started their blog when she found out she was pregnant. She had their little twin baby boys very early at 24 weeks, and both had complications from the beginning and are still suffering from those complications. They have both already had to go through blood tranfusions, surgery, and are still hooked up to countless tubes. The mother, Laura, did post yesterday that she finally got to hold one of her sons!

I cannot imagine having a baby, much less two babies, with so many problems just in their first few days of life. So many women have their baby(ies) and get to hold them immediately. With this mother, that privelege wasn't possible. A few days later, babies get to come home from the hospital and the rest is history. With these parents, they have had to go home from the hospital without their baby boys--which is unimaginable to me! In their blog, they mention how they talk a lot about finally getting to bring their sons home, their first day of school, the boys getting married, etc. I know all moms and dads think about and discuss things like this about their children, but in this situation, it just seems so bittersweet.

I encourage you to either read some of this blog if you have the time or just say a prayer for this sweet family. I read most of this blog today and had tears well up in my eyes while sitting at my desk. It is incredible the faith and positive attitudes this new mother and father have!! Please pray for the twins, that they both continue to strengthen and are able to come home soon, and for the new parents as they deal with this difficult situation mentally, physically, emotionally and spiritually.

Friday, November 6, 2009

The Station

The following is an essay by Robert J. Hastings entitled "The Station." My Sunday School teacher sent this out as a note to our class members on Facebook and it really meant a lot to me when I read it, so I thought I would share. Hope you enjoy it and take it to heart--especially the very last paragraph! :)

Tucked away in our subconscious minds is an idyllic vision in which we see ourselves on a long journey that spans an entire continent. We're traveling by train and, from the windows, we drink in the passing scenes of cars on nearby highways, of children waving at crossings, of cattle grazing in distant pastures, of smoke pouring from power plants, of row upon row upon row of cotton and corn and wheat, of flatlands and valleys, of city skylines and village halls.

But uppermost in our conscious minds is our final destination--for at a certain hour and on a given day, our train will finally pull into the Station with bells ringing, flags waving, and bands playing. And once that day comes, so many wonderful dreams will come true. So restlessly, we pace the aisles and count the miles, peering ahead, waiting, waiting, waiting for the Station.

"Yes, when we reach the Station, that will be it!" we promise ourselves. "When we're eighteen. . . win that promotion. . . put the last kid through college. . . buy that 450SL Mercedes-Benz. . . have a nest egg for retirement!"

From that day on we will all live happily ever after.

Sooner or later, however, we must realize there is no Station in this life, no one earthly place to arrive at once and for all. The journey is the joy. The Station is an illusion--it constantly outdistances us. Yesterday's a memory, tomorrow's a dream. Yesterday belongs to a history, tomorrow belongs to God. Yesterday's a fading sunset, tomorrow's a faint sunrise. Only today is there light enough to love and live.

So, gently close the door on yesterday and throw the key away. It isn't the burdens of today that drive men mad, but rather regret over yesterday and the fear of tomorrow. Regret and fear are twin thieves who would rob us of today.

"Relish the moment" is a good motto, especially when coupled with Psalm 118:24, "This is the day which the Lord hath made; we will rejoice and be glad in it."

So stop pacing the aisles and counting the miles. Instead, swim more rivers, climb more mountains, kiss more babies, count more stars. Laugh more and cry less. Go barefoot oftener. Eat more ice cream. Ride more merry-go-rounds. Watch more sunsets. Life must be lived as we go along. The Station will come soon enough.

Monday, November 2, 2009

Halloween '09

Sadly, we didn't even plan for any trick-or-treaters on Halloween night, because of us still being sick. We had some family friends who were planning on coming to visit with their kids, but we had to cancel it for this year. Daisy didn't have a costume this year (which Zach was happy about), but she did have her Halloween shirt from Old Navy. I bought this about two months ago and was so excited about it, then ended up not even putting it on her on Halloween night! I'm a bad mother, I know! (I think I had a perfectly good excuse though! Next year, I will try to do better.) I did manage to put it on her a few days after though and I got some cute pics of her. Next year, I think I'll break down and buy her a costume, much to Zach's dismay.

It's Beginning To Look a Lot Like...Autumn

I know I've said this many times before, but I am so ready for Fall this year! The leaves are changing and some have already fallen in and around our neighborhood, so I posted a few pictures of those. I'm going to try next year to "go all out" and do an Autumn harvest display in one of our front islands in our yard (which will probably begin as a do-it-yourself type project, but turn into a "Please help me with this!" type project.) :) This year, we went the easy route and I just bought a few things to make an arrangement at the foot of our front steps. I also remembered to hang the wreath that I had bought last year. It was one of the first "girly" things I bought for our house.

We also had a guy come in our office a few weeks ago selling harvest arrangements. He had been to Woodson Jones when I worked in the office a few years ago and I had bought one from him then. They are gorgeous arrangments of pumpkins, corn, gourds, etc., that he grows in his own garden and puts together himself. When he came to Woodson Jones the first year selling them, he told us he was selling them to raise money for his wife's medical expenses. She was battling cancer at the time and they had three young children at home. (Sidenote: I am really skeptical of people that say things like this when trying to sell something, but a lady in our office goes to church with him and his family.) I had not seen him since then, which was about two years ago, until he came in our office recently. He was talking as if his wife had since passed away, but he obviously still wanted to continue creating the arrangements because he enjoyed it so much. He said that the money he raises this year was going toward a trip to Disney World for himself and his three kids. I thought Zach wouldn't object to me buying an arrangement this year, since the money was going toward one of his favorite things! :) Anyways, I posted a picture of the basket. I have his name and phone number, so if anyone is interested, just send me a message/email and let me know!

Halloween has never been a favorite holiday of mine. I'm usually just ready for it to be over with, then happily move on to Thanksgiving next. Then, after Thanksgiving, it seems like you blink twice and Christmas time is here, which is my absolute favorite time of the year!

Speaking of Christmas, we have already started our Christmas program music at church!! I have been asked to be one of the two Second Sopranos in our mixed ensemble this year and I can't even describe how excited I am about that! We'll have a group of about 8 men and 8 women and we're singing variations of "Jingle Bells," which I realize is a little unorthodox for a Baptist church, but it's something different and peppy, and that's what we love! I am hoping that our families and friends will all be able to be there for our program! It was such a blessing last year and this year should prove to be even better! We have more songs that are familiar to everyone and the theme is "Christmas Bells," so the handbell choir will have an integral part in it too! I love how I am already pumped for Christmas to be here and we're barely past Halloween! Oh well, it only comes once a year, so I'll enjoy it as long and as much as I can.

Friday, October 16, 2009

"In sickness and in health..."

We've really had the chance to practice the former part of that vow lately! Zach and I have had a rough week! Poor Zach got sick on Monday night and has been sick since! It started with flu-like symptoms (fever, aching, etc.), then Thursday he began coughing constantly. I was sick when I woke up Wednesday morning and on through Thursday. I didn't have what he had, but was still weak and "achey." We made it fine on Tuesday when I felt well and could wait on him, but things were difficult on Wednesday and Thursday!

Zach finally gave up because of his coughing and let me take him to the doctor this morning. They did blood work (...which I did watch, Mom! You would be proud!), and let us know that he had atypical pneumonia. We picked up some good drugs for him, including some cough medicine that should hopefully knock him out for the night!

 My mom brought us food one night, Zach's dad brought us lunch one day, and my grandmother brought us lunch/dinner and even cleaned our house for us (bathrooms and all, bless her heart!) Zach's mom called to check on us and even offered to bring food all the way from her house in Chattanooga. Thanks so much to all our family and friends who have brought us food, called to check on us, or sent us comments and messages via Facebook!! It feels so good to know we have people sending up prayers for Zach while he's still sick.

We're just going to "enjoy" the weekend by staying in the warm, comfy, clean house. I may go to church on Sunday by myself, just to "rejoin the living" for a while and see our kids in children's choir. I pray that Zach gets better really soon and that I don't get sick again!

Monday, October 5, 2009

Fun At the Fair, Children's Choir & Fall Cleaning

This past week, the fair was in town. Zach and I didn't go for some reason last year, but this year we were really excited when two of our really good friends asked us to go with them on a double date. We had such a blast getting to spend time with Alan (McNew) & Elizabeth (Carr)! Even though we're all in FP for the time being, we're all always busy with our jobs. Zach hit the basketball game first and won me a prize! (Of course he won a big stuffed gorilla--it was also our first stop, meaning I would have to carry the stupid thing ALL night!) Luckily, as soon as he won it, we ran into David, Sissy and Rachael Walker who were about to leave. I offered it to Rachael and she was delighted to have it!

We actually rode a couple of our favorite rides- the Tilt-A-Whirl and the Himalaya. We ended up riding the Tilt-A-Whirl twice, but our first time around was better. We all four fit in one of those things (which was not an easy task!) Elizabeth & I were a little squished, but it was so much fun. I suppose it was all the weight that kept it spinning and spinning. I don't usually get dizzy on rides like that, but this was a little much after the second time around! Later that night, Zach won me another prize in the water gun shooting game. He picked out a stuffed Batman, which he probably would have kept for himself, if we wouldn't have ran into my cousin Kayla and her cute little boy. Those sweet little kids' faces lit up when we gave them those toys that we would have just taken home and put up in the closet. It was a good highlight of going back to the fair. Little did we know we would have just as much fun as we did back in Junior High!

On a different note, last Sunday our primary leader for our children's choir was on vacation, so me and one other lady had all the kids to ourselves! We had 23 kids show up that afternoon for practice! All-in-all, it was a good experience! Last night was our very first performance for the church and our kids did GREAT!! We had only about 15 there for the practice and performance (so many kids are sick this time of year!), but they made some noise and it was wonderful. When I got home last night, our music director for both our sanctuary choir and the kids' choirs had texted me to say he loved all the music and the smiling faces...especially the leaders' smiling faces, which made me smile even more. :)

Onto our project we've started at the house...I told Zach that our garage would HAVE to be cleaned out by this winter. He has offered countless times to let me use the garage and he would park his vehicle in the driveway, but I just think that's ridiculous when we have a TWO car garage! I had actually cleaned out a lot of the garage when he was away on his fishing trip in June, but it was too hot to work at times. Now that we're about to run out of time before the much cooler months arrive, we're working to get it completely cleaned out. We're hoping to finish it up tonight and have my car a new home for the night! Only now, we have to clean the guest room, because that's where we've placed all the boxes from the garage!

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

What We've Been Up To Lately...

Roll Tide!!

Zach absolutely hates it when I dress Daisy up, but if it's in her Alabama shirt, I think he can make an exception...

He took a few pics of us this past Saturday, and I couldn't believe she stayed so still through the whole thing. She must really be a true fan at heart. :)

We didn't want to leave Cosmo out either.

Though the above pictures don't quite prove it, we have been really busy these days. Zach has been swamped with a lot of new, exciting work coming in, in addition to his stack of current work. I am really proud of him and the success he has with his business! We are both very thankful for our jobs right now, while so many others are without.

Zach's also been feeling better these days, healthwise. This is such a blessing for us.

This past Sunday afternoon was my first time to assist with leading the youth choir, grades 4th-6th and I absolutely loved it!! We had 19 kids, which is awesome for our first meeting of the year! Please continue to pray for us as leaders that we will be the Christian examples these sweet, talented kids need! Our first performance date is set for October 4th, so we have a goal to work towards!

Zach & I are really enjoying our weekends. Saturday is really our only day to take it easy. Lately, we've been making the journey to Mentone to Zach's dad's house to watch the Alabama games. (His TV is much better than ours.) I mentioned to Zach that we should have him over to our house and cook for him once instead, but again, his TV is MUCH better than ours. (That's the explanation I get, but it is true.) :)

I have also been more excited than years before about the Fall season. A friend and I were joking about when was the right time to set out Fall decorations. I think I may have been a little early this year, since I had already set out some Fall stuff a couple weeks ago (I'll post pictures later.) I always love cooler weather, the beautiful colors in the leaves, and especially getting together with family for Thanksgiving. Every year, we have more blessings to be thankful for than the year before.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Dinner at Atlanta Grill

On our anniversary night, we had dinner at the Atlanta Grill at The Ritz-Carlton. Zach had made the reservation a long time ago and was able to book the "Cheater's Booth." We enjoyed our really good meal behind the privacy curtain and had a large booth all to ourselves. I was so surprised when they took us to our table and saw scattered pink rose petals and a pretty floral arrangement. Our waiter was great and was more than happy to take a couple pictures of us. I included the last one that turned out best.

The first picture is the write-up of the restaurant in our room booklet. It mentions the "Cheater's Booth," so we both really liked that. The second picture was taken right before we went to the restaurant, and the third is the view from the inside of our booth.

We had such an awesome time on our trip and can't wait to visit Atlanta again! We kept talking all weekend about how we couldn't believe it had been a year since our beautiful wedding day. We would say, "Do you remember what was going on at this time a year ago?" or "We were on our way to the airport for St. Thomas this time last year." I can't wait for many, many, many more happy years with my wonderful husband!!
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