Tuesday, December 31, 2013

2013 in Review

As I reflect on 2013, it has been a year of many emotions.  The Lord's faithfulness continues to amaze me.  Here are some highlights:

January -  Isabella made her profession of faith at church!  The most important milestone of her life we celebrated as a family.  Brook performed in a play from her theater class.  She did great.

February - Isabella turned 12!  She had several different birthday celebrations with friends.  Our family had a one night get-away in Nashville, combining some work & play.

March - Nicole & Tyler got married!  It was beautiful & the sweetest vows ever.  It was a fun night to celebrate them!  This month was also big as our family was officially approved as missionaries to Bogota, Colombia.  We said so long to our dear friend, Julie, who moved back to Texas.  And it snowed in Memphis this month!

April - Isabella got her braces this month.  Avery & I became aunt & uncle again as Avery's brother & family had another baby girl.  Isabella went on her first Jr. High choir trip, I went on a women's retreat from church, & our family all traveled to Charlotte, NC & Greenville, SC for a visit, which also included a fun beach trip with the Greens.

May - Our school year ended, & I went on an overnight girls trip to Nashville with some of my closest homeschool friends.  Avery & I celebrated our 15th anniversary.  Our family went camping with Jared & Kaitlyn.  Brook got her braces off this month too!

June - We celebrated the wedding of our dear friends Mac & Mary.  This was for sure one of the funnest nights of our year.  We had a fun family girls trip to NYC & this was Brook's first trip to New York.  The girls participated in VBS at church.  Then we all traveled back to Greenville, SC for a week. My dad retired this month & celebrated his 70th birthday.  It was a special time to honor him.

July - We did lots of swimming & hanging out with friends this month.  The girls also started back to school (Isabella - 7th grade/Brook - 4th grade).   The highlights were our family week at Camp Palmer, which the girls just love, & of course, the birth of baby Prince George to William & Kate.

August - Avery surprised me with a new wedding ring to celebrate our 15th year anniversary this year. It is beautiful.  Our dear friend, Rachelle, came to Memphis & stayed a few days at our house.

September - Avery & I attended a training conference in NC, & the girls stayed with grandparents in NC. We celebrated Avery's 41st birthday this month, & I had a reunion with Delta Air Lines.  The highlight of this month was going as a family to the house & land where my grandparents, Moutie & Pop, lived.  I spent so much time here as a child & teenager.  It was a great day to spend with family & show it to the girls.

October - Brook turned 9 & she had a fun red carpet party/sleepover.  It was a fun night!  Our family took a vacation to Washington, DC.  It was fun & especially memorable with the government shutdown.  We also took a train to Charlotte, NC for Avery's sister's wedding.  We had fun at Sara & Ricky's wedding with everyone.  It was a beautiful location.

November - Our family once again went to Greenville, SC for a missions conference.  It was a great time at the conference & with the Greens!  I celebrated my 43rd birthday with a very relaxing day & good food. Brook & I spent several days in Brandon with my nieces & nephew.  We transitioned to a missionary house as we began packing up our house in preparation to move & Isabella killed her first deer this month! Isabella also went on her 2nd annual Jr. High Buffalo retreat with church.

December - This month went by fast & the time was filled with friends & family.  Another dear friend, Carmen, came to Memphis & we so enjoyed our day with her.  We were busy this month, but really enjoyed Christmas with family.  We came to North Carolina for a visit with family & friends, & will ring in 2014 in Greenville, SC.

Happy New Year to you all & thanks for reading the blog with me this year!

Monday, December 30, 2013

Christmas Day 2013

We had Christmas morning in a different house this year, but it still felt like home & we had a good morning. The girls woke up to their presents & stockings.

To Brook
(Yes, that is One Direction wrapping paper :))

To Isabella

This is a Bellhaven University t-shirt (which is where she wants to go to college & where we visited last month)

After our morning at home, we went to my parents for brunch.  My sister, nephew, & niece came, along with two of my first cousins & their families.  It was a good morning & the food was delicious once again! On our way home, I always like to look at the empty Wal-Mart parking lot.  The world still stops for a few hours on this special day.

You only see this once a year!

Our family then did our yearly tradition of watching my favorite Christmas movie, The Nativity Story.  I have mentioned before how much I like this movie.  I had operation burn out the Christmas candles going before we leave town while we watched the movie!  It was nice to stop all the to-do things & just watch the movie & reflect on the birth of Christ.
This is a snapshot of my favorite scene in the movie.  This is where the shepherd comes to see baby Jesus.  Mary tells the shepherd "He is for all mankind", & the shepherd reaches out to touch God in the flesh.  No better way to end Christmas Day.

Friday, December 27, 2013

Christmas Eve

Christmas Eve is the day my side of the family does its annual get together, meal eating, gift giving celebration.  This year, we were at my parents house. Here is the photo album from the day:

Family photo

Eden spent the night with us the night before & these 2 were together the entire morning.

They took turns reading part of the Christmas story.

The beautifully decorated dining room table
All of the food was delicious!

Girl cousins... that's a pretty group right there!

My parents with 3 kids & in laws

My parents with grandkids

Brook was pretty excited about her gift!

Isabella's cute rain boots! Avery got headphones, which he is wearing here.  Then everyone started to try them on.  The headphones can either block out all sound or act as an amplifier.  It was a fun experience to wear them.

Nicole trying them out

Anna's turn




My siblings...Lynn, John, & me

I gave my crew compression socks.  They were so excited, ha, ha!  They are to wear on our upcoming trip.

Christmas Eve night we had dinner at a friends house.  Ashley & her kids came too.  It is their first Christmas without her husband & daddy.  Keep praying for my friend Ashley & her kids.  Brook, Maylen, & Adaline were toasting their cider!

Little Pearce & Eden were ringing the bells!

The 3 girls cuddled up to watch part of the One Direction movie.

Our night concluded with going to the 11pm Christmas Eve service at church.  We were glad to go, although Brook & I were very, very tired!  It was a full day, but a very good one.

Thursday, December 26, 2013

Pre Christmas Weekend

I hope you all enjoyed your Christmas festivities! Because my mind works in chronological order (most of the time), before I share Christmas Eve/Day pictures, I have a few more from the weekend prior to share.

Saturday morning donuts!
(Isabella was at a friend's house)

Isabella & I went to help my Mom get some cleaning done at my parents house in preparation for the holiday.

We moved boxes out of our house...in the rain, in the dark.  Good times.

The 4th & 5th graders at our church read through the Chronicles of Narnia series.  When it becomes winter in Narnia, so does one of the hallways.  It is always beautiful.

Brook & her sweet friend, Catherine
Brook was glad to finally be old enough to be a part of the annual Narnia Christmas breakfast!

The grinch?  No, just working on a Christmas gift!

I wrote last year that we have a yearly tradition of going to the Peabody at Christmas with some dear friends.  This year, with Christmas coming so quick in the week after the school break, we weren't able to go, so the girls & I went to visit our friends at their house.  We are thankful for these friendships!

Isabella & Charlotte

Next to come, Christmas Eve & Day photos......Enjoy the time of rest after the holiday!

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

The Thrill of Hope

On this Christmas morning, I will share with you some of the lyrics from my favorite Christmas song.  May you be encouraged by the thrill of hope.

O holy night! The stars are brightly shining.  

It is the night Of the dear Savior's birth!

Long lay the world in sin and error pining Till he appear'd and the soul felt His worth.

A thrill of hope, The weary world rejoices.

For yonder breaks A new and glorious morn.

Fall on your knees, Oh hear the angel voices.

Oh night divine Oh night when Christ was born.

Chains shall He break For the slave is our brother.

And in His name all oppression shall cease.

Sweet hymns of joy In grateful chorus raise we Let all within us praise His holy name.

Christ is the Lord, let ever ever praise Thee.

Oh night, Oh night divine.

And a close second to O Holy Night, I love the 3rd verse of Away in a Manger:

Be near me Lord Jesus 
I ask thee to stay 
Close by me forever 
And love me I pray 
Bless all 
The dear children 
In thy tender care 
And fit us for Heaven 
To live with thee there

Merry Christmas!

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

He's Come

On Christmas Eve, I am thankful that He has already come.  Jesus was born into this world in a lowly way among peasants.  A very humble birth.  Nothing grand.  I am thankful He came for all mankind.  I am thankful He came for me.  I am that person who has messed up, made bad decisions, caused shame, & felt guilt.  I am thankful He came for me.  As was so beautifully pointed out this past weekend, the women listed in the geneaology of Jesus all were involved in a scandal.  I am thankful He came for me. I am thankful He is coming again. I am thankful for all the wonderful things He has provided in the midst of wrong choices & disappointments.  I am thankful He came for me.  I am thankful for His forgiveness & the forgiveness from others.  I am thankful for His never failing love. May I show love & be quick to forgive instead of guilt to others.  May I be kind & compassionate. He came for you. He came for me.  I am thankful.

Monday, December 23, 2013

Getting Ready for Christmas

It is officially winter & we are ready for Christmas! Of course, there is always the little stuff....grocery shopping, finishing wrapping gifts, etc.  Last week, I was able to gather with  some ladies from church & had some help wrapping gifts.  They are beautifully wrapped & I was so thankful for the help!  Here is a picture of our little tree with gifts now under it!

Thursday was a busy, fun day for us.  The girls & I had a breakfast date with my dad.  We went to the best breakfast place in Memphis.  The sign even says so :)

Brother Juniper's

That same day, we had a a missionary friend over for lunch.  We met Virginia in NC during our Living in Grace conference in September.  She will also be with us in Belgium next month!  It was good to see her & get to know her a little better, & for her to meet the girls.  Virginia has spent 2 years in Japan & will be returning in the spring.

After lunch, we said farewell to our dog.  It took me by surprise how sad I was.  I am not a big dog person. I do like our dog, but I've also been plenty frustrated with the dog in the past as well.  We are so thankful Beckham is going to the grandmother of a friend of Isabella's.  We will be able to get updates & even get him back in a few years (if he'll have us after being with his new owner!).   I think saying farewell was just one more small step in this process of moving.  We took a lot of pictures!


Brook attended the annual gingerbread house contest at our church for the 4th & 5th graders that same night.  I think she had fun, although her team's house didn't win.

Maylen & Brook

Isabella went as a helper.  Her helper's team won in their division!

Isabella with our most awesome children's minister!

Weekend Wrap-Up / Fall Decor ~ September 20, 2021

 Good Monday morning.  Life has been tough lately and is winning over my blogging time these days.  But, today, I am sharing some highlights...