Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Weekend Fun

This weekend Stephen and I watched the Brock children.  We had a lot of fun with them playing video games and watching movies.  They are great kids who love to laugh and I couldn't help taking a few pictures of the fun we were having. 

Stephen and Brandon played Wii Boxing and Brandon was so funny I ended up recording a few seconds of it on my camera.  Click on the video to watch it.  Little Brandon definitely beat my big, strong husband, which made it even funnier.  Enjoy the pics and video!

I thought this picture was great.  Stephen was playing a video game on the computer and the kids wanted to know all about the game and how to play it.  They gathered around Stephen and watched for about 30 minutes while he explained everything and showed them how to play. There was one moment when Brandon leaned over Stephen's shoulder and put his arm around him.  He stood like that for a few moments and it was just precious.  It happened too fast for me to take a picture of though.  I am so proud of my husband, who loves children and does such a great job playing with, entertaining, and leading/teaching them. He will be a great father one day.

In the meantime, here's what I've been doing for the last week:

It's Christmas time, and that means lots of parties and goodies! It's been great to celebrate our Savior's birth with good friends and family. I'm looking forward to the next 2 weeks as we spend some quality time with both our families.

Merry Christmas!

Friday, December 5, 2008

Decorating for Christmas

I love this man.  
He does NOT like putting up Christmas lights.  
But he LOVES me.  
And I really wanted lights on our beautiful home.  
AND his dad offered to buy ALL the Christmas lights we needed if Stephen would put them up.
So he agreed to go all out and do whatever I wanted.  
I wanted to outline the house in white lights.  
And he did it.  
He climbed up on our REALLY high roof and got much too close to the edge for my comfort (and his mom's!) and made my dream happen.  
I love this man.

And I love this house.
Doesn't it look pretty!?!

It's even better in person!


Monday, November 10, 2008

Not for the Faint of Heart

A friend of mine has been on an incredible journey this year. She has been a participant of the World Race which is put on by Adventures in Missions ( It is a year long journey that literally takes you across the planet serving in radical ways to people at each stop. My friend has been keeping a blog of her adventure and I've been living vicariously through her stories of poverty, depravity, love, and the redemptive power of Christ.

Her most recent blog has been on my mind all day. So much that I had to spend my lunch break praying over the people she writes about.

It's not for the faint of heart.

Take a moment to read the entry here and let your eyes be opened to reality. Then read through the rest of her entries.

Monday, November 3, 2008

Hope Fundraiser!

Who likes Boston Butt?!?

Boston Butt Fundraiser
Now through Nov 22nd!

Reach Orphans With Hope is having a Boston Butt Fundraiser to raise money for our orphan outreach projects including: orphan child needs, the Summer Orphan Program, and post-adoptive family support.  For those who don't know, half my time at work is dedicated to this awesome organization.  They are an orphan advocacy and humanitarian aide group for international, older orphan children.  You can find out more about them at

Pre-Order Cost $30.00

Now through Nov 12th you can pre-order a Boston Butt by getting ahold of me or calling Reach Orphans With Hope (I answer the phones too) at 205-229-2707.  The cooked Boston Butts will be available for pick-up on Saturday, November 22nd from 8:00am - 12:00pm at The Church at Brook Hills Student Building Parking Lot.  I can bring them to Sylacauga that afternoon for all the Sylacauga folks!  Walk-up orders are also welcome on delivery day until we are sold out!

Order yours today and have it just in time for Thanksgiving crowds and Iron Bowl Parties!

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Outback America

We are slowly getting caught up! A few weekends ago was Outback. This is a weekend retreat held at Farmlinks (golf course close to us) that is designed around relationship-building. You attend with a partner (typically husband/wife, father/daughter, father/son, mother/daughter, or mother/son). Stephen and I had the great privilege to attend at husband/wife coaches, meaning we got to help lead a group of husband/wife couples through the weekend. Not really teaching, because that is all done by the speakers, but helping to facilitate their times together and be their guides through the weekend. We had a great time! We had 4 couples in our group and all of them had been married less than a year! Here were the lengths of the marriages: 6 months, 4 months, 2 months, and one engaged couple! Isn't that crazy! Stephen and I were the old married couple of our group :-) And how great that we had an engaged couple - what a fantastic investment in preparing for your marriage.

Here are a few pictures of the weekend. It is truly beautiful out there and a great place to reflect on the Lord.

Another reason this weekend was special to us is because this is the location Stephen proposed to me 2 years ago. It was up on the mountain-top at Outback, and we got to go back to the exact same spot where he proposed. It was our first time to go back since that time, so we made sure to stop for a moment to reflect and be thankful. And of course to take some pictures! These pictures look almost exactly like the ones we took right after Stephen proposed - minus the showing off of a shiny new ring. :-)

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Happy Birthday Jeff!

Again, we're trying to play catch-up here.  Jeff turned 50 on Sept 28th and we had a surprise party for him at our house!
We are so thankful that he is a regular part of our lives here in Sylacauga.  Jeff is a godly man who is quick to serve and to give a hug and a smile.  He is a blessing to all who know him and I always leave encouraged when spending time with him.

It was a blast throwing a surprise party for his birthday (much credit to Janet and Jayci for handling all the details and putting it together)!  Here are a few pics of us getting ready for the big event.  Unfortunately I didn't take any pictures during the actual party, but just take my word for it that it was a great one.

Jayci wrapped our presents for Jeff
Don't they look awesome!  I need her to give me lessons in bow-making!
Our fun musical card!

And of course, the cake!
Happy Birthday again Jeff.  We love you!!!  

It's been a big year for birthdays...lots of parents turning half a century old :-)  Just one more left...we'll be sure to do it big Dad!

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Time Flies!

My how the time has flown.  I've thought many times that I really want to update this blog, but the reality is that I haven't had any time!  I have lots of events and pictures to share with you all and I'm going to do my best to cover a few of those over the next few days.

First of all, Stephen and I celebrated our 1 Year Anniversary on September 1st!  I can't believe how quickly our first year of marriage has gone by.  At the same time, I feel like we've been married for a long time because it feels so right and natural to be with Stephen.  We definitely belong together and it's hard to even imagine life any different than it is today.

For our anniversary, we had dinner at one of our favorite restaurants - The Melting Pot! Mmmmm, so good and fun!  It's a fondue restaurant and every course is served fondue style, meaning you skewer the food and actually cook it at the table.  Here's some pictures of the fun:

And the absolute best part...DESSERT!
Chocolate and Peanut Butter Fondue anyone?
I can taste the goodness just by looking at that picture.

We also went to a movie and then drove out to the lake and spent some time talking about our favorite things from our first year of marriage and things we're looking forward to in year 2.  Here are a few of our favorites from yr 1: honeymoon in Maui, weekend getaways in San Diego and Pasadena, serving together in Jr High ministry at Grace Community Church, Saturday morning waffles, and moving to Sylacauga.  It was definitely an exciting year with lots of new adventures.  And greater than all those things, I'm thankful for the time we got to spend learning, serving, laughing, and living as husband and wife.  What an incredible blessing marriage is!

Friday, September 26, 2008

Weekend Fun

While there may not be quite as many things to do in Sylacauga, Alabama as there was in Los Angeles, Stephen and I have still found plenty to keep up busy.  Last weekend we got to experience our first GrapeStomp at Morgan Creek Vineyards, which is just 25 minutes down the road.  

Neither one of us had been to a GrapeStomp before and Stephen kept asking what we would be doing, so I got online and did a little investigating.  This is what I saw:
  After reading a few details, I discovered that there would be a Lucille Ball look-alike contest, along with opportunities to stomp on grapes and tour the vineyards.  I know the Lucy look-alike contest got me hooked :-)  So Saturday we drove out into the country and found Morgan Creek Vineyards.  It's actually a very pretty vineyard and winery house.  I could definitely see people getting married on the front lawns.  But I think my favorite thing of all was actually getting to walk along the actual vineyard with grapevines heavy with grapes.  Technically they were muscadines, which Stephen says is different from a grape, but they looked pretty much like grapes to me...just a bigger version.  Heres a few pictures for you guys:

The Lucille Ball look-alike contest:
It was a fun experience...gotta take advantage of everything that's offered!  In a few weeks there's a pumpkin festival at the local pumpkin patch!  Hopefully I can talk Stephen into that one too. :-)

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Daisy Festival

Last weekend my mom flew in from Kansas City and we drove to Atlanta to go to the Daisy Festival at Stone Mountain. We stayed with family and had a great time hanging out with them and my friend, Vicki. Here's some pictures from the weekend:
According to the bags they gave out at the entrance, the Daisy Festival is "The Nation's #1 Arts and Crafts Festival." It was definitely the largest one I have ever been to. We were there for 2 days and I really don't know if we even saw all of the booths.
Our group: Me, Mom, Aunt Yvonne, Cousin Taylor, and Karen.

Yummm...turkey leg!

We also did a little backyard fishing before dinner one night. This is on the dock in my uncle's backyard. The lake was newly stocked about 2 yrs ago and we caught a fish almost every time we threw in the line!
Cousin Taylor and her awesome fish that tried to attack right before we took this picture.
My proud catch. Look at the size of that thing! ;-)

Even as adults they still pick on each other...

A big highlight of the weekend was getting to hang out with Vicki!!! She's a good friend of mine from childhood. We grew up together in a culdesac in GA and have stayed friends over all these years. It was great seeing her and her family.
Hooray for a fun weekend! Stephen didn't come because he wasn't thrilled by the idea of walking around a hot and crowded craft fair all weekend, but he had plenty of fun on his own. Football watching, poker & movie boys night, etc. Even though he says he missed me, I know he had a fun weekend too. Now it's back to work...Hooray for a job with Servant Life!

Saturday, August 30, 2008


Last Saturday we got to hang out with Alison and JK!!!  They made the trek down to Sylacauga to eat dinner with us and play some Taboo.  We had a great time with them and loved getting to hear what's been going on since they got married 2 months ago.  Hopefully we can do it again soon!

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Fun Moments

Stephen and I got a good laugh the other night. Our front door is kinda finiky and you have to turn the handle just right to get it to open. It hasn't been much of an issue yet, because we've always been able to get it to open after a few tries.

Well Monday night we decided to splurge a little and order a pizza for dinner. When the dominoes guy got to the house, Stephen went to the front door to let him in and he couldn't get the door to open! He tried for a few minutes, yelled for me to come help, and then had to yell through the door for the guy to meet him down at the garage cause it just wasn't opening. :-)

We were both cracking up by the time we got the pizza. I felt kinda bad for the dominoes guy was raining outside and he had to walk up to our door, then down to the garage in the rain.

Good times.

Saturday, August 23, 2008


This video is such a testimony to the redeeming, saving work Christ does in our lives.  I cried.  Hope you like it.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

There is A Plan

The last few months I have been frequently reminded of God's sovereignty. Over and over I am seeing how God is in control of our lives and that He has a specific plan for us, for His people, and for the world as a whole (His creation) that He is faithfully bringing about.

Stephen and I can see this so clearly when we look back at how God brought us together as husband and wife. It's sometimes funny trying to explain to people how we met because it takes quite a while to explain all the little events over the years that God orchestrated to bring together two kids from completely different lives who never even lived in the same state until they got married. I like to think it's a testament to God's soveriegnty and plan.

Lately we're seeing God provide for us in the job category. For me personally, I feel like I am almost sitting back and watching God bring about a plan that has been years and years in the making.  I'll post more about it soon, but as I've reflected on God's direction in my life, it's reminded me of this beautiful passage from Psalms:

1 O LORD, you have searched me and you know me.
2 You know when I sit and when I rise; you perceive my thoughts from afar.
3 You discern my going out and my lying down; you are familiar with all my ways.
4 Before a word is on my tongue you know it completely, O LORD.
5 You hem me in—behind and before; you have laid your hand upon me.
6 Such knowledge is too wonderful for me, too lofty for me to attain.
7 Where can I go from your Spirit? Where can I flee from your presence?
8 If I go up to the heavens, you are there; if I make my bed in the depths, you are there.
9 If I rise on the wings of the dawn, if I settle on the far side of the sea,
10 even there your hand will guide me, your right hand will hold me fast.
11 If I say, "Surely the darkness will hide me and the light become night around me,"
12 even the darkness will not be dark to you; the night will shine like the day, for darkness is as light to you.
13 For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother's womb.
14 I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well.
15 My frame was not hidden from you when I was made in the secret place. When I was woven together in the depths of the earth,
16 your eyes saw my unformed body. All the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be.
Psalm 139:1-16

There's so much more I could write, but I'll stop here for the moment...more to come!

Sunday, August 3, 2008

Various Weekend Adventures

This weekend we spent a lot of time unpacking our things and putting our own personal touch on the house.  We had some great help from Janet and Cole and actually got most of it done in just one day.  We're so glad to finally have our things.  It was quite the ordeal getting it out here due to our really bad movers, but we're just thankful it made it.  I was beginning to wonder if we'd EVER get our stuff back.  And Stephen has clothes again!  He was more or less on a 5 outfit rotation for the last month, so the first box he found was the one with his clothes in it.  The first one(s) I found had our dishes and pots and pans!  You better believe I had those opened and unpacked the same day they got here!

In other news, Stephen has a job!  He is the new CLC Director for FBC Sylacauga!!!  The CLC is the Christian Life Center, which is basically the recreation/gym/lobby area of the church.   This is such a huge answer to prayer for us.  He has been looking for a job for quite a while now, and God just placed this one in his lap out of the blue.  We literally had no prospect in sight and were praying that God would provide a job for him on Wednesday night, and then Thursday while Stephen was up at the church Pastor Tim asked him if he'd like to take the position.  When Stephen called and told me the good news, all I could think was, "God is amazing and He has totally answered our prayers."  Now we just need to find a new job for me!

We also got to go down to Tuscaloosa this morning to see our dear friends and celebrate the birthday and ministry of Keith Pugh.  This family is so special to Stephen and me.  Kameron was Stephen's best man in our wedding, KJ married us, and Keith & Teresa read scripture during the wedding.  It was great to see all of them and their respective families and to join in the celebration of leadership and a life devoted to God and ministry.  It was a great encouragement to hear testimonies of how God has used the Pugh family, and specifically Keith, to impact others for the Kingdom.  In many ways Stephen and I pray our marriage and ministry will mirror the Pughs.  They have been a godly example to us and we are forever thankful for them.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

We Did What?!?

That's right!  On Saturday Stephen and I became the proud new owners of a Ford Edge.  After a few months of talking about getting a new car, we finally buckled in and drove out of the parking lot with one.  After signing lots of paper with lots of fine print, of course.

We bought it from this great man:
For those of you who don't know, the other man in the picture (besides Stephen) is my wonderful father-in-law Jeff.  He works for Long-Lewis Ford...which is how we were able to afford our nice new car.

Now let me explain a few things.  First of all, the last straw that contributed to us making the big decision to get a car was what I now refer to as one of the most miserable days of my life so far.  The windows in my old car have been giving me problems for over 2 years.  Two of them decided to stop working, and one of them would not go back up - it was stuck with the window down.  I took my car in and was told that it would cost about $500 PER WINDOW to fix them.  So of course I decided it didn't really matter THAT much that I couldn't use my windows, so I just had them bolt the one window that wouldn't go back up into place.  This was about 2 yrs ago.  

Last Thursday, my driver's side window decided to get stuck in the down position and not go back up.  This wouldn't have been the end of the world IF I hadn't been in Birmingham when it happened AND if it hadn't been POURING DOWN RAIN outside. 

Here's the story.

After work Thursday I had to go to the doctor's office.  My window had already decided to stop working earlier in the day.  As I was sitting in the waiting room, with a clear view of my car out in the parking lot and my window WIDE OPEN, the skies opened up and rain came pouring down.  There was nothing I could do.  There was no way to get my window back up.  So I sat there for about 30 minutes and just watched the rain pour into my car as I waited for the doctor to call me back.  All the while knowing I would soon have to drive home in the soggy seat in the rain.

Once I finished at the doctor's, it was STILL POURING DOWN RAIN.  Remember, I'm in Birmingham and have an HOUR drive home to Sylacauga.  It rained pretty much the whole way.  At one point I attempted to open an umbrella and hold it over the window while I was driving, but the wind kept blowing the umbrella around, and really it wasn't doing that much good.  Plus it was probably pretty dangerous to be holding the umbrella up to my window while I was trying to drive in the rain.

Then I decided to stop at WalMart and buy a garbage bag and some tape - maybe I can tape up my window and keep the rain out.  Good idea except for the fact that it's still raining and the entire inside of my car is wet, so there's no way for the tape to stick.  Plus the wind blew the trashbag off the window.  

I did however buy a towel.  To place between my wet clothes and my very soggy seat.  Not that it did much good at that point.

All that to say, when I finally got home soaking wet, the first thing Stephen said after "I'm sorry" was "We're going to buy a new car this weekend."  This was music to my ears, no matter how much it might cost in the long run.

So we went to see Jeff and came home with the Edge.  It's a crossover, so it gets better gas mileage than an SUV and it looks super cool.  Here's some pics of the inside.
I LOVE the moon-roof/sunroof!  It covers like the entire ceiling of the car.  It's almost like driving with the top down and I've ALWAYS wanted a sunroof.

So that was our big purchase for like the next 10 years.  It sure has made the drive to work each day a little more fun.  We're really enjoying it and will be taking it on a little roadtrip this weekend to Atlanta to see my aunt & uncle.  Should be fun!

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Life In Sylacauga

Sorry it's been a while.  Stephen and I have been keeping pretty busy here in Sylacauga.  We had a GREAT time at the lake with my family for the 4th of July.  It was so good to see everyone, even if it was just for a few short days.  We had lots of fun hanging out on the lake and Stephen went fishing with the guys and caught some big 'ol fish!
A different group of our family went each night and my Aunt Mary actually caught the biggest fish of the weekend...beginner's luck, I guess!

Since then we've been entertaining lots of friends and family in our new house!  Our dear friend KJ Pugh (he married me and Stephen) came and stayed for a night last week after preaching at a youth retreat in the area.  It was great to have him over and catch up for a little bit.   Next time we hope he brings his sweet family along too!  We're excited they've moved to Tuscaloosa and hopefully will get to see them a little more often.

This past weekend we had a big group over for dinner.  I guess "big" is relative.  We had Janet, Jeff, Frank, and Chad (family friend and carpenter/house refinisher extraordinaire), plus Stephen and me.  Stephen grilled steaks on our new grill and they turned out soooo good!  And I had fun in the kitchen with Janet getting all the side dishes and desserts ready.  We had a great time of fellowship together and hopefully will be having many more meals just like that one.

We also made a large purchase over the weekend, which I will be posting about hopefully tomorrow after I take some pictures!  Get excited!!!