Saturday, November 29, 2008

Thanksgiving Bounds Family Style

(You've never tasted cookies until you've had Emily's Chocolate Chip Cake Batter Cookies! YUM!)

So, as the saying goes, "Much fun was had by all!" I absolutely LOVE getting together with my whole family. I am so blessed to have a family that loves the Lord whole-heartedly first, which makes loving each other a little easier=) In this day in age, very few, handfuls probably, have such a strong, supportive family where everyone is married to the perfect person, and we all just love getting to know each other better as time goes on.

Proud Grandmama & Granddaddy

Mark the youngest & me the oldest=)

Love my sisters=)

First & Second my Matthew.

This year's Thanksgiving has been in the books for three years now. My brother Matthew and wife Emily were on an alternate family rotation for us to do Thanksgiving together as a whole family every year, so to fix the rotation, I offered to have both sides of my family's to MY house for Thanksgiving last year--my first by the way, cooking and everything, and I had just had my sweet Savannah who was only six weeks old at the time. YES, I was crazy, but being here all together this year made it TOTALLY WORTH IT!!!

Wednesday before, we all converged on Matthew & Emily's house, and we have filled this home to the brim this weekend. Mark graciously took the couch. Mama & Daddy took the guest bed. Joey had a mattress on the floor next to my day bed, and Savannah had a pack-n-play at our feet, and lastly, LaurieAnn & Tim took the blow-up mattress at the foot of Matthew & Emily's bed. So, yes it was a full house, but full of fun and joy too=)

The gang enjoying fondue.

Wednesday night we all got things kickin' with Emily's amazing fondue party. Now, you have to know that Emily is an phenominal cook, so we have all been looking forward to her Thanksgiving for months now. And fondue was great! It's just that growing up in our family, sitting back and savoring food was not our strong point, so eating fondue became a fast and furious feast of trying not to let anyone else get more food than you! Too funny! And did I mention that we dominated every last morsel of fondue? Just check out the dessert picks below=)

Second course of the fondue feast.

Ok, this is about one minute after the dessert fondue hit the table...

...And this was about another minute after that. You can only imagine that another minute later, and this whole container that had been brimming with strawberries and angel food cake was now left to waste. Not exactly what anyone would describe as "savoring." Ha-Ha!

Thanksgiving schmorgesbourg

Thanksgiving Day was a fast-paced machine to get everything on the table hot and steaming, but we all did actually take our time this time and enjoy every morsel. The stuffing was my personal favorite. Emily makes it from scratch (like she did everything!), and I have never tasted anything so moist and flavorful. We all had our time of sharing what each one of us was thankful for this year, and it was a blessing to hear stories face-to-face of how God has been working in everyone's life this year. He is so good.

After that, the next few hours and days were filled with our own versions of fun--took some pictures, played some Wii, laughed at Savannah, took some naps, saw a movie, did a whole day of shopping, enjoyed some Red Robin, played some games, said goodbyes. Took a deep breath and sighed. My favorite place to be in the whole world is just spending time with my family.

Daddy trying to bowl on Wii (finally a game other people could beat him at!), and Savannah watching intently.
A great pic of LA & Vay-Vay
LA & Tim-lumberjack man=)
And Thanksgiving wouldn't be complete without a picture of me & my man=) Couldn't get a good one with our whole family of three=(

I am so grateful for each and every one of you=)

Sunday, November 23, 2008

The Way God Works

So, I don't know if it's just me, or it other people are as analytical and introspective about their life as I tend to be, but this Bible study I was doing ended with the question, 'Can you think of a time when you can really see how God worked to bring about circumstances in your life?'

So, I sat and thought, and really started thinking about the journey I've had WestRidge Church over the past four years. I can see God's hand all over my life at this church. I mean Joey's new operator friend invited us. We loved the church, but because it was so big, we decided to get involved serving with middle school again because that's mine and Joey's "comfort zone", so to speak. We meet our friends the Chapmans through this, who introduce us to our friends the Moodys. We invite the Chapmans to our Home Team, who then decide to start their own Home Team, and we join them. Only to meet so many more special friends, who I keep running into at church through various connections.

I join a random Bible study back in the fall of 2007, knowing no one and create friendships young and mature that carry me through some of the toughest days I had trying to get pregnant. I continue to run into these ladies who encourage me constantly. One lady in particular becomes something of a mentor to me and encourages me to branch out and lead my own women's Bible study, which after two years, God has finally maneuvered me into accepting this calling.

In the midst of all this we are going to church on Sunday mornings, and I'm listening to all these beautiful amazing women, and thinking, 'I so want to sing like that!' One in particular, Dezirae, catches my eye, and for some reason I just want to be her friend. We keep running into each other at different friend and church events because of mutual connections, and this year her and her husband join our Home Team! So now I know her. I consider her a dear friend. She has her own photography business, hence these amazing pictures of my little girl. And now, Lord-willing, I'm hoping to be working for her after the first of the year doing some behind the scenes business stuff (if she lets me=), and no one knows what an answer to prayer that is going to be for me. I've always wanted to be someone's secretary, and now I'll get to do it from home!

And all of this has happened...these amazing friendships, these relationships of amazing godly women who speak wisdom and encouragement into my life...all of this has happened just as God orchestrated it, perfectly directed, one note at a time, one Bible study, one conversation, one small step of obedience. Just one small piece at a time. Did I have any idea what He had in store for me? The blessings that myself and my family would experience from doing things we weren't necessarily passionate or excited about, but that we knew we were suppose to do?

It's no wonder God never gives us the whole picture of what He's doing right off the bat. The details would drown our tiny, finite minds and the blessings would overwhelm our senses. These last three years of my life have, in retrospect, taught me so much about trusting my God, my Friend, my Abba. I'm so excited about taking the next steps with Him because I can't wait to see where He's going to lead me next!

Monday, November 17, 2008

A Good Day

So, have you ever had those days when you just sit back, take a deep breath, and sigh, and really understand what God must have felt when He looked at His creation and said, "It is good."? I had one of those days last Saturday. Yes, it was cold and slightly icky outside, but my girl was bundled up, enjoying the outdoors like she does, and I was doing my favorite thing in the whole world...working in my yard.
Yes, winter can be a little gloomy given the small choices available for color during this season, but I loaded up on pansies, snapdrgaons (which by the way, are my absolute favorite flower...they are awesome! I'm sure you'll see more pictures as they really get going=), and for this year, I am experimenting with ornamental purple cabbage. I loved catching pictures of Savannah enjoying the pansies, or what I thought was the pansies. Turned out she was enjoying some good 'ole Georgia red clay! Children...

She loves pushing around her mower...

It was a great hour of fun in the yard before it starts to drizzle cold rain, so not wanting my just-recently well and happy daughter to get sick again, we hurried inside for a nap, then I went back outside and continued to work in the wind and drizzling cold rain. Did I mention I LOVE working in my yard?
So later that day, it felt only right to bake something. I mean, a cold drizzly day? Perfect baking weather! Especially since Joey was building me a fire=) So I mulled through my cabinets and recipes, discovered I had what I need to make $1,000,000 Cookies--my Dot-Dot's recipe, and began the satisfying process of throwing everything together. But I really enjoyed watching Savannah enjoy her first beater of dough with her Daddy. (Yes, I cleaned most of the batter off before I gave it to her...I'm not a horrible mother.)

It was really sweet when she started sharing with him. He didn't even ask her too=)

And then it was off to bed, and so ended a really good day. These are the days I live for as a stay-at-home mom. The simple smiles and fun moments of life that slip by so quickly and quietly. When was the last time you had a simply good day?

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Miss Priss

So, Savannah is such a fun child! Seriously...she is always doing something I wish I could catch on film. She amazes me by how much she already understands and comprehends. Like, I can tell her to go feed her baby, and she'll take her play bottle and go feed her babydoll. I can ask her to close doors for me, pick up objects, and more changes every day. She's starting to ask for her "Duice" (Juice), and we're working on saying "More please" instead of whining at the top her lungs and pointing.

Her laugh is contagious! I mean, when you really get her going, everything inside of you smiles and laughs with her. She is just pure joy. I find her laughing hysterically chasing the dogs around the house. (Poor Samson is so patient with her wrestling techniques.) The other day I heard her whining, only to find she had crawled completely underneath our bed only to get stuck because 1) she's too big and, 2) she hasn't quite figured out how to do anything moving backwards, except going down the stairs--Thank you Jesus!

So here she is in another funny way that I could catch on camera. I was busy practicing setting up a mock table for Dinner in December, so to keep her away from all my breakables, I gave her this container of bead garland for Christmas tree decorating I had bought.

As you can see, she completely decorated herself with this string of beads, and was even trying to put them all back in the container. Priceless! I love her=)

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Crazy Customers

So, this is Joey's blog as well, and being a Chick-fil-A owner/operator, he has some funny stories about crazy customers. So now that I blog, I couldn't resist. Check this one out:

Customer: "I just ordered 12 nuggets and the box was empty."

Joey: "It was empty?"

Customer: "Yes, empty. Here you can see the empty box."

Joey: (Looking into the box that clearly has oil stains.) "Ma'am I believe their might have been some nuggets in here..."

Customer : "Yes, there were only 8."

Joey : "So there were some nuggets in here? "

Customer: "My God do you think I am lying?"

Joey: (interior monologue "Heavens NO!") "Ma'am I am not sure I understand what you are saying.....Were there 8 nuggets or zero nuggets?"

Customer: "There were zero nuggets, and I am missing a salad!"

Joey: "Ma'am, Let me make sure I am understanding this correctly, you are missing 12 nuggets and a salad? Which salad would that have been?"

Customer: "The one that comes with the meal and 8 nuggets."

Joey: At this point I am waiting for one of my friends to come out of the woodwork and say Ha such luck.

Customer: "Why is this so hard? I need my meal replaced."

Joey : (Interior monolouge....blood pressure reaching an unsafe level for those in close proximity to front counter. Give her something to make her go away.) "O.k. Ma'am even though it is very obvious there were nuggets in this box I will be glad to replace them for you."

Customer receives food: "Thank you. If I find those 12 nuggets that were missing I will bring them back to you."

Joey : ?????

Customer: "What about my gas money?"

Joey: (Blank stare......................Trying desperately to maintain professionalism........thinking W.W.A.D? (what would Amy do?) "Ma'am we do not give anybody gas money.........."

Customer :"Thanks for nothing."

Joey: "My Pleasure."

Joey: "Wishing I had some of April's cocaine now."

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Awesomest Husband Ever!!!!

Ok, so I don't know what I did to deserve a husband who is constantly trying to be aware of my needs and meet them, but God has been good to me in this area of my life abundantly above and beyond what I deserve! I mean seriously!
So I've been a little out of sorts for pretty much the whole month of October because I've been sick with bronchitis (twice! still taking preventative medication to keep from a third relapse!), and Savannah has been sick the entire month as well. So between my own body telling me I've had enough and Savannah crying ALL the time because she doesn't feel good, my amazing husband got the picture that I needed a break.

So what does he do? He gives me one! And says I can take a friend! What? Out of the blue, he arranged everything...childcare, cost, spa treatments, meals, everything! All I had to do was get a friend and show up for my weekend of nothing...I LOVED IT!!! Every single minute of unplanned nothingness, and my friend Bekah loved it too. So here is the story of my retreat...

Halloween night, Bekah and I drove in late to the middle of nowhere, Whitesburg, GA, smack dab in the middle of Newnan and Carolton, only thirty minutes from home, but you feel miles away from everything. We get there late, and I get the first glimpse of how spooked my friend Bekah can get. I mean, when we pulling into the entrance to the Banning Mills Bed & Breakfast lodge at around 9:00pm Halloween night, it did look like a cruel joke with our first impression being an abandoned guard house. Bekah was like,"What? Are you sure our husbands aren't going to jump out of nowhere and scare us?" Yes, the guard house and long unlit drive to the lodge was creepy, but no cruel joke, just a large, cozy room at a newly renovated lodge-like setting. Loving it already!

We stayed up late that night talking into the wee hours (you know that was like 11:00pm mom-time.) We slept in late the next morning...again, 9:00am. Yes, on mom-time that IS sleeping in! Ate a hearty breakfast cooked by someone was good mind you, but the fact that someone else cooked it, is all that really mattered=) Hiked around and got our bearings until lunch time. Ate a delicious lunch, delicious mainly because someone else cooked it. (I think you should be feeling the pattern by now=) Then Bekah went back to the room for some catching up on reading while I enjoyed the massage and facial my husband had so lovingly scheduled for me. Yes!! He did it! He rocks...what can I say. All other women have a right to be jealous=) J/K...kinda...anyway...
I was done by 2:30 when Bekah and I decided to hit the hiking trails and go explore all these old Civil War ruins that were on the property. We hiked for a long while enjoying the beautiful fall weather and scenery, and all the waterscapes. For those of you who read April's blog, this is a better picture of what you might see in the south this time of the year. The leaves are stunning! And we found several leaves that were so unbelievably large we had to take pictures with them!

So, at the end of this so called trail we were hiking...being very adventurous...we came to the old abandoned paper mill we had set out in search for. Of course, it was on the other side of the river, and of course, we had to find our way over to it, disregarding "No Trespassing" signs. Now mind you, this was Bekah's idea to get to the abandoned paper mill, and I was thinking, "Awesome! She's as foolhardy and curious as I am!" Only to find out once we got there, that she was petrified the place was going to fall in around us if we walked around, not to mention she was a little spooked. Granted, the place was eerily silent and peaceful with only the sound of the wind rustling through the broken-paned windows. Moss, yellow Caution tape, and weathered blue tarp swung creepily in the breeze. I was loving every moment of suspense and would have gladly lived a little farther over the edge exploring the place, but Bekah really was concerned the place would fall down around our ears, so we took several pictures from a doorway just inside the building, trying to capture that perfect photogenic moment. All the while, Bekah was hoping to spot some orbs in her camera...ha-ha! I love her! My "orb" photo is posted below on her behalf, but the spots on my lens might offer an explanation, but who can really know?

So the hike was adventurous and exhilarating and exhausting, and completely unplanned and unscheduled! Ah, to live life by the seat of your pants again! If you don't have kids, don't take it for granted! So dinner was a must after this, and we ate to our hearts and content, but stomach's demise at the Red Robin in Newnan. Drooled a little over Mark Wahlberg in the movie Shooter for our bedtime snack, and went to sleep dreaming of husbands with large arm muscles. (Of course, we would both argue this is not a dream, but a reality...shout out to the hubbies=) And so ends, my two night, one day escape from the stresses of sickness and 24-hour mothering. (I came home to a child with a stomach virus, but such is life, right?) Regardless, I am eternally grateful to my amazing husband for loving me enough to send me away, all details taken care of! I love you Joey Durham....more than I could write! (And obviously, that's A LOT!)