Thursday, December 11, 2008

God has performed a miracle in Louisiana!

It snowed today!!! I was so excited to wake up and see snow on the ground and to discover that it was still falling!! It was 6:30 so I went and woke the girls up the same way my mom woke me up countless first snow days in Iowa! Flip on the light and shout, It's snowing!!!!! I never thought I would be able to do that but today I did and the girls got out of bed faster than I've even seen them! The last time it snowed here was 1/2" in 2001 and before that it was 1" in 1988. I don't care if it snows anymore this year because really the first snow is the best snow of all.

Monday, December 8, 2008

Christmas Decorating

I love decorating for the holidays! It really gets me in a festive mood. Especially to have some Christmas music playing in the background. I just love this time of year!! The girls were really excited to get all the decorations out and put up the tree. They did a great job of decorating it! I also enjoy reenacting the story of Jesus' birth using our little nativity scenes for the girls. They have a lot of fun playing with those. I read in a magazine how one family doesn't put out the baby Jesus until Christmas Eve and their little children have fun going around and finding all the baby Jesus' on Christmas morning so I did that this year too. It's a fun way to show what Christmas really is about. Anyway, I just wanted to share a few pictures of our decorations.

We added a fun toy to our tree this year. Lowe's put all their decorations for half price so we couldn't resist this one.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Thanksgiving Vacation

This year we tried something different for Thanksgiving. Instead of spending it in Iowa with family, which would've been great also, we decided to go with our vacation buddies to Branson MO. It was a great idea, thank you Jana! We had so much fun spending time with friends that we don't get to see very often and Branson is a great place to take the family. Being on a limited budget, Jason and I couldn't go to all the shows but enjoyed what we were able to do. Sunday evening we left the kids with the men and all of us girls went grocery shopping. Of course Jason and Josh weren't there yet so BJ and Patrick had the privilege of watching them. I think Patrick might have been taking a nap the whole time so it might have been just BJ. Poor guy doesn't even have kids yet and he got stuck with them all! He's a trooper. We each were assigned two meals for the week. That worked out great and was cheaper than eating every meal out. Monday we relaxed for most of the day, Jason and Josh arrived that morning in time for breakfast. The Hemions and Smiths went to the Dixie Stampede that night and the Doherty's came over to our condo for some good ole tomato and sausage gravy. That night I was up late making a breakfast casserole and then Tuesday I stayed at the Hemions condo all day making Gumbo. They all went and played miniature golf in the afternoon and then the Hemions and Doherty's went to the Shangai circus. By the time they got back my gumbo was done and we took it over to my cousins house to share it with them. My uncle was a little late in arriving so after we got done eating the rest of them went down to The Landing to see a light show on the river while Jason and I stayed and visited with my family. Wednesday we went and rode the go-carts and then shopped at the outlet mall for a couple of hours. After lunch we had a couple of hours to relax before we all went to the Noah's Ark show! That was really neat! My cousin happens to work at that one so we were able to get in for half price! Very nice! Thursday of course was Thanksgiving so we were busy preparing Turkey dinner. Jason smoked the turkey in a new charcoal smoker dealymabob and it turned out great! Of course he and BJ went golfing while that was cooking...or smoking...? I had the tough job of opening up a couple cans of cranberry sauce and Jana bought a couple of pies and tossed a salad. I think Esther and Corinne worked the hardest on the meal that day. Esther had to peel all the potatoes, actually I think Josh did, and then she cut them for the mashed potatoes and Corinne made homemade stuffing and apple pie! It was all delicious regardless of how much we did or didn't work.
That night Jason and I went to my Uncles house to visit with them some more. Friday we headed over to Silver Dollar City! I made the mistake of riding the Powder Keg first thing! I had no idea what I was in for and neither did poor Tea!! Needless to say, we both stuck to the kitty rides the rest of the day! We had a pretty good, cold day there and were ready to drop by the time we made it back to the condos. The guys ended up staying later than us girls so they could ride the roller coasters again in the dark and we took the kids home to feed them all the leftovers so we could empty the fridge out before we left. All in all it was a very fun week and I'm very thankful that we were able to go! I think our next vacation with our vacation buddies is going to be in Florida in a couple more years. Jana has probably already started planning it. Without her these vacations would never happen!!! Thank God for Jana!

Avery Doherty

Fun with Lips.
Our Yummy Feast

The cutest carver I've ever seen!
She wanted to sleep all of Thanksgiving!

One Giant Christmas Tree!

Fun with Tennis

Watching the kids at the park.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Trunk or Treat

Yesterday was a fun day for us. Kelsey became a Girl Scout Daisy which we are both looking forward to being involved in. Thankfully one of her best friends (Leah) from her class at school was there also or it might not have gone so well. I got to know Leah's mom (Brandi) who also happens to be the sister of a girl who comes to our church. Small world! I'm very glad Brandi was there because she had been in Girl Scouts as a young girl and she immediately volunteered to be the leader of our troup. I was worried I was going to have to be the leader. So that all turned out great. After the meeting we rushed over to the church to get ready for Trunk or Treat. We had a great turnout, the church was packed and I would say about 30% of the people
were not from church. Kelsey's friend Tyron, from school, came also so I was really happy to see him and his mom. Having Kelsey in school has really helped me meet people outside of the church and hopefully I can be a witness to them as well. Today I went to the school to help decorate for their Fun House and tomorrow I will be helping out with it as well. I really enjoyed meeting more of the Moms and hope to make more friendships there also. Here are a few of the pictures from our fun evening.

I felt like I neglected McKayla this year but she really wanted to wear this dress-up outfit and then I had to find something to make it warmer and black was all I had. I thought she looked more like Minnie Mouse in Snow White's outfit but she loved it and that's the important thing. Next year I'll do much better for her.

This is the outfit I made with Esther's help! You can't see it very well but on the bottom right is a baby tiger that another friend made on her machine. I think we had 5 LSU cheerleaders there so we almost could've had a team. I didn't think to take their pictures all together!

The other two little girls are dressed as the Chipettes, in case you don't know who they are, their the Chipmunks girlfriends. Very cute!
This next picture is their other sister.

This is Dillon dressed up as Jason sometime in 2030

This is Jason as a modern day Esau with his hunting camp.

This is the winning "trunk" as The Tree of Good and Evil

These two were having an identity crisis but they had fun dressing up.

Amber and Anna came dressed as Wilma and Pebbles. Some people are so creative.

I took so many pictures that I can't fit them all on here but I will load them all on my Facebook so you can browse through them there if you want to see more cute outfits! I probably won't get it done right away but hopefully within the next couple of days.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Making Caramel Apples

One of my favorite things in the Fall is Caramel Apples!! I can't get enough of them! The girls love to bake with me and they really enjoyed playing in the gooey caramel. Of course it was even more fun to watch them eat the messy creations. Unfortunately I didn't get a picture of that. But here are the pictures of the whole process.

Kelsey had just woken up from her nap and she doesn't always wake up very happy, so these were not good picture moments for her.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

One Purpose of My Blog

I was very blessed to be raised in a Christian home and got a very good foundation on which to build my life. That doesn't necessarily make it easier, however, for me to live the kind of Christian life that I ought to. Being a Preacher's wife probably does help in that area as I am surrounded constantly by Christians and have to keep up that "image" that we preacher's wives are supposed to have. That might make it easy to live how I should on the outside but I still struggle on the inside to have the thoughts and attitudes that I know Christ wants me to have. It's too easy to hide what we're truly feeling. This blog is a place for me to show my study on areas in my life that need work and since I need to work on them I figure a lot of other people do also so I hope this will be helpful to others as well. It's very tempting for me to keep this private and to have it as a diary for myself but I feel God is leading me to reach out to others also. So I pray that through my blogging I can help you and you also can offer me advice. I'm taking a chance and opening myself up for others to see a side of me I don't like to show but I've learned that it's not about me!! God Bless and I pray that we can grow together as God continues to mold us into the Christians that we ought to be.

Pure Joy

A few weekends back we had our Louisiana Women's Seminar and my eyes were opened. Not because of the words the Speaker (Connie Dietrich) spoke during the sessions, but from our one on one time together. When she seemed to just read me like an open book and gave me some insight into my own life. I had already heard these particular sessions that she did and had requested for her to do them again for this seminar and I loved them just as much as the first time I heard them, if not a little more. But I still went away feeling like I had missed something that was vital for my life and while taking her to the home she was staying in, after the seminar, she asked me how she could encourage me. She noticed I had a heaviness about me and wanted to help me lift it. In just that short time together, she revealed what I had been searching for years to find. What it was that was holding me back, keeping me from experiencing the true joy in Christ that I have been longing for. I have been, for a very long time, putting myself down, not liking this or that about myself, convincing myself that I couldn't do so many things, that I wasn't as good as so and so...and the list goes on an on. I wondered why I was getting frustrated so easily with my children when I knew they didn't deserve that kind of behavior from me. She reminded me of a verse that I know by heart but hadn't applied to my life, Luke 6:45 -
"A good man out of the good treasure of his heart brings forth that which is good; and an evil man out of the evil treasure of his heart brings forth that which is evil: for of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaks."

Evil? I'm not evil so this verse must not apply to me. That's what I thought anyway. When I think of evil, I think of the grim reaper, anything to do with murder and plotting horrible things against other people. But as you study the word evil in the Bible it takes on a whole new meaning. Gen. 8:21 says
"The LORD smelled the pleasing aroma and said in his heart: "Never again will I curse the ground because of man, even though every inclination of his heart is evil from childhood. And never again will I destroy all living creatures, as I have done."
Nobody thinks of a child as evil but here it says, from childhood every inclination of his heart is evil. Duet. 17:4 -
"If it is true and it has been proved that this detestable thing has been done in Israel, 5 take the man or woman who has done this evil deed to your city gate and stone that person to death."
This man and woman were worshiping other idols. How many times in our own lives do we put other things before God, those are our idols!! Duet. 17:8 -
"If cases come before your courts that are too difficult for you to judge—whether bloodshed, lawsuits or assaults—.....12The man who shows contempt for the judge or for the priest who stands ministering there to the LORD your God must be put to death. You must purge the evil from Israel."
This evil is bloodshed, lawsuits, assaults, showing contempt for those in authority, and I could go on with many verses showing that evil isn't what I imagined it to be. Rather I've come to the conclusion that anything that goes against what God teaches and keeps you from having a close personal relationship with Christ is evil! Gossiping, fighting among ourselves, jealousy, envy, selfishness, etc. is all evil! Connie told me that all the things I was thinking about myself were flowing over and were coming out directed at my children. So I realized what I need to do is to focus on being joyful, to put good thoughts inside my head, to think positively about myself and not always degrade myself. There are more verses in the Bible talking about joy than anything else and now I see why. If you don't have joy, you're robbed of a wonderful relationship with Christ. Satan is very clever in that he looks for the things that aren't always obvious to trip us up and make us fall. Not being joyful is not something that you look at and say, "oh no, I'm sinning." It's so easy to slip into the rut of, "woe is me," and not even realize it.
As I started looking up verses on joy I came upon this one: Psalm 19:8 -
"The precepts of the LORD are right, giving joy to the heart. The commands of the LORD are radiant, giving light to the eyes."

That's what I want to experience. I want people to be able to look at me and see that I am joyful. How do we come about this joy? 1 Chronicles 16:27 says,
"Splendor and majesty are before him; strength and joy in his dwelling place. "
Psalm 45:7 -
"You love righteousness and hate wickedness; therefore God, your God, has set you above your companions by anointing you with the oil of joy."
Psalm 90:14 -
"Satisfy us in the morning with your unfailing love, that we may sing for joy and be glad all our days."
Psalm 97:11 -
"Light is shed upon the righteous and joy on the upright in heart."
From just this small sampling of Joy verses we can see that if we rest in God, in his dwelling place, we will have joy. If we love righteousness & hate wickedness He will give us Joy, and if we come to Him every morning to be reminded of all He's done for us, we will have Joy. I think what helped me most though was to come to the realization that I've been living for myself. Everything is about me, all the advertisements are things to make my life better. It's all about me. How will this affect me? Will this make me happy? Why did this have to happen to me? We could go on an on with me questions but I think you get the point. Nancy Leigh DeMoss wrote a book called "Lies Women Believe and the Truth that Sets Them Free" and it has a very good chapter on this very subject. It's about how we've taken God out of the center of the universe and have put ourselves in His place. The apostle Paul tells us that God does not exist for us but that we exist for Him. Col. 1:16-1816
"For by him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things were created by him and for him. 17He is before all things, and in him all things hold together. 18And he is the head of the body, the church; he is the beginning and the firstborn from among the dead, so that in everything he might have the supremacy."

Paul had discovered the secret to true happiness and was able to "rejoice always', even in jail and in many of the other trials he went through. He was not living for himself or to get his needs fulfilled. His passion was to live for the glory and pleasure of God.
Acts 20:24 24
"However, I consider my life worth nothing to me, if only I may finish the race and complete the task the Lord Jesus has given me—the task of testifying to the gospel of God's grace."

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Under Construction

I finally gave in and decided to start blogging. It might take me awhile to get set up and get some posts on here so please be patient. I have many plans for this blog!