Thursday, May 31, 2012

New Blog!!!!

So I finally made some decisions regarding the "out of picture space conundrum"! Please visit my new blog:

Friday, May 25, 2012

So apparently I'm out of picture space...

I tried to upload some pictures and videos for this post - but I was informed that I've now used 1023mb of the 1024mb I guess I'm going to have to look for some alternative options....maybe a new blog???

Monday, May 21, 2012

A big lesson learned this weekend

I have struggled my whole life with issues about "control".  I have a very strong personality.  I like things done the way I think they should be.  I like doing things myself because, "then, I'll know they've been done just how I want them done".  I like having a plan, even if it is an unrealistic one.  I can know to the bottom of my heart that my list has so many things to get done on it that there is, very literally, not enough time in the day to get it done - but I still feel better because I have a list and "at least I won't forget anything I planned to do".  I think I've adequately described my tendencies toward complete insanity... especially in this department.

We've told several people about this "crazy plan" that we'd like to do if we can sell our house.  We were partially inspired by Dave Ramsey's ideas about fiscal stewardship.  I love his quote, "If you're friends don't think you're crazy, YOUR NOT DOING IT RIGHT!"  Some people have looked at us like we're crazy, but others have remarked that it is a brilliant plan.  We felt like we were following God's will by accepting this plan.  It really doesn't even feel like our plan, but His.  I wouldn't have thought..."Hey, let's pick something that's going to create more work for us than we already have".

We hadn't had a single showing on our house with this agent until we'd started making preparations towards this "crazy plan, then what almost seemed magically, we got a call for a showing.  This past weekend, we worked so hard getting ready for an open house.  We have sore muscles, sunburn and I even have a blister to prove how hard we worked in the backyard.  I am so pleased with our backyard.  It really is the backyard I've wanted for this house since we moved in.  We were able to put Ashlyn's little play house back there and all!  The inside was spic-and-span!  I left the house thinking, "I wouldn't mind keeping this house - I forget how much I like it when it's not this clean."  We had gone Saturday late afternoon to drive by several houses that I'd found that were in the price range we were looking.  The first one we looked at had a little promise, but it was really small - the second was a "no way, jose" kind of house.  The third was absolutely and positively perfect!  We looked at the others I'd collected information on and found a couple other "maybe's" - but we'd already found "the one".

Fast forward to Sunday at 4 o'clock.  I texted the real estate agent wondering how many people showed up at the open house.  I mean I didn't expect the open house to sell the place - but I thought we might have had some curious people come out.  Nope....she texted back, "I hate to say it, but not a soul came."  I just didn't understand.  The plan was working out.  We are supposed to be doing the plan, right???  I reflected back on telling David while we were working in the back yard that I wasn't doing the work for whoever bought the house, I was doing it for us... so that we could actually use our backyard for however long we were intended to live in this house.  (I had done an extra project that wasn't necessary and planted some plants underneath our bedroom window that probably won't really even look great until next year (assuming the dogs don't dig them up).  That project is what gave me the blister.  I realized that I really did mean it.  I accepted that obviously we had misread God's intentions and we should probably just refinance and stay in our current home for a while longer.  I mentally gave up trying to sell our house.

Monday morning... 9:30am:  The real estate office just called and someone wants to look at the house between 10 and 12.  Seriously....they couldn't have come to the open house - I had to take my lunch break at 9:30 in the morning to go set up the house for someone to look at.  Even though I've mentally given up on selling this house, I just don't want someone to walk in on my un-kept house (it really is still perfectly clean, except for breakfast dishes and hair accessories and towels from getting ready).

Somewhere between 9:30 and 10:00 this morning I realized that although I say outwardly "I trust God to provide the best possibilities for us in life, even if I don't know what that is..." that in my heart what I've been saying to God - "I trust you because I've figured out your plan and I like it.  It seems like a plan I can live with.  I have enough strength to move forward with your plan God."  I realized that I felt comfortable and excited about this plan, because I felt "in control" because "I know God's plan".  Today I learned that I don't know God's plan and that's kind of scary for me.  What if part of His plan is that He's not going to tell me the plan.  What if the plan is that I just have to blindly trust that the long run is going to work out the way He wants it to, even if it's not the way I want it to.  What if the plan is that I have to learn to concede to His control and ask Him what to do next each and every step of the way.  I'm learning that it's not about my strength or what I do to work toward the plan I think God is weaving.  My strength is really of so little importance to Him.  He doesn't even take it into consideration when he decides on the plan for our life.  It's not even the slightest factor for Him.  He knows He has enough strength to go around.  We'll continue to make preparations to sell or refinance, but I feel like my heart is different now.  I don't know how this will turn out, and I'm learning to be OK with that!!!

Monday, May 14, 2012

Mother's Day 2012

My Mother's Day started at 9:30 on Saturday.  My sweet husband took me for dinner and a movie.  We saw "The Avengers"!  Great movie!!!  Ashlyn was already asleep and my sweet step-sister stayed home to babysit.  I ate popcorn and drank coke (neither are diet friendly)!  We woke up and headed out for church on Sunday.  Ashlyn had "picked out a present for Mommy" at Panoply for my Mother's Day present.  A gorgeous handmade silver and pearl necklace. :)  Mommy loves it!  A couple that we are friends with in town finally came to visit at First Wesleyan!  I was so excited to get to see them there!!!  After church David, Ashlyn, Lindsey and I went to lunch with Teresa, Leslie, Andrew and Lurie at Baumhowers.  We jokingly call Teresa "David's Other Mother" - so it was fitting and lots of fun to get to have lunch with them!  When we got home, I got to do one of my favorite things in the whole wide world....take a nap with my hubby!!!  Ashlyn was napping, so we did too and it was GLORIOUS!!!  After naptime, we headed over to David's Mom's house where he cooked us dinner (including a chocolate mousse dessert!)!!!  I love my hunny!!!!  We came home and plugged in the Insanity Fit Test.  We both did GREAT and we were really proud of our progress!
Last year was my first Mother's Day celebration.  I'd only been a mom for a few short months.  Ashlyn and I have both grown so much in just one year.  Being a Mom is a very special job.  We work hard and sacrifice for these little people that we adore so much.  Ashlyn can frustrate me, entertain me and melt my heart all almost simultaneously.  I am so thankful that God allowed me to be Ashlyn's Mommy.  It is a huge privilege and I pray constantly that I will be the Mommy that she needs me to be.
Being a Mom has given me a glimpse into the world of my own Mom.  I am truly thankful to my mom for all the sacrifices she made for me and all the lessons she tried so earnestly to teach me as I grew.  She is a very special lady!  We may be separated by distance, but she's never far from my thoughts.

Happy Mother's Day!!!

Carpe Diem

This weekend we had a ton of activities!  In one weekend, heck, in each day of the weekend, I've been all over the charts emotionally.  Friday evening we attended the visitation service for Jennifer Harper.  The loss became more even more real to me that day.  We kept it light in the long line to express our condolences to her family.  She was one very loved woman.  My heart was broken to see her husband, mom, dad and brother and finally her little girl.  We are truly blessed to wake up each morning to those we love. 

We ran into a couple from our church on our way outside and got to talking so we all decided to go out to dinner.  I really enjoyed getting to know them better!  It's hard to get to know someone when you only have a few minutes in passing while we're rushing to a class or service at church.

We tried to sleep late on Saturday - but with an almost two year old at home - you'd guess right if you guessed she was up at the same old 6:30am!  Ashlyn had been invited to her teacher's son's birthday party.  Her son is also one of Ashlyn's classmates.  He turned a big old 1 year old!!!  Ashlyn calls him her "baby".  Her teacher says she dotes over her all day long, making sure he has a toy or his paci or his share of snack.  She does not go around kissing just anybody - but she loves her "baby"! 

After the party we went home to change clothes and Lindsey agreed to watch Ashlyn so we could attend Jennifer's funeral.  Our pastor at First Wesleyan officiated at the funeral.  The family allowed him to share selections from letters that Jennifer had written each to her husband and to her daughter.  I was strong until then.  She had written the letters over a year and a half ago.  She didn't know that she would pass suddenly, but she truly understood that she could...that any of us could.  She not only understood, but acted on the precedent that we are not promised the next second here on this earth.  More so, she understood that our lives are not our own.  We've been bought at a price and we belong to the Most High God.  He has a purpose for us and we should be trying to live out that purpose each day.  After the funeral, I had a lot of time to contemplate my every day life.  If today was my last, what would the story they told at my funeral be like.  Now I'm not trying to be morbid - I don't think I'll be dying any time soon, but the reality is...I could...we all could.  As a young person, it's easy for me to procrastinate in beginning to work towards a goal I have or a purpose I feel the Lord has called me for but yet again, and in a very real way, the Lord has reminded me that we should Seize the Day!

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Today has been hard.

Today has been a hard one.  I'd like to complain about how hard my day at work was or complain because Ashlyn has been so very fussy for the last two days, but I'm just so very grateful for my life that I don't see a purpose in those complaints.  I had a serious perspective check today.  A friend from church went to be with Jesus today. I didn't know Jennifer as well as I wanted to.  In fact, just a couple weeks ago, we commented on how fun it would be to get our little girls together for a play date at the park and get to chat.  David and I take care of her little 2 1/2 year old girl on Wednesday nights at church.  I'm sad because I won't get to know her, but I'm mostly sad because I know how much her family and friends loved her.  She will be greatly missed.  She made an impact on us.  She was unique and proud of it.  I am praying for her family to feel peace and comfort in knowing that they will see her again in eternity.  I pray that they will not feel the loneliness that can come with losing a loved one, but that they will feel God's love embrace them.  My heart is heavy for the loss, but I am rejoicing that Jennifer is in no more pain and is with the Savior she loved so dearly.  May you rest in peace Jennifer Kemp Harper.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Panoply 2012

This past weekend Huntsville, AL hosted the 2012 Panoply festival.  I wondered what "Panoply" I looked it up - "a wide-ranging and impressive array or display" is one of the definitions provided by  It was definitely that...I kept describing it "Like Kentuck - only bigger and a lot better..."  LOL!  David and their crew headed to Huntsville on Thursday to set up and get ready to sell some yummy food at the festival.  One of the employees told me that the inspector described their set-up as "the coolest and the cleanest".  Definitely a compliment in their line of business!  Ashlyn and I headed up Saturday to see David and check out the festival.

 Ready to open!

 Now tell me these Turkey legs don't look amazing!!!!  You can't tell in this picture, but they are huge!!! and they taste as good as they look, I promise!!!

Panoply recognizes that cooking is an art....Southern Dining won Best Entree for their Fried Gumbo!!!  So proud of them!  This 'plaque' is actually an original piece of art with the description of the award written on the back...that SDR drilled holes into so they could display their award...poor really is a pretty painting, but no one will ever see it. LOL!

My cousin Becky and her husband stopped by the tent, but I missed them. :-(  We were back at the hotel while Ashlyn napped.  She did great for the whole weekend, but being out in the heat and walking around and playing with everyone really drained her energy reserves!  She took two very long naps on Saturday and still fell fast asleep when I put her to bed that night!  I wish I'd been able to see my family while we were in town and it would be cool if we lived closer and could be more involved with them, but I just have to appreciate the times I DO get to see them more!