Friday, April 27, 2012

Today

Today, April 27th, marks the one year anniversary of a tragedy that struck the community of which I'm a part.  We didn't experience any damage to our home.  We were only out of power for about a half a day.  David's businesses experienced loss, but it was minor in comparison to those around us.  I still get teary eyed when I think about that day and the days following.  I've never seen such widespread destruction with my own eyes.  My heart still fills with pride in my community for the way we banded together.  Some got out in the trenches and literally dug people out of their own homes, some provided food and water, some provided shelter, some provided a hand to hold and a shoulder to cry on, some stayed home to care for their children so that their significant others could help and MANY provided the thing we needed the most - PRAYER!  There are so many Facebook statuses and tweets today about "Remembering".  I've even seen a couple comments about not wanting to keep replaying the horror over and over again - about just moving forward.  I choose today to remember and honor the lives lost in that tragedy.  Most of all, I'm choosing to remember the courage, perseverance, faith and triumph that I've seen as a result of this tragedy.  I've watched people find a strength within them that they didn't know was possible.  I watched people choose generosity in a world of greed.  I watched people put others before themselves.  I saw the Church get out into the community and minister to a world of hurting people.  I will never forget watching the big black cloud race across the sky and the way my heart felt when I realized what that big black cloud had done, but I will also remember the love that I saw in people's hearts as they searched their homes for things they could donate and gave countless hours of their time to help those they knew were hurting.  Instead of remembering the tragedy - I choose to remember the triumph.

Psalm 46:1-3
"God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble.  Therefore we will not fear, though the earth give way and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea, though it's waters roar and foam and the mountains quake with their surging."

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Baptism

This past Sunday, David made a major statement of faith...he was Baptized!  I can't say how proud I am of him!  We have both grown so much in our faith now that we've been led to our church home.  We wandered aimlessly and without spiritual direction for so long.  We've both been Christians for many, many years, but lacked the guidance, accountability and encouragement that comes with fellowship with believers.  David and I have both commented on the sense of peace and clarity that has come with our conscious daily choices to trust God to lead our lives.  We still worry and yell at each other and spend money unwisely and say an occasional bad word sometimes.  As Matt Pitt says, "We aren't perfect, Just Forgiven!"  When someone is baptized at our church, they walk into the baptismal with a "sponsor".  I love our pastor's explanation that this person is a representation of the fact that we do not have to walk our spiritual journey alone, but we have our brothers and sisters of the faith who are there to encourage us and help guide us along the way.  Of course- that is paraphrased.  I have to mention that we did have some giggles in the congregation when it came time to "dunk" David.  David is 6'5"...our pastor is not...there was a very short delay when they were doing a little dance trying to figure out the dynamics of just how exactly they were going to get David underwater and then back up.  He took it in stride and we all hooped and hollered in celebration when they were done!  David has embraced his role as the spiritual head of our family and I can't say enough how very blessed I am that God chose him for me.


Baptism, April 22nd 2012 from FirstWesleyanChurch on Vimeo.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Wow...what a weekend...

I'm still recovering from quite a wild weekend...Our Friday night started with a trip to CiCi's Pizza.  This was Ashlyn's first trip and I'd like to say it went great...but it really only went OK. Part of the problem is that she plays harder and has a shorter nap at school than at home - so we do really good on the weekends, but after school activities are almost not worth it.  More time is spent in meltdown than having a good time.  The good part about this is that I'm very encouraged to go home and cook dinner as opposed to having dinner out.  We've never really had trouble with Ashlyn in restaurants until recently.  She has decided she doesn't like to sit down and eat.  She wants to eat standing up....this is a battle I'm just not ready to handle.  She has become a very picky eater and I just want her to eat something...so we've been eating in whatever chair she wants to and sometimes she's standing up.  I'm holding out faith that she'll grow out of this - just like the other food/dinnertime related issues we've had along the way.
Friday evening was spent cleaning the house top to bottom since someone requested a real showing of the house.  I'm trying to be realistic and not get excited.  I know it is pessimistic of me but I get to being a real grumpuss when we're cleaning the house for a showing.  I start thinking the people looking at the house probably haven't even sold theirs...so I try to be positive and clean for my family.  We like living in a clean house and when we show the house - David and I really give it a good scrub.  I was so tired by bedtime Friday that I told David if he would clean the floors in the house that I would get up early and mow the lawn.  So....Saturday morning before Ashlyn even got up, I was up and at 'em in the yard...by the time I was done Ashlyn was up and David was getting ready to leave to work at the Sorority House for the A-day game - so Ashlyn came outside and played while I weeded areas in the backyard.  She and dogs actually played really well together which was a surprise!  Maybe we can get a swing set for the backyard after all...
I stress out so bad when we get ready for a showing - David says I try to do too much to get the house ready - but it's just my nature to want everything to be perfect.  I finally decided I had done all I could so Ashlyn and I headed to the McDonald's down the street for breakfast since it was still a couple hours until the showing.  She ran around the play place.  She can't really play in it yet since she's still a little small for it.  She climbs up a few stairs and looks up the slide and then runs around in circles...but she thinks it's fun.  We finished breakfast and headed back to the house for the funnest part about showing our house -you guessed it - loading up three dogs.  I can't begin to describe the hilarity of me and Ashlyn and our three dogs crammed into my little Escape driving around town for an hour and 15 minutes.  Buddy was in the back seat with Ashlyn and he couldn't decide which side he wanted to sit on so he would get down on the floor board and walk from one side to the other and it would make Ashlyn mad so she would kick at him until he moved.  I preferred when he sat behind the passenger seat because when he sat behind me he panted and drooled all over my shoulder.  Holly and Bryant both refused the sit in the back so they both sat in the front seat.  Holly was literally leaning on top of Bryant - but he wasn't going to budge to the backseat - and they were happy so I didn't fight it.  I have a layer of dog hair in my car that seems an inch thick from this outing.  No one peed - so I can handle the dog hair.  I almost had a panic attack getting them back out of the car though...Bryant and Buddy were doing their whole "I'm the boss" growling with each other and somehow my wedding band got hooked into Buddy's collar and I couldn't get it off and I just kept envisioning them ripping my finger off if they went at it the way they've been known to do.  Thankfully, Jesus had sent a Guardian Angel to protect me and kept the dogs from fighting...so I still have my finger intact.
After Ashlyn and I dropped the dogs off - we headed up to Birmingham for the afternoon to see my Dad and Step mom and Lindsey.  We had a fantastic time visiting and Ashlyn loves playing with MiMi, Papaw and especially Aunt Lindsey!!!
Sunday morning we got up and actually made it to Sunday School (almost on time).  We went to Taco Casa for lunch and then home.  We decided to take a nap while Ashlyn did because Saturday had taken it's toll.  We were planning to go to an open house - but that wasn't in the stars for us - because we spent the rest of the day taking care of each other as we shared one nasty stomach bug!  Thankfully Ashlyn didn't get it...I don't know how...but I'm so glad she didn't get it!!!  I don't know how single parents do it when their sick..but my hat's off to them.  I couldn't survive without David's help!!!  There you have it - a weekend in the life of The Ryan's - jam packed and full of adventure.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Insanity!!!

Bet you thought this post was going to be about how crazy our lives are with our little bundle of joy!!!  Nope....this post is about how crazy we are to have ordered the Insanity workout last night.  I've been doing pretty good going to the gym and trying to make healthy eating choices....but I want faster results.  This program lasts for 60 days.  I can do 60 days, right?!?!  This was actually David's idea - so he's going to do this with me.  A while back...like a pretty long while back...he had a semi-hot wife and I think he's ready for her to come back.    I am too!!!!:o)


I have 3-5 business days to get prepared!  We've got to have a schedule or adding yet another thing (that takes 40 minutes a day-and I'm sure a solid 20 minutes to recover) to our already jam packed days is just not going to work...and I want this to work.  This program will only work if we are committed and consistent.  I am buzzing with nervous energy about this.  I wish I could say that I'm brave enough to post a before picture, but I'm just not.  We are going to take before and after pictures and when I make it to the after, maybe I'll be more brave.  Wish us luck...we're going to need it!!!

Monday, April 9, 2012

Easter 2012

We packed a lot into Easter weekend this year!  We began our celebration on Saturday by participating and volunteering at our church's community outreach called Easterfest.  We had games, inflatables, food and over 14,000 Easter eggs!!!  We took Ashlyn to GrandMary's house early in the morning so we could help prepare something like 3,000 hot dogs and help set up the games and stuff.  Grandmary brought Ashlyn a little later and we had such fun "hunting" for Easter eggs!  The park is one flat grassy surface so you don't have to hunt too hard! :-)


We discovered that Ashlyn thinks that balloons are so much fun!  She is so hilarious to watch!

video

We went to David's business partner's house for dinner on Saturday evening.  Ashlyn and their son played very well together!  We had a great time visiting with them and some of the people that work for the company! 

Sunday morning we woke up early to check out what the Easter Bunny had left for us...this is a very good example of my "not a morning person" child...

video

We went to a church in Bessemer for Easter church service with GrandMary and Papa Chuck because Ashlyn's twin cousins, Lyla and Aubrie, were being dedicated that morning.

After church, we headed north to my Dad's house to hang out with Daddy, Jacque, Lindsey, and my sister and her family!  We hid 113 Easter eggs and they found every last one of them!  We ate a delicious lunch and had yummy desserts!  Ashlyn got pretty good at this Easter egg hunting thing this year!








We finished the day off by heading a little further up north to visit my Dad's side of the family. :-)  We went to Becky and Todd's house and got to visit for a little while.  We got to see my Aunts and Uncles and cousins, including my cousin from England and her family who are in the states for a visit.  I love getting to visit with family so much!  I wish we were closer and could see everyone much more often!!!!  We had a great weekend!

On another note...we had a random showing of the house on Saturday!  Our elderly neighbor had a friend visiting and rang the doorbell to see if their friend could come look at the house....we begged for 30 minutes to clean up and we welcomed them into our home.  The lady had another friend (who lives on the street behind ours) that came with her too and she said that they had looked at a couple others in the neighborhood and that ours looked the best kept up.  Wasn't that nice of her to say!! :-)  Maybe she'll like it...either way...it forced us to clean up a little. LOL!

Friday, April 6, 2012

The dinner a stranger paid for...

God has been teaching me so much about gratefulness and blessings lately.  I mean... I've been close to overwhelmed each day by at least one thing that God points out specifically that He has blessed me with.  Our life is nowhere near what some would consider perfect...even what I might consider perfect, but God has provided all we need for right now and I am filled with thankfulness for His grace and mercy.

Last night we went out to dinner at the Mexican restaurant down the street from our house.  We were eating our chips and chatting, while taking turns wrangling our wiggly, little, one year old, when the man who had been sitting alone in the booth behind me finished and stood to walk to the cashier.  He quickly laid a $20 bill on our table and said, "Use this to help pay for dinner and Happy Easter."  I barely had time to say, "Thank You." before he had walked off...I never even saw his face.  He was a gruff looking, construction worker type.  I watched him walk out through the parking lot and we were kind of blown away.  We've never had a stranger do something like that for us before.  We finished our dinner (left the $20 for our server as a tip) - but when the cashier rang us up she stated, "That will be $20.78.", the thought popped into my head that, "He paid the whole price."  A stranger bought us dinner.  But somehow that reminded me that Someone I've never met in the physical sense...Someone I've never actually seen the face of - paid the whole price for all the wrong that I've ever done.  Did the stranger know he would have a profound effect on someone because he, for reasons I will never know, laid a $20 bill on my table?  I doubt it...but in turn we were able to bless the server with the tip...and I saw kindness in the world...I saw Jesus through that man.  I was confronted with the question for myself- how many times have I not followed the tug to do a small kindness, thinking, "Well, it won't make much difference anyway..." - when someone could have seen Jesus through that action???

"Christ has no body on earth but yours, no hands but yours, no feet but yours.  Yours are the eyes through which Christ's compassion for the world is to look out; yours are the feet with which He is to go about doing good; and yours are the hands with which He is to bless us now."  Saint Teresa of Avila

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Easter Party at School

Ashlyn's school had their Easter party today since they are closed tomorrow.  Ashlyn was a pretty good Easter egg hunter!  They had all sorts of goodies during lunch time after the egg hunt too!






Wednesday, April 4, 2012

My Big Girl!

This is one of Ashlyn's all-time favorite activities!!!  She LOVES to brush her teeth!  She actually does a relatively decent job at it too!  She's growing up so fast!  P.S. That's her potty chair she is standing on and still refusing to use...she thinks it makes a great stool though!



Tuesday, April 3, 2012

New and Improved

Well, maybe it's not new, but here's the pictures of our improved house FOR SALE!!! I know someone wants to buy our house...I'm not sure when, but surely one day someone will want to see our house...right???


















And the biggest improvement....THE BACKYARD!!!