Smile for the Joy of Others

Smile for the Joy of Others

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Merry Christmas 2009

I haven't had much time to blog. I DO NOT recommend moving and remodeling in December for obvious reasons. However, I am taking a moment to wish y'all a Merry Christmas. We have so much to be thankful for and to be Merry but the most is the birth of our Saviour, Jesus Christ!
PS. Several asked how did a get such a good pic...well, it all started in early November:
I thought since being in the Delta, I would attempt some pics in a cotton field. 5 minutes we were there and a cotton picker drives up and runs us out of the field. And the few pics I got of the boys...they are more interested in looking at the machine than the camera. And none of the pics show any sign of smiles and "good will toward men". It took 3 different photo sessions for me to finally get a decent pic. And the one I finally got was a "happen stance" out of about 20. They accidentally bumped heads and I happened to snap the pic at the right time to catch them both smiling. The other 19 are of them crying with huge tears and snot b/c they are too cold to smile. I have to admit, it was one of the coldest days we had but I was determined, come pneumonia or colds, we were gonna have a Christmas picture. So to those that got a card, you better frame and hang that picture and have it displayed when I visit. The trouble I went through to get that pic...I'm just saying.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

December 9, 2000

JB and I have been married 9 years today. It's an understatement to just say that much has changed and happened within these past 9 months. However, our love continues to grow stronger as the years continue to pass.

I am blessed to be married to such a godly man that has taken care of me for 9 years and trust him even more as we grow in the years to come.

We spent this past weekend in Birmingham to celebrate. This was only our 2nd time to actually celebrate our anniversary doing something other than just a local dinner. I new it would be hard to celebrate in years to come when I decided to get married in December. But this year has brought about so much change to our family...that JB insisted we get away for a few days and it couldn't have come at a better time than now.

We had planned to go to the zoo for their Christmas light display but the weather changed that idea. Instead we visited the Birmingham Museum of Art to view their Life, Liberty and Pursuit of Happiness Exhibit. It was actually really good despite my un-appreciation of art.

JB made reservations at Satterfields. A childhood friend of mine is the Executive Chef. Thanks to him, we had a delicious meal with alot of extras. If you live in the Birmingham area or visiting and like a quaint intimate setting with fabulous food, I highly recommend Satterfields.

Later that night we caught the late showing of The Blind Side at the Summit. We both enjoyed the movie very much...especially since it's the first time we've gone to the movies in years. We walked out of the movie to our surprise, it was snowing. Kinda neat since it snowed where we spent our honeymoon.

The next morning we did a little shopping at the Galleria. That afternoon we visited with JB's brother and his wife who live in B'ham. We watched the SEC championship game with them and then headed back to Demopolis that night where the boys were staying with JB's parents.

Thank you, Lord, for the man you created for me. Thank you for the love he has for me through you. I pray that you continue to lead him as my husband, as a father, a business manager, and as a soldier for you.

An anniversary is a time to celebrate the joys of today, the memories of yesterday, and the hopes of tomorrow.

Monday, December 7, 2009

First Tennis Lesson

It just so happens that the seller, Shawn, of our soon-to-be house was the tennis pro at Cypress Hills here in G'ville.

When signing the contract, he invited the boys to participate in his last night to teach tennis lessons to their age group. He was even so kind to let them participate for FREE! So we definitely took advantage of it. Furthermore, it was so cold that evening, they boys ended up with a private lesson due to no other participants.

I wish I had known about him before they moved. He offered lessons 2 nights a week for 1 hour at only $5.00 per child. I hope the next Pro they hire offers the same. There is no commitment nor registration fees. You just show up, pay then play. I like this arrangement as you don't have to commit which allows room for flexibility due to weather conditions, illness, or prior engagements.

The boys loved it. It was their first time to actually participate in an organized sporting event. And Shawn was really good with them. Within the only hour of lesson, they boys never grew disinterested. I hope this a good sign to come. JB and I agree that we would like for the boys to try tennis at some point. And with such an arrangement, it might be even more possible.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

What to Cook?

If you are looking for some new recipes for your upcoming holiday parties and family gatherings...

Stop by and visit Taste and See for some delicious tried and true recipes.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Why the Delay?

Ok, when there is a delay in blog postings, it's usually due to the lack of time. So I interrupt this busy schedule of mine for a moment of blogging

Here's currently why I haven't posted much lately:

I am monogramming lack mad trying to get Christmas orders done and my own personal gifts

We are trying to close on a house

We have to be out of the apartment before Dec. 31st.

Everything has to be out of storage by Dec 31st.

JB only has a few days off which is taken up by traveling to visit his family in Alabama for Christmas.

We are out of town 2 of 4 weekends in December which was planned long before we found a house.

Now, I must get back to my regularly scheduled business.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Friday, November 20, 2009

Friday's = Do-Nut Days!

One of the perks to living in G'ville is having Shipley's Do-Nuts. So those that know me best, know this is a good thing for me. I LOVE Do-Nuts. And Shipley's is my all time favorite with Krispy Kreme being my least favorite. When I was at Mississippi College and when we used lived in Raymond, I enjoyed Shipley's in Clinton. I've heard rumors that this Shipley's in G'ville is supposed to serve the best Do-Nuts of all Shipley's. Now, why that is, I don't know.
I am making a tradition out of Shipleys. Every Friday, the boys and I will go after I pick them up from school and enjoy our favorite Shipley Do-Nuts. I've been instructed by BB to bring Sutffins on these days b/c he likes Do-Nuts too. They even have small cartons of chocolate milk (BB) and strawberry milk (CB). This is the only time CB will drink his strawberry milk cold unlike his daily dose in the morning that has to be heated for 50 seconds in order for him to drink it.

I typically vary in my options. I enjoy the do-nut holes, a cinnamon twists, or a bear claw along with a small carton of chocolate milk. I just can't pass up a good Do-Nut no matter what diet I am on.
It's definitely not in an upscale building that would make one think these do-nuts were made by some famous french pastry chef nor was it built to meet certain codes or to impress passer-by's. It's just an old fashion do-nut shop. But you know the old fashion adds to the nostalgia of the experience. Besides, it's not the building that makes them taste so good.
As usual, the boys asked this morning..."What day is today?" "It's Friday." "Is today Do-Nut day?" And as excited as they are to hear "YES", I am just as excited to answer "YES!"

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

House Hunters

Do you ever watch HGTV? Do you know that show House Hunters and House Hunters International? Well, I feel like I've been the star of both for the past 6 months. Although, we are still domestic and not hunting up here has seemed "foreign" at times. Some of the layouts of the houses are just different and didn't always make sense. There is NO new construction and it's not nearly as residential as back home. This along with the economy and some of our "must haves" in a house has made house hunting a little more difficult for us and I'm sure our realtor.

JB and I have been house hunting for the past 6 months to no avail. The houses we have viewed have either not met our needs, needed MAJOR updating/renovations/remodeling, priced at more than were willing to spend or had been flooded within the last few years. Oh, there were several houses that I viewed and loved with everything I wanted and more...but the asking prices was more than we were willing to pay in such an unstable economy and housing market.

One of the conditions JB and I held tight to, was to either have a 4th bedroom or at least a bonus room to allow for a guest bedroom or my sewing room. In Madison, our 3rd bedroom was my sewing room which didn't allow for a guest room. We would play fruit basket turnover when JB's mom would visit. Don't get me wrong...we enjoyed the visits and she would always insist to sleep on the couch..but I just couldn't conscientiously let my dear mother in law sleep on the couch while visiting. It would make me feel like a terrible host. Anyway, a 4th bedroom or bonus room is a 'must have' while living in G'ville.

I had been praying that God would just give us both (and I emphasize BOTH) that feeling of "this is the one" when looking at houses. Brides, you know that feeling you got when you tried on THE dress. Spouses, know that feeling you got when you were dating and God revealed to you that he or she is THE one. Well, that's the feeling I had been praying for from God. I didn't want to buy a house out of desperation. I didn't want to "settle" on a house because I hadn't either looked long enough or waited on God. I didn't want to buy a house just because I liked it no matter the cost or other financial aspects. But after 6 months of looking, I began to feel desperate, unsettled and impatient with myself and God. You know living in a small, 2 bedroom apartment with 4 year old twins can do that to you and Satan plays that to his advantage.

Last Wednesday night, our realtor showed us a house that met our needs. It had 4 bedrooms and was actually move in ready. It had been totally remodeled. But there were some of those layout issues that we would see in other houses that just didn't sense and didn't make this house "the one". However, JB and I were seriously gonna consider the house. It was well below the price were willing to pay and we already have several friends that live in the neighborhood. We thought with a little more TLC we can settle and make this house work.

After viewing that particular house, JB and I were leaving the neighborhood and noticed a sign at another house "For Sale by Owner" that had not been up the few days before. But it didn't have a number to call.

I talked JB into going to the door and inquiring. They immediately allowed us to view the home. We both left with that feeling of this is THE ONE. This is the house for us. This house meets our needs, it's move in ready, it has the layout we need and like, it has been well kept, it's in a very family oriented neighborhood, we already have friends in this neighborhood, etc. However, when we asked the dreaded question of wasn't so cut and dry at first. The couple was a little hesitant on the price due to some issues they were trying to work out. Also, there was another couple that had scheduled to view the house with a realtor the following Friday. This realtor had told the sellers that this couple would absolutely love this house and be willing to pay top listing price. So we would have to wait until Friday after this other couple viewed the house and made a decision in order for us to get a listing price. JB and I had our doubts of getting the house and we new that we weren't willing to accept the 1 offer they had given us. It was just too high but thought if the other couple was willing to accept the price, then it wasn't the house God had for us. And we certainly wasn't going to get in the middle of a bidding war.

Friday came around and they called us with another offer much better and more concise than the 1st. JB and I wanted my parents to see it and have the weekend to pray and think about it. We countered on Monday and with a few negotiations they accepted our final offer. The contract was signed last night, Monday evening.

The sellers are actually moving back to TX this Thursday so they are ready and need to be rid of the house. We were in their shoes when selling our home in Madison just 6 months ago. So far, they have been a pleasure to work with. When telling our story to her about house hunting, she empathised with me. They were in our position about 3 years ago when they moved here. She said that this house had been "The One" for them and she wished she could take it to TX with her.

Although, we haven't closed yet and there is much to be done til then (we are shooting for Dec. 21). I have given God (in my human way) permission to stop this deal if it's not the house for us. So for the next 30 days til closing, I am requesting prayer that this process continues to go smoothly for us and the sellers. There can be lots of doubts, chaos and confusion when closing on a house...inspection, appraisals, etc and mix that in with the upcoming holiday festivities and busyness, there can be even more. But so far, God has revealed the confirmations and affirmations I need to feel a peace about this house. We look forward to what He has in store for us as we hope to make this house our home.

I'll keep you posted on the progress. Until then,

Monday, November 2, 2009

HalloWeek 2009

The week of Halloween was busy for us. You will notice that the boys are wearing their Roll Tide uniforms again this year. I asked continually what they wanted to be this year...and they both replied..Roll Tide football players. JB was a proud pappa. Plus, I didn't mind not having to put another costume together and we really got our money's worth out of these outfits.

It started the Sunday before at my parent's church's fall festival. We made a very impromptu trip home to enjoy the festivities. The boys played games, ate hotdogs, and collected many festival treats. I think they mostly enjoyed spending the time with their cousins, Abbey and Alex. You will see that most of our Halloween activities include them. Note...BB did dress up as a pirate for this event only. After these festivities, we stayed the night at my parent's. Abbey and Alex came over for awhile. The fun continued with roasting marshmallows in my parent's wood burning stove. I am grateful to JB for understanding my need to go home even for impromptu trips. The boys missed school the next day but he even understood that it will not always be like this. These types of trips help get me through another week and help the adjust to this move.

The Wednesday before, we enjoyed FBC G'ville's fall festival. Again, the boys enjoyed many games, hotdogs, and popcorn. We finished the night with Waffle Cone Wednesday at the local TCBY.

The Friday before, my dad came up to G'ville to look at a couple of houses that might be possibilities. We all then enjoyed a Halloween Party at the boys' school. Unfortunately it rained all day so what would have normally included outside activities had to be cancelled and adapted to indoor fun. The boys and I went home with my dad Friday afternoon. JB came up on Saturday morning. We did most of Christmas shopping all day Saturday.

Saturday evening we took the boys Trick or Treating in a local neighborhood. My sister, Tiffany and her girls joined us also. Again, the boys loved being with their cousins. I have to brag on Alex. She is the best big sister to Abbey and the best big cousin to the boys. She is so patient and loving to them regardless of her older age. Before trick or treating with their cousins, we stopped by Aunt Angie's apartment for some candy. The boys loaded up on their favorite candy.

We came back to G'ville Sunday afternoon after lunch with Aunt Angie. It was busy but fun week and weekend.

This past weekend is 1 of many busy weekends to come. I have recently bought a new camera so hopefully I'll be posting more pics.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

When Selling A House...

Women, remember to put away all your bras. Don't leave them hanging in the laundry room. It causes my boys to make such comments like, "Look, Mamma, there's some ice cream cones like yours!"

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

T is For....

Touchdown Tuesday!!!!!

This week at school, the boys are studying the letter T. So in honor of the letter T, they are having Touchdown Tuesday today. They got to wear their favorite sports attire. And of course, we had exactly what was needed...their Crimson Tide football jersey. They wanted to wear the whole uniform...pants, shoulder pads, helmet but after a little convincing that the jersey was cool enough, they left as proud Roll Tide fans. I don't know who was prouder...JB or the boys. JB said that he just might shed a tear leaving them at school this morning.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Friday, October 2, 2009


Yes, I am lacking in the world of blog. I post more about my day and feelings on Facebook and forget that there are some of my readers who don't "do" Facebook. As my mother would remind me..."There are some of us from the lipstick age...not the Facebook age".

I recently posted on Facebook that I had been getting up at 5:30am to go workout. And today was my 4th day in a row to do this. I was asked by a friend, "what's your motivation?"

So my motivationS...notice the capital 'S' are:

My clothes are too tight. I can't afford a whole new wardrobe nor do I personally want to spend more money on clothes that are bigger. I would much rather spend money on clothes that are smaller in size.

I am paying for the gym, so again, I don't want to personally waste our money.

I tried to go at night. I found myself making more excuses not to go and really just couldn't always find the time. And the few times I went, I wasn't at my peak performance for exercising. So my exercising wouldn't be with much effort.

I have been dragging throughout the day. I know from experience that when I have exercised in the past, I have generally felt better throughout the day.

And most of all, I weigh the most I have ever weighed in my life. Not to make excuses, some of the weight gain is definitely from poor eating habits and lack of exercising, but after having twins and having Hypothyroidism, I can't live the lifestyle of eating what I want, when I want it and how much I I used to. I have to practice better portion control, better eating habits, and better exercising habits in order to loose and maintain a healthy weight for my age and height.

I don't know about other Stay-At-Home-Moms but since staying home, I have developed the habit of snacking. Watching TV with my boys, sitting in front of my computer designing monogram orders, sitting in front of my monogram's just become a habit to snack on something.

So not only am I trying to get into the habit of an early morning workout, I am also trying to curb other unhealthy habits that I have developed along the way.

I know some of you that have read this, knows this is not the first time I have blogged such great intentions. So, once again...I am attempting a lifestyle change to a healthier one. And again...we will see how much will power and discipline I have.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Dirty and Sweaty

The other day when I picked the boys up from school, I tried to get some conversation out of them about their day. It's kinda hard with boys. They aren't "detailed" kinda humans.

But this particular day, I asked them what was their favorite activity at school.

CB's reply: "To get dirty and sweaty". Well, he had the evidence to prove it. And this picture just doesn't do it justice. He was sweaty and dirty from head to toes. Not to mention you can tell (in his eyes) how tired and worn out he was from getting "dirty and sweaty".

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Poor, Bob

I got this email the other day. It's 1 of several that I get. Some stating that I've won the lottery, some stating that I have some long-lost relative in Africa that has left me money and in order to receive it I need to send them listed information.

However, I thought this was a little different. I've never received one with this specific request. But I sure hate it for Bob. If he's expecting me to bail him out, he'll be spending the rest of his life in the UK.

Sorry, better start making some friends over there and I just couldn't keep this a secret like you requested. In fact, this may help. Maybe someone will recognize who you are and help you...but that someone will not be me.

"How are you doing; How's work on your end? This has had to come in a hurry and it has left me in a devastating state. I am in some terrible situation right now and I'm really going to need your urgent help. I am presently stranded in the UK.!!! Unannounced, I came to London for an international conference but unfortunately for me i got robbed in the Hotel . I booked in and they made away with my Luggage (which included my cash, diaries,credit card & some other valuables). I didn't bring my cellphone here since I did not get to roam it before coming over. I am so confused right now because i don't know what to do or where to go, So all I can do now is pay cash and get out of here quickly. I do not want to make a scene of this which is why I did not call the office or my house,this is embarrassing enough. Please I want you to lend me a sum of $2000, just to clear my Hotel bills and get the next plane home. The Embassy only cleared me of my traveling documents and ticketing since I came in as a tourist and not on official purpose. I shall have your money reimbursed immediately on my return. Looking forward to positive response. Please keep things quiet for now. I NEED YOUR HELP AS SOON AS POSSIBLE!!!!!!!!!"

Bob M.

You know, this situation sounds like one that our politicians find themselves in.

Friday, September 18, 2009


Today was "Grandparent's Day" at the boys' school. Since none of the grandparents could make it, I went to represent. I didn't know about it til the day before. We were gone last week so we were behind on school events. The grandparents were invited to eat do-nuts with their grandchildren and then watched the children perform a few songs in the fellowship hall. (I haven't posted about their school yet, but it is to come).

There were some grandparents sitting behind me that kept commenting on my boys. "They are so cute and well behaved. I think they are "So and So's" grandchildren. I can't believe they are not here to see them. And I don't see their mother either. I guess she went back to work. But they would have told me. I'll just have to call her when we get home and tell her that we saw her grandchildren perform today. I obviously need to catch up with her anyway." I didn't even turn around and tell them any differently. I just sat there and tried to keep from laughing. I would have loved to hear that phone conversation. (word gets around in a small-small town)

Took the boys to get haircuts at "The Butcher Shop". Yes, you read right. I thought JB was kidding or had it confused when he told me that's what was recommended. Not exactly what I would name a place for haircuts, but they boys loved it. Oh, and BB got his haircut by Edward...I didn't ask if his last name was scissorhands. The owner's little dog, Buzz, runs around. It at least kept their minds occupied as their hair was getting "butchered".

Came home and monogrammed a bib. Organized 5 orders to be mailed.

Baked cookies for Ms JoAnn. She's the only employee at the post office I use to mail all my orders. The boys love to go to see her and she loves to see them. She's a grandmother...that explains why.

Went to Office Max to pick up some envelopes for orders to be mailed.

Made it to the post office to mail orders and deliver cookies by 4:00.

Until next time,

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Got Fat?

I found the link below on another blog and thought I would share in on mine. I was hungry til I read some of the facts listed with each food. No wonder we are a nation that is growing "larger".

30 Worst Foods in America (click on the underlined title to see)

Not sure what ads may pop up...I've never visited this site until I saw the link on another blog.

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Boiled Water Advisory in G'ville...

..has some citizens' blood boiling.

Last Thursday, JB called me from his office and said "DO NOT USE THE TAP WATER". Well, we don't use it very much anyway because it has a brown tint to it, almost like really weak tea. I know, sounds gross, but other than the color is supposed to be safe to drink. Anyway, he had received an official flier from the MsDept. of Health that G'ville would be under a boiled water advisory the next 6 DAYS! due to traces of e coli being found in the water system.

Just lovely. In response, I didn't bathe nor did I bathe the boys Thursday night or Friday. We were already coming to Madison on Friday as the beginning of our vacation travels. I decided it would be better to stink than infected with e coli before or during our vacation to the beach.

I really hate it for my G'ville friends. I remember being inconvenienced by this type of situation when Katrina hit our area only... it wasn't for e coli. It makes for somewhat primitive times especially when there becomes a shortage of bottled water at the grocery stores. And not to mention, it hurts the local economy when restaurants have to close or limit their menu.

It is my understanding that the reason it is 6 days is b/c:

"The boilerplate release by the MsDH is two day. Unfortunately, we received notice this afternoon (Thursday). We have to draw 50 samples from our regular sample points throughout the city each day for two consecutive days. We cannot do that today and tomorrow. Their lab doesn't run on Saturdays and won't be opened on Monday. So we will have to pull our ... Read Moresamples on Tuesday and Wednesday and will hopefully get cleared from boil water order on late Thursday. "

I personally I think it's wrong to make a city wait this long for clean water. I think it's absurd that they don't open the lab for such a time as this. You are talking about public health safety and sometimes that means working over time and on holidays. I dare say that this wouldn't happen in other cities in MS. If I am wrong, than shame on MS.

Fortunate for us, we will be on vacation at the beach during most of this. I just hope that G'ville doesn't endure for the 6 long days it will be, only to endure it even more if the samples come back contaminated.

Until next time, I'll have my feet in the sand,

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

For All Parents...(Even Grandparents)

I hope that you will take time to read the article below written by Dr. James Dobson. I know it's rather lengthy but so worth reading. If I could read this everyday for encouragement and perspective, I believe it would help me be a better parent. It would help me appreciate the time with my children, the blessings of them and the blessings of a parent.

I'm sure you parents that have experienced what he is writing can share in his emotions and the reality of what he wrote. In that I am grateful and blessed to my parents for rearing us in a Godly home and who continue to help guide us in God's will.

Dr. James Dobson's experience when his only son, Ryan left home for college many years ago but as you read, it can very much pertain to today's life as well:

"Years have come and gone since the morning our first child came into the world. An instant and irrational love affair was also born that day between this new dad and his baby daughter, Danae Ann, who took center stage in the Dobson household. How deeply I loved that little girl! She would stand in the doorway each morning and cry as I left for work, and then run giggling and breathless to meet me at the end of the day. You would have thought we had been separated for months. Could I ever love another child as much as this one, I thought.

Then a few years later, a little lad named James Ryan made his grand entrance, and it all happened again. He was my boy--the only son I would ever be privileged to raise. What a joy it was to watch him grow and develop and learn. How proud I was to be his father--to be trusted with the well-being of his soul. I put him to bed every night when he was small, and we laughed and we played and we talked to Jesus. I would hide his sister's stuffed animals around the house, and then we turned out the lights and hunted them with flashlights and a toy rifle. He never tired of that simple game. But the day for games has passed.

This morning, you see, marked the official beginning of the "empty nest" for Shirley and me. Danae graduated from college a year ago and is now building an exciting new life of her own. It was difficult for us to let her go, but we took comfort in Ryan's remaining years at home. How quickly those months have flown, and today, our formal years of parenthood came suddenly to an end. We took Ryan to the airport and sent him off to Colorado for a five-week summer program. Then in August, he plans to enter his freshman year at a college in the Midwest. Though he will be home periodically for years to come, our relationship will not be the same. It might be even better, but it will certainly be different. And I have never liked irreversible change.

Though I knew this moment was coming for many years, and I had helped others cope with similar experiences, I admit freely that Ryan's departure hit me hard. For the past two weeks, we have worked our way through a massive accumulation of junk in his room. Ryan is a collector of things no one else would want--old street signs, broken models and favorite fishing rods. The entire family took tetanus shots and we plunged into the debris. Finally last night, Shirley and Ryan packed the remaining boxes and emptied the last drawer. The job was finished. His suitcases were packed. Our son was ready to go.

Ryan came into my study about midnight, and we sat down for another of the late-night chats that I have cherished. He always liked to talk at the end of the day. I won't tell you what we said in that final conversation. It is too personal to share with anyone. I can only say that the morning came too quickly, and we drove as a family to the airport. There I was, driving down the freeway when an unexpected wave of grief swept over me. I thought I couldn't stand to see him go. It was not that I dreaded or didn't look forward to what the future held. No, I mourned the end of an era--a precious time of my life when our children were young and their voices rang in the halls of our house.

I couldn't hide the tears as we hugged good-bye at Gate 18. Then Shirley and I drove along to our home, where a beloved son and daughter had grown from babies to young adults. There I lost it again!

The house that we had left three hours earlier in a whirlwind of activity had been transformed in our absence. It had become a monastery--a morgue--a museum. The silence was deafening to us both. Every corner of it held a memory that wafted through the air. I meandered to Ryan's room and sat on the floor by his bed. His crib had once stood on that spot. Though many years had passed, I could almost see him as a toddler--running and jumping to my open arms. What a happy time that was in my life. The ghost of a kindergartner was there, too, with his brand-new cowboy clothes and his Snoopy lunch pail. Those images are vivid in my mind today. Then a 7-year-old boy appeared before me. He was smiling, and I noticed that his front teeth were missing. His room was filled with bugs and toads and a tarantula named Pebber. As I reached out to hug him, he quietly disappeared. Then a gangly teenager strolled through the door and threw his books on his desk. He looked at me as if to say, "Come on, Dad. Pull yourself together!"

My own words now come back to mind. I remember saying in my second film series, Turn Your Heart Toward Home, that the day was coming soon when "the bicycle tires would be flat, the skateboard would be warped and standing in the garage, the swing set would be still, and the beds would not be slept in. I know those times will soon be here, and I realize it has to be so. I accept it. I wouldn't for anything try to hold back our son or daughter when it comes time to go. But that will also be a very sad day, because the precious experience of parenting will have ended for me." Alas, the day that I anticipated has just arrived.

If you're thinking that I am hopelessly sentimental about my kids, you're right. The greatest thrill of my life has been the privilege of raising them day-by-day in the service of the Lord. Still, I did not expect such intense pain at the time of Ryan's departure. I thought I was prepared to handle the moment, but I quickly realized just how vulnerable I am to the people I love.

In a larger sense, however, it is not merely the end of formal parenting that has shaken my world today. I grieve for the human condition itself. When Ryan boarded that plane in Los Angeles, I comprehended anew the brevity of life and the temporary nature of all things. As I sat on the floor in his room, I heard not only Ryan's voice but the voices of my mother and father who laughed and loved in that place. Now they are gone. One day Shirley and I will join them. First one and then the other. We are just "passing through," as the gospel songwriters used to say. All of life boils down to a series of happy "hellos" and sad "good-byes." Nothing is really permanent, not even the relationships that blossom in a healthy home. In time, we must release our grip on everything we hold dear. King David said it best, "As for man, his days are as grass: as a flower of the field, so he flourisheth. For the wind passeth over it, and it is gone; and the place thereof shall know it no more" (Psalm 103:15-16, KJV). Yes. I felt the chilly breeze of change blowing through my home this morning, and I understood its meaning.

What an incredibly important scriptural concept. If we really grasped the numbering of our days, we would be motivated to invest ourselves in eternal values.

Would a 50-year-old man pursue an adulterous affair if he knew how quickly he would stand before his God? Would a woman make herself sick from in-law conflict or other petty frustrations if she knew how little time was left to her? Would men and women devote their lives to the pursuit of wealth and symbols of status if they realized how soon their possessions will be torn from their trembling hands? It is the illusion of permanence, you see, that distorts our perception and shapes our selfish behavior. When eternal values come in view, our greatest desire is to please the Lord and influence as many of our loved ones for Him as possible.

I ask each of my readers this important question: If we really believed that the eternal souls of our children hang in the balance today--that only by winning them for Christ can we spend eternity together in heaven--would we change the way this day is lived? Would we ignore and neglect so great an opportunity if our eyes were fully opened to this awesome responsibility? I think not. I pray not.

Addressing myself now to the mothers and fathers of young children, I urge you to keep this eternal perspective in view as you race through the days of your lives. Don't permit yourselves to become discouraged with the responsibilities of parenting. Yes, it is an exhausting and difficult assignment, and there are times when you will feel like throwing in the towel. But I beg you to stay the course! Get on your knees before the Lord and ask for His strength and wisdom. Finish the job to which He has called you! There is no more important task in living, and you will understand that assignment more clearly when you stand where Shirley and I are today. In the blink of an eye, you will be hugging your children good-bye and returning to an empty house. That is the way the system works.

In conclusion, let me offer this thought from my book Love for a Lifetime:

In August 1977, my wife and children joined me on a trip to Kansas City, Missouri, for a short visit with my parents. We enjoyed several days of family togetherness before it was time to leave. As we drove to the airport where we would say good-bye, I asked my father to pray for us. I will never forget his words. He closed with this thought:

"And, Lord, we want to thank You for the fellowship and love that we feel for each other today. This has been such a special time for us with Jim and Shirley and their children. But, Heavenly Father, we are keenly aware that the joy that is ours today is a temporal pleasure. Our lives will not always be this stable and secure. Change is inevitable, and it will come to us, too. We will accept it when it comes, of course, but we give You praise for the happiness and warmth that has been ours these past few days. We have had more than our share of good things, and we thank You for Your love. Amen."

Shortly thereafter, we hugged and said good-bye, and my family boarded the plane. A week later, my father suddenly grabbed his chest and told my mother to call the paramedics. He left us on December 4 of that year. And now, she has also gone on to be with the Lord. How quickly it all unraveled.

Even today, so many years later, my dad's final prayer echoes in my mind. An entire philosophy is contained in that simple idea. "Thank You, God, for what we have ... which we know we cannot keep." I wish every member of God's family could capture that incredible concept.

Friday, August 21, 2009

Happenings and Such...

We've been trying to get adjusted to our new environment. I am beginning to understand how sardines feel while living in this 2 bedroom apartment.

The boys' bedroom is also my "sewing room". Some nights we put them to bed our bedroom so I can sew and then transfer them back to their room. It's funny when they wake up and say, "hey, why we in our room?" It's the best we can for right now.

We decided to sign a 6 months lease here at the apartment. We didn't want to rush into buying a house. Things were just happening too fast. I didn't expect to sale our house so quickly thinking I would have a little more time to learn the area. But God had other plans. So we put the house hunting on hold for awhile. Looking at houses, visiting new churches, meeting new friends, visiting preschools for the boys, and running my business...It was just a little more than I could handle at one time. So the apartment it is for a few months.
This is our apartment. And below is the "yard" we play in.

We try to take the boys swimming often to give them a chance to get out some of their energy. Unlike most of the apartments back home, this complex has lots of yard space. So on some evenings we spray down with mosquito repellent and head out to throw and catch a baseball or kick a ball. Anything to run off some energy.

Even Gizmo tries to make the most of apartment life. She enjoys staring out the sliding glass door. She can see the cars go by through the bushes that line our tiny patio. Please excuse the hideous blinds. I wish I could take them down put up of some kind of curtain. Even a shower curtain would look better than those blinds. She's finally gotten use to her halter. She does like the pink with her brown fur.

We frequent TCBY on Wednesday for their .99 waffle cone Wednesdays. This is becoming a favorite adventure for the 4 of us. And it is an adventure. They fill the cones way high, so the boys come home sticky from chocolate ice cream. It gets on their clothes, in their hair and all over their face. But is sooo worth it. Especially since it's TCBY's 96% fat free soft serve.

Speaking of fat free....we've joined the local YMCA. I have a goal of loosing 10 lbs before my annual spa trip with my girlfriends. Hopefully, this recent joining of the gym will help that along. I've worked out every night this week...we will see. JB and the boys also. They play in the gym or run the bases of their little baseball field while I walk or workout. When touring the YMCA before joining, the little girl proudly told us of the "Catfish Rodeo" they hold every fall. She informed us that they put catfish in the pool and let the kids fish. CATFISH IN THE SWIMMING POOL! Not so sure about that one. I tend to think catfish belong in ponds, rivers, and reservoirs. I understand we are near the catfish capital of the world, Belzoni, and there are lots of catfish farms around but I seem to appreciate catfish in their rightful habitat.
We enjoyed an evening dinner with Jeremy's "boss". He's the bank President up here. He and his wife were so gracious to open their home to us for dinner. They even enjoyed the boys coming along. The boys got to feed their horse, Stonewall, a cookie and play with their boxers, Chuck and Kate.

We also enjoyed a "cookout" with other friends. The 4 of us couples are "Transplants" to Greenville. We each have been brought to Greenville for job reasons. That's typical of the area with transplants. If you aren't from here, you are here because your job brought you here. One couple...he's is the Youth Minister at one of the local Presbyterian churches. Another couple, he is the Music Minister at one of the local Baptist churches. The 3rd couple..she is a nurse at the hospital in Cleveland and her husband coaches basketball at one of the local academies. One of the couples also has twin boys. Only they will be 5 in December.
We were invited to a playdate with the other twins this past Thursday. I met another mom. She has a 3 1/2 year old little girl. She, too, is a transplant. The boys had fun playing with other boys and jumping on their trampoline. I enjoyed the adult conversation.

Tonight, I've been invited to eat with a group of girls. I think I may participate. However, they are all going to see The Time Traveler's Wife. Those who know me best, know I don't do sobby movies. I may forgo the movie. Besides, JB wants to go to the Washington vs Jackson Prep football game. Washington is just behind our apartment so we can actually walk to the game.
My business has kept me super busy. This is a busy time for my business as I fulfill fall, Halloween, football, and Christmas orders. The Lord continues to bless my home based business with loyal and new customers.
That about sums it up for the moment. Sorry for the delayed posts. It's been hard to put my thoughts together. They still seem to come in fragments.
Until next time, HB

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

4th Birthday

I know, it's been a few weeks since we had their 4th birthday party. But time just has not allowed for much for blogging.

First, I want to thank our sweet friends, Christy and Jeremy for taking the pics you see. They were so sweet to be the "photographer" for me. I appreciate them using their photo skills so that I may have memories worth keeping.

The boys spent the day with the JB and his parents and sister. They went to a local park and then his parents took them to Chuck E Cheese.
I spent the day preparing for the party. This year I reserved the pool at a local Courthouse Raquet Club. We enjoyed swimming, hot dogs and fellowship. When I asked them what kind of party they wanted, of course, each had their own idea. CB wanted a racin' car while BB wanted a pirate party. So in effort to corperate both themes I used plates, napkins and cupcake decor from each theme.

Unlike the years in the past, I decided to give picture frames instead of a monogrammed party favors. I wanted their friends to have something to keep longer for memories just in case this was their last party back home.

I say every year that I am going to be a better planner. But it didn't happen this year. In fact, this year was the worst. The menu changed as I was in the grocery store prepared to buy what I thought was going to be the menu. The frames were purchased the night before and then decorated the day of.
But all in all, they children had a good time and I doubt hardly noticed the lack of planning or scattered planning, I should say.
Thanks to my parents for helping me plan this day for the boys and to their special friends for taking time out of their busy schedule to celebrate their birthday.
See you later,

Thursday, July 30, 2009


Last Thursday, July 23 at 4:00pm, we officially sold our home. We handed over the keys to a very sweet lady who will be inhibiting our former home.

I cried when we left. That was our first home to buy. We brought our children to that home when they were born. I had many play dates with some of their best friends. Although, there was a lot of remodeling and updating that I wanted to do, it was still a home decorated with love, laughter, tears, smiles, joy, peace and 1 dog.

I could go on and on about my feelings in regards to leaving, but that will have to wait. I get too emotional and really just don't feel like facing those emotions right now. And it's not necessarily leaving that house as much as it is leaving my hometown of 32 years. Do you know that my parents still have the same phone number 32 years later? You don't find that very often.

We trust God to lead us to a home here in Greenville. But for right now, we have decided to stay in the apartment for a few months. We don't want to rush any decision due to desperation or ignorance.

Until next time, HB

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Happy Birthday!

Well, a day late and a dollar short, but yesterday was the boys' birthday. They spent their 4th birthday here in Greenville.

When JB came home for lunch, we let them open their gifts from Aunt Tracy and Uncle Wade. They loved the pirate and Hot Wheels toys they received. I loved the fact that they had new entertainment in this apartment.

When JB came home after work, we let them open their gifts from us. We knew that they would need to play with these outside for awhile. We gave them some simple remote controlled cars. However, what we failed to consider when buying these was that both their remotes will control both cars. Another words, for awhile both cars were going crazy b/c each remote was controlling both cars. When CB tried to make his go forward, BB's remote was making it go backwards as he was directing his car. It was quite funny at the time. We took them to a big parking lot and had each take turns controlling their car. Regardless of the few minutes of confusion, the boys LOVED their "racing cars".

After playing racing cars for about 30 minutes, we took the boys to eat at Lost Dog Pizza Co. in Indianola. It was fun, neat place to eat that is unique to the Delta. Definitely a place to go back to. Although I hope the next time we go, the old man visiting at the table next us is not there or he refrains from sticking his teeth (dentures) out to make the kids at that table laugh. What the kids thought to be funny, I thought to be quite disgusting.

We finished the night with some ice cream from TCBY. It was 15 minutes from closing but they served us anyway and with a smile. In fact about 15 other people followed behind us right before the 9:00 closing. We met the owners and it was like an authentic "down home" visit at the local ice cream shop. They were very welcoming as we are new to the area.

I think the boys enjoyed their birthday surprises. It was nice just spending time with each other as a family and not doing anything rushed or demanding.

Until next time, See you later,

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Hayden's Hopper...JDRF

I am honored to be sponsoring another fund-raiser t-shirt. This t-shirt is designed for Hayden Simmons AKA Hayden's Hoppers. Hayden and his family help raise money for the Juvenille Diabetes Research Foundation (JDRF) in hopes of one day finding a cure for Diabetes.

For more details visit: Hollypops Monogrammed Gifts

A Perfect Picture with your Pet

Allison Muirhead is teaming up with MARL on August 8th at the new Mississippi Animal Rescue League facility to photograph your pets!

Come on down to see her, if you are looking for a new pet they have lots to choose from and if you have a pet you have always wanted photographed, she will be there will send you an image with full rights with a donation to the rescue league!
Call Rebecca Ezell at 601-898-3869 for appointments and more details.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Catch Up

I have a friend who has written on her blog that it has been hard to think in full sentences making her thought somewhat fragmented. Well, I have felt the same way. It's not that there isn't alot to think about or write about, but it's just been kinda hard to write what I am thinking about.

So instead, I will just catch y'all up on what is going on.

BB has made strides in the swimming pool. He is now swimming on his own with his floaties and has even let JB throw him in the water a few days. This is such a break through for him. He will bob is head under water but not fully swim. But at this point if bobbing is all he wants to do, I'll take it.

JB continues to love his job at Trustmark in Greenville. He has found some challenges that he will need overcome but looks forward to those challenges.

We are set to close on our house July 23rd. The inspection went smoothly with need to fix only a couple of things.

We are still living with my parents but this will come to an end soon. This coming weekend we will be moving all my monogramming equipment to Greenville; therefore, I will be in Greenville too in order to continue my business.

We have looked at a few houses in Greenville. But we are still unsure of what we need to do. We are at a crossroads. We can either hold off for about 8 months and stay in an apartment or move forward to buying a house within the next couple of months. There are advantages and disadvantages to both. So weighing the consequences of either is turning out to be a juggling act for me.

We certainly don't want to by a house out of desperation and too hasty. But staying in an apartment will be challenging with (2) 4 year old boys. The few days that we have spent up there has proven that. It will also be a challenge with space, a dog and my business. My business alone takes up a whole room. Not to mention that my machine can be quite a noise maker. The management has said that I can run my business but if other tenants complain about the noise, I have to stop.

That's about it for now. Hopefully soon I will be able to think more clearly and share with the rest of the world.

Until next time, See you later,

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Swim School

A few weeks ago, the boys took their first swim lessons. They were more excited to go to "swim school" instead of swim swim school it was.

They both had private lessons as I thought they would react better than in a group lesson. The first day was awful. They both cried the whole time and not much was accomplished. Neither had the desire to go under water.

As the week progressed CB took to swimming much better than BB. Actually, CB is now a fish while BB would rather live in the desert having nothing to do with water.

The lessons didn't help BB overcome his fear of water. When we do swim, he stays on the steps with his little toys and floaties. He ventures out a little at a time. His liking to swim is gonna have to come at his time. I hope the more we are in the water he will get used to it and eventually take to swimming, at least enough to save himself if pushed in or falls in.

CB on the other hand, loves it. His Granny loves the water so it may just be "in his blood." He loves to go under the water and look for fish or retrieve his diving rings.

This difference between them is just a continuation of how different they are. I love them both for their differences and pray every night that I can nurture those differences that make them so unique.

Until next time...see you later,

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Sale Pending...Under Contract

As of today, our house is at "Sale Pending"..."Under Contract" status. We have come to an agreement with the buyer. Not exactly what we were asking for, but the difference is not worth the possibility of having a house note and apartment rent come September. The difference will easily be made up within the next few months.

This is a cash sale so closing costs and other details of the sale will be less complicated. Also, closing will be sooner due to no mortgage company being involved. Of course, final sale depends on the house and termite inspection.

This is just another confirmation and affirmation that God is in control and that this move is His will for us at this time in our life. I would have never guessed to sale our home this soon. But God's time is not ours.

See you later,

Saturday, June 27, 2009

No News

We haven't heard regarding the counter offer. Not sure if that's a good or bad. We don't want to rush any prospect into a decision but don't want to drag it out either.

Just waiting. We will let y'all know when we hear.

See you later,

Thursday, June 25, 2009

1st offer

We've had our first offer on our house.

Of course, we have since counter-offered. This took place yesterday so we may hear back today.

All we can do is pray that both parties involved can come to an agreement. If we agree to disagree, than I believe that God has someone else for our house and not the current buyer.

I am surprising calm about this whole process. It's a peace that God has given me. It also helps that I am not in a hurry to buy a house in Greenville. I think it's the first time I've had this much patience. Maybe it's because I'm procrastinating the if God chooses to keep our house on the market for awhile....I don't mind ;).

Regardless, we really do feel that God is control of this situation. Thanks for all your prayers and encouragement.

The boys and I are in Greenville visiting JB. We all will return home either this Friday or Saturday. We have a Sunday School Party that we don't want to miss.

See you later,

Friday, June 19, 2009

Pill Poppin' Pooch

This past Wednesday my dad called me while I was at the pool. He was rushing Gizmo to the vet.

He dropped his medication and after picking them up, he noticed he was missing one. He looked over at Gizmo and saw her licking her chops.

To be on the safe side, he assumed she had eaten his Plavix. Upon the vet's orders, he took her in just to make sure.

They induced vomiting but couldn't find a pill. There was a chance that it had already dissolved. So they administered some kind of activated charcoal treatment (I may have that all wrong) to absorb any medication that may have been left in her blood system. After a full day of monitoring, her heart rate and blood pressure remained stable and normal. They reported that she remained alert and active. I think that was their nice way of saying...Loud and Annoying.

Only those that have experienced Gizmo's act can vouch for her loud, annoying, consistent bark.

She never showed signs of any distress. We either assume that she didn't eat or that the treatments administered worked.

As if moving, living with my parents, running a small business, swim lessons, and JB in Greenville wasn't enough chaos...we add a pill poppin' pooch.

See you later,

Thursday, June 18, 2009

For Sale

Well, last Monday we officially put our house on the market. It was the beginning of the end. It made it very real to me that we are moving.

I've had many ask, "How are you gonna sale your house in this economy?".

I'm not. I can't sell it. I've put it all in God's hands. He knows the plans for us and only He can sell it. There is not much else I can do and the most I can do is put my faith and trust in Him to sell it. It's not a worry I choose to run my emotions at this time. Now, months from now if it hasn't sold, I'll re-evaluate. But for now, it's all on Him.

We aren't really looking at houses in Greenville until we sell this one.

The boys and I are still staying with my parents. It's actually been a transition that has gone smoother than I expected. My parents have been very helpful and welcoming.

We've been going to church with my parents on Wed and Sunday night. They have continued their pre-school and children's programs during the summer. The boys have enjoyed making new friends and I've enjoyed the fellowship of friends at this sister church in our city. However, on Sunday mornings, Jeremy and I are attending our church, the church I will probably always consider my home church.

Just an update our journey.

See you later,

Wednesday, June 3, 2009


JB is off this week so, of course, we've been packing. Our plan is to move most of our stuff in storage. JB will be in a fully furnished apartment that we will have access for 3 months. If after that 3 months we haven't sold the house, then we will re-evaluate our living situation at the time.

Meanwhile, the boys and I will be staying with my parents. Not sure how long this will last but there are some summer activities that were already planned. Also, I am not thrilled about keeping 2, active, almost 4 year olds in a 2 bedroom apartment. Although, moving back in with one's parents is not an easy situation either. No offense to my parents, but they have their routine as well as we have ours.

Hopefully it want come to choosing the lesser of two evils. (j/k).

Today has been rather frustrating to me. I like to be in control and there are some situations that I just don't have control over. I had hoped to have most of our furniture out of the house by tomorrow so that I can clean at least Thursday and Friday. Plus, JB's mom will be here and I could sure her help with the cleaning. Well, as of right now that's may not happen and there is rain on the way.

The boys have been amazingly cooperative. They have minded and stayed out of the way all the while being helpful, too. I was concerned that they would need to be entertained during all of this but I think the whole packing has been enough entertainment for them. Other than the million questions and the why's, I can't complain about their behavior.

See you later, HB

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Skinny Jeans....

Now I know longer have to blame my body type for the reason not to wear these and use the excuse "Because they don't fit me!"

See you later, HB

Sunday, May 31, 2009

From Lawn Boy to Yawn Boy!

If only his lawn mower really did cut grass. He insisted on cutting the backyard with Stuffins. Yes, we still have adventures with that dog. BB worked hard at cutting the grass. He had to hold Stuffins just like Daddy holds him (BB) when they cut the grass.
And of course what does any hard working man do after a long day....

See you later, HB

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Busy Times

We are busy making repairs to some household needs and packing. The boys will be going to VBS next week. JB and I will hopefully finish the packing and moving furniture to storage. He has next week off before starting June 8th.

We have upgraded our Courthouse membership to include another facility that has a pool. I will be glad to get the boys to the pool for some summer fun and use up some of this energy.

They will have swimming lessons within the next few weeks. I have to admit that I am not looking forward to this. They both have a certain fear of water and overcoming it will require some tough love and tough teaching. But I know it's for good of their safety.

Until next time, See you later, HB

Friday, May 22, 2009

The Big Day...

Oh, the big day. That day is different for everyone depending on the occasion. For some it's their wedding day, graduation day, day a child is to be born, day a child is to be adopted, surgery, vacation, engagement, and the list can go on.

For us, the big day was making the decision as which way we leap into the faith of God. Either where we currently live or to relocate somewhere else.

Well, on our most recent big day, we made the decision to relocate to Greenville. As I mentioned in the previous post, this is the most significant decision we have ever had to make in our married life. There are still some uncertainties but we both have a calming peace about the decision we made.

From the phone call of allowing us 2 more days to the moment JB gave his 2 weeks notice to his current employer other events happened that we felt were confirmations from God. Circumstances that only He could have orchestrated.

One in particular that happened was an email. Yes, a mere email that I felt was all God. I have a cousin, Todd, that is a pastor in South Carolina. The last time I had spoken with Todd was in November at a family wedding.

No offense, Todd, but I rarely hear from him especially through email. He stays very busy with his growing church and family. Time just does not allow him to answer or communicate much through email. The last email that he received from me was regarding JB's position loss as the Corporate Trainer and placed in a commission only job back in Feb. This email was a general email telling loved ones and friends of JB's recent job situation and if they needed furniture to ask for JB.

Anyway, Wednesday morning when I checked my email, I saw that I had an email as a reply from Todd to that February email. It simply stated the following:


Hey, hope you guys are doing fine. I had you all on my mind this morning and said a prayer for you. What is the latest on Jeremy’s job situation? I understand things have been tough".

When I responded with our situation he replied back with this:

Today’s Prayer,
“Father in Heaven, I ask you to bless JB and HB with wisdom and insight in this decision that is before them. You certainly know all the plans, hopes, dreams, and paths that You have planned for their lives. Reveal to them your perfect plan. As you do, give to them Your perfect peace. Right now it is easy for them to see all the obstacles. There are obstacles to staying. There are obstacles to moving. Remind them, however, that in the center of your will, all obstacles become opportunities. In these days of decision, simply guide them to what is Your very best. Make your will very clear so that as the final decision is made, no wavering or doubt remains in the heart. Take Care of every need that JB, HB, CB, and BB encounter. Show them your faithfulness in meeting the needs for every detail of their lives. Thank you for the faith that they exhibit. Lead them by that Faith. In Jesus Name, Amen.”

Holly, thanks for the update on your situation. I had no idea of the matter that was before you. Perhaps 6 weeks ago Mom did mention Trustmark and Greenville to me but I had no idea you were at a point of having to make a decision. We love you guys and support you in whatever God leads you to do. We will continue to pray diligently for you during this period.

Todd and family

I mean really. I haven't heard from him since November and God put on his heart to email me. God revealed himself through Todd at a time I needed it most.

So, with other events that are similar to this just a little too personal to share with the world, we made our decision to go with more peace than the decision we had made to stay.

This bittersweet season of our life is just that, a season. We believe that God could be calling us to Greenville for more than a job. And he may call us back here again one day. So we don't say "Good Bye", instead we say, "See you Later".

JB is to report June 8th. All the living arrangements have not been completed and are still being detailed. We ask for prayers that this transition go as smoothly as possible.

Until next time, See you late, HB

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Trying to Find God's Will...

JB and I are at the most difficult time we have ever been in our married life. His commission job has been minimal to say the least. We are maintaining but he comes home so discouraged, frustrated and just tired. He works 10 hours days with nothing to show for it.

To put it in perspective, he has to sell $20,000 worth of furniture a week to maintain our living situation. And we live the most simply that we can. Our cars are paid for, his is 10 years old with 150,000 miles while mine 7 years old with 75,000 miles. We live in a 1500 square feet of the smallest in our city. It's over 30 years old. Most of our furniture is handed down with the exception of our 2 couches and the boys' bed. Needless to say we would like new furniture.

JB has a job opportunity to go back to Trustmark as a Branch Manager. While this opportunity is prime at best, the location is not. This would relocate us to Greenville. While the opportunity is one many would love in this economy, it has our hearts torn.

God has continued to open doors for this job but there are other facets of this move that are so unclear and uncertain. The living situation in Greenville is not necessarily the best especially compared to where we live now. We have such a fear of getting up their and getting trapped. The housing market is not moving at all in either locations but especially in Greenville. You know, people are not just flocking to move to Greenville.

As for the job, we can't find a negative aspect about it. The people he has met at the Branch have been the nicest. They have all been there 5 years or more. Very stable branch and employees. A manager's dream.

While the salary is not what he asked for, it is acceptable. The benefits far out way what he has now. Insurance is better, vacation is better (compared to the none he has now), the hours are so much better (the branch closes at 4 except on Fridays and he wouldn't have to work Saturdays). The boys miss him and are so confused as to when daddy will be home. So when reflecting on the actual job and its benefits, you couldn't ask for better, especially during this economy.

He has applied to 10 different companies here in the metro area. None have responded even with a phone call to thank him for his interest. Most jobs are either "frozen" or being eliminated. Trustmark is the only company that has responded with the only door that has been opened. However, the living situation is just not as positive and clear cut. There is a slight possible chance of going to a public school if we live right outside of Greenville. If we live within Greenville, private is the only option.

After several visits to Greenville, we had to give our final decision today. JB came to me this morning with tears saying that he just couldn't do it. He just couldn't move us up there with the living situation being so uncertain. He hated to pass up a great job opportunity but the uncertainty of living out burdened the opportunity of this job.

He has been off today so he called the HR rep he has been working with and told her that he respectfully declined. He hung up with a feeling of "did I just pass up God's will for us". But we said that we made the decision and we can't look back. We will just start praying for God to bless the decision that we made and look forward to His future will.

Well, wouldn't you know that 2 hours later, she called JB back and said that they really want him there and she wanted him to think about it 2 more days. Now we are asking if this is God's 2nd chance to follow his will and to take that extreme leap of faith that the housing and living will be taken of. It's easy to think He will but it's always hard to believe it. It will truly be the biggest step of faith we have ever had to take in our married life.

This situation is definitely testing our trust in God and ability to hand our burdens and control over to him. Either way, we have to trust him...whether we stay here or move. We certainly don't want to be a missionary (in the sense of the word) that asks God to open doors and lead us to a better job opportunity only to limit him as to where we are willing to go. Another words, we don't want to say, "here we are send us"...but just not to Greenville. Understand?

Regardless of what we decide, I am most proud of my husband. He takes great pride in providing for his family. He doesn't expect our parents to take up the slack where we lack, he doesn't expect for life to be handed to him. He works hard with a work ethic that any wife and employer should be proud of.

When I married him, I vowed for richer or for poorer, well here we are. I am committed to that vow and wouldn't have it any other way. As a wife, I am to support my husband even when during uncertainty and there is no one else I would rather take this journey with. I love him as a husband, as a father to our boys and as my best friend.

Thanks to those that have supported us during this time. While you can't make the decision for us, you have certainly helped with your kind words and prayers.

My parents weren't too keen on the idea at first, understandably so. But they have become the best parents during this situation. My mom and dad have given such encouraging words and love. I wish I could only have the words to express what that has meant to me. I guess if you could see my heart when I think about their love for us, only then would you be able to understand.

I am 32 years old. I have lived here for those 32 years. I would be leaving all that I know about living in this state. I would be leaving the only support that I have while rearing my boys. But my parents' blessing and support has made this so much easier and will certainly make it easier to come home.

So please pray that we will see his will clearly and that we will have the utmost faith needed to follow it. It is a hard decision and one that ways on JB greatly. We have become emotionally tired of having this "hang" over our heads for the past 2 months.

Until next time, HB

Friday, May 15, 2009

End of the Year

This past Monday night, the boys participated in their school's End of the Year Program. They sang 2 songs and the whole event lasted all of 30 minutes. However, whether it's 30 minutes or an hour, I was proud of them.
This past year, both the boys have grown from their experiences at school. They've made new friends and learned the alphabet. Not to mention new social and playing skills. Their teacher has been most complimentary of their behavior. Ms Jennifer has been great for BB. She has helped "bring out" some of his personality and you could tell it during the program.
I am so proud of my boys and the progress they made throughout the year. It's been a confirmation that we made the right decision to enroll them last summer for this past year.
Their last day for the school year is this coming Tuesday. We will miss school but definitely look forward to the summer fun.

Saturday, May 2, 2009

Another Type of Flu?

The other morning before I got out of bed...I was petting Gizzie our pet dog (peek a poo). As I was petting her she sneezed on me.

JB happened to be walking through while getting ready for work. He turned to me and said, "Be careful, you may now get the peek a poo flu!"

No symptons yet, but if there are I'll be sure to alert the media in order to spread awareness.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Missing In Action

We are still here, just absent from the blogging world. I have been really busy with monogram orders that has taken most of my "free" time. Also, JB has been conducting a training class at work for the past 1 and 1/2 weeks from 8 to 5 and then on some nights selling furniture from 5 to 8 with only 1 day off. Needless to say, time has not allowed for much blogging these past few weeks.

But I did want to check in. Hopefully, when JB gets back on his regular schedule with 2 days off, I'll have a little more time to blog.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

You've got to Stand for Something...

Some of you have already seen or heard about the controversy over the Miss USA pageant involving Miss California and her answer to a question. If you haven't than you can find several stories about it here.

The question that was asked was one of controversy concerning gay marriage rights in all the states. I won't go into detail because this post is not necessarily about gay rights. With that being said...I don't mind stating my view. I believe that marriage is intended and ordained by God only between a women and a man. That's my belief, that's my values, that is what I will teach my children.

However, this post is not about what I believe, what Miss California believes, what the conservatives or liberals believe. Instead it is about the freedom of speech and the courage to use it.

I don't know anything about Miss California, Carrie Prejean. I don't know her religious background, her level of spirituality or any other convictions she holds. But I am proud of her courageously stating what she believed. She didn't give the answer that the media was looking for, she didn't give the answer that could have possibly won her the crown and she didn't give an answer to just to please those that are for gay marriage. Instead, she showed courage and character when she openly used her freedom of speech to state her convictions and values. She didn't coward down to the media, left wing, liberal culture that martyrs anyone against their beliefs. Instead she stood up strong to the Goliath culture with pride and unwavering conviction.

The issues of gay marriage was not necessarily the big picture here. The fact that she actually stood her ground and was not intimidated by the culture war that this issue has brought to our modern society is what, I think, shocked the media and most viewers. In this situation, it has come to be expected that someone of her celebrity status would automatically go with the culture and definitely not against it.

Miss California did not sell her soul to gain the world. I am encouraged by her act of courage and I hope that if I am ever in front of America (so to speak), I can speak with the conviction and courage she did. I know there are others that have done the same as she and I am also encouraged by their bravery to speak against the popular ideology.

Update 4

Thanks to all the many prayers and miracles of God, Denise is able to come home today. It was a total shock to her when her doctor walked in and released her.

However, she still has a ways to go as for recovery. Her blood sugars are crazy and she is still on a liquid diet but pain free. I haven't talked with her personally, but I assume that a doctor here will help her regulate her sugar levels until her body adjusts. This is typical of patients that have had this surgery. Sometimes, their bodies never recover and they become an insulin dependant diabetic. But some do recover and require little to no insulin at all but manages with diet and exercise.

Thanks again for all the prayers, concerns and emails of encouragement. The success so far is all of God and his ultimate healing. May God's glory shine through Denise as she can be a living miracle of His love.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Update 3

My cousin is doing very well. Recovery seems to be going better than expected even so she will be discharged from ICU today and moved to a room of her own. Thank you so much for your prayers and emails. God is so good and is so much bigger than any "human" physician. Don't get me wrong, we are thankful for the physicians that He has blessed with that gift, but we thank Him for working through their hands.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Update 2

At 1:15, they were officially through with the surgery. There was very little bleeding, which is one of the best possible situations. The liver is an organ with lots of vessels which causes great concerns when it comes to bleeding during the operation. There is a high chance that she can bleed even after surgery. In this case, they will have to go back in and try to stop the bleeding.

The family will get to see her at 2:30. Hopefully she will only have to remain in the ICU for only 2 days. The recovery process is just as crucial if not more than the surgery itself. The next hurdle will be that she recovers enough within the next few days in order to proceed to next recovery phase.

Thank you again for the prayers.

Update on my Cousin

She is currently in surgery. They have removed her pancreas. Now the diligent part of harvesting the healthy islet cells in order to plant them into her liver has started. This takes about 2 hours. Meanwhile, Denise stays unconscious while the doctors do this tedious task. Thanks for the prayers and thoughts. I will update when I have another report.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Prayer Request

My cousin, Denise, is headed today to UAB to undergo a very risky surgery in hopes to correct a pancreatic anomaly that has caused her severe pain for the past 3 1/2 years. Here is her story below from her CaringBridge Journal:

"This nightmare all started about 3 1/2 years ago. I had my first of MANY bouts with pancreatitis. After the first attach I was in the hospital for almost 20 days. After alot of pain and more tests I was find to have a condition called pancreas divisum.

Pancreas divisum is a common congenital anomaly (an anomaly that is present at birth) of the pancreatic duct(s). The Pancreas is a deep-seated organ located behind the stomach. One of its functions is to produce enzymes that are important for the digestion of food in the intestine. The digestive enzymes, in the form of digestive juice, drain from the pancreas via the pancreatic duct into the duodenum(the upper portion of the small intestine) where they aid in digesting food. It also produces insulin. The majority of individuals born with pancreas divisum experience no symptoms throughout life, will remain undiagnosed and will not require treatment. A small number of patients with pancreas divisum will experience repeated episodes of pancreatitis.

Doctors are not certain how pancreas divisum causes abdominal pain and pancreatitis. In my case the minor papilla is too narrow to adequately drain the digestive juices in the dorsal duct. The backup of the digestive juices elevates the pressure in the minor duct that causes abdominal pain and pancreatitis.
The technique of a total pancreatectomy involves removing the entire pancreas along with the spleen, duodenum, gallbladder and distal common bile duct. Then they will isolate my islet cells from my pancreas (which produce insulin) and transplant them into my liver.

UAB is one of the few hospitals in the nation where islet transplants are preformed. Dr. John Christein (my surgeon) is the director of the Islet Auto Transplant program, and is specialized in pancreatic surgery. If this procedure works, I may only require small doses of insulin, and best case, none at all eventually. (If it falls, I will become a complete insulin dependent diabetic).
I will also, have to take digestive enzymes (tablet form) to break down my food, for the rest of my life.

The surgery itself takes about 7 or 8 hours...then I will be in ICU for at least 2 days and in the hospital for about 12 days. And then HOPEFULLY I will be home the last week of April....GOD WILLING!!!!"

I ask if you will pray for her as she undergoes this surgery and recovery. Please also keep her family, especially her little ones, Chandler and Cannon, who will miss their mamma for the days to come.

Her surgery is tomorrow and I will try to keep an update when I get word of the progress.