Wednesday, September 30, 2009

EWomen's Conference 2009

The conference last Friday and Saturday was a great weekend. I really enjoyed the speakers - there was even a time during Karen Kingsbury's talk where she recognized grieving moms..imagine that!..which was very special. As much as anything, I really enjoyed the time spent with my girlfriend (from my college days, even!) and her family! We spent the evenings at Deb's parent's house - what a sweet testimony both her parents have....both faithfully serving the Lord wherever the Lord has them with such sweet spirits!

Thanks, Mr. and Mrs. Kellogg...for taking me in again - just like old times!!


Debbie and her mom


The conference center was pretty packed. It doesn't look like it from this picture but we could actually see really well (although the screens were nice, too!)...but I liked being up a bit higher - it wasn't quite as loud. So, how do you know you're really getting old?? You use ear plugs during the praise and worship band!! (Yes, Em...I did!) It was really loud! This picture is during Amy Grant's concert - and, no earplugs! :) She played her own music on the guitar, which I really enjoyed.


There were several speakers during the conference - Stormie Omartian, Karen Kingsbury, Nancy Leigh DeMoss and do you recogonize this speaker?? Candace Cameron Bure - or maybe you remember DJ Tanner on Full House! (again, showing my age!) She was super cute...and what a great testimony!



OK - so we caught Mrs. K mid-blink (sorry about that) but I included this picture to ask, once again, why do I seem so crazy tall around my friends?? I not really THAT tall but my friends must be really short because I always seem to be towering everyone!



What a sweet family - thanks guys!! Hope to see you again before another 10 years rolls by!!

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Em's Birthday Dinner

UPDATE...for some more fun pictures of Em - and her cute sister - check here!!


Here are some pictures from our celebration with Emily on her birthday. Well, I don't have pictures from our day of shopping...but, last night we had dinner at a new restaurant - and it was really nice. So glad I found it!



Dante Ristorante - yes, very Italian! In this restored Victorian house - it had so much charm and character. Our service was excellent and, yes, the food was really good. Hubbie and I both had lasagna and Em and Tony had seafood dishes. I'm not a huge fish fan - but I even like Em's talipia.


Of course, there was dessert - which they surprised us with :) and there was plenty of chocolate to be enjoyed...to be sure!


She is just too cute! (Her cashmere sweater is new!)




Ok - so this is just me being too goofy. But this gorgeous arrangement of flowers were the decorations in the bathroom! I was impressed. I even snapped a picture (yes, thats my reflection in the mirror!??) which is a bit dorky, I know!


Miss Em and her hubbie, Tony! I love you, Em. Happy Birthday!!

Monday, September 28, 2009

Em Turns Twenty-one!!

A special wish for my little girl (author unknown)....I hope that this day is everything perfect for you!! You fill Dad and my hearts with more joy, pride and love than we could ever imagine!!
How could it be so long ago
You were just a babe in arms
Melting everybody's heart
With all those baby charms.
How could the years have gone so quick
It seems like yesterday
When you were just a little girl
Running out to play.
Did somebody put forward
The precious hands of time
And turn our little daughter
Into a woman so sublime?
For here you are today
All grown up - and lovely too
A warm and gentle person
So special through and through.
And all those childhood charms you had
Have grown with you each day
And made you much more special
Than words could ever say.
So Em, may all the dreams
You hold within your heart
Come true and bring you happiness
From which you'll never part.

Congratulations on your 21st Birthday
I love so much, Mommy
(More special thoughts on my "baby" this Thankful Thursday....)

Friday, September 25, 2009

Bound for Roanoke

I am excited about my plans for this weekend - Friday and Saturday, I will be attending the Extraordinary Women conference in Roanoke, Virginia. The speakers for the weekend include Stormie Omartian, Candace Cameron Brue, Karen Kingsbury, Anita Renfroe and Nancy DeMoss. I can't even pick one as a particular favorite I'm looking forward to hearing - they are all so interesting.

I will be meeting a girlfriend (my college roommate) that I don't often get to vist...and we are doing the weekend together! What a special treat...and I'm looking for God's blessing as well. I hope everyone has a great weekend - and that things are drying out in Georgia!! (If I can ever remember my camera, I'll try to get some pictures!)

By the way, when I get back...someone is having a birthday?!?!

Thursday, September 24, 2009

(She'll Be) Leaving on a Jet Plane

THANKFUL THURSDAY....and such a wonderful answer to prayer! I have been praying that my daughter could get a new job and get away from the childcare work. She loves working with the little ones and has enjoyed her chances to work in a couple different preschools, but for a variety of reasons, her dad and I really felt something totally different would be great for her. Of course, we all know entry level jobs in a new career don't just come along every day - especially since she has not been able to finish getting a degree. So, we prayed...and, yes!, God provided.



She was hired last week as a flight attendant!! Her dad and I are, yes, very proud of her, and also so excited for all the possibilities that lie ahead for her! Oh, and did I mention that there are family perks?? Her husband - AND her parents - can fly for free!! Oh yeah.


I really saw God's leading these past few weeks - opening and closing all the right doors that led to this opportunity. And, today, I want to thank Him. I love you, sweetheart!

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Wordless Wednesday - a Favorite

Miss Roo and Her Poppy!!

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Things to Hate and Things to Love

I finally persuaded Erica to keep a blog going....and she is doing such a great job of it. Daily updates on my sweet granddaughter - even her first real boo boo! - and great pictures, too. We love getting our daily Miss Riley news!

The other day, Erica had this cute meme which I thought I would share.....mainly 'cause I'm short on time today. Its simply five things I love and five I hate!

Five things I love:
mornings - I know, really goofy to a lot of people...but the perfect time of day for me!
spending time with my children - just being together is great...although way too much ice cream is consumed
pumpkin anything - and right now, its those lattes at Starbucks but just about every magazine lately has a new pumpkin recipe
sharing stories/talking about Tyler!
going out to lunch with my girlfriends


Five things I hate:
winter - I try to embrace it with yummy, hot drinks, comfort foods and cozy quilts but, truly I hate the never-ending cold
exercise - again, I try...but I just hate it
these extra (??) pounds that just won't ever go away - see previous entry
when Hubbie is not feeling well - he is NOT a good patient (grumpy!)
finding a 2-inch long black hair on your breadstick while eating out - GROSS!!

Have a great Tuesday~

Monday, September 21, 2009

Stressbusters

The gathering At the Well today is a discussion about stress..or specifically, dealing with stressful days. The contributing writer today is a mother of seven! - so, well, she has totally different stress than I do; but we all have those days!! And, no doubt, we all have our favorite stressbusters. I know exercise is supposed to be wonderful for de-stressing but, for me, that just doesn't happen. Ugh.

Eating...now that's another story! I have a whole list of favorite foods - from comfort casseroles to sweet desserts or even flavored teas or coffees - that I love to fix (and then eat) on a stress-filled day. Of course, I'm only more stressed the next morning when the reality of all those extra calories sets in - leading to thoughts of more exercise!

But, really it is the cooking and baking that I enjoy so much - and not so much the eating. Now I have a few tried and true favorite recipes that I can get busy with in the kitchen and, then, I share with neighbors or other friends - especially my senior friends. I try to keep the ingredients on hand so I am prepared and, with a few good cds playing, my time in the kitchen is great therapy.

As crazy as it sounds, one of the best stressbusters for me is cleaning and organizing. If my "world" is straightened, life is so much easier for me to handle..and, if it is organized, then life is just plain good. The more stressed I am, the deeper I clean - strubbing baseboards or reorganizing the entire laundry room. I don't really understand the reason this works but I am often tired afterwards, so maybe that counts as exercise for me!!

One more thing that never fails to make me smile, lower my blood pressure, and just makes life good is spending some time with children. If I could only hug Miss Roo's neck every day - spend just thirty minutes playing with her (and then send her home to Mommy once she got cranky!), I don't think I'd ever be stressed again! But, she lives hundreds of miles from here. I do enjoy my class of preschoolers on Wednesday nights....and love, love being with David, Rachael and Miss Sarah! They just make my heart happy!!

It certainly will be interesting to link up to the well and see what is working for everyone else! Have a stress-less day!!

Friday, September 18, 2009

Something to Think About

"God's people have no assurances that the dark experiences of life will be held at bay,
much less that God will provide some sort of running commentary
on the meaning of each day's
allotment of confusion, boredom, pain, or achievement.
It is no great matter where we are,
provided we see that the Lord has placed us there,
and that He is with us."
--John Newton
(emphasis mine)

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Blessed to be his mommy!!

THANKFUL THURSDAY......Thank you, Lord for allowing me to be Tyler's mommy!!
My brain really cannot get a grasp on the fact that this too-cute for words red-headed boy would be turning 17 (yes, 17!) this weekend! I don't suppose there are birthday parties in Heaven but I do believe those who are waiting for us there are aware of things happening here on earth....and I hope that, as we remember Tyler's birthday - and truly celebrate the day God introduced us to Tyler!! - he will know how much we miss him...and how very much we love him!!
My goodness...that baby just makes me melt!!!

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Gingered Apple & Peach Crisp

The weatherman tells us that this exceptionally warm weather is about to leave and the more fall-like temps are on their way. Hopefully, this will help inspire me more for fall. Yes, the pumpkin lattes at Starbucks are helping but the weather, I think, is confusing me!?! So many are talking about decorating - great candles, pumpkins and the whole nine yards - but I just can't seem to get into yet.

I did like idea that Lynette had to share some favorite fall recipes. I'm looking forward to some kitchen inspiration. I even pulled out some of my own favorites - was even ready to link up and share on her blog....then I re-read her post and noticed she didn't want dessert recipes. What?!? Of course, that is exactly what I had to share today. Oh bother.

I'll share it here anyways....I love this dish. It smells like fall to me - with apples and ginger - but you can make it in the microwave (yeah) and not heat the whole kitchen up...just in case the weather is still goofy!! If you have any creative, fall ideas for cooking - by all means, share them!

Gingered Apple & Peach Crisp

4 medium granny smith apples
1 can (15 oz) sliced peaches in heavy syrup, drained and chopped (reserving juice)
1 tablespoon cornstarch
1 1/4 cups vanilla wafers (approximately 32 wafers)
1/2 cup whole unblanched almonds, chopped
1/2 cup quick oats
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1/3 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 cup butter, melted

For filling, peel, core, and slice apples. Cut apple slices in quarters, arrange in bottom of deep baking dish. Drain peaches, reserving 1/2 cup of syrup; set aside. Coarsely chop peaches and sprinkle over apples. Add cornstarch to reserved syrup and whisk. Pour over peaches and apples. For streusel, chop vanilla wafers and almonds and combine with oats, brown sugar, flour, and ground ginger. Add melted butter and mix well. Sprinkle mixture evenly over peaches and apples. Microwave on HIGH 12-15 minutes or until apples are tender; turning dish after 6 minutes. Serve warm with ice cream or whipped topping, if desired.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Leesburg

Thanks to everyone for all the nice comments/best wishes on our anniversary yesterday! Hubbie and I had a really nice day together. We browsed a lot of antique stores and shops but didn't buy a thing! I know, hard to believe....but we just enjoyed the day!

Leesburg definitely has the quaint factor.....



and way too many cute places to eat!! Luckily we went out for a big breakfast before getting there - but that didn't stop me when we found the bakery:) The cookies were delicious and the cupcakes were the size of softballs - not kidding.

Isn't this restaurant just a charmer??



And I am a true sucker for gorgeous hanging baskets...and they were everywhere! (Not to mention..these shutters are too cute!)



Today - Bible study starts again after a summer break. I am looking forward to seeing all the ladies again (the study I attend is held at a different church than my own and is a bit of a drive so I don't see most of these ladies outside of Bible study).....as well as getting back into scheduled study. Funny - at the end of the semester, I'm ready for a break and then I'm so excited to get back into it.
This semester I'm taking a Kay Arthur DVD study on Ephesians. I've heard only great things about her studies and can't wait. Anyone else participating in a Bible study this fall?? No doubt, I'll be sharing some of what I learn in the weeks ahead....please, do the same!

Monday, September 14, 2009

Twenty-four Years....and counting!

That's right - 24 years ago, today, my sweet dad walked me down an outdoor aisle made of crushed shells...to join the handsome (albiet skinny) man that he - and my mother - would give me away to!! It was an absolutely gorgeous day for our outside wedding in the garden of a historical plantation not far from my parent's home. The grounds were beautiful and the fall mums were already in full bloom. The site runs along a busy road on one side - and I remember the cars honking to celebrate us as they drove by....so fun!

Honestly, the day was just about perfect. I guess the only small "snafu" would be that the cake table, although under the canopy, was placed a bit too close to the edge and the backside of the cake was in the sun. When we walked around back for the cutting...well, it was melted. Still yummy, though!

Fast forward twenty-four years..........we are spending the day together in Leesburg, a historic town not too far from home. It is supposed to be another beautiful weather day and we are still excited to be together!! Now - if just a few cars would honk at us while we are out walking around! :)

I just love this picture of my handsome daddy!! I was as proud to be on his arm as he was of me! I sure wish it wasn't fuzzy...did I mention a scanner is on the top of my Christmas list?!?

Friday, September 11, 2009

Don't Forget to Remember

This is a day when all Americans from every walk of life unite in our resolve for justice and peace. America has stood down enemies before, and we will do so this time. None of us will ever forget this day. Yet, we go forward to defend freedom and all that is good and just in our world.
remarks from President Bush (emphasis mine)

I read a very convicting post last night with regards to 9/11.....the day that we all declared would never be forgotten - in our own lives and in the life of our nation. Yet, I think many - if not most - of us have forgotten. Sure - if we cause ourselves to reflect, we can remember where we were and what we were doing when the attacks occured; but, do we really remember so as to be impacted by those horrific events. Truthfully, and sadly, I can't say that I really do.

I believe the key is just that - we need to cause ourselves to remember. Some things we want to forget - or, at least, set aside. Its more comfortable that way. Other things, we don't necessarily want to forget but our minds are filled with so many things, that those events, memories and the lessons learned from them get "pushed aside."

Just as the Israelites pulled stones from the river bed in order to erect a memorial - a tangible reminder of what God had done - we need real reminders of where God has lead us, what we have learned and how we have been blessed. Whether it is a public event, something experienced by only a few friends or family, or even a private time between just you and God....we must cause ourselves not to forget.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

The Journey

THANKFUL THURSDAY today finds me awed by the leading hand of my savior. Along this journey of a christian life, there are many roads traveled, turns taken and paths made but, along them all, we have the promise that God not only walks along side us but He also goes before us directing the way.

Psalms 37:23 "The steps of a good man are ordered by the Lord; and He delighteth in His way."



Not only is this promise a great security - it is also very exciting!! To be sure - as we go through life, there will be some roads along the way that are dark! Perhaps that can't see your hand in front of your face kind of dark - yet, we never walk alone. I remember an exercise from a drama class I took my senior year of high school (really, I remember way back when!) where we had to be blindfolded and led by a classmate through the halls of the school. Our teacher said that the only way it would work would be for us to completely trust the one doing the leading. Although I don't guess she was a christian, she was preaching a sermon there!! During the darkest of times, God holds my hand tightly and guides my steps.

Other times, there may be more light...or I may see more clearly - but just enough for the next few steps. I suppose most of our walk is this way. God illumines our path but only as far as we need to know. This way we don't run too far ahead or get too distracted by whats up ahead - and we walk by faith.

There are, however, some paths that are so bright and the way so clear....and it is exhilarating!! We used to do quite a bit of hiking. Some of those mountain trails can seem to go on forever and, more than once, I've thought, "I'll not do this again" but then you make it to the top and the field or the view stretches out before you in all of its splendor! It is beautiful and energizing - and I think I could hike for two more days! (yea, right)

These past couple weeks have been just like that for me. God is leading us and doing exciting things - several things! - in my life. His hand of direction has been so clear.....and we are eager to see all that lies ahead. I hope to share some of His goodness in the days ahead but so wanted to thank Him for His leading and all that He is doing in my life - on this Thankful Thursday!!

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Just a Few Snapshots of the Week!

WORDLESS WEDNESDAY - we all had such a good time with Jordan!

Jordan's favorite restaurant is Cheesecake Factory.






































We had fun at
Dave and Busters

Apparently Guitar Hero is
VERY serious business....












Before heading to the gun range..

Dad really was happy that day
although you just can't tell it here -

Tony, on the other hand..
VERY HAPPY!





And...back to business

(yes, us at the airport at 0500 hours - ugh!!)

Monday, September 7, 2009

Start Thinking Fall

Happy Labor Day Monday.....although the calendar might not agree, this long weekend always signals the beginning of fall - and our weather lately has even been agreeing with me! The cooler evenings and no humidity have been so nice. Our plans for this Labor Day are definitely reflective of our changing (grown-up) family - it used to be, we would head to a park for a picnic or up to the mountains for some hiking...but, this year, the guys are beyond excited to be going to the firing range to practice shooting! Go figure. This is a first for our family - but, I'm serious when I say they are all excited!

As fall "officially" starts in my mind, a few things I am looking forward to are....

1 - Back to school! It seems like everyone around us has already started school but around here the public schools don't start back until Tuesday - and all the neighbor kiddos (the little ones, at least) are so excited...especially the ones going for the first time. I like the routine that back to school brings. I enjoy watching the kids walking to school each morning. And I enjoy that we are done with that at our house!

2 - Yard sales! I'm really not a big "yard saler"....I don't have anything against yard sales and they do pique my curiosity when I drive by an exceptionally large one but I've never really been into the whole yard sale adventure. What I really don't like is being the one having the yard sale...or laying all my unwanted "junk" on display in my yard for others to come and scrutinize. That said - I'm planning to participate in our community yard sale in two weeks. Ugh. I always promise myself I'll never do again, and, yet here I am getting ready to do it again. It just has to be done.

3 - Pumpkin Lattes!! They are back at Starbucks - and I am in Heaven!! Go treat yourself today. :)