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Thursday, January 31, 2013

My Hunter

My man loves to hunt.  I think it's something that is in his blood. 
He grew up hunting and it's something he enjoys thoroughly.
He went for many many years not really being able to indulge himself with the time it takes.
When he was in the Navy, he was deployed more than he was home.  And we he was home, he wanted to be with his family and not alone in the woods.  Then we moved to Mississippi, the Lord called us into ministry and again....his time was so limited.  Our girls were still young  and very active in lots of stuff.  My man always chose time with his family over time in the woods.  He was always present.  Always there.  He did hunt but it was a hit and miss kind of thing.
For this reason alone, I've never been one to complain about him heading to the woods when he did get to go.  He made so many sacrifices, I was always glad for him when he got the chance. 

Well, fast forward a few years.....we are now in a different season of life.
Our girls are now grown. The activity level has decreased substantially as far as time demands and schedules these more soccer games and driving to and from school or church activities and stuff.  And ......the Lord called us out to a little church in the country.  The country that just happens to be deer hunter heaven.   If you mention Porterville in a conversation, 3 out of 4 times the other person will say that they or someone they know has a deer camp in Porterville.

It has been such a blessing for me to see him enjoy doing something he loves so much.
I do believe he may have hunted more in this one season than what he's been able to do all these years combined.  He's very selective with what he shoots.  He doesn't  kill just for the sport.  We eat everything he brings home.  Now would he like a big trophy for the wall? Uh...yeah.  And I would love that for him...but the allusive Big Daddy hasn't shown up....he's killed a buck and a few does for meat in our freezer but that big trophy just hasn't been seen this year.

Which takes me to today.  Today is the last day of deer season.  
I'm hoping the big one steps out for him.
I'm hoping when I hear the humming of the 4-wheeler pulling up that I look out and see a big rack on the back.  But if that doesn't happen...I'm just thankful he had this season.
That the Lord blessed him with the time to do it..
Next year may be different.  Only the Lord knows.
But for  this season, I'm thankful.
Thankful for my husband who has always put his family before himself.
Thankful for the meat in the freezer that he has provided.
Thankful for the men in our church who has blessed their pastor with permission to hunt on their land.
Thankful for Nick getting the time to enjoy doing something that he loves so much.
Thankful that after today,  I can reclaim my back porch once he puts all his gear away.

And I'm thankful that this year, I went with him.
I went one other time when we were 15 years old and I hated it.  
We both agreed it was probably best if we didn't try that again....until a couple of weeks ago.
27 years later, I dressed up in his gear and off we went into the woods.
A lot has changed since the last time we sat in a stand together... like being called to serve together  in full time ministry, 3 incredible daughters, 2 godly son-in laws and with another one coming soon, and the cherry on top....three grandchildren. 
Well....lets just say that any happily ever after dream that I could have come up with that freezing cold day in that stand as I sat there  trying not to talk or make any noise so I could impress this amazing guy doesn't even compare to the actual  life the Lord has given us.

Yes,  this girl is thankful.

I'm thankful for the invention of iPhones too that gave me something to do...

This is my "Deer Thug" look.  ha!


Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Hodge Podge

Hodge Podge Wednesday is a fun link up that Joyce at From This Side of the Pond had been hosting for some time now.  I have seen several of my friends do this over the past few months and it's a fun way to get to know each other better so thought I'd jump in there too.  Joyce has been a blessing to me.  Every time she comments on a post of mine, she always leaves me with a nugget of wisdom.  She has grown kids too....two girls....and it's nice to have someone walking in the same season as you.
Here's to a little hodge podge on this very rainy Wednesday.


1.  In the USA this coming Sunday millions will be watching as the Baltimore Ravens take on the San Francisco 49's in the Superbowl.  What was the last event you attended that could be described as super?
Well we had our kind of Superbowl party this last Sunday night in our home.  One of the men in our church has the privilege of being one of the five Turkey Thugs of Mossy Oak.  If you are a hunter or are married to one, then you will understand that this is a big deal.  They aired a segment called "Inside the Obsession" Sunday night and the entire show was about Greg.  Naturally, I thought we should celebrate this honor so I cooked a big pot of gumbo and invited whoever wanted to watch it with us over to our house after church.  We had an awesome time of fellowship.  It was such a blessing to hear on national television what we already knew about he loves the Lord and lives his life according to the Word, how he is the hardest worker you'll ever come by and that he is a loyal friend.  After the show, we all gathered around him and prayed over him, asking the Lord to give him wisdom and that he would always glorify the Lord using this platform He has given him.  It was truly a SUPER party.

2.  Share something you're a fan of these days?
Oh wow..I'm a fan of lots of stuff...The show "Once Upon a Time"...Oikos Greek yogurt, my husbands gray in his beard, Pintrest's secret boards (finally), that  I can reclaim my back porch now that hunting season is coming to an end and my new grand dog Henry. I'm especially a fan of Henry.

3. How do you feel about wings?  In case anyone is confused, I'm talking the edible appetizer kind.  What's your preferred seasoning on a wing-hot, mild, teryiaki, sweet and sour, other?  Do you make your own or is there a favorite place you like to go for wings?
I'm not a connoisseur of wings...I don't go crazy over them but I do like them with a little kick to them.  Nick makes them perfect.  My oldest daughter though,  Elizabeth, loves her some wings.  She ate her fill at my grandson, Nate's, Entrance Party ...oh wait, I almost forgot.."Warrior Ordination Party".   
Of course...I'm kinda partial to these wings too.....

4.  As long as we're talking sports today...have you followed the Lance Armstrong story?  Did you watch his interview with Oprah and if so what was your reaction to his confession and subsequent remarks?  
Nope.  I haven't followed it at all. The only reason I even know what you're talking about is because a friend of mine wrote a blog post about it.  Well, about Lance and the subject of forgiveness.  Good stuff.

5.  What's a question you hate to be asked? 
Hmmm...On the top of my head, nothing jumps out at me. I'm kinda a open book these days.  When I was a young mom, I always hated when people asked how old I was...I was always feeling as if I had to prove myself as a mom to the world. (silly young me)  But I did dread that question....I was 22 with 3 kids, 5 yrs old on down.  People would confuse me as their babysitter. And I have the stretch marks to prove it. 

6. The coaches in this Sunday's big game happen to be real life brothers.  Jim Harbaugh coaches the 49er's and his older brother John Harbaugh coaches the Baltimore Ravens.  Were you and your sibling(s) competitive?  In what way? Are you still?  If you're an only child how did you handle competition growing up?  
Well my oldest brother, Marvin, may think he's competitive with me on whose our Mom's favorite.  But really, there is no competition at all.  Hand's's me.  And by the way...He turned 50 on Monday!

7.  What's your favorite game involving a ball and when did you last play? 
I am as uncoordinated as they come.  I'm the girl who pretended to be sick during  P.E. so I could avoid balls all together.  But I do have a grandson now who LOVES balls.  I played with him when he was here over the holidays...does that count?   Wait...don't answer that.  It totally counts.

8.  Insert your own random thought here. 
Back to the secret boards on Pintrest....have you used yours yet?  Don't you just love them?
When it comes to planning weddings, it is the bomb!!  I mean, there are just some ideas you want to keep secret until the big day you know?  I have been going to town pinning stuff for Lauren's wedding.  When I look at the board, my heart skips a beat at the "vision" we've created.  We already had it our heads but being able to see it is getting me pumped up! I'm totally getting excited.  Truthfully, it took me a little longer than I expected to get over our last wedding. Whew. But I'm back in the saddle and ready.....if only our bank account matched my excitement level.  Gotta take it slow and steady. lol.

Well that was fun!  Can't wait to do it again. 


Monday, January 28, 2013

That time I worried.....

I wrote this before I went to bed one night while I was visiting my mom about a week ago.


I'm not a worrier by nature.
That's just not my personality.  And I'm thankful for that since I have so many other hang ups that I'm trying to overcome... I'm thankful being a worry wart isn't one of them.

But today I worried.
Today I worried like I never have before.
Today I let fear creep into my mind and wreak havoc on my emotions.
I totally let the "what ifs" take over and for a several hours my life shut down.

You see, as I am here at my mom's.... The love of my life is six hours away. The man who has been by my side for 27 years....The person who literally makes me whole could not be found. He didn't answer the phone... Didn't return my texts....his phone went right to voice mail like it does when it's dead.  This is not like him at all. Nick is super responsible. He is super considerate.

And I know that if he hunts behind the house, there is no cell service  there... But today I lost all logical thinking when I let fear creep in. When he didn't check in this morning, and he didn't return any texts or phone calls, I hopped on Instagram and Facebook to see if he posted one of his encouraging pictures like he does everyday.... Nothing. I scrolled through my feed to if he had "liked" anything.... Just anything ... but found nothing.  I texted all three of our girls to see if they had talked to him any... Nope. They know this behavior is unlike me...the worrying....... So now I had them worried too.

The fear of the unknown gripped me like never before. You see,  I have lived through tragedy before. I have woken up to a normal day only to have my world changed forever before my head hit the pillow that same night.  My daddy died of a heart at the age of 44. It was a normal day. A Sunday. We went to church...He shared a testimony about the work God was doing in his life.... then he sang the old hymn "Because He Lives" with two other men....then he sat down in the pew and the Lord called him home. He had a heart attack in church. I was 13 years old and still to this day, every time I watch a movie where a family is frantically waiting at the hospital and the  doctor walks out with that expression on his face that can only mean one thing,  then he shakes his head and says to the family "I'm sorry. We did all that we could do... But he's gone. We couldn't save him"... Well when I see a scene like that,   I relive that day.... The day my world changed.

And I've received "that call"... The one we all fear where the person on the other end tells you the unthinkable...that  your loved one is gone.... In this case, my 39 year old brother.  He was killed in an accident. And just like that,  your world changes again...

Death is never convenient. It often happens when we least expect it.  And it always alters the lives of those left behind.

I mean, I am older right now than the age my mom was when she became a widow... I know these things don't just happen to "other" families. It happens to all of us. And in those few hours when I thought the worst.... I replayed our last conversation in my head... Our last words we said to each other.... I thought of our last embrace....... 

So when Nick couldn't be reached, I let all of those fears.... The "what ifs" penetrate my heart and mind.  I did the opposite of what God's word tells us and promises us.. "Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus. (Philippians 4:6, 7 NKJV)

I could have had my heart and mind protected by the peace of God but instead... I chose to be anxious. And without my mind guarded by God's peace.. I let it run wild thinking crazy thoughts...

What if he had a heart attack or a brain aneurism during the night?
What if  he can't move and get to the phone to call 911?
What if he had an accident while hunting?
What if he's stuck out in the woods and is praying someone is gonna come look for him?

I let fear infiltrate and overtake my mind to the point that I even called one of our church members and asked him to go check on him... To go to our house and see of the 4-wheeler was there. If it was gone I'd at least I'd know he didn't have a heart attack during the night but was probably hunting.  Well Bill humored me and bless his heart, stopped whatever he was doing and rode down to the house to investigate for me.... I think he knew he had a frantic crazy woman on his hands. I was so overtaken with irrational thinking, I would have done whatever it took to make sure of his safety...even if I was 6 hours away feeling helpless.

Needless to say he discovered nothing... Except a missing 4-wheeler, along with Nick's hunting gear. Bill assured me he was probably hunting in the area behind our house that has zero cell service and that all was ok.

And it wasn't but a few minutes later that I get a text.... from Nick (hallelujah!)... Telling me to call off the search party. That he was fine... He in fact was hunting in a area with no service and when he got closer to home his phone began to blow up from all the texts... From all the people who were now checking on him.

All because of me.
Because of one moment when I chose fear instead of peace.

But today has taught me a lot and allowed me to see myself as God sees me.
It was one of those tough lessons in humility as I was faced with  how much growing I have yet to do in this area....  I kept recalling that passage..."Don't not be afraid of sudden terror...for the Lord will be your confidence..Proverbs 3:25-26 ....but I was afraid. I was gripped with terror when I thought the one thing I love most in this life might be gone.   And later after the dust settled, this passage came to mind "If you faint in the day of adversity, your strength is small." Proverbs 24:10    The Lord revealed to me in His gentle and tender way, that I'm not as tough as I think I am.....I'm not a spiritual as I thought I was.... That I have a long ways to go with Him in this sancification process and that He wants more than anything to be my confidence I run to.  He desires to gaurd my heart and mind from all the "what ifs" I can conjure up and he wants to fill me with peace that surpasses all understanding...He wants to do this IN the moment I need it. And He is able.

So tonight, as I lay my head on my pillow, I'm thankful.
I'm thankful for Nick's safety.
I'm thankful for a brother in Christ who went out of his way to reassure and comfort me.
And I'm thankful for a Savior who is always at work in my life...never giving up on me...molding and shaping me with the utmost patience and tenderness to become the woman of God He created me to be. very thankful.

And I'm hopeful that next time I'm faced with a choice to make...I choose to rest in God's peace.
Growing in grace and knowledge is a beautiful thing.


Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Our secret......and #theadventuresofhoneyandloni

If you have followed me on Instagram (my happy place), then you know of all the shenanigans that I enjoyed recently with my mom.  Mr. Roy, my step dad, was gone for almost two weeks on a mission trip to the Philippines and momma was "home alone" and we figured it was the perfect opportunity for a little quality time together.  I can't remember the last time it was just me and her hanging out.  I mean, we LOVE having my girls all up in the mix.. but I have to say, this time was super special.  She took off three days of work so we could be free as the breeze.

I kinda got behind on responding to all the comments on instagram while I was there....I mean, she kept me pretty busy.  But one of the most reoccurring comments was about our relationship....Many of you shared that you yearned for that with your own moms or desired to have the closeness we share with your own daughters. Several asked what was our "secret" so you could start now with your little girls.

Mom and I talked about that....what is our "secret".  And well....we really didn't think we had one.
I have grown up always enjoying my momma and wanting to be around her every chance I could get.  She is a one of the funnest people I know.  But ours, like most relationships, have had our moments.   The only time I ever felt distant was when we were both newlyweds at the same time....this is going on 25 years ago. She and my dad had a beautiful love story.  When he died at the age of 44, she was widowed and heartbroken. That story is incredible but for another time...

Then the Lord brought another man into her life while she was attending seminary and they decided to get married.  Meanwhile, I'm 17 and pregnant (you can read about that here) and we decide to get married too. So six weeks after I wed, my mom gets married and moves away.  This was before cell phones. Heck, this was before unlimited calling plans for land lines if any of you remember those days when you paid for every minute on the phone long distance.  Well, she may as well have moved to Africa because our communication was few and far between back then.  Not on purpose...out of necessity.  So for a few years, it felt very distant.  The lady who I had done EVERYTHING with was gone right at a crucial time in my life when I needed her the most.  But it was just life you know?  I wasn't bitter or angry with her.  I mean,  I had kind of "replaced" her with Nick too.  It's just how life evolves.  We've been handed some unfair junk in life in our family...and the one thing I've learned from my mom is to make the best of what you have left. She's a fighter...not a quitter.

 And the more we talked about it while we were together last week, we decided if there is anything we could say is our secret, it would be this... Acceptance.

We have learned to accept each other just the way we are.  We don't pick each other apart.  We don't point out and bring up each other's bad qualities (and we both have our share).  We don't dwell on what we don't like about our  life situations.  And honestly...I can say that that is what makes most of my relationships work.  Now please know, I'm not talking about accepting evident sin that must be addressed in the lives of those we love.  And I'm thankful for the times when my mom and family loved me enough to lovingly confront my seasons of sinful behavior.   When I say acceptance I mean accepting the little things that get on each others nerves...the difference in opinions on matters....the personality "flaws" that we don't care for..... the difference in tastes.....I've learned that a little acceptance goes a long way.  We all need to feel loved in spite of our hang ups and differences.

 That pretty much sums it up for us and what you see in our pictures and in our smiles.  We have  just learned to accept each other...just the way we are.  We have accepted the things in our past that if given a chance, we might have done differently. But we can't change it, so we accept it. And we have learned from it... I'm a better daughter. I'm a better mom to my girls because of it. I'm a better person period.

And of course the secret to being able to accept others is Jesus.
He makes the difference.  He is the difference.  It's only through Him that we have the power to do this.  To walk in this.

"Let love be without hypocrisy. Abhor what is evil. Cling to what is good.  Be kindly affectionate to one another with brotherly love, in honor giving preference to one another."  Romans 12:9-10

"And above all things have fervent love for one another, for "love will cover a multitude of sins."  Be hospitable to one another without grumbling."  1 Peter 8-9

I'm so thankful for a momma who has taught me this because learning to accept each others fault's frees us up to have fun! Which is what we love to do when we're together.

Now....onto our shenanigans.

We closed down the stores our first night...that last car in the parking lot belongs to us.

Took in a little culture and visited the Titanic exhibit.

Mom was in 2nd class and survived.
I was in 3rd class and didn't make it. :(

One of my favorite discoveries was the menus they posted from the night of the sinking.
It had the 1st class, 2nd class and 3rd class menu.  I totally liked the stuff on the 3rd class menu.  Give me good old  vegetable soup any day over something so fancy I can't even pronounce it! They also had place settings from each of the three dining classes. Again, I loved 3rd class.  I learned they stamped the trademark of the cruise liner on the dishes to discourage the passengers from stealing them.  Well, I'm a sucker for special coffee mugs with memories, so I brought home this replica of what my mug would have looked like if I had been aboard the Titanic.  One plus of being 3rd class is your souvenirs are was gonna do the same thing.  But her 2nd class stuff was double the price. lol.

We ate out every day. Seriously, the only dishes we dirtied at her house were two coffee cups and spoons for our morning coffee that we rinsed out and re-used each day.  Mom said I was cheap because I only ate once a day....unlike my brother when he comes to visit. (just another reason I'm her favorite. lol) 

We had lazy mornings drinking coffee in our pajamas until 10am as I got brushed up on all my family history by one of the best storytellers I know.  (the only thing that would have made this picture any more perfect is if the fire would have been roaring in the fireplace....but both of us were too scared to mess with the gas to turn it on)

We made daily stops at Sonic for her Diet Coke with vanilla light on ice and my Diet Dr. Pepper.

For old times sake we went to what USED to be our favorite store...the Unique Shoppe...which was a "high end" Goodwill store.  We spent many a spring breaks here with the girls shopping through the years.  We tagged the girls in this pic and they knew immediately where we were...Lauren asked if we went across the street and got an Icee when we were done. lol.  That was ALWAYS tradition.

The Unique Shoppe moved to this fancy schmancy place but it's not the same.
(that is an actual Goodwill store)

But as all things must end....there is always the start of something new....

Goodbye Unique Shoppe and
 HELLLOOO  big Goodwill in your happy swirly building.

 Our new favorite.

I told mom this was her vacation and that I would go anywhere she wanted to go and asked her if she had a place or two that she wanted to explore where she had never been.

We ended up here...
At this fancy gift shop.

We decided we would stick to our Goodwills...

And momma's beloved SteinMart of course.

Which is where I got this new sweater I kinda love alot.

We shopped around in momma's shed too which was my fave!  She has the best treasures.
I brought home a lamp that my daddy bought her when I was a little girl.

I made her pause for a quick pic in her personal park she calls a back yard.

We finished out the trip at the Boardwalk..

Where we road the trolley...
... all by ourselves.

And wrapped things up at Copeland's where we shared a piece of Dulce De Leche Cheesecake.

The very first night I got there, I discovered this box of chocolates on my pillow with the sweetest card....I saved the chocolates the entire week.

Until the night before I left...when I devoured it.
Such a sad sight. It kinda meant to me the party was officially over.

The morning I left, we loaded my car down with all my goodies and then took our traditional photo booth picture together....said our goodbyes...hugged each others neck..

And just like was over.
Until next time that is.


Monday, January 21, 2013

That time we were in a magazine.....

So I know this is old news for those of you who follow me on instagram ...but I was putting away a few things from Christmas and my recent trip to my moms when I stumbled across the magazine. I thought I'd share it on here...cuz it'd kinda a big deal for us.  My entire family worked so hard to help me to pull off Lydia's wedding.  You can read about that {here}.
Being recognized in a magazine for all our hard work is just as much for the rest of my family as it is for me and Lydia....and Marcus of course. ;)  We couldn't have done it without them.

Kinda surreal to open the pages and see your daughter and son-in-law.

And a BIG thank you to our photographers (and friends), April and Paul,  who submitted the beautiful pictures in the first place.  If it wasn't for their talent in capturing all the details as they did we wouldn't have anything to share but our memories.  The wedding itself was incredible. That alone was enough....but having bits and pieces of her special day shared in a magazine is like the sprinkles on top of her "happily ever after". 

We ordered a print copy of the magazine but if you would like to view it's digital version, you can do that  {here}.

ps.  Go watch April and Paul's promo video {here}.  The cuteness you will experience  will be well worth your one minute and fifty nine seconds.  I mean... seriously. They are awesome.
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