Sunday, April 28, 2013

To Everything there is a Season....

This weekend we have had two celebrations - one in a grand fashion and one observed quietly within our family.

Our church celebrated the 10 year anniversary of our pastor today. Shawn Parker is a true man of God and he leads our church with genuine wisdom and true faithfulness to God's calling. He has been with our family in the hospital, he has counseled with us in his office, he has prayed for us and he has prayed with us. He baptized all three of our children and he has taken the time to know Brian and I in such a personal way. We count him and his wife as friends and true examples of what it means to be a follower of Christ. It is hard to imagine our church without their family, and I am so thankful that God placed us in First Baptist Church to serve beside them.

We also had another milestone achievement this weekend within our family. Brian celebrated the anniversary of 20 years serving the United States Air Force.

The top picture is a of Brian and I at a 70th Anniversary celebration of Columbus AFB. The second picture is when we found out Brian would promote to E-8 last spring.

Brian has never made his career more important than the kids and I. He has gone wherever the Air Force has asked but he has always taken into consideration what is best for our family over what is best for his career.

I stand in awe of his devotion to defend our country against enemies, both foreign and domestic. His allegiance to the United States is displayed daily as he puts on the uniform that means at any given minute he might be called to serve anywhere in the world for the cause of freedom.

God has blessed us through Brian's time in service, as we have traveled overseas and back home and as Brian spent almost a year in the deserts of Kuwait. I believe God has used Brian to impact the lives of many of the airmen he has come into contact with over his 20 years because he takes time to listen to them and get to know them. He has received countless awards and achieved many goals in his time in the Air Force, but providing for our family has always been his priority and for that I will always be grateful.

As we realize that the end of his career may be fast approaching, it is amazing to think how quickly the time has slipped by. Brian and I dated as he began his early days working Labor and Delivery at Barksdale. We had our children while he worked shift work in the ER and God provided clinic hours all the way over in Guam so we could spend more family time together.

We have grown up in this Air Force and looking back it is amazing to see God's hand on our path. Our friends cover the globe and we are thankful for them and the memories that we made with them. Ultimately, God led us to Columbus AFB in March of 2002 and to a home in First Baptist Church that we were in desperate need of. So, this weekend has been a time to reflect on the season's of life.

I have no doubt God planned for us to be in Columbus, to serve in a church with such great leadership with friends that we love. And as we quietly celebrate this huge achievement in Brian's military career I am ever more reminded that God has a plan for us and for our children. My prayer is that we walk with Him daily wherever He should lead us doing whatever job He puts before us to bring Him the honor and glory.

Jeremiah 29:11-13

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Starting the Countdown....

I have no idea how long it has been since I sat down to update the blog. However, I can tell you in the past week I have sat through two track meets and six softball games and gotten behind on all sorts of laundry and housework.

The good news is that Koby's 2 mile relay team, which Brendan has now joined because apparently he was a backup, placed third overall in district and they are headed to North State this weekend.

If they can place in the top four at North State they will advance on to the State meet, but let's not get ahead of ourselves! The boys have worked tirelessly the past few days to decrease their time as they each run 800 meters (two laps around the track). Who knew that 5 seconds could be so important!!

Kamdyn has also had some excitement on the softball field. She played away last Tuesday about 90 miles from home and it was just one of those nights that Brian and I couldn't get away to the game. I got a text from her after she played along with the picture to tell me that she had been hit in the head with a bat...and I slightly wanted to panic! Apparently she flipped off her catcher mask to go for the ball and batter threw the bat, which hit Kamdyn right on the eyebrow bone area. She had a nice goose egg and headache, and even now the outside part of her eye is green and blue. However, she was excited that she threw the batter out at first which I guess made up for the black eye she is still sporting! And, I felt like mother of the year since I was not there to give her ibuprofen and ice and ask her 100 times if she was OK. Her team finished their season last night (THANK GOODNESS!).

We enjoyed a really peaceful weekend, which I am also most thankful for! The Lord just keeps blessing us with beautiful weekend weather and we have really enjoyed it. Koby and two other friends took part in a local community service project Saturday by participating in the "Joy Prom". This event is sponsored by another Baptist church in our county and is put on for people who have disabilities and special needs. He was so excited to be a part of this and if you know Koby you know that it involved two of his favorite things: 1) Dressing up and 2) a party with lots of people.


The kids couldn't take pictures when they were at the event but when they got back to the house they were all telling stories!! Apparently, Koby's "date" for the night was an older woman in a wheel chair. He wasn't sure about her disability, but he said he just bent over and danced along with her the best he could. Monday the coordinator of the event called to tell me that Koby had done such an awesome job as a "date" for the night and that he really shined at the event. She went on to say she calls the parents of the one student she sees that is the most of a blessing to her and this year that was Koby.

I take absolutely no credit for this. His personality comes from his father, but his servant heart and ability to shine comes from his Heavenly Father. My daily prayer is that the Lord uses Koby's personality to help spread the gospel and impact His Kingdom. I pray He gives Brian and I wisdom to help Koby and Brendan and Kamdyn develop the gifts He has provided to them for His glory. I always wanted our children to be best and have the best, but recently I have come to the conclusion that the best by the world's standards is not the best I should've imagined for them all this time. I want God's best for them - His blessing, His leading in their lives!

We are now officially starting the end of school countdown!!!!!

The boys are hoping to be exempt from finals, which would put them getting out of school in just 3 weeks and 3 days. Kamdyn will have to take finals as an 8th grader so she has exactly four weeks left from today. BRING ON SUMMER!!!! Well, minus the humidity and high electric bill....

Monday, April 15, 2013

The Carousel of Sports...

We enjoyed a beautiful weekend and I don't think I could have ordered a more perfect evening as we enjoyed crawfish with some friends Saturday evening....

 Our family along with some great friends put away 35 pounds of crawfish!! The kids had so much fun and we all enjoyed the feast! I also made a great dessert that I took to our feast and I wanted to pass it on. It was super easy! (And it's Paula Deen which is always good!)

You need a package of chipsahoy cookies and 2 small containers of cool whip - the extra creamy kind! In a trifle bowl, you will layer cool whip with about six or seven cookies, dunking each cookie in milk before you place it on the cool whip. Repeat the layering ending with cool whip. I had about 4 cookies left and I just crumbled those over the cool whip. Paula says top with some pecans and fresh mint, but I was out of both!!

This is also a new favorite of mine that I had to share here with ya'll just in case you come across some discounted candy this late after Easter...

Maybe I am late to the party, but I have NEVER seen coconut M&Ms before!! I thought I would try them for $1.35 for the bag and I absolutely do! Kamdyn and I have been sharing them all week. If you see these somewhere, pick up a bag!

I also wanted to share this picture with ya'll! Koby sent it to me Saturday afternoon and it reminds me of how he always makes us laugh...

Along with the picture he wrote "Your baby boy is becoming a man". Only Koby!!!
 So basically I have just shown you our weekend in pictures!!

Our family is also on a carousel of sports this week! Kamdyn is finishing up softball season with three games this week and one next week. She has really grown to love the catcher position and I have enjoyed seeing her confidence grow when she gets up to bat. I am amazed how much she enjoys this sport...

 She has caught a fly ball, which was a big deal to her! Then in her game this evening, she was struggling to get some out at home and ended up pushing a girl off the base. Yes, this is our tough little girl!

Both Kamdyn and Koby are running track and today they had to make up a meet that was postponed last Friday due to so much rain in our area. Since Kamdyn also had a home softball game I drove down to the track meet to bring back her and some of the other softball girls after field events ended.

Plus, if I was totally honest with you I would have to tell you that deep down I do love a track meet! When I was in school, to play basketball you had to run track. I hated running! There was just nothing inside of me that was encouraged to run. And our coach seemed to think that the fatter you were the longer distance you ran. So, what did I run? The one mile and even the two mile a few times. I never did figure out his logic of making us run the distance runs but I did fake a knee injury a time or two to get out of them! Anyways, I was always amazed at those who could hurdle or run fast and I think that exposure just got me interested in track meets. I think they are so fun and a strange combination of individual success with a team score overall.

Anyways, back to my children since that's what I was actually planning to write about. Kamdyn participated in field events, throwing the discus and shot put this morning. Koby did the Triple Jump and ran in the 2 Mile Relay.

Kamdyn missed getting a ribbon by an inch, literally! But she did a great job for an 8th grader and her coach was pleased. Koby didn't place in the triple jump, but this was his first time to try it and basically he is always just open minded to trying anything that seems fun. However, his relay team placed second and if they do that well on Friday they will move on to the North State meet. He was really excited about how well his team did and although I missed the race because I was already on the road with the softball girls, he did send me a picture of his ribbon and of him fake running. Just use your imagination!

And please don't think I am leaving Brendan out of this post altogether! He is not running track this year for the first time since 6th grade. He is busy studying for his college History final, which he takes this Wednesday. He also took the ACT Saturday morning and called me after it was over to say, "that was the hardest test I ever took!". Which by the way is the exact thing he said last time he took it.

So, that's what has been going on over here in Mississippi! The warmer weather is making me anxious to get our garden going and I am enjoying our azaleas that have bloomed over the last few days. I hope spring is brightening your spirits wherever you are...

Monday, April 8, 2013

Mixing it up...

I am typing this as the national championship game is starting so I hope that I can stay focused on writing. I really do not have a preference for who wins this game and truth be told I probably won't even make it past halftime. However, I do remember all those years ago when Michigan won with the Fab 5 and I do like the warm up shirts that the team is wearing this year so I guess I will cheer for them if I get into the game.

This game pretty much begins what I think of as the nothingness of sports (I know that isn't a word but it works here for me). What I mean is that after this, it's a LONG time until college football comes back around. So weekends become more about HGTV and what's going on outside than watching any kind of sports on TV. No offense to those of you who have an interest in golf or racing cars, but those things do not top my list of sports to watch on TV.

Now that I have rambled on about pretty much nothing of importance, I wanted to mix things up a little and share some things I have come across lately...

  • If you have a chance, read this blog post from the Bachelor's sister. I know she has a name but it's easier for me to remember her as the Bachelor's sister. Anyways, I recently read a post on another blog and the author was talking about the Bachelor's sister and this great cake recipe. I haven't had a chance to make the cake yet but I can promise you I have printed the recipe and it is in my stack of things-I-will-make-one-day. That is a tall stack, but clearly this recipe is going to be close to the top of the list. Check it out -


  • I am counting down the days until a book comes out from one of my other favorite bloggers!! If you have a chance, visit the book page on www.boomama.net and download the first chapter of her book. I absolutely can NOT wait until this book comes out and I think it just might be the first thing I read when summer arrives.

  • When I have time I get on a blog written by Angie Smith. I heard her speak almost two years ago at a conference and just loved the honesty and humility that made her seem so real. This is an article I read last week but I really wanted to share it now with you. It's more for young mothers, and it stepped on my toes a bit. But I loved what she wrote! She told the truth, which needed to be said and my hope is that by reading this article it will help you put life in perspective... 


  • My Wednesday night Bible study group just started a study on Nehemiah and I am absolutely loving it so far! I was a little worried when I was desperately searching through the Old Testament looking for this book as I prepared for our first session and couldn't find it. Come to find Nehemiah is in the really old part of the Old Testament, before Psalms, before Job and before Esther. Like you knew! Anyways, we have basically just studied the first chapter and more specifically the prayer Nehemiah prayed in chapter one and I have already decided I will fall in love with this old book. If you have a chance, read that first chapter and see the compassion Nehemiah had for the people he loved. It will stir your heart I can promise!

Well, there is lots more I was thinking I would write on but I am slowly being sucked into this game. The score is close, there is a story about the guy making all the 3s and they have just shown the Fab 5 which gave me immediate flashbacks to the 90s.

I hope you have a great week!!

Saturday, April 6, 2013

Life is Beautiful...

It is no secret with my family that I love to take pictures!!! I have albums and albums and albums! The kids know I am always ready to take a quick picture and I think they have pretty much given up on fighting against it.

When we were stationed in Guam I would take a roll of pictures, have them developed in double prints and then keep a set for my album and send a set back home. I have to say digital pictures have saved my husband tons of money!!! (which may have possibly been off set by the two or maybe three cameras I have lost but let's not bring that up)

Brendan has never really likes pictures. Koby is always good for a smile in front of the camera and Kamdyn loves to pose, but I think maybe I scarred Brendan for life when I literally photographed his daily progress as a baby. But for me, pictures are snapshots of life. One day, when my memory is a little foggy, I want to be able to look at the snapshots of this beautiful life and see the things that I may have forgotten along the way.

So please, indulge me as a mother and look through the pictures that are a snapshot of Prom 2013...

This is the first picture I took and Brian hadn't even had a chance to change out of his work clothes! Brendan was stressed that he would be late to the Riverwalk for picture time so I quickly snapped this up. Well, honestly I took one more on my cell phone of him getting in the car and tried to get him to pose for another but finally just let him go.

I was the last mom to get to the Riverwalk (because it's also no secret I tend to be 5 minutes late quite often) but this was my first official picture of Brendan and Ellie.
Did I mention I take LOTS of pictures?

I just have no words for this! Ok actually I do. My brain tells me he is grown up but my heart sees him as that flat top little boy who wanted to grow up to be Luke Skywalker or the red Power Ranger. I see this picture and realize time is slipping away and we have so much to still teach him! I want to cram all kinds of lectures and talks in to the next year. I mean, the boy has got to learn to operate the washing machine and all sorts of important things!! 

These guys are two of Brendan's best friends and I am so thankful God has put them in his life! They are dates for two of the girls that are in my Sunday School class and that have been on my cheer squad. I love these girls and they looked absolutely gorgeous for Prom!! 

Will is Ellie's youngest brother and he is in the first grade. I think he likes Brendan as much as her! He wanted to have his picture taken with them.

And I took this picture of them checking their phones to see what pictures they would be putting out on social media!! 

At our Prom not only do the kids vote on King and Queen but they also vote on Most Beautiful and Most Handsome and Cutest Couple. Brendan and Ellie were voted Cutest Couple and they won $20 to the movies. I am sure Ellie will be happy that she can actually go to the movie and maybe even get a popcorn with Mr. Cheap Date.

And finally, I had to include this!! Apparently on the drive over to Prom, Ellie put together this little collage and posted it on Instagram. Not only is this Brian and I and Brendan and Ellie but it is also her parents going to her mother's Prom in 1994. Apparently sparkle really was big back in the day! Lots of people have gotten the biggest kick out of this picture and I hated not to share it.
When I speak to parents of young children I always tell them to soak in every stage and embrace each experience because time goes so quickly. I thank you for letting me share the snapshots of this experience here and I also hope you can see that life is beautiful. 

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Memory Lane

In our home we are hitting another major milestone this week - PROM! As we have helped Brendan get his tux and other prom necessities, I have had a chance to reflect back on my own Junior prom.

I had a few minutes this evening to go back and find some of our prom pictures. I knew the kids would get a kick out of seeing them and every once in a while I enjoy seeing the old me. By which I mean, the me who was naïve and uncertain, less confident than most but always looking out for others. What I wouldn't give for a 5 minute conversation with the 17 year old me. Some of you might be able to relate to that!

Anyways, this is not the exact picture I was looking for but it is the picture I kept out from all the others to show to our kids, specifically to Brendan and Ellie as they get ready for prom tomorrow.

First of all, let me say I really had NO IDEA how much Koby looked like Brian until I looked at this picture. I was amazed!! Something about the mischievous twinkle in his eyes and that cute smirk that is his father made over.

Past that, I have to tell you I can remember renting this dress just as clear as day. Puffy sleeves, lots of sparkle and black must have been just the mix I was looking for. And only my date could have pulled off the polka dot bow tie and vest!!!

In a scrapbook I found my invitation with a red rose across it and somewhere I am sure I have the keepsake mug. I remember how my classmates had such ambition to create a live waterfall and pond in the school foyer. I can't imagine an administrator signed off on that!!! And as we worked and worked it was finally our parents who came out and finished the project so we could get our beauty sleep the night before (plus I know I spent money on some fake nails that I could not risk loosing on building a waterfall or pond or bridge or basically any other item needed to decorate!).

Sometimes a trip down memory lane comes at an unexpected time and with it comes a sense of nostalgia for all that is left behind. The security of your childhood home, past friends and all the experiences that went into making you who you are never really leave your memory. It is no secret that when I met Brian I knew he would be the one. Prom night was really only our second real date, but I am sure I was madly in love and eventually he caught up. Earlier this evening I posted this picture on instagram and I wrote, "my prom date from 1994 and he decided to keep me for life! I never could've imagined how much I would love this man."

Now our son reaches this milestone in his own life! Tomorrow he will put on a tux for the first time and pick up a girl who has won his heart. They'll make their own memories with friends and classmates as they go through an evening of fun and excitement.

Tonight I took my turn at decorating and tomorrow I'll take as many pictures as I can! Prepare to be in prom overload at some point this weekend because I will be posting several I am sure.

I hope your week is going well and the Lord is blessing you as you walk with Him each day....