Sunday, November 28, 2010

We had a very good Thanksgiving service Wednesday night. One of the verses Pastor read was "In every thing give thanks;" It doesn't matter what we are going through. In EVERY thing give thanks. I like hearing the testimonies of what God has done in the lives of others. The Wed night before Thanksgiving has always been one of my favorite services.

Thanksgiving morning my mom met us here at the house. We loaded our vehicles and took off to Virginia to have Thanksgiving at my Aunt Margie's house. Aunt Carolyn and Aunt Joyce showed up with all of their crew and it was so much fun.
Here's a pic of mom on the stairs at the hotel we stayed in. Isn't she beautiful?

My cousin, Gina is the beauty on the left. I met her for the very first time this Thanksgiving. That's her son behind her. He's eight and such a sweet kid. Angela, the beauty on the right, I've seen through the years, but certainly not enough! She and her family will be spending this weekend with us before flying back to Alaska! I'm looking forward to our visit. And then in front of me is my cousin Steve. What a ham he is!! I don't think I've seen him since I was about ten. He's a mess. I wish we lived closer. All of us. And last but not least is Steve's little girl, Emily. She was SUCH a doll. I honestly thought I'd never see my cousins again. I was truly blessed this Thanksgiving to have seen them and my aunts and Uncle. There were four or five cousins that were not present. I wish they had been able to join us. And I sure did miss my brother. It would have been great if he and Jenny had been able to come too.
I love you, Gina, Angie, and Steve.

In this picture is my cousin, Gary. He's a mess too! What a little rascal he was when he was younger! Oh the stories we heard and could tell. haha...good times! I love you, Gary.
We left to come home Friday afternoon after making one last stop at Aunt Margie's to say goodbye. We had a good trip home with a stop at Cracker Barrel for lunch. No shopping for us on Friday.
Saturday morning I took some pictures of a little guy in our church. It was a tough shoot, I'll admit, but here's a sneak peek. Can you think of anything sweeter than chubby little hands?
Saturday evening, our church took the Nursery Mothers out to eat and then to a Narrow Way Production in Fort Mill. It was a lot of fun and I enjoyed our time out together.
I hope all of you had as much of a wonderful Thanksgiving weekend as I did.
God is good....all the time....all the time....God is good.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Christmas, Crafts, and Cooking

When I got home from cleaning a house yesterday, Hannah wanted to decorate for Christmas. So Justin pulled everything down from the attic and the insane rush to decorate and make things pretty for Christmas began. "Insane rush" meaning Bruce was at work and we wanted to get it finished before he got home. I thought he was working a sixteen hour shift. But the kids said he would be home at 10:30. What??? Boy, did that push me into gear! I finished up just minutes before he got home.

We had the house dark with tree lights and candles going. It was so peacful and so pretty. My collection of nativities are out and they are lovely. Just lovely! :D

OK, I have a crafty question. I bought one of those round, plastic covered cake plates. Like Rubbermaid? Anyway, I want to paint the lid with some acrylics. But if it gets washed, the paint will begin to chip. So what would I get to spay over the acrylics to keep that from happening? Any suggestions?

Tomorrow is Thanksgiving. We will be celebrating with numerous family members. I need to cook up a couple of desserts. I'm thinking peanut butter fudge and a coconut cake or a chocolate eclaire cake. What will you be doing?

Monday, November 22, 2010

Milkshake Memories and Brides-to-Be

It did not matter how great or how small a good thing was, daddy would always say, "Let's celebrate!" And he absolutely loved the holidays. For Thanksgiving he started a tradition of making milkshakes for breakfast. That was always fun.

It's going to be a difficult day, but we have much to be thankful for. "Pop" is in Heaven. If that was all we had to be thankful for, it would certainly be more than enough. But the truth is, there is so much more to be thankful for and God is good in all things.
This past Saturday I took pictures of Monica, a bride-to-be. She's getting married next month. Here's a peek of her pictures. You'll be able to see more of the actual bride after she says I do.

Next Saturday I'll be taking pictures of a little baby in our church. He is the cutest little guy. I have some cute ideas floating around in my head and I'm really excited about it. Fun, fun!

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Hubby-Time, Swag Bucks, and Amish Stories

I took Bruce to the dentist today to have his teeth cleaned, then ran a couple of errands with him, came home to cook him some breakfast, started school with the kids, and now I'm sitting here blogging while the kids are working quietly.

If you recall, I joined Swag Bucks a while back and promoted it here on my blog. I still promote it. It's been great!! I've gotten several free things from swag bucks, mostly the $5.00 Amazon gift cards, which I've been loading to Amazon and watching my FREE money pile up. Anything I have ordered through Swag bucks has had free shipping too. That's a bonus. Anyway, I like reading Beverly Lewis books and bought her Seasons of Grace series using my Amazon cards I got from my Swag bucks winnings. I just finished the first book this morning, The Secret. It's kind of different, in that there is really no closure to the story in this first book. So I'm eager to begin the second and continue reading about Grace Byler, her mother's strange disappearance, and Heather, a young woman whose mother passed away not long ago and who has escaped to an Amish community to deal with her own recent diagnosis of cancer. Good story line so far.

If you want to join Swag bucks and start earning your own Amazon cards, or whatever other gift cards you may be interested in, just sign up there at the Swag bucks there in my sidebar. It's the easiest thing I've ever done. I joined, downloaded the Swag Bucks tool bar, and started using their search engine when searching the web. And that's how easy it is. Just search something in their search engine, and it's a chance to win swag bucks.

Bruce's dentist told him that Bruce's Uncle Major was in our town's newspaper, so we stopped on the way home and grabbed a paper. He read me the article as we drove home and it was really nice. Bruce's Uncle Major is a funny man. He's quite the character, let me tell ya! The write-up about him was good and I enjoyed hearing it. He just celebrated his 80th birthday, if I'm not mistaken. So Happy Birthday, Uncle Major! We love you.

I've cleaned out closets and drawers and cabinets and last night I cleaned out my washroom. I could not believe how much stuff was in there that we either didn't need or just didn't use any longer. Don't worry, Bruce, I didn't get rid of anything that belonged to you. :D

It looks so much better in there! I love a decluttered, less chaotic look, don't you? Have you ever seen that show Hoarders? I've only watched it once or twice and these people are not hoarders, in my opinion. They're either lazy or have some sort of mental disorder that causes them to be like that. I can't watch it. I get ill.

Well, speaking of decluttered and less chaotic looks, I need to straighten up this living room and do some dusting.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Tags, Titles, and Tears

My dad left me his truck. I went to the tag office today to do the title transfer and turn in the old tag. I have mixed feelings about it. He told me he was going to give it to me months ago, but I just never really pondered it.....until recently. Bruce had gone yesterday to do all of this but they wouldn't do it since the title was in my name and I wasn't there with proof of ID, so I went and did it myself. You wouldn't think something like that would be an emotional experience, but it was for me. As I walked out of the tag office, I was suddenly struck with a deep pain of sadness. He loved his little truck. He loved taking his dog, Dolly, around town in it. I remember when he got it and how happy he was. I walked to my car and had a good little cry. It's nice to have my own truck, but I'd give it back, and anything else, to have my daddy here instead. Although, that would be quite selfish of me, seeing he is enjoying the riches of Heaven and sitting at the Savior's feet. Given the opportunity to choose coming back here or staying there, I have no doubt what his answer would be.

After my little crying spell, I went to scope out some places for my first bridal shoot I'm doing this weekend. I'm really excited and nervous at the same time. I have some ideas. I just hope they pan out. It's one thing to see it in your mind's eye, and a total other thing to see it through the eye of the camera. I won't be able to share any of the pics until next month though. We don't want the groom to have a peek at the gown until after the big day. Or anyone else, for that matter.

I walked out of here today with my crock pot filled with water and spices for my pot roast, but forgot to put the roast in. I've been like that all week!! I'll admit I've had pizza on the brain. Maybe it's Freudian? haha

Gonna clean things up around here and get ready for church tonight. Looking forward to Wednesday night prayer meeting.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Thank Jesus

We had our Ladies Thanksgiving Fellowship last Tuesday night. The theme for this year was simply, Thank Jesus.

There were about sixty that signed up and about one hundred twenty that showed up! It was good though. We had plenty of plates, plenty of utensils, and plenty of food! If it's one thing I know about the women at my church, they can COOK!

Our future Ladies of Faith showed up too.

I enjoyed the fellowship with all of ladies.

Pastor Goodman showed up to make a plate before everyone arrived. Then scooted back home. Yes, it was a ladies fellowship. I suppose there are certain perks to being the "Big Brother." haha

Some of our little Ladies of Faith have grown up to be adult ladies of Faith. And pretty ones too!

It's good that mom was able to make it. :D

I love my mommy. ;)

Mrs. Becky did good at her drink station, but was really upset we didn't have door prizes this year. LOL

Mrs. Marla...always finding something to do. Busy, busy hands.

My buddy, Dana, was there too.

This was just the dessert table. You should have seen the food tables!

There was a lot of laughter and chattering.

Pretty fall decorations.

And even some "itty bitty" ladies were there!!

Future Ladies of Faith....gotta love 'em.

We took up a love offering for someone special. I thought it was sweet that Trina and Celine passed the baskets.

Mrs. Ava made some announcements and then gave a devotional. It was so good too. She spoke on the treasures God puts in our sacks.

At each plate she had a small sack full of treasures. Five butterscotch pieces represented the four common treasures that most all of us have in our sacks. The fifth treasure represented the secret treasures from God that He gives only to us, personally. Those treasures that mean something special to us.
1. The treasure of Salvation
2. The treasure of the Holy Spirit
3. The treasure of a close walk with the Lord
4. The sure treasure of the second coming
5. The secret treasures from God
For the fifth treasure in our sack, she chose a candy kiss and on the inside was an almond. I thought that was a neat little table favor.

Hannah, LeAnna, and Dana sang I Just Want To Thank You Lord. I wish they could sing it in church. It was so pretty.
I had a great time at the fellowship. I love my church and the ladies there. I love my Pastor's wife. I have much to be thankful for!

Friday, November 12, 2010

Mom's New Ride

Mom picked up her new car today. This was a difficult decision for her to make. The Ford she and daddy had was really running on its last legs...or wheels. They had hoped to make their next car purchase together, but she was on her own this time.
Thankfully, the Lord sent Brother Jr along to help her find a car. He did a great job.

She loves her 2010 Mercury Milan. I know she feels more comfortable driving a dependable car. I feel more comfortable with her driving a dependable car!!!
It's gorgeous mom! Just like you. I love you.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Good Times

We were invited to go to the Clemson game Saturday. They were playing against NC State. Everyone knows we're Carolina Tar Heel fans here, but I have to say I'm kinda likin' the color orange. Shhh...don't tell Bruce.

We went with Brother Sam and Mrs. Anna, from our church. They are very sweet people and we had SUCH a good time with them. They're a lot of fun to be with. Before we went into the stadium, we tailgated our lunch. Mrs. Anna really outdid herself in the food area. Good stuff. I'm not really a baked bean person, but I think I could have eaten that whole bowl. They were so good!

Their family are true-orange Clemson fans, so Mrs. Anna called Vermont, first thing after the game, to tell their son they had won. I think he had been watching the game already.

Yep...they won. Fourteen to thirteen. C-L-E-M-S-O---------N!

Thank you, Brother Sam and Mrs. Anna. We had an awesome time with y'all. You're very special to us.
The Crossroads Rescue Mission has been visiting our church while they're in transition of finding another home church. It's been good seeing them sitting there, getting involved in the services, and a young man in the mission came forward to be saved the other week. It was a blessing. Brother Rocky and Mrs. Deborah are doing a great job with the mission.
I mentioned we had our ladies Thanksgiving Fellowship last night. It was wonderful. I have pictures, but I haven't even downloaded them yet. Can you believe that? I'm so slack here lately. LOL I gave a testimony, but there were others that gave their testimonies and I think all of them were precious, all of them were a blessing, and all of them treasures of God's goodness. Oh how sweet it is, to be a child of God!
God is answering prayer after prayer where my mother is concerned. He certainly takes care of the widows. I am seeing Him work in her life in different areas that are amazing all of us. Things that worried my daddy are being taken care of in ways only God could do it. Just amazing! And again I have to say, Oh, how sweet it is, to be a child of God!
I have a little secret treasure I'm holding on to. I'll have to share it with you at another time. Right now I'm praying the Lord's will and we'll have to see how He answers before I say anything. But if you think about it, pray I get my way., no, no, I'm kidding. Pray for His will. I only want His will.
And thus concludes our good times! Well, it doesn't conclude our good times, but it does conclude this good times post!

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Avi Met

Tonight we had our ladies Thanksgiving fellowship. Mrs. Ava had asked me last week if I would say a word. I told the ladies that the first thought that went through my mind was TELL HER NO! But my mouth said yes.

I don't really get nervous speaking in front of people, but I was tonight. After the last couple of days I've had, I knew it would be a difficult task to get through. Since I am a "notes" person I wrote out what I wanted to say. I find it easier to keep my thoughts in line. I thought that was a bad thing, but then felt better about it when I saw I wasn't the only one that did that tonight!!

Anyway, this was what I shared with the ladies:

Avi Met

I read these words in a book Mrs. Ava loaned me on grieving the death of a father. Avi Met is Hebrew for My father died.

Since reading those words and learning its meaning, they have run through my mind several times a day, as if I am trying to remind myself that my father has died.

If ever there was a daddy's girl, it was me. If it were within his power, daddy would do anything for me. He told me daily that he loved. He always greeted me with a hug and a kiss and he always said goodbye to me with the same. He prayed for me and he prayed with me. He was a guiding force in my life to live right and do right. He taught me how to love my children. How to serve the Lord. How to witness. He taught me the importance of family gatherings and celebrations of life. He taught me that the answers to the questions in life are in the Word of God. I can't tell you how many times I would call and ask him a question about life's dos and don'ts and he would say, "What does God say about it?" And then I'd go look up Scripture or he would quote me verses on the subject.

When I was younger and even up until earlier this year, whenever I would think of daddy passing through this life, into the next, I would begin to cry. Just the thought of it was extremely painful. I always thought in my heart that when my dad died, I would fall to pieces. Bruce would be left to comfort and console a depressed wife, my children would have to fend for themselves, I would be a crying mess everywhere I went and in everything I did. It never crossed my mind that God would give THIS much peace and THIS much grace to my grieving heart.

I can't explain to you the peace that He has given in my heart and mind. Yes, I cry. I cry often. I miss my daddy's voice, I miss his touch, I miss the smell of his hands. His hands had a distinctive smell and they always smelled so good! The first thing I did when walking into his bedroom after his passing was open his closet door and his dresser drawers to smell his clothes to see if I could find that smell. I couldn't. Avi Met.

I was afraid to face each day during those first few days of his passing. Each day was a different hurdle for me. I didn't want to think about the next day, I just needed to focus on jumping the hurdle of the present day ahead of me. Once that hurdle was jumped and it was behind me, I could begin to focus on the next hurdle. It was a day by day existence those first few days. The thoughts of flowers and food did not matter to me. Avi Met! What would I do without my sweet, little daddy? The days were difficult and with each of those days, there came nightfall.

Psalm 32:7 says, "Thou art my hiding place; thou shalt preserve me from trouble; thou shalt compass me about with songs of deliverance."

Come nightfall I snuggled up as close to God as I possibly could because I knew if I didn't I would never get through the next day. He gave me a song of deliverance during those nights. It was He Gives Grace. I would put my iPod on repeat and just listen to it over and over again until I would finally fall asleep.

Not only did he give me peace, not only did he POUR out His grace, but he gave me a song to sing while I was in the lowest valley I have ever been in. That song helped me in ways that only He knows. God knew the words I needed to remind me that He gives grace and that He is, in fact, everything we ever need, for everything we face.

Just a day or so after the funeral, although that song has a special place in my heart, I had no desire to listen to it again like I did during those days.

Psalm 98:1 says, "O sing unto the LORD a new song; for he hath done marvellous things: his right hand, and his holy arm, hath gotten him the victory!"

I can sing a new song of praise because the Lord gave my daddy victory through death. When I think of how he COULD have died, the pain he COULD have gone through, the many days and nights his body COULD have suffered, I can't help but sing a new song of praise. But still even more praise because of his salvation through Jesus Christ. Avi Met! But yet, he lives.

Psalm 68:5 says, "A father of the God in his holy habitation."

My daddy and I shared many things, but the most important thing is, we shared a Heavenly Father. God is our bond. He is our eternal bond. I do not grieve as those who have no hope. My hope is in Christ, Jesus. It has amazed me how my Heavenly Father has lifted me up through the death of my earthly father.

Avi Met! But I am not Fatherless. And for that, I thank Jesus.

Monday, November 8, 2010

God's Hugs

Today has probably been the absolute lowest day of my entire life.

I have felt the tears rising inside of me for a month now. Ever since daddy died. I talked with a friend through facebook messages who told me to just go ahead and cry. So I did. They finally started flowing out last night and haven't stopped yet.

I ran some errands today and on the way home I had to pull over. I don't think I've ever cried that long, that hard, or that loud. But it sure felt good to be getting it out.

Trying to keep the "happy face" for the family was easy when I got home. But my red and swollen eyes revealed my secret. I was doing ok until after supper. I felt like I had been kicked in the chest. So I decided to get out of the house for some fresh air. Maybe walk around Wal Mart for a little bit. As I walked through the store I would cry, dry it up, cry, dry it up, get the picture.

When I finally pulled myself together and was feeling better, I took my small purchase to the register. As I stood there, an older lady, probably in her eighties, was there with her son who was helping her with her groceries. They spoke to the cashier and it became obvious that they were family. The older lady turned to ask me if I would mind her giving the cashier a hug. "Oh, not at all," I replied. She went around the register and gave the clerk a hug. Then came back around and said, "Would it be all right if I hug you too?" I shook my head yes and she pulled me in close. Of course that intimate gesture sent me into another crying fit. As she pulled away I noticed the pin she was wearing on her shirt. It was gold and in black letters it said, I believe in miracles.

I really don't believe she noticed my swollen eyes, or even the tears that rolled when we hugged. Maybe she did. I don't know.

What I do know is that the hug came from God at just the right moment I needed one. A total stranger, a sweet, little lady, and the gift of one person reaching out to someone else. Me.

I'm glad God cares when I am feeling low in spirit, body, and mind. He is a good friend and gives the sweetest hugs.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Bus Ministry and FBC Fall Festival

Here are a few pics from our bus ministry fall festival. I have a lot more, but for sake of time, I'll just post these.
We had games outside and also a bouncy castle and bouncy slide. The kids had a great time! The teens in our youth group helped with the games and handed out candy. It was wonderful seeing them pitch in and have a good time doing it! What great spirits!!

There was face painting and hair coloring, which seemed to be the favorite booth among the little ones.

Several of them wanted clown faces and they looked so cute!

They smaller ones enjoy the bouncy slide, but keeping them at *one at a time* is difficult. haha

And who doesn't like a jump in the bouncy castle?

You can see more pics from the bus ministry by clicking here. If it doesn't work for you, let me know and I'll fix the link. It should, though.
We always have the bus ministry fall festival on Saturday and the church's fall festival on Sunday between services. Here is a video of that....Enjoy!