Thursday, December 31, 2009

A New Bible

I have to confess that I have a weird thing about books in general. I love new books. I have shelves and shelves of books. I love to hold them, smell them, crack them open and turn those crisp new pages. I truly enjoy going to bookstores and walking up and down the aisles and just looking at the covers, wishing my budget was unlimited. Books A Million coming to Prattville has been wonderful. Gene and I have spent many date nights sipping their flavored coffee and walking up and down those aisles of books, showing each other interesting things that we have found.

My favorite book store is Lifeway. I LOVE all the Bible studies and books written to help me in my Christian walk. I could stay in there for hours. I could literally spend about an hour in each section: The Women's Growth Section, The Bible study section, The Family section, The Children's Section, The Music Section, The Bible section, The Gift collection get the idea. Well, for Christmas I told Gene that I wanted a new Bible, but I wanted to go to Lifeway with him and pick it out. This is going to sound crazy, but a Bible really needs to feel right to me. I love new Bibles, and I wanted to hold it and smell it and turn the pages. I don't like hard back bibles or paperback bibles. They don't feel right to me. I probably shouldn't be confessing all this! HA!

I wanted a slim New Living Translation Bible. I have many translations and many different types of Bibles, but I wanted one that I could just a book. I have a great study Bible and a Life Application Bible, and a slim New American Standard version that I carry to church because that is what my pastor uses. But, I wanted a version that was very easy to understand, and as much as I like The Message version, I think it goes a little too far in its interpretation. The radio station Way FM uses the New Living Translation for their Word on the Way segment, and I always like the way the verses are worded.

I have been reading my new Bible since Christmas day and I love it. I look forward to waking up in the morning and sitting down with my new Bible and my cup of coffee and praying that God would show me something new...something to walk on during the day. I just love it. It is probably my favorite gift. I can definately feel the presence of God as I start each day with Him.

I want to encourage each of you to pull out the Bible and start reading it this year. Read it from cover to cover...maybe skipping Leviticus...and see it as a beautiful love letter that God has written to us, his children. If you need some encouragement, maybe you should go and and buy a beautiful new Bible that you will look forward to holding and reading each morning. Maybe, like me, you might benefit from a new version of the Bible, to shake things up a bit.

Psalms 1:2-3
"But they delight in the law of the Lord, meditating on it day and night. They are like trees planted along the riverbank, bearing fruit each season. Their leaves never wither and they prosper in all they do."

Isn't that a great verse? I want to delight myself in God's Word. I want to meditate on it day and night. When I do that, God promises that I will be like a tree firmly planted and I will bear fruit in each season of my life. Just as a tree soaks up water and bears luscious fruit, I am called to soak up God's Word, producing actions and attitudes that honor God.

As this new year begins, join me in reading God's precious and holy Word every single day. Be a tree firmly planted this year and let your life bring God glory.

Monday, December 28, 2009


We had a wonderful Christmas and I thought I would share a few pictures from the week. Actually, I am sharing about 15 pictures, but considering I took 126 pictures, narrowing it down to 15 was pretty good.

This first picture is of my sweet Granny who lives in Georgiana. We went to visit her on Wednesday, taking her a Christmas gift. She is my only living grandparent and honestly, we do not go to see her enough. She looked good and felt good. I didn't take many pictures but we got to visit with my Uncle Jeff, my Aunt Vivian and Uncle Royce, my cousin Daphne, my second cousins Riley Grace, Carson Anne, Ethan, and parents were also there. We had a really good time just visiting with one another. It was great to see everyone and catch up. Now I really hate that I didn't take more pictures. Maybe next time.

On Christmas Eve, Reagan and I baked two Christmas desserts. This is the first year that she really helped me from start to finish. I even let her use the mixer by herself, and she did pretty well, only picking it up out of the bowl, slinging dough everywhere, one time. We made turtle gooey bars and Christmas cookies. I enjoyed the time with her and look forward to Gracen joining us in the years to come.
Here is a picture of Gene's mom and dad with the girls. We go to their house on Christmas Eve. We eat supper and have some desserts and then spend time opening presents.

When we get back home, we all get into our pajamas and snuggle around Gene as he reads the Christmas story and Twas the Night Before Christmas. We also have a family prayer time. We put cookies and milk out for Santa and head to bed.

Here is a picture of Reagan on Christmas morning. She absolutely loves to dress up. She is so girly and adores make-up and jewelry and anything Disney Princess. Santa brought her a vanity set for her room with plenty of make-up and jewelry. She went and put on her Ariel costume and had a ball sitting in front of her little mirror.Here is Gracen on Christmas morning. She is sitting among all the trash from the morning. She received several new toys, but of course, loved the bows and paper more than anything.

Gene's mom and dad live very close to us and they always come out on Christmas morning to see what the girls got. We had a good visit and I was able to get breakfast going because I had
some extra hands.

On Christmas night we head over to my mom and dad's favorite place to go on Christmas, with my favorite people, my family. Below is a picture of my parents.
Here is a picture of my older sister Lori and her husband Scott. They are church planters in Tuscaloosa. They started a contemporary church called North River Church that God is blessing by leaps and bounds. You can check out the church at and I know they would love for you to visit if you are ever in the Tuscaloosa area. Just tell them Lesley sent you and you will get a front row seat.

Here is Lori with her firstborn, Ariel. Aren't they pretty? So hard to believe that she is 17 years old. Where does the time go?

Here is Lori's second child, Dean, rolling around on the floor with my children. They all really enjoy each other when they are able to get together.

Here is my younger sister, Lindsay with her hubby Brian and their little girl, Hayden....another pretty family. God has really blessed our clan.

Here is a close up shot of little Miss Hayden. She is 3 weeks younger than my Gracen and I know they will be good friends as they grow up.

Here is a sweet shot of my Gracen. She is laying on her stomach trying to crawl. Again, she is after all the wrapping paper and bows.
And here is a picture of our little family. I felt so blessed to be a family of four this year. Our Christmas season couldn't have been better.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

A Long Day

We had a long day today...not stressful or bad, just long. Reagan woke up at 3:30a.m. and of course came to our room and woke me up. I don't know why she always wakes me up. She is clearly a daddy's girl and prefers him most of the time....except in the middle of the night. She came in our room crying, talking about monsters in her closet. How do monsters get in the closets of children everywhere? I remember that they used to be in my closet too. Long story short, I tried my best to get her back into her bed, with no luck. She absolutely refused to go back into that room. After comforting her and talking to her as sweetly as one can at 3:30 in the morning, I tried dragging her back, and she was like dead weight, begging me not to make her go. I didn't have the heart to force her to sleep in the monster's lair, so she got to sleep in the middle of our queen bed. I quickly discovered that a queen bed is not big enough for 3 people.

I had to get up by 5:30 to get ready for church and unfortunately, I never went back to sleep. Reagan, on the other hand, went right to sleep, but she tossed and turned. She hit me in the face a couple of times and talked out loud once or twice. Apparently Gene was not bothered by any of this or he chose to ignore it all....I am thinking he ignored everything. Between 3:30 and 4:30 I got up to use the bathroom, got a snack, checked on Gracen, and eventually laid back down in my bed. I started to dose off and then Gene's alarm clock went off at 5:00. I just went ahead and got up. Lovely way to start the day.

We all got ready and then we headed to Montgomery to my sister's church to see my niece, Hayden's, baby dedication. Brian and Lindsay had to take her up on the stage and they were really worried about her shrieking out or crying, things all parents worry about when you have to do something like this with your child. Anyway, little Miss Hayden did wonderfully. She was perfectly quiet, even when the pastor took her from her mother and held her for a few minutes. What I really loved was the jumbo screens on the left and right of the auditorium with Hayden's face larger than life. She has the most angelic face with big, bright, blue eyes and a beautiful smile. She looked precious. I cannot believe that I didn't take my camera.

Of course, even if I had remembered my camera I wouldn't have been able to take even one picture because I decided to keep my girls with me during the service, and it was I all could do to keep them entertained and quiet. Not a job I want to repeat again after getting up at 3:30 in the morning. Thank the Lord for my mom and dad who sat with me. My dad did a great job with Reagan and mom helped with both, but mostly she helped me with Gracen, who is usually very good, but apparently had ants in her pants this morning. She was all over the place. The experience made me very thankful for church nurseries...which I will utilize next time.

After the service, we all headed to my sister's house for lunch, in honor of Hayden's big day and my brother-n-law, Brian's, 30th birthday. The lunch was catered by Jim and Nick's Barbecue and it was real good. Lunch was topped off with a cookie cake....yum! All the kids were very well behaved at Lin's house, and I loved hanging out with everyone. It was a good day.

Oh, by the way, when we got home, Gracen took a long nap....Reagan did not. I was really hoping for a nap myself, but someone had to stay up with her. Guess who got to stay up with Reagan.... and guess who got a nap...... it was NOT the person who got up at 3:30 in the morning.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009


It has been a long dreary couple of days. Gene has been home sick since Monday night. He went to the doctor and has a sinus infection and bronchitis. Yuck! He has been coughing for a couple of weeks and just hasn't felt good at all. He has been very tired and run down. You know how men are though. He fought going to the doctor. He also didn't take all my natural remedies to hopefully shorten the duration of a drinking Air Born, doubling up on probiotics, taking herbs like echinacea (spelling ?), drinking lots of water to flush the system, putting peroxide in your ears, etc. Maybe next time he will listen to me.

I knew Monday night that he would be home a few days and I thought that was great. I love getting to spend some extra time with my husband and when you are by yourself with two kids all day, the idea of adult conversation is exciting. Well, as you can imagine, he hasn't been very good company. I know he is sick and all, but is it necessary to sleep ALL day long and leave me alone with the girls. It has been exhausting trying to keep both of them quiet so he can rest. For some reason, I also feel like I am doing double work than I normally do too. What is up with that? I have certainly decided that I do not want three children...which is what I am currently dealing with. And I am ready for one of these children to become an adult again. Just saying.

I am really surprised that none of us have gotten what Gene has. Is bronchitis not contagious? I hope not. Of course, if I get sick, maybe I can lay around all day and watch some TV and sleep. At this moment, that sounds nice. I know I will regret saying that as soon as I come down with it. And the moment I get sick, Reagan and Gracen will come down with it too, and there will be no resting for me.

On top of dealing with, I mean caring for, Gene, Gracen has thrush. This is some sort of yeast infection in her mouth. Who knows where this came from! Well, I am nursing and she passed this into my chest. This has been so incredibly painful. The only way I know how to describe this is fire coming out of your nipples (sorry to any men who might read this). This is a feeling you NEVER want coming out of your nipples. I am in tears every time I nurse Gracen and I am spending the day alternating ice packs and the heating pad. Fun stuff. We are both on medication and hopefully this will be resolved very soon.

I guess our week hasn't been all that great but hopefully things will start looking up. Christmas is just around the corner and we have some fun family things to do before the big day. We are going to Zoo Lights as soon as Gene is a little better and we still haven't taken Reagan and Gracen to see Santa. We have the college coming to our house for a Christmas Party this Friday night. My sweet little neice, Hayden, is being dedicated at her church this coming Sunday morning, followed by lunch with the family. We are going to Georgiana, AL to see my Granny in a few days, and I have a few more Christmas gifts to buy and wrap. Gene and I are also trying to work in a date night and we want to take Reagan to see the Princess and the Frog. We have a lot to do in the coming days so I hope we all get to feeling better real soon.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

A Few Pictures

It has been several days since I have been able to post a blog. December has proven to be a pretty busy month...why am I surprised by this? I thought I would share a few snap shots of the girls.

Here is Reagan in her room with her own Christmas tree. I found it last year at Target for $7.00 the day after Christmas. I decided she needed her own tree because she kept bringing home all these paper ornaments and handmade treasures from Mother's Day Out to hang on our tree. Well, they didn't exactly go with our theme. This was the perfect solution without hurting her self esteem. She loves the tree and we leave the lights on in her room at night until she falls asleep. She really likes that.

We have been having a little craft time at least twice a week. This usually falls on Tuesday and Thursday because Reagan is at preschool on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday from 8:30 to 11:30. Here she is gluing sequins (ornaments) onto a Christmas tree she colored all by herself. She loves to glue. I think she really loves to get it all over her hands and then pick the glue off once it dries. Did anybody else do that as a child? I remember doing that all the time. I don't remember how old I was, but I clearly remember putting white Elmer's glue all over my hand just so I could pick it off. Weird memory, right?

Here is sweet little Gracen. We had just gotten home from church and I think she was just tickled pink to be home. Nursery isn't exactly her favorite place, probably because she is so attached to me. (God Love Her) She is wearing the cutest little Christmas outfit that I found at Kohl's. I just love it. I am sure it will show up in many more pictures because it is the only Christmas outfit she has. The cheap side of me simply cannot buy multiple outfits that she will only wear for one month.

Here she is sitting in her high chair ready to eat lunch. Look at that little face. Couldn't you just eat her up? On a side note, looking at this photo, I just realized that I am putting her hair bows in backwards. You don't want to see the metal alligator clip from the you? Oh well, no one has corrected me. How are moms suppose to learn these sort of things? And yes, I realize this is my second daughter. I guess Reagan's bows were always backwards.

This past Saturday I took Reagan to a "Characters Christmas Breakfast". She absolutely loved it. The characters were mostly Disney's Princesses, which is the main reason I took her, but there were a few other random characters there like Spiderman, a pirate, Dorothy from the Wizard of Oz, Mary Poppins, and Alice from Alice in Wonderland. Honestly, she just sorted nodded at these other characters. They just weren't as important to her as the princesses.
She did like it when Spiderman jumped up in the chair next to her. She looked at me and smiled and just shook her head. It was pretty cute.
Here she is with Cinderella.

Here she is with Ariel, the Little Mermaid. Ariel is her absolute favorite character. We have about 10 pictures with her and she just stared at her as she mingled through the crowd, visiting with each table. Too funny! I guess she knows that she is not REALLY Ariel. Actually, I don't think there is a REAL Ariel since she is a cartoon character. Ha! Ha! Meeting this Ariel was really neat because this is the girl who is coming to Reagan's birthday party in January. She will be performing for an hour, telling the Little Mermaid's story and singing a few of the songs from the movie, with costume changes. Too fun! Anyway, I told this girl that we had booked her for our party and ever time she saw Reagan she would say, "Oh, I am so excited about coming to your birthday. I'll see you in January." Reagan just smiled so big I thought her little face might blow up. I could tell she felt really important.

Here is a picture of Reagan with Belle and the Prince from The Beauty and the Beast. This is her second favorite princess and the fact that the handsome prince was with her was just a bonus. Of course, after meeting this pair she wanted to know why Prince Eric didn't come with Ariel.
Reagan and I really enjoyed the morning. It was so nice to go and do something with just her again. I really miss that. With the arrival of my second child and with breastfeeding, I feel like I am chained to Gracen. I know Reagan has felt that way too. She sat really close to me all morning and held my hand and we just talked while we ate our pancakes. Spending time with each child one on one is important and hopefully I can work out some more time where Reagan and I can go and do some catching up.

The next couple of pictures were taken this past Sunday night at church. Reagan is a part of the preschool choir and they sang two songs for the church body, "Away in a Manager" and "Go Tell It On the Mountain". This was her first time singing in front of such a large crowd and she did a really good job. She is the kind of child where you just really don't know what she is going to do, so I pretty glad that she just stood still and sang. It was a good night.
This first picture is a little blurry. This is right before she went on the stage.

And here she is with the group on the stage. It is not a great picture and doesn't show the whole group but oh well.

Being a mom sure does keep me busy but every single moment is worth it. These two girls are my heart and they both bring me so much joy.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009


If you are a member of East Memorial Baptist Church and you were present this past Sunday evening for our choir and orchestra's performance then you were blessed as much as I was. It was an amazing performance, probably the best I have heard in the 5 years that we have been at EMBC. The music and atmosphere of worship gave me chill bumps...literally. And Hannah Kintner has a phenomenal voice. That girl will have a contemporary Christian CD on the market one day and I will be the first one in line to get a copy. Amazing!

The music truly put me in the spirit. The words of each song were so powerful and they caused me to reflect on the season and what it is that we are celebrating, the birth of Jesus Christ.

Have you ever stopped and really wondered why Jesus came to this earth? Why did God become Man?

Think back to the days of Adam and Eve. God created man because He wanted friendship and intimacy. The relationship was perfect until man sinned, choosing disobedience. Sin became an insurmountable barrier between the Creator and his creatures. The gulf between them grew and grew. His children knew they were lost and yearned to be made right again, but how....? God was so pure and they were so stained. How could they aspire to the perfection that would make them worthy once again?

The Father's heart broke for his children, his greatest joy. Even though they failed him time and time again, his affection for them was undiminished.

The Father yearned through the centuries and the rise and fall of civilizations, never ceasing to reach out to his prodigal family. He did this in every possible way...through the glories of his creation...through the immeasurable gifts that he gave them...through the words of his prophets and teachers...He cried out to them in ten thousand ways saying, "Come home! You are loved now and forever! Return to me."

So to reach his children, he composed a plan. God himself decided to make the journey. The king left his throne. Amazing. He decided to pour his Godhood into flesh and blood and visit the earth as a man himself. He would walk among them, a king in disguise, the Lord of the Universe in human scale, the Creator among his creatures.

The nature of God would be clear. People on earth would see what God was like. They would see his perfect love, faithfulness, and unbounded devotion even to those who were sick or small or dark hearted.

This was the beginning of a plan to reconcile God and humanity. The Lord of the Universe invaded this world entering through a doorway called Bethlehem.

(some thoughts taken from Why the Nativity by David Jeremiah)

I know I have used the word "Amazing" many times, but it is isn't it? Truly amazing that God loves us that much. The entire Bible, from Genesis to Revelation, is the story of a very holy and loving God in pursuit of his children. I am so thankful for that pursuit.

Be intentional this Christmas season to really think about the purpose of that precious baby being born on that first Christmas morning. Be thankful. Be joyful. Spread the good news.

John 1:14 "And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth."

Saturday, December 5, 2009

The Worrier in Me

***Notice the date at the top of this entry. Yes, I started this post on Saturday and I just got back to it late Monday afternoon. Having an infant is very time consuming.

If you know me well, you know that I am a worrier. I really try not to be. I pray against it. I know the verses in the Bible that speak against it. My favorite verse is Philippians 4:6, "Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be known to God." The word NOTHING in that verse means "no thing", nada, zilch, zero.....see, I get it. Anyway, I know the verses but for some reason I cannot let go of trying to think about everything and trying to anticipate the "what-ifs" that might come to be.

Christmas causes this weakness(you might call this sin, I call it weakness) in me to flair up. One of the things that I am worried about is what to get everyone. I am constantly thinking about what I am going to get everyone on my list. I like giving gifts, but I really like knowing that what I give someone will be liked and enjoyed. I have a list of what I "think" I am getting my loved ones, but have not bought most of it yet. This is not a money issue. I have the money tucked away this year to cover all of our Christmas expenses (Thank you Lord). The issue is that I am just not sure if what I have in my mind is the right gift. If I wait a little longer maybe I will hear "the person" mention another gift that they would rather have. I have written several different lists for Reagan and Gracen, as well as for my extended family. I grabbed my list and went shopping this past Friday and Saturday and hardly bought anything. I spent most of my time second guessing my choices. Oh me! To make matters worse, Reagan doesn't have anything BIG that she really wants and she keeps changing her mind daily about the little things. This is making me crazy. And Gracen could care less, and I cannot even make up my mind about what to get her. I know, I know, just buy something, right!

I worry about what traditions to start now. Reagan is about to be 4 years old and I really think she will remember what we do this year to celebrate the season. I want to be intentional about the activities that we participate in, even the fun things like zoo lights. We have never gone to zoo lights before. The main reason is because it is an outdoor activity and let's be honest, it is really cold outside in December. So, do I want to start this outing this year, knowing that she will expect it next year....when she really doesn't even know it exists yet? Speaking of outside activities, we have never taken to her the parade or the Christmas on the Coosa or the Live Nativity or the luminaries. All of these are outdoor activities in downtown Wetumpka. I loved going to these events as a child, but up until this point Reagan has been too young to sit out in the cold. Is it time to start going? Of course, now I have another little one who might not enjoy the cold too much, either. I know, I know, just go right!

I worry about Reagan (and Gracen in the future) fully understanding the real reason for the season. I don't want to spend more time on the secular aspect of Christmas than I do the spiritual side, but in all honesty, it seems inevitable. We spend time each day talking to her about baby Jesus and what the nativity is all about. She can tell you the story, but I want it to be more than just "a story" that she can spout out. I want it to get down into her little heart. I want her to understand that the coming of Jesus Christ is the central event of history, the most joyful and meaningful occasion that we can imagine. I want her to know that every aspect of this most holy birth was part of a breathtakingly beautiful plan to rescue and redeem his fallen children. As a parent, that is a tall order and one that causes me a little anxiety. I know, I know, just do the best I can, right!

I am also very indecisive! My mother just shouted, "Amen!" I heard you, Mom. Anyway, so maybe my issue here is not so much worry as indecisiveness. Or maybe a mixture of both, which is kind of a scary combination.

On a side note, I decided on my Christmas devotional. I am reading Why the Nativity? 25 Compelling Reasons We Celebrate the Birth of Jesus by David Jeremiah. I went to buy some books on Advent but couldn't justify spending the money when I already had several good titles here at home. If you gave me a suggestion of what to read, I wrote the title down in next year's calendar at the beginning of November so I can purchase it before the month of December arrives.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Blog Break

I am taking a "Blog Break" this week. I am trying to get caught up at out, preparing to pull out all the Christmas decorations, wrapping gifts so I can put them under the tree as soon as we decorate it, complete Christmas shopping, etc. I have many things that need to be done before Reagan is out of preschool for the Christmas break.

I am also trying to decide what direction to take for my quiet time. I just finished a Bible study for moms today. It was a refreshing read and encouraged me in my daily tasks of motherhood. For the month of December I want to pull out one of my Christmas devotionals and be reminded again of the real meaning of the season. Even though I have read them all several times, I see something new every year. I wouldn't mind buying Rick Warren's book about Christmas. Does any know if it is any good? Anyway, I am trying to decide which devotional to start. Hopefully, I will make up my mind soon and I will be able to share some insights with you.

Check back on Monday December 7th. Maybe by then I will be more focused and ready to put my thoughts on "paper".