Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Fall Pictures

The Birthday Celebration!



Blue Ridge Weekend Trip

Monday, November 12, 2007

Long time, no post...

I haven't posted in a while, because needless to say we've had a BUSY fall! Fall is always the busiest time of year for everyone I guess, with school starting back and football and fall break and holidays and everything in between... so I have a good excuse.

Let's see, where to begin...

1)We haven't sold the house yet, but we are waiting patiently. We haven't FOUND a house yet either, so I guess it's better to just wait and let God do His thing. We've had several people come and look - nearly one person every day - and all it takes is one person that's interested. We know we'll end up right where we need to be, so we're just waiting.

2)I turned 25! Yea! We celebrated my birthday by going to Atlanta (not by choice - Chad had an important job interview, so I opted to hop in the car with him) and we ended up having a great time. I bought myself a new purse at the mall while he interviewed at the local Marriott, then I picked him up and he took me to the Old Vining's Inn Restaurant, which I HIGHLY recommend. Chad ate peach barbecued prawns with cheese grits and I had applewood bacon-wrapped scallops with jalepeno grits. The food was AMAZING. Probably the best food I've ever had at a restaurant. Then we drove back home, happy and full.

3)Chad and I dressed up as the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles for our Brook Hills small group Halloween party. It was insanely hilarious. There were some very creative costumes there! We had a great time eating, hanging out and studying the word with our friends.Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at PhotobucketPhoto Sharing and Video Hosting at PhotobucketPhoto Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

4)On Halloween we celebrated my birthday AGAIN with Chad's parents. They cooked for us and I made a cake! It was a joint celebration - Chad's dad's birthday was October 30th so we had a big joint party! It was really fun. We entertained trick-or-treaters and opened gifts and ate a wonderful dinner on the back deck!

5)Chad and I were able to take a long weekend trip to Blue Ridge, Georgia. We rented a cabin for 4 days and just took it easy! Our cabin had a huge wrap-around deck with a hot tub! We also had a huge fireplace and a big TV, so we were able to watch the LSU/Bama game. Big disappointment. It was an incredible trip. The leaves were beautiful. The antique shops were one-of-a-kind. We needed the trip more than we realized! It was very relaxing and we plan to go back next year!

That's all I can think of at the moment! We've had a wonderful fall, so far! Can't believe Christmas is around the corner! The Lord has been so good! I will post pictures of the aforementioned events very soon!

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

HAPPY HALLOWEEN!

We just put our house on the market about 2 weeks ago! We have no idea where we are going or what we want. We just figured since the Buyer's market is so great right now (as in, you can get great deals on houses!), we might as well attempt to sell. I say "attempt," because the Seller's market is ummm, well, not so great. Things are slow, slow, slow. But the good news is that we have a WONDERFUL realtor who sells houses in OUR neighborhood like they are going out of style! He told us it would probably be around 8-10 weeks or so. Which would be GREAT! But who knows...

In the mean time, Lucy is helping us. She is DESPERATE for a yard! She's pretty sick of our 15x5 foot patch of grass. So we're doing this for her!

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Tuesday, October 23, 2007

More Lucy Pictures...

These are from this past summer...
Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at PhotobucketPhoto Sharing and Video Hosting at PhotobucketDebbie's Birthday Party, and Lucy playing with Brooks

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We took Lucy to the lake for the 4th of July. Wes and Jackie invited us out to their lakehouse for the second year in a row. Lucy LOVES the water. We can't keep her out of it! Every time we go to a park or anywhere that has a fountain or pond, she BEGS - literally! - to get in the water! This is really unusual for the Boxer breed, from what I've read. We're really thankful, though, because we love the water too!
We also took a day trip up to Fort Payne to see Little River Canyon and De Soto falls. We hiked about a mile down to the river's edge just beneath De Soto Falls. Lucy is a great rock climber too! When we got to the bottom Chad and I decided to swim across the lagoon and up under the water fall. The water was cold and we kinda had to jump in, because there were only big rocks surrounding the "shore," no sand or anything to provide a gentle incline. But as soon as we jumped in, Lucy followed, and she swam up under the waterfall with us! It was one of the greatest afternoons with our Lucy! She's a champ! (I'll have to find pictures of the Fort Payne trip, so they aren't posted just yet!)

Monday, October 22, 2007

September: Lord, I'm going where?!?!?

In September I received a surprise call from the Lord to go to Venezuela. Crazy, I know. But true. Long story short, I ate dinner with my friend Jackie at O'Carr's one Monday night. She was leaving for a medical mission to Venezuela the following Saturday. I asked about her upcoming trip, and she told me that several people had dropped out at the last minute and now they only had 2 nurses and 1 doctor, out of the 21 people going on the trip. There were also 3 pharmacists going, but as far as clinical staff, only 3 people were going to be seeing patients in the clinic. So Jackie was like, "You should go! I'm sure there's room! Just call Billy!" (the team leader). I was like, "Uhhhhh..."
I had always wanted to go on a medical mission, and it did seem like a divinely appointed meeting and conversation, but I was like, "There's no way." Well, an hour later I had a spot on the airplane. No lie. And thirty minutes after that, I told my husband. HA! He was pretty shocked, I think, but of course he was supportive and really excited for me. So the next day I learned that I had to raise $1200 by the end of the week. I panicked again, not knowing what to do at all. I literally e-mailed every single person I knew, even people I haven't talked to in years, just asking for any kind of donation they could give. I actually told everyone that the trip was only $800, because I figured that didn't sound that bad, and I could always pay the difference, no problem. Heck, it's VENEZUELA! When would I get this opportunity again?? So I emailed and then waited. And waited. And waited. And I just said, "Lord, if you want me to go, just provide the money." And 48 hours later I had received over $1300 for my trip. UNBELIEVABLE! THE LORD IS SO GOOD!

The medical mission was incredibly rewarding. It was very convicting to see so many people who had so little, and yet had so much joy. We saw close to 400 patients every day, from 2-day-old babies to 90-year-old women. It was heartbreaking, but they had such an impact on me. For the first time in my life, I felt truly fulfilled, truly needed, and I KNEW 100% that the Lord had called me to that place. What a wonderful feeling! I could go on and on about the trip, but words really do not do it justice. I have all of my experiences journaled, so I won't write everything on the blog. But since a picture is worth 1000 words, I'll go that route instead. Enjoy...

Lucy's Tricks

Sit
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Shake
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Lay down
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Roll over
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Give Yodie kisses
*Yodie is Chad's stuffed coyote*
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Baby Lucy

Our dog is spoiled, we know...

Almost forgot -- Chad turned 30!

I forgot to post about Chad's 30th birthday party. His birthday is on April 13th. We had a surprise party for him at one of his favorite Mexican restaurants, Margarita Grill, in Pelham. I told Chad it would be me, him and his parents. But instead it was all of us, plus Jason, Keri Lynn and Brooks, Ryan and Laura Church and their son Brandon, and some of my friends from work. We decorated the table with sombreros and confetti and balloons, and of course we made him wear a huge sombrero that Debbie had borrowed from church. And I got to wear my Spanish dress that I bought in Cabo! It was a fun party, and he really was surprised! My husband is an old man... haha...
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Sunday, October 21, 2007

May 2007: A new addition

As soon as we got back from our honeymoon and got settled in our new church, I began begging for a puppy. And I mean BEGGING. Chad was definitely not a fan of the idea. But I apparently thought it was the greatest idea ever. I begged, day in and day out. "Can't we just go LOOK?" I would say. Chad would just shake his head and laugh. But after many weeks (like maybe 2) of begging and asking and getting on his last nerve about it, he finally gave in...

"Fine," he said.

"What???" I said, surprised.

"Just go look at them, and if you find one you like, bring it home."

I think I was too stunned to speak at this point. I just stood there with my mouth open for a few minutes, and then I threw on a t-shirt and some jeans and was out the door before you could say "boxer." I bought a Sunday paper at the nearest gas station and pulled out my cell phone and dialed the first number on the ads list. A kind woman answered and told me that she had just sold her last puppy yesterday. Darn. Ok, on to the next number. No answer. The third and fourth people didn't have any left either. Ok, starting to panic. My last resort was a 256 number, which I knew was out of the Birmingham area, but I figured, "Hey, it's Sunday. I could use a long drive." And as it turns out, the 256 number was the golden ticket.
I arrived in Cullman an hour later and the breeder, Mr. Richard Rikard, led me around to the backyard, where I fell in love with about 20 little boxer puppies. I asked to see the parents of each litter, and he was super nice and showed me each of the parents and told me their birthdays, showed me their pedigrees, etc etc. One of the litters was 8 weeks old and one was almost 7 weeks. I went to the younger litters' pen and took a panoramic glance at the entire group. One of the fawn puppies stood out immediately. While almost the entire litter was clawing and jumping up onto the knee-high wired fence, one little puppy was just sitting there on her haunches, staring at me like I was the greatest thing she'd ever seen. She had beautiful white markings - all of her feet looked like they'd been perfectly dipped in white paint. She had a white mask, and a white strip going up her head. She was by far the prettiest boxer I'd ever seen. I asked if I could get her out to play with her, and he said it was fine. Short story short, I didn't even ask to see another puppy. I knew this one was the one for us. I wrote the man a check, he handed over the pup and the AKC papers, and I was headed home.

And that's the beginning of our life with Lucy...

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Lucy's first photograph - taken at the breeder's home.
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April 2007: Finding a church family!

As soon as we returned from our honeymoon, we began visiting The Church at Brook Hills. We had actually visited on and off for several months before, but we began going every Sunday when we got back from our trip. This proved to be one of the best decisions we would ever make. At the end of April we placed membership and on May 1st we joined our small group, Matheteuo. (This is Greek for lifelong learner, or disciple.) We knew we needed to get plugged in, because Brook Hills is SO BIG. We had both grown up in small to medium-sized churches where everyone pretty much knew everyone else. But this church was HUGE. You could sit in the same seats, at the same service, every single Sunday morning and NEVER sit by the same people... if you know what I mean. So joining a small group was a necessity. And it just so happened that the first Sunday we visited, there was a plug in their bulletin for a newly married group. They were meeting on Tuesday nights at the home of Jim and Betty Warren. The group was scheduled to start on May 1st, which was about 3 weeks away. So that night I called the Warrens' home and as soon as I spoke to Betty I knew the Lord had led us to them. She said, "Ohhhh this is so great. We have been praying, and praying, and praying for ya'll. We didn't know you by name, but OHHH, we have been praying for you." And even over the phone, we could tell she was being real and genuine and that this was going to be a good thing.

Now, of course, we've been with the group for almost 6 months and we LOVE them! The couples have become some of our greatest friends, and we look forward to studying and praying with them every week. We've been reading "A Sacred Marriage," which I highly recommend for married couples, both young and old. It challenges you to serve, to love, and to view marriage as more than just a way to make you happy... but a way to make you HOLY. And I'll leave it at that. Go buy the book!

The Church at Brook Hills is amazing. The Lord has truly placed His hand on our pastor, David Platt. He has a heart for missions, a heart for people, and relationships, and disciple-making. And reading and learning the scriptures! He challenges us over and over to memorize and dwell on the Word of God, and He's made us realize how precious that Word is, and how fortunate we are to even have a copy of this sacred message! Every Sunday we are challenged, and inspired, and encouraged. What a blessing!

I think that pretty much sums up the month of April.

Honeymoon in Cabo

Our trip to Cabo was absolutely perfect. We stayed for an entire week at the Riu Palace Resort, an all-inclusive resort hotel on the tip of the Baja peninsula. We had an incredible view of the Arc, which is one of the famous rock formations directly off the coast. There were glass bottom "water taxis" that would pick us up right in front of our hotel (on the beach) and take us over to Lover's Beach, where you could snorkel, visit a sea lion colony, or attempt to ride the 15-foot waves. We didn't attempt. We stood beside them, but that's about it. You'll see the pictures.

Our average day was, hmmm, let's see: Wake up. Eat a huge breakfast. Lay on the beach. Eat a huge lunch. Lay on the beach. Eat a snack. Lay in the pool. Drink a margarita. Lay beside the pool. Drink a mojito. Take a shower. Walk on the beach. Drink a dacquiri. Eat a huge dinner. Drink a glass of wine. Eat a huge dessert. Go to bed.

Yep, that's about it. It was great.

We did fill up some days with excursions such as horseback riding on the beach, which really was incredible because our guide, Mario, really liked us and he brought his fastest horses and he made them run really fast and took us off the beaten path and let us see the most beautiful beach EVER, with crashing waves and awesome rocks. It was so much fun. We also snorkeled one day, but I hated it because the waves were so big and they kept slamming me into these coral formations, which pretty much left me scratched up and bloody. Ok, so it wasn't that bad, but it did hurt, so I swam back to the catamaran about 5 minutes after our snorkeling adventure started. Oh well. I snorkeled in Fiji where there were like ZERO waves, and it was much better, so I can check that off my list.
We also went downtown one afternoon, just to shop around and experience the culture. Chad bought some genuine Cabo tequila and I bought a cool Spanish dress to wear. The people were very hospitable and super nice. One of our cab drivers recommended eating at a restaurant called "The Mona Lisa," and that was probably the best dining experience of my life. It was way up high on a bluff, and we got to sit outside and watch the sunset. It looked like something straight out of a movie. And the food...ahhhh. Divine. That's all I can say. The pictures don't do the place justice.

Overall our honeymoon was just what I'd hoped it would be. Incredible, relaxing, FUN, beautiful... just what we needed. Enjoy the pictures!

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