Friday, December 26, 2008

Wonderful Christmas

Merry Christmas everyone!

We had a wonderful time celebrating Jesus' birthday. My sister Molly and her boyfriend, Sean, came in from Atlanta and stayed with us for a couple of days and we were able to spend the entire holiday right here at home - Dothan. I'm so glad to call Dothan my home. It feels so good to offer Mary Ellen the tradition of waking up in her own home Christmas morning and making a big breakfast without the need to race out the door to go here and go there. I just really appreciate how relaxing everything was this year. I know some years we may travel, but it IS SO NICE to be right here, with our tree and our beds and in our PJS with funky bed hair. What a treat!

Mary Ellen woke up at her usual time and her face just beamed when she saw her presents stacked up in her new Radio Flyer wagon underneath the tree. The wagon is definitely one of her favorites. That was a gift sent by Mommom via Santa. Mary Ellen also loves her piggy bank and coins she received from her Aunt Bronwyn. Of course she loves it all, but it is funny to see what she wants to play with the most, at least for the time being. I love the gifts she received, and the amount was practical. Brannon and I decided to stick with three gifts because that is what Jesus received, and the rest of the family gave practical and much needed gifts. It was wonderful and a Blessing. One of my favorites is a Bama rocking chair Mary Ellen got from Grandmother and Grandaddy. She likes to sit in it and eat her snack. It's so cute!

Brannon and I finished out the holiday watching The Nativity Story. What an awesome movie! That was one of my gifts this year and I love it!!!! Please rent it if you have not seen it. It really helped me imagine and feel what Mary and Joseph had to endure together, and how strong their bond had to be to go through such a wonderous, miraculous event. They were so brave and obedient.
I hope you all had a wonderful Christmas. I posted a few pics of Mary Ellen in her wagon and chair.
Much Love!

Thursday, December 11, 2008


Where did my baby go?

It seems once your child turns one, and after that dreaded visit to the doctor, all things baby are yanked away from mommies. I was told that number one, it was time to take away the bottle from Mary Ellen. Number two, it was time to take away her infant seat and install her a "big girl" seat. And Number three, let her try feeding herself more. After that visit to the doctor, it just all seems so...official. Our babies are no longer, well, babies. They are now officially growing and morphing into toddlers - little people who are becoming more independent and learning how to talk back and push buttons (boy how fast they learn to manipulate. It's scary, really).

So that's it. Mary Ellen is no longer a teeny weeny baby. I knew this day was coming - this "doctor visit" day. I knew what was in store for me (and poor MEC) before I even made the appointment. I began prepping myself ahead of time, making sure my defenses were raring and ready to go. I would say things like, "Well, Mary Ellen is just not ready to give up the bottle and I'm her Mama and I'm gonna keep giving her her bottle until I say it's time to stop." I can also be quoted as saying, "She doesn't need a new car seat, yet. She can still fit into her infant seat. Besides, I hear babies stop sleeping in the car once you turn them around."

The truth was, I knew all this was bologna. I knew - and know- what the doctor recommended is in the best interest of my daughter. It's what is healthy. But there should be a rule on how many things a mother is supposed to take away at a time, darn it. It wasn't the struggle of taking the bottle away from her that I was fighting with. I was afraid this meant that Mary Ellen is no longer my sweet little teeny weeny baby, that she is becoming a big girl and is learning new things - some of them on her own. She now walks and has like, a million teeth. She now talks more, and even hollers at us when she doesn't get her way. She already knows how to manipulate and thinks it's hysterical when she throws all her food on the floor for the dog to eat because she knows that we truly can't do anything about it. Seriously. What are we gonna do about it? It is kind of funny.

My point is, it is hard letting go of your infant. I can't imagine letting go of her forever when she is to marry. But I had a dear Friend tell me one time, God entrusted us to raise our children, and to raise them to leave. That is our main responsibility - to guide them to leave our house and to make their own. I believe this starts at 1, when our babies first begin to show signs of independence. This really isn't a sad thing. It is truly beautiful.

But no one can take away a Mama's first year with her teeny weeny baby. That year is for us - darn it!

Sunday, November 30, 2008


Brannon and I recently rented the documentary "Expelled," produced and hosted by Ben Stein, a well known actor, political commentator, writer, attorney and extremely intelligent man. Knowing the basis of this documentary had something to do with intelligent design, we could not wait to see what Stein had to say about it. After all, it is not often you hear someone of Stein's caliber speak of intelligent design in the classroom.

After watching the documentary, we found out why.

I do not plan to spoil the film for anyone. I can speak of the film and ID in the classroom and it will not ruin the documentary. It's that interesting. I knew intelligent design in schools was (and still is) a huge no-no, but I always thought this was due largely to simple political correctness. You know, we always have to do and say what is socially "acceptable" as to not offend the populace at large. This kind of reminds me of the Seinfeld episodes where Jerry Seinfeld would finish every statement with, "Not that there's anything wrong with that". In today's world we offend just by breathing. After watching "Expelled," however, I was shocked to see just how big of a no-no it is to mention intelligent design. Notice I didn't say "teach" ID, I said mention. Long-standing scientists and professors were fired for even mentioning intelligent design, and one instructor was fired for quoting another person in an article on the topic of intelligent design.

Absurd, right? But it is happening.

The main point? Don't even utter the words intelligent design unless you are willing to give up your career and life as you know it. It seems there is no such thing as free academics. Shouldn't teachers be allowed to challenge students' thinking, to have them think for themselves and reflect on their thinking? To provide them with all the facts, theories, etc. and lay it all out on the table? Why are scientists being stopped from simply investigating other possible truths? Darwinism is not an absolute truth - no one can tell you it is. It just happens to win by popular vote, but has never been proven true. Then why is this the only "truth" allowed to be investigated and taught? I'm not against the teaching of Darwinism. It should be taught, along with the possibility and "truth" behind intelligent design. If you can teach one theory, then you should be able to teach the other - or all others.

As "Expelled" reveals, there seems to be great fear in allowing other theories into mainstream academics, and the powers that be (whoever they are) will do everything they can to suppress our freedom of knowledge. Why?

I believe in free academics. If you do, please rent and watch "Expelled." If you don't, watch it anyway.

Thank you for your eyes and ears.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

What Are You Thankful For?

Every year we ask our students to name one thing they are most thankful for. The answers usually vary from a specific toy to Mommy to socks (yes, one girl said she was thankful for socks - but I am, too, because just imagine life without socks! Seriously, wouldn't that be weird?) Although it is hard to nail down one thing that I am "most" thankful for - because I am equally thankful for many things - I prayed and reflected yesterday on what my answer would be (besides Jesus dying on the cross, obviously).

I am most thankful for my husband. Brannon is a caring, loving, and very kind husband. In fact, he is the kindest person I know. He is patient, oh so patient, with me and Mary Ellen. He is a great spiritual leader and teacher. I have learned so much from him. He is funny, handsome, a great provider, and never has a nasty word to say. How does he do that?

I am thankful for Brannon because he wears his heart on his sleeve and will open his door to anyone. I am thankful for him because the ironing will be done on any random day. I am thankful for Brannon because if I say, "I don't feel like cooking tonight," he turns around and says, "That's okay, you want me to cook?"

I am thankful for Brannon because he takes MEC for walks, gives her baths, feeds her lunch, plays with her, and takes her to visit our elderly friends. Did you know that Brannon is so good with the elderly? This has always wowed me. He just shows them so much respect and gratitude. He knows he can learn from them, so he listens.

Most importantly, I am thankful for Brannon because when we feared I could never carry his children, he said he loved me - that he would never leave me, and that he married me for me, not for a baby.

How could I not be thankful for such a man?

I love you, Brannon.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Happy Birthday Mary Ellen!!!!!

Today we celebrated MEC's first birthday!!! She had the best time. Her birthday is actually on the 29th, but instead of competing with football and holidays, we made her birthday celebration just hers by having it a little early. In fact, we began celebrating her birthday on Friday by dressing MEC in her birthday t-shirt given to her by Miss Lila Hayes, a very good friend of ours and the best preschool/nursery coordinator-director-boss lady there is! Just visit us at Heritage Baptist Church one Sunday and you will see what I'm talking about. Thanks Lila!

Mary Ellen loved digging into her very own birthday cake. Miss Vernie made a cake just for her and decorated it pink and green to go with our theme. She is the best baker I know. In fact, she made our wedding cake and groom's cake and it was so good, there was none left. Thank goodness Miss Vernie sliced Brannon and I a piece of cake before it was all gone or we wouldn't of gotten any! Miss Vernie also made a cake in the shape of a number one for MEC's birthday. Thanks Vernie!

Below are pictures of MEC checking out her cake. She LOVED it! Birthday cake is yummy. MEC didn't even try to use her hands. She just bit into it. It was hilarious. Then she was using her hands and mouth and whatever possible to shove it in. That's my girl!

The other pictures of MEC's birthday hat and her looking out the window. So cute. The last two are of her helping her daddy put together one of her new toys. It's one of her favorites. It was a great day and I can say I was not in tears. I thought I would be really sad, but I was just so happy and thankful to be celebrating the life of our daughter. I never thought this day would come, and yet the Lord entrusted her to us.

Thank you God. Thank you, thank you, thank you!

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Birthday Slash Christmas Slash Disco Tree

I told you I was putting up our tree early, and yes, I decorated it in pink and green colors to coordinate with MEC's first birthday party this Sunday. It is not as full as I usually like my tree to be, but I had to make due because I didn't necessarily have an attic full of pink and chartreuse green Christmas decor, you know what I'm saying. But I think it turned out really cute with what I had. I used green netting and wrapped it in and out of the branches. I used pink and green berries to tuck in between branches, several shiny hot pink disco ball-type ornaments and green and pink ribbon for the topper. Brannon even thought it turned out pretty darn cute.

We have had this artificial tree for the past five years and it is the only Christmas tree Brannon and I have ever used. We first acquired the tree for free from Pat's Florist Shop in Tuscaloosa. I used to work for Pat who had a bad habit of buying new prelit Christmas trees and quickly discarding the old. Well this particular tree had 700 lights attached to it, but not one of them worked. Pat was going to throw this poor tree away when I spoke up and said I would provide it with a good home. Because Brannon and I lived on very little money during the first couple of years of our marriage, he quickly drove to Pat's shop and threw the tree in his car, took it home, and spent an entire weekend plucking the embedded lights off the darn tree. His hands were so chapped and bruised, but he did it!

Today the tree leans horribly and has uneven branches at the bottom. It truly is becoming a ridiculous looking tree, but we just can't seem to part with it. We put it up year after year so proudly, and figure out new ways to rig it so it won't lean so badly. And you know what is so funny? The pieces of plastic the held the lights to the branches still fall out of the tree - five years later! Next year we promise to buy a live tree. I hope. We'll see. It's kind of sad.

The following are a couple of pics of the top of the tree and one of the ornaments. I can't wait to see some of your holiday decorations and stories that go with them. Please share with us on your blogs friends and family! This is the perfect time to share your traditions and stories.

Love you all!

Friday, November 14, 2008

Merry Christmas, Already

So, I'm putting up our Christmas tree this weekend. I know, I know - it's not even Thanksgiving. Well, I am crazy and I simply don't care. I'm ready to put it up so that's what I'm gonna do. I managed to have our Christmas tree up mid-November last year thinking my nine-month pregnant belly was going to pop at any moment. Obviously, I had a perfectly good excuse to put up our tree early last year - not knowing when baby MEC was going to arrive. I remember yelling at Brannon for plugging in the lights because I was embarrassed that I had had my tree up so early. I didn't want anyone to see our glowing tree from outside.

"Then why even have it up," he yelled back.

He was right so I allowed him to plug in the lights every night thereafter. A lighted Christmas tree is Brannon's favorite. He would sleep out on the couch to those lights if I let him. He's just a big kid. This year I'm gonna let my tree shine all over the neighborhood. The only excuse I have is that MEC's Birthday party is next Sunday at our house. I'm decorating the house myself with some green and pink streamers and balloons. I thought it would be nice touch to have the tree up for her birthday party and one thing led to another and now we are having a pink and green Christmas tree this year.

"Pink?" asked Brannon.

Sorry love bug, pink it is. But won't that be soooooooooooooooooooooo cute fellow friends? I have green and pink netting and hot pink ornaments with pink and green ribbon. Tee-hee. I can't wait to decorate the tree this weekend. I'll take pictures of it and post it here. The only thing is we are not using a live tree. The tree will die before Christmas, so a fake tree it is.

Next year I vow to wait until Thanksgiving to set up our tree. In fact, I want a live tree next year so I'll have to wait until then.


Thursday, November 6, 2008

Sleepy Head

I hate, HATE, waking Mary Ellen up from her sleep. She often wakes up around 6:00 a.m. and talks to herself before falling back to sleep for another hour. This means I usually have to wake her up on days I have to go to work. I can't stand it. She is not good at waking up and will let you know she is not happy with your decision. This morning I snuck a quick snapshot of her in her slumber before having to nudge her awake. She looks so sweet here with her bee-bottom up in the air and pacifier secure in her mouth. What you don't see is her yelling at me for waking her up!
Mary Ellen is really growing. She finally has three teeth and a fourth one working its way to the surface. She loves to play peek-a-boo and often covers just one eye so she can still see you. She is also taking steps on her own and it will not be long before she is walking all around this house! She LOVES music and LOVES to dance. She loves the theme song to "Go Diego Go" and likes to dance to it.
These days are so precious. They are also sometimes sad. I feel that if I blink, I may miss something. Children really remind you how fast time truly does fly.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

End Times

I believe we are living in the end times. I believe Jesus will be returning soon - very soon. I cannot deny global ongoings that have been prophecised in the Bible and written plainly for all to read, see and hear. One prophecy I have been reflecting on lately can be found in Daniel 12:4, which says, "But as for you, Daniel, conceal these words and seal up the book until the end of time; many will go back and forth, and knowledge will increase."

We are living in a world of infinite knowledge. With the invention of the Internet, we have access to anything at anytime. You want to know about honey bees or aerospace design? Presto! That information is just a click away. Anything you want to learn about, anything at all, is literally at our fingertips.

Billy Graham was quoted as saying "...ninety percent of all the engineers and scientists who have ever lived are alive today." And he is right. Human cloning, prolonging life through science, and space travel are just a few examples of how far our knowledge has come. I not only believe that this scripture in Daniel is in reference to people understanding the prophecies of the Book of Daniel, but I also believe this prophecy applies to our increasing knowledge in medicine, travel, science and technology.

We are living in the age of information. This is that time.

"But thou, O Daniel, shut up the words, and seal the book, even to the time of the end: many shall run to and fro, and knowledge shall be increased.” Daniel 12:4

This has been heavy on my heart because I think of all the lost in our world, and they have no idea that the end is not only coming, it is very near. How can they not know, I ask myself? Who is not telling them? Why don't they believe? But I also find comfort in His word that many will be saved and "...shall be purified, and made white, and tried; but the wicked shall do wickedly: and none of the wicked shall understand; but the wise shall understand." Daniel 12:10

We have a great responsibility brothers and sisters to reach all those we can reach. Remember the Great Commission. I continue to pray that God gives me the courage and wisdom to speak the truth, to tell all about Him! I pray that He gives me the courage to stand up and say, "I love Jesus and I am not ashamed! Look what he did for me!" I also pray that God continue to give me the opportunity to share His word and most of all, the discipline to learn His word by studying it and living it. I used to ask why God didn't speak to me. I wanted a big sign, like a rainbow in the sky or a bird on my shoulder. Guess what? The Bible is my sign. That's how God speaks to us. Where did I get the notion that it had to be something so majestic and, well, big? He speaks to us all the time. The question is, do we hear Him? Are we opening His word and inviting Him to speak to us? I'm speaking to myself, too, friends and family.

I didn't post this to bring anybody down. I just feel convicted. I think we have a great responsibility, and I for one was not fulfilling it. But I want to. I am going to.

I pray that you make a commitment to do the same. I'm so thankful someone shared the Word with me, or I may still be one of those lost.

Thanks for listening. I love you.

Friday, October 31, 2008


We went trick-or-treating in Grove Park and it was so much fun! MEC loaded up on some candy for Mommy and Daddy. Way to go Mary Ellen! Aunt Bronwyn went with us this year and helped out tremendously. Let me just tell you - holding a one year old for more than an hour is not an easy task. It was nice to give my arm a break and pass her on to another arm. Wow is she getting big. I can't believe that I am planning a birthday party this month. My baby is going to be one. That is so not fair. I'm not ready for her to be one.

The streets on Halloween were flooded with trick-or-treaters and it made me think of my childhood. It was so neat to see the neighborhood out and celebrating with one another. I wish it could be like that more often. MEC had a great time. She laughed at some of the kids and even some of the adults who dressed up. She laughed at this one guy who was dressed as a clown until he turned around to talk to her. Then he wasn't so funny. In fact, he turned out kind of creepy to my little pumpkin.

The pumpkin outfit was made by Grandmother and of course she was just too cute. And she left her pumpkin hat on! Hooray!

I don't know why some of these turned out so blurry. Sorry. Just squint.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Aplin Farms

Saturday I took MEC to Aplin Farms for a day of pumpkins, sunflowers, animals and wagon rides. Daddy is on outage and has to work all day six days a week, so we invited Grandmother, Grandad and Aunt Bronwyn to go with us. We had the best time. MEC really loved the wagon ride. She bounced up and down the whole time, looking out over the rails. It was neat watching her enjoy the day and the outdoors. There is nothing more refreshing than a beautiful Fall day full of orange, red and yellow. The weather was breezy and perfect. We just wish Daddy could of been there. Next year we promised to go earlier in the year before his outage starts up in the Fall.

I do have pictures of me with MEC, but they were not taken with my camera. MEC's Alabama outfit was made by her Grandmother, who by the way is very talented.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

On My Heart

Break out your ear plus. I joined the church choir. Well, at least for Christmas. We'll see how that goes first! This is something I always wanted to do, but often felt too intimidated to do so. I have felt led lately to get involved more. Yes, I am busy with work and school and being a mom and a wife, but I need to get involved more in the right things. I'm tired of giving God the leftovers. And you know what, for a long time that's what I've been giving Him. I want Him and His people to get the goods. So Heritage Baptist, ya'll are gettin' my sometimes on-key singing voice! I was also asked to be a part of the decorating committee, and I feel honored. I'm not sure if you want me decorating anything, but I'll show up nonetheless.

I also am making a commitment to share the Gospel. Not share it more. To simply share it. As Brother Van shared today during service, that's all it's about folks. If we're not sharing the Gospel, something is wrong. And we're not talking about sharing it through "the way we live" (oh how I've said that so many times). He means truly, verbally sharing the love of Jesus Christ. You know what, I am scared. I think it's scary to share the gospel because I don't feel so mature in my faith like I see in others. I'm scared because I don't want to be rejected. I'm scared because it is usually socially awkward to share the Word, isn't it? Why is that? I know this, though. God calls us to witness - socially awkward or not. He calls us to verbally witness, not just by living as a good example. Should we live as good examples. Yes! Absolutely. But that is not it. That is not enough. I was so led today by Brother Van's message. These are souls we are talking about. I can think of so many times that I could have shared the story of Jesus, but didn't. I want to change that. I am still completely afraid, but I want to do that.

Will you do that with me?

"It is not for you to know the times and dates the Father has set by his own authority. But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnessess in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the Earth." Acts 1:7-8

I pray that God will give me - and all Christians - the courage and wisdom to share His word. I know he provides us with the opportunities to share it. I am so thankful that I had someone share it with me when I was in my twenties. I was so lost, but because someone cared enough about me, about my soul, I found the Lord. I feel so blessed and at peace to know that my sins were bought and paid for, that God loves me so much - so much - that He gave His one and only son so that I can be with Him forever. I don't deserve this love, but He gives it anyway. Hallelujah!

I encourage all of you to join me in promising to share the Gospel. I also encourage all of you
get involved, no matter where you attend church. I think it's a great way to meet new people and to fellowship. I'm so glad I finally did.

I wanted to share what was on my heart. I love all of you. Thank you for reading friends and family!

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Making Memories

I love the term scrapbooking. I love how we use it as a verb and when you say it, everyone knows exactly what you are talking about, whether or not they, too, scrapbook. I first dabbled with scrapbooking a few years ago. I wasn't any good, at least not compared to some of the fancy smancy pages you see hanging in scrapbook studios today. In fact, I didn't know what I was doing. I'd find something neat to paste or tape in there and I'd just smack it down on the page. There was no planning. No layout. Just impulse. It was pretty sloppy.

I'm still not as good as some. Many people just blow me away at their skill of scrapbooking. I just do not have that much patience to take days to complete one page. I have to move on. There are just too many memories to record. I have gotten better, however, and most of that has to do with maturity and better finances. By the way, scrapbooking is EXPENSIVE! Too expensive. It's ridiculous really. I often find, make or invent my own embellishments. I refuse to pay $5 for a tiny bow or charm. Please.
Anyway, I have been working on a baby album for Mary Ellen. I am having the most fun with it. But the best part is enclosing small pieces of scripture on different pages for her to read when she is older. I want her to know that her life - her home - was surrounded by the Word and the Spirit of Christ since the day she was born...and before. I want her to know that when I was thinking of her, I was thinking of God. When I was creating these pages for her, I was creating for God. When I was praying for her, I was praying to God. I want her to know that they go together - she and Christ. I want her to know that her life - our family life - was filled with the joy a family can only experience through the love of Christ. I am so excited to present this book to her one day, to read it to her and to have her truly understand what it means to be blessed and to have His joy.

That is if I don't ruin her life before hand. (just kidding, ha)

I posted some pages for you to check out. Some pages are still works in progress, and please excuse the glare. A photographer I am not. But you get the idea.

Here are some random pics that have nothing to do with scrapbooking.....
Mary Ellen will eat absolutely anything....even a nasty lemon.

Mary Ellen reading...well, in one syllable words.

Mary Ellen loves TV. I mean really loves it. Being the good, responsible parents that we are, we move her when she gets that close to the TV... sometimes.

Saturday, September 6, 2008

This and a Little of That

Here are some random photos I've been meaning to make prints of and post. As you can see, Mary Ellen loves her dog. Benny just does whatever we tell him to do and hopes to get a treat out of it.

Mary Ellen not so happy.... Isn't that face just so attractive?

An Angel...sorry, I haven't figured out how to rotate the pics. Just rotate your'll be good for ya.

This is the canvas wrap Mark Broadway designed for us. It's the same stretched canvas I use when I paint. We just love it! We decided to hang it outside Mary Ellen's room.


I wonder what they are deep in thought about!

Sweet Baby

Sweet Baby
Mary Ellen wore this dress for Baby Dedication. She also wore this the day she came home from the hospital.