Thursday, April 28, 2011

Devastation in our State

I'm sure all of you reading this know of the devastating line of twisters that came through the Southeast. 


Yesterday morning, I awoke at 6:15 to the sound of strong winds outside my window.  Before I could turn on the TV, the power was out and wind was getting stronger/louder.  JT and I grabbed both our sleeping children and headed for the closet.  The wind created a suction and caused our closed garage door to cave in and bend.  I could not stop shaking, nor could my heart stop racing for hours.  And I thought that was bad.....

Hours later, after President Obama declared Alabama to be in a state of extreme emergency, a tornado formed in Philadelphia, Mississippi.  That same super-cell storm stayed strong for over 300 miles.  By the time it reached Tuscaloosa, Alabama, it was this big:


That same tornado you see above stayed ON the ground until it reached the city of Birmingham, which is about 45 miles away.  As you can see in the video overlooking Birmingham below, the twister was over a mile wide:


That, my friends, is our beloved city above and my mind can't even comprehend the devastation that Birmingham's surrounding suburbs experienced.  We are beyond blessed that our house wasn't touched during the deadly storms, but people all around us lost their homes completely or got damage.  Here is a house just under 2 miles from our house:


I can't even bear to turn on the TV anymore...the death toll is over 230 now.  These images say it all.  There are no words....



 (They say you know it's an F5 tornado if it blew the bark off the trees....)


If you are reading this and live in Alabama or surrounding states and would like to help, here are a few ways:
Birmingham
Church of the Highlands
Grants Mill Campus (South Parking Lot)
5901 Overton Road
Birmingham, Alabama 35210
Collection times: 9:00 am - 8:00 pm

The Dream Center
5720 1st Ave. South
Birmingham, AL  35212

Tuscaloosa
Belk Center
2101 Bowers Park Drive
Tuscaloosa, Alabama 35405

to see a list of supplies needed and read more about how you can help or give.

 
Dear Heavenly Father,
We pray for peace and healing over all the families effected by yesterday's storms.  We pray for those who still have no contact with their loved ones.  We pray for those who lost their homes and family members.   We pray for the rescue teams that are working day and night to help those effected.  Please, have Your hand on all the cities and wrap Your arms around the cities as they rebuild from the devastation.

Amen.

[to see more videos of tornadoes that swept through the southeast, click HERE.]
[all images: The Birmingham News, via al.com ]

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Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Easter & The ER

Our Easter really was wonderful.  It was Monday that wasn't.....
I'll go ahead and share the bad before the good.

Liz is what you call a climber.  I was standing right there.  I had already removed her from the kitchen chair twice, getting her occupied with something else while I helped Taz with his paint set.  She climbed up again and before I could turn around the grab her, she was flat on her back on our ceramic tile floor.  I can usually get her distracted by walking outside when she's screaming.  This time, I couldn't.  That was the first clue.  She was really hurt if she would not stop crying.  After about 15 minutes she just stopped and then laid her head on my shoulder and fell fast asleep in about 10 seconds flat!  We're talking deep sleep that I could not interrupt.  It took about 30/45 seconds to wake her, but it seemed like an eternity.  We couldn't get her to walk around, smile, eat, play, anything.  I knew something wasn't right.  We headed to the ER.  She slept most of the time while we were there.  When she didn't sleep, she wasn't herself.....just starring with glazed over eyes.  They say mild concussion.  When she woke a few hours later, she was back to her old self!  I'm so thankful it wasn't more serious.  Get this.  When we returned home, the first thing she did was try to climb up on the same chair!  It was as if she wanted to finish what she started before falling!  Geez!  You would have thought she would have learned her lesson.....
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Our Easter.
Family came.  Fun was had by all.  We dyed eggs.


We ate good food.  We laughed.  We visited.  We played.  We They cleaned.



She wore a dress I wore when I was 2 years old that was hand-made by my mother.


We churched (twice).  We hid eggs.  We found.  We napped.  We said good-byes.  We sighed.

It went by way too fast.  I would have to say my favorite part of the whole holiday weekend was our church service.  I'm not kidding when I say I went twice.  It was that.good.  I wish I could just bottle up all the contents of that message and send it to all of you.  If you have some time and are ready for your life to change, just click HERE to watch it online.  :)  It's the first part to a new series called  It's Not Over.  I'm so excited about the upcoming weeks because.....well......with everything that has transpired the past couple of years, let's just say I've felt like it was "over" a few times.  ;)

I hope you all had a wonderful Easter!
He  Lives!

PS....if you've written me an email within the past 3 weeks, I do plan on responding.  Promise.  I've been trying to step back from the computer (email) for a while, just until we're all settled.  Just trying to help the children adjust.  So sorry!


images © CM, CIC

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Thursday, April 21, 2011

Happy Easter!

We have family coming in town tomorrow (actually today since I'm writing this at midnight) and I've been busy, busy getting ready!  So excited.  Since the house was cleaned today, I snapped a few pics of all the projects that are done and plan on editing them this weekend so I can show y'all next week! 

As we celebrate a King who is Risen, I will be thinking of you all my blog friends!

Much Love & Happy Easter!


Matthew 28:1-10
After the Sabbath, at dawn on the first day of the week, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary went to look at the tomb. There was a violent earthquake, for an angel of the Lord came down from heaven and, going to the tomb, rolled back the stone and sat on it. His appearance was like lightning, and his clothes were white as snow. The guards were so afraid of him that they shook and became like dead men.
The angel said to the women, "Do not be afraid, for I know that you are looking for Jesus, who was crucified. He is not here; he has risen, just as he said. Come and see the place where he lay. Then go quickly and tell his disciples: 'He has risen from the dead and is going ahead of you into Galilee. There you will see him.' Now I have told you."
So the women hurried away from the tomb, afraid yet filled with joy, and ran to tell his disciples. Suddenly Jesus met them. "Greetings," he said. They came to him, clasped his feet and worshiped him. Then Jesus said to them, "Do not be afraid. Go and tell my brothers to go to Galilee; there they will see me."

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Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Bloggers You Need To Know

The other day I posted an answer to a reader's question --- what are some of my favorite blogs.  I quickly gave the first 6 that came to my mind, but later realized this topic deserved a post of it's own.  There are so many amazing women out there.  Seriously....when I get a comment or email singing praises about my blog, I think to myself, they must be new to blogging and haven't discovered the good ones yet if they think MY blog is good!   I once had a reader/friend of mine tell me that I was her faith mentor.  Ok, super flattered I did almost spit out my diet coke upon hearing those words. 

Really?  Me?  Ummmm, I didn't almost just shoot diet coke across the table at you because I thought that was a pleasant surprise.... I did it out of concern because we need to find you a new faith mentor!  (wink wink)

So, this is my attempt to share the wonderful women that I've "met" through blogging.  Seriously....don't stop reading my blog, but please start reading theirs!  In alphabetical order:

{Click the names to visit their blogs and if any of the below bloggers happen to stumble upon my blog today, I promise I'm not a stalker....sort-of}

I love her for obvious reasons.  She's beautiful, she loves the Lord, she is a writer, she shares very intimate details about loss in her life to reach others.  Oh, and did I mention she was beautiful?  Yea, she claims it's all about "pocket placement", but I know better! ;)

Besides having the best blog name ever, she is a really good writer.  I love her heart and her pictures.  Her blog is just such a calm, wonderful place to visit every day.  She opens her heart and shares exactly what's there.  You can't help but be touched in some way....she's just real.

She's a fabulous photographer, she has striking features and her blog posts are always sharing something cool.  She has such a cool blog header. (love it!) Plus, she is the only person I know that can *snort* via high speed internet.  Not only that, but when she does I'm almost certain that her readers don't automatically picture Steve Urkel, they smile instead.  :)

All the reasons I love her:  She adopts.  She is so real in her writings.  She blogs life very well.  It makes me want to get on a bus, go to her farm and sit in her cozy den and hang out!  She dresses great, although she may not think she has style.  Plus, she is just so tiny and cute that I want to put her in my pocket and take her home with me!  Ha! (Ok, Shannan is making a note to herself --- this Cat chick is c-r-a-z-y!)

Just click over to her blog.  You'll see why.  She's super talented, super sweet, super cute, super talented and super stylish.  She has a super fun blog!  And, I really just love her hair.  She is the only person I know (that I don't know) that can sport that do and look so fab!

She's Emily's (chatting at the sky) sister, so that is double bonus points for either Emily or her...I'm not sure which.  You really should visit her 'about' page, it will blow.you.away.  Her house - AMAZING!  Her creativity - AMAZING!  And, she just makes sense.  When I read her posts I'm hit with this duh kind of feeling like I should have known this already.

I have to sing Jon's praises because HELLO, he's the only boy on this list!  Here is why I love Jon:  He's the funniest guy I know, besides John Taylor.  He makes fun of himself.  He makes diet coke come out of my nose......quite often.  He wants our dreams to come true and he's putting himself out there to make that happen for all of us!  He blogs about the stuff you would never admit or blog about.   Plus, I have to give him triple bonus points for making the switch to the "not so skinny" skinny jeans AND blogging about it.  I'm sure he can rock a v-neck too and still look so cool!  ;)  Plus, he's brave enough to walk up to Michel W. Smith on a plane and risk falling on him if turbulence were to strike!

They are the coolest couple ever!  They share their hardships making you feel like you're not alone.  They have a wonderful sense of humor.  They sport Woobie Capes and share really cool things.  They inspired JT and I to build a fort together.  They are just super cool and I am been throwing fist pumps every since I started reading their blog.  ;)  It's a must read for daily doses of encouragement and laughs.  But, I'll warn you...it take a few weeks to learn their inside jokes.  :)

I started following Tracie's blog because I loved her photography.  I still do.  But, I now follow her blog for a different reason.  She is brave, strong, giving, truthful, courageous, beautiful and so very special.  She shares her heart and I do mean her whole heart.  She has reached out to me and I consider her to be a dear friend to me now.  She is pretty amazing and I really don't know where I would be now without her encouragement.

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Monday, April 18, 2011

My Crazy Weekend, Craft & Project

My weekend consisted of my baby getting locked in the car strapped in her car seat....with the keys in the car.  I have been flying solo all weekend since John Taylor went out of town with my brother.  I freaked when it happened, but quickly unpacked a few boxes that are still in garage and found spare key!  Whew!
Also, this past weekend, I had a certain 1.5 year old get in the shower with me with her PJ's on.  And, I thought I was crazy getting us all dressed to go to church alone, but I did it! And it happened.  And it was great!  And I'm tired.

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Do you remember when I posted about this project:


Well, we are doing it today!  I figure it would be a fun (free!) Easter project for the kids and it would look cute hanging up Easter! 

I picked up some paint chips yesterday and can't wait to get started....


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This is the only 'before' picture I could find because I didn't take one before JT got started.  But, you get the idea....


The project is that bar in the background.  And BOY has my taste changed since this picture.  Once you see the before and afters of the den complete, you'll feel I've been channeling The Nester.  ;)

Anyway, the den is already small as it is.  The peeps who built the house made our bar too high.  Plus, it's ten feet long and who in the world wants to buy bar stools for a 10 foot bar?!  We wanted more space in the den and another wall to place chairs/sofa on.  So, we JT knocked it off!  Can't wait for you to see the after because it's so beautiful!  And, everyone that enters says it seems to add 10 feet to the room.

Yes, many projects going on over here at one time.  All will be finished soon and it feels so good to feel progress is being made!

Hope everyone had a wonderful Palm Sunday!

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Saturday, April 16, 2011

Questions & Answers - Part 2

Q&A Part 1 - HERE.

Did you make the tissue poms at your daughter's birthday party yourself?  If so, was it easy?
Yes, I did.  I was going to order them off etsy, but someone told me there were easy to make so I tried.  They were very easy to make and I can't believe they are going for $12-15 online!  They were much cheaper this way.  I always said I would do a tutorial on how to make them, but never did.  BUT, I found this one tonight and it explains it very well with pictures and all.  Tutorial HERE.

I'm new to blogging and just found your blog.  I noticed you share your favorite blogs on the weekend and there are some good ones!  What are some of your other favorite blogs?  I would love to know them.
Oooooo, this is hard to narrow down.  You can see the blogs that inspire me the most on my 'inspiration' page on my side bar, or by clicking HERE.  I actually read/follow a lot of blogs.  You can see my whole blog roll HERE, where I click to read every day.  Below are my top 5 fave blogs at the moment  (it was really hard to narrow it down to 5 and it changes every few months.....)

Stuff Christian Like
Fly Through Our Window
chatting at the sky
tsj photography {the blog}
Bring The Rain
Resolved2Worship

See, I couldn't narrow it down.  I gave you an extra one.  Enjoy visiting these blogs!

 You highly recommended a book a while back, but I can't find that post when I search.  Can you tell me the name and author if you know which one or just share the books you recommend?
I'm trying to think when I wrote about a book......Could it have been So Long Insecurity, by Beth Moore?  If so, yes I do highly recommend that book.  Here are two others that I think all people should be required to read upon entering adulthood.  :)  And some others I've read in which I remember played a big part in spiritual and emotional growth (I've even included the Amazon links!):

7 Habits of Highly Effective People, by Stephen R. Covey
Boundaries, by Cloud & Townsend
Love & Respect, by Emerson Eggerichs
Secrets Of Your Family Tree - Healing for adult children of dysfunctional families, by Cloud & Townsend
Spirit Controlled Temperament, by Tim LaHaye
The 5 Love Languages, by Gary Chapman
Lord, I Want To Be Whole - The power of scripture and prayer in emotional healing, by Stormie Omartin

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Wednesday, April 13, 2011

today.

Today John Taylor is traveling to be with his parents and extended family who will be buring our Aunt.  I'm praying for peace and healing on JT's family.

My heart goes out to John Taylor's mom who was really close to her.  Losing a loved one is the absolute hardest thing we have to endure on this earth, but I just could not imagine loosing my sister.  I know they were really close and talked a lot.  That is the hardest. 

When I think of our Aunt, the first thing that I'm reminded of is that she was a wonderful artist.  She could paint, build, draw and create.  She made all the children (and their children) special Christmas tree ornaments every year.  She made them out of wood with her own two hands and painted them!  They are very special. 

Today I want to celebrate her life and send prayers and hugs over to my husband's family, especially my mother-in-law.  Thanks for all the prayers you've sent over the last week.  I'm sure they are being felt.

"Don't let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God, and trust also in me. There is more than enough room in my Father's home. If this were not so, would I have told you that I am going to prepare a place for you? When everything is ready, I will come and get you, so that you will always be with me where I am. And you know the way to where I am going."
John 14:1 - 4


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Monday, April 11, 2011

I'm In Love.

I'm in love with the weather we've been having.

I'm in love with the fact we are living in a house we own now.

I'm in love with the fact we JT can paint the walls any color we desire.

I'm in love with the sweet little phrases Doodles has been saying lately.

I'm in love with fact there are nice parks to go to all around our neighborhood.

I'm in love with the shrimp scampi John Taylor cooked for me tonight.

I'm in love with the slight tan I'm getting from hanging out in the blow up pool with the kiddos.

I'm in love with the Azaleas in bloom.

I'm in love with brunch at Billy's bar & grill on Sundays.

I'm in love with my flip flops.

I'm in love with my 3 year old's rendition of Woody's Round-up.

I'm in love with the fact my husband is not cutting his hair these days.

I'm in love with all these things lately...

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audrey & ella

I'm in love.  To say I have baby fever now would be an understatement.  Do any of you know the feeling I'm talking about when you visit a friend in the hospital that has just given birth and the nurse wheels that little bassinet into the room with that little papoose?  Well, let me just tell you......that feeling is multiplied a million times when two nurses wheel in TWO babies.  Enjoy these photos.  I sure did enjoy holding them.....








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Thursday, April 7, 2011

It's Been A While...

I've been spending a lot of time with my fam.  My little guys in particular.  The Doodlebug is just constantly stuck to me like wallpaper, so it's just a given that I'm with her 24/7.  But, my guys.....I've been spending some special quality time with.  This little guy has been through a lot the past month or so....


My nephew gets off the school bus every day at 3:30 on the dot.  And, my son wakes up every day at 3:31 on the dot.  Coincidence?  No.  He hears the bus outside his window and is elated!

Then, he gets to do this....


Of course, this guy is pretty cool to the little Stinker, too.....


Yea, I know....and pretty darn good looking, too! (wink wink)


These two are so special to me.  I just can't picture my life without them.  They have become so much more special to me within the last week.  They are my whole heart......


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Thank you for all the prayers for our Aunt.  She is actually not doing well at all and she and her family could use our prayers more than ever now.  We appreciate you all so much for thinking of us and praying.  My heart goes out to her and her family right now.

Also, my friend Angie is celebrating her Audrey's 3rd today.  I am thinking of her and hoping that she is enjoying a relaxing day surrounded by family doing what I'm doing.......celebrating the life of sweet Audrey on earth and in Heaven.  I love you and your heart, Angie!

Project 'after' pictures coming soon!

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Monday, April 4, 2011

Focused on Eternity

Do you ever wish that Jesus would come back today so there would be no more pain, suffering, tears?  I do.  I'm positive my memory Bible verse this week will be Psalm 55:22...

"Cast your cares on the Lord and He will sustain you; he will never let the righteous fall."[NIV]

Today there are heavy things on my heart.  I'm overwhelmed right now with worry about family members, I'm worried about finances, I'm worried about good health insurance for my family.  I'm praying that by the end of the day, I have surrendered all of this to God.  Laying all of my burdens on Him.  Praying that the sickness I feel in my stomach is gone because He has calmed my fears.  God has a plan for my family, I believe this.  I guess I might even prayer that He hurry up and reveal that plan.  ;) 

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I have a prayer request for a family member --- our Aunt.  She is having some problems and is currently waiting on some results to tests.  I won't share many details, but she and her family need our prayers.  I'm sure it's a very scary time for her, her husband and her children.  I can't get her off my mind lately and lift her up in prayer.  Thanks!

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And just because I thought this picture was so cool and creative.....


What a great little Easter project for the kids! :)

Hope you all enjoy your week and thanks for all your kind words via comments!

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