Monday, February 28, 2011


image found via Google

A couple of things have happened recently to really make me think.

About two weeks ago, the girls & I were in Wal-Mart.
 A sweet elderly lady in a wheelchair stopped us and started talking to June. 
June, being her usual sweet self, was smiling and giggling with the woman. 
The woman asked if she could hold June. 
Normally, I'm pretty iffy about things like that...
but this time, something told me to let her. 
So I did. 
We talked for probably 15 minutes in the middle of the soap aisle at Wal-Mart. 
She held June, played with her, and entertained Sara. 
She asked me why June was so small,
 and we had a good conversation about premature babies & the grace of God.
Then she handed June back to me 
and thanked me for letting her have a few moments of our time. 
She ended up telling me that she always prayed earnestly for children, 
but was never able to have any. 
She always longed for a baby to fill her arms, 
but God did not have that in His plan. 
She said that those 15 minutes were some of the best of her life.

Last night, my cousins & I went to Kohl's 
for a little late night shopping rendezvous. 
Again, a woman stopped me -- she was middle-aged this time.
She commented on June's small size and again, 
I explained that she was a preemie. 
She asked how early, and when I said 27 weeks, 
I literally saw a look of shock cross her face.
 She got tears in her eyes and started talking to JC. 
She told me that 17 years ago, she was expecting twins. 
At 27 weeks, they passed away.
She said she never had any anger, only sadness for her loss.
She thanked me for allowing her a few moments of our time, 
and reminded me that we are very blessed to have a healthy baby
 after very nearly not having a baby at all.

There have been some days where people have tried to stop me and talk about premature babies, sick babies, babies with heart conditions, etc. and I have sort of just blew them off. Sometimes I was just in a hurry, plain and simple. 
Whether I had a baby who wanted to nurse, 
a husband who needed to be fed back at home, 
or I was trying to grocery shop with a cranky 3 year old and a 10 month old 
who just wants mama to hold her.

But you can bet your bottom dollar I will do my best to make time 
for everybody from now on, 
because you NEVER know when they may be hurting. 
You may not even know you have something to offer them. 

But God does.

P.S. Click here to read about baby Hadlei. She and her mama made FRONT PAGE in our local newspaper!

P.P.S. There is a baby who has been born in my hometown who needs prayer. Baby Tanner was a little early and is having problems growing, eating, and with his sugar. He was moved yesterday to a bigger hospital where his needs could be better met. Please just take a moment to remember him in your prayers.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

What I'm Playing Thursday

Time to link up again!
                                              Head on over to Confessions of a Belle in the City

#1 --  "Wildflower" by The JaneDear Girls

#2 - She Ain't Right by Lee Brice
( come I never realized how good lookin' he is?!)

1980 -- by Rehab

#4 - - Enough is Enough by the Eli Young Band
I've loved this song for YEARS!

That's all for this week, folks! I hope ya'll are having a good week. It's beautiful here in Alabama (mid-70's) and we've been taking full advantage of the weather!
SUMMER, please hurry and get here for real!

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Top 2 Tuesday -- Things you've learned from your parents or grandparents.

{This was supposed to have published on Tuesday....sorry ya'll!}

This week we're staying in my hometown....yay! I LOVE my hometown. When we get off the interstate and I see that big dairy farm across the road, I feel such peace. When I drive down the road a little bit and start passing cotton fields, my heart starts beating fast. When we turn onto the dirt road leading to my mama's house, the kids start getting excited and Laney (the dog) starts jumping all over everybody in the car (she has even been known to jump out the window that was only halfway down!) Love it.

I found this blog last night & thought I'd link up to this blog carnival thing today. This week it's about things you've learned from your parents or grandparents. I'll do one for
grandparents and one for parents.
 Here we go!

This is hard because my parents are not married, so I've really had to thing about ONE thing both of my parents have taught me. I think it will be that you should always, ALWAYS have a kind heart and be ready to help someone if they are in need. Like I mentioned in my last blog post, my daddy will give a man the shirt off his back. And if my mama hears that there are kids who need new clothes or a baby that is coming to a family who may be in need....she has been known to buy whole wardrobes, cribs, strollers/car seats, etc.

From my grandparents, I've learned that true love is worth working for. My fathers parents were married until my grandfathers death in the early 90's. They had six children, all doorstep. My mothers parents were married until my grandaddy's death in 1990. They had five children. I've heard stories from them of hard times, times where they felt like giving up, times when my grandma contemplated taking a cast iron skillet to my grandaddy's behind (haha!), times when they thought they could not go on any more. But they did. And look at our family now. :)

Saturday, February 19, 2011


{This is a very personal post. I've had it saved for almost three months now, trying to decide whether or not to publish it. I decided that this is MY blog, a journey of MY life, a diary of my growth within myself and with my here it is. Please don't judge.

A few months ago at church, we were blessed with the testimony of a missionary. He told us about how he was born to a 14 year old mother, a father not much older, and before his mother turned 21 she had 5 children. His parents split up (his father was dishonorably discharged from the USAF because of alcohol & drugs) and one night after his mother had tucked all five children into bed and they were fast asleep, she called the local police department and told them she had five beautiful babies tucked into bed that she could no longer care for, and asked them to come get them. Then she left.

The PD came, got the children, and they were placed in a group home. They were placed into their first foster home, where they were severely abused. The foster parents (I use this term loosely--how a "PARENT" could ever do something like this is beyond me!) would lock them in the backyard all day long while they were at work, with a little food & water. Like dogs.

He goes on to tell how they were then split up and he and his brothers went into a boys group home, where they were eventually taken out of because the counselors were abusing the boys. Then they went into another abusive foster home. THEN they were placed with a "Christian" family who were Christians on Sundays & horrible people the rest of the week. This family decided to keep his brother, but sent him back. He ran away, got robbed, lived on the streets, and then his dad decided he wanted to be a father again and got all the kids back. That lasted for six months.

Eventually, he joined the military and followed in his fathers footsteps -- getting kicked out for a drug & alcohol addiction. Fast forward a few years -- he got himself clean, found Jesus, found his parents (his mother had gotten saved a few months after she gave the kids up) and has forgiven them and has a great relationship with his mother, and an okay one with his father.

I told ya'll all of that to lead to this point. Some of you that know me in real life know that I have struggled with my relationship with my father a LOT in the past few years. I didn't meet my father until I was 17, although he lived just 8-10 miles away from me my whole life. Even then, it wasn't his choice, really, it just kind of fell in his lap. When I had Sara, a LOT of old emotions I thought we had worked through reared their ugly head and I made the decision to no longer have any contact with him. That lasted for about a year, when we ran into each other at my sisters high school Senior Night. We met a few weeks later for supper and "worked" things out. I won't go through every detail of the last two years -- but let's just say that things haven't been great. I've realized I had a lot of resentments against him. A LOT of hurt that I don't know will ever go away.

Back in September, my dad had to have emergency open heart surgery. Let me tell you what, that was a real eye opener. It was difficult to accept that my dad was about to have a major surgery, and one that the doctors said he may not survive? I realized that all those insecurities didn't really matter as much as I thought they did.

And then I heard this testimony on Sunday. I just cried the whole way through it. He said one thing that struck me -- he said that counselors, therapists, even ourselves -- we can bring all the hurt, pain, anguish, letdowns, emotional wars, anger, resentment, etc. to the surface -- but only ONE person can wipe it all away. I realized right then that everything had been at the surface for years, but I had not allowed Jesus to wipe it all away. That night, after everyone was in bed, I came out in the living room and just prayed so hard for God to take it all away.

And you know what? It wasn't easy. I wrestled with a lot of things on my living room floor that night. It is hard for us, as humans, to let things go and let God heal us. But I kept thinking -- if that missionary can go through ALL that he experienced -- all the abuse and EVERYTHING -- then surely I can let go of the little bit of pain I had. Because I had a wonderful childhood. I honestly did. I don't remember any negativity from my childhood. I am thankful for that.

My dad is a different man now than he was 26 years ago when my mother told him she was pregnant. He's a different man now than he was 8 years ago when I met him. My dad is a GOOD man. He always has been the type of man that will help you with whatever you need. He will give you the shirt off his back, the food out of his cabinets, the money out of his wallet if you are truly in need. I lived with him a couple of years before I got married, and people would often show up at our house needing something -- whether it was a tool, a little financial help to hold them over til payday, a vehicle for a few weeks til theirs could be fixed, or even just a hot meal -- they were not turned away. He is a kind, loving man. He has had his issues in the past, for sure. But now -- I'm letting go of all that. He is the man he is and God made him that way for a reason.

My dad often tells us girls that he made enough bad decisions for all of us so that we could make better ones. He's learned from his mistakes. The man that my dad is in 2010 loves all four of his daughters equally and the same. He is kind to our mothers. He loves his grandbabies and would not trade the WORLD for them. He has picked himself up, dusted his shoulders off, and in my eyes -- he's done an about face. Sure, he still has his issues....but so do I. My dad will never read this blog, but if he does happen to stumble upon it....I love you. Thanks for being there for me when I needed you.

Now, if we could just change the fact that he's an Auburn Univeristy fan!

I know that this was a very personal blog post...but this blog is a journal of my life for me to look back on later, so I wanted to include this. This has been a really big thing for me this week. My soul is completely different now that I let Jesus wipe all that away. :)

Friday, February 18, 2011

What I'm Loving

I've always been a product junkie,
but recently I've turned into QUITE the make-up addict.
I've started trying new brands,
and have discovered a few things that I just love and can't seem to put down.
I'm about to share with ya'll some things that have
Or....just made it a little more fun. ;)

#1 - Smashbox foundation primer.
I LOVE this stuff.
It was a little pricey ($32) but well worth it.
I even got my little sister hooked!
However, next time I think I may try something different.
Perhaps....a little cheaper.
We shall see.

#2 - Benefit boi-ing/eye bright duo. I found this at Ulta for $12, and it's aaaaaaamazing!

*cue angels singing*

Before, I had some brightener and eye primer made by NYC,that came in a eyeshadow palette thing from them. FYI -- it works great.But this? Beats it out of the park. (Also? The shimmering stuff by ELF for $1works just as good as the stuff by NYC. Actually...I still use the ELF stuff every once in a while.)

#3 - Elf lipstick in Natural Nymph. This is SO great. It's a creamy nude color. I like to put light pink gloss over it, or even use it as a base for other lipstick. It was $5 or $6, and honestly?
I'm really happy & surprised with Elf lipsticks.
I just ordered another one this week. I hope it's just as good!

#4 - the Colossal Volume Express mascara

by Maybelline

This stuff is so great. I like it even better than

the Falsies mascara I used for FOREVER.

It does hold a close second to that mascara

that comes in the pink & green tube....LOVE that stuff!

#5 - Neutrogena make-up remover towels

Love this stuff. I have skin that irritates easily

and these work great.

One towel will take off all my make-up.

One thing that I AM looking for, is a good night cream.

Ya know....gotta start preventing those wrinkles sometime.

Anyone have any good recommendations

that are in a decent price range?

Right now I'm using some Oil of Olay stuff

er....actually it's the Wal-Mart version of it.

And something I'm coveting....these jumbo hot rollers! I want these sooo bad...but I'm not giving in.

However, should my husband and/or mama see this...

it WOULD make a pretty awesome birthday gift next month!

Just sayin'....

Thursday, February 17, 2011

What I'm Playing Thursdsay

Earlier this week, I discovered this lovely blog.
I don't even know how I found it. Those are the best kind!
Anyway, she, along with a friend, host
"What I'm Playing Thursday"
which I think is awesome.
So I'm joining in this week -- 'cause I love music!
#1 - I literally can NOT stop listening to this song!
I looooove Jason Aldean, and Kelly sounds good with him.
#2 - "Are You Gonna Kiss Me or Not?" by Thompson Square
#3 - "Colder Weather" by Zac Brown Band
This is pretty much the song I listen to if I'm feeling down.
#4 - "Who Are You When I'm Not Looking?" by Blake Shelton
Blake Shelton is my man. Move on over, Miranda!
My little sister loves him, too. Cute story: When she was
about 9, she went to his concert on her birthday.
The guards saw her with her little
and they let her up to the bottom of the stage.
He saw her and said,
"Happy Birthday baby girl!"
Well, she pretty much floated back up the stairs.
She STILL talks about that, and she's almost 20 now!
#5 - "A Little Bit Stronger" by Sara Evans
#6 - "Felt Good on My Lips" by Tim McGraw
This makes me want summer even more!
Sooo....this is what I'm listening to these days!
What are YOU listening to?
I'm always up for good stuff!

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Technical difficulties

I fixed all the pictures in the previous posts that weren't showing up.
Sorry about that!

Local Restaurant Recommendation

On Valentine's night, my cousin & I went out to eat.
Mike & I had celebrated over the weekend,
and I was visiting my other cousin in the hospital.
This restaurant is AMAZING. Seriously -- if you live ANYWHERE
near Opelika, must try this restaurant.
It's called Cock of the Walk
and it is some good southern cookin', for sure!


image found via Google

I love the atmosphere. When you first drive up,
you'll probably think you're headed to somebody's house.
They have a fish pond on the property,
which I'm 99% sure they raise their own catfish from.
The staff were really looked as if the owners were management
(again, I'm assuming)
and they talked to us as if they'd known us our whole lives!
I love that about the South.

image found via Google

I'm a sucker for appearances...
they brought our sweet tea out in little (ice-cold) tin cups.
We ate on tin plates.
It was AWESOME, have I said that yet?
The cole slaw was to die for
& I don't even LIKE cole slaw!!
It was unlike any I've ever tasted before.
It had this sauce that was a little spicy, NOT sweet
but not very bitter, either.
They bring it out to your table along with
cornbread and pickled onions
(which, I thought was going to be nasty...but NO!)

I got the catfish, crab claws, and mustard greens
and we got fried pickles as a starter.
Big portions....aaaaaaamazing food!

So if you're in the east-central Alabama area...
please go to this restaurant.
It will not disappoint.

(FYI -- this restaurant has not paid me to promote them
and they probably don't even remember me
and definitely do not even know I have a blog.
I really do just love them THAT much!)

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Answered prayers

Nine months ago,
our little June Claire came 13 weeks early.
When she was a week old,
they told us she had something called an IVH
or Intra-Ventricular Hemorrhage.
A brain bleed. Grade III.
I will never forget those few moments.
Dr. Lugo came in, talked to us for a few seconds,
then shut the door to her room.
Her nurse, Carrie (our favorite) blinked back tears.
I remember feeling so shocked.
I knew he was about to tell us something bad.
My brain started going crazy with all the possibilities
of what he was possibly about to tell us.
In my head, I started praying and repeating Scripture.
I'm glad no one could hear it,
because I'm not sure I finished one thought before I began the next.

As he explained her situation and everything that entailed,
the tears started to come.
I never felt angry.
I felt so very sad for my precious baby,
because having such brain trauma and damage
can leave breathtakingly painful scars
on such a beautiful life.

About five minutes in,
I decided I wasn't going to feel sorry for her...
OR for us.

God had made her perfectly in His sight
and whatever He planned was mighty fine with me.

For the past 9 months
we have went to hundreds of therapy appointments,
had countless brain scans,
tried oh-so-hard not to bounce her too hard,
and I have prayed almost every single time
I've gotten in a car that we would NOT have a car accident.
I would have nightmares about getting slightly rear-ended
and how that would effect her little brain.

Well, friends.
My God is a God that answers prayer.
On Friday, February 4th, at a routine doctors appointment
the doctor told us she was concerned.
June's head had grown a great deal
and she was worried that her IVH was becoming active again.

We started to pray.
My mind went crazy again, as is natural.
But still, we prayed.
And so did a LOT of other people we know.
And even some we DON'T know.

On Monday, February 7th, we had another brain scan.

On Tuesday, February 8th, June's doctor called.

June's bleed has resolved itself
and there is NO need for future follow-up!

Honestly, my entire family has been on cloud 9 for the past week!
There is no news like good news, and that was the BEST news
I could have asked for!

Thank you ALL so much for your thoughts and prayers
for us on this journey.
They've surrounded us and kept us steady
when we would have been weak and unsure.
May God bless you all!

Monday, February 14, 2011

Summer vacay, baby!

Last night, my family booked accomodations here:



I am SOOOOO THRILLED to be headed south again to Destin, Florida!

Destin is one of my FAVORITE vacation spots, EVER.

(I'm pretty sure Charleston will beat it by a landslide...

...if we can ever make it there!)

My WHOLE family on my dads side is going.

Our last (and our first, actually...) family vaca was

in May of 2008, right after my middle sisters

high school graduation.

Ummm....nearly two years is a LONG time!

Not to mention my brother-in-law was deployed

& couldn't even join in the fun.

13 people will be staying in 2 different condos.


There's a large possibility we may have lost our minds.

Things we love to do in Destin include

-- deep sea fishing

(the guys have planned to go every day!)

-- eating at The Back Porch


image found via Google

-- shopping at the outlets

(hello outlet Coach store....I have missed you WAY too much!)

-- eating super yummy ice cream at Shake's

-- doing all the touristy things like miniature golf, go-kart racing, bumper cars

-- last, but DEFINITELY not least we ALL enjoy

being out in the hot sunshine, playing in the beach!

and laying in said sunshine to get as dark as possible!

I am way excited and I don't know how we

will ever possibly wait until AUGUST.

So....if you've ever been to Destin, where is your favorite spot?

Where is your favorite spot to vacation, period?

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Birthdays, fishing, & fried chicken

I'm still here, still alive.
Still taking a lot of time off of the Internet
to spend with my family.
Shamefully, not taking a whole lot of pictures.
The weekend before last, my mom & nephew
came up for a few days.
It's always such a joy to have an older kid in our house
...even if sometimes I really REALLY
wanted to play the "quiet mouse, still mouse" game.

Last weekend we went down to my hometown
and enjoyed a few days there.
It was Bubba's birthday, so we made a family favorite -- dinner in the skillet.
It's my grandma's recipe,
and I suspect it comes from the Depression era
because it only contains ground beef, pasta, tomato sauce,
bell pepper, onion, and cheese.
Ground beef, bell pepper, tomato sauce & onion
they would have grown themselves,
pasta was cheap (and probably made herself),
and cheese was fairly inexpensive.
Every time we eat it, I think of Grandma.
I can SMELL it & think of her.
Bubba blew out 39 candles on a homemade birthday cake
with the BEST frosting I've ever put in my mouth.
(And I've put a LOT of frosting in my mouth over the years!)
The boys enjoyed an afternoon of fishing....
the last few times they've went fishing,
they've thrown it all back & came home empty handed!
This time, I made SURE they knew they better
NOT throw the fish back.
I'm ready for a fish fry!
Thankfully for them, they came back with about 10 fish.
That's a good start to the 50+ it will take to feed our extended family. ;)

We also had supper over with my sisters & dad.
Sara always loves a chance to play with her cousins,
and ya'll know I can't turn down an invitation to fried chicken!

And nope, not ONE single picture of either weekend!

Right now, miss Sara is sick AGAIN.
I am SO ready for sunshine & hot weather!
Bring on the shorts, t-shirts, & beach/pool/lake/pond/creek!