Wednesday, December 09, 2009

Willow Grace Wednesday

Just popping in quickly to for a cute shot of Willow Grace @ Chuck E. Cheese

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Dancing Raindrops

The roar of the old Rover thundering down the highway mixed strangely and yet somehow comfortingly with Norah Jones playing on my husband's IPOD. Our sweet girl in the backseat blissfully unaware of all around her slept undisturbed by the noise. So, I pulled my own blanket a little tighter to my chest and settled more comfortably into my seat. Peering towards my husband behind the wheel, I noticed just beyond him the dance of the raindrops on the window, two drops in particular frantically jitterbugging around each other, momentarily joining together and then bursting apart once again. On and on they went circling one another, confidently striking out on their own or even being forced apart by the relentless wind but every few seconds inexplicably finding their way back to each other again. Amused and in awe, I watched mesmerized wondering how long they could sustain their dance, but at once the action slowed as the two drops melted into one another and swirled gently around. Thinking the show was over I contemplated looking away, yet the drops suddenly separated into not just two but five, with three being considerably smaller. A family. The five danced together swirling around one another just as the two had done, venturing away from one another but always finding their way back.

Just a few silly little raindrops — and yet my heart was pierced with beauty, sadness, joy, and hope. How can that be? How could something so seemingly insignificant touch me so deeply? Each day, each moment is filled with the possibility for these sorts of connections. A solitary leaf clinging stubbornly to an otherwise naked tree, the early morning discovery of a world covered in hitherto unmarred blankets of snow, happening upon a rainbow in the midst of a dreary day – all these call upon something deeper within us, something worthy of awe and reverence and, at least, our attention. What is it that we’re supposed to glean from all of this? It’s different… and the same… for all of us, and it’s all a part of our journey.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Willow Grace Wednesday

Put this collage on Facebook the other day and thought I'd add it here. It's been a while since I did a Willow Grace Wednesday. I really need to get back to writing more for my blog. That will hopefully happen soon.

Anyway, here's my little Autumn Princess.

Wednesday, November 04, 2009


Yesterday I was listening to a group of women discussing a recent episode of Oprah on which several women had received makeovers. Personally, I love makeover shows. It’s like watching Cinderella getting dolled up for the ball so that her outside finally matches the beauty within. However, that’s not where my head went while I was listening to the conversation.

I found myself examining my own outfit and feeling as if I had fallen so far short of the mark. Though I was wearing a relatively new pretty dress, it wasn’t quite new enough. I try very hard to get lots of wear out of my clothes and add t-shirts under or cardigans over my summer dresses, which is what I had done yesterday. Cute but not exactly the height of fall fashion. I actually hurried away from the women, anxious to get my unfashionable self back to my desk. My mind started running through all of the clothes in my closet, and suddenly none of it was good enough. How could I have missed how important fashion is? How could I have fallen so short of what a woman really should be?

And then…. Wait!

That’s when I remembered just how, in the greater picture of life, fashion really is low on the list of things that really are important. Where is my heart? Am I following after Christ? Am I loving and serving my family well? Do I try to help others in need? Am I living out the fruit of the Spirit (love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control) to the best of my ability?

I used to have Colossians 3:12-14 taped to the shelf in my closet, and tomorrow I plan to have it up there again. The most important thing we can clothe ourselves with is love. The rest is certainly has its purposes and really can be fun and help us to feel better about ourselves; but I really do need to keep it all in the right perspective.

Colossians 3:12-14
12 Therefore, as God's chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. 13 Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. 14 And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity.

Saturday, September 26, 2009


I've been struggling with sleep all night. A bad headache and disturbing dreams have kept me awake. So, about an hour ago, I thought I'd come and catch up on some friends' blogs and perhaps get a little time in on Facebook. Mostly, I've been reading about all my friends' adoption struggles, shedding a few tears for them, praying for their strength and provision, and remembering how faithful our God is.

Truly, in this early hour (about 4:35 AM), I am overwhelmed with His faithfulness and His love. If He says that He will do it, you can count on it. Every day I choose to trust Him, and I purpose to rest in Him. It's not always easy (In fact, it's rarely easy.) when I look at my own struggles and the world around me. But I will not give up. And it does get so much easier when I choose to focus on Him and not the storm around me -- a lesson I keep learning over and over and over again from Peter on the water as he walked towards Jesus.

Tonight (this morning), I am praying for the Kecks, the Mayernicks, the Doyles, the Francises, and so many others. I've added a new gadget to the side of my blog, "Stories of Faith." Most of those deal with families who are currently adopting or have adopted. Beautiful and heart wrenching and vibrant examples of God's love for us. It certainly makes me want to do more, to find a way to do more. For now, I am supporting these families with my prayer and any other support I can lend.

Wednesday, September 09, 2009

Waffle Cones and Hijacked Shopping Carts

Yes, it's Willow Grace Wednesday, but I didn't feel like using that title once again.

And, guess what??? No pictures this week! Just a story.

Willow Grace and I ventured to the local TCBY to meet some friends, Ralanna and her two year old Addy, and to indulge in $.99 Waffle Cone Wednesday. Gotta love that! Of course, I spent the entire time feeding my beloved daughter her chocolate frozen yogurt, so I didn't get to indulge, even those ice cream/frozen yogurt is my favorite treat. Ah, well. Just part of being a mom. Anyway, after we finished feeding a sweet girls their sweet treat, we discovered that hanging out at the yogurt shop with sugared-up toddlers while we finised our chat just wasn't going to work.

On to the Kroger (grocery store) next door!

I love the fact that they have shopping carts with little cars attached to the front, and so does Willow Grace! At first we tried loading both girls into the same car but quickly found out that, even as young as they are, they needed their own personal space. Of course, you know that two women trying to have a decent conversation while pushing two different carts in the grocery store doesn't work very well. Nevertheless, we tried... and then moved on to another plan. Willow Grace and Addy were greatly enjoying "driving" their little cars around, so we decided that they didn't need to give that up. Where can you find enough room to push two large shopping carts with toy cars attached side by side? The parking lot, of course!

Ralanna and I raced, yes, we raced, to the front door (She won!), and we headed out to the parking lot. We choose the less travelled side lot for our rounds and made several laps with our precious cargo and successfully enjoyed some much needed girl talk. Babies happy, mommies happy -- it was all good!

Of course there was the slight chance that some disgruntled employee would come bolting out of the store to reprimand us and tell us to bring back our hijakced carts, but that only made our mini adventure all the more exciting. Really, I was kind of hoping that it would happen! When we did return our borrowed carts to the store, we were met by a very amused and yet silent employee. All in all, a very fun outing for us all.

Wednesday, September 02, 2009

Willow Grace Wednesday

Since I haven't done a Willow Grace Wednesday in a while, I have a couple hundred pictures to choose from. Such a difficult job. So I thought I'd focus on a couple with Chris and a couple with me.

The two below were taken at the aquarium in Chattanooga. Such an amazing day for the three of us. Willow Grace LOVED the fish and made sure everyone around us knew it!

Here Willow Grace and I are hanging out in the backyard at my parents' house. I love that she's looking at me in this pic. So sweet! And what a cool couple of girls in their shades, right?

I'll post more pictures soon. Maybe I'll do a separate post with pics from her 2nd birthday. Ah, we'll see.
Happy Wednesday everyone!

Saturday, August 29, 2009

I'm A Dreamer

I've always been a dreamer. My dreams at night are vivid and realistic, so much so that sometimes I have a hard time determining whether of not they really happened. I would also say that I can be excessive in my day dreaming. It's almost as if I constantly have little movies playing out in my head starring all my favorite people.

I guess that are some people who would harshly criticize me for all this, and yet, strangely enough, I find that it actually feeds my faith. I truly believe in the possibility of these grand imaginations. Anything is possible in life, and with God there really is no limit. Now, I'm not going to argue the ridiculous here. I'm sure there are those who would come up with all sorts of bizarre situations in order to try to test and try the impossible. (Well, can you fly into outerspace with no ship and breathe on your own? Do you think you could really find a fountain of youth and stay young forever?) Those are not the sorts of things I'm talking about.

But it seems to me that we're living in a time when lots of people are either settling for survival mode or are giving up altogether. Yeah, I know it's tough out there. It's tough all over. We all have areas in our life that could destroy us if we let them. For me, I choose to have faith, to press on, and to dream.

What do I dream of? Well, we'll save that for another post....

Wednesday, July 08, 2009

Willow Grace Wednesday

(Two little princesses! Willow Grace and her 2nd cousin Madison playing dress up at my parents' house. Don't they look sweet?)

(She's hanging out with her daddy on the hearth at his parents house, already in her pj's because we knew she'd be asleep by the time we arrived home. And of course she was!)

(In the car with Leroy the zebra whom we picked up at the zoo last Friday and her Curious George. The girl seriously loves stuffed animals.)

(In her room watching her current favorite movie, The Adventures of Winnie the Pooh. She loves hanging out on this love bug. She's constantly dragging books off her shelf and sitting there to read them. I know the cups look weird, but for some reason she wanted to hold them. )

Tuesday, July 07, 2009

The Nashville Zoo

Chris and I went to the zoo a year ago with Willow Grace, and she loved it then. Her favorite thing at 11 months old was the elephants which she kept calling "dog" or "Bella" like our massive Great Pyranees/Lab. On that visit, we bought her a little stuffed elephant whom we call Ralph, and she has loved Ralph well this last year.

I was anxious to see how she would react at 23 months, and she did not disappoint. Even as we approached the gates, she was trembling with joy and saying, "I go see the animals!"

This time she walked for most of the time there and absolutely loved seeing all the animals. This year's favorite? The zebra. She had been talking about zebras for days, so I knew she would be giddy about seeing them. She giggled and pointed and tried talking to them. And, of course, to commemorate our trip, we bought her a little stuffed zebra whom we've named Leroy. She loves Leroy!

I didn't take any cool pics of the animals this year, just a few of us and Willow Grace. We have a little video we shot which I hope to post soon.

Wednesday, July 01, 2009

Willow Grace Wednesday

I have a wealth of pictures to share this week. I guess I've made up for all that time I forgot to snap a shot or two. I can't believe that we have less than a month before she turns two! Oh, I guess I better get busy on my party planning!

(Her favorite On Demand episode of My Friends Tigger and Pooh was about to expire. In it Pooh dresses as a queen bee and looks for honey. So, Willow Grace got to be queen bee too!)

(I suppose she's judging her wings to see if she really can fly.)

(Wearing Daddy's hat and having a little conversation with Pluto. She loves wearing her daddy's hat.)

(Tickle fest with Daddy!)

(Such a Daddy's girl!)

(So excited to be wearing Papa's Nikes!)

(Willow Grace and her sweet Papa!)
I hope you're having a great Wednesday!

Tuesday, June 30, 2009


"See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the desert and streams in the wasteland." Isaiah 43:19 (NIV)

(I took the picture above in the flower garden where I work.)

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Mercy Triumphs Over Judgement

The title was taken from James 2:13b (NIV).

(Let me pause to say that I know I've been guilty of the very things I'm about to rail against. This is just as much about learning to better myself as it is an observation of the world I see.)

I've been frustrated lately with the lack of mercy, understanding, and patience in dealing with our fellow man. It's astounding how often as of late that I've heard people complaining about "stupid people." I'm tired of hearing others say that they are annoyed by stupid people. It's an arrogant and insensitive thing to say. Being a teacher (though one without a current classroom) who worked to keep that particular S word from being used in my room and a person who formally struggled with a learning disability, it truly bothers me to hear others make derisive comments about individuals they've deemed to be stupid.

People make mistakes and forget things and are often uninformed and maybe really do have problems understanding certain concepts. And, yes, sometimes they just don't think before they speak or act. Who isn't guilty of that one?

We should be helping others, giving them a hand up not pushing them further down or even sinking to a lower level ourselves by displaying ugly, judgmental, and harsh attitudes.

And, here's the real rub for me: Yes, I've been guilty of being impatient with my struggling fellow man, but I've also been guilty of unmerciful thoughts those who judge others as stupid.

So, today (and each day forward) I will pray that mercy, patience, and understanding will flourish in me.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Willow Grace Wednesday

Just a couple pics this week. But the big news is that I think we've officially broken her from her bottle. It's been four nights straight of going to bed without it! Woo-hoo! (OK, so it's happy but also a little sad b/c it really does mean that she's growing up.)

(Nap time a few days ago - She likes to go down for her nap with a book. She usually looks at it, maybe even quoting it, and then snuggles in to sleep. I can't tell you how thrilled I am that this little girl is crazy about books! See her little bunny she decided to use as a pillow? So sweet!)

( This was taken at the Ashland City Wal*Mart. I think that smile says it all.)

Monday, June 15, 2009

life and trials

What if all of it really is about more than I ever thought it could be?

Today, I'll ponder those possibilities.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

A perfect summer day?

Yep, I think that's pretty much what yesterday added up to.

Sleeping in just a little, painting Willow Grace's toe nails dark pink while she ate breakfast, Mom coming to spend the day with me and Willow Grace, free kids movie at the Regal theater, watching Willow Grace play with another little girl in the lobby of the theater, lunch at O'Charley's with a celebrity siting of Kenny Chesney, shopping, afternoon swimming, and then when Chris came home from work watching Willow Grace fall asleep in his arms while trying to eat a Bugle, enjoying the classic summer meal of grilled burgers and chips for dinner, waking Willow Grace to feed her dinner and then watch her play in her bath tub before bathing her and rocking her to sleep. Full day. Great day.

I love summer!

And today, it's back to work, but I'll have the next six days off, so I'm good!

Willow Grace Wednesday

Here's a few pics from the last week or so. When I arrived to pick WG up at Mom's last Thursday, Willow Grace wanted to show me her "birthday hat." I don't know why she keeps putting things like this on her head and calling them birthday hats, but it sure is cute.

Mom and Willow Grace came to have lunch with me at work and to hang out for a while. Willow Grace was thrilled to find a bench that was just her size.

Wednesday, June 03, 2009

Willow Grace Wednesday

Just a couple quick shots today of Willow Grace hanging out with me at my desk at work. I like the second one better, but you can see her sweet eyes better in the first. Can you tell how much we like being together?

Monday, June 01, 2009

Summer's Off to a GREAT Start!

1. Great work out
2. Spent a couple hours this morning playing outside with Willow Grace who LOVES her playhouse and new water table
3. Had a good devotional/quiet time

And it's not even 10 AM yet!

I do need to do laundry and some other chores and recharge my camera battery (accidentally let it die), but I'm sure I can manage quite a bit more fun around those necessities.

Let's see what else the day brings!

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Willow Grace Wednesday

I can't believe that today my little girl is 22 months old! It's just another couple of months before her 2nd birthday! I feel like I was just in the hospital welcoming her to the world! She talks nonstop, can say her ABC's, count to 16, and name every character on Playhouse Disney. I have so much fun with her; she's my fun!

She loves this little fish riding toy at her Gran Gran and Pop's house. I've never seen anything like this toy. I only wish I also had a picture of her Uncle Johnny trying to ride it too!

("Give fishy a kissy!")


Donitta bought Willow Grace an early birthday present which she immediately took to. She must have exclaimed a hundred times (no exaggeration), "I love my house!" Right now it's at her Gran Gran and Pop's house, but this weekend it comes to our house. Between this and our new water table, we're in for a fun summer!

("Well, hello!")

("Hey, everybody!")

She loves the fact that the house has a sink and always pretends to wash her hands when she goes inside.
("Wash ya hands.")

I have never known another child to like water so much. Here she is chugging from my 32 oz. jug. Such a thirsty girl!

Have a great Wednesday!

Friday, May 22, 2009


Tomorrow is my birthday. Not sure how I feel about that. I'm usually really excited about birthdays. I think it's really important to celebrate people on the day they were born and to make them feel really special. However, as of late, I've felt that I wouldn't mind if this one just slid on by. It has nothing to do with age; I feel pretty young. Just not so excited.... I guess we'll just have to see how tomorrow goes.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Willow Grace Wednesday

Here's a few pics from the last week.
(High tech baby!)

(What a cool chick!)

(This phone suits her a little better than the first pic.)

(She loves the slide!)

("Wanna wear Daddy's boots!")

("Say 'cheese!'")

Monday, May 18, 2009

Women's Appreciation High Tea

I always mean for this event to be a yearly occasion, but inevitably something hinders my plans. The last time I was able to do it was in 2005. Usually I plan it as a dinner, but this year I thought that high tea would be fun. I invited eight women who have been influential and supportive in my life.

I prepared a light meal of cucumber sandwiches, tomato sandwiches, cheese & crackers, mini quiches, fruit salad, and rose shaped spice cupcakes with a light glaze and chocolate covered strawberries for dessert. To my delight everything turned out great, and I enjoyed a lovely afternoon with my dear friends.

After we ate, I presented them with letters that I had written to each one of them highlighting how they've blessed me and others and also showcasing just a bit of each lady's inner beauty. Each lady's letter was read aloud to her by the woman on her right. Yes, there were tears, and it was a very special time. Afterwards, I gave each woman a copy of Captivating by John and Stasi Eldredge.

( These are the lovely flowers my husband picked up for me for our event.)

(Some of the hand dipped chocolate covered strawberries we had for dessert. I wish I had thought to get a picture of the table before we all sat down to eat. It really was quite lovely.)

(from left: Christina:former roomate/friend, Donitta:mother-in-law, Aunt Ruby, and Eva Joy:sister)
(from left: Mom, Leslie: coworker/friend, CB: coworker/friend, Charlene: former student/coworker/friend)
(CB took this one so I could be in one of the shots. I wish we could have gotten one with all of us together.We all wore silly hats which just added to the fun!)
I really hope that I'll be able to make this a yearly event from now on.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Willow Grace Wednesday

Since I haven't posted in so long, I thought I'd put a few pics of Willow Grace from Easter up.

She had her first Easter egg hunt. At first, she was really confused and cried when we showed her how to put the eggs in the basket. She thought we were just taking them away from her, but she soon caught on and had fun with it. The first four pics are from Easter, and the last two are just hanging out at Gran Gran and Pop's house.

(hunting eggs with her daddy)

(striking out on her own)

(looking at her Easter card from Papa & Nana)

(I think she likes it!)

("Want the pretty flower, Mommy?")

(She LOVES swinging!)