Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Tacky Christmas Party!

I love these kids! Last night we had our first (but should be annual) tacky Christmas party! Everyone dressed in the ugliest Christmas sweater they could find and we all got together to eat good food, fellowship, and play games. It was lots of fun. We hope you have tons of fun and eat lots of good food this holiday also. Merry Christmas!

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Recent News Headline

Religion May Help Extend Your Life

Yes, yes. This one had me talking for a couple of days. See the excerpt below:

WEDNESDAY, Nov. 26 (HealthDay News) -- Attending a weekly religious service, regardless of your faith, may lower your risk of death by 20 percent compared to people who don't attend services, researchers are reporting.

WOAH! This is serious business. This article proclaims that by attending church, you have a decreased chance of dying. This should get people really excited. Immortality??? People have been searching for that since the beginning of time. Ponce de Leon and the Fountain of Youth. Aren't you glad to know that you don't have to spend your entire fortune and health looking for eternal life? According to this article, all you have to do is go to church.

Joking aside, it got me to thinking. Here are the real percentages. I'm certain I have a 100% chance of dying. For the wages of sin is death. But, I also have a 100% chance of living eternally. Not because I go to church, but because Christ paid my debt in full by dying on the cross. I have been adopted into his family, and will live in heaven one day with him as a joint-heir. Now THAT is exciting.

But, if funny news articles aren't your thing, here is a funny picture from my work Christmas party.

Thursday, December 04, 2008

Conversations with Pooh

They had come to a stream which twisted and tumbled between high rocky banks, and Christopher Robin saw at once how dangerous it was.

"It's just the place," he explained, "for an Ambush."

"What sort of bush?" whispered Pooh to Piglet. "A gorse-bush?"

"My dear Pooh," said Owl in his superior way, "don't you know what an Ambush is?"

"Owl," said Piglet, looking round at him severly, "Pooh's whisper was a perfectly private whisper, and there was no need--"

"An Ambush," said Owl, "is a sort of Surprise,"

"So is a gorse-bush sometimes," said Pooh.

"An Ambush, as I was about to explain to Pooh," said Piglet, "is a sort of Surprise."

"If people jump out at you suddenly, that's an Ambush," said Owl.

"It's an Ambush, Pooh, when people jump at you suddenly," explained Piglet.

Pooh, who now knew what an Ambush was, said that a gorse-bush had sprung at him suddenly one day when he fell off a tree, and he had taken six days to get all the prickles out of himself.

"We are not talking about gorse-bushes," said Owl a little crossly.

"I am," said Pooh.

Taken from A.A. Milne's Winnie-the-Pooh, "Expotition to the North Pole".

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

Christmas/ Finals 123's

1 week till I'm done for Christmas
2 hours wasted in Therapeutics today
3 exams to study for
4 people who get to go to Bible study without me tonight
5 minutes till I start studying again
6 packets that need reading
7 minutes I'm wasting typing this

Peace till Dec. 10!

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Family of God

Adam spoke this morning in church on the family of God. It was really good, he was really blessed of the Lord this morning. As he was speaking a song came to mind by Casting Crowns. I've always loved this song because it makes me think. If you haven't heard it or even if you have, maybe it will make you think about getting real with the family of God.

Stained Glass Masquerade

Is there anyone that fails
Is there anyone that falls
Am I the only one in church today feelin' so small

Cause when I take a look around
Everybody seems so strong
I know they'll soon discover
That I don't belong

So I tuck it all away, like everything's okay
If I make them all believe it, maybe I'll believe it too
So with a painted grin, I play the part again
So everyone will see me the way that I see them

Are we happy plastic people
Under shiny plastic steeples
With walls around our weakness
And smiles to hide our pain
But if the invitation's open
To every heart that has been broken
Maybe then we close the curtain
On our stained glass masquerade

Is there anyone who's been there
Are there any hands to raise
Am I the only one who's traded
In the altar for a stage

The performance is convincing
And we know every line by heart
Only when no one is watching
Can we really fall apart

But would it set me free
If I dared to let you see
The truth behind the person
That you imagine me to be

Would your arms be open
Or would you walk away
Would the love of Jesus
Be enough to make you stay

Chorus (x2)

But if the invitation's open
To every heart that has been broken
Maybe then we close the curtain
On our stained glass masquerade

Is there anyone that fails
Is there anyone that falls
Am I the only one in church today feelin' so small

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Happy Veteran's Day

Out of all the holidays we celebrate as a nation, I find Veteran's Day to be up at the top of my list. Memorial Day would probably have to be tied with it. These are two days out of the year that we truly honor and remember our heroes of wars present and past. It was announced on the news today that there are still a few (it may actually be only one or two) surviving veterans of World War I. Can you imagine the things they have seen? They witnessed the first world war when everyone thought the world would end, only to witness a second world war, when again, everyone thought the world would end. (Matthew 24:6) Since then, numerous other wars have been fought. I have had the great privilege of knowing several World War II veterans. Each has a different story to tell. And slowly, members of this generation are "fading." My dad preached the funeral of two gentlemen this past week, both of whom we discovered later were serving in the India/China/Pacific region of World War II at the same time. He quoted General Douglas McArthur in his farewell address to Congress after returning from the war:

"Old soldiers never die; they just fade away."

We owe a tremendous amount to our soldiers, past and present. Our nation would not be what it is without their faithful, selfless service. We owe the very protection of our freedoms to each and every one.

I was touched today by the post on's Field Notes:

You can find stories here that won't make the headline news, but are most certainly worthy of reading. This post highlights the sentinels that guard the Tomb of the Unknowns at Arlington National Cemetary. If you have ever been and watched the changing of the guard, it is an experience you will never forget. But, reading this article I learned some new things about the guard. For example, everything is done by 21 (21 steps, 21 second pause, etc.), because 21 is a perfect number in the military. Each sentinel also spends an additional 4-6 hours simply shining his shoes for the next day's 2 hour shift. They stand by perfection. And they honor those who lost their lives in the call of duty, and were simply labeled "MIA", because their remains were never found.

So, although late in the day, remember the veterans you know, and those you don't. Say a prayer of thanksgiving for their service. And honor them not only today, but every day.

Sunday, November 02, 2008

I Beat Them to the Punch

Yesterday, my dad installed his speakers for our computer. It's basically surround sound for our computer. We've had them for a couple of years now, but they haven't worked properly until now. To celebrate, he brought me downstairs to listen to "Christmas with the Rat Pack".

Dean Martin's silky smooth voice echoed throughout our basement singing, "I've Got My Love to Keep Me Warm." Then, "Baby, It's Cold Outside", followed by my request, "White Christmas". Dean Martin had a voice unlike any other, and dad and I talked about how Frank Sinatra was great, but his voice couldn't compare with Dean's. Dad said when Dean performed, it was just "effortless". It didn't look like he was even trying. "Frank was more popular and sold more records, but Dean...Dean was the singer."

So, this morning, November 2nd, I woke up and started singing in the shower. Not completely unusual so far. But this is how I beat "the man" to the punch...I was singing Christmas songs. On November 2nd. Barely into the month of November, and I'm singing "White Christmas" and "Joy to the World" in my shower. Before all the stores, before all the radio stations. At least as far as I know. I win this year. I'm in the Christmas spirit before everyone tells me I'm supposed to be in the Christmas spirit.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Leonardo da Vinci exhibit / Flint River PBC 200th Anniversary Meeting

This past weekend, after attending the 200th anniversary meeting of Flint River PBC, John and I went to the Birmingham Museum of Art to see the Leonardo da Vinci exhibit: Drawings from the Biblioteca Reale in Turin. We thought this might be our only weekend to see it, and it will be leaving the museum on November 9th. So, we headed to Birmingham after lunch and arrived at the museum around 3:45. The wait was approximately 30 minutes, and the museum was closing at 5:00. The wait went by fairly quickly, although we got behind a couple who preferred to spend the entire time in a public smooch session. My goodness. I could say more on that, but I'll try to refrain myself.

The exhibit itself was absolutely marvelous. It included several of his sketches: a portrait sketch that was probably practice for his Virgin of the Rocks painting; human anatomy sketches, and horse anatomy sketches. The walls and frames were unique, because he drew on both sides of the paper. They had to create a way to show both sides. Also on display was Leonardo's Codex on the Flight of Birds. It was fascinating to see his attention to detail, as well as precision. When using metalpoint to draw, he couldn't erase! Beside each sketch was a little paragraph with some info about it. I found it interesting that several of the sketches were practice for paintings that he began but didn't finish. Everything was VERY small, too. They gave us a magnifying glass when entering the exhibit to aid us. I didn't realize this, but John said even the Mona Lisa is very small, compared to how we typically think of it.

It was a wonderful experience. The drawings have never traveled outside of Italy before in a group, and they are only coming to the U.S. to Birmingham and San Franciso. And one of the nicest parts - it was FREE!

It was a great end to a wonderful Saturday. The meeting was a great blessing. I traveled up to Huntsville on Friday night with Josh & Sam, and I met John there. It had been several years since I had the opportunity to visit at Flint River, and I loved getting to visit with all the sweet people up there, as well as see several other friends from various places. It was a wonderful celebration of a group of people meeting together in the same area for 200 years! As Elder Gene Thomas commented in his church history on Saturday morning, that means Flint River PBC was meeting before Alabama was even a state!! Several ministers were in attendance, and I felt that the common theme in several of the messages was continuing forward and how to ensure the church is there for another 200 years. I particularly enjoyed Elder David Montgomery's message on "Witnessing and Waiting". He used the example of his children on a long trip from Texas to GA and another trip to Maryland. On the way to GA, his son asked him over and over, "Are we there yet?" On the way to Maryland, he managed to wait all the way to NC before stating that he knew that they weren't there yet, but that he sure did hate the car, the seatbelt, etc., and if he didn't get out of that car soon, he thought he would just die. Elder Montgomery responded by saying, "Try playing a game, or taking a nap, or reading, or talking to me and your mom. It won't make the trip any faster, but it will seem to go by faster." He related that to our wait for the Lord to come back. By witnessing, it won't make it get here any sooner, but it will seem to make the time go by faster. He also brought out a lot of other good points about witnessing to others about what we believe.

What a blessing to be able to celebrate 200 years, and if the Lord doesn't return before then, I sure hope future generations can say they are excited to be celebrating 400 years.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

We're At That Age

Laura and I are at that age. Wedding after wedding...seriously. I think this is probably # 6 or 7 for me this year. But I love it!

If you are a follower of Kitchen Talk then you probably know my friends from Auburn, Brigette and Swafford. This weekend I had the privilege of attending their wedding and it was most definitely a celebration! These kids are just great for each other and two of the most godly people I know. I admire their relationship and am so happy for them both. So that is what the next "couple" of pictures are all about.

Brigette Lesch and Daniel Swafford Wedding

I love this picture! They are married and off to the honeymoon!
I've never seen this before. We tossed lavender at the bride and groom as they left. Our hands smelled like soapy flower goodness afterwards.
Brigette's 7 real bridesmaids
Morgan, Lou, and Bridge being goofy while waiting to take pictures.
Me and Pam
Brigette and Swafford dancing at the reception (took place at the Historic Rucker Place)
Dancing! This was difficult because the band was jazz/swing. It seriously sounded like the same song over and over again. But we improvised and danced like they were playing 90's music.

Roommates! (me and morgan)
Lou, Bridget, and Catie Anne
Yep! 7 real bridesmaids and 10 honorary bridesmaids! Crazy, yes but lots of fun. So of our group, Catie Anne was a real bridesmaid and me, Lou, Bridget, and Morgan were all honorary. Swafford only had 7 guys if you were wondering but also had 3 ushers that were friends of ours.
The cake! I always make sure to get a picture of because well I love wedding cakes!

Overall, a great time! Especially nice to have a reunion with college friends. We all live in different cities now and life just doesn't afford us many opportunities to hang out. I miss them. On a happy note though, Mr. and Mrs. Swafford will be living in Birmingham. Hopefully we will get to see each other occasionally.

Katie Leach and Jeff Johnston Wedding
This was a really sweet wedding. Family photo beforehand.
Jeff, Katie, and the bridesmaids. (All of which were from Jasper I might add)
Again, the cake!

My favorite parts of this wedding were 1) acapella singing, mary-John singing, and Maggie playing the cello (basically the music) 2) bottled coke at the reception 3) Mr. Leach crying more than was so sweet.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Komen Race for the Cure

This past Saturday a group of us participated in the Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure in Birmingham, AL. We participated for the first time last year, running/walking in support particularly for Queen Shenaynay over at the Beehive, and also for all the other women we know and love who have had breast cancer.

The race starts at 9:00, and we tried to be there between 8:00 and 8:30. I learned that next year, we will definitely need to be there around 7:30. Several of us met at Table and I's apartment and rode to the race together. We ate bagels and had juice to get us going. And of course, I couldn't pass up the opportunity to get some pics on the way.

We managed to get a quick photo of our group, but I think it is missing a couple of people. Brother Bucky managed to take a quick nap before heading off to walk.

There were 10,000 + people there this year. Maybe as many as 13,000. Unfortunately, our group got seperated, so we weren't able to all walk together. But we all had a great time and had some great stories afterwards. For example, John and I thought we were about to see a fight break out, between two women! The lady in front of us whipped out a cigarette and started smoking while walking. (Yes, yes. We all considered the irony and desperately wanted to ask her, "what are you thinking?") Well, the lady to our left started coughing exaggeratively (don't know if that is a word, but it fits). Then, she started talking to the lady about how she has asthma and what does she think she's doing walking for breast cancer research and smoking at the same time and why doesn't she just go smoke in a room all by herself and kill all the brain cells she wants...on and on and on. It was crazy. But, she finally hushed.

Sis. Lauretta did a good deed during the race. She had just got started walking when she saw a little boy crying and screaming. So, she went over to him and he had lost his mother. They guessed he was about 5. So, she told every police officer she saw the situation and gave them her phone number. Finally, they caught up with the mother somewhere in the middle of mile 2 or 3.

So, that story makes this picture even funnier. After the race, we saw a mother and child strapped together. That child wasn't going anywhere. That's the way to do it.

Great friends. Great cause. Great day.

Tuesday, October 07, 2008


This incident happened a couple of weeks ago, but I was just reminded of it reading Amy's post over at Shadows and Dust.

As Hurricane Ike prepared to cross Galveston, TX, one of the companies we have to call occasionally at work had to be evacuated/relocated temporarily. I did not realize the company was based in Galveston and tried calling them regarding a question.

The following took place:


"We're sorry but the (company name) customer service center is temporarily unavailable."

In shock and somewhat dismay over not being able to get my question answered, my natural response was...


(Not too loud mind you. I work in a cubicle. So it was only slightly exaggerated and exasperated of a sound. Anyways, it's not like someone is on the other's just a recording...)

To which someone responded:

"Yes. I'm sorry. Please try your call again later."

In shock at someone actually responding to me, I quickly put the phone back on the hook, and started laughing, beginning to tell my co-worker the story. Who would have thought it?

Wednesday, October 01, 2008

Swimming...It's not as easy as it looks

In addition to the yoga I've been doing over the last couple of weeks, I have now added swimming to my weekly workout. On Mondays, to be specific. The pool at the YMCA is open year-round, and it's heated, which is a plus for me. I don't do cold water. (As in, nun-uh, ain't gonna happen.)

Let me tell you, Michael Phelps and the other Olympians made it look way too easy. I was never on the swim team, but I know the freestyle stroke and back stroke, and a very, very poor breast stroke. After 50 yards (which is one lap down and back), I was panting. It really increases your heart rate! In my very unexpertise opinion, I think it has something to do with the breathing (besides all the other work your body is doing!). In yoga, you are supposed to be very focused on your breathing, taking deep breaths in and out through your nose. Even when I used to run (also very, very poorly for anyone that knows me), I was told to try and stay focused on your breathing, in and out through your nose, very steady. But with swimming, it's a whole different ballgame, because you're holding your breath, and then breathing very quickly. I haven't quite got used to it. I was explaining my problem to Brett on Sunday night, and he suggested breathing every 3 strokes. I tried it, and it did help, but it's just going to take some getting used to. And, getting back in shape wouldn't hurt either.

All in all, though, it's a lot of fun. It's a really quick workout, and something I enjoy. I can't imagine what it takes to swim all day, like Michael Phelps does. I certainly have a greater appreciation for everything the Olympians accomplished. Here's to all of you.

Monday, September 29, 2008

Love this one!

A favorite of mine from childhood. Hope you enjoy it as well.

Southbound on the Freeway by May Swenson:

A tourist came in from Orbitville,
parked in the air, and said:

The creatures of this star
are made of metal and glass.

Through the transparent parts
you can see their guts.

Their feet are round and roll
on diagrams--or long

measuring tapes--dark
with white lines.

They have four eyes.
The two in the back are red.

Sometimes you can see a 5-eyed
one, with a red eye turning

on the top of his head.
He must be special-

the others respect him,
and go slow,

when he passes, winding
among them from behind.

They all hiss as they glide,
like inches, down the marked

tapes. Those soft shapes,
shadowy inside

the hard bodies--are they
their guts or their brains?

Friday, September 26, 2008

When life gets busy...

you start thinking about the better things in life. So this week has not been fun for me. I have a HUGE test Monday afternoon and pretty much have done nothing this week but study and study some more. So tonight when I got home from the library at 10:30 on a Friday I started thinking about my favorite place, the place that relaxes me the most....this may seem a little weird...but its definitely the Great Smoky Mountains. ( I guess this was some odd exercise of mine to get my mind off of HTN, hyponatremia, hypokalemia, metabolic get the point). But anyways, this is where we went on our August vacation. It was the perfect vacation, no agenda, just sleeping, laying out, and of course the OLYMPICS! We stayed up almost every night to either see Micheal Phelps swim or Nastia Lukin and Shawn Johnson compete in gymnastics. So fun. I love it there. You should visit.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Happy Birthday to my Favorite Sister

A big shout out and holla going to my sis, celebrating her 23rd birthday today. I couldn't imagine what my life would be like without you. I love you. Happy Birthday.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Book Review

Redeeming Love by Francine Rivers

Several years ago, a dear friend of mine recommended a set of five books to me and graciously loaned them to me to read. It was called The Lineage of Grace Series and was written by Francine Rivers. Each book told the story of a different woman within Christ's genealogy. These five women are Tamar, Rahab, Ruth, Bathsheeba, and Mary. I was instantly hooked. She had taken characters and stories from the Bible, and written a work of "fiction", which gave me the opportunity to discover what these people had possibly felt, experienced, etc. It's easy to forget that these people were real, or that they had emotions, and all the circumstances surrounding their particular situation. She had taken these real people, and put them in perspective, if you will. It gave me a deeper understanding and appreciation for these women, and Mrs. Rivers instantly became a favorite author of mine.

This past spring, I finally got around to reading The Scarlet Thread, which I devoured in about a week. And, over vacation, I read Redeeming Love in about three days. (Seriously, I must warn you. You cannot put these books down. They pull you in and you will find yourself staying up til the wee hours of the morning to finish one more chapter. Okay, consider yourself warned.)

My sister had previously read Redeeming Love as had several college friends. Many said, "It will change your life." Now, I can't say it "changed my life", but I did thoroughly enjoy it, and it paints a BEAUTIFUL picture of God's amazing grace and the work He does in His children's lives. It is a powerful retelling of the story of Hosea from the Bible, set in the 1800s, I believe. If you are unfamiliar with the Book of Hosea, I'll give you a short summary. Hosea is a prophet who was instructed to marry a prostitute. God talks to Hosea about what he goes through each time the children of Israel rebel against him. If you think of it this way, we are the bridegroom of Christ, and we continually turn our back on him to run to our other idols and things of this world. To put it plainly, we go whoring after the world, when we have been redeemed completely from it. Yet, he continues to love us, and always will love us. He wants us to find complete fulfillment in Him, and not in anything else. God talks to Hosea about how Israel has valued the things of this world and runs to those things, when he is offering something so much better. In Redeeming Love we get to know Angel, who has been mistreated since she was young, and sold into prostitution at a young age. We travel West with her, where Michael Hosea meets her, and takes her from the brothel to come and be his wife. And from there, well, you'll have to read it!

When you finish it, you will continue to think about it for some time. It's just one of those books. I highly recommend it, along with any of Francine Rivers' other books. Next on my list... And the Shofar Blew.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008


I joined our local YMCA Sunday night for the sole purpose of starting Yoga. I have been wanting to excercise for months now (see earlier New Year's Resolutions), but unfortunately, I can't motivate myself to go run, or lift weights. Probably because I don't particulary enjoy running. (You should hear stories from my cross-country running days. As much as I would like to enjoy running, I've never hit that "runner's high" I've heard so many people talk about, and my times were always terrible. You can ask anybody in my family.) But, I just knew if I could take up Yoga I would enjoy it. It seemed like my kind of workout - peaceful, relaxing - yeah, that's my kind of workout.

So, I looked at all the classes all the different Y branches offer, and I chose to go to Hot Yoga on Tuesdays and Thursdays at 5:45. Last night was my first night. I walked into the room and it was completely dark except for two very dim lights on both sides. It was also very quiet, and very warm. Thus, the "hot" part. When we started, the instructor played some soothing music, and we slowly progessed from the various positions, or asanas (sp?). The workout (from what I could tell) slowly built up. The most strenous excerises were in the very middle of the workout, and then you slowly work you're way back down. The entire class lasted an hour. At the very end, we laid on our backs and completely relaxed, eyes closed. I didn't realize how relaxed I had become until I moved back into the sitting position!

At the end, I felt I had worked every muscle in my body. I'm looking forward to seeing how my flexibility and strength increase. I'm still learning a lot about it, but it's very focused on stretching and breathing. Best workout I've ever had. I'm definitely looking forward to going back tomorrow night!

Monday, August 04, 2008

If one time is not enough...

Try FOUR times! If any of you have ever had any doubt that we should be singing praises to God, read this ONE verse:

"Sing praises to God, sing praises: sing praises unto our King, sing praises."
Psalm 47:6

I was struck by this verse when I read it today. As my dad is fond of saying, "If the Bible tells us something once, we should pay attention to it." In this case, we're told four times in the same verse to sing praises to God. It's so simple and wonderfully refreshing. In the New Testament we're told to "sing and make melody in our hearts." So, it doesn't even have to be audible. We can sing praises anywhere.

"Praise Him, praise Him, Jesus our Blessed Redeemer."

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

A couple of favorites!

Can you believe it?? This is the ONLY picture I got of the two of them together ALL WEEK!


So, here are a couple of pictures of the games. It was intense, as always!

Singing School Cuties

Singing School was a blast this year! Several of you may have already seen some of these pictures elsewhere, but I wanted to share a few anyways. I took over 200 total, so I can't post them all on here, but I wanted to share a couple so you could see some of the scenes. Below are just a few of the kids I got pictures of this year. It's so fun to photograph people, and then look over the years and see how they've grown and changed!