Wednesday, April 28, 2010

National Infertility Awareness Week

This week is National Infertility Awareness Week. I hesitated the first few times I've seen and heard about this because I don't think about myself as infertile and wasn't sure I wanted to branch out on this one. Maybe its denial or being optimistic? I just consider myself as someone who hasn't gotten pregnant yet and needs some help! Denial? Optimism? Either way.... it is prevalent in many people I love's lives and I think it is an issue that should be talked about and brought out of the dark.

I personally have not talked much on my blog about pregnancy or lack there of, but I truly love some amazing blogs that are dedicated to this very topic. I pray for these women daily that they may be blessed with a sweet child of God soon! Please spread the word and pray for the women who are going through this very difficult time trying to conceive.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Hello Late Twenties

Today was wonderful! If this is any indication of the next year, I'm thrilled.

Ben woke me up with homemade french toast cooking in the kitchen! (Awwww) We then went to see Rick & Bubba (local, nationally syndicated radio hosts) because they are close to my hair salon and have a studio that you can walk by on the side walk and see them. Even though I don't listen to them all the time, it was still fun. Ben loves them, so I loved that he was able to see them. Here we are in the parking lot:

Then I got a MUCH overdue hair cut! The male receptionist at the salon said that I needed to go ahead and schedule my next visit because this last time was just 'ridiculous'. Apparently 15 weeks is too long without a hair cut.

Ben and I ate lunch at a Dale's and then went to the amazing Edgar's Bakery for cupcakes. Yes, they were both mine, but I didn't eat both of them thank you very much!
Back at home, I was delivered a beautiful hanging basket from my mother-in-law: and Ben gave me a super cute stand-up mirror. (I have been needing & wanting this for years!) I still have my college $9.99 long mirror leaning against a wall in my bathroom, complete with band stickers and makeup smears.

We took our pups out on a walk and then went to dinner with some fabulous friends who surprised me with an amazing Edgar's cake (that I apparently can freeze and have cake for the next 6 months! Best idea yet Amber!)

Thank you for ALL the birthday wishes and everyone who made today WONDERFUL! It has seriously been the best birthday yet. I recommend everyone takes their birthday off!

I also get to celebrate my birthday this weekend with my wonderful nephew who shares my birthday with me. He is 8 today. :)

Monday, April 26, 2010

How'd we do?

Today is THE day! I am 27 in 3 hours. Somehow, 27 seems much older than 26. And being in my late twenties is not as sweet sounding as mid-twenties, but knowing that my 27th year holds so many amazing things, makes it okay. :) That list is to come.

So how'd I do....

1. Go on a cruise! (I've never been and I've been saving and saving my credit card rewards so Ben and I can go on one). I'll accept a honeymoon vacation with Ben also. Negative... Quitting my fulltime job to intern full time certainly put a hold on the savings account. I'm okay with it, this one will have to carry over.

2. Go to Gatlinburg/Pigeon Forge/Any other semi-close very touristy place I've never been. Ah, crap! I forgot this said, "that I've never been"! I was going to say I almost did this since I just got back from Destin and went to Gulf Shores last month... however, both I'd been to before... Okay... 0/27. Let's keep going.

3. Stop being such a Scrooge and spend some money on something fun (see above and below) :) I think I did this one pretty well! I bought a Christmas Tree, a new suit for all my upcoming interviews, some cute fun work clothes after I reached goal size, some fabulous black boots. Small things, but definitely fun things!

4. Blog at least once a week. Ding!

5. Pass the APTTP (December) PASSED!!!

6. Pass the School Counseling Praxis Exam (January) PASSED!!!!

7. Lose 10lbs... Well....I lost 7.... and then gained 3... then lost 2.... and gained 1.... and on and on. But ultimately, I lost 7lbs. :) However, I'm very shocked at how it has taken me longer than 6 months to lost 7 pounds!!! Apparently there isn't much will power since the elimination diets started. One thing at a time.

8. Get Ben and I's first Christmas tree! (Yes we've been married for almost 3 Christmases and never had a Christmas Tree - see #3). Check!

9. Join a bible study. We only have 2 classes left of our Dave Ramsey's Financial Peace University bible study! This class has encouraged me to use cash for groceries and to put SOMETHING towards our debt each month even if its a very small amount. We have managed to pay down our 2nd mortgage by 10% since starting this bible study!! (It is our most problematic debt currently.) This is something I certainly would have not done otherwise and would have probably wasted the money. TAKE THIS CLASS!!

10. Start and Finish my wedding album (again... its been almost 3 years). Nope... sad day. Its just SO expensive... See # 3

11. Paint a room in my house! - My entire house right now is:

Bunny Grey... seriously, the whole house.
No painting going on over here...! It is such a daunting task. Would you like to volunteer to come over and motivate me?

12. Refinish this very old trunk... this is very much past my 'sand and paint' technique... not sure I know where to start.
Still in my mother's hands. I would love to see this refinished, but I just don't have the time or motivation. I hope my mom will refinish it and re-gift it back to me! Or maybe this summer... there should be a slight bit more free time this summer than this semester.

13. Exercise! I previously had this as go to the gym, but since the gym and my house are 35+ minutes away, its not likely that I get there any more often, so I must improvise!
I HAVE been walking! Atleast twice around our circle a day which is 1.80 miles. My goal is to up that to 4 laps: 3.6 miles.

14. (Your suggestion goes here).I have done several things here that were firsts: Many of them happened while in Dothan for the Peanut Festival. I also went to my very first Women's Retreat!

15. Go to the peanut festival (I was starting to get overwhelmed and this one is already set in stone). :) Check, this was in November.

16. Landscape!
Well... I haven't split my bulbs because they are BLOOMING! I have to wait until they are done blooming. But I did weed, trim, re-pot & plant my planters. Feeling pretty accomplished by that alone honestly!
17. Have a dinner party (or two).
We've only had one in 6 months! Sad... but that counts as a check.
18. Do something nice with our 'office/guest room'.
I vacuumed. Put things in file folders. The end. I was actually day dreaming today of how I could turn it into a nursey and still keep my guest room. Problem is that there is a VERY large gun safe in the office also. I don't know how well it would go over to have a gun safe right next to a crib... But I really don't like have a gun safe room!

19. Go rock crawling with Ben again... I really do love to go but never have the time to.
Just in the nick of time... 2 weeks ago.
20. Read some books! I have SO many books on my shelf unopened... Many of them are counseling-related books, but still I need to read something other than textbooks!
I read The Noticer - GREAT book, I think everyone should read it.

21. Find a job! This is a very bitter-sweet one because I have a wonderful job, but will soon be graduating and looking for a counseling position. This would be amazing if I knew where it would be by my birthday.
I was still holding out for this one allll the way until today, but its official. I do not have a job for the fall as of today. I do have my THIRD internship though and I'm very excited about it. I really do feel so much peace about having a job in the fall though. I know God has a place for me.

22. Go to Tallahassee.
This is my family hub. It's a central location between most of the cities we all live in and some of my aunts, uncles, cousins and grandmother live there. I went in February! It was SUCH a fun time. This is Ivy trying to pretend she wasn't very pregnant. She was doing a terrible job! :)

23. Learn to drive the Ford F250.
Does it count if I learn to do this one tomorrow on my actual birthday?!

24. Apply for a scholarship.
I actually applied for TWO scholarships and didn't get either of them. I am glad I applied and at least tried, but gosh losing sucks.

25. Pass the NCE. (National Counselor Exam - this leads to me being able to pursue licensure after graduation)
Thank the Lord this one has come and gone! Yes, I passed!!!

26. Thank God every single day for the SO many blessings he's given me.
I am so very thankful!

27. Take off work on my birthday and celebrate because it will be my 27th birthday on the 27th!!!! I almost didn't do this one after all the planning 6 months out, but at the last minute decided I needed it off and am very excited for the day tomorrow! I can't wait to tell you all about it!

18/27: not too bad, this year I'll give myself the whole year instead of half a year.

Happy Birthday!!

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Fearlessly Feminine

Welcome home!

I just got back from the retreat in Destin!!
It was such a wonderful weekend with strong christian women that are great examples of kindness, genuineness, patience, compassion, dignity, love.... all things God wants from me and what I want to strive to be!
My Aunt Treecie invited my cousin Annie and I to go down to this women's retreat sponsored by her church based out of Tallahassee, Fla.

The speaker was Jani Ortlund and our topic was fearlessly feminine. To give up our fears, anxieties and restlessness and become a strong woman of God.

Psalm 62: 1 "My soul finds rest in God alone." (VERY appropriate lately!)

It really was a great topic to remind me about servant-hood. Our culture today is very self-serving, self-pleasing and self-centered. If it feels good, do it. This is not a servanthood mindset and she encouraged us to practice self-control and strive to be less of ourselves and more of Him. Also, we talked about how to be beautiful in God's standards instead of our own worldly standards which is wonderful to hear.

Proverbs 31:30 "Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting; but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised!"

One of the things she mentioned that I really loved was that we are not called to separate ourselves from the our culture even though it is often disastrous and filthy. We are not called to be a christian separated from all others and this has been something I had been struggling with, especially in regards to raising children.

I've often wondered, how can you keep a child pure, how can you ensure that you raise that child of God correctly unless you separate him/her from the rest of the awful world, right?! Well, apparently I'm very wrong (as usual :). She encouraged us to embrace our culture, embrace why God chose for us to live in this day, this time, this place and use it to our advantage, use our femininity to our advantage. It is a tool that God has given to use that can do great things. So instead of separating ourselves, we are to minister within this culture, be a Godly woman in this culture.

To say that you don't like the culture you live in and avoid it, is to say if you don't like smog, stop breathing. -Michael Medveb

And because I could go on and on about what I loved or was a little confused about, to focus on just one more thing that really caught me:

"Sinners tend to sin in response to being sinned against."

How will you respond?


On my way home I called one of my best friends to tell her about the weekend and how I was reminded to keep serving, to keep ministering, even when I'm tired, exhausted, broken down. I told her this weekend revived me, and she had a wonderful thing to say. She said when we are who Christ wants us to be, striving to live for him and when we are sinned against but respond with kindness, compassion and Christ's love, THIS is when those without Christ will start to wonder what we have that makes us that way and why it is that we are not responding the way they are used to, with anger or resentment.

My family is very difficult to minister to, but I have been renewed and refreshed and am ready to continue to try and to try better. I want to be able to be with them in heaven for all eternity and that is more important than getting mad.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

7 cupcakes later....

What IS it about birthdays that make me want to eat?!

It doesn't even have to be MY birthday!!

Tonight I made gluten-free cupcakes for a classmate of mine who turned 27 yesterday and I seriously ate 2.5 and then some....

Remember 6 months ago that I was trying to lost 10lbs? 10lbs SHOULD be easy.... 10lbs is nothing! IF everyone would quit having birthdays! and holidays! and weekends!

I am trying to plan my birthday fun ahead of time so I don't just lose it and spend the next month trying to work off the 5lbs I can gain in 24 hours. I really hate it when that happens.

So instead of a cake, Ben and I are going to go to my favorite bakery and buy a cupcake.

Pretty good plan!

And I did FINALLY get my nerve up to take my birthday off. I almost didn't. I am trying to get as many direct hours as possible at my internship, but I need my birthday off for my sanity, and I decided I would probably regret it if I worked all day on my birthday.

Thanks to Cassie's fabulous idea, Ben is also taking off my birthday so we can enjoy the day together and celebrate!

Since the birthday week started yesterday, tomorrow I'm leaving for my Women's Retreat!!! What a wonderful pre-birthday weekend. I get to spend it with my aunt from Tallahassee and my cousin from Orlando. I can't wait to tell you guys all about it!

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Birthdays, Babies & Business

So lets talk real for a minute. (Something I am not very quick to do.)

I'm turning 27 in 5 days and I think that means I'm growing up.

Apparently its inevitable. (I've been told its, "Better than the alternative.")

Well, I'm not getting any younger and if you put 2 + 2 together, you probably gathered that I'm itching to have kids. Ben and I are settled people, and I have to admit that turning 27 makes me a little more ready for it, but also, having PCOS is a huge part of wanting kids to happen sooner than later.

Its no secret that it may take a long time for me to get pregnant. I do feel blessed that I have known about this for years. I always knew that when I wanted to have kids I wouldn't be one of those people who decided now was the time and 9 months later pop out a baby. I'm okay with that. I have very strong faith and I have know since I have a conscious memory that I am going to be a mother.

But its become a little more tricky than just waiting and seeing...

I graduate in 3 months.... THREE!

Once I was within 10 months of graduating the baby talk got louder because that was when Ben and I always planned that we'd be ready. When I was done with school, we'd be free to have babies!

Now that it is all a reality and we've been not trying to not be pregnant for quite some time, its becoming very real that, wow, I am going to have to make a decision on when exactly we want to REALLY pursue getting pregnant (ie: assistance).

I was doing really well leaving it up to God. Now, you may think, well that is because you knew you wouldn't get pregnant, right? And yeah, that probably made me less nervous, thinking that it wasn't likely I would get pregnant, but I also have always thought, maybe I will.... maybe I will defy the odds and then if I did, it was 100% God's will! But that hasn't happened.

In school counseling, and the ideal world, you would get pregnant in August and have a baby in May working it around the school year to have the summer off and not have to lose pay if you don't have time off built up.

In an ideal world right?

But I'm not so sure we live in that world.

So I can't stop the 'what if' questions. This is where I am struggling with the where does Faith come in... if I am supposed to DO something to make it or make it not happen, how do I know? Make sense? How am I going to know if God wants it to happen now or later. Can he just send me an email? Take those pills THIS month! :)

So you want to know the what ifs? Probably not because I don't really believe in 'what ifs' either... but right now I'm stuck in them.

Okay, just for fun....
What if all the assistance works like its supposed to and (yay!) I get pregnant as planned.... will I be able to make it through my FIRST year as a counselor pregnant? What if I get pregnant and I am due or have the baby before school is out? Will I keep my job having to take maternity leave without having any time off yet? What if I wait and then it takes so long to actually get pregnant and I lose very precious time?? (I think what if 3 scares me more than anything).

I am very ready to be a mom. I am ready to be stable. I am ready to have a job. To make it work.

Problem is: I don't have that job. I don't know where I will be, I don't know how long it will take to get pregnant. I don't know anything! :) Yes, scream to me that this is where Faith comes in. Faith is believing what you cannot see. (Repeat) But I just want to make sure that I am not going to make the wrong decision.

Bottom line: I want to get pregnant. Ben says he's ready the DAY I sign a contract for a job. But I am afraid that I will ruin an opportunity that God has given me if I jump the gun too soon. If he hasn't let me get pregnant so far, how do I know that its not Him telling me the time isn't right?

I've had many people tell me, don't work kids around a career, don't try to plan or you'll never have them, there is never a perfect time, don't wait until you have enough money because there is never enough money.... on and on.

Anyways... lots of questions....

PS - Tonight officially started my birthday week (or week and a half)!

Friday, April 16, 2010

Chris the Soldier

Graduation was great! It was so good to see Chris. He's lost 30 pounds and looks great. Its amazing what quitting alcohol, cigarettes and caffiene can do for you. He really was proud of himself and seemed very happy. I think its the 1st time since his high school graduation that he felt accomplished. He talked non stop about the past 10 weeks and how trying and amazing it was all together. It was good to hear him talk about something he was proud of!

Our grandmother drove up from Florida!
Ava was happy to see Chris too.
Me and my two brothers.
He left for San Antonio, Texas, today to continue his training. He is becoming a combat medic in hopes of also becoming an airborne medic. San Antonio will last 16 weeks and then he gets 2 weeks leave, at which time he may get married. (Feel free to gasp.) He was not even dating anyone when he left for Georgia, but his on-again/off-again girlfriend and he reconnected over letters and are talking about getting married. This scares me because I fear that at one of the most trying times in his life he leaned on who he was comfortable with and everyone gets along over letters. I think they've forgotten why it was they were off-again. I really am just praying that whichever path he chooses will be God's path. That IF he gets married, it will be for the right reasons.

My prayers go with him to Texas that he keeps following who it is God wants him to be, but I am so proud of him for getting this far!

Monday, April 12, 2010

Tues. Weds. Thurs.

The next 48 hours....

Internship: BBSST all day & 2 Small Groups :)
Doctor's Appt. 30 miles away
Class & Presentation (I don't think I'll ever love presentations.)
Drive home from class (why do I live so far away again?)
Have Ben drive me back across town to spend the night at my parents (I think its late by this point).
Wake up SUPER early (ack!).
Drive to the Little Brother's Graduation from Boot Camp (WOO!!!) (I got him some fabulous presents by the way... more on that later.)
Spend the night for more boot camp related activities (Maybe I can go to bed at 8:45pm?).
Come home Thursday.
Nap Anyone?!
But look, then all of the sudden it's Friday again!! Love how that works.

I can't wait to update you all about all of the above happenings.

As busy as it is, it should all be pretty fun.

And in a not-so-related topic... this is my favorite picture. This is my nephew Austin when he was 3 years old (he is now almost 8). Ben and I took him to the beach when I was in college and we had the best time.

I hope your day is better than this one!

# 19 Be a redneck.

Remember my list?!

Well, I am FINALLY able to mark through another one on the list.

Saturday I went rock crawling with Ben!

I had to work most of the day at my dad's store, but drove up to where Ben and his buddies were spending the weekend for a few hours after work.

I took a few pictures to show you a serious redneck 'rock crawler'.

That is the mountain we are heading to.
It really just looks like a large hill from here, but it was pretty high once you were in it.
And no, in case you were wondering, we have no windshield.

Ben and his 'camping' look.

Ben's friend, who sold him this buggy last year, wrote a check out in my name for $10,000 today!!!! He had told Ben earlier that he had a plan to buy his rig back today. Apparently that was it, get the wife in on the sale and he wins. $10,000!!!!!
I told Ben we could buy TWO buggies with that!!! He said no.

The first trail we tried was a failure unfortunately, so we went back to the camp to get fuel...(Also, apparently its not rock crawling if you go up the path to the left, you have to go up that center mess.)

It could not have been a prettier day to be in the woods!
But then the buggy over heated...
(This was the reason he got it for such a steal to begin with apparently, but he thought he had it under control.)
So I did a lot of sitting....
And thinking about how many of the plants next to me were poison ivy.

But then we FINALLY caught up with the rest of the group.

And watched Nick break a lot of stuff on this trail, Los Primos I believe?
He was NOT a very happy camper.

Then Hogan showed Nick how it should have been done.

It was a lot of waiting and watching as the boys coach each other up the ledge.

But finally Ben tried and told me I couldn't ride with him because of the 'rollover factor.'

And it ended with Hogan having to winch Ben off the trail after he broke a few bolts on his drive shaft.
(Definitely could have been worse in regards to the cost to fix things.)
I do love to go with Ben, but I always end up busy those weekends, so even though it was a quick trip. It was still a blast. Now he just needs to buy an engine to be good for the next ride in May.... only $1,000. I'm pretty sure we're waiting on a miracle lottery win or a job before that one happens. :)

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Internship - Round 3

Okay, so finally I get to tell you about my internship!

Its all set in place. (Whew!)

I had my interview on Thursday at my 3rd and final internship placement: my old high school!

It went fabulous! There was great chemistry, lots of connections and they officially accepted me to become their intern.

I am thrilled for so many reasons.

First, it is a wonderful school with a really good counseling program. There are currently 3 other counselors there for me to learn from.

Second, for me, this is a huge turning point in becoming a counselor. Two years ago, I remember thinking, "I could NEVER work at my old high school.... I'd never be respected... I'd never know what I was doing.... I would be so intimidated." But one day, things changed; I realized I can do this and that it would probably even be fun to be back at my old school! I have no idea who of my old teachers are still there, but there are several girls that I know that work there now.

Third, its in a GREAT school system, a different system from my last two placements, and still only 35 minutes from my house. No different than what I've been driving for the past 4 years.

Finally, there could possibly be an open position there.... possibly! I don't know for sure, and I don't think the counselors there even know for sure, but just the possibility is exciting enough for me.

I start on May 11 for my last internship of my graduate program!

I'm still very much praying and asking God to keep preparing me for where he wants me to be after August.

In the meantime, I have 2 power points and 2 papers left for this semester along with my current internship, but once those papers and power points are out of the way, I should have ZERO assignments left before graduation. Seriously.... zero!

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Blog Love

PLEASE go visit one of my life-long best friend's brothers' blogs. Allen is in Uganda right now, into his 2nd week being a missionary and his journey is amazing and hilarious.

Also, today is my beautiful cousin Ivy's birthday!!!
She is expecting my very first 2nd cousin (I'm pretty good at making things about me :) I am thrilled for her and wish her a wonderful birthday weekend today. Not only do I get to call her family, but she is also one of my very best friends. I can't imagine life without her. Go show some love on her blog and wish her a Happy Birthday too!
*And one of these days when I have more than 12 seconds, I need to tell ya'll about internship & almost being 27... yes, we're within under the 3 week mark.*

Monday, April 5, 2010

Professional Portraits

Ben and I signed up to have our professional pictures taken for our church directory this year (we tried to avoid it last time and were caught at the 4th of July party and had to be 'inserted' into the directory with a not so great this time around I just went the easy route).

Well, it started off by me missing our appointment. Should have been a sign.

It was at 6:30 and we left the house at 6:50 for bible study.


When I got there they said they'd get us when they had an open spot.

Fast forward to 9pm.

I'm glad they fit us in afterall, but with my lack of planning, we weren't dressed for pictures AT ALL.

The lady was asking Ben to put his right hand here and his left hand there, do the hokey pokey and.... not really.... but it was so awkward that all Ben could think about was how he did NOT want to end up HERE.

The result?

A whole lot of this....

They even tried to get us to buy them!

For a measly $32 PER PHOTO!!!!!!! WHA?!

I told them, "Sorry, I just got out of Dave Ramsey's class and he would NOT approve."

Someone PLEASE tell me next time it is time to cut my hair! Yikes!

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Getting to Know You Sunday

While I'm awake...

1. Showers or baths?

I LOVE baths, but we don't have a large enough water heater to take one, so its been a few years....

2. Do you have any crazy urges?

Besides the one to eat anything & everything chocolate?

Sometimes I want to open the car door going down the interstate at 70mph.

3. What is one thing we don't know about you?

Uh... if you don't know it, I probably left it out on purpose, but let me think....

My mom had an IUD the entire time she was pregnant with me.

So much for birth control.

4. it or hate it?

Both. I love exercise classes AFTER I've finished it. I hate going to the gym though.

5. Do you think you have a good body image?

Currently, I have the "if only I could lose 10lbs" body image. But, yeah, I'd say its okay.

6. Flour or corn tortillas?


7. How do you celebrate Easter?

With a church service and spending time with Ben and his mom.

8. Hard boiled Easter eggs or plastic eggs?

Next year I'm doing both.

I LOVE Easter egg hunts, but apparently its not very appropriate for a 26, almost 27 year old to be knocking down the toddlers for their Easter eggs, so next year I told the middle school kids at church I'd give them an Easter egg hunt!

Maybe we'll even die eggs too :)

Easter Auction

This was part of our Sunday School lesson we taught the middle school class today. I thought I would share.

I hope you all had a Blessed day!

Easter Auction

Years ago, there was a very wealthy man who, with his devoted young son, shared a passion for art collecting. Together they traveled around the world, adding only the finest art treasures to their collection. Priceless works by Picasso, Van Gogh, Monet and many others adorned the walls of the family estate. The widowed elder man looked on with satisfaction, as his only child became an experienced art collector. The son's trained eye and sharp business mind caused his father to beam with pride as they dealt with art collectors around the world.

As winter approached, war engulfed the nation, and the young man left to serve his country. After only a few short weeks, his father received a telegram. His beloved son was missing in action. The art collector anxiously awaited more news, fearing he would never see his son again.

Within days, his fears were confirmed. The young man had died while rushing a fellow soldier to a medic. Distraught and lonely, the old man faced the upcoming Easter holidays with anguish and sadness. The joy of the season, a season that he and his son had so looked forward to, would visit his house no longer.

On Easter morning, a knock on the door awakened the depressed old man. As he walked to the door, the masterpieces of art on the walls only reminded him that his son was not coming home. As he opened the door, he was greeted by a soldier with a large package in his hand.

He introduced himself to the man by saying, "I was a friend of your son. I was the one he was rescuing when he died. May I come in for a few moments? I have something to show you."

As the two began to talk, the soldier told of how the man's son had told everyone of his father's love of fine art. "I'm an artist,"said the soldier, "and I want to give you this." As the old man unwrapped the package, the paper gave way to reveal a portrait of the man's son. Though the world would never consider it the work of a genius, the painting featured the young man's face in striking detail.

Overcome with emotion, the man thanked the soldier, promising to hang the picture above the fireplace. A few hours later, after the soldier had departed, the old man set about his task. True to his word, the painting went above the fireplace, pushing aside thousands of dollars of paintings. And then the man sat in his chair and spent Easter gazing at the gift he had been given. During the days and weeks that followed, the man realized that even though his son was no longer with him, the boy's life would live on because of those he had touched. He would soon learn that his son had rescued dozens of wounded soldiers before a bullet stilled his caring heart. As the stories of his son's gallantry continued to reach him, fatherly pride and satisfaction began to ease the grief. The painting of his son soon became his most prized possession, far eclipsing any interest in the pieces for which museums around the world clamored. He told his neighbors it was the greatest gift he had ever received. The following spring, the old man became ill and passed away. The art world was in anticipation.

With the collector's passing, and his only son dead, those paintings would be sold at an auction. According to the will of the old man, all of the art works would be auctioned on Easter day, the day he had received his greatest gift.

The day soon arrived and art collectors from around the world gathered to bid on some of the world's most spectacular paintings. Dreams would be fulfilled this day; greatness would be achieved as many would claim "I have the greatest collection." The auction began with a painting that was not on any museum's list. It was the painting of the man's son. The auctioneer asked for an opening bid. The room was silent.

"Who will open the bidding with $100?" he asked.

Minutes passed. No one spoke. From the back of the room came, "Who cares about that painting? It's just a picture of his son. Let's forget it and go on to the good stuff." More voices echoed in agreement.

"No, we have to sell this one first," replied the auctioneer. "Now, who will take the son?"

Finally, a friend of the old man spoke. "Will you take ten dollars for the painting? That's all I have. I knew the boy, so I'd like to have it."

"I have ten dollars. Will anyone go higher?" called the auctioneer. After more silence, the auctioneer said, "Going once, going twice. Gone." The gavel fell.

Cheers filled the room and someone exclaimed, "Now we can get on with it and we can bid on these treasures!" The auctioneer looked at the audience and announced the auction was over.

Stunned disbelief quieted the room. Someone spoke up and asked, "What do you mean it's over? We didn't come here for a picture of some old guy's son. What about all of these paintings? There are millions of dollars of art here! I demand that you explain what's going on here!"

The auctioneer replied, "It's very simple. According to the will of the father, whoever takes the son...gets it all!"

Just as those art collectors discovered on that Easter day, the message is still the same-the love of a Father-a Father whose greatest joy came from His Son who went away and gave his life rescuing others. And because of that Father's love...whoever takes the Son gets it all.

Country Livin'

When Ben and I got engaged we (I) went house hunting. I found our perfect house, but couldn't get back to it. The roads were windy and most of them did not have street signs. God knew we should live there because when we asked a realtor to show us around, she brought us to the very house (frame) I picked out.

Our house is half-way between two cities: Birmingham and Tuscaloosa. Ben works in Tuscaloosa and at the time I was in Birmingham. 30 minute drive either way. I love where we live. It is just far enough from the city that taxes are lower, houses are a little cheaper and we're in the country. But, it is close enough that I can drive 15 minutes to the grocery store or 30 to a mall.

One fabulous thing about living in the middle of nowhere is there is no fast food! If you want to eat out, it has to be a trip. There isn't any running to the corner to pick up a sandwich or order a pizza.

In fact, if we want to order a pizza we have to meet Domino's at the nearest truck stop. Yep.

So we don't eat out often, Dave Ramsey would be happy.

However, we're getting big time!

We're getting a Loves Truck Stop. We probably don't NEED another truck stop, but they didn't really ask me one way or another, so up it goes.

Well... I was driving by the other day and saw this sign going up....


I would certainly prefer it to be a Chick-Fil-A and a Jimmy Johns if it HAS to be fast food, but I am not happy about fast food moving into our neighborhood one bit!

While I'm at it, I'll also enlighten you to some good and bad things about country livin':

We have 9 lakes! (This is one of the smallest ones, but it has a cute picnic area and fishing area for kids)No one tells you you cannot have roosters....... (No, this is not MY rooster)

....or move into your Home Depot shed if you please. (The real one in this story is not nearly this cute.)You can have whatever mailbox you desire. (Just in case you thought this was my latest purchase... again, not mine.)

You don't even have to clean the mold off of your house!

Or clean up your broke-down swimming pool.

(Ben would not let me take pictures of these... he was worried I'd get shot. Use your imagination!)

You can see the stars at night and hear the frogs & crickets when the sun goes down.

Its usually 5 -10 degrees cooler!

Ben can work as loud, as early or as late as he wants to on his buggy and no one gets upset.

So, as long as I don't develop a new love of McDonalds or Subway (doing great so far) then my country livin' shouldn't be interrupted too badly.
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