Friday, December 31, 2010

around the house and under the tree

Just wanted to share a few pics from the "around the house and under the tree" shower for Lauren and Glenn. Our good friends, Butch and Roy and Mary Elizabeth and Chris were the hosts and hostesses for the party. Butch is 15 years younger than my mother-in-law and 15 years older than I and I am 15 years older than Mary Elizabeth. We think that is such a neat connection because we are all friends!! Butch and my mother-in-law have traveled the world together and Mary Elizabeth was our baby-sitter for years and years and years. We consider them family! Roy has a "man-cave" in their basement and Roy is a die-hard Alabama football fan . . .but for this party, he lovingly (probably not willingly) cleaned his man-cave and decorated in orange and blue. You can't tell but these lights in the antlers are orange!!
This is the man-cave and what is really funny is that all of the women loved the room! You have to understand that on the night of the shower . . .the Heisman trophy was being awarded and "our" man, Cam was in the running and won. The recent Auburn graduates gathered in the man-cave to watch the awards. It was so funny because they have HD TV upstairs and they cheered and 2 seconds before the announcement came on downstairs. I had no idea that could happen - faster signal!!

I tried to get a picture for our Christmas cards . . .and this would have been it but for the first time in 24 years, I didn't mail a single card. Makes me really sad actually.
There were stockings hung on the fireplace . . .and not just any stockings but Auburn stockings monogrammed with Lauren and Glenn's names.

Here is a great picture of Lauren and Glenn with Butch (on the left) and Mary Elizabeth on the right. Laura and Glenn always called her "Miss" Mary and we sometimes find ourselves calling her that now!! We love these two ladies.

Great picture of Glenn with Bill Arnold (known fondly as Papa Bear) and Kevin and Kaylor. Looking over the pictures from different parties, I realize once again how blessed we are by good friends.

Here is a picture of our sweet Laura. That is Jen with her. She and Jen were in the same sorority and were roommates two of the years they were in Auburn. Jen is engaged to marry Jonathan Blocker, one of Glenn's good friends.

Here is a shot of the group watching Glenn and Lauren open their gifts. It was a cute idea - each invitation had a different room and you were to buy a gift for that room. They received some wonderful gifts. I have been overwhelmed by the generosity of folks.

We were thrilled that Guy and Phella could be a part of the evening. They are two of the best friends you could ever have. You can see Butch in the comfy chair and she is laughing - she and Mary Elizabeth both make us laugh!!

Bill is Papa Bear and Gayle is Mama Bear. I have no idea when and why Glenn started calling them by those names but the names stuck. Gayle looks amazed at something they were opening.

Thought I would throw in at least one picture of Glenn and Lauren opening their gifts. What a fun night spent with fun friends.

Thursday, December 30, 2010


I was working on my Sunday school lesson today so I was thinking about resolutions . . .do you make resolutions? do you keep them? Several years ago, a John Wesley class member said that he never ever made resolutions so now I try to think of them as something other than resolutions. Improvements? Windows for God to work in my life, perhaps? If I were to make a list of "whatever we want to call them", it would be something like this: 1. Jesus, others, self . . . (the original was Jesus, others, yourself - J.O.Y.)
2. Speaking of Jesus . . .I need/want to spend more time with him this year - in Bible study and through the young adult study and in my prayer time. I've been spending more time on my knees this year - going to Mouat Chapel to pray . . .need to do that more often. I want to allow Him to lead me rather than continually dragging him along behind me. I want to seek His advice and guidance before I start off on MY own adventures. I want to experience the joy of the Lord every single day.
3. Regarding others . . .I need/want to serve others more. Mark serves at the Firehouse Shelter every other month. I don't have a regular service project now that we aren't sewing as much for Baby Love. But I'm not sure when I would carve that time out of my day. I serve within the church - teach Sunday School, cook for the young adults and facilitate . . .but what about outside the walls of the church?
4. Self . . .A wise woman said to me, "You have to take care of yourself because no one else can do that for you." Laura and I have started Weight Watchers once again - we decided to beat the New Year's rush. I wasn't going to tell many people but accountability is good. I've been trying to ride my stationary bike more often. I need to rest more often - read a book, take a nap. I NEED to laugh a lot every single day. I want to have a positive attitude about life in general. I want to blog on a more regular basis and I want to start scrapbooking again. Where do the hours in the day go?
5. Friends - that would fit under others and self . . .because I can't exist without my friends. Oh - I guess that I could . . .but it would be a sad existence. I could make a list of friends and tell you what each one means to me . . .but if I did that, I would surely forget to mention someone and hurt their feelings and I don't want to start the new year off doing that!! I will say that I have been blessed with some of the most incredible friends on the planet . . .and I hope to show them how much they mean to me during this next year. I want to say, "I love you" more often.
6. I know that I should say something like, "this year, I'm going to save lots of money" but I know me and that is not going to happen. I love spending it way too much. This year, I am going to have our pledge to the church cut out of my paycheck (you can do that when you work in a church!) so that I'm not playing "catch-up" from October through December. That is one wise financial decision for the new year.
7. I know that I should say things like, "I'm going to keep a more organized/cleaner home and office" but I've decided life is too short for that. I just need it organized enough so that I can find stuff and not be frantic.
8. I want to be the best wife/mother/mother-in-law/daughter-in-law/sister that I can be. That one is hard . . .the "selfish" Lisa wants her way all the time :-) but the "made in the image of Christ" Lisa knows that is not the right way.
9. I really want to be the best membership secretary there has ever been - the Shelby (our database) QUEEN (ok - I just added this one for the laugh . . .but actually, I really do want to be the best I can be using the gifts and strengths that God has given me.)
10. I'm going to stop making lists - hahahaha! that is not going to happen!! I just wanted a number 10 on my list. I could lie and say that I will give up Diet Pepsi this year but that is not going to happen either.

I'm sure that I have many more thoughts about this . . .but my brain shuts down around 9:00 p.m. and it is now 9:35 p.m. . .so I think I'll stop for now.

Are you going to change anything for the new year? Are you going to allow God to be at work in your life this year? I would love to hear your thoughts!!

Whipped cream - the old fashioned way!

Just wanted to share this picture. This is an old fashioned hand mixer!!! Mark was in charge of the whipped cream at his mother's house. I'm going to be honest - it was quite amazing (granted, it doesn't take a lot to entertain me!). It only took a few minutes for this to be whipped into a beautiful mound of whipped cream!

awww. . .they are so sweet!!

I love this picture! This is Susie, Mark's sister and her husband, Bob. They live in Delaware and we only get to see them a couple of times a year. I wish they lived closer - I think we would hang out together!! They are both three years younger than I. They are both engineers but for now, Susie is a mostly a "stay-at-home" mom - actually, she is a Math tutor and also substitutes in the higher math classes at their local high school. They are great parents - they have three wonderful boys. Anyway, I'm glad that were able to spend a little time with them over the holidays and I'm glad that they will be back for the wedding in January!!!

Sunday, December 26, 2010

King of Kings

Every year, I try to come up with a different gift for each family in our Sunday School class. I've made 9 bean soup mix, I've bought nativity sets, I've bought ornaments. Last year, I had a mold "cast" and made crosses for everyone. This year, Laura was my painter!!!!! I bought the ornaments and paint pens and Laura painted them for me. . .all 50 of them!!
Then I bought shredded paper and ribbon and clear bags and made them into a "gift." I couldn't have done it without Laura!! Good thing about being a middle-aged mom ...having a "grown" talented daughter!!

Is my sweater tacky? Or It's not a sin to gamble if I win AND if I tithe!!

I just sat down today to look at various blogs and oh my goodness, I didn't realize how far behind I am!! The last two weeks have been crazy fun - a whirlwind of activity. We hosted the Trinity Young Professionals Christmas party at our house. This is the group that comes every week for Bible Study - they are all in their 20's (ish), not married and out of college. We LOVE them so much. They wanted to have a tacky Christmas party and so we did! Everyone brought goodies to share and we had a great time. Here is a pic of Holly and Will at the kitchen table. Holly's sweatshirt had actual silk flowers "flattened" and attached . . .pretty tacky.
Here is Meg. I swear . . .I think I remember someone really wearing that sweater at some point in my life (not me, I promise!)

Shay has on some great antlers!

Meredith raided her mother's old sweaters - she even wore GOLD shoes! Kelly has some cute antlers, too!

Mark and Morgan Leigh posing for the camera. They both love to laugh!!

Getting ready to play dirty santa. . .

Shay "stole" my apron . . .made a cute outfit!

Kelly picked this package because of the "alabama roll tide" check! I love Meg's expression in this picture.

Holly opened her gift . . .and it was a Harlequin romance. We continued with the party and every once in a while, we would realize that Holly was reading the book!!

Here is Laura with her second "gift" . . . her "hide your kids, hide your wife" t-shirt. She didn't get to keep it!!!
Shay got an old book!

Lamar got the t-shirt next and we dared him to wear it to work . . .wonder if he did?

I think that Will's gift was one of the funniest of all. He got a pink "slanket" (knock off of a snuggie) and he is so tall that it only came to his knees. He paraded around as if he was an old woman with a "fake" cigarette. He then grabbed the Harlequin romance and the bingo wheel. . .just like an old woman.

This group is so good for us. We laugh so hard when we are with them. They keep us young! Thanks be to God for such a good group of young adults.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Night in Bethlehem

Night in Bethlehem is one of my favorite nights of the year!! Our church started this a few years ago (this was year three) and I LOVE it!! I've worked all three years but this year was extra special . . .one of the young women in our church called (or emailed?) Mark and asked him if he would work also! We agreed to be greeters (OUTSIDE greeters) to the town of Bethlehem. Who knew when we agreed and it was still 70 degrees outside . . .that an Arctic front would blast through Birmingham and it would be about 15 or 20 degrees outside that night???? Here we are in the costume room. Mark had on long johns (top and bottom) and another long sleeve shirt and a fleece vest and jeans under his "dress." I had on a couple of shirts and jeans and two pair of socks. We were prepared!! I think this picture should be saved . . .possibly for blackmail purposes. This is Dave . . .one of our pastors! He was the wicked tax collector. When we first arrived at Bethlehem, we were there for a census (remember the story??) . . .to be counted! So we stopped at the first booth and were counted . . . and then we had to pay our taxes before we could wander around the marketplace. This year's chair, Wendy, did an amazing job - the decorations and scenery were awesome. There was an "urchin" (young boy) who held the money bag!

This was the mosaic booth. You can see a heart mosaic in the upper left corner of the picture. Our friend, Celia, was working in this booth.

Our youth pastor, David, was in the potter's tent . . .actually making little pots.

Tim is such a good shepherd . . .in many ways actually! He was the shepherd "in the field" not too far from the stable.

Laura was fascinated (as were folks of all ages) by the animals in the stable!!

Look who we found - Mary and Joseph and baby Jesus . . .outside in the stable because there was no room for them in the inn (that would be the Wolfe (our senior pastor's name) and Bee Inn). Yes, it was freezing cold outside but baby Jesus was "played" by many different babies - each mother and child only worked 30 minute shifts and they had those babies swaddled in many layers. I am a grown woman and I realize that this is just a "portrayal" but it takes my breath away and brings tears to my eyes because it makes "it real." It allows me for just a moment to think how it might have been.

Another photo of our lovely farm animals. This is in an interior courtyard . . .the animal folks bring those critters and they have to get them through the building and out into the courtyard. Pretty amazing if you ask me!

There were angels singing and making music for Baby Jesus. That, too, brings tears to my eyes.

I love Night in Bethlehem. I love it enough that I would be willing to bundle up and stand out in the cold again and greet folks as they arrive at Bethlehem. Mark said that he wants to work in the Baklava booth next year :-) An amazing night for many - over 700 folks came to Bethlehem to be counted!!

Pizza & PB&J & laughter

I cannot tell you how much we love this group of young adults that comes to our home on Tuesday nights. They are all so special to us!!! Our study has ended but last week we gathered together and ate pizza and then made peanut butter and jelly sandwiches - 100 of them - for the Church of the Reconciler (a United Methodist Church located in downtown Birmingham - many homeless folks are members of the church and they serve many homeless folks a meal every single day). Here is a group of folks in the dining room - Laura and Mary Ellen and Jenny and Elisabeth and Meredith and Amy.
This was unusual - the guys were all in the kitchen! Daniel and Lamar and Keith were at the kitchen table and look who is right in the middle of them -- Mark is right in the middle of them talking about hunting and fishing!! Christie was the only girl at the kitchen table!! (remember earlier in the year . . .we bought this table . . .best money we've spent . . .I love having enough seating for at least 8 in the kitchen!!)

Here is one group working on their PB&J sandwiches . . .Mark is eating dessert as he watches! The groups were "sort of" competing with each other - to see who could make the most sandwiches the fastest.

Here is the other group!

Some of them had never heard of putting peanut butter on both insides of the bread to keep the sandwiches from getting soggy!!

Mark loaded all the sandwiches into my car and my car smelled like a giant peanut butter factory!

It is a good feeling to know that someone had a sandwich . . .who might have been hungry otherwise.
Matthew 25:35-40
35 For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, 36 I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.’
37 “Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? 38 When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? 39 When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’
40 “The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’

Monday, December 13, 2010

Glenn had a birthday, too - yes, he did!

If you look back several posts, you will see all the pictures of Laura's birthday . . .well, since Glenn and Laura are twins . . . yes, Glenn had a birthday, too. He was home for Thanksgiving weekend but there was never time to celebrate and I had grieved over this fact!! On Friday, Glenn and Lauren came home to Birmingham for a wedding shower and they didn't arrive until very late . . .but I had one of Glenn's favorites waiting for him - homemade banana pudding - not made with pudding from a box :-) Laura wasn't home (she was dog/house sitting) but Mark and I even sang happy birthday to our grown boy! I'll bet you've never seen a banana pudding birthday cake including candles before!! Happy birthday - several weeks late - Glenn - we love you!!

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

I went kicking and screaming . . .

Months ago, we (some folks at Trinity) found out that Beth Moore was coming to Birmingham. We ordered tickets on line and I thought, "this will be great." As time passed and December was approaching, I began to have second thoughts. A good friend had been recently diagnosed with breast cancer and several other things had happened and I thought, "I don't want to go." I was feeling a little distant from God (and we all know who moved . . .not HIM). Anyway, we went - a carload of us. And God met us there. He is so amazing. Here is a picture of beautiful mother and daughter!! I'm so glad that we had an extra ticket that someone donated and that Lauren was home from nursing school to go with her momma. On Friday night, we couldn't all sit together. A few rows behind us . .. my mother-in-law and her friend, Carole and my sister-in-law, Alice. Shelley and I were sitting on a row in between all of them.

Friday night began with praise and worship music. There were 13,900 women in that coliseum from 30 different states and Canada and Puerto Rico. Can you just imagine how songs sound sung by that many women? Let me just tell you . . .amazing! Kay Arthur was the speaker on Friday night. She told us that a large portion of our country "claims" to be Christian . . .but if so, why are we in the mess we are in. The deep south has the highest percentage of folks who claim to be Christians (does that surprise anyone?). I think the highest was Shreveport, LA and 98% of those folks are Christians. Birmingham was next with 96%. I think it is cool to live in a place where one of the first questions we ask folks is "Where do you go to church?" Anyway, I thought Kay had some great points. There were a few things she said through the course of the weekend that I'm not sure I totally agree with . . .in my head, I was thinking that I have become a hard-core Methodist over the years. Don't ask me about what I disagreed with . . .because the only thing I can remember is that she said that the pastor of a church should only be a man. (If you agree with her, you have a right to your opinion just as much as I have a right to mine). Anyway, we finished up and piled back into my trusty SUV - Sylvia the Silver Explorer (yes, we name our cars). I had looked at a map of the civic center and plotted our parking plan. Since we had two older ladies with us, I wanted to make sure that they didn't have to climb 100 steps. We were able to pay just $8.00 and park directly across a flat street. I said to our group that if I didn't do anything else really good for a while, that I had done something really good figuring out our parking situation! After dropping everyone off, I drove home and crashed because we had to get up early on Saturday morning. Little did I know. God was going to meet me in a mighty way.
The doors opened at 7:30 and we were in our seats by about 7:40 (yes, that is a.m.) and we were able to all sit together on Saturday. We tried to save seats for some of our other friends but after turning away a good many people, we decided that we couldn't hold them any longer. I'm so glad that they all walked over to see us later. The morning opened with a devotion by Kelly Minter (I think that is her name) and it was good. We had more praise and worship music which was incredible. Then Priscilla Shirer got up to speak. Oh my goodness. In my metho-baptist vocabulary, I don't even have the right words to describe what went on. She was anointed by the Holy Spirit - she was a beacon of light - she was God's messenger. She is cute and funny and insightful and she seems so wise to be so young. God is using her in a mighty way. As a matter of fact, I always say that I'm not a "crier" but I was wiping tears off the bottom of my face for almost the entire hour and a half that she spoke. I am going to order one of her studies for the church and maybe we can offer it next year sometime. She put on a quiver with five arrows in it and she talked about how we have a tendency to lay three down and say, "look God - I gave you THREE WHOLE arrows (our arrows are whatever we need to lay down). But in reality, we should be laying down all five arrows - we should be the Sisterhood of the Empty Quiver. I love that thought. We should totally empty ourselves out - not hold back with God. He will keep filling up our quiver. She also talked about being the friend who is the encourager - about standing in the gap and praying for our friends and encouraging them along the way. Good stuff - really good stuff.
We had pre-ordered box lunches and the pick up was right outside our seats so that was easy. Alice and I tried to go to the "bookstore" area during the lunch break to see if we could purchase a Travis Cottrell CD . . .but I think all 13,900 women were in the bookstore area at the same time. I think they all tried to go to the bathroom at the same time also! They had turned all the men's restrooms (except one) into women's restrooms and there were still really long lines.
After lunch, Beth Moore spoke to us about Luke 2. She talked about our "treasures" in life. It was wonderful. As a matter of fact, I was scheduled to be the speaker for one of the women's circles on Monday. I had purchased a Christmas book to read to them . . .but God had other plans. He kept nudging and kept nudging and finally, I wrote a Circle program on Monday morning using Beth Moore's notes (yes, I gave her lots of credit!!). She is so cute and I can imagine being friends with her!! She has a way of sharing God's message that makes you think she is speaking directly to you and it is evident that she has been speaking with God.
I forgot to tell you about how they opened the afternoon session. They had these glass panels out in a hallway (I never actually saw them in the hallway but read about them in the program or on the screen). They asked folks to come and write their thoughts - like what they wanted to get out of the conference. Some people also wrote prayer requests. Some men rolled those giant panels up onto the stage during the lunch break and when the afternoon session opened, this is what we saw. Please excuse the pictures - they were taken with Mark's little hunting camera and I didn't know how to turn off the flash, etc. If you look closely at the top of the panels, you can see writing . . .things that people had written on the glass boards.
There was a young man inside the panels. He had a small paint roller and a white substance like paint. He started rolling over the writing and after the first stroke or two, I could tell he was making a picture. This took quite some time because he did the same exact thing on all four panels. We were singing praise and worship music during this time. When he finished, there was a tree on each panel. You can see that they changed the light color. Not only did they change the color, but thunder sounded and rain started to fall down the panels. Then leaves appeared on the trees and the trees flourished. Then snow started to fall and all the leaves fell off the trees. It was amazing! I wish they had taken the time to explain it better. The tree was the symbol for the conference (deeper still - roots?). I assumed it meant that our roots are in Christ and no matter the season of our life, God is with us through it all.

ok - this has to be my longest blog post ever . . .but just two more pictures - here is the jumbo tron with a picture of Kay Arthur, Beth Moore and Priscilla Shirer . . .I was a little bit star struck by them. Their faith is just so incredible.

Also, you can see from these pictures just how many women were in that place. It was an awesome experience to worship with that many women. Beth Moore came down off the stage and was walking around talking to folks. I don't know if you can see it in this tiny picture, but the folks sitting in the chairs on the floor all have their cameras and phones in their hands. They were getting up close and personal pictures of Beth Moore! (I guess I wasn't the only one who was star struck!!)

Well, I did indeed go kicking and screaming and moaning and groaning. Yes, I had a bad attitude. God continues to amaze me with His grace. He pours it out on each one of us. I left - not kicking and screaming but jumping with joy, filled with His grace. Great weekend. Great way to begin Advent.