November 22, 2011

Thanksgiving and house makeover

So, of course life is always busy around the holidays and this year is no exception. Getting married has added to all the chaos of it as well. This past weekend, I moved out of my little house in Cahaba Heights where I shared a home with 2 roommates and into my sweet friend Kristina's house a couple miles down the road. I also moved ALL of my furniture and other stuff to Stephen's (Kristina already had a guest room with everything I need for 3 months). With the help of two wonderful people, Chip and Kate, Stephen and I were able to move my furniture and organize the house! Ah, relief. There is still a TON to do-finish up the paint in the bathroom, paint the laundry room, find a home for everything, clean out and give to Goodwill, etc. Thankfully though, the guest room is set up and new pillows, mattress pad and furniture is in there (even have pictures of the bedside tables), the master bedroom is full of furniture and organized, kitchen is clean and pots and pans put away and the laundry room now holds my washer and dryer!

Here we are priming the bedroom and the finished product.

I am getting settled in to Kristina's home and starting to get pumped up about Thanksgiving break! Stephen and I are going to Mobile to see the rest of my family and celebrate my dad's 60th birthday!! We also have our first pre-martial counseling session this coming weekend too!

Last night, my small group, a couple girls from another Brook Hills small group and Stephen's small group got together for a Thanksgiving feast! We ate turkey, ham, dressing, sweet potato casseroles, mac n cheese, green beans rolls and 7 different kinds of desserts! It was so much fun and a blessing to hang out with fellow believers and get to know each other! I had so much fun it was hard to leave! Thanks Mikey for hosting at your house!

Okay, okay back to work. It's been nice blogging again! Catch you all on the flip side!

October 25, 2011

Ruth - an epic tale of redemption

Ruth. She need a redeemer. Her past was not clean and her future was not certain. Yet, she trusted the love of the one who redeemed her.

Did you know that there are only 2 (count them, two) books in the bible named after women - and Ruth is the only non-Jewish woman. I say this book must have something significant for us based upon this fact. Here is a Moabite woman (In early Old Testament, Lot had relations with his daughter and moved to Moab, which became know as a land full of sexual immorality and a dark land) who is seen as nothing, has nothing - no family to way to provide for herself. Ruth lost her husband, brother in law, Father in law, and was left as a widow with her widowed mother in law Naomi. Ruth clings to Noami and refuses to leave her. In this day in age, following a widow means no security, no family, no income, no provision. Ruth - an outsider. Destitute. But to Naomi, Ruth showed unexpected loyalty by insisting on staying with her.

"Where you go, I will go. Where you lodge, I will lodge. Your people shall be my people and you God my God. Where you die, I will die and here I will be buried".

The story continues of as Ruth and Naomi travel to Bethlehem for work and for food. We see Naomi broken, desperately pleading to God about why she has experienced such sorrow. We see as Ruth goes out and picks up grain in a field of Boaz, he approaches her and seeks after her. He falls in love with her immediately-he becomes her protector and provides her with food and security. Through Boaz, Ruth is redeemed.

What a picture of Christ and his people! Here we are, with nothing and worth nothing and yet Christ saved us from death! Oh, sing praises! My heart yearns for Him!

Jesus alone has the right to redeem us. He is divine over us and he is human like us. Jesus alone has the resources to redeem us- he has power over sin and he has authority over death! (He is like us in every way except one, he is sinless. To save us from our sin, he must have no sin. If he was sinful, he must as well be saved from sin).

Boaz was the one who could redeem Ruth. To be redeemed in that time she must be redeemed by the closest kin. For Ruth to be redeemed, Boaz must have the right to redeem her, he must have resources to redeem her and he must have the resolve (want) to redeem her. Ah, can't you just see it? The love story of these people as a reflection of the love story of Christ and his church!

Jesus alone has the resolve to redeem us. He seeks us as his own, he saves us by his mercy and her serves us at his table.

Thank you Lord. Thank you for reminding me daily of the redemption through the blood of your son, for forgiving our trespasses, according to the riches of your grace you have given to us!

October 19, 2011

Autumn sky

Morning. Some days it comes so early I can hardly stir from the comfort of my sheets and the warmness of my bed. This morning was no different than most. I opened my eyes to the darkness and stillness of my room. Wesley had already left for her workday at the hospital and Heather in New Orleans.

Mornings like this one remind me of mornings in my dorm room in college. I would wake up to the slight chill in the air and snuggle deep back down. Except waking up is a bit different now. I don't have a cheery roommate who rolls her desk chair across the floor and says a cheery "good morning" before we head off to class.

I wake up as an adult readying myself for work, still feeling like I am 18.

It's an exciting chapter in my life. Soon my mornings will look different again, something new and different and comfortable.

So, this morning when I woke up, it didn't look different from most mornings. The chill was in the air, my eyes opened to darkness. But every morning I remember to rejoice in each stage of life, each opportunity to wake up and live in awe of Christ.

October 17, 2011

Kisses from Katie

Katie Davis came to our church last night. If you are unframiliar with her, let me catch you up on her story. Katie grew up in Brentwood Tennessee and moved to Uganda right after graduating high school for 10 months to teach kindergarten. What she didn't know at that time, was God's plan for her was a little more than a 10 month commitment. Katie lives in Uganda raising her 13 adopted daughters, running Amizama Ministries. She has a new book out called Kisses from Katie. Please check it out and her blog as well to see all the amazing things God is doing in this world and in the lives of so many.

My heart is overwhelmed by the joy and love she has for God's people. I am so blessed to be a part of God's family and to see his works around me.

Today, as I sit at my computer, my soul longs further for Christ, for serving him and for teaching his truth. So often, (let's be honest, all the time) I am consumed with what I want for my life, what I should do, what I do to advance, what can the world do for me. My heart is consumed by the sin and ugliness of this world and the things around me (material possessions, career advancement, me-minded thoughts). God, I cry out to you, my soul thirsts for YOU. You command us to be obedient, you don't ask. I long for your will and I praise your name to the ends of the earth.

October 11, 2011

My wedding dress

What a fun time I had with my Mom and sister this past Saturday! Whoo-wee we were busy!

Saturday morning I woke up and met my Mom and Kami at my house and we headed to Pottery Barn (I picked out our bedding) and went to lunch just in time to make it to The White Room in Cahaba Heights at noon.

Amazingly, I FOUND MY DRESS! It was more perfect than I could have imagined. I cried the entire time I had it on:) Tears of joy of course! I can't describe it (my fiance reads this blog) but in 5 months I can share pictures of it! Boom. I also found my veil-it matches perfectly.

When we left, we went to look for the wedding book (got it from Wedding, Etc. in SoHo) and stopped to get coffee at O'Henrys.

Finally, we ended up at Bella Bridesmaid and picked out a beautiful artic blue bridesmaid dress by Jenny Yoo. Ah, done again. I also found a gorgeous dress for after rehearsal/honeymoon, etc.

Sunday, my Mom and I went back to confirm the bridesmaid dress and to lunch.

I am exhausted and ready to slow down a bit. :)

October 7, 2011

Friday afternoon in Atlanta office and weddng planning

So, I love our multiple offices for work. We have our HQ in Birmingham and our other offices in Atl, Mobile, Chattanooga and Charlotte. Today, my boss and I are in the Atlanta office for work and I just love it! Our employees here are so sweet and it's just a cool town to be in. We walked down to eat at the Terrace cafe, a couple of blocks form the office. Ah, good day!

Okay, new topic. Tomorrow Mom, Kami and I will be going to look for my wedding gown!! AHHH. 156 days til I get to marry Stephen! It feels like such a long time but I know in reality, it's not too far away. So far, we have booked the church, venue, flowers and cake. Now on to the photographer. My Mom has been such a huge help figuring out the logistics of it all! Thanks Mom!!

Stephen and I are now trying to decide on our honeymoon-we have an idea but I will let everyone know once its official!

We also have had fun looking for "our" house stuff and starting to Register! I can't believe there is so much to do, but its super fun!! We have no registered at Bed, Bath and Beyond, but will do other places a little closer to time. Let me tell you though, the scanner thingy is super cool and waaaaaaaayyyyyy to easy to use. HA!

We re also getting engagement photos on October 29th, just when the leaves start to change colors. I think we will be going to Historic Highland Avenue, downtown Birmingham. Seriously, I can't stop smiling thinking about it all!!!!!!!!! Okay, okay. Back to reality now.

Happy Friday!!

October 4, 2011


Wow, what a whirlwind of a weekend! I am so blessed to be marrying Stephen!! I can't wait to see what this journey will look like, and I am excited to see how we together can serve the Lord better.

So, the engagement story. I was thinking the engagement would happen on our one year anniversary-he threw me off! Friday night my good friend Lauren came in to town so the girls went to have a girls night and the boys were going to a movie-the robot wrestling one. So, I leave work (had a flu shot that day) and headed home to go to dinner. Heather and I headed to meet Lauren and Meredith at Taziki's and Wesley was getting off work to join us. We ate and had a merry ole time. We decided to go and get a Red box movie and head back to my mine and Hezzy's house to watch (Meredith said Amy Barrett was using their house). so, we proceed to red box where I take my precious time-suggesting we hit up two other red boxes since we didn't find anything we liked. Lauren very quickly shot down that suggestion and just get a movie (sorry, I didn't know Stephen was waiting). Let me back track a little and let you know Hezzy took my car to Old Navy to shop for a minute while we ran to red box. Meredith said she was going to text Hezzy to let her know where we were, but she texted me instead. The text was meant for Stephen. All it said was 5 minutes away, so of course I'm thinking she is texting Heather we are on our way back home in case she beat us there. Poor Meredith thought she ruined it. Not at all, things aren't obvious and don't add up til after everything was said and done.

Once we leave red box and head home, I get out of the car and Meredith drops her phone. Lauren stays back to help her and I walk to the door because I have dresses, food, purse, keys and phone all in my arms and I am going to put them down. So, I unlock the door and go to unlock the dead bolt and realize the dead bolt is unlocked (I remember watching Heather lock it) and open the door.

The first thing I see is Stephen's camera by our table going off, turn my head to the right and see Stephen in the middle of the room, candles on our coffee table and a beautiful large wooden box and posters of Europe displayed all over the room. I was so shocked and knew at that moment what was happening I stepped back out onto my porch and look back where Meredith and Lauren were (I cant see them because its so dark) and then step inside. Sweet Stephen called me to him and I immediately dropped all that I was holding and walked to him and hugged him. I was so excited and anxious and surprised he had to pull me off of him so he could ask me a question.

He then proceeded to say he loved me and "I can't wait any longer to do this". I said okay, he got down on one knee (I started crying) and asked me to marry him!!!!! I of course said yes!!! I could barely stand from it all so we sat down and he showed me the box saying he had another surprise. In the box was 8 letters he had written over the course of him planning our engagement (from asking my Dad, picking out the ring, etc). What a romantic! Then he asked if I could handle on more surprise. My family, his family and some of our friends were at his house waiting for us to come! My family and friends had known for weeks about our engagement and never spilled the beans! That's good, because I might have bugged some of them a lot!

I changed and we headed to his house where we were greeted by everyone with congratulations and best wishes! What an incredible night!!!

I am so excited to be marrying my best friend and love!! I am a blessed woman:)

Going to the chapel and were going to get married on MARCH 10th!!!!!!!!!!

September 23, 2011

T-ball season

Thursday night was my sweet nephew Andrew's second tball game ever. I must admit, I cried when I saw pictures from the game on Monday night and that I wasn't able to go (for good reason - small group at my house). So, Stephen and I headed to the ball field to watch Andrew

play. Now, truth be told, there really wasn't much playing as the game was concerned. Just more playing in the dirt and talking to everyone within ear shot. I laughed when Andrew was just chatting it up with the other teams players and more curious about the toy Austen was playing with than the game. Oh well, he's four.

At the ripe old age of 25

Last week was my birthday. And I turned 25. I remember being in 4th grade telling my Mom I would never make it past the 8th grade. And here I am, 11 year past my 8th grade year and still shocked how fast it has flown by.

My birthday was a grand day. I had a lovely, quiet day at work, then I got some wonderful birthday cards and gifts from my family, and a wonderful dinner out at The Melting Pot with my favorite man!

I am truly blessed in my life. Thanks everyone for the birthday well wishes! Love you all!!

September 7, 2011

Gray afternoon and a front porch

I got off work early yesterday (decided to go in at 6:45am) and headed home to enjoy a relaxing afternoon. If you haven't been in town the last couple of days, let me catch you up on the weather. It's been raining. :) I like rain-when I don't have to get out in it. It all started on Sunday. We haven't had rain in a couple of months and the heat has killed most of the grass in my front yard. I grew up in Mobile-so rain was a common occurrence almost daily. So, being in Birmingham, not much rain has fallen and we've experience a drought. Again, I like rain so this has made me a little mad. Yes, mad.

Anyway, I digress. SO, Sunday it started to rain and didn't stop until this morning (Wednesday). With the rain came cooler weather! In all this heat, a cool day is a wonderfully beautiful gift from God.
When I got home, I changed out of my work clothes and put on some yoga pants and a sweatshirt (2 of my favorite clothing attire pieces), got a cup of English tea and muffin and headed to the front porch. Now, granted it was still misting rain and the wind was blowing it on me, but the serenity of the afternoon was indescribable. I looked over my wet lawn at a tree that was stained darker by the rain which magnified the greenish leaves. I felt like I had stepped out of a novel and should take a mental picture of my view. A good book in hand didn't hurt either.

Thank you Lord, that afternoon was much appreciated!

This week's finds and a great dancing deal

This has been a week of new discovery for awesome blogs/website for deals in Birmingham.

In Atlanta they have this website called MealDeal. It is a website that works similar to Groupon or Living Social, but you pick the restaurant and find coupons for that day-a savings of 50%-90%. It's that simple. Well, it hasn't expanded to Birmingham yet, but if you add it to your email and to your friends, the faster it will get here. I am excited about this one!

The second site I found is called POSH Birmingham. This one is pretty neat as well. Again, works the same as Living Social or Groupon, but has it categorized by dining, shopping and indulgence. Basically, the deals don't change daily-only when it reaches it quantity limit. It's got great Birmingham hot spot deals-like Serendipity Boutique, Mountain High, Bottega Cafe, spas and Cafe de Paris. Pretty sweet.

The thing I am most excited though is a Living Social deal I got a couple of months ago. For those who know me well, or just a little too, you know I love to dance. It is embedded into my soul. I do flail about some, but I love all types of dance. Well, Living Social had a deal for 6 dance classes at Magic City Ballroom for group lessons! 6 classes for $13.00!! Can I get a YEAH! So, starting in the next week, Stephen and I (yup, got myself a dance partner) will be learning how to ballroom dance-everything from Rumba, Cha Cha, Line Dancing, Waltz, etc. This will definitely be memorable!

Til tomorrow!

September 1, 2011

Tea Time

In college, a bunch of us girls who lived in a place called The Castle would have tea time on a weekly basis on Wednesday afternoons. We would all gather together, sometimes 5 of us, something 25 and drink tea and have small pastries while we sat and chatted. There was even a t-shirt made for all who attended tea time. Those times are fun memories I hold form my apartment days off Magnolia Ave.

(The picture to the right is Becca and I after Adventures having tea with Matt in their home in Bristol)

Well, yesterday a new tea time tradition started(I hope it continues) at my house. My wonderful mission trip team came over for tea time. We had hot tea, cakes and scones and made some memories of our own. I had tea on afternoon at Becca and Matt's in Bristol, England and feel it is high time I do it again. We will gather around the table (or in this case, circle our chairs in the den), serve hot tea with creme and sugar, take bites of our scones (well, we don't have the correct English creme or actually scones, just English muffins-but they will do) and chatted about pleasant topics and topics that get our hearts racing. The only thing missing was our English halves.

The team of girls from left to right: Anna, Julie, Maria, Morgan, Nicole, Clara (missing Rachel)
The team of boys from left to right: Andrew, Brandon, Stephen and Nathan (missing Anthony)

August 31, 2011

A good book to read

Information by word of month is still heavily used. I know most of the world uses social media, which can lesson the time between receiving information and dispersing it, but word of mouth is still a large part of how information travel.

Let me dive into my topic of books. There are many good books and then there are great books. One in particular I heard by word of mouth (and now see in the move theatre and on social media outlets) is The Help.

What a incredible story about the 1960's from the perspective of African American maids and the women who employ them. I haven't even finished and I feel as though I have gotten to glimpse in a time where buses and water fountains were segregated, where Martin Luther King and the KKK were present and the world was changing. I have talked several time on the phone to my Mom about this era she grew up in, and the stories she remembers and what she saw in Mobile. I highly recommend this book!

As for some other books on my to read list:
Anything by Kristin Hannah (Firefly Lane, Night Road, Magic Hour, Home Again), The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins, books by Emily Griffin and whatever the library holds that will be intriguing.

Birmingham just got a 2nd and Charles-basically a used book store where you can turn in old books for money and purchase previously owned ones for very cheap - like a $1.00! I think I will be visiting there after work today. Also, all those books are on Kindle too!

Of course, there are many other books out there that are worth of a read, but I will dive into those another day....

August 23, 2011

Quiche, why haven't I tried you before

So yesterday (Monday) I went to our Atlanta office for work. I loved seeing our other branches and getting to put names and faces together.

But besides that, when I was riding back to Birmingham my co-workers and I began to talk about easy and yummy meals to make for dinner. So, quiche came up. I have hardly ever eaten quiche (any type) but hearing how simple they are to make and all the different ways you can make them, I decided to give it a try. So, I ran to Publix, bought spinach, eggs, cheese, milk and frozen pie crusts. I didn't quite know how to measure out portions, but I figured I would throw it all in and see how it worked out.

I used 2 frozen pie crusts, 2 cups of cheese, 1 frozen bag of chopped spinach, a cup of milk and 4 eggs. Mixed it all up, and put in the 2 pies for an hour on 350 in the oven and bam! Yummy quiche! I was super happy with the way they turned out-now I just have to eat it all:) Hopefully it can freeze!

I looked up online ways to make quiche-basically you can make it as healthy or unhealthy as possible. The longest wait was it cooking but very worth waiting!

Happy baking!

August 5, 2011

Bristol to London and back

WOW! What an incredible blessing the last week has been. We arrived home Monday night from London after almost 10 hours of flying and it was good to touch down in Birmingham.

I have so much to share, so please abre with me as I go through it all. As for Adventures, I'm not going to really say anything about the children to protect their information, but if you want to hear more let's meet up and I can tell somemore and definately share specific prayer requests for those wonderful kids I got to live life with for a week. To see pictures from the week in England click here.

To begin, the team left Birmingham on Saturday, July 23rd (Happy bday Sarah Higg) and flew to Detriot, MI. I am officially adding Michigan to my list of places been. We left that night around 7:00pm and flew overnight to Heathrow airport in London on July 24th (Happy bday Kristina). The flight was long and exhausting (I don't think anyone slept) and waited a hour to get through customs. NIGHTMARE. Nothing like almost being thrown out of the country. I won't go into detail, but let's just say worst experience ever for the team and especially Stephen.

However, we all made it into the country (only by the grace of God) and waited for Headley Park Church memebers to come pick us up from the airport. Once they arrived, we headed on the 2 hour car journey to Bristol. I had gotten a little sick so I didn't take too much notice yet of us driving on the opposite side of the road or the cute British accents.

Once we arrived at the church, our host families came and got us. My wonderful family were the Pountney's-Becca and Matt. We drove home where I was promptly put to bed and slept for a couple of hours. Once I woke up, got to chat with Matt a bit about him and Becca, and Becca joined us shortly (I slept through the church meeting and church service).

The next morning we headed back to begin Adventures (VBS). I had a total of 6 kids that week-all 11 years old. The theme was Holly wood and each day the lesson was on someone famous from the bible-Moses, Jonah, Noah , Jesus and Saul (who became Paul). We would have a lesson, play games/go somewhere for a trip out (Lazer Quest, the park, Crazy Golf, Ice skating, Scavenger hunt in Cabot Circus-outdoor mall) and come back to finish some games, the lesson and send them home around 3:30. All the American leaders and the English leaders would get together and talk about the day and pray together for specific needs and children.

Each night would be something fun for the Americans. We went to Bath to see the roman baths, to the highest suspension bridge in the world, a BBQ night with our host families, Meet the Americans night at church, take an American home for dinner, and dinner at Cosmo's and walk to the Harbour Festival.

All the Americans (and Simon, the churches intern) went to London On Saturday. It was so fun to be back there again and see places I had visited before and go to new ones as well. The group got off the Tube and headed to Buckingham for the changing of the guards and then to Westimister Abbey. I toured Westminster Abbey with most of the group. I had been in there once before for the Evensong service, but not fo a tour. So much history-it took my breathe away. I saw Issac Newton, Charles Darwin, Charles Dickens, many kings and queens, famous poets, etc graves.

Once out, Morgan, Julie and me headed to Hyde Park to Kensington Palace-the line was long to get into the Orangerie for tea so we headed to The Tower of London to meet the rest of the group for dinner.

We headed back to Bristol for the night and to church the next morning and a picnic to say goodbye to everyone.

Once back in London and at our hotel, we headed once more back on the Tube to London for a ride on the London Eye and dinner in the city. Then, home the next day.

I am so thankful for the Lord allowing me this opportunity to walk alongside my fellow brother and sisters in Christ to share about Jesus to these kids and their families. I am still processing it all in my mind and missing those children, my English and America team, my sweet Becca and Matt, and all the laughs and the jouyous moments we had together.

American team-tea at my house in September.

Becca and Matt-miss yall-come visit soon!
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