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Tuesday, December 23, 2008

CHRISTMAS - DUBLIN STYLE!

Our family has thoroughly enjoyed the CHRISTmas festivities at our new church this year.
It began with a beautiful Hanging of the Green ceremony the first week of December and will culminate this Wednesday when we have our Christmas Eve service (BTW.... Jackie and Barry are singing a duet).
The pictures you see below are from the Christmas cantada that was put on at
Dublin First Baptist.
"Mary" is KT's age and was just lovely.


The choir did a wonderful job and truly lifted up the Name of our Lord before all men.


The choir and our drama teams worked together to put together a wonderful show and a heartfelt ministry.



KT and Jackie have both joined the drama teams and are enjoying making new friends and serving the Lord with them.




























The evening after the cantada, KT and Jackie's AWANA group, Trek, put together a live nativity outside of our church. It was so weird to be running around outside barefoot at Christmas time (they couldn't wear their 21st century shoes in their Jerusalem duds). The group acted out the story of Christ's birth while Luke 2 was read. KT was an angel. Then, Jackie concluded the service by singing "Beautiful Star of Bethlehem." It was really beautiful and moving.







And, as a side note, the 22nd is Barry's birthday.

We did a few neat things today like finishing up our shopping, having pancakes, making Christmas goodies (Ol' Kate Balls - Daddy, I bet you will appreciate that one!), wrestling with the kids, and having a Melvin's burger (yep, I ate the meat!).

I hope to post some pics from the day sometime soon, but in the meantime....

HAPPY BIRTHDAY, BARRY!

I LOVE YOU.

Friday, December 19, 2008

BARRY'S BATSUIT

A quick little photo for those of you "back home" that simply could not imagine Barry in a choir robe.
He looks quite debonair, doesn't he?
Deep contemplation....





Monday, December 15, 2008

SINGING CAROLS WITH CLASS

I have a new favorite musical group: STRAIGHT NO CHASER.
Check them out:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2Fe11OlMiz8

Saturday, December 13, 2008

ARE YOU READY FOR SOME FOOTBALL? BASKETBALL?

Ben can't decide what sport he wants to play.
SOCCER?
GYMNASTICS (Which, by the way, he performs EVERY night, using our couch as a pommel horse)?
BASEBALL?
OR....
FOOTBALL?




Yeah, he's a little small for a Dolphin right now, but if he's fast enough, it wouldn't matter - would it?
So, he's been practicing by wearing Joseph's Miami jersey (even out in public).


And everyone knows that the girls have been very involved with a new basketball team: The Fayetteville Crusaders.
Kt can be serious trouble under the basket when she takes a mind to.
She is #13 in green below.

Yeah, she made it.
: o )


Below you will see both of my girls (Jackie is #15) getting ready to layout some serious "D" by double-teaming the poor girl with the ball.

I don't think Jackie was strangling this girl, but I wasn't on the court, so I don't really know.














And this last picture is one of the whole Crusader Middle School girls team.



Joseph and I have been going "jogging" together for about 2 weeks now. And, when we don't jog, he is my partner in Tae-bo or pilates. Pretty fun, if I do say so myself.






















THIS TEENAGE THING.....

We are another year into "teenagery".
KT just turned 14.
She is pretty good about getting older, and I know that with your first, every year on their birthday that parents become reflective, nostalgic, etc... But this year it really hit me:
MY BABY WILL HAVE HER PERMIT IN 1 YEAR!!!!!
AHHHHHH!
This is my favorite birthday portrait from this year.
She and I ventured downtown E-town and this one was taken on a whim.

Doesn't KT just make Elizabethtown glow???


We started the day out with cinnamon rolls.
Then, we just had a normal day, with KT playing with her new Nintendo DS and a trip downtown to ask for donations for her basketball team. After her Daddy got home from work, we had her choice of dinner:
*Plain salad
*Fettucine with homemade Alfredo Sauce
*Ginger Green Beans
*Chocolate Birthday Cake
*Edy's Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Ice Cream
Benjamin enjoyed a little wrestling time with his newfound 14 year old sis before cake.



We also made a little time for some birthday portraits.
She certainly doesn't look like my sweet baby Katie anymore.
~~SIGH~~





Joseph had his birthday pictures made at the lake, but KT decided that downtown (see above) and Turtle Cove entrance was a better idea.


So, the photos below are from the entrance to our development.

































So, I think that I'll enjoy another year of driving her around everywhere although she has already been asking, "Can I drive..... [out the driveway]/[through the parking lot].....".
Happy Birthday, KT.
I love you bunches.






OUR HOUSE ON THE LAKE

Everyone from the mountains has been wanting to see our new home on the lake, so I stepped outside right at dusk tonight to snap a few shots.
This is our street, right beside our house. The lake is just beyond the garage with the wreath at the end of the street.



This is the street in the other direction. You will notice the basketball court and tennis court at the end. KT's dream-come-true!
And this is our house. We really like it. Like the house we rented before this one, it is much smaller than our mountain home, but we are really enjoying it.
On one side of us, we have really nice neighbors.
On the other side, we have 2-3 empty wooded lots.



This would be our living room/foyer/dining room/school room.
: o )
You will notice the lavender walls.
Our landlord left his surround sound set up for us to enjoy and if you look closely, you will see Benjamin lying in the floor enjoying Tom and Jerry in surround sound!





This is our yellow kitchen. It is my most favorite part of the house.
I love the color, the countertop, the appliances, and there is a screened-in porch out the door. The open door to the left of the kitchen is the door to my and Barry's bedroom/bathroom.





And here you will find our bedroom, complete with band-director's jacket on the bed post and lemon tree that we don't want frozen (not that it would down here!). The white door leads to our bathroom and you'll notice the wall color is dark gray.





Well, the wall color might be gray, but the ceiling color is purple.








Our bathroom is purple, too but has double sinks and a wonderful tub.


I would have posted pics of the kids rooms, but I was afraid to enter into either one of them for fear of getting my leg bitten off by whatever might be lying in the floor.
KT and Jackie's room is burgundy (which makes for a great Virginia Tech room) - much to Jackie's chagrin. Joe and Ben's room is blue. The laundry room is bright yellow and the kids' bathroom is dark blue.
If anyone had told me the colors of the house before I saw it, I probably wouldn't have even wanted to see it. But, the colors work for us.
Now, we are just waiting for a visit or two from some very missed family members and friends. HINT, HINT!








Thursday, December 11, 2008

MY MOST VALUABLE NECKLACE

Pearls? No.
Gold? No.
Diamonds? Again-no.
An heirloom from my husband's family that he gave me one magical Christmas? uh.... that one was quite far-fetched and imaginative, but no.
So what is my favorite necklace?
Proverbs 1:8 (CEV)
"My child, obey the teaching of your parents and wear their teachings as you would a lovely hat or a pretty necklace."
This was the Scripture that the kids and I read this morning. We are going through the whole book of Proverbs (for the 2nd time), reading 4-5-6 verses at a time, talking through them, and journaling how they apply to where we are now.
This one hit me particularly hard this morning.
I put the date next to each "section" as we read it, and the last time we went over this one was just a little bit before my mother went Home. Little did I know how much I would appreciate it the next time I took it to heart. Somehow it means more this time. And, it reminds me that I simply CANNOT take the time I have with my kids for granted and be slack in training them.
So, as I was thinking about my necklace, many different "jewels" caught my eye.
It took many years for my Mama and Daddy to make my necklace and each part of it is intricate, detailed, and crafted with pride.
LOVE FOR OTHERS - This was a quality that I saw each and everyday in my mom. She ALWAYS put others before herself, even when it caused her more work or pain.
HARD WORK - Following both my parent's example, we learned not to be afraid to get dirty, that being tired meant that you had done something, and we didn't quit til the job was done.
DO IT RIGHT THE FIRST TIME - Oh wow. How many times did I have to wash the whole sink of dishes over because ONE had a microscopic piece of ham stuck to it? Or how many times did I have to pick the whole wheelbarrow of sticks up again because I conveniently left 2 twigs under some leaves? I learned really quick that if I just did it right the first time, I could have saved myself some time, effort, and irritated feelings.
DON'T SAVE THE GOOD STUFF FOR "LATER" - "later" may not ever come. My Mama used to have 2-3 cabinets that were full of beautiful heirloom dishes. She had a whole drawer full of beautiful jewelry that my Daddy had given her. She never got those dishes out that I can remember. And the jewelry? You might see it in a professional portrait, but she never wore it out somewhere. "Good stuff" might even be considered playtime with the kids, a walk by the lake, or even laying in the kitchen floor doubled over with laughter. Before she died, Mama told me not to save the good stuff. Use it!!! It will be a blessing to others and make you smile. Afterall, her "later" has come and gone.
TRUST YOUR DADDY - "Abba, Father". That's what God wants us to call Him. Abba, translated literally, is "Daddy". My relationship with my earthly Daddy is personal, trusting, and not at all formal. I know that I can come to him with anything or any need, even now as a grown woman. I can remember climbing the apple tree in the back yard as a little girl. With the exception of the one time he was in the tree and we raced to get down (remember that, Daddy?), I always knew he would catch me. He would stand at the bottom with his arms out and say, "Jump, Michelle. I'll catch you." And did he? Of course. How much more so will our Abba, Father catch us? protect us? give us good gifts? We just have to TRUST Him.
There are so many other beautiful gems on my necklace. But, these are just a few of the prettiest ones to me. Thanks, Daddy for helping Mama string my necklace. By the way, if you didn't know it.... Barry loves to see me wear my necklace and I'm thinking about taking a few of those beads off to put on my own kids' necklaces.

Monday, December 8, 2008

YOU BETTER NOT CRY, I'M TELLIN' YOU WHY....



SANTA CLAUS IS COMING TO TOWN!!!













Today was a neat day.





Our church had their annual AWANA Store where the kids could spend their "Awana Bucks" (play $$ they've earned for memorizing Scripture). Along with all the hoopla that entailed was the great surprise of having Santa show up for the festivites.




Santa just happens to also be the sound-man at our church! I don't think I've ever seen anyone look more like the magical man I have embedded in my mind than Thomas. He just radiates Christmas joy in his smile and in the hearts of the children he shares Christ's love with.


I have one child in particular that is still very fond of Santa: Jackie.
She just loves the idea, the fairy tale, the general aura of Santa Claus.
















And Joseph wasted absolutely no time in telling Santa that he really needs another Nintendo DS game for Christmas.

















I really think Santa enjoyed some Curly-KT Sugar, too.

















I was so pleased to be able to take pictures of the AWANA kids as they came in to do their "Christmas Shopping". Santa had a great time talking with them and I enjoyed snapping some neat photos of some really beautiful children. Below you'll find some of my favorites.














































And, yeah, Santa brought along his LADY on this trip!










And, as an extra bonus, Our new pastor and his family asked me if I would snap a few pics of them for Christmas. This happens to be my favorite, taken right in front of the doors at our church in Dublin. What a beautiful family!





















Thursday, December 4, 2008

AMOS AND CARA



Meet Amos and Cara McPherson.




Amos is the son of a dear friend of mine who has been much like a sister to me over the past 6 years. She has taught my children, taught me, and given more to our family than she will probably ever know. Charlotte is definitely one of a kind.



I was ever so humbled when she asked if I would help in capturing this special moment in her family's life.







The day couldn't have been more beautiful for a wedding. The weather was perfect, the location surreal, and the love radiant.


The guys began the processional by lighting torches on either side of the "aisle". The wedding party followed, one at a time....











.....until time for the bride.

Both of her parents escorted her down to meet her husband.
























After sharing vows and communion, Amos and Cara DANCED back up the aisle, their happiness overflowing.












Cara comes from an Italian family.

























And Amos comes from a mountain family who are spread all the way from California to Virginia to Germany.

Katie was very much pleased to make the aquaintance of Amber, Charlotte's oldest daughter and a baroque violinist in Germany.
Neither Amos or Cara had seen the rings that the other had chosen for them until time to put them on during the ceremony. Amos' held a beautiful inscription from his bride and Cara's was completely designed by Amos and crafted from both family's heirloom jewelry.



















I loved Cara's burnt red wedding dress and the casual brown jackets and sweaters that the rest of the party wore.
























After some wedding party portraits, some barbeque, and some cheesecake, the newlyweds spent the rest of the evening basking in each other's company and dancing the night away.













Now Cara is back in California, serving her country (she is in the Army) and Amos is studying for his EMT exam. But, rest assured they are counting down the minutes til they can be together again.




Congratulations, Amos and Cara.

Thanks for letting us share in your joy. We pray blessings on you and your families as you begin a new life together, standing on the Rock being joined together in Him.