Sunday Pics

I swear, Edy is gonna have a permanent bump on her head from all the climbing she does.
They can be so sweet.


Goodbye to a Decade: The Final Chapter

Here's the final post in my little series.  Click HERE to read an earlier post.

Twenty-eight - This year started off with some wonderful news--our family of three would soon be a family of four.
Sharing the news with our loved ones
Aug. 2009:  I was awarded a 1-to-1 computing grant for my classroom.  Each student in my class was given their own personal mini-laptop to use.  I also got the unique opportunity to "loop" up with my students.  This was such a wonderful experience and my students and I had a very good school year.

Sept. 2009:  It's a GIRL!

Jan. 21, 2010:  Little Edy Rose joined our family.  This was one of the happiest days of my life.

Feb. 2010:  Graham was contacted by Fellowship Bible Church in Jacksonville, TX about the possibility of taking a pastoral position.

March 2010:  My maternity leave ended, but KK came to stay with Edy which made the transition so much easier.

-I had a three day hospital stay and a surgery to remove a large kidney stone.  I was so glad that the kidney stone waited until Edy Rose was born to make its appearance. *By the way, I forgot to mention that I went through the same thing in March of `09 as well.*

May 2010: We made a trip to Jacksonville, TX to check out Fellowship Bible Church.

JOYS: fixing up Edy's nursery, pregnancy joys, having KK stay with us, summer vacation, reading
WOES: pregnancy cons, surgery to remove a kidney stone, maternity leave ending, preschool issues with AG
Twenty-nine - As dramatic as this may sound, this was the hardest year of my twenties by far. . .

May 2010:  After years of praying that the Lord would open up a way for me to stay home, He answered my prayer.  Graham accepted the position as pastor at Fellowship Bible, Jacksonville,TX.  We immediately put our house on the market.

-Graham and I took a little mini-vacation to Tulsa, OK to celebrate our anniversary.
June 2010:  While Graham was on a trip to Nicaragua, our church in Fort Smith burned down.  We were devastated.

Aug. 2010:  Graham made the move to TX while the girls and I stayed in Fort Smith.  This was very hard for our family.

-We lost a dear and precious friend.

Sept. 2010: A sweet family in TX moved out of their home and offered for us to stay there.  We said goodbye to all of our wonderful friends in Fort Smith and made the move to the Lone Star State.

-We tried to get adjusted to life in TX, life on one income (quite a bit lower than our dual income in AR), life in limbo.  But I came to the realization that this time in our lives isn't supposed to be spent in "limbo".  The Lord has a plan NOW.  This year may have been the hardest year of my life, but it has also been the most spiritually rewarding.  I have been able to spend so much time with HIM.  These past nine months, my life has slowed down a bit--in a good way.  Heck yeah, staying home is no joke and I am just as busy as ever, but I have a different schedule where I am able to devote more time to things of eternal significance.

Nov. 2010: house on the market for six months

December 2010:  We had our first Christmas at our house.  It was the BEST Christmas ever!
March 2011: We were tickled to find out that we were expecting baby #3.

April 2011:  At just eight weeks along, we lost the baby.

May 2011:  house has been on the market an entire year

-I got an iPhone.  It's just to wonderful not to mention!

JOYS:  time spent studying God's Word and praying, every.single.day spent with my children, new friendships, so far no kidney stones, jogging, playing with my phone, reading
WOES: time spent away from Graham, packing to move, insurance issues, financial hardships, every.single.day spent with my children :), still owning a house in AR
That about wraps it up.  I'm now a woman in my thirties and I'm looking forward to what God has in store next.  I don't really know how to end this post, so I'll end with a prayer:

Thank you, Father, for the past decade of my life.  Thank You for loving me even through my failures and weaknesses. Thank You for Your forgiveness. Thank You for all of the life lessons. Thank You for giving me a wonderful husband and two extraordinary children. Thank You for growing me in knowledge and in truth.  I love You and above all I want to give You all of the glory, the honor, and the praise...in everything.  


Goodbye to a Decade: 25-27

So far I've covered the first four years of my twenties.  Click HERE to catch up.

Time to move on...

*Twenty-five - May 2006:  Graham graduated from seminary.  A-A-Ahem...Second in his class to a medical doctor.  He is gonna kill me for writing that, but I'm proud of my guy.
Graham took the position as Discipleship Pastor at Fellowship Bible Church in Fort Smith, AR and I interviewed for a teaching position.

We went to the beach for our anniversary.  After several years of seminary, it was wonderful to relax for a second.  When we returned home, we packed up our apartment and said goodbye to our wonderful life in Memphis. I loved that season in our lives, but I was excited to see what God had in store for us next.
Seaside, Florida

 June 2006:  I got a job as a 5th grade teacher in the Fort Smith Public School District

July 2006:  We moved into a cute little duplex in Fort Smith.

Nov. 2006: We bought our first house (the one we still currently own).  If we had known that the Lord would move us to Texas so quickly we probably would have continued to rent instead of buy.  *sigh*  But then again, we would have missed out on some pretty incredible friendships with our neighbors.

Dec. 2006:  We got the most wonderful news by way of two pink lines!!!!! What joy filled our hearts.

Dec. 15, 2006: We moved into our new home.

Spring 2007:  We started to get aquainted with all of our wonderful neighbors.

April 2007:  It's a GIRL!  We were thrilled.

May 2007:  Schools out for summer!  

JOYS:  meeting new people and the formation of some great friendships, the feeling of "settling down", fixing up a new house, feeling "the baby" move and other joys of pregnancy, 24--we used to love that show, bean dip, caramel frappuccinos
WOES:  learning different trends in a new school district,  fear of the unknown
Twenty-six - I enjoyed a summer of relaxing and eating!  I was fat and happy by the time Ava Grace was born.

Aug. 13, 2007:  We welcomed our sweet Ava Grace--one of the best days of my life.
Some of my most wonderful life moments were spent during the first few weeks as a new mother.   It was the most incredible time.

October 2007:  I started a website to keep the family updated, but it was hard to use.

December 2007:  Our first Christmas as a family of three!

April 2008:  I started this blog, Our Joy...His Glory, and transferred my posts from the old website to my new blog.  I'm so glad that I have a way to journal my kids' lives.  One day, they will each get a copy of this blog!

May 2008:  I celebrated my very first Mother's Day.
JOYS:  the birth of Ava Grace and everything that having a child involves, blogging, the cultivation of some awesome friendships--God gave me some kindred spirits
WOES:  going back to work after my maternity leave ended; balancing work, family, church, and my relationship with Christ
Twenty-seven  - I  loved watching my daughter grow and change every single day.  I was thrilled when summer came around and I had a little bit of time to spend with her, but it wasn't quite enough due to all of the inservice that was required by the school district.

June 2008:  We took our first vacation as a family of three.
Taking a ride on the Branson Belle

Aug 2008-May 2009:  In a nut shell...I don't know exactly when it happened, but I started to become very bitter about working.  I LOVED teaching and without sounding too haughty, I felt like I was pretty good at it.  I did everything I was asked, I implemented every single program whether I thought it was effective or not, I was an advocate for my students, I learned new trends, and I tried to better myself as an educator.  I became disgusted (it's the only word that fits) by the politics, administration, and petty job stuff.  I just wanted stay home with my girl, but due to certain circumstances, that wasn't an option.  During this time, I was down.  I suffered from anxiety (not exactly depression)--something that I didn't feel I could control.  In all honesty, I had too much going on and not enough time for the Lord.  I filled my time with work, house-hold duties, Ava Grace, and church. I tried to cut out a sliver of time each day or every other day for reading my Bible and praying.  But it was out of obligation and not desire.  It just wasn't cutting it.  I wasn't practicing what I preached--God first, family second, and everything else third.

JOYS:  spending time with Ava Grace and Graham, talking/venting to my kindred spirits, church, strolling Ava around the neighborhood, the weekend
WOES:  major frustrations with work, the feeling that I didn't have enough time with my girl,  trying to be the best teacher AND the best mom at the same time yet feeling like a failure, trying to handle too much on my own

Well, I'll end here for now.  More to come soon. . .


Goodbye to a Decade: 22-24

I am continuing my look back at the past decade of my life.  For the first post, click HERE.

Where was I?...

*Twenty-two - Married my Mr. Wonderful on May 31, 2003.  The best decision I ever made!

I still think back to our wedding day.  It was just perfect.  Although fads come and go and new wedding trends are really snazzy, I wouldn't change a single thing about our day.  It was an intimate ceremony and an absolutely stunning reception--just perfect for us.

We headed to San Antonio, Texas for our honeymoon.  

We moved to Olive Branch, MS right after the honeymoon.  I loved getting our first place together.  I remember thinking it was great!  And...it was.

July 2003:  I started school at Blue Mountain College in Blue Mountain, MS.  In my opinion this is THE BEST school for students wanting to become teachers.  I got a top notch education while at BMC.  Even though the school switch delayed my graduation date and made me a 5th year senior, it was the best thing for me in the long run.

August 2003:  Graham and I began working at Shepherd's Haven, a home for men who are mentally challenged.  We filled-in for the house parents about two weekend's a month.  We have some of the most hilarious stories from our time there.  Today, that ministry is thriving--God is so good.

JOYS:  being with my man, meeting new friends,  jogging around seminary housing on beautiful days, series finale of FRIENDS
WOES:  first year of marriage stuff,  making the long drive to school every.single.day., getting adjusted to life as a wife instead of life on my own;  my car (from high school) died and we had to get another one; series finale of FRIENDS
*Twenty-three - I graduated from BMC and got my very first teaching job in Desoto County School District.  Boy, was it a doosy.  As a first year teacher, I was low on the totem pole and got stuck with some real challenges, but we (my students and I) made it through it!

We continued to work at Shepherd's Haven two or three weekends a month.

JOYS:  growing closer and closer to my Lord and Savior,  graduating from college, starting my first real job 
WOES:  balancing work, church, and family; general stresses in life
*Twenty-four -Summer 2005, Graham and I stayed in Springdale, AR while he completed an internship.  We went to Brazil on a missions trip.  It was a fun summer for me because I didn't do anything!
 Internship in Springdale
trip to Kansas City
Aug. 2005:   I continued to work as a 4th grade teacher at HLIS, went to the gym religiously (ran, swam, lifted weights 4/5 times a week), continued working several weekends a month at Shepherd's Haven.
I went to a Reading conference for children who can't read good with several teaching friends.  Our principal put us up in a nice hotel and we each got our own room.  It was so nice.

On the weekends, Graham and I would go to The Peabody Place, Beale Street, the movies, The Riverwalk, Germantown, dinner with friends, or just spend time at our apartment playing Rummicube.  Man, life was different back then.  Good.  But, different.

JOYS: a daily routine, loved my job, great friendships, spending time at the gym, weekends with Graham
WOES: car payment, kidney stones, insurance issues, Graham's back problems,

To be continued...

Awesome Birthday!

What a FABULOUS 30th birthday.  
I know I've said it before, but around here, we find any reason we can to CELEBRATE! With that said, I woke up to this. . .
And this. . .
How sweet is my family?
 I got a bunch of cards and some wonderful gifts
I got a package from my mom and dad.  Along with my bday present, she sent me this cool trivet she got on her recent trip to the Phillipines.  It is made entirely out of newspaper and magazine pages.  So cool.
Graham got me thirty gifts! Whoa!
1: Forgotten God by Francis Chan
2. coffee mug
3.  Dallas Cowboys t-shirt
4. arm band for my phone when I work out
5-20: 15 songs on iTunes (see how he did that?)
21-30:  my favorite candy--Reese's cups and Tootsie Rolls (sly dog)
A lady from church, whom shall remain nameless, got me this koozie--Southern Ladies Under Tremendous Stress.  I'll let you figure out the acronym for that one. :)
I had to get a pic with my girls even though I am the only one looking at the camera.
I know...my husband is fantastic.  It's chocolate fudge with strawberry cream cheese filling. And I'm here to tell you, it tastes as good as it looks.
Since Graham had Equipping Class last night at church, we went to dinner with friends tonight.

I had a wonderful 30th birthday! I hope my 30s are even better than my 20s.

Goodbye to a Decade: 20 and 21

I can't believe I'm saying goodbye to my 20s.  What a GREAT decade.  Aren't the 20s great?

As I was running tonight, I began to think about the past decade of my life...WOW, what a difference ten years makes!

I don't typically get sentimental about age, but this decade included some pretty major stuff in my life...and well, it's pretty special to me.

Here goes:

*Twenty - I'm not gonna lie, I thought I had arrived.  No longer a teen, no longer living with the folks, making my own schedule, still getting moolah from my parents--yup, I'd arrived alright.

I was living in an apartment with a friend and going to school at UCA in Conway, AR.  There was lots of late night chats, petty arguments, and a ton of fun--too much!
Uhhh...That would be moi at my apartment.
(throw away camera age...more poor quality pics to come)

Tid bit o'info: gas prices - $1.52 a gallon.  How bout that?

Jan. 2002:  I met the LOVE of my life.
Before we were introduced, I spotted him and  thought to myself, I'm gonna marry that guy. (pause)  Yeah, right.  You silly girl.  
If I'm lyin', I'm dyin'.
You can see why I fell for this guy! :)

Feb. 2002:  We went on our first date and the rest is history.

Joys: running at Salem Park after work, watching FRIENDS with friends,  layin' out at the pool, Friday night parties
Woes: struggling to live on a budget (great preparation, though); balancing school, work, and fun; arguments with friends
*Twenty-one - I was still living in my apartment in Conway, attending UCA, working at a daycare, and dating Graham.

Spring 2002:  Graham had two back surgeries back to back (pun intended).

July 04, 2002:  After 5 months of dating, Graham asked me to marry him.  At the time, that was the happiest day of my life.

Aug. 2002:  Graham moved to Memphis to begin seminary.  I thought it would be the longest school year of my life, but we made it!
Me - at one of our wedding showers

April 2003: We loaded up all of our belongings and moved them to our new apartment. I finished up school and moved home for my final month as a single lady.

Move in day:  I guess I was pumped about our new place.

Joys: planning my wedding, finding the perfect wedding gown, hanging out with my new family, wedding showers, going to church, hanging out at Jeff & Yvonne's with Graham
Woes: spiritual growing pains (definitely not a woe, but it felt like it at the time),  saying "goodbye" to college friends

More to come.  Stay-tuned. . .


Special Snapshots

Ava Grace 9 months
Can you tell why I love this photo?  It just makes ya smile, right!?!

Click HERE for last week's pic.


"Sisters, sisters..."

Y'all know how much I love Irving Berlin's "Sisters, Sisters", right?  I love the lyrics, but I added a few of my own in RED. . .

Sisters, sisters
(At times,) There were never such devoted sisters
Never had to have a chaperone, no sir, (ahem)
I'm here to keep my eye on her (and boss her)
Caring, sharing (uhh...)
Every little thing that we are wearing (we match)
When a certain gentleman arrived from Rome (where?)
She wore the dress, and I stayed home (why?)

All kinds of weather, we stick together (mostly true)
The same in the rain and sun (mostly sun)
 Two different faces (so true), but in tight places
We think and we act as one (so false)
Those who've seen us (adore us)
Know that not a thing could come between us (except Daddy)
Many men have tried to split us up, but no one can (or we scream real loud)

LOVE MY GIRLS...I pray for each of them every day.  AND, I pray for those "misters" who will one day come in and sweep my sweeties off of their feet.  May they love my daughters, but love the Lord even more.