Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Christmas Blessings and Thoughts

I'm sitting here on Christmas Eve wrapped up in a blanket (it is cold!) just reflecting about the past year and this wonderful new Christmas spirit the Lord has blessed me with - I have a child and it has brought about a whole new side to Christmas that I never thought about. Lucy Paige is fast asleep after a long day of visiting with family and TJ is at our church prepping for the Christmas Eve service. I'm listening to Christmas music and it is so beautiful. This post may be a little random because I just have lots of different thoughts going on! I'll try to keep paragraphs about the same thing and not ramble! :)

1. My favorite Christmas song is "Oh Holy Night", because my favorite lyrics are in it: 

"Long lay the world in sin and error pining,
Till He appeared and the soul felt it's worth,
The thrill of hope, the wearing world rejoices,
For yonder breaks a new and glorious morn."

Those lines speak so much truth to me - the world was waiting on Jesus all those years ago just like before we accept Christ as our Savior, we are waiting for something - anything to fill this void we have deep down. Some of us fill it with love from others; sex, drugs, and rock and roll; friendships, relationships, pride in ourselves, work, our children, money, and just about anything that makes us feel something. We are desperate to feel worthy… feel accepted… feel anything… feel loved… And then, in my case, Jesus - only Jesus happened. My soul felt it's worth when I believed Him and accepted His gift that He freely gives with no strings attached. He loved me for me - not because of my talents or beauty or anything I could offer. Think about that line; "the soul felt it's worth" - has your soul, your deep down soul ever felt it's worth? All I'm going to say is that all that other stuff can make you feel good and for a little while it will cover the void but it can not fill it. Only Christ can fill that space in your soul and make it feel what it - you - are actually worth. And when that happens, when He becomes your motivation, your everything, that's when you will always have a "new and glorious morn"! He turns darkness into light, He makes all things new. He is the Savior of the world! He is worthy of "all our Hoorays", as Lucy's Bible says. So, now you know one of my favorite Christmas songs! :) 

I'll write more about this picture later, just
know that is is super special and I am
so excited that LP has that stocking.
2. TJ and I have been talking about how so much has changed in just a short time - last year at Christmas I was around 3 months pregnant. We had just told our church family the good news and everyone was so excited. We had the usual Christmas gatherings and our family was so excited about Baby Phelps! I have always loved our traditional gatherings with my family - it's been the same for as long as I can remember: Christmas Eve night with Nana and Granddaddy Clay, Christmas Day breakfast at Granny and Pop's, and going to see my Granddaddy Christmas Day evening (usually! Granddaddy was flexible!). And last year was no different, we did our usual gatherings and since TJ and I have been together, we go to his sister's house too. Well, as you know my Granny passed away after Christmas last year, then Granddaddy in April, and then Poppa in September. For 26 years I had all of my grandparents and for most of my life I had 3 great-grandparents. This Christmas has been so surreal, I just expect the usual gatherings but it is not and won't happen. Yes, we've seen the same family but we are missing 3 very special people and my heart just hurts over that. I knew that my Granny and Pop wouldn't be around forever but I just pictured Lucy Paige going to their house and eating eggs and watching tv and playing outside and getting that coke before leaving… I pictured her with my Granddaddy, playing with his puppies and riding the tractor and melting his heart with her dashing good looks :) I miss them so much and it's almost not fair but when I truly think about them, I know they are full of joy and I'm just being a little selfish wanting to keep them here with me for as longs as I'm here. I feel the same way about TJ's parents, I never knew them but I know they'd be so proud of Lucy Paige and Lauraline. I know they would have been head-over-heals in love with those two precious girls. Christmas with Lucy has really made me think about the things that mean the most to me and those are faith, family, and friends. My faith in Christ is the only thing that has spurred me on and kept me going - He is my Rock, my Friend, my Savior, my Abba Father. He is all that I need and always there for me. I love my little family and love that Lucy Paige was given to us. She is, right now, so perfect and awesome. I love my Mom, Dad, sisters, sisters' boyfriends, my sister-in-law, my awesome niece, my grandparents, aunts, uncles, and cousins. It has been so wonderful being able to see everyone this Christmas - family is so important. I am also thankful for friends, old and new, in our lives. Friends are those people that you can pick to become apart of your family! :) So, so much has changed in this year and while I'm still getting used to all the changes, I am so thankful for what the Lord has blessed us with. Change is hard, it is so hard but it can be good if you choose to make it good. And we are choosing to make this change good because we can't change what's happened but we can choose our attitudes and choose to make these changes blessings. 

3. I love Lucy Paige so much. She really is everything that is perfect wrapped in a tiny bundle! I love to just look at her and just marvel at her awesomeness! :) I can not fathom how people don't believe in miracles after seeing a tiny baby or how people can say that babies are a "choice"… I'm going to brag a little so if you don't like reading about the awesomeness feel free to leave……… :) Ok, my daughter is so smart, she is the smartest baby I've ever seen. She studies her toys and new surroundings - she takes things in and you can tell she is trying to understand and learn. She is developmentally ahead of the curve and is already semi-crawling! She will be crawling in the next 2 weeks, I'm sure of it. She is so close! She sits up, rolls over, and talks so well. No "real" words just yet but we have conversations all the time. She is the best eater and napper. Knock on wood, all I have to do is put her in her bed and she falls asleep within 5 minutes. I am in awe of her, all the time. Literally, I just stare at her and wonder at God and His work. He made her, He knows her, He loves her the best, He has good, good plans for her. He has entrusted her sweet, little self to TJ and me to care for her and point her to Christ. And Lord willing, we try and mess us daily. I'm so grateful for grace and mercy in our lives! Seriously, Lucy Paige is the best. I love her sweet self so much. 

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Wiki, Wiki, Wiki - Five Months Y'all! :)

Hey, hey guys! So I am officially 5 months and 3 days old! I have had a really great month - not a super busy month but it so much fun! I have been four-wheeler riding and had my first Thanksgiving. I have been dedicated to Jesus and spent a few nights with my MiTessa and Dabo. Aunt Megan, Aunt Rikki, and Aunt Morgan baby-sat me - more like I entertained their pants off… :) Let me give you some details and pictures! Here we go!

So I told you about riding this thing called a four-wheeler - it was the best. Dabo told me he got the "buuund-buuund" just for me! Ha! Mom had to bundle me up and rub sticky stuff on my face so I didn't get wind chapped, whatever that is. Dabo had finally had enough of Mommy's fussing and stole me and we went riding! It was so much fun - Dabo said he'd build a box for me to sit in on the front just like Poppa built for Mommy. Not yet though - I'm still too little to sit all by myself; give me another month though and I'll be ready! :)

We also had fun at Thanksgiving - my friend Parker brought her parents down and we had lunch at the Farm and played the afternoon away. Later on that day, after my friend left :(, Mom and Dad took me to Nana's house! There were so many people there - they kind of scared me when we first got there. Mommy held me tight for a minute and then I was ok. :) Granddaddy Clay held me for a little while and told me stories - he told me I should publish my stories! Lots of people have told me I should try and publish my stories! I've got my agent on top of it - Mom's the best! Bwwhahaha! 

Onto my baptism - On December 1, Daddy and Mommy "officially" dedicated me to Jesus. They promised to raise me to know Who He is and always try their best to point me to Him. They've done a pretty good job so far. Mommy reads me my Bible (right now we are talking about Advent and Jesus' birth story - I thought that was a type of bottle, who knew?!?) and they always pray with me or about me… I've heard them on occasion say things like "Jesus, please help us, Lucy Paige will not go to sleep"… Don't they know I like tricking them!? ;) My whole family and sweet friends came to watch me. I loved having them and my sweet church folks there too! Parker's parents, Andrew and Rebekah, and my Uncle Wade and Aunt Stacy became my godparents that day too. All that means is they'll make sure Daddy and Mommy are doing their job and teaching me about Jesus. And they better or else the godfather's will give them concrete shoes and let them swim with the fishes… My Aunt Wendy and Lauraline came to watch that blasted AL/AU game and spend the night the day before my baptism - we had fun! Lauraline held me and played with me - I really like that girl. I think we'll be friends. And Aunt Wendy is pretty cool too! I think she might like me just a little.
*(I'm trying to get my pictures to load but they won't - I'll have to add them later!)

I am also eating soupy, tasty foods now! Woot! The dr gave me the green light to eat this so called "solid food" at my four month appt but Mommy had already let me start eating rice cereal a few days before my appt. After the appt, Mom started adding some really yummy stuff called sweet potatoes! I sure do love sweet potatoes! I have tried apples, peaches, squash, bananas and carrots! I really like everything so far, but when Mom first gave me carrots I was not at all pleased. They looked like my love, my dear sweet potatoes, but they were not. I kept on eating them though, fully expecting those sweet potatoes but no no avail. I think I like carrots now though. And if you don't get that next bite of food ready for when I swallow the first bite, I'll pitch a fit - I love food!!

I am also proud to report that I am sitting up all by myself! I still lean forward and kind of tip over but I'm doing it, oh yeah, I got my big girl panties… Size 2 Pampers that is! :) Ha! I crack myself up - I'm so funny! Mom got me some new clothes too - I was getting too long for 3 month clothes. So I'm wearing 3-6 and 6 month clothes. They are a little big but I've got room to grow! I still love my baths and now food! I love my bottles and Mommy and Daddy. I love my MiTessa and Dabo - Aunts Rikki, Morgan and Megan. My Skeeter, my Aunt Wendy and cousin Lauraline. I love my Nana and Granddaddy Clay, I love my friend Parker, Courtlyn and Caleb Jr. I love reading my Bible and looking at the pictures. I love football. I love my friends rattle-rattle-rattle, bracelet, Mr. Monkey, Mirror, Stand-Up Seat Thingy, Ellie Elephant, Paci when I sleep, Henry, big bear Thomas, Sarah Doll. I love my short naps and sleeping for 10-11 hours at night. And I love you! :) 'Night peeps!

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

My Favorite Time with my Favorite Girl

For my birthday this past May I really wanted to find Lucy Paige a Bible - cue a trip to LifeWay… We found, what I believe to be is the best Bible for a child ever! It's "the Jesus Storybook Bible: Every Story Whispers His Name" by Sally Lloyd-Jones and illustrated by Jago. We've been reading from it since before she was born. We started over after she was born though just so she could see the beautiful illustrations. The illustrations and the fact that EVERY story really does point to Jesus (just like the real Bible!) is what sold us on this Bible for LP.

Today we got to the end of what would be the Old Testament where the Israelites are no longer slaves and they celebrated the fact that God, their Father loved them with a "never stopping, never giving up, unbreaking, always and forever love" and that He was "going to send His messenger - The Promised One".  We HAD to read the next story! The Promised One was coming! And it would be the very first (of many) times that Lucy paige would hear the beginning of the Gospel story. I was honestly so filled with absolute Joy that I could tell Lucy Paige about Jesus' birth and how He got here and why God came down to earth. I had that privilege to tell my daughter about that. And I will have countless more opportunities to tell her - show her the Gospel (along with TJ too!). I am so honored that God picked me to be that precious girl's mother. I cannot get over that I'm her mom - I'm awestruck every single day. So back to our Bible - we read today about Jesus' birth and I'm so, so excited to share with Lucy Paige the rest of Jesus' life.

And if anybody has this Bible a friend of mine posted an Advent reading plan for this Bible - here's the link!

And here is Lucy Paige with all her best friends!

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Thoughts On the Last 4 Months!

So I just want to take a moment to say that my daughter is pretty much the most awesome child ever. She is so smart and so good and so sweet. She is a great sleeper, a great roller, a great talker, a great best friend. I honestly just love her to pieces... I was talking with TJ and just telling him that even though it was easier before she came along that I would not trade her for anything. It may be a little more challenging getting through the day or church or going somewhere but she is such a blessing in mine and TJ's life. Having a child is, what I think, a little like experiencing how the Lord cares for and loves us. No, I am not saying I'm God or know Him more or better than people who don't have children; I'm just saying that He has revealed Himself to me like never before. I am so blessed, so so blessed. I've never met a person that can get me so flustered and frustrated but at the same time that I love soooooooo much. My Aunt Nancy said the following about her granddaughter, "She's just so precious that I want to eat her up - and sometimes I wish I had!". I can fully relate to that. Lucy Paige is one of the very best things that has ever happened to me and TJ. I love every fiber of her being. It is my prayer for her daily that we can point her to Christ and when we fail (because we do daily) that we can own our mistakes but also show her what it means to ask forgiveness and be humble before God. I know this post is a little random but I'm just sitting here watching her on the monitor while I work and I just felt compelled to write. She has grown up so much just in the last few weeks and I don't want to miss or forget a thing! She is "talking" up a storm all the time and she loves her hands - they are always in her little mouth. She pulls on her right ear when she's tired or eating. She falls asleep on her own and within two minutes of being put in her bed. She has the best little grin and I get to see it all the time. I am so grateful that TJ is making it work for me to stay home with her. We are doing without some of the things we were used to but I wouldn't trade her to get any of it back. I know a lot of moms who would love to stay home with their little ones but can't - I don't take this lightly. I know that we are very fortunate to be able to do this. Ok, stepping down from my post - I just wanted to share a few thoughts on where we are now and how the Lord is teaching me! 

3 Month Pictures!

My sweet girl was not thrilled about taking her 3 Month pictures but I wanted them done! We were able to catch a few of her not crying thanks to Rebekah's awesome skills! I think she's beautiful weather she's smiling, laughing, just staring at you like you're an idiot :) or whatever! Enjoy! (and of course these should have been posted before the Pumpkin Patch Pictures and before LP took over to write her 4 Month update... Oh well!!!)

4 Months Y'all!

Hey peeps! Can you believe that I am 4 months old already?! Mom and Dad can't believe it - not at all. But I am! :) And guys, I've done so much since I wrote last month! I've been to a real college football game, to a wedding and 2 birthday celebrations, to Daddy's hometown, had a sleepover with my best pal - but wait, let me give you the details...

I'll start with my sleepover - Parker E. Poe came to spend the night with me because her mommy was very sick and she didn't want to get my best friend sick. We had the best time - we played and talked to each other, had our bottles at the same time, made Mommy and Daddy change our diapers at the same time - basically we did everything at the same time to make Mommy and Daddy work hard. They outsmarted us though (I'm not 100% sure how they did it...), they got MiTessa to come spend the night too. Mom said something about "outnumbering the babies...". Oh well, I got to have my friend and MiTessa all at the same time! Best.Night.Ever. :)

I'm also rolling everywhere - Mom puts me down in one spot and I just wiggle and roll and push myslef until I get where I want to be. I don't know why Mommy can't just put me where I want to be?! I tell her all the time what I want and she just doesn't seem to understand... Silly Mommy, she will learn one day.

I got to go to Charli Bay's First Birthday Party! I had so much fun that I couldn't stay awake for the whole thing... I'm the one in the picture asleep in Breagan's arms... We also got to celebrate my Nana's Birthday! I love birthdays - I get to see so many people! At Nana's birthday party I got to meet my cousins, Kailyn and Cole. They are silly! We also went to Daddy's family reunion in Greenville. I got to meet more aunts, uncles and cousins! Next year Mommy and Daddy said I could play with them!  We stayed with Aunt Wendy and Lauraline the night before - Lauraline helped me get ready for the reunion but I kept tricking her by taking one foot out of my pants while she tried to get the other foot in! :)

So my friend (and uncle one day! Yeet!), Skeeter, plays football for UWA. He's the guy that that gives the ball to the QB, the center I just heard Dad tell me... Anyway, he was playing a very important game and I wanted to go watch him play. We drove on my first big trip to Livingston - it was a two hour trip! We stopped in Tuscaloosa to get my Aunt Rikki and eat. As you all know, football is my absolute favorite and I think I like it even more live! I got to see the band play (McKenna is in the band and she waived her flag right in front of me during half time! McKenna is the sister to Delaney and Scout from church) and I got to see the players warm up! I loved it so much! I'm Skeeter's biggest fan (and the cutest!)

And guys - you will never believe this but I get to have a Pumpkin Patch in.my.yard.!!! Mom says it happens every October... I'm not quite sure I believe her, I'll have to wait till next year to see if it happens again. Back to the Patch though... A bunch of pumpkins come in and Daddy sets them up to sell for a youth ministry fundraiser. It was so much fun! Daddy got some schools to come out and I loved watching the kids get their pumpkins and play on the super neat bouncy things and the thing Mom's friend called the "Suicide Slide"(Mom just told me to write that the slide is just really, really tall...). I got to take some picture in the Patch too! Here are some of my favorites...

Last but not least is Halloween! I think I'm going to like this holiday. We get to dress up and lots of pepole told me that I was so cute and wanted to take their picture with me! My friends Parker, CalebJr, and Courtlyn came over too! Me, Daddy and Mommy dressed up as the "Where's Waldo?" family - Mommy couldn't find red/white striped shirts so she used white shirts and red duct tape! Parker got her Mommy and Daddy to dress her as Dorothy and her parentals were the Cowardly Lion and Scarecrow. CalebJr. was the cutest Mouse and Courtlyn was a "Flower Power" girl. The twins got to "trunk or treat" and all Parker and I did was walk around and let people tell us how cute we were! :) It was an ok trade off... :)

I waited to write until I went to the dr, and I went yesterday! I had to get two shots! Daddy was so upset - he teared up a little. It hurt a little but I was more hungry than hurt! Daddy gave me my bottle right after those shots and I felt so much better. I weighed 11lbs 13oz and am 23.5 in long. Mommy told Aunt Rebekah the stats and Aunt Rebekah looked in Parker's baby book to see her stats from 4 months and found that I am the exact same size Parker was when she was 2 months old! Ha! :) My sweet dr told us that I'm just a small, petite girl and that I always have been so there is no need to worry - I mean come on, I did decide to come here early! Dr. Irons was also so impressed my all my developmental skills, she even said I'm ahead of the curve! Woot! So what I lack in size I make up for in skills! :) 

Some things I still like are my baths - best.thing.ever! I like my rice cereal! Mom started giving it to me a little early but I love it - I took to eating it so well! I love grabbing my toys and putting them in my mouth and I also love my hands, they are so much fun to put in my mouth! A few things I don't like are shots, duh!!, and being wet/dirty or hungry. That's all folks! I hope you have a fun day, I'm going to! :)

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Pumpkin Patch Fun!

We have a lovely, little Pumpkin Patch sponsored by the youth ministry each October and I love it! It's such a fun and festive way to celebrate my favorite season! And it's in our yard!! Sometimes that's a hassle because there are always people in the yard and this year we have a new struggle - nap time for LP. :) It's all good though, she is learning to sleep through the noise and that's a good thing for her (it's not too noise-y). Here are some cute pictures of my sweet girl - ENJOY!! :)

Thursday, October 3, 2013

LPP - Yeah You Know Me! :) 3 Months!

Hey, hey, hey guys! I'm not even going to let Mom write any kind of introduction - she writes too much! :) I've done soooooooooo much in my third month of life and I've loved every minute of it! I got to spend my first night away from my Mommy and Daddy on September 7 - it was a Saturday night so Daddy had to be at church the next day, all day and Mommy had to go with Andrew, Rebekah and Parker to take Parker's 6 month pictures (btw [that mean "by the way" - I love fun shortcuts!] can you believe my friend Parker will be 7 months old in just a few days! She's so old! :) ). Anyway, MiTessa thought instead of Mommy taking me with her for pictures that I should just stay with her. Mom and Dad reluctantly agreed - Mommy gave me lots of kisses and even cried a little when she left me that night but I did so good. I love staying at the Farm with Dabo and MiTessa. They let me "do what I want" and I like that. They have doggies, cows, horses, stars and lots of trees!

I also got to go to my first sporting event - HHS Volleyball to see Delaney and her friends play. I liked watching that ball go back and forth across the gym. I did get tired of watching it though and took a nap. Mommy said I could play volleyball if I wanted to but I couldn't wear those spandex panties shorts. 

Another first for me was on September 13 - I rolled to my side ALL.BY.MYSELF! Later that day Mommy and Daddy got some upsetting news, my Poppa passed away. He was so funny, I'm so happy I got to meet him! Mommy said that he is much happier now that he is with Jesus and Granny again. I don't know a whole lot about death but Mommy reads to me from my Bible and I know that God made a way for all of us to be with Him after we leave here. That night I did another great thing - slept the WHOLE night!!! 10pm to 8:30am! I did that for the next 4 or 5 nights and then I changed it up and started waking up around 4am every morning just to spend more time with Mommy... :) She thinks I'm developing backwards - I'm not, I just love hanging out with her and Daddy.

Not impressed with the parade - I wanted to look at Mommy! :)
One day Mom started singing a Robin Sparkles song called, "Let's Go to the Mall" and so we did! We just went to get away from the house and see all the fun colors and hear the sounds. We had lunch beside this magical spiny thing that went around in circles and played music. I liked watching that thing go 'round ;) The parents said that we could come back during Christmas and I could ride it! I'm going to ask my super cool friends Parker, Courtlyn and Caleb Jr. to come too - I think they would like it. Later that day HHS had a homecoming parade! I don't know why they call it "homecoming"; they never left HYT. Oh well... Anyway, Parker came over and we went outside to watch her Daddy march with the band. I wasn't super impressed, I mean I had been to the mall earlier so a silly parade couldn't have impressed me too much, right? After the parade we went to the bonfire - I fell asleep during that! Maybe one day this thing called "homecoming" will be fun.

I got to spend another night at the Farm without Mommy and Daddy! 2 nights this past month!! Mommy said it will be a little while before that happens again - she must really love me! The next day Mommy came to get me and she also took pictures of my cousin, Charli Bay. Charli Bay turned a year old October 1 (and I turned 3 months old October 2! Mommy didn't know it but I was already with her when she went to see Charli Bay the day she was born!). I can't wait to get bigger so I can play with Charli Bay! A few more fun things and then I'm done - On my 3 month birthday Parker came to spend the day with me. We had so much fun together, I know we are going to be best friends. I just need to catch up with Parker and we will be unstoppable. Her Mommy and my Mommy will have their hands full. We are already little stinkers - we plan it that way... They wanted a picture of all four of us at the parade and we concocted a plan; we didn't look at the camera at the same time. It was fun! And the last thing, which is kind of in my fourth month but I'm adding it here, is I rolled from my stomach to my back today, Oct. 3! Mommy had a dr appt. so I stayed with Daddy and he saw me do it several times today - he didn't seem too impressed so I did it again when Mom got home and she freaked! She got so excited and asked Daddy if I rolled earlier and he said yeah but she's been doing that for a few days. Umm, no Dad - I just started today! Once he realized that I just started and he got to see my first roll, he got super impressed with my mad skills! That silly Daddy... :)

See, our plan worked... They didn't get a picture of the two of us looking at the same time! 
Some things I loved about month number 3: again, I have to list my bath first. I just love that bath. It's the best. I love all the new and exciting things Mom and Dad are doing with me like taking me to different places, Mom didn't want to get me out and about too soon which was ok with me because I used to hate that carseat. I love standing! I can't do it by myself but Mommy and Daddy hold me up and I love it. I feel like a big girl! I also love smiling, laughing and talking. Mommy and Daddy still don't quite understand me but it's ok, I know they love me. I still love my Bible stories too, waiting to see what God's big "Rescue Plan" is though!

Sleeping during the bonfire.
Things I don't like: being hungry, wet/dirty or tired. Oh and strange people trying to take me away from my Mommy, Daddy, MiTessa, my Aunts or my Mommy and Daddy's friends. There was one lady at Poppa's funeral that tried to take me from MiTessa - she had metal fingers and a huge metal bug on her shirt. Mommy was sending me messages through our secret "head-to-head" communication and told me to start crying and I did. That lady handed me back to my MiTessa and I was just fine. She said I was spoiled - I am not. I just didn't know her and she was scary with those metal fingers and bugs... :)

Sunday, September 22, 2013

My Best Friend, Poppa

These past twelve months have been a whirlwind of emotions for me. I have been at my lowest point and my highest - peaks and valleys people, peaks and valleys. Here is a timeline of sorts...

October 2012 - We found out we were pregnant! Peak! 

November 2012 - Told our families about our pregnancy - Peak! 
                           - TJ goes to Egypt on a Mission Trip - Peak! 

December 2012 - Told our Church Family and everyone else about our pregnancy - Peak!
                           - Christmas - Peak!
                           - 3 days after Christmas while on a Youth retreat with our church, my precious Granny passes away (not entirely unexpected but unexpected...) - Valley.

January 2013 - Passion with the older high school kids and college students - Peak! 
                      - First time in my life that I ever get the flu - I am not a "sick person", I'm never sick! I was pregnant and had the blasted flu and I couldn't take anything but tylenol! I was a mess... - Valley.

February 2013 - My amniotic fluid levels are low - so low that they thought something was wrong and I had to go to UAB for a "super special ultrasound" - Valley.

March 2013 - TJ is working on a house for church family and a tree falls on his truck and totals it - it was very close to the house and TJ was right where it would have fallen if it had just moved over a bit - Peak because TJ was perfectly fine - Valley because the truck had been paid off and we only had liability on it...

April 2013 - Out of left field my Granddaddy passes away... Valley.

May 2013 - Our house was broken into and trashed - Valley. 

June 2013 - A great month! We were so thankful for that month! Peak! 

July 2013 - LP makes her debut!!!!!!!!!!!! PEAK!!!!
                 - We did have a few nights with LP that I didn't think we'd make it to the next day... Anyone that has ever had a newborn for an extended period of time knows exactly what I mean! Tiny Valley.

August 2013 - Adjusting to LP and being a family of 3 and becoming a stay-at-home mom - Peak! 

September 2013 - My best friend, my role model, my sweet and wonderful and beautiful Poppa passed away... Valley.

He was and is without a doubt the best man I know. I loved him so much and I know he is so joyful right now - he is in Heaven with Jesus. I know you can't "know" a person's salvation for sure but you can judge their fruit. And to judge his fruit you can see the evidence of his love and faithfulness to Christ. He exhibited every Fruit of the Spirit - love, joy, peace, patient, kindness, gentleness and self-control. He loved his Jesus, his wife, his kids, grandkids and great-grandkids fiercely. I never, ever, not once saw him lose his temper or patience with anyone. 

I got to spend "special time" with him and Granny before I started school. I loved that time and will cherish it always. They kept me while Mom and Dad worked and Rikki was in school, so it was just me, Pop and Granny. Every morning he would meet us at the end of Antioch Road on Highway 82 in the blue car to pick me up on Mom's way to work and drop Rikki off for school. Every morning he'd ask me what I wanted for breakfast and it was always scrambled eggs with grape jelly and every morning that's exactly what I had. Pop taught me how to read by reading to me everyday and multiple times a day too - I learned by memorizing what he said and eventually matching up the words to what he was saying. He took me on four-wheeler rides to see the sandcastles on the dirt road and through the woods. I rode in a box attached to the front that he built for me - it was not the safest thing in the world but of well, we had the most fun. Poppa also let me "help" him cut grass. I helped him work in the garden, he always teased me that he needed a picture of me to put in the garden to scare away the crows (he was so silly - he called Granny "Old Woman", "Old Crow" and teased us so much - he would tell Morgan and Megan that the coyotes would come through the window and get them)! Granny and Pop had a beautiful collie named Sam that I loved playing with - I was there when Sam died and I helped Pop bury him. He always took me with him to visit friends and take Aunt Nettie Faye dinner and supper. After I started school I would get off the bus there and Rikki and I would watch "Darkwing Duck" and eat scrambled eggs for an after-school snack. You can't beat a good scrambled egg! When Antioch Baptist would have their VBS, Rikki and I would go and stay the whole week with Granny and Pop. It was the best - Rikki slept with Granny and I slept with Poppa. They had separate bedrooms, old-school... I loved playing in the closets at their house too. They had piles of clothes and stuff in them and I imagined they were mountains. I also have this vivid memory of the beach trip we took when I was about three years old - Mom, Dad, Rikki, Pop, Granny and I went to the Beach Club for a vacation. Granny and Poppa loved the beach! We were all walking out to the beach one day on the boardwalk and I fell and broke my leg skinned my knee and Poppa healed the broken leg with his handkerchief... It was magic y'all. I have a picture of me and Pop on the beach with that magical, healing handkerchief. When I get back to Lawley and find it I'll attach it to the post.

There are so many countless memories I have of Granny and Poppa and I'm so very thankful for each and every one. I know I am blessed to have had them in my life for 26 years; I know most people don't get that privilege of having grandparents for a long time. And I've known 3 great-grandparents and 5 grandparents and remember special moments with everyone of them. My heart still aches for the loss of my grandparents though; its a joyful ache but an ache nonetheless. Granny and Granddaddy knew LP was coming and Poppa got to meet and hold her several times. I am so thankful... so thankful. I hope LP gets the good traits from my grandparents - Granny's love for life and love for a good shopping day/dinner out to eat and devotion to Christ and her husband; Granddaddy's hard, honest work ethic and quiet, humble love for Christ; Poppa's gentle spirit and his love for his darling wife and children and egg-scrambling ability; Nana's love for making a home and working hard to keep it up and her amazing cooking skills and her ability to not care what people say or think about her - Christ's opinion is the only one that matters; and Clay's love for story-telling and laughter. 

Jesus is my Rock and my Salvation. He is close to the broken-hearted and hears our prayers. He loves me unconditionally and without Him I would have been lost in all the valleys. I know "what-if" statements can be silly but what if my hope had been in something/someone else during those valleys? Would LP have made it if I had put my faith in fallen man or silly idols? Maybe... (And this is strictly all about my personal situation and not in anyway a reflection of any person who has had hard times and lost a baby or loved one or anything - God's will for our life is ultimate and supreme but also mysterious - I can not fathom His plans for His children. We just need to trust Him). 

Again I will say that I am thankful, so very thankful for Christ and His guiding hand on my life. And I am thankful for my Poppa and his legacy - he was great but only because he chose to let Jesus live through him and be light and salt in this world. 

This is my broken leg picture! :)