Thursday, September 1, 2011

Wonderful Church Family

I don't know if it's the fact that I work at a church or the fact that I am growing up and my eyes have been opened to the blessings of a church family, but I have been learning how beautiful the body of Christ is! When my ceiling caved in (yes, ceiling tiles fell on my bed out of no where), different people in the church were willing to use what God had given them to help me out. Due to the year in which my apartment was built, my dad was a bit nervous that the tiles might be asbestos tiles and suggested I get them checked out. With that warning, I spent the night with the Farmers...and several nights thereafter. The next day I spent most of the day trying to find a lab that would test a tile. I was unsuccessful and frustrated. Upon hearing about my dilemma, Mr. Lawrence, who works in construction, called the same people that I called earlier that day and was able to get an answer--no asbestos!  Isn't it great to know people who have different expertise? After hearing about the good news, I was able to go back into my apartment, and Mr. Willie took time out of his busy schedule to put the ceiling back up! There is no way that I could have done this process on my own!

When my grandfather passed away two weeks ago, almost everyone in the church sent a card, messaged me on facebook, or said something to me. Everyone was so sincere.  I can't begin to tell you how that made me feel. I was very close to my grandfather and was a bit emotional around his passing. I praise the Lord that I know He is in a much better place, free of pain and suffering.

Also, the Lavenders offered their beach house for John and I to spend some quality time together. They are SO generous and have continuously showered us with blessings since I moved here. They let John stay at their house whenever he came to visit...which was almost every week.  Anyhow, due to their big hearts, John and I were able to relax on the beach!

There was NO ONE on the beach this day. I read The Help while John played on his iPhone, looking at football info in preparation for this next season!

Unfortunately, there were jellyfish EVERYWHERE, so we couldn't get in the water. 

We also were able to fix our seafood cravings! We ate at Tacky Jacks and The Original Oyster House.

 We got ready to go out to eat and I wanted to make sure and get a family picture. For my birthday, my parents got me a tripod, so I decided to put it to work. We had a bit of trouble trying to get Eli to cooperate. We took several pictures, but these were my favorite!

Eli got a bit bored...

This was our most successful!

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Eli--Our Newest Member of the Harrelson Household

John surprised me this past weekend with an early birthday present--a puppy! Welcome the newest member of our family, Eli Harrelson. He is a 7 week old Basset. We named him Eli because he has 3 dots on his back that are right in a row that look like ellipses points. John's mom thought of it--yes, she used to be an English teacher! 

John presented him to me with a big bow and everything!
He trips over his ears on a regular basis. The song, "Do Your Ears Hang Low?" but have been written about a Basset hound!

How cute is this face!

I have already taken a TON of pictures of our newest member, but I will try to keep it to a reasonable amount!

Saturday Project--Recovering chairs

This past weekend I went to Birmingham to visit John and join him in a congratulatory dinner in honor of his job offer. (Praise the Lord--He is good!) On the way back to Aliceville, we decided to stop by his parents house for a chat and a little project. After being inspired by Pinterest to be creative, John and I decided to recover our dining room chairs. This has been a project I have been wanting to do for a long time. (I noticed that Haley Morgan did the same craft with her husband this past weekend too! Feel free to check out her blog and take on this project.) John and I visited Hobby Lobby, agreed on some fabric, and set to work.

Here is what the old seat covers looked like--not quite my style.

 Here are the supplies you will need: fabric, staple gun, yard stick, and a good pair of scissors.

Cut the fabric to a desired side. Thankfully when the fabric is stapled underneath, you can't tell how straight you cut the line.

You will only want about 3 inches extra on either side. If you have too much extra underneath, it makes the corners difficult to execute neatly.

Pull the fabric tight and staple all the sides. Next--the corners.

Flatten out the corners and staple.

And here is the final product! Much nicer! It was super easy and only cost $15 to cover 6 chairs! John and I might go into the reupholstering business!

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Cherokee Mission Trip

Though this is much overdue, I thought that it would be a shame not to share how God worked in our mission trip. 

We took a group of 12 to Cherokee, NC to work on an Indian reservation where our church supports a missionary.  It was really exciting to be able to work along someone our church supports and who does this year round. We stayed at an old campsite in which cabins and better bath houses have been built. Other churches were there working in various avenues on the reservation, and we were able to come together at night to share in fellowship, worship, and talk about how God was working through the different teams. This was the fourth time for our church to go and my second time to go. For those of you who don't know much about the Cherokee reservation (which would have included me until I actually went there) there are issues with substance, physical, and sexual abuse. It's estimated that out of the 14,000-15,000 resigestered Indians on the reservation, only 1,000 attend church. It's definitely a place where hope is needed--and that's exactly what we were able to bring!

The men in our group worked throughout the week on a porch. They finished the roof but I didn't have a good picture of the completed project.

The rest of us did VBS at a local day care called Agelink. Along with VBS, we were asked to do some "light cleaning" which included washing walls, shampooing carpets, pressure washing the outside of two buildings, and cleaning all the windows inside and out. 

 There were some of the most PRECIOUS kids there! I could go on and on!

Rebekah Johnson is a friend of mine from Tuscaloosa that came with us on the trip. It was so nice having someone on the trip my own age! The boy in the picture's name is Caleb. Unfortunately he only came one day, but in that day, Rebekah went through the gospel by drawing pictures. First, with a cross, then he drew Jesus on the cross, and ending with what heaven looked like. His parents don't take him to church and he doesn't have a Bible, but I said that he was interested. We gave him a Bible and highlighted some key passages for him to read. I pray that that seed would bear some fruit.

This kid was one of the most energetic and entertaining of them all! When Mrs. Tricia asked if anyone knew why we would come all the way to Alabama to North Caroline to be with them, he responded, "You came to play with us!" He also told us he had a pet friend named Rudy, a dinosaur, who was going to eat us so we had to run! He would also tell us when we weren't pretending correctly! 

Mrs. Tricia gave the lesson everyday. Natalie 's (a little girl at the day care) mom told us that her daughter came home asking if what we said about God was true and where it was found in the Bible. Thank God that she comes from a Christian home with a mom who can help develop her understanding of our Lord and Savior.
As an easy way to remember how to become a Christian, we brought these ABC building blocks. A-Admit to God you are a sinner. Repent and turn from your sins. B-Believe that Jesus is God's son and He came into the world to save his children. C-Confess your faith in Jesus, as your Savior and your God and choose to live your life for him forevermore! We also had a rap that went along with it!

This little girl's name is Jaelyn. Day one I was told that she has a speech impediment and doesn't talk to anyone but her mom. I can't imagine how frustrating it would be to not be able to communicate with your words, but she could clearly demonstrate exactly what she was thinking. It was incredible! She was so sweet and had a big heart.

Drayton was one of my favorites. He acted like a punk when we first got there (probably because he was one of the oldest) but quickly warmed up. His rarely sees his mom, occasionally sees his dad, has a 2 month old brother he has never met, a 5 year old sister he sees on occasion, and lives with his grandparents. We were able to talk about someone who would never leave us no matter what and about the forgiveness He shows us, which we are able to show to others.

We made jean pillow cases as a craft one day.

One day for snacks we made lemonade--God will make everything that is bitter, sweet!

The youngsters on the trip!

On our afternoon off, we visted Mingo Falls.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Would you hire me?

John started work, so we had to make him look "hireable".  I mourned this day because I think that John looks SO much better with his beard. Apparently people with facial hair come across lazy and less trustworthy. We decided to have a little bit of fun with the process. Would you hire this face?
No? Well, I could understand that.

What about this?
I don't blame you either! What a creeper! I definitely wouldn't hire him as my lawyer.

Well, at least he is a happy creeper!

Now here is a face you can trust. Hire me!

A Wedding and a Funeral

This past Memorial Day weekend has great, emotionally draining for lots of reasons, and crazy busy! I drove to Tuscaloosa Friday night to enjoy some time with John's family. Saturday morning we attended John's grandmother's funeral. The service was sweet, remembering her love for the Lord, her church, and her family. It was also touching to see all the people who showed up to honor her life on earth. Even her hair dresser showed up!

After the funeral, we made the trip to Jackson, MS for Elizabeth and Jan's wedding. It was a beautiful service followed by a fun reception.

Beautiful bride and groom!

 We all know how much Lan likes do dance, so we tried to encourage him!

Lan, I'm so proud you got out there on the dance floor!

Jane Gray and Allan, it was so good to see you! I hate that California is so far away!

After August, we will all be married!

On Sunday, we met up with Haley and Will. 
Haley and I went through RUF and Marketing together at State. She is such a special, sweet friend who continually encourages me and openly shares how God has been working in her life. I also love how comfortable we are with one another. We are past the point of having to play hostess and guest. We even took a nap that afternoon. We enjoyed catching up with one another. 

 John and Will are both in law school, so they always have something to talk about. I also learned something about will this weekend...he likes cooking and is an EXCELLENT cook! I almost took pictures of the food, but John made fun of me and I felt ashamed! Haha!

We also had the opportunity to meet up with John and Kathryn. We enjoyed catching up on life and getting exposed to a bit of Swamp People.

Harris is getting so big! 

John offered to hold Harris for a little bit and after about a minute, tried to pass him to me. He said, "What if he gets upset?" Haha. He did a good job. Plus, I think as long as the tv is on, Harris is content. He was glued to the tv!

It was such a blessing to see all of our friends. It's amazing how God knows what you need and provides for you. It was such a refreshing weekend with lots of encouragement.

Saturday, May 14, 2011


John and I made homemade pizza tonight and it was DELICIOUS! We made our own crust (which was much easier than I expected) and so worth it! We got the recipe from the fabulous Pioneer Woman. (We love all of her recipes!)

*it makes 2 pizza crusts...

1 teaspoon or 1/2 packet active dry yeast
4 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/3 cut extra virgin olive oil

1. Pour 1 1/2 cups warm water into a bowl. Sprinkle the yeast over the water.
2.Combine the flour and salt in a mixing bowl.
3. With an electric mixer on low speed, drizzle in the olive oil until just incorporated.
4. In a seperate bowl, gently stir the yeast/water mixture.
5. Drizzle it into the flour/oil mixture; mix until the dough forms a ball (You can also mix by hand until the dough comes together...and I would highly  suggest it!)
6. Drizzle a little olive oil into a clean bowl. Toss the ball of dough in the bown and turn over to coat in oil. (we accidentally skipped this step and it worked out fine.)
7. Cover the bowl with a moist kitchen towel and set in a warm place for 1 to 2 hours, or cover with plastic wrap and store in the fridge for up to 2 days.
8. To prepare the pizza, preheat the oven to 500 degrees.
9. Divide the dough in half. Lightly drizzle olive oil in the pizza pan or rimmed baking pan.
10. Using your hands, stretch the dough to the desired shape, pressing the dough into the pan with your fingers. The thinner the better.
11. Add desired toppings and bake 8-10 minutes.

 Beginning pics. The toppings on this pizza were my choice. Ingredients: tomato sauce, tomatoes, olives, pepperoni, turkey (what we had in the fridge already), onion, cheese, and bacon.

This was John's pizza. Ingredients: bacon, chicken, bbq sauce, and cheese.

And now for the results....

They were just oh so tasty! 

Monday, May 9, 2011

The Blessing of Relationships

Some big things have happened since the last post...

After living in Jackson, TN for 7 years, you would think that I was used to tornadoes; however, the tornado that struck from Mississippi to North Carolina was much different from any other I had seen. That morning we knew that the day was going to hold bad weather, but several storms had already ripped through in April.  John went to Tuscaloosa to study  for exams, and I stayed here and worked at the church like any other day. Since our house is not exactly "storm safe", I went over to the Lavender's house which had a basement. The storm came and went in Aliceville, not half as bad as what we were expecting, but as we continued to watch the weather, we saw the tornado heading straight for Tuscaloosa, a place where everyone around here has loved ones. We watched it intensify...and then we saw it hit Tuscaloosa. It was unlike anything I had ever seen. They kept saying that it was headed toward the university, but by God's mercy, it changed course right before it got there. I knew that John was locked away in the law building, probably one of the safest buildings possible, yet cell phone service was sparse which caused me to worry. Thankfully I was able to get in touch with John shortly after the tornado hit, giving me the peace of mind I needed. Shortly afterward, the power went out and stayed out for about 15 hours.

I was one of the least affected people; everyone that I know made it through the tornado.  However, the stories from others will will make you cry. Please continue to pray for those without without their mothers, fathers, roommates, children, etc. Pray for those who lost everything. We know that God has a reason for everything and nothing, no matter how bad it may look to us, is outside of God's control. Pray that God will pull people closer to Him through this difficult time.

Lake Forest Ranch
We went on a spring retreat with Riverwood (Tuscaloosa, AL) and Westminster (Greenwood, MS) to Lake Forest Ranch in Macon, MS.  We enjoyed fellowship with one another, worshiping together, and listening to a four part sermon series from Brian Sorgenfrei, the RUF Campus Minister at Mississippi State University, on Jesus's first impression. 

Group from Aliceville.
Riverwood, Westminster, and First Pres.
Worship leaders
Who knew these could be so much fun? Anna, Katie, Rebecca, and Mary Pat
This might be my favorite picture from the trip!
Oliver and Rebecca playing games.

Trip to Birmingham
I took a quick weekend trip to Birmingham to see some of my former roommates, Allyson and Megan! Friday night we ran into Briana, Meredith, and Katy at O'Henrys. It was such a welcomed surprise! Saturday morning we went to Panera for breakfast (I miss coffee shops!) with Katy followed by some shopping in the Summit. It was so refreshing spending time with such good friends. Girl time is always a must! God made us to be in relationship with others, and it is so evident! God uses others to encourage and strengthen us. It was exactly what I needed!
Wonderful former roommates!

Look who surprised us at O'Henrys! 
Allyson, Megan, Meredith, Katy, Briana

Allyson, Briana, Meredith

Katy and Megan

Katy, please don't move from Birmingham!  I love seeing you!

As I look over this post, it's evident that I have a lot to be thankful for.  First, God has blessed me with a WONDERFUL husband. I haven't really bragged on him yet in this post, but he helps wash dishes, hang pictures (even when this is the last thing he wants to do), wash cars, and just serve me in everyday ways. I am loving married life! I am so thankful that God protected him in the tornado. Secondly, even though they weren't mentioned in this post, I am thankful for my family. Happy Mother's Day, Mom!  They have supported and loved me through everything! Third,I'm blessed to have so many wonderful friends!  It really is a time of rejuvenation when I am able to spend time with them. Lastly, I am blessed with an amazing job where I get to walk through life with Junior and Senior High students and show them Jesus! Plus, I might be a bit biased, but I have some pretty cool students. To summarize, praise the Lord for relationships!!!