Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Sweet Friendships

So I went back to see the last time that I was in March. Six months isn't terrible, right? Let's be honest, I started this blog knowing I wasn't about to be the person who makes money off their blog!

So for those of you who don't know, here is a quick update on the Harrelsons. My last day as the Youth Director in Aliceville, AL was August 8. It was very bittersweet. There are so many people we will miss, our "kids", as we like to call them, the most. Over a month after leaving, it still feels strange not going to Pep Rallys and Football games (which they are dominating in this year) or preparing lessons about the gospel.

We had about a month off before John started work in Birmingham, so we went to visit Lan, Jennifer, and Aaron in Houston,TX. This was my first time to Houston, and in case you were wondering, it's a long drive. We went through 2 books on tape! (I now can appreciate how frequently y'all make it back for football games.) We had a great time exploring Houston, shopping, going to the brewery, celebrating birthdays, and just getting to see what their lives are like in Houston!

Friday night we met up with Aaron and Ally. It was so good to finally meet her! (They are now engaged--Congrats!)It felt like old times and was so refreshing to all be together again. The Lord certainly brings his blessings in a community of friends.

We went to St. Arnold brewery on Saturday afternoon. I am definitely not a beer conosour, but there were several of those there! Every Saturday, this brewery opens it's doors for a few hours. People bring their lunch, cards, etc. and camp out for the afternoon and drink beer. You pay for 3 tokens and get to taste all of their different beers. We enjoyed hanging out, talking to the couple next to us who just happened to work there and were very informative, and playing Phase 10 (though I am sad we never actually finished our game.)

 The old roomies, minus Ben.

 Jennifer and me

 Happy birthday to me! This is the first year that we have spent my birthday together!

 Jennifer and Lan. Such a great picture of the two of them!
 We toured Houston's oldest brewery!

Later that night, we met up with Aaron and several of his friends to celebrate his birthday. We ate at a delicious pizza joint and went out for a bit. I think we are getting old because it was loud, crowded, and we didn't stay long!

Birthday buddies!

Lan had a business trip that he had to go on and since it was on the way home for us, John hopped in and went with him! Jennifer and I thought our time was better spent in Houston watching Downton Abbey and going to the Outlet stores--so fun!

After our visit to Houston, we spent some time in Jackson, TN with my family. It was the second time I had been home this calendar year. It was good to relax and spend some time with the family. We packed up the trailer (huge covered trailer we never thought we could fill up), headed to Aliceville to collect our belongings there, stopped by Cottondale to pick up a few things (at this point the trailer was almost overflowing), and unloaded in Birmingham. Everything went SO smoothly thanks to our families and my youth kids who helped.

A few weeks later, my good friend, Jessica Frank came to visit from Ohio. We became good friends when we roomed together in Colorado while we both attended Focus on the Family Leaderiship Institute. I am so glad that we have remained such good friends even though we hardly ever get to see each other!

Davenport's Pizza Palace

 We went up to the Vulcan where John helped give both of us a history lesson on Birmingham!

 When you climb the Vulcan...yes, we went up all of those stairs instead of taking the elevator--that's one way to help work off some of that pizza--you see a beautiful view downtown Birmingham.

We helped pick out several of the hospitals that Jess could come work for. You know you want to live in the south where you are free to add "y'all" to your vocabulary!

The next morning, John's dad and brother-in-law came over to work on the shed that we are building in our backyard. Jess, Laine (John's sister), Mary Paige (Laine's baby), and I went to Pepper's Place Farmers Market. It's such a neat event with live music, art work, garden inspirations, and of course wonderful fresh vegetables!

Pepper's Place Farmer's Market

For those of you who don't know Jess, she LOVES flowers. We looked back through the pictures from Colorado and you could always tell the pictures that Jess took because they were mostly of wildflowers! So, knowing that, we had to go to the Botanical Gardens. (Plus it's free that that's always a reason to go!)

 This spider was SO big! I hope I never find one in my house! I thought it's markings and web were pretty unique though. I can appreciate it from a distance!

We enjoyed relaxing, cooking, watching The Big Bang Theory way too much, and catching up on life! She is such a sweet blessing from the Lord!

So...when I sat down, I meant to do an update on the house because I have had several people ask me to blog about it. Well, I hate to disappoint, but it will have to be another post. I keep saying that I want to wait until I have everything just perfect. I have come to realize that it's always going to be a work in progress, so I my next blog post I will do on the house!

Thursday, March 8, 2012

I Want to Know Jesus More

On Wednesday afternoons I pick up the Elementary kids from school, give them a snack, have a Bible lesson, and play games with them. This Wednesday was not exception, but what happened was amazing.

After the Bible study when it was time to go outside and play, a kid told me that another kids was crying. I went up to (let's call him Bob because I am posting this story on the internet) Bob and asked him what was wrong. He told me with tears in his eyes, "I just want to know more about Jesus!" Just take a minute to let that simple phrase sink in. Bob is in the 4th grade and realizing something profound. What if we all had that strong of a desire to know our Savior more and more, to never be satisfied where we are, but always wanting to grow in our knowledge of and relationship with Jesus? Don't you think that this is what God desires of us?

We went off to a room to talk. He said that he regretted not being in church more. Since he plays travel ball and has had some family issues, he hasn't been in church on a regular basis, yet wants to go so bad! This boy has a  craving to be a part of the body of Christ. Do we always? Is going to church just a routine or do we really get excited to fellowship with believers and learn more about who God is?

We talked about the difference between knowing about Jesus and trusting in Him. We talked about how Jesus, God's own son, died on the cross for all the wrong that we have and will commit here on earth, so that we might live with God for all eternity. He did more than die and pay the penalty, He rose from the grave conquering death! Hallelujah, what a Savior!!!

How this simple conversation with blunt honesty holds so much truth. Sometimes I think we need to get back to the basics, to see the overall picture of what God has done for us. May it never be old in our ears!

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Friendships--Blessings from God

This should make writing on my blog a New Years Resolution, but I don't like to lie to myself. So, here is one of I'm sure many sporadic blog posts to come.

This past weekend, John and I were blessed with the opportunity to use a cabin from a family in our church, the Eatmans. They have been such a blessing and always encouraging of my work at the church. Their kindness is overwhelming! The opportunity to be able to see friends, share our struggles and sins together, talk about how the Lord has worked in our lives and marriages, and have fun making new memories together is irreplaceable!
The Eatman's Cabin

Haley Morgan, Amanda Morris, and I really bonded our senior year of college as we conquered Marketing together, attended RUF, and went through engagement/marriage season together. Our friendship has only grown since graduating and departing to different cities. The Lord has given us lots of things in common which enabled us to confide and encourage one another!
Haley and Amanda

We took Millie and Eli for a walk on Saturday. It was such a beautiful day! 

One thing you have to know about Eli is that he's not very fond of water. He tolerates his baths, but always tries to run when he realizes what's about to happen. When he was younger, we carried him in a lake to see if he could swim. He went straight for the shore. That being said, we didn't think anything about taking him down on the dock. As John was looking away, I watch Eli stare into the water, put his paw out, and with total faith, stepped straight into the water. I think that since there were some leaves on top of the water, Eli thought that he could walk on water! So if you can picture it, Eli went head forward into the water. John wound up yanking him out of the water by his leash. Trust me, if you had seen it, you would have laughed too!

 Doesn't this face look guilty! There goes all the benefits of his bath the day before.

We still love him!

We also had lots of fun playing Quelf and Logo. 

 Haley and Will had to do some leap frogs in Quelf.

 Millie loves cuddling with Haley! 

 We are so attached to our dogs!

 Quelf, oh the memories and awkward moments you bring!

Unfortunately, we forgot to take a group picture even though we kept talking about it all weekend! Maybe another time!