Sunday, December 2, 2007

Our New House

We're officially homeowners now. Actually, we have been for almost 2 weeks now...I know I said that I would be sure to post pictures right after closing, but needless to say things have been crazy for us. Here are some pictures of the house:Our first picture as homeowners!Living room (Kitchen to the right)... Ben thinks he needs a flat screen TV for the nook above the fireplace!View of Kitchen from Living RoomAlternate view of KitchenDining RoomMaster BedroomOur backyard & deck
The Friday after Thanksgiving we had a "family work day" at the house to get it ready to move in to... wiped down, fix-uped, cleaned, everything. We love our backyard but I was really dreading having to rake up all the leaves... then I found out that I wouldn't have to. Ben and Pete went out there with the lawn mower and leaf blower and cleaned it up in no time... I was so grateful!
Brandon and Kara also helped us put up our Christmas tree. We knew with moving right in the middle of December we wouldn't put up a tree unless we did it while we were in for Thanksgiving.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Change on the Horizon

If you had asked me 10 years ago if I would be in Clarksville in 2007 and what I would have been doing, I would have told you, "Yeah, probably so...I'll be a Veterinarian." Of course, 10 years ago would have been my Sophomore year of high school, and I was just certain that I was going to be a Vet. Psalm 33:10 says, " The LORD brings the counsel of the nations to nothing; he frustrates the plans of the peoples." Over the course of a few years, the Lord frustrated my plans, and I surrendered them. By this, I don't say that it is wrong for a person to become a Veterinarian, or any other profession. But for me, the Lord had different plans.
When we first moved to Louisville from Knoxville, we thought that it would be best if I would focus on school without the added responsibility of serving on staff in a church. Throughout those two years, I struggled with that, though. I had left Vet school to go into the ministry, and now it didn't seem that I was any closer than before we had moved. In August of 2006, I took a position at Little Mount Baptist Church. They had no youth, and wanted to start a youth program, and that's why I came on board. Over the last year, the Lord really has blessed Little Mount. We've had 9 professions of faith, and we can see real growth in Christlikeness in the youth.
Throughout our year at Little Mount, we've formed some deep relationships. I never imagined that it would be so heart-wrenching to leave a church (I feel as if I'm turning my back on my family), but this past Sunday, our departure from Little Mount began. We have accepted a position at Grace Community Church, where I will shepherd the community groups. Community groups are small groups of 12 to 15 peole who commit to meet weekly for 12-18 months. During these meetings, people study the Bible and live life together, sharing the victories and defeats of life. Basically, they "do church." My role will be two-fold. I will strengthen, encourage, and equip the existing community group leaders as they shepherd their group. I will also enlist new leaders. This is going to be a big task. Grace is growing so quickly that they have a deficit of leaders. They have lots of people that are willing to commit to community groups, but not enough leaders for the groups. I'm sure that many leaders are already there, they just need to be told that they can actually do it. This responsibility will fall on me.
We're excited to begin serving at Grace. This is a great opportunity, and is something that we did not think would be available for many years down the road. But the Lord has made this opportunity available for us, and we are ready to get going. We are praying even now that the Lord would continue to place a burden in our hearts for the lost in Clarksville.
We hope to hear from you soon.


Sunday, October 21, 2007

Bittersweet News

Wow... I can't believe that it has been so long since I have posted anything to our blog. A lot of exciting things have happened in the last month, most of which we have been unable to talk about... that is until now. All announcements have been made, and all information in public knowledge, so I guess the last thing to do is share the news will all you who may not know. I guess I will start from the beginning...

A couple of months ago on a random Wednes
day night Ben received a phone call from a pastor in a church in his home town (Clarksville, TN) asking if he would be interested in a position that they had. We were caught off guard, flattered, but a little reluctant to move forward with anything. Ben still has a year of Seminary left, we were really happy in our position at Little Mount and the way the Lord was moving, and we were unsure about the church in Clarksville and their beliefs. We prayed about it for a couple of days and decided that we should at least meet with the pastor and find out more about the church and the position. To make a long story short, we had several meetings with the staff at the church, asked them a lot of hard questions, sought the counsel of our family and other wise Christians, and prayed A LOT and decided to move to Clarksville and accept the position (I'll have Ben tell a little bit more about the church and the position later).

This transition is so bittersweet for us... we are so excited and so sad at the same time. On one hand, we are moving back home (though we have been in KY for 3 years TN has that special place in our hearts). We are going to be close to our families and the job at the church is the type of position that we thought we wouldn't be able to get until we had been out of seminary a few years. But, on the other hand, we hate to leave our little nest in Taylorsville. We really feel that our little church is our family. We have built so many great relationships with so many wonderful, caring people. The Lord is also working in a mighty way at Little Mount. For start, we have had 9 youth come to Christ since the summer and new families have been visiting and joining. Though we know that God receives all the glory for these things and that it is not us that has caused these things to happen, it is hard to leave where the Lord is at work.

Also on the list of crazy thing we have done is the last month is buying a house. Here's a picture of our new home...

We certainly had no intentions of buying a house so soon, but the week after we looked at it we got a call from the owner (who went to kindergarten with Ben) saying that someone had put an offer on the house. We knew if we wanted it we had to move then. Let me just say that the next day was the just about the most stressful day ever. I couldn't sleep that night. I just kept thinking "Dave Ramsey would call us crazy!" The next morning I had about talked Ben into backing out and not sending in the contract. Ben spent the day on the phone with his dad and the mortgage broker and crunching numbers and we decided to take the plunge. We close on November 19... I'll post more pictures of the house then. We won't actually move until December 14th, so we'll have time do some work on the house before we move.

I guess that's all our big news, I'll do better about posting more often and not springing so much on you at once... I know it's a lot to take in.

Saturday, September 1, 2007

So Much to Celebrate, So Little Time

I know that I said that I would post pictures of Mary Kate's graduation party soon, but I have been so busy the last few weeks... I'll try to recap the highlights for you. We'll start with my sisters graduation. This is Mary Kate's graduation announcement, I was excited that she asked me to design them:Over 40 guests showed up for Mary Kate's send off party... it was a great time fellowshipping with family and friends and celebrating her achievement. The day after the party my grandmother and mom drove to Rogers, Arkansas with her to help her move into her new house and get settled before starting her new job.

The next Saturday Daddy, Beth, and Carson came to visit and we took Carson on his first trip to the zoo to see all the animals which he loved (when he wasn't acting like he was too scared to look at them). Meanwhile, my mom was making her way to London. She will be over there for the next 5 weeks helping my aunt Ceree settle into her new home and watching after Tyler. It sounds as though she is having a wonderful time although she has been a little homesick and Tyler has been ill. Please keep them all in your prayers, I'm sure it is a hard transition for all of them to be in a new country.

Last Monday night a sweet family from our church invited Ben and I to dinner. We had an excellent meal and my favorite dessert, Kentucky Derby Pie! After dinner we moved to the living room and Ben played the piano while we all sang hymns. This little family is so musically talented, they even sang a few songs for us in perfect harmony. They said that they often "jammed" together in the evening. We felt so blessed to get a little glimpse into their lives and that the Lord has placed such loving people into our life.

Our final big event this week was the birth of John Mark and Laura's little Wesley Clint. He was born last night at 7:31 weighing 8lbs 4oz and 21 inches long. He is very cute. So far Laura & baby are doing well, but please keep them in your prayers as they make the transition from the hospital to home with a brand new life in their care. Please also pray for safe travel for John Mark's family as they come to visit and care for this new little family.

Sunday, August 19, 2007

Road Trip!

This morning my dad and I flew to Albany, NY to pick my sister up from her summer internship. She has spent the last two months working at a camp for overweight kids in VT which completes her Bachelors degree in Health and Human Performance from you University of Tennessee at Martin. We are so proud of her... I will post pictures soon from her graduation party tomorrow.

We are currently driving home from Albany (don't worry I'm not driving and blogging). It's about 10:30 pm and we are just now leaving the state of NY... I thought that we would never get out of there! Now we just have to drive through Pennsylvania, Ohio, and Kentucky before we get back to Gallatin. It's going to be a very long night....

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Cooking with Kraft

I made both of these recipes to take to a work retreat... they're two of our new favorites. Ben says the Rocky Road Crunch Bars are his new all time favorite dessert. I got both of the recipes from the Kraft Food & Family Magazine. I get them in the mail for free (click here to got to the website to get recipes and sign up to get the magazine) and love it. It always has at least one or two recipes that I end up trying and loving... it's definitely worth your time to go to the website a sign up to get it! In the mean time try out these two sweet treats (and let us know which one is your favorite):

Rocky Road Crunch Bars (Ben's Favorite)
1/3 cup honey
2 Tbsp. butter
4 cups JET-PUFFED Miniature Marshmallows
1 cup PLANTERS COCKTAIL Peanuts, chopped
4 squares BAKER'S Semi-Sweet Baking Chocolate, chopped (I used chocolate chips)

MICROWAVE honey and butter in large microwaveable bowl on HIGH 1 min.; stir until well blended. Add marshmallows; toss to coat. Microwave 1-1/2 min. or until marshmallows are puffed; stir until well blended.
ADD remaining ingredients; mix well.
PRESS cereal mixture firmly into greased foil-lined 13x9-inch pan. Cool. Cut into 24 bars

Flat Bottom Fruit Pie (Laura's Favorite)

1 refrigerated ready-to-use refrigerated pie crust (1/2 of 15-oz. pkg.)
1 tsp. cinnamon sugar (3/4 tsp. sugar and 1/4 tsp. cinnamon)
1-1/4 cups half-and-half
1 pkg. (4-serving size) JELL-O Vanilla Flavor Instant Pudding & Pie Filling
1 cup thawed COOL WHIP Whipped Topping
1-1/2 cups fresh peach slices (about 1 large)
1/2 cup blueberries
1/2 cup raspberries

PREHEAT oven to 450ºF. Unroll pie crust onto baking sheet; sprinkle with cinnamon sugar. Bake 8 to 10 min. or until lightly browned; cool completely.
MEANWHILE, pour half-and-half into medium bowl. Add dry pudding mix. Beat with wire whisk 2 min. or until well blended. Gently stir in whipped topping; cover. Refrigerate until ready to use.
SPREAD pudding mixture over crust just before serving; top with fruit. Cut into slices. Store leftover dessert in refrigerator.

I actually modified this recipe a little... I used fat free half and half, sugar free instant vanilla pudding, and light cool whip and it was delicious. You really could not tell that it was almost good for you. I also used fruits that I new that we liked (peaches,
strawberries, blueberries, and grapes) and you can do the same. I was particularly proud of the way mine looked, here's some pictures:

Sunday, August 12, 2007

Please Pray

I just got a call from Beth, she told me that her step-father James passed away this evening. Please pray for her mother Lucille in this loss, also for Beth and her siblings, Teresa, Doug, & Allen and their families and also for James' children. We rejoice that he is no longer suffering but our hearts go out to his loved ones in their loss.

Saturday, August 11, 2007

Flat Iron... Not Just for the Hair Anymore

Last Tuesday night while in Norfolk we were invited to eat at Rob & Vicki Goff's house. Vicki served the most wonderful steak, flat iron steak (Kroger has these on sale right now). She simply marinaded it in a pack for dry seasoning mixed with oil and vinegar . It was delicious! Ben and I have been craving it ever since so tonight we went to Target and bought a grill pan (since we live in an apartment and can not have a grill) and we are going to have it for our Sunday afternoon lunch.The instructions are so simple:
Mix up marinade pack following the directions and marinade meat for at least 1 hour. Grill for 8-10 minutes per side. When finished let meat rest for 5 minutes before slicing (be sure to slice strait across and not on a bias) and serve.

Vicki grilled two large steaks (probably about 1.5-2 lbs each) and was able to feed 9 of us, and we all went back for seconds and thirds. Because you slice the meat pretty thin it goes a long way, especially if you have a lot of sides. Speaking of side dishes, Vicki also made a wonderful salad... simple with just lettuce, tomato, and maybe cucumber, but she made her own oil and vinegar dressing with crumbled feta cheese mixed into the dressing a few hours before she poured it over the salad. I will definitely be trying this pretty soon as well!

Sunday, August 5, 2007

Home At Last...But Where's Our Stuff?

We returned very early this morning (2 am) from our trip to Norfolk, VA to see Brandon. We started our vacation Monday evening by traveling to Clarksville after I got off work and flew out of Nashville early Tuesday morning. The next few days were filled with golf for the guys and hanging out at the beach for Cindy and me. On Wednesday night Ben preached at Going Public, the youth service at FBC Norfolk. He did a wonderful job. We had a marvelous time hanging out with each other and a few of the Norfolk folks. Our adventure home started yesterday with 5 unexpected hours to kill at the Philadelphia airport (luckily there was a shopping mall in the airport) and ended with no luggage in Nashville. Pete and Cindy's luggage was delivered to their house, but ours is still M.I.A.. I tell you getting ready in the morning is much faster when you have no hair dryer, flat iron, or make up. We're glad to be home, but we miss our stuff!!!

I had hoped to post pictures of our vacation all this week, but I did not even take my camera out of it's case. I very literally did nothing but sit on the beach and read and relax and it was WONDERFUL!

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Chloe's New Do

Little Chloe got her summer hair cut this week. Poor little thing, we let her get in bad shape. She couldn't see for all the hair in her face and she was so matted and hot. Above is a before picture that we took at the begining of the month (she's the one that looks like a cute little teddy bear in Ben's arms.) Here is what she looks like now... I know you are going to laugh. You can tell by the look on her face that she knows she looks silly.
We can't stop laughing at how skinny her feet and legs are... she's got her uncle Brandon's chicken legs! We know she is just not as cute without her hair, but we know she's got to feel better. And yes, that is a puff ball on her tail, it's gone as soon as we get clippers!

Saturday, June 23, 2007

Weekend Getaway- Nashville, IN

Ben and I have been apart for to long with the SBC and Camp so we decided to take a little retreat of our own. We left yesterday afternoon and went to a little town about two hours from Taylorsville called Nashville, IN. It was a quaint little town with several B&B's and shops, and English gardens everywhere (Grandmama, you would have LOVED it!). We certainly feel relaxed and refreshed and ready for the busy weeks ahead. Here are some pictures from our trip:
The Cornerstone Inn (this is where we spent the night)
Carriage Ride Around Town

Some Beautiful Flowers From the Gardens

Sunday, June 17, 2007

Bike Hike

Nathan had a race yesterday in Louisville we went to watch and had a lot of fun. Here are some pictures of our day:
Carson is sitting on Nathan's "big boy" Bicycle

Carson and Ben in the Police helicopter

Playing with Bubby Ben!

And They're Off! Nathan is the one in the yellow

"Yea Aphen (Nathan) Yea!"

Here's Nathan riding by

What have we learned today... Having a 2 year old makes us tired! We were so glad that that Nathan came to visit us, he was such a huge help with Carson.

Friday, June 15, 2007

Yummy Cupcake!

We survived our first day with a two year old! We woke up and Carson helped me make chocolate chip muffins. We ran some errands and had grilled cheese (cheese quesadilla from Q-doba) for lunch. Then Nathan came over and we had hush puppies (salmon patties) and macaroni for dinner. So what have we learned... if you want to get a 2 year old to eat you have to change the names of food to make it sound more appealing. One name we sure didn't have to change is CUPCAKE. As you can see from the pictures he could not get it in his mouth fast enough. It sure was the funniest thing that I have see in a while (sorry for the low picture quality, we forgot the camera and had to use the cell phone).

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Southern Baptist Convention

Ben is on his way home from the Southern Baptist Convention in San Antonio, TX. He's had a good week, seen some big time guys in the convention, visited the Alamo, heard debates, voted on issues and reports that he is ready to be home. When I last spoke to him he was a couple of hours outside of Nashville and said it felt like home to be in Tennessee (even though we now live in KY). I look forward to having him home and spending a few days with him before he heads off to camp next week. Please pray for his safe return home and for the youth who will be going to camp.

I should have some exciting posts coming up... adventures of LaLa (Laura) and a two year old named Carson. I'll let you know who my 5 days with him go (complete with cute pictures I'm sure!)
Made by Lena