Friday, July 28, 2017

Sweet 16

It was a hot, sticky July day. The weatherman insured us that thunderstorms were imminent. I could feel it in the air, and my hair was a fuzz-bucket, so I knew it was on it's way. 

I was thinking about the night before...  and all that happened at the church. Walking through the rehearsal, having some pizza in the fellowship hall and afterwards seeing Shannon, his brother Lamar, his cousins Josh and Adam, Bry, Myles and Tom off as they went to watch, "Planet of the Apes". The girls and I finished up modestly decorating the church with pink roses, white candles, and twinkle lights. It was a vision of loveliness when we were done. 

My Sister and I got to the church around lunchtime when the bottom dropped out.

 The weatherman was right. Here it came with a fury. Thankful we were all safe inside the church, we fixed our makeup and touched up our hair and took some pictures. Not with smart phones or even flip phones, mind you. Those were not around sixteen years ago. Selfies were just a great guess, in hopes that if you held your arm out far enough maybe... maybe you wouldn't cut most of your head off in the picture. You wouldn't know til you went to Revco and paid $5.95 to get them developed and then you threw out at least half of the pictures that you took, because they stunk. 

We had friends and family who made food. We had a cousin take our pictures. Aunt Grace who is now "I think" nearing 95 years, made our cake.
 And precious Gran-Gran made the gallons of banana punch for the reception. Ferns from Mom, Aunt Deb and Dona's porch gave the stage the finishing touches of natural beauty.
Family. It was what we started that day. Family who pulled together to make a special day even more special. Family who got out in that horrific storm. Family who cheered us on. Family who came to see us as we made a covenant between us and The Lord.
Shannon knew what a sap I was, so he helped keep my mind occupied while sweet songs were sung and played. I agreed to play Fantasy Football with him that year and while we stood together on stage, he whispered to me questions of who my running back, quarterback, and receivers were. If you ever wonder what the couples are whispering about on stage during that time in weddings... I'm pretty sure that's it. ;) 

After we lit the unity candle, his candle fell over and I got tickled. 

As we made our vows, the storm began to rage again.  Tom announced us man and wife, and the biggest thunder clap in the world happened just as we touched lips for the first time as husband and wife.
The church full of our friends and family burst out in laughter as did we.
 Of all our memories, that may be my favorite because I love laughter. And to be there and hear that beautiful sound ring through the church that we love, with all the people that we love,  and the love that we share being joined together... well, I don't think it could have been any better. 

We made it over to the fellowship hall where we talked with everyone and snacked on veggies, punch, and the world's most delicious chocolate Groom's cake. 

When it was time to leave, the rain ceased and everyone was able to stay outside with us and blow bubbles. Cousin Josh decorated our van in shaving cream and my kids still want to this day know what "Shaggin Wagon" means. 

We pulled out of the church only to pull back in again, because we wanted to help clean up a little... After a little bit the family shooed us away for good. So we met up with our closest friends at the new Krystal down the mountain. 

Shannon... these past sixteen years have been a beautiful testimony to me of God's precious grace. He has blessed me more than I will ever understand. We have had highs and we have had lows, but God's grace holds us strong. I'm thankful for these years with my best friend. I'm thankful for the precious children He has given us. I'm thankful for the love we share, the home we share and the work for the Lord we do alongside one another.  I'm thankful for the journey thus far and I am happy to continue on with you. That day we had a lovely wedding... but I am so thankful that it was more than a wedding, we have made a beautiful life. 
Thank you Lord... and thank you for reminding me of that stormy day sixteen years ago. The storms may come along again today, but just as we did then, we will do again. We will laugh, we will love and we will continue on. 

I love you, Shannon....
Happy Anniversary. 

Thursday, July 27, 2017

Betty's Brown Butter Coconut Pie

I love having company... and I honestly need to be much more deliberate and have company more often. I want people to feel free to drop by or I can say, "Hey, you wanna come over for dinner?" It's so easy, but I just don't do it nearly enough. We have a family friend who used to come over weekly, but lately life has happened and we haven't seen him in months. So one day we ran into him and I said, "Why don't you come over and have supper with us one night?" He heartily agreed and so Shannon planned it with him when it would work out. 
This past week, we have had some hardships come along... our fridge caught on fire, our suburban broke down, etc. but, we aren't gonna let that bog us down. God has good things in store, and we are going to celebrate with good friends and some yummy food tonight. I'm making two big pans of enchiladas, refried beans, spanish rice and guacamole! 


Betty's Brown Butter Coconut Pie

1 stick butter
1 1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup buttermilk
1 tsp flour
3 eggs
1/2 bag sweetened flaked coconut
1 pie crust

In a medium saucepan take 1 stick of butter and melt completely. Let it cook just slightly. You want to smell a nuttiness... be careful, you don't want to let it go too long or it will burn. Just barely brown the butter. Add sugar and mix. Add buttermilk, flour, and eggs, being careful not to curdle the eggs. Finally add the coconut and mix. Cook for a minute or two longer just to allow mixture to thicken.

Pour into pie crust (homemade or store-bought) and bake at 325* for 1 hour. 

Allow to cool completely.


Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Constructors For Christ 17

Along with all the flurry of July, Constructors for Christ continued on! We always go on the week of the fourth of July. This year was a little unusual because it was so close to home. We drove about 30 minutes each day to a church down in Rosalie, AL where a tornado had hit back in November. 

Each week there is another team that comes in... our group is always a big group and I ADORE the ladies that I get to spend time in the kitchen with. 
Even the young ones have jobs to do and they enjoy getting to be together each day as well. My kids look forward to this trip each year. I'm eager to hear where we are going next year!

We had a group of almost 90 to cook for each day. Breakfast, Lunch, and Supper. With popsicles on morning break and snow cones on afternoon break. From 6 am to 6 pm.
Sheetrock, roofing, electrical, walls, you name it! Our Constructors make it happen!

Marlin, one of the founders of Constructors who heads it up and goes every. single. year. still, even though he and his wife Maryanna are both in their 70's.  Marlin's birthday is always the week that we attend. As well as my Dumplin! She turned 13! this year while we were at constructors! It blessed my heart so much that she didn't complain or feel let down or discouraged in the least that her birthday was on a day when we had much work to do. Thank you, Jesus for such great kids. 

Young helping the older, the older helping and teaching the younger... we are so blessed to be a part of this group. 

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Blood Mountain

My men participated in a hike early this month... not just any hike! They hiked Blood Mountain! It was their first time on the Appalachian Trail. And as with most anything when it's your first time, they learned a lot! Things they should definitely do, things they should definitely not do again. I was so excited for them and hope to go on a trail with them one day. 
They experienced a lot of rain, a lot of heat, and some cold at night because of the rain. They realized that there was definitely some equipment they need. Proper hammock straps for one, and that they had more food than they needed... My fault! ;)
Eli was the main one that was fired up for the hike. He had been looking forward to it for a very long time. This Mom had been a bit nervous about it for a long time. But they came back with a great experience! 

Blood Mountain is the highest Appalachian Trail ascent in Georgia! It peaks at 4,458 feet! 
The trail the boys hiked over the almost 2 day time was in excess of 10 miles, including that 2.15 mile ascent to Blood Mountain!

According to their guide and leaders, they were to bring a certain amount of water for the first day and then they would refill at their destination for the night. Unbeknownst to them, the spring they were going to use to refill was practically dry. And you know, on the trail, worse than no food, is no water! So thankfully that evening, although it was difficult to endure the rain while hiking, God allowed their to be enough rain for them to filter and refill their packs with water for the hike the next day. What a blessing! 

This was a picture of the whole group. The guide was the guy on the far right. 
I'm so proud of their perseverance and their experience as they had the opportunity to hike this trail! 

Monday, July 24, 2017

VBS '17

Each year for VBS, I think... "THIS is my favorite theme so far!" but, this year may actually have been my favorite. haha. I LOVE space! So when we found out that our theme was "Galactic Starveyors" I was giddy!

Shannon and I were the teachers of the youth group. This year we had VBS for kids, teens, and adults! It was a neat idea! We had some great lessons. Some fun games. And some catchy music!
One night we had "water night" for game time. Water balloon fights are always fun! And it was raining, so everyone got soaked. It was a blast!

Our Carlie Jean has joined a drama team at our church and she and a couple of other young ladies were the ones teaching the motions of the songs to the rest of us. I cried pretty much each night (only a little)... I'm so thankful for my kids. 
My Mom and Alan have 18 grand babies and 2 great grands... In this picture their newest little grand baby had not been born. But they were both so excited to have 14 of the 18 at VBS with them this year. I hope I'm covered up with grand babies one day too! So precious.

I know this is almost a month overdue, but life has been very busy lately. I'm thankful for all the blessings God has given to us and I want to make sure I post so I can look back and remember each one. 
I hope you have a beautiful week!