Thursday, January 29, 2015

Wintery Fun

Well.  This sickness thing just keeps going around here at our house.  Steve has it now and has been sick for about a week.  And David got it too.  I think we are all pretty ready to say goodbye to January!!  Good grief!

Besides trying to keep everybody well, we did get to celebrate my niece, Bailey's birthday on Tuesday.  She turned eight years old and wanted Mexican food for her birthday dinner, so yay for that!


And we have been getting updates from Laura up in Boston where Snowmageddon 2015 has been going on.


She said the snow drifts are taller than she is!  Haha!


But apparently in Boston, this is just another day at the office.  She only got one day off and then it was back to work as usual.

Meanwhile, Lindy and Sean went with his mom this week to the mountains to go skiing.  Lindy tried out her new snowboard and she even went on a Black Diamond!!  She said they had so much fun!


So, everybody who wasn't sick has been having lots of wintery fun.

And Ashley introduced us to a winter soup that has already become a hit for our family.  It is Barbeque Chicken Chili from Skinny Taste.  I love soup anyway, but this one is right up there with some of my favorites!  We have already had it about three times in the past two weeks!

So....that is what we have been up to these past few days.  Hope you are staying warm where you are!!

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Mississippi

This past weekend, Steve and I went down to Mississippi for his aunt and uncle's 60th wedding anniversary.  


Steve and I both have deep roots in the south.  His whole family is from Mississippi and my parents lived there too when my dad pastored a church in Picayune.  Between the two of us, we have either lived in or had family in Alabama, Georgia, Mississippi, Tennessee, Texas, Arkansas, South Carolina, North Carolina, and Florida!  We love the south and all the fun and tradition that goes along with it, so we were excited that we could go for a long weekend to Jackson to help celebrate with his family.

We took Steve's mom with us and drove through Atlanta on our way down on Thursday. We got to stop and visit with Steve's cousin, Donna, before we headed on to Jackson on Friday.  We got there around dinner time and met everyone for dinner at one of our favorite restaurants, Cock Of The Walk.  We walked into a room of about 40 people and every one of them was family!  

When you are in Mississippi, there are a few things you always have to get.  One of them is catfish!  Mississippi is known for it's catfish and they do it up right.  


You also have to get fried pickles.  They are delish!  


We got catfish, cornbread, french fries, fried pickles, turnip greens, cole slaw, and hushpuppies for dinner.  I know it wasn't healthy, but it sure was good!  It was a fun night seeing everybody and getting to visit for a little while.

On Saturday we went with Steve's aunts and uncles to get breakfast at a little diner and then we went to see American Sniper.  Wow.  It was so good!  The language is rough, but over all I LOVED it.  I would definitely recommend seeing it.


After the movie, it was time to head over to the party.  Steve's Uncle Wallace and Aunt Bobbie have been married for 60 years!  And they are still just as in love as ever.  I love seeing couples who have weathered life's ups and downs and have stuck together through it all.  That is what true love should look like.  I was so happy we got to celebrate that special day with them.  I hope Steve and I make it to 60 years together!




This picture is Steve's mom with her two brothers and her sister and their spouses.  They always have fun together!


The party was at Ridgecrest Baptist Church and all Uncle Wallace and Aunt Bobbie's friends and family were there.  Afterwards, they catered in barbecue from Dickey's and oh. my. word.  It was sooo good!! I love my North Carolina barbeque, but Texas barbecue might be my favorite.  As you can tell, we ate a lot!  That's just part of the fun when you are in the south!

And speaking of Mississippi, one more thing.....

I have been hearing so much about this book recently, so I got it on my Kindle yesterday.  


I had finished my latest book, The Boys In The Boat, on our flight home this weekend.  


It is about nine working class boys from the Pacific Northwest who made up the rowing team at the University of Washington and how they went to the 1936 Olympics when Hitler was in power and unexpectedly beat the Germans.  I really liked it (y'all know how I love my history!), but I needed a new book.  So I thought I would love this one by Boo Mama.  And it is really good so far! I can so relate to it because it is about growing up in Mississippi in the 70's (which is similar to growing up anywhere in the south in the 70's!).  Yep....that is right up my alley!  I bet you would like it too because Boo Mama is just so funny and down to earth!

Anyway...we had such a fun weekend with everybody.   I am so thankful for both of our families and all the good times we have when we are together.

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Seasons Change

Well....since I posted last, I have so many things happen in my life.  I think I mentioned in my last post that I had some pretty big changes coming up soon.  And I sure have!  I have decided to take a leave of absence from my teaching job so that I can spend more time with my mom as she battles ALS.

This was such a hard decision for me because I love my class so much and I would never want to leave them in the middle of the year!  But I really prayed about it and I just felt like my mom needed me more and that I would never regret the time I would be able to spend with her.  So, last week was my last week at school.  It was the end of the quarter and the perfect time for me to leave and a new teacher to begin.

I don't think I could adequately put into words how loved and blessed I felt during my last week at school.  My students were so sweet to me.  My parents were beyond supportive.  And all my co-workers were so kind and caring.  I truly felt the love all week long.

On my last full day at school, all the parents came in right at the end of the day to pray for me.  My whole class circled around me and prayed for me with their sincere little hearts.  It meant so much to me and it was a day I will never forget.


And they gave me the sweetest gifts and letters.  This is a canvas with all my students' hands in a circle together with a special Bible verse at the bottom.  I love it!


I also got flowers, and one of the little girls in my class gave me a "Jar Of Joy".


Inside are little pieces of paper with special encouraging Bible verses on them for me to open when I need some encouragement.


And I will always keep these precious letters.  Are they the sweetest thing or what??



This was my first week at home and I have spent part of each day with my mom.  Yesterday she was not feeling well at all, so I was so glad I was able to be there with her while my dad had meetings all day.  I am so thankful I get to do this.  Plus, yesterday was a beautiful day so Ashley called and I met her at the park.  I LOVE being able to do that!



Besides everything going on at school, I have also had a lot going on at home, too.  Lindy and I both had sinus infections, coughs, and sore throats for the whole first two weeks of January.  Good times.  I spent a lot of time lying around watching TV (mostly football, The Good Wife, and my new obsession, Fixer Uppers!)...


 ....and blowing my nose non-stop.


When I finally got over that, we got to babysit one night while John and Ashley went out.  David is in to playing games these days!  We love keeping them!


And I could just eat this child up!


Steve and I went to Starbucks on Saturday morning so I could get my report cards done and he could work on other stuff.


We went to church on Sunday morning, and since then I have just been trying to get a new routine going.

Sometimes the seasons of your life just change.  This is my 20th year of teaching.  It has been SO LONG since I have stayed home and not worked at all.  But I am looking forward to this new stage and I know that this is what God wants me to do right now.  And I am so thankful I get to do it!

Sunday, January 4, 2015

Happy New Year!

Happy New Year!


I hope you had a wonderful start to 2015!  I honestly have no idea what 2015 is going to hold for me.  I am taking it one day at a time this year and just trying to enjoy each day and accept whatever God sends my way.  I hope I grow closer to Him and more like Him through the journey.  I am sure the year will be full of all the things life is made of...joy and sorrow, laughter and tears, friendship, fun, family, and lots of new adventures.  I do have a few really big changes in my life coming up soon that I can share in a few weeks.

We have had such a great week here at home.  My December was sooo busy, so it has been the best thing ever just being able to hang out and relax!

Steve and I went to dinner on New Year's Eve using a gift card we got for Christmas.  I'm pretty sure it was the first time we have had a minute to sit and talk together in about a month!  Haha!  We had such a good time remembering 2014 and planning some fun things for 2015.  I am so glad I have him to share life with.  He is one of the biggest blessings in my life....every year!


On New Years Day, we usually have a traditional meal with black eyed peas and collard greens and I love that meal!  But this year, my kids (mainly Mark) requested taquitos.  So taquitos it was!


These are soooo good!  They are one of my favorite meals, too.  Here is the recipe from Eat Cake For Dinner.  There is secret to making them extra delish though.  You have to use La Costena green salsa.  You can get it at Wal Mart and I always stock up on it when I am there.  It is spicy and has that little extra kick that I love!

On Friday, I went over to Ashley's to keep this little angel.


I'm telling you, he wins for SWEETEST baby on the planet.  I can't get over his sweetness.  He hardly ever cries and just smiles his way through life.  Plus, he likes to snuggle and that melts my heart.


Ashley took David and Caroline to Discovery Place to see a dinosaur exhibit.  David has become so interested in dinosaurs all of a sudden.  It's cute to watch him learning about new things.  They love any chance to get out and do something fun.  Those two are high energy!!  Steve went with Ashley to take them to the park over the weekend so they could run around a little bit.



Saturday was pretty much one continuous football marathon!  First we watched the ECU game.  Sean came over and we made wings and all kinds of football food.


Then it was on to the Panther's playoff game.  More laying around and being lazy.  We were so excited that they won!!



Today we had to say goodbye to Laura.  She flew back to Boston this morning.  Steve had to be at church and Mark was gone out of town to visit a friend, so Lindy and I took her to brunch at one of our favorite little places here--Toast.


I was sad to see her go, but I know how much she loves her life in Boston and I am so thankful for all the friendships she has there and her job and her amazing church.  We are already planning a trip to see her soon!

So...now it's almost time for school to start back and real life to set back in tomorrow.  I can't wait to watch the new season of Downton Abbey that is starting tonight.  And then it will be early to bed and ready to get back to work tomorrow morning!

Praying for all God's blessings on you this new year!

Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Goodbye 2014!

Every year for the past few years I have posted a little end-of-year questionnaire to help me remember all the important things about the previous year.  So here goes 2014!

1-What did you do in 2014 that you had never done before?

1-Tried a ropes course for the first time & had a lot of fun!  It wasn't as hard as I thought it would be!
2-Went candle pin bowling.
3-Tried salsa dancing.
4-Learned to play a dice game called Farkle.

2-Did anyone close to you give birth?

Yes!  Ashley had her third baby....John William Scott (Will).  He is the sweetest, smiliest, most easy-going little angel on the planet.  He has blessed our lives so much!


And my brother, Brent, had a little boy, Braxton in November!


3-Did anyone close to you die?

Lindy's boyfriend, Sean, lost his dad to cancer on October 8th this year.  It was such a sad time for them.

4-What dates from 2014 will remain etched in your memory and why?

I will never forget the day sweet baby Will was born.  And I will always remember the fun Steve and I had on our 50th birthdays this year.  And I know I will also never forget the day last February when I found out my mom has ALS.

5-Did you suffer any illness or injury?

Well...I was very blessed with good health this year.  However, Steve came down with the flu for a whole week during January last year.


And Lindy and Ashley both had kidney stones!!


My mom got pneumonia in August and had an intestinal blockage in November.


So we have definitely had our share of sickness this year!

6-What was the best thing you bought?

The best thing I bought this year was probably my new bedroom and living room furniture.


After four kids and two dogs and fourteen years of living in this house, we needed it and we have loved it!

7-What songs will always remind you of 2014?

Happy by Pharrell Williams.  This was my class anthem last year.  We played it over and over and had dance parties to it.  I love this song!


Shake It Off-Taylor Swift.  So fun!

Let It Go from Frozen.  I will always think about Sweet Caroline singing this song in her precious little baby voice!

Beachin' by Jake Aldean- The best summer song!  My assistant, Lyndsey, and I shared a love of this song!

8-What do you wish you would have done more/less of?

Prayed more, worried less.

9-What was your favorite TV program?

My favorite TV show this year was definitely The Good Wife!  I LOVE it!  We have made our way through the first three seasons and I am so happy there are three more to go!


I still have fun watching Nashville with Lindy and I still love Downton Abbey!

10-What was the best book you read this year?

I loved Restless by Jennie Allen.



And Wild by Cheryl Strayed!


11-What was the best movie you saw this year?

I feel like I didn't really see many movies this year.  Last night I did see Wild with Lindy and I really loved it.  It is definitely raw.  But it is a redemptive story and it was true to the book.  Cheryl Strayed and her daughter are also both in the movie.  Reese Witherspoon did an amazing job I thought!


 I would have to say that Unbroken tied for my favorite!  What an awesome story of love and forgiveness.  Go see it!


12-What did you do on your birthday?  How old were you?

I turned 50 this year and Steve took me on an awesome trip to NYC!  We had the BEST time!



13-Did you travel anywhere this year?

Yes.  The Maddoxes and travel just go together like peanut butter & jelly.  It is one of our favorite things to do.

This year we visited:

The Mountains--once in March and once in November!



New York--once in April and once in December.



Boston




Bar Harbor, Maine


Myrtle Beach






Portland


Victoria, BC


and Arizona!


And Mark lived in Santiago, Chile for the summer!


14-What national/international event stirred you the most?

I loved the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge this year!  It meant so much to me since my mom got diagnosed with ALS in February.


The ebola crisis was so awful and I was gripped by the stories of bravery that came out of that.


It was so much fun cheering the USA on in the Sochi Olympics!


And I don't think anyone could watch the whole Ferguson, Missouri riots and not rethink race relations in our country.


15-Tell us a valuable lesson you learned in 2014.

In 2014, I have become more dependent on God to see me through hard times.  It has not been the easiest year, but I have felt God's presence with me every day.  I know that whatever 2015 brings, He will walk right beside me.  I know I can face anything because He loves me and he is guarding me and He only wants the best for me.  That is easy to say when you are not facing any kind of struggle, but I can honestly say that all the things I know about God have not changed in the face of crisis.  He is still just as true and good and loving as I always knew He was.  That gives me the courage to face whatever may come my way.


So, here's to 2015!  I wish you and your family a WONDERFUL new year!