Thursday, April 27, 2006

New Layout - Familiar Faces

A few weeks ago, I did a LO for my friend, Stacey. Doing that LO for her inspired me to do the same type of LO of me and my girls. I couldn't believe how hard it was to do it. I thought that since I'd already done one, that mine would come easy. But NOOOOO, it was harder! I guess because I had to be more conscience not make mine look like hers. Stacey said that ours would look different because WE look different :-). She's a mess!!!

Anyway, here it is. I really like how it turned out, hope my viewers do too.

I was hard pressed to find baby pictures of myself where I looked like BOTH of my DD's. But I did it. The first page is of me at 2 yrs. old in 1968 and my oldest DD at 2 yrs. old in 1986. The second page is of me at 3 yrs. old and my youngest DD at 3 years old. Totally amazing how we all look so much alike as babies/toddlers.

Thanks for looking.

Five things...

I know I wasn't one of the 5 people that Adrienne "tagged" to do this. But I kinda liked it and thought I'd "tag" myself, so to speak :-). So, here goes:

5 things in my fridge:
1. 2 - 3 gallons of milk (these belong to my 4 year old DD who goes through this amount of milk on a weekly basis...BY HERSELF!)
2. A pitcher of Kool-Aid (sorry, can't be a true Southerner without this staple beverage)
3. Cheddar cheese (shredded, slices & blocks)
4. Lunch meat (this time of year, sandwiches are a family favorite)
5. Did I say milk? :-)

5 things in my closet:
2. Clothes (but there's room for more)
3. Overstock of school supplies
4. Luggage (no place else to keep it at this time)
5. A laundry basket with clothes I can't decide what to do with. (I should probably put them away in the drawers they go in)

5 things in my purse:
1. My wallett (I have to have somewhere to hold my drivers license)
2. My cell phone (sometimes)
3. My makeup bag with hand sanitizer, lotion & a tube of SoftLips Lip moisterizer
4. My family pictures
5. A ink pen & an ongoing shopping list

5 things in my car:
1. My coupons
2. My cell phone (when it's not in my purse)
3. 3 folding chairs for soccer, cleats & balls
4. Soccer cleats & balls
5. A tube of SoftLips lip moisterizer & baby wipes (my kids are pretty messy)

5 things on my DVR:
This is gonna be an easy one. I don't even know what a DVR IS! Therefore, the answer is nothing.

5 people I'm tagging:
1. Diane
2. Tiffany (classcscrapper)
3. Melanie (brownenglish_muffin) rush on this one...she SHOULD'VE just had a new baby!)
4. Muriel
5. Tangee

Well, that was fun! I love doing this type of thing. So if anyone ever wants to "tag" me...I'm good with that :-). Thanks for your time!

Friday, April 21, 2006

New Layout - At the CAR WASH

Well, here's my newest layout.

Last Fall, my DD and I had a "wild hair" and decided we'd wash the van. Lord knows it needed it. But we just didn't feel like taking it somewhere and paying someone to wash it for us. So, we got out the bucket, a couple of sponges and the soap and had good ole wet time. Needless to say, the van wasn't NEARLY as clean as it would've been had we had it professionally washed. But we had a good time trying :-).

Enjoy the pix.

I know what you must be looks like my DD did most of the work, huh? Well it's kinda true :-). SOMEbody had to take the cute pix :-) Would you believe me if I said she WANTED to wash it?
Supplies used: Royal blue cardstock, CCWV Patterned paper, Heidi Swapp "Reason" Upper Ghost Letters, Coluzzle alphabet letters, SandyLion bubble & water splash stickers and brads.
Thanks for looking.

Monday, April 17, 2006

Little Prima Girl

Oh what a proud moment! For those readers that scrapbook, I'm sure you can truly understand my joy. And for those that are into THE flowers (Prima's), you are definitely feeling me right now :-).

My DD and I went to our local scrapbook store today and she found it amusing to loudly blurt out that Mommy has ALL of the Prima flowers that the store sells (personally, I don't see a problem with this). She asked if she could have a bottle all to herself. Well, at $8.99 each...I think NOT!! But I did tell her that I'd share some of my flowers with her. Thinking that she'd forget, I didn't mention it. But, YEP...she remembered. So this evening she asked me for some purple cardstock and for her "share" of Prima's. Ok, for those of you who have used these precious little embellishments, you know that there's only a mere 200+ - flowers in each bottle. So, I wouldn't miss a few :-).

Jayla sat down at her cute little Backyardigans table and awaited further instruction. I gave her a gluestick and a small pile of flowers and she was ready. It was so cute watching her make her first little Prima flower layout. A child after my own heart! :-)

Thanks for looking (and sharing in my proud moment) LOL!!

Sunday, April 16, 2006

Happy Easter!!

Hello everyone! I hope you all had a wonderful Easter weekend. Ours was very nice, quiet and relaxing.

This year, believe it or not, the kids didn't want the traditional egg hunt, baskets & Easter outfits. I guess because they don't normally like all the candy that's in the baskets anyway. Or, could it be that they just wanted to save mom & dad some money? Yeah RIGHT!!! :-). But that being the case, it made this Easter very casual for us. Markell wasn't looking forward to having to wear a suit and I tie...again this year. And Jayla was adament about wearing her silver and pink Nikes :-)... Which to be honest, was a welcomed change (but being that I DO have a little girl...I HAD to buy her a cute new dress casual as it may have been). But we did, go to church, come home, eat lunch, take a nap :-), then later went to some friends house for a cook out. So that was just our day...very laid back and relaxing.

I don't think Jesus frowned on us for not dressing the kids up and loading them up with chocolate and jellybeans. I mean, the day is supposed to be about Him anyway, right?

Happy Easter again, everyone. Enjoy some pix of the kids...being casual :-).

Friday, April 14, 2006

Layout Swap

I just have to say that it is quite an honor when someone, either asks you to do a scrapbook LO for them or swap one with them. Muriel did just that. She emailed me and asked if I'd consider swapping a layout with her. I'd send her a few pictures and some info, she'd do a LO for me and I'd do the same for her. Well, we did it!!!

And I have a confession to make...I sent Muriel some soccer pictures of my DD for an album that I'm struggling with. I thought doing a landscape (11x8.5) album would be fun and different. But it's been quite a challenge for me. So of course I was game for having someone do one LO for that album for me :-).

But Muriel challenged me too. She sent me skiing pictures. Now I live in Powder Springs, Georgia...what do I know about skiing? :-) I'll have to admit though, it was fun. I like the way it turned our and even Adrienne said it was one of my best works. Muriel said she liked it too. And I guess that's all that matters, right?

Anyway, enough's the LO that Muriel did for me. I think it's adorable!!!

Muriel, thank you SOO much for wanting to swap LO's with me and for doing such a cool one for Jayla's book. You ROCK!!!

Thursday, April 13, 2006

Show them my motto....

Well, I've been at it again. THANKS, Adrienne :-). I've been "altering" again. This time, I altered several letters and formed "my motto"...Be Inspired!!! I love it! What do YOU think?
I painted the letters in Metallic Sequin Black (by Folk Art) and used the same plum color that I painted my first altered letter in, (Metallic Plum) as the center of the white flowers that I stamped. The letters are mounted on a square dowel rod that I painted in the same black, so they would stand up. They are proudly displayed where I can see them easily in my scrap area.

Ok, back to scrapbooking...LOL! (I'm so easily sidetracked) But at least I'm Inspired :-).

It has been brought to my attention that you can't see the detail of these letters too well. So below is a closer one for your viewing pleasure. Thanks.

Saturday, April 08, 2006

Tornado? Or just bad thunderstorms??

Oh my goodness, what a terrible storm that passed through Georgia last night. I'm pretty sure that it's part of the same storm that Adrienne experienced in B'Ham.

Anyway, our county got hit pretty bad. I'm hearing that some tornadoes touched down not far from us. Thank God none were closer to us. HOWEVER, we did get some damage to our house. This morning, around 4am we were awakened by a LOUD noise. I looked our out bedroom window, which is on the back of the house, only to see one of our downspouts laying across the yard. Through our kitchen window, we could see several large branches on the ground.

Only when daylight came, could we see the real damage that those branches did. One of the branches was HUGE and came from the top of a tree between us and our neighbors. My DH and I went outside to see what else the branches may have hit. ONLY to see a big GAPING hole in the side of our house!!! The hole was right at the level of our playroom. I came inside to see if in fact it had opened into the house. Yep!!! there is a big hole in the closet of the playroom...and I could see OUTSIDE!!!. DH was NOT happy about THAT!!! So I grabbed the camera because we are sure we'll have to file a claim about this (and also so I could share them on my blog...LOL).

Anyway, THANK GOD, no one was hurt. The kids slept right through the worst of the storm this morning. We are also thankful that there was no roof damage, no damage to the corner of the house, and no floor joist damage.

Here are some pix of the aftermath.

This is the hole from inside the closet.

This is the hole from outside.

Another view of the hole from outside.

This is the mean ole branch that put a hole in the side of my house!!

This is our down spout that "flew" about 40 feet from it's original location...on the house.

One of several smaller branches that were wedged about 4 - 6 inches into the ground. My DH tried to pull one out and it wouldn't budge!!!

Ok, that's it. That's all of the pictures I have to share from the storms last night. Thanks for your time. Send donations to...

:-) just kidding. Have a great weekend everyone.

Friday, April 07, 2006

New Layout - Like Mother, Like Daughter (for my friend Stacey)

I don't normally post the LO's that I do for my friends. Probably because I've only done a couple. But being that Stacey is a very dear friend of mine and I actually LIKE the LO that I did...AND because this was the only one I remembered to scan :-)...I thought I'd post it. I sure hope she doesn't mind.

Anyway, here is it.

I must say, that I was a little surprised when Stacey called and asked if I'd mind doing a LO of her and her daughter, Briah. Our "styles" are so different and I never thought she liked my style enough to want me to do something for her album. So like I said, I was pleasantly surprised when she called me and asked if I'd do it. This LO is of Stacey wearing a bathing suit that a family member gave her as a gift. Once Stacey (finally) had a daughter of her own (she has 3 older sons), her mother sent her the bathing suit. Both Stacey and Briah are about the same age in these pictures. I'm very proud of how it turned out. And I'm even more excited that Stacey loves it.

Stacey, thank you for the opportunity to scrap a LO for you. It was quite an honor!!

Thanks for looking!

I've ALMOST been published!!

Yep, that's right...ALMOST!!!
Every once in a while...ok, every chance I get :-), I pick up a copy of some scrapbooking magazine. I continue to say that I'm not gonna buy ANY magazines because I already subscribe to one. But, anyway, I grabbed the March/April issue of Simple Scrapbooks and an article in there caught my attention. So, I decided to write to the editor. And do you know what? They actually published my letter. How cool is THAT?? So that's why I say that I've ALMOST been published. My DH was even excited for me :-).
Now, when you get a minute, pick the May/June 2006 issue of Simple Scrapbooks magazine, turn to page 14 and there's my letter. So THIS is what's it like to see your name in lights? LOL

This is too cool!!! Now if I can just get a layout published....

Thursday, April 06, 2006

New Layout - Pretty Boy Trae

Here I go again, sharing photos of my "gift" of scrapbooking :-).

This is a layout I did of my puppy, Trae. These pictures were taken of him on October 1st, 2005 when we first got him. What a PRETTY BOY!!! Here it is:

Thanks for looking!

Gifts from God - ME, Myself & I!

Before I go any further with this entry, allow me to inform you that this is the last post for this "Gifts from God series. I hope you've enjoyed reading it.

NOW....DEEP breath in.... exhale!

Isn't it a shame that I have to do that before I write about myself? Well, I'll admit it, I can be a mess at times. But I'm actually ok with that part of I won't bore you with the gorey details of who I USE to be. But I will say that I've had my share of "issues". Backing up a bit, I've always had problems with my self esteem and what I call my self worth. I wasn't a shy person but I did kinda keep to myself. But at the same time, I'd much rather have people around me and approving of me. I've always had problems with my weight and never thought that people were very accepting of me because of my size. So the friends I was successful in making were very dear to me. Also, when I was in high school, I always felt that I HAD to have a boyfriend. Again, it made me feel accepted. Problem was, I settled alot. The guys that I WANTED to like me never did, so I simply settled for "who would take me", so to speak. No wonder my mom called them all "creeps" :-). That's funny to me now. Anyway, I mentioned in my very first entry of this series, that I had a daughter at the age of 18. I realized then and now that that wasn't the right thing to do. However, I thank God for her everyday. I don't think anyone is here by mistake. My daughter, Briyanna, gave me the love that I thought I was looking for. However, I fortunately realized that I was looking for love from myself. Ya know, that's a VERY hard thing to yourself. Sure, I thought I was a fun person to hang around with, I thought I was a relatively happy person, and I made friends very easily. But I still wasn't satisfied with who I was. No, I never did anything crazy like try to commit suicide or anything. But I had to take a long, hard look at myself and see that I AM worthy. God LOVES me, what else IS there to long for?
When Marque and I met, I almost pushed him away with my passiveness. I wanted everyone to be happy and I always thought it was my job to make sure they what if I was miserable. I NEEDED to keep the peace! I don't like conflict and I don't like people to be mad at me or unhappy with me. Some things never change...I'm STILL that way. However, I have had to learn to stand up for myself. I've had to learn that everyone isn't gonna be happy all the time AND it's not my job to make sure they are. I have been so blessed with some absolutely amazing people in my life. And honestly, if it wasn't for those people, especially my husband, I wouldn't be where I am today. But I do remember the days when I was working, it would be review boss, Joe, would ALWAYS get on me about not giving myself credit for what I did. I think to a huge extent that I'm still that way. I don't feel that I'm "worthy" or that I deserve things. To this day, I'm very hard on myself and have a hard time accepting that I "should" have the life I'm leading. In May of 2004, when I first became a full time stay at home mom, I was in a daze and terrified for MONTHS!!! I kept thinking that one day I'd wake up from this "dream" and have to go back to work :-). My life was and is almost too good to be true. My husband is an amazing man and has worked very hard for us to be where we are...especially for ME to be where I am. My goodness, I love him for that. HE is one of the things in my life that I don't think I deserve. And I often wonder why he loves me the way he does. I often wonder if I deserve that love.

Ok, that leads me then, to this question...who's to say what I deserve? Why do I have to "deserve" love, affection, attention and this life? I DESERVE it because God has made it so! Isn't that enough??? Today, I can say that my eyes are becoming a little more open to exactly what God's GRACE is. That's what I'm living in and enjoying everyday...God's GRACE!!! That alone should make me more accepting and approving of ME!!! I'm coming around though...I'm prayerfully trying to change my views of myself. I am trying to accept that it's ok that I have a wonderful husband who loves me...that it's ok to have beautiful kids...that it's ok that I live in a beautiful home...that it's ok to have a loving and supportive family...that it's ok to have friends that REALLY like me and enjoy my company...that it's ok for me to love ME & my creativeness!!! It's OK!

Wow, that sure sounded like a pity party, didn't it? Well, it wasn't. As I mentioned, this entire series of entries was therapy for me. Especially this particular entry. I knew about THIS one before the first one that I wrote. I planned for this one to be last. I knew I had to express those other things in my life before expressing how I feel about ME. Does that make sense?

In closing, I want to thank you ALL who have taken the time to read what I've written and for taking a glimpse into my life. The life I love so dearly. For all these gifts (my family, my extended family, my "other" extended family, my friends, my "things" and ME, Myself & I) I AM thankful!!! And I AM inspired.

Thank you again for your time.

Tuesday, April 04, 2006

Gifts from God - My "Things"

I'm sure not too many people think of their tangible things as gifts from God. But they are. If it wasn't for Him and His grace, we probably wouldn't have a lot of the "things" we enjoy so much. Sure, some of the "things" we have, we can truly live without. But again, God is so gracious that, in addition to giving us the things we NEED, He also gives us those "things" that our hearts desire.

So here are some of the "things" He has blessed me with:

Thank you God, for the gift of: My Home
Oh my goodness, I totally LOVE my house! I remember when we were looking to purchase a home, we told the agent exactly what we wanted in the house, what we didn't want, location and of course price range. So she brought us to this sub-division (along with SEVERAL others that day). When we pulled in, Marque and I gave eachother this "look" and thought our agent must not have been listening...we can't afford anything here! The sub-division was still under contruction. But as we drove up the street, I immediately noticed this beautiful bright red brick house. The unusual color of the brick caught my eye. And don't you know, that's the driveway that our agent pulled in to. We walked in the house and almost instantly felt at home. We loved EVERYTHING about the house. However, we didn't want to limit ourselves. So we continued to look but kept THIS house at the top of our list. Long story short, we were pretty sure that we wanted a house in this particular neighborhood. I wanted one that was 2 doors up from the red brick house, because it had a 5th bedroom. But still I would've been setteling because it wasn't EXACTLY what we wanted. The following weekend, we decided to put a a contract on the house with the 5th bedroom. But when we got there, the house was already under contract. Disappointed, we went back into the red brick house one more time. And again, I LOVED everything about it. Come to find out, there WAS a contract on this house but it fell through. So we wound up putting a contract on it that day. We chose light fixtures, flooring, wood stain color and carpeting color in that same meeting. What a day! Later that day, on our way home, I told Marque that I had a feeling from 1st time we saw that house, that that's the one we were meant to have. I saw, what I felt was the hand of God, pointing down at that house. So to me, this is where we are SUPPOSED to be. And I still feel that way 6 1/2 years later. I LOVE this house. For this gift, I am thankful!!
Thank you God, for the gift of: My vehicle(s)
Ok, this is another one of those I struggle with. For those of you who know me, you know how I feel about this topic already. But I think it's a form of "therapy" that I deal with this here. Ok, here goes...I am the proud owner of a Navy Blue & Grey 2002 Nissan Quest...a minivan. Now, there...I said it!!! Don't get me wrong, it's a nice vehicle and has all the ammenities I could ever need or want.'s a MINIVAN!!! I realize that I am a mother with young children and this is probably the best type of vehicle for me to have.'s a MINIVAN!!! I'm sorry, I'm just not in a minivan frame of mind. Proabably because prior to having the van, I use to drive a SEXY Forrest Green Chevy Tahoe. Let me tell you, I LOVED that truck. And I almost drool whenever I see one on the road. It even had some HOT shoes (rims) on it. It was beautiful! But I will say this though, it IS by the grace of God that I don't have that truck today. Can you imagine how much it would cost to fill that baby up these days?? That alone, keeps me grounded :-). Back to the...MINIVAN..I do enjoy driving it and it does have a lot of space in it. The kids love it because it has a VCR/DVD player in it. The Tahoe didn't have that. Oh, and get this...I vowed, back when we got the Quest that I would NEVER be seen with soccer ball magnets on my van. I may BE a soccer mom...but I'm not gonna LOOK like one, right? WRONG!!! Not only do I have TWO soccerball magnets on my van, I also have a soccerball on my antenna :-). But you know what? I haven't had any problems with this vehicle since I've had it. AND, it was paid off in less than a year. Can't beat that!!! Our other vehicle is a SHARP Black 1997 Nissan Maxima. That sucka can FLY!!! Marque won't let me drive it too much though. Why you ask? Because...that sucka can FLY!!! :-) For these gifts, I am thankful!!

Thank you God, for the gift of: My Creativity

Ooops, I think I posted prematurely. Sorry for those of you keeping up with this "mini series" :-). Anyway, several years ago, I discovered that I had a couple of creative bones in my body. I discovered that I could actually make something out of to speak. And inexpensively I might add. I guess it started back when I use to work in the deli at Kroger. I was a cake decorator. So, that kinda let into me decorating cakes for family and friends. I even made a few wedding cakes. That got a little messy, so I decided not to do that anymore :-). Then I discovered Michaels Arts & Crafts store...LOVE IT!!! So I began making little crafts here and there, which included accessories for our home. Eventually, I took a beginners sewing class and started making window treatments. Couldn't quite get the clothes thing down. Later, I got into doing floral arrangements as home decor as well as for weddings. I was honored to be able to not only make ALL the arrangements for my nephews wedding but I also directed the wedding. Now THAT was fun. I was SO stressed out during that entire process, you would've thought I was the one getting married. But it was quite an experience. My dining room looked like a bomb had gone off in a floral shop :-). The wedding was beautiful. And a year or so later, I was asked to do all the flowers for my cousins wedding. A few other friends even asked me to make party favors, wedding favors and arrangements for their small weddings. I had a ball. hit me...I LOVE taking and looking at pictures. Markell loved looking at his photo album but the pictures would wind up all over the place. So I decided to look into the hobby of scrapbooking. I started off on a tiny little lap table. And the rest is history! I have since completed 10 or more albums! I even get together with some friends one night a week and we sit around and snack, talk and even do a little scrapbooking :-). This hobby is the PERFECT fit for me. I truly love it. I have THOUSANDS of pictures on my computer and I think I take pictures almost everyday :-). I even went out of town (to Illinois) for a scrapbooking weekend...I know, I'm a junkie! :-) Well, I have moved up a little from my little lap table to an actual scrap space in our playroom. This is where I spend 80% of my time. I'm anxiously awaiting the day when I will have a room dedicated to the hobby I love so much....Scrapbooking. For this gift, I am thankful!!

Linking our tomorrows with the treasures of yesterday. A precious gift that can be cherished and shared along the way.

Gifts from God - My Friends

Ok, it's time to move on to those other very important people in my friends. Oh, to think of where I would be without them simply makes me sad. I absolutely LOVE my friends! Each and every one of them hold a special place in my heart and in my life.

Let's meet some of them: (I sure wish I had pictures of all these ladies. But they'd probably kill me if I put them on here anyway :-) )

Thank you God, for the gift of: My "Girl" friends
Hmmm, now getting to this part of my "mini-series" poses a bit of a problem for me. Simply because I have SOOO many dear friends in my life. And I pray that for those who read this and don't see their names, that they will understand and not take it personal. Again, I have been so blessed with so many wonderful women in my life and it is always my goal not to ever intentially hurt any of them. So, here goes...ladies, I love you all dearly (and those that I may have left off in error). NOTE: These names are in no particular order.
Dee-Dee B., Gina T., Madeline S., Cynthia S., Stacey Q., Adrienne N., Karon M., Pamela M., Traci H., Tiffany D., Lisa B., Lisa M., Mandy M., Lisa F., Michelle C., Kisha A., Verlez W., Maria R., Dawn B., Terrie K., Donna H., Doris A., Elaine V., Andi R., Lisa N., Dimitra B., Marie C., Cheryl G., Trish C., Stephanie D., Diane D., Tyece J., Debbie H., Donna J., Shirlene M., Pam N., Pat M., Veronica M., Carla P., Shanna P., Debbie S., Kris T., Aline Q., Shakira T., and my new friend, Anne C., and many, many more I'm sure. For these gifts, I am thankful!!

If you want an accounting of your worth, count your friends.
Merry Browne

Monday, April 03, 2006

Gifts from God - My OTHER Extended Family

Yep, that's OTHER extended family. Who else would I be referring to, other than my In-Laws? Let me just go on record right now and say that I honestly love these people. I do!!! We have ALWAYS gotten along and have never had any issues. That in itself is a true blessing. There aren't too many people who get along with their in-laws. Aren't some referred to as "Out-Laws"? Fortunately, not in our case.

Here's more:

Thank you God, for the gift of: My Mother In Law - Mattie
All I can say about Miss Mattie right off is, what a super sweet, super cute lady! My goodness, she raised 7 herself and for the most part, they're all pretty sane :-). Mom, is an awesome, God fearing lady who has shown that through trusting in the Lord, praying, and just plain ole faith, she can do anything. I don't have the space nor the time to go over her resume with you. But I will say that she has led a pretty impressive life. And oh my about an AWESOME cook!!! I have added several of her recipes to my book. But none have been perfected quite like hers. However, I have almost gotten her famous cornbread down to a science :-). I should also mention that this has also got to be one of the strongest women I've ever met. Sure, she's got some physical strength to be only 5 feet tall :-). But her emotional strength surpasses any I've ever known. Mom, has not only raised 7 kids but has lost 3 of them. I can't even ALMOST imagine what it must be like to have a child die...let alone 3 of them. But again, this lady is amazingly strong in her faith and knows that in EVERY situation, God has her back. Mom currently lives with us and honestly, I wouldn't have it any other way. She has paid her dues and raised her kids. So it's only fitting that we do for HER now. The kids simply love Gradma being with them everyday. I also love the fact that she LOVES being here. For this gift, I am thankful!!
Thank you God for the gift of: My Sisters & Brothers In Law - Paula, Dwight, Randy, Kenny, Solomon & Faith
Wow, that's a lot of new sisters and brothers, huh? As I mentioned in an earlier post, it was only me and my sister, Kimmy. So I am very fortunate to have inherited (by marriage) 6 more siblings. Paula, is my husbands oldest sister. What a remarkable woman! She never forgot to give a phone call on me and Marque's birthday. She'd even sing to us over the phone :-). On the day that me and Marque got married, our car broke down about a mile away from the church. So Paula, my new sister-in-law, drove me and her baby brother to our own wedding reception. She always laughed about that. A few years ago, Paula was diagnosed with breast cancer. And passed away last July (2005). My very first BLOG entry was about that experience. I miss her very much. Dwight is the 2nd child. I didn't get to know Dwight as well as I had hoped. We didn't see him very much. Which is sad, because he passed away back in 1995 due to a car accident. Randy is the 3rd born. Randy is simply a jokester :-). He's always cutting up and has always made me feel very welcomed as his "sister". Kenny, was the next born. This was another cut up :-). I was fortunate enough be able to spend quite a bit of time with Kenny. For some time, he lived with mom, so I got to see him almost weekly. In 1993, Kenny passed way. He too is very much missed. Solomon....what a cool guy. He was Marque's best man in our wedding. And from what I can tell, he's the one who "taught" Marque how to be such a rough houser :-). He is also the one who was very instumental in showing Marque what it is to be a good husband and father. Last but not least, there's Faith. There aren't too many words to describe her. But from all the years that I've known her, she's is the most protective of Mom and Marque :-). She's the...vocal one of the family and she's the one that will tell you like it it's best to be in her good graces. I haven't had a run in with her yet, so I guess I'm doing alright :-). Faith is also the one we named Jayla (Faith) after. She's the perfect aunt and all the nieces & nephews love her. What wonderful siblings I have. For this gift, I am thankful!!
Thank you God for the gift of: My Aunts, Uncles, Nieces, Nephews, Cousins & nim :-).
As mentioned earlier, I don't have the space or time to list all of my "other" extended family members by name. If you remember, I married into a HUGE husband is the youngest of 7 children! What's amazing is, he has nieces that are older than him :-). So again, I'll say that just like with my Mother-in-law and my sisters/brothers-in-law, I truly love my extended family. I don't think my husband has ever had a true "family reunion" ...because with it being SO many people, everytime we get together, it's like a family reunion. And I honestly LOVE that! It is SOOO much fun to hear the stories of how things were when they were kids. I'm surprised my husband isn't paralyzed from the neck down after all they did growing up :-). But to me, THIS is what family is all about. This entire family has been through SOO much and they've always come out on the other side as stronger individuals and stronger as a unit. I've experienced things over the past 19+ years with this family that I would never have been able to see had our paths not crossed. Most experiences happy and some not so much. But I must say my life has truly been enriched by knowing each and every one of them. For this gift, I am thankful!!

"To forget one's ancestors is to be a brook without a source, a tree without a root."

Sunday, April 02, 2006

Gifts from God - My Extended Family

Before I begin, let me go ahead and say that is "topic" may turn out to be a mini-series of sorts :-). But like I said in my first "Gifts from God" post, I'm having a moment. So bare with me and sit back and enjoy.

Now, back to the business at hand. My extended family.

Thank you God, for the gift of: My Parents
It goes without saying, that if it wasn't for these 2 people, I wouldn't be here. My mom and dad met eachother on a sort of blind date. My mother is from Mobile, AL and was living in New York with my aunt. Our cousin invited my mom to a party so that she could meet some people, as she was new in town. My dad happened to be at this same party. Anyway, long story short, they
hit it off and after dating for a while, Julius and Sheila were married. Then in 1966, I came along. Unfortunately, their marriage didn't work out. But I will say that my parents are unlike any other people I've ever met :-). My dad is a HILARIOUS man and will give the shirt off his back for anyone. Especially his "baby girl". (I'm not ashamed to admit that I'm STILL a daddy's girl) My mom, is a beautiful woman and also has an amazingly witty personality. Today, my mom is married to a wonderful man, Peter and I love him like a father. Although me and my parents have had our share of ups & downs, they truly, truly love me and I them. For this gift, I am thankful!!

Thank you God, for the gift of: My sister, Kimberlei (Kimmy)
Me and my sister, Kimmy are 10 years and 5 days apart. Boy, it sure was different to get a sibling after being an only child for 10 years. Although there's a huge difference in our ages, I couldn't have chosen a better person to be my little sister. I wish Kimmy and I had been closer and were able to do more things together. But again, the age difference didn't always allow that. By the time she was old enough for our mother to let us "hang out" together, I was moving into my own place...with my daughter. However, we did go to a few concerts (that was a funny experience) and she spent some time with us on the weekends. As with other families, we had our differences...some of which have transpired since we've become adults. But the one thing that I think brought us a little closer was when Marque and I became the legal guardians of Kimmy's son, Markell. I was and still am honored that she trusted US to be the ones to raise her son in a home where she wouldn't have to worry about him. I love my sister and wouldn't trade her for the world. For this gift, I am thankful!!
Thank you God, for the gift of: My Grandparents, Aunts, Uncles, Cousins & other family members
What a blessing it is to be a part of a large family. As far as siblings go, there was only me and Kimmy. But we are SOO blessed to have our grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins, great-grandparents. Sure, some of our family members are no longer here on earth with us. But we still have their memories to cherish and smile back on. This would be a HUGE posting if I were to add ALL the names of my extended family. And I'm sure it would be worth to do it if I knew that they would all read this. But I will just a blanket statement...that I truly, TRULY love EACH and EVERY one of my family members. I always look forward to spending time with them and visiting them when we go for holidays or for those "just because" visits. What a blessing to have the support of FAMILY. For this gift, I am thankful!!

Jesus' blood bought us more than salvation - it bought us a family.
1 Corinthians 10: 16 -17

Saturday, April 01, 2006

Gifts from God - My family

I'm having one of those moments...have you ever just taken the time and looked around you and in your life and noticed how truly blessed you really are? Well, I happen to do that quite often, especially when I'm needing a reality check. But today, I felt a little different as I reflected and took a quick look into my "world". Not a bad "different" but quite the opposite...a wonderful "different".
I admit it, I'm an emotional person by nature. And to be honest, it almost brings me to tears as I type this. But again, it's a good/wonderful thing.
I've seen on other BLOGS that I read frequently, how people recognize their families or other things in their lives at the moment. Well, I've done it too. But not quite like I'm doing today.
Today, and hopefully, from this day forward, I will look at the "things" and people in my life more as blessings and GIFTS FROM GOD!!! Because, think about it, that's exactly what they are. I've always known that, but I just never acknowledged it publicly.

Where your treasure is, There will your heart be also.
Matthew 6:21
Thank you God, for the gift of: My husband, Marque
Oh my goodness, I'm not even sure where to begin with this one. But I will say, that I LOVE this man! Marque is truly a gift to me simply because of the man he is. When we met in April of 1986, I was a young mother of a 16 month old daughter. Marque showed me, even back then, that if he and I were going to be an "item"...that he and my daughter also had to be an "item". And he quickly won her heart. It goes without saying that we experienced our share of hardships. But we stuck it out with and for eachother (and my daughter). We were married in Dec. of 1988 and we haven't looked back since. Sure, there were times that we thought we wouldn't make it. But when those feelings did enter our minds, we had to realize that we were together because God PUT us together. And for that alone, we had to TRY and make it work. And through trusting in Him, we're now almost 18 years deep into our marriage. Our friends say we still act like newlyweds :). I think that's awesome! Lastly, Marque stayed true to his word and made is possible for me to become a stay at home mom. That was his prayer...even before we were married. What a truly remarkable, smart, handsome, intelligent and wonderful man I have. For this gift, I am truly thankful!!
Thank you God, for the gift of: My daughter, Briyanna
I was young when I had my Briyanna, 18 in fact. But that doesn't make her any less of a gift from God to me. Briyanna and I lived with my mom until she was 3. Then we moved out into our own place. Talk about a challenge! I'm sure it's hard enough to live on your own, but even more so with a toddler. But fortunately, I was working, Briyanna was in a good daycare center and Marque helped us out when he could. My baby turned 4 years old 10 days before Marque and I married. What a sweet, sweet little girl she was. It never took much to make her laugh and she was loved by everyone. As Briyanna got older, she and I experienced...shall we say, some growing pains :-). We went through some really tough pre-teen and teenage years. Now, a 21 year old young lady, I'm still very proud of my first born. She's on her own now and trying to be an adult. Now she sees it's not as fun as she thought it would be...there are several responsibilities that adults have to deal with. But she's learning and trying to make her own way. For this gift, I am truly thankful!!
Thank you God, for the gift of: My nephew, Markell
In March of 1995, we received a phone call that changed our lives...for the better. For a few years, Marque and I had been trying to have a child of our own. But instead of coming to us through a traditional pregnancy, we received the gift of a baby through the pregancy of my sister. My sister, Kimmy had a baby boy on March 29, 1995 in Mobile, Alabama. At the time, my sister wasn't able to care for a baby. So Marque and I discussed it and we became the legal guardians of our nephew, Markell. Briyanna and I traveled to Mobile and a few days later, came back with a new, 7 day old baby boy. Talk about a gift from God. We had prayed for a baby, but never knew that we'd come by one this way. We have raised Markell and love him as our very own son. Three days ago, Markell turned 11 years old. Where does the time go? He's in his 7th season of soccer now and if you don't mind my saying so, he ROCKS!!! He's in his last year of elementary school now and will be going to middle school in the fall. I truly love this handsome boy and I'm so proud that he's in my life. For this gift, I am thankful!!
Thank you God, for the gift of: My daughter, Jayla
Again, I'm in a situation where I'm not sure where to begin. As mentioned earlier, Marque and I prayed and tried to have a baby of our own. That went on for 11 LONG years. Then, in March of 2001, we found out that we were FINALLY pregnant. Oh my goodness...what a SHOCKER that was! Not to mention, a time that we'll never forget. My pregnancy was AWESOMELY uneventful. No morning sickness and only 4 (yes, FOUR!) pounds of weight gained. Can't beat that!!! On November 20, 2001 we were blessed with the birth of OUR daughter, Jayla Faith. Oh, what a moment! I can't help but call her our "love child". Because that's where she came from...God's love for us and our love for eachother. As of the day of this posting, our Jayla is a beautiful, vivascious 4 year old little girl. In addition to being able to talk circles around any professional lecturer, she loves to play dress up (like the Princess that she is) and plays soccer. Knowing her, now makes us see WHY it took God 11 years to make this little lady. There's no way she'd be this way had it taken less time :-). For this gift, I am thankful!!
Thank you God, for the gift of: My doggie, Trae
Who doesn't love a good poochie? I simply love dogs. We had another dog, Jett for a little over 10 years. She passed away a little over 2 years ago. And every since then, our home hasn't been the same. We didn't want to get another pet too soon, as I didn't want it to appear that we were "replacing Jett. But just like how we "found" Jett, God sent our current dog, Trae right to us. A lady was walking around the soccer field last October and had 3 puppies with her. We had been wanting to get another pet, but we weren't financially prepared to pay for one yet. But again, God sent one to us...FREE of charge. Jennifer, the original owner was giving away puppies that were almost 6 weeks old. She is also the owner of the parents. But she just couldn't keep the litter of 9. So she said we could HAVE one if we wanted it. She even had food for him in her car. Long story short, we took our new family member home and he quickly became adjusted to us and his new surroundings. Trae is such a big sweetheart. And we couldn't imagine our lives with out him. For this gift, I am thankful!!
God has given us no greater blessing than that of belonging to a loving and loyal family - and it will be so, always & forever.
Richard L. Evans