Wednesday, December 27, 2006

First Christmas Alone

On Christmas Eve, Justin, Karis, and I opened our presents from our family. Karis had a great time opening her new puzzles and dishes. We surprised daddy with a few presents, and he surprised me with some too. We had a great time together just hanging out and spending time together.
Karis is very excited about her new puzzle.

Christmas pajamas, a tradition of ours. "Thanks Papa and Gamma for my pj's."

On Christmas day, I made homemade yeast rolls, a turkey, mashed potatoes, and salad. It was very good. It was much easier to cook a turkey than I thought it would be. Thank goodness my mom is always just a phone call away! I know I called her at least two times, which for me is not very many. We opened our stockings and played most of the day with all of Karis' new toys. She is really enjoying all her toys and learning a little more each day. Today when I put her down for her nap, I heard her trying to sing her ABC's. She is so funny sometimes, especially when she skips letters and numbers when she is reciting them.

I pray all of you had a very merry Christmas. I am overwhelmed at what Mary must have thought as she held her baby for the first time when He was born, knowing she was holding the Son of God! Wow, thank you Jesus for coming to earth as a baby to save us from our sins.

Saturday, December 23, 2006

Texas Christmas Part II

Karis is helping Aunt Courtney pass out gifts.

Wow! A pink softball glove. Mommy always wanted one of those. I can't wait to take her out and start throwing a ball. ( I know it is a little too early for that.)

It is always more fun to plan in or on the boxes than with the toys!

Pop Pop and Grammie had some Mardi Gra beads and Karis had a great time putting them on Pop Pop's arm, her neck, and Grammie's foot.

We arrived in Orange on Saturday and spent the afternoon hanging out with Justin's family. His dad, stepmom, and stepsister and family were there. It is always great to spend time with Lisa, his stepsister, and her family. We don't get to see them very much. Sunday, we went to church in Beaumont. It was wonderful to see our friends and visit with them. We had lunch with some friends and then went back to Orange. We did Christmas on Sunday afternoon at Justin's grandparents house. It was a fun time and lots of presents. Karis was the center of attention, and she had a great time opening up her gifts and making sure Pop Pop got to see all her presents first hand. We are so thankful for family.

Monday, I went back to Beaumont to spend lunch and the afternoon with Laura. We had a great visit, and it gets harder every time I have to leave her, especially knowing it will be a long time before I see her again. I also got to spend some time with my favorite college student, Ashley! Tuesday, we got up and packed to head back to my parents house. We got to my parents house just in time to hear the wonderful news about my neice Brooklynn (see below post). Wednesday, my parents drove us back to the airport to fly home. It was harder to leave this time knowing it will be over four months before I see my parents again. I love all of you very much and already miss you.

Justin, Karis, and I will have our first Christmas at home by ourselves. I am going to attempt to cook a turkey(only a breast), homemade rolls, and all the fixings. I am excited about starting new traditions with my family, but I know that I will miss my parents not being here.

Thursday, December 21, 2006

Texas Christmas Part I

Karis' favorite gift was the first one she opened, the new BOZ!

Gamma is reading Karis Brooklynn's "Hermie" book. Karis didn't quite understand that it was not hers. Hard concept for a 23 month old.

Wow! Thanks for all the presents! Opening presents makes me sleepy!

Our trip to Texas was great! We flew in on Tuesday last week, and my parents picked us up from the airport. They took us to eat Mexican food, done the right way. It was yummy!! Wednesday my dad and Justin played golf, and my mom and I hung out with Karis and Memaw. Thursday, Mom and I went shopping almost all day long. It was fun being able to spend quality time with my mom and eating at the Cheesecake Factory! Friday, Justin and I did some last minute shopping and went to a movie. We came home and celebrated Christmas with my family. We opened presents with my parents, my brother and his family, and my Memaw. All three girls had a lot of fun, and Karis adores her older cousin, Madison. It was neat watching them interact. We receieved great gifts and had a fun time as a family.

Saturday, we left my parents to go to Orange to see Justin's family.

Miracles Still Happen!

Madison, Brooklynn, and Karis are waiting for dinner, thus the not so excited expressions!

On Tuesday, my family received some very exciting news. My niece's, Brooklynn who is now 2 years old, catscan showed that she is cancer free. Brooklynn was diagnosed with a Welms tumor earlier this year. She had to have surgery that removed most of her left kidney and a tumor the size of a softball. After the tumor was removed, she went through 7 months of radiation and chemo. She is doing very good. She is so active and smart that no one would ever know she was ever sick. Her hair is growing back and soon there will be no outside signs of her cancer, except for the scar on her belly.

God has been so good to my brother and his family. It has been a blessing for me to see how God has strenghtened them and grown them. Tanya, my sister-in-law, you have grown so much in your faith this last year, and I am so excited to see what God has in store for you. Thank you for being such a godly example of allowing God to be your all through such a hard time. Shawn, my brother, you have always been special to me. We have always been able to talk to each other about everything. I know this has been the hardest year of your life, but I also know that I have seen so many changes in you. God can change us and it is very evident that He is working on you. I pray that your family continues to seek Christ in all you do. I already miss you guys as we are back home in North Carolina. I love you all and am blessed to have you as family!

Saturday, December 09, 2006

Lining things up!

Lately Karis has been lining things up. She will pull out her bowls and plates and line them up on her little table. She also enjoys lining up her Noah's ark animals. The other day I was taking a shower and when I emerged, Karis had lined up all the animals on our bed. They were perfectly straight in a row, each animal with it's matching animal. Children's imaginations are so neat. God is so good to allow us the joy of teaching and learning from our children. Karis is teaching me knew things everyday, especially patience. She is a blessing, and I can't imagine life without her.
Noah's ark lined up on Mommy's night stand.

Noah's ark on Karis' new table, a wonderful gift from a woman in our church. Thanks Sondra!

Karis is very proud of her table and wants Mommy to join in the fun!

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Helping with the Christmas Tree

Whoa! Look at all these sparkly ornaments. Karis was a big helper handing Mommy all the ornaments to put on the tree.

Karis helped Daddy put the lights on the tree. Calvin isn't sure what is going on.

The lights were very fascinating to Karis. She wasn't sure how they worked, she kept saying, "light, light."

On Thanksgiving night, Justin and I decided to go ahead and put up the Christmas tree. We hadn't put any of the Christmas decorations in the attic when we moved because we knew Christmas was just a few weeks away. Plus, I love to decorate for Christmas.

It was fun watching Karis get so excited about things we just do, like putting lights on the tree and ornaments. She did break her first ornament which happened to be one that Justin and his mother got at the Baseball hall of fame. I was sad for him, but we both know that with children things are going to be broken.

This Christmas we are so thankful for Christ and His cross. I am reminded of His willingness to come to earth and die on the cross for our sins and to appease God's wrath. What a joy to celebrate His birth! I pray this season you would bask in His love.

Monday, December 04, 2006

Sunday Sermon Notes: Ephesians 2:11-22

A picture of Karis making her favorite face when she is very determined. This picture represents how determined we should be to remember our sin and thank God that He has saved us from it through Jesus Christ's death on the cross.

Justin's sermon yesterday was very challenging and convicting. Here are my notes, Ashley, I know I promised to start posting them so here they are.

"Brought Near By His Blood"
Ephesians 2:11-22

I. Remeber your alienation-v. 11-12
5 disavantages the Gentiles had:
1. separated from Christ
2. alienated from blessings of Israel
3. strangers to the covenants of promise
- all of these describe us, as we are Gentiles, we must understand the depth of the pit from which we have been rescued.

II. Rejoice in your reconciliation-v. 13-18
- The greatest of gospel blessings is that Christ has brought us to God!
-Christ is our peace, our peace is in a person, not in something.
-Christ secures our peace and reconciliation with each other and God

III. Realize your place in God's church
1. We are citizens of His kingdom
2. We are part of His family
3. We are a stone in God's temple
-we must be a church built on the apostles and the prophets, solid doctrine and theology
-we are being built together, presently, He isn't finished with us yet, PRAISE GOD!
-the church is God's dwelling place here on earth; assembly of God's people is His residence

1. Are you reconciled to God through Jesus?
2. Are there remaining hostilities between you and other Christians?
3. What difference should this passage make for us to be a multi-cultural, multi-ethnic church?

I am so blessed to be a part of a church where God is working and His word is being preached. I am even more blessed that I am married to the man that God is leading to preach His Word so faithfully here in Wilson.

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Happy Thanksgiving!

I know this picture doesn't have anything to do with Thanksgiving, but I had to let you know why one day Karis is going to be a genius!! While Justin and I were unpacking boxes, Karis was watching Jeopardy! She is already learning so much, one day she will be able to answer the questions.

Thanksgiving was a very relaxing and fun day, especially after I finished baking the apple and cherry pies and the maccaroni and cheese. We went the the Dale's house. It was fun to be with them, and Karis got to play with Josie, Carol and Tim's granddaughter. It is so gracious of God to put other people in our lives when our immediate family is so far away. Even though my parents and brother cannot be replaced, it is nice to have people that you love to spend the holidays with. I would have really been lonely if God had not given us the Dale family. Thank you Lord for your many blessings. All in all, our first Thanksgiving away was a good day. I did however really miss my family and can't wait to see them in two weeks!! I can't believe Christmas is almost here.

I will put up some more pictures of the house soon. I am little under the weather today.

Friday, November 24, 2006

Happy Birthday Laura!!

I know this isn't the best picture of us, but it is the only one I could find. I have heard that if when you die you can count on one hand the number of true friends you had in life that you were blessed. I know for sure that I can say that Laura Warford is one of those friends. In life, God is so gracious to allow us people who truly understand us. Laura is that person for me. Even though I am her elder, one year and a few months older to be exact, I have learned more from Laura I could have imagined. She has taught me(and continues to teach me) how to be a godly mom. I can't imagine what life would have been like when Karis was born without being able to call Laura at any time of the day, sometimes four or five times a day with any random question! She is always so cheery even with no sleep.
When Justin and I moved to Beaumont, God put Laura and I together and from the first day, I knew our friendship would last. She is a kindred spirit, one who shared my love for Christ, one who desires to know God more deeply, one who strives to be a godly wife, one who loves her children and stays home with them, and one who knows how to minster to her friends and love them daily.
Laura, I miss you more than words can say. At times it really feels like I have left a part of me in Beaumont. I thank the Lord that He has given us this friendship that no matter the distance between us, our love for each other will still grow and be solid. Thank you for teaching me so much and for just listening. I love you girl and wish the happiest birthday ever. I am with you in your heart, even though I am not there in person.
I went for a walk this morning, praying for you and thinking how wonderful it would be to show up at your door and surprise you. It used to be such a daily thing I never thought how great it was until I couldn't do it anymore. I will be there soon for Christmas. I love ya!

Sunday, November 19, 2006

First Members of Christ Baptist Church

The first 16 members of Christ Baptist Church Wilson, NC. Obviously, Karis is not a member yet, but she really wanted to be in the picture!

Today, we had our first members join Christ Baptist Church. Sixteen people joined our church. It was a reverent and eventful service. Justin was at the end of his sermon, the last application question, when the fire alarm went off. Because of the noise, we had to go outside. We really learned that God is soverign even over weather and fire alarms. It was a cool day and outside of the school there are about 15 benches. We went outside to do the Lord's supper and read our covenant as a group to show our committement as members of CBC. Sometimes I really belive that God has a sense of humor. Justin and I are so blessed to be a part of what God is doing in Wilson and with His bride, the church. One of the main points of Justin's sermon is so lacking Christians' lives, "If we love Christ, we must also love His church." Ponder that statement for awhile.

New Home Part I

The dreaded moving day is over and our home is starting to finally resemble a home. God is so good to give Justin, Karis, and I a place to call our own. Living with Tim and Carol was a very good experience, but nothing feels like being in your own home. I don't think I would have appreciated it as much if we hadn't had the wonderful opportunity to stay with the stay with such a godly family. I really learned a lot about being a godly wife and mom from Carol. I think Justin might of actually learned a little two about how to help out around the house!!
Most of the boxes are unpacked and most of the furniture is in place, but until we get things hung up, it just doesn't feel like home.
The pictures from our kitchen make over are here. I hope you like what you see. It really was a make over!

The before pictures are first. Notice the black and white theme going on here! The floor might be cool, if it wasn't also in the den!

Please excuse all the trash. Notice the cabinets, black and white. Also, the backsplash, black and white tile!

This picture shows the extreme of the black and white fan to match the theme. You can also see the walls are white and the trim is black. You can't see the door that leads to the bonus room, but it is also black.

Ahh, much better. The island was moved back in because it does look pretty good with the backsplash. The chili pepper red cabinets do make the kitchen look some what like a diner.

You can't really see the floor, but it is a khaki vinyl. It makes the den look much better.(pictures of the before and after den are on the way). Justin put up a cool silver light to replace the fan. He is becoming quite the handyman around here!

I hope you enjoyed our make over. Let me know what you think. It is okay if you don't like it. It is a little drastic, but what do you do with a small budget and a black and white tile backsplash? Any other suggestions? More make over pictures of the den and bonus room are on the way!

Thursday, November 09, 2006


Hey all, just wanted to let all of you know that we are moving into our house this weekend. Yesterday, Justin and I painted our room and the den/kitchen. It was a long day, but we are so glad we got it all done in one day. Today, the new floor is being put into the kitchen/den and bonus room. Tomorrow, the kitchen cabinets, trim and bonus room will be painted so we will be able to move in on Sat. Praise the Lord for our new house and the means to fix it up some. I will have before and after photos some time next week.

Saturday, November 04, 2006

First Pumpkin Carving

The pumpkin was a little heavier than Karis thought.

Karis wanted to help but holding the spoon was much more fun than actually using it.

After daddy cut the pumpkin open, Karis was very interested to see what was inside.

Mommy got the honors of drawing and cutting the face on the pumpkin. Karis was very excited about holding the pieces mommy cut of the pumpkin.

After so much work, Karis decided to take rest, holding the pumpkin eye.

This face explains itself, I don't know what Karis was thinking.

The finished pumpkin. Karis had more fun putting the top back on and off than actually admiring the pumpkin face!

Thursday, November 02, 2006

Our Frog the GIRL!

When I was in Texas, my mom and I picked out this costume for Karis. It was a 2T so we knew it would be a little big, hopefully she will be able to wear it next year. However, I did not expect all the people at the festival that we went to to keep telling us what a cute little boy we had. It was pretty funny! Justin and I took Karis to one of the church carnivals in town.

Karis and Mommy after a hard fight to get on our costume. You can still she the red face from all the crying!

Picking up ducks out of the water was really the only game Karis could play.

She picked up at least five of six ducks. It was great!

Our little frog the GIRL!

Next year I am going to get a big pink bow and put it on her head so she won't be mistaken for a boy. We had a good time but realized that Karis was still a little bit too small for the festival. She did enjoy watching the other people.

Monday, October 30, 2006

Trip to Texas Part I

Our first flight without daddy started off as a disaster. When I got on the plane to sit down in my seat, Karis started screaming and throwing a fit. I didn't know what to do because the other two times we flew, she was fine. I prayed and thankfully the Lord answered my prayer in a another woman who reminded Karis of her grandma. Karis spent the first half of the flight in this wonderful lady's arm taking a nap. She was a God send. My good friend Martha and her husband, Ross, picked us up from the airport in Houston. We ate dinner at Taco Bell and witnessed Karis being hard headed and causing pintos and cheese to catapult on her face. It was a sight! Karis and I arrived at Laura's to spend the night. We let the girls play a while and stayed up late talking. It was so much fun to be with Laura and Ashley.
Sunday we went to church at FBC Beaumont. We saw many of our friends and Karis was excited to see her old teachers.

Karis really enjoyed sitting with Aunt Courtney at Pop Pop and Grammie's house on Sunday afternoon. As you can see, in almost all the pictures Karis is wearing the same outfit. She really does own more clothes than that, but I just really like the outfit! Aunt Courtney took Karis and I to lunch to eat some REAL mexican food. It was good!!:)

Papou, Justin's grandpa, played ball with Karis. She was the center of attention and enjoyed every minute of it.

After dinner, everyone left and Karis decided to watch her new Hermie movie, from Aunt Courtney, sitting on Pop Pop's lap. We spent Sunday night at Pop Pop and Grammie's. Monday, Pop Pop took Karis and I back to Laura's for lunch. My mom and Memaw met us there for lunch and to take us to Magnolia.

Karis and Beth had fun playing on the piano and in the play room. They also enjoyed playing on Karis' old swing set, until Karis decided not to share anymore!

This is not the best picture, but it is all of us girls; Karis, Beth, Sarah Jane, Laura and me. The Lord is good and our visit was sweet. Karis and I were so blessed to be with friends and family.

Trip to Texas Part II

Disclaimer: The pictures were taking so long to load that I had to put part II of our trip first. I was planning on putting all the pictures on the same entry, but my patience was wearing thin. I will do part I tomorrow or Wed. I am still learning this blog thing, so I am sorry to have to do things backwards.

Karis really loves her cousin, Madison. Madi, as Karis calls her, is seven, and I think Karis thinks Madison is an adult. She doesn't mind sharing with her, and she always wants Madi to hold her. We had a great day playing with her and riding the four wheeler.

Madi, Karis, and my dad(Papa John) rode the four wheeler together. I took Karis and Madi on the four wheeler, and Karis had a fun time screaming when I went faster. I let Madi drive some and Karis thought it was funny!

Brooklynn, Madi's sister, and Karis finally playing well together our last day at my parents. Karis has a hard time sharing Papa John and her toys when Brooklynn. They did however have fun chasing each other and hugging for the camera. Brooklynn is doing very well. She got her results from the CAT scan, and the doctor is confident that the cancer is gone. Praise the Lord!

Memaw, my dad's mom, and Karis are doing her very favorite thing, reading books. I think Memaw read each book about 10 times each. She finally said enough, and Karis went on to her next book reading victim, my dad!

The last thing Karis did with my parents was read books. Grandma and Papa John were sad to see her leave, but we will be back to see them in six weeks for Christmas. It was a great visit. I really was sad to go, but I was ready to get home to Justin. Every morning when Karis woke up she would say, "Daddy-O," her name for daddy. When we got off the airplane and headed to baggage claim, I kept telling Karis that we were going to see daddy. Going down the elevator, I could see Justin's shoes. As soon as Karis saw him, she ran and did her backwards hug and kissed him. She was so excited!

Thursday, October 19, 2006

Going to Texas

Texas, here we come!

Eight weeks after moving to North Carolina, Karis and I are flying home to Texas to see our family and friends. Justin is going to a church plant boot camp all next week, so we decided it would be a great time for Karis and I to go back home to Texas. I have to keep reminding myself that home is now North Carolina, and I am sure it will feel more like home once we get settled into our house.
I cannot wait to see my mom and dad! I also am very excited about Karis getting to see her Mamou, Papou, Aunt Courtney, Grammie, and PopPop. (Justin's family). Karis and I will fly into Houston on Saturday and be picked up by one of my friends from Beaumont. Martha will take Karis and me to Laura's house where we will spend the night and go to FBC Beaumont on Sunday morning. Sunday after church, Courtney, Justin's sister, will take us to Orange to see his family and spend Sunday night. We will then meet my parents in Beaumont on Monday to eat lunch and head to Magnolia for the rest of the trip. We will fly home on Friday, back to Justin who I am sure we will miss very much. I will have lots of pictures and details of our fun trip. I pray Karis and I will be safe on the plane and that she will obey me in the airport and on the plane.

Friday, October 13, 2006

Beautiful Karis

On Wednesday morning when I was taking a shower, I heard Karis get really quiet for a few minutes. Usually when I am in the shower, she is playing in the bathroom or watching BOZ. I looked out of the shower and didn't see her, so I called her name. A few seconds later she crawled into the bathroom from our room (the room at the Dale's house where Justin and I sleep). When she turned her head towards me, I saw a mark on her head. I immediately told her to stay right there until I finished my shower (so much for shaving my legs, but I did have to rinse my hair). After my shower, Karis and I went into my room to find what she had used to mark on her head. She had unzipped my small makeup bag that I put my lip liner and lipstick in. The mark on her head was from my lip liner. I think she was trying to do what mommy does; however, she got her forehead confused with her lips!! I now know that my daughter is becoming too curious to leave alone while showering. So it begins!