Friday, July 31, 2009

Your Presence is Requested at the Marriage of...

Today is "Weddings, Part 2: The Ceremony,Wedding Party, and Flowers" at Kelly's Korner.

So, roll back to April 5, 2003.......

This was my wedding party. Yes, I know it looks like a small village of people...but, we had so many friends and family that have touched our lives that it was incredibly important to us to have each and every one of these people be apart of our wedding day. We each had 10, yes TEN, attendants; as well as 4 ushers, 2 junior bridesmaids, 2 candle lighters, 2 flower girls, 1 page, and 1 bride's book attendant.

We got married in April, and being the lover of flowers that I am...flowers were everywhere. I chose the color palette of orange because the first flowers Brad ever sent me when we were dating was a bouquet of orange roses. They were the most beautiful flowers I had ever seen, and since then are the only color of flowers Brad sends me.
Everything was in shades of oranges, yellows, and touches of purple. I carried all orange roses, and the bridesmaids carried mixed bouquets with tulips, calla lilies, and roses. The bridesmaids wore persimmon orange colored strapless dresses, and had wraps that matched.

We got married at 6:00 in the evening, so we had lots of candles. During the ceremony, the lights were dimmed, with just a spot light on Brad and I and the glimmer of the candles.

I am a person that loves weddings, but not sappy ones...you know, with a country love song for the theme? If you like that, that's great!! But, that's not my cup of tea. We worked very hard to keep our wedding as Christ centered and spiritual as possible. My attendants walked in to a medley of "Canon in D", "Seek Ye First", and "How Beautiful". Right before the wedding march was played, "I Love You, Lord" was sung acapello. We also used during the ceremony "Surely the Presence", "Savior Like a Shepherd", and "Father, We Commit to You". And, we left to "Joyful, Joyful We Adore Thee". (If you would like to know the writers or singers of any of these songs, please leave me a comment and I will send that to you.)

We had 3 ministers to be apart of our wedding: Al Elmore - my Youth Pastor when I was growing up, who I worked for for 2 years and means THE WORLD to me; Roger Wilmore - our Pastor at the time; and Ricky Hall - a dear family friend of Brad's. Al did the giving away of the Bride, Roger did the vows, and Ricky did the unity candle. It was so special to us to have these 3 men do the ceremony collectively.

This was a snapshot taken in the Bride's Room right before the wedding started of me with my bridesmaids, flower girls, and page.

Top row (L to R):
Lori - cousins by blood, but sisters at heart
Lauren - my "little sister" that I babysat growing up
Bettina - my cousin
Callie - my friend that introduced Brad and I!
Clair - my cousin
Andrea - my other "little sister" that I babysat growing up
Leslie - Brad's sister
Valerie - my sister, and Matron of Honor

Bottom Row (L to R):
Melody - my friend since the 1st day of Kindergarten!
Hunter - Callie's daughter (she was my page)
Audrey - my precious angel that I babysat from an infant
Baileigh - Callie's daughter
Juddie - my room mate in college, and friend since the nursery at church!

Me with Valerie - my Matron of Honor - my sister and dearest friend in all the world.

Baileigh - one of my flower girls - broke her arm the day before our wedding, and of course what little girl would want any other color of cast than bright, neon pink??!!?? HA!
This was my Wedding Coordinator, Rhonda...who is also one of my dearest friends, my 2nd mother, and my kindred spirit. She helped to make my wedding such a special day!

Stay tuned...next week is Weddings, Part 3: The Reception!

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Little Happies

Do you have "little happies" in your life? You know - those things that are meaningless to everyone else, but give you a little respite from life going on around you. Maybe it's the 30 minutes that you have in the morning before anyone else gets up and all is quiet, or going window shopping in an expensive store, or having chocolate for lunch! I have a "little happy" every time I pull in my driveway. I immediately look up to the front porch, and I have to smile. My front porch is always adorned with whatever the season's flowers are - bright purples, pinks, and lime greens in the summer; deep oranges and golden yellows in the fall, evergreen and berries in the winter, and soft pinks, lavendar, and yellow in the spring. They are my "little happy" - no matter what my frustrations of the day have been, I just find myself breathing a sigh of relief when I see my beautiful flowers. I do so little for them - I plant them in good potting soil and water them...they flourish and look beautiful all season long. And, when I pull in it's like they're waving a banner "WELCOME HOME!" And, for a moment, all the stress of the day ceases, and I know - it's good to be home!

So, what's your little happy?

Monday, July 27, 2009

Taco Pie

It's Tasty Tuesday! Here's another weeknight favorite that's easy, quick, and always a pleaser (this is one of Carolyne's favorites, too!)

Taco Pie
Serves 4 - 6

1 frozen deep dish pie shell, thawed
1 lb. ground meat (I only use ground turkey at my house, but of course you can use ground beef or chuck)
1 taco seasoning packet
2 - 3 cups Tortilla chips (I always use Fritos) crushed
1 8 oz. sour cream
1 - 1 1/2 cup shredded cheese (I use medium cheddar and monterey jack)
optional - refried beans or black olives

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Pre-cook pie shell for 10-12 minutes. Set aside. Scramble ground meat, and drain. Return to skillet and add taco seasoning according to packet directions. Layer ingredients in pie shell: 1/2 of crushed chips, meat, sour cream, cheese, and remaining crushed chips. (If you choose to also use refried beans and/or olives, just add those before putting the chips on top.) Return to oven and cook another 12 - 15 minutes.

I serve this with Spanish Rice and salsa.

To see recipes from others on this blog hop, visit Jen's Tasty Tuesday.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Love is Risky!

So, tonight was our 2nd night of "Love out Loud" Youth Bible Study. Our focus tonight was "Love Risks".

We talked about loving our enemies, and those who persecute you....such a DIFFICULT act!!!!! We all have those people in our lives that are...well...let's just say difficult to love :) Those that do everything in the world to make us want to NOT love them. Loving these people is risky - they may not love us back, other people may think we're crazy, our reputation might be affected...But Jesus tells us those are the ones that we HAVE to go out of our way to love. If we can't love our enemies, we are no different than the world (Matthew 5:43-48)

Risky love can also mean allowing Christ's love to outshine your own frustrations...still being pleasant and even thanking the waitress that is slow and got your order wrong, helping the mother that has a child that has screamed and cried all through Wal-Mart resulting in your splitting headache, taking the trash out even though that is your spouse's "chore" just because you were going outside anyway...this is "showing the truth by our actions" (1 John 3:18) It's completely awkward, uncomfortable, out of our comfort zone, and just down right risky...but, so worth it!

Brad challenged us to find some way this week to show love in a risky way - whether it's showing love to someone that is hard to love, or by showing love in a surprising way to someone that's easy to love.

Do you think you're up for the challenge? Let me know if you show some risky love, and the result...I would love to hear about it!

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Goin' to the Chapel, and We're Gonna Get Ma-a-aaar-rried!

So, today at Kelly's Korner, the blog hop topic is wedding dresses - and since I love weddings, this was one blog hop I wanted in on! Brad and I married on April 5, 2003. Even after over 6 years, I still think my wedding dress was beautiful.

I had looked at many many dresses, and had tried on tons, but they just didn't seem to be the one. I wanted a dress that was timeless elegance - nothing trendy, with big bows or poofy sleeves! When I tried on this dress, I knew it was the one - it was the one that made my mama cry! It was slightly off the shoulders, with pearl beading on the bodice. The A-line skirt was satin with a sheer overlay, and had a chapel train. My favorite part was that it had pearl "buttons, buttons all down my back, back" and a pearl detail around the bottom of the skirt. I wore all pearl jewelry, and had a tiara that was pearls and diamond rhinestones. My veil, which was my "something borrowed" from my sister, was chapel length and was the same length as my train. My mother had painstakingly sewn on tiny seed pearls around the ENTIRE veil by hand. It was absolutely beautiful! My "something old" was my grandmother's engagement ring that I wore on my right hand. My "something new" was a handkerchief given to me at my Bridesmaid's luncheon; and, my "something blue" was my garter. I felt like an absolute princess in this dress!Me with my prince leaving in our white horse-drawn carriage!

...and we lived happily ever after!

"I have found the one my heart loves..." Song of Soloman 3:4

Wednesday, July 22, 2009


Yesterday I went to the school to do so prep work for the beginning of the school year (I can't believe it's just around the corner!) On my way home, I stopped at a very cute little place called "Plantopia Nurseries" in Scant City. The business is inside an old white house, and they have several greenhouses behind it. They have BEAUTIFUL plants and containers, and incredible prices! Not to mention, the owner was PRECIOUS...she just talked and talked like we were old friends, and said "Aren't you the lady that puts together all those family nights at the schools?" Her son goes to Grassy Elementary, but she has brought him to Union Grove's P.I.E. nights as well. She was just the sweetest thing, and it really made me want to buy her plants. Are you like that - when someone makes you feel welcome, you are more likely to spend your money at their shop...or does it matter to you?

I got these 2 Boston ferns for $12.00 each (WOW!) and they are GIGANTIC! Anywhere else, they would have been $20 - $30 easily. The 2 of them barely fit in the back of my vehicle! I have them beside my front door in black urns. They look so pretty!

When I went in to pay for the ferns, I saw that they also had canned homemade soups, jams, and fresh picked veggies and fruits. All of the vegetables and fruits are locally grown in Union Grove, and are brought to be sold daily - now that's fresh!! The peaches made the entire room smell so good, and I got a huge basket full for $9.00!! They had been picked that morning at a peach orchard just down the road - did anyone else know there was a peach orchard in Union Grove??

I have big plans for some peach ice cream, and a couple of peach cobblers to be made in the near future! YUM! Hopefully I'll have a few left over to freeze to have during the winter, too!

The rest of the day I worked on my newest decorating project - one of my guest bedrooms. I'm really excited about it!! It looked cute before, but I was just getting bored with it. I'll post pictures soon!!

Hope everyone had a great day!

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Pepper Steak

I am participating in Tasty Tuesday Parade of Food today. I want to share with you a DELICIOUS Powell family favorite - Pepper Steak. Brad grew up eating this all the time, and I was introduced to it after we married. It's soooo good, and a great weeknight meal for your family because it's QUICK, EASY, and uses ingredients that you probably have on hand! Let me know if you try it, and what you think!
Pepper Steak
Makes 2 large servings, or 4 small servings
1/4 cup oil (you can use vegetable, canola, or even olive)
1 lb. steak, cut into thin strips (you can use any type of steak - round, strip, sirloin, ribeye)
1 medium onion, thinly sliced
2 green Bell peppers, thinly sliced
1 Tablespoon cornstarch
1 cup cold water
1 Tablespoon soy sauce
1 teaspoon sugar
2 teaspoons garlic salt (if using garlic powder, just be sure to add 2 teaspoons salt)
1/2 teaspoon black pepper

Preheat oil in skillet, uncovered at 325 degrees.
In a bowl, dissolve cornstarch in water and soy sauce. Add sugar, garlic salt, and ground pepper; set aside.
Add meat to skillet and brown.
Remove meat and set aside. Add onion and pepper slices to skillet and cook just until tender.
Pour cornstarch mixture into skillet with vegetables, stirring until sauce is thickened. (If sauce gets too thick, add a little water.) Add meat and cook several minutes until heated through.
(You may want to add more salt after you taste - I try to be a little conservative with the salt, and let everyone salt their own.)
Serve over hot rice.
Soooo good! Hope you and your family enjoy!

To view more recipes of others partcipating in this blog hop, visit Jen's Tasty Tuesday.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Love Out Loud

How many times a day do you say "love"?

I love pizza, I love this weather, I love the beach, I love your new hair cut...we use the word so much it has so little meaning to the majority of the world. And, then we turn around and tell people "Jesus loves you"?? The Bible teaches us that love means being willing to die for whatever you love (John 15:13). Are you willing to die for pizza? Are you willing to die to see the beach? Are you willing to die for your friend's new hair cut? Nope, didn't think so!

Did Jesus die for you? Now, that's true love!
WOW...puts things in perspective, huh??!!??

"The world's too noisy to hear Christians talk about love. They only notice it if they see it." - Doug Fields, author of "Love out Loud"

Last night, we started a new Youth Bible Study - "Love Out Loud"...and, it's gonna be GOOOOOD! This Bible Study is all about teaching our students how to live a Godly lifestyle - and not just talking about it. To love people not with words, but by actions.

We've been back from summer camp a few weeks, and back in the "real world"...some of those "emotional highs" have worn off and life has set back in. Although our students learned, grew, and came back FLIPPED from camp, Brad and I have to work even harder now to keep them learning, growing, and living a FLIPPED life! This study is going to be a great spring board from truths learned at camp to life application. I sense such a stirring in our students' hearts, and am excited what God is going to do through them! Sand Rock High School better just get ready - this fall they're going to see a whole lot of loving out loud, and I'm not talking about too much P.D.A.!! I'm talking about seeing the glory of the Lord in our youth's daily lives - at football practice, in the hallways talking with friends, and in the classroom!

I will share some tidbits of this awesome Bible Study with you every week, so get ready for your heart to be changed as we Love OUT LOUD!

"Dear children, let's not merely say we love each other; let us show the truth by our actions." 1 John 3:18

Friday, July 17, 2009

Old Fashioned Foot Washin'

This is what Valerie and I found last night - Carolyne and Sam up on the vanity in Carolyne's bathroom having a foot washin'! Valerie had told Carolyne that her feet were dirty from playing outside, and the next thing we know Carolyne had gotten out a washcloth and soap, filled the sink with water, and was washing not just her own feet but Sam's feet as well. I'm not exactly sure how she got him up there, but I love that his blankie is right beside him :) So innocent and precious!

"Therefore, whoever humbles himself like this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven!" Matthew 18:4

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Chatting at the Sky

On my daily "blog stroll", I read blogs that inspire me, make my laugh, and sometimes reflect. Today was a day for reflection at one of my most FAVORITE blogs -Chatting at the Sky. The author - Emily - is a Youth Pastor's wife, so I immediately felt a connection to her when I began to read her blog several months ago. I feel sure that we all can relate to her post from today, and our hearts will be spoken to by Emily's words. Please take the time to read her shared thoughts by clicking on the button below:

Chatting at the Sky

"Sometimes I have to come to the end of all my girl-made resources to realize that I need Him all the time, not just when I run out of gas. Because He doesn’t give me quiet perspective; He IS my quiet perspective. He doesn’t hand out strength in doses equal to the amount of time I’ve spent with Him that day; He IS my strength no matter if I know it or not. He makes beauty from my ashes and strong from my weak. And that is what gets me out of bed."

Have a blessed Wednesday!

Monday, July 13, 2009

Crazy Things are Happening!

Ever noticed how God likes to do things that seem a little crazy? In the past 8 years that Brad and I have been together, we've seen some surprising and down right crazy things happen in our lives that have been orchestrated by God. And, once again, He is calling us to do something that to many of our friends and family probably seems crazy. Brad and I both have very good jobs, live in a nice home, live close to all of our family, have a wonderful church family...basically, from the outside looking in everything is going great and we should be comfortable living our lives. But, God doesn't like for us to get very comfortable, does He? If we're comfortable, we're not being refined into His image. Brad has been in children/youth ministry for over 10 years now, and has always been bi-vocational. We've both felt for so long that the Lord was calling us to do something more, and that calling is full-time ministry. After much prayer, planning, and anticipation... Brad is going to Seminary! We received his acceptance letter, so it is official! This is something that we have prayed about for sooo very long, but the timing just hasn't been right...until now! And, after looking and visiting, it is very apparent that the Lord is leading us to New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary.

Please be praying for us...this is incredibly scary and exciting at the same time. For the time being, I will continue to work here and live here...Brad will be commuting - yes, commuting - to New Orleans and only be home 3/4 days a week. It's going to be a major adjustment for both of us, and difficult we know.

Are we eventually going to move to New Orleans?

We don't know.

Does this mean that we'll never live close to our friends and family once Brad is finished?

We don't know.

What are our plans for the future?

We don't know.

But, one thing we are sure of - we are taking a leap of faith and trusting God as He leads us. Crazy, huh?

You better be prepared...God may do something a little crazy in your life next!

"Whoever serves me must follow me; and where I am, my servant will also be. My Father will honor the one that serves me." John 12:26

Saturday, July 11, 2009

It's Great to be an Aunt!

This past week, I have had the pleasure of being "Mommy" to 2 of the 4 of my most favorites - Carolyne and Sam! Valerie and Robby's 8th anniversary was on Tuesday, so they went on their annual anniversary getaway trip. Since Brad was out of town, I was really glad to have them around to keep me company! We had so much fun!!

The first night, we made our own individual pizzas. I let them have their own little pan and crust, and they spread on the sauce, and put on their own cheese and pepperoni. They wanted to eat everything as we were making the pizzas, but I was able to keep a little bit of the toppings on the pizzas to cook them!

Sam was so proud of his little pizza!
The one on the left was Carolyne's
and the one on the right was Sam's -
he ate most of the pepperoni
as he was putting them on the pizza!
Enjoying our creations!! They were really cheesey!!

Then, we baked cookies. I mixed up the cookie batter, and let the kids put chocolate chips, Reese's pieces, and M & M's on top. I let them put as little or as many as they wanted...
they loved this!!

Here was the finished product...don't they look YUMMY? Carolyne likes "vanilla cookies" -cookies without any candy or chocolate chips - so I made some of those for her.
The next day we made puppets! Carolyne loves, loves, loves to do crafts (she takes after Aunt Hayley!) so this was right up her ally! I bought some puppet kits from Wal-Mart, and let them choose what they wanted to make. Carolyne made a Yorkie dog, and Sam made a bear. Carolyne did hers completely by herself (Miss Independent).....Didn't they do a fantastic job??
This picture just makes me smile...
Carolyne was watching t.v. while wearing her heart-shaped shades! There is a picture VERY similar of me when I was the same age as Carolyne - except I think I was also sporting a frisbee ring around my head! Carolyne is soooo much like me - sassy, silly, creative, and INDEPENDENT!!!!! My daddy tells Valerie all the time that she's paying for MY raising! HA!
The last day Carolyne and Sam were with me we went to visit my other 2 favorites - Kailey and Kenedi! These 4 always have a BLAST!! They play so well, and so look forward to being together! I forgot to pick up my camera, so unfortunately I don't have any pictures of them together...but, they swam, played, laughed, and had the best time!
I've missed having the kids at the house...things have been so quiet and clean! HA! But, I hope that as they grow they will always have fond memories of being with Aunt Hayley and will always know how much they are dearly loved!

Thursday, July 9, 2009

While I'm Waiting

Have you ever had to wait on God to give you the desires of your heart? Maybe it was waiting for Him to send you a husband/wife, a door to open for a job, someone to be healed, family issues to be resolved, or a multitude of other things that your heart has humbly longed for.

I have had to wait...and continue to wait...and, have went through trials and heartache while waiting...for 3 years....to have a child. And, it's not any easier waiting today than it was 3 years ago. It has been a difficult, heart wrenching, physically draining, emotionally numbing uphill path to walk...but, I'm still waiting. I've underwent every test, surgery, and procedure known in the fertility world (with the exception of invitro fertilization)...but, I'm still waiting. I have went through the trauma of a miscarriage and tubal pregnancy within a 9 month period...but, I'm still waiting. You see, "waiting" emplies I'm expecting something to happen. And, I do...I expect God to hear my prayers, and I expect Him to answer them. If I'm not waiting, I've given up all hope...and, that's just not good enough for me.

I heard a song on the way home from church last night that spoke to my heart. It's by a wonderful Contemporary Christian artist - John Waller.

The song, "While I'm Waiting", was used in the movie, FireProof - so many of you have probably heard it. This is John Waller's explanation on what motivated him to write this song:

"The explanation of this song is simple - I was waiting on God and I was hurting when I wrote the lyrics. I'm sure there are few people that can't relate to this song, but the important thing to remember while we're waiting on God is not to just wait but to actively wait. Serve...worship...and be faithful with what you have, where you are - even while you wait."

Here is a video of the song, and below are the lyrics. I hope this song will speak to your life's situations as you continue to wait on the Lord.

I'm waiting

I'm waiting on You, Lord

And I am hopeful

I'm waiting on You, Lord

Though it is painful

But patiently, I will wait

I will move ahead, bold and confident

taking every step in obedience

While I'm waiting

I will serve You

While I'm waiting

I will worship

While I'm waiting

I will not faint

I will be running the race

even while I wait

I'm waiting

I'm waiting on You, Lord

And I am peaceful

I'm waiting on You, Lord

Though it's not easy

But faithfully, I will wait

Yes, I will wait

I will serve You while I'm waiting

I will worship while I'm waiting

I will serve You while I'm waiting

I will worship while I'm waiting

I will serve You while I'm waiting

I will worship while I'm waiting on You, Lord

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Bailey Bash on the Bay

My beautiful family!
Yes, I am still alive! I haven't blogged in the past week because my family spent the week at the lake for our annual Bailey Bash. We started calling this weeklong family gathering the Bailey Bash as a joke a couple of years ago, and the name stuck.
Sam sporting his "Bailey Bash"shirt!
All of my cousins, aunts, and uncles come to Chestnut Bay on Weiss Lake in Cherokee County and we have a blast! We cook and eat enough food to fill a couple of dump trucks, play games, swim, go out on the boat and jet skis, tell stories, listen to the boys play music, laugh - ALOT, and make memories!
Lori cooking up some supper for us!
It is a week that I look forward to all summer long. Some people would think that being with your entire extended family in one house for 6 days would not be very enjoyable...but, I am very blessed with an incredibly close family and we love to be together.
Valerie, Lori, and myself enjoying a day on the lake.

Carolyne, Macy and Sam My cousins, Cole and Cody Sam helping Tyler navigate the waters! Sweet Payton having fun at the pool! Carolyne and Sam taking a break from playing in the water. Laurah, myself, Valerie, Lori, and Maggie Lynn "junkin" in Cave Springs My sisters! Cody, Laurah, and Payton

I've heard almost every Bailey family story there is to tell probably 100 times...but, I love to hear each one another time. I've heard the boys play music more times than I could possibly tell...but, I love to hear them play one more time.

James Paul doing what he does best!! Cole and Nichole

This year, Aunt Shirley and my mama decided to go through some old pictures and letters while we were there. It reminded me what a rich heritage that my family has, and how thankful I am for my grandparents and great grandparents firm, Christ-centered foundation that they set for us.

The Bailey Siblings:Randall,my mom(Judy),Shirley,Barry,Rita

My family minus Bradley who was out of town on business :(
Friday night we enjoyed watching the fireworks. While the rest of the family stayed up at the house, Carolyne and I went down to the dock to see the show. It was so peaceful hearing the water hit the rocks, and the occassional boom of the fireworks. Caroylne started asking questions about why people were shooting fireworks. She was in an incredibly inquisitive mood, so I began explaining to her about our country's freedom, celebrating America's birthday, and being proud to be an American. She hung on to every last word I said, then without hesitation, stood up and with her hand over her heart recited the Pledge of Allegiance, followed by her own rendition of "America, America!" and "Onward Christian Soldiers". I wanted to laugh, but she was so serious I new I couldn't...in her 4 year old mind, she was saying (and singing) I'm proud to be an American, and am thankful that 'God shed His grace on thee'. It reminded me of all that we have to be thankful for to live in our great land, and the blessings God has given us...Freedom, life, liberty, justice, faith, and sooooooo many others!
Thank you, God, for the rich blessings you have placed on our country and my wonderful family!

If my people who are called by name will humble themselves, pray and seek My face, and turn from their evil ways, then I will hear from Heaven, forgive their sin, and heal their land." 2 Chronicles 7:14