Monday, November 30, 2009

Shop Til Ya Drop!

My sister will love me forever and ever and ever for posting this picture of her standing in line at Wal-Mart at around 5:00 in the morning -
Yes, it is Monday night, and I am just now posting about Friday - BLACK FRIDAY that is! It has taken me almost 4 days to recuperate from the draining, gruelsome shopping that took place!!!!

Valerie and I started going shopping on Black Friday shortly after she turned 16 - some 15 years ago (Really, how is that possible??!!) It was the year of the Furby - does anyone remember those?? We went to Wal-Mart at midnight before it was a Super Center, and we stood in line in the freezing cold waiting to get in - not to buy ONE THING but to go watch the madness. It was great fun, and I can still remember the crazed mothers running in the store to get the coveted Furby to have for their little darlings come Christmas morn. I also remember people guarding their shopping cart, in fear that someone would steal the Furby out of the cart. HA!!!

Well, that very first Black Friday experience put an excitement in us that has never died. But now we actually go to buy things - not just watch!! HA! Lori joined our Black Friday shopping madness many years ago, and has been with us ever since. We've had several "drop ins" that thought they wanted to be apart of the craziest shopping day of the year, but were only able to handle the insanity 1 time.

Our shopping tradition always begins in the wee hours of the morning at Wal-Mart, and then we hit up Polo, Gap, Belk, and sometimes the mall. This year, Valerie and myself, along with Lori and Maggie Lynn went on the bargain hunt together. Maggie Lynn is a new comer to the Black Friday experience...we'll see if she is willing to be apart of the craziness again next year. :) So, my alarm clock went off at 2:00 a.m. Friday morning - I know...the complete and total insanity, right?? Well, I pulled out of my driveway at 3:45 and arrived at Wal-Mart just a few minutes later to this:

It cracks me up how very serious everyone looks in this photo. People were on a mission!! Crowded would not even come close to defining what Wal-Mart was like.

We got some really good deals and were able to get every thing we set out to purchase, except for one very big thing - a CRICUT!! Wal-Mart had them on sale for $188.00, and normally being between $300 - $400, it was a steal of a deal.They were all gone when I got there - and mind you, I was an hour and 10 minutes EARLY and they were still already gone!! I was oh so disappointed. Well, leave it to my Daddy to come to the rescue. A little checking around...a little searching on the internet...a few phone calls made to several other Wal-Mart stores in North Alabama...and within a few hours Daddy had located a Cricut, and went and picked it up. I was so filled with joy when I saw the Cricut box sitting on my parents kitchen table waiting to be opened...Made me feel like I had gotten a Furby for Christmas!!

Saturday, November 28, 2009

"I'm Thankful For" - 4th Edition

It's hard to believe November 2009 and Thanksgiving Day have already came and went!! Thanksgiving Day is such a special day - a day that Brad and I spend with our families. We start our day by eating breakfast and spending the morning with Brad's immediate family, and then have lunch and spend the afternoon with my extended family. I am reminded daily what an INCREDIBLE family we have, and for them I am thankful.

My family is very close. We love to laugh, tell stories, and...eat! And, we do all three of those very well I might add!

We love to take lots and lots of pictures, because one day when our grandchildren are looking through pictures they can see what we were doing - because that's what we find ourselves doing with my grandparents pictures.

We love to watch all the guys play football after lunch on Thanksgiving, because it's tradition - and the Baileys are all about tradition.

We love one another, because my grandparents instilled a deep love and devotion for family in each and every one of us. We are there for one another through the thick and thin. We have a rich heritage that I am so grateful for, and it makes me proud of who I am and where I came from.

I am most thankful that I have a family that loves the Lord, and I can count on them to pray with me and for me. I am BLESSED beyond words.

Thank you, Lord, for allowing me to be apart of such a special family. I am so grateful for each and every one of them, and what they mean to me.

I hope that y'all had a wonderfully splendid Thanksgiving, and you were able to spend it with those you love!

What are you thankful for today?

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Friday Night Fun

Friday nights are my favorite. On any given week, you will typically find Brad and I on a date on Friday night, whether it's at a favorite restaurant in Birmingham, going shopping, or just grabbing a movie and heading home. What I love is that it's just an unspoken routine that we silently plan to do something just him and I. We don't go crazy and get all upset if plans interfere and we have to do something with other people, because that's just how our lives are - things come up OFTEN that interfere with US time. But, when things work out, and we get to have our Friday night together...it's such a blessing!! Some of you are probably thinking "y'all have 'us' time ALL THE TIME - you don't have any CHILDREN!" Well, no we don't have children yet - but, Brad has an INCREDIBLY demanding job of his time, is a seminary student, and a Youth Pastor...so, ummm...we. don't. see. each. other. very. often. at. all. - specifically just the 2 of us!

Well, last week I needed some "Bradley time" in the worst way. So, when Friday rolled around and there was an all-clear for our night out, I was so happy!! We went to BoneFish to eat (all I have to say is Bang Bang Shrimp...OH MY WORD...it's on the top of the list of absolute all time FAVS!) Then, we headed to the Galleria. It just so happened that Friday night was their annual lighting of the Christmas tree. I remember going for this annual event several times when I was a child, but had not been in several years. I had forgotten how exciting the kick off to the Christmas season was!
There was a live orchestra and a ballet company that acted out the Polar Express...it was just magical! Then, Santa "appeared" in the glass elevator and came down to count down the lighting. Prior to the program starting, children all across the mall had been given bells. When Santa came down the elevator, you began to hear bells EVERYWHERE ringing. It was so magical! All around me I could here children cheering, giggling, and shouts of "Santa!" filling the air. Such fun!

After the show, Brad and I planned to get a little Christmas shopping done. But, the only shopping done was Brad buying me a new purse, and some other goodies. Isn't he the BEST??!! Besides, Black Friday is around the corner - maybe I'll get some shopping done for everyone else then...and, I can ASSURE YOU - Brad will NOT be with me then because
Psychotic crowds going after bargains + getting up at 3 a.m. + Bradley = NOT A PLEASANT EXPERIENCE!!!
But, that's okay - hopefully I can get some of his Christmas bought :)

So, I'm curious - what is your favorite day of the week, and why? Leave me a comment, and share! I'd love to hear from ya!

Saturday, November 21, 2009

"I'm Thankful For" - 3rd Edition

It's been a strange week. Not an overly busy week, which is incredibly unusual. Not a week that I have been running in 15 different directions at one time, which is out of the ordinary.

So it sounds like a great week, huh? Well.....it should be, and it would have been if I could have just let it. But, it's been a week that I have been fighting battles within. And, probably for the rest of the world, that sounds kinda weird. But, for me, is something I deal with on a pretty regular basis. Having been on enough hormone therapy and fertility medication for 3 years to make any one female LOSE HER MIND...I understand "feeling unsettled".

It's been a week that everything has royally gotten on my last nerve....feelings that I had let people down has gotten the best of me...tears have flowed uncontrollably, trying to come at very inopportune times...and, the piercing feelings of inadequacy, bitterness, discontentment, and loneliness have swelled inside.

The cold hard truth is there is little to nothing that anyone - including myself - can do or say to make it better. But, when this fight from within comes, there is one thing that I can do to find respite from the battle - talk to my Heavenly Father, which sometimes comes out more in cries of desperation than just pleasant conversation.

So, for this, I am thankful this week (I know you were wondering why on earth this was an I'm thankful for" post!) for my Lord and Savior.

I'm thankful that when I feel so completely unraveled, I can come to Jesus.

I'm thankful that when I can't even get the words to come out of my mouth, but only weep before the Lord, he understands the groanings of my heart.

I'm thankful that I can be honest, and hold no thought or feeling from Him, and they are safe in Him.

I'm thankful that He loves me inspite of myself.

I'm thankful that I can lay every burden at His feet...and walk away.

And, believe it or not, I'm thankful for the storms He allows to stir my spirit because these are what draw me to Him.

Thank you, Lord, for loving me. Thank you for making my load less to carry. I trust in You, and believe in faith that you know my heart and what I wait with hope for. I thank you most of all for saving me, and allowing me to serve Your children with my life.

So, what are you thankful for this week?

Monday, November 16, 2009

Happy Birthday, Daddy!

Today is my Daddy's birthday! He was leaving to go out of town today, so we got together last night to celebrate his 59th birthday....just a year away from the big 6-0!!!

Daddy is most definitely the HARDEST person to buy a gift for. When asked what he would like, he always says "nothing" or his ever famous "just peace and goodwill for all". So, we have to work and be very creative in finding him presents!

My mama and daddy - 2 of the most wonderful people ever!! They have walked such an incredible walk of success, faith, and devotion for our family...they are admired by so many!

Sam and Carolyne with their Papa. He is loved sooo much!
My daddy is my biggest fan and my worst critic. He loves me so much, and has always pushed, pushed, PUSHED me to not just be mediocre, but the best I can be. And, for that I am forever grateful.

I love you, Daddy!! I hope you have had a wonderful birthday!!

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Best Potato Soup Ever!

I have had the best of intentions to post this recipe for several weeks and am just now getting around to it! My ministry friend, Mandy, asked me to share the recipe...so, Mandy this is especially for you :)

This potato soup is soooooo delicious, and the best thing in the world on a cold and dreary day. It's a thick kind of soup, so it's very hearty and filling....Brad loves it. As with the majority of my recipes, it's a culmination of several different recipes that I "Hayley-nized" to make my own.

The amount that this recipe makes is enough for 4, which means Brad and I have enough for supper and leftovers for lunch the next day! You can easily double or triple for however many you are cooking for!

Hope y'all enjoy!

Potato Soup

4 potatoes - baked, peeled, and cut up in bite-size chunks (yes, you could boil your potatoes, but MUCH tastier if they are baked!!)
1 small onion, chopped
6 Tablespoons butter
3 Tablespoons flour
3-4 cups milk (whole milk is best, but whatever you have on hand)
1 cup water
2 chicken Bouillion cubes
4 ounces Velveeta cheese
1 cup cheddar cheese, grated
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/4 cup crumbled bacon - (Oscar Mayer "Real Bacon Pieces" is my best friend for stuff like this!! But, of course you can prepare your own bacon and crumble)

Saute chopped onion in 3 tablespoons butter until onion is soft. Set aside. Make a rue by melting remaining 3 tablespoons butter on medium-high heat; add flour, and constantly stir while cooking for 1 minute. Slowly whisk in 3 cups of milk. Let rue cook until milk becomes noticeably thicker - STIR CONSTANTLY or it will stick!! If it becomes too thick, add another cup of milk. Add sauteed onions, and all other ingredients, except for crumbled bacon. Let simmer on low for 15-20 minutes. Stir in crumbled bacon before serving.

Now, you could just stop there, and it would be a really good soup. BUT....if you want to make a good soup a great soup, have these toppings available to top it off:

Grated Cheddar Cheese
Crumbled Bacon
Chopped Green Onion Tops
Sour Cream
Chopped Chives

Yummy...makes me want a bowl just typing the recipe! Let me know if you make some, and how it turns out!!

Thursday, November 12, 2009

One of my Nearest and Dearest

In advance - sorry for the quality of this scanned picture....

This picture makes me long for long beautiful hair again.

And, then I remember the Alabama heat and humidity, and I talk myself out of the pure torture that would come with long hair - something called frizz. Frizz is of the devil, but is something my hair finds pure joy in doing just to annoy me.

But, this is not a post about my hair. Thank goodness!

This is about the person in the picture with me. This is Rhonda. I love her beyond words. She is one of my dearest friends in all the world. Our friendship began years ago when she taught a High School Girls Bible Study that I was in. I started out as one of her girls, but our friendship quickly grew to be dear friends. When I was in high school and college, her house was like my 2nd home. She was the first person that I went to tell I was engaged. She has seen me through so many joys and sorrows it would be impossible to count them all. She sees the good and the really ugly in me....and loves me anyway. She knows me, like really knows me. She knows what makes me laugh, she knows my taste and style, she knows my heart, she knows when I need an encouraging word, she knows when I just need to vent, she knows when I need her to speak God's Word over me ...she's one in a million, and my life is blessed because of her!

She had surgery today - very extensive surgery - and, although she does not like any attention put on her or anyone to "dote" over her, I ask you to join me in praying for her - for all things to go well and a speedy recovery!

Thanks in advance for praying for this precious lady!

I love ya, Honda!!!

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

"I'm Thankful For" - 2nd Edition

Today, I'm feeling a little patriotic.

Today is Veteran's Day - the day our country honors all the many men and women who have served our country fighting for our protection, fighting for our freedom - fighting for me and you!

So, I'm thankful for...my country and our military!

I'm thankful that I have the privilege to live in America - the land of the free - and for the men and women who fight everyday for that privilege. We are a very blessed nation, and I do not take that for granted!
But, considering this is the month that we celebrate Thanksgiving in observance of the very first Thanksgiving, I can't help but think about our founding fathers as well. America was founded on the purpose of religious freedom. How thankful I am to be able to worship my Lord and Savior in the way I feel led, and am able to be apart of the church I choose to be!!
So, what are you thankful for today?

Monday, November 9, 2009

Another Beautiful Wedding!

As you know, aside from being a classroom teacher and pastor/seminary student's wife, I also do floral design for our family owned business - Judith B. and Company. This weekend, I had the pleasure of being part of a very special wedding. My cousin, Cole, and his then fiance, Nichole, asked us to cater and do all the floral designs for their wedding! We have been preparing for this wedding for several months, and wanted everything to be just perfect for this very special couple.

I took TONS of pictures - no less than a couple hundred beautiful pictures of every tiny detail because I knew all of you would be anxious to see what all we did. But, guess what??? Due to my crazy camera having a mind of its own, I can't share any pictures that I took. *sniff*sniff* It thinks it's going to just let me believe they have been deleted, but oh no - I'm not giving up! I am taking it to get checked out tomorrow, so hopefully I will have my pictures!!!

In the meantime - Lori has came to the rescue and provided some pictures for me to share! Thank you a million trillion kazillion, Lori!!!!!

The beautiful couple dancing their first dance as husband and wife -

The bridesmaids bouquets were roses, hydrangeas, lilies, and berries in fall colors. Pretty, pretty!

Lori, Cole, and Nichole -
James Paul deep in conversation...and, also a glimpse of the table arrangements :)

The food tables and a side view of one of the large floral arrnagements.
Another view of the tables and flowers -
The rest are pictures of my family - the Baileys. I am BLESSED BEYOND WORDS for a family like no other. Each and every one of them are precious to me, and I thank God for them!! You can read more about my family here.
Aunt Shirley, Aunt Rita, and my mother -
The Bailey Family -
The girls - Valerie, me, Lori, Clair, and Bettina
Cousins -
Cole, Tyler, Cody, and Baby Payton -
And, I leave you with this. This picture just makes me laugh every time I look at it. Sam chowed down on some watermelon -

It was a gorgeous day, and nothing less than a fairy tale wedding! Congrats Nichole and Cole! We love you!!

Thursday, November 5, 2009

It's a Birthday Fiesta!!

Tonight we celebrated the birthday of the youngest of our "4 favorites" - Miss Kenedi Bradyn - with a Dora themed party! I can't believe she is already 3 (well, she will be on Saturday!)...times is flying by so very very very fast!!!! It always makes me a little sad when one of the "4 Favorite's" birthdays roll around - another year without a little cousin to play with. But, just keep praying and trusting, right??!!

Do-do-do-do, Dora! Do-do-do-do, Dora!

Come on and Vamonos!
Everybody let's go!

Dora, Dora, Dora the Explorer!
Grab your backpack! Let's GO!
Swiper, no swiping! Swiper, NO SWIPING!! Aw, man!

Yum, yum, yum....It was DELICIOSO!

Happy Birthday, Kenedi!! We love you so very much!

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

"I'm Thankful for" - 1st Edition

The past several months I have been reminded over and over of how very blessed I am, and I want to share my thankfulness! I have decided in observance of Thanksgiving, I am going to have an "I'm Thankful for..." post each week.

This week, I am so incredibly thankful for....

my dear husband, Bradley.

We have been married for 6 1/2 years, and there's not a day that goes by that I don't thank God for him!! We have been through sooooo much during our marriage, and there have been many times that I've wondered why in the world Brad is so willing to be apart of this crazy life of mine - but, how thankful I am that he is!!

Brad is not just my husband, he is...
...my best friend
...the spiritual leader of our home
...the hardest and most dedicated worker I have ever known. EVER!!
...my #1 fan and biggest supporter
...my rock during every storm that we have weathered together
...the love of my life.

I am thankful that...

...he loves Jesus more than he loves me
...he prays for me and with me
...we can laugh at each other (ALOT!), and don't take life too seriously
...he's not afraid to tell me the truth, even if it might hurt my feelings because he knows it's for my own good
...we only stay mad at each other for a few minutes
...he always tells me he loves me every single time we talk on the phone, even if it's for the 30th time that day
...the last thing he does every night before falling asleep is kiss me goodnight and tell me he loves me
...he mops the floors because I hate to!
...he takes care of me when I am sick
...he appreciates me

He's the best, and I thank God for him every single day!! Bradley, I love ya more'n my luggage! (Name that movie!)

Well, I would love to hear from you -

what are you thankful for this week?