Friday, January 29, 2010

Just Thought You Should Know...

What does this...

...and, this...

...and, this... have in common??

You guessed it! Despite the apparent BFF relationship status that THE BOOT and I have (and will continue for at least another 4 weeks), I've been given the "all clear" and been set free to spread my wings and fly...I am allowed to DRIVE!

I went to the doctor yesterday, and my ankle is looking FABULOUS - healing slowly, but surely!

Of course, the irony that the very first weekend in 3 weeks that I can drive we have yet another ICE STORM threat and so I can't drive is just so typical. My nurse at the doctor's office asked me to PLEASE be careful this weekend...she didn't want to see me next week with another broken ankle! HA! Do you think she was implying I'm clumsy??

Whether she was or not, I took heed to her request and stayed in tonight. I've been working on some projects. What do you think I've been up to?
I'll share pictures of the finished projects later, so stay tuned...
In other news, Brad is now in China! He arrived in Hong Kong yesterday around 9:30 a.m. (3:30 a.m. in China). He will be returning home next Thursday!!!! Can't wait! He's supposed to send some pictures of Japan soon, so I will share those with y'all as soon as I get them. Please continue to pray for his safety and health as he travels. I feel certain he's coming back less of a man than when he left - in pounds I mean. He's DEFINITELY ready for some food from my kitchen that does not contain rice, noodles, or strange meat choices!!

Monday, January 25, 2010

It Has Finally Hit...

Cabin Fever, that is. Or, I'm-Sick-And-Tired-Of-This-Broken-Ankle-And-Want-To-Do-SOMETHING Fever. Which ever one you would like to call it.

I've went to school (for half days) last week, and I have been to church 2 times. I have been at different family members homes to visit/spend the night/be taken care of. And, I have taken a trip to Wal-Mart and a trip to Hobby Lobby with Valerie - both of which involved me riding around in a wheel chair...so sad, I know. That is it - in 19 days.

On Saturday, Valerie let me DRIVE around my neighborhood, and then I drove to Brad's parent's house (which is only about 3 miles from our house). I felt like a bird out of her cage. A REBEL! But, I was quickly put back in the cage due to rising concerns from those that love me... *Sigh*

I have not cooked a meal in almost 3 weeks. 3 WEEKS!!!! Holy Canolli! For some, that would be a happy little vacation, but I am soooo ready to be back in my kitchen. Of course, with Brad not being home, there hasn't been a need for me to cook big meals; but, when he gets home he'll be ready for some good Southern cooking and I'll definitely be ready to deliver! In my cooking "sabbatical", I have been researching and looking for new recipes and I have found tons that I can't wait to whip up! One of the first will be these Red Velvet Cookies...yum yum yum!

Through all of this, I have learned something about myself that I really had never realized...I LOVE routine. I LOVE the predictability of a regular schedule.

And, in one quick fall and break of an ankle, I have been completely stripped of my independence, and have been totally taken off my normal daily routine.

Two things that I desire soooo very much.

Two things that I can not have right now.

It. is. about. to. drive. me. CRAZY!

But, once again I know the Lord is teaching me. Refining my heart. Taking the noise out of my normally hectic, planned out life so I can hear His voice.

See, normally I'm Ms. Independent - living my life thinking I'm in control. Normally, I go through my day-to-day routine, and juggle my many responsibilities in chaotic ease. Normally, I live in my controlled, planned out but hectic world and am happy as a clam.

But, lately I've been forced to be Dependent with a capital D. Lately, my day-to-day routine has been thrown out the window and had to be based on who's house I'm at and who can take me places. Lately, I have lived in a dependent and completely out of my control world.

Without coincidence, the Lord has reminded me of His need for me to live in the "dependent and [recognizing] it's completely out of my control" world. His need for me to recognize there needs to be more of Him, and less of me. That once again, I must trust Him...lean on Him...depend on Him. And, that my false sense of being in control is just that - false! That I need to be willing to live in a state of unpredictability. Willing to be used. Willing to serve. Willing to let Him lead. Willing to take life as it comes. Willing.

Even though I'm about ready to climb the walls and am SO READY to jump in my car and head to wherever in the world I want to go, I'm thankful for what the Lord has allowed to happen. I'm grateful that life's chaotic noise that normally fills my ears has been forced to stop, and has allowed me to hear Jesus speak to my heart.

...and, maybe I'll learn something from this so I don't have to break a bone the next time the Lord wants to teach me something!!

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Random Joy

When I broke my ankle, my school buddies sent the most BEAUTIFUL orange tulips (favorite flower color EVER!)

and this funny poem was attached - you know you're a school teacher when your colleagues send you a "get well" card in the form of a song, and to the tune of "Twinkle, Twinkle" no less:

(to the tune of "Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star")

Hayley, Hayley falling down
on the steps, then on the ground.
We think of you each day
when we work, and when we play.
We hope you get well soon.
Hurry back, cause we miss you!

It is such a JOY to get to work with friends!

Friday, January 22, 2010


My heart has been soooo overwhelmed this week.

The pictures, stories, and news coverage of Haiti have just been heart breaking. I watch feeling so helpless - there are sooo many HUGE needs. The biggest things that we can do, though, is PRAY and give financially to good quality organizations that can get the supplies and food that hundreds of thousands of people need in order to LIVE. People need our help to survive, and we are called to do whatever we can to take care of them: "Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress" James 1:27

I know there are so many people that are stuggling financially right now, but if you are able please find a way to give. Brad and I are giving to Compassion - we sponsor 2 children through Compassion already, and believe in this ministry. We know that the money we give for Haiti will be used to specifically help the children in Haiti. Click on the link below to give online:

The other thing that has weighed so heavy on my heart has hit a little closer to home. A friend and colleague, Amy Cagle, found out yesterday that her 6 year old son - Auston - has leukemia. They are at Children's Hospital, and will be there indefinitely.

I serve a mighty God, and I know His hands are at work. He is the Great Physician. The Prince of Peace. Please join me in praying for the Cagle family as they walk this very hard road. Pray for strength, peace, healing, recovery.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Brad in Korea

Well, Brad has already been gone for almost 9 of his 25 day trip to the "Orient"...Korea, Japan, and China. Thought I would share with y'all a few of the pics that he sent me of his stay in Korea. I laughed after looking at the pictures because so many of them are of food! I guess no matter where you are, that's the most important factor - when and where you're going to eat! HA!

Bucheon, South Korea...

At 10 degrees with close to a foot of snow on the ground, it was C-O-L-D!!!
Fish tanks are all along the sidewalks. Poor fish - they have no idea they're about to become SUISHI!
"Time is Money" Restaurant

LOOK at this spread of food!!! LOTS of raw fish (suishi) at this meal. Brad looks oh so happy about the cuisine...
Drinking Plum Tea. He said this is AWESOME - best part of the meal.

He was excited to see a large number of Christian churches in the area!
One of his happiest moments - walking down the street, he found this (look on the left side of the photo) -
That's right - a McDonald's and KFC!

Brad said he had no idea what the Korean symbols said, but he recognized the most important symbol - THE GOLDEN ARCHES! HA!!
Although he enjoyed the experience of Korean cuisine, he was one happy man to eat some good ol' "American" food. :)
Brad flew to Tokyo on Sunday, and will remain in Japan until the 28th. Then, he will be in China for a week before returning home. Being able to Skype with him has been AWESOME - I've gotten to see and talk to him twice a day! He's given me tours of his room and showed me the view outside his window of each of the hotels he has been in. I've been able to show him how my foot looks every day. It's been such a blessing, and made his time away easier (for me, at least!)
Stay tuned for some pictures of Japan soon to come...

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Joy Seeker

Have you (or do you) make New Year's Resolutions? I don't necessarily sit down and make a list to check things off, but I do make mental notes of things I would like to do for the year. Well, this post in December when my friend Anna challenged me to think about what brings me JOY really got my wheels turning. Even after writing that post, when something would happen, or I would catch myself laughing, I would say to myself, "another 'joy'!!" After reflecting on last year I made a resolution that I was going to do a better job this year of seeking out JOY. Joy in the littlest (is that a word?) everyday occurrences; joy in the big things; and, every night before I go to sleep to think of at least one thing that day that was JOYOUS.

As I began to read some of my blog friends "New Year's Resolutions", I saw several of them as well that had made "finding joy" a goal for this year - so, I guess we'll be seeking it together!!

Being the lover of words that I am, I looked up what "joy" is defined as. Webster says "joy is great delight or happiness caused by something exceptionally good or satisfying". Doesn't that make you feel joy just in reading it?

Today, on this very rainy, gloomy day with a broken ankle and my husband half way across the globe (literally!!), I'm finding JOY in this -
This is a picture of a piece of furniture and art piece in my foyer. Every single time I walk by it (or hobble these days), I smile. Every. single. time.

The dresser was my Granny Cox's. All of my childhood it was in her bedroom, with a lacy embroidered runner on top, a fancy jewelry box, and a mirrored tray with lotions and perfumes. When I open the drawers, I can smell a scent that makes me think of Granny Cox. I adore this dresser more than any other piece of furniture in our house. It's completely traditional, it has a thousand stories to tell, and is a true symbol of my Granny.

The canvas is a piece I bought right after Christmas this year. It caught my eye at the beginning of December, and it was love at first sight. I knew I didn't need to buy it so close to Christmas - Brad would not have been very happy about that! So, when I heard that the store would be having a 40% off After-Christmas Sale, I was so excited! I ran in right after the store opened on December 26th, and there it sat waiting for me to take it home. It's fun and completely unexpected, and a true symbol of my style.

When I look at these 2 pieces together, I smile.

And, then I giggle.

Besides that fact that it would bug her that the dresser was not being used in a bedroom, but in my foyer - my Granny would think that piece of art was the wildest, most atrocious thing she had ever laid eyes on. It would drive her CRAZY.

In her thick, South Carolina drawl I can hear her saying, "Hayley honey, are you sure about that picture?"
But for me, I find great delight in them together. In fact, I would say they are exceptionally good! The pieces together are a reflection of mine and Brad's personalities, and what we want our home to be. Creative. Happy. A wee bit crazy. Strong. A bond with our family roots. Never forgetting the past, but not being stuck in it.

And, by golly - I just think the whole thing is cute as it can be!

So, that's my JOY today. A little random, I know. I plan to share more random joys throughout the year, so stay tuned!

"The LORD has done great things for us, and we are filled with joy." Psalms 126:3

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Learning to Depend

Dependency is not something I do well. From the time I was a child, I have been Ms. Independent. Never wanting help. Never wanting to appear that I needed help. Always thinking "I can do it myself".

So, you can just imagine how breaking my ankle and having to depend on everyone has not been an enjoyable experience. Don't get my wrong - I LOVE for people to do things for me on special occasions. I completely revel in being doted on for my birthday. It thrills my soul when someone goes out of their way to do something extra special for me just because. But, when I have to DEPEND on someone to do something because I can't...whole different story.

Well, I don't know if this is true in your life, but often in my very weakest moments, the Lord shows His strength...

When I layed at the bottom of my steps on Friday morning in pain, I screamed with tears streaming down my face, "BRAD!!!!!!!" Of course, there was no one else to call for because he was the only person at my house - but, if there had been 50 people at our house, his name would have been the first on my lips. Why? Because I know Brad will take care of me. I know he will do his very best to keep me from pain. I know that he's strong as an ox and can pick me up when I fall.

When he got me up, I was in so much pain I could not walk. Crying and weak from the stress of the fall, I was completely limp. Brad basically carried me up the steps and back down again to go to the hospital.

When we got home, fear set in as I looked at the steps which seemed like a mountain to climb now, even though there were only 4. Knowing I only had one leg for support and crutches that I was not confident using yet, I began shaking my head and fighting back tears as I kept saying over and over, "I can't go up those steps, Brad! I'm going to fall!! I can't do it!" Brad told me to put my arms around his neck, and just hold on. With my one good foot and the support of him, I got up without any problem.

The next day, we were going to his parent's house for supper. Before time to go, Brad went outside and beat the steps with a hammer to break up any ice that had formed so they would be safe for me to go down. Even though I knew there was no ice, when it was time to go down the steps, fear got the best of me. I again began telling Brad I was going to fall. Brad was holding on to me so tightly there was no way I would fall, and yet I was afraid.

Brad said, "Hayley, just trust me."

"I do!! I'm just afraid of falling again!" I whispered, my voice shaking.

His grip around my body got a little bit tighter, he looked at me straight in the eye and he said with determination, "Just trust me, Hayley! I have never let you fall, and I'm not going to now. Hold on to me - use your good foot - and, I will get you down these steps. You've just got to trust me."

And, you know what? I took a deep breath, did as he said, and got down with no problems.

The Lord spoke to my heart in that moment. The moment I trusted. The moment I knew I couldn't do it on my own and had to succumb to Brad's instructions. The moment I had to willingly depend on Brad for physical strength.

My precious Heavenly Father spoke me and said, "Hayley, just trust Me. That's all you have to do."

So many times, I try to be Ms. Independent. I worry over the "what ifs", and fear overwhelms me. And, just to be honest, sometimes it's just hard to trust. But, the Lord reminded me in that moment of His presence in my life. Of His need for my dependency in order to do His will. He reminded me that when life comes at me a 100 miles an hour and knocks me off my feet, "Jesus" should be the first name on my lips. Why? Because I know Jesus will take care of me. I know He will do His very best to keep me from pain. I know that His strength is perfect and He will pick me up when I am weak. That He is the one that carries me when I can't take another step. Jesus holds me every step of the way, and lets me lean on Him when I am in fear. Jesus is the one that goes before me to prepare the way, and He is the One that I must simply trust when the road seems rocky and unsure. All He asks for from me is to trust, succumb to His instructions, and willingly depend on Him.

Thank you, Lord, for speaking to my heart and reminding me of such simple truth that can be so very difficult. I trust You. I believe You. And, I am depending on You. I love you and am so thankful to be called "Yours".

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Today's the Day

We have been in anticipation of this day for weeks now, and I can't believe it's already here.

I'm used to Brad traveling - that's part of his job. It's not unusual for him to be in Ohio or Michigan, Canada, or even Tennessee... but, JAPAN??? Half way across the world??
Our alarm clock(s) started going off at 3:00 a.m. this morning. Three alarm clocks to be exact because we aren't the jump-up-out-of-the-bed kind. We're the hit-the-snooze-button-ten-times-before-considering-getting-up kind. So, we need a little extra ear piercing buzzing and ringing for motivation.

Brad finally rolled out of bed, and before I knew it he was ready to go. Of course it took me the majority of the time he was getting ready to get my crutches and hobble into the living room! Our last few minutes together were typical - him reminding me of things to make sure and take care of (as if I had already forgotten), me reminding him to call me as soon as he landed (as if he wouldn't), praying, "I love you's" exchanged, the last kiss, the last embrace.

Every time Brad goes on a trip, I'm reminded how much I HATE goodbyes, and how much I completely LOVE him. He's my rock, and when he's not with me...things are just not complete. He can DRIVE ME CRAZY faster and more easily than anyone else, and make me so MAD I wonder how on earth I love him so much - but I do.

Brad will be gone for almost a month. He will spend a few days in Korea, then China, and then will be in Japan for the majority of his trip. I'm excited because our church family gave us Web Cams for our birthdays, and they will definitely come in handy during his trip. Due to the time zone changes, Brad will be 15 hours ahead of time here. So, we plan to Skype early in the morning before I go to work, and then hopefully in the afternoons when I get home (mind you, this schedule will be once I'm able to go back to work. Until then, I will be setting my alarm clock at 5 a.m. just to get up and talk to my dearest.) Cell phone charges will be very expensive, so Skype will be our main form of communication - but, we'll actually get to see one another so that will be awesome!

Please keep us in your prayers. Pray for safe travel for Brad, and pray for me as my ankle continues to heal and get stronger. Brad promised to send me pictures regularly, so I will keep you up to date of where he is and what he's up to.

Monday, January 11, 2010

What A Week It Has Been!

My last post was last Monday, one week ago today. I was all excited and just plain giddy at the mention of SNOW in the forecast. I have no desire to live anywhere that snow is an every-winter-day occasion, but I love the every-once-in-a-while snow day :)

Well, we ended up having NO SCHOOL on Thursday and Friday because of the winter storm that was moving in to North Alabama, and UNBELIEVABLY Brad even left work at 2:00 Thursday because of the weather - truly the first miracle of 2010!! He had also planned to take Friday off to spend time with yours truly, and start getting things ready for his trip to Japan. Friday morning I woke up and immediately looked out the window, and what did my wondering eyes see?? SNOW!! YEA, SNOW!! I LOVE YOU, SNOW!! I'VE BEEN MISSING YOU SO!!

I threw on my clothes and shoes, grabbed my camera and lens, and headed outside to take some pictures of the fresh layed snow that would no doubt melt away before lunch. I stepped out on the porch, and looked down at the steps. Our front porch steps are prone to icing over, and I knew I would need to go down ever so c-a-r-e-f-u-l-l-y. "It's just snow, no ice" I told myself - "they're not iced over."
First step, no problem. Second step -


I had a little...ummm...fall. And, yes, there was ice. A solid sheet of it hiding underneath the snow on the steps!

Praise the Lord, Bradley was at home (which in itself is AMAZING) and able to come scoop me up, and gather up my camera and lens that were in the flower bed, or grass, or sidewalk...where ever they were flung to in my completely not graceful, but most definitely painful fall. And, yes I was MOST CONCERNED that the camera was alright before turning my attention to my throbbing right foot. The same foot, by the way, that had a large tree limb fall on it a few years ago. Yes, I indeed have the BEST luck!

After a little persuasion from Brad, I consented to a trip to the ER where we eventually learned that my ankle was fractured. All because I was so happy to see my ol' friend, SNOW, and snap a couple of pictures before it went away...

So, here I am - completely dependent, which I do not handle very well. I have called for Brad's help in the past 4 days more than I have in the past 6 months. He's been absolutely positively FANTASTIC, and I've been so thankful he's been here. I just HATE asking for help - goes completely against my nature. But, I've learned some things about myself, and the Lord has spoke to my heart through all of this about some things that I'm still processing. I'll share more later.

Now, don't think Brad and I haven't had a few laughing spells through all of this! I mean, falling is one of those things in the category of "HILARIOUS". It worked to my advantage that Brad did not watch me fall, or he would have had to gather himself together from a laughing fit before he could help me. Why is it that someone falling is just so... funny??

Brad leaves in the morning to go to Japan on business. Could I have any better timing??? But, I have soooooo many family and friends that will be taking care of me, I won't know what to do with myself.

Well, I must go. I've got LOTS to do. Lay on the couch. Look at my toes that desperately need to be painted. Watch another 4 or 5 movies before time to go to bed. You know - Busy, busy busy!

Monday, January 4, 2010

I'm Dreaming of a White Thursday...

There is a 4 letter word that brings such joy to a Alabama teacher's heart....





Now if you live in any other part of the country outside of the South East, snow would just be another type of percipitation that you have to deal with and continue on with life. BUT, for the south...that means the world stops. That means we can't drive because of the safety concerns. That means NO SCHOOL!!!!!

That's right, dear friends!! The meteorologists have no idea the mayhem that has already been caused by mentioning the slightest possibility of **snow** this Thursday and Friday!!

Keeping my fingers crossed and gone to buy my milk and bread!

Hayley :)

Friday, January 1, 2010

Did You Eat Your Black Eyed Peas Today??

Last night we rang in the new year with our church family with our annual time of Praying in the New Year. We ate some yummy food (of course - we're Baptists!), played games, shot fireworks, had a short service and time to reflect on the year, and then we prayed the new year in. It's always such a sweet time, and wonderful way to end and begin!
Then, today Brad and I stayed at home watching football and cooking, and went to Valerie and Robby's for supper with my family for our traditional New Year's meal.

New Year's Day ALWAYS makes me think of my Granny Cox. She was not a particularly superstitious person, but when it came to New Year's - she was. She never washed clothes on New Year's because that meant you were washing someone of your family out. And, she always said that what ever you were doing on New Year's Day would be a reflection of what you would be doing for the year...

So, I guess my year will consist of praying, spending time with Brad, watching Auburn WIN!!, cooking, resting, and spending time with family...that's all things I LOVE!
Sounds like it's gonna be a GREAT year!!!!!!!!!!

And, she was a firm believer of what MUST be eaten on the 1st day of the year, and my family has eaten this every year of my life:
~ Black Eyed Peas (for luck)
~ Collard Greens (for good fortune and wealth)
~ Ham (for prosperity and progress)
~ Sweet Potatoes, Rice, and Cornbread (not for anything but because she was a good Southern belle!)

I ate 2 servings of Black Eyed Peas and Ham, so I'm feeling pretty lucky and prosperous already :) Granny Cox would be so proud!

I've got a really good feeling about 2010, and I am just sooo excited to see this year unfold!! I hope that each of you have the best year EVER, and blessings will abound all around you!

Oh goodness...I just remembered I washed 2 loads of clothes today...