Sunday, March 28, 2010


Oh, how I love the first few weeks of Spring! Everything begins to wake up from the long, cold winter and before you can blink...beautiful blooms are everywhere!

Look at some of the fabulousness blooming in our yard...

And, know what my most favorite part is? The beginning of Spring means fresh cut, straight out of the garden flowers to enjoy inside!

Just a random JOY in this crazy life of mine :)

Friday, March 26, 2010

30 by 30

30 before 30

WOW...I have been REALLY avoiding any thoughts of me EVER turning 30...and, when I decided to do this list I realized that I am only a little over 17 months - 517 days to be exact - away from the very dreaded 30th birthday! OH. MY. WORD!!!!! Now, for all of you that are rolling your eyes at my depression of turning 30...I know life does not end at 30 - I am just completely not looking forward to it!!

So before depression completely sets in, and I am unable to type this, these are the things that I would really love to accomplish before September 5, 2011. Some are life long aspirations, some are quirky little things that I want to do just because, and some are things that are Spirit led that I need to do.

In no particular order of importance...my 30 things before turning 30:

1. Take a cake decorating class

2. Become much more “picture taking” and “editing” literate

3. Learn how to can food

4. Learn to drive a stick shift (Brad would be SO PROUD!!)

5. Make pasta from scratch

6. Become a mother

7. Visit the Amish Country

8. Go on a weeklong vacation with Brad that is far enough away it would require a plane, train, or boat to get there

9. Attend Beth Moore LIVE! in Atlanta

10. Go to at least one Auburn game this fall…I so miss being on the Plains on Gameday!!

11. Have a Girl's Night with my best girlfriends from High School

12. Be accepted into Graduate School

13. Complete my Master’s Degree

14. Have Brad at least 2/3 finished with Seminary

15. See 2 people that I have been praying fervently for to find salvation!!

16. See one of my dearest friends become a Mrs.!!

17. Plant a vegetable garden

18. Become part of a CSA

19. Get a puppy

20. Shed enough pounds and inches to wear the dress I wore on mine and Brad’s 1st date (yes, I’m pathetic…9 years later and I still have it!)

21. Start recycling

22. Organize and preserve my digital photos

23. Make Pioneer Woman’s Cinnamon Rolls (This is completely contradicting #20, but this was the first recipe that I ever heard about before I even knew who or what Pioneer Woman was, and ever since then I have wanted to make these!)

24. Redo landscaping around house and pool

25. Complete at least one of the projects off my Home Improvement Wish List (yes, it's a sickness…I have lists for lists!)

26. See the movie "Blindside" (no, I have still NOT seen it!)

27. Go on a picnic with Brad

28. Make an effort to call or send a card once a week to someone for encouragement

29. De-clutter. Organize. Simplify.

30. Consciously remind myself to find joy in every day!

There you go...that's a lot to cover in a little less than a year and a half, but completely doable! I better get busy! As I check things off my list, I'll be sure to post about it...so stay tuned!

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Your Hands

Do you ever listen to a song that you've been singing along to for forever and it finally hit you what the words or message are?? I did that today with this song - "Your Hands" by JJ Heller.

JJ's music was cast into the spotlight in September of 2009 when dancer, Diana Drexler, danced to "Your Hands" on the Fox TV show "So You Think You Can Dance." This song is amazing. I am deeply and madly in love with it.

"For I am the LORD, your God,
who takes hold of your right hand
and says to you, Do not fear;
I will help you."

Isaiah 41:13

Praise Jesus that when my world is shaking, and my heart is completely broken - I never leave His hands.

I have unanswered prayers
I have trouble I wish wasn't there
And I have asked a thousand ways
That You would take my pain away
That You would take my pain away

I am trying to understand
How to walk this weary land
Make straight the paths that crookedly lie
Oh Lord, before these feet of mine
Oh Lord, before these feet of mine

When my world is shaking
Heaven stands
When my heart is breaking
I never leave Your hands

When You walked upon the Earth
You healed the broken, lost, and hurt
I know You hate to see me cry
One day You will set all things right
Yea, one day You will set all things right

When my world is shaking
Heaven stands
When my heart is breaking
I never leave Your hands

Your hands
Your hands that shape the world
Are holding me, they hold me still
Your hands that shape the world
Are holding me, they hold me still

When my world is shaking
Heaven stands
When my heart is breaking
I never leave You when...

When my world is shaking
Heaven stands
When my heart is breaking
I never leave...
I never leave Your hands

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Things that just make me HAPPY!

I am joining the Undomestic Momma for Top 2 Tuesday. The theme is things you can't live without.

Well, of course I couldn't live without Jesus, Brad, my family, my church, the Bible...you know, stuff that really matters :) These are more of things that just make me HAPPY and I really really enjoy!!!

1. Jewelry

Oh the obsession I have with the bling bling! I would show you my jewelry armoire, but it's just completely ridiculous the amount of jewelry I own. I can't help it though...I HEART jewelry :) As I was walking the walking trail today, I realized I still had on all my jewelry from the day...who exercises in full jewelry attire?? Yep, that would be me.

2. Music

I just LOVE music...it makes my day so much better! I love to sing to it, listen to it, move to it, worship to it...music just makes my spirit happy!!! And I adore my satellite radio - it's almost always tuned to channel 66, "The Message".

So, what 2 things make your world a little happier?

Saturday, March 20, 2010

SPRING is Here!

I woke up this morning to the sound of lawnmowers and weed eaters running, and it made me SO HAPPY!!! Why??? Because that's just one clue that SPRING IS OFFICIALLY HERE!!!!

Can I get a HALLELUJAH??!!??

I'm so glad to finally see a little sunshine in the sky as well as on my porch!

Happy 1st day of Spring :)

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Show Us Your Life - Mission Trips

Today at Kelly's Korner, we are sharing mission trips.

I am SO THANKFUL that I grew up in a church that was incredibly mission minded, and took the Great Commission very seriously! And, I'm SO THANKFUL that my parents encouraged and allowed my to have the opportunity to be apart of missions outside the church. When I was in high school and college, I went on at least one mission trip every summer. Looking back on my spiritual walk, these trips played a HUGE role into shaping me.

My foreign mission experience has been in Mexico.

For 6 summers and 1 Christmas, I went on mission trips to Reynosa, Mexico. These trips are very near and dear to my heart. I was privileged to be apart of the work that Rick and Kim Hagans and Harvest Evangelism do there. We took clothes, shoes, and food into different neighborhoods and churches; we helped build and paint houses; we worked in orphanages; we played with children; we held babies. Lots and lots of beautiful, angel faced babies!
I could tell you HUNDREDS of stories about Mexico trips. I can still smell the stinch of the neighborhood that was LITERALLY inside the city garbage dump. There are several families that are etched in my memory that were always at one of the churches.
My heart is still moved every time I think of the people that came in for a church service and would kneel and pray over the seat they would sit in before speaking to anyone - wanting their hearts and minds to be ready to hear from the Lord. People there are SO NEEDY for hope, and when they hear the Word of God they are just desperate to have Jesus. We saw hundreds of people profess salvations on these trips. AMAZING!!!

Myself, Devin, and Ashley out visiting in the neighborhood close to a church we were working at.

Heather and I visiting the Market...

I have also went on several trips in the U.S. including:

Stanton, Virginia - this was an Acteen Activator mission trip, so it was all girls. We worked in a community wide Bible school and held events at night. One of my most ALL TIME favorite trips ever...soooo many amazing memories! God used this trip in our lives in an amazing way to shape each one of us that went.

Columbia, South Carolina - this was a Youth Choir Mission Trip. We assisted in backyard Bible schools in government housing areas, and then held block parties at night and performed. The songs we sang on this trip are ETERNALLY branded into my brain. Even after 12 years, I could sing every song, word for word! This trip was the first time I led someone to the Lord all by myself - sharing with them, praying with them, etc. It was a little boy named Darius. I still think of him and pray for him.

Nicholson, Mississippi - this trip was called Mission: Nicholson and our youth group partnered with a Nicholson church and we went door-to-door witnessing, and then hosted worship services at night. We saw so many people come to know the Lord on this trip!

If you have ever been on a mission trip, you'll understand what I'm about to say. When you go on a mission trip, you always have your mind set on what YOU will be doing for those that you are going to serve. You always think I'M going to share with them, love them, bring such joy to their lives....BUT, every single trip I was the one that was BLESSED! I was the one feeling so full of love, I was the one that God changed and moved, I was the one that felt had been served. What a blessing it is to share Jesus with others!!

If you would like to read about other people's mission trips, hop on over to Kelly's Korner.

Really Important Stuff

This post is going to be about REALLY IMPORTANT stuff, so you may not be able to handle the magnitude of deepness that is about to follow...

But, I'm just so very sad to see Lacey Brown leave the American Idol stage!!

Yes, I do like the unique sound of her voice. But, more than that I just think she is cute as a button!! I think her hair is FABULOUS, and her funky vintage style is just cute cute cute!

I'm really gonna miss her on the stage. It's a sad day for me.

You'll be missed Lacey...best of luck to ya!

....told y'all - today's thoughts were superly deep and inspiring. American Idol - it doesn't get much deeper than that...

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Saint Patty's Day!

G'day to you and yours - And a great big Happy Saint Patty's Day!!

I've been cooking up some ol' Saint Patty cupcakes today! And yes, Brad and I are still sugar-free for Lent - but, can't I bake something yummy for others to enjoy?

I got inspiration for these crazy green cupcakes from Bakerella, which is where I get lots of fabulously crazy baking ideas :) Instead of Red Velvet, they are Green Velvet Cupcakes...just replace the red food coloring with green food coloring and VOILA! you've got some green as grass cake batter!! The icing is cream cheese icing just like what you would use for a traditional Red Velvet Cake...except instead of pecans they have shamrock sprinkles.

And, in honor of the day, I leave you with an Irish blessing:

May the road rise to meet you,

May the wind be always at your back,

May the sun shine warm upon your face,

The rains fall soft upon your fields and,

Until we meet again,

May God hold you in the palm of His hand.

Monday, March 15, 2010

1 Test, 2 Kids, 3 Busy Days

This weekend has been a busy but decent one. Friday and Saturday my mind was fixed on one thing, and one thing only - the PRAXIS 2. This is a test that my state's Department of Education within the past few months has deemed necessary to pass in order to start in a Master's program (aside from the GRE as well - aren't I just so lucky??). I won't know for several weeks how I did, and I am sooooo anxious to hear!!

I have applied for Graduate School and hope to be accepted to my Alma Mater - Auburn University!! I would be so excited to not only have my Bachelor's degree from Auburn, but my Master's as well!

Please help me pray that I pass the Praxis with flying colors, and am accepted into the Graduate School. I have been SOOOO STRESSED!!! Thanks!

After my test, I went and picked up my niece and nephew - Carolyne and Sam. Valerie and Robby had went on a trip to Gatlinburg with their Life Group from church, so my parents and I split up the time to take care of the kids. Brad is working 3rd shift for a few weeks, so it was nice to have Carolyne and Sam with me to keep me company for a couple days!

Unbelievably, I did not take a single picture while they were with me except for a few with my phone...
After church on Sunday, we went to my Aunt Shirley and Unce Billy's house, and Lori and Tyler were there. My aunt and uncle are like my 2nd set of parents - I spent sooooooo many nights at their house growing up. And, Lori and Tyler are much more like my SISTER and BROTHER than cousins - we always have the best time together, and we all have LOTS of dirt on each other. HA!! Carolyne and Sam just adore each of them so they were excited to get to spend the day with them. Of course, Lori had bought them "goodies" (as Carolyne says), and they played games, ate LOTS of candy, and colored until their hearts were content. :) Then, they went to see the donkeys. Carolyne is TERRIFIED of animals. T.E.R.R.I.F.I.E.D. The only ones I've never seen her run away from in complete fear were her 2 cats. Other than that - TERRIFIED! Well, Sam of course was excited to go see the donkeys - Carolyne, not so much. HA! But, she still had a great time. It was such a fun day!

Today, was the beginning of Spring Break for us - WOOHOO!!!! And, we started it off right - Carolyne and Sam didn't get up until 9:30! HOLY MOLY! It was so wonderful to get to sleep in after a busy several days. And, we vegged out all day in our pj's watching movies. It was wonderful!!

After I dropped the children off with Val and Rob this afternoon, I came home and made Chicken Spaghetti (one of our all time favs - I'll share the recipe soon!) and Brad I watched our most favorite non-reality TV show - Chuck.
It's just the best! We have been faithful followers since the pilot aired 3 years ago....YES, it's that good of a show!!! If you're not watching it, you need to be! It will change your life. Well, not really - but, I bet you'll be a Chuck fan after just one show!

So, what have you been up to this weekend??

Saturday, March 13, 2010


Louie Giglio is one of the most amazing men of God I have ever encountered. God has anointed him with an amazing ability to share His Word, and draw people to Jesus. I have watched this video many times, and by the end I am crying and ready to SHOUT! You can't watch this without being in awe of our AMAZING FATHER...it's just soooo awesome!

It's a little long, so if you don't have the time to watch it right now please stop back by later on and watch. You. Need. To. See. This!!!

What an amazing Father that created us so intricately! Have a BLESSED SUNDAY!!!

Friday, March 12, 2010

One. Word.

Because my life has been a tad bit boring this week, and I don't have a whole lot of blog worthy news to share, so I thought I would share this one word quiz I found. And, because I'm a rambler, this was hard to describe something with just one word!

1. Yourself: happy
2. Your spouse: witty
3. Your hair: short
4. Your mother: optimistic
5. Your father: inquisitive
6. Your favorite item: jewelry
7. Your dream last night: bizarre
8. Your favorite drink: sunkist
9. The room you are in: comfortable
10. Your fear: loneliness
11. What you want to be in 10 years: mothering
12. Who you hung out with last night: Bradley
13. What you're not: early!!
14 Muffins: homemade
15: One of your wish list items: contentment
16: Time: accelerating
17. The last thing you did: drove
18. What you are NOT wearing: shoes
19. Your favorite weather: sunny
20. Your favorite book: Bible
21. The last thing you ate: pickle :)
22. Your life: crazy!!
23. Your mood: weird
24. Your best friend: funny
25. What you're thinking about right now: cooking
26. Your car: dirty
27. What you are doing at the moment: typing
28. Your summer: anticipating
29. What is on your TV: Idol
30. What is the weather like: unpredictable!
31. When was the last time you laughed: hours
32. When was the last time you cried: yesterday
33. Favorite hobby: decorating
34. Your job: fulfilling
35. Your family: remarkable!

Now, I must go study for the PRAXIS 2 that I will be taking in the morning - AAHHHH!!! Please say a little prayer I pass!! THANKS :)

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

It's Been A While...

...since infertility has been mentioned around here on the ol' blog. To be honest, it's just a subject that sometimes I have to completely avoid. Why? Well, the word "infertility" carries a WHOLE LOT of baggage with it for Brad and I. Pain. Loss. Frustration. Hurt. Sadness. Prayers unanswered.

Oh, the baggage.

For a very long time - already into our 4th year - infertility has been a word that I felt was written on a sign hanging from my neck. It was apart of who I was, and I felt even began to define who I was.

But, since my 2nd failed pregnancy in January 2009, I have changed. That pregnancy ended in a operating room due to a very serious tubal pregnancy, and my doctor recommended taking a break from fertility treatments to let my body rest physically, mentally, and emotionally. I didn't even realize how much I needed that break until I was forced to take one. And, goodness gracious - I now sit 13 months into "the break" from being poked and prodded, weekly trips to Birmingham, Brad giving me daily shots in the hip, and the hormonal roller coaster from high voltage doses of "baby making" meds...and realize it was needed in the worst way. Infertility had begun to define me. I felt like I was almost to the point of introducing myself as, "Hi, My name is Hayley, and I have fertility issues".

Now, don't get me wrong - I still wait with HOPE. I still beg the Lord from the deepest depth of my soul to allow us to conceive and deliver healthy babies. I have faith. And, I've not given up yet.

But, infertility has a little less of a grip around my neck now.

I'm stronger now than I ever have been (or so I tell myself). I handle dealing with "baby situations" a little bit better (most of the time). And, I've recently even been able to muster up sincere joy for others in their pregnancies (and, you have NO IDEA what a work of God that is!!).

I did something after Christmas that I have never allowed myself to do. I purchased something that I absolutely adored for a future Baby Powell. Giving myself permission, and then actually purchasing it was revelation for me. I was putting my faith into action. I felt like I was saying to the Lord in the act of buying something for a future Baby Powell that I believe He will answer my prayers, and I am preparing for the answered prayer. When I got home, I left the precious garment on our kitchen table. When Brad saw it, he immediately asked who I had bought it for. I told him I bought it to put up for Baby ________ ________ (yes, we have our babies' names picked out...). He simply said, "okay" and went on about his business. I know Brad well enough to know his simple "okay" meant "I get it", "I understand", and "it's okay that you purchased an item for a child that we have prayed to come for 4 years and that we continue to wait for". He didn't question me, or give me an odd look. And, it brought peace that I was not totally insane.

And, I have big plans of putting Baby ________ ________ in the precious little things that I have (I have bought a couple of other things since the first purchase) and taking pictures. My faith purchases. Our babies will NEVER doubt they were wanted and loved LONG LONG LONG before they were ever created, and they are truly gifts from the Lord!!!

I'm close (almost there) to re-enter the world of fertility treatments. Close, but not quite there. I'm emotionally ready, but mentally and physically not. Fertility treatments are grueling, and I've got to be ready from all aspects or it will do no good but suck money out of our pocketbooks and leave us frustrated with no baby.

Please pray with us - pray for my body, pray for discernment and wisdom, pray for financial needs.

And, wait with us in HOPE and great expectations of answered prayers!

Sunday, March 7, 2010

The Word

"In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God." John 1:1

This is an old song, but a great one!!

Thank you Father, that your Word is the same yesterday, today, and forever!

I've done every devotional
Been every place emotional
Trying to hear a new word from God
And I think it's very odd
That while I attmept to help myself
My Bible sits upon my shelf
With every promise I could ever need

And the Word was
And the Word is
And the Word will be

And the Word was
And the Word is
And the Word will be

People are getting fit for truth
Like they're buying a new tailored suit
Does it fit across the shoulders
Does it fade when it get older
We throw ideas that aren't in style
In the Salvation Army pile
And search for something more to meet our needs

And the Word was
And the Word is
And the Word will be

And the Word was
And the Word is
And the Word will be

And the Word was
And the Word is
And the Word will be

I think it's time I rediscover
All the ground that I have covered,
Like "seek ye first" what a verse!
"We are pressed but not crushed
Perplexed but don't despair
We are persecuted but not abandoned"
"We are no longer slaves
We are daughters and sons
And when we are weak we are very strong"
"And neither death nor life nor present
Nor future nor depth nor height
Can keep us from the love of Christ"
And the Word I need is the Word that was
Who put on flesh to dwell with us
In the beginning

And the Word was
And the Word is
And the Word will be

And the Word was
And the Word is
And the Word will be

And the Word was
And the Word is
And the Word will be

Friday, March 5, 2010

Buckets of Hope

Know why my car was PACKED with 5-gallon white buckets??
Because we have been filling them...

Hope for Haiti, that is!!!

"Buckets of Hope" is a ministry that many churches across the nation have been apart of in an effort to get much needed food to Haiti. Each bucket is packed with enough food for a Haitian family to live on for 1 week.

What does each bucket have in it? Well, since you asked: 10 lbs. of rice, 4 lbs. of black beans, 2 boxes of spaghetti noodles, 5 lbs. flour, 1 bottle of vegetable oil, 1 large container of peanut butter, and 20 oz. of sugar.

Each bucket's contents cost around $30.00. Thirty dollars to feed a Haitian family. Thirty dollars to help a Haitian family survive another week. Thirty dollars to show the love of Christ to Haitian families in desperate need. Thirty dollars to give a Haitian family hope.
Thirty dollars doesn't seem like all that much, does it?
I mean - how much money do you spend on your family to eat for the week? I seriously doubt it's just $30.00.

How many Haitian families could you feed with what you spend on your own family?
Oh, how humbling it is to see how very blessed (and, so very spoiled) we are.
We prayed over our buckets before they were loaded to be sent along with the other 1000 buckets collected just in our area (MANY, MANY more have been collected around our state and the nation!!) - that the families that receive these buckets will know they are loved and cared for by an amazing Father and His children, and when their world falls apart (literally) they can still find hope.
We're not just sending food to Haiti. We're sending them Jesus. We're sending them hope.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

The Who in Whoville

“The more that you read, the more things you will know.
The more that you learn, the more places you'll go.”

If you have been anywhere near a school this week, you have probably noticed one very popular cat hanging around:
The Cat in the Hat!!

Dr. Seuss' birthday is March 2nd, and is marked by "Read Across America Week".

Schools across the nation participate in all sorts of fun literacy activities throughout the week, and you better believe we have been all about some Dr. Seuss in our little neck of the woods!!

We have been reading all the classic Dr. Seuss books, playing games, and of course making some fun crafts that included the signature Cat in Hat hat. We had a "Grab a Hat and Sing With a Cat" Family Night Concert, as well as a birthday celebration for Dr. Seuss with our parents and children - complete with a Dr. Seuss book giveaway and some yummy Cat in the Hat cupcakes! How unbelievably cute are these??
It's been such a fun week!

One of my most favorite things about what I get to do everyday is to make books come alive to children - making a book that may just seem plain become something special by putting on a silly hat or using a squeaky little voice for a character, or even having a "carpet picnic" like we did for the book "Teddy Bear's Picnic":

I love to see children captivated by a story, and to be able to teach parents how to do that with their children at home is just awesome!

If you haven't read to your child lately, take the time to sit down and read with them - no matter what their age is!! Have fun with it - read in a silly voice, dress up, find an activity like a craft or cooking activity to make the story come alive!!! Your child will be begging to read books!

And, if your still waiting to be a mommy like me - it's never too early to start building your future children's book collection!

Happy Reading!

Monday, March 1, 2010

News Flash

Randomness at it's best. Welcome to inside my brain...

1. Brad's trip back to China has been cancelled. Or, postponed indefinitely - whichever you prefer. Either way - I'm happy that he'll be in the great state of Alabama for a while and not across the world!!

2. I am getting sick for the 2nd time in a month. My ear drum feels like it may burst this go around. I have learned true sympathy for children with ear infections - it's awful!!

3. We have finally gotten all of our laundry caught up since getting our new washer and dryer. I am in love with them, by the way...they're absolutely fabulous!!

4. As with everything, purchasing the washer and dryer has spawned some project ideas for our laundry room. I foresee some home improvement/projects in the near future :)

5. I am so proud of mine and Brad's "kids" (you know the children and youth that make our ministry at church clearly belong to us :) ). We have several that are really starting to show true leadership, that we know are walking the walk and living for Jesus outside the church walls - and, it's just such a blessing to see them mature into what God wants them to be.

6. Brad and I are starting to plan our vacation this year, and I'm soooo excited about where we are considering going. I'll share more once we set things in stone :)

7. My favorite conversation from the day...my sweet Gracie at school was sitting in my lap looking at my necklace, and pointed to a turquoise stone and said "That one's my favorite - the blue one. Blue's my absolute favorite...today." "Today?", I asked. "Yep!", she replied. "So, does your favorite change?" "Yep! Sometimes it's blue, or orange, or pu'ple..." she said. "So, why is blue your favorite today?", I asked. "Because it's beautiful, strong, and BRIGHT!", she replied. This from a preschooler - isn't that PRECIOUS?? I LOVE MY JOB!!!!

8. We are 13 days in to Lent, and mine and Brad's sugar fast...we have done so good!! We can have some sugar on Sundays, so we really look forward to that! I've been so glad that we chose to fast from the same thing because we've held one another accountable.

9. I have 2 tests to take over the next 2 weeks to start graduate school - the APTTP and the PRAXIS II. I took the GRE 2 weeks ago, and have never been more happier to have completed anything as much as I was to have finished that one test. I'm dreading these next two like the plague!!!!! I would like to ask the powers that be - why in the world can all these tests not be combined into one big test???? Sheesh!

10. I got my tickets in the mail this weekend for Beth Moore in Atlanta coming up in April!!!! SOOOOO EXCITED and ready for that weekend to be here. It's been a while since I have been in a Beth Bible Study, and I'm ready to be changed...renewed...have Truth spoken over me. It's gonna be an awesome weekend!