Tuesday, November 30, 2010

30 Days of Thanks...Sweet Endings

Today is November 30th.  The past 30 days my thoughts have been geared towards being thankful.  What a blessing it has been to be in a mental state of thankfulness.  It's reminded me to be thankful in the BIG things, as well as the small things. 

On this last day of my thankfulness posts, I'm thankful for YOU.  For those of you that take the time to read this crazy little blog about our lives.  It's so humbling to know that there are people interested enough in what's going on with us to continue to read.  I write like no one is reading, and am suprised every time someone tells me they read my blog.  Every. single. time. 

I know that you each check in for different things - maybe it's just because your curious, maybe to see about a recipe, maybe because you're on a journey of waiting with hope too, maybe because you're interested in finding out about the newest mess I've gotten myself in to, maybe to see the last event or flowers that have been arranged, or maybe for something else that I haven't even thought of.  Whatever the reason you stop by Reflections of Grace, thank you!  I hope that you always find this to be a place to hear truth, to be inspired creatively and/or spiritually, and that His grace in our lives would be reflected in every word read. 

I hope that this month's posts have helped you to turn your heart and mind toward a state of living in thankfulness.  God always has a funny way of teaching me things.  During this month, my life has been more hectic than I can ever remember it being.  I have been stressed, tired, and overwhelmed.  It's been CRAZY.  Isn't it funny that He would put on my heart to seek thankfulness in a month that would end up being like that??  Somedays it's been hard to think about being thankful, because I've been consumed with life around me.  BUT, God helped me to see that amidst chaos and stress there is STILL soooo much to be thankful for.  It's been a heart piercing learning experience, and I've felt the sting of thankfulness much more than I would have if the month had just been rosy.  Thank you, Lord for helping me to understand even what it means to be thankful. 

It's been a blessed month!  Thanks for staying with me :)

Monday, November 29, 2010

30 Days of Thanks...Day 29





Oh how very thankful I am today for a day at home, away from the world to recoop from the weekend.  It's rainy and cold, and I've been able to snuggle up with my little Ellie, watch reruns, do a little pre-holiday casseroles for the freezer, and clean my kitchen.  No one has needed anything from me today - no questions that needed to be answered, no decisions to be made, no flowers to be arranged, no children to teach.  I've needed rest physically and mentally, and how very thankful I am to have been given this day to do just that! 

When I was on Facebook earlier, I read one of my friend's status' that just spoke to my heart:
"God is so good. He has provided for me and loved me even when I was so unloveable. Thank you Lord. I pray I can love like you love today and give like you give....You are my King. Thanks for another day to work." 
Oh how I pray that I can have that attitude every day - a thankfulness for another day to work for Him, instead of dreading morning because of what the day holds. 

Father, thank you for this day of rest and renewal.  Thank you for loving me.  I pray I can love like you love today and give like you give.  You are my King.  Thanks for another day to work!

Sunday, November 28, 2010

30 Days of Thanks...Day 28

Y'all, I can't believe I've missed my "30 Days of Thanks" posts the past 3 days!!  Life has been jam packed, and not a minute free to even think about blogging...I've actually not even seen a computer since I posted on Wednesday until now!! 

Soooo, what have I been doing that's taken up every waking minute of my life the past several days???  Getting ready for a day that we have prayed to come for so many years - how very thankful I am to have the honor of being a part of Lori and Brandon's WEDDING DAY!!!  YEA!!!
If you remember, not only was I a bridesmaid, but we also did the floral designs and catering for the wedding and reception!!  One word - WHEW!!!  Boy, are we T.I.R.E.D.  But, it was absolutely gorgeous, and everything I hope Lori hoped it would be.  The wedding was in a BEAUTIFUL little town with gorgeous old buildings.  All the flowers were in shades of reds and greens, and lots and lots of fresh cedar and berries. 
 I was a little bit occupied with arranging flowers, helping in the kitchen, getting my hair and make up done, and having my picture made to take pictures of everything like I normally do, but I did snap a few quick pics of some of the flowers.  Hopefully I can borrow some from others that were taking pictures and share with y'all soon!
I was so very thankful for Brad and how much he helped me during the wedding...he's the best! :)
Valerie, myself, and Carolyne...our dresses were black with champagne sashes; Carolyne's was in the same colors, just opposite of ours.  They were so pretty!
Lori and Brandon left in a horse drawn carriage, and do you notice something that appears to be coming from the sky??  They had a SNOW machine at the front door when they left the reception - it was magical!  And, look close to see Lori's RED shoes...LOVE it!!  I stole borrowed Lori's shoes while she was getting ready and all the bridesmaids and a few other special ladies wrote congratulatory wishes on the soles!
It was a fairy tale wedding, and I'm so thankful for what the Lord has done in Lori and Bradon's lives bringing them together!!  To God be the glory!

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

30 Days of Thanks...Day 24

Today I'm thankful for simple pleasures.  Things that can turn a stressful morning into a little bit more manageable day...moments that just make you smile :)

And, today my simple pleasure was a wonderfully sweet, scrumptious pleasure.  If you haven't been introduced to Chick-Fil-A's Peppermint Chocolate Chip Milkshake, you have missed OUT!! 
In the words of Martha, It's a Good Thing!!

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

30 Days of Thanks...Day 23

Today, I am so thankful for FRIENDS!!  People that encourage me, inspire me, are there for me, and always make me laugh! 

I'm often reminded that many times friends are closer than family, and I would definitely count many of my friends as my family.

So blessed to have wonderful people in my life :)

Monday, November 22, 2010

30 Days of Thanks...Day 22

Today, I'm thankful for my Bradley!  He works SO HARD for our little family, and it makes me so very proud of him!  The past couple of months has been really busy for him - more so than normal.  We are doing a good bit of renovations to our home (pictures to come soon!) and we are doing everything ourselves.  He is in Seminary taking 2 extremely difficult classes this semester.  He has a very demanding job - demanding of his time, attention, energy.  And, Youth ministry!!  WHEW...Sometimes, I wonder how on earth he does what he does. 
 I love him more each day, and thank God for him every single day. He's by far my favorite :)

 How thankful I am the Lord put us in each other's lives 9 1/2 years ago!!  How blessed we are :)
I love you, Bradley!!

Sunday, November 21, 2010

30 Days of Thanks...Day 21

Thank you Lord for all of your MANY blessings in my life!!!  We had our Community Thanksgiving Service tonight, and I was reminded how often it is to see the sadness, heartaches, frustrations, hurt, loss, and many rough spots that we go through...but, you know what?  There are too many blessings in our lives to even begin to count them.  So, today I give God the glory for all awesome things in my life He has blessed me with!  Thank you, Lord for reminding me of that!!!!

And, this songs sums it all up...I have always loved this song so much by Rachael Lampa - "I Am Blessed" - so I just had to share it with y'all :)  Happy Sunday!!

I may never climb a mountain,
So I could see the world from there.
I may never ride the waves,
And taste the salty ocean air.
Or build a bridge,
That would last a hundred years.
But no matter where the road leads,
One thing is always clear....

I am blessed,
I am blessed,
From when I rise up in the morning,
'Till I lay my head to rest,
I feel you near me,
You sooth me when I'm weary.
Oh, Lord,
For all the worst and all the best,
I am blessed.

All along the road less traveled,
I have crawled and I have run.
I have wandered through the winds and rains,
Until I found the sun.
But watching eyes,
Asked me why,
I walk this narrow way,
I will gladly give the reason,
For the hope I have today....


You've given me joy,
You've given me love,
You give me stength,
When I want to give up.
You came from heaven,
To rescue my soul.
This is the reason,
I know,
I know.


Saturday, November 20, 2010

30 Days of Thanks...Day 20

I'm thankful for a wonderful day today with some of my favorite ladies!  We had a "Fall Garden Party Luncheon" with Lori today for all the bridesmaids and her closest friends before the big day next weekend.  We all wore our hats and pearls, and had so much fun!  It doesn't matter how old you are, it's always fun to dress up :)
My mother looked like a true Southern belle...doesn't she look beautiful??  And, Valerie didn't look too bad either ;)
Lori with our gracious host, Ms. Tammy!  LOVED her hat!!
The party should have been in a Southern Lady magazine...it was sooooo cute!!  Lots and lots of details that I didn't even get a picture of, but here are some of my favorites.  The "Thankful Tree" where we each wrote Lori a note of why we were thankful for her, then we clipped them to the tree.  Also loved the white pumpkins with Lori and Brandon's initials!
I wanted to grab this cotton bouquet and run with it!!! HA!!  It was made out of cotton and had pearls mixed in the cotton, with small tree branches sprayed white for the "stems"...LOVE IT!!!
Of course I would love a wreath!  Tammy had used all different pictures of Lori and Brandon in a sepia tone color to make this "Happily Ever After" wreath.  It was hanging on an old door behind the food table.
This picture does not do the food table justice...of course, it doesn't help that I took this picture AFTER we ate! 
Me with my 2 sisters :) 
It was a great day!  So thankful to get to share it with Lori!! 

This next week is going to be lots of fun and CRAZY BUSY!!! Have I told y'all our special events business, Judith B. and Company, will be doing the catering and floral designs...AND, Valerie and I are both in the wedding??  This is definitely a first - we have done LOTS of weddings, lots of catering, and lots of flowers...but, never have we been bridesmaids in a wedding we are doing...um, during the week of Thanksgiving at that!!  I wouldn't do it for anyone else though, than Lori! 

Friday, November 19, 2010

30 Days of Thanks...Day 19

Thankful today for people that make me laugh.  Laughter is truly good for the soul :) 

One of those good ol' laughing fits where you have tears streaming down your face, stomach hurting, and nothing in the world could stop you from laughing at that moment...it just makes me you feel so much better :) 

And, just in case you haven't had a good laugh lately, you need to watch and hear this baby laughing.  It'll make you at least crack a grin and chuckle...

Thursday, November 18, 2010

30 Days of Thanks...Day 18

Yea!!  So thankful tomorrow is FRIDAY...that means no more school (for me anyway) until after Thanksgiving AND my house gets clean tomorrow by my sweet Elena! :)  What a blessing!

I hope everyone has a wonderful Friday full of thanks!

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

30 Days of Thanks...Day 17

Today, I'm thankful for "my girls".  So blessed to be called to work beside Brad and teach these girls about loving Jesus, loving others, and loving themselves. 
We have an AWESOME group of children and teenagers, and we feel like they are all of "ours".  But, my group of girls are extra special to me (no offense boys!!)...that's where my heart for ministry is, and rightfully so.
They teach me so much, and I love to hear how they see the world through their eyes.  I'm thankful to have a close relationship with each of them, and they feel like they can share their hearts with me. 
And, Lord have mercy they make me laugh!!  So so so very blessed to be a part of their lives!!
I love you, girls!

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

30 Days of Thanks...Day 16

Today I'm thankful for my Daddy who turned the big 6-0 today!!!!!!!!!

 We love you so much and are so thankful to call you Daddy!!!  We hope you have a wonderful birthday!

Monday, November 15, 2010

30 Days of Thanks...Day 15

Thankful for this beautiful season of autumn!!  Oh how I love it...

~  I love the colors of the trees...I didn't take the picture above, but if I had had my camera with me as I rode to church yesterday, this would have been a similar scene of the gorgeous view as I drove up the mountain.  

~  I love pumpkins on my porch...just makes me smile :)

~  I love the crisp, cool nights

~  I love to come home to a steaming hot pot of soup and some corn bread...I usually only make soup in the fall and winter, and it's so comforting.

~  I love the smell (and taste!!) of hot apple cider...ahhh!

~  I love to spend Saturdays watching SEC football!!

~  I love to wear comfy sweaters

~  I love having a season that reminds me to be thankful!!

Sunday, November 14, 2010

30 Days of Thanks...Day 14

Today I'm so very thankful for a quiet weekend at home...ALL...WEEKEND...LONG.  That NEVER happens in the crazy busy world of the Powells.  But, when they come it is sheer bliss.  And, this low-key weekend couldn't have came at a better time.  After having a rough week last week, and knowing the B.U.S.Y. weeks that are right around the corner involving Thanksgiving, wedding(s), Christmas, and all the hustle bustle that comes with all of that - we needed a weekend to catch our breaths and just be at home. 

And, boy did we enjoy watching our Tigers win another game to make them the SEC West Champs!!  Can I get a WARRRR EAGLE!!!!!!! 

Saturday, November 13, 2010

30 Days of Thanks...Day 13

After getting flower orders and last minute details in order today, I can't help but be so thankful that my dear cousin (much more of a sister and friend though) Lori has found Mr. Right and will be tying the knot 2 WEEKS from today!!!!
I'm so happy for her, and that God saw fit - at the most perfect time - to send her the love of her life. 

I can't wait for the big day!! :)

Friday, November 12, 2010

30 Days of Thanks...Day 12

Isn't it amazing when you start something, that Satan tries to take your eyes and focus away?  This week has been hard - hard to stay focused on being thankful, hard to keep my mind in a state of thankfulness...just plain hard.  I have been incredibly overwhelmed and frustrated about different things, and those are the thoughts I have had to FIGHT...realize that some things are out of my control...and, search for thankfulness in the midst of chaos. 

But, you know what?  As much power as Satan has, God has a MILLION times more power.  When we truly ask from our heart for help...comfort...peace...understanding...the Will to fight the negative just comes.  God will never leave us nor fosake us - He's there.  We just ask, and He's willing.  And the awesome thing - He WANTS us to call on Him.

So, today I'm thankful for a God that is always here for me, ready and waiting to step in and fix what I have messed up.  For a God that ALWAYS will out do what Satan may have tried to do in our hearts and minds.

I'm thankful for the times that God allows me to get in a "funk" just so I am reminded that I can always count on Him to be there.

Thank you, Lord for loving me inspite of everything.  For always being my comforter, and the peacemaker in my heart! 

Thursday, November 11, 2010

30 Days of Thanks...Day 11

Thankful today for this sweet girl...what a blessing she has been to our little family!  She brings us hours of entertainment, is always SO HAPPY to see us, and loves snuggle up close :)  We love our Ellie!

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

30 Days of Thanks...Day 10

Y'all, I contemplated earlier today posting I was just thankful today was over...whew, it has been a doozy.  I could totally relate to Alexander today...
 But, once again I found myself being thankful - blessed - in the midst of what would typically be written off as an emotionally draining, frustrating, beating-your-head-against-a-brick-wall kind of day.  I got in my car, and was really telling the Lord what a rotten day it had been, and my radio came on blaring music (typical)...and, you know what?  It was like breathing peace into my soul.  I love how music can do that to you - it can comfort you, prick your heart, make you instantly happy, bring a memory, bring peace.  It's like an old friend that knows you oh so well - and, it doesn't hurt to have a Heavenly Father that uses it to speak to your heart. 

So, today I'm thankful for my music that I love so very much :)  And, I adore this song by Francesca Battistelli (isn't that just the coolest name??)  which happened to be the song blaring out my speakers today, and the words are SOOOO my life (yeah, except the first line that says "twenty years of age and I'm still looking for a dream - how 'bout trying "twenty NINE years of age and I'm still looking for a dream!)...isn't that amazing? God always has a way of doing that, doesn't He?  Hope you enjoy the song (lyrics following)...

At twenty years of age I'm still looking for a dream
A war's already waged for my destiny
But You've already won the battle
And You've got great plans for me
Though I can’t always see

‘Cause I got a couple dents in my fender
Got a couple rips in my jeans
Try to fit the pieces together
But perfection is my enemy
On my own I'm so clumsy
But on Your shoulders I can see
I'm free to be me

When I was just a girl I thought I had it figured out
My life would turn out right, and I'd make it here somehow
But things don't always come that easy
And sometimes I would doubt


And you’re free to be you
Sometimes I believe that I can do anything
Yet other times I think I've got nothing good to bring
But You look at my heart and You tell me
That I've got all You seek
And it’s easy to believe
Even though


Tuesday, November 9, 2010

30 Days of Thanks...Day 9

Thankful to have these 2 very special ladies in my life - my mama and my sister.  Where on earth I would be without them, only God knows!!
Thankful for their love, friendship, example that they set for me, prayers they pray for me, and the many many laughs that we have shared.  Thankful for our willingness to do whatever we have to for each other - because that's just who we are.  Thankful that I can count on the two of them no matter what pickle I have found myself in - they'll be there to help me figure out what to do.  There are few days that I can remember not talking to them, and most days it is at least 2 or 3 times...and, I wouldn't have it any other way!  I love that we all know instantly by a sigh, a sound in each other's voices, or a look how each other's day has been.  We are connected not just by blood, but by our love and friendship...and, that's what I'm most thankful for.

Monday, November 8, 2010

30 Days of Thanks...Day 8

Today I'm thankful for those small opportunities the Lord gives us to be a part of something much bigger than we are.  Whether it's being able to help someone in need at Christmas, give money to a friend doing mission work, or helping take care of a child for a while when parents have extenuating circumstances...each of these may seem "small" to us that are on the giving end, but much much "bigger" to those receiving.  I'm thankful He gives us those opportunities...it always seems in the beginning we are blessing someone else, but in the end we are the ones that received the blessing. 

Thank you, Lord!

Sunday, November 7, 2010

30 Days of Thanks...Day 7

Happy Sunday!!  Our first week of November has already came and went so incredibly fast!!  Have you been thinking about what you're thankful for??  I've really enjoyed sharing what I'm thankful for each day...if you're bored with my 30 Days of Thanks, I'll be back to my normal posts in December...but, stick around - who knows, you might catch yourself being thankful for the little things each day :)

Today, I'm thankful for something that the Lord has reminded me of the past 2 Sundays.  Last week, Brad preached a sermon about obedience...this week, we had missionaries visit our church and share about their experiences on the mission field.  In each of the 3 missionaries that shared, there was a common thread in their stories - obedience and trust.  The missionary that spoke tonight used the exact phrase that Brad used last week in his sermon - "God doesn't need our abilities, He needs our availability."

We so often feel like we are not smart enough, not talented enough, we don't speak well in front of others, we are uncomfortable sharing our faith, someone will think we are stupid, and a jazillion other things that we get in our heads that are the reason we can't do something for God.  But, He doesn't want our abilities, because you know what?  On our own, we would fail...miserably.    All He wants of us is to be willing to be available to be used by Him.  He will do all the work in us and through us...we just have to be available. 

Thank you, Lord for reminding me of how you need me to just be available...be willing...to be used by You.  I am yours!

Saturday, November 6, 2010

30 Days of Thanks...Day 6

I am sooo thankful tonight that we get to ROLL our clocks BACK, and get an extra hour of sleep!!!
We helped my sister and brother-in-law move today, and the best gift we could have been given was an extra hour in the day!!  Don't forget to roll your clock back...or, you may be the first to arrive at church in the morning...

Friday, November 5, 2010

30 Days of Thanks...Day 5 - The Birthday Girl

Today, I'm thankful for this very special birthday girl!   
The youngest of our 4 Favorites - our little Kenedi - turns the big 4 on Sunday!!

She is a funny little thing, and NEVER misses anything!! We're so thankful to have her in our lives :)
And, she absolutely LOVES Ellie Jane...she would keep her if we would let her!!  It was a definite that Ellie was invited to the birthday party :) 
Happy Birthday, Kenedi!!  We love you!

Thursday, November 4, 2010

30 Days of Thanks...Day 4

Thankful today for my sweet Carolyne and her funny little personality.  She keeps me on my toes, and keeps us all laughing.  All of her "Carolyne-isms" should be written in a book :) 
I love you, Carolyne Kay!

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

30 Days of Thanks...Day 3

Thankful today for my little family!!  Thankful for what God is doing in our lives right now, and the doors that He is opening for us...and, thankful I get to share it with a wonderful man and sweet little "fur-baby" Miss Ellie Jane!
Thank you, Lord for Your blessings!

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

30 Days of Thanks...Day 2

Thankful today for those people in my life that immediately remind me that I'm loved and cared for...not by saying it, but by showing it.  For those people that ask, "How are you doing?" and genuinely want to know how life is, not just making small talk.  For those that call at random to say, "I've been praying for you, and I know God has a plan for you - don't give up."  
I'm thankful to not just have them in my life, but to have been blessed to know them at all.

Monday, November 1, 2010

30 Days of Thanks...starts NOW!

What does the word "thanksgiving" mean to you? Does it bring images of turkey and sweet potatoes with everyone gathered around the table...pilgrims and indians....football...parades...or, maybe even shopping on Black Friday??  Or, does it bring you to a place of being overwhelmingly grateful, appreciative, pleased, blessed?

Last year, I chose to do a post of "thanks" each week during the month of November...but, there were soooo many more things that I could have posted about.  So, I decided this year to try to do a post each day of the month about something I'm thankful for. 

So, today on November 1st, following an entire month of receiving cards, letters, child drawn pictures, sweet gifts, and words of encouragement and love in honor of Pastor Appreciation Month...I'm completely overwhelmed with thankfulness for our church family.
Yesterday marked 4 years that Brad and I have served at Mount Vernon - WOW! It has been a learning and growing experience for us in our ministry, and we are reminded over and over how very BLESSED we are to do what we do!!  
To some, Children and Youth Ministry may just seem like we're just playing loud music and doing crazy stuff all the time...but it's SOOO MUCH MORE than that.
It's learning, growing, building relationships, and sharing Christ in any way that we can.
How thankful I am for a church that "gets" that.  That appreciates what we do, and supports us soooo much!!  We are beyond words grateful!!

So, what about you...are you up to the challenge of dedicating a month to thanks??