Thursday, December 22, 2011

An Early Christmas Present!!

I have to confess.  I have been keeping a little secret from blog land...for approximately 1 year, 1 month, and 14 days, but I officially can share today!

Last year, my sister and her husband - Val and Rob - made a decision to become foster parents.  They went through the training, prayed A LOT, and prepared Carolyne and Sam for the possibility of other children temporarily staying in their home from time to time.  They continued on about their lives, even selling their home and moving in to another, prepared to take a child at any time they were called.  Well, 2 days after moving in to their new home, they got a call.  A sweet little girl had been born 2 days prior (the day they moved!), and was needing a foster home to go to - could be for just the night, or maybe a few days.  Without hesitation, Valerie immediately said "YES!" and before we could blink, they were pulling in to the driveway with the tiniest of babies that had just been released from the hospital!

Well, long story short, those few days turned in to weeks, and then months.  This sweet little girl fit perfectly in to their family, and Carolyne and Sam had fallen in love with her!  Then, in May her biological parents made the decision they were just not ready for this responsibility of parenthood, and wanted Val and Rob to adopt her!  We were all in shock, and overjoyed at this gift the Lord gave to our family.  She had been with Val and Rob since the day she left the hospital, and we all knew in our hearts she was meant to stay in their family!  After several months of paperwork, praying, waiting, hearings, more paperwork, more praying, more waiting, and then a final hearing...I'm proud to announce today Val and Rob no longer have a family of four, but are an official family of five!  
No more "4 Favorites" for us - we've grown to 5...the newest addition to mine and Brad's list of "Favorites" - Miss Jenna Beth!  
Both Carolyne and Sam are named after family, and when selecting a name for their newest addition, it was only natural that she also carry a family name.  "Jenna" is after Rob's grandmother, "Beth" is after a long line of Elizabeth's in my mother's family.  She has been called Jenna Beth since the adoption process began over 6 months ago, and never once seemed confused, but like that has been her name from the start :)  We are overjoyed that we get to be a part of Jenna Beth's life, and that the Lord has entrusted her to Valerie and Robby!  Since you've missed out on her past year of life, here are just a few pics to catch you up to speed (from my iPhone of course)...  

On the way to the zoo!

Swimming at Aunt Hayley's...

Happy 4th of July!

War Eagle!!

Celebrating Carolyne's birthday!

Celebrating at Sam's Super Hero Birthday! 

Fun at Mama J and Papa's house!

Happy Halloween - Jenna Beth was the CUTEST pink poodle EVER!!

Happy 1st Birthday, Jenna Beth!

As you can see, she is without a doubt the cutest, sweetest, and HAPPIEST little girl!!  She brings so much joy to our family, and we are so blessed to have her in our lives!  
Thank you, Lord for the wonderful Christmas present of Jenna Beth!

Thursday, December 15, 2011

It's Beginning To Look A Lot Like Christmas!

Merry Christmas, y'all!  I thought I would show you around my home, and share some of my favorite decorations this year!  Burlap is ALL the RAGE right now, but I've stuck with my bright red, lime, and white theme...and, I still think it's so fun and festive.  There were A LOT of things I decided not to put out this year; I just wanted to pull out some of my most favorites, and enjoy not having to go overboard - and, it has been a nice break!  (and, as a disclaimer - yes, all of these pics were taken with my iPhone...I'm still waiting for my camera to get fixed!)  


The tree...

The foyer...

The living room...

The bathrooms...

Our bedroom...
 (almost 11 years ago - WOW, we look YOUNG and SKINNY!!!)

The 4 Favorites room :)...

I have been very intentional this year on choosing what Brad and I would be a part of this season, and it has been a HUGE blessing to not have so very many obligations during this Christmas - including not doing as much decorating this year!!  I think so many times we work so hard to be a part of every party, get together, and holiday activity that we lose sight of why we're even doing it.  I want to CELEBRATE this season - CELEBRATE my Savior's birth - CELEBRATE my family - CELEBRATE CHRISTmas...and, not be exhausted doing it!!!!

Thanks for stopping by!!  From our home to yours - Merry Christmas!

Tuesday, November 29, 2011


Today's "thankfulness" is more of a Hallelujah Chorus type of thank you...I'm finished with Grad School...well, for this semester anyway!!!!!  I have turned in my projects, research papers, and completed my finals tonight; so, I don't have to think a thing in the world about graduate school until January, and I couldn't be MORE happier about it!!
Now, I'm getting excited for the month of December and lots of fun Christmas festivities!  Last year I had WWWWAAAAAYYYYYYY too much going on (2 HUGE weddings, 1 anniversary reception, and about a zillion Christmas parties), but this year I have been very intentional on choosing what Brad and I will be involved in...and, I'm proud to say it's going to be a much calmer, peaceful season.
It's going to be a great Christmas!

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Happy Thanksgiving!

What a wonderful week of Thanksgiving I have had!!!  I have sooooo very much enjoyed my week off from school, although I have not gotten a whole lot of my To Do list done...but it's just been a good, low key week for me.  And, I've been reminded so much of my many blessings!!

I'm so very thankful for Brad's family, and the role they play in mine and Brad's lives.  They are so good to me, and treat me like a daughter and sister, and I'm so grateful for that!!  Love y'all!!!
(Vacationing at the lake - Summer 2011)

I'm so thankful for my Bailey family and the joy they bring to my life.  I'm thankful for the love, heritage, memories, and traditions that we share and that we continue to pass down...I don't take for granted the uniqueness of my close knit family!!  I praise God for each of you!

(Christmas at the Bailey Farm 2010)

I'm thankful for my sister, Valerie, who I could never ever replace - who has been my forever friend, and knows me better than anyone else.  All the laughs, all the tears, all the inside jokes, the all knowing looks that we give each other...having a sister is one of life's greatest gifts, and I can't imagine going through life without mine!!  I love you, Valie Jo!

(My 30th Birthday - September 2011)

And, lastly, on this Thanksgiving Day, I am beyond words thankful for my Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.  How grateful I am of His love and bountiful blessings, that I am so underserving of.  For His protection, even when I don't understand what I'm being protected from.  For His wisdom, even when I question Him.  For His mercy and grace, even when I'm too clueless to recognize the greatness of His gifts.  Thank you, Lord for who you are and what you are!

Happy Thanksgiving, y'all!!!

Sunday, November 20, 2011

A Break, Finally

Today, I am BEYOND WORDS THANKFUL that I am out all. week. long. for Thanksgiving break...I've needed a break in the worst way, and this could not have came at a better time!!  I plan to do some much needed cleaning at home, Christmas decorating, shopping, and spending time with my family.  I'm SO EXCITED!!!

Thank you, Lord for school breaks...

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Taste of Fall

Today, I'm thankful for simple pleasures, and I love fall food - apple cider, sweet potato casserole, chili, and all the other comforting "fall foods".  But, I have been introduced to a new fall pleasure and have fallen in love with Blue Bell's Spiced Pumpkin Pecan ice cream...it's the taste of fall goodness and is soooooo delish!!  Don't turn your nose up - you must try it and you'll be a believer! ;)

Friday, November 18, 2011

Welcome Home!

Today, I am so thankful that Brad has finally came home!!  He has been on 2 business trips this month, and has only been home a total of 5 days this month!!!  I am so incredibly thankful for his job that the Lord has blessed him with, but he has to travel a lot...so, the time that he is at home is precious.  When he gets home from a trip, he usually requests a special meal because he's had to eat out so much - his request this time was a good ol' Southern breakfast in the morning - biscuits, gravy, bacon, eggs, grits, and maybe throw in some homemade apple butter or pear preserves for good measure :)

Hope everyone has a great weekend!!

Thursday, November 17, 2011


Whew, yesterday was a D.O.O.Z.Y. of a day, y'all!  I was exhausted when I got home last night, fell asleep holding my laptop, and woke up with it still in my lap this morning!!!  I was just thankful yesterday to have survived the day!!  It was one of those days where it was hard to be thankful in the midst of frustration and chaos...but, I see good things on the horizon!  I'm so thankful for new beginnings and hope of better tomorrows!!!

Today, I'm thankful for my wonderful daddy!  His birthday was yesterday (Happy Birthday, Daddy!!), and I'm just so very blessed to have him in my life.  He's probably my most faithful reader on my blog, and I just love that he enjoys reading my crazy little posts!  Daddy has always been my rescuer - like coming to my rescue when my battery in my car died a few weeks ago!, my biggest fan, and has always pushed me to be my very best.  So thankful for him!!  Love you, Daddy!!

Wednesday, November 16, 2011


Today, I'm thankful for words that inspire.  What an odd thankful post, huh?!  Well, it's true!  Aside from a music junkie, I'm also a quote junkie.  Yes, of course I love God's Word, and look to it daily for words of wisdom, insight, and encouragement.  But, this past week these are the quotes that have pierced me to the core, and caused me think on a deeper level of who I am:

"Comparison is the thief of all joy"


"Be intentional with your time - only commit to the things that you are the ONLY ONE that can do them"

Both of these speak to the season of life I'm in right now.  The comparison quote has rocked my world...many, many (did I say many) people that I know/am FB friends with/follow their blogs, etc. are pregnant or have just had babies.  This quote has reminded me over and over that comparing my situation to theirs is only robbing myself of joy - and, why should I allow that??

Being intentional with my time is a MAJOR step.on.my.toes. kinda quote.  I feel such responsibility and guilt to do things that other people could take care of if they would just step up, but I do them out of obligation rather than joy.  That is not God's best for me.  God's best for me is to commit only to what only I can do - I'm the only one who can be Brad's wife and helper in ministry.  I'm the only one that can take care of my health.  I'm the only one who can be Valerie's sister.  I'm the only one who can be an aunt to our 4 Favorites.  I'm the only one that can keep up my friendships.  Those things that I'm the ONLY ONE that can do it are the things that need me.  All the other  "things" that fill up my time may be GOOD things, but are not always God's BEST things.  Lots of pondering to do on this subject...

So, what inspires you?

Monday, November 14, 2011


Today, I'm thankful for my music that I love so very much!!   I have not been able to listen to the radio in my car the past few days because I had to have a new battery, and as a theft protection measure, my car "reset" and locked my radio until I put in the code to unlock (and, apparently, said code is supposed to be in the manual for my car...but, it's not...so, having to take a little longer path to get my tunes up and going!) Anyway, the past few days have been sooooo l-o-n-g driving to work and back with no music!!  I had the idea to turn on my iTunes from my cell phone today, and AH!  Finally, some music!!  Music is such an outlet for me - when I'm stressed, upset, happy - it just speaks to my heart.  It's like an old friend that knows me all too well!  It makes me SO HAPPY to just rock out and sing at the top of my lungs!

Christmas 2009

Besides, music is just in my blood I guess.  I don't remember a single Christmas (or most any family get-togethers for that matter) that there were not instruments playing or someone singing somewhere around...

Cole and Nichole at BBB

The world would no doubt be a very quiet, sad place without music!

Are you a music lover?

Sunday, November 13, 2011


Today, I'm thankful for a wonderful ministry that I'm proud my church is a part of.  Operation Christmas Child shares the love of Jesus with children around the world by providing them with shoebox gifts.  The shoeboxes are filled with little trinkets, small toys, paper and crayons, and basically anything else that a child would like that can fit in a shoebox!

I'm also sooo very thankful for one of our teen girls that put this year's Shoebox Ministry together for our church!  She did a wonderful job, and I'm inspired by her passion to "do more"...God has great plans for her, no doubt!  So proud and thankful for you, Meg!!

What a humbling experience it is to buy gifts for a child, knowing that the only present they will receive is what you put in their little box...but, knowing how excited they will be to open their shoebox and find their treasures and also get to hear about Jesus is such a blessing to me!! 

Are you planning to be a part of some type of ministry this holiday season? I can promise you it will be better than any present you receive!

Saturday, November 12, 2011

I Told Y'all!

See, I'm already a day behind, y'all!!  I can't get my act together these days, and I'm really starting to get on my own nerves...that's really bad!!

So, yesterday I was thankful for one of my MOST FAVORITE past times...what Brad and I like to call "Sunday driving".  I don't know if anyone else in the world outside of the South (or outside of my family for that matter) calls driving around looking at houses, land, the fall leaves, etc. "Sunday driving", but that's what we've always called it - and, I LOVE to do it.  I'm such an old lady! HA!!  Yesterday was the most BEAUTIFUL weather, and my sweet Ellie and I went "Sunday driving" with the windows down and had a wonderful laid back afternoon.

Today, I'm thankful I get to enjoy being at home and watching some SEC football!  I say that very lighthearted because after watching the Auburn/Alabama special on ESPN this past week, I realize how we put WAAAAAAYYYYYYY too much emphasis on such a crazy little sport and rivalry.  I do enjoy it, and have lots of fun with family and friends while watching it, but I KNOW (and, I sure hope we all do) in the grand scheme of things that it's not REALLY the MOST important thing in life...

Hope everyone is having a super weekend!!!

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Thankful Catch Up!

Happy November friends!  I had planned (in my head) to do a Month of Thanks posts like I did last year...but, it's November 10th and no posts have been done.  So, I'll tell you 10 things I'm thankful for today, and maybe - but don't count on it - I'll post the rest of the month:

  1. Friends - what a sweet blessing they are in my life!!  I have some ladies in my life that I have the privilege to call "friends" and they are gifts to me...especially in the past month when I've needed encouragement, long chats, lots of laughs, and prayers.  Love y'all!!
  2. Facetime - Brad has been out of town for several weeks, and days that I really just need to see him more than hear him, I can because of Facetime.  Thank you, Lord for technology! :)
  3. Brad - and speaking of the man in my life, I sure am thankful to call him mine!  He works so hard for our little family, and I appreciate him so very much!  
  4. My mama - Lord, have mercy I could write a 1000 posts about my mama, and still not tell you how much she does for me...especially now that she's retired and has more time!  I feel so undeserving of all she does for us!  I love you, Mama!
  5. Miss Ellie Jane - what a wonderful gift the Lord gave us when our little Ellie Jane came in to our lives!  She has been the BEST company, entertainment, and companion anyone could ever ask for!
  6. My home - my refuge.  I LOVE home!
  7. My "school kids" - if you don't know - I love to laugh, and some of my favorite laughable moments are with my kids at school!  They say some of the FUNNIEST things ever, and do some of the funniest things...I live for comic relief on stressful days!  
  8. My "church girls" - oh, what a sweet, sweet blessing I have in working with my high school girls at church!!  They hold a special place in my heart and mean the world to me!  I pray that the Lord would allow me to be the example I need to be for them, and I would teach them about what it means to be a lady seeking God's own heart.    
  9. Lazy Days - these come very few and far  between (especially these days!), but I savor every moment when they do!!  So thankful tomorrow is one of those days!!!!!
  10. Veterans - I only get a lazy day because of Veteran's Day, and how incredibly in awe I am of all those that have served our country for each one of us!!!  I'm so proud to be in a America, the land that I love...and, to all those that serve us well each and every day - THANK YOU!
Sooooo, have you been thinking about what you're thankful for this month?  I would love to hear from you! :)

Monday, October 31, 2011

Happy Fall Y'all!

The past week has been full of fall fun!!  We have been busy with our church's annual Fall Fest, my school's Harvest Festival, and then my family spent the weekend at the lake enjoying lots of Halloween festivities!  Brad has been out of town, so it was nice to enjoy some time away from home.  

Miss Ellie Jane sporting her pumpkin costume... 

The kids picked out pumpkins, then we carved them, and entered them in to the community carving contest...they were so proud of their pumpkins (which, by the way, they had no part in the carving! HA!)

This was someone else's pumpkin, but I just had to share it - War Eagle!!

And, of course Halloween is all about dressing up...and, getting CANDY!! :)  We had a super handsome  police man...

A beautiful Rapunzel and 2 cute cats...

And, the most adorable pink poodle ever!
We had such a fabulous time!!!

Our Fall Fest at church was a HUGE success...we decided to have it a week before Halloween to hopefully not conflict with so many other fall festivities, and we had a great turnout!  

I'm so thankful for so many volunteers to help make this event so great!!  Miss Abby is our official tattoo artist ;)

We had lots of carnival games, inflatables, crafts, AND the BEST weather we could have possibly asked for!!!

The kids LOVED these sand art necklaces! 

After all the fun and games, we had a show by the famous Chin Ladies all the way from Chinville, Alabama!!!!  These were some of my teenage girls that I teach on Wednesday nights...they were PHENOMENAL!!  The kids (and adults) absolutely loved them! 

After the show and a super yummy chili supper, we had hayrides and roasted marshmallows - a perfect ending to a GREAT night!!!

It has been lots of fun celebrating the season!!  I can't believe tomorrow is November 1st!!!!!!  WOW, time is flying!  

Happy Halloween!