"But as for me, I will always have hope; I will praise you more and more. My mouth will tell of your righteousness, of your salvation all day long, though I know not its measure." Psalm 71:14-15

Monday, December 7, 2009

A NEW kind of Christmas

Long time, no blog, I know I know.

I wanted to share the Sunday school lesson I wrote for the first Sunday of Advent. Advent is a time of preparation, anticipation and hope. As Christians we celebrate Advent on the 4 Sundays leading up to Christmas Day.

During this time of the season, we are usually occupied with lists and gifts and hustle and bustle, but what are we really preparing for?

Most people have favorite Christmas traditions, whether from their childhood or new ones created as adults with our own families. What about this Christmas season do YOU anticipate the most? What is your favorite tradition?

MY favorite part of Christmas as a child was my whole family spending all day at Meme & Papaw's house. After opening gifts from Santa on Christmas morning, each daughter's family would pack up (children with favorite new toy in tow) and head to Meme & Papaw's for lunch on Christmas Day. It was so much fun, because if there was something that you didn't get for Christmas, chances are someone else did and you still got to play with it! When I was a little older, Mom and I started a tradition of spending all day on Christmas Eve watching old and new Christmas movies and baking treats! To this day, White Christmas is still my favorite Christmas movie. Or is it It's a Wonderful Life? Or the ORIGINAL Miracle on 34th Street with little Natalie Wood? What was I saying? Oh yes, a different kind of Christmas.

Matt and I started the tradition of celebrating Advent as a couple the year we got engaged. We read the Upper Room daily devotional for Advent together each night, sometimes over the phone! The first year we were married we participated in the Advent wreath making event at church and made a beautiful live wreath, remember? We complete our observation of Advent by attending the midnight Christmas Eve service at church, my favorite. The rest of this season, the rest of what we have made Christmas about, stresses me out! The lists, the malls, the parking lots, the traffic, the bills, and on and on, I can do without.

As we leave the time of Thanksgiving and are reminded of our many blessings, even though times are hard, we are still truly blessed. Our homeland is peaceful, our bellies are full, and each of us can cling to someone who truly loves us (whether family or friend). Ever since I attending the "Adventures in Missing the Point" *conference at First-Centenary, where we hosted the two authors of the book of the same title Brian McLaren and Tony Campolo, I've been thinking about ways that I've missed the point. I immediately thought of Christmas.

*This conference blew me away and I am SO incredibly thankful I was there. If you haven't read either of these authors, I suggest you pick something up. "Adventures" is a great place to start.

We recently studied the history of many of the denominations of Christianity, ending with Methodism. Each doctrine we studied had something worthwhile and admirable to give us, but it confirmed that I am right where I should be. I am Methodist to the core. I'm not saying we have it right and no one else does, I'm just saying it's right for me! Having said that, I wanted to see what the Father of Methodism, John Wesley, had to say about Christmas. My web search turned up a sermon entitled "The More Excellent Way" based on I Corinthians 12:31.

"But eagerly desire the greater gifts. And now I will show you the most excellent way."

He based an entire sermon on the verse directly preceding I Corinthians Chapter 13, the love chapter.

We as Christians are all striving for the most excellent way (not to sound too Bill and Ted-ish) in our walk as Christians, that's the point. Advent is about preparing our hearts to celebrate the birth of Jesus, our King. So what is the most excellent way we can spend the season of Advent 2009?

Christ is God's greatest gift to us. And the more I walk with him I come to realize His purpose for dwelling among us, was not ONLY to save us from sin, but to TRULY bring God's kingdom to Earth. We are called as His children, disciples of Christ, to bring God's kingdom to our world (as we know it).

Christ even taught us to pray:
"Our Father, who art in heaven,
hallowed be thy name,
thy kingdom come,
thy will be done,
on Earth as it is in Heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread,
and forgive us our trespasses,
as we forgive those who have trespassed against us.
And lead us not into temptation,
but deliver us from evil."
Matthew 6:9-13

And we are told to "seek ye first the kingdom of God, and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added unto you." Matthew 6:33

All of these lessons appear in the greatest sermon ever given, Christ's Sermon on the Mount. It tells us just how important the message of the kingdom is to our lives. Jesus spent some time preaching, but what we read about mostly is Him healing the sick and feeding the hungry.

As we think of our own celebrations of the birth of Jesus, what can we do to truly honor Him and celebrate His reason for coming to Earth? What can WE do to bring God's kingdom to OUR world? I'm not talking about ditching Santa and breaking the hearts of children worldwide. Just consider starting a NEW family tradition. For your relative who has everything, make a donation in their name to a charity you think that they would appreciate, or volunteer together as a family. Think about what YOU can do to make Christmas about REAL MIRACLES again.

I will admit, this lesson was not totally uninspired. The seed was planted on my heart LAST Christmas by my friend Sarah's blog post that included the link to the Advent Conspiracy promo video for 2008. I tried to get Matt to buy into the Advent Conspiracy totally, throw out the lists and make donations in our friends' and family members' names, but he wouldn't hear of it. He loves giving gifts. SO, I'm going small scale this year, starting with a few folks I know who will really appreciate it. But really, I'm just trying to follow the advice of my dear John Wesley.

"Do all the good you can,
By all the means you can,
In all the ways you can,
In all the places you can,
At all the times you can."

Maybe if we Christians followed this advice more often, the kingdom of God might be a little closer to our world's reality.

Monday, September 21, 2009

1 Year Ago...

Technically, one year ago today, Matt and I were driving back from picking up our car at Laurelwood from when the keys got locked in it at our wedding. Our friends were well-meaning, and we're not mad, but it was a hassel!

Matt and I celebrated our FIRST Anniversary yesterday!! Since we are TOTALLY BROKE and moving, we decided to celebrate with a nice dinner, eaten on our never-before-used wedding china, and exchanging letters (since the traditional first year gift is paper). I focused so much on the dinner that I forgot about writing his letter until he had already given me mine!! I'm such a slacker. To add to it, he thought of an extremely adorable free paper gift for me that made me feel even more like a slacker. He got me a wonderful card AND a change of address form from the Post Office! Isn't that cute?? I just love my sweet husband and am so glad he picked me!!

Happy Anniversary Matt!!!



Wednesday, September 9, 2009

SO... I guess all 3 of you want an update huh??

WOW!! It's been a while, sorry.

OLD JOB UPDATE = It's over, finito, done, adios, see ya later, I'm gone! BUT, my super sweet co-workers that appreciated and supported me threw me a going away party. :'-) They even got Matt and I a gift card to Low*s to help us settle into our new home. They rock! Well, most of them rock.

OLD HOUSE UPDATE = Our house is still for sale. We had an offer that came in ironically from a friend of ours (she requested a showing and then figured out by the pictures on our walls in the listing photos that it was our house). The offer was the best that she could do, but not what we needed to even squeak by. Our counter offer was the best we could do, but not something she could afford. So we wait. We all hope that if the house is still on the market in a few months that we will be able to work something out. It would be nice to sell it to a friend that I know will love it like we did.

NEW JOB UPDATE = I HEART MY NEW JOB.

OK fine, I will expound on that statement. My first day I was greeted with, "Jill, we're so glad you are finally here! We are taking you to lunch at Tony's today - I hope that's OK. You don't have other plans do you?" SWEET! All the ladies in the office are really nice, and most of them are in my peer age group. They have staff socials, are all friends on Facebook, and actually like each other.

I'm TOTALLY overwhelmed with all of the training material I have to learn in order to do this job, but practice makes perfect. I finally got completely settled in with the job today with UTC ID card, my own laptop with email that works, shared Google calendar, and my desk has been "moved in" for a while. All I need now is for my new Blackberry Curve to arrive FedEx (supposed to come today, have no idea why it didn't) and I will be SET.

I will be gone to Knoxville for a whole week next week for training (to learn and be certified to train foster parents). We leave Monday and return Friday :( That's the longest Matt and I will have been apart since we got married and it's the week before our 1 YEAR ANNIVERSARY! BUT, I will get a chance to see friends and family that I don't see very often while I'm there.

NEW HOUSE UPDATE = Everything is going along as planned. The inspection and appraisal are done and we expect to close the week after our anniversary and move the next weekend. YAY!!!!! We are blessed that we don't have to wait for our house to sell to go ahead and get into our new one. It isn't the IDEAL situation, but we are ok. Our current house is adorable and will sell when the right buyer comes along. In case you need a reminder as to why we are excited, THIS is our new house!!!


Isn't it adorable?? We just LOVE IT! Now, if only I could motivate myself to pack a few boxes. HMMM.

MARRIED LIFE UPDATE = September 20th is our 1 YEAR ANNIVERSARY! I can hardly believe it. The first year is full of adjustments, but we have weathered it well, enjoyed 99% of it, and we are immensely blessed. In case you didn't know, I have an AMAZING husband that I love more than I could ever express. He even helps with the dishes and does his own laundry in addition to being good to me. Does it get any better than that??

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Daydreaming

Since I'm a short timer here at work, I've been daydreaming about my new house. OH HOW I WOULD LOVE A NEW BEDROOM. I doubt any of this will happen since we will probably be BROKE after we move in, but if I could decorate our bedroom with all new stuff this is what it would look like.


The bedding is from Pottery Barn of course! I would forgo monogramming the duvet, but definitely order the monogrammed standard shams in Green Apple. I would make the nice big square Euro Shams and trim the bottom of white curtains with the Betz White Sprig and Sprouts blue/green organic cotton/hemp blend fabric. We would HAVE to order a new comforter from Pottery Barn to go in the new duvet cover - made from echo friendly materials, organic cotton outer and mirco-poly fill made from recycled plastic bottles!!

I would paint 3 walls in the Behr "Mississippi Mud" color with 1 accent wall where our bed would be in the Behr "Chocolate Cupcake" color. Keep in mind our bed is white ornamental iron that my Papaw made for my mother, so it would really stand out. Do you like how I used "Paint" to go ahead and paint the walls of the bedding picture?

This is all just wishful thinking, but a girl can dream can't she????

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

UPDATE: Life is moving quickly, get out of its way!!!!

First, I know all [2] of you have been waiting on the "big reveal" of our kitchen face lift! Matt worked SO HARD on the new doors and drawer fronts. They really look wonderful and have breathed new life into that tired old kitchen. In addition to the cabinets, I painted the walls a hot new color and put fresh white paint on the wood trim. I was also really sick of all of my cookbooks just stacked on top of our microwave. So we hung a new shelf above the spice rack and it looks FAB if I do say so myself! Without further ado...

BEFORE



AFTER!!!



Second, you all [probably] read about my NEW JOB that I am starting next month. We are both so very excited about this position and what it means for our family. I will be happier and have much more flexibility. I can do paperwork from home or wherever I choose. And because it involves some nights and a few Saturdays, I will have time off during the week to do things like workout, clean and shop while Matt is at work, so that we have quality time at home together. I will also likely have Fridays off with Matt (who has every other Friday off), so that is something else to look forward to.

Third, this NEW JOB also means that we are buying a NEW HOUSE!!! No, I don't get to enjoy my new kitchen for long, but the new owners will (let's hope that the potential buyers love "New Avocado" as much as I do)! Matt and I fell in LOVE with a house down the street from our friends Meghan and Daniel a few weeks ago. We went back and forth about it with the owners, prayed a lot, and decided not to make the move until we knew about the job. We stayed the course with the improvements we wanted to make to get our house ready to sell (hence the kitchen face lift). We knew that if it didn't work out with us getting the new house, at least we would be living in a prettier house than we were before! Here is the flier from our dream house! Now, pray the inspection and appraisal goes the way that we hope!


Now you are all updated on what happened LAST WEEK!!! Matt said on Sunday that he didn't want to start a new week. We'll never top the week we had last week. Our friend Debbie said, "the only thing missing is a baby!" Thanks Debbie, we will wait a while. :)

Thursday, August 13, 2009

THE CALL

SO, yesterday I got "the call." No, not from God to enter the ministry. I received the phone call that I've been waiting on for a long time. Remember when I took that long break last month because I had a lot on my mind that I felt like I couldn't talk about? Or an opportunity that I had been waiting on for a while that might not be worth it? Or do you remember me feeling really trampled on?

Well, all my prayers have been answered. My heart is at peace. I have no worry or fear, only joy and anticipation!! I am starting a NEW JOB on August 31st!!! My concerns about time are at ease. Yes I will lose some evenings and a few Saturdays with Matt, but I will also have more time at home while he is at work to do things I don't want to do when he is there!! So the time we do have together will be less guilt-ridden and much higher quality. :)

I even did a little happy dance in my cubicle (that I WILL NOT miss working in!) to celebrate!! SEE?


Well you can't REALLY see the essence of the dance, but it's a self portrait - very difficult!

SO, thanks to everyone who has walked with me through the "dark valley" and prayed for me. I appreciate all of you. For those who didn't know what was going on, just be happy for me ok?!?!?!!!!

Monday, August 10, 2009

NOT ME!! Monday


I would NEVER dream up a way to give our kitchen a "face lift" in order to list our house on the market that would leave me in the air conditioned house all weekend painting while my husband slaved away in the hot garage making new cabinet doors and drawer fronts!! Nope, not me!

I did not ask my husband's opinion on the new wall color for the kitchen, and while he went to another part of the store have the paint vendor mix my color preference instead of his. And I CERTAINLY wouldn't rub it in that it was my choice of color not his once he said how much he liked it!! NOT ME!



I have not ONCE rubbed in the fact that I know more about home renovation than my husband, then had to apologize and explain that it's only because I've watched more TLC, DIY and HGTV than any one person should. Nope, not me.

I am not counting down the days to when our kitchen is put back together and pretty, you know - just in time to sell the place. I mean, I've only been looking at these ugly 1985 cream laminate disaster cabinets for four years!!! NOT ME!!!


Thursday, August 6, 2009

Show Us Your Life - Wedding Dress, Party and Reception

My other blogging buddies have been participating in this OH-SO-FUN blog carnival from Kelly's Korner called "Show Us Your Life." I felt a little left out because I missed the first two weeks, but I wanted to be sure not to miss this last week of Show Us Your Wedding series!! SO, it hasn't been THAT long since my wedding, but I thought I would participate this final week anyway!



Week 1: Show Us Your WEDDING DRESS

I loved my wedding dress. It was simple, but elegant for an outside wedding. It took what seemed like FOREVER to find the right pattern, because my fantastic mom made it!! Yep, it was super special because she made my dress and veil. The lace on my veil was from my aunt Pam's veil that my Meme made back in 1969! I loved it all. It was very sentimental and special for me!! Here are some pics!






Week 2: Show Us Your WEDDING PARTY AND CEREMONY

We got married September 20, 2008 at the gorgeous Laurelwood Farms on Signal Mountain. It was really the best weekend ever (even with that one little hiccup of locking the keys in the getaway car)!!

My wedding party was made of my bestest 6 friends that I've been collecting since childhood. When it came to their dresses, I wanted them to have something they loved, looked good in, felt good in AND could wear again. So I purchased all of their fabric and each girl picked her own dress pattern (they just had to be knee length) and had it made!! Voila!! A beautiful bunch of ladies!


from left to right: Lamm, Christie, Melissa, me, Mere, Betsy, and Hilary

Matt threw tradition to the wind and chose his best friend Beth for his Best Maid along with his 5 bestest guy friends. She wore a black dress and stood with the boys; she even had a pin-on corsage to match the boys' boutonnieres!! Isn't she just adorable? I felt sorry for her having to hang out with boys all day.



So there you go, our wedding party.



For the music we had a harpist and a trumpet (which I LOVED).






















For the flowers I went bright to offset the rich chocolate brown of the dresses. It was fall, but early fall and still warm, so I really didn't want to stick to just yellow/orange that most people do with chocolate brown. Each flower had meaning (almost). The thornless red Jacqueminot Rose is the symbol of my sorority AOII. The yellow rose was my Papaw's favorite (and mine); I remember him giving Meme 3 yellow roses on their anniversary, one for each daughter. The purple iris was Meme's favorite; she planted a sea of purple irises on the bank outside their house. I can't see one without thinking of her. The mango calla lily just made for pretty boutonnieres!! See, I said almost!!



Matt and I had a wonderful time planning the different pieces of our ceremony, especially picking our scripture and planning the foot-washing. Yes, we had a foot-washing. The very first thing we did after exchanging vows and rings was wash each others feet. It was very special and moving, until I couldn't get Matt's sweaty sock off. Oh well, that's just how we roll!





















So that's pretty much a summary of our wedding!!

Week 3: Show Us Your WEDDING RECEPTION


Matt and I wanted to throw a hellova party for our reception. It was on the grounds at Laurelwood in their fantastic barn!! We danced the night away to our handpicked play list on the computer piped in through the speakers (GREAT way to save $$). We put together a "dinner music" playlist (lots of Sinatra on that one), a "first dance" playlist , and a "party" playlist ('nough said). I am fairly certain that folks had a blast, but heck you can see for yourself!










































THE CAKE was a bit of a fiasco (though no one knew it but us). I'm VERY picky about cakes because my UBER-talended mom used to make them for extra income. NEVER would a cake of mine be frozen before coming to my wedding. NO fondant icing allowed (yes it's beautiful but it tastes like cardboard). I wanted a chocolate cake with chocolate cream cheese icing for the bride's cake. We even made them do a sample cake for me to taste (I HAD to order it through the caterer, long story). The sample cake was perfect. What showed up at our wedding had about 1/3 the cream cheese in the icing that the sample cake did. But what do you do? It's there, you've cut it and they've screwed you. Not much you CAN do. Anyway, at least they got the decoration right (you can't really screw up putting flowers and cake toppers onto a cake).


My husband was mad because he thought that the groom's cake was supposed to be chocolate. Oh contraire bonjour. I wanted chocolate for MY cake, he had to pick something else! After several weeks of back and forth, I appeased Matt with the idea of a dessert table with all of his favorite pies. Our sweet friend Lara even made the centerpiece as part of our wedding gift, complete with a Buzz mascot!!!


(picture taken by Christie B. Griffin)

Mom kept bugging me about table decorations. I was trying to save money, so I said we didn't need any. She wouldn't leave well enough alone, so I told her she could spend $5 per table. This is what we came up with!


The sheaf of wheat is also a symbol of AOII, so after the wedding I packed them all up and shipped them to my sorority sisters at the Nu Beta house! They use them as center pieces for different events, so I'm told :) It also pays homage to my slight obsession/addiction to coffee!! Lamm loaned us the votive holders, so it cut costs even more!

YAY!! Time for Matt and Jill to leave!! WOOHOO!!!


About 5 seconds after this picture was taken, Matt said "Where are the keys?"...

Well, the photo album looks like it was a perfect day ;) Our photographer even offered us a ride home! Instead, we rode 1 hour down the mountain in the back seat of Lisa and Bill's car (Matt's mom and step-dad). We drove back up the mountain the day after the wedding to get Matt's car, and all of our belongings and IDs. Luckily, we didn't leave for Jamaica until Wednesday!!

So there you have it! More than you ever wanted to know about our wedding!

**picture credit for this entire blog post (except where noted) goes to the FABULOUS Melody Hood of Innamorata Photography**

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Lara's baby shower

Our women's small group (Bible study group) has been excited for a very long time to help Lara and Bryan welcome a baby into their family. We just had no idea (nor did they) that God would work in their lives the way He has. We are all truly amazed by the great blessing He has given to them.

Lara and Bryan are our friends who had just finished filling out their adoption paperwork when she found out she was pregnant, that I mentioned here. They have decided to adopt after little Hayden is born! They may have TWO BABIES by Christmas!! She is so amazing and dedicated to healthy living and treading lightly on this great Earth that she is going to cloth diaper both babies!

Well, it was finally time for us to plan Lara's baby shower. Since Lara has her very own organic garden, and her nursery is garden themed, we thought it the logical theme for her baby shower. So we got to work on the plans, and OF COURSE I called Lamm to design the invitations!!

Of course, last names, addresses and phone numbers have been removed.

Aren't they ADORABLE??? I was quite proud of coming up with the rhyme!! We wanted to make sure and acknowledge that Lara and Bryan are awaiting the arrival of their birth daughter, Hayden and an adopted sibling.

Anywho, this was the best shower I've ever co-hosted! We just did "everyone bring a dish" so no one person was overwhelmed (except maybe Merrell, she had to clean her house!). I signed up to bring the dessert, sugar cookies. My MIL gave me her/Grandy's coveted recipe and all the fun stuff to make them for Christmas and I've been DYING to try it out!

Well, I grossly underestimated the time it would take to roll out, cut, bake, ice and decorate 24 large cookies. But all the effort was worth it. They turned out so CUTE! I even found a cookie cutter at my favorite craft store that was a large flower with a small cookie bumble bee to stack on top, perfectly matching the invitations! SEE?!?!?!



Note to self: do not stack bees onto flowers until you've arrived at the destination (carry separately), some poor little bee faces got smushed :(

Here are all the ladies from small group (except Meghan who had a little trouble finding Merrell's house) that attended the shower.

Note to self: do not wear this outfit again until you have lost 10 lbs.


And here is Lara with her sister-in-law, neice, nana and mom.



Lara got tons of cool stuff for both babies. Her mom made a little sweater and booties (so cute); her nana made a blanket, and Meghan embroidered some onsies, a blanket and some bloomers.


Yep, Lara is cracking up because the onsie says "organically grown"

I think Lara's favorite gift was a few items of clothes worn by Bryan's favorite cousin that they are so close to. They were very special!


Fun was had by all (except Bryan waiting back at home). Bryan promptly got some horrible flu while we were at the shower and is now in quarantine at his mother's house for a week. Bryan needs prayers of healing, Lara needs to not get sick, and baby Hayden needs to stay in Mommy's belly until Daddy is well enough to welcome her into this world!!

We can wait a week to meet you Hayden!! Stay in Mommy's belly!

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

HOTTY TODDY I'm ready for football season!!!!

SO, today one of my most famous sorority sisters Katie F. Ward posted this video to her Facebook site and I am so PUMPED!!!

Check it out



This is why I miss Oxford!! This is why I love football season in the south, and I KNOW we do it better than ANYONE ELSE!!!

Not to mention this Sports Illustrated preseason poll that puts Ole Miss as #7!! It's going to be a GREAT FALL!!!

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

HAPPY 3-OH to me!

So, as you know, I turned 30 last Thursday! Mom sufficiently humiliated me at work by sending a cookie bouquet along with the 16x20 GLAMOR SHOTS print from when I was a Freshman in High School. The delivery sat at my desk for over an hour before I got back to the office and everyone had a good laugh. HAHA. Unfortunately with this new phone I can't figure out how to pull the pictures off, so my blogging friends will have to imagine 14 year old me, the iconic Glamor Shots flag jacket, rhinestone earrings and all.

Thursday night, my husband took me to P.F. Changs for dinner! But not before revealing my "mystery gift" in the garage. I have been banned from our garage for a good 3-4 weeks; there was newspaper over the windows and everything. It was all because my amazing husband was MAKING my gift. It's something we've wanted since we got married and it's so special that he made it for me. He would get up at 5am, dress for work, go out to the garage, change clothes into bum clothes, work on my gift for an hour, change back into his tie and work clothes, and go to work. Without further ado, I give you CORNHOLE!!! And because we are staunchly loyal to our respective undergrad alma maters, this is how we do cornhole in OUR FAMILY.
























Anywho, I had lunch Friday with my local BFF Mere at one of my FAVORITE lunch places, Petunia's Silver Jalapeno. It's an old silver airstream trailer joint that has THE BEST fish tacoes ON THE PLANET. Top it all off with a homemade from scratch peach milkshake (that's fresh peach slices and Mayfields vanilla ice cream and milk) and you've got yourself a fantabulous lunch!!

My sweet father-in-law and step-mother-in-law gave me a certificate for a mani-pedi, which I promptly used Friday afternoon in preparation for my birthday party. When I pulled up to the nail salon to meet my mom (in town from Cinnci) I noticed my BFF Hilary (from Indianapolis) through the window. She rode down with mom for the weekend to surprise me! EEK! AND THEEEEN Hilary and I got home from the salon (Mom had run to the "grocery store") when Mom delivers my BFF Melissa (from VEGAS) that she just picked up at the airport!!! Double EEK!!!

Melissa, me, Hilary
These ladies traveled the farthest for my big celebration!!!

SATURDAY is when we had my birthday party and my BFF Lamm (from Atlanta) came up with her husband Keith and baby Knox. My godmother Brenda also came up Saturday from Birmingham. My sweet husband FINALLY broke down and gave me a Pandora bracelet that I've been wanting since Christmas with the cupcake charm for my birthday. And each of my sweet and loving friends and family got me a bead or set of beads to add to it! Each bead means something between me and that person, and it's just perfect! See?

























We all loaded up and headed to the park for the celebration. Lamm surprised me with a custom birthday hat and a "Pin-the-Crown-on-the-Princess" game that she made with a photo of me when I was 3!! That was lots of fun. Some folks did well and some not-so-well as you can see!



























































Here are some pics from the party for you to enjoy!



Mel, Lamm, Me, Hilary, and Mere - love these ladies!!



Knox dressed up for the occasion. He heard that every girl's crazy for a sharped dressed man.



Grillmaster Ken and me (he's my big brother, can't you tell??)

I collected school supplies for the Inner City Ministries program at our church in lieu of gifts. Check out the LOOT!!! I'm so excited to deliver this basket to the church!!!


Thanks to everyone who donated supplies, came to my party from near and far, sent me wishes and cards, and otherwise recognized this monumental birthday! I'm blessed by you all!!!