John, Sara Beth, Callum, Haley, Kobe, and Samuel

John, Sara Beth, Callum, Haley, Kobe, and Samuel

Monday, December 26, 2011

Christmas 2011

This Christmas was a little different than other years and I am really happy with the way everything turned out. Christmas started for me on December 16th when I got off from work and started my very own Christmas vacation! I had a couple of days without the boys because they were still in school/daycare. I used my time very wisely and wrapped presents and did any last minute shopping and running around that I needed to. I ended up checking Kobe out of school early on Tuesday ...just because. On Wednesday morning Samuel and I woke up bright and early and got ready and went to Kobe's Christmas party at school. We ate breakfast foods and hung out for a little while and when it was all over... we all came home! On Wednesday night we had a Christmas party at church. It was so much fun and we got to hang out with some of our best friends and talk and the kids got to play and it was just a really fun time. We didn't want to leave! We hung out at home most of the week except for the few times we needed to run to the store for something we forgot or something I thought of and we had fun just being at home together. Friday night when John got off from work we set out to the mall and  out to dinner. We had fun just us. Hanging out. Saturday was Christmas Eve and John and the boys headed out for their annual tradition of shopping on Christmas Eve. This year I went with my parents to pick up the Christmas ham and a few last minute gifts. I always think of something else I wish I had bought or something I would have liked to buy but didn't and go back and get it anyway! I finally got home and cooked my side dish for my grandmother's house. This was the first family get together that we have been to in over a year so I was anxious and excited to see how it would all play out. We dropped off our food and went to Christmas Eve Communion at the Ark with a good friend and my parents. After communion we all (including our friend Mario) went to my grandmothers for dinner and presents. It was very nice to sit and talk to my family and especially my grandfather and my grandmother. I am really glad we went. The kids had a great time and have already asked when we would be going back. That evening when we left we went to see the Christmas lights (our family tradition) and sing Christmas songs in the car. When we got home we realized that Santa had already come. We missed him! We weren't home so he left the boys a note and some pajamas and nicely told them that they better get their little rear ends in the bed if they wanted him to come back. Each year, he does this, and each year the kids act like they can't believe it! It is so funny! So, we put on our Christmas Eve pajamas and sat out our cookies and milk and our apple for Rudolph. We sprinkled our Reindeer food on the lawn and went to bed. Samuel didn't think it was fair that we didn't go get in our bed too... he wanted to wait until we did... already a little too smart for his own good! We decided that Santa would take a backseat this Christmas. We let him come to our home but we told him he would only be bringing a few small gifts for each child.  Finally... around 1:00 AM John and I headed to bed. At 6:30 two little very excited boys came and tapped me on the shoulder and said Santa had come and wanted me out of the bed! So John and I got up and watched them ooohhh and aaahhh over their new presents and then we unwrapped out gifts under the tree. Everyone really enjoyed what they got this year and I am so glad that they did. I put a lot of effort and time (and money) into all of this and so it was really rewarding to see them so happy and excited. Although, I could have stopped after one gift...Kobe stopped doing anything once he saw his ipod touch and Samuel was only interested in his Batcave

Isaiah 9:6
For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.

At my grandparent's house on Christmas Eve--Kobe and my grandfather, Samuel and my daddy

Samuel is on the right and Kobe is on the left... fast asleep...waiting...
"..While visions of sugarplums danced in their heads..."
Santa came to see the dogs!
Kobe was visited by Santa
Samuel was visited by Santa and Santa even left his big red bag!

Our Christmas Tree


I told John I wanted a puppy for Christmas. He said no. I sent him a few pictures of some potential dogs that I thought might win him over. The answer: NO! So, I let it go for a little while thinking he might come around. That following Saturday morning he woke up and asked me didn't we have somewhere we needed to go?? I said no. I was still a little ill over not getting my way, you see. He finally came around to telling me to get my stubborn self in the car and he took us to the local animal shelter. He said he had been praying about the dog situation and doing a little bit of research. He said a Pug would be perfect for our home. He said if we found a dog that really needed us to rescue it we would bring it home. So, you know me....every dog I saw... Oh this is it! No, this is it! We also made the mistake of taking Samuel with us. He was unimpressed. He didn't go crazy over anything. Sure, he thought they were cute but I figured he would want each and every dog he saw. We were on the last row and nearly to the last cage and I was beginning to think we were not getting a dog! Until, at the very last cage there sat a PUG. A sweet little Pug that had to be taken from its owner due to abuse and neglect. One of his eyes had been poked "out" (the eye is still there but doesn't look like the other one) and he had been left out in very extremely cold temperatures with no food, water, or shelter. The lady that worked there said he needed a home very soon. The way she said it was to let me know this dog would be put down soon if someone didn't take it. She led Samuel through the rows one last time and asked which puppy he wanted to take home. He led her right back to the very last cage and chose the little Pug. Of course, that dog came home with us. He is the sweetest little dog and we all love him very much...except Buster who is still a little apprehensive of the new guy! He is very loving and follows me every step I take and loves our boys. He is a great addition to our home.

Leviticus Buddy (thanks to Sam) Rainey---Levi for short

Thankful Thursday 12-22-11

Some of you will notice, and others won't have a clue, but I skipped a week on Thankful Thursdays. I didn't mean to. It's not like I didn't have anything to be thankful for but I just simply ran out of time! I am going to try to get these last few posts of the year in ...because after that... I hope to order my first blog book!

So... on with the things I am most thankful for:

1. God. For sending His son to this Earth to walk among us and teach us how to love and be more like Him.

2. Jesus. For taking a beating for me and my sins. He took it for you too! Next time you want to judge someone or feel like someone is "below" you... look at them and think that Jesus loved them enough to die for them too!

3. John. For loving me even when I don't love myself.

4. The boys. MY Boys. OH MY! Not enough space to type about them. I love them so very much that sometimes I feel like I could BURST!

5. Happy. For John wanting to see me happy. This time it meant we got a puppy for Christmas! I love my little Leviticus Buddy Rainey. Samuel named him his middle name... We call him Levi.

6. Christmas Break. After I finished high school this term lost a lot of its meaning to me because I worked in college and shortly after had Kobe so "Christmas Break" didn't mean I had NOTHING to do because I would still work even if I had a break from classes. After college it went out the window except it became a little stressful because I always had to find somewhere for Kobe and then Sam to go when school and daycare closed. NOT. THIS. YEAR. I finally get a Christmas Break! I love my new job.

7. My Church Family and Pastors. They all mean so much to me and although we don't get to see them enough (two days a week is hardly enough) I enjoy when we do.

8. My Parents. I am so glad that we have my parents. They are always there for us and we enjoy having them around!

9. Patience. I have been so patient for the last 17 months and I finally got an answer on something BIG. I am going to have to ask that you be patient on this as I don't want to reveal this big surprise just yet until it is completely final...but in time I will reveal it!

10. Faith and Confidence. I am so thankful that I Have the Faith to remain Confident in Jesus Christ... that He will work it all out!


Saturday, December 24, 2011

52 Home-- Week 50

My Christmas present...his name us Leviticus Buddy (per Sam) Rainey
Published with Blogger-droid v1.7.4

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Family Portraits 2011

We had our portraits done by Lauren Burrows (Pastor Lauren at our church) and here are a few of our favorites...

Callum, Samuel, and Kobe... I love Samuel's little hand on this one

Our most favorite! Lauren did such a great job!

Love this group of people!

I am not exactly sure what Kobe was scared of...but... this could have been a great picture!

Sweet Boys

Kobe and Callum were unsuspecting when they let Samuel behind them... the placement of Samuel's hands and the look on his face says it all!

I have ALWAYS called him my Silly Little Sam!

I love this little monkey man!

My sweet little Kobe Ko growing up...

This one is a little too close for comfort because it reminds me of Senior portraits...which aren't that far off...

I love these boys

The Raineys

I think Samuel is SICK of pictures

52 Home---Week 49

This year's Christmas Card:

Friday, December 9, 2011

Five on Friday 12-9-11 (Toppings)

Here is this week's Five on Friday blog! If you would like to start your own Friday5 blog go HERE and get your weekly list and don't forget to link them in your blog and comment on theirs!! If you ever begin wondering or would just like to know "why" I do these blogs take a look at my explanation HERE I Hope you all have a FABULOUS Friday!!!

This Week's Topic: Toppings

1. What’s your favorite ice cream topping? **Caramel Syrup**

2. What’s your favorite pizza topping? **Cheese**

3. What’s your favorite thing to sprinkle cocoa powder on? **I would say whipped topping on top of hot chocolate**

4. What’s your favorite thing to put whipped cream on? **Pumpkin Pie**

5. What do you like to put upon a cracker? **A thin spread of port wine cheese and a little piece of ham, turkey, and a pepperoni!

                                                Ice_cream_scoop : ice cream cartoon with cherry isolated over white background. vector

Experiencing Santa Claus

Last night I went on a date. With two guys! They were really handsome and very polite. They were dressed so nicely and I was very proud to be their date. Their names were Kobe and Samuel! These two boys know how to treat a lady!

First, we went to Hobby Lobby (my choice, obviously). This wasn't their favorite stop of the night but I have to say that they were very well behaved and allowed me to look at everything I wanted to and I was very pleased.

Next, we made a straight shot to the mall. This was their choice. You may think that is odd for my two boys to choose the mall as a date destination...but... that is where Santa Claus lives for a few hours a day during Christmas! We entered through the back entrance and while we were making our way to the front of Santa's Village the boys were trying to get sneak peeks of him. Samuel, of course, had to touch anything that he saw and pick up everything that wasn't nailed down. I think I shared in a previous post Samuel's new found love for "wood crackers". He has found that he really admires Nut Crackers and at the entrance to Santa's Village there a several larger than life sized Nut Crackers. He was so excited. He saluted them and spoke to them and walked behind them to see if they were "real". I don't know if you know this... I didn't until Samuel enlightened me, that you can tell if they are real by checking to see if they have a handle to use to open their mouths... YEP they had one ... they were real! He asked to bring it home for his collection (my mother started him his very own Nut Cracker collection this year)...he was very disappointed with my answer. Finally, it was our turn to see Santa! The kids had been excited about this all day long so it really shocked me that they both "choked" the minute they saw him. Neither of them would go near Santa. Finally, probably out of embarrassment, Kobe went forward and sat on Santa's knee. Even seeing his big brother upon Santa's knee did not give Samuel the needed persuasion to hop up on the knee of the big fat guy in the red suit.But, finally with some gentle coaxing bribery he went and sat upon Old St. Nick’s knee. Kobe got so nervous once he saw him he couldn’t even tell him what he wanted for Christmas!  I bribed him by telling him that if he would go up there for a picture with Kobe that we would go anywhere he chose for dinner. Once he got up there he would barely speak and when it came time for pictures… he was ready to get off of that man’s knee! The lady couldn’t get him to smile for anything… not even a sucker! Poor Santa… I know he was ready for a quick return to the North Pole. We tried bribing Samuel to smile but it just wouldn't work. The lady asked if I wanted to go ahead and get the picture taken. I said yes, of course. I figured it could be our "Santa" picture. You know, the one that most all families have of an unhappy child to document how funny they looked! In true "A Christmas Story" style, at the very last minute, Kobe finally managed to tell a couple of things he wanted to find under the tree on Christmas morning. Samuel managed to mutter "Batman" but nothing else. I told Sam to tell him that we would have cookies and milk waiting for him on Christmas Eve and to find out his favorite kind. All Sam would say is "Cookies" and then a quite "Milk". Santa wished them a Merry Christmas and lowered them off of his knees. They both happily took their suckers and candy canes and moved (quickly) on their way. As we were walking off Kobe threw his hands up in the air and told us that he had indeed forgotten to tell him a few very important things. Samuel kept looking back in horror like Santa might hop the fence of candy canes and come after him. Once we were safely away Samuel began to talk about how much he loved Santa and how cool he was... yeah... OK Sam!

We continued on and went to the Collector's store to look at sports cards and action figures. Then onto Finishline to look at shoes and finally Samuel said he was really hungry and ready to go. I asked where he wanted to go and he said he was having a "Zack Attack!" and I asked what that was... apparently that means he wants to go to Zaxby's. So on to eat chicken we went. We enjoyed being a little silly at dinner and singing along with the songs that were playing and just chatting and having fun.

We then headed to Kirkland's and Lifeway Christian Book Store. The boys went straight to the back to watch the movie they were playing while I looked for what I needed. I wanted to make them get up and come on but they were being so sweet just sitting there that I hated to make them move! We made our final purchases and headed home.

We apparently passed by an obvious landmark in Samuel's eyes because he blurted out that we were going to church. So, we turned and headed towards church. John was there practicing with the Praise and Worship band so we snuck inside to hear a little before we headed home. They were singing my most favorite Christmas song ever. O Come Emmanuel. We sat and listened for a few minutes but it was past bedtime and time to head home. We drove home and sang Christmas songs. Each of them ended up falling asleep in the backseat. I looked in my rear view at them and at that very moment... all was right with my world.

My dates!

Sam isn't so happy and Kobe is a little nervous!

Thankful Thursday 12-8-11

1. God. He has been really showing up and showing out in our lives lately!

2. Jesus. Just to hear his name makes my heart feel so full of love.

3. Answered Prayers. John and I got in agreement and prayed a VERY specific prayer and I KNOW God heard us because He answered it and He answered in the way and at the specified time we asked Him to. He is so good!

4. John. It really does a heart good to see my husband stretching himself as a Christian and pray for others and be obedient to Christ.

5. My boys! Last night Kobe and Samuel took this mommy on a date. First, they took me to see Santa, to the Collector’s store (they like looking for the cheap basketball/baseball cards and at the dolls action figures, to Finish Line, to Romancing the Stone, and finally out to dinner at Zaxby’s. We had a *great* time and I do not believe I will ever forget hanging out just the three of us!

6. My Job. I am SO very thankful for my job. I love love love it! I love my co-workers and my boss and every single thing about it! I am so grateful!

7. My Church Family. My church, Pastors included, really showed me what “family” is all about. John and I have been dealing with some legal issues (nothing bad and when the time is right… I will share) and we had a court date last week. I had people calling me and coming to me asking to be there to show support for us. The hall was overflowing with people just wanting to be there for us. During the time of people pouring out love and support for us the Lord reminded me that at one time in life... hardly any one would stand by me and Many times not many people would show support or love to me and he showed me that this was his way of restoring what was lost. That is one of His promises to us and He definitely came through loud and clear on that one. He says that he will restore what has been taken or lost... My sense of love, self worth, self esteem, and support from others had been taken from me at one time but He restored it more than I could have ever hoped for! They were there and prayed over us and our family and were in intercession for us the entire time. I am so very thankful and deeply grateful for each one of them.

8. Our Friends. We have some really good friends. I am so thankful that God has placed these people in our lives. I love them more than any words I can ever type on this page. Particularly, “Uncle” Aaron and “Aunt” Lori. They were so good to us this past week and went out of their way to show love and support to my family that no words could ever thank them enough.

9. Peace. There is nothing like PEACE. Last Friday night, for the first time in probably ten years, I laid my head down on my pillow and I had peace. Peace that I could not ever describe. It was like a mighty tsunami of the Lord’s precious peace came over me. I am so thankful for peace and rest.

10. Restoration. I have had some ugly things said about me and some accusations pointed to me and I knew that I wasn’t wrong in the way I did certain things or handled certain situations. It broke my heart, especially because it had to do with my mothering abilities. I knew that this was the enemy trying to plant things in my head to make me feel unworthy or not “good enough”. The Lord whispered to me and told me that I need to lift my head and not worry about a thing. He told me that I could just step back because He would step in and defend me. And… He did. The Lord says that what the enemy meant for harm He will restore and He will turn it into good. He always works everything together for our good!


Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Oh Christmas Tree!

This year, since I was off the same days as the boys, we decided to put our Christmas decorations out while John was at work on Black Friday. Callum and Kobe carried boxes and decorations from the attic and Samuel and I put them where they belong. Sam put our stocking holder together all by himself this year and we all put the tree up together. We decorated it and then tested it to see how pretty it looked. We then decided that we needed hot chocolate and Christmas movies to finish up our decorating time and while I decorated the dining room and front porch they each put up their Christmas trees in their rooms. It was very sweet and we had alot of fun hanging out and decorating together. We even all pitched in after it was all done and cleaned the floors and picked the house up so that it would be all nice and neat and clean for the weekend. I always enjoy getting that one box down... the one with all of the handmade ornaments and Christmas decorations that my children have made over the years. I see the themed trees and think of how nice they are and how beautiful they are... and for ONE split second I think of how nice it would be to have that beautiful, matching, themed tree... and then I remember the tiny handprints on clay, the glittered stars, the cotton ball beard on the Santas, the slightly colored/painted angels, the wreaths that are now missing some of their rhinestones or beads, the sweet crayola colored popsicle sticks that frame my children's sweet faces that hang on my tree and I remember why I don't have a themed tree. I believe that even as my children move off there will always be a "childhood" tree in my home to help me recall these memories.

One day as we were passing by a home, that was very small (that is saying a lot coming from me, considering our home is quite small) and was aging in appearance and upkeep, Samuel said he wishes that was our home. Kobe asked WHY??? Why would you want to live there? Sam said, "Because they have Christmas there." I looked closer and there was a wreath and a nativity set on their tiny porch. He wanted to live there because they had Christmas decorations and a baby Jesus and we had not put anything up just yet. I often wish we could all be as innocent and non-judgemental and non-materialistic as our children.

I am very, very excited about our Christmas break this year because I will be spending it with my babies at home. I plan for us to do our good deeds of Christmas like we do every year and I plan to bake cookies and POSSIBLY a gingerbread house. Every year the kids BEG me to buy one of those kits...this just may be the year to try that out.

It is closing in quickly. Between holiday parties and gathering and school functions we are pretty much booked solid this month but I wouldn't have it any other way. I enjoy getting to spend time with friends and family that we love. Every year I start getting stressed over details... this year I have decided to not allow myself to get to that point. I don't want my children to remember holidays as stressful situations. I want them to remember the love and time we put into them.

Our tree

Monday, December 5, 2011

52 Home---Week 48

Kobe's first basketball game for the Trojans! 12-3-11

Five On Friday 12-2-11 (BRRRRR!!!!)

Here is this week's Five on Friday blog! If you would like to start your own Friday5 blog go HERE and get your weekly list and don't forget to link them in your blog and comment on theirs!! If you ever begin wondering or would just like to know "why" I do these blogs take a look at my explanation HERE  I Hope you all have a FABULOUS Friday!!!

This Week's Topic: BRRRRR

1. What’s your favorite thing about cold weather? **Getting to wear my furry boots that John bought me for Christmas last year!**

2. Soups and hot beverages seem to be everyone’s favorite cold-weather culinary combatant, but what’s another food that seems to take the bite out of the cold? *Pot Roast with carrots, potatoes, onions, and celery served with warm rolls and mac & cheese! Or for those SO cold morning... a family favorite of ours is Cinnamon Rolls!**

3. When the weather is just starting to turn cold but is not yet in full frigidity, what do you add to your bed until it’s time to break out the heavy artillery? (I said what, not whom!) **John puts a heating pad on his side of the bed about 20 minutes before he is ready to lay down to get it nice and warm and I take my nice comfy blanket that my mom made me to bed with me.**

4. What household chore seems especially unkind in these colder months? **Cleaning off the front porch and steps!**

5. Among people you know, who seems most oblivious to cold weather? **My dad. It doesn’t seem to bother him at all!**

                                                   Chicken Soup With Noodles

Five on Friday 11-25-11 (Leftovers)

Here is this week's Five on Friday blog! If you would like to start your own Friday5 blog go HERE  and get your weekly list and don't forget to link them in your blog and comment on theirs!! If you ever begin wondering or would just like to know "why" I do these blogs take a look at my explanation HERE  I Hope you all have a FABULOUS Friday!!!

**This week's Friday5 is compiled of questions that would have been included on the lists... had Friday5 been Friday6... according to their website.**

This Week's Topic: Leftovers

1. Leftover from April 17, 2009: What’s a creature comfort (practically unnecessary) you must take with you on an overnight trip in the great outdoors? Please consider a phone something that has practical necessity! **MY pillow from home. Even if I am camping in a camper or in a tent… I MUST have my very own pillow and John always takes his knee pillow.**

2. Leftover from August 31, 2007: What did yesterday cost you? ---Thanksgiving in the U.S., but answer it for wherever you are and whatever you did! **Yesterday was Thanksgiving Day … It cost me $52.54 for a late lunch/early dinner and the time I spent with my family was priceless.**

3. Leftover from January 25, 2008: What was your excuse the last time you were REALLY late for something? **I am ALWAYS late. Most of my friends HATE that about me…but it is just part of being me! The last time I was REALLY late I had a legitimate reason. My doctor’s appointment was LONG because of my wait in the waiting room.**

4. Leftover from February 18, 2011: What was your first online purchase? **It was likely tickets to some show or toys for Kobe.**

5. Leftover from December 25, 2009: Which of your gifts do you think you do not put to its best, fullest use? **Probably the candles that I store away in my cookie safe… I don’t know WHAT I am saving them for!**

Leftover Food Storage - csp5808431

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Thankful Thursday 12-1-11

Top Ten This Week:

1. God. I am so thankful that God loves me with an everlasting heart.

2. Jesus. So very thankful that He is in intercession for me RIGHT now.

3. Prayer. It changes things.

4. Great Pastors. I am so thankful for pastors who care about their church family and treat them as such!

5. God's Timing and His Will. It Is perfect. Enough Said.

6. Faith. I put my hope and trust in the one who is MOST High!

7. Royal Bloodlines. I am a daughter of a King... A Co-Heir of Christ!

8. God's Promises. He keeps His word. He watches over it to preform it.

9. Praise and Worship. I am thankful for time that I can spend just magnifying His goodness.

10. No need to do it myself. God promises that vengeance is HIS! He said that He will step between us and our aggressors and defend us.


Monday, November 28, 2011

Happy Thanksgiving!!

Since today is Thursday and it is Thanksgiving... this will serve as my Thankful Thursday post:

Today is Thanksgiving. We are detouring from our "normal" holiday routine this year. Normally we would go to my grandmother's house but this year we decided on something a little different.

We made plans to go to serve Thanksgiving lunch at Jen's Cafe. Jen's gives out free Thanksgiving lunch to those who may not otherwise have a good Thanksgiving meal. I have witnessed some come to eat the very good food that Jen's serves and  leave donations and others are just grateful to get a hot meal. It is a huge blessing to be a part of this. I was very excited to be able to give back. As most of you know, one of my main areas of ministry is to the hurt, lost, and under privileged. So this is a perfect outreach for me and my family. Not only can you serve someone a wonderful meal and spend time with someone who might have been alone on that gives plenty of opportunity to pray with them as well. After that we were planning to go out for dinner with friends who do not have any family in the area and be their family for the day. We were so excited about the plans and couldn't wait to get Thanksgiving started. This year since I have a new job, I was afforded the luxury of getting to spend the school holiday/break with my children. It was looking like a wonderful Thanksgiving.

We started our Thanksgiving off about a little over a week in advance when we had Thanksgiving dinner with our bible study home group. It was so much fun and such great food. I think I can speak for my whole family when I say that we really enjoyed the fellowship and worship as well as the food and company! We really consider each of these people as part of our family so when we got to spend time with them it really is a blessing.

The Tuesday before Thanksgiving our church held a Thanksgiving service. We attended and had a wonderful time of Praise and Worship followed by a very heartfelt message from Pastor Bill. I always enjoy hearing him and we all love him and are so thankful for him and his family, as we are for all of our Pastors at Church of the Shoals. Afterwards, we had dessert and coffee with our church family. We always love being with our church family and it was hard to leave... we could have stayed all night. We were some of the last to leave and we enjoyed every single second of it.

Wednesday morning came bright and early because Kobe had basketball practice that morning and the rest of us had hair appointments. I found out while there that since I had volunteered to help with the set up and take down at Jen's for Thanksgiving lunch that my name had somehow not gotten put on the schedule for serving food on Thursday and they were very well staffed and wouldn't need me! I was disappointed that I would not be there but my heart was over joyed that so many people had volunteered. Our friends, Susan and Aaron were who we were planning dinner with and since Susan is our hair dresser we talked and decided that since those plans had changed we would have lunch instead. I decided I would go to a Christmas auction that night afterwards and I was still very happy and excited about our Thanksgiving Day plans. That night I made turkey, apple stuffing, hash brown casserole, mashed potatoes, macaroni and cheese, rolls, cranberry sauce, pineapple casserole, Oreo pie, and sweet potato pie. After we sat down we all took turns going around the room telling each person what we were thankful for about them. Of course, when they told me what they were thankful for about me... I cried. They were the sweetest little comments. I will remember that night forever. It was so nice to have a nice family dinner and be so grateful for what we have and for each other. We even got to drink out of the fancy glasses! The kids LOVED that. I heard, "You are the best Mom ever!" a lot that night. I don't know if it was because of the turkey or the Oreo pie!

Thursday morning ...fortunately... wasn't so bright and early. We all slept in a little. I got up and fixed a nice BIG breakfast and we all ate and watched the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade on TV. Scratch that. That is what I had hoped would happen. Instead... the kids ate very rapidly so they could get to playing outside and playing video games and John and I watched the parade. Soon after we had to begin getting everyone ready to go to Aaron and Susan's for lunch. This was very trying. The children would NOT cooperate. They were being ugly to each other and to me! I decided that plans were for the birds and decided to wait it out until attitudes improved...including mine. Needless to say, we missed lunch. I was actually fine with that because I wasn't quite sure how nice of a time it would have been with the morning we had already experienced.  After the huge uproar... things seemed to get alot better. We didn't have anymore problems with the boys and all seemed to be OK. UNTIL... we began to get hungry. Since we had our Rainey Family Thanksgiving meal the night before I didn't have anything "thanksgiving-y" to cook and I thought we might have frozen pizza. But then... we decided to go out to an early dinner. We drove past Cracker Barrel and it was absolutely packed. We drove on to Olive Garden. Closed. We looked at Red Lobster. Closed. John kept driving because he knew our options were slim and he knew what the kids would pick... and he knew I wouldn't like it... but then the kids started saying, "Ryan's! Ryan's!". I am not a fan... at all. I began to find myself in a very foul mood. I know the kids love the ice cream bar but I can't stand anything about it... well, maybe I like the rolls. So, into Ryan's we went. I was so ill. Now, looking back I am so ashamed of myself. Halfway through the meal I found myself with my coat on and zipped, sitting on the opposite end of the table, frowning, and mad that all of my plans were RUINED. I also found myself feeling really disappointed in....myself. I was being such a brat and so ungrateful on the day I am to be the most grateful. I felt that sting of tears in my eyes... and not because of the food. But, because of my bad and ugly attitude. I had to just get up and go to the bathroom and cry. I was being such a brat! I came back out of that bathroom and I was appreciative of my family, our health, the fact that we could go to eat, that we were eating, that we have jobs, a home, cars, and yes... even the sticky floors at Ryan's. Although, our Thanksgiving did not go as planned... I know that God knew what I needed... I needed to get a good swift kick in the pants to remember what Thanksgiving is all about.... and he gave me that lesson. When I sat back down I didn't notice all of the dirty dishes everywhere or the sticky table or the food on the floor... I noticed my husband and kids making the best memories. I almost missed out on that. I was able to salvage a tiny piece of that meal with them. I am so grateful for the reminder that it is not about the food or the type of food you eat. It isn't about where you sit down to eat. It is about being with who is important to you and giving praise and thanks to God for all that He has blessed us with. I left with a grateful, yet heavy heart. I was embarrassed at how I had felt. We salvaged the day though. The boys all hugged me and told me how much they loved me... that is enough to make anyone smile and feel better!

It turned out to be one of the most memorable Thanksgiving breaks ever. We enjoyed extra time with each other and we had several Rainey Family Cinema sessions! I am really looking forward to Christmas break...except... I think we should make NO plans!!!

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

52 Home---Week 47

The most important seat in the house...where John reads the Bible and prays each morning
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Monday, November 21, 2011

Five on Friday 11-18-11 (Moving)

Here is this week's Five on Friday blog! If you would like to start your own Friday5 blog go HERE and get your weekly list and don't forget to link them in your blog and comment on theirs!! If you ever begin wondering or would just like to know "why" I do these blogs take a look at my explanation HERE I Hope you all have a FABULOUS Friday!!!

This Week's Topic: Moving

1.When did you last move residences? **In 2001. I moved from my parent's house into my house to prepare for the arrival of Kobe!**

2. What song leaves you completely unmoved even though it seems everyone else is moved by it? **Don't Stop Believing by Journey**

3. On what kinds of mornings is it easiest for you to jump out of bed and get moving? **Saturdays, of course!That is the day I do what I want to do!**

4. What object do you get most annoyed about when people move it without letting you know? **ANYTHING that is mine... but especially my keys or the remote control to the TV!**

5. In what way are you waiting on someone else to make a move? **I am waiting to hear from someone about a payment arrangement. I can't do anything until they do their part!**

Five on Friday 11-11-11 (What To Take)

Here is this week's Five on Friday blog! If you would like to start your own Friday5 blog go HERE and get your weekly list and don't forget to link them in your blog and comment on theirs!! If you ever begin wondering or would just like to know "why" I do these blogs take a look at my explanation HERE I Hope you all have a FABULOUS Friday!!!

This Week's Topic: What To Take
1. What do you usually take to the beach? **Sunblock, water, and towels**

2. What do you find essential for a trip to the mall? **Debit Card**

3. What’s something you take to the ballgame? **Market tote full of snacks and drinks**

4. What do you take to the movies? **Jacket**

5. This one may not have broad enough a relevance, but what do you take when you go to the symphony? **I don't frequent the symphony but if I did... I would need some no dose...As much as I do enjoy classical music...I KNOW I would fall asleep!**

Thankful Thursday 11-17-11

This Week's Top Ten:

1. God. I am thankful that He knows my past, is in my present, and controls my future!

2. Jesus. I watched the Passion of the Christ recently and it made me literally love Jesus even more. I am so thankful He loves us so much!

3. John. I am thankful that after five years of marriage... I don't have to ask him to help me do chores. He sees me working on something or trying to get a specific chore done and he just pitches in without being asked.

**Each of my children are very different so I am going to give them their very own number this week.**

4. Kobe. I am thankful for Kobe because he is such a sweet child. He genuinely cares for others and always wants to please us. He wants us to be proud of him and compliment his work. He wants us to see each and everything that he draws or writes and loves just chatting with us. One of my most favorite times of the day is first thing in the morning. He always comes to the room that I am in and chats with me and tells me about his plans for the day or about something that may have happened last week! He checks on me when I am sick or sad, he misses me when I am gone, and he hugs me and tells me he loves me when we are together. I think he is a great kid!

5. My little wild man Sam. Oh my! I am so thankful for the life that this child gives me. I think our home might be a little on the dull side without him around. He is so full of energy and life and he always keeps me laughing! He also aims to please us and while he is a "daddy's boy" he still loves his mommy. He cuddles with me and watches movies with me (Especially the ones no one else seems to want to watch with me...Napoleon Dynamite). He is my little ray of sunshine and ball of energy and I love him so much! I couldn't imagine my life without him. I am so thankful for him. He is my little blessing sayer each night and he absolutely completes our little family. I couldn't imagine my life without Samuel!

6. Callum. Callum is the child who always helps and rarely ever complains. He doesn't ask for much but gives a lot in return. He is learning to be a good big brother and learning the importance of school and learning. I am very proud of him and so very thankful for him.

7. Haley. I am thankful for her phone conversations and Facebook messages.I am so glad that I have one girl ally in the house sometimes! I miss her when she is gone and I am always so glad to see her! I am really looking forward to having her "home" for Christmas break!

8. Our Home Group. I love love love our home group that meets on Tuesday nights. We eat dinner together and then we have a little time for praise and worship and then we have a devotion or discussion. It is really a great group of friends and I am so thankful that I have them.

9. Our Church Family. I have such an awesome church family. Seriously. They are the best. I love each and every single one of them. They are some of the sweetest people I have ever met in my entire life and I love them so much. They are some of the best friends I have ever met!

10. My Oil Burner. Haley gave me the best gift ever for my birthday this year. She gave me an oil burner. I just bought a new fragrance. It is Apple Cinnamon. I LOVE the smell. It makes the whole house smell so good. I love it!


Wednesday, November 16, 2011

52 Home--- Week 46

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Friday, November 11, 2011

Thankful Thursday 11-10-11---A Different Twist on my Traditional Post

Normally, I post the TOP ten things that I am thankful for of the week but this week is going to be a little different. I have had a few things happen to me this past week and I really want to remember them and I am so very thankful that they happened... so here it goes...

Last week I saw my husband off to minister to other men at North Alabama Men's Encounter. I feel so blessed to be his wife. He amazes me each day at how he goes after God. I am very, very proud of him and seeing him support those men and help free those men who were bound up and not able to walk in the fullness of Christ just literally overwhelmed my soul! He always comes back on fire for God and "upgraded" as a husband and a father!

I have a friend who I have been praying for her and her husband for over a year. I have wanted so badly for them to come to church with me. I have invited them more times than I can count and something always happened that we just couldn't get it together. I have prayed that the Lord would work this out! Well, He did! My two sweet friends recommitted their lives to Christ yesterday and will be sitting beside ME in church on Sunday! Glory To God!

Last night the boys wanted waffles and so Kobe decided we had to go to the Waffle House. Yes, I know it is not very clean but it is very good so off we went.  In the middle of our drive Kobe reminded me that the high school pep rally for the playoffs was in just a few minutes. I asked the boys if they would like to go and they both said YES. We turned around and headed back towards the high school. We enjoyed time together at the pep rally and when it was all over I headed home. I decided while there that we would go home and make grilled cheese sandwiches and call it a night. The boys just wouldn't have it so I went to Waffle House. We met our waitress and I could tell she was having a rough night. I decided right then we were going to be the BEST customers she had ever had. We talked with her and used our very best manners and complimented her. A few minutes later there were dishes being thrown around and yelling between two of the other employees and I felt a little scared. Their anger immediately turned from on each other and they both directed it at our waitress. They talked so hateful to her and treated her so ugly that it was upsetting to me. She laid some to go plates on the counter and the other girl came up and pushed them off in the floor. I was so ashamed at this other girl's behavior. I wanted to bring the momma out of me and give her a good talkin' to! But, as I sat there and watched this poor girl get talked about LOUDLY in front of the customers, talked to like she was a dog, and treated horribly...I couldn't help but feel so proud of her. She never once came down to their level. She continued to show respect and love and kindness to the other two employees...and to us. We could have been easy targets for her because she didn't know us and she didn't ever have to see us again but she CHOSE to act in love. Which really stirred it up in me to act in love. When I first met her and she introduced herself to us I heard a very distinct voice whispering to my heart to bless this woman in ALL ways. I knew that I was there at this particular Waffle House for a particular reason at this very specific time. I watched this girl be reduced to tears and then the "manager" (he was very POOR manager material) demanded that she clean up a mess that the other waitress made. The mess, in my opinion, was made intentionally and I really felt like they were just out to get this poor girl. At this moment she decided to stand up for herself. She told them (very calmly and nicely) that she didn't mind helping but she didn't feel that the other waitress was busy enough (and they weren't!) to warrant her not at least helping clean the mess she made. The "manager" didn't like that so he told her to get off of his clock. She began sobbing. She went to the back, where I figured she was going to get cleaning supplies, and came back out with her coat on and refilled my coffee and told me to have a great night. I asked her if she was leaving and she said yes. I asked her to please allow me to pay so that I could lave her a tip (I told you previously that the Lord was really pressing it on me to bless her). She agreed so we went to the cash register and when she gave me my total I handed her my debit card. She said that she wouldn't be able to get her tip because I was paying with a card and they don't "cash" them out until the end of their shift. She asked me not to leave one at all because if I did the other two would split whatever I left. I just couldn't leave this alone. I asked her what direction she was headed. I was planning on stopping at an ATM an giving her some money. I had NO cash (note to self of the importance of always having a little bit of cash on you). I told her I really wanted to give her a tip. She said, "Well, if you are wanting to do something for me then you could give me a ride home". Well, for those of you who KNOW me you know that I am paranoid and nervous and that this just isn't something that I do. I felt bad to tell her no. So ... I didn't. Without so much as a moment's hesitation I said... OK, where are you headed? She told me where she lived...which wasn't all that far but not in that great of a neighborhood. I had my children with me and I was concerned for safety reasons but I really feel that the Lord placed me there to help this girl. So, we all piled in and buckled and started down the highway. She looked out the window and I began talking to her telling her that I was proud of her for handling herself with such class instead of being reduced to behavior like her former coworkers and I noticed she wouldn't look at me. I really got nervous. I began PRAYING for safety and I told the Lord that I KNEW he had me there for a reason and a purpose and that I knew He would keep me and my children safe because we were about our Father's business. I knew that I would probably never get this very chance again so I boldly went for it... I just encouraged her and spoke to her about knowing Jesus. She told me she could tell I must be a Christian. I was happy to encourage her and witness to her but I still had it pressed on me to bless her financially...I don't have much but what I could I was willing to give. I felt let down because there are no banks located where this girl lived but as we turned I saw the bright green letters clear as day in the window of a store that said ATM. I pulled in and asked her if she minded me running in for a second. Of course she didn't. Now, I was being kind hearted...but I am NOT stupid... I did take my purse and keys inside. Back to the story... I got out what I felt led to and went back to the car. We talked a little more and she told me that I reminded her of her mom. I told her she reminded me of myself! She told me that she hated that she lost that job because she had three little boys. That broke my heart... because it wasn't that long ago that I was RIGHT where she was. I really began to speak life into her and it was easy because I knew what I WISHED someone could have told me when that was me. Single. Young. A mom. A crappy job. Daily struggling. Feeling of Failure. Worthlessness. Wondering if I would EVER get out of the hole I felt trapped in. I was able to tell her that it gets better! I was able to give her hope and shine some of Jesus' loving light in on a girl in a dark place in life. I felt like I was in the car with my younger self. It felt so good to be able to speak with this hurting girl. I will never forget her or her name or what she did for me. She blessed me in a way that I have never felt before in my life. I plan to check in on her from time to time if the Lord allows me to. When we pulled up in front of the housing unit she lived in she just sat there for a minute. I could tell she didn't want to get out and I didn't really want her to. As she went to get out I told her not to forget her tip and handed her the money. She cried then too. She stood in the doorway and just looked at me ...I was in a place where normally someone might feel scared, frightened, or uneasy about their surroundings...but luckily... all I felt was love. Love reciprocated from me to her and back again. I told her she was loved by a King and that He was her Heavenly Father and that she was His little princess. She stood there crying and telling me thank you for the ride and finally said "Well, Bye". She walked off. I would be lying if I didn't say I drove a little faster on the way out but as I did I had tears rolling down my face. I fixed my rear view mirror on my kids.I first thanked God for keeping us safe. Then I thanked Him for fixing my ears to hear what He was telling me to do. I thanked Him for pre-arranging that meeting. During those trying years that I overcame, I often wondered "WHY ME?". I wondered what I had done to deserve such a crappy deal. Last night, I found out. Unknown to me then, but surely known to me now, I would need those experiences for an assignment in my life that happened nearly ten years later. You see, if I had not gone through what that precious girl went through then I could not have ever known how to talk with her and witness to her and know exactly the right things to say. I truly feel like I was able to "go back in time" and tell my "younger self" some words of wisdom and encouragement. So, when times are tough and there seems to be no way...just remember that although it may seem hopeless or "dark"...the Lord has a purpose for each and every single phase in life you are put through. During the dark times... lean on the Lord and let Him do what He longs to you. I give all the Glory to God !

Thank you Lord for blessing me through others this week!


Friday, November 4, 2011

Five on Friday 11-4-11 (Hanging Out)

Here is this week's Five on Friday blog! If you would like to start your own Friday5 blog go HERE and get your weekly list and don't forget to link them in your blog and comment on theirs!! If you ever begin wondering or would just like to know "why" I do these blogs take a look at my explanation HERE  I Hope you all have a FABULOUS Friday!!!

This Week's Topic: Hanging Out

1.Where did you hang out with friends when you were a teen? **In the Rec Room at Susie's house!**

2.Where did you hang out with friends when you were in your twenties? **I didn't do a whole lot of hanging out in my twenties because I was already a mommy. I worked and went to school and any free time I had I liked to be with Kobe. But, the occasion did come that I went out I went to Scores.**

3.Where do you hang out with friends now? If you’re still in your teens or twenties, where do you imagine you’ll hang out with friends when you’re older? **Now, I hang out with friends at church functions, bible studies, at our homes, and at the occasional girl's night out having dinner somewhere!**

4.What great hanging-out memories do you have? **The FIRST things that comes to mind is Susie drinking HOT Diet Cokes and just being girls!**

5.What ingredient makes hanging out better some times than others? **Feeling rested...if not, I will likely have to call it an early night and go home and go to bed! (I know, I know I am getting OLD!)

Thursday, November 3, 2011

52 Home---Week 45


I Couldn't Agree More!

Last night on the way home from church, Kobe said something that tickled me! It made me laugh so hard I had tears streaming down my face! As we were approaching the main road in our city, Samuel shouted out, "Look! Mommy and Kobe Look! The lights are on!". Yes, the city has ALREADY put up the Christmas lights along the main road. They are on each light pole and they are huge snowflakes. There is also an array of lights that adorn the crosswalk above the road that leads to the school. Samuel was amazed! He was so glad to see those lights because that means Christmas! Without missing a beat and without a trace of a smile on his face, in ALL seriousness, Kobe says, "Not only is it early, it is TOO early. It is only the second day of November. We haven't even had Thanksgiving yet! By the time Christmas gets here I will be SICK of looking at them...I might even want to grab a gun and just shoot them down!". Of course, Samuel didn't like that idea... but I couldn't agree more! I laughed and laughed! Finally, Kobe realized how funny he had just been then he started laughing too. At first, Sam yelled at us to stop because we were being mean but I guess it is true what they say about laughter being contagious...because then he started laughing too!

Thankful Thursday 11-3-11

My Top Ten for Today are:

1. God. I am His daughter...and He is my Heavenly Father.

2. Jesus! He is my King!

3. John. Best Friend. Best Dad. I am thankful that the Lord made me wait on Him! He was worth it!

4. My Boys. Full of Laughter and Full of Trouble! They make my heart soar!

5. My Church Family. So thankful to have been placed in my church for a reason. So thankful to have met some of my best friend there!

6. Great Parking Places! This morning on the way to work I prayed that the Lord was going to just GIVE me a good parking place. It was raining and if you have ever parked at UNA you know that sometimes you need a prayer! Well... I got the BEST parking place ever! Right in front of the door to the building!

7. Good Co-Workers. I am thankful for good co-workers who help you and show you how things are done and who also invite you to lunch!

8. A Praying Husband. I am so thankful each morning when my husband rolls out of bed over an hour early just to read the Word of God and to pray over our lives, marriage, children, family, finances, and needs of ours and others!

9. International Delight Presents: Caramel Macchiato
My NEW favorite coffee creamer... International Delight Carmel Macchiato!

10. Floor Heaters. Without them I would FREEZE in my office!


Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Walking on Water and Jumping on Clouds

Samuel is our appointed "sayer" of the blessing before meals, he knows the ten commandments, he knows all the parts of the armor of God, and he gives us the following sweet reminder almost daily: "God gave you today and let you wake up today and Jesus saved you on a cross!". I love hearing him tell these things. It still catches me off guard sometimes to hear a four year talk so "big"! So, it should have been no surprise to me when the following conversation took place in the backseat of my car a couple of weeks ago while driving down the road:

Samuel: Mom, do you think Jesus jumps on clouds?
Me: Well, I don't know Samuel.
Samuel: Do you think He uses clouds like trampolines?
Me: I am not sure about that, Sam.
Kobe: No! He doesn't! He can't. He would fall through!
Samuel: Kobe! If Jesus can walk on water then He CAN jump on clouds...believe me!

How precious is that???

Looking out the window on the way home from church...there is NO telling what he is thinking about!

Trick-er Treat?

This year, I decided that we were going to "make" our costumes. Well, not ALL aspects of the costumes but that we would put them together ourselves instead of buying a plastic bag with the costume already inside. I just thought it would be fun to put our own "spin" on the outfits. I knew it would be hard to top last year's characters but I decided to give it a try! Becaue I wasn't blogging last year I will post a couple of pictures from last year just for the sake of remembering.


Mr. T

We had him saying, " I pity the fool!"

Buzz Lightyear

He flew all over the place that night!

Ok, now back to this year. SO, after much debating we decided on our "characters" for the year. Callum was going to be Napolean Dynamite, Kobe finally decided on Steve Urkel, and Samuel decided on Alvin from Alvin and the Chipmunks. Right away we googled each of these characters and made a list of what all we would need to make these costumes look "real". I spent quite alot of time on each costume and was quite proud of the way they turned out! It was hard to beat last year's plans for Halloween because we went to Six Flags and spent the day there. But, we did end up having a really great time this year and (in my opinion) it was far better than Six Flags. We went to our church's Family Fest on Sunday night and played games and the kids got to jump in bounce houses and get their faces painted. They won prizes, trinkets, and candy! We got to spend time with our friends and family from church as we ate dinner together. Each year our church has a chili cook off and so we have chili for dinner at the fall festival. You can either get it in a bowl with crackers or on top of nachos, baked potatoes, or hot dogs! Everyone just pitches in and brings desserts and snacks and it is a really great time! Each one of us had a great time that evening.

The next morning (Halloween) we all got up and got ready for school and work. I put Taco Soup in the crockpot so that we could be ready to eat immediately when we got home, because in years past the boys have been ready to go trick or treating before it even gets dark! Samuel's daycare asked that we bring their costume to school that day so that they could dress them up and take them trick or treating. I had Samuel's costume laid out but he really wanted to go as Batman to school... so I let him. Partly because he will only be 4 once and partly because I didn't want anything to happen to his "real" costume for Halloween night. So, we got out Batman... then he wanted to WEAR it to school instead of pack it in his backpack... so I let him. Yes, I am that mom (as mentioned before in a previous blog that you can find HERE) I let him because how many more years will he ask to dress up as Batman for school... probably ZERO! So I dressed a little Batman for school, Threatened Kobe if he broke Reminded Kobe that his teacher's Fall gifts were breakable, gave hugs and kisses and wishes of a good day to everyone and off we went. My car was packed down with cupcakes, goody bags, teacher gifts, lunchboxes, and backpacks! It was worth it when I saw how proud Samuel was that he was walking into school as Batman...and that I brought cupcakes for his friends. He is the sweetest!

I had a fun day at work passing out candy and seeing some of the faculty and staff dressed up in their costumes! My two favorite parts of my day at work: when the preschoolers from Kilby walked over pulling a little wagon full of baked goods for a little taveling bake sale and hearig about when Dr. Blake gave his lecture in a Grim Reaper costume...complete with special effects in the planeteruim and a glowing mask! I bet the students loved it! As much fun as that was... I was really anxious to get home to my kids and have dinner and go out walking and spending time with them. I got straight to work when I got home and started fixing bowls of soup and pouring drinks. We had my parents over for dinner and so we all just sat and ate and talked and enjoyed eachother's company. After we were all finsihed eating we decided to hurry and get dressed up and get out and go trick or treating! Samuel kept asking me, "Mom, are we going to get some trickers??" I assume he thought that it was tricker treat instead of trick or treat. Before we left, Kobe decided he was too old for trick or treating. It really hurt my heart. Not because of the candy or that he didn't want to dress up (although I had put in a lot of time finding everything for his costume!) but because I recognized it as a sign of him getting older and growing up. Let's face it: They all grow up and get older but what parent wants to really accept that??? NOT ME!!! So, he changed back into his regular clothes and decided he would just come along to walk with Samuel up to the doors. We loaded up in the car and headed to my parent's house. We got out and walked into my parent's neighbor's yard (a neighbor that both of my boys have grown up knowing and loving) and they both froze. Neither of them wanted to go. They both literally begged us to go home. So, home we went. At first, I was aggrevated. Mainly because I had gotten out thinking we were going to do something and the plans changed and a little because of the costumes! But, after I thought about it... I realized that eventhough we did not go trick or treating...we did something that meant alot to all of us: We enjoyed a night at home. These days our schedules are so busy and hectic that we rarely have a night to do whatever we want due to sports, band, homework,meetings, obligations, and church activities. Sometimes, the kids (and me) just want to sit in front of the TV and watch a movie or play a video game. That night everyone got to enjoy something that they really wanted to do. It was a fun weekend and I am so thankful for the good family time that we got to spend together.

Goody bags for Sam and his friends: Halloween Glasses, Halloween shaped marshmallows, M&Ms, Smarties, Dum Dum Suckers, Halloween Gummies

Fall Candles I made for Fall Gifts for the Teachers

Callum as Napolean Dynamite

Kobe as Steve Urkel

Samuel as Alvin---I love his little ears!

All three boys!
Samuel in his Halloween glasses