Monday, September 21, 2015

50th Birthday Surprise

We had a surprise party last night at church to
celebrate my husband's 50th birthday! It was
so much fun and I CAN'T BELIEVE IT, but
we actually DID surprise him. It was 
hard to be sneaky, it seemed like every time I turned
around this week, he was right at my elbow. LOL
But, we did it! 

We started everything off with having EVERYONE wear black.
When he walked in and saw the sea of black, he got a tad bit
suspicious. But, he still had no idea what all we had in store for him.
We played music just before the start of the usual. Then,
he made his announcements and prayers usual. 
Then, when he asked Bro. Ryan to come up to do the congregational
music, Bro. Ryan told him to just to sit back and relax, that
we had taken over the service. 

Bro. Ryan started out by telling a few funny things about him.
We all got in more than a few laughs. 

We had a couple of guest preachers 
on Skype and we put it up on the big screen.
But, for some goofy reason, I could not get these two
pictures to upload. It was so nice for him to have
a couple of his preacher friends to participate in his special day. 

Bro. Jay, our deacon, had some very nice things to say. 
He has always been a blessing to us. All the mean things
you hear about deacons have never been true of this man.
He has made my husband's job a pleasure. He has always
"had his back" no matter. 

Bro. Wendy also had some nice things to say. He always
feels like he can't get the right words out to say what
he feels in his heart, but honestly, I think he does
a wonderful job of communicating. It's from his heart
and such a blessing. 

Bro. Randal took a few moments to talk
about the time when the pulpit committee was
praying and seeking for a pastor, how it all came
about in calling my husband to serve here almost
15 years ago. He is a dear man who has always been
a blessing to our family. 

Bro. Jonathan spoke a few words about his
love and friendship for him. He was our "techy" expert who helped
with putting together the Skype calls.
We also had a DVD presentation with pictures
of my husband over the years and Bro Jonathan
did the work on it too. I really appreciate
Bro. Jonathan's hard work and dedication to get this
all together for us. 

I had invited Bro Payne and his wife, Dianne, to be
in the service with us. The two of them have been
great friends and hunting partners for close to 30 years.
I could not have imagined not having them there with us. 
He shared a really funny hunting story with us. 

Ryder, one of our teenage boys, gave testimony of how much he appreciated him
and how he had prayed for him and helped through
a difficult time a couple of years ago. It was so precious
to hear him say he loves his pastor. 

And then, Bro. Ryan called upon the men to
come up and pray with him. It was all very moving. 

After, the service,  we had cake and ice cream. 
His cake was so cute. It said "older than dirt"! lol

And, in honor of this very special birthday, he and I actually
ate birthday cake and had ice ice cream. This is the first time
that we've eaten sugar since April 14. And, although the cake
was very good, I decided that I haven't missed it all that much. 

And then, some of the young people put on a little
skit entitled "When Pastor Was My Age"
They would tell the year and some random things
about what prices were during that year. 

And, at the end of the skit, Daniel came out wearing
an afro wig and huge glasses and said, "when
pastor was my age, he looked like this"! It was soooo funny.
And HE REALLY DID LOOK LIKE THAT!  It was very cute.

Later, Emily stuck the wig and glasses on his head. lol

We really had an awesome party for him. He loved every
single thing about it. 
To top, it all off, I had invited a few of our old friends from
HBT (our previous church where he served as youth director)
to come by and have cake and ice cream with us after their service.
It was so nice to get to fellowship with them
and have them be a part of our celebration. 
Unfortunately, I was having so much fun, I forgot to get pictures 
during this time. 

I appreciate Miss Barbara so much for taking care of all the
decorating and picking up the cake for me so that
we could surprise him. She has been more of a help
to me than I could ever express. And she, and Mrs. Robin
helped in serving and I really appreciate their kindness. 

Overall, it was a wonderful surprise and he LOVED it!

Friday, August 21, 2015

Half Way There

Well, today is a happy day. According to my original "lofty" weight loss
goal, I am at the half way point. I have officially lost 21 lbs. Now, to say
I need to lose another 21 is "lofty" because technically, that would put me
at a number that is the bottom of the range for my height. However, my
pre-Emily weight is just about 12 lbs away. So, that is the first goal
that I am shooting for. The last few pounds always take longer, but 
so far, my husband and I haven't had any trouble sticking to
our diet changes and haven't been tempted to eat things 
not normally allowed. Transitioning to
being gluten free, sugar free, and low carb has really 
not been as tough as I expected it to. The hardest times
are when we have church dinners but when we have them, I just always
make sure that I cook things we can eat. I am excited about our losses
so far and I am excited about reaching our goals. 

We haven't started school yet...which is totally unusual for us. We usually
start about the second week of August or the third week at the latest.
I didn't get everything ready in time so we are going to start the 31st.
I dread this year so much. Emily is going to be a junior and this will
probably be her toughest year yet. She has Geometry, English III, Chemistry,
Civics/Economics, and Life Management/Health. We are doing all
Abeka this year- and using the DVD's. I just cannot imagine trying
to get through these challenging subjects otherwise. We used
the Abeka DVD for Algebra 2 last year and it was much easier
than freshman year doing Saxon Algebra 1. Thankfully, she
is a really good student, works very well independently, and learns
very well visually. Also, she has a wonderful
memory...she memorizes exceptionally well, 
and remembers much of what she reads.
So, hopefully, this year will go fine. 
Pray for us... ;)

We are having a revival at church this week. Bro. Billy Mitchell is
preaching for us beginning Sunday morning through Wednesday night.
He is a great preacher. I hope and pray we have a really good meeting.

Friday, August 14, 2015

Where Did the Summer Go?

Why does it seem that summer vacation goes by sooooo fast?
We've done a lot of fun things this summer. I am happy that we
got to do some really awesome things that Emily loved. First off,
we got to go to the Cumberland County Playhouse to see Mary Poppins.
This is one of our favorite musicals so it would have been great in
any case, but CCPH does such a professional job with their productions
so we always LOVE going there.

Emily really loves musicals and especially plays.
One of her favorites is Les Miserables. We learned that
the Tennessee Valley Players was putting on a production
at UT this summer so we took over there to see it.
It was very nicely done. (disclaimer--we usually watch
the movie with Clear Play-which mutes out profanity-and the
show did have a few words that we forgot about since we
don't usually hear them) Emily loved the show. 

Of course, you already know, she went to PCC for drama camp. She
had a great time. I'd say she'll probably want to go back next summer. 

We went to my mom's house for a couple of days. We had a wonderful
visit with her. 

One evening, several of our church ladies got together to make
spring rolls (this was not the official word for them)
We've had a lady visiting who knows how to make a lot
of authentic foreign foods and so she taught us how to make them. 
I didn't get a pic of the whole group. :(  It was fun.

And of course, she's had a few sleepovers. Those are always
fun for girls. 

We went last weekend to St Stephen SC for 
Summer Spectacular 2015 at Life Baptist Church
where Bro Alfred Willis pastors. My husband
and I don't do many camp meeting type meetings.
There is simply not enough time to go to them all. 
But, we usually go to Bro Willis' meeting every year.
We've gotten to know his church people and have made
many great friends. It is always a time of refreshing for us.

~And it always marks the end of our summer vacation.
Usually, we start right back with school the following week.
We are planning to start a week later this year than we normally
do. It's just been such a busy, jam-packed summer that I didn't 
all we needed (school wise) taken care of till a couple of
weeks ago. But, alas, all the books and DVD's have now arrived.
The older she gets and the closer she gets to graduating, the more
I dread it. 

But, there you have it. That's the highlights. We've had fun. 
Now, it's time to get back to work.

***Weight loss update***
FINALLY....I hit a plateau for a couple of weeks but I finally
lost another pound. So that puts me at 20! Yay me! And my
little hubby is doing great. He still hasn't weighed but I can
tell that he's probably at least 20 to 25 lbs. That's kind of the
way that Atkins works. You might lose 5 lbs in a week and then
it might be a couple weeks before you see another loss. The
key is to stay focused, stay consistent, and don't get 
discouraged. So far, so good...

Friday, July 24, 2015

Delicious Lo Carb Pizza

Our family has had a tradition of having pizza on Friday night and Sunday night after church. Nothing fancy...Emily's favorite is Totino's so that's what we've always done. Well, once my husband and I decided to go low carb, we needed a "special" treat for our pizza night. I have a recipe for low carb crust made with cream cheese but to us, it wasn't a great alternative. We found these low carb tortillas that are wonderful. They have become our "go-to" food. We can go to McDonald's or Firehouse (or anywhere you get your favorite fast food sandwiches) and just remove the bun and use the tortilla instead. It works really well and tastes great. And we have found that they work super well as a pizza crust. One tortilla has only 6 net carbs and 26 grams of fiber so they are really, REALLY filling. Plus, they crisp up nicely when can even pick it up and eat it just like a pizza. Awesome.

I get our tortilla's at Walmart. They have a white variety
but the whole wheat has a few less carbs and is slightly bigger. 
And they are really yummy!

Most times...unless I am EXTRA-SUPER hungry, I just
make a half for myself. Because of all the fiber, they are really filling.
I like mine with all the goodies but hubby likes his with just sausage. 

Here is one with pepperoni, peppers, and onions. 

We have found these to be totally satisfying. We haven't missed
regular pizza at all. And it's nice that we can still keep our 
Friday night and Sunday night family tradition. lol

And here is a pic of a good low carb dessert. It's a sugar-free cheesecake.
If I make it for church, I will make a sugar-free pecan crust but
for home, we just eat it without crust. And with just the tiniest bit
of Smuckers sugar-free caramel, it is simply delicious with just
a few carbs. Totally tasty!!

That's it. Just thought I'd share a couple of the things that
we've been eating since starting our diet. Low carb  eating
is really not as hard as it used to be. There are so many
good options out there to make it doable. 

***And I've lost one more pound to bring my total to 19!***

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Spending a Week at Pensacola Christian College

Last week, we took Emily down to 
Pensacola Christian College to attend drama camp.
She loves drama and she was so excited when
she learned that PCC had a drama camp. She's 
been planning this trip since last summer.
At camp, they learn many different aspects of
putting on a production. From the building of sets,
applying stage makeup, to many of the different ways
to act out a scene and project your voice.
Another great part of this trip is that she hopes
to attend PCC in a few years so this was a good
way for us to get to visit the campus. PCC truly
is a beautiful college. They treat the campers like
royalty. It's a week filled with fun, learning, making
new friends, and of course, GREAT preaching
directed at young people. 

The production this year was scenes from Little Women.
Emily loves Little Women so she was really excited. 

Mom and daughter selfie...just before we left her in her dorm.

Here she is with one of her roomies....a young
lady from middle TN. I thought that was
ironic considering there were kids from all over
the country there. This day, I texted her and told
her to send me a selfie...I was really missing her face. lol

She sent me a pic of her snack one chocolate
and gelato. She said it was yummy (I think she was trying to
tempt me on my diet) lol

During the production...she had a small role
as a school girl.

Emily with one of her new friends. 

A group of friends after the show. 

One of the directors finding the right shade of stage makeup
for her.

Working on a project during the set building workshop. 

And...since this was a LONG trip...took us about 9 1/2 hours...
my husband and I decided to stay in the area (at the campus house)
so as not to have to make that long trip twice. We spent the week
thrifting and treasure hunting. (I bet we know where more of
the thrift stores than do the locals) haha!

Also, we love the show American Pickers. We saw an episode where
they had acquired a ship and traded it to a restaurant at Pensacola Beach.
We thought it would be fun to go there for lunch one day and
then we could see the ship. So, here is is...the Fish House!

Picture taken from our table looking out the window...

And here is the ship...(not a good pic, I know) it was so cool to 
see it in person. lol

And here is my lunch, I love Caesar Salad, I always order it,
if it's on the menu.  I also had them add a little grilled chicken
for some extra protein. It was soooo good! (and I did eat the
croutons--bad for my diet--but there were only a few so that's okay.
I'm not big on seafood, what with being raised in the country where seafood is not readily available. But my hubby loves it and had an awesome meal (according to him) lol. Forgot to get a pic of his meal. Ooops... 

A view from the outside deck... so beautiful!

And, me and my little hubby...we had fun just
running around doing what we like to do.

It was a fun week. We enjoyed ourselves just running around thrifting
and do what we like to do! We really missed Emily. It gave us a small
taste of what our lives will be like when she goes to college. 
OH, HOW I DREAD IT! I know it's right, God doesn't give
them to us to keep forever, but it's so sad to think about it
Anyway, this was our week. 
Emily loved PCC and in all likelihood, she will be attending
there in a few years. But, it's great to know that if that is what 
she decides is the Lord's will for her, it's a great college and
we can trust the Lord to keep her safe there. 

***And on a totally awesome note, this is the first time I went on
vacation and LOST weight. Two more pounds down since the last weigh-in
for a total of 18 lost. Yay! How fun is that!?!***