Friday, January 29, 2010

Everybody has a story.

I guess it was college before I realized that I had one to share. It used to bother me that my story was not some incredible "come to Jesus" story, where a life or death situation caused me to seek Him, but really it was. . .I really did come to Jesus and the decision really did save my life. No, I did not give up sex, drugs, and rock and roll for Him or turn from some radical lifestyle I was living, but I did grow up in church my whole life, and I can't remember a time when I did not know Him and that's some story, don't you think?
We have a story too, he and I. You can read all about it here. It's some story, like a fairy tale, only it's the real thing.
This little guy has a story too, from even before he was born up until now at age 3 1/2. We pray most of his story is yet to be written, but the One who writes our stories knows where this little life will lead. We pray it will be a life and a story that honors and glorifies Him.
Our sweet Summer has a story of her own as well. New chapters are being added daily, in fact. We pray the One who created her will continue her story until she is perfected in Him. You can view many more of pictures of this sweet girl here.
That sweet smile and those big brown eyes tell a story of their own, don't you think?
Our little Miss Tilly has a story to share, too. The Lord has already worked in her little life to reach others for Him. Sometimes that happens in ways other than we wish or hope, but in the end He gets the glory anyway, and that's what it is really all about. You can read about that here. Her name like all of our children's names has a very special story. You can read that here.

I look forward to sharing many more stories with you about these sweet babies of mine.
You may be wondering where I am going with all of this, definitely taking a trip down memory lane. We romantics like to do that time and time again, but there is more to it. You see, I am carrying our fourth baby, another sweet girl - who up until a week ago was yet to be named. I agonized over what to name this sweet baby. I wanted her name to be special and meaningful because her brother and sisters have names that are special and meaningful to us. I wanted her to have her own story about how we came up with her name. A name is a BIG deal, after all. Last Saturday night, David and I were talking before bed and I was sharing with him how I was ready for this baby girl to have a name and how I wanted her to have a story of her own, one that we helped to write. He said, "Heather, that's it!" (You have to remember, I am carrying our fourth child, I teach full time, we have 3 children 3 and under, and I am a pastor's wife - not to mention I am from South Georgia, ha!) Sometimes, I am a little slow. "Huh?" He said it again, "That's it!" And then we both got emotional, of course that's it! Story is her name. Story Leigh. You see, everyone does have a story written by the One who knows us better and loves us deeper than anyone. We are just the lucky ones who have our very own real life Story, and we can't wait to meet her.
I can't help but to be reminded of the greatest story of all.
Tell me the story of Jesus,
write on my heart every word.
Tell me the story most precious,
sweetest that ever was heard.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Down By The Creek Bank

"Crickets, tadpoles, turtles, and frogs!" The second and third grade classes at The Heiskell School are hanging out down by the creek bank this week. You are in for a treat! In fact, this play has been around for quite some time. My sister and I took part in this play a "few" years ago, when we were in the children's choir at our home church. I even remember what I wore: denim overalls with a red and white coca-cola shirt underneath. I wore my hair in two pigtails and my mom drew freckles on my cheeks with an eyeliner pencil; what a fun memory! Feel free to come and see for yourself. Friday, January 29, 2010, at 8:30 A.M. and 7:00 P.M. we cordially invite you to come and see these precious little ones singing their hearts out to the Lord! Check out these pictures taken by one of the sweet teachers at our school, Miss Lisa.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

O'Dells Meet George

Curious George, that is!

Gigi has been visiting all this week from Arkansas because David was in New Orleans for his final doctoral class. We have been so thankful to have her here with us this week. David made it home on Thursday (we were SO thankful), and we have been playing and having a good ole time ever since! Friday night we went to dinner with some our sweet friends. Eating out with the children is always a riot. You never know what you are going to get. I was a glutton for punishment I guess because I situated myself in between Carter and Summer on a booth. Yikes! My ribs hurt something awful the next morning! In all seriousness, they were very sweet. Saturday, we got to moving around after 8:00 (boy, was I thankful for that!) and after eating a yummy Chick-Fil-A breakfast (or Fick-Chil-A as Carter and Summer call it) we headed to Atlanta's Children's Museum to meet Curious George. This exhibit has been here ever since October, and it ends next week, so we thought this would be a perfect weekend to go, especially since we had Gigi along for the ride and the extra help! Well, apparently, most of Atlanta had the same idea. The place was packed, but it was so much fun. Carter was just precious when he realized we would be seeing so much George stuff. David took so many really great pictures, that I could not pick just one or even ten, so there is a full slide show for your viewing pleasure. The children had a blast, and we loved watching them.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

We've come a long way, baby!

Well, here's the news you have all been waiting to hear. You being our family and close friends who take the time to read about our little family. I am sure you are all just dying to know how we are adjusting to life with the newest family member. Besides, we really needed to add some more excitement into our lives. I mean a puppy is just what our family needed, right? Well, see for yourselves! We have definitely come a LONG way since Christmas morning!
No, your eyes are not deceiving you. Carter and Tilly are on the floor playing with Hundley! Who woulda thunk it?
Even better, Summer has joined in on the fun!
They even seem to be enjoying themselves, wow!
Carter and Tilly playing with Hundley. Tilly is the bravest (fairest) of all, as she will even pet him!
Tilly AKA Snow White showing Hundley some love.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Better late than never. . .

The Monday after Christmas holidays, David and I had a very special and important doctor's visit. He picked me up at school just after lunch with a large sweet tea in hand, and off we went to Atlanta Ob/gyn. We waited, what felt like forever, and then we were finally called back! By this time, I was 21 weeks along, and due to the Christmas holidays, we were a week later getting to our 20 week ultrasound. Our technician took her time looking at the baby to make sure all was well, and indeed it was! We are so thankful! I drank the sweet tea ahead of time in hopes that our baby would move and allow us to see the gender. Well, we were worried for a while that we could not see. I guess she had to go to the potty too because she kept her little legs crossed up until the very end! That's right, she and her!
It's a GIRL!
We are so excited and so thankful to welcome another sweet baby girl into our home. Carter is definitely going to be the prince of the palace, and his precious reaction when we told him tells me that he is more than ready to accept his princely duties. That night before bedtime, we pulled out the ultrasound pictures to share with Carter and Summer. Tilly was long asleep by this time. When David told them it was a baby girl, Carter jumped up and down with the sweetest smile on his face shouting, "It's a girl! It's a girl!" What a sweet moment! Summer was so excited too, and she told me very seriously that she does not have a baby in her tummy right now, not yet, Mommy, not yet! So sweet! Thank you, Lord, for children who have the sweetest hearts and who truly love and enjoy each other. Baby Girl has yet to be named, but we look forward to sharing that with you once we decide. For those of you who know us well, you know how special our children's names are and the stories behind each one. You can read Tilly's story here. For now, we are thanking the Lord for another healthy and apparently big baby girl, as she weighed over a pound at our 20 week visit. We are praying for her continued health and for a smooth delivery. Thank you for sharing in this wonderful news with our family. We are blessed to become parents to another sweet baby!
20 week ultrasound photo - profile shot. I love her sweet mouth and nose.
Here she is arching her back and opening her mouth. She was very active during the ultrasound, which was so much fun to see!

Her sweet, not so little foot! Unfortunately, she will come by big feet honestly from her mommy and daddy! Maybe she will be a baller!

Another profile shot of our baby girl!

Friday, January 08, 2010

One of the greatest days ever!

You know, the kind of great day where you get the message from administration in the middle of the night that school is cancelled because of a snow day and that day just happens to be a Friday, which is also the day Daddy has off from work. The kind where you get to turn the alarm clock off because you don't have to get up early and brave the cold. The kind where you get to stay home for the whole day with your family, doing nothing, just being together. The kind where you can stay in your pajamas til lunchtime or the whole day because it doesn't really matter. The kind where you can cook a full breakfast: eggs, bacon, grits, biscuits, the whole works. And you can sit down and eat together as a family because you don't have to be anywhere. The kind of day where everyone takes a long nap, even the dog. The kind of day where you can sit at the dining room table and paint little girls' fingernails. The kind of day where you can go and play in the snow because it actually snowed! The kind where you have a wonderful supper again together as a family followed by an awesome dessert because sometimes that's the best part anyway! The kind of day when at the end of it you think, we can do this all over again tomorrow if we want to. Today was that day for our family - great, really great!

Carter and Tilly having a little snow time.
Little Miss Tilly testing her snow legs.
Summer was lovin' it!

Trying to make a snow ball with bare hands, not a good idea. We really must invest in some mittens! Nonetheless it was a great day, really great! Even Hundley thought so!

Thursday, January 07, 2010

This one's dedicated to the one I love

On Tuesday, David and I celebrated our 8th wedding anniversary. Wow, 8 years! It has gone by so very fast, and I so look forward to many more years with this special fella of mine. In honor of our special day, I thought it would be fun to recap some special memories and milestones of our time together. Sadly, there are no digital pictures to recap our journey together, as that was before our days of Nikon. Maybe one day I will take the time to scan in a few, but that would take some digging through storage, and with our busy lifestyle that is not likely to happen any time soon! Ha!
In the meantime, a simple time line of our journey will have to do:
  • July 2000, David and I actually met what will be 10 years ago this summer in Charleston, South Carolina. He was a new youth pastor at a church in Marmaduke, Arkansas, and I was in grad school at the University of Georgia. We met at MFUGE, a christian camp with an emphasis on missions sponsored and put on by LifeWay, which is very near and dear to our hearts.
  • September 2000 - April 2001 We courted long distance between Athens and Marmaduke.
  • November 2000 David experienced UGA football for the first time between the hedges against the ramblin' wreck of Ga Tech! He was pretty amazed at the intense hatred between the two teams!
  • April 2, 2001 David decided it would be cheaper to buy a ring than multiple plane tickets, so he popped the question over sweet tea!
  • May 2001 I moved to Marmaduke and lived with our pastor's MIL - just to be sure we really did love each other!
  • January 2002 David and I were married in my hometown at my home church in Statesboro, Georgia in the midst of the first ice storm in South Ga in 10 years, of course!
  • January 2002 - March 2003 We continued to serve the youth at FBC Marmaduke. What a wonderful season this was for us.
  • March 2003 We left AR and moved to GA (or so we thought). We lived with my mom for two months.
  • May 2003 We served together at MFUGE in Nashville! This was one of the greatest summers of our lives. The Lord spoke to us so audibly and loved on us through an awesome staff. I led a games and recreation track, and David led a PCY track.
  • August 2003 We loaded up all our belongings into our one car and moved to New Orleans for David to attend seminary.
  • May 2004 We worked MFUGE camp again in Nashville. I served as a site director, and David did PCY - painting, construction, and yard work.
  • May 2005 David graduated from New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary, and we served our final summer of camp together with MFUGE in Mobile. It was such a fun summer. David was the director, and I was the site director, so we spent our weeks riding around to ministry sites together - it was awesome!
  • August 2005 We moved to Atlanta. David began his one year internship at First Baptist Atlanta and I began my job at the Heiskell School.
  • May 27, 2006 We welcomed Carter Stokes O'Dell into the world weighing 9 lbs 15 ounces and 22 inches long. This was truly one of the greatest days of our life!

  • June 2006 David took a new ministry position at Sandy Plains Baptist Church in Marietta, Ga as the pastor to young families.
  • March 2007 We bought our very first home in Marietta, Georgia.
  • July 2007 We welcomed Summer Journey O'Dell into the world weighing 9 pounds 4 ounces and 21 inches long. Another of those greatest days ever!

  • November 2007 David took his first pastorate at our current church, First Baptist Church Austell.
  • July 2008 We bought our second home, a house in Austell.
  • August 2008 We welcomed Tilly Brooke O'Dell into our family weighing 8 lbs and 21 inches long. Another awesome day for our family.

  • September 2008 Carter began school for the first time at the Heiskell School in the Builder's Class.

  • November 2008 Tilly had surgery to remove her right ovary and fallopian tube due to an injury occurring while she was in the womb.

  • June 2008 We took our first family trip to the beach in Destin, Florida.

  • September 2009 Summer started school for the first time at Heiskell. Carter moved to the Explorer's class.

  • September 2009 We learned that we would once again become parents! What incredible news!
  • December 2009 We welcomed Hundley into our home, our first family pet.

  • January 2010 We found out baby O'Dell #4 is going to be a GIRL! How exciting! Much more to come on her later.
  • January 2010 David and I are celebrating 8 years of marriage, unbelievable! I look forward to many more years with you, babe! I would not want to be on this crazy journey of our life with anyone else, and I would not trade any of it for the world. You are my favorite, and I love you to the moon and back! Happy Anniversary!

Sunday, January 03, 2010

Won't be doing this tomorrow. . .

I have love love loved these past two weeks at home with my sweet family. Where did the time go? Seems like it was just yesterday that Daddy and Tilly picked the rest of us up at The Heiskell School and were headed to Arkansas to see Papa and Gigi, Cari and Cory, or that David and I were up early trying to keep Hundley quiet on Christmas morning, or we were playing with the Hollands, or opening presents with T and Hart, or riding the pink pig, or just lounging in our pajamas and having family time. Tomorrow, Carter, Summer, Tilly, and I go back to school; David goes back to work, and life as we know it continues as normal. Sort of. Clothes are laid out, lunches and snacks are packed, nap mats are washed, alarm clocks are set, and school bags are ready. I sure hope we are!