Sunday, December 25, 2011

Happy Birthday, Jesus!

"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.
Of the greatness of His government and peace
   there will be no end.
He will reign on David’s throne
   and over his kingdom,
establishing and upholding it
   with justice and righteousness
   from that time on and forever.
The zeal of the LORD Almighty
   will accomplish this."

Isaiah 9:6-7

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Christmas in Georiga.

This past week, we traveled to see my family in Georgia for a few days.  Tuesday, after the children got out of school, we hit the road, and after stopping only one time (I think that's some sort of record, with 4 children 5 and under), we arrived at my sister's house.  She lives in the North Georgia mountains, and it sure it pretty there.  Maybe not quite as pretty as the South Georgia pines, where we grew up, but I'll take it!  
Wednesday night my mom and grandmother came over to celebrate Christmas with us.  Hart was not well, so he didn't get to join in on the festivities.  Look at all those presents!  My mom doesn't know how to do anything on a small scale, ha!  Boy were the children excited!  Carter, especially, I don't know what it is about him, but he has an excitement and appreciation that is just infectious!  He was equally excited about every gift he opened.  So sweet!  
David was the photographer for the evening, so here we are in the middle of all the chaos trying to help everyone opening their gifts.  
My sweet grandmother was able to come up to spend some time with us, and I'm ever so thankful for that.  Her health is not good, so I'm not sure how much more traveling she will be able to do.  She still rocking that red lipstick and fingernails though, and that warms my heart!
I think my mom bought stock in the Disney Store or something.  Look at all those princesses.  My two oldest girlies are loving their new dolls.  
See what I mean, look at that sweet face.  
And that one.  
And this one.  Story was hardly still for a minute to capture her picture.  
I do love this picture of Mama with all the great-grandbabies, ranging in age from 9-19 months, with one more on the way!  My sister is due in early March with her third baby.  Story is sitting in a rocking chair that belonged to my Papa.  She got it out our first day there, and she rocked and rocked and rocked!  
We left Thursday afternoon, and stopped at the BPS in Birmingham, AKA the free aquarium!  They loved seeing all the animals and fish inside.  
I didn't bring my camera inside, but I snapped a few pictures with my cell phone.  We had a fun time looking at the fish.  Story was enjoying them from afar.  She didn't want to get too close, ha!
I'm not even sure what kind of fish this is, but it was by far the largest one in the tank.  The children were mesmerized by it!  They kept calling it a swordfish.  You can definitely see the resemblance.  
After spending a little while at BPS, we loaded our party of six back up in the car and headed home to Mississippi.  It was wonderful to spend time with my family at Christmas.  Now that we are home, we have been unpacking, playing with our new toys, baking some Christmas goodies, and getting ready for the rest of the week.  Our church is having two services this weekend, so we look forward to celebrating Jesus' birthday!  We plan to have a Happy Birthday Jesus party on Sunday!  Merry Christmas!

Friday, December 23, 2011

A visit with Papa and Gigi.

A couple of weeks ago (I know, I'm behind on the blog), Papa and Gigi came into town for a visit.  We were so glad to have them!  They got to our house early Friday afternoon, and we enjoyed spending the weekend together.  Friday night, we had a Christmas party at church for all the staff, so it was great for them to go with us and get to know the staff at HSBC in a more intimate setting.  Saturday, oh what a gift Saturday was to David and me.  We got to spend the entire day together.  Alone.  We had not done ANY of our Christmas shopping, so Papa and Gigi bravely kept the children, so we could shop til we dropped, and that's just what we did.  Close to 4:00, my rockstar husband said, "Babe, I'm done!"  That night we went back to the Old Watermill Catfish House, per Papa's request.  Sunday, we enjoyed church services, and after lunch Papa and Gigi headed back to Arkansas with the promise to see us again in a few weeks!  

Friday, December 16, 2011

Christmas letter 2011.

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!
2011 Christmas picture and letter.

Merry Christmas!  We hope this special season finds you and yours doing well.  As I sit to type our annual Christmas letter, I cannot help but to reflect with awe over the last year and the many changes that have taken place in our little family.  Change.  That can be a hard word sometimes. In fact, the word itself has many definitions, and you know I looked it up because I love words, and I am kind of a nerd that way. To make radically different, to replace with another, to give a different course or direction to, to become different, and to undergo a transformation are a few of the many definitions that resonated with me.  I imagine your curiosity is piqued, but for those of you who have followed our family’s story over the last year, you are already keenly aware of some of the changes.  Many of them are written on our blog, but all of them are embedded in our hearts. 
 Having four small children so close in age, we experience change every single day.  The older they get, the more I wish these changes would slow down.  Daily, they discover or do something new, and their little bodies continue grow and change.  Also, little hearts are being molded and shaped; therefore, causing change on the inside as well. Carter, Summer, and Tilly are all attending Presbyterian Christian School and love it!  We are thankful for the foundation that is being laid, not only academically, but also spiritually, as they are learning to hide God’s Word in their hearts.  David and I pray that the Lord would capture their little hearts and claim them as His own.  Carter is now 5 ½ (do not dare forget the ½ either).  This past summer, he got to go with his daddy and our church in Georgia on a mission trip to Wyoming.  What an incredible opportunity at such a young age!  Currently, he is enjoying school and Awana at church.  This winter, Carter will play Upward basketball for the first time.  I don’t know who is more excited, Carter or his daddy!  Another big change occurred for Carter just this week, as he lost his very first tooth!  Oh, how exciting!  Summer, our second child, turned four in July.  She blows us away with her love and compassion for others, which is far beyond her years.  Summer began ballet for the second year, and she just shines when she dances.  Tilly, our middle one, turned 3 in August and amazes us daily with her spunk!  Tilly has such a vivacious spirit and zest for life, which enables her to adapt well to most situations.  We are thankful for this quality she displays. Tilly began taking tap and ballet with her big sister this year, and loves it, too!  Then there’s Story, our little one, who is not a baby anymore.  We can hardly stand how quickly she has changed into a toddler.  She will be 19 months old this week and is just pure sweetness.  With light brown hair and pretty blue eyes, she looks most like her big brother.  Story loves to run after her siblings, dance to music, crawl into her daddy’s lap, eat sweet treats, and sleep.  What a gift to watch our precious four grow and change each day!  I could never have imagined the change that would overtake my heart upon becoming Mommy to these sweet four.  Having a baby (or 4) really does change everything. 
 Perhaps, the greatest change of all for our family occurred this past October, when the Lord called David to pastor Hardy Street Baptist Church in Hattiesburg, Mississippi.  While it was sad to leave loved ones in Georgia, it has been a wonderful change for our party of six.  Thankfully, we were able to have some sweet time with my family and our precious friends before we left.  You know, when you move everything is new, everything!  David and I have moved several times before, but never with children.  Boy, does that change a lot!  Thank you to those of you who prayed us through this big transition, for it has been far smoother than we ever could have dreamed.  We love our new town, and the slower pace of life has been a nice and welcomed change.  Our new church family has embraced our party of six with open arms, and we look forward to many years of ministry together with the people at Hardy Street Baptist Church.
 An obvious big change for David, aside from not being in school this year, has been his new job at Hardy Street. He has been able to film television commercials, lead our church in mission activities, launch a Sunday School mentorship program, and preach God’s Word every Sunday and Wednesday. He loves it, and I am so very proud of this man God has chosen for me.  David and I will celebrate 10 years of marriage in just a few weeks.  We are so thankful to Papa and Gigi, who will keep the children for a couple of days, so we can absorb all of the changes in our lives and embrace all that God is going to do in the years to come, or maybe we will just sleep, ha!  Wow, how fast the time has gone and how much our family has changed in the last 10 years.  Who could have imagined all that the Lord would have in store for us 10 years ago when we said, “I do”?    I am so thankful for the six people in our little family and so humbled at all that God has called us to and through over the last 10 years.  Not all of it has been easy, but we have learned a great deal and are hopefully stronger for having been on this journey together.  As for me, the biggest change I have had the privilege of experiencing this past year is being able to stay at home with my children. I love driving in car pool, going on field trips, and picking them when their day is done. What a gift!  David and I have been working toward making this dream a reality since Carter was born, and I am honored and thankful to be able to stay at home.  Now, it is no walk in the park, but it is the hardest, best job I have ever had.  My prayer lately has been that God would just enable David and me to really enjoy the children where they are right now because we are going to blink, and they will change right before our very eyes.  I am so thankful to David for making so many of my dreams come true and for helping me to embrace all these changes with grace!  He really does make me a better wife and mommy. 
 Oftentimes, in the midst of things that are constantly changing, we are thankful for all in our life that does remain the same.  God, in His Word, tells us, “I, the Lord, do not change.”  Malachi 3:6a. Wow.  Read that promise again, and let those words pierce down deep into your heart.  Say them aloud, if you need to.  God never changes, ever.  Thank you, Lord!  In the middle of life’s uncertainties and many changes, God stays the same.  When you do not know what tomorrow will bring, God stays the same.  In the darkest hours, when you cannot see the light, He is the same.  When you are without any hope, God stays the same.  When you are experiencing the best that life has to offer, God stays the same.  Always.  I find great comfort in that truth.  That same God, who never changes, sent His Son, His only Son, to change the world.  That baby, born so long ago in Bethlehem completely changed everything, so that we might have life, abundant life!  Aren’t we thankful that He did?  Our prayer for your family this Christmas season is that you will embrace the One who keeps all of His promises and never changes.  That’s something to celebrate! 

Wishing you a Merry Christmas & Happy New Year with much love,
David, Heather, Carter, Summer, Tilly, & Story

Thursday, December 15, 2011

A Christmas legacy.

Tuesday night, the entire elementary at PCS presented their Christmas program, A Christmas Legacy.  It was such a sweet service, and again reminded me of how thankful I am to have our children in this great school.  There were lots of songs and some narration, all pointing to Jesus being what Christmas is all about.  
Here's our big fella walking in so proudly to the gym.  
Oh, how I love the pure joy and excitement on his face.  I sure would love to know what he is saying with such animation to his classmates.  
He found us!  He was so cute scanning the crowd for us.  Once he waved hello, he wanted to make sure Summer saw him (Tilly and Story were home with a sitter), so he could wave to her!  What a sweet big brother!  
Look at those little hands giving praise and thanks to God for Jesus.  
Another smile for his biggest fans.  
Several of our church friends go to school with Carter.  The pretty girl on the top is Clarissa.  We sat with her mom, Dana.  
Here is Dana's other daughter, Isabella, wearing the white head band.  
By far my favorite picture of the night.  Carter, we loved watching you sing and give praise and thanks to God for His Son.  We pray and long for the day when you will ask Him to be your savior.  Until then, we will continue to help you hide His Word in your little heart.  We love you, buddy!

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Breakfast with Santa!

Saturday morning, our church hosted Breakfast with Santa as an outreach to our community. Pancakes and sausage were provided as well as free pictures with the man in red! It was so much fun!  The closest Story would get to Santa was an outstretched high five, ha!  Needless to say, she was not about to sit on his lap for a picture.  
And that's why you see me in the picture!  We'll do anything for a good picture, huh!  
Story and me after a yummy pancake breakfast.  
I wish I had taken more pictures, but I had the most fun talking and visiting with friends that I completely forgot about the camera.  I will tell you there were these two cute girlies who provided after breakfast entertainment.  Summer and Tilly did ballet to a few Christmas songs, precious!  

Monday, December 12, 2011

Carter lost his first tooth!

Well, something exciting happened in our house this Friday!  Carter lost his very first tooth.  

Thursday before last, he was eating pizza and it kind of popped, totally freaked him out.  That tooth hung on for a week and day.  

Friday morning we were in the kitchen, and he and Summer were brushing their teeth.  It was really wiggly, and I asked him if he would just let me take it out.  I couldn't believe he let me!  And I couldn't believe it just came right out.  He was so excited!  He ran as fast as he could to tell his daddy!  So cute!
Saturday morning, we found treats from the tooth fairy.  She even left him a list!  Not really, it was a letter, but he called it a list!  So funny!  Here he is proudly showing the big space in his mouth.  So tell me, how can he even be big enough to be losing teeth!

Thursday, December 08, 2011

Heaven's perfect gift.

One of our friends and favorite songwriters, James Tealy, has
released a new Christmas song that I wanted to share with y'all.
We spent a summer working MFUGE with James, where he was
our camp pastor, and we got to spend even more time
with him when the Lord called us to seminary in New Orleans the
following fall.  James has a passion for music and the Lord that is
contagious.  I think you will love his latest song!

Tuesday, December 06, 2011

The story of our tree.

Well, we are a little late in getting our decorating on this year, but we finally got our tree this past weekend.  Growing up, we always had a live tree, and I love the idea of going out together as a family each year to pick out the perfect tree for our home.  This year we did something a little different.  A family in our church owns a local tree farm, so we went to check it out!  
Here we are in the forest of trees looking for the perfect one.  
We got out the measuring stick to make sure we got one the right height.  
Our new home in Hattiesburg is older, and it has really tall ceilings, which we love.  We may or may not have gotten in a little over our heads, literally.  In fact, it is going to be tricky finding a place in our home where our big, beautiful tree will fit!  What a fun problem to have, right?
The tree farm had lots of other things to do besides just picking out a Christmas tree.  
I was amazed at how brave Carter was offering hay to the horse.  He loved it, and I'm sure the horse was quite thankful, too!
The children got to ride around the farm on the back of the four wheeler.  We also got to feed the goats and chickens.  What a fun morning!  
There she is!  All 9+ feet of her.  
Once we got home, we realized our stand was not big enough, so Sunday night after looking at Christmas lights, we picked up a bigger one.  We hope to get her in the house and lighted tonight.  
P.S.  We also got a little baby tree for the children!  

Monday, December 05, 2011

Hattiesburg Christmas parade, 2011.

David and I are all about embracing our new town and making new traditions with our party of six.  Saturday, we did just that.  One of the things we did was to attend the annual Hattiesburg Christmas parade.  The children love parades, mostly for the candy.  In February, we cannot wait to take them to some Mardi Gras parades in New Orleans.  If they thought the Christmas parade in Hattiesburg was awesome, they are going to freak out at Mardi Gras!  Can't wait!  
Here we are leaning against the building waiting on the parade to start.  
Let the parade begin!
I love the awe and wonder on her face.  
My buddy and me dressed in our game day red and black.  Too bad it was not enough to pull those dawgs through on Saturday afternoon.  LSU took it to us!  Whew!  I hope they win the National Title, as it will take away a little of that sting of defeat, ha!
I love this picture of Carter's friend from church waving to him from the parade.  So cute!
Story loves parades, especially the music of the marching band.  I love seeing those little hands trying to keep time with the music.  Can you see the blue around her little mouth?  She put a hurting on a few suckers!
This picture is for me.  I met this lovely man my first week in Hattiesburg, and that's all I am going to say about that.  
I love this picture of the big 3 with their daddy.  What's funny is he had a big ole scowl on his face just seconds before because he wanted to be home watching the game.  Duh, that's what dvr is for, right?  Once I described the cuteness of the picture, he quickly turned that frown upside down.  Thanks, babe, for helping me to make sweet memories with our children.