10 Years with Beth J: Actual First Date

Note: The post has been post-dated to reflect the actual 10 years since our first date.  As per the previous post, the computer crashing and vacation put us behind schedule in keeping the blog updated.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA10 years ago today, I took Beth on our first date….to the old Spartanburg, SC Krispy Kreme diner.  Classy!  I went to a friend’s wedding in GA, and then over to Auburn to visit some other friends.  Beth and I had talked a few times on the phone in between New Years and now.  I am not a big phone talker, but I found talking with her quite easy.  I believe that in one phone conversation, I had another “how not to court a lady” moment.  I was pretty sure that I was heading to Southern Seminary in the Fall, that I was possible looking to travel overseas, and that currently I was traveling around for my job.  So, I really didn’t want another friend.  (Judge me now).  So I told Beth all this right upfront just so that neither of us would travel down this road for a while and then have it break off.  She said that she was good with all this and willing to see what happens.

So, I added a stop on my above travels in Spartanburg, SC on my way back to my job.  I knew a family there, and they let me stay with them that night.  They were especially excited that I was there to meet a girl!  So Beth and Taiter drove up and met me at the local McAllisters.  From there we drove back to their friend’s apartment where we hung out and took the picture you see above.  And so for our official first date, we went to the old Krispy Kreme.  It wasn’t the new kind, but the ones where you sit around the counter on bar stools.  It was awesome!  When we got back to the apartment, we chatted in the car for a little bit, and then she gave me a gift…chocolate filled Oreos!  BAM!  Just the way to a man’s heart!

And yet in another “how not to court a lady” story (are you amazed that she married me yet), rather than walking her to the door, we said goodbye at my car.  She walked to the apartment; I drove off.  Sheesh!

So now we were officially dating.  Had I had Facebook, it would have been Facebook official!

The story will continue…

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Advent 2014 v1.0 – Week 3

Hope you’re enjoying your family’s Advent celebrations!  We are “refining” ours 😉  Maddie’s biggest qualm was that we were sitting on the floor (cold tile floor!) to do ours – Pah!  Here’s week 3’s Jesse Tree lineup.  Not as many Jesus Storybook Bible matches, but it’s not a bad thing to mix it up and include some ‘grown up’ Bible reading or another version from another children’s Bible!  Jesus’ birthday is almost upon us!

3rd Sunday – The Prince of Peace (Crown with dove) – Is 9:2, 6-7

Monday – The New Covenant (Heart w/ Scripture inside) – Jer 31:31-33, Heb 9:13-15

Tuesday – Bethlehem Prophecy (Bethlehem silhouette) – Micah 5:2, Luke 2:4-7

Wednesday – The Fiery Furnace (Fiery Furnace) – Daniel 3, Matt 5:11-12

Thursday – Return to Jerusalem (Brick wall) – Neh 1:3, 2:18, 6:15-16

Friday – Daniel & the Lion’s Den (Sleeping Lion) – Daniel 6:2-29

  • Can read “Daniel & the scary sleepover” in JSB

Saturday – Jonah’s Special Message (Fish) – Jonah 1-4, Heb 1:1-2

  • Can read “God’s messenger” in JSB

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Advent 2014 v1.0 – Week 1

haha…I called it v1.0 b/c I KNOW that over the years, this year’s NEW Jesse Tree Advent study will morph into something our family will love and anticipate! At least that’s what I (Beth) hope! I made the ornaments over the Aug-Sept months and am pretty pleased with the way they turned out. I made a few extra ornaments, while I was at it, (partly b/c I couldn’t decide which to cut from certain websites and which to keep) that we will probably just wait and incorporate in later years…but we will start off w/ the traditional 25 ornaments this year.

Ideas from here and there. Even a way to incorporate the Jesus Storybook Bible, which my kids (and us!) love. So, here’s this week’s…b/c Advent starts today! (Sunday, Nov 30)…hope it blesses you all this year!

1st Sunday – Introduce the Jesse Stump ornament and read Isaiah 11:1 (but don’t hang just yet)IMG_8245

  • Explain about hanging the ornaments and reading the verses.
  • Creation (World ornament) – Gen 1:24-31 (full account Gen 1:1-31)
  • Can also read “The beginning: a perfect home” from Jesus Storybook Bible (JSB)

MondayAdam and Eve and the Fall (Apple w/ serpent) – Gen 3:1-24

  • Can read “The terrible lie” in JSB

Tuesday – Noah’s Ark (Ark w/ rainbow) – Gen 6:11-14, 7:17-18, 8:8-22, 9:9-17

  • Can read “A new beginning” in JSB

Wednesday – Abraham’s Faith (Camel w/ tent) – Gen 12:1-7

Thursday – Abraham’s Descendants (Green star) – Gen 15:1-6

  • Can read “Son of laughter” in JSB
  • In later years we will combine the star ornament w/ Isaac’s Birth (cradle) – Gen 21:1-7

Friday – Protection for Isaac (Ram w/ leaves on horns) – Gen 22:1-4

  • Can read “The present” in JSB

Saturday – Jacob’s Ladder (The ladder) – Gen 28:10-22

  • Can read “The girl no one wanted” in JSB

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Celebrating 10 years with Beth J!

photoIt was 10 years ago today that I first met the Beth J (then it was Beth Parker or later became Smyrna B).  Either way, I had traveled down to Florence, SC to speak at the BCM there about missions in South Asia.  One of their students (Christina…see picture to the right) was on my summer team that year and wanted me to come speak.  So we checked calenders and made plans for the Tuesday before Thanksgiving.  I had been traveling a lot that month and was really just ready to go home and hang out for Thanksgiving.

When I arrived, Christina took me around to meet any and everyone.  It was just slightly annoying since I really just wanted to speak and head home, but that was my selfishness.  So at lunch, she says that she wants to take me to meet her friend who just happens to be from right near my hometown in Murfreesboro.  To tell you the truth, I really wasn’t interested.  The other girl driving us wasn’t the best of drivers (sorry to offend) and didn’t like to turn left.  So she would just make multiple right turns…anyway I digress.  So we head down to the Bank of America to meet this friend.  As I walk in the bank, I turned to my right and saw my future wife.  The most beautiful smile I had ever seen; just amazing.  She said hello…and here is where our stories differ.  I say that I absolutely said hello back.  Beth says that I just stood there and said nothing.  Either way, I was thankful I made the trip!  As we were leaving the bank, a voice in my head said, “That’s the girl you’re going to marry.”

Now, I kid you not that this is indeed what happened.  I too was a bit caught off guard as I didn’t even really know much about her.  That night at BCM, I made it a point to sit near Beth and just get to know her a little.  I knew that it was a crazy long shot as she lived there and I was traveling.  After BCM, I went out to dinner with Beth and Christina and Anna (all 3 best friends).  As we entered the booth, Anna and Christina sat one one side and Beth and I were both sitting on the same side of the booth, yet you could have put a semi between us as she sat so far away, it was amazing!  We all continued to hang out throughout the night and had a blast.  I was now definitely interested in this Beth Parker.

The next morning, I called Christian to ask more about this Beth Parker, but I was told to stay away for awhile.  Anyway, the story will continue on another milestone date in the future as I celebrate 10 years with Beth J, leading up to our 10 year anniversary in 2015.

Happy Birthday to the Beth J!

I think I can say that in Beth J’s top 5 favorite bands is the group DC Talk.  Of which one of her favorite albums is the ever popular 1992 album “Free at Last.”  Of which she loves the song “That Kinda Girl.”  Here’ the chorus:

She’s that kinda girl
Different from the ones before
‘Cause I know she loves the Lord
She’s that kinda girl
Virtuous in every way
The kinda girl that makes you say,
“I hope she comes my way.”

With this being the case, I feel I can bring out a quote from Proverbs 31 which I think accurately describes Beth J on this day…

Strength and dignity are her clothing, and she laughs at the time to come.
She opens her mouth with wisdom, and the teachings of kindness is on her tongue.
She looks well to the ways of her household and does not eat the bread of idleness.
Her children rise up and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praises her:
“Many women have done excellently but you surpass them all.” (Prov 31:25-29)

Happy Birthday Beth J!  You are that kinda girl!

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My pockets are sweating!

Well, it’s starting to get warm in the FLL!  Inside it is 83 degrees and we are doing our best to have “happy hearts” at all times 😉

20140519_201941Since I’m spending a little more time inside, I’ve been really trying to get creative w/ the time.  Some days are easier than others.  I have been learning a lot about myself lately.  I am in some sort of nesting phase.  Sorting through clothes (mine and the girls), toys, jewelry, food (ha!  I bet you don’t have that problem in the States, right?), etc.  Maybe my fear of collecting too many “things” comes  from the torment and psuedo-traumatizing move across the pond…maybe it’s the thought that “I might use this one day, and if I throw it out, I can’t use it then!”…who knows.

But I have put my foot down!  haha…I am carefully cleaning out and redecorating the house AND doing that in my walk w/ the Lord bt1frontcover copytoo.  In our newsletter, I have mentioned starting a Bible study w/ a friend and some national ladies called Be Transformed.  It has been amazing!  And while the meeting w/ a group of 6-10 national ladies has come to just 2-3 ladies, it still has been really beneficial.  You should check it out!  It’s like therapy, but A LOT cheaper 😉

In essence, I am not only cleaning out my house, I’m also cleaning out my heart from past lies I have believed (inevitably from Satan).  This will take time.  A lot of time.  But I really am seeing with new eyes.  About myself, how I interact w/ others or don’t interact w/ others, why I react the way I do to certain things, being humbly confident in my preferences, etc.  I don’t want to teach my girls to do things the way I have done and the Lord has been gracious enough to show me this before they aren’t moldable anymore.  Praise Him for that!

I am really trying to make God’s Word priority in their lives (and mine and Will’s too!) through these little Scripture songs.  They LOVE them and if I wasn’t totally self conscious, I would post them so you could hear. The idea came from Mrs. Tebow in this post.  It’s just sweet to hear them singing them whenever they come to their minds (instead of “Let it Go”…ha!). Maddie especially is always asking what the next Scripture song will be!

The Lord is also showing me that I need to simplify things.  You can really tell a lot about a person in the way the write on a blank piece of paper or the way they decorate their house.  Weird, right?  But it’s true!  I want to be a simple person who wants to prioritize things the way the Lord wants me to.  I feel like when I do this, He provides peace in my heart and less stress.

Thanks for reading and hearing my heart.  It might be jumbly to some of you, but it makes sense in my head 😉  How long do you wait before you weed out “stuff” from your life and home?  I say, if you haven’t used it in a year to year and a half, clean that junk out!

Happy Resurrection Day! A little late…

Hey y’all!  We got to celebrate a little differently this year…not that the way we had been celebrating was bad, but we just wanted to change it up a bit.  We started out basic this year since the girls are 3 1/2 and 5 and plan to add more as the years go on.  I’d (Beth) like to start even a little bit earlier…around Lent-ish time, maybe.  This year’s Easter just crept up on me!

Anyways, we checked out Sojourn’s website for some kid-friendly Palm Sunday activities and came up with this!  I cut and pasted some stuff, but it was really fun to reenact the “Triumphal Entry” story.  Firstly though, we traced the girls hands 3x’s and cut them out and taped them to a popsicle stick for the “palm leaves”.  IMG_7041Then, we prefaced the story a little bit and asked the Big Question (from the Sojourn link) of Who is Jesus?  They answered so energetically, “Hosanna, Jesus is the Savior King!”  The girls’ favorite part was acting out the story 😉  Will (of course!) was Jesus, I was the person who laid down the coats (yeah, we busted out our winter jackets!) on the ground, the girls were waving said “palm” leaves and then, me and the girls switched to the Pharisees.  Pah!  Good times…we prayed and then, they wanted to do it again!  It was neat b/c all throughout the week, randomly the girls would shout, “Hosanna, Jesus is the Savior King!”

Then, I had seen a couple of different cute ideas about how to keep Easter about the Resurrection…so, here’s what we did:

Thursday, we and our friends upstairs made these stained glass crosses and explained that the cross is empty b/c Jesus is alive!  (Left one is Mahaney’s and right one is Maddie’s)

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Friday, we gathered all of our materials for our Resurrection Garden!  We’ve seen these all over the internet and wanted to try it out.  We followed this particular one by Oh Amanda and really liked the aspect of gathering leaves, twigs for the crosses and flowers for Friday and talking about the story of Jesus’ death…
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…and as the day went on and Saturday went on, the plants withered painting a picture of sadness and death.

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– But on Sunday morning, we started getting all excited b/c the girls knew that the Resurrection Garden would change, but they didn’t know how!  Before going into see the garden, we wanted to get the Resurrection Rolls in the oven!  So, we told them briefly and simply how people back in the day used to bury people by using oils (melted butter) and spices (cinnamon sugar) and wrapped them up and put them in a tomb (the wrapped up crescent roll).  We popped those suckers in the oven and went on to see about this Resurrection Garden!

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That morning, I got up early and went back out and replaced all of the tattered leaves and flowers with new, fresh, vibrant ones showing that Jesus brings new life!  It was fun for the girls to help get it all together, made and hear the story that we’ve heard a few times, but seeing it come to life for them was really neat.  Buggy wanted to keep the little Jesus I made from a pipecleaner 😉
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It was a fun, relaxing Easter and I would love to add some things to these traditions next year.  We also drew the Jesus dying on the cross story in henna w/the girls and they wanted to show it off to their friends/teachers at school!
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Frozen bday party ideas!

Ok, this blog is not Pintrest in the least!  But I (Beth) did get some cute ideas for Maddie’s bday party (some I wanted to do, but didn’t have time or resources) and wanted to share my inspirations!

We played a “Whack an Olaf!” pinata game and the kids loved that!  Any excuse for them to hit something w/ permission is always fun, right?  I just used watered down glue to put at least 3 layers of newspaper strips and then, after it dried, popped the balloon.  Then, I used strips of white printer paper and cut it to make the “flaky” effect and taped them on strip by strip.  Then, just added details to make him look like Olaf!  Here’s some detailed instructions if you need!  The candy doubled as a prize and favor – winning!
IMG_6713Then, came the favors…what to do?  We went for the cute Elsa crowns and Sven Antlers!  Made for a really cute pic of the kids, even though, I think the boys immediately took them off after the picture!  haha….

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We had cute Elsa & Anna, Kristoff & Sven, and all lovable Olaf coloring pages for the kiddo’s according to gender and age 😉  I like to be age appropriate (sometimes)!

So, we decorated minimally b/c there’s not a lot of ready made Frozen paraphernalia laying around ‘ol FLL.  So, improvise we did!  There were a lot of cute ideas for how to decorate your food table, but not too many decor ideas about any other part of the party.  So, we made due!

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First off, the blue-green “Ice” hard candy…looks really cute on this website’s cake, but I boiled mine for an extra 17 seconds and it burned a little…it was still edible though!
Secondly, the fun Jello “Ice” was fun!  I made Elsa colored ice and Anna colored ice “cubes”…the kids loved it!  And so did I, muhahaha….I just followed the jiggler recipe on the box, but here’s the fancy-schmansy one!
Thirdly, I saw a lot of cute other themed foods, but we we just explored the “Sven Snacks” (carrots), snowflake cookies, “Kristoff Chips”, and “Melted Snow” (water!)…there are plenty of ideas here and here for different foods and decor!

As far as decorations, on the food table, I found some snowy-ish silver glitter plants to use in my spaghetti jar w/ glass beads, I also found some fun silver swirl napkins, and we used some of the cute Frozen dolls that have been sweetly sent to us by our sweet parents!  To greet guests, I made 5 or 6 3D snowflakes and used those throughout the house and at the front door…

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stringed up cotton wool balls and these snowflake circles from the ceiling in the “Ice Palace” room (living room), cotton balls delicately distorted to look like snow, the infamous Star Wars snowflakes from here (how did those sneak in?)…

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…and a snowy scene of the lovable characters with some printer paper and pipe cleaner snowflakes!

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When we were all done eating, we went into the “Ice Palace” where we had the AC on 21, ate popcorn and watched the movie from our upstairs friends’ iTunes version!  The kids had a blast and the adults may have chuckled a time here and there too 😉

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After the party, we printed off the said cute picture of the kids w/ their crowns/antlers, wrote a note and we I made some cute snowflake ornaments from the melty beads to give as a thank you…whew, those things look cuter than they are to put together and finagle w/ the ‘ol iron!  Fo Sho!  Here is a pattern you could use…for some reason the site is in Swedish, but you get the idea!

All in all, we had a blast…Maddie loved playing w/ her friends, this was probably the lowest key party we’ve ever thrown, and we actually got to enjoy time w/ our friends here while putting it on!  So, enjoy!  Go and make your own ideas – store bought stuff is overrated anyways 😉