Monday, October 31, 2011

Happy Halloween!


We hope you all have a Happy Halloween!

Michael, Brandi, and our pumpkin Scarlett Belle

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Semi-Homemade Comfort

It's been over a week since I last blogged, and I had to force myself to write something today. I'm just not feeling it lately. If I can be honest! I want to be back on the beach. I am so glad we went when we did because last week was FREEEZING!!! This week was a little better, but it's supposed to be a chilly tomorrow.

I love this time of year for so many reasons, but one of my favorite things about fall and winter is making soups. I have made two semi-homemade soups lately that I loved. I loved them so much I ate them for lunch and dinner a couple of days!!

Here is my recipe for Semi-Homemade Chicken Soup

8 cups chicken broth
1 tsp olive oil
1/2 onion diced
1-2 cloves of garlic diced finely
1 1/2 cups of carrots diced
3 stalks of celery diced
1 chicken bouillon cube, crumbled
1 bay leaf
Sea Salt and pepper, to taste
1/2 tsp dried thyme or basil, or more if you like
1 1/2 cup cooked rotisserie chicken, shredded
Spaghetti noodles broken in thirds (use as much as you want. I used 1/3 of the package)

Sauté onions, celery, and carrots in olive oil until soft, about 5 minutes
Add garlic & cook for 30 seconds to 1 minute, stirring constantly
Add broth & the remainder of ingredients, except for spaghetti
Cook over medium low heat for 1 hour
30 minutes before eating, add the noodles
Eat when noodles are cooked


Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Life's a Beach!

Last week, I took my mom and her two friends Cissy and Barbara to Orange Beach as an early birthday present for my mom who will be turning the big 50 in January. We had a great time sitting on the beach, looking for shells, shopping, and eating!

Being from Arkansas, the beach was not too close for me growing up, and I did not see the ocean for the first time until I was 16 years old. I was hooked immediately by the beautiful white sand and ocean blue water, the feel of the ocean breeze, the sense of calm next to the water, and the sweet sound of the waves. I know I'm getting a little poetic, but I don't feel closer to God in any other place that at the beach. I really could live there 365 days a year!

Perhaps my dream of living on the ocean will come true someday, but until then, I am grateful to spend vacations at my favorite place. Spending time on the beach with my mom makes it even better!


My mom and me!


Waiting to eat some delicious seafood!


With the girls at the Shrimp Festival. It was a little windy!



The gorgeous view from our balcony!


My mom loved looking for shells. This is a picture from our balcony of she and Barbara walking along the beach.

Monday, October 10, 2011


It's Monday, and I am happy like it's Friday or something! Do you think it's because I have the day off? I have so many things in my life to be happy about today. I am sitting in a clean house for one, which always makes things better :)! But most importantly, I've had a great weekend, and yesterday was such an amazing day. Michael was out of town working on Saturday, but I got together with friends for dinner and watched Arkansas vs. Auburn and Tennessee vs. Georgia. I was 1-1 this Saturday, and unfortunately all my hope has to be for the HOGS the remainder of the season because Tyler Bray will be out of commission for 6 weeks. I think the VOLS season may be over.

I woke up on Sunday and had an overwelmingly good study for my LIFE Group. God spoke to me about surrendering so many areas of my life. I struggle with surrendering my desire for possesions, my relationships, and myself to Him every day, but I pray that with His grace, I'm going to figure it out! I also served last night as a greeter for the 7:00 pm service. This was my first time serving on the Dream Team, and I had a lot of fun getting to see everyone on their way to the service. I will admit that part of me wanted to stay home last night and relax on the couch, which is my favorite Sunday night activity. But I am so glad I made myself get up, because it lifted my spirit to be able to greet everyone and fellowship. I pray that my smile made someone's night a little brighter. I was so happy when we left church last night!

Tonight, my mom and her two friends Cissy and Barbara will be arriving in Birmingham. Tomorrow, we will be heading to the beach to celebrate an early birthday for my mom. She turns 50 in January, and a beach trip is my present to her. October sounded much more pleasant for a beach trip than January, and besides, this way she will celebrate her birthday twice.

I am also happy because fall is in full swing! I love it. I love it. I love it! I wanted to share my first fall mantle decorations with you. I love the way it turned out, and the best part is that it only cost me $6! I used what I already had around the house, and only bought the small pumpkins and gourds at Wally World to add to it. I am very happy with how it turned out, and I couldn't be happier with the cost of the project.



I hope you all have a wonderful week!

Wednesday, October 5, 2011


How amazing this season of my life is becoming! No credit can be given to anyone but to God. For a year, my relationship with my savior has been growing, and the process has been difficult, frustrating, joyful, and peaceful all at the same time. The difficulties I have faced are of my own pride and of my need to anyalyze and ignore rather than surrender and accept. This has been my path since the day I was saved at age 14. I have had amazing seasons of grace with God but many more have been seasons (year after year) of disobedience, worldliness, fear, anxiety, loneliness, insecurty, shame, anger, victimization...must I go on!

God knows how long I have hurt and how much I have burdened myself with my thoughts, my words, and my choices. He knows it's time for me to love Him, to love myself, and to truly love others. He has given me gift after gift to get me to this point, and now I see what an amazing Father he is. He has given me Michael, the most accepting and loving man I have known on this Earth. The spirit within Michael is so good and so kind and through our marriage, I see a true display of unconditional love every day. Thank You God for Michael!

Though picking up and moving several times in our marriage has been daunting at times, God knew what he was doing with his gifts. I've said plenty that God has planted us in Birmingham for so many reasons and though life looked bleak for the first few months here, I've never been happier in a place (don't get me wrong, I would move back to Australia tomorrow!) We have friends in Birmingham we love and who love us. We have been introduced to a church that is so filled with God's love that I cannot even describe to you the peace I feel when I walk inside on Sunday. We have found a church that accepts everyone from every walk of life. No judgement or gossip is honored - only love and acceptance is allowed.

I am blessed to have found a LIFE group this fall that is amazing beyond words. I have never had the opportunity to share a room with women who love each other so much. And I mean we love each other!!! I never in a million years believed that women could get together in a room without gossip, but it's possible!!! Just add God to the mix, and we all miraculously know how to keep our mouths closed! Well...until we start praying for each other! It's glorious! I don't want this sememster to end because I am having so much fun.

This past weekend, many of us went to our church's ReCreate conference. What a life changing experience this was, and I hope and pray I will be here for next year's conference. Mom, mark your calendar because you are coming with me! I wanted to share a few pictures of some of my LIFE Group Chicks! We grew even closer this weekend.




Thank you for allowing me to share this journey with you. Please pray that my spirit will continue to be open to God's grace. I pray that I will love God first, love those around me, and love myself!

"You must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, all your strength, and all your mind. And love your neighbor as yourself." Luke 10:27