Saturday, November 26, 2011

Christmas Card Time!!!

I am so excited about the Christmas season - the cards, the decorations, the music, the cookies, & most importantly, the Advent season at Church.  I love all holidays, but I truly do love Christmas.  I treasure every party, every church service, every card.  I hang many cards on my refrigerator & miss my dear friends & family.
We had a good friend from Royston take pictures of Peyton last week, before leaving for Kentucky for Thanksgiving.  I debated taking pictures or using old pictures, but decided to use new pictures.  Peyton changes daily.  To view the pictures & get a sneak peek  -
I did not do Christmas cards last year, due to just sending out birth announcements, so I am excited to get them out this year!  I have been looking online, researching good deals, & always go back to my favorite, Tiny Prints.  A few that I found that I love -

When I look at Christmas cards, I like a religious message (especially due to my husband's profession) & multiple pictures.  I love Tiny Prints prices, quality of pictures, & prints.  If you don't want to do the research, I'd suggest to go -
Enjoy shopping! I look forward to hanging your card on my refrigerator!

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

A Tale of Two Street Corners (Jonathan's Post)

"It was the best of times; it was the worst of times."  As a Pastor it was one of the most uncomfortable but illuminating times.  As Susan told everyone who follows the blog, a couple of weeks ago we celebrated Christmas early with a trip to the Biltmore House in Asheville, NC.  I cannot describe adequately what a wonderful time we had together! 

The story I'm sharing happened on Sunday morning before we left Asheville to head home.  Susan and I decided not to attend a church service and go eat at a restaurant receiving wonderful reviews.  The wait for a table was an hour and a half.  It was 10:30 AM when we added our name to the list, realizing we were now eating lunch, not late breakfast.

The restaurant was alive with people.  The waiting areas were informal outdoor spots and the there wasn’t a space to be found.  People were huddled anywhere you could stand from the parking lot to the store next door- everyone patiently waiting their turn to come to the table and eat the highly acclaimed meals carefully prepared and served with style.

It took 2.2 seconds before I was bored to tears.  (Susan had packed a book or magazine… she is always thinking ahead)  I looked around for something to fill the time and noticed a church only a block away.  I was dressed for breakfast, not church but I leaned over to Susan and asked if she would mind if I walked over and checked out the church.  Of course she didn’t.

As I approached the front steps I realized service started at 10:45 AM.  It was 10 minutes away.  I pulled the door open expecting to be greeted the same way I had been at the restaurant, with warm friendly people excited to see me.  It didn’t happen.  No one was there.  I walked in the sanctuary and said hello to the men who I could only assume were the inattentive front door greeters. 

I walked an aisle seeing the sanctuary was very empty, more pews empty than full, & many places to sit.  I looked up at the altar, I wondered if anyone was excited to be coming forward to the table here to receive the food that would be offered in a few moments- my impression, no.  I exited back out the foyer.  I proceeded to make my way through the entire church receiving no help, very few hellos, and never the feeling they were interested in me. 

The people I did observe were older, friendly looking and well dressed.  I didn’t feel unwelcome, I just felt as if the congregants were consumed with something else other than my presence.

As I left the church, I could see the restaurant crawling with people, people talking in their pockets of space making the best of a long wait for a good meal.  The people looked young, successful, interesting, and alive. 

My heart sank.  I remembered I am a pastor.  These people at the restaurant are my generation.  They would rather eat at this table then the table across the street.  They would rather huddle outside for an hour and a half in the cold then be inside the heated church building with pews to spare.

I didn’t attend church on that Sunday, but I found myself praying as if I was at the altar asking the questions so many pastors seem befuddled by today, “why is this generation choosing breakfast restaurants over churches?”  

The Spirit of God moves wherever it chooses and more intelligent women and men than me are looking for ways to connect with this generation.  But let me tell you, it was a scary reality seeing so starkly reality on those two street corners.

I place no blame.  I point no fingers.  I simply  hope the Church will find a way to be relevant to this generation.  They are creative, they are alive, they are sharp, and right now many of them don’t see any value in the Church.

It was eye opening.  And you know, the food was good, fresh, farm raised and unique, but it didn’t hold a candle to what I get each Sunday at church!

Monday, November 21, 2011

Jonathan's Birthday!

We had the BEST weekend celebrating Jonathan's birthday! As I've said before, I love birthdays.  But, I was stumped with how to make Jonathan's extra-special this year.  In year's past - I've taken him to a hockey game, Atlanta Falcons game, Bed-n-Breakfast in the GA mountains, etc...therefore, what was I to do?
I asked Jonathan's parents to come spend the weekend with us.  Mr. Rusty & Miss Ophelia drove from Destin, FL Thursday night & stayed through Sunday.  I had to go to work Friday, but the boys got to play golf (Jonathan's latest passion).  Friday night, we enjoyed dinner at 211 Main Street in Lavonia, GA. (If YOU make the trip to Royston, Ga, I'd LOVE to take you.  It's my favorite restaurant in the area & the desserts are the BEST!)  Saturday, we decided to go to Cashiers, NC & Highlands, NC.  We hiked, ate lunch out, & shopped.  We ended Jonathan's special day with football & Rummy. 
Our little man!

Men about to go play golf!

Happy Birthday Jonathan!!!

Ready to Hike! Rusty, Ophelia, JB, & Peyton

Cashiers, NC

My boys! I love this picture!

Highlands, NC...a happy!

A worn out baby!

Sunday, November 13, 2011

A Moment to Sit...

It is an unusual Sunday morning for us.  Peyton & I are not at Royston Baptist worshiping with Jonathan.  Instead, he is asleep in his crib & I am relaxing on the couch.  Peyton has been sick for the past week.  We took him to the doctor, diagnosed with a sinus infection, & we thought, healing.  Peyton threw up for the 2nd morning in a row.  Yesterday, we thought it was his sinus infection medicine, but this morning he threw up, without having his medicine.  As a new mom, it is scary to watch your baby throw up.  I am praying  that his little body heals soon. 
I have learned as a mother, you do not sit down much.  You are taking care of your children, your husband, your animals (in my case, our golden retriever, Derby), working outside the home, chores - cooking, cleaning, etc.  Therefore, it is rare for me to have a quiet Sunday morning to think.  I was able to start a book, The Power of a Praying Parent by Stormie Omartian.  It is wonderful.  I am reminded of God's promises, "Pour out your heart like water before the face of the Lord.  Lift your hands toward Him for the life of your young children" (Lamentations 2:19).  I was reminded this quiet morning to be in prayer with fervency & passion for Peyton & anticipate the prayers being answered.  The book - 
 Parents of any age children - I encourage you to read this book.  I am reminded that I cannot parent alone! 
On a different note, I had to include a few weekend snapshots. We hosted a shower for Misty & Baby Girl Holland.  I love being a part of baby showers....everyone is so excited & we all "oooh & aaah" at the precious clothes.  We also took Peyton to meet Santa.  It was hilarious...he screamed & was afraid of him.  Santa was even laughing at Peyton's reaction.  Maybe next year....
Billie Jean, Misty & Baby Girl, & Me

Peyton & Santa...not happy!

Take 2...hoping with me, he won't be as scared...not so!

May God bless you this Sunday morning! May you find time to be quiet in His presence.

Monday, November 7, 2011

Celebrating an early Christmas!

Enjoying the Tupelo Honey Cafe
 Jonathan & I had a weekend getaway to Asheville, North Carolina.  Originally, we planned to take Peyton with us to Asheville.  As the trip grew closer, my mom asked to keep Peyton for the weekend, & after thinking about it, I said yes! Therefore, it was the longest time we have been away from our baby boy.  We missed Peyton, but loved every minute together, without a 1-year-old.
After learning we lived only 2 hours away from Asheville, & knowing on my 'Bucket List' listed "Visiting the Biltmore at Christmas," I begged Jonathan to go.  We decided this trip would be our Christmas gift to one another.  I think it was one of my favorite gifts I've ever received! The home is amazing - 38 Christmas trees, 1200 poinsettias, ornate decor, good food, beautiful gardens (even in the fall!), etc.  We enjoyed some delicious restaurants in downtown Asheville

Just finishing the Christmas tour of the Biltmore House

Biltmore Bass Pond

The Biltmore! Asheville, NC
If you need a weekend getaway, I would highly recommend going to visit the Biltmore House & Asheville, NC - good restaurants, beautiful mountains, & fun shops!

Wednesday, November 2, 2011


Our weekend began with the Kindergarten Fall Festival.  Jonathan & Peyton visited the class for the first time on Friday to meet the students & enjoy the festival.  I anticipated the afternoon all week - hoping Peyton would enjoy the children & vise-versa.  We all had a blast, but exhausted Friday night.
Peyton as a Scarecrow
 Monday night was the big evening.  Before Monday, we had not dressed up Peyton or participated in any trunks-r-treats, therefore, it was the first.  He loved the costume, loved his first 3 Musketeers mini-candy bar, loved greeting the neighbors, loved being with the Bristers, & loved riding in the wagon. I think I enjoyed Halloween more as a parent, than a child.  I loved seeing his happiness in the event.  I continue to be amazed at how much I love being a mother!

Jonathan's Pumpkin

Trick-or-Treating with the Brister Bunch!
I hope you had a Happy Halloween!!!