Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Weekend Recap Part 2

I'm finally at a stopping point in my week to tell you about the rest of our weekend. See, what I mean about being busy all of the sudden!

Friday night, David and Daniel were at Judgement House, and Anna had wrangled a way to stay at her friends house while we we went to Samuel's football game. We usually take Lauren with us, but she decided to stay home and study for the ACT she and Samuel were both taking the next morning at 8:00. Smart girl.

The game was in Magnolia, which is a good two hours away. Stephen and I were alone so we decided to stop by our favorite south Arkansas restaurant in El Dorado, MELS. (All caps are how they write the name.) We enjoyed the best gumbo and bacon wrapped shrimp ever. In. The. World.

We made it to Magnolia in time to watch all the pre game warm-ups. We don't usually get to a game early, so it was fun to watch. The game was a defensive battle. I usually text mom, dad, and Charlie (Stephen's dad) with game updates. This game they got a text after the quarters. Nothing happened. No score. During the third quarter Samuel kicked a field goal that would have put us up 3-0 but he missed it. We weren't able to score and neither were they so at the end of regulation the game was 0-0. 

So, here we go into overtime. Magnolia had the ball first, didn't make a touchdown, and their field goal was blocked. We didn't make a touchdown, and Samuel's (Joseph Valient again) kick wasn't good. There is a little controversy about it, but the refs said no good.

Second overtime, we got the ball first, didn't score a touchdown, and Samuel's kick wasn't good. Magnolia fumbled and we went to the third overtime. 

My nerves at this point were shot. I needed a paper bag to breathe in. All the parents around me were just as nervous for me.

The third overtime, Magnolia gets the ball first and they don't score a touchdown and their kick is bad! Oh my! We get the ball, don't make a touchdown, and now Samuel has to kick a field goal. I stood up this time. The other two times, I sat down and tried to breathe. This time I continued to ask God to give him a Facing the Giants moment, and I stood up. And when that kick went through the uprights, and the refs arms went up, I jumped and screamed. I'm pretty sure you heard me wherever you were, oh my goodness! We all went crazy! The players ran and jumped around Samuel, coaches were high fiving and yelling. It was one of those scenes that you see on TV and you jump up and down in your living room! Crazy good!

Samuel's name was in the Pine Bluff paper, and the AR Democrat Gazette twice over the weekend. And only written as Joseph once! We gave him the weekend to celebrate, and wouldn't you know it he was mentioned in another article yesterday. It's funny, that we don't talk about the three kicks he missed, just the one he made. But, that's how we like to relive the memory!

Saturday, October 25, 2014

Weekend Recap Part 1

The lazy slow summer has come to an end, and a busy fall has begun. We're going in all directions and having a good time. We're so busy that I need to get my hair done and won't be able to until the week after next. That is not good news!

David and Daniel are actors in Judgement House at a local church. Judgement House is a play that is set in eight scenes, following characters through life changing decisions. This year David played an angel in Judgement. 

He dressed as an angel and was to stand stoicly and not smile. He said not smiling was going to be difficult, since his "natural face" was to smile. Which made me laugh! His natural face is a frown, much like mine. Not that we aren't happy, just that we don't always smile, we've laughed a lot the last two weeks about his "natural face." In his costume, he stands barefoot, and one lady told him he had perfect toes. Perfect toes! 

Daniel played one of the lead roles in Judgement House. He had MANY lines to memorize and was in four of the eight scenes. He did so good. He was nervous, but I couldn't really tell it when I saw him. He's a real natural at acting. He didn't share the Gospel in his lines, but he did speak of a relationship with Jesus and how Jesus can fill the empty spots in your life, and that Jesus was a friend that sticks closer than a brother,

Judgement House lasted for six days, about 1000 people went through and many made life changing decisions. I love that David and Daniel wanted to be part of such a Gospel driven ministry. It was hard work and long hours but they loved it. 

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Fall fun with friends, fields and pie!

Nothing like a little away time with the best friend and some sweet old college buddies thrown into the mix. Melissa and I had an overnight getaway in Little Rock last weekend. I met up with Paige and our friend Courtney for lunch on Friday before Melissa and I met at the hotel to get our weekend started. We went to a Kari Jobe concert and then ate at all our fave places and shopped for Bibles for our boys, clothes for our fine bodies and dreaming of Christmas at Hallmark. We are a lively pair and we love it like that ;) I am so blessed to have Melissa as my forever best friend.  I can't imagine doing life without her. She is always constant, loving and accepting. I love that girl! 

Henry got to stay with Nana and Papa while I was gone because Randall was harvesting. Henry got to pay a visit to the plot closest to our house though and Randall took these cute pictures of our big guy. Henry adores his daddy and his work. 

Fall fun is in full swing around here. Henry is out of school Friday so we will visit a pumpkin patch that day. We have a Sunday School party at a local pumpkin patch Saturday night and trunk or treat at church on Sunday. Next week I'm heading up the Halloween party at his school and we have Halloween trick or treat fun on Halloween . Henry is going as Elvis! 

With fall comes baking. Henry's sweet teacher let each of them dig seeds out of a pumpkin and then seved pumpkin pie one day last week. Henry came home praising the pie she made and said we needed to make one with "that cinnamon". We decided to make one today after school. I opened everything for him and he poured and stirred himself. He cracked the eggs too. We baked it and then we put spray whipped topping on our piece that we shared . It was fantastic yummy fall fun. Anything with spray whipped topping is fantastic, according to Henry! 

Abby Jo 

Saturday, October 18, 2014

A Week Late

Last Saturday was Samuel's 17th birthday. We had plans to spend the day in Little Rock eating where he wanted, going where he wanted to go. Just celebrating Samuel.


We had a large storm Friday night during the football game. Lightning caused the game to be postponed at halftime. While we were glad to get to go home instead of sitting out in the rain, we weren't excited about the make-up time for the game.

Samuel had to be at the field house for pre-game Saturday at 1:00, and the game was at 6:00. So, we didn't get to celebrate him like we had planned. We did make a quick trip to Little Rock to get his birthday presents and eat his 2nd choice for lunch, and then rushed back for him to get to practice. 

Whew it was quite a morning, but I spent the afternoon in my bed naping. I think that was the best way to celebrate giving birth. I could have really used an epidural! 

We're proud of the person Samuel is. He isn't afraid of a challenge, loves life and people. He makes good decisions, chooses good friends and desires to be who God wants to be. I know that he's a 17 year old boy and believe me, he acts like one. But, we're proud of him!

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Running, Boxes, Boots and Bedtime Fun

Randall and I are training for the St Jude Half Marathon in December. We did this last year and an ice storm blanketed the midsouth on race weekend. They cancelled it. Randall ran 13.1 on the treadmill on race day to say he did it. I didn't!  I was bummed and stopped running for the winter and spring months. This year I'm hoping for a dry race weekend so I can finally run the course I have earned!  Henry wants to run with us so we will often have him join at the end of a run as we cool down. He loves it and it's a sneaky way to get him in great shape!
 I am running mine alone this year. Last year my running buddy and I trained together in hopes to run it together. This year she can't do it but she runs 3 or 4 miles with me when she can. It's mentally challenging doing it alone but it makes me stronger and pushes me more to think smart and stay healthy. Randall runs faster than me and does his own training. We are a good team and run best on our own. Yet we are great at taking turns on who does long  runs and when. I tend to do all mine on weekdays before the sun comes up. He does his during the day or on weekends. Opposites attract! ;) 

We are gearing up for the season of giving. I want this child to be a giver so I'm trying to lead by example and get him involved. We are blessed with way more than we deserve and we need to share with others. We packed our shoeboxes this past weekend. Henry wanted to keep some of the stuff and had a fit or two but we finally got them packed up and ready to send off in a few weeks. Slowly he will grow into a giver I think. ;) 


This child got his first pair of new, big boy boots a few weeks ago. No one prepared me for the cost of such boots. Whew. Daddy knew and wasn't shocked but boy, I was. Anyway, he loves them and he looks just like Randall's mini me in them! His Sunday School teacher owns the boot store in our town. She hooked Randall up with a pair too. They both walked out with new boots on their feet and a smile. We love Mrs. Karen and love supporting her business. 

This guy loves some pajamas and his big ole make believe bucket . Bedtime can get real interesting at our house! I love Henry's energy and excitement for life. As his pre-k teacher Mrs. Julie says, "his enthusiasm for life is infectious!" Indeed, it is. I'm blessed to be his mama. 

Abby Jo 

Thursday, October 9, 2014

Decorating Fun

I love an excuse to throw a party and decorate. The agent I work directly with is having a baby in a few weeks. We threw he and his wife a shower last week and I was I charge of decor. I loved having the pumpkin theme to use. 

The other ladies helped prepare the food and did a wonderful job. I enjoy throwing a party with good help. I hope there are more excuses for a shower or celebration at our office! 

I was so ready to decorate for fall at home. Henry and I took "old truck" to get hay, pumpkins and mums on the afternoon before fall officially rang in its fine self. We were set and ready to usher it on in! 

Here is a funny story: I picked Henry up from school in the "old truck" (which is actually newer than my car, but Henry has named it "old truck" because it was an old work truck Randall bought from his company to have to haul stuff around here. It is just a basic ole white Chevy pick up truck that smells like a mens locker room and sort of floats when you drive down the road. We listen to Sammy Kershaw and Joe Diffee's greatest hits in it. It's real clean and good redneck fun!) I don't  drive it often, as you can imagine.  So, here I am waiting in carline at Valley View in my ole pickup truck listening to Sammy sing about a working woman's holiday....and here comes Henry running out with his friends to stand in line, 6 cars ahead of me and he literally screamed with excitement while standing in carline when he spotted me. He was dancing and jumping up and down. I could hear him well through the music and half rolled down windows. His teacher had to rub his head and calm him down. He was excited beyond excited. I wanted to die right there in that truck. It was hilarious and most embarrassing as he yelled over and over, "that's my old truck! My mamas in THE old truck!" If it was an antique, cool looking truck that would have been fine, but it's not old and it's certainly not cool. I'm literally laughing as I type this. Picture it and laugh with me. Here I am sandwiched between a new Range Rover and an a huge Infiniti SUV with this child screaming like he's getting picked up in a Bentley. I love my humble baby! ;) 

So, tis the time of year to have excuses to decorate and drive "old truck"'s my favorite time of the year!!

Abby Jo 

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Daybook time again

I don't know if y'all like these or not, but I enjoy going back and seeing how our days looked.

Outside my window...It's a sunshiny day, it's supposed to be warm. I wish it would stay in the low 70's, but I'll enjoy the warm while we have it.

Within our walls...David has strep, and the coughing is just too much. Poor thing.

A heart of thanksgiving...I'm thankful that no one else has gotten strep in our home. Well, so far anyway.

A heart of prayer...There are a few things going on in our lives that we are praying for. There is always something!

Random observations...The strep cough is driving me a little bezerk! Poor thing.

From the kitchen...Last night we had roasted potatoes with chicken. I boiled the chicken and after the potatoes and onions had roasted for about 45 minutes I added the chicken (cut into small pieces) and roasted about 30 more minutes. It was so good!

Sounds of the moment...Pages of text books turning, strep coughs, washing machine and dryer going. 

What I'm wearing...T-shirt, black yoga capris, and socks. My Hallmark device isn't working today which means I can't work today so no good clothes have been or will be worn!

A favorite thing from the week...My mom came Friday for just a few hours. It was so good to see her and spend time with her. Wish it could have been longer, but she got to spend some quality time with her aunt and cousin the next couple of days. 

Monday, October 6, 2014


Friday was Homecoming at Watson Chapel High. Lauren was nominated and was honored to walk in the Homecoming Court. She was so pretty, as always, and Samuel was so proud of her. Isn't he just the cutest?!

Finally! He got to wear number 10, and when he kicked they announced him as Beavers. We were some proud, poor Joseph didn't get too play. HAHAHAHAHA!

Mom came to watch a game and spend some time with us before the game. Anna, David, and Daniel enjoyed spending time with her. I love this picture of them.

But I love this picture better. We were so proud. He had kicked three extra points and one field goal and we won the game. Finally!

And the reason I look a little ragged is because Thursday night we lost power. We were told it wouldn't come back on until Sunday night at 10:00. Can you even imagine? Thankfully, it came back on while we were at the game. The picture is of the kids and I playing Scrabble by crayon light. Did you know crayons burn like candles?!!

During all the weekend fun, David didn't feel good. I took him to the doctor today and found out he has Strep. So that's fun.

We're gearing up for a good week. It's Samuel's birthday week (birthday is Saturday) so we'll be celebrating him all week I'm sure! 17, can you believe it?

Saturday, September 27, 2014

What's in a Name?

Stephen and I are the slowest people when it comes to naming our children. I was in the hospital with all of the boys before we decided on heir names, and decided on Anna's the night before I went to have her. We take names pretty seriously and want them to be just right. 

Daniel Stephen and David Robert were not names I came up with, they're all Stephen. I had other names picked out but we compromised a bit and the boys are very happy with their names.

Being that David and Daniel look so much alike they are often called by the wrong name. Being a twin is fun, they have fun with it. I love having twins, it's the funnest thing I've ever done and am so honored God saw fit to give us twins. Being called the wrong name is the downside of being a twin. People tend to think of them as one person. People often don't take the time to look/study their differences and know them. David and Daniel don't act like it bothers them and will laugh it off, but think about it. If no one knew your name, even those closest to you, it would bother you.

Last night we were at Samuel's football game, and since it was an away game he was wearing #20 again. Everytime he went out to kick the announcer called him Joseph Valient. He did really good last night but didn't get any credit for it from the announcer. It reminded me of how important it is to know people. Know their names and their personalities. Knowing makes people feel special, worthy, cared for. 

It takes effort, but the reward is great! Get to know someone, call them by name, it will make you both feel good.

Monday, September 22, 2014

Pictures, Football, and Fall

School has started, football is being played. Bible verses are being memorized and I feel a rejuvenation in my soul.

Our mornings are full of school. I work three mornings a week and when I get home we start school, ( usually around 9) so besides laundry, nothing else gets done in the morning. It leaves my afternoons busy and productive. Which is a good thing seeing that my summer was anything but productive! 

Football is keeping us busy! Samuel plays every Friday night, but also some Monday nights and he practices until 6 or after every night. He's loving it, and we're loving it!
Samuel and Lauren, could they be any cuter?
His number is really 10, but they don't have a 10 in the away jerseys. When we travel he wears 20, but the program has Joseph Valient listed as 20. So when Samuel goes out to kick, the announcer says " And Joseph Valient is out to kick." It makes me laugh! 

David, Daniel, and Anna aren't loving football as much as the rest of us are.
That is Stephens leg, I wore jeans (and shaved!)

This is one of my favorite pictures. We're watching the game and Anna is taking selfies! 

Awana is in full swing at church. D and D are in Trek, which is the high school version of Awana and they are memorizing long passages of scripture. Anna is in her next to last year of Awana and loves it. She always has her book with her, even at football games. They all love studying the Bible and memorizing Gods word.

Today is the first day of Fall and I couldn't be more excited! It's my favorite time of the year and today feels cool and crisp. I just might make some chili tonight to celebrate! 

Sunday, September 21, 2014

September Smiles

This month has proven to be one full of some of our favorite faces! We had our best newlywed friends come visit us for the weekend. We had not seen them in 8 years. They have moved back to north Mississippi and we are so glad!! It was fun to meet up again with children. It was like we never missed a beat. True friends. We live life alike and I really like that about us :)

This meet up was good for my heart. Our sweet Aynn at my Mama's house for supper and laughs. She lost her precious husband a few weeks ago and I missed the funeral. I needed to see her, hug her and hear her laugh. It was wonderful and Mama cooked a yummy supper for us. We all celebrate September birthdays so a cake was on the menu too. 

No words for how much I adore this visit to Sandy Ridge Farm. Our friends Dustin and Anna farm sweet potatoes in Senatobia, Mississippi. They invited us to see the harvest. We were thrilled to check it out. Dustin gave Henry the grand tour and even purchased a toy tractor for him just like the one you see Henry standing on. Rotten boy! It was really quite cool to see how they harvest the sweet taters. 

Since we visited the farm on my birthday, Dustin treated us to Como Steakhouse in Como, MS for dinner. I loved visiting with Anna. She is truly a southern belle and we are soul sisters. She gave me the cutest cookbook and made me feel extra special. 

Hugging this old handsome fella was the icing on my birthday cake! I got to see him on my birthday while driving through to go to the farm. My Daddy is a sweetie to have helped get me here 36 years ago! 

Nothing like a Marmie/Mama hug the day after my birthday! I'm thankful this woman had me 36 years ago. She is a saint to put up with me all these years. She always reminds me that I was late arriving and they had to force my stubborn self out. I can see all these qualities in me still yet after all these years! 

Being at "home" with my homegirls is therapeutic to my whole being. There is nothing better than an old friend. I thank God for the treasure of friendship, both the silver and gold friends of life. Sliver has always been my go-to though! We met up for dinner and talked about life, laughed and smiled a lot. A real smile and honest laugh with friends who really get you are precious to the soul. 

This. Just this. It's like a Life commercial in reverse. Melissa and me. These boys are destined to be buds for life. Luke and Henry got a quick visit in while Melissa treated me to my favorite homemade birthday cake and an ice cold Diet Coke. I love that girl more than cake, words and Diet Coke.. And that's big! This month is probably one of my favorite Septembers in my history of 36 Septembers... And it isn't over yet! ;) 

Abby Jo 

Friday, August 29, 2014


In the great outdoors...Saturday David, Daniel and I went walking on a couple of trails in town. It was hot, I sweated way more than I wanted to, but it was a really nice time to be together. Today is warm. Ok, it's hot! Not!

Within our walls...The second week of school is finished. Yay!! I'm in a toss everything kind of mood, so there are quite a few trashbags heading for the trash.

A heart of thanksgiving...

A heart of prayer...The closest family friends we had growing up were the Walkers. We spent so much time at their house, I considered it part mine. Aynn and Ron treated me like one of their own, and I loved it. Ron is in his final days and I'm praying for his family and friends. I know if I'm as saddened by this as I am, those so much closer to him are too. 

Random observations...It's that time of year again. Acorns are falling! I get so excited when I get to step on them and hear them crack. It's weird, right?

From the kitchen...Tonight we're having chili dogs for supper, for a couple of reasons. For one, the kids and I like them, secondly, Stephen works Friday nights. Except last night he switched with someone so he is working today. Which means the chili dog supper will have to be put on hold. He just doesn't love them like we do.

Sounds of the moment...It's quiet. All the kids are home, but no one is talking, the tv is off, just the sound of the ceiling fan whirling above my head. Wow!

What I'm wearing...Shorts and a t shirt, socks of course. I did work today and wore better clothes though, these are just my comfy clothes.

A favorite thing from the week...I guess it would have to be the football scrimmage Tuesday night. Having Daddy here, watching Samuel play, it was really fun.

Sometimes school gets interrupted by magic tricks! 

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Football Tuesday Night

It was a Football Tuesday night last night. Well, not a real football night, more like a scrimmage against two other teams. 

Daddy came over to watch Samuel play. It was so fun to sit beside him in the stands watching him play. There's no way I could count the hours I've spent listening, talking, and watching football with my dad. But there was something special about getting to watch my son play with my dad beside me. 

Samuel didn't disappoint. He was 3 for 3 on extra points and punted too many times for me to remember. (Our team may not be as good as we wish they were.) The field is turf, which means no dirt, but Samuel walked out on the field to play dirty. 

The boy always has the dirtiest uniform of anyone on his team. This picture was taken before the kickoff. Before he kicked a ball. And when the game ended, he was still the dirtiest one, and he hadn't even been tackled. I have no explanation.

We lost both of our games/scrimmages, I'm hoping we gets the kinks worked out before our first game! Go Wildcats!!! Go #10!!

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Daybook Entry

In the great outdoors...Man, it was HOT today!! I had errands to run and was outside quite a bit and I was sweating. Poor Samuel had baseball and football practice and was dripping wet when he came 6:40!

Within our walls...School has started! Woo-Hoo!

A heart of thanksgiving...I'm thankful to the Lord for all He has done for us. We aren't living in the grandest way, but we are living a pretty grand life.

A heart of prayer...Everyday we're making decisions, some life altering, some not. We're just praying the decisions we make are the ones that are God honoring.

Random observations...The kids are sleeping later than normal lately. Samuel has to leave for school by 7:30 so he doesn't get to sleep in, but the other three do. It used to be that they were up by the time the sun came up and I had to make a rule to keep them in their rooms until 7:00. My kids are growing up!

Thoughts from the kitchen...It was beef and broccoli tonight. I failed to make enough, so Stephen had to stop on the way home from a meeting and pick up fast food for himself. 

My silly children...
His could be my favorite picture of Samuel. He had to get caught up on his immunizations, it had been quite a while since he had bee to a doctor, much less had shots. He didn't realize what was going to happen and when he realized he freaked out just a bit. The nurse, Samuel, and I were all laughing at him. 

Sounds of the moment...All the kids are in bed, it's just Stephen and me. All I hear is the air conditioner.

What I'm wearing...khaki shorts, a new great tshirt from Old Navy, and blue socks.

A favorite thing from last week...Our 21st anniversary was Thursday and we had a great date night. We laughed and enjoyed being together more that night than we have in a long time.

On the calendar...I'm working on two women's events. One is Friday and the other is in October. This time of year gets a little hectic.

Monday, August 18, 2014

Pre K, here he comes!

I'm so excited about school days...can you tell?! We made the decision to place Henry in the pre k program at our public school. It was a prayerful, fact seeking decision this past winter. We visited the private school in town and interviewed the administrator,  weighed our options of staying where we were, or going to the public pre k. We really never dreamed we would pick what we picked, but God knew! I have never been so at peace with the decision as I am today. We are public school kids ourselves. It is not the same as it was, yet I still trust it enough for Henry, for now. We are blessed to live in an area with wonderful schools...and Randall always kindly reminds me what we pay in taxes to the school! We of course still pay out of pocket for the pre-k program at our school. 

We pulled Henry out of the preschool he was attending at the end of July. I felt he needed time to unwind and decompress before we started new. It was a tough move to make. He has missed his friends there a lot and I have felt great mom guilt about that at times. It's life though. I haven't laid eyes on my best friend in 5 deal with it. Relaying that to a 4 year old isn't that easy though. 

Randall and I are your typical parents of an only child, yet I know sometimes we are over the top. I know our own family giggles at us, so I'm sure you do if you are reading this and not a relative. We love every minute of sharing life with this big ole boy! Laugh if you must. 
We met his teacher today and in the first couple minutes of speaking with her she asked very sweetly, "you don't have any other children besides Henry, right?" As if she knew that quickly. We love this boy and he knows it. The world knows it. I'm proud for that. We know it is time to start opening his world up a little bit, so this is our first big step in doing that. It's been so fun preparing for it. Randall and I took this photo on the football field at his school last weekend. Henry thought it was really cool. His school is pre k thru 12 on one campus and I love that about this school. 

We got to meet his teachers today at a drop in. Tomorrow morning he starts with half his class and with the full class on Thursday. They are precious ladies and the room was so big and colorful. He loved the learning toys and has been talking about the microphone and drums he saw on the shelf. He plans to sing a song for his class, he says. The school building  is amazing. It is going to be so fun for him! 

I plan to take this photo each year....for the next 13 years. :)

This boy was so excited to go meet his teacher! Her name is Julie. I told him we were bound to love her! 

Henry is so fortunate to have a Daddy who can go to middle of the day school stuff. Randall was one of the only Daddy's there. Henry says his Daddy is his best friend. I would have to agree. They are a pretty tight pair. 

He was sooooo excited to go in. I pray he is that excited in the morning for the real deal. I am claiming my life verse for Henry again for this step. Joshua 1:9. " Be strong and courageous for The Lord your God is with you wherever you go."

Public school world I bequeath to you my Henry. Be good to him!

Abby Jo