Sunday, December 30, 2007

adios 2007 and hello to 2008!

It's so hard for me to believe that this year is coming to an end. This year has been a busy one full of many exciting events and even a few bumps in the road here and there. All in all though, it's been great one. God has taught me a lot this year. Have you ever experienced a trial so difficult that you thought that maybe you'd been forgotten? That God was ignoring you? For several years prior to 2007, I had several of these experiences. I thought that I was doomed just because my life wasn't going according to my plan. Sound familiar? You know the saying "when it rains it pours"? That's how I felt. Something bad would happen followed by something else bad. It seemed like a neverending process. During these times, I of course thought that I was the only person who'd ever experienced difficult times, when really it's just a PART OF LIFE. Everybody goes through hard times! It was during those times that I grew tremendously and became a much stronger person, even though at the time, I thought I was becoming weaker. I feel like I've become a different person in 2007. God has proven to me that He HASN'T forgotten about me and that he placed those obstacles in my life for a reason. I can say, without a doubt, that I am so grateful for those trials now. Do you know how weird (and amazing at the same time) it feels for me to say that now? I wouldn't be where I am now or the person I am now had I not experienced them. I now also have the faith and confidence to know that when I'm faced with another trial, I CAN get through them and learn from them.
If you're going through something difficult right now and believe that you're not going to get through it, let me assure you that you WILL. God hasn't forgotten about you.

There are a couple of different verses that I wrote on index cards as a daily reminder that when faced with a challenge, it can be overcome!

Habakkuk 2:3; "But these things I plan won't happen right away. Slowly, steadily, surely, the time approaches when the vision will be fulfilled. If it seems slow, wait patiently, for it will surely take place. It will not be delayed."

Psalm 40:1-3; "I waited patiently for the Lord to help me and he turned to me and heard my cry. He lifted me out of the pit of despair, out of the mud and mire. He set my feet on solid ground and steadied me as I walk along. He has given me a new song to sing, a hymn of praise to our God. Many will see what he has done and be astounded. they will put their trust in the Lord."

The sermon topic this morning at church was "Hope" and it really hit home with me. The wonderful pastor at my church read the lyrics to a very familiar hymn. Although I knew most of the words, it really spoke volumes to me this morning. You probably know it too, but I encourage you to reread them and think about the words:

My hope is built on nothing lessThan Jesus’ blood and righteousness.
I dare not trust the sweetest frame,
But wholly trust in Jesus’ Name.
On Christ the solid Rock I stand,
All other ground is sinking sand;
All other ground is sinking sand.

When darkness seems to hide His face,
I rest on His unchanging grace.
In every high and stormy gale,
My anchor holds within the veil.

On Christ the solid Rock I stand...

When He shall come with trumpet sound,
Oh may I then in Him be found.
Dressed in His righteousness alone,
Faultless to stand before the throne.
On Christ the solid Rock I stand...
On a lighter note and a complete subject change, I've compiled a list of a few of my faves from 2007. Drumroll please... :)
Favorite song in 07: "Everyday America" by Sugarland
Favorite movie in 07: nothing really comes to mind on this one...I did enjoy "We Are Marshall" although I'm not sure it was released this year. It's a sad one, but a good one.
Favorite new friends of 07: JR, Heather Simmonds, Katey Overstreet (I've known Heather and Katey longer than a year, but I've just become great friends with them this year! )
Favorite concert in 07: Please don't make me choose between George Strait (with Candy) and Sugarland (with JR)!! LOVED THEM BOTH!
Favorite musical group in 07: SUGARLAND!
Favorite purchase in 07: for myself? Probably my ipod. It was somewhat expensive, but I've definitely gotten my money's worth!
Favorite baby born in 07: Henry was born in Dec. of '06...can that count?? :)
Favorite TV show in 07: The Office. The Office. And The Office.
Favorite vacation spot of 07: the beach
Favorite photo taken in 07: Definitely this one...haha...GO DAWGS!
I'm looking forward to the second half of my Christmas vacation. My dear friend Claire said it best when she said something similar to this: "I love my students dearly, but I also love being away from them for a while." I think I'm getting a little taste of what it feels like in heaven. :)
Thank you God for a great 2007! (Oh yeah, and GO DAWGS!! 2007 LIBERTY BOWL CHAMPS!!!)
May God bless all of my blog readers in 2008! :)

Saturday, December 29, 2007

exciting happenings on a Saturday...

First of all, HAPPY BIRTHDAY JR! He is celebrating his birthday today in Memphis, hopefully getting geared up for the Liberty Bowl! This picture was taken a few weeks ago. I was decorating my house for Christmas, looked over, and saw this. If you know how protective Max is, you know that seeing him snuggled up to JR like that is very rare, so I had to snap a picture. ANYWAY...if you do not know JR, you're truly missing out. He's pretty great.

Secondly, I GET TO SEE MERE TODAY!!! WOO HOO!!! I haven't seen this little Texan since August and I'm DYING to have some hanging out time with her. I CAN'T WAIT!

Finally, GO DAWGS!!!

Tune into the Liberty Bowl today at 3:30.

(Thanks for the pic, MSKS).

Friday, December 28, 2007

hmmm...very interesting...

I'm often told that I look JUST like my dad, while other times I'm told that I look JUST like my mom. According to this site, I look equally like them both (I honestly thought it would lean more towards Tommy T.). Give it a try and see who YOU (or your child if you have one) look like!

MyHeritage: Celebrity Collage - Genealogy research

Thursday, December 27, 2007

over already?

What a fabulous Christmas. Everything about my Christmas was perfect.
Here are some highlights of my Christmas this year (I will list these chronologically since I am OCD):
-spending time with my family in Collinsville and seeing my sweet Mamaw who I don't get to see often enough. -spending time with my family in Starkville (while mostly being entertained by Henry of course)
-seeing MSKS and Claire even though it was for only like 4.5 minutes (no pics taken that night unfortunately)
-spending time with JR's family in Greenwood
-seeing Candy (and adorable Landon) while in Greenwood

I feel like I've been going nonstop for the past few days, but I've enjoyed every minute of it. Oh, and being out of school is heavenly to say the least. HEAVENLY.
I'm not going to the Liberty Bowl (Saturday at 3:30...GO DAWGS!), but I will be hanging out with Mere and Claire, and there's almost nothing better than that if you ask me.

I hope your Christmas was fantastic!

p.s. Heather informed me that she gets annoyed by the amount of smiley faces :) I use while blogging. This is just to let you know that you will probably be seeing more of these little colon-eyed faces now that I know how much it bothers her. :)

Friday, December 21, 2007

Merry Christmas one and all!

I made it! WOO HOO!!!
I'd be lying if I said today was a breeze but it's over now and I am one happy little girl! =)
I also feel like a totally different person after my massage this afternoon (thanks for the gift certificate JR!).
My family is in town for the weekend. I'll try to post pics at some point this weekend, but just in case I don't get to blogging again before Christmas-- Merry Christmas to you all and may God bless you and your family this holiday season!

Thursday, December 20, 2007

deep breath, Laura, deep breath...

One more day of school for me.
Well. A HALF day technically. I'm not really sure I have the energy to go tomorrow. My kids are W.I.L.D!! I left school today feeling like I had been beaten by several hundred baseball bats and then run over repeatedly by an 18-wheeler.
My 4:00 massage appointment tomorrow afternoon could NOT come any sooner!

Heather and Trey rolled into town this afternoon (Yes...they, along with BOTH of my parents, are off work tomorrow. Grrr....). Kristen, Rob, and Henry will be here sometime tomorrow night and we're having our family Christmas this weekend while they're all here. We'll be in Starkville until Sunday, when we'll be heading to Collinsville for the get together with my mom's side of the family. I'm so looking forward to the whole weekend, but my main focus right now: SURVIVING TOMORROW (prayers needed please! :) ).

Happy Friday friends! :)

p.s. My daily Bible verse today (top right of my blog) is the beginning of the story of the birth of Jesus. It's a simple but EXCELLENT reminder of the REAL meaning of Christmas isn't it?

Sunday, December 16, 2007

a wedding, some Heather time, and a visit with Santa!

JR was in a wedding this weekend in Hattiesburg (how convenient for me!). So, we left Friday afternoon and stayed the weekend with Heather and Trey. The wedding was beautiful, JR was the best looking groomsman of course =), and we had a great time hanging out with H and T.Wondering why Heather is looking so annoyed in this pic? Just ask her how she feels about her husband wearing a camo hat in public places. Oh how I love the fact that Heather married a hunter!

Oh yeah, one more thing...

Santa was at Petsmart Saturday, so Heather and I headed up there with our pups to have their pictures taken! Now, Max is normally extremely attached to me. If someone is holding him and I'm in the room, he starts crying to get to me. It's true. He's very sensitive and loves his mommy. Who can blame him right?
Anyway, he did great for Santa. Isn't the picture adorable? It came in this adorable frame and everything! Not only that, but $5 of the $10 that it cost went towards homeless animals, so I felt like I was doing something good.
This is my last week of school before the holidays. YESSSS!!! If you're a teacher, then you understand that the week before Christmas is all about SURVIVAL. It's tough. The kids will walk in the door tomorrow morning jumping off the walls and acting like they've never set foot in a school before. They do not want to be there (and in all honesty, I'm not too thrilled about being there this week either!). So, I've got a lot of fun Christmas crafts that we're going to do ALL WEEK. They have half a day on Friday (I'm letting them wear their PJ's! AM I CRAZY???) and that morning, I'll basically have a few Christmas goodies for them, pop a Christmas movie in, and send them on their way! I plan on leaving straight from school and heading to get a massage. Hurry up Friday.
Please pray for my sanity this week!

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Christmas all around!

Take a little time! This is really fun (and somewhat of a nice stress reliever!) =)

1. Wrapping paper or gift bags? wrapping paper no doubt. I'm my mother's child. I have a different theme each year, so all of my presents look the same. I love to wrap, although I'm not nearly as good as some.
2. Tree--Real or Artificial? I'm not partial to either one really. I have an artificial tree because it's easier and you don't have to water it, but I do love the real tree smell.
3. When do you put Christmas tree up? As soon as possible without being tacky about it. I always want to do it in October but others won't allow me to do such.
4. When do you take the tree down? I wait as long as possible without, once again, being tacky. It's usually the beginning of January. I love Christmas.
5. Like egg nog? no, but I kinda wish I did. I think it looks festive. I do LOVE egg nog bread. Heather gave me that recipe once. It's fabulous even if you don't like egg nog itself.
6. Do you have a nativity scene? I don't actually.
7. Favorite gift received as a child? Probably the awesome Barbie house Santa brought the 3 of us one year. Of course Heather and I thought it was the wrong color, so we try to 'paint' it white with toothpaste. It didn't work and we got in trouble.
8. Hardest person to buy for? MSKS and all of the males in my family.
9. Easiest person to buy for? probably my sisters. They pretty much like the same things as me.
10. Worst Christmas gift? honestly can't think of one that has been just completely terrible!
11. Mail or email a Christmas Card? MAIL! I love Christmas card pictures! I've gotten really good ones this year. Some friends and fellow bloggers who have sent some great ones this year: the Skaggs, the Smiths, the Overstreets, and the Lowes. Love them all! Last year I sent out a picture of Max wearing a santa suit, but he got made fun of so badly for it so he refused to pose for me this year. Thanks a lot guys. I opted AGAINST sending out the one man shot of myself from the church directory as a Christmas card. Haha. Expect to get a cute one from me one day when I have cute kids to show off.
12. Favorite Christmas movie? Sorry...can't choose just one. a. Christmas Vacation b. Christmas Story c. Home Alone (JR and I actually watched that one Sunday afternoon...LOVE IT) d. Grinch e. Elf
13. When do you start shopping for Christmas? usually mid October. I was pretty much finished shopping by Thanksgiving. I love being finished early.
14. Have you ever recycled a Christmas present? not that I recall. That's not a lie either.
15. Favorite food to eat on Christmas? anything sweet I can get my hands on. We also eat a big breakfast on Christmas morning. I love cheese grits and biscuits. Yummy.
16. Clear or colored tree lights? clear
17. Favorite Christmas Song? O Holy Night, Mary Did You Know?, Go Tell it on the Mountain...I could go on and on
18. Travel during Christmas or Stay home? In the past, we've traveled before or after Christmas, but we're usually home on Christmas day. This year may be a little different, but I don't plan on traveling too far regardless!
19. Can you name Santa's reindeer? DUH!!! Dasher, Dancer, Prancer, Vixon, Comet, Cupid, Donner, Blitzen, and Rudolph.
20. Angel or Star on Tree top? no preference. I don't even have a tree topper!
21. Open presents on Christmas Eve or morning? morning!
22. Most annoying thing about this time of year? When people forget the real meaning of Christmas. I also don't like it when people refuse to say "Merry CHRISTmas". Get over yourselves!

Your turn! :)

My sweet Nana...the birthday girl.

My wonderful grandmother turns 81 years old today. She would kill me if she knew I was broadcasting her age over the Internet, but I think it's important for all to realize how incredible she looks for someone her age. She doesn't look 81 does she?
Those of you who know Nana know how special she is. She has the fashion of a 20 year old with a mind of a young woman not much older than that. She's hip, stylish, LOVES to be the center of attention, and is so fun to be around. She's by far one of my favorite people in the world. You've heard me talk about my Dada before and you probably remember that it's been over a year since he passed away. Well, this sweet lady was his rock. She was the one who insisted that he be cared for in his own home, as opposed to a nursing home or something similar. She endured so many tough times while caring for him, sometimes questioning whether or not she could continue doing what she did. She proved to her family members (and surprised herself I think) by being the best caretaker my grandfather could have ever wished for. Even during those times when my Dada could no longer communicate with us, he would give her a certain look as if he were thanking her and expressing how proud he was of her.
She is such a Godly woman who has demonstrated strength better than anyone I know. She has such a strong faith that is admired by so many. She always says that there is no way she could have done what she did had she not had God right there with her. What an amazing role model she is.
These pictures were taken Tuesday night when my parents, aunt, uncle, cousin Jake, and JR took Nana out to eat to celebrate. Your presence was greatly missed Kristen and Heather!
Happy Birthday to my sweet Nana. Oh how she is loved!

P.S. I received a threatening comment from my dear friend Claire, who is demanding me to blog more about what is going on in my life right now rather than blogging so much about my nephew. Well, Claire, I apologize, and I'll try to do better about this. What you must understand is that my life right now consists mostly of surviving each school day until I get out for Christmas, while trying to fight off various sicknesses that my students bring to school with them. I can assure you that the life of my 1-year old nephew is much more exciting! :)
I'm glad you care about my life, though, so I'll try to do better about keeping you updated on it. :)

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Monday, December 10, 2007

sweet little birthday boy.

If you've already checked out Heather's blog, you've seen most of these pictures already, but how could I not post pics from the birthday bash? As Heather said, Henry was surprisingly gentle as he dug into his cake. (I'm in the process of getting a video uploaded, so hopefully I'll have it posted soon so you can watch him trying to figure out what in the world is going on!) I think this was the most sugar he's ever consumed at one time because he was W*I*L*D for the next couple of hours. Watching him open presents was a sight too. He seriously smiled and got excited about every little thing he opened. I gave him a book (it's only appropriate that his "teacher aunt" give him a BOOK, right?) and some really cute waterproof labels that I ordered from Babyface Design. A favorite gift of his was the Bully doll that played the fight song and danced.
He absolutely loved it.

As I was viewing the pictures on my camera that I had taken that day, I came across a few pictures that I actually had NOT taken. Hmmmm...Heather thinks it's funny to take my camera or phone and just take pictures of herself. Lots of them. All of the time. Well, Heather, you need to know that once a picture gets on my camera, there's a good chance it'll end up on my blog.

So, here you have it, friends, my little sis at her best (even though she looks like she'd been drinking a little here! haha)

Look how she's holding her pup. Poor Sophie.

Friday, December 7, 2007

random thoughts on a Friday...

It's Friday, and I'm feeling like I do on most Fridays-tired, but REALLY happy that the weekend is here. I'm spending my evening alone, and I'm actually enjoying myself. I just got finished cleaning my house, which always makes me happy. I lit some Christmas candles and fixed some spaghetti (yes, I cooked for one person), and now I'm watching "Elf" on TV while thinking about taking a nice bubble bath shortly. I'm not sure life gets any better than this.
Tomorrow I'm heading to Clinton for Henry's birthday party (his 1st bday was Dec. 1). Kristen and Rob decided just to have a small get together with immediate family and a few of Kristen's Jackson friends (and their babies :) ). Heather will be there, of course, so it'll be fun just spending the day with the fam. I plan on heading back tomorrow afternoon at some point. I can't wait.
Totally changing the subject-I've really been wanting to try the "Holiday Mint Blast" from Sonic. Has anybody had one of these? Everytime JR and I drive by Sonic and see the sign advertising them, I always talk about how much I want one, but I always talk myself out of getting it. They look so yummy though, so I think I'm just going to bite the bullet and get one. It's the holidays right?
I mentioned recently how my will power has been shot lately. Well, as the weather is getting colder outside, and it's getting dark sooner, I'm becoming less and less motivated to exercise, which is NOT good. Sometimes I'll justify eating something not-so-healthy by saying that I can just 'run extra' (sometimes this works and sometimes not so much, but it's a good thought anyway...). The problem is, I've been unmotivated this entire week to do any type of physical activity-whether it's running outside or going to the gym. I seem to be finding something else I'd rather be doing. WHY IS IT SO DIFFICULT TO BE 'GOOD' THIS TIME OF THE YEAR??Oh well. Maybe I'll get back in the swing of things Jan. 1.
And changing the subject yet again...I haven't been to the movies lately. Seriously. I don't remember the last time I went to the movies. This is for several reasons: 1. JR is not a movie watcher, so when we're together, we usually don't opt for going to the movies 2. It's not everyday that I have 8 extra dollars lying around to spend on a movie (and then, of course, you have to add about 6 more dollars for the Diet Coke and Hot Tamales that I consider a MUST while at the movies). 3. There hasn't been a single movie lately that I've been dying to see. The thing is, I've really kinda in the mood to go to a movie, though, so I need some recommendations. Know of any good movies worth seeing? Suggestions welcome. :)
That's all for me. I'm tired of thinking today. I'm either about to go to Sonic or to take a bubble bath. I haven't decided yet.
I leave you with this precious invite I got in the mail last week. :)


Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Happy Birthday Katey!!!

I just wanted to give a birthday shout out to my dear friend Katey! She's been such a special person to me and she has quickly become one of my most favorite people! If you know her, you know what an encouragement she is (and you also know how stinking cute her little Camp is!!!). It seems as though when Katey and I hang out, it is either just the 2 of us or Camp is with us, thus leaving no one to take a picture of the 2 of us! Therefore, I don't even think I have a picture of me and Katey to post. Bummer! Katey--we must do something about this (maybe it's time we teach Camp how to use a camera)!!! :)
Anyway, I hope you have a GREAT day today. I love you and I'm so thankful for your friendship!!!

Monday, December 3, 2007

Let's go BOWLING!!!

MSU is Liberty Bowl-bound!

The bulldogs will be playing the University of Central Florida on December 29 at the Liberty Bowl in Memphis! While it doesn't look like I'll be attending (tear), I'll be proudly cheering on my dawgs! :) JR will be working during the game (it also happens to be his birthday!), so even if I were able to go, it's not like I'd really get to see him. It will be fun and I AM just a little envious of anyone who is going!'s great to get a bowl invitation this year! I'm so proud!

Oh, just ONE MORE THING...

Did anybody hear what bowl Ole Miss was invited to? Where are they going? What was their final record this season? Wait...did they even PLAY this season? I don't know why I'm drawing such a blank here. :)

I know you probably think that I spend my free time driving around aimlessly for cleverly written signs to post on my blog. Well, believe it or not, I've actually just been fortunate enough to stumble upon such gold mines as this one...

GENIUS, 'Strange Brew'...I LOVE IT!
(It says "Sorry Coach O-we're not hiring" in case you're having trouble reading it!)

Saturday, December 1, 2007


My sweet little nephew entered the world a year ago today. Little did I know how much this little man would change my life! :) Oh, how I love him. Here is a little slideshow of pictures from Henry's first year.