Sunday, November 30, 2008

We're home!

We're finally back home. Thanksgiving break was good and very needed for us. We spent much needed time with family and just relaxed. I have so many pictures to share, but am now just trying to get them all uploaded. We have 400+ pictures from Thanksgiving alone! My family loves taking pictures. Randy calls them the paparazzi! Yes they came from 3 cameras, no one person took 400 on their own. :) Here is a sneak peak:

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Bella's Party

We were able to be a part of Bella's first birthday party today. It was so much fun. Just family, but fun none the less. This little princess was the star of the party.

Friday, November 28, 2008

Happy Birthday, Bella Grace!

Today is our neice's 1st birthday. One year ago today, Bella Grace joined our family. She has been a joy to us all. We don't get to see her very often since they live in Tyler, but we love it when we get to spend time with her.

We love you Bella Grace! You are a precious little girl and we are so excited to see who you are becoming. God has big plans for your life. We pray that you will always seek God in all you do. We know your parents love you greatly and are striving to show you Jesus in all you do. We are always here for you - and can't wait for when you can come spend the week or weekend with Uncle Randy & Aunt Rachel. We're going to have so much fun! Love you sweet girl!

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Fourteen Days of Thanks - Day 14

Day 14: I am thankful.

Today is thanksgiving and I hope you are getting to spend time with your family and friends. We have so much to be thankful for - more than I could list in one day. I hope you take some time to stop and thank God for his many blessings on your life, your family, our nation and our world. God is good - the stuff in the world is sometimes going badly and life sometimes doesn't go as we would like, but God is in control and he is on his throne.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Fourteen Days of Thanks - Day 13

Day 13: I am thankful for time with family.

Today we are in Oklahoma with my family for Thanksgiving. Time with family is so important to Randy & I. Things are sometimes challenged due to our family living in different areas geographically. My family lives in Oklahoma, Randy's family lives in west Texas, east Texas, and New Mexico. So you can imagine how much planning goes into the holidays each year. Despite all the planning, our visits always are uplifting and encouraging when we do visit family.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Fourteen Days of Thanks - Day 12

Day 12: I am thankful for my Oklahoma friends.

So I was supposed to blog about this a few days ago and blogged about our apartment instead. So this goes out to my "Oklahoma" girls.

I grew up in Oklahoma - from the time I was 1 until I graduated from college. My first best friend was Khriston. Our parents were friends so we naturally were together all the time. Then when I started school I met Tiffany. We also went to church together so we naturally became best friends. I remember doing everything with Tiff. From our Land Run in the 4th grade, our 5th grade Field Day, playing middle school basketball together, starting high school together and all the change that comes with that, then graduating together and going off to ECU, we have shared so many great memories. Yes, we've had our ups and downs, and times when we haven't always been close, but through it all our friendship has remained. Only God could do that. Here we are almost 17 years later, and still best friends. She knows the best and worst of me and loves me anyways. We are very, very, very different and yet share a bond of being sisters in Christ. We complement each other in our differences and encourage each other through our trials and victories.

Then there is Amy. Amy and I haven't known each other quite as long as Tiff & I, but hit it off from the beginning. We met in Sunday School at church in Virginia's class. She was engaged to Shane at the time and I had just graduated from high school. She was so welcoming and that made the transition to college so much easier. Then she and Shane got married and changed classes. God knew Randy & I would need dating mentors and had placed Shane and Amy in our lives for that. They let us hang out with them and let us learn from them how a relationship works. We were there when their first daughter was born, and Amy said Abby would call us Uncle Randy & Aunt Rachel. We were so honored. Since we've moved to TX and especially since we got married, we haven't been able to spend as much time together. But the cool thing is any time we are together, it is like we never left. We love them like family.

And then there is my dear April. The funny thing is I used to babysit her and her sister when I was in middle school. Who would have thought that 5 years later a friendship would develop between us that I value so deeply. April is 6 years younger, so in many ways she is like a little sister. But at the same time, we connect on such a deep level that sometimes I forget she is younger than me! :) And the extra bonus is she is dating my little brother! So I get to see her whenever my little brother is around.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Fourteen Days of Thanks - Day 11

Day 10: I am thankful for Mondays that only come once a week.

So who out there loves Mondays? I do like them, yes. But some Mondays make me glad they only come once a week. Today was one of those days. I've been working on a project for the past week and a half at work. It was due this Wednesday. Well, since we are going out of town for Thanksgiving and leaving tomorrow, I had until tomorrow at noon to finish it. So I get in to work this morning and proceed to wrap up a few of the remaining details, printing and proofing the packet. Then I find out that because of a small oversight (not on my part), it can't go out this week. So it will be pushed back until next week. Normally this would be great. Extra time to finish is always good. I guess since I had been working extra hard to finish before I left, I felt a little frustrated. That with some other deadlines I had to meet made for a little overwhelming day. Thankfully I have a God who is in control of all my deadlines and knows exactly how things are going to turn out. I have a great friend and co-leader who is ok with me calling just so I can get things out and move on. She is a great listener. Thanks J! I have a husband who is working a 12 hr. shift tonight when nights shifts really aren't his thing. Love you Randy! And thankfully Mondays only come once a week and this one is almost complete. Just a few more bags to pack, clothes to fold, and prayers to say. See you tomorrow!

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Fourteen Days of Thanks - Day 10

Day 9: I am thankful for freebies.

The other day I was driving home from Target and happened to notice that the new car wash next to me was open. And they were doing free car washes. I thought, "I should stop," but I didn't since it was dark and I really didn't have time. Plus I figured there was a catch. Like free with purchase. Or something like that. So today on my way home from church I was driving by and decided to stop. The line was long, but hey, I had time. And what do you know? They were free! No strings attached. The cool thing is they are doing this promotion until the 28th so I can go back before we leave for the holidays. Yay! I've neglected washing my car lately (bad, I know) and this way it can get washed twice in one week - for free! Ah, thank you God for little blessings!

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Fourteen Days of Thanks - Day 9

Day 9: I am thankful for best friends.

Tonight we had Thanksgiving with a few of our best friends. Jacob & Laura and Brent & Tiffany came over and we ate Thanksgiving dinner together. I was really excited to get to use my special stuff I got at our wedding shower and still have packed up because we have no room for it in our little kitchen. :) Here is a picture of the table from before dinner:

From Early Thanksgiving Dinner

We had way too much food for just 6 people. But it was fun to do Thanksgiving on our own - and it turned out rather well. Hopefully this can become a tradition and we can do it again next year. Sadly I didn't get any pictures of us at the table. :( Oh well, we have memories.

We rounded out the evening with a game of Killer Uno. Let me say, if you have never played Killer Uno with Randy or his family, you need to. If for nothing else, than to see how competitive Randy can be. I ended up winning, surprisingly. I never win at Killer Uno.

Oh, and we can't leave out the Ninja Turtle Boxing Match that happened before Tiff and Brent left. Here are the play by play pictures:

Friday, November 21, 2008

Fourteen Days of Thanks - Day 8

Day 8: I am thankful for our apartment.

Yes, I am thankful for our apartment. From April 2007 to June 2007, I moved 3 times! Not fun, but necessary. We ended up in our apartment we live in now. I am glad we ended up where we did. Because of some unexpected events by the apartment complex we thought we were moving to, we ended up having 1 week to find a place to live. We checked everywhere. All were either too expensive, had no available units, or were income based. So then I stopped at the complex we are at now. They were a little more than we were hoping to pay, but we could move in at the end of the week. So we took it. And here we are 18 mos. later - still here and loving almost every minute of it. Minus the mouse, the loud neighbors upstairs, and the dings my car doors have recieved, this has been a great place to live.

Here are some pictures of our apartment from when we first moved in. Most everything is the same, if anything we've just added more stuff. :)

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Fourteen Days of Thanks - Day 7

Day 7: I am thankful for my "Texas" friends. Love you girls!

I have some wonderful friends in my life. Several I have known since elementary. Some I've met more recently - since I moved to Texas. These friends have blessed me in so many ways. Some have been shoulders to cry on, others have been ears to listen, some have been there to pray for me, some have celebrated with me. I love them all and all are special to me. Tomorrow is dedicated to my "Oklahoma" friends. Today we'll do Texas.

My friends have been a great support since I've lived in Texas. Especially since my family was in Oklahoma, along with all my close friends. Before Randy & I got married, the ladies of TCAL opened their arms and welcomed me in. I developed some really special friendships from them. Then as our wedding was approaching, they supported me in so many ways - a wedding shower thrown just for us, helping plan our wedding and all its details, being there on our big day, loaning me their wedding staples that they just happened to have on hand, letting me vent as things got hectic and crazy, and rejoicing with me on our wedding day. Thank you ladies! You were with me through it all!

Since Randy & I have been married, things have changed some. I don't have as much free time as I used to. But my friends have still been there. They are the ones who let me come over every Wednesday night and just hang out. To chat and watch chick flicks until the wee hours of morning. They give advice when asked and listen when I just need to vent. They love to meet for coffee and just talk or listen, depending on the day. I am so thankful they are in my life. They are invaluable sources of strength and encouragement. I know, I know, it's starting to sound sappy. I'm sorry. That's just me! Thank you ladies for sticking by me through it all. Even though our lives get busy, I hope our friendships will remain. It will be hard at times, but I hope we can continue to be there for each other. I can't wait to see what God does in our lives. Love you all!

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Fourteen Days of Thanks - Day 6

Day 5: I am thankful for my husband, Randy.

Randy was probably wondering when I would get around to saying I was thankful for him. Well, if he read our blog! Actually, I was saving him for last, but since I'm having writer's block today I figured I would write about something I can say so much about. So here goes:

From The Harrelson Family

Randy & I met in 2003. He had just moved to OK for a job with a mutual friend and I was home from college for the summer. We met at church and to this day Randy still says I made the first move. Really I was just trying to make him feel welcome and all. The funny thing in all this is we have another mutual friend, Corey. Corey had told me that a friend of his was moving to OK and asked me to make him feel welcome. What I didn't know was that Corey told Randy he had a friend in OK and that I was supposed to look out for him. Apparently Randy had pictured Corey's friend a little differently than me (tall and blond). So when we found how we both knew Corey, we had a lot to laugh about.

From The Harrelson Family

We started dating in Dec of 2003 and for the next 1.5 years did the long distance relationship thing. Then I graduated in May 2005. Randy went to India for 6 weeks on a mission trip and I moved home, to job hunt and enjoy my last summer of freedom. Then I got a job in TX and moved to Dallas. Randy moved about 4 months later. We continued dating, got involved in TCAL and loved being closer than 1.5 hrs to each other. :) Randy proposed in Nov 2006 and we were married in April 2007.

From The Harrelson Family

Now we have been married 1.5 years and have loved every minute of it. It has had its ups and downs, but all have been worth it. Now Randy is looking for a job with a fire department in the area and working for an ambulance company. He has been on nights for 2 weeks now, and it has been an adjustment for both of us.

From Wedding Photos

I am so thankful for Randy being in my life. He is my biggest fan, my cheerleader, my voice of reason and reality, my encouragement, and my life of the party. He has blessed my life just by being in it and I am so thankful for him. I can't wait for the next 5, 10, 15, 20 years! I love you Randy! You have changed my life and I am so glad we get to do life together!

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Fourteen Days of Thanks - Day 5

Day 5: I am thankful for technology.

So I know this sounds a little spoiled or cheesy, but stay with me and you'll understand why I listed this as something I'm thankful for.

Technology has shaped the world we live in. In my lifetime alone, we've gone from cassette tapes to CDs, from VHS tapes to DVD's & Blu-ray, from landlines to cell phones, from antenna to satelite and so much more. In many ways these technological advances make our lives easier. We can take our phones with us now instead of only being able to recieve calls at home. The internet has virtually connected the entire world - all with the click of a button. We can email someone halfway around the world, and they will recieve it almost instantly. Crazy, huh? There are downsides to all this technology though. Instead of calling someone, we now text. Instead of writing a letter, we email. Instead of visiting someone to catch up, we video conference. All are kind of impersonal, yet all are valuable tools.

Take this for example - I had a pen pal, K, when I was about 10 or 11. I think we met through Brio, a teen girls magazine from Focus on the Family. She lived in CA and I lived in OK. We wrote back and forth about our lives - how school was going, what was going on at church, where our families went on vacation, stuff 10 year olds talk about. I don't remember how long we stayed in touch, but I think it was at least a few years. Then life got busy. I was in middle school and you know how you just don't write that next letter. Then eventually the writing stopped altogether. We both grew up, graduated high school, went to college, I got married, moved to TX, and here I am today. Well, Mom and I were talking this weekend about stuff and something came up about CA and the town where K lived. Mom said any time she hears about where K lived she thinks of K and remembers us being pen pals. That got me to thinking. With the internet, I could probably find K. So yesterday I did a search on Facebook and there were 4 or 5 K's that came up. The first one said she was from CA. So I sent a message and asked if she happened to have a pen pal from OK when she was younger. Guess what? It was her!! 16 years later and we finally reconnected! Crazy?! She is a teacher now and is really involved with missions and her church. Who would have thought? 16 years later & we found each other - through the internet & technology. So today, yes, I am thankful for technology. :)

Monday, November 17, 2008

Fourteen Days of Thanks - Day 4

Day 4: I am thankful for my job.

I am an accountant. Surprise! If you don't know me very well, you may not have known that. I was at my first job out of college for 1.5 years. Then when we were about to get married, it just was too far for me to drive so I started job hunting again. I was very blessed to find the job I currently have. It is with an IT company and is very different from my first job. But you know what? It has been just as much of a blessing as my first. The hours are great - I very rarely work OT. I enjoy working with my co-workers. My boss is great to work for. The stress level at work is managable. I actually like working under a little stress, so this is good for me. God knew what he was doing when he opened the door to this job. :)

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Fourteen Days of Thanks - Day 3

Day 3: I am thankful for my church family - The Community at Lake Ridge. There is so much I could say about how TCAL has been a blessing in mine & Randy's lives, but for the sake of time (I have a HUGE pile of clothes to fold and put away), I'm going to send you to a post I did a little over a year ago about TCAL. Just add 50 or so to the numbers mentioned. It's incredible!

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Fourteen Days of Thanks - Day 2

From The Harrelson Family

Day 2: I am thankful for my family - my parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles, & cousins.

Family is something that is often taken for granted. I do confess, I have at times. But I am very blessed with a loving, accepting, encouraging family that has supported me through everything. We've had our ups and downs yes, every family does. But we've learned to forgive and our relationships have grown stronger. Here is a little bit about my family:

Dad & Mom - My dad and mom have been a great blessing in my life. They have always loved me, given me everything I needed, and taught me about Jesus. I am so thankful they are my parents. They will celebrate their 29th Anniversary this December. Here's to 30+ more years!

Daniel - My brother. Daniel is my little brother, 4 years younger and at least 8 inches taller! He has been my friend, frustration, encouragement, and compatriot through the years. Through it all he has always loved me. I am so proud of the man he is becoming. I can't wait to see what God does through him.

My Grandparents - Leslie & Evelyn - My grandparents have been married 50+ years and have always be examples of godly parents & grandparents. Not perfect, but always trying their best. I have so many great memories of Christmases and 4th of Julys at their house. Of Grandmama letting Angela and I stay up late talking when we stayed over. These are memories I will treasure always.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Fourteen Days of Thanks - Day 1

Several of the blogs I read are doing either daily or weekly posts about what they are thankful for. I thought since there are exactly 14 days until Thanksgiving (counting today) I would do mine for the next 2 weeks. My Fourteen Days of Thanks.

Day 1: I am thankful for being an American.

I know this is probably something 90% of Americans would say, so it may seem trite. But I don't think it is. In the great picture of the world, God chose to let me be born in America. Why? All I can say is it is part of his plan. When I look at what is going on in the rest of the world today, I can't help but think why me? Why here? Why do I get the privilege of enjoying living in a free nation. Not enslaved or living in fear of the government, but freely living my life - working, going from place to place, loving my family, enjoying my friends. I have a friend who was not born in America. Her family went through great persecution because of their religion. Some of them even died. The rest of them moved here to America - fearing for their lives if they had stayed where they were born. How many of us can say that? Not I. I know life in America is far from perfect, but we do have the freedom to believe in who we want to. That is a freedom we shouldn't take for granted.

We also enjoy many more freedoms here in America. Many we take for granted on a daily basis. Freedoms people - men & women - fought and died for. Many gave their lives so we can live peacefully here in America's borders. People will probably always argue whether they should have had to die to give us "freedom" or whether we were really fighting for "freedom" every time we went to war. I don't really think that is the main point. Everyone has their opinion and that is a freedom we are blessed with - thinking on our own, not being told what to think. As we approach Thanksgiving in a few weeks, take some time to think about the freedoms you are thankful for. Then thank God for giving you these freedoms. We are undeservedly blessed here in America.

Thursday, November 13, 2008


Randy is working nights this week. His company changed all the shifts so he was stuck taking a 12 hour shift from 7 pm to 7 am. Thus he is "sleeping" during the day. I say "sleeping" because for a person who loves to sleep as much as he does, he hasn't been sleeping well lately. Now that he is sleeping during the day, I think he is all off schedule. He was hoping he would get to sleep in between calls on his shift, but so far hasn't been able to the past 2 nights. Not because they were too busy either. They had 2 calls on Tuesday night and 1 last night. So before you go to bed tonight, say a prayer that Randy stays awake all night. :) And when you get up tomorrow morning, you can pray that he actually sleeps some during the day. This new schedule is a killer!

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Follow me (pt. 2)


Ok, this post really doesn't have anything to do with yesterday's post, but since the word "FOLLOW" are in both, they kind of fit together. And it is my blog so I can choose what to write about, right?! Lol! Anyways, Blogger has this new thing where you can "follow" someone's blog. Basically it just lets them know you are reading their blog. It is a way to see who is reading and to find new blogs you might like to read and keep up with. I've been wondering who actually reads our blog. I know who most of you are, but some have never left comments. So here is what I need you to do. Go look at the right side of my blog where it says "Who Reads This Blog" and click on the link that says "Follow this blog." That's it! Easy, huh? Go, go, go!

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Follow me

Main Entry: 1fol·low
Pronunciation: \ˈfä-(ˌ)lō\
Function: verb
Etymology: Middle English folwen, from Old English folgian; akin to Old High German folgēn to follow
Date: before 12th century
transitive verb
1: to go, proceed, or come after
2 a: to engage in as a calling or way of life : pursue b: to walk or proceed along
3 a: to be or act in accordance with b: to accept as authority : obey
4 a: to pursue in an effort to overtake b: to seek to attain
5: to come into existence or take place as a result or consequence of
6 a: to come or take place after in time, sequence, or order b: to cause to be followed
7: to copy after : imitate
8 a: to watch steadily b: to keep the mind on c: to attend closely to : keep abreast of d: to understand the sense or logic of (as a line of thought)
intransitive verb
1: to go or come after a person or thing in place, time, or sequence
2: to result or occur as a consequence, effect, or inference
— as follows : as comes next —used impersonally
— follow one's nose
1: to go in a straight or obvious course
2: to proceed without plan or reflection : obey one's instincts
— follow suit
1: to play a card of the same suit as the card led
2: to follow an example set

So lately I've been thinking a lot about leading and following. Maybe it is due to me being the Children's Coordinator for our church. Lately our KidRidge Ministry team has been looking for ways to recruit and retain volunteer workers for our Sunday morning services. To give a little background, Randy & I became a part of TCAL in April of 2006. That was when the church was meeting in homes and weekly services hadn't started yet. Weekly services launched that October and Randy & I were the ones heading up the Children Ministry Team. By Christmas of 2006, we were having 20 to 30 kids on a Sunday morning. Jump ahead one year. The church hit 100 in August of 07, and by Christmas we were having 50+ kids on Sunday mornings. Just ahead another year. We launched our 2nd service in March, hit 400 in total attendance on Sunday mornings, and we're averaging 90 to 100 kids each week.

We've been very blessed to have some extremely committed volunteers on our team. They are truly the ones that allow each Sunday to run smoothly. And I've been blessed to have a great partner and teammate in Jami Cope, our preschool coordinator. God really knew I needed someone like her in my life, and brought her family back right when she was needed the most. I am so thankful for her and our other volunteers.

So that brings us to today. I know my leadership role has grown immensely in the past 2 years. I also know one of the most effective ways to lead is by example. Jesus used this method with his disciples. He lived out each day with them. They saw how he lived, served, taught, and gave of himself. I want to be a leader like that. I want to lead by example. The challenge I am facing, though, is how to lead by example when I only see most of my volunteers on Sunday mornings. We are working on developing our leadership team so that every team leader has no more than 15 people they are leading. We also would like to implement a training/mentoring program where every leader is being mentored by another leader, and every leader is mentoring someone else. It is the Paul/Timothy principle.

Now it is your turn. What are your thought and suggestions on leading by example? Leave me a comment and let me know.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Long week ahead...

Well, the fall softball season ended tonight. Sadly, it was in a loss. But there is always the spring season to look forward to.

In other news, Randy is working nights this week. Ugh! So from tomorrow when I leave for work, until Saturday morning I don't get to see him unless our paths happen to cross as he is leaving and I'm coming home. I would appreciate your prayers this week. It is going to be a long one. I have plenty to do, so I should stay busy, but it still will be long without getting to see him at all.

Oh, this are some pics from our family photo shoot. Mom's birthday was last week so we treated her to Cracker Barrel and shopping.

From Fall 2008

Sunday, November 9, 2008


Hey there! We spent the weekend at my parents to celebrate my mom's birthday. I have lots more to write and pictures to post but have to get them uploaded. Here is a sneak peak from a photo shoot I did today (thanks to my bff Tiff). I'll post more later....

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Saturday Morning Cartoons

Who didn't love Saturday mornings when you were a kid? Those were the best. My brother and I used to wake up early (before mom & dad), sneak down to our den (where the tv was) and watch cartoons until breakfast. We could have sat down there all day if mom had let us. One favorite memory of mine when I was little was after my nap, Mom let me watch Dennis the Menace. One day, I overslept and was so upset with Mom because I missed Dennis. Lol! Those where great memories.

These were some of our favorites:

Dennis the Menace

Punky Brewster (my fav, not Daniel's)

Who doesn't love Garfield?

Heathcliff - our other fav cat

Strawberry Shortcake (again, mine not Daniel's)

Winnie the Pooh & Tigger too!

Gotta love some Gummy Bears!

Fraggle Rock

Tale Spin
Chip & Dale - Rescue Rangers
Dark Wing Duck (Let's get dangerous!)
Duck Tales
Inspector Gadget
And for Daniel....
Teanage Mutant Ninja Turtles
What were your faves?