Thursday, December 13, 2007

Per Request

On a very chilly November morning, Jack and Daddy were outside working in the yard, when I heard Jeff yelling for me to come outside. I was still in my pajamas, had no shoes or coat on, and was not altogether eager to run outside into the cold. However, he was insisting that I come outside. He started yelling, "get the camera--there are bald eagles in the tree!" I sighed and yelled back, "Honey, those are not bald eagles. They are turkey buzzards and they've been there all summer! They made a nest. I watch them every day!" "No!" he yelled, "they're bald eagles! Get the camera!"

So, I reluctantly slipped on some shoes, grabbed the camera and headed off outside. To my utter amazement, what I saw was NOT the same turkey buzzards from the summer, but two magnificant bald eagles, perched in our dead tree down by the bonfire.

I was very contrite.

They were beautiful, but we only got these photos and a little bit of video before they flew off. We hope they come back for another visit. I think they were just passing through.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Lack of Posts

Wow, I hadn't realized just how long it had been since my last post. I wonder if anyone is even out there still checking and checking to see if I've updated? I certainly couldn't blame you if you've stopped checking!

The truth is, for me, right now, life is kind of complicated. I would have to say that at the core I am still the same, but I find that my swirling circumstances have brought my peaceful life to a decided halt. At least that is the only thing halting, since everything else is pretty much running independently of my body. I feel like an alien has taken over and I am completely helpless. The "alien" of course, is the child growing by leaps and bounds daily. I am still experiencing some morning sickness, although it has tapered off quite a bit. It has been replaced, however, by a bladder infection, and for some strange reason my back has been completely "out" for several weeks now. I'm really puzzled by that one. It's too early to be experiencing the pain of carrying a heavy burden. I've had more than one person remind me that this is actually my third pregnancy, and however short the second one was, it still took a toll on my body. Together with the fact that I am now 37 and will be 38 before the baby is born....well, evidently I am going downhill. Funny, because I didn't feel that old. Oh, and did I mention that Jack turned two? A very independent two, in fact.

I'm not complaining, really. I feel very blessed to have the opportunity to have this child. I'm just trying to say that along with my responsibilities at church, I've had my hands full just surviving each day!

So, sorry for the no-posts. I'll try to do better.

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Happy Birthday

Happy Birthday to our sweet baby boy! Today at 3:57 p.m. Jack will be two years old. What a whirlwind two years it has been! It's hard to believe that we're getting ready to do this again, but it is all worth it. He is such a joy to us and we could not even imagine our lives without him (although we sometimes CAN imagine an evening without him, hee hee).

Today he is outside in the shop (with a nice fire going in the woodstove) playing with daddy, while I am in the house cooking, baking and cleaning. Tomorrow we have our "family" Thanksgiving (although we are planning to go over to my mom's later today and have us a little turkey and dressing), and then a small family birthday party for Jack. Anne and Bryan fly in tomorrow morning, and I promised them we wouldn't officially celebrate Jack's birthday until they got here. Just their being here will be surprise and present enough for Jack, let me assure you! We can't wait to see his face when they get here.

In the meantime, we wish you all a wonderful, happy Thanksgiving day! There is so much to be thankful for, most of all, the gift of God's Son, Jesus Christ, who came to save us all. Blessings on all of you.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

First of the Birthdays

Last night Aunt Gigi (Gaylene) came over with a very special birthday surprise for Jack! She is going to be out of town on Jack's birthday, so we decided to have a little "pre-celebration" celebration. She did a great job decorating a car cake, and Jack loved it! He even blew out his own candles (after mommy showed him how the first time and then relit the candles for a second try).

Gigi also gave him a very cool light that has cars running a race all the way around it. Jack was mesmorized, and I had a hard time getting him to go to sleep last night. We finally had to turn it off because he just kept exclaiming over and over "bye bye cars"! It was really cute.

Jack actually turns two on Thanksgiving day, but we are waiting until Anne and Bryan arrive on Friday to celebrate with a big party. We figure he won't know the difference!

Friday, November 16, 2007

It's A Baby!

Today was the long-awaited, once cancelled, ten week appointment! We were a bit nervous and apprehensive going in to our very early appointment, but since we were the first ones there, we didn't have to wait long. We went to the ultrasound room first. Past experience with 10 week ultrasounds taught me to expect a round ball with a flashy light insight (hopefully, being the baby's heartbeat). To our shock and wonder, the image that flashed up on the screen was not an indiscriminate blinky thing, but a marvelous, wonderfully created, moving, wiggling baby! Our doctor's ultrasound machine rocks, and we were not only able to see our babies' head, back, arms, legs, nose, heart and mouth, but we saw it in 4D! It is incredible to see something so small and so perfect. The doc said that everything looked great, and baby Gray is growing at a wonderful rate. As a matter of fact, I am a week further along than we thought. What a blessing to discover that I could skip a whole week of morning sickness in an instant! I am officially in the last week of my first trimester, and they moved my due date up to May 30 (from June 6). All in all, this visit could not have gone better. We know that there were MANY out there praying for us, and we are immeasurably grateful.

We love these little pictures of the baby. The first one is the backside, and the second one is front facing. It's little hand is up by it's cheek, like a little salute, and very reminiscent of every ultrasound in which we saw Jack. No, they were unable to tell the sex of the baby--that will have to be for another day.

Thursday, November 08, 2007

Quick Update

Hey! Some of you knew that I was to have my 10 week ultrasound appointment on Tuesday. Well, as it turns out, I had to cancel because I got a horrible case of the flu! It was TERRIBLE. I was very sick and couldn't even get in the car to go to my appointment. I am soooo thankful for Grandma Poo, Memaw and Jeffrey for taking such good care of me and Jack. I couldn't have made it without you. You are the best family ever!

My appointment has been rescheduled for Friday the 16th at 8:15 a.m. (yikes). I'll let you all know how it goes. So far I have no reason to believe that things are going anything but extremely well!

On a much greener note......we finally got our sod laid yesterday! So today my goal is to get pictures of the outside of the house and finally post all of the construction pictures. It has been a long time coming, and it is not finished yet, but I think that this is as far as we will get this season. Jeff has worked SO hard getting all of this done. It really looks wonderful.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Warning: Not For The Squeamish

Some of you may remember a post from last summer about being bitten by a spider. Well, it turns out that unlike lightening (which I think is also false), spiders DO strike twice. Last Thursday Jeff was cutting down a tree in our woods and Jack and I went down to watch. I was wearing long pants, socks, and tennis shoes so I though that I was about as covered as I could be from any creepy crawlies. Turns out I was wrong, and I was bitten by what could possibly be a Wolf spider. Because of our woods, the Wolf spider is very populous here. It must have made its way up my leg and bit me on the thigh. I didn't notice it at first, but 24 hours later I awoke in the middle of the night to a very feverish, angry, red mark on my leg. By Saturday night we were really worried, and I was starting to feel kind of ill (although that may have been the morning sickness as well). We determined at that point that if it wasn't better by morning, I would go to Urgent Care. Sunday morning it seemed to be a little less swollen and angry, but it was turning black. I went ahead and went to church, where I was able to talk with my OB/GYN and he assured me that there wasn't really much that could be done for it. I've been putting hydrocortisone on it, and little by little it has been getting better.

I really hate spiders. Since moving to the country, I have had to deal with them on a weekly, almost daily basis. At first I freaked out, and then I took on the attitude that they were here for a purpose, and maybe what I should do is "Know thine enemy". So I began to study them and try to identify the most common ones on our property. Some of them really are quite beautiful, and harmless. They eat other insects that I'm not so fond of, and so I thought that we had come to some sort of .....coexistance. I see now that it was all just a ploy to lure me into a false sense of security. From now on, spiders, this is WAR.

Saturday, October 20, 2007

Good News........I Feel Terrible!

It is strange how clearly you can see things in the past once time has passed and circumstances have changed. I look back on the second pregnancy and realize that things were wrong from the beginning. I thought I was sick, and I know that I certainly didn't feel good, but compared to how I've been feeling the last few days, I was hardly sick at all. It has also brought back memories of my pregnancy with Jack even clearer--this is how intense it was with him.

And yet, it is a little bit different, too. With Jack I couldn't eat, even though I needed to, and with this one I HAVE to eat. It's like I don't have a choice. I can be laying there thinking, "I need to throw up" and in the same second thinking "I need to eat". The two do NOT go together very well, since the last thing my stomach is telling me is that I need to put something in my mouth, and yet, I am compelled to eat. It's really weird. It's also completely consuming. I spend most of my time running through a list of foods in my brain, testing them to see if they would be an acceptable choice--does it sound remotely good? Will I feel like I want to throw up after I eat it? Can I put it in my mouth without gagging? Ugggh. It's exhausting. For instance, Jeff just ran into town to the hardware store, and after he left I immediately starting thinking about the fast food places that he would pass to and from the store. Is there something there that I could eat? Hmmmmmm, cheeseburger? No. French fries? Blechy. Chicken nuggets? Gag. Salad? Hmm...with that raspberry vineagrette dressing I have in the fridge? Well, maybe. So I immediately place the call to Jeff, and now I have a Chicken Bacon Ranch Salad coming from McDonald's. Let's hope he gets here soon before I change my mind.

It's very hard. For some reason, I think it must have to do with the hormone surges that make me feel sick, but I also have horrible hot flashes and feel achy all over--has anyone else every experienced this? There are times that I could swear I am running a fever. It only happens when I am feeling extremely sick, usually at night, around the same time every night. I actually can feel the sickness coming on because I start to feel achy, then feverish, and then, bam! The wave hits! I have not actually thrown up. I only feel as though I might at any time. I do gag alot, and Jeff has suggested that I go make myself throw up, which would be very easy to do, but I'm afraid that if I do that I won't be able to stop. I don't like to throw up, but I can handle it if I do. I actually know someone who is 35 and hasn't thrown up since, like, second grade, and I find myself thinking, what would he do if felt like this? Crazy thoughts like that enter your brain at random while all of this is going on.

The good news is......this is an indication of good hormones, and good hormones means healthy baby. I am by no means bemoaning the fact that I am pregnant. I know that this is all a good sign, and can remember with my miscarriage that by this stage in the game I had already begun to lose my morning sickness. So, I am willing to deal with it, but it does get the better of me--alot. Jeff has been great in reminding me that it will pass, and that I can make it. This is hard for him too, in a different way. I think he feels helpless alot.

I'm continuing to sing with worship team at church, but I'm not sure how long it will last. I just keep telling myself that once this phase is over I will really feel great and be sorry that I gave it up. So I am really trying to hang in there. Last Sunday was very hard, and I got very sick Sunday night, but the good thing is that I feel the best first thing in the morning, so hopefully I can stay the course. Singing seems to make me feel better.

Well, this has been one long ramble about me, me, me, hasn't it? Sorry, it's kind of therapeutic to talk about it, and well, this is my blog after all. I have to stop now though, because the pressing thoughts about the Chicken Bacon Ranch Salad are starting to overpower my ability to construct coherent sentences.

Monday, October 15, 2007

Here We Go Again....

I'm sure you've been wondering why I haven't been blogging lately. Mostly it is because we have been so busy--October is the "month of bonfires"--and this October is no exeption. We've had three so far and we have three (I believe) yet to go. They've actually been really great. The last two were especially fun because it was actually cold enough outside to enjoy a roaring fire!

But the biggest reason I haven't been blogging is because I've been sick. The doctor tells me that it is a nine month long virus that hopefully won't go away until the appointed time. We were trying to keep it a secret a little longer this time, but already people are guessing. It is probably because of the greenish cast to my face. I've actually felt pretty good for the bonfires, just not my usual spunky self. I qualify any time that I don't feel like I'm going to throw up as pretty good. I have my ten week appointment on November 6, which, coincidentally coincides with my due date with Blessing. When the nurse heard that she offered to change the appointment, but I chose to keep it, because I will hopefully have some really good news on a day that would have been particularly sad. So, it is time for my blogging friends, and fellow preggies out there who know only too well what I've been through, to know about our new little family member, and to pray really hard that no matter what happens, Jeff and I respond in a way that will be pleasing to Jesus. I ask that you especially pray for us through these next few weeks, as the morning sickness (all day sickness) has been really rough.

Thanks--we'll update more later!

Friday, September 28, 2007

So Very Much Like Daddy

This morning I was a bit "at my wits end" about what to do with Jack. Lately we have realized that much of Jack's recent "acting out" has been because he is BORED. I mean, there is nothing left in the house that even remotely interests him. His toys are boring, the back deck is boring, the front porch is boring, pushing the stroller is boring, and most of all, MOMMY is boring. I've been sick for a couple of days and haven't felt much like playing. So this morning when he was up and raring to go at 7:30 a.m., I was feeling a little overwhelmed at what to do with this incredibly active, incredibly bored child. In desperation I went up to the attic to see if there was anything up there he could play with. To my surprise I found several toys. I brought them all down and was pleased that Jack immediately jumped in and started playing. He singled out two particular toys, and I just had to take pictures of them. One was a blue tractor (look familiar?) and the other was a bobcat-like toy. Jack just recently watched his daddy use the bobcat for several projects in our front yard, and I thought it was hilarious that he decided to pick up a rock with his bobcat. I walked in the foyer and found the bobcat with the rock inside the bucket. Priceless!!!

New pics of Baby Sierra

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Baby Girl!

Sierra Nicole Sinders (not sure if I have the spelling just right) was born yesterday, September 17 around 2:00 p.m. She was a whopping 9 lbs and 1 oz! Wow! Mom and baby are doing great, although Jill did end up having to have a C-section. Sierra was just too big! Grandma Poo says she has a gob of dark hair on her head and looks like Jill.

Praise God for her safe delivery--now I can't wait to get my hands on her!!!!

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Saturday, September 08, 2007

Our Teenagers

Wednesday was Anne and Bryan's 13th Birthday! It was weird to have been with them so recently, and then to NOT be with them on their birthday. I know we celebrated it while we were on vacation, but it just didn't seem the same. I hope that they had a great day and knew that we were missing them. Below are some of my favorite "family" pictures from our vacation. Both Anne and Bryan are so special--they have been through a lot with their dad and show him every time we are together how much they love him. I just love the picture of Anne and Dad, and I have to admit that I also really love the one of me and Bryan. I am amazed at times just how much I love these kids. God has been so very good to me to give me such a great family!

Vacation Part II

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

Home Again

The worst part about vacation is.....coming home! I have a mountain of sandy, dirty laundry to do, so I don't really have time to sit and narrate each picture, but I at least wanted to get some up for you all to enjoy. There is more, but I will have to get them in a slide show.

Saturday, September 01, 2007

When It Rains.....

So, I have spent the last few weeks painstakingly planning our first "family vacation" with Jack. I've spent the last couple of days frantically packing our swimwear, sunscreen, hats and towels in anticipation of the true beach experience. We picked up the kids yesterday and headed due east, straight to the Atlantic Ocean. At this point I'd like to reference the pictures below. See the one that is dark and rainy. Yeah. That one. Well, that was us at about 6 pm last night. Jack's first glimpse of the ocean. Not unlike mine at age 18, remember, Lisa? Atlantic City. I digress. This is NOT Atlantic City, this is St. Simons Island, GA, and it is stormy and rainy and has been since we got here. BUT we are together, and really that is all that matters. So what if I paid an arm and a leg to be as close to my beloved ocean as I could be? We are eating well, sleeping well, and still having fun, no matter what. Well, Jack could sleep a little better, but who's paying attention (although we are very grateful for the king-sized bed since Jack takes up most of it). More later......

Monday, August 27, 2007

Three Days And Counting!

We will leave on Thursday to go to Georgia to visit Anne and Bryan! We won't actually see them until Friday, but we are getting excited anyway. This morning I put this summer's pictures of Anne and Bryan up in Jack's room, right above his bed, so that he can see their faces every day. As I was getting them ready Jack was saying their names over and over again (Neeh-neeh and Bubba) and putting his face right up into their faces on the pictures and giving them "kissies". It was so sweet and sad all at the same time. We sure do miss our Sissy and Bubba. But we will see you soon!

Saturday, August 25, 2007

Sweet Baby Sinders

Today we celebrated the coming of a new baby into our family--Jeff's sister, Jill and her husband Gary are expecting their first baby on September 20. Sharon, Ashly and I gave Jill a baby shower today and it was so much fun! This baby truly is a miracle from God and we are SO thankful that both Jill and the baby girl are doing fine, and that there is not much longer to wait! Jill was diagnosed with a very agressive, stage four endomitriosis last year, and went through two major surgeries, but praise God--she was able to get pregnant in a very short amount of time after her surgeries and completely naturally (no fertility treatments)! We are so excited to see this special baby girl. I'm sure there will be a flurry of pictures when she finally arrives!

A Very, Very Belated Birthday Blog

On August 17, Jeff turned 33! We celebrated by going out to eat while Jack stayed home with Memaw (don't worry, Jack got to spend LOTS of time with daddy the next day as you will see in the slides). Surprisingly, we happened to run into Gaylene, Scott, Melisa, Matt, Kari, and Lee while we were there! Ok, so it wasn't a surprise for me, but Jeff was very surprised. We had a great time together and then went to see a very unfortunate movie that we cannot recommend to anyone, especially since most of it was viewed with our head in our hands. Anywhooooo.....

The next day Jeff took the ENTIRE day off. Now, if you look it up, the next day was Saturday, and you may be asking yourself, "why would it be such a big deal for him to take a day off on Saturday"? Well, the last time he did that was when the kids were here and that was weeks ago. We were very excited to all be home together, especially Jack, who loves waking up his daddy. We had a wonderful breakfast together, and then we spent the whole day outside. It was a gorgeous day! We had several projects that we worked on, and Jack stayed outside with us for everything except his nap :-)

First, Dad and Jack got on the tractor and graded the lane. Then Mommy and Jack cleaned out Mommy's car and made it pretty again. Then Daddy and Jack changed the oil in Mommy's car, then in Daddy's truck. Then Mommy and Jack watched Daddy cut down the monstrous, overgrown tree in the front yard that was completely blocking our view out the picture window. Then Daddy and Jack hauled away the tree and all the branches. Then all three of us got on the tractor and hauled a HUGE rock from the woods up to the front of the house and placed it over the stump from the fallen tree (Mommy has landscaping plans for the future). After all that hard work we came inside and ate some watermelon. Jack and Daddy LOVE watermelon. They shared a piece, and Jack got so excited that he stuck his entire head IN the watermelon! It was without a doubt the very best day that we have had together for a long time. Today daddy was working away from home all day, and it helped to look at these pictures and remember our perfect day together. We love you, daddy!

Thursday, August 16, 2007

A New Haircut and a Busted Lip

Jack's smiling face is NOT representative of his demeanor while receiving his first official haircut! For months now I've been snipping away at his hair with scissors while he was in the bathtub, trying to keep his long locks at bay. Every time I try to even comb his hair he gets all freaky, and turning on clippers that close to his head just practically sends him into convulsions. But today I decided I'd had enough, and this boy was gonna get his hair cut. I didn't mind it long - I've no crazy notions that he has to be this clean-cut looking little boy - but it was so incredibly uneven! Of course, my snipping here and there was doing nothing to help. So, I put him in his high chair and gave him several Cherry Cordial Kisses (which he LOVES), still wrapped (so he had something to do with his hands), and amidst screeching and wailing and alot of chocolate eating, he got his first haircut with the clippers.

I think he looks pretty good! When I was all done and put the clippers away he said, "bye bye -- yay!" Then he gave me a very dirty look. Look at the beautiful white-blonde hair I collected! No, I didn't save it - I just took a picture to remember it by.

And, oh yes, he fell out of his rocking chair last night (while standing up backwards in it) and busted his lip - again.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

The Beginning of Something Good

This morning my dear mother-in-law came over and helped me can tomatoes. Well, I guess she did most of it and I watched while managing Jack and answering the phone. I think I could probably do it all on my own now, but I have to tell you, there is just something so special about having the mother of the love of your life come over and help you store up some of his favorite goodies. Last year I had this measly little tomato plant that I paid $20 for (it was a patio tomato), and it only produced 5-6 tomatoes. Every time I fed one to Jeff he would teasingly say, "how much is this one worth, honey, five dollars"? I am happy that this year my tomatoes have produced much more than 5-6 and that I now have my first batch of 5 full quarts! What's even better is that there are so many more green ones still yet to turn, and I've already eaten about 10, all sliced up and fried to a dark golden brown in olive oil! Yum. Now that we've finally figured out what we're doing, we're planning a much larger, more complicated garden for next year.

For now, I am really enjoying the time spent at Grandma Poo's elbow, learning not just about how to can tomatoes, but things about my husband and his family that only come out when you are working together. For instance, Sharon told me that Jeff learned multiplication by her rows and rows of canned goods. He would ask, "how many are there" and she would answer that he could count each one or he could multiply one row by another and come up with the same answer. Folks, little things like this is why my husband is the genius that he is. He had a mother who used ordinary things to teach him life-time skills. At any rate, we had a great time and the tomatoes look sooooo pretty!

Friday, August 10, 2007

The Concert

Last evening we took the entire Dutton family and went to the Indiana State Fair, most importantly, the Casting Crowns/Jeremy Camp concert. We were very excited about this for several reasons.....
1. Jeff and I haven't been to a concert together since the Toby Mac/Third Day concert almost 3 years ago, and, well, it was just time to go to another one.
2. The Duttons had never been to a Christian concert. Mark had been to plenty as a kid--Aerosmith and Black Sabbath to name a couple. So it was going to be interesting seeing their reaction.
3. Mark Hall and Jeremy Camp rock.
4. Jack was at home with Memaw.
5. Indiana State Fair = Deep-fried Oreos.

That was just the anticipation of the event. It was awesome! It was the farthest away we had ever sat from the stage (almost the nosebleed section), and it was incredibly hot, but the sound system was great and God sent along some awesome clouds and a very nice breeze to keep us from sweltering in the heat. When CC was singing "Praise You In The Storm" I thought it would be awesome if God sent a clap of thunder right in the middle of it.

So what was our favorite part? I think that Jeff and I would both agree that our favorite part was watching the Duttons. They came to this concert with completely open hearts, going through an incredible "refining" process right now, and were completely blown off their feet, not just by the music and the praise to God, but by the ministering of the Word that both Mark Hall and Jeremy Camp so clearly presented. Mark said later that he felt that Jeremy was speaking directly to him. Now, isn't that funny? Most of the times when Mark preaches, I feel as though he is doing the same for me. Strange to hear your pastor say that about himself and someone else. At one point I observed Mark sitting down with his head in his hands, and I asked Laurie, "Is he alright?" and she replied, "He's praying". It was very cool. The kids LOVED it. I've got a kind of grainy video that we took with our digital camera and the best part about it is watching Matthew's face while he sings! It was a great night, and a precious memory with our dear friends that we will always treasure. Jeff and I were extremely excited when they announced that Toby Mac and Jeremy Camp would be back in Indy on February 28! We're already planning to go. Any other Jesus Freaks interested?

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

Very Little News

No great pictures, no videos, no captivating story to tell. Let's face it, people, my blog rots. Jack does a million camera-worthy things a day, but do I have my camera out, taking the shots? No. It seems that most days there is not enough hours in the day, and no matter how many times a day I straighten up the house, it is always dirty. But, I have to say, that I am very happy. Jack is very happy, too. He is learning something new every day, and this is a great age for him. It makes me turn my thoughts toward having another one........

Anyway, I've been busy with worship team, choir and church, and Jeff has been busy with work, side jobs, and volunteering for various projects at church. Jack has been eating me out of house and home and growing at least a half inch a day. His vocabulary is expanding, and he has even started some simple sentences that are really only intelligible to me since I listen to his chatter every day. He's wearing 24 month old pajamas!

More excitement is coming, though, in the form of a night out with Casting Crowns and Jeremy Camp. I'm sure we'll have pictures of that. AND we are planning our first vacation with Jack! He will take his first plane ride to see Anne and Bryan for their birthdays at the end of August. We are so excited!!!

So, although there is nothing shocking to report, we are content right now with our busy lives, and immensely grateful to our Savior, who has seen fit to give us these peaceful (if not somewhat warm) days. Thank you, Jesus, for loving us.

More to come.....

Wednesday, August 01, 2007

Bye, Bye Bampy

Yesterday my mom left to take my grandfather home to Kentucky. We are already missing him. Jack just had such a wonderful time with him, and I know that Bampy really enjoyed him as well. They seemed to have this little unspoken understanding with each other. Jack never disobeyed anything that he said, and even though he loved to steal Bampy's walking cane, he was pretty good about bringing it back when he asked for it. We love you so very much, Bampy! Hurry back!

Thursday, July 19, 2007


Please be in prayer for Laurie's dad, Jim, aka. "Doc" or "Papaw". He was admitted to Home Hospital last night with some pretty serious symptoms. He was recently in Brazil and may have picked up something nasty. He is up here visiting with Laurie and her family right now. God's timing is perfect. If I hear anything new I'll update this post.

****UPDATE: I just got a call from Laurie, and it would seem that her father has a mild case of malaria. Mild? Sheesh! They are treating him for it, and he will be released this afternoon. They are getting ready to do an ultrasound on his liver to make sure that no damage has been done, but they do not expect that it will be damaged. Keep them in your prayers. Garnet is tired from all of the "nursing". They are all in good spirits though.

Monday, July 16, 2007

Ultimate Summer Highlight

The following is Anne's written testimony. After reading it, I'm sure that you'll agree that of all the fun we had this summer, all of the time that we spent together, this was by far the biggest highlight. Anne was baptized and became a member of Faith Baptist Church on July 8, 2007. Video to follow shortly!

My name is Anne Gray. I am 12 years old, almost 13.

I had prayed for a brother or a sister several times. I had a twin brother named Bryan but I Wanted another brother smaller that I could teach. God answered that prayer by giving us a special baby boy. After Betty had Jack I started to listen to the sermons. Every night I thanked God and prayed to Him. Then I realized I had questions. I asked my Mom and Dad about them.

After talking to my parents and reading some verses I realized that Sin keeps us from God. It has been said in the Bible, that NO sin should be in the presence of the Lord. And Christ died on the cross to pay for our sins.

So on that night, June 1, 2007. I confessed my sins and believed with all my heart and asked Jesus to throw my sins as far as the east is from the west, and to forgive my sins. And now I want to get baptized and spread his good word.

New Family Photos

Church Family Photo

Jack and Bampy

Bampy was very disappointed that he missed seeing the twins, but as you can see, he and Jack are getting along just fine!

To The Airport and Beyond!

I'm quite behind on all of my posts, so you can expect a flurry of posting activity in the next couple of days! For now, here are some pictures that were taken on the ride to the airport and after we got there (and before everyone started crying).

Saturday, July 14, 2007

Life Goes On

Anne and Bryan got back to GA safely! They had a short plane ride and then a long drive, so they got home pretty late, but they are safe and sound and back in the land of peaches. We sure do miss them. Fridy was a weird day for us. Jack woke up and went straight to Anne's room. When he saw her bed made, he was shocked, and not just because she wasn't in it, but because I don't think he has actually ever SEEN her bed made (just a little teasing, sweetie)! He promptly turned around and went in to Bryan's room and stopped short, again. No Bryan. He then turned to me and whispered, "Bye bye". I don't think that he gets that they went "bye bye". I think what he was asking was whether or not HE was going "bye bye" too. Either way it was heartwrenchingly cute.

In the meantime, Bampy has come to visit! Yes, my grandfather is here visiting for a couple of weeks, and that has helped to distract us. We got some great pictures of Jack with Bampy that I'll post later. I am currently at my mother-in-law's house and I don't have the camera with me to post the pics! We've also got some great video footage of some summer highlights that we'll post as soon as we get a minute.

A & B, if you're reading today, we love and miss you!

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Making The Most

The time is drawing to a close. We don't want it to end so we keep drawing it out by staying up ridiculously late. The kids have only two more days left! Tonight they spent some good daddy time together in the hammock outside. I prefered to take the pictures and then beat it to a safe distance where I could look out the window from my air conditioned office :-)

We love you, Anne and Bryan! Although we adapt to our lives the best way we can, it's never the same when you aren't here. We will miss you greatly and pray for you daily until we are together again!

Cycling Emotions

I changed my mind. I take it all back. They'll just have to stay.

(Unfortunately my emotions are much like the weather. Just give me five minutes......)

Monday, July 09, 2007

Dutton Update

I was given permission to post this letter from Mark Dutton. It is a great explanation of the things that are happening in their lives and may help to clear up any questions by people who were not able to attend last night's church service.

After much prayer and 18 years of ministry at Faith Baptist Church, I believe it is the Lord’s will for me to pursue a Senior Pastoral position. It has been my privilege to work under godly men like our former Senior Pastor, Bill Goode, and our current Senior Pastor, Steve Viars who has helped me to grow in areas of my life and ministry in ways I never imagined. I truly thank the Lord for these men and their influence in my life. The Lord has also used Bob Smith, and a host of others key leaders, who have strongly impacted my life and challenged me in my walk with Christ.

I’ve been praying about this transition for a long time and have tried to allow God’s Word to guide me. In fact, the Lord has been preparing me for this opportunity since September of 1989 when Laurie and I first came to Faith. I am thankful for the opportunities God has given me here in Lafayette, but I believe it’s time to “cross the Jordan” (Joshua 1) and move ahead for the glory of God! In fact, one of our Core Values as a church is “Strengthening Others” – that would include other local churches that could benefit from the teaching and ministry philosophy that God has provided at Faith Baptist.

The Lord has been so gracious and blessed the ministry here at Faith, but the principle of stewardship (Luke 12) motivates me to take the things I’ve learned and apply them to the kingdom work of Christ in another church, community, and city. You know the phrase that says, “to whom much is given, from him much will be required” (Luke 12:48). I believe that in order to give a good account at the Judgment Seat of Christ, this transition is important and the timing strategic.

I would like to ask you to pray for the ministry here at Faith as we undergo this transition over the next few months. I would also like to ask you to pray for the following requests:
1) For a church that would be a ‘good fit’ for me, given the philosophy and training I’ve received here at FBC. I would like to hit the ground running, if you know what I mean, but I’m open to whatever God wants.
2) For a timely transition – I would like to have this decision made in the next two to three months for the sake of our church family to stay focused on the ministry here, and for my family (especially the kids and the transition to another school).
3) For the sale of our house in a timely manner. We live at 308 Brookfield Dr., a subdivision next to FBC – 5 bedrooms, 3 full baths, a large backyard, a storage shed, and a real man’s fireplace (i.e. real wood – not gas!), and a deck in the back!

If you are aware of a church that is currently looking for a Senior Pastor, and you sincerely believe that I would be a good fit to provide pastoral leadership to the ministry, please let me know or pass my name on to them and ask that they contact me for a resume.

Thank you for your help and for your prayers. I appreciate your friendship and for your willingness to be a tool in God’s plan for my future ministry.

Reaching New Heights!


****Edit: It has come to my attention that some of my readers missed the announcement last night, so let me fill you in and this post will make a whole lot more sense!

Last night Pastor Viars announced that the Dutton's were leaving our church to seek a Senior Pastor position. Mark has always felt called to preach and teach in this capacity, and as a family they feel that the timing is best now for them to leave. There are no hard feelings, nothing hidden behind the scenes. This is just God's timing for them. That said, you can continue on to the rest of the post.......

Ok, now the cat is out of the bag--the Duttons are leaving and you are all reeling from the news. TRUST ME, I know. Go back and read my last post.

Can I just take a moment and try to put a little perspective on this? Each one of you who is feeling the pain of missing a mentor, friend, confidante, pastor, teacher, hero is doing so for one reason---because they invested themselves in you. Because they discipled you, counseled you, pictured Christ to you. Because they spoke the truth when you needed to hear it, even when you didn't want to hear it (sometimes). They invested their time, their personalities, their wisdom, their weaknesses in YOU. And now they are leaving. The gap is HUGE. Think of the people that they have touched in the last 18 years here. Who will continue? Shall we just stand around and look at ourselves blankly? Nah. We're going to fill the gap. We are going to invest ourselves in others. We will find the people that they would have reached out to, and we'll reach out to them. We will jump out of the boat and onto the crashing waves, and OUT of our comfort zones. After all, that's what they are modeling for us, right? This decision has not been an easy one for them, and they too, are missing us already. But they are out on the waves, where Jesus is, and the best thing that we can do, after the initial shock and good cry, is invest ourselves in them by praying for them. We can make this transition easier for them by getting on board and finding the ways to fill that gap.

I'm talking to myself here. Most of you cannot even know what this family has meant to me, or the panic I feel when I think of their leaving. But they taught me to rise above that, to not "park" in my sadness. I'm excited to think that I could be someone's "Laurie". Even just saying that makes me want to scream that I can't do it, but I can. I can stand in the gap for someone, because someone showed me how to do it.

Tuesday, July 03, 2007


I woke up this morning contemplating my life, and processing through some events that have recently come into my life, and into the lives of my friends and loved ones. In the past month I've known people who have lost loved ones, lost babies, who are experiencing lonliness, who feel isolated from those that they love by large bodies of water (love you, G), and who are facing uncertain futures after taking huge leaps of faith. I was reminded just last night of the words to one of my favorite Casting Crowns songs, and the impact of the words "step out of my comfort zone into the realm of the unknown" and then these words "where Jesus is". Jesus is not in my comfort zone. He's not sitting in the boat with me, all warm and snuggly. He's out in the waves where the wind is blowing and the rain is pelting down, and all is a gray, blurry sea. He's holding out His hand. The question is, will I take it? For me there is comfort in holding on to the things that are dear to me--my family--my friends. Comfort is crying out like Jack does when I take something away from him. Comfort is indulging myself in a good pity cry when things aren't going my way. But that is not where Jesus is. Jesus is in the storm, arms open wide, bidding me enter it with Him. This thought-process lead me to another favorite Casting Crowns song. Sometimes God allows things to happen in our lives that we were not expecting, and we are "thrown" from the boat kicking and screaming" (insert a little smiley face here). It is good to know that Jesus is also there, again, in the storm. Just a little introspection from a sleepy mommy while her baby is napping.

The Voice of Truth (verse one)
Oh, what I would do
To have the kind of faith it takes
To climb out of this boat I'm in
Onto the crashing waves
To step out of my comfort zone
Into the realm of the unknown
Where Jesus is,
And he's holding out His hand

But the waves are calling out my name
and they laugh at me
Reminding me of all the times
I've tried before and failed
The waves they keep on telling me
Time and time again
"Boy, you'll never win,
you'll never win."

But the voice of truth tells me a different story
The voice of truth says "do not be afraid!"
And the voice of truth says "this is for my glory"
Out of all the voices calling out to me
I will choose to listen and believe the voice of truth

Praise You In The Storm
I was sure by now, God, that You would have reached down
and wiped our tears away,
stepped in and saved the day.
But once again, I say amen
and it's still raining
as the thunder rolls
I barely hear You whisper through the rain,
"I'm with you"
and as Your mercy falls
I raise my hands and praise
the God who gives and takes away.

And I'll praise you in this storm
and I will lift my hands
for You are who You are
no matter where I am
and every tear I've cried
You hold in your hand
You never left my side
and though my heart is torn
I will praise You in this storm

I remember when I stumbled in the wind
You heard my cry to You
and raised me up again
my strength is almost gone how can I carry on
if I can't find You
and as the thunder rolls
I barely hear You whisper through the rain
"I'm with you"
and as Your mercy falls
I raise my hands and praise
the God who gives and takes away

I lift my eyes unto the hills
where does my help come from?
My help comes from the Lord, the maker of heaven and earth
I lift my eyes unto the hills
where does my help come from?
My help comes from the Lord, the maker of heaven and earth

Misc. Fun Pictures

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Things That Go Bump In The Night

Jack's been having trouble lately with sleeping through the night, and I don't know why. I don't know if he is having nightmares, or tummy aches, or just wants Mama to come hold him, but he's been waking up in the middle of the night for about a week now. Last night was no different, and so, I very sleepily climbed out of bed and went to his assistance. He was standing in his bed, crying pitifully, with his green blankie in his arms. As soon as he saw me he indicated that he wanted his monkey (he sleeps with it every night). What I didn't realize was that he wanted me to pick him up first, and THEN get his monkey. Unfortunately I reversed the order and went for the monkey. This was so distressing to him that he threw himself down in the bed, smacking his nose on the crib railing as he went. He sat dazed for a moment, then the blood trickled down his nostril, then the screaming commenced. I quickly got a cold washcloth and covered his nose, catching most of the blood. So, for only the second time, Jack slept in our bed so that I could be sure that he could breathe. I was so worried that he had broken his nose and that it would swell to the point of being unable to breathe. He quieted down, however, and although he was congested, he was breathing normally when I put him back in his bed. Whew. That was NOT how we expected our evening to go! This morning he looked a little worse for wear, but still a cutie.