Thursday, December 30, 2010

The Whirlwind Magical Holiday Tour has come to an end

We spent this Christmas trying to see everyone we are related to. We had a blast but next year we plan to do much less traveling. :) Anyone who wants to come visit us instead is welcome!

First, a day with my dad's family.

We play this little game every year. It is called "how many people does it take to program the camera on the tripod?"
camera edit

My grandparents and their grandkids, + one great-grandbaby on the way.

Next, a stop at my parents' house. We spent Christmas Eve here - went to a lovely service, enjoyed a scrumptious supper (yummmmm baked brie!), and opened gifts.

The Gent liked combining the two.

On Christmas morning we got up early and drove to my mom's parents. Where we found - wonder of wonders in the South - a WHITE CHRISTMAS.

As we came up their drive, this is what we saw.
Cherokee house

My Nana and Papaw host all of us - somewhere around 25 people camp out in their house during the holidays!
Nana and Papaw

Snow, snow, snow, snow, snow

There was just enough time left for a quick trip to see the Gent's family (the past few years we have been alternating which family we spend Christmas with, this year we spent most of the holiday with my family).

More gifts to open, Happy Christmas!

And now we are home. And exhausted. And the house is still somewhat of a mess but by tomorrow it should all be set to rights again. I hope.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Christ is Here

by Todd Fields, Eddie Kirkland, and Seth Condrey

To our darkened world a light has come
To our broken hearts a day of hope has dawned
The mountains bow and valleys lift their song
Preparing the arrival of the Holy One

On the earth His love has shown
We are not alone

God is with us
He has come to save us
Mercy lights the darkness
Christ is here
God is with us
Healer of the broken
Word of heaven spoken
Christ is here

From His throne above in majesty
From the realm of glory Jesus heard our plea
Love has come our captive hearts to free
Life eternal springs from our exalted King

On the earth His love has shown
We are not alone

God is with us
He has come to save us
Mercy lights the darkness
Christ is here
God is with us
Healer of the broken
Word of heaven spoken
Christ is here

All rise, all rise in the presence of the King
In His presence we are free
All rise, all rise in the presence of the King
In His presence we are free

God is with us
He has come to save us
Mercy lights the darkness
Christ is here
God is with us
Healer of the broken
Word of heaven spoken
Christ is here

Monday, December 20, 2010


I've been spending a great deal of my time since I "retired" from my 9-5 job at the local pregnancy resource clinic. I love being surrounded by lots of other pregnant women! Our local clinic offers hope and support to women making decisions about unplanned pregnancies. The counselors remind them that God loves them and that He has a plan for their lives. They remind clients that God loves their unborn babies, too, and that He has plans for their little lives. They assure them that they are strong and that they can handle the decisions they are making. They help women build a support network, offer a way out of abusive relationships, and continually remind the women that their lives and their babies' lives have value.

For the women who decide to parent, the clinic offers parenting classes and resources. I am one of the teachers. :) I work one on one with a client as we go through a lesson on prenatal care, infant care, raising toddlers, financial literacy, etc. Most of the women are very interested in learning the material, a few are just there to earn their mommy dollars that they can spend in the store.

But what I find over and over is that our clients come from broken homes. I haven't had a client yet whose parents are still married. Many were born to single mothers, raised by their grandmother, have no father in the picture. By going through the classes, many of our clients are trying to break that cycle. They want to finish school and get a job and be a good mommy, they just don't know how. No one ever showed them.

I'm honored to be playing a small role in this bigger picture of offering genuine hope to the women who come through our clinic's doors.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Entertaining Angels Unaware

"Be not forgetful to entertain strangers: for thereby some have entertained angels unawares." Hebrews 13:2

The Gent and I were recently in Atlanta and we opted to skip the traffic in favor of public transportation. That is something we do often when visiting other big cities, like DC, but MARTA we usually avoid. Let's just say that many of those rumors about the kind of people who ride MARTA appeared to be true based on this singular experience.

There were several homeless people, some teenagers who appeared up to no good, you get the picture.

While waiting by the platform for our train, we were approached by a woman who obviously wanted to talk to us. She was dressed in layers, missing most of her teeth, and could have been anywhere from 25-40 years old. She looked like she had lived a hard life, but she seemed to be quite content with her present circumstances.

She asked me when our baby was due, and said she was expecting a girl, too. We chatted (a bit uncomfortably on my end, not going to lie) for a few minutes about babies and pregnancy. She was tickled with the Gent and told us of course our baby would be beautiful because she had such beautiful parents. She told us we were blessed. She asked if we knew the Lord and we said yes. She said she had been following Him hard for about five years, and asked if I'd ever back-slidden. I answered of course, I think everyone slips up now and then. She said she had messed up, but she was back to following Jesus now. I'm sure she sensed we were a bit uncertain about this conversation, and she told us again we were going to have a beautiful baby and moved on down the platform. I told her to have a lovely afternoon and to stay warm. Then the train came.

I found myself returning to our chance encounter over and over again. I thought about this verse in Hebrews, about entertaining angels unaware. I knew God used my meeting with this woman to lift me out of my comfortable life for just a few moments. I hoped I had been a reflection of God's love and grace despite my uncertainty about our conversation. I'm still not quite sure what to think of it all.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Shower Time

The wonderful ladies who I volunteer with in dog rescue work threw a baby shower for us this weekend! I had a great time catching up with them in person (we usually "meet" over email), eating girly food (like hummus and pink cupcakes), and getting ready for baby. This little girl may be a wee bit spoiled by so many goodies. ;) A big thanks to my fellow volunteers and friends!

shower table



Aaron and puppy

ladies edit

Friday, December 10, 2010

December Date Night

With so many parties and dinners and concerts during the holiday season, we opted for a low-key evening. (And I didn't have my camera, so these are all random images I found on Google.)

First, we drove around and looked at tacky Christmas lights. Let it be said that I love tasteful Christmas decorations. But some folks just go a little over the top. We found this incredibly awful house just a few blocks from us. Someday I will go back with my camera and take pictures. In the meantime, imagine this x 10.

Then we went to Papa John's and picked up pizza for dinner. Yum.

And then we came home, snuggled on the couch, and watched A Charlie Brown Christmas.

Not a bad way to cap off our year of date nights.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Spreading Cheer

One of my favorite things about the holidays is sending and receiving Christmas cards. In our technology-driven culture, I love getting real mail and catching up with friends and family.

Not everyone has the opportunity to celebrate the holidays with their loved ones, and some may feel forgotten in this season of merry-making. That's why I love Holiday Mail for Heroes. The Red Cross organizes this card drive for the men and women of our armed forces, veterans, and their families. And it is so easy to participate. Why don't you take a few minutes and send well-wishes and thanks to our troops?

Click here to find out more:

Tuesday, December 7, 2010


These verses from Isaiah are some of my favorites to meditate over during this time of preparation before Christmas. We aren't merely preparing for Santa and special time with those we love, we are preparing our hearts for the coming of the Savior. For grace. For redemption. For mercy. For atonement. We celebrate the beauty of the story - a tiny, helpless Baby come to seek and save those who are lost and offer a way out of our sin and hopelessness and back into the Father's arms. But as we rejoice over the Baby, let's not forget the sacrifice of the Man.

Isaiah 9:1-7

Nevertheless, there will be no more gloom for those who were in distress. In the past He humbled the land of Zebulun and the land of Naphtali, but in the future He will honor Galilee of the nations, by the Way of the Sea, beyond the Jordan—

The people walking in darkness
have seen a great light;
on those living in the land of deep darkness
a light has dawned.
You have enlarged the nation
and increased their joy;
they rejoice before You
as people rejoice at the harvest,
as warriors rejoice
when dividing the plunder.
For as in the day of Midian’s defeat,
You have shattered
the yoke that burdens them
the bar across their shoulders,
the rod of their oppressor.
Every warrior’s boot used in battle
and every garment rolled in blood
will be destined for burning,
will be fuel for the fire.
For to us a Child is born,
to us a Son is given,
and the government will be on His shoulders.
And He will be called
Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God,
Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.
Of the greatness of His government and peace
there will be no end.

He will reign on David’s throne
and over His kingdom,
establishing and upholding it
with justice and righteousness
from that time on and forever.
The zeal of the LORD Almighty
will accomplish this.

Isaiah 53
Who has believed our message
and to whom has the arm of the LORD been revealed?
He grew up before Him like a tender shoot,
and like a root out of dry ground.
He had no beauty or majesty to attract us to Him,
nothing in His appearance that we should desire Him.
He was despised and rejected by mankind,
a man of suffering, and familiar with pain.
Like one from whom people hide their faces
He was despised, and we held Him in low esteem.

Surely He took up our pain
and bore our suffering,

yet we considered Him punished by God,
stricken by Him, and afflicted.
But He was pierced for our transgressions,
He was crushed for our iniquities;
the punishment that brought us peace was on Him,
and by His wounds we are healed.

We all, like sheep, have gone astray,
each of us has turned to our own way;
and the LORD has laid on Him
the iniquity of us all.

He was oppressed and afflicted,
yet He did not open His mouth;
He was led like a lamb to the slaughter,
and as a sheep before its shearers is silent,
so He did not open His mouth.
By oppression and judgment He was taken away.
Yet who of His generation protested?
For He was cut off from the land of the living;
for the transgression of my people He was punished.
He was assigned a grave with the wicked,
and with the rich in His death,
though He had done no violence,
nor was any deceit in His mouth.

Yet it was the LORD’s will to crush Him and cause Him to suffer,
and though the LORD makes His life an offering for sin,
He will see His offspring and prolong His days,
and the will of the LORD will prosper in His hand.
After He has suffered,
He will see the light of life and be satisfied;
by His knowledge my righteous Servant will justify many,
and He will bear their iniquities
Therefore I will give Him a portion among the great,
and He will divide the spoils with the strong,
because He poured out His life unto death,
and was numbered with the transgressors.
For He bore the sin of many,
and made intercession for the transgressors.

Monday, December 6, 2010

Christmas-time Is Here

And our little home is cozy and bright! Here are a few of the highlights:



And my favorite, the fireplace

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Baby Pictures!

We had a doctor appointment today, and our big 4D ultrasound! Baby is healthy and growing - she's a little over two pounds now. We have tons of pictures of baby in utero. Here are a few of my faves.

Whose face does she have, mine or the Gent's? (the bubbles you see are the umbilical cord)

Sticking her tongue out at the "camera"

She had her hand up by her face most of the time. I already knew it was there. I keep feeling it poking me!

Her hand holding onto her foot. She's does prenatal yoga in the womb.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Nick is Four!

Happy birthday to the Nick-ster, the lovable, loyal goofball. For his birthday, Nick got a new dog bowl that is supposed to make him slow down while he eats. He usually inhales his food in thirty seconds, I am not kidding. And then he got new fetch balls for fun, YAY.

Photos by me, captions by Nick:

Presents! Look, see me sit! I'm a good boy, Daddy!
Nick 1

Tasty tissue paper. You know, putting some food in this bowl would make it even better.
Nick 2

He's my boy.
Nick 3

Nick 4

I live a good life. And I don't have to share with my brothers, cause it is my day.
Nick 5

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Seven Month Photo

28 weeks today, hello third trimester! Honestly, I hadn't thought much about getting to this part of pregnancy. The first trimester I was worried about another miscarriage and the second trimester I was just glad not to be sick anymore. Now it is sinking in that in just 12 more weeks there's going to be a baby girl in the adorable nursery that is being created! And I'll never sleep again! And how is this whole natural childbirth thing really going to work!

Good thing I have Christmas to distract me for a while. :D

If you were wondering how much I've grown, here you go:

7 months edit

I wonder if this non-maternity dress will make it through months eight and nine? I have a maternity back-up for when the time comes.

Thursday, November 25, 2010


Reflecting on our many blessings today.

redemption through Christ
our marriage
a new baby girl on the way
Noel Christian
the Gent's new job
great house to rent
good neighbors
our new church
family relationships
friends old and new

What are you thankful for today?

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

November Date Night

To opera night at the symphony! The Gent and I are really enjoying our season tickets (and we got a great deal). And since we live right in the city, we're a mile from the theatre. Fabulous. Yay for great dates.

Lil Bit loves music. She was dancing all around at worship team practice last week (especially to the drums). And whenever the timpani played at the symphony, she was kicking so much I thought she was trying to keep time to the music. (Ummm, sweetheart, if you really want to learn the drums Mama will support you, but maybe we could start with an instrument that is a little quieter?)

Friday, November 19, 2010

Grandma King

Grandma King was our babysitter growing up. My brother and I adored her. She is now 101! Mom and I went to visit her this week. It is hard for her to hear, but she is sharp as a tack and she loves company. I'm glad we had a chance to catch up. I told her we'd be back after the baby is born, so she can meet the next generation!

Grandma King and Kathryn 1

Mom and Grandma King

And when I got home, hubby had gorgeous fall flowers waiting for me. He's so thoughtful. Besides bringing me flowers, he takes out the trash, washes the dishes, keeps my car filled with gas, and scoops the dog poop. What a great man.


Sunday, November 14, 2010

It's that time of year . . .

. . . when I start getting into the Christmas spirit! Actually, I am behind this year. A great football season and getting ready for baby have distracted me! But I did start my shopping last week. I bought Christmas cards when it was 80 degrees outside, and I've been driving around listening to Christmas music with the AC is blowing (not because I want to pretend it is cold outside, but because it really is hot without it). However, I am sure winter will be here before I want it. Days in the upper 70s and nights in the 50s are fine with me.

The evenings have been plenty cool, in my opinion. I even had one magical night last week when I lit the candles in the fireplace, made myself some hot chocolate, and flipped through the December issues of my decorating magazines. Ahhhh delightful.

This old house is going to be so much fun to decorate. I am picturing a very traditional look - lots of greenery, crystal, candles, and bits of red and green.

I promise not to put my tree up until after Thanksgiving. :)

Friday, November 12, 2010


Drumroll please . . .

I think the Gent and I have finally found a church home! After visiting eight or nine churches, we have found a group of believers where we feel welcomed and encouraged to grow. It is a non-denominational church and a member of the Willow Creek Association. We love the worship style and the pastor's teaching. It is similar to many churches in our previous hometown, but very modern for the Deep South. :)

Honestly, we were hoping to find a "blended" church - mixing traditional and modern worship styles. We were also hoping to find a pastor who does expository teaching - working his way through a book of the Bible at a time. And we found neither.

But that's okay. We're confident this is the church the Lord has us in for this short season. There's no perfect church, anyway.

So we're jumping in to this great fellowship. I've already met with the worship pastor and am singing with the worship team next Sunday. We'll start visiting small groups in the next week or two, and look forward to meeting other young couples and families with small children.

Though no one will replace our last church's newlyweds class. We miss you!

Wednesday, November 10, 2010


For the first time ever, we are living "in the city." And we love it. Our neighborhood is filled with old houses - estates, cottages, and everything in between. Some of the houses have been completely redone, some have been well-maintained, some are being remodeled, some are condemned by the city and waiting for someone to tear them down.




We love the variety of architecture. We love the old churches. We love having restaurants within walking distance. We love having beautiful places to walk to and by. We love living a mile from downtown and the Gent's work. We love our neighbors. We love finally living in a more diverse area. (I love that there is a full-service gas station, the kind where they look under your hood and check your tire pressure. And I hope I love that there is an Aveda salon I am trying out today.)


(this is the one we would buy. if we could afford it, and had lots of kids to fill it up, and were staying in this city, of course.)


Our neighborhood has housing projects, a WIC office, and plenty of quick-cash checking services. These former-suburbanites are being stretched out of our comfort zone, and it is a good thing. Wonder where God is going to take us from here?

Monday, November 8, 2010

The Season for Soup

Here are two of my favorite fall soups. These have a bit of spice in them to keep you warm.

Roasted Red Pepper and Tomato Soup (a conglomeration of recipes I found online)
olive oil
1 onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
3 red bell peppers
6 large tomatoes, chopped
1 1/2 teaspoons thyme
2 teaspoons paprika
1/8 teaspoon sugar
4 cups chicken broth
salt and pepper
cayenne pepper
dash of hot sauce
sour cream

Rub oil on peppers and broil till blackened, turning to get all sides. Let rest 15 minutes; peel and dice. Heat olive oil in stockpot. Saute onion and garlic. Then add tomatoes, peppers, thyme, paprika, sugar, chicken stock, salt, pepper, cayenne pepper, and hot sauce. Simmer about 30 minutes. Puree soup with immersion blender if you have one (less messy), or in regular blender or food processor (in batches). Mix in sour cream to taste and serve.

Butternut Squash Bisque (Better Homes and Gardens)
2 1/2 - 3 pound butternut squash
1/4 cup butter
1 medium onion, chopped
1 large carrot, peeled and chopped
1 celery stalk, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 large gala apples, peeled, cored, and chopped
48 oz chicken broth
1 cup apple juice
2 canned chipotle peppers in adobo sauce, chopped
1/2 cup sour cream
3 oz cheddar or gouda cheese, shredded

Peel, seed, and cube squash. In stockpot, melt butter. Add squash, onion, carrot, celery, and garlic. Cook, stirring frequently, 10 minutes or so. Add apples, broth, juice, and peppers. Bring to boil; reduce heat. Cover and simmer 25 minutes or until veggies are tender. Puree in pot with immersion blender, or transfer (in batches) to regular blender or food processor. Return to stockpot; add sour cream and cheese. Stir till melted and serve.

Friday, November 5, 2010

Foster Parenting Thoughts

Remember this post? Although we have a baby on the way, we haven't forgotten to pray about what role God wants us to play in the foster parenting and adoption arena. We looked into foster parenting classes here, but ultimately decided to wait until we make our final (well, final for the foreseeable future) move next summer. We're continuing to pray about the children (biological, foster, or adopted) the Lord would bring into our family, and feel that at this time we will pursue becoming licensed foster parents for infants and preschoolers next fall.

A lot of people have asked me if we'll be able to "give a child back," perhaps to a situation we don't think is best.

The answer to that question is another question: Is God sovereign?

To which we say, absolutely. We trust that the Lord has plans for our good, even if we don't ever understand it.

While we would be open to adopting a foster child who became eligible for adoption while in our care, we look at foster parenting as an opportunity to advance Christ's ministry of reconciliation. This is a long passage, but bear with me:

2 Corinthians 5:11-21
"Since, then, we know what it is to fear the Lord, we try to persuade men. What we are is plain to God, and I hope it is also plain to your conscience. We are not trying to commend ourselves to you again, but are giving you an opportunity to take pride in us, so that you can answer those who take pride in what is seen rather than in what is in the heart. If we are out of our mind, it is for the sake of God; if we are in our right mind, it is for you. For Christ's love compels us, because we are convinced that one died for all, and therefore all died. And He died for all, that those who live should no longer live for themselves but for Him who died for them and was raised again.

So from now on we regard no one from a worldly point of view. Though we once regarded Christ in this way, we do so no longer. Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come! All this is from God, who reconciled us to Himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation: that God was reconciling the world to Himself in Christ, not counting men's sins against them. And He has committed to us the message of reconciliation. We are therefore Christ's ambassadors, as though God were making His appeal through us. We implore you on Christ's behalf: Be reconciled to God. God made Him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in Him we might become the righteousness of God."

I'm not sure if this is going to translate well to the written word, but here goes: God is in the reconciliation business. He reconciles our souls to Himself through the blood of His Son. And we hope to reflect that reconciliation pattern in our work with hurting families, in whatever way the Lord can use us.

Sometimes, we hope, there will be happy endings. Mostly we expect a lot of hurt, children going back to bad situations, and things we don't understand.

But if God is really God, if He is really in control, then we'll trust Him to work for our good in all circumstances. We rest in knowing that He is the same - yesterday, today, forever.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Six Month Photo

6 months

Just ignore the funky shadows - you get the idea of how I'm growing (thankfully it is all in front so far!). We had a checkup yesterday, pretty routine, heartbeat is strong and I am not developing gestational diabetes, yay. I have gained 13 pounds and I've never weighed this much in my life, but I keep telling myself it is all for a good cause. And I'm enjoying indulging in hot chocolate or ice cream in the evenings. I am loving being pregnant and embracing my new shape (but the old one will come back, right? at least mostly?). I love feeling our little girl dancing around in my tummy. So far, she loves the symphony best, although she is pretty active at football games, too.

The Gent and I are signed up for childbirth classes in December and January, working slowly on the nursery (with the help of my Mom - thanks, Mom!), and interviewing doulas and pediatricians. I think we'll be ready by February. :)

I am feeling great, other than some back pain, but my yoga helps a lot with that. My second trimester must-haves are:

Shiva Rea's Prenatal Yoga DVD (since there are no classes here)

Low-rise leggings from Old Navy (I refuse to wear panels, at least for now. Old Navy has a great line of maternity low-rise pants that I am loving.)

Breyer's Oreo Ice Cream

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

October Date Night

Halloween marked the seventh anniversary of our very first date. To celebrate, the Gent had the splendid idea to go to our happy place. (Not the beach this time - we have more than one happy place!) We took a walk down memory lane and revisited our favorite places on campus.

This bench . . . we spent lots of time here, daydreaming about our future, among other things. ;) It is also where we had our first kiss, where the Gent proposed, and the only place we've ever been spotlighted by police. Truthfully, we really were just drinking coffee and talking that time. I think the police officer was a little disappointed that all we did was salute him with our coffee cups.
7th anniversary of first date 008

The Gent having some fun with the camera. And me.
7th anniversary of first date 014

After soaking in campus, we wandered around downtown and ended up at our absolute favorite restaurant ever. Great food, great atmosphere, great service. And a good wine list, not that we partook in anything this time. (Note to the Gent: let's go back after the baby is born!)
7th anniversary of first date 029

And because the cool thing to do if you have a nifty camera and a blog is to post pictures of your food, here you go.

Spinach artichoke dip for an appetizer
7th anniversary of first date 031

I had the chicken provencal, which is this amazing pan-seared chicken with a tomato ragout sauce that I LOVE. It sounds simple but the flavors come together perfectly. The Gent enjoyed the scallops, I think; I was too caught up in savoring my meal.
7th anniversary of first date 032

Dessert was on the house since we were celebrating a special occasion (we've celebrated many here, at our special place) - vanilla cheesecake with a thick layer of chocolate ganache, strawberries, and homemade whipped cream. And decaf coffee to cut the sweet.
7th anniversary of first date 034

Yum (the food and the Gent). What a perfect way to celebrate seven years together.
7th anniversary of first date 033