Friday, November 8, 2013

Trick or Treat... Oh and One More Thing

November 3, 2013
Halloween 2013

Happy Belated Halloween from the Davis Family. We had a wonderful time dressing up and sharing the evening together. While living in Shawnee we always went to our Church's Fall Festival or "Trunk or Treat" event but since moving to Texas we have opted to do the traditional Trick or Treating in our neighborhood. The first year we owned our house down here we decided to pass out candy so we would not be the "only" house not passing out candy. Being new neighbors and all, we didn't want to get our house "Toilet Paper"-ed or anything. And in 2011 in our neighborhood, it was CRAZY and I would say that about 90% of the houses had candy (The good stuff) and were decorated in celebration of this holiday. In 2012 when we moved across the subdivision it was a little less houses distributing candy. This year, I would say about 40% of the houses on our street had people distributing candy. We were one of these houses and the lack of appreciation from the people "Trick or Treating" was unbelievable. We had more teenagers and ADULTS coming to get our candy than I have ever witnessed or could even imagine. And let me tell you, they had a lot of nerve saying "I don't want this one... Can I have that one?" The 1st few times, I played the nice neighbor and let them trade. After several kids saying this, the teacher in me came out and said "You get what you get and you DON'T THROW A FIT"! Seriously, these kids were so greedy and unappreciative! Needless to say, we will be returning to our tradition of the Church Fall Festival. But enough of that!

My kids were all smiles! 

My little "Princess"... Snow White! 

Natalie and Luke- Halloween 2013

The previous night at AWANA Music time, we were learning a school called "I want to Everybody About Jesus". I used this time to tell the 3 and 4 year olds that you can tell ANYBODY about Jesus just about anytime. Any and every time can be used to share your love for Jesus with others. I explained that when you go "Trick or Treating" the next night all you have to do to tell others about Jesus is say "Trick or Treat. Jesus loves you". I was explaining this to 3 and 4 years while they are anxious to get up and dance and play maracas so I didn't expect it to stick with them. The following night as we were getting ready for our Neighborhood "Trick or Treating" Natalie started to practice what she was going to say and said "Trick or Treat. Jesus loves you". She was so proud of herself. I was proud of her too! 

As we ventured up and down our neighborhood streets, Natalie was persistent in telling OTHERS ABOUT JESUS and she was constantly coming back to me saying "Mommy, I told them about Jesus. Are you proud of me?" Absolutely, Natalie Grace! I am incredibly proud of you! 

My little Natalie Grace is FOUR YEARS OLD and she told our entire neighborhood about Jesus on the most Pagan holiday of the calendar! I have never been MORE PROUD! 

I love you Natalie Grace and I am so proud of you! I pray you will continue to tell others about Jesus and share your love for Christ with others! 

God is good... ALL THE TIME! 

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

2013 Well-checks

September 2013
Natalie- 4 years
Luke- 15 months 
This was one for the "Record Books" 

As the beginning of the school year creep-ed up on us we realized that Natalie had not had her 4 year old Well-check and Luke was due for a 15 month check up and shots. Our pediatrician was pregnant and expecting a baby and unfortunately went into early labor at only 35 weeks. With this being said we had to reschedule these appointments 3 times and ended up with a "Stand-In" doctor for our appointments. This didn't really bother me but I wish I would have been able to ask MY doctor a few things. 

After a long 30 minute waiting period in the waiting room we were finally called back where Luke immediately starting screaming and began his "White Coat Syndrome" fits! I swear he knows what is coming and what will happen in that little room! As he was screaming and throwing his fit, Natalie was taken out to check her ears and eyes with the nurse. It was a sad moment as a mom to watch your FOUR year old get her ears and eyes checked. It's hard to believe that she is already 4 years old! She stood 15 back from the eye chart and read it perfectly... better than me in fact! That is great news since poor eye vision is in my family! 

Luke on the other hand was still just a screaming away. He finally settled down after the nurse left but he was still shaking and not comfortable. After yet another 30 minute+ wait for the doctor to come in we were able to see Dr. McKay. She starting trying to look at Luke but again he would have none of that. She decided to start with Natalie. As she began to look at Natalie's stomach she noticed a rash and asked if she had sensitive skin. My response was no but the doctor cut me off before I could finish and said "That is Scarlet Fever, ma'am". There I was with my 15 month old hitting and screaming to get out and dumbfounded with the news of scarlet fever with Natalie. I didn't even know what it was... I think I had a minor heart attack right there in the room. The doctor went on to check Natalie out and said it was "Strep throat with a rash... otherwise known as Scarlet Fever". She told me to not tell my mother or mother-in-law it was Scarlet Fever because they would freak out. She said that back in their time this sickness was very serious! In the mean time this 31 year old was thinking "Back in THEIR time... What about TODAY?" 

The funny thing about the conversation about Scarlet Fever with the doctor is that I did the opposite of what she told me to do. I specifically told not only my Mom and Mother-in-law she had SCARLET fever but I also told my 75 year old grandma! All 3 of them and even my dad freaked out a little. I should have listened to the doctor! 

Eventually, we were able to get Luke to settle down and give him his shots but poor Natalie, who never acted sick really, could not get hers because she was sick and going on antibiotics! We had to quarantine the entire house and send the boys over to Dan and Jackie's house that evening and I stayed home from school the following day with Natalie. She still never really acted sick but eventually got rid of both the strep throat and the rash. 

Luke on the other hand, came down with a nasty stomach virus and fever about 3 days later. This was followed by Chris having the virus and then nearly a week later, I was sick too! This nasty thing made it's way through our entire house but Jackie NEVER got it, which like she said was a MIRACLE! 

We had to take Natalie back the 1st week in October to get her actual 4 year old shots which she hated and cried and cried. But now, thank goodness, we are all caught up and hope to not have to go back to the NASTY GERM-INFESTED Dr.'s Office for a LONG TIME! 

Well-Check Statistics

Height- 3" 4.5" (66%)
This height seems massive to me and seems like it should be in the 80%ish!
Weight- 38 pounds (72%)
Blood Pressure- 107/68
Eyes- 20/20 vision! 
Ears- Perfect 

(I have to admit his statistics make me laugh a little)

Height- 30.75 (36%)
Weight- 25 pounds (79%)
Head Circumference- 19.02 (48.3%)
Like his daddy he has a BIG head!  

Despite the craziness at the Dr.'s Office this go-around, I am still completely blessed with my two little bundles of joy! Thank You, Lord for allowing ME to be their Mommy! It is hard to believe they are 4 and 15 months! Where has the time gone? I love you Natalie and Luke! 

God is good... All the time! 

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

The Klingsick Pastime- Exit Sandman

September 2013
Houston Astros v. New York Yankees 

Ever since I was 3 years old (and can remember) the Klingsick family has been crazy about not only sports but BASEBALL in particular. My dad had a dream and goal of visiting all the Major League Baseball stadiums during his lifetime and sharing this experience with his wife and children. During my 31 years of life I have been to 22 out of 30 MLB stadiums. My parents have seen them ALL and my sister, Allison, is only lacking 2 (I think). My adult goal is now to see the remaining 8 before I die and to share this same type of experiences with MY two children. 

All of that is to give you a history of the Klingsicks and what we call our "PASTIME". In addition to traveling around the United States to tour MLB stadiums and watch baseball games, my sister and I share a love for the New York Yankees because our one and only grandpa also loved this baseball team. I remember growing up and visiting him and my grandma Pat in Derby, KS and we would turn on their tiny 13" television set in the kitchen and watch the game while Grandma Pat cooked dinner. He taught me show much about the game of baseball as well as the history of the Yankees. He had books and pictures all over his house about the Yankees and their franchise. It was at a very young age that Allison and I developed a love for The Yankees but that is only because of the DEEPER love for Grandpa! We love and miss you, Grandpa! 

In 2012 when the Houston Astros announced that they would be changing over to an American League team in 2013, Allison and I knew that meant that the Yankees would be coming to Houston and we HAD TO BE AT THOSE GAMES! We both signed up for the Astros "Fan" emails so we could get information about when the Yankees would be coming to town. In early February we both got the same email and called each other bursting with excitement about being able to see the Yankees in Houston. I immediately ordered tickets for the entire home series in late September. 

The YANKEES weekend finally arrived and we could hardly wait. We decided that we would take Natalie to the game on Saturday so we had a "Girls Day" on Saturday and then went to the Yankees v. Astros game that night. Natalie has been to numerous games with Chris and I and especially Gigi Shirley and Poppy as now the tradition continues with their grandchildren  Natalie was so intuitive and asked so many questions and especially liked seeing the "Train" go by when the Astro's scored a run! 

The Tradition CONTINUES! 

One of Natalie's favorite part of an Astros game... The baseballs OUTSIDE of the stadium!

We like this tradition too, Natalie! 

Having fun with "ORBIT" before the game! 

Auntie Allie and Natalie Grace at Natalie's first Yankees game... The Tradition Continues!

Allison and I didn't realize it back in February when we purchased these tickets that this would be Andy Pettitte's last game due to his retirement (Again)! So yet again this game and weekend became even more memorable as Allison, Natalie and I got to witness Andy Pettitte pitch his last game! ANDY PETTITTE... A players name and pitcher that even my grandfather talked about back in the day! In fact, Andy Pettitte was one of grandpa's favorite pitchers and at that time he didn't even play for the Yankees! We stayed after the game on Saturday evening to watch the ceremony and witness Pettitte raise and wave his hat to the crown at Minute Maid Park! It was... (wait for it) LEGENDARY! 

And we were there!

On Sunday, we had Gigi Jackie and Grandpa (DAN) take the kids to church so Chris could come with Allison and I to the last game of the 2013 MLB season where the Astros would take on the Yankees for the 3rd and final game of the series. This was special because it was that last HOME game for the Astros and once again another MAJOR event for the Yankees. While we were walking into the park about 90 minutes before the first pitch we saw Derek Jeter get dropped off and then carted up to the front of the stadium! I so wish I would have had my camera ready! 

Eating at another Klingsick favorite... IHOP before the game!

In addition to that, Mariano Rivera, arguably the BEST closer in the history of MLB, had pitched his final game in New York days prior but without Houston media or fans knowing came out for a PRE-GAME ceremony to apologize to the Houston Fans for not pitching during this final game. WHAT A CLASS ACT! It was so cool to get to witness, Roger Clemens, Joe Tori and other major MLB stars give tribute and thanks to Mariano Rivera for a career and job WELL DONE! Once again, Grandpa would have loved being here to see this! 

A 3-D picture that was given to Mariano Rivera on behalf of the Houston Astros! AMAZING!

I am so grateful to have been able to see this once in a lifetime ceremony! 

Overall it was an incredible weekend of baseball and one that I will never forget! Thank you so much Allison for sharing this weekend with me and we will see you and The Yankees in APRIL for OPENING day! 

This one was for you, Grandpa!

God is good... All the Time! 

Trying to Look Through the Eyes of Mary

October 16, 2013 
Mary or Martha

For the 2nd week in a row, our Sunday School lesson has hit a nerve and opened my eyes to my own actions. This is just a reflection of the lesson and how I can apply it to my own personal life!

This past Sunday during our Sunday School lesson we were discussing how sometimes "Relationships Collide" due to differences in priorities. The scripture and topic was about Mary and Martha and Jesus coming into their home. Scripture says Martha was continuously working on cleaning the house and trying to be a good "host" for the special guest, who was Jesus. Mary on the other hand was leaving Martha "all alone" as the NASB translates it.

Martha and Mary

38 Now as they were traveling along, He entered a village; and a woman named Martha welcomed Him into her home. 39 She had a sister called Mary, who was seated at the Lord’s feet, listening to His word. 40 But Martha was distracted with [a]all her preparations; and she came up to Him and said, “Lord, do You not care that my sister has left me to do all the serving alone? Then tell her to help me.” 41 But the Lord answered and said to her, Martha, Martha, you are worried and bothered about so many things; 42 but only one thing is necessary, for Mary has chosen the good part, which shall not be taken away from her.”

This brought up the discussion of which character we are and how we set our priorities. In a classroom full of husband and wife teams and various personalities, we had numerous Martha characters and few Mary characters. Naturally, the wives were more of the "Martha" and the husbands usually played the role of "Mary". 

This led to me thinking about how I do usually think of myself as Martha and often ponder "Why am I the only one cleaning the house?" or "Cant you just help me out a 'little'?". These thoughts as pointed out in the Sunday School lesson commentary are not necessarily Biblical. Mary, while she was not cleaning and cooking and playing the role of the "host", was sitting at Jesus' feet which was of equal (if not more) importance.

I far too many times selfishly think "HELP ME CLEAN" or "MAKE DINNER ONCE IN A WHILE" without looking at the big picture which is... He (Chris) is doing OTHER things that may not seem as important but are equally noticeable but I am too busy selfishly thinking about my own side of the coin. To you Chris Davis, I apologize for acting too much like Martha frequently and I will try to look at things through Mary's perspective! 

I appreciate you Chris Davis and I am grateful for your friendship and love! 

God is good... All the time! 

"You had me at FRIED"- State Fair 2013

October 9, 2013 
"Deep Fried Fun" 

This past weekend, my immediate family (The Kingsicks), my children and I went to The State Fair of Texas in Dallas, TX for our Bi-Annual family trip. This year we traveled without Chris who just needed "a break" (A much deserved break at that).

Friday PM- Hotel Fun
We started the weekend by getting to our hotel around 8PM and taking a dip in the indoor swimming pool. This is a special tradition that Natalie has with Gigi and Poppy when they travel for their baseball trips but poor little Luke did not know about this tradition and didn't want any part of this! We tried to get him to settle down and stop crying but he just kept screaming louder and louder. He kept trying to point towards Natalie and saying gibberish so we tried to take him into the pool where Natalie was... yeah, this didn't work and he just screamed even louder. We decided to just take him out of the pool and get him a bottle. At this point the only person he wanted was Poppy (He really is a "Poppy's Boy", which I know my dad LOVES)!

Saturday AM- Rides and Farm Fun 
We woke up early enough in the morning to get down to south Dallas and get a good parking spot. We were able to park really close and were inside the fair ready to go by 9:40.
We made in record time... 

Monekying around the Fair!

We started off by purchasing some coupons and then letting Natalie ride a few rides. Natalie is used to going to places that allow UNLIMITED rides so she was a little confused as to why she couldn't just stay on each ride and ride it again. Several of these she rode by herself (to save tickets) but there were a few rides where she got to share the experience with someone else too. Let me tell you... Natalie is going to be my ROLLER COASTER BABY! She started out riding a "Kiddie Coaster" with Gigi Shirley. Then she moved on to an adult Twister Coaster with mommy and ended up on a crazy Airplane like ride that I am not even sure if I would ride. And her common statement after the ride was one of two things: 1.) Wow, that was AWESOME!  and 2.) Can we do it again mommy! I LOVE THIS!

This picture may prove that Luke too will be a Roller Coaster Baby!

Riding the Four Wheeler together!

Riding the Kiddie Coaster with Gigi Shirley!

The "Jungle Cats Coaster"... Wow, this was way more "adult" than I thought. It was a small roller coaster where the car spun around really fast! Natalie LOVED it! 

I don't even know what this one was called but my 4 year old rode it... And Auntie Allie's face says it all! But yet again, Natalie LOVED it! 

Saturday Afternoon- FOOD, FOOD and More FRIED FOOD! 
Deep Fried Thanksgiving Dinner
After we spent a few hours letting Natalie and even Luke ride amusements, we decided it was time to get our first FRIED of the trip. We started off with the "BIG TEX" Winner of Most Creative Fair Food the DEEP FRIED THANKSGIVING DINNER! This was really tasty with a Turkey and Stuffing Mixture that was rolled into a ball and of course, DEEP FRIED! It came with brown gravy and a yummy sweet cranberry sauce for dipping. This was a great way to start our eating extravaganza but certainly set the bar HIGH for the remaining items we wanted to try!

This was very tasty and with an in-home Turkey Fryer... 

we might be trying to make this at Thanksgiving! 

Chicken Fried Meatloaf
This creation was one that Allison especially wanted to try and me as well since Chris does not like meatloaf and we never have it. This was a very interesting dish that more or less came out as a southern favorite of "chicken fried steak". The texture was different but the taste was highly similar. It was served with a heaping scoop of mashed potatoes and gravy!

This was Allison's favorite... It was pretty tasty! 

Deep Fried Cuban Roll
This was the "BIG TEX" Winner for BEST OVERALL TASTE for 2013. This was more or less a very pork friendly style of egg roll. I personally thought it was scrumptious but Allison thought otherwise.

If you are a pork eater... this was to die for!

Deep Fried King Ranch Casserole
This one had the best presentation BY FAR with the casserole being shaped like the State of Texas and even had a Texas flag on top of it. This was just like homemade King Ranch Casserole but even better since it was deep fried! It was served with fancy tortilla chips and sauce (Natalie enjoyed these)!

This was so cute... I LOVE the presentation! Bobby Flay would be impressed!

Red Velvet Funnel Cake 
My mom, sister and I are HUGE funnel cake fans and LOVE getting them at events such as this. We saw a "RED VELVET" funnel cake sign and knew we needed one of these. Of course by the time we got back half way across the fair grounds we were exhausted but the walk was WELL worth it! This was delicious and tasted just like a Red Velvet cake and even had a cream cheese icing on top! YUMMY!

YUMMY! That is all I can say!

Deep Fried Cake Balls
Allison has been to the fair numerous times since she lives in Dallas and had told us about these from last yer's fair. Her and I especially wanted to try these and had just about given up on finding them when out of nowhere we saw the sign for them. Almost as if the angels began singing and the "hallelujah chorus" began to play! These were INCREDIBLE and I wanted to get my own order they were so good.

We may have to try making these with our fryer too! YUMMY!

Deep Fried Oreo
You cant go wrong with a classic and an old favorite. We tried to Deep Fry these ourselves a few years ago but let me tell you... its just not the same. These were very tasty and a great way to end our food frenzy at the fair!

If it ain't broke... Don't fix it! A classic "Deep Fried" staple and it did not disappoint! 

Dollar Dogs (For the Kids)
It was hard to imagine that there would actually be some decently priced food for our kids but sure enough, there was a "Dollar Dog" food stand deep in the heart of the fair! However, I must say I question the type of meat that was in these hot dogs! Nonetheless, the kids ate them and were satisfied!

I am certainly glad they only cost a dollar! 

And then there were some things that we were just not brave enough to try! 

Fried BUTTER? Really, GROSS! 

Overall our food trials turned out great and we all enjoyed each of the DEEP FRIED items we tried. We discussed with each other our favorites but for memory purposed we came up with a "Ranking System". Each of the 4 "Klingsicks" get to list their favorite savory and sweet dish.

Savory- Chicken Fried Meatloaf
Sweet- Deep Fried OREOs 

Savory- Deep Fried King Ranch Casserole
Sweet- Red Velvet Funnel Cake 

Savory- Deep Fried Thanksgiving Dinner
Sweet- Fried Cake Balls

Savory- Chicken Fried Meatloaf
Sweet- Deep Fried Cake Balls

I am so tremendously blessed to be able to not only go to the State Fair of Texas but to attend this event with my two kids and wonderful family! I had a blast riding all the rides and trying out all the new culinary concoctions. I think we need to make this an ANNUAL event! Thanks Mom and Dad (and Allison too)! We love y'all! 

God is good... All the Time!

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

The Potter's Hands

Thursday, September 19, 2013 
"Mold me, Make me" 

It is the 4th week of the 2013-2014 school year and for the first time in all 9 of my years of teaching, I am feeling a little blase about not just this school year but my career in general. In the past I have felt a little discouraged and uneasy about certain years or positions but this is different. I am feeling a little tug in perhaps a different direction. I have been thinking and praying about this a lot and while I still don't have a clear answer or any answer for that matter, I can tell that God is trying to "Mold me" at this time and I just need to sit back and let Him take the wheel, so to speak. 

If you would have asked me before this school year about my career and what I "wanted to be when I grow up" I would have said "Teach". Since I was 15 years old, I have known that I was going to be a teacher. I decided in my freshman year of High School that Band and music was the "Road" I was going to travel. I was selected to the Association of Texas Small School Bands (ATSSB) All-State Band in 1999 and 2001 as well as chosen to be awarded the Texas State Solo and Ensemble Contest Outstanding Soloist in 2001. These awards made me feel as if my career and life choice were accurate and I continued down the "Music Road" into college as well. 

I attended The University of Oklahoma in Norman, OK and majored in Music Education. I was one of the first graduates from my High School to attend a Major university in several years and again, I saw all signs pointing to teaching and Band. While at OU I worked long and hard to complete a 148 hour, 5 year degree in just 4 years so I could follow my passion of teaching and get out into the "Field" quicker. In fact, I was one of only 9 people to complete this degree in 4 year flat in the history of the OU School of Music. As I approached graduation in 2005 I began student teaching with one of the Best Band Directors in the State of Oklahoma, Susan Clothier. I learned so much for her and it is for her mentor-ship that I am the teacher I am today. 

After graduation in May of 2005 I began looking for a job and thanks to Susan I was offered a job teaching music and band in Bowlegs, OK. This was a learning experience to say the least. While working at Bowlegs, if you would have asked me how I liked it I would have said "Not at all" but looking back it was one of the most learning years of my life and once again, if it weren't for this experience I would not be the teacher I am today. This was a job of teaching elementary music to 1-4 graders and band to 5-12 graders which included marching band. This was a small school and the high school band was only 22 students large. Despite the smallness of the band, I still considered the position a "BAND JOB" and didnt focus too much on the elementary music side of the position. 

In March of 2006, Chris and I got married and I immediately began to look for a job closer to home, which was in Norman. After a spring and summer of looking, I eventually landed at Grove School in Shawnee, OK. This too was an elementary music and band job. I taught K-4 elementary general music and 5-8 band, which included Jazz Band. These 5 years were the most pivotal, enjoyable and incredible years of my career thus far. During my directorship, the Grove Band got the school's first ever "Straight Superior Ratings" on stage and broke many other school records. In addition to these performing ensembles, I was selected as "Grove Teacher of the Year" in 2010-2011 and "Pottawatomie County Masonic Teacher of Today" in 2011. But again, I considered this to be a "BAND JOB" with elementary music on the side. 

In 2011 when Chris and I decided to move to Texas I just knew that my career was going to EXPLODE. This was what I had been waiting for my whole career... to get into the great BAND state of Texas. My resume was packed with experience, a Master's degree and even a teaching award or two. Yet somehow after nearly 2 months of looking for a band job, all I could find was an elementary music position. I landed at Spring ISD in 2011 teaching general music to K-5. These 2 years were once again, a learning experience for me and while I spent about 60% of the time dis-liking the position I do appreciate the lessons I have learned while at Spring. My dislike for the job was because it was elementary music and not band... or so I thought. 

In the spring and summer of 2013 I looked anxiously for a band job and I went on several interviews for middle school and even high school band jobs. Yet after 8 band jobs interviews this summer, I was not offered a single one. In fact, I was offered 4 elementary music positions and even 2 CHOIR JOBS! I have not taught choir a single day in my life (In the school setting that is). 

This is when the light bulb began to shine in my head. "Maybe I'm not supposed to teach band, right now or at all"! Chris has always told me that I have a problem with looking towards HIS plan instead of going 100 miles an hour towards my own. I always kind of resented him for saying that BUT he is right. It seemed as if ever since I was 15 (HALF my life) the signs have been pointing to "BAND", but were those MY signs or HIS signs? 

If you asked me 9 years ago at the beginning of the 2005-2006 school year where I would be in 9-10 years... you cant bet your bottom dollar I would have NEVER IMAGINED here. In fact, my dream 5-10 years ago was to "Be a College Band Director". Just 2 years ago in 2011 when I was struggling to find a job my dream was to "Be a band director". Now if you asked me what my career dream is... I honestly don't know how I would answer that question. I would probably answer "The Potter's Hands"! 

Before I had kids I would ranked my titles as: 
1. Career (Teacher, Band Director) 

2. Wife 
3. Mother 

Since having Natalie and Luke and especially since moving to Texas in 2011 these roles are reversed and maybe this is God's plan. I am just waiting for Him to show me what His plan really is. Anxiously waiting. 

As I was meeting my new principal at the district I am at now, she mentioned that within the first 3-4 days of meeting me she sensed that I would make a wonderful administrator. I found this kind of odd since her and I had only met 4 days prior and she didn't even interview me for this position. Oddly, enough the 2nd week of school 2 of my teammates came to me and said that I had wonderful organizational skills and they could tell I love helping kids. This made me take off my "BAND" blinders and perhaps look towards a different road. 

A few Sunday's ago in our Sunday School we read about trials and tribulations and while this is not hardly a trial or tribulation, it is still an area of my life where I am having to RELY on God and Trust Him. This is not always easy, especially for me! But this same Sunday after our class was finished one of the special music selections was "The Potter's Hands". I sat up in the orchestra and played my saxophone with tears running down my cheeks listening to the words of this song: 

Beautiful Lord, wonderful saviour

I know for sure, all of my days are held in Your hands
Crafted into Your perfect plan

You gently call me, into Your presence
Guiding me by, Your Holy Spirit
Teach me dear Lord
To live all of my life through Your eyes

I'm captured by, Your Holy calling
Set me apart
I know You're drawing me to Yourself
Lead me Lord I pray

Take me, Mold me
Use me, Fill me
I give my life to the Potter's hands
Call me, Guide me
Lead me, Walk beside me
I give my life to the Potter's hand

I am at a fork in the road, with many different road choices, and I am trying not to selfishly think of my desires but to look to Him and what He desires for my life. I am enjoying my job at my new district and I am not unhappy but I can still feel that little tug on my shoulder... I just don't know what the tug is for!

God is good... All the time! 

Friday, September 13, 2013

Celebrate Good Times... C'mon

September 5, 2013 
You can hear the song, Cant you? 

What a wonderful birthday celebration I have had this year! I have been able to spend quality time with my parents, sister, in-laws and especially my hubby and beautiful kiddos! On August 24th after Natalie’s 4th Birthday party, we were able to go to one of my favorite restaurants “Chuys” for a family dinner in celebration of my 31st birthday. This was very special because it is on a very rare occasion that I get to be with both my immediate family and my in-laws at the same time and it was great to visit and fellowship with them all. My mom also coordinated to have Mrs. Martha make me one of her AMAZING "Martha Cakes" and bring it down this weekend. It was just as I remember... AMAZING!

I don't know what she does but it is the BEST cake EVER! Thank you, Mrs. Martha!

On Monday, September 2nd (Labor Day), I was able to have yet another early birthday celebration with Chris and the kids as we went to the Mall and spent the whole day together! This was special because I do enjoy going to the mall and Chris rarely has time to come with me so it was neat to have him come along. We got to go to the Puppy Store for Natalie and Luke, The Disney Store and even the Apple store for me in search of a new iPad!

In addition to shopping, we were able to eat in the Food Court together and try out some new places, one in particular “French Fry Heaven”. This was a pretty cool place to get fries. I tried the “Festival” French fries which were sweet potato fries with Funnel Cake sauce. It was yummy!

The best lunch ever... A bunch of FRIES!

Of course the main reason for us going to the mall was to go and pick up my Cookie Cake for my 31st birthday! It has been somewhat of a family tradition to get each other Cookie Cakes for our birthdays and even anniversary! This cake was great because it had all VANILLA icing… just the way Natalie and I like it! Thank you Chris for this delicious way of celebrating my birthday!

As always, this was a VERY SPECIAL part of my birthday celebration! Thanks love!

And then of course, ON my birthday (Wednesday), Chris, the kids and I went to Babin’s for my annual birthday dinner. We started this back in 2011 after we had just moved to Houston and found this hidden gem of a seafood restaurant! I just love this place and hope to celebrate my birthday there every year!

Our annual Birthday Dinner at Babin's!

In addition to all the physical celebrations that took place the past 2 weeks with family and friends, I also go to celebrate my birthday with AMAZING gifts! I have said that as I get older I don’t really need gifts but just cards with WORDS of encouragement on them but I still got AWESOME presents! My parents got me a new FANCYSoda Stream” maker. This was something Allison and I happened upon back around Father’s Day for dad and I just fell in love with them. Mom and Dad got me the actual Soda Stream Maker as well as a variety pack of syrups and an extra carbonation dispenser. Natalie and I will make Soda Stream nearly every night! She and I just LOVE it!

My Soda Stream system from Mom and Dad!

In addition to that, they surprised me on Monday by having me go and pick up a Compact Refrigerator for my classroom. This was completely unexpected since they already gave me the Soda Stream a few weekends ago! This fridge is AWESOME! This is NOT an ordinary mini-fridge! It is Huge and can hold a weeks’ worth of food and meals PLUS MORE! Thank you mom and dad!

 Where was this when I was in college? This thing is AWESOME... It can hold 8 of my Weight Watchers meals in the SEPARATE freezer PLUS a weeks worth of fruit and drinks! Thanks again, mom and dad!
Allison gave me some additional liter bottles for my new Soda Stream as well as a few Soda Stream Syrups! We just LOVE the Cream Soda Flavor!
Some of the syrups and bottles from Allison and Chris and the kids too!

Of course, Natalie, Luke and Chris gave me even more Soda Stream Syrups, 1 liter bottles, more carbonation as well as some OU pens for my office and new pillowcases!

I have no idea where he found these down here but I LOVE THEM! Thanks!

All of the stuff Chris and the kids got me for my new Soda Stream maker! Yummy!

I also received money from my in-laws and extended family which I plan on using to buy the new iPad that launches (supposedly) on in early October! I am Really excited about this! I have been wanting one for A WHILE but never got around to it... This time, it will be mine! I just have to wait...Haha, how ironic!

In addition to all of these from my family, my new SCHOOL family surprised me with a wonderful card and fruit for lunch! That was really sweet and after 3 weeks of being at my new school, it finally made me feel "At home!"

My teammates are so nice!

It has been a WONDERFUL birthday celebration time and I cannot believe I am already 31! Where has the time gone? It seems like only yesterday that I was turning 21! I used to think those were “The good ol’ days” but looking back and comparing to what I have now… THEY AREN'T EVEN CLOSE! I am so very blessed and I thank God for His continued blessings and I can’t wait for another 31 years!

My 31st year has been fun and I cannot wait for my 32nd… The best is yet to come!

God is good… All the time! 

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

30+1= FUN

September 4, 2013

Hard to believe this little girl is 31? Man, I'm old!! 

Well THIRTY came and went and here I am adding another year to my book of life. This past year has been full of life-changing events and memories. It is hard to describe in words the blessings I have received this year but the best part is knowing that these blessings will only continue into my 31st year of life this coming year. God has blessed me so much and I cannot thank HIM enough for HIS blessings! 

Here are just some of the many blessings that I have received since my 30th birthday in September of last year:

September 2012 
We closed on our house on September 14th and by the 17th we were all moved in... not unpacked but moved in!

Closing day FINALLY arrived!! Yay!! 

We are so very blessed... Thank You, Lord!! 

November 2012 
Chris and I hosted our first "holiday" in our new home with Thanksgiving Dinner with The Davis's.

After 2 months of unpacking, the house is ready for guests...

Aunt Leeanna and the only and only Uncle John!
These two are great with our little kids!! Thanks y'all!! 

December 2012
Our First Christmas in our New Home! This was a very special occasion and a "holiday" that will live with me for the rest of the life. Thanks to all my family for making it so special!

I will ALWAYS hold this Christmas near and dear in my heart!! 

I am so blessed to have such a BEAUTIFUL home! 

Auntie Allie and the kiddos...

Gigi Shirley and Poppy with the kids on Christmas morning!

March 2013 
Chris and I celebrated 7 years of wedded bliss by taking a Mini-vacation to Lake Charles, LA.

7-7-7 Years of Marital Bliss...

June 2013 

We all celebrated Baby Luke and his FIRST Birthday! This is always a very monumental birthday and this proved why! I love you Luke!

Spoiled rotten like guy... He didn't even know what to do with ALL these gifts! 

I love my little boy! I am so grateful God chose ME to be his mommy! I love you, Luke! 

July 2013 
Chris and I took an exotic cruise to the Caribbean and had THE TIME OF OUR LIVES! Just 11 months til our next one (Wink, wink)!

The Most GLORIOUS 10 days of my life!! 

August 2013
I started a new job teaching in one of the best district in the north Houston metro area. This will be my 9th year of teaching and Chris' 3rd!

We also celebrated our precious Natalie Grace and her 4th birthday! It is hard to imagine that she is already 4! Where has the time gone?

I cannot believe she is grown up enough to have birthday parties with her friends! What a precious little girl! 

Once again, Thank You, Lord for letting ME be her mommy!! I love you Natalie grace! 

It is hard to believe that a year has come and gone so quickly. But I guess the old saying is true "Time flies where you are having fun"! And I sure did have fun this year! But I know, the best is yet to come! 

Thank you all so much for the wonderful birthday wishes! I am blessed and I give God ALL THE GLORY! 

God is good... ALL THE TIME!