"For you shall go out in joy and be led forth in peace"

Saturday, December 31, 2011

Dayne & Maggy- 3 years :)!

I love these kids. They are three today!! It's hard to believe they are already that old! We had so much fun taking their pictures...it was a cold day out but these twinkies were troopers. I took a ton of pictures because they were being so fun. As I was looking through them all, I was laughing at all the expressive faces they make :) Enjoy!

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

tacky sweaters & fun memories

Oh yes it is that time of year again....a time of year when people dig out from their closets to find a gift that would suitable for a white elephant gift grab and run to their nearest thrift store (or closet for some :)) to find a sweater tackier than their high school teacher's twelve days of Christmas sweaters :). Well Seth and I had the distinct privilege to attend one of these tacky sweater parties this past Sunday. We have the huge blessing to be in a Bible study with a group of amazing people. The woman that leads mine is married to the man that leads seth's so we had a combined Christmas party. We were told to all arrive in the tackiest sweater we could scrummage up and bring with us a white elephant gift. I went to our local goodwill and savers (another thrift store here) and brought a pile of treasures home to choose from. Though difficult to choose, we feel like we picked the tackiest from the pile of potential options. See below:

We can't quite figure out if this is a women's sweater or a men's sweater...either way, it works as far as tacky-ness goes

                                                                   My tacky sweater- haha!
                                Guess who won the competition for the guys?! You got it- Sethy!!

                                                                              Group photo

On another note, we just arrived in Illinois last night! We were packed to the brim in our little two-door civic! We are full of anticipation and excitement to see our family and friends and to celebrate Christmas!

Since I haven't updated in a while, here's what has been going on:
We did get to come to Illinois for Thanksgiving and had such a great time reuniting with family and a few friends. I remember commenting to Seth while we were home that it would be so easy to just fit right back in, it sorta feels like we never left. And parts of me definitely didn't want to leave, yet, I knew that in 4 days we'd be back on the road to Little Rock & I know that's exactly right where God has us & we are really starting to get acclimated & enjoy it there. And that we did- we returned to a busy and fast paced month, but so fun month.

The week we returned from Illinois I had the amazing privilege to participate in some ultrasound training at the local pregnancy center. I LOVED it. VERY overwhelming...yes. Information Overload...yes. But being able to position the ultrasound probe just so and make a baby appear on the monitor and hear the mother gasp of excitement made everything worth it. It's a miracle. I'll be starting volunteering there in January and will be doing some additional training and refresher course when I return.

That next weekend we went to Texas to visit family and my brother & his girlfriend also flew down for a few days, so we had a blast all being together. Kylie Jo is growing up and becoming quite the entertainment. Us girls had fun doing some shopping for Christmas and just quality catching up, the boys caught up on sports and went to a shooting range and just relaxed. We had a GREAT time. The weekend after that we had visitors!! Seth's brother, Jay & his wife, Jackie & their baby Rio came to visit us! We had so much fun playing with that sweet little baby. We loved just being able to hang out with them and catch up & have some time together. We tried a couple restaurants and did some shopping for Christmas. We were so glad they came to visit us and that we were able to just spend some quality time with them!

Texas Trip:
                                                                   Uncle Seth & Kylie Jo
Uncle Jeff & Kylie Jo

Jake helping make dessert :) love them!

                                                               Allison and I finalizing dessert

I love her face in this picture!

Jay, Jackie, & Rio visit
                                                                    He is so sweet and smiley!

                                                   I love this, he loved stickin out his tongue, so cute!
                                                                 Uncle Sethy & Rio
      Jay & Jackie bought some "super sour" candies & we all got to try some! I think Jackie's is a bit more sour than Jay's was :)

Here are some photos of our Christmas decorations in our home, since we can't invite many of you over to see them, we will share with you over the internet :) 

We've started collecting this nativity set & each year we plan to add another piece to the set...we need to build a stable for it, though

                                                     Yes, the big stocking is Seth's & yes he picked it out :)
                                                              Our small tree, but we love it
I found this idea on pinterest...for each day of december there is a pocket. We divided the days, so we each took 12 days & shared the 25th. We each came up with 12 ideas of things to do together...whether it be go on a date somewhere, watch a christmas movie together, go drive around and look at Christmas lights, etc....fun but free ideas to do together & it was fun to have something to "open" everyday. I think it will be more fun with kids someday, but for now, we loved it.

 Some pictures of what we've been up to lately:
                           I told seth it didn't feel officially like the holidays unless I baked some....

                                                             Almond bark covered pretzels :) 

Sugar cookies

These are pretzel, chocolate chip cookies...mmmm salty & sweet.

                                                                     Finished products!

While I was baking, Seth was turning our dining room table into a woodshop. We will post finished product pictures later....for now it's a surprise.

That's all for now....many more pictures to come from our time here in Illinois! Have a MERRY CHRISTMAS!!!

Friday, December 16, 2011

Christmas awe.

New Year's Resolution #1- update blog more often. Ergh- I tell you what- I have the best of intentions to sit down and update, but sometimes I have the worst time management skills. Maybe that should be resolution #2, haha, I think if I keep going at this rate I'll be overwhelmed with resolutions before January even gets here! Do you ever feel like that? Like you sit down to make a list so that you feel more organized and you walk away feeling completely overwhelmed and less productive than you did before you even started? *sigh*...such is life lately. Regardless, I do hope to update more often (i know i've said that way too many times before!).

I LOVE CHRISTMAS TIME. For so many reasons. I love getting Christmas cards and letters in the mail. I love Christmas parties with work, friends, family. I love seeing lights on houses when we drive by. I love anticipation and excitement that seems to linger in the air. I love buying gifts for others & I love opening gifts too :). I love baking/eating all sorts of wonderful things that you can only get by with at this time of year. I love decorating our home. I love Christmas music (as long as it's not overplayed and redundant). I love the memories that this time of year always brings. I love the way families seem to get along so well this time of year (even though every one is human and still has spats), I love watching Christmas movies and shows. I love drinking hot chocolate and sitting by the fire (yes, I know that sounds like a Christmas song, but I love it anyways). I love the smell of Christmas...(for some reason there is a smell that is Christmas). I love snow (I'm still a midwest girl even though I live in the south now & i'm hooooooping for a white Christmas in Illinois!). I love the warm, cozy feeling this time of year. I love so many things about this time of year.

Mostly, though, I love what Christmas is. I love that Christmas is a celebration, a time to remember what is really important, above all else. Yes all those things I listed are great and wonderful and make us feel so good, but they don't matter an ounce compared to the miracle that occurred when Jesus came down from Heaven and was born in a manger to live a life on earth that we might be saved for eternity. I can't comprehend the love that must have taken to leave the most perfect place in every sense to come here- to a place with lots of hurts, crime, brokenness, bad attitudes, unthankfulness, selfishness- and be born in a manger and basically live to die. What a holy and pure love is this! We can't comprehend that kind of love. I sometimes wonder what it would be like to be Mary or to be Joseph or the Wise-men or the Shepherd - to witness this incredible miracle. Can you imagine...this tiny baby that had just been born is the one who will grow up and save you? Maybe they felt caught between wanting to cuddle and hold this precious, adorable, new baby and wanting to fall down and worship this baby, knowing that this baby was their King.

I love these songs- I feel like they can help me to understand some of what these people might have been thinking:
"Mary's Prayer" (Bebo Norman) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oMyTRy6MshE
"Born to Die" (Bebo Norman) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7S5cQhx2nZA
"Joseph's Lullaby" (MercyMe) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NgcGmgrNuLM&feature=related

I just can't express how thankful I am for Jesus. I can't comprehend the love that must have taken for the Father to send His son to an earth that would reject  Him. This is something to be in awe and amazement of- a miracle, a celebration, a gift. Sometimes I just need a re-focus-er this time of year...I don't ever want to get too busy or too distracted by all these wonderful things that come as part of this time of year to forget to just stand in awe of what happened on Christmas. To worship Jesus. 

I hope ya'll (like that? :)) have a wonderful and awesome Christmas in everyway. I hope that the hope and joy of Jesus can fill your hearts more than any present, party, etc could ever begin to do.

p.s. I am hoping to do a photo update soon of life here :)

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

"it's just not quite what I was thinking"

Seth and I have developed a phrase since we’ve moved here: “It’s just not quite what I was thinking”. It doesn’t mean bad, it doesn’t mean good, it just means…different. Even down to the little things like groceries or haircuts. It’s just not what we are used to- but that doesn’t always qualify it as bad either.
 Somedays it feels like EVERYTHING is different, other days it feels more manageable and I can find the familiar again. Sometimes I wonder if  familiar isn’t always good either. Some days I feel like a box of crayons that someone dumped upside down and now I’m trying to figure out where to put all the pieces again- do I want them back in the same order they were or do I want to try something new and different?
Well, aside from the rambling of my heart, here are some pictures of what has been going on lately:
Our Anniversary Celebration
Seth decided to surprise me with a weekend away. It was so needed. He wouldn’t tell me where we were going, but told me a few things to pack.  We ended up at an amazing bed and breakfast in hot springs! It was great to just get away and relax!
                                                       Picture of the awesome room we had!

View of the back of the bed & breakfast. It was gorgeous.

                                                 My boy at the fisherman's wharf for dinner...so handsome!

                 what would a bed and breakfast be without BREAKFAST! This was the first course of breakfast...mmmm
Main meal at breakfast- some type of porkchop, and this AMAZING french toast! I've never eaten porkchop for breakfast, but it     
was good!
We took a canoe ride...the inn was against a lake and they had a free canoe we could use.
Haha- I hardly have words for this one! So we are driving along, headed toward downtown hot springs, to go hiking, when all of a sudden we see this HUGE thrift store! We quick turn around and pull in the lot. We walk in all excited and expectant we are going to find some hidden treasure here! oh my word- no treasure to be found. I'm pretty sure that everything in here has been in there for at least 10 years and not moved at all. We were just cracking up as we walked through thinking "who would buy one=eyed doll or and old cookie tin- probably with cookies still in it!"...there were maybe a few kinda neat things, but waaay overpriced. Needless to say, it was worth the experience.
We went hiking in hot springs. This is the only picture I have of us hiking- but it's a super awkward picture- we had it on timer and ran into place- hence our interesting pose, :)!
Chick-fil-a Grand Opening
…Chick-fil-a grand opening! We were part of the crazies that spent the night at chick-fil-a. Not only do you spend a night, you spend a whole 24 hours in the parking lot. We arrived to Russellville at 5:15ish in the morning along with many others that were crazy like us! We stood, shivering in the parking lot until 6:00am when they had us form a line and take a number. If there were over 100 people, then they would draw numbers and who ever got picked would be eligable to win a year of free chick-fil-a. There were 104 people. Our chances were looking pretty good. Both of us were selected and we set up camp. And I mean camp...a tent, air mattress, the whole deal in the parking lot. We went with a group of friends so we just hung out all day- because the rule is- you cannot leave the parking lot for ANYTHING, if you do, you are disqualified. You can use the restroom inside the restaurant, but that's it! We also got free breakfast, lunch, & dinner! Honestly, it was a blast, but it wears you out- doing nothing all day & eating fried chicken, haha :).

                                               This was taken about 3:30 am! Are we nuts or what??

                                    Picture of everyone setting up camp at about 6:30 in the morning- it was coooold!
                                                 Our friends, Emily & Dan- camped right next to us!
Darling little drew was such a trooper!

We played lots of games throughout the day- blokus being one of them :)

                                                 Emily & I are trying to get our bible study reading done
                                                                    More games!
chick-fil-a also facilitated games throughout the day- this one came at good time because it was getting hot outside!

                                       Cindy, Keri, & Kari & the babies watching the guys play games!
                                                                  Steven and Emma
The Helmick's

                                                                   This was our home for 24 hours!

My Parents came to visit!
This was awesome! We hadn't seen them since July so it was soo good to have them here. We tried to cram in as much as we could in the couple days they were here! We went hiking on a much more trecherous trail than we thought it would be. To my siblings- YES mom and dad went major rock climbing and you would have been amazed! Mostly, we just loved their company and being with them again! (Mom and Dad- you are going to be so mad at me for posting these pictures- but I love them :)!)

                                Seth spotted a turtle and went to pick it up and the turtle went completely inside itself!
                          We went hiking with my parents- the trail became muuuch more rugged than any of us thought!
                                 A look up at the train we were climbing- it just kept going and going!
                                                                    At the top- woohoo!

                                                                  we made it!!!!!!!!!!!!
                                                   I just love this picture- it captures them so well!
          Before heading to church for a saturday night service. I think this is one of my favorite pictures of them- they just look great!
                                       When we got home from church we made homemade pizzas!!
...and we played games!

That's all for now....hopefully i'll post sooner so it's not such a long post next time (though I tend to say that alot!). Thanks for reading!