Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Our Move to OK

As most of you know we just moved to Tulsa, OK. We've been here almost a month now. We absolutely love it here. Our journey to today has been a long one. It started way back in March.

In March of this year we had just finished up the building process at Faith in Joplin, and we were getting ready to have our Open House and Dedication service.
It was a very high time in our life, in a course of many up and downs. Our piano player's son and his family were there, from Southwest Baptist in Tulsa, for our services. He pulled Brian aside and was asking him if he knew anybody that was looking for an associate pastor position. Brian told him no, he didn't at that time. Brian wasn't even really looking, he had his heart set on pastoring as his next position. Any way, Bro. Avery told Brian to keep his eyes and ears open and if he heard or thought of anybody to let them know. Brian assured him he would and we went on.

Between then and July some phone calls had been exchanged between our pastor and Bro. Lyndel Hix (the pastor at Southwest Baptist in Tulsa) about Brian. Bro. Hix finally called Brian the beginning of July and set up a meeting. They met on July 15; basically just to officially meet. We had met Bro. Hix during the clean up process at the church. He was there at the dedication service at Faith, but we didn't really "know" him or he us. So they talked about what we believe, what they believe, what Brian's goals/plans were. And things of that sort.

Brian and I talked a lot about the prospect of moving away from Faith. Brian was very torn. He had so much vested in the physical, building aspect of the church. He had quit his job in Aug. of 2011 to rebuild the parsonage and the church. The church paid him wages this whole time and in March 2013, the church stopped paying him full time so he had to find another job. He went looking for a job, and the first day he went out, God gave him a job, and he started the very next day. He went to work at a farm making and selling feed. It was not what he wanted to do at all, but that's life. So, the thought of being full time at a church again was very appealing.
BUT, it wasn't as a pastor, which is what he so badly wanted to be doing. But he considered it a stepping stone.

We didn't hear anything from Bro. Hix or anyone from the church until late Aug. We had really began to think they didn't want to consider us for the position. But Bro. Hix called and set up for us to come down Aug. 25, and visit, and meet some of the people. It was a very informal visit, and he made sure we knew we weren't coming in view of a call. Brian got to preach and the family sang. We had a very nice time, and thought the people were very nice and friendly. I loved the church and the people from that Sunday. We knew Bro. Hix and his wife were going to be gone for the next two weeks on vacation so we didn't figure we would hear anything before that. Late Sept. he called and Brian went to meet with the deacons for a question/answer session. After that it was a week or so, I guess, then one night Bro. Hix called and told Brian the position was his if he wanted it. Brian came home and told me. We had already talked quite a bit about it through the whole waiting period, so we were already confident with our decision. Brian called him back the very next morning and accepted the position, and I began packing.

In the process of packing, and Brian working, we would come down on Monday's to look for a house. I was very discouraged our first trip when we found nothing. UGH! Brian felt good about the trip, because he learned a lot about the lay out of the city. We came down again to look around, and still nothing, but we did find a community we would love to live in, so that's where we started looking. Our next trip down, we got to stay for a couple days. We were able to make appointments to see houses. We had an apt to see a house with a property manager and she never showed up. So, I called her and she gave me the key code to get into the house. So, we let ourselves in to look at the house. I almost cried. I just KNEW this is the house God had for us. I had been praying that we would know the house when we found it, the kids would like it, it would be in a nice neighborhood, the bedrooms would be big enough, and everything would just work out perfectly. It did. As it always does.

Now that we had a house, we had to finish packing up our house in Sarcoxie, and get moved. Brian was worried about moving expenses. Truck rental, first months rent and all the deposits. When it was all said and done, the church paid for the truck rental and our house deposit, which was a HUGE blessing.

We moved on Brice's 12th birthday, the 17th of Oct. (I'm sure it will be one he will always remember.) It took us ALL DAY to load the truck. The kids worked harder than they have probably ever worked. We stayed the night at my parents and headed to OK on Friday. We got here about 10:00 or so and the lady wasn't here with the keys to let us in. So, we had to wait till about noon. But after we got the keys we unloaded the truck, which only took about 3 hrs, compared to the 24 it took to load it. And we were settling in. Brian unloaded the whole truck in the garage and we just unpacked one box at a time, which was nice not having to wade through rooms of boxes.

Today, for the most part, we are pretty much settled in. Things are moving like "normal". (nothing is ever normal) We took a week off school, but we are back up and going with school again, and the kids are doing well.

Brian is enjoying his days at the church. He has had a lot of time to read and study, and do things he hasn't been able to do in years. This week he is working on remodeling the kitchen in the gym. He is enjoying that.

I am happier than I have been in quite some time. I am thankful for the blessings God has poured out on us. I'm thankful for him putting us right here, right now. It couldn't be better. We all love living in our little community. We love living so close to everything. We are 1 mile from the biggest Wal-Mart Supercenter in OK. We are about 2-3 miles from Tulsa Hills Shopping Center, which has all your stores like, Target, Ross, Marshalls. It's so nice to have shopping places just minutes away, instead of having to drive half hour to get anywhere.

I will try to write more soon. I want to tell you all about the town we live in and the things we have already done since we've been here, and some of the friends we have made.

Talk to you soon!

Monday, April 29, 2013

What is this world coming to?

We went to Springfield last night to pick up Courtney from a friends house and on the way home Brian was listening to the radio.  The hourly news came on and I was barely listening to it, but then something caught my attention.  They were talking about a bill out of TX that would allow physicians to make the call whether a patient should be resuscitated or not, without previous consent from the patient or a family member.  It would be the doctors call, based on whether death was eminent or whether there would be no point to revive the patient due to the quality of life being less than fulfilling.  SERIOUSLY???  When did Dr.'s become God.  Brian said, "That is nothing more than euthanasia, and that is our great "Obama-Care" at work.  As I sat there listening to this news story, I told Brian it is getting to the point you don't want to go to the hospital or the Dr.  You never know what they are going to give you or if they are even going to "allow" you to live.

Then today, I was on FB and saw this post telling about a couple losing their 5 month old baby to Child Services for wanting a second opinion on his health care.  Read the story here.  Do we not have ANY control over what goes on in our lives and the lives of our families?  It's getting very scary out there.  

Another instance of how little control we actually have.  I was talking to a friend of mine just yesterday and she was sharing with me that they will be pulling their son out of public school because he came home asking about a class they had.  Unbeknownst to the families of the children, the school held a diversification class to teach all these first grade kids about all the different kinds of families that are in our world today.  It is normal for a family to have 1 mom or dad or even 2 moms or 2 dads.  When one little girl spoke up and said her mommy says marriage is only between 1 man and 1 woman, the teacher told her, "Well, your mommy is wrong."  UGH!!!!!  When the families of these children got together and asked the teachers why they weren't given a warning of this class and a chance to opt their child out, the response was that this is not optional, the kids need to know of all the different types of families and the way the world works.  

Just with these 3 instances, it is coming to the point we are losing our freedoms. 
1. To feel safe in a hospital.  We don't know whether the doctor is going to decide were not worth keeping.
2. If we take our kids to the doctor and decide we want a second opinion, will our child get taken away from us, because the doctors "know better than we do".
3. We don't have the freedom to teach our kids what we believe, and what the Bible says, without someone coming in and telling them differently and trying to tell them what we have told them is wrong.  
(Prime example why I keep my kids at home)    

I'm not a political person.  I do vote.  I do have my opinions.  I'm just not vocal about a lot of my opinions unless provoked.  I know what I'm willing to fight for.  I'm not foolish, or naive.  I know what is going on in the world, sometimes I just choose not to acknowledge it for my own sanity's sake.  I know we are in the end times, but the Lord doesn't tell us how much we are going to have to go through before he returns to get us.  He only tells us he will never give us more than we can bare.  So, how much more will we have to go through, and how bad will this world actually get before he comes back to get us?  

I guess this is just a "random rambling".  Thoughts that our on my heart and mind today.  

Dixie  

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

More Birthdays!


In my last post, I said I would be sharing Brice and Carrie's Birthdays, sooo, here they are.

 After Carrie and I got back from our OK/TX trip we celebrated her birthday on Tuesday evening at the park.  She invited her friends, Sara, and Ashley Hall.  We had cake and ice cream, and the kids played while the parents visited. 
 Carrie enjoying her party!
All she asked for was clothes for her Ken doll.



Girls Being Silly!
 

I think everyone had a good time!

******************************************************


 Brice's birthday was on a Wednesday, so we had his "shin-dig" on Friday evening.  He got his present on Wed. night after church though.  He got a Lego, Star Wars, Yoda watch.  He Loves It!

Me and my little birthday boy.  I can't believe he is 11 already.

 The Birthday boy, and  his dad.
He LOVES Star Wars!

 
♪♫Happy Birthday to You!  Happy Birthday to You!♫♪

 Brice, Courtney, Manny, Ashley, Carrie, & Bret



Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Birthdays!

Well, it is the first of Oct. and we are half way through our big "birthday" season.  Courtney's b-day is Sept. 25.  Carrie's is Sept. 29.  Brian's is Oct. 1, and Brice's is Oct. 17th.  We never really have huge birthday parties or anything like that, but we usually have family over and have a cook out and cake and ice cream, but that's about it.




Courtney turned 13 this year.  For her birthday, her friend, Ashley, got to come spend a whole week with her.  She does the same schooling that we do, so she came and they did school together for the week.  Courtney loved it.  We weren't originally expecting her to stay the week, she was only going to be here for the week end.  So on Saturday, before Courtney's birthday she got cup cakes to "celebrate" before Ashley went home.  Then on Sunday when it came time for her to go home, she called her mom and begged her to let her stay.  That's how she ended up with us all week.  Ashley bought her a lava lamp, and she loved that.  We got her a curling iron, which she has been asking for forever.


Carrie turned 8 this year.  Her birthday fell on a very busy Saturday.  I was in TX for a ladies retreat.  I took her to OK with me to see her cousins and to stay with them and Nana while I was gone. 
When I got back, We had cup cakes with the cousins before we left, and on our way back home Nana and I took her to McD's for a birthday supper.  We didn't get home till almost midnight that night. She slept in the car on the way home.  She didn't get her birthday "party".  We will be having it tonight with some of her friends.  

My Sleeping, Birthday Princess




 Brian's Birthday was yesterday.  He came in from work, showered and went back to town for a preachers fellowship.  I baked him a cake earlier in the day, so when he got home we had cake and ice cream with him.  Our birthday's aren't really as fun anymore as the kids'.  :o)
Carrie wants to give Dad a big hug to wish him a
Happy Birthday!










 I'll post more later about Carrie's party tonight and then Brice's in a couple weeks.  Until then...













    

Thursday, September 27, 2012

The Last Year

I can honestly say, the last year has NOT been the greatest of my life.  One of the most memorable?  Maybe, but definitely not the best.    

About 2 weeks after my last post, May 22, 2011, our pastor, my family and I went through an EF5 tornado in Joplin.  It was a horrible experience.  Please bare with me as I take you through the events of the day.  

It was a Sunday, and any normal Sunday at that.  We went to church that morning, had guests and stood around and talked till almost 2:00 before heading home.  We came home, I napped (as always) then when I got up, I was in the bathroom freshening up before leaving and one of the kids came in and said, "Dad wants you to come outside."  I said, "Can it not wait, I'll be there in a min."  Brian came in and said, "You've got to come see this now."  When I went outside the clouds were like I had never seen before.  They looked like lava lamp bubbles.  If that makes any sense.  They were just very odd, and mysterious.  I didn't think anything of it really, but Brian (being the science geek he is) thought it was strange, and he became concerned.  He called out pastor in Joplin and asked if it was storming or anything over there and asked what it was looking like.  Bro. Allen said it wasn't storming and was just cloudy out.  He told us we didn't have to come to church that night because we were expecting bad storms to roll through, and we drive farther than anyone in the church, so he would understand if we didn't want to get out.  Brian told him we would be headed that way to be ahead of the storm, besides we needed to practice a song for that night any way.  So, they hung up the phone, we finished getting around and headed that way.

By the time we left it had started raining, and it was not looking to friendly out.  Once we got on the interstate we turned on the radio and they were saying we were under tornado warnings.  The tornado had been spotted between mile marker 17 and something.  We were AT mile marker 17.  I started to panic.  The rain was hard and the wind was harder.  They said Green County (Springfield) was under tornado warnings.  So, I called to check on my mom, no answer.  I called my sister, no answer.  I got worried.  So, I finally called my dad and he answered and I asked how the weather was and he said they were calling for storms but it wasn't anything bad.  I told him we were under tornado warnings, and so were they.  He said ok.  I told them to be careful and I would talk to him later.  We hung up.

The further we went the more and more nervous I became.  When we got in to Joplin it was getting dark and it was still raining.  By the time we came to the stop light the sky was as black as night.  The drops of rain were huge, and the lightning was close.  I began to cry, because I didn't think we were going to make it to the church.  I told Brian just to run the light, but he wouldn't, but I think he knew I was getting scared.  We pulled up to the church, the Pastor was standing at the door when Brian dropped us off under the awning.  He said, "We have no power."  The kids and I walked in the church, and I sat my purse on the floor and then I heard the loudest pop of thunder I have ever heard.  The kids all screamed, I think I did too.  I grabbed my purse back up and the kids and I headed to the basement.  We weathered many storms down there in the basement while the men stood upstairs watching the storm.  The kids and I went and sat up some chairs in the corner and were just sitting there.  You could kinda see out the kitchen window and it just looked like it kept getting more yellow.  Well, I got more scared, so I got up to go see where Brian was, and about that time my ears started popping.  Before I got to the bottom of the stairs Brian and Bro. Allen were barreling down those stairs.  Brian told me to go sit back down, it was looking bad.  Before I got sat down in the chair we started hearing glass breaking.  Brian and I immediately ducked over the kids to protect them.  The wind started whipping around our heads.  You couldn't even tell where it was coming from because it was blowing in every direction and all the way around your head.  I looked up at one point, but had to immediately look back down because the debris was flying around so badly.  You could feel dirt, water and debris hitting you from every direction as well.  I couldn't even form a prayer all I could muster up to say was, "God protect us."  over and over and over again.  The kids were all screaming and crying all at the same time, it was the most horrifying feeling I have ever had.  I didn't know if any of us were going to walk away from this storm alive.  At one point I thought, "this might be the last time I get to hold my kids in my arms, or ever see them" 

The storm lasted for what seemed like hours, but once it was all over we were told it was like 45 seconds.  LONGEST 45 seconds OF MY LIFE!!!  It was gone as quickly as it came, and we were left standing in ankle deep water, mud, and debris.  The kids were shaking, as was I.  Brian told me to stay while Bro. Allen and he went to check it out.  They walked to the foot of the steps and could see nothing but sky where our building use to stand.  They went upstairs to see what had happened and it looked like a war zone.  Brian came back down and said everything was gone.  We were all in shock.  We went upstairs to look out and see, but it was still raining and I didn't want the kids getting wet and cold.  Eventually the basement filled with natural gas, so Brian made us leave.  In a situation like this we weren't sure if it might just ignite.  So, we went out between where the church stood and where Bro. Allen's house once stood.  We found a beam from the church auditorium and stood on it, up out of the mud.
  

I have never felt such a sense of helplessness and hopelessness.  The town, from where I stood, was gone.  There were no houses.  You could see the Wal-Mart was destroyed.  There were people roaming to and fro hollering for their loved ones they couldn't find.  I stood there with no where to go, no way to go, no phone service.  Nothing!  It was starting to get dark and I wasn't sure what or how we were even going to get home.  IF I even had a home.  Everyone around me had lost theirs.  

As we stood there in the rain a total stranger came through and asked if we needed help.  Brian told him we had lost our van, Bro. Allen had lost both his cars and we had no phone to contact any one.  He told us he had his whole family with him and he was in a pick up, but if we needed a ride somewhere he would be happy to take us wherever we needed to go, but we would have to ride in the back of the truck.  We had no idea where to go.  Brian hated to ask the guy to drive us plum to Sarcoxie.  So, we asked him to take us out to another church members house.  They lived far enough out of town that we thought they might still be ok.

The gentleman drove us through the war zone.  I looked around in shock and awe.  People were every where.  Out on the streets, with no homes left.  I have an image indelibly placed in my head of a woman sitting on a curb, clothes tattered and torn, blood on her shirt and she was crying.  My heart broke for her.  I'm sure she had lost her home, but what else?  A husband?  A child?  Other family or a friend? And there were thousands more in town in her shoes.  I still wasn't even sure if I had a home yet.  We finally made it to the Mooney's house, and when we came around the corner and I saw my friend Sarah I was so happy and relieved.  I didn't know if I would ever see anyone I knew again.  We made arrangements.  The Mooneys volunteered to take us home, and Sarah and Stephen took Bro. Allen to Springfield to his daughters house.  

We went in to the Mooneys for a bit.  To warm up and use the restroom.  By this time it was getting dark out.  The ride back to Sarcoxie was a very long one.  It was pitch black too.  There were no street lights anywhere.  It was very eerie.  You couldn't really see any damage because of the darkness.

We finally made it home.  And our house was still there.  The tornado had only hit Joplin, and had not come out this far.  I was so thankful, but when I went to bed that night I felt guilty.  Even without electricity, and everything we had been through that night, I came home, put my pajamas on, got my kids ready for bed and climbed in to my own warm bed.  Bro. Allen walked away with the clothes he had on his back and that was it.  As well as many other people in town that night that would be sleeping at the local university on cots because they had no where else to go.  We didn't sleep much that night.  The sounds of the storm ran through my head all night.  Early the next morning, Brian's parents showed up.  While Brian went to the church to sift through the rubble his parents sat with me and the kids in the dark.  All I remember is staring out the window for most of the day.  It was still raining.

I didn't go back in to town until Wed. Even then we didn't take the two little ones.  The oldest 2 went cause they wanted to, but Brice didn't want to go, and Carrie didn't need to go.  Things were already beginning to take shape.  They had already torn down the Walgreen's store and started rebuilding it, only three days later.  People were already cleaning up their places and getting things done.  No one was sitting around wonder who was going to help them or what the state was going to do for them.  They jumped in and all the towns people helped each other.  

Our first service wasn't till the next Sunday.  We couldn't find a place to meet on Wed night.  Sunday it was like a grand reunion.  Each person that came into the church tears were shed because I was just so happy to see them alive.  We had gotten word from each family in the church, and we knew every one was fine and alive, but we hadn't yet seen any one.  Other than our pastor 2 other families lost homes, but no lives were lost from our congregation and we are so thankful for that.  That service was a great celebration and praise service.  We were all so thankful to be alive and that God spared us all.  

A lot has happened since then.  In August of last year, Brian quit his job to head up the rebuilding of the parsonage.  His employer decided to be a real pain about him quitting and would not give him his unemployment.  Brian appealed the decision with no more luck than the first time.  He never got any unemployment from H.E. Williams after he had worked there for almost 3 years.  But that's ok, it just allowed God to prove himself to us anew each and everyday.  We are thankful to him for his provision.

After the parsonage was built, it took 3 weeks to get an occupancy permit for our pastor to move in.  So, while we had some time to wait, we took the kids to Disney World in FL.  We had the time of our lives, and made memories I don't think the kids will soon forget. (Neither will Brian or I)

Back in April of this year, after a long drawn out process with the city, we finally got our building permit for the church to start rebuilding.  Brian has been overseeing that project as well, and it is coming along nicely.  We're hoping to have our first service the first of 2013 sometime.

That brings you up to date on the surface things.  I hope now that I have caught up with the big things, I can post more of the little things that have gone on over the last year.  

Thanks for reading.  
Dixie

 

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

WHEW!!!

It's been over a month ago, my mom called me one Monday morning wanting the number for her cardiologists office. I asked her why and she said she thought she might have had a slight heart attack over the week end. I asked her all her symptoms and why she thought this, and from everything she told me, I had no reason to think any differently. I looked up the number for her and gave it to her, and she said she was going to call and see if she could get in. She hasn't been to her heart dr in years (she's not one of those good patients who goes every year like she's supposed to) so when she called they couldn't find her records anywhere. They looked for three days, and finally on Thursday they called and told her they could see her on Tuesday. She was relieved, but still not feeling well at all. She was having anxiety attacks, because she didn't want to be left alone, thinking something might happen to her while she was alone. So, on Sunday her and Dad came down to stay with us, so I would be with her. She was having a lot of pain in her arms, and her chest felt funny.

Tuesday I took her to the dr, and he told her she was going to have to have a heart cath on Friday to check and see if she had blockages. We left the office that day with two pages of prescriptions for her to take. So, we went to Wal-Mart to get those filled.

Wed. morning she got up and took her medicine and one of the pills she took made her very sick. She didn't get out of bed all day, and the pains in her arm and chest kept getting worse. I stayed home with her that night because she didn't feel like going to church, and I didn't want to leave her alone. While Brian, Dad, and the kids were gone to church, her pains kept getting more severe. I was kind of at a loss of what to do for her, because she wouldn't just let me take her to the hospital. The pains got so bad she finally took a nitroglycerin tablet. (Which she never takes, because she says she can handle the chest pain, better that the migraine it gives her.) After the nitro, she took an aspirin. Still no relief. FINALLY at about 10:00 I talked her in to going to the hospital.

I called Brian and Dad (they were still in town) and told them we were headed that way, and to meet us at the hospital. We got to the hospital, and since she was having chest pains they took her straight back. They got her hooked up to IV's and started running all kinds of test. They admitted her, and were going to go ahead and do her heart cath. on Thursday instead of Friday. I had called Cassie on the way to the hospital to let her know what was going on, so they headed this way. They got there before she was admitted. We stayed around until they admitted her, and got her settled in her room, and then we came home. It was about 2:00 or so.

I called a friend of mine on the way home and she told me to bring the kids over and she would watch them until I didn't need her any more. She was such a huge blessing to me during this time.

Brian had to get up and go to work, as usual. So, after I got him off to work, I stayed up and got my shower and got ready to go back to the hospital. Jack and Cassie had were staying the night with us, so we all went to the hospital together.

When we got there that morning, Mom was kinda out of it. She didn't look good at all. Dad said that the pain had gotten so severe in the night that they had to give her morphine. When she woke up she was still in a lot of pain, and they had to give her morphine a couple more times during the day. They set her heart cath. up for 3:00 that afternoon. So, we sat up at the hospital all day, just waiting.

My Aunt Peggy and Uncle Joe had come to be there for my dad. It was really good to get to see them and visit with them while we were waiting. We also got to go down to the cafeteria and have lunch with them.

About 2:00 that day, they came in and took her to surgery. We waited for what seemed like hours, but it was only about 20-30 min, and the nurse came out and told us that her stint had collapsed and he was putting in a new one, and she had another 80% blockage that they were going to dilate, and she should be out in just a bit. She wasn't back there for a full hour before he was done with the procedure. They called us back to the "consultation" room to tell us what all he had done. He showed us before and after pictures of her arteries. It was pretty cool! We got to walk back to her room with her, and they got her all settled back in. She had to lie flat on her back for hours before she could move her right leg where they had ran those wires up through her.

The men all went to eat, and Cassie and I stayed with mom. She slept most of the rest of the afternoon, and evening.

Brian got off work at 4:30, and ran to get the kids. He came home, showered, and then headed back up to the hospital. The kids got to see Nana and know that she was all bettered, and would be home the next day.

Mom got out of the hospital about 11:30 the next day, and they finally made it home about 4:00. She was exhausted. She was feeling great, with no pains, but just extremely tired. They stayed with us a little while after her surgery, because Dad didn't want to take her home and have to leave her by herself. In the next several days to follow they have been in and out of residence here, with post-op blood work, paper work, and finally yesterday a post-op visit. But with her post-op dr visit, I feel like we have finally come to the end of the journey. She is healthy again. If she continues to eat right she should stay that way for quite some time. All her paper work is done. (that I know of) And she's not worried to stay by herself, because she knows she's ok.

After the last several weeks, I think today was the first time I have sat down and took a sigh of relief, but when I looked around it looked like my house had imploded. We have been going, and going so much lately, I hadn't even stopped to realize what a disaster things had become. OH MY, and what a disaster it was. So today I spend the day trying to find my kitchen table and counter tops. I FOUND THEM. I was so happy to see them again. I cooked supper for the first time, in what seemed like months. So, I will go to bed tonight with a great sense of accomplishment. Not only for the house work I got done, but Courtney is done with her school work now, and I've got Bret on target to be done by next Wed. Brice and Carrie will both be done this week. WOO HOO!!!! Can't wait for summer break.

WHEW!!!

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Catch up from the Thanksgiving Holiday

A lot has happened since I last posted. I have been on here several times and started writing, but never got to finish.

Thanksgiving came and went. We had Thanksgiving here at my house this year. Every one was in attendance, but my oldest sister, Bridget. We had a good time. The guys didn't want to do anything, but play on the lap tops, which was kind of annoying, but they finally put those away later in the evening, long enough for us to play a game and watch a couple home videos, and of course, what would Thanksgiving be without a football game or two. While they were watching football I was putting my black Friday shopping list together. Brian and I left about 10:30 p.m. to head to Joplin. Wal-Mart's sale started at midnight. I had a few things in particular I wanted to get at Wal-Mart so I wanted to be there early to make sure I got what I wanted. All Brice has asked for for Christmas is Buzz and Woody from Toy Story. Well, they had them at WM on the BF sale for less than half price. So, that is what I went for, mainly. When we got to the store, there was already people lined up everywhere. All the "door buster" items were on pallets covered in black plastic. The black plastic had been ripped so people could peak in and see what was in them. Brian and I walked around the store for a while to see where everything was at and see where we needed to be come midnight to find Woody and Buzz. We finally ended up back in the dog food dept, waiting beside a pallet, of what one girl told us was what we were looking for. A few minutes before midnight, around the corner down through the house wears dept, you could hear people getting riled up and plastic being ripped to shreds. It didn't take but a second for the people in front of us to be ripping plastic in shreds too. I stepped back, because my idea of a fun black Friday shopping trip would not include getting trampled. After the women had their frenzy at the Buzz rack, I went to grab a Buzz and Woody as well. It was only Buzz and Jessie. No Woody's ANY WHERE. I was very disappointed. :o( I told Brian to stay there and I would go look back in another area where they had more toys and I would see if "he" was back there. I walked into the garden dept and sitting in the middle of the aisle, facing me with his arm up like he was waving at me sat 1 lone Woody doll. I just about cried. There was NO ONE around, so I grabbed him immediately. We were in WM for a couple more hrs, and in the whole store I only saw 1 other woman with a Woody doll. I don't know where they all went, but I know that God had that 1 Woody doll sitting in that aisle just for my Brice, and I know come Christmas morning he is going to be SOOOO excited!!! I can't wait.

Also while we were at WM we picked up a new bike for Carrie, hers was getting very small, a coffee maker for our church, some hoodys for the kids, and a few movies. We left WM about 2:00 and was going to head over to Toys R Us. We went by there, but it was very busy, so we decided to go to the mall. The only 2 stores in the mall opened at this hr was Old Navy (which was so full you couldn't stir them with a stick) and Bath and Body Works. There was a couple food places open in the food court. Sbarro's Pizza, the great cookie company and a Mexican place. Believe it or not, there was people at the mall eating pizza and Mexican food at 2:30 in the morning. We walked around the mall for a little bit, used the restrooms, and then went back to Toys R US. We got ONE of Bret's nerf guns he wanted. I like places that have their lines down to a science. We weren't in line very long at all, even with 100's of people in line. After our Toys R Us stop, we ventured to Sears for a pair of boots for Courtney, and some house shoes. We didn't find the house shoes, but I got her the boots and I think she will LOVE them. After Sears we went to Kohls. It is a little after 3:00 a.m. now. I only had 1 thing I was going in there to look for, but they didn't have it, so we exited as quick as we entered. We walked up to Target (they are in the same shopping center) but the line was so long waiting for the doors to open I wasn't willing to wait. We came back after it opened and every body got in. I had quite a bit of stuff I wanted at Target, and God blessed me once again, with everything on my kids' list. I got Carrie a doll, Courtney the new Tinker Bell movie and some house shoes, and Bret another Nerf gun.

It was about 7:30 a.m. and we ended up at Academy Sports. UGH!!! Brian went in to buy a gun that they had on sale. I was very excited for him, but my excitement dwindled quickly. We waited in line for an hour, but after that my back was hurting so bad, I couldn't stand any longer, I told him I was going to go wait in the van. I waited in the van for another 2 hours, before he ever came out. Needless to say I had cat napped a bit on and off waiting for him, and when he finally came back to the van I was zonked. I didn't want to do any more shopping. I was starving, cold, and extremely tired. We went to Chick-Fil-A for a chicken biscuit (my fave for breakfast) and then headed home. My parents were home with the kids, they were eating lunch when we got home. (it was a little after 11:00) When we got home, Brian had to get his gun out and play with it a while, I laid down about noon to take a nap. I slept about 2 hours. After I got up, I took a shower, and gave my mom a facial before we drove them back over to Springfield. It was so nice, because we were very tired, but we still had a whole other day to recoup from our Thursday night wondering around. LOL!!! We stayed in Saturday and just had a peaceful day at home. It was really nice.

Since Thanksgiving, it has been business as usual. School, church, work for Brian. We had our church holiday party (Thanksgiving and Christmas party together) the Saturday after Thanksgiving. We took my parents to Silver Dollar City for the Christmas festival of lights. They loved it.

Last Tuesday Bret went to feed our dog, Roxie. He called me on his walkie talkie and said there was something wrong with her, so I put some shoes and a coat on and went out to check on her. She was very sick. While I was outside with the sick dog, Brian was inside sick on the couch. So, he couldn't help me with her at all. So, Bret and I carried her up to the garage, and tried to make her comfortable, something inside me said she wasn't going to make it. Bret and I took turns going out and checking on her every little bit. When Brian left for work the next morning, I went out to check on her and her breathing was very labored and heavy. I didn't know how much longer she would make it. I felt horrible for her, but I didn't know what to do. I went back to bed, as I usually do after Brian leaves, and when I got up later that morning, and went out to check on her she had crawled out to our back porch and died. It was awful. I had to come in and tell all the kids. Brian text me on his break and asked how she was, I had to tell him via text she was dead. Then with it being Wed, he had to devise a plan to get her buried. He usually has very little time to get home, get showered and leave for church to be there on time as it is, so I figured he would have to do it after church that night. But he called me on his way home and said he was going to do it as soon as he got home so he could do it in what little day light was left. I was out there to help him with what I could. Let me tell you, the burial was harder than finding her on the back porch. It was awful! I just bawled. But here we are a week later, and we have all mended. I think it will be harder for the kids come this summer, when she is not out there for them to play with.

Now, here we are with a little over a week left till Christmas. I have actually gotten all my wrapping done already, which I can not believe. I usually stay up till 2 or 3 on Christmas Eve wrapping everything. Brian and I went Tuesday night and got all the stocking stuffers. So, I think we are pretty much set. I'm looking very forward to having Christmas here at home with my family. My parents, and oldest sister will be here to spend Christmas with us, so that will be nice. We will be heading to IL the Thursday after Christmas to Brian's parents for Christmas up there. I am so excited and blessed this holiday season. And since I have told you pretty much everything we're getting our kids you have to keep it a secret. ;o)

I'm going to get off here now. I'm not sure with the busy week ahead and the holidays coming up, when I will be on here again. So...

From Our House to Your's
Here's wishing you and yours a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!!!