Monday, December 31, 2012


I hope your NYE and 2013 is filled with.......









The other day, I shared with y'all that my friend Chris passed away on Christmas day.  It's a very sad day for all of us as he is buried in Alabama, BUT I have no doubt that Chris is happy and healthy and celebrating with his Savior.  That makes me smile, but makes me sad for those he left behind.  I went to the visitation but had to come home and miss the funeral.  I will be attending his MS memorial service in January. I wanted to take a day and dedicate a blog post to telling you about Chris!

last picture we ever took together at OM v. AU 2012

I knew Chris at Auburn through a mutual friend, but we weren't close.  Friends, but not hang out one on one buddies, partly because we were only at Auburn for one year together, partly because I was in a relationship and engaged.  But Chris moved to Tupelo while I lived in Oxford (45 minutes a part) and we became friends again, partly out of conveniance (as many friendships start).  We both wanted a college friend to hang out with for ballgames and movie nights - and you know what? we quickly hit it off and became great friends.
We had both recently gone through breakups and I think we needed an opposite sex friend for encouragement, support, advice and to stand in as a "date" at certain events like law school prom, ballgames, banquets.  We remained close when I moved to Jackson for work.

Chris was a joker, loved to laugh, and always made me laugh.  He was the type of person who kept a joke going (but not in a bad "won't let it die" type of way!)  We both shared a love for the show "How I met Your mother" (in fact, he named Dave "Ted" since he was an architect) so many of our jokes revolved around that.  I love that he enjoyed life so much because it made me enjoy it more too!

Chris was a wealth of sports trivia and a walking SEC encyclopedia.  I've spent many days calling and texting him with sports questions.  In fact, I think his death will really hit me on days like signing day when I am used to talking with him all day.  For a girl, I really like football, but not like Chris did.  I also loved Auburn, but not like he did either.  Chris loved Auburn.  He loved Auburn football, but mainly, he loved Auburn - the school, the traditions, the friendliness, the people.  I always thought he would end up there.  Chris also was a part time sports writer and hoped to do that full time one day.  I loved reading his work.  He had a gift.  Also, he did such a good job at being unbiased in predictions (he didn't always predict Auburn).

Chris was so giving.  He would do anything for you.  His parents would do anything for you too.  They host huge tailgates....and they don't serve finger foods.  You eat steak at their tailgates....or tacos or other good meals!  That was their way of hospitality and for someone whose family doesn't go to Auburn games, I always enjoyed being a Rushing on the weekends.

Chris loved children.  He adored his friend Robert's little girls, talked about them all the time.  He coached little league.  In fact I was his date to the banquet where he was honored for his coaching.  He was so proud. To him, it was such an accomplishment (and it was!) to know he was making a difference in middle school boys' lives.  Coaching was perfect for him - he loved kids, he loved helping, he loved sports!  It breaks my heart that Chris will never be a dad because he would have been a good one!!

Chris was the type of friend that wanted the best for you.  He was one of the first people I let know I was engaged because he was truly happy that I was happy!  In fact, every member of his family plus some of his friends have taken time during their grieving to tell me how happy Chris was for me.  Of course, he would be talking about his happiness for me, because he tended to be happy and want the best for all of his friends!

On top of wanting what was best for you, Chris was a good friend.  He would be there if you needed. He was loyal.  He saw good in people that others didn't see good in.  He and my dad became buddies.  They liked to call or text and chat about sports.   Also, right before Chris died, he had texted many of us personalized Christmas greetings and telling us he hoped to see us soon.  I was used to Chris just checking in on me.

Chris loved Jesus.  If you read nothing else I wrote about him, please read this.  Chris is not in the casket. His body is, but Chris is with his Savior in heaven.  Chris always loved the Lord, but his faith had recently grown leaps and bounds.  He always wanted to talk about it and he wanted to share it with those who don't know.  This provides his friends and family with some comfort - knowing where he is.

Finally, Chris lived his last couple years as if he was ready to go.  We should all live this way -- without regrets, sold out for the Lord, loving others well. Chris made peace with people he had conflict with.  He had goals he was striving to accomplish, a to do list of things he wanted to do.  He grew in his faith.  Chris went to Jesus without very much to regret.  I am challenged to live my life that way  - to make peace where I need to, to love others well, to grow in my faith and to have no regrets.

Two last things.  First, it must be said....I am so happy that Chris saw a National Championship before he died.  One of the biggest bucket list goals was met! :)  Also, one of the happiest things for me is that he met Dave and he told Dave that he had never seen me happier.  Chris knew me at my worst, post-engagement.  He had seen me heartbroken and he actually had met my ex, so Chris's approval of Dave meant a lot to me.

I will miss Chris, but as wonderful as our friendship was, he has a family that misses him and several guy friends he was friends with since college.  Keep them in your prayers.  I know as things slow down after the service today, the emptiness of a lost friend, son, brother will hit.  He is with Jesus, but sadly many people here have to mourn him.  And please, try to live your life the way he has the past few years: FULLY.

Thursday, December 27, 2012

A New and Glorious Morn

I know I promised more details on my engagement/wedding plans and I promise, I will share....

BUT, first I want to spend the next few days telling you about a really great guy who we lost on Christmas day.  So the next few days are dedicated to that.  This is Chris, a really great guy and a loyal friend and probably the best auburn fan I knew.  We took this picture the night before the National Championship game at a basketball game in Arizona.

I have a lot more to tell you about Chris, but the first thing I want to say is "Chris is not in the box" (a phrase stolen from my father)  Chris's earthly body may be buried soon, but he is in heaven with our Lord today.  His last words on facebook were:

"Till He appeared and the soul felt its worth.
A thrill of hope, the weary soul rejoices;
For yonder breaks a new and glorious morn."

Chris spent Christmas with Jesus, so as sad as I am for his family and friends, I am happy for him.  My friend Paige pointed out the difference between mourning among Christians and those that are not.  I know I will see Chris again and I find comfort in the fact that I have no doubt that He loved and served our Lord.
Tomorrow I will tell you all about Chris, but today I just wanted to tell you, don't be too sad for him, he had a wonderful Christmas day!

For all the saints, who from their labors rest,
who thee by faith before the world confessed,
thy name, O Jesus, be forever blest.
Alleluia, Alleluia!
Thou wast their rock, their fortress, and their might;
thou Lord, their captain in the well-fought fight;
thou in the darkness drear, their one true light.
Alleluia, Alleluia!

O may thy soldiers, faithful, true, and bold,
fight as the saints who nobly fought of old,
and win with them the victor's crown of gold.
Alleluia, Alleluia!

O blest communion, fellowship divine!
We feebly struggle, they in glory shine;
yet all are one in thee, for all are thine.
Alleluia, Alleluia!

And when the strife is fierce, the warfare long,
steals on the ear the distant triumph song,
and hearts are brave again, and arms are strong.
Alleluia, Alleluia!

From earth's wide bounds, from ocean's farthest coast,
through gates of pearl streams in the countless host,
singing to Father, Son, and Holy Ghost:
Alleluia, Alleluia!

Friday, December 21, 2012

Going to the Chapel.....

.......and I'm gonna get married!!!

Last Night Dave proposed! We had a wonderful evening celebrating with family and friends and a few moments to celebrate alone too :) I will share all the details later, but wanted to do a small update sharing the news.  I am so so blessed and I can't wait to spend my life with this man!





(who by the way, helped pick out the ring!)

Thursday, December 20, 2012

If I just knew

Wow, this article hits the nail on the head for everyone-- What is your second part to this sentence, "If I just knew..."

ALSO, I saw this quote about Christmas and wanted to share....

"Personal suffering brings deeper meaning to Christmas. And in a season of suffering, the child of God discovers that he suffers not because God has drawn away, but because God has drawn close to us convicts, drawn close through a manger, drawn closer to us..."

-John Piper

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Ice Skating FUN

Last Night we went to a Hospital party at the Skate Park with my Dad, Ansley and Blaise.  It was a fun time, although 30 min max skating for me-- none of us were very good at it except for Blaise.  We don't ice skate much here in MS as you can imagine!

Here are some pics at the party...

We went down the ice slide......

We attempted to skate....

It was a fun FREE family outing!

12 cheap Christmas date nights

1. Cocoa and a Christmas movie, snuggling on the couch

2. Ice skating!

3. Decorating a Gingerbread house (10 dollars for a premade house at walmart, plus a few extra packs of candy!)

4. baking holiday cookies!

5. Local Christmas play (this one is a little more expensive!)

6. Make some cocoa, hop in your car and tour the Christmas lights.

7. Take advantage of the Free Christmas Cantatas at local churches

8. Go to the Bass Pro Shop (or anywhere else with a free santa) and take a picture with santa!)

9. Deliver gifts or go shopping while listening to Christmas music and enjoying a holiday milkshake or holiday coffee!

10. Take advantage of the fun holiday events your town offers - a singing christmas tree, an outdoor movie night, etc.

11. Pick out a tree and decorate it!

12. Take a day or night where each of you introduces the other to a family tradition -- special holiday breakfast food? Special cookies? a great cider recipe? a certain book you always read?

Monday, December 17, 2012


The third week of Advent focuses on JOY.  It is the only pink candle while the other 3 arepurple (hope, love and peace) This week began with "rejoicing sunday" but as a whole, the nation is finding it hard to rejoice.  And maybe you, due to specific painful circumstances, find it hard to rejoice this advent season.....

However, I did want to post this article on JOY and Avent in the wake of the CT shootings.  Also, read this article about the third candle in the midst of pain as well.

"After this, we are reminded of the reason we can rejoice: the Lord is near. The Psalmist tells us “The Lord is near to the brokenhearted.” (Psalm 34:19) That is a promise to hold onto in the midst of this pain."

Despite whatever pain we see, feel or witness, we have a lot to rejoice in: The Lord is near - near to us in our pain and suffering! That is the only thing that can provide hope, joy and peace for the brokenhearted.  

Bethleham: beginning of our Journey

“For outlandish creatures like us, on our way to a heart, a brain, and courage, Bethlehem is not the end of our journey but only the beginning—not home but the place through which we must pass if ever we are to reach home at last.”

-Frederick Buechner

I know I focus a lot on the hope of Christmas, the hope of a Savior who knows our pain, and that is because I have (like most everyone reading this) had times where the only comfort I felt was the knowldge that my Savior understood my pain.  But the other part of that hope, the more important part, is that we have a Savior who not only came and lived in our broken world and understands us, but He later conquers our broken world through death and ressurection and is returning for His people.  Bethleham is a beautiful introduction/first chapter to an even more beautiful book!

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Advent for the Hurting

HERE is an article about the Connecticut shootings in relation to advent and Christmas.  My heart (as the hearts of most of the nation) break for these poor families and this community.  And although it seems painful, Christmas is meant for these families.  Advent reminds us that Christ came to our broken world, praying that all those that hurt in Connecticut and across the World CLING to the hope of our Savior this holiday season!
“In one sense, of course, Jesus is the reason for the season. But in another fundamental sense, sin is the reason for the season. We have not entered into a season of feel-goodism, where we think about soft snow and candlelight, with silver bells in the distance.
“Remember Ramah weeping for her children, remember our abortion mills, remember how dark this world is without Christ, and then cling in faith to the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ. Mary’s only Savior is our only hope for salvation as well.”
In the days ahead, the streets and churches of Newtown will echo with the lamenting sounds of parents weeping for their children. At least 20 funerals will include 20 tiny caskets too small to comprehend.
But Christmas will still come, and its message will be especially for those who grieve. Indeed, its message will come from a suffering servant, a man of sorrows, and one who is acquainted with grief. It will come from one who invites those sitting in darkness to feel their sorrow, but also to plead: “From depths of hell Thy people save, and give them victory o’er the grave.”
And just like the last Christmas, He will invite the grieving to hope in this promise: “Rejoice, Rejoice, Emmanuel shall come to thee O Israel.”

Friday, December 14, 2012

A Charlie Brown Christmas...

Today I am linking up with Kelly's Korner to show you how young poor 20somethings do Christmas decorations.  I have a few nicer pieces (like some adorable ornaments and a fabulous wreath!) but a lot of hand me downs and cheap dollar tree/walmart/target decorations.  I think I am going to invest in some day after Christmas decorations for next year.... thats often times where I find a few nice pieces!

The thing is, I have already hosted two Christmas get togethers and my roomie is hosting one next week, people always tell us our Christmas decorations are so festive -- which goes to show you that you can make your home feel cheery without having a lot of money.  I can't wait til the day I can afford fancier Christmas decorations -- BUT until then, my tips are: (1) walmart, dollar tree, target are your friends; (2) buy a few cute pieces from nicer stores and mix them in with your cheaper decorations; and (3) accept all handmedowns.

If you can only invest in 3 decorations: decorate a tree, buy a wreath and decorate your mantle.  These are the most bang for your buck!

I do have a fairly big collection of trees, santas, and snowmen...a few are from cute giftshops and a few are cheap ones from walmart etc all mixed in together!

I love this little candle holder... (a half off Christmas Eve purchase from a local gift shop!)

My Auburn tree - I think the crooked star is fitting for this season!

Cheap Tinsel from Dollar Tree mixed with my Christmas Village!

My roomate bought these sparkly bells and we hung them from the (ugly) light fixture!

This is by far, my favorite part of our holiday decorations -- my friend painted me that picture and we combined our Christmas trinkets and some hand me down stockings with lights to make a fairly substantial mantle for our little rental house.  Aren't those tinsel trees adorable? You can buy fancy ones for 10-20 bucks a pieces but mine were $1 each at dollar tree!

Our tree....yes, it is Charlie Brown-ish but it was 15 dollars on sale prelit!  Next year I want to buy a real tree but I knew that having a real one this year was near impossible because I (and my roomies) am gone so much and didn't know if I would water it enough!

An old tree from my mom that she used to put on our porch, I topped it off with a bow and some old school big colored lights for a fun little tree in our living room!

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Scandal, Shame and Shock!

        Read this article on the Scandal, Shame and Shock of Mary "conceiving" Jesus.  It fits right along with what we learned at church this Sunday about how Mary was humble enough that her soul magnified the Lord even when she was in these seemingly horrible circumstances -- her soon to be husband was planning to divorce her and she could be possibly be punished by death.  I'm not a believer in focusing on any "hero" of the Bible that much, other than the main hero...but I must admit that I am impressed that Mary was so humble and trusting in such hard circumstances. (If only I could be more like her!) Also Joseph was trusting to stay with her, knowing that no one would believer her story. God had plans for good wonderful things for her and all mankind and she trusted.  But, mainly I am impressed with God, that his storyline doesn't come in neat little packages.  Isn't that wonderful news for us? God's will can be accomplished and will be accomplished - even in a manger to a teenage mother!  As the article says: our God is a God that gets involved and turns lives upside down!

(By the way this article is from a book about Christmas that should be given as a gift to nonbelievers.  I very much want to read it. I liked how this excerpt didn't use over the top "spriritual" words -- it broke it down in laymen's terms for believers and nonbelievers alike!)

    On another note, I am done with my holiday shopping except for one gift I need to pick up from Everyday Gourment this weekend.  Dave and I are delivering my friend gifts tonight (he is easy to bribe with promised of holiday coffee at starbucks!)  All gifts are wrapped except those that are in the mail and arriving soon.  Almost all of my holiday cards are addressed and they should be in the mail this weekend.  AND Dave is done for the after the past few weeks of working late, he is free to play almost every night!  I am so excited to be done with the busywork of Christmas so I can focus my evenings on the fun parts: looking at lights, Christmas movies, iceskating and parties. I feel like I haven't stopped for 3 weeks because I have been trying to get it done, but knowing I now have 10 days plus just to enjoy the season with Dave, family and friends is such a happy feeling!

Wednesday, December 12, 2012


This is the Dec 5 reading from Piper's Advent Devotional.  I loved this line:  "It is not our prosperity but our holiness that he seeks with all his heart. And to that end, he rules the whole world."  Here is his devo from last week, enjoy!

In those days a decree went out from Caesar Augustus
that all the world should be registered. This was the first
registration when Quirinius was governor of Syria. And
all went to be registered, each to his own town. And Joseph
also went up from Galilee, from the town of Nazareth, to
Judea, to the city of David, which is called Bethlehem,
because he was of the house and lineage of David, to be
registered with Mary, his betrothed, who was with child.

—Luke 2:1–5

     Have you ever thought what an amazing thing it is that God ordained beforehand that the Messiah be born in Bethlehem (as the prophecy in Micah 5 shows); and that he so ordained things that when the time came, the Messiah’s mother and legal father were living in Nazareth; and that in order to fulfill his word and bring two little people to Bethlehem that first Christmas, God put it in the heart of Caesar Augustus that all the Roman world should be enrolled each in his own town? Have you ever felt, like me, little and insignificant in a world of seven billion people, where all the news is of big politicaland economic and social movements and of outstanding people with lots of power and prestige? If you have, don’t let that make you disheartened or unhappy. For it is implicit in Scripture that all the mammoth political forces and all the giant industrial complexes, without their even knowing it, are being guided by God, not for their own sake but for the sake of God’s little people—the little Mary and the little Joseph who have to be got from Nazareth to Bethlehem. God wields an empire to bless his children. Do not think, because you experience adversity, that the hand of the Lord is shortened. It is not our prosperity but our holiness that he seeks with all his heart. And to that end, he rules the whole world. As Proverbs 21:1 says, “The king’s heart is a stream of water in the hand of the Lord; he turns it wherever he will.”

   He is a big God for little people, and we have great cause to rejoice that, unbeknownst to them, all the kings and presidents and premiers and chancellors of the world follow the sovereign decrees of our Father in heaven, that we, the children, might be conformed to the image of his Son, Jesus Christ.

12 Favorite Family Holiday Traditions

Continuing with me "12 days of Christmas" series and linking up to Kelly's Korner's Family Traditions today, here are some of my favorite family traditions....some of these traditions aren't as strong anymore since we don't all live at home, but these are the memories I loved growing up and I will likely pass on many of them to my kids...  I seriously wish every single person in the world could experiance Christmas at my house, it truly is the most wonderful time of year.  My mom is like a Christmas guru and had a good balance of fun traditions and a focus on the real reason for Christmas.

(I left out the obvious ones like Christmas Eve Service and Communion, opening gifts, reading the Christmas story, cookies for Santa, etc...because these are traditions almost everyone!)

(1) Decorating the Tree Traditions

Decorating the tree at our house involved Christmas music, cookies and cocoa/cider! It was always an event! Our special "decorating" cookies were really just peanut butter with chocolate kisses, but at that time, I thought they were very unique and special cookies we usually got at Christmas, particularly when decorating the tree!

(2) New ornaments each year.

Everyone gets a new ornament each year and we each get to look back and see our past year's ornaments and hobbies or interests (soccer, ballet, cheerleading, college football). We used to get the dough ornaments but now we go to Calloways a couple days before Christmas when the ornaments are half off.  Last year, my whole fam couldn't go so Marley and I went and bought us all ornaments. We took our job seriouly, no lie -- it took an hour to pick everyone's ornaments out.  Mine was special yet silly, but that will have to be discussed in another post.

(3) Radko Ornaments, Nutcrackers and other holiday collections

About 10 years ago, my mom, Marley and I started collecting Radko glass ornaments - one a year. Now Ansley is joining in!

My dad has collected nutcrackers for years and we have dozens that go up at Christmas!

(4) Special holiday plates-- one set for brunch/christmas eve  and one for dinner!

(5) gingerbread house decorating

We loved decorating gingerbread houses and did it every year!

When I was little, mom would often make the graham cracker houses and have our friends over for a decorating party....and by little, I mean as recently as my senior year of high school :)

(6) A week of movies after Christmas.

So many movies come out the week of Christmas.  Since we were out of school or home for college during those couple weeks before/after Christmas, our family went to see a lot of movies together, always a treat.  Sometimes we saw a matinee and an evening movie!

(7) One gift at a time and the gift "god"/dictator

Some families dive into their gifts, and although there is nothing wrong with it, I love how we go youngest to oldest, each opening one gift at a time. We all grab coffee and cocoa and cinnamon rolls and settle into the den for presents.  This way I get to see my sister open her gift I bought her and she gets to see me open my bracelet I want, etc etc.... Christmas takes awhile as we stop often to get more cofffee, clean up paper and ooh and ahh over someone else's gifts...but as my mom says, Christmas comes once a year, so why not relish in it?  Also watching eachother open gifts taught us the value of giving, not just getting, gifts.  Even as a kid, I can remember being so excited to get each member of my family a gift!

We used to call marley the present "god", but that could sound well, bad, so we call her the dictator now.  She has usually helped mom wrap a lot of gifts-- and the gifts are in the living room under the other tree (we have two trees) so she will pick out everyone's gift each round...and she usually has an idea about which gift we should open next.  My brother in law jokingly pointed out she was like a gift god/dictator on his first Christmas with us.  :) We may tease her about being the one in control of gift distribution, but she does a good job and no one else wants to volunteer for the job!

(8)  Christmas eve PJ's

Every Christmas eve, we open our pajamas to wear for Christmas morning. When I was little, they were holiday themed and matched the other kids.  Now, they are just warm pajamas for winter.  I think this is one holiday tradition I will change a bit for my kids -- I will give them pjs at the beginning of Christmas season or advent so that they can wear their pj's all december!

Christmas Eve, late 80s??

P.S. You know you are southern when you are not allowed downstairs to open gifts Christmas morning until your teeth are brushed, face washed and a hairbow is in your hair!

(9) Christmas light tour.

We always go look at Christmas lights...when I was little, we would bundle up in our pj's one night in december and take cocoa with us.

(10) Baby Jesus

Baby Jesus did not go into the manger until Christmas Eve....I think this was probably my earliest picture of Advent: the whole creche set up without the baby, waiting on Jesus' arrival!

(11)  Game night

Recently we have started an annual game night with two families that we are close to here in my parents hometown.  It is always a blast.

(12) Sleeping in the same room.

Marley and I started this tradition by default: we shared a room.  As we got older, we would sleep in the kids rooms with them, eagerly awaiting Christmas.  All 4 kids in one bedroom!!  I loved this :)


Tuesday, December 11, 2012