Friday, December 19, 2008

Highlights of the Holiday

We have been quite busy this month and I wanted to take some time to write about my favorite moments of the season so far.  December is always busy, but also so FULL of wonderful times with family and friends.  This year, my fatigue and not so pleasant pregnancy symptoms have prevented the home-decorating explosion that is usually such a fun part of Christmas in Montgomery.  We are gone so much in December that we wouldn't get to enjoy a decorated home very much anyway. Therefore, I have LOVED getting my Christmas fix at the following oh-so-fun festivities.
The Christmas Carol - Jeremy's parents came down for a visit and we took them to see The Christmas Carol at the Alabama Shakespeare Festival.  It wasn't the best performance that I've ever seen there, but it was a great start for getting into the Christmas spirit.
Revolve Tour in Atlanta - I spent the first weekend in December with our teen girls at this conference.  The event is a fun, fast-paced, action-packed event where thousands of teen girls gather at the Gwinett Center for a time of worship, drama, and personal testimony!
Junior High Christmas Party - There's nothing like 30 junior high teens packed into one room of a house.  It took us over an hour to play dirty Santa, but I have never laughed so hard!  I adore our junior high teens and have so much fun with them.
Doctor's Appointment on Dec 11 - We heard the heartbeat again and will find out the gender in about six more weeks.  On this same day, our dear friends Kevin & Britani had their baby. What a joy to see them and hold their new little miracle - Oliver is a beautiful baby!
Staff Christmas Party - Gail Durden, Landmark's new ministers' coordinator is definitely the hostess with the most-est!  We had so much fun playing the coolest take on Dirty Santa I've ever seen.  It was a special time to spend with our church staff and I am very thankful to have them as my Montgomery family.
Johnathan's Graduation - Jeremy's brother finished his doctorate in education at the University of AL.  We joined the family in Tuscaloosa (my first visit there) to attend his graduation and to celebrate this amazing achievement.  We are so proud of him!
Andrew Peterson Concert - When we first began dating, Jeremy introduced me to the music of Andrew Peterson.  Jeremy is one of his biggest fans.  We travelled to Birmingham with some friends and left the concert truly inspired!  Jeremy even spotted Chris Tomlin there!
Christmas Concert at Landmark - Our church went out on a limb and hosted a fabulous concert this past Wednesday night.  Rush of Fools, New Song, Ayiesha Woods, and American Idol's Chris Sligh all performed throughout the evening.  God undoubtedly worked through this event to touch many lives in our church and community.
Dinner with Friends - Before leaving for our eight day road trip, we spent an evening with some good friends in Montgomery.  The Summers hosted us and a few other couples for dinner and a game night in their home.  Valerie and I are only two days apart with our pregnancies - so fun!
Exchanging Gifts with Jeremy - Jeremy and I always take time before the long road trip to do a special gift exchange with just us.  This year, Jeremy surprised me with a weekend trip to Savannah, GA at a bed & breakfast (complete with a spa treatment and horse drawn carriage ride).  We will take this trip in April before our journey through parenthood begins.  I can hardly wait!

Sunday, December 14, 2008

13 Weeks Today - What a Gift!

It was so exciting for us to reach the 13 week milestone this weekend. We had another doctor's appointment last Thursday and once again heard the beautiful sound of Baby Vest's heartbeat. I will never take that sound for granted for as long as I live. What a gift! At 13 weeks, the baby is now 3 inches long and is about the size of a peach. He/she (I'm thinking he, as of now) has already developed fingernails and hair. It can squint, open its mouth, and wiggle its fingers and toes. We have an amazing creator. A verse from Psalm 139 continues to echo across my heart this week: "You made all the delicate, inner parts of my body and knit me together in my mother's womb." What an overwhelming thought to know that He is currently knitting together a beautiful work of art inside of me even now!

I will start my second trimester tomorrow. Now I have heard rumors that the next three months will bring more energy, less nausea, and better sleep. I can't wait! Though I have only gotten "sick sick" once, I am eager for the persistent feeling of nausea to leave. I would like to give a special shout out to Quaker Honey Graham Oh's. I am currently on my 5th box of these bad boys, as they've become my favorite bedtime snack. Other favorite foods include deviled eggs, ramen noodles, spaghetti o's, string cheese, chocolate milk (thanks Keely), yogurt, and the Mediterranean Tuna pita from Zoe's Kitchen. Jeremy has been a trooper through the first trimester (only 189 days to go). He single-handedly cleaned the whole house and did much of the laundry last Friday night. I am thankful for many things right now, but Jeremy is most certainly at the top of my long list!

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Why We Love Our Whitey Titey

We've had our dog Titan now for 3 years. Those first few months were pretty rough, but he has turned out to be a pretty great dog. Here are 15 reasons why we love Titan so much:

1. Intelligent expression - we can tell what he's thinking
2. His big brown eyes will melt your heart
3. He knows the names of all of his toys and can bring them to you on command
4. He's a great cuddler and he sleeps right in the middle
5. Titan never gives up with bringing you his toys - even when told "no play" over and over again
6. He's a great walking partner and can even make it 3 miles on a cool day
7. He does a great impression of Billy Idol
8. He always wants to be with people and he loves to give kisses
9. Titan can chase ducks like a pro, right up until they hit the water - then he runs away
10. He cleans the kitchen floor better than a mop
11. He can balance a treat on his nose until given permission to eat it
12. Titan loves to "go on a trip" and is a great traveler
13. He's had as many surgeries as Jeremy and Hannah put together
14. His black and white coat makes him the perfect gentlemen
15. Titan's gas can clear a room quicker than a fire drill

Last but not least, he's going to be a great big brother to our new baby - due June 21st!

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

A Tribute to the Swellest of Sweaters

Today I pulled a long-lost friend out of my closet - a sweater that I bought when I was a junior in high school. This year, my sweater is celebrating its tenth birthday. I've gone through a lot of sweaters over the years, but this is one that I just haven't been able to part with.  (I'm wearing it today so that I can rationalize keeping it yet another year).  Call it nostalgia, call it pride, but I hope to hold on to this sweater for many more years to come.  I remember buying it with my own money at the West Town Mall Abercrombie (before Abercrombie was associated with nude models).  I remember loaning it to friends because they too thought it was a cool sweater.  I remember wearing it to class at Lipscomb.  I have a distinct memory of my friend Laura wearing it at Winterfest.  It still carries the faint scent of Country Apple body splash from Bath & Body Works.  Sadly, I don't get to wear many sweaters in Montgomery, AL.  Our winters are very short here.  But on this day, I will wear my sweater and smile at the memories.  

Friday, November 7, 2008

Bitter into Sweet

I'm in a Bible study that meets on Wednesday mornings.  This year, we are studying the Life of Moses.  At first I wasn't too thrilled with this topic, seeing that the study lasts 32 weeks.  But I have been amazed at how much God is teaching me through a man that was born almost 3500 years ago.  This week, our study had the neatest application.  

After 430 years of slavery in Egypt, the Israelites have just escaped and crossed through the Red Sea.  They celebrate God's miracles and praise Him with song and dance.  But just three days after these events, they have already forgotten God's amazing provision and deliverance!  As they begin their journey through the desert, the drinking water they find is bitter and the grumbling and complaining begins (only forty years to go!)  And then . . . God works the most perfect miracle.  He took the bitter water and turned it in to something sweet - a water so sweet that two million people and their animals could have their fill!

Isn't that just like God?  He can take the most bitter of circumstances and transform them to something beautiful and sweet.  Of course this story reminded me our our miscarriage last March.  We had every reason to feel bitter and angry.  But instead, He worked a miracle in our hearts and lives.  He turned the bitter into sweet!

Right after working this miracle, God tells the Israelites that He is Jehovah-Ropheka, "I am the LORD who heals you."  What a gift of grace that we have a God who heals us!  He restores beauty for ashes, gladness for mourning, and praise for despair.  Jeremy and I have experienced this healing in our hearts, and we are so thankful for His gracious care of us.  He has led us through green pastures and beside quiet waters.  Not because we deserve it, but because that's who He is - Jehovah-Ropheka! It's not always easy to be joyful in difficult circumstances, but His track record of faithfulness is 100%.  It's pretty hard for me to doubt when I remember that!

Monday, November 3, 2008

Nashville and a New Hair Cut

Jeremy and I had a great time in Nashville this past weekend with his family. We arrived just in time to see our 9-month-old nephew, Jon Harper, in the neighborhood Halloween parade. On Saturday, we had a family breakfast and I later helped Nola make pumpkin pies. Nola also took me to see Becca Bean. Becca is a friend of the Vest family who cuts hair on the side. She's given me my last two hair cuts. I was grateful to get some thinning action going on - Thanks Becca Bean :) On Saturday evening, we ate at the Germantown Cafe in downtown Nashville to celebrate Johnathan finishing his doctorate. While leaving the restaurant, both Jeremy and his brother made eye contact with Sheryl Crow! We enjoyed the worship service at Harpeth Hills and then posed in front of the Vest house for a family picture. I am very thankful to be apart of the Vest Family!