Thursday, December 31, 2009


This is the last blog post of 2009. Wow! What a year it's been. During this year our family has been through changes and have learned many things together. One of the most important lessons learned was that we really can trust people in our minister/church role. The hurts of the past are almost completely gone, they are certainly forgiven and mostly forgotten. The love that we feel towards a new congregation is intense and real. It's an amazing feeling.

But, we have learned things about ourselves as well. We can make it through the hard times and be better on the other side. We can do things that we never thought possible. We can be happy with so little even when frustration takes over.

2009 was good. Nope, everything wasn't exactly as we had planned, but everything is exactly as it should be. I hope you can say the same thing about your life. I'm looking forward to 2010. See you then..................Be Safe, and please if you drink during your celebrating tonight, please, please, please, DON'T DRIVE. Call someone for a ride or designate a driver, but please don't drink and drive because while the life you save may be your own, it may also be someone's daughter, son, husband, wife, mother, father, but most certainly it will be someone that is loved!

Wednesday, December 30, 2009


Just when you least expect it, life happens. That's what I learned this month. Sometimes things that seem so perfect on the surface have a hairline fracture that, left untreated, turn into a huge crevice that's hard to repair.

It was hard to watch, really. I saw my ideal slipping, but there was nothing I could do to stop it. I thought if I turned my back or closed my eyes, that when I looked again the facade would be back in place. It wasn't. In fact, it got worse and continues to do so. It's what I like to call a crisis of faith. A place where God throws people to see how well they are up to the challenge, and honestly, the "ideal" has been found lacking. The faith is just not there. Sure, it's in there somewhere, but I would have thought it would come out by now.

We can't just trust God to do what He says He will do when things are good. Because, let's face it, for some, things are ALWAYS good and others, things seem to ALWAYS be bad. So, we have to trust Him right where we are and pray that we have the fortitude to walk behind Him while He leads us in the direction we must go. Sometimes, that direction takes us through smooth waters; oftentimes, the path is just that....a path without a whole lot of interaction with the really good or really bad; but occasionally, the path takes us through a rocky mountain climb and it is during those times that we must, absolutely must, trust that He has our best interest at heart.

Throughout all of these scenarios, I believe there is something to learn. Perhaps in this particular situation, the "ideal" must learn that not everyone leads a charmed life. Perhaps, the lesson learned will be how to live a "new" normal. I don't know, but what I do know is that throughout this, I have learned how incredibly blessed I am. I may not have the charmed life I so desperately sought in my youth, but I have something far more valuable.

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

christmas 2009

It's really not about the gifts, but here's some pics showing how much fun we had opening them! After this post, I promise not to bore you with any more.......time to get back to the serious stuff. We had a great time visiting with each other, playing cards, watching movies, and eating as well as the other stuff that didn't warrant picture-taking. It really was all about being together this year even though we haven't seen the nephews yet (suppose to see them in Feb. at Disney!).

Sunday, December 27, 2009

lights at the zoo

We have a membership to the zoo, so we have the privilege of getting to go and see the lights there as many times as we can. However, last night was the absolute first time we had. Maybe we can go back one more time before they shut them off for the season! They are really beautiful and even though between three of us we have three nice cameras, do you think we actually made it to the zoo with even ONE of them? oh, no,, because that's how we! Needless to say, Steve came to the rescue with his camera phone as always and we did get a few shots. So, enjoy!! courtesy of Steve

another favorite activity

Even though I have once again forgotten that with blogger you must put the pictures to upload in backwards thus making this first picture the one of us LEAVING, one of my most favorite activities during the holidays (or really, ANYTIME) is visiting with people either in my home or theirs (preferable theirs as mine is generally messy!). After Christmas caroling the other night, we went to a couple's home where they had yummy hot cider and goodies that they shared with us and it was so much fun!! Thanks, Kent and Vivian---let's do it again sometime soon :o)

christmas caroling

One of my favorite things to do during the holidays is to go caroling. So, I was tickled when a small group from our church decided to go out for a little while and spread some cheer to some of our shut-ins. As always, I received the blessing rather than the other way around. Isn't it funny how that works out?? Here's a sampling of us caroling!

Saturday, December 26, 2009

fuzzie wuzzies

Even though it appears that there is horror on their faces, the kids were actually pretty pumped to get the cheesiest gift on the planet, and not even the real thing....but a knock-off! What is it? Well, I will kindly tell you that it is none other than the FUZZIE WUZZIE--the generic of the SNUGGIE! It was priceless seeing their faces when they first opened it, but after the initial astonishment, they seemed to get into it and wore them all weekend!

mugging for the camera

christmas eve service

Our Christmas Eve service was as meaningful this year as last. Here are a few pictures of Steve giving Luke and Stevie communion and praying a blessing over them.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

a christmas letter

For those of you who got our lame-o Christmas card this year and for those of you whose card never got mailed here is the first ever Leigh Christmas letter:

I wanted to write a letter this year, but time got away from me and Christmas arrived before I knew it! So much has happened in 2009, I can hardly believe it is almost over. We, of course, moved from GA to SC one year ago to a little church in a small town where the pace is slow, slow, slow. There's something to be said about slow, though, and that is that sometimes, it's good. We've enjoyed being away from the traffic of Atlanta to, and in a place where the most-happening place is the local IGA!

Steve had a very busy year getting back into the groove after taking a year away from ministry. Unfortunately, he's done 9 funerals this year (a record, for sure); but he also had the privilege of performing a couple of weddings as well. The church is growing and changing, and we have come to appreciate the people here so very much. He has finally decided on a doctorate program, and should a letter come out at the end of 2010, you'll get to hear how that is going. He was diagnosed back in Sept. with diabetes, but that has forced him to lose weight. He's already dropped about 40 pounds, and is back on track after a small (holiday) setback. He's looking good!

Patty is learning to enjoy the role of pastor's wife, and is embracing the journey that God has her on. She began a Master's program at Georgia Southern University in January, and is on track to graduate in May 2010. She is still looking for a job, but has liked being able to help care for and love on the people here. She visited New York City again this year with her friend, Julie, and had a wonderful time seeing plays and all of the sites.

Shea stayed in Atlanta this past year and worked while trying to decide the path that God wanted her on. After much prayer and thought, she is moving next week to Augusta to begin college anew and embark on a new adventure.

Stevie finished up high school and got her GED. She took art classes at the Fine Arts Center in Camden, did a semester at Trident Technical College (in film), and now plans to get a job while she awaits word on whether she will get into Berea College in KY. This is an art school, and all who are accepted get full scholarships. We're praying hard!! She has gained an interest in film as well as the graphic arts.

Luke is in the 8th grade. He is on the wrestling team. He continues to love to read and even had the most AR points in the school until recently when his friend upped him by 2 points! He had 364 points at Christmas break. He continues to enjoy playing the saxophone and received a guitar for his 14th birthday. He plans to begin taking guitar lessons next month.

We all took a couple of great trips this year. All but Shea went to Louisville, KY for the Southern Baptist Convention and vacationed in Myrtle Beach, SC as well. Shea had the opportunity to go to Disney and she jumped at the chance.

Overall, the Lord was really, really good to us this year. We are blessed beyond measure! We wish your family a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year! May the Lord be among you in each activity that you pursue, and may He who holds all of our futures in His hands watch over you in the coming year! Don't forget to keep Him the center of your Christmas!!

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

the sweetest words

As the mom of a teenage boy, I heard words last night that I was sure I wouldn't hear again for a long time, "Mom, I wanted to talk to you." Wow!! Are those the sweetest words ever or what?

The wonderful thing is, we did just that.....we talked about nothing. Thanks, Luke for a wonderful early Christmas present.

Monday, December 21, 2009

this is how we christmas

So, the preacher's wives over at Lisa's site are getting together to tell how we include Jesus in Christmas. With all of the hecticness (is that a word? well, it IS today!) of this year's season, I feel like I've somehow gotten lost in what it's all about. I'll post about all of that tomorrow, but for today:

This is how we Christmas: Christ edition:

Christmas programs: Our church this year put on three different programs. You can see the pictures of the one I was in charge of here. I'll be posting pics of the one that my kids were a part of later (when someone posts them to FB--get on that, Tammy). The choir also did a cantata which sounded great! We have a small choir, but a BIG sound came out proclaiming the story of the birth.

Christmas Eve: Now, this might sound strange, at least I thought it was a strange last year (our first year here), but it ended up being incredibly meaningful. Our church, in lieu of a traditional candlelight service, has a very private service. Each member comes as they chose between the hour of 7-8 on Christmas Eve and is given communion by Steve (yes, it sounds kind of catholic, but it's not). He then prays with them for any needs they have or just for blessings to be on their family. It's the sweetest thing to witness. Steve has a very personal prayer style that is very touching. I don't think my words have done justice to this, but suffice it to say, it is quickly becoming something that I look forward to.

Christmas Eve at home: We always read the story from Luke 2 with our kids, and then we open one gift each.

Giving: It's simply not Christmas without giving, and we try to take this time to make sure that we give back to Jesus in several ways. While service is a way of life for us, it just seems more special during this time of year. So, we try to find some kind of service project that we can all be involved in (this year, it was making stockings for Sacks of Love which helps to stamp out childhood hunger). We also enjoy finding something special for our deacons and their wives who sacrifice throughout the year to support us.

So, in a nutshell, that's how we try to "keep it real" during the season of madness. What about you?

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Healing Sands by Nancy Rue & Stephen Arterburn

Peeling back the layers to the characters in Healing Sands takes some time to do. In fact, the characters get better and better as the book goes on. This particular installment of the Sullivan Crisp series deals with anger and how we must surrender that emotion to God and allow Him to conquer it for us rather than trying to control it for ourselves. This theme runs through all of the main characters as they deal with their issues in varying ways.

Ryan Coe's son, Jake, is arrested when he it appears that he has committed a hate crime and he won't explain exactly what happened on that fateful day. Sullivan Crisp, a psychologist, helps Ryan deal with her anger while he is, in turn, dealing with anger of his own towards Belinda Cox, the "therapist" who told his wife that in order to deal with her post-partum depression she must kill the demons inside of herself. This sent her over the edge of a bridge with their daughter in tow.

The book kept me guessing what might happen next, and had me growing to love the characters (whom I've only touched on) with each turn of the page. I highly recommend reading this one!

Friday, December 18, 2009

christmas cookies

Every year when the holiday season starts, I fancy myself getting out the baking supplies, baking all different types of wonderfully beautiful cookies, and wrapping them in pretty tins to deliver to all of those unsuspecting folks who need a pick-me-up. Generally, this fantasy lasts about 30 minutes, and then I remember that I don't cook!

I did this year actually make it to the store to purchase the supplies for a few varieties of cookies, and even got some of them mixed up. They weren't necessarily pretty, but they did get made (although I cheated and only did the no-baking type and Steve and Stevie were invaluable in the process), wrapped them up in small boxes, and delivered them to unsuspecting folks (read....people who don't know that I don't cook!). I thought I'd share a recipe for a couple of these things so those of you out there who are like me, can fancy themselves "homey" for a day or two as well.

Oreo balls (or as my brother calls them "crack" balls)

18 Oreos
1 pkg of cream cheese
white chocolate

Crush oreos ( I used my hands b/c I couldn't get the food processor put together)
Mix with cream cheese
Roll into small balls
Put in refrigerator for 2 hours
Dip in chocolate
Let chocolate dry
Eat or give away (I don't like these, so it's easy for me to give them away, but most men LOVE them!)

Ritz Cracker recipes:

Put peanut butter between two crackers
Dip in chocolate
Let sit
These are yummy!

Melt Chocolate and add a tsp. of peppermint flavoring
Dip single cracker
Let sit
These taste like a thin mint Girl Scout cookie

I hope you enjoy these simple attempts at domesticity, and are having a good time throughout this season.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009


Well, I am trying to teach myself to play chess. This is not a game that I have ever understood. They call it the game of life, and I can see why. The only problem is, that I play against the computer and on the computer there is a little button called "undo". This, unfortunately, is NOT an option in life! Sometimes, I wish. Anyway, I do believe that little button is going to cause me some trouble when I start playing live people (like my kids who have been playing chess for years), they aren't going to take too kindly to my "undoing" of the stupid moves I make. Again, much like "real-life". People don't really like it when others make mistakes, do they? We aren't very considerate (or--gasp--christian!) when others tend to mess up. We want to punish them......yes, just like you get punished in chess by having your kids yell "checkmate" at the top of their lungs when they beat you.

I'm also having problems with the names of all of the little pieces. I have no idea what that horse-looking thing is called much less any of the rest of them. Well, of course I know which one is the king and queen, I'm not that inept (or not always). Again, just like in real-life----sometimes, you can't tell your friends from your enemies, they look the same. Don't let that devil fool you, though, that stupid looking horse thingy moves mysteriously (over two, up one OR over one, up two.....something like that) just like people who don't want what is best for you. I, for one, like the little small thingys....they are straight-forward; and that's the way I like my people..straight-forward. Who the heck wants to guess what someone needs or wants.....who has the time for that?????

Well, I know you think this little chess lesson was invaluable, or you're thinking that I really am irritated at someone and I'm just making the chess thing up. BUT, you would be wrong on both counts! Actually, just when I started writing this did I think of the people analogy, I surely could go on and on and on about how some are nice to your face and then stick a knife in so far that it comes out the other side, but I don't want to. I'm perfectly happy, you see. I just wanted to share what a smarty I am getting to be....learning chess and all. I'll keep you posted on the progress of that wretched game that has me hooked as well as any other life lessons I dream of while playing. It should get really interesting after Christmas as I am sure that someone is buying me a real chess set.....I might not like it so much without that "magic" button!

Monday, December 14, 2009

children's christmas program

I had the privilege of working with these little darlings for our Christmas program this year. They did a great job, and I'm looking forward to starting the Easter program!