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HaPpY TuRkEy DaY!!!

Things I am thankful for......

  • Jesus's blood that cleanses me everyday
  • My husband that adores me
  • My fantastic family although we were so far away today
  • The Haughs for being Christ and taking us in today as one of their own
  • The year that Matthew and I have gotten to explore and experience the state of Pennsylvania
  • My ability to work, and work hard
  • The power of prayer
  • ALL of my nieces and nephews
  • The days that we get to see the sun in Beaver County
  • Our church family
  • Sleep
  • I only have twenty nights before I get to sleep on my Tempur-Pedic mattress again
  • milk and cheese (or dairy cows)

We had a fantastic Thanksgiving with the Haugh family in West Virginia. I just want to say that God has truly blessed my little sister with the best in-laws. The family that she has married into couldn't be a better example of Jesus living in us. They were so generous to invite us to be a part of their holiday. I can't thank them enough for making us feel right at home. The bed was awesome, the food was spectacular, the fellowship was phenomenal, and we felt very loved!! Thank you Haugh family. We hope to see you again soon.



Well I feel a little like Kate from LOST! Matthew, Cassandra, Zach, and I decided to go camping Saturday night. There are many stories that could be told from this endeavor but I will only share one. We were all cozy inside our little tents under many many layers of clothing and blankets. There was a very interesting rustling sound followed by a ripping sound. I didn't have
much energy seeing as it was 2:30 in the morning, but we thought we should investigate.
Matthew told me to open the window (just in case.) I shined the light on the picnic table and saw that our bag of trash was now on the ground. A friendly raccoon wanted some of our treats. Zach and Cassandra braved the cold and put all of our goodies back inside the Pathfinder. We were all back inside our tents burrowing in our covers. About two hours later we heard what sounded like a stampede of sorts. This time I was so tired I didn't even care. At 5:30 Matthew decided he had had enough cold and got up to make a fire. Although Cassandra and Zach were still inside their tent we were talking and laughing about all the excitement we had had the night before. Zach said "Hey did you hear those deer that ran through our camp this morning?" Matthew said "I'm not so sure it was deer. Get out here and look at this." We all unzipped and jumped out as fast as we could. There were two random horses standing just outside our camp. It was very eerie to see what you would think were wild horses. Now I know how Kate felt staring at her black horse on the island... Later in the morning Matthew worked his horse whisperer magic and bonded with "Vondergren" the brown horse. That's how I was able to get the picture. More about the trip later....




Abraham and Sarah....
We were talking about Abram and Sarai last night at church and it is really funny to me how much our lives are paralleling the lives of these great characters of faith. I wouldn't even start to compare my faith to that of Sarah, but with God we were able to "leave your home, your relatives, and your father's house, and go to the land that I will show you(Gen. 12:1)." After selling most of our worldly possessions we kissed our family goodbye and God showed us Pittsburgh, PA. Which Matthew would say is like going to another country, because of how far it is from home. We still have faith that God is planning something BIG! Sometimes I wonder were we will end up next. In just 30 days Matthew has to fill out the paperwork listing the five places we would be willing to move to. Please pray for us that we will be listening and looking for God in this decision. For some reason we don't think that ATC really has anything to do with God's plan. Pray that the community we will be moving to will be ready for us and that we will be aware of how God wants us to serve him in that new community. My hope is that part of God's plan is that we will get to start our own family soon. But if we end up anything like Abraham and Sarah we aren't scheduled to have a baby for another 24 years. Abraham left home at seventy-five and had Isaac at ninety-nine. Lets all hope that this isn't God's plan for us, because I think I would just give up. Boy listen to that lack of faith. PRAY FOR ME


2006 Holiday Edition of Getting to Know Your Friends!

This was taken from a friend's blog. I thought it would be fun to share.

1. Egg Nog or Hot Chocolate? Hot Chocolate
2. Does Santa wrap presents or just sit them under the tree? Unwrapped and only one.
3. Colored lights on tree/house or white? White (classy)!!!
4. Do you hang mistletoe? no
5. When do you put your decorations up? Haven't decorated at the house in four years!
6. What is your favorite holiday dish (excluding dessert)? Cranberry sauce (the canned kind)
7. Favorite Holiday memory as a child: The year that Cabbage Patch Kids were flying off the shelves and no one could get their hands on them. Mom and Dad bought Steph a Russian kid. She peeked and knew she was getting it so Mom and Dad taped someearringss to a rock and filled the box with newspaper and rewrapped the huge CPK box. When she opened it she was so upset. Dad brought a brown paper bag in so she could throw her trash away and in the bottom was her Russian Cabbage Patch Kid.
8. When and how did you learn the truth about Santa? I can't remember but I was pretty old, because I can remember still believing when we lived in Virginia third or fourth grade maybe.
9. Do you open a gift on Christmas Eve? As a kid dad gave us a one by one inch square that we could put anywhere in the gift then he would cut that much of the gift wrap. If we could guess what the present was correctly we could open it. If not we had to wait until the next morning.
10. How do you decorate your Christmas Tree? I have only put up one, the first year we were married. It was a "real" tree and it smelled so good. White lights and a few ornaments thatreceivedeved as wedding gifts. We also bought a few on our honeymoon. Each year we buy one ornament for each other. Cool tradition but I never had the energy to put up a tree at home after I had already decorated and taken one down at school and one at church.
11. Snow! Love it or Dread it? Love it- but HATE cleaning the car off in the morning even though Matthew does it for me!
12. Can you ice skate? yes
13. Do you remember your favorite gift? Funny, I can't remember any gifts I received as a child. I can think of a ton of presents each of my sisters and brother received. I do love the earrings Matthew bought for me the first Christmas we were married.
14. What's the most important thing about the Holidays for you? Seeing our family and spending time playing board games!
15. What is your favorite Holiday Dessert? Mama Jan's green goo and my Mom's green sugar cookies with cream cheese icing!
16. What is your favorite holiday tradition? We always play board games with the family and it is a blast!! I also love how my dad tricks us each year with some gift and we never know who the trick will be played on. Cooking with all the girls in the kitchen is great too!
17. What tops your tree? A MOOSE, the year I put it up.
18. Which do you prefer giving or receiving? Giving! But I wish we would do service projects as a family instead which technically is giving.
19. What is your favorite Christmas Song? Sleigh Ride

20.Candy Canes! Yuck or Yum? YUM, especially the multicolored ones!

Tag - if you read this you're it!

(You can respond in the comments by cutting and pasting if you want.)

I have fallen in love! It has taken awhile to jump on the bandwagon but boy am I glad I am on it now!! My mom and sister have been doing this form of art for awhile, I always thought that I didn't have time. God has truly blessed me this year with time. I have so enjoyed the time to just be still. Not only have I gotten to start new hobbies (scrapbooking) but I have actually had time to just sit and read. Matthew and I have started walking this year. Not only is it good for our hearts and bodies, but it has made us so much closer.

Talking, even if it is about the weather or what we each did that day has just made our relationship that much deeper. My favorite walks are when we get to actually share our dreams with each other. This just wouldn't happen or even come up while sitting on the couch watching TV. I highly recommend making "family walks" a priority in your life. Well I got way off my subject but I guess I was just speaking from the heart this morning. I'll just leave you with a little glimpse of the book I made for Matthew this week. It's his Christmas present so all of you will get to see the whole thing when he opens it at Christmas. I'm also working on a book almost like a journal of our adventure in Pennsylvania. Have a great day everyone.


Happy Belated Birthday!!

We had a great week with Mom and Dad!! I'm sorry it has taken me so long to write about it. Mom and Dad flew in on Wednesday night and stayed with us to celebrate Cassandra, Matthew, and Zach's birthdays!! On Thursday morning we met Cassandra in Dover, OH to do the "amish loop." It was great Mom was in heaven looking at all of the crafts. It was a little more commercialized than we expected. A lot of the souvenirs were made in china and we expected more local flavor. We played in Parkersburg for the next three days. Mom got to learn how to spin on a spinning wheel. I got the scrapbooking bug. (which is why I haven't blogged lately) We watched Zach's awesome soccer game! Drank lots of coffee ate lots of pizza and played dominoes. On Sunday we worshipped at New Brighton and then waited for Cassandra and Zach to drive up so we could go to "Shaker Town." It's a Christmas crafts festival!! My parents pulled one of their fantastic suprises as you can see in the pictures! Cassandra's absolute favorite ice cream is Yarnell's she got hooked long before Harding! Mom called about a week before their visit to see if I could be a detective. I called Cassandra all excited about some "rocky road" ice cream I had eaten, which I had not, but made a great lead in to my question of what her favorite flavors are. She didn't think this was to out of the ordinary I'm sure because of how passionate I can be about certain kinds of food. Mom then proceeded to call Yarnell's to ask about a possible delivery. They quoted her $200 for three gallons shipped overnight. Instead of ordering Mom prodded some questions about exactly how they would pack it to deliver it. She learned everything and got off the phone confidant that she could pull it off. They bought a special cooler and dry ice and called the airlines to get it all approved. When they arrived at to airport TSA acted like they weren't going to let them check it but Dad did some smooth talking to make his baby girl's birthday special!! My parents are the coolest and I love how they surprise us over and over again.



An unhappy Eaton

Mr. Eaton is in the back row (left side)

Matthew's ATC class all dressed up like their teacher for Halloween. It freaked him out so much that he canceled class and everyone went to eat breakfast at Red Onion!! Go CCBC class of 2006!


Full Circle

One month three weeks and one day to go! I was looking at some old pictures and thought it would be fun to share how much the scenery has changed in our world this year. I didn't get a good summer picture because it was too fast and we were so busy out enjoying the weather that I forgot to take pictures.


Happy Birthday Honey!!

After we got off work today Matthew and I celebrated his 29th birthday! Unbelievable!! We DON'T DO birthdays so it consisted of buying new tennis shoes and dinner at Outback. (Thanks to Matthew's Mom and Dad!!) On the way home we took the LONG way, practically through Ohio. It was so great to watch the sun go down on the fall foliage. We even drove through a cute state park. God is AWESOME! We got to talk for forever on the way home, which was very exciting. I can't believe another year has slipped away. Matthew, I am so blessed to call you my best friend, other half, partner, and lover. Thank you for making me a better person. I hope that I do the same for you each day. Happy birthday and to another year in this life!!! All my love


Weekend with the kids......

They loved wrestling with Uncle Matty at Aunt Jana's apartment.

Jackson so proud of Buzz Lightyear!!

Belle was not ready for us to leave.

We had an awesome Saturday night with the kids. Matthew and I took Belle with us to pick up the pizza and BAR-B-QUE!! (it's been awhile) She always sings Kelly Clarkston's Breakaway when she rides with Matty. It is precious. Lil did her own show and got lots of laughs for saying "Grandaddy." Jackson was creative as usual, he turned a suction cup into an impression of a bull. He also made Buzz climb the glass door over and over. They are growing up so fast. I am looking forward to living closer to them and seeing our own kids love to play with their cousins.

New Glasses,Day Off and Laundry...

P.F. Chang

Our second night in Nashville, we ate with all the Horner kids and some friends from Florence, AL. This was our first time at P.F. Matthew and I decided to split the Mu Shu Chicken. It was fabulous! At the end of the meal the fortune cookies arrived as usual, but what happened next was VERY interesting. My fortune said A letter of great importance may reach you any day now Matthew's said You will never need to worry about a steady income. As most of you already know almost a year ago we left our family farm and I turned in my teacher's manuals to pursue a new career path. We really felt like God was leading us down this new path, although it wasn't what we had always dreamed of for our family. The next hoop we are waiting to jump through is the actual graduation from the college initiative. Then comes the wait for the infamous letter from the FAA. After we receive that we will be waiting for the call to report to Oklahoma. In the meantime we will need to find temporary jobs at home to sustain us. Does God speak through fortune cookies? Matthew and I both laughed really hard as we traded the fortunes at the table. Our question is where can we turn these in????


This was a very sad day at the Horner's. Rita's is our absolute favorite thing about PA.

This is a family owned franchise that began with a mother son duo. Here is a little history for you: In the summer of 1984 Bob Tumolo and his mother, Elizabeth, were busy experimenting on recipes for Italian water ice. A fresh-squeezed lemon here, some chunks of fruit there - eventually the Tumolos found themselves with quite possibly the best Italian Ice they had ever tasted. (I completely agree!!)

Opening day in Bensalem, Pennsylvania, the response was overwhelming - people really seemed to love it. Word of mouth spread like Italian Ice on a hot summer sidewalk. In 1985, Bob's brother John Tumolo joined the business, and a second location was added in 1987. Today Rita's is the nation's largest Italian Ice chain with more than 390 stores. Rita's features Ices, Cones, Shakes and other Cool Stuff. Rita's Italian Ices are made fresh daily and available in more than 30 different flavors.

The saddest part about Rita's is they are only open from the first day of spring till the beginning of fall. It is up to the individual manager to decide which day to close in October. Our "friend" Cindy is the awesome manager at Chippewa. She decided to close Oct. 8th. This happened to be when we were driving back from Nashville. We left Cracker Barrel that morning thinking that we would have plenty of time to get to Rita's before her final sale of the season, but the nine hour trip drug on and at Wheeling, WV we realized that we would not get our final taste of Rita's (She won't open again until we are back in Arkansas) . So we decided to give Cindy a ring. She has called Matthew Arkansas from the beginning of our relationship. So Matthew says "This is Akansas and I have a little synario for you. We are on our way back from Nashville and will be thirty minutes late. Are you going to be in at all tomorrow? Could we buy some quarts and pick them up later." Sweet Cindy agreed!!!! So Tuesday after work Matthew and I went to Rita's to pick up our purchase. We ended up staying over a hour and getting the grand behind the scenes tour. She also showered us with t-shirts, magnets,car air freshners, a cooler and we ended up with ten quarts of ice for our freezer. Cindy is the best! If we weren't already starting a new career and we had a billion dollars I would seriously consider owning a Rita's franchise.


Tanner Vance
Today Tanner is two years old! It is hard to believe that two years ago we were sitting in Stephanie's house in Maumelle waiting for you to arrive. In your two years you have already brought so much joy to each of us.

Some of Tanner's favorites:
*He loves to sing the Indians fight song
*He plays with balls ALL of the time
*The Wiggles are his favorite band
*He LOVES to sing to his aunts and uncles on the phone
*His animal sounds are priceless (Thanks for all the work Nana)
*He loves "kick" (NICK) and "matt" more than me
*Riding in Pap's (my dad) golf cart
*He loves to read!!!
*He tells lots of stories (also a Pap trait)
*He adores ICE CREAM (vanilla or chocolate)
*He's crazy about the library
*Noah is his favorite bible character
We are so excited about what God has planned for you! Have the best birthday ever Tannerpants and enjoy the zoo. Lots of love uncle Matty and aunt Lindsay


Football in the south...
For some reason Matthew thought he could spend Saturday afternoon in Nashville and not hear a word about the Arkansas Auburn game. Yah right! We weren't four hours into the Zoe conference when Mr. Jimmy Cone walked by and said hey Matt 27-10 Arkansas 2 minutes left. Matthew had already asked Shannan to tape it thinking he would get to watch it without knowing the final score. That would have worked had we been in PA, where nobody cares about the Razorbacks except for the ladies in the Monaca bakery. A couple weeks ago they called the hogs as Matthew walked in the door. I love it!! Go Arkansas!!!

Baby Sister

I just want to say that Cassandra is so thoughtful. We drove through Parkersburg on our way to Nashville this weekend just so we could get a hug as we were filling up with gas. Which is STILL well over $2.25 by the way. Anyway, Cassandra made us warm homemade cookies and the best southern sweet tea I have ever had just for our little roadtrip. That is the kind of stuff I think of, but don't do. If Matthew is on board that it usually happens but it takes "the team" to get something that thoughtful done for someone else around our house. I want to say a huge thank you to my baby sis for making our trip bearable. What a servants heart!! Loving you!


Tanner is going to be a BIG brother !!

I just got off the phone with Stephanie.... They had an ultrasound today to see where the placenta attached, just in case she has to have another emergency c-section. Last time Steph and Dave didn't find out what they were having, but they couldn't resist. Tanner is going to have a little brother in January!!! 15 weeks to go!!! Can't wait to see my new nephew and watch brothers be brothers.


Keystone Sings

By the way we live in the Keystone state hence the name for this special song service. A whole bunch of the area c of cs get together to SING praises to God. It was awesome! The best worship experience I have had since moving here. Probably more my own heart than anything. There were 245 people which is huge for here. It was reminiscent of home. I almost lost my voice tonight. Why is it that we can't do that every service, giving our best and singing at the top of our lungs?? I think that is why I look forward to Zoe so much each year. When you pack in 1200 people that are excited about worship it turns into a heavenly experience. I know that it is hard to have that kind of zeal all of the time but I know that God would appreciate our whole hearts. I am rededicating myself to Him and will no longer whine about how worship just didn't do it for me this morning, because we sang 728b for the fourth Sunday in a row. It isn't about me or even my brothers and sisters in Christ. It is ALL about CHRIST. Sorry for the rant, looking forward to this weekend!


Eat N Park Cookies!

Whew! I have been so busy. I pulled a double this weekend and haven't quit since. We are a little behind at work so I'm doing voluntary overtime. So once again dishes, housework, and cooking are coming in last place. But Matthew's OK with it as you can see (left) because that means eating out. We were at Eat N Park on Sunday night and that means SMILE COOKIES!! This week they were black and gold for the Steeler game. They lost and the guy sitting at the next table told the waitress that they should be frowning. I have never seen a community with so much team spirit!!!! Everyone at Target had on Steeler jerseys which is not unusual but I was headed into the backroom and almost asked if it was game day, but as I opened the door I heard the pregame show blaring on the radio. I didn't even have to ask. It's funny how you can tell who people are routing for when it comes to sports. I wonder if outsiders can tell who we are LIVING for??


Go Hogs Go!!!!

“Woooooooooo, Pig! Sooie!
“Woooooooooo, Pig! Sooie!
“Woooooooooo, Pig! Sooie! Razorbacks!”
Arkansas 24 Alabama 23 Double OT

Grosse Pointe Blank..

Today was Matthew's TEN year reunion. Go Dexter Bearcats! Matthew and I used to watch Grosse Pointe Blank just about every night as we went to bed in Paragould. (NO CABLE) Well anyway, I always thought that Martin and Debbie were so old and thought we would never be as old as them at our TEN year reunion. Martin didn't really have his life together and going home was so agonizing for him, it took a hit job just to get him there. It makes me laugh how we were so content just a year ago with our lives. God had a different plan.... Now that this life marking event is occurring I realize that we are a little more like Martin then I thought. We are getting older and my muscles and bones remind me of this on a regular basis. I look around at all of our friends and their GROWING families and feel a little left out. You know what, God has a plan for us and that should be enough. I know that it must be spectacular! I was so trusting when our life was changing so much just eight months ago, but as time goes by it is hard to keep my focus and faith where it needs to be. I think that I was having to be the strong one in the beginning, I had to use my past military moving experiences to convince Matthew that everything would be ok and that people do this all of the time. Now Matthew is having to be the positive one because I have almost had my fill. Why is it that we "humans" have so much trouble just trusting in the Lord? I was reading Conquering Your Giants by Nancy Eichman right after we moved here. In one of her passages about Sarah and Abraham she says, about Sarah: Instead, she put their survival in the hands of God. In his hands she was safe. Her future was one big question mark, but although her eyes were covered, God could see everything and He was the One who was leading her. Here I go facing another week with my eyes covered but I know who is leading me.


Four have become "almost" ten ......

It took my parents ten years to create the four of us, but I think it is really funny that it only took five to marry all four of us off. I just want to thank them for raising us in a Christ centered home and leading us to such wonderful Christian mates. Watching my parents be in love from our very first steps and memories until now has been such a blessing. You taught us how to love and be loved and I wouldn't change that for anything. I thank God everyday for the awesome loving family that I was born into. My prayer is that Matthew and I will be able to teach these same lessons by our example in life and with God I know it is possible. Thanks Mom and Dad for everything!!! Missing you here in PA. Now that ALL of the weddings are paid for enjoy redecorating the house.


Geographical Oddity

Never in my life would I think that I would miss a silly restaurant so much. It is unbelievable but we are three hours from the closest SONIC. Yes you read that correctly 3 hours! For eight months we have been without America's Drive-In. The other day we took a road trip to get some treats. You would think that you would plan out exactly what you had been missing the most. Well I dropped the ball. Matthew was so disappointed in my selection. We ended up arriving at a very odd time and I wasn't hungry, can't imagine. So I went for a fudge brownie blast, when really I wanted a grilled cheese and my absolute favorite lemon berry slush float. Matthew had been craving his favorite,ocean water, but we found out quickly that up here it just isn't the same. We can not wait to get back to the Sonics of the south! So what is your favorite treat at America's Drive-In?



Why is it that doing the dishes makes me so angry. I know that that is a very strong word, but it really does upset me. I wish I could be more like my mother-in-law. It is almost like she LOVES doing dishes. She does them with such joy and doesn't want any help with them, even at the big holidays. Which has never made any sense to me, because it is something I will put off until the kitchen smells so bad that no one will step foot in it. Then we end up spending money to go out to eat so that I can continue to avoid them. Today is one of those days at my house. Living here has only made me appreciate my dishwasher more. I have told Matthew countless times that when we get to move back home and have real jobs, and a real house again, I will never let dishes pile up again. The dishwasher will always be run and emptied very quickly. Now why can't I just turn over a new leaf today and make that promise for our apartment? That would just be over the top I believe, and I have three months before I have to keep my other promise.


LOST! addict

We are thrilled to be the co-owners of season 2, but I am saddened today as we mail our little "step child" to its other owners, so I am desperately watching the extras. Only 23 days until the new season and Wednesday night pizza returns!! So Shannan, enjoy your little child and take good care of it.