Tuesday, August 26, 2008

One Week Down, and on to Week One!

Yep, you read the title of this post right..."One Week Down, and on to Week One." While the girls have their first week of school under their belt, Jeff is on to week one of (cue the football music) Football!!!!! Here's the lowdown on what's going on at the Hickman Home and at the places where the Hickman family goes. The girls really did love their first week of school. I, of course, have had numerous reservations about moving them to a new school to once again adjust, but why do I worry? God always answers exceedingly above what I can imagine. I have moved my whole life and readjusted just fine, but it's different when it comes to your babies! I have just chosen to see it this way...we are right where God wants us...each of us! So, they all love their teachers, made some new friends along the way and threw a few surprises in for us to boot! Here's a few highlights for each girl:
McKenna - as we mentioned, she's in an all girls' class and is really loving it! Her favorite class, she says, is orchestra. This year she is playing the violin and I may be premature in saying, but the girl may have found her passion. I've not seen her this excited in a very long time. She is looking to play soccer in the near future, so I'm just really thankful for how far God has brought her. She, once again, made dinner last night. We enjoyed London broil, lima beans (which the girls thought were called Lyman beans), mashed potatoes and gravy and chocolate chip cupcakes with strawberry icing!! Yummy! She is such a servant and we're so proud of the way that she desires to serve us with her love of cooking!
Bailey - always the most optimistic out of the girls, she hasn't had a negative thing to say about school at all. She is the social butterfly and knows who likes whom in her class and keeps us up to date on all her friends' lives. She is still very much in summer mode though and hasn't quite been ready to settle down and do homework! ;)
Avery - well, she is staying so sleepy now that school is back in. She tells me she almost falls asleep every day at school, and she goes to bed every night at 8!! She does love school...especially recess, she says, because it's the time she gets to see her BFF, Addie, and play!
She has been practicing her writing, though, and seems determined to hunker down and be serious about her schooling! :)
Quinn - she and I have just really enjoyed spending time together these last few days. She is a booger, don't get me wrong. She can singlehandedly destroy a room in seconds, but she does it with a smile on her face! We've enjoyed playdates and today we anticipate a trip to the library. She just soaks up life each day and makes her Mama happy just smiling at her and saying, "OK." It's the cutest thing you've ever heard!
Jeff is back to coaching at DR Hill. He is enjoying it and it fulfills his inner football star! :) He is adding another dimension to his love this season by being the color commentator for Byrnes' High School Touchdown Club radio/internet broadcast. He's been "practicing" his radio voice! :)
Log on to Byrnes' Football and check him out. We anticipate a lot of his "Green Pond" accent coming out! :)
As for me, I'm fighting a bad back, so all of my glorious plans once school started have kind of been on an ordered HALT by my chiropractor. I am grateful for the time to kick back and relax though.
Church is going so well, too. We have now moved to two services on Sunday mornings and it has been a great change. Jeff is faring well, so far, with more preaching. He is usually so worn out from once, I wondered how twice would be! So far, so good. We were blessed this past Sunday to hear a message on The Covenant and as a symbol of covenant, we rejoiced to include a wedding in our service of a couple from LifeSong. We are so blessed that they wanted to share their special day with us and use it as a testimony to everyone. I personally think Sunday weddings are wonderful. What a way to worship.
Thank you for your continued prayers for our family. God is blessing us more than we can even imagine!

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Living Very Loud for Jesus

Well, it's here...the first day of school. I guess the summer flew by in some ways, but there were moments of "lazy days of summer," too. All in all, I think I am ready for school to be in and for there to be somewhat of a routine to live by. I know this about myself...I need a time to be somewhere and a time to leave somewhere. I just am NOT that disciplined of a person to accomplish things without a time frame to work with.

The girls were pretty excited today to begin school. Bailey was the winner of the most excited award. She pretty much flew down the stairs this morning with a huge smile on her face. Avery bounded down in her usual fashion, but really her eyes were somewhat open, somewhat closed. She did pay close attention to the details of her wardrobe, however, and for that there's cause to celebrate. The first day of school is about the only day Avery chooses to look her best. The rest of the days are all up to chance! McKenna was probably the least excited, yet was also the most visible answer to prayer for me. I worry so about her on the first day of school, and well...just about everyday of school. She stays a little nervous, but this year she is in an all girls' class and seems to be excited about it...especially after we met her teacher and saw her room. The sign on the door when you enter her room reads, "It's a Girls' World...Boys Just Live in It." This should definitely be the mantra of the Hickman household, don't ya think? We may have found the answer for McKenna. She just might not like boys...period! For all you readers with boys, don't take offense. We very much...every time I was pregnant...wanted boys, but we sure do love our girls around here. It's what we're used to. The way I see it, we're REALLY gonna love the men our girls marry one day because they will already have lots of practice of loving only one boy in our home, their Daddy! Anyway, McKenna should be fine today. She didn't make me walk her in class...Thank the LORD!!! They might not have let me in once they took a look at me. I am NOT a morning person and I dress like one, too!

On a serious note, as I was driving home today I heard a little spot on the radio by Max Lucado. He was talking about the influence our children have on the friends and world around them. He made a statement to the effect of how our kids must live their lives loudly for Jesus in front of others. I heard it and I was like, "yes, there's the words to my heart today." I want my girls to live unashamedly for Christ in a world that tries to silence their teachers from sharing their faith...to a world that needs them to be a light. As we were given permission to prayerwalk Bailey's and Avery's school this past Saturday, I thought about not taking my girls with us. Jeff and I both asked ourselves, "why would we NOT take them?" They need to pray over that place just as much, if not more, than we do. We went from room to room that they would be in during their school day and let me tell ya...the Holy Spirit fell on that place, right in the midst of our family as we joined hands and petitioned God on behalf of the school. It was the moment that Bailey prayed that I most sensed His presence. She prayed boldly for the teachers she would have, that if they did not know Christ, that they would know Him...for the protection and salvation of her friends...and for fun at school! It touched my heart so profoundly. I used to want to shield my kids from the world and keep them up under my "wing." Bailey's prayers confirmed what has been in my heart for the five years we have lived here, and that is that I want my girls to be the ones to lead their teachers and classmates to Christ. If they are not in there doing it, who will be? As our church teaches us to GO to the people and don't expect them to come to us, that is where I want to find my children, too...GOING to the people and living very loud for Jesus! They will have influence that I may not have. So, that is the prayer of my heart today, that the girls, of course, will be protected and full of peace today, but most of all that no time would be wasted sharing the love of Jesus with those around them. I hope and pray that I am teaching my girls to not be afraid of the world, but embrace it and love it. Our prayer on Saturday was that at the end of the year the blessings of this year would be too numerous to count. I sure was excited about today being the first day of school, just like Bailey was, but I already can't wait until the last day of school because I know my God has so much He is ready to do! I can hardly wait, can you?

Thursday, August 14, 2008

My Stage Debut...and a Dream Fulfilled!

Before we took our trip to Charleston this week, we first went and spent a day with my parents in Georgia. Unfortunately, this had to be a quick trip because Jeff had to attend a couple of meetings there and then rush back to be at football practice. Anyway, this quick trip was not without a little excitement for me. We had made plans to go to Wednesday evening church with my parents because we rarely ever get to attend their church. This particular night had been set aside for a Kick Off for the children's programs starting back up, as well as a little farewell time to the summer. The church had brought in a clown team that was phenomenal. Normally, I'm not much for clown programs because it's always been like a "you've seen one, you've seen 'em all" kind of thing. I knew the girls would love it, though, so we were pretty excited about the whole thing.
The clowns, Baskin and Sunshine, were BIG into audience participation. That whole thing is like an immediate break out in sweats cause for gr
eat concern for me. I do NOT like to be up on stage doing anything remotely silly. I don't even like to go to the mall for fear of crowds and being in the midst of lots of people. I do, however, love speaking in front of people, but please, don't ask me to do much more than that, and even more...do NOT pull me up there thinking I will like it because I can promise you, I WON'T! Anyway, I should know better by now than to even be this way because no sooner had I told my sister, Katie, that I had a bad feeling about this...yep, you got it! I was pulled up on stage! I was mortified, but I masked it by laughing uncontrollably, praying I would not break out in uncontrollable sobbing. Thankfully, I did not have to be on stage alone, but there were five other adults that shared the privilege of a most certain humiliation. I, however, had the privilege of being the "line leader." This would most certainly be an honor I would love in school as I often sought to be the Teacher's Pet. On stage, though, was a different story altogether. I mustered together all of my courage and put on a happy face and gave myself a good old Little Engine that Could pep talk..."I think I can, I think I can...." Until she (Sunshine) told me I would have to wear a hat! A what? Now, I love hats, but not all hats love me. I once again became mortified...that is until I saw the hat of my dreams! I was given the honor of wearing the Indian headdress! I have always wanted to do that. You may wonder why an Indian headdress. Well, the song we were going to perform was to the tune of "YMCA" only it had different words and motions. So, Sunshine began to fit me with my headdress and I felt a sense of pride and honor overcome me, which could not be diluted by the fact that my dream had come true only from the hand of performing a children's song. I didn't care what I was doing as long as I had this headdress on! So, we were given instructions on how to perform the song, and then Sunshine laid one on us...we would have to march out in the audience all around the sanctuary! What???? I never did well in aerobics because of the whole coordination thing and now some clown named Sunshine was telling me that we would have to march AND do hand motions all at once! "I think I can, I think I can..." Sunshine sealed the deal for me when she checked my headdress and looked me in the eyes and quietly asked me if I was OK doing this. I said, "sure." She proceeded to encourage me by helping me to focus on the ones out there I would be blessing, and how Proverbs speaks of "laughter is a good medicine for the soul." OK, I got the laughter part down. Remember the "uncontrollable laughter" part? I was still laughing this whole time. OK, I can do this! And you know what...I did it! I definitely didn't get all of the motions right or even stay on the beat, but I did it and I laughed the whole time, certainly a good medicine for me that day. Quinn thought me a little strange, McKenna was like "that's not MY mom", and Bailey and Avery sat there thinking I was down right cool.
Me? Well, I was letting out a big secret. I want to be on stage pretending to be someone I'm not just for a moment, and what better way to do it in my favorite hat!

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Time Away

It was so good to get away with my sweet husband these last few days. Thanks to some dear friends of ours, we were able to take a trip to Charleston for some alone time. Charleston is one of our favorite places...for a number of reasons. Jeff is from nearby, we both graduated from Charleston Southern and we just really, really love everything about the city. It's fun to go back and try something new each time we go, plus revisit a few of our favorite places. We loved eating lunch our first day there at 82 Queen. Their She Crab Soup is to die for. Even on a humid Charleston day, it's totally worth eating soup outside in the courtyard. The pickled okra with my BLT was awesome, too! The birds, the Carolina Wren, to be specific, joined us for lunch, too. Jeff thought it was a good idea to keep feeding them crumbs, causing them to sit by our feet just wait for another morsel! UGH! I did not like them being so close to my personal space, but we got good pictures and a good story, nonetheless! We loved just walking around downtown and walking and talking. I cannot tell you how nice it is to have uninterrupted conversation! Dating my husband is the most important time to me, and something I am happy to say, we do a lot, but time away is always precious to us. It's good to get out of our normal everyday surroundings and just talk about whatever!
We also enjoyed trying out a new place for dinner...The Boathouse at Breach Inlet on the Isle of Palms. Jeff and I love the Isle of Palms because it's where he proposed to me and I tell you, the view there never disappoints! It was breathtaking! I ate crab cakes in a green tabasco sauce with collard greens and blue cheese slaw. I am telling you about what I ate because I know that Resia wants to know! Jeff ate clam linguine. No night in Charleston would be complete without going to our favorite dessert place, Kaminsky's. Jeff had marbled cheesecake, which, if you have ever been there, is pretty much cut as HALF the cheesecake! I had a southern caramel pecan cake. To die for!!! Their coffee is also out of this world good!
The girls enjoyed hanging out in Charleston with their cousins and our niece, Genny, did a great job of taking care of them for us! She is awesome, and will certainly be a wonderful mother one day herself.
So, that's what we've been up to these last few days as we get everyone ready to go back to school. We go into it with some nice memories and feeling a little more relaxed!

Friday, August 8, 2008


I did not get a chance to watch this yesterday on ABC, but I saw it today. I am so grateful for people, no matter who they are, that go through trial and increase their faith, and in the process, encourage me and others. I pray you are blessed as you watch this interview with Stephen Curtis Chapman and family....

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

The Final Countdown

Well, that time of year has come again that we're saying that dreaded phrase, "school is about to start." I am not so sure that I am dreading it at all, but the girls are, of course. This year holds several changes for the girls. McKenna will be in 5th grade and has chosen to be in a single gender classroom setting. For her, I think this will be a great source of comfort and stability, because school has always been a great concern for her....socially. Outside of school...well, you've seen her...she is way in control and able to fit into any situation, but in school she has some nerves, so being her Mommy and wanting the best for her, I want to try this and see what happens. Bailey and Avery will begin a new school this year. Due to living in a growing area, the need arose for a new school. The blessing in it all is that it is at the end of my road, so not a long drive at all. The down side is that it's still across town to McKenna's school. Oh well...
It will be a new beginning for Quinn, too, when school starts back. She was quite a bit more "baby" when school let out for summer, and not so much "into everything." She is talking 90 miles a minute and walking even harder and faster! Her favorite phrases are, let's see..."mine," "NO!," "Avery," and "cookie." Could it be that these are repeated phrases among other members of our household? Maybe, maybe not! Anyway, not only is she talking, but she is very much wanting to potty. She is showing the signs, so tomorrow we'll be buying this 18 month old a potty. It's so funny, though, she is still so short in stature, but definitely BIG in personality...so, the thought of her sitting on a potty is a source of amusement for us.
Jeff and I have a countdown of our own, too. In the next few days we'll be going to Charleston for a little alone time. Having gone to school in Charleston, and with Jeff being from right near Charleston, it will always be one of our favorite places ever. I look forward to spending some time with my sweet husband, holding his hand without the girls throwing up and just having an uninterrupted conversation with him! Yay!!!
Truth be known, I will miss summer a little. I love the lazy days of just doing whatever we want and enjoying watching time crawl by. I don't like knowing that school starts and it signifies that my babies are getting older and so am I! They are changing so much. Just tonight, McKenna and Bailey made us the BEST dinner. We had parmesan crusted chicken, steamed broccoli, mashed potatoes and biscuits. Avery did a superb job folding the napkins and setting the table. Quinn...well, she said "thank you" - one of the kinder words she knows!
So, I guess we're always on a final countdown of sorts. I sure will miss sleeping late, though!!

Monday, August 4, 2008

Missing...Part Two

Only because I know you have been on the edge of your seats this weekend for Part Two (sarcastic), here I go. It's really just because I like to finish what I started that I can't go another day and not complete this post.

Ok...so last time I wrote about some very "non-deep" things, but today just might be a little different! I might go deep!
I have found myself missing my childhood friends more and more these last few weeks. I am a person that likes to go back and re-evaluate where I've come from that has made me into who I am. Recently, I studied about Joshua's leading to place the stones at Gilgal as a reminder of all God did and how His promises were fulfilled. I am kind of that way about a lot of things. I like to look back. I know, had it not been for Godly friends in my life, I would not be where I am. That sounds so "speechy," but I love these friendships that have lasted the test of time. My two very best friends in the whole wide world are Lana and Amy...OK....most of the friends I've had in my life are named Amy. Back in High School, it was an Amy, Amy, Amy and LANA! Anyway, Lana and Amy Harless are friends that you can go months and not speak to, and they love you just the same, they do not conjure up some story as to why I haven't spoken to them in months, or hold it over my head if I don't call, write or come see. They are the constants - the steadfast - in my life. We are different as day and night. Lana is completely a organized, yet fly by the seat of her pants, kind of girl. She never thinks before she speaks and she could be misconstrued as a liberal, but watch out...don't tell her that, because politically, she is as conservative as they come, but in her day to day life, don't let any man tell her what to do! She is goal-oriented and disciplined, while always keeping the "spice of life" quality in her life at the max! Had we grown up in this country together, no doubt I would not have given her the time of day, and if I had become friends with her, she would've gotten me in a load of trouble! :) She laughs at everything I say and loves me with everything, too. She is the friend I've had the longest in life and I plan on having even longer. I know she loves God passionately and without reservation, and just knowing her makes me want to love Him more, too.
Amy Harless is my friend that is the most like me, but yet just different enough, too. She has always had a motherly quality about her. She loves to take care of everyone in her life...family, friends, acquaintances...whomever! It's no surprise that she is a Labor and Delivery nurse. She has a heart for others and is loyal to you 'til the end. After rooming with her forever in boarding school, I can tell you that there was rarely a time that we weren't laughing. She has an infectious laugh and you cannot be around her and not be happy. She will do whatever it takes to show you that she loves you, and to share the love of Christ with others. I am so proud of her for following God's leading to be a foreign missionary. She doesn't know where she will serve, but is just obedient to whatever God has for her. She is one of those people you have in life that is truly an "iron sharpens iron" kind of friend.
There are several more people that are like this for me, but I especially miss these two right now. I am hoping that they will read this and decide that we need a girls' weekend somewhere. Chances are, if we do, you'll find us laughing our heads off, looking through old photos of high hair and beige and navy uniforms, cocking our "guns" shouting "ready, aim, fire," and crying a little, too, because we're just like that.
Yep, these two are like a Gilgal time in my life. A time I like to revisit because knowing them has made me a better me. Hopefully, we'll see each other soon and I can tell them to their face, but I love them very much and yes, miss 'em a little, too!

Sunday, August 3, 2008

My Girls are Blogging

My girls have convinced me to let them have a blog, so I consented. They have to let me know what they are posting and I have full access to the blogs since they are under my account, so hopefully we'll nip any possible crazy talk out and they will just be able to let you in on what they do day to day. They are all very expressive in their lives, so what better way to let it out than blogging! They would love to read your comments and look forward to sharing their days with you...their blogging family!

Friday, August 1, 2008

I'm Tagged!

I will continue with post two of "Missing" later today, but my Aunt Martha has tagged me for 5 favorite things I love.
I think she has broken me out of my slump from not being too deep, to taking the plunge to those deep waters.
On a side note, can I just say..."I love my Aunt Martha." I know I loved her from the moment I met her because I never remember a time in my life of just NOT adoring her. My earliest memory is staying with her when she lived in Elizabethton (is that spelled right?), Tennessee. I went to stay there while my mom was recuperating from surgery I think. Anyway, I had the best time and loved hanging out with my cousins and her. When she moved back to G'ville my best memories are of living at her pool on Queensbury Drive during the summers and spending the night with her. She is, however, along with Uncle Don responsible for one of my aversions. I, to this day, hate green peas because she and Uncle Don made me eat them before I could get up from the table. Isn't that child abuse? :) I literally gag when I see them now! Why couldn't they have just let me eat a Peanut Butter and Banana sandwich that was their household favorite? Anyway, I get sidetracked...I love her in spite of the green peas incident. She has, in many ways, served as a surrogate mother for me when my own mother was in another country. I lived with Martha during college and I like to think that our looooooong talks about my love life led me to where I am today - with the love of my life, Jeff! She also gave me my first job at Furman. I'm not sure what I did, really, that was of any use, but we had fun, and I got totally addicted to Days of Our Lives during my times with her. I'm over that one now! ;) So, being the wordy rambler that I am, I have to have a story to the story before I get to the point, so here we go...I love Martha and she has tagged me to tell the five things I love right now.....

*My relationship with my Lord...it's especially sweet right now. I have been praying for things that you think when they are answered that you would see fireworks, but instead, there's a deep, abiding peace...a sweetness...with my Father.

*My husband, girls and the rest of my family/friends. I love Jeff more and more each day. I stand in awe of who he is and how he leads our family. My girls have always had me wrapped. My family and friends are always the "better" parts of me.

*The freedom of summer. For this routine lover, the la-de-dahness of summer has been a treat, as well as a gift to me saying, "chill out!"

*My church, LifeSong...it would take a book to describe why I love it so, but it is unlike any other time in my life...the same deep, abiding peace I talked about earlier.

*Early morning walks...I had to put these on hold for a little bit to heal my back, but I love that time to wake up and get going, as well as great conversation with my friend.
It's funny how you could keep going with this list, but today I will go forward a little more thankful and with a bigger smile on my face, thinking about the things I love.
Oh yeah...I'm supposed to tag someone, too
Amy D. (a good, good friend)
Sarah ( a friend through the ages)
Tricia (the kind of friend every girl should have)
Tracy (her blog always makes me feel like I'm reading about my own life!)
Resia (I may get shot for passing this on, but I'll risk it)