Monday, December 07, 2009

Favorite Time of Year

The month between Thanksgiving and Christmas has always been my favorite time of year, and this year's has not disappointed! We are only two weeks in, but we've had so many wonderful things happen to us as a family. I know I won't be able to share everything here, but we can't wait to fill you in as soon as we can :)

Lance and I spent Thanksgiving in Houston with my parents, sisters, bro-in-law and nephew. It was fantastic! It is rare for everybody to be "home" at my parents' all at once, and we enjoyed every second of it. On Thanksgiving day, my parents hosted both sides of their families for the holiday meal. It was so much fun getting to spend time with all of our aunts/uncles and cousins. Joe, my bro-in-law, brought his Xbox so the little ones were entertained playing Beatles RockBand. We all enjoyed some very yummy food, and had lots of laughs together as a family.

Friday morning, we celebrated Christmas a little early - since we won't be back with my fam for the holiday. Quentin had such a great time opening his presents! Watching him is always my favorite part - Christmas is so different when there is a little one involved. You get to see it all through their eyes :)

It was hard for Lance and me to come back to the "real world" after Thanksgiving, but I must admit it was nice to be back in a routine again. Sleeping in, napping, having happy hour every evening on the porch - don't get me wrong, I loved everything we got to spoil ourselves with in Houston! - but as someone who craves consistency, I loved being back in our own bed again.

This past week was super busy, which seems to be the norm these days for us. Lance and his brother went to another Tigers basketball game Monday night, while I grocery shopped and got us somewhat unpacked from our trip. Then Lance volunteered at Starry Nights at Shelby Farms Tuesday night, while I had a last-minute happy hour with one of my all-time favorite friends, Hang. Wednesday was a great date-night at home - I made pasta and salad, which Lance and I got to enjoy together once he was finally home from work. Thursday was supposed to be Bunko night for me, but I was feeling pretty awful that day at work - stomach stuff, bad headache - so I opted out and spent the night resting on the couch. Thank God for such a wonderful husband who waited on me hand and foot. I am so spoiled!

Friday night was another date-night for us - but a real one this time! As one of our Christmas presents to each other, we had tickets to see Jackson Browne in concert at the Orpheum. Beforehand, we decided to treat ourselves to a nice dinner out. If you haven't eaten at Flight downtown yet (Main and Monroe) you are missing out! Lance and I both agree it is one of the best meals we have ever eaten in Memphis.

Saturday night was our Annual Christmas Party at home. The biggest treat is that my little sis Cynthia got to come in from Birmingham for the shindig. Lance and I got up super early that day, to put the tree up and finish getting the house ready for our guests. After Cynthia arrived, we enjoyed watching some football before everybody else arrived. It was wonderful having some of our dearest friends join us in celebration of the season. We had yummy BBQ, a gift exchange - and then we played a VERY fun Pictionary/telephone game (will explain another time). It was a blast, and we are both very grateful for all of the amazing people in our lives.

Sunday morning was the first Sunday for Crossroads to meet in our new/temporary home, the Cordova Community Center. We really missed our Sunday School group - it was so nice to see everyone again after being out of town two weekends in a row. The new meeting space is big and comfy. I think it's going to be a wonderful place for our church to grow and make new relationships with folks in the community.

We got to meet up with Lance's parents and bro for our usual Sunday afternoon lunch, and we were also joined by his aunt and uncle who were in from out of town. We haven't seen them both since our wedding! So that was a nice treat.

We have lots more coming up in the next few weeks, right up until Christmas. Lance and I are both extremely blessed to have such wonderful friends and family to spend time with, especially this time of year. We are thrilled for what God has planned for us as a family next year, and can't wait to take that journey with each of you :)

Love always,

-JessWill :)

Monday, October 12, 2009

Another Great Week

I know I haven't written at all about our cooking adventure... turns out there's nothing exciting or entertaining about cooking at all :) I did start off taking pictures of our first few recipes - but even those aren't exciting!

Mundane, ordinary family stuff is what our days are filled with lately - although I must say our lives are anything but boring. We've had soooo much going on - that I'm trying to remember in the midst of it all how blessed we are to be so busy and have such amazing people to spend time with :)

I won't try to play catch-up for the last few months - or we'd be here a while! - but Lance and I did have a great week.

I started off the week having dinner with an old coworker of mine, Diana. A group of girls who work or have worked at Disciple try to get together for Girls Night Out every few months. This time it was just her and me - and it was a blast catching up! She has two young daughters, and it was so much fun hearing about the goings-on of their family. It made me miss her even more...

Tuesday night, Lance and I met with our church's fellow Harvest Joy Festival committee members to hammer out the final details. We only have two weeks to go - and there's a lot left to do! I must say: Lance and I have loved working with these awesome people. It's been a great way for us to jump feet-first into Crossroads, and really give of our time and energy to this awesome church home that we've found (I was even lucky enough to get to name the festival and design the logo! fun fun!). I am really hoping that the event will be a great way for people in the neighborhood - and especially those looking for a church home - to get to know our church.

Thursday night I got to spend the evening with one of my dearest friends, Hang. She was sweet enough to cook dinner for both of us, and she and I got to hang out at her home and laugh and catch up. It had been way too long since the two of us had been able to spend time face-to-face, so it was a real treat for me. I love my Hang!

Lance didn't mind my being away for the evening - he got to spend time doing one of his favorite things: watching baseball. His Mets had an awful season, so I think he's enjoyed watching the game again (he was basically on strike for the last two months!).

Friday night Lance and I got to host a long-awaited Game Night at our house. We had so much fun with the Strawns and the Grears! Jason and Kristin even brought along baby Nate, so I got to do some cuddling with him (baby fever, hello!). We played a new game that my friend Dave from Texas suggested, which turned out to be a huge hit. We decided that we need to play it at our annual Christmas party, when we have more folks there (I won't get into the details of what it was, but it's best played with more players). We ended the evening with a game of Apples to Apples, which was really fun too. Lance and I loved having our friends over - we don't get to do that often enough - so it was a treat for us both.

Saturday morning, I joined some of the ladies from Crossroads for a brunch at a local catering shop. It was a really exciting event for me - I've been looking for ways to really get to know some of the women at church, and it did not disappoint! Our table was full of ladies from all walks of life and all ages. We had a blast laughing and sharing stories with each other. The food was amazing too. Vicki, Pastor Rob's wife, led us all in a mini-devotional after we ate. She stressed the fact that God knows each of us by name - and that our names are no mistake. She had a special treat for each one of the attendees: she gave us a picture frame that held a print-out of our name, the meaning of our name, and a Bible verse that goes along with it. It was such a special take-along for me to remember this amazing day.

Saturday night, Lance and I attended the wedding of a former youth friend of mine from Covenant. I met and worked with Leigha when she was 16, so to get to see her as a beautiful 24 year-old reciting her marriage vows was a real gift to me. I have kept up with her and her sister, Caitlin, through the years. It's amazing when I see how God has worked in each of their lives, as they matured from high school girls to young ladies to Godly women. It was such a blessing to me to be able to share in such a special day. And Lance was such a good sport! We even got to share a slow dance or two (in-between my dancing the Macarena, Electric Slide and all those other dances Lance wouldn't be caught dead doing!).

Sunday morning was our weekly Sunday School and church service at Crossroads. We love love love our Sunday School group - especially our leaders, Aronda and John. They have done such a wonderful job of making each person feel welcome and a part of the group from day one. We are really looking forward to the cookout that they are hosting for all of us this Friday night.

As a last-minute addition to our weekend schedule, Lance signed us up to attend one of Crossroads' Family Prayer Fellowships at the home of one of the church families on Sunday night. To be honest, I was not feeling very sociable. I really wanted to stay home and rest after such a busy week! But I am so thankful that he felt led for us to go. We got to know some really amazing people - faces that we see every Sunday but hadn't gotten the chance to really meet yet. The fact that so many people would gather to lift up Crossroads and pray for our leaders as a group - it was so moving. I am thrilled that Lance and I have found such a wonderful place to call home - and it's exciting to think where Crossroads will be in two months... six months... a year... There are so many changes on the horizon, but it is very cool to think that we will be a part of helping make the big transitions that are to come.

See? Nothing really exciting or out-of-the-ordinary to report - but our lives are so full of wonderful people and good times. Seeing all of these things listed just reminds me yet again that Lance and I are truly blessed!

I hope each of you has a great week, and I hope to be able to post some pictures soon.

Until next time...
-JessWill :)

Saturday, August 08, 2009

Recipe Inspiration

Hello blog readers ~ it's been a long time!

I won't make any excuses. I really have missed sharing our lives with you. Somehow the everyday, hum-drum stuff that Lance and I do doesn't seem like it's interesting enough to share, but I've realized that we live such blessed lives and that we should feel happy to share our laughter and triumphs and even our mundane stories with everyone that we love :)

The project that Lance and I will begin next week has been inspired by the movie "Julie and Julia". We both love to cook, and have always had more fun when we can share the experience together. After seeing the commercial for this movie over and over again, we decided that it would be so much fun for us to try our own cooking experiment. So we spent last Sunday at the bookstore, picking out a cookbook that we both loved - and starting next week, we will cook every single recipe in the book, from start to finish! And it's an American Heart Association cookbook, so we are happy about the fact that every meal we are making is healthy and good for us.

We are both very excited about it! We've gotten stuck in a rut at dinner - we always seem to cook the same meals over and over again - so we hope that this project will help us try some new flavor combinations and introduce some new regulars into our dinner routine.

We've decided that since the cookbook is divided into categories (appetizer, soups, salad, chicken, pork, etc.) it would be best to go a different route than literally first to last. We'll begin with the first recipe in each category, going from front to back, then start over again at the front. This will keep things interesting - and also keep us from having soup three weeks in a row :)

We figure we'll average maybe three recipes from this cookbook a week, and in-between we'll stick to our tried-and-true family recipes. Some of these new recipes call for some pretty unique and not-so-frugal ingredients, so we think it's best to spread them out.

Our official first meal will be next Monday. I can't wait to share with each of you how the first meal goes! I'm going to try to make a habit of documenting some of the meals through pictures so you can see how everything turns out - or doesn't turn out, which I assume will happen at least a few times! Lance and I have pledged to each other to try every single meal, no matter what - I'll even eat mushrooms and peas, and Lance has promised to try peppers and onions.

This will be a fun experiment and we can't wait to do this together. I have the most wonderful husband who happens to also be my best friend, and it's a true blessing to get to share our lives with each of you through this blog.

Love to you all!

-JessWill :)