Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Cousin Playtime

We got a little playtime with the Kizziah clan tonight.  We sure do have cute kids.  (And they sure are loud when they're all together.)  The Christmas tree was a big attraction for the little ones, and Christmas movies ruled the evening for the older cousins.  

They're watching How the Grinch Stole Christmas
and are looking a little concerned.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

The Very Quotable KJ Pugh

Within the first 30 minutes of our return from church this morning KJ said 3 things that really made me laugh, and I wanted to record them for posterity.  Maybe you had to be there; I'm not sure, but I laughed.  Sometimes I think he's clever.  

KJ to Ella:  "All the best stories have scary parts, Ella."

This was upon her observation that there were scary parts in Mickey's Christmas Carol.  She was reading the book.

KJ to Lynn:  "Sometimes you say things that I can't hear."

This comment was made after I told KJ he could pile Hillary's luggage in the living room.  One minute later, "Do you think it would be okay if I put this stuff in the living room?"  It's not that he doesn't listen; sometimes I just say things he can't hear.  This happens often.

KJ to Lynn:  I love you.  You're so pretty.  I'm proud you're my wife.  You're so fun and sensible...about most things.
Lynn:  What am I not sensible about?
KJ:  Oh, the number of shoes it's right for a person to have...but it's a trifle to be sure.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

The Rushing in of the Holidays

I think I have given up on the other two Thanksgiving posts I was thinking of writing.  One got halfway written, but the last few days have been far too busy to complete it.  And that's okay with me.  We have been going nonstop since Tuesday evening.  Not everyone on my side of the family was available on Thanksgiving day this year, so my sweet parents  arranged a dinner for us at a Cracker Barrel midway between all our houses.  It's hard to get to talk to everyone in a restaurant setting, but it was good to see every face and hug every neck.  We had someone take our picture when we were done eating, and I couldn't believe the crowd of people.   We've been adding to our number, and I'm so thankful for my family.

Wednesday morning I made the impromptu decision to take James in to the doctor's office.  His nose has been running for 3 weeks, and he's had a cough for over a week.  Over-the- counter medicine did not seem to be helping, and I was hoping for something stronger to get rid of all his gunk.  James, as you may know, is a drool machine, and adding a TON of snot to the mix was becoming unbearable.  I'm glad I took him in, as it turned out the cold had turned to a sinus infection.  He is now taking an antibiotic and a stronger allergy medicine.  He also had some fluid in one ear, but it was not infected as of Wednesday.  I think the build-up of fluid is definitely starting to bother him, though, because he woke up several times crying for a couple of hours last night.  

Wednesday afternoon was filled with getting prescriptions filled and running errands in preparation for Thursday.  We got up early Thursday morning and drove to KJ's grandparents' hometown where we fellowshipped and had lunch with everyone on that side of his family.  It was good to visit with all the Pughs.   Thankfully, James took a decent nap on the way down and back.  He was very pleasant at the gathering, finding great joy in being allowed to roam free in the gym at the church where we were eating.  He also loved being able to walk around outside freely.  I spent a lot of time reading aloud to KJ in the car, so it made the travelling time pleasant.

He loved playing with the balls.

Pushing the chair around was also a huge (and loud!) attraction.

The best we could manage in a family portrait 
before the batteries on my camera died.

Yesterday I set my alarm for 6 a.m. and woke Ella up at 6:30 ("in the middle of the night" as she told her aunt and uncle last night), and we drove out into the mayhem.  There wasn't much mayhem left, however, by that time; we just had a fun.  I didn't really want to wake Ella up, but I did want to go out yesterday (I just think it is one of the most fun days to go shopping.  There are sales everywhere, everyone's happy [except perhaps the clerks that have been there since 3 a.m.], and you start listening to Christmas music with expectancy in your heart.).  Ella heard me make the comment to KJ the night before that I didn't have anyone going shopping with me, and she told me she would come so that I could have a friend.    I knew that if she woke up that morning, and I was gone she would be really upset, so I woke my sleeping princess.  

"Ella, do you want to go shopping with me?"  
"Oh, yes."
"I'm sorry to wake you up."
"That's okay; I already had a good sleep."

My precious girl dressed quickly and was excited to be going out in the early morning.  We had a fun time together at Target and Hobby Lobby, read books and soaked in the atmosphere at Barnes and Noble, wove our way through the throng at Old Navy, browsed the shoes at Rack Room, and bought groceries at Wal-Mart.  It was fun.  

Ella has been so excited about putting up the Christmas tree this week.  It's been really fun this year, because this is the first time she remembers really well all that happened last Christmas.  She's been helping KJ put up the Christmas tree since she was 14 months old.

We allowed her to put up a smaller tree we had in her bedroom, and she decorated it all by herself.  James was really excited about his first discovery of a Christmas tree and lights.  We had a fun time together decorating the house last night.  KJ really did the bulk of the work.

Meeting Santa Claus for the first time

Later last night I had these fun kids sitting on my couch.  We watched How to Steal a Million, and it was so fun to be with Olivia and Kam.  It had been way too long since they last sat on my couch.  I'm so thankful for all time with family this week and excited about having more time in the weeks to come.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Past Blessings

Wow.  I really have no idea where to begin in pondering all the many past blessings God has bestowed on me.  They are innumerable, but I guess I will start making a list at random that will probably include things I have been thinking about most of late.  I'm sure it will be filled with blessings great and small.  Let the thankfulness begin!

Growing up with the Gospel- This would probably be one of the biggest blessings, besides being granted grace and faith to believe.  In a world where so many people live and die without hearing the good news that God loved us and sent His Son, I'm thankful for having heard it at home and at church from the beginning of my life.

My gospel-preaching father and I

Godly parents who set boundaries- Now that I've begun the parenting journey for myself I feel able to appreciate what my parents went through with me more.  Parenting is a tough job, and it is hard to know for sure if you're doing what is right.  I'm so thankful for tough and tender parenting even when I didn't like it or understand it at the time.  

Good friends- When I talk with other people, I realize how I've taken the gift of good friends for granted throughout my life.  I'm so thankful for having good and godly friends from elementary school through college and for all the laughter and growth that came from those friendships.

Piano lessons- I'm thankful my parents let me take and wouldn't let me quit during the couple of seasons I wanted to.  I'm glad to be able to play for enjoyment now.

My piano teacher, Mrs. June, and I at a lesson
where we happened to dress alike

A love of reading- I'm thankful for whatever combination of my own personality and the nurture of growing up watching my mother read constantly that made me an early lover of books.  I see now the fruit of good reading skills in a lot of ways.

Education- I'm really grateful for my time at the University of Mobile and for the sacrifices my parents made to pay for my schooling.

Family vacations- I'm grateful for the bonding of continuous time spent together with my family and for the many places we've gotten to enjoy:  Smoky Mountains, the Gateway Arch, Yellowstone, the Grand Canyon, Mount Rushmore, Disney World, the beach, etc.  

Church Family- I'm so grateful for all the people from Twelfth Street and Arab FBC who taught me, loved me, prayed for me, gave graduation and wedding gifts, and sent cards and boxes in college.  I have been blessed by you in so many ways.

A beautiful love story- I'm so thankful for how the Lord brought KJ and I together.  He has proven to be exactly who I need, and I can't imagine walking through this life with anyone else.  

In-laws who love the Lord and me and who are kindred spirits in every way- What a gift to love the family you received by marriage as well as you love your own!

Healthy pregnancies and childbirths- I've come to realize that everything doesn't always work out perfectly in these areas, and I'm so thankful for my two healthy and beautiful children.  They are precious gifts.

Time with all my grandparents- I am so thankful for my own grandparents and the ones I have inherited by marriage.  I'm thankful for their lives of faith and the heritage we have from them, for all their love and prayers and gifts.  I'm so grateful.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Weekend Fun

The title of this blog post is pretty self-explanatory.  It has been a very fun weekend.  Once again, I am so thankful for all the precious people and members of the body of Christ God has placed in our lives.  I am thankful first for Hannah, a teenager in our church who shares my fondness for Jane Austen (actually, I think it might have been me who introduced her to Jane Austen in a book club at school) who babysat Ella and James for us so we could go out Friday afternoon and evening.  KJ and I went to a matinĂ©e showing of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows.  It was really good.  I think this last book is my favorite book, and these last two movies are going to be my favorite.  It was the first time in a while they have had plenty of time to develop the story and not just fly along, and I really enjoyed it.  
Me and my hot date

KJ and I did have a dispute on the drive home about a technical point in the movie.  Today we found out that he was correct.  Of course.  I did not begrudge his correctness, and he did not rub it in too much.  Thank you, Hannah, for keeping our kids!

We had a really nice day Saturday welcoming a couple of old college friends to our home.  Justin and Chandra went to UM with us and have recently returned from serving in India.  They have three precious little girls who I have enjoyed seeing pictures of for so long and finally got to meet today.  They were so sweet to Ella, and Ella was so sweet sharing her toys.  It was so much fun watching our kids play together.  I wish Ella could have such dear playmates every day.  The day was beautiful and mild, and the kids really enjoyed the backyard.

Chasing the balloons (still afloat from James' birthday)
was a big attraction.

Madelyn was so sweet to Ella.
They were pretending to be sisters.

James would have no part of a couch picture, so here are all the girls:
Elizabeth, Ella, Catharine, and Madelyn

Ella did a great job getting a shot of the 4 of us.

It was a really good day of catching up with each other, and I hope there will be more days like it in our future!  I took a walk around our neighborhood in the evening and was surprised to see a beautiful full moon already out just before sunset.  For those of you who have known me for a while, I have always loved the moon and tried so many times to capture it on film back in the day.  I've never had a camera that's been up to the task until now.  I was so excited.

Today has been such a wonderful day of being "washed in the water of the Word" so to speak.  KJ preached this morning since his father is still in Uganda, and I had the pleasure of being in his Sunday School class as well.  I could write a whole post about all the thoughts stirred from his teaching and interacting with the text today.  KJ has become one of my favorite (might I say favorite?) preachers/teachers.  I'm sure it has something to do with the fact that I know him so well and understand the way he thinks (much better than I used to do!), but he truly is such an amazing teacher.  I love walking through the Word with him.  

We had a sweet time of fellowship after church with David, Katie, John David, and my brother, Judson.  I'm so glad they joined us for lunch!  David preached tonight, and again, it was so good.  Something he said in passing tonight sparked an idea for a series of blog posts this week.  I wanted to write about things I was thankful for, and David gave me a great idea of how to focus those thoughts.  He was preaching from Psalm 103 and talking about all we have to be praise God for in looking back over past blessings, at His present mercies, and His future promises.  I thought that was a great way to divide my life and meditate on God's many kindnesses to me.  With such bounty, I should not complain.  So, I look forward to meditating on those things this week.  I hope you'll join with me in praising God for the many benefits He has bestowed upon us.

Friday, November 19, 2010

At Random

Here are just a few random goings-on from around our house this week in pictures.

Sunday afternoon block party

Drinking from a bottle

Picking out a snack
Golden Grahams is KJ's cereal of choice; thus, it has become James'
as well.  James carefully selected something from the pantry, shut the door, then sat down to enjoy his afternoon treat.

Soaked Shirt
This is what resulted after leaving James in his crib for 35 minutes in the hopes
that he would go back to sleep.  He's really been having issues lately with interrupted naps because of a runny nose and a cough that he has.  And of course, he's always drooling.

Rocking Chair
James can climb into his rocking chair by himself now and rock.
He's really proud of this accomplishment, and we had a mini-photo shoot
this morning.

Even with a snotty nose and drool, I think this boy is pretty cute.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Highlights from Tuesday

I had the opportunity to go with KJ to the Alabama Baptist State Convention at Hunter Street Baptist Church yesterday.  It was fun to spend the day with him and educational to observe how things work at a convention.  But the best part by far was reconnecting with people from our University of Mobile days.  So without further ado, highlights from my Tuesday...

  • Reading Randy Alcorn's Heaven aloud to KJ in the car - I really love this book and have been wanting to share it with KJ for a really long time now.  I started reading it to him a few nights ago, and since he was a captive audience in the car yesterday morning I read a couple of chapters.  Favorite part from yesterday?  Well, it would be a toss-up between this dialogue from Peter Jackson's The Return of the King:
Pippin: "I didn't think it would end this way..."
Gandalf:  "End?  No, the journey doesn't end here.  Death is just another path...one that we all must take.  The grey rain-curtain of this world rolls back, and all change to silver glass...and then you see it."
Pippin:  "What?  Gandalf?  See what?"
Gandalf:  "White shores...and beyond.  The far green country under a swift sunrise."
Pippin:  "Well, that isn't so bad."
Gandalf:  "No...no, it isn't."


"Jesus says of anyone who would be his disciple, 'My Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our home with him' (John 14:23).  This is a picture of God's ultimate plan---not to take us up to live in a realm made for him, but to come down and live with us in the realm he made for us."

I stopped reading a couple of times and said to KJ, "Why?  Why would He want to do this?"  It is amazing.  God is so gracious.

  • Conversing with Dr. Cecil Taylor - Dr. Taylor is the Dean of the School of Christian Studies at the University of Mobile and a former professor of KJ and myself.  KJ has also had the opportunity of going to Brazil the past two summers with Dr. Taylor.  He also leads a trip to Wales every year, and he gave KJ and I a tip about a small town in England filled with used bookstores.  (KJ and I are still contemplating a trip next year.)
  • Visiting with old UM friends - I got to visit with Hali, who started UM the same year I did and now works there.  We also chatted with Wesley.
  • Hugging the necks of the Baldwins! - Jamie and Beth are the parents of my old roomie, Joy, and have opened their home, baked me bread, and loved on me in those old college days of yore.  It was so good to see them.
  • Talking with Dr. Mark Foley - Dr. Foley is the president of the University of Mobile, and it was good to visit with him.  I can't speak highly enough about a place where the president remembers students who graduated 6 years ago!  I'm so thankful for my time at UM and for the body of Christ who so impacted my life while I was there.  
  • Seeing KJ connect with Twitter friends - I'm not sure why this is a highlight for me except that it gave me joy to see KJ having fun.  I'm glad he had the chance to put faces with names of other young ministers across the state.
  • Shopping at the Galleria - I had a good time browsing through Christmas sales  while KJ had lunch with some other men.  I can't believe it's that time of the year again!
  • Visiting with Leslie - Leslie is a member of our church who came as well.  It was fun getting to hang with her, discussing books and the things we didn't understand about the convention.  I'm really glad she came.
  • Browsing the Hunter Street bookstore - That place really had an amazing selection and great prices!  
I was pretty beat by the time we got home, but it was an enjoyable day out.  We were greeted by our children and T, who said Ella and James exhibited exemplary behavior all day; however, as soon as I came in the door James began walking around whining and didn't stop until we put him to bed.  KJ surmised that he just wanted my attention.  This morning James woke up with a horrible, green snotty nose, so I guess we're staying in today, unless it's to go out and buy more allergy medicine.  Hopefully it will be a productive day because I certainy need a day like that!

Monday, November 15, 2010

Books Are Better

This morning the kids and I made a trip to the library in the rain.  Normally I wouldn't go in inclement weather, but I had an overdue library book again.  KJ said we were going to have to make a line item in our budget for library fines.  I'm so ashamed.  But on the other hand, I feel good about donating money to the local library.  They're probably the best non-profit institution around.  But I digress.  

Ella found a collection of Pixar movie stories and sat down to read them at a table while I browsed through juvenile fiction (It's been a while, and I thought I would see what was new.)  A few moments later she ran up to me and exclaimed, "Mom!  Cars is in here!  Now I don't have to watch the movie anymore because I can read the book!"  Oh, my sweet girl, you are right.  Books are pretty nearly always better than the movie.  

Friday, November 12, 2010

Middle of the Week Fun

Whenever a few days go by without my posting I feel the need to give an update on what's been going on, although I'm sure that's not really necessary.  I would say that the last couple of days have been busy but not with anything huge or out of the ordinary.  But if you've ever stayed at home with small children, you understand that anything other than staying at home with small children creates a much busier day for you with no time for unessentials like blogging.  

Wednesday night was our monthly ladies' Bible study and fellowship meal.  In order to be able to get ready for that during James' afternoon nap, I had to start the day off with an early-morning trip to The Dollar Tree and Wal-Mart to buy presents for Operation Shoebox and groceries.  We were out way past James' usual morning nap time, but he really handled it well.  Ella had a good time picking out presents for a little girl, and threw no fits when she was told she would have to wait until Christmas for the myriad number of things she admired on the shelves at Wal-Mart.  Good girl.  On a side note, I think I discovered that Wednesday morning is the perfect time to go to Wal-Mart.  All the shelves were freshly stocked, and thus they had everything I wanted, and I got steaks on sale.  Score.

Wednesday night was a good time of meditating on the attributes of God from A-Z led by my mother-in-law.  It was a good practice in thanksgiving followed by a time of fellowship.  I was not able to sit and talk to anyone for any length of time, however, due to my veteran walker of a week and a half.  James would take off out the door and down the hall at any given moment.  He's a little explorer at heart.  While talking with a man in our church about James, he shared of his sister searching for his young nephews once, only to find them on the roof of their house.  Great.  

Thursday was KJ's day off, and I got up with the kids, but he let me go back to bed later for another hour or so.  I know it's technically his day off, but it's like my day off, too, because I don't really get a day off unless I leave the house or town.  I enjoyed my extra hour of shut-eye very much.  

I had to take James to the doctor's office for two vaccinations right after lunch.  He has never cried much with shots, but yesterday he did.  I could tell it was not so much in pain but out of offense.  He was greatly offended at having his temperature taken rectally and then stuck in the leg twice.  He cried very reproachfully, and who could blame him?  When we arrived home my dad was waiting, and we visited for a few minutes here before Ella and I joined him on an outing to Wal-Mart and Sam's where I picked out a new phone.  Hooray!  It is supposed to arrive by FedEx today, and I am excited about it. The best part was that the one I wanted ended up being free at Sam's this time around.  It was fun getting to spend time with Dad.

When Ella and I got home we began preparations for an impromptu "party," very informal, just a few friends (for all you Harvey lovers).  KJ had been hanging out with some college guys during the afternoon, and a couple of them returned when they heard we were having steak.  We had a great time of conversation, and I must say I enjoy having my table full.  I'm so thankful for the people God has placed in our lives at this time.  God has been so good to us.  

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

"This is like heaven."

After I posted a summary of all our weekend events, I thought of one particular thing that stood out to me at Secret Church on Friday night.  There was an Iranian missionary to Afghanistan (yes, you read that right) that shared about his conversion to Christ and his work in Afghanistan.  Before he spoke David Platt told us of Hamid's reaction upon walking into the sanctuary at Brook Hills.  "You get to worship here in a room this big with hundreds of Christians?  This is like heaven."  

His words made an impact on my heart because he was so right.  All throughout the book of Revelation we're told of thousands upon thousands of people gathered before God's throne in worship.  And that's what we get to do so freely here.  That kind of big-group worship experience can't happen in Afghanistan.  Compared to so many places in the world, this is like heaven.

Monday, November 8, 2010

What a Weekend!

"Now you are the body of Christ and individually members of it."
- 1 Corinthians 12:27 -

Whew...the last few days have been nonstop for us Pughs, which has been fun but is definitely not the norm for us.

Hillary came into town for the weekend late Thursday night, and we have been on-the-go since then.  She has been planning this weekend  home for over a month, and it just so happened that several other events fell on this weekend, too.  After lunch on Friday we took the kids over to KJ's parents house to visit with Hillary's mom, sisters and nephew, as well as the Kizziah clan.  We had a really great visit, but Katie had a hard time getting the children to cooperate for a group picture.  You should definitely take a look at her pictures of 5 2nd cousins on a couch.  I have to give a big thank you to Bethany for letting me borrow some of Sterling's clothes.  James looked super-cute walking down the hallways of the church yesterday morning.  I didn't get a picture of him with his little white shoes with bells (thanks, Aunt Katie!), but he was adorable.  His walking has improved so much during the first week of this new adventure.  

I had just taken his bib off; it obviously wasn't up to the job.

Ella and James spent the afternoon and night with Big Daddy and T while KJ and I were able to attend Secret Church with several friends.  There is no way I could summarize all that was learned about the Body of Christ, but it was really great having 5 hours of teaching.  We actually left early at 11:15 p.m. before the last session started so I'm not sure what time it ended.  That was my first time to attend Secret Church and to hear David Platt speak, and I was very encouraged.

Going to Secret Church

It's a really long night.  Everyone needs a shoulder rub.

I pulled myself from the bed at 9 a.m. Saturday morning (in context, keep in mind I didn't go to bed until nearly 2 a.m.) to go to Wal-Mart and pick up a birthday gift for Ella to take to a party.  I'm so grateful for Mama T helping me with my children so much this weekend so that I could be free on Friday and Saturday.  T took Ella to the party, and I took James home for his morning nap while Hillary and I prepared the house for a birthday party for a friend on Saturday night.  It was a lot of fun.

Happy Birthday to Kim!

I'm glad we had an extra hour Sunday morning, because I definitely needed it.  It was the third really late night in a row for me, and my body was starting to feel it.  Not only did we have late nights but really busy days, as well.  I left with James after Sunday School with a raging headache that thankfully went away after 4 ibuprofen and 1 hour of burying my head in a pillow.  After lunch we attended the celebration service of our friend, Christian Schimdt, where KJ read Scripture.  We have both been so affected by his life and death, though I have not tried to add my words to the many being written about him.  The above link is his obituary, written by his older brother, Caleb.  It gives a taste of what the Lord worked so graciously in Christian during his 21 years.

It has been a very eventful weekend, and I am very thankful for fellowship we had with other believers, but I'm also very thankful to have a "normal" day at home.