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Shelley Says…

Happy Friday everyone! It has been a COOOOLD week here in Nashville - but I guess 'tis the season. We are gearing up for our Girls of Grace conference in Nashville tomorrow, and everyone is so excited. We will be in Birmingham, AL in a couple of weeks - so if you live around there it's not too late to get tickets HERE.

Well, my baby got her first pair of glasses.

Here she is leaving the "glasses store". She was so excited. After a few months of complaining, I finally took her in and sure enough - nearsighted. When I asked Caroline if she could really see better now, she said "Yes mom! It's like the whole world is in 3D!" Then last night, when we were walking next door, she stared at the trees and said "I never realized how beautiful all the branches were. I couldn't really see each one before." I was like "Nice to meet you Robert Frost."

Out of the mouths of babes, right??

Are you going to watch the Oscars Sunday night?? I totally will - my favorite part is the red carpet on E! I love Ryan and Giuliana, and I LOVE seeing what everyone is wearing. And passing judgement on them if I don't like it. Just kidding. But not really.

I hope you all have a wonderful weekend-

Kiss all your children, dance with your wife!
Shelley

Happy President's Day!!!!

Can't say that I was unhappy this morning as I got to sleep in:) Yay! NO SCHOOL. Woohoo! Last week was a crazy, but wonderful week at my boy's school. It was our Spiritual Emphasis Week. I am on the committee that helps facilitate it, so I spent a lot of time at school. It was an amazing week though. I got to see and hear some amazing speakers and singers that blessed me. KJ-52, the Katinas (who are ALWAYS incredible), Matt Wertz (who sang to our high school students) He has a new record coming out that you should definitely give a try. My good friend Chris Wheeler knocked it out of the park again with the middle school students and Annie Downs and David Ott were amazing as well. Those were just some of the things we had. I saw God do some pretty neat things in the lives of some of the students. That was the main point of the week.

The week before that, we were on the Kathy Troccoli "Amongst Friends" cruise. And it was indeed among friends. The POG hubbies were there and we thoroughly enjoyed hanging out with our friends Kathy, Ellie Lofero, Scott Krippayne, Don Moen, and my new friend Jennifer Rothchild. It was an amazing week. I'm so thankful that our ship was not the one that got stuck in the middle of the ocean. I'm afraid that Shelley would not have made it off the boat.

Here are a few pics. Most of my pictures were in bathing suits (which I didn't find too flattering or appropriate) haha.

Here is Stu and I on one of the formal nights. Very rarely do we ever dress up, so it was kinda fun. I'd still prefer dinner in my sweats. LOL.

I can't tell you how much I enjoyed my time with these two New Yorkers! We laughed and cried a little bit. Such a sweet time together.

Then just time on the beach with my sweetie. The weather couldn't have been more amazing. When we weren't enjoying the beautiful outdoors, or eating, we started watching Downton Abby. Yes we brought season 1 and 2 and finished it by the last day. I now see what all the fuss is about. We love it.

I can't believe I'm saying this, but we had such a great time that we are thinking about going on a cruise this summer with the boys. It's one way to get them away from their phones and Ipads because there is no service, AND still have a ton of fun things to do. hmmmmm we will see.

Have a great day!
Love,
Denise

Thoughts On Marriage From Denise

I went to a wedding shower for a beautiful bride to be yesterday. You know that you are getting older when you are now going to bridal showers for your friend's daughter. Ugh! Her name is Meredith Wood. Her mom has been a friend and mentor for me over the years. I was asked to share something that I've learned about marriage that I would want Meredith to know, and then share my hope for her as she starts this new part of life I guess they thought since I've been married 20 years, I should be all wise and knowing. haha. It did give me a chance to reflect on the things that I have learned through the years.

1. Be his biggest cheerleader. There are going to be plenty of other people to go up against him. He needs to know that you are in his corner. He needs to know that his "best friend" believes in him. Even when he doesn't make the right choice or slips and falls. His desire is to be adored just as much as I want to be adored by him. Sometimes, it's not that we don't, but in the chaos and busyness of life we sometimes stop letting him know that.

2. Find woman in your life who are 1 or 2 stages ahead of you to be friends with. When you encounter a new season of life that you are unsure of, you are able to ask questions and get some guidance.

3. Keep growing in the Lord. As you grow and he grows the hope would be that Jesus will be the glue when bad seasons come. Because they will come. Marriage is full of twists and turns. You will NEED God to be in the middle of it.

My hope for her and for me is that we won't let our marriages get stagnant. It's so easy to do. When jobs, kids, life gets so routine its easy to just start coasting. My prayer is that we as woman will continue to find ways to connect with our spouse in whatever season of life we are in. Those ways of connecting may have to change, but that we will never stop working at it.

The one last piece of advice was something I forgot to share, but I heard it from Leigh not too long ago. Don't forget to use "manners". It sounds silly but it is true. Please, thank you, I'm sorry, I really appreciate ......... Those are basic manners that we use with others around us all the time, but sometimes with our husband we just start barking orders and forget that they deserve kindness. When other things may not be going right, we can still make an effort just by using basic manners.

Anyway, I don't know if any of this was a good reminder for you today, but it was a good reminder for me so I thought I'd share with you. Have a great day.

Much Love,
Denise

Shelley Says...

Happy Friday everyone!

Can you believe it's almost the end of January?? This month has FLOWN by but it has been so good. I love January - we don't usually work at all during the month, so it gives us time to reorganize things at home (love this) and enjoy some downtime after the holidays. I've had time to read a bit more, too, which I always love. I thought I would give you a couple of book recs in case your looking for something new. :0) Of course I had to read the new Grisham thriller, The Racketeer. John never disappoints - and I learned a lot about our prison system in the process. (Not a great picture was painted.) Then I was ENTHRALLED by Bill O'Reilly's book "Killing Kennedy. If you are interested in the details of the White House Kennedy years at all, you'll really enjoy this book.

Speaking of thoroughly enjoying, I just finished Nichole Nordeman's Love Story. This is a GREAT read. It made me look at characters in the Bible (that were very familiar to me) in a new light, and with a much deeper appreciation. I love when a writer can go beyond the surface of a story, and dissect how people may have really felt in a particular situation. Nichole is a genius wordsmith. Her book totally had me in tears many times, and laughing out loud just as much.

Two nights ago Dave and I went to see KEANE with another couple at the Ryman downtown. It was a great show and I loved getting to know Jodi and Chris. They are a new duo on our record label called "Love and the Outcome." They moved here from Canada not too long ago, and their record comes out in August.

Here we are before the show with Jodi. Isn't she so pretty? I'm inspired to get a new tube of red lipstick! tres chic!

It was sort of a celebration of the band's signing, so David wanted to take them to dinner before. We ate at The Palm, which has one of my favorite salads in the city. It's called the "Gigi". I have no idea why, but here it is…

Shrimp, avocado, green beans, bacon…yup! I love salads, but especially when someone else cuts up all the stuff for me. :0)

Here is Keane on stage. If you don't have any of their music, Hopes and Fears is the one to buy… however, if you already have that, their newest one, Strangeland, is totally awesome.

Just my opinion. But I don't lie.

We have been busy this week with after school activities and such, so I'm looking forward to the weekend and a little downtime. I am hosting a friend's Bachelorette Party tonight at my house. It will be a tame one - Caroline is planning on helping me. Someone else is doing all the cooking (Thai) and all I have to do is set the table and get dessert. I'm excited for someone else to cook in my kitchen besides "yours truly." Bring that on.

David promised to smoke a turkey in his smoker on Saturday for me. I'm holding him to that. It's already thawing in the fridge! We just might have a repeat Thanksgiving Saturday night…hahahaha…wonder if I can hold that Thai chef over??

I hope ya'll have a beautiful weekend.

Love,
Shelley

Baby Andy ... And Nashville

Happy New Year Everyone!!!

THE ANDY UPDATE: Sweetest part of my New Year is watching my family love on our newest addition! Andy is such a joy and I can't believe he is 8 weeks old already.

We are still trying to conquer sleeping through the night but other than that, it has been nothing but delightful! Here is a sneak peak of how much happiness this baby boy brings. ( Look at those muscles!!).

Now that is out of the way, here is some additional important breaking news: Girls Of Grace is coming HOME!!!

That's right...We will be in Nashville or shall I say "Nowville". According to a recent article in the N.Y. times titled "Nashville takes it's turn in the spotlight", features our great city - Nashville, Tn POG's HOMETOWN. Check out the article
HERE
.

This is the place to be... those of us who have lived here recognize all of it's beauty and tremendous amounts of activities. So what more perfect excuse would you need than to come on down to our Girls of Grace event, Feb. 23rd at Christ Church. You could enjoy an adventurous weekend - a trip to the Music City Hall of Fame, a visit to the Ryman Auditorium and even catch a show at the Grand Ole Opry... and so much more!!! We have some of the best food choices too.

Grab a bunch of your girlfriends and join me, Shelley, and Denise for a fun filled Saturday! You will hear from some of the best speakers around - Chris Wheeler is extraordinary!! Each one of his messages can't be missed. Mom's and Youth leaders, you will be thrilled with his message "Wait for Steak"!!! The importance of recognizing what God's best is for each of our lives - not beef jerky, but STEAK!! Annie Downs also has a strong pulse on what is happening in the lives of all our teen girls today. She helps them understand the importance of boundaries in all aspects of life - especially social media. And this is only a glimpse of what the day holds - it's is so much more!!! Please join us February 23rd, here in Nashville, TN at Christ Church or check out our website girlsofgrace.com for more info and tickets.

Hope to see you there, leigh