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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,

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.


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

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 for more info and tickets.

Hope to see you there, leigh

Happy New Year!

Happy late New Year,

Hope that you all are doing well. It's been a long time since I wrote. I can't believe it's already the 2nd week of January. My December was full and I loved every minute. Over Christmas break we had LOTS of "family time". From the 19th -31st we had family at our house. If I'm honest, it's just nice to not have to travel. My wonderful Mother -n-law, Mary K, started the chain of family members. I am so lucky to have the easiest Mother n law in the world. We had lots of fun getting all of the pre-Christmas stuff done. LOTS AND LOTS of wrapping. Here she is with us on Christmas Eve.

My Mom and Dad joined us on the 23rd. I surprised my Mom and Mother n law with tickets to The Rockettes Christmas Spectacular. It is always soooo amazing!!. I mean really, I want to be able to dance like that. If I tried to kick my leg up that high, I would crack something for sure. Here is pic of my parents with us on Christmas Eve. My mom and Dad always made Christmas so special when I was a kid. i always had Christmas with my grandparents growing up, so I'm thankful that they make it a point to be with my kids during Christmas.

So late Christmas Eve, my oldest sister Donita and her family joined us. That is always extra special for my boys to get to be with their cousins who they rarely get to see. The only sad part was that my middle sister, Dayna, and her husband Ty were not able to be with us this year.

So with so much of our routine way off schedule, I'm finding it hard to get back in the groove of school and basketball schedules. However, I'm excited about the new year. It's a time to think about the things you hope for to come. Our church did something that was very meaningful to me. Our pastor was talking about how much gratitude and hope are inter-related. It is in the remembering of the things that God has done that make you know you have hope for the future. He had us take some time to write out some specific ways that God was faithful to us last year. We then took time to thank God for His evidence in our lives. Then he had us write down things that we are hopeful for this next year. f could see that by my being thankful for the past, I have hope that God hasn't forgotten me. He is faithful and will come through in my circumstances. It immediately helped relieve some things that I was anxious for in the coming months. Try it, maybe it will help you as well.

No matter what you are facing this year, I hope you know that God will be there every step.

Shelley Says...

Happy New Year everyone!!

We are at home today savoring the last official day of vacation. Caroline had close to 3 weeks off and we have loved every single minute of it. I LOVE CHRISTMAS BREAK!!!!

We got to do lots of fun and Christmas-y things together - I wish I would have taken more pictures! Isn't that always the case?!

I took Caroline and our neighbor Sarah to see the Nashville Nutcracker and it was so so good. The next night we went to see the Rockettes. We took our good friend Michael along with us. I bought him a ticket for his Christmas present because he had never seen them. It was such a fun night and great way to kick off the holidays.

Here is a picture outside of the Opry House before the Rockettes that Michael took of us…

I finally got a new BLACK purse for Christmas - that brown one is SO OLD….I'm retiring it. It's been good to me, but bye bye…

Dave took this one with Michael. I told him he should send it out as his Christmas card. Hahahhaha….(I really just wanted you to see his dapper coat and scarf) (and shoes)

After the show we picked up David's brother Brian from the airport, and went to eat at Bricktops, our FAVE restaurant. I wish I could say the "Eat Fest" didn't start until that night, which was the 21st, but unfortunately it started WAY before that…very unfortunate.

My parents got to my house on the 22nd, and we had such a sweet Christmas. Caroline LOVED having her Uncle Bri and Mimi and Boppa here.

We even cranked up the hot tub a few times…

The pool was 52 degrees and I'm pretty sure there were a few kids in it on a few occasions. (Something about the "polar bear club.") No thanks.

No thanks to 52 degrees and no thanks to putting on a swimsuit. HA!

We have a tradition that my mom started with us when we were kids - that is to pick ONE gift to open on Christmas Eve. Caroline opened this Disneyworld game that David found for her on ebay. She and the neighbor kids have played that thing a thousand times. Money well spent!

I look at this picture of her and her dad, and I think…David is getting cuter the older he gets. Men are lucky in that way. HA!

Here is Caroline and her Uncle Bri. Right after we got home on Christmas Eve. Church and Chinese food. So all American!

aaaaaaaaand here is Mimi on Christmas Day. Cooking up some Parmesan Mashed Potatoes. The Eat Fest continues…

Well - those are just few of our holiday moments…
Hope you had a wonderful restful Christmas and that your New Year is off to a great start!!