Saturday, September 30, 2006

Family Time in Tennessee and Mississippi

Tuesday the three of us headed East. I was really dreading the trip, obviously because we were going for Grandmother's funeral service. And the two days there definitely had their difficult moments. But, as I look back, I am thankful for those days. I'm thankful that so many of us gathered to honor Grandmother and celebrate her life. I'm thankful that we were all there to comfort each other, especially my dad and his siblings. I'm thankful that the life Grandmother led gave us a reason to celebrate, even though we were missing her.

Wednesday evening, after the service, several of us got together at Aunt Pat's house in Hernando, Mississippi. My cousin Denise's kids had their puppy with them. Shelby was freaking out, especially since the puppy was so tiny - just her size. She also discovered magnets, and had a ball playing with them.

As we were sitting around the table, some of my cousins were discussing how they have to have things so-so and how orderly they are when it comes to folding towels or hanging clothes. I chimed in with how I have "assigned" certain hangers to me (pink, purple, and burgundy) and others (blue and green) to Channing because of the color. Aunt Pat grinned, and told me that's because I'm a Mathis and Grandmother did things that way.

It was such a blessing to be with family! I am sure that, if Grandmother could have seen us, she'd be so happy to watch us laughing with one another.

Sunday, September 24, 2006

Grandmother Mathis

Thanks to all of you that have been praying for my grandmother, Cathleen Mathis, and our family over the past few weeks. Grandmother was discharged from the hospital Wednesday and passed away at the nursing home on Friday afternoon. Mom, Dad, and Uncle Don were there visiting her at the time. She was still suffering from pneumonia and was very weak. While we are all saddened by the loss, we can rejoice in the fact that Grandmother was a Christian. She loved the Lord and had served Him faithfully. We are thankful that she is no longer in pain and is with the Father now.

While I was growing up, Grandmother lived in a small apartment not too far from my house. When I visited her, we'd spend the time playing cards, working jigsaw puzzels, and sometimes even going for a walk. There was often a new picture of someone in the family to see. She was so proud of her family. Grandmother had four children, 16 grandchildren, 31 great-grandchildren, and about 10 great-great-grandchildren. Isn't that amazing?!

She was such a fine woman who always put her family first. Her husband died at a young age, leaving her with four small children to raise. Grandmother never remarried, saying that she just focused on taking care of her kids. Finding another mate was never something she considered. While many people might not make the same choice she did, Grandmother's dedication to her children has always been something I've admired about her.

A memory that makes me laugh is from my teen years when Grandmother broke her knee and was staying with us. I came home from school to find Grandmother, Mom, and one of Grandmother's friends at the kitchen table playing Skip-bo. Grandmother and her friend were talking all kinds of smack back and forth like young girls!! Guess that's where I get it.

Please continue to remember the Mathis family in your prayers. While we do have comfort in knowing Grandmother is in Heaven, this time of adjustment will not be easy. Pray also for those traveling, as most of the family live out of town.

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Perfect Day

Today is turning out to be one of those perfect days! I've got the windows up in the living room and dining room, causing a great breeze. I can hear the birds chirping in the trees out in the yard. Shelby and I are going to go for a walk after her nap this afternoon. I love this time of year, when Searcy finally starts cooling off!

I love Chi Omega Pi...

Okay, so I may be going overboard with all these Chi Omega Pi memories, but after looking at all the pictures I've got here, I am feeling quite nostalgic! This all started last week when Jen Gorham blogged about getting a new pink cell phone. She received several comments from former Chi-O's about how they loved pink after being in the pink & green club at Harding. After that, some of the girls made posts on their own blogs about Chi Omega Pi and memories from that special time. Now it's my turn. I LOVED being in Chi-O's!! While I didn't limit myself by only having Chi-O friends, the club was a big part of my Harding experience. Chi-O's helped me grow in many ways. I developed friendships with people that I still have today. Those of you who weren't in Chi-O's...I'm sorry to say that this blog entry might be a bit boring for you.

I remember when Jen and I drove out to Little Indian Creek for "rough night" and were trying to be so tough. I had a hard time keeping a straight face. We had two pledges in the backseat and wouldn't let them talk. Jen borrowed some heavy metal music from Greg Swackhammer and was playing it in the car. I hate heavy metal and was so miserable! I think we both were!

Sophomore year we made a video for the beaux. On it, there are some clips from a softball game. Of all the hitters shown, I was the only one who struck out. How embarrassing! Would you believe though that the next year, I had to fill in during an A-team game and hit a triple?! Where was the video camera then?

Junior year there was a girl who wanted to get in Chi-O's so bad that she sent everyone notes that said, "Fly High with Chi Omega Pi!" I don't remember if she got in, but boy did that little phrase give us some laughs!

The night of the Pie Party junior year, my boyfriend and I broke up. The couple who rode with us broke up that night too. That was quite the ride back to campus! Believe it or not, there wasn't much conversation.

Senior year, on a whim, I asked a practical stranger to the Pie Party. (Molly, do you remember? It was Todd Litton from Michigan!) Guess I wasn't wanting any awkward car rides. It was still a weird night, though. At least I have the funny memory and picture to go along with it.

That year, Lauren (Hensley) Orbison pledged. I wish we had gotten to know each other back then. She now works with Channing at Families, Inc. and has become one of my dearest friends. I don't have a picture with her, otherwise she'd be on one of the picture posts!

Don't forget Jeannine's squirrel impression and Victoria Rachel's song with the line "Please don't use your stick as a knife!"

Thanks for sticking with me! Hope you enjoyed my trip down memory lane.

Chi Omega Pi pictures

Here are some pictures that I found while looking through some photo albums tonight. I wanted to find some pictures that would bring back memories for some of you. Enjoy!
The picture below shows most of the girls in my first Chi-O prayer group. Jenny, Jessica, Laura, Jennifer, Ann, Christy, and Christina (not pictured) were already in a group together when I jumped to Chi-O's my sophomore year. I really was excited that they asked me to join their prayer group. The next year others joined as well. Thursday Night P.G was always such a special time for me. We were a close group of girls.
Christie, Laura, Jennifer, and I lived together our junior year. We had the coolest apartment in Searcy Hall...there was a big Chi Omega Pi banner hanging on our wall! There were so many good memories from this year. We had many late night conversations and some good road trips, too. Each of these girls are very special to me. I'm thankful they're a part of my life!
I remember having so much fun laughing with Molly the first few times we ever hung out. Her favorite color is yellow, and it fits her personality perfectly. One of the things I appreciate most about Molly is how genuinely excited she gets whenever we talk on the phone or see each other. She actually squeals in delight! I love it!!

Look what else I found!

Annie was a very good friend of mine. She always had a smile on her face. I remember crying so hard when I said good-bye to her at graduation! I sure wish we were still in touch. It's been at least 3 years since we talked, but I'm sure we'd be able to pick right back up where we left off.
It has been such a blessing to be back in touch with Lisa! I was always so impressed by her, and the strong woman of God that she was. If you know her and aren't reading her blog, you've got to start, because Lisa is quite the writer!
How do you like the braids?! Marie has been a friend of mine since sophomore year, but I think our friendship grew the most during my last semester. We even lived together after I graduated for about a month before her wedding. Marie gave me a Willow Tree angel that makes me smile every day.
I remember meeting Amanda when I was visiting for Chi-Os. She was having a stressful day because of her nursing schedule, but was still open to my visit. Amanda always seemed to trust God, even when things didn't seem to make sense. She would often ask how I was doing spiritually and prayed for me regularly.
Ann and I have been friends since freshman year. We have shared so many special memories! Ann's friendship brought me closer to the Lord in many ways. She and her family are missionaries in Mozambique now.

Monday, September 18, 2006

More Weekend Pictures

Shelby and Aunt Nunda

Justin and Morgan

Blake and Shelby

Mom and Dad

Shelby and Uncle David

Family Pictures

The Grandkids
John, Nunda (my sister), Justin, and Morgan
David (my brother), Lisa, and Blake

Happy Birthday, Justin!

My nephew, Justin, is 20 now. I am not sure that he reads my blog, but I hope that he does today! I was only 8 years old when he was born, so it has been hard to think of him as my nephew, but a little brother instead. I remember being so excited on the way to school, because I knew that I'd go to the hospital as soon as I got home that afternoon. It is hard to believe that was 20 years ago.

Justin, if you're reading this, HAPPY BIRTHDAY!! We all love you and hope you have a wonderful day. This morning when I told Shelby it was your birthday, she grinned and said, "Justin!" So I think that counts for some birthday wishes too!

Sunday, September 17, 2006

Update on Family Stuff

First, I wanted to thank you all for praying about our weekend.

The time spent with my family on Saturday for Justin's birthday was good. We ate great food, thanks to the culinary skills of my sister Nunda and her husband John. There were a lot of laughs too. We took family pictures. Nunda's great idea was for all of us to wear white shirts and blue jeans. I think they will turn out great. We'll post some when they get developed. Justin was very quiet, and no one said anything about his return to Fort Carson or his deployment. I think we are all just trying to focus on the positive. I just pray that Justin knows that we all love him and will lift him up to the Father every day.

Grandmother was discharged from the hospital on Friday. We aren't sure exactly why, except that the pneumonia was clearing up and she would be returning to the nursing home for continued care. Unfortunately, when we returned from lunch today, we learned that Grandmother had been taken back to the hospital. She is suffering from slight dehydration, pneumonia, and low blood pressure. (I think that's all.) Please continue to pray for her comfort and health.

Please keep all of us in your prayers, as there is just so much going on in my family right now!

Answered Prayers

Just wanted to pass along the news that little Max Julian is home now. Check out the Julian family's blog for the update and cute pictures.

Friday, September 15, 2006

Calling All Chi Omega Pi Girls!

If you were in Chi Omega Pi while at Harding, check out Lisa (Bliss) Leichner's blog by clicking on the link to the right. Today she made a post that is sure to bring a smile to your face, and possibly a tear to your eye. Lisa has inspired me to post about my own memories of pink and green. Stay tuned. I will write that one sometime next week.

Emotional Weekend Ahead

Please pray for us. This weekend's trip to Tennesee was originally planned to celebrate my nephew's 20th birthday and see him before he leaves for Iraq. That's going to make this weekend hard enough. While it will be good to see everyone in my family, I am dreading that last hug with Justin as I walk out my sister's door. Justin will be deployed in October, and will be gone about a year. So, please pray for Justin's peace of mind as he gets ready to leave. Pray also for his safety while he is away. And pray for all of us, the Channing, Mathis, and Morris families, as we will certainly be worrying about Justin. Pray that God will give all of us His peace.

While in Tennessee, we will also visit my grandmother, who has been in the hospital with pneumonia this week. Grandmother is 95 and has had several hospital trips in the last year for various things. This seems to be the worst, most serious situation. Pray for Grandmother, that she will be comfortable and pain-free. Pray also for my parents, and my dad's siblings as they spend a lot of time at the hospital with Grandmother.

Thursday, September 14, 2006

Happy Birthday!

Today's birthday wishes go out to Channing's mom. Happy Birthday, Lillie! We love you and hope that you have a blessed day. The three of us look forward to seeing you later this month.

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Keep praying for Max!

Just a reminder of the request for prayer on behalf of Max Julian. I posted about this on Aug. 26. Check out the blog to get daily updates: Thanks!

Monday, September 11, 2006

Shelby's Competition

It looks like Shelby has some competition in the hair department! Check out little Zoe's hair...I see a mohawk in her future. Bet it's as good as Shelby's!

Saturday, September 09, 2006

More Old Mill Pictures

Shelby was very frustrated when we took this picture. She is not a fan of grass. We have a serious princess on our hands!

This is one of my favorite pictures from today. Since Shelby has come on the scene, Channing and I don't get our picture taken together very often. We had the tripod with us today and were able to take some couple shots while Shelby watched from the stroller.

This is one of Channing's favorites. It was taken not long after we got there, and Shelby was lovin' the camera!

Shelby was getting very tired of all the pictures by the time this picture was taken. Still, this is a good one, even though her frustration might be a little obvious. These are my two greatest gifts from God.

The Old Mill

Today we went to Little Rock and spent some time at the Old Mill. Neither Channing nor I had been there in a while, and it was nice to make a new memory as a family. We took a bunch of pictures, despite Shelby's objections. She loved all the pretty flowers, plants, and fountains. She liked going over the bridges also. Gone With the Wind fans will recognize this picture from one of the movie's scenes.

Friday, September 08, 2006

Memory Retrieval and Grandmothers

I am going through Believing God, a Bible study written by Beth Moore. This week is focusing on God's presence in our life at all times. An assignment for the week involves a little memory retrieval. One of the questions in the workbook asked who among my extended family had the most impact on my belief in God. Of course I thought of my parents, who always taught me about God. But, dealing with my extended family, my mind went straight to both of my grandmothers. I am blessed to come from a family that loves the Lord and follows Him. My dad's mom, Grandmother, has made an incredible impact on me spiritually because she always read her Bible. If memory serves me correctly, there was a Bible on the table in the living room and one next to her bed. She would often tell me what she'd been reading, either a passage from the Bible or an article out of a religious magazine. Grandmother also loved her church family. At the age of 95, she is unable to attend services because of declining health. I know that it was very difficult for her to come to that decision, and that she's missed worshipping God with other believers.

My mom's mother, Grandma, also made an impact on my relationship with the Lord. She too talked about God's Word and her love for it. When we'd visit her church, Grandma would be one of the sweet little ladies singing songs like "On Jordan's Stormy Banks" as loud as she could. She loved praising her Father. During tonight's memory retrieval exercise, something came to mind that I had not thought of in a very long time. In the year between Grandpa's and Grandma's passings, I would sleep on the other twin bed in Grandma's room when we'd visit her. I remember a couple times when Grandma would get into bed, tell me good night, wait a few minutes, and then start praying. She talked so quietly, and I would strain to hear her. I know that those are probably the only times I ever heard her pray, and am so thankful for the memory of it tonight.

What a blessing it is to have such a heritage! I am thankful for my grandmothers, who were the spiritual leaders of their families. Tonight, my prayer is that I will pass on that heritage to my own children.

Our Week

On Sunday, Shelby and I left to visit family in Tennessee. Channing went to a wedding that night in Searcy and then to a wonderful men's worship night led by Chris Austin. Monday, Shelby and I visited Nunda and her family. It was so good to see Justin again, who is home from Fort Carson, Colorado. Shelby loves her cousins (Justin and Morgan), Aunt Nunda, and Uncle John! Channing spent his Labor Day relaxing, watching Lord of the Rings, and having a cook-out with a couple friends. It was back to work on Tuesday for Channing. Shelby and I got to visit extended family all day on Tuesday. That morning, we hung out with Aunt Jeannie and Uncle Joe for a little while, which is always a blessing. We love them and always enjoy getting to see them while we're in town. Later that day, my cousin Donna (visiting from Alaska) came over to my parents' house, along with Aunt Pat and Uncle Don, my dad's sister and brother. We just don't see extended family often enough. It was so good to see Donna and catch up with her family. We hope to make it up to Alaska sometime for a visit, especially since Channing used to live there and is itching to get back. Shelby and I came home on Wednesday. It was so good to get back! Channing had a beautiful vase of flowers waiting for me on the dining room table. What a wonderful surprise to come home to!! Shelby was tickled to see her daddy. She kept putting her little hands on his face and hugging him. Being gone for several days at the beginning of the week has really made it a short one for me. Channing has had to remind me more than once that today is Friday and that another weekend is upon us!

Happy Birthday, Stacy!

Today my very good friend, Stacy Wallace, is celebrating a birthday. Stacy and I have been friends for as long as I can remember. We grew up going to church together in Memphis. I have so many memories of her that make me smile. Several memories are from playing a variety of pranks. One of those nights, we learned a valuable lesson about oreo cookies. Do not put oreo cookies on someone's car. They take the finish off!!

Stacy, I hope that you have a blessed birthday today. Thank you for being such a significant part of my life. I thank God for you.

Friday, September 01, 2006

Get to Know Your Friends

I obviously love to read Julie Kiser's blog, since this is the second time I've stolen an idea from her blog. Over the years, I've received so many e-mails where you're supposed to answer at least thirty questions about yourself. Well, here's a shorter version. Hopefully my version will be as popular as Julie's. I'll give my answers as a comment.

1. Were you named after anyone?
2. What was the last movie you saw?
3. What's your favorite reality tv show?
4. What's your favorite vacation spot?
5. What's your favorite thing about fall?
6. What's your favorite flavor of ice cream?
7. If you could be anywhere right now, where would you be?
8. If you could have dinner with anyone, living or deceased, who would it be?