Monday, September 23, 2013

"Happy Birthday to Others!" (Marlena's 11th Birthday)

Here's the group that gathered to help Marlena celebrate her 11th birthday.
It might just look like your ordinary group of girls, but it isn't. From left to right, we have Marlena, Hauna Laya, Brooklyn, Daisy, Lindy, then Alexis. The girls range in grades from 1st - 8th grades. How did they all come to be here for Marlena's party? It went something like this.
A couple of months back, Marlena decided that instead of getting any presents for her birthday, she would take that money and buy some outfits for two little girls who had recently begun attending our church, Alexis (2nd grade) and her sister Hauna Laya (1st grade). As Marlena began making plans, her friend Brooklyn decided that she wanted to help with the shopping. (The shopping trip has already been written about previously.) Excitement grew as Marlena and Brooklyn decided to also make a cake for the party. They wrapped all the presents, keeping straight who would get what items. It seemed like a forever-long week between the shopping trip and the actual party, to Marlena, but the day finally arrived.

Alexis and Hauna Laya hadn't been told that it was Marlena's birthday but they quickly figured it out. After eating homemade pizza, they were eager to give her the presents that were stacked nearby. Marlena opened a couple of cards from Brooklyn and Daisy and even got a new soccer ball from her siblings! She was thrilled! And just as we were trying to tell the little girls why they had to stop bringing the rest of the presents to Marlena, her daddy comes through on his way out to the woods with Taylor for the last few minutes of daylight.
(He wasn't a necessary player in the rest of the party!) As her daddy squeezed her and told her how proud he was of her, mom snapped a quick picture before wiping tears from her own eyes! Marlena was too excited about what was coming to see the emotion on her mom's face or even see the tears in Mrs. Judy's eyes (she had been invited because of her love for Marlena).
Now comes the fun part. I get to tell the girls that those presents are for them! I had already warned Marlena that they might not really "get it." They might not understand her sacrifice but she didn't care about that. However, little Alexis surprised me. Very thoughtfully she said, "This is Marlena's special day so she should be getting the presents. But instead, she is giving them to us!" She got it!
From that point on, it was chaos of the fun sort! Clothes flying everywhere, poses made, and pictures being snapped. The idea was for every article of clothing to be tried on so that we could see how we did guessing sizes. The Marlena and Brooklyn were so pleased with their selections of clothes! And the only real size issues we had were with shoes--pretty good considering all the things that were bought. It was great and Marlena (along with Brooklyn and Lindy and Daisy) enjoyed every minute of it! The little girls loved having bigger girls make over them and compliment them on their new clothes. Many of the outfits were bought at Second Glance Consignment in Union City (upscale used clothing) but several items were brand new as well.
Everyone seemed pleased with the evening, not to mention Mrs. Judy. She was very moved by watching the whole evening unfold. I think she was moved by how the little girls responded and definitely challenged by the generosity of one 11- year-old girl! Just so we have this in writing, Marlena, your mom is very proud of you! It was an evening this mom won't forget for a long time.

River Rat Race 2013

The yearly 5K that kicks off the Hickman Pecan Festival week was almost here. Last year at this time, I ran my first "race" and won for the females! This year, I have struggled with consistency in my running routine but felt ready to run again, though this time my husband wasn't running with me. .
Disappointed by the fact that I would be attending the race alone, I began trying to find a ride there. Jason and Taylor were talking of going squirrel hunting. Then late Friday afternoon, much to my delight and surprise, they decided to support me and both run the race instead of hunting! I was so pumped! "Every man for himself, though, Guys!" I made sure to clarify before race day. I didn't want to feel guilty if I ended up having to pass either one of them. Taylor had never run 3 miles before in his life. "Just don't take off too quickly like some of the men will. They will be thrown off by Drew Worley's speed. Just take your time and pace yourself." Those were my words of advice for my 14-year-old son. As if he needed any.

The race began. Drew was off like lightning, and there went Taylor, following behind. I stayed calm and set my pace because the hill was coming right off the bat. Jason and Taylor were ahead of me and made it up the hill with no problem. The gap between Taylor and me kept widening and by mile 2 I rarely caught a glimpse of him. Towards the end of mile 2, the road stretched straight for a while and I could see him still going strong. At the beginning of the third mile, I had to pass Jason (who had only been running 2 miles in his training time) and he handled it so graciously. I never got close to Taylor!

Taylor's final time in his first 5K -- 23:08!! He came in 2nd place in the whole race, second only to Drew Worley.
My final time -- 24:40! My best official time and better than last year's run, putting me in 1st place overall for the females and 3rd place overall (and at 41 years old, I might add).
Jason's final time -- 25:??. He came in 5th place overall, beating out all the younger men except the two teenage boys!

We all felt quite pleased with ourselves, but I know that if we went to a bigger race, we would quickly be humbled. :) I was so proud of Taylor, and I learned something about him that day. He has the ability to keep going, even when he is hurting and things aren't comfortable. He can press on. I was glad to see that and very proud of him!

Drew and I got the trophies for the race, which caused us to get written up in the paper as Repeat River Rat Race winners! A fun day!

Saturday, September 7, 2013

Chef Schaeffer!

Tuesday, September 3, found Schaeffer helping mom in the kitchen making homemade granola bars. He especially enjoyed getting his hands messy while flattening the bars in the pan.

Labor Day Weekend Fun!

Since there was no school on Monday, Lindy invited a few friends over Sunday night after church to spend the night. They decided to go bowling and then to eat supper at Arby's. For some crazy reason, they also wanted to stop in Walmart and "mess things up a bit!" ha! ha! They are good girls, so I didn't have many worries over what they would do. They ended their time together by swimming at Pat Major's on Monday. Fun times for good friends!
Allie McCullough, Lindy, Haley Hartman, Josie Prehoda, Daisy Major, and Marlena.

Jay's First Dove

Labor Day morning,
Jay went dove hunting with Taylor and dad. He killed his first dove! He was so proud. Dad and Taylor also killed 3 more for a total of 4 doves down Monday morning. Way to go, Jay!

Shopping for her birthday. . .but not for herself

"Mom, for my birthday this year, can I take the money you would normally use to buy me a present and buy some clothes for Alexis and Hauna Laya?" Silence. Wow, what a kid! "Sure, Marlena, if that's what you want to do. Think on it and make sure, but that is a great idea." That was probably 6 weeks ago and the girl has only gotten more excited about her idea as the weeks have passed.
At some point, her friend Brooklyn Major found out what she was doing and wanted to join in. So last Saturday (Aug. 31), the three of us spent the day in Union City shopping. They both knew that we only had $100, which sounds like a lot but doesn't last long when shopping for two little girls. So we agreed to start off at the consignment shop "Second Glance." We had checked sizes with their mom, who still doesn't know what we are doing. Surprises are so much fun! Even mom has gotten caught up in the excitement of giving to others! My heart was so blessed, though, watching these two 6th grade girls enjoying bargain-shopping for two little girls who need clothes more than they do.
Not once did these girls ask for something for themselves and they had a blast trying to find matching items that they liked and were on sale. Brooklyn was surprised how quickly the money added up, which I figured it always a good lesson for kids to learn. We did the bulk of our purchasing at "Second Glance" then went to Goodwill where we found matching brand new boots for the girls. Then we got to use a JCPenney giftcard for $50 (compliments of dad)and bought some brand new items to fill in the "gaps". I enjoyed treating Marlena and Brooklyn to lunch at Pizza Hut before we could finish our shopping.
Then we concluded by going to Walmart and buying the ingredients for an owl cupcake "cake" that Marlena will decorate before the party. I couldn't be more proud of this child! She has even made the comment, "I am more excited about this birthday than any ever before!" Marlena has shown our family on numerous times how to give sacrificially. I am so proud of you, Marlena Ruby Sipes!

Thursday, August 29, 2013

It Feels Like Progress

A sign went up today on the new church lot. . .I don't know why it excited me so much, but it did. It feels like maybe we are moving forward. Dirt work should begin next week, that will definitely feel like progress. But for now, a sign that shows people where we will be building is encouraging. I have tried to describe the location on many occasions. Now it won't be necessary. Thanks, anonymous donor, for thinking of a sign. It tells the community, we are making plans. We will return. The people of West Hickman Baptist Church in Hickman, Kentucky will have a church building of their own again one of these days, the Lord willing. But for now, we are content to keep doing ministry from wherever God allows.