Thursday, April 28, 2011


My students have started a unit on descriptive writing. I could not think of anything more exciting or dear to my heart than blogging! What a fun way to spend 2-3 weeks writing, huh? Usually I try to give them examples of projects I want them to do, so I've been showing them blog posts I have written. You may notice a plethora of blog posts in the next couple of weeks. We have a pretty fun line-up on our hands, so feel free to join us in writing about our topics!

Today's topic is hard to narrow down: a pet you have now or have had. Growing up on a farm, I was exposed to pets every single day of my life. Horses, cows (are those pets?), dogs, cats, rabbits, chickens, and now bees (my dad's version of a mid-life crisis) have been front and center of my 24 years. However, when I thought about which one pet I was going to pick, it wasn't any of the ones I've loved on the farm. For my pet spotlight, I decided to choose "my" new dog, Jett!

Okay, Jett is really Cash's dog. Before I went to Texas the first time, I had teased Cash about getting rid of Jett. I almost want to cry just thinking of that situation. No way could I ever let Cash get rid of him now!

I mean, just look at the face! This was one of my first days in Texas, and I'm not sure he was greeting me with friendly eyes since I stole his dad's attention. But we quickly bonded since I stayed home with him everyday. Typically, Jett has to go outside during the day. So a whole week in the house without Cash home made him start to love me too. Well, I thought so anyway until he REFUSED to go outside one morning before lunch. Cash was coming to pick me up, and I had to get Jett out. I tried everything--opening the door, going outside myself, hollering for him. Eventually, I just had to pick him up and carry him, because he sat on the floor of the office looking so sad.

He looks kind of terrified of me here! He was probably thinking, "What is this crazy lady going to do to me?! She's come in here 5 times and now has this little box that flashes." One day Jett even tried the whole throw-up-on-the-bathroom-floor maneuver to keep from going outside. When his dad got home, though, we let him back in to watch TV with us. Well, we watched TV. He just watched the dust on the floor. He's such a pouter!

Another thing about Jett is that he drools nonstop. I can't sit down, stand up, or walk without getting dog drool all over my clothes! Finally, I learned to carry around a paper towel and wipe his mouth every time he got near me.

Since the weather in west Texas is so warm, I got to lay out with my friend Barbara over Spring Break. We had been shopping that afternoon, and on our way back to Cash's I said, "Hey...come lay out! Cash has a pool, and we can sit in the lounge chairs!" Luckily, Barbara had a swimsuit in her 4Runner, so we just chilled in the backyard. Of course, Jett wanted to be in the middle of it all. He ran around and around the pool and even started walking down the steps into the pool. Also, he thinks the diving board is a toy, so he jumps over and ducks under it when he's trying to play. He's on a mission here!

I was so sad when I had to leave him the first time. Last weekend I flew back to Midland, and we had so many plans! I didn't get to see Jett as much. However, when I first got to Cash's house, I ran outside and grabbed my boy and squeeeeezed him! I love that dog. And, you know, I think he's starting to love me too.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

I Prayed for Rain

It's so dry out here in west Texas. Whoaaaa...I'm still in west Texas, and it's TUESDAY!

No, I didn't quit my job. I didn't take an extended vacation, on purpose. Nor did I just get here.

Cash sent me a link a week or so ago that the mayor of Midland had posted for a day of prayer for rain for the city. I teased and said I wasn't praying for rain, because I was tired of the rain in Arkansas. However, Midland needs rain...and Arkansas has ALL of it. Needless to say, I prayed for rain. It just ended up at home instead of in Texas.

I was set to fly out Sunday evening. After sitting on the runway (and Midland has the smallest aircrafts that would ever fly commercially) for nearly 3 hours, the pilot came on and said our flight was cancelled. They had to rebook me for the next day.

Although I sat and looked at a clear sky, drought-driven lands, and of course tumbleweed I was just kind of amazed that weather was so bad in Dallas that ALL flights were cancelled in and out of DFW. It truly is mesmorizing to watch the weather and its patterns. I won't lie. The first night I laughed hysterically as I climbed back into Cash's truck.

You see, I don't ever want to leave him. I love Arkansas, my job, my family. But I really, really, really love Cash. And he always has to leave me at the airport crying my bloody eyes out. That night I was waiting to board, and I texted him, "I'm walking right out of this airport. Come pick me up." Of course in that moment I was merely teasing. I long for the days I don't have to leave him at the terminal, but right now I have obligations and commitments in Arkansas.

So when I called him and told him my flight was really cancelled, I'm not sure he believed me. I laughed the entire trip home as he just shook his head. I actually started believing he didn't want me back there! But he sucked it up and let me ride in the cart with him yesterday as he and his dad played golf. I had so much fun with them, even though I had to do homework most of the 18 holes.

When golf was over, Cash brought me home and let me get showered and ready for my flight. In the meantime he looked up my flights, and yet again...they were CANCELLED! It wasn't near as funny this time. At all.

I can make the best of this situation, because I'm with Cash. But that's my fear. I feel like everyone knows I'm in Midland, so they don't think I'm trying to get home. Knowing my flights were cancelled, we went to the airport anyway. Cash said he was kicking me out no matter what..LOL. American was nice enough to give me a refund even though I technically shouldn't have gotten one. At first they said it was going to be nearly $500, which would have paid for my new ticket on Continental. But after they realized I wasn't Clint Kuykendall, I was Avery. And unfortunately I'm not flying to XNA, I'm flying to Tulsa. Well, then they decided that I'd get $100.

Cash went and talked to the lady from Continental for me. She said it would cost $300 for a ticket to Tulsa, layover in Houston. But all their flights out of Houston that day had been cancelled so far; they just hadn't cancelled these yet. After talking about it, Cash and I both agreed it was safer (and $200 cheaper) for me to not risk getting stuck in Houston and not knowing when I could get home.

We even looked at rental cars, but they were just as expensive. Only one car company had a vehicle available, and I wasn't sure I wanted to drive an economy car through the storms and tornados, get home at 4 in the AM, and be at work with 2-3 hours of sleep. I'm all about being at work, and I hate hate hate to miss. But I also would hate to have a wreck or drive 12-13 hours by myself in the middle of the night in the pouring rain. Being a 24 year old single girl, we felt this wasn't safe or logical.

He contemplated taking me to the Greyhound station, and I about fell over. Uhh..guys.

I finished my homework and submitted it to Dr. Kim. He let me know it was okay to miss tonight's class (I'm so sad about it..because I haven't missed one class all semester!) even though I have a presentation. Also, he let me know that it was a good possibility that tonight's class might be cancelled since yesterday's classes were cancelled after 3:30.

So I'm doing laundry (I ran out of clothes 2 days ago) and waiting for Cash to come get me to take me back to the airport. Bless his heart. He's driven there 4 times this week alone. Prayers for getting home...safely. And prayers that Arkansas's rain can find its way to the Permian Basin.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Who Cooks for You?

Turkey Camp. Ahhh.

In my world all you have to say are those two words, and my family is ecstatic. It's our favorite time of the year! (And FYI..."who cooks for you" is what a turkey hunter believes an owl is saying when it hoots. So we always think of that question when we hoot. And we hoot like owls to locate turkeys...not because we're weird. Although sometimes I wonder.)

Cash believes you are only camping when you have a tent and backpack that encompass everything you will need for the entirety of your trip. The Hub believes you are camping when you have the amenities of home, but you are in a quiet place in the mountains. For instance, we had DirectTV.

No one EVER said camping had to be rough. HAHA! This could be why I love turkey camp so much! But not everything is just peachy and glamorous. We walk all over the mountainside trying to find a bird. I've had my hunting boots for 8 years, so it's probably time for some new ones. But I never thought the sole would just start shedding as I was walking in the woods.

And even though sometimes we walk all over God's country, we don't always hear birds. Mom and Dad heard one though...Mom just did the unthinkable: she missed. It's the most horrifying thing a turkey hunter could do. But we've all done it. We've all gotten talked about because of it. And we all try to kill one the next day to prove we aren't turkey illiterate. Poor Mom.

Going back to camp after an early morning hunt is my FAVORITE! We cook a huge breakfast together outside, and everyone just gathers around to talk, eat, and play. As kids it was a blast, because we'd walk to the creek, ride 4-wheelers, or make basketball goals. Now we're adults, and we just sit. But the little kids are growing up, and Rocky Joe makes toys for them just like he did for us.

In case you can't tell what that is, Rocky Joe put rocks into an empty water bottle. He threw it over a tree limb with a string he attached to it, and he let the kids have a stick. They took turns hitting it...and sometimes barely missed each other. That's what camp is all about! That and the stories. Rocky Joe and Uncle Travis have the BEST stories. My dad thought so too...

And sometimes, even the worst hunters get a little luck.

Friday, April 8, 2011

Isaiah 40:31

"But they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles. They shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint." --Isaiah 40:31

I just realized I never wrote about my whole week in Texas. Maybe I was overwhelmed with how many things I'd have to write to encompass the magnitude of the week. Best week of my life. Hands down.

God has blessed me beyond words with the man he brought into my life. I know I say that a lot, but the truth is that I really mean it a lot.

After the engagement break-up, I quickly knew that God had something more in store for me. I didn't exactly think it was a relationship...just something more. I was living such a hypocritical life at the time, and He really had to throw me out of a situation to not only wake me up but purify me as well. My heart could burst with joy from the mercy God showed me when He saved me from myself.

I could never praise Him enough for what He's done for me...forever. But saving me from a lifetime of roller coasters, unhappiness, and bitterness is overwhelming to me. To have saved me from it would have been enough. But He blessed me through it as well.

Looking back over the last year and a half, I see how God was preparing me for the relationship Cash and I now have. From Beth Moore studies and conferences to starting grad school, all of it is part of the puzzle He created just for us.

When I graduated college, I wanted to teach for the rest of my life. I wanted live in my hometown. I wanted to settle right there. Now, I love education. And I love my hometown. But God hasn't allowed me to stop and get comfortable. He has pushed me to continue to grow and be challenged. With this He's given me the ability to see a wider be able to adapt in new situations. I laugh at myself sometimes--how different life and my perception are. Had I met Cash 2 years ago, we would've lasted our first phone conversation because I would've not been able to even imagine leaving Ozark (nevertheless Arkansas). However, God has used this time to move me to a new town, new church, new friends, new family. I've learned that it's okay to not just have roots. It's okay to have wings too. And I hear that flat land with high winds makes it easy to fly...

Friday, April 1, 2011

My Comfort Place

If I can write blogs daily about my wonderful boyfriend (which he is), I knew I could write about this week's Show Us Your Life: Your Church! I could go on and on about how much my church means to me.

When I moved to a new town, I was single and had no family. I had always been a part of ministry, but I felt so unsure about where to go to church. After visiting several churches, I just couldn't find the one. I told Cash just last night, "Finding a church home is like finding the person you're going to marry. You just know." And when I walked into Southside Baptist Church in Alma, Arkansas, I just knew.

SBC is a small, Southern Baptist church whose roots date back over 20 years when it was started as a missions church by the First Baptist Church of Alma. Several of the charter members still go to Southside today, and I must say the 2 that stick out to me are Phil and Dee Ann, of course! These two have been my lifeline in and out of church with relationships, house problems, dinner dates, and the list goes on. They are the reason I feel like I'm walking into family every time I go to church.

Don't they just look like people you would want for parents?! I LOVE THEM!! Now, I have great parents that I would never replace. Ever! But Phil and Dee Ann have adopted me and taken care of me in the places my parents can't since I no longer live in my hometown.

Also, Zach and Leslie (Phil and Dee Ann's son and daughter-in-law) were the first friends I made in our small church. Zach was our music minister until he and Leslie decided to move to Little Rock. Can't blame them....he's in med school, and she's in law school. When you see their picture, you're going to be blown away with how gorgeous they are! Since Southside is small, young adults are not the typical age group. However, we have a few. But those few make it extra, extra special. Coach Dilbeck leads our Sunday School class, and we have the time of our lives together!

Aren't they so pretty? I love my friends. Their hearts are even more beautiful. I don't even know how that's possible! And I can't forget my adopted little sister Malia who will be getting married this June!! Woohoo!! She is my pew buddy and one of my dearest friends! See, we do have SOME young people! (She's also Phil and Dee Ann's that family!)

Malia and Les

The older generation at Southside also help to make it irreplaceable in my mind! People like Harold who rides his horses to church, Ann and Debbie who make meals for us EVERY Wednesday night, Nancy who does our budget, Jerry and Linda who let us go to their pool any time we want, and the list goes on. These are just great people to love the Lord with...I couldn't ask for a better family.

That's Harold riding his horses in the bottoms. Leslie went with him over Spring Break! He is always opening his house to us, letting us ride horses whenever we want! And his wife makes the BEST pies. If you know me, that's right down my alley!

But you can't make church complete without the staff who devotes their every ounce of energy and life to it. We are blessed beyond words to have the staff we do at Southside. After Zach and Les moved, Chris (and sweet wife Megan) took over in the music. He does such a great job! Eric (and fiance Tia!!! Way to go, Eric!) leads the youth. I'm not sure how he has energy for wears me out! LOL. But the kids love it. Even my students will stop me throughout the week and say, "I CAN'T WAIT FOR WEDNESDAY!!!"

We have a small staff that does an outstanding job. And they are led by one of the greatest pastors I know--Aaron! He's 30 (was 29 when he became our SR pastor-amazing!), and his heart for the Lord makes us all want to do more for our Creator. His messages are unbelievable. We may sit there listening for an hour...or so! But we are always learning Sunday mornings, Sunday nights, Wednesday nights, and in between! He's been a judge for me at our local History Day competition. He's been a friend. And most importantly he's strengthened my relationship with Christ. What a great Godly example to our young folks...and old!

If you click on the names of our staff, that will direct you to links within our church website. You can take a look at them yourself! :)

Although we have few young people (including every member of our staff), we have such great wisdom with our older generations. The love you are exposed to at Southside is unparalleled. I love Sundays...and Wednesdays...and Mondays...and every other day I get to see their adorable faces at work, Wal-Mart, ballgames, and all throughout town!! Come join us!