Thursday, July 31, 2008


Death is never an easy thing. I have never been one that deals easily with it, especially with ones that I'm close to.

Today, I lost my wonderful friend Melissa to cancer. She's been fighting since last fall. We sung together in the praise band for several years. We reconnected after her diagnosis, and emailed frequently. We both were able to share with each other how much our friendship meant, and both knew that if we could just turn back time, we would take better advantage of the time we had together. She was so very strong in her faith. She was such an inspiration and an example. Words really can't describe her. Mel was full of life, very animated, and always had a story to make you laugh. Music can bring back so much, and there are certain songs that will always remind me of Mel. So much of my praise music has Mel and her key written on it. As hard as it is to see right now, I'm glad I'll always have a small reminder of her.

She always knew that no matter what her journey was, that God was in control. Even when she couldn't see Him, she trusted Him. She never strayed from that, she rested in it.

I've asked God too many times to count, "Why God? Why Melissa??" But I must rest in the fact that He is in control. That even though her journey on this earth is over, her legacy will live on. Once I can get past my selfish reasons of why she should be here with us, I know I will be jealous that she's walking on the streets of gold and she's celebrating, singing, worshiping and seeing Jesus face to face.... what could be better??????

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

The Food Crew

Every year at VBS I've been on the food crew. It's a hard but fun job. Misty and I try our best to get things organized but we could never be successful at it without great helpers!!! Kelly's been with us a couple years and this is Lesley and Stephanie's first year. One things for sure, in the midst of all the chaos, we make sure to fit in plenty of laughs, plenty of fun and apparently this year, plenty of butt-slappin'!! (Love you Kelly!!!) Here's some pics of us in our ice cream truck!! Of course, they thought it would be HILARIOUS to make me the driver and they could all look like I was slamming on the brakes about to kill them. Seriously, I'm not THAT bad of a driver people!!! I just speed a little.... that's all. :-)

Sunday, July 27, 2008

11 hours...

That's how long I was at church today. I will be the first to admit that I have a ton on my plate right now. And yes, I get stressed. I am very grateful that I didn't scare off three of my friends today. :-) I would post about the ice cream truck we built all day, but I can't write anything as great as Misty's post. So just go read hers. Even if you don't know her, just be a blog stalker (like Lesley!), it's okay!!!

Memphis Part Two

Nothing I do is uneventful. After Graceland, we went to eat at On the Border. When I got in my car it wouldn't start. It wouldn't turn over a lick. Stephen went back inside and found someone with booster cables. (I know, I know.... I work in a parts store... you'd think I'd be more prepared). We got it started and I drove straight to Target and purchased some booster cables. We went to the mall and I had high hopes that it would start once we were leaving. No go. So we boosted it off Aunt Susie's car this time. I was super paranoid the whole way home..... but we made it.

Cousin Rebekah and Saraya

Cousin Stephen and Saraya

Saraya with her Aunt Ashley... and namesake!!

Saturday, July 26, 2008

We're goin' to Graceland....

I have only been to Graceland once, when I was 16. We only went through the mansion, and I barely remember it. (Here's a blast from the past! It was 1991)

Shawna, me and Sarah

Ashley and the rest of the Liles gang had never been to Graceland. Ashley's been in Nashville for a week visiting the fam and we decided to meet up in Memphis for the day. I was actually really excited about going again. I knew I would soak more in this time. Plus all the other things that I'd never seen. Mom of course had seen most of it. And she was our personal tour guide. ha! We kept having questions and by golly, she knew the answers. My mom was a HUGE Elvis fan in high school and has been ever since. I always remember growing up listening to his music and watching his movies. And that's the case for Ashley and the others too.

The mansion was almost like I remembered. Some rooms were smaller than I thought they were. But my favorite room was still the Jungle Room.

Here's Saraya in the room full of gold records.

My precious family. We've always had a strong bond with this particular branch of the family tree. We've always vacationed together and been close. I love that I can say that Ashley is more than my best friend, she's family.

Me, Stephen, Ashley, Brent, Rebekah and Aunt Susie

Ashley and me

And here I am, 16 years later in front of the car museum again.... with a lot better hair! :-)

Saraya and me

Stephen, Aunt Susie, Brent and mom

I've always been intrigued by the wall, the thought that people from all over the world come and write their name on here. I very plainly remember writing my name on there when I was 16. I revisited the wall 10ish years later and actually found it. But this time, it was faded and I couldn't find it. Saraya and I both wrote our names on the wall.

At the gift shop, Saraya picked out a bear with pictures of Elvis all over it. She said she named him Elvis. (Appropriately) She very proudly exclaimed to me at the end of the day, "Mommy, I'm very glad we got to go to Elvis' house!"

Sunday, July 20, 2008

a girl and her dogs....

Just a few pics I took today. No real story to go with them. Except that she's a cutie!!

Saraya loves to play with Gus and Perky. She wanted to get her picture made with them. I tried my best.

Friday, July 18, 2008

just now...

...I'm having a conversation with Saraya. I enlisted her help with making up bags for inviting kids to VBS. I love conversations with her. She's so funny. It went something like this:

S: Where did you get this chalk from mommy?
D: Mrs Cristi bought it.
S: That was VERY nice of her.

S: Are you going to tape these [closed]?
D: No, I'm going to tie them.
S: Ty's not a new friend.
D: No, I'm going to tie the ribbon, I wasn't talking about Ty your friend.
S: I know. But Ty's not a new friend. He's my bestest buddy. But he's not a new friend. Just Mason's a new friend. And Ross is a new friend. And Addie's a new friend.
D: That's right they are new friends.
S: But Elijah's not a new friend either.

Then she broke out in song...... what song you ask? Why, Jingle Bells of course!!!

Thursday, July 17, 2008

the smell of pigskin is in the air.....

I love football. (Not as much as basketball of course) I love football games. I love to bundle up. I love to cheer on my team. (Reigning Super Bowl Champs I might add!!!) I love watching games on Sunday afternoons. I love playing fantasy football. I love having a friend that loves football too. And that friend is Cristi.

She called me up earlier this week and asked if I wanted to go to the women's only Football Clinic at ASU. Of course I was up for it!! We didn't really know what to expect. But it was a BLAST! Here we are with jerseys on that they let us wear all night.
They fed us (from Outback!) out on the balcony overlooking the field. Then we went into a room and reviewed tape, talked about football equipment, we met some football players. One was QB Corey Leonard, to which Cristi leans over and asked me "do you think he'd remember us?" (he spoke at our church last fall) and I replied, "I highly doubt it". Then we played a game. They drew names and Cristi was a lucky winner! We had just gone over how to dress in full uniform, and the team had to dress one of their members. Cristi was the one they dressed and her team won!!! Their team got sports bags for winning. And she got to keep the wristbands.

We had two sessions, one on defense and one on offense. It was very interesting and I feel like I learned a lot. We then toured the facility, and ended up on the field. That was the best part. They let us do all kinds of drills. My personal favorite was pushing the sled. Here's a picture of me about to push the sled. (Cristi wasn't so good at the taking of pictures. Bless her heart.)

We also attempted to kick a field goal. I have a new respect for kickers. It was WAY harder than I thought it was going to be. I got this great picture of Cristi kicking. You can see the ball just a few feet off the ground.

Then we went in and they gave out prizes. Cristi racked up tonight! She won a digital photo frame!!! We raced home to see if we'd be on the news. Cristi was... in her full uniform, jumping up and down and striking her muscle pose. (I know Jake was proud) The only problem was she was in a helmet and no one knew who she was! :-( But never fear. There's always Occasions Magazine. They saw a great opportunity to take our picture with the field in the background, so we're holding out hope that they'll make us famous!

Monday, July 14, 2008

sweet baby....

I took these pictures of my new nephew Eli yesterday. He's such a cutie! You can check out his birth announcements on my design blog.

Saturday, July 05, 2008

Music Lover

No shock that's a title for me, but it's quickly becoming a title for Saraya. I bought the new Sugarland single off iTunes this week, All I Wanna Do. The first time I played it, Saraya sang the ooh's for the chorus instantly. Today, I'm sitting here reading blogs and I came to Randi's. That song started playing and Saraya came running over to the computer as soon as the first few notes played, humming along with the verse. And of course went to town with the oohs as soon as the chorus started!! She started running around, dancing, and even told me to turn it up. It was hilarious! I grabbed the camera and took some pictures of her. I think it's safe to say that's her favorite song right now!!!!

Friday, July 04, 2008

4th of July

With all the people gathered in parking lots to catch a glimpse of the fireworks, the leadership team came up with the idea to pass out glow necklaces with our church's web address on them. A group of us met up at the church, broke up into groups and passed them out... all 500 of them!!! It was fun to walk around and pass them out to the kids. Their eyes would lite up when they saw them. Hopefully someone will look us up on the web, and pay us a visit.

(Maddie, Cailey, Lexi, Ty, Abby and Saraya)

We met up after we were done passing them out and watched the fireworks all together. It was fun.
(Cristi and me)

I Heart NY... I miss it too....

It's hard to believe that two weeks have already past since my first day in New York City. Man, time flies. Of course I had to buy something with the traditional I Heart NY on it. Here's us modeling the goods!


I love having friends with connections!! :-) When a friend can score you front row seats, you know you have a great friend! haha! Just kidding Lesley, I'd love you even if we were in the rafters.

I am totally pumped about being on the front row for Little Big Town and Carrie Underwood!!!!! Now the countdown begins....

Tuesday, July 01, 2008

I dropped a chain...

...turns out it was a chain I didn't even know I was carrying. I was forced to face a very difficult situation five years ago. It involved a fellow church member, and left me with so many different emotions. We left the church, I thought I'd moved on, and I haven't seen her since.

Within the last month, I had a conversation with a friend where the situation came up and I actually spoke these words, "I honestly don't know what I'd do if I saw her." Since that conversation she's actually popped into my mind a few times.

Apparently God was prepping me...

Last Saturday, I was in line for the bathroom in Target, and as I stood there she walked out of the stall. Instantly, and I mean instantly, anger, hatred, bitterness and resentment flooded me from head to toe. I could hardly contain myself. I actually had time to think to myself, "talk to her? don't talk to her? make eye contact? or not?". Then she left.

As I walked around Target trying to access where in the world all this came from, I just couldn't get past the anger. I didn't even know I was carrying it. I didn't know it was in me. I was completely livid.

Yet, in the midst of my emotions, I could hear Him say, "let it go --- you weren't in the wrong back then, but you're in the wrong now." I stuffed it down inside. I didn't have time to deal with it. I was busy. But it kept creeping back in my thoughts.

Sunday morning, while the band was going through our set, we got to the medley of Sanctified and Cannot Say Enough. It was almost like a bubble formed around me. I forgot all about the band being there. I didn't hear the guitarists talking. I didn't hear the soundguys in the back. It was just me and God, and all I could do was worship... and let it go. Moments like that are amazing. Almost as if time is standing still, and you can feel His presence wrapped all around you. And so my favorite line in that song actually happened, right then and there.... we worship with the sound of broken shackles falling to the ground.