The kids wanted to all pile in Kristy and Lacy's laps. It was just so funny to watch.
The Butler/Warren/Dixon clan

Sam was in the process of throwing Mary Bennett in the air

Just Precious!! It's so great the kids are getting to play together like we did growing up!

Lynn and her daddy, Ernie having a secret telling moment...

Lynn and her husband

Mandy and Kerry

Sam and Kristy

I got Emma to take a picture with me, but Ella Grace wouldn't sit still long enough!

Aunt Susie and Jay

We found out Emma really likes dressing!

I mean isn't that the cutest !!

There was a whole collaberation of people at Patsy, my uncle's sister, and Ernie's for Thanksgiving. If you don't understand how I am related to them all, you should see my mom's side of the family! It was a good night although I was very exhausted from Merry Marketplace!


Some of the Provisionals came out for their first big VJSL event
Our band for the night! They played all kinds of old school songs, you know the ones that you want to sing along.

Emily and Casey came out for a girls night out!

Leigh Ann, Greg Blais, and me enjoying the party.

Caryn Alvarado and Leigh Ann Hogan were the Merry Marketplace show chairs.

Anne and I at the beginning of the preview party

a part of the Hahira room's amazing how they can turn a 10x10 space of nothing into such beauty!

Lah De Dah, one of my favorite booths! Dawn is so talented!

Savannah Shaw and her ornaments

The new chef at the conference center did the ice sculptures as well as some really great food!

The Merry Marketplace ice sculptures for the night of the Preview Party.

Me and Anne McLeod, the Preview Party chair, at the beginning of a very long, but good day!

Leigh Ann Hogan, the show chair, and Kerry having an early morning grunt session.

Merry Marketplace was a hit as usual this year! It is one of the Valdosta Junior Service Legaue's biggest fundraisers of the year. For 33 years it was an arts and crafts show. Last year, we revamped it and toned down the arts and crafts and gave the local retailers all over South Georgia a chance to shine. It's a one stop shop for Christmas shopping. We had 112 vendors this year and hope to have an even better show next year. It's always the weekend before Thanksgiving so go ahead and mark it on your calendar for next year.
I was the Preview Party co-chair this year. I think it turned out great. The Preview Party is more of a social night. We include a band, heavy hors d'oeuvres, and a chance at early shopping. These are a few pics from the night.
(I did have a couple of rough moments on Friday. Kerry, our security officer for the weekend, was messing with his holster and it flooded my memories of my dad. I started crying and he was so sweet to me. I think being all around Christmas stuff made me even more emotional and I ended up crying at the end of the night. I am glad I got a chance to get it out when I didn't have to be around my family-I don't want it to be more uncomfortable for them. Although Thanksgiving will be the first time since the funeral that my whole big extended family will be together. I'm sure it will be another bitter sweet moment. I would really like to skip the holidays all together if you really want to know the truth. However, I know that's not what he would want.)




Walking, stumbling
On these shadow feet
Toward home, a land that I’ve never seen
I am changing
Less and less asleep
Made of different stuff than when I began

And I have sensed it all along
Now fast approaching is the day

When the world has fallen out from under me
I’ll be found in you, still standing
When the sky rolls up and mountains fall on their knees
When time and space are through
I’ll be found in you

There’s distraction
Buzzing in my head
Saying in the shadows it’s easier to stay
But I’ve heard rumours of true reality
Whispers of a well-lit way


You make all things new


When the world has fallen out from under me
I’ll be found in you, still standing
Every fear and accusation under my feet
When time and space are through
I’ll be found in you
When time and space are through
I’ll be found in you
When time and space are through
I’ll be found in you


I'm not going to apologize for my feelings because they do exist and they are what they are. However, I will apologize for not being more grateful. Last night at Bible study that was the chapter we covered in our book, "Looking for God" by Nancy Ortberg. I wanted to include some excerpts from the chapter that I highlighted while I was reading it.
"The power of gratitude is breathtaking and centering. It is along the lines of nuclear power. It makes our lives richer and fuller and freer. And it is a direct link to the goodness of God, which is an unending source of power and hope and faith."
" Without a doubt, the problem of pain makes it really difficult to feel gratitude sometimes. The problem of pain always insists on the question, Where is God?" "What about the problem of goodness? What about all the magnificent ordinary and extraordinary things that are a part of each day? That question insists on the exclamation, There is God!" -It goes on to talk about nature and how God created so much beauty that we take for granted. I started crying about here and didn't stop til I got through the chapter.
"Gratitude is a powerful force when I experience it in my own life, but perhaps the best testament to this incredible power occurs when someone who is facing deep difficulties expresses an authentic and profound gratitude" - She relates the story of a 14 year old girl who had to have her leg amputated. Upon meeting the girl, she said, "Look what I have left". She was excited that the doctors were able to leave enough of her leg so she could get a prosthetic. I thought about my uncle. I will always remember how he had a graphiti prosthetic that he would wear to the beach. That I know of he's never tried to hide that he's a double amputee. In fact, now he celebrates it. (By the way I think about Uncle Scott often when I am running and his amazing physical abilities!)
I am going to try to be more grateful. I am going to focus on the wonderful 26 years I had with my dad. I am going to think about all the great people God has blessed me with to help me get through this time. I am going to try to remember that God is in control-He knew I would have a breakdown this weekend and He knew I would be sorry for not be more grateful today. He's already seen everything that is happening in my life if only I could just trust Him more! (I think I'm preaching to the choir on that one.)
Here's some great verses she included in the chapter:
Hebrews 12:28-Therefore, since we are receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, let us be thankful, and so worship God.
James 1 :17-every good gift in our lives has its source in God.
She even talks about where in Luke Jesus heals the 10 lepers and only one comes back to fall on his face and thank Him.
I want to be a person who thanks Him for the small and big things and learns to trust Him in all the inbetween! That's also my prayer for you!


I didn't post yesterday although my heart was about to explode. I started this blog so I could get my feelings out and also to not have to be asked How are you doing? Lately, I've wondered what it says about me that I am not strong. I was reading a perfectly good book, which I will blog about later, and I came upon the chapter entitled "Dad" and I began to cry. It's not like I had any control over it, it just came out. I read a quote yesterday that I think fits: Lost love is still love. You can't see their smile or touch their face but when those senses weaken, another heightens. Memory. Memory Becomes Your Partner. You nurture it. You hold it. You dance with it. Life has to end. Love doesn't.
Yesterday, Emily and I had a great day together decorating the office for Christmas and doing some shopping. And yet my heart was on the verge of explosion. (It didn't help that I watched Jack Frost last night where the dad dies and comes back a year later as a snowman. I guess it's too much to ask for my dad or my Heavenly Father to tell me in an audible voice that everything is gonna be okay.)
My friend Rebecca called me and was checking in. (She doesn't live in town, so she doesn't have to hear me whine as much.) She knows the holidays are going to be tough. She knows what I struggle with so she called to see how she could specifically pray for me. Well the flood gates just opened. Ever since the day I admitted I was lonely, my emotions have been working overtime. FYI-You will probably be hearing a lot about this since the preacher's series on courtship dating is tearing me up each Sunday for the next 4 Sundays! I do feel like my loneliness is a symptom of the loss of my dad. I NEVER imagined/knew how much security I found in him. I never thought I'd be 27 and still single either! I guess even though I did think about getting married while he was here, it didn't bother me to the point of breaking like I am today. I have all these verses that I have claimed for so long about being married. Gen 2:18-And the Lord God said, "It is not good that man should be alone; I will make him a helper comparable to him." God made Eve for Adam-pretty self explanatory. Psalm 37:4-Delight yourself also in the Lord, And He shall give you the desires of your heart. - I claim this one maybe a little too often. Now I'm thinking, Am I not delighting myself enough in God? If nothing else, this has brought me closer to you. I am seeking Your face, Your will, and even though this post may not sound like it, Your timing. I just don't understand why I would have such an overwhelming desire to be married and have children if that's not in Your plan! Eph 2 :10-For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them. - I am trying to be open to God's design in my life. I know He allowed me to have my own business, to run in the way that would be pleasing to Him. I know He allowed me to buy my own house because my financial skills are not that great. I see how the compassion He has given me has allowed me to be a better person to others. I just wish He would take away the desire to be married if that's not in His will. 1 Corin 7:8-9 But I say to the unmarried and widows. It is good for them if they remain even as I am; but if they cannot exercise self-control, let them marry. For it is better to marry than to burn with passion. -Yep that's in the Bible. No I'm not burning with passion, but let's face it. I am human! My point is all the arrows are leading in one direction, but to what fruition? Then! Tonight my pastor talked about issues Families should discuss regarding courtship dating. It was a good sermon, don't get me wrong. However, I couldn't stop crying towards the end. He mentioned the verse that talks about leaving and cleaving in a marriage...I'm perfectly fine with that scenario. Until he pointed out that the man is the only one who leaves, the woman is given away by her family which is signified in the father giving his daughter's hand in marriage. He also said something about the boy asking the father for his blessing to marry his daughter. These are just things that are basic normal things, but they set my heart in a tailspin. I want so badly to be married (to the right person), to have a companion, for someone to love me unconditionally and for someone I can love unconditionally. I'm tired of having to ask different friends for comfort-trying to not ask the same ones over and over. I don't want to make anymore mistakes with guys. I don't want to kiss anymore frogs. (Yes I understand marriage is work and not a fairy tale.) Today, I am a little mad that God chose to take the only man I had away from me. (Yes, I also know there is a greater purpose and that nothing in life is fair.) This is just how I feel. I am on my knees begging God to help me.
I am going to bed saying Jeremiah 29:11-For I know the thoughts I think toward you, says the Lord, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope.


Thank you God for healing my best friend's daddy! He had the surgery to remove the cancer and he's free and clear. He won't even have to have chemo! Thanks to all of my faithful readers who sent up a prayer for him. God blessed us with healing and mercy and I will praise Him every time I see their family!


I taught Emily and Heath how to play Phase 10 and Dominoes Saturday night! We had so much fun and I didn't even pout when I didn't win!
We made cookies and had milk. A regular PG fun night! Heath and Emily play along with my love of funny pictures.

As soon as we got done eating, we talked about going running the next night!

Emily and her new Vera Wang glasses. She had her love/hate moments of playing cards!

They got a new puppy, Mattie, this week. She really is cute despite my not wanting to get attached to her. She kept coming up to my foot and falling asleep. She didn't like it when we shuffled the cards, but got used to our loudness after the first hour!

Heath, the shark. He won at Phase 10 and Dominoes!


Last week I had a couple of days that were totally emotional. I had some great facebook friends that gave me some needed encouragement so I decided not to post about those feelings. However, I reminded myself that this blog is for me to be able to vent my feelings instead of keeping them inside and having them resurface and to hopefully help someone else in the process. My sensitivity filter is so out of whack. I had a client last week who was snoring while I worked on him. It sounded like my dad's snoring before he got his c-pap machine. I cried and couldnt stop crying. I finally had to stop crying because my client woke up. (not from my crying) I realized I have to allow myself to feel whatever it is that I am feeling. I always tell my clients that their problems in their body didnt get there over night and I can't fix them in one massage session. I think the same is true for my sadness. I had 26 wonderful years with my dad. I can't honestly expect to have a funeral and that be the end of my feelings. To tell you the truth sometimes thinking about the hospital and the days after preparing for the funeral and the funeral itself make me more sad amd that's supposed to be "closure". I now hate that word!
Tonight at church my Pastor said he was beginning a 4 part series on courtship/dating. I never thought I would cry during this service. He just did the introduction tonight. He talked a lot about purity and how our culture doesnt push purity. I was okay with everything so far. Then he started talking about how the father holds the daughters hand and gives the daughters hand to the fiancee in an act of transfer of leadership. You answer to your father until you get married and then you answer to your husband. (He read Eph 5:22-23 about submitting to your spouse) I couldnt get that out of my head. I don't have a father anymore. I don't have a husband. Where does that leave me? Ofcourse I know that leaves me with my Heavenly Father. I know He can fill the position better than any father or husband. It just made me terribly sad to think about my dad and to think about my last post where I talked about being lonely. (By the way, never tell the devil where your goat is tied! I got a call from an old boyfriend who I can be friends with but have no business being in a relationship with. Also, by the way, Satan, i didn't fall for it!)
I've gotta stay focused on what God has for me. In that, I believe my grief is drawing me closer to Him. I am choosing to run into His arms. Please pray for me with all this if you feel lead.
Also, please pray for my best friend's dad. His surgery has been moved up to Tues Nov 4th. Please pray for God's healing and provision.
I will be praying God's blessings on you all!