more JOY...

I told you I'd show you some of the Alexander side of my family when my precious MIL uploaded them, so here they are!

Christmas Eve morning-- me and Mat with Mat's sisters, Kelly and Lenze

My two nephews, Aaron and Ethan

Christmas Eve night- Kelly and Damon with the boys

Dad (Mat's dad) and Mom2 (Mat's mom)-- my two wonderful "new" parents!

Me and Mat's Aunt Cathy's dog, Chloe; Chloe is a direct descendant of the dog that played Toto in "The Wizard of Oz."

There are my men...

The three girls...

This is the Mortons- Mat's Uncle Randall and Aunt Cathy, with their kids, Heath and Ryan. Heath's wife is Suzanna, and Ryan's kids are Allie Grace and Eli. Oh, and of course, Nanny's in the pic, too.

She's a total champ. She was excited about a present, I'm sure.

Aunt Cathy always sings "North to Alaska" every year on Christmas Eve. It's STELLAR!

My whole, new, wonderful family!

(I told you I was blessed!)


we are filled with JOY

"The LORD has done great things for us,
and we are filled with joy."
-Psalm 126:3

Christmas was wonderful, short, and refreshing.

My theme for our three (short) days home was JOY. And the LORD showed me this theme time-after-time.

Here are a few reasons why JOY was my theme:

Mat and I got to go home, which, in itself, was a joy. We got to see everyone in our immediate families and most of our close extended families. We spent two great nights at Mat's parents' house and one night at my mum's with she and Gunter.

I got to see my Scottie, John Robby. (Short for John Roberts, my puppy's namesake. John Roberts is the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States.)

We got to see Gunter, who lives a long way away now in New Jersey.

And finally, after so, so, so many months, we got to see this face. Ellie Parker, how YOU have brought our whole family so much JOY!

I got to see my mum, and I'm not quite sure how I didn't get a picture with her, but this one of her and EPG is so sweet.

We got to see my Papa and my Mimi, who is sick with a disease of the mind, and we covet your prayers for her. I love both of them so much! They are the beginnings of our family.

And this is my whole family. I love my family-- and not just my side, but Mat's too, who I can now say is MY family, too. We are blessed beyond measure. God has, for some reason unknown to me or Mat, chosen to bless us both with amazing families, and for that, we are so grateful. (As soon as my sweet Mom2 [Mat's mom] gets her Christmas pics uploaded, you'll get a pic of the Alexander side.)

Mat and I hope you, too, had a wonderful Christmas, and we hope your focus was on Him-- God in human form, who came to Earth to dwell with US.

Merry Christmas, and we pray all the best for you in 2010.


our christmas traditions

I wanted to tell you about our Christmas Traditions. So here goes!

Oh, that's it. Just that.

Why are you still here?? I said that was it.

...And I'm serious.


mat and charlie brown

I have the best husband. And I'm not being cliche...I really have the world's best husband. I have, without a doubt, the most amazing husband that the Lord has ever created. I am confident of this. And this story will tell you just one of the reasons why I believe this is so...

We moved into our humble seminary apartment back in August. I'm still getting things situated here, and it's not been easy transitioning into the swing of life inside our new little house. I love it here...I really, really do. But our house is small, and we only have 2 closets (yes, you read that correctly...2 in the ENTIRE house).

I got out our smaller Christmas trinkets right before Thanksgiving.

(Insert long overdue Thanksgiving Mat and Whit Feast Picture here...)

Anyway, back to the story. I had almost just silently decided we would not be putting up a tree this year. Almost. And I almost decided this because I had no earthly idea where we would put it. No idea. And neither did Mat. So, I just almost decided not to put one up.

I called Mat from work today, and he said, "Well, I've been a busy little bee today." I, of course, had to inquire as to what that meant. He said, "You'll see when you get home."

On my lunch break, I drove home just to see what in the world he was talking about. I assumed he had done dishes or picked up his hundreds (yes, hundreds!) of Greek flash cards from the living room. (No, babe, don't worry about that-- I picked them up for you tonight.)

And I walked in, and I saw this...

Mat had gone out, and bought me a little tree for the countertop. And a Charlie Brown ornament that talks. And a card. And a tree skirt. And some simple Christmas ball ornaments.

I stood there, looking at that little tree sitting on my kitchen counter, and I cried.

And not because the tree was so beautiful (and it is, but the lights on the back...don't exist; there are only lights on the front), but because my husband knew, without me having to say anything at all to him about being upset because we didn't have a Christmas tree up, that I would love to have a tree. And because he did it without me asking him to. And because he bought a Charlie Brown ornament that talks to go on it. And because...because HE did it.

The card says,
"Long after the holidays have ended,
I'll still be celebrating the best gift of all...
I love you.
Merry Christmas."

And my husband, being the total champ that he is, wrote in before "us" on the card. He made it say, "...the best gift of all, Jesus, then us." That's my husband.

In the card he also wrote, "I think this is 'Just the right tree' for us. It only gets better from here, sweets."

As for that Charlie Brown ornament? You know the story of that scrawny little Christmas tree that Linus and Charlie Brown pick out for their Christmas play. You know, the one with only the red Christmas ball on it? Charlie Brown says, when you press the button on the ornament, "This is just the right tree."

And, Mat and Charlie Brown? I couldn't agree with you two more. It is just the right tree.



This is Ellie Parker Gunter...

...and her Uncle Mat and Aunt Whit-Whit think she's just beautiful.

Absolutely beautiful!




Click there to go to a great (and I do mean GREAT!!!) giveaway!!!

And be sure to tell them it was me that sent you!!!


these are a few of my favorite things...

I know some of you are scratching your heads trying to think of things to give for Christmas. I wanted to be able to help you out with all the special girls on your list by showing you things that I love. Enjoy!

1. Nikon d40x camera-- I got this camera about 2 years ago, and I am still in love with it. She takes great pictures, is always reliable, and she is just the right size for her kind of camera. She is so easy to use, too! (OK, so note here: the d40x is no longer available, I think. They have just come out with a d3000 which Digital Photography gave a 88% rating-- very good. It is great for beginners!)

2. KitchenAid mixer-- My grandparents bought this for Mat and me as a wedding gift. I cannot tell you how many meals and dishes have been prepared by this little baby. I absolutely adore her. She is my favorite kitchen tool of all time. (And she also comes in so many different colors!)

3. Scarves-- My favorite scarves are the ones I got in Italy, but I really do enjoy my scarves so much. I love how they can dress up an outfit, but how they still can look great casual, too. Scarves are my go-to piece for every outfit.

4. Monogram earrings-- my mum bought me a pair for Christmas last year (with my initials, of course). I think every girl needs a pair of monogram earrings like these. They are so classy, and so cute!

5. Bobbi Brown make-up brushes-- I have so many of Bobbi's make-up brushes, and they are the absolute best brushes you can find. They last forever, and none of the individual brush hairs ever fall out. They are kind of expensive, but so worth it!

6. Brooks Brothers Classic Two-Button Blazer-- Everyone (yes, even girls!) needs a good, classic navy blazer in their life. And it's even better if you can score one from Brooks. I have one that's an 18 in a little boys, but they make them for men and women, too. You can never go wrong with classic.

7. Ruffle Blouse from LOFT-- I work at LOFT (previously Ann Taylor LOFT), and this is one of my favorite blouses I have bought there so far. It is classic, yet feminine. I love it!

8. Boyfriend Jean from LOFT-- All I have to say is...go get these. They are worth every penny. I would have 7 pairs to wear every day if I could afford it. They wash and wear so great, and they look so cute rolled up with flats or heels and a dressy, feminine top.

9. Chiffon Flower Sweater, Holiday Collection, LOFT-- Ok, I'm sorry, but I love my job and I love the clothes I get to sell. This one is great for Holiday. I have it, and I love to wear it with my Boyfriend Jeans and my flats. So adorable!!!

10. To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee-- Everyone needs this book (and grab the movie while you're out, too). It's a classic, and it can teach us so much about so much, especially about living in the South. I just love Scout...and Jem...and Atticus.

11. The iPhone-- What can I say? It does everything! I do not know if I would survive without it.

I hope you've found something you like on my Holiday Must-Have List! These are things that I really love and enjoy, and I hope you will be able to get some of these things on your list this season. It's December 2...only 22 shopping days left!

MERRY CHRISTMAS from Mat and I to you!!!



On my very first day of Seminary here at Southern, my absolute most favorite teacher that I have ever had said to us, "I would just ask that you be open to the calling of the Lord upon your life. Are you even willing just to go where he would send you? But even more than that, I ask that you just be open to His call on your life. Are you even open to it?"

And that is something I will never forget.

That teacher was Dr. Brian Vickers, and for him, I am so thankful. He has taught me so much in my one class that I have had with him-- Intro to New Testament. Dr. Vickers is funny, sarcastic (in such a great way), smart and so genuine about his walk with the Lord. I am so blessed to have sat under his teachings.

Since that very first day all the way back in August, I have thought and thought about that question. Am I open to what the Lord has called me to? And I'm not really talking about missional work (as in to another city, country, etc.), I am really talking about just the everyday, day-to-day stuff. Am I open to God's call on my life? What is God's call on my life?

And with that thought came many talks with Mat, and a new direction for me for the next few years.

This week is bittersweet for me, because it is the last week I will be a student at Southern Seminary. My very short time in seminary here (one semester) has been so wonderful. I love my classes, my classmates, my professors (including Dr. V), and all that I am learning (which is, by the way, a ton. I have been so blessed just to sit under Dr. V, Dr. Scott, and Dr. Wellum). But I, along with my sweet, sweet Mat, have come to the conclusion that seminary is not where I need to be directing my life.

Mat and I are beginning to focus our lives in such a way so that I might fulfill one of my deepest desires-- to be a mother.

Now, before you start jumping up and down, I am not pregnant. But, Mat and I want to start moving toward that direction. We are now open and ready to be parents, and it is wiser for me to stop my formal education, and to work toward being a mother and all that it entails.

Mat and I already pray for our children every day. I cannot tell you how much we anxiously await the gift of children that we pray God will give to us. We are waiting and trusting in the Lord; we are yielding to His will for our lives, and we know that will is for me to be a mother.

We covet your prayers-- that the Lord would grow our family, and that He would do so quickly, but in His time, and that He would bless our future parenting and our future children. We so desire to be parents that bring their children up in the ways of the Lord. I desire my most precious and lasting legacy to be my children. And we plead with you to pray for us as we begin this journey together.

This has been a difficult decision for me. I really do truly love seminary, but I know the Lord wants me to lay that aside for His glory for now.

We know God has a bigger and better plan for me (and for us)-- bigger than Southern Seminary and a counseling degree (as wonderful and blessed as those two things are). But this bigger and better plan will be formed in my own womb. It will come as a small child into a very big world with a slew of faithful family and friends waiting to love him or her. The Lord already, at this very second, has precious and good thoughts toward him or her. God's eyes see our baby's unformed body, and all his days are ordained for him and are are written in His book, even though our future child is not even born yet (Psalms 139).

We plead and petition God for our child. We are excited, we are anxious, and we are trying so hard to be patient. We cannot wait for our first-born child to come into our lives.

Thank you for your prayers, and we promise to keep you updated.