Thursday, April 30, 2009

Craaazzy Busy

First - check out our first married couple purchase:
a new deep freeze ~ aren't we exciting??? LOL!
In true Benson fashion, we made the purchase 30 minutes before store closing and had to run and borrow a trailer real quick to get it home. Nothing like last minute because we had to have it the next day for catering stuff. Yep, being a Benson now, I will have to relax my organization a little more! ha! And big thanks to my friend, Laura for the trailer...as you can see it has come in handy for more than the freezer.

Our catering job for the weekend is 45 minutes away. So, we have had a week of making runs to "town" to get supplies and then out to Lonoke to drop off supplies. Yesterday, I left the house at 6:30 am and we got home at 8:30 pm AND I still had school work to do. So, those who know how well I handle stress will not be surprised that I had a mini-breakdown. It is all working out though and this weekend will be fun! And, we got a new freezer! :-)

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

A few more...

Here are a few more pics from the reception...wish I had time to whip out a slideshow, but I barely have time to post. Now the reception is behind us and we are running like crazy for a big catering/concession job Kevin has this weekend. I just want to chill on the couch! LOL!
There were fish being caught...
and this is me with my most awesome co-workers, Becca & Lindsey.

The bouncy house was a hit and GREAT idea by John 3:16...thank YOU!

Kevin is in love with my friend, Jill's kiddo...can you blame him? He is pretty cute!

And here are our Granny's...I think they approve of the cake! :-)Ok...all you folks that took pictures, please send 'em to me, Please!!!

Monday, April 27, 2009

Reception Notes

So, most of you know we were married in March with just our parents, ran off on our honeymoon to St. Lucia and then had our reception this past Saturday at John 3:16 Ministry. It has been a whirlwind of a month!! I am just going to give you a little tease of some pics tonight because I MUST go work on some interim reports.
I think the reception went well from what I hear. It was a bit of a blur for me and I wish I could go back and slow it down and have time to talk to everyone. Were there hiccups in the plans and night? Oh yeah...but I don't think anyone really noticed. There were even hiccups that I didn't find out about until afterwards (thank you - I was stressed enough! ha!). Apparently just as we were getting ready to eat, they discovered there was no ice for the drinks! ha! I won't even share the other hiccups because they don't even matter now! :-)
Here is the Benson clan that I am thrilled to now call my family too: And this is my family (or most of them...some were off tracking down kids and missed the picture - ha!):
Kevin's Razorback cake that got lots of compliments:
GO HOGS!

The cupcake wedding cake: Thank you Peggy for putting it all together and everyone else that pitched in while I got called off somewhere else! Out of the mouth of babes:
Funniest comment : On the ride home, Kayce asked her parents if the punch was spiked! LOL!
Best review: When I saw my niece, Autumn, the next day she said, "I had FUN last night. Those things are usually boring!" I think that says a lot coming from a kid!
And, I think this picture sums up how happy the kids were all night:

More tomorrow....

Sunday, April 26, 2009

He's a keeper!

Kevin made me dinner tonight, but instead of just cooking, I walked into this: We never sit at the table - usually the snack bar & he had the table all set up with the flowers left over from last night's reception!! How awesome is he? Pretty awesome!!
We were going to freeze the topper cake and eat it for our 1 year anniversary like you are "supposed to do" according to tradition. But the thought of freezer cake didn't sound too great, so we decided to eat it NOW while it's good!! ha! So...how about some ribs and wedding cake?
Sounds good to me! YUM!
Thanks babe! Love ya!
**Reception pics tomorrow!! Promise!!**

Saturday, April 25, 2009

THANK YOU!

I just want to say a big thank you to everyone who made the drive to John 3:16 tonight for our reception. It meant a lot to us that you would travel that far just for us!!! I apologize to anyone I didn't make around to see or talk to...time flew by!! I am pretty sure the kids had a blast! We were thrilled this afternoon when we found out John 3:16 was blowing up the bouncy thing for them to play in....golden!! Ha!
A big thank you to everyone who made a donation in our honor. We are very proud to be able to give the ministry over $900!! We couldn't have done that without YOU!
Thanks again & pictures will be posted soon!! Love you all!

Friday, April 24, 2009

T.G.I.F.

I am ready for the weekend! Well, mentally I am! Tomorrow is our reception and we will be running around getting last minute stuff done & bought tonight. Because that's how we roll! ha! Any adhesive suggestions to get my chipboard letters to stick to my picture board to display would be GREAT!!???
I am super excited to see everyone tomorrow!!! And ready to eat yummy fish! :-)
Have a great Friday!!

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Disclaimer

If I have neglected anyone lately by way of phone calls, emails, or forgotten something important, I am sorry!! I promise I love you all but we are so busy running everyday lately that I don't know if I am coming or going. I have broken my to-do list down to daily chores & everyday leave work with a list of errands. We have had a lot on our plate, but all good stuff. Reception planning, reception, bible study, community service, planning for catering weekends, name changing...we literally do not have a free weekend until the middle of June. CRAZY! But, this is Kevin's chance to get his catering/concessions business up and running. We are super excited about that!! He has a catering job every weekend in May except Memorial Day. Yay!
All this running has caught up with me though, it is 7pm and I think I am going to bed. I feel like I am coming down with something...like I have time for that! LOL!
Oh, and yesterday's love dare was giving up one of your normal activities to spend time with your spouse. So, I gave up blogging and facebook. But I got all caught up this afternoon! Ha!
Til tomorrow...
(send me "don't be sick" thoughts please!!)

Monday, April 20, 2009

Fight Notes

Today's Love Dare - love fights fair....Our dare was to basically talk and agree together on some guidelines or lines we would not cross during a fight. We have a list for both of us and then each have one individual area to work on.
Here is our list ~
In an argument we both agree:
-not to bring up the past (everything before John 3:16 doesn't matter)
-not to argue in front of others
-NEVER say divorce
-not to use profanity

That's our list...and I am going to be more open to his ideas. :-)
Anyone have any good ones they use?

Sunday, April 19, 2009

This, That and the other...

First, this is my parents new horse trailer...how sweet is that!?!? Now, they can haul 4 horses AND there is air conditioned living quarters in the front!! This is very important for those July/August horse shows when there is a heat index of 110 degrees. Yee-haw!In other news, Kevin is finally back home from a week of covering for the caterer at John 3:16. It was great community service hours and Bible Study time, but I don't want to be without him for a week again anytime soon!
We really had a good weekend. Yesterday, I got to sleep in for the first time in a very long time. (And, the last time for awhile...our weekends are booked solid!) It was a rainy day and I got to hang around the house for a bit and get some much needed stuff done. Then, I headed to Newport to see the folks and pick up Kevin. I got to the fundraiser that he was at for Unity Fest. The fundraiser was at our old elementary school. It was a little surreal to walk into the cafeteria of Castleberry Elementary. And almost as soon as I sat down, the director must have spotted me because he immediately called Kevin and I to the front. I was NOT prepared for that!!! Luckily, Kevin can talk to anyone and in front of anyone. So, he got the mic and talked up John 3:16 and all it has done for us.
Today we were back there for the church service and I have to say it was a moving service today. The praise reports from the men were just really touching today.
We now have the big smoker back home from my parent's place...the BBQ cooking is about to begin for the 5 weeks of catering Kevin has coming up. Busy, busy...we know we are blessed and thankful for it everyday! :-)
Today's love dare is Love lets the other win. Our dare is to demonstrate love by willingly choosing to give in to an area of disagreeement. Put your spouse's preference first. (This is gonna be a little tough today because we are pretty lovie, dovie after not seeing each other all week! ha!) But, I did like this from the reading: The wise and loving thing to do is to start approaching your disagreements with a willingness to not always insist on your own way.

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Book Talk: Scarpetta by Patricia Cornwell

**My 8th book in my 2009 challenge to read more.**

From the jacket: Leaving behind her private forensic pathology practice in Charleston, South Carolina, Kay Scarpetta takes up an assignment in NYC, where the NYPD has asked her to examine an injured patient on Bellevue Hospital's psychiatric prison ward. The handcuffed and chained patient, Oscar Bane, ahs specifically asked for her, and when she literally has her gloved hands on him, he begins to talk - and the story he has to tell turns out to be one of the most bizarre she has ever heard.
The injuries, he says, were sustained in the course of a murder ... that he did not commit. Is Bane a criminally insane stalker who has fixed on Scarpetta? Or is his paranoid tale true, and it is he who is being spied on, followed, and stalked by the actual killer?The one thing Scarpetta knows for certain is that a woman has been tortured and murdered - and more violent deaths will follow. Gradually, an inexplicable and horrifying truth emerges: Whoever is committing the crimes knows where his prey is at all times. Is it a person, a government? And what is the connection among the victims?

My thoughts: I started this book on the flight home from St. Lucia and read almost all of it. I had 100 pages to go when we got home but only just found the time to finish it last night. But, I immediately was immersed back into the storyline. Cornwell did not disappoint with this one. You know that the Alex Cross series by James Patterson & the Kay Scarpetta series by Cornwell are by far my two favorites and neither series misses. Great books! (if you love a good mystery...and I do!)

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Fireproof

We watched Fireproof this weekend. Have you seen it? If you haven't, you should give it a chance. It has a really good message. You have to get past the acting...the acting was horrible. I could've starred in this movie. ha! But, it has a good story. AND, for those of you that have been asking about The Love Dare. This is the movie that it is based on. Bonus - you don't have to do The Love Dare with your spouse, you can just do it by yourself and your spouse doesn't even have to realize what you are doing. Watch the movie. It's about a fireman and his wife who are struggling and about to divorce. The fireman's dad gives him The Love Dare and challenges him to do it for 40 days. You gotta watch it to see what happens. Come on ... someone do The Love Dare with us....you'll like it...promise!
Speaking of, here are the last two days that we did (we obviously are on a break from it while he is gone this week). Last Friday was Love is Unconditional & our dare was to do something out of the ordinary for our spouse that day. Saturday was Love Cherishes and our dare was to meet a need of our spouse that day. A gesture that says 'I cherish you'.
Something to ponder from the book: The only way love can last a lifetime is if it's unconditional. The truth is this: love is not determined by the one being loved but rather by the one choosing to love.
**On a completely unrelated note, look I can make capital letters!! Thanks Roozgal! :-)
***Oh, and if you are an animal lover like me, you HAVE to click on Farmfare Girl in my sidebar. It is lamb season on her farm and everyday baby lambs are being born. Just look at the pictures. They are PRECIOUS!!

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Our Story...


I have been asked over the past few weeks how Kevin and I ended up back together (thanks to facebook) & boy is that a long story! But I thought as horrible as my memory is that I should get a journal of it down so I will have it to remember. So, this is our story from my point of view (isn't it funny how people remember things differently?).

I really don't know where to start. Kevin and I have been in each other's lives for as long as I can remember. We grew up in a little church in Newport together - First Freewill Baptist. I can remember his Mom playing the piano, church lock-in's, children's church, church camp, and then as teenagers getting in trouble for being too loud on the back row. Not only were we in church together from the time we were little, back in those days, they put kids in their classrooms based on ABC order. He was a B and I was a C. So, we had 1st grade on up together. We were friends the way elementary kids are friends. Then came high school and in 10th grade we dated. We were each other's first love. And, then, I broke his heart. Kevin has always been the sensitive, gentle giant. And, yes, I was the first girl to break his heart, but you know what they say about "what goes around, comes around". It's true! :-) After we got past the break-up, we remained good friends and he never left being a central role in my life. Kevin and I have always had one of those friendships that if you disappear for awhile, you pick right back up where you left off. I called him my teddy bear in high school. He was my soft place to land. My best friend. When we left for college, he went to Ole Miss his first year and I was in Fayetteville at UofA, but by our Sophomore year, life would have us back together. Kevin had gone to Ole Miss on a golf scholarship and to play golf for them. But, alcohol threw its first hard ball at him and a car wreck left him unable to play. Once he got to UofA, we were back to being bff's. Somehow, I ended up doing the boys laundry through college and hiding him when he needed a place to hide. In those days, everyone was drinking all the time. So, Kevin's drinking just blended right in. I certainly didn't think he had a problem. We were all doing it. I can remember always finding him at the parties at his fraternities house because Kevin could make me the best gin and tonics. I feel bad about that now a little. But really, how could we have known where this was going? I didn't know anything about alcoholism back then.
I remember one weekend, Kevin sitting me down in the Kappa Sig house on a window seat and asking me why it couldn't be him that I dated? I just didn't see him in that way at the time. He was like my big brother. My friend. The one who looked out for me to make sure I didn't get hurt. Meanwhile, he was watching me date his fraternity brothers. And wondering why it couldn't be him. It just wasn't our time. I know without a doubt that I would have taken advantage of Kevin's kindness had we dated then. I didn't appreciate the good guys. But, I loved the bad boys. If only someone told girls early on, that the bad boys are only fun for a little bit.
Well, I graduated in four years and Kevin stayed in Fayetteville for several more. We were there for each other's big moments in life. He was sitting beside when I got engaged to my first husband. When I was planning a wedding, Kevin was going to be a "man" bridesmaid. When Kevin married his first wife, I drove to Texas to make sure I was there. We were always there for each other. But we did drift apart for several years while we were in our first marriages. I can only remember seeing each other once. And, of course, we met for dinner and drinks when Kevin was in Little Rock for some meeting. That was probably our only contact during a 4 or 5 year span. We were both unhappy in our first marriages and very lonely. Ultimately we both ended up divorced within about a year or two of each other. I can remember when I was going through my divorce, I was so depressed and one afternoon the phone rang. I remember standing in the doorway and listening to Kevin's booming voice on the answering machine. I didn't pick up and I didn't call him back. I was too ashamed that I had failed at marriage to admit it to anyone. Then, probably a year later, I ran into a mutual friend of ours that told me Kevin had a restaurant and bar on Dickson Street. So, I called him up. It was like we had never stopped talking. We talked for hours. We stayed in touch, but true to Kevin form, he tried to drop off the face of the Earth again. I sensed that something was wrong. I called the restaurant and it was closed down. I couldn't reach him anywhere. When I finally did, it was within minutes of him leaving town to go to rehab. He had fallen down some rock steps and nearly bled to death. I cannot imagine the world without Kevin's laugh, booming voice, and gentle spirit. But, he finally admitted he had a problem with alcohol. This was just the beginning of a long battle. A battle that I have chosen to stand by my best friend to fight. In the beginning, I was just that, his friend, helping him through one of the toughest times of his life. I wrote to him everyday that he was in rehab to make sure he had a letter and something to smile about. He would call me and we would talk for hours about his drinking, his divorce, my divorce, dreams, plans, you name it. The friendship grew into a love that has withstood quite a few tests. Alcohol and the devil had a hold on Kevin that he couldn't break. Once we had been dating for a few months, it was clear that when we were together, things were fine, but when we weren't, he was drinking. It got to the point of his parents coming to get him and him living with them for 6 months. I stuck by him. His biggest cheerleader - driving every weekend 3 hours to see him. It was worth every drive. You see, as hard as this journey has been at times, it is the journey that brought us both to God. That alone makes it all worth it.
He made it 6 months at 'mommy bootcamp' and then came here to live with me. And things were good for awhile. He would slip up from time to time, but we overcame and started over with the walk to sobriety. I would really say that one day out of thirty was bad. The rest of the time, we were laughing, gardening, camping, just being together and good. Kevin and I don't really fight. Most of our arguments have stemmed from problems with the alcoholism. So, we were going along thinking we had things semi-under control. We were searching for a church, but here is the key - we weren't living for God. We were living for us. So, in my mind, God sent us a little wake up call. Kevin's drinking got really out of control this summer. I knew it was, but I didn't know how to stop it. There were several difficult incidences. It is so hard to watch someone you love struggle with something and not be able to fix it. I just wanted to fix it or love it out of him. I couldn't though. All I could do was watch the train wreck. There is only so much a person can take and finally I reached my point. I knew that I couldn't live that way forever. His parents and I had an "intervention" after a serious incident involving drinking and driving. I was very clear that he had one more chance with me. If he drank again, he was out of the house. He didn't make it and that began one of the most difficult times of my life. I thought my divorce was hard, but my heart felt like it was going to explode out of my chest. I knew the only way to help Kevin was to let him go. So, I stood my ground. I told him the only chance we had was if he got help and that he couldn't live here anymore. My Mom told us about John 3:16 and little did we know that our lives were about to change beyond anything we could imagine. I thank God that he gave me the strength I needed to stand firm and tell Kevin he had no choice but to go. If he went to live with his parents, it was over. I was done. He had to get real help. What I didn't realize was that in doing what I thought was best for Kevin, I was making a decision that would change my life too.
They didn't have room for him that day. The next Sunday when my mom, his parents and I tried to get him in. They were full. But somehow, Bryan Tuggle knew that Kevin needed to stay. He let us leave him and let him sleep on a couch. I will always remember asking Bryan Tuggle what I should do...how would I know God's will? Is it time for me to let go? Bryan said, "If he doesn't stay here the 6 months, then let him go and don't look back. But, if he stays here, I promise you he will leave here a different man." I needed to hear that. I honestly didn't know what I was going to do. I just needed a break from the drinking and the worrying. I thought I would be sad when I left him there, but when I drove down that driveway, all I felt was relief. A huge weight had been lifted off of me. I knew Kevin was safe. I didn't have to worry about him. It was peace. And it only got better. We couldn't have contact for the first 3o days. That was a good thing. I went through many emotions...I needed think time. And I knew that I loved this man with all my heart. Over the next 6 months, that love only grew. Kevin turned into a man that I could not only love but respect. He grew into a man that could lead our household. John 3:16 became a place that I couldn't wait to get to on Sunday's. The love and warmth and acceptance were amazing. We were finally home. We found what we were missing - a relationship with God. Not just going to church or reading the Bible every now and then....living it. That is what we strive to do daily. That is how our love grew even stronger. You can see Kevin's growth in his graduation video (in the sidebar under the label John3:16). It is amazing what God can do. He is so good when you open your eyes and give him a chance. There was not one doubt in my mind when Kevin and I decided about a month before he graduated to get married. How could we expect people to listen to us if we went right back to living in sin and not living for God? I knew it was the right path without question. Kevin gives me a love I have never known before. He makes me feel beautiful and wanted and valued. We love each other unconditionally. We know we will have struggles in this world, but we also know together putting God first, we can and will overcome. And that's our story...

Monday, April 13, 2009

Weekend News

Aren't they precious? My friend with the twin girls is moving and had a ton of stuff to put in the yard sale on Saturday. So, these two had a big time running around all morning and playing with their old toys! Then they crashed as we were cleaning up! Kevin really has baby fever now. They still scare me until they are at least out of diapers!! :-)
Anyway...Kevin and I made about $600, so hootie hoo! And, Mom, look how comfy the recliner is that you bought! HA! What an advertisement!! We immediately went to the store after the sale...money was burning a hole in our pockets and had to be spent!! It went to a good cause though...the garden is officially started. Yippee! As you can see, it is even bigger than last year. Oh, the plans Mr. Gardener has this year. See his marigolds...apparently they keep certain bugs out of the garden...who knew? Sunday, we went to John 3:16 (see the video in yesterday's post) and I had to leave my Big Bear there for a week. He is covering for the caterer there while he is on his honeymoon. It really is a win-win because Kevin gets to hang out in the Unity House with all his buddies, get some great Bible Study time in, and knock out about half of his community service hours. But, I'll be ready to pick him up on Saturday!
Oh, and it stormed on Sunday while I was gone. Remember how Jax is scared of storms...this is what I came home to:Ha! Usually, he drags everything out in my closet floor, but yesterday he hit the floor of the pantry. Crazy dog!

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Easter Sunday Special

This is Kevin's Easter special today at John 3:16. It isn't the first time he's sang it during a service, but the first time I had my camera aimed and ready to go! ha! This originated with Kevin singing it on the bus trips with the guys. Then, they made him do it at his graduation. It's only 30 seconds or so...enjoy! :-)

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Eventually I will get caught up!

Where have I been? Because you all know I usually spend some time on the computer daily...it's how I unwind from work. This has been a crazy, busy week. Here is the run-down in short version:
Monday night - we addressed and stuffed envelopes to mail for the reception (picnic).
Tuesday night - bible study & this time it was in Conway, so we had a little road trip. Kevin gave his testimony at our women's bible study this week, and I was beyond proud of him. How brave to share your darkest moments with people. He has a powerful story to share.
Wednesday - we rented a U-haul and drove to Searcy to empty Kevin's storage building (thank goodness I took a half-day off!!). After that, we drove on to Batesville and dropped off the bedroom suite he had already sold and then drove back home. Can you say travelling Arkansas all day Wednesday?
Tonight we have been getting ready for our yard sale on Saturday. Everything MUST GO! ha!
Oh, and I have managed to get my name changed at the bank, on insurance and at work this week. Woo-hoo!
Now in love dare updates:
We took the weekend off because Kevin was gone camping. But we started back on Monday.
Monday was Love is not irritable. We had to list any wrong motivations in our life.
Tuesday was Love believes the best. We had to get two sheets of paper and write all the positive things about our spouse on one and all the negative on another. We didn't have to show it to the other person, but we had to pick one on the positive list to compliment our spouse on.
Wednesday was love is not jealous. We had to burn the negative list from the day before. Then, share how glad we were with a success they recently had.
And today is love makes good impressions. Our dare was to greet our spouse with enthusiasm when we saw them today. We are actually good at this one already because we are always glad when the other walks through the door.
Whew...so that is it in a nutshell. I will catch up on my blog reading and emails this weekend sometime...promise!

Monday, April 6, 2009

On a roll...

2 posts in a row of Yay! Yay! Yay!

I have 2 classes & an internship to go to graduate with my Masters. The last two classes I needed were offered this summer but one was full the first day registration opened up. I have been emailing the professor and pleading my case. And I just got the email from her that she let me in! So whoop!!!! No more classes after this summer, and I am on track to graduate in December!!!! YES!!!!!

Gotta go do my happy dance...

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Yay Yay Yay!!!!

I am finished with this semester's class!! AND, I barely studied, but I know I made an A. There is NO way that I didn't. The final was 50 "short answer" that really were multiple choice and I only had to guess on 3 of them. Then, there were 2 essays with a 200 word minimum that I knew the topics. So, I am sure I made an A! woohoo! Now, I have 2 month break before I try to take my last two classes this summer. One is full so I am having to email this week and beg them to let me in. Wish me luck! :-)

Yesterday was success all around except for missing my hubs. I can't believe how much I've missed the big bear this weekend. We are just ate up with it...newlywed faze...right? ha! I had a good lunch with some family in Conway before I headed home for scrap night & my friend with twin girls stopped by and surprised me. Those girls are precious! I should've grabbed my camera to show you...what was I thinking?

My scrappin' girls last night surprised me with a cake and a big 'ole gift card to Hobby Lobby to go get all my wedding scrappin' supplies. How awesome are they? Pretty awesome!! Then, as some of you know, they finally suckered me into facebook. It's true...I said I wouldn't do it because I would be addicted. I knew it was bad for me, but I did it anyway. And, I got no scrappin' done. Just facebook! ha! I did manage to get my profile set up and organize some pictures, plus funny girl fixed my computer, so it wasn't a total loss for scrap night! ha!
Now, I gotta go and read some other people's profiles and see what's going on....:-)

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Busy, Busy

Well, it was back to the real world this week and it slammed down...but I think I am caught up at work finally (except grading papers). The house is a mess, but it will wait...
We did get some stuff accomplished this week:
*I finished my last project for my Master's class.
*we ordered our invitations to our reception - mark your calendars for april 25th!
*Kevin got all his community service worked out. He is going to spend a week at John 3:16 covering for the caterer there while he is on vacation. And, he may be cooking for the homeless shelter downtown.

This weekend we are busy as usual too. I have my final on Saturday!! And scrappin' Saturday night. Woo-hoo! Kevin is camping with his friends that he camps with from high school twice a year. I call it geek fest, but I'm allowed because he makes fun of our scrappin' too! ha!

The Love Dare update:
Wednesday was easy. It was Love is Thoughtful. Our dare was to contact our spouse at some point during the day with no agenda other than asking how they were doing and if there was anything we could do for them. We are actually good at this one and it was easy for us.
Today's wasn't as easy. Today is Love is not rude. We had to ask our spouse to tell 3 things that cause them to be uncomfortable or irritated with you. OUCH! But we did it and we talked about it and the neat thing was that all the things we listed, the other person was already working to improve on anyway! so....hootie hoo!

Hope everyone has a great weekend! I will be super glad to have my final over with - I haven't opened a book yet so I'll be cramming tomorrow night!