Last night we went with the Reed family to the Christmas program at Highlands. We enjoyed the singing, the message, and the candlelight conclusion. Pastor Chris talked about Jesus's names. I have never really thought about how the Christmas story really begins with God telling Mary and Joesph that his name was to be Jesus, and people would call him Immanuel. I have never really called Jesus, Immanuel. The word Immanuel/Emmanuel means, "God with us." It conveys the idea of God coming down in the flesh, mingling alongside mankind, subject to their brutality, while extending his love in bringing their redemption. So as Pastor Chris emphasized, Jesus has been throught it all...loss of loved ones (his earthly father Joseph died at an early age), stress of everyday life (he was a in the working world as a carpenter for 18 years), and extreme pain (crucification was the worst form of the death penalty). He knows exactly what we are going through or will ever go through. He has been there. So GO to him, he knows. Let him love on you this Chistmas, share your heart...he has been there.

Matthew 1:22-24
22All this took place that it might be fulfilled which the Lord had spoken through the prophet,

23Behold, the virgin shall become pregnant and give birth to a Son, and they shall call His name Emmanuel--which, when translated, means, God with us.

24Then Joseph, being aroused from his sleep, did as the angel of the Lord had commanded him: he took [her to his side as] his wife.

Isaiah 7:14
14 Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign: The virgin will be with child and will give birth to a son, and will call him Immanuel.

Thank you Immanuel for coming to earth. Happy Birthday!

Santa Came!

Yesterday I got home from work to find a beautifully wrapped package that said To:Rayne From: Santa..hmmmm...after tearing into it (never was one for slow tidy unwrapping) I saw this...

YES!!! Thanks Santa! (aka my wonderful husband)
I can't wait to learn to use it. If you have any tips, let me know.
Now maybe I will have decent pictures to post!


Spiced Pecans

I have been making these like crazy over the holidays...perfect for parties, to give to friends, and of course just to have around the house!

from Frank Stitt's Southern Table

4 cups of pecan halves
1.5 teaspoons of Kosher salt
pinch of ground black pepper
1/4 teaspoon of cayenne pepper
1 heaping teaspoon dark brown sugar
1 heaping tablespoon of freshly chopped rosemary
1 tablespoon melted butter
2 tablespoons olive oile

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Place the pecans on a baking sheet and
bake for 15 minutes. Remove and season the pecans with above spices,
butter, and olive oil. Toss together until the pecans are coated, and
place in oven for another 3 minutes. You want them toasted and
fragrant, but don't overcook!
(I doubled this recipe for some Christmas happies, and James and I
thought it needed more heat, so I added an extra 1/4 t. of cayenne and
black pepper, and they were much better)


King Daddy Sir

Today is my Daddy's (pronounced Diddy if you are from Selma) birthday. I wanted to wish him a very happy birthday. My father is awesome. He is loving, encouraging, funny (hence the title he used to get us to call him), and very wise. He is one of my biggest role models. Now that we both are dentist (or scientists as he would say), we have an even closer bond. It is so much fun to call him, hear about his day with patients, ask for advice, talk about a challenging situation, etc. He is a passionate Christ-follower. His love for Jesus and people is evident in everyone he comes in contact with. I am so thankful for him, and his love that has truly shown me a glimpse of my Father God's love for me. Happy Birthday!!

His Favorites...ice cream, cherry (the fruit and my mom), the civil war, (Gettysburg particularly) his bestest friend charlie, the western channel, bird hunting, alabama football..just to name a few


Crock Pot Recipe

As promised...

Tomato Basil Soup
Cooker-Large Crock pot (yes, get excited, easy!!!)
Setting: Low for 8-9 hours, or High for 4-5 hours
(recipe adapted from Crockpot cooker recipes)

1/3 cup of olive oil
1 large yellow onion, chopped
6 medium size carrots, chopped
3 28 oz Italian plum tomatoes in juice/puree
Two 6 oz cans of tomato paste
One 8 oz can of tomato sauce
2 tablespoons crumbled dried basil
One 14.5 oz can low-sodium chicken broth
2 cups heavy cream
3 tablespoon minced fresh basil
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
Sour Cream for serving

1. Combine olive oil, onion, carrots, tomatoes with juice, tomato paste and sauce, dried basil, and broth in slow cooker. Cover and cook on high or low for above times.
2. Puree the soup using an immersion blender (if you don't have one ask santa for one!!), or transfer to a food processor or blender and puree in batches. Stir in cream and fresh basil, season with salt and pepper. Cover and cook on low for about 15 min to heat through. Adjust to Keep Warm setting, do not let it come to a boil.
3. Ladle in bowls and top with a dollop of sour cream.


Sorry for slacking..

Hello to all of my blog followers! (yes all two of you) I am sorry for not posting lately, our computer at home is SO slow it takes me forever to upload pictures, so I just don't right now. We have had a great couple of weeks though...(in list form)
1. Decorated our first tree, not bad thanks to Shelia's (James's mom) contributions of ornaments

(not really our tree, but don't you love it!)
2. Chris Tomlin Glory in the Highest Christmas Concert, AMAZING...go get the CD if you don't have it

3. Friends over to the house for a dessert party after the concert, stayed up until 12:30 (very late for me!), lots of fun...had Holiday Spritzers and Apple Cider

4. Soup Night last Sunday, friends came over for some yummy butternut squash soup, tomato basil soup, and spoon bread ala Rayne (Mac would be proud)

I will post recipe's soon because they were quite tasty!



You know when the Holy Spirit really speaks through a song? This past Sunday I really felt the Lord's presence during this song. It also reminded me of my Aunt Meg. She is with Jesus now, and I rejoice that she has no more sorrow, no more pain and that she is singing "Worthy is the Lamb" I encourage you to click on the title of the post-listen, and do the same....

I Will Rise
Written by Chris Tomlin, Louie Giglio, Jesse Reeves, and Matt Maher

There’s a peace I’ve come to know
Though my heart and flesh may fail
There’s an anchor for my soul
I can say, “it is well”
Jesus has overcome
And the grave is overwhelmed
The victory is won
He is risen from the dead
I will rise when He calls my name
No more sorrow, no more pain
I will rise on eagles’ wings
Before my God, fall on my knees
And rise
I will rise
There’s a day that’s drawing near
When this darkness breaks to light
And the shadows disappear
And my faith shall be my eyes
And I hear the voice of many angels sing, “worthy is the Lamb”
And I hear the cry of every longing heart, “worthy is the Lamb”



I am really tired, but wanted to show a few pictures from this past weekend until I get some time to do a real post. We went to Fairhope for the weekend to celebrate Ed and Brooke's marriage. It was wonderful...staying at my friend Margaret's awesome home, walks along the bay, Amos's first swim, catching up with dental friends, and of course the beautiful wedding....more to come!

The stunning bride, Brooke

Sunset over Mobile Bay

Amos along the shore


Last year...

At Sunrise...

This man asked me to marry him...

And I said..YES!

And then we got to celebrate the covenant of marriage of these two awesome people...

Quite a good day...


Old Roomie...

It is one of my best friends, Abbie's birthday today...Happy Birthday! Thought I would share some great memories from our friendship that started when we were about six. We also lived together in some capacity (suitemates in college, then in a house in college, then in a house through dental school)for 7 years. Such fun times...

**Sorry about the size, cannot figure out why they are like this!


Say Cheese...

These pictures are very random, and taken a little over a year ago at my friend Maggie's husband's lakehouse in Georgia. They still make me smile. I am trying to get my pictures organized on my computer, (overwhelming) and I came across this picture. Really what is funny is the amount of time it took just to get these two. I would put the camera on the back of Mitchell's boat, jump in the water, swim to the group, and smile (notice in one I am barely above water). These were about the fifth and sixth tries. As you can tell by Steven (the one with the forty in hand) and Maggie's faces, everyone was quite over the pictures (but me). Anyway, just thought I would share (mainly for CKB, my only loyal follower!). I am very blessed with some great friends...

On the pup front, we are doing well. Amos is almost nine weeks, and really getting a personality. I am relieved to report, he is really a sweet, smart puppy and very eager to please. He still gets into a good bit of trouble, (accidents in the house, using my shoes as a chew toy, and now starting to dig) but mainly expected puppy things. He finally knows his name, and is getting the hang of "Sit". He will come to you when you call for a little while, but then gets distracted by the nearest leaf, bug, etc. He also is not whining as much at night. Today we went on our first hike with him at Oak Mountain, and he LOVED it. He stayed on the path, walking between us, and did not tire easily. Ok, I am sure this is TMI for most people, but he is quickly becoming a fun part of our family. I have taken some pictures over the past week, and I will post them as soon as they are uploaded.


Asheville and Amos

We had a wonderful time in Asheville a few weekends ago with the Tuckers! Friday was a beautiful day, perfect for exploring. We visited an Asheville must-see, the Biltmore. What a gorgeous place! The grounds, gardens, fields, trails, etc. around the house were probably our favorite. We also took the house tour, but I have to say due to our lack of patience, we did not love this as much. Not that it wasn't neat, but the long lines were a slight bit annoying. It took around 20 minutes to get from room to room with the long lines. (We were told that Oct is their peak season) We both felt like if we were closer to our parentals age (no offense!) that we might have enjoyed it a bit more. Friday night we went to a rooftop bar for night views of the city, and then to dinner with Abbie and Logan at a cool tapas place, Zambras, downtown. It rained all day Saturday, but I took James on a quick trip to see one of my old stomping grounds, Montreat. Montreat is located in Black Mountain, NC about 15 miles away from Asheville. I grew up going to First Presbyterian Church of Selma, and this was where we went on summer retreats. It was such a fun time every summer! We always had a group of all girls that went to fellowship with other believers, worship in a beautiful place, and get away from the awful Alabama humidity. Anyway, we enjoyed our quick getaway to see the Tuckers. On our way back to Alabama, we picked up Amos. What a Rascal! He is precious, exhausting, and entertaining all wrapped into one adorable puppy package. He/We are adjusting well. The first few nights were rough to say the least. I had to go to Walmart to invest in a sound machine (for us, not him) to get through the next few nights. He is doing better with sleeping in his crate. He usually just has to get up once at some point in the night to "Hurry" as we are calling it. I have some more recent pictures, but have not gotten a chance to upload them. These are from the first few days.


We are headed here...

Asheville, North Carolina

My friend Abbie and her husband Logan moved to Asheville a few months ago. We are headed for a long weekend visit. Itinerary includes: Biltmore tour, hiking somewhere along the Blue Ridge Parkway, eating some great local food, catching up with the Tuckers (and meeting their new puppy, Ranger!), watching some Auburn football (I have a feeling we might squeeze in some antique shopping while the guys are doing that), and celebrating James's birthday!


Which One?

James and I made a quick trip down to Auburn to pick out puppy Osborn. We had to pick our favorite two, just in case the couple that gets to pick in front of us happens to pick one of the ones we liked. They were all adorable! They are all a little older than a month old, and just starting to roam and play. We narrowed it down to these two, both chocolate males. Both had layed back demeanors (well at least right now, I am sure that will change). We still aren't sure on the name, kinda depends on which we get. The smaller of the two was the most relaxed...definitely an Amos. The slightly larger one might have a different name...Gunner, Levi, Moss, Perry, to name a few being tossed around. What's your vote?


Some of my favorites...

Just wanted to share some things that I have been enjoying lately (in no particular order)...

1. My new scheduler that my sis gave me for my birthday. If you are in the search for a great day planner, look no further-

You can find it at Amazon, comes in about five colors. Mine is Mochachinno...love it and the name!
2. The good ole' Crock-Pot. This device has made my husband very happy lately. He gave me a cookbook for my birthday....

We received a crockpot for a wedding present, and it sure has come in handy. This week I made Sloppy Joe's. I know, I know, Sloppy Joes??? I was skeptical at first, but they were delicious. Ex. I called James on the way home from work yesterday, "We are going to have leftovers tonight, ok?" response,"Good! I have been looking forward to it all day!" SUCCESS
3. A new top my friend Molly gave me for my birthday....from Banana Republic, very trendy fun!

4. The One Year Devotional for Couples, I really enjoy this time in the mornings with James before work. We eat cereal, read, and pray together. The daily readings are not that long, but share inspirational stories centered around Christ and His love for us.

5. Hummus... Yum...I have tried to make it, but actually did not like it as much as the store-bought stuff. Add a side of pita chips or carrots = perfect snack.

6. Top Chef, the one show James and I both LOVE to watch.

My picks to win are Kevin and Jen...you heard it here first...

In other news, Dog Osborn will be picked out this weekend. We don't actually get him for a few more weeks, but we are going to pick which pup will be ours. Now for a name...


Welcome to the Ridge...

My parents are building a house in Perry County in Central Alabama. It is pretty much in the middle of nowhere, which is one of the main reasons it is so wonderful. My mom was raised in Perry County in a small community called Marion Junction. The new house is about five miles northwest of there (25 minutes from Selma, where I grew up). When I saw the view from "The Ridge" (what my family calls the new house) for the first time, it brought tears to my eyes. The view is gorgeous, and it is such a testimony of God's magnificent creation.

View from the porch...Can't you just imagine sitting in a rocking chair, sipping lemonade in total relaxation?!

View from one of the upstairs bedroom...

These pictures are several months old so the house is further along than this. They should get to move in in the next 2-3 months. I will post some "after"pics then...


Wish I was here...

Do you ever wish you could blink your eyes and be back somewhere that you love with the one you love? Here is where I would go...