Friday, December 26, 2008

Sharin' da luv

Saran and Margo (Bayer co-workers) made Christmas very special this year! I was so glad we could be a "home away from home"- a little southern grace- for these girls. Saran's family is in West Africa and Margo is from upstate New York.

Thursday, December 25, 2008

My new toy!

What a great surprise! Jimmy bought me a kayak for Christmas. I'm looking forward to many great adventures in my new boat, and Lindsey helped me get it started (she was the only one willing- what a trooper)! We took the banana for a test drive in Lake Reedy. I could hardly wait to get it in the water.
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Christmas- Just the two of us.

"We got a real grinner here..."
Jimmy was super excited (as you can tell) to get this softball bat for Christmas. Another gift I was thrilled to give.
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A little Vanna White pose with my new gun case- looks more like a toolbox for a truck, doesn't it?! I bet you're thinking, "Wow, this chick has a really big gun!" Yeah, I'm a redneck, what can I say ;)
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Christmas at Mom's

Christmas night we got together at Mom's for a delcious traditional prime rib supper!!! Yummy! The kids kept busy with tetherball and other Christmas toys. The best part was surprising mom with her new KitchenAid standing mixer! Tis better to give than to receive!
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Merry Christmas!

Tuesday evening we celebrated Christmas and Austin's Birthday at Papa Hurst's; Christmas Eve- Dubose get-together at Aunt Cat's; and Christmas Day lunch at Papa's. Wow, this family really keeps me moving and on my toes! We kept Jesus the center and had a great time visiting with each other.
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Sunday, December 21, 2008

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Losing your life, over and over again...Try it, it's great!

I've never really been good at change...don't know many people who are. I am learning, though, that life is characterized by seasons, and very few things or people in your life are constant. I've been working in a seasonal job position for a couple of months now and as my time with the company is coming to an end, I'm torn between being excited about the extra time I will have for my family and to do the things I love and leaving the people, surroundings, and daily duties that have filled my calendar in the past 8 weeks. Detecting a bit of internal struggle, I asked myself tonight, "Self, what is so hard to part with?". Comfort, routine, sense of being needed... all things that keep the focus on me. Jesus spoke the difficult words, "Whoever finds his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life for my sake will find it." May I never hang on so tightly to something in this life that I'm unwilling to be shaken up and rearranged for the glory of the Lord.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Little Reminders

Ever since about 3 years ago when I was finishing up my Master's at Florida I've had this issue with my eyes, particularly the right one. The doctor said it was from using them too much...go figure! He said that I had gone one too many nights reading or looking excessively at a computer screen rather than the back of my eyelids. My eyes now remind me when they have been open too long, working too hard, and need some well earned rest. They get red, itchy, irritable, and dry- (reminding you of yourself, eh?). It is then that I know I must stop what I'm doing and get some shut-eye...literally.

God taught me tonight that the Holy Spirit does this too. When I have been "up" too long, busy, and have not taken the time to rest in Him I start to "itch" a little bit. I start to feel a little uncomfortable, uneasy, unfulfilled. Then I quickly realize that I need to go back to my Source, my bread of life. "Most assuredly, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink His blood, you have no life in you." (John 6:53)

Sunday, November 2, 2008

"We are the boys [and girls] of ole' Florida..."

Well, we weren't exactly "down where the ole' Gators usually play", but Jacksonville is just a good a place as any to kick some Bulldog butt! Jimmy and I were so blessed to be invited by his parents to join them at the Florida/Georgia game in Jacksonville this weekend. We had soooooo much fun and it didn't hurt that our Gators dominated the game and played quite charismatically! We were truly entertained!

And now for the cruelty...

Did you hear that the Georgia Bulldogs changed their colors to Red and Teal? Oh, wait a minute, those are empty seats. Na na na na, Na na na na, Hey Hey Hey, Goodbye...

The other half of the stadium was filled with proud Gator fans 'til the very end!! We all stick together... for F-L-O-R-I-D-A!!! Go Gators!!!

Just in case you can't read the scoreboard... it says "Congratulations Florida Gators". Florida 49 Georgia 10

Good times. Good times. Thanks Padre and BGirl for a great trip :)

Friday, October 31, 2008

Our Top Dawg!

Today Triston was awarded the "Top Dawg" award by BOTH his regular classroom teacher and his speech teacher. Aunt Emma, Lala, Grandaddy, and Poppee were at the award ceremony, and Toni was so proud that we were there! He is a smart little cookie! (He gets his brains from Aunt Emma. ;)

Wednesday, October 29, 2008


Last night Melissa and I went to the movies...rebel style! We both read the Sue Monk Kidd novel The Secret Life of Bees and wanted to see the movie. Since we normally do our Bible study on Tuesday nights at Starbucks, we decided to bring Starbucks to the movies!!! It was a fun (and funny) night of outlawing and penny pinching. We managed to get two tall lattes for $1 (ask me later for our secrets) and snuck those in along with a bag of chocolate and raspberry Hershey kisses...Yummy! We got in at the "student" price (benefits of looking so young), and Melissa scratched her popcorn itch by bargaining the movie theatre employee down to $1.50! Don't have any money to go out? Come with us!!

Monday, October 27, 2008

A Hunt'n We Will Go

This weekend Jimmy and I took the girls and went up to Georgia for a little hunt'n trip. (For those of you that try to be so proper and insist on pronouncing the "ing", get over it... It just doesn't sound right ;) The lease is just southwest of Waycross and just far enough north to get down right chilly. It was about 45 degrees Sunday morning. Brrrr.

Yes, that is a deer leg Millie is chewing on. She's a hunter too.

There's nothing like being in the woods on a clear, crisp day. Just look at that blue backdrop. You couldn't have painted a prettier picture. The earth is the Lord's and the fullness thereof.

I love this picture of me and Jimmy cruisin on the four-wheeler. I think he takes me on rides in the chilly weather so we can snuggle up close :) That's right, Jimmy, keep your eyes on the road.

"Why are you posting a picture of a tree?" Good! Jimmy's camo is working!
Our stealth dog. Millie's wolf insticts kick in anytime there is a "cave" in which she can hide. She managed to find this extremely small space under the bed in our camper. Caves, including this one, are very dark so I had to take a picture to see what it looked like under there. She's so funny!

WARNING! Not for the faint at heart...

And this here, my friends, is the prize. Well, not prize as in- 10 point, 160 class buck, but she's meat in the freezer. Way to go, Jimmy! He took this nice, healthy doe Sunday morning...the last hunt before we headed back home.

Blood Test Results

Jimmy and I finally heard back about our blood test results on Friday afternoon. Jimmy's blood test came back perfectly normal and for the most part, so did mine! Praise be to God! They found that I have one copy, meaning I'm heterozygous, for a gene called MTHFR. It has been linked to fertility problems because it basically prevents the absorption of folic acid and can cause blood clots. Dr. Langley doesn't seem to think it is very likely that this is what is specifically causing the miscarriages (since I have only one copy of the gene), but it is a possibility, so we are going to treat it with extra folic acid and a baby asprin everyday.

Thank you for praying. I'm thankful to have a good report and a plan!

Monday, October 20, 2008

A penny saved is a penny earned...

Today was a monumental day for me, which I am soooo excited to write about. Today marked the first day of a new era in saving for the Hurst household. I am offically a coupon shopper... not just any coupon shopper might I add... A lifetime member of the association!!! And I tried out my skills for the first time this afternoon. Now, as can be expected for a first time coupon shopper, I ran into a few bumps along the way and learned some pretty important lessons.

Lesson #1: Buy One Get One Free does NOT mean Buy One At Half Price. At least not at Publix or Winn Dixie.

Lesson #2: Two For $4 means, well, Two For $4...OR One for $2. (Why do they have to be so complicated??)

Lesson #3: Present ALL coupons at time of purchase, lest you have to go back into the store, return the items you forgot to use coupons for, and then repurchase them with the coupons. Oops.

Lesson #4: Keep coupon organizer in your purse at all times, lest you drop it back on Aisle 2 or leave it in the car.

I encourage everyone who has an extra 30 minutes- 1hr a week to try this out. It really does work! Go to and sign up (for free). It gives you access to the Winn Dixie and Publix sales and tells you what sale items also have coupons to help you save BIG! It even tells you which coupon circular and the date it came out in the Sunday paper! That way you are getting the item on sale and adding a coupon. I got Pepperidge Farm garlic bread for $.80, Breyer's ice cream for $2, frozen veggies for $.50, and two packs of dog treats FREE! It's crazy!!! No more full price for me! My total savings today was $54.78!!! True, you have to spend money to save money...but not very much. I only spent $63.61!

"Who was my inspiration," might you ask? Of all people, Oprah. Yes, God will use donkeys...and Oprah. A couple of weeks ago, her show was about saving money day-to-day and her guests were inspiring advocates of "less is more" and coupon shopping. I've always hated consumerism, but get sucked in by the excessive advertising and materialism that plagues our world. Before I know it, I'm buying things that I don't really need and spending more money than I realize. It's amazing how quickly we will shell out money to pay for something without ever thinking about the price... Can I get it cheaper somehow? With the extra money, I could ease the financial burden on my family or buy an extra can of soup for the needy.

Until next time... I'll be buying $.49 toothpaste, $.24 toothbrush, and $.39 speghetti noodles at WalMart. Happy Savings!
The proof is in the pudding. This is just from one store.

"Leave me alone, Mom. Enough with the camera already. I'm trying to sleep," Millie says. She's enjoying her new dog bed I made her. I sewed two pillow cases together and stuffed them with old pillows. Much cheaper than buying an expensive dog bed. In fact, all of the materials I used were in the Goodwill pile.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Incredible Video

Someone sent me this video and it is absolutely amazing. Take a minute to watch and pass it on to others.

Friday, October 10, 2008

Identity Crisis

While having lunch with a friend earlier this week, I said something that caught my own attention. A phrase that I've said quite a few times since June- "I was ready to give up my career to start a family and now I don't have either." There is something particularly exposing about this statement for me, as I usually end up with my faucet running and apologizing for letting my volatile emotions erupt- (a little Krakatoa experience for me and any unfortunate bystanders).

That statement must be a reflection of my personal struggle for identity and purpose. That and a protest against the current trials in my life. As most of you know, I did not go back to a full time teaching position this year and lost my second child in utero in September. You see, I was willing to trade one identity crutch for another, but to lose both at the same time???, that leaves me nothing to attach my name to, nothing to call my job... no more Emily the teacher and unfortunately not Emily the mom, so what about just Emily?

We do this, don't we? Identify ourselves by what our occupation is or who we are to our family- mom, daughter, wife, etc. The truth is, we could easily be like Job, losing everything that meant anything to us in this life, but we would still exist, still have worth, and still be valuable and special to God. So, all earthly titles aside because they will all pass away, we must know who we are in Christ- His beloved, a jewel in the crown of the Lord, a child of the most High God, fearfully and wonderfully made with a divine purpose, anointed by God to accomplish that purpose, fully equipped, a temple of the Holy Spirit, the head and not the tail, above only and not beneath, created in the image of God, beautiful, worthy because of His grace, and nothing without Him.

Love is Not a Fight

I’ve discovered a new toy for my blog…playlist music! Since the whole idea behind blogging is to share your life with others, I wanted to pick some theme songs that are meaningful and even representative of our lives…me and Jimmy, that is. I could sit and listen to this first song, “Love is not a fight” for hours on end, over and over, reflecting on the amazingly scripted words, and simultaneously thanking God for my marriage and interceding for those marriages that are struggling around us. This song is POWERFUL! It makes me grateful than most can imagine to know that my husband fought for me and our love when I was too weak and distracted to do so. Through our major “crisis” (we all have at least one of those, right?), God restored our marriage to a greater place than we ever imagined was possible. This song depicts so accurately that love is not a fairytale or just a feeling…a word to fall into or out of. The lyrics talk of working through really tough storms, which we all inevitably face in our marriage relationships. Love is grace in those circumstances; getting back up to try again. Most importantly, our King Jesus has a love for us that is worth fighting for…and guess what, He already won! All we have to do is accept his grace.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

What do you expect? I just gave 14 viles of blood! Can you say woozy?

Saturday, October 4, 2008

Interstate Lessons

I'm posting because I'm waiting for Jimmy to get home from "shootin' birds" (the literal, not figurative kind) and have had a slightly stressful day from which I should decompress. Most importantly, though, God gave me a great illustration through a frustrating experience that I wanted to share...

One of my dear friends, Heather, from Gainesville, had a baby shower today in Orlando. While driving on I-4, I took a look at the directions (yes, for the first time) and noticed that one of the roads I would have to take to get to my destination was 528- "Oh No! Not a dreadful toll road?!" Well, as usual I found myself headed for the money hungry asphalt with nothing to feed it except maybe 75 cents that I could scrounge from the bottom of my purse and the sticky cup holders. (Toll attenders must hate people like me who give such dirty money ;) I was afraid that the toll road would require much more money than what I had to offer and running the tolls, though a definite option, was not the best idea considering I've done that one (or more) times in the past while lost in Jamlando. I didn't want to push my luck and be targeted as a 'repeat offender'. I called my friend Heather and asked if there was another route I could take. She insisted that I meet her near her mother's house in Kissimmee, so I scooted off the interstate just in time to jump onto 192 and head in her direction. From here the story gets long and frustrating...bottom line is, I got lost in the process of taking the new route, went many miles and minutes out of the way, wasted a quarter of a tank of gas (there goes my daily contribution to saving the environment), and most ashamedly, held up my friend who ended up being 30 minutes late for her own baby shower! (At this point everyone reading this should be feeling pretty darn great about themselves. Your welcome. I do what I can.)

While at the shower enjoying some delicious chocolate and strawberry cake and talking to extremely nice people, I found out from other Polk Countians that it cost a whopping, you guessed it, 75 cents at the toll booth to travel the infamous 528 hungry asphalt road! Wow, did I feel like an idiot. Everyone was trying to give this poor girl some money to make it back home! More importantly, I felt embarrassed that my anticipation was far worse than the reality and cost me far more than I would have had to pay otherwise.

So on the way home, the gracious Holy Spirit used that "teachable moment" (wink wink, for all you teachers out there) and brought things into perspective for me. In life, how often does our mere anticipation and fear of the unknown cost us more emotionally and spiritually than what we would have encountered otherwise? So often, instead of living in the now, we live in the past or future, carrying the burdens of yesterday and worrying about the possibilities of tomorrow. We force ourselves to experience hurts, pains, and difficulties twice (once in frantic anticipation as we worry and again if and when the trial comes). "Therefore, do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about its own things. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble." Matt. 6:34.

Friday, October 3, 2008

Great Dr.'s Visit!

For those of you who asked about my trip to the Dr. today, thought about us, and most importantly prayed for us, THANK YOU! The doctor we met with was awesome...friendly, very knowledgable (a quality most people really like in their physicians ;), and extremely supportive and encouraging of me continuing to use the birthing center if the test results do not put me at high risk for my next pregnancy. Yay!

So, Jimmy and I will both go in for blood testing early next week and will get the results back within 2-3 weeks from then. They are testing for a variety of auto-immune disorders which could cause my body to reject the growing embryo. They are also testing Jimmy and I both for chromosome abnormalities that might be occuring during cell division. Meaning, even though we might have all of the eggs in our baskets, they might not be in the right order. (You should be getting a flashback from your last biology class right about now).

The good news is that as long as Dr. Langley has been practicing, he has never had one of these tests come back as positive! The truth is that, statistically speaking, half of all pregnancies end in miscarriage, and the cause for most miscarriages is never exactly identified. Dr. Langley treats all of his patients whose blood work does not come back positive for auto immune disorders, with progesterone therapy. Interestingly, though,medical science does not yet have a way to exactly identify that progesterone deficiency (or luteal phase defect) is a legitimate cause for miscarriage. In other words, if someone has a successful pregnancy after progesterone therapy it may or may not be a result of the progesterone. But since they don't know for sure and it doesn't hurt to try, we'll go for it!

We'll keep everyone posted on what the test results show. Thanks for praying!

Sweet Tooth Cookies and Gifts ???

Several people have been asking me lately, "what ever happened to your cookie idea?" The "cookie idea" was a business adventure my friend Melissa and I explored during the summer. Melissa and I decided to start a gourmet cookie company here in Lake Wales in our boutique-y downtown area. We worked for months on perfecting our sugar cookie and icing recipes, writing a business plan, practicing assembling cookie bouquets, looking for shops to rent, buying a few supplies here and there, and coming up with a name (Sweet Tooth Cookies and Gifts). At the time, she had a 6 month old baby and I was pregnant, so our main goal was to have more time for our families, a fun place for our children to join us at work, and a way to provide additional income for our families (both of our husbands are self-employed). When it finally came down to crunch time, however, we decided to take a week off to pray about it...not just bedtime prayers, but really seeking God's will for this area of our lives. During this week, Melissa and I didn't talk cookies or make cookies. We were concerned that we would end up in different places at the end of the week, but God is faithful and aligned our hearts with His will. Long story short, we ultimately decided that going forward full force in this business would not produce the desired results concerning our familes that we were looking for. God gave us "inside information" because we asked and though we were excited about Sweet Tooth Cookies and Gifts, we were even more grateful to know that we had chosen what was better- (kind of like Mary). Who knows, maybe we'll keep our recipes and try again one day when the timing is better.

Thursday, October 2, 2008


As I'm sure most of you who read this blogspot know that Jimmy and I have had quite a tumultuous summer during which I had two miscarriages. I didn't end up going back to work this fall, counting on a job with FL Virtual School...which didn't come through. We have been surviving on the income from Jimmy's business, while I have been applying and training for all sorts of work from home jobs! Things are finally starting to come together, as they usually do in God's impeccable timing.

I was doing a devotion the other day that encouraged me to identify my biggest struggles currently in life and then think of all the possible good that could come of them. Some of the things in my list were: drawing closer to the Lord, having a stronger marriage, and learning to be better stewards of the money God has blessed us with. The final part of the task was to find a scripture that would encourage me in my, there are so many that I find myself repeating over and over again (often in the same order ;). I wrote down, "And God shall supply all my needs, according to His riches and glory in Christ Jesus". And this is so true, not only for finances, but in all aspects of life. Who could know all the things I need for each moment in life, except the one who formed me in my mother's womb? After all, He has fully equipped me for each work I am called to do.

I'm going to the fertility specialist tomorrow for some testing. Hopefully we can quickly find out why I have not been able to carry past the first trimester. And hopefully it is something that can easily be fixed! I am being anxious for nothing, but bringing my requests before God. The One who is fully able to do more than we can ask or imagine! I will keep everyone posted. Thanks in advance for praying for us!

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Gordy Wayne turns 11...HAPPY BIRTHDAY!

This weekend we had a great birthday party for Gordy Wayne out at Granny and Papa Coates'. The kids had a blast swimming and playing in the pool (no that is not a pond...never mind the green water).

The Birthday Boy!

Sunday, August 31, 2008

UF vs Hawaii in The Swamp!!!

Jimmy surprised me with tickets to the first Gator game! I mentioned that I would love to go several weeks back, but Jimmy reminded me that he had a softball tournament on Saturday. I was bummed about not going, but nevertheless settled to watch it in true Gator football fan fashion. On Thursday night we were coming home from Walmart and stopped to check the mail. There were 7 Weikert Ford sales trifolds, all with a different salesperson's name and picture. We just couldn't get over how weird that was.

When we were finally inside Jimmy insisted that we each open one of these "Happy Labor Day- Come buy a car" ads...I reluctantly agreed. When I opened mine there were two tickets to the Gator game inside!!! "Oh my gosh, we won tickets!" I yelled, looking over to see if Jimmy won something too. In all actuality, he had slipped the tickets in the trifold on our way inside from the car...that rascal. It was so romantic (yes, Gator football tickets are considered romantic)!

We drove up Saturday morning and parked on campus just in time to walk up to the stadium in a torrential downpour. No ponchos, no umbrella, no cover..."in all kinds of weather we all stick together". We were drenched from head to toe! The rain stopped as soon as it was time for kickoff, and the weather was great for the rest of the game. We had a blast! Thanks honey for the best surprise!
Even though it was a blowout game, it is always good to be back at The Swamp. The atmosphere is electric and Jimmy and I enjoy it every time!

Cross Creek

After the game, Jimmy and I drove out to Cross Creek, southeast of Gainesville, to eat at The Yearling Restaurant. We love to read historical fiction books and are currently enjoying The Creek by JT Glisson, an account of creek life back in the 1930's. It was so neat to drive around this place where the great stories, illustrated in our minds, actually took place. We hope to go back after reading more about Cross Creek and maybe even stay the weekend at one of the fishing cabins. There is nothing like stepping back in time to enjoy the simple ways of life.
At the infamous creek bridge, where JT Glisson and the rest of the creek folk met to discuss business and make major town decisions.

My 1st Haircut!!!

There were a few times I butchered my own hair in my pre-teen years when I didn't have the patience to wait for my next hair appointment. Aside from those hideous moments, this was my first haircut! And my very own husband was my victim! (Hey, aren't we called to sharpen each other, like iron sharpens iron?) In all actuality, it was Jimmy's the name of saving a few bucks. We borrowed some clippers, and bought a few basic supplies- scissors and a comb. I threw a sheet around him, gave my new $5 scissors a test "snip, snip" and went to work like I was a "Hair Stylist Extraordinaire"! This is supposed to be easy, right? Afterall, I've seen it done a thousand times. Not so much. It was a very stressful 2 hours (yes, it really did take that long), but in the end, it didn't turn out so bad. No worries, the pictures are not all from the final product. They reveal the process of my magnificent work! The fading was by far the hardest part, but you know what they say...practice makes perfect!

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Lance's 26th BDay!

We went to Manny's Chophouse tonight to celebrate my big bubba's 26th BDay! Lance, Me, Jimmy, Chris, Kelly, Triston, Mom, and Rick. We are thankful to God to have Lance in our lives another year! Good times!

Triston was being quite a pill when it came to taking a picture with Uncle Lance. Lance offered to pay him a dollar for a picture... apparently, this is all a dollar will buy from "Toni"

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Saturday Night Rock N Boll

We had a great time with great friends at the Bowling Alley in Sebring. Danna and James joined us with my adorable cousin, Quentin, and Cathy and Jason came from Sebring. We hauled Eric with us in the trunk (just kidding) and a few other friends made it a super night!
Fine bowling skills displayed by...
Tyler (a.k.a. Chibo--on the scoreboard anyway), Jimbo, Eric, and Dannna