Friday, June 28, 2013

Weekend Happenings, Celebrating the 4th of July in Birmingham, A Toddler Devotion (God is Our Good Shepherd)

Good Friday afternoon!

Boy, have I got a story to tell you!

However, it will have to wait until Monday because I am just now seeing the end of the story... and I want to tell it just one time.

Since the above is a HUGE teaser, just let me say, "Settle down. It is a story, but it's relevance to anyone other than me and mine is minimal. Maybe even nonexistent. You can be the judge Monday morning."

RANDOMNESS #1 - I have a few new readers, and although I wrongfully assume everyone in the entire world knows what I am talking about and who I am talking about at all times, I have been informed that is not the case.

I'm going to give you a little tutorial on "Who's Who in The Enchanting Belinda's World."

I'm going to skip the basics. If you don't already know Mikie, Austin, Josh and Roxie, it will not take you long to figure out who they are.

However, after The Faulkner Five, the Family Tree gets a little trickier.

We'll start off with my identical twin sister... Bev.

Just kidding, just kidding. Bev looks like my Dad, and I look like my Mom.

But we have the same voice. People cannot tell us apart on the phone.

Beverly married Tommy a few years ago.

And they begat...

Brad (13 months younger than Austin)...

And Katie (3 months younger than Josh)...

And Zac (17 months younger than Roxie).

And then Bev and I called it quits in the "Having Babies Department."

It would be so wrong of me not to mention Austin's girlfriend, The Lovely Melia...

And Brad's girlfriend, Stephanie. (I haven't given Stephanie a nickname yet, but when I do, it will be very complimentary.)

We call these two chicks our own.

And now for Mikie's side of the family...

This is Becky (Mike's sister) and her husband, Guy.

Becky and Guy begat...


And Jared.


Brandi married a nice young man coincidentally named Jared (like her brother)...

And Jared (Brandi's brother) married a sweet chick named Amber.

Brandi and Jared begat...

Matthew (MY great-nephew)...

And Lauren (MY first great-niece).

Are you still with me?

And then Amber and Jared begat...

Mackenzie (MY second great-niece).

And at this time in my life, that is pretty much the Family Tree.

All of the grandparents have appeared numerous times in A Simple Life, and I'm always careful to label them appropriately. I don't think there has been any confusion as to their identities.

But just in case...

Grandma and Grandpa are Mikie's parents.

And Grandmother is my Mom.

If I think of any more, I'll post them on Monday!

RANDOMNESS #2 - I liked these pictures of Josh and Roxie because they accidentally kinda matched one day. It doesn't happen often (as in NEVER) so I didn't want to let the moment pass.

A Toddler Devotion (God is Our Good Shepherd)

I found this on Pinterest and wanted to share it with my new friends who are currently parenting toddlers. Although this lesson plan was originally written for a classroom setting, it would work well as an object lesson for a young family.

Bible Passage - Psalm 23, John 10:1-18
Bible Lesson Title - God is Our Good Shepherd
Target Age Group - Toddlers, age 18 to 24 months
Original Teaching Context: Toddler Sunday School
Main Idea - God is our good Shepherd. We are His sheep. He takes care of us.
Supplies - Bible, picture of shepherd and sheep. (See additional activities below for supply list.)

With toddlers, you want to keep your devotion short and simple. Show the kids the picture of a shepherd. Hold up your Bible. Tell them, "The Bible tells us God is our good Shepherd. The Bible is His Word. God is our good Shepherd. We are His sheep. He takes care of us." (Repeat three times.)

Choose the following activities which will work best for your kiddos.

1. Follow the Shepherd

Supplies - Shepherd staff, healthy snack for toddlers, water to drink.

What does a sheep say? (Baaaa.) God is our Shepherd. We are His sheep. He takes care of us. I will pretend to be your shepherd. You are my sheep. Follow me, and I will care for you.

Have another adult get on the ground and act like a sheep to encourage the toddlers to do the same. Lead your sheep to water. Encourage them to drink. Lead them to food. Encourage them to eat.

God is our Shepherd. He provides us with food and water. He cares for us. (While they are eating, count your sheep.)

All of my sheep are here. I am a shepherd and I protect my sheep. God is our good Shepherd. He protects us. (Lead them to a resting place.)

When we are tired, God gives us rest. Can you pretend to rest (sleep)? God is our good Shepherd. He takes care of us. (While they are resting, count your sheep.)

All of my sheep are here. I am a shepherd and I protect my sheep. God is our good Shepherd. He protects us.

If they have trouble following you during this activity (straying from the other children), remind them, "Sheep follow their shepherd! I need ________________ (child’s name) to follow me! God is your good Shepherd. He knows your name and calls you to follow Him!"

2. Box Pull

Supplies - Shoes boxes with a hole punched near the top of one small side (tie a string long enough for a toddler to pull the box around behind them), stuffed lambs, blankies.

Here is a sheep for you to take care of. Can you tuck them in and keep them safe? The Bible says God is our good Shepherd. We are His sheep. He takes care of us.

Show them how they can pull the boxes behind them and lead their sheep. Repeat the main idea as much as you can.

3. Cotton Ball Discovery

Supplies - Medium or large box/container, cotton balls, small Bible, toy sheep, toy shepherd, small books about sheep or any other small items that might go along with the lesson theme. Fill your box with cotton balls. Hide the items throughout.

Sheep are soft like these cotton balls. Can you feel the cotton balls? (Pass around a few cotton balls. Show them how to touch them to their faces to feel the softness.) There are some things hidden in these cotton balls! (Pull one small item out.) Let’s see what you can find!

4. Touch and Feel

Bring real wool to class. Let them touch it and describe the texture. Repeat the main idea as they touch the wool.

5. Sheep Experience

If this is an option for you, find a nearby farm with a real sheep or lamb. (You can also go to The Birmingham Zoo.) Let your toddlers pet the sheep. Talk to them about what sheep are like (behavior, eating, etc.). Repeat the main idea as they are discovering new things about sheep.

6. Pray

Hold hands or bow your heads together (just demonstrate and ask them to do the same. Some may, most may just watch.) Say a short prayer like the following, "Dear God... You are our good Shepherd. We are your sheep. You take care of us. Help us to follow you. We love you. Thank you for loving us. Amen."

Celebrating the 4th of July in Birmingham

Here are a few things you might want to try as a family this weekend AND on the 4th of July...

1. AT THE TWILIGHT’S LAST GLEAMING - Wave that flag and cheer. Patriotic songs will be on the agenda at 7:30 p.m. this Sunday when the UAB Summer Band performs on the lawn outside Bartow Arena. Director Sue Samuels and her 75-member ensemble will offer a star-spangled program that also includes traditional pops fare. Admission is free. For more information call 205-934-7376.

2. FLAG MAKING AND PARADE - Go to Oak Mountain State Park, Campground Pavilion at 10:00 a.m. on the 4th of July. Make flags and other patriotic crafts at the Campground Pavilion. Call 205-620-2520 for more info.

3. BIRMINGHAM BARONS - Watch the Barons take on the Mobile Bay Bears at 6:00 p.m. on the 4th of July. You will have a front row seat at the end of the game for a fantastic fireworks show.

Weekend Happenings

1. Believe it or not, basketball is back in our lives... yesterday, today and tomorrow. Roxie is attending Basketball Camp and Mike and I will be watching a couple of games today and all of the games tomorrow.

2. Sunday, our family will be celebrating Bev's belated birthday. (See Family Tree above if you are still not sure who Bev is in the grand scheme of things.)

Roxie is baking her cake, and I must say, it is going to be epic. It will be one of the best she's ever made... if everything turns out as planned.

Other than some church attending, dog washing, chicken sandwich serving and hedge trimming, that will be it for our weekend.

I hope you and yours have a great pre-4th of July weekend. I'll be back Monday with just a few more 4th of July ideas, cake pictures, basketball pictures and a semi-interesting story.

Take care, and I'll talk to you Monday morning.


The Enchanting Belinda

Monday, June 24, 2013

Mindless Monday, 4th of July Tradition, Blog Linkage

Good Monday morning!

I hope you had a good weekend. The next few posts are going to deal strictly with 4th of July recipes and ideas and traditions for you and yours to try.

And, of course, I'll have a little bit of the following...

RANDOMNESS #1 - I think I told you I took some wedding dress pics of Sue's daughter-in-law-to-be a couple of weeks ago. We went to the Botanical Gardens and a good time was had by all... even with 1,000 percent humidity.

Jenny, the bride, had her wedding make-up and her wedding hair done before we shot the pictures, and I have to give the "make-up lady" and the "wedding-hair lady" kudos on a job very well done.

Jenny's hair was perfect (and remained perfect) throughout the shoot... and while her mom, Sue and I began to look a little "limp and bedraggled" five minutes in, her face was perfection.

Jenny and Matthew married this past Saturday afternoon, and they were so beautiful. Sweet, sweet wedding. Sweet, sweet couple.

RANDOMNESS #2 - Mike and Company picked me up in the parking lot of the church at 4:30 (right after the ceremony)... and we hit the road heading to Anniston to surprise Guy and Becky at Top of the River to commemorate their 40th Anniversary.

Brandi and Jared did a good job planning and keeping the surprise.

The Faulkner Five and Melia did a good job arriving in time to be a part of the surprise... and not a part of the "after-surprise."

Some of the pictures below were taken by Matthew who was my eating companion for the evening.

Matthew took this one...

And this one!

He does a pretty good job, doesn't he?
These are the restaurant Anniversary Singers.

Becky and Guy... married 40 years and still going strong!

Mackenzie wasn't able to join us because she is so new and the restaurant is typically so crowded... and needless to say, not everyone is as germ-free as her family.

We missed her, but we had a good time with Matthew and Miss Lauren.

RANDOMNESS #3 - And speaking of Lauren, she was particularly animated Saturday night, so I had fun sitting at the end of the table and just snapping away at her many expressions.

I think we can all agree, the chick is gorgeous.

Blog Linkage -

1. Go to The Dating Divas under My Blog List and read today's post entitled "Summer Picnic and Party Games." Great ideas if you are hosting a 4th of July Bash.

2. Go to www.kellehampton.com and read yesterday's post entitled "Michigan: Double Rainbow." Kelle is heading home to Florida, but she left a few more beautiful pics of her vacation with her family on the blog today. Beautiful

4th of July Traditions

I've been in charge of the 4th of July Celebration for my side of the family for the past nine years now.

At first, my house was the logical choice because we had access to our community pool. But as the kids got older, the pool lost some of it's appeal (which happens), and we instead played games AND had a festive 4th of July meal including hot dogs, hamburgers and homemade ice cream.

One year, we played Bunco. That was a good year.

Last year, we played of series of games (Uno, Farkle, etc.), and the winners won movie candy.

Which leads to one our newest 4th of July traditions... a 6:00 or 7:00 p.m. 4th of July Blockbuster Movie.

This year, weather permitting, we're going to play a series of old-fashioned games... tether ball, horseshoes, badminton and maybe, just maybe, a sack race.

Once again the winners will be rewarded with movie candy, because our 4th of July Blockbuster Movie Choice for 2013 is... DESPICABLE ME 2!

I just love those minions.

Have a lovely week. I'll be back Friday morning with more 4th of July stuff, so be sure to check back if you have time.

Take care, and I'll talk to you the end of the week.


The Enchanting Belinda

Friday, June 21, 2013

Weekend Happenings, Blog Linkage, Quotable Quotes

Good Friday morning!

RANDOMNESS - You knew I would have more Mackenzie pictures today, right? I kept a couple just for today... and maybe a couple more for Monday.

Is there anything more precious than a big man tenderly holding a tiny baby?

Is there anything more weird than referring to YOUR baby as a "big man?"

I think not!

Look at that hair. Look at those lips. So, so sweet.

Quotable Quotes - June is a big wedding month... which makes me think of marriage... which makes me want to use these quotes!

"Let the wife make the husband glad to come home, and let him make her sorry to see him leave." Martin Luther

"The ultimate purpose of marriage is not to make us happy, but to glorify God." Nancy Leigh DeMoss

Blog Linkage

Go to www.kellehampton.com and scroll down to Tuesday's post entitled "Summer Bucket (in the Mitten)" and tell me you do not want to go to Michigan RIGHT NOW!

And if you do want to go RIGHT NOW, call me and I'll get The Big Gold Van serviced before our road trip!

Weekend Happenings

1. Mikie is coming home from an overnight trip today. Since we've got some "eatin' out" to do this weekend, I'll probably just fix something easy for dinner.

Josh will be working. Austin will be dating. The Chick will be... I'm not sure yet.

2. I'm attending a wedding tomorrow, and I'm very excited. My friend, Sue, has had a very busy Spring. Her daughter had a new baby in May (Reese), and her son is getting married Saturday afternoon.

I had lunch with her yesterday, and she seems to be handling everything remarkably well... with style and grace.

I'm taking notes for when my turn comes, but I'm pretty sure the words "with style and grace" will not be used to describe me.

Because I've yet to hear those words used to describe me in recent years...

Or any time prior to recent years...


I think I'll probably settle for "deliriously happy and barefoot."

For some reason, I am much more happy and relaxed without shoes than with them. I tend to kick them off as soon as I reach any destination. Church, car, other people's homes, etc.

And when I think of a wedding, reception and all the pictures in between, all the images of me in my head are barefoot.

Which reminds me. I'm getting a pedicure some time before the wedding Saturday.

I also need to spend some uninterrupted quality time in the massage chair. Like two to three hours.

3. I'm teaching another Sunday School class filled with young moms Sunday morning. It's one of my favorite things to do these days, and I always come out of a class refreshed and happy remembering one of the sweetest times in my life.

And then I go home to my young adults, and I am happy again remembering how sweet it is to have all of them under one roof for this short, short season before things change mightily around here... again.

As Austin is looking for his "career" job, he is working many hours at Chick Fil-A AND cutting yards. He will not be living on Crista Circle much longer.

We are getting ready to move Josh to Hanceville this Fall for his sophomore year at Wallace State. While Mike and I are still determined to live day-by-day, Josh continues to think ahead... which is a very 19 year-old thing to do.

And The Chick will finally have our undivided attention.

She cannot wait!

It appears that Weekend Happenings has turned into The Faulkner Five Life Plans. Sorry about that.

Have a fun-filled Summer weekend. I'll be back Monday with pictures from several events/outings, etc. and some 4th of July ideas.

Take care, and I'll talk to you next week.


The Enchanting Belinda

Monday, June 17, 2013

Mindless Monday

Good Monday AFTERNOON!

RANDOMNESS #1 - The good news... Josh is now wisdom teeth-free. The bad news... Well, there is no bad news. He's doing very well, and we are just kinda taking it easy the rest of the day.

As per his request, no videos or pictures will be shared on the blog or any other social network.

And let me tell you, that is going to be a hard promise to keep!

RANDOMNESS #2 - We had our annual Balloon Release Saturday morning remembering my Daddy during Father's Day Weekend.

As we have for the past nine years, we gathered around my Daddy's grave.

Tommy and Mike take turns saying the prayer around the grave. It was Tommy's turn this year.

We stand until the last person (usually Bev) admits he/she cannot see the balloons any longer.

And then we stand a few minutes more.

My Daddy would have been so proud of his six grandkids. Each and every one so very different and unique, but all six with many similarities.

They all love the mountains, and our annual trips together in the winter to spend a few days in a big house on an even bigger hill are precious memories.

My Daddy gave them that.

The boys all love to camp, fish and hunt. They love to build and feed fires. They love knives and guns. Brad and Austin would live in the woods, I think, and be perfectly content.

My Daddy gave them that.

Each of the kids know what it feels like to walk into a room and watch someone's face literally light up.

My Daddy gave them that.

Brad looks the most like Daddy physically. He is all charm and swagger.

Zac, at 15 years of age, has a very different way of "seeing things." My Daddy would have so enjoyed his point of view, and I'm pretty sure he would have totally "gotten" Zac.

Katie is the family cheerleader. She pointed out at one family gathering last year one cousin had lost weight, three cousins were dating and the mountain trip was coming up. "I'm just so happy for us," she said... and she meant it. My Daddy was the family cheerleader before her.

Austin, as the oldest grandchild, holds the most memories and although many people may not have used the word "sensitive" to describe my Daddy, he was... and so is Austin.

Josh is most like Daddy in personality and temperament. A little crusty on the outside, but oh, so sweet on the inside.

And Roxie... Well, Roxie is fire and sass and loyal and funny. And my Daddy would have sat back and folded his arms across his chest and thoroughly enjoyed watching The Chick keep everybody in line.

My Daddy gave all of them those attributes.

The six kids are all cousins, but more importantly, they are close, sweet friends.

My Daddy AND my Mom gave them that.

DISCLAIMER - The kids aren't perfect. Sometimes they bicker. Sometimes they take words a little too far. But at the end of the day, or the weekend or the annual mountain trip, they are very, very much Harold's kids... in every sense of the words.

Brad and Zac.

Mike and Austin.

Roxie and Katie.

Grandmother and Josh.

I cannot help but believe some day far in the future, all six of Harold's grandkids will be excellent grandparents.

They most definitely had one of the best teachers.

My Daddy gave them that.

RANDOMNESS #3 - I think the highlight of my day yesterday was meeting Baby Mackenzie, my new great-niece. She is sweet and pink and tiny and perfect. And I loved her even more than I thought I would.

It was unanimous. We're going to keep her!

Have a tremendous week. I'll be back Friday with a LOT of information and ideas for you and yours to use this Summer. I'll also tell you about Mikie's Father's Day.

Take care, and I'll talk to you the end of the week.


The Enchanting Belinda
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