Thursday, December 24, 2009

For to us a child is born...

For to us a child is born,
to us a son is given;
and the government shall be upon
his shoulder,
and his name shall be called
Wonderful Counselor, Mighty
God,
Everlasting Father, Prince of
Peace.

Of the increase of his government
and of peace
there will be no end,
on the throne of David and over his
kingdom,
to establish it and to uphold it
with justice and with rightousness
from this time forth and
forevermore.
The zeal of the LORD of hosts will do
this.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Visions of sugar plums danced in our heads...

 My favorite Christmas candy is a homemade chocolate covered cherry. This is my Aunt Becky's recipe, and it is good! I've got a batch waiting in the freezer for the festivities to begin! Merry Christmas!!









Friday, December 11, 2009

bath time!

Here's a short video of Benjamin's bath time. Don't worry. It's G-rated. I was going to post another short video, but it took HOURS for this one to post. Maybe I'm doing something wrong? Anyway, he is getting such a cute personality, and he seems to enjoy his baths. They are one of the highlights of our day!


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Thursday, December 3, 2009

What I would do with more time in the day...

1. work out everyday
2. blog everyday
3. call a friend everyday (more time + more cell phone minutes)
4. do more projects... scrapbook more, maybe paint some furniture...

I know I have friends who think I've fallen off the face of the earth since having a baby. For the record, I haven't. But, being a mom is hard!! Benjamin is a sweet baby, but not usually an easy one. (Is there such a thing?) There are days he only takes one nap, and then prefers to be held most of the rest of the day. It's hard to do much of anything while holding a baby other than hold the baby. I'm not really even good at talking on the phone and doing it. He's VERY wiggly.

I'm not super mom. Most days, I'm doing good just to take care of Benjamin. I think it will get easier. A day is coming when he will walk and not want to be held as much. So, while he loves being held I'm just going to enjoy it. My dear friends out there, know that I still love you. But right now being a wife and a mommy are my priority. If you don't hear much from me just know I'm still thinking of you and praying for you. One day, my sweet little boy will be all grown up (sniff, sniff)... for now he's my little bundle who loves being held and takes most of my attention. And that's simply lovely.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Old Furniture... New Life

My mother-in-law gave this furniture to us. It originally belonged to Derek's great-grandmother. When we got it the fabric was a mint-green color and looking pretty worn. My dad used to work with a guy who is amazing at recovering old furniture. He works with inmates at a nearby prison, teaching them how to do this so they will have a craft once they're out. He actually does the work for free because the prison system pays his salary! He did an absolutely beautiful job with this loveseat, and now he's working on a matching chair. Now, I'm on the hunt for more old furniture I can get recovered for free. Check it out:







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Thank heaven for little boys...

Here's a little picture update of our sweet baby boy. Enjoy!




I just love this picture.. he looks so mischevious!!




One of his favorite things... getting his hair dried. Lately, bath time has been going much better. He doesn't even mind getting his hair wet anymore, but it's still fun to dry all that hair!




My mom and Benjamin. We are having a lot of fun sharing these months with my parents. And they love having Benjamin around!




Benjamin's first Halloween... apparently he wanted to be Superman, and I dressed him as a pea pod instead. Next year... Superman.




He looks like he's taking his first Halloween very seriously!




He has daily conversations with this horse from his bouncy seat.




Sometimes you need two sets of hands. Laundry needed doing, but the baby also needed carrying. This was the compromise.




Benjamin's first garage sale. The customers loved him!


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Friday, November 6, 2009

Priorities... Gospel First

Thought out over several nap times... now I really need a shower...

I believe the most important thing in my life should be the gospel. So, I've been trying to figure out what that looks like in everyday life. I've been praying that God would help me understand this better. Then, yesterday, I was reading in Titus 2 and found some verses that helped me. I'm blogging about it because doing so helps me get it straight in my mind, but also because maybe it will help someone else out there. Note that I'm using the ESV Study Bible, and many of these thoughts come from the commentary contained within.

In Titus 2:1, Paul states that we are to teach what accords with sound doctrine. He goes on to describe the type of living that corresponds with the gospel and affirms rather than denies our claim to know God. Gospel living keeps Christians from providing any legitimate grounds for the Word of God to be reviled (v. 5). This kind of living adorns the gospel (v. 10). I love the picture of us adorning the gospel, highlighting the attractiveness of it! It also proves the gospel, because we are powerless to live godly lives apart from the work of Christ in our hearts.

Paul describes older men as that of Christian dignity and a sound, vibrant faith. Older women should have a reverent freedom in Christ and should train younger women to be godly wives and mothers. The Greek word for train means "to give instruction in wise behavior and good judgement".

Younger women are to love their husbands and children, submit to their husbands, be self-controlled, pure, working at home, and kind. This doesn't leave out single younger women! You may not have a husband or children, but there is still good instruction here! In general, women love to tend to the home... decorating to create an environment of warmth and welcomness. You don't have to be married to invite people over for a meal and show love and hospitality.

Even before I got married, I loved having people into my home. My roommate, Melissa, was a fabulous cook, and she was especially good at serving large numbers of people. (still is, I'm sure!)I was usually in charge of bread and dessert (my favorite!). We would have the "20-Somethings" over for games or to watch football or for dinner. Or the interns from Sky Ranch would come over for a rare home-cooked meal. There were so many opportunities to love on people and to be "busy at home" even with having to work outside the home, as well.

Younger men are to be self-controlled, teaching in a way that shows integrity and sound knowledge. And, the chapter goes on to even describe the behavior of Christian slaves. This doesn't justify slavery. "What Jesus endorses is the kind of inner freedom and love that is willing to go the extra mile in service, even when the demand is unjust." (from Recovering Biblical Manhood & Womanhood)

Then, verses 11-14 tie it all together:

"For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation for all people, training us to renounce ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright, and godly lives in the present age, waiting for our blessed hope, the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ, who gave himself for us to redeem us from all lawlessness and to purify for himself a people for his own possession who are zealous for good works."

So, I look for ways to serve and love my husband and submit to his authority not because God will love me more. I do it because God first loved me and died for me. I take Benjamin on walks and enjoy talking to him not just because it's good for my health and his development. I do it because God has given me freedom in Christ to enjoy doing these things. I stop and let my heart rate drop a little when the elderly woman wants to look at the baby not just because it's the kind thing to do. I do it because it will bless her and remind me of how good God is to send His Son to die for me and then on top of that to give me a son.

So, I'm challenging myself to continue thinking this way... to look for the gospel in everyday life. It doesn't make God love me more when I do good things. But I should be zealous for good works because Jesus gave Himself to redeem me and because of the hope I have in waiting for his glorious appearing.

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Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Hall Family Update

We've been in Texarkana for a little over two weeks now. Derek has been substitute teaching some and starts a job with Lifeway in December. He is staying busy running errands... getting the car inspected, rotating tires, doing paperwork for seminary, and getting things out of storage that we realize we need. The last trip he took, he found bleach had spilled over our end table. He ruined a sweatshirt wiping it up. I cried when he told me because I started to worry that all of our things would be broken or stained by the time they're finally moved out of storage and onto Louisville. Derek assures me they won't be, and anyway it's all just stuff. It's not eternal.

I've stayed busy taking care of Benjamin. When he naps, I usually read or blog or clean or attempt to keep up with friends or workout (7# to go to get back to my pre-pregnant weight). Benjamin is almost three months old now! He is a really sweet baby, especially now that his reflux is under control. Prilosec is doing the trick (thank you, Lord!). He is starting to love to play. His new favorite thing is 'air-plane'. That never fails to bring out the smiles. He loves to be held and talked to. He sucks on his fist like it's candy. He loves to have his hair dried after bath time. He hates being dressed as a pea pod. (I'm still going to post pictures, though.)

Benjamin loves his Gramma and Granddad, and they love that he is living with them right now. My mom has started getting ready for bed early so she can spend the rest of the night holding him! He sleeps great at night, but that's because he sleeps right next to me. He'll fall asleep nursing, wake up for a diaper change, then fall back asleep nursing on the other side. That's our routine. I'm fine with it for now, because that way I get some good sleep, too!

I'm feeling very blessed these days. My parents have welcomed us with open arms. I have a husband who loves me well and seeks to love me even better. We have a beautiful son who is totally a gift from God. We are looking forward to this adventure in Louisville. The Lord has provided for us in many ways through some very generous friends back in Austin. We even made $700 at a garage sale the weekend after moving! I've never heard of anyone making that much at a garage sale!

It is sort of a scary time for us, too. Our house in Austin has not rented yet. Derek doesn't have a job in Louisville yet. We aren't sure where we'll be living once in Louisville yet. Yet! Somehow those things are not freaking me out. God has shown us that this is His plan and not ours. We are walking in obedience, and I have faith that God will provide all we need.

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Wednesday, October 28, 2009

The Joy of Homemaking

I love being a stay at home mom. I see it as a high calling and a blessing to be able to stay home. I'm excited about my marriage and the chance to welcome Derek home everyday. I'm excited about the days and years ahead raising Benjamin and any other children God chooses to bless us with. I'm excited about the freedom it brings to cultivate our home to be a place that people are welcomed, loved, and pointed to Christ. I think this is the best job I've ever had, and I want to do it well.

I've been challenged and inspired by several people in this new adventure called homemaking. I want to share some of that here. This is a quote from one of my favorite pastors. He has helped me to see just how much value there is in this new job of mine.

A challenge from John Piper:

"That you not assume that secular employment is a greater challenge or a better use of your life than the countless opportunities of service and witness in the home, the neighborhood, the community, the church, and the world; that you not only pose the question: career or full-time homemaker?, but that you ask just as seriously: full-time career or freedom for ministry? That you ask: Which would be greater for the Kingdom - to work for someone who tells you what to do to make his or her business prosper, or to be God's free agent dreaming your own dream about how your time and your home and your creativity could make God's business prosper? And that in all this you make your choices not on the basis of secular trends or upward lifestyle expectations, but on the basis of what will strengthen the faith of the family and advance the cause of Christ."

I think that's enough food for thought for one day.


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Wednesday, September 30, 2009

More pictures...

We will be without internet for a little while, so posting will be sporadic. I just wanted to post a few more pictures before taking a break for the move and all.



My brother took this picture our first day at home. I just think it's really sweet.



Sweet baby!



We met our friends, Will and Kaely, in Fredericksburg this weekend...



... and ate chocolate buttercream cake at the Rather Sweet Bakery. YUM!



getting a lift from dad



We figured out he doesn't like having his hair washed. Baths go great until his head gets wet! With all that hair, I think it must make him really cold. Last night, we blow dried his hair for him. That he liked!
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Thursday, September 17, 2009

Changes and a Big Weekend

I don't have much to say today but did want to post some new pictures. Somehow my week feels more complete if I've updated this blog at least once! We've started spreading the word that we're moving to Louisville, KY. Derek is going back to school! He'll be getting his Masters of Divinity degree from Southern Seminary. We're really sad to be leaving such great friends in Austin, but we're also very excited to see how God provides for us and changes us through this. I'll have more to say on that later. For now, here's some fun pics...



Me, Ben and Charlie... doing what we all do best.



Derek and Benjamin... the two most handsome men. Man, I love that kids hair!!



Our first Sunday at church! It only took me like three hours to get us ready, but we made it!!



Yea for weather that's almost cold enough for footy pajamas!



Benjamin's first party!! We spent Saturday watching football at Jim and Natalie's place. Here's Matt, Natalie, Benjamin and June. Benjamin spent most of the afternoon asleep in Nat's arms. So sweet!



Benjamin made his first little friend! Judah Pulley is exactly one month older. Aren't they adorable!!



Our little family

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Thursday, September 10, 2009

Not in vain...

I keep telling people that nothing would have prepared me for how much I love our little Benjamin or for how very hard this would all be. Derek and I have been really excited the past couple of days to get almost four straight hours of sleep! The lack of sleep is tough! It has brought out the best and the worst in both of us! We are loving being parents, though. We are so grateful God has chosen us to be Benjamin's mom and dad.

I've been working on a Bible study during some of Benjamin's naps. It is about being a mom, and there are some great scripture verses I've been learning about. One is Genesis 1:28... God commands us to be fruitful and multiply. A great reminder that what I'm doing is by God's design and even a command. Nice to remember there's more to this than just feeding a baby and feeling sleepy all the time!

Another verse I've read is 1 Corinthians 15:58. "In the Lord, our labor is not in vain." So, being a mom is a job God has called me to, and in the Lord this work will not be in vain! What other job has such lasting results... for good or for bad! We're praying that raising our children will be for good and believing it will be.

Here are a few new pictures from the past couple of weeks...



My parents were here this past weekend. We spent Saturday watching college football. Benjamin even dressed for the occasion. Derek is convinced that Ben will be a Tennessee fan... I'm still betting on A&M.



We're getting better at the bath thing. His first few did not go well! We were trying to do this in the tub, and I think he was just getting too cold. The kitchen sink works much better, but it does take two sets of hands! He's actually starting to like bath time!



I swear we weren't pinching him. Sometimes he just likes to fuss! Pass him to mom, though, and all is well... as long as I'm nursing him. That is his absolute favorite thing to do!!



I love this picture!! Sleeping soundly on dad's chest... another favorite of Ben's.



me and ben

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Friday, August 21, 2009

One Week!

Benjamin is one week old today! Man, it goes by fast. We have had a great week. Derek and I are loving being mommy and daddy. I could just sit and stare at him... he's such a miracle. My days are spent feeding the baby, sleeping, and eating. That's about all I do on a regular basis. I'm loving having this moment right now to update the blog. I'm pretty sure either my mom or Derek is about to tell me I need to go take a shower so I'm ready to go to bed the next time Benjamin eats. They are making sure I'm taken care of.

My mom has been awesome this week. She has taken care of me so I can take of Benjamin. She's brought me drinks while I'm nursing him, vacuumed the floor, cleaned our bathroom, given the dog a bath, taken the dog for walks, kept the kitchen clean, cooked some meals for us, labeled garage sale items for me... I would be going crazy without her.

Derek is an awesome dad. Last night he sat up rocking Benjamin for over an hour when he didn't want to sleep, changed countless diapers, read from the Bible while I fed Benjamin, given me lots of hugs when my hormones take over and the tears poor out... He's really great with the little guy. I'm so blessed to have such an amazing husband who loves me and our son very well.

Here are a few of my favorite pictures from our first week at home...


My men.


Such a sweet baby!


Sound asleep after a good feeding... limp as a noodle.


me & Ben


I just want to pinch his little cheeks!

A good friend of ours, Lindy Willis, is a photographer. We had her take these back in July. I just thought they'd be fun to post... you know before and after shots.










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Saturday, August 15, 2009

Benjamin Hughes Hall

After 18 hours of labor, Benjamin Hughes entered the world on August 14, 2009. Everything went so well... such an answer to prayer! I started feeling contractions on Thursday morning. They were short and nothing worth paying too much attention to until about 10 pm. I think that's when labor actually started. I took a benadryl and tried to sleep, but the contractions were just too painful at that point. Still too short to do anything much about, but enough to keep me awake!

I was really frustrated by Friday morning, thinking that things weren't progressing and not really knowing what to do. My doctor said to come into the office and get checked. To my surprise, I was already dilated to 5 cm and my water broke in the office! They took me straight over to the hospital.

The nurses told me, most women would hate me if they could see my at 5 cm. I was still laughing, whereas most are screaming in pain. We got all checked in, and Derek and I just hung out for the next few hours. I sat on the birthing ball and he would rub my back anytime a contraction would come. By 7 centimeters, I was definitely starting to feel a lot more uncomfortable. I had an IV combination of Stadol and Phenergan. That totally knocked me out within about 5 minutes.

I slept pretty soundly from 7 to about 9 centimeters. I feel like that is only possible because I prayed for the decision to get an epidural to be an easy one. By the time I woke up good, it was already time to push. No sense in getting the epidural at that point! I will say that pushing a baby out is the hardest thing I have ever physically done. But, it was an amazing experience.

Derek got to announce that he is a boy! We were both surprised at a boy... for some reason we really thought girl. I have to say, though, that I couldn't be happier. Of course we had a boy. Somehow it just seems right.

I had no idea how amazing it is to have a child. I just have such an overwhelming love for him. His little cry absolutely breaks my heart... I just want to cry with him! Though so far he hasn't cried much. He's been very sleepy today, but I have a feeling that won't last long.

So here we sit. Benjamin is sleeping soundly in my lap while I type this. I can hardly take my eyes off him! Derek and I feel so blessed by this gift from God. I know I'm hormonal, but I could just sit and cry buckets of tears of gratitude for this life that has been entrusted to us. Our prayer is that we would be able to give him a vision of the glory of God and that he would point others to Christ.

Here's a few pictures...













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