Monday, February 20, 2012


This was the theme of Winterfest this year... and what a powerful weekend it was!!  It's amazing to me how when Brett and I go on trips with Univeristy Church's Youth group (and spend any time with them for that matter) how much WE get out of it- how much God speaks to us!!  There were 12 disciplines that were challenged before us in order to become a better disciple for Him and how obedience to Jesus demands a radical transformation of our lives.  These disciplines will help us be more of Jesus and less of ourselves, these disciplines were practiced by Jesus himself- if we want to be like Jesus, then these disciplines give us insight into living like he lived.  These disciplines are:

Prayer, Meditation, Fasting, Study, Simplicity, Solitude, Submission, Service, Confession, Worship, Guidance, and Celebration

Each one of these were elaborated, and wow, were eyes opened on how far away from practicing these we  (I am) are.  It didn't matter if you were the youngest or the oldest person there, we can all relate to some of these issues, and we all have our struggles (and excuses).  There were some amazing speakers (Rich Little, Jeff Walling, Josh Ross, and Patrick Mead- amongst other talented speakers), awesome praise, and wonderful fellowship.  The weekend was great.  It's very easy to go away on a conference/rally and return home on fire and ready to serve, the goal and challenge is to keep it.  My plan is to go through the study book we were given and strive to discipline myself!! (Julie Kopf, you were missed, for I kept thinking of you and your March 1 challenge you are putting on all of us!!!)

I was very excited as we brought our camera along and carried it with us everywhere-- only, I didn't get it out as much as I had planned!  Next year, I'll do better :)

University Youth

and for some reason, these shirts were the hit of all!  You couldn't walk down the street without seeing at least 5 people in each group wearing one!

Sunday morning the artist started with a blank canvas, and while we began to worship, he began to worship through his painting.. in only about 45 minutes he had this..

 and when the lights went out, we saw this...

We had such a great trip, and this has become a trip we look forward to every year!
Of course the good food always helps too :)

we passed these goodies up this year.. (actually we ran out of time to go back and get them :) )

John Will enjoyed the trip as well, as he was kicking and rolling around inside every time we began to sing- I loved it!

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Welcome 3rd Trimester

Hard to believe we have entered 'the last leg' of this race.. and oh how awesome it is.. and bittersweet.  As I grow more and more excited (and largeer), anxious, scared, and ready I also think about how time flies.  Every year as I've grown older it seems as if each year goes by faster, and I know once John Will enters the world it will only go faster.  Time flies when you're having fun!

I am now at week 28, and I really do feel great!  John Will is kicking all the time, and even gets the hiccups from time to time.  I love every minute of it!!  I love feeling him move and it makes me smile so big!!  According to my "baby app" on my phone John Will is the size of a Chinese Cabbage.. aproximately 2 1/4 and 2 1/2 pounds and around 14 1/2 inches long-- growing growing boy!!

In the past week I have actually felt a few cramps, but nothing really to complain about, and the only thing that keeps me up at night is having to get up and go to the bathroom!!  My next appointment isn't for 2 more weeks- the 30 week mark!  Wow!!  I look forward to hearing my little man's heart beating!!

In other news...
Our house is coming right along!!  It's amazing every time I drive by how much they get done in just one day!!  This is such an exciting time for Brett and I, and we know we are so very blessed to be able to be building our own home!!  I'm so excited to move in (sometime this summer.. no, probably not before John Will gets here) for so many reasons!!  We are going to be so blessed by living in this home, and making it a loving home- where people are always welcome!  We are excited to be living next to many of our closest friends, and for the new close friends we are going to meet in our new community!!

upstairs is coming!

(below) This is the front of the house

and this is the back



 While I was there taking pictures one day there was a little backyard football going on...

 Although he will be much younger- John Will is going to have some pretty fun guys to play with, and learn from!

Last weekend Brett's mom, dad, and brother came to Tuscaloosa for us to celebrate Mr. Ronnie (Brett's dad) and Ashley's birthdays... We went to Five, and oh my, it was so good.  This was mine and Brett's first time to go, and we enjoyed it so much.  The atmosphere was great and the food was awesome.  I recommend it to anyone who hasn't been!!  We went back to Ashley's house afterward for birthday cake and pie.. it's always nice to have family time :)

Oh... and one more thing... CONGRATULATIONS to Mary Kathryn and Brad Thomas on Everett Bo making his appearance to this world today!!!  Can't wait to meet this little guy!!

Tuesday, February 7, 2012


I had my 3 hour glucose test this morning, and passed with no problems!!  So thankful that God is allowing us to have such a great and healthy pregnancy, continuing to pray God's hand on us!!


We are getting framed!  So exciting, and another thing we are so thankful for!!!  Thank you Lord for beautiful weather this week, not only for workers to work (and preschoolers to go outside ;) ) but for the reminder you are in control of all things, and make all things beautiful!  Things are moving right along, and God is so good!!

Almost too much excitement for one day!!!

Saturday, February 4, 2012


We have finally decided on finalizing our little guys name...

John William Paulk

A name that I know will be shortened to a variety of different things.. J Will, JW, J Dub, JP, and whatever else his friends decide to call him.  However, his Mamma will call him John William or John Will.  This was a name Brett and I had from the beginning.  We struggled in finalizing because we know others with similar names, and because it's a long name, and 'William' can be kind of hard to say.. Brett wants to make sure that while our son is playing ball his name can be called out easily for his coaches :)
But, he is John William, I call him that every day, and love every move he is making inside of me!  Where did John William come from? ....

Johnny David Gentry

My wonderful Grandfather!  I mean look at him, does he not just scream so much fun?? Ok, so maybe goof ball- but oh, I wouldn't have wanted to know him any differently!!  So obviously, John, is coming from him.  I had the honor of living with this grandfather (and my amazing beautiful Grandmother, Marja Gentry) when I was a newborn and my parents were finishing our house (right behind theirs) and then again for a few years at the end of highschool and beginning of college.  What a blessing.  My grandfather passed away late January 2006 at age 67, I think about him often and when I think of my grandfather I think of so many wonderful things.  He was a very joyful man, and would always put a smile on my face.  He never met a stranger and was always ready to spread the good news of our amazing God.  I see pictures of when he was a little boy living in Cullman Alabama- always having dirt on him from playing hard and doing work around the house. I've seen pictures of he and my grandmother from highschool- and wheeeewww- what lookers were they (and my grandmother still is!!)  I always knew my grandfather as a hard worker and provider for my grandmother.  They would've celebrated 50 years of marriage the year he passed away.  What love they had for one another and a wonderful example of marriage they set for me.  They knew what is it was like to live with very much as well as with very little- yet, either way, still very humble and generous people. He took pride in anything he did and if his name was going by something, the job would be done right.  There is even a building named after him in my home town in Florida.  He loved his family and would do anything in his power he could for them.  He and my grandmother raised 3 beautiful children to know and fear the Lord and be active in the community.  My "Grand John" and I shared many inside jokes that I can't wait to share with our John Will, and when I think of the name John, it brings me great joy to think of this wonderful man!!  Another bonus of the name John is that there are many John's on Brett's dad's side of the family as well, so we'll be gladly carrying on that tradition as well!  John- a beautiful reminder of some pretty great men!

and then there is...

William Eldridge McCraney

Oh, Mr. Bill (Grandaddy)!!!  This was Brett's maternal grandfather who I was blessed to get to know for the beginning years of mine and Brett's relationship.  Mr. Bill passed away in mid June of 2008, he was 76 and he and Mrs. Mary David would've been married 57 years.  Yes, another power couple!  Mr. Bill would do anything for Mrs. Mary David!  Mr. Bill was the quiet type- but buddy, you better listen when he had something to say because I promise you it would be worth hearing!  He was very compassionate and an upstanding Christian man doing so much for the Kingdom- but never wanting fuss or recognition for himself, he gave all glory to God.  A hard working man, always providing for his family never finishing until the job was done.  If someone had a need, Mr. Bill would fulfill it.  He had high expectations of people because he saw the good and potential in everyone.  For those out there that didn't feel like they had a father figure of their own to follow they would follow Mr. Bill, and Mr. Bill would gladly reach out to them and teach them.  I hear Brett is alot like Mr. Bill, in many ways I know, and in some I don't completely know because I wasn't around in the younger years.  One thing I know they have in common is that there is no time to just sit still.  There's always work to be done, people to help, or cake to eat :)  I remember being at Brett's house and Mr. Bill would just come in, see what was going, grab a piece of cake that Mrs. Sharon had just made, and then smile and say, "Well, guess I better mosey on along".  He always called me "Miss Crystal" and I loved it. Also when I think of Mr. Bill I think of him NEVER missing a ball game of Brett's (or Brian or Ashley) he was always there in his red, white, and blue, and always the proudest fan- in every sport, rain or shine!  Mr. Bill was very good with his hands, much like Brett, and always had his engineer brain going, he could fix just about anything and would gladly do it for you.  Although Mr. Bill wasn't my biological grandfather, I had no doubt he loved me as his own, and I'm proud to be part of his family.  

I would be very honored and a very proud mother if our son has the qualities of his name sakes.  And of course there is the name Paulk... the name I was very proud to gain when I married Brett.  Being Mrs. Paulk makes me smile.  I'm so blessed that God chose Brett to be my partner here in the world.   Brett is so kind and loving.  Hard working and dedicated.  Strong yet very gentle.  Compassionate and giving.  He is the leader of our family,  he loves Christ and seeks to know Him more and more everyday.  I can't wait to see Brett interact with our John Will, and to teach him all he knows.

Ok, ok.. enough of the sap :)  We'll blame it on my hormones!!

So, how is John Will?  Had an appointment yesterday (I'm now 26 weeks!)  and everything looks great with John Will!  His heart rate was at 148 and I'm measuring right on track at 25 inches, my blood pressure and weight gain she said was great as well ( at least the doctor thinks that!)

he is now the size of an English hothouse cucumber- 14 inches from head to heal.  He's approximately 2 pounds, give or take a few ounces.  He is also a wiggle worm- and I still love it!!  I can now see my stomach jump when he kicks and punches and does flips.  Brett has also seen it, although sometimes it looks a little freaky, it is so cool and exciting!!  At yesterdays appointment I also had my glucose test..  I didn't pass it, so I'll be going back next week to take the 3 hour test and then we'll go from there.  They all told me it's very common to not pass the first test, but to do fine with the 3 hour one, and that I didn't fail the one hour test too badly so I shouldn't be concerned.  And, I'm not.  That's weird for me, I tend to be a worrier- but with this I'm not.  As I should not be about so many things.  God has blessed me with a great pregnancy so far, and a healthy boy inside of me, if for some reason I don't pass the 3 hour test God will take care of it, and I am still so incredibly blessed.  I'm very thankful for my doctors office and all the staff there.  They are so kind and so patient, and always positive!  Thank you Partlow, Harbin, and Poist (and especially Dr. Ray and Mandy) for such a great experience every time I have to come into your office!!

That's all that's going on with the Paulk's for now, I'll update next week on my appointment!