Monday, July 25, 2011

Bryan Family Vacation

We were planning on going to the beach this week. Ammorae has been several times, but the rest of the little girls haven't. It's been a couple of years since we've had an opportunity to travel as a family. As packing time drew near our plans changed.

Main Street Kiowa Ks

Jeff''s Grandma hasn't been feeling well and he felt an urgency to come back to Kansas to spend time visiting. So at day's beginning yesterday we packed up the family truckster and headed towards Tulsa and onward to Kansas.

Initially the girls were bummed, Ammorae might still be ribbing her dad, but mostly it only lasted a moment. The beach and new adventures on one hand and good old Kiowa KS on the other. My little girls are more than happy to vacation in the plains. Spending time with Gramma & Papa is priceless. Papa has the Gator revved up and he even bought an extra battery, so there will be no down time. The Rope Factory has more than a enough entertainment to spread around. We might even take a trip to the Alabaster Caverns and Cowtown and we are throwing a little birthday party for Ava while we are here.

It was 108 degrees when we pulled into to town. WHEW!!!
Jeff has an itch to go "junking" with his Grandpa, if the heat doesn't disintegrate them. There are so many precious memories in this little town.

We ARE finishing our Family Fest in Branson for a few days of BIG FUN! Here's to the Bryan Family Vacation of 2011!

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Somethings You Might Not Know About Me

I think that I mentioned that we moved a lot when I was little. Making friends was never hard. Because of my gift of song and performing infront of people all the time, I wasn't really shy. I WAS quiet and well behaved.

Shortly after "we" married Buddy, my dad, some of his children came to live with us when we moved to KS. I had lived a very quiet lifestyle and had no idea what I was in for. I was 3, Landon was 4, and Brandon was 5. I had lived in a house with just us girls and now there were 2 REALLY rowdy boys moving in. To balance out the wild and ORNERY they also brought with them my Bubba, Cameron. He was so sweet and just dreamy. I had no idea what brothers were, but I very quickly found out. They were mean, played tricks, and beat me up all the time. I am told that that did deter me and that I continually stayed sweet and kind to them. The older kids and my parents kept trying to teach me how to stick up for myslef and I didn't have a mean bone in my body.

Everyone else was old enough to go to school, except for me and that meant that I stayed at home with my mom or went to the barns with my dad. One day I sat in the center of the horse walker, like I did often, and sat on a bucket with a whip and kept the horses going round and round. My dad was so busy, mucking out stalls, working out horses, and doctoring them all day long. I remember being mesmerized by the gears and reached out my hand to do, I don't know what, and my glove got caught and grabbed my little fingers and shredded and cut one of them off. I screamed and screamed until my mom and dad came running. We were in the middle of nowhere out in the country and we had to drive a ways to get to the hospital. I fell asleep on my dad's lap. They stitched it back on and I got a lot of gifts from the people at church.
We lived in Rantoul, a farm house outside Osawatomie, Sedan, and El Dorado. I went to a different school each year and once lived in 2 houses in the same town and went to 2 different schools. In each one of those different houses came new house guests. My dad has NEVER passed by a hitchhiker or someone down on their luck without stopping to help. We had people living with us all the time. They would work for a wage to get to where they were going. One of them we helped get his citizenship. As if that wasn't crazy enough, my parents became a foster family. We had lots of kids live with us, and I remember every single one of them and their stories. My family is so far extended, it's crazy.

One more short for ya. My dad is such an entrepeneur, during the week he helped me make pom poms to sell at the races for for the horses hair. An old board and a few nails is all it took. You wrap yarn around them, tie it off, and cut, voila you have fuzzy little pom poms. We knew all the ranches and jockey's silks colors and we purposefully matched them. Dad went to the liquor store and grabbed an old wine bottle box with the deep dividers and we piled each color combo in a section. Who could resist a cute little girl walking from shed row to shed row selling her wares. I always came home with more money than I had pom poms to sell. They would braid them into their horses hair for race time. When each race was announced you could see Aimee's pom poms beautiful displayed. I had my own jockey's helmet and boots. I always wore a pair of googles on my hat, just like my dad and a kneckerchief around my neck. I sang the National Anthem, sold my pom poms, looked forward to my freshly grilled cheeseburger at the concession stand, and jumped up and down screaming for my daddy to win in the grand stands each Saturday & Sunday.

Friday, July 15, 2011

On the News Tonight...

...don't forget to watch or record tonight's news. We'll be on @ 5 & 10pm 40/29 News. We've worked so hard to bring this to the front of every one's mind. We are so excited.

God has blessed us with more than we could have ever asked for.

The MAIN concept of this is to be a servant and search for ways to reach others and bring them to Christ. If they don't have a relationship with God use ways like giving to share the gospel with them. If they do know him, there are many things they might be going through. They might only have a casual relationship with him, and then we need to bring them to his house and get them involved in more active roles. They might be hurting due to financial crisis, divorce, serious health issues, teen pregnancy & std's, marriage problems, unfaithfulness, unemployment, loss of a loved one, dislocation from family and friends, and so much more. Satin uses these situations to build a wedge. By serving we can help bring healing, a closer love of God, and happiness.

We need to step out of our comfort zone and our circle of friends and reach out to the lost and hurt and let them become our friends and family. A circle has no end and no beginning. It has no definition of size. It will become however big or small that you make it. I want my circle to be ENORMOUS, I wanted to say something bigger, but couldn't spell it. In God's eyes the rich and poor are the same, the fat and the skinny are the same, the athlete's and intellect's are the same, and the pastors and the car salesmen are the same. Let's put a new face on Christianity and show the world for God that we are not afraid to serve and be friends with the tax collectors, the lepers, the streetwalkers, and those roaming the streets homeless and hungry.

Stop and give that family a ride home who is walking in the rain, because they do not have a car. Pay for the person's lunch behind you, they might look "normal" but you don't know what they are going through and they might be in a world of hurt. If you pray and stay dedicated to having open eyes and ears, you will quickly find out that a lot of people, probably even in your own circle need help, love, and care. I know many times the last 4 years, I was too proud to ask for help and I desperately needed it and still do. Sometimes I felt like crying out and just didn't know how.

Couponing for Christ isn't to bring fame or glory to me; it's to bring recognition and praise to God and to be what Cross Church's mission is- reaching Northwest Arkansas and the world for Him.

Let's put on our "A" game and dig in. There is no end in sight. God needs us to be warriors for him and people need our help. Buy a Sunday paper and donate your coupons to our ministry or start one of your own. I've prayed for inspiration and a job such as this for for almost 6 years, don't think that I am taking this blessing and communication from him lightly.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

If you didn't know what Super Heros Look Like...

...well then I'll show you!

Of course, my girls are always busy. The things I hear and see each day are priceless, hilarious, scary, sweet, ornery, sensitive, and ingenious. (of course I am their mother, so I would thing that)
This was lastnight after we got home from church. It was late and I said, "No dressing up tonight". When they came into the living room and I said, "I thought I told you NO dressing up", Aydan says, "Mom, we didn't dress as princesses, we are SUPER HEROS" Well now, that makes a BIG difference. Don't think that I won't be more specific today!
Here is a little sample from my picture library of what I get to see from day-to-day!

Ammorae started it all!
Always being a model.

Aydan is our prim and proper one!

If there is a camera near by she is posing.
This is a look-a-like to pic of my mom, when she was a little girl.

She drummed up the idea for this one herself

Ava is our pistol. She is the messy one that you always have to watch!

Everyday no matter what we are eating, it ends up all over her face.


My lipstick!

Addyson is usually the most hilarious and "Creative"

If I let her dress herself for school, this is how she would go!
She doesn't care about what others think. She is her own person.

Abigail is close behind. They are starting to pull her into their schemes. I just found Addy pushing her around in the toy baby stroller and she is as happy as a lark.

Oops, she just fell out! I guess it's true what they say, "What doesn't kill you, makes you stronger.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Couponing For Christ

If you haven't heard by now Jeff and I have started a new ministry together. The entire crew actually, the girls and all are neck deep into an amazing new opportunity that God has blessed us with.

I shared with you a month or more ago the link from 40/29 News where they profiled us coming back from a big shopping trip where we gathered near $3,000 worth of toiletries, formula, and food for the victims of the Joplin tornado and it was all FREE! (we paid $30 for tax)

(News reporter Lauren Limerick) (here is the clip, click on it and watch it.

If this is your 1st time to hear about it I will recap. We were trying to find new ways to save and stretch our single income budget. Jeff has to provide for 7 people on a daily basis and it is very stressful. So he started researching and taught himself how to coupon to the point that it definitely become EXTREME COUPONING! From the very beginning we knew that we couldn't keep it all for ourselves and we took things to people here and there and share with Ammorae's friends and our family members.
Then our Pastor, Ronnie Floyd, inspired us one Sunday this year with a vision of a new Compassion Center. I knew as soon as the words came out of his mouth what God's plan was for us! I did the foot work and the organizing and Jeff's smart numbers focusing brain went into action.
Our church donates about 80% of the coupons and the rest we scour the community for.(secrets to be revealed) We have an amazingly dedicated crew, Ammorae, Aydan, Addy, and Ava that help cut Qpins, in layman's terms, coupons. We keep tweaking our process and continually improve on making this a well oiled machine.

The difference in our story and those that are shown on tv is that we don't keep or hoard our "stock pile" We keep what we will use in a short amount of time, maybe 3 months worth, and the rest goes to people who can't help themselves and desperately need it. Our stock piles are all over the NWA area.

Now with the news that the Compassion Center formally has a new home, we have been taping with 40/29 News and Lauren Limerick for several sessions for a tell all story that will air on Friday evening 5 & 10pm. Along with this we will launch our new website that will feed all pertinent information so that you too can do this. We will profile testimonials and videos of exact step by step directions. (revised site not running yet)

ALL we ASK and PRAY is that you take these savings tips and GIVE unto others. Be a cheerful giver. AND don't forget to watch or record the news on Friday!

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Somethings You Might Not Know About Me

Living in a new city, well if you call 2 years new, it dawns on me from time to time that my new friends and family don't know a lot about me. I have a feeling they KNOW who I am, what I believe in, what my passions are, what kind of wife and mom I am, and about some of my hobbies and such, but not the depths of WHO I really am. So I am going to sporadically write about myself, which is not going to be an easy task. MOST people don't like to talk about themselves, hear themselves recorded, or see themselves on video; (which includes me) but for the benefit of really getting to know me, here goes. I was born in 1978 in Aurora, Colorado. If you figured correctly I am 33 years old. We moved to South Dakota, where my mom divorced one dad and married another. (Sorry mom, I thought it would be a bit funny- we'll see, maybe not) Things in my life are a blur up until this point and this is where my memory kicks in. My mom married my dad and added 7 people to our very small and quiet family. Now there were 9 kids in a put-together family. I was 3 years old. We moved to Kansas and lived in a variety of small towns, 5 to be exact, before settling in the town my family now has lived in for 24 years. My mom and dad have run their own business for a long time, but my dad was also a professional jockey for almost 30 years. My mom had her own band and went to beauty school.

This is a picture of Aydan when she was 3 yrs. I couldn't find a pic of me, I don't have very many, but this is what I looked liked, exactly)

So it wouldn't surprise you that I too was a singer from the time I started to speak. We all sang, except the boys, they are a bunch of frogs, but I had a natural talent blessed to me by God and nurtured by my parents. Since we spent much time at the horse races, every single weekend, I got to sing the Star Spangled Banner every Sunday from the Stewards Tower over the microphone. I'm told that after I was done, and everyone applauded at that big voice with a tiny body, that I waltzed up and down every isle of the stadium to allow people to tell me how good I had done. Pretty humble hu! Living in the country with a good 'ol fashioned family provided that I would have ample opportunity to sing in every talent show in every county fair in close proximity. I sang every single Sunday in church after church in mostly impromptu settings. My dad would bump into someone we knew at an Orscheln or Wal-Mart store (I didn't shop at a Wal-Mart until late elementary school age) and say, Aimee sing them a song, and I had no choice, but to do so.

When we would get ready for church, the big event of the week, my mom and dad usually listened to the Gaither's or Kenneth Copeland, but on an occasion I would change the channel to Star Search. My life's dream for years was to get discovered on Star Search. We sang in a family gospel quartet. Besides all the old spiritual gospel songs we sang, Amy Grant was my favorite and I stole all of the songs my mom sang for myself too. (which sends me, when one of my girls insist that one of MY songs, is now theirs- what goes around comes around) And still to this day my favorite song it Joshua Fought the Battle of Jericho and a medley of praise songs. I'm Gonna Sing, Jesus Loves the Little Ones Like Me, I'm Gonna Get All Excited, & Joshua Fought the Battle of Jericho, will FOREVER be etched in my heart!

I know that I didn't appreciate it at the time, but what I didn't realize, is that I got to sing in 100's of churches, race tracks, and county fairs and spread the word of God, inspire, and uplift so many people. I didn't start singing country music until Junior High, then I really stepped out!

I bet you can't wait to read the next installation of - Somethings You Might Not Know About Me

When those gates are open wide I'm gonna be by Jesus side, I'm gonna sing, I'm gonna shout, Praise the Lord!

Monday, July 11, 2011

My Dad

When we were in KS I discovered something very exciting.

We visited the area where my dad grew up as a little boy.

He was born in 1942, so you do the math. Every picture we have of him is black

and white and he's either in a tub out in the yard bathing or looks

like he's getting into some trouble out in the country somewhere.

We were traveling down a very dusty dirty road out in the middle of nowhere,

and he pulled our small convoy over to show us something very exciting.

As a small boy of 6 years old, the youngest boy of six children, living in the country has many many amazing stories.

One of them is that he and his dad built this pond.

I was in flip flops and we climbed a fence (that said, no trespassing) and walked through

thistles and weeds and fought our way through an overgrown pasture and tree rows, that his parents planted. (I know you're saying, now where's that picture)

When we came to the clearing this is what we saw. He was 6 yrs old and he

accompanied his dad to this spot where a friend, who used a guiding rod revealedto them that there was water below.

They lived in a house that came from the Sears & Roebuck catalog. What a piece of history.

For a month, they would come with their mule and an old slip and

dig this pond themselves. A little boy, his hard workin daddy, a mule, and a slip...

that's it.

He explained exactly how it happened. He rode the mule that was hooked to the slip, navigating the way. That way Gpa Rudolph could concentrate on guiding the slip and holding onto the handles. The slip would scoop up the dirt and then my dad would guide Tom the 'ol mule up the hill to dump off the dirty and evenly distribute it where they wanted it. Tom, Jerry, and I can't remember the name of the other mule that always worked along side of the Williams crew. Tom & Jerry worked a lot in tandom, but when they needed a single job, they brought along Tom. Dad says, he was so gentle and we got along so well, it made a good team. They then would travel back down the hill to do it all over again. I can just see my barefooted dad with a dirty face and his straight hair sticking up, riding Tom and jabbing him in the ribs, clickin his cheek like he did the horses later in life, to keep him going. I can just hearing Gpa Shorty's voice, with a loud roll in it, being stern about the project, but smiling to himself behind my dad, proud that they were working together and that he was teaching his youngest son a good life lesson.

This is my dad that day. If you want to envision what he looked like back then

just look at picture of my nephew Leo, skinny scrawny little fella, but handsome

as can be, street smart and STRONG!

It's an amazing thought picture for me. It's hard to fathom a little boy

nowadays being dedicated to such a project in the horrible Kansas heat.

The awesome thing is that it's STILL there, through contracting,

several different owners, and many years of drought- the Williams pond

is still there. And that old medicine man was right, there was water there

and there still is.

Thank you dad for sharing these memories with us, through thistles, fence climbing, weeds,

horrible heat, and snake infested fields ( I was thinking it anyway, the whole time)
I was honored to make this stop and learn an important piece of your history.

Now I am bound and determined to dig up some old pictures and share with you

how he was born in a tent, went to a one roomed school with his siblings,

had only one pair of shoes each year, learned skills for life to make a living, rode his horse to town, only went to "the 3rd grade" hee hee, was an amazing entrepeneur when he was in elementary school, had 20 or more careers, played music, and is still singing his way

through life.

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Where I Come From

We went back to Kansas for an extended visit. We did so many things and had so much fun. There is a special freedom where we come from that creates such an amazing time for our family. I am sure that Grandma Donna & Papa, friends, and family have a lot to do with it.

The girls put on all of Gramma's summer hats for a fun pic. Their back yard provided HOURS of entertainment.

We also went to Eastern KS to my brother Cameron's house. There were members of 7 out of our 9 brothers and sisters represented. We had a BLAST. I made red, white, and blue tye dye tshirts for all the grandkids. Cameron & Carolyn are the BEST hosts in the whole world, who else could handle over 25 ppl in their house for more than a day. (13 out of 23 grandkids were there WOW)

Uncle Landon has loved spending time with my girls, and now has his own little bundle of joy!

We brought Brent back to Gma's with us after being at Cameron's house. Ava looked at this pic and said, "Wook Mama, Uncle Wandon is giving Boobah (Brent) wuvins" Yeah, that sounds better than giving him the smack down.

Papa always has the best toys at his house. After a few test drives Ava & Addy provided much entertainment driving around the neighborhood. CRAZY women drivers.

Addy in a tree, what a monkey. She spent hours in climbing, playing, and swinging. Priceless!

I baked every day that we were there. I love to share with others, and since we don't get to see them very often I want to spoil them. We also took treats to the Rope Factory, Plum Thickett, and Gma's & Gpa's.

Papa's favorite! This and a plate of spaghetti is heaven for him.

We were so excited to find out that Ammorae's cousin Tori was in town from Ohio the same time that we were. They love each other so much and always have a good time.

Mikayla Gillig let us come over to her house and taught us how to tye dye. She had been doing it all summer to raise money for an orphanage in Africa. What a gracious girl!

We made tshirts that said, I'm with Tori and I'm with Ammorae to sport around town, while they were havin fun! We also made fun tshirts for the little girls too.

Just a few memories to share about our 10 day trip to Kansas. Praise Jesus for the family that he blessed us with! What a legacy!