Category Archives: friends

Dwelled Friendship

ED9A7250Many months ago. I would say around 8 months ago…. Travis was put onto a new shift at his work. Prior to the switch in hours, he would work from around 1pm-midnight every 5 days and then off two days. The huge difference in his schedule vs. other normal jobs, was not only the hours but also the off days. His job switched off days every 3 weeks…. and then rotated days. He rarely had weekends off…. and having him away at night for me, was very difficult.

You all who have read my blog know that :)

He thankfully got put onto day watch… which means he is at work from like 6am-4pm most days….This was huge for me and helped me A LOT… I felt a lot less secluded from the “norm” of routine as a home schooling mom… I felt the hours he was given helped me to function better and relate more with those around me… since he was gone when all the other peoples husbands were gone. I can’t even begin to tell you how ALONE I felt when he worked nights…

No one EVER wanted to do anything with me or my boys in the evenings… any time ladies planned “nights out” I couldn’t go, because I had no husband there to watch my kids… and Travis very rarely had weekends off or fridays off… so any time there was a church get together for couples in the evenings, I would have to go alone. It was not fun… I found myself very depressed over it.

Travis’ new schedule as amazing as it was for me over all, the one con was that he had to work Sunday Mornings now… He only gets Sunday Mornings off like every 6 mo… so for example this year he had part of sept/oct off on sundays, but wont have Sundays off again until almost summer!

The church we attend here… that you all know has been unreal amazing for our family. Who took us in when we had no place to go…. sadly does not have evening worship any more… I use to be a bit anti-Sunday night service when I was a Pastors wife. I never really appreciated that service until we were out of the ministry and placed into different situation. I now have a new perspective and am a huge supporter of churches that offer Evening worship still :) – while it may seem outdated to many, and pointless… it can and very much helps those families out who don’t have the normal schedule or routine as most. Also those with really young kids… I am sure can relate to not wanting to get up super early on a sunday… and would rather go in the evening. Amen? :)

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So when Travis started his Day Watch schedule… we began the search for a church in the area that offered evening worship. We tried A LOT. I think we tried at least 5 churches… Some were just not our style… others were really cool, up to date but seemed to lack in the area of depth in the sermons…. It was a struggle to find a church we felt a connection with and I know that a big part of that was because First Baptist is and forever will be a home to us… so having to look elsewhere to worship, when we love our church so much and Pastor Johnny, for both Travis and I was hard.

I am so thankful though that we kept looking… and God provided a small new church plant for us to discover. The church is called Sojourn. Their Pastor Trent is similar in age to Travis… and his wife Emily was very sweet. We enjoyed the worship and laid back style… and even better was the fact this church did not meet in the morning only at night. So their evening service was full… and they had a great children’s program set up… and snacks for the kids upon arrival. Was very homey and engaging. Our boys LOVE it. They always ask us now “Are we going to the small church?” :) – haha – which isnt an insult. Those who know what First Baptist looks like here, will get that. Any church compared to it, is small. :)

ED9A7272So we have been going there for a few months now. One sunday while there, the Pastor encouraged the ladies to attend a new bible study they would be starting for the women. His wife would be the one leading.

Initially when I saw the invite to this, my first thought was.

Why Bother.”

I knew our time here in this area was limited. I just felt it… and I just wondered if it was worth it. Why get involved with anything else? Why get to know new people in a close way, when I would have to leave again?

During this same time I really began to struggle in the area of friendship over all.

With all the job hour changes…

The inability to feel or be connected to many of the groups we were previous a part of… I really began to feel that sense of hopelessness in the area of strong friendship…

Satan really fed me a lot of lies during this struggle… at times Id just tell myself over and over, no one really cares about us, otherwise they’d come see us… Why am I always the one to make the plans….

Yet, as I looked at my cell phone I had 8 txt messages from a friend Candra…. or 2 missed calls from my best friends Shannon back in NC.

I dwelled in self pity a lot and I know that my dwelling there and growing in my insecurity and bitterness made me push people away.

I know too that my dread of another move… yet knowing we had to move, also caused me to not try… trying felt to hard. Even though we have not gotten a confirmation on the upcoming move, I felt little by little, that parts of me no longer were here. As if I was mentally preparing myself again, for another change… and a new life. Which can be exciting but if im honest, its hard too. Even though I know God is moving right now in this process….

For me though, with friendship. I often wondered. Would they care if I moved?

Many didn’t when we moved other times.

I would constantly replay over and over in my mind friendships in my past, that I poured so much into, yet after another move, that was it. An email here, a random facebook comment there… and that was about all that became of things. Could have been my doing. Could have been theres. Whatever the case, it wasn’t easy… and I truly mourned friendships that were broken for a long time… and still do at times.

So, when I saw that bible study invite and I didn’t want to go.

In fact I told my friend Shannon about it…. and she encouraged me to go and said “Had you not gone to the home school field trip many years ago, we would have never met.” A field trip group which btw, I never attended again after that one trip. I went to that single field trip and met the most amazing friend and to this day we talk daily. Id consider her a sister we are that close. Id adopt her kids if something ever happened to her. That close.

I would think back on the time I put myself out there as a photographer in NC… and went to a “photographers christmas party” where I knew NO ONE… and ended up meeting so many amazing photographers, some of whom I grew closer with than others… and one in particular that is still very much a part of my life today… that friendship would have never been, had I not stepped out and put forth a little effort….

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God I firmly believe uses friendships in a way to refine us… and while some friendships may be short…

Some may be deeper than others.

Some may be hurtful and cause bitterness at times….

I have learned over these last few months that its worth putting forth effort…. and while I am far from perfect in that effort… and I do find that I can only pour so much if it is not poured back…

ED9A7291I am thankful despite my doubts… hesitation. My negative dwelling.

That I went.

God was able to use that small bible study group to teach me a lot… and while I may not be best friends with these ladies… I am very thankful to have met many of them and gotten to know them. They were each able to touch me in a way and for that I am thankful.

It was a great reminder to me, to always be genuine… to be transparent…. and to be open for God to do a work.

So to the ladies at Sojourn. Thanks for letting me get to know you :)

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To the many others I have become friends with over the years…. and for whatever reason we don’t talk. If you happen to read my blog. Know I love you. I have very few friends to this date that I dont still love dearly, even if we haven’t spoken in years.

Thankful for the ladies of City of Refuge… ladies who taught me how to open up more… That group too was used in a way I needed so much. God used a bunch of broken, curse word flying, jacked up Pastors wives (I included lol), to minister to me in a way that I cannot even fully express.

God is amazing… and Good… and there is just so much to be thankful to Him for… I could write page after page about things I feel so blessed to have, all because of a loving Lord who cares for me.

Halloween is not the devil.

Those who follow me on social media have seen most of these photos :) – btw you should follow me @dreawood on instagram & facebook for all that sorta stuff. Im a huge fan of instagram especially.

Before I get into the photos for this post. What most come here to see, more so than my ramblings… I want to chat a bit about Halloween.

Growing up I never really went trick or treating. My mom grew up catholic and was a new believer when I was around 3? Went to a Presbyterian church at one point, then a non denominational, then baptist, and so forth. Haha, lets just say, we did some church hopping. Although at one point, I believe around age 12 I stopped going to church all together and totally rebelled against anything church. Not a high point in my life, Lord brought me back thankfully. I have nothing bad to say about that though or her choices at all. She like any mom did what she felt was best at the time and no one can fault a mom for that. Im thankful for my mom and she taught me a lot growing up.

Once I became a mom myself though, I had lots of questions each time Halloween would roll around.

I remember my childhood and not being able to trick or treat much… but I do also remember my mom letting us hand out candy and watch scary movies. I remember fun fall festivals and so forth as well. It wasn’t something we were totally apart from, but we weren’t really that into it either.

Once my kids became old enough TO trick or treat, I was not really keen on it. I had this whole idea in my mind that if we participated, it would be as if we are worshipping satan or some sort of satanic cult… and that it would not let people see Christ in us… because we “didn’t look different” than those around us who were not in church and trick or treated.

My thinking was very immature…

Now that I am older and my kids are older.. and we live in a neighborhood… and among lots of people… with different stories… different life styles… but all with children, who my kids become friends with and get to know… and each passing year I realize more and more, how we are called to “be different” and “set apart” – but I do not believe shutting our doors on a day like halloween is a great way to do that… I read THIS POST a week or so before Halloween and it summed up my thoughts perfectly.

Do read it.

Cause right now, I am not sure I am making much sense :)

So yes we are believers.

Yes my husband is a former Baptist Pastor, hopefully a Pastor again in the future :)

Yes we live and believe the Bible to be true and infallible…

We are to love our neighbors… and open our homes… be the church to the community and those around us. Locking our doors and turning off the porch light, because we think “halloween is some sort of evil-ness”, IMO is just going to rub people wrong and will never lead anyone to Christ.

ED9A4104Instead, put on some praise music and sit outside handing the cute kids and teens candy. Have some apple cider going welcoming your neighbors to have a sip and introduce yourselves. Let your children build relationships and community with the kids they see passing by… which in turn could very well open up a relationship between you and the parents, that could very well lead to their salvation down the road.

Don’t shut the doors.

Halloween for me, is fun now. While I am not a huge fan of all the “scary” costumes… and I swore years back my kid would never be “one of the scary ones” (hah. yea right, I have dudes…. its just bound to happen, they dont want to be cute cowboys forever). I don’t like haunted houses or creepy sounds and blood… but what I do love, is the look on my boys faces once I finish painting their face… or buy them a $1.99 thrifted transformer costume. Their smile and excitement is priceless. I love seeing each of my boys wear the same silly dragon costume from Old Navy, year after year… and the adorableness of a 2 year old hobbling up to a persons house attempting to say “trick or treat” in the most adorable babble/toddler talk.

Halloween is not the devil :)

I will end with this quote from the article I linked to above….

“Halloween gives you a great opportunity to show how Christians celebrate the day that death was defeated, and you can give them Gospel tracts and tell the story of how every ghost, goblin, witch and demon was trounced the day Jesus rose from the grave.”

and… of course, some photos :)


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Taite below (you can’t even tell its him, so funny)

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Caleb and I were vampires.

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Reed found a bee he liked :)

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Reed also found Cider he liked :)

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Strollers were a must for sure in our hilly subdivision :)

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Blue Ribbon Food’s – what is it?

blueribbonfoodSome of you who follow me on my personal facebook would have seen me post the photo to the right last week…. A photo that seemed to be great at catching peoples attention haha, because I got a TON of comments on that post. Kinda blew me away. Loved the conversation it created and was cool to pass on information about this company to all those who may find it to be a fit for their family.

To go ahead and get some disclaimers out there
, since I tend to feel the need to do so. I was 1) Not paid to write this post for Blue Ribbon. 2) My family signed up with Blue Ribbon Food’s just like anyone else would, through a friend. 3) I am no expert and I am brand new to this company, so what I am about to talk about is from a newbie’s experience. However, I plan to follow up in 6 mo. from now and share with my readers my thoughts as the time goes. I may even do a 3 mo. check in too, if yall want.

I saw a friend of ours on facebook post a similar image to the right, of their freezer. Packed full of foods. They also mentioned how the food was from a good source of local farms, free range and so forth. I am big on this but will be totally honest. We could not afford to buy all our foods organic… from whole foods, trader joes and other organic food stores in the area. I tried to find ways to make it work… but with our budget, we just couldn’t. We literally live pay check to pay check right now… and as much as I value quality food for my family, it was not worth buying it and then not having enough money to pay our mortgage or utilities. I have learned throughout my years of trying to live well, healthy, feeding my family real food, that living in fear is no way to live… and while everything we eat may not be 100% organic, I try my very best to make do with the resources we have and feed my family well.

So, when I saw these friends post about Blue Ribbon Food’s… I was immediately intrigued. I knew they didn’t live the high life and didn’t live lavishly with lots of money… I knew they had lots of little mouths to feed and shared similar values… and so I decided, why not… why not call the guy they referred me to, and check things out for myself.

So I made an apt. with Blue Ribbon Food’s. The rep who’s name is Matt Albert, came out to our house and cooked our family a meal. Yes, all 6 of us. He asked us prior to coming, what kind of meat we like and would prefer to try… and once he came, he began to cook it up, while talking to us about the company, the farms, the food and so forth. They btw have a list of all their farms. All of them local to the states they service.

Throughout the entire apt. my husband told me, he was just holding his breathe. Waiting for the big price tag to flash across our faces and bid the man goodbye, as he just knew we could not afford something that seemed so nice.

After Matt explained everything to us though, we ate the food, kids enjoyed it… he asked us a lot of questions, like what meats we eat, how often we eat at home, what veggies we eat and so forth… he then was able to quote us a price.

If you go to the Blue Ribbon website you will not see individual pricing. The way their service works isn’t based off a set price on a chicken breast, or a pound of turkey. The price varies depending on your family size… what meats you eat. Do you eat fish, lobster, beef, pork, chicken… or are you a vegetarian and only need their organic veggies. All of these things come into account and that ultimately determines the final price.

I will be honest I am not totally sure how all the numbers work in that regard.

What I do know is once he priced our family cost, my husband was shocked.

It was such a good deal… and even with the freezer we got through the company (commercial grade, frost free), the cost is still within our budget and LESS than what we had been spending at normal grocery stores, buying things on our own. (The freezer btw is something you will want to discuss with Blue Ribbon. It is amazing and so worth getting. It is not “required tho” to use their services. Still, ask about it.)

As soon as my husband heard the price, he was sold.

So, on Wednesday last week, a sweet man in a Blue Ribbon uniform, showed up. My kids were behaving as if this man was Santa :) – so excited about the huge freezer he was about to lug down our drive way and the boxes of food he was going to fill it with.

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The man who delivered our food was very patient with my kids 1,000 questions and remarks.

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ED9A8802As he loaded the freezer into our garage (where we felt it would best fit). I began chatting with him some about the company… and asked him about the largest family he delivers to. He said he has a family with 15 children he delivers to. Many foster kids… What a blessing this service has got to be for families that large… families who may have special needs children… who may not be easily taken to a grocery store. Families who’s husbands may work really late hours, leaving their wife to do all the housework, grocery shopping and tending to the children. I for one, do not enjoy grocery shopping with my kids. While some trips are kinda fun, if its just to pick up a few things here and there… If I had to choose, I would much rather do my grocery shopping alone :) – so that my brain can function properly haha… and I can think while I pick things out.

This guy took care of moving everything into place. He took care of unloading all the boxes himself. I felt like I needed to do something, but nope, he did it all. He didn’t even make that a possibility. He even took the time to properly organize and place all my meats/veggies and other items in the freezer. He explained to me how to use the freezer… its features and so forth. Oh and get this. IF YOU HAVE TO MOVE... as long as you move WITHIN the states that Blue Ribbon Service, they will come to your home on move day, pack up your food and freezer. They will then relocated it for you to your new home, even if that means taking it to a new state! Re-install and re-fill it for you, at no cost. I was blown away at that. They believe in taking care of their customers without a doubt.

Once we checked off the check list, he was on his way and that was it. Could not have been any easier.

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To those curious, all their food is vacuum sealed… it is good in the freezer for up to 12 mo. It wont get all gross and freezer burnt. The way they package their meats is amazing, as well as their organic veggies. I really don’t think Id do it justice to talk about all that here though, you def. need to contact my rep Matt and have him answer all those questions for you.

blue ribbon foodsA few questions I can answer… that some may have.

1. How much food is it? how often do you order?

– You order a 6 mo. supply of food… but you can order as often as you like.
– If you do not use the food within the 6 mo. You do not have to order again after 6 mo. You order when you are ready.

2. Do you have to pay for it all at once?

– Heck no haha. You pay for it weekly. Also, be sure to ask them about what happens if you loose your job… and can’t pay for the food. Their costumer care is UNREAL. It is no wonder most of their clients stay with them for 10+ years.

3. Do you have to order the same stuff all the time?
– No, you can change what you order at any time. So if you end up using more turkey than you thought, but not much of the beef… you can switch it up next order.

There are TONS of questions to ask about the services Blue Ribbon Food’s provides… I don’t really feel I am qualified to answer them all…. However, what I will say is, book an apt. Talk to a rep. Ask a lots of questions and go from there. It cost NOTHING to have a rep come into your home, cook you free food… and tell you about the company. Its free and it is def. no pressure. If they quote the price for your family and you cannot afford it, they understand and its okay. They will work with you and make it work though if it is something you want.

To end, let me say this…

I feel incredibly blessed to live in a country that has the resources it has. You all, we are blessed! I mean look at that freezer! God has blessed this country and I am thankful for everything we have. I do not post any of this to boast… to brag… My family lives frugally…. and while we live very lavishly compared to many in third world countries or even in our own state, where many are homeless and don’t have anything… we have learned to live within our means and with a tight budget. God teaches us to be good stewards of our money… and we truly believe this is going to help us stay within our budget even better.

I look forward to not having to run to a grocery store to buy meat that may be bad… Have you ever purchased an organic chicken (that you paid a lot for) only to get it home and realize its rancid? what a pain… I look forward to trying new recipes with the many choices of food we have here… I also look forward to cutting our bills down even more, by eating at home, real, healthy foods…. rather than running out to eat because we didn’t have a chance to go buy meat, or veggies at the store that week. We have eaten out way to much the last few months and I know that is the culprit. Not being prepared… and not having the time in between home schooling, shooting for my business and keeping a home. Grocery shopping, is last on my list some weeks…

Having Blue Ribbon become a part of our normal, is fine by me :)

To wrap this up….

If you are interested in Blue Ribbon Food’s and live in, GA, NC, SC and parts of VA… contact my rep Matthew Albert on facebook HERE. Or you can email him at: malbert[at]blueribbonfoods.com. I have his phone number too if you want that… but because my blog is a bit to public, if you would like his phone number, just email me drea[at]dreawood.com and I will pass that onto you. One cool thing that Blue Ribbon does do, is offer some great rewards… so any time someone signs up with Blue Ribbon Foods, our family has the opt. to earn money towards paying for our food. So you can help our family out, and others can help you out, etc..etc… The way they have it laid out is great. So if you are interested, be sure to tell Matthew that “Andrea Wood” or “The Wood Family” sent you :) – and we would appreciate it.

With that said, even if Blue Ribbon Food’s had no reward program. We’d still use them. You really cannot beat the convenience and quality for the price.

Hopefully this post made SOME sense. I know it was really long :)

I leave you with baby Reed, enjoying some of his Blue Ribbon food, the first day we cooked it up last week. We’ve enjoyed many meals since then using their food and loved every single one.

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Busy weekend shooting.

This weekend was filled with a lot of shooting, but also fun times.

Friday I got to hang out with some sweet friends and snag some head shots for them. Both photographers in the area. Also Christian ladies who are just precious and fun to spend time with. Rebekah is actually my chiropractors wife. It was cool to find out his wife was into photography when we first move here. The other lady, Charlene, her son Benjamin and my son Caleb share a birthday. Same day, same year. Pretty cool to think 10 years ago we didn’t know each other, but had babies on the same day.


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Then on Saturday I had to photographthis cutie….

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Then on Sunday I had to photograph baptism for the church and count shots. Then that evening I was brought on to photograph Shelley E. Johnson in concert. If you have not heard her music yet, you need to check her out. She is an amazing blend of hymns and acoustic/rock? Not sure the proper lingo haha, but I love her style and music A LOT.

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Then today, Travis took off from work, so that we could meet up with my sweet friend from NC, Laurie Crutchfield & her friend Melissa Pepin (who is a photographer near Athens, GA – also very talented). Laurie is an amazingly talented photographer who back when I lived in NC, really helped encourage me and at times mentor me. I looked up to her more than I think she knows :) – She did our photos many years back before moving to GA… and to this day the portraits she did for us, hang in our home. Since Reed however was not born then, I knew it was due time for some new portraits by her. Was so excited when she told me she would be in the area traveling through to a conference. I absolutely took her up on meeting up. So fun to see her… although it did make me a little sad. I miss her a lot.

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Here is a little sneaky peak of her in action (instagram photo). I will post the photos she took when she gets them to me. Could be a week or more, since shes busy at the conference she will be attending this week.

Thank you again Laurie ;-) – if you are reading.

Photo shoot time with the funniest photographer I know :) - always gets our kids laughing. Thanks @lcphoto3837 !! Can't wait to see photos.

The Kitchen’s

Today a family that lives across the creek from us, boarded a plane to Spain. Where their entire family will serve as Career Missionaries for many many years. Our boys grew close to their middle son Jude especially… but also enjoyed playing with their daughter Claire who was Taite’s age. Claire was one of those fiesty little girls who got along so well with boys and girls. She also battled Cancer at a very young age. Their story is pretty amazing.

We are SO SAD to see them go… but know that what they are doing is a calling and the Lord will bless them for their obedience.

Our boys saw Jude for one last time at church yesterday… I snagged a photo since I had my camera on hand.

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We have a wall in our home filled with photos of friendships over the years. With our constant moving that seems to happen every 2-4 years… we leave many friends behind… and have seen many move away as well. Its part of life. We learn to cherish the memories and continue the friendships regardless of the miles between. This photo will go on that wall. My only regret is that Claire & Owen aren’t in that photo. Owen and Claire always played so cutely together.

I know the transition in Spain will be hard at first… but I look so forward to hearing about all their many adventures.

If you think about it. Pray for this family. If you are interested in becoming supporters of what they are doing, email me and let me know. I can get you in contact with the right people. They could always use more support.


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