Ladies Devotional Annual Christmas Party


At the Hickory Ridge Church of Christ it has been a long standing tradition for the women of the congregation to have monthly devotionals.  I have been so blessed over the last few years by meeting with this special group of women. When I came home from college I began attending and I have learned so much from the short time spent among this circle of ladies.

My mom tells stories of times in her life as a young wife and mother when the guidance and advice of the wiser women in this group, many of whom have already left this world, helped her deal with problems and struggles she faced.  While the number of ladies that are attending the monthly meetings are down, those that are still participating should know that they are an encouragement to others whether they think so, or not.  The devotionals and prayers are no doubt uplifting, but sometimes just the friendly conversation and general concern for each other makes the most difference when you're having a bad day or need a little cheering up.

We also have secret "Prayer Sisters", which is another long time tradition. I think they said last night that they have  been doing it for almost 30 years! Throughout the year each lady has a  "sister" in the congregation they pray for and remember on special occasions. At the Christmas party we try to guess who our prayer sister is and exchange gifts.

The highlight of the annual Christmas Party is  the "Dirty Santa" ornament exchange . For those of you who have no idea what I'm talking about, you're in the minority. Email me about it and I'll explain it to you! These sweet Christian women you see pictured can get a little aggressive when it comes down to someone taking their ornament away! We had such a good time, as always. Teasing and aggravating, laughing and giggling like a bunch of little girls. We finally wrapped the party up around 9pm.

Since I have moved to Jonesboro, I will not be participating in the prayer sister program this year. But, I hope to occasionally drop in on their monthly devotionals.  I will miss the prayer sister program and getting presents for special occasions, but I will miss even more the special ladies that I have come to know so well and love so dearly!!

Whew! What a weekend!

Every year we, or Armor Beans I should say, hosts a meeting in Branson, Missouri for our MAP (Maximizing Agronomic Profits )advisory board participants (farmers) and some Cullum employee's to get together and discuss the events of the past year and concerns for the upcoming year. There were about 35 participants  that were able to attend this year's meeting.

I start planning the event, along with help from our meeting moderator and soybean agronomist, Dr. Lanny Ashlock, around late September-early October. It's something I look forward to working on every year. It's a fun event to plan. The location is awesome and the people I work with at the Chateau are all so nice and helpful, it makes my job very easy!

The meeting went well and it seemed like everyone had a good time. There were no major problems like the pipes freezing and leaving us without water, like last year!

As the event planner, I usually get my room upgraded a little, but this year they put us in a beautiful suite, and it was so nice!!

chateau suite

We had a great view of the Lake from the balcony in the bedroom and the window in the living room.


A sweet treat from the hotel saying "Thanks". Chocolate chip biscotti and homemade candy. . .Yum-O!


The meeting started at 2pm on Thursday.  I usually stay around for registration and to make sure everything is set up right and there are no problems, but I don't attend the actual meetings.

Since my Dad has been a long time participant in the MAP Program, he and my mom get to go.  So my mom and I get to go shopping while the boys go to the meeting!

After the afternoon meeting Dad, Mom, Jarrod and I went to Red Lobster for supper and drove around for a little while.

Then on Friday morning, while the guys went to the meeting from 8-12, mom and I went shopping at the outlet mall!

When the guys got out of the meeting we had lunch at AppleBee's and then continued on shopping. My mom followed Jarrod around all day trying to peek his interest in things that she could buy him for Christmas. . .

mom: "Hey, Jarrod, what about a  ___(insert noun here)____?? Do you think you'd like to have one of these??"

Jarrod: "Nah." or "I don't see any need for that" or "No, I don't think I need one of those"

This continued on for several hours, at one point my mom threatened to beat him with a hanger (not a wire hanger, mind you she's not quite as bad as Mommy Dearest). The banter back and forth between them was pretty funny!

We shopped so much that Mom wore her shoe out.  . literally! Ha! She did get a new pair of shoes for those of you worried that she walked around all day like that!


After we had finished shopping at the outlet mall we went to Branson Landing for some more shopping. Jarrod and I had  stayed at the Hilton Promenade at Branson Landing this summer and really enjoyed it.


The whole place looked very different at Christmas!


We had dinner at Piztros, a pizza bistro at Branson Landing. It had a really cool, contemporary atmosphere and great pizza!


That night we went to Clay Cooper's Country Music Express , it's a smaller production show that is one of Jarrod's favorites. It's a really good family orientated performance. There is lots of variety in the show, with music and dancers and a hilarious comedian and even Clay Cooper's 4 year old son has some parts.  The music was good but the comedy is the best. My favorite part is when they imitated famous country music stars.  Their Brooks & Dunn act was by far the funniest! 


Saturday morning we checked out of the hotel at 11am and went to the Grand Village to browse the boutiques there. It was so busy and crowded that we didn't stay long. But I did find a few things in the Kringle's Christmas Store. We headed for home after lunch and of course a trip to the Coldstone Creamery!! We'd be in trouble if there was a Coldstone in Jonesboro!

Overall it was a nice trip, but were were glad to get home!