Last Thursday Kaden graduated from Kindergarten and we couldn't be more proud of our oldest boy!
Walking in...so serious
We even caught a rare moment on camera...Kaden actually sang AND did a few of the motions during their little concert!
Kaden is kind, thoughtful, and still 100% boy (not to mention very handsome). We were proud of all of the wonderful report cards that he brought home and all of the "green faces" he earned for his good behavior. In fact...his behavior was so good this year that he earned a Six Flags trip from daddy!!
Kaden was so blessed to have Mrs. Williams as his teacher this year. She handled 23 5 and 6 year olds like a champ this year. I loved how patient and kind she was with all of the kiddos. Kaden certainly enjoyed being in her class!
What a precious moment to celebrate with our sweet son!
Papa even made it down to celebrate the big day!
Of course this special day called for some special cupcakes...
Kaden and I had fun making these little graduation hats for the top of the cupcakes!
He loved getting some congratulations cards in the mail
And for the kindergarten graduate...a shiny new red soccer ball perfect for a summer of backyard games while we get ready for next season!
(Seriously...could he get any more handsome than this?)
Words just can't describe how much we love you! You are such an amazing little boy. We are so often blown away by the size of your heart...like just the other night when we went to Wal-mart and you wanted to spend some of your birthday and graduation money on some toys for little boys and girls in Africa...or finding things like these sweet drawings in your kindergarten journal from the beginning of the year
You have and continue to teach us so much about life and love and our precious Lord. We are so grateful to be your parents!! May you continue to grow in wisdom and in stature sweet boy! We are so proud of you!!
Our sweet littlest boy turned 2 on Thursday! He loves rhymes and has the biggest grin every time he
hears his daddy making up some silly song about Holy Moly Guacamole Koley!!
We started the day with our ongoing birthday tradition of donuts with candles! Kolson is just like his brothers and his daddy...they all LOVE donuts. However, Koley did NOT like the candles on his donut...I guess he thought I messed it up! After his brothers blew out the candles he totally enjoyed his birthday breakfast (can you tell from the picture above)!
For his birthday our little guy had 2 requests...green Mickey Mouse Cupcakes and a bike of his own.
We loved seeing his face light up when daddy walked out with his new bike!
He also really loved getting some birthday cards in the mail!
And he didn't seem to mind the candles on his cupcakes!
Where has the time gone? I can't believe you are already 2! You are talking up a storm and love to repeat everything you hear! You sleep in a big boy bed and refuse to sit in a high chair anymore. You want to be just like your brothers! I love it that you always say Karty is your best friend...even though you fight like cats and dogs most days! Unfortunately you still absolutely adore your passy...we have at least narrowed it down to nap time and bed time but I am starting to fear that you may have it until you get married!:)
You are still a little bity guy...when I took you to the Dr. today she said you need to eat more...I guess we will start giving you milkshakes to fatten you up a bit!
When you first joined the K-crew I thought you might finally be that "cool, calm, and collected" child...but your daddy and I have decided that boat just passed us up...you are every bit as wild and crazy as your big brothers. Honestly, I wouldn't have it any other way! I love to see all of three of you wrestling on the living room floor!
We love you more than you know sweet boy! You are still our most cuddly kiddo and love that you are still such a mama's boy and that you always want me to snuggle with you and sing to you before bed. You are precious to us and we can't imagine our lives without your big smile and sweet laugh! I am so thankful to be your mommy and for the opportunity to spend my days with you! Happy Birthday baby big boy!!
I heard something the other day that has been rolling around in my head and heart...
"Some things are so important that they are worth doing even if you do them poorly"
At first I wasn't sure what to make of that statement but the more I think about it the more it makes sense to me.
You see I am the girl who would desperately love for everything to be just right...I want cute paper if I am going to journal or write a note of encouragement. I want the right shoes if I am going to start running. I want the right words if I am going to be speaking... the right devotional if I am going to be sharing with my children. I could go on and on and on.
But here is the truth...sometimes I never even get around to doing some really important, even eternal, things because I am waiting for the circumstances to be perfect or to have just the right things in place.
When in all actuality the encouragement note may be just what that person was needing and I didn't do it because I didn't have the perfect paper.
Or what about having the right words...the bible makes it clear that we are to share our faith...but how many times have chosen not to just because I felt like I didn't have the perfect words. He is God for crying out loud...he used a donkey...he can certainly use my words, poor as they may be!
There have been moments that I have skipped sharing about our Savior with my boys because I couldn't find the perfect devotional or once again I didn't think my words were what they needed to be. This is where that quote got me the most. While I know that God wants my very best and that excellence is something to strive for, I also think He would rather me share His word and teachings with my children even if it is not done perfectly than to not do it at all.
The lesson I have taken from this quote is this...
Stop waiting, stop trying to make everything perfect before you get started. Start with what you have, right where you are at...even if your attempts are poor and feeble, keep going...HE is in the perfecting business and HE can take your meager offerings and make them all that they need to be.
I know that this is true because of His word...
Being confident of this, that He who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus. Philippians 1:6
He began this work in us and He will complete it...that is such a wonderful encouragement!!
For we are God's workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do. Ephesians 2:10
I love knowing that there are good works that God has already prepared for me to do! He expects action and not apathy from me!
But He said to me "My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in your weakness."
Lord Jesus, would you take my weaknesses and use them to perfect your power...that you would receive glory and honor and that your name would be made great. Would you give me the strength to start and to keep going and to allow your perfecting power to perform miracles in my life, in our home, in our church, in the world. Take my thoughts captive and no longer let me drawn to apathy but action. Let me not wait for the perfect circumstances but actively follow your calling in my daily life. You are the God who moves mountains and changes seasons, you are a great God...there is none like you....you are Holy. You perform miracles and display your power among the people...would you display your power in my weaknesses sweet Lord!!
It's not very often that I have the opportunity to hijack my wifes blog and to do nothing but brag on my lady! As many of you know she is a precious wife, mother, daughter, friend, and whatever description you can think of. However most of you only get to see her in public. I want to tell you about the Jenna I know at home.
She is truly a lover of Jesus. On most days you can find her cuddled up on the couch with bible in hand seeking a word from our Lord. Her heart is as focused on Jesus as any man could ever dream about having in a wife. She is hungry for the word of the Lord. She earnestly desires the presence of the Lord. She faithfully serves the church of the Lord. I am so thankful to have her as a partner in ministry!
She is truly a lover of her husband (that lucky guy would be me)! She cares for me like no one else in my life. She will love, care, nurture, defend, and challenge me. I never have to worry about where her hearts affection is. I never have to lose sleep over whether or not she loves me! She is 100% devoted to me as a wife. For this I am eternally grateful! She knows when I am down and loves to try and help me up. She knows when I am stressed and wants to help me relax. She knows when I need guy time (hunting, fishing, golf,) and encourages me to go! Most of all she knows the great love I have for Jesus and His church and she partners with me to do the ministry God has called us to!
She is truly a lover of our Children. She is the greatest mother I have ever known. She knows when to hold firm to the rules and when to just relax and have fun. She can be found every night reading or singing to our kids. She works all day long to be the mother to our precious kids that God wants her to be. She knows how to stand in the gap when I have to be away. She has a special bond with our kids that is contagious and envied!
She is a lover of family. Jenna's family loves to have fun. Whether its a game of wahoo or just a nice dinner, its a blast to be in the action. She loves, honors, respects, and cherishes her mom and dad. She is close to her sister and the rest of the family. Jenna is a family person. She values the morals and standards that only a family can have. They say you marry your spouses family when you marry her! I am glad that can be a true statement.
She is a lover of music. That girl can flat out sing!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! She has the voice of an angel matched with the heart of God. When she sings people listen! They are as much touched by her heart in the music as her voice singing the music. If you dont believe me...click on buy a cd on the right side of this blog and find out for yourself.(thats my shameless plug for the cd). Anyone who has ever heard her sing has been blessed. I get to hear her all the time!!!!!!
She is a lover of orphans. God lit a passion in her heart for the care of orphans around the world that is amazing. It is so fun to watch her eyes light up when she talks about helping children around the world. It is a blessing to see tears flow down her cheeks as she hurts for those children without the love of a family! I am so glad I get a front seat to see how God is going to use her to change the world 1 child at a time.
I could go on and on and on and on about my sweetheart. But the truth is, when we were just friends, I almost lost my chance at this life we now have together. Everyone told us we had all the odds against us!!! I am so glad we get everyday to prove them all wrong :)
I am 100% completely, utterly, unashamedly, wholeheartedly crazy about the woman of my dreams...You know her as Jenna.....I know her as baby! I love you baby!
Yesterday I mentioned that there are nearly 500,00 children in the US foster care system. For those of us in Texas we have nearly 27,000 children in foster care and according to a recent article the numbers are expected to rise.
After being flooded with all of these numbers I am reminded of this quote that has haunted me for over a year.
"When thousands die it is just a statistic, but when one dies it is a tragedy."
In the midst of all of these numbers I am praying that we can identify with the one and not get caught up in the statistics. Because everyone of those children that make up the 500,000 have a face and a name...
Say hello to Ryan
This is Zachary
Meet Mardio, Austin, Reina, and Destiny (brothers and sisters who would just like to stay together)
Just 8 faces and 8 names out of those 27,000 in our own backyard. 8 names and faces that have hobbies and personalities. 8 names and faces who are just waiting for someone to want them.
Now I will admit that Nathan and I have both ignorantly said that part of the reason we are adopting internationally (a part for the call of God on our lives to adopt from Africa) is because "at least children in the US have foster care...they are not going to die of starvation or some type of preventable disease."
While that statement may be true there is something that I learned this week after reading this book...
(I HIGHLY recommend this book)
Castaway Kid tells the story of 3 year old Robbie who was left at an orphanage (or children's home as we like to call them these days) many years ago. The book chronicles his life and the emotions that went along with growing up and just wanting to be wanted. I learned so much from this book but what struck me most was the death of hope.
While children in the US foster system may not die of starvation or some preventable disease they are facing death...the death of their hope. The death hope that they will ever be wanted. The death of hope that they can ever be more than their childhoods. The death of hope that they can be more than the circumstances that put them into the system.
I don't know about you but I am not sure there is anything worse that the death our hope. I would hate to see sweet Tyrone lose his hope.
But truthfully I learned this week that the reason many children who have their pictures up on the Internet at heart galleries or on adoptuskids is because everything has been done to find them a family and this is the last hope.
What about children like Josh who are already 18 but would still love to be adopted just so they have somewhere to go at Thanksgiving and Christmas... just so they can have someone to call when they meet the person they are going to marry or when they get their first job.
So what can we do about these faces and names...
adoption-the Lord may be calling your family to be the forever family for a child, teen, or sibling group. Many times adoption through the Foster Care System is free and if not it is very inexpensive.
foster care- the Lord may be calling your family to be the "safe place to land" for a child while they are waiting for their forever family or while things with their biological family are being worked out.
respite care- you may be called to provide short term (1 day- 2 weeks) care for one of more of these children. This is a great way to be a blessing to foster parents who need to go on vacation or take care of some type of business...you can't just get any babysitter you want when you are a foster parent.
become a CASA representative- you can become an advocate for a child by joining up with CASA. Many children have to appear in court and you can be the person to stand beside them and walk them through this scary time. You can advocate for their needs to be met at school and in their foster family as well. More than anything you can be a "safe" person for them and ultimately a friend...at least one person that is "for" them.
volunteer at a local Children's Home/Ranch/Transitional Care facility- call the one nearest to you and ask HOW you can help...while it is fun to go in and give out bubbles or soccer balls and then leave they may need you to read with a certain child each week or help in kitchen...just be willing to help in a way that is needed.
pray- look at the heart galleries and adoptuskids and pray for these children. We say all the time that we believe in power of prayer and the lives of these children are desperate need of the Lord's power to overcome life's obstacles. I have a sweet friend who has been doing this for years. While she has never been able to see the fruit of her prayers, she has been faithful to continue praying always trusting that God can make a difference!
That is just a short list to get us all thinking about where our place might be in our calling to care for these children. Will it be neat and organized, fitting in our nice little box...most likely not. But the more I read scripture the more I notice that Jesus spent his time with people whose lives were a mess (much like my own). I think it safe to say that Jesus was not afraid of getting dirty...after all He did save me and there is not much about my life that fits in a nice little box!:) We all have dirty, messy parts of our lives BUT we have found a rescuer. While we cannot go around "rescuing" children we can introduce them to the rescuer!!
I have been wanting to post for a while now about our trip to The Summit but some how I just can't seem to find the words to express all that is circling through my heart and mind. Despite that I will give it my best shot! I am sure it will take several days to write about all of the different things we learned so I will start with the basic info.
After 1 delayed flight, 2 stops, 1 missed connection, 1 rental car, 1 4 hour drive across 3 states we finally arrived in Louisville, KY at 5am on Thursday morning...just in time to sleep for 2 hours and make it to the conference by 8:30am!! My sweet husband was willing to do anything to get me there! As crazy as it was I throughly enjoyed my middle of the night drive with my love. We laughed, talked, sang old songs together, and laughed some more!
Finally we made it!!
The Summit is put on every year by the Christian Allience for Orphans. There are 3 main focuses for the Allience...FOSTER CARE, ADOPTION, and GLOBAL ORPHAN CARE. Within those 3 topics are tons of other areas involving orphans.
The numbers themselves are staggering...
at least 500,000 AMERICAN children are a part of the foster care system...this is a huge area where our churches could really make a difference!!
around the world there are an estimated 147,000,000 orphans...not all of them can be adopted which leaves us with a need to find some way to care for the orphans who will never have a family (Global Orphan Care).
those numbers don't even include the millions of children who live on the streets around the world. It is estimated that there are between 750,000- 1,000,000 street children in America alone.
And those are just a few of the numbers!
The fact is there are MILLIONS of children in need IN OUR OWN BACKYARDS and around the world. The bible is clear that we are ALL called to look after orphans and widows and to care for the needy.
So the question is...
What will we do?
What will you do?
The next posts will hopefully give you some ideas on how you can get involved!
This week Nathan and I have the incredible opportunity to go to the annual Orphan Summit in Louisville, Kentucky. We are so excited to be have this chance to get away and learn together! I am praying that God teaches us in ways we can't even imagine! I am so thrilled that we were able to find a way for Nathan to come too...nothing better than growing in the Lord with your sweetheart!!
But with Nathan and I both going that leaves a pretty big problem...well 3 problems to be exact!:) What to do with the destroyers K-crew? Since my mom is busy and she is the usually only one who is crazy enough able to tackle all three of our little cuties we decided to do the most logical thing. Farm them out!! That's right we have all 3 boys going to different locations. As a matter of fact we decided it would be best to have 2 different people on each kid!
Why in the world would be need 6 people to take care of 3 boys for a few days?? Well, I could explain it to you but they say a picture is worth a thousand words so...
Egg beaters on the rug...compliments of sweet Kolson
Forget the Chocolate milk...I will just drink the syrup!
Wall Art...compliments of Karty boy
You just thought your toddler tried to climb on everything!
All of the above "incidents" occurred while I was simply making lunch or changing to clothes out of the washer...Lions and Tigers and BOYS, oh my!!
(Can I just pause here and admit that there are many days when I seriously consider going back to work just so our house will stay standing longer...more time destroying the daycare means less time destroying the house!!:)
So, if you happen to think about us this week, would you remember to say a prayer for my boys and the crazy gracious people who will be caring for them!!
Yesterday marked 1 month of our official wait to meet you. Sweet girl, I had no idea how hard this would be...I had no idea how my heart would long for you. You are loved Kenziah!
This song speaks the truth of my heart tonight better than I am able to put it into words....
"When we cannot see you moving and it seems the dark has won, may you find us still believing that you want this more than us. You will finish what you started, and your plans for us are good. Help us cling to what you promise...You are faithful you are sure." ~Cindy Foote
Jesus may we trust you and praise you in the wait! Thank you for the opportunity to be on this journey!
Last week Nathan and I were blessed with opportunity to attend the annual Executive Board retreat for the SBTC.It has been at least 4 years since the last time I was able to go with him so I was so thrilled when my mom and sister offered to come up and stay with the boys. Iwas so excited to get some extra time with my man!
We totally lucked out on Tuesday when his meeting ended early, leaving us time for a date! Lunch on the Riverwalk and a movie...we almost didn't know what to do with ourselves! It was also great to get to meet other ministers and their wives at the meeting. We all enjoyed a great meal together on Tuesday evening after all of their work was done.
On the way home we stopped in Austin to have lunch with my college roommate and her family! We always love seeing the Hinotes. I am so thankful that the Lord blessed me with a roommate like Rhonda and that we are still so close!
And since my hubby totally supports my new obsession hobby we did our own little cupcake tour of Austin! Together we tried 6 cupcakes at 3 different shops!
On Monday we started with Delish!
Delish is located in the heart of downtown Austin and features cupcakes, cookies, and a few other treats. We tried the Mexican Vanilla Cupcake and the Chocolate Banana Cupcake.
Next up...we stopped at Polkadots.
Polkadots is full of charm. It is located near UT in an old craftsman home that still has it's wood beams and tons of character! Polkadots features different cupcakes for different days of the week. I loved the way their cupcakes looked...they were so fun! Nathan and I tried a Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Cupcake and a Black Bottom Cupcake.
On our way back through Austin we stopped at Sugar Mama's Bakeshop! It was located just outside of downtown and I have to admit that these were my favorite cakes out of the three. This time we decided to go for the Vegan Mint Chocolate Chip and the Marilyn Monroe!
Cupcakes AND time away with my love...what could be better!:)
I happen to be married to the most wonderful man in the world!! Not only does he love the Lord with all of his heart, but he also loves me and our boys like nothing else. He is so thoughtful...at least once a week he comes home with a sweet tea from Mcalisters or a vanilla coke zero from sonic just to brighten my day. He knows how much I love food and goes out of his way to bring me little treats from my favorite places whenever he gets the chance (maybe that's were these pesky extra 10 pounds came from)!:)
Nathan's dream in life is for me to own my business! He once came home from work only to announce that he had just bought me a snow cone stand to run (Snoasis anyone??)! He has wanted me to open a flavored popcorn stand at Canton or even find something crafty I could sell (too bad the crafty gene skipped right over me)! So it is no surprise that when I admitted my love for cupcake making that he started thinking...he has already figured out how many cupcakes I would have to make and sell everyday in order to make a living! He even sat down and watched 2 cupcake TV shows with me! While I am not sure that I will ever make a business out of cupcakes, He did decide that if I was going to be making tons of cupcakes I needed the proper tools!!
So my early Mother's Day gift...
I promise if I could add some animation to my blog this picture would be surrounded by rays of light and the sound of angels singing! This mixer is down right heavenly...especially when you consider that my old mixer was a little bitty Hamilton Beach hand mixer that I have had for 10 years. This baby sure made life easier for me today while I was making cupcakes for teacher appreciation week!
Speaking of cupcakes here is my latest... Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Cupcakes This is how they start out
And this is how they come out of the oven...crazy!
Since you freeze the cookie dough overnight, it actually stays nice a gooey in the middle while the cupcakes bake. Here is the finished product...complete with a cookie flavored buttercream frosting and homemade mini cookie!
Thanks babe for a wonderful gift! Thank you for always thinking of me! I love you and this life the Lord has blessed us with!
One crazy family seeking to glorifiy the King in this crazy life!
Nathan aka my love
It all started at a revival where he was preaching and I was singing. We became the best of friends and later fell in love. Nathan is still my very best friend! We love to sit and "dream" together and stay up late to laugh. He loves the Lord with all of his heart and I feel so blessed to call him mine!
Our first born...he is adventurous and full of life. He may seem shy at first but just give him a minute and he has tons to say. His heart is as big as his giant blue eyes! He is artistic and creative and he is constantly working on writing books!
Our middle boy...he is as firey as his crazy red hair. He is as tough as nails and has a smile that lights up any room! He is our furture preacher and can be found found preaching from our steps many nights!
Our third little prince is still a snuggly little guy that gives the best hugs around. He is full of spunk and wants to be just like his big brothers!
Our Ugandan princess and the newest member of the K-crew. She is sugar and spice and everything nice. She brings the perfect amount of softness and PINK to this rowdy crew! We are so thankful to finally have her home.
Our sweet little baby boy who was born sleeping in October of 2005. We are so thankful for all that he taught us.
Watch and listen to..."You Are Called, You Are Chosen" from the CD!!!