Monday, December 28, 2009

Our Growing Family...

No, I am not pregnant...

No, we are DEFINITELY NOT giving it another attempt with a pet

But...Our family has grown!
For a while I have been telling you that God is doing something in mine and Nathan's hearts that is hard to explain. He has been calling us to do step out of the give our faith some "feet".
What you may not know is that Nathan and I have talked about adoption and foster care off and on for almost three years. After we lost Konner and were having trouble staying pregnant we began praying about what our future would hold as parents. Finally by Gods amazing grace we were able to get pregnant and stay pregnant with Karter and then again with Kolson. But even in the midst of having our own biological children there was something nagging at our hearts.

In the last month we began talking about fostering again. We went to see the Blind Side and that just deepened our quest for what it was that God was calling us to do.

2 weeks ago God called us to someone!

This is Samantha...we call her Sam!

Sam is a senior in high school who needed somewhere to go. Through God's sovereignty we were able to meet Sam and she agreed to come and live with us! This is a new and exciting journey for all of us! Sam is now having to deal with three crazy little boys ( who adore her already). We are figuring out the logistics of everything and how things will work day to day. I can truly say that we feel blessed to have Sam in our home.

We have already enjoyed a late night baking session, a shopping trip, and she even endured all of the Christmas festivities with us!

Sam is very smart and has a laugh that is contagious. She is kind to my boys and a great help around the house. I can't wait to see all that God has planned for her!

Please pray for all of us as we venture into this new unknown territory!

Sunday, December 27, 2009

7 months!

Yesterday Kolson turned 7 months old...time is flying and I really wish it could just stand still even just for a moment. All three of my boys are at such fun and exciting ages. Kaden is old enough to have a real conversation (even if it is about football). Karter is starting to talk in full sentences. And sweet Kolson is noticing everything. I love to watch him when he sees something new...I love the wonder in his eyes.

Kolson reminds me not to get so busy that I miss the wonders God has placed all around me.

He is playful and smiley and I have even noticed that he seems to smile when he sees the camera...He must take after his aunt Michele...she has always got a picture smile ready!:)

He is getting much better about tummy time...he would be great at yoga...check out this swimmers pose!

I am sure he will have a tooth soon. He is chewing on any and everything in sight!

And yes, even at 7 months he STILL likes to be swaddled in his miracle blanket. The instructions that came with the blanket said it would work until he was 3 months old. He loves it and sleeps well so I am just not going to mess things up!:)

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

What God Wants For Christmas...

I am telling you God has really been up to something in our lives for the last few months. He has been opening my eyes to so many things that I never took the time to see before. For so long I have been ok with the status quo...I have always felt like since I am a Christian and I go to church, I am married to a preacher, and try to do what is right that I must be doing my part. I am thinking now that must be one of those subtle lies the devil likes to sneak into our lives.
I have settled for the bare minimum of life with my Savior when I have a God who has promised life and life ABUNDANTLY.
To be honest I have settled for that with my kids as well. Yes...we say prayers at the dinner table, and before bed, we even read bible stories and talk about how important Jesus is. But recently I have just felt this tug on my heart that it is so much more than that. It is SHOWING them how important Jesus is by my actions, attitudes, words, and my priorities.
So this Christmas I have really tired to make Jesus THE priority. We have had very little talk about S-a-n-t-a in our house this year but oh we have had so much fun learning about our Savior's birth and how so many of our Christmas traditions seem to point back to Him.

Thanks to some great friends we have found some really great resources to help with this. We started with this book:

It has great ideas for how to celebrate for the 4 weeks leading up to Christmas. I will be honest and tell you that we did not get to all of the book and were not able to do most of the crafts but it was a great starting point.

In our first week we learned about the ANTICIPATION of the people of they knew the promise of a Messiah and how they waited excitedly for Him to come. After our story we made Advent count down calenders out of Hershey kisses. The boys loved this...especially Karter who ate about 12 that night!

In our second week we talked about the Christmas tree. I never knew the Christmas tree had anything to do with Jesus. In the book we learned that the tree is in a triangle shape representing the Holy Trinity. The trunk is made of wood just like the cross where Christ died. The evergreen branches represent the everlasting life found in Him. The tree points toward heaven and the branches stretch out just like the arms of Jesus. And the star on the top of our tree is like the one the Magi followed and a reminder that Jesus is the Bright and Morning Star. After going through all of these we made ice cream cone trees. Really fun and really messy!

Honestly, week three came and went and here we are almost through week four. But rest assured my sweet friend Kasey showed me something we will be using at Christmas time for years to come.

It is a box called "What God Wants For Christmas". I found it half way through our Advent adventure and just knew we had to use it.

Inside this box are 7 little present boxes and a nativity stage.

Inside each of the 7 presents is a different character from the Christmas story.

Box number 1 holds Gabriel the angel and he gets the story rolling. Each time you open a box there is a poem to go with that character. The end of every poem talks about box number 7 and how that box holds the surprise of what GOD wants for Christmas!

My boys are loving this...we have been opening a box each night and adding that character to the story. Kaden even brought Gabriel along on a trip in the car so he could watch over us!:) They take turns opening the boxes and playing with the characters. Tonight after putting the boys to bed I found the characters sleeping!:)

Kaden cannot wait to see what box number 7 holds tomorrow night...I will give you a sneak peak.It's a see because what God wants for Christmas is you and me. For us to know Him, to trust Him, to believe that He sent his son for us on that very first Christmas!

I know that Kaden may not understand all of this now but I want to make sure I am doing all that I can to point him to our Savior and the real meaning of Christmas!
Merry Christmas!

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Lions, Tigers, and Scorpions...Oh my!

I was awake at 2:00 am this morning...

No, I did not have a sick baby to console...

Karter was not having one of his insomniac fits...

And I was not comforting Kaden after a bad dream...

No, it was worse, much worse!

For as long as I can remember my worst fears and most frightening nightmares have had a common theme...bugs!

I HATE bugs and the thought of them crawling on me ranks right up there with things like having to eat brussel spouts for Thanksgiving or never getting to go to Target again!

I am sure this fear of mine all started when I was about 6. While playing outside one day a furry caterpillar crawled up my shorts and bit me on my rear of all places (to this day I like to believe that bite caused some sort of malfunction and that is why I still struggle to lose weight in that general area :).

Because of this fear I have NEVER been camping. I mean, hello, going out and sleeping in THEIR home is like just inviting them to crawl all over you. UHH the thought just makes my skin crawl!

Well...last night my worst dream came true! At around 1:45am I sat up screaming... a scorpion had just stung my finger. I made Nathan turn on the light and help me look for the thing. He gave me a hard time and really didn't believe me. So we turned off the light and tried to go back to sleep. After that I just felt like things were crawling all over me. I have one of those dramatic minds that just goes crazy....I was imagining all kinds of bugs hiding in our sheets and covers when all of a sudden Nathan screamed out. I guess when I flung the scorpion off me it landed on his side of the bed and stung his chest. We turned the light on again and searched everywhere for the little sucker. We never found him but we did not get back into our bed without a thorough search of all the sheets and blankets.

I may never sleep in peace again! I assured Nathan that if this happens again a FOR SALE sign will be making a prompt appearance in our front yard!
Anyone know how to get rid of scorpions?

Monday, December 21, 2009

Christmas Store

140 gift cards
75 toys
70 stuffed stockings
50 rolls of wrapping paper
Hot Cocoa
Over 60 volunteers
What does that equal?
22 families
22 families who may not have had Christmas will be having it now!
This fall our Children's minister and I embarked on a new journey...a journey that led to changing lives through providing Christmas for others.
I am so thankful for our church and their willingness to give and to give abundantly. The looks on the families faces were priceless and our people who volunteered to help were beaming. See giving doesn't only change the people you are giving ultimately changes you!
People who are normally shy and who would not want to have to have a conversation one on one with someone they didn't know jumped out of their comfort zone and welcomed these sweet families...making connections with them.
It was a wonderful day! I can't wait till next year!
Sorry I don't have was so busy and exciting I just forgot all about taking pictures.
Merry Christmas!

Sunday, December 13, 2009


I couldn't resit sharing a few impromptu photos of the cuteness that I have opportunity to see everyday!

This is as good as it gets when a redheaded 2 year old is involved!

Big and little brothers

Merry Christmas everybody!:)

Thursday, December 10, 2009


Nathan and I have been so blessed to be a part of FBC Malakoff. To be perfectly honest Malakoff would not have made it on my top ten best places to live list if you had asked me a few years ago. I never really thought much about Malakoff it was just a town that I drove through time and time again on my way to my parents house in San Antonio. Never in a million years would I have imagined that God would call us to Malakoff. But... I am so glad He did! What a blessing it has been to get to know the people here and to get to serve along side them. I have especially been touched by our church's willingness to "get out of the boat" and reach out to those who are in NEED of a savior. Instead of sitting back and waiting on people to come to us this church is going out to the people and meeting their needs in the name of JESUS. This church is making a DIFFERENCE. I love this place!

I am especially thankful for the staff that God has given Nathan to work with. They are his teammates, his partners, and his friends. Each of them brings such life and light to our church. As much as I appreciate and love each one of them we seldom get the time to just hang out or visit with each other. Thanks to Donna this year was different!

This week we had a progressive dinner around Star Harbor. The food was WONDERFUL but the company was unbeatable. We started off at our house where Nathan gave each staff member something to celebrate the Christmas season with...

What is Christmas without a Marshmallow gun fight?? Can't you just see how much fun they have together. Watch out next time you're at the church...marshmallows hurt when they hit your eye...just ask Kaden...he got caught in the crossfire during the battle.

From our house we headed out the Donna and John's house for the main course. Their home is stunningly beautiful and the sauce she made for the sweet potatoes...oh my!

For dessert we went to Kim and Eric's where enjoyed Eric's sour cream twists...(yum) and other desserts. Kim has two beautiful trees up and all of her past Christmas pictures are out on display...too cute.

It was a wonderful night that we shared with some of our favorite people.!

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Frosty the Snowman

This week we decided to have some friends over to make snowmen out of paver bricks. It was something my friend Kasey did with her students last year and it was just too cute to pass up. This has by far been one of my favorite things about having Kaden at home this year...I have gotten to do so many exciting things with him. I love seeing him create things...he has a great imagination! I am not the most creative person but I do want to make sure I encourage creativity in my children. After all...if I am teaching my children to be like God it definitely involves creativity...He is the ultimate creator.

Speaking of creativity here are some creative photos that KADEN took!

I love this picture of the "supplies"! For some reason I have a thing for school supplies...I love to color with new crayons!

Pictures of some of his creations...

Karter is still not at the age where he really enjoys the whole project but he did have fun painting for about 2 minutes and he liked picking out the pom poms for his buttons. We are so blessed to have other friends in the neighborhood to create with! Thanks for making some really cute snowmen with us Rance, Austin, and Kaitlyn!

Tuesday, December 8, 2009


I have been doing school with Kaden for 16+ weeks. We have learned sight words and word family words, we have colored, played games, learned bible verses, the works. I have really seen him grow in his academic knowledge but have wondered if he was really catching on to the biblical character traits we have been learning. Things like being content and attentive, being thankful and patient. I feel like I am constantly saying the same things. Kaden, please listen...Kaden are you having a good attitude...Kaden be patient. All the while I have wondered if it has been getting into that brain of his.

The other night God gave me just the smallest taste of the things He is doing through my efforts to train our son to be a godly young man.
We had the opportunity to have Trenton and Jonah Estes over for the evening to play. The boys had played their little hearts out when Kaden and Trenton decided to color. Trenton watched Kaden for a while and decided he wanted to color the same thing that Kaden was coloring. Trenton tried his best and then looked at Kaden and said "I can't". Kaden turned to Trenton and said "you can do patient...keep practicing...I will help you". It was so sweet and I was so thankful that God allowed me to be in the room to over hear their conversation. I am sure God knew I was in need of just a little encouragement. Thanks Lord!

Saturday, December 5, 2009

6 months...Really?

Our sweet Kolson is 6 months old. I am not sure where the time has gone. He is still holding on tight to his title as "pure sweetness". Even my Dad, who is not a baby person, loves to hold this sweet little guy.
I am not sure if it is because there is a possibility that he could be my last baby or the fact that I am not as nervous as I was with Kaden and Karter but I am so enjoying this little one.

I find myself taking time to memorize his "baby smell" and the way his sweet cheeks feel next to mine. His sweet baby sounds and the way he sucks in his breath when something really excites him is music to my ears.I love that he just wants me to hold him in the evenings before bed time. He is so happy and loves to smile. It doesn't take much to get a laugh from this little guy. I am praying that as he grows he will always be full of such joy and that he will come to know our precious savior the giver of pure joy.

We love you so much Kolson Noah!

Friday, December 4, 2009

Change of plans...

We wanted to have a family picture made this month....

I guess we will have to wait on that!

Poor little Karty feel today during a squabble with Kaden and this was the result. Everyone's advice to me is to "get used to it...boys will be boys"! Karter is such a trooper, he barely cried. Of course I freaked out and called my nurse friend to come over and have a look (Thanks D'ann)! But all is well and mommy is praying for no scaring to that sweet little face of his.

Maybe someday we will get a family picture!:)

Thursday, December 3, 2009

The Blind Side

On Thanksgiving my parents gave Nathan and I the RARE opportunity to have a date! We were so excited...we felt like kids at Christmas getting out of the car with nothing to carry and the only hands to hold were each other's. We lived it up and ordered popcorn and a large coke!:) I went into this movie not knowing much about it...hey, I like Sandra Bullock and I knew it was a movie about football so I thought it was a great choice that would appeal to both of us. I had no idea how God was about use this movie to reach out and grab out hearts.

God has been doing something unexplainable in our hearts lately. To be honest we are not sure what it is or what He is trying to lead us to do. We just know that He is working and we want to be willing, open, and available to WHATEVER He has for us.

Recently I have been previewing a new book for our next bible study. It is called "Lies Women Believe" what really stuck out to me was when the author, Nanci Lee Demoss, said that if Satan can't get us on the BIG lies like abortion or adultery he will certainly try to get us on the small lies. The little subtly things he sneaks into our lives.

When I saw this movie I was struck by Sandra Bullock's character and her willingness to serve in a small way that eventually lead to serving in a way that changed her life and the life of the boy she was serving. But how often does Satan get us on the small lies, lies like...oh that doesn't really make a difference, or who cares if you are nice and polite to the cashier, or somebody else will come along and give that homeless person a meal or some money, or even better when Satan convinces us that we shouldn't give because they won't use it in the right way. As my sweet friend Jennifer pointed out last night, we are held accountable for what we do for those in need and not for what those people do with what we have given.

My heart is so full and I could probably write a whole book but I will end this blog by saying...yes this movie has it's ugly parts but it is all together inspiring and a great picture of what can happen when we put our own desires, and the worries about what others will think to the side all for the good of serving someone else.

So my question for myself and anyone reading this is....what are you doing to help others with what God has given you?

Monday, November 30, 2009

With Feet...

I have told you before about my precious mother-in-law, Maria. She is fighting a RELENTLESS battle with ovarian cancer. My friend Flo, who lost her mother to cancer, says that cancer is an UGLY word.

I agree.

However, I have never seen anyone deal with something so ugly in such a BEAUTIFUL way. John and Maria have given "feet" to so many scriptures through this long and difficult journey.

James 1:2-4 says..."Consider it pure JOY, my brothers when you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops PERSEVERANCE...
I have watching Maria find JOY in knowing her savior more through this journey, I have seen her and John cry tears of JOY as they have talked about the ways they have been able to minister to others who are struggling through this battle. And never in my life have seen more PERSEVERANCE. Ovarian Cancer is will go into remission but then it returns with a vengeance. With much grace and beauty John and Maria have persevered through treatment after treatment and hospital stay after hospital stay. Even at some of her worst and weakest moments I have seen them smile and give praise to their savior Jesus.
Can't you just see how much he loves her!
1 Corinthians 13:5 says...Love is not self-seeking...
In spite of this battle that is raging around them John and Maria decided to put others first this holiday season. By others I mean their 11, yes I said 11, grandchildren! On Friday after Thanksgiving they had the oldest 8 grand kids over for a camp out. (And let me just stop here and tell you that even though they were the oldest of the 11 they were from ages 2-7...and 7 of them were boys!) They enjoyed hayrides, and roasting Marshmallows, scary stories around the campfire, hot dogs, and 6 of them even slept in the tents! I have never seen kids have more fun. What I am not sure John and Maria realized is that they were living out Scripture for their grand kids. Maria spent three days in the hospital prior to the camp out getting fluids so that she would be ready to go. In the face or pain and weariness they chose to think of others happiness when it would have been easier to just buy the kids a gift or send them a card...they were showing our kiddos what is means to put others first, to live a life that is not self-seeking. For that I am truly grateful.
The next day was filled so many wonderful moments my DVR wouldn't be able to hold them all!

Thank you for such a wonderful weekend Papa and Grammie!

*photos courtesy of Britney Lorick

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Turkey Time

I have "mom dreams"! You know the ones I am talking about...the ones where you dream about being that mom who always has fresh cookies made...who is always doing fun creative things with her kids...all while keeping the house clean, having dinner on the table, and never ever getting frustrated.

I will admit that this is just fantasy and things with three kids never work out the way you plan for them to. But today was a pretty great day even from my "mom dream" point of view.

One of the coolest things about keeping Kaden home this year is that my sweet friend Jennifer has also done the same thing with her son Austin. We are even using the same curriculum which is great for swapping ideas. Kaden and Austin are best buds and love to get together. So in honor of Thanksgiving we got our kiddos together for a little Turkey Celebration.
We made Indian hats...

Isn't Kaitlyn just the cutest thing?
toilet paper roll turkeys... and by far their favorite activity of the day was making turkey cupcakes.

We ended the day with a toothpick feast!
And even though not everything worked out like I planned (the glue didn't stick on the toilet paper turkeys, all of my laundry was still out in the playroom, Karter just ate his cupcake without making it into a turkey first)...we had the best time creating, playing, and eating together!

Happy Turkey Day!