Saturday, January 29, 2011

Godstop #1...

Last weekend I had the wonderful opportunity to lead worship for a ladies retreat at Hyde Park Baptist Church in Austin! It just so happens to be the church where my college roommate and her husband serve on staff! The weekend was great as well as the company! Thank you Rhonda, Wes, Cadence and Kylie for opening up your home to me!

I had a great time leading worship and singing with the awesome band that Wes put together for the weekend.

One of my favorite things about this retreat were the e-mail testimonies. For 10 days they e-mailed testimonies by real women about the real things God had done in their lives. We received some before, during, and after the retreat. There were testimonies from women who had lost children, or were struggling with illness, testimonies of women who had tried to be perfect or of families who were torn apart through sin or homosexuality. They were real and they were so encouraging.

On Tuesday after the retreat I was slated to do a high school chapel at my home church's private school. If you know me at all you know that teenagers make me super nervous...for some reason they make me feel like a huge dork and I always end up saying stupid stuff!! But, alas I made it through and was even able to encourage them and talk to them afterwards...hopefully I didn't say anything too stupid!!:)

I left the chapel to meet my sister for lunch! What a blessing to have a sister who is my friend! We enjoyed our lunch and as I was leaving I received a call from the private school requesting that I bring some more CDs by.

On my way to the school I received another testimony from the retreat. It happened to be from Rhonda(praise the Lord for e-mail on my phone). She talked about trying to be all things for all people and how that led to depression and unhappiness. She even attempted suicide and ended up in the hospital for 3 days. She ended her testimony by talking about how God had delivered her from that time and made her new. It was inspiring and reminded me how much I love my sweet friend.

(I know this is long but it does have a really cool "Godspot" ending!)

I arrived at the school with the CDs and was met by aunt who teaches at the school. She introduced me to a young 7th grade girl who I will call "J". My aunt told me that "J" really needed to talk to me. Of course I was so nervous but thought maybe she wanted to talk to me about singing or adoption and I could handle that right??

Immediately "J" began telling me her story. It was one of heart break, disappointment, and really it was just plain unfair. She began to tell me about her old habit of "cutting" and how she wanted to do it again and that she had even been considering suicide that very night.

Talk about a shocker...what was I supposed to say? I will confess that I even thought about telling my aunt that I didn't have time for this...I needed to get back and start heading home. But I remembered Rhonda's testimony from moments earlier (what timing does our awesome God have)!

My aunt and I were able to counsel with "J" and remind her of God's promise of great plans for her. We were able to encourage her and let her know that God redeems the broken places and makes the ugly stories in life beautiful. There were tons of things we could have said but we said His word, we repeated verses from His scripture. I prayed over "J" and I left still uncertain of her future.

Two days ago I got word that sweet "J" is doing much better and is getting some help!

I love that God plans every last detail...He knew that I would need Rhonda's testimony at just that time so I could encourage "J". I love that He works through us and gives us the words when we have no idea what to say. I love that His word does not return void and that if we are faithful to share His word He will use it.

Would you remember to pray for "J"...she is a BEAUTIFUL young girl and I just know that God has some great plans for her life. And remember that things aren't always as they appear. On the outside "J" looked like any other happy jr. high one ever would have guessed all the heart that was buried in her heart.

On the lookout for more "Godstops"...

Wednesday, January 26, 2011


It was nearly 5 years ago that I was introduced to this term. I was struggling then. We had lost little Konner and had continued to stagger through as we lost 2 more precious babies early in pregnancy. I needed something...anything to grab on to. In God's perfect way I picked up "Believing God" by Beth Moore and He brought healing through those pages and the scriptures she presented.

It was in that book that I first learned about "Godstops". Beth defined "Godstops" as the glimpses we catch of God at work.

In John 5:17 Jesus says, "My father is always at his work to this very day,and, I too am working."

Our Lord is constantly working in us, through us, around us. The idea behind "Godstops" is look for the evidence of his work. Beth says "the more "see" God at work, the more we'll believe, and the more believe the more we are liable to see"!!

I truly believe that this journaling of gifts, this counting of blessings is doing just that. The more blessings I write down the more I see him working.

In the book she says that the "stop" in "Godstops" stand for:

I am choosing to believe more so that I can see more and in turn believe more!

Have you had any "Godstops" lately? I would love to hear about them!!

Monday, January 24, 2011

Absence makes the heart grow fonder...

I have always heard that statement but now I know that it is true! My sweet husband has been in India, Nepal, and Thailand this last week. I am so proud of my man and his willingness to follow our Lord to the other side of the world. I am proud to call him mine and honored to be the wife of this Jesus lover!
But, man have I missed him! This trip has been different than others that he has gone on in the past because I have not been able to talk to him much. I have realized this week how much I miss his phones calls in the middle of the day just to "hey". I miss talking with him at the end of the day when we tell each other what "really" happened in our day. I miss his smile and his laugh and the way he hugs me at just the right moments.
I am so thankful that I am my beloveds and that he is mine!

Going through this over this last little while has really made me think about all of the families that have husbands or wives who are deployed. I know that there are so many time when I have not taken the time that I need to to pray for those families as they are struggling through their time apart.

So along with my Monday counting of blessings I will also use Mondays to pray for families who are separated around the world. I will be praying for their strength, and peace. I will be praying for the safety of the loved one who is away. I will be praying that those who are left behind would be surrounded by others who are willing to help them and encourage them as they wait to be reunited as a family again.

0103. the opportunity to watch our parents love on our boys.

0104. precious phone calls from a husband I am missing desperately!

0105. a little sister who is also my friend!

0106. Nathan's opportunities to share his faith

0107. bed time stories with papaw

0108. sweet girlfriends who pray for me in times of need

0109. handmade cards from a tender-hearted little boy

0110. that God chooses to work through us...amazing!

Thursday, January 20, 2011

The real housewife of Malakoff, Texas!

So for Christmas my mom got me this...
The Pioneer Woman's Cookbook! It is filled with wonderful recipes that are easy to follow with step by step pictures. Doesn't everyone love a cookbook that is full of pictures?

So for the last few weeks I have been cooking my way through this lovely book! Making things like this yummy chicken pot pie, complete with a homemade crust...

And these Angel Cookies that I really believe should be called Heaven cookies because they are so good, I just know there will be some waiting behind those pearly gates one day!
I have so enjoyed using these recipes and spending time in the kitchen. It somehow makes me feel like the mom and wife I always dreamed of being with home cooked meals, fresh cookies, and warm breakfasts every morning...well minus the laundry that is piled up and the dirty dishes filling the sink (one thing at a time right)! So many of the recipes have been so delicious that I haven't even stopped to take a picture!

You can find some of Ree's recipes on her blog
I promise you won't be disappointed!

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Rich in Mercy...

I am reminded today of God's mercy, His grace and how it is so rich. We have a God that goes beyond.

"Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us..." Ephesians 3:20

I used to read that verse and think of big things, the grand, great things that God was going to. And while I still believe in those great big things that God can do, I am also starting to see this verse come to life in the small things.

Case in point...

Adoption is a LONG process and there is nothing you can do to speed it up. At times it is discouraging and I have found myself wondering if we will really make it to the end. Wondering if we will ever finally meet and bring home our Kenziah Reigh (can you tell that doubt seems to be a stronghold in my life)!
Enter God...doing immeasurable more than I could imagine.
Today I met my friend Kathryn at Chick-fil-a. As we were getting ready to leave I noticed a woman walk in with an African child. Of course I was drawn to her but felt silly walking up and saying "hey, did you get your kid in Africa?" So my sweet friend asked her for me...thanks Kathryn! Turns out the woman's little boy was from Ethiopia and they had used the SAME AGENCY we are using!! We talked and I admired her precious little one. She even let me know about a group of adoptive parents that meet in the area. I can't help but be thankful and amazed at God's love. I wholeheartedly believe that He ordained it all. He knew the discouragement in my heart and so He put this sweet mom and baby boy in my path. The more I have thought on it the more I have felt Him whispering...just trust, be patient, in my time. It was certainly more than I could have imagined...God allowed me to see a "real" family who had been all the way through the process on a day when I was starting to doubt the process!! Immeasurably more for sure!!

What a mighty God we serve!!

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Why Ethiopia?

When I saw this video done by another adopting family I knew that I had to share it. It puts words to all the things in my heart...take a minute and see why Ethiopia...

Thank you to for putting together such a great video.

My heart has been there so much this week. On this continent I have never even been to and one quite frankly I never wanted to visit at one time. More than all of the tragedy that seems to surround Africa and countries like Ethiopia there is this sense of Hope and Peace that I have seen again and again in the people as I learn more about this place I find myself longing for. In the midst of pain, and utter nothingness I see such true joy and faith among the people of Africa. I feel so inadequate and yet so completely blessed that God would allow us be a part of Kenzi's family.

Counting the days sweet girl! I love you so much already!

Monday, January 17, 2011

Counting them up...

I cannot begin to express the blessing that reading this blog, a holy experience, has been to me in the last few months. Ann's writing is so honest, so genuine, and yet so challenging. I find myself drawn to the feet of Jesus every time I visit her blog with it's quite background and soothing music.
This gratitude journey that she has introduced into my life has already begun to change my heart, my attitude, my family. I am so grateful for this counting of all of His blessings.

0057. laughing with sweet girlfriends

0058. watching a life be transformed...God is doing great things in you Cassie!

0059. a preacher who preaches the WORD and not just want we want to hear

0060. that preacher is my husband

0061. we are His workmanship created to do His good works

0062. a husband who is willing to travel across the world to tell others about Jesus and encourage and refresh the hearts of missionaries

0063. a little boy's excitement over his first lose tooth and learning to tie his shoes.

0064. His promise that His word will not return void

So many things to be thankful for on this rainy Monday!

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

On toilets and toothbrushes...

Dearest Kolson,

I know that flushing the toilet is very exciting! I also realize that brushing your teeth with a tooth brush is loads of fun!

But please, Your Dad and I are begging you, let's not combine the 2!!:)

Although, I could smile about it because it was just so "you"...the plumber didn't look too happy as he was taking the toilet apart to find your little toothbrush.

So glad you understand!


Monday, January 10, 2011


A word that has come round again and again.

It seems to be the theme of my life. God brings things to me again and again before I recognize it is Him that is calling. He is offering opportunities to serve Him, to know Him, to love Him more.

It happened with adoption. For more than 4 years He has brought it round and finally we listened. Coming to Malakoff was much the same. Oh, how much He loves us to confirm things again and again.

So I am learning to recognize it now...that coming round. Those things that He brings to the top again and again.

That leaves me here with this word...gratitude. For months now I have read about it here (a blog that is worth your inspires me, challenges me, and ultimately gives me the desire to sit at His feet). I have even started trying to keep track of it. Then yesterday the sweet man of God I married spoke the word again. Three times in Colossi ans 3:15-17 the Word speaks of thankfulness.

No, I don't believe in coincidences. It is Him, the Spirit drawing me, reminding me that the attitude of thankfulness will change my heart, will transform my life.

It is the start of a New Year and I am choosing to make thankfulness a priority. To make gratitude a habit for every day, every moment.

I have started a journal.

My goal is to get to 1,000 and then just keep going.

I will link up on Mondays and share a few. How fitting to start our New Year and each new week with this attitude of gratitude.

Would you like to join me?

Click here and read more.

0023. breakfast for dinner

0024. sweet little boys excited about snow

0025. His word coming to life as I read it in order

0026. a warm bath with a good book

0027. phone calls from my man in the middle of the day

0028. the sound of a baby boy waking with squeals of delight

0029. Kaden reciting the books of the bible

0030. the anticipation of time with girl friends at the end of the week

Sunday, January 9, 2011


I knew in 8th grade that I would grow up and marry a minister. I was totally prepared to marry a youth minister and felt confident that I could handle the position of youth minister's wife. So, it was no surprise, when I met and fell in love with Nathan, that God was calling him to youth ministry. We had a blast serving the students together. I had our cute little life all planned out. And although any ministry position is difficult, I really thought I had every thing under control!!

God had other plans...

After several years in the youth ministry, Nathan felt a strong calling from the Lord to enter the pastoral ministry. YIKES is all that I could think!

Thank goodness we serve a God who loves to work through us and do the things we think are impossible! I felt inadequate of this new calling. After all, I don't play the piano, or teach Sunday School, and up until the last couple years I have always hated sitting on the front row!:) I was afraid my clothes were not right and that I didn't have enough scripture memorized. I even tried to convince Nathan that God might be calling him to be an associate pastor first.

I am so thankful I have a husband who listens to the Lord and follows His leadership even when his wife tries to drag her feet a bit!

So for almost 6 years now I have been "the preacher's wife". I am blessed and humbled that God has allowed me to serve in His church and that he has given me such a wonderful husband to serve alongside.

It is just like God to give us His best for what we thought was better!

Our kiddos on the other hand didn't really have a choice. They are preacher's kids, or P.K.s as some like to call them, sort of by default. And like everything there are pros and cons.

Like, not being able to get away with anything because someone is always watching and everyone knows where to find your parents!!;)
Or the fact that our kiddos are at the church every time the doors are open and sometimes even when they are not!

But really the pros far out weigh the cons!
Our boys are constantly showered with love. We have so many members who are committed to praying not only for Nathan but also for our boys. Karter is a walking testimony of what a praying church can do. Kaden, Karter, and Kolson are loved by the nursery workers and I am always blessed by the those three ladies spoil our K-crew and take such great care of them. Kaden and Karter have at least 3 ladies who always gum, mints, or candy on hand just to give to them. We have sweet church members who volunteer to watch our boys and give us a night out every once in a while.
It is difficult not living close to family but I know my boys feel they have several sets of adopted grandparents and aunts and uncles in our church.

We experienced that sweet love first hand today when a sweet family handed me a bag full of Christmas goodies for the boys! They weren't just any gifts...they were gifts that this family knew our boys would love!

Our little P.K.s were in heaven with their new gifts...

We are truly blessed to serve the Lord in His ministry and to serve with such wonderful people.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

The Happy Hinotes!!

Right before Christmas my college roommate and her family came to visit! The Hinotes are such a fun family! They love the Lord, stick to their convictions and they love to laugh!

Picture this...4 adults with 5 kids...doesn't sound too bad until you realize that 4 of them are 3 and under and 3 of them are still dealing with potty training and diapers!:) Really, the kids were great. We made through a dinner out with some other friends and their daughter, a trip to the zoo, and a REALLY LONG stay at the McDonalds playground (thanks Nate)!

Some pictures from the zoo...

Pretending to be Rhinos

It was such a fun visit. We ate and hung out, watched a movie (no comments, Wes), and just enjoyed spending time together.

Nathan and I really loved getting to see what little girls were like. Cadence and Kylie are just too cute!

I absolutely love Rhonda and I am so thankful for her friendship. She was the perfect roommate! I was a little quiet and nervous about meeting new people, Rhonda is bubbly outgoing and has never met a stranger. She pushed me out of my comfort zone and we made some of the best friends while we were in college. Our freshman year was so fun (I have lots of silly pictures to prove it). One of the best things I remember was how we encouraged one another to have our quiet times and to grow in the Lord. Today, Rhonda is also married to a minister and we still find ourselves encouraging one another and lifting each other up through the hard times!

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

And now...the DONUT slayer!

Our great friends, the Hinotes, told us about a yummy donut shop in Round Rock. But Round Rock Donuts is not your typical donut shop. Not only are their donuts slightly orange in color, but they also have a 5 POUND donut. Yes, a donut that weighs 5 pounds.

While I am not a huge donut fan, the 4 guys in my life would eat them for EVERY meal if it were allowed. In fact, Kolson already knows how to say donut and crys when we walk by them in Wal-mart.

And while I am spilling the beans I guess I will confess that I almost always bribe my children to be quite and listen while we are in Wal-mart by giving them a donut to eat as we go through the store...the shame...I know. (And yes, I do pay for them when we get to the front)

So I am sure it will not surprise you that we ventured off of I35 on our way home from San Antonio to experience the 5lb donut for ourselves.

Here it is in all it's beauty...half chocolate/half glazed

Kaden was so excited he could hardly wait

The down side to Round Rock Donuts...there is nowhere to sit inside. They have a few tables outside...but it was freezing. The cold was no match for my donut lovers. Although they did shovel it in pretty quickly!:)

When we got back to the car Kaden proudly declared..."Daddy, I can be the deer slayer, but YOU are the donut slayer!"

Fun Memories!

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

"Just call me deer slayer..."

During our Christmas week (as I am calling it) we saw a lot of this...

So that the guys could do some of this...

My dad has a deer lease outside San Angelo and invited Nathan and Kaden out for a hunt. So we stopped off at my Grandma's house in San Angelo and my two big boys went to make some memories!

Kaden was so excited to take his brand new BB gun and test it out (not on the deer...he shot a bird with it)!

Nathan shot a deer with Kaden for the fisrt time!

I have never seen a daddy and son more excited!

In fact Kaden told us that we could just call him the "deer slayer"...looks like we have many more seasons of deer hunting in our future!

What fun my boys and their daddy will have in the years to come!

Monday, January 3, 2011

My Word for 2011...

I feel so unprepared...a new year dawning and I still there is stuff to finish from the last one.
I told my friend Jennifer that I wished I had more time to prepare my heart and mind for these big events...Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Year's...they just seem to seek up on me. It just seems like I can never find that quite place to sit at the Lord's feet and let Him speak to my heart.
I am thankful today that He has provided just that...quite...just me and the Lord (and the occasional opening and closing of doors from boys playing outside and then inside again.)
As I have sat with Him today one word has come to my mind. I have decided to make it my word for the year (thanks for the idea Janelle).


No, not the kind that you find with a map or under an x. For you see I have already found the only treasure I need. I have found the treasure of Jesus. The blessing of family. So many times I find myself searching for other things to satisfy when really my treasure is right here waiting for me.

I am talking about the verb form of treasure.

Webster's says it means to:

hold or keep as precious: Cherish, Prize

So my word, my goal for 2011 is to treasure, to cherish, to prize. To stop striving and searching and trying to make everything meet my crazy weird expectations and to just stop and treasure what is sitting right in front of me. To live fully right here and right now...making the most of every moment to love, and laugh, and grow in His ways.

Do you have a word for the year?

Sunday, January 2, 2011


It was such an honor to sing on the first Sunday of the New Year this morning at our church. How exciting it is to bring in the New Year, a clean slate, a fresh canvas, another opportunity to stand back and watch God in all His wonder work all of the details together.

For this day Nathan and I felt truly drawn by the Lord to a song by Selah called "Unredeemed". The song has grabbed our hearts and will not let go.

I love these words:
"Life breaks and falls apart, but we know these are places where Grace is...soon to be so amazing. They may be unfulfilled, they may be unrestored but when anything that is shattered is layed before the Lord...IT WILL NOT BE UNREDEEMED."

I almost want to shout after I read those words. No matter what has happened, or is happening I can trust that at some point my God, the God who created me, who chose me as His own, and who loved me enough to send His son for me will redeem the broken places.

It almost makes me want to pray that the Lord will break more places in my life just so I can see how He redeems them.

These are not just words to me. I have experienced this redeeming power in very real ways in my own life.

Without a doubt the biggest story of redemption for me is the redemption of my very life. You see God sent His own son to redeem me. Apart from Him there is no good in me, I am just another girl striving to do on my own what I cannot do. It is only through the life that Jesus gave for me that I am redeemed and set free from the striving. I cannot save myself, I can never be good enough, I can never give enough...I can only trust in Him and His redeeming power. So I trust in Him and I know that He has redeemed me and I will spend eternity with Him.

God could have stopped right there. The redemption of my life is far more than I deserve and everything I really need.

But He doesn't stop there. He is a great God who loves to lavish us with His love and promises to make all things new.

My life and dreams where shattered when we lost Konner and the next two precious babies. I wasn't sure where to go or what to do. And then He stepped in and started the redeeming process. He showed Himself to me in ways He never had before and I began to know Him like I hadn't known Him before. I finally understood what joy in the midst of pain was. And that right there would have been enough...just to know Him more. But He didn't stop there...He gave us a precious miracle boy named Karter. I call our sweet red head a walking testimony of the power of prayer.

And the redeeming continued when God surprised us with Kolson. I thought it would end there. 2 precious miracles and the awesomeness of knowing Him more was more than I could have asked for.

But He didn't stop there God has blessed us with the calling and opportunity to adopt. Another precious miracle (or 2) to add to our family. Another chance to know Him more and to trust His leading in our lives.

I am so thankful for a redeeming God!

What is your redemption story?

Click here to view a video of "Unredeemed".

Chritstmas #3

We finally had Christmas #3 on the Wednesday after Christmas! We traveled to San Antonio on Tuesday evening after a short stop in San Angelo (that is another blog to come)! As a matter of fact we made so many stops on our Christmas journey that when we went to leave my parents house Kaden asked...well mom what is our next stop?

I wonder if this is what the wise men felt like when they made the journey to see the Christ child so many years ago?

My sister, my mom, and I stayed up late on Tuesday preparing cinnamon rolls, and breakfast casseroles, and making sure that everything was set to go for "Christmas" morning! I love the special times with my mom and my sister when we don't have a lot of is so fun to laugh with the people you love.
(I told you I am from a family of foodies...when we eat, we eat good!)

It was a wonderful morning filled with love and laughter.

Baby Addy seemed to enjoy her first Christmas!

Gabby and the K-crew had blast opening gifts and then playing all day.

It was a beautiful lazy day that ended with some great steaks and even a late night date for Nathan and I!

So thankful for this Christmas day...or week! What a blessing to be able to spend it will all of our family!