Thursday, October 4, 2012

Because I don't want to forget...

That this summer was filled with some of the most precious moments...

Although my phone was stolen and I lost almost  all of the pictures (hear: download your pictures from you phone so this doesn't happen to you) there are a few that made it and I want to remember those sweet moments!

We found a new family!!
We planted a garden and things actually grew!
We sent Kenzi her first care package!
We went blueberry picking!
Lots and lots or smiles and laughs at the park!
Little boys learned how to open doors for ladies!
Karter went toobing with Kaden for the first time!  I am not sure I have ever seen smiles so big!
Karter rode his first amusement park ride and LOVED it!
Kaden showed persistence and made it to the top of the rock wall!
Kolson learned how to swim without a life jacket!
And these 2 guys got one year older! 8 year old and a 3 year did that happen!  I am sad that the pictures from their party got stolen but am so thankful for that they are continuing to grow in wisdom and in stature!

Friday, August 31, 2012

Karty Quotes...

All of our boys are super fun and filled to the brim with imagination and passion (wonder where they get that from)!
However, Karty is known for saying some of the craziest things... Things we want to always remember!

Last week while traveling in the car, (sort of a major theme in our lives lately) Kaden and Kolson where being extra whiney and grouchy. Since Karter didn't seem to be joining in with the other two Nathan praised him and told him that he was proud of Karter for being good.

Karter replied by saying, "that's my be good"!

We all laughed and moved on. An hour later when Karter joined in the grouch fest, Nathan reminded him of his job.

Karter replied, "well, I'm taking the day off"!!

Ha ha! What a personality!!

The next week he told me that he had gotten fired from sharing!

Oh Karty boy... We love you so!

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

The UGLY word...




We are currently embarking on the biggest change our family has ever known.  And if you have known us long you know that big change is a theme in our lives!

We moved from Tennessee to Texas just 3 weeks before we had our first house, new job, new baby...big change!

We moved to Martin's Mill just weeks before the loss of our second baby house, first time pastoring, loosing a precious baby...big change!

We moved to Malakoff 2 months before we had the middle of that move I landed in the hospital!  Once again we had a new house, new church, new baby, and then 2 months later I also had a new job...big change!

Have you noticed a theme?  It seems like every change happens around the same time that I am preggo!  To be honest I was totally surprised that God didn't move us while I was pregnant with Kolson! :)

I am so thankful that the Lord has been so faithful to bring us through each transition.  They have not always been easy, but because of HIS faithfulness we know that we can trust Him in this crazy change once again!

Near the end of July we finally recieved news that a change we have been anticipating will be happening soon!  We were thrilled and overjoyed to see the face of our sweet Kenzi and know that soon our family of 5 will become a family of 6!

The unanticipated change came at the beginning of this month when  Nathan was elected to become the new Director of Evangelism for the Southern Baptist of Texas!  He will now have a part in reaching the whole state for Christ!  I am so proud of him and the way the LORD is using him and his passion for people!  We are so honored and humbled by this new position.  We are excited and hopeful, but we are also facing that word...


We will be changing where we live.  Nathan will be working in Grapevine so a move to the metroplex is in the near future.
In a way that could only be explained as a miracle from God our house here has sold...without it ever going on the market!  But, that leaves us homeless!  At the moment we are not sure exactly sure where we will live!  The plan for now is to put all of our stuff into storage and the boys and I will stay with my parents until the Lord shows us where to live!  I sounds crazy...sometimes following the Lord does seem a little crazy.

Abraham and Sarah left everything to follow God's call not knowing where that would lead.
Noah built a boat even though it had never rained before.
Elijah moved out to the brook and received his food from ravens each day.
Joseph took a young pregnant Mary as his wife based on an angels visit in a dream.
And the list goes on...

Since we are not sure where we will be living we are also changing the way we do school.  For now we will be homeschooling Kaden!  Another huge change!  But this change gives us the freedom to take Kaden with us when we travel to Uganda to get our precious about hands on learning!

We will be changing our roles.  For more than 7 years now Nathan has been the pastor and I have been the pastor's wife.  In the beginning I was not sure about the whole pastor's wife thing...I mean, I don't teach Sunday School, I can't play the piano, I didn't think I had the right clothes or enough scripture memorized...I was SCARED!  But now, 7 years in, I am so sad to let this role go.  I have loved teaming up with my husband to minister!  While I am sure we will still have opportunities to minister together, I will miss serving on staff at a church with him!

In the middle of all of this change we are also changing our family!  We are preparing and making room for our sweet Kenzi to join our family soon!  We are praying to have her home before the end of the year!

In all honesty, there are moments when I am scared to death.  I love our life here.  I love our church and the precious people the Lord has allowed us to serve with here.  I love our home, so full of life and memories.  I love the sweet place in our marriage that we have found here.  I have no idea what life will look like with all of these this point I am not even sure where we will be living this new life...ha! 

But God...thank goodness for those words!  But God, He holds my every moment...he knows exactly where we are going to be living and exactly how He wants to use us in these new roles.  He knows the plans He has and His word has promised that they are not plans to harm us...they may not be easy but I have full confidence that they are for our good.  My only job is to trust Him, to wait Him, and to follow when and where He leads.

So maybe it's not such an ugly word after all...

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Finally...a face!


It had been a crazy few weeks!  I was really starting to sense that we would hear something soon.  And so, being the resourceful girl that I am, I hacked into your Daddy's email just to see if there was any news! :)  Low and behold...there was an e-mail letting us know that all of your paperwork was in and that it would only be a matter of weeks until we would see our first picture of you.  I totally ruined Daddy's plan to surprise me!
I am thankful that the next 2 weeks were pretty busy because during the quiet moments it was hard to do anything but think of you!  I truly felt like I did at the end of my pregnancies with your brothers, knowing that it could be any day!  I was so full of hope and excitment as I waited for the big day!
I had that same feeling on Monday the 23rd of July...I just knew the news was coming soon!  But...this is Africa we are talking about.  That afternoon your Daddy informed me that everything was ready BUT the Internet was down in Africa and had been the entire weekend!  I will admit I was a little crushed but I also had to laugh...God sure does like to teach us lessons in patience when that is the one lesson we don't want to learn!
Tuesday rolled around and Mrs. Flo came to visit me that morning.  You won't remember her but she came to visit you several times while they were in Africa this summer.  At that point we didn't know who you were but God did and He made sure you were loved...and by someone that we know...God is so good sweet girl, and so very faithful!  That morning as we talked Mrs. Flo even mentioned you!

Around 2:30 on Tuesday the 24th of July, I went out back with Kolson to swing.  Not even 5 minutes later you Daddy came out to tell me that this was "THE CALL".  Not wanting to miss a moment of it, your Daddy and I locked ourselves in the bathroom to hear all about you!  It was a moment I will never forget.

After the call we all jumped in the shoes and all and headed to the church to see your pictures!  We gathered around the computer to see our first glimpses of your sweet face.  As God would have it we got the church and Mrs. Stacey was there...she takes the most beautiful pictures.  She was able to snap a few pictures of us seeing you for the first time!

What a beautiful baby girl!  You are certainly worth the wait sweet girl!  We feel so blessed that God would allow us to be your family!  We can't wait to hold you and love on you!  I hope you liked to be carried...I am not sure your feet will touch the ground for the first year...we have waited so long to hold you!

We will continue to pray for you sweet baby girl as we wait for our court date!  We love you Kenzi Reigh!  We are waiting for you!

Walk on the Water

This blog has been sitting for over a month...ready to be published and for some reason I just couldn't hit publish.  But today after hearing my husband preach about Jonah and following God's all I can think about!

"Too often we let "how" get in the way of "what" God wants us to do. We can't figure out how to do what God has called us to do, so we don't do it all."- Mark Batterson The Circle Maker

I wonder how often this has been true in my life?

For the past 2 years I have been captivated by a song. I guess you could say it has become my mantra!

Britt Nicole's song, Walk on the Water has been my constant companion on this adoption journey as well as so many other moments these past 2 + years!

You look around and staring back at you
Another wave of doubt
Will it pull you under
You wonder
What if I never make it
What if no one's there
Will you hear my prayer

When you take that first step into the unknown you that He wont let you go

So what are you waiting for
What do have to lose
Your insecurities will try to alter you
But you know you're made more
So be afraid to move
Your faith is all it takes and you can walk on the water

I cannot tell you how many times I blasted this song on my iPod as I prepared for the 13.1 miles that seemed impossible!  And trust me...I am using it again this year as we prepare to run for our sweet baby girl!

This song also makes me think about two of my friends, Jennifer and Kim, who stepped out against popular opinion to follow God's call on their lives to homeschool. They had so many questions and unknowns but they stepped out and their kiddos are thriving! 

I just can't hear this song and not think about 9 girls who stepped out and went to Uganda last year.
One of them, Kasey, was so moved and changed on that trip that she is returning this summer WITHOUT a group of friends.  Another, Brandi, left her job where she was named "Teacher of the Year" to follow God's call to another school and grade level that she has never taught before.  Sweet Kristi, had just lost a baby just weeks before our trip and was wondering if God would ever bless them with more...this year she expecting baby Dax!

Another one of those 9 was this girl, my friend Flo.

She was so unsure in the beginning, so many doubts and fears holding her back. But she took that step of faith and now, this year, her and her family just returned from living in Uganda for 2 months!

So get out and let your fear fall to the ground
No time waste, don't wait
And don't you turn around
And miss out on everything you were made for
I know you're not sure
So you play it safe
Try to run away

But if you take that first step
Into the unknown
You that He won't let you go

So what are you waiting for??

Let's stop letting the "How" stop us from doing the "What" that He has called us to do!

Saturday, June 9, 2012

Karter Daniel

Dear Karter,
I cannot let this night pass by with out writing about it!
You are 41/2 years old and you are still as firey and wild as you were from day one. It is no secret,sweet boy, that you are what we sometimes call, challenging. You are so full of passion, stubbornness, and just pure drive that sometimes you don't even know what to do with yourself.
But, under all of that, you are one of the sweetest little boys I have ever met.

You are so silly...

And fun...

You love BIG and with ALL of your heart!

Your Daddy and I have believed from day 1 of your life that God has great plans for you. We believe that God is going to take all of that passion and drive and use it to bring many people to know Him.
Tonight we got just a little glimpse of the plans God has to use you! Tonight we went to a local restaurant for dinner. We sat and talked and ate chips and salsa like we always do. But God spoke to your little heart and you had something on your mind. 

And Karty boy, when something is on your mind there is no ignoring it! You don't forget easily and when that stubbornness kicks in there is no stopping you!

 But this night instead of your mind being set on getting a toy from the vending machine, your little heart and mind where consumed with asking our waitress if she knew God.

You couldn't wait to ask her. You kept asking if you could get up and go to her. Finally she came by our table and without the least bit of fear you asked..."Do you know God"? This opened up the door for you to talk more with her and you found out that yes, she knew God and she knew Jesus! What a precious moment that God allowed us to be a part of!

We pray that you will continue to grow in wisdom and in stature and in favor with God. We pray that He will give you an undivided heart that you may seek Him and Him alone! God has great plans for you Karter Daniel!

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Too Wonderful...

My heart is not proud, O LORD,
my eyes are not haughty;
I do not concern myself with great matters
or things too wonderful for me.
Psalm 131:1

This verse has been speaking to me these past few weeks.  The Lord led me to this verse during a bible study that was talking about not being conceded or prideful.

It was through this verse that I came face to face with this truth...

All my worrying is just another form of PRIDE!

I worry about my husband and my children.  I worry about God's timing.  I worry about when He will bring Kenzi home and how all the details will come together.  I worry about the future.  I worry about what others think.  The list could go on and on.

But who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life?
Matthew 6:27

Not only does God remind me that my worrying will do nothing for me but the verse in Psalm 131 made it clear to me that all of my worrying was really pride.  You see when I worry and fret over things I am not trusting the Lord.  I am not trusting that He...the one who created the earth, numbered the stars, and spread out the skies can take care of the details of my life.

Certainly these details...the things I get caught up in worrying about are too wonderful for me.  For some reason our human nature finds it so much easier to ponder all the what if''s and the details instead of really focusing in on praying for the issues and praising God for the way He is going to take care of each one of them in His time.

So my new motto when I feel those worries creeping up is to say out loud to myself...

those thoughts are too wonderful for you, Jenna! 

I want to choose to give Him all my what ifs, and how tos, and whys.  I want to stop in the middle of those overwhelming thoughts and consider HIS wonders.   I have unmasked worry and see that it is only selfish pride in disguise.  So this day I am choosing to just take the next step He puts before me and leaving all of those "too wonderful" details up to Him.

Surely the God who commands the mornings, and perscribed the limits for the sea can take care of every detail of my life and yours.

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Dear Kenzi,

So many nights I lay awake thinking of you.  Much like I thought about your brothers before each of them were born.  I dreamed of what they would look like and what their personalities would be like.  I dreamed of first smiles and hugs, first books and games, and all the fun we would have together.
Tonight just happens to be one of those nights when I am dreaming about you.  It is early in the morning where you are.  I wonder if you will be an early riser like Karter or will you love your sleep like Koslon.  Will you wake all smiles and raring to go like your daddy or will you need some time to easy into your day like mommy and Kaden?
I want you to know, sweet girl, that you are loved and you are covered in prayers.  This wait to hold you, to see you, to know just exactly who you are has been long but I know that our God is a God completes what He starts.  So we will keep trusting.  We will keep praying and we will keep dreaming of the days when we will hold you...and until that day, I will be praying that He sends someone to hold you and hug you and tell you each day that you are loved and you are special and that you were made for great things.  I pray that even now as mornings dawns that you are not alone.
I know that you becoming part of our family will be one of the greatest blessings in our lives.  But, I also know that you will be becoming a part of our family because of great loss.  I pray that even in these moments our God is binding up your wounds and filling the hurts in your little heart with His love. 
The saying is completely true...You may not have grown in my body, but you have grown in my heart.
Each day in this journey my love for you has grown, much the way my love for your daddy and your brothers has continued to grow each day.

Someday I want to tell you the great "God Stops" along the journey to get to you.

Things like finding an old bulletin from 2006 that I had doodled your name on.   Yes, I said 2006!  Sweet girl, He wove you into my heart long before we even thought about adoption!

Or the weeks this last fall when I was struggling so hard to trust that He would actually bring you the midst of a Beth Moore Bible study on James He led me to the verses at the end of Job where we had chosen you name over a year earlier.

This last week when I was asking Him how to pray for you He used our ladies bible study to lead me to the story of the persistent widow who continued to bring her case before the judge again and again and again.

In this same week during Bible study we studied Psalm 68 where it says "He sets the lonely in families". 

None of these were a part of Bible studies on adoption or really even having anything to do with adoption.  But there in the middle of them God met me and reminded me that He is faithful and that He would be faithful to complete this work.

These are just a few of the "God Stops" along the journey.  Anyone else might say coincidence...but I say no!  These are precious reminders from my God that He has got this.  He has got you sweet girl and when the time is just right He will bring us all together.

You are loved Kenzi girl!  We can't wait to see your little face!


Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Backwards Blogging...10 years!

"A cord of three strands is not easily broken"  Ecclesiastes 4:12

Those were the words at the bottom of our wedding invitations over 10 years ago!  We knew going in that our marriage would only be as strong as our relationship with Jesus.  And it is by His grace that we celebrated 10 years in March.  It has been a journey...5 cities, 5 ministries, 6 pregnancies, 3 precious little boys, 3 glory babies, an adoption in process, and more adventures than I can count!

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I can honestly say 10 years later I am more in love with my man each day.  I still have moments when I just look over at him and think, "wow, he really married me...this is really our life"!!  Don't get me wrong there have been hard days but true to His word God has worked even the hard days, the moments of grieving the losses of babies and parents and grandparents, he has worked them into good.  He has used those moments to draw us to Him and to one another.  I am so thankful to share this life with Nathan.  I can't wait to see where the next 10 years takes us and I can't wait to fall more and more in love with my man.

For our 10 year anniversary we decided to indulge...and trust me after the last two years of having our eyes opened to the injustices and needs of those around the world and even in our own city we were totally aware of the blessing of being able to indulge.  We set off on a 5 day cruise! 

And would you believe that I didn't take a single picture!:(  I must admit it was nice not to always have a camera strapped to me but I do wish I had a least one picture!  It was a great time to just be together and to rest.  It has been a whirlwind these last 2 years as God has been opening our eyes and hearts and just being able to sleep and read and enjoy one another and the beauty of His creation was wonderful!

While we were away the boys had the best week at my parents house!
"The Best Thing about having you for parents is that our children get to have you for grandparents"!

I love this quote!  Our precious children are beyond blessed to have a Papaw, Nonnie, Big, Mamme, Papa, and even a Grammy, who I know is praying for them from heaven.  Each of our parents find such joy in  lavishing our children with love.  It is one of my favorite parts of life...watching our parents love our children.

When we left for the cruise I felt slightly guilty that the boys may not get to do much fun stuff on their spring break since we were going on a cruise...boy was I wrong!  My parents  pulled out all the stops and I am sure it is a week they will be talking about for the next year!

There was hot chocolate for breakfast!

A trip to the Alamo...including Alamo t-shirts!

Balloon Pong in Pajamas!

Making Marshmallow shooters...although I think Kolson just wanted to eat the Marshmallows!

Going to see The Lorax

Pictures in the Bluebonnets...don't they look thrilled!:)

And by far their favorite event from the week was camping in the backyard with Papaw!
Sweet, sweet memories for my little boys...I am sure Papaw was telling one of his famous stories!
A trip to Incredible Pizza and one to Chuck E about brave grandparents!
ANd of course plenty of time to climb trees and play on the swing set!

 Thanks Nonnie and Papaw for such a fun week and for giving Nathan and I the chance to celebrate!  We are so blessed to have you!

Monday, April 23, 2012

Kenzi 4 Keeps Round 2!

We were so blessed last week to learn that we will be able to put togehter another Kenzi 4 Keeps team for the Chosen Marathon this year. 

Even if she is already home (we are praying and believing that she will be) we will be running to pay back the loan that Abba Fund has so graciously given us.
Last year's race was one of the best experiences I have ever had!  To be running with hundreds of other people who love orphans and want to see them in families was amazing.  We were so blessed to have so many friends come along side us!  We had friends who ran, walked, and everything in between!

Would you consider joining us this year?  The race will be on October 27th in New Braunfels Texas.  You can walk, jog, or run the half marathon or you can get super crazy like my hubby and some of his buddies and run the full marathon!

Click on the link below to get more info!

We would love to have you join us!  Since we are starting early this year there is plenty of time to train and get ready!  I promise you there is nothing like training and then actually finishing the race!  It was totally worth all the early mornings last year! : )