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 Cheese...talk 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! : )

Friday, April 20, 2012

When God Answers...

Mark Batterson, Author of The Circle Maker, says that "prayer is a habit to be cultivated, a discipline to be developed, and a skill to be practiced.

Sure I pray.  I have prayed my whole life...I have prayed for myself, for others, for needs, for wants, for my husband, for my children, for my church...I have prayed.  But cultivating?  Have I cultivated a life of prayer and seriously developed the discipline?

All these are questions I began to ask myself as I picked up a book that my husband bought for the staff to read.  God has used this book,The Circle Maker, to totally transform my thoughts on prayer.

So I made a commitment to the Lord.  I committed that I would begin praying...really praying.  Praying intentionally.  I began by making a list in the back of my journal and praying through each need, person, or situation on the list daily.  I started finding scriptures in the bible that I could pray over specific needs or circumstances.  I even committed to the Lord that I would "pray through".  I learned that although praying through can be long and boring, some of the greatest miracles come from some of the longest boring prayers.

As I began the journey I admitted to the Lord that I am weak.  I am a child of the microwave generation.   Waiting on things is not my strong point!  In fact I absolutely loved the book until I got to the chapters about praying long and praying through...I even asked the Lord if those chapters could somehow not be for me!  I like immediate answers.  So I was honest with the Lord and just asked if He would give me some small answers along this prayer journey...some encouragement to continue when the praying long just felt, well...long. 

The truth is, HE IS GOD...he did not have to answer my request.  But yesterday He did so much more than give me a small answer or just a little nudge of encouragement.  Yesterday He did what only he can do.

You see one of my prayers during this prayer journey has been about funding for our adoption.  I have been praying that the Lord would provide the rest of the funding we need to bring our sweet girl home.  I have not known where it would come from but I have been praying and really trusting that he would do it!

Yesterday we received an email from Abba Fund saying that they were giving our family a $2,000 grant in conjunction with the Chosen Marathon that we ran in last year!

But it didn't stop there...we serve a big God who does BIG things.

Abba fund also decided to grant us a $5,000 interest free loan!

And to top it off the Chosen Marathon is going to let us put together another Kenzi for Keeps team together to run in this years race to go towards paying back the loan!

I read those words and just wanted to scream from the roof tops...MY GOD ANSWERS!!!!

"I will give thanks to the Lord with my whole heart; I will recount all your wonderful deeds" Psalm 9:1

We are praising the Lord here and continuing to prayer long for our baby girl!  Thank you for being a part of this journey with us!

Friday, April 13, 2012

Backwards blogging: March

Now that my computer is finally virus free it is time to catch up on some memories I don't want to forget!

March started with a bang as Nathan prepared for and ran his first FULL MARATHON!!  I am so proud of his determination and his ability to push through this grueling task. 

We were blessed with the opportunity to stay with our friends, the Hinotes, who live in the Houston area!  It is always fun to visit with Rhonda and Wes.  (By the way...if your live in the Houston area and need pictures done, Rhonda is your girl!  She took these picture of her family herself!  That is talent!)

We went to college with them and they are also in the ministry! Not to mention the fact that I love late night talks and just hanging out with Rhonda.  We were college roommates and we are still the best of friends!

They also have 2 of the cutest little girls you will ever see!  My boys actually had fun playing with all of their kitchen stuff!  Karter may have a future as a chef!:)

Wes was so generous to drive Nathan to the race...SUPER early, might I add!  We were also joined by our good friends the Larsons who came all the way down from Athens to cheer on my sweetie!  We are so thankful for the friends God has put in our lives!

I will admit that it was challenging getting all of the kiddos out to cheer Nathan on!  It was a huge race with thousands of participants so even finding a place to park and actually see him was crazy!  But we finally made it and got to cheer for him right after he finished up mile 21!

At this point he smiled, waved, and then looked at me and said "NEVER AGAIN"!!  Of course after the soreness wore off he has changed his mind and is training for his second Marathon in October!

The home stretch!  So proud of my man!

Congratulating Daddy!
I was so proud of my sweet husband!   He trained hard and ran his best! What was even more inspiring is the fact that he got up and preached the next morning!  It's official...I am married to a Marathon Man!

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Beautiful Things...

Easter weekend this year was about seeing the beautiful things.  Seeing how God can take the most ordinary things and make them beautiful.  Or the way that he can transform hurt and pain into beauty unspeakable.  I was especially reminded of the this year when I thought about the beauty that he made out of Christ's death for us.  Not only did He raise Christ but He also used Christ's sacrifice and Resurrection to save us from ourselves and the sin that so easily entangles our lives. 

The weekend was also a chance for us to slow down and enjoy each other as a family!  I will admit that the idea of laying sod on Good Friday was not my favorite!  But, my attitude quickly changed when all our boys joined us in the yard eager to help!  When spent the entire day working together and playing and then finished up the evening with a family movie night!

Everyone did their part!  So proud of my boys and can't believe how big they are getting! 

 Daddy and son working together!  Kaden was beyond excited to be big enough to help with the sod.  I am sure this is just a glimpse into the future as my boys continue to grow and are able to join in on projects with their dad.

 Spider man even stopped by to help!:)
 Saturday was a great day!  A sweet friend had nearly every neighborhood kiddo over to dye eggs in her drive way!  By the time we were finished I am pretty sure we had close to 100 colored and glittered eggs.  Kolson loved working on his eggs.  He spent so much time on each one.  In the end he had eggs with dye, glitter, stickers, markers, glue, and even googly eyes!   I had so much fun just taking it in.  I have loved watching some of the friendships in these pictures grow over the years. 

Easter Sunday was one the best Easter services I have ever been to.  Nathan preached on Second Chances.  He reminded us that God is a God of second chances.  Much like the adulteress woman and even Paul the persecuter of Christians were given second chances, our God stands ready to extend a second chance to us.  Our God is so great that he can make beauty out of any mess!  The service ended with "Cardboard Testimonies" where people shared there stories of brokenness, loss, hurt, depression, abuse, and then what God had done to make these things beautiful!  While not every circumstance was changed it was so powerful to see that sometimes the miracle comes when God gives you the strength to withstand those hard times and come out praising him!  He truly is a God who makes beautiful things!

Here is a video of my favorite song (for the moment anyway:)  about God making beautiful things out of us....