Monday, November 30, 2009


This last weekend I was blessed to attend my childhood church with my parents. During the service they lit the first of the advent candles and talked about the HOPE we have in Christ. I was reminded of my childhood when our family went to the front of the church to light the candle. I remember the advent wreath we had in our home.

This tradition somehow seemed to fade away over time and a change in churches but this weekend reminded me of the purpose and intent of advent. This is a time of waiting with anticipation to celebrate our hope, our peace, our love, our joy, our JESUS! Without his birth we would not have those things.

So, today the boys and I set out on a mission to create an advent wreath. We used our creativity to decorate the wreath and at dinner tonight we learned about the hope we have in Christ.

We talked about what HOPE is, how Jesus is our HOPE, lit the HOPE candle, and learned our verse for the week (of course it was set to a tune :). . . "My HOPE is in you Lord." Psalm 25:21

I am so excited to, "fix our eyes on Jesus" as we anticipate celebrating his birthday!

Wednesday, November 25, 2009


From His Grace we have received one blessing after another. John 1:16

To the Creator of everything...thank you for all your daily blessings.

Salvation, my husband, my children, my family, my friends, a home to live in, a full stomach, running water, laughter, teaching me how to love, forgiveness and mercy, beauty, education, my job, my church, freedom to worship...the blessings go on and on, big and little, all from my loving, heavenly Father.

Monday, November 23, 2009


Ready for too much information....

Today I had a bladder sling. Yes, the two babies I birthed did a number on me and enough was enough. Any moms out their detest jumping on a trampoline, having a sneexzing fit or going to an aerobics class since having kids? Can I get a witness? I will not let you in on any details but wanted to jot down my thanks related to today...

146. My husband is a great caretaker.
147. My kids fascination with a catheter bag..made me laugh...once again TMI
148. A snuggly puppy dog to keep me cozy
149. Hannah! I came home to the smell of pumpkin muffins, clean and folded laundry and even texted her (modern day bell) for crackers in bed.
150. My mommy caring for me with prayers and phone calls from Wyoming.
151. Talented and kind nurses.
152. A great doctor.
153. The means to get a surgery done with the right anesthesia and medicine.
154. Coming home to a comfortable bed with a heating blanket.
155. Ryan making dinner so cheerfully for the kids and bringing it to me on a tray.

Thank you Lord!

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Santa Claus

As a parent I came to realize early on that every family has a different idea about how to deal with the idea of Santa Claus. I grew up loving to visit him and "believing" in him. In fact, my mom still tells me that he will get me something if I believe in him :)

Ryan on the other hand found out he was not real early on and still seemed to enjoy Christmas just as much!

I KNOW Christmas is about JESUS and my kids most certainly do too, but this issue of a plump man dressed in red is one that has to be figured out because he is everywhere this time of year!

So, we decided to let the kids "believe" in Santa. This year, Caleb (grrr..), a little boy in Hallie's class spilled the beans. She came home asking, "Is Santa real? Caleb says it's just your mom and dad, but I know it has to be real."

Well, I was prepared. I told myself I would not lie to my kids to keep the "magic" of Santa Claus in Christmas so I purchased a book a few years ago in anticipation of these questions. It's the story of Saint Nicolaus. When the boys were in bed Ryan and I read the story to her and let her in on the secret. She now gets to be part of sharing God's love by helping us set out "Santa's gifts" for the boys. She was excited and fortunately did not seem let down. (Idea from Bill Myatt..thank you!)

When we were putting her to bed I was struck with a thought. What if she thinks the whole Jesus story is make believe too! AGH! We talked about this and I probably asked her five different times, "You know that everything we learn and read about Jesus in the Bible is real, right? It is not make believe like Santa, it is real!!" She expressed an understanding, but it made me acutely aware of the huge problem created if we go to far with the whole idea of Santa!

I have done this in the past, but am challenged more than ever to tell the kids that the stories we read in the Bible about huge fish, floods, lion's dens, and sling shots are REAL. I don't want my kids to confuse fiction and THE TRUTH!

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Shout Out Challenge

My friend, Jen at Beauty Instead of Ashes challenged me to "shout out" how much I adore my husband so here goes...

Too often I think about how wonderful and wise and handsome and perfectly designed for me you are and don't tell you. Well, you are all those things and more. I think you are smart, I value your advice and practical wisdom, I am grateful for your kindness and help, I think you are so handsome and loving, I love your laughter and when we laugh together. I love, love, love when you come home at the end of the day and a little piece of me is sad when you leave in the morning. My favorite thing is to be with you! I love you, Ryan!!

Monday, November 16, 2009

So much to be thankful for...

132. Friends and family dedicated to pray for us.

133. Answered prayer.

134. Watching a heart for world missions grow in my daughter.

135. An encouraging note from a new friend.

136. Someone seeing gentleness and a quiet spirit in me! I have always wanted to be that kind of woman, but never thought I was...someone thinks I am.

137. Mixing concrete with Ryan. Doing ministry together.

138. Being able to use my gift of medicine to help a boy in Mexico. I thought I would just be building a house, but this opportunity was such a blessing.

139. Recognizing the value of being at home with my kids.

140. New relationships within our church.

141. Praying with Jacob for victory in Jesus and receiving it today!

142. My boys' hearty laughter.

143. Hannah being here. Her smiles, her curly hair, her joy when she plays with my kids.

144. Running into my brother at the store. What a joy to have him so near by.

145. My mom's encouragement to me as a mother.

The list of thanks just goes on and on in my mind....thank you, Jesus for everything!

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Mexico Missions Trip...Beauty

I don't like posting about trips on the internet before they happen so many of you may not have known that Hallie, Ryan and I were headed to Mexico with a team of 50 from our church to build a home for a family. Well, we were gone five days and all had a life-changing, powerful experience. Thanks to those of you who knew and covered us in prayer.

The theme of the trip for me was beauty. The Lord was gracious enough to reveal beauty to me through His eyes and let me tell you it was breathtaking!

As we crossed the border into Mexico I was immediately aware that we were in a desolate country with ridiculous poverty. The terrain even looked like it was thirsty and starving.

I was thinking, "ugh, these people have to live in this forsaken place every day?" Before my mind could go any further contemplating how awful things were I saw this:

Oh yeah, Jesus is here too. Outward beauty in things is not evidence of the presence of God or the absence of Him. It was from that point on that my eyes were opened to the beauty that God sees in Mexico.

When we arrived in Mexico many of us, though we have attended the same church for years, were strangers. We did not really know each other's hearts. By the end of the trip God had unified our hearts and lives and we were a family. Beautiful!

"Now that you have purified yourselves by obeying the truth so that you have sincere love for your brothers, love one another deeply, from the heart." 1 Peter 1:22

The family that we built a home for was composed of seven people. Two twin girls that are 4 months old, two twin girls that are 2 years old, a 9 year old boy and the parents, Gorge and Alba. At the beginning of the year Alba started praying diligently for a house. She indicated to me that her knees were worn out from praying. Her faith combined with her husband's brought about answered prayer and provision. They have to be out of their home today because they can not afford the rent and this last week they were able to move into their new home. Our mission team was part of God's perfect plan to provide them what they needed at just the right time. Beautiful!

"You gave abundant showers, O God; you refreshed your weary inheritance. Your people settled in it, and from your bounty, O God, you provided for the poor." Psalm 68:9-10

Before we left, Gorge, a faithful man of God, prayed for us. He was pretty good with his English but could not pray in English. Therefore, he offered up a prayer to God for us! I stood there nodding in agreement with his Spanish words knowing that the Lord sees no difference in culture or skin color. Beautiful!

"Here there is no Greek or Jew, circumcised or uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave or free, but Christ is all, and is in all." Colossians 3:11

One of Hallie's comments toward the end of our trip let me know that true beauty was growing in her heart. She told her dad, "God had the perfect plan for me to be on this trip." Her job was playing with the little girls and she did this out in the desert sun for 3 days without complaint. In fact, at the end of the trip she did not want to leave her new friends that had become like "little sisters." Beautiful!

"O LORD, you are my God; I will exalt you and praise your name, for in perfect faithfulness you have done marvelous things, things planned long ago." Isaiah 25:1

One of my favorite parts of the trip was adding aesthetic beauty to the home and seeing Alba's tears of joy as she put up curtains in her new home. They were not fancy or expensive but they added beauty and that blessed Alba. As a woman I understand her tears of joy. Beautiful!

"She makes coverings for her bed; she is clothed in fine linen and purple. . . She is clothed with strength and dignity; she can laugh at the days to come." Proverbs 31:22, 25

I can not say enough how beautiful my trip was. With no make-up, rinse off showers for three days, camping at night, mixing cement and sweating during the day. . .and I got to glimpse true beauty.

"One thing I ask of the LORD, this is what I seek: that I may dwell in the house of the LORD all the days of my life, to gaze upon the beauty of the LORD and to seek him in his temple." Psalm 27:4

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Did you get a Starbucks twice this week?

Did you buy a few sodas for the family? Did you go to BK for a bite to eat? Did you throw an extra toy in the grocery cart for one of your cuties this week?

We are so quick to spend a haphazard $10 here or there in the course of a week. This Christmas you can make that $10 really count in the life of a child, a mother, a family.

$10 can give one person water for 10 years. How is that possible? Check out this website and make one of your many gifts this Christmas the gift of clean water and life:Water For Christmas.

When we give people water we give them life, hope and the opportunity to physically experience what they need spiritually.

"Whoever drinks the water I give him will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life." John 4:14

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Just got back...

...from an amazing and powerful trip to Mexico. Ryan, Hallie and I were a part of a team of 50 people that traveled to Puerto Penasco, Mexico to build a home for a family of seven. I have lots of pictures, thoughts and stories to share once the laundry gets done! Be back soon!

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

It's quiet at my house right now...ahhhh

126. A phone call

127. A hug

128. A snuggle

129. Quiet moments

130. A cup of tea

131. A warm, cozy blanket

Can you tell the kind of mood I am in?

Lord, thank you that your peace begins and ends my day. Open my eyes to see your peace in the busyness of the day too!