29 October 2013

Faith’s First Poem: A Doll

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I guess our weekly Poetry Tea Time is beginning to rub off. The girls absolutely look forward to this short but sweet time together each week.

One night, Faith came up with her very first poem, all on her own! 

She was so excited about it she immediately went to write it down. It is a bit sad but nonetheless, a true sentiment for sure. Thankfully, she assured me… she is NOT there yet!

She still enjoys playing with dolls. Whew!

27 October 2013

Fellowship Sunday

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Ben’s Aunt Barb and his mom, Bev were visiting from out of town and joined us, too!

 

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The kiddos…

 

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Sweet girlfriends, Janette and Melissa. We missed you, K!

 

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Happy Birthday to the other Ben in our life! Ben and his family are good friends of ours. He has the same name as Morgan’s older brother, Ben and all three of them are riding buddies. 39?? Sheesh, what a youngster!!

 

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The men.

 

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The ladies.

We’re very blessed to attend church and worship the Lord with some of our dearest friends each week. Today, we had a fellowship lunch in our home which gave us the opportunity to chat a bit longer and enjoy a meal together. It was so FUN and relaxing!! The kids had a blast, too!

We’re already looking forward to the next one, friends!

“And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching.” ~Hebrews 10:24-25

25 October 2013

The Drop Box

This story is obviously very near and dear to my heart. I first read about the Drop Box back in May of this year. In June, at the CHEA convention, I met Doug Phillips (President of Vision Forum Ministries and the San Antonio Independent Christian Film Festival). We had an opportunity to chat about the amazing work Pastor Lee is doing in South Korea, all in the name of Christ.

All I can say is, God must be preparing this mama’s heart of mine as He brought this story to light for me once again. Despite the criticism Pastor Lee has received, it breaks my heart to think about the alternative for these babies.

“They’re not the unnecessary ones in the world. God sent them here for a purpose.”

Every. life. has. a. purpose.

I tell my kids that all the time. Why? Because I believe that with all my heart.

This man is a hero.

“Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.” ~James 1:27

A longer, more detailed movie trailer below. Trust me… grab some tissues!

Brian Ivie, the young filmmaker from Southern California became a believer while making this movie and seeing first hand, the love Pastor Lee had for these precious children. God’s children.

He was also the grand prize winner at the San Antonio Independent Christian Film Festival.

Here’s his amazing story. To God be the Glory!!

2013 Best of Festival Winner from Douglas Phillips on Vimeo.

24 October 2013

Halloween, the Christian Dilemma

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I started making part of the girls’ Halloween costumes a couple of weeks ago. I got most of the way done and this weekend, I’m hoping to put the final touches on them. Thankfully, this was not a difficult project. Even I could manage! LOL

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Each year, we try to come up with costumes that are pure, innocent, and most importantly, glorifying to the Lord. In the past, we’ve also tried to make this a family event by dressing up in costumes mommy and daddy can wear, too. The girls have totally loved this aspect of it.  

The Halloween Dilemma 

We know Halloween is a pagan holiday. I have taught my girls about the origins of this day and why some people choose to wear scary, demonic costumes. Our children are terrified of any of the “dark stuff” that typically represents Halloween in our culture. We raise them to live in the light so even at this early age, they realize the importance of guarding their eyes (and hearts) against anything wicked or evil. It’s amazing to see how people go “all out” in costume and d├ęcor. Everything from witches to demons, corpses to graveyards…. Um, no thank you. Our culture’s goal is to desensitize our children to the evil persuasions of this world. I don’t find anything cute about that at all. Not to mention the wide array of immodest costumes for our young girls nowadays! 

Thoughts on Halloween seem to be somewhat divided amongst Christians. Every year, as parents, we have to make an intentional decision for our family regarding Halloween. Some believers feel complete freedom to observe the secular holiday. Others pretend their not home, locking their doors and turning off their lights. Many boycott or ignore it altogether. Some celebrate it through more positive Christian-based alternatives, and still others, choose to take advantage of Halloween's evangelistic opportunities.

Last year, we did some reverse evangelism. Basically, we passed out candy with kid-friendly gospel tracts to anyone who came to our door.

This year, we’ll be manning a carnival booth at Jordan Outreach’s Fall Festival. This event is a Halloween-alternative for impoverished families and the surrounding community. Children of all ages play a variety of games set up in carnival-style booths; participate in outdoor activities like Human Bowling, Jousting, Sumo Wrestling, Bounce-house Inflatables, and a Climbing Rock Wall. A freshly prepared BBQ dinner is provided– all free of charge. Afterwards, live music sets the stage for the presentation of the gospel, which is followed by on-site trick-or-treating for all the kids.

As a concerned Christian parent, I definitely understand the draw and thinking behind simply “turning off your light.” However, as a follower of Christ, I am faced with the question, “Why are we here in this dark world? To be safe and protected within our own walls or reach out and be a light for Christ?” In other words, “What would Jesus do?”

Well, I think we all know Jesus would be out in the community, talking to the people.

Halloween may be an event where we can prayerfully and creatively look for ways in which to seize this opportunity, instead of hide from it. 

After all, there are not many days in the year in which opportunity may literally, come “knocking on your door.”  

23 October 2013

Guide Dogs of the Desert Field Trip

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Playing with Peanut the puppy.

 

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And Bella.

 

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Labs, German Shepherds and Poodles are the most common breed for guide dogs.

 

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We spotted this cool looking moth, too.

 

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As a nice follow up to our last field trip at the Braille Institute, we made a drive out to Whitewater today (where the windmills are) and toured the Guide Dogs of the Desert. We enjoyed learning about the facility and the programs they provide: Breeding, Puppy Training, Guide Dog Training and the Student Program.

25 guide dogs are trained each year in order to be matched with their legally blind partner. The partner must attend a student training program at the facility for 28 days before being matched with their new dog.

While in the student program, they learn to walk with their dog in light residential areas, heavily traveled areas with traffic, cross streets, ride buses and light rail, walk through buildings, use stairways, elevators, and escalators, eat at restaurants, and finally take a trip on a plane to Arizona.

Guide Dogs of the Desert was founded over 40 years ago and much like the Braille Institute, operates solely on grants and donations. Their goal is to provide a higher quality of life to the visually blind with specially trained guide dogs.

I think the best part of the day for all the kids was getting to play with the dogs!!  

21 October 2013

Grandpa’s Birthday

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We had a very low key celebration for Grandpa yesterday (just the way he likes it). If it were up to him, he’d rather us not make a fuss at all but how do you not celebrate 81 years?

The way I see it, growing old is a privilege denied to many. God has blessed Grandpa with relatively good health, a devoted wife of 53 years and a family of children and grandchildren who adore their dad and grandpa.

What a blessing it is to have the opportunity to celebrate him!

Thank you, Lord for each of his 81 years. We are so grateful for his humble and loving example. Most importantly, we are thankful that He knows You, His Creator and Heavenly Father.

Happy Birthday, Grandpa!

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Lord willing, we look forward to many more…

14 October 2013

Twelve

adventurous life

To my husband, my love, my best friend and partner in adventure,

Life would be so boring without you. Who else would take me on new and exciting adventures? I’ve been so blessed by all the wonderful experiences and places we’ve traveled (both near and far) over the last 12+ years. Too many beautiful memories to count. (And still counting!)  

However, the greatest adventure we share is not the kind that requires luggage or passports. Together, we are learning to be brave, to do the hard and holy things, and ultimately, lose ourselves, for the sake of finding something much, much greater.  

Thank you for being the best travel partner a girl could ask for. For never letting go of my hand and for leading me along this amazing journey. Your love and devotion has always been the beacon of my courage. It has made all the difference in my life.

Forever grateful. Forever yours.

XOXO, Catherine

Happy 12th!

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I have found the one whom my soul loves. -Song of Solomon 3:4

13 October 2013

Church BBQ, Potluck, & Baptisms

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Weston, Grace, Faith and Jacob.

 

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Annabelle, Elizabeth, & Faith.

 

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Our friend, Keegan getting baptized by Pastor Steve & Pastor Brian.

 

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Yay, Keegan!! Praise the Lord!!

 

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Several kids got baptized as well!

 

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The girls and their friends had a front row seat to witness all the baptisms.

 

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Sweet worship by the pool.

 

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Let the BBQ begin!

 

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Buddies… Brandon, Morgan and Ben.

 

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Grace having a blast.

 

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We attended our first BBQ and potluck with our new church family this afternoon and it was such a sweet time of fellowship together! We gathered at Jordan Outreach Ministries where the facilities were perfect for our growing church body. The kids had so much fun and had plenty of space to play and run around.

I know this may be a trivial side note but I’ve always wanted to attend a church that has regular potlucks and times of corporate fellowship. I’ve always imagined how wonderful this would be!

Well, today did NOT disappoint. 

Thank you, Jesus! What a blessed time it was, indeed!!

Ladder Canyon Hike

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Ready to go climb a mountain!

 

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We thought this looked like the profile of a man’s face.

 

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The first arrow points up into the canyon.

 

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Our great little climbers.

 

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Lots of narrow passageways.

 

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Snack break.

 

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We made it to the top! That’s the Salton Sea in the background.

 

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Sisterly love.

 

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Another arrow says we should go THAT way.

 

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Amazing walls of sandstone!

 

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The kids were out in front of us most of the way down.

 

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One of the last ladders on the way down. 

 

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Whew!! We made it!!

 

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Refueling at Del Taco.

The cooler weather means hiking season has returned for our family. Such a fun way to get out and enjoy the outdoors together, while getting in some exercise, too. We did this hike for the first time at the beginning of the year and loved it. However, we only made it about 2 miles in before turning back. This time, we hiked the entire loop, which was about 5 miles. This was the longest hike the girls have ever been on (it took us 3 hours to complete) and they did GREAT! They continue to surprise us with their sense of adventure, determination and encouragement. So proud of them!

The beauty of the canyon is something to behold. The Painted Hills/Ladder Canyon Hike is a bit unique because of its narrow and dark passageways, towering sandstones, big boulders and ladders to climb, colorful rock formations, and expansive views of the Salton Sea from the top.

Basically, it involves ADVENTURE!!

We think it’s one of the best and most unique hikes around!

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