30 October 2015

Fruit of the Spirit Award

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We received a note from school this week saying that our Faith would be receiving an award.

 

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Daddy and Zach came to cheer her on.

 

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Miss Gilmore, her sweet teacher presents her with the Fruit of the Spirit Award for LOVE.

 

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Faith and her awesome teacher!

 

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Oh, happy day! We couldn’t be more proud of BOTH our girls!

They are still CRAZY about school and loving every minute of it! 

Today was the first awards presentation of the year. The Fruit of the Spirit Award is given in recognition of godly character. Today, it was all about LOVE. Miss Gilmore said she chose Faith because she’s the first to help someone in need and give an encouraging word. She exemplifies LOVE in action.

As her parents, this type of recognition means far more to us than even any academic achievements. We’re so proud of Faith. To be recognized for her LOVE, is truly the most important and humbling thing a parent could ask for.

All glory and praise to the One who created her and loves her most!

And now these three remain: faith, hope and love; but the greatest of these is LOVE.

–1 Corinthians 13:13

27 October 2015

Oak Glen

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Cousin time!

 

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Beautiful butterflies.

 

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Zachy is happy to see Halmoni.

 

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Mom and my sweet aunt.

 

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He liked the dirt!

 

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Up in a tree with daddy.

 

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Hang on, buddy!

 

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Kylie and Zach.

 

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Faith and Madilyn.

 

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Sweet cousins.

 

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A gigantic cookie, bigger than Kylie’s face!

 

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Mama and her boy.

 

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Whoa!

 

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“Help, daddy!”

 

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“I got it!”

 

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Playing with Madi.

 

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Cutest kids ever!

 

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Wee!!!

 

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Family is forever.

 

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Beautiful mountainside.

 

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My three pumpkins.

 

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Zach meets the mini horse.

 

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Zach wants to touch the mini horse.

 

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“Hi, Horsie!”

 

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He loved it!

 

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Grace feeds him a snack.

 

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A little goat finds Faith.

 

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Zach tries feeding the horse, too.

Over the weekend, we met my family up in Oak Glen where we gathered to picnic in the mountains and remember my dad. I can hardly believe it’s been one year since he’s been gone. So much has happened but of course… he knows.

The kids are all growing up and the seasons have changed. Life keeps moving and we are all learning to adjust our sails as we bravely move forward without him.

In many ways, dad’s passing has made our family stronger. 

But oh, do we miss him so.

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The Oak Tree by Johnny Ray Ryder Jr.

A mighty wind blew night and day
It stole the oak tree's leaves away.
Then snapped its boughs and pulled its bark
Until the oak was tired and stark.

But still the oak tree held its ground
While other trees fell all around.
The weary wind gave up and spoke.
How can you still be standing Oak?

The oak tree said, I know that you
Can break each branch of mine in two,
Carry every leaf away,
Shake my limbs, and make me sway

But I have roots stretched in the earth
Growing stronger since my birth.
You'll never touch them, for you see
They are the deepest part of me.

Until today, I wasn't sure
Of just how much I could endure.
But now I've found, with thanks to you
I'm stronger than I ever knew.

25 October 2015

Story time

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Zach’s first visit to story time at the library this week.

 

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“Hey, how do you stomp like that?”

 

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Enjoying the nice weather.

 

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All tuckered out from his morning adventures.

I laugh because I’m once again, that mom who takes her kids to story time. Soon, we’ll be feeding ducks and picnicking in the park.

I learned this week, Zach is that kid who won’t sit still at story time. You know, the one who crawls ALL OVER the place and likes to get in the middle of things. :) I call him Curious Zach. He likes to touch EVERYTHING. He enjoys people, especially other kids.

He also loves music, bubbles, and singing!

19 October 2015

Birthday Lunch & Prayer

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The iconic restaurant at Shield’s Date Garden.

 

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I’ve been wanting to try the famous stuffed dates at Shield’s and they did NOT disappoint! They were stuffed with blue cheese, jalapeno, and prosciutto… then wrapped in BACON. Soooo delicious!

My sweet girlfriends brought balloons, flowers, and even yummy party favors to take home. Cute jars filled with Lemon Cake!!

 

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My dear Jilly created those adorable lemon cake favors. She’s amazingly creative, a phenomenal baker, and best of all, a treasured friend.

 

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Cheers! What’s this?? Date Shake Shots! Yes, please!

 

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A beautiful new apron! 

 

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My friends know me so well. They came bearing heartfelt gifts!

 

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Can’t wait to dive into this book as well as my new devotional.

 

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Karen, Hailey, and little Miss Sylvie.  Long time friends are the BEST!

 

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Janette and Jill. These two are so special to me!

 

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My planner and partner in all things food and party related… Melissa! Couldn’t ask for a better friend! 

 

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What a lovely afternoon spent with these sweet sisters.

By His Sovereign grace, the Lord has blessed me with another year on this earth. In some ways, I can hardly believe I’m 45. Officially “middle-aged” according to the actuary tables. (I’m married to an Investment Advisor whose job it is to know these things). Ha! Lord willing, right?

Four and a half decades of living and you’d think I’d have life all figured out by now. All I know is that life doesn’t get any “easier” with age. A comfortable life sounds ideal but by now, we all know life is full of twists and turns and unknown circumstances. The goal, then, for me,  is not to arrive at a place of easy living but to reflect the refining work of Christ that is within me. And let me tell you, He’s still got a lot of refining to do.

In my younger years, WHO AM I seemed to be the prevailing question. These days, I’m clinging tightly to WHOSE I AM. The question at 45 is not WHAT will I do with my life but rather, HOW I will do what He’s given me to do. At 45, I no longer take things for granted. Not my family, my children, my friends, my health or time.

The Maker of the moon and the stars has ordained every breath here on earth and because of His divine purpose and good pleasure in me, I am not my own. I have been bought with a price. (1 Cor. 6:19-20)

Everything, He has provided. With a heart full of gratitude, may I spend the rest of my days honoring Him.

Lord, keep my focus on the prize and give me perseverance to run this race with my eyes wide open. Most of all, help me to steward what You’ve given me well and to shine a light for Your glory and praise.

Then, King David went in and sat before the Lord and said, “Who am I, O Lord God and what is my house, that You have brought me thus far?” –2 Samuel 7:18

Thank you, Lord for blessing me with 45 years.

16 October 2015

1 Corinthians 13:1-7

The girls recited their memory verse at school today. They started 3 weeks ago with verse 1 and learned all the way to verse 7. Faith was happy to be on camera but my Grace was a little shy. :)

So proud of our girls! They are LOVING school, thriving, learning so much, and doing GREAT!

All Glory to God!

“If I speak in tongues of men or of angels but do not have love, I am nothing but a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains but do not have love, I am nothing. If I give all I possess to the poor and give over my body to hardship that I may boast but do not have love, I gain nothing. Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking. It is not easily angered. It keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. “ -1 Corinthians 13:1-7

14 October 2015

My Best Yes

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FOURTEEN years ago, on that gorgeous October day when we exchanged our hand written vows and became husband and wife.

My best yes was on 10.14.01. It’s the day that changed the course of my life in so many ways.

We were just two sinners, so in love, living for the moment, enjoying life (as we knew it), and feeling invincible. We lived for adventure, travel, and our next big high. We thought we were good. We went to church regularly. We thought we knew the way.

But God…

He joined us together and then He came for us.

He said, “I am the Way, the Truth, the Life… Come, follow Me.”

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His plan was to take these two self-seeking people and transform their lives into something meaningful. A life, dedicated to His glory, no longer our own. And so, step by step, we walked hand in hand toward Him. Together, by His grace, we would travel to those far off places and find our greatest adventures, but not in the way we had thought so long ago.

The Psalms are one of my favorite books of the bible. Psalm 10:14 says, 

The helpless put their trust in you. You defend the orphans.”

Little did we know, this very Psalm would become our most important ministry together.

I cannot imagine this journey without Morgan by my side. He’s been the greatest picture of Christ to me and to our family. He leads by serving and gives more of himself than any other person I know on earth. And the fact that God gave Him to me, is a picture of His undeserved goodness in my life.

I wish I could say it’s been easy to leave sin and selfishness behind and follow God wholeheartedly but the truth is, it’s been the hardest thing I’ve ever done. Sometimes, when life gets a little crazy, I can easily get bogged down with minor details instead of casting my vision on eternity. Feelings of discouragement, weariness, and sometimes, even entitlement can creep in. But every nose I wipe and every mouth I feed, God sees me. He sees me bending down to pick up toys and clean up vomit. He sees me bending low to lift my children. And at the end of the day, I want to be found, faithfully, bending down at the foot of His throne.

My life looks nothing like I thought it would since I said yes to Morgan and yes to God but it has undoubtedly been one grand adventure thus far. God has used the beautiful story of adoption in our lives to illustrate just how orphaned and hopeless we were without Him. He’s given us our children to teach us what love really means and how far we’d go to bring them home and call them our own. He’s demonstrated His mighty power of redemption through the costly buying back of our lives, making the gospel tangible and alive in our very home.

I love and respect my husband more with each passing year. And I thank God for allowing me to share this beautiful life with him. He’s the best of the best!

In celebration of our anniversary, we would usually go out for a nice romantic dinner.  Last weekend, Grandma came over to babysit and at the last minute, we decided what we needed most is not a fancy dinner but rest in this weary season.

 

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About 6 months ago, Morgan got me a gift card for a massage and I was FINALLY able to use it. So without getting dressed up, or fussing at all, we left the house as we were (shorts and a T-shirt), and enjoyed a very relaxing and spectacular couples massage at Footloose.

Afterwards, we came out and said, “That was WAY better than a fancy steak dinner.” :)

 

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See, don’t we look relaxed now? :)

Sometimes, anniversary celebrations involve quiet relaxation and then sharing our dreams (and fajitas) at a local Mexican restaurant. It was just what we needed!

Happy Anniversary, my love! You will always be my best yes.

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