Friday, October 21, 2011

a good laugh

We drove our sweet blessings to their incredible "Mimi and Pops" house before we took off for Africa! I held their little hands most of the 4.5 hr drive there. Gave them lots of kisses and trying my best to be strong. When it was time to say our final farewels I was trying my best to hold it all in and be strong for the kids. Then, my FIL "pops" got down on his knees, held our hands and prayed for us. What a gift that couldn't be measured with adjectives and eloquent phrases. Elyana looked at me with all the longing in her little heart as if to say, "I thought the world revolved around ME. Who am I going to snuggle with!?!"
Then to make matters worse, my sweet boy looked straight through me and cupped my face in his little three year old hands. He said, "mama, are you going to cry and cry?" "I'm going to try my best not to. Do you want me to?" He shook his head in dramatic fashion and said, "No mama, I dont'." He gave me a big hug and said, "I'm going to miss you so much."
I left and cried most of our way to Dallas. We didn't talk much. I think Joe knew I needed some time and he gave it to me with such grace. We arrived in Dallas late at night, slept for a few hours and got up too early to grab our first flight. The first leg of our flight was from DFW to Raleigh, NC. We have been here I have never been in an airport this long. ever. We have enjoyed our time . We have even had a little mini vision retreat right in the middle of the airport. We have laughed, dreamed, and been silly. We have walked this terminal tens of times, stretched, done calistenics, read, caught up on past emails, he's done some business, had those little chair massages, we ate some yummy CPK, and I'm doing my best to make him laugh. (Laugh count is at 4).
One of my wedding presents from Joe was that I had no idea he was hilarious until our honeymoon. I gained a few stomach muscles that week. My prayer is that God would give me wit that I never knew was possible and that this week Joe would find that I can be funny too. I take myself way too serious so if this is accomplished, then this will be nothing short of a little miracle. We are about to hop on an overnight plane to London and hope to update more soon! Much <3

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

beautiful exchange

Its approaching bedtime at the Terry household today, I began to lay down Isaac. I was just about to tell him a story when he said, "You know mom, there is this girl in my class at the Austin Stone named Story and she is cute." Internal mama gasp. Yet... I tried to keep calm and carry on. I even made "Story" the central character of our naptime story. Take that toddler crush.
Then just after naptime the little miss came up to me with shorts she had gotten out of her drawer and says, "Mama, dese (these) not cute." I could not believe my ears that I asked my 21 month old to repeat herself. She said it again verbatim. The mother/daughter clothes debate has begun.
If that were not enough for one day, tonight Isaac says to me, "mama, you know when you were acting ugly on Monday. Are you sorry for that?" Its good thing that the day started off with Isaac reminding sister me about the beautiful exchange. :)
I'm ending where we began.

Here we come

Joe and I have been talking this year about sneaking away, just the two of us. We haven't been on a week long vacation since our honeymoon. We figured that since I am not pregnant (unfortunately) but we know God has perfect plan for my womb. Then, once we receive our adoption referral then we plan to focus intently on attachment. So, we figured that this fall was the perfect time. We began to research Italy and spent time sitting in the travel section of B & N. But a few months ago, Joe was reading his Bible and praying. He felt like we were to take our rendezvous to Africa. We prayed and collected all kinds of information. We cashed in some miles and we are taking a wild, whirl wind kind of a trip. We are going to be gone for 9 whole days.
Then, on Friday Obama calls in some special ops troops to Central Africa. Perfect. Sweet friends, the rubber meets the road. And my family is in a tizzy. They have emailed us the links, asked about life insurance, confirmed our wills, and we have given them final farewells. Okay...maybe not that extreme. We love them and are so thankful they love us. Rest assured, we have talked to our contacts there. We shouldn't be in any dangerous areas and if the special ops troops are there, then they say we should be in even better hands. We know whose hands we are in anyways. I do not superwoman faith because believe me, every ounce of it will be tested when I kiss my babies good bye and hop on that plane. When we were leaving for a weekend getaway in May I was an emotional wreck. Now, a 9 day exodus from my kids for a recovering control freak, helicopter mom, and micromanaging mama like yours truly is a recipe for nightmares, unexplained emotional fits, and hyperventilating. What's weird is I'm kind of excited. This emotion feels strangely akward and out of place, but I kind of like it. We have been talking to the kids about it for weeks trying to help them be prepared for our absence. We had communicated that we were just going to serve that we weren't coming home with a baby. Somehow that got lost in translation. Isaac came running into our bedroom one morning exclaiming, "I'm so excited to get baby Africa! I'm so excited to get baby Africa." Joe gently re-explained what we were doing and that we were not bringing our baby home this time. Our sweet boy buried his head into Joe's chest and broke into the ugly cry, shoulders shaking and all. When God does it in one; I'm so thankful He has done it in us all. Without any further rambling, Will you come with us? I have always dreamed of getting to see the beautiful people of Africa and to see God through their dark brown eyes. Friends, I have dreamed so many of your faces being tucked inside my suitcase: how we could giggle as we fold some clothes in the orphanage basment or could pray that orphanage right on into heaven. Or have a blast trying. Who's in??? I'm not sure what our internet access will be, but I will do my best to share along the way. I would love if you would be praying with us: 1. We would be a blessing to the Babies Home. We would honor them and the Lord through the week that we will be there. 2. Although we will be serving, that it would feel like a second honeymoon. Joe and I would have romantic times together, set off some new sparks, rekindle old ones, and relish the ones we've got. 3. We would have vision and clarity about the season we are in currentlly. 4. Oh, and safety. We would have uneventful travels and a safe stay. You are the best of friends and I'm so thankful you are mine. I love you with all my heart.

in His arms

We were involved with some training that the Austin Stone provided with the 100 people network. Oh, it was so great and stuff I wish I would have known five years ago. Sigh...onward we go.

We were sitting at a round table discussion during the training. Sitting at our table was, Rick Barnes' son. He is leaving to an undisclosed country (read: unreached country and dangerous).

Then, this last Sunday he happens to come sit in front of us. Just watching him worship stirred a deep place in my heart. I thought of his mother who will hug him good bye and send him off to a country that is politically unstable and persecutes Christians without batting an eye.

At the same time, Elyana is sleeping in my arms. Almost every Sunday for the last 7 months, while the drums are thumping and the bass blaring Elyana has fallen asleep.

That may sound normal except our church has a cute basket of ear plugs by the entrance and it sounds a little like this. But a whole lot louder in person.

Every week it amazes me. This child who, relatively speaking, sleeps in the quiet of our home the solace of her crib falls asleep during a worship jam session.

Out cold. She usually goes on to sleep through the sermon (hundreds of people laughing, clapping, and a pastor passionately sharing the Word) and doesn't wake up until the last Amen.

Some would say she is the ultimate church baby. What God has been whispering to me is "I have a point to make to you, Melissa."

True worship is resting. Resting in His sovereignty, resting in His goodness, resting in His ability.

I don't have to hurry and be busy. Worship is minute by minute trusting that I am in His arms and the world is orchestrated by His hands.

Friday, September 30, 2011

Ranch Glimpse

You can't go anywhere without forcibly being confronted with the affects of drought all around us. Here is a little glimpse of our neck of the woods...

This is where Barton Creek used to flow freely. The water level was anywhere from 5- 10 feet. Now it is merely dust and twigs. The fish are gone. The turtles aren't anywhere to be found. The swimming hole is now a sand box.

Lets join together and ask for God's sweet mercy and steady rain to fall upon us. I'm especially praying for this little corner of the earth.

In other news, the horses have arrived this week. After months of prepping the land for their arrival: clearing, fencing, clearing, fencing, paddock building, clearing...they have arrived.

I drove in the other morning and looked across the pasture to see them galloping through the grass and dirt. It took my breath away. We have been reunited with our long lost friends.

The cute little one in the middle is my nephew. He's precious, isn't he? He is also the b.e.s.t. baby I have ever been around in my life (and you know I have been around some good babies in my day).

Okay, okay, I won't forget you guys either...

The donkeys are back too.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Work Out Gear...Check!

Austin Top 10 Continues:

7. If you like to exercise then there is no better apparel than lululemon . They have a location that is 20 minutes from my house and I could do some serious, serious damage there. Basically, I try my very hardest never to go. The couple of things I have gotten from there have persevered beautifully through the running and sweating. Thank you lulu, thank you very much.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Java love

I'm going through my Austin faves. Its early in our hill country adventures so this list may be premature but thought it would fun to chronicle.

Growing up our only choice to drink was water. I specifically never drank coffee. I thought it tasted like dirt. I even survived college all-nighters without coffee. I worked 70 plus hours on a political campaign without coffee. I even taught junior high at a private school without coffee.

After I got married, I was working in Dallas and it was a particularly cold winter. There was a Starbucks on the way and usually once a week it would call my name. Since then I have been growing as a connoisseur.

Living near College Station for the last couple of years and all of its coffee experts didn't help either.

If you would like a good drink recommendation I get an iced soy sugar free vanilla caramel macchiato with easy ice :)

So for #8 my favorite thing about Austin is a coffee shop and it is without a competitor. Mozart's. It is a gem. Wonderful for date nights. Great for conversation with old and new friends. Even better for a date with my Bible.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Grub love

For a better link to the photo credit from last post, see here for more information on all the beautiful creations Kate Stafford has in her repertoire.

9. Local restaurant. Local are the only kind that would make my top ten. Our favorite local, organic restaurant closed down last month. So sad. Its not because we didn't give them business because oh by golly we did. In lieu of our dining tragedy, I will have to go with a new local, favorite (drum roll please)....Magnolia Cafe. . Magnolia cafe is an Austin classic and their food never disappoints.

For all you South siders, then Thyme and Dough is such a treat. They have a precious place that is surrounded by a plant nursery. Their decorations are eclectic and shabby chic. The food is exquisite, local, and organic. They have gluten free options and an espresso bar to boot! It definitely feel like "home away from home."

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

The Bergstrom

Photo credit: Kate Stafford

We have officially been residents of the atx for 6 months now. Whew! I honestly can't believe it. The last time I lived here, it was 10 years ago minus husband and children, and I lived on the north side. Now that we are living and lovin' the south side I thought it would be fun to give you a little taste of a few of my favorite things. Really, lets be honest, this is just my op-ed on all things Austin.

10. Austin Bergstrom. The airport? Yes, the airport.

Growing up we always flew out of Houston Intercontinental. When you get home from a trip there is nothing worse knowing that once you touch the ground you have to taxi forever, wait ages for your lugage, pretty sure it will be damaged, then make the trek to your car, and lastly navigate your way out of the add kids on top of all of that. That place is a beating and has lots of memories of vomiting (we won't go there) and other madness.

For the record, our 2 years in Dallas, the DFW gets a B minus rating.

On the other hand, the Austin airport is beautiful, clean, has quirky Austinish stores and food, and best part of all... you can get in and out in less than 10 minutes. It just makes me want to travel. Can we get a halleluyah!?!

For all of my BCS loves, please always choose Austin. For the rest of you, its worth the trip too.

Now if we can get Austin to have more direct flights then it would completely seal the deal. Might be worth driving from Oklahoma ;)

Stay tuned for more local faves.

Friday, September 2, 2011

my messes

Somewhere between here...

and here,

I completely lost it- not in a sound mind, not joyful and lacking peace.

How could I go from waking to His mercy, to enjoying heaping bowls of steaming hot oatmeal with my beloveds, to walking in on my precious 3 year tugging with all of his might because he wanted to make my bed to.... drowning in fear of man, impatience, and self pity?

Then, sweet Grace threw me a life preserver as I read this post and was undone.

Manifesto for Joyful Parenting

1. Today, I will make our home a house of prayer.
I will pray at set times. And I will invite our children to come move into an interior space that lives with God.
2. Today, I will transfigure all things into beauty, and I will refuse to see anything else.
3. Today, I will not have any emergencies. There are no emergencies! Only amateurs hurry.
4. Today, when stress mounts, I pray to dismount it with gratitude.
My stress management plan will be intervention with verbal thanks. I can only feel one feeling at a time, and I choose to give thanks at all times. Fight feeling with feeling!
5. Today, I will pray to speak words that are only STRONG words, words that make these children feel strong. Grace words. Grace is the only non-toxic air. All other words I breathe are death words.
6. Today, I will pray to be consistently consistent. I will create safe rhythms that our children can find security in. I will create daily ceremonies because everyday we are CELEBRATING the gift of now!
7. Today, the moment when I am most repelled by a child’s behavior, that is my sign to draw the very closest to that child.
8. Today, I will hug each of my children as many times as I serve them meals — because children’s hearts feed on touch. I’ll look for as many opportunities to touch my children today as possible — the taller they are, the more so.
9. Today, my priorities will be all Things Unseen.
10. Today, I will laugh! And I will let the little children laugh! I will create a culture of JOY!

As I was contemplating how dreadfully far from the mark I continually am yet He has rescued me, then I glanced back in the back seat to see our promised one with his head tilted back, eyes closed, and worshipping his little heart out.

My mess is part of His plan.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

hope you're hungry

Deep breath.

I have wanted to write about this for some time to hopefully help others who are navigating the tumultuous waters of international adoption. I have imagined that reading this will be like going to one of those restaurants where your meal is free if you eat the whole cow.

So, hope you're sitting down and hungry ;)

When we were engaged, we believed that God would use adoption as an avenue to one day grow our family. We laid that desire and calling before the Lord trusting His timing and direction.

While I was pregnant with Elyana we both felt a stirring and the desire growing. We did hours of research and asked unending questions from those who had experience.

Our first hurdle: International or Domestic?

God has a unique, ordained plans for each of us. For us, we felt drawn to Africa. One of the reasons is the vast need. The millions of orphans without a chance and destined for the slums is one of the undeniable reasons for us.

Also, there are many African countries where there are no adoption laws in place in order for someone to adopt. There are some people who have resulted to "alternative" types of adoptions in order to rescue children out of horrific situations. Uganda is a relatively "adoption friendly" African country. At last official count, there are 2.5 million orphans in Uganda, 45 percent of which due to AIDS. Uganda has laws that make the process fairly clear and even some of the judges in their country are pro-adoption. (There are some that are not and we are joining others in praying for their hearts.)

Second Hurdle: Independent or Agency- lead?

We found that there were many people who had done an independent adoption from Uganda. What that essentially means is that you don't go through an agency, but rather do all the leg work, make the contacts, and hire a Ugandan attorney to handle the legal papers.

Joe enjoys a challenge, doesn't mind travel arrangements, and I like to make contacts so he thought it would be best for us to go out on our own. We also thought we could save a few thousand dollars doing it ourselves. We found an attorney who had several positive references. The contacts were unreliable, the information sketchy, and the way in which you locate your child was heart wrenching and labor intensive.

In the midst of that process, we attended the Together for Adoption conference. If you are wondering how to be involved with the global orphan crisis or about adoption then I recommend their national conference. This year its in Phoenix. It addressed so many of our questions, fears, challenges, and ponderings in a safe, gospel-centered environment. While we were there we met representatives from Generations Adoption agency. They had recently refined their Uganda program and had a lot of encouraging relationships in country.

Joe was still set on going independently. I just sat back and prayed wanting God to work and lead our family.

A month later we went on a family vacation to Colorado still chewing and processing on the next steps for our family. We didn't discuss it much but there were lots of long, comfortable silences. Time spent together with our Bibles open, mouths shut.

Nine days later we pulled out of our condo parking lot, and Joe non-chalantly says, "Lets contact Generations when we get home." I am thankful for his leadership.

Generations has been one of the most precious blessings to our family. Their staff is courteous, professional, loving, kind, considerate, prompt to respond, and desires God's best for each family. (They also do domestic adoptions too if you headed that direction and I have heard the same reviews from people who have adopted with them domestically).

We also love their contacts in Uganda, their babies home is under the umbrella of a healthy, local church that is involved with orphan care and prevent. We also appreciate the way they run their babies home. They have continued, quality communication about the children within their care. They have full disclosure with whatever information they have regarding each child. They are also committed to ensuring that each one of their adopting parents is as equipped and fully prepared as possible. Such a blessing!

Hurdle 3: Paperwork and Training

January 2011 we began the process and by March, we had finished our training. We were really hoping that by the end of 2011 we would be holding our baby.

Then in March we moved to Austin. You don't realized how rooted you've become until you're uprooted. The move was much more disruptive than we anticipated.

We were still set for having our home study in May.

As the day grew closer we both felt more and more unsettled. Between Joe's new job, adjusting to our new home, building our house, leaving our BCS community/family, getting engaged in our new church, challenges our children were having with the new place, and the fact we didn't think it would be wise to do the home study twice... we are waiting. Waiting until our house is finished to move forward with our home study then onto the next steps.

So that's where we are. Waiting.

Where we all are, in some way, right?

But every day I have to lay it down.

Lay down my control. Trust Him. Lay down my timing. Trust Him with the day at hand. Lay down my desires. Trust Him with my current children. Lay down my unbelief. Trust Him with my children I don't know yet. Trust Him.

All is grace. I'm focusing on what God is doing in my and our children here preparing us for the work among our family and ministry in this community.

So thankful for all of you encouraging and loving us along the way. We can't wait to meet our baby and to get to introduce the precious soul to you too.

If you have any questions or if you're going through the process and I can pray for you in any way, please contact me melissa at heartlinesranch dot com

Bless you!

He is our firm foundation

When Joe and I were courting, I distinctly remembering reading this precious children's book to some dear little ones I love....

It spoke about the character of the two builders and ironically the wise builder's name was "Joe." When I turned the last page, there were tears in my eyes. The two little brown eyed children looked up at me puzzled as to why that book could possibly bring me to tears. I knew in my heart God was speaking to me about Joseph Daniel's character, about who he is as a man, and the gift of a husband he would be to me.

Building our house has been symbolic of so much of what God has done and is doing in our family. How he is building the foundation for one of the vehicles on which the "works He prepared in advanced for us to do" will be accomplished.

I have learned so much about the building process and it has been fascinating for the kids and I have the opportunity to watch it first hand. To prep everything for the foundation to be formed took a few weeks. First, the men set forms, then they dug the beams (prevent shifting), placed steel (prevent settling), and run the plumbing (so we can potty).

Before we poured, Joe and the kids searched the scriptures and inscribed them on stones that were placed in our foundation.

We daily surrender it all to Him. Its by His grace we are here and we desire to labor only by His might, for His purposes.

May this house be a house for Your glory.

Friday, August 12, 2011

wonder of it all

Elyana, your 18 months has been for me a joy and a redemption of God's design for femininity. You are joyful and you are learning how to express your emotion. You are strong and you are learning how to follow authority. You are servant hearted and you are learning how to do all things domestic.

You flit about the house doing each task as if an act of worship. You giggle as you put every single utensil in its intended slot. You meticulously place each article of clothing in the dryer as if you were robing royalty with parcel. You take toys out and "cleam up" as if you were preparing a home for kings. Your heart for the domestic continually reminds me to find joy and thanksgiving in the mundane (and dreaded) items around our home.

Dare I say you still remain a mama's girl and mama doesn't protest one bit. I am soaking up every ounce. I pray that God would always keep our hearts knitted together regardless of the plans He has for you.

You have all kinds of things to say that make us all chuckle with amusement. A few of those:

You loved to be out in the "jardin" and picking the "omatoes." You enjoy riding the golf cart and doing "blass off" with daddy. Your favorite thing to do outside is to "sfing."

Lets be honest. You would go anywhere, do anything as long as you were in this little guy's shadow. The sun rises and sets with Mr. Isaac. "Where I-zeek go?"

In this family, you are the one who loves Madi the most. hands down.

A few of her favorite foods are every kind of fruit under the sun, turkey, "cacker," "fruit bar", "cado" (avocado), "cumbers" (cucumbers), and her all time favorite is 'smoomies."

And the shirt comes off whenever they are served.

Her favorite activity is to "nuggle" and she likes to do it all throughout the day. It is such a blessing to this mama.

As you have approached 18 months, the firecracker has come out too. You love for Isaac to chase you around and even tackle you (to mama's disapproval). You like to be heard, have been known to bite when things don't go how you like, know how to fiercely say "no," and you are working on being gentle with babies.

I see God's sweet grace and you just melt my heart when...

you sing in your bed at night

sit in the back seat saying, "daddy, i love you daddy" "isaac, I love you isaac" "mommy, I love you mommy"

giggle with glee at the tiniest things.

sit still while isaac "fixes" your hair

when you share your most favorite things

request "Jesus" song

call the Bible the "b-i-b-i"

when you tell mommy "forgib you" when mommy asks for forgiveness when I'm grumpy

I love you, sweet princess.

Monday, July 25, 2011

Lake Love

Terry consecration complete.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

A stone's throw

We would officially like to welcome you to the Spry Sister Trailer Park.

See that cute little trailer on the left...that's ours.

That other house in the distance on the right...that is my sister's!! (its a trailer that the previous owners put rocks on the outside of...pretty fancy, huh? ;))

My sister and I shared a room for the first decade of our lives. We were secretly the best of friends. At night when it was time for sleep, she would climb into bed and ask if we could hold hands so she could fall asleep.

(what did you think about our 80s rompers!?!)

Once puberty, phone talking and boy craziness hit in junior high our relationship went south. Our fights always included screaming, occasionally included door slamming, and sometimes even a hair pull or two.

We had two separate lives. She was the sporty one and I was the dancing one. Yet every where we went people always told us that we "looked so much alike" (we don't see it), we have the same mannerisms, and we can trick people on the phone since we sound so much alike (we were on a joint call with our mom the other day and she kept getting us mixed up).

I tried almost every vocational avenue under the Texas sun; She went off to LSU for her undergraduate and graduate work. We spent our 20s mainly talking on holidays and special occasions.

The last 2 years, Stephanie and I have gotten closer. We have gotten to share some of regular life together and it has been the sweetest gift to me.

A few months ago I got a surprising call about the possibility that they may be moving to Austin! I was literally in shock and couldn't stop smiling for days at the thought of my beloved sister moving into our neck of the hill country.

For about 6 weeks now my beautiful and amazing sister has been my next door neighbor. I still have to pinch myself.

She's a stone throw away and it has been one blessing after another. Our whole family has loved doing life with them.

We love you Hjornevik family!

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

I appreciate a good baked good in my life

When it comes to my favorites, baked goods are up there. Candy, cakes, pies...I can do without. Put me in the organic bakery & cafe near my home where the baker arrives at 3 a.m. to make by hand each exquisite delicacy with great care and my mouth waters.

One of my kitchen hobbies is trying to make bread the healthiest as possible. I have been wanting to try baking with almond flour so yesterday I gave it my first go around.

3 cups of Almond Flour
1/3 cup of honey
3 eggs
3 very ripe bananas
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp apple cider vinegar
1/2 tsp of cinnamon and nutmeg
1 tbs of vanilla
2 tbs flax seed
1 scoop protein powder
1/4 cup coconut oil (or oil of your choice)

I first smashed all the bananas, then added the rest of the ingredients. Then, just to keep things lively I folded in one cup of 70% dark chocolate chips.

I put it in an loaf pan and baked it at 350 degrees for 55 minutes. Don't let it get too overdone- nothing worse than dry almond flour bread, eek!

Happy Baking!

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Settling down

Joe started helping his dad building houses on the weekends and during the summer when he was 14. He first toiled as a construction supervisor at 18. Since that time, he has built hundreds of houses, apartment complexes, churches, restaurants, and some other commercial projects too.

But never has he built his own house.

When Joe looks at any raw piece of land or building, he sees all of its potential in his mind. He is a visionary to the core.

When we decided on a building location, Joe could see the entire thing down to every detail. I, on the other hand, am treading water to keep up with him.

As I was reading my Bible, I came across this exhortation from God through Jeremiah 29, "Build houses and settle down."

Trained in Dallas, tested in Normangee, and commissioned to Austin. We know that this is exactly where we are supposed to be and the knowing has been so sweet.

Yet when we walked near our building site a couple of weeks ago and saw this...

it honestly took my breath away.

The hundreds of houses Joe built flashed before my eyes. Every prayer and ounce of sweat for each home warmed my heart. Every prayer we didn't have enough faith to believe.

All of the air was sucked out of my lungs and left me gasping backwards and choking back tears.

Our prayer for our soon to be pile of rocks and tile roof... to be a home for the family God has given us, a refuge for others and safe haven for ministry each day.

All over a septic system.

Friday, July 1, 2011

little maverick

We have shared the God's saving news with Isaac on a variety of occasions but as the truth progresses he loses interest, moves on, plays with toys, ropes some chairs, races down the know...boy stuff.

Lately, the Terry family has been discussing at dinner and throughout the day where we see Jesus in our day. The answers range from:

"Hanging out in the shade from the double wide"- mom
"Unexpected moment of quiet and journaling"- mom
"Answer to prayer"- dad
"Lollipops"- Isaac
"Dance"- Elyana

Then a couple of days ago, Isaac responded by saying...

"Jesus listening to my heart about loving Elyana"- Isaac

Last night it was just before bed and Isaac came to me excitedly, 'I know where I saw Jesus today, mama." I curiously replied, "where?" He said, "I want to surrender my life and my heart to Jesus."

I said, 'You do? Well, do you want to pray right now?"

(This is usually the point where he has said on several occasions- 'Not yet' or 'maybe later') but this time he quickly responded "yes!"

I continued, "Do you pray and repeat after me."

My little maverick interjected, "mama, I got this."

"Jesus I give you my life and my heart. i love you."

He paused, looked up at me, so I prompted him, "Thank you for dieing on the cross and paying the penalty of my sin. Thank you that you wash me clean, that you give me a new heart and new spirit to follow you." His precious three year old voice repeating every few words.

Immediately afterwards, he exclaims, "My heart is so happy!"

We know that he is three and his understanding of God's truth is limited, but we pray that this is the beginning of a life long journey of honoring and following God.

Thank you to so many of you who have demonstrated God's extravagant kindness to our little guy and for living what it means to be a Christ follower.

Isaac, I have really seen God's grace in you as you have depended on God's strength as we left the community that we loved so much at New Life. I see you as you graciously serve our family, think about others before yourself, consider how you can be a blessing to you neighbor, and desire to use your strong will to help others. God keeps reminding me that He made you strong for a reason and I sure hope that I have a front row seat the whole way. I am honored to be your mama. I love you.

Monday, June 13, 2011

I survived...with a meltdown (or five).

(at least they think so in Austin)

Summer. Sweet and sweaty summer. Oh how I love your ways.

May started off with a bang.

Jesus and I have been working through my control issues....well...all of 2011. There is no better way to put an exclamation point on such a time than by leaving your children for three separate overnights all in one month. For some they may say, "you are crazy! That sounds like my dream month." Oh but that is my worst nightmare. There is nowhere this mama likes her children best than around her ankles and in her arms.

Me and Jesus, we are going to new places. So I took a deep breath, gave thanks for wonderful opportunities, and left the rest to God.

The first stop was our anniversary overnight where we stayed at the Mansion at Judges Hill, walked all over Austin, popped into random hot spots, and Joe counseled me through my control issues each step of the way. Sad but true ;)

Next stop was a wonderful weekend with Nicole and her mentors. It was refreshing time with wonderfully wise women and an impartation of God's goodness through each one of them. Sigh...just what I needed.

Lastly, we spent the weekend with my family celebrating my awesome grandpa's 80th birthday in none other than Las Vegas. This was the view from our room.

Vegas isn't necessarily "our thing" but we had so much fun in unexpected ways. Before children I could do some damage by the pool but since kids it is a far distant reality. I really relished laying by the pool with my mom and sister laying on either side catching up on life together.

We all got to eat at Bobby Flay's restaurant, Mesa, and celebrate grandpa's precious life.

The grand kids who were present.
One of my other favorite parts was hanging out with my beautiful cousin, Kristen. Growing up as the two oldest grand kids, we were infamous for bossing, pranking and picking on all the younger kids.

By far the part I will cherish most is the time spent with Joe reminding being reminded of sweet romance. That I'm not just the diaper changin', house cleanin', meal cookin', house managin' roommate and he's not just the financial guru that makes a million plates spin at once including house, kids, jobs, ministry, mentoring and the list could go on a mile. We laughed, told stories, made stories, and snuggled up in each other's arms without diaper bags, kiddie snacks, or a spanker for almost three full days.

Whew! I survived. I made it back without having a psychological meltdown.
The kids, on the other hand, hardly batted an eye. (isn't that the way those sorts of things go?)

All spell-bounding grace.

Friday, June 3, 2011

the little things.

Just a random tuesday afternoon musing as I reflect on what God has taught me through, A Thousand Gifts. If you haven't read it yet it is worth every penny and so much more.

Oh library, Oh library, I love you so true.
Oh library, Oh library, what shall I do?
Your four walls bring so much joy to my heart
With your contents I can't wait to part.
The little sweet ladies brighten my day
and suckers for my littles who brighten like rays.

Now its the first time I've visited you in our new town
And our first round of books are nowhere to be found.
We have taken all the toys and the books out
We have turned the trailer every way just about.

How can I show myelf in that place?
With your grey haired wisdom staring down my face.
I'm reminding myself all is grace
The little graces are life's lace.

The little things that rustle my way
The little things that suck joy every day
I'm learning to let go, to trust
Even if its from my clenched hands He will thrust.

Whether its spilled milk or lost books
Ugly attitudes or strangers with dirty looks
The sweet wind, loud toddlers, little giggles,
mounds of laundry, crooked smiles or all their wiggles.

Help me to see what i am looking for is in my midst
Each day is filled with the aroma of His gifts.
Wanted or unwanted, big or small
Losing expectations, opening my heart to them all.

Monday, May 23, 2011

Joseph Daniel wonderfulness

Well, my love, 33 has arrived. It looks mighty fine on you. You have been talking about this year for quite some time and it is upon us.

You know if it weren't for God's grace, I would have married a fool. I'm so incredibly grateful that God not only delivered me from my stupidity but gave me a gracious, wise, and precious husband. Sigh...

Every day is like opening a new present of your wonderfulness. Thank you for loving, leading, and shepherding our little family so well.

I hope you have a wonderful birthday!

(pics from our 5 year anniversary over night trip a few weeks ago!)