Thursday, October 7, 2010

Count it All Joy

I've had to really think about counting it all joy. (It seems that I need to be reminded about it every now and then.) We continue to be excited about what God has brought us to New Mexico for! Just around every "corner" there is another reason we're finding of why we think we're really going to love it here.

Yet, even in the midst of good things, I've had my moments of frustration. Mostly, they've had to do with homeschool. I don't have anyone looking over my shoulder here, and I feel like I'm in uncharted territory. A territory called: FREEDOM. We've been homeschooling for 2 years and have just gotten into our 3rd year. Now, for the first time, I feel like I have no crutch. I have no support system here, and no end of the year testing or evaluation to look fellow homeschoolers who are doing the exact things that I'm doing. It's literally just us and the Lord right now. We answer only to Him. So, after a week or so of feeling overwhelmed and unmotivated, I felt that gentle smack from Him this weekend to just let go and trust Him. He reminded me that the trial I've been dealing with concerning homeschool is for our good...the testing of our faith to develop perseverance to lead to maturity and completetion. Okay. Lesson learned...hopefully. Curriculum changes abound, and I will trust Him that it will all end up good!

In other things, the fair is in town! On Monday, we watched the parade go down Main St. Yesterday, the girls and I got to go watch the sheep show during the morning. One of the boys from our church was showing his sheep, and it was fun to learn about the sheep show while we watched it. Tonight, we're going as a family to enjoy the fun! "A fair is a varitable smorgishboard, smorgishboard, smorgishboard..." (That is from Charlotte's Web.) :-) Libby and Clara particularly like the rabbit exhibit, and I can forsee a 4H pet coming into our lives one day soon.

As I sign off for today, I hope that if you are in a trial, no matter how big or small, that you will be reminded to count it all joy! Rest assured, God loves you more than you can ever imagine!

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Temporary Dwellings

I noticed my husband's Facebook status said something about us getting settled into our temporary dwelling place, and there's part of me that just kinda cringed as I thought about having to resettle into another place in the coming weeks. I wondered what that place would be called. We'll more than likely be moving into a rental home and could possibly even buy a home sometime. So, does that mean that we'll be moving into a long-term temporary dwelling place? Cringe. Again. Kinda want to be done with the whole moving thing. Settled seems better, don't you think? Permanent dwelling place, maybe?

As I think about permanent dwelling places, I'm reminded that Christ is our only permanent dwelling place. I think about Abraham and Sarah in Genesis and how they moved around so many times. Yet, they knew their home was in heaven and that God was with them wherever they went. In the midst of life's changes and challenges, I am so thankful to know know Him. Every place is in this life is temporary. Our home is in Him no matter where we are or how long we will be there. Whatever life's circumstances, He is to be our dwelling place.

In a short while, Brandon will officially begin his new job, and our ministry will begin in our 3rd church. We are miles away from things that are familiar, yet we are completely at home. It is my prayer that our hearts and minds will be focused on true "dwelling" as we fix our eyes on Jesus and run the race of life full throttle, simply and boldly loving people for Him and for His glory alone.

Life can be so hard sometimes, and each of us can become very overwhelmed by temporary things that can seem so permanent. Friend, may your temporary dwellings be just that as you, too, fix your gaze upon Him and live in the only truly permanent dwelling place, Jesus. His peace be with you.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Day 10

We've arrived! There is great peace in our hearts, and we're so thankful for God answering prayers by blessing our trip. We had such a wonderful time visiting folks along the way! We're in awe at how many people have so loved on's just so good to be loved!!!

We are staying at a guest apartment temporarily, and it is very cute and quaint. The girls are having a great time here...jumping on the trampoline, playing fetch with the dogs, and swinging on the tire swing. Libby hopes to do the zip line tomorrow, and we feel safe to let her have at's low and slow. :-) We praise God for the wonderful family who is hosting us.

We will be looking for a more permanent living setup and ask for your prayers for that. We know God has His home for us!

Anticipating many "God things",

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Day 9

It's been a great day of traveling and talking about children's ministry with Jonathan Cliff and his wife. (google him) He and Starr have an incredible passion for kid's ministry, and their family is precious! We've been blessed to spend time with them.

We will be arriving in our new city tomorrow! I will update for Day 10 of our journey, and that will be my last daily post regarding our trip. If you'd like to keep tabs on us, go ahead and subscribe to or follow the blog. I'll add some buttons in the side bar to try and make that easier for you.

See you tomorrow!

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Day 8

We've had a blast hanging out with our friends in Texas! Tonight, we were able to go and visit with our family in Christ at the first church we served in. Sweet times. Earlier in the day, we got to go over to Moses's house and see his new home. He has done a lot of work by putting in a lot of landscaping along with a koi pond. He even has chickens! It has been so good to visit with everyone!

Tomorrow, we'll be on the road, again. We will have leave here and travel to a fellow Children's Pastor's home. He serves in a church that is 3 hours from where we'll be serving, and we'll happen to be driving right through his town. We've been following he and his wife's blogs and have come to admire them in several ways. Getting to spend time with them hashing out all things childrens ministry is going to be priceless. It's like a grand field trip for us!

I think that reality is about to start setting in. Vacation will be over, and life will begin anew. We are thrilled and just humbled that God is taking us to be part of this new ministry. We will arrive in New Mexico on Friday!

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Day 7

Brandon again...sorry to disappoint you, but read it anyway.

I think everyone needs a Trisha....feel free to visit this one, she would welcome you in. It is just fun to be here.

As Kristen said, today we "got to" go to the American Girl Store and Bistro. The drive there was an event in itself, but I am not allowed to disclose details (however I will say that I was not driving). The girls were very excited to be there. The food was actually not awful and it was not completely demeaning as a man to eat there. The spinach dip was great. The girls loved the whole experience and I would say that it wasn't as bad as I thought it could have been.

We followed that up with a trip to Sam Moon, which is a wonderland of fake jewelry, purses, scarves and enough bedazzled wallets and lipstick holders to please a truckload of old ladies.

Needless to say, it was a great day for Kristen and the girls. I would say that I had fun too, but I do not want anyone to think less of me for saying it, so I won't

Our excitement level about our new ministry opportunity is growing with each new day. As we travel from stop to stop we get to answer similar questions and tell everyone about our new church. Each time I get to tell what we know, I get excited all over again about the work God is doing there and I am reminded of how humbling it is that He would call us there to serve Him.

Tomorrow we get to have lunch with Moses (yes, I said Moses). More on that in the next post.

Good Night

Monday, September 20, 2010

Day 6

We've made it to Texas! We'll be here for a few days before heading to Lubbock on Thursday morning. For now, we are so glad to be staying with Art and Trisha while we get to visit with all of our great and wonderful friends in the area.

After leaving Alabama at 5:30 am, we had a long day of driving, and we thank you for your prayers! Neither of the girls got carsick, and they listened intently to C.S. Lewis's "The Horse and His Boy" on audio for the ENTIRE trip! It was perfect because it kept Brandon awake, the girls happy, and put me straight to sleep. :-) No running off the road due to being tired. We made great timing and arrived to visit our friends from seminary for Texas stop #1. Amy and Jason welcomed us into their home and served us a homemade supper complete with Texas brownies. Our kiddos all had a blast playing together. It was sad to say good-bye, but we are happy to realize that we can see each other more often, hopefully. Texas stop #2 brought us to Art and Trisha's and we were greeted by lots of babies!! Since we moved away from here 5 years ago, several of our friends have had babies, and we were blessed to have them welcome us into town. We loved getting to see the precious little ones!

In the morning, we will be going to the American Girl store for lunch. Libby and Clara are very excited, and I know they will be delighted to get to go there. For now, we are up late and doing what we love to do while we're here...stay up until the wee hours, eat junk and just catch up on life. Feels like vacation to me.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Day 5

Our time with my family is coming to an end, and we have been so blessed to be with them these past few days. The fellowship at Cowboy Church was sweet and real. I am honored to have a father who loves the Lord and serves Him as he does. My mother is right there alongside my dad and is such a precious example of a pastor's wife. They receive very little monetary compensation for what they do, and I feel guilty that we are in the same line of work and our financial well being looks so differently. Today, they were given 2 horses, and they have longed for horses! However, they don't have anywhere to keep them and will have a difficult time affording their care. I told my dad that if God has given them horses, surely He has the other provisions for them, too! It would be awesome for them to be able to fully receive the gift of these horses. It is my hope that they will get to have some land along with a nice home complete with horses this side of heaven, but I know that may not happen. There is always hope. Mostly, I'm just glad that they truck along in ministry always knowing that their reward is in Christ and their every need is truly met in Him. I thank God for there perfect for us to see as we head towards the beginning of a new ministry ourselves.

We will pull out at 5 am, and we have a long day of driving ahead. We will stop in Texas for several days to see friends there. Please pray for us as we travel. The girls get car sick quite easily and are not able to do the normal things that kids usually do while traveling...watching movies, reading, coloring, etc. Car time is definitely a perfect time for working on those attributes of being merciful and gracious!

I hope that each of you had a great weekend! May your week be one of opportunity for loving on people and showing them Jesus.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Day 4

Furniture delivered! It made it way before we will, and we're glad to have that taken care of. A sweet sister in Christ received it for us and will house everything in her storage "barn" until we're ready to move it into our home...wherever that will be. :-)

It's been another great day! We slept in and spent much of the morning in our p.j.s. Nice. Later, my mom and I were able to go out today and do some mother daughter shopping. It was nice to be out with just her. She is such a precious daughter of the King, and I'm grateful to call her my mom. Later in the afternoon, we all went to help set up for Cowboy Church. We had to move tables and chairs and sweep up in order to get everything ready for Sunday. After setting up, a few nice folks took us to their place in order to help feed their horses. They had several baby horses, and we all had a delightful time feeding them, petting them and watching them in the pastures. (Horses are really beautiful creatures.) We all went for dinner at our favorite Mexican restaurant. It has become tradition to eat there whenever we're in town. Yum. The girls just finished helping PawPaw rehearse his music for in the morning. They love listening to him sing and play the guitar while they dance and try to sing along.

Signing off for the and hugs to everyone!

Friday, September 17, 2010

"Give You Glory"- Jeremy Camp

Day 3

Rest. I'm finally feeling it. I think we all are. It's not really about sleep but about our minds resting from all the thoughts that have flooded them for so many weeks now. Today is the first day that we really didn't have a lot to do. We just had fun hanging out and being together as a agendas, no plans.

Even though we didn't have anything we had to do today, we found plenty to keep us busy. My dad and mom have come to know someone who owns several Clydesdale horses, and we were able to go see the horses up close and personal. We found some good 'ole southern cooking at a local dive in "town" and enjoyed some true comfort food. :-) Brandon was able to eat chicken and dressing before Thanksgiving, and you can imagine how happy he was! Libby and Clara especially enjoyed their dessert of banana pudding, but the adults quickly agreed that the caramel pie was superb. After a trip to Officemax, we finished off the day with some happy hour drinks from Sonic and a trip to the mall parking lot to feed the ducks. (The mall property backs up to the water to which a lot of ducks call home. You can tell they know where their food comes from because they began to waddle towards the car as soon as we pulled into the parking lot!) This evening, we've just been hanging out with nothing imparticular going on, and it has been so nice! The girls are cuddling in bed with Mimi and PawPaw and listening to PawPaw's wonderful bedtime stories.

The weekend will be a bit more eventful as we'll be helping to set up for Cowboy Church and then attending the service there Sunday. It will be a joy to hear my dad preach and be part of the ministry they serve in so faithfully.

I am thankful for your prayers. I pray that God blesses you as you pray for us and think of us. Your comments mean a lot, and it does our hearts good to read them...whether through the blog or Facebook. I've been able to feel the transistion from one ministry to the next begin to kick in, and I am really looking forward to being with our new church family very soon. This in no way detracts from the love I feel towards our previous church family, but rather, it is proof of the calling that God has given us for our new place of ministry...the next leg of our journey. Please continue to pray for our transistion to the task God has called us to and specifically for our housing. We do not know where we'll live, and we'll be staying in temporary housing when we arrive in town next week. (We are so blessed to have a guest apartment to stay in!)

Above (I think) you will find the soundtrack to most of our car rides lately. The girls have this song on a kids worship cd that they are learning for children's choir. They love to sing it as loud as possible...and I love to hear them. God is so good!

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Day 2

This is Brandon...we are all quite tired tonight. We had a good visit with Jandy, Keri and family. Laundry got caught up and we set out for the second leg of the journey. We discovered that only 2 of the 8 cd's I had made for the trip worked, which means that Kristen has to stay awake to keep me awake now. We had "lunch" at Priester's with samples of pecan log, divinity, fiddlesticks and fudge. We also managed to find one of the few gas stations left on the road where you have to go get a key inside the building to use the outside restroom. We decided to go next door in search of a more pleasant restroom experience and discovered the exact same setup. To add to the excitement, the little man working at the station was upset we didn't buy anything.

We are now with Kristen's parents for the weekend. I always enjoy our time here and am looking forward to being busy doing nothing in particular. We are going to bed.

PS.. Kristen had written a long and very good post for tonight but her brother's netbook magically deleted it before you are stuck with me. She should be back tomorrow, so don't quit reading yet.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Day 1

We are officially homeless...or, as I like to say, "houseless". We, who are in Christ, are never homeless because our home is in Heaven. The movers had everything loaded in about 4 hours, and we are so thankful for their labor. A few things did come out of the car to get loaded onto the truck: a large rubbermaid of the girls clothes, our homeschool necessities and the dry erase board. Yes, the dry erase board. No worries, though. It should all arrive before we do. Which, leaves a somewhat unsettling feeling because that means someone else, precious person(s), will be receiving it for us...just hate to have to do that, but we are blessed to have such sweet friends be willing to do this.

We are visiting our first family on our way... Aunt Jandy, Keri, Jason & Avery. I just love being at my Aunt Jandy's home. She loves the Lord, and it's a peaceful respite to be her with her. Our girls are having a slumber party with their cousin Avery, while we are up late doing some laundry. After arriving at what is normally bedtime and chatting for a bit, we are looking forward to spending some time with them in the morning over a yummy breakfast.

Just a quick thank you for all of your prayers... we are truly feeling God's peace, protection and provision. Clara got car sick this morning, and we were "bumped" in a very minor fender bender later in the day. The car sickness put us behind schedule, but I totally needed to be humbled in the scheduling department. (No more schedules for the trip... unless absolutely necessary!) The fender bender was just an opportunity for me to be merciful to someone just as I've been shown so much mercy. It was just a scratch and the lady who "hit" me was so visibly upset. I got her name and number, gave her a huge hug as traffic whizzed by and assured her not to worry or be upset. There are too many other things in life to concern ourselves with, and being gracious and loving people are at the top of the list. I hope that I will remember to call her and share God's love with her sometime real soon.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Let the fun begin!

We are officially out of the house. Just us...not our stuff. That's tomorrow. We are so tired, and I'm wondering if I can stay awake long enough to write this post!! :-)

It's been a long of packing, sweeping, cleaning, hugging, swimming & more goodbyes. Our road trip has sort of begun as we are no longer sleeping in our own place. The van is packed to the brim, an uncomfortable brim. We're going to have to unload & put some on the moving truck instead. I hate having to do that, but it is somewhat important that the girls are actually able to buckle up...and that they don't get buried by all the stuff should we happen to slam on the breaks. Good parent award, huh? We try.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Finishing Up

Yesterday was full of good-byes. Even though there were tears, it was truly good. We were loved on by so many people, and our hearts are full of thanks and praise to God for how He poured out His loving kindnesses to us through His people. I know that there are so many of you who have prayed for us, and that means so much. We certainly feel His presence and provision in so many ways. Thank you.

The girls and I are finishing up last minute details around the house and running those few errands that have to be done. There are a few more boxes to pack and goodbyes to be said. Tomorrow is Brandon's last day in the office, and he'll say a final farewell to the ministry he's served in for the past 5 years. God has grown us in so many ways! We're grateful for every trial and triumph along the path. We praise Him for every life that's been blessed because He chose to use us in some way. For all of those who have been part of our lives, we are honored that you call us friends.

If you are in the middle of "finishing up" something in life, I hope that you are able to thank God for all that He's done in your life during the journey. Perhaps you're in the middle right now and it's difficult to see God or the finish line at all. No matter what, hang tight to Him. Count it all joy. He'll never let you go.

Friday, September 10, 2010

Blogging on the go

We are spending a few days with our family this weekend. Brandon's mom & dad live an hour from where we've been living the past 5 years. It has been a huge blessing to be so close! The many miles that will soon be between us are tough to think about, and we will all miss the fun-filled and relaxing family times we've had so frequently. We thank God for the blessing we've had.

I'm testing out a new blogging app for my iPod touch. Hopefully, this will work, and I'll be on my way to updating a bit more often! ;-)

Thursday, September 9, 2010

A New Thing

We are getting ready to make a huge change in our lives. There is, of course, so much excitement, but there is also that small bit of apprehension about what the future holds. I feel like our story is worth telling because, after all, it is God's story in us. To Him be all glory!

In a few days, a moving truck will come and be loaded with most of our material possessions. Within 2 weeks, we will be beginning a journey 5 states away from everything that is familiar to us. God has called us to serve Him in a new position, and we anticipate being part of an incredible ministry there. Is it a leap of faith? Well, let's just call it a step of obedience. He is doing a new thing.

We will be taking a 10 day trip as we travel to our new destination. So, in an effort to share our journey with family and friends, I hope to update our blog each day to chronicle our roadtrip. Also, I promise to try and find a more recent picture for the main photo of our blog. Here's to a new thing.

Monday, May 24, 2010

The Broken Ones

A few weeks ago, Clara and I had the chance to get away to the beach for an early morning walk. Libby and Brandon each woke up with a fever, and wanted to stay in their beds a bit longer. So, it was a rare and welcomed opportunity to get out of the house with just Clara.

As we walked along the water's edge, I asked Clara to help me look for shells. I wasn't really specific, and it became fun to watch a three year old examine the shells along the shore. She picked up several "diggers" which were still the shelled home to tiny creatures. I told her that they were still alive and that we should leave them right where they are. So, she pressed on.

There were hundreds of tiny shells that were leftover from high tide. They were arranged in a neat line all along the beach. Clara took time to examine many of them, and although there were plenty of whole shells, it seemed she was drawn to the broken ones. As she stooped down to pick up her new found treasure, she would hold it up proudly to me and ask, "Is it alive? Is it broken? Can I keep it?" This happened over and over, and she quickly learned to realize which were alive and which were not. However, she never wanted to put the broken ones back, and she never really even wanted to pick up the shells that were whole.

Our walk lasted about an hour, but the lesson Clara's shells taught me will stay with me awhile. You see, somewhere on our journey back towards our car, the Lord reminded me, in His gentle way, that we are like those broken shells. He came for the broken, not the whole. He longs to pick us up, to treasure us, to make us whole... because we are the broken ones.

Monday, March 29, 2010

Family Devotions

Brandon has been teaching a new class at church. It is called "Parenting on Purpose", and we have been so blessed to get to know the families that are participating. Each week, we talk about raising our children for the Lord. There is some great conversation and lots of laughs! Brandon and I have mentioned that we have a family devotional, and in full disclosure, I thought I'd let everyone have a glimpse of our precious, serious, serene, calm, highly spiritual time of reading God's Word and memorizing scripture together...

We try to have our family devo during the end of our breakfast time. Breakfast is a time that we are usually all together each day, and it makes for the easiest time to grab a Bible and chat for a bit. Here's how this morning went: As Brandon leads us in our Scripture for the week, it reminds me of a song. I sing. Libby smiles and heads to her craft table which is covered with her's and Clara's various projects. Clara follows her whining, "I want to do MY stickers!!! Where are my stickers?!?" Brandon calmly tells them to get back in their seats. I finish singing. They are searching for stickers. Brandon tells them again to get back to the table. I tell Libby that she had better get that table cleaned up right after breakfast, and Clara is still whining about her stickers. Somewhere during all of this, we are still trying to recite our scripture for the day. I think we are all glad that it has something to do with gold and honey because we can relate to this much better than statutes and precepts. Our patience has thinned, and we are now commanding the girls to get back to their chairs. Clara is crying because she is sure her stickers have been thrown away. At last, we have said the scripture, and life can move on.

I told Brandon that we should really let people know that this is how our devos go which he responds, "Sometimes?" We all had a good laugh thinking about that one. Yes, it's true, there is sometimes more chaos than calmness during our family devo time. However, we are trying and are learning how to do this. It is precious, and God will use His word in all of us!

Hello, Blog... I've missed you!

So, it has been AWHILE... but, who's counting. Today, I am saying no to excuse # 4,893,540,384, and I am updating my blog! I can hear the excitement. :-)

We've been busy like any other family, and I'm not going to bore you with many details. You can rest assured our girls have grown a ton, and we're all doing well. We are truly blessed.

In my attempt to keep this blog updated, I am telling myself that this is just for fun... I am not going to compare this blog to others...just say no to blog envy! Also, I am going to make time to write and not just read. Yes, I've been reading blogs and doing very little...well, okay, NO writing.

So, here's to more blogging from our home to yours!