Monday, August 25, 2008

The best Birthday Ever...

Yesterday was my 26th birthday... not too big of a deal, but I was hoping something great would happen. Well, it did!
We were at the first service of church. After worship, our pastor got up and said God had something big planned for today, something out of the ordinary. We had a little more worship and then Pastor Brad gave a very short message. At the end he started talking about baptisms in bible times. "They didn't bring their bathing suits to a planned baptism. They just decided spur of the moment that they were going to be baptized, and they did it right then." So that's what he wanted to do today! He went on to say that if you have ever made a new commitment to God, if you felt the Holy Spirit leading you to a new start, then this is your opportunity to make the public statement.
Right when he bagan talking about it all, I felt a jump in my spirit and knew that He was talking to me. This was for me today! I turned to my loving husband and told him I was going to be baptized today. He said, "You are?" "Yes, I need to show the change that happened in my life years ago, and this is the first time that I feel like God is leading me to do it."
The Holy Spirit was leading it this time, it wasn't planned, it wasn't a show, it was full of heart... It was my time!
With a few minutes left in service, the sanctuary was empty. Everyone was outside in front of the church at the fountain. I walked up, took off my shoes, necklace and earings and said " I'm first!" Pastor Brad got in, and I followed close behind. The water was warm and it felt so perfect to be there, right then.
Then he said a few things I don't even remember and... I came back up with tears in my eyes. This was my outward expression of what happened in my heart back in college. I thanked him and got out. I was in my church clothes, soaked all the way through, and I didn't care!
It was the best birthday gift I could have ever recieved!

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Caught up.

So, I'm sure if you're new to my blog you are wondering why I have 10 new posts today...
Well, it's because my previous blog had a malfunction, so I had to get a new one, and I really wanted to have my previous posts on it, so I just copy and pasted them over. That's also why there are no comments yet, so add some and tell me what you think. This blog is new and improved!

Mindful

This is something that I have been needing to write about for a long time now. It's one of those things that if I had written about it any earlier it just wouldn't be the same, though.
At the end of February, my Pawpaw James died of an aortic aneurism. It was very quick with no warning signs. The thing about all this was that we had no idea he was about to be gone, and didn't take advantage of the time he was here to tell him how we felt and how awesome we thought he was. And believe me, he was so awesome. We're talking about a guy who went 67 years and never had a bad word to say about anyone. He was always happy and wanted to make everyone else laugh. He was there for anyone who needed help, and my family was on the needing end at times. There was never a second thought, and we usually didn't even have to ask... if he saw a need, he wanted to meet it.
Is this not how we should all live... looking for opportunities that God puts in front of us to be a blessing to others, since God has blessed us so much.
My prayer is that Pawpaw would be my reminder of that!
In April, we planted a tree in his memory, and if you knew Pawpaw you would know that he was looking on saying " Why are you going to so much trouble, I am nothing special." That's just the man he was, and that's why he was so special!
So for this ceremony we all wore his traditional attire... white undershirt, sweat band, shorts and tennis shoes. Some of us chose to write memories on our shirts as you can see below...
The whole weekend was really just all about his favorite things... we even poured some of his favorite beer in the hole with the tree.
We were all getting to a point where we had accepted that he was gone, we weren't happy about it or used to it yet, but we had almost accepted it. That's when Granny decided she better go to the doctor. She thought that the grief had just affected her too much. She was having a very hard time breathing and couldn't sleep anymore. After a few visits and a few more tests the results came back.. She had lung cancer.

What! How in the world does a women, almost 67, never touched a single tobacco product, get lung cancer. I went straight to my books, I thought I remembered this from college, and sure enough... Adenocarcinoma. The most common cancer in non-smoking women.
We were all in shock and I just worried how Granny was going to cope with it all. I mean, she hadn't even finished all the paper work that had to be done from Pawpaw's death, and now she was going to be dealing with chemo treatments on top of it all.
But, I was the one with the little faith.. in God and in Granny.
She is one of the strongest women I know. She has now gone through 4 chemo treatments and lost her hair and her husband and having pain unpon pain and is still smiling and laughing every day.
What problems do I have? Why do I not trust God enough to have joy through my sorrow?
These are questions that have gotten me to the point I'm at today. I am so thankful for so many things, but most of all I am thankful that I am not going through any of this alone. God has been by my side the whole way, telling me it is good, and He is caring for granny. I have an amazing husband who gives me every opportuniy to see Granny and helps me through the pain and hurt and questions. God has spoken through a friend many times to say that this is not what will send Granny home... she will survive this horrible disease and be a testimony to God's faithfulness. I am thankful that God held all of my family together through this ordeal and that we have become closer because of it.
Granny still struggles, but she is even thankful. She says she is thankful Pawpaw didn't have to see her like this. He would not have been able to handle seeing her in the pain that has afflicted her.
My heart overflows right now with emothion and understanding, but it is so hard to put in words. I am sad, but at the same time I rejoice for He art with me!
A quilt that was made out of shirts that reminded us of Pawpaw. They also added some special pictures.

The scripture reads " So I commend the enjoyment of Life, because nothin gis better for a man under the sun than to eat and drink and be glad. Then joy will accompany him in his work all the days of the Life God has given him under the sun." Ecclesiastes 8:15

FMMT 2008

That stands for Family Mexico Mission Trip...We had an amazing time this past week in Saltillo, Cuahuilla, Mexico. It's close to Monterrey, and in the mountains. The weather was absolutely wonderful. There was always a cool breeze.
I would have to say that the thing that grabbed me on this trip was seeing the power of God. I have never in my life seen God move the way He did while we were there. I have never felt His power in me so much as I did there. It was incredible. I want to have that feeling everyday, for the rest of my life. I don't want to know God any other way than that, anymore.
Here's a little of what we did there...
In the mornings we were split up into three teams, going to three different colonias for VBS. Our site was at La Fragua, and it had the most children. On the last day, we gave over 200 goodie bags away. That's a lot of kids in one small area, for four days. But it was a blast, and we actually had kids accept Jesus as their savior. Awesome!

In the evenings we had services in a few places for adults. James (Bubba) and I were with the Deep group, and we had some great opportunities for outreach at those evening services. The first night we were in probably the poorest place I've ever seen. We had a worship service for this neighborhood with music, testimonies ( I shared mine), and a message ( from my wonderful hubby). There were 150 people standing around us by the time James got up to give his message. And it was one of the best salvation messages I've heard in a long time. We saw people saved that night, as well as some people set free from bondages and oppression. One elderly woman came up to James and me after the service and couldn't stop hugging us and telling us thank you. She said that as soon as we began to pray, she felt free, from something she said has held her for a long time and made her sad and lonely and just trapped. She touched my heart so much.


The next night we had the amazing opportunity to go to a halfway house. But this is not any normal halfway house. When you drove up, it gave the impression of a huge compound, and then you got inside the walls and it was like a utopia. Everything was clean and manicured, which is very uncharacteristic for this part of Mexico. They have very strict rules here, and are always working, cleaning, or going to the church on the grounds. The men couldn't even look at the women, and visa versa, or there was punishment. This place was home to hundreds of men, women, and children, all of which had been involved in the worst crimes you could think of. So needless to say, we were anxious what we would be met with... But after walking into their sanctuary, I felt the presence of the Holy Spirit, and knew God had big plans for us there. We were used in amazing ways that night. This was the place I was speaking of at the beginning when I said God showed His power, and humbly I say, through us.

I have never prayed so hard in my life. I have never danced before God the way I did that night. I have never felt the Spirit of God so strong inside me, and all it could do was pour out on those around. I have never seen hurt, brokenness, and fear melt away from the eyes of some of these women who have been forced into prostitution for so long. And all this with what we perceived as a language barrier. Now I realize that the only language God knows is that of love and compassion for His people.

I tell you all these things for encouragement and that the desire to experience something like this for yourself would grow.
Dios te Bendiga (God Bless You)

Leaving soon...

Well, Bubba and I will be leaving early tomorrow morning for a mission trip to Mexico. We are going with about 80 or so other people for a week in Saltillo working with a church there to carry-out a VBS program in three colonias. That is during the day. At night there are services for the parents to attend.
This year, however, the Deep will be going to a hang out to minister to the young adults in the city. I am so excited about this ministry opportunity and can't wait to see what God has planned for us there.
I am also a little nervous...I am leaving Selah for a week! I did this last year, but for some reason it is still hard for me. It's hard for others to understand. They tell me to just stay home and not go. But then I would be disobeying what God has told me to do. How easy it would be to stay home and be the one taking care of my child, and know for sure she is being cared for like I would want her to be. But, then, I would also have to answer to the guilt that I am not doing what I know God told me He wanted me to do, and showing little faith in Him to care for Selah while I am gone doing His work.

So, no, I will not disobey...and, no, I will not spend the week dwelling on how Selah is doing... Instead, I will go, joyfully, into the call God has laid out before our family. I pray this gives you faith to do something God has called you to do, no matter how uncomfortable!

Randomness.

When I think about my life, I usually see it in sections. Childhood, High School, College, Adulthood, Parenthood...Why don't we see our lives in spiritual stages. Without God, Getting to know God, Where should I go God?, How do I serve you God?...
It seems to me that this is how we, as Christians, should look at our life. It is a growing mountain. The more it grows, the closer to God we get, and the closer to God we are, the more closely our thoughts mirror His.
When we look back and see how far we have come, how much our mountain has grown, it encourages us to keep going. And usually at a greater rate and with more joy, praise to God, and excitement as we do so.
This is just something I was thinking about, so I hope it has sparked your interest and you think about it for awhile too.

A great weekend...

We spent last weekend at Granny's house with the whole family. It was such a great time. Ashley, Faith, and Emily came with us on Thursday night. Everyone else showed up Friday evening. There was a lot to do around the outside of the house, so the guys worked on that, and Johnny had finished the rails for the front porch which were put up Saturday afternoon. They look beautiful and make it so much safer for the little ones to play out there. That was one thing Pawpaw wanted to get done, but wasn't able to, so Johnny volunteered his expertise...Thanks brother. Just before Pawpaw died, he and Granny were sitting on the front porch and he told her that it was "Heaven on Earth". Since then she has wanted a sign with those words to put outside. We all had one made for her birthday and presented it to her Friday night...It was perfect!

The best part of the weekend, though, was the shaving of the heads... All the guys decided to shave mohawks to break the ice for Granny's shave. They are such great sports and I know Granny thought it was very supportive of them. Jake, Johnny, Bubba, and even Jake's best friend Casey got their 'hawks' and wore them proudly. We had already left by the time this picture was taken...

Selah's 2nd Birthday!

We had a great time at the house with family and good friends to celebrate Selah turning 2.
We put a few small bounce houses up in the back yard and the kids played for a little while.
Selah thought it was great that everyone was singing to her since, for the past week, she has been singing "Happy Birthday" to herself... Then we ate sweets!

video

Recent Visit to Lockhart and San Antonio

Last week we spent some time in Lockhart and San Antonio visiting family. Not only that, but we met some of the new additions...Emory Morning Burton and Clara and Jacy Portis.









Selah had a wonderful time at swim lessons with her Aunt PJ while her Daddy was learning all the secrets to the family BBQ sauce....a slight exaggeration on the whole wonderful time thing.


I was actually very thankful for those swim lessons Friday afternoon when Selah fell into the "mosquito pond" ( Trinity's name for the slightly neglected goldfish pond) at Mawmaw's house. Daddy was there to rescue her and pull her out of the slimy water by her shirt tail. He said when he got to her she was blowing bubbles and kicking her legs. As I carried her upstairs to clean the gunk out of her nose, eyes, and hair she sobbed, " I fell wawer...I bwow bubbuws, Mommy...I bwow bubbuws!" I was very proud of her! It was so nice to see everyone and get caught up on the lives we lose track of, but I must say that when we pulled into our driveway on Saturday afternoon, I was relieved!

A New Addition...


We have a new addition to our home... A gorgeous patio!

I have the most amazing husband in the world. He has worked on his days off and free time for the past month to make this thing happen, just to make me happy. He did have some help (Thanks guys for all you did)....

Yesterday, Selah and I had breakfast out there and it was really fun for her. This morning I took my coffee and bible out there for a little reading time.

It is awesome...

Mexico, Here we come!


Last summer Bubba and I went with a group from our church to Saltillo, Tamaulipas, Mexico for an awesome experience. We have another opportunity in a few weeks to go again. We will be leaving July 19 and returning on July 26. I can't wait to see what God has for us when we get there, and even on the way.

These pictures are from last year.

For Starters...


Well, I just randomly decided to do this. It is probably because we have so much going on in our lives that it is hard to keep in touch with the people we know and love. This way we can post recent activities or news, or just talk about what God is doing in our lives.

Really, I just think it is cool and want to be in on the new thing. I guess I will just learn as I go!

Our family now lives in Rockwall County, in a small town called Fate, so small in fact we are considered Rockwall. It is just the three of us: me, James (Bubba), and Selah. Selah is close to turning two and has reached her tantrum stage. But she remains to be a blessing from God.

The Lord has given us a wonderful and fitting way to serve at our church. We are members of LakeShore Church www.lakeshorechurch.net/ and are serving in the 20's group called The Deep. It is an amazing group of believers that are seeking closer relationships with other Christian and with God. I have learned so much from them and are so thankful God put us here.