Monday, December 17, 2012

Presents vs. Presence

Yesterday at church the sermon really challenged each person to look at their own heart and see if they were desiring the presents of God or the presence of God.

“Go up to the land flowing with milk and honey. But I will not go with you, because you are a stiff-necked people and I might destroy you on the way.” Ex. 30:3

This was after Moses had come down from the mountain and found the people worshipping the golden calf. The Lord was so angry. He said though he would give them the Promised Land but would not go with them. He would give them what they had been desiring but not Himself.

Moses and the people were so upset. Moses’ reply was the following:

Then Moses said to him, “If your Presence does not go with us, do not send us up from here.” –Ex. 33:15

Moses would rather have stayed in the desert and have the Lord’s presence than go to the Promised Land without the Lord.

The question posed to us was, if God said he would give you exactly what you had been longing for and desiring, but not himself, would you take it? would you still want it? Can I honestly say that I would rather stay in the desert (figuratively speaking – that could be ill health, poverty, estrangement from family, job loss, etc) and have the Lord than go to the land flowing with milk and honey…let’s say “easy street” but without the Lord? 

I know in my own life it’s easy to focus on what I want FROM God and I too easily forget that His PRESENCE is the greatest gift He gives. I want what I want and when I get it, I think I will be satisfied…but only for a little while, then I want something else. But when I truly seek the Lord’s PRESENCE over his presents, there is such satisfaction and peace in my heart.

Christmas time is full of presents…don’t miss HIS PRESENCE – the greatest gift, Jesus.

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Jars of Clay

Nearly every day I am reminded that this body is a jar clay…a fragile vessel. From hearing of another person that has been diagnosed with something hard, watching my mom bravely suffer with severe rheumatoid arthritis, to how my body just doesn’t feel quite as good as it used to…yeah, I’m reminded.

I have really wrestled with physical or bodily suffering this year. I mean, I know all the “right” answers when it comes to the topic of suffering. For example, “it makes you stronger, “ “it’s the consequence of living in a fallen world,” or “God never gives us more than we can bear.” Now don’t get me wrong, I believe all of those statements, but that doesn’t make it easy to swallow or watch.

I was comforted by 2 Corinthians 4:7-18, especially the following verses.

v. 7 But we have this treasure in jars of clay. – that treasure is THE GOSPEL, we have JESUS!! No matter what we go through each day, that is always a reason to rejoice!

v. 8 We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed but not abandoned; struck down but not destroyed. – this is a promise, one that I need to keep in front of me often and remind my loved ones of.

v.16-18 Therefore we do not lost heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.
These verses are just loaded with good stuff!!

DAY BY DAY – grace for the moment. What a promise that we are being RENEWED INWARDLY each day.

 A couple of words really stick out to me here, fix, temporary, eternal.
FIX – this takes a conscience effort each day, to fix my eyes on the unseen, on Jesus
TEMPORARY—everything on earth is temporary, good health, bad health, good times, bad times and fixing my eyes on the seen things will throw me off.
ETERNAL—a word that’s hard to even comprehend, but I know that I and those that love Jesus will spend an eternity in perfect relationship with him and in perfect health and this life on earth is really just a blink of an eye in comparison.

I’m never going to be okay with watching people suffer because God has put it in my heart to long for more and I will continue to long for all to be made right until I go to be with Jesus or Jesus comes back.

I thank the Lord that we are never ever alone and that He does promise to bring beauty from ashes and good from bad.

I don’t know if you relate to these ramblings or not, but if you do, I hope you are encouraged and if you are the one actually suffering, I pray you are comforted and that the Lord gives you the grace you need to walk by faith and not by sight.

Friday, October 5, 2012

Our New Home

Whoa! I can’t believe it’s been almost 3 months since my last blog post! We have been going pretty much nonstop since then!

August and September were especially a blur!

During that time, we bought a house, painted it from top to bottom, moved out of one place and into our home, and went on a wonderful vacation!

Here are just a couple before and after pics our home.


Painting the trim white made such a HUGE difference!
(took FOREVER, but was so worth it!)


ta da!



We took the bar out and had enough space for a great sitting area where we could look outside into our pretty courtyard



love this room so much without the red and diamonds!


We really love living here and are so thankful the Lord blessed us with this home!

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Old Stomping Grounds


What a difference in greenery from this year to last! I remember going out with my brother to shoot guns last year and being so dirty and dusty. Everything we stepped on just disintegrated it was so dry. The draw looks beautiful right now though.



My brother, Tommy, is an awesome marksman and I love going out to shoot guns with him. He’s practiced so much he can calculate for different distances and wind speeds with ease.

We shot the AR-15 and his BIG gun, lol, don’t know what it’s actually called. I was a tad rusty but got the feel back pretty quickly. I hit the target several times from 100 yards with this gun. As I shot, my arms got tired and it got harder for me to keep the gun still and on target but overall, I did good.





Tommy has hit targets from at least 900 yards with this gun!!

We only had time to get to 500 yards, but I hit the target every time I shot!! (even in 20 mph winds!!) There are knobs on the scope to adjust for wind and distance. Tommy would tell me where to set those and then I would adjust the height of the gun with a small bean bag in my left hand that sets under the butt of the gun. Then you just set the sights on the target, relax and pull the trigger. (and of course, hold the gun tight to your shoulder!!)






After we shot the AR-15, Tommy spray painted the target so we could easily tell where we hit with the big gun.








A nasty storm was rolling in so we had to cut our outing short. The wind and dirt were BAD, but it was fun to watch the storm roll in.

Thanks Bro for a really fun time!!

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Fun Getaway with Friends


The AuSable River in Michigan has become one of my favorites! I wouldn’t recommend fly fishing on it unless you are EXTREMELY patient, but it is perfect for kayaking!




We only had one capsize this trip down the river and no phones were lost :D







It was wonderful to have to wear sweats one last time before coming back to Texas to just sweat for the next few months!



Friday, May 11, 2012

I Know You…

From the time I was born until 18 years of age I lived in the same town and pretty much the same house my entire life. I grew up in a town of a little over 2,000 people and went to K-12th grade with the exact same people. One of the best (and worst things at times) of living in a small town is that everyone knows you. Not everyone knows you at the same level, but 18 years is a long time to interact with people and you learn what they’re good at, what they’ve been through and about their character.You know who to call if you’re having car trouble, if your A/C breaks, if you want some fresh sweet corn on the cob, need the church opened, forgot something at school, or just need some company.

Since high school, the longest I have lived anywhere is our current residence….coming up on 2 years. I have really enjoyed the changes and the traveling, sometimes I even get a little antsy and feel like it’s almost time to move again, lol. The Lord definitely knew that I was going to have to move a lot and gave me a willing spirit and a little gypsy inside that makes moving fun. And, Wade is the best friend I could ever want to move around the country with!

Every once in a while though….I miss the comfort of being around people that have known me my whole life. (of course I mean my parents) but I also mean my friends. When I moved from West Texas, I definitely lost touch with most of my friends and have kept in close touch with only a couple. Most of the time I’m totally great and don’t even think about it…but recently I was sure missing being around people that know me.

I thought about how fun it would be to go plop down on my best friend’s couch, watch her TV, get whatever I wanted from her fridge and not have to answer all the questions that come when making friends with new people. So…I did seek out one of my best childhood friends and told her if she was around for the weekend, Wade and I were coming over. I hadn’t seen her in years, but we picked up right where we left off and she was such an encouragement to me.

The next week I was driving around town, running some errands, still thinking about how I felt largely unknown by most people here….Then…I heard it, soft, but clear as day…I know you.” Whoa. I was overwhelmed….who did I hear in the car…Jesus. Instantly my heart was overwhelmed by the magnitude of such a gift and such a TRUTH. Instantly I was comforted and at peace. The human heart definitely has the desire to know and to be known and the person that knows you the most this side of heaven is your spouse, but Jesus knows you and understands you in the deepest, closest, most perfect way. I had been looking for that comfort of being known from people…but I did not feel the comfort and peace that came to my heart until I knew, really knew, that the God of the Universe KNOWS me…inside and out….and LOVES me completely and perfectly.

Psalm 139 definitely says it best. Here are a few of my favorite parts from it.
v. 1: O Lord, you have searched me and you know me.
v. 3: you are familiar with all my ways
v 13: For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb
v 16: All the days ordained for me were written your book before one of the came to be

I know this truth but sometimes I only know it in my mind, but there are moments when God’s truth just sinks into the deepest part of your soul and you know what….it changes you, and it changes how you respond to the world.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Pictures from Easter…

Wow…this month has just flown by in a bit of a blur… but it’s been a good blur. .

Here are some pictures from Easter. We had a wonderful time celebrating Jesus’ resurrection with family. Sloan is growin like a weed and we enjoy watching all the new things she does and says.



There was a little sand playin…and swingin


being silly…



and sittin around the fire…


All dressed up for Easter church service…



Monday, April 2, 2012

Mentoring and

It’s hard for us to believe, but we have been mentoring for a year already! After our experience with Epiphany in March, it is clear in our hearts that mentoring is a MUST.

Gospel Village is a ministry that our church has started that partners with the local school district. There is a 3 faceted plan in place.

VILLAGE FRIENDS: Village Friends provides support for leadership and teachers of adopted elementary schools. It allows teachers to focus on teaching by supporting them with acts of kindness, encouragement, and administration.

VILLAGE MENTORING: Village Mentoring is an off-site one-on-one mentoring program designed to form an intentional relationship between a child mentee and qualified adult mentor. Mentors will commit to meet two hours face-to-face weekly with his or her mentee. The goal of each mentoring relationship will be to form relationships that develop a well-rounded student while also earning a hearing for the gospel in the mentee’s life.

VILLAGE EDUCATION: Village Education refers to an after or in-school tutoring and literacy program staffed by volunteers from Gospel Village partner churches.

We have really enjoyed the 2 kids that we have been mentoring. Most of the time we just pick them up and come back to our place to hang out. Pizza is pretty much a staple, lol. We watch movies, play video games, take walks, play putt-putt, make cupcakes, paint nails, visit Barnes and Noble, get ice cream, play at the park and whatever else we can think of. We try our best to be constant, to demonstrate that God loves them, that they are special and that God has great plans for their lives.

Our kiddos are in Junior High…I remember those days…it can be a tough place.

I wish we could say that we have seen a huge change in the kids we mentor, that we’ve made such a difference, but most of the time we don’t really know if we’re making a difference. BUT, we trust that God uses our obedience and continue on. It has been blessing and we look forward to more time with them.

Please pray for us to have wisdom as we encounter difficult situations and try to speak truth into these kids’ lives. Please pray and think about mentoring wherever you are. You don’t have to have a program in place. There’s always a kid out there that needs someone to look up to, someone they know cares deeply about them, and will help them navigate this crazy world. It is a commitment, but one well worth the investment.

Friday, March 23, 2012

First Touch of Spring

I finally removed the dead old plants from last summer and replaced it with something much more lively! Sometimes I get overwhelmed by the amount of flowers at Home Depot, but I saw this little place and decided to stop. This basket immediately caught my eye because of the great colors and variety of flowers.

The planters on the balcony rail are still empty but I hope to get to them next week.


God’s springtime begins with renewal within you. – M. Buchanan

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Fun at the Museum

Who says you can’t have fun at a museum? We sure did!

Here’s some pictures of our fun times at the Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art in Bentonville, AR.


This picture started it all…from here the poses just got more fun!!

Me and my buddy George Washington!


Dad really got that eyebrow matched almost perfectly! hehe…


hmmm…I see a resemblance…







I didn’t know Uncle Jimmy had this kind of talent! I think I’m going to start calling him,
Tiny Dancer…hehe












Look, it’s “Estochio!” Wait, I mean Pinocchio!

Good one, Mom!!

In all seriousness though, this was a wonderful museum! I had a lot of fun admiring the paintings and sculptures. It’s hard for me to believe people can paint such beautiful scenes and that they have the imagination to make such pieces.

What’s even more amazing though is the God who created this intricate, amazing, too wonderful to say world….from…nothing! He is infinite in His creativity and ability! Each of us is limited but the Lord sure did give us great inspiration!

Here are a few more of my favorite pieces from the museum.



This looks like a real man’s picture…but it’s actually a sculpture! Everything was so incredibly life like that it was almost creepy! The hair, lips, eyes, skin…everything looked REAL!

This next picture shows how big it actually is…









This version of The Last Supper was made from hundreds, if not thousands, of individual spools of threads that are different colors! And…it was upside down! When you looked through this clear sphere, it allowed you to view it right side up…


Monday, March 19, 2012

White River Fishing Trip



Wade and I have heard about the great fishing on the White River for sometime and we decided this was the year for us to go! Instead of going by ourselves though, we thought it was time to get our parents together. We haven’t all been together since our wedding three and half years ago! So my planner, Wade, got all the details together and we went this past Wednesday.


It was every bit as good as we had hoped for!! The weather was perfect and we caught over 150 fish in 2 days! That’s the most fish by far I’ve ever caught, not to mention in 2 days! We were able to be choosey and keep our limit of 5 fish apiece each day.


Wade caught a really nice Brown Trout. Catching a brown trout is rare so it was cool that all but one of us got to reel one in, but you can’t keep a Brown unless it’s at least 24 inches long (and that’s even more rare!).



Mom actually caught the first Brown. (that’s the guide, Albee, holding mom’s fish for her). I think she won the most fish caught category! Every time we looked her way, that pole tip was bent and she as reeling one in!


There was definitely some trash talk going on by day two, but I think that just made it even more fun.



DSC01936We were also celebrating that exactly 9 years ago Wade and I met each other for the first time in Dallas at an FCA banquet. Neither one of us had a clue at the time that the Lord was introducing us to our future spouse! God was just keeping our story interesting :)


So, for all you singles out there…keep trusting the Lord, you may have already met your future spouse and just don’t know it yet! It was over 2 and half years before Wade and I even spoke again! But God is the Grand Weaver and He is always working His plans out for His glory and our good!






Dad was trying to act like he caught this big one, but it was all mine! (he did help me get it off the hook though!)


The river itself is absolutely beautiful…the water is super clear and you can see the shoals and rocks all the way along the bottom.

The houses along the banks aren’t too shabby either. I think I could live in this one.


We learned how Bull Shoals got its name. Cotton used to be transported up the White River on narrow rafts. The rafts were then pushed up the river by slaves that the people called “bulls.” The bottom of the river has flat looking rocks that are called “shoals,” thus Bull Shoals Lake came about.


This was our first Bald Eagle to see in the wild. He sure did look pretty flying across the sky!!






DSC01872 We all stayed together in a cute cabin by Bull Shoals Lake called The Hermitage.

We brought groceries and took turns cooking each meal.

Mom made her famous carne guisada with beans and rice one night and then Angela fried some fresh caught trout while dad grilled up some burgers another night!








We played horse shoes and sat on the deck, taking iDSC01948n the beautiful views and peace and quiet.











None of us really knew how to play, so we just made up our own rules, lol, and it was very fun that way!


Winston and Toby had so much fun chasing each other around and exploring the woods.

We tried to keep a pretty close eye on them though…lots of hawks were flying about….




It was great that we were all able to fish together on one boat! The only guide service that takes out more than 3 more people at a time is White River Family Fishing. We would definitely recommend them to anyone that wants to take a family trip! Our guide, Albee, was great!




Here’s my Brown trout!!









Here’s a few other fun pics from the trip.

We are so thankful for our family and this is trip we will never forget!!