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!!












Friday, March 9, 2012


We had quite a scare yesterday!
The day started normally and Winston was being his nosey self…I usually always close the DSC01862door to our bedroom, but I was fixing my hair in the bathroom and left it open…Not long after, Winston tore out of there with my pajama pants, no big deal. I thought he went back for sock…but when I didn’t see him for a little bit, I went looking for him!

I found him tearing into a box of trident gum! I immediately ran and got a treat to trade him with (otherwise I never would have caught the little booger!)
I really didn’t think it was that big of a deal. I called Wade to laugh about it and asked him if he thought I should worry about it. He checked it out online…and the race to the vet began!

Turns out that some gum, Trident being one of them, uses an artificial sweetener called Xylitol. This substance is more dangerous to dogs than chocolate! It causes a rapid drop in blood sugar and can cause liver damage. If it is not caught in time, it can be fatal.

Xylitol can be found in sugar free gum, Jello, cake, frosting and just about anything else that uses artificial sweeteners so be on the lookout!!

Thankfully we got Winston to the vet in time and he is just fine now, but it was scary and the vet bill wasn’t cheap. They had to make him throw up to try and get all the gum out of his system and then they monitored him all day. I had to take him back this morning for one more check up, and all his levels were good – great blood sugar and no liver damage.

I learned a very important lesson! We always do our best to not let him eat anything besides his dog food and dog treats, but I will be even more careful to make sure he doesn’t get into anything sweet! I hope if you were like me and didn’t know about Xylitol, this will help you keep your pet safe!

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

He Sets the Captives FREE!

Jesus says in Luke 4:18
”He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners
and recovery of site for the blind,
to release the oppressed.”

Disclaimer…this is lengthy but well worth the read!!

What an incredible weekend! We saw God move in a powerful way in the lives of 16 juvenile offenders and the hearts of the detention center workers and Epiphany team members.  I really do not have the words to adequately describe what happened this weekend, but I’m giving it a try…just know…captives were set FREE!

The theme of day 1: You are loved!!

On Day one the boys came in and really didn’t know what to think about us or the program. Our team made a lined walk way and cheered as each boy’s name was called. They walked through the line with hard faces and lifeless eyes. I thought to myself…”this could be a long few days…” little did I know, the days would go by all too quickly…

Our whole job was to love, love, love and listen, listen to these boys. Through activities and talks they were told about how much Jesus loved them and that we loved them as well. By the end of Friday they seemed a little more comfortable and were enjoying at least being able to eat some good food and have a change of routine. We were starting to learn a little more about each of the boys.

I smiled as I watched the boys interact with Wade at one table and my mom at the other. Mom’s so great with kids and these boys just ate up all the attention she gave them. The boys’ respect for Wade was evident and they were very impacted as he told them what he saw in them and how he knew they could make a change.

We discovered that they are an extremely talented and creative bunch – artists, writers, leaders, helpers…

The theme of day 2: Forgiveness

As the boys came in the second morning, there was way more enthusiasm…high fives, smiles, a few shy, side hugs…
We continued loving but also began talking about forgiveness—forgiveness available for them and people they needed to forgive. Early that day they were given a small square piece of paper to write names of people they needed to forgive as the Holy Spirit prompted them throughout the day.

Different members of the team had different “talks" and skits they had prepared in advance. As each person shared about their topic, they also incorporated their life stories…I was totally amazed at how God used their vulnerability to open the hearts of the boys and to show them that other people have been through extremely difficult times as well, but God was with them through it all. We had some amazing team members to work with and many of them had been involved with Epiphany for many years…working diligently.

One of the major parts of day two is a birthday party celebration. Each boy is given a small birthday cake with their name on it and bag of gifts. When the boys walked into the party they could not believe their eyes. They were totally overwhelmed by the moment. Many of them started crying their eyes out. Several of them had NEVER had a birthday cake or celebration EVER! And the rest hadn’t had a birthday party since they were very little. My heart broke to see these boys who really did think that nobody cared about them and it didn’t even matter that they were alive. They just couldn’t believe these total strangers would care enough to do this…maybe they were valuable after all?

After the birthday party, the boys were even more alive and really starting to believe that they could be loved and I would watch them writing names on their little squares throughout the day…

We gave each boy a Bible and then had times to show them how to find scriptures and talked about the different parts of the Bible.
My Star, Esgar, asked me questions like:
--Why is there an Old Testament and New Testament?
--What is a prophet?
--How could God become a man?
--How is Jesus also God?
--Is John 3:16 a page number?
It was such a blessing to be able to share with this young man how to use his Bible, to tell him more of how perfectly the Bible fits together and its purpose.

Saturday ended with a SHABANG!

The majority of the boys made decisions to follow Christ and came to Salvation! I believe that it was genuine. We were then off to the Chapel for a forgiveness service…

The boys were given an opportunity to nail their lists on a cross that had been set up at the front of the chapel (an empty dorm we converted). One by one we all went up and left our burden of unforgiveness on the cross. Afterwards, we sang Amazing Grace mixed with My Chains are Gone….it was such a powerful moment. There in that prison…prisoners were set FREE! Arms were raised, voices were lifted in song, yells of praise and sobs of freedom!

We were so thankful the staff at the detention center allowed our program to run 30 minutes late to accommodate for the moving of the Spirit. It was one of those moments though that we all knew was so very special, one of those moments you wish would never end…

Day 3: Jesus calls you to walk in a new life

Sunday we continued loving the boys and talking about hanging in there after we’re gone. We were able to talk about the Holy Spirit, the importance of accountability and finding a good church home when they are released.

We listened in joy and amazement to the boys give testimonies of the change that had taken place in their hearts since Friday…most of the boys said,

“Before this weekend, I felt totally alone. I didn’t think anyone loved me. I didn’t think I could change my life. But now I know that I am loved, I am forgiven, I am not alone and I can change my life!” (some even said they didn’t even think God existed before or if He did, they didn’t see him as involved in our lives)

We ended the weekend with a cross ceremony. Each young man was given a chance to accept a cross necklace that had been prayed over specifically for that boy. All 16 boys accepted their crosses and openly proclaimed their love for Jesus. One of the female workers at the detention center even accepted Christ!! They did not have to accept the cross, but all did.

As the cross was placed around their neck, Linda would say, “Jesus loves you.” and as they accepted their crosses, they said, “And I love Jesus!!” We all cheered and clapped and praised the Lord…what could be more glorious?

It really was hard saying goodbye to the boys, knowing that we could not be there with them or even check on the regularly. We told them they would be in our prayers, we would write often and those close enough, would be there the 3rd Saturday of the month to visit. We trust the Lord is able to keep those in his care.

So…in closing, if you ever have the chance to participate in an Epiphany…GO FOR IT! It is exhausting, but the best kind. The Epiphany team was absolutely incredible and I am so thankful the Lord lead us to this particular team. What a blessing it was to serve with my husband, my mom and my aunt!

Please continue to pray for these boys as they grow in their faith in a difficult environment. I am excited to see how the Lord continues to move and am confident we will see many amazing things in their lives.

My heart smiled and still does at the thought of Jesus’ praises ringing off those concrete walls…
Amazing grace, how sweet the sound that saved a wretch like me. I once was lost but now am found was blind but now I see…My chains are gone, I’ve been set free! My God  my Savior has ransomed me and like a flood, his mercies rain…unending love, amazing grace.