happy new year

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Tried to slow down and take a few minutes to soak in the last day of this year.

2018, like most years, was eventful. I had moments of overwhelming gratitude for this life I live and others where I found myself discouraged and defeated. I made some really great memories with my kids, but other times found myself raising my voice in frustration. There have been good tears.. and bad ones. I had days where I was loving my husband well… without condition.. and some where I just didn’t want to, I chose selfishness. I was able to trust God in some big things, and saw Him literally move in mighty ways… but yet I am still tempted to grasp at control.

When I think about next year… I have a mix of emotions too. There are some big unknowns, and if I’m honest that’s really uncomfortable. But sometimes we grow the most when things are uncomfortable. And while I’m sure I will still make mistakes, I really want to be willing to do whatever He wants. I want to be listening, quick to obey, deliberate, love others well, and be present. And like I was reminded yesterday…I want to remember that I am who He says I am. I want to live like that person, not the definitions

I give myself. 2019… its coming (in like a few hours haha). What do you think God is taught you this past year? Any thoughts about next year?

dragon breath

morningsnuggles

So every. single. morning this kid sneaks in my bed. Some days I wish I could get the extra few winks in… so I am not going to lie, I get a little annoyed.

And don’t let this pic deceive you.. he wakes up 100 percent. 😳

Haha. Today, I tried to be thankful for this moment. I don’t know how many more years he will do this. Probably not long. So I’ll take the early morning snuggles, and questions, and dragon breath, and more questions, and the chance to start the day early with a little guy I love a lot.

summa

What an amazing summer it was!

Florida Keys, St Pete Beach, Singer Island, Lake Geneva, Lake Placid, Legoland… We got lots of water, sunshine, and fun!

 

Shoe-be-do 

Little update on Ellie’s shoe drive… 


We are up to 656 pairs of shoes to bring to Haiti! With more still coming in. 

The girls are so excited! 

Here’s their little feature on the news.. 

http://www.wptv.com/news/region-c-palm-beach-county/west-palm-beach/young-girls-collect-shoes-for-people-in-haiti

Thanks to everyone who is supporting! We will be sure to put up images of the girls passing them out in Haiti. 

cancer

This week has been one of those “whoa” weeks.

You guys ever have those? The ones that stop you in your tracks.

Thursday I stopped by to drop off some items for my daddy who was healing from a tonsillectomy (ouch!). While I was there, my parents took a call from dad’s doctor. He explained on speaker phone the results of the biopsy they did on one of a lymph nodes removed while they were doing the tonsil surgery.  The result. Cancer. The word you never want to hear. Especially about your daddy. He’s one of the strongest guys I know, and he has cancer?

I’ve had several emotions in response to this news. But probably the thing I have learned this week about myself is how I was scared to be open about the way I feel. With myself and with others. I quickly had the urge to fill my time, be busy, and not think about things. You guys, I did yard work, deep cleaned the bathroom with a toothbrush, painted, worked till late at night, binge-watched netflix… anything to keep my mind off of things. And the more and more people have found out about the cancer, I get anxious. Because that means I have to talk about it and I don’t look forward to the attention.

Here’s the thing.

That is selfish and stupid.

Because this is part of life. Pain, grief and loss are all themes in the Bible that are integral to its story, and when we gloss over them in our own lives, we miss out on the full depth of the Gospel story.

Suffering is a reality. 

John 16:33: “Jesus said, I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”

If I choose to avoid it or keep it to myself,  I’m not allowing God to teach me anything. And how I can have guenuine relationships if I’m not sharing my experiences with others? 

It’s interesting because the Bible refers to trials as walking through darkness, waters, or fire. We are not to lose our footing and just let the suffering have its way with us. But we are also not to think we can somehow avoid it or completely ignore it either. We walk through it.

I was part of a study on 1 Peter a few months back and Peter actually compares suffering to a furnace.

“These trials will show that your faith is genuine. It is being tested as fire tests and purifies gold–though your faith is far more precious than mere gold. So when your faith remains strong through many trials, it will bring you much praise and glory and honor on the day when Jesus Christ is revealed to the whole world.” – 1 Peter 1:7

Here’s what Pete’s saying. You can go through a hard time and either let the fire burn you to a crisp or you can come out refined and pure like gold (and ultimately bring God glory through the process).

When you have a relationship with God, you don’t have to be worried about the flames overcoming you. He is there with you in the fire (look up the story of Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego in Daniel 3). The Bible tells us over and over again, He is near, available to be known and will lead you through the hard times.

My friends were joking this morning that wouldn’t it be nice if life was really like it appears on everyone’s social media feeds. If the “highlight reel” was life everyday. And while sometimes it’s tempting to want to live in a trouble-free fairytale world… I also realize the value that a trial can have.

The hard times I have been through in the past have allowed me to grow tremendously in ways I never would have otherwise. There is no way to really learn how to trust in God until you are drowning. Not only that, I can love others better. Because there is no way to really empathize and sympathize with other suffering people unless you have suffered yourself.

Romans 5:3–4: “… but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope.”

So there’s my confession. I was tempted to keep it in and ignore the hard stuff this week. But, I can’t and I shouldn’t.  In fact, I am even thankful for the opportunity to be on this journey. I know my family feels the same way.

And I know I am not the only one who has something hard to walk through right now. Perhaps you have been down this road? Or maybe you are there now? I would love to hear your stories. Cancer certainly isn’t a stranger.

Thanks for letting me share my heart and letting me open up about this. If you see me, hold me accountable!

We appreciate your prayers for my dad’s Leukemia treatments and for this process.

And why not post a blast from the past pic for fun?

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Also, this song is so powerful. It’s been on repeat! 

ellie turns 9

Our Elena is half way to 18. Crazy!!!

She is so generous, beautiful inside and out, sweet, loving, a great leader, creative, smart, funny, talented, and the list could go on. I seriously couldn’t be prouder to be her mommy. What a gift she is!

My sister Christy is an artist and was in town for the party! So we had to take advantage! We combined Ellie’s passion for art and Christy’s skills and had our own little version of Sips and Strokes.

Here are a few photos from the day! The girls did a great job!

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grateful

When it comes to things I’m grateful for.. These four are near the top of my list. So blessed to be their mommy. ❤️

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american ninja warrior party- kira turns 7

Kira is really, really into American Ninja Warrior… I would say she is borderline obsessed.

So when we started to talk about what she wanted to do for her birthday this year (birthdays have always been a big deal in our home.. we are dorks in that way), her dream was to try out a ninja obstacle course with her friends.

We looked in to local ninja gyms and it quickly started to sound expensive (and the closest one was an hour away). So, we decided to just do our own version.

Major props to my hubby (and his friend Tim) for finding free wood and building the warped wall, floating steps, and salmon ladder.

Here are a few photos from the day! It was so fun!

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back to school

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ellie’s first trip to haiti

Over spring break we had the opportunity to take our oldest daughter Ellie to Haiti to meet some of our favorite people.

Ellie has done a shoe drive for her birthday the past two years, so we really wanted to give her the opportunity to come and pass out the shoes collected herself.

She loved meeting the people of Haiti. She especially loved spending time with the children at the orphanage. We even had the girls over for a sleepover twice (Ellie’s first time doing a sleepover). She loved the animals of Haiti (she was especially fond of the apartment cat, Meesh Meesh). It was also really fun to spend time with just her. And I have the feeling this will be the first of many trips for El to Haiti.

One of my favorite memories was when we traveled to a town in the mountains. Ellie braved the 3 hour trek, and then worked for several hours straight helping children try on shoes. She was dripping sweat and hungry, but didn’t stop to complain. I couldn’t have been prouder of her selfless attitude. I hope I never forget that moment!

Thank you to everyone who donated shoes for us to bring over. We were able to pass out over 550 pairs!

And to learn more about the orphanage and mission we partner with, please check out their websites below. Amazing people doing incredible things!

http://www.wholeheartedorphanage.com

http://www.haitiainchristianmission.org