Saturday, December 31, 2011

Decemeber Quotes

I am so glad I started doing this because looking back, these crack me up. Her language and focus of her days change from month to month.

Neela Quotes from December 2011:

- "I just..."
- "I need ____ because ____"
- "I'm just kidding"
- "I'm obeying"
- "You like this song?"
- "My Mommy" (when we are reading a book or sitting in her bed she just gives me a hug and says these sweet words.)
- When I turn the music down in the car she says, "Yeah, that's too loud"
- "Baby wants..." (this can be bananas, strawberries, etc. really it's what she is wanting to snack on)
- She loves anything princess.
- Sings "How He Loves Us", "A Whole New World", "Beauty and the Beast", and anything Lion King
- Hugs Daddy and Mommy and kisses our cheeks all by herself.
- After we put her to bed she "reads" a few books by herself before she goes to bed.
- "No watching tv" (we have currently cut out tv)
- "Can I wear this Princess dress" (every morning and evening)
- "I'm going to do my dance show" (She then proceeds to twirl around on her toes and kick her leg out. It's the cutest thing ever!

I am literally laughing at her funny habits and personality daily. Never a dull moment.

Her teacher told me the other day that she is so "motherly" with the other children. It's sweet to know she loves helping others and gets them hugs when she thinks they need one.

Books 2011

So my goal every year since I have had a child is to read 12 books per year (1 per month). I know there are some great over achievers out there but with being a wife, a mom, working full time, and meeting with some fabulous ladies this is my goal.

All this to say I did not meet my goal (1 book shy), but I have learned so much from the books I read this year. I have been challenged, encouraged, and entertained by my choice of books for 2011.

- "Shepherding a Child's Heart" by Tedd Tripp
This was a fabulous parenting book! This book reminded me parenting is not about getting my child to "act" a certain way but to shepherd her heart and guide her to understand who God. (man which can be a struggle for me at times when my heart is impatient with whining) God has entrusted us with our children to point them to who He is. We are shaping their world view and their understanding of this world and our purpose. There are a few practical parenting tips toward the end.

- "Parenting with Love and Logic" by Cline and Fay
Loved this book! This gives great practical advice. This book instructs about teaching your children to problem solve and learn from making their own choices whether the consequences be negative or positive. There were a few extreme examples, but I do not have a child that age and have not had to cross that bridge yet. It's worked great in our home because Neela loves being able to have the independence of making her own choices and not me always telling her what to do, what to wear, etc.

- "Humility True Greatness"- by C. J. Mahaney
Just as the title states, true greatness. This book redefines how our culture defines greatness. Man, there is so much pride in my heart in different areas of my life and this book reminded me true greatness as biblically defined: Serving others for the glory of God. I loved the practical advice of at night reflecting back over the day and seeing how God moved, provided, revealed His presence or in the morning waking up and dwelling on who He is. What are his attributes? Study his attributes one by one. The list goes on. Great book!

- "Becoming a Woman of Influence"- by Carol Kent
This was the 3rd time I read this book and my heart is challenged every time. Basically using every moment, situation, and relationship and an opportunity to glorify the Lord. Everything about my day or situation has to be perfect for God to move in my life. To wrap my in his loving arms. To remind me He delights in me. Simple truths that can make a big difference.

- "Sacred Influence" by Gary Thomas
This book is written by a man to woman about what a man needs from his wife. I love the phrase "be worthy of me". As I sink my roots deep in my intimacy with God I recognize I am not perfect but will continue to grow more like Christ. This book just address areas of my life that are weak and pour truth in my heart instead of lies and gave me practical ways to do this in my life.

- "Captivating"- by John and Stasi Eldredge
2nd time to read this book but this time I read this book with a girl, one on one. The first time I read it my heart was just not in a place to take in the truths I did the second time. As women our struggles are real and at times we try to push them aside as if they are not real or don't count but they are and do. God delights in us. We are precious in his sight. I am thankful to be a daughter of the King our Warrior.

- "A Thousand Splendid Suns"- by Khaled Hosseini

Laughed and Cried often through this fiction book. I learn a lot about this culture and gained a deeper view of their history. Had to take breaks to gather myself at times, but such a good book!!

- "Momentary Marriage" by John Piper

Ok, best biblical marriage book I have ever read. You want to know what scripture says about what marriage is, roles, divorce, etc? This is an excellent book! Man, I know I will be referring back to this book in years to come. It's short but such a thick read. It's not a sit for 5 minutes reading. You need time for these truths to sink in.

- "Vintage Church" by Mark Driscoll
I wanted to read a book about different roles of the church and functions. I have to admit, it took me a while to get into this book but it's great information and backs up it's views from scripture. I learned a lot and Tim and I had great discussion regarding a few of the topics discussed in the book.

- "Cross Gardner" by Jason Wright
A friend from work recommended this book. What a great fiction. Once again, many laughs and tears. I was able to relate to the characters because of the stage of life they were in. Really put things into perspective for me regarding not taking moments in our life for granted.

- "Crazy Love" by Francis Chan
This book opened my heart and eyes to how big, beautiful and amazing our God is and how much he loves us. How often we seek creation to fulfill our needs but we need to seek our God and sit in His presence. My security in life is not in my home, income, or family but in the saving grace of my loving God.

So there you go! Just an overview of my book list for 2011. There were many more books on the list, but unfortunately were not read! Guess they will roll over to 2012~

If you have a book you would like to recommend, let me know! I would love that!

2011 Christmas

Just like years past, Christmas flew by this year. This year was so relaxing and I am so grateful for this time.

We were even given, by sweet amazing friends, tickets to the Dallas Cowboys game on Christmas Eve. Tim's Dad, the Dennis', and Tim and I all enjoyed this gift.

Here are just a few pictures from my phone we took over Christmas. I lost our camera this month so we had no official camera pictures for Christmas but at least I had my iphone! ;)


This was our family Christmas before we went to Arlington to spend Christmas with the Birdwell Clan!
Neela insist every morning to wear a dress. Just to explain why she is wearing a sleeveless dress in the middle of winter. :)


Neela holding Caelyn!


Cousins in front of the tree at Pawpaw and Mimi's home!


My sweet baby girl!

I did not get a family picture this year! I know, such a surprise!!

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Remembering Telluride Trip in '05



To many, this post will seem odd, but those who experienced Telluride in '05 (Ben, Sam, Butch, Tim) will laugh!

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

November 2011

This month marks Neela being 2 1/2 years old!

In honor of this special month, here is the video Tim made for Neela's 2nd Birthday.

video

Sunday, November 13, 2011

1 Month

This past month has been a journey no one plans for, but does happen to so many expectant mothers. Today marks one month of us finding out we had a miscarriage. When I think back to the day we found out, it seems so long ago. My heart has experienced joy, love, sorrow, sadness, heaviness, hope, peace, and rest. So many refining moments.

It's amazing when we found out we were having a baby how my whole life changed in a moment. In a moment everything changed. I was no longer a mother of one child, but of two. I can no longer drink coffee and cokes, now it is water, juices, and milk. Oh, I need to take a pre natal vitamin daily. Packing healthy snacks and lunch daily were no longer an option but a must. Documenting my daily health and being in tune with my body. Picturing Neela as a big sister and what our daily routine will look like soon. My mind was consumed with so many things.

In a moment, everything changed. Silence during the ultra sound. This pregnancy was not a "normal" pregnancy. Bleeding this much was not normal. The doctor letting us know this is not our fault. Stay to your regular routine (whatever that means) and come back in a few days for blood work. Doctor trying to make the air light as he walked out. The nurses giving us a long time before they came back. The word to describe this moment was sorrow.

Leaving the doctor office was a hard moment. In a moment we were given the gift of life and in a moment it was taken away.

These last few weeks have been a whirlwind of emotions and thoughts.

In a moment like this, I needed grounding and footing. What is the foundation in my life? I needed to make sense of this tragedy and I am thankful for the foundation of my loving God present in my life. My heart needed a place to be real, to express sadness, and truth revealed. I am thankful for God's Word and the stories which show God's faithfulness, unconditional love, hope for my future, and comfort. We are not promised a life separate from pain, but we are given a hope through the pain. A everlasting hope that never wavers or turns away.

Verses of comfort:

Psalm 121

Psalm 91

Psalm 118:14- "The Lord is my strength and my song; he has become my salvation."

Psalm 118:24- "This is the day that the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it."

1 Peter 1:3-6: "Blessed by the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! According to his great mercy, he has caused s to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven for you, who by God's power are being guarded through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time. In this you rejoice, though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been frieved by various trials,"

Proverbs 3:5,6- "Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths."


I am thankful God has given me a peace that surpasses all understanding. I remember the next day talking to Tim about everything and asking what is God teaching us through this and wanting to know how is God using this situation to reveal himself so I can stop feeling pain. And he reminded me it's ok to not know right a way what God is teaching us and it's ok to sit in the sorrow. He said we know He is in control of all things (Psalm 104), we know He loves us (John 3:16, 1 John), and we know He has a plan for our lives. More will be revealed with time, I needed to rest in Him and be real with my heart before the Lord.

I am thankful for my parents (and in-laws) and sweet cousins and friends support, encouragement, and prayers. Thankful for friends always checking in (Lisa, Diana, Alex, Deepika), a listening ear (Holly, my bible study leader), prayers (all my parents, Mackenzie, Geraline) and understanding what I am going through (Holly, Erin, Katherine). So many more people, the list goes on. I am thankful for the body of Christ. We are all uniquely gifted and this was revealed so powerfully at this time. I am so blessed by a merciful God.

I still have moments and days of sadness but I know this is a reminder to me of the hope to come. There will be a day with no more tears and pain.

Revelation 21:4- "He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning nor crying nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away."

I am reminded children are a gift from the Lord (Psalm 127) given to us to teach them who God is. When (if) we receive the gift of another child, I know God has taught me He is ultimate in control and will bless us with another child according to His will. Until that day, I will rejoice in the hope I have been given. I will thank the Lord for the blessings in my life, the gift of Tim and Neela. I am thankful He reveals himself to me daily and I am known as God's child.

Monday, November 7, 2011

Neela quotes

This girl just cracks me up. Here are a few of her current phrases she says often:

- "I want juice please."
- "I want to hold you."
- "Will you open for me?"
- "I need to go potty."
- "I want to pray."
- "Remember when we watched Lion King/Tangled/Beauty and the Beast?"
- "Mommy, I like your dress."
- "Only one." (this is usually referring to candy and she puts one finger up and has a very serious look on her face.)
- "Look, the Eiffel Tower." (She was pointing to an electrical tower that was really big and shaped like the Eiffel Tower. So cute! )
- "Can you turn the music up?" (This is a statement she says in the car when her "Lord's Army" song comes on, along with her thumb pointing up)
- "That is very very sharp/hot." (pointing to a knife with a very serious look on her face)

Just a few that come to mind. :)

(The time change and switching to a "big girl bed" has us up 2 hours earlier which explains why I am blogging at 6:30am :) )

Happy Monday!

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Children

"Children are a heritage from the LORD,
offspring a reward from him.
Like arrows in the hands of a warrior
are children born in one’s youth.
Blessed is the man
whose quiver is full of them.
They will not be put to shame
when they contend with their opponents in court."
Psalm 127:3-5


Saturday, October 22, 2011

Need

Due to me totaling my car a few weeks ago, I have been driving our Honda Odessey van for work. I've really enjoyed this because we have the new Shane and Shane cd in the van and I basically have this cd on repeat. :)

My current favorites are # 6, 7, and 10. To know what these songs are.... you need to buy the cd. :)

Well, I'll tell you number 7 is "Miracle".

This has been the prayer of my heart this week. I need the Lord even more than the air I breathe. I need the Lord every moment of everyday.

This week God has sweetly called me to trust in Him in all circumstances and to rest in the truth that I am a chosen child of God. He is drawing me near to Him daily and I yearn for his presence. Nothing catches Him off guard, He does not sleep or slumber, He knows all. He knows what is going to happen before we do and is using all things for His glory (Romans 8:28). I so often try to please others desiring others approval, "trying" to be a good wife and mother from my own strength, or even change situations I don't have control over. I need the Lord to rest in, to trust in, to be present in my daily life. I don't need to see a dead man come alive or see the cancer go away (phrases from the song), all I need is for Him to fill me up inside or know it will be ok because He is living and active in my life. (Hebrews 4:12)

A sweet friend pointed me to these verses which have been a place of dwelling this week and truth in my life.

"Blessed is the man who trusts in the Lord. He is like a tree planted by water, that sends out its roots by the stream, and does not fear when heat comes, for its leaves remain green, and is not anxious in the year of drought, for it does not cease to bear fruit.
The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately sick; who can understand it? I the Lord search the heart and test the mind, give every man according to his ways, according to the fruit of his deeds."
Jeremiah 17:7-10


Man, I am thankful I know God is my foundation and rock.

Another friend to these verses:

"Because he holds fast to me in love, I will deliver him; I will protect him, becuase he knows my name.
When he calls to me, I will answer him; I will be with him in trouble; I will rescue him and honor him. With long life I will satisfy him and show him my salvation."
Psalm 91:14-16


I am thankful He alone satisfies. I am thankful that when we call to Him, He answers. I need Him to move in my heart and be present in my life. I don't desire this, but thankful for a gracious, loving God.

A verse I currently have in my car.

"Let me hear in the morning of your steadfast love, for in you I trust. Make me know the way I should go, for to you I lift up my soul."
Psalm 143:8


God daily is growing a desire within me, to trust in the Lord's steadfast love for me. To see myself as He sees me, as a child of God, and to live this out in my marriage, as a mom, a friend, co worker, and stranger. Use my circumstances to point others to Him and understand my need for God's presence, power, and love in my life even more than the air I breathe.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Movie at the Park

Recently we enjoyed a public movie at the park. What a fun experience for Neela. She enjoyed setting up our area and then getting to play around on the blanket with Daddy and Mommy. Tangled is the 2nd movie she is ever seen in her life and she is still talking about it to this day. Daily she talks about Lion King, her first movie to ever see and in the theater, and now Tangled. Literally within the first 5 minutes of her being awake in the morning she says, "Remember when we watched Lion King? It's over. I liked it." No joke, everyday! :) And she watched Lion King 3 weeks ago. I try to keep a straight face every time but sometimes I just have to laugh and give her a big hug.

Thankful for the privilege to be a Mom and to be Neela's Mom. She is such a joy and blessing in our lives. I enjoy seeing the world through her eyes and finding joy in simple, daily blessings. The joy of sitting on a blanket in the grass, bouncing up and down on Daddy, covering up with a blanket with her shoes off, eating her peanut butter crackers, and wearing her Dora dress. She enjoyed laughing when I would laugh at the adult humor and she did not know what was going on. She just enjoyed seeing me enjoy the movie. What a sweetie. Just to point out a few from this night.





Sunday, October 16, 2011

Love Letter: Colossians

Below is a blog from a great blog I follow. Enjoyed this post today.


This is Day 16 of 31 Days of Love Letters, in which I explore God's love as found in 31 books of the Bible. To find out more or to know why I'm doing this, please read this post first. The list of books I will be writing from can be found here.

The way of the world is performance.
The way of the world is meriting love.
The way of the world is fluid, ever-changing, ever-evolving love.
The way of the world is love that is imperfect and incomplete, no matter how well people love.
The way of the world is that relationships can be marred, broken, and destroyed. They have to be maintained and worked at.
The way of the world is unforgiveness and bitterness.

Unfortunately, we often assume that the way of the world is also the way of God:
He is about performance.
We have to merit His love.
His love for us is fluid and changeable.
His love is imperfect (It can't cover all my sin) and incomplete (If I don't keep up my spiritual disciplines, I will lose it).
We have to keep the spiritual plates spinning to keep His love and His favor.
He is unforgiving and bitter toward us.

Colossians tells a different story:

"Beware lest anyone cheat you through philosophy and empty deceit, according to the tradition of men, according to the basic principles of the world, and not according to Christ. For in Him dwells all the fullness of the Godhead bodily; and you are complete in Him.." (2:8-10)

The way of the world and the way of God completely oppose one another.

It's so difficult to understand and believe a love that is so wholly unlike worldly love. But according to Scripture, God's love is a complete love.

His love does not depend on our behavior or performance (good or bad).
His love does not change.
His love is perfect; there is nothing it cannot handle.
His love cannot be lost.
We don't have to work to maintain His love for us.

All of these are true because His love was completed for us on the cross. When we take up that cross and give Him our lives, it's a done deal ("It is finished"); we are complete. Nothing can ever change His love because when He looks at us, He sees Christ.

And we know how He feels about His Son.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Rhesa's Fantasy Football Dominance


My friend Rhesa took over the worst team in our dynasty ff league and is now dominating... like a wolf apparently. His choice of pic to go on our league page... Congrats Rhesa!

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Skin 11'

For those who knew us year 2 of marriage know what the title means. :) Our 2nd year of marriage we had a "marriage retreat" for just the two of us. Tim was creative and even made t-shirts that said "Skin 08', we killed it. It was really funny. The purpose behind "Skin" was for us to be transparent in our marriage in every way.

Well, we did not actually call this trip Skin 11', but we did go to the same lake house owned by our friends Jason and Alex's family. Dallas peeps, if you have not met this couple or spent time with them, you should. They are such a joy in our life. They called the lake house "Sabbath House". They use this house for a place of rest... and it is truly that. It was great because we were not bombarded with technology and distraction of our daily life. We were able to rest, reflect, and rejuvenate our hearts. It was great time of sleeping in, reading, running together, and having no set schedule. Thankful for such sweet, encouraging friends in our life.


Date night! Ok, so we are in the middle of no where, so the closest restaurant was Chili's. Which of course, you can't go wrong. :)


Tim enjoyed making funny pictures in all the pictures I took. :)


A night of scrabble to exercise our minds. :)


Where I spent every morning with my bible, book, and cup of coffee. perfect.


Everyday we spent time laying out and getting a few rays. Tim did swim in the lake. I chickened out due to me not being able to see the bottom of the water. Yes very much unlike me, but I think being a mom has changed my "crazy" side a bit... in a good way.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Dad's Birthday



What a guy. If you have ever met my Dad, you leave his presence happy, excited, and encouraged. He just has that spirit. It was fun to celebrate him and what a loving father he is. It's funny that the older my parents get the more they enjoy just having their kids and family to their home. They enjoy having a house full of kids and more serving us than us serving them. We try to serve them, but they are so quick. :)

This past year has been fun to have both my siblings local and able to come to family gatherings. Due to my brother being in a band, Flyleaf and my sister is in the army, they are on the go often.

We definitely made fun memories.


Ladies.


Guys.


Proud birthday boy with his grandchildren.


With the hubs.



We even managed an entire family picture.




Opening gifts.


The night ended with the three of us reenacting our family picture from over 25 years ago!

Happy Birthday to sweet and loving father!

Monday, September 19, 2011

Hamilton Pool

We officially have been to Hamilton Pool Preserve as a family. If you are ever in the Austin area, it's a must go place. (if you like nature places :) )

Neela LOVED this place.
-She loved the hike to the preserve. When we would try to pick her up to speed our walk up, she was insistent on walking herself.
-She loved climbing the rocks and would just laugh like crazy at nothing! :)
- She loved swimming in the water. It was easier for her to get in and out of the water because the water gradually got deeper.




Totally cannot hide the excitement on her face.


Loves playing with Daddy


Family pic!


Playing in the water.


Neela having a deep conversation with Daddy.... Yes Elmo does like to swim. :) hee!

A fun family outing. Neela slept hard on the way home... I think she had a great time.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Love



"Love anything, and your heart will certainly be wrung and possibly broken. If you want to make sure of keeping it intact, you must give your heart to no one, not even to an animal. Wrap it carefully around with hobbies and little luxuries; avoid all entanglements; lock it up safe in the casket or coffin of your selfishness. But in the casket- safe, dark, motionless, airless- it will change. It will not be broken; it wll become unbreakable, impenetrable, irredeemable. The alternative to tragedy, or at least to the risk of tragedy, is damnation."

C.S. Lewis

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Homemade Pizza

Neela loves helping in the kitchen. She says "I want to cook". So it's fun when she can help pour, stir, or even just make a mess in the kitchen with Mommy.

Here is our latest cooking adventure: homemade pizza.


Start with the dough. Yes my child is obsessed with smelling candles. :)


Next, pat the pre-made dough onto the pan.


Then Tim's favorite... sauce! Everywhere! :)


Her favorite part... spreading the cheese. She wanted to put all the cheese in one big pile and then start eating the cheese from the top. :)


Team Work!

It's funny how these simple task can take so much longer with a 2 year old, but it's so worth it. They made these activities fun and funny. :)

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Entertainment last night...

video

Neela was in a hyper/goofy mood last night. I LOVE when she is like this, it's so fun. We were singing "I like to eat eat eat apples and bananas" and she went a little goofy. Hilarious!

Love my home entertainment.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Family Pic!



Yay! This is our first professional, in the studio, family picture. I love pictures and am thankful for this keepsake for years to come. I am a bit obsessed with pictures, it runs in my family. :) On my bucket list is to someday own a really nice, fancy camera. These past years have flown by and I know life is not going to slow down anytime soon. I want to cherish these memories.

Enjoy!

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

The One You Need



This song is from the new Shane and Shane cd. Yes, it is the song everyone has been so excited about. :) We bought the cd last week and totally love it.

When I was telling Tim how much I love this song, he put his arm around me, leaned his head on my shoulder and said, "You are such a cheese ball." :) All in sweet fun. And yes, he is right. I am a little on the sentimental side of life, but we both agree this song is the prayer of our heart for Neela.

So often we try to be her everything, her rescuer when she is sick or hurt, her provider when she is in need, or even her safe place of love. Yes, tangibly we get to be this in her life because God has entrusted her to us for this time. Man, but we know we are not her ultimate place for these things, it's in God.

I love how the words say He is our Hero and He can be her Hero too.

Sweet moment tonight: I always ask her if she wants to pray or if she wants me to pray. She wanted to pray tonight. She said, "Thank you Jesus for loving ME" Yes this is what I say when I pray with her, but it's so sweet to hear her say this. I pray someday she will know the significance of those words.

Extra info: My favorite phrase this week: "Mommy, I want to hold you."

Sunday, August 14, 2011

5th Wedding Anniverary



August 12th, 2011 marks 5 years of marriage. Wow, where has the time gone!!

The statement, "I am more in love with you now" rings so true in my life. I loved Tim the day we were married, but man, I love him so much more today. I didn't think that was possible.

I have enjoyed seeing his raw heart in joys and trials.

I am thankful for our ability to be vulnerable and goofy regardless of the situation or topic.

I am thankful for my best friend to share openly our thoughts and feelings and to seek God's will in all areas of lives.

Excited for what this year holds for us. I am a lucky girl!

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Becoming a Woman of Influence


This week North Village Church finished our summer ladies study. We went through the book Becoming a Woman of Influence by Carol Kent. This was my 3rd time to read this book and I loved it so much more this time around. I have read it in different seasons of my life (single just out of college, married and about to start a church, and now 2 years into planting a church) and the truths have impacted me in each season in different ways.

This book is a really simple read with straight forward truths from scripture. We can influence others around us, anytime of the day and in any circumstance because of God's presence in our lives. So often we don't see ourselves as women of influence because we are not on a stage in front of a lot of people or we don't have a dynamic personality. God created you and gave you specific gifts to glorify Him and to love others as He loves us.

Each chapter is a different "principle" to influence others around us. I have been challenged to see every opportunity with others to share what God is doing in my life. It can be the praises of joys in your life, it can be wrestling through truths and circumstances in your life, or a flat out hard season of life. Regardless of the season, God is moving. He is using you for His Name sake. He is sweetly speaking to your heart.

I struggle to believe this truth at times. I am not witty, smart, eloquent with my words but God is not asking me to do this in my own strength, I need to rest in Him. I desire to abide in His love (John 15). I know I was dead in my sins, a child of wrath (Ephesians 1:1-3), BUT God. (Ephesians 2:4-10) But God, who is rich in mercy and love saved me. He save me by His grace. He gave me life everlasting. Nothing of my doing so I may not boast. I get to be his workmanship. Wow. I get to be a part of what He is doing in the lives of people around me.

His ultimate vision for my life is a relationship with Him. This truth is the foundation of all relationship and situations in my life.
What is God's vision for my marriage? (Ephesians 5)
What is God's vision for being a parent? (Psalm 127) (Ephesians 6)
What is God's vision for me as a friend? (Ephesians 4)
and so on...

Praying for my heart to grow in this area of my life.




Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Joplin

It's been two weeks since my trip to Joplin with North Village Church , partnering with Soma Community Church, and my thoughts continue to go back to the images of the devastation intertwine with hope. These past few weeks people have asked me about our trip and my experience. I can't help but start every time with, "It was overwhelming."

I have never physically witnessed a natural disaster. Yes I followed the news when Katrina hit and the tsunami and other natural disasters, but to see the destruction with my own eyes broke my heart.

What was most shocking to me was when we entered the town of Joplin,the town continued to function as a "town". Stop lights, cars on Main St., restaurants opened, and even the YMCA still up and running. (I am thankful it was not hit b/c that is where volunteers and our team took showers while we were there.) The middle of this town was completely wiped out, but they continued to press on. This alone sweetly reminded me of the mighty Love of our God and He is our God who is in control of all things.

Even before I left for the trip, Psalm 104 was on my heart. The first time we drove through the area that was hit by the tornado, Psalm 104 reminded me, God created all and is in control of all. Psalm 104 shares how God created every detail on this earth.
v.5 "He set the earth on its foundation, so that it should never be moved."
It continues to explain how God appointed how high the mountains will be, how low the valleys, how the grass to grow, that will He bring forth food from the earth, the rocks will be a refuge for the badgers, the moon will mark the seasons, and how God provides for the animals.

My favorite verses are:

27 "All creatures look to you
to give them their food at the proper time.
28 When YOU give it to them,
they gather it up;
when YOU open your hand,
they are satisfied with good things.
29 When YOU hide your face,
they are terrified;
when YOU take away their breath,
they die and return to the dust.
30 When YOU send your Spirit,
they are created,
and YOU renew the face of the ground.

31 May the glory of the LORD endure forever;
may the LORD rejoice in his works—
32 he who looks at the earth, and it trembles,
who touches the mountains, and they smoke.

33 I will sing to the LORD all my life;
I will sing praise to my God as long as I live.
34 May my meditation be pleasing to him,
as I rejoice in the LORD.
35 But may sinners vanish from the earth
and the wicked be no more.

Praise the LORD, my soul.

Praise the LORD."


This just speaks to my heart in so many ways. I am reminded that God is in control.

This earth is not my home. So many times I try to make it my home, but am quickly dissatisfied with the pleasures of this world.

God showed me so much on this trip and definitely stretched me physically to do the labor work we did. If you know me at all, I am a wimp, but I pressed on. :) Just wanted to share a little of my heart.

I enjoyed the relationships I built and am thankful for the memories we shared.


Just a small picture of the mass of destruction there.


A house.


The roof part of our team put on in 2 days. They were awesome!


I helped demolish a kitchen.


We sorted debris at a home.


Our team!

Monday, July 11, 2011

4th of July/Mom's Birthday

Celebrating our freedom this year was so fun. So thankful for the men and women who serve our country for us to enjoy our freedom.

We started the morning with a 4th of July parade. Ok, so it's just a neighborhood parade with police cars and fire trucks, but Neela LOVED it. :) Her favorite part of the parade of course was the candy thrown at her.






We then enjoyed the activities set up for families to enjoy.

We picked up some Promise Pizza which was fab! (we had a groupon!)

Came home for Neela to nap and Tim and I relaxed by watching a movie, The Killers.

We then headed to Ft. Hood to my sister's home to eat dinner, celebrate Mom's birthday, and watch fireworks.










What a day!