Thursday, December 6, 2012

The Living Christmas Story

Our family is, once again, participating in our church's Christmas program. This year has been a little different from the last two. Although I knew it would be harder this year, I just wasn't expecting this much of a challenge. But, you know what they say about men and rivers right? 

Taking the easy way makes them crooked.

I think God has a little (or a lot) of character straightening that He wanted to do in me this fall.

This year, Hope plays the dead girl. During the scene that depicts Jesus ministry and the many miracle's the final and most climatic scene is of Jarius' daughter being raised from the dead.  It's a treasured part for most of the young girls on the cast and we were pretty sure she would love to have the role.  When asked, we said "Sure, she'd love to." 

Um, we were wrong. Really, really wrong.

For the next 20 minutes or so, Hope shrieked, as we practiced. I knew in my mama heart that she wanted to do this, I just had to figure out what was going on. When we got to the bottom of it, Hope was worried she'd have to die and really need a miracle to come back to life.

We reassured her that she didn't really have to die. That she wouldn't even have to be seriously injured (her next big concern), that she simply must act the part. Lots of practice in her daddy's arms later, she's got the role down and did an incredible job tonight on opening night. 

As I have taken pictures and watched this transformation in her, I've been amazed. Not that my daughter is so great at this role (anyone who knows her knows she has a flair for the dramatic), but at the revealing nature of her fear. Because it's my fear too. 

Jesus assures us that he is there for us. His arms are a safe place for us. That he would rather die than spend eternity without us. He asks us for one thing, complete and total surrender. He wants us to fall on him and die to...ourselves. 

Oh, how that hurts. "Die to myself, Jesus. Can't I just play 'possum in your arms?" "Can't I just be mostly dead?" 

But truly die to myself. Truly fall totally on him. Truly cry out to him every last bit of my being. Truly want him more than I want ANYTHING on this earth. 

Sometimes I would rather scream and cry like a child than

give in to what He wants.

And as I ask myself why, the answer is simple: I forget His goodness.

What he's asking is everything I have and what he's offering is more than I can imagine. Tonight as I sit here remembering the love he poured out for us, I want to throw myself into his arms and surrender to the God who is truly good. Truly kind. Truly loving. 

And who can make my mess straight. IMG_9017

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Making a Commitment

A few months ago, Tyler made the decision to be baptized. The last of August we celebrated this huge step of faith with him. We are so blessed to see God’s work in our son’s life. Below is the testimony Tyler wrote for his dad to read before his baptism.

Tyler, we are so, so grateful that you are choosing to walk in the truth. We know that God is at work in your life and we trust Him to complete the good work He began in you. We pray that everyday you will choose to live in the truth of God’s love and the power of the Spirit.  We love you!


I asked Jesus into my heart when I was three. We were singing songs about God and Mom told me that Jesus wanted to be in my heart. I asked if He was and Mom said “Not yet.” And she asked me if I wanted Him in my heart. I said, “That would be very nice of Him.” Then I prayed and Dad prayed.



God has worked in my life in many ways. He has given me friends and family to support me.


Dad and Mom have read Bible verses that have encouraged me and kept me motivated to keep working for God and not for man.


I want to be baptized to show God has made a change on the inside of my life. I want to trust God with my life because He died for my sin.


Being baptized means dying to my sin nature and living a life for God.


My favorite chapter is Psalm 23 especially the first verse.  “The LORD is my shepherd I shall not want.”




Thanks to all the family and friends who joined us to celebrate. We are grateful to our family and the church family who showed us love and helped make this a wonderful evening. Special thanks to:

Grammy, Papaw and Grandpa for being such awesome, loving, listening, encouraging grandparents. Words can’t express the gratitude we feel for teaching us how to teach our son.


Pastor Jim for being a part of our whole family’s life these past 7 years, showing up for us when it when you didn’t have to, and putting us on your short list, meeting with Tyler and baptizing him.


Pastor Tim for helping Ty find a place of service over and over, loving him so well, walking him through the process , coordinating everything that day and making sure all the details were in place.


Miss Chelsea for getting him the wonderful book, helping with accountability, loving on him this past year and being sensitive to the Spirit’s leading in ways that changed his life.


We are blessed that there are so many others not on this list.  We love you all


Monday, August 13, 2012

Jonah’s Druthers

This spring Tyler and Becca were a part of our church’s kids musical. It was a fun western spin on the story of Jonah. Our children’s pastor did an awesome job of making sure everyone was included. Becca and Tyler joined over half way through the practices and they were each given individual singing parts as well as some minor rolls.

Becca was loving the western costume she got to wear. She and on of her friend’s were able to not only sit side by side in the “choir”, but got to sing solos in the same song. It was a fun experience for her.


Becca also did an awesome job singing her solo part as well as filling in for other during the sneak peaks at church. I was so proud of her poise.


Tyler also had a solo performance. He was so determined to get his part exactly right that he went out with a very serious expression on his face. We kept encouraging him to enjoy his time on stage and not worry too much, but it was his baby sister who made him finally relax. As he went up to take his place at the microphone, Bree kept yelling “Dy-dy”. (Her version of Ty-ty.) We were all laughing (and trying to hush her), but it was fun to see him let loose a little.


Ty’s other role wasn’t a speaking role, but it got a laugh anyway. At one point in the show they introduced “Jonah’s Brothers” and he came out wearing this wig. I think he could totally do longer hair.


We loved having all three grandparents, aunts, cousins, great-grandparents, friends and neighbors all come to the show and love on the kids. It was an awesome weekend.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012


No, not one of my kids. Me!!!


I’ve been wanting this lens for about a year. For any other photo geeks out there it’s the Tamron AF 28- 75mm  f/2.8. I can’t wait to take some pictures with this! Thanks, Babe!!!

Tuesday, July 17, 2012



That moment before the sun slips below the trees is my favorite time of night. It also happens to be one of my favorite lights for photographing too.  Mostly because I’m too lazy to get up early and shoot in the other golden light.


Dinner was over, Doug was blessing me with doing the dishes while I did a few of my favorite things (Anyone else just sing that in their heads?) – playing in the garden and taking pictures of my kiddos.  Golden moments.

Friday, June 1, 2012

Bedtime Prayers by Hope


Dear God,

Thank you for this day. Thank you for our food. Thank you for the good nights sleep we’re going to have. And please stay in bed. ‘cause I like Mommy and Daddy’s bed better. ‘cause I’m scared of the darkness. And if I take my stuffed animals in there then it will be my bed. But, I know it’s Mommy and Daddy’s bed. So, help me to stay in my bed. And to not be scared. In Jesus’ name, amen.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Welcome Home!

Last night our family got to be part of something small and huge. Our friends ,who are adopting two little boys from The Democratic Republic of the Congo, came home with their little boys in their arms.We were at the airport with many of their family and friends to share in their joy. Two small little bundles, a huge amount of love. It’s a night I will never forget. Liquid love, as our senior pastor calls it, flowed down my cheeks as we welcomed them home.

It was especially fun for me to take pictures for them. I’m going to leave it for the proud parents to post most of those pictures, but here is one of my favorites from the night. The former baby, welcoming home the new babies.


Congratulations, again, friends. It’s been a privilege to walk along side you and pray these boys home with you. We love you!

******If you want to help them with the costs, they still have t-shirts to sell. Click on the link on the upper right side. **********

Thursday, May 3, 2012

A Quick Update


I'm terribly behind on posting. I could blame it on our new home  school co-op and the fun we're having there. Or, my husband working insane amounts of hours. As in -It's 11 pm and I'm staying up to wait for him to get up in about half and hour so I can kiss him goodbye.- kind of hours. Or the musical my kids are in. Or, or, or...I'm just a lazy blogger.

I think it's mostly that latter. :)

Just for fun and to try to catch up (let's not talk about the Christmas pictures that never got posted, okay?), I thought I'd put up a few of my favorite recent pictures.

Ty's 10 now. Crazy, right? I cannot be the mother of a 10 year old.

10 years 10 years 2

He, on the other hand, is proud of his new two digit age. "It makes me feel a lot older, Mom." Yeah, me too. Not really, but hearing him talk about how grown he is doesn't help me feel like a young hip mom. Neither does the fact that he walks about 12 feet ahead of behind me. Or the gray hair.

This "baby" girl is getting so big. We are finally having her dedication next week. Thankfully our church is now calling it "Infant and Child dedications" because she most certainly is no longer an infant. In honor of that I had a mini photo shoot with her.

Breeley dedication 3 Breeley dedication2

Next week she's going to be walking 12 feet behind me too! She's a delightful, keeps me on my toes mix of  ornery, sweet, creative and crazy. And I'm crazy about her. This age is so much fun! I love watching her grow into an independent little person.

These two have a love-hate relationship. Hope loves Lucy and Lucy...well you get the picture. We came home from co-op and Hope, as usual was crashed. I dumped her on the couch and look who came to pester her awake. I think Lucy considered it payback until Hope woke up and loved her some more.


Another wonderful take away from co-op. The kids absolutely adore their art teacher there. So. much. fun. stuff. Becca loves art. My fridge, dresser mirror, nightstand, and walls are a testament to that love. I'm so grateful we've found a place where our kids are nurtured and taught well.


The older kids are in a musical this weekend at church. It the story of Jonah with a western twist. I can't wait to see them in it. I'll try to get some pictures of that up soon.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Spring (and my first attempt at shooting exlusively in manual mode)

A few weeks ago, I had the privilege of going to a photography class. If you are in the market, Rocky Mountain School of Photography's weekend classes are incredible. I have been learning about my camera and trying to learn to shoot in manual...and failing. This class gave me push to try to again.

With the gorgeous weather we've been having I've been outside a lot. But my yard is just kind of icky for trying to get good pictures. It's small, the neighbors garages don't make awesome backdrops, yadda, yadda, yadda. So today we headed to the park for some play for the kids and practice for me. It's a win-win! All these are SOOC.

Oh, Man! When did my boy get so big. He spent most of the time watching the teens play on the super crowded basketball court. He was really wanting to play today. Hopefully tomorrow I'll be able to take him down to the less busy park near us. At least he chose a spot with interesting light. It was sort of a win- win that way, right?

See the crazy busy court behind her? She was so sweet hanging out with her the little sister on the slides. This was the only picture I got of her before she joined a game of tag. After that I wasn't even going to attempt manual shooting.
Girly-girl loved this little slide. She was ornery on it. She loves climbing up and playing queen of the slide. I thought this was the best exposure shot of the day.
Hey! Do I know you?
Okay, so not only was this the worst exposure of the day. (Backlit shots are hard! - at least for me.) But, while posing for the picture, notice what she's doing. That's right, fixing her hair. Guess how fast she went down that pole? My poor baby. She got back on the horse (or pole in this case) and managed to hold on tighter when she didn't have to think about smiling.
I love the light and her expression in this one. Overexposed for sure, but I still love it!

After Bree melted down at the park we headed to Chick-fil-@ for kids night. Talk about crazy! At least the kids got to enjoy their ice cream and I got to practice more. It's amazing how the slightest shift in light change the feel of the whole picture.

Monday, March 12, 2012

Observing Lent was not something I grew up with. It was rather strange to be in a church that talked of Ash Wednesday services, foot washing in connection to Maundy Thursday and  Good Friday services. Although the formality of the services was unaccustomed, the preparation of the heart was not. For as long as I can remember it's something my parents encouraged us to do. Often, they would read us books that would inspire deeper thought.

My papaw was a reader. A librarian as well as Latin and English teacher, he loved books and learning. When I interviewed him for a college paper, I learned that he was an special ed student. He wanted to be an elementary school teacher so he could help kids get off to a good start. In order to be an elementary teacher, you had to be able to sing. Singing- well- that was something Papaw never mastered. But he did overcome his learning difficulties enough to be a fabulous teacher. More importantly, he passed on his love of reading. To my dad, and to me (among many, many others!).

One of his favorite authors was Max Lucado. The newest book was a sure winner in the gift department for him. When we went through Papaw's things, each of the grandkids were given back whatever gifts we had given him. I honestly was not excited about the thought of getting back all those books, until I opened them again. Instead of pages that were neat and clean as I had expected of my librarian grandfather, Papaw had filled the pages with notes of insight. Underlined passages that spoke to him. Exclamation points, upward arrows and "Papaw-isms" filled the margins.

Almost every year since then, I've picked up one of those books, "He Chose the Nails", to read near Easter.

This year I picked up the book with a less than eager heart. Anxiety, hurt, frustration have been nagging at me. One blow has landed on top another blow and it just isn't seeming to stop. I wasn't really wanting to lay anything down at the foot of the cross.  It was so much easier to dig in and wait for it all to pass. Easier to back away from people and relationships than to remain open to what I know God was calling me to.

So tonight, while I was reading the words hit home.

"Until you leave something at the cross you have not embraced it."

Those words were coupled with a reminder of our pastor's words a few weeks ago.

"The choice isn't between self and God. That is a far easier choice. The choice is between self and the cross. 'If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross and follow me.' (Mark 8:34)  You cannot hold onto self and the cross at the same time." 

This message was followed by an invitation to literally leave something at the foot of the cross. Crosses had been placed at the front of the church with a basket to collect the slips of paper.  As I wrote on the blank sheet and refolded it, I was reminded that God knows my heart and my needs better than I do.

Tonight I am not only reminded of what I need to leave at the cross, but what I need to embrace.

"By this all men will know you are my disciples, if you love one another" John 13:35

"Above all, love each other deeply for love covers a multitude of sins." I Peter 4:8

"Therefore encourage each other and build each other up" I Thessalonians 5:11a

"give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus" I Thessalnians 5:18

My prayer this season is has three parts: for Christ to increase and myself to decrease, that I might learn to love they way He has commanded, and I will give thanks more readily for all He has done.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Happy Birthday, Hope!

Dear Hope,

Happy Birthday, Pumpkin Pie! You are four, although you wake up every morning asking if you are five yet. :) Mommy isn't ready to let you grow up that fast.

This year you have grown up so very much. You are growing tall. At your check up you are in the 90% in height. You are a quick learner too. You love to sort things, figure out new words, color, write your name and anything else you think you can write and work puzzles. You are trying to hard to read without anyone teaching you. That's the way you do everything, On. Your. Own. You make us laugh!

One of your favorite activities this year was going to the zoo. We went a couple of times in the winter, this was the week of Becca's birthday. We went just after a huge ice storm. You were thrilled to see the dolphin show. Since our membership has expired you keep reminding us that the giraffes are very sad that you don't go to see them any more.

You love to help me cook. That one of your favorite activities. You want to help with everything, including peeling vegetables, stirring and pouring and, my personal favorite, "hatching" the eggs when we are baking.

You absolutely love church. You are developing such a soft heart for the things of God. You want to live for him already and the blesses your daddy and I to no end. You often lift your hands during praise time at church and can't wait for Miss Lisa or Miss Rebecka to take you to "Scunday school" as you call it.

This will forever be the year you cut your hair in my mind. Everyone thinks I went and had it cut now. The cut you gave yourself is so cute. :) I think in another month or two your bangs will finally be out of your eyes again. I can tell you are beginning to get frustrated with them. Hopefully you won't be grabbing for the scissors again.

Every now and then I still get a little peak into the tiniest bit of baby left in you. Like when you weren't feeling well and conked out on the couch. I love your sweet, sweet sleeping face.

 This was taken on your first ever camping trip. We went with a few other families from our church and you had a blast. I think  you lived in a hammock half of each day. It was so hot. You would climb in and rock for what seemed like forever. Mommy and Daddy loved knowing exactly where you were!

 You are having so much fun being you! Daddy and I are so proud of the little girl you are and know that God will continue to direct your life. We pray that you will acknowledge God in all your ways and allow him to be the center of your life. You are so very, very precious to us. I love you, baby girl!


Saturday, January 21, 2012

Beautiful Things

I'm taking a quick break from catching up.

This week has been long. Not that we've been busy. It's just been long somehow.

The kids have done great with the new school routine we've started second semester. It's been fabulous to finally have a new structure since Breeley gave up her morning naps.

Speaking for Breeley, she is talking so much. She was saying a around 20-30 words right before Christmas. Now she's in the "popcorn" verbal stage. We are loving listening to her. Today she saw a gag gift I'd gotten Doug for Christmas.  (A really, really tacky hang over the door basketball hoop - that talks to you carnival style. Doug was horrified that I bought it from our friend's garage sale. The kids and I thought it was hilarious. It was Becca and Bree who played with it the most.) She pointed to it and said "Boom baby" totally enunciated. I was dying laughing. She also says "Ang Bur" when she wants to play Angry Birds on Doug's phone.  Some days I think my baby may be a genius; and then I see her eating crayons....

Hope and Becca have found a new love in playing together. It's fun to watch the two of them dress up and put on shows. Becca is normally the producer/director/ gopher, while Hope enjoys center stage. They both are happy that way.

Ty is getting ready for his first solo camping trip. It will be interesting to hear how he does overnight by himself. Of course it will be on private property, but it's still hard for this mom to believe he even is ready to try something like that on his own.

I'm being reminded right now of the beautiful work God is doing in my family. I know that God is working in every family who allows Him to be the center of their home. The gift and the honor that it is to be a part of the kingdom of heaven sometimes grows stale. I love that He has already made all things beautiful in his time. I pray that the eternal perspective he so greatly desires me to have is where my focus stays.

My family is growing up and these years are going so fast. Maybe that is why this long, long week was a gift. A time to slow down and scoop my babies off their feet to rock or read or color or play computer games. I want to grow close to the Lord's heart and close to my husband's and children's hearts so that I don't miss the beautiful things God is doing in our home.

Monday, January 16, 2012

Catch up!

It's been awhile. Since Living Christmas Trees I've been tired and busy. Mostly just tired though. I'm hoping to get caught up in the next few days on our family's life.  

Starting where I left off, here are the highlights of the 2011 LCT. 

 The  obligatory family photo! Right before the last performance I remembered to get one on the set. Thanks to my friend Katie for taking the time in the midst of her assistant director(ing) responsibilities to not only snap the picture, but make sure lighting was a good as it could get and make my baby laugh! I love that she's laughing so hard you can't see her eyes in this one!
My precious angel! This was by far her favorite role this year. She loved learning the dance and being a part of this scene.
 This sweet lady heads up the childcare for all the younger kids in the cast. She has "adopted" our family into theirs and we are blessed beyond measure. She and Hope put each other's lipstick on before the show.
 My Hopey girl! She was a trooper again this year. She was a bundle of joy and brought joy to many hearts. She was adamant about which scenes she did NOT want to be a part of this year. It was so nice for her to be able to articulate what she wanted to do and didn't. Of course, it was a big disappointment (and therefore some less than joyful moments) when she learned she wasn't quite old enough to be an angel. But she did awesome in the Palm Sunday scene and the finale where she learned the whole dance and rarely missed a beat. We were so proud of her and thankful to Mr. Dan for being so patient to help her on stage.
 One of my favorite parts. This year to the scene depicting Jesus' ministry they added Jesus welcoming the children. I love the look on the disciples face as Jesus gives his full attention to the children.
 A very special teen volunteered several  nights to come help with the kids.  If you remember, Breeley was not having a great week. She was tired and teething. Once this sweet girl came to play, Breeley was so happy. She would even fall asleep for her in a room filled with playing kids.

 My boy in the choir room which served as our green room, prior to a show. Ty did a great job in more grown up rolls this year. This was the first time he was a part of the crucifixion scene. I was so proud of his listening to directions and learning from each practice and performance. He had a joy about him and a hard work ethic with learning the finale dance. 

It was a great year again. I'm not sure we'll be back on board again next year, but there are a lot of fun memories to carry us for quite awhile. I love how this brings us together as a family and a church. We are so grateful that so many of our family and friends came to see the show. It's so much fun to  know a few in the audience. Thanks for making time to come share the fun with us!