Sunday, November 29, 2009

Happy Thanksgiving!

We had an awesome Thanksgiving this year. Brian's grandparents and brother and family came over and we cooked up quite a feast. Janelle brought over her signature apple pie and sweet potatoes, Brian fried the best turkey, and we also had mashed potatoes, green bean casserole, corn, rolls, stuffing, fried stuffing, pumpkin cheesecake and pecan pie. Wow, was it all really good...especially after eating beans and rice for three days!:o)
The kids had a ball playing with each other, of course:) We had such beautiful weather that most of 'em stayed in the backyard play fighting. Christopher and Anna are forming quite a bond and love playing with each other...so sweet:) And Caitlin and Anna are starting to play somewhat with each other... (In this picture Anna is flinging her hair around in the background and Caitlin put on every single necklace she owns)
Grammie and Papa...
And this picture says it all....it's what we all did when it was all over:o)...
Hope everyone else also had a great Thanksgiving:)

Monday, November 23, 2009

Bless West

This weekend we went to West Dallas to help clean up the community. The boys really enjoyed picking up 'treasures' like broken cell phones and flasks. They hit the jackpot when they came to one corner and there were bottlecaps galore!
After the work they had a celebration for everyone with lunch and bounce houses for the kids. Of course the boys enjoyed that too!
Bye Caitlin!

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Beans and Rice challenge!

It's that time of year again for beans and rice! Last year during a sermon our pastor talked about how he and his family cultivate thankfulness and compassion for others in their hearts...a week prior to Thanksgiving all they ate was beans and rice....a reminder of how most of the world eats. It was pretty inspiring and humbling so we did it too. But not for a week. I wasn't that brave. We did it for 2 days. And ,wow, it was just 2 days and it was hard...probably harder for me than it was for the kids....I couldn't just pop open a can of diet coke when I felt like it or snack on some chips or, my favorite, eat dessert/candy after my meals.
Though it was just a measly two days it was a very humbling experience. I won't even try to describe it because I know I won't do it justice. But it does something in your heart. And I love how God works because not only is He working on my heart, He is also working on my boys' hearts. I couldn't believe it when the other day I was reading them this story about a boy in Africa who's parents died and so at the age of 12 he was taking care of his 3 younger siblings and they ate once a day and after we prayed for them Caleb asked when were going to eat like Africans again.:) He is actually looking forward to it! Wow. I confess I'm not. It is hard...which probably shows how spoiled I am...but I know the rewards that come in my heart afterwards. We are going to add another day this year and do it from Mon until Thanksgiving.
So if you also desire an experience that brings deep joy, peace and thankfulness then join in with us and see what God does in your heart. More than likely there will be times that will be hard, your stomach will growl or you just want this or that. In those times, pray. Pray for those who are also hungry and hurting in this world, and like I said before, see what God does in your heart.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

West Dallas fun

West Dallas is becoming a familiar place for our family lately. Almost every Friday the kids and I, and sometimes Brian, have lunch with Dajia at her school. And today Mercy St held a 'Country Fair' for all mentors and mentees and we met Dajia, her mom and brother there. They had lots of games; such as,
'Roll in the Hole'...
'Ring Toss'...'Knock the Pins'...and 'Bowling with tires'...Dajia and I went on a horse ride, which was Dajia's first time to ride a horse...And they also had face painting but there were so many kids that wanted to be painted and only one painter so we decided to take it upon ourselves and I painted a fairy/butterfly on Dajia's face...
Brian painted a cool design on her brother, Treveon's face...And even Caleb painted some cool designs on Teveon's arms....(While Caleb was painting Treveon said that Caleb was his new best friend:o)It was a fun day of making some memories with Dajia and at the end Treveon jumped on me (again:o) and said, "I'm comin to your house. Can I come? I can go momma right?" He is one wild buck. He adores Caleb but I don't think Caleb knows how to respond to him. Treveon tackles Caleb when he sees him and tackles him when he leaves. Hopefully next time Caleb will tackle him back, I'm sure Treveon would love that.:o)

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Why we love the fall...

Endless hours of outdoor fun...

Monday, November 2, 2009

Halloween Party!

Hands down this is probably one of our favorite Halloweens...
The party was a hit, even though we made efforts to scale back and made homemade games; such as...
'Pin the spider on the web'

'Bobbing for apples' (and leave it to Christopher to find a way to get soaked head to toe)'Guess how much candy's in the jar''Guess what the goo is in the box'

And the funnest part for the kids...the pinata!And we never do the party without the potluck(something for the parents to look forward to!)....Afterwards, we left as a herd, yes a herd, to go trick or treating. I think we may have given our senior neighbors mini heart attacks because when they would try to push the door forward with mounds of kids pushing on it they'd hear "trick or treat" screaming in their ear. Poor neighbors. But it was fun:)...We loved going around with all our friends and family. What a treat!Hope everyone else had a great Halloween!

Monday, October 26, 2009

Grandparents Day at CDA

The boys were lucky enough to have both sets of grandparents at school for this celebration. Each class prepared a short presentation for all the grandparents. The kindergarden class recited a poem and sang a song and first grade sang songs for them. Very sweet to watch.:o) After the presentation they gave out awards for the 'most mature'...aka...oldest grandparent:o) We thought my dad would have a running but we didn't know great-grandparents were there as well and a 90 year old won that one. But Leslie and Betsy were surprised to win a prize for the furthest travelled grandparents! Thank you mom, dad, Leslie and Betsy for coming to our grandparents day at school!
Do you see my mom's hand in the picure shoving food in Caitlin's mouth??
Caitlin and Grammie
Caitlin thinks she's a big girl...I guess she's ready for school:o)
And Happy Birthday to Dad!

Friday, October 2, 2009

Meet Dajia!!


Dajia (pronounced Day-jah) is our mentee who we met for the first time last weekend. We have been anxiously awaiting this visit for some time now. This past summer I took a class at our church called 'Hope Lives'. I was moved to take this class for a variety of reasons...one, being, just plain confused and not sure of how to respond to poverty. How do I respond to the beggars on the side of the road? What is my role in the fact that billions of people on this earth live on less than a dollar a day? A quote I heard in class that I liked from Mother Theresa was "If you can't feed a hundred people then feed just one."

The other reason I took the class was just a desire to know God's heart and how He feels about poverty. Wow, was learning that wholly convicting. Especially Isaiah 58...

"Shout with the voice of a trumpet blast. Tell my people Israel (insert Lisa) of their sins! Yet they act so pious! They(Lisa) come to the temple every day and seem delighted to hear my laws. You would almost think this was a righteous nation that would never abandon its God. They(Lisa) love to make a show of coming to me and asking me to take action on their behalf. "We have fasted before you!", they say. 'Why aren't you impressed? We have done much penance, and you don't even notice it!'
'I will tell you why! It's because you (Lisa) are living only for yourselves even while you are fasting. You keep right on oppressing your workers. What good is fasting when you keep on fighting and quarreling? This kind of fasting will never get you anywhere with me. You humble yourselves by going through the motions of penance, bowing your heads like a blade of grass in the wind. You dress in sackcloth and cover yourselves with ashes. Is this what you call fasting? Do you really think this will please the Lord?
"No, the kind of fasting I want calls you (Lisa) to free those who are wrongly imprisoned and to stop oppressing those who work for you. Treat them fairly and give them what they earn. I want you (Lisa) to share your food with the hungry and welcome poor wanderers into your homes. Give clothes to those who need them, and do not hide from relatives who need your help."
And I love Micah 6:8 "The Lord has already told you what is good, and this is what He requires:to do what is right, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with your God."

I loved my class and the journey it took me on to see inside the Lord's heart. I knew it was in his kindness that prompted me because He knows that I've been all about me all my life and He knows there is no life, there is no joy, there is no peace in a life that is all about me. This journey was for my good and for his glory. And for His glory indeed. I don't want to do 'good things' to make myself feel better, out of guilt or out of pride...that's only feeding my guilt and/or ego. I want a motive of love and compassion. And I can't muster either one of those on my own strength to look outside of myself which is why I am so thankful that I can rely on, and rest in, His love and His compassion.

So this journey led me to Dajia. I heard about the ministry of Mercy Street and spent months talking and praying with Brian and our community group over this decision to mentor because its a big commitment. They ask you to walk through life with your mentee until they graduate from high school. Brian's excitement and our desire to have a family ministry solidifed what I was already feeling. So we signed up over a month ago and have been eagerly awaiting our first visit. And it was great. She is a doll and I can't wait to spend more time with her and get to know her better. She lives in West Dallas, which is comprised of about 23,000 people and is the 11th poorst neighborhood in the country. Mercy Street's mission is to transform the community from generational poverty to a thriving, successful community. And they believe the best way to do that is through relationships so we can help them make good choices, share God's love for them and spur them on to do great things. This journey with Dajia, I have no doubt, will bring lots of joy but I know it will also be hard at times. Relationships are hard and are often messy, but that's ok, becase I know I don't have to rely on myself to make everything perfect and good. That's God's job.

Next week we are going to have ice cream with her and then soon after that the kids and I are going to go eat lunch with her at her school. I love that the kids are able to see a life outside of our "Christian bubble" and I hope that as they walk with us in this journey, they too, will grow in compassion and love for all people.

This is a picture of all of us including Dajia's mom, Lakiesha and her brother Treveon.

Here is a pictre of Treveon and Caleb, they are the same age and within minutes they were running around outside with each other and wrestling. Treveon's got quite a spunk in his spirit. When we first met he jumped on me and said, "HI I'M TREVEON!" And then he went to Brian and said, "Can I come to yo house?";o) Gotta love it.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Music

At the request of a friend I am putting my playlist back on my blog. I took it off so it wouldn't be playing if you're watching one of the videos. So if you are watching a video then scroll down to the bottom of the blog and pause the music to listen to the video. Thanks!

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Caitlin is much better...

video

With 2 boys and a girl, surely I thought our first ER trip would be with one of the boys, but no, it was with Caitlin. Last night she was screaming in pain due to a pain in her neck. She wouldn't stop holding her neck. We gave her tylenol, put her in her chair for dinner and it was the most heartbreaking thing. She was hungry and was trying to eat but then when she would lean forward to take a bite she started screaming in pain and holding her neck. (I think that is one of the hardest things Brian has had to watch...watching his little girl in pain)

So we decided to take her to the ER to have her checked out. Thankfully as time went on her neck was doing better..I think the medicine was kicking in. Dr checked her out and said she looked fine so we are thinking maybe she had a muscle spasm or slept on it wrong. There were lots of people there with the swine flu so hopefully we didn't come home with that!

Here is a video of Caitlin this morning walking around in the backyard and she is doing much better.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Weekend at a lakehouse

This weekend we went to a friends' lakehouse with our community group and had loads of fun. Saturday night we played Mad Gab, and oh my goodness, I have not laughed that hard in a long time! In addition to that we also....

Rode around in the jeep...
and the mule...Fed that many kids every meal...
Ate...
and ate...
and ate.:o)
We also played at the beach...

played games...
watched movies...
loved on little ones...
and lounged around!