"The LORD your God is with you, He is mighty to save. He will take great delight in you,
He will quiet you with His love, He will rejoice over you with singing. "
Zephaniah 3:17

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Merry Christmas!

Luke 2
In those days a decree went out from Caesar Augustus that all the world should be registered. This was the first registration when Quirinius was governor of Syria. And all went to be registered, each to his own town. And Joseph also went up from Galilee, from the town of Nazareth, to Judea, to the city of David, which is called Bethlehem, because he was of the house and lineage of David, to be registered with Mary, his betrothed, who was with child. And while they were there, the time came for her to give birth. And she gave birth to her firstborn son and wrapped him in swaddling cloths and laid him in a manger, because there was no place for them in the inn. And in the same region there were shepherds out in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. And an angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were filled with fear. And the angel said to them, "Fear not, for behold, I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. And this will be a sign for you: you will find a baby wrapped in swaddling cloths and lying in a manger." And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying, "Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace among those with whom he is pleased!"
We hope you had a wonderful Christmas Day celebrating the birth of our Savior!

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Christmas Festivities Part 2

Here is round 2!

Ainsley "playing"

Austin in his Christmas pj's (thanks jG and Big T!)

Our Christmas Crafts! Reindeer and our Gingerbread house that we made on the 1st ice day. So fun!

Christmas Playdate with friends at our house.

Ains with daddy

Polar Express exhibit when we went to take pictures with Santa.

Monday, December 22, 2008

Holiday Festivities Part 1

I am so behind on posting the Christmas activities around our house this season that I am going to have to put them in 3 parts! Here are some pictures of the kids as we are decorating the tree way back during the week Thanksgiving.

Sweet Ainsley

In warm pj's about to watch our favorite christmas movie - The Polar Express.
Austin was very excited about the Christmas tree and all of the fun ornaments.

Miss Audrey

Here are some pics of our kiddos with their cousins Peyton and baby Sophia at Thanksgiving.

Us with Andrew's sis Alisha and her hubby Graham.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Ainsley - 6 Months Old

Our precious baby girl turned 6 months old Thursday of this past week! Andrew and I always said before sweet Ainsley was born that if we can make it to Christmas this year we will be doing great. Well, we are here and every day our challenge of 3 under 3 is getting easier and we are continuously amazed at the goodness of our Father placing another beautiful little life into our responsibility to raise and rear. Ainsley is turning into a ball of energy rolling around and kicking wildly with excitement while screaming when she is "playing" with her big brother and sister. She has such a beautiful smile that we are constantly trying to get out of her and her favorite time of day is bath time where she can play some more. She is eating solids and sleeping like a champ which means that mommy and daddy are getting much more sleep these days as well! We went to the doctor yesterday and Ainsley did better than mommy when she was given all of her shots. (Even on the 3rd kiddo - I hate shots!) She weighs 13.7 lbs (10th percentile) and her length is 25 3/4 inches (75th percentile). She is long and lean and I have a feeling that is the way it is going to be most of her life.:) Here are some pictures of our sweet little bundle of JOY.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Thankful Thursday - Lady in Waiting

There have been several times where I can look back and know now that they were pivotal points in my life and in my relationship with the Lord. Some of these being my salvation at age 8, Sondays Camp every summer in high school, deciding reluctantly to go to SFA for college over Baylor, getting engaged and then married to the man of my dreams, having my 1st baby, my hubby becoming a 1st time pastor and so on...

I did this Bible study in high school with a group of my besties that would change my life "forever" called Lady in Waiting. It is a study based on the book of Ruth that encourages young women to take on the character of Ruth when waiting on your future husband. Simple enough. For some reason, this is the particular time in my walk with the Lord where He really captured my heart. I had always been a girl that was a little boy-crazy and for some reason I always felt as though when I had a boy on my arm I was more complete and that couldn't have been further from the truth. I started looking to God to fill in the gaps and He started to become my contentment. I guess you could say that I started "dating" Jesus. It was like that Lord told me during this period that it was time to get serious and more passionate about Him and the future He had for my life. I had already felt a calling into the ministry a year or 2 earlier and I knew I was going to marry a minister of some type. (You might be thinking - ok a little weird, but I remember meeting with my youth pastor and asking him if I was like the weirdest girl on the planet and then him telling me that his wife felt the same calling as a young woman:)

I just had a deep desire to know the Lord and to become all He desired me to be. I wanted to recklessly abandon myself to Him and be a woman of conviction and commitment with patience like this study taught. I also remember going on a "date fast" where I would pray about going out with guys before I said yes. (Seriously, a guy asked me out my first semester of college and I told him I needed to pray about it and could I get back with him and he looked at me like I was super crazy and told me never mind! Obviously, he was not worth wasting my time dating!)It was also during this study that I started writing letters to mu future husband whenever the Lord laid him on my heart. I didn't tell anyone about this (not even my precious sister). I only wrote about 5 letters to Andrew before I met him, but I did make a list of about 30 things I wanted in a guy that I was not settling less for. (And my sweet husband meets ALL of them - it is quite funny to look back over the list:)The amazing thing about this very simple journal was that about 5 minutes before I walked down the aisle to be married to my knight, I got to complete it with a letter to Andrew and then give it to him on our wedding night. Andrew and I also went through Lady in Waiting together during our engagement b/c I wanted to share with him all that the Lord had taught me and how I had waited and prayed for him. Precious memories!

I know that many of you know my testimony, but some of you don't so I thought I would share that I did get engaged at 19 and married at 20 and my own wedding was one of the 1st I ever even went to! I didn't know at the time why I was getting married so young except for the fact that I was in love with Andrew and that he was 5 years older than me and already out of college and we didn't see the need to wait. Well, about 6 months into marriage, I started having problems and issues that didn't seem normal during those "intimate moments". It turned out that I had a softball-size cyst that had completely covered my right ovary and was heading to my left. The doc said I was about 6 months from losing both of my ovaries and that I needed surgery immediately to remove it. That would have meant no kiddos and even though I was in college to be a teacher I knew that all I wanted was to be a mom one day. So, if I wasn't married, I wouldn't have known about the cyst and I truly do believe that is one of the main reasons I married so young. Praise God that I am sitting here 3 kiddos later having the time of my life as a mom! He is so good to us!

So, the Lord has definitely given me a passion for this topic because of my own life experience. I have actually been teaching this Bible study for about 10 years (WOW!) to high school girls. The more I teach it the older I feel and I just praise God that I still feel like I can relate to them and they can relate to me. It is also WAY different teaching high school girls knowing that I have 2 future high school girls (Audrey and Ainsley) living in my house! I just wrapped up possibly my last Lady in Waiting Bible study. I think this was definitely the hardest time in my life (maybe a little too ambitious) to do this study with 3 under 3, but it was a great semester and we (my family) made it. Thanks so much to the sweet FBC Anna girls who put up with me this Fall!

I just wanted to put in an email that I received a couple of months ago as I was praying whether or not to do Lady in Waiting this semester. This is why I do ministry! It truly is because of the Lord's grace that He chooses to use me and Andrew, but this one had me in tears!

First of all your kids are adorable! I am so happy for you, and I can't believe how long ago it was that I was in youth group. I just wanted to let you know that I got married in May and I'm not sure if you remember but I did a Lady in Waiting study with you in like the eighth grade. Well, during that study you encouraged us to write how where we wanted to be spiritually before we got married and spiritual qualities that we wanted in our future husbands. Also I think I am remembering this right.. but you told us that on your wedding night you gave Andrew your purity ring SO I guess like almost ten years later here I am, married to an amazing man of God and I just wanted to thank you. You had a left a huge impression on me, and on our wedding night I gave Stuart (my husb) my purity ring and the list of spiritual qualities that I wrote down during that study. It was just so cool to me that everything I wanted spiritually the Lord completely blessed me with. I was only apart of your life for a short time, and my family didn't even go to Oak Grove, I just came with my brother Nathan on Wednesday nights. I hope all is well! Thanks again for your encouragement. Anna

I am crying again! What an incredible girl! I remember her sweet face and her story is one that I want for my daughters one day.

So sorry that this post is so long! I figured that since I hadn't posted in 2 weeks I could have a longer one! Thanks for reading!

Here are some pics of some of the precious girls who have gone through this study with me and even one of my Bible study group about 12-13 years ago!!

This was my Lady in Waiting Bible study group in high school. Sorry for the WAY bad quality - my scanner is broken so I had to take a pic of a pic with my phone! Good times! Many of these sweet girls are still very dear friends to me today ( and several of them were in my wedding!) Love you, girls!

Back L to R: Meg (Harris) Watwood, Vanessa (Monroe) Riley, Wendy Lucenay, Kylie (Lindsey) Higgins and Amy (Ginsburg) Kalenbach
Fron: Julie (I think that was her name!), me, Dawn Dixon and Lindsay (Maguire) Turner

And this is several of us now! (At Kylie's baby shower for sweet Avery last year)

These are some of our girls from Katy (minus the boys - now Seniors in college!)
More Katy girls!

These are my precious Waco Lady in Waiting girls!

I taught these girls as 7th and 8th graders and at Waco Baptist Academy and then they still wanted for me to lead them in Bible Study in high school. What an incredible bunch that I miss so much!

And these are my sweet FBC Anna girls (most of them)from this semester! What a fun group!

I am truly thankful to the Lord and amazed at how awesome He is! I am WAY behind on my posts, so there will be more coming shortly.:)