Wednesday, November 30, 2011

With tomorrow being December 1st (how did that happen?!?!) I think that it is probably appropriate that I post something about advent. Chris, if you are reading babe - please stop now. I appreciate that you read my blog but I want these things to be a surprise!!

Growing up we inherited a felt advent calendar that my Grandma Oma (our great grandma) made for my dad and his brother when they were young - similar to this. My brother and I would be so excited to remove the ornament from the pocket and place it on the tree with a pin. We also had the excitement of a chocolate advent calendar whose chocolate wasn't the best quality but we enjoyed it anyway.

After Chris and I got married we didn't have many Christmas decorations. My grandma and I went shopping in a quaint little town called Sumner where there are a few antique and home stores that she enjoys going in. I found the advent calendar that I had been dreaming of - complete with a rustic feel and handpainted Christmas figures on each little door. My grandma offered to pay for most of it as it was a little steep... and I took that thing home with excitement. That year we put little ornaments from Crate & Barrel, chocolates, and little notes that either gave gifts or love to our spouse inside the little doors. The next year Siena was under 2 months old and I was exhausted - so advent didn't happen.

Learning and grace are two parts of becoming a wife and mama. I've seen both through and through over the last two years and am really excited for the hope they give me. We can have a more God glorifying and Jesus honoring advent season. Our hearts can be aligned with his and our family can build traditions to come to each year. This gets me excited, hopeful, and thankful that we don't have to stay in years past. By God's grace it will get even better in the future years!

This year here are ten ideas of what we are doing:
- Christmas Ship & Clam Lights on Dec. 2nd if you live near us!
- Go on a snow adventure
- Read the story of Jesus' birth
- Deliver treats to neighbors with a card telling them of the true reason for the season
- Go caroling; Sing songs praising Jesus for coming!
- Have a Christmas dance party!
- Make snowman pancakes
- Serve at the food bank; Jesus came to serve, not the be served.
- Make/decorate/eat Christmas cookies
- Drink hot cocoa and talk about what you are thankful for

Add another 14 things to the list (or email me and I'll give you the other 14+ that we have compiled!) and you have fun, family filled things to do during the advent season. It truly doesn't matter what you are doing as long as you bring it back to the Lord and his purpose for coming to earth. It is a celebration! The other part that I have added is from this blog, thanks to my friend Lexi. Chris, Siena, and I will be doing a reading each day during our little adventure. I may add some pictures on Friday when I get home of our advent calendar but be creative! You definitely don't have to have one like ours to have a creative and fun month.



we are thankful for

Sunday, November 27, 2011

- my sweet girl Siena Joy. How life can vanish so quickly. In loving memory of Madison Paige.
- going to a wedding and having fun with my mother in law!
- when Chris forgives me for disrespecting him
- $ for my new blog
- Spring, sun, cherry blossoms, light out @ 6pm
- a break from busyness
- close friends who are there to give us what we need
- asking for friend's forgiveness and receiving an amazing response
- having an amazing first month at the Clayton's home
- learning Galatians 5:16, walk by the Spirit and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh
- cherishing sweet time with my baby
- friends watching Siena
- Buyer for the Highlander
- Salvation! Christ died for me while I was still a sinner! Hallelujah!
- sanctification and transformation! By God's grace we can change.
- praying for reconciliation with a friend and receiving that exactly.
- watching the birth of my friend's baby girl
- my mom and her sweet heart, how she gifts me with TJs, food, and love
- friends sending Starbs cards in the mail
- PT's first day of school; thinking about my childhood and our kid(s)
- the mens advance; thank you that all the men in our CG are going!
- weather, I constantly see the Lord in the rain, sun, wind, and snow.
- S&A having us over and giving us yummy french chocolate pastries
- all of lifes modern conveniences. esp. iPhone, computer, boogie wipes, chapstick and Siena's playmat
- A's sweet response to us leaving, she knew we would at some point...
- friends crying when we told them about SD; shows true friendship
- clothes from friends and people we don't know well for Siena
- HEALING for Chris' sickness
- $20 on the floor...
- the Lord bringing me to this high place of treasuring all moments with SJ
- inlaws paying for SJ's party
- spouse serving the other when ill
- ability to share Jesus with others
- the Lord telling us to go to SD, His will be done!
- 1) we aren't out of money 2) we aren't unemployed 3)we aren't homeless 4) we don't have major illnesses 5) we haven't lost a child
- our 1st support appointment was SO encouraging
- friends bringing us food when Chris was sick.
- Siena napping.
- Siena saying first words; esp Hi Dada!
- an amazing friend who blesses us constantly with food, fun memories, and money when we really need it.
- holding my mom's hand at the women's retreat - knowing that we will do this for eternity; praising Jesus together!
- knowing God is working through this possible internship. we don't know what it looks like yet but we bet as we read this we do. 3/20/11 (YEP!)
- papa accepting Jesus before he passed away.
- special friends and how we connect on every level in life
- N&O calling out of the blue wanting to support us!
- a clean kitchen
- Clayton's letting us live with them
- meeting D's and G's in Orlando; lifelong friends!
- amazing vacation with friends!

(Just a little glimpse into our Thanksgiving and what we have been thankful for in 2011)

Happy Thanksgiving!

Thursday, November 24, 2011

I am so thankful for life. For Jesus. For my family (biological & Christ given). For freedom. For turkey.
The holidays are such a sweet time each year, remembering traditions of years past, filling your belly up with yummy treats, and watching the parade.
This year though I am filled with joy because of other people's generosity that stems from Jesus', life, death, and resurrection. We have had people join our support team in the last few days who have been more generous then anything I have ever first hand witnessed. It blows me away that people understand what we are doing, why we are doing it, and feel led by the Holy Spirit to be generous in order for us to answer the call that the Lord has asked of us.
I am thankful for that.
I am also thankful that I am going to be finishing up the Thankfulness series TODAY! Even if that means a triple dose with some questions to ponder instead of mini summaries. I think that it is fitting to wrap it up on the thankfulness holiday. So here we are. Thank YOU for coming along for the ride. I hope that you have a different heart of gratitude after this long journey!
Days 29,30,31.
Who are you thankful for? Why?
What blessings have come through your loved ones?
How has the Lord shown through in dark times? Be thankful!
How would your life be different if you were thankful every day??
Happy Thanksgiving!!!


Little Vaca

Sunday, November 20, 2011

The Lord took us on a little getaway this weekend without our little Joy. We left her with my family and headed over the mountains to visit with friends and meet some potential supporters. This trip was a much needed break for our marriage, my heart, and was so much fun.

We started it out with a little bit of this:

and some of this:

I read us a little of this book as we drove (we got it early to pre-read it as Chris is a volunteer biblical counselor for our church):

It was a great time of laughing, talking, sharing, being real, and enjoying each other's company. That night my sweet friend Dana from college and her husband Mike treated us to Red Robin where I quickly enjoyed an oreo milkshake - I forgot the name they use for them... but they are SO good. The next day we ate breakfast and headed over to Yakima which was about an hour drive. In a cute little coffee shop we met our friend Tim's parents, brother, pastor, and another couple. They listened to us share our heart about our ministry in San Diego. It was such a blessing to experience that - a little image of the greater church. Walking away from the weekend I am amazed at people's generosity towards us. With all our meals, coffees, places to stay, and treats taken care of... these people cared for us in very sweet ways. Thank you Jesus for people who understand your mission and desire to love on us because of it.

Day 28:
Today she talked about how we need to be grateful for things that we daily take for granted. Those things for me are a comfy bed, a loving husband, a sweet baby, food, a clean bathroom, the list could go on and on.
Drop those in your basket!

Excited to soon share with you what our family plans to do for advent!


Hearing with faith

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Today my husband is wrapped in a blanket, cuddling on the couch watching football. My baby girl is asleep in her crib. They are both sick and I've taken this time to get away while they both rest. It is the first time in a long time that I have gone to a coffee shop to spend time with the Lord and get rest and rejuvenation. It is medicine for my soul. The rain outside, the red cup with a peppermint mocha inside, and the ESV study bible are a recipe for a cozy few hours.

Lately my lovely friend Ally and I have been reading through Galatians together. It has been a great time of fellowship, accountability, and learning for both of us (I know her that well that I can speak for her too!). We have read through the first two chapters already and today I started reading chapter 3. I was praying that the Lord would speak to me during this little vaca in the middle of the day and he is sweet to do so. Chapter 3 is all about how we receive the Holy Spirit. The Galatians had been misguided by false teachers into believing that we receive the H.S. through the things that we do. Paul is emphatically encouraging the believers that we receive him ONLY through faith! Here is where I will plug that you buy a study bible if you don't already have one. The way that using a study bible to dissect verses and words, to give you proper meaning, and to expound on passages is so beneficial. It has truly taken my time with Jesus to another level. It goes from being your own interpretation to a mini sermon right there as you sit quietly in your bedroom. I love it!

So as I read through the first few verses and the commentary that coincides with it - my heart was struck by something. Paul says in verse 3, "Are you so foolish? Having begun by the Spirit, are you now being perfected by the flesh?" To bring this verse to life in my current situation I'll tell you what Chris and I have been going through.

Since being married Chris and I have felt deep inside that we are to have a large family. This may sound crazy to you - but we have no limit on the number of biological, foster, or adopted children that the Lord may bless us with. We want to be completely open handed with what he wants our family to look like. My loving husband has a sweet desire to continue to grow our little family. And soon. If you remember what I wrote about when Siena was first born - it was either sparse, lonely, or filled with an attitude of pessimism. I had a difficult time. For the last few months Chris has gently asked me when I would be ready for Baby #2. I told him over and over that I was not ready and that I wanted to wait. Being who he is - he is fine with this but praying that when the time is right that the Lord would show both of us.

Yesterday he asked me if I would pray about having another baby. I told him I would with that feeling in the pit of my stomach that the Lord's answer would soon be yes. A few hours after praying for that, a sweet friend prayed for me and my fears and that the Lord would comfort me and bless us. Like I told her, it is not that I don't want more children or that I understand that it isn't about waiting 2months versus 2years. For me it is waiting for peace, desire, and encouragement from Jesus. In the commentary for verse 3 it talks about receiving the Spirit and that it means being sanctified and empowered by the Holy Spirit.

There are things going through my head about Baby #2. But they are all about me. They are not about Jesus. They are my fears and anxieties. They are my worries and my sins. But the peace that comes through this verse is that I can be sanctified, changed, and empowered by the Holy Spirit. I can change. Ahh.. peace.

Looks like the first part of my peace, desire, and encouragement prayer has been answered.

Thankfulness Day 27.
Can I just praise Jesus right now?
I just opened the book and the first words I read were, "What opportunity has God presented you with that you have been afraid to accept?"

I'll leave it with that.
Love you guys.