Google Analytics

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Circle 6 Ranch {preteen camp}

This past week we were in Stanton, Texas (20 miles east of Midland) for a preteen camp.  Jordan was asked back in January while we were between churches to teach the camp.  God called us to Lawton in February, but rather than cancel his booking for the camp, we decided to keep it and not only use it as an oppurtunity to reach out to some kids, but also as a mini vacation/getaway.  I have definitely come to the conclusion that vacations with young children are not really vacations at all, for us as parents anyway. Especially when the destination is six hours away.  I like to think of them as "patience-building" trips. Sometimes it sounds a lot more appealing to just stay at home than to try to wrestle with two little boys under the age of three out in public. And sometimes we choose this option when it is necessary.  But sometimes, we choose the harder option, and well, it is HARD! But it's always worth it.  We always come away from these experiences/trips with good memories made.  And in this instance, we were able to minister to a group of wonderful kids that were not our own. In doing so, we were blessed and so were Josiah and Elijah....what a wonderful blessing it is to be able to include our children in our ministry!

...this building held about 16 "hotel like" rooms, one in which we stayed in...

...front view of the sanctuary...

...side view of the sanctuary...

...the playground where the boys spent the majority of their time...

...Eli thought he was something else going down the big boy slides just like Josiah...

...his happy smile makes this mommy very happy!

...I'm always a bit concerned for Josiah's sake when we go on overnight trips because of his picky eating habits.  Fortunately, he ate really well and the cafeteria staff were awesome!

...Eli, on the other hand, is not very picky at all when it comes to food.  He is also not concerned about making big messes...spoons are very over-rated with him!

...Josiah especially enjoyed the huge cookies !

...the boys really enjoyed getting to play with the "big kids"!

...Josiah had to get right in the middle of things...

...the swimming was fun but the water was freezing! of the classes for the campers consisted of teaching them how to cook in the wilderness and there was always a biblical application applied.  So everyday the campers prepared desserts and cooked them over the fire and got to enjoy the fruits of their labor after worship each night.

...Josiah was enthralled with the horses!

...though you may not be able to tell from Eli's face, the boys really enjoyed getting to ride around camp without having to sit in their carseats...

...and they really really enjoyed the golf-carts!

...I have to say that Eli pulls the "duck face" off way better than all the teenage girls/young adults on facebook!

...this guy's name is Keith and he did an excellent job leading the music.  Josiah loved him!

...I don't think I have ever seen a 50 year old man connect with kids the way he did! God has truly gifted him!

...I'll leave you with this picture of the "Texas Wildflower" as Keith named it!

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Rain from His good treasury...

What a blessing to receive all this glorious rain! I'm thanking God for this!

"The Lord will open to you His good treasury, the heavens, to give the rain to your land in its season and to bless all the work of your hands..." (Deauteronomy 28:12)

Monday, July 9, 2012

Potato Soup Recipe

You're probably wondering why I am posting a soup recipe in the dead of summer, huh? Well, because it's just that good!...and we keep our house pretty darn cold, so we don't have a problem eating meals like this in the summer.  Anyway, I love to cook and I hardly ever share any recipes on here so I decided to share this one since I just made it a couple nights ago.  I've been making this potato soup since Jordan and I got married and it never disappoints.  You should try it!

Here's what you'll need:

1 pkg. pre-cooked bacon (chopped or minced)
grated cheese
1 onion (chopped)
1 clove of garlic (minced)
6 cups of chicken broth
1 cup of flour
New potatoes (cubed)
2 cups of half/half cream
salt, pepper and basil

I like to start off by getting my potatoes washed and cubed.  I've also tried this recipe with peeled potatoes but we prefer them with their skin left on.  Plus, it's less work!...sorry this pic is blurry! But hopefully you know what cubed potatoes look like anyway!

Set the potatoes to the side, and chop the onion and mince the garlic. Then saute the two together.  Set aside when done.

On your stovetop, bring the chicken broth and half/half cream to a slight boil. (watch it closely, or it will boil over very quickly like mine did!) After it's reached a boil, turn it down to medium heat and gradually add your flour, stirring as you pour.  This mixture will be a little clumpy but don't worry, by the time the soup is done cooking, it won't be.

Then you can add your onion, garlic and potatoes and stir together.  Season to taste with salt, pepper and basil. 

Cover, and cook on low to medium heat (stirring occasionally) until potatoes are tender and soup is creamy (about 30 minutes, give or take):

Serve in individual bowls and garnish with bacon and grated cheese:

Dig In!

Hope you enjoy it as much as Eli does!

Saturday, July 7, 2012

Day Trip to Grandmommy and Papa's House

Yesterday we had our electricity cut off because our utility pole was being replaced, so we decided to beat the heat and boredom by making a day trip to Bowie to visit Jordan's parents.  We hadn't seen the boys' Grandmommy and Papa since March so the trip was much needed indeed! It was a very relaxing trip and the boys had a great time...

...walking to the playground with Grandmommy : )

...just a swingin' away...

...Josiah is trying to figure out why the slide is so hot!

...but who needs a slide when Grandmommy lets you ride her bike!

....back to thinking about that hot slide....

...Eli trying to figure out the shadows on the table...

...they love Grandmommy and Papa's couch! can't ya tell?

...Josiah knows how to give and take bye bye lovins!

...and there's nothing like being sent home with fresh salsa, spaghetti sauce and fire roasted tomatoes!

Thursday, July 5, 2012

a little love advice on our anniversary...

Four years of marriage may not seem very long to some people, but it is a lot longer than a good percentage of marriages last these days.  And Jordan and I have gone through more heartache and trials than what some people experience in 10+ years of marriage....but we have also experienced more joy in our four years than some experience in a lifeteime.  So with that being said, I think I have gained some right to give a little bit of advice on the topic of marriage.  : )

The one thing that I wish I had known before we got married....

You know that euphoric, floating-on-clouds feeling that you get when you meet your true love? That larger than life feeling that we call "falling in love"? Yeah, I bet you know what I'm talking about.  Well, no one told me before I got married that that feeling fades away.  Sure, I had heard the coined phrase "the honeymoon phase" but I didn't truly know what came after that.

 For most, that "lovey-dovey, mushy-gushy feeling" begins to fade after the wedding.  For some, it happens during the honeymoon.  And for others, it happens after two years of marriage.  But one thing is for certain, it will happen.  And when it does, unfortunately, a lot of people come to the conclusion that they have "fallen out of love"....and that is why the divorce rate is at an all time high and climbing.  But the real problem is not that they have "fallen out of love", the problem is that they do not have a clear understanding of what true love really is....most people think that love is just a feeling, but it is much more!

Love is...

...two different things really.

*First, we have phileo love.  Phileo love is based on feelings.  Phileo love is that euphoric feeling that I described above...that feeling we get get early on in a relationship that is prompted by emotion and impulse...infatuation would be a good way to describe it. 

*Then, we have agape love.  Agape love is a commital love or a self sacrificial love. This is the kind of love that God has towards us.  (Romans 5:8 -but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.) One cannot have a thriving, lasting relationship without agape love. 

Early on in the majority of relationships, phileo love abounds and outweighs agape love.  But then something happens.  Reality sinks in...the little "quirks" that we used to think were cute suddenly become annoying....he leaves the toilet seat up, she burns dinner a lot, he leaves dirty clothes on the floor, she makes annoying eating noises, he loses his job, she wants to have a baby but he doesn't, etc, etc, etc. As Gary Chapman puts it in his book The Five Love Languages, "In this world, a look can hurt and a word can crush.  Intimate lovers can become enemies, and marriage a battlefield." 

This is when the rubber meets the road, and we make one of three choices.  1) opt for divorce  2)decide to stay together but live in misery 3) recognize the "falling in love" experience for what it was and now pursue each other with an agape love. 

Sadly, most couples do not even realize that there is that third option and they choose divorce because they do not want to live in misery....and after they divorce, they repeat the process with someone else...before long, they have multiple divorces on their hands and children that our hurting from being right in the middle of it all.

But all of that can be avoided if we recognize our marriage vows for what they are...and that is a promise to love each other self's a commitment to love each other with a love that grows out of reason and choice and not just instinct.  Love is the attitude that says, "I am married to you, and I choose to look out for your interests." (Gary Chapman)

So if you are reading this right now and you have gotten past the "in-love" stage, and you are contemplating choosing between divorce or a life of misery, I encourage you to choose a third option...choose to honor your vows...choose to (agape) love each other for better or for worse, in sickness and in health. It will be hard at first and it will require much effort and discipline.  But the reward is so worth it.  You will discover what true agape love is and then the love that you will share with your spouse will be exciting beyond anything you felt towards each other when you were infatuated.  Now you are loving each other by choice and not under the influence of the "falling in love" obsession.  And I would like to add that there is nothing wrong with having that infatuated feeling at the beginning of a relationship.  It is human nature to feel that way but it is also human nature for that feeling to fade.  This is why we have to learn to have an agape love for each other or our relationship will fall apart.  And that looks different for each relationship.  What makes your spouse tick? What makes him smile? Makes him laugh? What puts that twinkle in his eye? How does he like to be shown love? Through words? touch? The possibilities are endless. 

I can't sit here and tell you how to show your spouse that agape love.  That is something that you have to figure out yourself by getting to know your spouse make that commitment...that choice to love your spouse with an agape look out for his help him reach his highest potential in life.

Afterall, God has shown us love in the most highest form.  God is love.  And we are of God.  So shouldn't we strive to love others (especially our spouse) with the same kind of self sacrificial love that he has shown us?

So here's to four wonderful years of marriage to my best friend.  I "agape" love you!

Monday, July 2, 2012

the last few weeks in a nut shell...

The last few weeks have flown by! We have been so busy that I haven't even had a chance to think about let me play catch-up....

Right now we are in the middle of a big project! In the four months that we have lived in the parsonage, we haven't been able to take long showers in our master bathroom because if the water ran for a long period of time, it would start leaking into our closet. After having it looked at/worked on several times, we finally came to the conclusion that it was going to have to be completely ripped out.  During the demolishing stage, Jordan and Rich found this:

Yep, that's black mold behind what used to be the back wall of our closet.  So not only are we getting a new bathroom, we are also getting a new closet...Jordan and Rich also knocked out the hall closet that was directly behind this closet so that our new closet is going to be nice and big.  Since we are doing all this remodeling, Jordan and I decided that our anniversary present to each other this year would be to update our bedroom.  It's going to look great!...more pics to come when it is finished!

What else? Our church also had it's first "Proclaim Service" on June 22nd.  This was a Friday night of pure worship that was led by Jordan and our worship pastor Jason.  It was amazing! If you are in the area, try to make it to our next one on July 27th...

And last week was VBS.  The theme this year was Amazing Wonders and I got the opportunity to teach missions.  I had a blast doing it!...up until Wednesday that is!  I woke up Wednesday morning with my back hurting but went about my routine as usual and taught my class.  But later that day, as I was putting Eli to sleep, I bent over his crib and this horrible sharp pain shot up my back.  After that I couldn't straighten it.  I was literally walking like the hunchback of Notre Dame...needless to say, Jordan had to teach my class for me on Thursday and Friday and I missed our VBS family fun night...I was pretty bummed about having to miss that.  The boys had fun though!

Oh, and as for my back, it's been nearly a week, and I am still in recovery.  I cannot even begin to explain how frustrating this has been.  If you know me then you know that I am not one to sit still.  I like to be doing something all the time.  But the hardest part has been not being able to pick up on the boys. Fortunately, every day it feels a little bit better...I definitely feel the prayers!

At the homefront, look who learned how to climb up our dining room shares onto our dinner table....

Josiah being up there was no surprise.  It has become his favorite place to sit.  But when I found Eli up there, my mouth hit the floor.  He's only 15 months old and he's already learned to climb up our (taller than average) dinner table...Lord help me!

Okay, so this is random, but look what I found in our hanging basket on the front porch...

cute, huh? I checked on them today and they were gone...but I guess that is a good thing!

Speaking of cute....

This pic may be blurry, but it still brings out their cuteness!

After being confined to the couch for nearly a week because of my back, we were so ready to get outside! The boys have been playing in our fenced-in backyard this week, but it's just not the same as getting to run all over the church grounds and getting to play in the fort.  So we were extra thankful for the "cooler" weather this evening.  And by cooler, I mean it wasn't 108 degrees like it has been!

"Magic Eli" haha just kidding....Yes, I am referring to "Magic Mike"...No, I did not go see it...Nor will I ever go see it! (that's a blog for another time)

I can't believe how tall my Josiah is getting! It's crazy!

I am so blessed to be celebrating four years of marriage to this man come Thursday!

I'll end with this picture...I think it sums us up pretty well...