Happy 14th Birthday to Gracie!

img_0926

This sweet girl turned 14 just a few days after we landed in America.  Everything was new and overwhelming and exciting and sparkling like glitter.  We celebrated her with all the people we love, and our hearts were overwhelmed with gratefulness that we got to do it this way, this year.gracie1

All of Gracie’s cousins from my side of the family had a little tea party for her.  They did all the decorating and preparing for this little impromptu gathering, and it blessed our socks off.  We were still in the phase of “Everything makes us cry”, and this sweet afternoon definitely provoked tears!gracie2 gracie3

We also had a little party with Cam’s side (I hate this phrase!  I claim them too.).  She was spoiled, as usual, and we all reaped the benefits of her birthday with a cookout full of American yumminess.  It was also a treat to see her mercilessly teased by those who love her most.

 

This girl.  She is my rainbow daughter…the good that came after the storm of losing her big sister.  We have spoiled her since we knew of her existence and have treasured her just as long.  She is smart and kind, creative and talented.  She loves to be alone with her art but can also talk your head off when she is passionate about something.  I have seen her on the mountaintops, full of joy, and crushed with no place left to go but up.  She clings to Jesus, and I know, with utmost certainty, that He has mighty plans for her.  He is forming her in a way unique only to her that will someday bring Him the most glory, and I cannot wait to see how it all unfolds!

Continue Reading

Kids and Moving.

movingMoving with children at home is like trying to clean up glitter after a girly craft time.

It doesn’t go well.

There is something about rolls of taps and endless bubble wrap that brings out the creative beast inside my children. The giggly creative beast.  They have been wholly unproductive in packing but have certainly kept the joy bubbling forth in our home!

I’ll be honest.  Packing turns me into mom-zilla and giggles may be my food source.  I know they aren’t doing what they were told when the giggles get loud.  I have found them hiding in boxes, jumping on the bed, free-falling onto the mattresses that are now on the floor, turning boxes into shoes, and popping the bubble wrap.  They turn everything into an adventure full of fun, and as I step back and see the opportunities I have missed to join in the joy, I am ashamed.

Kids have it right.  This life is the only one we have, and we need to do everything in our power to turn our work into fun and our grumpiness into laughter.

Thankfully He gives us new mercies everyday, and tomorrow I am going to embrace my inner child and let the giggles and dances spring forth!

Continue Reading

Checking out.

krabi

When I search for Krabi, Thailand, this picture above is what pops up.  We are headed there in about 20 minutes!

We have 4 days of blissful beach days with friends planned in Krabi before a week of sem classes for Cameron in Chiangmai, Thailand.  I wanted to let you know I am not falling off the face of the planet for the next couple weeks…just gonna be soaking up some sun.

I’ll let you all know if the picture meets reality 😉

Continue Reading

Movin’ on Up to the NORTHside

moving

Life decisions rarely come easy or quick, am I right?!  A few months ago we were given a choice to move the the north side of the island we currently live on in order to be near our teammates.  It would be a lot easier to be encouraging team leaders if we actually lived nearby.

However.

Our girls have friends in this city.  Not just any old friends, but friends that are perfectly matched to their ages, whom they adore.  These friends are answers to so many prayers that we lifted to the King, and He wouldn’t be asking us to move away from them, from HIS blessings to us, to a city where the foreign kiddo population is far younger than our girls.  Right?

We lifted it up, talked it over and over, from every direction, and decided that, no, He was not asking us to move.  The best thing for our family is to stay planted and grow some roots.

Maybe that was the problem.  The whole roots thing.  Our roots should be in HIM, not in a location.  He continued to whisper to our hearts, never letting the final decision we made feel final.  Then, little by little, the work we are doing here seemed to be wrapping up.  Not in a “we don’t need to do that work anymore” kind of way, but in a way that meant our involvement will start to be less and less as they become more able to move to a healthy place on their own.  Some other opportunities presented themselves and the more we talked through what a move would look like for our family, the more we began to really hear what He was telling us to do.

  1.  We would be able to host teams more easily, and having American brothers and sisters come to partner and work alongside us is priceless!
  2. Our girls were given built-in best friends when they became a group of three sisters so us feeling they are entitled to different friends is exactly that.  Entitlement.  He will bless them and care for them far more than we are able to.
  3. Our girls aren’t involved much in what we do over here (neither am I for that matter!) and that could really change with new opportunities.
  4. Being able to encourage and bless our teammates in tangible ways will help us to truly embrace the role He has placed us in.
  5. We can be much more strategic about where we choose to live, enabling us to be surrounded by more locals.
  6. Being able to run to the beach and run the trails (it didn’t rank high on the list, but come on!  It made the list for sure.)  The prospect of paddle boarding in the deep, blue sea doesn’t hurt either!

These are just a few of the things on our pros list, and we aren’t naive enough to not recognize that almost every one of these things can be done where we are, but we are wise enough (through and by Him alone) to recognize that He has prepared our hearts for this.  As we shared with our girls in family devo time last week that moving was a possibility and talked that through with them, we have been more than surprised as they have come to us at different times expressing that they would be sad to leave their friends, but are excited about the possibility of life in Haikou.

Y’all.

Our Father doesn’t just love us.  He adores us and wants the very best for us.

Shout it.

Go on and scream it from the mountains

Go on and tell it to the masses

that HE IS GOD!

Continue Reading