Thursday, November 27, 2008

Happy Thanksgiving


We have yet again been blessed by our glorious Savior in more ways than we deserve this year. As a family we have spent the past week recounting all of the ways we are thankful. It has done our soul good to think and dwell on what we have been given in Christ.

Praise God, from Whom all blessings flow;
Praise Him, all creatures here below;
Praise Him above, ye heavenly host;
Praise Father, Son, and Holy Ghost.

I hope everyone has a wonderful thanksgiving enjoying family and friends!

Monday, November 24, 2008



I have felt as of recently that I've come to the end of myself. My strength, my wisdom, my ability to to just keep going. The kids have been in a difficult season as of late and my temptation, as always seems to be my first inclination, is to just try harder. Work harder. Or sometimes it's the other extreme and I just want to ignore all the that needs to get done right in front of me. One thing I know for sure. I cannot, nor will not, ever get anywhere in my own strength. I must throw myself at my Savior's feet and cry for grace and mercy over and over again!

You are to lean upon the fullness of your Beloved. He is full and sufficient for all the wants of His people. A circumstance in your history canoot possibly occur, a necessity in your case cannot arise, in which you may not repair to the infinite fullness which the Father has laid up in Christ for His church in the wilderness...Distrust then your own wisdom, look from your own self, and lean your entire weight upon the infinite fullness that is in Christ. The posture is expressive of conscious weakness and deep self-distrust.

Who is more feeble than a child of God? Taught the lesson of his weakness in the region of his own heart, and still leaning it in his stumbling, falls and mistakes, many and painful, in his self-inflicted wounds and dislocations, he is at length brought to feel that all his strength is outside of himself...How shall I ever fight my way through this mighty host, and reach in safety the world of bliss?

By leaning daily, hourly, moment by moment, upon your Beloved for strength. Christ is the power of God and He is the power of the children of God... Lean, then, upon Jesus for strength. He has stength for all your weakness; He can strengthen your faith, strengthen your hope, strengthen your courage, strentghen your patience and strengthen your heart for every burden, for every trial and for every temptation. Lean upon Him, He loves to feel the pressure of your arm; He loves you to link your feebleness to His almightiness, to avail yourself of His grace. Thus leaning off yourself upon Christ!
Octavius Winslow

Yes that is my prayer. When faced with constant tantrums, I lean. When battles arise over math, once again, with my daughter, I lean. When my little one escapes her crib time after time, refusing to nap, I lean. When fears of church planting or our house situation arise, I lean. And in leaning there is always grace.

Friday, November 21, 2008

History Field Trip

Sunday I took Taylor on a history field trip. It was put on by a group called We Make History. They are renactors of early history time periods. Currently we just finished studying the Revolutionary War, George Washington and have begun learning about the first couple of states. So this went right along with our studies! She had a great time seeing all the dresses and artifacts from the different time periods. Each actor was equipped with lots of interesting information and we were free to ask questions and have discussions with them all. More than anything I enjoyed having some alone time with Taylor. She's is such a delight to be with!

Taylor attended prairie school where the teacher explained how she would've walked to school and showed her the items she would've brought. Then she had Taylor write her name with ink and had some antique books displayed.

She was so excited to meet Abe! We also got to hear him give the Gettysburg address.

The soliders getting ready to go off to battle. They did a civil war renenactment. That was a little much for Taylor so we didn't stick around long.

Playing a game the settlers would've played.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

On and Off Again


I was editing some photo's of Rylee the other and day and found this one. This pretty much sums up my daily battle with her. So Frank & Nancy, Scott & Jessica, let this photo serve as a reminder of all the fun times we had in Disney,searching for rylee's shoes that she had kicked off somewhere in the park :-)

Saturday, November 15, 2008


My kids grew up in some big ways this week. Rylee learned how to ride Trevor's tricycle early in the week, just in time for Trevor to inherit a bike from a neighbor. Then on Wednesday Taylor asked if we could take off her training wheels. Honestly I had my doubts my fearful daughter was ready, but she was determined. She would wobble, fall, I'd run alongside attempting to catch her. When I was ready to call it a night she'd get right back on the bike and pedal harder and faster. What joy it brought my heart to see her by the next afternoon riding up and down the streets like she had done this her whole life!

This week Rylee also learned how to... well I'll let you just see for yourself. But you might not want to let any toddlers still in cribs watch :-)

Yep, she came out to greet us thursday morning. It was quite the suprise! Let a new training phase begin.

**So I promise I won't let this turn into a video blog of my children :-) I have been trying out my parents flip camera and will be getting it back to them soon. But I can say I really like the Flip and it could make a great Christmas present for someone, someone like me :-)

Family Worship With Daddy

We don't just read the bible in this house, we sing the bible :-) I love watching Chris lead the kids by bringing God's word to life and making it fun. Here's a song Taylor and Daddy wrote this week on their reading of John 3.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Easiest Soup Ever!

Since it's begun to get chilly around here, I was eager this week to try a new soup recipe. I found this on cooking light and make it last night. It has two things I love about cooking- really easy and it tastes amazing! That's a rare find.

Italian Sausage Soup

8 ounces hot or sweet turkey Italian sausage (I used sweet chicken sausage)
2 cups fat-free, less-sodium chicken broth
1 (14.5-ounce) can diced tomatoes with basil, garlic, and oregano
1/2 cup uncooked small shell pasta
2 cups bagged baby spinach leaves
2 tablespoons grated fresh Parmesan or Romano cheese
2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil
Heat a large saucepan over medium heat. Remove casings from sausage. Add sausage to pan, and cook about 5 minutes or until browned, stirring to crumble. Drain; return to pan.

Add broth, tomatoes, and pasta to pan, and bring to a boil over high heat. Cover, reduce heat, and simmer 10 minutes or until pasta is done. Remove from heat; stir in spinach until wilted. Sprinkle each serving with cheese and basil.

Serves 4

** It's not all that soupy so I might add another half can of chicken broth next time.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Weaning of the World


"These painful dispensations, by which you are learning the changeableness of everything earthly, are but to wean you from a poor, unsatisfying world and to draw you near and yet nearer to Jesus. Then be of good cheer, for He hath promised never to leave or foresake you. Thus, you may bodly say, "The Lord is my helper."

Octavius Winslow Morning Thoughts, 10/28

The Lord continues to meet me in the weaning of things I love about my life here in Gilbert and embrace the change that is in my future. A promise that I cling to is that He will never leave! Ever! What a wonderful promise. I do not know what the future holds for Chris and I and I can often give in to fear. But in my desperation I am comforted to know that He is my helper. Gently leading us on.

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

My Precious Nephew

Last week I had the chance to take some six week pictures of my nephew Owen. He is my brother's son and it's been such a joy to see him and Danae become parents.

I have a special place in my heart for Owen for many reasons. One being that for a split second I knew he was coming before Danae :-) I had talked her into taking a test I had at my house and she had me look at the results first. I guess my face said it all :-) Then I had to keep it a secret for what felt like eternity! I'm so thankful that God has blessed Ryan and Danae with a healthy beautiful baby!

Ok so here is the little guy. Doesn't he have such gorgeous eyes?!

It's so sweet seeing how much Owen loves his mommy

At one point he wasn't so happy. He had enough of this picture taking business and was tired. Mom came and saved the day though:

He was a happy for a few more minutes and we got this fall themed shot :)

After that he crashed and took a little nap

Thanks Danae for the opportunity! I look forward to taking more.

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Motivation to plant a church

While in disney my sister in law asked me what I was most excited about when it comes to planting a church. I told her that although there is truly a lot of things I'm excited for, probably the most exciting thing will see people's lives change because of the Gospel at work in them.

My cyber-friend Laurie posted this on her blog and it too left me in a sobbing mess. By God's grace we will have similar testimonies comes from our church one day in Peoria. Check it out when you get a chance and it will leave thankful for the work God has done in your life.

A Prayer For America

I like, millions of others today, have voted. And now I wait. Wait to see what God has in store for the next four years and pray that God would have mercy on us as a country. I read this over at Al Mohler's site and thought it was an outstanding guide as to how to direct my prayers today.

A Prayer for America on Election Day

Monday, November 03, 2008

Family at Disney


I've come to realize that I could go on and on about this trip. The musical's we saw, Finding Nemo, Ariel, Beauty and the Beast have only inspired Taylor to want to sing and dance all the more. The incredible animals we saw on our safari ride at Animal Kingdom and the kids first time goofy golfing. All fun and memory filled. But by far the best part of our trip was being together as a family. We had so much fun with Chris' parents and Scott and Jessica and Addy. What a blessing it was to spend such an extended amount of time with them! And what a blessing it was for our kids to get to know their cousin Addy better. They have missed her and talked about her since we've been back.

Chris' parents were kind enough to babysit two nights so that Chris and I could go out with Scott and Jessica. The first night we went to Disney's Magic Kingdom Not So Scary Halloween party. I have always dreamed of doing disney rides just Chris and I and this night made that possible. Jessica kept saying throughout the night how romantic the dumbo ride was at night. Well we took her word for it and got on the ride. As we got on the drizzle rain we had been experiencing turned into pelting rain and we got soaked for the duration of the ride. We laughed for the rest of the night at how "romantic" it was :-) Another night we went the four of us to Disney's boardwalk and sat and got coffee and dessert together. I really enjoyed this night talking with Scott and Jessica. Scott and Jess we wished you guys lived in AZ so we could spend more time with you.

Chris parents were so incredibly patient with our kids. Trevor was in rare form this week and wasn't always the most respectful, delightful child to be around. I think by the end of the week he had pretty much offended everyone. Ha! Also we shared a van with them to and from the theme parks to our resort. After hours of walking around a theme park one is eager to sit and enjoy a nice quiet drive home. There were no such rides in our car. It was either filled with crying, whining, loud silliness or all three at once. We pushed our kids to the max this week and they seemed to pay us back for it in the car.

That being said it really was an amazing week. One we will never forget! These past five months have been all consumed with thoughts and talk of church planting and what a blessing it was to get away with our kids and have a break in the action! We will always be grateful to Frank and Nancy and Scott and Jessica for making this trip possible for us!

Goodbye Disney, we'll look forward to returning one day!

Saturday, November 01, 2008

Bippity Boppity Boutique


All week long we saw girls dressed up as princess' with their hair done, wearing a sash with the words Bippity Boppity Boutique on it. It didn't take Taylor long to figure out what it was and she proceeded to ask all week long if she could go. Little did she know that we already had her an appointment. One of the advantages of having a dramatic little girl is she makes your heart melt when she is thrilled beyond belief. Telling her she was going to the salon was one of those moments. I had already packed her Belle dress for the ocassion so she would have the complete package.

They offered a cool dude package for Trevor. I thought they said he'd get a mickey wand but really he had a mickey painted on the back of his head. I didn't get any great shots of that...personally I didn't think it looked all the great either. One person asked me if his head was bleeding- haha! But the paint and confetti all over his head was a huge hit and mess I might add! It took quite a few washed to get it all out.

Meeting Characters

Rylee made this face to every character, she's quite the character herself!

We were blessed to have been given the gift of two character breakfast's. Those were so much fun and provided a very easy way to meet Disney Character's. The lines we did stand in thankfully were not all that long either. Taylor and Trevor both had autograph books and got a kick out of having the character's sign their books!

Funny story with Ariel- She says to Trevor, who sat about as far away from her as he could, sit closer little boy. Trevor, who is truly soaking wet from playing in a splash park outside says, I'm sopping wet though. To which Ariel says in her soft spoken princess voice, "That's ok I'm used to water!" HAHA!

Apparantly I didn't care to much for Mickey's ears :-) I found these picture taking opps. a little stressful. I think they purposely put them in horrible lighting so we have to depend on their professional photographer's to get a good photo. I'll post next about why T & T are dressed up!

Epcot- DisneyWorld


We went a few times to Epcot, future world. I couldn't get over the big golf ball, as we affectionately called it. Our first ride there was Soarin. A simulated hang glide ride full of effects like wind blowing in your face, sounds and the smell of the ocean. Taylor and Trevor both rode this with us and did great. I don't think this was Tay's favorite ride but I was proud she tried it. Special thanks for Jessica for taking Rylee and Addy (who is about a month younger) so we could all ride it together!

We spent lots of time in Nemo's world enjoying looking at the dolphins, fish, and sharks. Trevor rode a ride with Chris and Papa called Test Track. It's description reads, "Strap yourself in to race up bumpy terrain, roar through hair-pin turns, speed into freezing cold chambers, and rush on to 50-degree banked curves at 60 miles an hour." The boys ran ahead of us and when I arrived with Nancy and saw the ride my heart stopped. I had a "they are taking Trevor on THAT" moment as the car races past up in the air at lightening speed. I was eager to see how he responded. Chris said when it stopped he wasn't sure at first then quickly responded that it was fun. The rest of the night he was lightning McQueen.

Later on in the week Chris parents and I took Taylor back to this park and did some of the educational rides and walked around the different worlds. Taylor even had a front seat with Papa and Henni to hear some people dressed up in colonial time period clothing sing patriotic songs. That went along perfectly with our studies of how America became a country. She loved singing along with them!

Here's Grandma and Taylor patiently waiting for Papa D who's getting my park ticket because I accidently left it with Chris who was with the younger kids. Sorry guys!

Taylor and one of the girls who sang

I had a chance to meet up with my cousin Chrystal who I haven't seen in years. She lives about four hours away from DisneyWorld and just happened to be at Epcot the same time we were!

An amazing ceiling in the China world building

One night we stayed till the park closed and watched another spectacular firework show. It was here we learned that Trevor doesn't like fire, as he ran to the bathroom screaming and crying as the lake in front of us went up in flames :-)