Thursday, April 30, 2009

Andrea Party

We had our last official Gilbert date night tuesday night and it's only appropriate that our last sitter would be Andrea. She was also our first 4 1/2 years ago. Taylor was 2 and I was just barely pregnant with Trevor. Andrea had a chance to watch Taylor grow up over the years. She was Trevor's first sitter. And was the first one to get him to go to bed without him totally losing it. There was lots of leaving Trevor with him crying for us and Andrea pushing us towards the door saying "he'll be just fine". And he always was :) She welcomed in Rylee and walked her around in the bjorn & slings while getting the others to bed. All the while bringing movies, things to bake with the kids, books and a joyful servants heart. So as we neared our last night we prepared a suprise Andrea party. Taylor worked on making Thank You signs and even made this acrostic for her.

One of her favorite colors is green so the kids & I baked her a green cake. And I do mean the kids... the put in the drops and frosted it! Ok so she's not Mrs. Boomsma quite yet... but what engaged girl doesn't like seeing her new last name on a cake :)

The kids waited by the door with a green rose...


Then she came in and made me cry and off we went on our date :)

Andrea we love you & are indebted to your faithful, joyful serving of our family for these past four years. Not only are we thankful but our marriage is stronger because of the date nights you gave us. Thank you for giving of your time, your creativity with our children and for being our friend. I'll miss our times coming home from dates and sitting on our couch talking "guy" issues and other fun things going on in your life. We are excited for this upcoming new chapter in your life!

Sunday, April 26, 2009


It's good to have friends. And as my friend Tiffany is famous for "It's good to make new friends".

Nevertheless it's good to be friends and watch your daughter's be friends too :)

Such cute girls. So sad we won't be close neighbors anymore but rejoicing in where the Lord has us both. A 1hr drive really isn't all that bad either. Trust me, I've driven it a lot lately : )

Friday, April 24, 2009

It's Official


It's official, Chris & I are Peoria homeowners! Last fall Chris and I went looking at homes for the very first time in Peoria. Chris' brother & wife who live in Peoria told about this new development and said we should check it out. It's central, close to the freeway, which is rare for new builds and they loved the area surrounding these homes. Not knowing anything about Peoria we listened. On our way out to visit some friends we stopped by the model homes to take a quick look. The first two were nice but not exactly the floorplan we were looking for. Third model was unbelievably perfect. Like someone consulted us on what we wanted, then designed it. But it was nowhere near close to what we could afford. So we left and didn't look back. Well fast forward about six months and we are now seriously looking at homes with my dad and nestled in a bunch of other homes to see was a spec of this model. It had dropped significantly and as far as the floorplan and house size it put all the other homes we were looking at to shame with it's price. My dad talked the builder into paying all of our closing costs and we had a contract! So essentially we bought the first home we saw. Just had to see hundred of others in the meantime. Thanks dad :)

So it's been a fun month of watching the house being finished. It's a little nerve wracking waiting for carpet and tile to go in having had no say on the choices. Thankfully I was pleased with the finished look! I love, love my kitchen! Once we get settled I'll post some pictures. But right now imagine big white walls, no window coverings or landscaping and that's our home :) I've got a full week of packing up our rental, Chris has a full week of getting the other house ready to move into and we'll be calling it home next weekend!

We are thankful to God for his provision in this house and can't wait to use it to the glory of God!

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Meet the Dustins

The Dustin's have been our second family for quite some time now. They graciously, without even knowing us, invited us into their home to live the year we were at Pastor's College in Maryland. We came in as strangers and left as life long friends. To save money this year we need a place to stay for the Pastor's & wives conference. Guess who opened their home up to us? That's right! Although we hardly saw them the first couple of days we felt their presence. Chocolate on our pillows at night, coffee made and ready for us in the morning as well as some breads and muffins to take on the go. They even took in Taylor who slept with Hannah while we were there. We stayed an extra day so we could get some catch up time with them. We had fun in DC and after dinner the boys built a fire and we roasted marshmallow's for smore's. Chris brought a guitar out and we did some singing and a little storytelling around the campfire with a flashlight. Jacob, there second oldest had us in tears with his funny stories.

The kids also get a kick out of playing practical jokes on Mr. Chris. This week was no exception! Ryan, their youngest, is usually the mastermind. Liz made easter cookies with the kids and they took one of Taylor's that she made special for daddy and filled the frosting full of pure baking powder. After dinner one night Taylor offered us her special "mom" & "dad" cookies she made. Chris thought it was safe cause it was from Taylor... but one bite and well you get the picture. Taylor thought it was hilarious!

Before I left I snapped a few family photo's for them as a thank you for all there generosity! I'm being bold to put them on my blog, as they haven't even seen them yet :) Your CD is on the way friends!

Hannah & Taylor are adopted sisters. After Taylor threw up in her room the first night, way to welcome ourselves to their house huh, Hannah said, "Now I really feel like a big sister!" LOL. Yes Taylor has and will always consider you like a sister!

Oh and check out there blog. You have to read how they made maple syrup from there maple tress in the backyard! We got to take a bottle home and man was it good!

Miss you all!

Hobby Lobby

My friend has been telling me about this place called Hobby Lobby for quite some time now. I'd go to her house and say, "That's cute! Where did you get it?" She'd say, "Hobby Lobby". This happened a couple of times and I knew I had to check out it for myself. I finally went last week and was not disappointed. It's like Michael's meets TJ Max Home Goods store. Great prices, cute stuff. They have tons of picture frames, vinyl sayings, house decorations and then a crazy large section for unique crafts and such. And for those of you who sew. I loved their selection of fabrics!

For those of you in AZ and in the east valley they have a one at Greenfield & Baseline. It seems like they are new to AZ and I'm going to start lobbying (no pun intended) for one to go in the west valley! If you go make sure to check their website for coupons. The day I went I was able to print off a 40% one item coupon.

Monday, April 20, 2009

A Precious Christ

God has been after a lot in my heart as of late. It's been a hard but good process. One thing that I can say that has happened in my soul is that Christ has become more precious. I praise God for his grace in allowing this to be so. I've been re-reading one of my favorite Octavius Winslow books, The Precious Things of God, during some of my devotional times. This section, long as it may be, sums up in some way what I feel like the Lord has been teaching me:

"There is a supremacy in the feeling of Christ's preciousness to the believer, which is worthy of a remark. Chris has the preeminence in the affections of the regenerate! "Whom have I in heaven but you? and there in none upon earth that I desire beside you." Listen to His own words, asserting His claim to a single and supreme affection: "whoever loves father or mother, brother or sister, wife or children, more than ME, is not worthy of Me." There are natural ties of affection- the parental, the marital, the filial. There are ties, too, of human love and friendship, linking heart to heart; but not one word does He who inspired those affections, who formed those ties, breathe, denying their existence or forbidding their exercise.

No the religion He came to inculcate distinctly recognized these human relations, and seeks to strengthen and intensify by purifying, elevating and immortalizing them. But mark the emphatic word employed by Christ- "MORE than ME!" All these affections are to have full play and exercise, but ever to be maintained in profound subordination to Himself... In a word, Christ should become more supreme and precious to our hearts by all the sweet, sacred relations and affections of life.

Christ is our life; and our growth in spiritual life is Christ increasing within us. It is utterly impossible to cherish a holy desire, to conceive a heavenly thought, to perform a good action, to conquer a single infirmity, or to baffle a solitary temptation, apart from a direct communication with Christ; as for the lungs to expand without air, or light to exist without the Sun. Oh, yes! Christ is increasingly precious to the believer. The absence from His beatific presence- distance from His blest abode- the vicissitudes of life- the fluctuations of time- the advance of infirmities- the increase of anxieties and cares- and the formation of new friendships, do not render the Savior less precious to the believing soul.

Other objects often lose their attraction, their desire to interest, or their power to charm us, by the lapse of years; but JESUS is that glorious object who grows more precious to the heart in time, as His capacity unfolds of making us supremely happy; and in eternity will become increasingly the object of our love, and the theme of our song, and the source of our bliss, as growing ages unveil His loveliness, His glory and His grace!

Well if you were able to hang with all of that I hope you were encouraged! I am so blessed to have parents I love deeply and friendships that are strong in the Lord. I'm thankful to God for them and his gift to me in giving me them. I'm so thankful that he has immortalized our relationships. I told my dearest friend, who I was so close to being neighbors with but due to our move to Peoria will not be, that I'm hopeful God will have our houses close together in heaven. But as I pack everything up again for our big move to Peoria, what I am most thankful for is that Christ has become more precious to my soul. How I long to be nearer to Him, to give my life away to Him, to know Him in deeper ways through the study of His word and long for the day when I will be with Him face to face.

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Taylor's Day In DC

We stayed an extra day in Maryland last week so we could take Taylor to D.C. This wasn't exactly her first time there but it's hard for her to remember back to when she was 2. The Dustin's were kind to drive us down there and brave finding parking. Not an easy thing to do but thankfully we were successful.

*you can double click a picture to make it bigger... some of these pics look much better in it's full form

First stop was the World War 2 monument. This is not a war we have talked about or covered at all. Honestly, it was just on the way to the Lincoln. Taylor saw the Arizona pillar and wanted a picture.

She also insisted of getting a picture of Washington for Aunt Jessica.

Washington Monument

Here's what happens when you give someone else your camera. Look how perfectly focused that monument is :)

Lincoln Monument steps

This is her "MOM... NO MORE PICTURES, THE SUN IS IN MY EYES" look. hehe.

Now here is someone we have spent a lot of time talking about this year.

She stood there and read the entire Gettysburg address aloud. It was a sweet moment.

After visiting the Lincoln we drove by the white house, sorry no pictures. We also drove by the theatre where Lincoln was shot and the house where he died. We then spent the next couple of hours in the American History Smithsonian Museum. That was a great experience. We saw a wonderful exhibit on Lincoln. I sense a pattern here. Not only had Taylor & I been studying about Lincoln in school but Chris has been reading a book on him called Team of Rivals. It was fun walking through it with Chris and hearing all the things he had been learning. We walked through some other exhibits on various people and things throughout history. I look forward to going back again one year with Taylor and seeing some of the other museums.

When we were done we took a little rest outside. It was such a beautiful day! Danny treated us all to something sweet.
Taylor got a yummy snow cone.

What did you get Chris?

Seriously a pink strawberry popsicle? You deserved all the mocking you that came your way :)

I didn't get many of the dustin kids in DC but I sure like this one!

We were so glad that the Dustin's joined us for our trip! Thanks so much guys for taking us! More to come on them later.



Here's my small attempt to do a conference re-cap. I'm so thankful that Sovereign Grace includes the wives for these conferences. I find it an invaluable time. My soul always leaves refreshed and envinsioned for ministy. Plus I find it easier to understand my husbands call and listen to what the Lord did in his soul through the messages when I'm actually sitting through them myself.

They were all outstanding and different in their own way but the message that impacted me the most was Dave Harvey's message on The Mission. Namely church planting. Probably no suprise there :) Well after working through Matthew 28 he got to the end of the passage and read,

"And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”

Now my emotions were already being stirred as it's been somewhat of a struggle for me these past few months. I needed this message to remind me of the "why" we were moving, leaving behind friends & family. With the reminder of the "why" brought excitement and encouragement. With the "always" brought a flood of tears. I do mean flood. It's one thing to cry during worship but to hold back sobs during a message is a little uncomfortable :) See in my unbelief I had forgotten the "always". I'm a bit of a pessimist, though I prefer the title of realist. But either way, in my sin, I can forecast trials and forget the always. As Dave contiuned to speak on the promise of God being with us to the end of the age I felt the Holy Spirit flood my mind and in a supernatural way applying "always" to each and every fear I have. I praise God for this much needed reminder and I can say that since that message a renewed joy and peace has come upon me.

Chris was overcome with emotion for different reasons. He was obviously encouraged that I was encouraged as he has patiently cared for my soul as I've worked through my fears these past couple of months. But this was not the first time he had heard this message.

He and our Sr. Pastor had attended an evangelism conference at the Pastors College roughly four years ago. Dave preached a similar message to this and afterwards Chris was bursting with desire to plant a church. They had great talks and he confirmed that he had always known Chris would plant a church it was just a matter of when. Now my husband would be kind and say at this point he said "we" needed more time before we were sent out. But in reality he said "Tara" needed more time. He was right. Four years ago I was struggling with newborn Trevor, still trying to figure out how to be a mom, Pastor's wife and well was just one big fat sinner. By God's grace and I do mean only God's grace, when talks resurfaced four years later he and the other Pastor's could confidently say, you are ready. Sometimes I feel like arguing the "ready" factor. I saw my dear friend Betsy who oversees the care of the Pastors college students with her husband Gary and pleaded with her to let us back in for another year. "I'm not ready!!!" But I think in some ways planting a church is like having a baby. If you wait till you are completely "ready" it would never happen :)

So although I still have had to fight off fears and battle unbelief this week, I'm fighting with the promise of always.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Taylor Singing on Easter

Yesterday we got a call from our friend Jon, who is the worship leader for our church. He asked if Taylor would be up for singing a little solo at church for Easter. We talked with her, taught her the song, prayed with her and walked her on stage. What joy it brought my heart to see my little girl singing to Jesus on Easter morning. Taylor has had such a sweet, teachable heart towards the Lord. We took some time to go over the meaning of the verses and chorus words she would be singing. I praise God for her and pray that the Lord would only increase her love & knowledge of him.

I also realized, about a few minutes before walking her onto stage, that she had never done anything like this before. Because she's always singing for us at home it feels like she's an old pro. So for our San Francisco friends and others who missed it, here's a little recording compliments of my dad :)

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Happy Return & Happy Easter


I love Easter. I love meditating on the power that comes in knowing and believing that Christ did indeed rise from the dead. Not only did He go to the cross to die as a perfect man for mine & your sins but he also conquered death for his children as well! Hallelujah what a Savior!

We have been reading the kids the Jesus Story Book Bible. Here's a section from the story on the resurrection that brings tears to my eyes. Mary has just found Jesus alive and was running to tell the others.

"And it seemed to her that morning, as she ran, almost as if the whole world had been made anew, almost as if the whole world was singing for joy- the tress, tiny sounds in the grass, the birds... her heart. Was God really making everything sad come untrue? Was he making even death come untrue? She couldn't wait to tell Jesus' friends."

Chris, Taylor & I just returned from a week in Maryland. Chris & I had our Pastor's & wives conference with Sovereign Grace. Taylor stayed with our old P.C. host family for the week and after the conference we all did a little D.C. sightseeing. It was an amazing week having our souls refreshed and meeting with others. The highlight was definitely spending the last day with our second family, the Dustins! We miss you guys already. If time permits I have much to write on in the upcoming weeks and plenty of pictures to edit and post as well! And since I just found out that I'm not moving for two more weeks I should have some time :)

*the above picture is of hannah's adorable bunny...with easter nearing I couldn't resist :)

Wednesday, April 01, 2009

Ms. H

This month we've kept quite the busy pace. There's seems to be something about moving and gearing up to move again that is draining. But when I'm not busy being emotional about moving to Peoria in 2 weeks, I've been busy with some photography jobs. My friend Becky, who a year ago got me a job as a swim instructor to mom's and babies one day a week, this month offered me some jobs helping out this swim school with some various projects. I've done staff pictures, flier pictures and recently working on brochure and website pictures. So fun. I love that place!

Well a week ago I got a call from a girl, who works with Becky, wondering if I would take her Sr. pictures for her. I was honored and honestly a little nervous. There's something about having a d40 and being aware of it's limitations, along with a 50mm that won't autofocus with the d40, that keeps me desperate when taking these jobs. And well let's just say it how it is, this is her Sr. pictures! But God was kind and this sweet Christian gal was amazingly beautiful inside & out. I had so much fun her!

I have no idea who's jeep this is... It was just hanging out in the parking lot :)

This girl has so much personality! I loved it!

Thanks Hannah for the privilege of celebrating your Sr. year with you and giving me the honor of capturing it in pictures!