Thursday, August 23, 2012

A Shelter in the Time of Storm

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I'm not sure there is a book that I have referenced more this past year then Paul Tripp's book, A Shelter in the time of storm. It is just so, so, rich with God's truth.

I feel like this quote sums up so beautifully of what the Lord has been teaching me this past year:

"I have learned and I am learning that the physical delights of the created world were not designed to be the source and hope of my confidence. No, all of those things in their temporary elegance were meant to be signposts that point me to the
always available
always holy
goodness that can only be found in you.
I have learned and I am learning that confident living always rests its foundation on You.

I believe that I shall look upon the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living! Psalm 27:13

Losing Heart

This weekend we will celebrate Grace Church's third year anniversary. As one can tell my blogging has taken a much slower pace since church planting began. Life has just been full speed fast. Having a baby while church planting will also to that to you :)

This picture hangs on Chris' office to remind us of our humble beginnings. Just a group of 20 something kids off to conquer and change the world. We were and still are on a Gospel mission. This picture was taken before a baby among us friend was born dead. Before we saw a marriage fall apart and others on the brink. Before the group of churches we were apart of would go through, and still, a time of shaking like never before. We had no idea what was before us. Chris joked today that he is like the President who looks all youthful and fancy free in his inauguration picture and then a couple years into the deal is completely grey with bags under his eyes. HA! There really is no preparing for being a Sr. Pastor or I'll even venture to say Sr. Pastor's wife.

I was tremendously fearful to plant this church and I can say sadly that for the first time, as a ministry couple, I have actually wanted to give up at some points in the past three years. It has tried me like nothing else. Which is really kind of sad to say. I do not know suffering. I am blessed beyond belief with a Godly, caring husband and four healthy children. And yet, in my selfish sinful nature I have questioned our ministry's effectiveness, our calling and wanted to throw in the towel.

Wait for the Lord; be strong and let your heart take courage; wait for the Lord! Psalm 27:14.

Oh what a beautiful Psalm chapter 27 is. It has been near to my heart for the past year. I dwell on it often and refer back to Paul Trip's book A Shelter in A Time of Struggle almost daily.

"Your motivation to continue is only as strong as what you have placed your hope in. Perhaps this is why we so easily lose heart in the face of obstacles, opposition, or difficulty. Perhaps what we have unwittingly done is try to build our reason for continuing on the shifting sand of flawed and impermanent things that were never meant ot be the foundation of our meaning and purpose or our inner sense of well-being. No human being is capable of carrying your hope. This side of heaven we are all weak and flawed in some way. No circumstance can carry your hope. Every situation you are in is in some way touched by the brokenness of the fall and isn't under your control. Amassing physical pleasures and possessions won't give you lasting hope. For all of their momentary enjoyment, they fill the senses but do not satisfy the heart. When you look horizontally for your reason to continue you will inevitably end up losing hope.

There is only one place where stable and reliable hope can be found. There is only one place of rest for your heart and surety for your soul. There is only one reliable place to find your reason to get up in the morning and continue. When your hope is in the Lord, when you are getting your inner sense of well-being and security from him, when he is the reason you continue even when things are hard, then you are building your life on something that is reliable and sure.

It has been an exhausting, exhilarating three years and I wouldn't trade any of it in for anything. I LOVE our church. I love the realness of people. There is no pretending at Grace Church for the Gospel has freed us to be the sinners in need of grace that we are.

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Road to Oz- Taylor

So a little update on Taylor. Last fall she took voice lessons from a local voice coach. Taylor, as we've always known, has a beautiful voice and great pitch! After a few months we decided to give acting a try. There were some free classes at a local library from a youth theatre offering up camps in the summer. Taylor chose to take a week long acting camp. She had a blast! In the midst of the camp were auditions to Road to OZ. She wanted to try out but was really nervous. Chris and I already had plans for the night so we went back and forth and back and forth and decided to not have her audition. Well our plans ended a little early and I said Taylor let's do this! So with a minute to spare she arrived and signed up to audition. The play was for ages 7-18 and Trevor not wanting to be left out, auditioned as well. I was a little shocked but didn't want to discourage his ambition. So off he went into a room by himself with a handful of other seven year olds! I was so nervous for him. He came out and Taylor went in! Then I was nervous for her. There were quite a few youth auditioning that day. I did the math and prepared their hearts to not get a role. I emphasized how proud I was of them.

A couple days later I received an email from the youth theatre and the headline said, "We're sorry...." So I read it and thought yep like I thought. Then I received another e-mail saying "Congratulations..." I was trying to figure out who got in and who didn't! Well poor Trevor took the news hard that morning. Taylor had gotten a small role. I should've saw that coming but didn't. Thankful Trevor recovered and we have entered the theatre world of rehearsals, tech nights and dress rehearsals! It's been a great experience!

At this point I should add that Taylor's two neighborhood friends have been on this journey together. From the library, to the acting camp, to auditioning together, to having the three of them getting roles as the three adepts. Aujah, Aurah, and some other "A" name. I was so grateful for other moms to carpool and share the load with and it's been so convenient to live only three miles from the theater!

Now just in case your wondering what and Adept is. Technically the webster definition is: a highly skilled or well-trained individual. In the the Road to Oz they are adept in sorcery. EEK. My heart sank when I read that first e-mail. I said to Chris... do we let her do this? Sorcery isn't exactly something we condone or practice in our worldview Ha! But this is just a child's play and Taylor's first break! I was conflicted all morning. What we came to was there is good an evil in every story. Chris had just finished preaching a sermon on Exodus where the magicians replicate every plague that the Lord does except for the last one. Will our daughter never be allowed to play an evil part in the bible either? The question for us came down to is Taylor heart drawn towards evil? Does she show consistent understanding of good and evil and embrace a Christian worldview? After answering these questions we decided that she could indeed participate in the play with this role.

I'm glad we did too. As at first the adepts used their gifts for evil but in the end they made a potion to turn OZ back to love and happiness. The whole tone of the play was upbeat and quite humorous.

So last night was the girls big debut! Taylor did great and quite enjoyed the stage. As a friend said, performing is in the Daukas blood. It's in the Jones and Winter's blood as well. She comes by it naturally :) Trevor throughly enjoyed watching last night and after it was over was convinced that he indeed could've been the "love magnet" if they had given him the chance. I think he will be joining his sister next summer in some acting camps.

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Friday, August 17, 2012

Happy 6th Birthday Rylee

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Happy Birthday my sweet Rylee. You like to tumble and make people laugh. You still love your blankie despite all our efforts to wean you. You love to cuddle and snuggle close. You are so very smart. I could listen to your cute voice read such big words all day long! You are a free sprit. Artistic. Sometimes just flittering and fluttering at your own pace through life! We are blessed to have you in our family Rylee Grace!

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Familiar Ground

It really is fun having another toddler in the house. With almost four years between Rylee & Alexie I thought for some time I had left the crazy, cute, toddler days behind. I have found myself on familiar ground lately. Something like, "Oh yes I remember now". It's amazing how easy we can forget. I've been grateful for this blog. It's helped me look back and remember Trevor & Rylee as toddlers 15 months apart.

Not much is different from those days to now. Yes it is unbelievably helpful to have Taylor around. You know when you've discovered poop coming out everywhere it's helpful to be able to say, someone help me, and actually have help and not just give you a blank stare or run around in circles around you and the baby and poop. So basically I just have a bigger house for Alexie to destroy and make messes in, then back in t,t & r's day.

Having a toddler equals *those* days.

You know the days when markers get left out by the older ones in the school room and they fail to put them back in the high spot they are supposed to be. Instead they are on the table screaming out to toddler hands. DRAW EVERYWHERE AND ON EVERYTHING FAST!

So excited to have her picture taken. thanks trevor I think I have a picture of you looking like this too.

She looks super sorry huh?

Here I discovered she just finished eating my brand new chapstick...

Last week I failed to realize that Chris didn't have time to put everything away from dinner as he left for a meeting.

She had taking bites out of every last piece. No leftovers for the rest of us...

Ah but yesterday was super fun. Trevor got the grand idea of making a "cage" for an egg and then drop it from the top of the stairs to see if the cage would protect the egg. It didn't. Raw egg everywhere. He did the best he could to clean it up but I discovered that he used my broom and the thingy that you sweep all the stuff into for dumping. Both were covered with raw egg. I am happy to report that his second attempt at creating a cage for the egg was successful. No cracked egg. Aren't I a great mom for letting him try again?!?! Moments later I find that Lexie had a serious poop explosion. Probably from all the watermelon. She had proceeded to come down the two flights of stairs we have on her bottom, exploding just a little bit more out of her diaper with each step. No picture for that one. You're welcome. Oh and all this after I hired a little cleaning help a day earlier due to some back issues I've been having. Why do I even try. Fun times indeed.

I really can laugh. And I understand better now when mom's say it only gets harder when they get older. I have been feeling the "older" disobedience days lately and it's just not funny. Alexie and her mess I can laugh at. So those with little ones take a picture and laugh :) It will be over before you know it!

Want to know if it compares to my early t & r days? This old post gave me a good laugh.

I really do watch my kids. Really.

Wednesday, August 08, 2012

12 Year Trip.

Chris and I celebrated 12 years back in early July. First time in awhile we hit an anniversary where I wasn't pregnant or nursing. I was thrilled to learn that Chris had planned a mini trip for the two of us. I was even more thrilled to learn he was taking me to my favorite vacation spot, Carlsbad. We haven't been back there just the two of us without kids since our honeymoon days. Often times trips can be more of a stress then I deem worth. It's so hard finding babysitters and then I fret can our sitters actually handle our children. Will our children do a number on them and they'll see us for the failing parents I often feel like we are? Chris, knowing this was a temptation, sought to find all the sitters ahead of time for us. He went on to sweetly tell me who was taking our kids and where they would be and I was like babe I really don't care. Drop them off where ever and get me the heck out of here. HA! It's just been that kind of year and I knew he needed a chance to breath in deep if not more then I did. Thanks to my sister-in-law and a friend living with us we were able to sneak in one extra night! So we left Sunday late afternoon and arrived in the beautiful Carlsbad California weather. All photo's taken from our phones..

Getting ready to take off!
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I can't remember if this was before or after the flight attendant yelled at me. Yep I totally got scolded at the start of my anniversary trip. By this, who I at first thought was cute, Texas lady, strong accent and all. She put me in my place. We sat in the emergency exit row since there were only two seats. Let me mention I do NOT like flying. So I was cracking a few jokes maybe. Well Texas lady came to explain the enormous responsibility we all have sitting in these sets of seats ect. I even pulled out the little card to look at as she was going through. In the middle of the talk about crashing she says something to the effect of, "If any of you feel unsafe sitting in these seats you can asked to be moved." And I laughed. Before I could even take a breath from my laugh she snaps,


Yes I'm paying attention. It's not these seats that are making me feel unsafe it's the fact that we even see the need to HAVE these seats and your explanation on how to unload the plane that make me unsafe. Ha. It's so fun being married to me... she went on her merry way. Thankful it was a very short flight.

Back to happy thoughts. How can you go wrong with this forecast?!?!

Guess what we scored?!? This was not planned but Chris worked the guy at the counter and got us a SWEET deal on this and ended up being just about the same cost as our original rental car plan.

Oh man I loved this car! Chris mostly drove but the one time I did drive it I thought I had died and gone to heaven. It is now a life long dream to get a convertible. Worldly? Yes. But man oh man I don't think it's a stretch to say God made convertibles for man (woman) to enjoy and enjoy we did!

Chris' turn! He drove it well. Which suited my preference of dancing like a crazy 20 year old well.

Ok so honestly it's hard to tell what I like more. Convertibles or beach. Living in Carlsbad has also been a life long dream. So basically this weekend was like all my dreams coming to fruition. I have my dream man, car, place. How does one return to reality after that!? It was hard let me tell ya ;)

We went to this awesome Italian place that we love in Carlsbad, but are always to stressed to enjoy with our four kids while on vacation, for dinner.

Afterwards we picked up our tradition of playing cribbage. Best of three. And guess who won? Guess I can't have it all now can I?

The next day we drove (danced) around town and decided to head to LA to try out a lunch place.

In typical LA fashion we drove into the downtown area with an LAPD helicopter overhead. Nice. Let's just say living in downtown LA... not a dream of mine. It was crazy nuts.
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The restaurant we went to was amazing and worth all the craziness we endured getting there. Be sure to check it out if you are ever out there. Thanks Andrea for the tip!

Check out the dessert display case...heck ya!

Time to head back home.

I don't think we could've asked for a better anniversary trip! Honestly, short of our honeymoon, it's one of our best trips to date. I would've taken a few more days that's for sure but I am grateful to God for how he stretched out the 2 1/2 days we did have. At the end of the day I left my dream car and dream location behind for my cracker infested minivan and hot and lately humid home. But I left with my dream man. That I wouldn't trade for the world. Happy 12 years babe. Here's to many, many, more.

I'll end with a little video I took for the kids to see their mom and dad living it up ;) See kids I can be fun!!!