Saturday, December 10, 2011

photo update yet again

 SOOO much sister love :)

And check out this little man
 Jada did a great job at Christmas in the Creek...she danced with a red nose to "Rudolph the Red nosed Reindeer" :)  
 Judson decked out in winter gear at Jada's performance

Kiva had a blast at the big show too :)

 And a few pics of our cute boy getting bigger and bigger...



 And Michelle stopped by...Judson had been asking about her :)
 And check these two cuties out...Olivia Blessing...we might be showing this photo at your wedding :)



to make you smile...

video

Sunday, December 4, 2011

So long Sarah B, pierced, La-La and "Carcules"

Lots of updates that I will simply do through pics... here goes!

Here are some of my all time favorite people...this pic is from Intimacy this year.  Left to right, Ashley, Shauna, Blair, Kellie, Me :) and Aubrey
 Jada got her ears pierced!  We told her that when she turns 5 she could get them done.  She waited a little while and then finally one day she decided it was the day.  MiMi and PaPa took her and she was so brave :) 

 And I just wanted to point out how little and cute Judson is!  Does anyone recall how chunky our girls were???  And look at this little man...skinny and long :)  He is too much fun!
 And he is loving his new toy...I was out of the "sophie" loop with the girls but I am already a fan of this little giraffe and so is Judson!
 We celebrated our friend Kristen at her baby shower...they are expecting a little man in January!  She will be an incredible mom...we just wish they lived closer!
 And I just think this is a funny pic...
 Oh, Aunt Aubrey...Judson loves her already...Seriously
 So he is really cute and really likes that he found his hands to play with
 AND SARAH BROWN IS MARRIED...now she is the beautiful SARAH STEWART!!!  Oh my goodness, it was a really amazing wedding with so many people that Sarah has loved so well over the years.  Congrats to Andy for scoring Sarah...she really is a treasure.  And Jada was a flower girl (yet again) and did a wonderful job.  She announced to Brian and I that she is now best friends with Sarah's niece, the other flower girl named "Bailey."  So cute
And I just love Christmas time.  Jada has been absolutely entertaining herself with many of our nativity scenes...the one that she especially likes is the Little People set.  And she has named one of the wise-men "Carcules" (sounds like Hurcules) and for some reason likes to play with that one the most.  The other day she was pretending Judson was baby Jesus and she was a wise-woman bringing him gifts.  Too sweet.  
And Kiva has finally given Jada a name...it is La-La.  I LOVE this name for Jada.  It just fits her. Thanks, Kiv, for that fabulous nick-name!

Friday, November 11, 2011

Music, children, dreams and peace out FB

     To start things off...I am no longer on facebook.  And though I was rarely on that thing...I feel free.  There is really no big reason to blog about that, but I thought you may be interested to know ;)
     Onto much better things...My sweet friend, Aunt to my children and Brian actually thinks she might be an angel of sorts becuase of the sound of her voice and because she so often helps us out with our kids that it is clear she is sent from heaven!...Ashely Brusenhan, just released her first CD!  You can go here to listen to it and find out more!  It is wonderful and encouraging and we listen to her every morning...and really anytime we listen to music these days. 
              Some of you may remember, Ashley also started a thing called "Intimacy" for college women.  The 5th Intimacy was last Friday here in Aggieland and it was really a sweet time.  Lucretia came and spoke to all of us in her gentle and powerful way.  Good times.  Anyway, I lead a group of dancers called "Talitha" and we were able to dance as a part of worship.  It was really fun and also profound.  We were able to dance to one of Ashley's song's from her new CD called "Come Awake."  There is a line in her song that says "He wants to wash your feet tonight..."  speaking of Jesus with us.  As I was preparing and thinking about the girls that were coming to Intimacy, I realized that I really don't get it.  The reality of the gospel. I have understood it in many different seasons of my life, but still the reality of those words being true...The reality that Jesus (Perfect Holy God) wants to wash my feet (a nasty messed up girl who sins and sins and sins).  So....a week prior to performing I simply asked the Lord to help me understand that more.  And I had a dream.
            The dream was one of those terribly real ones.  It was really me and the setting was our normal lives.  It went like this "I was approached by an authority figure that I did not know and they told me that I was sentenced to death next Thursday.  It was clear to me that I was guilty.  I was deserving of death and I had no excuse.  The next scene was me and Brian talking about how much I wish I could raise our children and grow old with him, and we were making plans on how they would all go on without me.  It was eerie.  To try and describe the deep sadness that I felt is impossible."  
        And then I woke up.  Terrible, huh???  No beautiful gospel story there.  Just guilt and the bleak future of deserved death.  Of course I began praying as soon as I woke up and couldn't get to the scriptures fast enough.  I asked the Lord to make it clear to me what I was supposed to understand and even to remove the weight of the dream that still sat on me. 
           Two days passed and the weight was still there.   And that brings me to our house church meeting on Thursday night.  We were worshiping and singing to the Lord to start things off and suddenly the scene of me going to die came back to me.  I saw myself standing alone in the room that was clearly designated to be the place of my death.  Deep sadness and utter grief filled me.  And the only man that held the power to end it all came in the room.  Instead of carrying a weapon, He carried a bowl of water and began washing my feet.  He started speaking sweetly to me and He simply began telling me what I will receive instead of death.  He said, "You get to be Brian's wife, you get to raise your children, you get to live many days on the earth and you get to do all of this for me.  And then you get to live forever with me."  I wept and wept and am weeping again writing this.  A PROFOUND JOY filled me in the deep crevices of my heart and the weight that I had been carrying was lifted. 
          I was sincerely ministered to through this, and I believe the Lord allowed me to understand where most of the girls that were coming to Intimacy may be living. Weighed down by guilt and shame and passively accepting their lot in life as bleak.  A very incomplete gospel.  A terrible way to live!  If I were to write down all of the reasons why I deserve death, you would see that I am "the worst of sinners" as Paul refers to in 1 Timothy.  BUT, that verse starts off by saying "Jesus came to save sinners, of who I am the worst.  But for that very reason I was shown mercy so that in me, the worst of sinners, Christ Jesus might display His UNLIMITED patience as an example of those who would believe in Him and receive eternal life."  I feel like I could have written this verse.  For real.  And I just want to say that Jesus loves to make things new and He has even stored up an inheritance for us to receive rather than wrath or shame or guilt.  We, as daughters, as redeemed ones should actually be the lightest, free-est, and most expectant of good things on the earth.  Not one of us is forgotten.  Praise Jesus!
          And on a different note...thinking about life and children.  Many of you are moms and many of you will be.  So here goes.  There is a lot lot lot of things that the Lord teaches us moms about surrender.  About laying down ourselves for our children.  It starts during pregnancy as our bodies change, goes on to birth and all of the pain involved there, then goes into not sleeping much and not showering much and not reading magazines throughout the day while sipping on some fancy drink...etc.  All of those are silly things really.  But you get what I mean.  Some of the girls that I have run into over the years have been surprised with their pregnancy and they have had to lay down their ideas and timing of missions, or adoption or corporate work, etc.  "Surrendered" is another word for "Following Jesus as a Mom" in many ways.  But, sometimes I think we are thinking too hard or too long about things that don't really matter that much.  You know...too many conversations about the food that we are feeding our children or the education that we are choosing for our children or the extra-curricular stuff that we are choosing to place them in.  All relevant stuff to a mom that is surrendered to Jesus and wanting to make good decisions for her kids, but...all of that needs to be in it's right place.  ALL of that as a preface for what I am about to write. 
          So, I am reading a Piper book and this is what I read today..."I plead with you to dream a dream that is bigger than you and your families and your churches.  Un-deify the American family and say boldly that our children are not our cause; they are given to us to train for a cause.  They are given to us for a short season so that we can train them for the great causes of truth and mercy and justice in a prejudiced, pain-filled and perishing world."  YES!...AMEN.  As I raise Jada, Kiva and Judson (and Lord willing more little people) I really want to raise them with a generational view in my mind.  I want to invest in them so richly through prayer and truth that their children and their children's children will be laborers in God's plan to bring His kingdom to earth and to rescue and set free the forgotten.  I don't want my first thoughts to be about the food/school/sports stuff...I want my thoughts to be about how to expose them to the real reason they are living.  To give themselves away to Jesus so that He can use their gifts and talents and personalities to be a part of Jesus' mission to rescue the world!  So as moms...and as future moms...let us all pray and teach and train our children to love like Christ did and let's honestly allow the Lord to shape us and train us in the same way.  Receiving the deep love of God towards us and freely giving that away. 
     Which takes me back to my dream to tie all of these ramblings together.  "Whoever has been forgiven much...loves much."   Out of a thankful heart, Let us not be so easily distracted and yet let us fully enjoy the people we have been given to love.





Party time and a quick catch up

My hope is to simply catch up through pictures...so here is some fun photos from Kiva's party...she likes Elmo a lot...not because she watches Elmo a ton (we are definitely watching Elmo Potty right now though :)), but because his picture is on her diapers and for some reason his personality is contagious through toys and what not...anyway...we had a fun time with it.  

So I need to start off by saying that Kiva's party was pulled off by her beloved Aunts that are my sweet friends here.  Aubrey, Ashley and Blair totally created the most fun and funny Elmo cake pops along with cleaning the house and organizing gift bags and helping with all of the little details along the way.  I love these girls so much...and Kiva, you are so loved by them!

  
MiMi made these cute matching Elmo outfits for Jada and Kiva to celebrate in

 Quick family shot...Judson was sleeping :)
 And of course, our sweet friend Blair dressed up as Big Bird to complete the party...which was really funny because as she walked out Kiva said with a simple expression.."Blair."  and continued to eat :)  So funny.  I think this just fills you all in on how fun Blair is all of the time!


 Precious people
 On Kiva's actual birthday Aunt Sarah/Apple brought Kiva some fun princess attire that she immediately loved too
 And of course, Ashley found a bigger than life Elmo Balloon for Kiv
Jada went to the Woodlands with MiMi and PaPa and of course had a blast...I think she is looking so old!!!

Jada with one of her sweet friends Piper
 And are you serious...look at how stinking cute this little man is!  I like him so much

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

a little pick me up

Just thought we would share a sweet smile to brighten your day :)

Monday, October 3, 2011

Tears, Snot and 3 years of remembering our Mia


 Today marks 3 years since we held and said goodbye to our daughter, Mia.  Today was not an especially sad day nor was it an "ordinary" day either.  It is a paradox of sorts and honestly it is a paradox that I truly live in daily.  Here's what I mean. 
     Our days look a lot like many of yours...feeding children, playing with them, teaching and training them, bathing them and over-all tending to them.  In each day of ours there is laughter, singing, dancing, crying, wiping runny noses and praying.  There are moments when I wish I could sleep in till whenever and moments that I crave stillness.  I am wiped out by the end of every day and am happy to have a quiet home.  But there are some things that the Lord reminds me of daily...literally, daily, that I was taught through Mia.
      The theme of it all is found in these simple words, "I get to be the one that..."   Fill in the blank!  "I get to be the one that rises early to snuggle with a little one.  I get to be the one that grocery shops for a family of 5.  I get to be the one that teaches a soul how to pray.  I get to be the one that cleans up after the juice spills.  I get to be the one that is the bottom of the priority list for a shower :)" ...get the idea?  Here is one way Mia has taught me this:
      3 years ago, as Brian and I held Mia, there were certain things that have been branded into my memory.  One of those things was wiping Mia's precious nose.  She had a little speck of blood and I wiped it off.  I remember saying to her how I wish I could do that for her more as she grew up and I would miss that.  I am weeping now just writing that out...but that is the paradox that I am speaking of.  Every day, when I am tempted to be too tired or too pitiful or too lazy or too self-focused, I remember things like Mia's nose or the shock of sudden loss or the gift of my 3 children.. and all of the sudden the very thing that seemed taxing becomes a deep treasure. 
    I have experienced the tension...the mystery...the paradox of living fully alive in the moment and yet longing for our home in glory.  I am glad the Lord made it that way, aren't you?  So I encourage you, in whatever season that you are in (student, friend, room-mate, co-worker, wife, mentor, mother, daughter, teacher), to live fully in the moments that you are given because we don't get them back.  Let's simply make our prayer "teach me to number my days that I may gain a heart of wisdom."  Psalm 90:12.  I am reminded of the old song:
   
O soul, are you weary and troubled?
No light in the darkness you see?
There’s light for a look at the Savior,
And life more abundant and free! 

Turn your eyes upon Jesus
Look full in His wonderful face,
And the things of earth will grow strangely dim,
In the light of His glory and grace.

So...today we went to Mia's grave as a family and released balloons, prayed and remembered.



And two beautiful paradoxical moments were the girls laughing, giggling and playing while we were there among the graves.  And this precious picture
...so much to look forward to in this life and the one to come

Sunday, September 18, 2011

"uh-oh-da-day-oh"- Kiva

Somewhere along the way, my suspicion is MiMi, the girls picked up the phrase "Uh-Oh- Spaghetti-Oh"  and Kiva has wonderfully translated it into "uh-oh-da-day-o".  I LOVE IT!  She says it many times throughout the day and Jada and I just look at each other and giggle every time!  She is way too fun.

We have been doing a lot of staying at home and playing.  Judson is fabulous and the girls are too.  I am learning how to structure our days to make sure everyone is fed, bathed, played with and really seen.  You know?  I want to really see each of them and what they are needing in each moment.  I am learning how to be more structured in many ways so I can make sure I don't miss any of those "seeing" moments.  It has been great.

And we have been up to a lot of things like weddings, birthdays, starting another year of CC (Jada's school) and Brian has been doing little things like starting a new school and church.  Here are some photos to show the smiling faces in the midst of all of it!
 Jada was a sweet flower girl along with Caroline...they were precious together!
 Caitlin and Eli are hitched!!!  Yay.  Brian officiated the wedding and did an excellent job.  We love the Garzas! :)  And I love this pic of Jada and Brian!  And Aunt Aubrey was such a gift (as always) to us throughout the whole weekend.  Judson loves her a lot already too!
 
 MiMi with our little man
 Jada started her 3rd year of dance!!  And has started jazz this year too!
 Kiva likes Elmo a lot...so of course we needed these matching jammies...look at those sleepy faces!
 sweet men in my life!!!
 play time with new headbands
 and of course, Kiva was calling PaPa on her phone
There ya go...more updates to come!  Bless your week!