..."popsicles on the porch"...what a great afternoon treat and our favorite way to spend time together! These are simple and precious moments! Princess #1 and Princess #2 along with Little Man #1 and #2 are my inspiration for most of these writings.

Monday, December 20, 2010

Who Would have Thought?

Ever have those times when you look back on your life and think…man, how did I get here? 

As I look back over the years, I am discovering that many things I said I would NEVER do, somehow God has led me to do those very things! 

Here are a few things I never thought or said I’d NEVER do!

·    Work in the ministry

·    Have more than 2 children
·    Be a stay at home mom
·    Homeschool
·    Marry a minister

Guess you never say never! ; )  

Nothing looks like what I had envisioned and I’m loving it! Who would have ever thought I’d have 4 kids, be a stay at home mom and now a homeschooling director!!  Not me that’s for sure!  

I am so thankful that God knows the plans He has for me. Plans that are far better than any I could have laid out for myself.

In fact, I know for sure, if left up to me I would have made a complete mess out of things. In my next few posts, I want to take some time to reflect on what God has been working out in my heart and talk about the things that have me smiling and saying… “Who Would Have Thought?”  :) 

For now, here is an incredible video of one of my favorite speakers and local Houston area Pastor, Voddie Baucham reciting a very thought provoking poem entitled, “Put The Baby In The Beemer.”  Though I’ve never owned a Beemer and never really aspired to, the message behind it articulates with such veracity the “it’s all about me mentality” that plagues our culture. As I reflect, I see a woman who was once willing to place my family on the altar of my ego in order to satisfy those deepest desires that not even I knew were there. That is, until God got a hold of my heart and helped me to better understand the precious gift of family that he’s given me and most importantly the value of my role in my home.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

A Family Tradition....Celebrating Advent!

We're celebrating advent! The Jesse Tree is a family tradition we do every year, but this year we're tweaking it just a little. 

Since we've already made our Jesse Ornaments from previous years, this year we'll wrap them up and place them underneath the tree. Each night one kid will get to unwrap the ornament followed by that night's scripture reading and devotional and hang it on the tree. Maybe the kids will even get to put on a little skit and act out the story for us. ; ) 

To find out more about the Jesse Tree read more HERE.

Monday, November 29, 2010


I attended my first homeschooling convention this past summer.  You know the one, the "mother of all conventions" held in the Woodlands every summer.  If you've never been or if you ever get the chance, I'd highly recommend it.  You've got to go at least once!  There are so many wonderful educational materials, resources, and informative seminars for just about any homeschooling parent.  

Whether you're a veteran homeschooler who needs fresh ideas or just a beginner like me, there is something there for everyone.  Heck, even f you're not a homeschooling parent, just thumbing through all of the delicious books and educational resources is enough for me. I'm not just talking about curriculum, but books, games, manipulatives, school supplies, and etc.... 

However, I must warn you...a newbie like myself is sure to get lost in the sea of booths in the exhibit hall. I absolutely loved it! I just wished I had the budget to buy everything I had my eye on!

On the practical side, here was something I picked up that has really come in handy. ...the I Did My Chores Chart! We've been using it for the last few months and the girls love it!  Not only are they learning responsibility but they're also learning the rewards of hard work. 

Here's how it works:

Chore cards are color coded to reflect the time of the day and assigned morning, noon, and night.  When a chore is completed, they immediately place it in the "I did it box!"  At the end of the day, they receive a token for each card in the box.  Tokens are then redeemable for rewards previously established. For example, 5 tokens could be redeemable for a piece of candy, 8 tokens for a free dessert, 15 tokens for extended bed time....you name it!

Of course, the other side of this thing is that tokens can also be taken away.  My girls have felt the sting of this and hate withdrawing money from their piggy bank to give to mommy.

Since our first grader is learning how to count money, we've altered the system a bit.  Instead of collecting tokens they are earning small change: a nickel per card earned. The girls love to cash in their money for rewards like camping out in the living room and watching a movie or a trip to the dollar store. 

So far, we've had great success! I am most impressed that my four year old makes her bed first thing in the morning without fail! 

She even walked into my room one afternoon, took one look at my bed and exclaimed, "Mommy, I think we need to get you a chore chart too!" Ouch! : )

Friday, November 12, 2010

Pink is the color, Barbie is the theme and Potterybarn has been our Inspiration

Since Tim has had off this week, we’ve been busy around the house tackling various projects.  
With that in mind, I have been wanting to cover the girls' bedroom window, but just wasn't sure yet about what to do -- until I came across a pair of tulle curtains a friend had given us a while back. Surprisingly, they resurfaced this week while we were cleaning out the garage...imagine that!  Since they didn't fit over the bedroom window, we got a little creative and decided to use them to frame the dressing area of the girls bedroom closet. 

I still have to paint, but doesn't it look cute. I love that we were finally able to put these to use. 

After hanging, I realized how simple the stitch looked and decided to make another set of tulle curtains for the bedroom window.  Being such a beginner sewer, I was a little intimidated about sewing tulle, but was amazingly surprised at how easy it was!  Nothing like a little inspiration to get you going (and a little encouragement from your sister who of course can make just about anything!).   

So, here is the tulle valance I made for the girls bedroom window. It has a zebra print border and pink jewels. Very girlie for my two girly girls. 

Now, onto the tulle bedskirt modeled after the ones in Potterybarn. This bedskirt sells for $150.00 for a twin size bed. Five yards of tulle for the above cost me $6.00 at Hobby Lobby. You do the math! ; ) 

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Costume Fun 2010

After all my smack about not having enough time to sew costumes for the girls, I ended up caving in when I couldn't find Isabella's costume anywhere.  It seems Word Girl was a pretty popular costume for her size, not to mention shipping would have cost me a fortune!

After researching a little on the internet, I got some great tips from other mommys on how to put the outfit together without breaking the bank.  I dug around a little bit and realized we had an Incredibles costume from last year that we could reuse as Word Girl's red leotard. My only issue would be covering up the black sleeves, ankles, trunks and Incredible emblem on the front of the chest.  

Here's where the mommy tips came in handy!

For Word Girl's shield, I used red and yellow foam craft paper from the craft store.  Tim helped me draw the shield (because I am so not an artist) and star. I then simply cut these out and stuck them over the Incredibles emblem. 

For the headpiece I cut out a piece of red stretch fabric and hot glued it to a head band. Then i simply added velcro to the bottom side of the head piece to attach underneath her chin.  

The belt was an old stretch glitter belt that I use to have from one of my many years in dance and drill team. I simply cut out a yellow and brown circle from the same foam paper and stuck it onto the belt. To give extra security I added a few stitches.

The sleeves were the easiest of all.  I used red felt which helped bring out the darker red Word Girl uses around her wrists. 

I also had to make red trunks to go over the black trunks on the Incredibles costume. This was the hardest part for me.  I had no clue what to do and didn't want to mess up the costume as I'm sure the boys will be into in just a few short years. Not to mention, it was very late and I was really sleepy.  I ended up playing around with the red fabric (used on the head piece) and came up with something to simply get us by for the evening. 

My favorite tip was making Word Girl's red boots. We used a pair of long red socks to be worn over her tennis shoes and we had an instant pair of red boots!  Of course, by the end of the night we had to throw the socks away, but replacing those is a piece of cake should we ever decide we need them again. 

Two late nights sewing until 4 am and here is the final product...

She absolutely loved it and was super grateful which ended up making the bags I am now sporting underneath my eyes all worth it! 

And if you noticed above, she's holding Captain Huggy, Word Girl's sidekick! (Isabella just had to have him! )  This was a last minute project Sunday morning right before we headed to church. It literally took about 5 minutes.

We borrowed a blue T-shirt from Cash and put it on his monkey (the extra one that is only for emergencies). I used some scrap yellow fabric from Word Girl's cape to make his belt and simply tied this around his waste. I cut circles out from the foam paper and hot glued it to the yellow belt. I cut out a yellow lightening bolt also from the foam paper and glued it to the front of his chest. For his head piece, I used the scrap red fabric that we used on Word Girl's head piece and tied it around his head. I tucked the knot into the collar of the blue shirt. (I told you this was a last minute thing!) Then I cut out slits for his ears to stick out and there you have it....Mr Huggy!

The other 3 dressed up as characters from the Cat in the Hat. I got the idea when I walked into a consignment shop to inquire about selling some items and spotted a Thing One and Thing Two Costume! I couldn't resist. After that, I hyped up the idea to Elianna on being the Cat and the Hat. She was sold after I mentioned painting her face and wearing red lip stick!

So here is Elianna as The Cat in the Hat! (I purchased the hat, bow and gloves and sewed her tail on).

And we can't forget about Thing One and Thing Two...

Thing One refused to wear his blue hair and was unsure about what to do most of the evening, but he loved getting pushed around in his wagon and eating candy!

The cutest and happiest Thing Two I ever did see! He fought his brother for candy the whole night!

Friday, October 29, 2010

Mr. Potato Head Pumpkins

While shopping one weekend at Wal-mart I came across these!

So fun! I got the idea from a friend (Thanks SB!),  but had never seen them. While we still had pumpkin carving on the agenda, this really was so much easier!  As you can see, the kids had a blast decorating!

and our porch looks great too! 

Monday, October 18, 2010

What Every Mom Needs To Know After a Bad Day…

...from one of my favorite fellow Mommy Bloggers Kat at Inspired to Action
A few months ago I had one of those terrible, horrible, no good, very bad days that all moms have every once in awhile.
Sometimes every two or three times in awhile.
After finally putting the kids to bed, with a deep sigh felt through the ages, I buried my head in my husband’s chest and in true Anne of Green Gables fashion, I proceeded to pour out my frustration and deep despair at what a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day it was and what a terrible, horrible, no good,very bad mom I was.
I mentally calculated the future therapy bill my kids would require after our rotten day.
Finally, in an expression of true blogger angst, I said, “…and what the WORLD am I doing writing a blog about motherhood?!!! I’m a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad mom!!”
But I’m not dramatic. Obviously.
Yet my wonderfully patient, wise husband gently replied, “Sweetie, it’s not about the mom you were today. It’s about the mom you’re FIGHTING to be. And you? You’re FIGHTING to be a great mom…”
His words of comfort silenced me.
Friends, we all have bad days. Sometimes we have bad weeks. Maybe you’ve had bad years. But those are the past. We can learn from them, but they DO NOT define us.
Our mistakes are part of our journey. They are NOT our definition.
In light of the magnificent purpose to which we have been called, we cannot waste time nurturing our regrets. They require too much of us.
We can learn from our bad days, our mistakes and then we must lay them down, leave them behind andfight on.

Kat blogs at Inspired To Action, a site dedicated to helping moms develop the habits and skills they need to effectively manage their homes and raise children who are prepared to change the world. Kat and her husband Jimmy live the great state of Texas and have 3 children ages 7, 5 and 2. Kat loves music, running, technology, Jesus and Tex-Mex food. Not necessarily in that order.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Have you decided what your going to be for Halloween?

Cowboy CASH From Last Year!
That is the question around our house lately. Three down and one to go! Whohoo! Believe it or not, I am actually off to a better start than last year. Elijah Ray was born a few weeks before Halloween, so mama had a lot of other things on her mind, not to mention we were in the middle of a huge move!

So, this year we're making better timing and I think we finally nailed down what big sister is going to be! Yea!! This is a huge accomplishment for mommy as my eldest has the habit of changing her mind from week to week. Anyone else have this challenge?  It can be really tough and oh so frustrating; especially as we get closer to Halloween.

Since I was growing weary of asking every day,"have you decided what your going to be for halloween?" I decided to help her along by laying out a time frame for her. If she didn't have a costume picked out by that designated time, mommy would have to choose for her. Not so much fun for a big independent 6yr old. So, with a little nudge and a "you're a big girl who I know can choose her own costume"encouragement, voila!! That really seemed to do the job!

Now that I have half the battle tackled, we're on to getting our costumes.  Decisions, decisions!! I am so tempted to make my own costumes; especially when I see something and think, "I could totally make that myself!" However, as much as I'd love to break out the sewing machine, the reality is I just don't have time. Between our home projects, homeschooling and life in general with 4 kiddos, there's just not enough time in the day. Urrgghh! So, even though it painfully kills me to purchase the girls costumes, I think I'm opting for sanity.  Good thing hubby likes this choice too. When I asked him tonight if I should attempt to sew some of our costume items,  he just looked at me and said, "Come on babe, really?!!" Nuff said! Hope he's still singing that tune when we need his wallet! ; )

With that in mind, as I was looking for our costumes on line I came across this website full of creative ideas for frugal halloween costumes. So, for all you bargain savvy moms you may find this link helpful!

Here were a few of my favorites:

A Bag of Jelly Beans

A Bag of Dog Food--hilarious!


A Clock-little work but very creative.

Gumball Machine-could also use the clear sinch bags like the Jelly Beans above.

Unleash your creativity!

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Why Don't Friends with Kids have Time?

My husband sent me the article below.  
No doubt he knew I'd get a kick out it as you will too I'm sure; especially those of you who are stay at home moms!  

I love the editor’s response to a lady who wrote in basically wanting to know what in the heck stay at home moms do all day.  
You know, because our jobs are sooooo easy!  
Yeah right!  

I love the line about "needing 45 minutes to do what takes others 15!" 
Isn't that the truth!

I'm feeling this all too well these days as we unpack, remodel, and decorate our new home.  
How does one do this with 4 little ones all under the age of 6?!!

Thanks for shedding some light Carolyn!  

Monday, August 16, 2010

Attitude...it's your choice! :)

Last week was a pretty crazy week and if you follow Tim's FB updates, you'll recall for some unexplicable reason our Mac decided not to boot up one morning. That was a real bummer! To top the week off and make things even sweeter, to our surprise we discovered a pipe had broken in the attic in the girls bathroom, and oh yes there was sheet rock damage!

As we worked to get things squared away with the insurance company, overall things seemed to be looking good and best of all their was minimal damage done to our pocket book. Definitely a blessing! Hopeful to start a new week with this behind us, we came home from church yesterday afternoon and discovered yet ANOTHER pipe had broken in the attic; this time over our hallway near the garage. Ugghh.

In Phillipians 4:6 Paul exhorts us, "Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your request to God. And the peace of God which trancends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus."

So, despite the circumstances, I'm choosing to have a positive attitude and thankful heart. Thankful that a friend happened to come over that evening (the night the first pipe busted) and was able to help us, thankful for another friend that works with insurance companies was able to advice us on what to do, thankful we were able to minimize the damage, thankful that Opa was here to help when the second pipe busted, thankful for insurance, etc....

Amazingly, as I began to write these out I discovered there really was so much to be thankful for. It's a shift in attitude, a matter of perspective! Oh and did I mention that before we walked through the door and discovered the 2nd broken pipe, we had just gotten off the phone with Apple. They had called to let us know that our laptop would be ready later this week and the best part...it was FREE!!

Paul says, I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation....phillipians 4:12 This is something God has been definitely been working in us this past year in so many different ways. As I reflect on how God has been at work in our hearts and his provision over our family, I am so thankful for the ways He is choosing to work the spirit of contentment in our hearts. I am thankful for his mercy over our family as I realize many others like Paul, face hunger,sickness, death, and etc....As I reflect on other families who have lost a loved one and have watched God be their peace and strength through their pain it simply amazes me. I cannot fathom the cross they have had to bear. It is humbling to witness the way God has worked in and through you. If you have experienced such tragedy know that I am praying for you now.

As Paul focused on God rather than His circumstances, he developed an attitude of thankfulness and as a result experienced the peace of God.

So, In the midst of life's unexpectant surprises our attitude is everything. I found the poem below especially fitting this Monday morning! It's a great reminder that perspective is everything and as my husband so gently reminds me, "Your attitude is your choice!" So, despite this less than desirable gaping hole I am staring at in my ceiling, I choose to remain JOYFUL and THANKFUL before the Lord today!

A little old lady went to the mirror one morning and noticed that she had only three hairs on her head.
As she looked into the mirror, she said, "I think I'll braid my hair today."
That's exactly what she did. And, she had a great day.

The next morning, at the mirror once again, the little old lady noticed that she only had two hairs on her head.
Looking herself right in the eye, she said, "Today, I think I'll part my hair down the middle." That's exactly what she did. And, she had a great day.

The next day, as the little old lady looked into the mirror, there was only one hair on her head.
She looked at that one lonely hair and said, "Today I think I'll wear my hair in a pony tail."
That's exactly what she did. And she had a great day.

The following morning the little old lady looked into the mirror and there wasn't a single hair on her head.
Her eyes lit up, and she said, "Yeah! I don't have to fix my hair today!"
~Dennis and Wendy Mannering

"Your attitude is your choice!"

Friday, August 13, 2010

Friendship for Grown-Ups

I am a huge Lisa Whelchel fan and have read just about every book she’s ever written. One of my new favorites is her latest book, Friendship for Grown Ups. In this book, Lisa explores the challenges of friendship; particularly women friendships.

Let’s face it…friendships can be challenging! Lisa speaks from her heart as she relays her own story of how God tore down the wall she had so carefully constructed around her heart in order to prevent people from getting too close; thereby exposing her own neediness and vulnerability.

“Vulnerability, trust and grace is not always easy to cultivate or maintain but isn’t that what we all want? To be seen, in all our glory, for better or worse, the good, the bad and the ugly and still be embraced? If only these kind of friendships were easy to find.”

As she begins the journey of discovering “real” friendship, the very thing she fears is that which God uses to chisel away at her heart. It is through the pain of broken trust and betrayal that God teaches her how to be real, needy and vulnerable in order to truly be a “real” friend…the kind of friend we all need.

I have not met many women in my Christian life who I can honestly say know the good, bad and ugly of Mel…and still embrace me. Perhaps they haven’t felt the same of me either. That really makes me sad. Don't get me wrong...I have some great friends that I love dearly and I know they care for me as well.

As I chewed on the quote above, there are only two women that come to mind, who have seen me and know the good, bad and the ugly of Mel. One was once my boss, and is now mentor and very dear, dear friend whom I will forever be grateful for. Sure, we have rubbed each other the wrong way before, but we know each other. She knows the Mel God created, has grace for the Mel that’s still in process and chooses to see ahead to the Mel God is creating me to be. That’s real friendship! That’s real grace!

The other is a girl I knew back in high school. Man, could we have some heated discussions, but our love and respect for one another went deeper. We might not have always seen eye to eye, but no matter what, there was a sisterly love for one another. Even today, though we might have different viewpoints, we can still respect one another despite our different perspectives and love one another through them. The best part is that though the years go by, we can pick up a conversation like it was just yesterday. She knows me. She knows the Mel God created and respects the Mel I desire to be. That’s real friendship!

Here is what I am wrestling with: Isn’t the church (not "A church" but "THE church" in general) the place where we should be experiencing more of these grace filled friendships and unconditional love? I just don’t understand how we can be the body of Christ and yet have so very little grace for God’s people. The very people in which God himself dwells! When I think about it like that, it just blows my mind and makes me cry out to God to help me show his child, my sister in the faith, more grace and love.

I am processing through all of this, but one thing I have discovered about myself in regards to friendship is that I tend to be an all or nothing kind of gal. There isn’t anything I don’t commit myself to without giving it my all. This is just the way God made me. The same goes with friendship. I am a loyal friend, which means there isn’t ANYTHING I wouldn’t do for you if I can; especially for a close friend.

Yet, what I have come to discover about myself, and this book only helped to further highlight, is that at times I can unintentionally expect the same things of my friends in return. The result is hurt feelings when expectations are not met. One of the biggest things my husband is holding me accountable to is not to infer the intentions or actions of other people. For example, I might say, “I can’t believe she said _______, I would have never said that to her” or “I can’t believe she didn’t _________ I would have done that for her.” Time and time again, my hubby will fire back with, “but she’s not YOU!!!” He says, “she is not going to do and say things just like you would. If it bothers you that much, ask her what she meant when she said, _______ but don’t infer. It leads you to a bad place.” Blah, Blah, Blah. The truth is, he’s right and I know it.

In Friendship for Grown Ups, Lisa Whelchel refers to this as helium balloons. Before you let the little balloon you’ve imagined float away, pop it by exposing it. Bring it to the light. Tell your friend, “I could be overly sensitive, but was I reading you the right way when you said __________?” Don’t just sweep it under the rug or worse yet, write someone off! I have been guilty of the latter. So needless to say, I have found so many nuggets of truth in this little 178 page book.

One of my favorite quotes that I have sadly found to be true is when she writes about our fear of being needy. Check this out:

“What has conditioned so many of us to be afraid to ask for help when we need it? Or to reach out for a touch when we are lonely? Or to forgo sharing a happy success for fear of sounding prideful? Why do we choose the safety of space in even the closest of friendships?"

As I reflected on this question (and have been guilty at some point of one or all of them), it really just blows my mind. I’m wondering… “Are we living in fear and lead by pride.” Fear and Pride…two painful enemies of the Christian life.

Afraid to ask for help….why? Because we won’t appear to have it all together; we won’t be the perfect mom who knows how to raise the perfect kids? Maybe it’s simply because we don’t want to bother already busy people and become a burden to them….we’re tough, self sufficient we can handle it…right?

Reach out when we’re lonely….why?? Isn’t that what the body of Christ is for??

Forgo sharing a happy success for fear of sounding pridefulwhy??? aren’t we called to rejoice with others?

Are we living in fear and lead by pride?

Henry Cloud writes…. “God made us to need Him and each other. We need God. We need his word. We need each other. The apostle John wrote, “I have much to write to you, but I do not want to use paper and ink. Instead, I hope to visit you and talk with you face to face, so that our joy may be complete.” 2 John 12. Friendships require vulnerability, grace and action. You can’t build a friendship off of self sufficiency. You must reach out to others and ask for help. Neither can you build a friendship if you never make time for others and concern yourself with their needs. We need community, we need each other. God knew that. That’s why he blessed us with the church body. So, why do we push this precious gift away?

These are just a few things I’m pondering lately and wrestling with in my heart. This was the first book I’ve read that spoke honestly and directly regarding these sensitive and almost taboo matters.

If you want a good book you can curl up with and hang out with a girl who’s keeping it real, check out Lisa’s book, Friendships for Grown Ups. I laughed, cried and cried some more as she relays the bitter sweetness of friendships and gives practical insight on how to choose and cultivate “safe” friendships filled with grace, so we His people, can truly reflect his love to one another.

If you’ve ever experienced the pain of friendship or would simply like to know how to be a better friend, this book is a must read.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

It's been a while...


Hey Friends and Family! We’re back!

Life has definitely brought about a lot of surprises and changes including a new addition to the family, homeschooling, a new job, church, and new home.

Though this transition has been LONG and challenging, it has also been such a blessing as we have seen God at work in so many ways. After 10.5 long months of home showings, we’re finally on the other side. Whew!! It’s time now to get settled in and figure out our new normal…whatever that looks like!

Though we have most of the inside boxes tackled, we still have a mountain of boxes to sift through in the garage as this is the place where everything got dumped! L I’m choosing to look at the brighter side--we’re finally able to “move about the cabin!” No more bumping into boxes! Yea!! That’s not to say I still don’t hear someone yelling out, “mom, where is ________?” However, that’s more because mommy’s still trying to figure out the best places for everything to “live”—as my eldest would say.

It feels like we are moving at a snails pace (and we are),but hey with four little ones to attend to, this has been a major accomplishment for us. As much as I’ve wanted to get everything in order as quickly as possible, there are 4 little people who need their mommy and daddy. Life still goes on. Laundry still needs to be done, dishes washed, bodies bathed, dinners made, drinks to fill, babies to nap, and etc….So, needless to say, this is yet another way God is teaching me how to be flexible; a theme that has been reoccurring for the past 2.5 years of my life (Thanks Dale Carnegie)!

As I reflected a bit on this, I couldn’t help but think of my kiddos who have been alongside us during one of the most challenging seasons of our married lives. They have without a doubt been a living-breathing example of what it means to be flexible. What an encouragement they have been to me as I have watched them let go of the only home they’ve ever known. Not once have they complained. This is no stretch of the imagination. In fact, even though my 2yr old is unable to fully communicate, the first night in our new home when I announced that it was bed time, he picked up his monkey, looked at me and said, “alright mom” and then went straight to his new room! I couldn’t believe it! What a blessing that was as we were so physically and emotionally spent and desperately in need of some rest.

It’s funny, I kept waiting, trying to be ready with an encouraging word to offer or to wipe a teary eyed face. That’s not to say they don’t love and miss all their amazing little friends. No way! They simply said their goodbyes and trusted Mom and Dad’s word that there would be new friends to make and a new home that Jesus was bringing us to. Wouldn’t life be so much easier if we came to our heavenly Father as simply and as orderly as that? No tantrums, no looking back, just moving forward and trusting that God is doing a new thing, even if we don’t have all the why’s and how’s answered.

Time and time again, Isaiah 43: 18-19 has been an encouraging verse through challenging seasons in my life. And even now, as we continue to trust and let go I have found it especially encouraging in this season.

Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past. See , I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the desert and streams in the wasteland. Isaiah 43: 18-19.

That’s not to say out with the old and in with the new. Please don’t hear that. Like our kiddos, we too will carry these friendships in our hearts forever. You have been in our homes, eaten dinner with us, brought meals over, watched our kids, went on double dates together, celebrated births and walked with us in challenging seasons. You have been a blessing to us in so many ways and we are so thankful for the time we had together. We treasure the friends we’ve had to say goodbye to and know that no matter where God plants us, God has and will always bind our hearts together through Christ Jesus.

Yet, as we embrace what God is doing in this new season (challenges and all) we are experiencing the joy of seeing God’s provision and seeing how he has been at work even though we couldn’t see or understand it all. No matter how uncomfortable it is, there is a freedom that comes in knowing you’re in the middle of God’s will that gives you the hope and strength to persevere.

Even though we’re not through it all, we have not only seen the way he has provided for us physically (ask me about how we found our house), but he’s also been plowing through the muddy fields of our hearts. While not always pleasant, it is here God can shape, mold and refine us. Don’t know what all that looks like yet, but I have hope in what’s yet to come! J

Genesis 50:20-21 ….., but God intended it for Good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives. So then don’t be afraid. I will provide for you and your children. And he reassured them and spoke kindly to them.