Friday, July 31, 2009

We Made it!

Written Thursday night

We made it! It's a little past 1am and I'm dog tired. We traveled in a very nice Greyhound Bus for 17 1/2 hours. It has six medium sized TV's scattered throughout the bus and the bathroom surprisingly smelled good. I made sure to sit as far away from the bathroom as possible, so Isaiah and I sat in the front row right next to the driver. Aaron sat across from us which was behind the driver. Isaiah did awesome! He had his moments where nothing satisfied, but for the most part he was eating or being passed around like a sack of potatoes. He only slept for 1 1/2 hours, so after dinner he was ready for bed. Unfortunately, we were on the second Lord of the Rings movie, so he had a hard time falling asleep. Aaron had to work with him, but he eventually fell fast asleep. Tonight we are staying at the Missions Director's house for the night and it's off to Chicago tomorrow. GOOD NIGHT!!!

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Packing Day

WOW! Today was busy! From morning to night I will have been doing laundry, packing, cleaning, and taking care of kids. I knew this day would be a crazy one, so I did get a little extra shut-eye. My honey is so sweet. He's been non-stop this summer with the internship, which ended yesterday, so I know he needs it too. As I said yesterday, thank God my mother-in-law was coming. So was my brother-in-law. This morning, however, I found out he wasn't coming, so I was still thanking God for my mother-in-law. Gabe's surrogate family came to get him at 4:30pm. Soon after, I found out my mother-in-law wasn't coming! But it's o.k. We still have all the youth who know and love Isaiah well, so I'm not on my own. Of course Aaron will help, but I want him to be free to lead the group. It's our first time taking a team on a missions experience. By 6:30pm Judah was off with his uncle (so I'm still thanking God for my in-laws)! By 7:00pm Isaiah was in the tub. The poor thing wasn't able to go to sleep right away though. He was so tired, but I still had to pack for him, which made him desperate for his crib. I put him right in and haven't heard a peep since. Now it's off to pack for myself. I'm hoping I can get to sleep at a decent time since I'm going to be getting up around 4:30am!! Stay tuned for deets on the trip.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Chicago we go!

In 33 hours from now we are leaving on a mission trip to Chicago. Why Chicago, you ask? In a four-mile radius on Chicago's Northside, there are an estimated 150 different nationalities. It is said that on one corner it's like going to China (the people, the food, the dress, the language) and literally across the street it's like you just stepped into Afghanistan. All different cultures and peoples living next to each other, yet segregated. Every year, nearly 60,000 new immigrants move to Chicago, and many of these are from the least evangelized nations of the world. Needless to say, there is a lot of work to be done. But first things first - In order to get there, I have to take a 17 hour bus ride with Isaiah, ready to leave at 5:30am!!! For those of you who don't know him, he's our 19 month old fire ball. He's the most confident, unintimidated baby I know! He thinks he's as old and as tall as everyone he meets. When he wants something, he wants it NOW and if he doesn't get it, he lets you know. In the youth group, he has nicknames like Rocky and Rambo. Thank God our youth group and my mother-in-law are also going to be on the bus. Hopefully he'll be able to run up and down the aisles. I can't wait to see what this bus ride is going to be like. I'll be sure to let you know!

Saturday, July 25, 2009


On the way home from the grocery store tonight, Gabe informed me that he's going to buy a two-seater motorcycle. Here's how the conversation proceeded:
Me: "Oh really?"
Gabe: "Yeah I'm gonna get the kind with the seat in the back so you can ride with me."
Me: "And what color will your motorcycle be?"
Gabe: "Black...No...Rainbow."
Me: "And when are you going to get this motorcycle?"
Gabe: "When I'm six."
Me (Out loud laughing by now): ""
Gabe: "I know how to drive mommy."
Me: "You do?"
Gabe: "Yeah I'm gonna drive it like I drive my 4-wheeler (Power Wheels). I drive real good."
The even funnier thing is that he really does drive his 4-wheeler like a race car! Maybe he's a natural.

Friday, July 24, 2009

Older Women

Yesterday I spent the morning with a youth pastor's wife from the church I grew up in. Actually, I was in the youth group with her husband when we were teenagers. She is about ten years older than us, so needless to say I was "all ears." They have 6 children (5 girls and 1 boy)! I learned so much in just a few hours of chatting while drinking our blueberry coffee (that stuff was amazing, by the way). It reminded me of Titus 2:3-4 "Guide older women into lives of reverence so they end up as neither gossips nor drunks, but models of goodness. By looking at them, the younger women will know how to love their husbands and children, be virtuous and pure, keep a good house, be good wives." She gave me pointers on homeschool and discipline, shared how being a mother is a process of death to self, and how it gets easier to have patience through the years if you submit to God's inner working. We laughed, I almost cried, and I even left with a book and some suggested resources, which I ordered the minute I got home! I got to see how she kept her house, how she interacted with her kids and her husband, how patient and kind she was, especially how good and obedient her kids were - which is the true test! And none of it was a front. Between her kids and mine, we had 9 kids in her house and I felt God's peace from the moment I walked in. That meeting encouraged me in so many ways. It also inspired me to have young girls over more often for the sole purpose of them watching and learning. I've never been a fan of that because I feel pressure to perform and I feel bad when they are interrupted, but it wasn't a big deal when it happened to me. I just gave her a moment and we picked up right where we left off. "Lord help me to be the woman, wife, and mother you want me to be! Help me to be a good example as a younger woman and to learn all I can from the older women you've placed in my life."

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Staff Retreat

Aaron and I got back yesterday from a Staff Retreat in Mississippi. There were six couples in all who were the leaders over different ministries of our church (Youth, Children's, Daycare and School, Nursery, Administration and Finances, Celebrate Recovery, and of course our Pastors). We had a BLAST! We relaxed, went fishing, played games, had a creative and planning meeting, cooked breakfast and went out to eat for dinner. It was refreshing and so great to have fun with my teammates. I can't wait until the next one!

Saturday, July 18, 2009


On Thursday Gabe, Judah, and I went bowling for the first time together! It was practically like my first time because I SUCK! Honestly I'm horrible at any sport. Last time Gabe watched me play volleyball he asked me afterwards why I kept trying to hit the ball but couldn't. I was mortified! It's good for me that my boys are still so young. They were my excuse to get the bumpers and not do as bad as I normally would have or I would have heard all the way home, "Mommy, why did your ball keep going in the gutter?" Really, it's Aaron's fault. Gabe got his athletic genes from him. Along with those you get the competitive ones too! Actually, Gabe was really good. Most of the time his ball went straight down the middle of the lane. He got several spares and even got a strike! He was obviously frustrated when he didn't get a spare. It's like he expected to get one every time! Judah, on the other hand, is like his mommy. He could care less about winning and has never been interested in athletic activities. He quit half-way through and danced to the music the rest of the time. Naturally, Gabe was more than happy to play for him. Immediately after the game ended, he wanted to know who won. Thankfully I beat him so I could save face (but barely). He was beating me most of the game. I came back towards the end and only beat him by six points (and that was WITH the bumpers)! I know. I'm sad. I was a darn good cheerleader though! We had a great time together and that's what really counts.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

The Lord's Prayer

Jesus said, "This then, is how you should pray, 'Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name, your kingdom come, your will be done on earth as it is in heaven. Give us today our daily bread, forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one.' " Last night my husband went through this prayer as the sermon during our weekly youth service. He said a couple of words, explained it, and gave everyone 2-3 minutes to sit quietly to pray. It was so refreshing and pure, I think because of the simplicity of it. A couple of the youth said it was the first time they had ever prayed. Some cried. I discovered something in my heart as well. When we were on the "as we also have forgiven our debtors" part, we were asked to forgive those we haven't. No one came to mind, so I asked the Lord to show me if there was any unforgiveness in my heart. Immediately a flood of tears came streaming down my face because I knew in my heart I needed to forgive God for taking my dad away from me. I hadn't consciously blamed him, but I had asked "Why, God?" "Why did you take my daddy away so early?" "Why didn't you hear me begging you not to?" I know I will never understand it all in this life, but I must trust that God is sovereign. That is all the hope I have.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

While the cat's away, the mice will play!

Aaron went out of town this past Sunday for a short trip to a multi-media conference called BUG at Church of the Highlands in Alabama. It's funny how when he goes out of town I feel like I find myself again. I guess it's easy to get caught up in what he's doing outside of the house because I feel like I'm not doing much with my own life. I know raising kids isn't "nothing," but it can be mundane and feels very ordinary. When Aaron goes out of town, I am forced to think and do things for myself, which gives me a little taste of independence. Just a couple of days is all I need. After 6 years of marriage, I am very spoiled. Each time he returns I ask myself, "Why can't I live my life like this when he is here?" To answer honestly, I've never wanted to live a separate life from my husband. Confession: When he is gone, I hit the streets and splurge! In the morning we had cinnamon rolls for breakfast, later that afternoon, we went to Whole Foods to do a little grocery shopping. I let the boys get chocolate chip waffles instead of whole grain ones, and we had pizza and spinach dip for lunch instead of trying to find something healthy. On the way home, we stopped at Baskin Robins for ice cream, and just before getting home we swung by Walmart for tatoos and gum from the 25 cent machines right by the door. Sometimes it's good to say "yes!"

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

To add or not to add?

In my family, I am one of two girls. Growing up, my sister and I constantly fought. I hated how she imitated everything I did. She has the typical second born personality. She was compliant and could entertain herself. I, on the other hand, was very demanding and had to be entertained. When my dad remarried, his wife had two boys the same age as my sister and I. I loved it! They were my new playmates. Being "boys," they never ran out of things to do. They were adventurous and brave! Naturally, I always assumed I would have at least four - the way I grew up. By the time I got married (before kids), I boldly proclaimed I'd have six wonderful, well-behaved children! With each child, my proclamation decreases. Before Isaiah, I was back down to four. After Isaiah (my third), I'm wondering if I'm done. But it never fails. Just when I'm about to give up, I meet a fellow mom who has more children than me and urges me on for more. So the question remains: Should we add another personality to the mix? Or keep my life somewhat maintainable? I know for sure if I can imagine myself at 60 years old, I will wish I hadn't chickened out.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Birthday Parties, Showers, and Playdates

This weekend was super busy and I was in the best mood! I wonder if it's all the sleep I've gotten since the conference? Saturday we had our first birthday party at 10 in the morning, 45 minutes from our house. It was one of those places with about 8 different space walks inside. The minute we walked in the doors, a worker told me that I HAD to have socks and if I didn't bring any I HAD to buy them for $2 a piece!! I was ticked! I was being forced to spend $6 on socks I didn't need. After buying them, we walked into the play area and of course my kids were the only ones who didn't want to play! I wasn't about to waist my $6 so I literally dragged my kids through the space walk maze and down the slides kicking and screaming. That might sound terrible, but it worked! My kids ended up loving it and surprisingly so did I! I felt like a kid again. Eventually, Gabe went off by himself, Judah found someone to hold him because he hated it, and I went in and out of each one with Isaiah who, of course, isn't scared of anything. After pizza, cake, and ice cream, we headed toward the airport to drop of Beth. We went home for naps and two hours later we headed out for one more round. This one was a swim party. The boys had a blast running back and forth from the big pool to the baby pool. No one ate dinner, but Isaiah's tummy grew by the minute as he ate cupcake after cupcake! Everyone went home ready for another good night's sleep. Sunday after church I attended a baby shower for my best friend in college. She introduced me to my husband. They are having a girl and I was SOOO jealous looking at all those pink girly things! Now we are off to McDonald's for a much needed playdate.

Saturday, July 11, 2009

On the third day

Thursday morning we were so tired that we over slept. Prayer was at 9am. I woke up at 9:07 to a totally quiet house! I quickly woke Aaron up and thought for sure Beth was asleep too. When I went into her room, she was no where to be found! Shortly after, I found her ready and asleep on the couch waiting for us! Aaron and I threw our clothes on and made it before worship started for the first session. Keith Tucci spoke, a father in the faith. I couldn't believe all that he had been through in his life. He spoke on Unity. The way to being unified with Jesus is through obedience and death to popularity. He called it loneliness. We have to be o.k. with being lonely because in those times we become o.k. with ourselves. It was a perfect message for people in ministry. As a minister or a minister's wife, you must be o.k. with standing alone in a crowd to say and do what Jesus tells you to do. You can not be driven by the crowds or their opinions. I live for One because One died for me. After it ended, a few of our youth leaders went with another church to see the sights of New Orleans in the French Quarter. We walked and talked for hours! The night ended with Beignets at Cafe Du Monde. I forgot to mention the beach ball explosion Wednesday night! It was CRAZY!!!! During the last song of worship, we released 300 black and white beach balls into the crowd from behind. No one expected it and they went nuts. It was like a swarm of bees beach ball size. It was a perfect ending to the night. The conference was definately a huge success. We are already planning the next one! Today I'm off with Beth and my three boys to TWO birthday parties - one in the morning and one this afternoon in two different cities about an hour apart. In between we have to drop Beth off at the airport. We will miss her. She was the perfect house guest. For now, it's back to business as usual, but not for long. Up next, we are going on a church staff retreat and then a missions trip to Chicago.

Friday, July 10, 2009

The second day of the Conference

Wednesday was awesome from beginning to end. I was up until 2am that morning preparing for my message for the Pastor's Wives. The day began with prayer for the students. God's presence was thick and He spoke very clear. In short, He called me Moses and gave me a burden to see teenage girls freed from their chains. I want them to know real love - the love of Jesus. I want them to know a love that lasts forever and is never dependent on performance. We went right into Brock's message on sacrificial love that rocked my world! While the kids were out on their community service project, I spoke for the first time to the Pastor's Wives. At night, we had a boy's drumline preform. They are an All-star Team for kids ages 4-12 and they were THE BOMB!! Gabe came that night and got to ride the bull. He was so excited. The night ended late again with a gourmet breakfast at Waffle House. Yesterday was another full day and I can't wait to tell you about it. To be continued . . .

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

No Compromise Youth Conference 2009

So far the conference has been amazing. The only glitch was when the guy who was going to provide the rock climbing wall and the mechanical bull called early Tuesday morning to tell us that he forgot to look at his schedule and thought he was supposed to be at our conference another day!!! Aaron was NOT happy. The bull and the wall have been our big promotional draw. And it's not like he could just drive on over early and drop it off. He was driving it in from South Carolina! Aaron quickly jumped into high gear to find another option. He eventually found someone locally who had a wall and the bull arrived at 10:30 that night instead of 4:00 that afternoon. The opening performance was a blast! We had a hip-hop dancer followed by a Christian Rap Artist who threw it down. And of course the main event - my husband! In my opinion, he preached the best I've ever heard. He had so much control, but most importantly the Holy Ghost showed up. Before it even ended people were weeping in their seats, repenting for living a compromising lifestyle. I'm so proud of my husband and our team who really pulled this whole thing off. Without a loyal, faithful, committed team around you, I don't know how'd accomplish anything bigger than yourself. Thank you Jesus; it was your vision in the first place. Today has been incredible as well, but I'm gonna have to leave you hangin till tomorrow!!

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Today is the day!!!!

It's here! Our first ever No Compromise Youth Conference! To me, it feels like planning a wedding. You do all the planning you can to ensure your vision comes to pass. The day of , you do everything last minute possible, then you sit back to let the massive ball that everyone created roll on it's own. It's almost smooth sailing from here. Hopefully! The bad news is that the forecast says thunderstorms for the entire conference and I have a large pimple forming directly under my left nostril. I'm in my kitchen, sitting in a quiet house, begging God to make my kids sleep till 8:00 so I can finish preparing my message for the YPW's (Youth Pastor's Wives). It's already storming and I'm writing on my brand new Mac Pro!!! I got it a couple of days ago from my wonderful step-dad. He's one of the most giving people I know. I think one of the interns is going to watch my kids while both Aaron and I finalize our messages. Beth, a friend from Indiana, has been staying here. She came in for the conference. We are expecting around 200 people. Later this afternoon, I'm dropping my boys off at my in-laws and going to get a fresh hair cut. I'm sure I won't see my husband until tonight. He's been working so hard with everyone. So that's it! Pray for us and maybe we'll see you there!

Monday, July 6, 2009

Gabe's sleepover

So I said I'd update you about Gabe's first ever sleepover and here goes. It was a scene to behold. Six boys running around the house like wild Indians while still staying sweet at the same time. They all arrived just before dinner. One boy wanted to stay so bad, but had major doubts about letting his dad leave him. They all proudly and boldly announced "I'm sleeping over" as each new boy arrived. They played with Gabe's new soccer net and ball, swam in the kiddie pool, enjoyed cake and ice cream, and anticipated Gabe opening up his new presents. I thought, "How sweet. They are proud of what they brought and want Gabe to have it," as if they were showing such giving and selfless hearts. On the contrary. I soon found out they wanted Gabe to open his new presents so THEY could play with them! It was the funniest thing ever to watch. As Gabe opened each present, they hooted and hollared as if they had just received their own new toys. To ensure we got rid of every bit of their energy, the air mattress suddenly became a wrestling ring. They fought, dragged, sat on, and pushed each other off of the mattress over and over. It was a battle of survival. It is amazing that this male dominance thing shows itself in a tiny little 5-year old body. By 9:00 they were in their p.j.'s, and safely and warmly tucked in their spot on the living room floor watching "The Good Night Show." I was sure they were all going to make it. By 10:30 I was beginning to wonder if we were ever going to get any sleep. Soon after that, as one boy began crying for his mommy, they all began crying. Aaron called all of their moms and by 11pm they were gone. I'd say it was successful. Gabe woke up the next morning with a sad little face saying, "I'm never going to have a sleepover again." I had to remind him that it wasn't about the boys sleeping over that made it a good party. What made it a celebration was that he was born and that God had given him a great family and friends who loved him. I don't think he was convinced.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

What's your fruit?

This summer has been our busiest ever as a family! I have very mixed feelings about being busy. When I am, I'm stressed, and stressed for me is not a pretty sight! When I'm not, I feel lonely and purposeless. Of course I recognize these are just emotions and I am in the process of chilling out. I realize I don't have to live life so seriously, but it's my personality, so to go against this is going against what's natural for me. I've really had to focus more than ever on the Fruits of the Spirit. I know them by heart, but are they really a part of my character? I once heard a little saying in Bible College that goes, "Just like when an orange is squeezed and orange juice comes out, when you are squeezed, the fruit you really are will come out." With three boys and a busy life I get squeezed all the time and I wish more sweetness came out! Thank God I have a low maintenance husband!!! I am on a mission to learn and display the Fruits of the Holy Spirit instead of my ugly old flesh. So since our vacation, this is what we've been up to: We had a youth retreat called ONE Day (our youth name is ONE), I joined two lifegroups (a playgroup and a Bible Study on women in the Bible), our last teeball game, Father's Day, a tubing trip, both Gabe and Judah's birthdays and their parties (a boys sleepover that I will HAVE to tell you about another time, and a family fun day at Chuck E Cheese), an awesome girls' conference and an awesome youth conference at other churches, an MRI, almost got lasik, and biggest of all - preparing for our very own, first ever youth conference (which I will tell you about soon). Tomorrow, we are picking up a precious girl from Indiana to stay with us before and during the conference. Lord help me!