Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Let's play catch...

UP! We need to catch you up on the last two and a half months!! Not sure I can or will cover it all, but here a some glimpses of what we have been up to around here.

Since my last post, Jenny has moved to St. Louis and is thriving at Mercy Ministries. We talk every week and she has written twice. Her letter that I received last week was about a breakthrough she had while there. She said that it finally clicked with her that God loves her unconditionally. She said that she was experiencing a love that was not of this world through the people there!! His love is still not failing her!!

Since Jenny hasn't been around the house it has been filled with either friends or family pretty consistently. Bill Buckley brought a mission team from MC to the coast for a week in March and they were in our home for prayer, meals, and worship. They were like a fresh wind to us.

To begin April I went with friends and ladies in our church to a Beth Moore conference in New Orleans. My beloved friend Raeline and I took our boys (as you will see in a photo below). We secured our spot in the arena in the handicap section so that the double stroller would fit and we set up camp (you know, all our gear). They loved all the attention from the women! When they fussed, we took turns strolling them along the walking path around the inside of the arena so that we didn't miss a word. We were taught by Beth that according to the Word, being holy is being whole-heartedly devoted to Jesus---mind, soul and body and nothing "hanging out"!

April also has been a time of making memories with our family. Marcus and Ashley made their first visit to our home for Easter along with DeeDee and Big Daddy. Our time together was special; the girls had a blast as Uncle Marcus and Aunt Ashley chased them around the house, played hide-and-seek with them, hid easter eggs from them, and did absolutely anything and everything the girls asked them to do! Even after they were gone Emmaline was screaming Marcus' name from her crib after naps. And since they left, the girls have been asking when they will see them again. Thank you Uncle Marcus and Aunt Ashley for getting on the floor to do the airplane, for playing chase around the house 100 times, for playing ball in the yard (with high winds and attacking knats), for trying for an hour to get our sorry kite to fly, for reading books, for allowing your body to be used as a jungly gym, and for being the source of laughter and fun in our home! We will have you any time you are rested up and ready to come back!

We have had Papa and Grammy here for a visit in the last couple of months and then Grammy just came again for a few days. They were here in March during Papa's spring break and made it through an extremely busy week with us...and were a huge help. Ava was a flower girl in a wedding the weekend they were visiting, so we had an event to attend 3 nights in a row! Grammy ironed for an entire day I believe. She ironed Ava's raw silk dress with pleats, Emmaline's silk dress, Samuel's outfit, my silk dress with pleats and Matt's shirt! Whew, I am getting tired just typing it!

I know there is so much more to tell but I need to tell you the most recent news. We closed on our house last Friday! Wow, you want to talk about the faithfulness of God and how He is able to do anything! We now own a home that we could never afford, but the sellers were moved to come down to our offer. This house is beautiful and oh so lovely. We can see the beach and feel the constant breeze. It is spacious and a blessing to so many. This house was built by the Lord, dedicated to the Lord and will continue to be a place where His peace and presence dwells. The door will not stop swinging with people coming and going. We pray the Lord keeps it filled. When you walk through the front door of our home, your eyes are immediately drawn to the scripture painted on the wall. It reads, "Great is the LORD and most worthy of praise; his greatness no one can fathom." psalm 145:3

In addition to the house, we were blessed with two brand new bikes! A couple in our church family gave them to us. They bought them soon after Hurricane Katrina and have only ridden them once in 3 years! I haven't had a pink bike since I was a little girl. I am so excited!! Matt and I had been talking about purchasing some bikes and a bike trailer so that we could do something fun together as a family. We were floored when Ron and Rosie showed up at our house with these...and GAVE them to us!

Matt's new bike with a basket (of love) on the back!

Ron and Rosie Daley--giving Rosie's pink bike to me.
Sameul and Thomas strolling in New Orleans after Beth Moore conference.

Samuel loving to swing! He is almost crawling now. He pushes backwards and turns in circles so it won't be long until I'm chasing Him too!

One night we had a babysitter here who gave her a bath early in the evening and then fed her dinner. She ate dinner, went to church and slept in the duck!

Emmaline also got attached to those yellow crocs (passed down from Abby) and would not take them off (even to sleep)for a few days!

This was taken on Easter Sunday in our backyard.

As you can tell, it was challenging to get everyone looking at the camera for this one! This was taken when Marcus and Ashley and mom and dad came to visit for Easter. We ate lunch at a restaraunt overlooking the Pass Christian harbor.

These next few photos are of Ava at her first tball practice. She has had a few games now so I will post photos of her in uniform next. She is having fun! We have to bathe in bug repellent before each game but other than that we enjoy every minute of it!

Friday, February 13, 2009

Your LOVE never fails

Matt brought home a cd 3 weeks ago by a group called Jesus Culture. I had never heard of them, but now this cd is my favorite! The first song on the album is entitled "Your love never fails." I played this particular song over and over again and still couldn't get enough of it! Now 3 weeks later, I realize why. I am not only hearing that the love of Jesus never fails, or reading it in scripture, but I am seeing it in the life of a girl named Jenny.
Before I tell you about Jenny, I need to apologize that I haven't told you all this sooner. But when I think about the past two weeks, I cannot think of any time that I had to sit down and do this!
Jenny is an 18 year old girl who has been living with us the last two weeks. She is in our youth group and has had an extremely troubled life with little stability and much chaos. She has experienced the depths of the pit of hell. Amazingly, she has continued coming to our church through everything (totally on her own will). YOUR LOVE NEVER FAILS. She got into some trouble several months ago and was kicked out of her house. After living with others (in worse shape than her) for a while, she showed up at church 2 weeks ago with nothing but the clothes on her back. Matt and I were not asked or expected to take Jenny in, but we both knew that the Lord was calling us to. YOUR LOVE NEVER FAILS. I have had attacks of fear a few times since she has been here, afraid of her being here with all of her "stuff" in front of my kids and all. Even though I feared, God's protection over us never changed. He has lavishly covered our household with grace, given us all that we have needed for each moment. YOUR LOVE NEVER FAILS. It took only a couple of days for us to see that this was nothing more than an opportunity to express our love to Jesus by loving Jenny. I asked Him to show me how to love Jenny and he told me to show affection with physical touch by scratching her back, rubbing her hair, and giving hugs. A couple of days ago, she wrote a letter to me explaining that those very simple things "seem like everything to me because I've never been shown so much love." YOUR LOVE NEVER FAILS. Jenny has responded to this Love both by keeping up walls and clinging to old things and by being vulnerable and letting go of old things and habits. She is battling enemies on every side, but is trusting Jesus more. She is trusting His love more. YOUR LOVE NEVER FAILS. We are asking God to fulfill His promises in her, that His perfect love would drive out all fear, and that it would conquer ALL. What we have seen His love do in two weeks is proof that the love of Jesus is far-reaching; it reaches high, long, wide and deep and it has no boundaries. YOUR LOVE NEVER FAILS. I am certain that Jenny was brought into our home so that I would fall in love with Jesus all over again because I am seeing His Love and the power that it has and want to experience Him afresh and anew.

Jenny will be leaving us on February 22nd to go to Mercy Ministries in St. Louis. It has taken about a year for her to get accepted to this program. You can find out more about the program at www.mercyministries.com. Pray for Jenny continually, especially over the next 6 months to a year while she is at Mercy. I will try to keep you updated this week before she leaves us.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Matt and the girls at the beach

Daddy had a date with his girls at the beach. They loaded the wagon and strolled to the beach and spent a couple of hours building a sand castle. The girls love having an enormous, never-ending sand box just a block away!
People ask all the time if I enjoy living at the beach. I have decided that what I personally enjoy most about the beach is the sunsets. Everyday they are breathtaking and I have a great view from my kitchen window. Matt goes on and on about how beautiful the sunrises are that he sees when he runs on the beach in the morning, but I am not seeing those these days!

Granny getting a smile from Samuel.

Ava and cousin Elijah

Cousin Celia and Ava

our cousin Lucy

Em's Birthday party in Senatobia Samuel's First Christmas Ava dressed as "Fancy Nancy" Thank you Marc-Marc & Ashley for the ladybug rain boots!

I know many of you were wandering if I would ever recover...ever come back to the blogging world after missing nearly two months!! Well, I admit I didn't try until last week and after having some technical difficulties, I gave up. After looking at Tamah's blog last night, I was inspired to try again (it also helps that my mom reminds me every time we talk)!

These are photos from Emmaline's 2nd Birthday party and Christmas. We had a lovely visit with our family during Christmas. Our short visit made us miss them all even more. We spent Christmas Eve hopping from one house to the next and loved every minute of it! The girls enjoyed being with their cousins and are still talking about them.

To our family reading this, we offer our deepest gratitude for all that you did and gave to show your love for us. We love you. Thank you for giving Emmaline a second birthday party at the Fun Junction. She had fun and so did we!

You asked and it's finally here--a photo of our home in the Pass!

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Fun times

Our children bring such fun times to our lives!

These are photos of Ava and Emmaline having fun with Tanya Crevier, an expert ball handler and sports evangelist. Our church brought Tanya in to minister to our schools and community and her enthusiasm and passion for Jesus was contagious and her skills were like none I've ever seen.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

70's party, Ava at Ballet & Samuel is awake!

We attended the 2nd Annual youth group 70's party and had a blast! Matt showed all the youth that he knew how to have fun too as he literally tore up the dance floor in his 70's athletic gear (i think his pants were size youth small)! And yes, those are elbow pads, and sweat bands...and a fro!!

This photo of Ava is in the locker room at the ballet studio where she is taking lessons once a week. Her teacher is a woman from our church and she is incredible! When you walk into the studio, there is a gorgeous painting of a ballerina and at the bottom of the painting this scripture, "Let us praise His name with dancing" from Psalms. And that is what they do. The entire lesson, she has them dancing to praise and worship music. Ava absolutely loves it. Matt picked her up for the first time yesterday and got to watch her dance for a little bit, and as a proud dad said "she was made for this."

Samuel is awake more! We get to see his big, blue eyes and great big smile. And, what a joy it is! Anytime he is awake or making a smile or funny face, everyone in the family runs to see.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Emmaline's pigtails and sweet Samuel

Emmaline finally has enough hair for pigtails and they are super cute! You can't see them very well in this photo, but I thought this was a precious smile that would make your day! Emmaline has us laughing constantly. She has blossomed so much in the last few months so we are learning more about her and enjoying her so very much. Samuel is growing so good and sleeping well. He has learned to sleep in the middle of the living room all day, with chaos all around! Toward the end of the day, he hangs out in my sling while I cook dinner. He loves being in the sling and I had him in it so much yesterday that I am actually sore today. Our week mostly consists of staying home during the day with occasional walks and tons of playing outside. We go to the discovery center (children's museum) once a week and usually have people in and out of the house at night time for meals or just hanging out. Last week I finally started working with Ava on reading. She keeps asking me to teach her, so I started with a teaching tool that was recommended by Janet and my good friend Raeline.

The Lord is on the move here! We are experiencing Him at work all around us...in our church, in the youth, in our new friends and their families and in our family! Matt will be preaching this Sunday in church, so please pray for him. He asks for our prayers in knowing how to present what God has told him to share. The Lord has laid it heavily on his heart to challenge the church to get themselves and their families ready....ready to stand before the Lord, ready for the coming of Jesus. Thank you for praying.