Friday, November 30, 2012


I spent some time in 1 Peter this morning walked away feeling refreshed. As we approach Christmas time and we celebrate Christ's birth, I am reminded of the gift of OUR rebirth. We have been given a gift of CONSTANT newness (yeah that is a word) as a direct result of His resurrection. Our eternal perspective sheds a new light on all things of the earth. We have a party awaiting us in Heaven. Our names are handwritten on beautiful place cards and our King awaits our arrival. I cannot tell you how badly I need HEY! DON'T FORGET ABOUT HEAVEN tattooed on my arm.

1 Peter 6 In all this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials. These have come so that the proven genuineness of your faith—of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire —may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed.

 We have been given a multitude of opportunities to praise and honor our Jesus. We grow weary and forget that these are OPPORTUNITIES. We forget His hand NEVER lets go. We give satan credit where credit is NOT due. What if every day I woke up and looked at my day as an opportunity? Each "bad day" for Justin is an opportunity. Each time one of the boys has bad aim and gets pee all over the bathroom floor = opportunity. Each time I miss my mom = opportunity. Each time the laundry basket is full AGAIN = opportunity. 

I am humbled and honored to be surrounded by people who see the result of our broken world as OPPORTUNITIES. I get to live among people who recognize that their "calling" in life is to life like Jesus. Because we are "called" to ALL things in the Bible. Not just the pages that sound best/easiest/most convenient. Thy kingdom come thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven. WILL be done. WILL BE DONE. I didn't see a question mark at the end of that sentence.

new york new york

it FINALLY happened. justin and i had our very first grown up trip (ever.) and it was AMAZING. thank you so much to each of you who prayed over this trip. for justin's health, for the weather, hurricane damage, travel and the boys. we had 5 days of fun and loved every minute. we didn't plan much and just did WHATEVER WE WANTED! justin felt great almost the whole time. it was actually a blessing to need to take things slow. we were able to soak up so much and we didn't return exhausted. trip highlights: saw WICKED (incredible), ate delicious pizza, shopped in soho, ate at nobu (omg), got treats from magnolia bakery, rode the subway (fail), went to FAO, had frozen hot chocolate at serendipity, ate in little italy, got harassed in china town, hung out in times sqaure and visited central park. we celebrated justin's 30th birthday AND our 5 year wedding anniversary. we reflected on the past 9 years we have been together and feel nothing but grateful. justin and i never know how many days we have left together. we don't know how many "good" days lie ahead and how many "bad" days will try and drag us down. but we do know that we have each other and our boys and we are wrapped tightly in a blanket of love and redemption provided by our savior. and that it all we need.
thanks again for the prayers and for those who loved on the boys. they were so loved on by my aunt & meme and our super crazy awesome friends.
pic overload starting now:

view from our hotel window
we stayed at the W on lexington and LOVED it. 

dinner the first night at db bistro moderne
we couldn't decide if we loved how close people sit together at restaurants in NY...but ended up having some great convos with people each time so it was all good!

wicked was SO awesome. i was worried justin wouldnt like it but he DID! 
he was very impressed. 

headed to dinner at nobu for justin's 30th bday dinner!

to say the food here was amazing would be an understatement. 
i dont even know how to describe the yumminess that happened here. 

anniversary lunch while we shopped around in soho. 

quick stop at magnolia bakery. to die for. 

FAO was justins LEAST favorite part of our trip :) he could not wait to get out of there. i loved it. 
and side note he LOVED china town and i thought i was going to have a panic attack there. 

i finally got to go to serendipity 3! this was on the very top of my NY to do list. 

we spent some good quality time resting and watching football in our very cozy aka extremely small hotel room. 

we finished off our trip with a stroll in central park. it was cold and rainy so we didnt stay too long...but it was beautiful!

it's jesse time baby!

As our boys grow, we are always looking for ways to focus on Jesus during Christmas time. We are blessed to live in a community that provides us with several Christ centered activities during Christmas. Our church will be doing the Celebrate Christmas drive through again this year and St. Helenas does this really fun Bethlehem walk through that the kids love (with REAL camels!). I mean do not get me wrong...we make gingerbread houses, stand for an hour in line to see santa and elf on the shelf it up! BUT those are just "extras" the REAL stuff takes a front seat. Last year we implemented a new advent calendar which is basically our Christmas Countdown. Each day has a Christmas "activity" rather than candy or a toy. We have things like read from Luke, go see the camels, make hot cocoa, make an ornament for the Harkriders, put on Christmas jammies, write a thank you note etc. 

But THIS YEAR is when the REAL fun starts. I had read a friends blog a couple years ago about a Jesse Tree ornament exchange. I absolutely knew I wanted to do this. I couldn't think of a better way to celebrate all season long the exciting birth of our Father. I started organizing in September ( i know...i know.) Getting 25 women to commit, researching the scriptures, assigning ornaments and scriptures, planning the party...well it all took awhile! But let me just tell you IT WAS WORTH IT! Each friend made 25 of the same ornament and each friend went home after the party with an entire set of handmade ornaments to celebrate the advent season with their family. Each night they will hang one ornament on their tree and read the relating scripture to their family. Talk about the REASON FOR THE SEASON. Sitting around a Christmas trees each night talking about Jesus...from creation to His birth. There are LOTS and lots of tools online (even premade ornaments you can purchase) for the advent jesse tree. Here is one:

And here are the pictures of our beautiful handmade ornaments! I have some VERY creative friends! 

Friday, November 2, 2012

help us save damon

Look at this face. Look harder. Look at those cheeks. Those yummy kissable cheeks. Those tiny little fingers and that itty bitty nose. The most precious lips that I just KNOW turn into the most amazing smile. This is Damon. He is 14 months old and has downs syndrome. This perfect baby has nobody to kiss those chubby cheeks. Nobody to play with those tiny fingers. Nobody gets to come home to what we can imagine is one of the most beautiful smiles in the world. Damon is an orphan.
Justin and I pray daily that a window will open for us to bring an orphan HOME. That time may not come as soon as we would hope and we may always run into red tape regarding Justin's health...BUT we sure can advocate for orphans in the meantime. We have been so blessed to watch many of our friends adopt, promote adoption and fundraise. This community we are part of is rising up to father the fatherless. For now, we have found a small way to advocate for Damon.
Reeces Rainbow is an adoption ministry that rescues orphans with downs syndrome and other special needs and connects them to their forever family. International adoption is VERY expensive. Many families who want to save an orphan are discouraged by the price tag that comes along with adoption. Reeces Rainbow has found a way to raise money for children during the holiday season, so that when families choose a child from the waiting children list they can be ENCOURAGED that total strangers have helped to make that cost less daunting. You can of course give money at ANY time of the year, but the Angel Tree program is a special time that individual families get to advocate for a child. We have chosen to advocate for Damon. We pray that we raise LOTS of money for him (our goal is $2,500) and we also pray that as people donate they will share this information through blogs, facebook, email and whatever so that someone will come across his adorable little face and choose to be his forever family. Please click on the button to the right of the page with his yummy little face on it and it will take you to the donation page (i believe you have to do this from your computer...dont think it works from your phone). Give whatever you are able to. All donations are anonymous, but I encourage you to PLEASE share this page. A $35 donation will allow you to receive a super cool Christmas ornament with Damon's picture on it so you can pray for him year after year.
We are nearing Christmas time. This is the time to GIVE. Let's not let our Christmas season be about receiving, and toys, and electronics, and dodging the in laws. Start it out with a gift that could last a lifetime.
Have questions...PLEASE ASK!

**PS: If you have QUESTIONS NOW please plan to visit the RECLAIMED Adoption Ministry meeting TOMORROW (Sunday 11/4) 5pm @ the Boerne YMCA. Please email for more details. They will be discussing all aspects of orphan care.

God is moving. He is so very good.

 Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer. Romans 12:12