Wednesday, September 25, 2013

happy birthday brody

Five years ago we were in a very large storm. Figurative and literally. We welcomed Hurricane Ike and sweet Brody into our lives and that will be a day we NEVER forget. When I stop to reflect upon the peace God gifted us with while our little baby boy fought for his life, I am nothing short of flabbergasted. His plans for us are to prosper us and not to harm us...and I love how He can show us that in the midst of chaos and fear. Brody John you are such a JOY!

You are FIVE! You are VERY funny and even more stubborn. You like things to be done YOUR way. You are so nurturing and compassionate and people that you like ;)
You say hilarious things constantly and you know how to keep us all on our toes.
You love to go to gymnastics, you love to be praised, you love to play with toys and read books. You like to watch Dora and dressing up as Dr. Brody. 
You love monsters and go to bed every night praying and asking for pop pop. 
You call me a cutie pie and your laugh is contagious. 
You are the rainbow after the storm sweet Brody. 

You celebrated your birthday with your bff sam again! 
You two are keepers. 


Idea Camp

I have found that it is very difficult to explain what Idea Camp is. It was a "conference" to engage in conversation about the world around ourselves. It was a place where non profits brainstormed and world changers shared their hearts. We learned and we were challenged. The topic was Human Care which spanned from self care to human trafficking to the orphan crisis and everything in between.
I had the privilege of attending camp with my two best friends...Justin and Katie. It is such an incredible thing to sit in His presence and see PROOF of His goodness amongst our world. It overwhelms me as I am reminded how He uses such unsuspecting people to do His work. There are so many ways to fight for His justice and so many ways to allow ourselves to be used for His glory. For some people we met that meant moving their family to Iraq or Haiti, for some it meant taking pictures, for some it meant advocating for the least from their living room. But for no one did it mean to sit idle.

I won't go through each thing I learned, but I was truly challenged by so much and I just needed to get it down in one place. There are so many areas where I fall short in glorifying Him. I am more quick to offer grace to a stranger than sometimes my own family members. I am guilty of patting myself on the back when the patting was owed to another. I am guilty of comparison and judgement that steals from the joy of His greatness. The one who gave it ALL has entrusted us with so much and it burdens me to know how narrow minded and naive I can be. And no, this was NOT a self deprecation conference to see how we are falling short. It was just an eye opening time to reflect on the heart of a servant. It was a collaboration of people who have allowed their hearts to be broken for what breaks His and who will die trying to make the least feel cared for. I don't feel like I was qualified to be in conversation with many of these selfless people, but I left feeling refreshed and with some new perspective. I don't believe that God has called me forth to change the world or start an organization that will save thousands...but I do believe that He has called me to glorify His name. I know that He has called me out of my comfortable life and shown me much hurt and much sadness so that I can see the world beyond myself.  The most influential thing I heard this weekend was from Rob Morris..."God is attractive all by himself, He doesn't need us to make Him look good" amen. We don't need to protect Gods image and we don't have to put all of our hope into results. Because "we aren't called to results, we are called to Jesus."
Just a few more tidbits on the weekend...

We were encouraged by Brandon Hatmaker to replenish ourselves. To drink in the Holy Spirit so that we may finish more than a sprint. He reminded us the true meaning of discipleship and partnership and how by simply offering DIGNITY (to those we serve AND serve alongside) can make the gospel explode out of its tiny box we have put it in. Mark Horvath (with Invisible People) talked about the power of vulnerability. He shared through his experiences of building trust with homeless how inconveniencing ourselves is one way to feel God in the fullest. One of my favorite things I quoted was Leroy Barber saying "Poverty is not a disqualifier of greatness"...and I myself have put that very stereotype on many. I forget to offer DIGNITY to those I am serving. I think I have a CLUE about why they are where they are. Peter Greer communicated how we need to remember we cannot save the world, because He already did. We can't let ministry be our mistress and we can't allow there to be a divide relationally (through other non profits, the church etc). Steve Graves spent some time allowing us to reflect on balance. "If anything consumes you more than Him, then you are not flourishing for are floursishing for yourself." We need to keep focus in that who we are is more important than what we do. Jennie Allen came out with a fiery passion to kick us all in the gut (in a nice way of course). She challenged us to be brave enough to follow His lead no matter what sacrifice that may mean for ourselves and to NOT hold back.

I walked away from this weekend knowing that relationship trumps rescue (Laura Lasky) and that His call on our lives differs greatly from one to the next. I learned about burnout, balance, communication and pride. I feel compelled to dig deep for authenticity and truth because that will trump the temporary satisfaction of a bandaid. I fell in love with my God all over again this weekend. My heart is full, ya'll.

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

moving mountains

It has been exactly a month since my last post...WHAT is my problem?! There has been plenty to write about. But time....not sure where it goes! We had an amazing summer and the first day of school went off without a hitch. Bryce is in second grade and just a few weeks away from turning EIGHT. Gross. It just cannot be true. Brody started his last year of PPCD and his last year of FBC Preschool. He turns FIVE TOMORROW. Barf. Someone stop the clock! (ooey gooey brody post coming soon!) Braxton started preschool at FBC and thank JESUS he does not have a birthday anytime soon. I need him to be three for as LONG as possible.
Justin's recovery has been going well. Two hip replacements this summer, check! He has pushed himself a little hard the past few days and so he is catching up on some much needed rest now. Two hip replacements in two months would slow some people down...but not this guy!
Justin is WALKING.
Some would even say he is strutting.
Ok...I said that.
God is incredible and full of so many surprises. There have been so many things at the top of our prayer lists including keeping infection away and for there to be no rejection issues and for him to not have a flare up...that we flat out forgot to pray about him WALKING. God had that little treat tucked away as a huge gift that we are just in AWE of. God is bigger than our wildest dreams. His expectations are so much greater than our own.
Justin is now about 6 weeks post op and while he is dealing with some extra pain and inflammation (due to doing a little much maybe? shhhh i didnt say that...), he is really doing great. It sometimes seems that at the end of every giant mountain we conquer there is another mountain just as big waiting on the other side. There is discouragement around every corner. Putting on a brave face is irrelevant at this point. God doesn't give a hoot about our brave face. He cares about our heart. You can't mask your heart. You can try...but you can't do it. Try it. Double dog dare ya.
There is just not one chance that this trek would be possible without the hope, patience and perseverance that God provides. Unfortunately, Justin's body is not absorbing nutrients properly and this could be a factor of many different things. Right now he is severaly anemic, which is dangerous for his (already messed up) liver. He will have to do iron infusion for awhile, in addition to the IVIG. More infusions, more needles, more time at the oncologists office. As we spent most of the summer focused on his hips...we have a lot to catch up on regarding the rest of his health. We have follow ups with ALL the doctors...ones we (he) has put off for a long time. Justin stopped going to these specialists a long time ago because he (we) were tired of them finding something wrong with him at every visit. Another diagnosis, another prescription, another side effect. Yawn.
Pray for clarity and perseverance.
God has greater plans for this family than doctors appointments. He has equipped us for something SO much bigger. I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me. Not just some things. I can do all things. Nothing is impossible with God. Nothing. God has given our family a story...but He has given us so much more than that. I love watching His plan unfold...each day a surprise. Each day more understanding of how vast His kingdom is. Each day a reminder of how present He is. I need Him MORE.

Now don't you dare miss out on these fun pics!

We finished up summer with LOTS of air conditioned days at the library. 

Chantel hosted a MESSY day for us and the Scott kids. 
Real friends invite their paranoid friends who are scared of messes to make a mess at HER house! :)

It was SO fun that we re created the day at Katies!

We had a family night (plus Zeke) at the Magik Theater. So fun! 

Summer ended with a BANG at the lake with friends. 
Bryce had the BEST time getting flipped off his tube (number 10 of course) by Mr. Dru
Brody loved tubing more than anyone in this world. He belly laughed the ENTIRE time. 
And Brax was the champion of jumping off the back of the boat. 

Do you see this man? Out of control. 

2nd Grade. Off he goes...
(while I followed him of course)

And then this boy! Little ham. 

I don't know who keeps giving them permission to grow. 
I said NO. 

Friday Night Football!

And then this happened this weekend. Anyone understand why the mister is exhausted? 
He is in time out for sure. 
(but what a BLESSING for him to be able to do these things with Bryce!!!!)

And just one little shout out to the boy who turns 5 in like an hour...

Prayers for all my hurting friends. So many are hurting and climbing REALLY big mountains right now. Curve balls coming left and right. God is at the end of the trek. And in the beginning and the middle. Let Him show you the way. He has moved a mountain or two in His day ya know...