Saturday, December 26, 2015

"Christmas Day"


I hope y'all had a great Christmas!! If you haven't figured it out yet, I love traditions! So ours started on Christmas Eve with our candlelight service at church*, followed by dinner at Denny's. We took turns taking family selfies, so I thought I'd post one of each person's pictures...

We each opened a Christmas Eve present, which has become PJ's (for the kids, at least, though it hasn't always been that way)...

Christmas Day was pretty chill, and it was so nice! I slept past 7:00, and the rest of the family didn't get up until 8:30 or later. We ate our traditional mini-cinnamon rolls and pigs in a blanket for breakfast before opening presents. We're the kind of family who takes our time handing out and opening gifts, one person at a time, so it goes on for a couple of hours. I love it!!

Dulce ate Elly's old headphones, so her new ones were technically from Dulce! ;)

My baby girl got me a coffee mug & chocolate! ♥

Cody got Elly a Batman glass!

And Elly got Cody this drawing of the Flash at Comic-Con earlier in the year!

Baby girl got her dad a stress ball shaped like a man with the word Boss on him...

...a mini-amp by the same company that made the amp that he got for her last year....

...& she also put a bow on her head because he had told her that all he wanted for Christmas was her! :)

Chris & the kids hadn't labeled any of the gifts that they had wrapped, so they would whisper things to each other before giving me a present. Elly handed me this one, and I was confused because she had already given me her present. When I asked if it was from her, she said that it was from no one. Maybe it isn't funny for those of you who weren't there at the time, but it was funny to us!

Cody had to open at least one present with his eyes closed like he used to do! ü

Since this was Dulce's first Christmas, she didn't quite know what to expect. She was climbing all over us and the furniture, curious about it all! We wrapped a couple of presents for each dog...They both  played with their stuffed reindeer and promptly buried their rawhide treats!

And here are a few more pictures just for funsies...

I hope y'all have had a wonderful Christmas weekend so far and that you've had the opportunity to spend time with family! ♥


*This is totally irrelevant to Christmas, but I ran into Geof, an old boyfriend of mine, at our Christmas Eve service! In all honesty, I had half-expected this to happen one of these days because his parents have been going to my church for four or five years now! I have seen one of his brothers several times since we've lived here, but this was my first time to see Geof. He was my boyfriend my senior year in high school, which was a rough time of life for me. He was a bit of a bright spot during that time, and though my heart was broken when we broke up, I still have fond memories of my times with him. Though we only spent a few minutes catching up, it really was nice to see him after all of these (23!) years. Oh, and he has a fourteen-year-old son named Cody! Ha! His other two kids are younger and not named Elizabeth, but I thought that was pretty cool and strange at the same time. Ü

Thursday, December 24, 2015

"Christmas Time (Is Here Again)"

(by The Beatles)

In honor of the fact that The Beatles' music is now available on major streaming services, I thought today's song was a good choice. Plus, it's Christmas Eve! And since I'm embarrassingly far behind on posts, here's another one where I try to make up for lack of posting with a bunch of pictures...

Sooo...since I apparently haven't recapped since before Thanksgiving {Yikes!} you don't know that we spent the afternoon at my brother's house! The kids hung out in their cousins' rooms after lunch, and I joined them for a rousing rendition of "Dr. Jean's Banana Dance (aka The Guacamole Song)"...

...Then "the triplets" (Cody, Kerry, & I) took pictures together, and we managed to get one picture of each of the camera-shy cousins...

We had a little reunion with my small group girls who (mostly) graduated last year!

'Tis the season for Christmas festivities, of which I have enjoyed a few! I didn't take any pictures of our staff Christmas breakfast and Sneak Santa reveal, but here's a picture of most of us at staff lunch one day!

Kristin and I took a picture at the Staff & Elder Christmas party...

...& I snagged a few of Rick's pictures from that night to make this little collage...

We hosted our Community Group Christmas party again...

...Davy Crockett & friends joined us for the special occasion...

...And the one guy with no depth-perception ended up with the juggling kit!

I went to see my beautiful cousin Kendra a couple of weekends ago! I listened to Serial on my 14-hour (round trip) drive...

...stopped at In-N-Out Burger along the way...

...& was greeted by this cute boy when I arrived!

Since their boys were in Uganda on a mission trip, Catherine & Aunt Karla came for another Girls' Weekend!

We had a little ocular melanoma meetup last week! We got to see our friends Tommy & Sherrie again, and I finally met a lady who is friends with one of my IRL friends! We were also joined by a doctor from MD Anderson and got to meet the CURE OM Program Director, who is from my hometown and is friends with my first OM friend Sara and her sister!

Our church's 9th Annual Family Hayride was on Friday! Though I was too cold for me to actually go on the hayride, I enjoyed a hot dog, s'mores, and time with friends!

Kristin and I have been longing for India, and there's no trip on the horizon at the moment. So we went out for Indian food the other night!

One major event that I completely failed to take pictures of (because I was enraptured by the pure adorableness of it all) was when we met our newest little friend Mabel Grace! She was born one day last week, and we got to see her, Clyde, & Nicole that evening. She is absolutely precious! When I take a picture and have permission to post, you'll get to see just how adorable she is! To somewhat make up for it, here's a picture of the last time we watched Evie Kate before she became a big sister! ü ♥

Alrighty, I suppose that catches y'all up a bit! I'll do my best to post sooner than I did last time. I have a feeling that I'll have a little bit more access to my computer after Christmas...


Friday, December 11, 2015

"Hello from the MotherSide"

(by Emily Mills)

So...I know that I have several weeks' worth of stuff to catch you up on, but that'll have to wait because I'm on my way to see Kendra!! For now, though, I have a few reasons to post today's song...

First of all, I've never been able to say this before, but I actually know someone whose video has gone viral!! Though I don't know her well, we've been Facebook friends for years. And I have several friends who actually do know her well. She and her husband Brett have led worship at my church countless times, and my friend Sally works for her (more on that in a bit). Anyways, Emily's friend originally posted this video on Facebook a week ago:

It was just a video text that she sent to her friends when she had to decline going out for a glass of wine. It was never intended to go viral, but it had 25,000 views when I saw it less than 12 hours later. Then it had 100,000 views another 12 hours after that! A couple of days later, they put together the full version and video that will probably have a million views by the time you read this post! {I'm composing this on Thursday night, and it has 950K+, which is up 60K+ views since I first started typing this post!}

Anyways...the second -- and more important -- reason I'm posting today's song is because of Jesus Said Love (JSL), the ministry that Brett & Emily Mills founded as an outreach to women in the commercial s*x industry. I have briefly mentioned this before (when I told you who spoke at our Women's Fall Gathering and about some items we made at a women's event in the spring), but I haven't really explained much before. In short, JSL shares the love of Jesus with women who have not been reached by the church because of ignorance or negligence. They go into strip clubs throughout our state, build relationships with the dancers and club management, and connect them to community and resources (physical, financial, educational, and spiritual). There's so much more that I could say, but it'd probably be more informative and accurate if you just go to their website! :)

The third and final reason I'm posting today's song -- and the reason I'm specifically posting it today -- is because Jesus Said Love has officially launched in Houston, and the first club outreach is tonight!! Houston is one of the largest hubs for human trafficking in the US and the largest in Texas. There are dozens and dozens of clubs here, so there's a lot of work to be done and love to be shown! My friend Sally is the City Team Leader for Houston, and her team is taking stockings stuffed with goodies into a couple of clubs. Please pray for the team as well as the dancers they will encounter tonight.

Thank you! And I hope y'all have a super great weekend!! ♥


Wednesday, November 25, 2015

"Moving Forward"

(by Colony House) 

My friend and co-worker Lindsay had purchased a couple of tickets to see Colony House in Houston a few weeks ago. Then she ended up with a little schedule conflict, so Laurien and I were able to go instead! We arrived at the venue a little early, so we walked around for awhile and posed like the posters and mannequins we encountered along the way...

When it was time for the concert, we found a spot against the wall by the sound booth and settled in for the opening act, The Rocketboys. Though their name sounded familiar, it wasn't until after the show that I realized that I had actually heard of them, only as Homer Hiccolm and the Rocketboys. I don't know why I didn't put two and two together! Anyways, my husband knows the band, and his best friend actually toured with them. And I was just standing there watching them, talking with Laurien about how talented they were, clueless that I knew of them. I'm losing my music game, y'all...

Anyways, Colony House was super great, as expected! If you're ever able to see them, I encourage you to do so.

Plus, isn't Caleb adorable?

{& does he look like his dad, or what?!}

My favorite part of the concert was when they did today's song. Caleb started it out on his own, then the rest of the band joined him at the end...

Though my video clip isn't the best quality (as usual), I still had to show you. I get chills at around the 50-second mark:

Seeing from a distance a bit of the heartbreak that Caleb, Will, and their family have gone through, I can only imagine how difficult their journey has been. Their songs tell some of their journey and how God is still good. It's just beautiful to see how He is helping them move forward...

My eyes are open
My heart is beating
My lungs are full
My body’s breathing
I’m moving forward
I found my freedom
I found a life that gave me reason to live