Saturday, April 7, 2018

Holy Week 2018 ~ When Our Plan B Is God's Plan A

We have been celebrating Holy Week as a family since 2009.  Each year looks different.  Some years we have the time to do activities every day but then there are other years where we hardly get anything extra in.  But this year was surprisingly fun as we snuck in our family time in the midst of the Easter prep planning and rehearsals to really keep focused on what the season is all about.

We had our traditional Seder meal

We planted seeds, dyed eggs and had some special devotion times

And made Easter baskets for our neighbors.

What we were MOST excited about, though, was a big block party our MC was hosting on Good Friday in a neighborhood across the street.  We were teaming up with Exchange church again and were going to have lots of live music, bounce house, soccer playing (of course!) and pop corn.  Then the plan was to have a projector and screen set up in the field to show The Jesus Film in Spanish to the entire neighborhood!  We were STOKED!  We had several friends who could translate who were going to come and join us for the evening and be prepared to help us talk with people afterwards. We also ordered a Jesus Film DVD for each family to take home and keep as well.

But there was ONE thing standing in our way of this event actually taking place.


We'd been watching the forecast for weeks and rain was consistent on that day.  I began praying and praying that the Lord would hold the rain off, but every day when I checked the forecast the rain was imminent throughout the entire day. So Josh was already working out a plan B.

On Wednesday night I felt like the Lord was asking me to fast and pray the rain away for the next 24 hours.  I had been reading about the power of God over the weather in my quiet time and believed with all my heart that the Lord could move that storm away from our area that day if that was His will.  So that is what I did.  And wouldn't you know, every hour when I looked at the hourly forecast throughout Thursday (I know, I'm such a weather nerd!) the time that the rain would end kept moving up in the day until the final ending time was 10am.  To me that seemed completely doable!  I was SO excited!  That would give us plenty of time to set everything up and still have our awesome night.

God TOTALLY heard my prayer and MOVED THAT RAIN!
What a faith builder that was for me.  What may seem like such a simple thing for some was HUGE for my heart.

What I didn't take into consideration (although my smart hubby was already on top of it) was that the runoff for the rain in that neighborhood is sent directly to the main park/meeting area where we do all of our gatherings.  And it had already been wet and muddy from previous rains, so when Josh went to go assess the field after the rain on Friday morning it was a huge mess.  There was no way we could set up the sound and activities, much less expect those families to sit in puddles and mud to watch that movie.

So plan B was immediately put into effect.

We gathered our MC together at our home and assembled gift bags for every home in the neighborhood with the Jesus Film, popcorn, candy, an Easter service invite and a $5 Food Lion gift card.  Then we met Exchange Church and the translators at the park, divided up into teams and passed the bags out house by house.  There were so many connections made. Many prayers prayed. And gospel conversations were countless.  Afterwards everyone came back to our house for dinner and hung out into the night.

Yes, our plan had to change, but God's plan was way better!
AND what a cool thing He did for my faith.  I fasted in obedience, He answered in love.  Our plan still had to change, but the rain stayed away.

Friday, April 6, 2018

Story In Pictures ~ Track Out Memories

We had a super packed and fun track out.
So many friends came over to play.

Josh and I celebrated our 16th wedding anniversary.
We met Josh's parents half way so the kids could hang out with Meme and Poppie for a couple of days while Josh and I enjoyed a quiet house all to ourselves.

Well, there was a very needy dog who demanded lots of attention, lol.

We went to the circus 
and the kids were mesmerized!

And of course we had plenty of free time to create and imagine and just play!
This was one of Zeke's creations.
He made a cooking show set-up for Monster.

Pretty impressive if you ask me!

One of my favorite afternoons was letting the kids go through the art bin where I have been saving their favorite pieces over the past 3-4 years.  They LOVED reading their old stories and seeing how far they have come in their drawing and creating.

Friday Photos - Seasons and Forts

The last couple of months have brought every single season to us.
But that hasn't kept the Colony indoors!

I now realize where all of my outside chair cushions have disappeared to.

We did take a few short breaks for some reading though.

And just when we thought that the spring was here for good...
the snow came again
and AGAIN!

These kids will literally make a fort out of anything!

This blurry picture is so sweet to me!
I love how my oldest and youngest still play together.
And I love Jude's face as he looks and talks to his oldest sister.

Friday, March 23, 2018

Sweet Sixteen

Sixteen years into this marriage thing and I really feel like we've hit our sweet spot.

We have learned so much, yet know that there is still so much more to learn.
(Although I don't think I'll ever learn WHY you put a container with one bite back into the refrigerator or pantry!)

We know each other so well, yet know that we can't possibly know it all.
(It took me 16 years to learn that you are quite the entrepreneur...hello 'Bearded Disciple Beard Balm'"

We know the things that "shout our love" to each other.''
(You like it when I find a place by your chair to set your coffee when I'm rearranging all the furniture.  I like it when I walk into our bedroom and you've already made the bed.)

We are reminded over and over again that we are not exempt from losing it all, so we are willing to keep each other accountable and allow the other to ask those hard questions to keep each other on track.  This doesn't signal a lack of trust.  On the contrary, this is a necessary step for a healthy marriage.

As we sat across the table at dinner tonight we began reflecting on the countless couples who have played a part, big or small, in our lives as a couple.  There are so many people who have helped us become who we are. God has been so gracious to give us godly parents and mentors, and other couples all along the way, from college to seminary, to ministry coworkers all across the southeast, to friends...the list is so numerous we couldn't even begin to list them all in fear that we would miss someone.

So, yes, we have arrived at the Sweet 16 year in our marriage, but not because of us.

Thank you to each one of you who have spoken truth and love into our marriage and character over the past 16+ years.

Wednesday, March 7, 2018

Areyna Joy Turns 13

On February 28th our Areyna Joy entered the first stages of womanhood.

 I don't believe Rainy even realizes just how special this night was yet,
(primarily because she hates the spotlight and I'm sure she was a little bit uncomfortable:)
but we know that the Holy Spirit was present and the words spoken penetrated deep
and that she will slowly realize the significance of the evening.

What I loved most about this is that her daddy, Josh, was in charge of the entire evening!

He did some research (mostly through Focus On The Family) and came up with a plan.
He put together a list of biblical virtues and emailed several ladies from our MC, 
her grandmothers, small group leaders,
 as well as some other key women in her life.

Each lady chose a virtue from the list and after praying over it they wrote out what they
felt like the Lord wanted to say to Rainy through them.

Here is the list of virtues:
Modest In Dress And Conduct
Holy Living
Truthful In Speech And Life
Gentle And Quiet
Cares For The Home
Serves Others
Someone Who Can Be Trusted
Prudent In Financial Matters
Hard Worker
Seeks To Do The Right Thing And Have A Good Reputation
Seeks To Internalize Biblical Wisdom

We began the evening by praying and then quickly going around the room 
introducing ourselves and our relationship to Rainy.

Then I read a letter to Rainy that I wrote about the joy and roles of being her mom.
After that we went around the room and everyone spoke/read what they had prepared on their virtue.

I guarantee that I wasn't the only adult who was moved and convicted and encouraged by the words of the other ladies in the room that night!

At the end of each person's words they would go light one of the 12 white candles on the table.
By the time we got around the circle each white candle was lit.

Her daddy then went into the shifting of our role as parents as she gets older.
Her growing responsibility and maturity will be taking more of a lead role in her life.

We then circled around Rainy, and her friends that had come (who are around the same age)
and we prayed over them.

After the prayer Rainy went to the table and blew out all 12 of the white candles,
signifying the past 12 years 
and lit the single pink candle 
as she accepted the responsibility of these virtues in womanhood.

What a sweet, sweet evening!

Of course, all those who have spoken life and truth over our daughter were not present,
there simply isn't enough room in the Colony Casa for that, ha!
How blessed we are to be surrounded by women of truth and light ,
who take responsibility as we raise this next generation to love and cherish the Lord Jesus Christ.