Saturday, July 28, 2012

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Here I raise my Ebenezer

last week we were lapping up Estes Park, Colorado … and someone might have taken a bazillion pictures, and that someone might be posting half a bazillion of them soon.  just because i am that girl and because i could not get enough.

never, never, not ever, ever could i get enough of this glorious place. every experience was my new favorite and every turn was more majestic than the one before.

i would move there tomorrow if i could pack up my life and everyone in it…not even joking. 

we squeezed every ounce of each day hiking trails, scouting for animals, wading in creeks, peeing in woods…basically all the touristy Texans seeking adventures one might think of.  but one of our favorite experiences was not on a map or in a guidebook…

it was our family building an Ebenezer

Then Samuel took a stone and set it up between Mizpah and Jeshanah, and named it Ebenezer (Stone of Help); for he said, "Thus far the LORD has helped us."  1 Samuel 7:12

Samuel erected a stone to remember God’s help and restoration, to declare His faithfulness through a time of pain and suffering.

today is a BIG day…a celebration of life and victory and the God who poured Himself out so these could be ours. today is the one month birthday of Ella Kate & Bennett, Jamie & Zach’s precious twins, a milestone of milestones.

and today is today because God is a Helper to the helpless and a Healer to the hopeless. and He is always these things, even when life breaks our hearts wide open.

so while in the national park our family built an Ebenezer in honor of Ella Kate and Bennett … to commemorate all that God has already done on their behalf.

almost daily, Davis and Berkley express concern and offer prayer for their youngest friends… so this was a special way for them to participate in loving and giving thanks to God for them.     

2012-07-19 12.52.39 (2) collage172012-07-19 13.01.50 (2)collage15collage142012-07-19 13.06.05 (2) collage162012-07-19 13.09.17 (2) collage182012-07-19 13.05.37 (2)

Come Thou Fount of every blessing
Tune my heart to sing Thy grace;
Streams of mercy, never ceasing,
Call for songs of loudest praise
Teach me some melodious sonnet,
Sung by flaming tongues above.
Praise the mount! I'm fixed upon it,
Mount of God's unchanging love.
Here I raise my Ebenezer;
Hither by Thy help I'm come;
And I hope, by Thy good pleasure,
Safely to arrive at home.
Jesus sought me when a stranger,
Wandering from the fold of God;
He, to rescue me from danger,
Interposed His precious blood.

Come, Thou Fount of Every Blessing

Celebrating His ceaseless streams of mercy today.

Happy ONE MONTH Birthday Ella Kate & Bennett!

we rejoice over your little lives, dear ones. you are loved.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Shall Not Be Moved

God is our refuge and strength
A very present help in trouble
Therefore we will not fear
Though the earth gives way
Though the mountains be moved into the heart of the sea
Though the waters war and foam
Though the mountains tremble
There is a river whose streams make glad the city of God
The holy habitation of the Most High God is in the midst of her
She shall not be moved
God will help her in the morning
Come, behold the works of the Lord
Be still and know that I am God
I will be exulted throughout the earth
The Lord of hosts is with us
The God of jacob is our fortress.
Psalm 46

Saturday, July 7, 2012

Show us Your Glory

let me first say, as if i need to, that i am no old testament scholar.  in fact, it intimidates me.  unlike many others i keep company with (eh, hem- Ryan Poehl) who connect the dots like a paint by numbers picture.

forgive me as i tangent- i have come to appreciate the twinks’ bibles in a fresh way…especially this one. it is visually appealing and beautifully communicates the redemptive nature of Old Testament history culminating in the person and work of Jesus.

all to say that i have been meditating on the story of Moses and the glory of God in Exodus 33. wandering in the wilderness yet leaning on His promises.

Moses knew he was deeply in need of God’s presence and grace. and God, full of mercy, responded, “My presence will go with you and I will give you rest."

His Presence is restful.  

Moses reaches further…  “Now show me Your glory.”

oh, how these words resound wildly in my heart, in the middle of this wait….

“Show us Your glory, Lord!”

and i am reminded of my smallness… that He is who He says He is and that to know Him, to really encounter Him, is transforming.

Moses was indeed transformed.

And the Lord said, “I will cause all my goodness to pass in front of you, and I will proclaim my name, the Lord, in your presence. I will have mercy on whom I will have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I will have compassion. But,” he said, “you cannot see my face, for no one may see me and live.”

Then the Lord said, “There is a place near me where you may stand on a rock. When my glory passes by, I will put you in a cleft in the rock and cover you with my hand until I have passed by.”

His goodness has gone before countless of people this week…people seeking His presence, asking Him for mercy on behalf of two tiny loves, Ella Kate and Bennett, created in His image and precious in His sight.

in response, God is pouring out compassion.

and i am changed by His glory as it passes us by…

because even in the wilderness, He is glorious. 

“When we try to focus our thought upon One who is pure uncreated being we may see nothing at all, for He dwelleth in light that no man can approach unto. Only by faith and love are we able to glimpse Him as He passes by our shelter in the cleft of the rock.” AW Tozer

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Saturday, June 30, 2012

He is in the wait

waiting is hard. i have never done it well, ask my husband. it is a disruption to what i desire most in the moment.

waiting is painful. it does more than delay my hopes, it strips me of myself reminding me of my condition.

utterly desperate for Jesus.

i am currently waiting on behalf of loved ones.

loved ones who are hurting and hoping and clinging.

moment after moment, they wait.

i know He who commanded the waves and scattered the stars could speak and it would be finished. but He meets us in the wait as it presses us into Him and sometimes onto our faces.

He waits to be encountered

to show Himself Strong

to move in our midst

to receive glory

isn’t this true in all of biblical history?… God fulfilling promise after promise to those who wait on Him.  

and so i wait… overcome by His presence, expecting His power, needing more of Him.

He makes all things beautiful in His time.

We wait in hope for the Lord; he is Our Help and Our Shield.
In Him our hearts rejoice, for we trust in his Holy name. Ps. 33:20-21

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

The Stability of My Times

oh, the perils of maintaining a blog… and i call myself a mother. but seriously, who doesn’t find humor in ecards like this one? ok, maybe some of you. truth be told, i find most of them funny. judge me not.

raise myself

i am what they call a lover of words… to the exhaustion of those closest to me. really, a lover of most forms of creative expression: art, dance, music, photography. does food count?

that is some of what this space is about when i manage to slow down long enough. a space of reflection and wrestling and worship.

spiral bound journals line the shelves in our bedroom closet and while the feel of a good ball point pen is thrilling there is something cathartic about stringing words together with pictures, capturing these sacred moments that will fade all too soon.

like this one from today…where we exchanged water slides for mud puddles.  muddog

or last night when we skyped for the first time ever.

andrea, 21st century - welcome aboard. skype2

love letters to daddymissing daddy

five short years and a million memories already fraying at the ends. “God, help me to capture this moment…” i exhale, taking mental snapshots as we go- hoping some of them bury deep. life falls down around us and the world spins madly on.

and for all that will fade, this year is forever hallmarked as a deep place where i knew that God was near, His promises strong. one such promise i have clung to… 

Isaiah 33:6
And He will be the stability of your times, A wealth of salvation, wisdom and knowledge; The fear of the LORD is his treasure.

the Stability of my times… in chaos, loss and wounding, personal sin and weakness. my Sure Footing, Rich in Salvation and wisdom, the Restorer of all things. God is engaging my heart to experience His treasures more fully as i lean into the painful places...

as the days and years roll into one another, whether chronicling the ordinary tales of early motherhood or reflecting on His work in my heart… may this space be a reflection of the One who sets my feet upon a rock and secures my times.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Deep Thoughts … and a Puppy

there is just no way i can share the following guest post without first introducing, sophie.

sophie, bloggieworld. bloggieworld, sophie!

Puppy 010

i know, i know… you want to see more.

Puppy 009Puppy 002

in the 3 short days we’ve had her, she’s stolen our hearts! (a love note from Berkley, spaying details included)

Puppy 018 

life with twins and a puppy isn’t so bad! especially now that they are ONE MONTH away from turning five! FIVE! (shocking, right?) but that’s another post… today i’m sharing a guest entry from my most favorite person. i think he’s pretty great. Read on to ponder The Welfare of Welfare….

The title is my lame attempt at a hook – especially in a political year.  However, I am not concerned here with politics, but discipleship.  This semester our volunteers read through Toxic Charity: How Churches and Charities Hurt Those They Help.  The book discusses how our charitable giving historically cripples the people, communities, and nations it’s meant to help.  Robert Lupton takes a crack at the benevolence model of churches, ministries, and short-term missions projects by asking the question, “Are the people really better off because you arrived?”  Of course, bellies are full, lessons are learned, and wells are dug, but have we empowered the people for the long term?  In fact, Lupton argues that the only long-term success many charities have had is to create dependence on charity.  Case study after case study reinforces this – both in the book and in my personal experiences.    

I realize that such sweeping statements are riddled with complexities that can’t possibly be discussed in a blog.  However, an honest look at many of our initiatives will reveal that, for all the money we spend ($291 billion in 2010 according to Giving USA), little change has been made.  It seems like the missing piece is what we do with our time.  I once had a professor tell me that if you want to know what a person values, look at their wallet and their calendar.  This rings true for churches and charities as well.  It’s relatively easy to find the financial resources to accomplish a short-term task.  What’s nearly impossible is for people to contribute the time and emotional energy it takes to engage in another person’s life for the long-term.  Yet, this is what true ministry to the poor entails.

Poverty generally has very deep roots, far deeper than money can dig.  It involves systems, cultures, values, and hearts – and money has no cure for those things.  Paul tells us in 1 Thessalonians that he shared not only the gospel, but also his life.  This is where ministry of the gospel enters in.  Only the redemption of Christ uproots the pride, selfishness, and hopelessness that characterize societies with marginalized peoples.  Christ understood the daunting task of addressing these issues:

Philippians 2:5–7 Have this attitude in yourselves which was also in Christ Jesus, who, although He existed in the form of God, did not regard equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied Himself, taking the form of a bond-servant, and being made in the likeness of men.

What do we learn from Christ’s example?  Not that we are better or higher than those we help – that position belongs to Him alone. Having Christ’s attitude means we abandon, we empty, and we let go of that which is important to us for the sake of another person.  God’s challenge to us is to empty ourselves of our rights in order to bring about the peace of Christ to this world.  May we all consider the opportunities that God has already put in front of us to disadvantage ourselves and our schedules for the sake of others.

Monday, February 13, 2012

He is LOVE


Just Because 21 - Love Is Spoken Here - 5x7 - Petal Pink - Sprik Space (2)

on the eve of this valentines, amid all things pink & red - not even the lure of pinterest has motivated creative juices in this direction.

it’s a funny day to me, not ha-ha funny but the odd, sometimes sad kind of funny.  where young girls set their gaze on overly priced stuffed animals from walgreens.

i’ll speak for myself, anyway.  painfully adding up the helium balloons and bright bouquets as i slumped through the 7th grade hallways. if only i had a teddy bear to light up my life.

but we all know it’s more than cheesy symbols marking the isles of this occasion. it is the deepest longing of every soul…

to love and to be loved.  

i have struggled to feel loved for most of my life- decades have past since that first longing was awakened… the pursuit of affection & admiration taking on many forms

but all of them leading to despair. 


so we have come to know and to believe the love that God has for us.

God is love … 1 john 14:6


yeah, yeah, yeah …Jesus loves me this I know.

but do i really believe it? do i believe the love that God has for me and that it is enough. 

enough to heal the wounded places, comfort the deepest aches, and satisfy my hopes deferred.

i am still learning to believe the blood stained love of my Savior- a love that fails me not. 

to meet Him in my past means seeing it was always His love sustaining and drawing me close.

i love this song by Esterlyn.

He heals the broken Hearted
He binds their wounds
He is Love
He finds those forgotten
Those who’ve been abused
He is Love

He knows your name
A father to the fatherless
A healer of the brokenness

You make Beauty from the ashes
A helper to the helpless
A fighter for the hopeless

You Love
Those who are alone

He comforts the lonely
He hears their Cry
He is Love

He holds the children
Through out the night
He is Love

He knows your name
A father to the fatherless
A healer of the brokenness

You make Beauty from the ashes
A helper to the helpless
A fighter for the hopeless

You love
Those who are alone

Give us your Heart Lord, help us Love the unseen
Give us your Eyes Lord, help us Love those in need

You're a father of the fatherless
A healer of the brokenness

You make Beauty from the ashes
You're a helper to the helpless
A fighter for the hopeless

You love
Those who are alone
Those who are alone
He knows your name

so whether you have a hot date tomorrow night or you cry yourself to sleep…

He knows your name.

He is a helper to the helpless… a fighter for the hopeless.

may you know and believe the love that God has for you

happy valentines!

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

ruining your soul

C.S. Lewis once wrote, “You don't have a soul. You are a Soul. You have a body.”

take a second to let that sink in

we are Souls cloaked in skin & bone, flesh and blood.

not sure about you but this isn’t how i live & think. much more prone to pay mind to the external, not excluding the sun kissed spots & fine lines mapping their course to middle aged life.

i have been challenged by what it means to keep careful watch over my own heart & soul. the Psalmist repeatedly spoke of his soul being pursued by enemies, downcast and then restored. trusting Him as the Keeper of my soul, i still have responsibility in it’s condition.

i can either nurture or ruin, protect or assault.

many things wage war against my soul: comparison, perfectionism, jealousy, self-promotion, approval addiction, toxic relationships …all having the potential to deeply affect my fundamental identity.

one of the greatest of these is a a dirty little word.


embraced by men but rejected by Christ 

i see so much of myself in matthew 23

Woe to me   

They tie up heavy burdens and lay them on men's shoulders, but they themselves are unwilling to move them with so much as a finger… they do all their deeds to be noticed by men…They love the place of honor…But woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites, because you shut off the kingdom of heaven from people; for you do not enter in yourselves, nor do you allow those who are entering to go in….You blind men, which is more important, the offering, or the altar that sanctifies the offering?..Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you clean the outside of the cup and of the dish, but inside they are full of self-indulgence….You blind Pharisee, first clean the inside of the cup and of the dish, so that the outside of it may become clean also. Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you are like whitewashed tombs which on the outside appear beautiful, but inside they are full of dead men's bones and all uncleanness. So you, too, outwardly appear righteous to men, but inwardly you are full of hypocrisy and lawlessness.

like i said, Woe to me

Woe to us

legalism concerns itself with the external versus the internal, ruining the soul.

as tim kimmell, author of this race-to-the-store-&-buy-one-today book, Grace Based Parenting, writes

legalistic patterns emphasize the SYMBOLS of christian behavior over the SUBSTANCE of christian living. it grants more power & influence to the external forces of the world system than it does to the internal power & presence of God.

white washed tombs …full of dead bones

legalism crawls onto our pews & into our hearts. it seduces us to hide our frailties from one another, to refrain from vulnerability because we all know that “good christians” have it all together.

good christians have perfect marriages & well behaved children. good christians read their bibles everyday. good christians follow the standards of righteousness.

woe to us who shut off the kingdom of God from people with our good christian antics.

if only the world knew there was no such thing

legalism perverts the gospel. it says His work is unfinished. that i must earn His love & acceptance by being more, doing more, giving more, attending more, sacrificing more. it believes the lie that His grace is not sufficient. not for me & certainly not for others.

Oh, foolish Galatians! Who has bewitched you? For the meaning of Jesus Christ's death was made as clear to you as if you had seen a picture of his death on the cross. Let me ask you this one question: Did you receive the Holy Spirit by obeying the law? Of course not! You received the Spirit because you believed the message you heard about Christ. How foolish can you be? After starting your Christian lives in the Spirit, why are you now trying to become perfect by your own human effort? galatians 3:1-3

even for us who believe, who claim salvation is by grace alone, through faith alone …how quickly we gravitate toward being perfected by “good” works, crippled by that very first lie… we must be unloved by God.

the true gospel is this…

He made Him who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, so that we might become the righteousness of God in Him. 2 Corinthians 5:21

i am not, could not, will not ever be good enough. i will never reach the end of my growing list of arbitrary standards.

only the finished work of the cross declares me righteous, fully accepted, purchased by His blood, forgiven of all sin… according to the riches of His grace, that He has freely lavished on me.

any other belief, no matter how well disguised results in fear, failure, pride, judgment, estrangement, spiritual death.

legalism ruins the soul. 

My hope is built on nothing less
Than Jesus’ blood and righteousness.
I dare not trust the sweetest frame,
But wholly trust in Jesus’ Name.

On Christ the solid Rock I stand,
All other ground is sinking sand;
All other ground is sinking sand.

When darkness seems to hide His face,
I rest on His unchanging grace.
In every high and stormy gale,
My anchor holds within the veil.

His oath, His covenant, His blood,
Support me in the whelming flood.
When all around my soul gives way,
He then is all my Hope and Stay.

When He shall come with trumpet sound,
Oh may I then in Him be found.
Dressed in His righteousness alone,
Faultless to stand before the throne.

may our hope be built on nothing less.

Friday, July 22, 2011

summer lovin’, had me a blast

summer lovin’ happened so fast! everyone needs a little Grease in their life.

only a few weeks away from returning to work…here is a recap of our summer days… a driftin’ away.  

with record breaking numbers in TX this summer, we were happy to stay water logged.

water funswimming2swimmingberk collage

April 2011 116 (2)davis collage

the twinks first crawfish broil!crawfish

i rearranged their bedroom to create usable work spaces. we have so many age appropriate materials that never get used because they haven’t been super accessible until now.

this is where IKEA comes in. one of my all time fave places! check out these shelves for only $39 each! organization- presto!


new table

the above wall hanging storage bins are great for markers, stickers & more! and you can’t beat their colorful $12 chairs & $25 tables. 

needless to say we’ve had gobs of creative art going on this summer!

paintingdavis creating you are looking at creative genius!

war paint

summer with friendswe had a gabazillion weddings this summer, which we LOVED…especially because i was able to squeeze in time with out of town friends & their wee ones.

avery this was one of our favorite weddings…we love zach & kathryn!! what an honor to celebrate with them.

z zachs wedding

we had a crazy, good time…which might have included vanilla ice’s- ice ice baby.


fun times with fun friends!gsgirls nightsilly facesthe above pics are from the first wedding d&b have attended. we did lot’s of prep work since they will be in their first wedding this october! aunt amber is getting married…ryan is officiating, i am a bridesmaid & the twinks are the flower girl & ring bearer. should be fun! and by fun i mean chaotic! :) we can’t wait!

2011-07-15 18.17.42 wedding

here’s to squeezing the life out of these last weeks… fun in the sun, loved ones & lot’s of zzzzz!sleeping beauties

hope you are enjoying your summer wherever you are!

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