Sunday, April 28, 2013

Jesus, Only Jesus

Wow....this blog has been pretty quiet lately, which (for your own info) does not reflect our current life!  We are parents...we love it so much....and our 3 yr old is rarely quiet, still, or calm!  What a blessing though!  We joked a few weeks ago that our agency played a huge trick on us because every picture we had seen of Joelle, up until we arrived in Africa, portrayed an innocent/quiet little girl that we thought may never even talk to us.  Joke was on us!  And we wouldn't have it any other way!

So we've had a busy schedule for the past few months.  And I imagine that won't change much in the next, you know, 15 years!  This past week we took our first family road trip to go finalize Joelle's birth certificate.  We had some mix-ups with the court so we spontaneously traveled to Austin for a really quick trip.  All of this was to help ensure Joelle could get her passport in time to travel with us on a mission trip this Summer.....we're crazy, right?

But I wanted to take a moment to ask you to pray for our little family.  We have a really great opportunity to travel to Honduras this Summer to do some mission work as a family, and we are extremely excited about it!  Our friends, Mark and Michelle Fittz have an amazing ministry there!  Check them out:  One thing we decided before we were ever even placed with Joelle was that we wanted our family to follow Christ together...wherever that landed us.  I'm sure a quick look at the Fittz family will show you why we are so excited.  We get the chance to work with a large group of underprivileged kids for a week.

Can I add a quick advertisement?  No, we don't need money for our trip.  But the Fittz family has a great opportunity to reach these kids for Christ.  Over the past few weeks they have been given a playground unit to use with these kids...that don't even get a meal every day....this is going to be a HUGE blessing to these kids who literally have next to nothing!  The only catch is the playground set costs $1,500 to ship from here to Honduras, so they're praying God would raise up a few families to help out.  Random?  Yes....but if you're interested, let us know and we'll point you in the right direction.  We worked with these kids last year, and after we left, on of the dad's in their community accepted Christ...they're making a difference and this playground will be a HUGE addition for their ministry to these kids!

Back to what I was saying....this morning as we were in the middle of worship at church, I glanced down to notice Joelle had her eyes closed and was trying to sing with the praise team on stage.  She was kind of swaying, and had her hands in the air.  Now, we aren't a 'charismatic' church by any means....we're kind of stiff-necked Baptists at heart I'm sure, but she brought a little something extra to worship for me this morning!  I began to realize what being a parent means.  This kid is watching every move we make....she wants nothing more in life than to be just like us.  It's a scary thought!

And that was when this prayer came our of my mouth before I even knew what I was saying, 'Jesus, make me more like you!'  If this little girl aspires to be like me, I aspire most to look like Jesus.  I hope that one day she'll look just like me....and by doing that it'll mean she looks more like Jesus.  I pray that more than sports, cheer, band, or fame, she focuses on Jesus.

I know this is kind of a different blog post....but my heart has been heavy today, and I hope that in some way this will inspire you....not to feel good or applaud us, but to understand the importance we have as parents to lead our children to Jesus.  As a Student Pastor, I can tell you our kids really do want us to step it up in our walk with Christ.

So last week I could've cancelled Joelle's ticket and left her in the good ole' USA while we traveled to Honduras to 'do ministry.'  Most people would probably think I would be wise for doing that.  BUT that's not what we committed to.  We are a family, and when one of us follows Jesus, we're all going.  He brought us together, and our family belongs to Him.  So I hope you'll join us in praying over our Honduras team this Summer as we travel and work with the Fittz family.  I hope you'll check out their website and pray over their family as they are doing what so many of us would never dare to do.

As we were out eating tonight, Joelle randomly began singing a song we've sung the past few weeks, and I'd encourage you to check it out.  Here's what she sang.....'Jesus only Jesus.'  And as a line in that song says, 'You stand alone, I stand amazed,' that was my thought tonight....amazed that God has brought this amazing little girl into our lives....amazed that He would allow us to raise her....amazed that she would be a catalyst in my life spiritually to cling to the feet of Jesus.  And I hope that as you finish reading this post, you'll understand the importance of that....clinging to the feet of Jesus...that's where we belong.

Here's a few pictures from last year's trip to Honduras....HEY, I'm not afraid to ask for help when it comes to reaching people for Jesus!

Here's a picture of the kiddos we worked with last year.
 This is a picture we took in front of the one of the water pilla's we helped build last Summer.  This little device allows this awesome family to collect rain water so they can have 'clean' water throughout the week.
 This is dad accepted the Lord last year!
Can't wait to get back to see this guy!  Hopefully he's still around.  Arthur's mom literally abandoned him while we were with him last Summer.  He's the hardest worker I've ever met in my life....and he's 7!  The kid won and broke my heart all in the same week!  Praying we'll see him this Summer and be able to tell him about Jesus again!

Saturday, April 13, 2013

Another trip to the zoo :)

Texas weather this week has been CRAZY!  On Wednesday it was raining/freezing (to me at least) and today it's beautiful!  Since we never know what tomorrow may hold, we decided to take a short trip to the zoo this morning.  The weather was perfect for us!

Stopped by to check out the creepy owl :)
 And, of course we had to visit the birds again!  Somehow Joelle managed to get me to actually hold a bird.  Something about how I told her last time I would try it someday.  Stinkin' smart kid remembered and held me to my word!  She said, "Mama... you said you would hold a bird with no screaming this time!"
 Then we did a short pony ride... she's still a little unsure about it, but she was happy that she gave it a go!
 I must say that I'm a pretty good photographer :)  And, check out those mint capris... what a stylin' little girl!  Can you see the "unsureness" on her face?!  That's most definitely a fake smile for mom!
 This is my favorite picture!  Look at that smile!  She is seriously good at posing for the camera even when there's an extremely large lion behind her :)  If you didn't notice yet, we had a slight wardrobe change.  Apparently you need to change out necklaces while at the zoo :)
 Had to get a picture of the lion lookin' our way.  Pretty sure he would have eaten us for dinner if the glass wasn't separating us!
After the zoo we headed to Torchy's Tacos to treat our favorite little girl to some chicken and rice.  Now she's taking her nap (or "little sleep" as Joelle calls it) so that we can wake up to eat Casa Linda petit-fours and then it's swim time!  

Happy Saturday to you all!  Enjoy your weekend... we all know it goes by WAY too fast!

Thursday, April 11, 2013

All things Joelle :)

It's been a while since I've visited our little family blog, so I thought I'd jump in real quick and give you some highlights... bullet style!
  • Joelle is officially a full-time preschooler :)  She goes to a Montessori school in our neighborhood from around 9-3:20ish.  At first she was not into school AT ALL, but now she LOVES it!
  • Since Jared goes to work at 9, Joelle gets to sleep in while Mommy goes to work (I do take her to the potty and put her in bed with Papa so that I get some kisses in before I leave!!)
  • She sleeps around 10-12 hours a night- completely potty trained and does not wear pull-ups
  • Joelle is quickly losing the 2 languages she spoke in Africa.  She is very adamant about only speaking in English, and she is doing awesome!  Everyday when I pick her up from school I am amazed at how well she is speaking... complete sentences, thoughts, etc!
  • She is still a really great eater, and has nothing to do with chocolate!
  • Her favorite things to play with:  babies/baby clothes, Legos, riding her bike
  • Lately after school she goes straight to the couch with a blanket and pile of books.  Melt my teacher heart.
  • Literally, she talks NON-STOP!  Loves to sing, dance, and be around people.
  • The girl loves church, and is learning more about Jesus everyday!  If you don't say "Thank you for Jesus" in your prayers, you will get in trouble!
  • She is very independent, BUT she will let you do things for her because she wants to be Mama and Papa's baby :)
  • Her best friend's name is Jenna.  Jenna goes to her school... they squeeze each other before Joelle leaves everyday.  Joelle tries to bring Jenna home but I explain that we would be kidnapping her, ha!
  • The girl can fold, tie her shoes (most of the time), braid hair, button, zip, snap, hold her pencil correctly, etc.  She has awesome fine-motor skills!
  • She can almost write her name (still working on that tricky lower-case E), can identify several letters and their sounds, and has the first part of the ABC song down!
  • Thankfully, she loves the water!  Phew... that would have been bad considering we JUST put in our pool :)
Most importantly, the Lord has blessed us with such a sweet and healthy little girl!  She continues to bring so much joy to our lives.  Yes, we have to reprimand her because she is 3 years old.  Contrary to popular belief, she is not perfect, and we aren't the perfect parents ;)  (shocking, right?!)  We are learning together each day and we make tons of mistakes.  But, by the grace of God, we are bonding, attaching, and loving every moment together!