Wednesday, December 12, 2012

College Memories - 10 years later!

We had the priveledge last month of traveling to San Antonio with our kiddos to attend our 10 year college reunion. Matt and I met while in college at Trinity University, so going back there to visit always brings back special memories. We were thrilled to be able to stay at the same hotel as our best college friends and see all of our kiddos play together. My sister Natalie came with us to watch the kids for us while we went to the reunion - she is such a wonderful aunt for so many reasons!

We toured the Alamo in downtown San Antonio Saturday morning and attended a picnic on campus on Saturday afternoon. We were able to spend some time walking around the gorgeous Trinity campus, and Matt and I got to spend the afternoon exploring the new and improved campus... peaking our heads inside the on-campus dining halls, walking through some of the classroom buildings, getting outfitted with t-shirts at the bookstore. We also drove to Taco Cabana for some tortillas and queso, visited the cool Half-Price Books near campus, drove through Alamo Heights, and got a milkshake from EZ's in The Quarry. Fun times!

Our kids got to spend the afternoon at Sea World with my parents (who also drove there to meet us) and Natalie. They loved it and Oliver was already asking to go back as they left!

A stop at Fazoli's in Waco on the way down!
Playing on the awesome playground at the hotel with the Ewert kids

At the Alamo!

On campus:

We loved spending the day with Dan, Anne, Adam and Stephanie! Thanks for STILL being great friends! Hope to see you all again soon!

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Colombia 2012

I had the privilege to be able to travel with a team from our church to Barranquilla, Colombia for a mission trip at the end of October. I had never been on a mission trip before and am excited to join in the long-term work we are starting in Colombia. I went with a mission organization called e3 Partners with a group of 7 others from our church. It was an amazing time of spiritual growth for me and an unforgettable time of ministry there. It was a week-long trip and Matt and my mom graciously stepped up to help take care of our kids while I was away.

The first day of the trip we got to attend a local church in Barranquilla and also had a lot of evangelism training since that is what we were doing most of the week. We also met our translators, without whom we would not be able to communicate! It was a full and exciting day. The next two days were full and powerful. We went door to door in poverty stricken barrios and shared the good news of Jesus Christ with them. They were so willing to invite us into their homes and it was a powerful time. 

The last three days we worked with coalitions of churches in different barrios who are beginning to work together to solve challenges in their communities. It was amazing to witness them all putting aside their differences and working together toward a common goal. I can't wait to see what results come from their efforts.

This is just a short summary, but I hope to go again and continue to aid the work of sharing the good news of Jesus Christ to the people in Barranquilla, Colombia.

When we returned, I was able to share with our church a little bit about our trip. Below is what I shared with them and is a good summary of my trip:

I am convinced of God’s power!

God can motivate you to do things outside of your comfort zone and cause you to succeed mightily for His glory! There’s nothing like sharing your testimony and the gospel 30 times in two days to really show you God’s power. He took me who was very unsure about presenting the gospel in ANY meaningful way, and caused me to have the right words to share with 30+ people about the amazing gift of love our Savior offered us on the cross if we put our faith and trust in Him alone. I believe that message with all my heart, but as I actively poured out my heart and God’s word to person after person… I felt the Holy Spirit like I never have before. 
I am convinced that God can work through us.

God can direct you to where he is already moving. In one of the Barrios, I was welcomed into the home of a young man who listened intently as we shared the gospel, and even admitted that he didn’t feel worthy of the gift of forgiveness of sin. That admission told me a lot about where his heart was… he recognized his need for a Savior. After asking a few questions he gladly prayed a prayer accepting this free gift of salvation and asking for forgiveness. And then he did something that truly showed that he got it. He wanted to share it. He brought in another young man from another room of his house and proceeded to share the gospel with Him. We had no idea anyone else was even in the house. That happens a lot in Colombia! This other young man asked to pray a similar prayer to accept the free gift of salvation and ask for forgiveness. An immediate example of what it means to be a disciple. His heart was fertile soil for God to work. I was only obeying His call to be His witness. 
I am convinced that God is the God of the harvest.

God can multiply your time. On my last day of evangelism, it was almost time for us to meet back at the church to load up on our bus. Our group looked at each other and we decided we had time to do one more house. We were invited in to a house on the corner of two streets and offered chairs.  As we were walking in more people down the street motioned for us to come visit them next. Knowing we were out of time I beckoned for them to come in this house with us. I don’t know if it’s ok to invite other people in to someone else’s house in Colombia, but I did it anyway! In the small amount of time I had, God brought in more than 3 households of people to share with all at once. They all asked to pray a prayer of forgiveness. A true example of God’s power.

I am convinced that the love of God is something that everyone needs to hear about!
In Romans 8:38-39, Paul describes the power that I felt and the confidence I now feel in my life.
For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Here are some pictures from my trip:

Arriving in Colombia - at the airport!

With a local church member in Trinitaria and my awesome translator Jefferson

Our team with Pastor Glaydis in Trinitaria

My lunch - pretty common throughout the week

One of my best friends Kendra and I sweating it out in the barrios

Don Basco

Of course I was attracted to the children... especially this serious 2 year old that reminded me of my serious 2 year old!

Worship in Don Basco

I got to spend a good amount of time with these girls... especially the one on the right, Daniela. We traded the few English and Spanish words we knew and had a special time of bonding.

One of my favorite moments after we returned was seeing this on Gabriella's preschool door. They were making thankful turkeys and what she was thankful for was: "That my mom is telling people about Jesus!" (orange feather). Seeing that was so meaningful because it summed up my whole trip in Colombia and also showed that my kids recognized  why I had been gone from them and how important it was. So touching... it made this momma cry.

I can't wait to continue to hear how God continues to work in the communities we visited. You are in my thoughts and prayers Colombian friends and I can't wait to see you again soon!

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Grocery Store Birthday Party!

We now have a darling 5 year-old girl in our house! Gabriella excitedly turned 5 this week - a day she has been waiting for for weeks! We celebrated her birthday with a Grocery Store Party in our backyard. Ever since we visited a children's museum that had a pretend grocery store in it - which she LOVED - I had the idea of setting up a store for her at our house for her birthday. With the help of many of my friends saving their used cartons, boxes, and packages, we had a fully stocked grocery store for Gabby and her friends to shop at: Gabriella's Country Market! Friends brought their shopping carts, put on their employee name tags, and manned the registers for the excited shoppers!

  The front door

Oliver filling out his employee name badge

Presenting... Gabriella's Country Market!

Our cute cashiers at work

And the happy shopper!

Look at that beautiful smile :)

The boys eventually ended up here!

Texas Longhorn Grandpas!

Gabby and Georgia have been friends since they were 2! Sweet girls!

Chocolate cupcakes with gold coins on them to stay in theme!

I love how she is playing with bunny's ears as we are singing "Happy Birthday!"

Present time!

My first attempt at a panoramic picture with my phone. I think it turned out pretty good and captured some of the action!

On our way to dinner with the family after the party... silly Uncle Bossy!


This last picture just takes the cake and fills my heart with a smile. We love you our sweet, girly, kind, compassionate, smart, helpful little darling! We are so thankful you are ours!

Thursday, September 13, 2012

First Day of Preschool

My girls started preschool last week and were excited to go. Gabby LOVES school and Melia was excited to get to finally use her "ladybug packpack." We love our preschool and were counting down the days until it started up again. I am excited because I get to use the day they are at preschool to volunteer in Oliver's classroom (and have lunch with that cute big boy)!

Gabriella is in the Cookie Monsters class and is one of the oldest in the school this year. She was a little shy in her transition to a new classroom and new teachers, but after a few days, felt right at home. She still loves wearing dresses and skirts and all things pretty.

My big 4 year old. Her last year of preschool before Kindergarten next fall!

Melia is in the Gingerbreads class and has already had to sit in timeout for pulling another child's hair. :| But she was upset about it... or at least upset that she got caught. We are working through the terrible twos over here, but she has made progress!! She loves to play with baby dolls and loves even more to see real babies. And there's not much that's cuter than a two-year old's voice. I love to listen to this sweet girl talk!

My serious 2 year old :)

 "Say cheese"

Our neighbor was backing out of her driveway and stopped to come over and take a picture of all of us together :)

Walking in to school together. Gabriella was very proud of her triple braid (look closely). She asks for braids almost every day so I've tried to get a little more creative! Even baby sister got a little braid for the first day of school.

Monday, August 27, 2012

First Day of School

Today our whole family took Oliver to school for his first day of 1st grade. He was excited and ready to go. We talked about last year on his first day of Kindergarten and how he was a little nervous that day. I asked if he was nervous today and he said, "No, I've done this already!" It's not his first first day of school :)

He was in extra silly mode this morning as he is most of the time these days. But mommy still wanted his first day of school picture with his new clothes and backpack.
 Ready to go!

 Being silly

Walking in the front door. He was pretty embarrassed by my picture taking so I had to sneak in these next few pictures without his knowing.

Putting his backpack in his locker

At his desk. He was excited to have a "desk" this year instead of just a table. All of the desks have trays underneath to hold all of his supplies.

 Gabby practicing her locker skills for when it is her turn for school next year!

And baby girl along for the ride. Oliver did the math this morning and told me that when Melia goes to Kindergarten, he will be in 4th grade. I'm not ready to think about either of those things! Good thing I have a few years to adjust :)