Friday, April 29, 2011

Grace and A New Path Part 2 of 2

This story is part 2, to read part 1 click here.


After 7 years of marriage, her husband walked away. Not only did he walk away from his wife, but he walked away from God.

So now what? What do you do when you are suddenly alone? Well, Katie threw herself into church and community and fitness and work. She didn't stop being a friend, or a christian. Sure, she had moments of being angry, and upset. She questioned God and his will. She wept. She thought of a million things she'd "like to do to him". But she was faithful to the Lord. She never cursed Him. She still trusted Him. Her facebook quote is this, "I know not what the future holds, but I know who holds the future."
She faithfully prayed for her husband. That his heart would be softened and that he would turn back to the Lord. Even if he never came back to her, she was concerned about his heart, his walk with God.
She praised God, even in the midst of this ugliness. She praised Him.

The Lord began working in her heart and she began feeling a tug. She wanted to do something. Something outside of the box. Outside of her comfort zone. She wanted to be used. To be stripped of all that remained of her, so that she could serve Him.

She found out about the World Race and began praying over it. The World Race is "a stretching journey into 11 countries in 11 months to serve "the least of these" while amongst real and raw community. This unique mission trip is a challenging adventure for young adults to abandon worldly possessions and a traditional lifestyle in exchange for an understanding that it's not about you; it's about the Kingdom."

She prayed and prayed and felt that this was a door being opened to her and she was accepted. This is what is coming for her.....

In July of this year, I will be embarking on The World Race. This is an 11-month mission trip to 11 different countries around the world. I will be traveling to Romania, Ukraine, Uganda, Kenya, Rwanda, India, Nepal, Thailand, Cambodia, Vietnam, and Philippines. I will be leaving behind personal belongings and comforts and living out of a single backpack, sleeping on the ground, and forgetting what a hot shower feels like…and... I couldn’t be more excited! This will be the most challenging experience of my life, but I’m confident that it’ll also be the most rewarding. I will have the opportunity to experience other cultures, build relationships with people from all over the world, and most importantly share the love of Jesus Christ with others through work in orphanages, leading sports camps for children, teaching English in schools, building churches, caring for the homeless, fighting human trafficking, feeding the hungry, preaching in the streets, reaching out to prostitutes, and whatever other opportunities arise.

Wow. I can't help but be so proud of her. She has been a true example of God's grace from the beginning, and now when most people who run to the nearest source of comfort (family, friends, ice cream) she is stepping even more out of her comfort zone. She is believing that God is still writing her story and that He has big plans for her.
So often when we think of the plans God has for us, we think of it in terms of what we will get. Is He planning for a new job for me, for kids, for a spouse, for a raise, for a house etc. But God sees beyond what we can see, past our little lives and He sees the big picture, the eternal picture. His plans for us are to grow His kingdom, and to bring people to Christ.
She gets it. And she is stepping in by faith, believing that He is going to use her in ways she never could imagine.

So, yeah...I'm a LOT proud of her. And I'm excited to offer you the opportunity to support her in this endeavor! This is no cheap trip, and these people are earning the cost of the trip WHILE they are in the field, trusting God to provide. 

This isn't about money, or asking you to empty your pockets. This was an opportunity to share a story of someone who's world fell apart but she clung to Christ and is now doing something she probably never would have done. But if you feel led to support her, I want to give you that opportunity.

There are 3 ways you can show your support - any and all will be greatly appreciated!

1. Pray for her - This trip will be challenging emotionally, mentally, physically and spiritually. She will  value your prayers! Also, feel free to check in on her blog katieway.theworldrace.org and leave your comments!

2. Give a donation - She must raise $15,500 in order to go on the World Race, which covers all of her expenses on the field. This financial support can be given as a one-time gift or as monthly donation. You can make your donation online by visiting her blog site at: katieway.theworldrace.org and clicking the “Support Me” link in the upper left side of the page and complete your donation as instructed. If you would like to get a written support letter with an envelope for sending a donation in the mail, just message her your address and she'll send one!

3. Equip her - This trip requires a lot of backpacking gear. She is registered at REI under Katie Way.



Thank you for letting me share her story, I hope it inspired you as it did me!

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Joy and then Sorrow Part 1 of 2

I'm taking a break from writing about my crazy life because I want to share with you this story. God blesses us with people in our lives that leave such an impact on you, that it drives you to be a better person.
I met Kathleen (aka Katie, I think I'm the only one who actually still calls her Kathleen hehe) in 6th grade and by 7th grade we became best friends and we have been so ever since. She's one of the most selfless people I have ever met. Here is a bit of her story.

Katie met her husband on the front steps of our high school just months into our freshman year. She spotted him and basically fell head over heels. He was a senior, a soccer and track star and headed to West Point. They fell in love. They were inseparable for those months before he graduated and moved across the country. He was her first real boyfriend. Her first love. Most of their dating relationship was spent apart. He in college at West Point, and she on the West Coast in high school. They'd make trips to and from when they could and maximized their time together. They knew from really early on they would marry.

We graduated in 2002 and she headed to the East Coast for college and got engaged. The following summer of 2003 they were married. The next 7 years were spent hopping around the U.S.

First stop was Columbus, Georgia (Ft. Benning) in July of 2003 for a total of 9 months. For the first 4 months he was gone every other week (but home every weekend). Then 2 of those months he worked "regular" hours from 5am to 6pm. Then he was gone for 3 months for his Ranger school.

Next stop was up to Fairbanks, AK (Ft. Wainwright) in July of 2004. After 2 weeks of being up there he had to go out in the field for a few weeks and got home just in time to help move them into their house. After being home a week he had to go away for a month. Two days before Christmas they found out that he would be deploying to Iraq in the summer. In May he left for training for another month and then deployed sometime late July/early August.

He was deployed for 16 months.
Then they headed to Poquoson, Virginia (Ft. Monroe). He had a normal job with normal hours for once. After he got out of the military that April (2008) and took a government contract job then he had to travel about 1 1/2 weeks per month and that job lasted 4 months. Then he had 5 months of FBI training, where she flew out and visited twice for the longer weekends.
Then they arrived in Milwaukee, WI on the first day of 2009. He had to do quite a bit of traveling, usually one work week at a time, once every other month.

Needless to say, they bounced around quite a bit, as military families do. She stayed in school via online courses and also picked up jobs in several of the places they lived. Making friends, establishing community in churches and continuing to be a supportive wife.
In the fall of 2009 her world fell apart. She called me sobbing. Crushed. Broken. During his FBI training he had an affair. And he was having an affair at that moment with another (different) woman. He told her, fully expecting her to just walk out on him.

Never in a million years did I foresee this. He was in love with her. They were all each other ever knew. They made a commitment to the Lord. He treated her like a princess. She followed him everywhere he went, faithful at each point.  It blew my mind.

She came out to the West Coast to be near family, to think and pray and process. She made it clear she was in the marriage for life. She would do whatever it took to save it. She promised him she would not leave.
He ended up coming out the West Coast and they traveled home together. With him promising he wanted to work on things.

To make a long story short, over the next several months he would remain unfaithful and yet tell her he didn't want to end things. Finally it became clear he was not willing to give up his outside relationship. He decided to abandon their marriage after 7 years.

To be continued....

Monday, April 25, 2011

Pictures from the Weekend

Christian and Camden

Oh Camden...you are too adorable

Getting so big!!

Handsome Christian

Jack and his new haircut on Easter!

"Somebody in Qatar loves me!"

We love you Uncle!

Sunday, April 24, 2011

A little different Easter....

My sister's fiance is in the Middle East, my Dad has to work today and for the first time in my life I won't be in church on Easter Sunday because of the babies. Am I a little mopey and sad? Yep. There is no big Easter dinner with the family, no Easter egg hunt, no celebrating with song and fellowship at church for me today.

But you know what? Jesus still rose from the grave and that hasn't changed. This Easter, to me, looks different. But those are just traditions that we enjoy doing, it doesn't make or break Easter. Easter still happens, because Easter isn't about anything but remembering the day that changed it all for us.

Matthew 28:1-10
After the Sabbath, at dawn on the first day of the week, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary went to look at the tomb. There was a violent earthquake, for an angel of the Lord came down from heaven and, going to the tomb, rolled back the stone and sat on it. His appearance was like lightning, and his clothes were white as snow. The guards were so afraid of him that they shook and became like dead men.
The angel said to the women, "Do not be afraid, for I know that you are looking for Jesus, who was crucified. He is not here; he has risen, just as he said. Come and see the place where he lay. Then go quickly and tell his disciples: 'He has risen from the dead and is going ahead of you into Galilee. There you will see him.' Now I have told you."
So the women hurried away from the tomb, afraid yet filled with joy, and ran to tell his disciples. Suddenly Jesus met them. "Greetings," he said. They came to him, clasped his feet and worshiped him. Then Jesus said to them, "Do not be afraid. Go and tell my brothers to go to Galilee; there they will see me."

My friend Jenna put it perfectly:

I owed a debt I could never pay. Not in a million years. And in one moment of indescribable suffering and sacrifice, my debt was wiped out. Friday. Good Friday. I fear that 2000 years of noise has blurred the reality of what happened on that day.

But I am loved. And so are you. Whether you acknowledge it or not, whether you feel like you need forgiveness or not, whether you believe it or not, there is a God. And He loves you. There is hope. And that hope came in the light of a rising sun as a world woke up to an empty tomb. Sunday. Resurrection Sunday.

You see, the miracle of Easter is that God came to earth as a man named Jesus who sacrificed himself, died on a cross and then rose from the dead. They called him the Son of God, the Christ, the Messiah. He paid the penalty for my sin, even when I didn't know there was a penalty to pay. He conquered death. And He lives today. It's not a myth, a legend or a silly story that weird religious people tell each other because they're too dimwitted to face the real world. He offers a clean slate. A new heart. Hope.

Life is sacred. We are here in these bodies for such a short time. And no matter how fiercely we love, no matter how hard we work, no matter how good we are, we will never find true meaning and purpose unless we know the One we were created for.

Hope.
Forgiveness.
Peace.
Love.
Purpose.

He gives us a choice. At some point every person has a choice.
And when you know Him you discover there are little pieces of Him, all over the world.

So, I rejoice today, in my puke covered sweats and unbrushed hair, because He is Risen and that hasn't changed!

Saturday, April 23, 2011

The Very Best Homemade Baked Mac & Cheese!

First of all, welcome to the new and improved blog! There are still a few adjustments to be made, but this is basically the new look! SO...grab my cool new button on the right for your blog!

I love Mac & Cheese. I've had it all, from Kraft to tons of different kinds of homemade. This is by far my favorite. It's simple, quick and oh so creamy. Your Mac & Cheese must be creamy!
So, whip it  up and enjoy! My family does :)

Ingredients:
2 ½ cups of elbow macaroni                 ½ teaspoon salt
¼ cup butter                                         1 pound shredded Cheddar cheese
¼ cup all-purpose flour                         ¼ cup butter, melted
4 cups milk                                           1 sleeve buttery round crackers, crushed (like Ritz)


Directions:
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees
  2. Fill large pot with lightly salted water and bring to boil over high heat. Stir in the macaroni, and cook uncovered, stirring occasionally, until the pasta has cooked through, but is still firm to the bite, about 8 minutes. Drain well.
  3. Combine ¼ cup butter, flour, milk, salt and Cheddar cheese in a large saucepan over medium heat, cook and stir until cheese is melted and the mixture thickens. 7-10 minutes. Add the macaroni and stir to coat. Pour the mixture into a 9x13 inch baking dish. Mix the ¼ cup melted butter and crushed crackers together in a bowl, scatter the cracker mixture evenly over the macaroni mixture.
  4. Bake in preheated oven until golden brown on top, about 45 minutes.
SO YUMMY!!!!

Friday, April 22, 2011

Good Friday

"The cross was two pieces of dead wood; and a helpless, unresisting Man was nailed to it; yet it was mightier than the world, and triumphed, and will ever triumph over it."
- Augustus William Hare

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Happy Tuesday

Jack asked for green pancakes and green milk. Mommy is so cool.

Look at that face! Oh Christian, you are so adorable!
My little man Camden. So adorable.

Jack helping to bathe the boys :)

Monday, April 18, 2011

Miscellany Monday

Hello Monday. Here's a bit of miscellany.

This week is gonna be a bit tough in the evening time as my hubby has rehearsal's for this weekend's Easter service. We are having a Good Friday service, our regular Saturday night service and 2 instead of 3 Sunday morning services. Needless to say my sweetie is gonna be dead tired come Sunday afternoon.

I think Jack and I will do this sometime this week: Resurrection Eggs

I will also be shopping for a little Easter basket for my men :) I'm all about teaching my kids the REAL reason for these holiday's...but I also think it's fun to do the Santa and Easter Bunny thing!

The littlest of men are doing well. We've had a couple nights where Christian slept the whole way through and last night they both slept from about 9:30/10:00pm to 4:30/5:00am :) Yippee Skippy.
All of their newborn clothes have been put away and they are fully in 0-3 month now. Crazy.

It's been quite rainy here, although I don't mind since we'd just be inside for the most part. And I can say, the rain is much better than the tornadoes some other places have been getting!

I think I have done 5 loads of laundry today...but now we are caught up! Have I said before how thankful I am for our new front loader? Well, I am SO thankful!

Not a whole lot to update y'all on. Life is life and life is good! Click the pic above and link up with Carissa!

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Weights!

Camden: 9lbs 1 oz, gaining 21 grams a day! And that's with ALL his puking!! :)

Christian: 9lbs .5oz, gaining 26 grams a day :)

Yay! Go boys go!

The 3 Cutest Boys Ever

Hehehe

It's true...they just keeping rolling over onto their back whenever we do tummy time!

Sunday, April 10, 2011

2 Month Picture Dump

Happy 2 months little men! And thank you Christian for sleeping THROUGH THE NIGHT!! What a nice, random treat :) Don't worry...we aren't getting too excited.

Christian giving a smile

Haha! This cracks me up! He looks so mischievous!

Camden looking too cute

Christian, Camden

Thursday, April 7, 2011

8 Week Update!

8 Weeks. 2 Months this Sunday.....you say, "Already?!" and I say, "that's it?!" :)

Life is good. Hubby has been back at work part-time for the past 2 weeks and starts full-time this week. I have a couple amazing friends who are coming over and helping during the week when they can and we still have meals being provided for one more week!


These little boogers are growing so much! They are still in newborn clothes, but length wise we are getting tight! We've also just moved up to size 1 diapers after several disgusting blow-outs this week :)

Here's a little summary of each booger:


Jack
Oh Mister, you are so 2 1/2. There are days where I think putting you on time-out from the moment you woke up wouuld have been beneficial. You are Mr. I can do it myself and if I can't I will throw a world class tantrum. You are also a perfectionist (thank your father) and impatient (oops, my bad)
So we are learning together, how to wait and listen.
You are still the sweetest, most tender toddler we know. You don't hit kids, push or kick. You play nice and you are the best helper!
You say the funniest things.
When Trevor was putting him to bed the other night, his brothers were crying in the front room. He kept saying, "No Daddy, go check on Camden and Christian!"
And tonight I told him he was riding in Daddy's car to church and he said
"Oh wow, that's so great!"
:)
And in big news....we registered him for pre-school for the fall. Say what?! Didn't I just give birth to you??
We feel strongly our kids need to be in private Christian school, and I've often said I'd die before sending them to public school (this is just how we feel, not to say it's wrong if you choose this option)
And I also do not feel called to homeschool them. I think homeschooling is amazing, but I also believe it's a gift and not just anyone can/should do it.
So....we are trusting for the Lord to provide tuition and it is a great sacrafice to send them to this school, but I believe the Lord will be faithful and provide the money (despute the massive NICU bill)

*Insert Publisher's Clearing House knocking on my door.....hmm...maybe tomorrow?*

So, all that to say...pre-school. Wow.

Okay, on to Camden

Despite his continued puking (it is much better, but if you hadn't seen it before you'd still think it was awful)
He is pretty easy going. He puts himself to sleep and he is content to just lay and stare and what's going on around him. He's easily calmed and he has gotten to be a fantastic nurser. I am still breastfeeding one after the other and it's going really well.
He is our most smiley baby at this point, it's pretty easy to get a smile and a "coo" out of him.
His white blonde hair is growing in all over his head now and his eyes are super blue.
He is doing really well sleeping at night. He'll eat at about 9:00pm and then not until about 1:30am and then 6:30am. Loving that! He is quite attatched to his pacifier and will wake up if he spits it out which is a pain...hoping he outgrows that soon.

Christian
He still thinks he's an only child and loves to just be held and talked to. He doesn't settle very easily for others, but in Mama's arms he tends to calm right down. He loves to look around and is always turning his head, cocking it from side to side to see what's going on.
His jaundice is all gone. That 36 hours off of breastmilk did the trick and now he is just olive toned with no yellow! His eyes are much more blue than I had originally thought.
He too will eat at about 9:00pm at night, and then between 20 minutes to an hour after Camden eats and then no matter what time they eat in the night they both eat around that 6:30am mark. So, he doesn't go quite as long as Camden does from that 2nd feeding.
He doesn't smile as often as Camden does, but when he does it's pretty huge :)

All in all things are getting into rhythm for us. We aren't on a "schedule" per-say but we are getting to know them better and better each day and what works for them. Like I said, I'm not tandem feeding right now and it's so much less stressful that way. And we don't 'wake one' when the other wakes. I feel that if one is ready to sleep longer, to let him. His body obviously needs it and is ready for it, so why mess with a sleep cycle?!
I'm learning that they will cry. A lot. And often times they have to so I can eat, or go to the bathroom or read to Jack.
I am feeling really good and am loving to see them grow and change.
I feel so blessed.

I was able to go to church for the first time in about 9 weeks this past week and it was wonderful. Once they are a bit older and we are out of flu season we will all start to go again. I am ready for that day to come!





Friday, April 1, 2011

And the winner is.....

The winner of the custom header and grab button
selected at random is:


cara's creations

True Random Number Generator 23 Powered by RANDOM.ORG



Congratulations! Please contact Melanie at Melanie@ElegantCustomBlogs.com
to discuss your prize!

Thank you to all who entered and for following my story!
Have a great weekend!