Sunday, April 26, 2015

Practicing Gratitude 4.26.15

- "Young Life leaders believe that every kid, in every home, deserves to have someone who's crazy about them." - John Trent, speaking at our Fort Worth Young Life luncheon this week. 

- 3rd grade Mom/child Tanglewood kickball party

- While Hud made his lunch, he made Bran's too.

- Struggles in our home, and that you’re growing ALL of us through them.

 - Bran getting to participate in a couple of Paschal track meets

Bran and Coach Cook
 - When baseball tournaments are rained out, at least we get to watch some seven-on-seven

- PHS dodgeball tournament (so fun for kids, crazy for mom!)
5th gr girls - "The Patriots"

- Hud's team won their division, but had to play 3rd gr boys for the championship. After a very unfair championship game v. 3rd gr boys (!), they handed over the first place medals to the younger boys.
7th gr boys - "Skies out, thighs out." Nice.

Didn't get a pic of Bran's 9th gr guys team, but he got to play with a few other as well

Essie and Meggie - finding fun even not on a team (thanks, Jim!)
- Bad news - nearly all of Hud's baseball tournaments have been rained out. Good news - his team batting 1000 as 1st place tournament champs.
Fort Worth Cats

- Lots of Bran's games have been rained out this season as well, he just has a lot more to play

Coach Hollrah - Branson loves playing for him
- View from our driveway. Love these boys!

- SO grateful for Nurse Skinner
Essie during one of her daily visits
 - Boys know how to fully utilize Papa's time here in Fort Worth!

- Hud: "Loudest two hours of my life"
Duck Dynasty's TX Motor Speedway race
 - Twins!

- Time with Lucy
Again, twins! (there's a theme here...)
 - CCBC high school paint wars.
They use real paint. Yikes.
- Sweet friends and next-door-neighbors.

- Clint Gresham from the Seattle Seahawks coming to speak at Wyldlife

- This FUNNY attempted get-away by our dogs!

 - TCU FCA dinner
Photo creds - thx Jeff!

- Torchy's dinner date with Bran and Hud. 

- For all of the zillion dentist, orthodontist, dermatologist, mammogram, veterinarian appointments... that I have the time to take everyone, that we have great insurance, and of best of all fantastic doctors.

- Getting to live these days with my girls, who are still young, who still like to play school and read and are happy to spend time with me. I'm enjoying these teen years for the boys, but I am so grateful for the age and innocence of these sweet girls. 

- Cute boy

 - Squeezing in as much fishing every chance he gets

- More volleyball fun

 - Taking time to come out for a game
Brighton and Branson
- Branson driving us (safely) around town.

- Getting to pitch a little

- A rainy Friday morning at home (even if it means more rained out baseball games)

- This sweet group of friends - Paschal Praying Moms

Look to the Lord and his strength; seek his face always. Remember the wonders he has done, his miracles...   1 Chronicles 16:11-12

Friday, April 17, 2015

Echoes of Sacrifice and Blessing

Like many families, we're big fans of HGTV's Fixer Upper. We love Chip and Joanna, we've got a soft spot for Waco (sic 'em, Bears!), and it's so fun to have a guilt-free show our whole family can watch.

I've never met the Gaines, but Joanna recently shared some of her story via video at  The Gathering Waco - the first ever city-wide worship service held at Baylor's McLean stadium last month.

One of the most fascinating things Joanna shared was laying down her dream of Magnolia Market when she felt the Lord asking her to stay home with her babies. In the video, she describes closing the store doors and crying. In her words, Joanna felt like it was "the end of a dream."
And yet, she heard the Lord also say, very clearly, "Joanna - if you trust me with your dreams, I'm going to take Magnolia further than you could have ever dreamed."

Joanna willingly sacrificed her gift and dream to the call of the Lord that likely didn't make sense in the world's eyes.
And yet now we know the rest of the story.

When worship leader Christy Nockels shared her story with David Mathis on Desiring God a few years ago, (five minutes - SO worth watching) she shared a similar experience. The momentum of her worship band, Watermark, came to an abrupt halt when Christy felt the Lord ask her to "take some time to be a mom" to her two little ones at that time.

It didn't make sense, and it probably brought an onslaught of raised eyebrows from agents and those in the music industry. But in "reluctant" faith, Christy "closed the doors" on touring to be home. 

She says that in laying down her career and all things familiar, "I have watched Him do God-sized things in my ministry that I would have never imagined I would be able to be a part of and do as a mom with three kids."

Christy goes on to say, "The song I write in my playroom as a lullabye for my kids goes on to become an anthem... He loves to do that... He can take the little things in our hearts and homes and amplify them with His glory."

Christy willingly sacrificed her gift and dream to the call of the Lord that didn't make sense in the world's eyes.
And yet now we know the rest of the story. 
Christy's new album to be released this month, April 28

Just last night Corbin and I attended TCU's FCA end of year banquet, and Clint Gresham who plays with the Seattle Seahawks shared part of his story as the keynote speaker. Once again, the trend of sacrifice and blessing continues. Clint was promised a 5th round draft pick out of college by the Houston Texans, a team he dreamed of playing for. The 5th round came and went without the offer. But in the flurry of post-draft offers as a free agent, he felt the Lord's caution to accept the Texans' generous offer, and to go instead with a considerably less offer from the New Orleans Saints. In Clint's words, he "hated" those months in New Orleans and questioned whether God had truly pointed him in that direction.

The day before training camp, the Saints cut him. So on that 7-hour drive home, unemployed, Clint questioned the Lord's guidance even more. But before the day was over, the Seahawks called, and by that night he was seated in first-class en route to Seattle, just in time for the start of training camp the next morning.

Clint willingly sacrificed his gift and dream to the call of the Lord that didn't make sense in the world's eyes.
And yet now we know the rest of the story.

All of these stories echo a rhythm of sacrifice followed by blessing. The original story, of course, is that of Abraham and Isaac. God's call on Abraham - yikes. If you're like me, it's pretty radical that God would ever ask this patriarch to sacrifice his SON. But God did ask, and then of course provided the ram. It was Abraham's faith  - his willingness to give up that which he held most dear, his firstborn and only son - that granted him favor with God, made him a friend of God, and then placed him in a position to be the father of God's chosen people.

In the incredible distress and anguish of binding his son to that wood on the altar, Abraham believed God. He believed that God would fulfill his promise of making Abraham's descendents as numerous as the stars in the universe, it just might not look like Abraham imagined.

Joanna's vintage store.
Christy's worship-leader, song-writer career.
Clint's free-agent contract with professional football team he'd dreamed of.

All following in the rhythm of sacrifice and blessing that Abraham experienced with Isaac.
Each with a unique platform that God constructed from their faith journeys.
And all offering hope and encouragement that when the Lord asks us to lay down our gifts, our dreams, we can trust His good, acceptable and perfect plan.

We may or may not see His platform of glory through our lives this side of Heaven. And we can probably bank on His plan looking a little different than we imagined. Regardless, Praise God that He is able to do immeasurably more than we can ask or even dream of.

Lord, should You call us to willingly sacrifice our gifts and dreams when it doesn't make sense in the world's eyes, we trust that You know the rest of the story.

Saturday, April 11, 2015

Practicing Gratitude 4.11.15

- Hud's turn ~ WYLDLIFE paint wars

These two AMAZING men. Kevin Libick - our church middle school youth leader, and Brad Deal - middle school teacher AND Wyldlife leader. So grateful for their investments in our kids - our own and in our community. (Incidentally, years ago Kevin was Brad's youth pastor as well!)
- A working dishwasher

- Room in the garage to park my humongous car

- Sleep overs
Basden & Harper finally got dibs on the pool house
- My thoughtful friend. Showed up at my front door with this YUMMY dinner.
I didn't know I needed the encouragement, but she knew.
- Love that Basden loves volleyball so much.

Everyone needs a fan club

- Paschal baseball

Bran's got his fan club, too
Tex & Essie ~ photo bomb

- A cloudy, cool morning on the back porch. Not having to leave the house first thing in the morning. A lingering morning at home - restores my soul.

- Bran’s hard work on a project last night, his freshman District track meet yesterday (!), placing in 4 different events. The kid hasn’t even gone to a practice yet this year, but he absolutely loved competing. 

- Found this after a morning "spat" once she'd left for school. Melted me.

- That Essie gets him for a daddy.
Not sure who she loves more, tho - Bunny or Daddy??

- Our Saturdays.

- These two.
Tex and Essie ~ dream team
- Clinton and Constance’s baby due in Aug - another Seattle niece or nephew!

- Reed and how precious he is, that he’ll be staying here in May, that you crossed our paths. Such a great kid.

- Girly shopping day ~ thanks, Camille ~ such a treat!

- That someone I love so much needs encouragement with a pending surgery, diagnosis... and that You are able to provide that encouragement. 

 - This fiction book by Randy Alcorn, Safely Home. Persecution of Chinese Christians - yowzers. I truly don't think I'' ever be the same. Intense. Amazing. Thought provoking.
Lord, You have the whole world in your hands.
Look to the Lord and his strength; seek his face always. Remember the wonders he has done, his miracles...   1 Chronicles 16:11-12