In My Next 10 yrs

I know, I'm jumping things a bit...but, it's the end of 2009, which means we're heading into a new decade!

This also means I am 10 yrs older...my birthday happens to be New Year's Eve.

Which also means I've been married to Mr. Wonderful for 10 years! A decade! Yes, we got married on my birthday. The best birthday present EVER!!

We have had 5 babies in the last decade...a season which I *think* is now over. I've now been pregnancy-free for 19 months! The longest stretch in our marriage.

I feel I'm just now finding out who I am.

I was young when we got married. I had a lot to learn about marriage, communication and healthy relationships.

I had been walking with Jesus 4 years and was still learning a lot about what it means to be a Christian (I am still learning a lot!!).

I married into ministry. This has been such a blessing and source of growth for me. It has also created some challenges I was not prepared for. It took several years for me to even figure out what being a pastor's wife really meant. Now that I feel I have some idea, I am working (with grace) to do it the best I can.

I had babies...and more babies. And when I thought I was done, I had another baby! I do think A LOT of the past 10 yrs have been an exhaustion-induced fog. I had times when it was all I could do to get everyone fed and diapers changed! I have learned a lot about what it means to be "Mommy". We have just begun our journey into school and "big kids". I am finding my voice and the balance of authority and nurture.

I also spent a lot of the last 10 years overweight. Yes, I said it. Yes, I was aware of it. It was no secret to me. I have finally found something that works for me, and I lost 30 lbs last year. I plan to lose another 10-20 lbs this year. It's amazing how different I feel not carrying that junk around! Woohoo!!

I started this blog this year. It's been good to journal and document what our life entails. I am also loving getting to know all of you! I love browsing other blogs and getting ideas for how to be a better wife, mom and homemaker. It's so fun!

I feel I'm getting a hang of this homemaker thing. I am cooking, keeping up on laundry, and decorating in fun, creative ways. It's (mostly!) stress-free and I think I'm finding a balance of perfect & clean home vs fun & healthy home.

I am looking forward to my next 10 yrs! I think I will learn more about God, myself and the people around me. I am looking forward to challenges (kind of!) and growing. It'll be interesting to see who I am, who my husband is, and who my (teenage) kids will be then!!

What about you? What are some of the things you've learned? What do you hope to learn in the future?



I have been waiting to write about this until I had my thoughts together. They're not totally together, but I decided to give it a shot anyway...

**I first have to say that these are my feelings and emotions...I'm being vulnerable about my process. They are not necessarily the same as Brad's feelings, emotions and process.

I had mentioned before that we are going through some changes...changes for our family and extended family which include changes for our church.

Ross and Aimee, my brother-in-law and sister-in-law are going to plant a church in Austin, TX. Ross has been the main worship pastor here, and so now Brad will be fulfilling that role.

It's definitely a bittersweet time. More bitter than sweet, right now.

I am so excited for them. I know that this is God's plan for them. I know that He is in it and OneChapel will be amazing. I think it's going to be great for them and their kids. It's going to be great for the people who are choosing to go with them. It's going to be great for the city of Austin.

When they first told us they were considering this move, my first reaction was to jump on board. I tend to be loyal, to a fault sometimes. I love them and believe in them and want to help them in any way I can, even though I'm not ready to leave New Life. Brad and I began the process of thinking and praying about what God has in store for us.

One thing I learned years ago...whenever Brad and I have a decision to make regarding calling and moving, I ask the Lord to tell him first and confirm it in me. I got burned once before by feeling like I knew what God was saying. When Brad and I didn't agree, I defaulted to him, which is what I feel the Bible instructs me to do. So, then I was left with a decision. Did I miss God or did Brad miss God? Yuck. You may not agree with my reasoning, but it has worked out much better for me (and my heart) to trust Brad. I am not the silent wife and I give my opinion, but ultimately, it is Brad's decision.

Brad has felt for a few years now that New Life Church is where we belong. We left here once, for a short time, and knew we were being obedient. We loved the people we connected with while we were away. However, 18mos into our time there, God called us back here. Our hearts are here. These are our people. We know that this is where we belong.

Emotions aside, I know that we are in God's will. I know that He has some amazing things in store for us personally, and for New Life Church. I am excited for what is to come. I think Brad and I are both growing and stretching (which is uncomfortable, sometimes!) and I look forward to what's ahead.

But, right now, I'm sad. Our family is moving away. We have had the dream situation. 3 brothers working together. Sisters-in-law that I adore. Our kids knowing their cousins well, playing together and going to school together. That part breaks my heart. Birthdays and holidays are going to be different.

The good thing is, they are moving to a great part of TX and we are excited to visit!

I know this isn't the end, it's just the beginning of a new chapter. A different chapter. And I will embrace it, even if it's a little uncomfortable.


Better Late...

I am officially in the Christmas mood! I spent almost the entire day at home yesterday...time I so needed. Our house is *almost* in order (so we can relax after Christmas!!) and I made lots and lots of cookies!

We all loaded in the car after dinner, in our pjs, with cookies in hand. We drove around and saw the best light shows in the city. It was so fun and relaxing!
Here are my Christmas decor pics. It's far from perfect, but it's comfortable and fun for us.
We normally have 2 trees, a kid one downstairs and a formal one upstairs. Unfortunately, my formal one didn't make it this year, due to her limbs falling off. We decided to do the kids' tree upstairs.

I decided the rest of the decor should follow suit.

The spice drop wreath I made (yes, you read that right!).

Our table with the infamous gingerbread house on it.

The sleigh my grandpa made. It normally holds our Christmas cards, but I re-purposed it this year.

Because I won this at a gift exchange! I love it!

The dining room hutch.

The advent calendar my sister and I used when we were growing up. Now my kiddos use it!

The mantle. I can't show you a wide shot because I didn't clean off all the cds and movies that are behind the decor! And the girls were watching a movie.

There it is. Simple and fun. Hope you're having an amazing week-before-Christmas! We're almost there!


Giving vs Getting

We have tried different things to teach our kids about giving at Christmas. Honestly, it's been something I struggle with. Our kids are pks (pastor's kids) and sometimes they give just by the nature of what we do. Several holidays are busy times for us at church and the kids are there with us or with babysitters. There are times when Brad is needed and isn't able to be at home. My kids are amazing and rarely complain. They actually love being at the church and I think they feel a sense of ownership, like it's their church. And it is.

All that to say, when Christmas comes around I have decisions to make. I know they are giving because their parents are busy. Brad and I come home tired (and wake up tired) sometimes. Even if they can't express it, they feel the season we're in. I see more bickering and tears. Because of this, I want to just spoil them. I want the times when we're together to be focused on them and on us, as a family.

On the other hand, I know I need to be more deliberate. We have taken goodies to our "community helpers" on Christmas. We have taken food anonymously to a family in need.

This year, I feel like I've been playing catch-up. I think because of our sabbatical and being gone for so long, the holidays snuck up on me. We went straight into rehearsals (for Christmas Eve services) and Christmas parties. I haven't taken the time to talk to the kids about giving, much less arrange a way to do something special.

Yesterday morning at church, I was sitting with Paige. She asked me how many days are left until Christmas. When I told her, her eyes lit up with excitement. She got so giddy. I was happy that she's excited, but a part of me wondered what she's excited for. I was feeling the mommy guilt. I don't want them to be so excited for presents. I want Christmas to mean much more. But, I didn't press the issue. I let her have her moment of excitement while I processed my mothering skills.

We came home from church and ate lunch. As I was in the kitchen cleaning up, Emma came in and asked if she could have some wrapping paper. I asked why (as i explained that we don't waste wrapping paper. i was sure she had some crazy craft planned and i was not about to let her use my good wrapping paper for that...blah, blah). She said "I need to wrap my presents". I went and got some paper and followed her into her room. All three of the older kids had collected "presents" that they wanted to wrap and give their younger siblings. They all found toys of their own that they wanted to give.

I was impressed! I love that they took it upon themselves to give to their younger siblings. We spent about an hour wrapping and talking about how happy the little ones would be.

Last night, we went through all the toys in the house. We always clean out before Christmas in order to make room for new toys. I asked Emma if we could give away her "Ponyville Station" playset. She said "Yes, Mom, let's give it away. I would love for a little girl to have it. I think she will like it." My heart melted.

I've done a better job in the past of teaching giving. This is not my golden year. But I think they catch onto our attitudes and they know that we love people and we give when we can. I can't wait for Christmas Eve when they give their gifts to their siblings. I pray that they will feel the joy that only comes from giving!

How do you teach your kids about giving?



I'm sitting in my living room. Brooke and Micah are munching on snacks while watching Rudolph. Through my window, I am watching horses nibble on snow. I am at peace.

I am not thinking about the dirty bathroom downstairs.
I am not thinking about the last gift I have to buy.
I am not thinking about the busy-ness that will hit when the older kids come home.
Or how busy our weekend is.
Or the teacher's gifts I have to get ready.

None of that...I am reminding myself that I really do love this season. And I love these peaceful moments.

I hope that you can find a few moments of peace in this next week. It is the most wonderful time of the year!