Monday, December 26, 2005

Christmas This Year...

Wow what a week this has from beginning to end. I got the blessed privilege of getting to come home for Christmas for a few days as the plans were a bit delayed with the container with furnishings not coming in until after the first of the year. It gave me the opportunity to be able to schedule a quick trip and come home and surprise some folks I love a bunch.

Got to show up for one of my dearest friends birthday supper on Thursday night and surprise she and her precious daughters that I love a whole great big bunch. Got to sleep under the Christmas tree with the sister of my heart and her two sweet daughters...haven't had a slumber party on the floor in a LONG time (and by the way I don't seem to handle them as well now as I used to, things ache :( ). Got to spend an evening hanging out with Momma Grose with a good book and a fireplace and spend some time there at that house that I love. Then got to come home and surprise my SWEET nephews and my little sister whose smile will linger in my heart for a long time as I remember the way they looked when they saw me. Grabbed them and took them to surprise my mom at our house and they walked in and said "grandma we brought you an early Christmas present" and she said, "well what is it?" and Braydon with a big ole smile on his face pointed at me and she cried and that was a whole bunch of fun too. It's just been a good week of getting to be with people I cherish. Which brings me to an interesting point.

Now let me preface this by saying, I'm not necessarily suggesting we alter all of our Christmas traditions that's not the point...but I truly feel like this is the first year I have gotten (maybe the proper word is taken) the opportunity to enjoy a different facet of what all of this is really about. My mom had shipped my gifts on the container that's coming soon because none of us knew I was going to be able to come home for Christmas, so I didn't open presents yesterday and I didn't give any either. My gift this year both to me and from me was coming home to spend time with people I loved. The focus this year was able to be on things that mattered and not in all the hype of what to get for who and the race against the clock to do it all and all of that. I can not begin to tell you how incredibly nice that has been and continues to be. Did I miss the presents? Not really if I'm honest. I loved the gift of getting to be with people I love and I think I appreciate that far differently than I was able to a while ago. Being far away does that I guess.

Sat yesterday morning with some of my hearts nearest and dearest during worship and we heard Ron share a lesson on the wise men and the gifts they brought to Jesus. Afterward he made some really interesting points about how all of this applies to life and I'll be honest most of it I'd heard before in a Christmas lesson somewhere at some point but a couple things stuck out to me in BIG ways. I'll share one of them today and perhaps one of them later. He was talking about the gifts we bring and how some of them are given out of obligation, some of them are given expecting a favor, etc. Then he used this phrase and it will stick for life I think...he said you know the ones I appreciate the most are "GRACE GIFTS." The ones that are given expecting nothing in return, the ones given that are unexpected didn't deserve them, togetherness and time sort of blessings. These are the ones that really hit your heart. I sat there near some of the best "grace gift-ers" I know and it was a neat thought to think about the things we offer to one another and the things that mean the most.

I think he helped me come up with my New Years resolution this year (although I'm not always big on those either) but I sat there offering a prayer that I would learn how to give gifts to the people I love that are true unselfish "grace gifts." Gifts that money can't buy and nothing can take. Gifts that offer people time and heart and come with no strings attached. Gifts that don't seem like the absence of something in the lack of material presents but the addition of something terrific in the offering more of yourself.

I think those are the gifts that make Christ look down and smile and say ok now you're getting it!! And I really want to "get it" get get His heart!!

Give away... other people are waiting for the "you", you have to offer! Be blessed as you are a blessing!

Sunday, December 18, 2005

Christmas with the boys

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Feliz Navidad con Marta

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The Inside of the Old House

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The Kiddos we built the new house for

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Ninos bathroom

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The Outside of the Children's Home

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Kids Play Area

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Little Guys Room

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Ninas Bathroom

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The Little Girls Room

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Well I am so sorry that I haven't put anything on here for you all to look at in like a week and a half. It's been a BUSY week, but it's been great. I got the privilege of having some of my gang here for the week to help paint and well paint and ummm some more painting. On top of all of that though we had just a WHOLE bunch of fun spending time together. It was great. A much needed refill for this heart. Some people just do that for ya you know help bring you back to center and remind you who you really are and who you really want to be. It was neat to sit beside them and even without a word be reminded. So thanks guys for not only what you offered to this week though your heart and your time and your hands and your efforts, but what you offered to me through your love and encouragment.

So here are a few pictures to recap. I don't have all of the pictures at this point but I'll post a few now and perhaps a few later to show you what the week entailed. They got in late Thursday afternoon and so we made a quick Santa Ana run to see the property and then came back on Thursday. Friday we spent most all day at Santa Ana painting and such. Then Saturday we had the dedication ceremony for the children's home where lots of us huddled around and prayed over the rooms where children will sleep and just came before God asking for this ministry to be annointed for His purposes only. It was good time. Marc and Terri Tindall were in, Janet Hines, Lana Cagle, many people who are affiliated with TORCH and IRC were there for the day which was neat to bond together with them in this effort that we'll all play a part in. It was good. Sunday we helped the Hines move out of their house and fill the container that they'll be sending home, and we went to recover the lost luggage (yet again for the 2nd time as none of the luggage came on Thursday and when we got there Friday it was too late they wouldn't let us have it ay ay ay and we got all of it except one bag this day...the bag with all of Rick's clothes which started to become a very funny thing and he was SUCH a good sport about.) Monday we went to Didasko which was one of the highlights of the trip. I watched Poppa Grose fall in love all over again with a little girl who stole his heart last spring who remembered him for sure and was delighted to see his face. We all had some teary eyed moments when her brother thought that Rick and Kay were going to take her home with them to the States and I can assure you if there would have been any way to make that happen there'd be a brown eyed brown haired beautiful little 12 year old girl with them the next time you saw them. Since it can't you learn how to carry them with you in the deepest places in your heart and invest in them in other ways and stay true to your word to come and visit and they'll have a relationship for a very long time that is super sweet. It's neat (and difficult) to watch grown men have such tender experiences in this place. Something about the elements of this place that allow that to happen and it's a precious sight to witness. Monday we built a house for Moncho this sweet sweet man who has helped so much at the children's home who always has a smile on his face and is just a delight to be around. They were living in a very run down shack with holes in the ceiling, their beds were in HORRIBLE shape, the inside was just dirty with things thrown we surprised him with a new house and it was BEAUTIFUL. He was so grateful and recognized that this came from God and his family was a delight we played with them for much of the day with things from the Christmas shoeboxes that my Belpre family sent along. It was a terrific day. The rest of the week we worked at the children's home painting and such. We took one morning to have Christmas with the sweet family that we already adore (Dennis, Marta, Dennis, Christian, and for the time Eduardo who is living with them). The kiddo's each got shoeboxes and we got Marta a shower curtain to put in their new shower and a Christmas tree that lit up to put in their new house. The kids were ecstatic and Marta's smile was HUGE. I love them so much already. We love having them around.

Karen spent the last day and a half WAY sick but is feeling much better today. Let's just say if you'd like to know any details about Montezuma's revenge she could share a couple with you. Poor girl. She's feeling more like herself this morning though thank You Lord. Continue to pray please that God will protect our bodies and our souls as we're here. We've got much to do and need healthy bodies to get it done.

Took my sweet friends back to the airport yesterday afternoon. I'm still praying that that saying goodbye thing will get easier with time. If it doesn't I'll just be thankful that it hurts to leave people you love that much, and be grateful that I have people I love that much. :):)

More to come soon...must get back to the painting thing today. Love to all.

Friday, December 09, 2005

It's Enough To Know...

Well my amigo's arrived yesterday from the States and what a treat that has already been. Cried when I got to hug them at the airport. Just felt good to have familiar hugs. We toured the children's home having some sappy moments seeing all of the places and things we have gathered often to pray for the past several months. It has been sweet time already and we have lots more days of this. Yippy Skippy!! I know I'm beyond blessed but I just get to be heart knit to some really awesome folks and being known and loved by them is a precious privilege. They encourage my heart merely by their presence and so selfishly I am going to have a blessed week with getting to refill my tank with them being here.

Jude, everytime I said something to Eduardo about having friends come in from the States he asked me Judy and Brett?? I said no buddy not right now. He loves you all so much!! What a sweet dent you've made in a families life. They're doing well.

And Rachael and everyone else who's watching and waiting, I will post some more pictures soon but my digital camera is temporarily misplaced, I pray temporarily. It was in Joe's car the other day when we rode with him, and then it wasn't anymore. So say a prayer that it decide's to be found. If not I'll use someone else's pictures and put them on here.

Have to share with you today the words to a song I have recently "found." It has become a new favorite. I love the words and the message behind it. Think sometimes we get into the habit of thinking that faith is something you have to fight to have and wrestle with forever and that in order to truly have it you must answer the deep questions and so at least for me it has at times been about a lot of "extra's." A lot more than what faith is really based on. When I heard this song I think it summed up so much of what I'm feeling right now in my walk. I don't EVER want to have a complacent faith but I love the idea of a settled faith. Think those are very different. Life may twist and turn and feel like it's spinning at moments and undoubtedly situations and circumstances will change, but my faith can find a resting place in knowing that Jesus died and He died for me. Think when it's all boiled away most of us are tired of the arguments, and we're tired of all the chaos that sometimes gets attached to something that when you really think about it is very simple. This song is by Out of Eden and called "My Faith Has Found a Resting Place." Hope you enjoy it as much as I did and that it speaks to your heart a sweet peace in knowing it really is all about Him and you can rest there. Doesn't that sound good?!

My faith has found a resting place
Not in device nor creed
I trust in the ever-living one
And His wounds for me shall plead
Enough for me that Jesus saves
This ends my fear and doubt
A sinful soul I come to Him
And He will never cast me out

(Chorus)I don't need another argument, don't need another plea
It's enough that Jesus died and that He died for me
I don't need another argument, don't need another plea
It's enough that Jesus died and that He died for me

My heart is written on the Word, the written Word of God
Salvation is by my Savior's name, salvation by the Savior's blood
The great physician heals the sick, the lost He came to save
For me His precious blood He shed, for me His life He gave


It is enough what He's done, how it makes me love Him
It is enough what He's done, I know I can trust Him
It is enough how He took the pieces of my soul
Blew life in them and made me whole
I have found a resting place

And my heart says Amen!! Be blessed...

Sunday, December 04, 2005

These are the little guys watching Joe and Caleb tile the kitchen. They sat there for a long time just watching. It's fun to have them around and they love to help if we give them jobs to do. Will be good to get to invest in their precious little lives. Posted by Picasa
These are two little guys that live out on the property that we have absolutely fallen in love with. Dennis and Cristian...they are the block makers little boys. Karen and Marta (their momma) became friends this summer on the trip and so it's been fun for them to get to be around one another again. Yesterday Marta had flowers and a note (entirely in Spanish of course which was funny) written for her. It will be so good to get to be around so many awesome people God has hand chosen to be in Santa Ana for such a time as this. Posted by Picasa
This is Caleb our import tile guy. He has worked so hard but his body is taking a beating so pray for him to make it through the next couple of days that he's here. This is no easy job we've all found out and we appreciate his help very much! Posted by Picasa
This is our friend Melissa the grout expert and Katie her assistant doing their magic yesterday to the tile floor. It looked soooo nice when they got done! Posted by Picasa
These are the tiles we picked out and the pictures really do not do them justice, but they give you an idea. They look VERY nice and once we got a room grouted yesterday we were WAY pleased. The tiles have various shades of brown's in them and a subtle tint of orange in places, which is a BIG color over here. They look good. The grout is like a coffee color. It's coming together. :):):):) Posted by Picasa
The electric is going in. The guy was out working on this pole Thursday and has things wired up and the inside wiring is being worked on so lights will be coming soon. Yay!! I'll post several more pictures today as I know I haven't updated in almost a week. I apologize, we have just been working hard and long days and are dog tired when we come home. So enjoy the photos...I'll write more another day soon! :) Posted by Picasa