Sunday, July 31, 2011

SOLD!


It only took two YEARS, but we have finally found a house! We are moving to a smaller, more quiet area of town and are so excited as we have been looking forever! One thing I LOVE is that because it's new construction, we got to go write scripture all over the foundation.




Rob checking out an area where he spends a lot of time... the back porch!




Bubbs and Sweets have been loving running around in the dirt.






























Joshua 24:15 "...Choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve...But as for me and my household, we will serve the LORD."

Saturday, July 23, 2011

A Friend in Need

As of yesterday, Dan has been rejoicing in the presence of his savior for one year. Dancing, undoubtedly. Though it was up for debate whether he would receive rhythm in his two left feet upon receiving his new, heavenly body : ) And in case you are lost on what I mean, scripture talks about believers receiving new bodies in Heaven (1 Cor. 15:42–44, 48, and 54; Phil. 3:21 ).



It still feels like it was an hour ago. When someone is so heavily a part of your life, (obviously me... much less so than Jan, Rob & his brothers) it is hard to feel like they aren't just going to come walking back through the door at any moment. When Rob and I were talking about it a few nights back, he had an interesting thought.... he wondered if maybe it doesn't fully feel like he is gone because through our faith in Jesus Christ, we know he is fully alive. His soul is certainly more alive than our's are! Afterall, what is a body without a soul? Its because of the Bible's promise of eternal life in Heaven, through belief in Jesus Christ as our savior, that we know Dan has received his eternal reward.



Dan lived to serve others. And in light of his heart, today... I plead with you to lift up the precious Raby family in prayer. To say they have been through a lot would be a gross understatement. Jared, a youth pastor at one of our area churches, and his wife, Sara, were expecting twins in the spring of 2010. However, in early December of 2009, Sara received an emergency c-section to save the lives of both Sara and their twins because of the threat of preeclampsia. Ethan and Addison were born weighing just under one pound each. They survived by the mighty strength and gracious hand of our God.



For the next eighteen months, Jared and Sara continued to document the victories and challenges, however big or little, (and there have been plenty of both) continually giving the Lord the glory for every deliverance and gift of life he granted the twins. The Lord has given them the steadfast faith to endure the journey he has laid out before them. And they have been faithful to proclaim His name through it all.



Just a few weeks ago, Ethan began having some difficulties. After a visit to the pediatrician, Ethan was immediately sent to the children's hospital under the suspicion of leukemia. While his tests came back negative, they received a diagnosis of Aplastic Anemia. A condition where the bone marrow does not produce new, healthy blood cells. He was diagnosed as severe, and the condition was just as intense as if it had been leukemia. However, labs came back that Ethan in fact had Myelodysplastic Syndrome (or MDS ). It is very rare in pediatrics and in Ethan's case, severe and life threatening. Ethan's best chance for a cure is a bone marrow/ stem cell transplant. They are currently waiting for a matched donor. Upon receival, Ethan will be heading to the best Children's hospital available to receive chemotherapy, his transplant and recovery.
Would you please, please, pray that a matching donor would be found quickly and that Ethan would remain healthy and strong as they wait? He needs a match quickly, because there is a high probablity of this particular illness to turn into leukemia.



If you have been following our journey with Ansley from the beginning, you have seen the glory of the Lord's outstretched arm and you have seen it's limitless nature of power. Jared and Sara have also witnessed the same immeasurable amounts of the Lord's mercy and power poured out over their twins in the last eighteen months. Oh, how I ask you to plead with fervor at the feet of Jesus for this precious family. Would you pray not only for Ethan, but for his sweet twin sister Addison as well during this time? Would you pray for the Lord to sweep Jared and Sara off their feet in a flood of his presence and peace? They rest in the knowledge of knowing Jesus intercedes for them, but they need the body of believers to come around them in support and prayer for their family during this difficult time. Thanks ya'll. So much.

Monday, July 11, 2011

My Hiding Place



Psalm 32:7-8 "You are my hiding place; you will protect me from trouble and surround me with songs of deliverance."


On nights like tonight, there is nowhere else to run. I can do nothing but curl up at the foot of His throne. The tension releases as I let the tears spill out and the sobs do their shaking. Because He desires my heart. He desires me to lay it down at his feet because there is nowhere else to put it. And though my flesh may fail me, I serve a God who does not grow tired or weary (Isaiah 40:28). He promises to grant strength in my weariness and to increase my power, through Him, when I am weak(Isaiah 40:29). He makes this parched, thirsty heart bubble up like a spring. Not because I deserve it, but because He loves His children extravagantly. And He delights in rescuing my heart (Psalm 22:8).


This evening was difficult to walk through, to say the least. We knew Ansley may never utter a word. She speaks clearly and identifies all 26 letters of the alphabet. NOTHING but the lifting hand of mercy and compassion of our Lord could have done this. We knew she may never take a step on her own. My God has lifted the lame to make her leap like a deer. He has turned our 'wailing into dancing' more than we could count. He has made our hearts leap for joy and we will give thanks to Him forever. But sometimes our enemy doesn't just throw stones to trip us up... he heaves the biggest boulder he can find. And tonight, it crushed me. It did. I can't do this and not be honest. I can't put on a parade of "having it all together" during the moments when the reality sinks deep. But you know what? I have a God who "is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit" (Psalm 34:18). He gives me the strength to lift my hand in praise when I'm too broken to speak. Because He never lets go.


My love gave me the time I needed to process alone, and then he held me and let me share my fears and pain. And then, he went to battle on my behalf. On behalf of our family. And like a carrot leads a horse, he blinded me to anything but the sword of truth. He bound the enemy's plans against us by the power of the name of Jesus Christ... and the more he prayed, the more the Spirit began to stir. Swirling hope and a renewed spirit to bring my feet back to a march. And He gave us the strength to keep believing in His word, because there is nothing else worth listening to. And because when my flesh fails, and this world brings trouble...there is NO other hope, but the hope of the saving grace of Jesus Christ. Marantha.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Summer Adventure Series-Z's Bday (Day 1)

We want to always make sure (in light of Ansley's birthday celebrations) that Zachary knows his birthday is just as important, just as special...just as worth celebrating in a big way. Well, we had a hotel voucher and a few random giftcards, so we decided to take Zachary on a special birthday trip to our favorite place!! We waited til the morning of his birthday to tell him and he was ecstatic!




We started our day at the kids museum and pretty much stayed the whole day... this place is SO MUCH FUN!!!

Water fun...










"Little Yellow House" fun...





































Girlfriend could play on a slide all day long. All day long...



Whatever it takes to get the job done. This boy watches his Daddy thats for sure!









HOW is my boy all grown up and turning FIVE?!!! Everytime I look at him he gets bigger. I am SOAKING UP my snuggles and Mommy lovin time because I know the clock is ticking til my boy doesn't want hugs & kisses from Mommy!








Our hotel certificate said "king", but the concierge bumped us to a suite! Holla! Always nice to not have to sit in the hallway once the kids go to bed! Oops, just realized I deleted the living room portion and Rob is asleep. Your imagination is going to have to hold you over on what the other side of the room looked like : )



Finishing off day one with a birthday dinner. Complete with cake, of course!






Oh my goodness, we love this kid more than words could express. The instant I saw him and became a mother was really one of the most beautiful, breathtaking moments of my life. Absolute love like I'd never known. A wise mentor, Toni, encouraged me long ago to view the strong willed nature the Lord gave him as something God could use for good. She encouraged us to pray that the Lord would use the fighter spirit that he has to be a warrior for the kingdom of God. How dramatically that view can change everything! It turns something that presents tough discipline challenges for parents into something the Lord uses for good. Not to mention... refines the character of the parent as they attempt to discipline IN LOVE. As the Lord disciplines us. We definately don't always succeed with this... but its certainly the goal ; )




Happy Birthday Bud, Buddy, Buddy-O, Bubbs, Bub-a-lub, Brother, "Brover", "Bubba", "Zac-a-wee", Dude, our Zachary (We have lots of pet names in this house!) WE LOVE YOU LIKE CRAZY!!!




*Scroll down for Day Two*

Summer Adventure Series - Z's Bday (Day 2)

We woke up the next morning and took a nice stroll along the water. You know I cant resisit my walking from behind pictures : )


One of our favorite things... the waterfall stairs!!









I mean seriously... look how big my boy is!!!










Up next, birthday lunch on a boat!





That was mostly spent on the INSIDE, second level... so the kids could run free ; )




Bubbs got to go in the captain's room and watch him steer the boat!




Rob said when the captain honked the boat's horn, the boy in the green shirt said it sounded like the boat was farting. Zachary and the boy burst into laughter and Rob said the grandmother looked like she was going to pass out! Haha! I've tried to avoid his ears hearing that version of the word for as long as I can, but I mean... he is a boy afterall. And it has been my experience that they never seem to outgrow thinking its funny... : )




Can I tell you that my lovebug decided that the pac-n-play just wasn't going to work for her anymore, so she was up the WHOLE night. Seriously, the WHOLE night. She was about to fall asleep mid-run... I kid you not. She got to the point where she just wanted to be held and snuggled. Yes, please! We'll take snuggly babes anytime!







As I've mentioned before, Rob and I lived in our "fav place" for the first year after we got married. For the first few months, Rob worked at a local coffee shop. He would often come home with a latte for him and a frozen mango tea drink for me. We always pop in on our way out of town to grab them!




And in case you're wondering, Ansley didn't even make it from the hotel to the coffee shop before she was OUT COLD. Clippie ripped out of the hair, shoes off... and OUT.




We seriously have the best kids. We are so blessed to be their parents!


*Scroll down for Zachary's BIG Birthday Reveal*

Zachary's Present Reveal!

Can I just tell you how many hours it took to make this thing?! 107. Thats how it felt anyway. In reality it was two long days of building and 10+ hours of priming, taping, and taping and painting. Our boy has been going strong with his love of all things firefighter for about three years, so needless to say... he was ELATED to have his very own fire station.




His little toddler bed is coming out of the garage for decoration... well and for saving lives, too. He sleeps up top.




Oh, and p.s. Girlfriend can climb TO THE TOP ring of the ladder in about 3 seconds. Oh my lands.

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Zachary's Party


My boy turned FIVE!! His party day was at a splash park of sorts. He could NOT have been more excited!











Ansley is all about Baby Noah time. She even lets him sit in her comfy chair : )



All Zachary wanted was a Superman cape. Even though he has never seen any type of Superhero book, movie etc... he is all about it right now!



How many five year olds does it take to figure out a water gun?







Bubs is NOT a fan of water in his eyes, so this binocular type deal is how he copes. Oh, that boy!









Here is a sneak preview (and clue) to Zachary's birthday present. OH.MY.WORD. This thing took us for-ev-er (think Sandlot). It was so worth it to see how much he has enjoyed it!

Stay tuned for the reveal and our next Summer Adventure Series - Zachary's BirthDAY edition. And yes, I know I've been a total blog slacker, and no, we have not only had one summer adventure. I'll catch up, I promise!!