Sunday, July 20, 2014

Summer Reading.

This summer I challenged myself to start reading again.  
Since the twins were born, reading has definitely not been a priority for me other than my Bible studies, even though I love to read.  Right before the girls were born I went on a reading frenzy because I knew that it would be years before I could sit down and read for pleasure.  And I was basically right.  I read a couple of book last summer for a summer book club but nothing since then!  
So, this summer, I decided to read a chapter a day and work through all the books that I have had on my shelf that I have wanted to read.  
Here is what I have read so far.
The Treasure Principle by Randy Alcorn This book is about biblical giving storing up treasure that actually matters.  Good book with really great principles for giving. 

Shepherding a Child's Heart by Tedd Tripp  I read this book a long time ago and wanted to reread it now that Cole is getting older and it is a little more applicable.  I LOVE this book and has really had me examine my heart when discipling, helped me make more biblical decisions when disciplining and focus our "disciplining conversations" on matters of the heart.  If you are a parent and have not read this, do it.  

The Resolution for Women by Pricilla Shirer  My parents gave me this book (and Brenner The Resolution for Men) at Christmas and I really enjoyed it.  Some chapters were a little more applicable to me than others and I will be honest that I just read the book and did not actually sign all the resolutions like they suggest.  But Shirer, who is awesome, makes some really great points and definitely challenged me in areas to make life resolutions in areas such as bible memorization, being a blessing to others, living with grace and leaving a godly legacy just to name a few.  

It Starts with Food by Melissa and Dallas Hartwig  Most of you by now have heard of the Whole30 movement that spun out of this book.  I was really interested to hear what they had to say and read more about how our food choices, even some of the foods that we think are good, are really affecting our bodies.  I have not done Whole30, and I am not sure that I will, but over the last 6 months I have drastically reduced the amount of sugar and artificial sugar that I eat.  I have been committed to cooking and feeding my family almost all of our meals from scratch for a long time too and so much of what this book is based on and recommends is how we live, just not 100%.  It was interesting. 

The 23rd Psalm for the 21st Century by Lon Solomon  This book was written by my pastor from my home church in Virginia.  I have had it for years and I finally was able to read it.  It is an in depth study of the 23rd Psalm and I loved dissecting this beloved psalm to learn the history and context in which it was written.

The Ministry of Motherhood by Sally Clarkson  Another awesome parenting book talking about the ministry us moms have of laying the foundation of Christ for our kids by providing the gifts of grace, faith, training, service and more based on Jesus' example for us.  So, so good.  

Twelve Unlikely Heroes by John MacArthur This book looks in depth at 12 people of the Bible who were used by God to do amazing work and ministry.  Each of them were far less than perfect and were not the world's choice for service or heroism, but they were God's choice.  I learned a lot about these 12 biblical heroes and their examples.

Africa Unchained by George Ayittey A heavy read (which I have not quite finished) about the countries of Africa and the pattern of bondage and lack of freedom that keeps, and will keep, these countries from pulling out of poverty, AIDS, Orphans and starvation.  There is a lot of word besides the US and most of us do not think about or pray about these countries nearly enough.  

The book below, Give the Grace by Elyse Fitzpatrick, is the next book on my list! 

My summer season of reading is halfway over before my bible studies start up again in the fall.
If you have book suggestions for me, I would love to hear them!  

Sunday, July 13, 2014

Seize the day

One of the things that we were most excited about when we found out we were getting stationed to Beale AFB was its location.  While the base is kind of far from everything else and we end up doing a lot of driving on a regular basis that I am not a huge fan of, the proximity to SO many amazing places in the larger California area is amazing.  We have said from the very beginning that we wanted to try to take advantage of our time while we are here and seize the opportunities to explore and go to new places, which we love to do.  

Last weekend after the 4th, and a lot of lake swimming, we decided that we needed to get out of town and to head to some cooler temperatures down south on the coast.  We went to Santa Cruz and spent the afternoon at the amazing boardwalk which has a small amusement park with tons of rides for all ages.  The kids loved it and the girls rode on their first real rides by themselves.  

Then we headed down to Monterey, which is on the other side of the bay from Santa Cruz.  We went to their famous aquarium, which really was awesome, and then we spent the afternoon at the beach playing in the waves, bulldozing sand, digging for treasure and burying mom, dad, and Jake in the sand.  We ate tons of seafood and found another DDD spot which lived up to all the hype on the wharf.  Clam chowder is not just a speciality of New England we are learning.  It is huge out here on the coast, as is calamari (Brenner's favorite food) so we basically ate both at every meal wherever we went.  

We had such a great trip and things like this are getting easier and easier with the kids (read: easier, not easy!) and we really want to make fun memories for them and us as often as we can!

Saturday, July 5, 2014


We had a great 4th of July!
We went to the small town of Lincoln, ate a delicious breakfast at my new favorite place and then sat of the street for the Fourth of July parade.  We spent the rest of the day at the lake, in the kiddie pool, napping and reading library books.  It was a wonderful family day and I am thankful to celebrate this country and the many, many freedoms that we have.  

Sunday, June 29, 2014

Striking a balance at five months.

We have been in California for five months!  
While we still feel new and still adjusting to a lot, we also feel like we are home.
And I really did not know if I would be able to say that as we left our beloved town of Waco after being there more than a decade.  But we do feel at home and are loving the area where God dropped us.  
There has been so many things to adjust to that there have been a lot of moments where we have felt overwhlemed.  
I think if this had just been a move to a new house or a new town or a job change it would have been crazy enough.  But all those plus leaving family, changing time zones, changing entire careers and getting a whole new family schedule.....well, let's just say it has been wild five months.
But truly it has also been great.
Brenner loves his chaplain work.  He seriously was made for this.
Although I laugh as I write that because if you know Brenner, he was made to do a lot of things and always does them well.
sometimes that is a little annoying :)
His days are long as he tries to keep up with all the regular duties of his job, which includes a lot of unexpected things.  He has also decided to relive college intramurals by joining in on the volleyball and softball teams which he told me last week "I'm getting too old for this, even though I'm still awesome"
Back when we were first married and Brenner had decided to start his own business, I was still in undergrad at Baylor.  Our priorities in life were us.
It was about our careers, our goals, what we wanted.
Funny thing is, we thought we knew it all and that we were right on track.
For years we lived like that.  And for years we suffered, even though we did not always know it.
God breaking us 5 years ago, both individually and as a couple was the most amazing and life altering thing.  I know I have talked about it here before, but we were people desperately needing to be broken of living for the wrong things.
Now, here in California, here in the Air Force, I cannot believe my life.
I cannot believe how much I have changed, how much Brenner has changed and how much our life purpose is different.
To hear and see Brenner pour out his heart and work so hard just to build relationships with the people that he meets amazes me.  His purpose has become so much more than just himself.
God has also blessed me with so many opportunities to serve and to know people.
In fact, I feel God calling me to so much that I am getting overwhlemed.
I think that He is making up for all the years where I said no and stopped listening to Him :)
We never could have imagined being used in this place where we have landed.

I guess that I will never cease to be amazed at the way that God orchestrates His plan perfectly.
And that is a good thing because I never want to think that I know better than God.  I want to be amazed at His work because He is amazing!  
But, like I said, every day has not been easy.
This transition has been hard and tiring.  Like really, really tiring.
There have been many days where we feel we are barely keeping afloat because of all the many things that need to get done.  Brenner's work days are often longer than they were and after the kids go to bed he is often having to do work for his projects still going in Waco.  My kids, who all have the love languages of quality time and physical touch, demand a lot of my attention which I give them because they are my number one priority.  Therefore most of the house, garden, chickens, yard work and email stuff gets done either really early or really late in the day.  Which makes our long days longer.
Each day is a struggle to find the balance of what needs to be done...but that is no different then anyone else.  We are all trying to do that.
And some days I think we did it well and other days are a colossal failure.  
But at the end of all those days, whether they end in peace or in tears, whether the kitchen is clean or laundry has piled up for a week, whether Brenner has spent the day counseling and helping marriages or hugging young airmen at a memorial service, we are so content and filled by our new calling to the Air Force.  We are grateful for the chance to make a difference here.
We are thankful that God is using us and redeeming our hearts after years of going in the wrong direction.

And, after about two years of wanting to update the look of the blog, I finally did it!  Hooray!

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