Wednesday, December 31, 2014

14 Favorites of 2014

Trying to narrow down your favorite photos from an entire year is basically impossible!  
But I tried anyways so here are some of my favorites of our family from 2014. 
It was a great year and we are looking forward to what is in store for 2015!

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Thankful for Brokenness.

This is the season for thankfulness.  
I feel like everyday between November 1st and December 31st we are bombarded with the reminders to be thankful.  Most of our culture is reminding us to be thankful at the same time that they are telling us we need more things.  They are reminding us that our family is the most important thing in our lives and that they won't really return our love unless we buy them the perfect present.

Don't get me wrong, being thankful is actually key to living a joy-filled life.  Thanking God for the blessings around us and acknowledging him as the giver of all things good takes the focus off of us and puts in onto God. 
Thankfulness is very important and a practice we should develop.
But I sometimes wonder if we overuse the word thankful as we seem so often to just apply it to the things that we own.
Trust me, I am very thankful that I live in the age of coffeemakers, lysol wipes and pre-made guacamole.  They make my life so much easier.  I am thankful for the things that surround me, such as my warm home, my Trader Joes groceries on the counter, and the pile of overflowing books and puzzles currently on my floor keeping the kids busy and learning.  
I am thankful for my people, friends and family who accept me, call me, hug me, and listen to me.

However, looking at my life right now, the thing that I am most thankful for is brokenness.

Years ago, I read a book by the pastor of my old church.  He wrote a book that really touched me and spoke to me and I have thought about that book a lot.  The message was about brokenness.  That God not only used people in Bible that were broken, but they had to become broken in order to truly be used.  
Moses, Paul, Job, David, Peter.  
Over and over again in the Bible are examples of men who were broken by God.  They had to reach their lowest point in order to fully put their trust in the Lord so that they could be used my Him.
And we are the same today.  God not only uses those of us that are broken, he actually is breaking us so that we will be able to be used more by Him.

Y'all, I have been broken.  
It is painful.  
I have had a couple of major low points and I am better as a result of going through those things.
I was overwhelmed, confused, angry, sad, disappointed, trapped, and discouraged.  I was unsure what to do or what the next step in the plan was.
I could not have learned the lessons that I needed without being at points of unbelievable vulnerability and having to totally rely on God.  

I would not be able to say "yes" to God now, to serve and to lead and to encourage, had I not been broken of areas of selfishness.
We are all going to have trials.  No way around it.  
It will look different for everyone.
But there is nothing like bring stripped of what is comfortable and habitual and self soothing and easy to make you look up and find what truly matters. 
I have several friends right now that are facing major trials.  Putting gut wrenching pain behind them and trusting that God knows what he is doing.
One friend told me that she was embarrassed about the stuff that has happened to her and what she has done, that she did not want people to know because she did not want others to judge.  
I get that.  I really do. Because most of the time, people are judgers.  
But how sad is it that we often feel like we have to hide our pain, our deepest emotions, our hurt and our sin.  God says that we are to cry out to him and he will answer us. 
The answers are sometimes painful, not taking us out of the pain but pushing us through it so that we can see His workings first hand.  So that we may be changed, better, humbler than we were going in.
We should not be embarrassed of the things that mold us and shape us to be closer to God, even if it gets a little ugly, even if we crumble and break before being put back together. 

I am thankful that we have lost jobs and money.  It has made us hold on to things more loosely and focus on things that cannot be lost.
I am thankful for the tears, for the raw emotions and the sadness that creeps in because it teaches me that joy is not found in this world.  Joy so deep down in your gut that it cannot be squelched can only come from God. 
I am thankful for deep pain from friends and family because it reminds me that selfish desires are in each one of us and we have to choose daily to put them away and love others better.
I am thankful for physical pain and hurt because it shows me that my God is the ultimate healer.  He has healed me.  He has healed my daughters.  I have seen it and lived it.  
I have been broken.  
I am thankful that I have been broken and I will choose to be thankful for each crack I still suffer because it will mold me closer to Christ.

I want to see God like Moses, I want to sing praises while imprisoned like Paul, I want to dance in the streets like David, I want to reach thousands for Christ like Peter, I want to have nothing else in this world matter like Job. 

I want to remember my brokenness so that I can remember who put me back together. 
In this season, I chose to be thankful for my brokenness because Christ was born for me, to be broken for me.

 photo signature_zps34cea1f1.png

Tuesday, December 9, 2014


Hello Hawaii!!

We got back last week from spending 9 days in Hawaii with my brother and sister in law over the Thanksgiving holiday. 
It was amazing!  It had been over a year since we had seen them and not only were we grateful to see family, they just happen to live in the perfect vacation setting.  Thank you Army.  
The trip was an adventure, as we were told it would be, since we chose to hop on a Air Force cargo flight where the travel schedules are unpredictable.  But it really was memorable and Brenner and Cole got to spend an hour in the cockpit of a C5 on our flight over, an amazing experience for Cole.
We stayed half our trip at the Marine Base near my brother and the other half at a Marriott resort which was awesome. 
Our days were mostly spent going to different beaches as well as a few other trips like to the Dole Pineapple Plantation and hiking with my sister in law.  The evenings were filled with the hunt for local hole in the wall restaurants and Settlers of Catan.

I am kind of obsessed with the beach and beach photos so brace yourself for a ton of photos.
And just so you know, I did not change the colors on these pictures, it truly was this beautiful!

Our view from the beach cottage on the Marine Base

Ko'Olina Marriott.

Aloha Hawaii!!!  
We will be back soon!