Wednesday, December 26, 2007

What a Merry Christmas!!

Christmas this year has been so special. For the first time in many many years I (Kelly) was together with my parents and all 3 of my siblings for Christmas! The following pictures are a glimpse into our family Christmas... our immediate Vaughn family and our extended Jeffrey family! It was such a sweet time to be together with a total of 8 kids among us!

You will notice in some of the pictures that we added a sweet Basset Hound puppy to our family as a Christmas surprise!!! The kids and the parents are thrilled.

Baking cookies and Timo is (for the most part) in charge!

Christmas Eve found Timothy looking up the chimney making sure the pathway was clear for Santa. We got the cookies ready and Tori was writing a note to Santa!

Christmas morning!!

Princess Bailey


Sunday, December 23, 2007

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Vaughn Christmas Fun

Talking with Santa at the Gaylord Hotel

My precious Mother in-law and sweet sister in-law Kendra!

Kendra and I married well!
VFC is planned in great detail with lots of fun and sentimental memories every year. Kendra and I both have more spontaneous go with the flow personalities but I know that I can speak for both of us when I say that a Vaughn Christmas is one that we truly look forward to and completely enjoy. This year we played games, read Twas the Night Before Christmas and passed around presents in the midst of crazy kid caos!(Saturday was spent at our new house!) We did a fun Chinese Christmas gift exchange, shared meals together, went to Saturday night church, and went driving around looking at Christmas lights...that was SO fun! Sunday we met at the Gaylord Hotel and spent almost the entire morning there. We then spent the remainder of the day at Donny and Kendra's house...naps, fun, great conversations and more presents!!! We went home very tired and with very thankful hearts.....It can not be emphasized enough how wonderful it is to be here in America to fully participate in the holidays with our family this year....Thank you Lord!

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Brief preview of VFC

We have just finished an absolutely wonderful weekend with the Vaughn Family! I LOVE being a Vaughn and Christmas is always a blast full of memory making activities and this weekend was no exception! We have so many fun pictures and I will post more at some point during the the moment I am the only one awake and everyone else is WIPED out! I can't believe that tomorrow is Monday! practice...more Christmas shopping...sweet family coming to town....To quote my Mom at this point, I will say, "Yikers Bikers!"

A few reindeer games!

Our kids all know how to show their excitement in receiving gifts!!!

Randy and Timo had fun carving out this pumpkin and making a gingerbread man!

Thursday, December 13, 2007

I want to wish you a Merry Christmas!

RHCC Children's Christmas Musical

For several years now we have been watching the RHCC Children's Christmas Musical via DVD in Benin. We have so much fun looking for Tori's friends and learning the songs after the fact. This year Tori jumped at the chance to participate. She was thrilled to have the role of......a brown dog......and she had one line to speak......and she made the moment count! We were so proud of her! She also sang in the larger children's choir...she was having a blast and that gave our family SO much JOY to see! My Dad leaned over to me at one point and said, "In just 9 years, this will be ACU Sing Song!".......Thanks Dad!

Glory Days

Last weekend, I was given the gift of rest and refreshment. Together with very dear friends, Kelly C, Beth P, Nola M and my sister Becky, we drove to Oklahoma and spent the weekend in a cabin in the mountains. We had time with each other and an incredible day with the Lord on Saturday. Time away in a different setting, without interruption, with a lot of silence begins to offer a new perspective on life. Since our arrival to the States last July, I have been immersed into such a fast pace life. Although I am truly enjoying the new life we are experiencing I feel like I so quickly am moving from one activity to the next that sometimes there is not a lot of time for deep thought. This past weekend as I took the time to stop and sit still, I was overwhelmed by the goodness of God. So much as happened in the life of our family in the last 5 months and I actually had some time to think about it and lay it all out before the Lord and just look at it all. Prayer and silence, processing with dear friends, and some sweet times of worship in the evening were exactly what I needed. This week has been a different week with a refreshed focus. I am so thankful to God and to my sweet friend KC for taking the initiative and arranging this weekend for all of us...and for our dear husbands who encouraged this time away and cared for our children all weekend!

Monday, December 10, 2007

Citizenship, Anniversary, & Kids

Hey everyone, this is Randy for a change (thanks to Kelly for keeping us up-to-date on our blog...ever since our return from Africa, I think I've posted less than a handful of posts. Probably part of the re-entry phenomenon that we are still navigating so I still get an excuse.)

TODAY was another GLORIOUS DAY in our household....TODAY we received in the mail Lael's OFFICIAL certificate of citizenship!! (along with a standardized letter/computerized signature from the President...come on GWB, where's the personal touch on a historic moment for new citizens??!!...we're still big Bush fans, though!)

We were supposed to get this 45 days after our return...well it's been 5 LONG MONTHS and we had again to hassle with USCIS (Immigration) over some details involving her paperwork...then the documents getting sent to the wrong location...then the threatening letter from USCIS back in November that said if we didn't get the right papers to them that they would revoke her citizenship...YIKES! We overnighted the same documents TWICE and eventually, on Nov 28, we were informed that the NY office had indeed received the correct documents...and on Dec 6 her citizenship certificate was processed! (I'm being critical tonight...don't you think the certificate needs a design facelift! Guess since that's my line of work, I'm more picky, but how come the typed-in-words don't line up with the lines...this is SO pre-digital!...oh well)

(Also, for privacy, I've blurred certain important info, so that's why some areas look blank.)

HAPPY ANNIVERSARY (Last Week) - several people have wondered if WE forgot our anniversary since we posted little or nothing about it (I can't remember and too lazy to go back to the archives). Kelly and I celebrated 12 wonderful years of marriage last Sunday (over 5000 days of love since we first met!)

Kelly and I love romance and we do special things for each other all the time. I love being married to my best friend! It makes every day great!! I say all this to preface the forthcoming shocker...

(no we're not pregnant)....

But on the day of our anniversary, we were (still are) in the middle of a big move to a new house and our life was (is) in an ever-improving disarray! We spent the entire day moving and moving more...all trying to manage the kids at the same time. Kelly's mom was great and volunteered to come help set up the kitchen. (Great job Suzy---still blessing us today!) Once the kids were in bed, Suzy stayed, continuing to help, while Kelly and I snagged an anniversary date. The funny part is, after 12 wonderful years of BLISS, we looked at each other at 8pm (and a full day of moving) and said, "I won't take a shower if you won't." So to celebrate our 12th anniversary, UNshowered on the day, we threw on at least some fresh clothes, and snagged a snack and a peppermint mocha at Starbucks and then headed for some shopping at Wal-Mart! Happy Anniversary Honey!! (oh, the freedoms after a 12 years of marriage!! ha ha ha)

Finally, without much captioning, I've posted some pictures of the kids in the backyard....(this was last week during the heat wave not today when it was in the 40s!) Timothy, especially, has loved this new toy boat, treating it like it was a bull and ropin' it. He's a great adventurous kid!


Sunday, December 02, 2007

Saturday, December 01, 2007

Proudest Moment!

Over the past 2 years Tori has initiated many conversations about baptism. They have included the full range of "whenever they pass out the Lord's supper, my stomach starts growling, so I'm ready to be baptized" this last week, "I never understood before the gap my sin placed between me and God." Tori Vaughn has such a tender heart and the past 3 weeks, the Lord has really been stirring in her heart. Randy and I both have enjoyed conversations and studying with her as she been exploring what it means to be a follower of Christ. She told me sometime in the past weeks, "Mom, I am ready to have my proudest moment ever!"

Tonight (Saturday night church) was the night. We had some sweet conversations and prayers this afternoon and also took some time to watch the video of my brother Andy's baptism that took place 15 years ago. That was so special!

At the end of service when Rick asked for anyone to come forward who was willing to put on Christ, we were making our way out of the aisle and heading down front.
Randy had the great joy of speaking to the church about Tori and then everyone heard her sweet confession before she was baptized. What a moment we will never forget.

After church we gathered at a Pizza place with family that was in town and a few special friends. We had a time of speaking blessing and words of encouragement and then some prayer time for Tori. Tori even received 2 very special prayers from her cousin Tyler and cousin Payton.

I am sharing these pictures because I want others to share in our joy and they are the only ones I have on my camera. However, I know there will be more pictures to come that will be more reflective of all of those special people who shared this night with us! Aunt Kendra was busy snapping pictures with her camera and Uncle Donny was snapping pictures with mine. Uncle Tony Brooks had the video camera going, capturing every moment. I am so thankful they were doing this for us. My parents were there and so was Uncle Andy! We were certainly missing those in our family who could not be with us.

Our hearts are full.

Beth and Kelly, here again to share an unforgettable moment!!!

Payton is praying for Tori in this picture