Thursday, December 18, 2008

Christmas Party Day!

Today was the day for Christmas parties! I was able to attend the parties for Tori and Timothy.
It was fun for Timothy and I to join Tori after we were finished with his. In one of the pictures below, Tori is playing a game with bottle caps that she learned in Benin. Today she taught it to some of her friends and they played the game with her
I love Timothy's smile in this picture!
I love opportunities to be in his class.
There is something so special about seeing his face light up when I show up ....
it is addicting! I love watching him interact with his friends and his teacher.
I love seeing him be a helper and a leader.
I love how excited he is to show me his work and the things that he is learning.
What a pleasure it is to be his mom...and Tori's mom, and Jonathan's mom, and Lael's mom!!!
This is Jon and Lael just before they left for their Christmas party!
They had a great time too!
Children are a blessing!

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Eden Elizabeth and Tori

Can you just imagine the personality inside this little girl?
(My sister Becky's daughter)
I can not wait to hear her thoughts! Precious cousins
Tori loves loving on this precious baby girl!!
(Don't we all?)

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Leading up to Christmas!

This has been a great weekend...after spending 3 days in Abilene with Christian Homes last week, I could hardly wait to get home and reunite with my family! Friday I arrived just in time to head out on a fun date with Randy while Donny and Kendra kept our kids....sweet blessing for all of us! Saturday we spent most of the day cleaning and "reconnecting" around the house, and doing a little bit of Christmas shopping! We also went to a fun surprise party for a great friend of ours, Darrell Plemons...wonderful husband to my wonderful friend Beth Plemons! Sunday morning we took our family walk with our beloved basset hound, Noel...then enjoyed a brunch at Central Market with the intown Jeffrey side of the family...spent the afternoon doing laundry and working on school projects for the upcoming week...then went to Donny and Kendra's house for Christmas Fun with lots of great friends from we are gearing up for a big fun week of pre-Christmas this time of year....although I do not like Christmas caroling in front of complete my husband does....oh well, we can't do everything together! (In the pictures below of the carolers singing outside...don't look too hard...I am not out there with them!!)

Beautiful Sisters

Christmas Timo!

Singing Christmas Carols

I had some fun moments with Jonathan before we left for the Christmas Caroling party!! This kid is FULL of personality and such a fun, loveable, excitable kid!! I love being with him!!

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

How Could I Ask For More?

After School today we went straight to the mall on a mission to see Santa. The kids were excited, and I was too, to see that there were only 2 families in line ahead of us. When it was our turn, no one was shy! Everyone hopped right on up and began to say what they were hoping for was precious! Afterwards, we walked around the mall for a bit, window shopping and listening to the lists of "I wants"....then we ate dinner at the Food Court and came home.
It was a sweet family time of getting into the mood for Christmas!
This is such a fun time of year with little children...what blessings! I am so thankful to have them and to have Randy...and walking around with them, just watching heart is so full.
Seriously... How could I ask for one more thing?

Sunday, December 07, 2008

Christmas Musical

Tori, along with 123 other children, parents and volunteers have worked so hard, attending weekly practices on Sundays since early October for tonight's was well worth the investment of our time! Tonight was so much fun! The kids had fun and the good news of Emmanuel was proclaimed with great joy! My face hurts from smiling! Tori said this year was a lot of fun being a safari kid, and having a small line to say. Next year she is ready to go for a bigger part...she was inspired by her friends Jessica, Skyler and Cassidy! We were so proud of her this year...can't wait to see what next year brings...and hopefully Timothy will be up there with her! (Click on collage to see pictures better!)
What a blast it is to be mom to Tori Vaughn!!!

Monday, December 01, 2008

Treasure Life

"Your children only get one childhood, make it memorable!!"

I have this quote in a place where I see it every day.
It is important for me to remember as the days pass faster and faster.
We have experienced so much in the past few weeks and I do have pictures of it all, most of them I have uploaded to Facebook...
We have celebrated my Dad's 60th birthday, been with Sam and Emille and their 3 great kids..which means all 4 Jeffrey kids were together for the first time in a LONG time...spent the Thanksgiving holidays in Baird with my parents and Randy's parents, having a great time, then returned late Saturday night and spent Sunday unpacking and decorating the house for kids are sick with ear infections and strep throat but in happy spirits with the Christmas decor around the house..I love that!
There have been lots of ups (in the previous paragraph I listed the ups) and downs (those are not as easy to list out) this past month...tears, anxieties and laughter too...I am so thankful to know that our lives are in the Lord's hands...we press on one day at a time in trusting faith...and we find peace...
One year ago today, Tori was baptized...she is growing in her understanding of who God is...may her desire to know him forever increase...He is everything...
13 years ago tomorrow I married the man of my was the 2nd most important decision of my was perhaps the absolute most peaceful, joyful day of my life...I woke up with a deep feeling inside that on this day, December 2, 1995, I was doing the right is a profound moment for me to consider all the Lord has done in our lives together since that has been rich and wonderful, full of challenge and adventure and it certainly excites me as I look ahead. I love thinking of the days and moments to come at Randy's side...He is a great man.
Lead us on Lord.
As you go about your days...
Treasure Life.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

A great gift from my husband!

I have known for months that Amy Grant was going to be in Fort Worth on Friday night. It is probably no surprise to those who know me well, to know that I check her website often. Amy Grant has been such a part of my life (her music) that I feel like she is family. Her music would have to be the background musical soundtrack for my life since I was in the fourth grade...I know these songs and they definitely were a major part of my personal faith development..I wanted to be at the concert last night and had dropped a few light hearted hints to my husband. Friday morning, as we were getting breakfast ready and the kids ready for school...I was singing lyrics to various Amy songs...if they were the appropriate answer to a question being in.."When will breakfast be ready?" response..."Takes a little time, sometimes..."
My husband was hearing me and said, "When is she coming to Fort Worth?" I said. "Tonight!"
And I couldn't help but add that maybe, "Love will Find a Way!" The kids went to school and I headed out the door for an all day conference with my supervisor. Around 2PM, I received a text message from Randy..."I have two tickets to a concert"....I could hardly contain my excitement...I know that I am "The Lucky One"! I called him as soon as I could and he said that he had 2 tickets and that I could take Tori and he would stay with the kids....He has a great story about how he got these tickets..maybe he will share it in the comments! Tori and I got ready..we were both so excited to have this opportunity... we went to dinner and then went to Will Rogers Auditorium where we found our seats...we were in the center, 5 rows from the front!!! These were amazing seats! Amy opened the night with "My Father's Eyes"... I had tears rolling down my face for the first three songs...I couldn't help it! She said she would only be singing songs recorded from 1988 and before....this was definitely a wonderful trip back in time for me and extra special because I was with my daughter who was having a great time...and I was Tori's age when I was first introduced to Amy's music! Amy said this was a time to go back and remember that the person who heard these songs 20 years ago and was affected by them, is still was true for me! I felt this as I sang with her again,
Stay with me
make it ever new
so time will not undo,
as the years go by
How I need to see
That's still me
This was a night of songs that shaped my faith, songs about Jesus and making right choices, being wise and aware of our shadows, leaving no room for compromise, songs of loud praise and the grace that God has shown us, songs of struggle and songs of love for family...I loved it and loved that I could remember every word from songs that I had not listened to in 20 years myself!! It has also been fun that today Tori has wanted to listen to all my old AG of course that is something I have always dreamed I am getting really honest here. I know this is so cheesy to some of my friends...but this is the real me!!!

(We got new Amy t-shirts!)

Click on these to make them larger

It was an amazing evening and received a great review!
The night was so sweet and I could not help but think about my wonderful husband who wanted to bless me with a special night. He went to some extreme measures to get these tickets quickly and it made the gift that much sweeter. I am so blessed in my marriage. I married a good man..thoughtful, kind and loves to bless me with sweet surprises....
Let me say once more that I love you
Let me say one time maybe two
That I love the way that you love me
And I wish I knew more of you
Tell me that time won't erase
This look of love on your face
Let me say once more that I need you
One more time or just maybe two
Oh my life will always be richer
For the time I've spent here with you.
Tell me that time won't erase
The way that my heart sees your face
I call your name
You look my way
It's clear you trust each word I say
When life is long and problems come
You'll always be my only one

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Tori's Fantastic Birthday Week

On Tori's birthday I went to her school to have lunch with her. Timothy and I also were able to join her in class as she shared her "star student" poster...this is where she talks about her favorite things, her heroes, plans for the future and then answers questions...very fun for her mother to observe!! The last picture in this collage shows Tori with Uncle Donny and Aunt Kendra and her cousins...they came to meet her before we left for church...delivering birthday hugs, banana bread and a gift card!!!! They made Tori feel so special! (click on pictures to make them larger)
Tori wanted a Baseball Cookie Cake and Baseball cupcakes (which she iced herself)!

This sweet smile on Lael's face is so precious. She seems so honored and delighted every time Eden is in her arms!
We were so blessed with a beautiful day to be outside playing with fun friends!

As you can see, we had lots of help from family and friends...that always makes parties more FUN !!

Our parties lately have not been complete without a pinata!

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Insight to a few of my thoughts today

Here is an attempt at a family picture...not one where everyone is looking in the same direction..but in each one..someONE is looking the right direction, so I posted all 3!

Life is moving so fast. I have many pictures to post that document our life over the past few weeks. I will share them soon. This weekend we celebrated 2 monumental birthdays in our family. Tori turned 10 and Randy turned 40. We had fun celebrating the full and abundant years that we are experiencing. Tori wanted to have a baseball party and so that is what we did. We had 10 girls come in their play clothes and we met at a local park. Everyone had a turn to bat and a turn to play in the field and we all cheered for will be coming soon.
We celebrated Randy and Donny's 40th birthday at a small family party Friday night...I love my husband. He is my best friend. I am so proud of the work he is doing. I know he is going to succeed in this new business. It is another exciting journey for us.
Our life is unpredictable. Everyday is different. I love it. I know when others see our schedule and how we live day to day, it looks is...but it works for us and right now I would not have it any other way.
This is an interesting time ...every minute is full...our children bring us so much joy...the time spent with them is sweet and challenging as we do our best to empower them, connect with them and correct them...we love them SO much!!!
Work is always interesting for me...meeting new amazing people in this community who are in positions of service, working with women in crisis, working with couples desiring to adopt and watching the Lord in the details of it all...I see the Lord do amazing things and it is truly a privilege...I feel very blessed to be working for Christian Homes.
I do get tired and I am very thankful for Advocare products that give me that extra energy and keep me healthy! Through it all ...a thankful heart is the backdrop...I am thankful for these opportunities and I am thankful for the feeling of being spent... I have the feeling of being fully alive....thank you Lord!! I enjoy my life.

Thursday, November 06, 2008

Most Wonderful News!!!!

It is official! Andy and Jessica are engaged and our entire family
from the youngest to the oldest, is so excited!! This weekend we all gathered to share in this surprise!
Sam was even able to fly in from Virginia!
Here are a few pictures behind the scenes. We were hiding out at a city park with the kids
while Andy and Jessica were arriving at the ranch and 'getting ready for the first
deer hunt of the season!" As soon as they were out of sight, we headed to the ranch ourselves and started getting busy. The kids worked on signs to post out on the road to direct our guests and Becky, Sam, Randy, Tori, my mom and myself went to get the "scene" ready! We had so much fun!!

The following pictures show their return to the barn where they were
greeted by many many people. Most all of Jessica's family, including aunts
uncles, cousins, grandparents and even 2 of her roommates from ACU were there and of course all of us (Andy's family) as well!
We all gathered in the barn to hear them tell the story and then enjoyed a great meal together.

Remember to click on the pictures to make them larger.
Wedding date is yet to be announced, but I am sure it is coming soon.
Have I mentioned how happy we are? Jessica is the answer to very specific prayers
prayed over the course of Andy's life. Andy is our treasure and he has truly found a treasure.
We love Andy.
We love Jessica.
We love Them!!
If you want to actually hear them tell the story go here!

Saturday, November 01, 2008

Science Parade and First ever Fall Fest

Friday morning Tori and Timothy participated in the Science Parade. They were both given a Science vocabulary word and told to make a hat that reflected the definition of their word. They both enjoyed the opportunity to be creative! Jonathan, Lael and myself enjoyed the chance to watch the parade and enjoy a few minutes in their classrooms as well! Friday night we attended our first ever Fall Fest at Richland Hills.
As you can see we brought with us, Batman, a Nascar driver, Princess Kadi, and a baseball player!
Princess Kadi was a bit unsure of the atmosphere that we were entering and did not really relax until we were obviously returning to the car!

There were so many fun activities to do...face painting and games to play, a petting zoo and jump houses too!!

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

The Race Car Driver

My very creative son Timo, as Jeff Gordon the Race car driver! Wish this picture had sound affects...hard to believe that this car isn't actually moving!

Monday, October 27, 2008

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Fun memory made!

We kicked off the weekend, Friday after school by heading straight to the movies. We met Aunt Becky, P & B, and sweet Eden to see High School Musical 3! It was a blast! I have loved all 3 in the series. This one was just as enjoyable. Having all of our kids there did make for a few distractions and runs to the restroom...oh well that is to be expected and just means we will have to see it again! Loved every minute!

Friday, October 24, 2008

Tori's 4th Grade Program

This past week,the fourth grade class put on a fantastic program. Our family and Precious were able to attend. The program involved reciting poetry and singing songs, some were accompanied with sign language. It was so fun to observe Tori in this setting. Today I had the opportunity to volunteer in Timothy's class and then I ate lunch with Timothy and with Tori. It was such a great day. I am so thankful to be at this new school this year. We love the teachers and the faculty that we are coming to know. The atmosphere is so welcoming to our children and to us as parents. It is truly a blessing for our kids to be in this specific place at this time. I love knowing they are having fun, being encouraged and that they are truly valued. Those three traits in a school create a great environment for learning!

Monday, October 20, 2008

Saturday and Sunday

(We attended the wedding of my beautiful cousin Catherine Goode on Saturday, who I did not get any pictures of! That makes me sad. It was a beautiful wedding and we were all thrilled to be there to witness such a special day! Everyone was beautiful and filled with joy, especially Catherine.)

Here is my beautiful Tori all dressed up for the wedding!

Lael and Sweet baby Eden

The final collage is from the Hot Dog Banquet Sunday night. All 4 kids enjoyed participating along with Pate and Benj! Tori was privileged to interview returning missionary Sara Holland from Mexico. Pate had the chance to pray for her. Both did a fantastic job! Tori and Lael carried in a flag and Timo and Jon carried in one as well...and Pate and Benj did too. They all participated in the Hot Dog Choir! This was really fun to watch. This was our first opportunity to see all kids on a stage. They did not disappoint. Randy and I, together with some of the missionaries soon to go to Rwanda, got to share about Africa with the children. This was really special and it is always fun to have a chance to plant a seed in a child's heart that God has a great plan for their life!! It was great to hear the sweet prayers of children. We are confident that the Lord was listening and that He is answering! Harvest Time at Richland Hills is our favorite time of the year...a time to think about the world and the people that God created with love and with a purpose, and missionaries that have responded to his call to GO and share the love of Christ with people who otherwise would not hear of Him. Missionaries around the world need our prayers, our love and our faithful support. We speak from experience. It is a hard job and a rewarding one. May courage fill the hearts of those who go as the Lord dares their hearts to be brave with faith. May generosity and attentive love feel the hearts and hands of those who send!