Sunday, March 30, 2008

A glimpse into our fun weekend!

This week has been so wonderful. Friday night was such a special evening. I received the Alumnus of the Year award from Fort Worth Christian at their Celebration Dinner. Having Randy, Tori and Timothy, my parents, Randy's parents, Becky, Tony, Sam, Emille, Andy and Jessica there with me on this evening added to the sweet blessings.

I have enjoyed the opportunity to be reflecting on my years at Fort Worth Christian and the shaping of my spiritual foundation that took place over the years through a tapestry of teachers and friends and special memories. God worked through it all to pursue me and mold me into someone that wanted to follow hard after him. I was blessed to have teachers that captured opportunites as I shared windows into my life. I had teachers that were not shy about speaking boldly into my life, giving me direction and showing me where I could find courage. These teachers reaffirmed to me the authentic faith that I saw at home through my parents and encouraged me to grow spiritually, as well as academically and through extra curricular activities.
Below are some of my very special teachers who were at the dinner on Friday night.
Barbara Treat, who taught me French for three years, and who was the first to show me on the globe that there were West African countries where French was spoken, MaryAnn Felps who was my High School English teacher, who set the bar high and encouraged me and challenged me in wonderful ways, Kelly Cawyer, my 7th grade Biology teacher and Basketball coach,Carol Brownlow, my eighth grade Bible teacher, precious precious!!,and Sweet Lena Nelson, my cross-country coach who loves me dearly and pushed me to do things I thought I could not do. She loves to take credit for teaching me to persevere through hard things!! I love these women and I am so thankful for their influence in my life. These are the ones who were there on Friday night. There are even more teachers that are a part of my testimony ... and I thank God for them every time they come to my mind!

Lael's new hair

For three hours last Thursday night, Lael sat patiently while her hair was done in braids all over her head. It was amazing to observe and precious to see...because Lael was loving it. A very kind Kenyan woman whom I have recently met, said she would come to my house and do this for Lael. As I sat there for those 3 hours with Lael, my heart was aching missing Laurance, my best Aja friend in Benin. For as long as Lael has been with us, Laurance was the one to fix her hair and we used to sit together and talk while she would bring some personality to Lael's hair!
Lael loves her new hair and has had a lot of fun this weekend showing it off and hearing sweet affirmations from her siblings and cousins.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Happy Birthday for me!

Today has been such a great day! My precious husband got up early and made a delicious breakfast and brought it to me while I was still in bed! I ate breakfast and had sweet conversation with him, while amazingly, all 4 kids remained asleep. This is highly unusual! When Timo got up, he was eager to show me a special surprise. Without me knowing, he and his Daddy slipped out last night and went to get my favorite flowers...Tulips!! They are so gorgeous and Timo was so proud to give them to me!! My mother and sister in law Emille, enjoyed time with my 3 younger ones this morning while I was working and then Randy watched all the kids and cousins minus 2 sweet nieces of mine during lunch. My mom, Becky, Emille, Precious Bailey and Brylee, and myself went to a local tea room!! It was SO FUN! Thank you Mom for this very special treat!

I received lots of kind words and wishes today and my heart has been so blessed. I am so thankful for my 37 years. My journey with the Lord has been so good. I love having history with Him. This gives me peace as I press on and move into the future! I am expecting blessing in the days to come! My favorite verse is Psalm 84:5
Blessed are those whose strength is in you, who have set their hearts on pilgrimage.
My heart is set on HIM!


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Monday, March 24, 2008

Easter at the Ranch

Click on the pictures to make them larger so you can see the precious faces of our sweet kids!!

We had such a great weekend. It started early for Tori and Timothy who went down with my mom on Thursday. My Dad came and got Jonathan and Lael after work on Friday night and they joined the troops! They were so excited. The first words out of Jonathan's mouth on Friday morning were..."Paw's coming for me today!!" This was just before Randy and I left for Dallas to see Amy Grant. It was a win win for everyone!! Randy and I joined everyone Saturday night and we had had a great time Sunday being together, riding around on four wheelers and hunting Easter eggs...sweet memories!

Jesus is alive and at work in our lives! Praise His Name!! How great to focus on his Resurrection power this weekend! We are sinners and Jesus is our Great Savior! This is good news! Don't be afraid! Come and See! Go and Tell!

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Saturday, March 22, 2008

Almost 9 months back into life in America, the disorientation continues. I wrestle with what is re-entry and what I can compare to others as just nomal life in America that is fast paced and fatiguing. I love being with my husband and my four kids and there is great comfort in being with them regardless of where we are. We are moving along in the rushing river of life in school and church and our jobs and doing our best to stay engaged with each other and in our pursuit of knowing God. Whenever I stop for even a few minutes of silence and go for a walk alone, tears can fill my eyes and I am amazed to think that I am living here and running through my days. I am still not wishing I could be back in Benin, however, I am grieving a way of life, the familiarity of life and my home and the way our family functioned together and the things we were able to do. I am in such a different world and functioning in new ways and new roles and I wonder when it will feel like the real me is living in my skin. I am still learning what it feels like I should already know. That is as basic as how I interact with friends and family. I have lived across the world from both in a somewhat isolated world for so long that I find myself struggling with basic reaching out, connecting and sharing intimately on a regular basis. I want more connectedness and yet it does not come naturally for me.

Last night at the Meyerson, as Amy Grant sang songs that were familiar to me, I was touched in deep ways. I find myself looking at life with an altered view, reflective and at the same time very impatient with myself. The lyrics from 2 different very familar songs encouraged my heart's thoughts at this very moment in time.........

It takes a little time sometimes
to get your feet back on the ground
It takes a little time sometimes
to get the Titantic turned back around
But Baby your not going down
It takes more than you've got right now,
Give it time, Give it time

Well it may not be over by morning
But Rome wasn't built in a day
You can name that thing a thousand times
It won't make it go away

You can't fix this pain with money
You can't rush a weary soul


Every road that's traveled teaches something new
And every road that's narrow
Pushes us to choose
And I'd be lying if I said
I had not tried to leave a time or two
But every road that leads me
Leads me back to you

Here we stand in the middle
of what we've come to know
It's a dance, it's a balance
Holding on and Letting Go
But there is nothing that we can't resolve
When Love's at stake
When Love's involved

Once again I find myself so thankful to be walking through life with Christ. I am not alone and His ways are gentle. He is here and I need Him.
For those of you who may have heard that Amy Grant is in town this weekend at the Meyerson in Dallas, you may have wondered if I was able to attend. The answer is YES! My sweet husband gave me tickets on Valentines Day for tonight's concert with the Dallas Symphony. We went tonight and it was a perfect date. It was truly an amazing evening. I will write more about it soon. Happy Resurrection Weekend!!

Thursday, March 20, 2008

We have enjoyed having Aunt Becky back from Canada and this means more time with our Fort Worth cousins! We had some good time together at the first of the week. We have enjoyed having Tori home from school for Spring Break. I have wrestled with the reality of being a working mom this week, when I really want to be hanging out with my kids and thats it....ughh....


Sunday, March 16, 2008

Sunday, March 09, 2008


Tori with her Coaches Ryan and Kelly...

With Special Guests Ronnie and Judy Vaughn...

With Proud Parents...

Team pictures, featuring Tori and Very Special Friend, Maddie...

This weekend brought to an end Tori's first season playing Basketball. We have enjoyed so much watching her play and watching her learn the game. She has made so much progress and even in her last game yesterday, she made a very impressive steal, broke away and ran down the court, dribbling the ball and made the shot!!! We were beside ourselves and Tori was all smiles for the rest of the game! We are so thankful for her coaches Ryan and Kelly. Tori's confidence has certainly bloomed under their coaching and specific encouragement.

Tonight was the awards and pizza party. It was extra special to have Nana and Papa join us for this very special event. Every team member was given their chance to stand in the chair and receive words of praise from their coaches. Tori also received a certificate and a new basketball. Coach Ryan gave Tori the certificate for being the team member who displayed the virtue of Diligence on the team. This is the person who makes a constant and earnest effort to accomplish a task. Ryan also commented that whatever Tori was asked to do, on court or on the sidelines, she did it with Joy!!! We are so proud of Tori and so thankful for the opportunity to have participated in the Upwards Basketball program.

Sunday, March 02, 2008

Happy Birthday Jonathan

We celebrated Jonathan's third birthday with a small family was perfect! Randy made Jonathan's cake and it was cute and very deceptively delicious!!! He added sweet potatoes to the mix and it was sooo good!!!
Presents, cake and cousins!

Jonathan brings so much joy to our lives. He is tender and gentle. He loves people. He loves to hug and even when he is hurt, he is usually the first to want to hug and say he is sorry. He loves to laugh. He loves to talk to God. He keeps me on my toes. He is curious about everything and many times that has already led him into trouble. I am thankful for angels that prompt me or others like cousin Pate to go and look for Jonathan when we have not seen him in the last five minutes. There is always a reason for those promptings!!! He challenges me. He does not respond to the same ways of parenting that Tori and Timothy did and this has had Randy and I seeking the Lord for wisdom on a daily basis as we seek to train his sweet heart to obey and respond to us quickly when we speak to him. He is so precious and this little person can move me to tears in a heartbeat I love him so much.

His middle name, Ruisseau, is the French word for river or stream. Psalm 36:8 says that "we feast on the abundance of your house O Lord and we drink from your river of delights." I believe that Jonathan is a refreshing drink from the Lord's river of delights. It is our prayer that Jonathan will know the Lord at an early age, that he will taste that Living Water and that streams of life will flow from him.

What a joy to celebrate his life yesterday and to be here with family to share in that celebration! Jonathan you are dearly loved. Your a treasure!