Friday, May 30, 2008

We are so proud of Tori!

Today was Tori's Award Ceremony at her school. Randy, Lael,and myself, together with my Mom, Uncle Andy and Jessica, were able to attend! Tori has done so amazingly well this year during a very difficult year of transition from the life we have known in Benin to the life we are coming to know here in Fort Worth, Texas. We returned last July and Tori was the first one to dive in deep to American life via the local Public school. When she first started, barely a month after we had arrived...there was some days that her life provided our family the structure that we needed...getting her to school by 8AM and being there to pick her up again at 3PM. My prayer life for the 2 years prior to our return was in large part focused on the Lord preparing Tori for this entry into public school. I had the privilege of homeschooling her for Kindergarten through Second grade...we had a great time, just she and I, working through concepts and laying a foundation. I did not grade her papers,we just worked through our curriculum, she corrected her mistakes, and we moved on when she had mastered a concept...Coming into a classroom of 22 students and losing that one on one attention that she and I had shared was very difficult for her and for me. Those first few months were so hard. Towards the end of the first semester we found a wonderful place called OXFORD, where Tori began attending twice a week after school for some one on one tutoring. The people there were and remain to be so special. They came along and helped to rebuild confidence that had been shaken in those first few months and Tori began to blossom again. She passed both the Reading and the Math TAKS and remained on the A-B honor roll all year long. Today her teacher gave her the Hard worker award. To say we are proud of her seems too small of a word. We are so thankful for her teacher, her tutors at Oxford, and the praise and encouragement all year from grandparents, aunts and uncles and friends. Tori has seen the Lord's goodness, faithfulness and so many answers to such specific prayers....Thank you Lord!!!

Four Fantastic Girls, Karly,Morgan, Kinsey, and Tori

Earlier this week, our family took the opportunity to celebrate the last full week of school by going to the Rainforest was A LOT of fun!! We love being together doing fun things!

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Memorial Day Weekend in Baird

(Don't forget to click on the collages to make them larger!)

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Greeting a good friend!

Late this afternoon our family went to the airport to welcome precious West Africa missionary friends to this side of the world. Bryan and Tracey Ries, returned with their 3 boys Issac, Graham and Owen. They have been supported by the Preston Road Church of Christ and there was a great group of people from their church to welcome them back. The Ries family have been missionaires in Kara, Togo for the same amount of time that we were in Benin. We spent time together whenever possible over the years we lived there. It was great to see them again. I think Randy and I both felt a certain heaviness in our hearts as we can easily imagine what is inside of their hearts at this moment...this is good and this is a hard journey...Relearning and rediscovering what living is like in America and grieving what we are letting go and leaving behind. We love praying for the Ries and are looking forward to spending time with their family on this side of the ocean.
Tracey is a special friend~

Monday, May 26, 2008

Cousins Reunited

I have so many great pictures to post from the weekend...and I will be posting them later in the week...but these couldn't wait! Pate and Benj have been gone on a family vacation for the past week and they have been dearly missed. Tonight we met them and their parents for dinner and it was a very JOYFUL reunion! Have I mentioned enough how much we cherish being close enough to be in an ongoing experiential relationship with these boys??

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Me... facilitating a Dance class?

Last night we registered for Summer Spectacular at Richland Hills and we got our free t-shirts!! Tori thought it would be a great idea for she and I to wear them to Field Day, so we did!! I had so much fun seeing her with her friends having a great time. I had volunteered to help with the morning shift wherever I was needed. To my surprise I was placed in charge of the dance class. :)If you know me well, you know this actually made me nervous!! We had a CD and I played three songs that they have done in their PE classes and I "facilitated" three dances!! The Hokey Pokey, the Chicken dance, and the Cha Cha Cha!!!Pre-K through 3rd grade came in for 15 minute was somewhat hysterical and VERY FUN, especially when Tori and her friends came in...obviously this was my favorite part!! i actually got the hang of it!

Best Buddies J and L

Monday, May 19, 2008

Celebrating 5 years officially

Today, May 19, is truly Timothy's birthday. Last night we were having a great time talking about the day he came into our lives and we saw his sweet face for the first time. He said, "Tomorrow can we read a book about me or can you let me see my baby movie?"
From the moment he woke up this morning I began retelling him his story...which is one of my favorite stories because his birth and knowing of his approaching birth was SO WONDERFUL!! We enjoyed his favorite breakfast this morning...scrambled eggs with food's color was green, a 1/2 of a small bagel with strawberry cream cheese and watermelon! I had 2 morning appointments and had to leave. I could not wait to get back with him and go through his baby book!! I returned for lunch and after we had J and L down for a nap, Timo and I snuggled up on the couch and went through every page of his scrapbook which documents with pictures and journaling, his first year of life!! I then read to him several of the prayers and blessings from his blessing book...sweet sweet moment of him absorbing the love and prayers that surrounded him at his birth!! I love this kid!!! He then went with me to run errands and pick Tori up from school. Tonight we went to the restaurant that he requested for dinner...Lubys!! My parents met us there for another celebration and we had a great time!

Timothy, this has been a great day!! We love you so much and what a wonderful 5 years this has been. For all that you have done Lord we thank you....Thank you Lord for the days to come. We know your plans are good!


Tori looks too cute riding a scooter with our good friend Gary Banks!
He is the husband of one of my all time favorite friends Laura (Bishop) Banks.
We had a very fun, unplanned, delightful surprise visit with their family on Sunday at the park!
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Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Celebrating the Big 5 with Timo!

I have been looking so forward to sharing pictures of the day that we celebrated Timothy's birthday! We had so much fun. Birthdays are a blast in our family and we have a great time making them special. Timothy's party has been much anticipated. This is his first party to have with friends and he put alot of thought into his invitation list and it was such a blessing that almost everyone was able to come. This is also my time to tell you that at birthday time in our family, this is my husband's time to shine. Notice the super cool invitation at the top of this post...He loves doing this and he is so good at it!! All he needs is a theme and picture and he can always come up with something wonderful. If you are ever interested in a specialized party invitation, feel free to contact him with your requests! (For a small fee of course!!:) He also loves to do the birthday cake! Randy's creativity has no end and this year was no exception. Timo was so excited about this included his favorite things, cows, deer and a tractor scooping up a stack full of watermelons, Timothy's favorite dessert!....As well, Chuck E Cheese did not disappoint! The kids had fun playing games and surprisingly they even seemed to enjoy dancing..especially Lael and cousin Pate!!! Timothy humbly received a gold medal for being the Birthday star and it was so cute...he is truly proud of this medal. He had so much fun opening such fun presents..we were certainly blessed by generous friends and family...Thank you all for coming and celebrating Timo with us and for those of you that missed the party, know that we missed you and we appreciated your sweet words and good wishes!

Click on the collage so that you can see bigger pictures of our fun party!

Timothy is a great kid! He came to our family in God's perfect timing. He was so wanted. We had been longing for him and his birth is a divine marker in our lives of God doing a new thing with our family. He is a source of continual joy. He is rough and tender. He is already hiding God's word in his heart and knows that God has a great purpose for his life. We love being his mom and dad.

Thank you Lord for Timothy Randall Vaughn!

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Happy Mother's Day to Me

We went to lunch with my parents, the Brooks, and Andy and Jessica. It was a sweet sweet time, although we were truly missing Sam and Emille, Bailey and Brylee. It is their sweet faces that are missing in these pictures.

My heart is full of thanksgiving today. Thankful for my mother and the joy for life and knowing Christ that she instilled in my heart. Thankful for Lokadi, the birth mother of Lael, who lived a life of joy and generosity and who gave life to our precious Lael. Thankful for Tori, Timothy, Jonathan and Lael, my treasures and blessings that have taken my heart to depths of love and vulnerability that I did not know was possible before.......The Lord is loving and kind, gentle in all his ways...He has blessed me beyond all imagination and expectation. I am thankful for these moments now and I am looking forward expecting his blessing in the days to come.

Weekend fun

Friday night we went to a local park and then went for the first sno-cone of the season...lots of fun!!



Payton and Benjamin had back to back games on Saturday and we had fun cheering them on...these pictures include some cute Brownlow kids too!
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Wednesday, May 07, 2008


Last Saturday morning we began the day with an appointment for our church directory pictures. Everyone seemed to be in good spirits and I knew we all looked cute!!
I was feeling pretty good about the likely opportunity that we would get a good picture. However, it soon became apparent once we entered the studio that Lael was NOT comfortable in a dark room with bright lights. Can you blame her? There was no way we were going to coax a smile from this precious girl. Oh many people absolutely love their church directory picture? I must confess that I am very disappointed that the picture that will be in the directory for many years to come does not capture the sparkling personality of our sweet Lael...of course the minute we left the room, she immediately began smiling and saying "cheese!"... After we left the church we went to my parents house and tried to take a few more before we ate lunch...that is where the pictures below come from. Click on them to make them larger and you will at least see our attempts to capture our family on film! Later that afternoon we enjoyed going to cousin Pate's baseball game. He and his brother Benjamin are pretty impressive on and off the field!