Sunday, December 30

2012 Recap

2012 Has been a GREAT year. It has been full of answered prayers, new dreams, a couple of step backs, a new project/ministry developing, buying and selling homes and lots of adventure.  I cant believe it is another close to another fun and FULL year. Each year we grow. We grow closer as a couple, as a family and we grow closer in our friendships. Most importantly each year we grow closer and closer to God. He teaches us new things each year and this year did not disappoint. I am excited for  a New Year. This new year will start with a bang. We close on both our new house and our current house on the 24th of January. So when Christmas comes down...all of my decor is coming down too. It's a little sad and overwhelming. But we are thrilled to see what God has in store for our family with the purchase of our new home. I loved this is a little recap of our favorite things 2012 held.

January 2012
We finally got the call to hop on a plane to pic up our sweet Emerson in Ethiopia and bring her home!

Saying goodbye to her little room!

Long exhausting travel!

Being Welcomed HOME by the most amazing support group made those long hours on those flights so worth it! I cant even describe the emotion that came over me when I saw all the faces of those that had fought so hard spiritually to get us here!!!!

February 2012

We had LICE!!!!

Emerson's first Photoshoot!!!

First Playdates with our other little Kamashi friends!

March 2012

Siblings bond through Red-Neck tractor rides!
Lots of Frozen Yogurt dates with these guys!

Parker turns 6!!!!!

April 2012

Kids Celebrate Easter with Parker's class with some FUN face paintings!

We celebrated Easter as a family at my Mom's with these gorgeous little things!

Kids ran their 1st 1k in their I Love Camp shirts!!!

May 2012

We got to celebrate Camp (+Asher) at a FUN baby shower!!!

Parker Graduated Kindergarten!!!! Woohoo!!

We had the Privilege of Baptizing some of our Lifegroup!! What an amazing experience and opportunity God brought to us! We adore being apart of these peoples lives.

June 2012

Ethiopia Take 1 - The trip  fell apart later that day but God's hand was clearly all over this team and trip! We didnt give up. We fought through came home from Houston and re-planned Ethiopia Take 2!!

Emerson got her ears pierced!!!

Emerson's First Father's Day and Phillip's First Fathers Day with his sweet daughter!

July 2012

Ethiopia Take 2 Fundraiser and Church BBQ!!! Love these ladies!!!!

Beckham turned 4!!!!!!

We had some good rain in July. The kids and I (along with Aunt Jessica) took advantage of this fun and rare weather!

August 2012

Our team finally made it to Ethiopia!!! It was the most amazing and fun trip I have been on!!  What a blessing to be able to serve with these mighty women!

One of the most amazing things God worked out on this trip was that my Bestie was there!!! Waiting to be cleared by the Embassy to bring home these two sugars! I was even able to slip away from the team for an afternoon to meet these little babes. It was nothing short of a dream!!

When I got home from Ethiopia I had 10 days until school started. Parker started 1st grade (he's now back in Kinder) at Midland Classical this year! We love it!!!

September 2012

September was a HOT one! We spent many days outside playing in the water hose and playing with friends!

We also spent many evenings bouncing the kids on the trampoline. So many fun memories.

Emerson turned 4!!!!
The littles started school at our churches Parents Day Out program! It is their favorite things to do!!!
We also took our very FIRST real family vacation!!

October 2012
We took the chickens to see Veggie Tales Live! I have to admit that I really loved it myself!! 

I hosted a Noonday Collection Show for Wynne while she was in Africa! Let me just say...If she has done a show for you, you should love her a lot...its so much work!! LOL! But so fun!!! 

The Chickens in the special Dress Up Day clothes! (You can find how we do Halloween here

November 2012

We took a little quick trip to the mountains the first weekend of November. It is always so nice to get away! (we took the kids Parker took this photo)
We made to difficult decision to hold Parker back and put him in Kindergarten again after the Thanksgiving Holiday. He is showing signs of dislexia and after many tests and meetings with teachers we felt like this was the direction the Lord was leading us in! Best decision EVER so far!!

November also brought us a chance of a life time!!! We had the opportunity to drive to Dallas to meet Emme's Biological brother Amenti! It was so sweet to reunite these two siblings again. We are over joyed and oh so thankful for this new friendship with this precious family and we are looking forward to many more trips!! Post about this here.

December 2012
This Christmas I got to throw a little Christmas Party for some of our friends.

We took our neices on a hayride to see Christmas Lights one night. I was cold but so fun!

Beckham and Emme had their class Pajama Day Christmas Party. Emme was loving all of this Christmas stuff this year can you tell?! HA!

We also got to celebrate a sweet friends Birthday! We always have so much fun together. This night was filled with so many laughs and so many fun stories!

As you can tell this year has been filled with so much Love, so many victories, so many FUN moments!
2013 I hope you trump 2012!!!! We are ready for you all that you have coming our way!!!

Saturday, December 29


This post is LONG over due. SO long that it is embarrassing.  I have been mauling over this post since August. Each week month thinking..."Ok. I will do it next week." Which actually meant next month or the next.  So here we are with 3 days of December left and I have YET to post this post! I guess it is a great time to post this post since 2012 is wrapping up and people are thinking about New Year's Resolutions or if you are like me your New Years Good Intentions.
One of the most popular Resolutions (Good Intentions) is to get into better shape and to eat healthier. But in reality how many of us can honestly say that come January 14th we haven't kicked those Good Intentions out the window. Most of us, myself included, have already indulged in a Cheese Pizza with Extra Cheese dipped in Ranch or have shut ourselves in the pantry in efforts to hide from everyone to indulge in some Double Stuffed Oreos. Or in my case those little Chocolate Carmel Turtles...mmm...
Have you ever heard the term 'What you eat in private you wear in public'?  It gets me every time!
I have been there and I still struggle to not go back there.
With the New Year quickly approaching and while everyone is thinking about all the 'New' things you want to do, all the ways you want to be 'Better' and all the things you want to 'Change' during 2013...I want to take the time to finally introduce to you something my family and I, along with a group of close friends, having been doing for awhile now. And that is eating REAL Whole Foods.
We like to call it Plant Powered Eating.
I am sure I just lost some followers/readers but please bear with me. It is worth your time I promise. And it is not as scary, hard, gross, expensive, bland or as intimidating as you think.
My family has been on a Plant Based 'diet' for 5 months now...well honestly...its more of a lifestyle...I hate the word 'diet'. They don't work. It's temporary. Diets work at first but they do not work Long Term and they really have now Long Term benefits to better your life. Can you honestly say that you want to be on special pills or special shakes for the rest of your life? I am not disciplined enough to do these things to even know how well they work first hand. Plus I really Love to EAT and I really enjoy Food!
But what I do know, from educating myself through documentaries, books, blogs, video blogs and other resources the key to weight-loss and the key to a healthy and full life is to in fact... EAT. And by eating I mean eating REAL, non processed, naturally grown, not modified foods.
Foods that the Good Lord Himself gave us.

Now...for my disclaimer...I am by no means skinny and fit. I am still working on my whole weight-loss issue.  And trust me, its a issue. I have however mastered a Plant Powered (90% Vegan) lifestyle for myself, my husband and my kids. (Yes! They eat weird veggies! It can happen!!) What I have not mastered is Exercise. This is my missing link. I know it is. For some reason I suffer from chronic laziness and lack of motivation. While I enjoy the actual act of 'working out' it is getting to the actual 'working out' that gets me...It is a lot of work! This is a disease and I will kill it this year!

This year, in 2013, I am starting a new Chapter of my blog. It is called EAT. You can find the link where all of my posts about EATing will be archived (there aren't any there yet) in the logo called EAT over in my sidebar under Adoption. If you click on EAT my posts will be there.
Once a week starting Monday January 7th... then continuing on the following Monday's... I will post our Families Menu  (Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner) and I will share some little insights on eating and maintaining a Plant Powered Lifestyle and why it is important to know what you are putting in your body and the bodies or your sweet babies. Maybe...just maybe...I can (will) master exercise and I can share and encourage you that way as well. *wink*
Before we begin on our journey...and before you set your resolution to EAT 'right'... I do want to share with you some resources that I found to be the most educating, inspiring, shocking and life changing for our family. I want to encourage you to watch at least one of these before January 1.
Pray before you watch, read or investigate on your own. Ask God to show you where changes need to be made and for God to help you see what you need and should see. He will show you. He will speak to you.

First watch this I think you can still watch it on Netflix... It is a little dry in some parts but over all it is so eye opening!

Second...Watch goes hand in hand with Forks Over Knives...Netflix!

Third...Watch this...My thoughts are forvere changed... Again Netflix

Christ tells us to Love God with all of our Heart, Mind, Soul and Strength. Basically with everything that we are we are to Love Him and honor Him.  As a family we felt like God was calling us to honor Him with what we were putting in our mouths.
Food can become an idol.
Something you turn to when you are sad, depressed, angry, needing comfort or when you are happy, excited and celebrating. Food can easily replace God. It can easily hold a High place in your priorities. God wants us to Crave him. To crave His presence and to crave what only He can fulfill in us and not what food can only temporarily fulfill. We as a family decided to put what FOOD had become to us aside and put God in that place. And only let food be a means of nutrient to keep these vessels running. And running at their BEST.
Now this can also be turned around and can quickly become something that is legalistic and can become weird and even an idol in the reverse direction.
A health Idol.
We don't want that. We simply want to honor God by eating what He has revealed to us as good and profitable for our bodies. To eat of the Garden that He put us in. This does not mean that you have to be Vegan.
God did make cows whose milk makes cheese and well... they make milk. All from the Lord. God made chickens and chickens produce eggs and yummy meat. God made fish, goats, deer, pig and whatever else meat you like to eat. These things are not bad. In the New Testament in Romans 14 you can find where it says 'all foods are acceptable'. For my family, being Vegan just seemed right. I am not going to pressure you into being Vegan. I simply want to share our journey, encourage you and challenge you to live a more Plant Powered lifestyle. I promise you it is worth it! It is profitable! I have had incredible results from this way of eating. I struggle with acne and I can honestly say it has improved greatly with eating mainly vegetables and fruits. My skin overall feels more fresh, my hair has been healthier, I have more energy and I have slimmed down! I have lost that horrible bloated feeling after I eat, my teeth feel cleaner and I just overall feel better! I think you will too!
Don't expect to be perfect in this journey. Expecting perfection is setting yourself up for failure and disappointment. Your gonna mess up. When you do just jump back on and go again.
A friend on our Plant Powered group text encouraged us to "shoot for long term consistency even if it means having a little CREAM in your coffee."
Here is a verse I want to leave you with that have been encouraging to me during this journey:

"And so dear brothers and sister, I plead with you to give your bodies to God because of all he has done for you. Let them be a living and holy sacrifice - the kind he will find acceptable. This is truly the way to worship him." 
- Romans 12:1 NTL
I am thrilled to begin this journey with you in 2013. I am thrilled to share our favorite recipes, to learn yours, to share our favorite snacks and treats and I am so excited to encourage you and be encouraged by you in this new way of life. Be looking for a post soon from my dear husband on some of the more technical reasons Plant Powdered eating is so profitable and beneficial to your body.
It's going to be a yummy year!! 

Photos of me c/o Wynne Elder
Resource photos google image

Merry 'Late' Christmas

I am trying to claw my way back into blogging.
Since the last time I posted my little family has been hit with the FLU and then immediately hit with the STOMACH BUG! We couldn't seem to catch a break. During our Crazy sickness I, with the help of my amazing friends, put together the First Annual Giving Hope Black Bag Christmas outreach. (There will be more on Giving Hope soon!!!) This Christmas, Giving Hope was able to bless 17 single moms with Christmas gifts for their children. We were able to rent a Convention Center here in town for the event. We had jumpers for the children, Pizza, Sweet Treats, Christmas Music Playing and tables FULL of free donations. I'm talking clothes, shoes, microwaves, dining chairs, name we had it and it was all free! Plus our Black Bags FULL of gifts for each family that were pre-wrapped for Christmas so they would all be surprised. What a blessing it was to these families!  And a blessing to us as well.
Amazing support system & brains behind Giving Hope.

Once everyone was fully recovered we were in Christmas Mode...full swing. We had Christmas dinners, Christmas Light Hay Rides, Movie nights, Christmas Angle Missions (more on her next year!!) and more.
This Christmas seemed to come and go quicker then ever!

Last Christmas was such a strange Christmas. I found myself full of Joy and Christmas cheer but longing and deeply missing our Sweet Emerson who was still in Ethiopia waiting to be cleared by the Embassy. It had been 8 weeks since we had last seen her and my heart was aching. On Christmas Eve last year, I wrote this post.
Oh how my heart ached for her to be home. For her to be enjoying the warm crackling fire on our snowy Christmas day, to be joining in on candle light Christmas services, presents beautifully wrapped under the tree and tables filled with the most delicious foods.
This year... she IS HOME! Our first Christmas with our precious daughter. It was so special. A little stressful with all the Christmas Craziness but so, so special!
Before our churches Christmas Eve service. 

Christmas day was filled with laughter and giggles as the kids studied their "Santa" gifts in amazement that he really remembered what they wanted! Sometimes it bothers me that this Santa guy gets all the credit for remebering and giving special gifts. Just sayin'!
We stuck to our normal tradition of giving the kids 3 wrapped gifts. The 3 wrapped gifts represent to 3 gifts that the 3 Kings brought Christ when he was born. Usually these gifts are:
1) Something to wear
2) Something to Read
3) Something they have wanted.
Then Santa brings them a big gift (something we wanted to bless the kids with) and little candies and craft supplies. We love crafting in this house! Some of you have asked how we do Santa in our home. I have mentioned before that we neither encourage him or discourage him. Santa, and the story of Saint Nicholas, is magical and inspiring and really all Santa is to us is that magical spirit of giving and that innocent essence of childhood fantasy. Christ is our focal point. The reason we celebrate. Parker has figured us out I think. Santa brought him a 'Remote Control Airplane' for Christmas this year and it was by far his favorite. That night, before bed, he came up to me and gave me a big hug and said "Mom...I am not sure if Santa is really real or not but incase he isn't real and you really bought me this Airplane I just want you to know that I love it and Thank You!!" Melt. My. Heart.
We probably should have taken sweet Bebo's Pull-Up off! LOL! 

I hope that your Christmas was as Merry and Bright as ours! I can't wait until next years Holiday Season. The stress of moving (we move in 3.5 weeks) will not be on my shoulders and hopefully that wicked flu bug will not try to rob our Holiday Cheer, like he tried to this year. Despite the little holiday hiccups it was a GREAT Christmas and I am thankful for all of these little loves that I get to spend it with.
Merry 'Late' Christmas from our Family to Yours!!