Sunday, November 14, 2010

Gray Hair and Country Music!

I have always loved this time of year.  I love pulling out the winter clothes and coats.  I love the warm colors and cool air.  I even love how it gets darker earlier - it makes me feel cozy!  But I think one of my favorite things is that it is a great time to reflect on the year that has almost passed.  It is a time of processing and thankfulness - and this year has provided a lot of reasons for both!

One thing that I am processing is the number of gray hairs on my head!!  They have probably quadrupled over the past 8 months!  But it isn't the actual hair that I am processing ... it is the reasons for it.  If you would have told me last November that one year from now we would be living in Littleton, Colorado I would have laughed and said that was crazy.  If you would have told me that the reason we moved there was for Bryan to attend seminary ... I would have said that YOU were crazy!  This was not our "plan."  But God has a great way of lovingly (and often times not so gently) redirecting us to where we need to be.  The circumstances around our decision to come here were hard, but so so good for us.  We loved the people we were with and that was, in our minds, reason enough to stay where we were.  But God had more for us - and I am so glad that we didn't miss it!  He is deepening and sharpening us in totally new ways ... preparing us.  We don't know what for yet - but we are excited for the ride! 

Another thing that has probably caused a few more gray hairs is a little man named Drew!  I cannot express to you how much I love that kid.  He is a true JOY!  But he keeps me on my toes and is teaching me to go with the flow more.  We had some rough/frustrating spots this year - but I feel like we have turned a corner.  Although he still isn't talking much (at least not words I can understand) ... he is understanding tons - and that has made all the difference.  I am learning a lot about parenting and am so amazingly thankful to be surrounded by so many incredible mothers that I get to watch in action on a daily basis.  And I pray that am a better mother because of them.  Thanks DenSem mommies!
Isn't he a cutie?
A few of those amazing mommies I was talking about!

I must confess that I have been missing home some lately.  I have been working on our yearly album so I think some of that is due to looking at pictures.  And although I am truly loving it here in Colorado ... it still doesn't feel like home yet.  Maybe that is why I have found myself landing on the country radio station lately!  There is something about country music that feels like home to me.  For all of you friends from the north, west or Australia (haha) - NO, we don't just listen to country music all the time in Arkansas!!  I love all kinds of music as many of you know.  But I do love me some country - it just makes me smile.

I would be remiss to not mention stress in relation to money.  I wouldn't say that we have obsessed about it - but it is continuously on our hearts.  And that may just be the nature of support raising.  Even now, my eyes are welling up with tears when I think about those who have already given so much to help us get here.  It amazes me EVERY time anyone gives us anything.  It humbles me to my very core.  Knowing we have people cheering for us and believing in us gives us strength.  Your prayers are powerful and effective!!  "Thank you" never feels like enough ... but thank you all the same.

So yes - the gray hair has multiplied (although I am hiding it pretty well).  And although a lot of it I am sure has to do genetics (love you Mom) ... it has also been a busy and stressful year.  Which is why I am so thankful for this holiday season.  I want to soak it all in and be fully present in it - not looking to tomorrow.  I want to truly experience Immanuel - God with us!  Thank you Jesus that you are here ... with me.

As always - thank you for reading!!
(here are a few more pics)

Our little Tinkerbell at Halloween!

We had two Halloweens!  Jordan was what I call a "diva" this night.  Drew was Spiderman.  And Bryan even dressed up as a ninja (No wait - he was about to leave for work)!

I love this picture.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Birthday Girl, Mid Term ... and Thank You.

How in the world can it be October 27!?  September seemed to crawl by like a snail, whereas October is flying by so fast I almost missed it!  It has been a busy month to say the least!

First - and most importantly - our baby girl turned 4 years old!  Her birthday weekend was so much fun.  My Mom and Cade (our nephew and Jordan's buddy) came to visit and Jordan was in heaven!  As if that wasn't enough fun, we had a birthday party at the park and all of her new friends were there.  It was a beautiful fall morning which was a huge answer to prayer.  And although we had to relocate at one point, it turned out to be a perfect picnic and the kids played, fed the ducks, ate doughnuts and chocolate chip pumpkin muffins - and the adults got to just relax and visit.  All in all - a success on all counts!  Here are a few pics:

I also HAVE to include this picture which just makes me laugh!  Cade and Jordan being so silly after bath time!

So we started off the month with a BANG and didn't stop moving from there.  Bryan has been working 5 nights a week and class on 1 night as well.  He is keeping up with his school work which is a blessing and I am SO proud of him.  We are at the half way point of this first semester!!  We were talking the other day about where we are right now and we just kinda looked at each other and said, "We're doing it."  After the long journey of getting here and the challenges that we are facing now, God is sustaining us and we are moving forward.  I think it will feel really good to have a whole semester under our belts come December.  We will be thankful for a long break as well!  We have booked our tickets to be in Little Rock for Christmas and are hoping to hug as many people as we can while we are there! 

The kids are awake now so I need to wrap this up ...

I wanted to give a HUGE thank you to all of you who have supported us and have been praying for us.  My last post entitled "Money" was a hard one to write and your responses have meant so much to us.  It is humbling on so many levels to raise support and it has taught us so much.  I am thankful to report that we have raised 44.5% of our overall need.  God is so faithful ... and we are clinging to that promise!  We have come to the realization that while Bryan's job is a blessing and is filling in the gap some ... he is not making enough for the time he is putting in.  The restaurant simply isn't busy enough so he isn't able to make what he needs to be making.  SO - we are praying for a new job.  He is going to start working on that today.  He would LOVE to get a job in ministry since that is what he has been doing and wants to do!  But he is open to a lot of things.  So with all that in mind ... here are a few prayer requests:

-  Please pray that Bryan would find a new job.  He doesn't have a lot of spare time to put much effort into this, so my prayer is that the job would find him.

- Bryan asked me yesterday how I was doing on a heart level.  Well - to be honest I have no idea.  I feel like I am dealing with all the immediate stuff that I haven't thought too much about my needs.  My time with the Lord has been so sweet which I am thankful for ... but being a wife and mommy has pretty much been all that I do throughout the day.  So how is Corrie doing ... good question.  I am trying to figure that out.

- Finances.  Sorry for the repetition on this one.

Love you all and thank you for sticking with us.  We don't know what we would do without all of you in our corner.


Sunday, September 26, 2010

Money ...

I have been debating on writing this post for a few weeks, and God has really stirred my heart to be transparent with all of you about where we are right not in regards to finances.  As some of you know, we have been trying to raise support all summer to help us get through the next 2 years.  We have been amazed and humbled by the generosity of some of our family and friends.  I have been brought to tears many times by the love and support that we have received - it has been truly amazing.  Thank you so much to all of you who have given so sacrificially - we are doing our very best to be good stewards of every penny!

With all of that being said (and here is where my heart starts racing as I type) ... we still need help.  Bryan has been the one that has been writing our support letters and meeting with people to ask for help, but this is the first time you are hearing from me - and my take is a little different because for one, we are actually here now ... and for two, I am seeing the burden that Bryan is carrying.  And it is just really hard.  So ... I have been told that in support raising it is best to just lay it all out there ... so here we go (deep breath Corrie). 

If we were to raise 100% of what we need for the next two years - we are only about 37% there.  With that being said - we have raised enough to pay for tuition and books which is AWESOME!!!  What we still have to pay for is rent, health insurance, car insurance, groceries, electric bills, etc.  All the regular day to day stuff.  And please trust me when I say, that we are trying to cut wherever we can.  But living costs money as we all know.

Bryan is working at On The Boarder waiting tables.  He feels real purpose in being there and is excited to see what all God has in store.  But he is having to work a lot to make the money that we need (and to be honest we are still coming up short).  Supposedly this is the slowest time of year for restaurants.  The last number of weeks he has worked 5 nights in a row with a double shift on Saturdays.  And he has class on Monday nights, so we have had him home one night a week.  Thankfully, we do get to see him at random times throughout the day and at lunch which is a blessing.  But he is having to spend numerous hours a day at the library to study and get all of his school work done.  So needless to say ... between school and work, he is one busy guy.

We honestly hadn't planned on being able to raise 100% of what we need for the next 2 years - not that God couldn't do that!!  We did expect that we would need to work some ... just not quite this much.  The pace has been a bit nuts to say the least.  And that is why I am writing this - to ask for your help to ease Bryan's load.  If he could work more like 3 or 4 shifts a week, it would make a HUGE difference in not only his life, but our life as a family.  Here are a couple of ways that you can help:

1.  Financial Support.  We have a scholarship fund that our home church has established for us where donations to our account are tax deductible.  Monthly or one-time gifts are huge.  Simply make checks payable to Fellowship Bible Church with our name in the memo section and mail them to:

Fellowship Bible Church
attn: Rosie Stephens
PO Box 7123
Little Rock, AR  72223

2.  Resolve to pray!  It is so exciting for me to think about how God might surprise us in this way!  I want to ask that you would pray specifically that God would bless Bryan financially at work.  One night he had a table that gave him a $50 tip from a $45 ticket - it was amazing.  When Bryan told me about it, I really felt God saying, "Corrie, I have got this.  You just have to trust me."  Oh how He loves us!!!

Well, thank you for reading this.  I literally just let out a deep breath ... this is just hard stuff for me.  Bryan said it best for both of us in one of his support letters.  He wrote, "I hate asking anyone, for anything, ever.  It exposes my pride and humbles me at a real level.  But God has convicted me that I often don't have because I don't ask him or his people."  I couldn't have said better.  Again - thanks for reading and for loving and supporting us.  It honestly means more than you could ever imagine!


"Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever! Amen."  Eph 3: :20-21

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Work, Playgrounds and Beth Moore!

I kinda still can't believe that we are doing this whole seminary thing.  Oh it is all very real ... but I am often amazed at how God brought us to this place and at this time in our lives.  He is so creative!  And as Beth Moore so aptly put it this week ... NOT BORING!!

The past couple of weeks have been a bit of a blur.  Bryan started training at work last week and worked 5 nights in a row - with a double shift on Saturday.  So I was pretty burnt out on motherhood by the end of the weekend to say the least.  But alas, Monday came (which may be quickly becoming my favorite day of the week - weird!) and I had my husband home for a few days.  So nice!  Then he went in last night for his "final exam" and he passed with flying colors!  Woo hoo!   It was a bit overwhelming for him to have to study for work (learning the menu) and study for school - so we are so thankful that training is done!  And now he is working for the next 4 nights with a double shift on Saturday again.  At least now he will be making tips!  I think they are trying to give him the best shifts since this is a slower time of the year for restaurants and they know that he has a family and is in school - such a blessing in that respect.  But for Mama and kiddos - we are missing him.  So we are trying to fill our time with fun stuff until sweet Monday arrives (Bryan can't work on Monday because of his night class).

So you might be asking, "Corrie, what do you and the kids do while Bryan is studying or working?"  Well I can answer that in one word ... playground!  Jordan has made some really sweet friends here and loves to play outside with them.  Most of them are boys - so one game she is getting really into is Star Wars!  That's my girl!  I think we are going to have to have a Star Wars movie night soon so she can have some context and know that she can be Princess Leia. =)  And check this out, her birthday is coming up and she is asking for "a gun, a guitar, a puppy and chocolate."  Thankfully, the dog that she wants is a stuffed animal.  She cracks me up!

A fun trick she learned from Daniel.

This is Daniel Chapin - such cute friends!

Drew may be the one that is missing Daddy the most.  He is always really upset when Bryan leaves and asks for him a few times throughout the day.  Thankfully, he is being a bit of a momma's boy right now so that is actually helpful.  He has started to say a few more words this week which is really encouraging.  He has just been so much slower to talk and it has made me curious about this hearing - but I have talked to a number of people who say that can be pretty common in boys.  It just makes this stage harder when he is frustrated that I can't understand him - which makes me frustrated.  So we are working on that.

On Tuesday night we got to go on a date!!  It was much needed and so much fun (thanks for watching the kiddos Aunt Kat)!  We went to a Mexican restaurant that had an amazing patio.  We ate great food, talked, laughed, and just enjoyed being together outside in this beautiful weather!  We watched the sunset and were in no hurry.  We were there for probably an hour and half.  We tried to take a few pictures, but they don't quite do justice for the view.  We really did have such a great time.
Our view!

A huge highlight for me this week has been this Beth Moore Bible Study that I am going to on Wednesdays!  It is at a church close by and we are doing her new study which is called Inheritance - and it is going to be awesome!  This was the first week and it just got me so excited about what God is going to do this semester.  One of the things she talked about was that life with Jesus is NOT boring!  It is an exciting and wild ride!!!  She used the example of driving vs. riding in a car.  When YOU are driving, you know when you are going to turn and where you are going.  You are in control so the drive can be fairly boring.  And then she asked "How can you be on a wild ride when you are in the driver's seat?"  I feel like I got thrown out of the driver's seat this past spring when we were faced with the decision to go to seminary.  But man, what an exciting adventure it has been.  And I am so thankful that my Daddy is driving this car and not me - because he is going places that I could have never imagined!  He is so amazingly good.

This whole blogging thing is still a bit funny for me because a number of people have said that they are keeping up with us through it - which is awesome!  But it is just cool to me that friends like you actually read my scatterbrained thoughts and care about what is going on in our lives here in Colorado.  It honestly means more to me than I would have ever thought it would.  So thank you for caring and praying for us.  We love you all so dearly. 

Prayer Requests:
- Please continue to pray for us financially.  That God would provide exactly what we need in mighty ways.
- Pray for Bryan as he in now "on his own" at work.  Pray that things go smoothly.
- Pray for Bryan as he is trying to balance family time, study time and work.  It is a LOT!
- Pray for the kids and I - that we would make the most of every day.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Labor Day Weekend Adventures

The last two weekends have been full of fun adventures with family.  As I said in my last post, Grammy & PaPa came 2 weeks ago.  And this past weekend we were able to spend some time up in Keystone with my Dad, Nancy, Kat, Sean and Tate which was so much fun!  So I am feeling a little whiplash with jumping back into things now.  We had this laid back weekend - and then it took us double the time to get home due to traffic coming down from the mountains which was frustrating, Bryan jumped back into classes yesterday and has his first official day at On The Boarder is tomorrow.  So this is the first week of what our "new normal" will be - kinda weird.

Yesterday was the first day that I really felt homesick.  I think some of that is because I was looking through some pictures from our home church that someone posted on Facebook.  A number of our dearest friends either help lead worship or are campus pastors - so it was so fun to look through them.  But I found myself sad afterwards.  We also found out this weekend that a woman that Bryan worked with for 4 years passed away very unexpectedly.  It has been kinda hard being here when so many people we know are grieving that loss.  I also found out that one of my small group girls is going to be on the homecoming court which is awesome - but I am just sick that I am not going to be there.  So yeah - it was a weird day yesterday.  Not that I am not enjoying it here ... I truly am.  But I found myself missing my friends and family in Little Rock ... and I know that that is ok.  It just made me sad.

Ok - let's move on to the more fun stuff!

I LOVE the mountains!!  The are just so majestic and stunning!  One of my favorite things that we did in Keystone was go on an 18 mile bike ride from Copper Mountain down to Dillon!  The views were amazing and the weather was perfect.  Bryan is the biker in our family - but I was surprised how much I enjoyed it (although my rear was telling me a different story the next morning - haha)!  We had the kids in a "basket" that Bryan pulled behind his bike and they loved it.  Jordan has not stopped talking about it.  The only bummer from the day was that my Dad took a fall and had a minor concussion.  We are pretty sure he fainted after going up a hill.  He is doing well now - but it was a little scary!  Here are a few pictures.

This is where we started - beautiful!!

Happy us!

The kids just got to sit and enjoy the ride!  Way to go Daddy!

The rest of the weekend was great too.  We watched football and cheered for our Razorbacks as they won their first game - Go Hogs!  We ate good food.  We did some shopping - great outlets!  And Kat, Sean, Bryan and I played one of the longest games of Spades ever!  But there is something about being in the mountains that is so peaceful to me.  It is just one of those places that God speaks to my heart - and just tells me He loves me.  What an awesome God we serve!  I hope that we get to spend a lot of time in the mountains while we are here - Bryan and I both love it!

I need to go for now.  They kids are down for their naps and I need to take a break!  But here are some cute pictures of our kiddos - don't they look so Coloradoan!?

He is getting to that age where it is hard to get him to stay still for a picture!

Happy girl!

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

And so it begins ...

This has already been a big week for the Crowley family!  First of all ... BRYAN GOT A JOB!!  Thank you all so much for praying.  He will be waiting tables at On The Boarder - very fun!  He also started classes on Monday and has been spending a lot of time at the library (he actually left a few minutes ago to spend some more time there).  Bryan's parents were in town Saturday - Tuesday which was great.  The kids were in heaven having them here ... and Drew is still "seeking" PaPa after playing so much Hide-N-Seek.  Thanks for making the trip Grammy & PaPa!  We love you!  So yeah ... we have been busy.

Needless to say with this week ... our lives are changing.  Thankfully Bryan and I aren't the type to shy away from change, but that doesn't mean that it won't take some getting used to.  I am so proud of Bryan and his attitude towards school.  It has been fun watching him get organized with his "school supplies" and think through what method will work best for him.  He is so determined to stay on top of everything - that is his biggest concern for school.  He hasn't started work yet.  He is waiting for his training schedule, so I will keep you posted!

I think I am adjusting well so far.  I was reminded this morning of God's amazing blessing to us of living on campus.  From about 9:30 to 11:00 I sat outside talking to a friend while our kids played (actually, Jordan wanted to hang out with Aunt Kat so I just had Drew).  We came inside and had lunch.  Kat came by for about 20 minutes just to hang out, and then Bryan came home and helped get the kids down for naps.  In a time when it would be so easy to feel alone and isolated, God has me in a place where there is always someone around - and not just "someone," but other women that are in the same stage of life whose husbands are doing the same thing.  And amazing women at that!  God has been so sweet to me throughout this whole process.  He is so good!

This may seem small, but another huge blessing for me has been exercise!  After doing Body & Soul for 3 years, I was really missing aerobics and strength training as part of my week.  Not only was it fun and I loved the music, but it kept me in shape!  And thanks to some precious friends of ours who paid for me, I have been able to start going to Jazzersize!!  Katherine and I have been going together and we are loving it.  I thought I was in decent shape going into it, but I have been huffing it in each class!!  Whew!  How long can I blame that on the altitude!?

I would say the only bummer lately has been the fact that I have poison ivy and it has been driving me crazy!  And it is in the most random places - my wrists, under my arm, and on my inner thigh??  What in the world!?  I got it when we went to Estes Park so thankfully I am on the downhill slope.  I haven't had it in so long I didn't really know what it was at first.  I thought I was having an allergic reaction to something.  But alas, it was just plain old poison ivy.  Lovely!

Well, the kids are waking up so I need to wrap it up.

Prayer Requests:
- That God would continue to provide for us financially (we are still raising support)
- That Bryan would pick things up quickly at work
- That we would be able to find a church home here
- Balance

Here are a few pics from the week!

First day of school picture!  Love it!

PaPa is such a fun toy!

Pure joy!

A great visit with Grammy and PaPa!

Monday, August 23, 2010

Something that can always make me laugh!!

I have been meaning to post this for awhile and I keep forgetting!  Check out our little boy a few months ago when he fell asleep while eating lunch!

Big Boy Birthday and Estes Park!

I love music!  It is amazing the difference it makes in my day.  I have been sitting here stewing about a few things - and then Bryan turned on some music and it instantly took my focus off of our circumstances and on to Jesus ... where it always needs to be.  "Lead me to the cross, where you love poured out.  Bring me to my knees, Lord I lay me down.  Rid me of myself, I belong to you.  Lead me to the cross."

And with that in mind I can share how God has been loving me in such sweet ways this week.  Just to mention a few:  Our external hard drive crashed and I thought we lost ALL of our pictures over the last 5 years - but when I pulled out our old computer, every picture was there ... and I could have sworn that I had deleted them.  Not to mention the flash drive that had all the pictures that my friend had given me to do a scrapbook for her.  I don't remember putting them there!  I truly believe that God restored it all.  It was awesome.  We got a check from our mortgage company that was very unexpected.  And God has blessed us with meeting so many great new people that we forming great new friendships with.  He cares about every detail of my life ... and I am amazed by Him!

Our boy turned 2 last week!!  I still can't believe it!  We had a fun family morning going to Chuck E Cheese for games and then Chick-fil-a for lunch.  I made some yummy cupcakes for that night, so after dinner some friends came over and we sang to him.  Then we went outside and let the kids play and gave people cupcakes.  Very fun!  And then more friends came over that night and they stayed up late playing together.  So Drew had a great day which made me happy.

Jordan helped me make cupcakes!  Love it!

This weekend we got to go to Estes Park with our friends Nick, Sarah and Evie which was a blast.  It was so beautiful and our first real adventure since we moved here. We all packed lunches and didn't really have an agenda.   It was just nice to get off campus with friends and have some fun.  We still can't get over the weather and the beauty here.  It is truly marvelous!  Well - just check out the pictures!!

The kids were not too thrilled to take pictures - they just wanted to run and get in the water!

This is Sarah!  Already such a sweet friend!  And did I mention they are from Australia - I could listen to them talk all day!  =)

Jordan and Evie - precious!

I mean really!?!?!?

See what I mean - BEAUTIFUL!!  And so much fun.

Well - the kiddos are waking up and we are excited to see Kat, Sean and baby Tate since they just got back from a trip!  Please continue to pray for a job for Bryan - he has been applying places but hasn't heard back from anyone yet.  We know God will provide just what we need - we are just trying to be patient.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Settling In

Right now, everyone in my house (apartment) is napping.  And for those of you who know me well, you know that I am not a napper.  So I thought I would try and catch everyone up on what all has been going on here in Denver!

It is hard to believe that we started our journey here one week ago today.  It has been a whirlwind to say the least.  It has had its emotional ups and downs - but all in all, it has been better than we could have hoped.  And can I just say that the weather here is AMAZING!!  I walked outside this morning at about 7:45 and it was really chilly ... in August!!!  I still can't get over how beautiful it is here.

Monday was "Move-in Day."  We had everything unloaded by about 10:30 and the unpacking frenzy began!  I had had a pretty rough night of sleep the night before, to be honest I think a lot of it was anxiety, but God provided the adrenaline that I needed to get through the day.  Thankfully my Mom was here to help out with the kids so we were able to get a LOT done.  When Bryan and I both get into task mode, we are knock stuff out quick.  We had 80% of the unpacking done by the following morning - woo hoo!  The apartments are great - I will post pictures soon.

Then Tuesday came - probably the most emotional day for me.  I drove my Mom to the airport that morning and we both were teary most of the way.  I hugged her goodbye, drove off, and started sobbing.  It was a 40 minute drive home and I just asked God to hear the cries of my heart because I didn't quite have words to give at that point.  Yes it was hard to say bye to Mom, but I really think that that is when reality started setting in.  We live in Denver, Colorado.  Nothing is familiar.  Bryan is going back to school.  We live in a two bedroom apartment where my son is sleeping in a storage room (which he loves by the way).  We are raising support.  Bryan is going to have to work and be a full time student.  Our lives are changing ... and although I am ok with that ... it is still hard.

Ok - on to a lighter subject!!  Have I mentioned that we live in the on-campus apartments and ours is on the bottom floor and looks onto the playground?  Yes - we have played there every day and it has provided such a great avenue to meet people in the exact same stage of life!  Jordan and Drew are having a ball and meeting new friends (maybe I should just say Jordan is because Drew just runs around and rides a little scooter everywhere).  It has been a huge blessing and so much fun.  We are excited to see what the Lord has in store there.

My only complaint is our neighbors - they are so annoying and won't leave us alone .... haha!!! JUST KIDDING!!  Having Katherine and Sean right next door has been one of the sweetest blessings of this whole thing.  It is so easy to walk next door and just say hey.  Jordan is loving it probably more than anyone.  She loves little baby Tate and always wants to know what he is up to.  And Aunt Kat is pretty cool too!  Drew is warming up to them like family which is fun to watch.  Not that he was hesitant, but he is starting to realize how close we all are and he is joining in on that.  What a joy!

Ok - I realize this is a long post so I'll wrap it up with a few prayer requests:

1.  Please pray for a job for Bryan.  He picked up a number of applications yesterday for some restaurants within about 2 miles of us so he is working on those.  Please pray that God would lead and that he would get a job quickly so that he can get training over with before school starts.

2.  Please pray that God would provide for us financially.  Depending on how much support we are able to raise will determine how much Bryan has to work.  And being a full time student, it is going to be a challenge.  So the more support we can raise the more time Bryan will have for school and family.

3.  Please pray for me.  I am mentally and emotionally exhausted.  The last two weeks have just been a roller coaster of emotions with saying goodbye to people we love, moving, and now trying to get settled and connect with new people here.  I am trying to find the balance of letting myself be sad about leaving and still excited about being here.  I feel both very strongly so it is a bit overwhelming and a lot to process.

One more thing.  We have seen a number of rainbows since we moved here and they have been stunning and of course they remind me of Noah and the flood.  What an incredible story for me to cling to right now - a true story of obedience.  And every time I have seen a rainbow this past week, God gently reminds me that He is faithful.  And that His promises are true.  He is my Rock and my Fortress - and in HIM I will put my hope.

Here are a few pics:

Just driving home.  Can you believe that scenery!?

Loving being outside!

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Cheez-Its, Apple Juice and Mountains!!

We made it to Denver!!  I still cannot believe that we are here!  And can I just tell you that the weather here is amazing!  Hot but not humid.  And the mountains are stunning!  Bryan and my Mom pulled out from Tulsa at about 7:30am and should be here in a few more hours - they are of course driving through that "wonderful" part of Kansas.  But they sound like they are having fun.

The kids did awesome on the plane!  I cannot thank you all enough for your prayers!  We actually got to have 3 seats which was a huge blessing!  Between Cheez-Its, apple juice and the Backyardagains - we were good to go.  Going through security was a bit of a task with Drew running away from me every 30 seconds - but we got it under control.  I basically just let them play as much as possibly before we got on the plane so that they enjoyed the down time once we were seated.  Honestly - the biggest hurdle was changing Drew's diaper in that crazy airplane bathroom!!  Talk about NO room.  I mean come on people - if you are going to put a changing table in a bathroom, make it wide enough to actually change a diaper!!  It was pretty hysterical.  And the moment we landed - Drew feel asleep on me and was knocked out!

My sister picked me up at the airport and we are just chillin' at their apartment - which is right next door to ours!  We move in tomorrow morning at 9am!  I'll post more about that in the days to come.  It feels so surreal being here ... but it is time.  We are ready for the adventure to begin!
7:30 this morning.  Ready for the day!

Heading out!  See you in Denver!

Get that energy OUT!

Troopers!  Jordan was holding ear phones to her ears.  I was SO thankful that it wasn't a full flight.

We made it!!

Friday, August 6, 2010

Moving Day Eve ... Saying Goodbye is for the Birds

So ... the truck is packed.  My Mom's garage is almost back to normal, although the rest of her house may need awhile to recoop.  I am sitting at the dining room table staring at a computer screen with so many thoughts and emotions that I want to write down and explain ... but my mind is mush and I am emotionally exhausted.  So forgive me for the lack of creativity or bluntness.  This is all I got.

It really has been an amazing and hard week on so many levels.  We have had such sweet time with dear friends which has been so good for my soul!  We have been blessed with great friendships here and we will miss you all terribly.  We take great comfort knowing that we will be back around the holidays and summers.  But goodbyes are just hard ... and I am just really sad.

Today alone has been an emotional roller coaster!  I had my last Body & Soul class which was hard - it has been a huge blessing in my life.  Afterwards, all of the ladies gathered around and prayed for me which was amazing.  I couldn't hold back tears to hear them praying the cries of my heart.  From safety for travels, to raising support, to finding new friends.  So many of my fears were lifted up before the Father and I couldn't help but weep.  I am so thankful that I serve a God who is walking this road with me and is holding me up.  Thank you Jesus that you care about every detail of my life - and that YOU are in control of it!

Bryan spent 5 hours packing the truck today!!  He is sore and exhausted - but he did such a great job.  Then we went to a fun birthday party for one of Jordan's friends and got to spend more time with friends that we love.  So it has been a full day ... but a tiring one.  And we begin THE BIG MOVE tomorrow so I need to get to bed.  But just so you all know our schedule for the move (we have had this question a LOT):

Saturday, Aug 7 - Driving to Tulsa to spend the night with my aunt
Sunday, Aug 8 - Bryan and my Mom drive from Tulsa to Denver in the Penske towing our car.  I fly with both kids to Denver (please pray for me!?)
Monday, Aug 9 - Move in to the apartment!!!

Our last night in Little Rock.  So hard to believe.  G'night.

My Mom's garage for the past 3 weeks!  Just thought this was funny!

My messy boy at the birthday party today.  He was in heaven!

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

My Girls

My heart is sad tonight.  I had to say goodbye to some of the people that I am going to miss most of all .. my sweet small group girls - aka. "My Girls."  I started with them when they were giggly 7th graders and they stole my heart.  It has been an amazing 4 years and I am so sad that I am not going to be able to stick with them these last two years.  When we first talked about moving, one of the things that I really had to surrender to the Lord was this group.  Not because they need me or that I am worried about them ... but because I just love each one of them so much and will miss them terribly.  I am so amazingly thankful for email, facebook, skype, cell phones and texting because I know that I will be able to keep in touch with them - but I am still sad.  Megan, Julia, Tori, Caylie, Chloe, Elizabeth, Kaitlin, Anna, Bliss, Taylor Ann, Katie and Grace ... I love each one of you dearly and am so thankful that God put us all together.  You are all so precious to me and I am so excited to see what all God has in store for you!
This was taken in 2006 at our first Christmas party!  They have grown up so much!  I love you girls!

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Lots of Changes!

The past two weeks have been a whirlwind! We went to Kansas City for a few days to visit Bryan's family which is always so much fun. But this time we left the kids with PaPa & Grammy while Bryan and I flew to Denver to spend a few days learning our way around and visiting Denver Seminary (thanks again PaPa & Grammy).

Let me just say ... if you have never been to Colorado in the summer, then you haven't seen it at it's best!! We went without much of an agenda which was nice. We ate good food, went on a hike, did some shopping, drove around a lot, went to a movie and got some much needed R&R. I actually took a nap 2 of the days we were there - and I don't take naps. It had been a long and exhausting few weeks, so it was great to get away. But the highlight of the trip was our time at the seminary.

Look at my man on campus!! We still can't believe that he is about to be a student again! We got to go on a tour of the campus - which didn't take long. We met a number of the people on staff and Bry got to register for his fall classes. We got to see where we will be living which is just bizarre! For those of you that don't know, we will be in a two bedroom apartment on campus. Bryan will have about a 30 second walk from our front door to the main building where he will be having most of his classes - which means we will probably get to see him more - such a blessing. And another INCREDIBLE blessing is that Katherine and Sean are literally right next door to us! Our Father is so creative! It was a great trip - but we missed our kiddos and were ready to see them!

We got back to KC and had more time with family, including the Gaffs which was awesome! They are some of Bryan's cousins who live in Denver - we will be living about 10 minutes from their house! It was fun to get to talk to them about our trip. We are so excited to get to spend more time with them over the next 2 years! (See you soon Rob, Amy, Caity, Dale and Andrew)

We all went to Worlds of Fun on Friday and rode tons of rides! Jordan rode her first roller coaster and LOVED it - I was so proud! (Believe it or not - I am more into theme park rides than Bryan) The kids went home with Grammy after lunch and all us "big" kids went back to the park and rode all the grown up rides - we all had a blast!

So after a week of traveling, we finally got home to our clean home (spotlessly clean since we had to make sure it was ready to show). It was a little weird to be home at first to be honest. After being where we are going to be for the 2 years, and then coming back to where we are currently - it feels like we aren't settled anywhere. It may just be like that for the next 2 months and that is ok.

And in other news - WE SIGNED A CONTRACT ON OUR HOUSE YESTERDAY!! What a huge relief. The market has obviously slowed down since the tax credit ended - so we are just thankful that God brought a buyer. Now we are just praying for everything to go smoothly.

Ok - long post! Sorry! Swim lessons post coming soon - our girl is a rockin' it!

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Denver Bound!

If someone would have told me a month ago that we would be going to SEMINARY in DENVER, COLORADO this fall - I would have laughed hysterically and said they were crazy! It is amazing how God works. We have been through just about every emotion over the past month - and I am sure it has only just begun - but I can honestly say that we are truly excited about where the Lord is leading.

For those of you that may not know the whole story - here is the VERY shortened version. Bryan has been with FSM for 5 years - but over the past 9 months or so, he has felt God calling us to something new ... we just didn't know what that was. Through a number of meetings with godly men that have helped him process what his giftings are and what his passion is ... seminary kept coming up. Bryan actually asked me one night, "Will you at least pray about the possibility of seminary?" - I said I would - but my prayer was something along the lines of, "God - Bryan asked me to pray about seminary - so ... I really don't want to go. There I prayed about it."

Boy God must have a weird sense of humor!

A few days later, the two of us were in a meeting with Tim Lundy and Brandon Barnard - two men that love us and that we have a lot of respect for. Tim started asking Bryan some great leading questions about what he wants to do. At the end of it he ask, "Bryan, when you look around you, what job do you see that you would want." And Bryan said, "A Community Group Pastor or a Campus Pastor ... something along those lines." And both Tim and Brandon said, "YES - you would be amazing in that role!!" And as we talked about that it became very clear to me that seminary would be the next necessary step for Bryan to get to where he truly wants to be ... and to do what he is so designed for!

So after that meeting, Bryan and I went to grab lunch and I said, "Bryan - is this what you want to do with your life?" He said yes. And I said, "Ok - so where are we going to seminary?"

We considered DTS, but Denver was the only place we ever got truly excited about. Not only is it a great school that is in Colorado (as if that wasn't enough) - but my sister's husband Sean will be starting classes there in the fall as well! So we will all be there at the same time ... isn't God creative!? You should see the way Bryan's face lights up when he talks about being around mountains for the next 2 years - he is like a 5 year old on Christmas Eve!!

Now we just have to sell our house, raise support and get moved ... just a small 'to do' list!! It is easy to start feeling overwhelmed ... but it gives me great hope seeing the way God has led us to this point - He has led us this far, so I know He will get us there!

Monday, May 3, 2010

Crazy Weather Weekend

I am thankful to report that not only did we make it through all the crazy storms from the weekend - but we had a lot of fun at the same time! We were hanging out with the Hedlunds when the sirens starting going off - so we decided that we would just hang out in the hallway. The sirens went off about every 5 to 10 minutes for like an hour - but the storm stayed further east. It was crazy though!

Rik was following the storm on his iphone, and Jordan liked to feel like she was helping.

Jordan and Piper just enjoyed the adventure!!

Drew loved staying up after bedtime!! He felt pretty bigtime!

Jordan wanted to be in all the pictures - she has become a big fan of the camera!

All in all - we stayed safe and had fun with friends.