Do I look a year older??

Well, today is my 33rd birthday! Do I look 33??

Happy Birthday!

Happy Birthday!

I don’t think I LOOK 33….sometimes I feel 33, but fortunately (thanks to my mom), I look very young for my age!

Paul’s parents treated us to 2 nights in a hotel in San Antonio (Thank you, Mike and Donna), so Wednesday night, off we went!!

On Thursday we went to Fiesta Texas….we had 2 extra tickets leftover from our trip in July (with the youth) so we went!

on our way!

on our way!

Besides paying for parking, our trip was free (can’t get much better than that)! We enjoyed about 2 hours in the water park and then went on a couple of rides!

Paul’s favorite ride at Six Flags is the “train” that goes around the whole park—

969030_650952071197_120483018_n(This is us on the train when we went to Fiesta Texas back in July)…..

Well, yesterday the train was closed–temporarily)–Paul was very sad.

CAM01195Luckily, it started working again and he was happy again!!!

CAM01193For dinner we went to Jason’s Deli and then crashed at the hotel. This morning we both woke up, feeling sore and jolted–and we only rode 2 rides in the main part of the park! We are definitely TOO OLD for amusement parks!!

Today we took it easy and got home around 3:00! After a quick nap, we were off to the first Giddings Buffaloes football games!!! The freshman played at 5:00 and it was SO HOT!! After sweating for about an hour we left (skipping the JV scrimmage) and got something to eat. We went back to the stadium at 8:00 for the Varsity scrimmage and the temperature was a million times better!! I love me some Giddings football!

CAM01204(I love, love, love this pictures–the sky is just beautiful)!

And…my favorite part of Giddings Football…..

CAM01206Whether we win or whether we lose, the glory still goes to God! At the end of every Varsity football game (both home and away) both teams gather together and pray–it is wonderful to see. Thank you, Coach Jones!

So, that was my birthday! I had a great day–thank you, Paul, for my little “mini-vacation”!

We are Family…..

family_quoteI really don’t like this picture.

Let me tell you why….

In this picture, it is depicted that the only way to have a family is to get pregnant and have a baby! Yes, one of life’s greatest blessings is to have a family….but what is a family?

According to our nice friend, Webster, a family is a: group of individuals living under one roof and usually under one head.

No reference to children, no reference to being pregnant, no reference to procreating…..just the blessing of a group of individuals under one roof

“I personally felt in my heart that I want to experience the joy of giving unconditional love. I still believe having children is blessing, and at the same time not having children is also a blessing. The key is to follow your heart…” -Sahar

I consider Paul and I a family unit. There are 2 of us….we are a family. That’s it. I am blessed today more than yesterday and everyday our relationship grows….are we anymore of a family than we were 7 years ago when we got married? I don’t think so. We were a family on May 13, 2006, and we are still a family. We just don’t have kids.

And that’s our choice.

It seems the questions “Are y’all going to have kids?” or “Are y’all dead set on not having kids?” have come up over and over the past week or so. It just seems every time I’ve turned around this week, someone has been asking me about kids.

I’m not annoyed with (and I don’t think they are being rude by asking); I just want people to be OK with our answer. Our decision. Our beliefs. What’s best for us….as a married couple. As a family.

I think sometimes it can be difficult, for a woman, to decide in her heart, what is right (for her and for herself and her husband) when our society bombards us with the idea that ALL women want children and it’s just part of being a female.

For some woman, the idea of having children is fulfillment and for others the idea of having children is like ending one’s life as they know it. I don’t think, for me, either one of those ideas is what drives me to have children or not to have children…..I am very fulfilled with my life now, but I also think that if the Lord wanted us to have kids, I would be OK with that, too. My life wouldn’t end–it would just be different!

One day, about 6 months ago, one of the little girls from our church asked me if we were going to have kids….I told her I wasn’t sure (probably not) and she was so worried…..that we wouldn’t have grand kids! Not that we wouldn’t have kids, but that we wouldn’t have grand kids! 🙂

So, if we don’t have kids, what about leaving a legacy?

A legacy is defined as a gift…left to someone…and anything handed down from the past, as from an ancestor.

What do all of these people have in common?

  • Plato
  • Mary Magdalene
  • Mother Teresa
  • Florence Nightingale
  • Joan of Arc
  • Rosa Parks
  • Henry David Thoreau
  • Oliver Wendell Holmes
  • Helen Keller
  • Leonardo da Vinci
  • Michelangelo
  • Vincent Van Gogh
  • Salvador Dali
  • Emily Dickinson
  • Emily Bronte
  • Annie Oakley
  • Harriet Tubman
  • Lily Tomlin
  • Diane Sawyer

None of these people had children. Although famous and “legacy leavers” none of them had children…..and yet, here they are. They left their legacy, their blessing, and their footprints in our lives forever.

One question that a woman does have to ask herself, though, is, “What kind of legacy am I leaving, as a whole, if my husband and I decide not to have children?”

But, I can answer that question with another one….”What if we decide to help improve the lives of hundreds of children in this world instead of bringing one more into the world? What if we created a world of comfort and education, through ministry, for other people, rather than bringing one more into the world?”

(Paul and I both agree 100% that if we do end up having children, we will adopt. There are too many children this world–and especially in our local community–that don’t have families, why would we bring one into the world when we can love, bless, and support a foster/abandoned child?)

As a married couple, we owe it to ourselves to examine what is right for us–and honor what is true for us.

Perhaps some of us were born to give back to the world in a way that doesn’t involve having children. While reproduction plays a vital role in the continuation of the human race, I feel that we each have differing parts to play in that continuation.

Just as we all are parts of the body of Christ (1 Corinthians 12:12, 14-27) and all have different gifts and abilities, maybe for Paul and I our gifts for the Kingdom are an opportunity to serve young people in a way that we could never do if we had our own children. Our life would no longer be our own. Our schedule would be different. Our children (as an extension of our family) would come first. So, consider it a blessing, church kids, that we don’t have children of our own because we would not be able to be as flexible as we are now.

It has been said that children spell love T-I-M-E. And, I think the children of our church (both BIG “C” and little “c”) and in our faith are starving. Starving for love (starving for T-I-M-E), and we would not be able to give what we give and be as involved as we are if we had our own.

In truth a family is what you make it. It is made strong, not by number of heads counted at the dinner table, but by the rituals you help family members create, by the memories you share, by the commitment of time, caring, and love you show to one another, and by the hopes for the future you have as individuals and as a unit. –Margy Kennedy, The Single Parent Family

So….there you have it. Will we have kids? Probably not. But, if the Lord decides to allow us to be parents, we will love them, nurture them, teach them, discipline them, and keep them, for the time the Lord allows us (b/c after all….our children are not our children. They are the Lord’s–we are merely raising them in the Lord–Proverbs 22:6, Psalm 127:3–and for the Lord). And, that is NOT to be taken lightly (see post here about raising your children in the Lord).

Children’s Camp cont’d.

me, Adrie, and Sierra

me, Adrie, and Sierra

Zoe

Zoe

Mason

Mason

Elly, Hanna, and Adrie

Elly, Hanna, and Adrie

Luke

Luke

Adrie and Elly

Adrie and Elly

Mason playing with water balloons

Mason playing with water balloons

Sierra and her "blue raspberry" tongue

Sierra and her “blue raspberry” tongue

Mason and Zoe

Mason and Zoe

Sierra, Mason, and Luke

Sierra, Mason, and Luke

Mason, Delanie, and Billy

Mason, Delanie, and Billy

Sierra

Sierra

Delanie

Delanie

Sierra and her "tiger" face

Sierra and her “tiger” face

Hanna playing during Recreation

Hanna playing during Recreation

the whole group

the whole group

Well, except for a small swim party on Wednesday, our “summer activities” are OVER!! 🙂 It has been a super, busy summer–it wouldn’t trade it for anything, but I am glad to not have to live out of a suitcase anymore and be able to sleep in a bed that is wider than a bunk bed!

We have a “break” until August 16th, when football starts, which happens to be my BIRTHDAY! 🙂

Children’s Camp 2013

As I said, directly after Pre-Teen Camp I turned around and went back to Children’s Camp…..

Children’s Camp was H-A-R-D!!! It’s definitely not my “cup of tea” but we all survived!! The kids had a good time, so that’s all that matters!

Sierra sleeping on the bus

Sierra sleeping on the bus

all the girls

all the girls

Billy and "Grumpy" (Kelly)

Billy and “Grumpy” (Kelly)

Billy got to volunteer during the Bible Study time

Billy got to volunteer during the Bible Study time

Zoe and Aislyn

Zoe and Aislyn

Delanie

Delanie

Billy

Billy

Elly

Elly

Aislyn

Aislyn

Hanna and Elly

Hanna and Elly

Luke

Luke

Sierra

Sierra

Luke

Luke

Zoe and Hanna

Zoe and Hanna

Billy

Billy

Hanna and Elly

Hanna and Elly

Hanna

Hanna

Aislyn (with shaving cream and cheetos on her face)

Aislyn (with shaving cream and cheetos on her face)

Pre-Teen Camp cont’d.

playing a late night game of "Go Fish"

playing a late night game of “Go Fish”

playing with water balloons

playing with water balloons

making shadow hearts before worship

making shadow hearts before worship

Victoria and me

Victoria and me

Catherine

Catherine

CAM00894

Paul and Jalisa in a "head hug"

Paul and Jalisa in a “head hug”

The girls with "Sherman"

The girls with “Sherman”

Savanah, Victoria, and Jared

Savanah, Victoria, and Jared

Lindsey, Catherine, and Jalisa

Lindsey, Catherine, and Jalisa

Lindsey

Lindsey

Savanah

Savanah

Catherine

Catherine

Jalisa

Jalisa

Jalisa

Jalisa

Lindsey

Lindsey

the girls swimming

the girls swimming

Jared

Jared

Jared and Jalisa

Jared and Jalisa

the orange team won "Sherman" the spirit stick

the orange team won “Sherman” the spirit stick

during Worship

during Worship

Paul and me

Paul and me

Paul read while we swam

Paul read while we swam

the kids

the kids

all of us

all of us

We survived!!

We survived!!

After getting back from Pre-Teen Camp on Thursday at 1:00PM, I turned around and went to Children’s Camp the next day. Let me just say….Pre-Teen Camp and Youth Camp are definitely more my style than Children’s Camp–it was very hard for me!!! 🙂

Pre-Teen Camp 2013

This past week (Monday-Thursday) Paul and I went to Pre-Teen Camp at Highl*and Lakes Camp, outside of Austin. We went there last year, as well…..you can read about it here, here, and here.

We can now check off “Pre-Teen Camp 2013” off of our Summer To-Do List….

the group of kids that went

the group of kids that went

Catherine

Catherine

Me, Jared, Catherine, Lindsey, and Jalisa

Me, Jared, Catherine, Lindsey, and Jalisa

Victoria

Victoria

Lindsey and me

Lindsey and me

Jared, Me, and Catherine

Jared, Me, and Catherine

Taylor and Lindsey

Taylor and Lindsey

Taylor and Lindsey "flying" off the Power Pole

Taylor and Lindsey “flying” off the Power Pole

Paul and me

Paul and me

Catherine

Catherine

Taylor

Taylor

Jared

Jared

Victoria, Taylor, and Lindsey

Victoria, Taylor, and Lindsey

Catherine

Catherine

Jared

Jared

Paul, Lindsey, Catherine, Victoria, and Taylor

Paul, Lindsey, Catherine, Victoria, and Taylor