Monday, October 31, 2016

choo choo!

I didn't think we could ever top last year's Halloween costume that Braxton wore, but I stand corrected. He loves it as much as we do!

Since B loves trucks and trains (like REALLY loves them), we knew that we wanted to incorporate one of those into this holiday. He has been obsessed with Thomas since he got a Thomas push-along toy for his first birthday, and we have accumulated several shirts, pajamas, and toys since then. He always screams out "CHOO! CHOO!" every time he sees that friendly blue face, so when I saw this particular outfit and envisioned him pushing Thomas out in front of him I didn't hesitate to scoop it up. We tried it on for the first time about a week ago, and he smiled and posed on command for about half an hour. He didn't want to take it off he loved it so much!

Tonight, we will be trick-or-treating along Main Street in our new city, and I have no doubt that this little cutie will wear a proud smile all evening. His daddy and mommy will, too!
Happy Halloween from the cutest train conductor on the planet!
We hope you don't run out of steam before the day is over!

Sunday, October 30, 2016

boo in the zoo | our version.

Instead of joining most of Greenville for Boo in the Zoo this year, we decided to hold off until he actually eats candy and understands the concept of dressing up for Halloween. That didn't stop us from taking advantage of the decorations on a Tuesday morning, though! He loved all the Halloween signs, especially anything that resembled a truck, and he did what he does best the whole time we were there: led the way from one exhibit to another. Grandma joined us on this particular outing, and it was a real sweet time of bonding, just the three of us.

We sure have missed our weekly trips to the zoo this past month, but this visit was a good one to start back with. The more we go, the more he loves it. Especially when Grandma comes!

Saturday, October 29, 2016

a pumpkin party.

We carved and painted and admired our pumpkins last Sunday as we fellowshipped over fall comfort foods with dear friends. It doesn't get better than that, folks.

This group is proof that God gives you what you need when you need it. And I'll always be honored to simply sit and be with them.


Friday, October 28, 2016

lots of pumpkins and even more cheese.

It's nearing the end of October, so you know what that means. It was time for a trip to the pumpkin patch! Last year was Braxton's first experience being in this sea of orange, but he loved it this go 'round. He LOVED it! All he wanted to do was help daddy push the wheelbarrow down the rows, and he was always very happy to pause for a photo for his mommy. This kid is trained, y'all. From the smiles to the poses, he's got it going on.

We picked out three pumpkins, one for each of us, and they were all perfectly orange. Braxton did some dead lifts while we where there, too, with all the pumpkins he picked up and put back down, and we laughed as he grunted. It was so cute!

Stewart Farms will always be one of our most looked forward to adventures each year, and Braxton officially agrees that it's pretty awesome, as well.

Him walking with his daddy down those lines of orange and that sweet little pumpkin shirt and big ol' grin he was wearing was almost too much to handle for this mama. Be still my heart!

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

braxton michael | twenty-one months.

Our sweet Braxton is twenty-one months old today!

A lot has changed since that crisp morning in January when he was welcomed into the world, and our biggest change yet came just last week when we moved out of the first place we ever called home. This little house was so much more than just a little house to us for more reasons than we can count, especially since the day we brought our first baby home.

Every day from the time I learned I was pregnant to that Monday morning when he was born, I would write prayers and letters in a journal to him from different rooms in our bungalow. I wrote most of them early in the mornings before school while sitting at the dining room table under our beautiful chandelier right after I ate my breakfast and read my Bible, but I would sit in the floor in the other rooms, too, and write about what it would be like to hear his hands and feet go pitter-patter on them. I dreamed lots of dreams for our family as I poured my heart out to my unborn baby on paper.

And for nearly twenty-one months, I lived those dreams.

We lived those dreams.
He won't remember this house or the memories we made here, and that's one of the things that makes moving on so hard. He won't remember looking out the window, watching the cars go by and jumping with excitement when he saw daddy pull into the driveway. He won't remember that first time he ever walked around the block on his own two feet. He won't remember all the wagon rides and front porch swings and baths in the tall clawfoot tub and hiding in the closets and running into the living room with his milk in his hands and a big smile on his face when he opened the fridge by himself for the first time and those lullabies we sang as I held him in my arms with daddy listening in from the other side of the door.

But I will.
This house watched and supported us as new spouses and new parents, and we did a whole lot of growing in short time here.

Our sweet baby boy spent his first twenty-one months of life behind those plaster walls covered by dark brick.

That's something this mama will never, ever forget.

The best is yet to come, I believe that with all of my heart, but I'll always remember the place we got our start. And I'll tell him stories about our old, charming bungalow for as long as he will listen.

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

marching forward in faith.

"Are you still going?"

That's a common question I've been asked since Hurricane Matthew wreaked havoc in Haiti last week.
Four of us will be leaving tomorrow to spend a week with our Haitian family at Hope Vision Ministry in Port-de-Paix, and while many are concerned about safety and unstable circumstances while we are there, I have been praising God for his perfect providence.

Capstone Church had just partnered with Pastor Andy and Hope Vision Ministry when the earthquake hit Haiti in 2010, and we were able to send a small team down to help immediately following the natural disaster. Now, six years later, we are sending another small team down to help after another natural disaster. The coolest part about sending this team down is that it was already planned for this specific week, over a year ago.
What a compassionate God we serve! A God who sets us in His plans and uses us in ways that we can't fathom when we first say "yes" to Him. He knew that this devastation would be occurring only days before we boarded a flight to this island. We didn't, but He did. We said "yes" to His call, His promptings to go, before we ever knew what we were in for.

Funny, huh?
Some will say it's crazy for us to still be going. Others will say that it's too risky. The families and loved ones we leave behind will be prone to worry, anxiously counting down the days until we are home.

But we are certain that God is going before us and with us, that He will be all around us as we go. We are confident that He is preparing the way, that He will guide our steps, and that He will not send us anywhere that He hasn't already been.
Our plan is love on the kiddos (!!), paint at the new land, do some evangelism around the island of Tortug, and be flexible with whatever need may arise. We are all very excited to have been hand-picked to go share the hope we have with this nation when they are more vulnerable and shaken up than usual, and we are committed to seeking wisdom from the Lord as we march forward in faith, not fear.
Would you pray for us?

Pray that lives are won to Christ, that the hopeless receive hope, that hearts are softened to accept the invitation that God is going to offer to us. Pray that the kiddos run to us as we are running to them, that we love them fiercely, presently, and whole-heartedly through any weariness we may experience, and that we leave with a deeper understanding of what relentless compassion really looks like. Pray that our time with Pastor Andy and his family would be refreshing for them and us, and that God would further solidify the already strong relationship we have with each other. Pray that we live in the joy that is ours in Jesus!
We will covet every prayer lifted on our behalf as our own, friends.

We are claiming, believing, and living faith over fear, and we are humbled to be the hands and feet of our Lord Jesus to those who are the most vulnerable and needy.
Yes, we are still going. Just as Christ went to the hard places, loved the lepers and sinners and prostitutes, and was intentional about telling everyone He met about His Father, our mission is the same. Where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. That's the heartbeat behind every step we will take over this next week.

To God be the glory forever and ever!
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