Monday, June 29, 2009


I've been thinking a lot about forgiveness lately. I've been considering how we need to forgive people who've offended us or hurt us, even if they don't ask for our forgiveness. This is because we need to forgive others to be obedient to God as well as it being good for our own well-being and peace. It feels good to forgive others and release any hurts you were hanging onto. Right after my separation from Chris, I knew I was going to have to forgive him, yes, but also the young women who played the other role in the heartbreaking situation. I felt personally offended by one and sorry for the other, knowing she had probably never heard the true gospel.

I've been thinking about my road of forgiveness towards these girls that I took and realizing that you can completely forgive someone in your own head and heart, but until you can extend that forgiveness to the person, it seems a little unfinished. I have been feeling lately like the ends needed to be tied up on the whole deal.

Well, after almost 3 years one young woman contacted me. She and I have known each other for 9 years now. We have a history. She tried to contact me 5 months after everything went down, but I couldn't even process the state of my life at the time, much less think of giving this young girl an opportunity to be open and honest with me. As my pastor said, it was like a bomb went off...a NUCLEAR bomb, that destroyed everything around me. For a while after, you're just looking around, walking toward the outside, taking in all of the destruction and processing it all. When she contacted me initially it was all still sinking in and the ramifications of it all were becoming more and more evident. I remember thinking at that time, "I want to forgive her. I plan to forgive her. I will forgive her, but I'm just not to that place yet where God is even working on me in that area." It was simply too soon (thank you Mindy).

However, if you know God, then you can surely imagine what He was going to do. He began a healing process. Not just in me, but in her, and even in Chris. It was so evident that His hand was the one at work. The world would have told me that I didn't need to forgive either of these people, because they did me wrong. I had a right to be angry! But without even battling it, God began a work in me.

Over time, I forgave them.

I can assure you that I am no super-Christian. Promise. Quite the contrary. Those who know me know that to be true. God did something in me and through me though, and I am so thankful. It was not me at all! He also did something in her. Now, we are both better women today than we were all those years ago.

So this young woman contacted me. It took us a while to work out a meeting time, but when we did, it just seemed perfect. Saturday we met at Starbucks. This is ironic for some of you who know more details. Nevertheless, we met on a beautiful Saturday afternoon, with my gorgeous husband holding my hand the whole way. He was more nervous than I was. He was nervous for me, but I was ready. I was excited. It felt like the perfect time and the perfect way. I knew that I had forgiven this young woman a long time ago and now I was getting the opportunity to extend that forgiveness to her. I hoped God would be glorified through the whole process.

I think He was.

I thank God, and I know she does too for the sheer fact that He is so good to us!!! Seriously!! Have you ever thought about the fact that He even works out the good for us in spite of our sin? He has worked it all for good and made us more like Him in the process. How could I even utter the words, "I wish it had never happened"? I can't say that today. I can't say those words with Paul sitting at my side and knowing that somehow, someway, He worked it all for good. I'm certain that Paul is grateful too!!!

Isn't it just like the story of Joseph? Joseph was no one special, aside from the fact that God had picked him to be an instrument for His purposes. His brothers sinned against him and against God, no doubt!!! However, it was ALL with a purpose. Years later when God had worked in his brothers' hearts and Joseph ultimately found them begging his forgiveness, Joseph couldn't even hesitate in extending that forgiveness. It was all the plan of God for a greater good and a bigger picture. I feel like Joesph. No one special, yet I had the opportunity to see God orchestrate the details of our lives for a greater make us more like His Son. Thank you, Lord.

So, I feel like some of the strings have been tied up. It feels like a burden lifted to extend forgiveness. How could I NOT extend forgiveness to her when I know the horrific things my Savior died to forgive me of? How could I even hesitate?

Have you heard the true gospel? Have you heard that God sent His Son to put on skin and come to earth for a purpose? That purpose was to fix the sin problem and to save us from ourselves. There is nothing in us that is good, yet He can save you and make you like His Son Jesus. Don't even begin to think that this has anything to do with your amount of faith or love or commitment, or even seriousness towards this "decision." It has everything to do with what a holy God can do in your heart and soul. Not ONE of us deserves it or will ever prove ourselves worthy of it. It is a lie if we believe that! It is a free gift of God, so that NO one can boast about his wisdom or his choice. It is a GIFT to you. I am so thankful for this gift in my own life. The longer I have it, the more I realize how completely I DON'T deserve it. That's what makes it SO amazing!

So yes, I can forgive an offense, when a lifetime of sin against a holy God is completely forgiven for me. Thank you, Jesus!!

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Advice Please

Okay friends, I need your words of wisdom, your tips and any advice you'll give! We leave for Disney World (first time EVER in my life!!!) in 6 days! Yahoo! We are traveling with both of our families (please pray for us at this very moment!) There will be 14 of us caravaning together (if you didn't pray already, please pray now!!)

We've rented a GREAT 6 bedroom house with a pool that is 5 minutes from the park. Yes, we're excited! But seriously, if you've been and you'd like to share some tips with us, we'd so LOVE to hear your thoughts! Even if they are just about traveling for 4 days total int he car with a 5 and 7 year old. We'd love to hear those tips as well! We're pretty well prepared with car activities, I think, including the new DVD player for the car that Gigi and Poppa bought the kids (who are we kidding, it was for us too so we can have some adult conversations periodically). Yay about that!!!

So, send any thoughts our way. Gotta get packing now!!!

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Fossil Rim

On Wednesday we took all the cousins to Fossil Rim in Glenrose, Texas. Here they all are at the entrance of the park. FYI- Wednesday is half price day if you're interested in making a trip of it.

It was a bright and HOT day!!!

We put down the third row and let the kids all pile in the back for the safari part of it.

Fossil Rim has lots of unusual animals that are mostly from Asia and Africa. The coolest part was seeing them so close up.

You drive the 9 and 1/2 mile trek through the park and feed the animals from your car as you go along.

These deer were beauties, with antlers more like a moose, but covered with velvet. Not sure if they will loose that velvet like white tail deer, or not.

Mia sat in the front with me for a lot of the trip. The air vent entertained her far more than the animals!

We learned something new about giraffes on this trip. Did you know that giraffes are snobs? Well, they are.

They would stand there, looking down their nose at you, you holding out food for them, saying nice things to them to coerce them to come over. But no! They would wait until they saw a car they liked (always the one right after us) and go right over to their car and eat right out of their hands. So rude!!!!!

But look how pretty they are!!!!

Half way through, there is an outlook point on top of this nice hill. You can go to a children's animal center, get snacks, go potty, etc.

This picture SO captures their personalities. Very telling!

The fam

Danyel and the kiddos. SO GLAD THEY CAME TO VISIT!!!
We always have so much fun!!!!!

There were signs everywhere saying NOT to feed the zebras from your hand. They BITE!!! So we were a little nervous about them sticking their noses in our car. Here Paul is bonding with one.

Gosh, they are gorgeous creatures!!!!

Yeah, they're buds now!

And here is my buddy!!! He is a type of deer, can't remember what though.

Now he's headed for our car on my side....

Yeah, he's hungry....

Now he's begging....

Yeah, Mr. 662 and I are bonding....

We got a rhythm down. He would stick his tongue out and wiggle it. I would lean back, squeel and place a pellet on his tongue. Yeah, Mr. 662 and I are real tight.

See, he even left me a present...some moose/deer drool.

Here are the kids taking turns feeding the animals.

We started placing the pellets on the window ledge and they would eat them off that way. It worked well except for the drool they left all over the inside and outside of the door. That was pretty gross.

This is hilarious!!!! Cait is watching the deer/moose thing eating the food off the car. She is amazed!

Then she decides that she's just mostly grossed out. She's a lot like her momma!!

Here's Mr. Snob. He stood 8 feet away from us at most and just looked at our handfuls of food as if it weren't good enough for him. Meany!

And wouldn't you know, the car in front of us had the same stinking food and he walked all the way over to eat theirs!!!! Whatever!

Even though the giraffes are snobby, we still HIGHLY recommend Fossil Rim for a day trip. Fun times for all and not that badly priced on half-price day.

So, go get you some deer/moose slobber and be sure to have your camera ready!

Friday, June 26, 2009

Happy FIRST Father's Day, Paul!!!

The kids made Paul special cards and each gave him a gift.
Cait gave him money to take her on a date and Benjamin gave him a lego set he'd had his eye on to build with B. We also took him to one of his favorites, Pappasito's Cantina!!! Yay for us that we got to go and eat there too!!!!

Paul, we couldn't be happier to have you in our lives!!! You're a great dad! It has to be a work of God to see someone who has never been a father before, take on the role with such commitment, thought, prayer and sincerity. We love the kind of man that you are and God knew that you were just what we ALL needed!

We love you!!!!

Monday, June 22, 2009

7 Months of Bliss!

Dear Paul,

Can you believe how your life has changed in the last year? This ride has almost given us whip lash! Today marks seven months of married bliss for us! SEVEN MONTHS! These have been the happiest seven months of my entire life! I've never been more joyful, never smiled more, laughed more and thanked God more! You have been a gift to us that has made my cup runeth over!

I love you, baby and can't wait for seven months x a thousand more!

your girl

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Climbing the Walls

You thought I was kidding, but I'm not!!!!

We've really let our hair down around here this summer!

We're allowing our children to climb the walls! AHHH!!

Now you know why we call him monkey boy!!

I kept letting him do it because I was so in awe of his "skills"!!!!!

Oh yeah, we're having fun in our house this summer!!

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Spring Recital

Cait and mommy had been looking forward to this day for a long time! It's such a girlie thing! I looked forward to watching my little ballerina dance, and Cait looked forward to wearing make-up (sad, I know) and to all of us being there for her!

Here we are getting her hair fixed and make-up on for the BIG night!

Cait was to play a flower girl in the ballet Sleeping Beauty, put on by The Dance Institute. It is a christian ballet company that has a stellar reputation in the community. We LOVE it there!

Looking at the finished product

Sweet face...

Benjamin can always make a friend wherever we go and entertain himself!

Being silly eating her dinner!!! Chicken grin!

Mommy working on the lipstick

Sweet Libby Huffines with Cait. Cait just adores Libby and I'm so glad. She's the kind of young woman that you hope your daughter looks up to!

The dance...

Gigi with the girl

The committed gang to cheer on Cait! Both aunties (D and Kristi) wanted SO badly to be there but couldn't. We missed you!

I have the best story about Bill (Paul's dad)!!! There was a guest male dancer from Russia for the program, a wonderful dancer at that! But we all know what make dancers wear....tights!!! I know, it's a little difficult for all of us, because it doesn't leave much to the imagination!!! Well, when the dancer came out and made his first turn, with his backside towards us, you should've seen Bill's face! He was shocked! He kept saying, shaking his head, "Ummm....that's vulgar!!"

We've laughed so hard that I'm surprised they didn't escort the whole group out!!

My mom and dad are GREAT grandparents! They always drive up for the smallest thing and the biggest things to support their grandkids! No one could ask for more devotion!

My boys...

The jazz hands!!!!

For her tap routine she danced to a song called "Razzle Dazzle." She was so cute, but I got no good pictures of this dance!!!

One of her many sets of flowers

What a fun night for us and for Cait. She felt pretty special!! But don't worry! No beauty pageants in our future! This make-up stuff is just wrong for these little ones!!! No more make-up until next year's recital, even though Cait ate it up!