Monday, September 16, 2013

We're Back!

The blog is back, life is full and I can't wait to connect here with you all again!  You guys, to say these past several months have been awesome seems like such a weak assessment.  We have been all over the place, meeting new people, sharing God's love, serving with our students and loving life with our son.  It has also been difficult at times -just learning how to balance family time, staying on top of everything while going in a million different directions and keeping meaningful connections with the people we love in our life while feeling spread thin at times.  With every step God takes us, we are learning and growing and with every breath He is leading us.  Every opportunity is a blessing and we want to take full advantage of that time together as a family.  So, what exactly have we been up to and what is coming up on the blog?  Glad you asked!...Here is a super duper brief (well, actually it turned into a kind of long) recap of what we have been doing...

First up back in the beginning of June we hosted our annual VBA (vacation bible awesomeness) at church.  We always think of this event as a summer kick off for our student ministry and love it so much.  This year we changed things up a bit and enjoyed doing something different.

Our last night we totally turned things around and had an interactive type of worship night.  I really want to do a full post on this one,  we had so much going on at one time and yet it all worked together and turned into this awesome time of worship together.  We are always searching for ideas and new things for youth group so I would love to share what we came up with and maybe it will spark some ideas for others.  It was definitely a labor of love, but worth every minute spent putting it together.

The very next week we headed off to our favorite place ever - Fort Caswell for our summer camp.  Our theme for the week was Speak Up, Step Up, Stand Up.  It was a great challenge for us and we now have a goal as a youth group- #30 people.  There is just something special about this place and its always a sweet time together.

Next we were off to NJ for our mission trip.  We helped with some hurricane Sandy relief, hosted vbs for kids, painted houses, prayed with people and talked about Jesus to those we were serving.  We also had this impromptu whirlwind of a trip to NYC.  I think its definitely something none of us will forget.  Such a fun few hours to spend together.  We pretty much ran through times square, snapped a few photos and were out.

We had so many great trips this summer, but there was something really special about our Panama trip. I love going with our students on foreign mission trips.  They break out of their comfort zones, they serve with full abandon and grow so much during that week.  They see God work and get so excited. 

While in Panama we met our twins.  David and Marianella.  They were the missionaries we worked with and we connected almost immediately.  Our sons are the same age and I can't tell you how much I missed Silas on this trip.  I don't know if they realized how much they encouraged me that week.  I know God put Marianella in my life that week for that purpose, to help bring encouragement to a tired mom.  I prayed that I could do the same for her that week as well.  I think we looked at each other and immediately knew - I know how you feel!  What a great and unexpected blessing God provided that week.  

We are pumped because we are getting another chance to go pack to Panama next year.  I can't even begin to explain the excitement.

While there we just fell in love with these people, these children and women and families.  The people in Panama are so open and eager to hear God's word.  The work that David and Marianella are doing is so awesome.  They are reaching so many villages and schools and have made so many great connections in the three years they have been there.  It was humbling and a blessing to just be a tiny part of what is going on in Panama for God's kingdom.

After Justin took another NY trip with our college students we enjoyed one of the funnest vacations ever in Disney World!

Seriously, this was simply just down right fun.  I had not been to Disney since I was 16 and Justin had never been so we decided to go for it.  This was actually kind of a last minute decision for us.  We knew we were going to Florida, but Disney just kind of came out of nowhere about 3 weeks out.  

To only have 3 weeks to plan everything, it actually came together really easily.  We researched and saved money on our tickets, got a great price on a great condo and figured out the best way to do our meals for maximum savings.  I'm really kind of thinking of writing a Disney post because I feel like I learned a lot.  And, we would totally do it all over again.  It was just so much fun, I can't say that enough.

And, yes I was the first one in line for Mary Poppins.  She is totally the best.

Ok, so now that this post is easily becoming the longest post in history let me continue on by sharing what is on my mind for things to come on the blog.  For one, I have missed it- so I can't wait to get going again.  And for two, Justin has declared that he is only motivated to work on house things when the blog is rolling so that was all the motivation I needed to start back again.  I have a bunch of blog house cleaning type things I need to do, like update the project page and such but those things are really not number one on the list of things to do right now.  I have a lot of other post ideas running through my mind, which I'm happy to have an outlet for.  

So to kick things back into gear let's start with the most obvious of things - a completed patio post.  I totally left everyone hanging this summer on that one.  In case anyone is wondering, our patio was finished way back in the Spring and has been enjoyed over and over again by us (and others) this summer (when we were here).  It is probably our most favorite thing we have done at our house - so check back in tomorrow for the patio in all of its glorious completeness.  

Hope everyone has a wonderful week and thank you so much for stopping by!  

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