Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Dream Come True! =)

You know those places you've been that you just LOVE?!
And then you know those places that have set get-togethers or parties or holidays... and you just always wished that you'd be able to be there for them... but never really thought that you would?!
And then you know that AMAZING feeling when you DO get to be there for just the event you wanted to attend?!?!?!
Yep. Yeah. Uh huh! That's what happened to me this month (and for many months in a row now...)! I got a DREAM COME TRUE!
Know what it was? It was being at MY Leonards' for the 
January Homeschool Get-Together!!!!!!!!!
It was an evening of smiles, hugs, happiness, laughing, fellowship, prayer together, food galore, reading, legos, tackling, flag football (in the cold!), squealing, dress up, sliding in a box, and did I mention HAPPPINESS?!
There is nothing better than the feeling of being in a safe, wonderful, God-centered HOME filled of Christians!!!

And the best, best, BEST thing about our HOMESCHOOL GTGs? They're not just once a year, not even just once a month... all of these people live CLOSE together and we can fellowship together every week-- often more than once a week, even. This is a place where we can be strong, stand together, and LIVE for Christ. I am blessed every day by the bond that has been shared with me here in MO. 


Snow and Fellowship!

January has been a very busy month!!!!

And it's had lots of funnnnnnesssss in it, too!
One of my very favorite things was that it finally snowed!!! Granted, for people who've grown up in MO, this was not much snow, but for this GA girl, this was pretty "normal" for snow, and that means, it hardly ever happens and when it does happen, you drop everything, you dance in the falling snow, you run around in it, you play in it right then... and you LOVE it! :) Soooo... That's just what I did!
And what my babies did with me. We had a blast! (And btw~ My Baby Boy is lookin' WAYYYYYYY too big!!)
Especially sledding. Oh. It was a GOOD. DAY!
Her giggles when going down this little hill were fantastic. I can't wait for it to snow bunches and for us to really get to go sledding! I love that we ending our swimming days during the summer with cups of hot chocolate, and that during the winter, we come in and sit in front of the fire with hot chocolate still. I love having little buddies to share my favorite snacks with! =)
One of the things that I just LOVE about being out here are all the Bible Studies that happen once a month that are open for the study and growth and fellowship! 
The Young Adult Nights...Where I am encouraged to really STUDY my Bible. Where I get great advice and see good examples of people bringing up their kiddos in the Lord...
The Teen Devos... Where we come together in a wonderful home to encourage one another to no end with praises to our GOD! Where sweet young kiddos' voices blend with the teens', and the parents'...
And Monthly Singings... One Sunday morning this month I went to Higginsville to hear one of my dads preach-- he was AWESOME! That lesson will stay with me forever. And then what fun it was to make and have lunch together! I love it when people let me just "be at home" with them, meaning like I'm not company... just part of the family. Working together with the girls in the kitchen reminded me of being at home with my sisters and mom when I was younger... and it made me happy! <3

Our Monthly Ladies' Class... it is a joy every month to spend an evening with the ladies from several congregations studying deep, meaningful lessons, praying together and for each other, fellowship and laughing and hugging. It is a night that I look forward to all month. And it was extra neat to get to "host" this Ladies' Class, thanks to Darren letting me use the house.

So, you see, it's been a very busy month, a very Bible-related month, and a very blessed month!! If this is any indication of what the rest of the year will be like... BRING IT ON! =D

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

"I love my children, too..."

I have no words to fully describe the awesomeness of the total, complete, overwhelmingly-trustingly given LOVE that I receive from my two little darlings!!
 It fills me with such joy!!
 Makes me smile all day long!!
 Keeps the sun shining even on the rainy days!!
 Makes me feel like a princess!!
 Makes me wanna dance and sing!! (And I DO!)
 Makes me have to have tickle fights and kiss wars!!
Makes me continually focus on what is TRULY important in life: Living in a way so that I can go to Heaven and help as many others get there, too, as possible, most importantly my kiddos!!

And keeps me not only able to "LIVE IN THE SUNSHINE," but trying to "LIVE IN THE SONSHINE!"

The Middle of Everything!

While doing school with my babies on Monday, we looked at a book all about our home state, Missouri. It was super cool. Awesome pics of the Arch ~I have such happy memories of being there with my MO sisters and Christina and babies~ And seeing the names of so many cities and places that I love around our side of the state, even just seeing interstate 70 and thinking of all the crazy time I’ve already spent driving up and down that road—8 months, dude!

The book we were looking at called Missouri the middle of everything~ Not northern, southern, eastern, or western. Not just country, not just city. Not just anything, but a little of everything. I love it here. This place is my home. The middle of everything, a little of everything. It’s got everything~ It’s perfect

I have a thing for the middle~ Livin' in the middle of everything, cuddling in the middle of the group of cuties, being the middle child in my family in GA, and my family in MO... walking in the middle of my babies, one on each side. The middle's an awesome place to be!!

Things that fill my days and make them feel FANTASTIC (btw, I have a cutie 3-year-old who loves that word and asks me if it’s fantastic that he can say that word… and it’s suuuuper cute!):
~Hugs and kisses from my babies, watching them grow and learn every day
~Walking/running with dear friends who help me notice all the little things that God made for us to enjoy
~Singing, dancing, and laughing in the sunshine and rain of each new day
~Phone calls, Facebook posts, Skyping, and letters from my darling friends and family all over the world
~Knitting, scrapbooking, watchin’ movies, and reading with friends, or just a funny puppy…
~Having plans every single day, prayers at night with my family, hold hands with my best friend
 ~Knowing that everything, always, will be okay if we continue to live for HIM, putting HIM first in all things.

There is so much junk in life. So many things that are discouraging, sad, and horrible. It’s SIN. It’s the devil’s plan to keep us from being happy, to stop us from standing up for what’s right. But, let’s not give-in to what he wants. STAND for the right, make the good choices, and BE HAPPY!

The constant fellowship and encouragement that I’m given here and world-wide is overwhelming. It makes me glad to be alive every day. My good-health, the healthiness of my babies, the good jobs our dads have to help take care of us, the beauty in each day. I couldn’t ask for anything better. LIFE IS GOOD because GOD IS GREAT!

Here I am, having lived 20 amazing years, learning to look forward not only to the future, but to hold each moment truly special and know that it could be the last. But you know, I am so excited for that “last” moment, too, when we get to go home to Heaven. It will be wonderful to be with so many there, and to think of seeing Aunt Shauna again~ well, whole, happy… What a joy that will be. There is always joy. Always. And YOU help to make it that way. 
Thank you, for being you. <3

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

I love life...

 This month has started fantastically! It's been extra warm, so we've made time every day to go outside and enjoy the fresh air. We've got new bikes, new friends, and lots of sunshine and smiles to share.
 This is one of the most fun slides in the whole world! Talk about lots of laughing! This day was a very good one.
We spent the morning getting to go have a Bible lesson and singing time at a nursing home. The people there were too sweet. It is great to spend time with your Christian family (and there were 14 from our congregation there!), as well as working towards spreading the gospel. Not only were we able to encourage the people there, they were able to encourage us. And the time to teach our little ones to love and respect older people is priceless.
 Look at that. We played outside for over 2 hours. Dressed like THAT. In JANUARY! Isn't that NICEEE?!
There have also been some firsts: Walking through a "drivethru," having someone write a poem for me, running at 5 some mornings, throwing pieces of a game while playing, and backing up and down the Leonards' lane... Ok... so some of those were dares, and some of those were bigger firsts than others... But, life has been full and fun in 2012~
This year has been really encouraging to me already. A family has come back to the truth, we've been to a worship service of singing at a neighbor congregation, and we had a luncheon at our congregation.
I was able to visit at Chipman and enjoy a really great girls' class on modesty. This week we have a Young Adult Bible Study and a Teen Singing. It's always encouraging to be with the Saints!
 Got to spend a great afternoon with my babies and family at Burr Oaks, which I just LOVE! It reminds me of so many places I went when I was a lil girl with my family both at home in GA and at home in TN with Gran and Grandad. Get outside with your family and slow down enough to "just live" as Pollyanna would say! Then got to go back to Burr Oaks for the evening with my Burrows! 
Looks magical, doesn't it?
 You can never have too many sprinkles, right?! ha ha ha
Playing games and really enjoying life together before everyone starts back to school and college... I love the Leonards' home and how the doors are always open to those we need a home, a place to hang out, to LIVE for HIM.

 A new part of 2012 is having tennis lessons with Daddy! And I can tell that it's going to be heaps of fun!
 We all love Daddy/ Uncle Darren! He is super fun, funny, and is so great at what he does. The kiddos did very well and it was really nice to have lunch with him, too. Daddy time is so special. Dads out there, take time to live, play, and love your kiddos. The time goes too quickly. And there's no one cooler in the world than your dad!
 These monkies are soooooooo funny! They told me that I couldn't come in... and then told me when to come and look. The giggles and smiles and silly faces were just hilarious! They make anything in life more enjoyable and fun! We went for a walk/bike ride, painted finger nails, played the Wii, ate yummy snacks, got to go see Uncle David at work, played Bible Baseball... everything was awesome!
And this all got to happen because it was a special day. Aunt Chas and Uncle Daniel have been married for 19 years! That is so wonderful and encouraging. They put GOD first in their lives, then each other and their kiddos. They are giving their girlies a precious gift of security: knowing that their mommy and daddy love each other and GOD. This day was also special because it was Grandma's birthday-- and the kiddos are making pictures and birthday cards in this picture. When you get the art stuff out, you've got to really get the art stuff out! =D

Hoping and praying that you all are having just as awesome of a New Year as we are. 
We love you all!

Sunday, January 8, 2012

A very, very Happy New Year!! =)

 Last day of the year was fantastic... slept in, walked/ran 4 miles, girl time with my Missouri sis and mom, and an afternoon at Aunt Chas' with some of the very best people in the world!!
 Then... on to Higginsville for our New Years gtg! :) WOOT!
 Another one of those things I've heard about for my whole life... now I'm getting to do it! :) Happppiness!
I love our congregation. It was wonderful to spend time playing, laughing, running, walking, eating~Fellowship time~ too perfect to express!
 Dodge-ball... that was fun! I love to throw things and to scream. I did lots of both!
In this new year, I want to be BETTER than I was in the last. I want to love my GOD more than ever before. I want to show the WORLD HIS GLORY. I want to live every second to the fullest-- to "Live in the SONSHINE." To give everything I possibly can to my babies, my congregation, my family. HE is so GOOD to ME... I can do SO much for OTHERS.
And whatever you ever do-- don't forget to SMILE!!!!!! :D :D :D