Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Merry Christmas!!

Hello everyone!! I just wanted to wish you all a very merry Christmas!! I hope you all make great family memories and eat way to much! Last year my family started a tradition with the gift of service. We as a family really wanted to show the kids what Christmas is all about. It's not about presents it's about giving!! So last year my mom had the great idea of going to the children's hospital in Lubbock and giving sick children toys. So my mom bought all the stuffed bears that played Jesus Loves Me. So we put Santa hats on the kids and led them to each room and one my one they would give the child a Christmas bear and say a blessing...They ended up saying Merry Christmas and feel better soon and then they would run out of the room. After the first room they each had the confidence built up and would say more. But I really think for Lucas and Reagan it really hit home for them. So this year it is James and my turn for the service project. We were in Target about three months ago and looking around and James found these piggy banks that were knight helmets. James picked them up and started thinking what a great service project for this year. We are going to read about the armor of God and explain the helmet of salvation. So the idea is for each family to have a helmet and put any spare change in it and then at the end of the year we would come together as a family and make a donation to a children's ministry. James and I have it narrowed down to two. One is to help build a water well in Indiana for families who have to travel a long way for fresh water and the other is an orphanage in Africa. So we will let the kids decide which one. I'm really exited that my family has grasped this for the children and for ourselves. This is what Christmas is all about. To help someone else besides yourself that is in need!! So here is a challenge for you and your family...you can start out small but let's teach our own children, nieces and nephew's about the REAL meaning of Christmas!!

Monday, December 15, 2008

Oh This Is Funny!!

I was thinking about our trip and I was reminded of a very funny part of this trip. Of course this was NOT funny at the time. We had to change airports in London. So we flew into one and caught a bus to a different one. So we just left Poland and we were bundled up to the hilt. I'm talking tons of layers!! We get on the bus and the bus was so nice and toasty!! But after ten minutes we were dying of heat!! I mean we were in Hell on Earth! I have never had a panic attack or been claustrophobic. It had to be 95 degrees!! I'm not joking...just ask James. I know I can be dramatic but I promise you it was that hot!! We were on the bus for over an hour and a half. I have my face on the glass trying to cool off and nothing is working!! I tend to get a little vocal and let me tell you I could not handle my tongue! I was telling James to move and he was yelling back at me "Where am I suppose to go?" I don't care just MOVE!! He was taking all my oxygen and I could not breathe. I was just on the verge of tears when I look over and see Dawn taking clothes off. What a great idea!! If she can so can I. I started off with one layer and not good enough and then came another still not good enough!! I got all the way down to my cami and was begging James to let me take it off and I could just sit in my bra!! He wouldn't let me...can you believe it!! I was begging him...the less clothes the better and he said no!! American's have a bad enough name as it is we are not adding the bra less America on a bus to the group. So fine then just move away from me. So after my temper tantrum Drew decides to ask the bus driver to turn down heat. So he does and nothing happens with the heat but instead he added a clicking noise to the bus. So now I'm burning up AND being tortured!! So for one hour I have hotter then hell and click...click...click...click. I just start praying and telling God thank you that I'm not going to hell!! I finally talk myself into sleeping and calm myself down and and we FINALLY get to the airport and I have to put my clothes back on and run off the bus and feel nothing be blessed cold air!! This was definitely one of the many funny stories we have from our trip. I'll think of more and share later.

Friday, December 12, 2008


I have to be honest with you I was really scared about going to Albania. I had heard so many negative stories about this country. I knew that it is a third would country and heavily ran my the mafia and I had alot of fear going into it. While we were in Austria there was word that we might not be able to go because they had had rain for for the last three days and it was causing flooding. There was not running water and no electricity. So this was my way out or so I thought. The day we left the rain stopped and we were able to go after all. Ok God change my attitude and I'm doing this for you and not me. So we arrived in Albania and I was totally blown away. The poverty was so hard see. We were driving to the hotel and I was just looking at everything and I could not handle what I was seeing. There are buildings that are not completely built and families are living there. With no water, no heat and a family hanging up their laundry. The building only had three walls and they're ok with this? This is not safe for a family. So my eyes were truly opened and I was totally overwhelmed!! We started the school and this topic was spiritual Fathering/Mothering. Again another great topic. We met some really great people who are truly on fire for God and desperate for Him. I was sitting there looking at all the people and just praying for them. They have to truly live by faith. Pray for work, pray for food, pray for health...this is everyday for them. My heart was broken for these people and I have so much respect for them. It really put in perspective for me what really living by faith means. We of course have some really funny stories. One is when we got to our hotel there is no heat. The building was built without ANY heat. So it is really cold and raining. We were ready for bed and had no blankets. We had one sheet and you could hold it up and see through it. So needless to say I have never slept in so many layers and I still froze!! I had thermal, fleece pj bottoms, fleece pullover, wool socks, gloves, a scarf and head band for my ears. Here's a picture.

Thank goodness that Pauly gave us a heater to plug in but the funny thing is that the electricity went off in the middle of the night so it was really cold. We walked down to the beach and the neatest thing was that we were told that the apostle Paul walked on this same beach. How cool is that, but wait!! Pauly took us to the old town wall that surrounded the city and there is an old coliseum there. And guess what Paul preached at this coliseum. We got to stand where Paul preached!! How cool is that!! What an amazing experience!! Another is that we were invited to eat dinner with a pastor and his family at his restaurant. He served us lamb. It was so sad!! I know where our meat comes from but I don't see the cows. He took us to the kitchen and show us our full lamb cooking. It had the head still on with eyes and the tongue was hanging out. And all I could think was I'm eating a BABY sheep!! I did it but I didn't like it. I'm just glad James sat between me and the pastor because he could not see me eating just a very small part of the lamb.

Well we had a great trip and our lives will never be the same. Thank you for all your support and prayers!! We could not have done it without you!!

James and me at the beach where Paul walked!!

The coliseum where Paul preached

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Graz, Austria

After the school in Poland we went to the school in Graz, Austria. All I can say is WOW!!! It was absolutely beautiful. I'm sure Poland was pretty as well but we were not able to see Poland because school started early and then by the time we finished it was totally dark outside. In Europe it gets dark at 4:30pm. So in Austria was a great time of rest and thank you Abby for praying that for us because we really needed it. We were able to spend one whole day before the school started so we got to take hikes in the woods and just really look at the country side of Austria. This was the last session for the school and they were graduating. So this topic was spiritual warfare. What an amazing topic!! Both James and I learned so much. I know that especially over the last year we have been in a battle for our family. The enemy has stolen two of our children and we are on full battle with him. And WE WILL WIN!!!! So while we were there Gerlinda asked us if we wanted to go to the opera. I of course said yes and let me tell you James was so excited!! (wink wink) We went to the Magical Flute by Mozart. The opera house was so beautiful. I mean I have never seen anything like it before. I didn't take my camera because I wasn't sure if they would let us take pictures and of course they did. So you will just have to take my word for it. The Opera house is over two hundred years old!! So of course I did not pack any opera wearing clothes so I had to go shopping. So Gerhardt took me shopping. That was quite a funny experience! This man was taking me to stores and handing me black pants and telling me where the dressing rooms were. The only thing is they were the wrong size and I didn't like them. So as nicely as I could I would look at the pants and say there nice pants but let me look around. So he finally got the hint and let me look by myself. James was entertained just by watching this go on. So Gerhardt walked us around the city and was showing us all the history. It was amazing as well. Just the city was over two THOUSAND years old. So we had a great time with Gerhardt. He really blessed us in so many ways. He is a dear dear man of God!! So at the opera ( in was in German) during the intermission Dawn, Drew, James and I looked at each other and just started laughing because we had no idea what was going on. Drew fell asleep during the first part so we were talking about what we thought was going on and he said "I never saw that", that's because you were asleep!! We had a great once in a lifetime experience!! We met so many incredible people and left absolutely blessed. Marina was quite a special lady. James took one look at her and she reminded him of his great-grandmother. She was Austrian so that was really neat to see some of James' family heritage. She is the lady who runs the house. She is in charge of cleaning and cooking for all the guest so she has a very busy and big job and she did a awesome job for us. This part of the trip for James and me was purely building relationships and boy we made some lifelong friends!! Here some pictures of Austria enjoy!!

This is the house we stayed in and it's called BLAST Hill

This was a hill that was famous because it is the only place Napoleon did not conquer.

James and Gerhardt enjoying a hot drink

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Gdansk, Poland

So this is the first leg of our trip. We left Thanksgiving day and arrived the next day. We had about two hours before the school started so we tried to get settled in and then we were served dinner. At the Poland school the topic was "Hearing the Voice of God". It was a really great topic and I learned so much as well. We traveled with Drew and Dawn Brown with Prepare Int'l. Drew asked James and I to speak at this school. James did a great job on how to listen to the voice of God. During the sessions Drew would have them do different activities so they could listen to the voice of God. The first night we had them sit and pray and then just sit still and open their heart and just listen and then write down what was on their heart. It was really amazing to see everyone's reaction. There were so many people who were truly touch by the exercise. The next day Drew asked me if I would share my testimony. So I started sharing how we had been trying for over eight years for a baby and how last year we became pregnant and how we lost the baby and the we got pregnant again and then I just really heard God to tell me to stop. So I stopped and did not finish my testimony. I sat down and James looked at me and said "You didn't finish." I know I didn't finish!! But I knew that I had to be obedient and I was. Right after the session was over a couple made a bee line toward me and said "You did not finish your testimony". I looked and James and smiled and told them no that I did not finish and they said to me that they heard God tell them that they were suppose to pray for us to have a baby. So I know that God spoke to them and that I had heard correctly!! That was truly an amazing experience!! So the next day James preached at a church and the sermon was Building on the Rock. Building deep so when problems come your way your not blown off the Rock!! It was a great sermon and then James told the story about when my family was at the lake and we capsized our boat and how Satan tried to kill our family and he did not win and how through a very scary time we were still able to give God all the glory. And then he asked me to share our story about us trying to have children. This time I was able to tell the whole story. So after the pastor was giving the announcements and asked for prayer requests. One lady stood up and was saying that on the way to church God told her that she need to pray for a ladies womb to be opened!!! This of course is all being translated to us so when our translator Anna told us this James and I just looked at each other and smiled. God is so good!!! James had a really great conversation with a young guy that was a new christian. He was struggling to share his faith with other people and James really got to encourage him! So after church we were invited to have lunch at Anna the translator and Richard's house. We enjoyed a great lunch there and had wonderful conversation!! We were truly blessed and encouraged by them. I would love to tell you more stories but this blog would be very long. So if you would like to hear more about the trip to Poland please just ask me!! I will write about the rest of the trip later. Thanks for all your support and prayers!! We could truly feel the power of prayer. If you will still continue to pray for us, we are still on the sleeping schedule in Europe. I tried to not take a nap yesterday so I would sleep all night and I lasted til 8:30pm which is pretty good but was wide awake at 5:00am. So that's not bad, but I came home and I have a terrible cold!! So pray for rest and healing on our tired bodies!! Here are a couple of pictures of James and I speaking in Poland and a few pictures of the amazing people of Poland.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

We Are Back From Europe!!

Hey everyone!! We just made it back from Europe today and we had a great time!! I have so many stories to tell you so I will write in a couple of days to tell you all about it. Thanks for all your prayers and we are VERY glad to be back home!!