Friday, June 24, 2011

God IS Faithful!

A few weeks ago I introduced you to a family that has become very special to us, the Housers. They had just found out they were going to the Ukraine to adopt! Well Kim posted this morning that IT IS OFFICIAL! Sveta Josie Houser will hopefully be home by July 12!! Go back and read Kim's story from the beginning - it will touch you. Look at this sweet girl who finally has a forever family :)

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Family Ties

We also had a family reunion yesterday! (Busy day :)) We have the Warren reunion every year, and it's a great chance to see cousins we usually only see once a year. Some were missing this year, but it was great to catch up with those that were there.

Here are a few shots from the day. Notice the theme of cupcakes and hotness!!

Ready to go again!

Travis & Brittney and their crew :)

Candi and her girls (If anyone wonders where Abby gets her looks - here it is!!)

Cooper and his new shirt that he LOVES.

Brock's first cupcake!

Lillee :)

I kind of like these guys :)

Cousins :)

Piano Recital

Abby had her first piano recital yesterday. She did such a GREAT job and we are SO proud that she loves it! She has an awesome teaching team. If you need a recommendation, let me know. They are the BEST!

Here are a few pictures and even a short video shot by her teacher. Way to go Abby!

Practicing at home before we left

The BEST piano teaching team :)

Daddy & EK

So proud of her :)

Flowers after the performance.

And a trophy for her hard work!

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Love Takes You In

Once again, I have much to catch up on, but first I had to share something WAAAY more important!

This past school year, I learned that one of Abby's classmates had a very special "something" in common with her. Somehow in an innocent 1st grade lunch conversation, Abby and Paige both realized that they had sisters in Heaven! I can't describe to you the look of wonder in Abby's eyes as she told me that night how excited she was that Paige had a sister in Heaven too! It was hard not to sob that my baby needed that kinship with another sweet soul, but precious still that God allowed them to share that little tidbit among lunchables and grapes that day.

Now Paige's family needs our help!!! They have answered the call to adopt!! I am blown away by those around me who have sacrificed everything to follow God's call to his children to take care of HIS special babies. The sacrifice and faith by these families puts me in awe!!

PLEASE visit the Houser's blog. They leave in 1 week and are in financial need and most of all in need of all of our prayers for them, the kids as they stay here, and sweet Sveta.

God is good and the love of His children is absolutely humbling and amazing!!

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Happy Mother's Day in Perspective

Wow - so much has happened all around us since my last post. Unless you've been under a rock somewhere, you know that North Alabama has been declared a national disaster from the tornadoes that ripped through miles and miles of land last Wednesday. Towns and neighborhoods that once were, are now gone. Property was destroyed - lives were lost. In a word devastation.

Thankfully, we are all ok and our area suffered little to no damage. The past 10 days, I have been helping in other areas that did receive damage. Let's just say that you don't know busy in an insurance office until you have a national disaster in your area! I feel bad even saying that because that's what we do, and frankly that's exactly why you have insurance, but none the less - busy is an understatement! Because I didn't have a large number of clients directly hit, I have been helping out in areas that did. I've been in the field in Arab and all over the Harvest and Monrovia areas. I'm sure all of you have seen the pictures, and many have been and volunteered yourself, but seeing it in person is life changing. I hope I never forget what I saw and what I felt that first day I walked through the neighborhoods and saw what God can do. I also never want to forget what I felt when those people looked to us for help, and certainly never forget what I felt when we gave them a little of what they needed.

Here's a story from yesterday from Christy Jordan of Southern Plate. She was also volunteering at the Monrovia Community Center yesterday while some of the Madison County ALFA team were there as well:

This is from Amy Harbour: "Spent the afternoon helping children that were victim’s of the tornado make mother’s day gifts for their mom’s for tomorrow. After losing everything we helped them have a little bit of normal back. One little girl worked with me for the longest time on hers. As I was packing it up to go her aunt came over and whispered to me that the little girl’s mom died in the tornado."

Perspective - this baby girl was doing everything she knew to show her Mommy her love. How she was going to get it to her, I don't know, but she obviously had a plan. Mom wrote this yesterday:

At first I sobbed and couldn't help it. I still well up with tears when I think of it. But this morning, God sent some peace to me reminding me that HE allowed that little girl to have hope of presenting a gift to her mom - that's why it was so important that it be packed so well and so carefully. It had a ways to go. I don't know how she meant to get it to her, but she had hope. Hope. I remember after Stephanie's little Olivia was stillborn and we were devastated and even speaking of it was almost more than we could bear. And little Abby, who was only 3 at the time, spoke up about the "four" people in her family now. And as Stephanie bravely reminded Abby that little Olivia was now in Heaven, Abby reminded us with such conviction "But she's still a special part of our family!!!" And everything changed. The grief wasn't gone - but acknowledgement and love of that sweet life, instead of just hurt and devastation from the loss - even though she was now away from us and in Heaven - what a gift from God. I believe this little girl's effort to honor mommy on Mother's Day was another one of those gifts from God. How precious are His promises. Please, sweet Jesus, don't let us take our blessings for granted, and please wrap your arms around all those that are hurting as ONLY you can do.

Mother's Day has always been bittersweet since we lost Olivia. Every holiday is. There's always a sense of something missing. But oh how sweet is the innocence of a child. I will always believe God has spoken through children at times when we were too busy or had too much knowledge to listen for what HE was trying to tell us. His peace is all encompassing when we let it. The past two weeks has re-focused my mind on what is important. When you see people who have lost it all, literally, and they come up to you to tell you they are blessed, it really makes you humble down and say, "Lord. please forgive me for the tizzy I was in a few days ago about whatever minor detail of my day that didn't go as I planned!"

Life is fragile. I know this firsthand, but sometimes we need to be reminded. I am blessed today to be the mother of 2 precious girls that are with me, and 1 angel dancing (or singing :)) in Heaven today. His promise is that I can go to meet her soon - and oh what a Mother's Day that will be.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Easter 2011

We had a great Easter! It started with the annual challenge of trying to get a decent picture with everyone looking the same way - HA! We had church, dinner at Grammy's, dessert at Sandra's and a couple of egg hunts thrown in too!! And of course a visit from the Easter Bunny!

One funny - Stewart and Abby were talking about the real meaning of Easter over breakfast and he read the story of the resurrection from Luke. Abby got so into it that she wanted to read it herself and take notes - that kid :) Later in the morning, she told me, "You know, Daddy could make a really great preacher!" OH NO SISTER!!!!!

Here are some pictures :)









EK's BFF - Griffin




Mimi and Papaw - They won't admit it, but they're still recovering from last week!!


Abby & Dacy


Cousins :)

Thursday, April 21, 2011

God Bless You and God Save the Queen!

On our last day, we took a day trip over to London! We rode a super speed train that went under the English Channel, and then spent the day on an open-top, double-decker bus taking in the sites. It was fun! London and Paris couldn't be more different! It's amazing to think they're probably only as far apart as Huntsville and Atlanta, but their cultures are worlds apart!! I loved the accent, and it just cracked me up that every departing greeting was "God bless you and God save the Queen!" It was even cooler since the whole city is super involved with getting ready for the BIG Royal Wedding next week. There were stands being built all along the route from Westminster Abbey to Buckingham Palace for spectators. It was also the Queen's birthday. There was a running of the royal guard which included hundreds of horses running through Hyde Park and a 41 gun salute with cannons!

Here are a few pictures :)


Buckingham Palace


Big Ben


Some of the viewing stands being built


The front of Westminster Abbey


Where's Waldo?? Oh, wait - that's my boss, Charles :)


Th Royal Wedding China


Tower Bridge