Tuesday, August 24, 2010


Just a quick update because even though we are up to our necks in packed boxes, there is much more to go:

  • The new MOPS year has started! I'm loving being a Discussion Group Leader so far. My table had our first moms' only get together last night for brownies a la mode and we had a great time bonding. Just a couple of weeks ago, I also joined the Steering Committee as the Service Care Coordinator.
  • We're starting to move on Monday. My mom and sister are coming up to help with Mason and we've had many offers of help from friends with trucks, so we're ready and just want to get it over with and enjoy our new home. I would move tomorrow if I could. And no, I don't think I'll miss this old house much. We've created our memories and are moving on to bigger and better for our family.
  • This past Sunday, our pastor announced the Adopt an Apache program from the pulpit. The response was overwhelming and our new program is FULL! We have just over 20 families that are ready to love on our college players. Dash and I both are so emotional. We've shed tears, smiled, laughed, hugged and rejoiced many times. We feel beyond blessed to know that we are being obedient to God and are anxious to see how He transforms lives through Adopt an Apache.

my new power tool

the best housewarming present EVER from my great friend, Paula - huge box full of paper towels, toilet paper, ziplocs, paper plates and bowls, plastic silverware and more...

... and more! If you have a friend moving, I highly recommend this gift. I've been able to pack up almost our entire kitchen instead of having to wait until the last minute. Such a timely, useful and thoughtful present! Did you notice the dishwasher soap? That is my favorite part.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Mason Samuel at 18 months


You are so incredible. Every day you awe us with something new you taught yourself or learned from us. We can't help but smile when you show your squinty-eyed grin that takes up your entire face. No thanks to our novice parenting skills, you are growing in so many ways. Physically, you had a small growth spurt over the past few months and are now in the 60th percentile (32.5 in) for height but still hover in the 40th percentile (25 lbs) for weight. You still don't let your short legs keep you from running, jumping or kicking. Your daddy has a secret dream of you playing in the US Open because of your 'soccer' skills, but we all know he'll be happy with you playing any and all sports. Many times when you are walking with a purpose, you tuck your chin into your chest and stick out your belly. It is a sight to see.

You are so full of life and love. There are many things that bring joy to you. Your dogs always bring a smile to your face and you love to give Maddy a kiss and wave goodbye as we walk out the door. You are drawn to books, though you insist on reading them yourself nowadays. Before every naptime and bedtime you take a book to bed with you and 'read' it until you fall asleep. Upon waking, you pick up the book right where you left off and flip through it until I come and get you. You love water, especially baths, and seem your happiest and silliest right after you soak in the tub.

Playing with you is more and more fun with each passing day. You "zoom zoom" your cars around the house. Every day you come up with a new creative game to play and are content playing it for a good hour, from hockey with your toy rake to sliding flashcards down your slide. Yo Gabba Gabba is still your favorite, though mama is trying other shows, and you stomp, dance, clap and spin in circles just like your Gabbaland friends. Every ball you see you have to have. We have quite the ball collection growing at our house.

It is not all fun and games, though, as you are discovering your own opinions and dislikes. You hate grocery shopping (as do I now) and much prefer a booster seat in restaurants over a high chair. You don't like being left in nursery, but you cheer up after only a minute and are all smiles and grins when we pick you up. Your favorite word is "no" and it gets used very frequently.

Your vocab is amazing - over twenty words and counting - and you try to imitate much that we say. You have started saying words in the right context. Just last week, we pulled up to Nanny and Papa's house and you immediately said "Dog. Nana." Though Nanny wasn't there to greet you, the three dogs were happy to see us. My favorite word that you use on your own is "thank you." I've overheard you tell your friends 'thank you" when they hand you a toy and my heart melts. You've even started saying a few two-word combinations.

18 months today. Wow. I see you and your big boy-ness and can't believe it but wouldn't have it any other way. As you get older, our desire for you to grow into a boy and then man of Christ-like character grows stronger too. We pray for your future and for our wisdom as your mama and daddy, but most days we just thank God immensely for the blessing He gave us 18 months ago.

We love you through and through, Mason Samuel.

Monday, August 16, 2010

28 Years

I celebrated 28 years this past week and realized I'm getting stranger and stranger the older I get. Just consider my gifts - a sewing machine carrying case, jewelry and makeup and gift cards to Lowes to buy a power tool and maybe some lumber. Yes, strange combination. I've found that since I have more 'free time' as a stay at home compared to working full-time at my last birthday, my hobbies have diversified but have one common theme - all revolve around my home - my full-time office for the past year. And I love it. I cherish the time I get to spend making our home more 'ours' and coming up with ways to save money by making (or in some cases, building) things.

I celebrated my birthday a few times this year. Dash and Mason even made me a birthday cake. Pretty impressive, huh? And it tasted just as good.

We headed to my parents' home in Austin on my actual birthday so we could get a jumpstart on the drive to Family Camp. We missed them by just a few hours (on their own vacation to Colorado) but found a note taped to the fridge...

Happy Birthday to you,
Happy Birthday to you,
If you want your presents,
Here's whatcha gotta do.

There are little treasures hidden around the house,
Use the hints to help you out,
Look up and down and everywhere
Look inside and look outside if you dare.
Some are big, some are small,
All are for you and not for John-Paul*.

My creative sister, Jessica, had put together clues and riddles that led me to six different spots where my presents where hidden - all purple presents - makeup, jewelry, nail polish, purse. Twenty-eight is definitely not too old for a scavenger hunt.

Thank you family and friends for making this year special!

*Dash's first name :)

T Bar M Family Camp 2010

We were blessed again with being able to visit Family Camp at T Bar M again this summer. As the old saying goes "A picture is worth a thousand words," I'll let the pictures do the talking...

Monday, August 9, 2010

In His hands

On the way to church yesterday, Dash and I were stressing and worrying about finding enough families for the Adopt an Apache program and I had a heavy heart. We have 6-7 families committed but with limited time since the fall semester is rapidly approaching, my nerves were getting the best of me.

During the service, God didn't waste any time reminding us both that this program is not about the details but about His larger plan for the families He chooses and the players He chooses.

The first song we sang was a new favorite of mine by Chris Tomlin (a TJC grad). (Listen here)
And if our God is for us
Then who can ever stop us
And if our God is with us
Then who can stand against us

The second song was a remake of an old hymn.
Take my life and let it be
All for You and for Your glory

Thank you, Lord, for reminding us to not let our stress get in the way of Your will and Your work.

We feel so blessed that God is letting us do His work through this program. I know this won't be the last time we battle stress, but I pray that it becomes easier and easier to defeat.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Our New Ministry

God has blessed our family with an exciting ministry opportunity. We've had it on our hearts since we moved here to find a way to impact the college students/players that He has put in our lives. And the idea could have only come from Him because it hit Dash and I both at the same time and the details are falling too perfectly into place. Below is an e-mail I sent to families in Tyler today, but as our friends and family, we ask that you pray for this program: for the impact it makes on our community, the families and players; that God chooses exactly the right families to participate; that His will be done and not ours; that we find ways to give Him the glory through this program, even though it's by definition a 'secular' program; and specifically for me over the next month as I organize all the details and recruit families.
With joy,

Some of you have heard a little about the ministry we are starting, but I’ve included more background for those who have not. Please forward this on to anyone you think might be interested. Since this is the program’s first year, we can use as much help as we can get from people spreading the word!

Dash and I knew that God had plans for our family when He opened the door to Dash’s new job as TJC Assistant Tennis Coach last year. While Dash loves building relationships with his players, there is a fine line that is difficult to cross as a coach to really make the most significant spiritual impact on their lives. Just recently, God put it on our hearts to involve the community (our friends, church, tennis supporters, strangers with a desire to serve) in impacting these players for His glory. So, that’s where this plan came from…

This coming school year, starting in September, we are launching the first year of the “Adopt an Apache” program. This program will match up college athletes (just tennis for now but we have a great desire to expand it in coming years) with families in Tyler that ‘adopt’ them for the year. Adoption is this case means treating the player to one meal a month (home-cooked or eating out), attending a couple of their FREE tennis matches to cheer them on and building a relationship. Of course, it’s not limited to these but that’s the minimum we are asking of the adoptive families. Not too much, right?

At least half of the TJC tennis teams are international students that come to Tyler without a friend, car or much money. They often cannot leave for the short college holidays (like Thanksgiving and Easter) and stay in the empty dorms. While it’s easy to see the needs of players from places like Paris, Greece, Brazil, Israel and Russia, the tennis players from Lubbock, Abilene and Franklin are searching for ways to get involved in the community just as much. Having our 18-month old son around the tennis players for the past year has been such a blessing for our family. They all run to play with him and we love that he gets exposed to other cultures within the confines of the Tyler city limits. College is such a critical time for many – when many of us made spiritual decisions that would affect us for eternity – and our prayer is that through the adoptive families, this is an opportunity for our community to impact the nations and these players in His name.

Other details (in a nice, concise list!):
-A mixer and optional FREE tennis clinic for adults and children will take place in early or mid September to introduce the families to their adopted Apache
-Families will receive a bio on their Apache before the mixer
-A monthly reminder e-mail/newsletter will be sent out with suggestions and success stories
-A facebook fanpage will be set up to easily find out about upcoming matches and TJC tennis news (like the fact that both the men and women’s teams won the National Championship this past year!)
-Families can request a male or female player, if they have a preference.

We have over twenty players coming in just a few weeks and our goal is to have families ready to make an impact on their time here in Tyler. Please pray about your commitment and let either of us know if you have any questions or concerns. Or if you are ready to “Adopt and Apache!”

With joy,

Thanks for your support. We look forward to sharing successes and struggles as we get the program off the ground and running.

New Mason videos

He still keeps us laughing, though we are experiencing more frequent times of wanting to pull our hair out now as he is constantly testing his and our boundaries. He understands 'yes' and 'no' well (though not without the occasional fit if the answer does not swing his way) but the sharing lesson is a hard one to teach and learn right now. Thank goodness for friends that understand and are going through the same thing right along with us.

Mason's favorite word is 'no' (fun for us!). He tells his friends 'no' and of course we hear it often. One of the funniest times he uses 'no' is when he is bossing our dog, Maddy, around. She gets lots of 'no's from Mase, as in 'no' don't take my food 'no' don't steal my ball, 'no' you are in my way. I think we have a bossy child on our hands, but at least he knows what he wants and communicates it to us. Sigh.

Here's a video of Mr. Bossy Pants himself, telling a new person 'no.'

I'm trying hard not to get Dash's hopes up that we're going to have an athletic son. We might have conversations in our house about which sport we'd most enjoy Mason going pro in. Doesn't everyone? ;) But I really do think he has great coordination and still prefers his bouncy balls to any other toy of his.

Notice the precision he places the ball down with? There's my boy's"orderlyness" (as one babysitter described it as he picked up all his toys and lined up his shoes).