Unless the Lord builds the house, those who build it labor in vain. Psalm 127:1

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Hands of Mercy

So last week Ryanne and I had the privilege of going with Trinity church and Hands of Mercy down to Mexico to build houses. We had like 92 people. This is a picture of our van pulling into the customs check.
It was a long day of travel as we were down below Ensenada but everyone was super patient with each other and stayed positive and focused on what we were going down to do.
We all bunked up in different spots around the camp but me and Ryanne stayed in a loft house which is exactly what we were building for the family. It gave us a real feel of living in the type of home we were helping to build.
Up early and ready for work day 1!
I love how God just wants to pour blessings on us and all along the way he confirmed in my heart that I want nothing more than to live fearlessly for Him and his kingdom. When we got to the camp and met the missionaries who were serving down there it turns out it was a friend I met 16 years ago on MOPS leadership and had lost touch with over the years. It was like a reunion to get to hang out with her and just spend time with her. Everyday I was like,"Thank you God for that treat and that one and that one!" ha!
This was the neighborhood we would work in each day. We were there for 4 days.
Our building site
The kids painted their hearts out...
Ryanne made it a point to take time and love on all the kids who came around the work site....
There was also time for down time each evening back at camp....
This is the loft in the house where me and Ryanne slept for four days. This is a space where an entire family will sleep. 
Day 2 and heading out to work site...
The ramp that crossed the creek to our shower....

The house is coming together.
Ryannes little buddy...

The family we were building for was so kind, they cooked all day and made us lunch.  This was a huge sacrifice for them and we were blessed by it.

The homes where we were do not have running water or electricity. Their kitchens and bathrooms are outside.

Back at camp each night we shared the cooking duties  and had a time of studying the word and worship. 
It was an experience for the kids to realize their bathrooms were make shift out houses with basically a hole in the ground.
Every time I leave the country to serve someone and love on them God blesses me more than I ever could give to people I meet on my journeys. I am always left in awe of Gods goodness regardless of what possessions we have or don't have. I love that people can live on dirt floors and literally have the clothes on their back but have the joy that only comes from the Lord. It affirms in me that "things" do not equal contentment or happiness, rather stepping out of our comfort zone and showing Christ's love in tangible ways to other people is what brings me joy. It was sad to leave but I am praying God opens the door for us to go back very soon.
Blessings friends.

Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Girl Time!

This season of having two daughters who are teenagers (Okay the little one is steps away) has been very interesting. The clothes swapping and exchanging is constant. The fighting over space in their bathroom is never ending. What's "fair" is still up for discussion in our house. (Insert eye roll)
About once a month we are trying to reel in emotions and decipher what is just "girl craziness" and what needs to be dealt with.
But the flip side is when we do get to sneak away and have just us girl time, it is very sweet. It reminds me of why saying no to most stuff so I'm not a crazy person and only yes to the best stuff is so important. I cherish the long conversations we have, sometimes about deep stuff that could be life changing some day. Just to get a peek into their hearts and see what God is doing there is so good. So encouraging in my own walk as a daughter of the king.  But mostly the inside jokes and ribbing we do to one another is what keeps me sane. I think we have all realized that life can be hard but it can also be an adventure full of twist and turns we didn't expect and as long as we remember where our foundation is and we stick together we can have joy in even the most mundane of days.
Be blessed friends. 

Sunday, February 12, 2017

Sweet 16!!

Morgan turned 16 this past Friday. To say she is sweet 16 is an understatement for sure! She is super loving and kind and has a heart bigger than I can even begin to tell you about in this post. On her actual birthday she went to Disneyland with a few friends and had a blast.

Then on Saturday night we had Chipotle catered (her favorite place) and had a house full of friends over. 
Morgan and my mom made these cupcakes and they turned out really cute.

We could not be more excited getting the privilege of watching her grow up and see God working in her life.
We had all of her friends and family write her a note of love and a fun memory of her and gave it to her at the party. The kids all played dance party games and just goofed around.
I tried my hand at my first ice cream cake and I must say it was easier than I thought and really good!
Really fun group of kids and such a blessed time listening to them laugh and love on Morgan for her birthday. Happy birthday my sweet! 

Wednesday, February 8, 2017

20 Years!

It's our 20th wedding anniversary! We snuck away for a few days down to Laguna Beach and even though the rain seemed to follow us everywhere, that didn't stop us from walking everywhere and enjoying the ocean and our down time together.
I was thinking about how 20 years feels like a vapor of time. Just a blip really.
I wrote in my devotional today that we have had crazy bad times, crazy good times, we have had crazy joy and crazy sadness. We have two crazy teenage daughters and have had to many crazy pets to count.  But mostly we have a crazy good God who loves marriage and loves us!


The rain did let up here and there and when it did it was beautiful!
We love finding small cafes and just enjoying food and drink and conversation.


Happy Anniversary Dan! You are a joy to be married too. Thank you for your hard work ethic, your sweet heart as a dad to our girls and for your never wavering commitment to make our marriage better even when we live in a world that says everything is replaceable. Thank you for always wanting to be at your best for us and being man enough to know when you are off track.
To another 20 years of crazy joy and crazy adventures together!
Be blessed friends!

Friday, January 20, 2017

Happy 2017!

Happy New Year! What a winter so far. We have had so much rain and ice it's crazy.
We've been joking that we basically have ocean front property. The up side to living at the top of a hill is the views are endless, the downside is when you have a really wet winter and everything floods.

Poor Dan literally comes home for one day and spends his time doing damage control ha!
Not to mention our catch basin on our septic tank quit working and we are waiting for the weather to clear up so they can come dig up our front yard to replace it....always something right!
This is one of the verses my friend Rebecca and I are memorizing right good.
With two teenage girls in the house this is me There are enough hormones and PMS to go around; call me if you need some.
Bought this for Dan to wear around any boys who have thoughts about coming around our daughters ha!
This little peanut is now 13 weeks old and into everything like a toddler. She's so stinking cute so it's hard to stay mad at her for to long.
Pretty much just getting back into school and enjoying the new year.
Blessings and hope everyone year is starting out healthy and joyful.

Sunday, December 18, 2016

Christmas Peace....

Christmas is upon us. I LOVE Christmas. I love the smell of the Christmas tree in our house every morning when I wake up. I love wrapping presents and opening presents. I love leaving little gifts for people that least expect it. I love listening to Christmas music and watching Christmas movies with Dan and the girls. I also love the peace that washes over me. Christmas reminds me of what I already know; Jesus was born and lived so I could have a role model of how to live my life. He came for you and for me. When I think back over the year I think about how this year has been a year of refreshing for our family. The last year and a half has been hard. My aunt was diagnosed with stage 4 cancer. December was a difficult time for our family as the San Bernardino shootings took place affecting our entire department. Then on December 22nd we unexpectedly lost Dan's dad. The San Bernardino City Fire Department shut its doors and Dan was forced to start over with another department in a new location. In March Morgan was feeling badly and got some crazy blood work back that caused concern.  But as I sit and reflect I can see Gods goodness everywhere. I can see His hand of mercy and grace. I think we are stronger and more grounded in Him. We long more for heaven. I think sometimes life comes at you and you think," Great! What's next?" But I feel like the scripture that says, "In this world you will have many troubles, but take courage for I have overcome the world." Is something we can all hang onto this Christmas season. It rings true in my heart this year for sure. He has overcome the world!

Ryanne found this at the grocery store one day and tried to convince me that we needed to take it home.....can you even imagine!!

Our annual trip to the Christmas Tree farm did not disappoint. We actually all agreed on the same tree this year...well mostly ha!

We took the Scout to get our tree and it gave me a flash back to the 70's!

Ellie is growing big and strong and weighs in at about 4lbs.
Basically she is terrorizing the house, chasing the cats, tearing up my furniture and bites us with her razor sharp teeth buuuutttt......we love her so much and know the puppy stage is short...right?
(Insert panic look here)

The girls and I took a day and played hooky from  school to make some gifts for loved ones. The advantage of home schooling is we can take mental health days once in a while.

This is my view for devotionals every morning. So good!!

We do an advent calendar for the girls each morning and we fill the doors with little treats or surprise outings. This year I bought tickets out to the Living Desserts Wild Nights and the girls insisted riding a camel was on their bucket list ha! So a camel they rode.

Morgan got to get dressed up and go to the LA Symphony one evening with friends....

Every year without fail since Morgan was 3, we have had one of the advent doors be a dinner at the Mission Inn and then a horse drawn carriage ride through town...This year we surprised the girls and had Dan's mom go and his aunt and uncle drive up from Santa Ana and meet us there. The girls were so excited! My mom was supposed to go but sadly she was sick. Dinner was great as usual and the company even better. So blessed.

Never ever gets old.

Morgan, Ryanne, Aunt Jerri and Grandma Betty. Merry Christmas to all of our friends and family. Be blessed and know we are lifting you up in prayer!