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

Saturday, January 13, 2018

New Chapter....

Well I've been busting at the seams to share and now I finally can; Dan tested  and was offered  the job as Deputy Chief of Colton Fire department! This is a sweet new season in our lives and we are super excited. It has been a blessing and we have learned so much being part of the San Bernardino Fire family for over 20 years but this is really the direction we felt God leading us so here's to a new adventure!!!
Dan was introduced and pinned today and everyone was so kind and so welcoming...
Dan's career has been a crazy life in the fire service but I'm excited to have him on a regular  schedule and home on weekends...that alone will be a huge adjustment for our family. Not living on shift work and crazy fire season schedules will be so great! We've been married almost 21 years so seeing each other everyday will be a big change as well since he was a paramedic on shift work when we met we really don't know any different. 
Looking forward to being part of the Colton family and getting to know everyone. Blessings friends! 

Tuesday, January 9, 2018

What We’ve Been up Too...

We wrapped up a really fun Christmas season with some cousin time......
This year we hosted the cousins party and had a blast catching up with everyone. Claire was home from college (Can I get a shout out for SMU!) And we got to love on Mallory and talk wedding coming up stuff Congrats! Also, welcomed baby Brooklyn to her first cousins fun! The kids are all getting so big and doing so many fun things. 
I enjoyed a nice quiet Christmas morning waiting for Dan to get off shift and for the girls to wake up.....when you have teenagers, there are no more 5am jumping on the bed Christmas mornings 😛
Christmas was a nice down day of exchanging gifts, Dan cooked a prime rib and we played games and just hung out.
Ryanne's dog was not about to be left out of the gift giving ha!

Ryanne teaching the younger cousins a new craft....
On New Year's Eve we met up with some friends for dinner and a movie and then home before  the crazy got started....I'm not into being on the roads with crazy people on New Years Eve. 
Yesterday was our first official back to school day after winter break but I woke the girls up and surprised them with a drive down to Disneyland. We are blessed to get in free (thank you Uncle Andy and Aunt Jerri for getting us in yesterday) so I figured why not take one more day right! The home school mom in me thinks,"Oh no we are going to get behind and we should stay home!" But the "My kids aren't going to be home for many more years and be in their beds to surprise" mom part of me threw caution to the wind and went. 
It was a rainy cold day but we decided that kind of added to the adventure part of ditching school. We enjoyed people watching, eating some treats and walking around as well as a few rides. Then we were cold and wet and decided our dry clothes in the car and dinner somewhere else sounded good so we headed out. As a mom of teenagers I will never regret being spontaneous and spending down time with our girls. Its when the deep conversations happen and you can really pour into their lives. It's also a season that goes by VERY fast and I am able to see that very soon, like in a blink of an eye they will be on their own and have lives that are full of college, and jobs and families to take care of of their own. Be blessed today friends. 

Wednesday, December 20, 2017

Christmas Joy......

The first weekend of December I was so fortunate to go back down to Mexico for another build. This time we did two homes and Morgan went with me for the first time. 

Morgan did great and her heart for missions was so sweet to watch....
She's the one in the big straw hat....💗

We joke on the leadership team that Missions in Mexico is called Missions in Flexico because if it can go wrong it most likely will. We had three vans and the one I was riding in started to break down along the highway...we prayed and were like,"Okay Lord we don't want to be stranded here." Ha! The van survived the three days (barely) and we were on our way. On this trip many of us got dehydrated and got sick as a result. A few got some food sickness but we all survived and were so blessed to be down there. I cannot tell you how much the Mexico ministry ministers to my heart. I am already looking forward to our four day trip in March. 

I finished all my shopping and wrapping a couple of weeks ago so that I could really just relax and enjoy the Christmas season. I've been trying some new recipes and this gluten free raspberry scone did not disappoint. They didn't last long ha!!!
My mom and I tried a new salsa recipe and gifted them to the ladies we work out with twice a week....Yum!
I realize a red reindeer head might not be for everyone but for me it was love at first sight. Overtime time my girls walk by him they just shake their heads. 😂😂😂
This year with all the fires up north and dry air here I thought it might be better  to get a fresh cut tree instead of one that had been cut weeks ago. We tried out the tree farm on Greenspot road out here it was beautiful!!! And it's still super fresh!
As a firefighter family our hearts go out to all the people who have lost homes this month in the fires, and to all of the men and women who have had to work mass amounts of overtime and miss so many Christmas festivities with their families. We continue to pray for the family who lost their husband, dad and son in the fires last week. Please continue to pray for this young wife and her daughter and one on the way.
Blessings and a Merry Christmas friends!

Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Fall Fun...

We have had a fun fall so far. Lots of good stuff!
Morgan went to Homecoming with some friends and they had a blast!

Last high school dance for these girls as they both graduate in May....

We welcomed a new addition to our family...little Miss Brooklyn was born  to our cousin Nicole. 

The family got together down in Santa Ana to welcome her with a baby shower...

I am LOVING all the trees changing colors.....

We did a date night with my mom at the ceramic place and made some Christmas gifts...

Finally had a family day so we went down to Oceanside to the San Luis Ray's so beautiful....

The weather was amazing so we walked around touring the mission.....

then headed over to Carlsbad for some delicious street tacos and walking around the beach....

Vegan Gelato anyone?? Yes please!!

My friend took the girls school pictures as well as Morgan's senior pictures....insert sniffling mama here.....I figure if I can stay focused on school and enjoy the holidays I won't melt down every time I think about her applying to colleges and possibly moving out next summer. 

I love the pictures she took and can't believe how much the girls have changed since she did our pictures last year. It's crazy!
This week we are preparing yummy pies and food so we can have an amazing Thanksgiving of food, games, football and family time.
Praying your holiday is a blessed one!

Wednesday, November 1, 2017

Winding Down October

I found this photo from 10 years ago and got all choked up; look howl little they are.  Insert image of emotional mother here. ha!
I thought it was funny that in the old picture Morgan is Jessie from Toy Story and this year her friends got together and did Toy Story and she was Woody. We have come full circle folks. 
We went out to dinner in Redlands and then grabbed ice cream at Nectar before heading over to a church to meet up with the other girls. 
All the girls except Gracie on the far left are graduating this year *sniff* sniff*
After we hung out there for a little while we headed back to our neighborhood, ran into some friends and walked around trick or treating and talking to neighbors who mostly had their bon fires out in the driveways along with the T.V watching the World Series. I was like,"Hi, how are you? Happy Halloween...oh and what's the score?" Ha!!! I can't help it; we are sports junkies. 
I'm a shark. 
This past weekend we got to serve at Micah House in Redlands which is a place for kids to go after school and get help with their homework and also get a snack and a safe place to hang out. Trinity put on a Harvest festival and so they played games, got candy, hung out with fire and policeman and got loved on by us. :)
Be blessed friends & Happy November!!!

Saturday, September 30, 2017

Things I’m loving right now...

Yes I’m that person, the one who counts down the days to Fall and cooler days where I can throw open all my windows and fall in love with cooking/baking again. And I love all things pumpkin so let the new recipes begin!

I was really craving warm fresh doughnuts and so I made these gluten free pumpkin with cream cheese frosting and I might have eaten two or three! Noting like making yourself sick to kill a craving ha!

Bath & Body candles have the best throw for our large great room. So I get excited when all the cool weather smells start hitting the shelves. I almost hugged the UPS guy when he brought my order but he might not have understood. I had fun explaining what a candles “throw” meant to my husband. 

I usually buy dye free candy corn from a natural candy store so our younger daughter doesn’t feel left out during Halloween. But it’s $5.00 for a small bag so it gets really expensive. I literally was almost in tears when I was at Target and saw that for $2.99 Brach’s got it right with dye free and gluten free candy corn. Now I would seriously hug whoever decided to push that product onto the shelf.

So I don’t love waiting up for our oldest to get home at night when she’s babysitting or out to eat with friends etc. But cuddling with her puppy makes up for some of it. 🙃

Thursday, September 21, 2017

Hands of Mercy

I was so fortunate to get to travel with a team from Trinity down to Mexico a couple of weeks ago. We partnered with Hands of Mercy to build a home for a family. 

This is my second trip with Trinity and this time the pastor really wanted us to spend one night with a local family to have more culture awareness. Me and Lisa were placed with a single mother of three. Even though I have been traveling to Mexico for mission trips since I was 14, this was by far the poorest most run down area I have ever been. I am used to no running water and out-house bathrooms on these trips but this was a whole new level of poverty. The area was also very unsafe and I think that unsettled me the most. 
I'm not sure why but even as I write this post I am getting emotional.  I love the people down in Mexico and have a heart for their country. It was hard being without my family and trying not to let fear take up space in my heart. The whole time before we got there I was praying that God would help me to see past my own self and love on whoever was hosting me that night. To have eyes for them that God has and not worry about the small details that God already had figured out. 
I love kids and they are such a good reminder of how very little it takes to be joyful and content. I spent some time coloring and just taking it all in that first night. I won't lie, when the sun came up the next morning and we were going to be reunited with our team, I was relieved. Safer in numbers and all that. :) 
This is my second house to build and every time the guys are great about teaching me new skills. I love to learn and the only thing I have said I won't do is get on the roof ha! I am way to accident prone and the hospital is way to far!!!
This was where the family was living before we built the loft house for them. Remember, no running water, no electricity, no plumbing, no roads, no protection from the outside world.
I have mastered the art of painting the house and all the neighborhood kids come out of the woodwork to help which is always an adventure ha! Kids + paint + zero control=fun!!!
We build the loft house in one day...the guys are crazy good at this and this time they taught me to install windows and also how to seal them. New thing I can help with. :) 
This little girl took to me and followed me everywhere.  

These are small little loft houses that I think are like 12 X 12 and they are just a room with a ladder to a loft. No kitchen or furniture but they get them out of the elements and off the ground. The door locks and we have our sewing ministry make curtains for the windows so it feels like a home. 
Lots of people ask me why I go down to Mexico when we have so many needs here in our own country or why I go when it's so unsafe and so unstable. I understand the fear but something I really desire in my own life is to not allow fear to take up residency in my heart and life. To go if God says go and to be where God tells me to be regardless of what the world tells me. I know that poverty exists here as well but the poorest person here in the US is still richer than the people I have met living on the hillsides of Mexico. And besides that, God does not see boundaries. I truly believe He gives us all a heart for different people and different places that maybe others can't understand or relate to and that's what makes serving the Lord so great. We don't chose where we are born and I don't care what color or religion you are; you matter to Christ so I want people to matter to me as well.
Handing the keys over to the family gets me overtime. The second night we were there I was asked to get up and share with the people at the missionary camp where we were staying; I shared how the first night there I looked around the area I was staying and felt discouraged like what does one loft house matter in all this? I was looking at all the trash and kids with no shoes thinking we were already defeated. But then as we were sitting outside the lady hosting us turned on worship music and we sat there looking at the bon fire, watching the kids play and laugh and run around and God gripped my heart. One house does matter because one life matters. I got really choked up thinking that even with the language barrier us sitting there with worship music closed the gap and we were sisters in Christ regardless of where we live.
Lisa was a great partner to have because she is as crazy as I am.  We laughed when we wanted to cry and cried when we were completely freaked out by the hole in the ground called a toilet that almost caved in on us by the way. We ate stuff we didn't want to eat and tried not to freak out when the critters as big as our hand crawled under our beds ha! I am looking forward to going back for another build in December and to see what God has for us on that trip. Please be praying for our safety, for God to move the hearts of people we minister too and for health as I picked up an intestinal parasite this last trip which has been awful and slow to recover from.  Be blessed friends!