Saturday, December 30, 2006

Ruston - Christmas Day - Lots of "Firsts"

Christmas this year in Ruston was different from any other year. It was a year of firsts. It was the first year I woke up without my sister in the next room. (well, except the 2 years in Egypt, but that was a given that she wouldn't be there!) It was the first year I woke up with a man next to me in the bed. It was the first year I didn't open ALL of my Christmas presents in the morning.

Jenny, Meredith, and Brian were in Baton Rouge Christmas morning, so it was just Mom, Dad, Daniel and me in the house. We only opened our stockings from "Santa" and one gift each.

Then we got ready for "brunch" at Granny's. This was a first as well, but we all really liked it - egg and sausage casserole, sausage and biscuits, jelly, pumpkin bread....it was yummy! And not too filling. (We have dinner with my other side of the family that evening also.)

Jenny, Brian, and Meredith arrived mid-afternoon and we got to have our normal Christmas morning... but in the afternoon! We all exchanged gifts and "ooo-ed" and "ahhh-ed" over Meredith - it was her first visit to Ruston! We're definitely proud aunt and uncle. She's PRECIOUS!

Then we loaded up the cars and headed to Mamaw and Papaw's for yet another Christmas celebration. It's a full house there! We are 12 cousins all together including spouses/girlfriends, my 2 grandparents, my parents, my aunt and uncle, and Abby (my cousins' little girl) and Meredith. We ate a delicious Christmas dinner and opened presents....lots and lots of presents!





Our First Christmas Together

Daniel and I woke up Saturday morning, the 23rd, and exchanged our Christmas gifts to one another! Ahhh...our first married Christmas!
Then we packed up and drove to Ruston to stay for the following 6 days.
We'll celebrate Christmas in Maryland with the Audis over Martin Luther King, Jr. weekend, and we'll also have a shower for Josh and Elizabeth then. It will be a fun-filled weekend!

Toys for Tots

At Catholic Charities we get the privilege of delivering Christmas gifts provided by Toys for Tots to many of the refugee families we serve. I get to deliver to the kids of the parents who I teach and the kids I tutor! Friday morning, the 22nd, Daniel and I went up to Catholic Charities and began bagging 3-4 items/kid for the families I teach. Then, we drove to their apartments and spent an hour and a half delivering lots of dolls, games, soccer balls, clothes, a couple of bikes, and other toys to lots and lots of sweet, smiling faces. What a joy to get to be a part of this!!!

Holiday in the Park with the Devicis

We have become friends with Ibrahim and ┼×afak and Derin since they moved here in the fall. They are a Turkish family who has moved to the States for about 9 months for some R&R from ministry in Turkey. They invited us to Holiday in the Park at Six Flags with them. Look how much fun we had!!! Batman...Bugs Bunny...and Group Photo! This was the frist time the Devicis have been to an amusement park, so it was quite fun showing them and Derin, their 5 year old, around! Funny thing we discovered....as we walked up to take pictures with BATMAN, he too walked toward us, as if he knew us. The closer we got to him, we discovered it was a guy in the colleg group at our church!!! Who knew?!?!

Thursday, December 21, 2006

PARTY

We had our Turkey Team Christmas party last night. When Daniel and I walked in the door, Jadon, a ten year old, walked up to us and told us he had bought us a Christmas gift. (His mom told us he bought it with his own money!) It was an ornament that says, "First Christmas Together 2006". Super sweet!
Part of the fun of having a Christmas party with 6 kids is things like putting together and decorating a gingerbread train! MESSY!

We also performed "offerings" for each other - from showing photos to singing to dancing to playing music to dramatic readings.

Here is Morgan's interpretive dance:




Jim and DeeAnn shared 1 Corinthians 13, a Christmas rendition:





Ibrahim and ┼×afak sang the Lord's Prayer in Turkish:





Izehi sang her favorite Christmas song:





Paxton played the guitar:





Dania showed some pictures:





Sheldon and Jadon did a dramatic reading about greed:




And Daniel and I performed our own AROUND THE WORLD version of the 12 Days of Christmas!


The night was entertaining to say the least. Thanks for a fun party!!

Saturday, December 16, 2006

visitor from South Carolina

We got a message on Daniel's cell phone Tuesday night. It was Lance, our brother-in-law, telling us that he would be in town the following day and might want to sleep over. So...he didn't end up sleeping over, but we did meet up with him, Josh, and Elizabeth for a "family-night-out" in the DFW area! Lance is a barrel of laughs, so we had a great night of lots of laughter.

It was fun to see you, Lance!

Friday, December 15, 2006

Christmas - downtown Fort Worth

Downtown Fort Worth is lit up throughout the year, but especially during the Christmas season. Daniel knows that I love being downtown - there's just something about it! He's taken me there a couple of times in the past couple of weeks. One night we went on a date to a Mexican restaurant. The other time was last night. We went to Bass Hall to see the production of The Nutcracker ballet. BEAUTIFUL! I've actually seen The Nutcracker 3 times before - once when my sister was in it when she was about 9 years old. The other 2 times were, surprisingly enough, in Egypt! Yes, there is an opera house in Cairo, and I got to enjoy holiday festivities watching The Nutcracker there.

Back to downtown....so, there is this HUGE Christmas tree that is beautifully lit up and decorated! It towers over many of the buildings and definitely brings Christmas cheer!

And as for The Nutcracker performance last night - it was beautiful as well. Great costumes. Great stage design. "Snow" even fell from the ceiling last night as the prince and the ladies danced so elegantly. I missed some of the performance because I was enamored by the white, falling from the sky! At intermission, Daniel and I stood on the balcony outside and looked over downtown, enjoying the cool night air and playing with effects on our camera! We are picture-taking fools...but love capturing sweet moments! Isn't this a great picture? - Daniel, looking over Fort Worth?!?!!

Thursday, December 14, 2006

Meredith

Jenny sent some recent pictures of Meredith and I KNEW you would want to see them too!!! Here she is - our beautiful little niece! She's one month, one week, and one day old today! ...from LSU fan, to TURKEY gobbler, to dainty little CHRISTMAS girlie.


Christmas is HERE!

Daniel and I are enjoying our first Christmas as a married couple! We've been playing Christmas music in our homes and in our cars since a bit before Thanksgiving even. He got me Selah's Christmas CD, which I am loving! In late November I had a shower for a friend of mine - we made Christmas cookies together! The first weekend in December we went to see The Nativity Story and bought our Christmas tree, as well as ornaments - so much fun!!!

We have been telling Bible stories to the children of 2 of the families' to whom I teach ESL. It's been really neat to be in their homes each Sunday after Daniel and I worship. God has opened a huge door of ministry to them! We've given them verses to memorize each week, and told them after they memorize 5 verses, we will give them a treat. So, when we were watching The Nativity Story, we knew that was supposed to be their treat! Saturday we will take 5 little Somali children to see The Nativity Story! WHAT A JOY! We are looking forward to it!

'Tis the season to bless others...how can you be a blessing to others today?

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

THANKSGIVING WEEKEND - THURSDAY

Daniel and I spent our last Thanksgiving in the States (for a while) in Ruston this past weekend. It was different without Jenny and Brian and Meredith - they stayed in Baton Rouge. It was also different because my cousins went to their in-laws on Thanksgiving Day. So, instead of having a full day of Thanksgiving festivities on Thursday, we spread it out over the weekend this year. Daniel and I enjoyed a day to ourselved in Fort Worth on Wednesday and began our trip to Ruston on Thanksgiving morning. We stopped in Tyler for lunch, and almost found nowhere to eat! McDonald's, Wendy's, Dairy Queen, Taco Bell, Pizza Inn, Subway...were ALL closed. Of course I thought, "Great! I'm glad they get to be with their families for Thankgiving!" But I was also hungry! So, Burger King came to our rescue!!!

We had dinner Thursday evening at Mamaw and Papaw's and as usual, the food was TO DIE FOR!! My Mamaw is an AMAZING cook!

Anyhow, I have so much to be thankful for. Each time we go to Ruston now, I am reminded over and over how blessed I am to be part of such a loving, funny, supportive, and thoughtful family! It's really a joy to spend time at home with everyone. And it's so nice that almost everyone is in the same town.

Oh...and I was reminded to mention that another highlight of the weekend was running into our Fort Worth neighbors, Michael and Meg!

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

SATURDAY

Saturday Daniel and I rode the four-wheeler through the woods and over the meadow from our house to Granny's and back! Fun times on the 4-wheeler.


That night we brought boxes down from the attic, unboxed Christmas decorations, and started putting them on the tree at Mom and Dad's. It's a tradition our family started a few years ago - decorating for Christmas the weekend after Thanksgiving. We missed Jenny and Brian, but they couldn't come up since Meredith was only 2 1/2 weeks old.

Monday, November 27, 2006

SUNDAY

We celebrated Thanksgiving at my Granny's on Sunday. It was different, not celebrating at lunch on Thursday like we usually do. But, honestly, it was MUCH nicer not to be so stuffed the entire day on Thursday. This way, we got to spread out the turkey and dressing. Daniel rang the bell to tell everyone it was time for Thanksgiving lunch! Here's the crew! After some GREAT turkey and dressing, we all went outside for some fun in Granny's backyard. My cousins invited Rayshun over for Thanksgiving. I'm so glad they did. He's just been put up for adoption this past week. Pretty rough times for him right now. So...if you're looking to love on a sweet 14 year old boy...here's an opportunity! This is our sweet little 2nd cousin, Annie. She'll be 2 next week! It was this infamous backyard where I fell through the trampoline 7 years ago and cracked and compressed my back because my sister, 2 cousins, and I were all jumping on the trampoline at one time - ON THANKSGIVING AFTERNOON! The afternoon ended with Daniel challenging Granny to a football toss! It's so fun to see him love on my family and fit in so well!

Monday, November 20, 2006

from Tanzania

It was at a Watermark concert at Temple Baptist Church in Ruston, LA, in 1999 that I began sponsoring a little boy named William Peter. He was 5 years old at the time. We've corresponded through letters for about 7 years now. I wrote him after Daniel and I got married and told him I am now married. I also told him about the Somalis that I teach English to. He wrote back in response to my letter to him and thought it was too precious not to post. Oh, how with this letter he's stolen my heart even that much more!! Here's what he says:

"I was happy to hear that you are married to Daniel. I pray for a good life to you filled with blessings in the name of Jesus. I was also happy to know about Somaliland, but what makes me unhappy is to hear that in Somaliland they do not know about Jesus. Let's unite together and pray for them so that they can know Jesus...May the heavenly Father bless you and you are welcome to Tanzania."

Precious. Isn't it???!?!?!!!

Sunday, November 12, 2006

...we meet...

We are in Baton Rouge - got here yesterday. Came to meet little Meredith! Wow... she's beautiful. She's got a little dimple to the right of her mouth. Super cute. I've held her some, but the house was crowded with mamaw, papaw, mom, dad, Daniel, and me yesterday - all wanting a turn with the new little one! I had a sweet time with her yesterday, rocking her, praying over her, asking that she would honor her mommy and her daddy, honor her God. That she would have a deep passion for the Lord and that He would put within her a heart for the nations. That somehow, through the miles that will separate us from her, that she would know her Uncle Danny and Aunt Kim and that the Lord would give us a sweet relationship with her. Sweet time with her! She's sleeping really well through the night already. Jenny is having to wake her up to nurse. What a BLESSING not to have a crying little one all night long. Rather, a peaceful little sleeper. We're having a good time. Too short. Headed to College Station tonight on our way to a church-planting conference in Waco on Monday.

Monday, November 06, 2006

Auntie Kim

I'm an aunt as of 3:30 this afternoon. My little niece's name is Meredith Marie. She was 5 pounds, 5 ounces and 19 1/2 inches long....and did I say the most GORGEOUS baby I've ever seen?!?!?