Sunday, March 30, 2008

Busy Weekend

We had a great weekend! It was another busy weekend but it was still tons of fun. We spent it with family and friends. I started the weekend off with my 14 1/2 year old niece, Kayla and her 17 year old friend, Ashley and we ended it with Boston Gorton who is now 2 weeks old and his sister Stella!! What a range in ages we had this weekend!!

Kayla, Ashley, and I went to Bricktown and watched a movie at the big theatre down there. Bryan opted not to attend "Girls Night Out" and stayed at his office just a few blocks from where we were at. So since we had time to kill, we bought Taco Bell and crashed at his office until closer to movie time. Bryan and I really enjoyed watching these two girls. They made me feel old and young again all at the same time!! Ashley made a funny pose with her bean burrito!! I wore my Tuttle Pride band hoody in honor of Kayla. Later that night she informed me she wasn't going to be in band next year!! Had I known that I might not would have spent the $30 last year for the sweatshirt! But oh well, it went to a good cause.
It is unbelievable how much food we ate on Friday night. We started with Taco Bell and cokes, bought chocolate candy, nachos, juice, and another coke at the movies; went to Applebees with Bryan afterwards and ate buffalo boneless wings and cheese/artichoke dip. Then on Saturday morning we ate fruit pizza!! How do you spell pig? J-U-L-I-E. I've got my gym bag sitting by my desk so I can get to the YMCA after work!! I hope I make it. I may run out of breath on the treadmill!!!

On Saturday morning, we went shopping at the mall. It was fun to watch the girls walk ahead of me and then watch them discuss their purchases and fashions in the store.

Kalya is in the burgundy shirt and Ashley is in the Jacket. This was pre-mall time.
Saturday evening we stopped by Brooklyn's house to help her plan a game we are doing at our Sunday School Fellowship this Friday. Bryan finally held Boston for the first time. And Stella, showed us her version of hide and seek......

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Persistence in Following God

I feel convicted to be completely honest with those who read my blog. I realize this is another long entry and you may quit reading my blog altogether because of the length of some of my entries lately but I have to communicate what I feel the Holy Spirit telling me to write to you. I promise I will try to keep future blogs shorter. Please start with the excerpt from the letter I got in the mail yesterday.

Taken from Grace to You / John MacArthur letter dated March 17, 2008:

"The symptoms of spiritual deterioration are many and familiar to most believers: serving Christ becomes more mechanical and less meaningful. The thrill of being a chosen child of the living God is only a faint memory. The sense of day-by-day, hour-by hour dependence on God fades to a vague awareness of His presence. Time spent in Bible study and prayer grows dutiful and predictable. Passion gives way to indifference. The purpose and simplicity of the Christian life gives way to confusion and clutter. In short, before you realize it, the honeymoon is over and the flame has cooled, and you've lost your first love for Christ."

"Loving Christ is the heart and soul of the Christian life, and He rightly wants and deserves our affections. While every Christian loves God, the intensity of that love can and does wane if we're not vigilant. Just as undernourished love in a marriage can grow heartless and cold--and lead to disaster--so can a believer's love for God weaken, or even atrophy, if it is not actively fed and cultivated."

"What makes losing our first love for Christ especially dangerous is its subtlety. Like old age or poor eyesight, the loss of spiritual fervor comes not with a shout but a whisper."

"Does any of that sound uncomfortably familiar? If so, play acting or going through the motions is not the answer. We can't fool God--He knows the intensity of our love and he longs for nothing less than for us to serve Him with sincerity, vigor, confidence, and joy."

"It takes work to maintain the intensity and intimacy with Christ you want and need. Guarding yourself from spiritual indifference means fighting the battle on many fronts. And none is more pivotal than your own personal study of Scripture. "

"God's word is what first ignited our love. It penetrated our stony heart and awakened us to who God is. It's what showed us our wretched condition. It shine light into our sin-darkened heart and offered the hope of salvation."

I've been convicted that I have portrayed I am a strong Christian women who has it all together and you might be thinking "Wow, look how strong she is considering what has happened!" But I'm not. You know from reading my blog, I felt God's presence so strongly during my tubal pregnancy and even the week after. And I truly did. It was an incredible and powerful experience that I feel I still cannot put into words eloquently enough. But since then I've let my guard down. Due to various events and situations in the past month (not just my tubal pregnancy), I am having such a strong inward battle. I have had and am still having some of the feelings/thoughts John MacArthur describe in his letter. I think I look okay on the outside but inwardly I'm a mess. There are no excuses before God. I have not sought after Him like I know I should have. I took His grace and His activeness in my life for granted. I loved it when God would give and give to me (comfort, ease of pain) but I didn't give Him anything in return. I've shirked my bible study time (when I did it, it was only half way) and I've prayed only when I saw an immediate need for a family member or friend. I prayed but without realizing it, I gradually slowed down my communication with God. I want to overcome the spiritual battle I feel I am in right now. I cannot begin to tell you how many times I have cried with Bryan over this struggle I am having. It is a battle I cannot win on my own.

So...what am I doing now?

---Begin acting upon convictions. I think it is one thing to have them but it is another to ACT upon them

---Listening to Christian Music as much as possible. I have over 6 hours downloaded on my computer and I listen to some of it every day. I have a hymn cd in my car and try to turn it on when I'm driving. I've listened to Christian music for some time but I don't believe I have felt its power and it speak to me more than I have in the past 2 1/2 weeks. That's one of the reasons why I enjoyed singing at Granny's church last Saturday so much.

---Reading a Psalm each morning that corresponds to the date. I've got to ensure I am having a strong quiet time. Not something rushed. I've had a hunger for the Psalms since I finished the Beth Moore Stepping Up study.

---Reading "Having a Mary Spirit" I've read the author's first book "Having a Mary Heart in a Martha World" a year or so ago. I started reading this newer book this past weekend and I read some more Wednesday night. I feel like she must have known me when she wrote it.
I plan to use this blog to hold me accountable in my walk and progress in rising above where I am at right now. I hope none of you think less of me now. I don't want to be a Christian who says and writes one thing and is something completely different on the inside. I want to be genuine through and through. I want to give God glory through this blog. Thank you for letting me share.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Green Top & White Pants

A few of you have asked where I got my green top I wore at Granny's party...... It's a very fancy store and I'm not sure you've heard of it....

I also bought the white capri pants there too. The ones I took were just a little too tight for my comfort. And when I went to pick up the cake Wal-Mart just happened to have white capris. Isn't God good!!!!! I was very grateful for Wal-Mart on Saturday!! I bought the shirt a couple of weeks ago and the Wal-Mart I was at had the top in black/white (which I almost got but decided I had too much black in my wardrobe. No I'm not gothic! :) and turquoise/white.


I'm slowly trying to catch up on blogging. It has been very busy the past few days and I didn't want to bombard everyone with a 2 mile long blog entry so I thought I would break them up a little.

After Granny's party on Saturday afternoon, Bryan and I drove back into town with her to attend the revival services at her church, Unity Missionary Baptist Church. After a long week and emotional day I needed some God and I needed some church! It was the last night and she did not want to miss it. Although we were very tired, we were still very blessed. Her church (which was my church while I lived with her in high school and college before I married) is very small. Her regular crowd is usually less than 25. But we got to sing old Hymns...something Bryan and I have been longing for. We both said we could have sang for another hour. The preaching was great too. The title of the message was "No Wonder Its Called Amazing." Of course, he was talking about the grace of God. Being there made me miss my Poppy but I know he is in heaven and I wouldn't want him to have to live here on earth anymore. Being with Granny, singing the old hymns, and hearing powerful preaching was a sweet moment and it was a healing balm to my heart.

As I'm typing this (Wednesday afternoon), I have the window open at work and I can hear the soft breeze and the birds chirping. I love those sounds. I miss them in the winter. The soft, sweet sounds of Spring bring a calming to me. Going back to this weekend (I get sidetracked easily)........

We spent another 2 hours at Granny's after the revival service. She and I sat on her bed for quite a long time reading all the cards she got and we opened her gifts. She received some wonderful comments from family and friends. What a neat memory it was for me to be able to do this with her and see what people had to say.

Our Easter Sunday was spent in the church Bryan and I attended before moving to the OKC metro area, Fitzhugh Baptist Church. It is a wonderful church and a great place to go back to visit. The pastor and people are so very genuine and personal. I loved seeing friends and getting lots of hugs! Bro. Steve (the pastor) and Bryan along with some other men try to take an annual fishing trip to Calico Rock, AR each year. I've been trying to get them to let me go with them. When I mention it, they all laugh!!!
We left church and drove back to Bryan's parents. Bryan's mom had cooked a fabulous Sunday meal!! Here's our Easter picture. Our attire was not that springy but I think my man looked very handsome in his suit!! I can't say the same for myself. For some reason I had my sweater pulled down straight as a board!! And I had a necklace on but you just can't see it in this picture. I'm thinking I need Caroline and Kelly to do some shopping for me. Don't you wish we could have personal shoppers! Sometimes I feel so plain. And yes, I did a pack a lavender tie and a purple sweater on purpose. Call me corny but we matched on purpose!!

Blogging friends, you are very special to me. Thank you for letting me share my life all with the ups and downs!!

Granny's 80th Birthday

This could turn out to be a long post. I'll try not to narrate too much and let you see the pictures instead. I'd love for you to look at the pictures and see my family.

We were blessed to have wonderful weather down in Ada for the party, and 80-85 people attended to wish Granny an early Happy Birthday. Her birthday was actually Monday 3/24. I think the party went well and our main goal of honoring Granny was achieved. My heart was so full when I spied on her through the window as she walked into the lodge from outside. I was so excited for her.

My cousin, Jared, helped me tremendously in setting up the room before other family members got there. I really appreciated his help and I enjoyed our time together very much. We do not get to visit much sometimes because our family is large and when we get together it gets a little crazy. But we had a wonderful time together Saturday morning.
Bryan's mom video taped throughout the afternoon. It is nice to have the video but you can hear my squeaky, high-pitched voice yelling "Surprise!" numerous times. I wish I would have thought about that and held myself more under control.

I have other things to blog about but I shall do that at a later time. I took 89 pictures!! I'll try keep this blog to only 87!!!!!!!

Pre-Party Pictures
My cousin, Jared helping set up. I told him to strike a pose.
My nephew, Jackson, and my Dad.

Bryan's Mom, Donna, and I before the party. We had the party at Wintersmith Lodge in Ada. Wintersmith Park is so pretty in the Spring.

Master Haskins and I outside getting fresh air before the party commenced!

My cousins, Alyssa and James. Doesn't Alyssa look like a ray of Sunshine? I thought she looked beautiful Saturday. Please pray for Alyssa and keep her in your thoughts. She will be a Senior in High School and has many decisions to make.
The Party Begins

Granny walking through the door. I thought she looked absolutely beautiful in her black and lavender.
Granny was not completely surprised. She felt we were doing something for her but she was caught off guard at the number of people that came and who actually came. She had a little speech prepared detailing all the things that gave the surprise away.
Granny and my cousin Jared.
Granny, my sister Kristi, and her son, my nephew, Jackson. He is adorable and lights up the room!
My cousins (Alyssa on the left and Dylan on the right), niece Kayla (in the burgundy shirt), and sister.

My niece and cousin. I love these girls. They have a very special place in my heart. I wish they were mine!!

Granny with her Uncle Willie and Aunt Helen

Granny and the group of ladies she swims with Mon-Thurs at East Central University in Ada. They also eat at the Senior Citizens Center regularly. Granny calls it "The Gourmet"

Bryan's Mee Maw

The Girls!! My older sister, Jennifer, is in the pink and white shirts. We had fun trying to take goofy poses.

These are some younger cousins of Granny. Jewel (in the blue) is their aunt and she was responsible for getting Granny to the party. Jewel told Granny she was taking her shopping. The thing is....Granny is not a shopper!!

Rose Mary....a very sweet friend to Granny.

You know these 2 from a previous post!!!

Bryan visiting with the Swimming Ladies. They wanted to meet my husband. I told them he was the handsomest one there. After they met Bryan, they agreed. I loved meeting these ladies. I believe they are Winnie and Joyce.

My family

Granny's entire family. There was one grandson, his wife, and daughter not present.

These were taken at the end of the party just prior to cleaning up. I'm looking a little tired!!

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Boston Allen Gorton was born at 4:02 p.m. March 17, 2008 weighing 7lbs 9 oz and he is 21 inches long. He is absolutely handsome!! Bryan and I went to visit Boston and Brooklyn while they were still in the hospital on Tuesday night. Afterwards, we ran to Sam's and ate at Mimi's. Here are some pictures and video of Boston and our evening. I'll warn you now...there are quite a few pictures. Sorry....I had my camera turned the wrong way for the video. In honor of Kelly and Scott, I took Bryan's picture at Sam's and then we took our picture at Mimi's. I think I embarrassed him!!

This may be my last post until Sunday/Monday. I will be packing for our trip to Ada and Granny's surprise 80th party on Saturday.

Rejoice with me this weekend in the greatness of our God!! Praise His name for the power of the resurrection!!

Enjoy the pictures! I love this family so much!!

Brooklyn and her daughter Stella. I stayed with Ava and Stella Monday morning and I think it is safe to say Stella really missed her mommy.

Ava and holding her brother, Boston. Ava is going to be a great big sister.

Jorge (the dad), Stella, and Boston

Our trip to Sam's and dinner at Mimi's

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

The Power of Song

I hesitate to post this blog because I know there are others who have more severe troubles, hurts, and trials than I do. But can I just be transparent with you....I am hurting today for various reasons. I hope I don't offend when I say I cannot expand on all of them in this blog. Some are very personal and others are because I have friends who are hurting. I get frustrated and overwhelmed. I just can't seem to get my emotions and hurts under control today. But God is working on me through music. I have set up over 2 hours of music on my computer. I've set up Avalon: Faith. A Hymns Collection, Chris Tomlin, and Mandisa. Right now I have just listened to Chris Tomlin's "Mighty is the Power of the Cross." Please read the lyrics. I'm so grateful God uses worship/praise music to speak to us, to lift us up, and to remind us He is in control. What can man do to me when I have God on my side!!! May HE be praised today!! Thank you God for the Cross and may I not take it and its power for granted!

I highlighted the specific words God used on me. Believe me I agree with all of them but some jumped out louder to me today. Some of the words repeat so due to space, I didn't include that part of the lyrics. If you want the full lyrics you can get it here

Mighty Is the Power of the Cross
What can take a dying man
And raise him up to life again?
What can heal the wounded soul?
What can make us white as snow?
What can fill the emptiness?
What can mend our brokenness? Brokenness?
Mighty, awesome, wonderful
Is the Holy cross.
Where the Lamb lay down His life
To lift us from the fall.
Mighty is the power of the cross.
Verse 2:
What restores our faith in God?
What reveals the Father's love?
What can lead the wayward home?
What can melt a heart of stone?
What can free the guilty ones?
What can save and overcome? Overcome?
It's a miracle to me
It's a miracle to me
It's still a mystery
And it's still a mystery
It's a miracle to me
The power of God
Those who believe
Thank You for the cross.
Thank You for the cross.
I love the cross.I love the cross.
It's a powerful cross.
What can take a dying man (thank You Jesus)
And raise him up to life again? (thank You Jesus)
Worship You Jesus (wonderful cross)
By Your wounds we are healed
By Your wounds we are saved

Monday, March 17, 2008

Children of the World

It was a great Sunday morning at church. The Children of the World Choir (part of WorldHelp were in our Sunday morning service. I wish so much you could have seen it personally. I tried to take some video. These 2 are very short. I'm sorry it is not the best quality but maybe you can get a taste of it. In the second video, watch the small girl in the white dress with the green lei on. She was my favorite. She could really get down with the music. Her face was so precious and sweet. I couldn't get a good close up with the video, but I did try to take a picture.

You can tell I'm not a parent yet because my videos are less than 30 seconds. I didn't realize I should have been taking more video. But I was trying not to embarrass Bryan.

Bryan and I committed to sponsoring a child for $30 per month. I will post about her and her information in the next few days. It was amazing to see these children and the environment they had been rescued from. There are many aid/child sponsorship programs out there. I would encourage everyone to look into it. Some range from $25-35 per month. I wasn't sure if we should sponsor since we set ourselves up on a tight savings budget for our adoption. But, it is basically just the cost of eating out for dinner or 5-7 trips to Starbucks (depending on the size I get) each month. To fit this into our budget we will not eat out as much or stop for frappucinos as much. I cannot wait to write my first letter. I'm really hoping our child will be able to respond back to us. Will it not be amazing if we can see/document her progress over the next few years? I think sponsoring a child and praying for her and thinking about her will help me wait as God prepares the child he has for us.

Here are some photos of the choir. Still not a great one of the island girl we liked. Bryan said she was from the Philippines.