Monday, November 30, 2015 {4}

I hope that each and every one of you had a wonderful Thanksgiving! We spent the day at home, having a nice time together as a family, playing games, watching a couple movies, and eating lots of food. ;) 
I have so very much to be thankful for. 
My Jesus. He changed my life ten years ago and made me a new creature in Him. Undeserving, He loves me with an everlasting love. I can trust Him forever and He promises to never leave me. 
My family, I'd be lost without you awesome people! Even on my worst days you all still put up with me and love me. Life would be empty and lacking so much joy without you all in it. 
My extended family, y'all are wonderful and I'm thankful for all of my grandparents, aunts, uncles, and cousins! So glad that you're a part of my life. 
My friends, whether you are far away or nearby, I have the sweetest friends. You are a blessing in my life!
For my warm home in the country, for a cozy bed, for food, for clothes, for so much. 

And here are some more things I'm thankful for from this past month. 

collecting colorful leaves with the siblings ^

our pasture for our horses ^

walks with the little miss ^

my wonderful Mom + celebrating her birthday earlier this month ^

the bro and friend making breakfast ^

hunting with Dylan ^
We saw zero deer, so that was a bummer, but it was a blast hanging out in the woods, whispering for hours and then laughing our heads off at the end. 

climbing a tree and watching the sunset from the tree tops ^

playing with these little guys ^

finding out that Mom is having a...girl! ^

jumping into a pile of leaves ^

Friday, November 27, 2015

a fall party // love thy neighbor

We had a fall party at our house on the 7th. We wanted to reach out to our neighbors/meet them, gather up some dear friends, and have a great time of fellowship/fun together before it gets cold and we are stuck inside for the winter. We invited all of our neighbors along our highway. We have lived here for about five years and hadn't met most of our neighbors...that's just wrong! Man, we feel so bad that it's taken us this long, BUT, better late than never. I'm *so glad* we finally did! I can't describe the wonderful feeling of looking around at our house and yard all filled up with more people than we've ever had here at our place at one time, all having a good time meeting, talking, and laughing together. 

To all of our friends: thank you so much for all of your help! We don't know what we would have done without you! 

We had:

wonderful weather, praise the Lord ^

three legged races ^

sack races ^

plenty of smiles ^

lots of laughter ^

vehicles parked just right to fit in our driveway ^

a full house ^

a big delicious dinner ^

* babies to hold 
* volleyball 
* neighbors turned into new friends 
* more opportunities to reach out in the future because of the party 

Who is my neighbor? Listening to a sermon once, the speaker answered that question with this, "Everyone whom God brings into my circle of influence who needs me." And you've probably heard the saying, "you are the only Bible some people will ever read." Well how are our neighbors going to have the chance of being influenced by us if they don't even know us in the first place?!  We've passed by their houses hundreds of times and hadn't taken the time to get to know the people inside them until earlier this month. Yes, the thought of getting to know our neighbors seemed like a daunting task and took some work, but while I paused to look around at everyone at the party, I wished we'd done something like this wayyyyy sooner. I've been thinking on the story of the good Samaritan recently.  Are we too busy/distracted to reach out and help those around us (are we like the Jewish priest and Levite) or, like the good Samaritan, do we stop what we're doing and make time to show love to others? I know that I have been both the Jewish priest and Levite put together at times, caring only about me and what I've got going on in my life too much to stop and look around me at other people in need. I am striving everyday to be more like Jesus, who took no thought for Himself but was constantly ministering to those around Him. And as He made us to be His hands and feet to this world, we have the amazing privilege of ministering His love as much as we can. So I would encourage you to "Love thy neighbor" which is Christ's #2 command by firstly getting to know them, if you don't already! If you do, that's wonderful...keep reaching out and be a light in their lives! The time and effort put into loving your neighbors will be so small compared to the happiness you'll have that always comes when showing kindness to others. 
 We enjoyed it so much that we are already tossing around ideas for having another get together in the spring! And I'm quite sure that this fall party will become a tradition. 

How do you show love to your neighbors? Have you ever had a party and invited your neighbors? Please share your ideas, I'd love to hear them! 

"For brethren, ye have been called unto liberty; only use not liberty for an occasion to the flesh, but by love serve one another. For all the law is fulfilled in one word, even in this; Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself."

-Galatians 5:13 & 14

Monday, November 16, 2015

Happy birthday Aunt Tracy!

I would like to take a few minutes to tell you about how special this lady is! Through my whole life she has always been there for me. Never has she missed sending us cards a little before or on the day of our birthdays. Her family is so important to her and she is always showing us that, through her hugs, her encouragement, her letters, her poems, and her caring for those around her... Even throughout the hard time she's had recently with cancer, she finds the time to still do all of those things for us! She is an amazingly kind woman and I'm so thankful the Lord put her in my life.

I love you Aunt Tracy and hope you have a wonderful birthday! Prayers and hugs sent from here to you! Here are the pictures from our last trip up there, really enjoyed the visit! <3 :)



With Grandma and Grandpa 

Pizza party! 

Dylan's getting so tall

Thursday, November 5, 2015

This life is not my own

"It is a tremendous freedom to get rid of all self - consideration and learn to care about only one thing - the relationship between Christ and ourselves."

-Oswald Chambers

"Jesus you taught me by your example, showing me how I should be. Seeking to honor the will of the Father, giving your life willingly. Jesus my heart wants to do things my way, living in selfish defeat. But when I surrender, Your love sweet and tender releases its power in me. When I take up my cross I lay down my life, my life is no longer my own. My purpose for living is You in me, and I won't be walking alone. My life is no longer my own."

-The song "When I Take Up My Cross

"For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: and whosoever will lose his life for My sake shall find it."

- Matthew 16:25