Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

cute cute video of jack on matt's blog...

Our good friends, TJ and Holly are in the Dominican Republic running an outreach center for street children. They are not only filled with the spirit and well-equipped for this ministry, they are also dear friends and we miss them terribly. TJ is one of the most talented songwriters that we know and we have been blessed with his music while friends in college, when he sang at our wedding, and now as Jack has become his #1 fan! Before they left for the Dominican, TJ recorded a children's album which I HIGHLY RECOMMEND...Jack loves it and Matt has posted a little video on his blog of him singing one of the songs that he loves most...hope you enjoy it!

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

in sickness and in health...

...oh, did Matthew Pinson really know what he was getting himself into when he said those words? This past month has been a rollercoaster of emotion, physical pain, crying out to the Lord asking why but, also, of being very thankful for life. Honestly, it hasn't been a's been eight years...and really something that the doctors now say was probably there since birth.

Confused? Don't worry...we were too...although most of the people who read this blog already know most of this struggle, for they are the people who have raised me, the people who have been my friends and family and have walked alongside me in the valleys.

Warning: the following gets a little wordy and medical, but it helps explain...
Eight years ago, I went in to the hospital with abdominal pain. I was 18 years old. what followed was a six-month stay on a pediatric cancer and leukemia floor; consisting of an appendectomy, gall bladder removal, multiple other surgeries and procedures, and a diagnosis consisting of, but not limited to, pancreatitis, a hiatal hernia, superior mesenteric artery syndrome, and a possible motility disorder in my digestive system. I was not able to eat the entire time; being fed with feeding tubes and pretty much sedated on morphine the whole time because of the intense pain I was experiencing. Doctors were so puzzled; not understanding why an 18 year old would get pancreatitis, the chief concern and cause of pain, in the first place. They continued to perform exploratory surgeries looking for answers and really came up pretty blank. I left the hospital after six months; after celebrating every major holiday in that tiny room, weighing 85 pounds, with a little bit of temporary relief, but no real answers.

Fast forward a little bit (I promise I'll try not to make this ten pages long)...
Throughout the past eight years since that initial hospital stay, I have spent many nights in emergency rooms several times each year. I have graduated college, gotten married, and had my sweet baby Jack. Each time I have gone in with recurrences of pain, nausea, vomiting, etc. They do all of the routine bloodwork, ocassionally admit me for a few days and generally come back empty handed; usually telling me it's irritable bowel syndrome or gas pains, or of course my favorite-telling me nothing and instead sending in a psychiatrist to evaluate me while I am in some of the most intense pain of my life. All of the scar tissue from my past procedures have caused quite a bit of issue as well, such as severe pain from adhesions and the tissue not being able to stretch beyond a certain point, resulting in our baby being born five weeks early (praise God, he was totally healthy and has been my sunshine ever since). It has been frustrating to say the least, but I have since pretty much been resigned that I will just have to live with that pain forever and do what I need to in order to be what I need to be, such as a wife, a mother and a problem, right?

Many people know that this past year I went back to work, teaching middle school theatre, as well as being in grad school to complete my Masters of Education. it's a job that I really do love. I get to use my theatre degree, I get to be around middle schoolers who, despite their interesting smells, are really some of my favorite people in the world. It has been hard...on many levels...most of all, because I am away from my Jack. Being home with him for two years non-stop was a true blessing that I will never take for granted. but he has done so well-he loves his sweet sitter and we have also had so much help from our families. Going back to work has also been hard on my body. On the 20th of last month (September, right?), after teaching school all day and then having required staff development after school, I called Matt to tell him that I was really not feeling well at all. what followed was a hospital stay of almost three weeks. Once again, all the tests and once again all my fears waiting to hear those words, "Well, we just can't seem to figure it out". The Lord blessed us with an amazing team of doctors; doctors who showed us determination and human kindness. at first they believed that I had celiac disease, which is an intolerance to gluten. They put me on a gluten-free diet, but it did not seem to help any, and although my biopsies looked like celiac, the blood test was negative. My gastroenterologist then started to suspect something very rare called Sphincter of Oddi Dysfunction (yeah, you can imagine why i have chosen not to share the name of this problem with my middle schoolers!) When he told me that I was that mystery patient that all the doctors were discussing at lunch, well honestly I was not flattered! But, I was very thankful to have proactive doctors for the first time in a long time.

I won't go into all of the medical details. if you are that interested, give me a call or google it. And actually Matt has become very good at explaining the workings of the digestive system, so you might just call him! But what basically happened is that the Lord's hand intervened so perfectly that the doctors caught the symptoms of this rare disease at just the right time, right when my body was in a flare up and my liver functions were off the charts. It's something that you really have to be looking for in order to catch it. I ended up getting transferred to a hospital in dallas and was blessed to get in with the leading doctor in the world for this condition who performed my surgery. Ironically, he works only on this disease in conjuction with the Mayo Clinic, which is where they wanted to send me eight years ago to have tests run for a newly discovered problem (the one I was just diagnosed with). When the doctor in Dallas measured the pressures in my bile ducts(I apologize if you are reading this over some sort of meal) they were at 80 and 110, when they are supposed to be around 40. That explains some pain, huh? Basically nothing was getting through, and I was apparently born with two of these ducts instead of one. So, he just made an incision and then placed a stent in my pancreas. Looking back, all of it fits together, and they really do think that this is going to ease a great deal of the pain that I have felt for so many years. We did have a little setback, ending up back in the hospital just two days after going home. I had ended up with a blood clot from my PICC line that they had finally put in because of my horrible tiny veins that have been ruined through the years of so many hospital stays. Then when they put me on blood thinners, after only two days my blood was so thin that they could not even measure it in the lab. The blood thinners are supposed to make your blood clot at 2 to 3 times the normal rate, and the highest the lab could measure was 23 times the normal rate...mine was past that! The doctors said if I had fallen, not even cut myself, but just run into something, I could have bled to death. That was definitely scary because we have dealt with the pain, nausea and vomiting for years now, but never blood clots or internal bleeding. Once again, the doctors took very good care of me and I only had to stay three additional days in the hospital.

I spent the next few weeks trying to return to "normal", and I am still not there. I did go back to school a week and a half ago, and that has definitely been a challenge, but good to get back into a routine. Although I must admit that I am already looking forward to the holiday breaks! I still feel quite weak, but my school is being so supportive and we have had an amazing amount of help from family and friends.

This post is a little too informational for my taste, but it's hard to know how to explain all that I have been feeling without explaining what we have been dealing with. Pain has been a part of my daily life for so long, and while the doctors say that this won't completely change that, I look forward to the prospect of it being much less. We have felt so surrounded in prayer and love from our community of faith, and I have been reminded once again of what an amazing family I have and what an amazing and powerful God that we serve.

It's funny and amazing to me because, honestly, I think that Matt did know what he was getting into. He knew that taking me as a life mate also meant taking all of my health problems. And he took me anyway. He has been my rock through all of this and I can't ever find words to say how thankful I am that God made him my husband. I don't know how he did all that he did, spending the nights in a chair by my bedside, taking care of Jack, going to work every day, not to mention running lesson plans back and forth to school and putting my grades in the computer for me! What a guy! My parents and Matt's parents were amazing in helping with Jack and also spent countless hours by my side. My mom and dad have been there every step of the way, since this first began many years ago...and there is no way I could have ever made it through without them.

I have written before about Matt being the student council president at Fort Worth Christian when my mom was working there and I was in the hospital eight years ago (the six month stay). He led many prayers for Mrs. Tyndall's daughter(that would be me) who was so sick in the hospital. Little did he know that he was praying for the girl that would one day be his wife. We know now that God was answering those prayers for years to come. He healed me then and those prayers that Matt prayed for my healing continue to be answered as he now stands beside me as my husband.

I am, above all, thankful for the Lord's healing in my life. Just as I have been saved by Him, and continue to be saved each new day, I have witnessed first hand as he daily heals not just my soul but also my body. He also knew what he was getting into, and yet He still sent His son to save me. In the past month, I can honestly say that I have felt that salvation on a physical as well as spiritual level in a whole new way. Praise God for new beginnings...His power really is made perfect in our weakness!

Thursday, September 14, 2006

pray for jack's pappy

Please say a prayer for my dad at 11:30 this morning. He is going in for a heart cathterization. You can read more of the details on mom's blog .

I can remember each one of my dad's three heart attacks like they were yesterday, and I am just so thankful that the doctor is working to prevent another one. As with any procedure there is some anxiety. We are not afraid, because we know that the victory is already the Lord's. My dad is one of the most unselfish, loving, convicted, funny, and tender-hearted people that I know. My sweet son shares his middle name. He even knows that, he calls himself Jack "Shwanklin" (Franklin), named after Pappy "Shwanklin"...we are grateful for the prayers we have been covered with already and I just ask that if you have a moment at 11:30 to stop and pray that the Lord has his hand on my dad during this procedure.

On another note...that means I need to go make sure that I am prepared for my sub this afternoon...Yikes!

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Jehovah Shammah...God is with Us

Well it's been a long time since I last posted. Things have been pretty crazy around here. We have been so blessed with a smooth time of transition with me going to work. It has been hard; hardest on me I think. But I am so thankful to have a wonderful supportive husband who walks alongside me, and even more thankful to have a Father in Heaven who has literally been holding me in the palm of His hand these last few weeks. I will continue to rely on his strength, because he is the only source of any strength that I have. I appreciate all the prayers that have gone up on behalf of our family and ask that you continue to pray. The Lord always provides for us, even though that provision doesn't always look the way we might have imagined it. Matt and I have learned that lesson several times and are certainly in the midst of learning it right now. Those of you who have witnessed me bursting into tears at the drop of a hat, thank you for your understanding! I am blessed with so much encouragement, love and support.

On another note, Derek Webb, formerly of Caedmon's Call has a new album out that deals with some important and sensitive themes including social justice, poverty, and politics. These are hard topics, but certainly ones that need to be talked about within our communities of faith. I am thankful for talented musicians who are not simply using their voice to manipulate, but rather seek to open up discussion about the things that should concern the people of God most...his children. Rather than seeking to identify with a political party, maybe we should remember where our true identity lies and who our allegiance is to. You can actually download the entire album for free (with the artist's blessing) at this site , and you can read more about why he is offering it for free here. The older I get, the more I realize that being a child of God is about loving your brothers and sisters...all of them. I am so thankful for the many voices that I hear speaking out for a return to the greatest

***COMING SOON...Pictures of Jack's First Hair Cut!!! (Yes, we actually did it...but don't worry...I couldn't let all the curls go!)

Wednesday, August 09, 2006


It is in the wee hours of Wednesday morning and I cannot sleep. Today we are in fervent prayer for my sweet nephew, Logan, who is undergoing major surgery at the Mayo Clinic. My mom and dad are there in Minnesota with my brother and his family and you can read more updates on her blog We wish that we could be there to surround them physically, but we know without a doubt that the presence of the Lord will be in that place. So we will wait and we will cry out to Jehovah Raphae, the Lord who is our healer. Please join us in praying and in being witness to the miracles that we believe with all of our hearts will take place in Logan's life.

He performs wonders that cannot be fathomed, miracles that cannot be counted. Job 5:9

We love you, sweet Logan. And we believe that the Lord will be faithful, for He can be no other way.

Friday, July 28, 2006

to my jabberin' jack-jack...

I can't believe that you are two years old today. How quickly the time goes by, and how blessed I am to be your mother. Your precious spirit is a blessing to everyone you come in contact with and it is amazing to watch as you grow and become the person God has created you to be. I love to watch you as you discover and learn. You are so intelligent, so helpful, so gentle, so joyful. You have your daddy's sense of humor already and I think you've inherited my love of cleaning! Everyone always has a funny "Jack story" to just bring joy to so many lives. I never could have imagined, two years ago, as I held your five-pound body in my arms who you would become in such a short amount of time. You teach me daily to slow down and to enjoy each precious moment. Now your 34", 26-pound body is almost overtaking your short mommy, and yet you still ask me each day, "mommy, hold you?", and each night, "mommy, rock you?"

Your laugh is infectious, and I love to listen to you jabber, to hear you say, "i lub (love) you", to watch you play in the floor with your daddy, to see your joy when you see family members who love you so much, to listen to you make up songs on my guitar, to watch as you play with your toys so carefully and examine how each part fits together and works, to hear you count to 14 and spell your name all by yourself (thank you sesame street), and to hear you say, "God is love". I cherish the time that we spend in the rocking chair as we sing and pray and recite scripture with each other. I see in you the innocence that God commands and loves.
I wrote you a letter earlier this year that really sums up so many of the wishes that I have for you right now in my heart. It is so amazing how I can already see God working through your life, and how you my precious son have changed our lives forever. We are so thankful for you, so proud of you, and so hopeful as we look forward to many more years with you. I never could have dreamed how blessed I would be, and with each day my cup runs over even more. It is scary to think about raising a child in the world that we live in today, but I do not fear, because I know that you belong to the have always been His. Determination has always been a strong trait within were determined to be here on this earth, and early at fought hard then, and I have no doubt that you will continue to fight hard for the Lord. I am so thankful for you and love you so very much.

The verse that we printed on your birth announcement has been such a reminder to me throughout these last two years of how the Lord knows just what we need and when we need it.

"Sons are a heritage from the Lord, children a reward from Him. Like arrows in the hands of a warrior are sons born in one's youth." ~Psalm 127:3,4

My son, you are just what we needed. We are stronger because of you and we are blessed to have you in our lives. I pray that you will always know how much we love you and even more, how much you are known and loved by God. You are ours for awhile, but His for all time. Happy birthday, my sweet Jack Jack. I love you, ten thousand miles high.

Thursday, July 27, 2006

birthday season...

is upon us at the Pinson house. We somehow managed to have all of our family milestones so far within the period of about two and a half weeks. Matt and I celebrated our anniversary on July 19th...Jack, who was due to come on August 28th of 2004 decided to make an early appearance on July 28th, just one day before my birthday, July 29th. We end with Matt's birthday on August's a fun-filled few weeks of cake and combo-presents (ugh, just kidding!) So...yes, there will probably be a cheesy birthday post tomorrow for my little boy who is not so little and turning two tomorrow...just get ready people, if you don't like it, sorry! This is just a rather nostalgic time of year, and seems to be even more so this year as we get ready for lots of transition for all of us. I wonder if we have another child who is born at a different time of year if they will feel left out, or if they will be glad to have some birthday time all to themselves?!

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

our best friend is green and lives in a tree...

so these are our new best friends lately

it really is a cute show...we have both videos that are out right now...and are of course highly anticipating "bananas, bubbles, and busy bodies" due out in Fall 2006...i am just thankful that we finally got the full length videos and aren't watching the 5 minute preview DVD over and over all day long! for real though, Jack really enjoys it, and I do can find out more about it here

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

for my incredibly hot husband...

I, Christine, take you Matt to be my husband.
I pledge to you my love
in the presence of our family, our friends, and our God.
I promise to be yours and yours alone,
and to love you as Christ loves his church.
I promise to celebrate with you in times of joy,
and to comfort you in times of sorrow.
I promise to love you faithfully; to honor and cherish you-In sickness and in health; in good times and bad.
I promise to be your best friend; to pray with you and for you, and to hold your hand
as we help each other get to Heaven.
Where you go I will go, where you stay I will stay.
Your people will be my people, and your God my God.
This is my promise for as long as we both shall live.

Alot has happened in the past three years. On July 19, 2003 I thought I couldn't love you more, but I was very wrong. Each day, I fall in love with the man that you are and the man you are becoming. The road hasn't been easy, but the Lord has continued to provide for us and show us his grace at every turn. You have been such a wonderful leader, faithful to follow his call and to lead our family in his ways. We have seen sickness and health, we have seen good times and bad, and I have no doubt that we will face many more trials. But I am truly confident and at peace knowing that I am travelling on this journey with you beside me. We have lived in five different homes, we have graduated college, we have seen jobs come and go, you have stood beside my hospital bed holding my hand, and we have welcomed a precious soul into the world. I can't even describe the joy and pride that I feel when I watch you as a father. It is something that God truly designed you to be, and you are teaching Jack every day what it is to be God's man. Thank you for loving me, for putting up with me, for understanding me (or at least pretending to). Three years doesn't seem that long, and yet I feel like you have always been with me. From the days before we had met when you led your school in prayers for a girl you didn't even know, not knowing that she would someday be your wife, to the nights now that I listen to you pray over our son, our marriage and our family...I am more in love with you than I have ever been, more thankful for you with each breath, more excited to watch the future unfold in God's perfect timing for our little family. And just as the words of Ruth that we spoke in our vows, there is nowhere that I would rather be in any situation than beside you.

I remember the verse that we claimed on our wedding day, and I continue to pray it over each day of our lives together...
May the God who gives endurance and encouragement give you a spirit of unity among yourselves as you follow Christ Jesus, so that with one heart and mouth you may glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ ~Romans 15:5,6

The words that I sang right before I walked down the aisle were true then, and are true each day of my life with you...
My Jesus, I love thee. I know thou art mine. For thee, all the follies of sin I resign. My gracious redeemer; my savior art thou. If ever I loved thee, My Jesus tis' now.

You are faithful, you are kind, you are honest, you are gentle, you are courageous, you are talented, you make me laugh (and everyone else), you are a wonderful father, you are handsome, you are strong, you are selfless, you are understanding, you are loving, you are are the love of my life.

Happy Anniversary, Matt.
I thank God for you, and I love you...ten thousand miles high.

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

no one promised the road would be easy...

So much going on right now...summer is almost gone, even though summer weather seems here to is so hard to only be able to take Jack outside for very short periods of time. Matt's parents just got a pool and that has been wonderfully refreshing...hopefully they don't mind us "just stopping by" even more now!

In about two weeks, I am supposed to report for teacher inservice for my new job. I will be teaching middle school theatre. This is a decision that has had our hearts completely wrenched for months, but I am learning to trust my husband's leading as he follows the leading of the Lord. Jack will be going to a sitter, a wonderful woman who we know and trust will care for Jack very well. We know that social interaction will be good for him and that he will enjoy playing with the other kids, and we know that if I can work for even a year or two, that it will help us tremendously. I am so thankful that I have had these last two years with Jack, as I know that many women don't even get that chance. This has been very hard on me, and will continue to be difficult, but I am clinging to the passage in Ecclesiastes 3 that tells me this is only a season of my life, it's not forever. In the same breath that I say that, I realize that Jack being in this stage is only a fleeting season as well. But we trust that the Lord has opened these doors for a reason to help us get on our feet a little more and that it will only be temporary. I know I will enjoy teaching these kids. I love middle schoolers, and I know that is not a love that Lord puts on just everyone's heart, so I feel like I should follow that call! I also feel like this will be a great ministry opportunity for me, a way for me to share Christ's love with these kids through our interactions each day. Whoever said God cannot be in public schools underestimates God. The great thing about middle school theatre is also that the outside time is much less than it would be in highschool. The part-time job I had before teaching at the performing arts company was great, but Matt and I met each other coming and going, as those classes were in the evenings. Now I am thankful that we will all be home each afternoon and evening together. (I'm trying to focus on the positive here!) I have received alot of encouraging words, and of course, some not so encouraging. But I know that the plans the Lord has for each family are different, and I trust that he will give me the strength that I need to be everything that I need to be for Him, and for my family. It is a very difficult situation, but I have no doubt that God will use it to provide for us, bless us and teach us as he has so many times on our road so far. I would ask for prayers on our behalf that we will have a peace about this decision that we feel the Lord has led us to, that we won't allow Satan to trap us with doubt and discouragement, and most importantly that Jack will make this transition as smoothly as possible.

On another note...anyone who knows me might say that I like to sing...I have been so blessed in the past few nights as I rock Jack (or "mommy, rock you" as Jack says to me) to hear his sweet little voice singing with me. I have tried not to drill anything into him, because I do want him to have his own interests...but of course I am so thankful that he asks to sing all day long (almost as much as he asks to pray, if you read my last entry!) He has a cd that he loves to listen to in the car of praise music, and he just giggles with delight as soon as it comes on. And next time you see him, you have to ask him to sing "high" and "low", because it is absolutely hilarious. The other night as I rocked him and sang Jesus Loves Me, he sang every single word in the sweetest munchkin voice. Then I sang to him the song I have sung every night since he was born, and was brought to tears as he sang with me...I changed to word "I" to "You" when he was born as I sang it to him, but now that he sings along, I think I will change it back, so he learns to claim these words...

I (You) have a maker; He formed my (your) heart.
Before even time began, my (your) life was in His hands.
He knows my (your) name.
He knows my (your) every thought.
He sees each tear that falls; and he hears me (you) when I (you) call.

I (You) have a Father; He calls me (you) His own.
He'll never leave me (you), no matter where I (you) go.
He knows my (your) name.
He knows my (your) every thought.
He sees each tear that falls; and he hears me (you) when I (you) call.

I am so thankful that my little boy is already claiming these words as his own...what a precious blessing to hear that tiny voice lifting praises to the Father. I am just constantly amazed at how the Lord uses my child to teach me. I don't know why it amazes me so much, he said it himself that they are what we must become.
Thank you, sweet Jack, for reminding me of the precious gift of praise in a whole new way. May his praise always be on your lips, and may you never forget this truth:

For you have been my hope, O Sovereign Lord, my confidence since my youth. From birth I have relied on you; you brought me forth from my mother's womb. I will ever praise you. My mouth is filled with your praise, declaring your splendor all day long. (Psalm 71:5,6,8)

Monday, June 12, 2006

elmo gets a check-up

I love this little boy...he is a constant source of love, joy, and of course, entertainment! He has recently given us a whole new picture of "praying without ceasing" matter where we are, at dinner, before bed, in target, in the car, anywhere...he will stop me several times a day, bow his head, fold his hands and say,"Mommy...this" And we pray...we pray in Target, we pray in the car...we pray at the park. What a precious lesson to learn from my 22 month-old! Thank you Lord, that he already knows that he can talk with you at any time! I am so thankful that we have Jack for a little while, but even more thankful that he will always belong to the Lord.

Friday, June 02, 2006

start spreadin' the news...

i'm leavin' today...i want to be a part of it...NEW YORK, NEW YORK!

okay, so we aren't moving...but our trip was wonderful! it was so nice to have time with matt and to experience such an amazing place together...we saw three shows-"The Drowsy Chaperone" is Sutton Foster's new show and it is wonderful, especially for musical theatre lovers, as it pokes fun at and celebrates what the theatre is all about in a funny and very clever show-definitely deserving of its 13 tony nominations..."The Light in the Piazza" is just beautiful-the music, the lighting, the definitely get whisked away into the romance that is Italy..."The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee" is another fun one...we were very happy with all three of our choices. After we got in on Friday night, we had a fabulous dinner with Jason and Allison, a couple that we actually met in blogworld...their apartment, dinner and conversation were great, and it was fun to be around their son, Levi, who is the same age as Jack...We walked the brooklyn bridge, explored central park, we walked everywhere really, and I LOVED THAT...i will be forever ashamed that here at home people(myself included) will drive their car from one end of a shopping center to another so they don't have to walk that was so nice to be outside and to see all kinds of people in one place. We rode the Staten Island Ferry and got a good view of the Statue of Liberty, saw the World Trade Center site, and the Empire State Building was right outside our window...Our hotel was right in Times Square and as exciting as that area was, I was glad to do some non-touristy things like visiting The Strand Bookstore, Bank Street Books where we found Jack a children's book on New York and his very own taxi that he has hardly put down since we got back, Brooklyn Industries-a neat little clothing store, strolling down the streets with brownstones in Brooklyn, people watching in Washington Square Park, just exploring in Greenwich Village (where we did have a celebrity sighting--walked right past Sandra Oh), and enjoying long strolls just wondering about all those people who actually live on Park Avenue! Everywhere that we ate was wonderful...we did everything from a local diner, to a hot dog at Gray's Papaya, to Ruby Foo's...a wonderful pan-asian restaurant, to a sidewalk french cafe, to the best pizza in New York city at Grimaldi's in Brooklyn, to dessert at Serendipity, to my favorite...a charming little place on the upper east side called Elaine's. We made it to a good many places in the city, and of course we could have still seen much more...I can't wait for our next trip!

Here's some pictures...

Outside the Marquis Theatre, after "The Drowsy Chaperone"

Outside the beautiful Lincoln Center where we saw "The Light in the Piazza"

Circle in the Square Theatre, where we saw "The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee"

I really love this picture Matt took of the amazing Grand Central Station, standing amidst all the movement of the city. Yes, that's me telling him to hurry up because it's time to cross the street! And we learned quickly that when it's time to cross, it's time right now!

Frozen hot chocolate and a strawberry cheesecake sundae...YUMMMMMY! It's a good thing we were doing so much walking!

On our walk across the Brooklyn Bridge

A lunch picnic in Central Park

If you look closely, you can see Katie, Matt and Al...we got to be there for Katie's last working day on the Today show...that was fun! I still didn't get to meet any of them, but it was still neat to see those people in person that are in my living room every morning!

This church was amazing. They say you could lie the Statue of Liberty down inside of it. Beautiful.

Someone had made a peace sign out of flowers on the John Lennon Memorial in the "Strawberry Fields" area of Central Park. we had a great time...however, this was still probably the best part of our trip! Jack had a great time with both sets of grandparents, and of course didn't get spoiled at all! I am glad that he did so well with us being away that long...but I also know that I will never lose that picture in my mind of him running towards us with his arms out, yelling "Mommy! Daddy!" What a sweet moment...Looks like we were squeezing him a little hard, but hey, we missed him!

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

MFFL's and Bono

GO MAVS!!! What an exciting series! I have some cute pictures of my guys in their jerseys that I will try to post later.

On another note, I am excited to watch Nightly News with Brian Williams tonight as they broadcast Bono's trip to Africa.

Friday, May 12, 2006

the office

well, we love this show around our house...and if any of you didn't see it last's the wonderful ending! ...i missed the best part while giving Jack his bath, so Matt also put this link on his blog...he thinks it might have turned the show a little girly, but i think it's great because now couples everywhere can enjoy it even more!

jenna...this post is especially for we can watch it over and over before we go buy the second season dvd of course!

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

I feel like I'm taking crazy pills...

Is it just me, or does anyone else have to try typing in those word verification things more than once almost every time they comment?!

Friday, May 05, 2006

need input...input...

For those of you who did not catch the movie reference in the title...shame on you, what a classic... speaking of the title...I have a few things that I want some suggestions on...

First...Matt and I are going on a five-day trip to New York in three weeks! I am so excited. This will be our first time away from Jack for more than a night, so that will be hard, but it will be so nice to be together in the greatest city ever. We would love some fun suggestions for our trip. Obviously we know all of the typical tourist attractions, but if you have any unique suggestions, great places to eat, etc...bring them on!

Second...I am working on a summer reading list. One thing I know I want to do this summer is to re-read some of the books that have meant alot to me over the years. That could probably take me all summer, because there are so many books that have meant so much to me at earlier stages of life and I want to read them again to see how they speak to me now. I love that about a it is has a life of its it can touch you in such different ways with the very same words depending upon your circumstances while reading it. Some of my all-time favorites...The Giving Tree, Charlotte's Web, Anne of Green Gables, Number the Stars, Little Women, The Secret Garden, A Wrinkle in Time, The Chronicles of Narnia, The Hiding Place, Redeeming Love, Mrs. Dalloway, The Grapes of Wrath, Jane Eyre, To Kill a Mockingbird, Of Mice and Men, God is no Fool, The Joy Luck Club, Memoirs of a Geisha, The Poisonwood Bible...well, really almost anything by Barbara Kingsolver, Madeleine L'Engle, Elizabeth Berg, Patricia Polacco, Henri Nouwen, Anne Lammot...oh the list could go on and on... are a few I have on the list for new reading so far...please feel free to leave commentary on any of the ones listed if you have read them...and definitely feel free to add on some new suggestions!

The Red Tent by Anita Diamant (Kate...I bought this book when you were reading it in college, and I still haven't gotten to it...I am determined that I am going to read it this summer!)
Heart of Darkness by Joseph Conrad
The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini
Night by Elie Wiesel (I can't believe I still haven't read this one...I've wanted to for years...this is the year, folks)
The Secret Life of Bees by Sue Monk Kidd
Life of Pi by Yann Martel
Real Sex and Mudhouse Sabbath, both by Lauren Winner
The Rock that is Higher by Madeleine L'Engle
Operating Instructions by Anne Lammot
Theater and Incarnation by Max Harris
Teacher Man by Frank McCourt

There are actually several that I would like to read by Anne Lammot, Eugene Peterson and Walter Bruggemann, and I am always looking for new great children's books to add to my collection...any suggestions?

Finally...we have moved into a little rent house like I mentioned in the last is so nice to have more space, hardwood floors and a big back yard for Jack to run wild in...and he does! Like I also mentioned in the previous post...I am wanting to take up gardening. I have kind of been talking about it jokingly, but really it is a hobby that I have always wanted to pick up. However, I literally know nothing on the any tips, suggestions for beginners...would be much appreciated...if you're even still reading, that is!

Monday, May 01, 2006

guess who's back...back again...??? it's been awhile...i hope all three of my readers haven't given up on me...

things have been crazy in the past couple of months, and i kept wanting to post, but feeling like i had completely poured out my heart on that last one left me feeling a little inadequate...oh i am, back again! we have just gotten the internet at our new house so i feel reconnected with the real world...we are trying to get settled's a great little rent house with hardwood floors, a big back yard and a third bedroom that i am hoping will quit looking like a storage room soon. jack loves the backyard...i think that i am going to have to take up gardening because i have a feeling that we will be spending most of our daylight out there. jack is growing everyday...i can't believe that he will be two in july! i will try to post some recent pictures soon...i just wanted to check in and say that i am still out here...more to come later...

Thursday, March 02, 2006

my son, do not walk in fear...

I have had this post in my heart for weeks now, and I can't sleep anymore until it is written. I am so sick of the injustice and ignorance that is all around us. And I am sick of hearing myself say that I am sick of it. Tonight, instead, I have written a letter to my Jack; a prayer for him that his generation will be better...and in writing these words, maybe I can find the strength to be better too.

My Son,

Do not walk in fear. For this not the spirit that He has given you. You are filled with a spirit of power, and of love and of a sound mind. Within your soul is the power of the one who created the heavens and the earth, the love of the Savior who died for every man, and the sound mind to reject the ignorance of this world. Don't be fooled by those who proclaim to follow Him, yet ignore His suffering children. And don't let that ignorance creep into your spirit. Seek Him with all of your heart and your heart will begin to break for those things that His heart breaks for. Your eyes will no longer see black, white, male, female, gentile, jew, gay, straight, punk, gangster, rich, poor. But your eyes will see people; people made in the image of God, people whom God dearly loves and wants you to love as well. Love them, my son. Love them unswervingly, unconventionally, unconditionally. Love them when they don't want to be loved, and when everyone else gives up on them. Walk alongside your fellow man with the knowledge that you share one maker, one hope and one destiny; with the knowledge that our God is making all things new...that there is going to be a great big party in the sky and that we are all invited.

This walk will not be easy, but do not be discouraged, for He is with you always. Some say that the children are the future. And, in that future, you may very well hear generations past crying out for you to save them from what they have done to one another. We are guilty of hate, guilty of injustice, guilty of violence, guilty of self-indulgence, guilty of ignorance. And yet, in the midst of all of this guilt is a perfect sea that bathes it all in mercy. Do not carry our guilt. For the Lord does not delight in sacrifice. The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart. So let your heart be broken, my precious son. As it is broken, let it be filled with the redemptive love of our Savior, and then live in response to that redemption you have received. My son, do not carry the weight of the world on your shoulders. This world is not yours to judge, or even to fix. Find rest in Him, for his yoke is easy and his burden is light. The very one who created you, who spoke the earth into existence, longs to give you rest for your soul. He who sees the depths of that soul, and all of the darkness that creeps in, sees only light. So do not be afraid, or worry about tomorrow. Live today in the grace and mercy of Christ, and with the knowledge that only in death will you truly gain. For today my son, act justly, love mercy, and walk humbly with your God. Walk with the God who says that yes, life is hard, and yes we will fail, but that he is Lord and there is no mistake that you can make that will keep him from being glorified when you make that your priority. Love and live, not as one checking off a list...or measuring faith by what you are against; what you can't or won't do. And keep your eyes open so you don't miss those sacred moments of Heaven breaking through.

Love your family, love your friends, love your enemies, love those you cannot see who are on the other side of the world. Know that to live is Christ. And Christ did not live safely. My son, I pray that you will live so boldly that you will drive fear into the heart of the evil that lurks outside your door. I pray that your eyes will see the hurting, the forgotten; those who think that they have no one. Bear their burdens, and instead of trying to have wise words about the plans of God, leave those plans to him. He will be the ultimate haven of rest...but in this life, my son, be a shoulder that is okay to cry on, an ear that doesn't mind the screaming, and a heart that shares the pain of your brothers and sisters. For the same Lord who gave us his unfailing love watched His son die on a tree for your fallen soul. And I know He must have hurt deeply for His child. Learn from this my child. It is okay to hurt, it is okay to be angry. Know that you have a God who is big enough for both your praise and your fear. It is important to remember Friday as we anxiously await Sunday. But Sunday will come. Sunday will come, and then we shall know fully; even as we are fully known. The injustice and sin and pain will all fall away, leaving only that which he created us to be. Sunday will come...all things will be made new...and LOVE WILL WIN.

I love you more than I could ever explain...and my precious son, I pray that you will always know how much you are loved. I pray that even more than the love of a parent, you will know the indescribable love of God that will never fail you. You are mine for awhile, but you are His for all time. I pray that your life will be a reflection of his grace and peace. And I pray that you will love with His heart. Let your loyalty not lie in the busyness of religion, but in the business of his kingdom. For He has called you to be his disciple and He has called you to a love that will lay its life down for another. Lay your life down, my son. Take His love into the dark corners, for He is already there waiting for you. Let His perfect love drive out all fear. Let your generation be the one to see justice rolling down like rivers and righteousness like an ever-flowing stream.

My son, do not walk in fear, for this is not the spirit He has given you. His words are written on your heart, and your name is engraved on the palm of his hand. He will not forget you. Do not forget Him or His children. Walk with a sound mind, in love and in power. Walk forward towards the cross, run to the hurting, rest in his grace, and meet me at the party.

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Tuesday, February 28, 2006

i still love you blogspot

i am not abandoning the blog, but i have just been sucked into the MySpace phenomenon, and it is really addicting. i have talked to people that i literally haven't seen since elementary's crazy how many people are on there, and fun to see what people are up to...even matt got sucked in!

i still love reading and writing blogs, but for some reason i have had some writers block lately...myspace requires a little less intelligent writing! anyway, just wanted to update my readers...all 3 of you...that i am not gone...i just took a little break!

Thursday, February 09, 2006

looking for the perfect valentine? how about a teddy bear holding a heart

Matt and I were a little disappointed this last weekend as we had really looked forward to Steve Martin hosting SNL. It wasn't really all that special...but this commercial was definitely hilarious!

Sunday, January 29, 2006

thoughts to click on

This is a great movie.

This is an amazing ministry with a very cool website.
One quote from the video that really struck a chord with me: "They don't act like christians or religion people...they act like friends; people you can count on"

My baby boy is getting so big! My heart aches to think about how fast this goes by and yet every moment with him, watching him discover the world, is an absolute joy.


This precious boy deserves his miracle. Get a bracelet like ours and continue to pray that the Lord will bring peace and healing to the Hays family.

Friday, January 20, 2006


This week has been full of much heartache and sadness over one who has lost her life. I did not even know this woman personally, but knew of her because she was also a theatre major at ACU, and because my uncle is an elder at the church where her husband ministers. I can remember hearing about her in the theatre department when I was there, and she was only 4 years older than I am right now. She lost her devastating battle with depression this week tragically and so many are grieving. I have not been able to get it out of my mind or heart this week. It is my prayer that people will begin to realize how real this disease of mental illness and depression is and how devastating it can be to more people's lives than we could probably imagine. I pray that, of all places, the church will be one that is safe for those who wage war with this attack of the devil on their minds and souls.

It is my prayer that Jehovah Shammah will be ever present in the lives of this precious woman's family, especially that of her husband and her two precious girls. I have been thinking of many verses this week, but one that stuck out in my mind was Psalm 130. I pray that those who are sinking into the depths will have the strength that they need to cry out to Jehovah Raphae for healing, and that as their brothers and sisters that we will be a constant source of encouragement and reminder of Jehovah Nissi; the Lord who is our banner and our hope.

Psalm 130

Out of the depths I cry to you, O LORD;
O Lord, hear my voice.
Let your ears be attentive
to my cry for mercy.
If you, O LORD, kept a record of sins,
O Lord, who could stand?
But with you there is forgiveness;
therefore you are feared.
I wait for the LORD, my soul waits,
and in his word I put my hope.

My soul waits for the Lord
more than watchmen wait for the morning,
more than watchmen wait for the morning.

O Israel, put your hope in the LORD,
for with the LORD is unfailing love
and with him is full redemption.

He himself will redeem Israel
from all their sins.

Sunday, January 15, 2006

some of my favorite words from MLK, Jr

Any religion that professes to be concerned about the souls of men and is not concerned about the slums that damn them, the economic conditions that strangle them and the social conditions that cripple them is a spiritually moribund religion awaiting burial.

Modern psychology has a word that is probably used more than any other word. It is the word "maladjusted." Now we should all seek to live a well adjusted life...but there are some things within our social order to which I am proud to be maladjusted and to which I call upon you to be maladjusted. I never intend to adjust myself to segregation and religious economic conditions that will take neccesities from the many and give luxuries to the few. I never intend to adjust myself to mob rule. I never intend to adjust myself to the tragic effects of the methods of physical violence and to tragic militarism. I call upon you to be maladjusted to such things...because it may well be that the salvation of our world lies in the hands of the maladjusted.
I call upon you to be as maladjusted as Amos who in the midst of the injustices of his day cried out in words that echo across the generation, "Let judgment run down like waters and righteousness like a mighty stream." As maladjusted as Abraham Lincoln who had the vision to see that this nation could not exist half slave and half free. As maladjusted as Jefferson, who in the midst of an age amazingly adjusted to slavery could cry out, " All men are created equal and are endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable rights and that among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness." As maladjusted as Jesus of Nazareth who dreamed a dream of the fatherhood of God and the brotherhood of man, who could look into the eyes of the men and women of his generation and cry out, "Love your enemies. Bless them that curse you. Pray for them that despitefully use you."
God grant that we will be so maladjusted that we will be able to go out and change our world and our civilization. And then we will be able to move from the bleak and desolate midnight of man's inhumanity to man to the bright and glittering daybreak of freedom and justice.

Almost always, the creative dedicated minority has made the world better.

I refuse to accept the view that mankind is so tragically bound to the starless midnight of racism and war that the bright daybreak of peace and brotherhood can never become reality. I believe that unarmed truth and unconditional love will have the final word.

If a man is called to be a streetsweeper, he should sweep streets even as Michaelangelo painted, or Beethoven composed music, or Shakespeare wrote poetry. He should sweep streets so well that all the host of heaven and earth will pause to say, here lived a great streetsweeper who did his job well.

Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.

Thursday, January 05, 2006

such a texan...he's already a crazy football fan!

This kid stayed up till the end cheering for Vince Young! It was an exciting game, and even though mommy is an Aggie fan, it was nice to see the home state win in the end, especially with how cocky USC seems to be...i'm kind of sad that there's no more college football for awhile...i definitely prefer it to pro, but hey, at least the season ended on an exciting note!

speaking of crazy football fans...he does get it honestly! check out his Uncle Brad's blog for today...

Wednesday, January 04, 2006

fort worth JANUARY!

There was lots of fun to be had at the Fort Worth Zoo today, and Jack, Hayley, John and Bella took advantage of that. Baby Anna Claire and Baby Garrett made us all smile too and somehow I ended up with no pictures of those sweet ones. Although I have personally been a little bitter about this weird weather we are having in January, Jack and I have had lots of fun outside, spending yesterday at the park and today at the zoo...I can't believe that all of these sweet babies born together are now all running was so fun to watch Jack ooh and ahh and make all of his animal sounds...we look forward to many more trips to the zoo!

Jack loved the petting zoo...

Here, you can see him here making a "kiss kiss" noise to try to get the lazy goats' attention!

Here's Jack and mama watching the lion cubs play...That Mama Lion looks pretty tired, and by this point in the day, I was identifying with her pretty well!

Jack and Hayley chillin with the flamingos

Here's Jack and his friend John enjoying some time with the pigs...they are going to have to stick together in the coming years, because they are sorely outnumbered by the girls!

More hanging out with the pigs...

Jack and cute!

Jack and John hanging out with the goats...are these boys gonna be heartbreakers or what?

Sweet Hayley playing peekaboo!

Tuesday, January 03, 2006

God is no fool

I am so glad that this wonderful book by Lois Cheney is back in print. I don't know if I could count how many times I checked it out of the ACU library or how many times it spoke directly to my soul, but I am hoping that soon I can have my very own copy (hint, hint...wish I had thought of this BEFORE Christmas!)

...I need a word,
A good, solid word.

That shows how I feel
When the day is over
And I've worked well
And I'm glad to be so tired.

I need a word for when
I've spent hours and hours
With those I love, and I'm
Talk-sore and smile-aching.

I need a word for when
I'm alone, and over the miles
Are parts of my heart, deep in others
Who are warm, and safe, and at peace.

I need a word for when
A job looms like a greyhound
And I can do it, and I want to do it
And I tingle to get at it.

I need a word for that
Warm, gentle flow that
Covers every corner of my being,
And says, "Lo, I am with you always."

I need a word
Real bad,
And I think it might be

Or maybe it's
Then again, maybe,
They're the same

Monday, January 02, 2006

i love this kid...

for anyone who didn't get the christmas card, here is the picture that was on it...and, sorry!
i am looking forward to playing with my new digital camera more and hopefully posting more pictures soon...
Happy 2006!