Tuesday, July 28, 2009
Last night we had dinner with some of our sweet friends, without kiddos, and as we laughed, talked and shared memories, we had some of those stories. Stories that you cannot share with everyone, stories that only you and your friends get. Mainly because you are so close to them that there is no worry for "what they will think" but also because they know you so well that they get you, they get your personality, life, goofiness, quirks etc...(love you C and H, thanks for getting us!)
I was spending some quiet time this morning and it got me to thinking. Our relationship with the Lord should be that way. We should be so close to Him that when things happen in life, funny, sad, scary, good, etc...He should be the first person we go to. We should run to Him first to tell all of our life stories to. We don't have to worry about what He will think, He already knows and we don't have to worry about if He will still love us, that can never change. I also think He laughs with us in the funny stories, He after all created the horses and camels ;)! So whatever happens to you today, whatever story your life writes today, run to the one person who gets you the most!
Saturday, July 25, 2009
Friday, July 24, 2009
About 6 or 7 months ago we started to talk and pray about our next steps. We love our home and as you know it is such a huge part of our story/faith journey (especially with the full court ) but we started rapidly running out of room. Preston now stands at 5 feet tall and is only getting bigger; Bennett and Emma are growing like weeds as well. So we thought we would have to do one of two things. We could add on to our existing home or we would have to sale this home and build another house a little bit bigger. So we meet with a couple of contractors and talked to some people about what our best options were. We came to the conclusion that truly our best bet would be to sale the house on Hopkins and build again. In late May we met with Robert Montague, director of the BDC, and discussed where we could go. He told us about some available lots on Allison, just about 4 streets up from where we live now. We spent the next few days praying about what God would want us to do.
After praying and talking to some close friends we decided Allison was where we felt God moving us. We committed to Robert to purchasing one of the available lots. In this was also a blessing in that The Parkinson family (Ben is one of the pastors at our church) and The Crenshaw family (great friends that live on Hopkins with us now) are moving on Allison as well. We then started to pray about selling our current home. I really did not think it would happen fast at all. In my head I was thinking we would be here for about another year before we could move or start building. But God always is surprising me! We sold our house within about 2 weeks of talking to the BDC and making plans of where our new house would be. (Thank you Soup Campbell!) Is that affirmation or what??
The last 2 weeks have been filled with meeting with bankers, builders, architects, tree people (we have a huge tree that we refer to as “the beast”) that has to come down on our new lot. New prayer request, we are hoping that the city will take this tree down for free, otherwise it is going to cost us big!!!! It has been a whirlwind roller coaster ride for sure. But isn’t that the best way? I was having lunch with a friend on Friday and was telling her this story and I started saying, when you give your life over to Christ and die to yourself, you are not made any promises about what the future will be here on this earth. So there are times when it is smooth and straight, fast and downhill, slow and uphill, sometimes you are laughing your head off and sometimes you are scared to death but here is the best part, I know who runs my roller coaster and I trust Him. And at the very end of this ride two thing will be for sure, it will not have been boring and I will end the ride spending eternity with my King.
People are always asking us, “What do you do in Binghamton?” And the answer is simply this; we don’t “do” anything other than live out the gospel. We love Jesus, each other, disciple our children, take care of our home and family, love our neighbors, and give God the glory for all he has done. We hope by just “living” and not necessarily “doing” people can see Jesus in us and want to know what is different. All we know is that he has called us to live in Binghamton and regardless if that is because of something he is going to do in our lives or someone in the neighborhood we are going to be obedient to His call.
Our entire family is so excited about our move, okay so Emma has not a clue but the rest of us are super excited! We have loved being a part of this community and truly could not imagine living anywhere else. We believe God is doing a new thing in Binghampton and in Memphis and we are thrilled that he would allow us to be a tiny part of it. We don’t feel like we Have to live in Binghampton we feel like we Get to live in Binghampton. We pray that our kids will learn they are blessed to be a blessing here and that everyone deserves a loving neighbor-Mark 12:30-31.
We would ask that you pray for us in these ways:
1. That everything with the selling of this house would go smoothly and we would close and be able to transition without any roadblocks. (My mom has graciously offered for us to move in with her until our home is built.)
2. Pray for my mom as she gains 5 new roommates Peace, patience would be just a few things I could think of for her -Love you mom!
3. Pray for our new home on Allison
4. Pray for our builder and that everything would run smoothly in the building process
5. Pray for that “Beast” of a tree to be taken down by the city
6. Pray for our new neighbors on Allison (I will let you know names as I learn them) some of them…are Chris, Taurus, Jackie and Phil, The Parkinson family (Ben, Aimee, Abigail, Anna, and Allie), The Crenshaw family ( Brian, Erin, Austin, Olivia, and Eliana)
7. Pray for our neighbors that we are leaving and for Marcus who is purchasing our home. Pray that it will be as much of a blessing to him as it has been to us!
We took Preston for his eleventh birthday on a trip to Kings Island in Cincinnati, Ohio. We left Emma with my mom and just took the boys. We had a great time! The boys loved it. I think we rode every roller coaster and water ride (I truly hate these, there is nothing worse than being cold, wet and walking around in full clothes) known to man. I would like to personally thank the person that invented the “family dryer” for a low low price of $5(I am being sarcastic) you can fit your whole family inside of this contraption and it blows warm air on you for 3 minutes. Does not dry you at all but you feel a little less inappropriate walking around. Preston and I rode the Beast, which was the funniest thing ever, well the ride wasn’t funny but the picture they took of us riding was well worth the price of admission. Preston is eyes wide open, grinning from ear to ear and loving it, I on the other hand have my eyes glued shut, mouth wide open and look like something at the beginning of a horror movie. Shortly after we rode they shut down the ride for “mechanical issues” see, so my face just knew something the rest of the people did not…the ride was apparently breaking, NICE! I should have paid the $12.99 for that picture in case The Beast never re-opens. All in all it was a great trip. I am so glad I am married to a man that is anything but passive. He is so incredibly intentional with our children, not wasting one minute of precious time with them. There were signs all over that park of passivity in men. Several teenage boys were walking around with multiple piercings, tattoos and shirts that said things that would make you blush and I wanted to walk up to every one of them and say, tell me about your home life, tell me about the role of your father in your home? I would venture to guess that the answer would be the same, absent. It breaks my heart and makes me so thankful for a husband that is not absent.
We stopped at the Creation Museum on the way home. I would like to give it a rating of somewhere between cheesy and pretty good. If you drew a line straight down the middle of those two that is where this museum would be. We were greatly encouraged to buy a seasonal pass and for the life of me I could not figure out why someone would want to do that. Seriously, once is plenty.
We arrived home late last night and mom had kept Emma up to see us. She looked a little confused and excited all rolled into one. Like, hey, where have you people been? It took us forever to get her in the bed, I think she was afraid we would leave again. I have to go now there is a beast at the end of my hall called laundry and for some reason I don’t think they will shut this one down…ever.
I realized a few days ago that I just started this blog willy nilly without really starting from the beginning. Some of you know the story others of you may have lived part of the story with us but for the sake of documenting and for the few of you that don’t know I will now “tell the rest of the story…”
It all started in early 2004, okay truthfully it started way before then but trust me you don’t want to know the WHOLE story. So it was 2004 and Braxton was on the missions committee at Christ Methodist. We had some close friends that had moved into the neighborhood and I pretty much thought they were ridiculous but I also knew that they did not have kids yet and the minute they did they would not want to live there anymore. Why in the world would anyone want to raise kids in the hood. So he comes home from one of his meetings and says, “I really feel like God is calling our family to move into Binghampton.” I said, “Yes sweet husband, you lead and I will follow.” (That is what I should have said) Okay, here is the truth… Insert bug eyes here…WHAT?!?!?! You have lost your mind, we have two young children and we cannot do something like that, please pray about that some more because if you go you go alone. Insert me putting my foot down. (I was so wrong for this!)
I thought that was that, surely he would listen to reason. Reason being his wife that would constantly bring up all the bad stuff that was happening in Binghampton and then put in front of him his two beautiful angelic sons.
About 3 months after he dropped that little bomb shell we signed up to do a missions blitz with our Sunday School class. We volunteered with the BDC, Binghampton Development Corporation. We met on a blazing hot Saturday in August in the front yard of another set of our radical and crazy friends who had moved into the neighborhood. Brian Crenshaw who at the time was working for the BDC welcomed us and said, “thanks for coming today. we are going to walk across the street to this yellow house and do some work on it. The BDC has purchased the home and we are trying to fix it up to move in an intentional family. Before we begin let’s pray.” Well as we started to pray I had one of those moments that I will never forget, in fact it still gives me chill bumps to this day. The Holy Spirit in a still small quiet way said in my heart, “that is your family.” Well, we finished praying and I was hoping to heaven that my husband had not heard the same thing, I was pretty sure I had just made that up in my head. So no sense telling anyone, right? We proceeded to walk across the street and work on the house. The minute we walked in I felt sick, no way I could ever live there. It was incredibly small, dirty, messed up floors, ceilings, etc..
Fast forward to October 31st, Braxton and I have been looking around at houses. We are preparing to buy a home finally, it took us 4 years to sale our house in Ripley. We found a home that I simply loved. It was so cute, in a great area and had a screened in back porch with a swing. Those of you that know me well know that I LOVE a swing. So, we were going to sign a contract on the house the next day. Well that night I could not sleep at all, tossed and turned, had bad dreams, the whole nine yards. I woke up the next morning and was in the worst mood. I went to work without even really speaking to Braxton. It was at about 2:00 that day that Braxton calls and says, “I have not been able to get a hold of the mortgage guy or the real estate agent all day.” At this point I burst into tears and say, I know why, we are supposed to live in Binghampton, I just don’t want to. He sits there in silence for a few minutes and then says, “I know, I have known that all day, I just did not know how to tell you.”
We talk for a few more minutes and then I tell him I am going up to talk to Robert Montague, director of the BDC. I walk into Robert’s office and begin to sob again. I am pretty sure he thought at first I had gotten lost on my way to the counseling office, but once I was able to complete a sentence I told him Braxton and I wanted to live in Binghampton.
We talked for awhile and in the next few weeks we rode around the neighborhood looking at lots and talking about options. In the meantime, I still had not told a soul about what the holy spirit had placed on my heart back in August. Also, we had decided not to tell anyone about us moving to the neighborhood until we knew for sure where that would be and what it would look like. We knew it was going to be a shock for our families. It was right before Thanksgiving and I was on the phone with my sweet friend Erin Crenshaw, Brian’s wife, and she said, “Oh, I meant to tell you, you know that house that your Sunday School class worked on? Well they are going to tear it down and build another house. It needs too much work to fix it up.” I about freaked out!! I had heard right, this was the place where the Lord was leading our family. I immediately called Braxton and told him. We then called the BDC and told them we wanted to build on that lot.
So after much prayer, paperwork, telling our families, etc… we started to build in June 2005. We moved into our home on December 18,2005. It has been a journey and one that I am so glad I did not miss out on. I will tell you now that by maturity in the Lord if my husband comes home tomorrow and tells me we are moving to China I will follow without hesitation, maybe with medication but without hesitation ;)