Monday, April 25, 2011

A little bit of Ethiopia in our hometown :)

Alyssa, our oldest daughter, shares her Kindergarten class with a sweet boy named Caleb, who happens to be from Ethiopia. There are actually 2 Caleb's from Ethiopia in her class. How cool is that?! Anyway, at all the little class parties and birthdays, I have gotten acquainted with Caleb's mom, Ginet. Of course I pursued her and asked her questions about Ethiopia and talked with her about our adoption and she invited us over to her house for dinner Easter Sunday night. When we pulled up to their house, cars lined the side of the road. We had no idea we were joining a BIG family Easter celebration, and also had no idea how much of a treat we were in for either. Have you ever walked into a place and you didn't know anyone, and everyone was staring at you, and it just felt completely awkward? Well, it wasn't like that at all. I think we learned a few things about hospitality and how to make a person feel welcome, accepted and loved while visiting with these amazing people. From the moment we walked in the door, we were greeted with big smiles and handshakes from everyone adorned in their beautiful traditional Ethiopian clothing. We were served Doro Wott, Minchet Abish, Tibs, Kitfo, cabbage, greens, injera, of course, home made bread, cheese, and cake. To say we were miserably stuffed would be an understatement. It was an Ethiopian feast, and it was all so delicious. Once we couldn't eat another bite, they turned on the traditional Ethiopian music and we got to witness a little dancing outside. It was so great!

The beautiful ladies doing their little shoulder shaking dance :)

It was really awesome to watch our girls join in on the fun and dancing. From the moment we arrived, Alyssa and Aubrey made themselves right at home.

There was a little soccer playing.

And Aaron's highlight of the evening was chatting it up with the men on the back porch. To say he loved it, wouldn't be enough. They talked to Aaron about his farming and thought it was wonderful that he was a farmer; talked to him about their homeland and coffee farming there; and of course about our son. You could definitely sense the pride they all carried for Ethiopia, and they were excited and honored that God had given us a love for their culture. They were eager to share it with us, and were all very supportive and happy for our adoption.
One of my highlights of the evening was when all the men came in, and each one came up to me and shook my hand and told me that my husband was a great man and how happy it has made them to be able to sit and talk with him. Their sincerity and graciousness was so refreshing.

As the evening went on, I couldn't quit smiling. I was just thinking how good God was and how He orchestrated every little detail of this adoption. Even down to putting Alyssa in the same class as Caleb and giving us connections to local Ethiopian people. Our intentions all along have been to teach our son about his culture, and keep that alive for him. We want him to know where he was born and to always be proud of that. I smile knowing that is God's heart as well.
There is just something there. Aaron and I share the same feeling together. It can only be explained as something God put there. It's a new passion that He planted within our hearts for obvious reasons. He gave us His heart for them. He couldn't trust us to be parents to one of His Ethiopian children if we didn't respect and love and understand their culture. It's just a beautiful thing. We are so excited and honored that God called us on this great adventure. We still have much to learn and look forward to reconnecting and soaking in more.

Alyssa with Caleb and some new friends

And as I said before, our children had no trouble at all making themselves at home. Aubrey even decided she would join the littles for a bath :) Greatness!


We had a great Easter this year.

Our girls bedazzled the most beautiful eggs you ever saw :)

They woke up to their baskets full of goodies and a creative impromtu breakfast from mom and dad :)

Then after a wonderful church service we headed over to Memaw's house for some lunch and a big egg hunt.

Counting and looking through their big finds :)

And this cute little lady with the girls is my Memaw. She is my grandmother, and the girl's great grandmother. She will be 99 years old in May of this year! She kept telling me all day long what a wonderful day it was to have all the family gathered. She is so proud of her family, and rightfully so. It was a wonderful day!

Friday, April 22, 2011

Nothing But The Blood

My beautiful Savior...all that is good within me is because of you! You died for me and now I live for you. I am so thankful for Friday and rejoice in Sunday!

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

I can kinda be crafty :)

I am not the most crafty or creative person on the face of the planet, but sometimes I can pull something cute out of the craft gene pool every now and again. Well, at least we think it's cute.

I spruced up some Easter baskets for the girls with some feathers and a few flowers and butterflies.
It may not look like anything real special....

....but they liked it, and that's all that counts :)

Monday, April 11, 2011

Spring is upon us and summer is around the corner :)

Oh the beauty in Texas right now! The bluebonnets are in full bloom covering the ground like a blue and white blanket. Everywhere you look you see cars stopped on the side of the road and people taking advantage of the picture perfect fields, including us.

We normally would have gotten dressed up in pretty little white sundresses, but we decided to stop on our way home from a long day's work at the farm. Hence the ball caps and dirty shirts :) But hey, don't look at us, look at the bluebonnets :)

But of course we think these 2 look cute no matter what...messy hair, dirty-faced and all!

So Spring brings the bluebonnets, but it also brings us a lot of work. My husband's main job is farming, and this is planting time. We finally got some much needed rain, and it is so great to see the beginnings of our crops popping up. Pictured below is the first sightings of our main crop, okra. I know a lot of you that read our blog have never even tried okra or may not have even heard of it, but in our neck of the woods, it is a summertime staple. SO GOOD! It's so funny, at our fruit stand in the summer when someone tells me they don't like okra, I always ask them where they are from. 90% of the time they are not from Texas.

This below is our organically grown spinach

One of my favorites....white Swiss chard.

Our little friend the lady bug.

And this is what we did this past Sunday...we planted over 300 of these little guys... tomato vines. So much for a day of rest... lol! We still have about 300 more to go. It was a lot of fun actually. I enjoy spending time with my family and watching my husband and helping him do what he loves is rewarding in itself. Alyssa loves to be outside and catch bugs and play in the dirt, so she was content as could be, but our little princess Aubrey had the least amount of fun I would say. We had to take a little trip to Nanny's house to give her a break from the icky bugs and dirt :) No, really she was a trooper too even though she stayed in the back of dad's truck most of the time :)

And this is our newest addition to our business this year. After looking for a couple of years and dreaming, God finally blessed Aaron with a work truck. It's a refrigerated reefer truck, perfect for making long haul okra and squash deliveries. We are very proud and grateful to have this handy dandy of a truck!

So great to see how God has blessed our farming business every year! I am amazed and so proud of my hard working man, and am thankful for my hard working dad that helps us tremendously as well! He's pretty handy dandy himself :) We are so blessed!

Monday, April 4, 2011

Rice Crispies with a twist!

I was at a Scentsy party this weekend and our host had made rice crispie treats. One lady was enjoying one and said that her kids like it when she makes them with fruity pebbles. I thought, 'Oh my goodness, what a great idea!' My kids LOVE fruity pebbles so I thought I would give it a whirl.

All you need is:
a bag of mini marshmallows,
a box of fruity pebbles
and 1 stick of butter

And yes, my fingernails do match the multicolored cookie. Me and the girls were trying on colors at the store :)

Aubrey and my nephew, Kyle are my guinea pigs...AND.......

...All smiles. That's a good sign. Kyle told me,"Aunt Stacy I love these so much. I want to take some home with me." So of course I will have to abide and make the handsome little sweetie a whole batch for his birthday! He turns 5 this week!
Colorful, simple and fun for the kids. I can't believe I never thought of it on my own.

Friday, April 1, 2011

A day of overcoming!

Have you ever had a small dream that you have kind of always wanted to do, but were a little bit of a chicken to do it? Well I have, and today I took a small step towards that little dream of mine.
You see, I really enjoy fitness. I love it! I am in the gym 5 days a week, and I find nutrition and the way the body works, and how it responds to certain foods fascinating. It's just interesting to me. I am passionate about keeping my body fit the healthy way. If I ever went back to school, I would focus on nutrition classes.
Just a little background about me. I am not at all a skinny girl. In fact, even though I am physically in the best shape of my life (heart fitness wise) you probably wouldn't guess by the looks of me that I work hard in the gym 5 days a week. I guess you could call me "curvy" lol! But underneath all my soft curves, I know I have got lots of muscle and a strong heart hehe ;)
I have had to always work my hardest to look MY best. Let me reiterate that...MY BEST! When I was a teenager I felt the pressure to be beautiful, and to be thin. I took diet pills, and from a very early age (6th grade), struggled with an eating disorder. In my walk with the Lord, I have been able to overcome those things. When I had Alyssa, my first daughter, I knew it wasn't something I wanted to pass onto her. The Lord really highlighted for me that it was a spiritual battle, a stronghold that Satan holds over many women, and that was something I could have passed down to my children. So of course, I broke it off. I didn't want my girls struggling the same tortuous way I had.
I won't lie to you, it still can be battle. Satan loves to rehash old feelings and emotions and temptations and tries to bring it back up again. I will sometimes get envious of the woman with the flat stomach and tiny waist. But instead of staying in that place of jealousy, now I can recognize it for what it is and stop it before it gets too bad. I refuse to entertain that anymore. Now my strength and knowledge comes from the Lord, and with that I can overcome anything. It took me a long time to get here, and even though in my bad moments I can still get down on myself, I have come to grips finally in my adulthood that I am who I am. This is the way God made me, and I want to be the best I can be. Not like the girl next to me, just me. God has taught me a lot in the past 6 years (since I had my children, and my body has drastically changed) what beauty is to Him. I have been able to see myself for the first time through His eyes. And I do thank Him 'for I am beautifully and wonderfully made.'
I think all my past struggles has led me to being passionate about fitness and taking care of this one and only body the Lord has blessed me with the healthy way.

So back to my small dream. For about 3-4 years now I have wanted to teach a class at the gym, but I have been such a chicken. I don't like to be the center of attention. I would rather stay in the back of the room where no one notices me, but for some reason, I wanted to teach a class, and that want never went away. Maybe God wanted an average-sized girl up front for all the other average-sized girls who are working their hardest everyday. You know...a girl who understands. Or maybe he just wanted to push me out of my comfort zone and encourage me to do something uncomfortable. He likes to do that ya's called growth! Who knows, but for years I have let lies stop me. I had all these little fears rise up....'what if they don't take you seriously because you don't look like Gillian,' or 'what if you get up there and forget what you are suppose to do,' or 'I can't talk and workout at the same time. How am I going to lead without talking?' lol!
You know and I know those voices of doubt and fear are from the enemy, so I FINALLY stopped listening to that and took a baby step today. I made a surprise cameo appearance during my morning spin class! I DID IT!!!! For just one song, I led the class full force. I did a racing song where we did standing sprints to "Whip It" by little Willow Smith.(I love that song) With my heart pounding and my body running on adrenaline, I think I led strong. I even whipped my hair back and forth a couple times...hahaha! It went by fast and it was fun! So today marks a milestone of a first for me and a realization of a small dream and goal of mine....a day of overcoming! Before you know it, I will be leading my own class. I feel good!
Another little dream of mine would be to sing in the middle of a charismatic dancing choir, fully robed with a tambourine in hand, like on 'Sister Act'..hahaha! I would totally love that! Who knows...maybe one day :)