Christmas Round 2

4 So Joseph also went up from the town of Nazareth in Galilee to Judea, to Bethlehem the town of David, because he belonged to the house and line of David. 5 He went there to register with Mary, who was pledged to be married to him and was expecting a child. 6 While they were there, the time came for the baby to be born, 7and she gave birth to her firstborn, a son. She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger, because there was no guest room available for them.  8 And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night.   Luke 2:4-8

Praise God that Christ was born to live a sinless life, died, and rose again so that we could have a relationship with God and eternity with Him in heaven!  This Christmas season feels like it has been much more Christ-focused than many others before it.  Maybe because we have a child so we have tried to be more conscientious about making that the focus, or maybe because we have grown in our relationship with Christ.  I pray that this continues for every Christmas for the rest of our lives.

And another thing, Christmas is so much more fun with a child!!  Kinsley was so excited and overwhelmed with all of her gifts that she played almost all day by herself and has woken up early every morning since and started playing right away.  Ed’s parents came into town on Thursday and we spent the rest of the weekend eating, fellowshipping, eating some more, looking at Christmas lights, attending church service on Christmas eve, playing games, and just having good ole fun.  We started some fun new traditions like reading the Christmas story on Christmas morning before opening gifts, Christmas morning breakfast of monkey bread and crock pot grits, Christmas eve morning of Krispy Kreme doughnuts, etc.  Here are some pictures of Kinsley opening her presents on Christmas day.

Please pray as we attend Encounter this week (and for our students that are attending Remedy, the Impact national conference) – that our students will grow in their faith and the Lord will motivate them and inspire them to come back and reach their campus, that we would get to know our students, that students will decide to go on summer project, and that Kinsley will sleep later than 6:15 each morning!  We will update you on how it goes in 2012!!

Christmas Round 1

Remember how I said Christmas was one of my favorite times of the year?  Well, this year it was confirmed even more!  We just got back from my parents house for Round 1 of Christmas.  Tomorrow, Ed’s parents will visit and stay with us through Christmas.

Christmas at my parents house was fun for many, many reasons.  Here are a few:

1.  Christmas baking, family together (with my dad’s side of the family) with WAY too much food, a special visit from Santa (my dad), lots of kids gathered in one place laughing and having fun.  Kinsley did not like Santa….she liked looking at him but didn’t want him looking at her or getting too close.  She loved following the “big kids” around and doing what they did.  She also loved the baby doll that she got from my granddad.

2.  Eating at Miyabis Japanese steakhouse (the food was oh so good but Kinsley hated the Santa hats the chefs and waiters were wearing and hated the chef cooking) and then going to look at Christmas lights synchronized to music at the Myrtle Beach Pelicans ball field.  She sat on the middle console and danced to all the music, until she decided to pop through the top!

3.  All the fun presents from Gammy and Pop-Pop, Uncle Alex and Kristin.  Kinsley is most definitely spoiled since she is the only grandchild!  She loved all of her presents and kept saying “Wow!”  She got everything from bath toys, to a wagon, to a tricycle (which she will have to grow into), to a Mickey bowling set, to clothes, to a potty.  And yes, she loves the potty!  She even used the bathroom in it, which I know was completely by accident, but fun nonetheless.  I am looking forward to potty training when the new year rolls around.

4.  Steamed oysters!  Okay, so this wasn’t Kinsley’s favorite, or Ed’s, since he doesn’t like them, but it was mine.  This is seriously one of my favorite parts about going home…getting good, fresh seafood, like yummy oysters.  I think there is no way you can be raised on the coast and not like them!

5.  Great times visiting ministry partners and reflecting on the birth of Christ together.  This weekend, we worshiped with Center Baptist Church, one of the churches that generously supports us.  It was great seeing people who have become like family, and hearing about Christ and how his birth and resurrection are the basis for all we believe and hope for.

It has also been really fun hearing Kinsley start saying more and more these last few weeks.  She is not only starting to say larger words (like balloon, turtle, ready, etc.) but also phrases (like I don’t know, I all right, in a little while, the other way, etc.).  So fun to have her really communicating with us!

We pray you are having a merry Christmas and we will update you soon on Round 2!

Where do we begin?

This is the question that Ed and I have asked ourselves many times since moving here to North Carolina.  Where do we begin when looking for a church to get plugged into and to serve?

Usually, we start looking online at websites of local churches and by asking our friends of churches that they know of/would recommend/know people who attend, etc.  When we did this, we were assured of one thing:  THERE ARE A GAZILLION CHURCHES IN THIS AREA!  How would a non-believer or new Christian know where to start if we sure don’t?  A few churches were highly recommended, so we tried those and while they were great in their own ways, we still aren’t sure we have found the church that the Lord has for us.  Then we tried a few that we liked their mission, beliefs, etc. on their websites, and again, just not where the Lord is calling us to get plugged into.

We have had a really bad experience with a church in the past and partly because we rushed into making that our permanent home without the Lord confirming to us that was where He wanted us.  We don’t want that to happen again so we are willing to be patient, but trying church after church after church and leaving every Sunday knowing that wasn’t it either can leave you wearisome.  We aren’t picky, we know that no church is perfect, and that church isn’t about having the right feel and the right things for us or just about helping us grow. And still the search continues.

But we are hopeful.  We have been a part of some really great churches in the past (which may be why we have high standards!) and we know that somewhere in Raleigh is the church for us, it just would be nice to get plugged into that church and start serving sooner rather than later.  Until then, we will keep visiting.  We will keep praying.  We will keep asking ourselves the questions of what do we value in a church, how far do we want to travel so that we are still able to be used by this church to reach our community in Fuquay Varina, is this a church we can invite our neighbors and non-believers to and be assured they will be welcomed and surrounded by the good news of Jesus?

So please pray for us in our search to find a local body that we can be used in to reach our community and to grow closer to the Lord.  We feel that one of the churches we have visited may be where the Lord wants us, but we aren’t 100% sure and are still waiting for the Lord to confirm that to us through this Word, others, and by seeking him in prayer.

Oh, and just a little side note, we took Kinsley to get pictures made this weekend.  We dressed her up in a cute Christmas outfit, traveled to the picture studio, posed her just right, and then…..well she cried the whole time.  And we aren’t talking a tantrum that goes away.  For a good 30 minutes or more, despite everything we tried to do, she cried uncontrollably with huge tears like she was afraid for her life.  Needless to say, choosing just one picture wasn’t hard as there were only two that were decent.  We did buy one of those and even though she isn’t smiling, it is a great picture to remind us of her as a 20 1/2 month old!


The past two days, we had a planning time with our team where we planned for the spring semester.  With all of this being so new, it was a great time to connect with our team as well as get a big overview of what is happening ministry-wise on our campuses here in NC. We started with a time of thanking the Lord for all the things that He has done this semester.

This is a picture of our thankfulness wall.  Pretty colors, right?

Then we talked about the reality of where our campuses are now at in ministry and our dreams for where we would like to see them by the end of the next semester.  While we have over 35 schools in our scope, there are 11 schools where we either have a ministry of some kind going on currently, or we have a key contact at that school and are giving it some focus.  It was really exciting to think of the potential that exists for growth at each of these schools and the doors that the Lord has opened.

But all of this during planning, along with some major things that have happened this week in the lives of people I know that have left my heart heavy, have gotten me thinking about all the things I am thankful for.  While this is by no means a comprehensive list, these are a few of the things that have come to light this week.

  • A daughter who is a true delight and such a ham!  She always makes me laugh and it is so fun to see her learning and growing every day.  I know that not everyone is able to have a child, so I be no means take this blessing lightly.  This picture shows her with her doll (whom she LOVES!!) that she loves to be “mommy” to by changing her, feeding her, etc.  She isn’t always the most gentle with her so thank goodness its not a real baby!
  • Ed – I am so grateful for how he leads our family, how he can admit when he screws up, and how is constantly desiring to become more like Christ and follow Him in everything.  While marriage isn’t always easy and I don’t know why he puts up with me and my mood swings and flaws, I am grateful he does and how God uses marriage to refine us.
  • Our house, town, and new location.  I love where we live!!  We are a few blocks from town and many amenities, but yet we feel like we are in the country.  Here is even a picture of what I saw a few weeks ago.  Since this picture was taken, we have seen them almost daily walking around our house.  We found out that our neighbor is feeding them, which we don’t mind!!  Our town is small, but when you don’t grow up here and know everyone, its not so bad!
  • Our team.  We have really been getting to know them better and love hanging out with them.
  • Freedom.  Freedom to share the Gospel (even though we see this becoming less and less, even in America).  Freedom to move around and go about as we please.  Freedom to share what is going on in our lives with others and say what we would like.  This is something that I have really been pondering lately.  I don’t think many people in America are aware of the persecution that many people face even today in the world for sharing about Christ.  When this persecution involves our friends, it is taken to a whole new level.
  • Provision.  We are so thankful for our ministry partners, and when we fill up with gas, or buy things at the store, or even buy ministry supplies, we are reminded of their sacrifice and faithfulness in giving so that we can be ministers to college students and faculty.  The Lord is so good to provide through people who believe in what we do.
  • Christmas.  I LOVE this time of the year.  Focusing on Christ and his birth.  Christmas lights – which Kinsley LOVES and always says “wow” and “woa” to.  Christmas parades.  Decorations.  Time with family.  Christmas cards.  I just love it!!  Here is Kinsley helping to put up my mom’s Christmas tree, along with Bella, her partner in crime.

While there is lots more to list, just wanted you to know a few things that have been on my heart and mind lately.  Thanks for joining with me on my journey of thankfulness.