For the Record, We are not Moving to Costa Rica

at least we don't have plans to do that anytime soon...

Apparently, my last post caused some confusion about our next "Adventure"...

So, just to clear some things up:

- Providence Church in Frisco has been our home church for the past 4.5 years

- Providence is planting a new church, Imago Dei Church, in McKinney, 4 minutes from our house

- We are part of the Core Group of about 80 people helping plant this church

- Imago Dei officially launches publicly on Saturday, January 5th and will now be our home church.

- We still work for NEXT Worldwide, a missions organization based in Flower Mound, TX.

- We are not moving locations or jobs, just our church home.

- My last post was an open letter to my Providence Church family.

Check out more info about Imago Dei Church on the website: www.idcmckinney.com.


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Dear Providence Church

Dear Providence,

Four and a half years ago, with an eight week old baby, a two year old marriage, and all of our hopes and dreams, Kyle and I moved away from home, joyfully following the Lord's direction for our future. The Lord's faithfulness and graciousness to provide us a new home so quickly is one of the biggest blessings I have ever experienced. That new home was Providence Church.

In the past years we have witnessed The Lord do miraculous things in our family and in our church family. We have built life-long friendships. We have learned what it really means to "give your life away". I have learned the true definition of community. I have learned and matured in my role as a wife and mom been taught well, through modeling and Biblical truths, what my responsibility in that role is. In the past four years I have undoubtedly walked through some of the hardest circumstances in my life, and because of the Lord's provision through Providence, I did not walk alone. I have laughed (a lot). I have cried (a lot). I have listened, I have learned. I have poured out, I have received.

And now, with a 6 year old marriage, a four year old, a 21 month old, and a 4 month old, we yet again are faced with the adventure of moving away from home. And again, we choose to walk in joyful obedience for the direction we feel The Lord is calling us to. Our excitement for the coming days in being apart of the Imago Dei church plant grows daily and we know that His provision will prevail in our future just as He has in our past.

So Providence, for the good times, we say, Amen! For the hard times, we say, Amen! For the Past, we say, Amen! And for the future, we say, Amen!

And to you sweet church, sweet family, we say,from the bottom of our hearts, Thank You.



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Cat Litter and a Toddler

The combination of cat litter and a little girl is bad news.

The combination of cat litter and a little boy might just be the end of the world.

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Dear Fischer (4 months)


I love seeing you discover the world around you. You are in awe of the smallest things. You love to stare at your fingers. You are amazed by the lights on the Christmas tree. And you find great delight in listening to you sasster sing and talk.I'm sure there's a lesson there to be learned by people 10 times your age.

It's a lot to take in, our world. God created it and he commands us to be in it but not of it. That's probably my greatest job as your parent is teaching and training you that. It can be difficult since in a lot of ways I'm still learning that myself. But I think that's the point.... Both of us learning to depend on Him for perspective in this world we are discovering. Leaning into Him for direction and leaning on Him for perseverance. I'm so grateful he planned for us to do that together with your daddy and siblings. What a special team he put together!

- you weight 18lbs 7oz (91%) and are 26inches tall (77%)
- you are wearing 3-6 month clothes but only because mommy hasn't changed out your drawers to 6-9 month clothes.
- you wear size 3 diapers
- I guesstimate you wearing size 2 shoes but you've never worn shoes
- you rolled over for the first time and then decided that wasn't all it was cracked up to be so you haven't done it again.
- we are back on your reflux medicine
- you are smitten, completely, with yours truly
- you love to coo and talk
- you are eating every four hours, awake for 2 hours, sleep for 2 hour naps and sleep 9-10 hours at night (4 feedings plus a moonlight, 3 naps)
- you like to sit in the bumbo chair
- you've been fighting your first cold :-(
- you were officially diagnosed with eczema :-(

We love you, sweet Fischer boy. You bring us great delight and add so much joy to our family.

Love,

Mommy






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A Quiver in the Arrow in my Quiver

This morning, while the SBOAM took #1 and #2 out for donuts, I was snuggling with #3 in my bed after I gave him breakfast.

I was explaining to him that one day, some pretty little thing is going to sweep in and fall madly deeply in love with him

And he said, "But mom, no on can be as pretty as you..."

And I said, "I know son, i know. But love blinds a man. And that's the thing, she won't just love you, but you will love her too! "

And he said "gasp! No mommy....I will never love any other woman but you! I do not feel good about this."

And I said, "I know you feel that way now, but apparently you are but an arrow in my quiver and I am to send you out and there is a good chance that will involve a pretty little thing."

And he said , "I do not feel good. I do feel a quiver."

And then he proceeded to throw up his entire breakfast. All over me. All over him. All over my bed.

So I got up changed myself, changed him, took the sheets and bedding and clothes to the laundry picked him up, suctioned out his nose, fed him again, and looked into his bright, handsome eyes, and said:

"You're right son. No one will ever love you like I do."

(I think he was a little young to stomach this conversation.)

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The Twelve Pathways To Christmas (FREE Giveaway!!)


There are very few writers I enjoy reading as much as my dad. So when he asked me to read and review his new book, The Twelve Pathways to Christmas, I was excited and eager.

When it comes to books at the holidays or about the holidays, there are a couple components I find important: you want a "feel good" and you need inspiration. Also a non-negotiable for me is that it always point to Jesus. The beauty of The Twelve Pathways to Christmas is that it does all three. Through believable, relatable characters, you, the reader, are inspired and challenged in a way that makes you feel good, inspires you to live Christmastime a little differently, and every motive and word points to Jesus. Beautifully worded, carefully edited, this story is necessary and good for you to read this Season.

Here's the best part: You can get it and read it. For free. For the next three days (today through Sunday) you can download the book for free from the Kindle Store.

Click Here to get it from the store.

Click Here to hear from the author himself about it.

Click Here to read a review from someone who is not related to the author.

So read it, tell your friends, write a review, and tell more friend. Neither you nor they will be disappointed.

Here's the link one more time. What are you waiting for??
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Snowman Down!

The Sasster's Christmas performance was this weekend and she did not disappoint.

Here we are waiting for it to start:



And here she is...she's the one in the middle (not that you needed me to tell you that!). Enjoy!!!



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Sasster For President

We were in Walmart and she says, "Mommy, I'll be the leader and you follow me."

"Do you like to be leader?" I asked her.

"Yes, of course," she said.

"Why do you like to be the leader?" I asked.

And she says: "Because I like telling people what to do. It's fun!"

Imagine that.

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Naptime Mystery

"Laura Kate, did you take a nap at school today?"

"Weeeeeeelllllll, not exactly."

"What does that mean?"

"It's a mystery."


Oh dinner time conversations with a preschooler. Highly entertaining.

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Organizing toys!

Guess what I'm doing today?? I've been working very hard on repurposing our front room and making it into more of a playroom than study and I am so so close to being done (and showing off pics!. In order to make that happen I am having to organize all of the toys in our house (and get rid of some and throw broken ones away). My goal is to have it done before Christmas. And I think i'm going to beat my goal!

Stay tuned!

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Choo choo

Shepherd ran into Kyle's foot with his dump trunk.

Kyle said: "ouch!"

Shep said: "choo choo"

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Dear Laura Kate (4.5 Years)



Dear Laura Kate,

I can say with full confidence that you are the most funny person I have ever met (and that's saying a lot considering I am married to Kyle Wiley). When I was pregnant with you the Lord impressed two words on my heart for you and one of those is "joy". It has been so wonderful getting to see what the Lord has meant by that word on your life. You give joy and you are joyful. You rejoice and you share joy. As we watch you grow taller every day (it seems), and mature in your life experiences, our greatest prayer will always be the verse that hangs above your bed, that "with joy you will draw water from the wells of salvation" (Isaiah 12:3). It is such an honor to be your mom and to get to see the Lord grow you up in Him and get to see how he develops your brain and your heart. You, my sweet girl, are a treasure and I am so very thankful for you!

-You wear size 4T and size 9 shoes
-You are READING! Everything you see you try to sound out and read. It is remarkable.
-You love your brothers and love to help mommy take care of them
-You love to play doctor and help make your babies better (including plastering them with bandaids)
-You sleep 11 hours at night
-You love anything to do with princesses and in your heart you truly do believe you are a princess
-You like to sing and dance all day long.
-Your memory still amazes me. You can memorize anything and remember it forever.
-You love school and continue to do well.

I love you, sweet girl.

Love,
Mommy







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Great Is Thy Surrender



A theme that I have noticed the Lord gracefully putting before me is "surrender". In fact, most questions I ask of Him right now, I am often answered with that word. And I don't get the impression he wants one thing. I think He's asking for it all. Everything. Not when I have the capacity, not just when I feel better. I'm getting the impression that this is the key to His presence in this season. In all seasons.

A couple Sundays ago, we were in Lubbock for church, and we sang "I Surrender All", immediately followed by "Great is Thy Faithfulness". It was very obvious to me that the one song answered the other's question of how? why? when? for real?

Look at this conversation:

What, Lord? What now?

All to me you surrender;
All to me freely give;
You to ever love and trust Me,
In My presence daily live.

How?

Great is My faithfulness, I am your Father,
There is no shadow of turning with Me;
I change not, my compassions, they fail not
As I have been I forever will be.

I'm tired.

All to me you surrender;
I will make you wholly mine.
You will feel the Holy Spirit
And truly know that I am yours.

When? Where? What?

Summer and winter, and springtime and harvest,
Sun moon and stars and their courses above,
Join with all nature in manifest witness,
To My great faithfulness, mercy and love.

I'm empty.

All to me you surrender;
You give yourself to me.
I will fill you with My love and power,
I will let my blessing fall on you.

Why?

Pardon for sin and a peace that endures
My own dear presence to cheer and to guide;
Strength for today and bright hope for tomorrow
Blessings all yours, with ten thousand beside.

You surrender all.
You surrender all.
All to me, you surrender, 
You surrender all.

Because

Great is My faithfulness
Great is My faithfulness
Morning by morning new mercies I give;
All you have needed my hand has provided.
Great is My faithfulness, Me, unto you.

Isn't that a powerful display of the Lord's provision and power and a beautiful picture of his desire for intimacy with His people? With me? With you?


GREAT is thy SURRENDER.


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Snuggie, The Lifesaver

November Saturdays like this one remind me of the day my snuggie saved my life.

(Originally posted on November 4, 2010)


It's true....I used to be a snocker (a snuggie mocker), and really at the heart of it, I still am.

But one day, my sweet husband decided to surprise me, just because, with a Texas Tech snuggie. I admit, I was won over. Maybe there IS some benefit to a blanket with sleeves (other than the fact you could just turn your bath robe around backwards). It was too much to give up making fun of it, so I just mock myself every time I use it....wear it? (do you use or wear a snuggie?)

Then, there was the day my snuggie saved my life.

You just think I'm exaggerating.


We were in Lubbock. Visiting. About this time last year (can you imagine the past year without me here? well, just thank my Snuggie you don't have to). On a Saturday morning, Kyle had a coffee meeting with a friend, my dad had a previous commitment and so I could sleep in, my mom decided to uphold Kyle's donut date with Laura Kate. The perfect plan......everyone else accommodating my sleeping needs. A beautiful, beautiful, plan.

We just forgot to factor in one thing: my parents and my extremely needy dogs. That morning (and that morning alone) did I decide to be cat person. You see, cats will curl up on your chest or snuggle up right beside you and start purring. Dogs have fingernails that make noise on the hardwood floor as they run to your sleeping bedside the moment they realize you are the only warm body in the house. Dogs have loud, playful, annoying growls as they play with each other on the floor right by your head. Then they decide that's not annoying enough and they start whining by your head when they decide they need to go to the bathroom (gah, curse nature! couldn't they wait an hour???). After 15 minutes of extreme irritation, I decided to end the madness by taking them outside.

It was early. 7:20 in the AM kind of early (yes, that's early on my sleep-in day....and every other day). I didn't know where my shoes were on my way out the door, so by the fate of the only God in heaven, I grabbed my snuggie because I knew it was 3o going on negative 20 degrees outside and I didn't want to freeze while I waited for the dogs to do their business before they ran back inside.

It just so happens that my Sookie and my mom's Gracie cannot be outside together for longer than 2 minutes before they decide to participate in mischief like running down the block away from the warm cozy house. So after they do their business and I run halfway down the block to catch them, I throw them inside, slam the door shut and wait for Gabbi to finish her business. She is always careful about where she delicately places her extriments. Did I mention how cold it was? I could see my breath, my fingers and toes turned instantly blue and I was shaking and shivering uncontrollably. FINALLY, Gabbi ran up the stairs and wagged her tail impatiently, as if to say, what are we wait for? I pushed down on the door handle, pushed and to no avail, realized I was locked out. LOCKED OUT OF THE WARM AND COZY!

I tiptoed across the frozen lawn, dog in my arms, as quickly as I could to the back gate praying the whole time it was unlocked and that someone had left the back door unlocked. Neither happened to be true. Very unfortunately, I tiptoed back to the front porch where I proceeded to sit on the mat on top of the frozen cement porch. I wrapped the snuggie around my feet and hands, pulled the dog on top of my lap for warmth and buried my head inside the snuggie. Sometime in the 20 minutes I was waiting for someone to arrive, I started thinking about my warm cozy bed and I start to cry like a blubbering idiot inside my snuggie. I was cold. I was sleepy. And I was a cat person (that day only).

Finally, my mom pulled up with my 18 month old, happy as could be after delighting in donuts, and I cried at her some ridiculous explanation to my half frozen body sitting on her front porch with frozen tears on my cheeks. After she unlocked the door,I marched inside, into my room, shut the door with the dogs on the OTHER side, and cried myself to sleep.

The other side of this story is what would have happened to me if I didn't grab the snuggie on my way out the door? Would I be whole frozen, not just half? I can only imagine how many of my fingers and toes would have survived the frost bite without the snuggie.

Still not exaggerating. Promise.

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Dear Fischer (Three Months)


Dear Fischer,

I've heard it said that holding a baby is the best therapy. You have proved that statement to me this month. Over the past month, through a tragic situation, loving you, holding you, nursing you, has brought me great comfort. I know the Lord is faithful to provide all things and I also know that he does that in different ways through different things and people. Through your sweet smiles, snuggles, and giggles, He has provided joy and truly a peace that passes all understanding.

This month, my prayer for you is that the Lord would use your sweet spirit to comfort many many people in your life. That you would one day know that your true source of comfort is your Creator and that that source will never dry up. I pray that the Lord would specifically design relationships and people to give you joy and comfort in the times in your life that you would need it. I am so thankful for your sweet, tender personality that the Lord has uniquely created for YOU, Fischer Knox Wiley.

-You weigh a lot and are very long (we don't go to the doc again until 4 months)
-You wear size 2 or 3 diapers and 3-6 month/6 month clothes
-You are on a good 3-4 hour schedule during the day, 5 feedings a day plus a moonlight before I go to bed.
-You sleep so well. 4 awesome naps and 9+ hours at night.
-You go down awake, sometimes you fuss for 5-10 minutes, and wake up happy most of the time.
-You are coooing and talking and cooing and talking
-You chew on your hands
-You still love your crib mobile, tolerate your swing, and have come to LOVE your bouncy seat
-You watch your siblings and laugh at them often
-You flirt with your mommy every chance you get and love to smile and talk to your daddy

We are thankful for you, Fischer Knox!

Love,
Mommy







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A Running List, Again

I started running again today.

See Carrie. See Carrie run.




I was going to write a new running list, but the one from last year still applies so I'm just going to repost it.

A Running List
(Originally Posted October 6, 2011. This may or may not have been the last time I ran. I have a good excuse....I got pregnant again. Oops. Anyway, on with the list.)



1. I went running today.

2. Hello, Couch-to-5K. I would say I've missed you, but I really hate to love you. And I love to hate you. It's a vicious cycle.

3. I hadn't really paid much attention to my legs, lungs, or ligaments lately (ok, I don't ever really pay a lot of attention to my ligaments, but I needed a third L word). I am right now.

Hello lungs, I'm sorry for mistreating you and not keeping you in shape.

Hello legs, I don't know what to say to you right now. I feel a little betrayed.

4. Running might just be the best stress reliever in the world. Not that I'm stressed. Not that I'm not stressed. Not that I'm not not stressed. I'm just sayin. Running helps stress.

5. In the middle of the running plan for today I wanted to lay right down right in the middle of the side walk on Ridge Road and just lay there....I could just lay there and just forget the world.

6. I didn't lay down and forget the world. I kept running and forgot the world anyway.

7. I ran to lose weight after having LK. I started in October as well. LK was 5 months old. Then I ran a 5K race in December.

8. I should have started running a little sooner after Shepherd. But it was a million degrees outside. Now it is just short of completely lovely. I enjoyed being outside very much.

9. Water always tastes so good after I run.

10. It felt good when I was done. I accomplished something physical and tangible today. And my legs, lungs and ligaments still hurt.

11. It's a great chance to listen to worship music and pour your heart and soul out to the Lord.

12. Running. It's been missing from my life. I need it. I want it.

13. (I can't feel my legs.)

(ok, okay. I wish I couldn't feel my legs)
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One Month - A List

So I took an unintentional blogging hiatus. Life happens y'all. Sorry about that.

Here's what's been going on:

1. We discovered the moose is part banshee.

Ooooeeeeeooooweeeeeooooo. He screams. Shrill-ley. The Sboam describes it like someone driving a drill into your skull. I describe it like "stop that. Stop that right now."



2. We started putting  the Fisch Stick down awake and letting him cry some.



And something miraculous happened...he went from being my most difficult infant to my easiest and happiest.



3. We visited Joel and Ashley and my little squishy Jack.





4. We went to Lubbock a couple times.

One of those times Kyle and the kids and the cousins and the siblings went to the pumpkin patch.






5. The Moose became obsessed with balloons.



My parents went to the balloon festival in New Mexico and have a slideshow playing of all of the pictures. Shep would sit and watch like it was the most fascinating movie he ever saw. And with each new slide and would squeal with delight.



6. We said goodbye.



7. I said hello.




8. There was bonding.


9. There were some dance parties.



10. And there was a tea party.


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Dear Fischer (Two Months)



Dear Fischer,

Life is hard sometimes. I can imagine that to your little body, all this reflux feels pretty bad. It's hard on you and it's hard on Mama. I do not like seeing you hurt and I wish I could take it away. But here's the beautiful truth of it all: God purposes the hard things for good. In fact he allows them for the best reason of all....it points us to Him. How amazing that when you are only two months old, he is already purposing your life to need Him. That's a good reminder for those of us who have been around a lot longer. Life is hard so that we need HIM. Rest assured my sweet one, that although you are too young to go to him on your own for life's hardships, you have a Mommy and a Daddy who are desperately seeking Him on your behalf. We pray that you will learn to trust Him in all things: good and bad; easy and hard. And our greatest prayer is that you would know Him and serve Him and love Him all the days of your life.

- you weigh 14.6 lbs (82%) and are 24.5 inches tall(95%)
- you wear size 2 diapers and 0-3 and some 3-6 month clothes
- you are sleeping on average 4.5 - 6 hours at night
- you love to watch your mobile in your crib
- you are in love with me. Seriously. You coo and smile at me all the time. And my name is mush.
- reflux sucks
- we are having to start neck stretches with you because you are favoring turning to one side more than the other.  Praying The Lord heals you of this so we don't have to get a helmet.

The more I get to know your sweet personality, the more I see how perfectly you were made for our family. I love you, my littlest one and am so thankful for you.

Love,
Mommy







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Man Date

(**this post is written by the SBOAM!!...enjoy!)


man-date - an authoritative command; especially : a formal order from a superior court or official to an inferior one

Man Date - also known as "Man Time" - a time for dudes to hang out and do manly things



From the get-go, Carrie and I have been very intentional about how we raise our kids…from how we pray with them and talk about our faith, to simply how we do life, schedule things, and set aside specific time for each of them (and, most importantly, for each other).

Starting at about nine months, Laura Kate and I began having Daddy / Daughter Donut Dates at the local "Fluffy Donuts" shop. Over the course of a couple of months, this became a welcome time, on Saturday mornings, for Laura Kate and I to have fun and eat sugary goodness while growing our relationship, all while Carrie got to sleep in for an extra hour or so. With the addition of Shepherd, our Donuts with Daddy time has come to be a fun excursion for the three of us (Fischer will join us, come next March or so!).

So, beyond our Saturday morning ritual, Carrie and I knew that we wanted to be intentional about one-on-one time with each of our kids. We envisioned this as being a monthly date to focus in on that child and enjoy good time together. LK and I have already gotten to have a few Daddy & Laura Kate dates (mostly involving breakfast or dinner at her favorite restaurant…McDonalds). However, last week was finally time for the initial Man Time with my Shepherd Boy.

A few months back, I went ahead and put our time into the calendar and began thinking through things that might be fun for daddy and his little Moose to go and do. Enjoying animals and all things outdoors / outside, I immediately began to think that Cabela's might be a prime place to take the little big guy. Having tons of things to look at, animals to see, a giant aquarium to check out, and yes, food…it was a no-brainer. I thought we might tag on a trip to the ice cream shop or something, but that would not be necessary, after arriving at this mecca of camouflage and stuffed animals (in the taxidermy way, not the cheap carnival type).

Upon arriving at Cabela's, Shepherd was mesmerized by the sheer size of the building, the lights inside, and all of the animals that were hanging on the wall and peeking out over in-store displays (the black bears and deer being his favorite). As he stared, open-mouthed, at row after row of camo and fishing gear, he signaled that he wanted down. He then signaled that he thought a game of "Chase Me Daddy" might be a great idea. So, off we went, trekking through the store, towards the back wall.

A few yards from the wall, my little boy realized that the back wall wasn't just a wall…it was an enormous aquarium full of all different kinds of fish! The blue glow beckoned like a moth to a flame, and the Moose was quickly climbing up on the fake rocks in front to have a better look. The next 30 minutes were full of shrieking fun as different fish came to stare at the brown-eyed boy, nose and cheeks pressed firmly against the inch-thick glass.



After his fill of fish, Shepherd was drawn to the balloons advertising the boats, but then to the gun section (bringing a tear to Daddy's eye). We ooh'd and awe'd over numerous different models, finally deciding to begin convincing Mommy why it would be great for Daddy to get both a new side-by-side 12 gauge and a handgun.

As we made our way onwards, Shepherd found the section of the store devoted to younger hunters, with tons of different toys and things. He quickly nabbed as many orange Browning bottle koozies as he could and tore off, attempting to make an escape back the way of the aquarium. However, what stopped him was our final destination on this trip anyway…the snack bar.

We wrapped up our time eating a chunk of fudge from the confectionary and laughing at how good a time we'd had.

Our prayer is that, with each of these dates with our kids, it might again and again be solidified, in their little minds, just how much Mommy and Daddy love spending time with each of them, as a whole, but then also as individuals. The LORD continues to give us arrows in the quiver. It is our job to sharpen them and then send them towards the mark that God gives each of them.

Spending this one-on-one time is just one more way that we can effectively do this, as our three little Scouts continue to grow up.




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