… back in (overload) action

I’m happy dancing over here because my computer is finally fixed (yeaaaaaaaa!!!!!!) and I was able to go through a few pictures.

108474959 – computer, Alaina – 1

Even more thrilled that there are firewalls and restrictions in place that will stop all of this madness from happening again! lol…

108474959 – computer, Alaina – 2

So, I can finally post a few of my favorite July 4th photos and oogle over my niece’s photography skills. For an 8 year old, I think she has incredible talent and she doesn’t even seem to work that hard. She’ll get irritated with the lighting and I’ve had to show her how to change the settings on the camera but other than that, she seems to just point and click with ease.

The exciting thing about this Fourth, is that all of my siblings were together for the first time in about a year. My brother was coaching collegiate football in Colorado this past year and my sister and her family live in Fort Benning, Georgia so for us to be all in the same place, at the same time was pretty cool!
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And, that’s my little sister folks… 14 and already taller than I am. I’m the runt of the family! As you can see Aliya will soon pass me up, too!!!
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… so, we had a great time in my mom’s cul-de-sac.

Ww went to a Sky Zone, a trampoline park, and had a great time with family and friends. These are the playdates I look forward to. Hanging out with friends and their kiddos and watching them play together. Become friends. And, build relationships. It’s what my heart hopes for and what I can’t wait for. Everyone has a great time. One of the funniest moments (that my sister will read about on here because I haven’t told her!!!) is when Ariana, 4,
“disappeared” for a few minutes. Thomas and I flipped for a second trying not to cause too much of a panic but found her in the restroom with our other friend. After we found her Thomas talked to her about making sure she tells us where she’s going before she goes. Which CLEARLY resonated because when I told her to throw her KitKat paper away she bounced away, spun around, and came back to tell Thomas she was going to the trashcan. The funniest part is that Thomas was two steps away from me. HILARIOUS. But, glad she got it.
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This is clearly a classic Thomas and Ari picture… they took this pose a few years ago!
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My little photog is such a trooper – for some reason she was intimated by all of the tramps and the kids flying all over them so she hung back for a while….. but, once she felt comfortable, we literally had to drag her off! She was turning all kinds of cartwheels, doing toe touches, and bounces that made me so proud!! I loved how she didn’t let her fear keep her from having a good time!! We also talked about being strong and courageous on the way home so I’m hoping the next time her fear tries to get the best of her, she’ll pray and remember David and the things God gives us the power to do!

And, our God has given this little girl some serious photography skills! I’m so excited about her and so proud of the moments she captures!! They’re really good! And, look how cute she is with my camera around her neck!
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There are a few of the shots Aliya caught:
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I mean, is it just me or is she actually pretty good!?!?! I love the shots! So, sweet………
Then, here are mine.. lol
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Another reason this little girl is a trooper…. She tried so many times to get the hang of the monkey bars and finally went all the way across! She didn’t quit! She can do hard things and I’m glad she’s constantly proving that to herself!

We’re amateurs but we have a ton of fun!!!

Tomorrow, we plan to have another adventure with the girls and we have a pretty exciting birthday brunch celebrating one of my good friends on Saturday!

Needless to say, I’m excited and happy to be back on track!

… here’s to picture overload and getting these 100 ready for our agency chanting “We’re almost done, we’re almost done, we’re almost done!!!”

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… everybody, somebody, anybody

I submit bi-weekly (ish… lol) to Houston Style Magazine that is based here in, well… HOUSTON!¬† ūüôā

This week, I essentially posted about actively BEING a Christian to the world. On being willing to love and serve people in whatever capacity they need it. (You can read my article here.)
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I believe that often times we overlook the needs of people because of stereotypes or just plain old ignorance to what they are dealing with. If we don’t understand a person’s struggle, aren’t directly impacted, or don’t know them on a personal level, it can be difficult to move past the ‘oh that’s terrible. I feel horrible for her/him.’ to doing¬†anything to help ease a burden by stepping out of our comfort zones and DOING something.

Encouraging words and prayer work wonders. I’m a firm believer in both. A little encouragement can change a person’s outlook and give them the boost they needed to get through the day. Obviously, prayer is amazing and lets our Father know we recognize our need for Him and He does hear us.

But, our Father expects us to do more than just talk. He expects us to do more than send cards or post nice words on a Facebook or Instagram feed. He expects more than a quick text in between doing this or that.

He expects us to ACT.

If I need something but everyone around me is talking to me… sending me notes… giving me hugs… and SAYING they’ll pray for me…. is my physical need being met?

Could it be that while we’re praying to God for this person’s need to be met and for that situation to improve that He has already given US the tools to meet that need and improve that situation?

Does the Father really need to come down to feed the homeless? Pray FOR the homeless absolutely… but they need food. Clothes. Shoes. A conversation. They need love in action.

We are praying for marriages and relationships to be redeemed but are we TALKING and COUNSELING these people? Are we asking them for coffee or dinner and forming relationships with them in an effort to mentor and show younger/less experienced folks how to get through what we’ve successfully gone through already?

We all need love in action in some way, shape, form, or fashion.
We all NEED someone.

Are we willing to be vulnerable enough to admit that? Are we willing to be open enough with the brothers and sisters who our Father has put at our side to support each other where and when we need it the most?
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Are we willing to step out of our comfort zones and move past the stereotypes we’ve given those who are struggling with disease, imprisonment, poverty, and homelessness?

Are we willing to use and sacrifice¬†our time, gifts/talents, and money to support someone else…. Are we willing to GIVE out of our surplus to help someone who has less that what we do?

My heart is¬† truly aching for those who struggle in whatever way…. Since this journey of mine¬†began, my mind and eyes have been opened to so much and I’m gratefully being just torn up over the things we take for granted.

I’m grateful for the opportunities I have to DO and BE of real help to those anybodies I come across in whatever way.

We can be are so selfish. So caught up in our own little worlds. Preoccupied with our overwhelming schedules.
We peer behind our tinted windows as we drive our fancy cars down streets lined with hurting, hungry people.
We browse our Facebooks and Instagrams as we have conversations of this person and that person going through whatever life has tossed them and keep going without a second thought. Well, a second thought after “That sucks.”

But, we do nothing.

Why?

Our hurting brothers and sisters don’t have to hurt nearly as much as they do. We don’t have to hurt nearly as much as we do.

If everyone lent a hand. If we cared about the somebodies who are suffering and struggling in various parts of our work places, cities, states, country, and world and chose to ACT – we could turn our world upside down.

And, what the world would see are the people of God moving, doing, serving, acting, and loving on others. The saved. The worldly. The sinful. The proud. The helpless. The widow. The orphan. The broken. The sick. The hopeless.

The beauty is we all fit or will fit in¬†at least¬†one of those categories at some point in our lives…..
and, if we all decide to step up, we will all be cared for.

We would show the world Jesus.

We would give the world a glimpse of who Jesus truly was.
And, who He expects us to be to them.

Sinners people saved by grace serving others.
They would see a people who are bearing fruit to the glory of God Рthey would see what it means to be patient and kind with another, how to faithfully, peacefully, and joyfully endure and suffer through whatever they are struggling with.

This life is hard and we need each other to get through it.
hopeLe hubby and I!
{{Our roles at church are colliding this week and we get to actively SERVE together this week… Makes for fun times and fun photo ops!!!}}
Annnnnnnnnnnnnnnd, yes! I am wearing our Chrome Buffalo fundraiser shirt “Hope changes everything”
(that’s only available for one more day!!!!)
I’d hoped to sell 200 shirts, but¬†we won’t make that goal.
However, I’m so grateful for our friends and family and friends of friends and family (who don’t know us!) who have donated and given towards our adoption.
I will honestly love you forever.

… here’s to understanding struggle and being confident enough in the story God is writing for me to be painfully vulnerable and¬†possibly a bit to open to share my journey with you.

 

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… never lose hope

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Psalm 119:116 Sustain me, my God, according to your promise, and I will live; do not let my hopes be dashed.

Hope is an amazing feeling that drives us.

Its what keeps us checking our phones for a phone call or text from that person.

Its what moves us to step outside of our comfort zones.

Its what pushes us and keeps from giving up.

Without it we lose the will to do.

We try and give our best because of hope.

Without it, we empty and at a standstill. Filling with bitterness, anger, and self pity because of the loss.

Without hope there is no life in our faith. There isn’t a perspective that’s bigger than ourselves which allows us to experience joy in any circumstance. Without hope we of isolate ourselves in various ways, believing that there is nothing else that can be done about what we’re going through. We become blas√©, jaded, and cynical.

Hopelessness won’t allow you to experience joys with your friends and family…. they’re good has come, it¬†is now and because you’ve lost hope, you don’t believe that your good is on the way.

Without hope it’s hard to be patient and excited about the future.

“It’s not going to work anyway….”, “That will never happen.”, and “Nothing ever works for me” will be your mantras and act as self fulfilling prophecies.
(You have no hope to motivate you to do anything different.)

“Never” is not true in most contexts. “Never” won’t ever come in most situations. Ever.
Whatever you’re hoping for can happen. We just lose hope and faith and quit trying. Quit waiting.

Those words have been my mantras. They’ve cost me. They’ve put in positions that caused me to settle. And, what I realized is that I wasn’t being honest with God or myself about what I truly wanted or felt.¬†I¬†quit praying about¬†those things because¬†I’d lost¬†hope in them ever happening.¬†My heart was breaking and I wasn’t going to the only One in whom I¬†could find hope.

We may have to wait. We may have to work hard. Our plans may change. Our desires will evolve. But, never will not ever come.

Our God is a Redeemer and can heal our disappointments. He can change the condition of another’s heart. He can give you the desires of your heart and¬†a hope that will never disappoint.¬†We have to seek Him and trust that He is for us no matter what our circumstances look like.¬†He will never leave us.

Yes. Never. God will never  forsake us. He will never lie or go back on His promises. He will never stop loving or forgiving us. Those are nevers you can count on. Those nevers will never ever change.

We have to believe in¬†the future God has for us. Believe that God’s promises are true. Trust Him when He says “Go.” and “Serve.” and “Give.” and “Be.” Trust that whatever is on the other side of that word, that command is better than what we are experiencing.

We have to trust in our Father for what is to come. He does not lie. He does not play with our emotions or manipulate us into thinking one thing while He has something else up His sleeve.

We hope¬†with¬†confidence in¬†what’s to come. We have to believe and hope in Christ and His return just as we believe that the¬†pair of heels we’ve ordered are on their way. When we understand who we’re waiting for, it’s a lot easier to live as if there is something to live for.

He will always be right there by our side. Leading us, comforting us, holding us, loving us, revealing things to us, protecting us, and keeping us.

Because if nothing else,¬†everything that we’ve¬†gone through is for our benefit and God’s glory.
And, that is enough.

We can put our hope, faith, and trust in our Lord.
The One who saved us. The One who sets the lonely in homes. Who forgives us. The one who hears the cries of His children and comes to their rescue. The one who covers us in grace every day.

The one who has set a great work before us, who has molded our hearts to be consumed with a love for His people, and who has commanded us to go with courage & strength.

… here’s to trusting God¬†and facing our future with a hope in the¬†¬†future.

>>>> looking for a Chrome Buffalo link??? <<<<
Click HERE!!!! to help us fundraise for our adoption!!!
THANK YOU!!!!

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