Saturday, May 13, 2017

A Tale of Four Friends

Confession: I don't have a lot of friends. I'm an introvert. I have 4 kids. I work full time. I take kind of a long time to get to know. I value depth over breadth in friendship. And once I latch on to you, you're stuck with me for life.

The Beehive Tearoom, 2010
Once upon a time there were four friends. They met weekly and prayed for each other, held each other accountable, and walked side-by-side through a whole bunch of tough years. For reasons most of us can't comprehend, two of the four moved from Utah, but throughout the years they kept investing each other. And they kept investing in a joint vacation fund.

Somewhere in the Gulf of Mexico, 2017
That's right, after seven years of investing $10 per month in our vacation fund, we finally took our fantastic, amazing, unbelievable girls' vacation!!!

And it was everything we dreamed it would be.

Five days. Four friends. Zero cooking. At least one nap daily. No cell service. Everything necessary for a once-in-a-lifetime adventure.

It was a blessed, amazing time together. Deck boys brought us fancy drinks served in pineapples. We got sunburns. We read books (Books! With two hands, two eyeballs, and nobody needing anything from us! Who does that?!? Not us!). We prayed. We laughed. We cried. We ate. A lot. We went to the spa. We drove a jeep around Cozumel. We ate ceviche and etouffee and beignets. We snorkeled. We saw dolphins and a whale. We watched the sun set over the Gulf of Mexico.

Seriously. Who does this? These girls!!! Backed by amazing families who make it all possible.

Stop1 - New Orleans! We got photobombed by a bear. Who thought photobombing us was hilarious. Which we thought was hilarious.
Beignets!
Stop 2: Cruise ship! Pic from our balcony.
Bingo and other festivities upon the ship
Stop 3: Cozumel!



Back on ship - formal night and more gallivanting

It's hard to fully express my gratitude for this trip. For these women. For time and money for such decadence. For families that love us enough to keep things rolling at home while we run away. For 9 years of friendship and counting. For sisters.

Saturday, April 29, 2017

Sasha's 10th Birthday Party

What we did for my birthday party is we went to the classic fun center. We first did bonce houses and climbing till 12:00. Then we skated 12:00 to1:00 during that we did this ticket thing. Where i was in a box with tickets in it and when she pressed a button the would fly in my face. And i would ha-vet to pick up as many as i can and put them in a box. And after i would spin a wheel and see what my prize was. After that i opened presents and we had ice cream and cupcakes. And then we went skating.

This picture is when i was blowing out my candle. And i had a singing candle on my cupcakes. And i was turning ten. We had my birthday at the classic skating center.

This picture was when i was in a ticket thing. You would stand in it and tickets would fly in your face . you had to get as many as you can before time runs out and then you would get a prize.

This picture is when  after the ticket thing we took a group picture with everybody and made silly faces.And there were thirteen people coming to the party.

This picture is when after the group picture we started skating. And i just finished putting my skates on. And my other friends finished to so we took a picture.

 We had a great time and it feels sooooooo great to be ten i cant wait to be eleven.

Sunday, April 23, 2017

Jamie's Reflections from Mexico

The most powerful part of our relationship with Hogar de Amor has been watching how my heart, my family, and our relationships have grown and changed over the past five years. It astounds me to realize that my youngest son, Ben, has been visiting Hogar de Amor every year for over a third of his life!
9-year-old Ben at Hogar de Amor in 2012
13-year-old Ben still loves to play with the kids at Hogar de Amor!


Every year, I get more joy and deep satisfaction out of our relationships with the staff and caregivers of Hogar de Amor. 

Keep in mind that I am a card-carrying, Type A achiever. I'm a doer. I'm always busy, always producing, always striving. There's some great stuff about those personality traits - I think one has to be a bit (more than a bit?) hyper-organized to successfully bring 28 people to Mexico and home again. But there's some junk that comes along with it.

Over the years, God has redirected my heart and energy away from what we "do" in Mexico. I still relish bringing down scads of donations. I still enjoy fixing stuff around the houses and working hard to make the orphanage more pleasant and more functional for everybody who lives there. But the reality is that the curtains we sew will need to be replaced in a couple of years and the walls we repaint will get scuffed again. What we "produce" in Mexico just doesn't last.

What lasts are the relationships we forge. Seeing the faces of the church staff light up when they see us because we've built a foundation of respect and support for their ministry - that lasts. Being a familiar face to the kids and giving them some fun, special childhood memories - that lasts. Telling the caregivers through our words and actions that they are loved, supported, prayed for, and valued in good times and in hard times - that lasts. Bonding together as a team and experiencing deep community with the CenterPoint folks - that matters. Worshiping together with our Mexican brothers and sisters, praying together, crying out to God together, and experiencing what it means to be the worldwide body of Christ - that lasts.

I'm a doer. Verses like 1 John 3:18 make sense to me:
Dear children, let’s not merely say that we love each other; let us show the truth by our actions.

What God's doing in my life is adding to my "doing" a deeper understanding of verses like 1 Corinthians 13:13:
Three things will last forever — faith, hope, and love — and the greatest of these is love.
It's not the action that lasts forever, it's the love - the relationship.

I am so grateful that at Hogar de Amor I get to be a blessing to the team, the kids, the caregivers, and the church staff. And I am so grateful that I get to be blessed and changed by the depth of the relationships that God has made possible in that amazing place.

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