Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Letter to Myself

Nick was asked to speak at our church's youth event, Disciple Now (D-Now) in February.  As he's been preparing, he asked our Bible study group to write a letter to their middle/high school selves to get more insight on things he wanted to cover.  Being the good wife I always am (haha), I sent mine in.  I thought this was a great reflection and I wanted to document it here on the ol' blog since it is a place for our family memories.  I did mine in list form because I think best that way and I didn't think too much about the wording, just wrote down thoughts as they came to me.  

To my middle/high school self:

- Stick to your values - it's worth it

- You are not in control of your plans

- God is bigger than anything you may face and His way is better than any you can imagine

- You have no reason not to trust God - He's never failed you or anyone else

- Find quality friends and keep them - ones that build you up, challenge you, pray for you and care about bigger things than high school stuff.

- God's grace - you will never understand this, but this is one thing He will teach you over and over. You will see glimpses of it throughout your life and it is something you need to give more freely.

- Don't be a pharisee - legalistic

- Be a strong voice - stand up for what you believe in, or more importantly act like what you believe in

- Your sisters may be very different from you, but they will always be in your life - make it count.

- Your behavior and character reflect on your family

- You may not realize it, but people are always watching - especially as a Christian - watching to see what you do, what you say, how you act and talk

- Put your time and efforts into things that are eternal: God's Word and His people

- You will have an amazing husband and adorable son someday - make choices now that they would be proud of, that honor them

- Pray for your future husband - he needs it now and will need it in the future

- Savor every moment with your grandparents, that time will go quickly

- Study hard to get scholarships and work hard to save up because student loans are no fun.  

- Don't compromise your long-term goals and values for a short-term memory/temporary reason/in-the-moment decision

- Your parents do more for you than you will ever know.  Be thankful for them everyday.  You are very lucky to have parents that are still married and in love and who raised you in a Christian household.  You don't realize how rare this is.

- All those weekends that you stayed at home and hung out with your parents? Yeah, good choice because the people you could have been hanging out with were not making the best decisions.  Besides, it was way more fun to play games with your parents and grandparents and you laughed way harder than you would have.  :)  And you won't ever forget that.

You have a lot of blessings to look forward to.  Hang in there.  You will love college and you will be around people who believe a lot of the same things you do.  Also, On the Border will be good for you and teach you how to interact with people.  

And someday you will have 2 chickens in your backyard.  I know - shocking.  LOL

Your 25 yr old self
(I'm sure our 50 yr old self will have a lot to say to both of us)

What would you write to your younger self?  Is your life anything like what you had hoped or pictured?  Did you hit any of your goals: relationally, intellectually, emotionally, spiritually, physically?  Are there things you wish you would have done differently?  I know that all of our past decisions make us who we are today, but I also know that there are things that could have been done differently because we are humans and we mess up.  A lot.  Thank goodness for God's grace.  Here's hoping my 50 year old self will be proud of my 25 year old self.  :)

Friday, January 25, 2013

Nick's Chaplain Blog: "Giving Out of Little"

November 19, 2012 ~ "Giving Out of Little"

"For God is the one who provides seed for the farmer and then bread to eat. In the same way, he will provide and increase your resources and then produce a great harvest of generosity in you." 
~ 2 Corinthians 9:10

This past weekend, I had an opportunity to sing with a gospel quartet in Marion, SD, with a group of guys that go pheasant hunting up there every year. It just so happened that this Sunday the entire community was celebrating “Harvest In-Gathering". Each year on this particular Sunday, the farmers gather together and they celebrate the harvest being over and they make a special offering for missions - both local and around the world.

Now, I don’t know if you were affected by the drought this summer, but where I live in Arkansas, it was an awfully dry year. It was especially felt if your livelihood is totally dependent on whether or not the rains come. I had been in South Dakota for a few days already and had heard how terrible harvest had been, especially for the corn. Most farmers reported harvesting just a few bushels an acre.

And yet, on that Sunday morning, I was touched by the fact that even through such a challenging year, they still found a way to give. Not only to give money, but to give thanks to God for sustaining them through the drought.

Your challenges this past year may be different from a low corn yield, but each of us at some point in our lives face challenging times when life goes a totally different direction than we had hoped for.

There is a story in Mark 12:41-44 that talks about giving even when we have seeming little to offer:

“Jesus sat down opposite the place where the offerings were put and watched the crowd putting their money into the temple treasury. Many rich people threw in large amounts. But a poor widow came and put in two very small copper coins, worth only a few cents.

Calling his disciples to him, Jesus said, “Truly I tell you, this poor widow has put more into the treasury than all the others. They all gave out of their wealth; but she, out of her poverty, put in everything—all she had to live on.”

I was given a “Widow’s Mite” a few years back and it is hanging on the rear-view mirror in my car I drive each day between the Simmons facilities and hospitals. It is a reminder for me to give everything I have to God and to each person I am given the opportunity to care for– my time, generosity, energy, and gratitude – regardless of whether I am doing well mind, body and soul, or if I am barely running on fumes. There have been seasons of my life where I find that I am at the end of myself, that I have nothing left to give. It is those times when God seems to do His best work in and through me.

Do you find yourself there today? Have you asked yourself lately, “What could I have to offer God? I feel like I have so little.” I want to encourage you that God wants to do incredible, eternally significant things in and through your life this Thanksgiving week.

 Go all out in your love for God and the people he places in your path this week.

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Wood Wall

We've been talking about putting in a wood accent wall in our house for awhile now, and last weekend Nick decided to just do it.  We are log cabin lovers and would love to have some type of cabin-y house someday (we even honeymoon-ed at a cabin).  This is probably as close as we're gonna get for a long time.  Nick bought a nail gun which made all the difference in the speed and quality of installing all the planks.  I got the idea from here, and Nick did all the work: measuring, cutting, installing, staining, etc.  We are planning on making this a wall of built-in bookshelves, so the bookshelves are the next step.

Here's the before:


Ready for stain!  Nick left off the top plank so he could stain it before putting it up.  Didn't want to risk getting any stain on the ceiling.  And any stain he did get on the side walls came right off with mineral spirits.



We love it!  And of course it looks so much better in person.  These are iphone pictures, which look better than our point and shoot camera so you'll just have to take my word for it - or even better, come on over!  Nick installed the entire wall on a Saturday and stained it on a Sunday.  It was a really quick project.  We are also planning on doing a different light fixture.  Apparently this was supposed to be a dining area, but we are switching things up.  Big thanks to my handy hubby for installing it!

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

The Girls

I'd like to introduce you to two more members of our growing animal family.  These are "the girls."  We got these chickens back in September as little baby chicks.  Nick wanted them for their eggs.  Haha - that sentence sounds funny.  :)  He is also using them as fertilizer for the garden area.  I can't remember what kind they are, but Nick knows.  He did his research.  Caleb LOVES the chickens.  Everyday when we get home, he goes to check on them and play with them and lets them out to roam the yard.  Their names are Bernadette and Penny (Big Bang Theory TV show reference), but we more affectionately call them the girls. And I have to say that I like them too, even though I didn't want to.  It's fun to watch my boys get so excited about the animals.  And the girls really like them too.

Here's Caleb shaking their food tray to get them to come over.

Whenever we're outside, they run over to us and just follow us around the yard.

Here is the chicken coop and roost Nick made for them.  That little hatch is so we can reach in and collect the eggs.  They haven't started laying yet, but probably will here in the next few weeks.  We read somewhere that when the thing on the top of their head and beak turns bright red, that means they're ready.

I have to say that we favor the darker one (Bernadette).  The lighter one (Penny) is a little skittish.

In this picture, Caleb is saying, "Mere girls, mere," which means "Come here girls, come here." 

Thankfully, the girls are quiet and do really well in the cold temperatures (both things Nick researched when he was making his decision).  Next thing you know, we'll have a cow in the backyard!  haha.  Actually, there are cows across the street, so we can still hear and smell them which is a close as it's gonna get for awhile.  Someday maybe we'll have a small farm to call our own.  I do love seeing my boys happy.

Monday, January 14, 2013

Cousin Photos

For Christmas, we got Caleb and his cousin Jack together to take some cousin photos to use in a desk calendar for their Nana and Grandpa.  Robyn and I did a marathon photo shoot (with iphone photos mind you - not the greatest quality) - and kind of just chose things as we went.  haha.  The boys really did pretty well and this will be a special memory.  :)  I love that Caleb gets to grow up close to his cousin and that they play well together.  It's so cute to watch them.

Here are the pictures we used:





(this was toward the end and we were losing their attention!)


July (not included because there may have been some little booties involved)




(thank you to our friend Ellen for the adorable shirt!)


I love those boys!!  So sweet.  :)

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Christmas 2012 Recap

Instead of doing four separate posts of our Christmases, here is one recap of all our good times this year!

- Braschler Christmas/Graduation/Wampler Christmas
 We celebrated with Nick's family two weekends before Christmas while his parents and brother were down for his other brother's graduation from JBU.  We had a whirlwind weekend between the graduation, graduation party and then celebrating Christmas that night.  It was lots of fun though.

Then we headed up to the MO-AR border where Nick's uncle has a farm and we all took turns shooting some clay pigeons and enjoying the beautiful weather that weekend.  I mean, what's Christmas without a little shooting practice?  Then we had a delicious meal with his aunt, uncle, cousins and Mamaw.

- Goetz/Willis Christmas in Wichita
The next weekend we headed up to Wichita for Christmas with my side of the family.  Another full weekend with lots of fun, family, food and good times.  We did our family gift exchange in the morning along with a big breakfast of biscuits and gravy, quiche and other delicious goodness!  Then we had all of my mom's side of the family over to Mom & Dad's house for the big get-together, including lasagna and a gift exchange.

- Family Christmas at home in Arkansas
We were kind of excited to just have our little family home for Christmas.  Nick and I both had to work half a day on Christmas Eve (and Caleb got to tag along with me since daycare was closed- he really did pretty great).  We attended our church's Christmas Eve service, drove around looking at Christmas light afterward and then headed home for movies and hot chocolate (and last minute wrapping for me!).  Christmas morning was so fun with monkey bread, gifts, stockings, and my favorite part was reading the Christmas story and acting it out with the nativity while Nick read form the Bible.  Caleb even started to understand that the wise men brought gifts to Jesus.  Later that night before he was headed to bed, Nick asked him what his favorite gift was for Christmas and he answered, "Jesus," in his sweet, innocent, two year old voice, with no prompting from mommy or daddy.  Proud mommy and daddy moment.  That was our best Christmas memory hands down.

- Braschler family Christmas in Springfield/4th Anniversary
This past weekend we had Christmas with the extended Braschler family at Nick's uncle Rick's house.  We had delicious food, once again, lots of laughs, fun games, white elephant gift exchanges with lots of stealing, and special moments.
Friday was also Nick and I's 4th anniversary!  A month or so ago, Nick won a one night stay and dinner for two from the Keeter Center in a silent auction so we cashed that in on Saturday night while Caleb stayed with Nana, Papa and Mamaw.  We got to stay at the beautiful Keeter Center at the College of the Ozarks.  It was such a relaxing and pampered time!

Last week I was sick with a bad cold and yesterday Caleb came down with it, except that he got a fever and a possible ear infection, so he stayed home with daddy today.  So our New Year's Eve will be pretty low-key which is just fine with us.  :)  Happy New Year to all of you!

Wampler Christmas

JBU Graduation

New Haircut

Wichita or Bust!

Caleb & Gavin

At work with Mommy

New Hat

Christmas present tea kettle - Thanks Hols!

Christmas morning monkey bread and coffee

Anniversary at the Keeter Center

Keeter Center cookies

Keeter Center at College of the Ozarks