Saturday, November 30, 2013

A few of my favorite things.....


Being that tomorrow is December 1st, I thought I would share a few of our favorite family traditions. Let me preface this post by stating that most of these traditions have been started within the past 6 years or so...however, all of them are things that both Joel and I wish that we had done from the time our children were babies in order to help them understand the true meaning of Christmas and to keep things in perspective.

Our oldest and one of my personal favorite traditions is Jesus' stocking. This is actually one that we did start when Hannah was still a baby and although we have changed the way in which we do it the idea has remained the same. This burlap stocking is for Jesus...each year we either share out loud or write on a paper and put in the stocking something that we would like to "give" Christ for the upcoming year. Things that have appeared in his stocking have ranged from my love, a good attitude, a quiet time, worship, my heart, my toys, my time, etc. It is a special time each year for us as a family as we remember that Christmas is really Jesus' birthday and we need to give him the very best gift that we can give each and every year. Even as little children, our kids knew that it was important to take time to give Jesus a special gift.





Another favorite tradition that we have and has become a very fun one for the kids - even as teens- but also has significant meaning. On Christmas morning, Baby Jesus is often "missing" from the nativity scene. The kids have to go looking for him to place him back in His rightful place. Although a fun game - we take the time to remember that the reason for the season really is Jesus and without Him - Christmas is empty and not complete. We want our kids to know that Jesus is the essential part of Christmas.

In order to gain control of the number of gifts we give each child and again to keep the focus of Christmas exactly where it needed to be - I found this creative idea several years ago in a parent magazine and have come to absolutely love it!!! Each of our children get three gifts - no, this is not for financial reasons although that definitely does help. Instead - each of the gifts represent the gifts that Jesus was given at His birth; gold, frankincense, and myrrh.

The Gold Gift: This is something that they have asked for. It is simply something they want but it has a $50 limit to it. Again - Christmas is not their birthday...so they are not "birthday" size gifts.

The Frankincense: This is something that they wear. It is usually an article of clothing but can include perfume, cologne, etc. This reminds us of the cloths that Jesus was wrapped in.

The Myrrh: This is something that will help them grow in their spiritual walk. It is always something to point them to their Savior. Things that have been given in this area - Bibles, Devotionals, Journals for quiet times or sermons, CDs with music, or books to help them grow spiritually.

Our kids have all gotten to where they anticipate their gifts and sometimes give us ideas for each area - not just the gold thing that they want. It is always a special time for us to talk about the significance of each gift in the Christmas Story as we open the corresponding gifts around the tree!


For many many years - actually since I was in HS - our family has participated in Operation Christmas Child with Samaritan's Purse. This amazing organization sends shoe boxes to children all around the world who are impoverished and in need. When the boxes are delivered the message of Christ is shared. Our whole family enjoys putting the boxes together and packing them! We have tried - although didn't succeed this year - to save our shoe boxes from shoes purchased throughout the year and pack that same number of boxes. The theory is that if you can buy a pair of shoes, you can pack a box!!!






Although this particular basket is new this year, the tradition that we do with it is not. Each year, as we receive Christmas Cards we place them in this basket. Beginning on New Year's every morning at breakfast, we will take turns pulling out a card from the basket. We will talk about who that person or family is, how we know them, and what is going on in their lives now. Then, we join hands and pray for that individual or family - a special time for all of us! So, know that when you send us a card - you will be prayed for in the coming days!!!






Of course, a long time tradition is the reading of the Christmas story. We have tried to alternate which Gospel we read it from so that we can get a full picture of the events of that first Christmas but it is always a part of our Christmas tradition. Depending on what our plans are with extended family we have read it on Christmas Eve or Christmas Day....





Brand new this year to our Christmas festivities....a Christmas Tree decorated in burlap!!! This idea originated from my friend Tina Barnwell whose family are missionaries to Europe. Doing Christmas on a budget, she creatively decorated most of her home in burlap a year or so ago. As I looked at her beautiful photos - I was reminded that burlap was more representative of the first Christmas and so I began thinking of the concept of decorating in burlap. Joel was enthusiastic about the idea and so we began this fun tradition! Kestra and Hannah helped make some burlap ornaments from pinterest ideas and of course Hobby Lobby was a huge help in getting the needed materials!





Another fun tradition - is simply family time! We love to play games as a family and just enjoy the presence of one another. It is always filled with lots of fun, laughter and a good time! Looking back on my childhood - it isn't the presents that I remember but more the memories made by spending time with family - and this is what I want to pass on to my kids as well!!!



Finally - although I didn't really have a photo to represent this tradition - Joel's favorite and yes I like it too...we always try to be sure and give more than we receive each year. This is either done by providing gifts for others or by finding ways to serve during the holidays. We want to always keep Christ's servant heart at the forefront of the Holidays!!!

So...there you have it! These are a few of my favorite things about Christmas. We wanted to take the time to share them with our friends and family so that you can be a part of our Christmas traditions! If you see an idea you want to start with your kids or grandkids - go for it! No matter their ages!!! It's never too late to share the true meaning and heart of Christmas with your family!

Saturday, November 2, 2013

Letter to Sherri...Nov. 3, 2013

 Nov. 3, 2013

 Sherri:

Hey there...well, today is the day I have been dreading for the past 2 or 3 years. Today, I have officially lived as much of my life without you as I lived with you...to sum up how I feel about that - it stinks...ok, it really sucks and it pretty much isn't fair! I can't believe that 19 years have passed since the day we learned that you had left this Earth for Heaven.

Don't get me wrong, I know where you are. I know that you are with the King. I wouldn't wish that away for anything....however, the fact remains, I miss you! I wish you were here to share life with us, to know your nieces and nephews, to teach them all the amazing things that only you could have shown them...yeah, I really miss my sis!

Anyway, in thinking about what I would write or post this year I decided that I would tell you the highs and lows of the past 19 years. Ok I am not totally naive - I know you won't read this (ha you never liked reading anyway!) but it's a record for me to share in the only way I can with you. Not only that, some day-maybe- my kids will read it and know that I longed for you to be a part of their lives even if only through a letter.

1994- The year we lost you. I also started dating Joel (you know that, I remember telling you!). He was amazing during this time by the way - definitely God's timing that we were together! I was also blessed by some very dear friends at Wayland that helped me and stood by me during this time.

1995- I got married!!! I know you would love Joel, although I am sure you would have given him the third degree before hand! Ha ha!!! Also, I lost a sweet friend this year - Anita. I know you had met her at Taylor. It was tough losing her only a week before the one year anniversary of losing you - still remains the toughest week of the year for me as I miss you both a lot! Not to mention my LEAST favorite holiday falls in between the anniversaries...yes, those close to me know that I do not like the week of Oct 28 to Nov. 3 but even in the midst of it all - God is always faithful to give me a highlight every year during the week.

1996 - I graduated from Wayland with a degree in Business!!! Yes - I made it through MATH!!!!Joel took his first job as a youth minister this year as well!

1997- Hannah Marie Arrington was born. Of all my kids, I think she is the most like you. They all have some traits that make me think of you but she has a lot! She loves to be by herself and doesn't care for the social scene of any type. She is sensitive and smart. Oh and get this...she is TALL!!! Yes, your shorty sis has a tall daughter - go figure!!! Hannah loves to write - she contributed to a teen devotional that was published.

1998- Malachi James Arrington was born! Yes...I can hear you now..."Another one?" Ha ha! Malachi is like you in that he has a tender heart for others. He borders a little on the clueless side, but we love him anyway! He loves card tricks and magic tricks and most of all he is great with kids...you would have loved his laid back personality and I know you would have taught him a few of your own tricks and pranks!

1999- Kestra Nichole Arrington was born! She is our little fireball of energy! Although more like me in her personality - Kestra reminds me of you academically. She has the same learning disability that you had - it's genetic - who knew? Yet, like you she works hard and wants to do well in school. I never really understood what it was like for you until I had her. She has made me understand just how hard you had to work to overcome the challenges of school - I am WAY proud of her AND you!!! I also have to appreciate how much mom and dad had to advocate for you in school - whew gets hard at times! She loves social anything...party? She's your gal! Oh yes...she does love fashion and bling and pink! Ha ha - I think she would have won you over though!

2000- NOPE...didn't have a kid this year! Ha ha! I know you would be like "Whew!" This was the year everyone thought computers and technology would shut down because they couldn't handle the new century...it was crazy! People were stocking up on fuel, groceries, supplies, building solar shelters...you would have laughed so hard because you were all things survival! Funny thing - it was rather anti-climatic, not much happened!!!

2001-Tyler Bay Arrington was born! Yes...another one!!! His middle name is after Bay Forrest. Tyler is a lot like you in that he LOVES animals, the outdoors, fixing things...he eats it up! He has had a lot of health problems and has hearing loss - as does Malachi but Tyler's is worse. He also has learning disabilities and really struggles in school. However, he has such a servant's heart! He loves to help people and serve people...such a gracious and loving young man!!! Of all my kids, he is the one that I can see in the hayfield with you, or out feeding livestock with you - he is Dad's shadow when we are there, but I know if you were around you would be his role model for sure!!!

2002- Can't think of anything too major this year. We lived in Pagosa. Loved being there.

2003 - BIG change for us. We moved back East to Tennessee! It was a crazy thing and actually a short stay. We learned a lot through it. At the end of the year we moved to the Dallas area and got to live by Scott and Michelle. That was fun!

2004- We lived in the Dallas area and quickly began to realize big city life was not for us! This was a rough year for us - we were struggling spiritually and financially  and weren't really where God wanted us to be. However, we grew through it and became a lot stronger!

2005 - Another big move, this time to Arkansas. This was the year that Tyler was diagnosed officially with hearing loss...it was a HUGE adjustment! I learned so much about the ear, hearing loss, audiology, etc this year!!

2006 - Nothing too major in this year either. Although, I worked with an Army ROTC program! That was way cool and you would have loved the stories! Working with the cadets always made me think of you...all their survival training and emergency classes totally up your alley!!! I also got to go flying with them!

2007 - We moved back to Colorado, this time to Bayfield! I know I know - the rival Wolverines!!! It was wonderful though! Community of Bayfield will always be a home to our family. We have many dear dear friends there. This is also the year that Grandad passed away...it was hard for me since only the day before he passed I was with him! He even beat me at Rummy that day...no surprise there!!!

2008 - Still in Bayfield. I went on a trip to Mexico!!! It was an experience to be sure. Hannah was old enough to go with us - her first real mission trip! Also - there was A LOT of snow this winter!!! It was great...okay, the playing in it was great - the shoveling not so much!!!

2009 - Lived in Bayfield and went to work for Dad and it wasn't even just to clean the shop!!! Ha ha!!! It was great...although keeping Dad in line was challenging as you can imagine!!

2010- I went on a Mission Trip to Zimbabwe Africa!!! Seriously!!! Never would have thought I would but I did. So much to say about that but the part you would have got a kick out of - I spent TWO WEEKS in a tent!!! So there!!! Your girly sis roughed it for two weeks!!!

2011- BIG change for us! We moved to Borger Tx and Joel changed directions in ministry...he went from youth ministry to children's ministry. It was an adjustment in so many ways! However, we met some wonderful people there...cherished friends for sure!!!

2012- Ok...seriously you will not believe this one! I actually HOMESCHOOLED! Scary right? Yes, I homeschooled Hannah and Malachi. They both had some peer issues in school and just needed out. So with the help of an online program - I had them at home for a year! It was an experience to say the least! This was the year that Hannah began writing for the book too!!! We also went to Disney World! Now that I KNOW would not have been your thing but we loved it - it was our first big family vacation...so many memories were made!

2013- This year another move - to Levelland Tx. Ok...so yeah, we have moved a lot. It's been an adventure and yes it has taken a toll on us all. However, we are so thankful to be here and know that this is where we will be for many many years - we both have a peace about that. Another big change this year - I am working full-time again. Haven't done that in several years. I am thankful for the income and that I have a great place to work - however, I miss the flexibility that not working has to help at church and in the schools. For now though it is what needs to happen.

Reading over this I realize that there is so much that I would have longed to share with you...I wish you were here to know and teach my four kids, I wish you were here to talk about work and life with, to spend vacation with....a sister shouldn't have to write about her life to her sister.

Yet, even as hard as it is I know that God's timing and will is perfect. I still question why...but then I have to remember all the people that we as a family have shared your story with. So many that I can honestly tell I know what they are feeling...then I have to wonder how many have come to know Jesus because of you. Mom and Dad did a great job of making your memorial service very evangelistic - the Gospel was shared.

So...yeah, besides maybe the first year, this one is hard. It's hard because I don't want to think about the fact that now I will have lived longer without you than with you. It's hard because I realize that so many people who I am close to don't even know I have a sister in Heaven. In some ways - it's like two different lifetimes. However - God is faithful! He has brought comfort and peace through it all. He has allowed me to truly relate to others who face loss.

As I close this letter - know this...there hasn't been a time or event in my life that I don't wish you were a part of it. My kids do know you through the stories and pictures we share with them and they know that their Aunt Sherri was an amazing person. I love you...so thankful that saying goodbye here is only temporary - we will meet again!

Sunday, October 20, 2013

NOW is the TIME!!!


“When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, then he will sit on his glorious throne. Before him will be gathered all the nations, and he will separate people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. And he will place the sheep on his right, but the goats on the left. Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world. For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, ..."

Acts 20:35 

"In all things I have shown you that by working hard in this way we must help the weak and remember the words of the Lord Jesus, how he himself said, ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive.’”

Over and over in Scripture it talks about how we are to care for the poor, help the needy, reach out to those who have none...It is not a suggestion, it is a command! There aren't stipulations on it "Well, if they would get a job they could feed themselves..." or "Well, their choices got them where they are." We are simply to give to others, to share what we have, to help them and come alongside them.

The problem...we have allowed the Government to come in and take control and do what the church was called to do. I purpose that IF the church as in the body of Christ were to step up and take on this challenge, then the Government would have to close doors on some of these services not for lack of funds but for lack of clients! What if when people came through the doors of our churches - we didn't call the local Human Services to get them help, but we instead began calling members of our church who could meet their need?

 They have car problems? Who in the church is a mechanic?  They need for food? Who in the church has extra or can take them to the store? They have medical needs? Who is a Doctor or Nurse? You get the idea...

I can hear you now...but we are busy, or it would make things tight, or I don't know them, they could be a criminal...Yes! In fact, WE ARE ALL CRIMINALS....we have SIN. The Bible is clear - we deserve death but YET Christ's blood set us free!!! The VERY least we can do is show in a tangible way to others who Christ is!!! 

So, how do we do this? Here are just a few ideas - I bet you can add some of your own, just pray and ask God what YOUR part of taking care of the poor and needy is:

1. EVERY church should have a food pantry on site....members should bring non perishables that can be given out. The staff should have full authority to distribute according to need....I KNOW that every church has a closet that can be used for this.

2. Create a list of members in your church who can and will reach out with specific services: Mechanics, Doctors, Nurses, Appliance repairmen, Carpenters, Business Men/Women who can help with applications and resumes - when a need arises the staff will have access to a list of those who have the skill set to help out in a ministry mindset.

3. Take inventory of the things YOU have on hand. What material goods do you have that you could give to others - what can be sold so that you can help give to those in need? Now is the time to live in the mind set of less is more...the less I have to maintain for myself, the more I am able to give to others!

4. What homeless shelters or soup kitchens are in your area if any? If there are some - call them and ask when you can volunteer as a family. If there aren't any - talk to your church staff and ask what could be done to start one.

5. Instead of just giving at the holidays, how can you give all year long. Don't get me wrong - there are NUMEROUS great opportunities during the holidays to give and I believe we should - however, hunger, need for clothes and heat, unemployment are problems that people face all year long and we need to reach out all year long.

6. Find a family in need in your community and commit to take them on as a family to reach out to and mentor. Find out birthdays, anniversaries, special needs, etc and make a point to reach out to them on these special dates. Invite them to be a part of your family time, holidays, etc.

"People don't care about what you have to say until they see how much you care." It is almost impossible for someone who is hungry, cold, or in need to be able to think about their eternal need for salvation or the need to be a part of a church family if their everyday needs are not met....

Who do can you and your family reach this week, this month, this year? NOW is the time for we as the church to reach out and be the hands and feet of Jesus!!!

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Growing up...

Wow! This whole working fulll time has taken A LOT of adjustment! Don't get me wrong, I still know it was the right thing to do and I am thankful for both my job and the opportunity to help our family financially. However, it has taken some time figure out timing in being a wife, mom, employee and do ministry with my hubby. Getting there though and it seems to be a littler smoother every day!

Anyway, back to blogging! So many things have gone through my mind that I have wanted to blog about in the past few months - however, instead of going back, I think I will just pick up with today. Perhaps I will go back and address some of the other topics later...

Today on my heart is this - my children are quickly growing up!!!!

Hannah is a Jr and has only 19 months until she graduates! Now, in some ways you think that's a long time but reality is, it isn't. Now, I know we are always her parents but the amount of time we have to influence her and guide here is coming quickly to an end. As I ponder this - I have to ask "Have I done all I could?" "When she sees me, does she see Christ?" etc...I am not saying I have failed but I am also admitting that I haven't done all that I could possibly do. I truly desire for her, and all my kids, to have an intimate relationship with Christ. In looking at this, I realize that yes I can tell her the steps to take, the verses to read, the things to do - However, if I don't SHOW her with my own life, my own personal habits, my own relationship with Him; I have not been effective. So...throughout these next months that is my heart, to not merely tell her but to show her!

My sweet Tyler is quickly changing before my eyes as well. In so many ways, he still has the innocent childhood mannerisms and in so many ways he is now my young pre-teen almost teenager. Today this was particularly evident at the audiologist as he was picking out colors for his hearing aides and ear molds. In the past, I have always looked forward to seeing what crazy colors he may pick out - today was no different. Would it be pink? Bright Orange? Green? Nope! He went with grey hearing aides and gray and black molds. WHAT??? My crazy, fun loving, off the charts boy picked grey and black??? Yep...a sign that he is maturing and growing before my eyes....Today was also the first time that he has asked very specific questions about his hearing loss and his ears. Don't misunderstand - I KNOW he needs to take ownership, I KNOW he needs to understand but for this Mamma - it is a reminder that he is growing and maturing and getting closer to the time where he will take an active role in his care...etc. Bittersweet for sure!

Of course, Malachi and Kestra are growing up too - just today, my big one and little one are on my heart as I reflect on the ways they are changing and growing up...

Today - I claim the verse "Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old, he will not depart from it." Proverbs 22:6

For whatever time I have left with my kids whether a day or ten years, I want to train them in the way they should go - a way that leads to the cross, the King, the Savior - so that when they are old and no longer under my influence they will not depart from it!

Monday, August 5, 2013

Weight Loss and Working....

What do weight loss and working have in common (other than working out to lose weight)? The answer...they have been the two big points for the last month in my life!!!

Weight Loss - At the end of June, I finally had time after all the craziness in our life of moving and vacation to take a realistic look at where I was physically. The picture I saw was not pleasant to say the least! I knew that it was time to get serious about my eating habits and exercise (or lack there of). So...I went back to what I knew worked - My Fitness Pal. If you haven't tried it look it up at www.myfitnesspal.com, it is easy and works!

Anyhoo...along with my AMAZING hubby, for the past month I have been exercising and eating healthier on a regular basis. We have walked, played raquetball, and learned the sport of Disc Golf! All three are so much fun AND the weight is coming off!!! So far I have lost 11lbs...I still have a LONG way to go, but it is working and I feel better than I have in months!! I can't tell you enough how much it has meant to have my husband not only encourage me in this area but actively join me in it. Along with getting healthier it has been some awesome time together as a couple and occasionally Tyler has even joined in!!!

Working - When we moved to Levelland, Joel and I made the decision that in order to truly get where we wanted to be in the area of finances, I would need to work full-time. This has always been a difficult call for us because it takes me away not only from time at home but also some areas of ministry; however, we also want to honor God in the area of finances which includes paying off debt. So, mutually we made the decision that this was the direction to go.

Yet, getting a job is a lot harder in not only a hurting economy but also a small community. In addition, I needed a job that would provide some flexibility for Tyler's meetings at school and some ministry needs - not an easy task. As the applications went out and I did interview after interview - I began to not only question this decision but also got discouraged. I wanted the job I thought was best....however, God's ways are higher and He is more sovereign.

God has blessed me and has answered the prayer for a job! I was offered a job in the Credit Administration Department of a local bank. It has been evident from the beginning that God had his hand in this. I almost didn't apply due to the fact that I didn't have any bank experience, wasn't really sure what the job was but I felt the prompting to send a resume and see what happened. So, in God's perfect time I have finished my first week and although I am still learning the ropes, I think that I will really enjoy it.

In a nutshell, that is what has been the focus of July in regards to me. The kids have been enjoying the last weeks of summer. The older three got to go to Rock the Desert in Odessa this past weekend. It is a weekend of concerts by major Christian Artists - they had a blast! We are very thankful for the generosity of others who pain their way...such a blessing!

As for August, the focus of course will be school. We will be enrolling the kids on Thursday. Please join us in prayer as we go through the adjustment process of a new school district and  especially getting all the services in place for Tyler. All the kids are anxious to see their schools and find their schedules! Look for more on that in the near future!!!

Friday, July 5, 2013

Reading through Proverbs....from a different perspective.

I decided July 1 to read through the book of Proverbs this month...I am sure you have heard of or maybe even done this yourself. You know - 31 chapters, one per day for a month.

Anyway, it has been awhile since I have done this and so I thought July the perfect month to do it! I was thinking - love the advice Solomon gives and it will be a great refresher.

God has a way of taking what we think to be something routine and making it totally different...thus the case with Proverbs. I have always approached this book from the perspective of the recipient. You know, as in a letter from one of my parents to me - not this go around!

This time, I began to think of it from Solomon's perspective...words to MY kids! Then I began to see the challenges that it presented to me from that angle!!! YIKES!!!

5 days in and already I am sitting here going - oh my! Am I living my life in a way that shows Godly wisdom and understanding? Am I instilling a life of integrity to my kids? Am I teaching them discretion? Do I show them by MY actions the importance of surrounding yourself with Godly counsel? Do I keep MY way pure and clean so that I reflect a pure and holy life to them? This is only in the first 5 chapters....I have a feeling it will be a month of some sore toes as mine get stepped on again and again. Yet, I am so very thankful for this reminder and different perspective!

What books of the Bible have you read and looked at from the Author's view rather than the recipient's? I would love to know and get some thoughts for August!!!

Monday, July 1, 2013

Settled...or at least getting there!!!

Looking back on my last post...I am amazed again at how much has gone on in the month since I last posted!

* Kids finished school and although it was a tad stressful and we wondered if all classes would be passed we made it! All four finished off well - they learned a lot about themselves, self-discipline, and yes academics!

* We packed up our house in Borger, Tx and made the trek to Levelland - unloaded into storage, and went back to Borger for our last Sunday!

* We said fairwell to so many dear lifelong friends in Borger - that we really hope to see again at some point!

* We took a MUCH needed week long vacation in Colorado and even took an extra night on the road to just enjoy ourselves and see some of the less stopped at things.

*We came back to our new home in Levelland and moved all our belongings from storage to the trailer we are renting.

* We unpacked, set up house, and have slowly made it our home!

* We have joined a new church family and are enjoying getting to know them more and more!

*Joel has started his new job - feet first!

* Kids have begun attending their new youth group/Sunday School classes!

* Kids are on their first youth mission trip with their new Youth Pastor.

*Tyler has gone back to Colorado for a week with Grandparents - lucky kid!

Whew!!! That has pretty much summed up our time in the past month! In the mix, we have had not had home internet until this past weekend which has in a sense left us a tad out of the loop in the sense of blogs, etc but we are back up and running! I am looking forward to getting back to blogging regularly and so much to share with you all!

Monday, May 20, 2013

A new beginning, A new journey, A new season

In my previous post I shared that Joel had resigned his position here at First Baptist Borger...so many different things led us to this point but I want to share the story of what led us to where we are going - First Baptist Church Levelland Tx!

Joel was the last of 6 Pastoral Staff to be hired here in Borger. Throughout the past two years - 5 of those 6 have resigned and moved on to other place of ministry (the first actually had resigned before we came, his last Sunday was our first Sunday) for their own reasons. As we began to see these events unfold, Joel and I fervently began to pray about what God would have us do and whether or not we should stay, go, or what. We both began sensing that He would lead us on. The primary reason behind this is that Joel's calling and passion is for Children and Families. He longs to come alongside a Sr Pastor in a secondary position and reach families - I like to refer to it as he makes a GREAT Wing Man but not so much the Lead Plane! Anyway - we came to the realization that if we were to stay this calling and passion for families would need to be placed on the back burner while he helped the church through a very critical time of transition. This was simply not something he or I felt that he was even capable of much less equipped to do.

A few days after we came to that realization and decision, a friend of ours from college called Joel. He said, "I am pretty sure I know the answer to this, but for the last week your name has come to mind so I just need to call...our church is in need of a Children's and Families Pastor would you be open to sending your resume?" Don't you just LOVE how God opens a door when you are truly seeking Him? Joel had only actually sent out two other resumes, we had told very few people that we were even considering looking, we had prepared ourselves to be here through the summer and God flings open a door!

We went through the application and interview process, we prayed, talked with our kids, prayed some more, talked with others in ministry and parents, more prayer, etc and this past weekend we went in view of a call to First Baptist Church Levelland Tx. The vote was positive and so we are beginning the transition to a new place of ministry!

There are by far many mixed emotions! I know my previous post alluded to the hard times but rest assured there have been MANY ups!!! We have made some incredibly amazing friendships, Joel has been mentored by one of the most Godly men we know, we have seen families grow stronger and parents learn to disciple. Our kids have met friends, played sports, and grown so much!!! We will truly miss many people here. Our hearts are most definitely broken over the place that the church here is in but yet we are excited to see what God does with First Borger!!!

As we look ahead to Levelland - EXCITEMENT and ENERGY are an understatement! Joel will have the opportunity to truly build a children's and families ministry with a firm foundation of kids, parents and volunteers already in place. There are many new and exciting opportunities for our kids in the way of schools, sports, a strong youth group, etc. I will be looking to returning to the work force full-time although not sure what that will look like for sure and of course I will be helping Joel with ministry mostly through pre-schoolers and their moms! We can hardly wait to get there and join an amazing staff that is already in place!

Our timeline is this: June 2 is Joel's last Sunday here in Borger, we will leave on vacation to Colorado June 4 and then we will go to Levelland June 12or 13 with his first Sunday being June 16.  There is much to be done in that time...packing, finding a home in Levelland, finishing up here in Borger, ending school, etc but we know that it will all get done and so we press forward!

Look for more posts in the near future as we progress! Can't wait to tell you more about our new journey!!!

For every time there is a season....


Twenty - two months, just shy of the two year mark, two full school years...the amount of time that our family has been in Borger Tx serving at First Baptist Church Borger. July 17, 2011 Joel began ministry as Associate Pastor to Children and Families. It has been a time filled with mountain highs, some plains, and yes many valley lows.

OUR plan when we came, was to be here for many many years. We intended for Hannah, our oldest to complete all four years of High School here, the others to potentially do the same. WE intended on buying a home and establishing roots. OUR goal was to be a tenured staff member of this church....Do you see the theme? It was OUR idea. Yet...God in His infinite power and love knew the plans HE had for our life, the goals HE has for us to reach for, and the steps HE has ordained to get us to that place.

There is so much that has brought us to the place we are now and the new beginnings that lay before us. Events and circumstances that have refined, molded, shaped, and sharpened us. More than any other place of ministry, I feel as though I personally have come to a point of falling on my face before the throne of Grace here in this place. I was broken to the point of re-examining my faith and determining if I TRULY believed and was really willing to LIVE as though I believed all that I said I believed...I do and I am! The time here has caused me to rely solely on my God....For all of this I AM THANKFUL!!! I honestly believe that I have been refined by the fire and made purer. THIS WAS HIS PLAN. For such a time as this, God brought me to Borger Tx.

Do I fully understand all that God purposed for our time here? By no means, there are times I question and times I wonder but seriously....it's really not my call. I am learning day by day that He is God, He is in control, He ordains and directs, He calls, and I follow!

This may sound a bit confusing to some...but I want to lay a foundation. A foundation that brings the Glory and Honor to Christ in it all.

Last night, Joel formally submitted his letter of resignation to First Baptist Church Borger. This was the end result of many GOD sized events, MUCH prayer, MUCH searching and most of all God's Divine Intervention. I will share the story of where we are headed and how it came about in the next post...

For this post...I want to share a bit of my heart and what God has and continues to do in me. When I came to Borger, I honestly believed this was going to be the most amazing thing ever for our family. I was convinced that this was the greener grass on the other side. There were hopes of new home, there were dreams of feeling "established", there were ideas of close knit friendships, ideas of helping grow and develop an exciting new ministry,  etc. That was what I saw the move to Borger as.

Had I known then what I know now, would I have still come? Honestly - no! Yet, now being on this side and looking back I can see how God used every experience to bring me to the place that he has me now - a place where I can say I have come face to face with my God and my Savior. A place of being refined and defined, a place of repentance and restoration in my walk with Christ. It has been one of the most difficult seasons of my life and yet at the same time - it has been one of  the most amazing experiences of my life. If I were to sum up what God has done for me here it would be this:

      My time in Borger has been a time of walking through spiritual warfare like I have never been before, it    has been a time of reaching deep within to discover where I truly was with Christ, and it has been a time of brokenness so that HE can become my all in all.

Many lessons have been learned through our time here...but the biggest one for me personally is this; the hard times, the painful times, the ugly times, the rough roads, and valleys - these are truly the moments that teach you to say as Paul said "Rejoice in the Lord ALWAYS and AGAIN I say rejoice." They are the moments that you will grow stronger and deeper in your relationship with the Lord - therefore, we shouldn't despise them, or avoid them - we need to embrace them and welcome them!

I can honestly say there is no bitterness, anger or regret about our time here - as short as it has been, on a personal level it has been a season of spiritual growth like I have never seen before. I am so very glad that the King knows what I need so much more than I do!

"For I know the plans I have for you, declares the LORD, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope." Jeremiah 29:11

Part of my future and my hope was for Him to bring me to a place where I could be refined and made stronger in Him!

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Where oh where have the Arrington's been?

Looking at my blog and realizing it has been MONTHS since I posted...what has happened? I did attempt to type a post after our Mission trip in March, however, it didn't get finished. I may get back to that and then I may scrap it...it's been an interesting, long, busy, crazy, fanatical, few months for the Arringtons.

So...here is the scoop in a nutshell and then maybe some insight at the end, or maybe another post.

March - Kestra, Malachi and I went to Laredo Tx with our church for a mission trip. I know people almost always say "this trip was different..." but YES this one was different. First of all, I had NO leadership responsibilities whatsoever! I was a participant...different but NICE for a change. The biggest thing that God did for me on that trip was remind me of the importance of PRAYER. I really did a lot of personal prayer, intercessory prayer, prayer with other believers and did I mention I prayed? Yes - that was the essence of the trip for me. Were lives changed? I am sure they were - I know mine was! My role was to pray...

A week after going to Laredo, thanks to my fabulous husband, I was able to go on a MOMS getaway with one of my closest and dearest friends in the world! We escaped to LAS VEGAS BABY!!! It was first for me....I loved the time away, the show we went and saw, the buildings, the decor. It was enlightening to see how much stock people put in casinos and to see "Sin City" in real life...definitely a lot of lost and hurting people out there. More than being disgusted...I was saddened. Saddened by the fact that these people are literally "looking for love in all the wrong places" they are trying to fill a void that only Jesus can fill!
However - for me the BEST part and the MOST refreshing part was just having time with someone who "gets" me. Someone I could be totally open and honest with that I could share my joys, my hurts, my sorrows, my triumphs...For THAT I am so thankful because as is the case with many women but especially minister's wives - let's face it, there just aren't that many that you can be completely open and honest with about life.

When I returned from my vacation - we hit the ground running! Kids jumped into sports, state testing, concerts, etc. Also between the two trips - the missions pastor at our church resigned to move on to what God has for him next. A very good thing and we support him 100% but it did add a tad to Joel's plate at church. We know that in ALL things God is working for our good...even in the busy crazy out of this world times!!!

Here we are near the end of April...the schedule ahead looks busy, insane, uncertain but again God is working! My constant reminder has been that I can REST in Him. I can hold His hand and know that He is Sovereign. He is also reminding me that daily I need to take time to spend at His feet...it HAS to happen!!!

Saturday, February 16, 2013

God is never "Stumped"

"For I know the plans I have for you," declares the LORD, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future." Jerimiah 29:11

If you are a parent of a child of a type of disability - whether physical, mental, or learning you may have had a similar experience to the one I had yesterday...if so, please know that I GET how you felt...I was there.

Let me give a bit of a background. Our Tyler's story is told here. The name Tyler means "Resourceful One" and he has definitely lived up to his name even from birth! Over the past three years we have been very aware of his deficiency in academics and especially so in reading. Tyler has literally just hit one road block after another in his journey to learn to read.

I will be honest and say that there is a part of me that doesn't want to share this part of his journey. I like to share the high points, the miracle moments, the times that he overcomes mountains and we are left in awe! Yet, as I reflected back on yesterday, I felt in my heart that just maybe somewhere out there was another mom who needed to know that she's not alone. That someone understands the heartache and the pain of wondering "Why" or "What's the answer?" So it is, with this in mind that I share this difficult part of Tyler's story (always with the hope that one day this too will be a mountain he has overcome).

Any child with hearing loss or impairment is going to have challenges in learning to read as so much of reading is associated with sound. However, in the majority of situations that can be overcome and taught through one of two methods - phonics  or more commonly sight words. Typically children with hearing loss do better with sight words as that is not dependant upon sound. When a child learns to read, teachers and parents know that they can read by their oral reading ability - if they read it correctly to you, you know that they can read.

With Tyler, this hasn't been the case. After several different approaches to learning, it has become evident that Tyler is reading very little. They have tried the phonetic approach on more than one occassion. They have tried the sight word approach with spurts of what seem like success only to go back to square one. One day he may know the simplist of words - the next, not so much. It's heart wrenching to see a child struggle over and over and over again trying to learn a skill that to many seems so basic.

Of course I have always been aware of Tyler's reading struggle...yet, as with any child with disabilities when you are faced with the stark reality of where they are at - there is a part of you that grieves inside for the child you long for them to be. This moment came for me yesterday at Tyler's annual ARD (Admission Review Dismissal) meeting (Individualized Education Plan - IEP for Colorado friends). We had met in December to discuss the possiblity of dyslexia and to approve testing and yesterday was the follow up meeting to discuss those results. Before I continue, let me say that I felt strongly that Tyler did not have dyslexia  but of course we had to officially eliminate it.

Going into the meeting, I kept praying "Lord, please do not let it be dyslexia" that is one more "diagnosis" for my little man that has had to face so much. I was in for a HUGE reality check. As the diagnostician began to go over Tyler's testing results - the reality began to hit. As always Tyler's case is far from standard or normal - as his very first Dr labled him he is "Tricky Tyler" Without going into great detail about the test results here are the conclusions that were made:

1.) Tyler DOES NOT have dyslexia.
2.) Tyler is still unable to read even the simplest of reading passages.
3.) Tyler struggles when breaking down words, or dropping of parts of a word.
4.) Tyler struggles with fluency - basically has none.
5.) Although unable to read - Tyler did exceptionally well when asked comprehension questions based on a passage that he failed to read. (I will come back to this in a moment)

Through the meeting the number one concern was: Tyler can't read and we need to figure out a way to help him. Of course, I KNEW this but to hear it verbally said just broke my heart...something about hearing the reality that your almost 12 year old son who has no mental disability, is not autistic, and for all practical purposes should be reading by now and isn't - well it pretty much HURTS!!!

Please don't misunderstand - I want to know EVERYTHING about his education and I strongly believe that parents of children with disabilities need to be actively involved in every part of their education, but hearing it can be like being stabbed again and again with the hard realities. On top of the obvious problem of reading there were the stories from his teachers about his frustration in reading. Like when his teacher tried to direct him away from a large chapter book he wanted to some simpler books that he would have a better chance to read and he replied "Well, I can't read the big book and I can't read the little book so why does it matter which book I get?" Heartbreaking for the teacher AND for me!

Harder still? To look around a room filled with professionals with combined education of over 30 years and to have them ALL say - we have not seen a case like this. We don't understand it. Back to #5 above - Tyler seriously answered the majority of the comprehension questions without having officially "read" the passage. The conclusions: either he is REALLY good at guessing (at which I was told to hit Vegas with him when he is 21 - HA HA!) or perhaps he can read and can't orally convey that. The trouble with the second option is that he has NEVER demonstrated the ability to read aloud at a level that would match with the comprehension. Now, when you read TO him - yes, he gets it but not reading it independantly.
I specifically asked the Audio Impaired specialist if she had seen this in any other hearing impaired child - she said "No, never. They typically can read through sight words."

I am thankful that not ONE person in that room is willing to just give up. They are going to be trying a third method of reading with him beginning this coming Tuesday. There is no guarantee that it will work but at this point, he has nothing to loose and everything to gain.

However, as I got into my car to leave the meeting - my eyes filled with tears and I just cried...."Why God? Why does he have to have any more challenges? He already has a hearing loss, a speech impairment, struggles to learn in general. Why does he have to be a case that no one has seen before? Why can't it just be an easy fix this one time?" and then yes, I had this thought...remember me saying "Lord please don't let it be dyslexia"? I cried "Lord, why COULDN'T it have just been dyslexia?" Yep...typical cry to the Lord. He answered my first prayer and yet I still complained! Go figure...

As the sting began to wear off and I was able to vent to my AMAZING sister-in-law...I once again just had to smile. My little "resourceful one" has been VERY resourceful! He has managed to learn math with a calculator, he is smart enough to ask his peers for help on school work so that he can get it done without reading, he knows how to manuever someone into reading to him, and he has even learned to proficiently read lips!!! More than this though - God has reminded me that in spite of "stumping" his teachers and educational professionals - GOD IS NOT STUMPED!

Not one part of Tyler's story has surprised or taken God of guard...in fact GOD PLANNED IT! Jeremiah 29:11 - "I know the plans I have for you....plans to prosper you...to give you a future and a hope!" AMEN!!! God has a plan for Tyler's life!!! In MY plans, Tyler can read fluidly and is successful academically but the reality is that may or may not be a part of GOD'S plan for Tyler and I need to trust that. If Tyler never really learns to read, I need to accept that as a part of the story God has for him.

As any parent with a special needs child must do - I need to focus on what Tyler CAN do and who God has created him to be.

* He CAN love unconditionally those around him.
* He CAN help with a servant's heart any who will allow him
* He CAN learn visually and through hands-on-experience
* He CAN love and laugh through every part of life and express a care-free attitude that I am in awe of

I don't know where Tyler's journey will take him or what the rest of his story looks like - but God does and I can rest in the knowledge that GOD IS NOT STUMPED!!!! Praise the Lord!!!

My prayer and my hope is that maybe somewhere there is another parent of a child with a disability who needs to know that - God is not stumped. Doctors, Teachers, Diagnosticians, Counselors may not have the answer but you can rest in the knowledge that GOD KNOWS THE PLANS he has for your child...hold on to that truth. If you need someone who can listen with a heart that understands....
please e-mail me, I am here for you!

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

What about church?

So, what about church? What do you think about it? Seriously....

Is it a place you go on Sunday just to say you went?

Is it a place you go so you can have  your weekly social hour?

Perhaps you go when it's convenient - you know, the kids are up anyway, we have nothing better to do...

Or maybe you go "because we have always gone."

A better question yet - WHY NOT CHURCH?

Have you been hurt or offended by a person/leader at church?

Maybe you didn't like the music or the preacher went to long?

Maybe your friends don't go, so why go?

Perhaps there is a sporting event that is taking place and you feel the need to go there?

It's the only day you have as a family....let's relax at home?

As a minister's wife and before that as a deacon's daughter....I have at least thought ALL of the above and at some point perhaps they have all been true. However, the older I get and the more I grow closer to Jesus...the more I realize that church is family. I am NOT talking about a building that you attend on Sunday morning....I am talking about the body, the people, that comprise what is the CHURCH.

Recently, I heard it said that the reason attendance is down is because people aren't committed to their churches...I agree but I think there is more to it.

Let me ask you this...Why family?

Think about it...does your family EVER offend you? Do you get tired of listening to the same old thing? Has there ever been a time where you wanted to stay home from a family event and didn't simply because it was FAMILY? For the most part, we are committed to family. We will fight HARD for a relationship just because they are our FAMILY.

I know this from my own experience as well as from others. I have a close friend who has gone through some REALLY tough extended family issues...to the point of sister-in-laws criticizing, siblings judging, etc...It would have been easy for her to say "Forget it...their loss." Yet, I watched a truly amazing thing...she FOUGHT for a relationship, she worked to love in spite of disagreement, she reached out instead of pulling away. Why? BECAUSE THEY ARE FAMILY

Back to the church....What IF we saw a church as FAMILY? What if instead of comparing notes on what church is doing what programs and which church has the most to offer - we instead looked and said "Where can I contribute to this FAMILY?" Once in a church, what if instead of throwing our hands up and saying "I'm outta here" and walking away - we FOUGHT for relationships, we worked at it, we loved, we reached out...suddenly the stakes just got higher.

I am NOT talking about simple attendance on Sunday morning...although that is important. Anyone can get up and tolerate an hour or two at a church. What I am talking about is investing in a FAMILY. Putting their needs ahead of our own...reaching out to them no matter the cost, fighting for the relationship.

This issue has me up at this crazy hour of 4:30 in the morning...well actually since like 2:00. Anyway, as I lie in bed TRYING to go back to sleep I still wrestled with this whole - church attendance/commitment thing. As is typically the case, I knew that if I couldn't sleep God must have something to show me. I got up and after taking our puppy out I began really seeking what God was wanting me to hear....

Acts 2: 42 "And they devoted themselves to the apostles teaching, to the fellowship, to the breaking of bread, and to the prayers."

Acts 2:46 "EVERY day they devoted themselves to meeting together in the temple complex and broke bread from house to house. They ate their food with a joyful and humble attitude."

As I read these verses, and then the commentary in my Bible - a few key points caught my attention.

First there were FOUR things that they DEVOTED (COMMITMENT) themselves to:

1.) Teaching of the Apostles - ie. Sunday morning church, Bible Studies, Small Groups.

2.) Fellowship - ie parties, socials, special events

3.) Breaking of Bread - they ATE together, they spent time around the dinner table, like EVERY family should.

4.) Prayer - They were COMMITTED to times of prayer.

Beyond these four things there was an amount of time and places that they met:

1.) EVERY DAY....church was a FIRST priority, before anything else. They didn't "fit it in" they instead made it FIRST. It was a DAILY thing to be together as a church family...not a once or twice a week thing.

2.) FROM HOUSE TO HOUSE - Did you see that? They were in each others homes, daily. Like a FAMILY should be. They were JOYFUL with each other.

I have to say - some of these hit me HARD. As I was lying awake and thinking of our church family, I was quick to get frustrated and angry and start saying "Well they should..." and then I read these points...

Am I eating with my church family? Am I praying? Am I devoted to teaching - not just going since I am a minister's wife? Am I a part of fellowships with a JOYFUL attitude? Am I inviting people to break bread in MY home? Am I putting my church family FIRST EVERY DAY?

Shaking head in shame...no, not like the church in Acts and not like the Bible commands. Oh sure, I am frustrated with attendance, I get more than a little discouraged to hear of a family going to another church for whatever reason, I am looking for the right "program" to attract families....but am I DOING IT GOD'S way?

Being on staff, Joel and I have an inside close up look at how churches are struggling both in growth and financially. We are more than aware of the stark budget cuts and having to trim ministry things here and there and to be honest it DOES get discouraging...but then I come to Acts chapter 2 and I realize it's not about the amount of money our church has - PLEASE DON'T MISUNDERSTAND _ YOU NEED TO TITHE (that's a whole different topic) but money doesn't make the church grow. Yes, money helps expand the ways a church can do missions and reach out but that isn't the key to a growing church.

At the end of Acts 2 it says "They ate their food with a joyful and humble attitude, praising God and having favor with all the people. And EVERY day the Lord added to them those who were being saved." vs 46b -47.

I have this hunch, okay more than a hunch, belief - that IF we were to do what the church in Acts did - our churches would be overflowing. Instead, we have allowed work, sports, relaxation, entertainment, etc to become first and put the FAMILY last...both biologically speaking and the church family.

Here's the challenge to myself and to you:

1.) Find a church family that you can be COMMITTED to - in the good, the bad, the ugly. Will you disagree? Yep! Will you get angry and frustrated? Yep! Will you be blessed beyond measure? ABSOLUTELY! Be committed - don't give up on your church family when things are down or hard. STAY IN AND FIGHT...be like my friend and WORK toward a relationship and unity.

2.) Open your HOME on a regular basis. This is a tough one for me...I have four kids and my home is often not clean (okay pretty much NEVER clean). I have a REALLY small house - it's crowded with 6 of us! I don't like to cook...the excuses go on and on...but I can't ignore Acts 2 when it says THEY MET IN HOMES....I want my home to be a place we can break bread together and be a part of each others daily lives.

3.) EVERY day connect with someone within your church family. A phone call. A cup of coffee. A text message. A facebook post. A lunch date. Somehow, someway, connect EVERY DAY!

4.) Make your church your FIRST commitment - not an "if it fits in". When your church is having an event make sure that you and your family are there! Make Sunday a CHURCH with NO exceptions type commitment...that means YES you tell the coach your daughter can't play in the softball tournament if it is on Sunday. That means that YES you are there on Wednesday nights even if you are missing an athletic event or some other thing. When you look at the calendar for the month - the church events are the FIRST things written in - not the last!

As the social/event/calendar coordinator of the Arrington Family - this is my challenge as well. Yes, we are on staff so in a sense we or at minimum Joel - is usually at all church events but I want more. I want a FAMILY relationship, a committed attitude. I want to be reaching out through my home, to be praying with and eating with church family. I want to CONNECT EVERY DAY!



Wednesday, January 9, 2013

What if I did what I could?

I am a sucker for a good fictional story...I really am! I have ALWAYS loved to read and most definitely  fiction is my favorite. I can just get completely and totally lost in a good book. In fact, one of the funniest stories regarding my reading obsession was as a young teen I prayed for the characters in my book at our family breakfast table...Yep! True story.

Yet, as much as I love to read it is often hard for me to get into a book that isn't fiction that doesn't tell a story...however, the book "She did what she could" by Elisa Morgan has reached out and grabbed me. It's a short little book - just over 100 pages. I was given it for Christmas by my sister.

The background of the book is the story of Mary in Mark 14:3-9. Having been a Christian for over 30 years and having grown up in a Christian family, for the most part I think I have heard or read almost all the stories in the Bible. However, this particular story was one that if I have read it I certainly didn't remember it. The scene is Jesus and many of His followers reclining a dinner table. As was custom, women were in the background and not necessarily a part of the meal. Yet, Mary knows and realizes who Jesus is. She quietly and yet with determination goes to him, breaks open a jar of nard and pours it over His head. Those at the table are indignant! How could she waste such expensive oil? Yet Jesus says these words that are SO captivating...

  "Leave her alone. Why criticize her for doing such a good thing to me? You will always have the poor among you, and you can help them whenever you want to. But you will not always have me. She did what she could and has anointed my body for burial ahead of time. I tell you the truth, wherever the Good News is preached throughout the world, this woman's deed will be remembered and discussed."

Without going into the entire premise for the book, you can read it for yourself, let me just highlight what the Lord has shown me through this passage:

1.) "Why criticize her for doing such a good thing to me?" - Confession time...I often find myself "criticizing" other believers and what or how they give. I can even say - why wouldn't they save that for people who need it - why did they donate it to this particular ministry and not that one. Yet, God alone knows their heart and it is HIS to receive as He wishes.

2.) "She did what she could..." - oh this resonated for me. I am NOT the picture of a minister's wife. I don't play the piano or sing, I don't like to cook, I am horrible at sending cute little cards to those who miss Sunday School, I am not creative in doing a bulletin boards, I don't know cutesy little crafts that kids can do, I don't sew costumes for the children's programs, I am not quiet and behind the scenes, I do speak my mind and later regret it...etc. So, when God revealed to me that I would be a minister's wife for life...that was hard to swallow. I was a lot like Moses - a long list of what I COULDN'T do. Somehow, in all His grace and mercy God reached down and sort of said "Are you done telling me what you can't do? I am ready to show you what you can do!" As I read this book, I was reminded that instead of focusing on what I can't do - God wants me to do what I CAN do! I can listen, I can organize, I can type, I can teach a Bible Study, I can go help a new mom with household chores, I can babysit so that same mom can have time to herself, I can encourage...He only asks for me to do what I can do in that moment at that point in time.

3.) "wherever the Good News is preached throughout the world this woman's deed will be remembered and discussed." Notice that her deed was a small one - she only anointed him with oil and yet her deed is still remembered. A small, little deed. Something that she probably thought insignificant and unimportant but she felt led to do - remembered for all time. I don't want to be remembered for the amount of my tithe, I don't want to be remembered for the wife that I am, I don't want to be remembered for the hours I donated...when people discuss my life - I pray that they will say "She did what she could, with what she had, in the time she was given." Nothing more, nothing less.

As I look at this book - my prayer is that I will chose every moment of every day to do what I can for the the Kingdom of God. May I no longer focus on the things I can't do but instead choose to do what I can in that moment.

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Let's have a recap of 2012....

 2012

Although I have blogged some of the big points of 2012...I thought I would take this time and recap for those of you who want to know where the Arrington family is at and where we have been! 

January: Found us settled in our new home of Borger, Tx. We enjoyed the fact that we no longer had to shovel ourselves out of the driveway, while at the same time missing the snowy mountains of Colorado! Another biggie for January was the decision to bring Hannah home for the remaining part of her freshman year...although an adjustment, it has turned out beautifully!

February: Not much happened in February other than cold temperatures and fun times at home. 

March: Hannah and Malachi had the opportunity to go to Laredo Tx on a mission trip with our church. Laredo is on the Mexico/Texas border and resembles more of Mexico than Texas. This was a growing and stretching experience for them as it was the first mission trip they had gone on without Joel or I there with them! Hannah looks forward to continuing her learning of the Spanish language so that she can share with more people as God opens the door. 

April: Joel was able to travel to his first children's ministry conference in Atlanta, Ga and God reaffirmed his desire to reach families! Meanwhile, Kestra was able to re-enter the world of softball which she has missed since living in Arkansas and Malachi and Tyler both jumped in on some soccer action!

May: Hannah turned 15! Where did the years go? Tyler was baptized - being the last of our four children to publicly profess his faith. Joel had the honor of baptizing him and we were blessed that my parents could join us for this moment! 

June: Began the first of a crazy summer full of camps and trips! Tyler was able to attend Sonlight Christian Camp in Pagosa Springs thanks to a generous scholarship and he LOVED it! We are hoping to send him again this summer but aren't sure yet. Meanwhile - Hannah, Malachi, and Kestra all went to youth camp in the Houston area. Again - a first for them without Joel and I as leaders. With all four kids gone for a week - Joel and I were able to enjoy some "us" time and even got away for a night in Amarillo! Tyler spent his 11th birthday with Grandparents and got more than just a little spoiled!

July: We traveled to Colorado for the fourth and had the opportunity to celebrate the fourth of July with family in Silverton, Co. Upon returning from that trip, Kestra and I headed out to Sherman Tx for a children's camp - it was a great time for us and we really enjoyed it. Everyone with the exception of Hannah got to go to another Children's camp here in the area. Malachi went as a Jr Counselor. While we were gone, Hannah had her first go at being "home alone"! Thanks to some church family checking in on her - she did AMAZING! The last of July had myself and the three older ones off to Arlington, Tx for a youth mission trip. It was simply AWESOME to experience third world type conditions right here in our own state - we hope to go again this summer!!! Malachi turned 14 bringing home the reality that my babies aren't so little any more! Joel also celebrated his 37th birthday complete with a surprise party put on by parents of our children's ministry!
August: The definite highlight for all of us was WALT DISNEY WORLD! This was the first time for the younger three to fly on an airplane and a first for everyone except Joel to go to Disney (well, I went as a kid but don't really remember it). So many memories were made and it was a FANTASTIC way to end the summer! Also in August, Hannah and Malachi started school through Texas Virtual Academy. TXVA is an on-line K-12 school that allows for the academics of public school but in a home environment. We are LOVING it! I act as a monitor or aide while the kids have actual teachers on-line. Both Hannah and Malachi have adjusted well to this type of school and their grades are so great! Kestra and Tyler continued on at Borger schools and are doing great! 

September: The biggest highlight was that Joel got to travel to Zimbabwe Africa with our Pastor and 3 other men. The Lord laid Zimbabwe on my heart back in 2010. After returning, I said that I would go back in 2012...the Lord fulfilled this by allowing Joel to go in 2012 and thus uniting us in our desire to continue missions to the country of Zimbabwe. We don't know when but we are both committed to returning to Zim in the coming years! 

October: After a busy August and September - October was a welcome down time for us of regrouping. 

November: Back in the summer God planted the idea with Joel of a time of celebrating the harvest in a unique way with a western flair. This came to pass in the form of our Boots N Jeans weekend in November where the Bar D Wranglers came from Durango Co and we had a Chuckwagon dinner! Such a fun time! We also celebrated Kestra's 13th birthday - YIKES 3 teens - as well as Thanksgiving with Joel's parents. Kestra also made the Jr High Basketball team adding to her sports!

December: Parties, Dinners, Parties! One of the definite perks of ministry life is the many parties you are invited to and get to participate in at Christmas! We also enjoyed a simpler family Christmas and time with my sister and parents in Plano, Tx. I celebrated my 38th birthday and am just so blessed by where God has me in life!

2013 - we don't know all that God has in store but we are anxiously awaiting to see! Things we are looking forward to this next year:

Hannah will turn 16 and most likely get her license! 
Malachi will turn 15 and will be working toward getting his as well as starting HS!
More camps and trips through church
Joel potentially completing his Bachelor's Degree through Liberty University! 
A visit with close friends from college in May
Joel performing his first wedding on his birthday in July!