"I consider my life worth nothing to me, if only I may finish the race and complete the task the Lord Jesus has given me - the task of testifying to the gospel of God's grace." Acts 20:24

To Tell of His Grace

Saturday, June 30, 2012


We just came back from what our kids will tell you was their FAVORITE family vacation! We spent a few days at the cabin and then went to Yosemite ~ it was our kids first time there!

We are about to head up to Mist Falls

We made it!!! Whew...it was a hot day so we took a few breaks on the way up!

Time for Ice Cream  :)

Our very favorite part was River Rafting

A great shot of Half Dome

So much fun!!!

We stopped to get out and cool off every once and a while  :)

Our great Rowing Team!!!

We even climbed some rocks  

Our kids say this was their version of Half Dome

Go Sissy!

Kols had the fancy rock climbing moves

Cute Rafters  ;)

The Castros came up to go tubing and have a day on the lake!
Tired boaters...they are ready to EAT!!!

And when we got back to the cabin we found a little friend just outside our back door!
Thank You, Jesus for sweet family memories!!!

Friday, June 22, 2012

Adoption Update

We've had a full week on the adoption front...it all started with a dream that I had on Sunday night. I was in a room with a bunch of kids who all had the same shirts on. I realized that they were all orphans and in my dream I heard God say to me, "Will you take care of the least of these for Me? The very least of these... and show them My love." In my dream I said, "Yes, Lord, just show me what to do." Then I woke up.

The name on their shirts kept coming back to my mind all day the next day so I finally looked it up to see if it was a real organization - I had not heard of it before. Well, it is a real organization...and not only that, it is a home for special needs orphans in China! I was blown away so I called Brod and told him all about my dream. He looked it up and called. The most wonderful lady answered and was so helpful to him. From listening to where we were at in the process and how long we'd been waiting, she sensed that something was up and encouraged us to find out about a couple of things.

Well, our facilitator was going to be in town 2 days later and she agreed to meet with us regarding some of our concerns. This spurred our agency on to meet with us beforehand and let us know that they had recently found out that our agency had been on probation and unable to lock any children's files since around January. We were shocked! But immediately we knew and trusted that God was up to something and still ENTIRELY in control. So, we called the helpful lady back from the organization in my dream and asked her where she thought we should go from here. She had 3 GREAT (almost too great because it was hard to decide) agencies for us to look into. We loved them all but ultimately felt a bit more led to one so we switched today and we are really excited!!! We know and trust that God has a great plan...He has already chosen our daughter since before time began and nothing can stop His perfect plan from unfolding.

 I had a friend remind me of a book called When Life and Beliefs Collide which says, "If God is Sovereign, then plan B is a myth. No matter how dark things look to us, or how big the mess we're in, we're in plan A." (p.72)  "We run a planned race." (p. 70)  What a great reminder! Brodie and I were really praying through where the Lord was leading us and really wanting to hear clearly...and the reminder that we cannot mess up His plans no matter what we do came at just the right time! If we are seeking Him, He will honor that - He knows how we want what HE wants more than anything! It helped us to walk in the direction that we were most feeling led to and just
REST and TRUST in Him for the rest!

Things should be switched by next week and we will move forward from there!

"God is our refuge and strength,
an ever-present help in trouble.
Therefore we will not fear, though the earth give way
and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea,
thought its waters roar and foam
and the mountains quake with their surging.
There is a river whose streams make glad the city of God,
the holy place where the Most High dwells."

Psalm 46: 1-4

Monday, June 11, 2012

Keegan's 10th Birthday!!!!!

Keegan,  WE LOVE YOU!!! It's so hard to believe that  you are 10!!! It seems like just yesterday that you were a baby and we were rocking you to sleep  :) Wow! God has blessed us with you!!! We had a fun day celebrating YOU!!! First of all, your cousins spent the night last night...so we woke up and walked over to the donut shop (your Birthday Breakfast choice), then we went to Anna's birthday party at the pizza parlor and played tons of games, then Ben and Alese dropped by to show you some love...and then Ms Ashley brought you balloons!!! Then we were off to T Joes for some ribs (your dinner choice). And finally, we went to spend your gift cards that you got for your birthday...whew! What a day!!! On our way home we all listed TEN things that we LOVE about you...here were just a few of them:

You really want to follow Jesus and be more like Him
You're a great leader and other kids love to follow you
You are a loyal and fun friend
Your laugh is from so deep within you  :)
You look out for your brother and sister
Your solid faith in Jesus and persevering through your trial with your neck injury
You are nice to your siblings and "the best brother in the world" 
Always helpful
You want the whole world to know Jesus (and you pray regularly for this!)
Cares for orphans and "the least"
Hard worker

There are SO many more wonderful qualities in you, Sweet Boy! We LOVE you  ;)


***Keegan's 10th Birthday wish, "That I would never stop following Jesus"***

Monday, June 4, 2012

We LOVE our Ben and Alese!!!

Our great friends, Ben and Alese, dropped by for a visit last night ~ we were all out in the backyard when they arrived playing a family game of Soccer (it was Brodie and I against the kids). So as soon as Ben and Alese got here, the kids claimed Ben for their team (he is a REAL soccer player!)  Alese joined Brodie and I ... thanks to Ben, the kids won by 1 point  ;)  Then we all just had fun hanging out and catching up!!! They are such great examples of Christ-followers who are completely SOLD OUT for Jesus! As Brodie says, "Jesus is not just the most important - He is ALL important!!!" And they are living this out... We are so blessed to have Ben and Alese in our lives
 as friends and role-models for our children!!!

Brodie even got a soccer injury!

What Sissy has been up to.....

Our girl finally set her mind to do her back-handspring on her own...

And she has been having fun working on stunting with Dad!  Daddy has fun too ;)

Last Week of School

We started our last week of school off great! Kolson brought donuts for his birthday treat (they do the summer b'days the last week of school)....

And I was blessed to join Keeg's class on a walking field trip
to the grocery store and pizza parlor!

We got to see how they make the pizza and the kids each got to make their own pizza to enjoy for lunch! Then we went to the grocery store and toured the whole store and learned all about how they make cakes in the bakery, prepare the fish and get them ready to sell, and so much more  :)

I LOVE going on all of our kids' field trips and I know what a special blessing it is...but there are times when I wonder, "Does my kid even know I am here?", cause they are off with their friends and I am with the moms. But today was another reminder of how much they appreciate that I am there with them...Keegan kept coming back to me and leaning on me and letting me hug on him and every time he thought something was funny or cool, he'd run back to share it with me...and he even walked back to school with me instead of his friends  ;)  So sweet!

The last field trip I went on with Kolson, he wrote me a thank you note and tried to give me $20 to show his appreciation  ~
I wouldn't let him, but it was sweet of him to try  ;)

Saturday, June 2, 2012

Father/Son Retreat

Brodie has always wanted to do a Father/Son Retreat up at Bass Lake...and this was the BIG weekend! A group of dads from church took their boys up and did some boating, hiking, shooting...but mostly they just spent some good quality time and some time in the WORD training the boys up in God's ways...their shirts say it all:

Because that's what it's ALL about...bottom line is that we all need Jesus to RESCUE us from our sins (which we all have). And if we aren't intentional about pouring Jesus into our kids then how will they learn to LIVE for Him? 
Time for hiking
The view from the top of the trail

Teaching the WORD straight from his phone!

 And of course...SMORES!
Brod and Keeg had a great time...but really missed having Kols! ~He got sick the night before :(

Sissy's Heart

We got to go and CELEBRATE with Sissy as she got Block G at school. She worked really hard all year to get great grades and be involved in everything from Peer Counseling and Sports (like Cheer, Track, Volleyball and Softball) to things like helping the primary teachers by working in class and being "cop" (busting kids at recess and lunch when they break rules ;)  ). Kennady has always been so self-motivated ~ she sets her mind to something and there is NO stopping her! We told her that we are so proud of how hard she works and how responsible she is but MORE importantly, we are so filled with JOY to see the young woman that God has created her to be. Everyday He is making her more and more like His Precious Son...we have seen her heart grow SO much! In how she cares for others, in how she has grown in kindness and gentleness by trusting that Jesus' Ways are BEST! She is so FILLED with JOY 
that can only come from Jesus - it is a gift He has given her  ;) 
Sissy, we love you and it is truly a joy to be your parents!!!

 I do wish we could slow time ~ she is growing up WAY too fast!
 The always supportive brothers  :)