Friday, December 23, 2011

Merry Christmas from the Erwins

And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people.  For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord.  Luke 2:10-11

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

My little brother is getting old

Happy birthday to my handsome, adorable, amazing brother Joel Daniel!!  To be honest I couldn't remember how old he was until I logged on to Facebook today.  Sad, since he's only 17 months younger than Charys and me...when you get old, the numbers don't seem to matter anymore. ;)

Joel and Charity are quite possibly the most gorgeous couple on earth...inside and out.
While I was stealing photos from his Facebook page, I thought I should include a couple of his favorite things as well.  After all, it IS his birthday. :)

Oh, and she happens to be one of my favorite things too.

Happy birthday bro.  We love you!!

But take diligent heed to do the commandments and the law, which Moses the servant of the LORD charged you, to love the LORD your God, and to walk in all His ways, and to keep His commandments, and to cleave unto Him, and to serve Him with all your heart and with all your soul.  Joshua 22:5

Our little princess

We got another glimpse of our little princess at an ultrasound yesterday.  Most importantly, she is very healthy (THANK YOU JESUS), had heart rate in the 150's, growing well (about a week+ ahead of schedule) --- and we think quite cute if we must admit.  Chet said she is beautiful; I agree.

The little stinker decided to be shy about showing her face again.  I literally looked through our ultrasound photos from 13 weeks on, and in every.single.set. she is covering her face with her arms.  I carry all the u/s photos with me, so we had a good laugh that even when she resembled a teeny gummy bear, those two arms were over her face.  I went through my iPhone photos and found many of Holden doing the same thing.  It made my heart leap see and remember that.

Now I know she does not always have her arms covering her face.  As I type this, I feel her whole body stretching out, feet on one side and hands on the other.  I think she senses the u/s wand and quickly covers up!  We suppose she wants us to be a little surprised about something upon her arrival.

This was the best photo we got of her face (profile), and the few people I sent it to could barely make it out.  Her eyes are covered with an arm, but you can see her nose, lips and chin if you are a sleuth.  When we changed to 3D, both of those arms shot straight up to her face. 

I love you my little princess.

Nothing makes me happier at an appointment than to see our healthy baby.  Her Creator takes my breath away.

The God who made the world and everything in it is the Lord of heaven and earth and does not live in temples built by human hands.  And He is not served by human hands, as if He needed anything.  Rather, He Himself gives everyone life and breath and everything else.  Acts 17:24-25

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Happy "Anniversary" HUF!!

Since I am definitely not going to be able to describe the past year in mere words on a blog, I just want to say THANK YOU to our amazing Christ Jesus for allowing us to be given an opportunity to experience such hope.  Never in my life would I have pictured being a part of anything like this, yet God has redeemed our hearts and replaced brokenness with joy.

Thank you Lord!  Thank you Lord!  Thank you Lord!

Holden Uganda's 1st Year:
Founded in December 2010
Goal to build nine wells in nine months completed in 6 weeks
55 wells completed, 60 wells funded
1 orphanage clean water and sanitation project (ongoing)
1 primary school water project completed
Hope and life given to thousands of people

We know the Lord is just getting started with Holden Uganda...

May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in Him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.  Romans 15:13

Friday, December 16, 2011


I am beginning to get a little self-conscious/worried about comments that my belly isn't as "round" as it should be.  I think she is growing sideways in my stomach, so it looks different than last time.  With Holden I felt like I always had a protruding stomach.  Now I have to eat a large breakfast and lunch to get photos like these.

I really dislike 'cell phone in mirror photos'.  Excuse me for this please.  And the fact that I am taking my time off work seriously by wearing sweats and house shoes nearly all day.  Really, this is simply just for my daughter to see one day:

As you can see, the nursery colors are the same still.  We haven't done anything to the room just yet.

This is us at conservatively 22.5 weeks.  (We are possibly a couple weeks further along than that, but I am being conservative.)

I just found this photo on my phone I snapped while I was staying in Oklahoma for a work trip.  I originally was not going to share on my blog, but I want to show how much I've grown in the last month.  This was about 17 weeks.

This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him.  1 John 4:9

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Pregnancy - over halfway there

I am going to attempt to document this pregnancy better for our daughter to read one day.  I know I have not done near as much this time around in terms of documenting and photographing, and I want our girl to know she has been loved more than words.  My goal is to do this every four weeks or so from here on out.

My sweet friend Megan gave me a book called Love Letters to My Baby.  It has been tremendously helpful to have a way to track the pregnancy and I would recommend it to any expectant mom, especially Hope Mommies.

Size and development of baby:
Just like her older brother, this little one has always been on the larger side at her ultrasounds.  I am always relieved when I see that she is growing on track!  Baby Center says she weighs over a pound now.  We will find out exactly how big she is at next Monday's ultrasound, but I am guessing she is going to be 19-20 ounces next week (I always like to guess). says she is about the size of a papaya.  Since papayas are not readily available in West Texas during the winter, I was not able to buy one this week to feel the weight.  Instead I am posting a photo I took off their website:
I am feeling her movements every day, my favorite part of being pregnant.  She dances most in the early morning hours, from about 5am-7am.  I adore feeling her precious choreography while I get ready for the day, although I am able to feel her randomly throughout the rest of the day as well.

If I were to guess, I would think she is laying sideways where her feet are on my right side.  I know she is moving around and doing circles and flips all day, but I feel most "kicks" low on my right side.  Chet can feel her move too...such a sweet moment of our evenings!

According to what I have read, she has all facial features formed that she will be born with.  I love imagining what she looks like!

How I am feeling and changing:
As each day passes I am more at ease.  It would be a lie to say I was completely "okay" and peaceful about this pregnancy, but I am grateful that when I do get worried, it is usually quickly replaced with a genuine peace from the Lord.  I know she is being formed perfectly by her Heavenly Father, and that He has already planned each minute of her life from the beginning.  For me to stress about it only makes me miserable, so I daily "hand her over" to God.  The battle of faithlessness is something I fight with daily, struggling to place all my confidence in our Creator.  If I go a a long time without feeling her move, I am learning to pray more instead of freak out.  This pregnancy has taught me a lot about my walk with the Lord, and He is already using my daughter's life to mold me.

Physically I feel good.  The second trimester is much kinder than the first.  As with any pregnancy, I get tired more easily than usual.  I was far greener this time around than my pregnancy with Holden, although I have nearly no nausea anymore with food...a wonderful feeling!  (Some smells still make me sick.)  I am even drinking my one cup of coffee a day.  I was beginning to wonder if I would ever enjoy my favorite beverage again.  :)

...Actually, I think all pregnancy symptoms have been stronger with our daughter, than with our son.  They say every pregnancy is different, and it's definitely held true!

My nails are growing faster.  This is just plain miraculous to me since I have never, ever had strong nails.  This has even motivated me to get a monthly manicure.  I wouldn't want to waste the fact that my nails are prettier after all. ;)  My hair is not growing any faster, and my face is still breaking out...but it is all extremely worth it!

I have a definite bump, though not as defined as before.  My weight gain seems to be more spread out this time, but I still love that I have do have a bump.  I am gaining about the same that I did with Holden, even though Chet says I am gaining less.  He knows what to tell his pregnant wife. :)

Being pregnant in the winter is great!  My hands and feet have not swollen at all yet, and I can sleep without being miserably hot.  I am probably speaking immaturely on these topics, so I will have to re-visit this in February.

I view this pregnancy 180 degrees different than I viewed my first.  I am trying to enjoy every single moment, even when I am fearful and stressed.  Weight gain has not bothered me at all.  Using a hefty portion of my paycheck on gasoline to drive to my very-often appointments has not bothered me.  Even being more "restful" is something I am learning to appreciate.

Amazing the love mommies can have for their babies when they haven't even held them yet.

I LOVE that you already know your little sister and know exactly what she looks like.  I imagine you and Jesus talking about her and how much you love her.  You probably even know exactly when she will take her first breath on earth.  I dream that her eye color is your eye color, and I look forward to seeing her eyes every day.  
Your life has made her life so much more special to us.  
One day soon we will be repainting and decorating the room we had planned for you.  It is difficult to imagine your handsome little nursery being a girlie nursery, even though I know if you could say something to me about it you would probably tell me to be happy because of where you live now.  
Our love for you never ceases to grow.
Hugs and Kisses,

I will listen to what God the LORD says; He promises peace to His people.  Psalm 85:8a

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Stinky without a shower

The town of Snyder has lost water due to the extreme cold weather causing a main water line break.  We have been without water for the last day and a half...but not without warm houses, electricity and the ability to buy as many bottles of water as we would like.  So maybe I should say we have only been without unlimited running water.

This circumstance has made it even more clear to me how blessed we are to be given the stewardship over Holden Uganda.  I am whiny after just 24 hours of not being able to get my daily long, hot shower, even though I am still drinking unlimited amounts of clean bottled water.

It hurts to think of one billion people not having any access ever to clean water.  That is a large number:  1,000,000,000

"The King will reply, 'Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.'
Matthew 25:40 was on my heart the second I woke up today.  Whether or not we want to face the fact that those around the world are our brothers and sisters, doesn't make it any less true.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Santa is coming

Santa Jesus is coming!

Wouldn't it be cool if we could get our kids as excited about Jesus coming (or just Jesus in general) as they are about Santa?!  Elf on a Shelf would be unnecessary if they knew Jesus always cares about their actions. :) :) 

Don't get me wrong...I love seeing kids excited about the Christmas season...and I am happily amused by the cute Elf on a Shelf idea.  Furthermore, this is obviously coming from someone who isn't parenting a child on earth (I admit don't hate!), but I do wish they were more excited about the meaning behind it all, and not all the presents they will soon put aside.

I know the pressures of parenting are extremely tough - to say the least - even without walking in those shoes yet.  So this blog is not to judge anyone.  Rather it is my own thoughts typed out for the day, and something I hope that Chet and I will personally be able to emphasize in our home with our children.  Hopefully starting next year.   

 For the Son of Man is going to come in his Father’s glory with his angels, and then he will reward each person according to what they have done.  Matthew 16:27

Monday, December 5, 2011

Welcome WINTER

We woke up to bright white snow this morning!  Henri begged to go outside, so we gave her a look first.

 Then we let her outside.  She wasn't so thrilled once she actually got out there.  :)
 For some reason I can't get these pictures to rotate, but I am still posting.  I love icicles!
 Especially icicles on lights!
 Rusty was very UNhappy we made him go outside this morning.  He sat shivering under the heat lamp, giving us sad "Why Mom?!" looks. 
Luke was enjoying the snow too much to sit still for a photo.  I feel a little bad only having photos of 2 out of 3 of our fur babies; it feels like choosing favorites. ;)

Since the snow is still falling, I will try to get some more pics this evening.  Welcome winter to West Texas!

“Come now, let us settle the matter,” says the LORD. “Though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they are red as crimson, they shall be like wool." Isaiah 1:18

Wednesday, November 30, 2011


Picture found on Pinterest

Reflecting on what I am thankful for over the past thirty days has been refreshing.  I hope that I will reflect more often, instead of dwelling on my wants and 'woes'.

With all that I have to be thankful for, the hundreds of little things that make up my blessed life, I had a difficult job narrowing down my last November post. 

Today we found out that our dear friends tragically lost their brother.  This is just some of the heartbreaking news we have learned about amongst our circle of friends and family this month.  I am so hurt for the families who are affected.  Sadly, almost everyone will eventually go through a very painful journey in their life, and I am so much more aware of this fact lately.  But because of the Hope of Christ, we do not have to live in constant hurt and pain. 
There is nothing more effective to do for someone who is in pain than to be a prayer warrior for them; I believe that with all my heart.  Tonight I am thankful for the power of prayer.  Our Savior is living, powerful, healing and capable of moving mountains in our lives.  When we are in the deepest valleys, He comforts us and lifts us out (Psalm 23).

Without the prayer warriors in my life, I would not be typing tonight.  Prayer is powerful and effective (James 5:16).  

The LORD will command His lovingkindness in the daytime, and in the night His song shall be with me - a prayer to the God of my life.  Psalm 42:8

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

28th & 29th

We bought our first "baby thing" of this entire pregnancy yesterday: paint for the nursery.
I am thankful we could do it with joy, even though it took us over an hour of debating on colors;   color is such a committment!  The amazingly helpful and cheerful employee at Home Depot (really..she needs a raise) was incredibly patient with us, even though she sadly couldn't match paint colors from my phone's Pinterest app.  Home Depot needs to get on that.  Any ways, with her kind assistance and my husband nearly melting down, we made our choice. 
Mostly I am thankful for a very generous friend who is going to help us paint.  Chet has banned me from painting, so our friend is going to paint for us!  Wow, huh?!
I am thankful that in approximately 16 weeks (or really ... whatever God decides ... I am trying to remind myself that my plans are not the important ones) we will meet our little girl.  I am thankful my doctor doesn't act like I'm just plain nuts when at each appointment I tell her exactly how many days we have left.  I like to remind those who are more in charge than I am, exactly how long they have to prepare.  ;)

A cheerful heart is good medicine, but a crushed spirit dries up the bones. Proverbs 17:22

Sunday, November 27, 2011

26th and 27th

Yesterday the Shuffield family drove down to hang out with us for our late "family Thanksgiving" and watch the Tech/Baylor or game.  They were considerate of the fact that I am resting more with this pregnancy, and drove 6 hours in one day just to spend a few hours with us.

I know I have blogged it many times before, but I cannot ever say just how thankful I am for the Shuffields.  Normally you can't choose who your family is, and if I were to pick the most amazing family on earth, it would be the Shuffield family.  Somehow God blessed me enough for that to be reality.  Chet and I ask God to help us lead our family like they lead their family one day.  God is the focus and they truly LOVE and have FUN with each other.  We were thrilled they chose to spend their Saturday with us.  Tisha is a "mom" I can discuss all my pregnancy woes and joys with...priceless. :)

I am grateful I can feel our little girl's kicks and movements every day now.  We are over halfway through this pregnancy, and I can finally say for "sure" that it is the baby I'm feeling moving around in there.  Chet has even been able to feel her most days.  It's so fun and one of the only times I can feel "relaxed" about her.

On a funny note: I asked Chet if he was going to cook us breakfast this morning, while lazily laying in bed late.  My husband will do nearly anything on earth to help me (all housework he can and will do), but the kitchen is just not his "throne".  I was obviously kidding when I said "cook", so I suggested Eggo waffles and a cup of coffee.  His reply, "Um, do those cook in the toaster?"  Oh boy.
I am so glad that we compliment each other and that I have a honey who can make me laugh. ;) ;)  Resolution #10 for the New Year: teach Chet some kitchen basics.

Let the message of Christ dwell among you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom through psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit singing to God with gratitude in your hearts.  Colossians 3:16

Friday, November 25, 2011


Joel and Hannah Grace

I am thankful for my little brother Joel.  He is truly one of the most likable and funniest people I know.  Oftentimes humorous personalities make up for lack of book smarts, but this is not the case with Joel.  He is extraordinarily intelligent and passionate about everything he is involved in.  Just ask anyone who knows him.

When Joel recommends that I read something, I read it.  It's just like that.  I think if he said to jump off a cliff I would ask him what his cliff jumping plan was, because he likely had it figured out where we would be okay!  

He has a canny sense of what is important in life, is an amazing, humble man of God, and a wonderful husband (to his gorgeous, lovely wife Charity), daddy, brother and friend.  His love for people and life is contagious.  

I am so blessed to have Joel for a brother.  

He that hath the Son hath life; and he that hath not the Son of God hath not life.  1 John 5:12

Thursday, November 24, 2011

24th - Thanksgiving 2011

Happy Thanksgiving 2011!

How different this year is than last year.  Memories of last holiday season are so foggy and unclear.  In fact, Chet and I took a few minutes to figure out what we were doing and where we were last Thanksgiving.  (Pretty sad, considering we were on an amazing trip in Santa Fe with the Shuffields!)  I truly did not know it would be possible to really enjoy any holiday last year.  I thought of all holidays with a jab in my heart.

Obviously I would still give anything to have a 15 month-old "little turkey" running around with us today.  Obviously I am still sad when I sit and think about how much I miss being Holden's mommy on earth through every stage of his life.  But today I am not sitting in deep grief.  Today I am grateful for how the last year has shaped us.  I am grateful that my son is able to spend every moment of his life in Paradise.  Today I am grateful that because of Holden's life in heaven, we are expecting his sister.

We spent the day at Aunt Connie's beautiful home.  She is a wonderfully gracious hostess and we enjoyed the abundant food, games and chatting together.

 I am thankful for Chet's family, my "married in family".  There are many different personalities in his family and they're always a diverse bunch, but I am grateful for the fact that they love each other and we have a place to "be" on holidays.

Chet's grandparents and parents are all still married, a rare example in today's world.  I looked around at the group this afternoon and thought about how much I never knew they would be my family years ago.  It's funny how family grows on you.

I am grateful they gave me my husband...without them he would not be here! :)

I hope your Thanksgiving was filled with love and joy.

For all things are for your sakes, that grace, having spread through the many, may cause thanksgiving to abound to the glory of God.  2 Corinthians 4:15 (in context - the whole chapter - is excellent and really spoke to me today!)

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

21st, 22nd and 23rd

We had a wonderful doctor's appointment on Monday.  It is funny that one short session listening to a healthy heartbeat and/or seeing the little person God is forming inside of me can change my fears.  (I have to be honest, I wish the feeling was longer-lasting, but I will take what I can get.)
I have been so grateful for doctors and nurses these past two years.  I went from someone who had never, ever been to a doctor, to a person who can practically close her eyes on the drive to Lubbock and Covenant.  I cannot say enough how much thanks I have for intelligent, caring, compassionate, brilliant doctors and nurses.  They all love our little girl like their own.  This is a silly story, but it explains how blessed we are with medical care:  The other day I was in Dillard's and a precious, young girl, one of the radiologist techs in training who has seen us before, glanced over my way and literally walked up to me and gave me a hug and asked how I was feeling and how the baby was!  She is 'just' someone apprenticing at our specialist's office, and she remembered us and cared!  Our doctors want to be there for a happy redemption story almost as much as we do.  It means so much to my heart to see how they care for Holden's little sister, and look forward to her special birthday.

I am thankful for Holden Uganda and all involved.  That God would choose all of us to be a part of such a beautiful organization is humbling.  We were given the rewarding opportunity to speak to a huge youth group in Odessa yesterday; their young hearts are already so eager to spread God's love through clean water.  A year and a half ago I met Kara Smith through a baby shower we hosted together.  Our sons' due dates were a day apart, so we "small talked" about our pregnancies.  Little did I know then how much this person would mean to me a year later.  Each and every person who is a part of HUF has changed us and I know they are on our team because they bring exactly what is needed to the table.

I often wonder what HUF will look like in the future.  It has already grown at a rate I wouldn't have imagined.  There are days that I get exhausted and want to take a break, but I cannot picture my life where HUF is not a part of it.  There are few things worth exhaustion like seeing the faces of the people receiving clean water.  Motivation.

I am thankful for the Thanksgiving break and getting to put my feet up today.  Chet is even braving the grocery store for me this morning.  That's true love.  I think the breaks are sometimes the busiest in our lives, but today I have nearly nothing planned.  My feet are up!
Speaking of feet...these are our little one's feet.  She hid her face the whole.entire.time. at the ultrasound on Monday, much to her Mommy's dismay, but she was showing off her footsies just fine.

I think they are cute.  :)

Let us come before his presence with thanksgiving, and make a joyful noise unto him with psalms.  Psalm 95:2

Sunday, November 20, 2011


This should not be "#20" at all.  These are not in order of importance, but rather what stands out in my mind and heart on each particular day.

The internet search I just did came up with 51 countries that have made it illegal to own a Bible.  I have not done enough checking to confirm that, but I do know for a fact of quite a few countries that illegalize the Word of God and professing a faith in Jesus Christ.

Today I am so grateful for the access I have to God through His Living Word.  I have at least 8 Bibles, internet access to the Bible 24/7, plus a Bible app on my phone - that never leaves my side.  At any time, I can read and gain from the powerful Words of the one and only True God.  I was in a selfish and sour mood this morning, and once again after spending some time in the Scripture, I could not help but have a positive attitude adjustment.  There is nothing on earth that has the power to change lives like the Word of God.

For the word of God is living and active.  Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.  Hebrews 4:12

Saturday, November 19, 2011

18th and 19th

Sleepiness has taken hold...but I definitely need to be remember what I am thankful for before I fade this evening.

I am thankful for our home.  It is perfect and cozy for Chet and I.  Although not big and fancy in American standards, it is a palace in the world's standards.  There is simply no place like home; there is no place I would rather be on this whole earth than snuggled up on our couch together.  It is so easy for me to think of "bigger and better" or "change this or that", but I am so often reminded of how fortunate we are.

As I was bathing earlier, my thoughts wandered to remember that the most tired, the most exhausted, the most stressed out and/or the worst day of mine cannot even compare to what many endure daily.  So I am grateful for the healthy, pain-free, blessed life I am so privileged to live.  It sounds a bit silly to type out, but it's what has been on my heart a lot.

For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.  Matthew 6:21

Thursday, November 17, 2011


There are three kids who utterly melt my heart.  I cannot go a second without being thankful for them.

 Kayson Scott - 5 years and Christopher Cohen - 21 months, the two best nephews on earth! (My sister and brother-in-law's sweet boys)
Hannah Grace - 2.5 months, the best niece on earth!  (My brother and sister-in-law's precious daughter)

Being an Auntie is one of the most special titles on earth.  I love these three to every single moon and star and back.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011


I was just thinking about what I was most thankful for today when I received a text with the above photo from Chet.
This is what his office looks like.  He had left the house to deliver some Pampered Chef items for me and then grab some papers at his office.  If he hadn't been talking to our friend (who he brought the PC items to) for a while, he would've been IN his office when this happened.
Tonight I am thankful for angels of protection.  

Chet was only wearing a t-shirt and shorts (he had been walking the dogs), so I ran a sweatshirt up there.  The photo definitely doesn't do it justice.  It's quite a mess, but thankfully no one (including driver) was hurt.  

The angel of the LORD encamps around those who fear him, and he delivers them.  Psalm 34:7

Tuesday, November 15, 2011


I am thankful for the relationship Chet and I have.  We enjoy each other's company and genuinely have FUN every day together.  We don't necessarily have an "exciting life", but we want to be with each other.  I look forward to spending time with Chet after work, the second I walk out the door in the morning.  

I'm so grateful for a husband who will do anything to help me, even if that means he does as much laundry and housework as I do.  (By the way, he does ALL of our ironing!)  Chet is having to help much more with this pregnancy and he is not complaining about his new role one bit.  He wants his little girl and me to be safe and healthy.

Chet is my best friend, and someone I still catch myself staring at in amazement.  I thank God for the man I am married to every single day.

We have a date night to watch Courageous together this evening.  I look forward to having my sexy husband to cuddle with on dates like this 50 years from now.

And the two will become one flesh.  So they are no longer two, but one flesh.  Mark 10:8

Monday, November 14, 2011


This evening we are humbly thankful for healthy surprises.

Due to our doctors needing to give our baby extra viewing today, we had a surprise ultrasound.  I am really learning to trust in God's care for this little one He has created, and today was a big lesson in trust for me.

Our little one looked beautiful on the screen.  Healthy, vibrant and kicking like crazy.  Exactly what we wanted to see.

The big surprise came in the fact that our sweet baby is Holden's little sister.  Since the day we found out, we have just "known" we had a little this was a humungous shock.  The news is sinking in and we still keep catching ourselves saying "he".  

God gives the most perfect surprises.  We are thrilled with the precious gift of a daughter.

Every good and perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning.  James 1:17 


Yesterday was the 13th, so in usual fashion, I will have to do two blogs tonight.

I am so grateful for our church and church family.  When I moved to Snyder after marrying Chet a few years ago, I really was thinking I may become depressed.  I was not expecting to end up in a small, windy, dusty (i.e. desolate to the outsider), West Texas town.  I cried and just "knew" we couldn't live here long.

Well, thanks to some friends of ours who invited us to a new Sunday School class that had been started at Colonial Hill Baptist Church, we have been part of a group filled with the most loving, genuine Christian couples we have ever known.  Chet and I believe God orchestrates every detail of our lives, and I cannot imagine going through the past two years without the family of God that we have in our church family.

My sisters in Christ are fun, caring and truly SPREAD Christ's love.  I can't even type out all the love that has been bestowed upon us in the form of prayers, gifts, food, cards, time spent, etc. by these women.

Brother Tommy and Reid lead our church by the Word and challenge us with all of their messages.  It is just what church should be like.

Years ago, I would have never imagined my husband drumming in a church band.  Well, that is now what our Sunday evenings hold.  He is part of the Word & Worship praise band, and I LOVE praising the Lord while getting to watch my husband drum.  Such a blessings to see how much God is changing our little family and strengthening the man of God Chet is.  Sunday nights are looked forward to starting Monday morning.

I am so thankful for Colonial Hill and the spiritual growth it has watered in our lives.

Let the message of Christ dwell among you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom through psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit, singing to God with gratitude in your hearts.  Colossians 3:16 

Saturday, November 12, 2011


Last night we had the surreal opportunity to visit with Dr. Patrick Mutano, in person, here in Snyder, TX!  He is in the states from Uganda for a few weeks, and we are so blessed he could make time for us during his full agenda stateside.

Kara's parents hosted the BBQ at their lovely home, and we had beautiful chilly November weather for the occasion.  (Dr. Patrick and I agreed that it was cold; I sat as close to the chiminea as possible.  Everyone else was not bothered one bit by the cold.) ;)  I did not cook or contribute anything, so I must make it known that Kara, JD, Karen, Keith, Darci, Bryan and Chet definitely did all the work.  Thanks team!!  I just got off work and showed up to chat and eat.  Lucky me!

Getting to learn who the 'person' Dr. Patrick is was amazing.  I loved to learn about his beautiful country, a country I believe part of my heart exists in.  Chet and I long to visit, and will very soon. :)

Today I have been overwhelmingly thankful for Dr. Patrick and his heart dedicated to serving the Lord through service to others.  He runs a hospital, overseas the building of our water wells, and we are even discussing the possibilities of an orphanage he will help direct.  He uses his God-given abilities to give to others with all that he has.  During the evening, Kara mentioned to him that they booked him a hotel room so that he would be 'comfortable'.  His reply, "I live in a hut, Kara.  I don't need a hotel to be comfortable."

A servant's heart.  That is what I am grateful for today.

Karen took some photos of the evening with her camera, so I will post whenever I get them from her.

Then I heard the voice of the Lord saying, "Whom shall I send?  And who will go for us?"  And I said, "Here am I.  Send me!"  Isaiah 6:8 

Friday, November 11, 2011


I sit here typing, safe in my warm office. I enjoyed a warm burrito, hot coffee and a long, hot shower all before 8am.  I ran errands during lunch and had pizza with my husband.  I am not laying in scorching sand, having gone without a real meal in months, tired, exhausted and being shot at. I am not staring at the bloodied faces of my friends as they slip away. I am not; but thousands have and are this very minute. THANK YOU to every past Veteran and current Veteran. You've given us your lives, a gift greater than no other. Thank you to every family member who has had to hug their loved ones goodbye as they are sent off. Sacrifice...for us.  Today I am thankful to have freedom that isn't free.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

6th, 7th, 8th, 9th and 10th

Being away on a work trip made it difficult to blog, so I am going to lump these past few days together.

I am thankful for my job. I have the very best boss and coworker I could ever ask for; they are friends as well as coworkers. We have the best group of students who aspire to do more and more each year. They teach me much and I love working with them. The job also fits our family's lifestyle very well; having a high-risk pregnancy that I go to the doctor often makes me greatly appreciate this aspect. So many people are jobless and go without I type this, and the fact that I don't just have a "job", but a job that is also rewarding, is a blessing I am very thankful for.

I am so very thankful for health and the healthy people in my life.  For years I took it for granted that I (and my close family and friends) were so healthy.  My eyes and heart are so much more aware of how much of a blessing it is to be well and to have a healthy child.  When I see a child with a disability or a person with ailing health, I have much more empathy and care for them...and I remember to thank the Lord for what He has given me. Similar circumstances to what rocked and changed my world are shaking up millions of lives each day.

I am grateful for Texas and the United States. Only about 1 in 22 people on this planet have the privilege I do, in that I was born as an American citizen. We have the amazing and under-appreciated privilege to worship the Lord Jesus Christ without fear of imprisonment, torture or a death sentence. We have access to clean water, healthy food, housing, education, jobs, health care, etc. no matter who you are or what you do. We are able to work hard and earn a good living. This country is not perfect by any means, but when I simply examine at what Chet and I waste on a monthly basis, I have more than most people will ever have.

I am thankful for heartbeats.  I have my own baby Doppler (and brought it with me on our work trip) and get to listen to our little one's heartbeats whenever I need the assurance. I have a new very favorite sound.

Today I am thankful for Hope Mommies. These women are heroes in my life. They daily encourage me and uplift me. Having friends who know that the Lord's plans are mightier and more perfect than ours, yet understand the pain of losing a child, is a dear gift. I am especially reminded of several precious women in my life this week, as they are going on a month without being able to hold their babies on earth. Last year at this time, I knew of only a few Hope Mommies. To date, I know of about one hundred. It breaks my heart to meet new Hope Mommies, but I am grateful to God for allowing our paths to intertwine. My Hope Mommy friends are priceless jewels.

Saturday, November 5, 2011


I am thankful for three special fur babies (cat and two dogs) in our life.  There are many days that no matter how stressful or bad it has been, Henri, Luke and Rusty can make me smile.  In fact, I can't be with them without smiling.  Fur babies have a way of doing that.

Chet calls them spoiled, I call them deserving. ;)  We both love them like family!

The righteous care for the needs of their animals, but the kindest acts of the wicked are cruel.  Proverbs 12:10

Friday, November 4, 2011


Photo taken last July, at my shower for Holden. 

Each day I am so grateful for the gift of my relationship with my twin.  Charys and I are closer than just sisters.  I look forward to my daily chats with Charys, because oftentimes they are the best part of my day.  We share every little mundane detail of our lives with each other.

Charys is the most giving, talented, creative, loving, caring, compassionate human I have ever met.  She is a beautiful friend, sister, wife, mother and auntie.  She will do literally anything to help everyone (to a point that I sometimes get aggrevated with her).  I sometimes (okay a lot of times) feel a tinge of jealousy towards her; she is great at everything.  Gosh am I blessed to call her my sister. 

She is a woman who loves the Lord with all her heart, and that love is so evident in everything she does. 

Sis, today I am thankful for you!

"Many women do noble things, but you surpass them all." Proverbs 31:29

Thursday, November 3, 2011

2nd and 3rd

I didn't get a chance to blog last night, but I was so thankful for a warm home.  I know I am one of the blessed few on earth that get to live in a home with central heating and air, and always enjoy a comfy temperature.  With Texas' bipolar weather (30's this morning), I love knowing I will fall asleep and wake up in my warm home. 

Today I am thankful for three blessings in my life who I would not be here without: 1. The Lord Jesus Christ, Son of the Living God who came as a sinless and perfect man and willingly died to pardon my sins and give me eternal life.  He gives me health, life, happiness and everything I have.  2. My husband...I never fathomed  growing up that I would be lucky enough to be married to someone I truly cannot imagine living without.  3.  My close friends and family.  They are such a gift.

How great is God—beyond our understanding! Job 36:26

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

November's reminders

November 1

I know a lot of people post something they are thankful for each day of November.  I haven't ever jumped on the train myself, but I think it's always important to be reminded of things we are grateful for, so here goes.

This might be especially good since I can't seem to keep up with blogging much lately; I am hoping to get a moment to write down at least one thing I am thankful for each day this month.

Today I couldn't stop thinking of how thankful I am for my two children.  They have changed who I am, and I think will continue to change me all of my life.

Children are a heritage from the LORD, offspring a reward from Him.  Psalm 127:3

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Pampered Chef Party

Pampered Chef Party
+ Tuesday + November 1st + 6:00pm
Sarah’s House
 4301 Lubbock Avenue, Snyder
Eat, fellowship and enjoy a cooking demo!
All sales commissions go to Holden Uganda!
Finish your Christmas shopping early, while providing the life-saving gift of clean water.
If you can’t make the party, and still want to shop, please visit
Click “Shop Online”, enter “Holden” as first name and “Uganda” as last name

Monday, October 24, 2011


It was just discovered that our google mail server for Holden Uganda had not been delivering all of our emails from about October 1st-October 23rd. If you emailed us and did not receive an answer, PLEASE forward your email again. I am terribly sorry for this inconvenience, but we do not want to miss your important emails. Contact Sarah at, Chet at, Kara at, Darci at and JD at Thank you very much!

This month has been so busy around here that it took me a while to figure out this email problem.  I really just thought that October was a slow contact month, and that my emails would pick back up in November.  I am so embarrassed to admit that!

We have been going absolutely non-stop for weeks, so I am looking forward to a quieter upcoming weekend...I hope!  October is always one of our craziest months, but adding quite a few extra things this month has made it fly by.  I am hoping this next Saturday will be one that we can enjoy the best weather West Texas has to offer and have a peaceful, quiet day! 

One of the highlights of our month was celebrating our nephew Kayson's 5th birthday last weekend.  Here is a photo of the darling (I mean fierce) pirate and his little pirate brother. 

Please write us and we will write you back!  Sorry again for the inconvenience.

For He satisfieth the longing soul, and filleth the hungry soul with goodness.  Psalm 107:9

Thursday, October 13, 2011


My heart has been so heavy for several new Hope Families I have met and/or learned about recently.  I know our Savior has walked each and every step ahead of them.  I know He has prepared their lives perfectly.  I know He created each Hope Baby perfectly and without any mistakes.  I know His plans for their lives are infinitely more perfect than we could imagine.  I know the Hope Babies are in His very presence.

I know this, but I still ache for the many new families who walk this journey.  Please join in me praying for very precious families who have said goodbye to their babies this week.  They need peace and comfort and healing physically and emotionally.

A year ago, the beautiful little girl, Gwendolyn Hope, whose life inspired Hope Mommies was someone her parents waited expectantly to meet.  What humungous plans God had for her life!  After weeks like these, I feel amazingly blessed that God has allowed Hope Mommies everywhere to reach out and share love with others.  If you are interested in encouraging women (and families) through this beautiful ministry, please visit Hope Mommies online.

This evening, as I thank God for new life and His redemption in our lives, I also thank Him for allowing us to focus more on where our treasure should be.  I have learned much about real treasure.

For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.  Luke 12:34

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Scriptures for Hope Mommies

Some Hope Mommies friends and I compiled a list of Scriptures for anyone who is facing a difficult situation.  They are especially hopeful to a family experiencing the death of a child.  They are listed in order they appear in the Bible.  Please feel free to share!

Numbers 6:24-25 The LORD bless you and keep you; the LORD make his face shine on you and be gracious to you;

1 Samuel 1:27-28  I prayed for this child, and the LORD has granted me what I asked of him.  So now I give him to the LORD.  For his whole life he will be given over to the LORD.   

Psalm 18:5-6,17-19 The cords of death entangled me; the torrents of destruction overwhelmed me. The cords of the grave coiled around me; the snares of death confronted me. In my distress I called to the LORD; I cried to my God for help. From his temple he heard my voice; my cry came before him, into his ears. He reached down from on high and took hold of me; he drew me out of deep waters. He rescued me from my powerful enemy, from my foes, who were too strong for me. They confronted me in the day of my disaster, but the LORD was my support. He brought me out into a spacious place; he rescued me because he delighted in me.

Psalm 91:11 For he will command his angels concerning you to guard you in all your ways;

Psalm 21:6 Surely you have granted him unending blessings and made him glad with the joy of your presence.

Psalm 23 The LORD is my shepherd, I lack nothing. He makes me lie down in green pastures, he leads me beside quiet waters, he refreshes my soul. He guides me along the right paths for his name’s sake. Even though I walk through the darkest valley, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me. You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies. You anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows. Surely your goodness and love will follow me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the LORD forever.

Psalm 33:20-22 We wait in hope for the LORD; he is our help and our shield. In him our hearts rejoice, for we trust in his holy name. May your unfailing love be with us, LORD,
even as we put our hope in you.

Psalm 34:18 The LORD is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.

Psalm 56:8 You keep track of all my sorrows. You have collected all my tears in your bottle. You have recorded each one in your book.

Psalm 139:16-17 Your eyes saw my unformed body; all the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be. How precious to me are your thoughts, God! How vast is the sum of them!

Psalm 143:8,10 Be still and know that I am God. Let me hear of your unfailing love each morning, for I am trusting You. Show me where to walk, for I give myself to you. Teach me to do your will for you are my God. May your gracious Spirit lead me forward on a firm footing.

Proverbs 3:5-6 Trust in the Lord with all your heart, Do not lean on your own understanding. Seek His will in all you do, and He will show you which path to take.

Isaiah 35:10 Sorrow and mourning will disappear, and they will be filled with joy and gladness.

Isaiah 40:31 But those who hope in the LORD will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.

Isaiah 41:10 Don't be afraid for I am with you. Don't be discouraged for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you. I will hold you up with my victorious right hand.

Isaiah 43:7 …everyone who is called by my name, whom I created for my glory, whom I formed and made.”

Isaiah 55:8-9 For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,” declares the LORD. “As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.

Isaiah 65:17-20,23  Behold I will create new heavens and a new earth. The former things will not be remembered, nor will they come to mind. But be glad and rejoice forever is what I will create, for I will create Jerusalem to be a delight and its people a joy. I will rejoice over Jerusalem and take delight in my people; the sound of weeping and of crying will be heard in it no more. Never again will there be an infant who lives but a few days, or an old man who does not live out his years for they wll be a people blessed by the Lord, they and their descendants with them.

Jeremiah 29:11 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."

Jeremiah 31:13b I will turn their mourning into gladness; I will give them comfort and joy instead of sorrow.

Lamentations 3:22 (and all of chapter 3) Because of the LORD’s great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail.

Habakkuk 3:19 The Sovereign LORD is my strength; he makes my feet like the feet of a deer, he enables me to tread on the heights.

Matthew 5:4 Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted.

Matthew 19:14 Jesus said, “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.”

John 14:2-4 My Father’s house has many rooms; if that were not so, would I have told you that I am going there to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am. You know the way to the place where I am going.”

Romans 8:28  And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. (and all of Romans 8)

Romans 8:38  For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.   

Romans 15:13 May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.

1 Corinthians 2:9  However, as it is written: “What no eye has seen, what no ear has heard, and what no human mind has conceived” the things God has prepared for those who love him.

1 Corinthians 15:54-55 When the perishable has been clothed with the imperishable, and the mortal with immortality, then the saying that is written will come true: “Death has been swallowed up in victory." “Where, O death, is your victory? Where, O death, is your sting?”

2 Corinthians 4:16-18 Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day.  For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all.  So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.

Philippians 4:6-7 Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

Philippians 4:13 I can do all this through him who gives me strength.

Hebrews 11:1 Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see.

1 Peter 1:3-5 Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, and into an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade. This inheritance is kept in heaven for you, who through faith are shielded by God’s power until the coming of the salvation that is ready to be revealed in the last time.

1 Peter 5:7 Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.

Revelation 7:17 For the Lamb at the center of the throne
will be their shepherd; ‘he will lead them to springs of living water.’ ‘And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes.

Revelation 21:4-6 ‘He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death’ or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.” He who was seated on the throne said, “I am making everything new!” Then he said, “Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true.” He said to me: “It is done. I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End. To the thirsty I will give water without cost from the spring of the water of life.

Revelation 22:5 There will be no more night. They will not need the light of a lamp or the light of the sun, for the Lord God will give them light. And they will reign for ever and ever.

Sunday, October 2, 2011

October update

I noticed I haven't been blogging much lately.  For sure a big part of why I have blogged less is because we haven't taken any pictures recently, and I have been in bed as early as I can possibly make it there every night for the last couple of months.  I am thankful for the fact that being tired means a baby is growing [hopefully healthy] inside of me; I forgot how sleepy pregnancy can make someone.  My energy is slowly coming back to me this week though, and I have even made it through some late-night movies with Chet without dozing off.

Yesterday was Chet's 29th birthday.  Although it is his last year in the twenties, we are definitely already getting old, because we enjoyed the opportunity to do nothing but watch college football all day.  I realize each day that I love Chet more and more...and each day I don't think it's possible to love him anymore than I do.  I am such a blessed girl to be lucky enough to wake up every day to my best friend and rock.

I am liking the slightly cooler weather and look forward to this season.  Fall was blurry last year, so I am going to try to enjoy it more this time around.

A photo of our blessing #2 ("Gummy Bear") taken on 9/26

They speak of the glorious splendor of your majesty  - and I will meditate on your wonderful works.  Psalm 145:5

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Shuffield Photography/1 Year Celebration

Most of y'all know that I have the most amazing "parents" who have stepped into my life, Tisha and Jim Shuffield.  Well, they are also some of the best photographers in the entire country, so we are super lucky to get them to capture all of the special events in our life.  

PLEASE check out Shuffield Photography.  It'll make you want to run to the mall, pick out some cute outfits and get your family Christmas card pics taken!  Or maybe even renew your vows so you can have an awesome wedding pic like this one!    

Reid was the speaker at the celebration, and the Lord spoke through him.  It was so refreshing and perfect.  

 My concentration face isn't pretty... ;)
 This talented (and gorgeous) young lady, Beth, sang Blessings for us
 Amber and other friends

 Again, I don't chew tobacco...I just look that way when I write apparently
 My handsome man and best Daddy I know!
 Rebecca, baby Trevor and Billy
 Casey, who also played the piano brilliantly
 Peanut strutting her stuff

 Sweet Pea

 About to release balloons (notice the rain let up just in time to create a gorgeous sky)

 These ladies (hostesses for the evening) are so precious, I have no words

 Kara planned the entire celebration...what a dear friend...

 My twin and me, who also happens to be everything in a sister, and more, that I could ever ask for

 Tisha Shuffield looks more like a sister than a mom.  I know.

 My sweet family

The LORD appeared to us in the past saying: "I have loved you with an everlasting love; I have drawn you with unfailing kindness.  Jeremiah 31:3