Sunday, March 30, 2014

Days of Our Lives

The days are passing.  When I go into my iPhoto, I realize there are lots of pics and events that I haven't shared.  I think they can tend to get overlooked in the shuffle of life, but they are things I want to remember and be able to look back to someday.  They also get overshadowed by the Big Events of our lives.  Without further ado:
Isaiah's class had Colonial Day
These dress-up curriculum days are absolutely perfect for this boy.
He has no trouble staying in character
Spring Soccer has started.  Lauren got new cleats although she didn't want to be in the picture
Cody played Freshman Basketball at school this year.  
I have no pics of him playing because the gyms were not very conducive to good pictures.  They all either turned out blurry or dark.  I do think that some other parents took pics, but I haven't gotten access to those yet.  
His team.  They had a good season with about an equal amount of wins and losses
High School Sports are no joke.  This pretty much consumed our lives from November - February.  He literally had a game or practice every day except Sundays, even during breaks.  It was brutal!  He really enjoyed it, though, and I am glad he got the opportunity.
In this pic, he and Rick had stopped to eat on the way home after an away game
This is how our spring break started
Not my idea of spring, but after almost 14 years, I have given up on having a real spring in Colorado.  Any nice days we have are just a cruel joke as snow is always around the corner.  March and April are our biggest snow months!
Laila cracked me up the other day when she explained to me that this little seam on her blanket is named, "comb" and she likes to scratch it with her fingers.  Not sure how she started doing this, but I had to remember it.
Ms. Julie gave the boys Harlem Globetrotter tickets for Christmas. 
Here they are ready to go!
In their seats, ready for the show!
Their view
 According to Rick, Isaiah talked the whole time, he was so excited.  He and Sam talked me through the whole thing when they got home.  They definitely enjoyed it.  Thanks, Ms. Julie!
Cody decided to cut his hair a couple of weeks ago:
 I like it!

We spent several days of our spring break last week at the cabin of some friends.  I will share about our time there next!

Monday, March 24, 2014

Swaziland 2014 - A Man on a Mission

On July 5, we will once again be leading a team to Swaziland, Africa.  Over the last 8 years, God has called almost 100 people to be a part of this journey and the ministry of Beyond Survival.  God has not only used these people to minister, but has ministered to their hearts through this experience.  This trip is no exception.  We are watching God put together the 2014 team right before our eyes.  We are praying He will lead, guide, and provide for those He is bringing to our team.  It is not too late to be a part of this year's trip.  If you are interested in going with us, you do not have to live in Colorado Springs to be a part.  We have seen God bring people from all over to join us over the years.  I have an informational sheet as well as an application I can email to those who are feeling called to join this mission.

On this trip, we plan to continue our work with many different organizations. As God brings our team together, He will help us define the details of the work we will be doing.  As always, we will be ministering to orphans at the Halfway House, Abandoned Baby Center, and David Hames Preschool.  We also plan to do some home projects and repairs at various Swazi homesteads(some of which are child-led homes).  Our team will be doing a pastors' conference and blessing these men and their wives with clothing and ministry supplies.  We will spend our time as well investing in the leaders there that give of themselves on a daily basis.  We hope to be a source of encouragement and resources for them.

We are excited to take Sam on his first trip to Swaziland.  If you haven't had the chance to get to know this boy, you are missing out.  He is a funny, charming little guy that lights up every room with his smile.  He has such a sensitivity to the things of God and seeks Him passionately in his life.  I love watching him make his faith his own and know that this trip will be a HUGE part of that process.  Over the years, he has seen pictures, watched videos, heard our stories, and even had the privilege to meet some of the people that we minister alongside when they have visited us in our home.

Recently, Sam celebrated his 10th Birthday.  Rick and I took him out to eat to celebrate.  Rick asked him, "What is your favorite thing about our family?"  His response was, "That we do work in Africa."  I love the heart of this boy and am so excited to see how God uses this trip to impact his life.  He is ready to accept this mission.  We desire to encourage and support him in this endeavor.  We would covet your prayers as we take this step of faith as a family once again.

A Special Message from Sam:
I want to go to Swaziland because I'm the only one in my family that hasn't been.  I also feel like God is telling me to go.  I want to see the wildlife and all the nature.  I also want to go to the Halfway House to see where Isaiah and Laila lived and meet other children.  I feel like God is going to talk to me in Swaziland.  I feel like God is going to do something big in my life there.  Every night I hear God's voice saying, "Go to Swaziland, go to Swaziland."  It would make me very excited to be able to go.  

If you would like to invest in Sam and this trip, we would be so blessed by your partnership in this ministry.  Checks can be written to Mountain Springs Church  with "Swazi-Clapp" in the memo and mailed to 7345 Adventure Way, Colorado Springs, CO  80923.  Donations can also be made with a credit card via the church website,  Choose "Mountain Springs Church - Woodmen".   After putting in the amount, select "Swaziland Trip - Laura Clapp."  This will allow the funds to go towards our family's trip expenses.  You may also donate towards our trip online at

The cost for each individual is $3,850.  All gifts are tax deductible.  We can't wait to share with you all that God has done in us through this trip!

Saturday, March 22, 2014

Babies, Friends and Tex-Mex

My Christmas gift this year from Rick was a trip to Dallas in March!!
Have I mentioned how much I love TX?  Have I told you that Rick and I refer to it as "The Promised Land?"  Have I said that I would live there again in a heartbeat?  Well, I would.  I. LOVE. THAT. PLACE.  One of the things that draws me back there are the friends that I miss and the fabulous southern hospitality that is so near and dear to my heart.  There is just something about the South that I love and miss.  It is also the land of the Dallas Cowboys.  Oh, and I love the weather there, although the weather on this trip was very disappointing.

So, I have this friend.  Her name is Kara.  I met her when she was a teenager.  In fact, she was in the youth group that Rick and I led when we lived in Dallas.  There is just something special about this girl and the place she has in my heart.  I would absolutely say she is the closest thing I have to a sister.  I had the privilege to mentor her over several years and loved every minute of it.  Since we have moved to CO,  she has visited me and I have seen her every visit I have made to Dallas.  A few years ago, I even went to visit her by myself for a long weekend.  Since I last saw her, she has had a two babies!!  Well, I just couldn't wait any longer to see her and her sweet family.  Jack was 15 months old when she gave birth to Tucker just a month ago.  I couldn't think of a better time to visit than in the throws of new baby stuff.  Thankfully, she liked that idea, too!  I got to hold and help take care of babies, and she got to have some company and help.  It was a WIN-WIN for both of us!!
My first time holding Tucker!
 TX has some good food, Ya'll!  I got to have some of my favorites and try some new stuff, too!
"Raising Cane's" was a new one for me.  
Chicken Fingers, French Fries and Sweet Tea!!
 I could not get enough of the sweetness of this little guy.  
 I could just eat him up!
 This was my room on the nights I didn't help with baby duty.  
 Kara is such  good mom!!

 Introducing Jack!  He and I bonded on our morning together while Kara took Tucker to the doctor.  He was not so sure he wanted to be with me at first.  This was the text I sent to Kara at one point:
"I performed a Broadway show for him and read every book that did NOT mention love or mama!"
 I think every morning I was there, he would wake up thinking, "She is still here!"
 I really won him over with my "Around the House Mouse" song. 
I think by the time I left, we were buddies.  He was such a little cutie!!
Kara and I had a day out shopping with Tucker.  
We had lunch here(another new place for me to try);
 My view
 We ate dinner at my FAVORITE Tex-Mex!
 I just can't even describe how much I love this girl!!
 We laughed so much during our time!!
 What a treat it was to be there for her baby shower, too!! 
It was a nautical theme!
 This family knows how to throw a party!!
 I got to see lots of friends I wouldn't have seen by being at the shower.  That was fun.
 My favorite part was hanging out with the Krouse/Stovall Families afterwards.  Just sitting and talking and laughing.  These people make me so happy!!
 I got some funny pics of Tucker

 I also got to connect with some other friends while in Dallas.  My friend, Laura, brought bagels over to Kara's house one morning.  We had fun reconnecting.  I also got to have dinner with Dori and Stormy at Taco Diner.  Avocado Tacos are da bomb!!  It doesn't matter how long I have been gone, I can always just pick right back up with all these friends and talk like we have never been apart.

I have talked many times about our beloved Julie.  Well, she moved to Dallas back in November.  We have all missed her.  I could not go to Dallas without seeing her.  We went to one of my favorite restaurants:
 Laila sent a card for her
 I got to see her house and where she works.  It was great!!
I got this pic while I was in Dallas.  3 kids had plans so these 4 went out to eat!!
 One of my absolute favorite parts of my time was helping with nighttime baby duty.  Now, let me just preface this by saying, I was reminded how exhausting babies are.  Being the age that I am, I realized how much I love my sleep.  BUT, I was only doing it a couple of nights.  Kara would feed Tucker and I would take him from her to get him back to sleep so she could get more rest before the next feeding.  I loved having those quiet moments with him.  He wasn't fussy, just wide awake looking at me with those precious little eyes.  It was fun for a couple of nights.  I can't imagine doing it nightly again!!  Kara, I am praying for you as you face each night of feedings!!
One of our early mornings with the babies!!
 I love Uncle Julios so much, we ate there twice.  
These women are so life-giving to me!!
 Sleeping babies are the best!!

 After I got home, Kara sent me this pic saying, "Tucker misses you!"  
Everything about this trip was just what I needed at this time in my life.  I treasured the talks and company of old friends.  I was reminded of the work of those baby/toddler years.  I enjoyed a taste of TX.  I realized God has me in the stage that He wants me in.  I am so blessed to have the friends and the family that I have!!