Friday, September 26, 2014

20 Years Can't Be Stolen!!

The LORD directs our steps, so why try to understand everything along the way? 
~Proverbs 20:24

On September 17, 1994, this happened:
It was truly one of the best days of my life. 
 I look back with only fond memories and absolutely NO REGRETS!!

Fast Forward 20 years later and this is what our family looks like now:
What a difference 20 years can make.  I couldn't have dreamed up this family God has given us.  Despite my desire to control and even plan for 6 children, I did not picture this.  
The stories of God's leading, faithfulness, and provision in our lives over the last 20 years could fill  books and books.  I pray that I always give Him the glory for what He has done.  

Wednesday, September 17, 2014 did not go as expected.  Rick and I hadn't planned anything major for our anniversary, just a lunch date, because we are hoping to take a trip in February as our celebration.  Despite that, I had no idea how this day would turn out.  

I woke up that morning as always getting everyone ready for school.   Rick, Cody and Lauren left around 6:45 AM for school.  Abby, Sam, Isaiah, Laila, and I left at 7:35 AM.  It was a typical day, or so I thought.  Many mornings, after I drop off the kids, I run errands.  On this day, I only had one quick errand.  Then, Laila and I headed home.  We pulled into our driveway at 8:30 AM.   
While I was driving, I had received a text.  So, when I pulled into the garage, I checked it on my phone and went to answer it.  Laila jumped out of the truck and headed into the house.  
As I was answering the text, I heard a few unusual things all in a matter of seconds.  
1.  I heard a male voice say, "Hi" to Laila
2.  I heard Laila say, "Mom, are you coming in soon?"
3.  I heard our sliding glass door.
I came right in and Laila said to me, "Mom, there was a man in our yard."  
I started asking her questions.
1.  Did you know him?
2.  Was he in a uniform(thinking maybe it was a cable or utilities guy)?
3.  Where did he go?
I scanned the backyard, saw that our gate was open, ran around to the front of the house, but he was nowhere in sight.  So, we came in and I immediately called Rick.  To be honest, all that happened did not fully register at that moment.  I didn't realize he had been in our house.  Laila just said he was in our backyard.  Rick said to lock up the house and let him know if anything happened.  So, I did.  I then went upstairs to take my shower.  While I was in the shower, it hit me.  I didn't even check to see if anything was missing.  I immediately went downstairs and saw that my laptop and cords were gone.  I ran back upstairs and saw that Rick's laptop and cords were gone.  Then, I panicked.  
I called Rick again and told him our laptops were missing.  He said to call the police and he would come right home.  

Then, I asked Laila more questions.  She was able to describe the man in great detail.  I love that she said, "He wasn't a kid, but he wasn't a man."  We figured out that meant he was in his late teens or early twenties.  I also discovered that when she said he was in our yard, he was actually on our steps with our sliding door open.  Most likely coming back into the house to get more stuff.  It seemed that our arrival home interrupted him.  

Once Rick got home, we immediately began working on securing our info that is on our computers, changing passwords, logging out of different programs, etc.  We waited for the police to arrive.  

After about an hour and a half a police woman arrived.  She was great.  Laila explained everything to her.  We discovered during that explanation that Laila had closed the sliding door on the guy and locked it!!  She was so smart to do that.  Our little hero.  After the police woman left, she proclaimed that she is going to be a police woman when she grows up.  She certainly has the skills for it!

It was after all the hoopla settled down, it hit me.  The emotions of all that had happened finally sunk in.  My first reaction was fear.  Fear of what could have happened.  Laila and/or I could have been hurt, BADLY.  But we weren't.  So much more could have been taken.  But it wasn't.  
My friend, Sue, made this comment on my fb page: 
 "So thankful you all are safe. This is a terrible feeling. Do not let it overtake you."  
Yes, yes, yes!  That comment centered me.  It helped me to settle into gratefulness rather than focusing on the fear of what happened.  

I also dealt with the "What ifs".  What if I had come straight home instead of running an errand.  Maybe he wouldn't even have been able to get our computers.  What if I had gotten out of the truck right away when we got home.  Then, I would have seen him.   BUT, then he would have seen me.  So many questions about if I should have handled it differently.  When I saw the verse that I put at the beginning of this post, I stopped asking those questions.  

I just have to trust that God is in control!  I just have to be grateful!

Thankfully, we have had an unexplainable peace in our home.  We have all slept well.  The kids have handled it surprisingly well.  Even Laila has not been bothered by her encounter.  I don't think she fully grasps the intensity of what was happening.  

Rick and I still did our lunch date, but is just wasn't the same.  
We kind of just sat there and stared at each other.  
But, you know what?  The "Thief" can't steal the 20 years of marriage away from us that we have experienced.  That is here to stay.  
Now we are dreaming about the next 20 years.  
I am so thankful for this man in my life.  If you know him, you know how blessed I am!
 This is an anniversary we. will. not. forget!
I could think of no better way to end that day than this right here:

 On a side note.  I have many skipped blog posts still to do(August and September).  One of the results of losing our computers is that I am still trying to recover photos from the last few months that weren't backed up.  Thankfully, we still have them on cameras and Rick's work computer.  I think that I will be able to get most of them back.  BUT, it is just one more frustration in this process.  We are dealing with our insurance company and finding out what our coverage is for an incident like this.  It is a pain, really and it will most likely take weeks to get it all sorted out.  You never really realize how much you use your computer until it is gone.  God is providing and for that we are so grateful.  

Saturday, September 6, 2014

Tex Mex, Dallas Cowboys, Heat and Humidity, and Good Friends!! or Messin' With TX

In August of 1994, Rick and I packed everything we owned into a small moving truck to move to Dallas, TX.  We were one month shy of our 1st anniversary.  In that first year, we lived in KY working as school teachers at a Christian school, Glorieta, New Mexico on Staff with Centrifuge camp, and were now moving to Dallas, TX to attend Dallas Theological Seminary.  I remember the feeling I had as we pulled out of my parents driveway not knowing what adventures would lie ahead for us.  As a military brat, Rick had moved a lot growing up.  Not me, I lived in the same town my whole life.  Other than going to college in Virginia, I had not experienced life anywhere else than my small town of Glasgow, KY.  Little did I know that I would FALL. IN. LOVE. with TX and the people we would meet.  We lived there for 5 years, made some lifelong friends, gave birth to our first two babies there, loved attending Dallas Seminary, and both worked on staff at Brookhaven Church.  They were good years.  I miss TX almost every day.  Every time we visit, I wonder if I will still like it.  So far, it hasn't disappointed.  Over the years, Rick and I have visited as a couple and individually, but we have not taken the whole family since we adopted Isaiah and Laila.  We felt like it was time.   
So, we loaded up the truck and headed to the "Promised Land."
We only had a few days to spend, but we had some very specific things we wanted to do.  First on the list was doing a tour at the Dallas Cowboys stadium.  Now, if you don't embrace the awesomeness of the Dallas Cowboys, you will not fully appreciate the collection of photos I am about to share.  For those of you who do, come along for the tour.
Of course, we all had to wear our Cowboys gear!

The floor was being changed from the Beyonce' concert the night before so we didn't get to see the field fully intact.
 This is Jerry Jones' suite where he watches the games

Sam's souvenir

 Regardless of how you feel about the Cowboys, this stadium is spectacular
 Laila, our little football lover, said, "When I grow up, I want to work here!"  
She was in awe the whole tour

 The locker room was really nice
We call this boy, "Little Emmitt"

 Cody's press conference

We had such a great time.  We hope to go to a game as a family someday!!
That night, we partook of our favorite Tex Mex with some of our favorite Texans!
Uncle Julios is YUMMM-YYY!  Homemade tortillas, fabulous salsa, and the best fajitas around!
Their first taste of true Tex-Mex
 I love that KK got to meet my babies for the first time, and my babies got to meet her and her babies!!
 Sam pretty much fell in love with them
 Jack and Abby.  Love that little man!
 I got to go to Dallas a couple of weeks after this little guy was born and help out for a few days.  He has grown so much!!  I love his smiles!

 KK and the kids
 Of course, Isaiah fell in love with her
 We have known her since she was a 9th grader in our youth group!
 Noni, there are just really no words for how much you make me smile and laugh and sometimes blush! 
I will never look at memory foam the same way!
 Closest thing I have to a sister!! 
 I got some special time with these girls that night!  That was so fun.  
Missi, your sweet spirit is unmatched!  If only we lived closer!!
While we were in TX, Abby turned 12 years old.  
We started her day off with french toast
Lauren had a little french toast with her powdered sugar
 We spent the day at Hurricane Harbor Water Park.  With these temperatures(which I LOVE), we picked the perfect thing to do!!
(Instead of carting around a camera all day, I chose to spend my time doing water rides with the kids!)
 We ended our day sun kissed with dinner at Chick-fil-a!  
 Abby had her friend party when we returned to CO.
Another treat while in TX was seeing our beloved, Ms. Julie!!  She moved there in Oct.
We miss her and she misses CO.  
She came over to have big breakfast with us one morning
Stocking up on tickles
 Snuggle time
 We also got to spend an afternoon with the Barkers.  How I left there without pictures, I don't know.  
We served alongside them in ministry while we lived in TX.  Over the years, we have watched our kids grow up and reconnecting is always a treat!!  Thanks for having us over, Chris and Dori!
The big finale' of our trip was eating TX BBQ at Hard Eight
 Their jalapeƱo creamed corn was fantastic
 Getting to spend a little more time with these guys made it even better

I love TX.  I always will.  I think through this trip, a few of our kids fell in love with it, too!  It was a quick trip, and I could have stayed a lot longer, but I am so glad we got to go!!  Until, next time, TX!!