Friday, December 21, 2007

Merry Christmas!



Thursday, December 20, 2007

Weekend Away

Last weekend was one of the best of my life. (I started this post 2 weeks ago:)) I was telling a friend today..."I can't remember the last time I spent a whole day in silence before the Lord"...there was along pause in our conversation and then I added, "probably because in my 33 years of life, this was the first time I have."

It was wonderful. I was asked this past summer if I would mark the first weekend in December as a getaway...only when the invitation was offered it was explained this is not going to be an ordinary girl's weekend. We are going to have great time together, but we want the bulk of it to be being alone with the Lord. I suppose it would seem really spiritual to tell you how much I had been looking forward to this...but truth be told, as the time approached I kept telling Tony, "Say the word and I won't go." He kept assuring me, "You need this, go." I am so glad he encouraged me...It has blessed our family richly. Time for perspective, time for undistracted prayer, time to recount the ways the Lord has blessed us instead of just thinking about ways we wish He had (such a habit I can so easily fall into). I also, loved praying for all of the requests that came in from all over the country. I have continued in my prayers for each of you and will not stop.

I confess on my day of silence I kept wanting to hear the Lord's voice...to hear Him unveil some huge thing I had not thought of...to give me some clear direction for our family. I told Him I was wanting all of these things,as I sat there on the side of the beautiful mountains. (I can call Oklahoma that because I am from TX) As the day went on. I realized He wanted to give me something better- Himself. So often I am looking for answers when He is wanting me to just look to Him. I rested in that that day. As I was journaling that afternoon I wrote this...I have reread it several times since as I have called myself back to resting in Him...and just enjoying His Presence.

"In the quiteness, In the still,
Lord, I want to hear your will.

My child, Let go- Relax- Release.
I'm right here and I am your peace.

Lord, I so want to hear your voice,
Your word on this, Your thoughts, Your choice.

My child, sit still-let it be.
Can't you just enjoy me?
Look at the squirrels, the rocks, the leaves.
Touch the textures, feel the breeze.
All declare my infinite glory,
Look close, look deep , they tell your story.
YOu are loved, You are chosen, You are mine.
Yesterday, today, for all time.
Each thing I created, everything I have done-
I wanted to point you to my Son.
Inhale deeply, He is your peace
Exhale child, He's your release.
He is all things to all men
Your Savior, your Redeemer, your Hope, your Friend
Today let me give you what is best.
Time with me, time to rest.

After our day of silence we all met together to share what our day had been like. We all spoke of how badly we were wanting the Lord's answers, His thoughts, etc...So many heart cries lifted up.One of the girls shared a verse that I have thought of constantly.

Zechariah 2:13 (The Message)
"Quiet, everyone! Shh! Silence before God. Something's afoot in his holy house. He's on the move!"

I love that verse. As I continue to pray I keep calling that to mind. On each of the requests I bring before Him...Somethings afoot. He is moving and acting. I cannot wait to see what He does.

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Intercession

A couple of years ago I had an experience that profoundly impacted my prayer life. I was speaking at a retreat where I knew only a few people...yet I was wanting the Lord to somehow bond our hearts in the short period of time we had together. I asked the leaders of the retreat (who are 2 of my dear friends) would you mind sending me the names of people as they sign up...I am going to pray for them daily leading up to the retreat as well as after. At the time of planning the retreat we were expecting a small number (a little round table is what I imagined) By the time the retreat arrived I was praying by name for nearly 200.

One day as I was praying...I felt frustrated. I had a lot to do...Benjamin was a baby and was not really sleeping well...Payton was not napping...and it felt like in a moment of peace I had better things to do than rattle off hundreds of names of people I did not know. I said this aloud to the Lord and then just sat there irritated. In that moment of irritated silence I heard in my heart...

"Becky, How do you feel when someone walks up to you to talk to you about your children."
"Lord, you know I could talk for hours about my boys."
"Becky, what do you think of their names."
"Lord...you know Tony and I spent more time pouring over the choosing of those names than we have spent pouring over anything. We love those names...they represent our boys."
"Becky- I know the details of those lives...sometimes I just want to hear their names."

All of the sudden what had felt like a burden made my heart light. I could hardly wait to call out names before Him...realizing the profound joy He felt as a parent just hearing their name. I say it changed me because all of the sudden...I did not need a request from a person...just their name. The lady at Sonic, the greeter at Walmart, the telemarketer...all God's children...all given to me in my day that I might bring them before Him.

I type all of this because this weekend I am going to have a lot of time alone with the Lord. I can write some of the details of it after I return. But as I was thinking abut my time...about wanting it to be about more than just interceding for those close to me. (you would be embaressed about how long I could pray never mentioning anyone else but myself) I thought of you...I don't write for a huge audience...but perhaps...if you have read this far the Lord brought you here today.

I would love it if you wanted to send me an email with your name, or the name of someone you would like lifted before the Lord this weekend. You can attach a request or you can know the Lord knows it...either way I will bring it before Him. I look forward to recording some of my experience next week. Regardless of whether I hear from you or not..know you are deeply loved...that at the mention of your name your Heavenly Father's heart swells.

My email is tony-----and------becky at hotmail.com Remove the dashes and the space and you've got it.

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Life in general

1. It's official, my brother Andy has moved to Abilene. As of this morning he is employed by an amazing company that we are all very excited about. I am so proud of who he is...His trust and confidence in the Lord both challenge and inspire me to a deeper walk with God. I am so glad Andy is one of my very best friends. I will miss him living close by...the boys will as well. That said...we are so excited to watch the Lord continue to unfold his story.

2. My sweet niece Tori was baptized this weekend. She is the oldest Jeffrey grandchild. The first one of this next generation to make this decision. The level of joy in our hearts as she proclaimed Christ was immense. Payton was so in awe of Tori and this decision. He has talked about it constantly. I am so thankful he has such a wonderful cousin to look up to.

3. Payton continues in his quest for a house with a pool. He has realized my parents next door neighbors have one and has made the decision that he will move there "after he grows some." The other day as we drove by he said "Theres my house" Here is the conversation that followed...

B: Wow I think I will be sad when you don't live with us. What will dad and I do?
P: Dad works, He will be fine. You can visit, as long as you call first.
B: Wow, ok. (thinking isn't that my daughter-in-laws line to say)
P: But you need to know, you can't stay all day long, sometimes I need time to myself.
B: OK
P: I will live in that house and finally be a dad. Benjamin will live with me and I will be his dad.
B: I don't think that is going to work out. Benjamin is growing up too. Why would you want to be Benjamin's dad anyways?
P: So I could wear him out.

4. Last week Benjamin wore his Cowboys jersey in anticipation of the big game. While at gymnastics his teacher asked him about it...His response, "I like the Packers?" What?!

5. Later that night Payton walked in, saw the game on...and said "We have to watch Tony Nemo again?"

6. I enjoy my children so much more on days that the TV never comes on. I want to work on having more of those...I know they would benefit from it. But even more than them, I know I would. I am so much more invested in their days and in mine when that is not an option. For a couple of years the only TV at my parents house was in the garage. You had to want to watch it, because you were going to be uncomfortable to do so. (They would move it in for major sporting events.) I need to work out some type of plan in this area and stick to it.

7. The other day I realized I had not heard my kids for awhile. I had been getting ready and and suddenly had the thought, "Did they go out the front door and I did not hear them?" I panicked, ran outside, ran back inside yelling their names, ran back outside yelling for them, ran back inside when I finally stopped yelling enough to hear a muffled "I am right here." Benjamin was going to the bathroom, sitting on the toilet, right where I had put him 10 minutes earlier and Payton was asleep on my bed. Both boys had been less that 20 ft. away from me. Sometimes I worry myself...I am quite sure I worry our neighbors.

8. We have become regulars at ordering the meals from "Dinner is Served" I love picking up their monthly dinner to go specials. We have yet to have one that all four of us don't love. Their holiday specials for Thanksgiving were awesome. Denise and Dana are wonderful. (They also just catered our Women's Fall Rnewal at Church.) Check them out for your self and for your family at :
http://web.mac.com/dinner_is_served/Dinner_is_Served/Welcome%21.html

9. Other news on the food front is...I love the new cookbook Deceptively Delicious. My kids are eating better than ever. One shortcut I found is on weeks when things are too crazy, rather than pureeing all of my vegetables, sometimes I buy the organic baby food and use that. Works great, tastes great, and I love knowing all that is going into those little bodies...its making me more aware of everything that they eat, and that awareness is causing all of us to make better choices food wise. I think that cookbook is a great Chirstmas gift for anyone who has young kids at home...not to clue any of family into what they are getting...:)

10. Benjamin has been getting disciplined at night for crawling into his brother's bed after the lights are off and mauling Payton. All we hear is a crash, Payton yelling "help" and Benjamin laughing. We feel like Benjamin must have something in him that has to get in a certain amount of wrestling a day. Payton is such a good sport and has even learned the art of actually falling asleep while his younger, wilder brother leaps, jumps and body slams him. These boys make us smile...These pictures were taken over a series of going in...putting Benjamin back in his bed...and then repeating the process. Finally they both gave up and went to sleep.

Monday, November 12, 2007

November News...

1. Benjamin now says "I have the hook ups" when ever he has the hiccups...I think it is the cutest.

2. Benjamin was put in timeout twice the other day at Tuesday school...(throwing rocks up in the air on the playground.) We were going to meet Tony for lunch when I picked him up so I told him we will talk about this with your dad...and expected to ride in silence. It was silent for all of 10 seconds before Payton let out a huge sigh and said, "He got put in timeout twice, I cannot just sit here, I need to know what is going to be done about this."

3. Payton has been asking a lot lately if we can move. He has explained to us several times how disappointed he was as a baby when he came home from the hospital and noticed there was no pool in our back yard. (I know we laugh as well.)Here is a sample of our conversation earlier this week.
P- Mom we need to talk
B- Ok
P- I have noticed you and dad do not take me serious when I say I want to move to a house that has a pool.
B- You are right. We have no intention of moving any time soon.
P- That is disappointing...But I want to present you with another option.
B- Let's hear it.
P- I want an apartment.
B- Maybe when you grow up.
P- I want one like Andy's...but I want our whole family to live there.
B- I don't think so...but when you get older like Andy, you can live in one if you would like.
P- I hope that you know I have a lot to learn before I could ever live by myself.
B- Yes, I know...but tell me a few things that your thinking about.
P- Well first, I need to know how in the world you make your car stop when you see a red light.

4. How did November get here so fast? Life seems to accelerate with every year. Thinking about Payton being in kindergarten this time next year literally makes my pulse race.

5. We celebrated Tori's (my niece) 9 year old birthday this week. It was a high school musical themed party. We had a concession stand set up in the back yard where the kids could use tickets they got when they arrived to buy nachos, drinks, popcorn,hot dogs...then we played name that tune, twister, basketball, so many fun things. I loved it. I love my niece. It was so wonderful to celebrate her! Yet another blessing of them being home are being able to be at little things like birthday parties. We are so thankful. A fact that I will now make public (not that I have been trying to hide it, just never declared it
publicly)I cried at the end of High School Musical 2. I have no idea why.

6. The other day Payton was working on some project while I was in the kitchen. He yelled out, "How do you spell Rocket?" I told him how and expected to hear nothing. A few seconds later he stuck his head around the corner and said, "If there is a person smarter than you, I have never met them."

7. The other day as we were driving down the road Benjamin said, "I am sure thristy for Sonic. " I explained why we can't always stop and he said, "oh mom, Isn't it happy hour? Can't you find a coupon?" There are times when I think that Sonic is too much a part of our life. I wonder how many 3 year olds are aware of happy hour?

8. Benjamin is crazy about baseball. He loved watching the "World Serious" as he called it. He wants to take his glove and baseball everywhere. He wears his Texas Ranger jersey almost every day (it has to goto the laundry at some point) and wants that along with boots and jeans to be his daily attire. On most days you will see him wearing just that. He is constantly asking if I can come outside and pitch to him, or if we can play catch. I noticed the other day while we were standing in line at Walmart he was practicing his swing in front of the mirror...an older man walked by and said, "Son, you have an amazing follow through." Benjamin was beaming. So was Tony when I told him about it.

9. One of the biggest blessings in my life this semester has been being a part of our churches lecture class (We have a lecture classs that runs on Tuesday mornings during the same time as our small group Bible studies.) I have been a part of small group Bible studies since Payton was born and I have grown so much as a result of those. But during this season of life I have loved listening to some of my dearest friends share what the Lord has put on their hearts regarding resting in Him. So many of their thoughts some to mind whenever I get the chance to listen to whats rolling around in my head. Last year the Lord convicted that me that my Bible study had become more about completing a book than getting to know Him. For me, I needed to remove that temptation for awhile. I walk away each Tuesday feeling wonderfully refreshed in the Lord. I am so thankful for Him.

10. We have had several instances lately with our kids where it has become apparent they are not perfect. I know, everyone already knows that...but, perhaps I am unique in this, I really want people to think my kids are pretty close. These instances have happened away from our home, in public places, in plain view of the world. We pray minute to minute these days about wisdom in disciplining. There have been several nights lately where, after everyone was asleep, I have gone back into the boys room, put my hands on them and started to pray....asking the Lord to please give us wisdom, His leading. The other night I could not stop crying...As I was trying to figure out what my tears were from the thought came to mind, "you are embarrassed." I thought about that as I was praying and realized that my tears had ceased to be about my boys hearts and had become more..."Lord, what are people thinking about me?" I began to pray about this and Isaiah 43:7-8 came to mind...“Return my sons from distant lands, my daughters from faraway places. I want them back, every last one who bears my name, every man, woman, and child. Whom I created for my glory, yes, personally formed and made each one.” Those words cut straight to my heart...Almost as if I could hear the Lord saying, "These boys were not created for your glory, but for mine." Raising these two precious gifts is not about me...They are for His glory. We are in love with these two boys. We are in love with the Lord. So in His goodness, in His mercy may He be glorified in this life He has given us.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Animal adventures...

There are some days I wonder if I am good wife...Yesterday as I was driving around Southlake, looking for the taxidermist, with a large, reeking, dead elk head in the back of the car was not one of them. As I dry heaved I thought to myself...There are some wives who would of said no to this...and as of yesterday I will now join that group of wives.

Tony (who is always very appreciative and more than makes up for days like this) later realized Maggie (our dog) was scratching her ears a lot...She needed to go to the Dr. I got my full cardio workout yesterday when I took our 65 pound dog, our 55 pound son and our 46 pound other son to the vet. Where for some reason they put us in what felt like a small closet to wait for the vet for over an hour. The nurse was kind enough to give the boys both huge blow pops...Which meant their faces and hands were coated in stickiness and dog hair. Between my claustrophobia and my kid's faces coated in dog fur I felt a bit nauseated. I think there have been very few times in Tony's and I's marriage where I have called him and said "never again"...Yesterday it happened twice. We laughed a lot about it last night.

To answer the questions of whether or not that elk will hang in our home...Nope. He is getting a European mount and I think I have thought of a great place for it...stay tuned for whether T agrees or not.

***My mom returns tomorrow after 5 1/2 weeks of working in Russia encouraging and teaching many about the Lord. We have missed her so much.

***Our churches annual hot dog banquet was this past Sunday night. This is a missions dinner put on by the kids where the kids lead prayers over our missionairies, interview them, etc...It is a great experience. Both our boys carried flags in the parade of nations and then sang in the hot dog choir...They did great. Benjamin, who was in the front row, hopped down off the stage during the middle of the song to bring me something he had just pulled out of his nose. He then went right back, climbed up on the stage and rejoined the song. It was certainly a moment to remember. Here are some pictures.










BOTH BOYS WITH THEIR HANDS BEHIND THEIR BACKS? THIS NEVER HAPPENS! I tried to remind them that they knew how to do this yesterday at the vet...they both looked at me like they had no idea what I was talking about...

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Cue the music for the Hallelujah Chorus!



Tony got his elk...and I am told by those who know, that its a nice one (five by five...if that means something to you:)). We have missed him so much! We are beside ourselves to welcome him home.

Payton has a few jigsaw puzzles that we have lost a piece to...we rarely work them anymore because as Payton says, "Its no fun to get to the end and see it can't be complete." That pretty much sums up our last week. We do good during the day and then the sun goes down and we all 3 realize its no fun to get to the end and realize it can't be complete.

We love this man...we are so thankful he is the leader of our family, the highlight of our day, and the piece that completes our puzzle. I am a better mom when he is here...a better person when I know he is 10 minutes away (at work)...so thankful he is mine(and the boys.)I am even more thankful that these are words I can share face to face with him tonight.

***I realize that so many of my friends have husbands who travel all the time...I have even more respect and appreciation for them now. For those whose whose husbands serve overseas... My thoughts and prayers have turned to you often in the past week. I realize a week without my husband is miniscule in comparison.

****Many of you have told me that you have been keeping up with all things Amy Grant over at my sisters blog this week. I think Kelly's post for today is the best one yet. I stayed up and read Amy Grant's entire book last night. It was wonderful. Her thoughts on children, love, depression, the pain of divorce, loss and life gave me a lot to think about. I cried quite a bit reading it...Her honesty and ability to be vulnerable in places of her life that were hard blessed me. I read my sisters latest post and cried again...I remember the pain of watching their team unravel...and wondering what the Lord was doing. As Only He can do...He brought beauty from those ashes...

Monday, October 15, 2007

A CHANCE TO WIN SOMETHING!!!

My sister is Amy Grant's biggest fan...She has not actually been given a plaque or anything ...but I beleive in a head to head contest with any fan in the world...she would win hands down.

This week she is reviewing Amy Grant's new book. (Amy Grant's publisher sent them to her...which might in someways confirm to the world that she really is the #1 fan.) She is asking people to share their favorite AG memory or song for a chance to win 3 other copies of the books she was given...Get over there and share your story!
click on The Vaughns blog in the link section...

And in other sibling news...just got this pic from Colorado...



Sure love that guy!

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

etc...

1. My mom is in Russia right now...She has been there 3 weeks, she will be home in another 2. We are missing her so much. The boys are talking about her all the time these days. These trips always increase our appreciation for her and all she does. We are so thankful she is ours.

2. The other night Benjamin could not stop coughing, I gave him a breathing treatment and he was still coughing (he does this instead of wheezing). I started to panic (a combination of sleep deprivation and great concern) and I guess I started to pray...because all of the sudden Benjamin sat up and said, "can you talk to God quieter please...I am really tired."

3. Because I was concerned I just sat by the wall by his bed and watched him sleep. I thought he was sound asleep when he opened his eyes and said, "Is it going to bother you if I suck my thumb?"

4. My boys are both very detail oriented (just like their dad, nothing like their mom) they can always tell me where my keys are, where my brown shoes are, while I am scrambling they walk right to where something is and get it for me. I love this. I love it that Payton asks daily, "Mom are you sure you have your wallet?" I guess we have gone to walmart one too many times and then returned home for my wallet for his liking. I am used to their checklists for me and even appreciate them...I did laugh out loud on Friday when we were piling out of the car at the Dr.s office and Benjamin said, "Mom, did you remember your skirt?" the scary thing is I actually looked down to make sure...I want to assure everyone that though I have left my wallet many places along with numerous other things...I have never gone anywhere without my skirt (or pants)on.

5.The other day as we were walking into the gym Payton was dragging behind. I turned around and said, "Please hurry." He looked at me and said, "you have no idea how good it would feel for me to just lay on the couch with my eyes closed...20 minutes thats all I ask."

6. The other day we stopped for donuts and while we were there Benjamin started to throw a fit. I picked him up to say something when Payton said, "Benjamin, do you have any idea how disappointing it is when I try to do something special for you and you act like this...it makes me so sad." It is has become obvious to me that Payton is direct quoter.

7. Our boys favorite new show is America's Funniest Home Videos...I have discovered (the hard way) that both boys must empty their bladders before they watch this show...because a person falling out of a tree really is THAT funny.

8. Today I was explaining a situation to Payton that I was hoping, in the future, he could handle differently than he had in the past. He was listening so well and saying yes maam at the appropriate times so I thought we were tracking together...until the end when I stopped and he said, "mom, I am five years old, I know my primary colors, everything you just said I already know." Needless to say, at that point, we took a new turn with a different type of discipline....even though I was impressed he knew his primary colors...I chose to acknowledge that at a later point.

9. The boys and I have been talking a lot about how everything was created to reflect God's glory...This has lead to some great conversations and lots of laughter for all of us...As we discuss: Can a rock praise God? Can babies praise God? Can trees praise God? All of these they used to answer no to. Now we talk about how God's Word actually tells us that they can. That everything He created shouts praise to Him. That even when we sit still and quiet we declare His glory.We have had fun talking about these things as they say, "Look at that Taco Bueno just sitting there declaring God's glory." Obviously its a thought process we are working on, but as I hear myself talking about it with them I find myself thinking a lot about how thankful I am for the Lord...and for His creation that shouts...We have been praying as a family that those who don't know Him and those who do would hear those cries of glory...of the leaves changing, of the breeze blowing, of the sun shining...Its made a difference lately the in the way I look at things.

10. A while back my brother and I were driving around on the ranch when He pointed to a speck across the canyon and said, "See that group of deer running?" I did not until I looked through binoculars. I was impressed and asked how he can spot things like that. He explained how he has trained his eye to look for movement against a still landscape so that now from a great distance he can see an animal breathing, the flick of an ear, the turn of a head. It's a talent he has because he spent years training his eyes.

I have thought about this a lot in the spiritual sense...about how I have to train my eyes to look for the movement of God. Its a discipline I am trying to practice. We have several prayers that we are praying daily these days that require this discipline. We are not seeing any movement. Some of these prayers would require a miracle, others seem like they should be so easy for the Lord. (I recognize they are all easy for the Lord.)I feel like my eyes are in an actual squint as I trace the horizon of my life and the lives of others I am praying for, begging the Lord for a flicker of movement...and so we wait and know He hears...and that He is moving even if its invisible to my eyes. We wait in hope.

11. Here are the latest in the boys indoor baseball playing. Tony, undaunted by broken picture frames, has resumed their indoor batting practice. The other night as we watched the Yankee/Indian game while on commercial break from the Cowboys...Benjamin said "I can bat like those guys...everyone of them looks at the picture (how he says pitcher) and make this face....
href="">Payton prefers the happier look of baseball.

Monday, October 01, 2007

Vacation to Remember...

Its always hard to tell a story when people are anticipating it...I always have the distinct feeling I might let someone down and I don't do well with that...However, let down or not, I said I would tell the story (and I do want to preserve at least some of the details for our family record.) I will not be telling the location of where we went...on the off chance that someone googles it and my blog comes up. We have no ill will towards this place on the coast...you just won't find us entering the city limits again in this lifetime...

I must preface this by saying...when we started planning this vacation, we planned on going to Gulf Shores...Then we started thinking about the drive, the fact that BJ still has a nursing baby, and BJ had heard this place was great from one of her friends...who she no longer speaks too.:)

We started off our week staying at Moody Gardens...we loved it, loved schlitterbahn, loved the pool, etc...We had a great stay. Then on Monday we got a late checkout and headed out to our beach house...we were so excited. I must say I got the first sinking feeling when the lady we were renting from called on my cell and said, "Did I mention you needed to bring bottled water...our water is drinkable, but I don't think you would want to..." I hung up and told Tony who laughed and said, "We aren't leaving the country are we?"

When we got to the house...I could tell driving up it looked a bit rougher than what I had anticipated. Too bad my fears were immediately confirmed when I opened the door to get out of our car and was punched in the face with a smell that made me look around to see if perhaps our home was next to a dairy farm.

The house was on stilts, you parked your car underneath it...as we walked up the stairs, Tony said, "if this thing collapses its going to total our car." I did not acknowledge him because I was already doing my best Pollyanna impersonation trying to point out the positves... Like, look at all these windows...and look at this TV...its so cute and tiny, kind of like a postage stamp.

From there...it got funny...
* While I was at Walmart blowing our entire vacation budget on Febreeze candles Tony called and said, "there's a 4-runner doing 90 down the beach...and it keeps stopping to do donuts in front of our house...I think I will wait until you get back to take the boys down to the beach...so one of us can be watching for cars."

* Every other house had a boardwalk leading down from their house to the beach...ours had no boardwalk, instead it had a grass path where the grass was up to our waist that we had to walk through...not necessarily a big deal, except that it was infested with mosquitoes...Benjamin had 22 on his back the first night and he had been sprayed. I called the landlady and she said I will have someone out to cut it down in the morning...A guy showed up and did not appear to be doing much except revving his weed eater continuously in the same place...I thought I would go out and show him where we would like the grass to be cut...I walked out said "good morning" saw his large tattoo (across his neck) that said "Kill them" and said "Thanks for all you are doing " and went back inside.

* The beach was a little rough, what with the speeding cars, dead fish, rusty nails and all, but we did love playing in the waves. One evening the guys were a ways out with the kids laughing and having a blast and BJ and I were sitting there talking about this part being so great...when one of the locals walked by and said you better tell those guys out there to be careful, they have those kids awful close to where all the jelly fish are...

* Our house rocked back and forth every time someone walked down the hall...literally...lean...whump to one side...lean ...whump to the other side.

* The first day I was totally sicked out that no one was flushing the toilet...seriously...that kind of stuff grosses me out. I must of flushed it 15 times the first day we were there...until I stayed in there one time and watched it fill up...with dark yellow water...

* Tony had to work on the fridge to get it cooling...he then went to work on the AC to get it cooling. He asked if I wanted him to go into town and get a weed eater so he could cut down our path...I said, "babe, we are on vacation." He replied, "Oh yeah, I forgot..."


* Instead of bedside tables we had a washer and dryer...literally bedside. Tony had been concerned that it would be too quiet for him to sleep. Not a problem...we fired up the dryer and it sounded like we were sleeping on a runway at DFW.

Honestly...as I type this list, countless other memories are coming to mind....some better acted out than written out. It goes without saying, but if this vacation had been perfect, it would of most likely been forgotten....As is,it will most likely go down as one of our favorites. If we had it to redo we would do it all again. We laughed so hard, had many deep conversations where all 8 of us were sitting on the same couch (only one place to sit in the entire living room), enjoyed
many a homecooked meal of cereal and hotdogs (things that could be made without water), cracked up at each other sprinting through the tall grass slapping ourselves in order to avoid mosquitoes, and all breathed a collective sigh of relief when our husbands said, "let's get out of here."

All in all it was terribly wonderful...certainly a vacation we will always remember.

Sunday, September 30, 2007

Biting my nails...

Bow season opened yesterday...Hence this post. Tony is out of range on the cell phone at this moment tracking some animal.

He left me in charge of setting his Fantasy football line up...

Here is the rub....Brian Westbrook. Philadelphia's running back who last week got us 42 points but also strained his abdomen. He did not practice on Friday...so I am thinking I should not start him...But if he plays he could have a field day with the NY Giants defense. You would be embaressed for me if I revealed how much time I have spent researching this...and weighing our options.

These are the thoughts that are racing through my mind this morning

Any last minute fantasy football advice...always welcome.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Observations...

1. Thank you for your prayers and encouragement regarding lectureship. It went well. I was overwhelmed in the best sort of way. The Lord poured out His mercy in more ways than I can recount...I left feeling filled... I continue to pray that others did as well.

2. I loved being a student at ACU...I loved my friends, my teachers, my life in general...Last week though I realized again what a gift it was...and how it keeps giving. Several people I was at school with that I had not seen since (over 10 years now) came to my class...and they encouraged me, they made me laugh and in our breif conversations we shared deeply things that the Lord is doing in our lives and things we hope we will see Him do. I am so thankful for the gift the Lord gave me in my 4 years out there...I left that campus with a light heart this past week.

3. I did the obligatory drive by our old house on Cedar Crest...and was amazed it had not fallen down. I called each of my roommates and as I talked to them I felt like I was in college again...until I looked in my rearview mirror and noticed 2 cars seats, that my car has doubled in length, and I was listening to Woody (from Toy Story) sing you've got a friend in me...even with no kids in the car. I would say I am definitely out of the college scene.

4. My boys have been passing back and forth some type of bug. The other day Payton had a really high fever. My favorite thing about this is Benjamin calls it a beaver. I recognize I need to correct this, but it is the cutest thing I have ever heard to hear Benjamin say in his raspy voice, "Hey does Payton still have that hot beaver on his head."

5. We have somethings in our life right now that we are really wrestling through. The other day I turned up praise music loud in our house...trying to get my focus back where it should be. Payton walked in and said, "what in the world are you doing?" I told him...I am trying to get focused on the Lord Payton...blah, blah blah...way too much explanation on my need to focus on His goodness in the midst of trials for a 5 year old. At the end...He said..."REALLY? sounds to me like you just want to wake up Benjamin and I wanted to remind you that is not something we do around here."

****We just received our deposit back from our vacation...I am stopping this post right now to begin my top 10 vacation moments I will never forget that I wish I could:) Stay tuned...

Friday, September 14, 2007

this and that

So heres the deal on vacation stories...as soon as I get our deposit back from the house Tony says I can begin to speak publicly...until then I better keep my trap shut (my words, not my husbands)...you never know whose browsing these things and might alert the landlord. :) Thanks for all the encouragement on sharing these stories. I assure you they will be the worth the wait.

I am speaking next week at ACU's lectureship...I would so appreciate your prayers. I had mentioned a while back my topic of transparency in the Body of Christ. So often in studying I realize the Lord is revealing some things that I might share them...others that I might change something in myself. I think this time more than ever the list of "that I might change them in myself" was a lot longer than what He revealed that I will share with everyone. It has been convicting, uncomfortable, and exactly what I should of been working on. I am looking forward to it...with a healthy dose of fear, trepidation and full stomach of butterflies. I will share more when I get back.

The other night I had one of those "you have got to be kidding nights" I had just explained to Tony how I had not been sleeping well and how my tasks around the house seemed to mulitply daily...in other words I was having a week when I did not feel like I was accomplishing anything. He encouraged me to go to bed early (And I did). Sometime in the night I woke up to an odd sound (somehow Tony never awakens to these) I got up and walked into our bathroom...what's that? Oh Payton peeing in our bathtub. I stood in amazement and watched...there was no stopping him unless I wanted to swing a solid stream around our whole bathroom. I shook my head, picked him up (He was still asleep) washed his hands, (at least we are hygenic when we pee in the bathtub) and carried him back to bed making a mental note to myself that our bathtub and tub toys must be throughly bleached the next day. I was so tired I immediately went back to bed. It felt like I slept for ever but when I looked at the clock 15 minutes later when I heard an ear piercing scream I realized I had not been. Once again sleeping beauty (whom I married and I love) slept soundly through this. I ran to the boys room to see Benjamin standing on his bed, pants down...you guessed it...peeing. Seriously now. All over everything. I bathed Benjamin (in a different bathtub than Payton had just used), got him new pajamas, got new sheets, piled up his comforter, his mattress pad, his sheets on an already full laundry basket and went back to bed...my list for the next day multiplying as I slept.

I love these 3 boys the Lord has given me. Weeks like this one that feel crazy, dirty, and unorganized I am thankful that the Lord has given me the ability to laugh. In Jeremiah 30 the Lord is giving the Israelites a message through His prophet Jeremiah...he tells Jeremiah to let the people know new days are ahead where "Thanksgivings will pour out of the windows; laughter will spill through the doors." I want our boys to have that view of our home...on some nights there are heavy tears, heavy hearts and a very overwhelmed mom in the middle of it...but if they catch a few glimpses of that thats ok...even more than a few, I am still ok...because overall I want them to reflect on this home and remember that on most days it was a place where thanksgiving poured out and laughter was spilled (along with the entire jug of orange juice when Benjamin was thirsty in the middle of that same night and decided to get himself a drink.) Thank goodness the Lord's words were true for Israel, even now as they are true for us...a new day came for all of us in the form of Christ...May His name be praised.

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

The latest...

1. We just returned from vacation...we had the most fun and hilarious time. I cannot write about it because Tony says over the internet it will sound like I am exxagerating and making it up. He is right. Ask me about it in person. We rented a beach house sight unseen from a rental company over the internet...I advise you to never do this. Hopefully I will post pictures soon. We went with some of our best friends...we are even closer now. Sleeping in a house that might fall down at any moment and where you can't drink the water will do that for you. We would all do it again in a heart beat. Seriously...I have got some stories.

2. On the second day of our vacation Payton said..."you do not know how nice it is to get away from it all." The kid is 50 in a 5 year old body.

3. My sister told me over the weekend she joined facebook. Today I thought I would check and see her picture. You have to have a profile to check anothers profile...I entered my email and somehow clicked some button where it sent a "i want to be your facebook friend" to every person in my email address book. Thanks to all of you sweet people who responded. My profile on facebook says I turn 47 tomorrow...I wonder how many people will seriously think I am 47. Just an FYI I am not. Not that theres anything wrong with being 47.

4. Today I was bragging on Benjamin for doing a "big job" in the toilet. He looked up at me and said, "mom, if this makes you so happy...I bet I can make another one later."

5. Today we were out of orange juice so I gave the boys apple juice when they got up...Apple juice is not Payton's favorite but I had told him the situation and asked if he still wanted it, he said yes. I am big on them not wasting things after they have said they want something, I am not a fan of saying "I don't like this." so we have been working on other alternatives.He took one drink, wrinkled his nose and said, "My doctor said I should not have apple juice." This is not one of the alternatives we have worked on...

6. My mom has really been struggling with allergies out at the ranch. Her eyes itch, water, are painful etc...Today as we were driving home from walmart Benjamin said, "my eyes are burning so bad I am about to scratch them out.My allergies are killing me out here." Benjamin is a direct quoter with no allergies...We are learning to watch our words carefully around him.He loves to pull out lines whenever he has a crowd.

7. The beach that our house sat on allowed cars on it. A Ford Taurus nearly took out our sand castle...we laughed so hard we cried. You can't make things like this up.

Usually I write 10 things...a nice round number...tonight I will stick with 7 hoping to post more pictures later.

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

So thankful...

Saturday, August 18, 2007

Back by popular demand

And when I say popular demand I mean it...I mean one person has asked me when I am going to start blogging again...(but it was an important person:))

1. I told Payton (expecting him to be beside himself) , "Hey Pate , I think tonight after we eat we are all going to the park..." He smiled and said, "just us?" Me with my huge smile and knodding rapidly head (expecting him to want to run and jump in my arms) His response, "hmmm...would you mind if I called some of my friends..." Wasn't this supposed to start closer to jr. high?

2. The other night I was in Tony and I's closet and Benjamin walked in and said, "Hey mom- get out of dad's stuff..."

3. The other day we had some friends over, when we were getting in the car Payton said, "Mom would you turn on my favorite cd please?" Sure...He then said, "I am sure my friends would really enjoy listening to me sing along..." He then proceeded to hit every high note while his friends looked on in utter amazement...I was laughing so hard...on the inside.
4. We have been having a hard time getting Benjamin to go to bed...as in a really hard time (a couple hours of hard time)...the other night as we contemplated what to do, Payton walked in and said, "Do you have any idea how hard it is to sleep when your mind is full and your stomach is empty?" We later figured out this was a line from Charlettes Web...And we also explained to Payton that Benjamin is 3, eats meals and is not under a great deal of stress.

5. Payton has loved meeting one of his best friends new little brother Owen... The other day he walked in and said, I know how to spell Owen..." I said ok...He said proudly, "O-N" He is still not understanding why they felt the need to spell that differently.

6.Benjamin has been talking a lot about monsters...(Ok maybe he does have some stress)...the other day he was walking around the house playing while saying, "God did not create monsters, I am ok...God did not create monsters, I am ok..." I love it when I get a window to his mind through his self talk...

7. Last weekend we took our dog Maggie to the ranch (2 hours a way) Maggie got sick at her stomach...in a loud disgusting way (repeatedly)...while in the back of the Expedition...it was the worst smell and sound effects in many different ways...the boys were strapped in the back seat 6 inches a way from her.It was terrible ( 2 hours worth of terrible)...these days everytime Maggie moves Payton and Benjamin flinch and make these comments, "not today Maggie..." "this would not be in your best interest Maggie" "You best watch your self Maggie"

8. The other day I heard Payton talking to someone in the restroom...I peeked in to see him standing on the stool looking at himself in the mirror, these were his exact words, "Tonight Tori beat you in a race, that's ok, she is 8. Yesterday you won tag...everyone was smaller than you. You are fast and getting faster, everyones says so. Don't worry about Tori."
9. Today Benjamin asked if he could pray ...in the middle of the prayer he said, "oh Lord, help me stop whining..." It brought a smile to everyones face, along with a glimmer of hope that the Lord will answer his prayer.

10. Benjamin' s potty training is once again going great...we have figured out that the promise of a m and m was huge... we also told Payton that he would also receive a m and m if he was encouraging to Benj in this process...Patyton is very creative in his praise..."Oh Benjamin, no one has ever used the potty like that before." "Benjamin you are amazing." "Benjamin. Oh my word, you have talent." ---That last one is my favorite...Needless to say they bring smiles to everyone when we are using the restroom in public places.

11. Lately the boys are crazy over baseball. They want to play all of the time....They are having so much fun playing catch in the house at nights...for awhile Tony was also letting them bat...All good things must come to an end when a family picture is broken :). Here are the latest pictures...

Pate catches a fly ball.







Payton throws them out at home...




Impressive catch!




Benj makes the play in the outfield.







Everyone was laying on the floor after the game...this was too cute to pass up!

Wednesday, August 01, 2007

Getting back in the game...

1. My dad returned home from Sudan yesterday...thank you so much for all of your prayers...They have great stories of doors opening and doors closing. Most of all they have stories of people receiving help, receiving care, receiving prayer... Today he and my mom celebrate their 38th anniversary. We love them so much and celebrate daily the joy of their marriage...it continues to bless their children and grand-children. ( I love Andy in the background of this picture trying to make Benj laugh.)


2. People continue to ask what it is like to have my sister and her family home. It is all kinds of wonderful. Last weekend I was able to pick up my nephew Jonathan and take him to a birthday party, it was such a great feeling to be able to do that. I love talking to Kelly and knowing we are not going to get cut off. My sister left for Benin before I had even met Tony. So much has changed since we last lived our lives in the same area...So many great times ahead...I am loving every minute of it! She can leave a comment to say how she is too. (just a little test to see if the Vaughns are still reading.)

3. I mentioned in a previous post that Benjamin talks himself to sleep. Payton goes to sleep immediately...sometimes Benjamin needs to feel like someone is listening even if they are sound asleep...he just needs to know someone is there. In other words sometime we look in Payton's bed and see this. Oh how we love these boys.



4. I talked to Benjamin the other day about how now that he is three we should start working on not sucking his thumb, He looked back at me and said with the sweetest grin, "I gonna suck my thumb till I an old man." OK...I will save that argument for another day.

5. Payton has moved up to 200 piece puzzles...He loves them...If I ever mention someone is coming over he runs to complete 3 or 4 of them so "they will have something to look at when they come in." I love it...It gives him something to do for about 5 minutes.:)

6. Parenting is the most wonderful, yet exhausting thing Tony and I have ever been apart of. We have never wanted anything like we want to have kids that grow to reflect the Lord and His heart for His people. (even as I type that I realize that sometimes it feels like we would do good to just keep them from screaming and falling prostrate in public places.)Some days (most days) I wonder what we are doing...and I recognize on a deeper level my absolute desperation for the Lord. May His grace continue to abound. Today I called my mom and said, "thanks again for raising us...and I am sorry" (and proceeded to list of many times I know I made their job more difficult.) Yep, it was that kind of day.

7.We eat at the Cracker Barrel every week...Sometimes we take pictures...We are nerds...Nerds that love hot biscuits.









8. A couple of weeks ago my sister and I got to spend sometime with our cousin Julie and her husband Steve. It is a great gift to be related to J and S an even greater gift to know their hearts for each other and the Lord. We love you guys so much. (just a little test to see if Julie is still reading.:)) Plus I had to show a picture of Julie (who is beautiful and by the way does not age) and of Kelly (who looks so beautiful in this picture) and of me (because what is that lump on my head?)
9. My two tigers...











10. I am speaking next month on the need for transparency in the Body of Christ. I was deeply convicted last year when 2 friends had their marriages fall apart and did not feel like they could tell anyone before it was too late (one has reconciled the other has not)...One said, "It just felt like everyone else's life was so perfect, we did not want people to know we were struggling." In the same week another friend confessed some issues she had been struggling with for years...and had not talked about...She too said, "it felt like no one else wanted to hear my problems." Over and over again in the same week I was faced with different people, different problems, same issue.... they did not feel like church was a place they could share their "not perfectness".
The Lord brought a deep conviction to my heart of wanting this to be different...and it has not left...but I have to confess my conviction these days looks more like a wrestling match as I have realized the difference begins with me being different. I am struggling at the core of me with the nakedness of vulnerability. I am steeped in sin. There is a deep ache in me that I try to fill with a multitude of things besides the Lord. I want to crawl in a hole. I want to put on a great act...and be good at pretending. Its easier (thats a lie) It feels better (another lie) People like me better (another lie) The fact is the human race started hiding from God and others in the Garden of Eden and many have not stopped. I don't have an answer to this. Jesus did at the cross. I am wrestling with it daily...wanting it to take root, while at the same time wanting to wallow deep in complacency. Like I said, its a wrestling match.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Happy Birthday Kadi Lael!



2 years ago Kadi Lael Vaughn entered the world...She is a joy to our family...A perfect mix of girly and spunky...We are crazy about her!

Monday, July 16, 2007

Please pray for my dad!

Many of you are aware that this past Saturday was a landmark day for our family. We gathered around my dad with tears, with full hearts, placed our hands on him and his team-mates and cried out to the God of our lives to be His shield as he makes his way into a unknown territory to us...but one that is close to the heart of our Father. I copied pieces of an email sent by my mom to give you a view of our heart's cry...


"I feel that most of you are aware that Morton left yesterday for the country of Sudan along with a great team of men. . (There are several African brothers meeting them in Kenya ...church leaders from Zambia, Ghana and Kenya). They plan to go into Sudan on Tuesday.

This trip is different from any Africa trip that our family has been a part of. I am sure you are somewhat aware of the situation in the country of Sudan. Over the past few months we have been made more aware. This email is coming to you on behalf of our family and all the families involved in this trip. The men on this trip did not approach this trip casually. Many meetings, planning and much prayer have transpired over the past six or seven months. The family prayer time last Tuesday evening was both a challenge and a blessing.

They will fly into Sudan. Their destination is in the north. It is the rainy season in Sudan. The (dirt) roads to the north are impassable . They will have to go in small planes. It is like I told a friend on Saturday night, If I did not know the Lord well I would be so afraid.

They go with the heavy call of the Lord on their hearts. They are going up close to some of the most harassed and helpless of our time. They are going into the middle of ones who are living & dying without hope. They are going into a nation that is not anxious to make anything easy for Christians. They are going to a nation that desperately needs Jesus.

As they go in to spy out the land, to sense if doors are cracked open enough to go and mission and minister in someway, pray for them to go under the blanket of our Lords protection. Pray for them to have both the eyes and the same spirit that God gave Joshua and Caleb. Oh, we pray that they comeback with good reports of great work that we can do for our Lord. May they come back with an excitement and vision that others cannot help join.

I know I do not need to tell you how to pray...but you also know that I can't help but lay out a few things that are on my heart!

Pray for safety but so much more than safety. Pray for eyes to see and ears to hear and courage to act.
Pray for them to be wise at every turn and for fear to have no foothold...unless it is direction from the Lord to change direction....again...may the Spirit of the Lord be so strong and heavy that they make no mistake about direction.
Pray boldly whatever the Lord puts on your hearts to pray.

As family spokesperson, I say you are receiving this email because we know you pray, but more importantly we know the God to whom you pray. We boldly ask for your prayers on behalf of our husbands, fathers, grandfathers and sons. We ask you to boldly pray for the nation of Sudan.

Pray for God to give you a burden for Sudan. If He gives you the burden He will empower you to carry the burden and to act for Him.

We love you dearly.

suzyj for all the j. offspring"

A friend asked me yesterday if I felt scared...I think more than scared I feel pensive...eager to see what the Lord will do, thinking a lot about how I long for His will to match mine. Fear creeps in every once in awhile, but rather than gripping my heart, I feel it clairifying my thoughts, causing me to cry out to the Lord about things that matter rather than the things that too often claim my thought process. Through the years I am ashamed to admit I have prayed casually for the people of Sudan. Lately, they are heavy on my heart...I am longing that the God we serve will make a way, that His kingdom would advance through a cup of cold water, through much needed food and medical supplies, that His Presence would be made known to a people who cry out for relief. I continue to pray Psalm 20 over my dad and the other men who have gone and over the nation they have gone to...


"God answer you on this day,
The name God-of-Jacob put you out of harm's reach,
Send reinforcements from Holy Hill,
Dispatch from Zion fresh supplies,
Exclaim over your offerings,
Celebrate your sacrifices,
Give you what your heart desires,
Accomplish your plans.
When you win, we plan to raise the roof
and lead the parade with our banners.
May all your wishes come true!
That clinches it—help's coming, an answer's on the way,
everything's going to work out.
See those people polishing their chariots,
and those others grooming their horses?
But we're making garlands for God our God.
The chariots will rust, those horses pull up lame—
and we'll be on our feet, standing tall.
Make the king a winner, God;
the day we call, give us your answer."

May it be Lord, May it be.

Sunday, July 15, 2007

Payton is 5!



5 years ago today our hearts became exposed to the world...5 years ago today we welcomed our first son. We knew that we loved this child while he was in the womb, but when he entered the world, when we heard his first cry, when we looked into his eyes...something broke in us that could never be repaired...Our hearts broke wide open with love that could not be contained...We have been crazy about him ever since.

He is so animated while at the same time being so serious. He makes us crazy by correcting our English when we are trying to discipline him. He makes us laugh with his expressions...the first thing he said this morning was, "just look at me...I thought I was going to be an adult today and nothing even happened, I am still just a kid, I don't know if I am really 5 or not." He loves his family with an unswerving loyalty even at this young age. He feels free to discipline his brother while at the same time begging us not to. He is very particular about his hair...for that matter his look altogether...he does not get the part of his brother that is comfortable wearing whatever he puts on and tries to have discussions with his brother to change his mind. He loves his dad and begs him to take him to work with him. He melts his mom's heart by saying multiple times a day how proud he is of me. He loves puzzles, he loves math, he loves trying to catch rattlesnakes. He would much rather be at the ranch on a four wheeler than anywhere.He, too, loves his cousins, for that matter all of his relatives. He can bring tears to my eyes rather quickly by looking out the window as we drive by the assisited living home where my grandmother lived (before she went to Heaven) and saying, "Man- I miss Mom-o." I love how he calls all of his friends "one of his best." I love, love, love, when he is doing his chores and I hear him singing praises to the Lord at the top of his lungs...

There are of course many things that we are continuing to work on with our "Pate"...he often feels a bit too comfortable objecting when someone is trying to correct him. He would prefer that everyone allow him to run his life without questions or comments, unless of course you have a word of praise for him. But my goodness...line up every child in the world and his parents are still running at top speed to make sure we get to pick him first. All the things that make him- him...make us proud to call him ours. We could not do without a one of them. We cherish every moment we have with him....knowing that a lifetime will still feel too short. We love deeper because he is ours, we laugh harder because he is ours, We are closer to the Lord because he is ours. May the Lord be praised for this life, for these 5 years of sheer greatness...and may the Lord continue to heap His gifts upon this child...we look to Him to reveal His plans for our boy. Thank you Lord!

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Benjamin is 3!

Oh how we love this child! Benjamin is the perfect mix of tender, tough and pure hilariousness. We have never seen anyone like him. He is constantly going for a laugh...always wanting to make people smile...He is quick to offer his love...quick to offer his opinion...and quick to steal people's hearts.






I remember when he was about 3 months old telling my mom, Benjamin has something in his eyes that lets me know he has a bit more spunk than your average bear. Little did I know his eyes spoke volumes of the truth. Benjamin is eager to test boundaries, on a daily basis he demands that the rules be laid out again. Benjamin has yet to grasp why when he wants something it does not happen immediately. Benjamin has the ability to bring entire restaurants into awed silence as he screams, lays prostrate and demands that he be allowed to run into the parking lot without anyone holding his hand. He loves talking on the phone. He loves his Precious. He is wild about his cousins and lists them off each night to the Lord from Florida to DC to local. He loves to sword fight with his dad. He can say cheeeeeese for a photographer for at least 30 minutes without ever taking a breath, all the while never really smiling. He is crazy about his brother...unless that brother happens to laugh or smile when Benjamin is feeling somber...then we are launched into the age -old sibling argument of, "He is laughing at me..." which has the ability to last longer than this mother can handle. He loves quesadillas from Taco Bueno and a chocolate chip cookies from Starbucks. He is quick to tell anyone that his favorite place to go is either the ranch or Wal-mart. Benjamin wants to talk himself to sleep...which often means he will come and find someone to talk to...We've had many late night conversations that are treasures to me...others have been lost in the grogginess of life that surrounds me at 1 AM.


Oh how we love him...the parts that melt our hearts, the parts that make us sweat through our clothes in public, the parts that need correcting, the parts that bring tears of joy to our eyes...because all of those little traits combine to make the son we love. We tell him all the time the Lord placed him in our family and we could not be more thankful. We anticipate great things for this little man. We celebrate him with great joy all the while raising our hands in thankfulness to the giver of this good gift...only HE could give a gift so sweet. May His name be praised for the life of our Benjamin!






Benj on his new Diego scooter that his brother picked out for him for his birthday...He said its all he is ever wanted!

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Yesterday

I woke up wide awake a few hours ago...my mind swirling with a list of things that need to be accomplished...that most likely should of been accomplished weeks ago. My mind then turned to different family members...things that are going on in their lives, thing of concern, things of great joy...and slowly as thoughts progress to another level they turn into prayers, cries to the Lord who knows every thought before I have them...and yet He still turns an ear to hear me when I articulate them all over again. How thankful I am that we have a listening God.

June 26th was and is a life changing day for our family. 14 years ago my cousin Mandy was on her way to church on a Sunday morning when she was hit by a drunk driver and went home to be with the Lord. She was wonderful, beautiful, funny, and a complete joy to her family, immediate and extended. Words fail to describe a life so well lived...14 earthly years later, she still is a part of my daily thoughts...influencing the way I live, influencing the way I parent, influencing who I am. I sure miss her.

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Tagged...(Twice)

For the latest on my sister, please check their blog http://rkvaughn.blogspot.com/...(knowing their list of people who read their blog is quite a bit larger than mine, I feel like I am experiencing my 15 minutes of fame when they let me post on it.:))


I have been tagged on 2 different things...I am working on Chesley's and then will try to complete April's tomorrow. I am terrible at these..but there is a special thrill in being tagged so here is my lame attempt at a response...

First memory - Going into my room and putting on multiple pairs of underwear, shorts, and then a pair of pants because my mom had told me to go wait in my room until she got in there to spank me. She was not amused.

First real kiss - He remains a good friend who reads this blog...I will let him keep his anonymity.

First concert - Amy Grant...I wore a pink and grey sleeve-less, v-neck argyle sweater, pink walking shorts, white knee socks and my white penny loafers and my mom hot rolled my hair. I know this because I remember thinking, "I look so cute, I bet she calls me up on stage to sing with her." She did not notice...her loss. (Oh to have a bit of that self- confidence back.:))

First love - my Strawberry Shortcake doll collection. The night I got tea-time turtle who pulled the wagon/picnic table I layed awake all night so excited to play with it.

First crush - Most likely Willie from Little House on the Prairie. He looked good in a pair of suspenders

First thing you think in the morning - My alarm goes off at 5:01 and daily I debate whether I should go work out or not...

First book you remember loving - "Who is coming to the Butterfly Ball?" My grandmother read it to us while we sat in her lap and ate jelly beans...great memory.

First pet - John Pecan, our cat. After John Pecan went to his maker we started our weanie dog business with Dusty Bottoms and Yo.

First question you'll ask in heaven - I am assuming this after I have fallen to my knees and spent a couple of thousand years praising the Lord..."Where is the Ferris Wheel?" (I will explain this on a later post.)

First thing you think of when you hear the word vacation - I better check how much money is in our vacation envelope.

First best friend - My sister...We shared a room and a double bed for the first years of our life. I slept with one of my legs over her because I knew if anyone ever tried to kidnap her it would wake me up and I could stop them.

Last time you dressed up - When Tony and I went to Del Friscos Father's Day weekend.

Last thing you ate - Uncle Ben's Chicken whole grain rice with terriyaki sauce poured over it...I love that stuff...

Last CD you bought? Honestly- who knows...I would be willing to bet it was some type of Kid's praise...we really do not listen to much of anything else. My brother still burns "cool" cds for me that's one of the reasons I still seem so "with it and in the know." :)

Last time you cried - On Saturday night when we sang the words "All who are weary, all who are weak...Come to the Fountain, dip your hearts in the stream of life. Let the Pain and the Sorrow be washed away, in the waves of His mercy, as deep cries out to deep. We sing, Come, Lord Jesus Come." I thought of Kelly and Randy, of my mom, of other families I know and pray for who are wading through deep and hard times and I wept...begging the Lord that They might feel Him come in a very real sense into their situations.

Last time you told someone you loved them - My kids multiple times through out the day...Also Tony everytime we talk on the phone...Really everyone I talk to...I could possibly be accused of overuse of the word...but I really do mean it when I say it.

Last really funny thing you did - I laugh hard every single day but as for something funny I did... Who knows?

Last thing you watched on TV - Backyardigans I love the episode where they are looking for Tiki Beach. Should anything major ever occur in our world and they do not break into Noggin to announce it, please call us...I guarantee you we will be shocked.

I tag - You- go ahead respond...

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Swim lessons

Benjamin has insisted on wearing the hat he got at his friend's Thomas the Train birthday party all week. Needless to say, he makes everyone smile as we pass. He also thought, "Why go with flip flops for poolside attire, when red boots go just as well?" Of course, he chooses to wear them without socks for quick pool access. They are not as easy to slip on when wet. These were taken on the day that I could not find Benjamin for his class. He was hiding in the corner, hoping we would all just forget he was there.


These were the 2 sides of Benjamin all week. He was thrilled to be there, he was a bit ticked to be there. Overall, he loved Ms. Jody and all his precious friends that he swam (term used loosely) with!




The highlight for both boys was their dad showing up for the closing class.









Payton and Mason...There were 3 boys in Payton's class. I said you sure have made some great friends and he told me , "really, we are more like brothers." So if any of you are looking for a bonding experience, swim lessons are where its at! :) We had an awesome 2 weeks. So much fun watching the boys develop new skills, so much fun getting to spend quality time with the other moms.









Our Jr. High nephew told Payton that all the cool kids pose like this...I need to tell him it looks cool with your shirt on...right here he just looks extremely modest!:)

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Beside ourselves!

I just had the joy of sending out this email!


Dearest praying friends-

I got the call today while we were at swim lessons that we had been praying for...The Lord has moved and it is looking like Lael could possibly be granted a Visa this Friday...My eyes swim with tears just typing it! May the Lord continue to praised. If that occurs we could have at least some of the family coming home this Sunday.

Proverbs 13:12 says, ""Unrelenting disappointment leaves you heartsick, but a sudden good break can turn life around." the Lord has given us our sudden good break and people with Jeffrey and Vaughn blood are rejoicing around the world with tears and hands raised...more importantly though, people who share in the blood of Christ, our incredible extended family, are lifting up praise for this turn of events. Thanks for praying with us, hoping with us, and for rejoicing with us!

We'll keep you posted!
Becky

***Kelly and Randy are doing a great job keeping everyone up on the details at http://rkvaughn.blogspot.com/

Monday, June 18, 2007

In a nutshell...

1. Thanks so much for those of you who continue to lift up my sister and her family up. They were supposed to arrive at DFW today. I was feeling sick at heart this morning as I prayed, I am well aware there are far worse things that could be happening in our family, and yet I also now see us living out Proverbs 13:12, "Hope deferred makes the heart sick. " The Message nails it with , "Unrelenting disappointment leaves you heartsick, but a sudden good break can turn life around."I am still holding on to the thought that they will get a phone call this week that says...You are a go. That sudden good break has got to be around the corner. Somehow, someway it will happen...You will hear a loud cheer and praise to the Lord when it does.


2. There is no better way to ensure that your child will develop problems with potty training than to announce on the WWW that they have got it down. As we were enjoying lunch with our friends sweet Benjamin said, "Excuse me mom, do have any other clothes for me?" As soon as I saw his face I knew what he had done. I promptly picked him up (quite gingerly) and carried him to the parking lot where we were given a diaper (Thanks Eli) to put Benjamin in. While I was giving him the baby wipe bath in Cracker Barrel parking lot Benjamin said, "Do you think this is funny?" I said, "No, not right now..." He said. "Thats ok mom, we can just laugh about this later."

3. Over Memorial Day weekend my dad and Tony decided it was time to tag and castrate some of the spring calves...We decided to go watch, not knowing that watching meant you actually got pulled into the whole process. The boys loved cheering on their dad, but one of their highlights was when they saw their Precious get in there and start mixing it up. (Don't worry, Suzy did not castrate anything, just helped hold the gate.) I was happy to just be in charge of taking pictures. By the way, Benjamin is going crazy missing his Precious (we are too, the rest of us just are not as vocal.)



4. Swim Lessons...we have made it through 5 with 3 more to go. This morning Payton walked in,looked around at everyone, and said, "I am really feeling nervous this morning, I don't want to be here, I wish I knew how this would go..." No one but me was listening...and I had to smile...Payton is many things, but no woman will ever accuse him of internalizing his emotions. Both boys love the water, just not the feel of going underwater. Baby steps...everyday a bit closer. My brother reminded me today we were in jr. high before we stopped physically holding our nose and I think we turned out ok.


5. My dad got back in town just in time for Father's day. We were all ready to see him. We had a good time laughing and eating together...so thankful for all the men in our lives who have shown us what being a dad is all about. I could not be more thankful for the dad I have, the dad he had, the dad my mom had, the dad my brother-in-laws are to my nieces and nephews, the dad my brother is,the dad my husband has, the dad my husband is...they all model the Heavenly Father's love in such a beautiful way. We celebrated them all yesterday!




6. Our neighbor asked us to keep her cat...(at this point everyone who knows us well groans) I said, no problem...All we had to do was feed her once a day, it was only 3 days, she said I would probably never even see the cat, NO problem. We literally had a 2 minute conversation about it. Then later, (At approximately 11:30 at night later) she calls back and explains to our answering machine (everyone knows the Brooks family has not seen the other side of 10 since we put our wedding rings on.), that she forgot to mention the cat is free bleeder (WHAT?!), that sometimes it gets into fights (WHAT?!), that I need to walk their back yard several times a day to see if I see any large pools of blood and if I do find the cat, she will probably be really angry, (Sure) and get her to the hospital in Southlake. (At which point Tony paused the answering machine to say "Not in one of our cars.") We did make it through the weekend with no blood anywhere. I have never been so happy to return a box of cat food in my life.




7. The other day we were at Chick-fil-a when Payton ran out of the play area and said , "Benjamin is really stuck this time." Assuming he meant in one of the tube slides I walked in to talk Benjamin down. What he meant was he was literally stuck. Somehow (our boy is a monkey) he had been climbing on top of the tube slide fallen and gotten caught between the tube slide and the plastic grate that keeps the kids from going under the play equipment. I could see his little feet dangling on one side and see his head on the other. I could not move him. Thankfully Tony was there to pull the tube slide to the side so I could lift Benjamin out. He was also able to deliver the "let's use the slide the way it was intended speech" with a little more oomph than me.




8.Yesterday I talked to my niece Bailey who has the cutest voice I have ever heard...We had a great conversation that ended with her saying,

Bailey: "Hey Aunt Becky?"


Becky: "yes, Bailey"


Bailey: "I am a lot cuter than you remember."



My other favorite Bailey quote is when she was talking to Emille (her mom) about her sister Brylee, (who is one) and said, "I sure wish I knew Spanish so I could know what Bry is saying." I love being an aunt.


9. Tony and I got a gift card from my brother to Del Friscos for Christmas. We used it this weekend for the best dinner ever. We had so much fun laughing and talking about life. Nights out always remind us we should do that more often. Its always hard to leave our kids, but we always come back to them better parents, for the simple reason that we are reminded of why we fell in love with each other in the first place. Sometimes a reminder is good, even when you don't really think you need it.

10. While Andy was in Pakistan we prayed for him constantly. Both boys would join in often through out the day. Not really knowing geography (We are working on it :))they do the best they can. We loved how every night Payton would close out his prayer with , "and Lord, we ask that you would always help Andy to remember to pack his stand."