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Saturday, November 22, 2014

Chills and Chimps

Winter is approaching PTC fast, and we are all for late fall layering!  Miles is a pro at grabbing the end of his long sleeve tee, and punching through his jacket so he will have extra warm arms!  And Jasper has a variety of cozy jackets, hoodies, and sweaters to choose from since I found the 18-24m box of Miles' old clothes a few weeks ago.  We love the cool air, and I absolutely love that the air is far less humid than in the summer time.  Most days are pretty mild though, so we get outside every day!  My favorite days are the ones we can pull layers back off because the sun has warmed the air up enough to get hot!

I also love this season because of all the hot dinners I can make!  I love cooking sausage skillets, soups, chili, chicken pot pie, and all of the crock pot fun that are delicious when it's cold out.  Last night I tried a chicken tortilla soup recipe I found on Pinterest that turned out really delicious!  I was so excited to have a fun girls' night in with some of the wonderful women from CrossPointe.  We knitted scarves on our arms, ate Jordan's tasty pumpkin coffee cake, and more cookies and snacks too!  I love how the scarves turned out!  It was such a hilarious and exciting night because none of us had tried 'arm knitting' before, so we laughed our way through the entire instructional video!!!

On a side note, I just counted, and I have 40 Pinterest boards.  Not counting the two 'secret' boards you're allowed to have.  40.

*  *  *  *  *

So I sent out our very first MailChimp newsletter last month.  For some reason, I was so anxious about clicking send, wanting to contact the right people, and not make it sound like the only reason I was sending it was "give us money."  I am really praying that it gave the truth of what we are working toward in our ministry here.  James and I both have a few really great ideas that we are excited to see the Lord develop over the next few months.  The thing we really need the most is prayer!  And funding.  I mean, it would be really great to not worry about late bills/rent for once, but God has been faithful to provide and extend times and above all, provide peace about what this endeavor includes.

I guess in all honesty, I had never heard of stateside fundraising for church planters.  It especially surprised me moving here - I mean we are in the Bible belt!  Who knew there were churches still being planted?  But that was part of Josiah's passion in planting CPPTC - ensuring that the gospel be preached every Sunday, remembering Christ's life, death, and resurrection through communion weekly, and moving as the Lord moves to see Jesus transform lives here!  Still, being part of the staff of a church plant means that we are not fully funded.  So here we are!

It's exciting really.  I love how open the idea of 'artist's community' is, especially with the creativity that is brewing in James, myself, and so many wonderful people in our congregation.  I mean, I'm not sure what to expect when we band together to make much of Jesus in our community!  I am confident that as the Lord continues to provide for our family and our community, we will be equipped to move forward with lots of fun, new ideas!

My primary ministry is my boys.  I have the unique privilege of raising them to know the truth of Christ's transformative power through our everyday interactions, prayers, and time spent playing together.
duck, duck, goose is goin' on!

Sheriff Bubs is back in town

little fox kit

bright fall blooms

autumn sandbox

The last thing that is new is the button at the top of the blog - you can subscribe to JB & my newsletter.  It will be sent out about 6 times a year.  The first of which is already drafted for this fall!  James plans on writing a quarterly update, and I will add two myself at some point in the year.  I suppose my updates on here will suffice if I have any specifics or kiddo-oriented posts.  :)

But please click and add your name!  I already had people unsubscribe from the support letter I sent out, and honestly, I wasn't planning on sending it more than once.  But I can't let discouragement stop me from doing what God has called us to here:  To be open to the adventure the Holy Spirit calls us to every single day!  One click or email or specific request to 'not be added to your list' shouldn't make me feel any less excited about what we are doing here.  I love Jesus, and no amount of unopened email or unsub clicks will change His redeeming grace and power in my life - or in theirs!

So again, I'm going to request that you join me in praying for our city.  There is something amazing on the horizon, and I am willing to be part of it.  My question for you is, are you?

Monday, November 10, 2014

Fall is my Favorite!

We have all been plugging away - so much so that it has been three months since my last update!  I have been posting a lot of pictures since I got back onto Facebook... but that's no excuse, really.

A lot of very exciting things have happened since the end of August.  Let's see...
- Kicked off our Community Group - James and I are leading it!  So fun.  :)
- Had Zumba night at church.  I had so much fun, but boy, am I out of practice!
- Sang with JB and the band at our Fall Festival
- Our apartment was flooded.

Yeah, right at the end of the month, when things were going so swimmingly (ha!), our water heater had a leak from the outflow pipe early on a Monday morning.  It filled up the closet that it is located in upstairs, and began to go through the ceiling into the A/C duct that is right over our dining area.  I woke up to the sound of running water, but I thought it was the toilet - James thought it was the rain.  But it was water, flowing from the duct and vents onto our dining area floor.  There was at least an inch of water forming a mini-pond in the hallway to the kitchen, and the carpet in the living room was soaked!  Here is my illustration of what happened.  I didn't think to take pictures while it happened... I don't really want any.

Thankfully, our apartment manager came right over when we reached her, called the plumber, and took care of what she could on her end.  James had already turned the knob off, but the damage was done!  The water restoration team came in a few hours later, and set up fans, pulled up the carpet padding, and checked all of the walls and ceiling in the affected areas.

We got to move in with the Poeffels.  These amazing new friends of ours took us in immediately, no questions asked, and we had a very intensive "get-to-know-you" time over the next eleven days.  It was really great, actually.  Sometimes I kind of miss being there, honestly.  They have two girls, and they bonded with my boys so quickly.  They were squabbling like brothers and sisters by the end of our stay there.  :)  It was really bittersweet when we went home to pack for our trip!

Miles & Isabella

- Apartment was still being repaired
- Saw Belle & Sebastian at the Tabernacle in ATL (best show of my LIFE)
- Flew to California, thanks to the generosity of our parents!! (Deets to come in the next post)
- Came back to a wonderfully clean and put-back-together home! (I love my husband so much.  He is truly amazing)
- Got to go to the pumpkin patch at Southern Belle Farms
- Had one wild rumpus of a Halloween!

On our way to see our favorite band!

We were so close!

At Spire's with Nona
making paper hats

Back home at our playground

The guys look nice...
but I'm talking

JB & I are smiling
but what happened to the kids?

jumping pillow!
my favorite part of the farm

pumpkin patch at night 

Max from Where the Wild Things Are
King of all wild things!

My number one wild thing! 

Muppet of a man, very manly muppet
and Princess Tigerlily

Our jack o'lantern

And here we are, up to date!  I have already done a lot this month, and it's only the 11th.  I have finally exited vacation mode (dude, it's been WEEKS. I'm just lazy) and finally getting organized.  There is no time like the present though, especially with holidays and birthdays approaching!  I got to go out with best friends to dinner + IKEA - my kind of girls' night!  It was such a blast.  These women are amazing and I can't wait until the next time we get to hang out.

Oddly, only my name was spelled right.
I think our barista was hopped up on espresso

fall foliage
I got to attend the perfect country wedding last Saturday.  My dear friends Paige and Ryan were married in Perry, at The Green Bell Bed & Barn - "The Georgia Barn Wedding Venue."  It was down-home but also incredibly elegant and lovely at the same time.  I had a lot of fun despite James being unable to attend.  He was with our pastors in Texas at the Acts 29 Conference.  At any rate, it was a lovely event and I was happy to have a mini road trip with good friends, and lots of love and laughter celebrating this couple entering into Christ-centered marriage!

Sweet friends celebrating sweet friends

Now, on to the boys - they are always my favorite part of these updates!!

Miles Yo - My Lil Man
  • I think his best friend is Isabella (the little gal we lived with), he always talks about her!
  • He blesses me everyday
    • Once he was just quietly playing by himself and was singing "Tell old/ Pharaoh/ Let My people goooooooo!"  So sweet!
  • Miles loves Popeye cartoons.  But he won't eat spinach.  Not a bite.
  • I love to hear him pray
  • His concept of time cracks me up
    • Referring to something that happened months ago:  "Yesterday, the last time we went to the pool..."
    • Referring to something that happened earlier in the week:  "Last monff, when we go to the store..."
  • He is such a good big brother.  He lets Jas beat him up, and keeps him safe.  They play together every day.
  • Bubbas is so sensitive.  He feels deeply for people, and loves with everything.
  • JB brought him a lasso from Dallas.  Miles said, "So Dad.  You got me a rope."

Jasper U - My Tiny Giant
  • Dude still eats everything.  Although lately, he has tried to be more picky.  I won't let him slide though.  He has to try everything on his plate, and usually won't turn it away unless he sees cookies.
  • He walks EVERYWHERE.  He is so fast, too!
  • Baby-proof outlet covers are useless because he takes them out
  • He is signing a lot, and talking even more!
    • Signs:  milk, please, more, thank you, all done, dog, bird, airplane
    • Says:  Nah!, "coo-ca" (cookie or cracker), "puh-puh-pup" (up!), Bubba, Dada, Daddy, Momma, Mommy, "wawa" (water), "Eeeeeee!" (eat), "Woaaaaaaahhhh!", "Go?", "Waahyouuu?" (Where are you?), "katikatikatikatik"(tickle tickle!), shoe, "noh" (nose), uh oh!, boom!, "nigh-naiiiii" (night-night)
    • Sounds:  horse, dog, car, plane, someone falling ("Woaaaaaahhhh - TSH!"), maniacal laugh
  • He loves to sit on the little couch with Miles, watching a movie, drinking his milk.
  • The boy is a dancer.  I mean, he was dancing before he could walk!
  • I love watching him play, and seeing his imagination at work
  • He's had more separation anxiety lately, but I know that's normal.  I usually turn the corner and he's done crying.
  • Jubs is always trying to chase the big kids around.  He loves his brother so much!
  • When he gets tired, he just lays down.
  • This kid will press every button on the DVD player, right when the movie/show is getting good! Such a stinker!
This boy is too sweet...

I'll eat you up, I love you so.

Sunday, August 31, 2014

Settling the Wilderness of PTC

I like chasing things.

Miles and I were outside a few days ago, and he spotted a squirrel, and we both turned into those dogs from Up.  I mean, seriously, he pointed and said, "Momma, look a squoiyull!" and I said, "Do you want to go get it?" And the chase was on!!  The squirrel was game, too because right after we crossed the parking lot, it ran from the yard, but then kind of stopped at a tree and waited for us, before it took off across the lawn into the woods.

I'm glad that living in the super-developed suburbs of Peachtree City hasn't curbed our desire to go after small game.  It reminded me of the end of In a Pit with a Lion on a Snowy Day by Mark Batterson.  It's refreshing to know that when given the opportunity, Miles will chase stuff with me.  In fact, I can say with confidence that James and Jasper would be down, too.  Jasper LOVES running around and chasing things.  Well, at least, he loves being carried or strolled around, chasing after someone/something.  And just today, James was crawling after Jas through the Chick-Fil-A play area because that kid can climb up the slide!  It's ridiculous!  I was smiling to myself when I heard James, Jasper, and Miles playing in there today.  It was great hearing how much fun they were having.

I guess the 'settling' part of this post has more to do with our apartment.  It really is feeling more like home now.  The boys are quite comfortable here, and doing really well sharing a room.  I think the fact that all FOUR of us Browns shared a room at our previous residence prepared them; they are swimming in space here.  :)  It has been a work in progress, getting moved, adjusting, unpacking, sorting through items that were in storage for over a year, and now deciding if we should unpack or even keep them...


Okay, I'm done writing about that for now.  It's raising my anxiety already.

Still, life is good.  It isn't easy, but I am reminding myself that I can savor God's observable presence daily.  For example:  The boys have gone to bed at about the same time - and earlier than usual - the last two nights!  And last night, JB and I had a date night in - an Alfred Hitchcock movie neither of us had seen before, The Man Who Knew Too Much.  Not to mention that today, after worrying about finances for a while this morning, getting word that dear friends have pledged support for our ministry.  God is constantly reminding me that I don't need to worry.

*  *  *  *  *

I drafted this post over a week ago.  We have since finished the movie on our date night this past Friday, and seen God's hand moving even more!  I received some savings bonds that Uncle Sal bought me in 1989 and 1990 for Christmas, and they had compounded a bit - so that was a fun surprise to receive from my Mom in the mail!  I can't wait to move forward with some ideas I have (supporting indigenous missions is one super-exciting venture I am praying into, the rest are little DIY projects here at home).

Until these ideas are more concrete, here are some pictures from the last few weeks:

Jubs practicing with a fork
macaroni and CHEESE!

Miles playing "Fox Mario"

"Momma, I don't wanna
leave the McDonalds play place!
Let me climb up the slide!!"

Yee haw!
"Mom, you do your arm like this,
like a cowboy."
*lassoing motion*

He just needs some boots.

spoon practice, too

Mellow Mushroom Pizza's 40th Anniversary
$2.50 for a small cheese pizza!

Morning paperwork
(my job entails spectrum organizing the Crayolas)

dig, dig, dig

The latest:

Miles Yossarian loves
  • Peter Pan all over again!  
    • He will sing the theme, "Dun dun duuuuun!" and shout, "I can fly!" while jumping off of his bed... over and over
  • chocolate milk (always!)
  • I Heart Katamari - which he pronounces differently every time
  • laughing - and his sense of humor is so awesome!
  • physical proximity to me at all times - !
  • telling stories about a tiny baby, crawling somewhere, then bonking its head (?)

Jasper U loves
  • food, especially fruit
    • seriously, hide the grapes or oranges unless you want him to yell at you for the rest of the meal!
  • standing up on his own (not pulling up)
  • laughing
  • climbing up the slide
  • swings
  • taking things out
  • putting things back
  • oh, and dancing:

JasperU is One!

Oh my how time has flown by!

It seems just yesterday that he was born right in our bedroom in Hampton, at Pop-Pop's house!  And now he is a standin', dancin', talkin' toddler.  We celebrated this sweet boy in a really simple way, as opposed to Miles' big party we threw in 2012.  I'm sure Jasper would have enjoyed it either way, but I discovered this year that I am not really the party-throwing type.  This sort of surprised me, but it turns out, I love attending large events, but not hosting them.

So here is how we honored our one-year-old:

Thursday, August 7, 2014

We woke up at the normal time, around 7:30, and hung out in our jammies.  I had the ingredients for Jasper's favorite breakfast:  pancakes!  Oh, and blueberries!  I thought I would make a cute smiley face blueberry pancake for Jas (see my failed attempt below)... and it turned out okay, the second time.

Miles mixed the batter

... very carefully!

This scary fella went into the trash.

"Momma, why are you taking pictures?
I want to eat that!"

After cleaning up, we got ready and took a walk to Mellow Mushroom pizza for lunch.  It was so tasty!  We shared pretzels and pizza.  Delicious!!

Playing in the boys' room
(Miles is so intense!)

After James got off of work, he got changed, and we went to dinner at O'Charley's.  It was low key, and just right!  Jas got a complimentary scoop of ice cream from our animated server, and he tried to eat it himself.  Whenever I tried to help him, he hollered at me because he didn't want to give his spoon away.  Seriously, don't get between this boy and his dessert!

"Okay, I've got this..."

"... no really, Momma, it's good."

"I'm a big boy, you know."

"Oh, I like ice cream."

"Quit taking pictures and let me eat this."
(Miles' hand is the skilled one in the foreground)

Jasper got lots of cards from lovely peeps all week, starting with Nona, then from Grandpa, and Tita Michelle!
 "Oh, it's postmarked 'San Bernardino'!"

Birthday cards on display

That Weekend
we took it easy, playing at home, and running a few errands...

Miles on his trike at home

Steering through the Home Depot

Miles found repose in the carpet display
... seriously, he did not want to leave.

Chick-fil-a play

Sunday, August 10

... we celebrated with everyone in Newnan, after church.  They had just gotten back from their vacation in Florida, and had a couple of days to decompress before having us over!  It was the perfect celebration!!
Handsome gentleman baby,
ready for CrossPointe Kids!

Beautiful cake from G'pa Dave & Ammy
- we love Elmo & Abby! -

Jas' "smash cake" 

"Wait, I'm allowed to just eat this?"

smashed it.

Happy birthday, Jasper Ulysses!  We love you, one-year-old!!