Rejoice with those that rejoice

Ok, so today is a beautiful sunny day on the outside and the inside!!!  First of all, I finally got a good night sleep!!!!!!!!!  Yay!  Second, for those who I haven't told already, I recently found out that ALL of my sisters are expecting!!!  Yep! I have one actual sister, and three sisters-in-law and they are all now expecting babies!!  My children will be getting FOUR new cousins between December and January!!  So my parents get 3 new grand babies and Craig's parents get 3 new grand babies!!

Well, I just wanted to share a little joy as this has truly been a roller coaster of a week!!!  Hope you all have a blessed day!  And if you live in our area, enjoy the bit of sunshine that is out!!!  Blessings to all......

Weeping with those that weep.....

This morning, a precious baby boy that we have been praying for his entire little life, went home to the arms of Jesus.  We grieve with his family today.  He was born with a defective heart and spent his life in the hospital.  His name.....Endurance.....he truly lived up to his name each day as he proved a will to survive.  After surviving the flight to Ohio, where a surgeon was willing to perform a delicate surgery, God's will for Endurance became evident.  Today we weep with those that weep, but the wonderful words of 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18 are a comfort.

"But I would not have you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning them which are asleep, that ye sorrow not, even as others which have no hope. For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so them also which sleep in Jesus will God bring with him.  For this we say unto you by the word of the Lord, that we which are alive and remain unto the coming of the Lord shall not prevent them which are asleep.  For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God:  and the dead in Christ shall rise first:  Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air:  and so shall we ever be with the Lord.  Wherefore comfort one another with these words."

Thank you, Lord Jesus for Endurance's life.  Thank you that he no longer suffers, but is in your arms..... the best place to be.  Please comfort his sweet family today and the days to come as they will miss him.


15 today........

It is amazing to me to think that my second daughter is now 15.....the age I was when I met their father!!!!! Time has flown, but I remember the moment when my wonderful husband announced to me, "It's a girl!"  He was the one who actually delivered her as our doctor hadn't arrived just yet.  The doc came a minute and a half too late.  I'll never forget him saying, "No charge."  He meant it, he hadn't missed a birth in over 20 years and he didn't charge us for the delivery!!!  I doubt you could find that these days!  Anyway, I wouldn't trade the last 15 years for anything!  I am so very blessed to have had the opportunity thus far to raise my precious daughter, Anna-Rene`e Ruth Houston.

Today, her daddy and I spent the afternoon with just her.  We went to lunch at Fondi's in Gig Harbor where we had gourmet pizza, salad, and gelato for dessert.  The gelato was complementary as the waiter felt bad for making us wait so long to get refills on our sodas!!!  It really wasn't his fault as he went to get them and suddenly several customers arrived.  We then went and perused some of the shops and stopped to get some coffee.  It was a very enjoyable time spent of the greatest parts was when an employee at one of the shops said she thought we were a bunch of friends rather than daughter with parents!! Ha ha ha!!  She was shocked that Anna was only 15, she thought at least 18 or 20!!!  That made Anna's day, too!! ;-)  The end of today includes a steak dinner with baked potatoes and brownies for her "birthday cake".  Craig had to give a little disclaimer to our other children:  you can only request a steak dinner for your birthday when you are a teenager!!!  Could you imagine the food bill in October and November if they all wanted steak for their birthday?!!!

Well, we are now ending a wonderful day with a wonderful 15 year old daughter/sister.  What a blessed time.  I look forward to what the future holds for this dear young lady.  What will the Lord use her life for? She has already been used to touch so many lives, here locally, as well as over seas in Uganda, Africa.  It was one year to the day that she and her daddy landed in Africa.  How they have been reminiscing about that today!!  Whatever her future holds, I trust she will be used mightily by our loving savior.  I praise the Lord for these days with her..........

Because They Are Precious......

Here are a few of our most recent pictures.  The bottom one is from Mother's Day, a quick shot taken before loading up to go to church.  These are the most precious treasures I have.  I am so very blessed by each one of them.  Not to mention, they are the cutest treasures, too!!!  In the picture of Zeke, you can see a bit of the scar on his arm left over from the iron falling on it!! :-(

And yes, having pictures up means we bought a computer!!!!!  Yay!  We were waiting for the imac to upgrade, and when they finally did, we went out and got one!!!  I am very excited to have our own computer once again!!!!!  Hope you all have a very blessed day, until next time................

Mothers' Day...An Unusual Anniversary :-)

Mothers' Day is a very special day for many, many reasons.  First of all, It makes me pause and reflect on the wonderful mother I was blessed to have.  She is an amazing woman who sacrificed much to raise three rather obnoxious children! ;-)  Second, I can be so very thankful to my wonderful mother-in-law who also sacrificed much to raise three children, one who was especially obnoxious!!!!!  But I am truly blessed at this son she raised.  A son who loves the Lord with all of his heart, soul and mind, and who loves his wife as Christ loved the church, and loves his children more than anything.  Third, I am blessed to be called "mother" by 10 children, and soon 11.  I am thankful that God has counted me faithful and given me the opportunity to raise these precious children for His glory.   Last, but not least, mothers' day is an unusual anniversary.  Nineteen years ago, a very handsome young man asked me out on a date.  On mothers' day?!!  Yep!  My own mother didn't even flinch, let alone pause to think about the answer!!  When I asked if I could go out with "Craig Houston", she immediately said YES!!  Okay, okay, let me assure all of you, my children will NOT be allowed to date and do the things we were allowed to do, and I will NEVER promote this for anyone!!!!!!  With that being said, I was but 15 years old, and he was 16.  He came, with Wranglers and a cowboy hat.  We had a lovely dinner at the Dutch Cup restaurant (which is no longer), then we went to his house and visited with his mom and sister.  I was so shy and nervous, I barely said more than a few words.  If you had told me then that 19 years later, we would be about to celebrate 17 years of marriage, be having our 11th child, and Craig would have been pastoring for 13 years, I would have told you that you were crazy and that you belonged in an institution!!!!!!  But here we are and I wouldn't change a thing!!!

A Busy Week at a Glance

Busy?  Did someone say busy?! Ok, maybe last week was a tad busy!! :-)  It started out with the normal day to day stuff adding a conference at the end.  Then we got a call on Sunday (Easter) telling us of an unexpected death of a man who had just visited our church the week before.  They asked if Craig would do the funeral.  Of course he said yes!  What a way to minister to a hurting family!!!  Well, that made a busy week even busier!!  Now, Craig had to get together with the family and discuss the funeral arrangements, still try to finish his prep for the conference he was speaking at, and try to get rest in the midst of still being a husband and daddy!!!  Wednesday was the funeral, it was done very well and the gospel was preached to a group of family and friends, as well as sailors that he had worked with who were allowed to take half a day to attend.  It was amazing to me at how the very attentive sailors became fidgety during the actual salvation part of the message, and then became very still again after it was over.  I started praying for those who seemed so uncomfortable with the message that God would open their eyes to their need for the salvation that was being declared.  Still praying that the Lord will continue to work in their hearts!!!

Thursday was a crazy day of laundry, packing, and cleaning as we prepared to get over to Redmond that evening.  In the midst of getting ready, my youngest, Zeke, found the iron!! Yep!  It fell on his arm, burning the entire arm from his hand to his elbow!!  Poor little guy!  We put a cold rag on it, then smothered it with burn gel and put guaze over the wound, wrapping it with an ace bandage to prevent him from tearing the guaze off.  He is doing better, but the wound is still ugly!!  We got the van loaded and dropped our puppy off at some very dear folks' house.  (I say very dear because Winston is still a puppy, even if he is fully grown in size, and he can be very naughty and these people KNOW that and still took him!!!!!! Thank you Potvins!!!!)  Then we were off!  The hotel was a short distance from the location of the conference and was a very nice place to crash.  When I say crash, I mean crash!!  Late nights and early mornings along with full days and no naps = crash!!! :-)  My very sweet husband allowed me to take the younger children to the hotel Friday evening and get to bed early, instead of staying for the family night!!!  We went to bed at 9!!!!  Craig spoke twice and did a Q&A roundtable.  After he was done with his commitment, we were able to go through the vendor's hall and look at curriculum.  We had about an hour to two hours.  I am very excited to say we purchased our math curriculum for 1st grade through pre-algebra!!!  We will take the rest of this school year to research other subjects and determine what we will use in the future.  All in all, the conference was good, with much encouragement and reunion of friendships made throughout the years!  My children look forward to seeing many people again and also meeting new people.  The little ones did very well considering all the sitting and being quiet they had to do!!!  I was proud of my husband and his lectures.  He did a great job!!!!  This was a bit out of his comfort zone as he is 100% preacher and not used to lecturing!!  He taught on how to get started in home education and the many ways to do it, including using God's Word as a measuring stick to what you choose.  Making sure that your children's spiritual growth is most important, but that their intellect must not be ignored.  There were many new parents as well as parents who have been doing this for some time.  At the end of the conference, they had a banquet to honor all who worked so hard to put this together.  We ended up leaving around 11 pm!!!!  We got home around 12:30 am on Sunday.  A great way to be refreshed for the 45th anniversary of our church!!!!

We had great services for our anniversary, with Bro Bill Wambsganss coming to rejoice with us!!  He preached for the evening service which is always a blessing!  A wonderful thing when a church is still preaching the gospel strong after 45 years.  Praying for another 45+ years of ministry!!!!

Monday, well, we slept in a bit!!  But couldn't leisure because we had much to do!!  I needed groceries before our deacons meeting that evening.  I took my "muscles" (Daniel)  and went to get the groceries and to pick up our dog, getting home around 5.  The meeting started at 6 with dinner at our house.  We have started having the whole family come over for dinner and fellowship each month and then the men go over to the study for the meeting.  The ladies and the children are all enjoying this change.  After the meeting, we packed Craig's suitcase for his trip to Louisianna.  At 2:30 this morning, I took him to the 76 station where he was picked up by the Kitsap Airporter.  He is doing a second funeral for the same man, this time with his family, in his hometown.  What an honor that they wanted Craig to be the one to do another funeral!!!  My poor husband didn't get a wink of sleep last night and has a full schedule of meeting with the family today and then the funeral itself tomorrow.  He gets home at 12:20 am on Thursday morning.  I'll be picking him up this time as the airporter doesn't have any more runs at that timeframe.  Sigh.  We are hoping for a break soon.  But, the sun is shining and we have rest in the Lord!!

Today I had my doctor's appointment which went well.  Daniel also had his last speech therapy.  He brought flowers and chocolates to the therapist because it was her birthday.  She was thrilled!

In the busyness of the week, I want to leave you with a few things that I am especially thankful for:
I am thankful for a Savior who loves me even with my deepest, darkest sins,
I am thankful for a wonderful (and handsome) husband who is my best friend and confidant,
I am thankful for 11 fantastic children who bless me daily,
I am thankful for sons who are strong enough to lift the 52 lb. bag of dog food so I don't have to,
I am thankful for 2 new babies coming into our life just 4 months after our baby is born,
I am thankful that my friend's daughter is now cancer free!!!!!!!!!

Well, hope your week is a blessed one and that you all rejoice in the goodness of our loving Lord and Savior!!!    

And the new mommy is....

Just a very quick update:  In my last post, I said there was going to be a new niece or nephew.  Now that it is public, I can say that my sister, Michelle, and her husband are going to have another baby!!!  Her due date is January 1!!!  And...........a couple of days later, I found out that my baby brother and his wife are also going to have another baby!!!!!!!  Their due date?  JANUARY 1!!!!!!!  Isn't that fun?!  I am quite excited, as I'm sure you all haven't figured that out yet!!  So, praise the Lord for the new babies!!   Two new cousins for my children!!!  Yay!  This  makes 20 grandchildren for my mom and dad!!!