Monday, July 28, 2014

Costa Rica Sunset!

These are the last pictures from Costa Rica. 

Usually we always take our own pictures on our camera using the timer but this year we decided to have a few taken by the professional girl that was at the resort. Nothing fancy, just 15-20 minutes playing on the beach but it was fun. I thought she captured some pretty shots with the sunset. 

I was talking to a good friend about these pictures and how when people see pictures everything appears so perfect. But that is not always the case. Man, we just have to continue to be so careful to not look at pictures of others and paint our own picture of what "life" is like for them....because I promise you we will always be wrong. 

I was sharing with her how this has been one of our harder years, and the stress has been higher than ever, and so it was nice to get away just to breathe. She reminded me of something that I thought was so true. 

She said....."I am sure the pictures at the beach will be beautiful....but beautiful means something different to me now. It means overcoming problems, still being together and smiling because it's better. There is beauty in a couple that has overcome difficult things." 

That's us. Two imperfect people trying to love each other in a difficult world that is full of challenges each day. Even though this year has been much harder than usual, it doesn't mean that we don't love each other deeply. 

I just didn't want to post these without this reminder. A picture is just a picture. You don't see the condition of a heart in a picture. You don't see the full picture of reality. You don't see the ups or the downs. All you see are the smiles.

We all, including myself, have to remember that life is not smiles every day....but we can still love big no matter what the circumstances are. 

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Costa Rica Adventures!

There is so much to do in Costa Rica. I knew I wanted this trip to be adventurous and that I wanted to try new things and so we did.

1. Four wheeler tour on the beach-so much fun.

2. Hot springs mud bath and pools afterwards. The mud was so hot in temperature and it surprised me. 

3. CRAZY water slide. They said it was on the top 10 list for best water slides in the world. It was close to dangerous--so long, fast and wild! You can tell by the pictures that it was out of control haha. They had people capturing these pictures, they are crazy. 

4. Zipline through the rain forest. I had never done this before and it was a lot of fun. There were ten lines that went from tree to tree and we really liked doing this. 

Saturday, July 26, 2014

Happy Birthday Audra!!

Happy Birthday to my sister and my best friend!! I had such a fun time looking back at old pictures from memories we have shared together....
In her birthday card I told her how lucky I was to have her. I honestly don't know how I would ever live life without her. Over the last 6 years I feel like God has knitted our hearts together in such a way that only He can do. It is such a beautiful thing that I never take for granted for one minute. 

 Audra is my rock. She is so much stronger than she knows and that is why I think she is so beautiful. Her heart desires to be Christ-like and she is one of the most humble people I know.
She loves me for me. I never have to act a certain way for her acceptance or love. No matter how bad of a place I am in, or what I may have done, she has the ability to see past it straight to my heart. Her love never changes and that is a true gift. 
When we are together we don't care what others think. I can be silly with her, I can cry with her, I can just be strings attached. 
I love watching her love my girls. I have never seen anything like it. It brings me joy and such a security knowing that she would take care of them well if something ever happened to me. 

Audra, I hope this birthday is beautiful....every part of it. You are a true inspiration to so many and you make my life brighter! Sometimes I can't believe that I GET to live this life with you!

Happy Birthday!! You are loved by many! 

Friday, July 25, 2014

Costa Rica: At the Resort!

Costa Rica was much different than any other place we have been. We liked the rain forest feel and had a good time on all of the adventures. I think I will break up these posts into three different always, lots of pictures :)

All of these pictures are from our time at the resort. Every night we dressed up and tried out different places to eat.

Relaxing days at the pool and beach...

It was only $20 for an hour massage on the beach. These ladies were awesome!!! They gave me 4 massages while we were there and it was amazing. I loved listening to the ocean waves while they put us to sleep :)
No matter what we go through in life, good or bad, one thing remains....we are best friends and we always have a good time together!

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Costa Rica, 11 years.

We enjoyed celebrating 11 years in Costa Rica....more pictures & memories to come :)

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Almost two year olds. The yellow dress

One more post to look at all three girls in the same yellow dress. I love all their unique expressions. They were all so full of personality at this age, definitely one of my favorite ages with all of them...

They were all about 21-23 months here, close to two.

Brylee June...she reminds me SO much of Audree these days :)

Audree Ann...

Cerly Grace....notice the cut on her chin and bruises on her head. Cerly was always beat up at this age!! Remember the pistol?! Haha...she has grown up since then! 

Monday, July 21, 2014

Heart check-up

An unhappy woman usually needs a change of heart more than a change of circumstances. 

We all want to matter. We all desire to live a life where beautiful fruit is the end result of our efforts. And we all want to wake up each day and feel joy inside, knowing that our life has special meaning. At least I do.

I am loving this bible study, especially these "one liners" that knock my socks off and open my eyes to so much truth. I started writing with one of these one liners and the more I think about it, the more I see how very true it is.

Life happens to all of us. Good things in life, difficult things in life. Things that make us smile and things that make us cry. Even though life happens, and it's not always easy, it is possible to still be filled with joy no matter which way the see-saw is tilting at the time.

Many times when we are unhappy our first thought is to figure out what someone else needs to do to make us happy. We say things like..."If you would just ______ then I would be happy." Ever said or thought anything like that? Just fill in the blank. During those times we are determined that someone elses change in behavior will surely make us happy.

I am not saying that change in behavior doesn't matter, because it can definitely help, but what I am saying is that usually when we are unhappy it is because the condition of heart is not healthy. Something is missing. Something is in our lives that shouldn't be there. Our thoughts are pessimistic and nothing anyone can do or say will change them. We get stuck thinking we are the victim and we feel sorry for ourselves. We look at everything we don't like instead of the things we do like. We find ourselves in this cycle and it is tough to escape.

So I agree with the one liner. Many times we need a heart check-up much more than we need our husband or whoever else to do what we want them to do.

There have been times I have begged for things that I thought would make me happy. And they didn't. I later realized it was my heart that needed attention, healing and restoration....and nothing else.

So check yourself today. Check your own heart...instead of spending your energies on changing your circumstances.

Saturday, July 19, 2014

Things that make me smile.

Things that make me smile.

A hot bubble bath at night.

Stopping in the Sonic drive-in after a long morning with the girls.

The girls.

Exercising. Boot camp. Hot yoga. Sweating. Sore muscles the next day.

Waking up in the middle of the night and realizing I get to go back to sleep. It's a good feeling.

When others smile at me.

Fajitas and queso.

Hearing the girls pray.

Slow country music.

The moment when you realize you did something and you did it well.

Wearing a headband so I don't have to spend an hour washing my hair.

Knowing that someone loves me without them having to say it.

Wearing sweats when it's really cold outside....with a cup of hot chocolate.

Teaching something that God has laid on my heart.

Cuddling at night with Brylee.

Shopping at Victorias Secret.

Waking up after a good dream that I remember well.

Going to church. Worship music.

Laughing with close friends.

Getting a sweet text message. Or a card in the mail.

Hearing that a prayer has been answered for someone I care about.

Wearing a skirt and flip flops in the spring.

Listening to the girls play with each other.

Mexi dip and chips from Taco Bueno.

When I look up and realize that Brandon is noticing me from across the room.

Laying on the beach.

Laying in bed when it's storming and listening to the rain.

Getting a massage.

Rocking Audree before bed.

Watching the Bachelor, Grey's Anatomy and Parenthood.

Braiding the girls hair. Dressing them up to go somewhere.

When people remember my birthday.

Looking back at old pictures and remembering those moments in time.

Pretty painted toes when I look down.

Greeting a church, hugging necks, seeing friends.

Slow country music.

Spending time with people I can be completely myself with.

Thinking about my childhood and all the neat things my mom and dad did with us.

Cerly's voice.

Realizing how much God has brought me through in my life.

The candy store at the mall. Close to heaven for me.

Watching someone get baptized.


Holding a newborn baby.

Loving someone back.

The women in my life.

Facing my fears.

Blogging...writing....expressing myself during good times and bad.

Feeling God speak to me.

Running in races with friends.

Giving. Serving. Doing things that make a difference in someone elses life.

When I believe that I matter because God says I matter and not worrying about any other pressure or person around me.

Sleeping until noon.

Knowing I can trust someone with my thoughts and who I am.

George Strait. Tom Brady. (it's ok, Brandon is aware of these two silly crushes and he is good with it)

A long jog in the morning listening to worship music.

Connecting with others in a special way that matters.

Just a few things that make me smile.

And this sweet face :)

Friday, July 18, 2014

3 1/2 year olds

It has been a while since I looked through old pictures so I figured it was time :)

Here is Cerly and Brylee, both at the age of 3 1/2, wearing the same little outfits. Sweet girls.

They definitely look like sisters but have their differences too :)

I thought they looked much more alike in this yellow dress...growing up too fast :)

Thursday, July 17, 2014

The last few days....

Just a few random pictures of some faces that we love :)

Liz and Collin came to visit us this week and we had a good time with them. The girls are always so ready to love on Collin, they love having him around. Liz and I worked hard at boot camp and then worked hard laying in the pool haha.

Tiffany has been helping with the girls some while she is home from college, they love her :)

Five HAPPY kids at Chick-fil-A lunch!
And here are some pretty faces I love! Boot camp dinner at Chuys was lots of fun! I told them they clean up well! I am used to seeing them all sweaty and hot haha!