Monday, April 27, 2009

The Eyes Have It

More than anything else, my kids get compliments on their eyes. I'm their mom, so I'm sure I'm biased. I think they all have beautiful eyes.
They all have blue eyes, like their Daddy. The shape of their eyes and setting on their face is a combo of both of us.
See if you can figure out who is who!
You can look at the bottom for some special little notes about each person's eyes.
* Rylee was born with a slice of brown in one eye. It has never gone away.
* Jenna has a very dark ring of blue around her eyes. Hers are the lightest shade of blue. And, she was the hardest to photograph!
* Asa's eyes are more smoky. He has amazing eyelashes.
* Joel's eyes are set deep and are very blue.
* My eyes are green. I used to have much thicker eyelashes, I think.

Note: Coming in a close second to most compliments is Jenna's curls. She usually gets noticed by her curls (because she's not facing someone), then she turns around and they immediately notice her eyes. It's funny.

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Annma & Granddaddy Visit Part II

We had so much fun when my dad and stepmom came to visit. We packed our days full of activities. Therefore, it will take two posts to get it all in!
Wednesday we ventured over to Ft. Worth to the Stockyards. We saw the longhorns walking down the cobble street, went into some cute shops, and ate lunch at Cattleman's Steakhouse. We took a look inside Billy Bob's Honkey Tonk, where the handprints of singers line the walls.
Then, we drove to the other side of Dallas out to Southfork Ranch, where the tv show "Dallas" was filmed. I remember watching "Dallas" as a kid and my parents loved the show. We took a tour of the house and walked around the grounds. It was a little sad to learn that the inside of the house wasn't used in the show at all, just the outside. Everything filmed indoors was done on a set in CA. It was still neat to see all the memorabilia and walk around the house. Of course, we listened to the theme song as we were there.
That evening Joel took my parents on a tour of the GFA office before picking up some pizzas for dinner. After dinner, we celebrated birthdays!
Since Grandma & Granddaddy were not here for the twins' birthday in January and would be leaving a few days before Rylee's birthday, we made cupcakes and the kids all opened gifts.
Rylee got a tea set in honor of her 5th birthday and party. Jenna got some diapers for her baby dolls. Asa got a spiderman costume (yeah, no more tu-tus for him!). They also got a few other individual things, cool new toothbrushes, a digital camera for kids, and some movies. They were very excited!Thursday morning Joel and Rylee left for work and school, and then Granddaddy and Grandma hit the road to drive back. We were sad to see them leave, but we had such a great time while they were here.
It was such a wonderful visit. Our kids have grown and changed so much in a year and a half. We aren't going to let that much time pass again. And, though we got to see Grandma & Granddaddy, we haven't seen my siblings and nieces and aunts and uncles and cousins.

So, we're planning a road trip to NC for July. We know it will be an 'adventure' with all our kiddos and that much driving, but we just have to make the journey. So, watch out NC (and all states in between)...the Fletcher gang will soon be on their way!

Annma & Granddaddy Come to Visit Part I

My (Megan) dad and stepmom came to visit us last week. It was such a blessing to see them. It had been way too long! We stopped in NC to see my family on our way to Texas when we moved here. That was in November 2007--about 18 months ago.
Daddy & Ann are also known as Granddaddy and Grandma/Grandma Ann/Annma...the kids called her many different names; I'm trying to get Annma to stick, but we'll see! My kids have 2 younger cousins that live in NC and they haven't figured out exactly what she'll be called yet. I'm sure it will evolve. It was fun to hear all the different things they came up with. I especially liked that Charlotte has called my daddy "G-Daddy"! That was funny.
They arrived on Monday night just as the kids were getting ready for bed. My kiddos were so incredibly excited to see their grandparents. We let them stay up a bit and visit. They toured the house (that doesn't take long) and the kids showed off a few things. Then, we all settled in to rest.
Tuesday we took them to downtown Dallas, then to the Dallas Zoo. It was lots of fun to watch them enjoy watching the kids. I think my dad enjoyed the zoo as much as the kids did! The weather made it a perfect day to be out strolling around.
Most people who visit downtown Dallas stop to see where JFK was killed. There is also a memorial for him. The old Red Courthouse is a nice building and there are fountains nearby that shoot water into the air. Pillars designed to keep cars off certain places make nice jump-off spots for toddlers.I was trying to post everything at once, but we packed our two days full of activities. So, there will be a part two coming soon. We had a blast!

Friday, April 24, 2009

So Much Happening, So Little Time to Share

I have so much to share! I think of things to blog about all the time. Then, I think "who cares?" I mean, really! Is there really anyone out there who cares about all these postings?

If I'm really honest with myself, I would have to say "I hope so" and "I'm doing it for myself". I hope you enjoy what you're reading. But, I also appreciate reflecting and "journaling" about the events of our life. I usually learn more about myself, my family, the Lord, and life as I take time to look back.

This will be a snapshot post about things that have happened this week, then I'll be working on my post about when my parents came to visit (last week). That post will take longer since I'll have more pictures, so come back to check and see it once it's uploaded (maybe tomorrow--depends on my computer!).
First, we are incredibly blessed to have a yard full of flowers and plants--thanks to the previous homeowner. One thing she planted that we never would have done is roses. Just look at this vase full of sweet-smelling roses that came from my yard! You can see my favorite little corner of lush green and pretty color below. I love to look out my kitchen window and see this beauty. I'm telling you, there are many days when I just stand and praise God for His generous gifts to us. We enjoy our yard very much!
Second, Rylee had a Drive-In Movie day at preschool yesterday. Kids made cars from cardboard boxes, then drove from their classroom to the big room. They got some popcorn from the concession stand (and Skittles, says Rylee) and watched the movie Cars. Such fun! Rylee had a princess carriage for a car. (Daddy was very much in on the action of making the car.)
Third, I talked about freezer cooking a bit in previous posts. A very good friend of mine, Kristin, introduced me to the concept after I shared my frustrations of meat prices and lack of menu planning. So, I'm happy to report that my meal-time frustration has decreased greatly. I'm still not great at planning it out way in advance. But, I have a freezer with lots of options in it. Kristin blessed me with my starting supply of freezer meals and I've taken the reins. This week I scoured the grocery fliers and found some good deals on meat. So, I stocked up and went to work.
I don't have a big freezer, just the one on 'top' of my fridge. Inside this tiny space I have 2 beef roasts, 4 sets of pork chops, 4 pork loin roasts, and 5 chicken dishes (plus things like orange juice, butter, hotdogs, beans, strawberries, and vegetables). All are prepped with either a marinade or seasonings. I have a list on the front of my fridge so I know what my options are. I'm planning to add a few ground beef recipes, when I find that on sale.
I'm finding that my kids are doing better about trying new things since I'm making dishes I've never done before. (That's Jenna eating a treat after finishing her dinner last night.) Plus, as my friend Kristin says, I don't feel so bad if they don't like something if I haven't just spent hours in the kitchen making it. Besides, we're working on having gracious hearts about food and it's good training. (We were already doing training for mealtimes, but this post about the subject is good and says a lot about how I feel on the subject. Hard work, but good.)
Finally, I made this super cute, very nice purse/bag yesterday. Yep, I made it! My friend, Bonnie, designs patterns (click here to go see her site). She's a super talented seamstress and has a business of sewing. Her latest addition is patterns. I've been wanting to learn from Bonnie, so she offered to help me make a purse. I picked the fabric and went over to her house for a few hours. After some good visiting and a little work, I was able to leave as the proud owner of this stylish bag! It's called the Sammie Grace bag. (By the way, I sewed it all myself. Bonnie has an amazing machine, which helps, but I actually sewed straight lines.) Joel makes fun of me because I look at patterns in the fabric section of WalMart. I don't even own a sewing machine. But I used to! I made the twins' crib bedding 3 years ago (two sets). I might just have to get a sewing machine again. With two girls, I can see lots of possibilities.
Okay, that was this week in a nutshell. Come back soon to see a posting on our visit from Annma and Granddaddy, as well as pics from Rylee's bday weekend!

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Who are You?

I hope you (whoever you are) are enjoying the multitude of posts lately. I feel like I've done posting overload recently. But, we've been super busy. And, it's been fun to go back through each event, reflect, and share the joy.

So, my post today will be a quick 'break' from the event recap. (sigh)

Sorry to disappoint those of you who just want to see pictures of my kids!

By the way, make sure you take the quiz on the right hand side. I'm just curious what kind of readers we have. (I know some of you who come check out my blog, but I'd love to know why you read it. Hence the title "who are you?")

When God called us to join staff at Gospel for Asia, He made it very clear to me that He wanted to use this place (time in my life, leadership at GFA, circumstances, etc) to break me. Those words were extremely clear. They were so clear, in fact, that when I was asked what I thought my role would be in the ministry, I told the leader what I would like to do but then followed it with a statement that was something like this: "But God has made it clear He's going to break me here. So, He may very well give me another set of twins and then tell me I have to homeschool them all!"

Okay, I realize I might have a divided readership here. One group of you might be saying "Uh, is she planning to homeschool?" The other group might be saying "well, what's wrong with that?"

No and nothing.

You see, at that point in time the last thing on earth I wanted to do was homeschool my kids. I felt like it would be torture (for me and for them) and would certainly break me of any high thoughts I had of myself.

I still don't feel called to homeschooling. Neither does Joel and he's the one who ultimately decides. So, we aren't planning to homeschool. But, if the Lord clearly told us to do it, I would not be opposed to it as I once was.

But, I use that story to illustrate that I understood the breaking was coming. I also use it to illustrate that I had no idea how it would happen.

I've been in process since the time we said 'yes' to the Lord's call to serve here. I would have to say one of the first chips to my pride was support raising. While I know it is biblical and I agree with it, it's still humbling! Literally, we live off what others generously give to support us. That's humbling. In reality, we all live off what others give. Some sell cars and live off the profit from that, thereby living off what others give. But, I guess it feels different in ministry because you aren't selling anything or 'earning' that money. It was even a little different being on church staff since it came out of the 'budget' and people gave in a general sense to the church, not earmarking it for us. It's pretty direct right now. And, it's humbling.

Second was the whole homeschooling thing. Leadership at GFA made it clear that there is no expectation of homeschooling. However, lots of staff families do homeschool their kids. So, it was still something I wrestled with. I thought about it, prayed about it, read about it, and talked to others about it almost the entire 7 months we were raising our support. I still think about it regularly, but the Lord has done an amazing work in my heart on the subject. He basically brought me to a point where I'm willing to do whatever He tells me to do. I think that's what He wants in any area of my life, not just on one subject. But, it was part of the process.

Then we arrived in Texas. I was expecting some big hardships to come my way. I was mentally bracing myself for the breaking. I was bracing so much, that I didn't even realize the rubbing, heating up, and reality of breaking that was happening as I was parenting my kids. Slowly but surely, I began to see that the Lord was going to break me as I was parenting my three children. I started to see that we needed a firm plan for discipline. Joel and I needed to get on the same page and really ask the Lord how He wanted us to parent.

We found our church as we realized this need and saw that a class was being offered. We participated in a study of God's Word through Tedd Tripp's book Shepherding a Child's Heart. It was great. It was hard. But, it was freeing to be broken of my plan (or lack thereof) and replace it with God's plan.

During our first year on staff we read lots of books. One book that was particularly impacting to me was Touching Godliness Through Submission by Brother KP (Yohannan). It came on the heels of The Calvary Road by Roy Hession. Both of those books challenged me in big ways.

Just recently, I finished a study by Beth Moore that chiseled away more of my pride. We learned about When Godly People Do Ungodly Things and I was humbled to realize how desperately I need the Lord. It's so easy to think more highly of ourselves than we ought! The Lord showed me more of my wicked, ugly, prideful heart. Only near the end of the study did I realize just how much breaking was happening throughout the study.

It's been neat to stand back recently and see how God has been steadily breaking me. At times it is very obvious to me that He is using my children and parenting. At other times the words on the page of a book will jump out and it's clear as could be that this is part of it.

I'm nowhere near completion. But, it's fun and beautiful to see the Lord's hand. It's such an honor to know He cares enough to work on me!

And, I thought about all this because I'm currently reading a small book by Pastor Damion Kyle titled The Place of Brokenness in the Life of the Believer. Just today I read this great quote and I'll end with it so you can ponder too!

"...I am a danger to His people and not a blessing to them apart from His continual breaking in my life. Sometimes breaking can happen over things that can seem small in the overall scope of things, for instance, over a careless word. However, if God takes the time to send His 'Nathan the prophet,' the Holy Spirit, to speak to us, then the issue is never small--not for Him, not for me, and not for others."

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Easter

I'm still working on "back posts". Easter weekend, my parents visiting, Rylee's birthday weekend...they will all get here eventually!

So, for now...let's talk about Easter!
We had a GREAT celebration of Easter this year.
I can honestly say I don't know that I've ever celebrated Easter with such heart and love!

My kids really began to understand the reason we celebrate Easter. Explaining it all over and over again made it more real for me, too.
We did several things to celebrate. Friday, the kids and I made a mountain/tomb to visually illustrate the Easter story. We had friends over Friday afternoon to decorate eggs. Then, Friday evening we went to a Good Friday service at church. We also had Jesus hung on the cross and placed Him in the tomb at night (bottom picture below).
Then, on Saturday morning we joined our church for an egg hunt/party at the apartment complex where we lived last year.

Rylee was all about gathering the eggs this year. She filled her bucket, brought it to Daddy, had it dumped, and filled it again! You can see all the loot with Jenna in the wagon!Then, we capped off the day by hosting a party and egg hunt for our neighborhood.
Several weeks before Easter I was convicted that I need to do more to get to know my neighbors. We were studying Isaiah and the verse that says "how lovely on the mountains are the feet of those who bring good news...". Pastor Jerry mentioned that the mountains can be what stand in our way of sharing the Gospel. I certainly haven't shared much in my neighborhood. I didn't know my neighbors! How can I meet needs I don't know about?!

So, after several weeks of conviction, I asked Joel if we could host a gathering. We had no idea how it would all work, but God already had it taken care of.
The day after we decided, a surprise "gift" arrived--just the right amount to cover the costs for hosting a gathering. We made fliers and the kids and I went door-to-door meeting and inviting neighbors.
We even had games! The day of our party we just casually asked about the games being used by our church. They offered to let us use them!
That night about 30 people gathered on our front lawn and enjoyed hotdogs, chips, brownies, lemonade, games, and a nice egg hunt! We give ALL glory to the Lord!
Sunday morning the kids awoke to find that the stone was rolled away and tomb was empty (on our little mountain). They had to find Jesus, who has risen!!!! They were so excited! It's awesome to hear my toddlers shouting "He's alive!"
(By the way, Asa does not like yellow plaid shirts!)We enjoyed Easter at church and then had lunch at McDonald's. Hey....a treat for the kiddos! They love to play at Mickey Ds. We had naps and they awoke just in time to welcome some of our GFA family over for dinner.
Twenty-eight of us gathered on Resurrection Day to celebrate. We hid more eggs, but this time we added Resurrection eggs to the mix. (You can find out what those are here, here, or here. We were given our set by our church preschool director, who we love.) We numbered them and went through the Easter story as the kids all checked out their goodies.
It was so much fun!

The more I grow in my walk with Christ, the more I appreciate Easter and the more I have to celebrate. I cannot even begin to imagine how amazing and wonderful Easter will be as my kids begin to have their own unique relationships with the Lord and we can all celebrate together. What a glorious time to look forward to!

He is Risen!!!