Thursday, December 29, 2011

Christmas Christmas!

Things were a little different this year.  For the last several years, Christmas morning has been spent with my family.  Since there are only two granddaughters we watch them open their gifts every year.  This year Jonas and I packed up and headed to Amarillo to spend Christmas with his family.  His cousin Adrian is leaving in January for Afghanistan and we wanted to spend time with him and his family  before he left.  Jonas' family always provides plenty of entertainment and joyful memories.  We had a great time and even got a white Christmas!  We still have one more Christmas to go with Jonas' dad!  

My top 3 gifts this year:

1. Bare Essentials Make-Up from Jonas

2. Chocolate Toms and some clothes from my parents via Nordstrom Gift Card

3. Camel Colored Steve Madden Boots! 

We also took our annual Christmas pictures with the fabulous Jillian Zamora!  Last year I was in front of her camera 4 times!  I have looked forward to our Christmas pictures alllll year!  She always manages me look like a million bucks despite the reality!  We also took these pictures with the Aldrich's.  However, it was stupid cold and we were trying so hard to get sweet Annabelle out of there, we forgot to take our group photo!  Luckily they are going to reschedule the last part of their session.  Jonas and I are going to sneak in on the last picture!  I think that photo is going to be so neat to look back on chronologically to watch our sweet families grow together!  It blesses my heart to think of what that collection will look like 10 years from now :) Here are a few of my very favorites from this year:

We hope you had a wonderful Christmas with your loved ones! Let's never forget the real gift we received of a sweet baby years ago!  Can't wait till next year! 

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

My Best Friend's Wedding

Well, my bestest friend Britny Jade got married on November 12, 2011.  She has traveled down a lot of broken roads (She hates Rascal Flatts, so in turn will probably hate that statement).  I could not be more pleased with her hubby.  Jonas and I love Carrigan to death.  We are so glad the Lord brought the two of them together.  I rejoice in knowing our families are going to grow together.  I have been so very blessed by Britny's friendship.  My prayer is that we have two daughters that will be able to experience that joy as well.  I cannot wait to see where the Lord takes the McKenzie's (Please know that I am selfishly praying that it doesn't take you to Oklahoma. :p )

Is it really already November??

Good Gracious!  I haven't written a blog in a long time!  There has been some new things going on around here! Especially on the job front.

Jonas FINALLY started with the TSA back in October.  He is commuting from Garland to Lovefield.  His hours have been very erratic. The first couple of weeks of classroom training were normal hours 8am-5pm.  On Saturday he wrapped up two weeks of his second round of training shadowing another employee.  Those hours were a little brutal 12pm-9pm.  It was great because he got to sleep in but I was pretty much always asleep by the time he got home.  I felt a little like two passing ships.  Not a fun feeling.  Tomorrow, Jonas starts his official part-time hours and rotation. His hours are awesome 6am-11am. He will get home in plenty of time.  He is even thinking about possibly picking up a second job part-time.  Initially, we thought he would be part-time for a short time (6 or so weeks).  During training, they informed him that he could be part-time up to a year.  The process is a little annoying to me.  However, we are dealing with the federal government.  I am not sure why I had higher expectations.  Jonas is also in the middle of another FAA hiring panel for air traffic control.  We are still waiting to here on that, but are plenty grateful and content with his current position.

I started a long term substitute teaching position in October.  I am teaching middle school history (one of the hardest things I have ever done :/ ) We initially thought it was only going to be 3-6 weeks.  As it stands now, I am more than likely going to be there until after Christmas.  The sweet sweet teacher I am filling in for has had a rough couple of months.  She went in to have what they thought were cysts removed.  It turned out to be stage 4 Burkett's Lymphoma.  The doctors pushed her in head first with treatment.  It is some of the most aggressive cancer treatment because of the rarity of Burkett's.  Her name is Becca Richardson, please stop and pray for her.  I can not imagine going through what she is going through as a 26 year old newlywed.  The Lord is teaching me so much through this experience.  I am getting great classroom experience and is I am connecting with some of the most amazing teachers and colleagues I have ever encountered.  

We are still living with Jonas' sweet mother.  Thank God for her gracious spirit.  From the looks of it, we will probably be here for a little while.  Both of us want to have a stable job before we move, whether that is a house or another rental.  We are still praying over it.  I know God will provide in His own beautiful timing.  I can't believe Thanksgiving is next week.  It is insane to me. Our CHRISTMAS PICTURES are next week!! Christmas pictures!  I am very excited about those.  Be looking out for another post with all of those lovelies in it. :)

Monday, August 29, 2011

New Stuff and Stilllll Waiting

So, Jonas and I have been back in Garland for 3 1/2 weeks now.  Is that all?!? It feels much longer than that for some reason.  Our life for the most part is still packed up in boxes and probably will be for a while longer.  We are so very thankful for Jonas' mom.  She has graciously opened her home to us.  We will be living in this little room for a few more months probably.  What a blessing this little room is to have! As far as our social  We have something  to do almost every night of the week.  It is amazing.  

I have been looking and looking for jobs.  I had an interview at a church.  However, have decided not to pursue the position.  After a lot of prayer and conversations with Jonas, we have chosen another path.  I have recently been hired as a substitute teacher for Vista Academy in Garland.  Most of you know, I have a teaching degree but I did not pursue my certification because my heart was not in line with the states political agenda.  However, I LOVE TO TEACH.  I always have.  I feel like it is in my nature.  Vista, is a charter school. best explanation I could find.) "The key differences between charter schools and regular public schools lies in three elements that help define them: they are held accountable, not just in general, but to achievement goals embedded in their charters. Their student body is made up of children whose parents chose the school, and the school is tailored to the student body’s needs. They are given freedom from certain bureaucratic procedures with the idea that this will give them a greater ability to focus on creating academic emphasis."

I know several of the teachers at Vista.  They are all friends and members of our faith family.  The reason I chose to apply as a sub to Vista, is the hopes that I may eventually be able to teach on staff there.  I have heard from more than one employee that Vista is one of the most uplifting teaching experiences they have had.  I am so excited about this new journey.  This will make for an easy transition back into the classroom.  Jonas and I both truly believe that this opportunity is straight from God.  His hand has been very evident in the last few days.  Although substitute teaching isn't the best pay, it will definitely pay off in the long run.

As far as Jonas goes...we are STILL waiting on the TSA.  As you might remember, he received a tentative job offer back in March.  He is in the ready pool waiting to be picked up by DFW or Love Field.  It is also time again for another FAA hiring panel.  Jonas in the meantime has been commuting from Garland to Denton for work at First Baptist.  Needless to say, he is already exhausted from all of the driving and it keeps him away from home two nights a week.  We ask for continued prayer on his career journey.  

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Journey for a Faith Family

Whoa. This is longer than I thought it would be.

When I joined my first church, Northlake Baptist, in September of 2001, I was 14 years old.  As a 14 year old, it is pretty hard to step out and join a church by yourself.  No one else blood related to me was a member.  The weird thing is I can't remember ever being scared. Never Ever.  The reason being, is because my church was my home away from home. They were like family to me.  My faith family.  I had "moms and dads" and "brothers and sisters" and even "grandparents" there.  Always freely giving hugs, advice, and even correction when needed.  I spent as much time as I could there.  I felt a passion and a desire to go to church.  I loved being able to show up and serve along side people I adored.  I trusted them whole heartedly with my spirit and my well being.  Still to this day there are SEVERAL people, whom I met at Northlake, that I know I could call at a drop of a hat and they would pray for me! 

When I moved away to college, I was programmed to go an find a church home.  Britny and I searched and visited multiple churches but never quite felt at home like we did at Northlake.  As a last resort we visited First Baptist Denton.  Right out of the gate we were greeted with warm smiles.  Right after church we were invited to lunch with several of the other college students.  Immediately, we felt like we had made friends and made a very easy transition to a new church home.  I got plugged in as soon as I could.  After about a year, I had prayerfully joined the college leadership team.  The college ministry was really focused at discipleship and strengthening faith.  There is a very large turnover rate in college groups due to everyone being from all over the state and sometimes country.  With that comes new people. After about 2 1/2 years, I started feeling very secluded and judged for no apparent reason by people whom I considered my friends.  The atmosphere of fellowship and discipleship started turning into an outreach numbers competition.  Cliques were immediately formed and down went that family feel.  I wasn't being encouraged by my peers.  Politics and conservative beliefs were bleeding from the walls. I did not feel spurred on by my church.(Please know this does not include everyone from FBCD.  There are several of you who are very near and dear to my heart!! I have tried to make it a point to tell those of you who are still so special to me.)  Including the pastoral leadership.  

I doubted my motives for leaving over and over and over.  Was I being petty?  Was I being selfish? Was I really trying to make new friends?  I was becoming bitter.  I was gossiping.  I was beating myself up.  My feelings about the church were hindering me from my relationship with Christ.

Ultimately, I kept coming back to this scripture:

Hebrews 12:1"Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely,"

I felt a conviction to step away from the church body and I did.  I kept very near to the people who spurred me on and leaned heavily on my sweet sweet mentor Kay Trull.  I started visiting The Village on occasion but never felt a draw to connect.  I never felt  unwelcome, but I did feel very small.  The Village has THOUSANDS of members! Of course I felt small.  My first faith family, Northlake,  had 600 members attending regularly.  One thing I learned from The Village, is how I needed to be fed as a Christian.  I learned that I do not learn from or crave the same topical sermon with pieced together scripture taken completely out of context.  I needed to be fed scripture in its raw form. I LOVE learning how to break scripture down in context and apply it to my life. Walk me through an entire book of the bible.  Tell me how and why it was written.  Tell me where else in scripture it references to.  Leave the politics out of it and feed me the word! 

Which brings us to the present. Connection Community Church in Rowlett, TX. FINALLY, a faith family that WE could worship and serve beside.  After visiting one Sunday, Jonas and I both agreed we had found what would be our church home.  We felt a huge desire to pray over this church and its leadership before we even moved back to Garland. They are solely based on the bible.  They always point back to scripture.  Every decision has a biblical grounding not a political point to make.  We are whole heartedly fed by scripture.  I am for the first time grasping.C3 is so incredibly welcoming.  We immediately felt loved and wanted.( It helped a little that my bestie, Brianna Malone, told EVERYONE our life story before we even started coming regularly!) We officially joined this past Sunday and we CAN NOT wait to start serving! Not only did we join but our closest friends( Austin and Jennifer Aldrich, and the Trahan Clan ) joined as well!  C3 is only 9 months old and we are so eager to impact our community.  We are ready to live out scripture and do life together. We are already sooo very blessed by our faith family both spiritually and physically.  We want to shout it from the roof tops and spread the love. I have never been more eager to invite people to church and not feel like the politics are shining through more than the sheer relationship of Jesus Christ. 

We are so excited for this phase of our life and the new friendships and relationships that are ultimately going to further His Kingdom.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Another season comes to an end.

In August of 2004, my best friend Britny and I set out on a new season of our life. College. We left the comforts of home in Garland, TX and moved to a new and exciting place, Denton, Tx. I remember the day we moved here very clearly. I remember hugging our parents goodbye in our dorm room and watching them leave. We both sat down and kind of looked at each other in shock. Those were our thoughts.
I wish we had a picture.

In August of 2005, my love joined me in that season.

We have made so many memories through out our time here. We have met people and friends that will forever, be a part of our lives. This season, in this town, has completely changed our life. This blog post is to really take a trip down memory lane to honor our sweet time here.

As we move on the the next season in life, we take with us memories of a time of youth. A time of crazy. A time of laughter. A time of growth and change. A time of blessings. See ya later, Denton. We will be back to visit!

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