Sunday, September 25, 2011

Pause case you haven't has been a while since I last posted!  Life is CRAZY!!!  But, life is so good at the same time.  :)
I was recently thinking about how October is right around the corner...and that means that Owen has been with us for almost a year!!!  I can NOT believe it!  The past year has been the most beautiful and challenging year of our lives.  We have all 4 grown so much.
The thing that I am reminded of over and over again through out this journey is how much God loves us.  I don't deserve His love, but He loves me so much more than I could ever imagine.  More than I love my babies, my husband, my parents, friends, and family.  I just can't imagine a love so great.  Yet I feel it.  I really do...especially lately.  I have had to remind myself to just take a few moments and appreciate the blessings.  The things He has given me...because He loves me.  ME...broken,
I urge you to stop everything (harder than it seems) and think about that.  Think about the sun hitting your face, or the wind blowing your hair.  Think of the butterfly in your path.  The rain falling out of the sky.  The look from a loved one.  Our God did this FOR YOU.  He loves you so much that He would give you all of that.  And then some.  My new promise to myself is that I appreciate it more.  And it feels so warm and cozy.  :)
With that said...I am trying to slow down a bit.  I am trying to focus where it is needed and stress a little less.  OK.. a lot less.  And for now, that means taking a break from blogging here for a while.  Of course, God is still moving in the Willis house...and when He tells us to jump again (whatever that may look like) we will and we will share it with everyone.  We are open books...and we always want to be that way.  We believe God has moved so much (and crafted so many miracles) in our family, that we always want to share it with others.
I will still be posting monthly on Today's Housewife and The Stitches Blog.  I will still be on Facebook some (send me a shout out if we aren't already friends).  As always...please send me an email or message if you have questions or need prayer.  :)
Thank you for being a part of our journey!  I'll leave you with a few (or 12) pics.

Till Next Time!!!

To Our Sweet Owen,
Sweet boy...I fall more and more in love with you every day.  Really.  Your sweet kisses are perfection.  And you are growing so much we don't know what to do!  You truly are amazing.  The past year you have taught us all so much.  And we are still just thanking God that you are ours.  That He picked us to be yours...such an honor!  I know that He has big plans for you son.  I can't wait to see what it is.  You make me so happy.  Thank you for being you...
Love you more,

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Inspirations Blog Series 3 has been quite a while since my last blog post!  The reason all honesty...I just haven't been feeling very inspired.  This stay at home Mom of two business is tough and there are times when I think I am doing well to just make it through the day with my sanity in tact.  Owen and Gracie are just a bit of a handful at times (not to mention the many other life "growth opportunities" going on right now), and though I am certain that my kids are perfect in every way...lets just say that they are keeping me on my toes!!!
With a few counseling sessions (yes...I admit it...sometimes we all need a little help!) and some much needed Mommy's Night Outs - I am feeing much better!  And I am back to feeling a little bit inspired again...hoping that the floodgates will open again and pour out like they did in the golden days.  Lol. are a few that have stuck out to me lately...

You may recognize this pic - I think I may have posted it before.  It is one of my ALL TIME FAVORITE pics ever taken.  It was taken by a friend that we met in Uganda who was also adopting a little boy.  We went into a village to take pictures of a friend's little girl for her - and it was an awesome little trip.  My friend Abi happens to be Abi of one of the most talented, beautiful, and creative women I know.  She has a passion for photography and capturing the most beautiful moments and that inspires me almost as much as this picture does.  She also has a sweet soul...and that inspires me even more than the pic.

Coffee makes me so. very. happy.  REALLY...the kind of happy that makes me smile...when I am all by myself...or when the house is full of people.  Good days.  Hard days.  They have to start with coffee (or I will get a migraine by 10...but hey...that is OK!).  

A good movie is so easy to get lost in.  You can, for just a little while, forget about everything and explore a new world.  A movie is made so much better when shared with someone you love - friend or hubby!  Though a friend is more likely to agree with you on what movie you pick.  :)

And this is what I have for now.  I do still have my list...but we are moving and it is in a box somewhere around here.  I am sure I will have more inspiration soon.  What inspires you?

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Inspirations Blog Series 2 (and some info on Owen)

I'm just going to be honest regarding the reason why it has taken me so long to post the 2nd "episode" of the inspirations blog series.  Here it is...ready???...gotta be honest...LIFE HAS BEEN A BIT CRAZY.  I have been inspired.  And there have been some REALLY awesome times...but there has been a lot of adjusting, regressing, stress, and exhaustion over the past few weeks.  The Mister (the big one) had an accident while working a structure fire that required surgery on his shoulder and a MAJOR adjustment to his work schedule (leaving 3 "kids" at home a lot more than usual), we had a follow up appt with Owen at Children's, Gracie and Owen were struggling a bit (I use that term very loosely), and we actually had some time together as a family to enjoy.  All of that has kinda zapped my creativity.  We have really enjoyed having some much appreciated time together - a rare jem for just would have been so much better had it been due to better circumstances.  I am feeling like we are on the upswing, and I am happy to be back!
Now on with the inspiration...

Owen Mukisa Willis
This the definition of inspiration.  He has overcome so much.  Smiles so often.  Belly laughs more than anyone I know.  He truly loves life.  He is not perfect (shocking, I know), but he really is a picture of God's perfect will.  I have said it many times, but will say it again:  God truly blessed us when he brought Owen into our lives.  It isn't the other way around.  We are so thankful to be his family.  
Children's Adoption Follow Up Appointment Update:
Owen had a bone scan done on his hand to determine his age.  It looks like he is closer to a younger 2 according to his bones.  But, due to malnourishment, it may not be totally accurate.  SO, we will wait a little bit and if his developmental age continues at the rate it is (3 year old) and his size (wow) continues to blast off, we will go with him being 3.  "How old is he?" used to be such an easy question!  
We are also going to be going to Scottish Rite for some concerns regarding his hips.  I mentioned to the doctor that I felt like something wasn't right, we did an x-ray, and there is some bowing of his hips.  This could be for several reasons and the best course of action is to go somewhere where the doctors know that sort of thing.  Scottish Rite couldn't be a better place for it!  We know that by experience!!!  Between Owen and Gracie...they are going to know us so well now!  Prayers are, of course, appreciated regarding this appointment!  We will let you know what we find out...and are assuming it will take a while to get him in.

Grace Carolyn Willis
I was watching Gracie do her swim lessons this year thinking...about all that has changed in her life this year.  A new (toddler) brother.  Juvenile Arthritis.  Shots.  Sharing Mommy and Daddy.  And lots more.  And I am reminded, again, of how awesome she is.  This such a lover.  She has never met a stranger and just loves to love.  She has the most amazing imagination and is growing up so much!  I have so much fun just watching her.  She tells me stories.  And her prayers blow. me. away.  She is such an awesome little prayer warrior.  Here are some of the things she prayed for this week:
*that her cousin Elena's hair would grow back and she would be healffee (healthy)
*for these blessings (ok)
*that her brother would share, not hit, and not bite (hmmm)
*that her Daddy would feel better and have a good day at work (even if he isn't going there)
*that she would make good choices (nice!)
Prayer time is my favorite time with her.  :)

The Little Elm Firefighters and friends
This injury has been hard on all of us for more than one reason.  But...we have trusted that God will provide in all the ways needed.  And He has.  He has used so many people to do this.  Josh always talks about his "brothers".  And I (along with the other wives) know that this brotherhood is a big part of our lives, but we enjoy making fun of it more than anything.  It is hard to do that when you look outside every other week and see one of them mowing your hard...or posting about a fundraiser for your family...or hearing the reminder that they are praying for you.  They really do show what it means to be a family.  We have really felt so much comfort and support from them.  It really helps...and shows that family is so much more than blood relatives.

Vacation Bible School
We are more than half way into the week of VBS and I can honestly is changing ME.  I look at these kids...many of them unchurched...and think about what an awesome blessing it is to have the opportunity to share Jesus with them.  And they want to learn so much!  They are having a blast and our host and volunteers are so much fun.  I really think we have a great team!  We got to kind of modify a service project today and it almost brought me to tears talking to them about missionaries and Uganda.  They used beads to make bracelets and they were SO interested in learning about mission work and orphan care.  They are each praying for people who are in Uganda doing God's work right now!  God is up to something this week!!!  These little lives...inspire much.  As do the people working with them.  

This long list of inspirations...keeps I will have lots more to share soon!

To Our Sweet Owen,
Son...I couldn't help but laugh at you today.  You had a shirt on that needed to be washed so I took it off.  You did NOT appreciate it.  And you let me know that you were cold (in the 80 degree house) until I got you another one to put on.  You do not like to be naked, dirty, or wet.  You crack me up!!!  
Love you more,

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Inspirations Blog Series 1

I have been doing some thinking (shocking...I know) and I have come to this conclusion:  I am SURROUNDED by the most inspiring, beautiful, and miraculous people, places, and things.  They are literally every where.  I thought I would post a blog about some of I started to make a list...and it got really long.  Way too long for a blog post.  Then...I kept adding to it...and now, well, I just can't stop.
SO...I think it is time for a series.  I am excited to share this with you.  And I really had a hard time choosing which ones to write about first.  So, hang with me.  There are lots more to come.
This also got me wondering about something else.  What inspires you????  Please feel free to share in the comments.  :)

This is Joshua.  The hubby.  He is strong.  He cares for others...committed his life to helping them - even if it means putting himself in harms way.  He is an overcomer.  He lives life one day at a time.  He is kind.  He is brave.  He loves his family.  He loves his God more.  His necklace has his sobriety date on it (07/16/08) and this:  "Thanks be to God, who giveth us the victory".  Saying that I love him...just doesn't quite cut it.

 I just couldn't pretend that food doesn't inspire me.  IT DOES.  A lot.  This is one of my favs.  Isn't it beautiful?  What is more beautiful is that - at the table - my whole family was present.  And enjoying life together.
 This is..Italy.  Well...maybe it is Italy in Disney World...but it is the closest I have ever gotten.  The sky...the architecture...the arches...the lines...the complicated simplicity.  
This is a flower that grew at the guest house we stayed at in Uganda.  I remember looking at it in awe.  Just how detailed and beautiful is it?  

I have always been a fan of butterflies.  They are so pretty...and different.  They, for me, represent freedom...a new creation...

The Military Spouse.  Her husband's (or wife's sometimes) job is always appreciated by an American.  They fight for our country...we are free...b/c of what they do for us.  But, for most soldiers...there is a wife sitting at home running the family.  She sacrifices.  A lot.  And that inspires me.  She supports.  She appreciates.  She misses her family being together, but she keeps on pushing forward.

Melissa Busby
You've probably heard me talk about this sweet family.  She is the one who has been in Uganda for 9 months trying to get her little girl, Mercy, home.  You can read her blog here.  She has been stuck away from her family for so long.  I would HOPE that I would be as awesome as her if I were in her shoes.  But, I don't know that I would be.  She has embraced the culture, kept the faith, held onto hope, helped the people of Uganda...and the list goes on and on.  She is a great example of someone who looks for the good.  And her faith in what keeps her going.  She says she has hard days (I would assume so...who wouldn't!?!?), but she really does keep her chin up (as my grandfather would put it).

To My Sweet Owen,
You had a bit of a rough morning.  BUT, you always show me that you are just so sweet.  And gentle.  Even though you sometimes want to be anything but.  Your little just so...soft.  And I love it.  I love all of you.  Even the part that had a hard morning.  :)
Love you more,

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Appreciating comfort...

I have been thinking a lot lately of the things I take for granted.  The things that I do regularly and don't always think twice about.  Things like this:

  • the ability to get in my car and drive
  • the ability to wash my clothes in a machine
  • the water that comes out of my faucet
  • coffee - brewed
  • music and the fact that I can listen to it
  • my church
  • freedom to serve my God
  • clothing for my children
  • shoes
  • air conditioning
  • doors
  • microwaves
  • phone calls
  • blogging
  • praying
  • confiding in a friend who just understands
  • sunblock
  • the oven and stove
The list really goes on and on...

Then...I read an email from Make Way Partners and I was really overwhelmed with how much I take for granted.  One of the things I take for granted most:  My children lay in their beds at night and my work is done.  It is really the only free time I get through out the day.  They are good and I don't have to worry.  But the people of Southern Sudan and Northern Uganda...are on alert ALL THE TIME.  Probably even more at night when rebels from the LRA are likely to attack them and their families.  The things that they do...are far worse than I could even begin to imagine.  I pray that this will come to an end (will you?), and I am reminded that I need to be thankful.  I need to appreciate the list above and live my every day life with appreciation for ALL things God has blessed me with.  ALL THINGS.  Because His plan is perfect.  And part of resting in His plan is being thankful for His plan.

This is how my babies look when they are at rest....SO...PEACEFUL...

I want to REST in God like this...with complete peace.  Giving Him all my fear, concern, worry, and allowing my life to be full of thanksgiving all the days I have here.

To My Sweet Owen,
You have changed me forever.  I look at you and think over and over again how blessed I am to be your Mommy.  You laugh and smile and make show how talented our God is with His creations.  You are becoming such an amazing little guy.  And you LOVE to run.  Your little legs move so fast.  Your Daddy and I are so proud of you.
Love you more,

Monday, May 30, 2011

A heart for Uganda

Please take a minute and read the note below.  Kat is a friend of mine (for over 10 years) and I am so excited about what God is doing in her life.  I know He has big plans for her trip to Uganda.  Her heart is a good example of how God works through His people.  Thanks!

Dear Friends and Family,

Good News! After prayerful consideration, I’ve decided to step out in faith (and way out of my comfort zone) to take part in a short term mission trip to Uganda this July with a team from my church, Christ Fellowship. God is moving mightily in Africa and I am honored to have this opportunity to serve Him!

Our team will partner with Pastor Makumbi Johnson and his church to provide medical, dental, and vision clinics to three villages in the Luwero district (2 hours N/W of Kampala) and launch three new church plants. Our trip will begin on July 9, 2011 and we will return on the 21st.

The total trip cost is $4,300. It’s no surprise that I do not have that kind of money lying around! I’ve already received donations from a few generous supporters who’ve helped provide the funds for the trip deposit and my immunizations. I have some money saved and plan to sell a few things, but I will still need financial support to raise all the necessary funds. The deadline for raising the funds is July 2.

25% of the money I raise will help cover the cost of supplies for the clinics, purchasing land to build churches, drilling two deep water wells, school supplies, and life saving mosquito nets.

Whether you are able to contribute financially or not, please join me in praying for the success of this mission. Please pray for me and my team now as we prepare to leave for Uganda and while we are out of the country
§  for the health and safety of our mission team
§  for the trip’s financial needs to be met
§  that our team will work well together
§  for the people of Uganda who are awaiting and preparing for our arrival

If you’d like to help support me and this mission financially, no gift is too small and I will greatly appreciate any help! The following link will take you directly to my donation page on the church website. Credit cards are accepted, but using your bank routing number is better for the church due to the fees associated with credit transactions.

While I will be made aware that you contributed, I will not know the amount. All donations are considered charitable and are tax deductible.

 If you prefer to send a check please make your check payable to “Christ Fellowship” and write “Uganda Church Plant 2011” on the memo line. Please do not put my name anywhere on the check. Mail checks to:

Christ Fellowship
Atten: Rafe Wright
2801 Orchid Dr.
McKinney, TX 75070

Please write “Uganda-July, Kat Inslee” on the bottom left corner of the envelope so that Rafe will know to add your contribution to my account.

Thank you in advance for your prayers and/or financial support. I am thrilled to have this opportunity and I can’t wait to share with you what God does on this trip and in my life!


Kat Inslee 

To Our Sweet Owen,
You have no idea how many people your life has effected.  Your smile and personality have changed so many others.  AND...Auntie Kat just might bring you a treat home from your birth country too.  :)
Love you more,

Monday, May 23, 2011

Awaka Children's Foundation: THANK YOU and a FUN NEW FUNDRAISER!

When we started our adoption journey, we kept hearing the name of ONE MAN come up over and over and over again.  We heard only good things about this man named Godfrey everywhere we looked.  Josh and I even joked about calling him Saint Godfrey (only kidding, promise).  But, the truth is...this man is amazing.  I can't even imagine what the numbers would be if I were able to add up all the children he has literally saved and impacted in immeasurable ways.  You see...Godfrey is a different kind of man.  One that God has molded and shaped to have a heart for orphans in a radical way - more specifically orphans in Uganda - his home.  I am not exaggerating when I say that this man saved our son's life.  He.  Really.  Did.  And he does that sort of thing for a living.  He also helps families who come to Uganda by being their guide.  He is a new employee of Sixtyfeet - which you probably already know is an organization that my heart is involved in - in a big way.  He also works with Awaka Children's Foundation, Inc. and changes lives with both of these amazing organizations.  He fosters children and loves them like his own.
Josh and I thought he was a older man...maybe grey...probably wrinkly...wise.  When we got to Uganda and met Godfrey...this is what we saw:

A young guy.  Tall.  Smiling.  A guy with a seriously wonderful sense of humor.  Down to earth.  Kind.  Careful.  Considerate.  Will go out of his way for anyone.  A Dad.  A husband.  And now...our friend.  Though we really do kind of just consider him family.
This picture includes his wife and two bio children - as well as other children that he is (surprise, surprise) helping.  His youngest - the baby in the pic - has very recently been diagnosed with a heart condition.  She needs to be seen by a doctor here in the US.  Awaka has raised all the funds needed to actually get them here.  Now they just need help to get some funding for their stay.
PLEASE consider going to the link below and taking part in Awaka's fundraising.  Godfrey is also happy to speak to people (churches, groups, orgs) while he is in country, so let me know if you want to set that up.  Of course, your prayers are so much more than appreciated and needed now as well.  Let me know if you have any questions!
Thank you!!!

I also will be having a UGANDA PAPER BEAD NECKLACE PARTY coming up soon.  All proceeds will go to Godfrey and his family.  More to come on that!

Awaka Children's Foundation: THANK YOU and a FUN NEW FUNDRAISER!: "FIRST off we all wanted to THANK YOU for your support of Godfrey and his family. It is thrilling to have all the money necessary for the fam..."

To Our Sweet Owen,
You have no idea how many people love you.  Seriously...pretty much everyone you meet.  You are still growing...a lot.  You are quick on a big wheel.  Your feet are have officially out grown your every way measurable.  You are ALL BOY.  And I love you every last bit of you.
Love you more,

The Narrow Path

“Enter through the narrow gate; for the gate is wide and the way is broad that leads to destruction, and there are many who enter through it.  For the gate is small and the way is narrow that leads to life, and there are few who find it.”
Matthew 7:13-14

I’ve been doing a lot of thinking about this path lately.  Narrow is the gate AND the way.  Narrow doesn’t really sound fun to me.  Wide…and with lots of other people…sounds much more…well…easy.  But, the path that leads to LIFE is narrow.  And I want to walk THAT path.
This weekend I took both kids to the park near Scottish Rite to celebrate the hospital’s 90th birthday.  There were animals and crafts, but what caught my eye was this path.

I couldn’t help but want to walk over to it.  And I thought of this verse in Matthew 7.  The path was BEAUTIFUL, but it was narrow.  And it wasn’t really EASY to walk (compared to the big road that was paved next to it), but it was so much more enjoyable.  You see, what I am learning is that in order for me to find joy in something, it doesn’t have to be easy.  In fact, what makes it joy is finding the good stuff in the hard times.  Seeing blessings and living in thanksgiving, even though life isn’t perfect and knowing that there will be really hard times.  Here lately, I have to be thankful for that.
As I think more and more about it…I can’t stop thinking that God wants me to walk the narrow path so I can rely on Him to get me through it.  If I go the easy route, I may confuse myself and think that I can do it on my own – and that doesn’t allow for any growth nor does it allow me to connect with Him.  God likes growth, doesn’t He?  And if I am growing in Him, then I am where He wants me to be.  Which is also where I want to be.
As I took pictures of the kids (cause I couldn’t let the pretty setting go by without doing that!), I had to think for a moment of the blessings that come as a result of walking the path the Lord puts me on with Him. 

Pretty amazing, huh?  And what’s even better is that if I get off the beaten path a little bit, He is mighty to save and get me back on track – AND He makes good of all things. 
At the top of the path was this…

Don’t we serve a mighty God???  It is like the reward is this beautiful place where I can sit with Him.  Such a great reminder (amongst a big crowd and lots of noise) of the stillness and peace of our mighty Savior.  He is worthy of our praise!!!

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Crazy couple of weeks...

Well...I really do think it is fair to say that there is never a dull moment in the Willis household.  Over the past couple weeks we have had a lot of "happenings".  Some of them are listed below...

  • I went out of town for the first time EVER.  Christian Alliance for Orphan's Summit VII was AMAZING.  God spoke...and I heard.  The most important things that I learned and felt like I could share are:
    • The church has a role in orphan care.  I am so excited to see what God has in store for The Journey - FBC McKinney's orphan care ministry.
    • Helping without Hurting - We are PARTNERS with the people we are helping.  We are learning from EACH OTHER.  There is no knight in shining armor.  I have already learned this to be true from our short time in Uganda, but the reminder is very appreciated.
    • God is going to walk with us one step at a time.  And when He speaks...we will be ready to listen.  We are up for whatever He has in store for us.
    • Josh is amazing.  I am so blessed to be married to this man.  Those of you who know me well...know that it wasn't easy for me to "let go and let God" while I was away.  I had never left before - because I couldn't let go of control and was too afraid of the "what ifs" while I was gone.  I am a fool for waiting so long.  Not only did Josh take good care of them...their clothes even matched on more than one occasion!  He cleaned dishes...and did laundry.  SERIOUSLY!  So thankful for our marriage and for God's blessings.  If you really give your all to HIM...He will make good of everything.  
  • Josh had an accident at work.  He was working a structure fire at a church and fell through the ceiling.  He was able to catch himself with his arm and pull himself up.  
    • Looks like he really tore his shoulder up and will be having surgery.
    • Workers comp isn't we still aren't sure when or how extensive surgery will be (2 1/2 weeks later).
    • It looks like Josh will be on light duty for approx. 6 months to recover from his injury.  This freaks us all out...for lots of reasons.  
    • We could have lost Josh that day or his injury could have been so much worse...if he had fallen...onto the pews below.  We are just thankful that he is here.
  • The kids had some regression from Mommy's trip.
    • They were not happy that I took some time away.
    • They showed me that by making life very difficult for a little while.
    • It is a GOOD thing I love them so much.  :)
    • Night time is NOT fun.  And day time was pretty scary for a while too.
    • I think things are getting better now...thank you Jesus!!!
  • We got to welcome home our close friends - The Hewitts - as they arrived home with their two kiddos from Uganda.
    • Wow...being at the airport reminds me of our own homecoming.
    • Man...that was SCARY...and EXCITING..and OVERWHELMING all at the same time.
    • Pray for the Hewitts - they are now a family of 7!!!!!
  • We had a GREAT follow up appointment at Scottish Rite for Gracie!
    • Praise the Lord!!!
    • Looks like the medicine is starting to work.  Less stiffness, less swelling, and less limping.
    • Her blood work is looking pretty good too.
    • More follow up in two months.  :)
    • No major illnesses so her immune system seems to be doing well.
All this to say...I am coming to terms with something.  And that something is this:
I think He wants me to rely on Him.  Not on everything being "OK".  So...we will take it day by day.  And recognize and appreciate all the blessings that come with each day.  It isn't always easy, but it is so great.  
Here are a couple pics of the kids that I really like from the past couple weeks...

To our sweet Owen,
Son, you crack me up.  You really do.  You are such a goof ball.  You really do seem to act just like your Daddy.  And you pick the funniest moments to show your sense of humor.  Not everyone gets it (much like your Daddy), but I do.  I think you are hilarious.  And you make me smile...pretty much all the time.  You are such a blessing.  
Love you more,

Friday, April 29, 2011

Going on mission...

God changed us when Gracie was born.  God changed us about 3 years ago when Josh and I renewed our vows.  He changed us when things were hard and when things were easier (notice I didn't say "easy" lol).  He changed us in  Uganda.  He is changing us now.
We can't help but think about what this all means.  Is he preparing us for something?  What is it gonna be???  Is it a big something?  Or a little something???  Is it a someONE?  Or a someTHING?  Or a some WAY?  WHAT IS HE UP TO?

I keep feeling like God is telling me clearly though...LIVE IN TODAY.  I am on mission right now.  In McKinney, Texas.  At my house.  On walks.  Running errands.  Why is this so hard for me? 

"Give your entire attention to what God is doing right now, and don't get worked up about what may or may not happen tomorrow. God will help you deal with whatever hard things come up when the time comes."  Matthew 6:34 (The Message)

One of our family's most important phrases to remember is "One day at a time."  Take it as it comes.  And I'm really not "worried" about tomorrow.  I trust that God has awesome plans.  We are choosing to follow Him today, and tomorrow I believe we will make that same choice upon rising.  At least I KNOW I will and that is all I need to know.  So, I know that he will take care of us. Totally get that.  
The thing is...I like to plan.  I like to prepare.  Surprises are nice for my birthday and anniversary...but I like to be able to know what is coming.  And when I plan for what is coming...I get sucked into this...process.  I play out the "what ifs" and the "just in cases".  And I get all wrapped up.
Wrapped up in tomorrow.  Then, there is waking up, getting dressed (X3), brushing teeth (X3), eating breakfast (X3), going to school, doing tasks, pick up, clean up, lunch, dinner, baths, bed, blah, blah, blah...and the day is over.  And I "thought" the day away.  Instead of being present.
It seems like one of my biggest daily struggles is living in "auto pilot".  I go through the day to day and don't really feel like I am "in it".  Just kinda "doing it".  If that makes sense...
So, lately, I am giving it my best to change that.  TO BE PRESENT.  APPRECIATE THE BLESSINGS IN TODAY.  This means I MUST start out with prayer.  Must.  And I have to remind myself regularly.  I have good days.  And bad days (we will call today a not so great day on my part).  But, I am really trying.
Because I get to be married to Josh, Mommy to Gracie and Owen, daughter, sister, granddaughter, friend to some of the most AMAZING people ever to live.  My life is LOADED with blessings.  And it is time to realllly appreciate them.  ONE DAY AT A TIME.  

To my sweet Owen,
Well, weren't very "sweet" this afternoon...and this evening.  You were a little bit of a handful.  But, you know what?  I love you more today than yesterday.  And I am pretty sure that tomorrow...I will love you even more than today.  You are my son.  And you are so amazing.  I praise and thank God for blessing me with you.  And one WILL learn how to listen.  RIGHT?!?!  

Love you more,

Wednesday, April 20, 2011


We have lots to celebrate at the Willis home lately!!!  Two of those are:
1.  Owen has been with us for almost 6 months!!!
2.  We raised 1000.00 for Sixtyfeet with our Cupcake Kids Sale!!!
If you haven't already seen it on facebook, take a few minutes and watch our video!  
Then think about how God may be looking at changing YOUR life!  
To our sweet Owen,
I can't believe it has already been 6 months!  Yet it feels like you have been with us forever.  How is it that you defy time and make both of those statements true for me?  We can't imagine life any other way, nor do we want to.  We are just so thankful that we jumped and that the jump lead us to you.  You are strong and smart.  Kind and loving.  Your laugh is contagious.  Your smile melts hearts.  You are still growing at record breaking rates!  We love you so much more than we can explain.  Thank you for being you.
Love you more,

Friday, April 1, 2011

Change a life in a really SWEET way!

fI have posted about sixtyfeet before on more than one occasion.  The places this organization is helping were laid VERY heavy on my heart shortly after we came home with Owen.  The prisons (yes, prisons) where these children (yes, children) are being held are unimaginable.  And to think that my sweet Owen (the kids there are JUST like him) could have ended up at a place like this...just destroys me.  Then...I look at the kids there...and they destroy me.  They are children...just like you and me...just like your child and mine.  They want to play and be loved, and they deserve that.  I want to change the way they are living.  I want to DO SOMETHING ABOUT IT.  Don't you???
Today, God is showing me a way I can do that.  And it is through sixtyfeet and a good, old-fashioned cupcake sale!  Families all over the country are getting together to make a change in the lives of these doing something simple...SELLING CUPCAKES!  Take a look at the cupcake kids website here.
I have partnered with some other Moms here in Collin County who have decided that we want to make a difference in the lives of these kiddos.  Want to join us???  You get a pretty sweet deal in this!!!  Support us and these children by buying some cupcakes from us!!!
Between now and April 14th, I will be taking orders for cupcakes!!! And Owen, Gracie, and I will be delivering them (within the DFW area) on the 16th with a smile.  :)

You even have two options (who doesn't love options???)!

You can buy the old-fashioned chocolate or vanilla cupcake with confetti, strawberry, chocolate, or vanilla icing by the dozen for $20.00.
OR you can buy really fancy, super yummy, stuffed, or super decorated cupcakes for $25.00.  Please check out my (ever so talented) Mom's blog here  and Jessicake's website here.  These awesome ladies have SO MANY options to choose from...and they are FABULOUS!!!  Here are a few of many options...

JessiCake's superhero cupcakes

JessiCake's Fish Cupcake

More awesome JessiCake's cupcakes

Eaton Cupcakes's Oreo cupcakes (oreo cookie on the bottom too...yummmm)

Pound Cake cupcake with Raspberry filling and buttercream icing

Eaton Cupcake's mix (carrot cake, coconut, pbj, banana, raspberry filled)

Orders can be emailed to
Or you can call or facebook me!

To our sweet Owen,
I am so thankful for you - all of you.  Every little thing about you is a gift from God.  You truly do make me think about things I never have before.  And my hearts grows and grows as a result.  Your smile changes this world we live in.  
Love you more,

Monday, March 28, 2011

He gets that from...

God sure knew what he was doing when he decided to create our sweet boy.  When he placed Owen in the womb of another woman...oh about 2 years ago...he really did get super crafty.  He made this little boy...who takes after his so many ways.
He made Owen super determined...SO very determined like his Mommy.  I should see this kid with a pair of shoes...he WILL get them on his feet.  And no determination and being stubborn are NOT the same.  :)
He made Owen a caregiver like his sister.  He is the best little "Daddy Mommy" there could be.  Holds the babies, rocks the babies, changes the babies, puts the babies in time out...
He made Owen GOOFY like his Daddy.  I mean GOOFY.  Like the kind of goofy that makes you sit back and think...WHAT ON EARTH???  Those of you who know Josh, know that this is a special kind of goofy...and lets just say that Owen has it.  The apple doesn't fall far from the tree.  I think he gets his good looks from his Daddy too...for what it's worth.
He made Owen special in so many ways.  Such a little overcomer, laugher, grower...  I haven't met a friend (or stranger really) who doesn't fall in love with him.  There is just something about him.  I kinda feel almost...spoiled...that I get to be Mommy to both Gracie AND Owen.  I mean...I think most Moms feel this very blessed...but I often find myself just thinking...and thanking God for HOW blessed I am.
In the midst of the yelling and bickering and toys being heaved across the living room...the books to read, songs to sing, dressing, brushing, lotioning (is that a word?)...the doctor's visits, medicines, messes to clean up, and the such...I find myself thinking (at times...b/c there isn't much space in my head for thinking)...geeeeezzzzzeeee...I am just SO BLESSED.
There are times where I really have to STOP and appreciate it.  Because I am finding that time is FLYING by so quickly.  Before I know it...the whole day is gone and I forgot to really soak it in and appreciate ALL of it.  Which makes me think...their childhoods will fly by too.  And one day I will be a Mommy to a grown up Gracie and Owen.
What?!?!  That is going to happen???  I am SO excited that I get a front row seat!!!  God has big plans for these two.  For YOU too.  I truly believe it.
For now, I am going to give it all I've got - be there and be present.  And appreciate ALL of this!!!
 Our little baseball pro
 Our little baseball pro who can't play yet and doesn't like that...but makes the best of it...
Yes...they sing together...a lot...very loudly...

To our sweet Owen,
You are awesome.  You are growing SO much.  You weigh 3 pounds less than your sister.  Your feet have grown 3 sizes and your taller and taller every day.  You have a very healthy appetite for food and pretty much life.  You are so tough.  Yet sensitive at the same time.  You make me see life differently...and I thank you for it.  
I love you more,

Saturday, March 19, 2011

For I know the plans I have for you...

This past week was so much fun.  We went to DISNEY WORLD!!!  It was princesses.  Rides.  Swimming.  Lots of firsts.  There was laughing.  And singing.  And dancing.  There was LOTS of good times for all 4 generations there.  There wasn't any stress.  There wasn't even any stress of the financial burden for us...because we didn't pay for it.  Sure, there was a bit of exhaustion...but the good kind.  The kind where you lay down in bed after a long day and just think about how much you enjoyed what you did.  I got to watch both of my kids smile more than I have seen..pretty much ever.
I don't think it could have come at a better time.  We really kinda needed some time away - the past few months have been tough at times.  They have really showed us what it means to have happiness in the midst of trials.  We have been SO happy, but it hasn't been easy.  And we were just SO thankful to have this time together to just enjoy each other.  No cleaning.  No stressing about mealtime.  Just good times!  Exciting times!!!  Just what we needed!
We got home late last night and I spent the day unpacking while Josh spent it working.  The kiddos played with their new Disney toys and before I knew it - it was evening time.  And that means it was a time that I have really been dreading.  Really.
It is time for Gracie's first injection of methotrexate.  When we got Gracie's juvenile arthritis diagnosis late last year, I comforted myself by thinking "at least they didn't put her on methotrexate"...because that is what my Mom takes and I have been covering her in prayer so she would be safe from it's possible side effects.  When we went back for an injection of cortisone, and it was a big procedure that I wasn't prepared for...I got a little more stressed...and felt a little more out of control.  Then, when a week later, it didn't work anymore...I started to get worried.  I was nervous about going back to the doc to hear what they had to say about the progression.  When they said "up to 5 joints"...I was REALLY stressed.  And when they said what they wanted to put her on...I kinda freaked out.  On the inside, of course.  I smiled at the doctor and told her that I understood.  And when she left, my Mom and grandmother reassured me that this is just another opportunity to trust God.  I know that they are I told myself not to freak out.  That it will all be OK.  And I know that it will.  We have the MOST amazing doctor.  God has really blessed us with her - we really are confident in her knowledge...and that is easy to do since she is the best of the best.
The more I think about it...the more I think about what God did for me.  HE GAVE HIS SON UP for me.  I'm pretty sure he was sad when he looked down and saw Jesus on that cross.  I know that God knew the plan and that his son would rise again, but I know that God knows what I'm feeling.  He loves Gracie even more than I do.
I know that remission is on the horizon.  I don't know when that will come.  But, I know it is there.   Will you please join me in prayer until that day comes?  Please pray that this medicine has NO negative effect on her immune system...or any system for that matter.   That she will be healthy.  That if she does get sick, we will be aware of it and will know whether or not to give her the injection.  Also, please pray that Gracie's anxiety and fear of needles goes away.  She put up quite a fight this evening and that just makes it even harder.
I heard this song on the radio tonight.  I just love how he reassures us.  Maybe this song will help you out too.  It is pretty awesome!!!

Jeremiah 29:11
"For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord.  Plans to prosper you and not to harm you.  Plans for a hope and a future."

Wednesday, March 9, 2011


I love how God whispers into our lives.  Sometimes he also shouts loudly.  There are times I hear him...and there are times I don't.  I always want to, but it seems like there is always something keeping me busy so I, unfortunately, fail to catch it.  I am trying SO hard to hear this lately.  And this week, He has told me some things through music.  The following lyrics have really spoken to my heart this week.  I'm not sure of the original composer of all of them, so I will just list the lyrics and hope they speak to you too.

Take me as you find me.
All my fears and failures.
And fill my life again.

Jesus paid it all.
All to Him I owe.
Sin had left a crimson stain,
He washed it white as snow.

O praise the one who
Paid my debt
And raised this life
up from the dead.

This is the stuff that drives me crazy
This is the stuff that's getting to me lately
In the middle of my little mess
I forget how big I'm blessed
But I gotta trust you know exactly what you're doing
It might not be what I would choose
But this is the stuff you use.

I'm not sure if you see a pattern in these...they are kinda jumpy and random...and all over the place.  Kinda like me.  I am happy.  My life is amazing.  Full of blessings...really busting at the seams.  So...why is it that I am overwhelmed?  Why am I stressed?  I know there is a lot going on with Owen, Gracie, Josh's work schedule, our transition, being a stay at home Mom now.  There is A LOT going on. BUT none of that is what matters most.  What matters most is that I have the most amazing savior.  The most amazing friend.  The most amazing healer.  The most amazing father.  The most amazing sustainer. The most amazing God that I CAN TRUST.  All in one...He is all of those things and more.
Tonight's Ash Wednesday service was exactly what I needed.  Clarity...and alone time with HIM.  It felt like there was a moment in there where it was just ME AND HIM...nobody else.  And He knows my heart.  I didn't even have to try to explain it...cause He just knows.  And I felt peace.  And stillness...something I have really been missing.
I am committing to spend an hour with Him - just the two of us - before the rest of my family wakes up.  So we can have our time together.  This is my lent promise.  I guess you could say I am "giving up" my sleep at 5 or 6am in order to be with Him.  May seem like an odd thing to do for lent - shouldn't I be giving up ice cream, chocolate, or processed foods???
This is what I felt He wanted from me.  Do you feel like He wants something from you?

Here are a few pics from our recent trip with family to Dallas Blooms.  GREAT time!  I think the kids really enjoyed it.  The guys weren't really into it until a hawk came down and showed them the circle of life - at the expense of a squirrel.  Then...they thought it was the coolest trip ever.

To our sweet Owen,
I know I keep writing it - but you really do get cuter and cuter.  You scratched your cornea yesterday and I had to take you to Acute Kids to have you checked out.  Who knew having a patch over your eye would make you even cuter than you were without.  You are so tough...such a strong little man.  You also crack me up in the morning lately b/c you keep checking yourself out in the mirror and dancing.  You are quite the bouncer when you dance.  You make me laugh so hard.
Love you more,