Monday, March 27, 2017

The Year of Growth: We Have Been Pruned and We Have Been Planted

When God first told us this would be a year of growth, we never expected so much growing to happen in such a short amount of time.  We have felt pruned, we have felt the seasons changing, and we have felt planted.  Now, we are ready to bloom.

Preston has had to overcome the obstacle of starting on a new baseball team.  When you have been part of the same one for so long, you become comfortable.  New things can be uncomfortable.  Isn't being uncomfortable also part of growth?  Preston has had to adjust to a new team with new coaching styles.  He's had to make new friends and find his place in a team.  Fortunately, he has always been very adaptable to his surroundings.  He fits right in with this team and his teammates voted him as co-captain.  Now, he needs to learn to grow as a leader.  He needs to always be setting an example to follow.  He has been pruned, he has been planted, now he is ready to bloom.

Kaitlyn is starting her new season of growth by being part of a sports team for the first time ever.  She has made an easy adjustment to this new venture.  She has overcome her time of being a loner and staying to herself.  Now, she can grow as a volleyball player, a team player, and learn to enjoy a new hobby.  She has been pruned, she has been planted, now she is ready to bloom.

I started a new semester of college and felt God was telling me not to be overwhelmed.  I tried so hard to make it through with ease.  However, within a few weeks, I did feel overwhelmed, and broke down and had to give it all to God.  It's a lot of pressure to excel in your studies, excel as a mom, excel as a wife, and not forget who you truly are.  But that moment of breaking down, of being pruned, is what I needed to ensure everything would be okay.  It's still a lot of pressure, but I am taking one day at a time, sometimes one hour at a time.  I have been pruned, I have been planted, and now I am ready to bloom.

Craig has experienced amazing growth professionally, receiving not just one, but two promotions since January (3 promotions altogether within the past year).  He has had to overcome a lot of mismanagement and negativity to get to where he is today.  Now, he has been given an amazing opportunity of opening a brand new store, which he didn't think was possible so soon.  He has stepped up in his leadership and proven time and time again that he is capable of the duties he has been given.  He has been pruned, he has been planted, and now he is ready to bloom.

As a family, we have faced other areas of growth.  We are extremely loyal people, but when loyalty is taken away from us, it's like a branch breaking off a tree.  It hurts.  Pruning hurts.  But, there are always growing pains.  Sometimes the past hurts come back to haunt you.  How are we going to handle those pesky weeds that are not wanted in our garden?  We pray for God to continue to bring us through the growth that is needed to overpower and kill off that negativity. 

As I sit here and write about what's on my heart in between practicing my instruments, I'm watching my kids play outside with a street full of neighborhood kids and I hear the dull roar of the lawnmower as Craig does some real pruning, I cannot help but be thankful for all that we are going through.  God never said it would be easy, but He did say to trust Him. 

Life is good.

And we are ready to bloom.

Friday, March 24, 2017

Spring Break 2017

Ahhh, vacation!  We were so ready to getaway.  As we continued to check off our list of states, Colorado was next.  We packed our jackets and headed off to Durango! 

We stayed at the fabulous Hilton with a room facing the Animas River.  We were greeted with warm chocolate chip cookies and a fabulous view.  We were pleased to find out downtown Durango was within walking distance, so we didn't have to drive around town.

Our first day was spent driving through snow covered mountains to Mesa Verde National Park to explore the cliff dwellings.  The climb down to the dwellings was steep and narrow.  However, once we got up close to the dwellings, we were just in awe.  It was amazing to see the homes built into the side of a mountain hundreds of years ago and imagine how the people navigated their way around the rocks.  We had another narrow climb up some ladders and we were safely on level ground again.  It is a nice national park with beautiful scenery. 

The next day was spent on a coal train going from Durango to Cascade Canyon.  The views on the ride were just stunning!  It takes about 2 hours to go up the mountain, almost an hour for lunch, and then 2 hours back down the mountain.  The time went by quickly and it was a great experience!

Durango is a small touristy town not far from the ski resorts in Purgatory.  There are plenty of outdoor activities nearby and lots of unique restaurants.  We tried Fired Up Pizzeria, Steamworks Brewing, and Grassburger

So, off to Arizona we went!  Talk about a change in weather.  We had winter clothes packed for Colorado and summer clothes packed for Arizona.  The first evening in the Phoenix area was spent with Craig's grandparents.  We don't get to see them often, but we correspond a lot.  It was so nice to hear some of their stories and we were able to share our latest news.  Times like that are very special and meaningful.

Surprise is a suburb of Phoenix and it is also where the Texas Rangers (among other teams) have their Spring Training.  We had been before and we were eager to go again.  This time, we found out guests can attend open practice in the morning before the game.  It was amazing!!!  Rangers were practicing on several different fields, working on drills, walking around, signing autographs...Craig and Preston couldn't get enough.  We watched the game where the Rangers beat the Cleveland Indians 12-11 and had such a great time.  We stayed at the fields for 7 1/2 hours, got 9 autographs, talked to a few players, and Preston even got a game ball.  I'm sure it won't be long until we plan another visit again.  It's definitely an experience I highly recommend to any baseball fan.


We finished the trip at Hard Rock Café, a restaurant we like to visit in different cities.

We woke up early the next morning and starting the long journey back home.  We were so glad to be in our own comfy beds again.  However, we are always so thankful to be able to explore different parts of America.  Until next time...
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