Tag Archives: pine cove

Friending

Michael and I have been watching a sermon series by Pastor Craig Groeschel entitled “Friending” (you can watch it at www.lifechurch.tv/watch).  The series is about friendship, as you could probably deduce from the title.  The second and third messages really hit me hard—in a good way.  Pastor Craig claims that we may be One Friend Away (message 2) or One Community Away (message 3) from changing the course of our destiny.

 

There are three types of poverty, Pastor Craig says: material poverty, spiritual poverty, and relational poverty.  Our nation is being overcome with relational poverty.  Someone might have 500 facebook friends and 200 followers on Instagram, but the chances are, they don’t even have five close friends that they could call in the middle of the night, or who have “refrigerator rights” at their house.  We can “connect” with hundreds of people around the world, but we might not have anyone we regularly sit down with and have a deep face-to-face conversation with.  In the same way, many people can not say with confidence that they have a community of other Christians that they “do life with”—rejoicing and crying together, bonding as true family, encouraging one another in Christ, ministering to others together, etc.

 

As we have watched these messages over the past three weeks, I have been convicted and challenged.  I realized that I am relationally impoverished.  Sure, I have a lot of people that I am “friends with”—I get along well with a lot of people, and I can have surface level, and sometimes even semi-deep, conversations with dozens of people.  But I have very few people who I would say know me and I know them.  And aside from my husband and family members who I am particularly close to, I haven’t done a good job of staying in touch with the close friends that God has blessed me with over the years.  In the same way, I have experienced true community, both in the Forge at Pine Cove, at college, and with different Bible study girls and couples.  But honestly, the last time I “did life” with someone other than my family was years ago.

 

So I invite you to join me in being challenged to get out of relational poverty, and begin forming (or rekindling) close, deep, face-to-face (or phone-to-phone if they live far away) friendships.  I am going to start by contacting friends that I am removed from physically, but I can still be close with relationally.  And then I am going to pray that God will show me other friendship possibilities.  But most of all, I am going to work on becoming the kind of friend that I would want to have—reaching out to others, being transparent, encouraging them, and just being present.  One year from now, I want to be able to say that I am relationally wealthy instead of in relational poverty.

 

As iron sharpens iron, so a friend sharpens a friend. Proverbs 27:17 NLT

 

The Forge

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–Staci

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How are you doing relationally?  What is one thing you love about one of your closest friends?

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Maternity Photo Shoot

A few weeks ago, our friend Jennifer took some maternity pictures for us.  She did a great job!  Her photography business is called Robin Grace Photography, and you can check it out Here.

We had a great time.  I’ll have a real baby update soon, but for now, we hope you enjoy these!

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These last two are ones I had extra fun editing.

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We had a great time taking these pictures!  Thanks, Jennifer!

Oh–and if you’re interested in some of the Photoshop actions I used to edit these pictures, you can get them FREE Here.

We’re so excited for Josiah to get here!  I have big news for the next update!

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–Michael and Staci

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Jan, Feb, Mar, Apr…

This post is just what the title looks like:

January, February, March and April.

It’s a time for us to try to catch up and fill you all in on everything that’s been going on.  Sorry that we’ve been such the blog-neglectors.  It seems like we blinked a few times and we’ve already jumped from January to April!  But here’s a quick snapshot of what our past few months have looked like.

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January

As you all know, we spent New Year’s Eve and Day on the road after our snow skiing trip.

The next week, I got sick.  My friend Sarah came to spend the weekend with us, and she was also sick…so we got to chill out and watch movies all weekend.

Michael also tried his hand at cutting my hair–and he did a really good job!

My Meme and Pawpaw celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary in January!  They are truly two of the most incredible people I know, and I’m so blessed to have them as grandparents.  They decided to make a trip down to Beaumont to visit us as part of their Anniversary celebration, and we LOVED having them here!  We played lots of games, visited, showed them our church, and just had a great time.

That next weekend, we took our students to “Hot Hearts Conference”.  There were lots of great bands and Clayton King did an excellent job speaking.  Our students really enjoyed it, and God really did a lot in their lives over the weekend.

The last weekend of January, Michael went on a Men’s Emmaus Walk.  The Walk to Emmaus is a 4 day spiritual journey.  They have them all over the world, and our church is really involved in the ministry.  Michael was able to go to one in January, and I went in February.  He had an incredible weekend, but he came home with the flu (for the first time ever).

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Febraury

February started with another Miche Bag Party.  (I’m SO thankful with how well my Miche Business is doing down here, by the way!  I’ve had multiple parties each month since the start of the year, and they’ve been a lot of fun!)

A couple of weeks later, we were able to go to Ada and visit friends and family!  It was SOO good to be back and see everyone.  Thursday, we spent some time with my Meme and Pawpaw (we stayed the whole weekend with them) and then met up with our friends from the BSU (not all pictured).  We miss them like CRAZY, but they’re coming to visit in May!

We didn’t take many pictures throughout the weekend, but we also got to spend time with my parents and little sister, my family’s best friends, my cousin and her family, and we even got to stop by and visit our youth at our old church!  We pulled up to the high school at lunch time, and kids started running out.  It almost made me cry.  It was SO good to see them!  I just have to add this next picture of my cousin’s little boy.  He’s grown a TON since we moved!  He’ll be a year old at the end of April. Look at those big brown eyes!

The next weekend, which was the last weekend of February, I went on my Emmaus Walk.  I could go on and on and on about how awesome this ministry is!  Check out their website to get information about a Walk in your area.  God did a lot in me during the weekend, and it was so incredible to see what He was doing in all of the women there.  I’m sure I’ll share more about my story in a future post.  It was great.

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March

The first weekend of March, we drove to Dallas for my Annual Miche Bag Representative Conference.  Last year was the first conference, and I had to go by myself (well, with other reps from my area) since it was on a Saturday/Sunday.  But this year was only a Saturday, so Michael got to go with me!  I’m so, so thankful for Michael helping me with all of my purse stuff.  He helps me lug my merchandise to all of the parties, set up the displays, figure out the accounting, and just support me in all of it.  I honestly couldn’t do it without my Miche Man.  🙂

The conference was great!  My favorite part (as always) was the merchandise preview.  There are some GREAT new products and shells coming out this year!  Oh–and I loved the HOPE campaign video and talk.  Miche has given over $700,000 to cancer research and treatment over the past year.  I love being able to be a part of this!

The next weekend, we were back on the road to go to my brother’s wedding!  It’s still crazy to think that he’s an old married man!  The wedding was near Sherman, TX, so we had a good 6 hour drive.  But it was definitely worth it.  A lot of my family is from out-of-town, so my mom and dad rented a ranch house on the same property as the wedding.  It was so much fun all staying in the same place.

The rehearsal went well, save my husband and father being goofs.  Here they were “looking for the bride”.

On the day of the wedding, I went over and fixed my sister’s hair and took some pics of “the girls” getting ready and then came back over and hung out at the pre-wedding family reunion.  Here I am with my handsome husband before we headed down to the gazebo.  The wind was already doing wonders on my hair.

The wedding was beautiful.  The weather was wonderful–much warmer than a typical March day, Marcos and Maddison were so happy, and it was all just really, really good.  I’m proud of my Bud and his new little wife.

My little sister, Emily, came home with us after the wedding.  She was on Spring Break, and my parents took a train trip from Washington (state) to Chicago for their 25th wedding anniversary, so she got to spend the whole week with us in Bmt!  We played games, watched movies, laid out by the pool, and went to the beach.  It was a great week!  Michael and I loved having Em here with us!

It was so windy at the beach that we had to use the car as a wind-block.  But after that, it was really nice!

The next weekend, we took a group of our youth and some parents up to Pine Cove to do a work crew weekend.  I know I’ve probably said this a million times, but going to Pine Cove is like going home for me.  It is SUCH a huge part of my life.  I just love it there.  Our group did an amazing job, and we had a great weekend.  We were at the Shores Camp, which is on the lake, and it was gorgeous.

When we picked this weekend to take our students to PC, we had no clue that my mom and sister were going to be there for a mother/daughter retreat.  When we found out, I was even more excited about the weekend.  I started going to mother/daughter retreats at PC with my mom when I was in 3rd grade, and I went until I graduated high school.  So it was extra-special to see my mom and sister throughout the weekend.

At the end of the weekend, I went back to Oklahoma to spend a few days with my family.  It was sad to leave Michael behind, but I’m so thankful I was able to spend that time with my family!  My sister had a minor surgery on Wednesday, so we wanted to have a ton of fun Monday and Tuesday before she’d be sent to bed.  We went to the movies and played games and went shopping and all kinds of stuff.  It was great!  She is SUCH a brave young lady.  I was so proud of her before, during, and after her surgery.

I flew back to Houston on Thursday, and it was SOOO good to see my husband again!  We had a nice, relaxing weekend and just enjoyed being at home for a change.

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April

On April 1, we finally got a chance to use my Christmas gift: SKYDIVING!!!  We’ll do a full-post soon, but here are a few teaser shots.  It was incredible!

After our skydiving adventure, we went to Paul (my cousin) and Liz’s house and had a great time with them (as always!).  We had a camp meeting the next morning, and then we met back up with them and helped move my cousin Bethany in.  Bethany and I have been trying to live close to each other for years and years, and we’re finally only 1.5 hrs away.

Last weekend was my birthday, and Michael planned a wonderful trip to Houston for us to celebrate.  I’ll do a whole post for it as well, but here are a few pics:

We had a great time!  We came back home Friday night and on Saturday (my actual bday), we just chilled out at the house for most of the day.  It was a fantastic bday weekend!

We were supposed to have a district-wide lock-in at our church this weekend, but it has to be postponed, so we actually have a free weekend!  And then next weekend we’re headed off to TN for Michael’s brother’s wedding, and the next weekend, we’re going back to Pine Cove for my Forge Reunion.  It’ll be busy, but good!

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So that’s pretty much what we’ve been up to for the past few months.  Whew.  I got tired just remembering it all.  🙂  Sprinkle in youth activities and school lunches and work and running and all kinds of good stuff like that, and I think it’s safe to say we’ve been a little busy!  But it’s been a good busy.  We’re so thankful to be here, and we know that God has us exactly where He wants us.  It’s a pretty common thing for one of us to say “I like our little life down here” to the other.  It’s definitely a good fit.

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Thank you SOOOO much for being so patient with us.  We love being able to write about our lives and share it with you all.  Much love!

–Staci

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Q for you:  So what have been some of the highlights of your last four months?

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Funfetti Cake and Rainbow Chip Icing

Yesterday I had to stay home from work because I’ve messed my back up again.  I injured my upper back in the Forge (a leadership training program) in January of 2008, and then that summer I injured my lower back at Pine Cove Camp.  It’s never been the same since.

Even though it usually doesn’t hurt me to the point where I can’t do anything, there are times it gets bad again.  The past few days have been one of those times.

While I was sleeping for 3 hours (painkillers will do that to ya…), Michael left to run some errands.  When I woke up, I saw a surprise on the counter!  He said that he’d tried to buy my popcorn that we can’t find anywhere (Orville Redenbacher Pour Over Butter Popcorn), and Wal-Mart still didn’t have it, so he bought me something else instead:

Funfetti Cake and Rainbow Chip Icing!  This is our favorite!  We’ve both loved it since we were kids.  We made one round cake and 12 cupcakes.

It was VERY yummy, and it cheered me up to know that my husband was thinking about me and wanted to do something special for me.  It’s little things like this that make me love him even more.

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–Staci

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Vacation Recap Day 3: A Good Night

Let me start off by saying we had an amazing vacation!  Because of the way the 4th of July fell, I was able to only take 5 vacation days and still have a 10 day vacation!  It was just what we needed.

We were able to visit family and friends, relax, do some sight-seeing, and just breathe.  It’s been a very busy spring and summer, and I’m pretty sure our bodies were going to shut down if we didn’t finally take some time to rest.  I feel like God knew that we needed this break, and the timing was just perfect.

Over the next few days/weeks (hopefully days…) I’m going to do a vacation recap.  We made so many great memories, and I want to be able to share some of them with you all.

As you know, the first night (Thursday) we arrived at Michael’s parents’ house around 11pm.  The next day was his birthday, and we had a great day celebrating with his parents!

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Which brings me to day 3: a good night.

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We were able to sleep in until close to 11–I’m pretty sure I haven’t slept that late since I was in high school–and it was SO nice!  It’s obvious that we needed it.  Since we got up so late, we had a big brunch (Michael’s mom makes amazing pancakes!) and just relaxed around the house.  We played a few games of Blockus and Michael blew out his candles on his birthday cake (we decided to wait on it until Saturday since we’d had such amazing desserts the night before).  It was a perfect cake–and it was Michael’s and my favorite kind: funfetti cake with colored chip icing!

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I was REALLY looking forward to this night because we were going to get to see one of my Pine Cove families!  My first summer (2006), this family was my Devo Family one week.  It’d been a pretty tough summer for me because God was teaching me some tough lessons.  I was learning that “it’s not about me” and what it meant to truly serve others–even without recognition.  But this week, God used this family to really show me what Pine Cove–and Christianity–is all about.

I learned two big lessons through this family.  1) When we give of ourselves and love on others, we are so much more blessed than if we try to find blessings for ourselves.  And 2) Even though I thought I was going to come in and minister to all of the families, God used them to minister to me.  Because they were my Devo Family, I was able to spend time with them each morning during their Family Devotional Time and then visit for a while afterwards.

I’d been feeling sorry for myself because I wasn’t a “counselor” and I was “stuck in the kitchen and at the pool” instead.  But this week, God showed me what a blessing it was that I wasn’t a counselor that week.  Because I didn’t have to be with kids right after Family Devos, I was able to hang around and visit with Keith and Tara (the parents) and we had some wonderful conversations.  I was blown away by God’s faithfulness as the week went on.

So much of what I learned through this family can’t be put into words, but that week of camp impacted me so much that I framed the picture of me with them and had it hanging in my room for the next few years.  I’m so thankful that God allowed me to be a part of this family during my first summer at Pine Cove, and that we were able to keep in touch over the years.

All that to say, I was VERY excited that we were finally going to be able to meet up again (they were only at camp my first two years, so it’d been a long time since I’d seen them).  I was also anxious for Michael to meet them since I’d talked to him about them so many times.

It was SO great to see them again!  I couldn’t believe how grown up the girls had become since I’d seen them last!  Hannah was way taller than me and Sydney was up to my chin!  They are both gorgeous girls.  I just couldn’t get over how much they’d changed.

We went to the kitchen and talked and talked and talked.  Then we ate (Tara made amazing Mexican Pile On–at least, I think that’s what it’s called–and I tried it with pecans and coconut added on, and it was fantastic!) and talked and talked and talked some more.  We talked about everything from Pine Cove to church to careers to the girls’ school and so many other things.  It was so good.

Tara had also found out that it was Michael’s birthday (yay for technology–you can find all kinds of stuff!) and they’d bought him a cookie cake.  It was so sweet of them, and it was very yummy!

When we went for a “tour” of the house–which is gorgeous!–it was neat to see little Pine Cove touches throughout the upstairs.  Hannah still had a little fake apple that I’d written all over and sent to her at youth camp one year (I think the people at Wal-Mart were probably worried about me because I’d go buy more fake fruit every week…).  Both of the girls had PC pictures up, and they had some of their CQ (character qualities) Certificates hanging in their game room.  It was a good reminder of Pine Cove’s ministry and the fact that camp really does mean so much to the families and youth (there are lots of PC camps and only some are family camps) that come.

Before long, it had gotten late and it was time to go.  We took a picture before we left:

And had hugs all around.  It had been SUCH a great night!  I left with a full heart.  I’m so thankful that God brought this family into my life, and that He allowed us to spend time together again.  They’ll always be so special to me!

To say the least, it was a good night.

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–Staci


Chile + Austin = love

This past weekend, I was able to be a part of my REALLY great friend Cecily’s wedding.  Cec and I were roommates in The Forge together, and she was a bridesmaid in my wedding too!

Cecily was in Chile this past year (from Jan. to Jan.) and met/fell in love with Marcelo.  Michael and I were able to meet him a few months ago, and he’s a GREAT guy.  I’m so happy for both of them (even though I hate that they’re moving back to Chile for two years…)!

On Friday, I drove down to Brenham, TX for the rehearsal.  I was actually surprised that the drive went at fast as it did.  Thank goodness for phones and music.

We found these awesome “bouquets” to practice with

That night, we made all of the bouquets!  I had never done anything like this, so I was really excited about it.

I worked with another girl and we did Cec’s bouquet.  We had to use all of our hair bands to hold it together–and it became her “something borrowed”!

The bridal luncheon was at a really cute little place in Brenham.  I think it was called something like Funky Cafe…

Right before the ceremony

The ceremony was absolutely gorgeous!  It was outside, but there was a really nice breeze.  Cec was gorgeous, and everything was perfect.  Marcelo said his vows in Spanish and Cec said hers in English–and I definitely teared up.

After the ceremony pics

The other Forgie girls that were able to come

Their cake had little strings coming out of it, and as part of the Chilean wedding traditions, they had all of the single ladies come and pull a string at the same time.  Whoever got the toy ring was the next to get married!

There were 9 Forgies there including Cec!  It was SOOO good to be together and catch up.  We missed everyone that couldn’t be there (and the hubbies that couldn’t make it), but we had a great time.

Cec and Marcelo did the National Dance of Chile for us.  It was so fun to watch.

We had a ton of fun!  All of the costumes are another Chilean tradition.  Halfway through the dance, the wedding party passes out costumes to liven things up again.

Love you, Cec!  Thank you for letting me be a part of your special day!

–Staci