Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Summer is here...

The last few weeks of April and the month of May have proved to be quite busy.

"I take you, Nic..."

On April 30th Nic and I celebrated 2 glorious years of marriage. Most of me can not believe how quickly time has flown. And yet there is a part of me that feels as if we have been married for years. It is such a peaceful thought to know that God had worked so intensely in our lives to bring us together. I am truly blessed to be married to such an incredible man of God, who chooses daily to live for Christ and to love me with all he has. I am daily reminded of the grace that God has bestowed upon us. How He, inspite of our choices, blesses us with such amazing gifts.
So in celebration of our union, we headed down to Port Aransas for a 5 day vacay. We stayed in a great little place called the Inn at Fulton Harbor. It had beautiful views of the ocean and pool and hot tub. Everyday was full of activity and amazing seafood. We had such a peaceful and relaxing time. I did not want to come back. You can check out the full itinerary and some pics on
Nics blog.

Welcome to the Burleson Boarding House
As some have comically noted about my home, we have had the privilege of having a few house guests. Some short term and others a little longer.

"I want a High School Diploma"

A former student of Nics has experienced a series of misfortunes in his life. Nic and I felt strongly that if someone just gave him a chance, then he could have the tools to succeed in life. So halfway through April Curry moved in. Not really sure how things would play out, but fully trusting in God that things would be provided for, we trekked down an unknown path. Curry came and accomplished what he intended and in only 5 short weeks, he completed 2 years of school and received his High School Diploma. He diligently worked at school and made such an impression on the teachers that he was allowed to do the invocation for their graduation ceremony. Nic and I are very proud of him. Being a typical teenager who has not spent very much time away from home, he got homesick and moved back home after graduation.

"Hey Jo, can we call you mom and Nic dad?"

"No." Came the calm and firm answer from Nic. After college finals were finished, two guys, also former students of Nics, moved into one of our spare bedrooms. Jaron and Andy have been here almost a month. These two incredible guys have moved in with us to help Nic out this summer with the youth -- for nothing. Although, they both are employed to fund their own financial needs, their primary purpose is to be with Nic and help him out. It has been a complete and utter joy to have them here. It is a daily reminder of so much. They remind of me of who my husband is, an incredible man, capable of a ministry that has sustained students beyond highschool years. They remind me of my own paths of faith when I was their age. On a regular basis they remind me that they have know Nic much longer than I have, that they remember him as just a young buck in his early years of ministry. They are full of memories and stories and I love just sitting in the living room, late at night, hearing them tell story after story, making me laugh so hard I almost pee my pants. I stand in awe of my husband, I stand in awe of the men of God they have become. It is so much fun to have them here and I already do not want them to leave.

"Thank You Auntie, may God bless you!"

These words came out of the mouths of three beautiful young ladies. Lovinsa, Fiona, Allen and their Auntie Daisy from Uganda stayed with us for just one night but have such a lasting impression on Nic and I that I know that we will never be the same. The Watoto Children's Choir came to our church as part of their ministry and we had the honor of opening our home for them to stay. Each of the children that are in the choir are orphaned due to AIDS. It is utterly devastating to think about where they come from, to think upon the life they must have lived. But each of them tells an incredible story of grace and mercy in how they came to know Jesus through becoming part of the Watoto Village. Each child is placed in a home with a mother and 5 siblings. Each is given the chance to attend school, and the hopes of one day becoming a leader in their country. Each song they sang spoke to my heart, especially "I am not forgotten." I am not forgotten, I am not forgotten, I am not forgotten, God knows my name. Each of these children know their identity in Christ. They know whose they are, and they have a hope, and hope so immense, it spills out of their smiles, their speech, their eyes, their lives. It was a beautiful reminder of the God I believe in and the hope that I have.

I can almost be sure that my boys enjoyed them more than they enjoyed my boys. The girls taught them tribal dances and in turn my boys showed them moves such as the sprinkler and what not. We all just laughed and laughed and laughed. Every moment was priceless. They touched us so deeply that two days later, we traveled to San Marcos to see them again. As we were leaving, I hugged Allen and she asked if the whole gang was there, I responded yes. Her eyes lit up and she said "Will you tell the boys we miss them?" It was such a sweet moment. Those girls have left a mark.

Not a day goes by that I do not think upon them. How richly blessed our lives are here in America. How selfish we are as a people. Always wanting more. Bigger houses, better jobs, bigger paychecks, bigger tvs, designer clothes, designer luggage, luxury vehicles. During one particular song, they played a video. A quote shook me to the core, it commented on our inability to care for and minister to particular people, referring to the AIDS epidemic. It simply said that maybe we are the ones who are sick. Later generations, turning back and asking us, what did we do while children were orphaned by the millions. Heart wrenching. For more information, www.watoto.com.

Life has been full. So filled with so much. God has blessed us. God has blessed me. He has richly given us so much. I am filled with joy to my core. Joy that, I pray, seeps into the lives of others. Joy that I pray I can be genuine to. When my brother was ill and dying, my mother once told me that she was not happy, for happiness is just a measure of your happen stance. But she had joy, a joy that filled her to her core. For when life doesn't always hand you the cards in a happy way, when things like new homes and apartments, new jobs, new friends, healthy families, healthy colleagues, healthy churches don't always find a way into your life. When happiness is dependent on things and jobs and circumstances...let there be joy. I have a firm faith in knowing, that although resting in the center of God's will does not necessarily bring happiness, it resounds a deep joy. Happiness is fleeting but joy resides. Choose joy...


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